This Week in Tech 582
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Leo Laporte: Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by CacheFly at cachefly.com.
Becky Worley: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 582, recorded October 2, 2016.
Who's Capping Who?
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Becky: This is TWiT! I'm Becky Worley, stepping in for the intrepid Leo Laporte who is on a boat somewhere. I am ABC News technology and news correspondent. Good morning America is where you see me most days, but when Uncle Leo hands over the keys to the new studio, Oh yeah. It is on! I'm joined by three fabulous people and monitors. We shall start with Christina Warren, senior writer at Gizmodo now. You've changed your course of action, welcome Christina. You're in New York, right?
Christina Warren: I am in New York. Yes.
Becky: OK. Welcome. Then Jason Hiner. You are here. You look like you're at a yoga retreat there. That photo is very calming.
Jason Hiner: That's good. I'm working on that.
Becky: I saw that you were posting about the change to fall this week. Nature's finest hue is...
Jason: Robert Frost poem. Nature's finest hue is gold.
Becky: Nothing gold can stay.
Becky: I love it. Fall is in the air, even here in California. There were these strange projectiles falling from the air as I was driving up here. I had to switch on this new technical device that doesn't get used very much in California where it removes the projectiles from the front of your windshield, and it was bizarre. Apparently we had real rain in California today. Fall is here. In New Jersey... everything is legal in New Jersey.
Owen JJ Stone: Are those things called Windshield lasers? I think they combat bugs and splatter.
Becky: Ohdoctah. Owen JJ Stone with his lovely daughter in her soccer uniform coming in.
Owen: I'm doing a show.
Becky: He's podcasting, he's moving, he's parenting. He's amazing.
Owen: Go watch your show. She was going to ask me about tissues. Ohdoctah, technology. There's a drone. It looks like a person, but really that was my drone.
Becky: We've got @ohdoctah is his handle. I forgot to mention Jason Hiner is from Tech Republic and many other cool projects. Thank you so much for joining me today. I think we should get right into it and talk about the big thing that we're expecting this week. Google's Mystery not so mysterious event. It's happening on the fourth, which is Tuesday, I do believe. The expectation is that a couple new phones, Pixel and Pixel XL: These aren't your Nexus prototypes. We're not talking about guides for OEMs. Competitors to something Samsung might make. Let me... I'll go through a couple specs. Rumored to be built by HTC, 5 or 5.5 inch LED displays, quad-core, 64 bit CPU, 4 gigs ram. A 12 and eight mega pixel camera, respectively. Remember, this cost about 650 bucks, why do you think they're code named sale fish and marlin? What?
Jason: I stopped playing that game with code names a long time ago.
Becky: All the ones they used to have in the old days that made no sense. Remember those?
Jason: Remember when Microsoft used to pick all those mountains, it was all different mountains. Whistler was the big one. That was the code name for Vista. They quit after that, you can't blame them.
Owen: You have to pick names out of a hat. Every employee gets a number and they pick a number out and that employee gets to yell stuff. He's a big fish. Why else is that happening?
Jason: So often they're inside jokes for the team. It is fun.
Becky: These are trophy fish. Game fish. I don't know. Maybe they signify that they're entering into the competition here; that they're not just creating these as reference designs, these are phones that are competitive and they want to go after Samsung. Christina, does that make any sense to you?
Christina: I think that the Nexus line has never been financially successful, it's always been loved by the fans and the hardcore Android geeks have liked the phones, but they've never sold well. They tried to sell them in stores, and even the carriers were like no. I think that this is their latest attempt, and they tried this a number of other times to say we're tired of the way OEMs are using our software or not using it. Not updating things as quickly as they should for security updates, the way that Google wants Android to look and feel, so why not have a polished product that can go head to head with those guys.
Owen: I think they should follow a motto that I learned worked a long time ago. Long story short, NBA live was one of the best basketball games available that you could play. Every console had it, it was number one selling. 2K brand could not bring them to the market to do anything. What they did the one year, they got tired of losing money, they said here is the game for 1999. We made a great game, we know it was great, but you won't buy it because you're not going to spend 60 bucks, but for 20 bucks, all the people who couldn't afford the 60 dollar game bought the 20 dollar game and it was amazing. The uproar of everyone playing it has crushed NBC live to where it went out of existence for three years, but it can't come back because it can't compete with 2K. If you want to get these phones in the hands of people, just bring the price down to a normal, human rate price and people will jump at the bit to get it, and they'll see the power that you have to push forward and a great device, but you won't so it won't.
Jason: They did try that with Nexus.
Christina: That's the weird position they're in, right? On the one hand, even when they own Motorola, Google is always trying to play both sides of this. On the one hand, they made their own phones, on the other hand, they're saying please don't fork us and make your own thing, we love you Samsung, we love you WAWE, we love you HTC, we love you LG. Don't leave us, but they clearly want to be able to have their own phones so they can go head to head too. They're in a weird position. You're right, I think especially when you look at these low cost tie spec Chinese smartphones from one plus and from Xiaomi, there is a potential market, especially in the Western world to say we've got a phone like that that you can buy that is going to get all the updates from Google. The risk they would take by doing that is the people that are your partners might say do we want to work with you closely, or should we work on forking this? That's always the challenge. I think the challenge is less, but you don't want people to say we're going to do our own thing. You don't want Samsung to say enough with you, we'll build our own thing.
Jason: You look at 1 Plus 3, that device is major at 400 bucks. It's incredible. What they've done. You look at Samsung, they have all that. They're in China, imbedded in that atmosphere where they can get good access to low cost high quality parts. Samsung has its own arm of these things where it makes them and sells them to themselves from their other business units, high quality at low cost. It's tough to get that thing much lower than that. I suspect that they're doing the opposite. You're right on, I think that would be smart to do, I don't know that they can play that game, so they're trying to play the other game, which is they're going to try to make a high quality device, sell it at as low a price as they can to break even. But to try to push Android forward, not necessarily make a huge margin on that phone, but I think at 650, they're selling it as low as they can to turn a little profit and put the super high end hardware that they can to show what Android is capable of. This thing better be good. The billboards that they're putting up in New York, this device better be good. I wrote about that last week. Something they need to learn from Apple about hype. One of the reasons they iPhone 7 has been reviewed so well is Apple spent all year tamping down expectations. It's not going to be redesigned, oh the new one is going to come next year, the ten year anniversary, a lot of those are powered by the Apple leaks. When this device did come out and all of a sudden the camera was a little better than what we thought, the battery life was better, the other features were better than what we thought, we were like, "Woah. This device is a winner." Google is doing a bit of the opposite. They're building up hype for this device and there's a thin line between creating interest and demand and raising expectations to the point that people are going to go if this thing isn't a lot better than the Galaxy Note 7 or the One Plus 3, People are going to go "eh. It's just a nice Android phone."
Becky: But it's an interesting tactic that's different from what they've done in the past, because the Nexus has been so undersold and understated, and it's had that geek appeal only, we're not going to push it to the mainstream. Secondarily, what a great a time to kick Samsung in the shins.
Owen: Everything you guys said sounds smart and technically sound, but right now my daughter has a One Plus phone because she's nine. I don't feel like forking out 9Gs for a phone for a nine year old. That's the first thing. You can get that phone down to 400 bucks. You can't tell me that this phone is better than that, and they're still turning a profit. How much profit do you make when you make a million phones, only two sell, and you got 30,000 in the warehouse waiting for a screen to break? Bring that price point down to 450, 500. Make a couple shackles and Samsung, Samsung has the money for R and D they don't have time to start their OS, they better ride this free market and the Android they can get, because they're going to have to pitch a new story like, "Hey. I know we got Samsung, Universe software. No bro. They're stuck. Drop that price, maybe I'll buy one and give it to my dog or something.
Becky: Let's take a quick tour through the week of Samsung. They say a million safe Galaxy Note 7s are in the hands of consumers. Galaxy Note 7 sales expected to resume in Korea yesterday; the recall hitting 80% completion. But, I'm just reading the headlines. Note 7 battery woes continue as the company investigates phones that are running too hot. What you alluded to is there is a big set of stories in the beginning of the week about Samsung Washing machines, the tops blowing off and exploding. How much does that story undermine their overall QC and the quality of their products?
Jason: Completely different business unit, it's unrelated. But to a consumer, it's like the political environment. It's reductionist. The story is that Samsung stuff explodes. It was the last thing they needed. Now all of a sudden when people got to buy a washing, they got to decide if Samsung or LG or a fridge or something, they're going to go, "Doesn't Samsung stuff explode?" It hurts. It's a bad brand thing for them that they're going to have to deal with. It's a shame, because they do a lot of cool things and done well, but like you alluded to, the issue is do they have a quality control problem throughout the whole company? Is it a cultural problem?
Owen: They have a problem. I have a Samsung washer and dryer in the fridge, and all three of them broke right after the warranty went out, so I'm never buying Samsung appliances again. That's my personal experience, but now like you said, when you think about Samsung, you'll think, "Doesn't that catch on fire?" You start making up things in your mind...
Becky: Didn't this display have porn on it?
Owen: That was a great meme.
Christina: There were issues and recalls going back to washing machines. This is not the first time they had recalls. They had to recall a ton of them I think in Australia. They were doing stuff and there was somebody who got it fixed and the repair wasn't fixed correctly and they ended up catching the house on fire. These things are of course... I don't know if they're indicative of a systemic problem or not, but when all these things are happening in the same year, it is cause for concern, although as Jason says, they're in different divisions. It looks real bad when you have this disaster with a Note 7, great. 80% completion rate. Awesome. Once it gets to 97, then they'll be impressed. 80% means in the US we've got 200,000 phones potentially blowing up. I was at a conference this week, and I was in the air twice. Flight attendants are saying if you have the Galaxy Note 7, it's got to be turned off completely. On the second flight, she's walking through the cabin and looking at phones and she comes by and sees me with my seven plus, and she says is that a Samsung, and I say no, it's an iPhone. We talked about this when the story broke and I was on with Ohdoctah and we talked about it. How are they going to... they're not. It's got to the point that the flight attendants are looking at these things and anybody is going to be wary of a Samsung. It certainly looks bad, even though they're totally different divisions, to have all the phone issues, and we've already seen this before with the washing machines, but to have that be a problem too. They can't catch a break.
Becky: Ohdoctah, I'm thinking about what you said about the price on that Google phone, and a question I have is you would think they would be able to get the price don because fundamentally they're subsidizing their ecosystem with more and more hardware out there and they can control the experience on the software, on the ecosystem, if it's a Google direct phone. I'm wondering if that is a reason why they should bring that down, of they need it at all because you're in the Android world, you're in the Android world.
Owen: The phone doesn't make you any money. Carrier subsidize cost the phone. Apple does what Apple does and look we need money, they're like crack heads. They figure out ways to get money out of everything. Rent your phone from us and everybody stops giving you that super discount to keep you in a contract, because they're like we don't worry about contracts, we just want you to keep getting this phone. All the carriers are doing, you're paying for the full phone, to always get a new phone, but that old model worked for how many years? You're buying this phone for 299 or 399 and you would be with that phone. If you just got the phone out there and that's the money you got for the phone and it was great and people loved it, again. You could move mountains if you think your device is that good. If you think that you're pushing stuff forward and it's a solid device, get it in as many hands as possible. You're not doing a great job marketing, that's not going to help you, but same thing about Samsung and stuff catching on fire. When people say Nexus phones are 299, they're the ones you make Android. I'll try that, whatever. That would work for you. I'm not marketing for...
Christina: I think they'd have to take a loss, and whether or not Google would be willing to take a loss on hardware, I don't know. They've never taken a loss, maybe the Chromecast. Maybe. But I think that they would take a loss, and they're not willing to do that. AS much as everybody loves the Nexus lines, it's never sold in large quantities. Google does not have the Chromecast notwithstanding, any track record of selling any product from their own brand in mass quantities. Google has never sold a hardware product, other than the Chromecast.
Becky: Let's have a big event this week and roll out a bunch of new hardware then.
Jason: It's rough.
Becky: We've got the air fresheners coming out this week, Google home. Wifi speaker with access to music in the cloud, Google cast support 129 bucks. It's 50 bucks cheaper than Alexa. Remember, this is all rumored, we're anticipators here. Google Wifi. Its own branded wifi router. Device is going to cost 129 bucks, competing with Euro, Luma, Mesh networks. You guys have hope for this? Think it's something that's going to go?
Jason: I can't remember the name of it. I have the... Onhub. The routers do kind of stink, I always end up getting a new one once a year because they have the old problem that Windows machines used to have... you run it for a while and it gets worse and worse. So I did try the Onhub. It's pretty good. One of the things that I like is it's a little.... it was overpriced I thought. The web interface on it is really good. You can look at it on your phone, you can reset it from your phone, see what devices are connected. It's a pretty decent router. That, when I think they have some competence. web browsers, internet, fiber. Building an Internet router, this still gets to their core business and stuff that they're good at. These other devices... Chromecast, I've got two or three different Chromecast generations. They're all pretty lousy. They lose connectivity all the time. I don't think that's a good product, I certainly hope they improve that because it's a great idea and the price point is fantastic.
Becky: That's competitive with Ero, right? Which is about 500 bucks for 3. Christine, do you think this has enough oomf to make it into the mainstream?
Christina: Yeah, it could. Mesh routers are the new thing . You've got Ero and Luma and I'm testing the Netgear right now and I'm liking that. That's where routers are going, these aren't the sorts of things everybody buys. They're a niche thing because most people are going to use the router that comes with their modem. You get it from your cable company or whoever.
Jason: Don't do that, by the way.
Christina: You're right. Having a Google branded router even though I am too paranoid to have Google have my router because they already know 95% of the websites I visit. I'd rather keep that 5% to myself. I'd like to have some Internet traffic not tracked by Google. You know what I'm looking at. I'd rather them not know everything. I think this has potential and it would be interesting to see if they can sell how that will work with Google Home. If all of these things work together. Apple software is hit or miss, but they've got the ecosystem i unit, they've got the airport unit, the Apple TV, the phones, the computers. For Google to have an ecosystem, you've got the Chromecast, you've got the routers, you've got the devices. That could be interesting.
Becky: I love that the chatroom is doing the ethical work for me. They've let me know that Ero is a sponsor of the TWiT network, so we've got to put that out there. I would spend a129 bucks on this thing if it was a combination of Google Home and the Mesh network. That makes sense to me.
Owen: That's not a good enough price point. I rock the airport extreme. My house is 2700 square feet, and it wasn't any better, faster, stronger than my airport extreme. I guess unless you live in the city or have paint on the walls, but I've had this router for four or five years since it came out, and it's still rock solid. For people who don't realize having a router added on with their router provided, when I use my router to provide with me from Verizon, my top download speed is 78. When I go through the airport extreme, it jumps up to 98. I don't know who is capping who, but this Airport extreme is letting the water flow.
Jason: I use airport extreme. I had it for three or four years. I tried out one of the Mesh network ones. I didn't get that much of a boost out of it. That's when I sitched to the Google one now. I agree. If we can do nothing else, encourage everyone out there. Buy your own model so you're not paying ten bucks a month to your cable company, get your own router, get better speed boost, get better performance and you'll save money in the long run. It pays itself off within a year or two years.
Becky: The last big thing we're expecting from Google's event is andromeda. If anyone can explain this to me I'll be so thankful. It sounds like an operating system where Chrome's peanut butter gets into Android's chocolate. Have I got that right?
Christina: That's basically it.
Becky: It sounds exciting. Chrome's peanut butter gets into Android's chocolate. What's the point of this? It's to go after MacBook Pro users? It's got a little bit more functionality than a mobile operating system? What are we talking about?
Jason: I think it's the other end. I think it's going after MacBook Air. I think it's going after schools, the machine that you give to somebody who you're always supporting. Basically you give them this and they can get apps, they can do whatever they need to do and they're not going to get themselves in trouble, they're not going to get viruses and boom. You're good.
Christina: I think it's that. For many years we've been talking about people predicting the merging between Android and Chrome, and Chrome OS and Android, and this is where we're finally seeing those two worlds meet, because if you look at what they're doing on the Chromebooks and the beta testing Chrome apps, and you're getting better desktop support for some of the Android devices. They figured out those two worlds, those two operating systems don't exist, because there are certain limitations when you have Chrome OS. It's not quite powerful enough to be always connected. It doesn't have the apps, and at the same time, Android doesn't work well with a mouse pointer. I know it can, but it wasn't designed... I think having this fusion of worlds, Jason's right. It's the next step up from a Chromebook. This could actually be your replacement computer, this could be the thing you have as your day to day machine, and it could still work with all of your apps and services that you already know. But without it feeling as clutchy as Android apps on Chrome OS feel.
Becky: But doesn't this make Google's ecosystem seem even more fractured? Or is this replacing something and it's going to make it cleaner?
Jason: It's like two companies that merge. They start out and they're going to keep both brands. We're going to be great partners, and you know in two years, one of them is toast. I feel like that's the case. Ultimately, Google wants to replace Android with Chrome. It controls that ecosystem more than it controls the Android ecosystem. We're seeing that with this move with the phone, we're seeing that with the move with their own laptop. Chrome is the ecosystem they make more money on. This is a step towards that. It's easy to see. That doesn't mean Android is going to go away completely, Android devices are going to be out there, you're going to see companies like One Plus, like Amazon, they're going to build their own things on Chrome and do all kinds of things, but I think Google wants to... one since the split to Alpha, they're much more business-like, they're much more profit focused, and Chrome makes them money. That's the future of their business. Android, they've had a number of challenges with, and ultimately it's not as financially viable for them in the long run.
Owen: They're fighting in that phone booth that Microsoft is in right now at the surface, where they tell me a surface does what a MacBook can't. They're trying to make it like a laptop, but it's so portable and you can do everything. I feel like they want to get into that power space but more portability. Everybody is in the same space trying to do the same thing.
Becky: Ohdoctah, anything, pie in the sky, one more thing you would dream up that Google might surprise us with?
Owen: A google watch.
Becky: anything you guys think of?
Owen: Google knows everything. I could just talk to my watch and it could do it. My friend is making faces at me, I'm sorry I got distracted.
Becky: You heard it here first. We are going to take a quick break, Leo Laporte, the host of this show is on a boat somewhere Denmark-ish. I'm Becky Worley @bworley on Twitter, but at the moment, we're going to hear Leo.
Leo: We'll have more with the great panel on This Week in Tech. Thank you for filling in for me while I'm gone, but I wanted to stop back and remind you of one of our great supporters and sponsors on this network: Braintree. If you're a mobile app developer and you want to include payments in your mobile app or website, you've got to know about Braintree. If you've done any research, I'm sure you've seen the name Braintree. Comes to you from Paypal, so it's got a great lineage. I think that should give you piece of mind. When Uber and Lyft use Braintree in their payments and apps, that tells you something. Air BNB and Hotels tonight. Github. These guys have the world as their oyster, they chose Braintree as their payment stack. Braintree's platform not only supports every kind of payment now, Android pay and Apple pay, even bitcoin, credit cards, it's a really good solution. When something new comes along, the next big thing, you don't have to worry about it, just go to your Braintree control panel, check the box, and you're in. You're done. You'll be able to accept any kind of currency from pounds to Paypal to that new payment system from any device and is just a few lines of code. It could not be easier. It's got everything you need. No late nights. No complicated recoding. Frankly, the security issues alone with a shopping cart, you should not do it. You should let the pros do it. You don't have to worry about staying ahead of the curb. You've got plenty of things to worry about with your app. Let Braintree handle the payments. Simple, secure code you can integrate quickly. Android, IOS java script, Java Pearl, Python, it's code, clear documentation. It lets you do what you do best, while they do what they do best and you know who is happiest? Your users. They love it. You love it when you use an Uber or Lyft. Braintreepayments.com/twit. Give them a try today. Now we go back to the news of the week with This Week in Tech!
Becky: Leo Laporte! Thank you ever so much. Leo is on vacation. He is making virtual appearances, but I am joined by Owen JJ Stone, Ohdoctah on Twitter. He is an amazing man, he is multi-tasking like you've never seen. Right now he is speaking with his daughter, letting her know what she needs to be doing. Yes, Ohdoctah, I'm talking to you. Jason Hiner, Tech Republic, CBS Interactive. Thank you for joining us, and glad to have you. And Christina Warren from Gizmodo. Senior writer there and in the know about all things tech. Notable This week. Elon Musk has a plan for our future. Colonizing Mars at the International Astronautical conference in Mexico. He gave a talk, it was called making humans a multi-planetary species, and this is his idea for getting to Mars. Space X, I'm going to break down the specifics, because that's basically what Elon did. It was incredible. Whenever he does this, when he gets into the nitty gritty of talking about his insane plans, it boggles my mind at how bored he sounds talking about these amazing ideas and seemingly impossible to execute concepts. I will try not to go at it with the same sense of boredom, but let me try to break this down for you. SpaceX would use reusable BFRs, these are Big bleep rockets, along with BFS, which are big bleep spaceship, rockets capable of 680,000 pounds of thrust, the ship could carry a hundred tons of cargo. Once in orbit it would be refueled, then it takes off for Mars. He really got down to the nitty gritty in terms of cost. He said right now it would cost 10 billion dollars per person to send someone to Mars. His goal is to scale it down, targeting 200,000 per person, eventually 100,000. He's all about re-useable parts. Trips take a hundred people at a time. The spaceship would have movie rooms, cafeterias, entertainment options. He said it would be a really fun place that's his quote, fun place. I don't know how long you'd have to be on that ship that is terrifying. He's targeting 2022 for these flights. Public and private organizations are going to help fund the missions and a million humans could live on Mars by the 2060's. Are you guys in? Are you going?
Owen: Could I break in on this report real quick? This is my buddy Tony, say hi to people, Tony.
Tony: Hi, how's it going?
Owen: What's your college degree?
Tony: I have a bachelor's degree in marine science with a concentration in marine biology.
Owen: What's your current job right now?
Tony: Jet mechanic.
Owen: For who?
Tony: United States Air Force.
Owen: So Tony is a really smart guy. Tony, are we going to Mars? How long would it take us to get to Mars?
Becky: Tony's face expresses skepticism for those of you listening.
Owen: How long. Give me an estimated time period.
Tony: A long time.
Owen: 50,000? 100,000?
Tony: More than ten years.
Owen: OK. That's all I need.
Becky: The big brain sitting next to you, Ohdoctah, says this is total malarkey.
Owen: We're not going to Mars. I'm going to let you guys talk. Let me just say this. I love Elon Musk, I love the sun, I love the solar, I love hyper loop. But for Pete's sake, could you use that big brain and all this money you want to put into a desert rock planet that doesn't sustain life, and fix the planet we got right now? Can we get ten billion dollars to clean up the homeless and give them a job or something? Instead of per person to put them on a planet that can't sustain life? Can we do that, Elon? I love you so much, I hate the way you manipulate the stock market and my heart, but shut up about Mars. We ain't going to Mars, we ain't going to Mars, we ain't going to Mars. Now go ahead and talk about it.
Christina: That's it for TWiT! Thanks for joining us.
Owen: I love the man so much. Fix this earth we got, Elon. Jason Calacanis is going to be the first person to Mars. He ain't no engineer, he ain't no mechanic, he can't fix nothing. What's he going to do? Complain about the weather? We need grunt workers. It's not going to happen, bro.
Jason: The same day that Elon announced this, when I was at this festival last week, which is an innovation event. It's like Ted. This event cost 100 200 bucks. It's the same kind of people. The day that Elon was talking his big ideas about mars, somebody there... one of the candidates for Mars 1... there's this nonprofit organization called Mars one. They do a lot of work with international based organization, work with Nasa. They've got this down to a hundred candidates. It's an MIT systems analyst named Yari Golden, she was at the idea festival talking about the fact, it was that morning and Elon made his presentation that afternoon. I knew more about Mars by the time he did it. Mars one is where they're sending scientists who can go study it. What they found is that we've sent all of these.. it's not space tourism. They're trying to get some scientists to go up there and do the same thing. If we trash this planet, what are we going to do? We've reached the limits, what Mars One posits is that we've reached the limits with what we can do with robots, we actually have to send some people there. But sending them and getting them back is the hard thing so they want to take a group of 24 people interdisciplinary, send them to Mars, create this colony with these scientists. Because of that, they're working on this laser based communication. Right now it takes anywhere from several minutes to almost an hour to get communication from Mars to Earth. This laser based satellite communication basically will send it a lot faster. The idea is that the stuff she's working on at MIT, with the idea that she's going to be one of the candidates on this, but if not, she can develop technology that's going to help. By the way, this technology to get at your point, Ohdoctah, this technology could actually help us here on Earth, like a lot of space technology. A lot of stuff that went into the space program did interesting things for the space program, but the kind of advances they gave to the tech Industry is huge. That's the bigger benefit to a lot of this stuff. For Elon's case, he's the show man, he's the PT Barnum of the Mars story, but there are other people working on this. It's important not to forget that. Their goal is to send someone to Mars by 2027 and they are working toward that. They narrowed down their hundred candidates. Next year in 2017 they are going to name the 24 candidates and then work on working towards this for over the next decade.
Becky: Christina, are you buying it?
Christina: No. I think eventually yeah. Because there is real science happening and potential for space exploration, we'll get there. Not to discount Elon because what he's doing is important in that it gets people paying attention. It's exciting, but to Jason's point, he's a PT Barnum sort of guy, and making these proclamations like 2022, that's so close. Come on now. Let's be real. I also appreciate the way he phrased it. You could die on this mission, so please pay me 500 thousand dollars to go on this Mission where you might die. I'm not willing to go yet until I know someone could take over my company. This is basically a suicide mission. I'm intrigued by what space exploration could do but I'm bothered by, even though fundamentally some of the things Elon Musk wants to do have broader technology and scientific pursuits at their core, so much of it does seem to be about space tourism, which to me is bothersome. The last thing that I want and the way it's being sold now, it's being sold as the modern era of climbing Mount Everest, where it's just rich people who pay a hundred thousand dollars and climb a mountain because they can. This is going to be a thing where people who are rich enough to go to Mars will go versus people who are actually looking at discovering other systems and what's habitable and what's not and technologies that might have pursuits other places. I don't know. The whole thing is like... I'm also... his whole description of Mars, all I can think about is the movie Wall E and be like yeah. OK. We're all going to be on this other planet in stasis, not moving around, just eating and watching TV.
Becky: The chatroom says the best place on Mars is worse than the worst place on Earth. Elon described it... Not only is the trip there on this massive trip going to be "fun," because there will be movie theaters. They have movie theaters on my plane to New York that I take every couple of weeks. Anyways. He also said it would be fun on Mars because the gravity is low. One thing that struck me, I feel like a dumby, it struck me in his talk when we think about all the space exploration and all the technology innovations that came out of that when we did this through NASA and the moonshot and how those spawned so many businesses and so much entrepreneurship and innovation as those engineers spun out the government programs and started their own companies, but now it's privatized from the start here with Elon. So you've got.. he was talking about on the ship once it's launched and en route to Mars that the solar rays will deploy. Then of course it will be storing energy into batteries which will be part of everything he's doing with Tesla. The engines that he is going to be innovating... there's got to be a crossover with Tesla or Hyperloop and realizing that all of this innovation and privatization of innovation is going to be in one... it's a publicly traded company but in one company's auspices and they will own all of that. It dawned on me. All of these pieces fit together. His brain is really big.
Christina: I was going to say you're right. His brain is huge, but it's problematic though, isn't it? He's obviously seen all of these puzzles and how it works for him, but something like the travel to another planet should be bigger than one public company.
Owen: He is nice enough to say I know you guys are trying to make cars, here's the patent I'm going to let it go. He seems like a decent guy when he's not being insane sociopath. I'm just saying. You told me we could run the whole world on solar. We know that. But guess what? Human beings can't get together to take some land out in North Dakota, build a solar farm, and give everybody free electricity. Guess what? Hyper loop? I haven't seen it. Until you can get me free power....
Christina: Companies in chaos. Hyper loop is... the drama is fantastic.
Owen: We just going to Mars and eating cookies and dough and ice cream and watching the shift. You can't get hyper loop together, we ain't even got solar farms yet. Would you just pump the... are you living in domes? We're not going to Mars, we're not going to Mars. It sounds like a little kid that's got play dough and is telling me how we're going to make a store. He's going to have millions of dollars... but dog it's play dough. Trust me.
Becky: I always thought of space as... I think I'm space phobic. It makes me feel like there's dystopian future that's right around the corner that is going to come crashing down on my children. This dystopian space phobic didn't want to pay attention, somehow, Elon talking about it and making it sound so boring and so doable in his delusional mind, but logical delusional. Maybe that's too contradictory to be real. Jason what do you think? Is there a logical insanity here?
Jason: Yeah. I think the thing about Elon is... Elon is in the truest sense of the word, he's a true visionary. The guy dreams in... he sits around day dreaming. He didn't have to eat. He talked about how he likes the idea of Soylent because then he can take 43 minutes a day that it takes to eat meals and get rid of that and put it in a more productive time like dreaming about Mars and solar power and all these other things. Elon sets these super aggressive goals, his companies never get there. But on the way to trying to get there, they get to things faster than other companies. Tesla is way far ahead in battery technology, they're way far ahead in electric vehicles, they're way far ahead in a lot of these things because he sets these crazy stupid aggressive goals that we're going to accomplish this massively hard thing but this time. And that's what leaders do, right? Leaders push, leaders reach, they get you to get more out of you than you thought was possible. I agree with everybody on the panel. It's not happening. Maybe Elon falls somewhere in there, it sounds very PT Barnum to me. It sounds 20 years off. I think... I can't remember... somebody said how passionate he was talking about this even compared to some of the other stuff he does. He is reasonably passionate. This is the thing that gets him up in the morning.
Jason: There's some bigger problems I wish he would spend his time on, because the guy does have some serious brain power.
Owen: If you're going to dream big, look me in my face and tell me we have problems with coral reefs. If you don't know anything about the coral reefs, it effects the fishing community. The fish community impacts people on land. The food industry because they eat fishmeal, but you don't understand... you know Elon Musk... come out and tell me you're going to solve that problem in ten years and I'll strip butt naked and run through these streets... (Not that anybody wants to see it) but I'll be so happy and proud just like you told me. I understand about vision. I got a lot of vision. I got a vision of a machine I could sit in and lose weight. I'd do anything. It just melts off the fat. I can envision anything that happens. He thinks the fun stuff. He sounds like a little kid sometimes, he gets so hyped up on this stuff. He moves mountains with his words. If he told you he liked cookie dough, the stock market would triple in the next half hour after a tweet. The man's got too much power. Fix the planet first before you start going to a red desert with nothing on it. I'm not going to yell about it any more. It just makes me really upset.
Becky: It's all inter connected. What's interesting about that, Ohdoctah, is that he never talks about political will or the moral will to do some of these things. He's only dealing with what he has under his control, and what's incredible is what he actually has.
Owen: He's ruling his kingdom with an iron fist, that's for sure.
Becky: Well we are living in the kingdom of Leo Laporte. So long as I'm just sitting on the throne here temporarily, I must take a break, let you guys go drink some soylent, and Leo is going to tell us about a sponsor.
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Becky: thank you, Uncle Leo. I drank all the soylent that was in the back. Tastes just like graham crackers. I'm Becky Worley @bworley on Twitter. Joined by Christina Warren of gizmodo and Ohdoctah and Jason Hiner of tech republic. Guys, it's a big week, a big time of the year, for drones. You know we're going into the holiday season. The hardware is rolling out, so people can start thinking about what they're going to buy on black Friday. DJI this week came out with the Mavic. Foldable thousand dollar drone, fits in the palm of your hand. Without the controller you can get it for $750, if you get it with the controller you can wedge your phone in and the phone gives you a viewer for the drone's camera. Has a built in camera, follow me function. It has a gimble on it. Four something miles radius. You can go four miles from the controller. Now what's interesting here is the karma from GoPro, roughly the same. About 1100 bucks when it's bundled with the GoPro here. It's black. Again, Gimble stabilized, although you can remove that and have a gyroscopic stabilizer if you want. With the gopro karma. Is it fair to be comparing apples to oranges here when we're looking at these two pieces of hardware Christina? Is gopro grasping its straws here, trying to do this as an all in one?
Christina: I don't know if they're grasping at straws, but I do think they are two different products. I think they end up trying to accomplish the same things. I think gopros in a little bit of an interesting position in that they have a lot of people coming at them from all sides. You have drone makers, you have gimble things, you have crinkly smartphones. You have a lot of people doing these things, and they used to be in a unique position and now it's become commoditized. It's hard to say.
Becky: Ohdoctah, are we looking at drones as being old news? They were a fun toy for a while and now meh?
Owen: I'm on record for yelling at Uncle Leo as a drone hater. I don't like drones. They drop bombs on people, they stalk people, and they show me firework things. I saw one year and that was good enough to put it on a loop, but I will say that these two drones are awesome and I want them. I need it in my life. I'm now a hypocrite, I want a drone that was small enough to fit in my pocket to follow me like a dog and to be my friend when I have no friend. This little drone is amazing. Now Gopro's problem is that GoPro was a victim of their own success. They made something that was awesome and people stop buying new GoPros. Why do I need a new GoPro? This one shoots 4K. Is 4K unlimited. You just start making up stuff, it's the same thing, so people start buying it, so now they got to expand their market, expand their brand to go get at the other people who were coming after them, so now they're going out there trying to expand themselves and their drone looks cool, it's great. It comes out with a detachable gimble, but guess what? My big butt ain't going down no mountain side so I don't need that. I need to go like this. I don't have many friends, people don't like me, I'm crazy. But if I had a drone that could do what I wanted it to do, I need it in my life. Anybody want to donate money? My birthday is in 15 days. If you could send me 15 dollars? I could get one. Back to the show. Were we talking about drones. People like drones.
Becky: You mentioned that this drone has some recognition. If you make a square around your face, it zooms in...
Owen: It will follow you.
Becky: It will follow you, so you want a pet drone, is what you really want.
Owen: I want to do as little work as possible. OK? I wake up with eyebrows like this. I don't want to do no extra work. If the drone does all the work for me, all the better for me. These are drones I can live with. These drones look fun.
Becky: I just... Jason do you see? Remember the lily drone was a big Kickstarter video that they had out and it was... you threw it up in the air and you started down the mountain snowboarding and it would follow you at the perfect distance...? I don't feel like that's materializing here, but some of this stuff in terms of creating flight paths that you can pre-program in advance, having it hone in on the controller and follow the controller... I don't know if it's snowboard ready, but it's a lot more functional than some of the difficult to pilot drones that I've tried and lost.
Jason: It's true. I've seen one—it's funny. It was last year, last August at the Idea, sorry, at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. There was a drone that year, I can't even remember the name of it but it was like a bracelet. The drone was literally wrapped around your wrist.
Becky: Oh right, I saw that.
Christina: I remember that.
Jason: And you chuck it, right, in the air and it automatically sees you and follows you and it connects to your phone and sends the photos.
Becky: Nixie it was called. The first wearable camera that can fly.
Jason: Perfect. Perfect.
Becky: There is so much vaporware here. Holy crap.
Christina: There is so much.
Owen: I think the drone you were talking about is Lily. These are two companies that are viable and putting out the product—
Christina: Yea, these are actually out.
Owen: There are real. Like the Lily thing? I thought the Lily thing was cool. I'm like, oh, Leiyah's playing soccer, I can have a little bracelet on her to follow her around the field. I can get some great footage. Guess what? Thing never came out. And stuff you're waiting on doesn't happen. But DGI knows what they're doing. GoPro knows what they're doing. They're going to get these products and these products are actually going to have all those elusive features that will help the average person get into droneware.
Becky: Christina, I know that one of the things that GoPro's been trying to do is to market their cameras, their products more to families as opposed to extreme athletes. And while this drone definitely helps them create more sort of vertical penetration in that extreme athlete market, it doesn't really help them with the moms.
Christina: No, no. I mean I'm not a parent but, yea I don't really see—I think if anything, it almost potentially makes it scarier. I mean I think that not scarier but I guess less appealing because you're like, "Oh, I've got this flying thing and do I want this around my kids or my pets or whatever?" Whereas I think—but you're right because GoPro has been trying to kind of say like, "Hey this is the perfect thing to take on vacation with you. And you can do all these other things with it and it will capture moments you wouldn't be able to capture in other ways. I guess they could sell it potentially that way. You've got this really easy to use drone that you know, can help capture memories or moments that you wouldn't be able to capture otherwise. I don't know but I feel like this is definitely, they see that everybody is strapping a GoPro to a drone or they're using the cameras that are built on some of these other systems instead of the GoPro and they're saying let's just eliminate the middle man and just do are all in one package which makes sense. But you know, people are very committed, or a lot of drone heads are very committed to their brand of choice, and area where DGI definitely has a huge advantage. People love their products.
Becky: I feel like the barrier to entry with both of these products is video editing. I mean even—
Christina: Oh, totally.
Becky: Nick Woodman at GoPro, he told me he has—his children's entire childhood is trapped on SD cards. You know, has anybody tried out the new cloud editing software that GoPro put out? I mean I just—it seems like one of those intractable problems, editing, that nobody's come up with a good solution for the consumer.
Jason: The biggest problem with it, the GoPros too because the fish eye of their cameras, you've got to correct it. You've got to correct it as soon as you import that video. It's like, oh, yea, yea. And it's like a 2nd render, right? And so—
Jason: It's a pain.
Christina: It would be a huge opportunity for someone like Apple or even Microsoft if they cared enough to have a filter, you know a plugin that would say, "We recognize this footage is coming from a drone. We're applying the effect. We're going to help add music to it." Because that is part of what made iMovie so successful, right, and got so many people to be able to edit movies the right way. I think that if they would be willing, and I don't think they are. I think they've all but abandoned iMovie to a certain extent. But to care and say, "Hey, we'll have it plugin with your drone stuff or your GoPro stuff." And Apple and GoPro have worked together in the past. That would actually be really smart.
Owen: That is one of the things where the mobile app for editing is better than the application on the computer sometimes.
Christina: Oh, totally.
Owen: I have the DGI and I can edit on my phone and sometimes it's just easier, especially for a novice, just to do a couple quick edits. And you're like, "Wow. This is pretty good for the phone." You go load it up on your computer, and I'm like, "What is all this and why is it like this?" They need to have a—it sounds stupid, but a dumbed down version that just works. And that fisheye is just a huge problem. That's why I stopped using my GoPro. Once I got the DGI Osmo. Once I got that thing, I stopped using my Hero because I didn't feel like that extra render. I feel—and I know better. I feel like I'm losing quality. And again, I don't want to lose quality. I don't want to extra render. I don't got time for that. So they need to do something. Even if it's just in their mobile platform. Because everybody's got a phone nowadays. Screens are so much bigger. They need to focus on tightening that possibly to help people out. The problem is with that, 4K video, file size huge, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That's their job, not ours. But Christina was on the nose with that partnership thing. Somebody should do it.
Jason: Well that new app, Quik, Q-U-I-K, which is their mobile video editing thing. Which has some potential. It's a pretty decent little—that's the one you talked about right?
Becky: Yea, that will be a big change I think when hopefully—I am just amazed at how many videos I have. When my kids were little I would take the time to make like—to actually make cuts and put music underneath and oh, God. Now it's like—
Christina: And now you're just like, really? No.
Jason: I did that with the 1st kid.
Becky: 1st kid syndrome.
Jason: All of the video. 2nd kid, nothing. I mean I look back. It's like 2 phone videos from 10 years.
Becky: The child did not exist.
Owen: Let me look at you. Let me look at you all in the face and tell you that you're horrible parents and you're not as good as me.
Jason: Thank you.
Owen: Ok. You can go check my Instagram. I just made a movie of her and her friends at the beach this summer. I'm out here making movies. You know why? Because I have the skill to do it. You know all these regular, bum parents that don't know about technology? We are a panel of technologists. You should—and Christina, you should be doing it for a family member. You should be like, "Look, I know you don't know what you're doing. Send me the video. I'm going to make a montage of the kids." Be better parents. Don't tell me that you're not making videos. I'm still making videos, ok.
Becky: You're selfie Dad. You're good. You're making all those kids yours.
Owen: When she grows up to be President of the United States, my girl's going to look good in these videos. You ain't going to see these little stupid hair flipping up, not looking videos you know. I got her trained. I'll be like, "Look, no smile or smile." Because sometimes we've got to look grown, you know what I'm saying? Get yourselves together and be better parents. Use that technology. Oh, PSA, one last thing. For real though if you have a grandparent or a parent, you should go and take your phone and even if you don't do video. All you're doing is recording. Ask them where they grew up. Ask them what their first job was. Ask them about their parents, where they lived, what they did. My grandmother passed away and I've got audio tape about my grandparents that I'll never meet and I'll never know and I've got information about where she went to school, her first job, her first date. I did the same thing with my dad and he passed away. Now I've got that for my granddaughter. You've got all this technology. If you're watching or listening to this, you're a better person than most people when it comes to technology. Do something useful. Stop taking those selfies and talk to the people that made you and find out where you came from so you can have some records. I know you all ain't as special as me but pretend that their special. Interviewing them anyway because you love them.
Becky: That is a great PSA.
Jason: Great idea. It is. It is. I did that with my grandmother in 2012 when my grandmother was terminally ill. And we spent 3, 4 hours. And it's funny. Like I was there just interviewing her and doing the journalist thing of like asking her the questions that everybody wanted to ask but never did. And so—and she was perfectly happy to answer it. It's like funny. The longer we were there, like the more like people kept coming over to visit. And like everybody would stay. And by the end, it was like she was holding court for like 3 or 4 hours. I expected it to be like 30 minutes or something. And because of that we learned so much more about her and about our family and about America and the way it's changed. Especially for women because she was a working woman like in the 1950s which a lot of people in our family had no idea of. All kinds of things. And that 4 hours of doing that is one of the best things I've ever done with technology in my life. One of the best uses is doing something that now the rest of our family really treasures and other people will know her even those that never knew her. And so it's super great idea.
Becky: I haven't done it yet but I downloaded the StoryCorps app for my kids to interview my mother-in-law because I think it will be really neat. She's 86 and lived through World War II in London. And I just think it will be so neat to have them record that. And what's nice about that StoryCorps app is that it also provides suggested questions if you're not sure how to get—because you know sometimes if you just say, "Tell me your life story," can be really dry and I moved here and then I moved there. But these are questions like, "What was a time when you felt happiest in your life?" Or just some really great things. So nice PSA, OhDoctah. I appreciate that. Now I think I'm really loading up for the next story which is really leading us in a completely different direction to an epic rant. Not that you haven't done that already, Owen, I'm just—I'm opening the door for some more air.
Owen: The chatroom thinks I've had too much coffee. I've just been packing all week and I haven't had much sleep and I'm excited to be here with such lovely people. I'm not—it's ok. I'm going to be all right. I'm not going to explode. And that Elon thing, that pissed me off.
Becky: You need to vent.
Owen: Elon and the car are pissing me off.
Becky: Ok, I'm going to tee up Christina on this next one because this story, I covered this this week. A venture capitalist from Santa Barbara, member of Rincon Partners, he wrote an op ed in the Wall Street Journal and he suggested that if women want equal treatment in the VC world, that, I'll quote here, he said, "In your LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, email address and online correspondence use your initials (or a unisex name)," implying that you should hide your gender, "and eliminate photos." So basically what he went on to say is that there is so much implicit bias against women in technology, that you should hide your identity, hide the identity of any women on your team, if you want equal treatment and equal funding. Yea, even I was shocked. I couldn't believe that this is happening in 2016. I also couldn't believe that this would be published in the Wall Street Journal.
Christina: Yea, I mean like to be honest I wasn't that surprised that the article was published on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. I mean you know, they whatever their standards are, I mean I was surprised and I wasn't surprised. I saw it and I read it and like everyone else I was incensed and I couldn't believe that someone would actually have the—of course you know people think those things but it's shocking that someone would not only write it but write it in such a way that he thought he was giving great advice. He thought he was helping.
Becky: OhDoctah, you have a visual point that you'd like to make here?
Owen: I'm just trying to turn up the contrast because I as a black man also have that problem in the community. So I turned up the contrast—
Becky: Owen has toilet paper over his head, over this face.
Owen: I'm trying to get as light as possible. My name is very Caucasian so when I call people and they say Owen Stone, then I show up and they're like, Omar? And I'm like, no, it's Owen. Gotcha. Ha Ha. You thought I'd me Omar, didn't you? But it's Owen. See my dad knew what he was doing when he named me that. It's a deplorable thing. It's disgusting. It makes me so sad. I'm raising a ninja. She has been told two things since birth. You have to become an engineer. I don't care what kind. And you have to have 2 black belts if you want to date because the world is against women and especially, and if you double that up and put some tan on it it's even worse. But the fact that someone would say this to a woman, why don't you yell at the people who treat the women this way instead of telling the women to be something different than they already are which is powerful in their own right. And if you just gave them a chance maybe they'll take your job. I don't know. Are you scared?
Christina: And also though let me just say this. This is a guy who is a venture capitalist so he's someone that's part of the problem. And instead of saying, "I can be open to my own implicit biases and I can look at how I view things and maybe be open to viewing things in a certain way," he's like, "You know, actually there's no way that I can overcome my own objections, my own I guess gossip of what a female engineer is." And it wasn't just women. He was also basically implicitly saying anybody who was different religions too. I think there was that aspect to it to which was really gross. Anybody who had a different name, anybody who had an insanely different background. Basically hide and be as white male as possible is basically what he was saying. Rather than saying that he could be part of the solution and be open to meeting people who have different backgrounds, he's saying no, actually the only way you're going to get a meeting with me is if I go by Chris Warren and I—that's the only way I'd personally be able to meet with him if I went by Chris Warren and I switched my Twitter handle. I could no longer be film underscore girl; you know because that wouldn't work. And would have to hide every part of my identity and that would be—use generic photos on your team page. And that's the only way you're going to get a meeting. And it's just so gross. I mean it was interesting because his partners at his VC firm which I've never heard of. They're small. Immediately disavowed him and were like, "We don't stand by anything he says." And he of course was forced to apologize 2 days later and basically now the Wall Street Journal has now attached that apology to the op ed but it's still there. But it's just insane to me that he thought that it was ok, not only to say but as advice. I mean I think he genuinely went into this in a place where he thought that this was good advice. Where he thought, "Oh, you know things—" the real solution here, because there's no way that the people in these decisions, who are making decisions to give money or to hire people or whatever, there's no way they can get over themselves. So what you have to do is you have to trick them. And how demoralizing for anybody who's trying to raise money or anybody who'd trying to get a job to hear that this is what people who are making these decisions and these are people who are in positions of power think. But it's gross and it's grotesque and there are a couple of initials that I could use to describe my response to him.
Becky: F.U. Warren?
Christina: Yea (laughing), basically.
Jason: It's like look as white male as you possible can. Done. Good advice.
Becky: (Laughing) You know Sara Lacey pointed out, I think it was Sara Lacey who pointed this out on Twitter that neither he nor his firm has a great track record funding women.
Becky: Yea. Amazing. And I think the guy issued what may be the fastest apology in Twitter history. Which is so interesting the way he did this. So let me read the apology first. It says, "I apologize for the dreadful article I wrote in the Wall Street Journal. I told women to endure the gender bias, to endure the gender bias problem rather than acting to fix the problem. I hurt women and I utterly failed to help. I wholly regret. I apologize. Women have a tough enough time having their voices heard and my insensitive comments only made matters worse. I am truly sorry. – John." What's so amazing about this is it was a picture that he posted.
Becky: And so what I'm trying to figure out is it because he wanted more characters or because he didn't want the text searchable?
Christina: That's a great point.
Owen: Ok, so I believe it's because he wanted the full text shown. I believe that whatever amazing female PR person that wrote that for him suggested that he do that. I don't give him credit or smart enough compensation or consideration to even figure out that conversation. Whether he should have the text searchable or the picture, I assumed that someone told him what to do and he copied and pasted or slid his laptop over and let them do it. Because obviously he's not smart enough to do what he's supposed to do. First of all, if you're a man, be a man. You having to apologize that quickly shows the fact that you are just insensitive and stupid because—
Christina: It never should have been written to begin with.
Owen: The position that you are in and you want to write an article? Here's how you write an article. I am a man. I am a white male in a white male driven industry. And I feel like women aren't being serviced enough in this community. So myself and my team are looking for women to pitch things to us so we can reach out to you in the community to help you. And we are looking to hire 3 female engineers for the companies that we've invested in because we believe that opportunity is the way to help you lift yourself up. You could have said that, been a hero, probably get two girls to ask for your number. But instead, women around the world hate you and I hate you and I think you're a moron and so does the PR person that you paid $20 grand to thinks that you're stupid too, you dofus McGofus.
Jason: It reminded me of and it's a bit of an extreme example, but it reminded me of the thing like in college. Like you go to college and there's all these things. At least this is the way it was when I went to college which is admittedly been a while now. There were all these things about you know, here's how you avoid being sexually assaulted, right? When in fact it's like, shouldn't the message be—
Christina: How do we teach people not to sexually assault others.
Jason: Exactly. The message is, tell people do not sexually assault someone. No means no. Implicitly. So—
Becky: Yea, the conversation should be why is it such a white boy's club not how can we sneak into the white boys' club?
Christina: Precisely. And I think that the fact that it was even tamed—and there were some people in the chat who are saying, "Oh, I think that was good advice." No, it's not good advice. It's terrible advice because it doesn't solve the fundamental problem. Yes, the problem is there. Yes, there is implicit bias. Yes, it's getting worse and not better because fewer women are graduating with CS degrees. We should be looking at all these things and talking about that and not saying, "Well we've got to trick the system to get into the door." Because instead we should be having serious conversations about why every other industry has more female graduates and it's becoming closer to parody except for computer science, except for tech. And the whole notion of meritocracy is clearly false, not true. And there have been studies that show that when you have female founders, companies actually do better. So that, if we're really about showing things like that then you would have VC firms that would want to hire more women. Instead, you have people including, I don't want to turn this political, but presidential candidates who are saying things like, "Well you know it's an inconvenience for the business to have someone who's pregnant." When you have these sorts of things that are happening in this world, to have an article written in the number 1 business newspaper in the country to be on the op ed page, front and center saying, "Yea, sorry about that. You need to hide everything about yourself. And that's the only way you can maybe trick your way to get in. Maybe that's ok." It's not good advice. It's insulting.
Becky: Shocking to me, I didn't realize someone who actually is doing something positive this week, Melinda Gates interviewed in Backchannel, she said, "When I was in school in the 80s," she is a computer science major, "women got about 37% of computer science degrees and law degrees then. Law went up to 47% now, computer science is now 18% from 37% in the 80s." I had no idea that it had gone down that much.
Christina: Absolutely. Part of it, it's hard to do one to one because there are a lot more graduates in computer science now versus 30 years ago but it's more than halved. And it's depressing. And I think a lot of it comes down to people feeling as if—it's a couple things. I think that early on before it was seen as a prestige degree, you could see a more even mix. Even in the 70s when it was still kind of starting out you would see, computer science and business starting out, you could see more even numbers in the 80s. And as it became higher paying and more prestige degree, you started to see women get pushed out and less of an interest. And I think that you see in a lot of times from a recruitment, from high schools or middle schools. That's why having organizations like Lab Camp for Girls and programs that are encouraging girls at a young age who are interested in coding having an outlet to do that are important so that they already have the skills when they're starting out. Dads like Owen who are encouraging their daughters at a young age to do whatever they want because there is a thing where people are told or girls are told, I know this as a girl who was coding when I was younger, where people look at you weird. And they think that it's odd. And they discourage you. And I know what it's like to be in computer programming classes where you're the only female and there is—
Becky: Oh, God, when I was taking just the introduction to computer science during my masters, I can remember being in the lab at midnight. I was the only girl there. I was so frustrated. And you know that place where you're coding and you're trying to figure out how do I get from point A to point B and I feel like I'm at a total roadblock, and you need people with you that you can turn to. And it helps, just to be explicit, there are other people like you. You're like, "I'm confused." And you feel intimidated because you're a woman and you're like, "I should be getting this." And I just remember that being a real, the real thing. Going back to this Melinda Gates thing, she has said that she's going to take two years to apply everything she's learned through the Gates Foundation and all the philanthropy that she's done and she's going to apply resources that she has at her disposal to collect data on this issue of women. She specifically said women. I don't know if she said women and minorities. I'd like to know more about that. But collect data on why gender inequality in the workplace, especially around computer science, is such a prevalent thing. So somebody who didn't get it who got absolutely beat down by the internet, somebody who does get it and has a ton of money to put at it, hopefully the result is right and the direction is right. But, man, not a great week for that.
Owen: One more thing for everybody who is saying that he did someone a service. There's a basic point of, besides all the things that Christina said that were right on point, here's the basic core of something. If you want a job, the best thing to do when you go for that job, or if you want money. Even worse for a job. When you're going for funding, you're asking someone for money. The best thing to do is not lie, ok? So when they ask about the numbers of the product and how many people you've got signed up for, it's best not to lie. Because if you come in as a white male and I thought you were a black female, we got a problem. I'm not going against gender. You can be whatever you want to be in America I guess, but I'm just saying, you can't lie to me about it. So any which way you put it, that was horrible advice. Hey, I need $5 million in funding. Well, how can I trust you when you tricked me to even get this interview? You should have just had all the doors slammed in your face because you're getting turned down not only for being a woman or color but sometimes your idea just sucks and one person falls for it and gives you money when they shouldn't have. I'm just saying, you can't go around lying to people and then ask for a job for money. Just crappy advice all around.
Becky: Agreed. Agreed.
Jason: Sorry, sorry. Last two thoughts on it. I think the most effective thing that has helped this issue is that you know the larger tech industry's coming around to—if the tech industry is so much more crucial to the future of the economy, to the future of human progress, to the future of people on this planet, right. And by and large you have so many of the products that are being designed, being designed by these teams dominated by males and with very little diversity. And the problem is you can't build great products if you don't understand your audience, right? And if you have a group that has very narrow experiences, they are not going to build as effective products. And that argument is finally like, oh, no, now we get it, right? Like that makes sense to us. And so I do see people that have been really reluctant and had their feet dug in on this issue softening up and finally realizing we've got a problem and this is the solution to that problem.
Owen: Ask Snapchat how that works out for them having not enough people of diversity on their board when they make these stupid decisions they make every once in a blue moon.
Jason: Exactly. Exactly! And the list—
Christina: You mean like blackface filters? Yea.
Owen: Asian filters. I mean—
Christina: All of them are terrible, yea.
Jason: And finally it's coming around. Some of these companies are realizing, they're seeing Snapchat, they're seeing even Apple with its emoji and the problems there, right. And they're realizing why this is a bigger problem and why the—one, it's a responsibility problem if you're designing products for a global community and eventually it will become a financial problem as well if they don't figure it out. For the companies that don't because some will and those companies will be the ones that succeed ultimately in the future. I'll just stop it there. I had another point but I know we need to move on to other stuff.
Becky: Epic rant TWiT, I love it. We are going to move on. We're going to take a quick break. We're going to come back and talk about Disney possibly working with Twitter on a bid. And a couple of the cool things that our folks here are working on and have been working on this week. So Leo is here to guide us through yet another sponsor for This Week in Tech.
Leo: We'll have more with our TWiT panel in just a second. I will be back next week by the way, but thank you very much for filling in for me and doing such a great job. Our show today as it has been many, many times before, brought to you by Wealthfront. I am a big, big fan. Ironically, I'm a customer of almost everybody else who does ads on this channel. I cannot be a customer of Wealthfront. I wish I could. It's driving me nuts (laughing). But the financial regulations, SEC regulations say that a customer can't do an endorsement for a product. This is, you know, something in the financial sector. I don't know why. So when we started doing these ads, I said, "Great. I can't wait to sign up." Wealthfront said, "No, you can't." So Wealthfront, anytime you want to stop, let me know (laughing). But meanwhile, you can do it and let me tell you why you want to do it. Everybody should be doing, saving for the future, right? Retirement. Trust me, I didn't expect it. It comes. It happens. Rainy day fund. Got to have one of those. College funds for the kids. I've got 2 kids in college. Thank God I saved. Problem is, I was one of those smart keisters, you know, one of those guys you know, oh, I'll do it all myself. Read all the books and invested. And then life you know, you get busy and didn't pay any attention for years and decades. And suddenly it was like, well, but that didn't—should have gotten out of that one (laughing). Plus frankly you can read all you want but there is a real art to doing good investing and that's why I love Wealthfront. Now a professional investment advisor is going to charge 1, 2, or 3% of what you have under investment every year. That means you have to make that much more just to break even. And then there's hidden transaction stuff. Wealthfront does it so much better because Wealthfront is computerized, it's automated. They put all the smarts and frankly more smarts than a lot of investment advisors have into the software. But you don't pay the same. You pay one quarter of one percent, one quarter of one percent a year. And there's never any additional fees, no transaction fees or anything. And unlike a human or yourself, they're monitoring your investments every minute. So they're, even within a day, they're going to reinvest, diversify, do something called tax loss harvesting which I still haven't got my head around but it maximizes your returns while minimizing your tax bill. I mean this is smart stuff that needs to be done constantly and no paid advisor or you is going to do it this way. This is what's so great about computers and this is why Wealthfront consistently returns great returns for its customers. I want you to check it out. Wealthfront.com. No need to invest, just read. They have a 529 college savings plan now if you're saving for the kids or the grandkids. Of course all sorts of long term things. One of the things you can do is you can go there and answer the couple of questions they ask any new customer about timeframe, risk tolerance all that stuff. And then they'll design a portfolio for you, the same one that they would invest for you. But you don't have to—you know, you just take it with you. It's free. Say thank you very much. Bye-bye. So do that anyway. They'll also look at your current investments and see where you're losing money in fees, how diversified you are, how your tax strategies work out, things like that. So a lot of information there for free. Wealthfront.com/twit. If you decide to invest, and believe me, I would be if I could, it starts with $500-dollars but here's the deal. I would put in, and you don't have to do it right away, but over time, $15,000-dollars because that is fee free. The first $15,000-dollars free forever. Not for a year or two or whatever, just free forever. So now you're really, that's a great way to kind of kick start your nest egg. I love these guys. Wealthfront.com/twit. I can't invest but you can. So please do. Wealthfront.com/twit. We thank them so much for their support of This Week in Tech. Now, back to the show.
Becky: Leo Laporte on a boat somewhere off the Danish coast but Becky Worley here, manning the TWiT table. We have an amazing panel and guys, I don't know. I didn't realize that Leo's table—watch this. It goes up and down at the push of a button. Did you guys know that?
Becky: Look at that. Can you hear it? It's going—like right now it's right around my armpits and then I can bring it down. Oh, there, it's going all the way up. Is that cool or what?
Christina: That's so cool.
Jason: Good stuff.
Owen: Does it stop at becoming a standing table?
Becky: You know I don't think it goes all the way to standing but knowing Leo, I think he'll have that on the agenda coming up. I want to dig into this story about Twitter. We've gotten the news. They've been very clear in the last few weeks that Twitter is for sale. Somebody there looking for somebody to come in and save the day. And this week the big news is that Walt Disney company, working with a financial advisor to evaluate a possible bid for Twitter. Salesforce also considering it possibly. It's been bandied about some of the phone companies. I'm a Disney employee. I don't speak for them. I don't know anything about this. But I've got to say, I kind of think the Disney thing makes sense. Does it makes sense to any of you?
Jason: No, it will be Google. It's going to be Google. It was always going to be Google. It's going to be Google. It's just a matter of when. Google's waiting until it gets enough to do it.
Christina: I mean that's been my feeling too, Jason. I have also thought that Google makes the most sense from a data standpoint and the fact that Google has no play in social and this would at least get them some of that. I think they already have a partnership with the search results. I think that data play, it would make sense for Google. But I don't think it will ultimately be Disney but I understand why Disney as a media company would be looking into this.
Jason: Yea, agreed.
Christina: And I understand why they would be kicking the tires. And I think a lot of people think Disney and they think movie studios, they think theme park company. They don't think that the same company that bought Maker Studios and has made a lot of other investments. And it is a really, really big media player.
Becky: ESPN? I mean is there any more of a second screen component than for sports?
Christina: No, you're dead on. I think that ESPN alone would be a huge part of it and they've already done partnerships with ESPN. They've done partnerships with ABC too. You know there have been a lot of partnerships on that side. And I think just from a media entity standpoint I could understand why they would at least be interested in looking at it. I do I guess, where my question would be and this is not my—I'm a journalist, I'm not M & A. But I would be wondering whether it would be worth spending potentially $10 or $11-billion-dollars to make that sort of acquisition.
Becky: I have one theory on that which is you know a lot of people have said this doesn't make any sense. Why would they do that? And I can see some economies of scale because I think you could use the preexisting ad sales folks at a big, huge conglomerate like Disney with the economies of scale to sell and monetize advertisement on Twitter in a different way. I'm not advocating for that, I'm just saying, I can see where that makes sense because you've already got that in play.
Christina: I mean yea, I guess—
Jason: It's not a great media business now.
Christina: Yea, I guess my question would be on that, I agree with you there would definitely be some ad components there but you're talking about 300 hundred million users. Is that enough where you're ever going to get your return on investment for making that sort of overlay if you're Disney.
Becky: But does it future proof you? I think that's what every company that's looking at Twitter except for Google is looking for some sort of future proofing.
Jason: The future of that business is a data business though. Like that's why Google makes sense. It makes sense for nobody else. The advertising business is not good enough. Their numbers—you look at their numbers, I know we're not a financial show but you know if you look at their numbers, their numbers are not good enough. They're never going to be good enough because they don't know about their users. And so that's why Facebook eats their lunch in that sort of social advertising space. Facebook also, they're a self-serve business. Facebook has turned it, has greased the wheels on that and they are just crushing them in that. You know their advertising business I think is not good enough. Their data business, the future of that business is the data business. It is such a goldmine of real time data and somebody, they haven't figured it out themselves. They need a partner that can figure it out themselves. That's why Salesforce just makes, weirdly just might make sense. Because Salesforce, the only reason Salesforce is interested is Salesforce knows the future is in the data business.
Christina: Salesforce doesn't have the money to do it but you're right. Salesforce would have to get a huge amount of other capital. They'd have to do some sort of—either do an all stock deal which the investors at Twitter would never approve or they'd have to, they'd basically have to work with somebody else to make a big bid. But I mean Disney definitely has the money. Google definitely has the money. I don't know. It's interesting because I think that—but don't you think, Jason, and all of you guys I guess, doesn't this speak to kind of I guess one of Twitter's core problems which is on the one hand is kind of this data service. It's kind of this social service. It is data which I why Google would be interested. But fundamentally the way we interact with and the way that it's portrayed to all of us is that it's a media entity. And I think that's probably why the company has struggled as a public company to make money and to really even gain traction because they sell these two different parts. They sell them just as these two different parts. Oh, we're just a firehouse. But at the same time we're also a media entity into ourselves.
Becky: So a couple of things. One, why hasn't Google bought them already? Maybe the price isn't right. And number two, the issue with Twitter is it's become the Zeitgeist of our society. When you watch any TV show or news program, they're going to say, well this just blew up on Twitter overnight. They might say it blew up on social media, but because Facebook is segmented just to the people that you know, you know your experience may be very different from someone else's depending on how your friends skew, but Twitter is ubiquitous and open to everyone and so it has become this pulse that's taken and I feel like that has a value in the news world.
Owen: Can I jump in here?
Jason: Yes, sorry, go ahead.
Becky: I want the football fan to weigh in (laughing).
Owen: So first of all, Google is evil and they destroy social. I'm not going to get in deep about that. They've got the pockets but they don't have the fortitude unless they're just going to let someone else run it which obviously you can't really do that because Twitter doesn't run itself very well. Then we've got Disney. I think Disney also is evil because then they've got to play with all these other corporations and they're not super nice when it comes to that. And they're going to censor stuff. And not for nothing, I like being able to see whatever I want to see on Twitter. I'm not saying I'll be on Twitter after dark, I'm just saying it's available if I want to see it. So I don't really want the Disney parent company cookies and cream to come and take that over. Salesforce seems like the best option to me even though they ain't got they money but maybe they've can pair with Amazon. Get some of that back fund and put it up in the cloud and get that free hosting, maybe that would be a great deal. I don't know. I'm just saying, I don't want ESPN. All that stuff's already got the deals. That's cool. But I don't need Disney getting involved and water down my Twitter and I don't need Google getting involved and Googlizing it and killing it like they do. Because we need Twitter. Twitter is the essence of life and is one of those things—
Christina: Yea, but Twitter is going to get sold. Somebody's going to buy it.
Owen: Oh, somebody's going to buy it, I'm just saying my opinion on who should and shouldn't buy it. I don't like it. I'm just saying.
Christina: Can you agree with this? I would much rather Disney buy Twitter then Tencent, ok? If I'm being real, I don't want a Chinese media conglomerate, Chinese media group because that's who else is going to be in. It's going to be Saudi or Chinese or something like that. That's who's going to buy it if it's not Disney or Google or some other big US media conglomerate. I bet that's what it's going to be. And if you want to talk about censorship, if Tencent buys it it's going to be way worse.
Jason: Tencent is a real possibility too. That could—they're going crazy over there and they're printing money. And they know how to make, to turn these things into business. They put so much into it. But I didn't think, and to your point Becky, Twitter is the real-time internet. It has cultural value. It has so much future value. It is the pulse of the world. And that real-time data, it is not a data set that has never existed in human history, right? What are people saying, thinking, doing, believing about what's happening in the world right now that has tremendous value to markets. It has tremendous value that data. The value of that data, I wish Twitter had figured this out for themselves. Because if they had, and I've written about this, I've written at least 3 editorials about this in the last you know, 3 or 5 years. That it is a data business. If they had figured that out it, would have reopened the API and they wouldn't have tried to control it and turn it into an advertising business. It's a war they can't win. They already lost that to Facebook. If they had done that, they could have been bigger than Facebook. They could have been Google I feel like—
Christina: I don't think they could have ever been bigger than Facebook. I don't think they could ever have been bigger than Facebook because I think that the—and I also think—
Owen: Why can't Zuckerberg buy it? Stop playing with drones for like a week and just take that—
Christina: Because he doesn't need it.
Owen: Take that money and then buy—
Christina: Because he doesn't need it.
Owen: He doesn't need half the stuff they buy.
Christina: But he gets absolutely nothing from it. Like he genuinely gets nothing from it. Everybody who's on Twitter is on Facebook. He gets absolutely nothing from it. And it dilutes his ad business because now he's trying to sell an ad product to people where they have certain CPMs for Twitter and certain CPMs for Facebook. There's no way that would make any sense. But I agree with you, Jason. I mean I think that this kind of points to a lot of strategic missteps that the company made when they started to close themselves off from being kind of the pipe into trying to do this other stuff. But it makes me sad though because you know, I love Twitter and I know that not everybody uses it and that's part of the problem too. It's only 300 million users. But it has become much more outsized other than its user base in terms of its impact on culture and on news and that I think is why you have media companies interested and media conglomerates interested in it. And in looking at spending that money because if nothing else they will want to preserve that as a source to get information out and also seeing the data potential, potentially capture what people are doing.
Owen: I hate when we have to talk about Twitter like it's dead or about to die sometime tomorrow. Twitter is like a STD with no cure. Like it's just going to be around. You might forget that you have it, but everybody knows you got it. And Twitter is there. It's not going anywhere. You love Twitter. You are always there when I need you.
Becky: (Laughing) There is no prophylactic against Twitter. I hear you. I hear you. I am going to take this conversation because I love it and I know that we could go off on Twitter and all of its possibilities. I'm going to take it and redirect us to a couple of the headlines that hit later in the week. This one, the United States no longer controls the internet. That was the exact headline to convey the idea of the DNS handoff. Department of Commerce giving control to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. So that all of your naming issues will now no longer be a US government sanctioned event. Is this a big deal to you guys? Do we care?
Jason: Yea, I'm usually such a positive person. I feel like I'm like going to be Mr. Negative on this whole episode.
Owen: The sun has to set on your setting, so. Feel that Dr. Evil now.
Jason: So in principle, in principle like this has been in practice or in process I should say for a long time. And I can't think. And in principle, absolutely the internet is an international thing. It should have international, an international organization running it, right? But here's the problem with that is the internet, fundamentally the most important thing about the internet is that it remains open. And we all agree on that. Or at least all of us here right? And so my concern with what we're doing is that if it goes to an international body where all of these players, you know these international bodies, they try to give, they to make compromises to all, everybody involved because there's a lot of people with different values who are trying to have buy-in right? But as long as the ICAN was in the United States, the US sort of had—there were certain things that it was going to defend. Like it was always going to be open. That's not a question. And the US I feel like is the best defender of that. For all of its other faults in the United States and the other challenges we're dealing with right now, there's that. My third—
Becky: And just to interject there, Jason, you're not alone. There was a last minute bid here to keep the control in the US led by Ted Cruz amongst others and his quote was, "Imagine an internet run like many middle eastern countries that punish what they deem to be blasphemy. Imagine an internet," he went on to say, "run like China or Russia that punish or incarcerate those who engage in political descent." Is that your worst case scenario here? We're talking about—and just to back out of this for a quick second, we're talking about the organization that takes a name like twit.tv or what have you and assigns it the numbers that then get it to the computer that serves up the website. So there is the potential where if someone really didn't like what a website was doing, it could redirect that. That's your worst case scenario?
Jason: Yea, Ted Cruz is a maniac so I'm sorry to agree with Ted Cruz on this but there is actually some truth to the fact of you look at what they're doing in places like Turkey and in China and in Egypt where they feel like to control uprisings, to control their populations, they feel like they have the right to control the internet in their country. And so far, in the history in the internet that has not been allowed or to what we control it hasn't. But when it's an international body I just worry who's going to stand up and say, "No, open." If all of a sudden it's made up of a lot of competing interests, you know in principle it should be run by an international body. I just don't know if in the world that we live in today, people are going to stand up and stand up for the openness of the internet to the same extent that the US does. That's all.
Owen: You brought up Ted Cruz. I just have to be devil's advocate and just say to you that there's a thing that Ted Cruz may have never heard of but it's called the United Nations. It's where a whole bunch of people who run a whole bunch of companies in a whole bunch of different places, come together, sit down in a room and yibbity-yabba translating machines and come to decide on how things should be. I don't like that America is a bully. I don't like that America goes around the world trying to tell people what they can do because I don't really like—I've been to China. I love China. I understand why China does what it does. Who are we to tell them what they can't do and they don't have a voice or opinion to come down to the table? It's not really fair. It's not really nice. I don't understand why we do it. America just gets away with it. I'm just saying it's not cool and the UN can sit down and have some conversations to come to certain agreements and so I think it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, Ted Cruz saying what he's saying. It's not going to go that diabolical. He's saying like they're just going to come in and just change the world. Well if there's an international body then they have to make these discussions and come to decisions together. That's how that would work. It's not just like you—I assume that's what they meant by an international group.
Becky: No, the interesting thing is how the ICAN group is determined. It's government representatives. It's business representatives. It's tech experts. And just to represent what the chatroom was saying in support of that was what you were mentioning, Jason, was during the uprising and Egypt pulling the plug on the internet completely, it's not unprecedented. The question is how much diversity is on that group that can hold its own independently without the weight of a big superpower and you know, I think to be decided but hopefully not an issue in the near future. I'm going to stop us for a second. Couple of cool things coming up. Big problems with the iPhone 7 or maybe little big problems with Bluetooth. Little big problems. And a little bit about some security issues. I'm totally fascinated by these terabit DDoSs that are happening from the Internet of Things devices. But first we are going to look at what happened last week on the TWiT Network and see what's coming up ahead.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Paul Thurrott: (Laughing) I'm getting attacked.
Mary Jo Foley: (Laughing) Keep them over there.
Paul: I'm literally collecting flies.
Mary: Keep them over there.
Narrator: Home Theater Geeks.
Scott Wilkinson: This week I'm in Petaluma, California at Leo Laporte's house. We are here to calibrate Leo Laporte's OLED TV.
Narrator: The New Screen Savers.
Jason Howell: We have Rob Riener who is starting the world's first bionic Olympics.
Scott: Man, that is so cool.
Jason: Basically human and machine are one.
Rob Riener: What people want to show with this is not only the best technology existing, we also want to show the problems still existing by applying the technologies. And in this way promote the development of better technologies in the future.
Narrator: Security Now.
Steve Gibson: As many as 500 million Yahoo accounts were breached sometime in the past and they didn't tell anybody.
Father Robert Ballecer: Well ok, if I change my password, if I use a strong password is that enough or do I consider my accounts dead now?
Steve: How do you feel about Yahoo? Does their behavior inspire confidence?
Fr. Robert: And that answer should be no.
Steve: Yea, it really should be no.
Narrator: TWiT making the world safe for technology.
Mary Jo: Oh, let me try to get him. Sorry. I kind of got him (laughing).
Male Voice: She wasn't even aiming for the fly.
Mary Jo: Sorry.
Paul: That really hurt!
Becky: That was the past. And this is the futre.
Jason: Hey, thanks, Becky. Here are a few things that we're going to be keeping a close eye on in the week ahead and boy, what a week for events it is. Starting Tuesday, October 4th, first of all that's a big day for Google. It has a hardware announcement that morning being held at 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern. Google is expected to show off its new Pixel lineup of phones, Google Home, a 4K Chromecast, a new router and possibly, just maybe, reveal its shift to Andromeda, which would be the long waited conversions of Android and Chrome OS. We're going to be doing live coverage that morning so don't miss that. Also on October 4th, DreamForce 2016, the annual event led by Salesforce kicks off in San Francisco. Megan Morrone will of course be on hand to cover the big news from the event. That coverage will be published as a TWiT Special. Oculus Connect 3 developer's conference kicks off on Wednesday, October 5th. I'm actually going to be in San Jose at the event with the crew to cover the event on Thursday, October 6th so again check out our TWiT Specials for all the neat VR stuff that I'm sure to uncover while I'm there. Also on October 5th, Apple will begin to show ads for competing apps when you run searches inside the app store. That's part of its search ads program that's been in beta testing for a few months now. Ads for apps will be notated as such with a little blue badge so there's no confusion. Megan Morrone and I will cover all this and a whole lot more on Tech News Today and wouldn't you know it, Becky, you're going to be on with us on tomorrow's episode. Really looking forward to that. All right, that's a look at the week ahead. Back to you.
Becky: You are correct. I will indeed be doing that. And as we look forward to the week, we've got to take care of business. Leo here to tell us who is supporting this episode of This Week in Tech.
Leo: I just saw—oh, thank you, guys. We'll be back to the panel in just a moment. But first I want to tell you about FreshBooks, a longtime sponsor. I've been a customer of theirs for years as freelancer, when I owned my own business and it was just me I used FreshBooks. It saved my life. And they just showed me their new platform which is just now launching. Wow. Wow. They have got better and better and better. So what is FreshBooks? FreshBooks, the idea is you're a small business. You're an individual owner. And you—you know, what's amazing is how many businesses don't even know if they're making a profit. Don't even know where they stand like accounts receivable, income booked, costs. They don't know any of this stuff. So FreshBooks makes all that easy. It's really designed around your invoicing because that's how you get paid, right? So if you make invoices and you get paid, this is going to simplify that process instantly. 30 seconds and you've got an invoice. Looks beautiful, too. An invoice with your logo and all the information. You can also get time and hours in there as timers on the app or on the website. They'll keep track of each project. You can even switch from project to project instantly so you can do 3 things at once. Oh, it's just really—the new interface is fantastic. The dashboard shows you immediately, am I making money? Am I losing money? What are my expenses? What bills have not been paid? You know, who owes me money? You see that right away so no more mystery. And when it comes time to do the taxes or you have an accounting and you want to bring them the books, they've got reports that every accounting—you know, the P&L statement and all that. But you're not dealing at the level. Basically the way FreshBooks works, you do the stuff you do and you need to do day and day out and it's automatically kind of keeping the books for you around it. And it all starts with sending invoices, getting paid faster. You can have auto payment reminders. If you have expenses, you can snap photos of receipts. Put them in the expenses. Bill people! You can get a project deposit which lets you invoice for a payment upfront so you're not out of pocket. I could just go on and on but I think the best thing to do is try it by going to FreshBooks.com/twit and you get a 30-day free trial. And I think if you've not used FreshBooks before or even if you are using it and you haven't seen the new interface, do this. Awesome. Now if you're existing customers they'll give you a chance to migrate over time or you can stick with FreshBooks Classic they're calling it now. But this new interface is spectacular. FreshBooks.com/twit. It is—you want to do what you do best. You know I just wanted to do the shows. I didn't want to—the invoicing was you know, a necessary evil. Keeping my books, keeping track of what's going on was a necessary evil but it is necessary or you won't get to pay the rent. So this way I could focus on what I love and let FreshBooks do the hard stuff. It's so easy. So great. I think you'll love it. And it's beautiful. FreshBooks.com/twit. Try it and if they ask you, "Where did you hear about us?" I think there's somewhere in the form, they say that. Just write in This Week in Tech, would you, so they know that we're where you heard it. Nice guys, too. They're Canadian so you know they're nice. FreshBooks.com/twit. We thank them for their support. Now, back we go to this week's panel. And again, I'll be back next week. So thank you so much for doing such a great job without me. Do you want me back next week?
Becky: Yes. Yes, of course, Leo. Come home. You guys can't see it but Ozzy, Leo's dog, Lisa's dog, Leo's dog, is cruising the studio here looking for when mom and dad are coming home. Moving to—Christina, you said you were working this week on problems people were having with the iPhone 7, specifically with Bluetooth. I'm interested in this.
Christina: Yea, so we put out a call just to kind of see if anybody thought that, if anybody was having any prevalent issues with the iPhone 7 or the 7 Plus. I mean I've got the 7 Plus and I've been using it since it came out. And I've had a couple of issues with Bluetooth. I know a lot of people, that some people have too. My big issue has actually been losing LTE signal on my Verizon user and my Verizon signal will sometimes just lose LTE and it will come back to 3G but if I want to get it back to LTE I'll have to toggle airplane mode on and off. I've got about 50 or 60 people who've also reported some connectivity issues with their iPhone 7s. But Bluetooth was the issue that I was getting back just in droves. So I don't know if this is an iOS 10 issue because I know you were saying you had some issues with that or what but a lot of people are having problems connecting their new phones to their cars. And so they're also having some problems you know, connecting it to other devices. And so the Bluetooth just seems to be, the software seems to be having these problems. And so that's been something. I've been continuing to get emails about it. I've probably received 30 or 40 of them this weekend from additional people just saying, "Yes, I too am having problems connecting to Bluetooth with my new phone."
Becky: When I updated the software, it's not on an iPhone 7 but it's on my iPhone 6S, had trouble with the front door of my house because it's a Bluetooth lock. And it wasn't working. Which is a little disconcerting I have to say when it comes to stuff like your front door and getting into your house, it's kind of nerve wracking. It made me realize how tolerant I am of tech issues. But then when it comes to your actual home and what's going on it's kind of like, oh, no, I don't think so. But yea, I had that issue. Were you also testing the cameras?
Christina: Yea, we also tested the cameras. And I love the new cameras. We did a camera shoot-out between the Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 7 and I think that for certain detail and for certain situations that the S7 is a little bit better but overall our conclusion—I didn't do the test. Our reviews editor did but I certainly, this matches my experience too, I personally think that overall the iPhones 7 just barely edges out the S7 camera and it's probably the best all-around smartphone camera on the market right now.
Owen: That just sounds like you tricked yourself how Apple does with things. You literally almost said that the Galaxy was a better camera, but you—
Christina: In certain things. No, no, no, no, no. Because color is the thing. No, no, no, no, no. Color wise the iPhone is significantly better. And that's for me I think the overall better experience with the zoom. For certain detail things, with certain shots, with certain scenarios, you will get a better image with the Galaxy S7 but if you're talking overall with the low light, the bright light, overcast, just in the higher spectrum, they're close, but at this point whereas it used to be like the S7 was not significantly but was visibly better than the 6S, I think at this point that the 7 especially with its color accuracy is better than the S7. They're close but I think they barely eeked it out.
Owen: Well maybe Apple should work on their magic and courage for their Bluetooth problems because without a headphone jack you're kind of screwed with all that magic and courage and crap that they've sold people on with their little crappy buds and all that junk.
Christina: I do see the irony. I do think it's like the one thing you couldn't screw up would be your Bluetooth stack and the Bluetooth stack is something wrong.
Jason: Yea, I had problems too. I couldn't get it to connect to my car. It connects to my car in weird ways, the 7S does. And so yea, it's giving me kind of fits.
Becky: Guys, I've been checking my watch through this because I feel like we've talked about this Apple issue. We've talked about the iPhones. We're 4 and a half minutes in and I think we've tapped out on all Apple issues that we need to discuss today. I just want to say, it can be done. There you have it (laughing). Take that.
Jason: I will chime in on the S7 versus the—so my work phone is a Galaxy S7 Edge. My personal phone is the iPhone 7 Plus. So I use both of them pretty regularly. They are, there are somethings that they—some photos each one takes better pictures than the other. The S7 I feel like for close ups it gets detail really, really well. I feel like the low light, I've had a little better experience in low light with the S7. The iPhone 7 Plus as you talked about, Christina, the color in that, the vibrancy, the color is pretty impressive. They obviously spent a good deal of time on that. The colors aren't quite as washed out. They're more vibrant and so that's pretty cool. And obviously the zoom performance.
Owen: Which one's better, Jason? Make a decision. Get off the fence.
Jason: Man, I couldn't. I couldn't. But I'll tell you what. You have both of those, it's pretty amazing what a phone can do now. I think those two are both such a leap forward from their processors that if you have one of those 2 phones you're feeling pretty stoked about the kind of photos you can take with a phone now.
Becky: Cameras continue to be such an impetus for upgrades and I think that's just been consistent. And I think that will continue to be. It's definitely something that you think about just over time as you look at the quality of your phone pictures having increased. It's incredible. It's such a boom.
Jason: One of the challenges is, is that those two companies, Samsung and Apple, they but up all the good sensors.
Christina: So nobody else can get them.
Jason: Exactly, so nobody else can get them. Every time Sony comes out with a new sensor, Sony makes the best sort of small sensors in the world. Every time Sony comes out with a new sensor, Apple essentially buys the whole new lineup before anybody else can even get it. It's like the reverse flooding of a market. They completely corner the market of all the good sensors. And of course Samsung can do much of the same thing. But the latest sensors are in those 2 because those 2 just essentially buy up every latest sensor they can get a hold of.
Becky: A story that's been developing over the last little bit. On September 16th, Krebs on Security, great site that really digs deep into issues of security, was taken offline with a DDoS attack. And it wasn't your average distributed denial of service. This was recording one terabit per second incoming traffic requests which is unprecedented really in its volume. Akamai which is their redundancy—I don't even know if you call it that anymore, its redundancy server. Its backup service, at a certain point told them, "We can't handle it. Even we are maxed out." So the site went down for a little while. And then Brian Krebs, I don't know if he petitioned Google or if they came to him but they have this Google Shield program that helps to keep sites that are taken off line through denial service attacks. They came and put a site back on because only Google would have the server power and the bandwidth to handle that. But what's really interesting is that I have seen numbers anywhere from 150,000 Internet of Things devices are the source of the incoming traffic all the way up to a million IoT devices being the source of all this traffic. And what just happened, Krebs published Friday is that the source code for this distributed denial of service attack using compromised IoT devices has been made public and so we are only going to see more of this. It's called the Botnet Mirai. And the scary thing—well, not scary. I don't want to get to much hyperbole in here but the interesting thing is how difficult it's going to be to secure all of these devices. You know I'm a consumer reporter so I'm thinking, "Oh, this is a pretty interesting story. I don't want to get—It's only a denial of service attack. It's not like it's going to take down your bank per se. Or at least the ability to get money out of your bank." But I just think, is this something that interests you, worries you? Do you see this as like a future trend?
Christina: Totally, right? I mean this is what's so fascinating. I think to me like you said you're a consumer person. I am too and I think about, we've been talking about kind of security of these Internet of Things devices for a long time and kind of I guess trying to encourage people to make sure your routers are secure. Make sure you have other things—you have your passwords or at least a sensor or something else, but I think that the interesting thing is, I mean even though you're right, it's basically just kind of a botnet of DDoS, it's right now it's nothing potentially too inconsequential, but the fact that they can be weaponized this way and the fact that it's going to be for a lot of these devices impossible for them ever to be updated for it to be patched. That to me is what's really interesting because when things happen like Heartbleed, when that happened a couple of years ago, a lot of people's concern was well, if this had happened when the Internet of Things was broader this would have been even more potentially bad. But now you see something like this where people are taking advantage of insecure devices and ok, today a DDoS Botnet, tomorrow it could be something more sinister. And I think that it opens up a lot of questions about the fact that the security aspect of Internet of Things has never been at the forefront and nobody's really focused on it. And people are buying these things and putting them in their homes and not realizing this has a connection to a server, to an internet that's pinging something somewhere and it's very difficult if not impossible for the regular user to even think about securing them. And a lot of times the companies who are making these devices don't care either. And so I think it opens up a lot of interesting questions.
Becky: Is this something—I was looking up, can you secure password? That's really not the issue here. These were CCTV cameras that were being used in most of this attack. But if you think about it, there's a hugely long life cycle on a lot of these products because they're home products and things that we use more as utilities than necessarily as like gadgets that we're going to upgrade all the time. If the companies aren't doing security updates, well, then that leaves you with little recourse. And it's really hard to figure out if your device has been compromised. I mean one of the things I was listening to Steve Gibson talk on Security Now. And he was saying that one of the only ways he can figure out if your device has been compromised is to check your traffic records but then you'd have to know how much upstream traffic you were traditionally—
Christina: You'd normally do.
Becky: Sending out. Which how many people know that? It's crazy.
Owen: Doesn't everybody know that? We don't get a report? I get a bi-daily report. I'll hook you guys up with my team, my people. You guys obviously need to upgrade your life just a little bit.
Becky: (Laughing) I'm thinking about pitching this story to GMA and doing this as a quick news story but then I also don't want to alarm people. It's sort of one of those stories that's really interesting. It's a fascinating turn of events. We need to pressure security companies to do security upgrades but then again I don't want to be overly dramatic with a general audience.
Owen: And at the same time, people have to understand that a lot of things are going to be getting hacked in the future. The same way like the big hack that was a bid deal for a lot of people that don't care about hacking, is when Target got hacked. And all those, not to stereotype Target shoppers, but all those women that signed up for that Target card so they can get their 5% off, I know a lot of people that are calling me up like, what's going on with this Target thing? People that never cared anything about a computer, but they heard about a Target hack and they freaked out and lost their minds. So it's something that people should just be aware of that it happens and usually they can take care of you and take care of the situations. But sometimes some bad things might happen in the future.
Becky: Yea, this one's one to see if corporations figure it out and do the right thing. One more security story, the Yahoo data breach. So we're talking about half a billion accounts hacked. About 500 million accounts hacked.
Owen: How many were still active is the question though? Ba-boomp-boomps.
Christina: I mean oddly if it's even a third. I mean—
Owen: I know, I'm kind of being legit. I've got three Yahoo accounts right now that I haven't checked in two plus years.
Becky: Why does it matter though? Because if people don't change their passwords, and they use the same logons.
Christina: That's it right there.
Becky: So it's blank blank at Yahoo.com, it doesn't matter. And so a couple things here, just some updates. Six senators wanting more details about the Yahoo data breach. The big issue, this happened in 2014. Yahoo only learned of it this past summer. But have only made this public recently. Senators annoyed about the timeline. Also I think what's really interesting is that Yahoo's accusing a state sponsored actor but a security company InfoArmor, they say that it has been sold, the whole entire database had been sold 3 times since it was compromised, including once to a state actor. But the hackers themselves, this is all from InfoArmor, this is their assertion, not corroborated by Yahoo, they say that the hackers are a private entity. And I think that the New York Times did a huge expose really which is interesting here that they said, created a comparison to Google where after the Google hack in 2010, Sergey Brin doubled down on security and they had this huge motto internally, Never Again. Spent hundreds of millions of dollars. And security was a huge deal. And then at Yahoo, their security team is called The Paranoids and they were pushed to the back because increasing security creating any kind of two-factor authentication, even only recently having secure sign-ons. That was perceived of assuming from Marissa Meyer that this is going to make people stop using the company's product and they were so desperate to hang on to users that they couldn't take the chance.
Jason: Yea, user hostile. Good security can be hard, right? Can make things harder for users. That's why things like fingerprint scanners where all of a sudden you can scan that fingerprint, it's faster and easier than typing in a password. And it's also more secure because there's hardware encryption behind it. Those are the kinds of solutions that we need for security. And two-factor authentication, I know that it's a little bit of a pain but I encourage everybody to do it now that Twitter and Gmail do it. Like everybody should be using two-factor. It's just the way, it's like locking your front door. Everybody probably out there, unless you live way out in the rural area somewhere, probably locking your front door, right? Two-factor authentication is just like locking the front door. And so—
Becky: Unless the Bluetooth on your phone that unlocks the front door doesn't work.
Owen: As a general conversation that locks were made for honest people. Thieves are going to get into things. The thing that always cracks me up about these firms is, ok, so Yahoo didn't know until 2014. But this firm says that it was sold. So you know it was sold three times? How do you know that? Where are you coming up with this information because I don't know—I'm not going to say I know a lot about the black market I'm just saying that on the black market people don't really talk about the things that they do. But you found out that it was sold? It's just amazing things these people say when these things happen to try to like explain things to people. I can't even trust it when I hear things like that.
Becky: Nor should you. Nor should you. I mean I think so much of the problem we're in in this country is that everybody trusts what they hear and they don't get two factor verification on their news sources (laughing).
Jason: Critical thinking, yea, our education system teaches how to answer texts not critical thinking which is a big problem. But that's a whole other topic for another day. But I do think that one of the challenges that we've got is with this era that we're going into, these products have got to be more secure and the industry has got to be more secure. The tech industry has spent the last two decades focused on innovation, innovation, innovation. And security has been an afterthought. And that's why more and more you're going to see the companies that have security baked in, they're going to—those are the products that companies are going to buy. And I'm speaking especially, you know B to B market because that's what I spend a lot of time in but the products that have user trust, the companies that have user trust that haven't been violated, haven't had a major breach, those are the solutions that are more in demand. And you can expect that to be the case in all these things eventually that can filter down to the consumer as well, that trust with companies is going to be the same way with Samsung and the brand with things blowing up. It's going to be, if there are brands that you hear about keep getting compromised, users are going to trust them with their data less and less. So this stuff is all big, it's all important. We wrote a big special report about this in September on Tech Republic and ZNET about cybersecurity and the fact that this stuff has bigger consequences now because governments and public entities use these things so it's not just using that money—it's not just something that you're going to lose money, but it's also a public safety risk. It's also potentially a national security risk and so all of those things are super important. And we wrote about them. We wrote about kind of this stuff of how you can figure out if maybe your database is on the black market, on the dark web, going in there. There are ways that you can go in and try to figure out like has somebody compromised me and are they trying to sell our customer data on the black market. There are professional companies. They have HR departments. They have benefits and they are professional hackers that go out and they hack companies and then they sell that data on the dark web because it's a big business and you can make a lot of money on it. You can make more money selling it on the dark web than you can actually sell it above to Google and Microsoft and that's part of the problem as well.
Becky: We will take that as medicine for the future going forward. Guys, thank you so much. What a great day filling in for Leo Laporte and having the security blankets of three really great journalists and thinkers on tech and epic ranters on tech. OhDoctah, thank you so much. You were amazing today. The chatroom thinks that you were on just an incredible rant and fiery sort of, just talented in your way today because you're so frustrated because you have to move house this week. So that's what they think.
Owen: Oh yea. It's bittersweet for me because I haven't had sleep. So love you, Becky. Love you, Christina. And love you, Jason. I love all you guys because you guys are fun. But the chatroom, you know how people chat. I'm just telling you all. If you've got kids, we talked about this earlier, and this is legit, and especially if you've got a daughter, Lord help you. Get her into science and tech as early as possible and make it fun for the kid and show the kid what she could be. My daughter, her mother's a teacher. My daughter came to me at 5 years old and she said, "Dad, I want to be a teacher." I said, "That's cool. Teachers don't make any money. You want to be an engineer." She's like, "But I want to teach." I said, "Ok, you going to teach all the teaching you want. But you become an engineer, one of the 30,000 kinds of engineers. Then you go teach engineering and get that professor's degree, get that $130,000 thousand and then buy me my yacht that I need." Science and technology for your kids is the way of the future. You think you're kids are going to have a job? They're not going to have a job. Not everybody is as charismatic as me because I'm sitting here talking crap about technology. Somebody's got to make the technology. And that's going to be your kid or they're going to be out of a job. We don't make anything anymore at school, it's robots. But somebody's got to design the robot, somebody's got to program the robot or be a mechanic to fix the robot. That's your future. Uber. Look at Uber. Uber had all these humans out there doing their work and now they're replacing them with robots. Talk to your kids and set up their future and have your kid buy you a yacht. Care about the kids in technology. Especially if you've got a girl. Get these girls in technology and science. Lord, help me!
Becky: (Laughing) Oh, man. Unless your child is as fired up as OhDoctah, you better get them a STEM education. That's what I'm saying.
Owen: Hey, oh I'll promote myself. Iqmz.com, there's DocTales, there's Iqmz text. There's all kinds of fun stuff. Go listen to me. I'm not yelling at people. I apologize for yelling so much. Next time I will tone it down.
Becky: You are the best. I love it. Jason Hiner, where can people find you? You are such a voice of information, reason and really enjoyed watching your yoga retreat turn into your kitchen (laughing).
Jason: Thank you. Thank you. Yea, I appreciate that. Twitter—I still love Twitter. As much as I'm talking crap about Twitter, I still love Twitter. Come chat at me on Twitter, @jasonhiner. I check it religiously. I love having conversations with people there so come check that out. You can also check out my book FollowTheGeeksBook.com. Thank you for putting that in my lower third. That's the book I wrote about 10 really great people in the tech industry. And co-wrote with Lindsay Gilpin. It's a lot of fun. And yea, thanks for having me. I love being here. I also have a 10-year-old daughter. Her two favorite subjects are math and science which is awesome and couldn't agree more. Yea. It's like there's a brand problem for sometimes with girls and women with tech, as not seeing it as a very friendly place. And so it is our responsibility to change that. So something that we should all take really, really seriously.
Becky: Good dads doing good work and good role models over here. Christina Warren at Gizmodo, thank you so much for all your insight and knowledge. Where can people find your work?
Christina: Yes, you can find me at Gizmodo.com and you can find me on Twitter like Jason, whatever issues I might have with some of their business decisions, I still love Twitter. I'm @film_girl. You can also find me on Snapchat and Instagram also film_girl. And if you like listening to hear me talk, I do a tech podcast with two other women called Rockets that comes out every Thursday on relay.fm so check it out.
Becky: Thank you all. Another TWiT is in the can!