This Week in Tech 598
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! Father Robert Ballecer, the digital Jesuit is here. Jason Calacanis from Inside.com, and from the Register, Iain Thomson. We'll talk about the transfer of the Twitter accounts, the final days of the tech surge, and a friend of ours, who now has a pretty big job keeping the government techy. Plus what's going on with Apple and Qualcomm. It's all coming up next, on TWiT.
NETCASTS YOU LOVE FROM PEOPLE YOU TRUST, THIS IS TWIT!
Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by CacheFly at cachefly.com.
Leo: Hi, this is Leo Laporte, and once again time for TWiT's audience survey. We'd really like to hear from you. It's only going to take a couple of minutes, really. That's all. Just go to TWiT.tv/survey, and let us know what you think. Your anonymous feedback will help us make TWiT even better, and thanks for your continued support.
This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 598, recorded Sunday, January 22, 2017.
It's Probably Squirrels
This Week in Tech is brought to you by Nature Box, delicious snacks made from high quality ingredients. Eat well and feel better. Visit naturebox.com/twit to save 50% on your first order.
And by Freshbooks, the ridiculously easy to use cloud accounting software used by over ten million small business owners, try it free for 30 days at freshbooks.com/twit.
And by Boll and Branch: for a good night's sleep, try their ultra-soft 100% organic cotton sheet sets. Get $50 off your first set of Boll and Branch sheets and free shipping, by visiting bollandbranch.com and enter the offer code TWiT.
And by Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans. When it comes to the big decision of choosing a mortgage lender, work with one that has your best interest in mind. Use Rocket mortgage for a transparent, trustworthy home loan process that is completely online. At Quickenloans.com/twit2.
It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech: the show where we talk about the week's tech news. Hey, it's nice, once in a while, when we get one of our hosts sitting at the table. Father Robert Ballecer has deigned to join us. Good to see you.
Father Robert Ballecer, SJ: It's great to be back.
Leo: Host of "Know How" and "This Week in Enterprise Tech".
Fr. Robert: It's my job to make sure we have lots of stuff floating around the studio that could kill you.
Leo: I noticed you're still growing things.
Fr. Robert: Yes. Growing is a loose term. I put them into automated devices, and I'm kind of wondering how long it will take for them to die.
Leo: Oh nice. So they get watered and light and everything.
Fr. Robert: They get watered and light, but they're being very much abused at the moment.
Leo: There was a whole segment of Know How that was called Grow How; he was showing us how to grow herbs. Herbs! Hey, that's Jason Calacanis. Great to see you, my friend.
Jason Calacanis: Good to be here.
Leo: From Inside.com.
Jason: Inside.com is my new start up.
Leo: The newsletters are great. Do you still do the SMS newsletter? Or no?
Jason: It's an experiment. I call it Jason's txtlist.com, and 1300 people are on it. What I said was I have 100,000 emails over here, let's see if any of them want to get very personal thoughts. Interesting thing is, very few people unsubscribe. I have to do something interesting if I send it.
Leo: How many a day do you end up sending?
Jason: I send maybe two or three a week. It's a personal thing that I don't want to deal with shenanigans on Twitter about, so I privatize my Twitter.
Leo: But it is Twitter like, isn't it?
Jason: Sure, but it's 1% of your audience, 100% open rate. It's the most intimate communication.
Leo: Give me an example.
Jason: Today I was talking about... one I let people listen to shoe dog and I loved it and what other books are you interested in. Another one was I was saying "I'm thinking about buying these modular homes and putting them in a lot somewhere and I was wondering if anybody had done a development project."
Leo: So it is very much like Twitter.
Jason: It is, but I don't necessarily want in the public that the press would pick up on, or that would be a permanent record. One to few.
Leo: But every time you're here we have great conversations. You just told me about John Mayer performing with the Dead. How great would that was, and I watched a video. Every time you're here I get some of that value, so I can see how nice that was. Also here from The Rigster.co.uk, Sir Iain Thomson.
Iain Thomson: Not quite. Somehow I would doubt Her Majesty is going to be noting me any time soon. So...
Leo: I loved Sir Ian Mckellen marched in the London march yesterday, and his poster, people thought it was shopped, but there were enough images of it that I think it was real, was of his good friend, John Luke Picard with his face palm, and that's all. No words. It was wonderful. They're good friends.
Iain: They're very good friends. He's done a lot of interesting work on that one. I'm sure he was inwardly quite pleased to be carrying it around.
Leo: Obviously we don't have to talk around it, on Friday the really important peaceful transition of Twitter accounts. Didn't go completely smoothly. But just to recap. @POTUS was created last year, and of course President Obama at the time was using it, and always the intent was, and they even said this at the beginning, this is not Obama's account, this is the Office's account. The Secret Service said, Mr. President would you please start using POTUS. They took Obama's Tweets and moved them to POTUS 44, and archived it. He can't tweet any more to it; it's done.
Jason: And he can't edit it.
Leo: It's done. As it should be. This is the case of everything that goes on in the White House, it becomes a matter of Public Record at some point. But what was interesting is the secret service took away Trump's Galaxy phone, we don't know what kind of phone, as they did with Obama, and they gave him some sort of secure phone; we don't know what it is.
Jason: Do they take it away from him, or do they say put it in the drawer.
Leo: With Obama he was forbidden. This is the interesting question. You're the President of the United States; who can say anything to you? But I guess the Secret Service probably can.
Iain: The people who shout at them with the guns, they're responsibility is to keep you alive.
Fr. Robert: Heads of state, be it the President or the Pope, always have people who have been in that job longer and they know all the details and all the dirty parts. They get to call the shots, believe it or not. It's not like being the CEO of a company. If you're CEO of a company, you really can do anything within that company. But like...
Leo: He's not the boss. He works for us.
Jason: I saw that yesterday. If you look at Saturday versus Friday; Friday was the inauguration, Saturday was the women's march. I think the fifth largest women's march was bigger than the inauguration crowd. Right? That occurred across the country. What's interesting about the Trump situation is one of the big concerns with Trump is his brand and his name are one in the same, he has all these hotels and he's double dealing in all kinds of real estate projects around the world that he is going to benefit from being president, and he hasn't put everything in a blind trust. He's got it in his son's trust, although that's close to being blind in my mind.
Leo: He said he was going to do all of this; he's done none of it. We'll stick to the tech on this...
Jason: On the tech, he is going to gain twenty, fifty million followers. That's worth a dollar or two dollars each. There is quantifiable value to Twitter followers. When marketers pay for Twitter followers, there is a way... I want to gain followers, I'm willing to pay a dollar, I'm willing to pay two dollars. So when he gains 20, 30, 40 million people, he's going to be making 20 to a hundred million dollar asset. When he gets out of office...
Leo: He can't take @ POTUS with him. This is one of the interesting things. I was told that along with taking the phone, they said Mr. President, you must now tweet @potus and not @REALdonaldtrump, and that's not going to happen. He continues to tweet at both, although @POTUS, which as 14. 2 million followers seems to be the kind of tweets that came during the campaign from the iPhone. The staffer tweets. There was a spelling error on this one originally. "I am honored to serve you" was spelled with an "er."
Jason: Does that mean the President is literally writing his own tweets, or the people who work for him are incapable of using spell check.
Fr. Robert: They say that any tweets that he writes will be signed -DT.
Leo: I don't think that's true. I'm looking @REALdonaldtrump, I see no signature at all.
Fr. Robert: Only the POTUS account.
Leo: Is it to be presumed that @REALdonaldtrump these are his tweets?
Jason: Somewhere he said he would read them out to a staffer and he would write them, but you have a staffer there at 3AM?
Leo: Remember when Obama got a phone in 2013, a couple years ago, he complained on The Tonight Show it doesn't play music, it doesn't take pictures. It doesn't do any of the things a normal Smartphone would do. He said it's a play phone. I would be surprised if it would tweet. It doesn't have a browser.
Fr. Robert: A device that is designated for secure communication should never touch an insecure network.
Leo: It doesn't go on the public Internet, or if it does it's filtered. I wonder maybe he did keep the galaxy in a drawer. I don't know what's going on, but clearly he's still tweeting @REALdonaldtrump, which has considerably more followers. 21.5 million followers. There was also a little kerfuffle because for a while, and Twitter said it was 50 thousand people were auto-followed to @POTUS. Twitter said it was 50.
Fr. Robert: Well because when they moved over the account, POTUS had 15.5 million. It had dropped to 14.4 million, then it went to 14.5, now it's stabilized at 14.2.
Jason: Because people were unsubscribing in anticipation of Trump taking it; therefore when they did the retaking it, some people who had unsubscribed were resubscribed. Also known as NBD.
Leo: It's a button.
Fr. Robert: They were replaying the script. Going back to a backup, moving all the tweets. It took a while to replay that script.
Leo: Jack Dorsey apologized. It wasn't intentional.
Jason: And who cares?
Leo: I would care if Twitter were throwing its hat in the ring and saying you all ought to follow Donald Trump. That's just an accident.
Jason: People were so quick on Twitter, and other places to ascribe some sort of agenda, when in fact almost all of Twitter's behavior comes out of their utter incompetence.
Leo: Is there anybody left at Twitter? They lost 8 or 9 top executives this year..?
Jason: They lost everybody. If you have a half time CEO, listen. Jack is a friend of mine. Acquaintance/friend. We're friend. It is a horrible idea... he knows my position. A half time CEO of a troubled company...
Leo: He doesn't really step down at Square. He's still running Square.
Jason: Now we're six quarters in. I think the half time CEO experiment is going to end in the next 62 days.
Leo: The board transferred too, right? It's not the same board.
Jason: They transferred some of the board.
Leo: Isn't that who would force Jack to step down?
Jason: Again, the incompetence level on the board as well is so bad. It's really run improperly.
Leo: What happens to Twitter? Clearly we just spent twenty minutes talking about the President's Twitter account. It's clearly an important medium.
Fr. Robert: It's important, but the only to keep Twitter as an important medium is to guarantee that it's never profitable. That's a problem.
Iain: This is the thing. It's going to get bought up by a bunch of Venture Capitalists. Who are going to try to run into profit and kill it.
Leo: Should it be non-profit? What would you like in this? Public utility?
Fr. Robert: This is like PBS back in the day. It was an important public service, actually way more important than PBS and it needs to stay free. It needs to stay more or less free flowing. The minute someone figures out a good way to monetize Twitter, it's no longer Twitter.
Leo: There is a security concern. Somebody just raised this. What happens when North Korea hacks the President's account and starts tweeting? Could they even create a war? Do people pay enough attention...
Iain: We've seen this before with an electronic army. They got hold of AP's tweet. They put it out, there had been a bomb attack in the White house, you got a flash crash, it was back up in a few minutes.
Leo: Trump's Tweets, he's cost polling...
Fr. Robert: That's the thing. Someone hacks the account and they sell short on the account.
Iain: The interesting thing about the law key case, if you look at the pattern of shared traffic; the Lockheed share price starts to drop sharply after 5 minutes before that tweet went out.
Leo: That was very suspicious. Insider trading is hard to get away with, right? They know who bought the stock.
Jason: The only thing you can really do is take a long-term view, so OK. I'm going to load up on Twitter because I know it's required and it's going to take a long view. It's hard to trade on that information now. What's interesting about Twitter is that never before have we had as polarizing a politician as Trump. Maybe Nixon, I don't know when the last time was that it was this polarized. I wasn't alive during it. If Twitter can't grow meaningfully when the President of the United States is using it to create chaos, when will they ever be able to grow?
Iain: My worry isn't that the President is going to use this, my worry is that somebody with access to that Twitter feed is going to use it and ride on his coat tails and do some dodgy stuff. Trump's honestly not going to risk the Presidency on something as stupid as insider trading.
Leo: I noticed a lot of people on my various feeds were saying they wanted to watch the march yesterday and watched it on Twitter. So there is a use case for live Twitter.
Jason: Twitter is an incredibly successful company that has been mismanaged for the last couple years. It hasn't been managed for growth and it's gone sideways. These companies are so competitive. If you look at how Zuckerberg runs his company, he is so competitive, to be half time CEO doesn't work. It just doesn't work. I've been saying it from the beginning.
Leo: But what's going wrong at Twitter? They just can't monetize?
Jason: They have plenty of revenue. They can't grow, the product is not getting easier to use. There's no product cadence. What product cadence means in the technology space is that on a regular basis you're getting nice updates. You see Facebook runs their FA conference, they run a regular update with their products. Microsoft, Google. You don't get that sense as a Twitter user that there's any kind of rhyme or reason.
Robert: There's never an invitation for a new generation of users.
Iain: There's a limited number of people now looking to sign on and increase their numbers growth. They've got a real problem, and every time they try and muck around with the actual service, the users throw a complete stink and they back down or wind it down. Facebook used to do this. They'd institute a change, the users would go this is the worst thing ever. They started off rolling it back and they decided hell with it, We're going to do it anyway and they can either go away or come along with you. They come along with you in Facebook by and large.
Leo: You do have to say because of President Trump being on there, that's going to guarantee Twitter continues.
Jason: Twitter is going to continue. These things take a long time to deprecate. If you look at AOL or Yahoo, these brands still exist, even today. Even though they haven't done anything innovative in a decade. Here's what's going to happen. They're going to cut more stuff, clean it up and sell it. The only problem is Jack has a strong grip on the board and he wants to keep going and keep innovating. It's an ego thing for him. He's the founder.
Iain: You think we're in a Jerry Yang situation?
Jason: A bit, and I think somebody has to say to him, Listen. You had eight quarters, it didn't happen. Nothing happened, it's time to sell this, cut half the staff and sell. If Yahoo had cut half the staff at some point and focused on their...
Leo: Who will buy this? Some Venture capital...?
Jason: There's been investor groups that tried to talk them into doing this, but they can't do it unless Jack and certain board members and key shareholders agree. There's been plenty of people who want to privatize it...
Leo: Could you do a hostile takeover?
Jason: No. I don't think their float is big enough, the amount of shares available to the public is not big enough.
Leo: They kept enough inside, so you can't get...
Fr. Robert: Could Mexico buy Twitter?
Jason: At 20 or 30 billion it doesn't feel like anybody wanted to buy it, but at 10 billion... there's a lot of people who would buy it.
Fr. Robert: You've got your angel hat on. How would you extract your money out of Twitter if you had invested a large sum?
Jason: People who were involved sold their shares to Chris Shoka, who ran secondary shares all the way up. That's how Chris Shoka made his money. At the time what he did was he put a pool of capital together, went to them and said anybody who is an ex-employee, I'll buy your shares, or a current employee, so you can get liquidity and buy a house. That's when it was a billion dollar company, ran up to a 45 billion dollar company.
Leo: A lot of people got rich. A lot of people we know got rich.
Jason: There's that ability to sell the shares, but there's I think an opportunity--I know this sounds crazy-- for somebody to create a new social network that is based on privacy.
Leo: We're not done?
Jason: Listen. Google was the twelfth search engine. There's always an opportunity. I think somebody could create a Twitter competitor if they did it based on mobile first and based on the signal. There's something.
Leo: Would you have verified users?
Jason: I think you could go one of two ways. You could go only verified to be on the system, so you get better behavior, or you go complete free for all, we don't control anything, it's more like BitTorrent. Nobody controls it.
Fr. Robert: Why can't you combine those? Don't you fix most of the troll problem if everybody is verified? If you got your actual identity in the game, you are much less likely... it won't stop some people, but you know who they are.
Jason: They're moving towards that. That's why they opened up the verification process. There's been a movement inside the company to go 100% verified. It was a very strong movement.
Leo: Last time you were here you said that's going to happen.
Jason: They said they were going to open it up to everybody, you can request it, so I was right again. It's easy to be right when people are feeding you information. It's definitely eventually what will happen is the default on Twitter will be verify people. IF a certain number of people tip over, they'll say you're experience is verified and what I asked Jack to do and what I told Twitter they should do, when somebody has a flag on their account, like too many complaints, when they come up and want to harass you, it should come up blurred, unverified user or controversial user. It should be blurred. It says click to reveal, and automatically there's a box there. Block or report. You're basically saying you can get put in the penalty box if too many people complain and the cost of being in the penalty box is your tweets are blurred. You have to approve people...
Leo: I don't think that solves the problem. That solves one part of the problem, which is you don't want to see trolls, but trolls can do you damage by the tweets that they say to other people. They can damage you. That doesn't change that situation at all.
Jason: Let's say there's a triggering mechanism. A thousand people who are qualified, verified people say this person is horrible. Maybe they move to every tweet they do is blurred.
Leo: That's a tough thing to solve.
Jason: Facebook did a good job of having all real users.
Leo: It's dramatic the difference between Facebook and Twitter.
Jason: Because you can report people and they go away. You can't put up a fake account on Facebook. It's hard to maintain.
Iain: It's doable. But it is a lot of work.
Jason: Every time you add somebody and you don't know them it's an I don't know this person, this isn't a really person and they immediately get the signal.
Leo: Let's take a break, come back. Lots more to discuss, including a new chairman of the FCC. Apple is suing Qualcomm for 1 billion dollars. Lots more; we'll get to it in just a moment. But first, let's have snack time. We'll do it early today. Nature Box, they' ve been our snack providers since 2010. We love Nature Box. What do you do when you want a snack but all you can find is crap, junk food. There's self-control, right? That works. Resist temptation. I've heard it! Never did it. What do you do, you eat the crap. Here's what you do. Instead, have Nature Box handy and ready. You're going to have wonderful snacks that taste great. They fulfill your need. Look at that big island pineapple. that is the best dried fruit in the history of the world. It's chewy and delicious. What, garlic plantains? What the what? Cranberry almond bites. I'll never forget the day Sarah Lane ate an entire bag of those.
Jason: Mini belgian waffles.
Leo: I love those. High quality ingredients. The Sriracha, free from artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. They just, if you try Nature Box before, they've changed it a little bit. This is what I wanted. You can order as much as you want as often as you want. There used to be a subscription, you'd get a box, it was complicated to get more, now no. No minimum purchase, cancel when you want. There are over a hundred snacks. They're always refining it, always improving it based on they've got a lot of data. They know what people like. One of the reasons is you can return a snack if you don't like it and they'll replace it for free. That's their research, right? No risk. Toasted sesame sticks. You can get those... you can go to the store and get them. They're not as good.
Jason: It's not as convenient.
Leo: Sea salt pop ups. Those are really... stop showing this... Choose the snacks you want at naturebox.com/twit. We're going to give you 50% off your first order right now. Oh come on. Now what's holding you back? Naturebox.com/twit. 50% off your first order. WE thank Naturebox for their long-time support. They've been keeping us as snacks forever. Naturebox. So this is just a rumor, this has not yet been confirmed by the Trump administration, but several sources have reported to Politico that one of the current commissioner of the FCC will become chairman of the FCC. AS you know, the FCC was told don't make any more rules until the new administration comes in. It's up to the President to appoint the commissioners, half Republican half Democratic. We know that Tom Wheeler, who was an Obama appointee is gone. Adju Pie is an interesting choice because he is already a commissioner. He doesn't need Senate approval. He can go right into the work. He was already confirmed. That was just for the term. He would have to be reconfirmed when the new term comes up. Pie was a nominee by Obama. He's a Republican. He's a senior FCC Republican. Here's the thing I find interesting. He's a rabid anti net neutrality. A fierce critic of net neutrality, of many regulations that the commission has passed over the last few years. Not just Net Neutrality but a lot more... he will at least be acting chairman I think. We'll see if he becomes a more permanent chairman. This has always been on the Trump plan to get rid of regulation and in particular the net neutrality regulation.
Iain: It basically wraps it up for Net Neutrality at the moment. If you read what this guy has been writing for the last three or four years and the talks he gives to various think tanks, net neutrality is out. Any laws against conglomeration of broadband ownership they're out. IF you're trying to set up your own municipal network, that's out as well because he's not a big fan of those.
Leo: Wow. Did you see, speaking of municipal networks, the proposed bill in Wisconsin or Minneapolis...?
Iain: For the you can't have a municipal network, and you can make a connection through any means possible, so if you have a satellite...
Leo: It's... there's already in many state legislators and cities rules against cities setting up wifi. Community broadband, I think it's a great idea, but the Republican point of view is the public sector should not compete against private enterprise.
Iain: What are they afraid of? One is more efficient than the other. Its' competition.
Robert: It's the 80's of cable act. In the 86 cable act, in order to entice companies to come in and deploy, they said we're going to give you the rights to set up connectivity across a municipality. However, there is a clause in there. It is part of the bill. It's not just an interpretation that says it needs to be for the betterment of the community. Unfortunately, it's so vaguely written you can argue that locking you out of a faster connection is serving the betterment of the community. But looking at the whole thing, net neutrality, an interesting part here is they could roll it back they could get rid of the regulation, however the hard part of setting up net neutrality under the way that we had it under wheeler was the reclassification. It was the argument of whether or not that should be allowed. Even if they roll back the regulation, when the next administration comes across, if they are friendly to the net neutrality regulations, it's not going to be an 8 year fight. It's going to be a two month fight. They're going to say President is already there, that this is possible. We can reclassify. Once we have the votes, we do. Ultimately it's congress. The hard part was that was already done.
Leo: Here's what Pye wrote in September, he wrote a digital empowerment agenda. I'm curious. There's four points. What do you think. Some of these I think great. Giga bit opportunity zones to bring broadband and digital opportunity to the most economically challenged areas, create these zones that would incentivize broadband deployment, spur governments to streamline regulations, help job creators, any area where average household income is below 75% of the national medium would qualify. state and local law makers would adopt streamlined broadband deployment friendly policies--probably that's a euphemism. Significant tax incentives. Entrepreneurs incentivized to create jobs in these zones through a tax credit. Sounds like a good thing, right? Mobile broadband for rural America--this is one of the things we've called for for a long time. It's clear that businesses, one of the problems in this country is business is less incentivized to provide Internet to a low density population, a rural population. We've got to do something, in my opinion, like the rural electrification programs of the depression. They did that to bring electricity to the areas that would not be powered. Let's bring broadband that way. He proposed increase the build out obligations of wireless carriers, and incentivize rural broadband investment by extending license terms up to 15 years, move forward with mobility fund face too that includes tech neutral performance metrics, eliminates duplicitous support, maintains support when needed, subsidizes the deployment of new networks, create a rural dividend. So basically, incentives.
Fr. Robert: This is a copy of the plan they tried to implement in the early 2000's when they gave the telco industry 200 billion dollars to build out rural Internet. It never happened. If they want to do it again, I'm fine, but there has to be stronger language that says you only get the money if you actually do it.
Leo: Set aside 10% of the money to deploy mobile broadband in rural America.
Iain: All for incentives, but incentives have to be backed up by penalties. If you take the money, and you don't perform, you give it back.
Leo: Otherwise, it's just a gift. Here's a couple hundred billion.
Jason: The good news is space X, with their 4,000 satellites going up in low earth orbit is going to have a system that's going to be a Gigabit. It's going to be cheap. There's one web, and who is the other one that's doing it? Essentially it's a pizza box sized dish you put anywhere. And then you're all set up, and that's going to be here in 2, 3 years. When that happens, I think we're going to see...
Iain: We're definitely going to see some interruption.
Jason: It's going to be disruptive. The whole concept of upstate New York or some rural place Montana, it's going to have Gigabit over satellite. There's going to be multiple providers doing this. Radio just put up a bunch of satellites in the last space X launch. You're going to have multiple people putting up arrays of...
Leo: This plan isn't bad. The idea is get Government out of the way, give incentive to private Industry to do this. It's what you would expect from a Republican administration as opposed to a Government funding...
Fr. Robert: Let's not demonize it. Remember, when Wheeler came in, we thought he was a towel boy for the cable Industry, and he turned the opposite.
Leo: As you say, if the companies take these incentives and actually do this, Government officials should adopt a dig once policy so whenever you do a highway or road construction project, you'll lay conduit for broadband, that makes a lot of sense. A lot of this makes sense. Maybe it's time to try another approach.
Iain: Possibly. What worries me most about this guy is that he's willing for telcos to merge. And that reduces competition.
Leo: That's funny because Trump said during the campaign that he was against the time warner merger with AT&T. This guy, his position would be no.
Iain: His position is he's never met a merger he didn't like. Trump did say that; he said a lot of stuff during the campaign. Now we got to see if he matches up to it. If he does, great. He'll get my full support, but I've got my doubts, I'll put it that way.
Jason: Someone in the chat room was asking about the latency issue with the new satellites low earth orbit, so they are closer to the Earth, so they can cover a smaller amount of area.
Leo: They're Leos, which I happen to like.
Jason: So 25-35 milliseconds is what I read, as opposed to 600 milliseconds. So that whole idea of you load a web page and wait, boom it comes in. That kind of goes away, it's wired supposedly. We'll see.
Leo: I'm thrilled. Elon is a good example of how the private sector can innovate and do some amazing things, think outside the box. I wouldn't trust Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T to do this, but if there's competition to do this, if they try and Elon tries, I would trust the free market to generate a solution that works.
Iain: Free market generates great solutions, as long as you've got a free market.
Leo: WE don't right now.
Iain: One of the really astounding things about moving to this country, because America is billed as the home of competition and the free market capitalism, you've got one of the most monopolized markets in the world for things like telecommunications. It's not even close to being a free market. That's why you need someone in there as an arbiter to say right. You can't manipulate markets in this way.
Fr. Robert: There's actually a policy that the FCC can deal with that is more important than net neutrality if we want to deal with that kind of competition, and that is to protect and expand the act that they passed the week after net neutrality they got so little play, that opened up the polls, it made it much easier for a non-incumbent to come in and deploy broadband. If they expand that, because it has been challenged by AT&T, if they uphold that and they allow a sonic.net to come in and use less than 5,000 per house, because that's the number the CEO of Sonic quoted, whether or not we're running to a house, it will cost us $5000 per house in San Francisco to run. If they can reduce that significantly to $500 a house, suddenly you do have competition.
Leo: Let's go a step further. Let's open up the cable company's physical plans to competition. It's not just the cable company that can use the copper, but just as it works on phone companies right now where you can have multiple DSL providers running on those lines.
Iain: To tell the truth, what South Korea has done is have the Government bill out a massive fiber network and open it up and say "go play." See what competition brings.
Leo: That's the solution I'd like to see; it's a complete non-starter under this administration.
Iain: We're talking about a 2 billion infrastructure bill...
Leo: That infrastructure bill I read, that 2 billion is almost all private Industry and it gets monetized by charging a toll. At least for broadband it would be a duplicate of what we already have. So I... we'll see. It'll be interesting.
Jason: One of the interesting things I've seen, I've gotten this proposal a bunch of times as an angel investor, is people doing crowd funding for Fiber. So you have a provider who says hey I want to put this in a building, and you say yeah. Just get us 15 people and your ability to say yes will run the fiber. People, in some buildings are putting their own Internet in the building as a way to draw people to the building. So if you want to sell in a luxury building now to millennials, you get huge fiber connection. You say we give Wifi up until this amount for ten dollars a month included. Then you can get fiber.
Iain: It's a huge factor in house prices at the moment. If you get a fast fiber Internet connection into a house, you can raise the value of that house by 3 or 4%.
Leo: I wouldn't buy a house without high speed internet. All right. Apple. Let's take a break, then we'll do Apple. We still want snacks.
Jason: I think they ate them all.
Fr. Robert: We were here late on Friday and we kind of went through the snack box...
Leo: Father Robert Ballecer, he ate all the snacks. He's also the digital Jesuit. You'll see him on Know How. And This Week in Enterprise Tech, Jason Calacanis, from Inside.com, and what was it? Calacanis text?
Jason: Jason's text list. I want to plug... inside.com/trump. We started... It's an experiment. We're looking at everything he promised before the election, and we're going to track what he promised and what he actually does. It's not partisan, it's just he promised x, y, and z, and here's how he's tracking against that promise.
Leo: It's a lot of verticals, right?
Jason: We're going to do 15 new verticals this year, we have 14 right now. So every topic...
Leo: I want to join technically sentient.
Jason: That's one of our fastest growing. It's got 12,000 emails on it, it's about machine learning, AI, twice a week. Friend of mine...
Leo: Do you hire one person for each newsletter to do it?
Jason: A full time person can do 2-3 newsletters. It basically takes 5, 6, 7 hours to do...
Leo: They're weekly?
Jason: Most are twice a week. Sometimes three. Some we're doing twice a day. The idea is to make you smarter.
Leo: Read this thing!
Jason: We bought that. It was 15000 person email newsletter where it was 1 story a day. One great story a day. Sort of like long reads. Here's a high quality one. We just did inside Facebook this week. Everybody reporting on what happened at Facebook.
Leo: I am overwhelmed by the amount of great content that's out there. WE have no lack of great content, and not so great content.
Jason: That's what I'm trying to do for New Year's is curate that and here's the top ten stories about Facebook in the last four days, if you're involved in Facebook in some way as a stakeholder, read it. We only need you to sign up for 2 or 3. You don't need 50. Just two.
Leo: Just pick a couple. It's free, right?
Jason: Yeah. It's classified, and eventually patronage based. We're building the CMS now, so eventually 1% of people will be able to pay, 2% be able to pay. We've done some tests on Patreon. I think we're going to build it into our own system. My whole playbook is to build the CMS and make a whole machine so when you do it for one newsletter you establish the best practice... Inside Trump and it goes to the AI newsletter, etc. You have to figure it out.
Leo: Finally Iain Thomson of theregister.co.uk.
Iain: The Register... I buy most of my British food on Amazon, including bulk.
Jason: Including beef jerky? No, that's Australian.
Iain: South African. I bought...
Leo: What is British food?
Iain: Tea that tastes like tea.
Iain: Vegemite is the bastardized version of it from Australia.
Leo: I think the British have invented apple pie with cheese on it.
Iain: NO. That's an American abomination.
Jason: I think that was taxi driver, Leo. That was Taxi Driver before he tried to assassinate the President. "I ordered a slice of Apple Pie with a slice of American cheese on it. I thought that was a great selection."
Iain: There's so much more to it.
Leo: I try not to think.... Bubble and Squeak.
Iain: The magnificence of a full English breakfast, how can you turn that down? Eggs, sausage, black pudding.
Jason: Black pudding, I'm salivating now, thinking about eating blood.
Iain: Have you had it?
Jason: OF course I had it. English food is terrible.
Iain: I bow to the nation that gave us the Twinkie for goodness' sake.
Leo: Don't knock the Twinkie! Them's good eating words. The Goo Goo Cluster! Our show to you today brought to you by Freshbooks: keep track of... we'll experiment. You're a sole proprietor, small business maybe. Can you tell me if 2016 was profitable? Are you going to profit right now? Usually you don't know that until you do your taxes. Once a year you go now I know. Freshbooks, their new dashboard, this is brand new, redesigned knows what invoices you're out, what invoice has been paid, what your expenses are, what your profit is, and you can see it every moment. You know how you're doing without any accounting. Now of course, they have the accounting reports, all the stuff your accountant wants they can do, but that's behind the scenes. It's done automatically and you just do what you would normally do, you invoice people, by the way, it's a lot easier to invoice people than it used to be. I Used to fire up Microsoft word and excel and... 12 years ago I started using them.
Jason: You don't need to install software either.
Leo: No, it's all on the web. Though you might want the app. It lets you take pictures of receipts and import them.
Jason: Desktop with CD Roms.
Leo: Here's an interesting one. Did you know that invoicing clients online, the kind of invoicing you pay an average of 11 days faster, that's because it's easier for the clients to pay you. There's even a pay me button on there. You can see what invoices have been sent, and viewed. Yes, Viewed. You can tell if they read the invoice, you'll know immediately. So when they try that I didn't get your invoice, you can say you read it, I saw it. And of course what you've been paid, it's easy to brand the invoices, set recurring invoices, set auto payment reminders, even automatic late fees. It's just the easiest way to keep track.
Jason: Time track too. If you have one of those businesses that charges by the hour, like a designer or a writer, it's very cool. You can design and hit pause, and play.
Leo; You can assign it, you can track it by vendor, by category, by project. Same thing with expenses. I can go on and on, but look. We got a 30 day unrestricted free trial for you at freshbooks.com/twit. Freshbooks.com/twit. Use the, when it says how did you hear about us, you should use This Week in Tech. That way they'll know you saw it on us.
Jason: Tell ‘em Uncle Leo sent you.
Leo: Uncle Leo days, that was fun. I never did that. I did radio ads and would say tell 'em Leo sent you, but I remember I could go to the mattress place, I'd never say who's going to say, oh by the way before you write up that bill, Uncle Leo sent me. You're going to say I heard it on the radio. You're not going to say Uncle Leo sent you. Uncle Leo sent me?
Jason: I'm a friend of Leo's?
Fr. Robert: That sounds like another one of those innocuous things.
Jason: When you go to the club, and the bouncer, you're like I know Steve. You know what I'm saying, Padre?
Leo: Always say I know big Steve. That's a good one. Actually, related to big Steve, Apple engineer says Tim Cook is more rigid, less competitive than Steve Jobs was. Can you trust these former Apple engineers? He's doing it on CNBC, Bob Burrow. He said in 2007, 4 years before Steve's death, Apple was organizationally the Wild West. But this is in response to his tweet saying that Jobs company was thin, competitive and dynamic, under Tim Cook Rigid, not competitive. Tony Fidel denied it. He said wrong.
Iain: Actually, something else to look at.
Leo: There's only one product Apple has come out in the last year that is worth talking about. Maybe the iPhone seven, but the Airpods are the only thing that is a classic apple product. Well done, highly functional, over-priced... easy to lose. But I think it is designed impressively.
Iain: They look great, but it's the implementation. Apple has always built good looking products, at the moment they're just treading water and they have been for the last couple of years. I don't get why they have stalled as badly as they have.
Leo: It's hard!
Jason: Losing Steve Jobs, somebody who drives people and inspires people...
Leo: Tim is a wonderful guy, but do you think he inspires people to do their best work?
Jason: Obviously he would admit he doesn't inspire people the way Steve Jobs did. They're just going through this dark era, Tim is going to have to find somebody who can come out with this next level product that is inspiring. They're not inspiring people and in fact they're frustrating people.
Fr. Robert: I take issue with people saying it was the Wild West and it was so much better back then. One of the things, this is more important than the design cues, because there's a lot of companies out there making beautiful stuff, but Apple built this juggernaut of a supply chain. It destroyed everybody.
Jason: It was the combination. If Tim Cook was given zounds, what Tim has done well is he has massively rang the cash register, the amount of efficiency, the cash they have, it's all flawless. At some point they're going to need somebody in there who can be the arbiter of beauty and design and take risk, they have no iPhone like product in the pipeline that anybody knows about. The only possibility is AR glasses, but the MacBook is a disaster, the watch is a disaster. That's got to be the next attempt, is AR glasses. The other possibility with Jimmy Iovene is that he has this possibility of creating a Netflix like service, and what I've been pushing them to do is create their own version of Prime. Which is put iCloud with music, with some sort of video rental and with Apple care.
Leo: would you have said the same thing before Bezos was so successful with Prime? Prime looks like this hodgepodge of unrelated services. Here's my basket of crap, give me $99. Before it happened, I would have said...
Jason: Video becomes icing. Apple now has iCloud, they figured it out. And they launch music. I never was an Apple Care guy. But music was intriguing.
Leo: That's why it's interesting that these rumors about Apple becoming a Netflix competitor are under Apple music. It's not a separate... iTunes. Apple media, Apple entertainment.
Jason: Netflix is going to spend six billion this year, and that's to 500 million from HBO.
Leo: Who is the genius at Netflix that chooses shows? Because that's the key.
Iain: House of Cards was data mined. They found out people who liked Kevin Spacy also liked films done by the director of House of Cards, and they liked political dramas. They thought right. We'll do a political drama with Kevin Spacey and directed by this guy.
Leo: It didn't work that way because what happened was Dana Burnetti and Kevin Spacey put together House of Cards, shopped it, and it had a good offer from a cable network, probably HBO, and Burnetti told me this, the night before they made the deal with HBO--he never told me who the cable company was, but I Have to presume, he got a call from Netflix who said hold on. We'd like to offer you a hundred million dollars. They said a few things that Burnetti liked and Spacey liked. One of which was you can launch the whole season at once. For some reason they liked that. I don't understand, because it seems to me like that's a negative, because look at the shows that come out once a week, like Game of Thrones which is coming back in three months, you get this whole week of blog posts and newspaper articles. Consumers like binge watching.
Jason: They have under a million subs to HBO Go, I know people subscribe, but how has HBO fallen behind Netflix in terms of total subs? That's crazy. It's because of this exact issue. HBO is going to blink.
Leo: Burnetti apparently knew that, because he said that was the thing. He called Kevin and said we got a deal here, but wait a minute. Would you consider Netflix, and they made the deal and they're obviously very happy. Season 4 or 5 is coming, and that was a template Netflix used to create Stranger Things and so many great...
Iain: We were talking earlier about things the younger generation would not understand. If you try to explain to a ten year old that back in the day we had to wait for a week to find out what was going to happen in our favorite TV shows, they'll look at you like you're mad. The very... binge watching is where it's going.
Leo: The creators like it better because the story is more intact. You don't have to do a whole lot of exposition saying you may remember last week all of this happened. It's a little easier as a story teller to think of it as a six hour movie, then as a weekly one after the other.
Fr. Robert: The fun thing about that is that leads us to a content style that we have down south with novellas. It's the whole idea of an encapsulated story...
Leo: Do you mean the Philippines.
Fr. Robert: Them too. But more Mexico. The tele novella. I've got a story, it will take three seasons, and it will be done.
Leo: Creators love the idea that they're not tied to a TV series for an indeterminate amount of time.
Jason: Here's the main problem. When you're NBC and CBS and ABC and had to deal with this of late, you have to wait for a show to come off air for your show to get slotted in. You're in a holding pattern. If Netflix wants to put out five game of thrones or two more whatever, they don't have to wait for anybody, they just put it out. And, they don't have to appease the lowest common denominator. They don't have to put a show that appeals to women, to men. They don't need to, they can make this work, which means the artists are happier.
Fr. Robert: You also don't get filler episodes. You don't have we got four seasons and we have to fill this time. No. Tell your story, move on.
Leo: There is a potential negative to that, which is content overload. Both Amazon and Netflix are getting to the point where there's so many I don't know what to watch. Right?
Jason: Netflix is making over 2 billion dollars a quarter, they're spending six billion on content. 70% of their money is going to content, which is extraordinary. But then you have to think about the fact that they're going to own that content forever.
Leo: Not always, House of Cards is first run only. Then it goes back...
Jason: Most of the stuff they're going to won.
Iain: It was a first.
Leo: It was also making a virtue out of necessity because Netflix was having trouble making deals with Hollywood to get these shows on streaming. Hollywood said you don't have the DVD but you're not putting our first run movie on streaming, and they get more and more crap, now nobody cares what's on Netflix, it's a bonus...
Jason: Amazon offered all films at Sundance. If you got accepted to Sundance, they gave you a hundred thousand dollar offer for the streaming rights. Chicken feet for the top third of movies at Sundance, but the bottom half of movies at Sundance don't get paid. They literally do not get sold, so it's a massive pay day. This is them coming in and saying we'll take everything and a massive support for new directors. They'll pick up a dozen or two dozen films this way.
Leo: They have acquired a film at Sundance yesterday.
Fr. Robert: We have a model for that. The Bloomhouse films. He broke Hollywood. He's the guy who said I'm not spending a hundred million dollars on a film, I'm going to spend a million dollars on a hundred films. 99 of them are going to crap out, one of them will be the next Paranormal activity. That's the model. Do that, get your net out, you're going to own bad content, but that one series that takes off, it's going to be a cash cow for the next ten years. There's a lot of insiders saying this isn't the way to make content, but it's what we want. WE want to choose what we want to watch.
Leo: Do you think this model works for a company like Apple?
Jason: I think Apple could put an Amazon Prime like package together that they lost money on, because they make such a high margin on services. If you buy an iPhone or an iPad, it can come with the first year of Apple entertainment or Apple Now. If Apple Entertainment came for a year for any device, what an amazing offering that would be if they end up hitting Game of Thrones or House of Cards. When I get the device, I can watch this TV show?
Leo: The NFL has done this with Verizon for a while. Exclusive streaming of NFL games.
Iain: It's not that popular with... I'm not sure. It's out of Apple's traditional skill set when they never do well in that.
Leo: Who is the brain at Netflix, Netflix picks content well. Amazon does it a little differently...
Jason: They're all hiring up the executives from HBO and everything else.
Leo: That's what you do. Amazon does it with data. They have pilot week.
Fr. Robert: Apple has a problem. They are like Microsoft in the early 2000's. They've got the golden calf right now. iPhone, it's the gift that keeps on giving, it's the only division... it's still making a lot of money. How do you convince the people at the company and your investors that we need to kill that because this market is growing?
Jason: This is a company making 200 billion a year. They can fund this out of funny money. They're making 25 billion on services right now. They can eff around and put five billion towards this and spend just as much as Netflix. They don't need to make money off it.
Leo: When do we get a scarcity of good stuff? When does it happen that people bidding in this market that...
Jason: It's already happening that many cities, I have some friends in the TV and film business, many of the cities were people film like Toronto and Vancouver, they're getting maxed out. That's one problem the other problem is...
Leo: There's also a limited number of great writers and show runners.
Jason: They're running out of great writers.
Fr. Robert: I have a Jesuit brother in Los Angeles who is on spec for five different scripts. He didn't need to give them a detailed treatment. They said I like your stuff, we're going to give you an advance, write this in six months. Never happened before.
Leo: Apple is suing Qualcomm for a billion dollars. They say Qualcomm has been using technologies they have nothing to do with. Apple is paying those royalties. They're a little pissed off that Qualcomm supported Samsung in its lawsuit against Apple. It's time for payback. Apple says for many years Qualcomm has unfairly charged for technologies they have nothing to do with, the more Apple innovates with unique features like touch ID just to name a few, the more money Qualcomm collects for no reason. That's how royalties work, and the more expensive it becomes for Apple to fund these innovations, Qualcomm builds its business on older legacy standards but reinforces its dominance through exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties.
Fr. Robert: Isn't this just tempting karma? Punching karma in the face?
Leo: I thought Steve Jobs was the guy who did this kind of thing and that Tim was a little bit above the fray.
Iain: Lawyers need Porsches too.
Fr. Robert: No, they need Teslas.
Iain: True. It is deeply disturbing, but tech firms spend too much time litigating this rubbish when they should be concentrating on innovating. You could make the same charges against any tech company if you dug deep enough.
Leo; It seems to me another nail in Apple's coffin, when a company is struggling, what do they do? They start suing other companies for a billion dollars.
Fr. Robert: I'd like to see Samsung take the text from Apple's complaint and use it against, cut and paste.
Leo: Speaking of Samsung, tomorrow we will know what happened to the Note 7, the result of Samsung's investigation will be revealed. Wall Street Journal says it knows already.
Iain: The rumor is Wall Street Journal basically got the exclusive so they'll play nice with them next time around.
Leo: Because right now they play nice with apple mostly.
Leo: That's not nice, don't do that. The story is that the batteries in the iPhone, I'm sorry, Note 7 were irregularly sized and so some of them, this is why not all, but some of the Note 7s got, became explosive because the batteries were I guess too big.
Iain: They were getting compacted down and was causing breakage. I don't know.
Fr. Robert: Were those the battery packs that were made in the United States? Is that going to be the—
Iain: That could be very interesting if so. Yea, I mean it's—but I mean I've heard, we've heard so many different explanations from the packed too much technology in there, they did it too narrow, that it was a software problem. This is what they're going to tell us the problem was. The big thing is can they actually make it right next time around?
Leo: They have to. They've got the S8 coming.
Jason: They'll get it right. And just like the Antenna-gate with iPhone 4—is it iPhone 4 that had the Antenna-gate? I think so. It's like these things pass. Nobody got killed and—
Leo: Cost the company $5-billion.
Jason: Which is nothing for a company that makes $300 or so. They'll easily get through it. Some people might get fired but I think there's no way that they'll have this problem occur in the 8.
Iain: I don't think you can afford to. It was really unfortunate for Samsung that at a time where they could have just nailed iPhone.
Jason: It was the first time it was considered universally a better phone than the iPhone 7, correct?
Iain: And they had a chance to absolutely pummel Apple and they just screwed the pooch.
Jason: Yea, that's a gift to Apple. I mean actually when you think about it, let's say they had nailed that and they didn't have the problem, what would that have done to Apple? Would Apple have lost—
Fr. Robert: It is a phenomenal product. I got my hands it at IFA, it was just, it was amazing. It was, ok, this, this is the Jesus phone.
Leo: Would it have been good enough to dethrone Apple?
Fr. Robert: Oh, gosh it was. Better battery life. Better screen. Faster processors. More flexible.
Jason: You've got like those swing voters like we saw in the election. Who are these 5% of people who can't decide between Hillary and Trump? It's like you really can't decide between Android and iOS?
Iain: The think keeping iPhone users—once you've bought into the Apple ecosystem, it does have a certain drag effect on getting around and actually trying to transfer that across to an Android phone is really awkward.
Jason: Photos, iCloud. iMessage is the stickiest right now because when you're not an iMessage user, like one of—we have an iMessage group for a us who are playing cards together. And then one of them decided they were going to try the Android Pixel, whatever the case.
Leo: Love the Pixel.
Jason: And then all of a sudden they're in blue. They can't see any of the messages.
Leo: Yea, they're left out. They're blue bubble. And he literally changed his phone back because of iMessage. So iMessage is very, very sticky.
Leo: Megan Morrone will be here. Same thing. iMessage has been the most anxiety inducing change when she switched with Jason Howell.
Iain: I have the same thing with my wife in a way and she's not used to Android phones because she uses an iPhone. And she's like, "Yea, I like it, but when I look to what's need to actually get all my stuff over there, then, you know."
Jason: It's just another thing. Look at Microsoft. They were so bold on the Satya Nadella to make Outlook and all the apps available on all platforms, and then they just took over the charts on iOS. Why doesn't Apple do this with iMessage and just put it on every platform.
Leo: Because of its stickiness, for that reason. It sells iPhones.
Jason: But just think about how they might be—
Leo: It keeps people in the fold.
Jason: But it would be a bold move to try to pull people back.
Leo: And then you'd use the Pixel.
Jason: I don't know about that.
Fr. Robert: In the previous story, that's the reason why they're not going to kill that. That is the golden cow; the fact that you want to stay inside that ecosystem. They can't release something that would be like a—
Iain: That's what's wrong with the tech industry is that that approach doesn't work. You know, sooner or later someone finds a way around it and then your shafted. We are very short-term but this is the problem with Apple. They are seeking far too short-term at the moment.
Jason: I never got a confirmation on this but did anybody every put the iPhone, I'm sorry, the Galaxy 7 in a—because the Galaxy 7 did have a VR headset or no? Did they never—
Leo: Yea, it's the Gear VR.
Jason: Did anybody ever put the Gear VR on their face and then have it go on fire?
Leo: (Laughing) No, I hope not.
Jason: It just never came up as a discussion topic. People were like, "Oh, it can go on fire and maybe get flamed out."
Leo: I think the reason it catches on fire is because you don't notice that it's getting hotter and hotter and hotter. If it were on your face, you'd probably know.
Fr. Robert: It is waterproof so you could have just left it under water.
Jason: I'll tell you something, I thought that the iPhone 7 was like, yea, the portrait mode photo is ok. And my wife said, "Oh, those are cute photos." But we went to Indian Springs in Calistoga here where they have that great natural hot springs.
Leo: Oh, that's so nice.
Jason: So nice. And we're in the pool and I'm on my phone. And I'm like, wait a second. This thing can take underwater photos. I started taking underwater photos of my daughter swimming.
Leo: Isn't that fun?
Jason: It was the greatest. I'm like know I can recommend the iPhone 7. Underwater—I thought it was to protect you from your phone dropping in the toilet. It turns out that's not what it's for. It's for taking underwater videos of your kids. They're amazing.
Jason: Amazing. So worth upgrading just for that if you go underwater.
Fr. Robert: Except the 3 pools that are near me in San Francisco all have signs saying, "No iPhones in the pool."
Jason: Really? Why?
Leo: Well, Fr. Robert, the thing with the thing and the camera.
Fr. Robert: They don't people with cameras under water.
Jason: Oh, taking photos of people—oh. This is why we can't have nice things.
Fr. Robert: This is why we can't have nice things.
Leo: You jerks. Knock it off.
Jason: What is wrong with you people?
Leo: We have—a friend of the network has a new job opening. We'll talk about that in just a second. But first, we had a fun week. If you didn't watch every single show, and I don't blame you if you didn't, we're going to have a little—we have a little, kind of cut down.
Leo: It's a package showing you what you might have missed.
Jason: Show us the package.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Jason Howell: Meitu is exploding right now. It allows you to take a selfie and then magically transform yourself into a fanciful anime style character.
Megan Morrone: I don't care if we're being tracked by people in China or Russia or anywhere, it's totally worth this photo. It was worth it.
Leo: I'm really thrilled to bring in a man who's work you absolutely do know, Jordan Ritter is here.
Jordan Ritter: And the way we think of rocket ship startups today, I think Napster was the first.
Leo: And Hacker.
Narrator: This Week in Computer Hardware.
Patrick Norton: The story that really grabbed me and made me think, "Goodness, we are finally making progress in an important area." Japanese toilet industry agrees to standardize complex bidet controls. There's icons that are used on toilets and they are pretty much different from every manufacturer. They're trying to be more tourist friendly going into the Olympics in 2020.
Ryan Shrout: I can appreciate that. I can appreciate that.
Narrator: TWiT. Making the world safe for technology.
Leo: What a thing Napster was. I think I still probably have, I don't know, 30 or 40 gigabytes of music that I downloaded from Napster at the time.
Jordan Ritter: I never downloaded anything or did anything illegal.
Leo: Never did. Never did anything illegal. Of course not.
Fr. Robert: It was an amazing week here at TWiT. But we've got Jason Howell with a look at the week ahead.
Jason: Thanks, Leo. Here is a look at just a few things that we're going to be following in the coming week. Later on tonight actually, you don't have to wait very long for this, Samsung is going to reveal its findings as to why the Note 7s battery were so explosive. Samsung reportedly enlisted the help of 3 independent agencies to examine the cause which led the company to recall millions of units late last year. And we're going to find out what that reason is. On Tuesday, January 24th, Samsung again is expected to have some good news during its earnings report despite its ongoing Note 7 issues with record profits for Q4 thanks to its chip business that is reportedly offset its losses in the mobile division. On Thursday, January 26th, Microsoft and Alphabet are just a few who are set to release their earnings report numbers. Alphabet beat expectations for Q3 which puts pressure on the company to continue that progress, especially in light of its new crop of hardware offerings, the Pixel device and all of its other stuff that's hit the market in October. Megan Morrone and I will cover all of this and a whole lot more as it pops up on Tech News Today each and every weekday at 4:00 PM Pacific. That is a look at the week ahead. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Actually, really, back to Robert this time (laughing).
Fr. Robert: I am Groot.
Leo: I am Groot. Thank you, Jason Howell and of course Monday through Friday, 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern. You've got to tune in for Tech News Today. And of course, that's the two folks who swapped iPhones and Android phones. Jason's the host of All About Android and Megan's the host of iOS Today.
Fr. Robert: Jason has been very honest about the things he likes about iPhone.
Leo: Is he liking it?
Fr. Robert: He's like—Megan has had trouble.
Leo: She is not liking it.
Fr. Robert: She misses her Apple Watch.
Leo: She is struggling. Her Apple Watch, yea. Poor girl.
Jason: She's the only person.
Leo: She has a Moto 360. That's the problem.
Jason: I bought that piece of garbage. I wore it twice. I was like, "This thing is terrible." I threw it back in the drawer.
Leo: You're wearing a Fitbit right now.
Jason: I love the Fitbit. It's great for sleep. The battery doesn't drain out in 8 hours. It's perfect. And it has GPS in it. I have the Surge one so when I go for a walk, I don't have to use my phone for GPS. I go on a nice hike with my daughter. I did 11.5 miles yesterday. Bang, I hit the GPS. I have the whole map of my route which I'll never look at or use, but it makes me feel good.
Fr. Robert: I used to have Leo's old Moto 360 until it broke.
Leo: It broke?
Fr. Robert: I guess it's not as waterproof as they thought it was.
Jason: The watch is DOA.
Leo: You know you're not allowed to take that in the pool.
Fr. Robert: I didn't go in the pool. It got in the rain.
Jason: Were you taking pictures in the pool, Padre, with your watch?
Jason: Padre, no.
Leo: You know it's funny because I have an Apple Watch and a Moto 360 and I really like the round. The Apple Watch—
Jason: What do you use it for besides telling time? Do you use notifications?
Leo: When the phone rings, I know who's calling.
Jason: Oh, that's nice. I do get notifications. Calendar notifications are actually pretty useful. And the Apple Watch is better than that because it has that Taptic Engine.
Jason: When the watch gets to a 4G or an LTE connection and you can take it with you without your smartphone, that is going—I only need—
Fr. Robert: You just described the Gear S3. That's the Samsung Gear S3.
Jason: How many hours?
Fr. Robert: No, it's stand alone.
Leo: It's LTE. It has a SIM card.
Jason: How long does it take? How long does it last?
Fr. Robert: 5 days.
Fr. Robert: Yea, no, seriously. When it starts getting down to about 15%, it goes into low power mode so you still get the vital information.
Leo: That doesn't work with an iPhone though.
Fr. Robert: It's stand alone. It will do GPS without a phone. It will do directions.
Leo: I like the Frontier Edition.
Iain: One of the things I've found because I've tested out a lot of smart watches and I've never yet found one I would actually spend my own money for, because they make you incredibly rude. Anytime your wrist vibrates, instinctively you look at it.
Leo: And people say you're less rude because you're not looking at your phone that's going off.
Iain: You're in a conversation with somebody and you're looking at your watch, you're basically saying, "I'm bored with you. I've got other things to do. Why are you still here?" And it just makes you automatically rude.
Jason: It's very interesting that you bring this up because I am writing a series of protocols for meetings because people don't know how to take meetings anymore, especially millennials, etc. Now, I set my clock. I say, "I have 25 minutes. I set a 25-minute timer and it will go off and we can wrap up. I'm just going to put my phone down." And then I take out my pen and paper. And then I have some knucklehead millennial come in and they open their laptop up. They've got 8 windows open and they're in the meeting, typing. I said, "Whoa. Time out." Especially if they work for me. I say, "Do not show up for a meeting—unless I explicitly tell you to show up with your laptop, do not show up with your laptop. Pen and paper. Pay attention. I'll keep it short. We're not here to do group email." I just wanted to say something.
Iain: The most useful meetings I found is everybody stands up.
Jason: Perfect. Stand up. Yes. In and out. Nobody gets hurt.
Iain: It focuses the mind.
Jason: For sure.
Leo: Jeff Bezos has a fairly elaborate meeting protocol, right?
Leo: He—let me just see.
Iain: Do you have to walk in and say, "Oh, hell."
Jason: No, there's some—your Power Point better be good because he has a very specific way that he wants these Power Points where you have to answer the most important questions first. And if you don't, he just rips you. Like if there's stuff in there that's like filler, he's like, "What the?" That's supposedly true. No filler.
Leo: I think you're supposed to—if you're going to tell him that you're going to pitch a new idea, new product idea, you write the result, like the press release first. That's the first thing you do.
Fr. Robert: Ok, I can see that.
Leo: You've got to have a good elevator in your pitch. And the two pizza rule. You should never have a meeting that's bigger than two pizzas would feed.
Iain: That's like two people.
Leo: But he never has pizza at these meetings. It's very frustrating.
Jason: That depends. If Leo and I are coming, it's a four-pizza rule.
Fr. Robert: Whenever we're in a meeting, we have to have water. So it's going to end.
Leo: To get back to the S3, don't buy the S3 now, right, because presumably Mobile World Congress is 2 months away. There'll be new.
Fr. Robert: There'll be new.
Leo: I would love to see the new Note. Although, I've got to say, now having used the Pixel for a while, I love the pure Androidness.
Jason: We're so peaked. We're so peaking out with the smart phones.
Leo: We are peaking out, man.
Jason: It's just a commodity. It's like what's left? One person comes out with one feature, then the other phones have them 3-months later. It's awesome.
Iain: They'll do the incremental stuff. You've got the Android VR phones coming out. Then if Tango actually does its job. There's a whole bunch of—
Leo: It's hard to get excited about any new feature though, right?
Jason: Tango is like, I really need a 3D model of this room right now.
Leo: I do believe AR ultimately will be an important user interface.
Fr. Robert: Where Tango might actually become useful is not for the individual. If you have enough users who have Tango enabled phones and that data is going back to Google, they could have a literal down to the centimeter map of every street, every building in the world. I mean that is interesting tech. But, the individual doesn't reap the benefits of that until far in the future.
Iain: I was going to say, and also—
Jason: A wavelike effect.
Iain: That would be some very, very heavy data load to expect people to accept, especially with the price of data in this country. But I mean it's—I mean there are going to be incremental stuff but at the end of the day, it's a brick. And there's not a lot you can do with that now.
Jason: I'm looking forward to light AR glasses. Obviously I've done HoloLens, I've done all the others.
Leo: I want to wear those around all the time. I would wear them all the time.
Fr. Robert: AR contact lenses.
Leo: Bing. Jason Calacanis. It would say everything about him.
Jason: Follower account.
Leo: Follower account. It would be like, no, no, you're under 20,000. I can't hang with you. Bing.
Jason: Padre, I'll be with you in a minute. I'll be with you in a minute, Padre.
Fr. Robert: Go to a party it would just have little call-outs over everyone's head.
Jason: This is going to be great for Medium.
Iain: The problem is that once again we're in the hype cycle for AR. So we were discussing this in the pub on our traditional Friday night drink-up after work.
Leo: Something you won't have to do once AR is popular.
Iain: Whether or not, people come to like Magic Leap, the new Theranos when it comes to this sort of thing. Because we've seen so much hype and we were talking earlier about Apple getting into the AR game and Microsoft's been talking about these low cost AR devices which are apparently coming down the line at some point, there's going to be so much hype and so much rubbish out there. I mean I've tried HoloLens. It's good but it's not game changing.
Fr. Robert: But you could see it.
Jason: I mean version 3 of that? Version 1 and 2, fascinating. Version 3 of that is going to be game changer. The thing that's interesting about Magic Leap is one, the company is from Florida, which I never trust a company from Florida.
Jason: That's just—
Leo: How can you come up with a good idea in Florida?
Jason: No, but it's also like every company in Florida seems to be a little Fugazi.
Anyway, putting that aside, from what I understand—
Leo: There's no Silicon Valley bias here.
Jason: There are so few people on the technology—they sell people on the technology by showing them like a box that was like an oversize box and they're like, "Yea, we're going to be able to get this down to glass size."
Leo: And they never have.
Jason: And they haven't to date so you have this one group of people like, I think Andreessen Horowitz people are like, "It's the greatest thing ever." But then none of us have seen us except for—all the people that are proponents of it are the investors. Hmm, starting to sound a little familiar, like, uh.
Leo: It's interesting that you say that because I thought you would have insight and you would say this is going to be bigger than a—
Jason: I want to. This is exactly—this is one of the few where I literally cannot tell.
Leo: I don't think it was malfeasance but I think what happened is—
Leo: They thought they had a technology they could miniaturize and it turns out that this ray tracing technology, this fiber technology isn't easy to do and they oversold it in a sense that they had higher hopes for what they would be able to do with it.
Jason: So maybe not quite as intentional or deranged as Theranos.
Leo: It happens all the time, doesn't it, in technology. You say, "I can make this work." And you know, cold fusion and you just can't do it at mass—
Iain: When I went to the Oculus launch, there they were saying obviously, the goal was to get this into a pair of sunglass style headgear that you could wear. But we are at least 10-years away from making that happen. And I thought that was very honest and upfront of them. But for a company to say, "No, no, we can make it happen in the next 2 years," I'm incredibly skeptical on that.
Leo: Maybe they should have said, "We haven't been able to steal the designs from ZeniMax yet, so next year we'll have it. It will be great." We'll talk about actually that Oculus Rift suit and Mark Zuckerberg wearing a suit during the testimonials.
Jason: That guy's going to be wearing a lot of suits if he runs for president.
Leo: And I want to talk about your thoughts on this because I know you have political aspirations perhaps.
Jason: Maybe. Who knows?
Leo: Peter Thiel apparently does. And maybe even Zuck and Jeff Bezos.
Jason: Everybody's feeling—
Jason: Everybody's feeling like they're qualified suddenly. I wonder why (laughing).
Leo: Well, not nearly that but if the conflict of interest stuff isn't—
Jason: Yea. Don't have to release your taxes.
Leo: If it doesn't have to be this—right.
Jason: Don't have to put things in a trust. And you get to build your brand while in office? Sign me up. Sounds good.
Leo: Everybody in Silicon Valley wants to be President now.
Jason: Sounds good.
Iain: Just goes to show the American Dream is true. Anyone can become president. Literally anyone can be president.
Leo: But not you, Iain. You can't. Also, we should mention Mark's lawsuit against hundreds of people in Hawaii which is not very presidential and maybe is an indicator—
Jason: Not a good look.
Leo: He does not want to run. We'll see.
Jason: Not a good look.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by my sheets, slept on by 3 former U.S. Presidents. Maybe even by a current U.S. President. I don't know.
Jason: I assure you, these are the greatest.
Leo: They are the best sheets, made form 100% organic cotton. You're going to say, "What's the thread count, Leo?" And I'm going to tell you, "I don't care." It's not about thread count. In fact I've had terrible sheets with a very high thread count. That is kind of a red herring.
Jason: Bogus metric.
Leo: It's bogus. What you need to check is the cotton. Is it soft? Where does it come from? Boll & Branch uses sustainable and responsibly sourced cotton, responsibly manufactured, the softest cotton. It's incredible. It's organic. And they get softer over time. And I tell you, I've bought really nice, expensive sheets that never softened. They felt like they were crispy the whole time. Not Boll & Branch. They're nice. They donate a portion of every sale to help fight human trafficking. They really want to make a socially responsible product. Look at that box. Wait a minute. That's what your Boll & Branch sheets come in.
Leo: I thought, "This is a wedding gift? Where did this come from?" No, it was my Boll & Branch. Beautiful satin ribbon. So if you have a wedding gift or if you want to give a housewarming gift to somebody, Boll & Branch is a wonderful choice. 100% ultra-soft, 100% organic cotton sheets. You buy directly from the factory so if you were buying these in stores you'd pay like $1,000 bucks for these but they're only a couple hundred bucks because you're buying direct from the factory, no middle-man.
Jason: No real estate.
Leo: No real estate either. Thousands of 5-star reviews, Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, they're all talking about it.
Jason: People love them.
Leo: Try it risk free for 30-nights. Bollanbranch.com. It's B-O-L-L, like cotton boll, boll weevil. Bollandbranch.com. If you don't love them you send them back for a refund. You'll never—I'm telling you, you're never going to send these back. You're going to day, "Give me my Boll & Branch." Bollandbranch.com. We've got $50-dollars off your first set of sheets when you—say that fast. $50-dollars off your first set of sheets, use the offer code TWIT. B-O-L-L and B-R-A-N-C-H.
Leo: Use the offer code TWIT. Zuck is highly confident that Oculus did not steal his technology from a Bethesda softworks company called ZeniMax Media.
Jason: Seems like an objective 3rd-party.
Iain: Still going to go in there and go, "Well, I'm not sure, really."
Leo: Yea. Parent company Bethesda Softworks and Id Software, in fact, remember that John Carmack left it and went to Oculus. He was very excited about Oculus. ZeniMax says Carmack stole trade secrets and destroyed evidence. He took VR technology, developed when he was an employee over to Oculus when he became the CTO in 2013. Now remember, the Oculus Rift has been around for longer than that. Zuckerberg testified. Wore a suit. Looked very nice. He said quote, "The idea that Oculus products are based on someone else's technology is just wrong."
Iain: Well, he would say that, wouldn't he? But and if you look at the—this is the problem with NDAs in our industry is if the company that you move to is doing fairly well then the terms of most NDAs are such that if you breathe in another company then you're liable to be sued. So it's an interesting case but they need some kind of a smoking gun. At the moment it's all, well he must have used a bit of it. There doesn't seem to be any proof one way or the other.
Fr. Robert: Their smoking gun right now seems to be that text from Zuck, essentially saying well how much due diligence should we do? That's not a smoking gun. That's something that might raise suspicion but it's not saying hey, you know what? Let's steal that tech.
Leo: Well, ok, so Amin Zoufonoun (laughing).
Fr. Robert: Amin. It's Amin.
Leo: Facebook's Vice President of Corporate Development texted Zuck saying, "There are things Oculus told us that are simply not true." This is during the due diligence. In response Zuck texted back, and this is the court—
Fr. Robert: Yea, this is the one.
Leo: "Keep pushing forward until we have something we can sign. On a moment's notice we can figure out how long we wait for diligence." Essentially, the lawyers for ZeniMax said that there was very little due diligence. They began on Friday, signed the deal on Monday. So he's not really impugning Zuck so much as saying maybe Palmer Lucky and Oculus pulled the wool over Facebook's eyes. Facebook did want to get in to VR and they say they were awfully anxious to do so, so they didn't ask tough questions.
Iain: I'll say. I mean we found out this week that they paid $3-billion, not $2-billion for it which is an even more staggering amount of money when you consider it.
Leo: Chicken feed.
Fr. Robert: One bargain at twice the price.
Jason: One percent of their company.
Iain: It's still $3-billion dollars. That's a lot of money.
Jason: No it's not.
Fr. Robert: Billion's the new million.
Jason: They gave $20-billion for WhatsApp.
Leo: More than $20-billion for WhatsApp, an app.
Iain: I know. I still can't get over that one.
Jason: Here's the thing. Because if you're going to get disintermediated and Google could have bought the company and really made a run at you, eliminating a threat for 8% of the companies value?
Fr. Robert: It's not so much that they wanted it. It's they wanted no one else to have it.
Jason: Had to have it, yea.
Leo: Speaking of WhatsApp, a number of security experts have now written a letter to The Guardian saying there is no backdoor in WhatsApp. It was irresponsible of you to publish that article.
Jason: Where did they get, did Guardian get this piece of information that there was a backdoor?
Iain: It was a complete red herring. I mean this was—
Leo: But it wasn't untrue.
Iain: Well no, but you've got these certain security choices in an app to deal with various scenarios.
Leo: To use the world backdoor was wrong.
Iain: Yes. Absolutely.
Leo: That was sensationalist and probably to drive traffic. It isn't the problem. So here's the problem when you use WhatsApp and it's a problem frankly with a lot of encrypted messaging. WhatsApp lets you change your key. You go to a new phone, you've got to change your key, right? And the vulnerability is that if somebody changes their phone and their key is changed, they can continue to send you messages but messages now which perhaps, and you can send them messages which perhaps are no longer secure because maybe it wasn't them that changed their phone but some other 3rd party that changed the key. And WhatsApp didn't really notify you. But there is a setting, a WhatsApp setting that says, "Hey, when the key changes, notify me and don't just send that message automatically." So that was the loophole. It would still message even if the key was changed. Now if you switch this switch, it's just as secure as Signal. Moxie Marlinspike who created the Signal protocol that WhatsApp uses and of course it's also on Signal, said it's not a backdoor. It's not a vulnerability. It's an implementation decision. It's not the way we do it in Signal, but it's legitimate and there is a setting in WhatsApp. It really was inappropriate of them to say there was a vulnerability. But it wasn't inappropriate for the Guardian to write an article saying, "Hey, if you want security in WhatsApp, you should disable this feature."
Iain: I mean it's—that would have been a legit way for the article to go. But saying there is a backdoor at a time when everyone's really worried about this sort of thing? I mean I trust Moxie far more than I would trust The Guardian for start. But when you actually looked into the intricacies of this, technically they might have had a point. It's one of those things where you could actually have created a serious security situation if you had control over so many other things that you own them anyway. I mean it's—I found the use of the term backdoor to be quite frankly, it's just scaremongery.
Leo: Well 30 security researchers have signed an open letter saying, "Guardian, you should retract that story. It isn't a backdoor." Zeynep Tufecki who is an academic wrote, and a friend of the show also, wrote, "Unfortunately, your story was the equivalent of putting ‘Vaccines Kill People' in a blaring headline over a poorly contextualized piece." I'm not sure I'd go that far. If you read the piece, it was pretty straightforward about what it said. However, it think since people do use WhatsApp for secure communications, it wasn't a backdoor but it probably is appropriate to tell them you need to flip this switch just in case.
Iain: Or dump WhatsApp and go with Signal.
Leo: Well, right.
Fr. Robert: Until someone leaks out that Signal also has got a backdoor. I mean the issue with all of this is this is—if anyone's going to use these applications, it means that they are concerned about privacy. And privacy all matters on you trusting the provider. And that is so easy to break which is why the people I run with at DEFCON, Black Hat, they don't use these. They roll their own because then they can be sure that there's nothing else in there.
Leo: Signal's open source.
Fr. Robert: Yes.
Leo: That has a lot to do with people's trust of Signal. People trust Moxie Marlinspike. The researchers who wrote this letter though, I mean Bruce Schneier, Isis Lovecruft from the Tor Project, Katherine McKinley from Mozilla, I mean some really good—
Fr. Robert: They know what they're doing.
Leo: Jonathan Zdiarski. Yea. And so it's considered perhaps an acceptable trade-off. It's not an unreasonable way to do this. You know, anyway, there's the story. You decide for yourself—
Jason: If Signal is this open whisper system, Signal is a private company with an open source product.
Leo: Open source product.
Jason: So they are a corporation based where?
Iain: I'm not sure they're actually incorporated as a corporation. They're a collective based in San Francisco.
Jason: That's what I'm trying to wonder. That's what I need to understand about the company.
Leo: They did, I presume license the open whisper technology to Facebook, to WhatsApp. Maybe not. They gave it to them. I don't know.
Iain: I don't know the full details of this but Moxie is not the kind of person to run a corporation.
Leo: No, he's basically an anarchist.
Iain: He is an anarchist. He's open and proud about it and he has every reason to be. You know, it's just—
Leo: Anarchists need money too.
Iain: Well, sure. But you know, I mean they don't need that much money. I mean look at what Jeff Moss did with Black Hat and DEFCON. He sold Black Hat off, made the money and used that to fund DEFCON.
Jason: Literally everybody I know is just getting off of every system and going into Signal.
Leo: Signal's the one everybody uses.
Jason: Everybody's telling me, "Stop texting me. Put me in Signal." Because if you look at now, Mark Andreessen's—
Leo: That's the problem, by the way. You have to convince your correspondents to use it.
Jason: Well I'm getting people who just say, "Signal."
Leo: I would love if everybody just said ok, we're all going to use Signal.
Jason: And if you look at all these legal cases now, it seems Mark and Zuck are constantly going back and forth. The sale of Oculus—
Leo: And you can read all those messages.
Jason: And when he was trying to give him the upper hand with the governance committee on the board, which is just like a massive disaster where like Mark was on this committee until he convinced the board to give super shares to Zuckerberg, to have control of the company even if he left the company for 2 years which is completely against the law of corporate governance rules. And Andreessen's coaching him on how to negotiate against him and the other comp members. It's like, this isn't helping. It was like wow.
Leo: Well you can bet they're using secure messaging now.
Fr. Robert: Oh, you bet they are now, yea.
Leo: Especially if he wants to run for president. You want to keep all of this stuff private.
Iain: I'm not sure Zuck's going to run for president. I don't think once he actually put's his—once he actually thinks about what it's going to involve, I think he'll decide, "You know what?"
Leo: He's going to step down.
Jason: He probably—
Leo: But he wants to change the world, right? He wants to make a difference. What better place than the bully pulpit of the presidency? I think probably these tech guys who were in most cases except for Peter Thiel, Clinton supporters, also feel like they need to step in and one.
Jason: There's a sense of urgency now.
Leo: Believe me. Zuckerberg controls Facebook. He could win anytime he wants.
Jason: But he can also win based upon having been in a movie, like he was in The Social Network and everybody uses his products so they know who he is.
Leo: Well certainly he's got name recognition.
Jason: Being recognizable is a big part of this.
Leo: He's young. He's presumed—I'm sure presumed by the vast majority of Americans to be a very smart guy.
Jason: Of course.
Leo: I think a lot of people think poorly of his social agenda. There are people who are concerned about privacy and so forth, right? He'd have to overcome that.
Jason: There's probably some people who would say in his younger years, he was a little precocious with privacy and whatnot.
Iain: That was a polite way of putting it.
Jason: He had a $20-million dollar fine, largest one ever. 20-year audit with the FCC. I mean, he'd be perfect.
Leo: And there's this Hawaiian Island thing.
Jason: That might be not as bad as it seems.
Fr. Robert: But still you do not pick a fight with Hawaiians. Hawaiians hold grudges for generations.
Leo: So he has a several hundred acre estate.
Jason: Number one, yea, so he bought a huge estate which Oprah did as well.
Leo: On Kauai.
Jason: On Kauai. Oprah bought on Maui.
Leo: A hundred million dollars.
Jason: When you buy these things, when you buy these huge estates there, there is definitely some resentment because people feel like you should be able to traverse the land and then this has to do with pockets of land that nobody knows who the ownership of is which he is forcing into auction and then he will buy obviously. Because he doesn't want people on his property.
Fr. Robert: Well, but the thing is, you cannot own coastal land. You can't. So even if he manages to buy all that property, people are still legally allowed to walk across the beach.
Jason: Yea. And then there's--- this is a constant. I faced a little of this when I used the term Hala for one of my search engines. I had a couple of people were like, they were like, "Hey, how dare you use that word?" And I was like, "Please explain to me what you're talking about. I'm a fan of Hawaiian culture. I didn't know I was doing something wrong.
Leo: So apparently this is not unusual. This is according to the Star Advertiser, the Star Advertiser, legal action known as quiet, title and partition isn't uncommon in Hawaii, even with an order from a judge and financial compensation, forcing people to sell land that has been in their family for generations, can be off-putting especially when driven by the 6th richest person in the world.
Iain: But see he's done this before in Palo Alto, when he bought his place there. He bought the 4 houses overlooking it.
Leo: Yea, but he didn't force them to sell it.
Iain: No, no, that's fine.
Leo: He gave them a good offer.
Fr. Robert: It's an entirely different situation in Hawaii because you have to remember, there's still—it's not even a minority. There's a vocal group in Hawaii who are still very ticked off that the United States occupied it.
Iain: And particularly in Kauai as well.
Fr. Robert: Very much in Kauai. There's a lot of resentment.
Iain: The northwest and northeast corridors of Kauai are very—
Fr. Robert: Right, right. So you have a Haole coming in and he's bought a lot of land. Ok, they can do that. But now he seems to be—
Iain: I want to control.
Fr. Robert: It looks like he's trying to get rid of the Hawaiiness of Hawaii. Well, that's not going to go over well. He will win this but that's going to be held against him for generations.
Leo: Hundreds of defendants which is another problem, right? The reason there seems to be some thought that Mark might be interested in a presidential run is his decision to make his goal this year to visit with people in all 50 states. He decided he wasn't not religious (laughing). We didn't say he's religious, he's just not—
Iain: That's one of the most carefully phrased statement you've seen. It's just like—
Jason: Yea, he magically went from an atheist and found religion.
Leo: Well he didn't say he was religious.
Fr. Robert: We call it agnostic.
Leo: He didn't want to say that either.
Jason: The other thing was, Zuckerberg built a 6-foot wall around his property. And they don't like that either because now people who had a view of—
Jason: And he's like—ok, dude. I mean we understand that especially in Kauai which is the most chill of all the islands, this is unchill behavior.
Fr. Robert: And Hawaiians can be incredibly passive aggressive. FYI.
Jason: Well, it is their island.
Fr. Robert: It is their island.
Jason: It is their island. There is that.
Iain: I've always felt guilty going there because the British introduced the mosquito to Hawaii and ever since then, whenever I go—
Leo: It was you.
Iain: Oh, no, I'm so sorry. It was 200 years ago, but we're really, really sorry.
Leo: By the way, the Star Advertiser's headline on the wall is Reviews of Zuckerberg's wall mixed (laughing). Mixed reviews.
Jason: Yea, I think that the Star might be a little bit in his pocket. I have a feeling they're pretty stoked. It's just like honestly these guys become masters of the universe and I know a bunch of them. And some of them remain normal and then some of them get a little whack. When I hang out with Mark Cuban and like we go out or we have a drink, like it's just him. And then you go out with some other people and—
Leo: Let's say Larry Ellison.
Jason: I don't know Larry but there's other people that can't show up to a party and be normal.
Leo: Right. Something happens when you get to that level.
Jason: And there's some people who can live in a house and then talk to their neighbors and then there's other people have to build huge fences and have 8 things. It's just like live your life normally.
Leo: There is probably, when you're that rich, the 6th richest man in the world, a security issue. Your concerned that somebody's going to kidnap your daughter, right?
Jason: A six foot wall is not going to stop them. Security guards aren't going to stop them.
Fr. Robert: That's not security. That's privacy.
Jason: And it's like—
Leo: He's hired a photographer to follow him around and take very nice professional pictures.
Fr. Robert: He can get that for free.
Leo: He's got a social team doing it. And I think the real indicator is that when they rejiggered Facebook's—and you'll know more about this than I will, Jason, rejiggered their Facebook's stock situation so they could donate so much money to Priscilla and Mark Zuckerberg foundation and still control it. And there is a clause in there that says, "And can hold public office and not give up his stock."
Jason: That was the whole debate with the governance board. Can he keep control of the company while he's not working at it.
Leo: So you thought he might run for Senate, not—
Jason: I have a feeling he's going to run for something other than president. That's my guess. But who knows. I mean anything's possible.
Leo: Why stop at Senate?
Jason: There's governor. He can consider governor.
Fr. Robert: Senate has a bunch of lighter conflict of interest laws.
Jason: At this point, it's like—
Leo: I don't know. If you were the president, there are no conflicts of interest. I've learned this.
Iain: There's a six year and a two year election cycle in the Senate which makes it an option. You don't have to go and face the voters that often.
Jason: We saw something happen from Regan to Bloomberg and Arnold—
Leo: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Jason: All of those things sort of—and Al Franken who actually seems to have done a really tremendous job. I take him very seriously. I don't know if you saw him at the confirmation hearings.
Iain: He was very good this week.
Jason: He's very serious. The guy seems incredibly knowledgeable and takes the job seriously by all counts. I think people are starting to realize, hey, you don't have to be a—we got kind of conned that you have to be a life-long politician to be a politician and win. And if Bloomberg had gone up against Trump which he should have and he was very close to doing, and there were many talks internally amongst a lot of circles—
Leo: He would have had to be an Independent though, right?
Jason: He could have run as Republican, a Democrat or an Independent. But he did not want to split the Hillary vote. And Hillary would not have given him the spot. I believe he should have run as Hillary's vice-president. I think if he does that, Hillary wins. I think if he runs, he wins. But he didn't want to split the vote. But I think he would have, if he did split the vote, he might—
Leo: You can't blame anybody for not running because it didn't look—nobody, nobody thought, even the Trump team didn't think that he had a chance.
Jason: No, they thought they were going to lose.
Iain: I would say that on this very show last June I did predict a Trump win. In fact you were on the same show as me.
Leo: You're right. A few people did.
Jason: It was definitely possible. I in fact had a bet with a friend of mine. My friend said, "I'll give you two to one that Trump will win." And this is when like Trump was maybe 35%. So I had to take that bet. Then my friend offered to buy me out of the bet a week before, two weeks before for 80 cents on the dollar. So I figured I'd save 20 cents on the dollar and took the buyout. Because I was feeling guilty about, when all the stuff came out about him I kind of felt bad about this bet. I mean I like to gamble but I just don't want to win this money this way.
Iain: I won a bottle of whiskey over the election result and it was the bitterest drink that I've ever gone through. I love the whiskey.
Leo: The other thing of course is that Zuck hired David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager as what, as some sort of social media expert.
Iain: Also he would have to step down from Facebook.
Leo: No, he wouldn't.
Iain: Well, no but—
Leo: He'd stay on the board. I'm interested to see what happens with Donald Trump.
Iain: Yea, I'm thinking about this from a PR perspective. Look when Facebook was already done unauthorized research as to how to change people's moods by varying what they see on their newsfeed. I don't think people would trust him in a political role if he was still in a position of responsibility.
Leo: Well it doesn't matter if they trust him. They'd just make sure they can trust him. He can change their minds by changing their feed. By the end of it he'll be the most beloved character in American history I think.
Iain: Huge, huge beloved character.
Fr. Robert: Huge, huge.
Leo: Beloved. One of our friends, Matt Cutts now has a job with the government. Matt—you know, I feel bad that we have not talked more about the U.S. Digital Services. This was the SWAT team that was brought in from Silicon Valley when the Affordable Care Act, the website for the Obamacare was such a mess, didn't work and Silicon Valley stepped up and said, "No, no, no, no. You guys. You can't let these government contractors design these sites. Let us take it over." They fixed it. The U.S. Digital Service was born. Since, there's actually a great video on the site, they have done work to help veterans get better care. They've stepped in and rescued websites. Matt Cutts a few—I guess it was almost a year ago, told us he can't be on our shows anymore. He was a regular on This Week in Google. One of the early Googlers. He said, "I can't be on your show anymore." He's been on sabbatical from Google for a while. "I'm going to work for the USDS and it would be a conflict of interest." Little did he know. "It would be a conflict of interest for me to be on TWiG." And so we haven't heard from him in a while. He posted on January 18th that he's resigning from Google. In fact, resigned at the end of the year last year and is staying on with the U.S. Digital Service and as of right now, the interim administrator. The 1st administrator, Mikey Dickerson, is a political appointee so he stepped down on inauguration day and Matt Cutts is the acting administrator of the U.S. Digital Services.
Jason: Does that mean he reports to Trump? How does that work?
Leo: That's a good question.
Iain: There's some question as to whether or not the USDS is going to survive the new administration.
Leo: You know, clearly they're lobbying at this point, lobbying strongly to stick around. And I would expect the President to want their help.
Jason: I was just on the White House site and the first thing you see when you load it is like a—
Leo: Sign up for the newsletter.
Jason: Sign up for the newsletter. He's going for it.
Iain: He wants that database. It's going to be very valuable.
Leo: They—so we'll see. He says, "I'm acting administrator of the U.S. Digital Services. They do a lot of really good work." You know, it's a hip squad for—it's the top tech. And some really bright minds there.
Iain: It's what's needed as well as we saw with the medical website. The government had its chance, screwed the pooch. Send in some techies that know what they're doing.
Leo: Yea. Unfortunately at this point it's—
Jason: It's gone. When you click it—
Leo: Yea, the link now goes to the new Trump page that—
Jason: And there's no page.
Leo: There's no page for the U.S. Digital Services.
Jason: Wow. They took it down.
Leo: You go to USDS.gov and here's a picture of all the people that are doing it. But it used to link right through to the White House site.
Jason: I'm looking at the cached page here and there is a cached page. I guess they must have took down everything that Obama did.
Iain: They did.
Leo: They flipped a switch. They changed the server.
Jason: There's an Obama one?
Iain: There's a separate one for the Obama White House.
Jason: Ah, where does that live?
Iain: I think it's Obamawhitehouse.com. Let me check.
Jason: That's fascinating.
Leo: We have to preserve all this stuff, now don't we?
Jason: Yea. I wonder what CMS they use?
Iain: I don't know. It's not obamawhitehouse.com.
Fr. Robert: Actually preserving it is another interesting aspect.
Leo: Well Rudy Giuliani uses Joomla, so I would say just Rudy, now that he's the cybersecurity czar, just use Joomla.
Iain: That is hilarious.
Leo: Use Joomla. It's great.
Fr. Robert: Not just Joomla. Unpatched Joomla.
Leo: 4-year-old Joomla.
Iain: I don't know, you couldn't make that up.
Leo: When I started the TWiT site, I was looking at content management systems and I looked at Joomla and even then for TWiT I said, "No, no, no. I'm going to use Drupel." I was like, whitehouse.gov used to be Drupel. I don't know if it's still Drupel now. I would guess it's not. How can we tell? Can we just look at the CSS, right? We should be able to tell.
Jason: Yea. There's a website you can type in a website and get all their stats.
Leo: That would still be running, still be running on the—
Jason: Well, you know what's interesting too is you can set up like a Zappier script or whatever to take anybody or make—
Leo: Is that how you pronounce it? What, do you think it's French?
Jason: Zappier? Zappier?
Leo: How about Zappier (laughing).
Jason: No, it's Zappier.
Leo: Zappier. I use Zappier.
Jason: Zappier, you can use this to take anybody's tweets and then put them into like a Google sheet or email them to you. So I think it does it the second somebody tweets so you would have a permanent record of it. And then I guess somebody had done the thing where you could show for verified accounts which tweets they deleted and the original tweets or whatever.
Leo: Oh, nice.
Jason: I guess Jack asked them to turn it off or forced them to turn it off. But this would be something that would be well worth us doing.
Leo: Still using Druple on Whitehouse.gov.
Jason: Well and they probably have to use open source software. Isn't that one of the big moves that they're—
Leo: I doubt that they have to use open source software.
Jason: I thought there was something—
Iain: They've been trying to use more open source software as a matter of policy but I don't think that they must use it.
Jason: I think that's one of the things they're trying to codify is--
Leo: I would use Joomla if I could. That's such a good system.
Jason: Six apart. Movable type.
Leo: Movable type. That's it.
Jason: Moveable type.
Leo: No, I still see a Druple code in here so it's interesting. Huh.
Iain: But no, there's got to be a lot of clearing out of the White House and we don't even know what we're going to do yet.
Fr. Robert: And that's normal. You've got to give them a couple of months before you can say this is a disaster or it's fantastic.
Leo: Matt, when you're done at USDS we expect a call and we'd love to get you on.
Fr. Robert: Come back, Matt.
Leo: Come back, Matt. Love Matt. He's a great guy and they're doing good work there. And I hope they continue to do it. I think they will. It's a small budget. I think it's a $14-million dollar budget.
Jason: He's a good person. We had differences when he was at Google.
Leo: Oh, did he collect you as a spammer by any chance?
Jason: No, what happened was you know, I had a deep relationship with Google. We had made tens of millions of dollars together as partners and then they just started changing everything. And then they would sit there and be like, "We don't have any penalty against you." But I'd be like, "80% of the traffic's gone." And they were like, "Yea, we don't know what happened." It was just like this constant lying and I was like, "Guys, don't lie to me. Just tell me." And they're like, "Well we don't have partners." I'm like, "Do you want me to take the 1,000 partnership emails that we've had in a year and the lunches we've had in a year where you begged me to put Ad Sense on my sight? Begged me to put search on my site? What are we talking about here?" I just felt like—
Leo: Drew Curtis is now furious with Google.
Jason: They just don't treat partners well. What happened was there was a time when Matt joined when they were very partner-centric and they would have you over at Google. And they needed content sites. And then you know, Matt just started lying to me and other people about our status because he had—my take on it now is he had his hands tied so he couldn't tell the truth and then he was being deposed I believe for all these government things. So it put him in a very awkward position where he couldn't—essentially he had to lie to us and that I didn't like.
Leo: Matt doesn't like doing that, I know.
Jason: And I think that's part. It became very hard for him to have that job there and with a straight face tell people, "We're not destroying you intentionally. We're not changing your stuff." And then like Yelp is getting moved down the page in favor of the listings for—
Leo: Well the good news is when you work for the U.S. Government, you never have to lie.
Fr. Robert: No, not at all. You're never told to lie. You're never told to modify things that you said that were true.
Jason: Google's great strategy was always nobody's in charge. So you're like, "Oh, wow."
Leo: It's a Python script.
Jason: 3% of people, you hire the smartest 3% of the world and nobody's in charge. Ok. Great. That's so believable. And Twitter's big mistake is Jack's like, "Oh, you were harassed? I'm in charge. I'll take care of this." He should be just like, "Yea, I don't know who's in charge of that harassment stuff. Let me, yea, I'll get back to you." We don't talk about that.
Fr. Robert: Signal. I'll Signal you.
Jason: Jack is like, "Yea, I'm going to talk to- "Jack's like, "I'm going to pick up the phone when a celebrity's being harassed." Really, dude? That sounds effective.
Leo: Let's take a break. Final words, final thoughts coming up in just a second. There's actually a bunch of stories still left around so feel free to pick the ones you want to talk about.
Leo: But first a word from Rocket Mortgage. Quicken—I just read a great article about Quicken Loans.
Jason: They were in the New York Times today, weren't they?
Leo: Yea. They call it Rocket Mortgage. It's a completely transparent, trustworthy online process to apply for a mortgage. You don't have to go in to a mortgage lender anymore. You don't have to bring paperwork or mail paperwork or fax—Fax! Paperwork. It was only 3 years ago we bought our house and we had to fax them stuff. In fact, crazy, we thought, "Oh it will only take a few weeks. We're going on vacation in a month. How long can it be?" We're on the cruise, still doing the paperwork, faxing stuff from a boat. There's a simple questionnaire. You go through. They have sliders that let you choose your rate choose your term. You have complete control. It's completely transparent and the key is it's very fast. Yes, and you can absolutely upload your paystubs and your bank statements. They don't—you know, it's all digital. It's completely online approval process. I'm told—one of our hosts, I think it was Brad Sams had a mortgage through Rocket and he said, "There's that point where you have to sign the loan and you still have to physically sign it." But they come to you. They send a notary public with all the paperwork and you just sit down. You stay on the couch. You never left the couch and you just fill out the whole thing. Quickenloans.com/twit2. That's a new address and I want you to use that if you will. Quickenloans.com/twit and the number 2 for Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans. Fast, efficient, transparent. Skip the banks. Skip the waiting. Go completely online. Quickenloans.com/twit2. And this is when you say equal housing lender. Licensed in all 50 states. I don't do it that way. I don't do it that way because, see, we use to have sponsors who would say, "Say this as fast as you can." It's like, what are you—are you trying to hide this? I'm going to say it in a normal voice. Equal housing lender. Why would you hide that? Licensed in all 50 states. Why would you hide that? MLSconsumeraccess.org number 30-30. So you can look it us. People—
Fr. Robert: People expect it. I kind of anticipate that part of the end of every commercial.
Leo: Quickenloans.com/twit the number 2. It actually is great. It's absolutely how I'm going to do it next time.
Leo: Hey, Edward Snowden's staying in Russia.
Iain: Yea, and Julian Assange might be booking his ticket if he actually gets the—
Fr. Robert: He's a coward.
Leo: Now, Julian Assange promised—
Leo: That if Chelsea Manning's sentence was commuted, it was.
Fr. Robert: It wasn't immediately. It had to be immediately.
Iain: No, he didn't say that in either of his statement.
Jason: Don't qualify it now.
Iain: He added it later when he might actually have to follow through with it.
Jason: That guy isn't following through on anything.
Leo: Is anybody anymore surprised when a public figure says one thing and then does another thing? That's the biggest loss.
Iain: I think we should be outraged.
Leo: We should be but it's the biggest loss. People already didn't trust politicians, didn't trust public figures. And now it's just out the window.
Iain: Well we didn't expect them to just out and out lie to our faces either. And I think just saying, "Well, we should expect that from politicians," is a very, very dangerous road to go down because otherwise what's the point in telling the truth? They're supposed to be there to tell the truth or to—
Jason: Malik in the chatroom is correct. He said, "She has to be immediately, Chelsea has to be immediately pardoned."
Leo: She was not pardoned.
Iain: No, she wasn't pardoned. Her sentence was commuted.
Leo: And it was shortened but she doesn't get out until May 17th so those are the weasel words that Assange is using? Well, that's not what I said.
Jason: She has to be out and then he'll come.
Leo: Oh, so he may still accept—but by the way, what this is all about is he is currently in hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The reason is he's wanted for questioning in Sweden for rape.
Iain: Oh, well, for sexual misconduct.
Jason: Sexual misconduct.
Leo: Oh, pardon me. Ok.
Jason: And he's actually recently started to talk about the more details of the case. Supposedly, I don't know how graphic we can get here but—
Leo: That's not germane. In fact, he always said, "Look, they're going to prosecute me because of WikiLeaks. They want to put me away and they'll find any excuse. So I'm not going to presume, I'm not going to presume anything." Whether he did anything or not, it would make perfect sense if you know, you're the western governments to see how can we get this guy out of commission?
Iain: But also Sweden does have a track record of for—I mean they've extradited people to the U.S. without their lawyers even knowing about it until they were on the plane, in the air. So, Sweden does have a bit of a record.
Fr. Robert: Sweden is an extradition friendly country.
Iain: But at the same time, he should have just taken this. I mean, hanging out in the Ecuadorian broom closet for the last 5 years has done nothing to sort this out. Has just trashed his reputation. The guy needs to stand up and you know, and take it on the chin.
Leo: Well, he might be. His lawyer says everything that he said, he's standing by. He's prepared to be extradited. The latest tweet on the 18th, Assange still happy to come to the U.S. provided all his rights are guaranteed, despite the White House now saying Manning was not a quid pro quo. Well, we'll see. We'll see.
Jason: What do people think generally about Chelsea Manning being—
Leo: The argument is she served 7 years and that is very commonly the length of time for the crime she committed. The 35, or was it 45?
Leo: The 35-year sentence was egregious and overly long and so unfair.
Iain: She did get 112 days knocked off because the judge determined that forcing her to stand upright and naked from 5:00 AM until 10:00 PM every day constituted an unreasonable way to go about things.
Leo: So there was a bit of a witch hunt in other words.
Leo: And so I don't—I think time served is not unreasonable.
Iain: Considering David Petraeus got away with a slap on the wrist for doing, you know for passing on actual war details to his mistress.
Leo: His girlfriend, yea. Snowden will stay in Russia for another 3 years.
Jason: That's how long he's got on his employment contract with Putin?
Leo: You know, I feel like we—
Jason: (Laughing) A no compete.
Leo: I feel like we don't know any more anything.
Jason: No, how could you know?
Leo: We know nothing.
Jason: He could have been a spy with Putin. He could have been a patriot and is now a spy. He could still be a patriot.
Leo: And we may never find out.
Jason: Who knows the truth? It's impossible to understand now.
Leo: At this point which is depressing to me because I always kind of thought there was a thing called facts.
Iain: Well there are certain facts within this case. Snowden didn't actually release any of these documents himself. He gave them to the press so he could go through them and make sure no one was—
Leo: Which I think was a highly responsible thing to do.
Jason: Yes, for sure. Distinctly different than WikiLeaks.
Iain: Yes and he just pumped everything out there and—
Leo: And by the way, that's what Chelsea Manning did. She released all those documents.
Iain: Well she gave them to WikiLeaks.
Jason: Knowing he would dump them because that's what they do.
Leo: On the other hand, I honor her because of her, because of her we know that ridiculous drone strike where the drone's there and people are laughing and it killed journalists. Abu Ghraib, there was stuff we learned that I think was in the American interest to learn.
Iain: Also the State Department cables. Yea, I mean as Brits they gave us a huge laugh. Who could have guessed that Prince Andrew is foot in the mouth idiot when it comes to diplomatic relations? You've just got to look at his family and you know that they're like that. But there wasn't anything in there I think which justified a 35-year sentence. Realistically when you look at—
Jason: Seems excessive.
Leo: Ok, that was your story. Explosive diarrhea. I'm not sure how it's related but ok.
Iain: The most fun story of the week for me, actually it came out last weekend at ShmooCon, the big security conference and someone had done some research into hackers taking down the power grid and compared that to the fact that the power grid has been taken down by animals. And it turns out, it's not hackers, it's not terrorists, it's squirrels you've got to watch out for. It's those rats with good PR that gnaw through cables. I mean there were 8 deaths in the last 4 years due to animals screwing around with power systems. 3 soldiers got electrocuted when a squirrel chewed through the power line. Got electrocuted, the power line fell onto their van and electrocuted them. It's just it's so much fun talking about oh, the hackers are going to take down the power grid. The hackers are going to do this. The hackers are going to. And then if you actually look at that against 879 squirrel attacks which has caused power outages, we need to start refocusing on to what exactly the enemy is.
Leo: To be fair, the squirrels aren't doing it on purpose.
Fr. Robert: And we can take it one step further that all pales in comparison to the multiple thousands of attacks on the power grid we have by Mylar balloons.
Leo: Ok. Ok, but you would all agree also we should probably secure our grid and try to keep some bad guy from taking the power grid down, preparatory an attack on our soil, right?
Fr. Robert: Yes.
Leo: I'm not worried about the squirrels invading the United States. They are already here.
Iain: And I don't know, they're evil little buggers.
Jason: A great thing for us to do is to put the power walls or equivalent, doesn't have to be Tesla's, but, in every business and home and generators so that—
Leo: I'm trying to get one. I'm on the list.
Jason: We need to basically—
Leo: Can you nudge Elon to get my power wall?
Jason: I might be able to make a little phone call.
Leo: I've got the—I'm all in. I've got the Solar City panels, I've got the Tesla. I'm needing—
Jason: Yea, when you've got that setup. The interesting thing that I think happened this week was the Tesla crash that occurred tragically that killed a Navy Seal who was a super fan. The results of that investigation came out from the NTSB, right?
Leo: The NHTSA.
Leo: NHTSA, ok.
Leo: Yea, they're the Highway Traffic.
Fr. Robert: Highway Traffic Safety and Administration.
Jason: And they basically, you know, essentially said this person had 7 seconds and it wasn't Tesla's fault.
Leo: The auto-pilot was on.
Jason: The auto-pilot was on but the—
Leo: The guy wasn't paying attention.
Fr. Robert: He wasn't using it as assistive driving technology.
Jason: Exactly. The person had abdicated, was doing level 4.
Leo: Which you are not supposed to do.
Jason: Which you are not supposed to do. The interesting thing that they found was the looked at since the Tesla was released, the auto-pilot was released, there was a 40% drop in crashes. So what's very interesting about connected cars and all the data is that now Tesla can definitively know, hey we put in auto-pilot. What happened to crashes? Oh, we tweaked the software. What happened to crashes? They have a feedback loop that's never existed before and they're pushing updates as you know, every couple of months and a major one every year or year and a half. And already, after auto steer which is just one of many features. It keeps you in the lane. It is scary how well it keeps you in the lane. It is unbelievably, it's uncanny. And it's only in version 1.0 so I think that they're going to continue to draw 30% a year until we get to the point where people in Tesla's are just not getting in accidents.
Fr. Robert: And it's all about data. That's why Intel dropped $250-million dollars into autonomous car technology. Because the more data that they can get of the fraction of the terabytes of data that are generated per car per day, that allows them to design a better model for how traffic flows.
Iain: We've only just started to touch on what you can do if you've got a sensor equipped car and a decent sharing of data. It's going to make Waze look like you know, sort of scribbling on clay tablets.
Jason: Imagine you had a million drivers in 500 cities.
Iain: You could monitor traffic in real time.
Jason: Like Uber does. I mean they have a million drivers in 500 cities or something to that effect. And they just hired the head of Google Search who had retired. I mean was retired and he came out of retirement and this person doesn't need to work.
Leo: Amit—what's his name?
Leo: Amit Singhal.
Jason: Singhal, yea. He came out of retirement. He was giving all his money away.
Leo: Well he had—it's weird because we talked about his retirement letter. He wanted to spend more time with his family. It looked like it was legitimately just leaving the business.
Jason: He was done.
Leo: And then all of a sudden he's now working at Tesla.
Jason: And you know, if you have a big, huge problem like, I'm sorry, at Uber. When you've got a bug huge problem like Uber's trying to solve—
Leo: I mean Uber, sorry.
Jason: It's a draw. And so it's I think going to be really interesting how quickly this is going to emerge.
Iain: It also solves problems for Tesla because they were sued last week by a South Korean celebrity who claimed that he was coming in to park his Tesla at his house and it suddenly accelerated and broke through his back wall.
Jason: Was his wife driving?
Iain: Well they were able to say, no, actually looked—
Jason: No, there was—I thought there was another case where the guy is suing and it sounds like I'm being young in here, no, literally his wife was driving and the guy is suing because his wife had the same experience. It turns out they have the data. You can't lie anymore and be like oh.
Fr. Robert: Do you remember a few years back there was that bad—it was a hit piece on Tesla from a journalist that said, "Oh, it was terrible." And he didn't know they had the data. You were going around a parking lot.
Jason: That was a New York Times journalist who missed the exit and then counted it against them. He's like, "Yea, the range is like 20% off." Because you circled and couldn't find the charging station and got off at the wrong exit? Great. That journalist got spanked by the public editor.
Iain: Honestly he should have gotten fired if he's making up stuff like that.
Leo: Fr. Robert, your story that we missed. Have you found one?
Fr. Robert: I didn't know we were doing that.
Leo: Debits on your homework. That's ok.
Jason: What about the Jesuit film Silence by Martin Scorsese?
Leo: Is it good? Have you seen it?
Fr. Robert: I saw it when I was in Rome. Well, Martin Scorsese came over to Rome and he showed a bunch of bishops and stuff.
Jason: As good as The Mission or better?
Leo: I loved The Mission.
Fr. Robert: The Mission has a special place in my heart.
Jason: One of my top 5.
Fr. Robert: Yea. Definitely one of my top 5s. But—
Leo: Silence is about a couple of Jesuit priests in Japan, 17th century.
Fr. Robert: It's form a book. Yes, yes.
Leo: Where the Jesuits are being, all Catholics are being persecuted by the Japanese.
Fr. Robert: Slaughtered.
Leo: Slaughtered by the Japanese emperor who wants to get Christians out of Japan.
Fr. Robert: The book, it was an incredibly faithful adaptation of the book. But imagine if you could stop the torture, the horrible, horrible torture by doing something that on the outside seems incredibly insignificant but you're not willing to sacrifice your personal integrity. No, no. Just you know, as simply as saying, like saying, "Hey, Leo, you know what? I'll stop stabbing you in the stomach if you just say no."
Fr. Robert: And you decide that that's not, that's not worth doing.
Leo: I won't do it.
Fr. Robert: And at the end, you do. And—
Leo: There's a great moral dilemma.
Fr. Robert: There's a huge moral dilemma. It's a beautiful story. It's incredibly well done. It's going to do horribly at the theatre because it was—
Jason: It's going to clean up at the awards.
Fr. Robert: It's going to clean up at the awards.
Leo: All I want to know is, how does the Pope like his popcorn?
Fr. Robert: He actually doesn't eat popcorn.
Fr. Robert: But he really, really, really likes fruit.
Jason: I like the new pope.
Iain: I'm curious as to how you actually viewed this in the Vatican because a bunch of us went to see the Robert Redford sailing film All is Lost. And we were just killing ourselves laughing because of the number of basic sailing mistakes he made. Is it the same in this film, watching it from a religious perspective?
Fr. Robert: Because remember, this was an audience of Jesuits. And so he knew. Martin Scorsese knew it was an audience of Jesuits. And you have to remember, one of the actors in this movie was Liam Neeson who was also in the mission.
Jason: With Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro.
Fr. Robert: That's right. And they got the terminology right. They got the culture more or less right and so everything else was just really, really well done story telling.
Fr. Robert: So go watch Silence.
Jason: Jesuits. It's like the Jedi of the Christians.
Fr. Robert: They are.
Jason: The Catholic Jedis.
Leo: I got a couple of stories. Don't install Meitu. I bet everybody was tempted. This is the app that turns you into an anime star and lets you put a selfie. It's one of those photo filter apps. It turns out it comes from—it's been popular in China for years. But—
Iain: Very data slurping.
Leo: It is data slurping. It allows, it asks for permission to make phone calls on your behalf. It sends your unique device identifier number, call information. IMEI. Carrier information and Wi-Fi connection information to China, to a server in China.
Jason: What's the worst that can happen?
Leo: It's basically, Jonathan Zdziarski says it, it's a throw together of multiple analytics and marketing ad tracking packages, with something cute to get people to use it.
Jason: Of course.
Fr. Robert: I used to test all apps I would put on my phone by putting it on to my—I have a little honey pot and it would just look at all the traffic going out. And then I found out they were making some apps aware and they would not send out that information over a Wi-Fi network, they would only do it over the cellular connection which makes it much more difficult to track. And I'm thinking, that's deliberate. If I see that, no. Stop!
Leo: Meitu in its defense says, "We have a 450-million unique monthly active users." Very popular in China. "We take their privacy very seriously. We do not sell user data."
Jason: That's like McDonalds being like we have a billion customers. Trust us. We're going to do what's in their best interest. Like it doesn't really matter that you have a lot of people eating apple pies.
Iain: Mirai Botnet. We have millions of people on our Mirai Botnet and we would never do anything wrong with it.
Jason: We have millions of peoples' information compromised. Trust us.
Fr. Robert: We considered selling our information. You don't understand. We just really want to.
Jason: It's basically all like I went into my iPhone 7's settings for location usage which I keep off by default. I only turn it on when I have to use it. And I was just amazed by how many apps that have absolutely no reason to know, to be on all the time. And then you go to turn them off and it doesn't have only when I'm using the app.
Fr. Robert: Do you turn off individual location permission for Uber? Because I keep my location on but I disable it for that app unless I'm calling an Uber.
Fr. Robert: Because they track it.
Leo: Yea, the do.
Fr. Robert: They collect the data.
Jason: They track it for—they just started tracking for 30 seconds after you got out to figure out if you're getting out here, are you going to this other building? Which maybe they didn't communicate perfectly, but yea, listen. I'm on the inside a lot of this company. It's like they usually don't have nefarious intent. But I'll tell you the one exception to that which is people who have advertising businesses. Because they do have nefarious intent. They want to know everything about you. And they're outing gay people and other things by knowing stuff about you, they can basically predict and then sell you to people. And those are the people, whether it's Facebook or Google, they really don't have your best interests at heart.
Leo: This is a great place for me to do another ad. But I don't know anything about you.
Jason: It's not like anyone listening is having their Mac address sent to an advertiser. We're overstepping. We have to pull that back.
Leo: That's why I like our model. We don't know anything about you and we—and I always worry because there's always a movement among the podcasters. More in the advertising bureau, to somehow track podcast listeners with special apps and stuff. And it always scares me. I don't want to see Ad Tech.
Jason: Apple's in this great position is, "Hey listen. We make enough off the hardware. We don't need to be up in your business. And if you, if your phone becomes part of some government investigation, we're not going to let them crack it."
Fr. Robert: And I'm ok with selling a little bit of my privacy for some convenience. Like with the Uber app, I completely believe it's not for nefarious reasons. I'm sure that information does come in handy. It helps them build a better product.
Jason: They want you to take more Ubers.
Fr. Robert: But the agreement was you can use this information for this particular thing. And that's what I'm selling to you. If you want more, you have to give me something else. It's a contract.
Iain: You see this is one of the things I like about Android is when you download the app you do get that screen saying—
Fr. Robert: Unfortunately so many people, they just hit-
Leo: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, fine, fine, fine.
Fr. Robert: It's the EULA problem from the Windows days.
Iain: I was at the women's march yesterday and it was a candlelit march down Market Street. And I didn't bring a candle. So, ok, I'm in San Francisco. Get a candle app. First candle app I tried to download, it wanted my phone location, my contacts, my GPS location. I just want a picture of a candle. Why will I give you that stuff?
Leo: (Laughing) Take a guess. Our last story actually just breaking now is that United Airlines has grounded all domestic flights, apparently due to a computer outage. US officials told NBC news that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, had issues with low bandwidth. No further explanation was immediately available.
Jason: What was the millennium fear?
Jason: Y2K. It's Y2K. Don't worry about it.
Leo: It's Y2K?
Fr. Robert: That's not the internet. That's a private data link system.
Leo: Yea. And let's hope it's just something broke. Maybe it's squirrels.
Fr. Robert: And if it's just one airline, it's—yea.
Leo: It's squirrels.
Fr. Robert: I have my money on Mylar.
Leo: Mylar balloons.
Fr. Robert: A pigeon. A pigeon holding a squirrel holding a Mylar balloon.
Leo: So if you have family or friends arriving on United in the United States-
Iain: They're going to be even more annoyed than they usually would be.
Leo: They're going to be cranky when the get here tomorrow.
Jason: I'll give everybody a great life hack. Some airlines as you know allow you to get a full refund, like Southwest and Virgin. Or a credit. So if you're a business traveler, going in and out of San Francisco or any of these places, I always book two flights, you know, back to back or from Oakland and San Francisco because the system is so screwed up here in the Bay area and LA and New York, that it's like—I don't know if it's a quarter of all flights, or 20% of all flights get delayed or changed. So if you have 2 flights, all you do, is you just refund the one that you're not going to take and you get a credit or you get a full refund. It's worked out brilliantly for me.
Fr. Robert: I just fly Delta because they always upgrade me.
Leo: Do they see the collar?
Fr. Robert: I got used to the warm cookie that they give you?
Jason: How do you upgrade to 1st class? I don't understand, Padre.
Fr. Robert: I've flown so many miles.
Leo: You don't know about the special room. There is a special room.
Iain: Well there used to be aviation journalists and they is on transoceanic flights, there is actually a special cabin.
Fr. Robert: Up above.
Iain: Up above in the ceiling.
Fr. Robert: Yea, I got into that on the way back from Rome. They let me up there. It was incredible. It's just a special place for the crew to take—
Leo: In the plane?
Fr. Robert: Yes. It's like the no hole above the—the no loft in an airplane.
Iain: I was going to say having spoken to a lot of cabin crew and no matter what you might read in Penthouse, you are not invited up there for naughty times. It just never happens.
Fr. Robert: It's for sleeping. Everyone is up there asleep.
Jason: Yea, I'm guessing no based on my knowledge.
Leo: If naughty time is possible, it will—
Jason: I'm going to guess there's been some shenanigans.
Iain: Yes, but it belongs to the cabin crew, not the passengers.
Jason, Yea, I bet the cabin crew has had some good times.
Leo: We have dragged this show out long enough to have had actually Samsung's press conference.
Iain: Oh really?
Fr. Robert: Woo hoo!
Jason: In related news.
Leo: And in fact the Wall Street Journal's guess was correct. The first battery, the one—there were two separate battery defects. The first batch suffered from a design flaw. The external casing was too small for the components inside. So this was not the phone, but the battery casing itself causing—
Jason: The belt was too tight.
Leo: The belt was too tight causing it to short-circuit and ignite. Then the replacement battery which came from another supplier didn't have that problem. But in the rush to pump out enough batteries for the replacement units, they introduced a manufacturing defect. They ended up doing the same thing.
Iain: Oh, good grief.
Leo: So there were really two different problems. Remember, Samsung quickly moved to replace them, rushed replacements out within a week or two. And those replacements then caught on fire.
Jason: Yea, that was great. And then when you got on your Southwest flight, they said, "Does anybody have a Galaxy S7? If so the pilot would like to speak to you?" Like literally that's how they said it on one flight. I was like, wow, what a great ringing endorsement. If you have an S7, please come to the front of the plane to be admonished by the pilot.
Iain: There was a panic on one flight because—
Jason: They put up the Wi-Fi router.
Iain: Yea, the Wi-Fi router was down.
Leo: The guy got arrested.
Iain: Yea, the guy actually said to the cabin crew, "You need to see this. Somebody's got one." And they just threatened to—
Leo: It created a Wi-Fi access point called Galaxy Note 7. They figured out who it was. They arrested him for bomb threat.
Jason: How did they figure out who it was? Just turn off your phone, idiot.
Iain: Yea, I know but this guy really was an idiot.
Leo: He probably stood up and said, "Haha, that was me."
Iain: Yea, but I mean they were threatening to land the plane in Nebraska and strip search everyone.
Iain: Yea, I mean they were that serious about it. A lot of pilots, the worst fear you have is an inflight fire. I mean barring sudden reduction in the wings or an explosive loss of cabin pressure, but I mean the really big one is a fire.
Jason: Yea, wing reduction is definitely a bummer.
Iain: Because if you've got to get down 30,000 feet in a hurry and you've got fire on board, you're toast. Quite literally. I mean that's their big fear and that's why they've been so keen to make sure that none of these phones get on.
Leo: Samsung has a process to eliminate this in the future. The first battery, they would actually had to do an X-ray to find the problem. The second battery would have required disassembling. None of those steps are part of their normal testing process but they have created now an 8-point battery safety check that will prevent the problems going forward. So they're taking it very seriously.
Fr. Robert: Well, yea. I a couple of billion dollars lost will do that.
Leo: So they say, "We're going well above and beyond the industry standard for the future Galaxy S8." Here's the test. Folks, we've gone way over time but I don't want to ever stop when I have a panel like this.
Jason: No, good times.
Leo: Fr. Robert Ballecer, we'll catch you on TWiET and Know How and anything else you want to share with the world? You're going to do a new podcast.
Fr. Robert: We're working on a little something, something and I've got—I really shouldn't say. We're working on getting a geek icon to actually be part of the TWiT network.
Fr. Robert: Yes. Geeks and Sci-Fi fans will love and—
Jason: Will Wheaton?
Leo: Do I know about this?
Fr. Robert: No (laughing).
Jason: I said Will Wheaton and he looked at his shoes.
Leo: Will Wheaton has—by the way, Will Wheaton did just get an asteroid named after him. So that's—
Jason: He did. Before Shatner.
Leo: Before Shatner.
Iain: Oh, that's got to sting.
Jason: Shatner is on fire about it. George Takei and Will Wheaton.
Leo: The ensign beats the captain?
Jason: It's because people want to troll him because he's been such a colossal d-bag.
Fr. Robert: He has been kind of a tool.
Leo: Who Shatner or?
Jason: He's a d-bag.
Fr. Robert: Yea.
Leo: No, I think he's a nice guy.
Jason: Everybody who works with him is just like, "Oh, God, he's just so insufferable."
Fr. Robert: Every once in a while their Twitter paths cross and it's very entertaining.
Leo: Yea, you can see that happening.
Jason: Well, did you ever see Galaxy Quest?
Leo: Yea, I love Galaxy Quest.
Iain: That's one of my favorite films.
Jason: They're filming a sequel supposedly. I'd love it. The idea was you know, he would screw it up for everybody when these guys wanted to go make money at these conventions.
Leo: You would think that if Shatner was a pain in the ass he'd be a great asteroid. He'd be a pain in the asteroid. I don't know. That my friends—
Jason: Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
Leo: Picture yourself on a boat on a river. That is Jason Calacanis, the man of a thousand voices. And you can catch his work at inside.com. He's @jason on the Twitter. The best handle.
Jason: It's as good as it gets.
Leo: Iain Thomson has an inscrutable handle because he spells his name unaccountably the Scottish way, I-A-I-N Thomson.
Iain: I've had words with my parents about this. There's nothing I can do about it at this stage.
Jason: You know, as an adult you can change your name.
Iain: I know, I know. But it seems a bit petty and it would make Christmas very awkward.
Jason: Maybe the answer is it's not a bad name. Explosive diarrhea is pretty good too.
Iain: Somehow I don't think The Register would be very happy when I sign my articles off by Explosive Diarrhea.
Jason: No, I meant a show name.
Iain: Oh, right.
Fr. Robert: Bangers and mash.
Leo: Before we go—
Jason: Bangers and mash.
Leo: I would love to have you read the inaugural poem written for Donald Trump by a Scotsman.
Iain: Oh, no.
Jason: I saw this.
Iain: Oh, come on. I'm about as Scottish as the Duke of Edenborough.
Leo: Maybe I should do it. "Come out for the Domhnall, ye brave men and proud, the scion of Torquil and best of MacLeod! With purpose and strength he came down from his tower to snatch from a tyrant his ill-gotten power." Don't you think it's good? It's good.
Jason: You know it's the ultimate. We can understand what you're saying.
Leo: "Now the cry has gone up with a cheer from the crowd: ‘Come out for the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!' When freedom is threatened by…" Oh, I got a little spit on there.
Jason: You spit on the Surface?
Leo: I got a little spit on the Surface.
Leo: "When freedom is threatened by slavery's chains and voices are silenced as misery reigns." Am I doing ok? Is that terrible? Is it terrible, Ian? Is it the worst?
Iain: It's not as bad. I did like—
Leo: It sounds a little like Schreck.
Jason: I thought you guys had adopted English in Scotland?
Iain: Well, yes but you see, Donald Trump's not very popular in Scotland because basically he's—
Leo: Well apparently his mother was a Scott.
Iain: He's not popular in Scotland.
Fr. Robert: They had an alternate poem and it was going to start something like there once was a president from Nantucket.
Leo: (Laughing) No, no, no, no. No, no.
Fr. Robert: I'll find it.
Jason: Yea. Spit on the Surface.
Iain: That's going to end well.
Jason: There is spit on the Surface.
Leo: Ladies and gentlemen, I think I've plugged everyone. I think I've thanked you all. I will remind you we are doing our TWiT survey. We do this once a year. We don't collect personal information about you. It helps us tune the programming and let the advertisers know who's listening.
Leo: Anonymously. This is far better than the kind of stuff all the other people do. We're not trying to get information about you personally. TWiT.tv/survey. It will only take a couple of minutes. We've shortened considerably as well.
Jason: It helps.
Leo: It helps to know what the demographics are.
Jason: What do you plan on buying? Do you have that question?
Leo: Yea, and it also helps us with planning for the shows. Apparently Fr. Robert has plans I didn't even know about.
Fr. Robert: The dog's bollocks.
Leo: If one of the questions is who's your favorite, what is it, science fiction character?
Fr. Robert: One of my favorite science fiction character, recent science fiction character.
Leo: Who is one of your favorites. No, no guessing. I don't want to know.
Jason: Recent Sci-Fi character. Is it female or male?
Fr. Robert: Male
Leo: Get up and walk ye free all ye brave men and proud. Robbed of your manhood of might that you lay down and die.
Jason: TV or film?
Fr. Robert: Yes.
Leo: Another TWiT.
Jason: Wow, wow.
Leo: Is in the can. Thank you everybody!
Jason: Nicely done. Nicely done.
Leo: This show has gone on for so long, the chatroom is now suggesting, they're now suggesting stories we did at the beginning of the show. Hey did you do the story on Ian McMillian? Yes, we did.