This Week in Tech 617
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech. Philip Elmer Dewitt is here, he's out from WWDC. Mike Elgan visits from Fez Morocco. It's the middle of the night, and this is Ramadan. And Phil Libin from Evernote, he'll announce his new company. We'll talk about what to expect, WWDC, lots of rumors, but can Apple really compete against Amazon's echo and the Google Home? We'll find out next, on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 617, recorded Sunday, June 4, 2017.
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Time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news. We've got a very prestigious panel. A very dignified panel. I feel like I'm sitting amongst my betters. Philip Elmer Dewitt is here. First time in studio!
Philip Elmer Dewitt: Yes.
Leo: Legendary journalist. Now runs ped30.com. Apple 3.0. Normally you live in New England, right?
Philip: Yeah. In Connecticut River Valley. Farm land, like here, but we don't have hills shaped like buttocks.
Leo: Are you implying our hills are shaped like buttocks?
Philip: They are. They're badonkadonk!
Leo: It takes a new fresh eye for me to appreciate my home town. Well you're out here for WWDC. Let me introduce the rest of the panel. Phil Libin is also here. Famed founder and CEO of Evernote. The last time you were here, you were a VC, but it looks like you started a new company.
Phil Libin: I did. WE are launching a new company tomorrow. First day of being a CEO again.
Leo: Congratulations! You shed 80 pounds and you gained a company. I want to ask you how you lost the weight. You look so good.
Phil: You do too.
Leo: You lost 80 pounds by fasting.
Phil: Yes. It turns out when you stop eating, you lose weight.
Leo: Remarkable revelation. All Turtles is your company. It is an AI startup studio. This is a language I don't even understand any more. But first, leg me also say hello, all the way from Morocco: Mike Elgan! You need a fez if you're going to be in Fez. Do they wear Fezzes in Fez?
Mike Elgan: I don't want to break this to you. Almost nobody wears a fez in Fez. They mostly wear American baseball hats.
Leo: Caps? A fez is our trademark. We all have TWiT fezzes. I guess it's the last bastion of fezzes. Now Morocco has gone baseball caps... we're going to keep the fez alive here. This is part of your nomadic lifestyle. I know you're going to have a gastromatic experience here soon.
Mike: We haven't finalized the date. We decided to do Barcelona first, then the Prosecco growing area of Italy, next Mexico city. We went to Italy to check it out, and that part of the world is stunning. The first one is Barcelona in September.
Leo: Can't wait. Gastronomad.net. We should also mention that it is Ramadan, and that is an important month long festival in your part of the world as well as here. You fast all day, which means no water, no food, but that means feasting and parties at night and because you're on the roof, you're surrounded by parties.
Mike: That's right. They really feast. It's a lot of fun. We've actually broken the fast at around 7:30 PM. There's a big cannon that goes off, you hear a call to prayer, then a big cannon, then everybody can feast. We did that with a couple families. The food is delicious, everybody is very happy. Then they stay up most of the night, they eat three squares during the night, and they have to be finished eating at 3:30 in the morning, then there's no food from 3:30 to 7:30.
Phil: That's hardly a fast.
Leo: It is a fast. It's just not a weight loss fast. It's a religious fast. When I started reading about fasting, you by the way triggered this all, Phil. All my friends are doing this new thing, which is intermittent fasting. It's not fasting for extremely lengthy periods of time... how long do you fast, though?
Phil: 2 to 8 days.
Leo: Eight is a lot. 2 is plenty for me. That's more for health and weight loss. It seems every major religion has some fasting tradition of some kind.
Phil: Yeah, it goes back a long way. It's kind of fun.
Leo: I actually enjoyed it. We'll talk about that some other time, because this is TWiT, and we're supposed to talk about tech and it looks like tomorrow is a big day. The worldwide developer's conference, Apple's yearly event. They haven't had a public event since September. 8 months, right?
Philip: My wife calls it WWD40.
Leo: It is the squeaky developer that gets the grease, or something. I have two months. First of all there have been very few leeks of WWDC this year.
Philip: What's his name? Mark German... there was one WWD where he knew everything.
Leo: I think he does know it all. There's two laptops, maybe a Siri device, IOS 11, Mac OS, we decided it's going to be Catalina. There's not much else to say. Or Apple could announce augmented reality and clear phones and a new iPad.
Philip: Nobody knows. He has leaked the biggest things...
Leo: It's hard to get excited about productizing Siri, which is such a laggard...
Philip: First they have to fix Siri.
Leo: It's not going to get any better.
Philip: Someone did a study, came out last week. They rated 5000 Siris, and Siri led in completely wrong answers.
Leo: I swear at Siri more than I do anything else. It's a running joke with Lisa and me. For some reason she has an undying faith in Siri, and she'll ask Siri stuff, and I'll go oh, no, no.
Philip: I gave up on that. I have Alexa and Google Home. I'm trying to get them to talk to each other, but it doesn't work yet.
Leo: Their domains are different, but they're roughly equivalent. Cortana is the next one down.
Philip: I've never used that. Is that good?
Leo: It's better than Siri. You're into AI, Phil, why can't Apple create a product that at least competes with Alexa?
Phil: I think a lot of what they do is very impressive. It's just a more diffused case. Alexa has specific interactions and it doesn't try to be a general purpose assistant, and I think Siri tries to be more general purpose.
Leo: It's a lot easier to say I can do music for you, I can get rid of kitchen timer.
Phil: I miss Alexa when I'm traveling.
Philip: My theory about Alexa by the way...
Leo: I started this theory, I apologize. It's going to trigger people.
Philip: What impresses people about Echo is it has a plug in the wall. It can power seven microphones and that's the strength...
Leo: If that's the case, then an Apple Siri device is plugged in; they should be able to do it. The other rumor is it will have better speakers. Echo has always had weak speakers. Google's were a bit better. That was one area Google decided to sell it. Mike, did you bring your Google home with you to Morocco?
Mike: I didn't. But I always bring my Echo with me everywhere we travel.
Leo: You have an Echo? Does it work?
Mike: It works great. It won't default to where you are. If we want the local weather, we have to specify Fez Morocco. But other than that, it works great. It plays music, it plays our Amazon music, and so on. That's one of the reasons we bring the full size Echo, because we can always have music.
Leo: So you don't mind those speakers. You consider those adequate.
Mike: They're certainly adequate. It's hard to think of any sort of speaker system that is that compact. We were supposed to get that six months ago. Frankly, if you have to pick somebody who missed the boat, it's Sonos. If they could have put that technology to those speakers, it would have been a killer product.
Mike: I also think this is an opportunity for Apple to actually get into that Sonos space. Because really, Sonos has an Apple-esque reputation for high quality compact size, and elegant to use. I think Apple would like to be in that space, except for them speakers are not interesting enough for Apple. If they can have really high quality speakers, and I don't expect them to do this, really high quality speakers that can double as extra speakers for Apple TV experience, I think that would be great. Either way, it doesn't matter. Apple fans are going to jump on this thing no matter what. It's going to be Siri, it's going to be adequate for lots of people no matter what. I believe that this whole smart speaker thing is as top gap, and eventually we're going to be wearing this kind of thing, somewhere on our bodies, probably in our glasses, air pod type of integrations. Give it five, six, seven years. I think that smart speakers are going to seem antiquated.
Philip: Five years is a good product life.
Leo: I can see Apple doing the hardware, but I just don't think they will ever catch up to... frankly it's going to be Google that wins. While Echo is ahead because they launched earlier, google is the one collecting all the signals. Google does more of that...
Phil: The main lesson about AI right now is the most important things are the really well thought out specific use cases.
Leo: Not data, not training.
Phil: It's interaction. Who has got the best attention to detail about what are the great experiences that you're going to have with this thing?
Leo: Is that because we're early days so general AI is way off, so we have to be domain specific. Ultimately, wouldn't we want something that is generally intelligent?
Leo: Because then I don't have to know what particular domain that agent is good at. I can just address a question to it. Isn't that what we wanted, isn't that why Siri fails?
Phil: Where AI as an Industry went wrong is at the beginning with the Turing test. The Turing test was...
Leo: Most AI experts agree that was dumb.
Phil: It was a bad idea to try to make something generally intelligent, especially if the bar you're setting is human level intelligence. That doesn't make any sense.
Leo: So much more useful stuff you can do before that.
Phil: Everything that I work on, starts out being better than human.
Leo: In a domain.
Phil: Exactly. I don't care about what a person can do .there's plenty of people on the planet I don't feel like interacting with. I don't need more of those. I want experiences that are better than what a person can do.
Leo: I get it now.
Phil: So Echo is much better than a person can be at the stuff Echo is good for.
Mike: Amazon is way ahead of the game because of what Phil is saying. They have the Echo Look, the Echo show, the different types of Echos. That's brilliant, to have a different purpose Echo for every room in the house. Can't wait for the bathroom Echo.
Phil: I don't think of it as a special purpose, I just think of it as a sharply good experience. those are the ones that win. Once the technology gets to the point where it goes from being an engineering problem to a product problem, the products that win are the ones that are best designed with specific interactions and direct experiences in mind.
Philip: I have a different take on how Apple fits into this. I think Google home's problem is it doesn't have a way to monetize well. Echo has a way to monetize because people buy more stuff through Amazon because they're using the Echo. Apple has perfect monetization strategy. They sell the device in large quantities.
Leo: To do that, there has to be a high margin device. An Echo, you can get a dot for $40. Because Amazon makes it up on the other end, but what would Apple have to charge them to make this a valuable product. Hundreds.
Mike: One of the things I'm intrigued by is if Apple can go international fast. Right now, the Echo is dominant, but only in the United States. If Apple can do a smart speaker system and go global, they'll suddenly be ahead of everyone.
Philip: They already have a lot of language stuff under their belt.
Phil: I think a lot of this comes down to where is the center of gravity for each company? You can tell a lot about what's going to happen based on that.
Leo: Do you mean empathy or brand reputation?
Phil: What fundamentally is the most important thing to each company? For Amazon, the empathy is on selling you stuff. Whether it's physical products, subscriptions to Amazon Prime. They want you to buy stuff you love and need and have a good experience with it. For Google their fundamental thing they're about is showing you ads. Getting you to click on stuff. For Apple, their fundamental thing is selling you devices. None of these companies is selling you half that...
Leo: Increasingly, a lot of Apple services are coming in... they' see that as the biggest growth area.
Phil: Amazon is world class at selling this stuff. Apple is world class at making the devices.
Philip: Amazon and Apple both share an interest in making it a good experience for the customer. For Amazon, it's a good experience for the shopper, for Apple it's a good experience for the user. Google, not so much. Try to find a human to help you with a Google problem.
Phil: I think the Amazon center of gravity is closer to what will make a good assistant, a good AI than Google is. If the company is about getting your attention, distracting you, making you click on an ad, that isn't a quality that you'd want to find in a friend.
Leo: It's hard to make you listen to ads on a Google home.
Phil: You wouldn't expect a person acting that way towards you. That should give you a harder time. I think Apple and Amazon are better aligned.
Mike: I agree with what you're saying, Phil, but I would amend that to say that Apple's genius is not just selling you the hardware, but it's getting money on all the levels. They sell you the hardware, they sell you the software, they get a third of what other people sell you, and it's all of it. It's the services, it's everything. I think that's an interesting model for Apple on this kind of device. If you think about the money that they could make on an app store for the smart speaker, I have trouble picturing it, Amazon has not done the third party app thing very well. You have to memorize all this stuff, it's very difficult. But somebody like Apple can crack that if Siri can actually choose the third party app, offer it, you can buy it with a command or whatever, they can be way ahead of the game and they can be looking at a revenue stream that is comparable in some ways to the iPhone app store where it's very lucrative and they dominate the field.
Philip: I think Apple had a problem with people asking for music and getting neither Amazon or Google. Apple needs them to get it from Apple. This is an opportunity they can't...
Leo: It sounds like then it will probably be an expensive $400 or $500 music device with good speakers.
Philip: It sounded good when they said it had surround sound, and then I looked more close and it said virtual.
Phil: Remember they had a stereo once?
Leo: Yeah, and I remember Steve Jobs said he threw out his stereo because he liked the iPod Hi-Fi so much, it was a flop. So it's kind of, it sounds like the most important thing Apple could announce tomorrow would be a Siri device.
Philip: Hardware gets the attention with Apple.
Leo: It's a developer event, but Apple has so few events that they can talk to the press and public, that I think they treat WWDC as a keynote in the truest sense of the word. I don't know. Even if they announced laptops, I don't think that would be a big thing. The reason I think the Siri announcement makes a lot of sense, is you turn to developers, you're talking about a new platform.
Mike: If you think about the perfect home run that they could do tomorrow would be to announce this product, have it be super high quality, have it be one or two attributes about it that are surprising, and then say here's the SDK, everyone. Go for it. It's hard to imagine that they'd be that far along with it, but that would be amazing if they did that.
Phil: It's hard for me to believe it would be a high end or medium end speaker. I know that's what everyone is saying and I guess it's likely to be true, but to me it seems like Apple announces stuff that can grow fairly quickly. For their target audience, most people who are Apple fans have high quality speakers of whatever type. I just don't think they'll do something that will take years to roll out. I'm a huge Apple fanboy. I've bought everything Apple has come out with. I'm not going to buy new speakers.
Leo: Take Siri as it stands in the phone and put it in a stand-alone device, by the way, home automation... we kept expecting with home kit that they would deliver a hub. They have yet to deliver a hub.
Phil: What I would love would be the hardware is just super high quality microphones and it integrates well with whatever speakers you've got set up. that would be the thing.
Leo: via Bluetooth?
Phil: But there's no way I'm buying entirely new speakers tomorrow.
Leo: The only reason I went that way is we agreed that large margin was critical as a hardware company.
Mike: But large margins are in China for Apple now. So does everybody in China have a super ultra-high quality speaker system? I don't think that's true. We also know about Apple that they love to control the entire experience. I don't doubt that Apple is going to say whatever speakers you have around that's going to be your experience with this. Apple, coming out with a sound experience, a music experience, that is inferior to the Echo. It's got to be better than the Echo.
Phil: It would be much better than the Echo if it worked with your assistant speakers.
Leo: All it would have to do is be stereo.
Philip: The stand alone thing has to sound better than the other three.
Leo: Microsoft has been rumored to, but has not announced a stand-alone Cortana.
Phil: Or not at all. Or it doesn't have to sound like anything, in which case, it won't be compared to it.
Leo: But that's a bit more of a commoditized product. That's like the Echo dot. Apple TV doesn't include a television set. It's just a box.
Phil: High quality speakers are heavy, they're bad for logistics, there's all sorts of things that make this seem like a not Apple product.
Mike: Apple already sells third party speakers in their Apple store like you go out and clear speakers. They're already selling speakers, it seems like they want to sell them.
Leo: Isn't Beats fundamentally a speaker manufacturer. I know they're little speakers, but they're speakers. Couldn't we have Beats speakers? By the way, that's a brand that would do well is a Beats desktop or high fi speaker
Philip: To me, Beats feels a little high margin business.
Mike: But how cool is this? None of us has any idea. Mark German where are you?
Leo: You just made WWDC a lot more exciting. I was gearing up for a fairly dull show, but this would be something to watch. What does Apple do with Siri? And when will it be available? This month? This fall? This decade? WWDC is tomorrow. Our coverage begins 10 AM pacific, 1 PM Eastern, that is 1700 UTC. We'll be streaming it live, Nathan Olivarez Giles, Meghan Moroni will be covering it. As we always do, Apple is going to stream the keynote, we'll do our Mystery Science theatre 3000 version of it where we'll snark away while Tim Cook takes the stage. You know who will not take the stage, and I'm sad to say, is Bozoma. The woman who was so good last year at WWDC. She comes on and she has great marketing experience and lit the place up.
Philip: Too much charisma. She can go have her own career, she doesn't need Apple.
Leo: They said she was her own brand. The first thing we did is who is this? Where have they been hiding her. Apparently she tweeted that she is on her way elsewhere. Axios said this. She was head of global consumer marketing for apple music. Let's take a break, come back with more. Esteemed panel, Mike Elgan celebrating Ramadan in Fez Morocco in rooftops.
Mike: I'm only doing the feasting part, not the fasting part.
Leo: I understand that there are some really amazing sweets involved in breaking your fast from Ramada.
Mike: Yes. Absolutely. The Ramadan food is delicious.
Leo: Making me very jealous. Phil Libin is also here, formerly founder and CEO at Evernote. He's now at All Turtles, an AI company launching tomorrow. All-Turtles.com. Turtles all the way down. I got that reference, by the way.
Phil: You did. You were one of the few people.
Leo: No, really? Geeks know that. I can't break my old radio habits. What is an AI startup doing? Phil, it's great to see you.
Phil: Good to see you.
Leo: You look so good. You've lost a lot of weight. Feeling good, and you inspired me to do it.
Philip: We should see some before and after pictures.
Leo: Just look at Google image. We've actually watched it because you've been on the show since before you started doing this, and even since the last time you've been on you lost weight. Are you going to stop fasting?
Phil: Sooner or later. I hope to keep doing it for a long time.
Leo: It feels pretty good which is the scary thing. You're not worried you're going to get into some sort of eating disorder?
Phil: No. I'm not.
Leo: After I fast and I eat, I feel terrible, because my body is now digesting this food.
Phil: That goes away after a few weeks. I feel pretty good all the time.
Leo: Meanwhile, you and I. Philip Elmer Dewitt PED30 is his tech blog where he writes all about Apple all the time. Our show to you today... he added a W. WWDC. Our show to you today brought to you by stamps.com. If you do mailing in your business and doesn't everybody? You mail bills and brochures, Etsy seller, an Ebay seller, you sell on Amazon, you should not be going to the post office to buy postage. You should not be bringing packages to the post office. I've got a better way. stamps.com, with stamps.com you can buy and print real US postage from your computer and your printer. You don't need a postage meter. That's so 1980's. You don't need anything. You just need what you've got and stamps.com. We've got a special offer that will send you a free USB scale that will be a nice edition to stamps.com. You just plop the thing you're going to mail on the scale, stamps.com will print out the proper postage, they'll even print out a mailing label or print o envelopes with your company's logo, your return address, bar coding. The post office loves stamps.com. It speeds their automation, they're thrilled to have you use stamps.com. So much so that you can't just pop a package in the mailbox. They want you to bring it into the post office so they can look you in the eye and look at the package. Except if you're using stamps.com, they'll come and get it because it's an amazing service. Create your stamps account in minutes, no equipment, no long term commitments. If you go to stamps.com, give me a favor. Click the Microphone in the upper right hand corner and type in our offer code TWiT, because that's when you get the really good deal. You get $110 bonus offer. That includes the USB scale, and $55 in free US postage that you can use over the first few months of your account. You can't use it all at once, but that's still $55. Of course you get a month's trial of stamps.com. It's a great deal. A no risk trial offer. Unlike the post office, stamps.com never closes, it's always available, right there at your desk, you never have to get up. You just press a button and the mail carrier comes to you to pick up your postage. Go to stamps.com click the microphone at the top, and enter the offer code TWiT to try it today. Stamps.com.
Philip: do you commit to a certain amount of time for each ad?
Leo: I think what we do is we say you're buying a minute ad, but Leo doesn't know how to do a minute ad. Something like that. On the radio I have to. You know what it is? After years of being tightly constrained to the second on radio and TV,I just let it all hang out. I don't even wear makeup . Freedom.
Philip: On the radio you didn't have to wear makeup.
Leo: No. But I like to. That's the difference between wanting to and having to. When I think of turtles all the way down of those great novels by Discworld... Terry Pratchett. He talks at one point about a creation story. I think it also goes back to the actual creation story of the world being held on the back of a giant tortoise. Right?
Phil: It's a name I've been thinking about for years. Always wanted to call something All Turtles and mostly because it's an unusual name.
Leo: I love turtles; I'm going to the Galapagos, which is turtles! There it is. There's the "giant turtle holding the disc" world.
Phil: Sometimes the world is on the back of an elephant which is standing on a turtle.
Leo: That's how Terry Pratchett describes it.
Philip: I first heard it as a Carl Sagan story, sometimes Bertrand Russell.
Leo: I think it's the Bertrand Russell story. Steven Hawking, mentions it in brief history of time. Bertrand Russell was giving a lecture, he described how the Earth orbits the sun, the sun orbits the galaxy, at the end of the lecture, I'm quoting Steven Hawking. A little old lady at the back of the room got up and said, "Sir what you've told us is rubbish. The world is a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying "What's the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever young man, very clever, but it's turtles all the way down!"
Phil: That's the idea.
Leo: What does that have to do with AI?
Phil: It's a platform of platforms. Whatever you're building, you're standing on the shoulders of the people who came before you, you're helping those who come after. We're all turtles. Since Elephants stand on turtles, it's a good sequel for me.
Leo: Because Evernote was an elephant. Your next startup is going to be sea lions? It looks like you have some...
Phil: We have 11 products.
Leo: Is it an incubator.
Phil: It's more of a studio. We're challenging the idea that if you're a brilliant product person what you have to do is make a company first before you can make a product. We're product first. If you're a brilliant writer, you just write. You don't have to make a writing company. If you're a musician, you just play, you don't have to make a music company. So why is it if you have a vision for a product that you have to make a startup first? Why don't you just make a product first?
Leo: It's like an idea lab, maybe.
Phil: It's like a lot of things. To me, I'm most inspired by Netflix and Amazon. I'm trying to make a Netflix. Netflix for AI products. Like Netflix attracts the most talented people in film and television and they make amazing stuff and they distribute it and go full circle, we just do that. Worldwide products.
Leo: I see that. Among other companies, Leaders, I didn't know Leaders was AI. That's interesting.
Phil: All of these are practical AI. We focus not on the cutting edge tech stack, but on the design aspect. The use cases. We did this with Evernote. We started Evernote at the right time. Right as mobile apps went from being engineering driven problem to a product driven problem. If you were building mobile apps in 2005, it didn't matter how good your design was because it was technology constraint. But if you were building mobile apps in 2009, the ones that won were the ones that took it as a design challenge, not just an engineering challenge.
Leo: We're at that stage with AI.
Phil: AI is exactly at that stage. If you were building something three years ago, it was engineering driven. Now as long as you're trying to do a specific use case, it's gone from being engineering heavy to product heavy. That's the time for us to step in and do something.
Leo: Did Google's tenser flow change that? It's an open source AI platform, you can use their TPUs...
Phil: Absolutely. It's definitely a platform. All Turtles is a meta platform. It's saying what you couldn't do before, now you can do because there's a platform for it. You can get closer and closer to building the product first.
Philip: What language do people work in?
Phil: English in the US, Japanese in Tokyo. We're agnostic about the tech sect. There's a lot of Java, Python, a lot of R. The idea is if you're a brilliant product person, you see a hole in the world in the shape of your product idea, rather than having to make a startup and not do the interesting company stuff, which I had to do for 20 years.
Leo: In other words, you're just like me, you're trying to avoid the things you didn't like about your last job.
Phil: Last 20, yeah. Maybeit's an incubator, but every incubator focuses... what is the incubator? What we're saying is the company is irrelevant, we just want the world to have amazing products.
Leo: I think that's an interesting concept.
Phil: WE move into the office tomorrow. Ninth and Harrison, San Francisco location. We're opening up Paris and Tokyo by the end of the year.
Leo: You're one of those guys who can't just sit on the beach. You got to start a company. You can't take it easy.
Leo: I was talking to a friend of mine, he's older than me, almost 70. He retired from Carbonite and started another company. He said I can't stop. It must be fun.
Phil: It's fun, but I'm not optimizing for fun. I want to do something that has impact, and I think this could. I have an amazing team.
Leo: Actually, Phil, you're surrounded by people optimized for fun, because I suspect Mike Elgan is optimized... he's optimized for travel.
Phil: If he's optimized for fun, he would be wearing a fez.
Leo: I know he owns one. Big thread. This was interesting. On Reddit, they got a lot of attention from Apple folks. Fox Con insider, which implies somebody who is intimately connected with the supply chain in China, everything reported today, it is a collection of all the Apple rumors. I'm not going to go through all of them. This was a big thread on Reddit. Somebody on this page collated all the different things... just cut and paste. They talked about the next generation iPhone. A lot of these rumors were it's going to be harder to make than Apple anticipated, so it doesn't come out this year but early next year. They want to put the fingerprint sensor under the glass. This is everything. All the rumors. I have a bet with Robert Scoble, he says there will be a transparent iPhone. I said I'll buy you dinner in Paris if there is a clear one. He's expecting dinner in Paris, I'm expecting... I have to learn how to bet. I never asked for something in return. Am I an idiot? I do this with my wife. I always forget to ask for something in return. What is this project mirror shades? Microphones, a light sensor, and an accelerometer.
Phil: And a fake nose and mustache.
Leo: Delayed until 2018 or 19.
Phil: we used to play WWDC Bingo.
Leo: Siri speaker. That should be right center.
Phil: What I'm hearing from people who also don't know anything, we're getting ISO and OSO. New Siri, new Apple Watch, new hardware...
Leo: Can anybody get excited about Apple watch, this is a product that doesn't need a new anything. What would you do different? Of course, according to Foxconn, it might know about the Siri speaker. Last design seat was similar to the trashcan mac pro but smaller. That would be pretty. Three prototypes tested, one with one without a camera. Not shipping until the end of 2017. Will we see a new iMac? We're due for an iMac update. We do remember that Phil Schiller, when the had his apology meeting did say don't worry there's going to be a new iMac this year. That's a stretch. What pros mostly care about is the ability to swap in more hard drive and newer cars. Something like the old cheese grater Mac.
Phil: The cheese grader Mac. I'm thinking about Cheese.
Leo: There's five years of Government cheese, there's a surplus.
Phil: When I was a kid, I thought it was good cheese. We always had a brick of Government cheese when I was growing up.
Leo: I guess there's excess dairy.
Phil: We always had exactly that.
Leo: This is what Government cheese looks like in America.
Phil: I grew up, we were on food stamps, we had Government assistance, there was always a giant block of Government cheese. For years.
Leo: How do they do that? Do you go somewhere to get Government cheese?
Phil: Yeah. My grandmother would go to get them. Various pantries, community centers. There was all sorts of places. This was in the 80's.
Leo: There's a lot of excess milk, one way to store milk effectively is to...
Phil: Give it to poor people as cheese. I grew up storing milk for the US government.
Leo: No wonder you fast.
Phil: I have fond memories of that.
Leo: We were looking at MacBook air. I think it will be discontinued, although there are some rumors that it will be updated.
Philip: It breaks my heart, the Macbook air. It's also the MacBook that I like. They started taking my ports away.
Phil: I got a new Macbook Pro. I thought I wouldn't like it at first. I wrote a break up letter to Mac Safe, but I've moved on. I love USBC.
Leo: The air, the screen is low res compared to what is out now. I would love to see a refresh that gives you a retina display, but I don't think you will because that competes so closely with the MacBook.
Phil: I also want to get rid of the glowing Apple in the back. It's the only feature that Apple had that was not customer centric. It was totally for Apple's benefit. Nothing for end user benefit. You can't see it when you're using it, so all it's doing is pulling attention to you, taking power, and advertising Apple. It was their last feature. Now it's gone.
Mike: But how many users Apple laptops hey look at me, I'm using an Apple laptop? So it's kind of a branding thing.
Leo: You can't deny how successful it was. You would go to a conference, or even a Windows event and you see all these glowing Apples.
Phil: This is maturity and competence, they don't need to do that anymore.
Leo: Microsoft is doing with this, they got a mirrored shiny logo. The Mac safe will return in 12 to 18 months according to the Insider.
Phil: The best thing about USBC charging was it's really fast, but also the fact that you can plug it into either side. I didn't realize how often I'm at an airport or a hotel.
Leo: Do you like the Touch bar?
Phil: Provisionally yes. I like the idea. Sometimes it annoys me because I accidentally hit it.
Leo: Siri pops up all the time, then I move Siri over to a blank space. I'm still hitting it. I traded down to the touch bar-less.
Phil: I love it in Keynote. If I'm doing a slide deck... Being able to see all the slides, that's really cool.
Leo: That's the first use case I've heard that actually makes sense.
Phil: I was raising money for all turtles and gave a bunch of keynotes, it always looked like the question that was asked was my next slide. It was amazing. Magic.
Leo: That's the first thing I've heard, you know a DJ mixing music on a touch bar. What's wrong with a touchscreen, you can do everything and more? That's why I bought a Lenovo. It has an Ethernet port...
Phil: What is an Ethernet port? Like a token ring port? Why do you need an Ethernet port?
Leo: Occasionally there are times you like to hardwire. We have 20 gigabits here, and I would like to get one of those gigabits into my machine. It's actually, we're hardwired right now. There are times when the hardwire speed, I like it. It's an OLED screen. You see me doing this a lot. Basically what it is, is you have multiple input devices. You have a mouse, if you want to use it, you have a touch if you want to use it.
Philip: You don't get hives when you use Windows.
Leo: I used to, I've gotten over it. I like Windows. It's not so bad. Yeah. I have to look at this just to see what's going on. There's a basketball event happening this week...
Philip: Why doesn't Edie Q just fix all the stuff that's broken in his domain rather than telling people to sit down?
Leo: During the Warriors game... Rihanna, famous. She's a famous singer. She's a Cleveland Caveliers fan, she's not a Golden State warriors fan. They were in Oakland for theGolden State Warriors playoffs. So I guess Lebraun James... we're going to make this interesting because Edie Q is involved. Now you know you're listening to TWiT. Lebraun has a free throw, Rianna jumps up and starts shouting Brick! Which means miss it! Now we take you. She's shouting Brick. Eddie Q, both of them have multi thousand front row ring side court side seats. She's shouting at Lebraun. Eddie Q stands up and says sit down! I didn't see that part.
Philip: The result is a million Rhianna fans, she gets half a billion views on her videos.
Leo: If Eddie Q doesn't apologize for his recent misogynistic outburst to Rhianna, I'm canceling my subscription to Apple Music. It went viral.
Philip: It went viral and people did cancel their subscription to apple Music, and then Eddie Q had to issue an apology. He said I wasn't telling her to sit down, I was telling the other girl to sit down. It's an explanation. But why is he telling anyone to sit down?
Leo: There's more video apparently. Rhianna is throwing some shade. She was not happy about Eddie Q.
Philip: There is another woman in yellow standing up.
Leo: Looks like Eddie is shouting at Rhianna. I think Eddie should shut up and sit down and watch the game.
Philip: Where are the original Apple programs to compete with Netflix? What is he doing?
Leo: He should be fixing iTunes. He shouldn't be having fun.
Phil: I never felt more isolated from the human race than during this story.
Philip: Now the chat room is saying I know sports. I don't know what a Rhianna or an Eddie Q are. We've lost the audience.
Leo: Is it really reasonable Eddie Q should be working during a basketball game? People should have some time off.
Philip: Businessmen who stand in the front row of basketball games make me nervous.
Leo: You see what happened to Steve Ballmer. You don't see much of sir Johnny Ive these days.
Philip: The whole Apple Executive team...
Leo: That's a larger issue.
Philip: They just seem intellectually lazy these days. We spent half of last week's show ranking on Apple.
Leo: Mac Book weekly. A, I'll defend myself. Even when we have topic specific shows like Windows or Mac shows, we're not here to cheerlead for the company, we're here to talk about the company. I'm a Mac fan, from years gone by. I don't think I'm alone in being a little disgruntled with the direction Apple is taking. You think it's too much?
Philip: I won't compare you to the President of the United States, but you do have a way of exaggerating your positions.
Leo: I think it's exaggerating to say Eddie Q should shut up, sit down, and fix iTunes. That's not really your point of view, is it?
Philip: It is.
Leo: I'm never going to get a seat at a keynote again, that's for sure. I'm willing to get on my knees and beg to get onto the new Apple campus for Steve Jobs. That will be the one to get.
Mike: Since you brought up the Apple campus, Leo, can I make a couple points? The first is, people talk about whether Eddie Q should have fun, people are also talking about whether Apple should be building a big fancy headquarters, does this mean the end of companies that build amazing headquarters and the beginning of the end? I think it has to be said that the new Apple headquarters are the new icon. They are to tech and Silicon Valley now what the Eiffel tower is to Paris or Europe. What Big ben is to London. It will always be used henceforth as an iconic visual for tech and Silicon Valley, and that's cool. The second thing is, if you look at the mystery of parking at Apple-park. They have way more parking than they could ever possibly need. The number of parking spots they have, plus Apple's plans to minimize parking. There's an argument that said the city council requires a certain number of parking per employee. I don't buy it at all. You look at the future of self-driving cars and their plans to have bicycles and shuttle busses and that stuff, I think that campus is designed to hold 15 or 16 thousand people. They basically built it knowing that there's way too much parking, if they went into city council and said we're going to build a campus that's going to house 16,000 people, everyone would have freaked out. I think within 3 to4 years, there's going to be 16,000 people at this campus.
Leo: So this is designed for big expansion. To what end do they expand, Mike?
Mike: Because they are the world's largest consumer electronics company, and they want to get as many people into those headquarters as possible.
Leo: But don't they have enough people to make the products they already got?
Mike: They don't. They're always going to expand. their plan is not to shrink or plateau, their plan is to keep growing and growing and growing. They've already, we know that they're spread out all over Silicon Valley. Apple is all over the place They're still going to stick to their current headquarters, or their former headquarters, and they need all the space...
Leo: If you're going to expand, they got to have a reason to have those 4,000 employees. Cars, where do you expand if you're Apple? Where is the sweet spot? Is it Siri?
Mike: It's cars. Self-driving cars are a multi-million dollar opportunity. They're going to become living rooms on wheels. That's a content consumption experience opportunity, and Apple is going to want to be all over it.
Leo: Will they make cars, or will they just make software for cars? What is their...?
Mike: I think they will make cars.
Leo: That is pretty tough to go up against GM. There's even conversation that Elon Musk at Tesla are about to enter the buzz saw, because now here come the big three. They were perfectly happy to let Tesla go for a decade, but now it's our turn. Get out of the way.
Mike: Apple has been working with the biggest contract manufacturer for automobiles, which is basically in Germany. There's a couple dozen of their employees... that contract manufacturer
has had multiple engineers working in Apple buildings for a few years. And they—and so, they're looking at cars the way they look at iPhones. Apple doesn't manufacture iPhones. Foxconn does. And so, this company is the Foxconn automobile manufacturing and I think that—you know, first of all, I don't think manufacturing a self-driving car, the wheels, the motor, that is not going to be all that difficult. The difficult part is the navigation and that's where Apple is seriously behind. But you know, why would they be working with this company in Austria? Why would they be—if you look at their—
Leo: I'm not denying that they've shown some interest in this, although we have heard that they backed off a little bit.
Philip: Well, they got ahead of their skis or leaned too far. They started building the car before they built the system.
Phil: It's space.
Leo: It's space?
Phil: Going to space.
Philip: Going to space.
Phil: This whole thing's going to take off. Everyone wants a car. This is a space station, obviously.
Leo: Ok, this is a question. So, maybe you know, Philip. This big circular thing here, is that an ICBM watching port? What is that? What is that?
Philip: It's a pool.
Leo: It's a pool?
Philip: I've shown this to a lot of architects who are a little bit aghast because it's—
Leo: Oh, by the way, here's the old barn they saved.
Philip: Oh, really? Is that in the circle?
Leo: Yea. So, this was originally an HP campus. This barn was— this whole area used to be fruit orchards. That's why the big mall there is called the Pruneyard. It was all plum trees and cherry trees. And in 1910, it's not even an old barn. At least Connecticut people wouldn't think so. In 1910, they built this barn. HP preserved it in its campus. So, Apple took it, moved it, board by board off the premises and they have now restored it back to the premises now that construction is over. And the barn will survive for no apparent reason. I think they promised.
Phil: That's going to be the only barn in space when this whole thing is in orbit around Jupiter.
Leo: Actually, that's probably where the next big Apple product is being designed, is inside that barn right there. It's like a TARDIS. It's much larger inside.
Philip: The thing that people always say when they look at that round building, "How inefficient. What if you have to meet somebody who's all the way on the other side?"
Leo: Steve wanted it. He only wanted two bathrooms. He wanted everybody to walk around a lot so they'd interact.
Phil: Makes sense.
Philip: I was leading to that story.
Leo: Oh. I'm sorry. I just stole your story.
Philip: That's ok. He had the same idea in Pixar. He wanted the tech people to interact with the cartoon people and his original thought was, "We'll have one bathroom. And everybody will have to meet there." He got talked out of that.
Phil: I kind of hope they don't make cars.
Philip: You hope they don't?
Phil: I hope they don't.
Leo: I feel like that's a buzz saw that they will have a hard time—
Phil: I hope they don't because I'm bored with cars. I'm just bored with cars in general.
Leo: It would either be a brake or a gas.
Phil: You could right click on the pedal.
Mike: Everybody is bored with cars. That's not the point. Self-driving cars are not cars.
Leo: No, they're not.
Mike: They're living rooms. They're places where you go to play, you go to play virtual reality games. And to have a video conversations.
Phil: That is the way to get rid of the nausea portion of virtual reality, is to play it while you're in a self-driving car. That makes a lot of sense.
Leo: (Laughing). I have to say, the sickest I've ever got playing Dune in a bus. That will really mess with your head. I'm just saying. I was—you don't want to know.
Phil: Yea. Spaceships.
Leo: Let's take a break. Great panel. What fun. We've got Philip Elmer-DeWitt, came all the way out from Connecticut to be with us.
Leo: Massachusetts. I thought you said Connecticut.
Philip: No, Connecticut River Valley.
Leo: Is in Massachusetts? Are they trying to confuse us?
Philip: It's the border between Vermont and New Hampshire, it goes through the middle of Massachusetts, it goes through Connecticut. It's called the Connecticut River but I live in Massachusetts.
Leo: And is that western Massachusetts?
Leo: Yea, I like western Massachusetts. It's nice.
Philip: The five-college area they call it.
Leo: Yea, I know where that is. Amherst, Smith.
Philip: Mount Holyoke.
Leo: E Mass, yea. All right. I used to hang out there. Hampshire. Also, Phil Libin is here from a brand new company, All Turtles at all-turtles.com. Nice. And celebrating Ramadan from his rooftop apartment in Fez, Morocco—God, I love saying that—Gastronomad.net's Mike Elgan. So, you've been—
Mike: 400-year-old building.
Leo: God, that's so cool. You did something a couple of nights ago that really sounded amazing. You stayed in the desert.
Mike: It was amazing. And I saw firsthand the tower of the smartphone. We went out in to the desert. We went out way to the Sahara part of Morocco.
Leo: There he's riding the camel.
Mike: A bunch of—yea. We got these Berber guides. They'll take you out to this camp and you spend the night in the middle of the desert in this—it's like an amazing experience. The guide, the entrepreneur behind this business did everything. Smartphones. Two phones. He had to climb to the highest dune to get connectivity to confirm reservations, to check Travelocity—not Travelocity, to check—what's the other one? To check Airbnb.
Leo: Hotel's Tonight. I don't know (laughing). But he ran his business from the top of the dunes with his smartphone?
Mike: Yes. Now, he would come down—
Leo: Oh, I wish we had a better connection.
Philip: Self-driving camel.
Phil: Have you ever been on a camel?
Leo: Yes. It's quite a thing.
Phil: Me too. It's fun.
Leo: Yea. We rode on in Cairo up to the pyramids. It was really amazing, at night. There were flaming torches to light our way.
Phil: The Asian ones are super more comfortable.
Leo: Are they?
Phil: Yea, you sit in the middle.
Leo: Yea, this was a Bactrian or something. But they do kneel for you to get on which is kind of cool. They actually, their legs just—we're just stalling while Skype gets better (laughing). Is it a Dromedary or a Bactrian?
Phil: I do not know.
Leo: It's a Dromedary?
Phil: Yes. Dromedary sounds like a place you don't want to get milk from.
Leo: (Laughing) That's the Arabian one humped camel.
Phil: Right. Yes. Yea, the one humped camel's fine but really, it's the two-humped camels. That's the comfort riding.
Leo: Yea. Do you ride on the hump of the one hump? No, you ride behind the hump. Or in front of the hump.
Philip: They build a little thing on top of the hump.
Mike: -- right on top of the hump. They build a special saddle and stuff like that. And they have a thing to hang on to and so on. If you're a hardcore, you know, legit camel rider, there's a way that you sort of loop one of your legs around and you kind of perch yourself on the top. It's harder to do. You lose a lot of tourists that way. So, they built like this saddle you can't fall out of.
Leo: (Laughing) I've been on the saddle, yea. But I have to say, the ride interesting. The gait is unusual. You have to kind of—yea.
Mike: And I have to say, the coolest thing was the stars in the desert at night.
Leo: Oh, I bet.
Mike: Was something mind-blowing. We saw dozens of shooting stars. We just—the milky way was like—it was almost like it was painted on the sky. It was really—I've never seen starts like that. It was really, really a great experience. We loved it. It was fabulous.
Leo: Did they have a tent? Did you stay in a tent or?
Mike: So, they have a camp setup with about 8 tents I think, something like that. And we were the only guests. So, there were 4 Berber hosts and Amira and I were the only guests. They made us an incredible tagine, the best tagine we've ever had.
Leo: Oh, I'd love to share.
Mike: The bread and fruit kind of stuff. And then we—they played some music and we all sang songs and played the drums and all kinds of stuff. It was really cool. And then we sort of like—we had a tent but we asked them to set up a bed outside so we just slept under the stars. And they all slept under the stars. They put their bedrolls in the sand and it was amazing. We got up before the sun came up. We watched the sunrise in the Sahara. We got back on the camels and rode back. It was like an hour ride.
Leo: Our show today brought to you buy Carbonite Online. I was just talking about Carbonite with David Friend. Carbonite is—they're rocky. I didn't realize, but I was talking to David the other day. They use some pretty interesting proprietary technology to write to the discs. They've really optimized it so what is it? It's cloud backup but it's cloud backup done right. It's automatic. It's continuous. It's low cost, flat fee. They've got plans for home. Starts at $59.99 a year, less than $5-bucks a month, for everything on a PC or a Mac. But then, when you go to the business side, man, the office plans include servers. They have high availability backup so you don't have any time wasted getting back online. They have hardware devices. The E-Vault lets you backup locally and then back up to Carbonite. There's the E-Vault. It is a solution for every business. And I'll tell you, it solves the biggest problem in business because you're reliant on data. And if your data isn't safe, your business isn't safe. And boy, all you have to do is look at the WannaCry people, it just makes you wanna cry, who've lost everything. Businesses, hospitals, 300,000 people. Use Carbonite, you don't have to worry about ransomware. In fact, go to the Carbonite site at Carbonite.com. Click the Office tab up at the top and look at their resource pages. They've got a lot of white papers on ransomware mitigation, protecting yourself against ransomware, protecting yourself against WannaCry specifically and it all involves having a good backup. Every security expert says, "Backup is kind of one of the keys to keeping your system safe." Carbonite Cloud Backup. I want you to check it out. You can try it free which is nice. Pick the plan that's right for you. Go to Carbonite.com. No credit card needed but do me a favor. There is an offer code when you sign up for the free trial. Use our name TWiT, would you? Because then they'll know you heard it here, but also, you'll get two free bonus months if you decide to buy. You've got to back it up if you want to get it back. It's all the more important these days. Carbonite.com. Don't forget to use the offer code TWiT.
Phil: I think Carbonite's is the best named backup service.
Leo: Yea, because of the Star Wars.
Phil: Yea, Empire Strikes Back, the greatest movie of all time.
Leo: That was the worst movie of all time. You thought the—
Phil: I'm out.
Leo: Wait a minute. No, seriously. You thought that was the best Star Wars movie?
Phil: It's not that I thought that, but it's empirically true. This is established science.
Leo: Oh no. I was thinking of the one with Jar Jar. That's not the Empire Strikes Back?
Phil: Oh, God.
Leo: That's Episode 1.
Phil: I don't know what that is.
Leo: That was terrible. I'm sorry. You're talking about Episode 5.
Leo: Ok. I apologize. Yea, the Empire Strikes Back. That was a good one.
Phil: That was a great one.
Leo: That's the one where Luke sleeps in a Tauntaun. And they trip up those walker things, yea.
Phil: Yea, that's the one with the best thing ever, which is—I thought they smelled bad. On the outside.
Leo: (Laughing). Nice beat there, Phil. That was really well done. Very well done. Here, I thought hell froze over this week. It was a shock. Google announced, confirmed, they're going to put ad blockers in Chrome.
Phil: And that's good?
Leo: Well, it's good for Google. I realized suddenly, but oh, what ads that Google's ad blocker won't block is Google's ads.
Philip: It will block annoying ads.
Leo: Annoying ads. None of Google's ads are annoying. Yea. Progress.
Phil: How do they decide what's annoying?
Leo: Well, there actually is a group—
Mike: There not Google's ads.
Leo: Yea, that's annoying. Annoying that Google—there a group called the Coalition for Better Ads. In the great tradition of naming these industry self-interest groups with a name that makes you feel like it's good for America, whose members include the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Association of National Advertisers, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters, Facebook, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and oh, surprise, Google.
Philip: Procter & Gamble, yea.
Phil: That is a part.
Leo: But, admittedly, there is a problem, right? I mean ads have gotten way out of control because you know what? Here's the real problem, Google, and this is what they'll never admit, is that banner ads don't work. You look at a banner ad and you don't see it because we've learned how to tune it out. So, what happened? They had to make them more intrusive. They had to punch the monkey for a while and then they had to do takeovers. It's gotten to the point you can't read a page until you click and they move the close box to different places. I mean, it's just gotten incredibly annoying.
Phil: I honestly don't understand the point. Unless Leo Laporte is reading your ad, I don't know why people even bother paying for it.
Leo: Why even bother? I'm not against ads. In fact, Mike Elgan, you gave me the best example of why ad supported media and what we do is good because it's democratizing. It means you don't have to have money to read content. I don't have anything against ads.
Mike: Absolutely. I do. And let me ask you something. There's a behavior I've noticed in myself where I have an ad blocker and any publication that pops up a thing and says, "You know, you have your ad blocker on," I just disable it for that site, just automatically. And it works out fine I guess. Do you do that?
Phil: I just leave the publication and never come back.
Leo: You never come back. You hate ads so much that you will—but you understand—
Phil: Most ads.
Leo: And Philip, you run a site that is ad supported.
Philip: No, it's ad free. That's the point.
Leo: Why would you—oh, because you have subscribers. Ah. Got it.
Philip: Right, I left Fortune because it was becoming more and more intrusive and you couldn't read the stuff because of the ads.
Phil: I think it is possible to have really good ads. It's possible. You occasionally see them.
Leo: You're just saying that because I'm sitting next to you.
Phil: No, no. I think it's true. But most of the time, it's a pretty bad experience. And certainly most of the time in internet it's a pretty bad experience, but it does have the potential for getting better. But, as we go more and more—and Mike, you were saying this about wearables, right? Soon, we'll just be wearing the tech in our glasses. Like, ok, if I'm browsing the internet on a giant monitor on my desktop, like Leo's doing here, ok, I can allocate like—
Leo: Then it's not so bad.
Phil: I can allocate a few pixels to the app. If I'm looking at it on my phone?
Leo: Phone's a nightmare.
Phil: How many pixels on my phone am I willing to allocate to an ad? Not very many.
Leo: Well, there's also the issue of—
Phil: If it's in my glasses, like how much of my retina am I giving up to an ad? Like very quickly approaching zero.
Mike: The big mystery though is that we always talk about all this personal data that these companies take, Facebook, Google, etcetera. They are harvesting everything. They're finding out everything. They're following us to the store. They're recognizing our faces. And they still can't give us relevant ads. Like why is that? If you talk about advertising in your glasses, if it was perfectly relevant, if it was so good that it didn't even feel like an ad, it just felt like good advice—
Leo: Well, it won't be ads. It will be things like you're walking by the Gap and something says, "Oh, hey, you know what? You need new pants and you wanted new pants and there's a great sale on pants."
Phil: You were clearly looking at my pants when you said that. I just got these pants. These are like the first new pants I've owned in years.
Philip: Isn't that a nightmare?
Leo: Are those skinny jeans? Come on.
Philip: You're walking down the street and ads are coming in your—
Leo: Not if it's useful.
Phil: You guys have just put your finger on the fundamental problem. This is the Google Paradox I call it. If they really were like super useful, they wouldn't be ads. Like if—let's just say Google knew at any given time what the five most useful things for me to know right now are, like the 5 most delightful and useful things for me right now. None of those would be things that somebody would pay for to pay in front of me. Those are all things I would pay to see. So, the better ad targeting gets, the more they become not ads. Like at some point this idea that someone's going to pay money to interrupt your attention stream is going to be completely in conflict with where the technology's going which is figuring out what's most important and delightful and useful to you. So, ads of that type are totally not sustainable over the next decade or something.
Phil: But look, see how long that takes.
Mike: That's what's going on with the Amazon Look. This is absolutely brilliant. You actually point their camera at yourself and say, "Amazon, do these pants make my ass look fat?" And Amazon says, "Yes. But these don't."
Leo: And that's—maybe the problem is terminology.
Phil: But that's not an ad.
Phil: Because then they're actually going to sell you the pants that make your ass look good.
Leo: But maybe they're selling it from a third-party. I mean, maybe Amazon—a lot of what's on Amazon is from a third-party, I've got to tell you.
Phil: But look. If Amazon—
Leo: Does that make it an ad if it's a third-party now?
Phil: Here's the thing. If Amazon gets money no matter what you buy, they're incented to show you genuinely the best things because they just want you to like buy more.
Leo: They want me to be happy.
Phil: They want you to be happy and they'll make money. That's not what advertising is. Like advertising doesn't want you to buy the best thing for you, it wants you to buy the thing that somebody has paid to put in front of you because it's not the best thing.
Philip: Well, that's what advertising wants.
Leo: So, if it were the best thing you wouldn't need an ad.
Phil: Right. You would just sell it. So, companies that actually control—
Leo: That's not true, but ok. I'll accept that.
Philip: It's mostly true.
Leo: I think there are a lot of products that you've never heard of that may be the best thing.
Philip: That's true.
Phil: But then you would hear about it through a recommendation, not through a paid placement.
Leo: I don't know. I find I discover stuff through ads.
Phil: Right, because their targeting the ads to you.
Mike: Literally what advertising wants, especially on television, if you look at Mad Men, that's what that whole show is about.
Leo: Yea, make you smoke even though you didn't want to.
Mike: They're manufacturing—yea, they're manufacturing your desire for their product, whereas with all the data collection, they should be able to find out what you actually want not tell you what you want.
Leo: So, this idea that Google Chrome is going to start blocking annoying ads, this is—what is this coming from? And this is a company that sells ads. Is this a rearguard action because they're afraid you're going to put a real ad blocker on and block all ads?
Mike: I think what they're doing is actually a great idea because essentially, they brought down the—Google's one of the companies that brought down the price of ads so low, and that's one of the reasons ads are so crappy, they can simultaneously create more scarcity by taking people out of the—they'll have all these people blocking ads by default and that makes advertising and reaching the remaining people I guess more valuable. Doesn't it? I mean it's a way for them to get monetization whether you're looking at ads or you're not looking at ads.
Phil: I have a fantastic idea for an ad startup. I'm going to pitch it to you guys. It's actually, fantastic slash terrible. So, this is like a half serious startup for ads. You're going to scrape your email to find out like what you bought from Amazon and then we're going to buy, as you're browsing, we're going to buy ads so you see ads for the stuff you already own. So, imagine an internet where all you see is ads for things you already own.
Leo: That's Amazon Recommendations.
Phil: No, no, no, it's advertising. You're only seeing ads for the stuff you have.
Mike: That's how it works now.
Leo: It is. That's how bad ad recommendations are. Ok, what's the benefit.
Phil: It's there to make you want the things you have.
Philip: It's a confidence builder.
Phil: It's there to make you want the things you have. It's the—
Leo: To confirm that you made the right decision.
Phil: It's the stoic ideal, the secret to happiness is wanting what you have.
Leo: And who pays for this?
Philip: That's why it's not a best idea.
Philip: But if you flipped in, showed 9 things that they already have and then the 10th—
Leo: Ah, the 10th thing they don't have.
Phil: No, no, no. You're ruining the purity of this. This is like the way to make—
Leo: All right. Maybe you'll like this. This is Google—remember, Google had this thing. I thought it was a very good thing, called Contributor. You'd put some money in and they would divvy it out to various Google Ad sites and instead of the Google ad you'd get kittens or whatever you chose to see instead. And I thought that was a good thing. They discontinued it and this is their new Google Contributor. You go to a website. They've got only four so far, Grub Street, WWG, Comic Book and Popular Mechanics—
Phil: Popular Mechanics. That brings back memories.
Leo: (Laughing) The website says, "Hey, I see you're running an ad blocker. Would you like to buy a Google Contributor Pass that will remove ads from your site?"
Phil: And you say, "No, I will not."
Leo: This is—I don't know.
Phil: It's a good idea if they can scale it.
Leo: Well, what it does is it does respond to both of you guys who say, "I don't want any ads at all." The problem is, there are plenty of products. Nobody's going to pay for them. And look what happens with paywalls on a lot of publications, right? Fortune's not going to put paywall up because they'll look at The Wall Street Journal or whatever.
Philip: They threaten to put a paywall up.
Leo: Yea, and I think they probably thought about it and realized that's not going to make any money. It's a bad idea. It's user hostile.
Phil: But ads are different from product referrals.
Leo: Well, that's what I do. I feel like when we do an ad it's like a product referral. It's a word of mouth recommendation for a product.
Phil: I think that's right and I think if you have—
Leo: So, we're very picky. We pick the clients, the sponsors, the products we use and—
Phil: You are picky?
Leo: Yea, I turn down ads all the time. You have to because I consider it an introduction. I mean that's kind of my rationalization. I want to be ad supported media and my rationale is ok, well, if I'm going to do this, I only want to recommend product I believe in.
Phil: But it's got to be high quality and the way that you do it is as long as you align with the interests of the listener, which you're trying to make it high quality and entertaining and a net benefit to someone's quality of life, because it wouldn't work if it wasn't.
Phil: So, those kinds of ads are good.
Philip: It gives us a chance to pee.
Phil: Thereby being ad positive.
Leo: That is the value of ads in general. Give you a chance to go to the kitchen, get a snack and not miss much of the show. The funny thing is, I don't think people for the most part anymore are watching a live broadcast. They're watching on demand even when they're watching—
Phil: The sports ball.
Leo: Sports is about it. So, like ok, so, House of Cards—that's a bad example because it's not ad supported. But, oh, Fargo. Great show. But I'm not watching it live because I want to skip the ads.
Phil: And sometimes I'll watch something on demand that has disabled the ad skipping.
Leo: It drives you crazy.
Phil: I never watch it again.
Phil: Like I just—I can't remember anything that makes me angrier than that.
Leo: Yea. That's the problem because programs are free. Programs that are paid for by the ads.
Phil: Them having failed to figure out a business problem is not my problem. It's their problem.
Leo: Yea, no, I understand your point of view, I just—it's scary for me (laughing). By the way, and podcasts are exactly on demand. I mean what we do is a completely on demand product so presumably people could skip our ads just as easily as they could skip a DVR.
Phil: Which aligns the incentives and actually makes them like good and entertaining and informative, so, most people don't skip them.
Leo: Exactly. We do a tease on one end and then people stay through the ad to the other end.
Philip: Or you have the live, you know, the live chat.
Leo: Well, we have live but you know, it's a tiny fraction of the total audience that watches live and is in the chat. That's less than 10% of the audience. And we don't know how to—we can't even monetize that. So, even though those people are compelled to watch the ads, we actually can't make any money off of them, only the people who could skip the ad and we just hope that they don't skip the ad.
Mike: One of the things that we need in podcasting is to know a lot more information about whether people are skipping, what parts—when they stop listening, what—
Leo: I really don't want to know that. I really don't want to know that.
Mike: Well, no, I think you do because if people—I mean, I monitor my own behavior. And there are some podcasts I listen to, and I love your podcast, but I skip the ads because they suck at reading them. On TWiT shows I don't skip the ads. I listen to them so—
Leo: You can just zone out (laughing).
Mike: No, I'm curious to hear the new information that's mixed up. There's a lot more energy put into it. There are a lot of podcasts, they just sort of—you can tell the people doing the podcast are being dragged kicking and screaming into doing the ad. They don't really want to do it. Because they don't know the company and so on. And so, it's like it would be fantastic to know which—when people are leaving, when are they skipping. I think podcasters really need to know that. So, I think it would improve podcasts a lot. The other problem I have with a lot of podcasts out there is that people start a podcast and it's like 20 minutes of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and they don't get to the point. Like, I don't have that kind of time. I would like to be able to tell them, "Look, get to the content." You know what I mean? I don't want 25 minutes of hearing about your sandwich or whatever.
Leo: Yea. Yea, it's funny because when I first started doing this, that was a really high priority value for us, was not to waste listener's time. And I think over time I stopped doing that. I just waste your time like crazy. I apologize.
Phil: It happens.
Leo: For me, I'm getting a little sloppy because I just like talking with—every one of these shows are with friends, and often that I don't see very often, so, I'm catching up. But I probably shouldn't waste our audience's time with catching up. I should get right to what I do.
Mike: See, but that isn't—I don't think that is—like, I like that. What bothers me is when they don't have new guests. It's the same two people.
Leo: Yea, it is boring.
Mike: I don't care about your relationship so much as the content and it's—5 minutes is fine. 20 minutes?
Leo: That's a broadcaster value which is the attention that you're given by your audience is the most valuable thing and so, you've got to honor that.
Phil: Mike, it sounds like you just resent sandwiches.
Mike: Nobody likes sandwiches better than I do.
Leo: I'm a big sandwich fan. What's wrong with sandwiches? There's nothing better.
Phil: I don't care for them.
Philip: I started to do some podcasts and I'm just not as loose as you are. So, I feel like I'm really old-fashioned about it. I like to write my questions down ahead of time. I try to—
Leo: You're formal.
Philip: Yea. And you know—
Leo: I'm just lazy. It's not that I'm loose. I'm just lazy. It's too much work.
Philip: Well, you've done it long enough that you—
Leo: You know how long I've been doing this? You don't even want to know.
Philip: I do want to know.
Leo: 40 years.
Leo: Yea. Not podcasts. But I don't even think podcast are any different than radio. I've always done this.
Philip: How much of that was radio?
Leo: Well, podcasting only really started in 2004, so, 20—what is that? 7 years?
Philip: I can't do the math.
Mike: So, Leo, you're in a perfect position to answer what is to me the biggest question of all. Why isn't everything a podcast? Like why isn't every show, every—why does radio still exist?
Leo: Yea, there's a—
Phil: Because radios still exist.
Leo: The only reason radio still exists is frankly the car. Because there's very little radio listening outside of the automobile and that is a very short-term thing. Already music radio's suffering because—but I'll tell you why, I'll tell you why it's not dead is there is a value to having somebody keep you company in your car that is alive and right now as opposed to pre-recorded. And I think that is something genuine. Isn't it nice to watch live TV or listen to live radio knowing that that person's doing that right now?
Philip: Yea, I mean—
Mike: That's a good point.
Leo: It's companionship. That was the always the reason for radio is companionship.
Philip: I think NPR and BBC have a model for radio that works.
Leo: I just loathe it. It's so pompous. It's so formalized.
Philip: Oh, you see, where I live, if you ask people—I ask people, "Where do you get your news?" And they're all listening to NPR.
Leo: I was listening to an interview I was really interested in and I love Terry Gross. This is not to knock here. It's more to knock the format, the structure. She was interviewing the son of George Martin, the Beatle's producer.
Philip: Because of the 50th anniversary.
Leo: The 50th anniversary. I was very interested. I just bought it and I was really excited. She reintroduced him, in 25 minutes, 5 times. And not just like, "I'm talking to Giles Martin." It's like a long—she's clearly reading and this is formatics probably dictated by NPR. I doubt—well, maybe Terry does do that.
Philip: That is pretty old-fashioned.
Leo: But it pissed me off because I was interested in her subject and I wanted to hear him talk. I didn't want to hear her reintroduce him. And it makes no sense in a podcast. It only makes sense on broadcast because it's only on broadcast that somebody might show up. If you're listening to a podcast, I don't need to—I reintroduce you guys more because it's a chance to plug you and acknowledge you and thank you for being here. But if you tuned in to this podcast, you better, you know by now who Phil Libin is.
Philip: If you've stuck with this podcast this long, you'd figure it out.
Leo: (Laughing). By now you know who these people are and there's that strange guy cut from Riad or wherever. I don't know.
Mike: Yea, who knows.
Leo: Yea, up on the rooftops singing his praises. Let's take a break because I haven't done enough ads yet. But we will have more with Mike Elgan. See, I'm doing the reintroduce. I don't really need to, do I?
Leo: I think it's more courtesy to you guys, like, I just acknowledge that you're here and on the show with us and I'm grateful, right?
Phil: You know, we did a podcast—
Mike: It doesn't hurt to remind people.
Phil: We did a podcast at Evernote which it was pretty, a lot of fun. We did it for a few years. And our entire stated goal was, "We want our podcast to be more popular than Leo Laporte's least popular podcast."
Leo: That wouldn't be hard. I haves some very unpopular podcasts.
Phil: We made it. We made it like once or twice.
Leo: How do you even know what my—oh, on iTunes.
Phil: On iTunes, yea.
Leo: That's not real though because that's Billboard style. That's a weighted chart based on number of subscriptions.
Phil: We were just going, we just said we want our podcast to be more popular than Leo's least popular podcast on iTunes. We made it once or twice.
Phil: I forget what it was. It was like—
Leo: Well done. But you understand that that's just subscriptions this week.
Phil: I choose not to understand any of that.
Leo: In fact, my podcasts do very poorly now because everybody who wanted to subscribe, has subscribed so I get fewer new subscriptions than many podcasts that have far fewer listeners. Does that make sense?
Phil: Be that as it may, my best, my best was better than your worst.
Leo: What was it?
Phil: Your worst podcast?
Phil: It was like This Week in Fava Beans or something like that. I don't know.
Leo: (Laughing) Yea, we had to stop doing that one. That was a terrible idea.
Philip: What is the measure for- is there something better than iTunes to measure?
Leo: Well, we know because we have to measure numbers. The advertisers want to know and that's how we sell them.
Philip: What do you use to measure them?
Leo: Well, we have been going through a company called Podtrac which is a podcast advertising agency that offers free metrics. But we actually also do our own numbers. We had first thought, and you know it's traditional in broadcast media that you—no one would—if I were a radio station and I said, "Well, I could tell you." You wouldn't trust me.
Leo: So, there are Arbitron and Nielson, there's 3rd party independent kind of certified measure. Just like for magazines, the advertising ABC right? The circulation bureau. That's an independent metric. But it turns out in podcasts that for some reason they do trust podcasters. Most podcasters just say a number and that's that.
Philip: Oh, that's good to know.
Leo: Yea, just make it up.
Leo: In fact, I know people are making it up because I look at some of the numbers people quote and I go, "That's impossible. There's no way they have those kinds of numbers." So, you could say that that's a failing of podcasting, that there isn't this kind of independent metric. I like it (laughing). But we don't lie. We actually intentionally underestimate because we don't want to get in a situation where we're inflating numbers.
Mike: I believe based on my own listenership and viewership that you are better than anyone else at keeping the audience listening and watching. And that's why I think you'd benefit enormously from metrics about how people, how much they listen all the way through, or if they listen halfway through or whatever. That kind of thing, that would measure it in public.
Leo: Maybe. There's a cautionary tale. For a long time the way radio was rated was you'd get a diary. Maybe some of you have received the diary that said, write down your radio listening and at the end of the week mail it in. And of course, nobody does. It's one of the reasons I think Rush Limbaugh did so well is people were fanatics about Rush Limbaugh. Even if they didn't—you kind of look like Rush Limbaugh.
Philip: Oh, God. That's the worst.
Leo: I never put that together. But (laughing), sorry, Philip. But so, shows that had devoted followings would do much better because nobody ever recorded their actual numbers. At the end of the week they'd go, "Oh, crap. I've got to mail this back. I want my $5-dollars." And they'd just write Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh right across the board. And so, shows with devoted fans would do very well. Then Arbitron, the company that does this, invented the People Meter. Remember Nielsen does this. They have a box in your house that would measure. Well, they came out—
Phil: Wait the company is actually called Arbitron.
Leo: There's Arbitron and Neilson. Arbitron is the one that does most of the ratings.
Phil: It's suspicious that a company that's trying to give you good stats is called Arbitron.
Leo: That's kind of arbitrary, isn't it?
Phil: That's an odd choice of name. It's not what I would have gone with.
Leo: So, Arbitron figured out a way to actually get metrics.
Phil: I would have gone with Precisitron.
Leo: It's a sad thing that happened across the board, stations had far few listeners than they ever saw from the diaries. This happened about ten years ago. A massive depression in audience ratings and surprisingly, like for instance in Los Angeles, all of a sudden, the number one station is a Spanish language station. Wonder why?
Phil: It makes sense.
Leo: They start measuring it accurately. And maybe I'm the Spanish language station in this story, Mike. You know, maybe I would benefit from accurate measurement. But maybe not. So, let's not, ok? Yea, it drives LA radio stations crazy. You'll often hear them say, "We're the number one English speaking station." It drives them nuts (laughing). But, you know, the truth can be painful. The truth hurts sometimes. Phil Libin here. It's great to have you from all-turtles.com with a dash in the middle. From Morocco, from Fez, and I apologize for the audio quality but I'm so glad to have you on, Mike. It's worth it. Mike Elgan, gastronomad.net.
Mike: I'm so glad to be here.
Leo: Yea. And Philip Elmer-DeWitt is making his first in studio appearance which is so nice. Ped30.com.
Philip: So happy to be here.
Leo: Yea. I'm glad you called and said, "We're going to be here for WWDC." Just fantastic. You know, you don't really look like Rush Limbaugh. We had a great week. We have a lot of fun stuff to show you as we put together this little highlight reel from the week gone by on This Week in Tech. Take a look.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Bryan Burnett: Performing evasive maneuvers.
Jason Howell: I have phaser range at full capacity. I don't know that I see anything.
Bryan: This is so much fun.
Megan: We saved the Serabache, obviously.
Narrator: Security Now.
Steve Gibson: The attack of the subtitles. Researchers at Check Point have discovered a new attack vector by crafting malicious subtitle files, attackers can take complete control over any type of device via vulnerabilities found in many popular streaming platforms.
Narrator: The New Screen Savers.
That robot's name is Botler and there are actually a handful of these robots deployed in hotels across the country. It's a Relay robot built by company called Savioke here in San Jose.
Narrator: TWiT. Now with half the calories.
Leo: Hey Coleen, I was just thinking. I've got these Death Star plans. Could you just jam them in there, wedge them in there? There it is. Help me. It doesn't—jam it. Push it. Yea.
Leo: Jason Howell, what's coming up this week?
Jason: Coming up this week, on Monday, June 5th, Apple's Tim Cook will take the stage at the World Wide Developer's Conference to showcase not only its big developer initiatives as expected, but also perhaps some new hardware including its much rumored Siri Speaker that would compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. On Tuesday, June 6th, Google is expanding its Waze Carpool service from the Bay Area and limited areas surrounding out to the entire state of California and who knows, maybe someday you'll be carpooling with Waze in your neighborhood sometime down the line. On Thursday, June 8th, Yahoo shareholders place their vote on whether to sell Yahoo's internet business to Verizon for $4.48-billion dollars. No surprise at this point. A yes vote is expected and if that happens, it would mark the end of Marissa Mayer's time as CEO of the company. And that's just a look at a few things that we'll be tracking in the coming week. Join myself and Megan Morrone on Tech News Today every weekday at 4:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern here on TWiT.tv.
Leo: Thank you, Jason Howell. Marissa made some good money for her brief tenure.
Philip: $15-million a year or something like that.
Leo: Whew. That's nice work of you can get it.
Philip: Yea, it doesn't put her in the top 200 I don't think.
Leo: Yea, that's true. Isn't that silly? Isn't that sad. I'm going on vacation tomorrow. We've got great people filing in for me. Next week, Jason Calacanis will be hosting. Who's hosing the following week? Is it Jason Snell? Snell is next week, Calacanis. We decided to only have people named Jason hosing the show for the next couple of weeks. So, Jason Snell next week, Jason Calacanis the week after.
Leo: The thing I'm going to miss—my mattress, of all things. I'm looking forward—
Phil: Can you take it with you?
Leo: I'm not taking my—I could though.
Phil: Startup idea.
Leo: Hmm. I could have a Casper sent to the hotel in Lima.
Philip: Nice segue.
Leo: (Laughing) The Casper Mattress is the best mattress in the world. They're an online retailer of premium mattresses made in the US. And because they're made in the US and sold directly to you, there's no markup, no department—you know, department stores double the price of everything. No mattress store markup. So, you're going to get a great mattress for a fraction of the cost. Obsessively engineered made of supportive memory foams. It's hard to describe and this is why I want you to try the mattress. It's got sink. You know, you're comfortable. It's not hard but it's firm. How can something—I don't know. You just have to try this. It sinks a little, I guess. And it's breathable, so, as summertime is coming, it's going to get hot. You want a mattress that helps you sleep cool because we know you'll sleep better if you're cool at night. Not too hot, not too cool, just right. Long lasting too. Great comfort. Great support. You buy it online and here's the most important thing, it's completely risk free. We're not talking about going to a mattress store and lying in broad daylight with your shoes on, on a mattress while the salesperson gives you the stink eye. We're talking about taking the mattress home. And actually, they ship it in a surprisingly compact box. Look. And you open it up. It comes out and they give you—there's rats and ties. They give you a little cutter. It goes whoosh and then suddenly this beautiful mattress. It doesn't smell like rubber or anything. It smells fresh and delicious. And it's—well, you might worry. It's been in the box.
Phil: I'd eat it.
Leo: And then, you got 100 nights. You sleep on it for 100—anytime in the first hundred nights, if you're tired of this, if you say, "This mattress is not right for me," they come and get it and take it away, refund you every penny. Costs you nothing. There's no risk. You've got to try it. Free shipping. Free returns in the US and Canada.
Philip: But not Machu Picchu.
Leo: Unfortunately, not Machu Picchu or the Galapagos. I'm just going to have to suffer. But you know, then—traveling's great because then when you get home, it makes you appreciate it and you get in your own bed, my Casper Mattress, my Bowl & Branch sheets and I go, "Ah, I'm home. I feel so great." Save an additional $50-dollars on your mattress if you go to casper.com/twit and use the promo code TWiT. That way they know you heard it on the show. Casper.com/twit. Promo code TWiT. You win, we win because you get $50-dollars off. Terms and conditions apply. Thank you, Casper.
Philip: Which came first, Casper the Friendly Ghost or—
Leo: The mattress came second. Casper the Ghost is older. But Casper the Ghost spells it AR, right? C-A-S-P-A-R, right? Caspar? Or is it Casper?
Philip: I don't know.
Leo: Or Kaspersky.
Philip: It's spelled the same.
Phil: Supportive memory foam, much better than judgmental memory foam.
Phil: Much more relaxing.
Leo: Thank you for holding that in thought until we—
Phil: I know, I know. It was almost unbearable.
Leo: WWCD picture on your website? Where is it?
Philip: Go to the very top.
Leo: Ok. This is the building.
Philip: Yea, and then hit read more.
Leo: What is wrong with them? What is McEnery Convention Center, the San Jose Convention Center. I took Est there in 1978.
Philip: Oh, I took it in Manhattan.
Leo: That was good, wasn't it?
Philip: It was good for a couple of years.
Leo: Yea. It got me to where I am today but that's where I took it.
Philip: Hey, doesn't it look like it broke out, like—this is what my face looked like as a teenager.
Leo: What are those things?
Philip: Those are those little people shot from the top.
Leo: Oh, it's people shot from the top.
Philip: But no one really knows what it's about. Apparently, they're centered around a dot.
Leo: Do you think they're going to release an Apple Drone?
Phil: No, it's going to be a jetpack. This guy's clearly in a jetpack. Look at him.
Leo: A jetpack.
Philip: I think it's an AI reference.
Phil: That is clearly a jetpack. That is the Apple Jetpack.
Leo: And who are these people? Is he flying?
Philip: Apparently, they lifted this idea from some art show.
Leo: This is—ok, up close you get it. But from a distance, you're right. It's not obvious what that is. It looks kind of—
Philip: And they covered like the—I don't know what the light rail is called in San Jose, but they whole station is covered with it.
Phil: This is a view from the Apple Jetpack. We're finally going to get—we were promised jetpacks. We'll find out tomorrow.
Philip: So, all along down here is—yea. And they've closed the street off to make San Jose safe for developers.
Leo: Wow. That's nice to have that kind of money, right? I think they're going to—this means they're going to do a drone. I'm going to be the first to say it. Oh, look. There's a guy in a wheelchair. You can tell from the top. Yea, that's inclusive, right? But you can't tell what race any of these people are.
Philip: Yea, so, there's nothing here that says Siri Speaker.
Leo: (Laughing). No, you're right. Must be a false rumor. All right.
Philip: That's sort of AI though.
Leo: What time is it in Fez? I always want to know.
Mike: It is 11 minutes after midnight.
Leo: So, is it calming down?
Mike: No. Not at all.
Leo: The sugar isn't wearing off the kids. A little more baklava and they're going to go all night.
Mike: Yea, they are.
Leo: Wow. Uber has decided to fire Anthony Levandowski. This was a controversial hire. Levandowski worked at Google on self-driving car. He then went to Otto which was his own startup, self-driving truck. Uber bought Otto and hired Levandowski and then got sued because, strangely enough, the LIDAR on the new Uber self-driving car and the Otto look suspiciously like that invented at Waymo LIDAR that cost one tenth of what LIDAR normally costs. The courts told Levandowski that he had to turn over information that had, evidence. He asserted his 5th amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.
Philip: Oh, a lot of people doing that these days.
Leo: Yea, that seems popular. I've got to remember that. I decline to testify on the grounds that I might incriminate myself. I'd like to plead the 5th.
Phil: The beautiful thing about the 5th is that you can't actually imply guilt from it, so.
Leo: Yea, but you do, obviously.
Phil: You shouldn't or else that kind of makes the whole Constitution pointless.
Leo: Yea, but you do. I mean I know, the jury and the judge don't. But everybody else goes, "He did it."
Philip: That's what Sessions said before he was asked to testify.
Leo: Anyway, Uber's been pressuring him to hand the materials over, to cooperate. He missed an internal deadline to do so. They fired him. So, he's gone.
Philip: $700-million they paid for that company.
Leo: Oh, wow. So, that puts the Marissa Mayer thing in perspective.
Leo: Anyway. Let's see. Waymo is also looking at trucking. So is Elon, right? Old Elon says he wants to do a truck.
Philip: Well, those are the guys who are going to be out of work.
Leo: The truckers.
Philip: Yea, yea.
Leo: The truckers first.
Phil: I'm not sure.
Mike: Hey, Leo, did you see Logan, the movie Logan?
Leo: I did.
Mike: They did such a great job depicting the future of self-driving trucks. I thought that was perfect. It was exactly what's coming.
Leo: I must have fallen asleep in that part. What happened?
Phil: Also, the future of animated claws.
Mike: Well, obviously, that's going to happen. They did perfectly depict a world where all the trucks are self-driving. They're all on the road. They're responding to accidents and things like that. It was really well done. It looked so believable and I think that trucking is going to be one of the first imitations of self-driving vehicles. Makes so much sense. Already, truck drivers are pushed to the limit. They're exhausted. They tend to be often dangerous drivers and someone like—because they have such big vehicles. But if anybody is still going to see the movie Logan, check out the detail with which the depict this world of self-driving trucks.
Leo: It's so funny. I just saw the movie. I don't remember that at all.
Phil: I haven't seen it yet but I'm looking forward to it.
Philip: Chatroom thinks you've confused Logan with Mad Max?
Leo: It's a little short clip in there. Oh, when the horses get loose. Yea. I can't remember. You know, I didn't really like it (laughing). I was just waiting for that one scene where the little girl just whips up on all the bad guys and after that I just kind of went back to my game, so.
Phil: What were you playing?
Leo: Field Runner's Attack. Yea, in fact, I should really get back to it because, well—
Philip: All right, we're done here.
Leo: We have an Alliance event and I haven't really earned my stars this week, but let's see. So, there was a big thread of information about Twitter, fake Twitter followers. It was prompted by somebody who said that Donald Trump, half of his followers were fake.
Philip: They're Russian bots.
Leo: They're Russian bots but I think—
Phil: I'm a Russian bot.
Philip: He is a Russian bot.
Leo: I think, in fact, it's always been half of the people on Twitter are fake.
Phil: Half sounds like it's an improvement.
Leo: That sounds low.
Mike: I think it's normally around one third, actually. Half is very much on the high side. It tends to range between 20% and 40%. Half is really on the high side for a major account like that.
Leo: Ok. I don't think you blame—I guess the implication is that maybe Trump's team bought followers. But I think if you're the President of the United States, you probably get all the bots automatically, right? You just get all the bots.
Philip: Yea, someone once told me that half the hits are bots.
Leo: I feel like there are people who are 70% bot followers, I really do. There is a site, I don't know how they would figure out if your bots, but there is a place you can audit your Twitter. And somebody ran me. I think I'm 30% bot.
Phil: That is not something I am going to do.
Leo: You don't want to know.
Phil: No. I mean I'm sure it's 90% for me.
Philip: The LinkedIn, I have for some reason—
Phil: Why would you follow me?
Philip: For some reason, I have 130,000 LinkedIn followers and there's a way to see where they're from and they were mostly from these little African countries.
Leo: What's your Twitter handle?
Leo: Yea. He doesn't even know. What's your handle?
Leo: Oh, there it is. It's on the screen. It's @philiped.
Philip: Oh, that's Twitter. Yea, yea, yea. Sorry. Gmail is—
Leo: Did you see self-driving trucks in Logan? They were amazing.
Philip: I never saw it.
Leo: All right. I don't know how—ok. 81%. You're very good.
Phil: All right, fine. Do me.
Leo: You only have 2,799 fake followers according to Twitter Audit.
Philip: How many do I have total?
Leo: You have, it says 12,171.
Phil: All right.
Leo: So, Phil, what's your—
Leo: Phil Libin.
Phil: Just @plibin.
Leo: Let's just run this. And you are 90%. You are really good. Wow.
Philip: Wow. How many total.
Mike: Ok, Mike Elgan.
Leo: @mikeelgan. And you're 80%--
Phil: I have more humans than all of you guys.
Leo: So, let's see. @realdonaldtrump.
Phil: That's not what I would have expected.
Leo: Now, this will take a while. 47% real. So, maybe it is a story. Let me do Leo Laporte. I do this with some trepidation. Me and Donald.
Philip: Yea, you're down there.
Leo: Me and Donald. I'm only half real. Not a real boy.
Philip: What's your total though?
Leo: Oh, see this is—oh, you have to add those up. So, it is close to 600,000 I think.
Philip: Wow. You are popular.
Phil: Very. Well done.
Leo: Well, no I'm not because half of them are fake.
Philip: But still.
Phil: They're just AIs. You appeal to a certain kind of artificial intelligence. It's something to be proud of.
Leo: What is @POTUS. 50% also. See, I figure it's not possible—
Philip: Yea, he's in the millions though.
Leo: Yea, but the reason is because if you're @POTUS or @TheRealDonaldTrump, every bot follows you. If you're running a Twitter bomb, you're going to follow those people, right?
Philip: How does that work? Why would you do that?
Leo: I never understood that. Who is—what is Taylor Swift's handle? Because she's like big, right? Now I don't know what's going on. I think they want me now to sign up. So, anyway, we're done. All right, we're done.
Phil: I'm 90% human. That's more than by weight.
Leo: That's pretty good.
Leo: Oh, I didn't do her real handle. Ok. Supreme Court. Kind of—you know, this was a bid decision. I didn't think it got a lot of coverage. The Lexmark case. So, this was decided in the Supreme Court this week by an eight to nothing vote. The Supreme Court was hearing a case about a company that was reselling, taking Lexmark cartridges, refilling them.
Philip: These are printer cartridges?
Leo: Printer cartridges, Ink Jet cartridges. A company named Impression Products was refilling them. Lexmark sued saying, "We have the patent on this and you can't refill them." The Supreme Court sided against Lexmark by eight to nothing. Actually, it ended up being revised because Ruth Baser Ginsburg said, "Well, ok. Yea, I agree except it should be US only." The eight nothing decision was originally US and overseas, the point being that a patent and patent rights expire upon sale. In other words, if you buy something, you own it. This is huge.
Phil: This is a big deal.
Leo: This is a big deal. I'm surprised it didn't get more coverage. Maybe because it seems so technical. But I think—
Phil: Well, it has the word Lexmark in it.
Philip: So, where else does it apply that it becomes huge?
Leo: Well, I think it has a lot to do with the right to repair movement, right? Because Apple, for instance, would very much like you to have to buy repairs and parts from Apple.
Philip: That's why they used weird screws.
Leo: Right. This would—I would think could be used to defend people who say, "No, no. You own that phone."
Phil: Is it going to holdup when we actually have like fully self-aware robots that we can buy?
Leo: (Laughing) You know, you ask a really interesting question. Maybe we should just wait an ask the self-aware robots.
Phil: We should. We should wait until they are on the Supreme Court.
Leo: When they're on the Supreme Court. You know, I think it's time. By the way, I want robot rights. It's time we got a self-aware robot on the Supreme Court.
Phil: Absolutely. The government jobs—forget the truckers. It's the government jobs that should be the first to go.
Leo: I think you're right. If you've ever been to DMV lately, oh boy.
Mike: It should be things that people are good at like politics.
Leo: Like politics.
Phil: Yea, like making arbitrary decisions.
Leo: Our robot overlords.
Philip: Well, who is it, Bill Gates says they should, that robot makers should be taxed for the jobs that they eliminate.
Leo: Yea, that's nuts.
Phil: He says robots should be taxed.
Philip: The robot maker.
Leo: No, the robots themselves. The whole thing is nuts. It's crazy. The tax situation is all upside down. You should tax consumption not production.
Phil: You tax things you don't want not things you do want.
Philip: My head just exploded.
Leo: Wait, what would be the thing I don't want?
Phil: We should tax things like—when you tax something it reduces it. So, you should put taxes on things that you want fewer of. Whatever. Not that you want more of.
Leo: This isn't really the show to debate taxation, but speaking of Bill Gates.
Phil: Also, I don't know much about it.
Philip: Oh, God, this was too long a read. I tried.
Leo: Oh, I will summarize because it's fantastic.
Philip: Oh, ok. I tried to read it.
Leo: This is from Hacker Noon. This a guy named Terry Crowley who worked in the Office division. Wrote an article on where Microsoft took a wrong turn in the 90s. And it really was Longhorn and Bill Gates decided, and this is the fascinating thing in here, at some point, Bill Gates decided that HTML and the rich web had no future. That, in fact, Windows Presentation Layer, Avalon, was the future of middleware. And spent untold amounts of developer time and effort on building up Avalon and Vista and deprecating the browser. In fact, most of the Internet Explorer Team was moved off IE and over to Avalon.
Phil: I remember that.
Leo: Kind of a spectacular misunderstanding of what the future would be.
Phil: But it was still Microsoft. That's the way they saw things.
Leo: "The whole history of Microsoft," he writes, "from its origin is about the primacy of software over hardware. Hardware is a commodity. The value is in software."
Phil: It's actually I think the supremacy of the buyer versus the user.
Leo: In fact, it's interesting that you should say that because—
Phil: Which is the opposite of Apple. Like, Apple's always been about the person using it, not necessarily the person buying it, although in Apple's case that's mostly the same person. Microsoft's been about the buyer not the user.
Leo: Right. The buyer not the user. Are the different?
Philip: Oh, yea.
Phil: In Microsoft's case, it's the CEO or something.
Leo: Oh, interesting. The other thing I found fascinating, the reason I found this article, is because the guy who took over after the debacle that was Vista, Steven Sinofsky, who headed the Windows 7 team—
Phil: Great guy. Big fan of Steven Sinofsky.
Leo: Heavily annotated this and recommended this article. And so, there's a second story going on as you read the article because what you're seeing really is Sinofsky's no longer at Microsoft. He can kind of speak his mind.
Phil: So, he's at Andreesen Horowitz now.
Leo: Yea. As you go along, there's underlinings. That's one of the things I like about Medium. You can see what other people have picked out. I'm not seeing them right now because I have an ad blocker on, but there's underlinings. But you can see what Sinofsky says is really the issue here. And in a way, the 2nd story is the successor at Microsoft, Steven Sinofsky and what he really thinks (laughing). But he did it all with underlining. Anyway, it's worth reading. It's on HackerNoon.com which is a Medium publication.
Phil: I wrote a note to Steve Ballmer at the time when they first announced Vista.
Leo: Because Evernote was a big Windows product, right?
Phil: Yea, they still are. But I wrote a note to Ballmer at the time saying that I see where they were going with the name, because you know, Vista, sort of a Windows-y name, you know. But I thought it was a missed opportunity. If it was me, I would have gone with Windows Pain.
Leo: (Laughing) So, Sinofsky might say that.
Phil: So, I never heard back from Ballmer on that note.
Leo: Well, what's happened of course is that the operating system now is no longer important at all, but it is in fact the presentation layer and the winner was the web. And that's why you can do something like Chrome OS, which really doesn't even care about the operating system.
Phil: The operating system is pretty important. It's about to get a lot more important.
Leo: Well, here's—ok. Here's my contention. The platform is the browser and the web. I don't care—one of the reasons I'm using Windows now, and I don't care if I'm on Mac OS, Windows or Chrome OS because most of what I do is in a browser, right? You disagree with me?
Mike: That's until you get hit by a WannaCry or something like that.
Philip: Yea, it's different on mobile.
Leo: Is it different on mobile?
Phil: Well, we haven't had the right operating system for AI yet and I think that's coming.
Leo: Oh, boy. Let's take a break and talk about that. We're almost done. Operating system for AI. Hmm. What does that mean? LISP? Yea, I'm learning LISP. I'm about halfway through SICP. I'm ready. I'll be ready for you. When you need me, just call me. I'll come in. I'll fix the 2038 problem. No problem.
Phil: I learned LISP from Paul Graham's book.
Leo: Did you really? Yea, great book.
Phil: I did and—
Leo: On LISP.
Phil: On LISP, yea. And it took me like 20 years to realize it was the same Paul Graham. And I got him to sign it.
Leo: He's amazing.
Phil: I got him a copy and I got him to sign it, so.
Leo: All his books are amazing. Hackers and Artists?
Phil: It's one of my prize possessions.
Leo: That's a smart guy.
Phil: Super smart guy.
Leo: Yea. Our show today brought to you by my shave, by Harry's, a great shave for a lot less than you're paying, about half of what you're paying. Father's Day is just around the corner. Oh, Harry's would be a great Father's Day gift. I gave it to my son for graduation. Oh, no, for Christmas. And he loved it, I have to say. Harry's knows that dads are tough to shop for. Do not give Dad a tie. Unless Dad has a big, bushy beard that goes all the way down to his chest and never uses a razor, you might want to take a look at Harry's. Actually, get one for yourself and then give one to dad and the grads. Harry's is all about a great shave at a fair price. They bought the factory in Germany. This is a great startup story. Harry's founders got a little money, you know, probably from someone like you, Phil, an angel investor.
Phil: That's why there's an elephant on the package.
Leo: How do we disrupt—is there really?
Phil: Yea, right here.
Leo: Oh, is that because of you?
Phil: No. It's actually a mastodon. It's a mammoth, yea.
Leo: It's a mammoth. It's a wooly mammoth. But they don't want you to be a wooly mammoth.
Phil: Products with elephants on them are better than products without elephants on them.
Leo: So, they got all the money and they said, "How do we disrupt the shaving industry?" It was really clear, in fact it's even an adage, the model is you give away the razor and you make it up on the blades, and these blades are way overpriced. They realized that the best thing we could do is buy the factory in Germany that makes the blades and sell it direct. So, that's what you get. You get amazing, well-made blades designed to work great, give you a close comfortable shave and you get it for about half the price of those blades in the drugstore. Actually, I shouldn't say that anymore because you can actually find Harry's—there they are, Jeff and Andy. You can actually find Harry's in the drugstore now, which I was really pleased to see. But you still get that great price. The Harry's kit will get you started with a razor handle, the moisturizing shave gel, three of Harry's 5-blade precision engineered razors. They have a limited addition Father's Day Shave Kit. I don't think I have that here. Maybe I do. Show it on the—yea, no, this is the orange one. This is the beautiful, it's beautiful. It's a storm gray razor handle plus you get the chrome razor stand. You get the foaming shave gel, 3 replacement blades, the travel cover which I will use tomorrow and I use all the time. It's really a great idea to keep yourself from getting cut when you reach in your shaving kit to get your blade. I love it. Plus, it comes in a sleek, giftable box. You can even add custom engraving and a personalized card for free. This is a nice gift. And, right now, get $5-dollars off actually any shave set at Harrys.com/twit.
Leo: Sean Parker's back. You know he has a plan to let you rent movies that are still in theatres for $50-bucks.
Phil: I support this. This is great.
Leo: Would you do—I guess so, because it's like $13-dollars to see a movie.
Phil: Yea, if you have someone over. Like I'm actually really angry that you still have to go to movies first and the whole like movie distribution thing. Like, it pisses me off.
Leo: He created Napster. The music industry didn't like that too much. But his new thing—and Hollywood doesn't like it too much again, is premium video on demand. There's a new acronym, PVOD.
Phil: That's a winner.
Mike: So, how does it work?
Leo: PVOD. Well, the company's called Screening Room. So, you rent the movie. Instead of the inexpensive, $4-dollars for a movie that's been out of the theatres, you know, months later. You rent it for 48 hours for $50 bucks. 20% goes to the movie distributor. A theater chain, I guess they're going to work with theatre chains and get up to $20 bucks. Each customer would get 2 tickets to see that title at the theatre. Screening Room takes 10%.
Phil: It's great. Yea, I think it's great. Basically nothing—
Leo: I love this idea.
Phil: There's no upside to sitting in a dark room with random people that you didn't choose to be with.
Leo: You probably have a nice home theatre, too.
Phil: I used to. Not anymore. I used to.
Philip: There's the smell of popcorn.
Leo: What's happening in Fez? Sounds like a new party has started.
Philp: He's lost control of the mic.
Leo: This is Fez. I love this one. Delicious, remember Delicious? Joshua Schachter bookmarking site, got bought by Yahoo. Yahoo managed to kill it pretty good. Then the guys who started YouTube bought it, weirdly enough. Then, they didn't want it so they sold it. It's been sold 5 times. 5 times. The YouTube founders bought it in 2011. They sold it to Science Incorporated in 2014. Science sold it to Delicious Media in 2016. And now—during this whole process when Delicious was bought my Yahoo, I moved to Pinboard because the guy who does Pinboard had this great model. If you get in early you pay less. And as more people use it, his server costs go up, you pay more. I've been very happy. I got this for like $12-dollars. He must be doing all right because he just bought Delicious (laughing). Maciej, I don't know what you plan with Delicious. He doesn't really need it. He's duplicated the Delicious API. It's completely compatible with the relations.
Phil: It's such a cool service.
Leo: It is great. Apparently, all your bookmarks, if you used Delicious, are still there.
Leo: They didn't delete anything, so maybe there'll be some future for Delicious. Speaking of Delicious—
Phil: We actually considered buying it. We talked about it.
Leo: Did you really?
Phil: We did, yea, at Evernote two years ago.
Leo: Yea. Would have been a great buy.
Phil: Would have been, yea. We came very close. Just didn't look out.
Leo: I use Pinboard. All of this stuff is in Pinboard and then I use Zappier to automatically put it into a spreadsheet.
Mike: You know what's funny, though? Delicious looms large in all of our minds because at some point it was the flavor of the month. You'd look at it like in 2008 or something like that. It only acquired like 5.3 million users. Compare that to Facebook or any social anything nowadays, that is amazing how tiny it was compared to how big we remember it, you know?
Leo: And I think we remember it because we were journalists. Maybe we were doing stuff. We're going to wrap it up. I need to wrap it up too. I think it's time to have a little quite thank you for our fabulous hosts. Mike Elgan, visiting us from Morocco. Wow, that was cool. Find out more about Mike and Amira, what they're up to at gastronomad.net and read his great writings in Computer World. I didn't even get to your fabulous article which I talked about on the Radio Show, about why businesses should prepare for a laptop ban. Not that it's imminent, but when it happens, it will happen because there was an incident and it will happen like that and all of a sudden you won't be able to carry laptops on an airplane. It will be a huge deal. And so, Mike—
Mike: One of the reasons it will be huge is because you probably won't be able to put it in checked luggage either.
Leo: Yea, because that's even more dangerous. That's dangerous, too.
Mike: Very dangerous.
Leo: There was a fire, a lithium ion battery burst into flame. Fortunately, they were in the cabin where they could be dealt with. Had it been in the hold, it might have been a whole other matter.
Phil: Yea, you need cloud services and airport laptop rentals.
Mike: Exactly. There were 33 fires from devices last year in the United States alone that were recording> And so, imagine if half of those had ignited in the hold where crews couldn't put it out with a fire extinguisher.
Leo: Read Mike's piece. It's really good in Computer World, especially if you are a business and you do a lot of business traveling. This is something you need to prepare for, no question. Phil Libin, good luck. I'm so excited. You are here the day before your new company All-Turtles.com.
Phil: It's my last few hours of not having real responsibility, so.
Leo: You have to report to the office at 9:00 tomorrow morning?
Phil: I do. I do. Gotta be there at 9:00.
Leo: We've got to talk about fasting sometime, but not today. Because I've got to run because I've got a plane to catch. I've got to get out of here. But, thank you so much for being here.
Phil: Thank you for asking me back.
Leo: You're great and you can come back anytime.
Phil: Thank you.
Leo: And I extend exactly the same offer for you, Philip Elmer-DeWitt. Always nice to see you. Have fun tomorrow. How early are you going to get in line?
Philip: Well, I don't have to get in line because I have a press pass.
Leo: Oh, I've heard about that.
Phil: But the line is where you get all the best info.
Philip: I suppose, you mean from the developers?
Leo: Nobody knows nothing.
Philip: I have to work, I have to type while it's happening.
Leo: We'll watch with great interest. We'll follow your blog at PED30.com and of course, we'll have our own streaming coverage tomorrow morning, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 Eastern, 1700 UTC. You know, I'm always rooting for Apple. I want them to be the Apple of yore, I just fear that there's not, that they don't have what it takes to become the Apple of yore.
Philip: I think, I have to believe that either they will deliver at some point things that will allow you or it ain't gonna happen.
Leo: Yea, yea. They're just going to ride the phone into the sunset.
Philip: Well, we've seen that happen before at Apple.
Leo: We've seen it happen with many companies. It's kind of the way it is.
Philip: What's amazing with Apple is that they've come back.
Leo: They've come back. Yea, they had a second act. Thank you for joining us. We do This Week in Tech every Sunday, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern, 2200 UTC. I won't be here for the next 2 weeks. Good news. Great co-hosts. We let them put together their own show so it's always interesting. Jason Snell next week, Jason Calacanis the week after. It should be a lot of fun and I'll be back in three weeks. In fact, I'll be back on June 18th, or 19th, I guess to do all the shows as usual. So, I hope you'll join me then and I hope you'll watch next week. You can always get the shows on demand at TWiT.tv or wherever you subscribe to podcasts. Do subscribe. We want you to get every single episode! Thanks for joining me and we'll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye.