This Week in Tech 606
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! We've got a great panel for you. Tom Merritt is back, Roberto Baldwin from Engadget, Steve Kovach from Business Insider; we're going to talk about the news of tech. What's happening at Uber, the President just resigned, is it the end of the line for Uber's business, or will they keep on going? A new processor from AMD provides competition from Intel, and Netflix gets into the movie business big time. It's all coming up next, on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 606, recorded Sunday, March 19, 2017.
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the latest tech news with some of the best journalists in the tech business. Tom Merritt, one of them! Great to have you back. He's a novelist, Tom Merritt. Hosted Daily tech news and Sword and Laser. You're still doing that with Veronica, right?
Tom Merritt: Yeah. We're still doing that every two weeks, if not every week if we have some offers.
Leo: You have a new book that just came out.
Tom: I do. This one is published through Ink Shares so you could actually get it on bookstore shelves as well as Ebook and Audible. It's called PilotX. It's about a time traveler.
Leo: Nice. You didn't write this during nanowrimo. This is a real novel.
Tom: I started this... I got to my 50,000 words during nanowrimo and I spent a lot of time polishing it, obviously.
Leo: That's great.
Leo: Nanowrimo is the November month where you have to write 50,000 words in a month, right?
Tom: It's a good way to get yourself past excuses and just start writing.
Leo: 1500 words a day, You can do that. Even Roberto Baldwin could do that, from Engadget, ladies and gentlemen.
Roberto Baldwin: It's true, and I only have this thumb, so, if I can do it, anyone can.
Leo: With one thumb, and the rest of his fingers tied behind his back. Roberto is senior editor at Engadget, but he's also the leader. You can tell by the haircut of a Devo cover band.
Roberto: I don't know if it's good or bad.
Leo: It's good. Nice to have you! And an LCE sound cover band, which Tom Merritt sad should be called Super OLED sound system. Maybe it wasn't so clever.
Tom: I'm not proud.
Leo: Steve Kovach is here from Business Insider. Steve, is apparently been consigned to a room without decoration.
Steve Kovach: So I just moved to a new place in Queens, and I'm in a spare bedroom now, which we haven't decorated yet, so it looks like I'm in Johnny Ives' white box right now. Next time I'm on, I'll have some decorations.
Leo: There's a Spartan Unity to it. I like it. Especially the metal door jams.
Steve: That's a closet, actually.
Leo: You're sure you don't have a super computer there that you're planning on taking over the world with. Good to have you guys. We're just talking before the show. Not much happened this week. Actually the biggest story happened minutes ago. Kara Swisher in Recode says that the President of Uber is quitting after less than a year on the job. I'm not talking about Travis Kaleneck the CEO. This is the Jeff Jones, who joined Uber less than a year ago. He came over from Target. Of course, Kara, I love Kara. He's leaving after deciding the current controversies are too much to handle. I don't know if he said that, Uber has merely confirmed the departure and is sending a statement along. Sources said he said this isn't the situation I signed on for. Especially after Kaleneck said he was going to hire a CEO to coach him to be less of a jerk.
Tom: Not the first executive to leave Uber in the last couple of weeks. Certainly the highest.
Leo: He was a CEO at Target. The idea was bring this guy in from a squeaky clean operation where he can help us clean up our reputation. My 83 year old mother, I put Uber on her phone so she doesn't have to ask my sister for rides, so she can be independent. She won't use it. She said my friends tell me they'll rob you. I said, "Mom. They're not going to rob you. You've got their name and picture on your phone. That would be a dumb crime.
Roberto: They don't have the tip. So.
Leo: She said but I don't have to tip them, right? I said no, actually you do. Well, I don't want to tip them.
Roberto: Maybe that's why she's concerned. If you tip some people, you wouldn't get robbed.
Leo: I think, the reason I bring that up, the zeitgeist is going against Uber. The brand reputation is getting hurt, even among people who are not geeks.
Tom: If you are not paying close attention to this story, you hear there were protests, there's a driver who murdered somebody, there's sexual harassment, this sounds like something I don't want to be involved with.
Leo: I said, "Mom." Cabbies are even worse. She said no. I won't take a cab either. Anyway... at least she's consistent. Uber has a lot of money. Is it the beginning of the end at Uber? What is the future?
Steve: I think it's the beginning of seeing a lot of people step down and leave. Weeks ago, there were calls for Travis to leave. I don't think that will happen. They'll hire somebody with a squeaky clean reputation to help them, but we haven't seen the end of high level executives leaving from there. People are waiting for their shares to vest and get out of there. You hear constant stories about people upset with the culture there. This is the latest in the top executives that are going to step down.
Tom: I think if it's going to be a decline, it's going to be a long decline. It's something where a certain number of people have stopped using it.
Leo: Last week, all three of the panelists on TWiT said I've deleted Uber. Anybody here deleted Uber?
Roberto: I cover Uber, so I don't have a choice. But I use Lyft exclusively.
Leo: That's my excuse for Windows.
Tom: You tip people in the app.
Roberto: I like the idea of being able to tip you in the app. It's expensive to live in San Francisco.
Leo: I told my Mom you have to tip them, she said I don't have any cash, so she has to go to the bag to get some five dollar bills, it should be in the app.
Roberto: You ask them about it, and they have round about answers. Lyft just put it in there. I'm surprised that two months ago, Lyft didn't succumb to Austin's demands for fingerprinting drivers, because if we had had Lyft in Austin, they would have had a huge jump in the people who go to South by southwest interactive, musicians, gamers. That would have been a super smart move on their part. We all used some other apps. For me, I had zero problems getting around Austin. I don't...I got back Thursday from South by Southwest.
Leo: We had heard a week ago last Saturday that some of the local rideshare apps had failed. Their servers went down because of the demand on Saturday.
Roberto: There was a rainstorm.
Leo: A taxi system that doesn't work in the rain.
Roberto: So instead of using the taxis which were available or the Metro line, it's also the light rail system that's available, everyone that they do in San Francisco and LA, they try to use their phones, and when you hit a service that is only scaled up to the size of Austin, and even if it's scaled a little bit more for South by Southwest, they went down.
Leo: Aren't we hearing from Uber employees, drivers particularly that they don't like working for Uber?
Roberto: I hear from drivers that they prefer Lyft customers actually, because the quality of customer... the Uber riders can be douches.
Leo: You are allowed to say this. When Travis Kalleneck heard Travis Jones was quitting he said what a *****. He didn't. He should though. You can bleep that out. That's the kind of thing Travis might say. You can see him saying that.
Roberto: You know a company's culture comes from the top down. If you have a toxic person who is running a company who is likely to yell at his contractors that are driving for his company... if I were the President of Uber, I would have left too. Because that's going to tarnish you if you continue to work at a place like that. Like Steven said, people are waiting for their stocks..
Leo: I don't know if it's true in tech like it is in the general world, but you see companies that have tarnished reputations. I'm thinking Samsung with the Note 7 debacle. It's an interesting question. How much does that hurt a company? Can it put them out of business?
Roberto: Apple had their exploding batteries in the 90's. For years, you heard Apple laptop, is it going to blow up? You have Exxon with Exxon Valdis, it depends on how that company navigates.
Tom: I think we over estimate how much people understand about some of these companies out there. Your Mom's perception of Uber is one example of that on the negative side. A lot of the people who have good experiences using it in general may not pay attention to these stories either or keep using it. That's why I think it's a long decline if it's a decline, that's why they're working to gussy up their image right now. This is finally one scandal too far. Eventually people forget and they go ahead and use the service. It can hurt them, but it's not the kind of thing that puts you out of business. You have to do a lot of things to get put out of business. Look at Toshiba. They're declaring bankruptcy, they're trying to sell off their solid state drive. They're going to be in business after that. It takes a lot to kill a company.
Steve: Let's say the cultural issues get hammered out at Uber, there's this whole other piece with the Wemo lawsuit. Uber is a VP Limendowsky, they did steal all those documents and use all those documents to create Lidar for Uber, that could totally hose Uber, that is the future of Uber now that it's several years down the road. They see this as the future. They're going to get rid of drivers, and be almost fully autonomous and if it turns out they use stolen technology, they are either going to have to pay a huge penalty to Wemo and start licensing that technology or start from scratch and develop it again but even further behind. As we saw this week with these leaked stats about how often they put their self-driving cars on... the disengagement rate is way higher than it is at Wemo. They're a little bit behind already in self driving cars, which is the future of the company. This lawsuit could derail them even further. Let's say they hammer out the culture issues, this is even more important.
Leo: I have to say, Uber's self-driving technology is not completely awesome. We're starting to see some of the stats out of this. For instance, the average .8 miles driving before a human had to take over...
Steve: I forget what Waymo is up to, but Waymo improved significantly in year to year... they released their stats and it was looking really good. If Uber gets smacked with this lawsuit and they have to start from scratch, that puts them even farther behind.
Leo: Uber is getting better. I have to say, I think we're kind of selfish. In the long run, people will just go back to the Uber app, because it's convenient. They'll put it behind them, and forget it happened.
Roberto: But Lyft is the exact same service.
Leo: There's an opportunity for Lyft, isn't there?
Roberto: It's not like Chick-fil-A where the CEO... yeah. Oh, what if I don't get delicious chicken? With Uber, Lyft is ready. A lot of the drivers are Uber and Lyft drivers. It's not that big a deal if somebody deletes the Uber app.
Leo: I've never used Lyft. I just used Uber. I liked Uber. The experience was very positive.
Tom: Lyft has the same people. I don't notice much difference.
Leo: It's the same people. I guess it also comes down to how easy you can get one. There are lots of drivers or not... you all live in metros so it's easier for you. Up in Petaluma, your driver will be with you in an hour and fifteen minutes. Sum Country airlines, which is a Minneapolis based airline just put out a press release that once a week they're going to come to Santa Rosa from Minneapolis. Once a week! I'm pretty excited about that. It's for people from Minnesota who want to visit the wine country. It comes out Thursday. I presume it goes back. They don't just park the plane... maybe they do. They got to go back, right?
Roberto: Once a plane starts flying it usually doesn't stop until it breaks or they throw it away.
Leo: Maybe they're going to go onto Orange County, but Santa Rosa and Orange county run. I could go to Minneapolis on Sunday and come back on Thursday. It's only August through... it's not a schedule. It's just strange. Let's take a break. There's four stories total. If I don't take a break now... nothing happened this week! But you're going to watch how we do this because these guys are so good. We're going to take really thin poorly sourced stories and turn them into gold.
Roberto: You just described my entire career.
Leo: There are weeks where not much happens. There's more to talk about. First though, a word from our sponsors. Squarespace. I love Squarespace. Leolaporte.com is on Squarespace. It's such a gorgeous place to start your website. Whatever it is you're doing, either a restaurant or a photographer, musician, Squarespace is a template for you. They've got a template for whatever your business is. Make your next move known to the world with Squarespace. Tell your story pursue your passion project, share your art. You start out with the Squarespace templates which combine the best design, they get the best designers. With the best engineering under the hood, so to speak. These sites do everything. They're mobile responsive. If you upload an image to your Squarespace site, in the background it's sized to nine different thumbnails to fit whatever size screen is going to show off on. It's got e commerce built into every template. You have images, galleries, audio, built in RSS so you can publish directly to the web. There's, it's really nice. There's a button on every page so when you upload to that page and publish it it goes to your social media, your Facebook, your Twitter, wherever you want it to go. And your viewers can do the same thing. They can share and Pin on Pinterest. There's buttons on there, if you want to turn those on. You get basically a great flexible tool to make a site that is unique and gorgeous and matches your aesthetic. Plus, Squarespace ties in with lots of services behind the scenes. To do payments, because they've got e commerce. You can do email campaigns and newsletters, mail chip integration, you can promote events with a calendar, RSVP directly from your website, no limit on the number of products or services you can sell. You can get analytics on your customer so you can keep track of page views and conversions, which content works better than other content. Even recover lost sales, with automatic emails to customers who have a shopping cart and they never buy, you can have them automatically... hey would you like 10% off? I see you put some in the car but you didn't buy. Stuff like that. Really world class. Squarespace has your next move covered, with free unlimited hosting, top of the line security, enterprise grade infrastructure , round the clock support. The best hosting, the best software. The best place to host your next website. Go to squarespace.com, try it free, and if you like it, use the offer code TWiT. You'll get 10% off. Offer code TWiT to get 10% off your next website. It's Squarespace.com. Tom Merritt: Dailytechnewsshow.com. Tommerrittbooks,com. That's nice. Great to have you back in the fold. If only briefly.
Leo: how is Eileen doing? She's at Youtube.
Tom: She's at Fandango now. She works for rotten Tomatoes.
Leo: I love Rotten Tomatoes. You know what's funny? Whenever I rent movies, I go to iTunes because they have the rotten Tomatoes score there. We will not rent a movie that is under 70.
Tom: That's the limit.
Leo: collateral damage, it looked good. 12% on Rotten tomatoes. I almost want to watch it to see how bad could it be?
Tom: Iron Fist, it's a Netflix series, it's got 16 or 17%.
Leo: Oh my god. Also Roberto Baldwin, great ot have you. Steve Kovach from Business Insider. Speaking of Netflix, did you see that they are reviving, they're going to finish Orson Wells last film.
Tom: It was a Kickstarter that didn't get off the ground so Netflix is going to come in and make it happen.
Leo: It's not like Orson Wells went to Kickstarter. He did not. It was a movie called the Other side of the Wind. Orson Wells took years, he died in '83 with it unfinished. He had been working on it for 13 years, John Houston is the star of it. He had been shooting forever. It was never finished. It was about a director attempting a comeback movie after years of wandering in the desserts of Europe. Everybody wanted to see this. This is on the eve of Jerry Lewis' s the day the clown cried. That's not... I hope that never gets resurrected. Supposedly Jerry Lewis carries around an attaché case with the film in it. It's the story of a clown that gets... should I not talk about it?
Roberto: It's so horrible. There are comedians who will go and do script readings of it.
Leo: Patton Oswald talks about it. They tried to do a reading of it, and Jerry Lewis said no you can't. The day the clown cried. Same here as this Orson Wells movie, by the way. It's about a clown in a concentration camp whose job is it to make the children laugh before they get gassed. It sounds horrific. That is not the one Netflix is bringing back. So, this is... I don't know how much Netflix is putting into this. This is a niche product. People like me will get excite about this, but I don't know you'll generate new subscriptions. 40 minutes of footage were edited by Wells in '85. There are 1,083 reels of footage kept in a warehouse in Paris. Peter Bobdanevadge appears in the film. Basically, they're going to edit the remaining reels and create a movie out of it.
Steve: who is the editor on the film?
Leo: It's going to be Frank Marshall. He has the theory, the best insight as to what Wells would have done with it. Wells said the edit is the key creative act in filmmaking. So... Josh Karp wrote a book called Orson Wells the making of the other side of the wind, said it's like finding a lost Shakespeare play, except no one wants to read a lost Shakespeare play, and this is a movie. Karp has seen the 40 edited minutes and the other footage and thinks Wells would be thrilled by this. We won't know obviously. I think this is really interesting for Netflix. Not the first time they'd foot the bill. They've got a number of movies in production. I think there's a new Will Smith movie they're going to produce?
Steve: It's like Orcs living in modern day times.
Leo: Orcs. Wow. I love it.
Steve: I'm looking forward to it, actually.
Leo: They put 90 million dollars up for that. It's called Bright. 90 million is less than they paid for House of Cards.. That was a hundred million dollars for the first season alone. So they got deep pockets. House of Cards is a big success. Got them a lot of subscribers. I imagine Bright will do the same.
Roberto: It's funny. Because I talked with Netflix way back when they were just launching House of Cards, and I asked about feature movies and documentaries, and they're like, "You know, we get way more bang for the buck with a television show." So at that time they were eh. Now I guess enough people subscribed. I'm a big fan of Netflix.
Leo: Tom, you do Chord Killers. I imagine you do some time talking about these new Netflix originals, right?
Tom: Absolutely. I feel like their strategy here is twofold. One is to fill the niche of the person who likes this kind of stuff, they do all kinds of TV series that you're probably not even aware is on there. Kids shows, anime. All kinds of genres. It'll show up in the right people's recommended. Down the road, if this becomes a cult classic, and people are like, where can I watch that? It's on Netflix. They're trying to make it that library you have to have access to because they have everything.
Leo: The thing about Brights, which is different than House of Cards, House of Cards was produced by Kevin Spacey's company, this is entirely a Netflix project. They paid 3 million to get the script, for instance.
Tom: Now that they are in every country, except China and a few others, because they want to have the worldwide rights forever. They also just hired Scott Scuber who is a Hollywood producer. He's on staff, so they have an in house guy to do that stuff.
Leo: He's going to do the outreach to find talent and bring it in. Buy the criterion collection.
Tom: I think Netflix wants to get away from the windowed stuff. They need Disney to put names in front of you, but they're more about being HBO, which is we have access to original, creative content.
Leo: That's one way to solve their problem, this is the same problem streaming music services like Spotify have. These companies can squeeze them as they are squeezing them. They squeeze Netflix famously, and they say you can't have these for your streaming service. this is a smart move, if you can pull it off to create your own unique, exclusive content, then, you can say, see ya, to Hollywood.
Roberto: They're recreating it like HBO. I don't have HBO on there because I want to watch movies, I have HBO because I want to watch Game of Thrones.
Leo: Is it a good or bad thing that they've tapped the director of Suicide squad to do this Bright? What was the Rotten tomatoes score on that one?
Roberto: I haven't seen it yet. Hopefully I'll break another arm or leg and I'll be on painkillers.
Leo: You live tweeted Batman/Superman while on Opioids?
Leo: They say there isn't a drug problem in this country.
Tom: 23% and 63% audience score.
Leo: Those always worry me.
Roberto: It's a superhero movie, so you're always going to get the people who love it because it's superheroes. They're happy it's there.
Leo: We see Spotify and other streaming services attempt to find their way in other situations where the record could just squeeze into... Spotify is turning to other original content. Audible is doing original content, even Google is doing podcasts now. You'd figure Google and Amazon and Apple are probably OK, because that's not their main business. They can run these music services as a loss getting people to buy their other products. But I worry about Spotify. And now Pandora is getting into the Mix. Pandora is about to launch Pandora premium, another 10 dollar streaming music service. Same 40 million tracks everyone else has.
Steve: The CEO in this interview you're showing right now is like we cracked the code. No, it's the exact same thing as all these other services. There's nothing that differentiates them. It's a sign up for whatever you have. I use Spotify. Just because it was the first, I used it and my friends use it so it's fun. There's no discernible difference that makes one better than the other.
Leo: What Westagran says is we're going to be easy to use. The problem with these other services is you don't just open the app and press play. And you've got the music you want. Here's the comparison; you've got to have some secret sauce. Human curation, that's the key. What Title says is exclusives. Ardio had social. Here's the three screens, on the left Spotify, on the right Apple music, in the middle, this is the new Pandora. There's no differentiator.
Tom: Having the recent playlists there as soon as you open the app is a big advantage. I always want to see the thing I was playing recently show up there so I can get to it fast. If that turns out to be a differentiator somehow, it's easy for other companies to do. What they're trying to sell is we've got the algorithm and it's great. Maybe it is, but that's hard to convince people to switch on.
Leo: OK. They have a lot of users, right? Pandora Prime, Pandora One users pay money. That's a very popular streaming service. Close to number one. By the way, the other thing they've got going for them, paying subscribers get six months free of this new service.
Steve: Most Pandora people are using the free product that has an ad, and they're not going to start paying for it...
Leo: How sticky is the music service?
Steve: I don't know.
Roberto: there's not as much conversion as these music services would like. Spotify, you ask them about conversion rates and they change the subject. People signed up for free Spotify accounts and they're like I'm fine listening to ads every once in a while, and they're like will you pay $10 a month? And they're like why would I pay ten a month if I can listen to it like this? It's...
Tom: Spotify is negotiating with the labels right now and agreeing to do exclusives for paying subscribers and that would be one way they would try to get you to move to the free tier is the newest albums would only be available on the paid tier for the first 30/90 days ...
Leo: These guys have no new negotiating power. They've got to do what the record labels want to do, that's why Taylor Swift wouldn't be on all these services, because she wouldn't want her music to be given away. It's got to be tough, because Apple has some clout because Apple is the number one music retailer, right? Plus their app is on all Apple devices so you have this automatic entree. They are trying to do exclusives. Chance the rapper, he leaked out that Apple said they want to have two weeks exclusive to your digital mixed tap eColoring book. We will give you half a million dollars for two weeks, and a thirty second commercial which is worth more.
Roberto: Chance the rapper is a genius, because he owns the rights to all of his music. So that would have gone to whatever record labels are around right now.
Leo: Chance doesn't have a record label. He's independent. Right on!
Roberto: All of those dollars are his to do with as he pleases. I hope he buys a giant yacht that runs on Android.
Leo: I watched the Grammys and it was so impressive to see him win a Grammy award without a record label behind him. The first independent to win record of the year. That's impressive. Is this the beginning of the end for Record labels? Who needs a Record label?
Roberto: I went to Nile Rogers' talk and he talked about the future of music, which is partnering with the brands...
Leo: He created the Freak Out.
Roberto: he's worked with Duran Duran and David Bowie and Madonna. More recently Daft Punk. This marketing and musical genius. He talked about working with brands, if you can get in on a movie, a commercial, if you can do a launch, anything...
Leo: That's because you don't have radio any more, right? How do you break music if you don't have it on the top forty?
Roberto: It's difficult to break through all the noise. There's a billion bands that sound like your band. That's what the labels are supposed to do, but if push comes to shove, there's enough small independent labels that won't take as big a cut. Most are doing for a love of music, or you can do it yourself. You can put it out there, put a mix tape out like Chance the rapper...
Leo: Is his audience built entirely on Sound cloud or Youtube? Soundcloud? Another service that will go bankrupt this year. Sad to say.
Roberto: A lot of these audio services, they're not backed by Apple, they're not backed by Google, then it's tough to survive. I don't know what Spotify's long game is, because it doesn't look like they're going to make a profit soon.
Leo: The record Industry controls that, not Spotify. They've got to pay the royalties.
Tom: It sounds like they're getting the royalties down in these negotiations.
Leo: Does the record Industry need Spotify?
Tom: They need to be able to make use of that now. There's enough with the 50 million paid subscribers that they're now worth paying attention to the way radio stations used to be.
Leo: That is in the Spotify secret sauce. You can talk about the playlist and the social and that, but really Discover weekly, which is a new playlist that is created every Tuesday around your interest is the single best feature of Spotify.
Roberto: Like Payola? I think the last time...
Leo: But that's the FCC. Spotify isn't regulated as radio... pay to play on Spotify. Apple is paying Chance the Rapper.
Tom: Spotify wants to get a break on its royalties in exchange for exclusives to paid subscribers.
Leo: Even if they don't get paid for Discover weekly, they've got a stick.
Tom: I remember back in working in music radio, there was not Payola, but there was we can give you tickets to give away to that guns and roses concert if you add this other band's record to your playlist.
Leo: I remember a few years ago, Madonna when it was time to re-sign did not sign with a record label, she signed with a concert promoter. She signed with live nation. The albums were secondary. They were the excuse to do a tour. That's where the money was.
Roberto: Most people don't sell a lot of albums. You get a pittance from Spotify, from Google Music, you have to go on tour and perform live. You want to make a profit on that. That's where you're making money. That and if you get a commercial, or you're able to get into a movie or TV show. I remember the 90's was when this band is selling out. Now, if TV on the Radio is on a TV show, good for them. I want them to continue to make movies if selling albums isn't cutting it.
Leo: I'm looking back at this deal, which was made in 2007. 17.5 million dollar advance for three albums, 50 million in cash in stock for the right to promote concerts and license her name. They gave her a 120 million dollar deal.
Roberto: It's Madonna.
Leo: This is a company with revenues in the 30s of millions. That's four years' revenue.
Roberto: It's still Madonna. Every one of those shows will sell out. I like most of her music, as an artist as a business woman she's a genius. I'm never going to see Madonna live because I'm not a super Madonna fan. If I was, I would be disappointed every time she goes on tour, because I'd have to sell a kidney every time...
Leo: Same thing with U2. That's where the money is. By the way, Madonna's deal runs out this year. It'll be interesting to see what happens. Was that a success for Live Nation? Clearly it's a success for Madonna.
Tom: Even if she goes to someone else and they pay her 2/3 of that... Madonna could go on tour by herself with a guitar and it wouldn't have to be a giant spectacle and it would sell out.
Leo: Her 2012 tour, which I paid money to see, we flew to Denver just to see it...
Leo: I'm a big fan. 305 million dollar tour. Don't knock Madonna.
Steven: Think of what Beyonce could do. She's with herself and her husband.
Leo: What's interesting is how much the music industry is changing. There's no obvious next thing. What's going to happen?
Roberto: We're talking about big names making money. A lot of small bands go on tour and they lose money. I will never make money in any of my bands, even if my band gets moderately successful, my original band. I'm going to be losing money on that. You do it for the passion of music, fortunately, Beyonce, Madonna, Daft Punk...
Leo: I had hoped that this new thing would make it possible, make it harder to be a super platinum artist, but make it possible for smaller bands to make a living, but that hasn't happened. I looked at someone like Jonathon Korn, he's unsigned, he goes direct to his fans, I think he makes a decent living selling his own music, he does the cruises, right? So he has made a business out of it, and he can make a living. I thought it can be great if a hundred thousand bands can make a living instead of a dozen multi-platinum artists, but I don't know if that's what happened.
Tom: I wonder if you still don't see more people able to make a living doing this. And fewer people being able to be a platinum artist, but there still are those artists. But it hasn't eliminated the old structure, but it does seem to flatten it out. It makes me think of publishing. Publishers are still necessary, and you see a lot of authors deciding sometimes to do an indie book and sometimes to go with a publisher, depending on what the book is and what the market is.
Leo: Did you try to get a publisher? Why would you?
Tom: I'm too scared for that.
Leo: You're doing Just in Time Printing with Hulu, right?
Tom: this is more based on talking to authors on Laser, what actual people who have agents do is they go to a publisher because they provide better editing, better marketing...
Leo: You can hire many of those people.
Tom: You could. Here's the beauty of Inkshares, which is what I did with Pilot X. Inkshares does all of that publisher stuff. The only thing they changed is they don't have a slush reader who decides the gatekeeper of what we publish, we let the audience decide that, so it's kind of a living in both worlds. I look at publishing and I think there's a way for music to be like that. You can self-publish, put out your own music now, easier than ever. There are places where you can get a bit of help with production or hire some producers to polish things up, and record labels still have a place to say we can handle the scale if you start to get incredibly successful or have that potential.
Leo: Do you have to get ink share's approval or can anybody do this?
Tom: No. The way Inkshares works is anybody who gets 250 pre-approved orders can publish with a minimum level of input and help, and if you get 750, you get the full publishing treatment.
Leo: Very interesting. It's such a changing world. I've been talking about this a lot lately. Initially we thought the Internet was going to be a boon for creative writers and musicians. It was going to be a boon for people who wanted to make video who wanted to write magazines, who wanted to do radio podcasts. To some degree, it's been that. but it hasn't been the utopia that we thought.
Roberto: You still need talent. Publishers and the music companies... I wouldn't have my career if it wasn't for the Internet.
Roberto: If it wasn't for the Internet I would be digging a ditch somewhere. But the people who write... there's not as many talented people. I'm a horrible guitarist. I can play guitar all day, but I will never...
Leo: Even though you're a horrible guitarist, thanks to the Internet you can do this.
Roberto: I sing. That's my... I sing and jump around. That's my schtick. But if I were to go on tour and sit in a cafe and get famous... that's never going to happen because every song is going to have 40 or 50 mistakes.
Leo: I look at Pomplamoose. Tom, you know them. Jack Conty, I guess they're married now with his wife Natalie Don, they did a tour. They lost their shirt. jack wrote about it. He went on to form Patreon, because he saw there was a need for this. He wrote an op-ed that said you can make money touring but not if you're Pomplamoose.
Roberto: God love them for going on tour, but the sort of things they were doing and spending money on... if you're going to go on tour, you have to sleep in a van, eat sh**** food. You're going to lower the bar if you're going to make cash. The members of big bands now used to sleep on the floor. That's how you would go on tour, you'd talk to the promoter, they'd get you a gig, you're a semi successful band, and the promoter would let you sleep on the floor for free.
Leo: Has the Internet improved things for the independent creator?
Roberto: It has, but it's also created a signal issue. A guitar like myself can put it on soundcloud, so you're stuck listening to my crap. If there's 50 other bands as crappy as me, and there's one band that you're listening to...
Leo: The talented band, because there's no gatekeeper can at least record, put out a video, you don't think the crane will rise that a band will be discovered?
Roberto: I think it can rise. It will rise if you have someone in the band that is willing to push... be a talented musician and be someone who is good at marketing are two different things. You need someone in that band who is going to do the push, on Facebook on Twitter... it's tough to get bands to get people into a club. It's tough. I spent a lot of time making flyers and putting stuff on YouTube and Facebook and Twitter. You need someone in the band who is going to do that, or you need a manager or someone else, so you can be an incredibly talented person but if you're not marketing yourself, you're going to get lost.
Steve: Here's a question. Roberto, you might have a good answer. Why does it seem like video creators have an easier time making it big or making it on YouTube and other video platforms versus music artists?
Roberto: The difference between sitting in front of a camera and saying here's what I think and saying that in a compelling way is way easier than coming up with a song. You worry about do I sound like this song? Where are my feelings, and you write the music and the words and the image. It's heartbreaking to have what goes into each and every song, and then to have that song come out and be like it's not as good. It's super difficult compared to...
Leo: What I do is easy, if you're going to be a success on YouTube, Tom you can tell me, you've got to work your butt off. People like Pewdiepie are working 80 hour weeks. They're working really hard.
Roberto: I'm not saying that their job is easy, but writing is really difficult. If you listen to the radio and you hear a sh**** song, it's....
Leo: That's gotta be hard. But there's plenty of people who look at YouTube videos and go that one got six thousand views? That happens all the time, right?
Roberto: Talking and being funny is much easier than writing a song.
Leo: You're going to get some hate mail on that one.
Roberto: People who want to yell at me and tell me that writing a show is as difficult as writing an album, go for it. You're wrong. Writing a great album is...
Leo: YouTube is having its own problems with hate videos. in fact, a French advertising, the sixth largest advertising agency in the world, Havas, has actually pulled their clients, including the English mail system. 02, which is a big English phone company, and a few other big names, Dominos and Emirates airlines, and the BBC, they pulled their advertising from Youtube because they can't be sure it's not going to appear on hate videos. It's a real black mark against YouTube. YouTube says we're going to figure this out, but Havas said YouTube has been able to provide specific reassurances, policies, and guarantees, that their display content is classified quickly enough with the correct filters. Buying an ad on YouTube is a crapshoot, because you don't know where that ad is going to end up.
Steve: This story annoyed me this week. I hate saying fake news now, but during the whole fake news debate, or the hoax debate, these platforms like Google and Facebook are still having problems with this in their search results. But they would always say we're this agnostic platform, people can do whatever. It's too hard with so much content being uploaded to YouTube and all these platforms, it's impossible to vet everything. These are the smartest people in the world saying this, but as soon as advertisers start pulling out, now we can fix it. Now they're smart enough to work on this problem. That annoyed the hell out of me. They ignored these hoaxes that continue to be spread on their platforms and influence people, and all of a sudden, people who pay to run ads against this content start waking up to it, that is so annoying.
Tom: I get you, Steve, and I agree with you in a lot of respects. There is a troubling pattern to me, which is us constantly coming and saying Viacom wants YouTube to stop copyright protections, so they're going to put in content ID, and it works badly, and now double click, problematic ads sometimes end up against bad things because the algorithm isn't perfect, so we need to put a tweak in there, and we need to moderate news because some people believe things that aren't true, and even if there isn't a lot of evidence as to how that effects people or not, let's have Facebook step in. These platforms that have succeeded because they say we're just providing the place where people publish are now being pushed into taking over, and while I agree in every instance, intellectual property needs to be defended, we actually don't want ads showing up next to extremist videos, and we don't want bad news being presented as if it's authoritative... I wonder if we want these platforms to be #portaltohell, the ones deciding what we see. Be careful what you wish for.
Steve: Justin is a friend of mine, and you can vehemently disagree with him on that too. This is what media organizations have done all along. We need to start treating these platforms as media organizations. This is how people consume their media, and you are a gatekeeper in a lot of ways. You do have to discern what is true and what is not true and what is valuable and what is not valuable. I think they're finally now realizing they have a huge role in this. It took a while, in Google's case it took some advertisers threatening to take their money away. There's a huge responsibility that goes along with being a portal for a vast amount of information.
Roberto: What this does is take away the money from those videos. It doesn't necessarily stop them. Then you have to determine Facebook's algorithm, which is a piece of crap. It doesn't work half the time. Facebook pulled this video because it was a giraffe... it happens so often, it's hard to remember which one. But where, trending topics, where do you draw the line with hate speech and with satire and the algorithm didn't understand that this Dave Chapelle bit was satire, so we pulled all the ads off of it. It's tough and on one hand I think any idiot, even you know, hateful idiots, should have their chance to say what they want, but you know, they've got to understand that they're not going to get paid for it.
Steve: I just want them to hear. They refuse to admit there's a problem.
Roberto: Well, they refuse to admit there's a problem until it comes down to the monetary issue. Uber refused to say there was a problem until people started deleting Uber.
Tom: YouTube didn't have a problem with piracy until Viacom sued them. Again, a monetary problem.
Steve: Yea, exactly. Please upload all That 70's Show that you can to YouTube and then—
Tom: But, to tie back to our earlier conversation, all of the progress for independent artists, musicians, publishers, video people, has to do with permission less access. The big leveler is I don't have to make sure I meet someone's approval to reach an audience. This doesn't change it much but it is the beginning of I do have to meet these standards. And with content ID on YouTube, it's a big problem where people won't do things that they have the right to do because they're afraid of going afoul of that robot.
Leo: Good point.
Roberto: If my guitar riff at the beginning of my songs sounds close to any other guitar riff beginning of a Beatles song—
Leo: You'll get dinged?
Roberto: Am I going to get dinged because I put it on YouTube? And YouTube is really the place to share everything. You can talk about Spotify and Apple Music and Google Music, but really when I want to share a song, I go to YouTube, I find it and I share it.
Tom: That's kind of the answer to Steve's question earlier is musicians actually are making money on being YouTubers in a lot of cases or in other places. Look at Pentatonix. Pentatonix has risen to become a major worldwide artist but they started as just a YouTube channel.
Leo: YouTube AgeGate. Is there a YouTube AgeGate? I had never heard of this.
Roberto: Wait, what?
Leo: It's a crisis according to Bleeding Cool. The crisis that is YouTube AgeGate. Ever since PAX East ended, Twitter is blowing up. I haven't seen anything. Has blown up with the hashtag, #YouTubeAgeGate. What, is it if you're not young you can't be on YouTube? I don't know. I don't get it. Any way I'm going to take a break because I don't know what this means. Do some research, will you? It's blowing up. If you're under 12 or under 18—oh, I see. It's ratings. Kids are complaining about the ratings.
Roberto: Wait, how can—that seems—just sign into your parent's account. Come on.
Leo: (Laughing) That's what I did.
Roberto: I just feel like these kids aren't smart.
Leo: It's the creators that are complaining because the feel like they're losing viewers because of this.
Roberto: They need smarter children viewers.
Leo: Yea, your viewers are too stupid to use their parent's account. Or lie. Lie about your age.
Roberto: Or lie about your age.
Leo: There's something new. Let's take a break. Tom Merritt, great to have you. DTNS, dailytechnewsshow.com. From Engadget, the wonderful Bobby Baldwin. Robby Baldwin. Why isn't it Bobby because it would be alliterate if it were Bobby.
Roberto: No, I don't like Bobby. I don't like Bobby and I don't like Robert. I especially don't like Robert because that's not my name. And they're like, "Well, you're in America." And I'm like, "Shut up."
Leo: I thought your name was Robert and you just were affected.
Roberto: No, my mom's Mexican, Mexico.
Roberto: Can't you tell? Look at my olive skin.
Leo: You look like an Irishman.
Leo: How was St. Patrick's Day?
Roberto: I went and saw my friend's U2 cover band and it was actually really good.
Leo: Wait a minute. Their band covers YouTube?
Leo: Oh, U2.
Roberto: They cover YouTube. There's like—anytime something pops up on YouTube, they're like, "Ok, ok." And then just start playing it.
Leo: A YouTube cover band.
Tom: Which is all YouTube videos anyway.
Leo: From Business Insider, little Stevie Kovach (laughing).
Steve: Little Stevie Kovach.
Leo: You need to wear a head scarf, Little Stevie Kovach. We're all in a band now, baby.
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Leo: I love this. Apple clearly fixes prices of its phones, of its Macs. You can't buy a discounted Mac or a discounted iPhone, not by more than a few bucks. So I guess that's legal in the U.S. but Russia has now found Apple guilty of iPhone price fixing. They're going to face fines reaching as high as 15% of their Russian revenue. The Russian Federal Anti-Monopolies Service says Apple ordered retailers to set prices and threatened them that if they sold the iPhone at an unsuitable price they would be—either have to change the price back or risk losing the right to sell iPhones. No comment from Apple on this. I just find it ironic that you can do it in the U.S. apparently but you can't do it in Russia. Any comment?
Tom: It's Russia.
Leo: It's Russia.
Tom: I think honestly the weirdest part of this story to me was that they not only announce this, the FAS in Russia announced this but then said, "Oh, but Apple's fixing it. Don't worry." They wanted to make a big deal out of it.
Leo: But don't worry. It's over.
Tom: The company has adopted the necessary measures to eliminate violations of the law and is pursuing a policy to prevent similar violations in the future.
Leo: How do they get away with that in the U.S.? Isn't that- I mean, the euphemism we use is Apple control's it's channels tightly. But you can't get a discount on an iPhone or a—
Tom: I don't know how it works. There's all these things about grey market that play into their favor which is I can control who I sell to. And so, yea, I guess they can't control you from reselling it without their authorization.
Leo: That I understand.
Tom: Approval? That's a different matter.
Leo: iOS 11 will be 64-bit only. That could obsolete as many as 187,000 apps. Now, Apple probably has more than 10-million apps on the app store. It's some huge number. 8% of all the titles though according to a company called Censor Towel are—(laughing) Censor Towel. Censor Tower, not towel. Censor Towel is a different product entirely. Censor Tower says it could be more than 187,000 apps would just stop working.
Tom: That doesn't seem like that many, actually.
Steve: Yea, it's probably a junkie set of apps that haven't been updated.
Leo: They probably deserve to stop working.
Steve: Exactly. It's not that big of a deal.
Roberto: There's one app that I use that hasn't been updated in a million years and when I updated to iOS 10 it just stopped. And it broke by heart.
Leo: Aw, what was that?
Roberto: Recordium. It's a recording app.
Steve: Oh, I remember Recordium, yea.
Roberto: Yea, that's a great app. I wish they would get off their ass and update it or something.
Leo: Fix it, Recordium.
Roberto: Come on, guys. Get us together.
Steve: I used to use that a lot. Now I use—I think Leo told me about this app—Just Press Record.
Leo: I love Just Press Record.
Steve: Yea, you told me about this forever ago.
Leo: If you have it on your Apple Watch you press the button. You can record on your Watch. You can record on your phone.
Steve: It's awesome. It's my go-to app.
Roberto: I use Rev.
Leo: What is it?
Roberto: I use Rev now because you can have it transcribed directly from the app and my time is too precious to be transcribing. Also, I'm a horrible typist so it takes me a very long time to transcribe.
Leo: So you're actually spoken word. You're using this for spoken word not music recording.
Roberto: Yea, yea. Music I mean we have a place to record music.
Leo: It's called a studio.
Leo: Pretty sweet.
Roberto: It's a practice base but we have a P.A. system. And the bass player in the band, he like records, he records and produces albums on the side so we—yea.
Leo: Maybe you want to get this. This is a nice Kickstarter. A case for your iPhone that turns it into an Android phone on the back.
Tom: It's an Android phone in a case with a dual SIM card that then does pass-through lightning so you can access photos and music and stuff either way, either direction which I can't still decide if it's brilliant or it's idiotic.
Leo: It's so strange. It's not expensive. It's only $150-bucks.
Roberto: So it's not a very good Android phone.
Leo: So it's like a really crappy Android phone (laughing).
Roberto: I mean if it was a good Android. I carry an Android phone with me.
Leo: But you're a tech reporter. No human does that.
Roberto: Yea, no human needs two phones.
Leo: And look how it looks. You're on your phone and the back of your phone is an Android device.
Tom: It's two screens.
Leo: (laughing) And look how thick it is too. I don't know.
Roberto: I could just tape two phone's together and get the same, get a better experience. Like Flight of the Concords where they had the camera phone where they just taped a camera to a phone.
Tom: But there won't be pass through of your photos and videos.
Leo: Oh, who cares?
Tom: It has a 3.5mm jack too.
Leo: Oh, headphone jack.
Roberto: You have Google Photos. So that's my pass through.
Leo: That's a good point.
Tom: Sure, sure. No, like I said, I can't decide if it's the stupidest thing I've ever seen or super genius. Because for people who need to carry 2 phones, this could be an elegant solution, right?
Roberto: And you have 2 SIMS so if you have to have 2 numbers.
Leo: Two numbers.
Tom: Then you'd have to have 3 SIMS because it's a dual SIM on the Android case.
Roberto: Oh, really?
Roberto: Oh, snap. This is like a growing iPhone case.
Leo: Now, how much would you pay? Android, I'm sorry, Google is fighting a court, fighting law enforcement, doesn't want to hand over foreign emails. A Pennsylvania court ruled the company had to hand over emails stored overseas in response to an FBI warrant. Apple, Amazon and Microsoft stepping up to help their frenemies at Google with Amicus briefs saying no. Now I might be a little weird on this one because I know the tech industry and I know everybody says, "Oh, you shouldn't have to hand over data held on an international server." But honestly in this day and age, data is everywhere. Why shouldn't you?
Roberto: Is it—wait. Because the FBI has jurisdiction in the United States so how do they have jurisdiction with an international server? I'm sorry, I haven't been keeping up with this.
Leo: No, this happens again and again. Remember, Microsoft was sued over data stored on an Irish server. And I think they won and then they lost I think.
Tom: Microsoft ended up winning that one.
Leo: They lost and then they won. Ok.
Tom: They won on appeal.
Leo: First of all, you've got to recognize, you know, law enforcement needs to be able to subpoena people's emails. When you use an email server and you're an American citizen and you're sending email within the United States, just because Google puts that email on some other country's servers as part of its kind of system, should that let you off the hook?
Roberto: Well, it does for taxes. If you put your American made money in a different country, it's totally fine.
Roberto: Sorry, sorry.
Tom: You made a good point, Leo. And I think another way to look at it is if say China says, "We would like emails of a dissonant and we don't care that they're stored in California. Google, you have to give them to us." That's the other direction of this principle.
Leo: I guess the question is, and it's not clear from the article's I've read, but I presume this is because it's the FBI. They're investigating a crime that occurred in the United States and these emails are not emails to international recipients, but emails that went on in the United States. But because of Google's own network system, they end up sometimes stored elsewhere.
Roberto: So, if I send you an email, my email's like, "Hey, Leo. Let's cause some crimes." But for some reason that email is being stored in Taipei for some reason.
Leo: Yea, should the FBI be able to get it?
Roberto: I guess—why is it being stored in Taipei? That's my—why are our U.S. emails being stored in other countries because the whole reason for putting servers in other countries is to reduce latency. I don't know. I mean I guess. If you have a valid warrant and you're not trying to break encryption and if Leo and I are emailing each other about stealing, I don't know, a million dollars from, I don't know, let's say the Humane Society. We're just really evil people. Then yea, sure.
Tom: It's a matter of practicality versus precedent. The judge is using the reason that you're using, Leo, which is if you're opening the email here, where does it matter where in the world on the internet it was stored, right? Like if I'm in the U.S. I open the email. The email is now in the U.S. It's now under our jurisdiction and the warrant should apply. What Google's saying is, "Well, hold on, though. That's not what's happening. We're not opening the email here. You're asking us to access it and bring it over here and that's an illegal seizure." That data's over there in that data center for a reason because it's closer to where people need it and so you need to get that country to allow this data to be accessed. I think the judge makes a good practical reasoning but there is a precedent here that you might not want to set because for emails that aren't necessarily going to be in the U.S. you can suddenly say, "Well, anything in the world now is subject to FBI jurisdiction." And I don't think we—
Leo: Well it would be if the FBI's investigating a crime that occurred on U.S. shores. The Microsoft case, Microsoft stored the emails in Ireland only because the person who's account it was says he was in Ireland. And so they did that for convenience. But I don't think the person was in Ireland. It was an unverified statement of residence. I'm not sure why Google was storing these emails offshore.
Tom: I don't think you want to set the precedent that the U.S. Department of Justice can go anywhere in the world and get any data stored on any data server because they can make an argument that it somehow relates to the U.S. What you probably need is an international treaty.
Leo: Maybe that's it.
Tom: Similar to the shared data privacy rules that the U.S. and the E.U. have been working out that says, "Ok, when it's stored Ireland, let's say, you know, there should be an easy way for the FBI to apply overseas and say, ‘Here's why. Here's the justification for why we need this. It's a person in the U.S. who committed a crime in the U.S. and communicated with other people in the U.S.'" And the Irish courts can rubber stamp that, sort of like INTERPOL or an extradition treaty for data.
Leo: Yea. I guess it would come down to why the email's stored overseas and if all the—I just don't think the FBI—if the FBI's investigating a crime that occurred in the United States between two parties in the United States with emails that were between those two parties, the fact that Google for whatever reason stored that data overseas shouldn't impinge on the FBI's ability to investigate that case.
Roberto: I don't have enough information.
Leo: Ah, maybe you're right.
Tom: Yea, it depends on the instance, like what are the details of the case?
Leo: Yea, and I'm trying to find that. In the case of the Irish case, the Microsoft case, the defendant was not an American citizen so that might be the reason why Microsoft won that case. I don't know. Just wondering. Just asking the questions. I don't want to automatically assume that Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are right. Let's see. Also, I'm basically grasping at straws here because there's nothing else to talk about.
Steve: It was a very weird week.
Roberto: Tell us about your new apartment.
Leo: I'm trying to find the story about the vibrator that—they were collecting information on it from their users.
Steve: Oh, the hacked—
Leo: It wasn't hacked.
Steve: No, not hacked.
Leo: No, there's an internet connected vibrator, who knew, called We-Vibe. You pair it with your app and it can be controlled remotely. Don't know why you would want to do that.
Tom: They were collecting the intensity and some other data.
Leo: They were collecting the data on when and how the toy was used. They didn't admit to any wrongdoing but they did settle, $3.7 million-dollars' worth of settlement because they had your login. They knew who you were collecting how you were using their device. So in effect—
Roberto: So, it wasn't atomized at all.
Leo: No, apparently not. They were in effect tracking their customers' sex lives.
Roberto: That's creepy.
Tom: Without consent.
Steve: I'm shocked that people bought this thing. Or that there were enough people to track. Like who bought this in the first place?
Leo: Customers, email addresses and usage data were transferred to the company's Canadian server. So, there you go. The lawsuit alleges that when a We-Vibe was remotely linked to a partner, the connection was described as secure but some information was routed through We Connect and collected.
Tom: Temperature and intensity.
Leo: (Laughing) temperature? 300,000 people bought these things. But weirdly enough, only 100,000 connected them to the app. Why would you buy a Bluetooth enabled vibrator if you didn't connect it to the app?
Steve: Price? I don't know.
Roberto: Maybe it was on sale.
Leo: It seemed like a good idea.
Roberto: I'm always going to connect it to the app. It's doing its job without having to use the phone. Plus, do you want to be holding a phone while you're using it? You're usually pretty busy when you're using that. Hold on, let me get my phone. And then you're getting like Twitter replies.
Leo: What's interesting is the company that made this thing, while they didn't admit any wrongdoing, just said, "Yea you're right. Here's some money." (Laughing).
Roberto: I mean regardless of whether this was a vibrator or this was something in your home.
Leo: It could be an electric carving knife let's say.
Roberto: Yea, or something that you wanted an additional amount of control over.
Leo: I have an oven. I have an oven that has a camera in it. And this is—
Roberto: For you or for the meat?
Leo: For the meat (laughing). But who knows where it's trained? I mean they made fun of Kelly Ann Conway for saying that Trump's microwave was tapped but my oven could be tapped. Just saying. It's on the internet.
Roberto: It has a microphone.
Leo: I don't know if it has a microphone. It's got a full Android stack. It's got a camera.
Roberto: Wow. There's a microphone somewhere.
Leo: It probably does.
Roberto: The fact, the idea that they without people's consent, they were tracking this data. Wrongdoing or not, it was wrong. And they know they were wrong. That's why they paid out all that money without admitting wrongdoing which is a sort of legal way of saying, "Well, here's a bunch of money but we want to stay in business."
Leo: What if like—ok, my electric carving knife is tied to the internet and the company I made it kept track of how often I used it. Then sent that information to my insurer saying, "He's eating too much meat."
Tom: This company didn't send this data anywhere.
Leo: We don't know what they did. They collected it. What else would they do with it?
Tom: My point being it doesn't matter if the carving company sends it anywhere or not. They should not collect it without your approval.
Leo: That's right. Good news. Kirk Eichenwald who is an editor at Vanity Fair, writes for Vanity Fair, apparently wrote an article that somebody didn't like. That person tweeted him, allegedly tweeted him a strobe message trying to induce an epileptic seizure. The FBI arrested that fella after a three-month investigation this week. He faces federal charges for cyber-stalking. They kind of got the smoking gun because not only did they figure out that he sent the tweet, but they looked into his direct messages and he had messaged to other people, "I'm going to kill this guy. You deserve a seizure for your posts." Thank God they kind of got the smoking gun there. So interesting that that is a crime.
Roberto: Well, if I were to send something in the mail that would cause you harm, I would be charged with a crime. So this is the same. My mom has epilepsy and the idea that someone would send her something that would give a seizure. Knowing that someone has epilepsy or any other seizure situation and then to use that because you don't agree with an article is ridiculous. You should be in jail.
Leo: It's not the first time it happened. They said it happened twice before. In October he had been sent a tweet, or an epileptogenic cartoon and he dropped his iPad before a seizure was triggered.
Tom: Yea, it's all about intention. It's bad intention.
Leo: That's bad intent and they got the smoking gun on that one. We've got results from Pwn2Own and they're not good. We're going to talk about the S8 and Bixby, Samsung's new virtual assistant. I don't want Bixby. I've got enough—too many people in my life already. We'll do that in just a second. But first, let's take a look at some of the things we did this week on TWiT.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Paul Thurrott: Mary Jo and I decided that we could really bring this show up a notch if she had a gong behind her.
Mary Jo Foley: Yea, like that.
Narrator: Tech News Today.
Megan Morrone: We've got the founder of the private browser DuckDuckGo is here to tell us how to avoid being tracked while browsing.
Gabriel Wienberg: DuckDuckGo is actually profitable. We have profits every year. What people don't realize is that even on Google, they make most of their money on the search engine itself, just based on the keyword that you type in. And so it's really a myth that anyone needs to track you to make money at web search.
Narrator: This Week in Google.
Leo: Is Google supposed to be a fact engine or is it supposed to be—
Danny Sullivan: Yes. It would behoove Google and everybody to understand that we all need better critical thinking skills.
Leo: Google should be the card catalogue for the internet, not some librarian saying, "Well you know, that's not true. Well that is true."
Stacey Higginbotham: But people don't think of Google that way.
Narrator: TWiT. It's where your brain and tech meet.
Paul: I can just check this box and I can do whatever updates for up to 4 weeks.
Leo: Sorry, that slipped. That was a gong slip.
Mary Jo Foley: It sounds like a bomb.
Leo: Jason Howell, what's coming up in the week ahead?
Jason Howell: Here's a look at just a few of the stories we'll be watching in the week ahead. First, the Nintendo Switch has been on short supply but apparently Wednesday, March 22nd is a magical date in that Game Stop will get an influx of fresh new batches of consoles meaning you too can get in on the fun. Oh, who are we kidding? They'll sell out before you get there. On Friday, March 24th, Samsung's next big tablet, the Galaxy Tab S3, will hit store shelves and will set you back a cool $600-dollars. That gets you a premium 9.7" Android tablet complete with an S pen for when you feel inspired. Finally, if you're like me, life is too busy for you and you missed Star Wars Rogue One in the theatre. And who are we kidding because that's no damn excuse but still, have no fear because the digital age diversion will hit your screen on the 24th as well. Who knows? Maybe it will hit the screen of your fancy new Galaxy Tab S3 that you bought because Game Stop was sold out of Nintendo Switches. That's a look at a few of the things we'll be tracking in the coming week. I'm out next week on vacation but you can join Megan Morrone and Nathan Olivares-Giles on Tech News Today every weekday at 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern here on TWiT.
Leo: Thanks, Jason. Have a great vacation. I think you guys did such a good job so far that you all deserve snacks.
Steve: Free Nintendo Switch.
Leo: Aw, you don't have a Nintendo Switch yet?
Steve: No, I cannot find one. It's so annoying. I'm praying on the 22nd.
Leo: You know what I did? I bought, I paid a premium and got it on eBay from some guy.
Steve: Yea, I refuse to do that.
Leo: It was only like $60-bucks more. It was worth it.
Steve: Oh, that's not bad.
Tom: It's really good.
Leo: It was $433 but I got Zelda too, as well.
Steve: Pretty good.
Leo: Yea, $600 bucks.
Tom: I don't even use it as a console anymore. I'm just walking around.
Leo: Me either. It's portable, yea. I get a special little purse to carry it in.
Steve: A man purse. A man Zelda purse.
Roberto: It's a European carryall.
Leo: It's carryall. Exactly.
Tom: It's a Nintendo Switch clutch.
Leo: (Laughing) It actually is a clutch but then I got a strap so I could strap it on.
Leo: Our show today brought to by Naturebox. You know, this is an unopened Naturebox. This is something really unheard of. Usually we get our Natureboxes at the studio and as you know Tom, they go fast. But this one is sealed up. Let's see what's in here. Ooh, Crunchy Barbeque Twists. You know—oh, Peanut Butter Graham Jam. Naturebox snacks come to you once a month in a box. You can get as money as you want. There are over 100 snacks to choose from. They're all nutritionist designed to be just the good stuff, nothing bad. High quality ingredients, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners and some great flavors. Big Island Pineapple, Cranberry Almond Bites. You come over here to get a Naturebox? Alex? Yea. Raspberry Figgy Bars. Peanut Butter—this looks really good. Coated grahams with dried fruits and peanuts. Wow, that sounds good. That's kind of like a—now you can order as much as you want, as often as you want. No minimum purchase required. You can cancel anytime. You choose the snacks you want – and they have a snack guarantee. Look, there they go. There go the snacks. Stealing the snacks! This is the one you want, the Big Island Pineapple. That is one of our favorites. We love it. You know what's in Big Island Pineapple? Dried pineapple. That's it. Nothing. It's the best dried pineapple you've ever had. Wait a minute, let me open it up and I'm just going to make you all jealous because it's so good. Right now, you can save even more. Naturebox is offering you 50% off your first order. Go to Naturebox.com/twit. Oh man, these are so good. No sulfites, no preservatives. Mmmm, they're really delicious. I love these way too much. But you know what's nice? They all have the zip lock re-sealable bags so you can have just one and put it back for next time. Naturebox—I shouldn't eat pineapples when doing the show. Naturebox.com/twit. 50% off your first order. We love you, Naturebox. Thank you.
Leo: AMD's Ryzen is on the horizon. WE talked a lot about it this week on This Week in Computer Hardware with Patrick Norton and Ryan Shrout of PC Perspective. I have been rooting for AMD. I want them to do well. They are trying to make a processor that can beat Intel and while according to Ars Technica and others it's still not quite as fast as Intel but it's close. And Ryzen has some interesting benefits. Of course it's lower cost. They have 6 core and 8 core. In fact their 8 core, 16 thread is under $500-dollars. So it's a great price. And there's a whole movement to get it to work with Libraboot and Coreboot, the open source boot firmware so that Ryzen—and I think this could actually help AMD a lot of they did it and I hope they do. We're looking at you, Andy. Ryzen might become the choice of open platforms, open hardware platforms. People a little bit troubled by Intel's Master Control Program, MCP, some code that's in all Intel chips that phones home and we don't know exactly what it does. It would be nice to have an open processor. So, according to Ars, Ryzen is actually a pretty good gaming processor and at this price you might see these in some lower cost devices. The Switch has really excellent NVIDIA K1 in there and it really is pretty amazing. Don't know what to say. Do you have a Switch, Robby?
Roberto: No, I'm not really a gamer. I try to game but then I get—I feel—
Roberto: No, I feel guilty because I either have work to do for work or I have band stuff to do or I could be spending time with my wife and my cats.
Leo: No, you work at Engadget. You have every right to have a Switch.
Roberto: I'm so bad at gaming. I have a Nintendo DS that I play sometimes.
Leo: This is like the DS only 10 times better.
Roberto: I actually haven't seen—no, wait, I saw one on the plane.
Leo: They're pretty nice. Did you get one, Tom?
Tom: I did. I ordered mine from Best Buy and somehow they had plenty in stock so I didn't have any preorder issues. And, Roberto, I'm like you, man. Like I'm really bad at games and what's great about Zelda in particular is that's fine.
Leo: You don't have to play. You just wander around.
Roberto: See, my friend got it for his kid because he didn't want his young child to be playing that sort of open world Grand Theft Auto which I find it was cool like the first 3 versions but now I'm just like, "Oh, we got to go around. We're going to kill people."
Leo: How many hookers can you beat up after all, right?
Roberto: Exactly. I was trying not to say kill hookers but go for it.
Leo: That's what you do.
Roberto: I do travel a lot and I can't do any work on the plane because of how tall I am so maybe it would be nice to have something to sort of pass the time.
Leo: Is that your excuse? I can't do any work on a plane. I'm too tall.
Roberto: No, I need—I have to like type with my hands. I have to be a T-Rex in order to work on a plane. Because, yea. And if the person puts their seat back, that's it. That's all there is to it. It's just like my arms—I mean look how long my arm is. It just keeps going and going.
Tom: You have to pay the tall tax, don't you?
Roberto: See, look at that. Look at it. It's like the opening of Star Wars. Look at this thing. It just keeps going and going. And then another arm comes up behind it shooting.
Steve: Death Starms.
Leo: Wow. Death Starms (laughing).
Leo: I like it.
Steve: That's the show title, Death Starms.
Leo: I think so. We're going to sit on that one. Write that down. That's the one we're going to use.
Tom: But getting back to Ryzen, I think it's really cool that AMD's doing this. I think it's great for them, especially for people who want to build their own desktops and people looking for affordable, high-powered desktop and laptop processers.
Leo: People will use Ryzens. HP and others will make inexpensive—they used Athlon.
Tom: I wonder though if—I worry for AMD because I'm really rooting for them and I see what Intel's doing with Mobileye. I see what NVIDIA's doing with Bosch and partnering to create an auto platform and that's really where you need to go for the future of processing. And Intel missed the boat with mobile. They're working very hard not to miss the boat with other platforms like auto and Internet of Things and I don't see enough of what AMD's doing in those markets.
Leo: So, AMD's fighting for a market that's dead, or more dying.
Tom: Or shrinking at least.
Leo: They may win this market at a point where it doesn't matter anymore.
Tom: Which maybe that's ok. Maybe they can become the supplier because we'll always need desktops and laptops. I don't think those will go away for quite a long time.
Leo: I like seeing competition although at this point, Intel's struggling with plenty of competition from ARM. It's not like there isn't any competition in the market.
Tom: Right. Intel's going to have to leapfrog to the next thing, yea. So don't call Qualcomm Snapdragon any more. Did you hear?
Leo: Yea, they changed—it's like a platform now.
Tom: Don't call it processor. It's Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform.
Leo: Platform. Mobile platform.
Roberto: Oh. All right.
Leo: It's a platform. Qualcomm Mobile Platform.
Roberto: I'm concerned how dark it keeps getting in Steve's screen. He went from like a—
Leo: Oh, my God. He was in a white room and now he's in a dark room.
Tom: He's slowly going into witness protection.
Roberto: Yea, he went from Avenger to Batman. Like after the lightning situation in his room. What's happening?
Steve: This spare bedroom doesn't have much lighting. I apologize.
Roberto: Oh, and the sun went down. Ok.
Steve: Yea, the sun went down.
Leo: It's like you're actually in interrogation. They've got one bright light shining at you.
Steve: I kind of like it. It looks really—like half my face lit. This is really cool.
Roberto: It does. It's a pretty good film noire you've got set up over there.
Tom: It really is.
Steve: You should time lapse it, my screen, and watch it get darker and darker over the last hour.
Tom: When did you know about the S8 specs? When, Kovach?
Leo: Galaxy S8, we keep seeing leaks. It's on its way March 29th. There will be an event in New York City. Are you guys going to go?
Steve: I'll be there, yea.
Leo: Anything—one of the rumors that I really liked I that it might have a one thousand frame per second camera.
Leo: Which would be a super slow-mo camera, right?
Roberto: For cats jumping at things.
Leo: Oh, that would be so awesome.
Roberto: Dogs. I mean literally that's the only thing tech reporters own that's exciting is our cats and dogs.
Leo: Cats and dogs.
Roberto: You're not going to see the video of us jumping off stuff and doing backflips.
Leo: Samsung's Galaxy S7 had actually an excellent camera as do really all the—the Pixel's excellent. The Apple iPhone is excellent. But I think a thousand frame per second in super slow-mo would be pretty cool if they do it.
Steve: Even a year later the S7 camera is still just amazing.
Leo: Isn't it?
Steve: I think it still outperforms the iPhone 7 camera in a lot of ways and just it will be great to see how they improved on that this year.
Leo: Yep, yep. The S8 according to rumors because we don't know until the end of the month, but the 12MP camera. They're going to add DRAM to the sensor. That's how it's going to do a a thousand frames a second. It will record into its own memory in the sensor which is pretty amazing. Also a 8MP front facing camera with autofocus and a 3.7MP RGB scanner. So there will be 3 cameras in this and that will be used for iris scanning and facial recognition.
Roberto: Are they going to have like an SD card, like a microSD card on this because a thousand frames a second is going to fill up your phone super quick. I shot a 10 second thing and now I can't send a tweet because my phone's crashing.
Leo: They didn't have an SD card. Did they have an SD card in the 7? Yes, they did.
Steve: Yea, yea.
Leo: It was the S6 that did not. They had abandoned it and the Note 7 did as well.
Steve: And everyone got mad at them. But the S7 and the Note 7 before it exploded, the same little slot, they had it. So, they'll probably do it again. There's no doubt about that.
Leo: And I don't know why but I really hate it that Samsung does this, but they always augment the Google Apps in Android with their own version. They're going to have a voice assistant. They used to have S Voice. Now it's going to be called Bixby. And actually Samsung apparently confirmed that on its Italian website.
Steve: And that's based on Viv which was created by the guys who made Siri and so now you're going to get a smart phone that has both Google Assistant and this Bixby thing all in one competing with each other. Meanwhile, other Android phones are putting in—it's just a mess. It's becoming fragmented.
Leo: It's not user friendly. I mean they users just want one assistant that works. And I can just imagine Bixby saying, "You talking to me? You talking to me?" No, I'm talking to Cortana. "You talking to me?"
Tom: I had heard that Bixby wasn't based on Viv.
Steve: I thought it was.
Leo: S Voice was based on Nuance. Samsung bought Viv. You would think that they would report Nuance.
Tom: And I heard Bixby was continuing to be based on S Voice not Viv which was Nuance's other separate thing.
Leo: Oh, interesting.
Tom: But maybe it's something lost in translation in that overlap.
Leo: We'll find out March 29th and it will be April 20th or thereabouts that the S8 will be available for purchase.
Steve: I think it looks good too. Those leaks that we've seen so far—
Leo: It's pretty.
Tom: They leaked it, yea. It does look nice.
Leo: And based on past leaks of Samsung devices, these are probably credible.
Steve: Yea, 99.9% chance that's exactly what it looks like, yea.
Leo: Yea. And they're very thin bezels.
Steve: And I like the rounded corner thing that's been happening now. The LG latest phone has it and now it looks like Samsung's doing it to instead of with a hard right corner edges, it's kind of this rounded corner so it looks really nice.
Leo: A lot of this is these companies getting their best foot forward preparing for a 10th anniversary iPhone. Don't you think that they're a little worried about what Apple might do with the next generation?
Steve: Sounds like the 10th anniversary iPhone is just going to be a Galaxy phone.
Leo: Well it's really hard for these guys to come up with something new, right?
Steve: They're finally getting the OLED screen, you know, things like that. Wireless charging, things that have been around forever in Samsung phones and they're probably putting that in the iPhone, waiting for this 10th anniversary to stuff in all this cool stuff that we've wanted for years.
Roberto: Oh, they should stuff in a headphone jack.
Leo: (Laughing) What a novel idea.
Tom: What is this new technology?
Leo: They are. I just got a HTC Ultra. It doesn't have a headphone jack. And why wouldn't you? And in a big phone too. Why wouldn't you put a headphone jack? Although it has something—
Tom: It has USB-C, right?
Leo: It comes with something really cool. It comes with USB-C headphones and if you use their headphones and you put it in your ear, they have this button you push and it blasts about a second of white noise in your ear and then it magically, I don't know how, generates a sound curve for your hearing. And it looks pretty accurate to me based on—because I've had audiologists test my hearing recently. It's pretty much my curve, you know, falls off on the high end and the low end. There's a little notch at one frequency. And then it says, "Do you want to use this utilization for all of the music on these headphones?" And it sounds much better. And it does it instantly. Samsung does this but you go through a whole hearing test. This just goes and then it somehow magically knows.
Roberto: Does it just turn up the bass?
Leo: That's really probably—just loudness right?
Roberto: Yea, it's just like—remember the loudness button? You just pushed it and you're like—
Leo: Oh, it sounds so much better. Pwn2POwn. It's the big Vancouver hacker's convention. Lots of money, big prize money. They put out computers with stock installs and they challenge hackers to hack it. It used to be you'd win the computer. Now it's like hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, the members of Qihoo 360, a security team—I'm thinking they're out of China with a name like Qihoo, won $105,000-dollars, the highest prize so far at Pwn2Own, for pulling of what many thought was impossible. They compromised Microsoft Windows with a hack against the Edge browser running in VMware and they were able to get out of the virtual machine and escape to the hardware running it and hack it and own it. And that, that's tough.
Roberto: That's insane. Because whenever you talk to a security reporter, security researchers, and you open everything in VMware, in a virtual machine because you don't want whatever you're working on to escape. It's like a little quarantine area. You know, you're running Windows or Mac or Linux or whatever. You have this little quarantine area where you're testing this thing, you're seeing what it does. And the idea that now it can escape?
Leo: That's terrible. We've always said, running in virtual machine you're safe. You're isolated.
Tom: This is great. This is great news.
Roberto: It's great that they found it. It's great that they--
Tom: Exactly. We so often do this with hacking stories. We're like security researchers found this vulnerability. Isn't it awful? No. When the security researchers find them, it's great because it means we patched them.
Roberto: No, that's—because if they found this that means people have already been exploiting this. That means it's already at its point.
Leo: Well, that's what worries me.
Roberto: And so, there's already more nefarious hackers, nation states that have been exploiting this bug probably for years or at least months. And now we know to patch them. Every time something gets exploited, it's great that we find it. It's bad that the company missed it but yea, like Tom was saying, it's great that we know that it's something—you can get out of VMware. That's insane.
Leo: That is really—
Tom: Well, now you can't thankfully.
Leo: Well, yea. Well, let's hope.
Roberto: Well, with this one at least. With this exploit.
Leo: There actually were 3 days of exploits over the 3 days. Day one they paid $233,000-dollars, day two, $340,000-dollars, day 3 that $103,000-dollar, $105,000-dollar prize so lots of exploits.
Roberto: It will be worth it.
Leo: Yea. Except that I again, I have that fear that people are holding on to the exploits longer than they should because they want to make money at Pwn2Own.
Tom: Although they do exploit—they keep the details of their exploits confidential until they manufacturers patch them. So, at least there's that part.
Leo: So, day one started with 360 security teams successfully using a JPEG 2000 heap overflow, a Windows kernel info leak and an uninitialized Windows kernel buffer to gain remote code execution through Adobe Reader (laughing).
Roberto: Oh, is it the new Adobe Reader because that thing's a piece of crap. I am so angry at Adobe for that.
Leo: They should really broadcast this. This sounds great. Next up, Samuel Groß and Niklas Baumstark warned some style points by leaving a special message on the touch bar of the targeted Mac. They employed a use-after-free exploit in Safari combined with three logic bugs and a null pointer dereference to exploit Safari and elevate their privileges to root in MAC OS.
Roberto: Wow. That's aweome.
Leo: Then Tencent Security – Team Ether targeted Microsoft Edge, succeeded using an arbitrary write in Chakra and escaped the sandbox using a logic bug within the sandbox, netting them a cool $80,000-dollars. $15,000-dollars for the team that leveraged a Linux kernel heap out-of-bounds access bug to own Ubuntu. They actually popped xcalc apparently. So, I don't know. I guess they opened an xclac. I don't know. Really, this would be great. Somebody's got to dramatize this as an event.
Roberto: DEFCON? I don't know. That's kind of an event.
Leo: Kind of fun. My God, what is he doing? He's doing an Edge hack. Oh, my God, it's an Edge hack. I haven't seen one of these—
Tom: You need a sportscaster for this.
Roberto: I would watch that. I would watch that before I would watch sports just because the mindset of the average hacker and security researcher is amazing to me, the idea that- it's like when you lock your front door and you think you're safe but you know, someone comes up and is like, "Well I can just go through the window or I can tunnel under here or I can climb up over this." And that's the sort of idea of security researchers finding other ways around the locked door.
Leo: Amazing. Amazing.
Tom: Bob, I think he's going to combine that exploit with the kernel exploit. Is that what's happening?
Leo: I haven't seen this since 2008.
Roberto: He's outside the sandbox. He's outside the sandbox.
Leo: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Goal! (Laughing).
Roberto: Anytime anybody gets outside the sandbox it should be like explosions and lights and confetti because that's the whole point of the sandbox for hacks.
Leo: It would be fun.
Roberto: I would totally—
Leo: For a certain sad person.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by FreshBooks. Then I want to talk about Edina, Minnesota and why you don't want to do your searches there anymore. FreshBooks is the ridiculously easy cloud accounting software that saved my bacon when I used to go up to Canada to do the TV show. I had to invoice them, you know, expenses and I had to do it in Canadian dollars. I put it off and put it off. Amber told me about FreshBooks. It was just starting up in Toronto in 2004. And they saved my life. They now have 10 million small business owners use FreshBooks to do their cloud accounting. It's invoices, the easiest way to do your invoices. In fact, because FreshBooks invoices have payments built in, your clients can pay you online by credit card with no setup on their part. They just pay straight from the invoice. You're going to get paid an average of 11 days faster. 11 days faster. And if clients view your invoice but say, "Oh, I didn't get it," you can say, "No, you did." Because you can see when your invoices have been sent, viewed and paid. You'll also see overdue and outstanding invoices. You can brand them. You can set reoccurring invoices. You can even sent reoccurring payments if your client says, "Hey, let's just forget this whole back and forth. You invoice me automatically. I'll pay you automatically." And if people are slow, you get automatic late fees, auto-payment reminders. FreshBooks time tracking is built into the web or their app. They have great apps for iOS and Android, will let you bill for time by client, by specific projects. Track your time down to the minute. Manage team timesheets. You will know what you did when you did it and here's the best thing. This new dashboard they just released of FreshBooks shows you whether you're making money or not. I think a lot of small businesses really don't know until tax time, did I make money? You'll know every moment because you're tracking expenses, you're tracking income, you're tracking outflow. You'll know exactly what you've been paid, how much, how much your expenses have been. And it integrates with all the apps you already use, Strike, Shopify, Gusto, Acuity Scheduling and more and more and more. Ensure a smooth tax season. Save 192 hours a year. Just use FreshBooks. Try it free. 30-days await at FreshBooks.com/twit. Make sure you put This Week in Tech in the form where it says How Did You Hear About Us? That's FreshBooks.com/twit. Save the paperwork. You didn't get in to business to do billing. You got in business to do the thing you like. That's FreshBooks.
Roberto: Sleeping in.
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Leo: I do not know what to think of this. This is wild. Edina, Minnesota. The Edina Police Department are trying to find somebody, Douglas Blank. We won't say his last name, who created a fake passport and attempted a fraudulent wire transfer of $28,500-dollars. It was stopped. It was stymied. But they're trying to track the guy. So, they went to a judge and said, "Your Honor, if you give us a warrant, we can go to Google and say, ‘Give us the name of everybody in Edina who searched for Douglas Blank between December 1st, 2016 and January 7th.' More than a month. And we can catch this guy. Because if they searched for him they must know him." The judge, Gary Larson, aptly named, not the cartoonist of Hennepin County said, "Yea." Approved a search warrant that looks into any or all user or subscriber information of anyone in the town of Edina who looked up the name. The investigator then filed the warrant with Google's custodian of records. The warrant says, "I want not only the day and time of the search, but I want the name, the address, the telephone number, the date of birth, the social security number, the email address, payment information, account information, IP addresses and Mac addresses of the person who completed the search."
Steve: This is insane.
Leo: This is insane.
Roberto: This is going to be challenged and—yea.
Steve: Yea, Google will not let this fly. It's way too broad. I mean what, tens of thousands of people are affected by this. They're going to have their search history snooped into to see if they've searched for this guy. Then, on top of that, all their other information like Mac addresses and everything you just listed. I mean it's just way too—it's so broad. There's no way it's going to fly and they'll appeal it and it will be fine but that's just insane that the judge even considered it.
Leo: They didn't even bother to make it child pornography or terrorism. It's some guy who attempted wire fraud.
Steve: Oh, and that too. That's another thing. It's not like—oh, God, it's not like a serious terrorist crime or something like that. Oh, God.
Roberto: How about the police do some police work? How about that?
Leo: Yea, maybe some police work, you know?
Tom: Ok, so, what they're trying to do is say, in this false passport, the guy used this image. We know he was in Edina. If we can find out who searched for the results that come up with that image, then we'll be able to pinpoint the guy. Do I have that right?
Tom: That makes perfectly reasonable sense from their perspective.
Leo: Yes, but you have to look at everybody's search records.
Roberto: And the idea is like you'd have to be signed in to Google. First of all, you're searching yourself or your fake name. Then you've got to be signed in to Google while you're finding your fake—
Leo: Yea, but you'd be signed in.
Tom: No, I don't even think you need to be signed in. They're just looking for IP addresses, right? And then if you're signed in they can get more. I see the logic of asking for this, right, which is hey, probably only one person in Edina looked for this info.
Leo: This is the problem though. This is what happens in police departments. God bless them. They're trying to solve crimes. They know if I could just get into this phone or I could just get those search results, I would have the guy. I know I would. That's all I need. And I guess it really isn't their job to say but that would be unconstitutional or that would be overly broad. They should ask for it. It's the judge who should say, "Guys, you can't do that. Sorry." So, that's what the judge is there for.
Roberto: Get it together, guys. Get it together.
Leo: Of course, they want that. I understand why.
Tom: Yea. And I feel like there ought to be a way for them to get what they want without having to compromise every single person's privacy.
Roberto: The whole town.
Leo: Of course. But you can't blame them for saying—you know, if I could only get into that chest there's a pot of gold in there. And it's up to the courts to say, "Well, yea, that's true. But you can't."
Tom: I know the legal system doesn't work this way but it would be nice if you could say, "Google, tell us how many searches for this happened from Edina on this day." And if it turned up to be one, then a judge could say, "All right. That's a pretty good likelihood that that's your guy. Hand over the information for that one search." If it's 50 who searched then you've got a different matter. But just his wide net of just give us all the data and we'll work through it.
Leo: We want everybody who searched, yea, everybody. Give us everything.
Roberto: Give me all the things. Just give me all the things.
Leo: I don't blame them for asking. I blame the judge for giving.
Tom: I do.
Steve: It's stupid.
Roberto: But Steve's the dark night. I mean, look where he's at.
Tom: Steve had such bright, sunny commentary at the beginning of this episode. He's just gotten darker and darker.
Roberto: It automatically adjusts.
Steve: Oh, maybe I should sit back a little bit more. There we go. Now it's—
Leo: No, no, no. Sit forward. We want you in a dark place.
Roberto: Come back forward. Come back forward. Yea, there we go.
Leo: What is the 3rd best-selling general purpose computer of all time? That's a good trivia question.
Leo: Wang. I think that would be Wang, Alex. What is Wang? No, no. That's not the answer.
Roberto: It's fun to say Wang.
Leo: Wang is just fun to say. The Raspberry Pi is now the 3rd best-selling general purpose computer of all time, displacing the previous 3rd place holder, the Commodore 64.
Roberto: I believe it because it's tough to get a Raspberry Pi.
Leo: That's just great. I love that. Of course, you know, I'm sure it's PCs that are one and two but that is just a great success story. It's too bad about the Commodore 64, but.
Tom: Not a great success story anymore.
Roberto: It had its time.
Tom: It did. I have one in my closet over there.
Leo: A lot of you geeks started out on a Commodore 64. I think we can wrap this up. I don't see any—it's just all downhill from here. We're at the bottom of the—it's the seeds and the stems at this point. There's nothing. It's all shake. It's all shake now.
Roberto: It's all shake.
Leo: Yea, there's nothing left.
Roberto: When it devolves to week talk, that's where you're like, "Well."
Tom: Hey, it's legal.
Roberto: Maybe we should wrap it up.
Leo: It's legal in California.
Tom: I threw in the growing human flesh on robot story.
Leo: I did like that. That's from you? That's kind of an interesting idea.
Roberto: Wait, wait, wait, wait. What's going on?
Tom: Annalee Newitz of Ars Technica wrote this up. It's a proposal from 2 researchers that you could grow replacement skin instead of in bio-vats which is what they do now, grow it on robots so that it actually gets the exercise it needs to be a better kind of tissue. When you grow it in the vats it doesn't get the stretching and the moving it needs.
Roberto: That's cool because if I were like missing skin here, or skin right here—
Leo: Yea, you'd want something that was on—
Roberto: I'd want something like the robot. It's not like a whole robot. It's just basically this all the time and moves around like a little—and then when I get my skin, it's all ready to go.
Tom: It's really cool.
Leo: Because the researchers call it a humanoid bioreactor system.
Tom: When you go in a bioreactor, you don't get the right structure or cell counts that you need. And so they're proposing if we put, if we did this on moving robot arms that simulate it, it might help with that. Also, we could grow meat.
Roberto: You're supposed to be able to grow meat. That's the other thing. Like at what point does someone grow human meat and eat it?
Leo: Well, what is human meat? If it grows on a robot?
Roberto: Yea, but still, you know the idea—now I'm just going to stop talking.
Leo: Well, weirdly enough, they do want them to be humanoid which is odd.
Roberto: Well, yea. You want it to look like this.
Tom: Because you want it to have the same flexibility and cell counts that you would have on a normal human arm, so you need it to work like a human arm.
Leo: And if you build an arm you might as well get a leg and a knee and an Adam's apple in there too so—
Tom: A wing.
Leo: Yea, a wing.
Roberto: I like that it has a shoe. You need the shoe.
Leo: (Laughing) You don't know.
Roberto: It will be cute. Put the shoe on tight. Make sure you tie it. They didn't even get Velcro shoes. They got one where like someone had to go down and tie the shoe and hope the robot doesn't kick it in his face.
Leo: Oh look, there's a ribcage.
Tom: Yea. Growing the rib meat.
Steve: The blinking lights? That's like data from Star Trek with all the blinking lights inside of him.
Leo: Oh, no. Come on. Why is he wearing flipflops? What's that all about?
Roberto: That's what he looks like without his shoe.
Leo: (Laughing) Now you know why they put the shoe on.
Steve: That's a good exercise.
Leo: If you're not listening, if you're only listening, you're not watching the video, you're missing a twerking knee robot right now. Getting down.
Steve: That's what you have to do. You have to twerk the skin before you implant it on a human.
Leo: And then there they are. There's the team. The twerking robot team.
Roberto: Heroes as far as I'm concerned.
Leo: They are—this has Nobel Prize written all over it.
Roberto: You need finger skins.
Leo: The first step towards a bio-hybrid humanoid with cell based actuators. It would be like a Terminator whose metal exoskeleton is covered with human muscles, tendons and skin.
Roberto: Well, that's fine. I'm sure nothing bad will come of it.
Leo: What could possibly go wrong?
Steve: Have you guys not seen West World? Come on.
Roberto: Or Terminator or really any show.
Steve: Terminator, Matrix, any of that.
Roberto: It will be fine. Everything's going to be fine.
Leo: That's Roberto Baldwin. He's an upbeat guy. You can find his work, Senior Editor at Engadget. He's on the Twitter @Strngwys and his Devo cover band or his LCD sound system band will be coming to a club near you.
Roberto: If you live in San Francisco. We don't tour. We're lazy.
Leo: You don't tour.
Leo: Yea. If you smelled those rock and roll vans, you don't want to get in those. Thank you also to Mr. Steven Kovach of Business Insider. He's a Senior Correspondent there. @stevekovach on the Twitter. Always a pleasure. You're room's getting lighter now.
Steve: Yea, I just had to lean back and the camera adjusted. So when I lean forward it gets dark.
Roberto: He's also the dark knight.
Leo: Oh, he controls it. He controls it. Great to have you guys. Tom Merritt, always a thrill, always a pleasure. Congratulations on the new novel.
Tom: Thank you. Because you were talking about pineapples earlier I wanted to point out that there is—you can't really see it on here I guess. But there is a chapter called The Pineapple Planet in Pilot X.
Leo: I wish there were a Pineapple Planet. Go to tommerrittbooks.com to get your copy of Pilot X.
Steve: It's great art, too. I love that art.
Leo: Isn't that beautiful?
Roberto: Yea, it's amazing.
Tom: Dan Styles, man. Dan Styles nailed it.
Leo: "A time bending space adventure that had me hooked from the start," says Gary Whitta. Nice. The guy who wrote Rogue One.
Leo: Whoa. That's pretty good. Pilot X just wants to fly a time ship. But the Guardians of Alenda, rulers of his people, throw him in the middle of a time war. How do you come up with names? Because one of the things about bad science fiction is it always has bad names. Is there a good method for coming up with people's names?
Tom: I use different methods. One of them is to take baseball player names and mishmash them.
Leo: Ah, that's a good idea. Omar Garcia Ring-a-ding-ding.
Tom: Mingo Mungo.
Leo: And Mingo Mungo.
Roberto: Are those real baseball players? I don't know anything about sports.
Leo: Dan Mingo Mungo is. That's a great song, yea. Thank you, Tom. Thank you everybody for being here. Thanks to our great studio audience. Most of you made it. No cannibalism involved. That's good. You can be in the studio audience and we'll put a nice, comfy chair out for you if you email email@example.com. You can also stream it live. In fact, we're on YouTube Live now. YouTube.com/twit, on UStream.com/leolaporte, on Twitch.tv/twit and of course on our website. You can take your pick of those sources. Twit.tv/live. Can't watch live, don't worry. On demand audio and video's available at twit.tv/thisweekintech or wherever you get your podcasts. Do subscribe, though. We'd love to have you here each and every week! I'm Leo Laporte. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you next time Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye.