This Week in Tech 597
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! We got a great show planned for you. My good buddy, Mike Elgan stops by, Becky Worley from Good Morning America, and Greg Ferro from the Packet Pushers, he's always fun. We'll talk about mixed and virtual reality and Apple's ambitions in that space. Apple has ambitions to go after Netflix too, and didn't Fark get Farked, or is it really their fault? The discussion is next, on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 597, recorded Sunday, January 15, 2017.
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! The show where we talk about the latest tech news, and we're all in studio today, which I love! Mike Elgan is joining us. He is a regular contributor to computer world, now at Fast Company.
Mike Elgan: Fast Company, etcetera. I got Elgan.com where I put all my stuff.
Leo: And you've been staying here because you have a new granddaughter.
Mike: That's one reason. We're also planning 2017. We're going to be all over the world again, probably starting with Venice, which is nice.
Leo: How hard, how tough! People are moving out of Venice because there's no big shopping malls. Where am I going to get my blue jeans? Becky Worley is also here. Another dear friend from ages gone by. She's the big time host tech reporter at Good Morning America. We see you every day now.
Becky Worley: I'm not quite at host status. I'm knocking on Michael Straehand and Robert--
Leo: Do they have you... are you junior host?
Becky: Oh no. I'm the C team on the West coast, and I love it.
Leo: Our west coast C team.
Becky: flying under the radar at 2:30 in the morning. I love it.
Leo: They love you, because you're on all the time.
Becky: I wake up a lot and have the 4:40 live shot. I'm doing the morning thing. There's so much interesting consumer technology news, and it's so much fun to bring that into a mainstream perspective. And then get to come do this geeky podcasting with you.
Leo: I just noticed this, but there's a little tribute, if you look in your shot to call for help. Remember on the old call for help show we had a window like the one behind you, and there was a fake tree branch with a string on it, and every time you walked by it, somebody would tug the branch. I mentioned that, apparently our staff has decided to put a fake tree branch in the window behind you.
Becky: It looked like a bird that had hit the window.
Leo: It could be anything. It's a tribute. Also here, thrilled to have Greg Ferro back. He's the host of the Packet pushers network. IT and Tech enterprises guru.
Greg Ferro: Good to be back. I was lucky to be here in the valley, and I couldn't hold myself back from coming up to see what's going on.
Leo: Were you here for work?
Greg: Yeah. I'm working with some of the startups here in the valley this week. Then I'm doing a social media tour of about a dozen startups in my field.
Leo: You're not just a podcaster. You actually work.
Greg: This is podcasting. Part of my media presence is to get in front of the vendors and learn about their technology.
Leo: Do you work, like do you consult?
Greg: I consult and analyze with companies about their technology strategies.
Leo: Big companies, too.
Greg: Yes. I'm working with one of the biggest, highest computing labs in the UK right now, working on their next super computer, which is really interesting and have a number of companies I've advised to keep my hand in as a profession, network engineer and enterprise IT engineer. My real full time job is the podcast. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of real technology, not just become a podcaster who is blah blah blah. Which is the risk.
Leo: I take that a little personally, actually.
Greg: No--The chatroom will keep you honest.
Becky: What's interesting about what you do, is you do so much call in actually help, help me figure stuff out.
Leo: Also, I work with Steve Gibson and Paul Thurrott and Rachel Foley. So by working with all these people who are covering these stories, it keeps me up-to-date.
Greg: Anybody who is doing this is doing
Leo: I'm not hands on. You gotta keep up to date, but I'm not hands on.
Greg: I'm much more vertical. I'm in a niche of...
Leo: I try to play with all the new phones, own as many as I can, the new computers, just so I can keep up with stuff.
Becky: We have a bunch of doctors on Good Morning America who are on staff, and I was doing a segment with one of them the other day, I was trying to reach her, and they said, "Oh, she's in surgery." I said to myself: "Would I want a TV doctor operating on me?"
Leo: You wake up and go "Oh, I know you!"
Becky: I would have a podcasting geek helping me with my computer. I don't know about doctors.
Greg: If you have a TV doctor, you actually want them to be in surgery. You don't want a TV doctor who is making stuff up.
Becky: That's right.
Leo: That's true. Did you go to CES while you were out here?
Leo: Mike, did you go to CES?
Mike: No, I avoid that like the plague.
Leo: Becky, you must have gone to CES.
Becky: Negative. It's only the second one I haven't gone to.
Becky: No interest. I've heard from a lot of people, it wasn't a media story.
Leo: The stories, maybe there's little crumbs. You had a great story about Zeis's
Mike: That was last year. That article was written about a year ago, but the reason I put it there is because we were talking about Apple working with Carl Zeis, yeah. They have amazing technology. That was teased at last year's CES. The technology is super solid. If you read that article, I'm talking about how they're working with some competitor to Google. That doesn't support or not support.
Leo: That was the big story from Robert anyway. We talked about this a little bit last week. It's not clear where he got this. He says, in his Facebook post, "A Zeis employee confirmed the rumors that Apple and Carl Zeis are working on a pair of augmented reality or mixed reality glasses that may be announced this year, maybe next year. Then, later on in the post, he says something about the fact that the people in the booth made faces when he mentioned that. Laughed nervously. I hope that was in his source.
Greg: That's what he said in the post. That's his source.
Leo: That's his source?
Greg: He said to the employees, "Are you doing something with Apple," and they laughed.
Leo: A Zeis employee confirms though, a Zeis employee said something to him. Not merely laughed nervously.
Greg: That has changed from what I saw earlier.
Leo: Just a previous post, I don't know. Anyway, it wouldn't be such a surprise. The other piece that is of interest is the Zeis booth was in the augmented reality marketplace, and yet they had no augmented reality products. That confirmed something. They're working on something secret.
Mike: Remember Book source? There was a building where there were books inside.
Leo: I was in one yesterday. Wait a minute, that was augmented reality. I literally was. We had a company called occipital, who makes the Viser for the iPhone, and it's augmented reality so you can seize things and touch things. Our cohost Nathan Olivarez Giles from the Wall Street Journal said touch that wall, he touched the wall, and a hole opened up. There was a bookstore you could scan and go from augmented reality to a virtual reality in a bookstore. Thank god we still have bookstores.
Mike: Thank goodness Amazon didn't run them out of business. So anyways. In bookstores they used to sell flat lenses, it was a flat, credit card sized lens to magnify the book. Remember those? Those are called a fresnel lens. It's 200 year technology. That's the technology that the Carl Zeis technology is based on. They put it into the glass, they have 250 patents supposedly around smart glasses. The idea is for augmented reality, mixed reality, they'll be able to build these into glasses at low cost and these will be...
Leo: Unlike a regular lens you have to grind to precise tolerances, these are... you've all seen them. They're wedges of glass that give you a less high quality experience.
Mike: But imagine what's possible now with lasers and computer driven... so they've apparently got some fantastic technology. It's a separate company. They spun out a separate company just to do this sort of thing. I'm really excited about this technology in particular, but other efforts in general that will result in smart glasses that look like glasses. There are a bunch of companies working on things like that. Taking different approaches, but I love this approach, because you definitely want visuals; you definitely want a screen.
Becky: Let me ask this: why does this form of Augmented reality glasses differ from go go glass? Why do you see the difference between the bright screen in the upper corner of the lens being so socially different or from a market use case better than...?
Mike: I think the hot part of the company they should be partnering with, and I talked about it in the article, should be Luxotica, which is the umbrella company for almost every glasses in the world. Gucci glasses are Luxotica glasses, an Italian company. So I'm pretty sure that within three, four, five years, you'll be able to go the optometrist's office and be like, do you want progressives? You want smart. If it's smart, what's your platform. It's a checkbox item. You get your ordinary glasses and there they are. They have a similar effect as what do they call it when you have two different lenses... bifocals. And you'll be able to get little notifications, so-in-so is calling you. The problem with Google glasses are two fold, first they look stupid. There's a big boom that...
Leo: This guy spent 1500 bucks on them, wore them around for a long time.
Greg: The fundamental thing about Google glasses is they were an ego play. The idea was that they were meant to look like you're a dick.
Leo: I think the dick came free.
Greg: Stupid is as stupid does.
Leo: Up here in fort brag, there are a number of these, the old lighthouses were frenel lenses, made in France. Probably pronounced frenel because French... There's an s in it. These lenses are jewels. I went up to Fort Brag and saw these. This is still operational, it's run by the coast guard, but it was completely restored, and they're just gorgeou slenses. They could make these giant crystal lenses and..
Mike: And focus the light.
Greg: Few things in there. Google glasses were meant to be an ego play. You put them on your face...
Mike: I disagree. It wasn't meant to be an ego play at all.
Leo: I tried to diffuse it.
Mike: If that's the case, why are Snapchat glasses working so well? Because they look like glasses. The problems with Snapchat glasses, if you have a medical optical, you can't use them. The advantage of Luxotica...
Mike: You're saying Snap's glasses are not an ego play? They're limiting...
Greg: They're trying to make ordinary glasses look like an ego play, but they look like ordinary glasses. They operate like ordinary glasses.
Mike: They look ridiculous. They have a lens on both sides.
Leo: Today of all days I didn't bring my Snapchat spectacles in. I could be wearing them now.
Becky: How do you feel when you wear them?
Leo: Like a shmuck? I wore them to Vegas because I was curious what the reaction would be, and Vegas is camera shy to some degree. In fact when you get to Vegas, there are ads that say "Let's keep what happens in Vegas here." Let's not share it too much. Nobody knew what they were. Only we hipsters and Snapchat folks, and tech people.
Greg: We hipsters?
Becky: Greg opts out.
Leo: Know what they are. Even the waitress at the restaurant. I'm taking pictures of her, and she says, what are you doing with those, and I had to explain what they were to her. I think she was probably somewhat uncomfortable.
Becky: Is maybe the difference that Google glass was attempting to be euro... or intellectual?
Leo: That's a great save.
Becky: And the Snapchat glasses are goofy.
Leo: Partly, it's also that they cost 1500 bucks. It was a little pretentious to wear them.
Mike: They were trying to catch content creators and experimenters. It was an experiment, they were up front about it. It was a trial. They didn't know what to do with it. They are doing it. It's probably going to come out for Enterprise. It's going to be a real product.
Leo: It's not though. Augmented reality virtual reality. It's a screen over your eyebrow.
Mike: It can be augmented reality if the application...
Leo: Heads up. Heads up would be super imposed over what you're looking at. So it's like you have a little monitor right here.
Mike: People would be using machines and instructions...
Leo: That I'm excited about. I think augmented reality where it is super imposed, as a heads up display is huge. It's like a reference manual that's there.
Becky: That's where I fundamentally disagree with what you're saying, Greg, that this is going to be an add on to your specs. Do you want polarized, sunglasses that go with it with that perscription? Do you want smart? I'm still not seeing a regular human use case.
Mike: I am. Notifications. There's no camera. That's the thing.
Becky: That's real.
Leo: I walk around and I don't know who I'm looking at. I know I worked with you, I don't remember your name, it pops up with your name, some...
Becky: That doesn't exist.
Leo: I think it exists. I think it's completely doable. They turned off, as far as Google has that capability. Google just turned it off because of the creep factor. The biggest problem, in my opinion, with google glass is the creep factor.
Mike: Without a camera... if you think about it, we're entering this world of artificial virtual assistance, where you can have a smart and useful Siri, Cortana, etc. Am I not supposed to say those words?
Leo: Just don't say Alexa. Ooooh!
Mike: Don't say that! So imagine when you have real pre-emptive, you're walking down the street, hey you should be interested in this, I know you care about this sort of thing, and a little subtle notification that people can't see. And meanwhile, you're wearing ordinary glasses. I think that's what people want.
Leo: I would love that. I would kill for that.
Greg: Most people here have an Apple watch. My visualization is if you take the Apple watch and put it on the inside of the glasses as something you can see as you're moving around as you wrist watch it, that's where I see the progression going.
Leo: That's where I'm most interested in the Scoble's story, I don't know if they're doing it with Zeis, whatever.
Greg: They're doing it with all of them. The big company is talking to everybody who makes components for this type of stuff, they're talking to all of it all the time.
Leo: So it's meaningless to say. Of course they are. That's a given.
Greg: They're talking to Luxotica, they're having meetings all over the place, however...
Leo: Tim Cook has said now at least twice, meaningfully like we are very interested in AR. I think that is him putting a flag in the sand saying we want to claim this. People look at apple saying you got nothing. Siri is way lagging behind everybody else's product. What are you doing besides coming out with watch bands? This is Tim saying we're doing something. As typical Apple, they're not going to tell you anything until they have something. I think that's very credible because of what you said. This would fit into their line. By the way, I think we talked about this on MacBreak weekly. the air pods could have a similar augmented...
Mike: this is the thing. Apple would love for people to be able to wear air pods every waking moment, but they can't. Batteries don't last long enough, they're too weird looking, but glasses can give you audio in a device that only has to be charged once a week. Since you only got the smarts and intelligence and battery and all that stuff in the glasses, people are going to want a little visual cue to go with their audio.
Greg: Think about the production challenges here. Glasses have to be fitted to every single person. You can't produce just one product.
Mike: It exists already.
Leo: Couldn't you have something that goes in the frame...?
Greg: Yes you could, but now you've got to produce an outlet which can customize for every human head. do you want round frames, do you want square frames, do you want clear?
Leo: Luxotica does that. It's about having something they can...
Greg: Apple is not about customization. Apple is about producing one Apple watch that everybody gets. You get Airpods, there is no ability to have over ear... this is the only choice you get. Suck it if you don't. Apple is not about customization. It is about personalization of the experience in software; it is not about customization of the hardware. So for Apple to do glasses would require a fundamental shift in its operations and that is not something it is likely to achieve.
Leo: Unless they make clip-ons.
Greg: That's where Luxotica comes in, these glasses were manufactured in regional locations, so when you go to the optometrist and get your glasses made, they're actually robotic. Your order goes off to an area within about 500 miles of where your optometrist is, and they're manufactured on the spot and shipped to your location, popped into the lenses, blah blah blah. In theory this fresnel effect could be something that is produced in a factory overseas, shipped to their local location, customized into the frame that you choose, and maybe the frames got switchable components inside, but I think that's a decade away, easily. The material science that you need to carry a battery in here...
Becky: Isn't there also a case to be made that Apple is going to scattershot, do everything they can with everyone on every technology to figure out what they can get into...?
Mike: If people start switching to Android so they can have the new Smart glasses from their optometrist, then they will have to do something. I'm sure they're looking at it and considering it. You're talking about batteries. I talked to a startup in San Francisco, tiny startup, they're called "View." They're getting around all these issues. They have good audio through bone conduction, they have batteries on both sides, they have battery on one side, electronics on the other side, and they're using lights, you can customize it. Green means your wife is calling, that sort of thing. Their batteries last for a weekend. You can easily see how notifications with a visual element can be optimized or customized to give you a few days of battery life using today's battery technology. Again, somebody is going to figure this out.
Leo: Apple has a big advantage. The have a rabid fan base that's willing to spend a lot of money. I don't think this Apple watch would go anywhere if it had been from Samsung. In fact, it hasn't from Samsung. So, but Apple could make a fairly expensive product. What I find interesting, I don't think Apple will own this space ever, but I don't think Apple wants to be in this space.
Greg: Apple doesn't do partnerships well. What I'm trying to say is Apple needs to partner with other people.
Leo: And that ain't gonna happen.
Mike: Or buy Carl Zeis.
Greg: Carl Zeis is only one optical supplier, one of about ten. Not even the biggest.
Leo: I don't see these as road blocks, but I do think Apple is a bit behind in so many of the other technologies that are going to be required to make this thing succeed. We are seeing a convergence. Voice is clearly one of the next big things. I would argue that AI learning voice and AR are the next three big things.
Greg: Which is interesting because they have been coming as the next big thing for over a decade.
Mike: AI is transforming...
Leo: We are making this progress. We're in the hockey stick.
Becky: Voice is at the tipping point.
Becky: For sure. I don't buy VR or AR. I see it in gaming.
Leo: VR I'm not excited about. I think it's AR. VR only in the fact that it is used in conjunction with AR.
Greg: There will be niche use cases.
Leo: I don't think you want to walk around town with a VR helmet on.
Becky: I can't help being a consumer reporter and thinking of these through that lens, pun intended.
Mike: Look at how unexpected the a word Echo... I should do a command.
Leo: The Echo surprised us, but it worked.
Mike: For consumers it worked, but this is...
Leo: We don't now the sales.
Becky: I do. Those who have an Amazon voice controlled device in their home have been shown to have 10% higher purchases from Amazon.
Leo: I just bought batteries that way. I do that all the time.
Becky: Frictionless shopping.
Mike: I'm actually moderating a series of panels the week after next, the virtual assistance summit in San Francisco.
Leo: How fun.
Mike: All the heavy hitters are there, it's an amazing conference, and the progress you see year after year is phenomenal. The application of AI, last year a tiny woman from Google got up onstage and showed us how smart reply works in the inbox and in Aloe.
Leo: Is she going to be in the Google Home?
Mike: And she talked for a half hour about the AI behind that. It is mind blowing.
Leo: I was just talking on the radio show. Somebody said I want to tag all my photos, is there a software that will do that. Just upload to Google. Google is amazing. You can... it's one thing to say give me pictures of Paris. You've got GPS, you've got landmarks. But try it with dogs. It will find any breed of dog. That's a big challenge for any intelligence, because a Doberman pincher doesn't look anything like a Schitzu. Yet it knows both are dogs. That's an amazing step forward in machine learning.
Mike: It detects different types of food. You can say show me burgers, show me pizza. It's unbelievable.
Leo: That's hard to do. I feel like huge progress is being made that is not being made at Apple as far as I can tell. You never know, because Apple is a black box.
Mike: Actually has amazing AI too.
Greg: Apple has amazing AI, but it doesn't have the data pool. The thing about Echo is, the point of Echo is to seed it out there to get data. It was never about selling products it was about collecting data to build an AI.
Leo: Both. Why not?
Greg: Most people have too much of a narrow focus.
Leo: Wonderful synergy. We're making ten percent more on these guys and they're giving us data. Google has always done this. I guarantee you that's why Google photos is free and they're encouraging you to upload the pictures. They're building a database of machine learning. Google even said that's why we're collecting voice samples.
Greg: That's why there's no AI startups below a billion dollars, because you have to have the data and the only way you have the data is to tap into...
Leo: In this industry for the past few decades, we've been in the position where somebody could start something in a garage, and really build a business. We are rapidly getting to the point where you can't be at Facebook, you couldn't be at Google, you can't be a machine intelligence company, because it requires too much to get started.
Mike: For a while academics were leaving the university and forming startups for AI, but all the groups of Silicon Valley companies bought them up, especially Deep Mind, Google bought...
Greg: The reason the startups got bought up is they don't have enough data to monetize artificial intelligence.
Leo: Did you see the story, "The Deep Mind?" The Go championship, but what Deep Mind Google has been doing is unleashing Deep mind against real players all over the world, particularly in China and Japan where Go is played, and I guess people didn't know they were playing Deep mind, they thought they were playing a real Go master. It has now beaten the 50 top Go players in dominance. Deep Mind and Alpha Go are getting better and better. In my opinion, Google's huge advantage, and the thing that should scare people, they are farther ahead than we recall.
Mike: This is a product of machine learning. This isn't something they programmed it to do. They programmed it to learn how to play Goh, and every time it beats one of these masters, it gets better. It's also, the Go masters are saying it's transforming the game. It's playing in a way that no human has ever thought to play! It is opening their eyes.
Greg: As the technology lover, let me flip this into the other spaces. The trouble Google has is monetizing this. Apple takes whatever it has got and monetizes it like nobody else does, and has this massive money link to dig it out of any hole. Google has all these great technologies but they struggle to monetize.
Leo: Ruth Porrat, their new CFO has started to cut off Alphabet projects and force others to lay off people, because it doesn't seem like Google's running out of money...
Becky: There always has to be pruning.
Greg: They have to rationalize and focus. You're right. Google does have better technology, but it doesn't have a process for monetizing that technology. That's what Google needs to work on.
Leo: It's like Xerox Park.
Greg: Google cars. Google was way ahead of everybody else.
Leo: Now they're "way mo" ahead of everybody else. I do want to talk about autonomous vehicles. That was another big story and it's going on right now. The Detroit Auto show!
Becky: I found the news from there more interesting than CES. There was definitely a lot more talk.
Leo: You love that new Volkswagen van? The throwback van; it's a concept.
Mike: It's another throwback van from VW that I don't think will l ever see the market.
Leo: It's good to go back to the past. We're going to take a break. Great panel today! Greg Ferro is here from the Packet Pushers network, Packetpushers.net, always good to have you here. We have Becky Worley from GMA, my dear friend from tech TV.
Becky: I love how you refrain from using "old."
Leo: I started, didn't I? And Mike Elgan, this is my old friend, always great to have you here! Our show today, we got a new sponsor. Brought to you by SeatGeek. I love SeatGeek. You get the best deal on sports, concert, and theatre tickets. Online, what's great is we've been doing this a lot lately. Well, who do we want to see? We go to SeatGeek and we find seats. We've done this in Denver, the best seats. We'll go to Denver. We got a day trip to Denver. SeatGeek came along. They created an amazing app, an amazing website that makes it easier than ever to buy and sell tickets. It does price comparisons for you, so you know exactly what the best deal is. They do all the work, you save time and money. Every ticket on SeatGeek is given a grade based on value. So you can see the under priced seats, find the best deals that fit in your budget, it's a great way to shop. We're going to get you a $20 rebate on your first SeatGeek purchase. This one's on me. Go to Seatgeek and download the app. Best thing is to go to the app store of your phone, search for Seat Geek, go to the settings tab, add promo code, TWiT, and you're going to get $20 after you made your first ticket purchase. Download the Seat Geek app. Enter the promo code TWiT today. They've got Hamilton Tickets. Ooooh. SeatGeek. Get the app on your phone and add the promo code TWiT for $20 back on your first purchase. SeatGeek made for geeks with seats.
Becky: My nine year old daughter wants to go to Hamilton so badly.
Leo: Nine years old?
Becky: It's big! It's the... what's the one Abby was in? There was one Broadway show...
Becky: Maybe it was Wicked.
Becky: It's Hamilton for the kids now. She can recite nine songs top to bottom. She just got retainers, so now she's working on the whole...
Mike: She'll appreciate this segment.
Leo: Are you going to get tickets?
Becky: I was flying when the auction happened.
Leo: It's already over?
Becky: Oh yeah. I went in, it landed, I shut down my computer.
Leo: Lisa and I will take you and your daughter.
Leo: The guy who is going to do it in San Francisco is the guy who is doing it in Chicago. They got... and it's the King George from Broadway, so it's going to be fun.
Leo: I could sing it along with your daughter.
Becky: King George's song is my favorite one.
Leo: You'll be back. Wait and see, don't you remember you belong to me?
Becky: We'll kill all your friends and family. Theatre geeks.
Greg: Sports bar, politics, or theatre.
Leo: Consumer reports has changed their mind. Remember for the first time in living memory, I think, they said don't buy the new MacBook Pro, because the battery life is wildly inconsistent, but anybody who has ever tested battery life on a computer should... Consumer report really blew it, because they should have noted, for instance, they got everything from two hour to 18 hours in their tests, then they did it with Chrome and it was great. At that point they should say red flag. Something is wrong here, maybe we shouldn't say anything yet. I don't know if this is true or not, we were talking about this on MacBreak weekly, I think it was Alex Lindsay who said this is why I no longer trust Consumer Reports. They become link bait.
Mike: When was Consumer Reports ever good when it came to technology? Never. Especially big tech.
Leo: They went to press prematurely to get the clicks.
Becky: There is a lot of this methodology that I'm confused by. There are a few things you should know. First thing, Consumer Reports has never been sued. Never been successfully sued for a review. They told me this themselves. Number 2, what confuses me about the methodology here, is when I do a test or anything for ABC, our lawyers insist that we go to the company, talk to them about it, and work through any concerns they may have, lest we get sued.
Mike: You don't surprise them with the article in print.
Becky: No. I don't know if they got a comment or what have you, but you would think that Apple would say, "What did you do? Let's walk through this.
Greg: I imagine Apple just went "meh."
Leo: They did so, it was a big deal, after the article. They may have gone to Apple and said we don't care,
Greg: And Apple said we'll get back to you in a month...
Leo: Which is very Apple. It turns out that Consumer Reports, I don't think this is an unreasonable methodology, but they use Consumer Reports and say they're not going to use a third party browser to test, because we want to use what comes in the platform, that's reasonable. But they did go into the developer options and they turned off cashing in Safari. Reasonably because this test loads pages over and over again with Wi-Fi, so it's testing Wi-Fi page load. It's a fairly decent test, it's not real world, but it's close enough. It turns out when you disable cashing in Safari above surfaces, a rare never seen bug, and that's what happened according to Apple. Apple fixed the bug, consumer reports retested and got consistently high 18 hour battery life and now recommends the Macbook Pro.
Greg: So how long has this been running?
Becky: A couple weeks.
Greg: Longer than a week.
Becky: No, because it wasn't on the show last week and they said five days ago Apple came back with a comment about it.
Greg: Apple released a patch on January 9 that fixed the issue. Consumer reports added the laptops in December. They announced it before Christmas. It has taken Apple roughly a month to come up with a response. In terms of Damage control, that's not good.
Mike: First and foremost, Apple came out with a laptop that is not a worthy successor to their previous Mac.
Leo: I would say my experience with my Macbook Pro is highly inconsistent battery life. So the initial consumer reports measurements, despite the errors, match my actual experience.
Mike: Back in the 90's I was the editor of Windows Magazine, all kinds of battery tests, and you don't have a one d test using one application, you go after graphics, you go after data. You hit that battery with all kinds of different things, you don't try one test in one browser. Everything about this was flawed from both Apple's perspective and Consumer Reports, but the biggest thing to me, is it has to pass a test of reasonableness. When they got horrible battery results from Apple that were not being broadly reported in the press, they should have said wait a minute. There's something wrong here, let's figure it out. Not, we don't recommend this product. I thought it was irresponsible of Consumer reports.
Greg: I'm with you. I thought this MacBook was a dud. We just need... people should avoid it if possible.
Leo: The waters are muddied now, because Consumer Reports is now recommending it, saying the battery life is great, which isn't right either.
Greg: Too many people, like you, are giving us apocryphal comments saying I'm getting in consistent results and Apple's solution...
Leo: It's not apocryphal. It's anecdotal.
Greg: So many people are throwing out comments here and there and you're going like what is this? Whereas previous laptops have been bang on the money.
Leo: Battery life is hard to test, though, right? Everybody uses it differently. The fact that I used the MacBook Pro when it came out in the first week , I used it on MacBreak weekly without a plug, and it died after two hours. I didn't freak out, because there's all sorts of reasons you can have crappy battery life, and the next day it was six hours. Chrome, apparently 50% higher battery usage. It could have been that and I wasn't using Chrome. It could have been that it was brand new. It was still Spotlight indexing. There's all sorts of things. I just kind of live with it, but consumers... we do want a number from the company that is at least Apples to apples, so that we know if it's going to be more than last time, I know what I got from the last one, it should be relatively new.
Mike: There has to be a connection with reality. We all have multiple devices, we all have a sense we walk around with a sense of my laptop gets really great battery life. My phone not so much. After using it a while, you get a sense whether battery life is a problem or you're kind of thrilled with battery life. So the tests have to reflect that. It has to be very broadly done. You have to be very careful about how you do it, and you always have to tweak it over time, so that the experience of using and owning this device matches the general sense you..
Becky: Apple cited that this was one specific flaw in Safari, and that they turned it off. Consumer reports had turned this feature off, and they do this with all their testing. So, it was consistent.
Greg: Why isn't Apple doing the tests that Consumer reports are doing because they're public.
Mike: I don't think it's obscure to turn of caching. That's not obscure.
Greg: More importantly, if you go and talk to HP and Dell about how they test their consumer laptops, guess what they do? They go and run the consumer reports test to make sure it's valid. So I think a few things here. Apple isn't doing its basic due diligence and saying this is going to be tested by consumer reports, why don't we do this? Failure. Second, the reaction was not to do anything about it and just throw up the walls and pretend it's not a problem and blame consumer reports. Third, consumer reports should have said yes, we're getting reports that are inconsistent. They shouldn't have been so didactic and locked into a position. Finally, why did Apple take so long to fix what is a fairly small problem? That bug should have been real easy for them to find.
Leo: Who is at fault? Both?
Becky: Consumer Reports went to press to early with this probably.
Leo: There were red flags when you read their press release. Chrome had great battery life and Safari didn't? Hold on.
Becky: There is a huge level of Apple hubris in them not getting back to them and having enough dialog.
Leo: That's every time. That's non-stop.
Becky: I won't name news organizations, but I know that Apple is starting to mandate that each news organization has one point of contact. because they feel inundated, they feel that there are too many requests coming in.
Leo: I would love a point of contact.
Greg: At a certain practical point, you have to have an incredibly childish approach. The way that Apple is running their marketing is they're running a small marketing team, instead of spreading out the team and having enough people to cope with the inbound requests and hiring in enough people. What we'll do, you do with it.
Leo: It's so interesting how closely Apple has run to the Trump transition. Even the press conference where they had people in the front row applauding, that's what Apple does. It's interesting. Everything is great, huge, superlative.
Mike: That's where Trump learned it.
Leo: Apple is really good at marketing, right? But that arrogance in the long-run hurts you a little bit.
Greg: It's starting to catch it like... you're talking about neuro linguistic programming. Apple is straight up neuro linguistic programming in every one of their...
Leo: Explain that.
Greg: Neuro linguistic programming is when you use keywords to trigger associations. When you use the word "It's fantastic, and you repeat the word it's fantastic." You repeat the word "It's amazing, and it's so fantastic."
Leo: Apple does. If you do a cut down of their speeches.
Greg: By continually repeating and reinforcing the word, you're making sure that the customer or the person in the audience is being programmed to walk away with the perception of fantastic.
Mike: To learn more about this, you need to read Scott Adams' blog, he's the creator of Dilbert. He has been going on about this for a year or two.
Leo: Your conscious mind recognizes how stupid it is. But it still marks.
Greg: There's several examples of this. One of the ways if you put three colored objects in front of somebody and you wanted somebody to pick a single color, what you do is use rhyming words with the color and it will be triggered to a statistically significant degree to pick the color you want them to pick. It's a standard thing. Apple is using these types of tricks in its marketing. It wears out after a while. In the same way when a politician comes into power, you see them use a certain set of media tricks. When Obama came, we're going to be... all of a sudden he started moving to a centrist position. Because he wasn't able to control the message or bring the right wing along with it. These media tricks wear out, and I think Apple's media position is starting to struggle. It's not able to cope like it used to be. The general exodus of staff is an issue.
Leo: Scott Adams calls it the "Moist Robot Hypothesis." In other words, we're biological, but free will is an illusion. We can be programmed once you understand our user interface.
Becky: It goes back to post truth, which is we want emotion instead of information.
Mike: from a technology perspective, credit has to be given to Steve Jobs, who I don't know how he arrived at it. He was the genius and master at this whole idea. Every time he gave an interview or announced a product. You walked away with something in your head that you wanted to put in your head. One of the most casual examples of this, is when he went before the Cupertino city council and said we'd like to build a new headquarters. Spaceship. Since that moment we've all called it the Spaceship campus. He planted this wonderful, fun idea around his building, and he just did it like a bodily function.
Greg: It's just another building, right? There's actually a building exactly like it in Oxford England. It's actually a linear accelerator.
Leo: It's a lot like the GCHQ or one of the...
Greg: I live in the town where GCHQ is. I promise you it doesn't look anything like that. Not at all. If you go to Oxford in the Rutherford Apple research, you'll find the laser light source is a straight out hundred percent Apple copied that building as far as I'm concerned.
Becky: I think that there's a parallel between Steve Jobs and Trump in their communication styles. They look angry, but say positive things, often. When Trump has his brow furrowed and he says it was amazing, terrific, it's powerful when an angry person says positive things. I always got that vibe from Steve Jobs, he was doubt...
Leo: I don't think he's constantly angry. He was angry at you.
Becky: He had an intensity.
Leo: At least Jobs smiled.
Becky: But he has an intensity.
Mike: When a scary person is being nice, you're more perspective.
Leo: You know what scares me is the notion that Steve Jobs and others might be constantly using these techniques of persuasion. It bothers me a little bit. I'm aware of NLP, I've been aware my whole life, but I consciously choose, at least attempt to not use it because it's manipulative. It bothers me that people I respect, like Steve Jobs, would stoop to using these kinds of tricks.
Becky: When you're successful with a style of communication, that's a reinforcement to continue using those style of communication. So if those successes jive with your internal value structure, it doesn't matter.
Mike: Both Trump and Jobs persuade by reframing the conversation. You'd say, "Steve Jobs, why are you killing flash?" He would say "We have limited resources and we need to put all our resources behind technologies that we feel have a future. So we're looking at the future. Does Flash have a future, or does HTML5 have a future?" So pretty soon you're seeing it from his perspective.
Greg: Both of them never defend their position. They always attack the next position. Instead of defending and saying flash is a battery hog and it makes my iPhone run... you don't defend your position you attack the next position and say I'm going over there. While you're here futzing around, and pretending to talk about, it comes down to don't tell me what you did yesterday, tell me what you're going to do tomorrow. I don't want to hear about today's problems.
Leo: I don't think that's manipulative or bad...
Greg: Unfortunately, that catches up with you.
Becky: You end up holding a bag full of promises.
Greg: Eventually the promises turn into hot air. Like the current MacBook pro. Right? Clearly not an astonishing advance, even though they got up on stage and said this is...
Leo: Are you blaming Steve Jobs to the current Macbook Pro?
Greg: They got up onstage and said this is the best MacBook Pro we've ever made, it's got this amazing touch bar.
Mike: I wouldn't blame the absence of Steve Jobs for the MacBook Pro. People blame him all the time, I think if Steve Jobs were alive today it wouldn't have shipped.
Greg: It shouldn't have been on stage.
Leo: The touch star...
Mike: I don't think the touch bar would have made it into the product.
Greg: He would have waited until the next big...
Mike: The entire bottom of the clam shell was touch screen.
Leo: The rumor is that is the next thing. Who is doing that? Toshiba is making a laptop...
Mike: The laptop for a child concept before it went away, that was the consent. You had screens on both sides, you could have a tablet. You could have a book. People are resistant to the idea of non-mechanical keyboards.
Greg: Not all of the problems in the MacBook pro are Apple's making. There's Intel CPUs, production CPUs.
Leo: Intel has fumbled considerably. In fact, I think Intel has lost the game. I think Arm is about to take over. What do you think? This is really up your alley.
Greg: I think we're seeing things like last time I was on this show we talked about the new types of RAM, the SD RAM. The challenge that Intel has is that there's permanent RAM options aren't able to be serviced by the CPU. The bus between CPU and memory isn't fast enough to take advantage of the MV ram capability. They've started producing it and getting it out there, but it's only started to see a ten-times performance improvement, so instead of these things being a thousand times faster, but the MVMA interface has to run over electronics and we were just too slow. We were supposed to be Silicon photonics now. Instead of the chip talking to the graphics chip, the chip talking to the Dram, it shouldn't be an electric signal... The way that electricity... if you have a pipe and you have water running down the pipe, the water actually sticks to the side of the pipe, so the pipe prevents the water from flowing properly. When you take the pressure off, the water keeps flowing because it has momentum. Electric current is roughly the same. It's only so fast that you can drive the electric current. There's only so fast you can trigger the edges and create signals. It's actually incredibly slow. Half the speed of light. We need to be into optical communications in CPU and storage and network.
Leo: One of the problems Intel's tried to solve was to bring them approximately, physically closer. Shorter distance, at least you get less of that. They're putting it in the chip.
Greg: You can increase the hertz on the thing.
Leo: That's limited too.
Greg: That's part of, every time you shrink the die, you reduce the distance between transistors. Now we're hitting finite 14 nanometers.
Leo: Intel gets oddly enough a ten nanometer thin fit. The 835. Do you feel that's a fair prognostication? That Arm is about to consume...?
Greg: I think Intel is struggling to make it work financially.
Leo: Final victory of risc processes!
Greg: It might come down to some obscure metallic material. What type of doping and metal substrates they're using. They've made a decision five years ago to go down a particular technology.
Leo: We saw that happen exactly with titanium. Where they went down the wrong road and ended up with a product that didn't work. They had to rewind and were fortunate that they had a works in Israel that was working on something better.
Greg: To build a Silicon Fab is a five billion dollar investment over a seven to ten years.
Leo: I think it's ten.
Becky: Is this a healthy duopoly thing that is driving it forward, or is this a winner takes all situation?
Greg: It's a winner takes all. Because it's so expensive to make these fabrications...
Mike: This company is in the business of building fads. That's the product.
Leo: Arm is not. It's a fabulous design.
Greg: They're taking the Arm designs and manufacturing...
Leo: Qualcomm does have to build fabs.
Greg: TSMC has managed to build a ten nanometer fab, but I haven't gone deep enough into the technology to know what type of Silicon compound. I'm just not going to track the technology at that sort of level, quite honestly who cares.
Leo: Kevin Creewell is listening. Kevin, if you want to call in, he's a former editor of Silicon...
Greg: In networking today, we're now building components which have a piece of Silicon, which lays directly. Instead of using Silicon electric signal into a laser, which is usually a crystal, they're now building the laser directly into the Silicon chip. That's the module that you're doing today. That material that does the lasing is not fit for CPUs. So you can't suddenly build that component in the same dyer that a CPU is, which is what we need. To some extent that is where the next advance is going to be and intel doesn't seem to be winning there.
Leo: I think also higher level, the fact that Microsoft has announced Windows on Arm, I think the world is moving towards... one of the advantages Arm has is better battery life. I love Marcus Brownley's quote this week. MKBHD. You know who he is, we've had him on, his YouTube channel is huge. He said all I wanted for 2016 was bigger batteries. All I got was a missing headphone jack. Right on. It's as if the consumer is saying...Those air pods work. They solved the pairing issue. Better quality.
Greg: I am not sticking a piece of hard plastic tube in my ear.
Leo: yes you Are! I like my air pods, they fit my ear though. If they don't fit in your ear, you're out of luck, because Apple...
Mike: I appreciate the fact that Apple is able to push people beyond what they think they want right now. This is a conversation you've had on your shows in many ways. People don't know that they don't want a floppy drive. They don't know that...
Leo: I think people know they want headphone jacks and they're right.
Mike: Headphone jacks is an analogue technology. Once you make it digital, magic happens. You have a new revolution. It's a temporary problem, eventually I'll be super grateful that they forced us kicking and screaming into this world. They did the same thing with onscreen keyboard. Nobody forgets when Apple ten years ago released the iPhone, people said this is crazy. Nobody can use an onscreen keyboard, give me a blackberry that has a real keyboard. Now it sounds like crazy talk, because all phones have an onscreen keyboard. We were wrong and Apple was right.
Leo: Apple may win, because already many Android manufacturers have announced no headphone jacks.
Greg: The reason for that is mechanical. Once you pierce the edge of the shell, you have a structural...
Leo: Apple said it also had to do with room in the thing. If you put an analog...
Greg: My problem is the Bluetooth standard is so crap that it's not fit for purpose. Why are we bothering? Going to Bluetooth isn't going to create a new Bluetooth standard for at least two years. So now we're stuck with substandard technology that we're being forced to use by a company that wants to drive me in a particular direction. That's my complaint. Not the fact that the jack has been removed, fine, but Apple should be in the Bluetooth body making a decent Bluetooth standard that works.
Leo: They are the largest manufacturer of Bluetooth headphones in the world, so they have some clout in this space. They claim this W1 chip that they invented for the air pods is the key. I have to admit, pairing is much better. You don't get the dropout. But there are some issues.
Greg: As long as you're not poor.
Becky: Just when you get $14 headphones that sound decent, we have to go to $130 ones that you're going to lose more frequently.
Mike: Women aren't. 85% of air pod customers are men.
Leo: Why is that?
Mike: I don't know. Why is that, Becky?
Becky: I go with my earrings.
Leo: We don't get many women around here, would you explain...
Becky: It's practical. There are too expensive for too little gain...
Leo: The reason Lisa doesn't like them is there's one size and they're too big for her tiny ear holes.
Greg: There's a difference between personalization and customization. Apple doesn't customize but it does personalize. Apple devices are personal, people get very intimate with them in terms of everybody's iPhone is...
Leo: I'm not that desperate. We got a great panel, lots more to talk about. Greg Ferro is here from Packetpushers.net, from GMA, Good Morning America, Becky Worley, who is up at 4AM almost every morning talking to America. In her jammies. You do it for your house sometimes.
Becky: Not any more. I go into San Francisco every day.
Leo: that's awful.
Becky: I like it better. There's no traffic, I don't have to manage... It's better quality. I don't have to be the technician, camera man, and audio person. They have little chocolates in the lobby, and every time I finish my live shots, I take one piece of chocolate. Do you know what I think of? When the alarm goes off at 2AM? Chocolate. It's amazing the power of small rewards.
Leo: Like a mouse in a box. Whatever happened to my pillow? What is this giant marshmallow that I dreamed I ate? Also, Mike Elgan.
Mike: I have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool her on a trip.
Leo: She knows them all. Our show to you today brought to you by the best solution for people who love magazines. I still love magazines, most every month there is a great article in Rolling Stone or Vanity Fair or Atlantic or the New Yorker. An article I'm dying to read. I can't always read online, if it's National Geographic, I want to see the pictures, the photos. Now I can get it all on my iPad, iPhone, Android device with Texture. I don't have to get the expensive newsstand edition. I don't have to worry about cluttering my house, piling up magazines on my coffee table. Texture gets 200 of the best magazines in the world, and delivers them to your iPad. It's like reading the actual magazine. You have all the same pages. You turn the page. There's bonus features you can't get in the magazine like video on many of these. It's very affordable, much cheaper than buying a magazine at the newsstand or subscribing and you just don't have the clutter. Plus, because you're going to get so many magazines and Texture is searchable, you can find so much stuff, find new magazines, new articles, back issues in there as well of course. Now, Texture's normally $9.99 cents a month which is really a great deal. That's the cost of 2 magazines at the newsstand. I like to take the sex quizzes in Cosmo. I don't know about you but that's just fun for me.
Mike: I always fail them.
Leo: Yea, almost always. I'm trying to. One day I'll pass. But that's what—I'm not going to buy Cosmo for that but it's fun when you have it. Or People magazine, you know, it's fun when you have it.
Mike: The New Yorker for the cartoons, although everybody should read that cover to cover anyway.
Leo: I love The New Yorker and this is a great way to get it. You don't have to—
Mike: And of course Fast Company, which has some of the most brilliant writers.
Leo: It's in there. Mike Elgan in there. Cooking Light. I love it. Anyway, here's the deal. We're going to get you a 14-day free trial. Why subscribe to a couple of magazines when you can have them all on your smartphone or tablet? I favorite the magazines I want. They automatically download. So even if I'm disconnected in the air in a cabin somewhere, I can read my favorite magazines. Texture is giving you a free trial for 2 weeks when you go to Texture.com/twit. Texture, T-E-X-T-U-R-E.com. Just like text in a magazine. I don't know what the U-R-E's like. Texture.com/twit. 2 weeks free right now.
Leo: We had a fun week. We had a lot of good stuff. Specials from CES and well, I'll tell you what. Take a look.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT:
Jason Howell. Megan and I teased on this very show that someday, we would totally switch phones for a month.
Megan Morrone: I set it to Chinese so that it's even more complicated.
Jason: Great. You're really setting me up for success, here. Thanks a lot, Megan.
Narrator: Home Theatre Geeks.
Scott Wilkinson: Hey there. Scott Wilkinson here, the home theatre geek. This week I'm roaming the floor at CES 2017.
Male: We developed a technology that uses little actuators that vibrate the panel and make basically a stereo speaker system and the voice comes from the screen, not from below or the sides.
Narrator: The New Screen Savers.
Leo: This is the Bridge, the newest reality headset for the iPhone.
Jeff Powers: What's new and special about it, is it actually can map your environment and then do AR or mixed reality where you bring characters or whatever in to the world with you.
Leo: No, no, it's a fake, it's a trap.
Becky: Oh, that's so cool.
Leo: Isn't it cool? Gee, you put a hole in our wall. That is freaking cool.
Narrator: TWiT. Now, where'd I put my iPhone?
Ron Richards: Silver lining is hopefully by the end of this adventure, we will embrace you back with our green Android arms and we will have converted Ms. Morrone.
Jason: One would think. However, I have noticed ever since I've started with iOS and I'm really popular here at work. Lots of people talk to me.
Florence Ion: That's what happens when you buy an Apple product.
Jason: Everybody stands around and we talk about like what you can do with your phone. It's really cool. It's really cool.
Ron: Oh, Lord. Oh, Lord!
Leo: Yea, that's actually fun. For a month, Jason and Megan are exchanging. So Jason, host of All About Android's using an iPhone and Megan, host of iOS Today is using an Android phone. She's using a Pixel. And it's really interesting to watch.
Becky: She seems to be hating it more than you would think.
Leo: She hates it. Well, it's a bit of a struggle because Android is—there's a big learning curve, frankly, much more so than the iPhone. So I think she's struggling a little bit. I love Android. I think the Pixel's an amazing phone.
Mike: I think the real lesson, you know, people always bash the other platform but a lot of that is you're just used to the way your own platform is and you try to use it and it doesn't work, doesn't seem intuitive.
Leo: Phones is phones. Megan is here with a look at what's to come this week. Megan?
Megan: Thanks, Leo. Here's a look at just a few of the stories we'll be watching in the week ahead. Today is Wikipedia Day on January 15th, 2001 the crowdsourced encyclopedia launched to the world which means that today is its 16th birthday and it would like you to buy it a car or give a donation. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler resigns this week. He's already given his final speech in which he gave one last plea in support of net neutrality which will arguably be his greatest legacy. This week we officially say goodbye to 6-second video phenomenon Vine. Twitter has confirmed that they will shut it down on January 19th and convert it to the Vine Camera. That's an app that will let you record Vine videos. The Vine community however and the social network will be no more. Netflix announces earnings after the close of the market this Wednesday. We'll be watching for revenue, contribution margins and subscriber growth numbers which are the big questions for Netflix since the continue to avoid the advertising model. Jason Howell and I will cover all of this and a whole lot more all week on Tech News Today. That's recorded each and every weekday at 4:00 PM Pacific and that is a look at the week ahead. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Thank you, Megan. Monday through Friday, 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern time, midnight UTC for Tech News Today. I didn't know Wikipedia's celebrating its 16th birthday.
Leo: That's amazing. This is actually—so iPhone is 10 years old this week. The video game industry began in 1968 with the patent that made TV video games possible. Ended up being the Magnavox Odyssey. Remember that? No one remembers the Odyssey. That was a terrible, terrible thing. What else? Big anniversaries this day. I still think Wikipedia is the most amazing example of what the internet's capable of. Just amazing. And Bravo.
Mike: Yep. It's pure volunteerism.
Becky: It is the wisdom and idiocy of crowds.
Leo: And then there's Twitter. Yes (laughing). Well, you like Twitter.
Becky: It's so funny how wide—
Leo: The ladies love Twitter.
Becky: Love the Twitter.
Leo: The ladies love the Twitter.
Becky: The pendulum swings so drastically when I consider Twitter.
Leo: Yea, me too actually. It's a love hate thing.
Becky: There's so much vitriol and yet there's so much freedom and they go clearly hand in hand.
Greg Ferro: So I'm a huge Twitter fan because I don't have to put my personal information into it.
Greg: Whereas if I go into Facebook or Google or any of the other, LinkedIn, I have to overshare all of my personal data and you know, quite honestly, Microsoft on LinkedIn. I don't trust Facebook. I don't think anybody trusts Facebook. And I've gotten so many ideas about that. Twitter you can be whatever you like. And—
Becky: Can I share something that scared me this week which was a website that I did not know exists called Family Tree Now.
Leo: Yea, yea, a lot of people shared that with me.
Becky: Holy cow.
Leo: It doesn't have me.
Becky: Yea it does.
Leo: No, no. It doesn't.
Becky: It does because not only did I find you, I found your kids on it. It was unbelievable. So this thing is an incredible linkage of databases that will say who your known associates are and your previous addresses. I found the address that you and Jennifer lived at back when you lived in San Francisco.
Leo: Oh, it did find me. I wonder why it didn't find me the last time I used it.
Becky: And what's different about this than some of the others, Find People Fast and all of those sites, completely free and actually very elegant in its design. I was totally tripped out by how immediate it was. I was able to search tons of people.
Mike: It is fast, too.
Becky: The stalking on this site is scary.
Leo: It's got every address I've ever lived at.
Becky: You can opt out.
Greg: I'm back to Cornell.
Becky: Well, I'll tell you what. It's really interesting. I had a—
Leo: Wait a minute. This is interesting. Where do they get this information? Is this from—this has to be from credit records.
Becky: I have no idea. This is the stuff you would normally pay for where you'd have to create a log in at one of these sites and then you would pay for these individual kind of report.
Mike: Normally this is the kind of stuff you pay for.
Becky: This is a scary stalking tool. You can opt out. I opted out on Friday and my information has been removed. But just a little anecdote—
Leo: This is a genealogy site.
Becky: Supposedly. But these aren't dead people. These are living people. Now, I sublet my apartment in Seattle in, back in the early 90s. The guy stiffed me. I sued him in small claims court. He never paid. I have been searching for him for 20 years.
Leo: Did you find him?
Becky: Hired a private investigator. Found him on this site. He lives 10 miles away from me.
Leo: Are you going to go visit him?
Becky: Searched his name on LinkedIn? Guess where he works. Guess who will be getting a garnishment notice from me. I have been looking on and off using all of these sites for 20 years and a private investigator and only this found him.
Mike: Now you have to find a new hobby.
Leo: You know I got a lot of emails from people and I saw a lot of tweets about Family Tree Now and I thought I'd searched. I guess I didn't do it right because you're right, there's a lot of information on me.
Greg: Is this related to 23 and me?
Becky: It's a woman in Roseville outside of Sacramento who started this database and has—it's incredibly elegant. It's really good. Too good. And totally free and easy.
Leo: There is a scary lot of information on here and boy, I'm puzzled by where this information is coming from. But I think really it's probably just collating information that's been spread around.
Greg: They really don't talk much about the background. It just says, "We like taking services that typically cost money and making them free so everybody can use them."
Leo: Some technology veterans who used to work at the NSA.
Becky: I think its address based because it like went all the way back to known associates were like roommates that I had at different times or like the—
Leo: Well that would mean it's credit reporting. Those are—the credit agencies know all those places.
Leo: But how would they get it out of credit agencies?
Greg: Probably got it off the hackers. Credit agencies are hugely insecure.
Leo: Actually that's an interesting point. Could just be collating a bunch of hacked data.
Greg: If you just collect a bunch of hacked databases you could probably build a substantial database.
Mike: From the dark web go shopping for—
Becky: Well that's the thing that scares me about this not being—
Leo: It's also really creepy because this is their About Us page and it really pretty much doesn't say anything except here's their kitchen.
Greg: Doesn't give an address.
Leo: It's in Roseville, California.
Greg: Where's the board of directors?
Leo: It says no names of anybody. Obviously these are real pictures of their ancestors. Yea, a lot of help that is. That's it. This sounds like the CIA to me.
Becky: But also, because there's no sign in, because there's no CAPTCHA, think of how easy this is to scrape.
Leo: Oh yea. Oh yea, you could automate this real quick.
Becky: So that—
Leo: And why is it free? Well, you do pay if you want more, right?
Becky: They have ads that run, that look exactly like records that are a part of their own design and you click on it and you don't even realize it's a paid product until you get way deep in it. And then they want to charge you. And so again, the good thing about it is you can opt out and that did work. But creepy.
Leo: Well let me just sign in with my Facebook and give them a little more information.
Becky: Good. Good idea. Just do that. Nice.
Becky: So anyways.
Leo: U.S. only. That's the good news.
Becky: It's funny the things we worry about that are, we perceive—
Leo: Well everybody's so worried about Google and our privacy and that they're reading our gmail.
Becky: The NSA.
Leo: They can just go to this.
Becky: That's what I'm talking about. That stuff is out there. Creepy, right?
Greg: Facebook's—that's Facebook's class data. Although Facebook's got a much greater reach. They're actually tracking much more metadata about you like they follow you around. They actually link cookies in your browser and follow you around.
Leo: And that's why I'm of the strong opinion that Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for president in 2020. This is one of my favorite stories that both Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos suddenly woke up one day and said, "It's that easy? We ought to do this."
Becky: Well Tony Stark stuff, right?
Leo: And what is the conflict of interest if the guy who runs Facebook, who can clearly totally manipulate the election, if he should choose to, runs for president? He will be 35 like the month before the filing deadline. I mean it all fits into place. And it makes perfect sense. And I could even see—and by the way, he's going on a 50-state tour to meet people in all 50 states this year.
Mike: On the back of a train. I'd rather be CEO of Facebook than the president. Why would anybody want to be president?
Leo: That's what everybody says. When I say this they say, "Well, why would you want the demotion?"
Mike: He's already the emperor of the world.
Greg: It would be useful to have a 2-million man army.
Leo: Yea, there's certain things in a private industry. You don't have nukes.
Mike: He doesn't have nuclear bombs, yea.
Leo: But I wouldn't be surprised and I don't know Mark Zuckerberg but from what I know about Mark Zuckerberg—by the way, this article is by Nick Bilton, is that he's a do-gooder. I think he's a—I am not of the opinion that he is the evil incarnate. I think he wants, he really wants to make the world a better place. And what better bully pulpit?
Mike: Can we argue about that? I don't think he's a do-gooder at all. So basically he—
Becky: The man wants to give away his entire fortune.
Mike: Of course. Why not? Exactly.
Becky: How could that not be doing good?
Greg: Because he stole it from somebody else.
Mike: Money can buy you things. Ok, it can buy you material comforts. It can buy you security. It can buy you fun. It can buy you lots of things. One of the things it can buy you is influence. And he has enough money ten times over to buy all the things that money can buy. What he doesn't have the money to buy is to have much more influence in how the world works. And we all—I like solar power better than other types. We all have opinions.
Leo: Yea, you have a pet project.
Mike: Yea, I'm not so crazy about GMOs. I have all these different opinions. What he's doing, is he promising to take his money and buy the things that currently his money can't buy. And that is he is going to throw all this money into things so that the world works the way he'd like it to work, whatever that is. And Bill Gates has done a similar thing to that. But essentially, we all saw the Matrix. What do men with power want? They want more power. So he's spending his billions to put himself into a position to overrule other interests in the world so that his ideas and his views, his desires win the day.
Leo: Larry Page wanted an island so he wouldn't be regulated. He even said it. At Google IO he said, "I want an island."
Mike: You're talking about Mark Zuckerberg, after doing a big speech, an anti-Trump speech about building walls, he went to Hawaii and built this big wall.
Becky: No, it was not a big wall.
Mike: It was a wall.
Becky: It is a smallish wall—
Mike: To keep out the riff-raff.
Becky: It is 3.5 feet.
Leo: I could climb a 3.5 foot wall.
Becky: And that wall is not comparable at all and I know from first hand knowledge.
Leo: Becky knows.
Greg: I think the point you're trying to make, Mike, is the Silicon Valley hierarchy is so full of itself that it thinks that it can go and fix the world.
Mike: That's exactly true.
Greg: So they're going to go and take their bully rules and going to shove it down other peoples' throats.
Mike: I'll go even further.
Greg: And they believe they're the smartest people in the room. And most often they lack the empathy of a dead snake.
Leo: That's exactly right.
Greg: They are incredibly foolish—
Mike: They're rabid capitalists lining their pockets but they want to couch their aspirations in this like we're saving the world.
Leo: The only reason I don't think he's the devil is because I'm somewhat aligned with the things he wants.
Mike: So you agree with him. But if you disagreed with him, then he'd be the devil.
Leo: Then I'd be very upset. Right.
Becky: How does that differ from Warren Buffet?
Leo: Warren Buffet will not run for president. I think Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for president.
Becky: But in terms of doing the most good for the most people.
Greg: He doesn't have a vision of doing good for the people.
Leo: I think Buffet is somewhat humble.
Greg: He doesn't have a vision. He doesn't want to—
Leo: He's humble well.
Becky: I disagree with you guys.
Leo: You nailed it with your description of the Silicon Valley icons. They are often the smartest. I remember Steve. Steve Jobs was like that. Smartest person in the room. That didn't make them a good person. But sometimes people who are so smart don't—they can't see the failings and they believe that they are a good person, empathetic and all this stuff. They don't understand that they in fact lack that. And so –
Greg: That's exactly what got us Brexit and Trump.
Leo: Well, what's interesting is, and Nick's article says, "'He wants to be emperor' is a phrase that has become common among people that have known Mark over the years." He points out some other data points. Remember, Mark got religion. Or at least didn't deny that he was an atheist, right? He says, "I believe religion is very important." He didn't say, "I'm religious." But that is a check box you have to check if you're running for president.
Becky: His sister's—
Leo: Yea. He just hired president's campaign former campaign manager David Plouffe to lead policy and advocacy for the Chan Zuckerberg initiative.
Becky: He's been at Twitter all this time so he's been in the private sector.
Leo: He has as I mentioned, announced he's going to meet people in every state and maybe the biggest give away, when Facebook reorganized so that he could give all this money to the Chan Zuckerberg initiative. It was set up in such a way that he could continue to run Facebook even if he took public office.
Becky: Conflict of interest is not the issue one would consider it used to be.
Leo: Ok, but that's interesting. So I think this is about—they're going to watch President Elect Trump very carefully to see if he can navigate that conflict of interest.
Becky: Do you perceive Zuckerberg as having an ideological bent at a sever angle to the President Elect?
Leo: Well that would be, at least for Bezos, and possible for Zuckerberg, that would also be a stimulus, right? Oh, I never even though. I could do this. I don't like what I'm seeing. It's about time for the smartest man in the room to run the place.
Becky: That's what I think is happening.
Leo: That's the ego.
Greg: That doesn't necessarily mean the smartest man in the room is the best person in the room.
Leo: No, empathy is important.
Mike: He's thinking, "I, without any help from the Winklevii, ushered into existence this magnificent Facebook. And so those idiots in Washington, they don't know what they have coming. I'm going to go in there and fix everything." This is like when Eisenhower went into office, Truman said, "Poor Ike. He's used to the military. You give orders and people do it." He's like, "Here, when you're president, it's almost impossible to get anybody to do anything."
Leo: Yea, I love that. Obama said that and I've forgotten who else said that the power of the presidency is merely the power to persuade. But I don't think people like Zuckerberg or Bezos are thinking that way.
Becky: If you have a publicly held company, I think you feel hamstrung all the time by the responsibilities you have to your shareholders.
Leo: That's right. You've got a board. Yea.
Greg: But those things exist for good reasons. So if you cast your mind back to Victorian era politics, say around the 17th and 18th century, when the incredibly wealthy people who built up enormous wealth on the backs of slaves or trade or exploitation of the far east or India or the colonies down in Africa or stuff like that, and then suddenly the developed a conscience and started to invest their money in making life good for their workers. So for example in England during that Victorian era, the reason that they started to introduce school meals was not because they wanted to do good for their children. What they actually were concerned about was one, that the children were starving by the time, and then growing up to small.
Leo: Yea, they're not good workers.
Greg: They're not good workers. And they're also not good army, not good soldiers because they're not physically strong. So they're literally instituted the feeding of the poor as a way to ensure the perpetuation of the positions of privilege. But clothed it in generosity. Now what we're seeing is massive wealth distorts your perception already I think.
Leo: The rich are not like you and me.
Becky: Well they can do anything. So if you could do anything, wouldn't—and you were in a time where you felt afraid for your child, your child of color—
Leo: You'd want to be president.
Becky: Your wife who's public health is her main initiative nd you see the ACA being cut away, wouldn't you choose to do anything to counter what you're seeing the erosion of things you hold dear?
Mike: No, I'd go to my Hawaiian island and build a higher wall.
Leo: That's you. You don't have Dothraki death meals when you watch Game of Thrones.
Mike: Not every night.
Leo: Apparently that's what Mark does. So a show of hands. Who would vote for Mark Zuckerberg as president?
Becky: Against whom?
Leo: Ah, against whom.
Greg: It would depend. That's a difficult—it depends on what platform.
Becky: Against Jeff Bezos?
Mike: Yea, I'd vote for Zuckerberg over Bezos.
Mike: Yea, because Jeff Bezos is a megalomaniac.
Leo: He really lacks empathy.
Becky: That's not why I wouldn't vote for him. It's more of I see him as such a capitalist, more so than Zuckerberg.
Mike: And I don't want to hear him laughing on TV.
Becky: With more policy.
Greg: So things are very different. So I grew up in Australia which is very much a social democracy where there's a public safety net and a very substantial free healthcare, unemployment benefits and so forth and so on. And I now live in the U.K. Again, social healthcare, very fundamental. I do not work in the U.S. because there is no fundamental human rights here in terms of no public healthcare, there's no safety net. If you fall out of the system, let's say—
Leo: This is a country where you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and it's up to you to achieve—
Mike: Just don't injure yourself while you're pulling yourself up your bootstraps.
Leo: How can I take care of you if you don't want to take care of you?
Greg: I know. I love it. I mean this is the only country in the world where medical bankruptcy is a thing.
Leo: Really? The only country?
Greg: Yep. Where you can actually—
Leo: We're number one in medical bankruptcy.
Becky: We are. We are exemplary.
Mike: We have amazing medical bankruptcy lawyers though. Amazing.
Greg: And that helps so much. I mean I just, I'm a bit of a believer in—I'm not a big fan in the universal basic income. I think there's so many flaws.
Becky: That's insanity.
Greg: No, there are reasons.
Mike: When AI's doing all the work, we've got to figure out some way to eat.
Greg: So the basic premise behind unemployment benefits, or universal basic income is if you don't feed people and keep them in their houses--
Leo: They'd make terrible soldiers. They revolt.
Greg: They come out of their houses and start causing riots and revolts and you end up with the peasant uprisings of the years gone by.
Leo: The truth is it's very clear that the history of government is the history of trying to prevent a peasant uprising.
Greg: Yes. And so if you don't start thinking about—like we're talking, I was reading a research article this week, I'll try to find the notes and get it into the show notes, they're predicting something like 40% of middle management jobs will disappear in the next 10 years through machine running and AI. So particularly imagine, so let me give you a scenario.
Leo: But every job below that or a great deal of jobs below that will also disappear. Forget middle management, who's going to drive? Nobody. Who's going to be a cashier? Nobody.
Greg: But middle management has particularly been safe, right? They sit in a—what they're saying now is—
Leo: The first people I'd fire is the middle managers.
Becky: I have a hypothetical question to you.
Mike: Even the tech journalists are ok.
Greg: Quarterly review. So they're talking now a lot about artificial intelligence which will conduct a quarterly review.
Leo: Oh, God.
Greg: So you will literally have this AI—
Leo: It is time for your performance rating. Come to my office.
Becky: It's like that already, isn't it (laughing)?
Mike: People already have software that knows who's going to quit and when.
Becky: So when I went up to Amazon to talk to them about this new concept they have for stores that have no cashiers. You walk in, you get your stuff, sensors tell them—
Mike: They already have that. It's called shoplifting.
Becky: That's what I said. That's amazing technology that already exists, right?
Mike: Yea, it's incredible
Becky: They said that as many people will work in those stores as work in your current 7-11's.
Mike: Working in security.
Becky: Because they're going to be prepping the food, they're going to be doing all the backend work because what you're going to buy is stuff that's going to eradicate cooking or they're going to be able to allocate all this other resources.
Greg: Rubbish. That's a lot of rubbish.
Becky: I was amazed that they were trying to spin this like how are you even thinking?
Greg: The first store might come out all that great and then straight after that there will be an accounting looking at the bottom line going, "You know, if we got rid of all those high cost goods, we could just increase our profit margin and boom." That sounds like utter rubbish.
Becky: Here's one other question.
Greg: They're fooling themselves.
Leo: What would you tell your kids? What do you tell your kids that they should pursue going forward so they can survive in this world?
Becky: I think it would be folly for me to try to predict who they will be and who the future will be.
Leo: So they're screwed.
Becky: Pretty much. But that's the whole point is that we've all figured it out.
Leo: Universal basic income, maybe they don't have to work.
Greg: The bottom line of universal basic income is there are—you will have vast unemployment. And those people, if they don't have jobs to take, what do they do for food and medical and housing?
Leo: In most cases what happens though at least so far with universal basic income is it eliminates all entitlements. So you get a lump sum but you're responsible for your healthcare and everything else out of that lump sum.
Greg: In the U.S. where healthcare is a problematic industry, yes. But in other countries, it would not necessarily.
Becky: Didn't we have that in Alaska?
Leo: Yes, because they had oil, right?
Becky: Right. So they got their oil check every month.
Leo: Everybody got a big check.
Becky: How'd that work out?
Leo: My fear is that it's a perpetual motion machine because who's providing the money? I mean what, I'm going to give the money to—I'm going to spend some of my income so the corporations can make money so they can give me back my income? But that doesn't—it's not going to work. It has to be something adding value to the system like oil reserves adding value to the system.
Greg: Well look at the riots we saw in Ferguson. Why did those people start to riot? Fundamentally it comes down to---
Greg: Poverty. So if you don't start thinking about—so if you start to increase, you know, cut jobs at radical levels, you're now going to have vast unemployment. If you don't have enough food or don't have enough healthcare or whatever, then what else is there?
Leo: It's fair to say that fake news and the Comey letter and all that aside, Trump won fundamentally because a lot of people were scared because they didn't see a future. And I—
Greg: Well it's very difficult to understand social democracy. The idea that government spending can be a safety net to keep you safe.
Leo: Well unfortunately it's a non-starter in the U.S. just because of our national history and our personalities. We just can't—
Greg: How universal basic income works out of a time, there's got to be a model. So how do we get to the current set of economic morals that we operate society on today? They've evolved over two or three hundred years. So trying to predict where UBI goes is very, very difficult but we know some form of it will be needed if we start, continue to reduce jobs with tools like Facebook. Look at what Facebook's done for recruiting. Look what LinkedIn's done for recruiters and just wiped out vast industries and there's no more need to place job ads in the local newspapers. You don't find them because you go find them somewhere else, right? So all of that technology that these people in Silicon Valley get all clever and feel great is actually been destructive to the economy overall.
Mike: I wrote a column about this and did a lot of thinking about it and it's like they talk about disruption. Let's disrupt this and let's disrupt that. And within Silicon Valley circles, disruption feels like something is being fixed. Outside of Silicon Valley, disruption sounds like something being's broken. Because basically like someone's going to have self-driving trucks. Well there's hundreds of people who own small trucking companies and that disruption means that one 30-year-old is going to crush your industry and become a billionaire while you get in the unemployment line. That's what disruption is to a lot of the world. And I think that has—
Greg: Look at Amazon's public cloud. We're talking now about Amazon's public cloud, AWS is running roughly around a $10-billion dollar run rate. Depending on who you listen to and what sort of numbers you use, that's probably destroyed $50 to $100-billion dollars' worth of revenue in the Enterprise IT market.
Greg: It's either a 5 to 10 to 1.
Leo: Who is disenfranchised by AWS?
Greg: Oracle, Cisco, IBM.
Leo: It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Greg: (Laughing) But you know, the companies who used to produce software, companies that used to produce computers, that which is done in Enterprise IT, people and sales people. So it's not just companies it's also head count being reduced. You don't need so many sales people.
Becky: In my grandmother's lifetime, technology changed at a faster pace than in any time in history. In my mother's lifetime, social norms changed at a faster pace than in any time in history. And I think that in my lifetime, economics will change at a faster pace than in any time in history and that's what we're fundamentally talking about.
Greg: I would agree with that.
Leo: Wow, you guys are smart. I just want the new iPhone.
Becky: (Laughing). You can have it.
Leo: All right. Lots more to talk about! Mike Elgan, Becky Worley, Greg Ferro. This is a good panel. I hope everybody's enjoying this conversation. Very, very interesting.
Becky: We've danced around politics I think with real—
Greg: On a razor's edge.
Becky: I hope it's been a razor's edge. There's not a lot of judgement.
Mike: Nobody said golden showers!
Becky: Oh. There we go.
Leo: Actually we can talk a little bit about it. There's a tech angle to this leaked dossier. I shouldn't say leaked. But it's interesting. For instance, one of the pieces implied that Telegram, the secure messenger service created by Russian, the Mark Zuckerberg of Russia, Pavel Durov, in fact was cracked by the FSB, the Russian Security Service and that some of the information came from that. Telegram was quick to deny that they had been hacked but they've always used their own, roll your own encryption, which is never really been fully vetted. In fact there's good reason to think it may not be fully secure. They had a good explanation for what they believe the leak was which had to do with phone number verification of an account. But I thought that was very interesting.
Mike: I always get a kick out of pundits who say—
Leo: You might not want to use Telegram anymore for your messaging.
Mike: But see, you don't know what is secure and what isn't. I always get a kick when people say, "Oh, well the NSA can't crack that."
Leo: We don't know, do we?
Mike: We don't know.
Leo: We don't know.
Mike: They exist to crack everything and they have, you know, I'm sure that they have access to things, lots of things that we have no idea they have access to.
Leo: Well, here's what we do now. We know that the math is hard. But we also know that it is solvable. It is crackable given enough time and horsepower. And what the missing piece of that puzzle is, is how much horsepower the NSA is capable of applying.
Greg: So for the current generation of cryptos, we're talking about 1,024 keys, it's generally assumed that that's not crackable with brute force. So you can't just feed the key—
Leo: At all.
Greg: At all. No, until quantum computers come through the broad assumption is—
Leo: It's just not fast enough. And I use a 4096 bit key.
Greg: The challenge was with Telegram was, if at any time you could get the keys, then you could take control of it. In this particular situation—
Leo: It does have some forward secrecy but it's not perfect forward secrecy.
Greg: Yes. But this is just a known, you know, if you're using public key cryptography and if you can get to the right place, then yes, you can get those keys and decode it.
Leo: Decode every—
Greg: But that applies equally to TLS, equally to—
Leo: But there is perfect forward secrecy of the record. There are technologies—in fact—
Greg: It's only if you implement Telegram in a specific way that it's actually insecure and that is by design. It's insecure because that's the only way the program can work. So it's not like—
Leo: Signal is still—now, what's interesting is What's App was accused of having a flaw. Moxie Marlinspike who created the OTR protocol by Open Whisper systems, the protocol used by What's App and Signal, says that was a misunderstanding of how Signal worked and in fact he does not believe that What's App has a back door. There is no What's App back door says Moxie Marlinspike.
Greg: If Moxie says it than it's not hard to believe.
Leo: I trust Moxie. Yea, yea, I knows a lot more than mortal man.
Greg: I think so.
Leo: And I'm sure Steve Gibson will talk about this on Security Now on Tuesday.
Greg: At length, no doubt.
Leo: (Laughing) Steve does nothing with brevity, so yea. But you'll-
Becky: But he does it with such enthusiasm the whole way through.
Leo: And we'll understand it better by the end.
Mike: When you're talking about security you don't want people skimming over the details. You want all the details.
Becky: Like I would say, you don't want me to be your surgeon. I will leave a tool inside of your body. That's like how I feel about—you don't want me to be your security guru.
Leo: And that was the complaint about Telegram is they rolled their own encryption and that's not generally—
Greg: Although that's in the history. That's long-term history. That's why everybody basically is moving to open source TLS libraries that have been known and tested and tried is because you can't do it yourself. It's much better having one implementation globally where conceptually it's either or, or nothing. The flip side of that of course is if there's a bug in that library, we're all done.
Leo: Great new video from the EFF. We've been playing it. I asked our staff to throw this in. Baratunde Thurston explaining encryption and why it's so important.
Baratunde Thurston: This is the internet and it's filled with unencrypted data.
Mike: It really is a series of tubes.
Baratunde: Data that can be targeted by all kinds of eavesdroppers.
Leo: The Hacker looks like Moxie.
The Hacker: All I need is Wi-Fi and some software.
Greg: Not a coincidence.
The Hacker: And I can see everything you're up to.
Baratunde: The EFF has been protecting your privacy online for over 25 years. And now their goal is to encrypt the web, the whole thing. Switch every site from insecure http to secure https.
Leo: That's what you're talking about. TLS.
Baratunde: That makes all the difference.
Mike: Have you ever seen him wear a suit and tie?
Leo: He's a great looking fellow.
Baratunde: The lock lets you know your connection is safe. Here's the problem. Not every site supports this. But the EFF has you covered using powerful tools. First is HTTPS:// Everywhere. It's a plugin for browsers like Chrome and Firefox. It encrypts your communication with most major websites. So they can't spy on you.
Leo: They being the hackers. The hacker flipped me off. This is also good. Now this is not Let's Encrypt. But it's similar technology.
Baratunde: Simplifies and automates the whole thing.
Leo: Sounds like it's very similar.
Becky: It's just like the modern day public service announcement.
Leo: Isn't this great? It is.
Greg: Oh so it's a—oh, I see what it is.
Leo: Oh, it is Let's Encrypt.
Greg: So they deploy Let's Encrypt certificates. Let's Encrypt is very important because it's actually a conglomerate of big technology companies funding it.
Leo: And it's free and easily implemented. In fact I use Let's Encrypt. A lot of people use Let's Encrypt. It's really great.
Greg: I think so. I mean my only concern is who's funding it because one you can get your hands on those private keys you can theoretically decode everything.
Leo: Oh, crap.
Leo: Well, one thing Let's Encrypt does which is interesting, is the key's only good for 3 months so you get a new key every 90 days.
Greg: Yes, that's deliberate because when you do certificate keys, you want to revoke them. So let's say I gave you a certificate and now I want to revoke that certificate because you're not who you say you are. So instead of maintaining certificate revocation lists, CRLs—
Leo: Which by the way, Google has said, "We don't want to do." Firefox, Mozilla doesn't want to do.
Greg: It's impossible.
Leo: It doesn't work.
Greg: Well, what would actually have to happen is your browser, every time you connected to a website, you would have to check a CRL server to say, "Is this certificate revoked?" And if it is, then you would have to—that roundtrip time. Not only do you have to connect to a DNS lookup, then connect to the web server. Now you've got to do a CRL. Well, on a mobile phone, now you've put your phone down and walked away and no ads could be shown. And people aren't making money. So you want to get away from CRL. So the answer to that is to go from 30 to 90 day revocations. You just revoke the certificates.
Greg: Yea, they have an expiry date so every 30 – 90 days they can just switch off and that's effectively your revocation.
Leo: But what's great about Let's Encrypt and the Cert Bot is it's automated renewals so you don't really have to pay any attention. I have an automated script every 90 days gets me the new Let's Encrypt.
Greg: So the most common HTTP server software, patch and Nginx and proxy and you just download Cert Bot, run it on those machines and the crypto keys will just rotate automatically.
Leo: I love seeing Baratunde in a suit. And by the way, another reason to support EFF because they're really doing God's work and I give them a monthly donation. I have monthly donations for Wikipedia, EFF and then a few like ACLU and a few others like that because I think we've got to support these institutions going forward. These are the institutions that are making us safer and making the world a better place. Let's take a break real quick. More to come in just a moment including the hackers being hacked.
Leo: But This Week in Tech being brought to you by ITPro.TV, good friends of mine. People who are teaching you the info you need to be a better IT professional or to become an IT professional. This is a great job market. I think it's got to be the fastest growing job market of all. And it's so many opportunities. So if you're thinking of starting a career in tech, in IT, or you want to get better at your job that you already have, you don't have to go back to school to do it. In fact, school is the most expensive way to do it. And maybe you're a self-starter but just going to the bookstore and buying a bunch of books, that's a little challenging and expensive. ITPro.TV is the middle way, the best way. Great entertaining, engaging content, just like TWiT. They stream 9-5, Monday through Friday Eastern time. The cover all of the major certs. They have 2,000 hours of content. And they add 30 hours more every week. You can stream them using your Chromecast, your Roku, your Fire TV. They've got a great Apple TV app they just launched. Of course on our PC or your tablet. And they cover everything. You want to get the Certified Ethical Hacker? That's the cert I want. CEH. They've got it. They've got it. They've got the version 9, Comp TS Project Plus, Certified Information System Security Professional, Cybersecurity Analyst Plus, CCNA Cyber Ops, ITIL Operational Support and Analysis. Microsoft System and also the stuff, the day to day stuff that makes you money like Microsoft Office and Managing Apple Computers, things like that. You get the Virtual Machine Labs which are awesome. You don't have to have a Windows server. You don't even have to have a Windows machine, just an HTML5 browser. You configure the server, configure the clients and every time I do it I blow up but it's easy. You just press the reset button. You start over. Transcender practice exams so you can take the test before you take the test. That's worth $109 bucks by itself. I love ITPro.TV. And you're going to love it too. We've got a great 7-day trial for you and a really big discount. Normally $57-dollars a month, which even then it's a good deal or get a year, that's the most economical. $570-dollars a year. That's less than buying the materials, let alone going to a technical school. But if you use our offer code TWIT30, TWIT 3-0, it's 30% off forever, for the lifetime of your account. ITPro.TV/twit. Tim and Don are good friends. Really love what they've done and they're just knocking it out of the park. Incidentally they are going to be introducing a new membership level beginning February 1st and I think you're going to want to subscribe now because all current premium members as of that date will be given, will automatically be given the highest membership level. So effectively you want to lock in this price now. Do it today. ITPro.TV/twit and use the offer code TWIT30.
Greg: We have one of my listeners from the Packet Pushers actually emailed us and what he does is every day he spends one hour watching videos. That's all it takes. And he doesn't take the exams. What he's doing is he's learning all the stuff that's around. So he's in this particular job. But by listening to the videos and watching stuff he suddenly becomes aware of what all the people around him are doing.
Leo: The value of the test is that it just helps you get that first job because without it you have no way to prove that you can do it. Once you've got a job, you can then upgrade yourself.
Greg: And this is a great way to do it.
Leo: Yea, I think it's great. Cellebrite. You know the name. It's a company that makes a device that law enforcement uses to suck the data from your phone. They also, we think, may have been the company that sold the hack to the FBI that allowed them to get into Bakersfield iPhone. They've been hacked. Which frankly is not good on your resume if you're a security firm. According to Motherboard which has been doing a great job on tech coverage, Joseph Cox writing, Motherboard has obtained and validated 900 GB of data from Cellebrite including customer information, databases, technical data about their products and most importantly, you can use this information to see who's been using their My Cellebrite domain which is the portal where you log into to get new software versions and make sure you've got the latest version. Cellebrite's widely used by U.S. and Federal law enforcement. Plus, according to the hacked data, possibly also with authoritarian regimes in Russia, the UAE and Turkey.
Greg: And Family Tree Now.
Leo: And Family Tree Now.
Greg: Sorry, we shouldn't make comments like that. I was joking.
Leo: It's depressing though, isn't it? Anybody can be hacked. Anybody can be hacked.
Greg: So we do a show every week where we talk on some of these issues. We've actually just stopped bothering with breaches because it's pointless.
Leo: It's too common.
Greg: It's so common the 2nd thing is there's no impact. So look at Yahoo. Lost a billion accounts over a sustained 5 year period and yet Verizon still bought them for the value that was agreed. So they've gotten away with that. So if a breach of that magnitude should have had any reasonable reading of the situation, some sort of impact to the company financially.
Leo: Here's the good news. We don't have to talk about it anymore. President Elect Trump has appointed a—
Leo: What are you laughing about?
Greg: The mayor of New York.
Leo: The former mayor of New York as his cybersecurity advisor, Rudy Giuliani. Now you may say, "Well, Rudy Giuliani? What does he know about security?" Oh, no. He has a company, a full service security investigative and crisis management consulting firm called Giuliani Security and Safety. Let's just run over to that website right now. This site can't be reached. The reason is, it was a mess. It was running a 4-year-old copy of Joomla with—
Greg: Joomla's a comedy of errors.
Leo: With more than a dozen known exploits. You could—I mean, it had a publicly—look, this is Michael Fienen who I guess is a security researcher. As soon as he heard Giuliani had been appointed to the cybersecurity job, he checked. Expired SSL certificate, doesn't force https, exposed CMS login so you can go in there and brute force the login at your leisure. It uses Flash.
Greg: You know what's probably great about this is he probably put security company on his resume.
Greg: And got away with it.
Greg: So now he's there. It's fine.
Leo: Uses version 5.4 of PHP. A little out of date
Becky: So what you're saying is with this list of things that are not quite right in his field of expertise is that he is one of the better qualified candidates that was being put forth.
Leo: (Laughing) No, no.
Greg: We need the foresight to set up a security company like 7 or 8 years ago knowing that this situation was coming. So we need a man like that who's going to take on cybersecurity.
Mike: I think the thinking seems to be that we need to get tough on the cyber, the cyber, and Giuliani is tough. End of story. He's the guy.
Leo: Either that or Barron. And I think he made the right choice.
Becky: I don't know. Barron might be tough.
Leo: Barron knows the cyber.
Becky: Barron knows the cyber.
Mike: Have you heard about Trump's Razor? It's the maxim that the stupidest explanation is always the right one.
Leo: In any event, I don't know even where to begin. The nation's future president, he will be president on Friday, his security advisor, cybersecurity advisor. They guy—remember, Trump really in his press conference blamed the DNC for their lousy security. They got hacked because they weren't secure, that's all—is now putting his trust into a man who can't even run a website.
Greg: On the other side of this, at that sort of level your security chops aren't actually all that relevant. What actually matters is your ability to bring people to the table.
Leo: Well it's clear that Rudy knows where to go to get the best people to run his website.
Greg: Yea, from 5 years back (laughing).
Becky: Can I go back to that point you made about breaches and the idiocy of reporting them because I really think there is an opportunity for me to learn from this. In conjunction with an anecdote, I was at the grocery store, like a little mom and pop bodega place and the guy was asking me about my credit card. Did I feel nervous because it was a high limit credit card? I said, "No, I use a service on my phone that lets me see every time a transaction comes through, so it doesn't freak me out because if something comes through I see it almost immediately." And he calls his son up, "Did you know about this? The minute. The minute." And the son says, "I don't trust it." And I said, "Well it's on my Intuit and that's a good indicator that it's not a fly-by-night company." He says, "It doesn't matter. They've all been hacked. I don't trust anybody." And then at the same time, I got in the car and there was an NPR interview going on and it was this Russian journalist. And she said, "When you don't trust anything, you can't believe in anything." And I just thought that was so interesting, this concept of like, we don't trust companies. We don't trust governments. We don't trust the security of you know, our security services. So we're in not just post-truth but we're in like a what do you believe in then?
Leo: We're screwed.
Greg: Post-belief. Or post-fundamentalist.
Becky: So I mean the breaches thing is just really true because I'm continually reporting, oh this breach.
Greg: There's no point talking about the breaches. I mean look back at Target when it got breached, hasn't shared what it is doing, up and to the right.
Leo: Doesn't matter.
Greg: Heartland Payment Systems, up and to the right. There are zero penalties.
Leo: We don't care.
Becky: Can I make one other point? We pay 3% on all of our credit card purchases. That's why we don't care. Because they have the liability. That's the—the unbanked should care. They're the ones who have more at risk.
Greg: Yes, and they're going to be the ones who struggle because if you don't have an electronic transaction capability you will be frozen out of the system over time. And you know, the financial, app for pay for example, the ability to wave your Apple Watch at a coffee shop is really the coolest thing ever, right? Let's face it.
Leo: But who can afford it, right?
Greg: What the coffee or an Apple?
Leo: Both. You can afford the coffee before you can afford the Apple Watch.
Greg: That's right. If you've got the privilege to own—and you've got an Apple phone. You've got to have like $2,000-dollars worth of assets to use, to wave your watch and buy a transaction. Just like buying online. If you could shop on Amazon, provided you've got a $600-dollar phone or a $500-dollar laptop to buy on Amazon, it's totally free.
Leo: Hey, your data breaches don't just happen at Target. They might also happen at Best Buy. So the Geek Squad—now this is an interesting, challenging story because no one likes child pornography. That's a bad thing. And when you bring your computer to Best Buy and if the technician is going through your computer and happens to see child pornography, it is their legal requirement to report you, to turn you in.
Greg: It's anybody's.
Greg: Not just Best Buy.
Leo: Yea, if I'm looking over Greg Ferro's shoulder, I notice he's got that film on there. I can't. But if I were able to read his screen, I might want to turn him in. I don't know what he's doing but no. This is where it gets interesting and by the way, a judge as ruled, no, the defense can bring this up. A California doctor is facing federal charges after his hard drive was flagged by a Geek Squad technician. But the lawyer in the process of discovery for his defense found the FBI had cultivated 8 sources in the Geek Squad over a 4-year period with all of them receiving payment. And at that point the judge says, "Well, you can pursue this." Is the Geek Squad an employee of a federal agency in which case the search is illegal because it is a warrantless search. So a private person, I can look at your hard drive and it's not a warrantless search.
Greg: As a citizen. As a citizen you can report it and got it. There's no false motivation.
Leo: But if that person is being paid by the FBI to look then a warrant is needed.
Mike: I don't know how this is any different. I mean I watch all the police procedural dramas. They all use CI's to go to illegal things.
Leo: All the time.
Mike: All the time. And then they get this information through the illegal activities of the person they're paying and then they go and they're like, "Well, we didn't do it. We didn't break and enter. We didn't do these other things." And everybody's like, "Yea. The right side wins again." And it's like, this feels to me, it has the flavor of just something that happens in the world generally has now entered the world of technology and privacy and now we're like, "Oh my God, this has to be stopped." But this happens all the time.
Becky: So is the issue the legal—
Greg: Let me just as a global, as someone who doesn't necessarily just live in the U.S.
Leo: A citizen of the world.
Greg: It only applies in the U.S. So the U.S.—
Leo: Well that's the whole NSA thing. NSA can gather information about foreign nationals.
Greg: The way the police force works in this country is it works with very little funding. So the only way to make it stick is to use CIs and to do entrapment and stuff like that. It's not legal to do that in most other countries in the world. It's just the way your legal system works here.
Becky: Wait, entrapment's not—I think that that's an overarching assumption. I mean—
Leo: Well a judge will throw it out if he detects it.
Becky: The point is this guy signed his computer over to Best Buy. Best Buy found this file in a weird partition that he erased.
Leo: He had to dig through it in other words.
Greg: He was in the hard drive looking for evidence.
Leo: Right, looking for evidence. That's the case.
Becky: Best Buy did not receive the payment but the bounty, and that's the question, this is a bounty.
Leo: Or is it a prepayment or it is a bounty, yea.
Becky: And therefore that went to the individual.
Greg: So if you did that in other countries, European countries, Asian countries, that would be entrapment. It's not, it's just not allowed. You can report that as a citizen's arrest, but the way that—so for example in this country, let's say you get arrested as a drug, on a drug offense, a minor drug offense. The police will make it a condition. They will let you off, they will cut you a deal if you go and find 8 more drug dealers and report them. So that is exclusively something that only happens in the U.S. It's not something that happens outside the U.S.
Leo: I'm sure this is the case in other countries. If a psychotherapist, protected by client privilege, does here of a crime that is about to be committed or being committed, is required, there is a reporting requirement, is there not? That's true in other countries.
Mike: And also that kind of payment for illegal snooping and all that kind of stuff, in fact it is much wider spread than you claim. In Asia, you mentioned Asia, in China and Japan, 2 massive countries, that is fairly widespread. And then beyond the English speaking world in Europe, most countries don't fit into those categories.
Greg: I don't want to conflate this beyond what it is. I'm saying there are aspects of this that are unique to the U.S, legal system and the way that your legal process runs.
Greg: So I just wanted to highlight that.
Leo: Well in fact that's why the judge has allowed the defense attorney to pursue this line of questioning because it does raise the issue of the legality of the evidence. And here's a memo for instance from 2010 where a—2010, 6 years ago. An FBI agent said, "Source has reported all has been quiet for about the last 5-6 months; however source agreed that once school started again, they may see an influx of child pornography." The Best Buy technician involved in this case was later identified as the source. So for 6 years the FBI has been in direct communication with this Best Buy Geek Squad technician and has been saying, do you see anything? What's going on? And so this too, this is what the defense attorney says. "This two-way thoroughfare of information suggests the FBI considers the Best Buy technician to be a partner in the ongoing effort of law enforcement to detect and prosecute child pornography." So that's where this might in fact get that evidence suppressed because it is illegal search and seizure if he's working for the FBI.
Becky: I always question myself in these stories by saying substitute child pornography for tax evasion.
Leo: That's the problem is it's such a loaded—yea.
Becky: If someone was reporting tax evasion based on Excel spreadsheets that they found in partitions that had been deleted on a computer I think we would all very clearly articulate this is not ok.
Greg: It's very difficult.
Becky: So that's what I would say. If they have illegal mandate or we have a different set of rules for child pornography or the imminent farmed—
Leo: Well it might be different rules because you do sign when you hand over your hard drive to Best Buy that you have waived any right to raise a 4th amendment claim because you have to sign this. I am on notice that any product containing child pornography will be turned over to the authorities.
Leo: So you're on notice, right? On the other hand, the Geek Squad guy has apparently lied to investigators saying, "I don't remember ever being paid by the FBI." And prosecutors have acknowledged the FBI paid him $500-dollars two months before this.
Greg: Because the FBI told him not to say he got any many. He was working for the FBI.
Mike: If the FBI gives me $500-dollars I will remember it.
Leo: But you're right. Child pornography muddies the water because nobody is going to say, "Oh, they shouldn't go after this guy."
Mike: And in the transition of the show, it also muddies the water in the world of advertising, Leo.
Leo: Child pornography does?
Mike: Yea, with Fark, the Fark story.
Leo: Oh, I love this story and of course we know Drew Curtis very well.
Mike: He's a friend of the show.
Leo: Friend of the show. I've been a fan of Fark since we used to have him on weekly at the old Screen Savers. And he's pretty upset. There's a couple of things going on. He's pretty upset because Google has blocked him from having ads. Now it turns out he's not alone in this. What's going on, Mike?
Mike: He's—so Drew Curtis of course, of Fark, basically there was a story from years and years ago that contained a photograph, which after a little bit of digging they found was a photograph of a fully clothed adult.
Leo: I'll show you the picture. I think it was in the Fark story if I can find it.
Mike: It was flagged as an unacceptable picture. It was flagged as child pornography and so they simply stopped payment for his advertising for weeks. This was during a bad year for Fark and they really needed enough, the end of the year. And they just turned off the tap. And it took, it took Fark a long time to even get through to Google on this to question them. When they finally got through and were communicating with Google, Google said, "Well, you had the pedo bear logo also present and therefore we considered it child pornography." The pedo bear is some kind of teddy bear that is I guess trolls or whatever use to associate with child pornography. There was no child pornography. They did nothing wrong.
Leo: Basically an adult actress in the photo.
Mike: Yea, but they essentially accused Fark of committing a horrendous felony and cut off all the money and Google was completely wrong and it took forever for them to—and Drew Curtis goes given that that's there business, you know—fundamentally and I agree with Drew Curtis on this, fundamentally any business should take care of their customers. Google's customers are the advertisers.
Becky: Sell that to Silicon Valley.
Mike: They're off canceling drone programs and building self-driving cars and all this stuff. Meanwhile their customers are sitting there being burned and accused of felonies falsely.
Leo: We've heard this story again and again and again in various contexts.
Greg: This is the problem I have with this. I think these people are incredibly foolish for running such a stupid business, right? If you think, if you sold revenues—so what they've effectively done is outsourced the advertising to Google. And so they're completely dependent on Google as their only revenue source. That is the dumbest thing you can do to your business.
Becky: And in hindsight, they have no human contact with their sole source of revenue.
Leo: There's no one to talk to.
Becky: That is a huge problem.
Greg: So my problem here is, you outsource a critical part of your—
Leo: There's a lot of companies, a lot of sites do this.
Greg: But none of them are actually—
Leo: Including a bunch of Macedonian teenagers.
Greg: Clearly he has accepted that risk. Now there are certain parts of your business that it is wise to outsource, right? And they are things like cleaning toilets and emptying rubbish bins and washing the windows because they do not impact. But if you give away a key part of your business and it's literally where the money comes from to another company, you have put yourself at risk to the platform. And this goes on and on. Now, when we built the business that we run, or that we run at Packet Pushers, we deliberately do not run on Google ads because I would not want to have my business at someone else's beck and call.
Leo: This happens all the time. Look at the newspapers that use Facebook as a publishing platform. It's not unsusual.
Greg: And they're still not smart enough to work out that they need to own the relationship with their clients. Their customers, the people who read it but your clients. And what they're saying is let Google or Facebook go and find clients and bring us money because we can sack our advertising people. You give away your revenue.
Leo: Don't put your monetization in the hand of a bot.
Becky: At least it's Google. When you look at someone like Time, they just signed a three year deal for a hundred million dollars with Outbrain, Taboola.
Leo: Outbrain Taboola. This is how Time Magazine's monetizing?
Becky: Yea. Around the web stories that you see at the bottom.
Leo: You know what else you might be interested in is belly fat.
Becky: These, once you see them you see them everywhere. They take you to these—they seem editorial. They take you to these quasi-editorial click farms and then they try to sell you something. And this is how a lot of really highbrow journalists are maintaining their websites.
Leo: What bugs me is Google Amp which is—the idea of Google Amp is to speed up loading on mobile platforms by eliminating disgusting ad tech, elaborate you know, Java script, punch the monkey things, pre-cache content so it loads instantly and it works really well, that Google's made a deal with Outbrain and Taboola so that content will load very fast. And unfortunately it looks like its native advertising. It looks like content and it's just going to fool more people. And it's just crapped up.
Becky: The New York Times is one of the only sites that does this right in that they have an in-house creative team that creates their own native content.
Greg: And that's the way to run—here's what my problem is. We've seen this so many times. These people literally outsource their revenue to somebody else. And then they get into the mindset of it's because I write content on the internet it's my privilege to make money. I don't need to think about how my money—
Leo: That's good.
Greg: Dumb ass business models with dumb ass people.
Leo: Drew, I'm sorry but you're a dumb ass. Sorry. Well, it's better when you say dumb ass.
Becky: Greg says—he calls it like it is but it sounds kind of highbrow.
Mike: But we still need to blame Google. I mean it doesn't make Google—
Leo: Well Drew's point of view is well this is Google's business. Why are the screwing me and just not me.
Greg: Why is he using Google instead of some other ad tech? Why didn't he, as soon as the revenue stopped coming, why didn't he just switch ad tech providers?
Mike: No idea. I don't know anything about why—
Greg: Why blame Google for his own stupidity?
Mike: I don't know what his model is. I don't know anything about his business but I do know that Google makes a fortune from not having, from not employing human beings to provide tech support for their customers. And I don't like the sound of that.
Becky: We all say how disruptive—
Greg: Then don't Google, right?
Mike: That's legit ad tech.
Leo: Thank God there's Yahoo.
Mike: A company you can count on.
Greg: But there's 250 ad tech companies in the back end like those discussed who's names you just mentioned. He could have instantly, should have been able to instantly go and say no money coming in from Google, go to another company. If that's where his revenue's coming from, right? And what he should be doing right now is he should be out there working on a business strategy to start selling advertising himself and doing direct deals with companies to put ads on his site so he owns his business instead of whining about, "Google didn't give me all the money."
Mike: And pedophiles need to stop whining about—they shouldn't have gone to Best Buy.
Becky: I just think that there's also a point that's much larger here which is we talk about how disruptive and amazing technology is until you have a customer service complaint and then you have zero recourse except to go sound like a whiney bitch on Twitter and it's just—
Mike: That was the funniest thing from that, The Internship, that comedy about Google where they, they got put on Gmail tech support. And I swear everyone in Silicon Valley burst out laughing. There's no phone number to call when your Gmail doesn't work.
Leo: Why do we all rely on Gmail? Same problem.
Greg: Same problem.
Leo: My email's down. Who are you going to call?
Greg: Exactly. And that's why most companies are choosing Office 365. They have better IT. I don't use Google for that exact reason. Which is why Google now has an enterprise of people but anyway.
Leo: We use Google (laughing).
Greg: I really think that people are—the mistake that people make is just because I manage to write something and publish it on the internet, I have the right to make money. You do not, right? You have to write content that people actually want to read and if you want to monetize it you have to understand what making money is all about. And that means is a sales force and selling it and managing sales people.
Leo: But I don't want to.
Mike: Or at the very least the personification of income streams. At the very least.
Greg: That's a 15-year old business model. In 2001, yea, you would publish something and money would come teaming out of the sky. This is 2017. Media companies of any sort need to grow up.
Mike: So Drew farked himself is what you are saying.
Greg: I don't know Drew and I don't know what Fark does but I know how the business model works.
Leo: I apologize, Drew, but he's right.
Mike: We still love you, Drew.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by—I'm going to monetize the heck out of this show, let me tell you right now.
Greg: Bring it home, Leo.
Leo: Bring it home. Our show brought to you by those good folks at TrackR. We're all used to—who doesn't lose stuff, right? I saw a stat the other day. The average person spends 40 minutes a day looking for keys, glasses, remote controls. All you've got to do is get the TrackR. The TrackR is a cute little quarter sized anodized aluminum device. By the way, there are other Bluetooth trackers like this. The problem with the one I'm thinking of, when the battery dies, you throw it out. It's done. You can't replace it. And the TrackR you can replace the battery. It's awesome. What you do—it doesn't have GPS built into it. I want to be very clear about that. I think a lot of times people say, "Isn't is GPS?" It's not GPS. You can't put GPS in that thing. It would cost a lot more for one thing. You pair it to your phone. Your phone, the TrackR software can track up to 10 devices. I actually have my TrackR attached to my keys because that's what I lose the most. You can have a couple of things that will help you with. First of all, separation alerts. You leave your keys behind, the TrackR app on your phone goes, "Hey, your keys. You left them behind," as soon as you get 100 feet away. But it can go the other way, too. Your TrackR device, if you've got your keys but you left your phone behind can beep at you. You can even push a button on the TrackR device that will make your phone yell. You get to customize that alert. If you, let's see, what else. If you leave—oh, I love this. So a lot of these devices, you leave your keys. Let's say you got to Vegas. You're doing really well. You have a couple of drinks. You're playing the craps. You leave your keys at the craps table. Ok. You get back to your room. You look at your phone. The phone says your keys are at the craps table. Problem is, since then, some guy from Muncie picked up your keys and got on a plane and your keys are now in Muncie. I don't know why Muncie, but that's where they are. How would you know because you're in the room in Vegas? Well here's the thing. Everybody—see that? That map has 3.5 million. You've got to zoom out. You can see it's all over the world. 3.5 million TrackR users, TrackR devices out there in the wild. That means—zoom out, Carston. Just zoom out a little. There you go. You can see the whole world is loaded with—all over the place. Even Muncie. So the moment somebody with the TrackR app on their phone walks by your keys in Muncie, their app goes, "Oh, here's Leo's keys." I'm not saying that happened to me. But the app said, "There's Leo's keys." And then it said to me, "Hey, your keys are in Muncie now." And now I know where they are. This is beautiful. It's the largest crowd GPS network in the world.
Mike: Leo, I used this in Marseilles when we were living in Marseilles and I put it on the—they have the giant European keys with the big—
Leo: Yea, the tassle?
Mike: And I had it attached to that. And it occurred to me that this is actually a security thing. So if I'm out and about, I lose the keys or something happens to the keys, if those keys are away from the apartment I know that some burglar hasn't broken in is waiting me with a giant knife.
Leo: Oh, but if they're in your apartment.
Mike: Yea, but if they're in my apartment, that's another issue and I have too- yea.
Leo: I never thought of that.
Mike: So it's great for travelers. It really does work.
Leo: You can put them on your bags. I mean this is really useful.
Becky: I've got my daughter, just got a retainer.
Leo: Put it on the retainer.
Becky: The retainer case.
Leo: Mom, I can't talk very well. I've got a TrackR in my mouth.
Becky: I've got a TrackR in my mouth. It's going on the case. It's going on the case.
Leo: Oh, put it on the case. That's a good idea.
Greg: It will really take us some time to get the Hamilton singing guy on a TrackR. I've seen these used in corporate companies in paper files and the ones that, you know, the internal mail where you have to ship a document.
Leo: Oh, what a good idea.
Greg: And when you've got a company which has got like 50 or 100 or 300 locations, where the hell is that?
Leo: That's brilliant.
Greg: You pop it in and you ship it around and you know where the hell that critical documentation is in theory.
Leo: That is so cool. Here's the deal go to thetrackr.com, T-H-E-T-R-A-C-K-R, no E, no second E, thetrackr.com, promo code TWiT and buy all the TrackRs you need but you're going to get a free on thrown in at the end when you use the promo code TWiT. A free TrackR Bravo when you order. Thetrackr.com. They are growing so fast. I think he told me it's 100,000 new TrackRs in the wild every week.
Mike: And it's network effects. The more they grow, the better it is.
Leo: You want them to grow fast. It's great. What else? A couple of quick, quick things. Here's a—I really like this. The iPeg. The guy is a designer, says, "This is the next Mac Pro." Upgradable, just spread it out a little bit. I've been saying Apple should bring back the cheese grater, the old Mac Pro because it was upgradeable. And I don't know if this year Apple's going to have an upgraded Mac Pro or if they're just going to abaondon the whole line. Sometimes I think Apple doesn't—
Mike: What are we looking at, Leo?
Leo: This is a concept. But see how you can upgrade? It's got a real video card so you can actually change it. You can upgrade the hard drives. It's got slots for 4 hard drives. And it's so beautiful. You can still say innovate my ass or whatever it is Phil Schiller said when he introduced the Mac Pro and stopped all innovation.
Greg: It just strikes me that the Mac Pro is probably the precursor to dongle hell.
Leo: It was the first.
Greg: It was the first of the dongle hells. Apple says, "We're going to put this inside and everything else is going to hang off this thing like—"
Mike: Dongle industrial complex.
Leo: According to Ars Technica, Andrew Cunningham who's very good and should know, he says, "Apple is planning a Netflix," and it's going to do scripted TV shows. They're getting into the TV business. Actually it comes from the Wall Street Journal so let's give credit where credit is due. The Wall Street Journal, Apple Sets Its Sights on Hollywood With Plans for Original Content. That's a hard thing to do.
Becky: That's a big outlay of cash over a long period of time. Do they have the commitment?
Leo: They have the cash. God knows. As long as they make those shows in the Netherlands, they're set.
Greg: (Laughing) you know, if I wanted to upset Hollywood, what would I announce? What would I leak?
Leo: So you think this is a shot across the bow.
Greg: This is playing hardball.
Leo: Trying to get them to cooperate with Apple's—yea.
Greg: This is we're Apple. You've got to come to us on our terms.
Mike: You won't sell us your content? We'll make our own.
Greg: You won't sell us your content? We'll just go and do like Netflix and Amazon and make our own.
Leo: I like it. It's leaked. It's leaked. Actually the Journal is known for being a conduit for Apple PR.
Greg: Yep. It sounds like a PR play.
Leo: Yea, you're smart.
Greg: They're actually doing business negotiations to make Hollywood come to the table or we'll go like Amazon and Netflix and we won't need your content.
Leo: Brilliant. I think you're right.
Becky: They are such less—their leverage is so much smaller than it would have been in days prior when it comes to this because now there are other conduits.
Greg: Hollywood was absolutely refusing to give Apple content for fear of them dominating the market and they did the same thing with Netflix and with Amazon and then Netflix and Amazon just turned around and started making their own content.
Becky: That's what I mean is that Apple's leverage has diminished.
Greg: It's a fact that they're now using Apple, using Netflix and Amazon as leverage to say, "Sell us your content, Hollywood." Right?
Leo: Isn't that funny. Wow. How we have—
Greg: Flip that around. Invert that concept. Apple could go and start making content and yes, you know, with repatriation on the horizon and tax holiday from President Elect Trump, sure. What's $10-billion dollars' invested over 5 years?
Mike: I can't wait to see Game of Phones.
Becky: Well all their—they do have some original content already. They have—
Leo: That app, that app one.
Mike: Right, the app, what is it called?
Leo: It's got a great name.
Becky: Yea, it's a really good name. It's a rip off of something else.
Leo: We'll find out in a moment.
Becky: Yea they bought Carpool Karaoke.
Mike: Oh, they did?
Becky: Yea. They're doing a 30-minute Carpool Karaoke.
Leo: But they won't have James Corden and it will have a rotating staff.
Mike: So that doesn't bode well for the future of content.
Leo: No, no.
Mike: That sounds like an afterthought kind of content.
Greg: Well I think Apple wants to sell to Hollywood. Disney and Pixar and so forth.
Leo: But their best move was just to—what did Netflix do? They had no expertise in making stuff? So they gave $100-million dollars to Kevin Spacey and said, "Make House of Cards." You just fund it. You fund these people.
Greg: Becky's right. It's just such a massive upfront cash commitment to commission these works. And you know, for every success that you actually see in Netflix, there are 2 or 3 shows that die on the vine or die in pre-production.
Leo: That is the expertise is choosing the shows. Actually Amazon does it brilliantly. They have, they do a bunch of pilots and then they put them all up and they let you choose which one are going to get made. I think that's brilliant.
Greg: Analytics and because these platforms show they know how long people are watching for, they know whether they're binging them, they know whether they're watching in the evenings or in the mornings.
Leo: They've got it all. They have much better ratings than TV.
Greg: There are even things like people are people actually attentive because if you're not online—like you can't just press play and let it play all day. It stops. Netflix actually stops. And the reason it stops is so they get the analytics on whether you're actually watching, right?
Leo: Oh. I thought they didn't stop. For a while they didn't stop. They played through.
Greg: If it goes for more than 60 minutes without you pressing stop start, it will actually pause and say, "Are you still here watching?" And that's literally not because they want to stop streaming, partly because they want to make money but mostly because the analytics, are you actually watching.
Becky: Planet of the Apps.
Leo: That's it. Brilliant.
Becky: So cute.
Leo: Marissa Mayer leaving Yahoo's board. I don't think the merger is completed, the $4.8-billion dollar—you said that Verizon isn't going to get a discount? They wanted a billion dollars off.
Greg: Maybe they got one in the backend and—
Leo: I got one in the backend and it was no fun.
Greg: I don't—the story is at the end of the day, the deal didn't fall apart. You would have thought that a breach of that—
Leo: You would think.
Leo: A billion accounts.
Greg: Yahoo should be dead. There should be nails going into their coffin and people sprinkling holy water on top of it because it must be cursed.
Leo: And they've spun off—
Becky: They still make money.
Becky: It still makes money.
Greg: Yea, but what it actually does is it makes double money off of Verizon because Verizon makes money. So as the traffic crosses Verizon's backbone, Verizon can now match the content. So this is why they bought—
Leo: Oh, it's for peering?
Greg: No the sell the data about what the traffic over their backbone to the ad tech companies so they can do better ad targeting.
Leo: Your data.
Greg: They get 10-20% better targeting.
Leo: You're actually paying for it.
Greg: It's a $24-billion dollar market selling traffic data as it crosses the internet's backbone.
Becky: Do you guys use Slice? Do you use Slice?
Leo: Yea, I love Slice.
Becky: I didn't realize they're also an analytics company.
Leo: Well, because they know who's getting stuff delivered. They're not the only one by the way. There's another company that does it.
Becky: So this is a company that combs through your email to see what receipts you have and then it tells you when things shipped.
Leo: On its way.
Becky: When there's a price drop.
Leo: I love it.
Becky: Yea, it's a great app. But I didn't realize they are also selling the data of what's selling. They were the ones that had the AirPods story.
Leo: What do you bet that was their original business plan? They knew.
Greg: All of those services should be free because they make far more money on the backend selling the data off the backbone.
Leo: Slice is free. Slice is free.
Becky: It's free.
Greg: That's how they monetize is by selling data. So Verizon, AT&T, those carriers are literally at tens of billions of dollars industry selling your private, your data as it crosses the public backbone.
Leo: The Yahoo stuff that didn't go to Verizon, the stake in Alibaba, Yahoo Japan, is being rebranded. It can't be called Yahoo anymore. It's called Altaba. I think there were going to—it's Alibaba mixed with nothing. I don't—
Greg: All that's left is Alibaba.
Leo: All that's left is Alibaba. That's an acronym.
Becky: It's the alternate to Alibaba.
Leo: But Marissa's going to have some time off.
Becky: This is just a holding company. Who cares if she's on the board or not? This is not a—
Greg: Yahoo Japan doesn't need management.
Leo: David Filo is gone. 4 other members are going to go. Because Yahoo won't even have a board. Verizon is the board. There's nothing for her to do.
Becky: This is a financial holding company. This is no slam or no slag. What's next for her?
Leo: That's what I was wondering.
Greg: Well Yahoo Japan is still a technology business. It's a wholly different business, hugely successful in Japan.
Leo: But they just have a stake in it. They're shareholders in it.
Becky: Does she go to a media company? Does she go to a tech company?
Mike: She becomes a VC.
Becky: Yea, that's the word.
Leo: By the way, plenty of money. She's got a golden parachute. She's got hundreds of millions of dollars so she's not worried about what she's going to do next except she would like to do something I would imagine. VC's the easy way. That's what happens to these people a lot but I wouldn't be surprised—she's got to be a hot number, right? Because she's a woman, high profile. There's got to be a company that would love to have her.
Mike: She's only had two jobs.
Greg: She got as much out of Yahoo as it was to be—
Leo: She did as well as she could.
Becky: Could she go to YouTube?
Leo: I don't know.
Greg: I don't think she'll got back to Google. She left Google under mysterious circumstances, various rumors.
Becky: She fashions herself a media person now.
Greg: There's plenty of media companies.
Leo: I will watch with interest.
Greg: What a challenge would it be for her to go to work for Amazon.
Leo: For Bezos, go work for Bezos? She'd be vice president.
Mike: Nobody wants to work for Bezos unless you're a robot.
Leo: I think you're right. Hey, we're done. This has been really fun. Wow. What a great panel. In fact everybody's agreeing. Best TWiT ever. So—
Becky: The chatroom said, "I like this Greg guy."
Leo: I like this Greg guy.
Becky: He calls them like he sees them.
Greg: It's not my fault. I didn't do it.
Leo: Talks funny but I like him. Greg Ferro's at The Packet Pushers, packetpushers.net. Tell me about the podcast.
Greg: The podcast is an Enterprise IT. We focus on deep dives on the technology. We mainly focus on data networking. We do a bit of a news show. There's a network break. We've got the Datanaughts which is about private cloud and public cloud and how is if you're an IT professional you might want to listen to our shows and learn more about building your career and get some wisdom around your core competency in the industry as a whole.
Leo: Love it. By the way, they're great shows. Must listen. And Greg makes them fun, makes them interesting. No, you do.
Greg: We don't take them too seriously.
Leo: Yea, no and I like that. Mike Elgan is writing, writing, writing. Computer World, Fast Company, etcetera, etcetera. And traveling, traveling, traveling soon.
Mike: Yea, soon. Soon off to Europe again and I also have the FATcast which is a podcast about food and technology, technology and food.
Leo: How's that going?
Mike: It's going great. It's been on hiatus for about a month and a half coming back tomorrow.
Leo: You've been a little busy with a granddaughter.
Mike: Yes, yes, yes.
Becky: How old?
Mike: Almost two months.
Becky: Oh, wow.
Mike: Yea, yea.
Leo: Yea, his son Kevin and his wife Nadia and beautiful princess.
Mike: We're grooming her to be an uber geek, super geek.
Leo: Squishy face.
Mike: Princess Squishy Face. P Squishy Face, yes.
Leo: The FATcast. It's on iTunes and everywhere else. And Ed Bow says if you love technology, you'll want to subscribe. And Becky Worley, you can see her every morning on Good Morning America, practically every morning, lots of mornings, more and more all the time covering consumer technology, consumer rip-offs, chilling her body to an ungodly temperature.
Becky: Yes, I am the—Ron Roberts calls me Mikey. Give it to Mikey. Mikey will try it. He'll try it. I'm bworley on Twitter. You know what I'm doing mostly? I'm coaching. I was coaching girls' soccer in the fall. I'm coaching boys rugby right now and I'm going back to coaching girls' soccer again in the spring.
Leo: You love sports. You love playing and I'm sure it's fun to coach.
Becky: I have so much fun doing it. It's just—it's amazing.
Leo: So you're actually a soccer mom.
Becky: I am. I have the minivan. I pick them all up.
Leo: It's the Cadillac minivan.
Becky: It is. It has heated seats. It is.
Greg: What she's not telling you is she's actually doing consumer research. She's watching all the kids in the back and what they're using and how they're—
Leo: Actually you can learn a lot from kids these days.
Greg: Instant research every day.
Becky: Well at least I know who the good kids are you. Oh no, you can't playdate there. No, no, no, no, no. Mommy knows.
Leo: Mommy's got a margarita in that thermos.
Becky: That's right. Big mother.
Leo: We do This Week in Tech every Sunday, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 Eastern, 2300 UTC. If you want to stop by and watch live, you can watch on our own website, twit.tv but you can also, we're on YouTube live now. YouTube.com/twit. Just got the silver button for 100,000 plus subscribers. Thank you. Woot woot. They sent me kind of a snide, snarky note, Susan Wojcicki sent me a note saying, "Well it's ok. I mean it's not a million. But it's a pretty good number for somebody over 16. So good for you, Leo. Good for you. You're trying hard." I feel like it was a participation button.
Mike: And you replied and said, "Well YouTube is nice but it's not 23andMe, the company run by your sister."
Leo: Oh, that would hurt. That would hurt. Yea, and mom who got them all started by leasing her garage to these young guys, Sergay and Larry.
Mike: And she's an educational powerhouse in Silicon Valley.
Leo: She's great. Now you've completely thrown my train of thought. I was telling you about the show on YouTube, where to find us. All the shows are on YouTube as well after the fact. Of course your podcast client can find TWiT easily enough. If you want to be here live though, join us in the chatroom at irc.twit.tv or join us in the studio. We've got a great studio audience. Really the best looking studio audience I think we've ever had. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make sure we have a seat out for you. Thanks for being here and we'll see you next week! Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye.