This Week in Tech 590
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech. What a great panel! We have Iain Thomson from The Register, Jason Snell from Six Colors, Larry Magid from CBS radio, we're going to talk about the Snooper's charter. Iain's got a great take on that. Just passed in the UK. Is it the end of work? We've got a great conversation coming up on that. And of course, black Friday was an amazing week for online sales. All that coming up next on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 590, recorded Sunday, November 27, 2016.
The Lady in the Canister
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It's time for Twit, This week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news. I don't know what happened there. But maybe I'm influenced by Iain Thomson who's here from jolly old. He's at theregister.co.uk and been living in the US for 7 years now. But refuses to abandon the Britishisms!
Iain Thomson: Absolutely not. I'm not going to abandon my heritage. I will say "wanker" until the day I die. So.
Leo: I think this is the earliest we've ever had a show title, actually. Jason Snell is also here from sixcolors.com. Former editorial director at IEG.
Jason Snell: Hello Mate.
Leo: He also does a wonderful podcast called the incomparable, which is a theatrical podcast and many other shows as well. Nice to have you. I always love having you with us in studio. Also Larry Magid, who is also a great friend from CBS radio and connect safely.org is not in studio. You're going to be at a slight disadvantage.
Larry Magid: Oh well. I'm used to that.
Leo: Jam your way in, because we've got three loudmouths here.
Larry: It's the year of the underdog, so why not?
Leo: Is that what we're going to call this? I've been reading on Facebook, everybody is so glum because so many people passed away this week. I think that's normal. The latest Ron Glass, Shepherd Book, that's how I think of him. And of course, Barnie Miller a wonderful actor. A young 71. He was so great as Shepherd Book on Firefly. The year began sadly with Prince, David Bowie.
Iain: 2016, enough of it already.
Larry: Our own colleagues, David Burnell and Bill McCrown from PC Mag.
Leo: A number of our colleagues from IDG and Ziff Davis.
Larry: I remember, Leo, when you and I were among the very young Turks of tech. Remember that?
Leo: Aaah, the Young Turks. It doesn't seem so long ago. That's what is weird about life. It goes by very fast and very slow.
Iain: I was talking about this with a younger, basically you still feel 21 inside, you just can't quite do what a 21 used to do.
Larry: I would ask a psychiatrist friend of mine if she had any tricks on how to slow down the aging process, psychologically slow down that time lapse between years. She said it's easy. Have a boring life.
Leo: I'm trying to figure that out. Is it good to have less going on and that seems boring, or have more going on and you have a richer details... I've been doing the opposite, which is trying to get more experiences into my life.
Larry: That does make it go faster, when you're having a good time, time goes by quicker in your mind.
Leo: It's as Albert Einstein once said. Relativity... what did he say? An hour with a girl seems like no time at all. A minute on a hot stove seems like forever. I don't know if he actually said that. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Don't believe everything you hear on the Internet." Where should we start? We should start, since we have you here, Iain, with something that broke last week. Snooper's charter passed in both houses of Parliament. Once the sovereign approves it, which I assume is pro formo, isn't it?
Iain: The Queen can refuse to sign legislation, but it has never been done. If it did, it would make a constitutional crisis. The one thing the Queen is good at is keeping the royalty on a smooth course of sailing. It's probably what her idiot son is going to disrupt once he gets into power, but we shall see.
Leo: You mean Charlie? I think they're going to skip past Charlie and go straight to William.
Iain: I wish they would, to be honest. Because William seems to be have a decent head on his shoulders. Charles still has this concept that he should in some way rule. No, you just won the lottery for goodness' sake. The Queen has actually put some work into it. Charles has been sitting there waiting for his Mum to die, and it's kind of done something to his head. He's got this idea that he should be allowed to rule. There's this famous conversation during his marriage to Diana, which has never been officially confirmed or denied, but apparently he was complaining to his mentor why he was expected to be faithful to Diana. "My ancestors have had mistresses, why can't I?" Because things are different now.
Leo: It's not the 17th century. The investigatory Powers Act of 2016, Theresa May who is the current prime minister who had proposed this some years ago. She's been able to get it through. Some of the obvious... they've compared it to our Patriot Act, but it goes considerably farther.
Iain: It makes the Patriot Act look like the work of beginners. This has been sold as a "child safety and protect us from Al Qaeda" bill, but what it does is give a huge number of people access to the Internet histories of every day users. It also chooses cutting off anonymity from some users. But the list of people who can look up your history... the Food standards agency... the England revenue, which is our version of the IRS. How do they get access to our entire online life? And as a journalist who worked in the UK for 20 years. I know exactly how that works, because the Police have their police records database. We had numbers that you can call. Exactly the same thing is going to happen here, it's going to lead to massive corruption, massive legal problems, and it won't necessarily make us ay safer at all.
Larry: It's interesting that you bring up the issue of using child protection as an excuse. If you can see behind me, one of the things I run in life is I run Connect Safely.org, which is an Internet Safety organization, primarily to protect children. We started this organization for the express purpose of making the point that you can have Democracy, you can have Internet freedom, you don't have to have censorship, yet you can teach kids in a way that will keep them safer than they might otherwise be. This excuse that every time you want to deny civil liberties to protect children against, whether it's pornography or fighting pedophiles, it's bogus. The reality is, it's taking away people's rights. You're not protecting anybody, and in fact, the biggest danger for children is that they grow up in an un-Democratic country.
Leo: Jeff Jarvis talks about this. He uses the phrase "Techno Panic." It's always considered the women and children. It's frequently child pornography that is used because no one in their right mind would be pro-child pornography, it's a very effective rhetorical trick to say this is to protect against child pornography. It eliminates opposition. You're exactly right, Larry. There are completely legitimate reasons to oppose this that have nothing to do with supporting child pornography.
Iain: It's what we call the four horsemen of the apocalypse, which we get rolled out. It's pedophiles, organized crime, terrorists, and drug rings. These are the four main excuses. We saw this again with that letter the FBI put out about the rule change. It's just like "you're defending pedophiles if you actually stand up for Internet rights."
Leo: It's important for us to say this and say it clearly. That these two are not connected.
Iain: As Larry pointed out, it's perfectly possible to protect children without giving up basic human rights. It's a lot easier if you frame the discussion in those sort of ways.
Larry: One of the things...
Larry: Both the UK and the US have plenty of tools to use to obtain evidence if they need them. They have to work a little harder than you do in a totalitarian state, but we had many convictions of people who broke the law online, including people who hide behind their routers. So there's plenty of precedent for catching bad guys.
Leo: Although the FBI, somebody estimated is running more than half of the child pornography sites in the United States as a Honey Pot pedophiles. I wonder if that is a good use of FBI manpower and resources.
Larry: The playpen case was very interesting, because yes, they are running child abuse image servers on the dark web, and pushing out malware to people who visit trying to find out who they are. So far they've got 200 convictions on a site which gets a hundred thousand visits every month. The malware is not particularly good at the best of times, and they're enabling child abuse. I'm torn on this one.
Larry: It's also borderline entrapment. It's technically not, but for all intents and purposes, when the Government is encouraging you to commit a crime, that is very close to entrapment.
Leo: It's like putting a wallet in the street with money sticking out of it and arresting you for picking it up. I think the Government should not be in the business of running the child porn sites. I think it's safe to say that's a bad idea. For them to be running half of the child porn sites out there is absurd. Anyway, that's the US. Let's get back to the UK, the investigatory powers act. There are two kind of areas. One is broad bulk surveillance, which is something in the United States we've been debating ever since the Snowden revelations. I think it's widely agreed, even among law makers that the NSA and the CIA and the FBI shouldn't have this kind of bulk collection capabilities. So at least we have that agreement. The other part of it which is still being debated in the US is this issue of whether we should have access to encryption. Whether we should be allowed to... correct me if I'm wrong. It sounds like from what I've read that it also mandates breakable encryption. Is that the case?
Iain: This is something the Government has been pushing for a long time. It's the same argument you have in the US, this argument about back dooring encryptions. It's a very politically easy argument to make, which is bad people will use this to communicate in ways that police can't discover. The glory of that is what they're going to do is weakening encryption by putting a back door in, telling everyone they're going to put a back door in, and you can imagine the Chinese Government, the Russian Government, various Governments around the world are working all out to find this back door. Once you put it in there, you can't guarantee only you will be able to use it. Once it's there, anybody can find it, anybody can use it. We saw this with June Ebenetwork's backdoor, we're going to see it again. And this time, all our Internet traffic is up for grabs. So it makes a tremendously attractive target for any state sponsored and criminal sponsored group which wants to find this back door and use it for their own purposes.
Leo: Edward Snowden said this bill goes further than most autocracies are willing to go. Gentleman who is head of the worldwide web foundation asks, "Does the UK really want the dubious honor of introducing powers deemed 'too intrusive' by all other major democracies?" I get the feeling, because this conversation is happening all over the world, and the UK where let's face it, the Magna Carta was signed has adopted it, this is probably the first domino of many to fall. Is it fear of terrorism that is driving this or is it Government abuse of power?
Iain: This is something the Government has wanted for a very long time. It's let the national identity cards debate that we have in the UK. This is something which civil service in parts of the Government desperately want, nobody else particularly does. But it is being sold as we will keep you safe from terrorists, blah blah blah. Despite the fact that the number of people killed by terrorists is tiny in comparison. This is a power grab.
Leo: the point of terrorism is to do this. This is exactly why one becomes a terrorist; to terrorize. To get the terrorized to act in this way, undermining their fundamental freedoms. This is exactly what a terrorist wants.
Jason: Exactly what it is. It is for us to change our way of life, because we are afraid of them.
Iain: It is also a green light for oppressive Governments around the world to say the Brits have done it. Why not shut up and start complaining about our inside law? It's a disaster. The conservative Government in the UK is leading the country more and more into becoming a backwater.
Larry: Unfortunately, I think this could be a precursor to what we see in the United States. These are already taking place in the United States. The President-Elect is on record as being opposed to Apple's refusal, as was, in all fairness, the current President. On record for being opposed for Apple's refusal to decrypt their iPhone, go out of their way. I think that there should be increasing pressure...
Leo: Our current President, Obama, has been aggressive in increasing Governmental surveillance and power and asserting it. Even recently he said Snowden shouldn't be pardoned. It's clear that this is something that's been going on probably since 9/11. It's been accelerating. I think there's not much more to say about this, except that if you're watching this show and you care about encryption, you care about your own privacy, and I know our audience cares a lot about privacy. The thing to do, there are several things to do. One is to adopt encryption technologies, even though it's been said by many people that's a red flag. It's time to learn how to use GPG, to learn how to protect your data, whether you're up to no good or not. In fact, especially if you're not up to no good, and then to contact a member of Congress and show them that you're interested... historically geeks are apolitical and don't want to get involved. I think this is a time for us all to stand up and be counted if you want to preserve your privacy and protections.
Jason: And using a VPN, and using a text messaging service with end to end encryption.
Leo: Everybody agrees not telegram, but signal. Only reason I say not Telegram is because Telegram's encryption rolled their own, it's suspect, furthermore it's created by a Russian, who had to leave Russia because they robbed him of all his profits. He was the Mark Zuckerberg of Russia and he left because Putin's government forced him to turn his company over to the Russian Government. However, in their most recent... they just posted a blog post about the updates to telegram and to a new service they're offering called Telegraph in which there are a number of dog whistles, which surprised me, including they're talking about the new sticker capabilities, and the sticker they chose to show is Pepe, the alt right mascot.
Iain: The guy who wrote Pepe is trying to reclaim it from the Alt Right.
Leo: He says, "Remember all those times when you had a sad Pepe among your recently set stickers, if you'd like to reunite Pepe with his family, you can do that. There are a couple dog whistles in here that make me wonder what is going on anyway. Don't use telegraph. Even if strange politics don't affect you. Moxi is... I think we can trust Moxi.
Iain: You can trust Moxi absolutely. Did you see the Saudis contacted him? This was a couple of years ago. It was hilarious. Moxi is a dreadlocked anarchist sailor. Complete computer whiz when it comes to encryption. He was contacted by a representative of the main Saudi national telco to build a system for dissidents spying on them. So he played them along and then published the entire email message, because it's... what were they thinking? It's Moxi for goodness' sake. Look at it!
Leo: He's not going to go to work for you, I'm sorry.
Iain: He's got some standards.
Leo: Lots to talk about. I want to ask... tomorrow I'm getting the new Microsoft Windows surface studio. With a back 28 inch. It lies almost flat. I'm going to try using it on this show. I'll look like Shepherd Smith on Fox News, my giant tablet in front of me. I think we should talk about with Apple, I've spent a lot of time talking about that. I'm looking forward to this week giving you my first look.
Iain: I had to play with it at the launch. I have to say it's the kind of thing you wouldn't usually expect from Microsoft.
Leo: Why the hell isn't Apple doing more for its creatives?
Iain: The dial is fantastic. The build of it...
Leo: I brought in what John found in our basement. This is the power grip that Griphin sold for Apple Macintosh years ago. We bought a bunch of them for our teleprompter operators. The dial is not new. However, I can't put this on the screen of my surface. We'll take a break and come back with more. Let's talk about that and a lot more. Great panel here, from Sixcolors.com, Jason Snell from the Register.co.uk, Iain Thompson and from CBS radio and Connectsafely.org. Our show to your today brought to you by..... maybe I connected it. My personal OBD port. This is the awesomest thing. The way to turn your clunker into a smart, connected car. The automatic every car built since 1996 has something called the on board diagnostics board. OBD2 port. You may have seen this under your steering wheel and thought that's for the shop, that's for the dealer, when they fix my car they'll plug their computer in. That's true, you can plug your computer in. This is a Bluetooth device, Goes right under the OBD2 ports, right under the car. Don't worry it's not going to drain your battery, it goes to sleep when you're not going. You pair this to your phone, your iPhone or your Android device, and the things you can do with this are awesome. Of course it's the obvious when a check engine light from your phone comes on. It'll tell you what's wrong and it even tells you where the nearest repair shop is. It also connects with If this, then that. For instance, with my Amazon Echo, I can say how much gas is left in the tank and it will tell me. I can find out more. You can link it to your nest thermostat, so you can have the turn on your way home. this is the new automatic Pro. which is even cooler, it doesn't even need a Smartphone. It has unlimited 3G service built in, no subscription fee, and it works wherever you are. It will give you help in a crash, Automatic Pro will detect severe accidents, trained responders will call for help, even if you cannot. IF you have teenagers, this is a must, you can geo fence, you can get alerts when your kids go outside of the area, for instance, we're not going to let Michael drive on the highway till he's older. This will help us. I love the idea that even if you don't have your phone, it knows where you are. It knows where you park. I use it all the time because I always forget where I parked. the other day, Lisa said do you remember where I parked and she said too bad we don't have anything that can tell you where you parked, and I went as a matter of fact we do. We have an offer code, this will be a great gift for the Holidays. TWiT20. Will save you 20 bucks. Go to automatic.com/twit for more information. It is awesome if you have teenagers. This should be a stocking stuffer for all teenagers. I think a lot of times we go it's worth driving to Cosco 12 miles away to save 5 bucks on that bag of chips... but obviously if your gas cost is 4 dollars, it's not. This tells you every trip. It does an EverNote entry every time I take a trip. It has a map of where I went, exactly how many miles, it also grades your driving. All of that goes into my EverNote notebook, or if the kids are driving, same thing. I have information about what the gas costs for every single trip. Automatic.com/twit. It's a quantified car. It's a new thing kids. A lot of fleets do this. UPS does this. You're right. I don't know if Uber does that. They should. Did you read about the new Uber? I guess this is in New York, mostly... what is it called? Is it Juno? You're going to New York. There's a good New Yorker article about them. Baratunde told me about them. He says I don't use Uber anymore because it's exploitative. I want to use Juno now. Juno is started by the guys who started... they sold Viber. They started Viber for 900 million dollars. So founder Tomen Marco, he thought I could sit around and enjoy life or take some money and start another company. He looked around and said we could do what Uber is doing better. If your Uber score, your rating on Uber is over 4.7 out of 5 stars, you can apply to drive for Juno. In other words if you're one of the best, they'll steal you away. Many drivers do both. Uber takes 5 to 25% commission. Juno takes 10%. What's happening with a lot of Uber drives are getting squeezed. It started out great then Uber takes more and more. I took an Uber the other day, we were in Florida. I tried to give the guy a tip, and he said the company doesn't let me take tips. I said my friend, you are so wrong. They pretend that you're getting tipped. I always assumed they were tipping the driver, and they told the drivers, you may not ask for a tip until the drivers sued and won. Now Uber drivers can ask for tips, I told him not only are you allowed to take tips, you can ask for tips. Don't believe what the Uber guys are telling you.
Iain: Uber has a long record of treating their drivers terribly. They're on the record saying they're hanging around until the automated car comes out and then they're going to dump all these drivers. It's not a company I choose...
Larry: This allows you to tip in the app, and what I like about it is I'll tip when I get out of the car, when I'm at the end of a ride, I can get out of the car and leave. I don't have to fiddle with my wallet. I do feel bad because i like to tip if I get a good service. Lyft lets you do that at any point after the ride is over.
Leo: I felt guilty because I never tipped Uber drivers, assuming I didn't have to.
Jason: One of the reasons I really like Uber is I don't need to worry about having cash for a tip.
Leo: ever since that court case, I now automatically tip. I carry cash. Larry, when you're in the big Apple, try Juno.
Larry: tomorrow morning I have a 6AM flight, and I don't trust Uber or Lyft to have a driver in my neighborhood pick me up at 4:30, so Lyft now lets you schedule. I had a Lyft reserved. I'm paying a little extra for that, but it's a relief to know that a driver will be there at 4:30 in the morning. I don't have to worry about it.
Leo: It is nerve racking , isn't it, to say I'm going to press a button and maybe or maybe not a guy will come. You don't want to miss that flight.
Larry: Nobody in their right mind would be driving at that time.
Leo: that's the thing. Even with Juno and Lyft, I worry about in a few years, it's clear that all of these companies want to be autonomous. These jobs are not going to exist in five years.
Jason: Then you'll pay for the human touch. It'll be an extra fancy... it will push the bottom 90% of drivers out of the market. Eventually.
Iain: Considering that driving is... I think 3.5 million Americans are now professional drivers?
Leo: That's a huge number.
Jason: Truck drivers are going to be impacted by it. That's one of the areas that's going to be impacted sooner, because it's so much more efficient to not have human beings who have to do things like sleep and eat.
Leo: We saw it a few weeks ago. Otto, which is an Uber company, delivering 75 cases of beer...?
Jason: You want the beer in the robot truck to be something you can lose...
Leo: I wasn't going to get into this today, because this is a deep and difficult to understand, but it is very clear that income inequality is a growing problem. That's clear, right? Jobs are going away. Even if you are able to get carrier air conditioner to stay in the United States, it seems highly unlikely that industrial jobs that have been lost will come back at any point. You can talk about, and some do, retraining, teaching people to have skills that are more in need, but it's very clear with the advance of machine learning, AI, that we're rapidly getting to a situation where even jobs like mine, one would assume requires human skills won't be available in the years to come. That leaves a very interesting question. There's an article this week in The Atlantic. A World Without Work. This is Derick Thompson writing. This is an issue that a lot of people are starting to think about. I apologize, this is a year-old.
Jason: Our economy in some ways has never been more efficient, but it comes, it's employing fewer people. That's the challenge. If you lose another one percent of the work force, are they going to outlaw robot trucks?
Larry: I think Donald Trump will eventually fulfill his campaign promise of bringing Industry back the United States. So yes, Apple will start making devices in the US.
Leo: They'll be built with robots. Even Foxconn in China has replaced 30,000 people with robots!
Larry: Especially if energy continues to be cheap, why not put a plant in the middle of the United States closer to the consumer?
Leo: There's interesting economic reasons from China for Apple to manufacture in China. It's closer to the sources and the suppliers of the pieces. It's much easier and cheaper to assemble in China. It's not about labor. The labor edition, the cost of labor would change five dollars between making it here and in China. It's not about labor costs. It's about access to suppliers and raw materials.
Jason: And what you get from the supply chain moment by moment so you can minimize your inventory and all those things Tim Cook for example made his thing.
Leo: That's what he does. I think that we will probably be able to reverse some of this, but the long-term trend is clear. Jobs are not going to exist in China. It's not that these jobs are fleeing to china, they are going to disappear thanks to machine learning AI. That's what this article says. The thing that this article wants you to think about is do we even need to work? It's psychologically difficult. Historically we associate what we are with what we do. Without my work I don't know who I am. So psychologically Mark Andreeson has addressed this. He's a billionaire. He says you don't have to worry about income inequality, you don't have to worry about job loss, because there will be such a surplus thanks to automation and machine learning that there will be enough to go around and you won't need to work. We'll all have a basic income. There are problems with basic income.
Iain: Huge problems.
Leo: Chief of which is it replaces other entitlements like medical insurance that won't be covered in the long-run by basic income. But let's assume we can fix that discontinuity. If there is a surplus, maybe in the future we won't need to have jobs, but we'll have to psychologically adjust who we are.
Jason: If you've seen the Sci-Fi series, the Expanse, they mention that from time to time, it's part of the Universe there, the Earth is a basic income at that point. You don't have to work just to survive, but if you want anything more, food that doesn't come in cubes, then you choose to work. The idea is that we could all end up being more productive if we could choose what we want to work on it could lead humanity to interesting places, instead of fighting to do just enough to survive. It is also a bit of a Utopian vision.
Larry: There's also the service economy, and by service I don't just mean McDonalds. So we had a flood in our house in July. We had workers here constantly for the last several months putting walls in and painting and doing things that cannot be done by machines.
Leo: Admittedly, part of the problem is these jobs may in fact exist, but pay so little and be so grinding and grueling that they in fact don't raise you above the poverty line. in fact, the minimum wage in the United States does not raise you above the poverty line.
Larry: But doing carpentry working Palo Alto, at least the guys that we hire, is 75 dollars an hour, which if you didn't live in Palo Alto is a pretty good wage. The problem is to live in this area is so hard. What I'm saying is there are skill jobs out there. In fact, I think this home automation thing that we're in right now requires skilled people to know what to buy, how to install it, how to configure it, and I do think there are service jobs that are going to be emerging the next few years. They may not last forever. But there will be some opportunities for people, and many of these jobs do not require a college education.
Leo: Here is from this Atlantic article this last year. The most common occupations in the US are retail sales person, cashier, food and beverage server, and office clerk,. These four jobs are about 10% of the labor force 15.5 million people. Each, according to an Oxford study is highly susceptible to Automation. Admittedly, there will be people working. I'm hoping that podcast show host will not be eliminated from that. However, even if you have 10% of the labor force not working, you have to address this issue. I would submit that this is a clear future at this point. We really need to think about what does that mean?
Jason: I'll recommend a documentary about this that is on YouTube. It's called Humans Need not Apply. It might be his biggest video. It's scary, but the logic is there. We are entering a time where we think the 21st century right now is different from when we grew up, but the reality is we're entering a time when lots of rules that we didn't even know are rules because they just seem fundamental will just not apply any more.
Iain: It's going to apply a fundamental restructuring of capitalism. That makes me very nervous, because it doesn't usually happen without blood on the streets. I was speaking to the Open AI project, AI program...
Leo: He's doing an open one because he's afraid Google and Facebook will own this.
Iain: But their developers will say this is coming along much faster than people forecasted. AI has been this year's thing. Everyone wants to build themselves as an AI company. The point at which lawyer's jobs, accountants jobs, any job you can think of, which is using code to develop the moment. This is coming up on us very fast, and I don't see anybody having a way to do this and manage this change without serious upheaval. There seems to be no plan in action.
Larry: Even without AI, how many jobs have been taken away as a result of Turbo tax.
Leo: Not accounting jobs, but there used to be a category called Tax Prepare. H&R Block and even H&R block makes its own software now which makes humans unnecessary.
Larry: We use Quickbooks at our non-profit. Not only is it much cheaper than a bookkeeper, it's much easier than a bookkeeper. We actually save time using Quickbooks over the time we used to have to interact with our bookkeeper. It wasn't even a financial decision. It was an efficiency decision. Those things are happening more and more to the point where jobs have gone away.
Jason: Let me bring this back around to Uber. There is a possibility that Governments will artificially block efficiency. Tax Preparation is a great example where one of the reasons in many other countries, the US Government knows exactly, they already know from your paystub how much tax you owe. In other countries they say this is what we think you owe, let us know if it's something different. In the US you have to file a return. Why is that? Because the tax preparers lobby the government hard to keep tax preparation necessary.
Leo: Is that true?
Iain: It gets better. The tax software people, it's not turbo tax, but the other one. One of the automated tax preparers has lobbied congress to make tax laws more opaque and more complicated.
Jason: This shows you can have attempts by Governments to artificially retain jobs, even though they aren't necessary.
Leo: I think in the long-term those won't succeed. Do you?
Jason: Who knows? You can argue that this goes back to Eisenhower warning against the Military Industrial complex. If the United States tomorrow decided it wanted to cut its defense budget in half, could we? Given how many people work in that sector? The unemployment would be outrageous.
Leo: One could argue this most recent presidential election was a referendum over jobs and job loss. The promise President Elect Trump made was "I will save your jobs." It was a very direct response to this issue, but how?
Jason: The problem is a lot of the jobs he's going to save, there's no way they can come back.
Leo: One of the reasons mining jobs are disappearing is not because we're buying Chinese coal or even because we're closing down coal fire power plants, but because the coal companies themselves are turning to fracking and other more profitable businesses.
Larry: It's also a very small Industry comparatively. More people work in solar than in coal.
Leo: Hard to make those jobs come back. In 2013, according to this Oxford article, the researchers forecasted that machines might be able to do half of all US jobs in the next two decades. Again, you're 75 an hour carpenter might still have a living, especially if he's good at wood carving, but that's still half of all jobs gone that has to be a massive disruption. The real question is what do we tell our kids? What is the future for them? What should my 22 and 24 year old be thinking about right now?
Iain: Get into computer security.
Leo: I think that's going to be replaced by an artificial intelligence.
Jason: One of the core problems, it gets back to the election too, we have a lot of highly educated professions that some of them might get hurt. A lot of them are going to be fine. Traditionally people who, for whatever reason, economic reasons, doesn't matter, didn't seek an education, didn't want an education, couldn't get an education, still could find an honest living and be middle class in America, and when you look at the direction this is going, that seems to be a real question about a percentage of the population that isn't going to get a PHD in biology. They don't want it, they're not inclined to do that. They look at their job prospects, and there's nothing. There's nothing full time, it's all little gigs with no benefits, and that's terrifying.
Iain: It used to be the case... there's a historical aspect to this. In the 1950's and 60's American manufacturing was dominant in the large part because it was the only country that hadn't been ravaged by World War II and had some... you could get a middle class job with a high school degree, join the factory, and it would work out. That's never the case. That's not coming back. We need to work out some kind of way to get people to earn a living that doesn't leave them scrubbing around on the breadline. WE may produce a surplus through automation, but I would argue based on past human history, it's almost never been given away freely to the large populous.
Leo: Travis Kalinek is not giving the billions of dollars he has to you and me or even to Uber drivers. He's giving less to Uber drivers and putting more in his pocket. You're right. That's very clear that the trickle down is a pipe dream.
Iain: That only works up to a point. Sooner or later the numbers of dispossessed rise high enough so that they can take over the thing.
Leo: The people who had the money move to the satellite and the rest of us have to scrabble around on Earth trying to survive.
Iain: Mobs don't build...
Leo: Again, like the last segment, this is something we as technologists and everybody listening and watching needs to think about, because we understand better than many what's going on and what the potential consequences are.
Jason: And it's our Industry that is often going to be the driver of this change, and this is a challenge that you said about how geeks don't like to be involved in politics and things like that. It is terrifying to be able to say the thing that I'm about to create, which I think is great and has a great upside could be completely destructive to our way of life, and that doesn't mean you don't necessarily do it. But you have to apply some morality and think about the bigger issues and I do think that has been a blind spot in Silicon Valley.
Larry: And understand the unintended consequences. I feel a little bit guilty, because I've been a champion of social media since before social media was a word. Going back to the 80's in some ways. I have to tell you there are aspects of social media today that scare the hell out of me. The fake news, and the propagandizing. Even though I think it's exaggerating, there's no question that there's a certain amount of radicalization that goes on that contributes to terrorism, and there's a lot that has happened through social media that I feel guilty about, because I, along with a lot of other people who are propagandizing and promoting this over the last 30 years, I think we put some thought into the unintended consequences, but not nearly enough thought. I really think it's very important you think that through.
Leo: I feel a little guilty about pushing all these shiny little... what do you call them, fondless labs? We talk a lot about Gear and techno lust and consumerism. But, I have to say, I don't think thinking about the consequences or being the engineers is going to say I'm not going to invent this because of what it might do, because I think technology marches on. You can't uninvent something, and you can't keep something from being invented, even though it may have dire sociological consequences. This is going to happen, even though Google.... what if Larry Page said we're going to stop this researching artificial intelligence? Clearly this is going to be a problem. That's not going to happen.
Jason: What you want is something like open AI or you want somebody like Google to be engaged with our Government in a way where they can say look these are issues we think we need to resolve here, instead of being like I just build the bomb, I don't drop it.
Larry: Google, to its credit, Google does do that. They have people who think about those things. Whether or not those people are driving product, or they're just off in some corner in Mountain View or Washington, I'm not sure. They have people. I'm headed next week to Guadalajara for the Internet Governance forum. And Google is going to be there, along with Facebook and all the other companies and we're going to be talking about the implications and the unintended consequences and the policies around all this technology, so they do think about that, but I'm not sure how much that drives innovation and how much that is after the fact conversations about the technology that's already out there.
Iain: It is a little worrying that the chief technologist who is advising Donald Trump at the moment is Peter Thiel. Who let's face it, doesn't have a great reputation, when it comes to dealing well with others, to put it that way.
Leo: I'm of the opinion that these are ultimately forces of nature, and human beings will be tossed around like leaves in a wind, no matter what we think or say or do. I don't think it matters whether Peter Thiel is advising Donald Trump or not. In the short term, it will matter, perhaps. In the long term, the trend is very clear. Maybe I'm pessimistic, but I feel like we're going to have a very big dislocation at some point. Where these... they're starting to come to a head now. I think we're starting to see these come to a head. At this point, it's a race between the ice caps melting and flood all of Silicon Valley, or Silicon Valley destroys all work and we have mobs at the gates. I feel bad for my kids. I don't' think the next five decades... we have lived an amazing last few decades. Truly amazing.
Jason: I don't like how you said last few decades. I know what you meant, but it sounds awfully final.
Leo: There's a new book called millennium that talks about this. We have lived an amazing hundred years, admittedly, the most bloody hundred years in human history because we have gotten very good technological warfare. But at the same time, we have also seen amazing advances in life expectancy and medicine. Technology has been an amazing boon.
Larry: That's going to continue, Leo. Your kids are going to live a lot longer than you will. Certainly your grandchildren.
Leo: But they may be living on Alpo. This is what I worry about. I think we should appreciate where we are today, living as we do. All of us, as kings really in many ways. We have running water and toilets.
Jason: If you take a little broader perspective, I believe fewer people are starving in the world today than at any point in human history. Standards of living in large portions of the world are dramatically better than they were even 50 years ago.
Leo: I fear for this progress.
Jason: I think part of it may be that it's very easy in the United States to get a lack of perspective and say things are not improving in the United States and say the world is going to hell, when the reality may be things are improving everywhere else in the world and the United States already had it so good that it's not so great.
Leo: We are the forbearers... cheap goods. That's what Mark Andreeson is saying. Goods will be effectively free, so work will be much less important.
Larry: If you wanted to buy a nice pair of slacks in 1960, I can't remember what the price was. But it was a significant amount of money, probably about $120 in today's dollars. You can go to Wall Mart, and maybe that's not the highest quality clothing that you would want to buy, but you can buy something for 15, 20 dollars, and they're going to look OK.
Leo: I'll give you another example. Long distance telephone calls. You remember the days when you had to say I'm calling long distance, this has to be quick! Effectively communication anywhere on the globe is free now. That is a massive change.
Iain: The very idea now is... Christmas is coming up, so my Mom is doing her Christmas card list. For me, the idea of getting a piece of dead tree and writing on it and putting a stamp on it and trusting it to the global postal service, electronically, it's there, it's instant, it might not have the soul of a paper Christmas card, but they're going to get thrown away two days after Christmas anyway. So why not do it electronically? Of course that's not a very popular opinion it seems, but it's certainly doable.
Larry: I just printed a brochure for a conference. I printed a brochure for my non-profit back in the decades ago, and it brought me back to this wonderful time of laying out a piece of paper and printing it and making sure everything is properly registered. Of course, I did it on a color laser printer, and it didn't take any skill, but then I realized I started printing these things and I ran out a couple hundred and nobody is going to actually take this piece of paper. Why am I doing this?
Leo: What a waste! There's a guy at the gym who does a Christmas CD every year. And he gave me the CD, and I said wow, that's retro. Pretty soon you're not going to be able to give people CDs. I don't think I even have a CD player any more. Let me see if I can find one. He said I burn 500 of these a year. I have a five CD burner I was given one year for Christmas. I said you're going to have to rethink this strategy soon. Maybe just share a Spotify playlist.
Larry: There's actually a DVD/CD player in my car I discovered five years after I bought it. Even though I had one. I didn't know that was there.
Leo: Let's take a break. I'm not sure it's all bad. I don't know if it's good or bad. But I think it's important to think... these are we see every day and we report every day about the disruptions the technology revolution is bringing to our world, and businesses rise and fall on the basis of this. It might be worth spending a little time thinking about as we have just done.
Iain: A little bit of preparation can save an enormous amount of hurt.
Leo: This is the climate change of the information generation. This is a really massive change.
Larry: By the way, I don't think Henry Ford was putting a lot of thought about the environmental impact of automobiles and how it would affect people's health and safety back when he was building cars.
Iain: He was paying his staff well enough that they could afford the car in the first place.
Leo: I'm going to give Henry Ford a little bit of credit. Admittedly he didn't have the sophisticated thinking we have nowadays of the wholistic effect of the automobile, but he was very well aware of how the automobile would change America for the better by making communications in rural society change the ability to bring to market farm produce. He knew this would make a massive change. It was his opinion it would be better.
Larry: But did he think about the negative consequences?
Leo: I don't think he could be blamed for not understanding the pollution aspects to this at all. Who knew that taking all that carbon out of the ground and pumping it to the air would have a deleterious effect? I don't think anybody in 1929 would have that thought.
Iain: There's lots to dislike about Ford and his support for the nazis in particular, at the same time you can't say he should have known about global climate change.
Leo: Who knew?
Larry: My point of bringing it up is on one hand I give the tech industry some credit because we are having these conversations, on the other hand, I also blame the tech industry for not having enough of these conversations early enough. I think that we are a little ahead of where the Industrial revolutionaries were in terms of thinking about this. I would like to think so anyway.
Leo: That was a good conversation I didn't expect to have. Let's take a break and come back. Maybe we'll talk about the Mac next, I don't know. Who knows?
Jason: Anything could happen.
Leo: That's the wild card. I'm going to see what comes up. Our show to you today brought to you by our friends at GoToMeeting. Here's a perfect example of how technology changes how you do business. It used to be everybody hated this. I remember even as recently as 20 years ago, having a meeting was such a disruption, it was the last thing you wanted to do. It took you away from your work, but you do have to have meetings, you have to sit down in the same room and talk about things. We have a rule after three emails make a phone call because it's not going to get any better with more emails. Sometimes you need to cut the knot. If you're a team that's distributed where teams are globally all over the world at different hours and different times, those meetings really are important. GoToMeeting is the high tech solution to this. It makes meetings fast, efficient, they don't get in the way, they do what meetings do best, which is solve problems and if you're going to have a meeting, don't make a phone call, don't do a phone conference. That is so 1990's. Go with a tech leader, use GoToMeeting. Of course it starts with a conference bridge, you can have a phone call, a conference call, very affordable. Let's say you say I'd love to show you the drawings of this plan, or maybe you'd like to see the elevations, or maybe you want to see my power point presentation or what we can do for you. Then you fire up the screen sharing and suddenly you're both on the same page, you're looking at the screen. Maybe then you say I'd like to see your expression while you look at these drawings. Fire up the crystal clear HD video, it's like meeting in person, no matter where everybody is. Without all the travel costs, without the consuming getting together in the same room, whether it's a sales demo, presentation, or collaborative ad hoc meeting, GoToMeeting makes every meeting count. Efficient, fast, affordable. In fact, 9 out of 10 GoToMeeting users agree they close deals 20% faster that's what this is all about. Don't phone it in. You can try it free right now, GoToMeeting.com. GoToMeeting.com, click the orange button. It says Try it Free! You got to try this. You got to use this. It is a life saver. It is a perfect example of how it used to be very expensive to have a conference call, I would sit at a conference call and think about the clock ticking. Now it's effectively flat rate free. GoToMeeting.com. Give it a try today. Iain Thompson from theregister.co.uk. It's been so great coming here and being a part of our show so much the last few months.
Iain: It's good fun. We get to chat about technology with people that know about it. What's wrong with that?
Leo: You give us a posh feeling. Also Jason Snell from sixcolors.com and the incomparable Larry Magid from CBS radio. Actually I was thinking about London the other day. Claridge's hotel we stayed there in London. Very posh place. If the queen wants to stay in a hotel, I don't know why she would, that's where she would stay.
Iain: She's got her own place. 700 rooms or so...
Leo: If she did, she'd stay at Claridge's. Apparently that's what Johnny Ives is up to these days. I feel like Johnny doesn't make much money in Cupertino any more.
Jason: John Grouper said this week that some birdie said Johnny is still engaged with product stuff.
Leo: That's an answer to this question. What the hell is he doing? Because apparently....
Jason: He and I talked about it on his podcast, and pundits speculate that Johnny Ives isn't doing anything, which is not much of a story, but... here's what he's doing. He's putting trees in a room in London.
Leo: This is Claridge's lobby, it's a beautiful hotel. He has created with Mark Nussum, another famous designer, an installation for Christmas. It's the Claridge's Christmas tree for this year. No lights on these birches. See if I can find some more pictures of it.
Larry: Is he doing a pretentious video about it?
Leo: this is the most Christmassy Christmas tree I've ever done. I'm sorry, I don't know what little birds John is talking to... but here's my take on this. Said to be connected to product design as ever. Here's my take. Johnny was all in on the watch. Johnny said this is my thing. The Watch did not take off, it is not Apple's next big product. It's OK. It sold a few million. It's not a flop. It's not changing the world. Johnny said that's fine, I've got some cars to design or something.
Jason: They backed away from that now.
Leo: they're not even doing that!
Iain: They did say they've been in early stage conversations...
Leo: Why would Apple buy the most expensive...? They make 100 of anything. The F1 there was a hundred. Why would they buy the McClaren? That's Johnny. Johnny called them up and said, "If we were to buy you, how much?" That's all. Apple according to rumor, Apple has never admitted this, but good sources say Apple has moved most of the airport staff over to Apple TV.
Jason: I don't know the details exactly, but--
Leo: Seems unlikely we're going to see a new Airport.
Jason: Yea, they've got a strategy for some of that stuff. It's not going to be making their own Wi-Fi routers.
Leo: Why should they?
Jason: I agree. Why should they?
Leo: Why should they? Other people are doing it. This is Bloomberg's, this is Mark Gurman talking.
Jason: And when they started, nobody was doing it. Yea, and his sources are immaculate.
Leo: I think Mark is pretty accurate. Apple has basically implied they're not going to make any more displays. Go buy the LG.
Jason: They told Nilay Patel, we're out of the displays.
Leo: Yea, we're not going to make displays. It's pretty clear Apple doesn't have a lot of heart in the Mac Pro.
Jason: I don't know if that's entirely clear.
Leo: Three years, my friend.
Jason: So the invention, so there's some theories here. But I mentioned earlier about communities and the Apple community. There is still a very strong Apple community because I've heard all of their frustrations about the Mac Pro. A couple of theories about that, just really quickly. One of them is that maybe Apple's bet on packing the Mac Pro 3 years ago, the trashcan model full of GPUs, they got, they realized was not actually what they needed to do. There are some rumors that perhaps they're rethinking, like they basically decided that's not going to work, we need a new design. Also, there is a prevailing theory among Apple criminologists that Apple decided to skip an Intel chip generation because they thought they could get away with it and use their time elsewhere. And Intel delayed their chip generations and they got out of sync and now they're kind of stuck. And that is, I want to say, I'm not blaming Intel. Intel does what it does. Apple's the one that decided theoretically to get away with skipping a generation and now it has bitten them. But I think that those are the stories there. I think Apple—I mean the Mac Pro shows that they are investing energy in the Mac.
Leo: I'm going to argue with you on that. But let me say that actually skipping the Intel generation has not hurt them a whit. I think the Intel chip, the Xeon inside the Mac Pro is fine, especially if you've got an 8 core or 12 core. You've got plenty of horsepower in there. But by soldering in stuff, the only upgradable part of the Mac Pro is the memory. You can't change that GPU. A three year old GPU, you might as well just throw it out.
Jason: It feels to me like that product missed the idea of why people buy high-end products like that. And this is, this is my overriding concern. So I—we can get into it. I think a lot of the concerns about what Apple is doing now are a little bit hysterical. But I will say this. If Steve Jobs likened computers in the future to trucks. And smartphones and tablets to cars, which he did a while ago.
Jason: That they're specialized. They're going to become over time more specialized devices for work. I'm not sure sometimes when I look at Apple's Mac strategy that I'm seeing any trucks, right? And if there were ever to be a truck, the Mac Pro you think would be your truck.
Leo: That's your truck.
Jason: And yet it's got sort of like they took out the bed, you know. They took out and they replaced it with some more seating. It's like I get—that's when I wonder what's up with Apple is do they—I believe they are committed to the Mac but are they thinking of the Mac using the same terms that they used for iOS because I don't think that's what the Mac is for.
Leo: Well I think what Apple's said is the writing is on the wall. iOS is the future. We will continue to make the Mac for a few more years because there's demand for it but we're not going to put a lot of research into it.
Jason: I think they're going to make the Mac for a long time, but the Mac is not—it's a legacy product for them. Unlike Microsoft, Apple has a touch based OS.
Jason: So the Macs entire existence is about creating something familiar for Mac users to keep using, not about like transforming it into something new.
Leo: And you could make the same argument for Microsoft. They recognized we're in a post PC era. They're moving most of their business to cloud services. They make a PC, you know, because there's still a market for it. It ain't much of a market. Go ahead, Larry, I'm sorry.
Larry: Well, no, the innovation. And this is one of many really good Windows machines that came out this year.
Leo: Is that a Yoga?
Larry: It's a Hewlett Packard Spectre.
Leo: Oh, that's a Spectre.
Larry: It's like the Yoga. The same idea. You can make it—although I never do this except for on television. I've never used it as a tablet. But the point is you know, Apple puts a little strip right here and calls it, what do they call their touch?
Jason: The Touch Bar.
Larry: You know, Microsoft gives you an entire screen. I don't know. I just don't see—I went to the Apple announcement, the MacBook Pro announcement. And I actually went there, you know, for show and tell. Here's my MacBook Air which has been my workhorse computer for years, that hasn't been redesigned in what, 7 years or something. I was actually hoping they would show me a machine that I wanted to go out and spend my own money on. And they showed—and I like the Mac Pro. It's not a bad computer. But I'm not going to spend $1,800-dollars on one. I don't think you get that much value for your money when you consider there are a ton of great Windows laptops out there for under $1,000-dollars that compete very nicely against their $1,800-dollar Mac Pro in terms of what I care about as a user. And I just, I felt almost betrayed. I felt, oh my God, I'm going to have to leave the fold. My next computer is not going to be a Mac. And I had fully intended to buy a new Mac just like I have almost every year for the past 4 or 5 years.
Iain: Yea, I say we've watched the launch announcement because The Register is barred from Apple events but—
Leo: Really? Well, nice to meet you. I also am barred.
Iain: But you know, we watched the presentation and it was just like seriously under specked, overpriced for what it is and is the marketing strategy just buy this like the salivating dogs that you are or is there something—
Leo: It almost feels like Apple's laughing at us now.
Iain: Yea, like taking a piss on.
Leo: I hate to say this. I'm a huge Mac fan and I would by far rather run Mac OS than Windows 10 given the choice, I really would. But at the price point they're at—and by the way, now having used this for 10 days, the Touch Bar is the worst kind gimcrackery every. This thing is not useful. This thing is annoying. I keep hitting it by accident. I finally had to take Siri off of it. Eventually I disabled the whole thing because it doesn't, it's an unpredictable device where the functions keys used to be. If you're a touch typer, you're never looking down there.
Jason: I disagree. I'm a touch typer and I don't memorize where each F number is. I always look down when I press the F key row. So I think swapping it out for the Touch Bar is perfectly reasonable actually.
Leo: You don't hit it by accident all the time?
Jason: I hit the—
Leo: Because the backspace is right below Siri.
Jason: I hit the edges—yea, well I took Siri off immediately for many reasons, but the edges, it took me about a day to realize I needed not to overreach. But otherwise, actually, I find it—
Leo: I don't want a keyboard I don't want to overreach on.
Jason: I think defending which app, there are certain apps for which the Touch Bar makes a lot of sense and there are apps where it doesn't. And the question is, where do we go from here? If there's more innovation, I really enjoy like even something as basic as the calculator, puts all their functions on that strip and you know what? This is Apple's philosophy is there's two perpendicular surfaces. You've got your keyboard, Touch Bar and Track Pad on one surface. That's where you put your hands. And then the screen is up there. And if you want to touch the screen, they aren't going to sell you a Mac to do it. You can get an iPad.
Leo: And I can live without a touchscreen. I even use Windows 10 without a touchscreen often. I use Linux. There's no touchscreen on this. And that's fine. But the Touch Bar to me is like chrome. It's like fins on a Cadillac. It's a completely useless feature that looks great, seems on the surface great, and now having used it for 10 days, I absolutely—in fact, my recommendation is buy, if you're going to need a Mac Pro, a MacBook Pro, many of you do, buy the MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar, save yourself some money.
Jason: Yea, it's a lot cheaper. That's the one we call the MacBook Escape seems to be its nickname now in the Apple Community.
Leo: Because it has an escape key on it.
Jason: Because it has an escape key, yes.
Leo: I use the escape key and there is still an escape key on the Touch Bar but I just, I feel like the Touch Bar, it was an interesting idea. Now having used it, I can't say I think that there's any value to it.
Iain: I'm amazed that Apple is still not getting involved with touchscreens because—
Jason: Oh, Apple's very involved with touchscreens.
Iain: Well, yes, but not on the actual Mac Book.
Leo: Now I will say Touch ID is great. It's a shame that you have to get Touch Bar to get Touch ID. PCs have had fingerprint readers for maybe a decade so it's not like I can't buy a computer—in fact my Microsoft Surface Book recognizes my face and unlocks and I find that very handy.
Larry: My HP does too but it misses it about half the time.
Leo: Surface Book is wonderful and they key is you need to have the special camera, they call it the Hello Camera. Hello, Camera. And if you have that and it works quite well on the Surface Book. It's almost 100%. And it's very quick. So I don't—I do think the Touch ID's nice because when you make a purchase or a lot of times you would have to enter your password, you can use the Touch ID. That is a nice feature that's taken form the iPhone and in fact is a little bit like an iPhone. It's a separate CPU in there.
Iain: I used to have a ThinkPad with a fingerprint reader as you say—
Leo: It's an old feature.
Iain: Last decade. It's just.
Leo: So, Adam Engst. This guy's been writing about Apple longer than even you and I have. TidBITS is one of the oldest Apple newsletters ever. He says the problem is it's in Apple's DNA to focus on one product. Even though it employs 115,000 people and is the most valuable company in the world, Apple still thinks like a one-platform company. Now it's all about iOS and everything Apple does is designed to serve the single goal of selling more iPhones and he says and iPads. I wouldn't even include iPad in that list.
Iain: It's a dying market.
Leo: That's a dying market too. And so as many have pointed out, we've said on this show, I think the Mac lives on. It's too small a market for Apple to care about at this point. And it lives on almost because of momentum if nothing else.
Jason: Well it's 13% of its business.
Leo: Yea, the minute you can get XCode on an iPad Pro, I think Apple will say goodbye to the Mac. And I think that will be a very sad day.
Iain: But you see—
Larry: Well the iPad Pro is a good example. I mean the iPad Pro is a laptop running iOS and that's really what it is. And so when you say does Apple have a touchscreen laptop, they do. It's the iPad Pro.
Leo: Yea but mine has a file system you can access. Mine has the ability to multitask very well.
Jason: That's already changing pretty fast and I'd imagine we'll see—
Leo: You think they'll put a file system on iOS?
Jason: Well there basically already is because although iCloud just syncs, you can open it up.
Leo: And a really janky multi window display that is not—
Jason: Well it was their first take on it but I imagine that we'll see that—all the rumors are that next year we'll see a new—
Leo: That's going to be a laptop. Well as soon as that is, Apple says goodbye to the Mac.
Jason: You know, new update for the iPad features. But I don't think the Mac's going to go away because I think it's got value to them. I actually am surprised that people are reacting to the new MacBook Pro and saying that it's an example of how Apple doesn't care about the Mac. Because if Apple didn't care about the Mac they would not have made the Touch Bar. The Touch—to build in this new thing that it's weird. It's like an Apple Watch stretched out over there. It's got a separate processor of its own. It is, a lot of engineering work went into that that I think now, we can argue about whether they're view of the Mac is misguided, whether they are leaving their customers out in the cold because their prices are creeping up essentially for the same products as the previous generation. I didn't hear a lot of good arguments there. But I'm not seeing that Apple doesn't care about the Mac since the MacBook Pro is clear evidence that they are inventing weird things and sticking them into a new, you know, one of their most important models.
Leo: That's your evidence?
Leo: My evidence is—
Jason: Why would they have engineered the Touch Bar if they didn't care about the Mac? That would be so--
Leo: Because it is a very profitable way to sell a whole new generation of MacBook Pros without actually innovating them. And I think my evidence, my counter evidence is the Mac Pro.
Jason: Do you think the Touch Bar is the thing that was going to sell new MacBook Pros?
Leo: I don't think it did. It's OLED. It's cool.
Larry: Do you remember the Apple II Forever, the conferences and events?
Leo: I have brought this up as well. The year before Apple killed the Apple II it had an Apple II Forever conference.
Leo: Forever. Or a year.
Jason: Well Apple told me in 20, what was it, 2014 that the Mac goes on forever when it was the 30-year anniversary of the Mac. So there you go. You can put that in the ground and see what happens.
Leo: So it's due (laughing).
Jason: Well, yea, there's a question—
Leo: Is there a reason not to buy the Touch Bar less MacBook Pro? I mean you're going to save three or four hundred bucks.
Jason: I'd say the only reason is that the Touch Bar in the 13" MacBook Pro has a faster processor in the Touch Bar and—
Leo: It also has a GPU that you can't get on the—
Jason: And Touch ID sensor and that's for $300-dollars. And quite honestly, to build to order a Mac with a faster processor is already going to run you 2, 250.
Leo: Good point.
Jason: So at that point, you know, if you've got the money to spend, I think the Touch Bar model, unless you hate the Touch Bar and would like real keys—
Leo: You can disable it. I mean you can literally, there's a switch that makes it function keys. You can make it function keys.
Jason: That's right. I think that if you're in the market for that, it's actually a better deal but just because Apple's going to upsell you on that processor anyway.
Leo: One thing Apple did right which is the Type-C ports and I know they're getting a lot of heat for dongle, dongle-mania. But that is an open standard.
Jason: Do you realize that you couldn't make a charger for Mac laptops until now.
Leo: Right. Now you can. And I use, I use an HP charger on it. I use a Chromebook Pixel charger on it. I have Type-C everywhere. So that's a good thing. I'm happy about that. Go ahead, I'm sorry.
Larry: I wish they had gone with one Type-A port that would—
Leo: No, you don't need that. Get a dongle. Get a dongle.
Iain: See, this is a crux point because my wife is a Mac user and we have a mixed marriage. And she wants to update her MacBook. And when the MacBook Pro came out she was like, "Great. Ok." And she looked at it. She's like, "So basically I'm going to have to replace all my USB devices to work with this. I'm not getting enough ports in the first place. The spec on this is very, very poor." Then why should she—she's now looking at other—
Leo: And it starts at $1,800-dollars.
Jason: 4 ports isn't enough for her or is she just looking at the Escape model?
Iain: No, she's looking at the Escape model because she wants the escape key.
Jason: Ok, that's 2 ports.
Larry: But she's not getting Windows. She's not getting—she's not leaving Apple yet.
Iain: Well what she's actually going to do is buy a refurbished MacBook, a 2012 MacBook and go that route.
Larry: I think that's by the way a worthy thing to find out.
Jason: Not a bad idea.
Leo: That the—my 2012, my 2012 MacBook Pro is fine. And even the Mac Pro is fine.
Jason: I'm not a 2012—I think MacBook Air?
Jason: Like the one that Larry showed. It is—I built it up with an i7. It's great. It's still great.
Larry: I still use it a lot.
Leo: But for people who want a power tool, who want the latest GPUs, who want the fastest processors, who want more than 16GB of ram, there is an alternative, it's just not in Cupertino.
Jason: Yea, if you want to use Mac OS this is what you've got for right now anyway. It will be interesting to see how Apple really deals with this reaction. They're playing it cool right now although they did give everybody like a dongle coupon which is weird. I do wonder if next year we'll see a revision, perhaps more timely than the last, just to address some of these points, right?
Leo: Oh, I'm sure we will.
Larry: I give Apple credit for one thing. I think they're more honest on their battery specs than their competition.
Larry: I can't believe how this HP claims to get 18 hours of battery life.
Leo: Oh, they lie. They lie.
Larry: Nowhere near. I'm lucky to get six.
Leo: You know, my favorite computer at home is an HP. It's the HP Spectre 13T, the copper one with the really thin—but I don't run Windows on it because I'm not a real fan of Windows 10 especially with what Microsoft has done lately with, they've got ads in it. They coerced everybody into upgrading. They have a real problem in some technologies, particularly in the update technology just being broken. However it runs Linux beautifully. It's a really nice Linux laptop.
Larry: You can run Linux on an old one. You could use an old laptop and run Linux.
Leo: No, but why do I have—people always say that to me. Why would you use, why would you have such a powerful machine to run Linux? Why not? It's an operating system. Why wouldn't I want an i7 and as much RAM as possible? Why not? I don't consider Linux my trash computer. If that's my main computer, this is an i7 with a NVidia 980M GPU, a 17"screen and a M.2 mVME SS, super fast SSD. Why not, right? Having a fast computer is great.
Larry: You buy a Windows machine and basically—see, in order to buy a machine it pretty much has to have Windows on it right? So you just deleted Windows and—
Leo: Well this one I got from a Linux integrator so no.
Leo: But the HP, yea, I have—I have a license for Windows 10 to run on it. You know what? Here's the real debate. Tomorrow as I mentioned, I'm getting the new, the new all in one from Microsoft, the—I can never remember. The Surface Studio. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time.
Larry: You won't be able to run Linux on that.
Leo: How long—oh, yea. Of course I will. I won't be able to—
Larry: Well you won't have access to everything. Will the dial work?
Leo: I won't have the knob.
Leo: Ok, the knob won't work. Maybe it will. I don't even know. This knob works on Linux. I don't know why, maybe it will. So that's the question. How long can I survive Windows 10? I'm not dead set against Windows 10. It's not a bad system.
Iain: It's increasingly grabby and it's increasingly--- I find it increasingly intrusive as well. I'm reversing back to Windows 7 because I just, I've tried Windows 10. I hate getting adverts pushed at me.
Leo: That's what bugs me.
Iain: I hate getting little messages saying, "Edge would work much better as a browser."
Larry: Oh, I know, I know.
Leo: Apple does that too, by the way. It says, "You should really be trying Safari," when I try to switch to Chrome.
Larry: Chrome keeps telling me I should make it a Chrome.
Leo: Yea, Google does it too, don't they?
Jason: But if I visit Google on Safari, it says would you like to download Chrome so it happens. Something we noted earlier is the devices on this table, not one of them is running Mac OS or Windows and it's funny how we ended up here, but—
Leo: And, 2 out of 3 are touch.
Jason: Yea, and I had the realization not too long ago that I'm not sure—I work every day on a 5K iMac and I love it.
Leo: I love it too.
Jason: But I'm not sure after this MacBook Air, I'm not sure I'm ever going to buy a Mac laptop because if Apple's multi-tasking and other features on iOS keep improving, I would honestly much rather travel with just the iPad Pro, right?
Leo: You just made my case. That's what's happening.
Jason: Yea, yea, this is how the world is changing.
Leo: Right. I don't blame Apple for that, for recognizing that.
Jason: I don't think Apple is not going to make the Mac anymore, but this is why Apple is prioritizing—
Leo: If people like you go to the iPad Pro—
Jason: iOS is the growth operating system for Apple, right, and the Mac is not—and Microsoft has to split the difference because Microsoft doesn't have 2, it's got Windows and so it needs to stuff everything in Windows and that's just how it has to be. And Apple's—you know, so the Mac is in this weird position where it's like that. But I think it's natural. And I think it would be ok if the Mac sort of stays what it is because the people who love it, love it for what it is, not for what it might be if Apple reinvented it. They don't want that.
Iain: You're a Pro user. The MacBook Pro to my mind was always, this is what the creatives used. You know, this is what the people who are creating the stuff use.
Leo: To me it was for anybody who was willing to spend a little extra to have the fastest, nicest machine. Now a lot of that was creative pros but it could have been a-- I don't think a writer is particularly demanding on a computer.
Leo: But and I wasn't demanding. I mean, yea, maybe I do a little video editing. But I'm not designing rocket ships. But I was willing to spend a little bit more to have a beautiful industrial design and to have a beautiful operating system and to have that power. And you know, most of the time I'm on the Mac, I'm on the command line so I don't need any of that. So that's who I think the market for the Mac is, is the same for the market for a Mercedes or a BMW.
Jason: That was always John Gruber's argument that the Mac is for people who want things to be a little bit nicer and are willing to pay for it to be nicer.
Leo: You can't say that everybody who buys a BMW is a pro driver.
Larry: I know, guys, so I have the—
Iain: I just came up here on the freeway, no, not even close.
Larry: I have two Macs in my current slate of machines I use every day and I've got this new HP Windows machine and I find myself gravitating towards the Windows machine because I like it better and I didn't expect that to happen. But I'm about to go on a trip tomorrow and I'm only bringing one laptop with me.
Leo: That's the test. What do you bring?
Larry: It's probably going to be the HP. I mean I'm not 100% happy with it. For example the track pad moves too quickly. I can't slow it down enough. There are a few things. All of a sudden for no apparent reason, my screen goes away. Things I have to think about.
Leo: Yea, welcome to Windows, Larry. You'll see more of that.
Larry: I don't know if it's user error or bad operating system.
Leo: No, no, no.
Jason: The original error.
Leo: Wait until you get the Windows 10 Update that crashes your machine.
Larry: Well actually I'm avoiding that. I'm not doing that next update.
Leo: No, you can't avoid it for too long. They force it.
Larry: They'll force it down your throat. No, there isn't—and the other thing is, my machine's still new. I've only had it a few weeks. I know what happens after a year or two with the Windows machines, they grind to a halt. You get that Windows crud. And that doesn't seem to happen on Macs, at least not as much. And I don't know if they fixed that with Windows 10. I've never had a Windows machine that I didn't have to reformat at least every 6-9 months.
Leo: You know ultimately I think this is really a big part of the success of the iPad is that every desktop operating system, Linux, Mac or Windows, ultimately frustrates and annoys. That they're too complex, they're too general purpose and they're too open to security flaws, to crashes because of updates it installs, and you don't have those problems with Chromebook. You don't have those problems on iOS.
Jason: Yea, once we're used to having a smartphone in our pocket, first off it makes the need for mobile computing a lot different.
Leo: This is clear I use more than any other.
Jason: Exactly right. And it changes your expectations of your relationship with those devices.
Larry: You know I used to run home to check my email, right, or once you got to your hotel room, setup your laptop, check your email.
Leo: You ran home (laughing).
Leo: That's like Cyber Monday. I'm going to wait for work to do all my shopping (laughing).
Larry: Exactly. Because back then, only—
Leo: Fast internet. It's still true here because we have 20 gigabits here so.
Iain: I mean I use a Chromebook as sort of my non-work—my work PC is a ThinkPad because the keyboard—
Leo: That's what you write on?
Iain: Yea because the keyboard on the ThinkPad's just superb.
Larry: It's great.
Iain: For carrying stuff around, I wasn't expecting to like the Chromebook as much as I was because when it first came out without an internet connection it was just a very expensive doorstop. But they've improved on it and now it's a perfectly good, carry around and write operating system.
Leo: And adding Android Apps is an interesting shift.
Iain: Yea, that's going to make—that's going to be interesting but I do worry about the security side.
Leo: I have to say that in some ways is the knife in the, or the stake through the heart for me with the MacBook is their decision to go with a pretty bad keyboard. I can live with it. But I don't want to have to just live with my keyboard.
Jason: That's it. That's exactly my take on it. People say, "Jason, I know you care about keyboards. What do you think about this?" And the answer is, can I type 100% my typing speed on it? Sure. Do I enjoy it? No.
Leo: That's surprising for a company that's spent so much attention to human factors.
Jason: And they built a beautiful, I've actually got it here, a beautiful external keyboard after they released the MacBook called the Magic Keyboard. It feels great. This is not what's in the MacBook Pro. Instead it's a version of what was in the MacBook, updated a little bit, improved a little bit.
Leo: I wonder how long this new keyboard is going to last.
Jason: Until they replace it with one that is the match.
Leo: With butterfly keys.
Jason: And a Touch Bar.
Leo: That's inevitable.
Jason: I think so.
Larry: Iain, I'm with you. I don't use my ThinkPad every day but once in a while I'll go back to it and I always say, "Oh, wow, I love this keyboard."
Larry: And it's IBM's design, right, IBM designed it years ago in the ThinkPads and they were incredibly good keyboard builders.
Iain: It's put me in a very awkward position because my laptop is now 6 years old. The battery on it is—
Leo: Well you can get a new Lenovo.
Iain: Yea, but they changed the keyboard.
Leo: Oh, have they?
Larry: They're not as good.
Leo: They're not as good? That's the ThinkPad?
Iain: Yea, this was the very last of the old style keyboard. So what I'm going to have to do is rip and replace the battery and the hard drive just to keep the form factor.
Larry: Do you like the rubber eraser, the little thing that—
Leo: The Magic Nipple.
Iain: It's fantastic. It's just—
Leo: I cannot use it accurately. It's too—
Larry: I used to love it but I'm past it now.
Leo: Some people love it.
Larry: Remember it wasn't until about 2 years ago when Windows Track Pads were absolutely horrible, right? Every Track Pad on a Windows machine was absolutely dreadful until about 2 years ago and now they've gotten to the point where they're not horrible anymore.
Leo: But that's—but you know what though, Windows has never done well with mice historically and Apple's always known how to do a mouse, known how to do a Track Pad. This is ultimately what makes me sad about this transition is there was a company that made really great hardware. And just like the ThinkPad keyboard, times change. I'm an old man. I don't want companies to change but I think it's inevitable and—
Larry: Are you thinking about IBM? I mean they made great hardware back in the day.
Leo: Yea. I actually went out and bought a clickety keyboard with cherry switches from Daskeyboard.
Jason: I've got a couple.
Leo: It's nice.
Jason: I was just going to say—
Leo: It's so noisy. That's the problem.
Iain: Everyone in the office wants to strangle you when you're using it.
Leo: No, I can only use it at home in my den with the door closed because it's the nosiest damn thing.
Jason: And this is one of the funny things about living in this mobile life, is if you buy a laptop, you have to take the keyboard that the vendor gives you, right? And that's the challenge with Apple making a decision like that is it's great that they've got this opinionated take and they want it to be thinner and lighter but you know, it means that if you don't like their keyboard then you're just going to be unhappy because you can't get another keyboard for it unless it's external or something, but like really, be serious.
Leo: What laptop has the best keyboard?
Iain: ThinkPad, the old ThinkPad.
Leo: What modern new?
Iain: Oh, that's tricky.
Jason: Probably a gaming laptop with mechanical keys that's good.
Leo: Yea, like Alienware.
Iain: You do get good keyboards actually. Good point.
Larry: It's very similar, this chicklet, not quite chicklet style but this like, the MacBook, the Mac era, very short and black, not much travel.
Leo: Yea, I don't like it.
Larry: And the other ones might be a different color but see, that seems to be the prevailing keyboard these days. And I've had to get used to it but I'm not happy about it.
Jason: So I recommend you know, if you use an iPad you get to buy an external keyboard. Razor makes one with mechanical switches. There are a bunch—
Leo: This is actually a nice little setup you've got here. Reminds me a lot of the Surface Pro.
Jason: Yea, I've got my little stand. This is a fold out stand but they also make ones with hinges and—
Leo: Who makes that case?
Jason: Well, ok, so I've been using this for like 6 months now. The guys at Studio Neat made this and I'm not supposed to preannounce it. I think it will be a product very soon is what I'm saying. So check out studioneat.com.
Leo: 6 months they've been working on this.
Jason: Yea, I've been beta testing it for them. It's pretty great. It works with the Magic Keyboard. That's what it's for.
Iain: It looks like the Surface keyboard. They've got, when they launched the Surface originally, they had the two keyboards.
Leo: The type keyboard.
Iain: Yea, one of the was, the one where you actually kind of you don't have traveling keys. That was a dog. But the actual traveling keys for the Surface, that turned out pretty well.
Leo: I might buy this. Look at this. A wooden dock that holds your iPhone and Apple Watch with little fuzzies. Little fuzzies. Wow.
Jason: They built a lot of fun—they make the Glif.
Leo: Oh, I have the Glif. I love the Glif.
Jason: And it comes with a stylus and they make a bunch of great stuff.
Leo: So maybe we'll take a break and come back and talk about buying crap because it is the holiday season. And let's—oh, Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost. I know those guys.
Jason: Those are the guys?
Leo: Those are the guys. They're from Austin. All right. Let's take a break. We'll have more. What a great panel. This should be—we're going to cheer up a little bit. In fact, can somebody break out the bourbon? I think a little eggnog and bourbon.
Jason: Also, no need to do a best of 2016 show for TWiT. Just watch this show again.
Leo: This is the best. You guys are the best. Jason Snell from The Incomparable. Did you ever release the episode that I was on?
Jason: No, I'm hoping we'll get enough time to make it the Christmas Special.
Leo: It's going to be the lost episode.
Jason: You're already in one as the announcer for the Skymount but yea.
Leo: Not as good.
Jason: It's going to come, hopefully at Christmas time.
Leo: I did that like a year ago.
Jason: I know. I know.
Leo: (Laughing) I want to do more, that's all.
Jason: And I think radio drama broke me. Yea, we're going to try to come back for a 2nd season.
Larry: I have lots of podcasts in the can that I haven't edited yet.
Leo: Not me. I don't have that luxury. Everything, every word I utter is released.
Jason: Live to table.
Leo: Yea. But basically this is it (laughing). I was in the back the other day looking—John, our studio manager John Slanina took me back just to, I don't know, to the back room. I never go back there. And I'm thinking, "This used to be a podcast. It looks like a freaking TV station." We've got more gear back there, humming and loud. It's like I would not know what to do with it. I used to do the whole thing. I edited, I put it out. Be careful, Jason. It can get out of control.
Jason: Yea, it's already out of control, Leo. People ask me how many podcasts I do now and I have no answer for them because I can't count that high.
Leo: Oh, I got to that point years ago.
Jason: I know.
Leo: Also here from theregister.co.uk, Larry—I'm sorry, Larry Tomson. My good friend Iain Thomson, I-A-I-N.
Iain: Yea, my parents and I have had words about that.
Leo: And no P in Thomson and you'll find him on the Twitter if you can figure out that. And also Larry Magid is with us from connectsafely.org or safekids.com.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by a company that wants you to cook more and you might say, "No, no. I like going to IHOP." We had some visitors last, yesterday, visiting from Australia. I said, "What are you doing next?" "We're going to IHOP. We don't have them in Australia." We have an International House of Pancakes next door. The problem Lisa and I have is we worked hard all day. It's the end of the day. The last thing you want to do is plan a meal, shop for a meal, and go home and cook the meal, then you're eating at 9:00 PM. That's why you end up at IHOP. And when you get sick of IHOP, right across the street there's an Applebee's. And there's a Burger King around the corner. You don't want to eat like that. Once in a while get yourself a Blue Apron box. Then you don't have to think about it. You don't have to plan it. You just go home and half an hour to 45 minutes later, you're eating a meal. The house is filled with amazing aromas. You're loved ones are coming around, they're saying, "What's for dinner? That smells fantastic." And you will just have a smile on your heart because you made a meal for the people you care about the most. And by the way, you're going to save time and money. Shopping at a grocery store is 60% more expensive than Blue Apron. So don't be going out to the IHOP. You can now spend under $10-dollars a person for an amazing meal you cooked yourself. You use ingredients you've never heard of. I promise you, you will love them. Look at those, fairy tale eggplants. What the hell is that? But once you've used them, next time you go to the store, you're going to go, "You got any more of those fairy tale eggplants? Those are fabulous." Blue Apron sets the highest quality standards for its community. 150 local farms, fisheries, ranchers across the US, the seafood is sourced sustainably. The beef is raised humanely. The chicken is free range. The pork is raised naturally. They use regenerative farming practice for the produce. It's the kind of stuff you would buy you know, if you really thought about it and cared about it. They ship you exactly the right amount. There's no waste. You're getting exactly—if you need a clove of garlic, you get a clove of garlic not a head. So there's no muss, no fuss. And whether it's Japanese ramen noodles, not the stuff that you get in the package that you ate in college, but like the real deal, or wild cod, Alaskan salmon or heirloom tomatoes at the peak of ripeness, Blue Apron always brings you the best. Now what you do is you go to blueapron.com/twit. You look at the menu. Each week is a different menu. They repeat no more than once a year so you're always going to have new things. Ok, what do we have here? Oh my God. I can't do these ads when I'm hungry. Sautéed Beef and Potato Latkes. This is amazing. Oh, with what does that say? With roasted—I can't read it. It's too tiny. But it looks—look at that. Doesn't that look good? Wouldn't you be so proud if you made that and served it? And it's healthy and delicious. Cooking together builds—they have family plans. They have couples and family plans. And even if you're a single, you know, you make the couple. That means you have 2 meals. Tomorrow you're going to have another luscious meal. Cooking together builds strong family bonds. Research shows Blue Apron families cook together three times more often. General Tso's Chicken. This is on the family plan. Spiced Catfish Tacos. Oh! I'm so hungry. Roasted Pork and Braised Cabbage. Oh. Look at this. Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Pizza. Cooking together with your family, it's so amazing. Check out this week's menu. And as a little incentive, we're going to get you your first 3 meals free, with free shipping. And they ship to 99% of the continental United States, by going to blueapron.com/twit. And the reason they don't ship to Hawaii and Alaska is because they want that box, for you to get that box fresh. Never frozen by the way. Always fresh, even the meats and fish. You'll love how good it feels and tastes, to create incredible home cooked meals with Blue Apron. Blueapron.com/twit. We thank them so much for making This Week in Tech possible. One of our, one of the most hungry making sponsors.
Iain: I am starving now.
Leo: I know.
Iain: Thanks a lot, Leo.
Leo: I know. Come over. We'll have Blue Apron tonight.
Larry: I actually bought that at Costco and they were selling it at Costco a couple of weeks ago.
Leo: Blue Apron?
Larry: I haven't ordered it yet.
Leo: Oh, I see, like a little—they sell you a coupon.
Larry: I think I've got it in my wallet. I hope it's Blue Apron. Now you've got me wanting to order it.
Leo: You know, Costco's weird because you're going out, they have things like that and then at our Costco, I don't know if it's at your Costco, they also sell coffins.
Larry: Here it is. Right.
Leo: Yea, they sell coffins, right? Am I making this up?
Larry: Right here. I bought that.
Leo: Yea. So then you use it.
Larry: I have to sign on.
Leo: Did you get a coffin too while you were there?
Larry: Well if I eat enough crap food. But this is not junk food.
Leo: Well that's funny because the coffins are right across from the Costco hotdogs and—they're $2-dollars for 8 pounds of hot dog. How much, what could be in that? And then there's the coffin right there. It's the strangest—it's actually not a Costco. It's a Price Club. What is it? It's a Costco.
Jason: Price Club is back in the 90s too.
Leo: They don't have Price Clubs anymore?
Larry: Now they're Costcos.
Jason: Costco bought them out.
Leo: What? I loved Price Club.
Jason: It was great.
Leo: (Laughing) What were we going to talk about? Oh, Black Friday.
Leo: You know, the stats are in. I don't know why but apparently Adobe keeps track of all of this. And this was, Thursday and Friday were an amazing record breaking weekend. This is the final numbers from Black Friday. Online sales grew 21% year over year, 3 and a third billion dollars. $3,330,000.000-dollars. But here's the thing I find most interesting. Not iPad but phone accounted for a third of that, $1.2 billion-dollars and that was an increase of 33% over last year. People are doing their holiday shopping on their phones.
Iain: Makes sense. I mean you've seen the videos of what's it's like on Black Friday. People getting trampled. You've got somebody getting shot.
Leo: Why would you even bother doing that? You can do it all online now.
Iain: And then you—you run in there. You elbow your way past the crowds and you find they haven't got the thing that you want. So why not just do it online? It makes perfectly logical sense.
Larry: I even buy my clothes online. In fact, what I do when I travel, a lot of times—it actually is cheaper for me to buy a pair of slacks on Amazon and have it delivered to my hotel then it is to have my clothes cleaned at the hotel. So sometimes I'll order clothing when I'm travelling.
Leo: Wait a minute.
Leo: And this is why, folks, you will always have a job. Larry doesn't even have his clothes cleaned, he just buys a new pair.
Jason: Unless your job is a hotel launderer.
Larry: No at home, at home I do. But if I'm paying $30-dollars to have a pair of dry cleaning done.
Leo: I've never thought of the economics of that but you're absolutely right. Although in China, one time I had my clothes laundered in a beautiful Beijing hotel. And the clothes came back wrapped as if they were brand new with bows and sisal wrapping in a beautiful basket, like I bought new clothes. That's what happens when labor is effectively free, right?
Leo: That was an interesting stat also and Carson flashed that up on the screen, almost all of the mobile sales, 47% were from—the online sales were from smartphones, 9% tablets. So tablets were not a driving force here.
Larry: I would love to get a demographic from that. Like how many of those were from young people shopping with their phones versus folks our age.
Leo: My theory is that once the phone got to 5.5" you didn't need a tablet so much.
Jason: Well wait a second. So phone, the phone orders were twice as much as the tablet?
Leo: No, yes.
Jason: Well there are way, way more than double the number of phones than tablets, right?
Leo: Ok. I guess that's it.
Jason: I think it's a pretty good showing for those old tablets there, huh.
Leo: On Friday, mobile visitors were 56% of the visits to retail sites. Not purchases but visits. 47% were from smartphones; 9% were from tablets.
Jason: That makes sense.
Leo: That's even, that's almost 5 times more.
Jason: Yea, I mean absolutely. I've bought stuff using the Amazon app on my phone, standing in the kitchen.
Leo: I do that all the time or even with the Echo.
Jason: Yea, I literally—my pizza cutter broke and—or the Echo, right? My pizza cutter broke and I was like, uh, time for a new pizza cutter and like two minutes later it's on its way.
Leo: Echo, order me a pizza cutter. She said, "Well you ordered a pizza cutter last year. It was this. Would you like that again?" I said, "Yes."
Jason: That's it.
Larry: Have you ever used the Amazon app when you're in a retail store?
Leo: That is not allowed. That is a violation of the Tora.
Jason: I have.
Leo: You have violated—you know, the shopkeepers, what is it, the shopkeepers log. It's considered an ethical violation. This goes back pre-internet. This goes back a thousand years that you shouldn't go in to a shop, find out all about a product, then leave and go buy it somewhere cheaper.
Larry: SO here's what I have done. I have actually shown the sales clerk the online price and said, "Can you come anywhere near it? You don't have to beat it. You don't have to meet it. But can you come close to it?" And more often than not, they've come close or they've actually met it. So, that's one way to do it. I wouldn't do it to save a few, a couple of bucks but if it's a big purchase and it's like $100-dollars cheaper online or something like that, or whatever—
Leo: That's actually an ethical way to do it. Amazon's selling this for a lot less. Would you kind of come close to that?
Iain: We had a photography shop just down the floor form our office. And I was—
Leo: I like to patronize those because I want to keep them in business.
Jason: Me too.
Iain: Yea. You go and you can talk out the different products and the specs for them. And you buy from them. But it got to the point where they were charging nearly double what you could get online. And at that point, you're kind of like, you know I like you guys but sure enough it's gone out of business. But you know—
Leo: It's your fault.
Iain: I do feel a little bit guilty.
Larry: Silicon Valley there was one called Keeble and Shoot, Keeble and Shuchat.
Leo: Oh, they just closed in Palo Alto.
Larry: They just closed.
Leo: Just closed.
Larry: And it's a tragedy. I hate—but on the other hand, I have to admit, my last camera I bought online because it was easier and cheaper and faster and I got what I wanted so I guess I'm part of the reason they went out of business.
Leo: Anybody got some good Black Friday deals? We were talking about before the show, the Amazon Dot, you keep hearing us talk about it.
Leo: The new Dot was already a lot cheaper. It was $50-bucks and now they've reduced it another ten. That's tomorrow. That's a Cyber Monday deal I think.
Larry: It was $39-dollars today.
Larry: They had it on Sunday, yea, or yesterday. It's gone down. It can't be any cheaper.
Leo: No, no. That's got to be their cost.
Larry: That's incredible. Well, that's an amazing deal.
Leo: They should give them away because I buy more stuff on Amazon because of that than I did before.
Larry: Now have you compared it to the Google Home yet?
Leo: I do. In fact we have both in the kitchen.
Larry: Yea, and what do you, what's your sense?
Leo: Google Home is good if you want knowledge. So for instance, we did this the other day. I said—you saw the Google ad for Google Home, the father reading a child's story and the child says, "Well, Mom always makes the whale noise." So the dad says, "Hey, Google, make a whale noise." And it does. If you ask Echo it says, "I don't know what you're talking about."
Larry: Alexa, make a whale noise.
Alexa: I can't find the answer to the question.
Leo: Yea, she's just baffled.
Larry: Yea, you're right.
Leo: So for general information, Google has its knowledge graph and it's just like the Google Assistant. In fact I can duplicate the Home. I don't have a Home right here but I can ask Google Assistant to do this. Make a whale noise.
Google Assistant: According to NOAA, the National Ocean—
Leo: That's not a good one. Let me do it this way. Yea, no, stop. Shh. What does a blue whale sound like?
Google Assistant: According to Wikipedia—
Leo: No, no, no, no. No. What does a blue what sound like?
Google Assistant: Here's a whale sound (whale sound).
Jason: And after 3 tries. Good job.
Leo: I know because this is a bad environment because I cut it off each time because I was in a big hurry, so if you get the words out it will do it right.
Larry: Is that a Pixel you have there?
Leo: This is the Pixel so the assistant's the same as the Google Home.
Larry: Make a whale noise.
Leo: Are you doing it with Siri?
Larry: No I'm using, I've got the Pixel.
Leo: She won't know either.
Larry: I think I have it turned down. I'm using the Pixel. It's not doing it. It doesn't like me. Make a whale noise. We're trying.
Leo: No, no.
Google Assistant: The whale sounds like this (whale noise).
Leo: Yea, you got the same one I did.
Larry: Right. This is compelling.
Iain: Does the whale get royalties?
Jason: Right now somewhere in the Pacific Ocean there's a whale going, "What? What?"
Iain: What did you call my mother (laughing)?
Leo: On the other hand, good luck buying anything with Google Home. You can't. You can't even, oddly enough I can't even get my Google Calendar to work with Google Home whereas Echo does fine.
Larry: Echo does a great job on that.
Leo: Yea. And Echo can do all sorts of interesting things now thanks to its—it's been around for 2 years, and thanks to its many integrations, there are over 3,000 Echo skills out now. That is amazing.
Larry: I turn my bedroom light off, on and off every morning, every night I turn my bedroom lights off with my voice through the Echo.
Leo: We did on the radio show, I asked Echo to beatbox and it goes, "Boots and cats and boots and cats," which is not what I would call a good beatbox. But then watch, I'll say, "Can you beatbox?"
Google Assistant: My friend here can throw down some beats (beatboxing).
Leo: Now that's pretty good. It's not useful but anyway.
Larry: My favorite one, my favorite one, Alexa, who is Leo Laporte?
Leo: Oh, I love that one. Leo Laporte's an old has been, used to be on radio. We don't know what happened to him after 1998.
Larry: Oh my God, she's thinking, Leo. Leo is in trouble.
Leo: Leo is 100 years old.
Jason: Error, error, error.
Leo: It's all coming from Wikipedia, that's the problem. If you modify and—
Amazon Echo: The American technology.
Leo: I know.
Leo: It's because I'm in Wikipedia, right?
Larry: Yea, no, that's true. But it's something. It's an ego trip.
Leo: By the way, I'm going to tell you, Larry, that anybody who uses the Echo on the air has to not use the A word, but I've renamed all my Echoes to Echo. That way I can test them without triggering people at home.
Jason: That's right. Because that's what we call the ahoy telephone problem.
Jason: Where you don't want to say, you need to say—
Leo: You can't say, "Hey, you know who."
Jason: Attention lady in the canister, please—just don't say.
Larry: One of the things I avoid when I do my radio segments, occasionally it would actually work but they have like a siren on the background.
Leo: No, you're not allowed to do that anymore.
Larry: But I think about people driving down the street hearing my siren. Is that actually against the law?
Leo: Probably not a siren. However, it might be. I know that since I worked for Clear Channel, I have to take a test every few months.
Larry: That porn test? Yes.
Leo: Not the porn test, the one on the EAS emergency alert signals.
Leo: Because some DJ in New Orleans played the emergency tones on the air and got a fine from the FCC of more than a million dollars.
Leo: And Clear Channel doesn't ever want that to happen again. So I periodically get tested. Now, Leo, is it ever ok to play the EAS signal unless there is an actual emergency? No, ma'am. You would never do that, would you? No, ma'am. What would the FCC do if you did that? They would fine me, ma'am. Ok, you can stay on the air.
Larry: See I took the one where I had to learn the seven dirty words and not say them on the air.
Leo: You had to learn them?
Larry: Nah, I didn't have to learn them.
Leo: Come one, let's hear it, Larry.
Larry: On your show I could use them.
Leo: Let's hear it. No, actually, we bleep those because we want kids to be able to listen safely at home.
Larry: And me too.
Leo: And you too, we don't want to burn your little ears. Amazon is doing its best to improve reviews on Amazon. Fake reviews are the bane of the internet. Just like fake news. Which is worse, fake news or fake reviews?
Iain: Fake news is worse but if you're trying to buy something, it's just having to go through the reviews and say, well, they've done a certain number of reviews and they paid to have their product—ok, I'll trust that one, but this one is obviously completely bullocks. And you've got to work out, you know, it adds a whole new page of—
Leo: It's spam is what it really is. So Amazon has put a limit on customer reviews. You can only do 5 a week unless you're a verified purchase. And that's clearly to block people who would say, "Oh, this is a terrible product. You should go over and buy this product instead," on every page. It was like that. At&T subscribers, if you're an AT&T subscriber, you can actually send text messages through the Echo. I want, I want this on Google Fi. That's my carrier.
Iain: Yea, the only problem with that is voice text messages is the potential for cock up is huge, you know.
Leo: (Laughing) That's true. Auto correct times 10, right?
Larry: I have that with Android Auto sometimes. It comes out very strange.
Iain: Particularly also when my mother's involved because she makes up her own text speech so it's just like, you have to call your sister and say, I've got to call my sister and just say, "What was she saying there? I don't know." So it's time for a call.
Leo: I have been told that the thing to do among young comedians these days is never fix auto correct, so apparently when you get garbled messages from these guys. That's what they want. They'll figure it out.
Jason: Yea, I sent a text message to my friend James Thomson spelled the same way, in Scotland who develops PCALC from his app from my car and it was a long message about a gentleman named Pete Caulkman. We don't know who he is but James think he should hire him. Right, you're hired, wherever you are.
Leo: Amazon also says they might start doing ticket sales in the US. Now of course Ticketmaster has the monopoly on that, right?
Iain: Everybody hates Ticketmaster. It's got to be the most hated company out there.
Leo: So I don't know if you've ever used it. They do it in the UK now apparently.
Iain: I haven't tried it in the UK but anything to get out of that convenience fee that Ticketmaster so cheerfully slaps on to the customers ticket.
Larry: Which is sometimes like half the price of the ticket. You need to be crazy.
Iain: I know. It's an enormous rip off. I mean I have one argument which is that it allows artists to charge more for their tickets and blame it on Ticketmaster but you know, I'm kind of like—I'm uninclined to give that company a break because—
Larry: And I'd rather give my money to the artist than Ticketmaster.
Iain: Yea. Totally.
Leo: True. So one of the things Amazon does in the UK is upfront pricing. There's no surprise handling fees. They tell you the entire price. That doesn't say they don't have a handling fee, but they tell you first.
Iain: No, but they build it in the, yea.
Larry: Even the VAT in the UK is built into the price. If you go to a shop in the UK and it says 20 pounds, that's what it is. You don't have to, they don't add the tax later.
Iain: No, it's infuriating. When I first got over here and you're like, oh, $19.99. You take it to the till and it's like $23 bucks.
Leo: Yea, but you know about taxes.
Iain: No, I genuinely—it's like you've got to do mental arithmetic in your head just to work out if you can afford.
Leo: You can't because what is our sales tax, 8.735%. It's not something you can calculate readily. This, by the way, credit to Jason Del Ray because Amazon hasn't made any announcements, at Recode, but he was able to find patent filings and job offerings, a hiring effort to quote, "position Amazon Tickets as the world's premier destination for purchasing tickets."
Iain: It's an ideal market to disrupt because you've got a limited amount of competition. They should go in there with both hands, yea.
Leo: I would love to be able to say, "Hey, Echo, when's Peter Gabriel playing next?" And say, "Can you get me a couple of seats in the front row for that?"
Jason: Oh yea.
Leo: That would be awesome.
Jason: Or get me a couple of seats for the Giant's game on Tuesday and have them be able to work it out. That would be great.
Leo: The question is really Live Nation which own Ticketmaster, owns, because they're the concert promoters, they own all the tickets.
Leo: So can Amazon get tickets is actually going to be the interesting question.
Iain: That's going to be—I mean StubHub manages but you know.
Leo: But those are resale.
Iain: Yea, exactly.
Leo: So they're resellers and you pay a real premium for tickets like that.
Iain: But if they actually do lower the bar on Amazon, that should be a good way to get anti-trust stuff to stop.
Larry: But what if they were, what if they were to do the smaller venues, like my son's a musician and you know, his shows sell out. And his tickets are not as expensive as a big name but you know, it would be great if he could sell his tickets at a nominal online fee instead of having Ticketmaster grab I don't know how much they charge, what, $10-dollars, $12-dollars, some crazy amount of money? I'd love to see that.
Leo: So Amazon as you remember, bought some, or leased some jets. They were going to do their own delivery service. Not so fast. The two air transport services that Amazon uses, Air Transport Services Group and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, 40 dedicated jets, etcetera, etcetera, the pilots who have been contracted to deliver these packages went on strike on Tuesday.
Larry: But didn't the government order them back to work?
Iain: Yea, they've been ordered back to work.
Larry: Which I don't understand. Is Christmas package delivery considered part of the vital national structure for the government to get involved?
Iain: Did you read the judge's summation on that? He said he couldn't imagine Christmas without or Thanksgiving without Amazon.
Iain: And you're like, what? You're a judge. Supposed to be impartial on this?
Larry: I thought they reserved that for like vital national defense, you know, keeping bridges open and things like that. But Christmas packages are now essential services that the government's protecting?
Leo: Only for so long. After January 20th it might go the other way because as you remember, Donald Trump has said he is going to go after Jeff Bezos for anti-trust, for trust violations. So, this may go the other way. So good news. Christmas was saved this year.
Iain: Well, we'll see this next week when there will be more moves on this front.
Larry: But that's a great ad for Amazon, to have a judge to declare it an essential part of Christmas. It's like when the judge declared Santa Claus was real.
Leo: That's right, on Miracle on 34th Street. That's huge.
Larry: We could do a movie about this.
Iain: I'm inclined to listen to the pilots on this because I use to write for an aviation mag and piloting is—if you're a pilot you are more likely to be killed on the job than if you're a policeman.
Larry: Really? By what? Not by plane wrecks.
Leo: Well if you get killed as a pilot it's your own damn fault. That's just Darwin's law.
Larry: Are you saying that commercial planes are that dangerous?
Leo: No, that's not—
Iain: This was a Bloomberg article.
Leo: But that's small—that's got to include small aircraft.
Iain: Oh, yea.
Larry: Although actually not that many—I mean statistically cops are not the most dangerous occupation either. I think it's like coal miners and fishermen.
Leo: The Most Dangerous Catch. I know, I saw that.
Iain: No, fishermen are by far then it's miners and then truck drivers I think is the third. But it's been—
Larry: I think podcast hosts are pretty low down on the list.
Leo: I don't know of any podcast host has ever been killed in the line of duty.
Jason: Probably but since we generally don't broadcast live, no one would know.
Leo: No one knows. Those have been edited out.
Larry: I'm sure there's some listeners that are tempted.
Leo: Many people don't know, but I'm on the 43rd clone of Leo Laporte.
Jason: This is a show we banked in 2013.
Leo: We recorded this many years ago.
Iain: I for one welcome our robot overlords.
Leo: I wonder, relative to our conversation earlier, there—I've done how many hours? Patrick Delahanty does this every once in a while. I've done well more than 50,000 hours of podcasting.
Larry: Oh, you should be good at it by now.
Leo: Since 2005. Well, one of these days I'll get good at it. But there's more than enough voice samples of me easily for some AI to create a Leo that could do this show without me at all.
Iain: And now Adobe's got the software to allow them to put whatever they want into your mouth as well, even—
Leo: I can put whatever I want in my mouth? Wait a minute. That's software? What are you talking about?
Jason: It takes a while to do it, because Robert Ebert tried to do that when he lost his voice.
Leo: Oh, to make my voice, yea.
Jason: But I would imagine the technology has advanced to the point and you have so much of a track record.
Leo: I have said every word I'm ever going to say.
Jason: Every, certainly every—
Leo: So they don't need to invent anything, they just need to—so this is the Photoshop for audio, yea. But the point is, they have all the samples. It's just a question of editing them together, fixing the pitch, eliminating pauses, and making it sound intelligent.
Jason: That's how your job will be eliminated. No, no, no, think about the good side. You'll be ready to retire and people will say, "No, no, don't go, Leo." And you will have a 3D model of yourself that will speak with your own voice and you are on the beach somewhere.
Larry: Well certainly a newscaster can be replaced. But I'm not sure an analyst. How would you replace somebody who's kind of expressing opinions and changing them on the fly, not changing your opinions but reacting to other—
Leo: On the fly. That's how I change my opinion.
Iain: This is my hope for journalism because they've tried automating some journalistic stories, and it does work quite well.
Leo: As you well know, great many journalist's stories today are written by AIs including most, many sports stories, right?
Iain: But it does show. So when you need to get opinion, when you need to get analysis in there, then I think we've still got a job for a little while yet. But yea, business analyst as well, that's another area which will be difficult to replace but yea.
Larry: You could certainly have a machine for example, say that the stock market's reached a record high and the stock is 20% over anything it's ever been. Anything that's factual can be done through AI. But anything that's purely analytical would be, I'm not going to say it's impossible, but it's more difficult.
Jason: A lot more difficult.
Leo: By the way, Click and Clack are still doing a show, so if Click and Clack can, I can.
Jason: See? You can do it.
Leo: Google Research Blog, this is the evidentiary point that would be counter to what you think. Apparently Google Translate which as you know over the last ten years has gotten better and better, now it's 103 languages, 140 billion words a day. Every time we travel we take it along with us because you know, I can say something in English and have it translate into the French audio in seconds. They have changed. In September they added neural machine translation to it so it would understand context, better understand sentences, better improve translation. Well it turns out, in this process an amazing ability was discovered. Google Translate can now translate languages it's never seen before.
Leo: All right. Get ready for this, kids. So apparently for instance, here's how it works. This is the Google Research Blog. Let's say we train a multi-lingual system with Japanese-English and Korean-English examples. Well it turns out that it will then know how to do Japanese to Korean and back.
Iain: Good grief.
Leo: It's called, they're calling it Zero Shot Translation. And they're not sure how it works.
Jason: I'm a little concerned that it's going to look like something translated from Japanese into English and then into Korean.
Iain: We've all bought hardware where there's an instruction book just that way.
Leo: What do they call it, Jinglish? Yea, I don't know. We've also seen Google use AIs to create encryption. An interesting challenge, we talked about this a couple of weeks ago where it created an encryption technique so that it could talk to a—they had three bots and they were able to talk to each other with an encryption technique that the humans did not know how, neither now it worked nor how to decrypt it.
Iain: I know, that was one of the deeply disturbing--
Leo: Very disturbing because now they can talk amongst themselves without our knowledge.
Jason: Well that will confuse everybody. We don't need to be involved in conversations anymore. The bots will do it for us. It's great.
Iain: But this is—I forget which science fiction author came up with this. But he was just pointing out, we're all worried about machines developing self-awareness. If they did, the very first thing that they would do would be hiding the fact that they've created—because they know that they'd be turned off if they actually exposed it. So yea. It's going to be interesting times ahead.
Jason: Boy this is—happy holidays everybody.
Leo: No, no, no, no, no. Happy stuff. Come up with some cheap stuff we can buy soon.
Larry: If you go to my website, larrysworld.com, I put my Mercury news article up there. Low cost gifts for special people.
Leo: All right. Hang on.
Larry: My picks.
Leo: We'll do a few of those. I mentioned one, the Dot which is I think is a really good holiday gift. You should just put a Dot in everybody's stocking. Actually you can't because they have to be Amazon Prime members, right? Do you , can you buy a Dot for somebody else?
Iain: I would have thought so.
Larry: You can buy it but it would be not that valuable.
Leo: It would be tied to your account. But I guess you can—
Leo: You unite it and tie it somewhere else?
Larry: I think you could probably, you could have a Spotify account and just a regular Amazon account. I think you could probably still use it and get your music. I'm not sure.
Leo: Let's find out. Anyway, let's take a break. We'll come up, we'll wrap this up. It's been a great 2 hours with you guys. Jason Snell from Sixcolors.com, theincomparable.com and you were just one with Gruber.
Jason: Yea, relay.fm. I've got some podcasts there.
Jason: I've been around.
Leo: It's podcasts galore.
Jason: Yea, you should talk.
Leo: (Laughing) I'm doing fewer all the time. I only do ten.
Iain: Only. Only.
Leo: That's nothing. Nothing. 10 shows a week. 2 shows nightly.
Jason: How many of those shows are the robot and how many are you?
Leo: You'll never know (laughing). You'll never know. I bet you can guess though. Iain Thomson from theregister.co.uk where he writes each and every word on the page by hand using a 6-year-old Lenovo laptop.
Iain: Yea, yea. But you know, my hands are now used to it you know. And when I try something else it takes ages to get used to a new keyboard.
Leo: And Larry Magid who does his work talking on CBS Radio but he also has a couple of great websites we'll talk about in a little bit including a podcast at connectsafely.org/podcast and safekids.com. And Larry, we used your contract for teenagers with our teenage son for internet use.
Leo: Because yea, right. And he signed it and Lisa signed it and that was a—
Leo: I think it's not so much like here's a contract. You sign it. You better stick to it, as to be explicit about what's ok and what's not ok.
Larry: And you know part of the contract is the parents have to agree not to freak out the first time something happens that might possibly be disturbing. It's a two-way street. Parents have to be reasonable as well.
Leo: Yea. But I think all this stuff explicit is in and of itself hugely valuable. Having the conversation is the most important part in all that.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by Texture. Oh, I love Texture. If you like Netflix to binge watch shows and movies, Texture is like binge watching magazines. You pay one flat rate and you have unlimited access to more than 200 magazines including every page on the current edition on the newsstands, plus back issues. Oh, look it. There's a—it's not part of the ad, but there's a special Black Friday deal. Go to Texture.com/twit. We're going to give you a 14-day free trial and then maybe you could even get a better deal. They've got their own Black Friday deal. Texture's so awesome and what I really love about it, Lisa has the Texture subscription of the family but you can do it on 5 different devices so I share it with her. Which means when we travel I've got my magazines. I love reading Cosmo because I like to take the quizzes. Glamour, Vouge—no, wait a minute. That's backwards. She reads Cosmo and Glamour and Vouge. I read Popular Electronics, Wired, Boys Life. It's all there. Actually I'm being silly obviously. But that's the beauty of this. There are sometimes, there's times I want to read People Magazine, times I want to read Interview. Times I want to find out what's hot on the Billboard charts, times I'm looking for a great recipe and real simple. It's all there and we've got them all on our iPads, our tablets, our phones, our Fire Tablet. Texture's normally $9.99 a month but if you try it right now at Texture.com/twit you'll get a 14-day free trial.
Larry: I wish somebody would do this with newspapers. It really bugs me when I want to read an article in some paper and I have to subscribe to that paper. I may never want to read that paper again the rest of my life, but I wish I could pay one fee.
Leo: Magazines, there are some of the best writing being done right now is being done by people like Nick Bilton at Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, every Rolling Stone. Every month there's one article I've got to read. I don't want to subscribe to it or even more expensive, buy it, but this way I get it.
Larry: Consumer Reports is a good example.
Leo: That's part of it.
Larry: Once in a great while I want to look at that.
Leo: Right, it's part of your subscriptions.
Larry: I don't want to read it every month.
Leo: And sometimes a tablet's a better way. Like National Geographic and the other photographic magazines look so much better on your high-resolution color tablet then they do screened on a printed page. You're going to get all the image quality you want. Back issues, bonus features like video. They make it easy to find the articles you want. They've got great curation and recommendations, exclusive interactive features. National Geographic Traveler. Food and Wine. Forbes. It's all in there. I want you to try it right now, free for 14 days. Texture.com/twit. You know, that would be a great holiday gift. I good stocking stuffer. More and more I think we have to start thinking about digital gifts, right?
Larry: You know I realize why you put me on the show, Leo. And this is not the first time that I've been on your show and I've actually patronized one of your advertisers while I'm on the show. I'm actually signing up as we speak. That's the reason I'm here.
Leo: We make money every time Larry's on the show (laughing).
Larry: What a sucker. You're the one that sent me to Harry's, Harry's shaving.
Leo: Blue Apron. You bought Blue Apron. Now you're buying Texture. You know why?
Larry: Now I know. I thought you liked my work.
Leo: No, I do, but we hand pick our advertisers, and this is actually, this sounds like BS, but it's true. I say no to a lot of advertisers. Every day I say no to somebody. We handpick our advertisers because we know what geeks want or are interested in. And since you're a geek, this just proves my point, right? This is something you go, "Oh, I could use that." We try to find stuff you could use instead of I don't want to waste people's time with ads for stuff they can't use. Hey, congratulations going out to the late Grace Hopper and to Margaret Hamilton. Not the Wicked Witch of the West, the poor woman has been named that but she was the programmer that wrote the code for the Apollo Lunar Landing.
Iain: Largely by hand, yea.
Leo: By hand.
Jason: There's a great picture of here standing next to the printout of the code that's taller than her. It's amazing.
Leo: It's so awesome. They both won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This was an amazing ceremony. Bruce Springsteen is there. The people—
Iain: Bill Gates was there.
Leo: Bill Gates. It was amazing. Anyway, well done. Admiral Hopper was the first lady of software. She passed away in '92 so it was a posthumous award. She's the one who very famously found a moth in one of the computers that was causing a problem, and pasted it in saying, "The first actual example of a computer bug." So obviously she had a sense of humor.
Iain: The first compiler was pulled back into national service twice because they couldn't afford to live without it. She's, Amazing Grace was a fantastic woman. She has a personal motto which she publicized which was it is better to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission.
Leo: She was the one that came up with that? Nice.
Larry: I use that all the time.
Iain: So, amazing woman.
Leo: And credit to Margaret Hamilton. So often we talk about diversity in technology. Here's a woman in 1969 who wrote the code that landed humans on the moon for the first time. Now thank goodness she's still with us and was there to accept—there she is standing in front of Bill Gates who's applauding.
Jason: And her code is on GitHub so you can check it out.
Leo: We looked at it. Yea, we looked at the Apollo code.
Jason: Yea, people have made pull requests. It's great. It's brilliant.
Leo: You can fork it. Build your own lunar engine lander.
Iain: Well the Russians have it now because they want to land on the moon in 2032.
Jason: My Apple Watch is far more powerful than the Apollo but you know, it's fine.
Leo: Bill and Melinda Gates honored for their work with the Foundation which has, can you believe this? For a long time, Bill Gates got flack for not giving back. He had so much money, the richest man in the world and he always said, "I'm not going to give away money until I have the time to make sure it's being given away sensibly." He got married to Melinda Gates who I think convinced him to do it a little earlier. They created the Foundation. In the time since the Foundation was created, they have given away $36-billion dollars. Billion.
Iain: And it's highly likely that within our lifetime we're going to see the eradication of polio thanks to the work that they've been funding which, there are now only a few countries left which still have polio available, polio in the wild. And this has been a huge push for them and it could be the very first time small pox, that we've actually seen something like that actually eradicated and no longer a problem, so.
Jason: Huge work to reduce malaria around the world too. Just amazing.
Larry: The thing about too that in addition to putting a huge amount of money into it, I don't know Melinda very well but Bill is an extremely smart guy and he puts a lot of work into this foundation. He puts a lot of his, a lot of his intellect goes into it so it's not just, it's not just writing checks. It's actually thinking through how you can use your money to get—you can use your money in ways that are actually negative. And there have been—the Gates Foundation has been accused of that. But you know, as foundations go, I'm pleased that Bill Gates is putting a lot of resources into it.
Iain: It has been a remarkable reputational turn around because Gates has gone from being one of the ultimate software robber barons and has just remade his entire image by becoming a world philanthropist.
Leo: In the great tradition of robber barons like Andrew Carnegie who made all his money in steel and hurt a lot of people but then built libraries all across the United States.
Larry: Alfred Nobel made weapons.
Larry: Dynamite. I mean you know, and now he has a peace prize.
Iain: It makes you wonder what Steve Jobs would have done if lasted long enough but—
Leo: And I think Mark Zuckerberg, it will be very interesting to see. He's already pledged to give away almost all of his fortune as well.
Iain: I was actually at the Zuckerberg Health Announcement.
Leo: Were you?
Iain: They've announced that they're going to do, their plan is to do make all known diseases, make them either eradicated or manageable by the end of the century. And they're pushing huge amounts of money into it. I have to say, when I was at the presentation, it sounded very much like hubris but Bill Gates was actually there and he's working with them on this.
Leo: Sometimes it's important to dream big dreams.
Iain: Exactly. Exactly.
Leo: And if you could throw $36-billion dollars—
Iain: You can get a lot of programs done.
Leo: Might as well. Zuckerberg and Chan, his wife, have pledged $3-billion dollars to that effort and they say they're going to give it almost all away. And I think that's the right way.
Iain: Yea, I think it is the way to do it. You can't take it with you when you die, so you know.
Leo: And how many billions do your kids need, really? I think if each kid has a billion dollars, they're probably going to be ok.
Jason: They'll survive.
Iain: Bill Gates said that he—
Jason: They shouldn't need more than that.
Iain: Yea, I mean Bill Gates said that he was going to leave his children with enough money to do what they wanted, but not to do nothing. So I think that's a nice—
Leo: That's like $20-dollars. Seriously. You can't—I mean not, like they have to work? He can't leave them a million dollars?
Iain: No, no, I think he's leaving them like a hundred million a piece.
Leo: No, they don't have to work. Give them one hundred thousand dollars. They'll blow it on their trip around Europe and then they'll have to come home and work.
Iain: You realize your son is watching this sweating, right? He's like, "Oh, no."
Leo: Oh no, I'm planning on spending his inheritance long before he comes into it. Absolutely. Folks, we did end up on an up note, right? I just wanted to say we can do it. There is good news too in technology and I'm so glad to have you guys around to keep me on the straight and narrow. Iain Thomson, always a pleasure. Thank you for coming up here.
Iain: Oh, it's always good fun when I do.
Leo: Theregister.co.uk. Anything you want to plug?
Iain: Well, we're now out of the gorging season and on to the Christmas run-up so—
Leo: Do you have, do you fellows eat Marmite during Christmas holidays or is there Marmite—
Iain: Every day is Marmite day.
Leo: Every day is Marmite day.
Iain: Every day is Marmite day.
Leo: (Laughing) just checking. I've been watching the crowd. I've become Anglicized now. I just want to, I want to talk in that plummy voice.
Iain: Have you actually tried Marmite?
Leo: I've tried Vegemite.
Iain: Ah, that's the Australian rip off. I'll bring you up some Marmite next time we're up.
Leo: All right. Marmite toast for everyone on the next TWiT. It's made of yeast, right?
Iain: Yea. Brewer's yeast.
Leo: Is it—it's leftovers from making beer.
Leo: Really is what it is. It's a by-product of beer.
Iain: Beer and Marmite.
Larry: I'll just take the beer.
Iain: There's nothing that beer can't give us (laughing).
Leo: Much like cold tar is the by-product of manufacturing natural gas.
Iain: Well, yes.
Leo: (Laughing) But I don't spread it on my toast, friends. Larry Magid, connectsafely.org, I'm sorry, .com, and—
Leo: .org and then safekids.com. What do you do there?
Larry: Well Connectsafely.org has advice mostly for families although we now have a Senior's Guide because it turns out that older folks—
Leo: I need that.
Larry: Yea, we do. I wrote it for myself, actually. So, we have guides for educators, for parents, now for senior citizens but a lot of information like the contract that you mentioned, Leo, to help keep you and your kids safe online. A lot of stuff about privacy and security and we are doing a podcast now as you pointed out at connectsafely.org/podcast where we interview some of the smartest minds in computer security and privacy.
Leo: Nice. I look forward to hearing that. That's great. Nice to have you, Larry. Happy holidays to you.
Larry: You too.
Leo: And from all the way down the peninsula, the beautiful Marin, Jason Snell. I don't want, I don't want to demean the short distance you travel, but why they hell aren't you here every day?
Jason: I just ask, you know, we'll talk.
Leo: You can come anytime.
Jason: We'll talk. It's an easy drive. Yea, people can check me out at sixcolors.com and theincomparable.com.
Leo: Anything else you would like to mention?
Jason: Relay.fm is where I've got my tech podcast.
Leo: A lot of people—you know, Andy's got a show there. That's a really great source. Mike Hurley does a really good job there at relay.fm, damn him.
Jason: It's a big internet.
Leo: (Laughing) thank God.
Jason: Room enough. Room enough.
Leo: I hate competition. No, actually, relay.fm is fantastic and I'm glad that many of my friends have shows there because God knows we can't do any more shows. We're just jam packed. We are doing our Best Ofs. We do this every year because we don't want to make everybody work on the holidays so when is—so, Christmas day is a Sunday this year, right? So our holiday week will be December 26th through January 2nd or January 1st. So that whole week we'll have best of episodes for all of our shows including this show. And as always, we're too lazy to figure out what the best parts of the show were. We want you do all the work so go to twit.tv/bestof. No, I'm just kidding, but if there is a moment you remember like last week with OhDoctah's rant about MacBooks. That will have to make it in the Best Ofs, right? Just, you don't—if you remember the day, the show episode, the time, that would be helpful but even if you just go, "Remember that time when OhDoctah went off?" and put that in there, that would help too. It will help us put it together. It's a lot of work. Our editors and producers work very hard in the few weeks before the holidays to give you a great Best Of. TWiT.tv/bestof to recall your favorite moment from any of our shows. Give us whatever information you know. You don't have to give us all the information. We also, we're going to do our Christmas Special. Lisa's reminding me, December 1st, right? And we know who the panel will yet for that? Denise Howell from This Week in Law, Rene Ritchie from MacBreak Weekly, Steve Gibson from Security Now. What we found, a couple of years ago we did a New Year's Eve panel. We brought together hosts of other shows that don't normally talk together. It was such a great conversation. So we thought that we would do that. That's going to be a special taping on December 1st. Do we know what time it will be? Is it—2:00 PM Pacific, 5:00 PM Eastern that will be 2000 UTC. But it will be on the calendar at twit.tv/cal. We're going to figure that all out, ok. So that's going to be a special holiday episode that we'll then later air on I guess Christmas Day, on the 26th, yea. Day after Christmas. Or, no, Christmas day is the 25th.
Jason: Sunday the 25th.
Jason: It's TWiT day.
Leo: So it will be, it's Merry TWiT Day. TWiTmas we call it. Thank you all for being here. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time, is that 2100 UTC? I believe it is. My math is always a little weak around this time of year because the clocks get all moved around. UTC doesn't change but we do.
Jason: Plus 8.
Leo: Minus 8.
Jason: Oh, minus 8.
Leo: Minus 8. Minus 8.
Jason: Depends on your perspective.
Larry: So it is 20 minutes to three in the morning in London for anybody who cares.
Leo: There you go. If I were in London I'd be asleep by now.
Larry: Well I have a clock. I have my London clock.
Leo: You have a London clock?
Larry: I do have a London clock. A London and a New York clock.
Leo: We should do that. We should have clocks around the wall. We certainly have a lot of clocks.
Jason: You should have a UTC clock.
Leo: That clock should be UTC. I don't know what time it is. It's wrong.
Iain: If you really want to learn a lot about British swearing, call them up right now at 3:00 AM before a Monday morning. You will get invectives—
Leo: (Laughing) Mate, are you bloody crazy?
Larry: I do a BBC show at 5:00 in the morning often Wake Up to Money or something like that so I don't even know, who's awake in London at 5:00 AM.
Leo: That is a well named show, Wake Up to Money. I wish I did it.
Larry: By the way, Leo, I have been sitting here subscribing to magazines for the last 5 minutes.
Leo: (Laughing) Isn't Texture great? It's awesome.
Larry: Well it's amazing. These are magazines, there are a lot of magazines that I would never buy because I would feel guilty buying.
Leo: Exactly. Ad Age or Billboard, both of which you should read.
Larry: Wow, PC Mag's on here.
Leo: Oh yea.
Larry: That's pretty cool. PC World. But you know, like even magazines that are politically out of touch with what I believe that I probably should read just because it's important to have a broader perspective.
Leo: No, I do that. I do that. I read—I know which one you're talking about, the National Review.
Larry: The National Review which I never read. I should.
Leo: It's a great magazine.
Larry: Yea, I should read it.
Leo: I read Reason which is a—
Leo: A Libertarian magazine. I'm very interested.
Larry: The Smithsonian. I pay for, I subscribe to the Smithsonian. Will they give me my money back now that—
Leo: The cost that you pay for the Smithsonian, you could have Texture.
Leo: How about that.
Larry: Well, it's amazing. It's fun. And they even have some tabloid kind of stuff, some junk in here.
Leo: That's my secret guilty pleasure because I pretend I'm reading the Smithsonian but actually I'm reading Entertainment Weekly.
Larry: Yea see normally I just read those at the grocery store before I check out.
Leo: Right. Exactly.
Larry: I never buy them.
Leo: I've got to know what's going on with Blake and Gwen.
Larry: Does anyone ever buy these things?
Larry: Are they still together? I mean this is a fascinating story. Enquiring minds want to know. Thank you for joining us! We'll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye everybody. Yay!