This Week in Tech 623
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech. We've got lots to talk about, that new Disney hotel where you get to play a Star Wars character, the search for Uber's CEO, and of course, tonight is Game of Thrones. We'll talk about it with our panel. Devindra Hardawar from Engadget, we've got Georgia Dow from Imore.com, and the return of Jill Duffy from PC magazine, plus Leo will wear a daisy hat. It's all coming up next on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode number 623, recorded Sunday, July 16, 2017.
Binders Full of CEOs
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we talk about the latest tech news with the best tech journalists in the 'biz. We've got a great line up for you. Devindra Hardawar is here from senior editor at Engadget. He came back from the beach just to do this show, so thank you.
Devindra Hardawar: Straight here from the beach.
Leo: Wow. That's dedication. I appreciate that, Devindra. Did you take the subway or did you walk?
Devindra: I took the subway. I'm right beyond the Q, so it's 25 minutes for me from the beach.
Leo: You don't think of Brooklyn as being 25 minutes from the beach.
Devindra: Coney Island is there, Brighton beach is there. The nicer beaches are further away, but if you just want a quick trip, any New Yorker can get down there pretty easily.
Leo: Also glad to have Georgia Dow in a new environs. I didn't realize you had a rustic home. I thought you lived in a white box.
Georgia Dow: This is my other area of basement. You can see.
Leo: She's in the basement. Buying a bigger home because they need more room for VR?
Georgia: That could be true. My kids are also growing. One of the things we've told the real estate agent who knows nothing about VR is we need 215 by 15 rooms.
Leo: iMore.com and Georgia is also a psychotherapist who does great videos at anxiety-videos.com. We're really glad to welcome back someone we haven't seen in a while, Jill Duffy, PC magazine is here. Hi, Jill.
Jill Duffy: Hi! How are you?
Leo: You were living in India for three years, but you're back.
Jill: That's right. I'm in the bay area for a month to chill out, then I'll be headed over to the East coast for a couple months.
Leo: Then Bucharest.
Leo: I love Budapest. Is that near Bucharest?
Jill: Not especially close. But you know what? Different country!
Leo: Are you Romanian? She's Polish, so she knows. Someone in the audience went like this. No.
Jill: It's Europe, and anywhere in Europe is never more than a two or three hour flight.
Leo: Sounds exotic and fun. So glad we can get you on. Davindra offers us our first story of the week. I didn't know about this. Disney announced a brand new hotel, a star wars hotel where every guest gets a story line, it's like Westworld. This is going to be in LA?
Devindra: It sounds like it's at Orlando. It's going to be start of the new Star Wars Land. They're building Galaxy's edge, and that whole thing is going to be an interactive thing as well, but this hotel sounds insane. As soon as you get there, you'll get costumed, you'll get a custom storyline, it'll follow you throughout your entire trip.
Leo: The windows don't show the actual place, they show space.
Devindra: Just like Westworld. I think the idea is that you're on a starship leaving Earth with everyone you know in the hotel with you.
Leo: Disney of course owns the Star Wars franchise, they've all been big star wars amusements in their parks.
Devindra: That's what is coming. Galaxy's Edge is the Star Wars Land. They're going to have all sorts of different rides. They gave us more of a taste of it at D20, their expo in Annaheim. It's interesting too that they talked about this ahead of Comicon, shows the lessening impact of an event like Comicon when Disney can announce it themselves.
Leo: Isn't that the way it's been though? There was Comdex, then people say we don't need a Comdex, then there's CES, we don't need CES. Apple used to have all these conventions... if you're a big company, like Disney with a bi story, you don't need to do this at a convention. You don't want to do it at a convention. You want to do it where you're going to get all the press.
Devindra: Definitely. Control the story completely from start to finish.
Leo: Will you stay in this Star Wars hotel?
Devindra: I'm excited by it, but I feel like we haven't learned anything from Westworld, right? They're going to be actors there, people following you, droids. It's only eventually we'll have intelligent robots in hotels like this experiences like this. We're getting there.
Leo: What could possibly go wrong?
Jill: Isn't it basically a murder mystery cruise, only you don't have to be on a boat?
Leo: The problem with a murder mystery cruise on a boat is you can't get off the boat.
Jill: You can. Everybody is with you for the same amount of time, you have a narrative arc that's going to hold together, whereas if you have guests checking in at different times, I don't know how you can manage that, right?
Leo: It's LARPing.
Devindra: It's basically LARPing for adults. You can run into people, or Chewbacca, he can give you a mission, send you on the Millenium Falcon ride, dependong on how well you do there, you can get rewarded with more credits for the theme park, you can get yelled at, they can send bounty hunters after you, chasing you throughout the theme park.
Georgia: I think some people may get too enthused with this, That's my only worry. Some people are going to get too excited and ruin it for everyone else, so...
Leo: Star Wars guy will be there.
Jill: Like all the adult fights that break out at Chuck E. Cheese. The Chuck E. Cheese crowd, the parents notoriously get into these blow-out fights.
Leo: It's mostly because they're depressed because they're at Chuck E. Cheese I would expect.
Georgia: It becomes territorial.
Leo: That sounds nightmarish. Showdown at Chuck E. Cheese. Kara Swisher has an article in Recode. They're looking for a new CEO at Uber with Travis Kalleneck stepping down, and everyone has been suggesting names, so Karen has decided she'd check and call. Cheryl Sandburg CEO, no she's quite happy with her current position. Frankly, who would want to be CEO at Uber? Susan Wojiski, who is running Youtube, happy running her job, also very rich. Sources said she's not keen on playing cleanup for naughty tech boys. How about Disney CEO Tom Stags or Schwartz CEO Allan Malally? He says no. Stags doesn't want to move, or wade into the muck. Malally told me flatly on the record he has no interest and is very happy with his board seats. It just goes on and on. Monica Lee, the head of Thrive Global. This is from Monica Lee, Arianna Huffington has zero interest in this role. What about Marissa Meyer?
Devindra: She's used to trying to save a failing company.
Georgia: I think she's been bitten by that one though. I would assume no.
Leo: Multiple sources say no. Marissa has zero background in complex reward logistics, that's what Uber would require, a leadership record at Yahoo that is questionable. The game continues. Who is going to be the CEO? Who would want that job? I figure it's high risk, high reward. If you did well, you can make some money.
Devindra: It would be funny if this role stayed open for so long. It's radioactive, you don't want to touch this, because you can potentially save the company, but who wants to jump into that mess? How do you save a culture that is flawed fundamentally.
Georgia: You'd have to pick someone in a bigger mess. The problem is they chose people who were doing well in their careers. Why would you risk that when you're doing well for all of this bad press and negativity that you'd have to clean up. You'd have to pick someone that was into huge risk for fun, which is a small pool of people, or someone doing worse who wants to make a break.
Leo: According to the New York Times, the applications are flooding in. Isaac writes, Uber offers a thankless job, and the applications flood in because it's a company in 80 countries, multi-billion dollar evaluation, 50,000 employees. It's an opportunity if you can turn it around, but he doesn't want to say who is applying. It's funny that you can even apply for a CEO job. It's interesting. Right? Who do you call? What does the application look like?
Devindra: It sounds like counter messaging. You leek the story, like we're not having trouble, we've got tons of CEO applications. That would be the counter message I would want to send out.
Leo: You nailed it. So Game of Thrones is tonight.
Georgia: Yeah. I have my shirt.
Leo: What does it say? Winter is here, baby. Are you the one with dragons?
Georgia: Of course.
Leo: I watched the last episode of the last season. I forgot everything. It's been so long. She did what? He did what? Now I'm caught up, I'm ready. It'll be exciting tonight. The question asked, is sharing your HBO password OK?
Jill: I think there's only one password. Aren't we all just sharing it around?
Leo: So, Jill, why would you want to buy a cable subscription to HBO? You're only going to be here a while.
Jill: But if you turn on some VPN, you can stream all kinds of good American TV no matter where you are in the world.
Leo: Is that how you did it in India? Were you able to watch this stuff in India?
Jill: Some really interesting stuff happened with VPN in the time I was there. a bunch of services would start to recognize if you had VPN on and cut you off, and banks are really good at that too, because they've got to be careful of suspicious activity even if you have a VPN on, so they would notice that you would have it on and ask for two factor authentication or say you have to call the bank.
Leo: It was the content providers that were trying to block the VPN providers?
Jill: And the VPN services said "aha." We're going to come up with a new mode. The service I came up with came up with what they call chameleon mode, which is other party can't detect that...
Leo: What do you mean? I'm not in Shanghai, I'm in Indianapolis.
Jill: It's like pow pow. Everybody is coming at it from a different angle, which is great for the technology, because it's pushing people to do new things. It's forcing the content providers to realize people all over the world are legitimate customers and do want to continue consuming content or managing their online finances. It's been really interesting to have to follow it more closely than before.
Leo: So if you're in Shanghai, what do you want?
Jill: All of Netflix. I got to the end. I keep up with Game of Thrones. Something I thought was interesting about this show, is they're changing it to 90 minutes this season.
Leo: Game of Thrones is going to be 90 minutes?
Devindra: Is it just the premier?
Georgia: No. All of the episodes.
Leo: That explains why they're starting at 9, because they need to start early.
Jill: So they can't... the amount of storyline that is going into each episode can't be jammed into 60 minutes, so they're going to stretch it out to 90, which I think is great.
Devindra: I'm looking up here, it's the finale that's going to be 90 minutes.
Jill: All the other episodes are going to be 60?
Devindra: I think so. This is a really expensive show for HBO, so they can't just all of a sudden make it super long. But the finale, I think they're splitting this season too. They're going to have another half of the season.
Leo: I hate it when they do that. Then I have to wait again to figure out what's going on. If I could, I would just hold off. I have no impulse control, but I would hold off and binge-watch the whole thing at the end.
Georgia: You can't do that because you're on the Internet all the time.
Georgia: Then you have to stay off social media... I make sure I watch it the same day.
Leo: Lisa doesn't understand when I say I have to watch Silicon Valley tonight. You can watch it tomorrow, no I have to watch it tonight. At least we geeks have some cooler water cooler conversations. We geeks, we know what we have to watch.
Devindra: Something like Twin Peaks, the Water cooler conversations around that. The new season has been crazy too.
Leo: Mostly it's like what the hell happened? Do you understand it? Do you? Who's the woman with the log and the thing?
Devindra: The last one they just ended two episodes ago was one of the most astounding things I've ever seen on television.
Leo: Tell me, I'm going to binge watch it. They've exceeded, Game of Thrones has gone beyond the books now. Yes?
Georgia: This season will be beyond the books.
Leo: Which asks an interesting question! You're George RR Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones series, and very happy that they've made it, they've written five or six? But now what is he going to do? Is he going to write the books to match the show from now on?
Jill: I was under the impression was he signed a contract with HBO that said he needed to give them the story arc until the end. There was some concern over whether he would finish the books, possibly for health reasons, and so they said you can't leave us hanging without the story. I believe this is what it is, he's given the major plot points to the end, and he's writing his books as he goes.
Leo: Game of Thrones, a Clash of Kings, Storm of Swords, a Feast for Crows, Dance with Dragons, that was 2011. Still to come are the Winds of Winter and a Dream of Spring, but those are in process. That's what the TV show is going to cover.
Devindra: He's said in interviews that the show is the show and the book is the book. He doesn't control what happens on the show, he just gave them some basic ideas, because there are characters and arcs that happen in the books that we'll never see in the show.
Leo: and vice versa. There's characters and stories in the show that are different. 60 million copies, he's sold of those five books so far. That's successful. I don't know how much the show is making HBO, but it's obviously very important to their success. All right. That's what the geeks will be watching tonight.
Devindra: We have to end the show on time, Leo. I've got to get out of here.
Leo: It's a good point. It starts at 6:00 Pacific, 9 PM your time? We'll definitely be done by then. Speaking of VPN--
Georgia: Are you excited about the spin off series?
Leo: There's a spin off?
Georgia: They have in production five different ideas that they're going through, and they're going to choose one that's going to become a spin off series. For when it's done.
Devindra: Cuz it's all going to be over soon, right?
Georgia: Too soon for HBO.
Devindra: It could be cool. I think of Better Call Saul, which is the spin off prequel of Breaking Bad. That show has ended up being better than Breaking Bad in so many ways. So there's potential to do something good, but it does sound like HBO wants to keep milking this cow forever.
Leo: So, I'm thinking about your story, Jill, about using VPNs in India to watch American television. China has announced that by February 2018, you will not have access to a VPN in China. It's an interesting technical challenge, I imagine, but it's also an interesting story. The Chinese Government has known that people have been using the Chinese Government to get around the great Firewall so that they can see things like Facebook and Twitter and watch TV shows and all sorts of things. I was always told five or six years ago that the Government knew it, but they weren't worried so much about the elites using VPNs, they were worried about the mass of the population finding out what was going on in the world outside. Maybe now they're worried about everybody, or maybe VPNs have become more common place. So the idea is if you get Internet service in China, you get it from China, mobile China Unicom or China telecom. Those services will block VPNs. I don't know how they're going to handle chameleon mode, it seems to me... I understand this. This underscores how difficult it is for a country these days to isolate their population from the outside world.
Jill: I wonder if that's what it's really about. Or if it's more about surveillance.
Leo: aaah. Disodance.
Georgia: I think the latest statement from China's ministry of Industry said that their authorized VPNs will still be allowed, so maybe it is about surveillance, so then they can still surveil who they want.
Leo: Authorize me so they can watch. That would make sense. Well, we'll be getting that soon. I'm sure. It's part of a trend across the world to break encryption, to make sure people can't go dark, that there's no communication you can have that the Government can't see. It's in China now, but you gotta wonder. There's a move afoot in the West to do similar things. Let's take a break, we're going to come back and then we'll talk about Google releasing 20 million infected bacteria mosquitos in Fresno. I kid you not, that's the story, but first a word from Capterra. If you are in the business of... maybe your boss said find us some software and find it quick. If your job is to find software for your business to use, you may be challenged by this. What are you going to do? google it and get a random listing and read as much as you can on the site? Can I recommend Capterra instead? Capterra is a directory of Business software with amazing collection. 200,000 user reviewers, 400 categories, thousands of products in every category from Construction to church, to CRM, to medical practice, to membership management. Performance appraisal. Let's say you need help with this software, so you go to Capterra.com/TWiT. Here's a list. All the help desk software is here. But we're going to get even better. You can always look at the top twenty most popular, but this is an even better way. On the right, filter the results, and I only want four star and up, but I also would like to specify ten to 50 users. What do you want? Incident management? Knowledge base? Live chat? Ticket management? Pick the features you want, click filter results, and then you're going to get a listing. We've narrowed it down to 30 products that do exactly the things you need, and then even better, click the box that says add to compare, and you can compare four different programs, and get all the features in a table, and then read the reviews. Hundreds of thousands of reviews from actual users. They're very careful at Capterra to make sure those reviews are real reviews, not from competitors, but from actual users. You're going to get all the information you need to make a reasonable choice. Probably by now, you've said that sounds great, how much? Free. This is a free easy to use software comparison site. There's no registration, obligation. You will not get emails, you will not get phone calls. It's a service from capterra.com, the smart way to find business software. If you've got to do this, please start at capterra.com/twit. Some of the biggest companies in the world have used Capterra. Software that will save you and your business time every day. capterra.com/twit, we thank them for their support of This Week in tech. Joining us today, Georgia Dow from iMore.com, in her rustic basement. There's some serious concern in the chatroom about your ceiling, whether it's asbestos. The consensus is it's not.
Georgia: It's some old stucco thing. But thank you.
Leo: You see how you're letting these people in your life. Also with us, Jill Duffy. Wisely is sitting in front of a completely blank wall, we can't tell anything about Jill.
Jill: Where am I? Who am I?
Leo: Nobody knows. We just know you're going to Bucharest. You'll find her writing at PC Magazine.com, and fast company. Jill covers a lot of areas. Have you tried Pellaton yet? Lauren Good did a good one. I have to say, I love it. It's the spin cycle, that's got a big Android tablet on it. You've got live classes from Brooklyn, you can watch. It's pretty cool. Something you might want to try. Also, Devindra Hardawar is here. Let me ask Devindra, what phone are you using these days?
Devindra: I'm going to hold onto my iPhone 6S until it dies, because I need a headphone jack and I think Apple is being dumb about this whole thing.
Leo: Interesting. I have to say, I'm a big Android fan, and I carry a Pixel as well as an iPhone. I love it, but I am increasingly worried about Android, and I'm curious what you think about this. You covered this subject. Android security. Is it becoming an issue?
Devindra: Is there something specifically you're wondering about?
Leo: First of all, we keep hearing about Malware. The biggest issue is, the reason this came up for me, someone was calling today, has a Motorola phone, and Motorola makes a very good Android headset. It hasn't been updated since April. No security patches, and he still is running 7.0. With the Pixel we get the updates, one of the reasons I get the Pixel is because I want those updates. I feel safe with the updates, but the majority, 90% of Android users are not up to date. Even if you have a Samsung phone, you may be a month or two behind the security patches. My
s8 is still 7.0. I wonder if it's time to start thinking, I see a lot of security experts... here's why I'm wondering. Black Hat is this week coming up. A number of people said you'd be insane to bring an Android phone to Black hat.
Devindra: I wouldn't bring anything to Black hat. I wouldn't bring anything with a radio turned on, I'd bring the tiny little dumb phone or something, but you've got to be careful about anything. We've been talking about Android updates for so long and the manufacturers have had so long to update their manufacturing cycles, and I think Google has brought this up to companies, and I haven't seen a huge improvement. Maybe things have to get worse before they get better. There will probably have to be some big malware attack that effects millions of phones before they step up their game.
Leo: But I think the problem is even if that happens, Google doesn't have the means with which to update most of these Android phones.
Devindra: They don't. All they can do is try to set rules going forward.
Leo: When you were in India I'm sure Jill. Did you bring a phone to India?
Jill: I brought an old, unlocked iPhone that I Could trash and not worry about it. I got a One Plus two, which is two or three years old now. It's nice to have a device to take photos, and to play around with some Android hardware.
Leo: As you looked around, you saw a broad variety of inexpensive Android phones. Not so many iPhones.
Jill: People ask me that a lot about what did I see in India, and India is a strange place because people who have money, at least in South India tend to be private. So you don't see, or interact with people on the street. It's a very different culture, and people who have inexpensive phones, you're often talking about flip phones, and especially among the every poor people, something we forget around in the US, 24% of India's population is illiterate, so what good is a Smartphone if you can't read or write? So the flip phone still makes sense in a lot of places where... or when you're communicating with a lot of different people in a lot of different languages. Maybe you can speak them but you can't write them, so there are a variety of reasons why there's no one phone that stood out to me. A lot of people had one pluses. I guess. People definitely had more non iPhone phones than iPhone phones. There was no one phone or trend that stood out to me. There was a huge variety of different people, different languages, different literacy levels. There's no uniformity whatsoever.
Leo: They had very strong tariffs, unless you make a phone in India, it's hard to get it into the country. I think One Plus does, and Apple's fox con is building in an Indian plant.
Jill: I think that's the plan, they're going to start manufacturing iPhones in DI. I'm not sure of the details.
Leo: I think that the heterogeneity of it, and the fact that you've got a lot of inexpensive Android phones, particularly in areas where people can't afford more expensive phones, is a big cause for concern when we talk about Android security. There's issues we've been talking about on Security Now, there's issues for instance, Facebook has those chat heads, right? Those bubbles that come up? You don't get them on the iPhone, because Apple won't let you do that kind of thing. You can't modify the user interface. But on Android, when somebody chats with you on messenger, their head pops up in a little bubble, which you can move around and tap on to open the message, and it's a kind of neat notification, except it relies on a feature in Android devices, the ability to write on top of existing applications that is a massive security problem. It allows people to fake websites and fake forms, and get the data from a form. You might be on what you think is your bank's app but instead you've got a chat head like technology putting the form there and you're filling it in and sending it to the hacker, and Google is between a rock and a hard place. They'd like to turn this write over feature off, but it's not a bug, it's not a flaw, because so many apps use it, particularly the big blue app, the most important app on most phones, they can't turn it off, so there's some significant problems with Android, and I don't think Google is addressing those issues. I think you're right, Devindra, at some point there's going to have to be a big mess.
Devindra: I've been thinking about IT cyber security too, especially after all these ransomware attacks. I just did a piece at Engadget as well, just what could we do about this? I spent several years working in IT as well, I get that mentality that you can only update so much, you can't update to the newest operating system all the time, because the support or the institutions are going to give you enough funding to do all the upgrades you need to do? There are possibilities, a lot of people are waiting for one big attack to happen to make all the companies wake up and invest more in cyber security in the main company. Make Governments pay more attention to you. Some people think regulation is the better answer, and that may be more of where we need to go if you think about cyber security in the vain of something like a seatbelt, and security for cars, and when seatbelts were first being discussed especially Ford, really fought against it, as something that would hurt innovation in cars. Seatbelts, they save lives. If companies can't agree about that, I wonder what it would take for cyber security to happen.
Leo: I wonder if a Government can make a regulation that makes any sense at all.
Devindra: The seatbelt thing did happen. They started an automotive safety commission, they fought for it. It took a while, but now it's a standard thing, and we take it for granted.
Leo: Save millions of lives. At least hundreds of thousands of lives.
Georgia: The problem with the Government regulating though is the Government saying we want you to give us the keys, and we already know that doesn't work out well, so that becomes a really difficult issue. I can understand why Governments would want that. It just leaves us in an insecure place, and if you have a great Government, that sounds wonderful, but anyone can have Governments change.
Devindra: We're in a weird spot around cyber security in general. I just think when Wannacry happened, the NHS was attacked, and things were shut down and hospitals had trouble functioning. An attack at that point, human lives are at risk as well.
Leo: You mention in your article that New York has cyber security regulations.
Devindra: For financial companies, yeah. For big financial institutions. A lot of people fought against that too, but we don't know what the result of that is. We don't know how much that's going to protect these companies, but certainly it's better than nothing. That's about accountability. Someone in your company is a cyber security Tzar. They're the person in charge of making sure you're following all these rules, and making sure you're charting your actually following cyber security rules and doing all the updates and things like that. And actually logging potential risks as well. Accountability, that's a good start, as opposed to forcing pure regulations on people.
Leo: Henry Ford the second who was the CEO of Ford in the 60's when the seatbelt laws were proposed, said we're going to have to shut down if they make this a law. We're going to have to go out of business. You can see the intense pressure on something as sensible as a seatbelt law, you mention one of the things in New York State would be you'd have to disclose if there's a breach. A lot of breaches are happening that aren't disclosed, particularly in financial institutions that aren't disclosed. Somebody in the chatroom saying, "Couldn't you have a regulation that said if you sell an Android device in the United States you have to have Google's monthly security patch within 30 days of the patches released? Could you do that?
Georgia: I think that when we talk about accountability, it would have to be financially being accountable. If you could sue a company because they let this much software out and became a big fine, some companies would listen. If we're hoping out of the kindness of their hearts people are going to choose to make sure that their phones are safe, I don't think that's going to happen.
Leo: There's also the issue that the cyber is international. You can have a regulation in New York State, you can have a regulation in the United States, but you can't prevent other countries from offering services. This is part of the problem, but it's one of the good things about the encryption debate, is the US can block encryption, doesn't in any sense eliminate encryption's availability.
Devindra: We're in really sticky territory right now. When Wannacry happened and that was due to Windows XP flaw...
Leo: That was discovered by the NSA and never revealed!
Devindra: And it was stolen by the NSA and hackers stole it and deployed it and used it as a weapon, that is really sticky territory.
Leo: Taxpayers paid for the development of this exploit, and then get exploited by it. Maybe we start there. Although it's hard to think, this is also challenging, there has been for years a process that I don't think has ever been fully used for revealing these flaws. All the players come to the table and have to justify we found this flaw, but we have to justify keeping it a secret, but there is certainly incentive to do that, because you can use that now to capture a terrorist, that's valuable. At the same time, they have to assess for instance, there's a whole set of criteria on this that is interesting. Let me see if I can find it, but things like if this flaw were discovered or released, how bad would it be? How widespread would the problem be? Things like that, where they have to assess that and say maybe we have to balance capturing a terrorist versus bringing the nation's infrastructure to its knees.
Devindra: A lot of these things may not be as concrete as capturing a terrorist. Government told these exploits to use them against the competition, use them against their rivals or allies. It's sticky territory and we don't know what's up yet. I think the entire game has changed when it comes to international cyber warfare, and we've seen a lot of countries deploy their own thing after that. So there are a lot of conversations we need to have, there's probably a need to have more dialog around cyber warfare and cyber security, and countries are talking. There have been talks between the US and China when Obama was present and we don't know where much of that stands now, companies like Microsoft are talking about doing a digital Geneva convention because we may need that. We may need some sort of agreement for everybody so we can play on the same ballfield, basically.
Leo: The Vulnerabilities equities process, it was proposed in the Obama administration some years ago, and has not been widely used, although it is around there. In fact the latest from the current administration is we're going to let the NSA and other intelligence communities decide what they're going to reveal. But the idea existed in Government that there should be this conversation about these vulnerabilities and what the pros and cons are of releasing them. Telling the companies Microsoft for instance to patch it, so these are the list of considerations. This was released in 2014, when applying the vulnerabilities equities process. How much is the vulnerable system used in the core Internet infrastructure and in other critical infrastructure systems in the US economy or in the national security systems? Does the vulnerability if left un-patched pose significant risk? How much harm could an adversary nation or criminal group do with the knowledge of this vulnerability? Obviously none of this was applied to the SMB exploit. How likely is it that we would know somebody else is exploiting it? How badly do we need the intelligence we can get from exploiting the vulnerability? This seems... I have to say when I read this I thought it was very fair. This is balanced. This balances the need of law enforcement to catch bad guys and the need from us in the general community to be protected against vulnerabilities that could be used against us by our Government by other Governments, by criminals. Could we utilize the vulnerability for a short period of time before we disclose? Little bit. How likely is it that someone else will discover it? Can it be patched? These are appropriate questions.
Georgia: It assumes that the people making these rules and sussing this have enough technological knowledge to be able to properly assess that.
Leo: The idea was, and I don't know if it's still going on, but the idea is you bring in a committee, a panel of experts from law enforcement and security experts, people like Bruce Snyder so that you get all the voices heard. You're exactly heard. You have to have all that information right to make that decision. My sense is it's not widely used. They put this in place, but I don't know if they use it. Clearly the NSA has been hoarding and the CIA hoarding all sorts of exploits that have huge impact once they were leaked.
Devindra: They say these exploits were as valuable as having a stockpile of nuclear weapons.
Leo: That's what I think.
Georgia: In a lot of ways, much more so. You're not going to get the negative press, and the information and control of full systems of Government through this.
Leo: Google's pixel will be coming out. Apple's calendar stuff here. We're in July, Apple will probably announce iPhone 10th anniversary edition in September, if they're on the schedule they've been using for the last five or six years. Last year Google and Samsung, right before the announcement, announced the Pixel and the Samsung Note 7, because they wanted to get it before Apple stole all the air out of the room. I'm going to think in the next month, if that's what the rumors say, by the way that we're going to see announcements from Samsung on the Note 8, probably August 23, you guys said. The 2017 Pixel, which we're already seeing some strong rumors. This is an image from Android police that they say is an accurate representation. Highly confident is an accurate representation of Google's 2017 flagship phone. There are at least two Pixel phones coming.
Devindra: All I want is to get rid of that stupid glass thing from the back.
Leo: It looks like they're not. It's smaller though. There it is on the right, and the fingerprint reader is on the right. That's for antennae, right Devindra?
Devindra: I think so, but we've solved this problem, or a lot of manufacturers have, so we don't have to quite understand the need for this. The Pixel XL is my go to international Android phone, and it has held up, so having a version that's like having a little less bezel around the front, that's very nice.
Leo: The story was it was rushed, and it wasn't really ready to go, and it wasn't really waterproof and it didn't have wireless, there were things missing that they would presumably ad. Like everybody else's new phone, going to be almost bezel-less, design is going to go edge to edge. LG is going to make it, which is good news. The LGG6, is very nice. It looks like a single camera, not the twin cameras you see on the G6 and the iPhone 7 Plus, although the Pixel cameras are very good. Don't know what pricing will be. There are other phones, for instance, Andy Rubin's essential, in fact there was some news with essential. Andy Rubin had promised at Recode conference that we would see his essential phone in 30 days, and that was in June, and we haven't seen it. Now the newly hired chief marketing officer at Essential is gone. Just quit. Maybe trouble at Essential?
Devindra: That whole thing always felt like Paperwear to me. I don't understand why Andy Rubin's big solution to Smartphones is to build another Smartphone that looks very similar to all the others. It's tough.
Leo: I put in a pre-order, but I haven't heard anything for them. USA today says Sprint will be the one carrier they get, and that's not good news, because that means very few people know about it. Nobody hears about it. It's also bezel to bezel. Bezel is from with a notch cut out, with a camera, which is weird, but there you go. All right, we're going to get to iPhone 7 rumors, since nobody got excited about the Pixel rumors, but Georgia is all excited about the iPhone, including this rumor that it will have a mirrored case, a mirrored finish. One of the four colors available.
Georgia: I like it, I could use it to put on lip gloss, it will bother me to have fingerprints all over it. Now I have to worry do I get a case? Do I not get a case? Yeah. I like it, I think it looks great.
Leo: Rumored it will have a faster A 11 processor, some form of wireless charging, and of course one of these will have an OLED screen. Apple has been buying all the OLED screens it could find, and because this OLED screen may not have a fingerprint reader, they may be abandoning the fingerprint reader in favor of face recognition/iris recognition. And I'm sorry, Devindra. I don't think there's going to be a headphone jack on this one.
Devindra: It's terribly sad too. If you go back to why they dropped the headphone jack with the iPhone 7 was to make more room for 3D touch to have a slightly bigger 3D touch module in there. They haven't done anything with that. It feels like they lost a key feature for no real reason--it's sad. Samsung could put a headphone jack in the S8 and S8 Plus. Apple can't.
Georgia: Unfortunately, I'm not getting back that much.
Leo: The iPhone 7 is the best selling iPhone ever. Everybody said we don't need that.
Devindra: A lot of people upgrade too. I'm sure it's less of a problem to some people on a fundamental level. The person in me, the tech helper in me who wants to defend consumer rights and stuff, losing that seems like a big deal. I'm losing the beats 6, so I've pretty much gone Wireless. I have nice headphones, I'd like to be able to play them without an extra dongle for no reason. That's the big problem.
Leo: I also don't think that Apple has solved the issues Blutooth still has. Blutooth, I'm using Airpods. Airpods on an iPhone 7Plus, that should be the perfect solution, right? It randomly switches from the airpods to the phone, it disconnects, every person goes silent, I don't make many phone calls and I have so many problems with this, I feel like they haven't fixed the Bluetooth thing. I rarely can do a phone call with my iPod and my iPhone.
Devindra: I've noticed that with the BeatsX. Sometimes I'll accept a call and it'll go straight to the Beats X. If I make a call, sometimes I have to choose it manually, and I don't understand the logic between doing that.
Leo: Somebody in the chatroom says "Devindra, there is a headphone jack, you just have to use an adaptor."
Georgia: If you think about other ways Apple has taken away standard features, right? Do you remember when the iPhone first switched to the lightning plug? Why wouldn't you make it micro USB? Just be like everybody else. They started taking away the Ethernet ports on the Mac Books, why would you... I don't want to have to buy a 30 dollar connector piece. But Apple has staked its claim, and put its flag down, and said we're going to do things our way and we're going to have proprietary pieces on our technology and that's what we're going to do, and people continue to buy the devices, so why should they...?
Leo: There's no incentive to change.
Leo: It's my contention that that's actually bad for Apple. You've seen this happen before. When you have a fabulously successful product at a company and the company makes tons of money on it, what that ends up doing is hurting the company because there's no pressure to innovate, to improve, and they end up coasting downhill. I'm absolutely convinced that's what has happened to Apple. The iPhone was too successful, it was bad for Apple.
Devindra: Well we need, especially what happens at this point, they've innovated, they've done so well. This is the point where you need to like step back and do something completely different. I don't think the Apple Watch was that. My bigger worry is Apple betting on big features nobody cares about, and it doesn't even support. The 3D touch.
Leo: These are gimmicks.
Devindra: Nobody I know really likes 3D touch, I wanted to love it so much. Apple itself killed that by not giving developers enough access to it. Make up your mind. if you're really going to invest in these features let us do more with it, let developer show them off in new ways. It took a year for 3D touch to be upgraded for Devs, and then they had to add better 3D touch hardware to enable some of these features. The earlier people, the argument that Apple makes these changes often, killing older connections, that's there, they've done that, and they've done that successfully. I don't know about this particular one, and you talk about the lightning jack thing, there's stuff with the MacBook and the new MacBook Pros which have USBC connections for a long time, those didn't have cables to even plug in the iPhone 7. If you can't even plugin your device, something has gone wrong.
Leo: There's a schizoid thing going on where they have the lightning port on some stuff, and the site type c on others. The story was they wanted to do something like Type C, but they were just not ready yet, so they did lightning. I have to say the lightning is a big improvement over the August 30 Pin connector they used to have, but they're out of step with the rest of the Industry. Could they abandon the lightning and put a type c on the next generation iPhone? That would be a painful thing to do, and yet it would be the right thing to do, make everything type C. That's what everybody else is doing.
Devindra: I think Apple is involved in the Type C conversation as well. I don't see them giving up on lightning, but I would like to see more cross at the end. I'm going to hold onto this headphone jack thing for a while. I'm not letting go. It's a problem, and it's dumb. Even a big successful company like Apple can make dumb decisions. I'm not just going to forget about it.
Georgia: With them selling so many, they're not going to care.
Devindra: It's just me.
Devindra: We end up making our choices with our pocket books. We'd be successful if Apple made a huge change and innovated and it was a flop, everybody would be jumping on it saying Apple had something tried and true, and why did they change it? In the end we really like incremental changes to products we already use. Big jumps cause us a whole bunch of anxiety. It's a difficult position for Apple to be able to change enough to stay ahead and not be left behind at the same time.
Devindra: My personal thinking is I don't think Apple is the same company that could make that change. When the iPhone came out, that was a big turn around, Oh my god, Apple is making a phone? It's probably going to kill the iPod in the process and they knew it was going to kill the iPod but they did it anyway? I don't... it's not the same company any more. I don't think the visionaries around Apple right now are there to make those sorts of decisions.
Leo: I agree with you. So every time I say that, people say it's the most valuable company in the world, one analyst has now said they've raised their prediction for Apple stock. They say I don't believe you can say this in this day and age that Apple is one of the most under-appreciated stocks in the world. This is Brian Wright, a Wall Street analyst. It's a buying opportunity. Apple is among the most under-appreciated stocks in the world. He thinks Apple is going to be a trillion dollar company over the next 12 months and their stock price will break $200.
Georgia: Shareholders would lose it if they did something wild and crazy.
Leo: And that's the problem. That kind of success means there's no pressure on you to do anything right, just keep doing what you're doing. Don't mess with it.
Devindra: My big worry for Apple right now is to become Obama era Microsoft. Because they kept, he kept everything going, sales for Windows and Office grew, that was pure focusing on the stock performance and less about the innovation, and it took a whole ECU, and a complete changing of the guard to re-shift what Microsoft was doing and then you look at the devices coming out now, like the surface laptop, the surface pro are far more interesting than any of the machines...
Leo: This is the best thing ever. I love this thing.
Devindra: We're living in a topsy turvy world where Microsoft is being more innovative than Apple.
Georgia: They did come out with the Watch though.
Leo: The watch? Georgia, come on. This is not...
Georgia: Any other company had the Apple watch except for Apple, you'd be talking about how this is a huge massive success. It's only because in comparison to the iPhone it's nothing.
Leo: If any other company had come out with the Apple Watch, besides Apple they'd be out of business. The only reason this is a success is because of all you sheeple.
Georgia: How can you say that about Sheeple when you're wearing your Apple Watch?
Leo: I'm not just wearing the Apple Watch, I'm wearing a ceramic one. I spent a lot of money on this. I'm a sheeple. But it really is true. This would not be a successful product had anybody else done it. Jawbone is changing its business entirely!
Devindra: Yeah, they're not going to exist anymore. It's all medical devices. I bought an Apple Watch, and every day I look at it and I get angrier. Because they haven't done much with it either.
Leo: But you got Minnie and Micky Mouse on it!
Devindra: I really enjoy.
Leo: You're still doing fitness bands, Jill? Are you still covering that beat?
Jill: Not as much. It was difficult to do from overseas. I did a handful of things. I brought this over for people to see something fun that I did do. When you were out getting hats, I grabbed my helmet. This is a bicycle helmet called Koros that has speakers built into it that use bone conduction technology. Instead of having your ears silenced to traffic noise, you can hear while this conducts through your cheek bones the music or phone calls or whatever. The problem with it is it's a little heavy. On the back there's a battery and some rechargable ports. But it adds weight. It's called Koros...
Leo: How much is it?
Jill: About $250 bucks. It's expensive. $200.
Leo: It wirelessly connects to your Smartphone. I remember bone conduction when I was a kid. You'd put the thing around your neck. Remember the bone phone?
Leo: None of you were born when the bone phone came out.
Devindra: Must be the name.
Leo: Let me see. Here's the add. A fabric covered tube sold by radio shack. She doesn't look real happy. This was highly touted as using bone conduction. The sound transfers into your body. It was terrible. I'm surprised... it's coming back now.
Jill: The funny thing is, when you have it on, you can hear it like it's a speaker. It doesn't... you don't want to be smashing this against your face. Other than that it's a nice helmet, it's just people who are serious cyclists care about every ounce they add to their bike, and this is a little heavy. It's 3 times as heavy as a racing helmet.
Leo: That's why I wear my sunflower.
Jill: It has on it, the one special feature it has is when it detects an impact, it has a feature where it gives you like 30-60 seconds and then your phone will immediately send a message to the contact of your choice saying that, "I've detected an impact. Your person's GPS is..."
Leo: It's not moving. It's not moving! Wow!
Georgia: So, it doesn't help you before the impact, but once you're lying there, it lets everyone else know.
Leo: Share with us. What is that, a goldfish? What is that on your head?
Georgia: This is a Magikarp. It's a Pokémon.
Leo: Oh, it's your Magikarp.
Devindra: The best Pokémon, yea.
Leo: It's kind of weird because the carp is actually swallowing your head.
Georgia: It's hungry. It's starving.
Leo: That's a Magikarp. I recognize it now.
Georgia: It's a Magikarp.
Leo: Yea, it's the one-year anniversary of Pokémon Go. We'll talk about that in just a little bit. I should take this off because I want to talk seriously about our sponsor right now.
Georgia: (Laughing) Your sponsor would be happy.
Leo: I think I look good as a daisy.
Georgia: Maybe they would love it. You might get more views if you're wearing the flower (laughing).
Leo: The whole world's turning into a Snapchat filter.
Jill: For the audio only listeners, Leo right now is looking like the center of a daisy. And he's got these daisy petals radiating from around his little face.
Georgia: Say, "You're a daisy if you do."
Leo: You're a daisy if you do. All right. That's just disturbing. I've got children in the audience. I can't do that.
Leo: All right, our show today brought to you by WordPress.com. That's where I hang my hat. Oh, that would be a good idea. I should make a blog for all my hats. Leo's hat blog. Because I have hundreds of them including that daisy hat. WordPress makes it easy to create a website, whether you're creating your own personal blog or a site for your business or both, you'll make a big impact when you start your site at WordPress.com. The thing I like about WordPress, first of all, I've used WordPress for years and I hosted myself. But I love WordPress.com. This is my site now. Because I don't have to update it. They update it. They keep it secure. They have hundreds of templates. They've got a fantastic community that helps you and of course the great WordPress help department that gives you fantastic advice and suggestions. You're never stuck. You're never alone. And WordPress.com has a front page that drives traffic to your page, so you're part of a community. You've got all the power of WordPress but they keep it up to date for you. They do all the engineering for you. So, you'll get the WordPress hosting, the WordPress software, built-in search engine optimization, built-in social sharing and a 24/7 support team that's the best in the world. You're part of a community. That's why 28% of all websites run on WordPress. 28% of all sites. Some of the biggest publications in the world run on WordPress. I love it. Now, I want you to try it. We've got a 15% discount for you when you go to WordPress.com/twit. Create your website. Find the membership plan that's right for you and 15% off when you check out on your brand-new website at WordPress.com/twit. And if you want to visit my site and kind of see what I'm doing with WordPress, Leolaporte.com. By the way, I love this, HTTPS? Yep. It's automatic. They support all the best technologies. I have Google's Amp turned on. Just a simple switch to turn it on so if you're looking at a mobile platform my site loads super-fast. You know, I use it for my photography. I've got embedded slide shows in here from SmugMug. I just love it. WordPress.com/twit.
Leo: So, Google—this is an interesting thing Google plans to do. They want to release 20 million bacteria infected mosquitoes in Fresno. But, it's not what you think it is. This is from Verily, V-E-R-I-L-Y is the life sciences arm under the Alphabet umbrella. And apparently, we're starting to see some Zika virus in Fresno, California. The aegypti mosquito and so, they've come up with this plan. They call it, I love the name, the Debug Project by releasing mosquitoes infected with the bacteria called Wolbachia which is completely harmless to humans, but when those mosquitoes mate with the aegypti mosquitoes, they infect them and their eggs cannot produce offspring. And it's a way of basically killing off these mosquitos and of course, male mosquitos don't bite. So, not only do you not have Zika, you don't get mosquito bites anymore. They haven't done it yet. No word on how much it will cost. And, you know, it's interesting because this is pure public service. I don't think there's any way to make money on this. They plan to do it in Australia. They told the MIT Technology Review they plan to do something similar in Australia next. They want to—I guess this will happen, let's see. This article is in TechCrunch on July 14th and they say—so, I guess it will happen this coming week. One million mosquitoes over a 20-week period in two 300-acre neighborhoods in the Fresno area. Huh. Why would Google do this? Why does Verily do this? Is there a way to make money on this or is it just good will?
Devindra: It's data, right? Google's currency is data. Like this will teach them a lot about deploying similar things in the future. And we've actually, I think I've heard about not the exact same thing, but other methods of like trying to wipe out the Zika infected mosquitoes by using other species or other ways to make their mating kind of—kill off whatever is there.
Leo: That's very cool.
Georgia: Yea, and Google didn't actually, they didn't do the research for this. They're just using research that other people have done. We've done the same thing to try to get rid of Dengue fever and I don't know how to pronounce some of the other viruses that mosquitoes can transmit.
Leo: Say again?
Jill: Chikungunya. So, Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika are all carried by the same type of mosquito, whereas Malaria is carried by a different type of mosquito.
Leo: We've just got to kill all the mosquitos. I think there's no reason why mosquitos—is there any justification for mosquitos to exist?
Jill: So, I'm one of these skeptics on this. There have been some people who say mosquitos are not like a keystone species. If you kill them, no other species will die off. Because that's always the worry, right? Are there other species that feed on this particular animal?
Leo: Bats and birds eat mosquitos.
Jill: Bats and birds, right. But we really don't know where else—I mean it's just such a hard thing to study. Right, like the ecosystem does not lend itself well to the kind of typical scientific studies we do or we isolate one or two things and we use controls. Because it's such a web of stuff that you don't know until you start to see the outcomes. And the other thing with using these sort of infertility types of tactics is they're not 100%. So, if you release male mosquitos that are infected with bacteria into an environment and they mate with the females and the female eggs are no longer viable, that will take care of a good number of mosquitos but it's not going to kill off the entire population. So, does it die out? Does it dip? If it dips, how long does it dip? If they come back, do they come back more resilient? Which of the animals survive? There are just so many questions.
Leo: You're right. I take it back. You're absolutely right.
Jill: I'd be very hesitant, so I'm glad that they're just testing it on a little population like Fresno.
Leo: Well, Omega Project says, "Next summer we'll have a story about 20 million bats being released in the Fresno area to control the out of control mosquito population."
Jill: And when you have a bear to kill off the last one, you just wait until winter.
Leo: You're absolutely right. This is very human, this god-like thing. Ah, just get rid of mosquitos. What good can they possibly be?
Georgia: I don't know if there is any creature that has wiped us out as efficiently, besides ourselves, as mosquitos.
Leo: Or rats. Rats are not great. Don't like the rats.
Georgia: It's not the rats, actually.
Leo: It's not the rats. It's the fleas on the rats.
Georgia: It's the fleas that are on the rats, so, the rats are innocent.
Leo: Well, they're not innocent. They're complicit.
Georgia: You think that they chose to?
Leo: They chose to.
Georgia: They didn't like us.
Leo: They're co-conspirators is what they are. Let's talk about Amazon a little bit. According to a story that came out this morning, the Verge had it and others had it, Amazon is reporting working on a messaging app called Anytime. You know, obviously jumping on the ridiculous gap left both by Apple and Google. Apple's Messaging which is perfectly good only works on Apple hardware. So, that leaves out a lot of the world. And Google just can't seem to make up its mind on messaging in any reasonable way. They took SMS out of Hangouts for people except everybody using Google Fi. They have multiple messengers. No one know what Google's strategy is, so, Amazon—I think Amazon's smart. Amazon clearly sees an opportunity. This is, Anytime is an all-in-one feature rich service that could rival social networks with a focus on messaging, voice and video calls, photo sharing. You can apply filters. Of course, you couldn't release, you couldn't release a photo sharing app without filters. And, this is an interesting quote from this graphic. This came from AFTV News, "Everyone's on it. Reach all your friends just using their name. No numbers needed." I'm trying to read between the tea leaves here, between the lines, because what I'd love to see Amazon do is release an SMS app that I can use for SMS messaging on an Android device. You're stuck unfortunately with Apple's Messaging on iOS. And then they say they'll do it on desktop, Android, iOS so you could use it everywhere. But if they don't use phone numbers, it sounds like they won't support SMS. What do you think? How could they do that? Will they have default encryption, strong encryption built in? They'll have—
Jill: It is interesting that there has been no one successor in the text messaging and messaging space because it's been around really since the beginning of the popularity of the internet, right? If you look at even instant messaging. And I would say that the closest contender right now is probably Facebook Messenger because it does eliminate that need for a specific phone number. You can look somebody up just by being friends with them.
Leo: But, they have to be on Facebook.
Jill: They have to be on Facebook, yes. But I think right now it is probably the leader that I've seen. Like WhatsApp has kind of died out a little bit. And some of the other ones that have been popular like Line and then there was Wicker and there were all these different ones.
Leo: I think that Amazon's looking at Line and WeChat in China because those are much more than messaging. They're platforms. You can buy stuff. I mean you can—and I think Amazon is thinking—I mean, obviously Amazon's interest in this is that you can shop on it. So, I think they're going to try to create a WeChat clone.
Jill: But you've got to get in there first, right? So, like the way that you get in with Apple users is that people have iPhones. And we've already talked in this episode about how successful the iPhone has been from a sales point of view. And if you have people who are signed up to Facebook, well then you have this automatic messaging system included. So, but what's going to be the way to get those Amazon users to start adopting this new app? I mean it's not going to be just having an Amazon account, right? Because a lot of people don't use it on their mobile device or they're not thinking about it as a communication tool whereas with an iPhone and Facebook, you're already thinking about it as a communications tool. So, what's going to be their inroad? What's going to be their hook?
Devindra: Yea, I mean, Amazon does have quite a bit of a social graph. They haven't really done much with it.
Leo: What if you could call Echoes with it?
Devindra: Yea. That could be a thing, yea.
Leo: What if you could use your Echo to message? That would be nice.
Jill: Wait, wasn't that already announced that that was coming out as a feature, Echo to Echo call?
Leo: Echo to Echo is. But see, now I could have Anytime on my phone as my messaging app and message through Echo.
Jill: So, you could call somebody's Echo like it was their landline.
Leo: Also, in this cell window, new ways to hang out. Share your location. Ok, everybody does that. Listen to music. Order food together. Split a bill. Chat with businesses. Get super service on your terms, make reservations, check on your orders, even shop. So, that's a really interesting question, though, Jill. What would Amazon have to do to make this ubiquitous? And do they, first of all, do they need to make it ubiquitous, but second, what would they do to really improve the uptake of this? How do you get people?
Jill: You're not going to get a mass adoption of people installing a new app I don't think.
Leo: Right. That's Apple's advantage because it comes just on the phone.
Jill: It's got to be something that's already being used among Amazon people.
Leo: If Apple would make an Android version of Messages, and they already have a desktop version on Mac, but make one for Windows, I think Messages could win this, right? They don't seem to want to.
Devindra: It depends. I guess in all of the way that we're talking about this, like if Amazon integrated something like this right into the Amazon shopping app, that could be interesting.
Leo: Because everyone's got that.
Devindra: Everyone's got that. You can see your friend's wish list and things like that. That would be a fundamental change in the way we handle Amazon shopping and what that app could do, but that's one potential thing.
Leo: Well, you make deals. You go out and you make deals with cell phone manufactures and carriers to put that app on the phone. Make it the default app. Amazon's got the money. They could do that. They've already done that with Amazon Shopping. A lot of phones come with Amazon. Even Ubuntu Linux comes with an Amazon app.
Georgia: Yea, but I think that Jill is right. There's not really a great catch. It's not fun and trendy like Snapchat is with great privacy and a breakdancing hotdog. You know, it's not already installed which is what Apple's going to be able to deal with and so everyone's going to use that. And Amazon, primarily people are thinking about you know, shopping and dealing with things. Like maybe if they gave you bonuses, you got Prime if you were using it. I don't know. They would have to have something that would make a difference in people's lives to be able to have that barrier to entry that I want to get it because I want this, right? Like if you gave them Game of Thrones for free, I would get it, right? That would be it.
Leo: Well, you got to believe that they're going to try stuff. I just feel like—I would hate to bet against Amazon. They are seriously on a roll. Prime Day which is a joke because it's not really deals. It's like going to Costco or a big box store to get deals. It's more the appearance of deals. But it was—
Jill: I call it the Amazon Garage Sale.
Leo: Yea. But you know, Wire Cutter does this analysis of several thousand deals, a handful were actually deals. Let me go to Wire Cutter and show you the actual numbers. So, it's not a really great place to get deals. However, it's very successful. They had—it was the biggest Prime Day in its history. Up 60% over the year before. Number one seller was the Echo.
Devindra: Imagine that.
Leo: Yea. I'd hate to bet against Amazon. I think that if Amazon did messaging, I would look at it. I think there's a gap. I just think there's a gap in messaging.
Georgia: You'd have to.
Leo: No, but I mean—ok. So, here's the thing for me. The nice thing on Android is that you can use other apps as your SMS app. You can say, "I want Facetime Messenger to be my SMS app." And SMS is text messages through the carrier will come in there. So, I could make—if I could make Anytime my SMS app, I absolutely would. Especially if I could order stuff through that. I think it's not going to be hard for them to convince at least Prime users to do that.
Devindra: I think if any other company were to try to get into this space, it would be less interesting, but the idea that, yea, Amazon could actually give you deals or maybe give you a little bonus to your Prime account or something like that. But, this seems more like a logistics play than just straight up messaging, right? If they end up being the one place you go to talk to your friends, but also to order food and to share payments and do things like that, there's a lot of potential there. Even food ordering right now is a really splintered market. Seamless and Grub Hub did merge, so they're one thing right now, but they don't dominate everywhere in America. So, you go different places, you'll have to use different services. Amazon is a logistics company at this point, right? They're tied directly to our lives just based on getting us stuff, and now they're getting us stuff faster and faster. And we have instant delivery now, so, I could see this being like a real useful chat app that could tie into things better.
Leo: My argument is that Amazon's reached critical mass. And now it's almost that anything they launch is going to, because of the size of Amazon and the devoted Amazon customer, it's going to be a success out of the gate.
Devindra: As long as it's not like crazy hardware like the Fire Phone or something, right? This is—
Leo: Well, that's a good point. That was a failure.
Jill: The Fire Phone, the Fire Tablets, Amazon Music, Amazon Storage. Like, they have some secret good stuff like Amazon Web Services is amazing and being used by everybody and is pulling in all kinds of money that we'll never know about because they don't break out the numbers in any of their reports. But I think that companies have lots of little, weak flops. But they look like nothing in comparison to—
Devindra: I wouldn't call the Fire Tablets flops, by the way. The Fire tablets, like as far as decent, cheap, Android tablets, like they're actually far better than most of the other options out there. They're like the one, the one successful Android tablet at this point, like the last ones remaining.
Georgia: I think that if I had like a wish list of all of my friends on Amazon and I knew like, oh, Leo's looking for a floating Bonsai tree, and I could then order it for him and get it sent to his house as a gift, that would be kind of cool and neat to be able to network that way without them knowing that I bought it for them. That might be something that would be kind of different that they can do, but.
Leo: This is completely side point, but what is Jeff doing these days? He's—have you been to the gym, Jeff? Is that—so, this is Jeff before and after. Jeff Bezos on the left, classic nerd, geeky guy. Now he's looking like Vin Diesel. What the hell? In fact, it's become a whole internet meme. Have you seen all of these? Here he is with the Rock and Vin Diesel. That's a crew you'd stay away from. Holy cow. What is going on with—(laughing). The Terminator. All right.
Georgia: He looks great.
Leo: Yea, he's looking good. He's lifting. Yea. 1998 on the left, 2017 on the right. It just gives me hope, that's all I'm saying. There's something ahead for me. Here's another measure of the power of the Bezos. Amazon announced a Geek Squad competitor, Best Buy lost $1 billion dollars on its stock value. And this wasn't even an announcement. Recode reported that Amazon's quietly building out a Geek Squad. Here's the graph of Best Buy's stock price. That's the power. That's the power. All right, let's take a little break. Devindra Hardawar's here from Engadget, Senior Editor back from the beach. Relaxed. Ready to run. From PC Magazine, Jill Duffy. She's back from India and we're thrilled to have her. Nice to see you again, Jill.
Jill: Thank you.
Leo: @jilleduffy on the Twitter. And from iMore.com and—am I getting that right? Anxiety-videos.com.
Georgia: That it is.
Leo: Plug it. Give us a plug. Anxiety-videos.com, the place to go to learn about anxiety.
Georgia: And depression and parenting and boundaries and consequences. Yea.
Leo: Getting good sleep. Getting a good night's sleep.
Georgia: Yea, sleep is important. We need our sleep.
Leo: I just got one of those things for my mattress that lifts the head up and then lifts the feet up.
Georgia: Does it help?
Georgia: I just got one of those husk pillows.
Leo: Yea. I'm all about the buckwheat.
Georgia: It weighs about 1,000 pounds, but they're pretty good.
Leo: I'm all about the buckwheat. Yea. So, you see, we share tips on how to sleep better. Anxiety-videos. It's great to have you on, Georgia.
Georgia: Thank you.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by—actually, before we do that, let's take a look at, we made a little promo video for those of you that never watch any of our other shows can see what you're missing. Watch.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT:
Mary Jo Foley: I did bring something with me and I set off the metal detector.
Paul Thurrott: This is amazing.
Mary Jo: It was the gong.
Leo: The gong (laughing). It's a gong.
Mary Jo: I brought it with me.
Narrator: Windows Weekly.
Dona Sarkar: You'll notice that we don't always ship everything that goes to insiders. And a lot of it is because they didn't test well. Many insiders are able to represent the people they help day to day because people say, "Oh yea, I love this feature. It's awesome." But it's going to be very hard for people who I support to use.
Narrator: Security Now.
Steve Gibson: There was a lawsuit which was accusing Facebook of tracking users web browsing activity even after they logged out. However, US District Judge in San Jose, California, dismissed the case because he said that the plaintiffs failed to show they had a reasonable expectation of privacy or that they suffered any realistic economic harm or loss. I'm happy to see that this didn't go any further. These people just need to know how the internet works.
Narrator: TWiT. For help with a technology addiction problem, call 1-800-TWiT.
Geoff Tully: Scott, how did you not come to work wearing the right shirt today?
Scott Wilkinson: (Laughing) I didn't get the memo.
Leo: Megan Morrone, what's ahead?
Megan Morrone: There's another mesh networking game in town this week. Samsung is set to release its Connect Home Smart Wi-Fi System. It has a Smart Things hub built in and will sell for $175-dollars or $380-dollars for a pack of three. The Wi-Fi network has been available in select locations all month but will release nationwide on July 16th. We expect several high profile tech companies to release quarterly earnings this week, including Netflix, IBM, Microsoft, Qualcomm, T-Mobile and eBay. And finally, San Diego Comic-Con happens this week. Costume, comic book and movie fans will descend on the city in droves. Order says many outlets, including the Walking Dead, have decided not to throw pricey parties this year, but much fun and cosplay will still be had, at least for those of us watching from Instagram. Those are just a few of the stories that Jason Howell and I will be following this week on Tech News Today, every weekday, Monday through Friday at 4:00 PM Pacific. We'll see you there.
Leo: Thank you, Megan Morrone. Any of you going to Comic-Con?
Devindra: No, I wish I was!
Georgia: No. My brother's at Comic-Con. Yep, yep.
Devindra: It's pure madness but it sort of—it is the best crazy big convention you could ever go to, really.
Leo: I think it's ok that the big brands like the Walking Dead and stuff kind of don't go. I know everybody likes to see their favorite stars onstage and stuff, but I hate it when corporate influences something that's really grassroots like that. I don't know. That's just me maybe.
Devindra: When I was going there is when the movie studios were really big into it and they've kind of stepped back over the past few years. And I hear people just have more fun there now. But, yea. Some of those moments, seeing like the first trailer or glimpses of The Avengers or something, like yea. That's really great.
Leo: Or when the brought the BB8 out on stage for the first time. That's cool stuff.
Georgia: That's adorable. I like the cosplay players.
Leo: You know, I have mixed feelings about that.
Georgia: You could go wearing the hat.
Leo: I don't think grownups should put costumes on and act silly like that.
Georgia: Shouldn't they?
Leo: I just think that it's kind of childish.
Georgia: Life's too short.
Leo: And juvenile.
Georgia: Yea, yea. We need to be a little bit more silly. We're way too serious these days.
Leo: I think—
Georgia: I can't take you seriously though when you're wearing that hat.
Leo: (Laughing) It's the infantilization of America. It's like that Star Wars Hotel. We're all just turning into Wall-E.
Georgia: We need more joy and laughter and people need to take things a little bit less seriously and I think the world would be a better place. No one would be able to yell at you with that hat on.
Leo: I know. I'm a sunny daisy. Jill Duffy's going, "Why did I agree to this show? What am I doing on?"
Jill: Hey, I'm with Georgia on this one. I'm all about like play is an essential part of life in the same way that our freedoms for food and sex and all kinds of stuff are important to our vitality. And I think—I'm really happy about the amount of adult play, and non-sexual, but like adult play opportunities that now exist. You know, like there's all these grown up camps now where you can go to gay summer camp and just hang out in a safe place in the woods and swim and shoot bows and arrows and I don't know. And just like how video games are finally accepted as kind of an art form that adults are allowed to engage in. And Star Wars themed stuff and my sister took her kids to the Harry Potter World recently and I think—
Leo: That I love.
Jill: The adults had just as much fun there as the kids did.
Leo: That I love. I'm all in on the—I had about eight butter beers and went on the ride and threw up. It was awesome.
Georgia: You threw up butter beer all over the place (laughing).
Leo: All over the place.
Jill: And it doesn't all need to be sold and marketed either. You know, it can be invented. It can be boredom. It can be sitting around in a park inventing a game on your own. But I'm absolutely like a proponent of that. And against this ageism bull****, Leo, that once you get older you're not allowed to be happy.
Leo: I'm just old. I'm old. That's not ageist. I'm old. Our show today brought to you by—I'm proud of it. I'm wearing a freaking bow tie. Our show today (laughing)—I'm starting to look like Andy Rooney.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by Stamps.com. Grumpy. Actually, Stamps.com is great. If you get grumpy going to the post office, driving around finding parking, getting in line and there's all these amateurs there. When you've got something important to do, you're going to love Stamps.com. You can do everything you can do at the post office from your desk. You don't even have to get up which people like me like. We can stay in our chairs and get it all done. Buy and print of course, official US postage, for any letter, any package, any class of mail, with—this is not a postage meter. You use your computer and your printer. Nothing special about this. Which is another nice thing, you see people going—they look like small nuclear bombs, these postage meters. They've got them in special cases. They bring them to the post office to get recharged with postage. That is so 1950s. That is so weird. You don't need a postage meter. It's easy. You create your Stamps.com account in minutes. It's on the web so it works with any computer. There's no equipment to lease. There's no long-term commitment. In fact, right now if you go to Stamps.com, click the microphone on the upper right hand corner, we've got a really great way to start using Stamps.com. Just type in the offer code TWiT when it asks for promo codes. That way they know you heard it hear. You will get a $115-dollar bonus value. $55-dollars in postage coupons which is awesome. You can't use them right away, but you can use them over the next, you know, few months of your Stamps.com account. You will get a USB scale which is really handy. It plugs into your computer. You can weigh anything on there so you always have exactly the right postage. You also of course get a 30-day trial of Stamps.com. Click, print, mail, you're done. And unlike the post office, Stamps.com never closes. You're always able to print. And then when it's time to send that mail, you don't have to go to the post office. You just press a button and the post office comes to you. It's awesome. So, get that 4-week trial plus the postage plus the digital scale. No long-term commitment at Stamps.com. Click the microphone in the top of the home page and enter our offer code TWiT. I should have worn the daisy flower for that picture on Stamps.com site. I think that would have gone very well. Stamps.com. "Mommy, why is that crazy man on the TV?" Stamps.com enter the offer code TWiT.
Leo: Speaking of crazy, there's a site that lets you design your own phone cases. Did you see this? And the Amazon Artificial Intelligence designed these phone cases. My Handy Design. Here you go. Here's one of the popular ones. Adult diaper worn by an old man with a crutch cell phone cover for your iPhone 6. That's—everybody's going to want that. How about this? Heroin, spoon and syringe cell phone cover case. Share your hobbies with your friends and neighbors. Cheese wheel on body instead of table. Apparently, I don't even know what's happening (laughing). This one's so popular it's temporarily out of stock. Cheese wheel, I think they meant body instead of—
Jill: I think they meant body.
Leo: Instead of table.
Devindra: He's grating the cheese.
Leo: He's grating the cheese. Wow. How about this. Beautician hands dong depilation in women's armpit with wax strip cell phone case (laughing).
Devindra: A different one for every day.
Leo: Every day.
Georgia: If my phone had the case with the adult diaper one or like some sort of facial surgery, no one's going to steal my phone. No one would want to be caught.
Leo: They're going to stay well away from you too which can be—Cocaine drugs heaps and lines still life on a dark mirror. Toenail fungus. Old Woman with asthma inhaler (laughing). Now this one will really keep the thieves away. A doctor holding an endoscope. My Handy Design.
Georgia: I think they're going to be more popular now than they would have been beforehand. I'm just saying.
Leo: I'm just saying if you can get cheese wheel on a body instead of a table, why wouldn't you? Ok. Moving along. I kind of feel like everything after that's going to be a letdown. Twitter lets you avoid trolls by muting new users and strangers. Who cares? I couldn't care less. Free speech groups—
Leo: You know—
Georgia: Because everyone's so nice on Twitter.
Devindra: It seems very useful.
Leo: Is it useful? Do you use that? Because I feel like then they're still there. They're still spewing, it's just you're not seeing it. It's like an ostrich. You're putting your head in the sand saying, "You can't see me now, can you?"
Devindra: For your mental health, I think it's great. I've taken to muting people who tend to be obnoxious in my timeline rather than blocking them because the block is the win for them.
Leo: I guess. Right, because they know you've blocked them.
Georgia: That's true. Right, they got to you. I don't have enough follower to really have to do that (laughing).
Jill: What do you all think about this case coming out of, I think it's being funded by the Knight Foundation and some relationship to Columbia University, where users are suing Donald Trump for him blocking them, saying that Twitter is being used as a public channel for official news and—I have a feeling—
Leo: Yea, it's an interesting story, isn't it?
Jill: It's kind of an interesting story but I also feel like if you log out of Twitter, can't you just see his feed anyway?
Leo: No, but what they're saying is, "You're impeding out speech because we can no longer tweet back."
Jill: Yea, I don't know. I don't know. I think it's a super interesting case but I don't feel like I personally have a good, clear grasp on how it's going to go in court.
Leo: I can't wait, thought. I've got to know.
Georgia: It's a Twitter account that's his. It's not POTUS. It's his own Twitter account which I think gives him a certain amount of leeway to be able too—
Jill: Right, but he pulls the highest office in the land.
Leo: Yea, now understand, the first amendment doesn't protect you—you can't use the first amendment argument to say, "Well, Twitter can't block me." But if the government blocks you, you have a first amendment right to speak to the government. If the government blocks you, that violates the first amendment. Yea, there's a couple of questions here.
Georgia: I think that the best part is that because he uses that to actually show policy, that's where he may be in trouble. I think that if he just uses it as his private account, I think that he would have been fine to be able to block whomever he so chooses because he's not using that for work. But, where they may end up saying it's because he does use this for actual policy and talking about different policies, he may, you know, this might become one of these things of becoming a public forum where everyone should be able to have a say.
Devindra: This move probably won't go anywhere but the fact that they're doing it and can bring this up because this is a good point. He is using this as a platform. He is silencing Americans by blocking them. It would be a totally different story if it was the official POTUS account for sure though.
Leo: It's fascinating. It really is. The White House has said, you know, in fact Sean Spicer said Trump's tweets are quote, official statements by the President of the United States, end quote.
Devindra: You mean they've said something in the past that's incriminated them for the future. That's never happened before with this man.
Leo: It's also a sad commentary on what Twitter in general and what's happening in the world at large is so ridiculous, that who would have ever thought 20 years ago we would be debating, "Well, can the President block people from his Twitter account?"
Jill: My favorite kind of twist in this whole saga is that before the presidential campaign really got underway in early 2017 I guess, everybody was talking about Twitter and the death knell. Like, Twitter is over. Nobody's using Twitter. Twitter's not growing anymore. Twitter has no way to make money.
Leo: President Trump saved Twitter.
Jill: Now, nobody gives a s***. Exactly. Exactly. But nobody's really telling that story. Like we all just sort of forgot that Twitter was supposed to be dead by now.
Devindra: Well, I think philosophically, we still don't know what Twitter is. We're still trying to figure out their business. Like, all those problems are still there. It's just a very popular platform for, you know, one guy right now.
Leo: There's also the question of if the President tweets and then deletes it, is he deleting government records? You know, you're not supposed to. As President, you're not supposed to delete your emails. You're not supposed to—these records are public property.
Georgia: But isn't there—
Leo: Well, their answer was that they're keeping them all. The White House says, and you know this is complete BS, but the While House said something like, "Oh, no. We've got a technique that keeps them all." Like, you know they just made that up (laughing). But, anyway. Does @POTUS block people? So, you're saying it's only @therealdonaldtrump that blocks people not @POTUS?
Georgia: I don't think he has—he's not the only one with access to @POTUS, so I heard that this was just for his personal account. And I hear that there's some organization that's actually saving all of Donald Trump's tweets, even if they are deleted. So, you know.
Leo: But that's not the point. The point is that the White House is not supposed to delete anything. Nobody every sued over that. That was pointed out. Six major US airports now scan American faces when they leave the country. Oh, isn't that nice. You're in a database if you leave the country. The Department of Homeland Security has been pushing a plan that if enacted would require all Americans submit to a facial recognition scan when leaving the country. The original law was to track international visitors, foreigners. But the Facial Scanning Pilot Programs are already underway at Boston, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, New York City and D.C. In a recent privacy assessment, the Department of Homeland Security said quote, "the only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when travelling internationally is to refrain from travel." Good Lord. I mean, I guess travel's not a privilege although—
Georgia: It seems to go away from human rights and freedoms to be able to travel without having to give up—
Jill: Your face has been collected when you get a passport.
Leo: Yea, that's true. But yea, do they put that in a database? I don't know but now you are in a larger electronic database. And the point is, it's not just international. We know that you foreigners have no protection at all. Sorry. You're out of luck. But if the photograph captured at boarding is matched to a US citizen passport, the DHS says, "We discard it after a short period of time." I don't know. It's just, it seems intrusive. But what the hell, you know?
Georgia: And then what happens when something happens and you end up with like facial surgery or I fall down and hit my nose.
Leo: Well, they'll have two Georgias. There will now be two Georgia Dows in the world.
Jill: There's so many things that happen with facial recognition, thought, right? Like I mean it's not just matching your, like the topography of your face. It's measuring things like the distance between your eyes and all kinds of very detailed stuff that I think that if you wear makeup or change something, you know, pluck your eyebrows or whatever, it's not going to throw it off. And there's some really neat stuff that's going on with this sort of biometric security area with the life-ness of the face, there's a company that does something with—their solution, I can't remember the name of the company. Their solution basically was one that said you can't spoof it with a photograph because we're looking for quote unquote life-ness.
Georgia: You need a video instead of a photograph.
Leo: Did any of you do anything on Wednesday for Save the Internet Day? Did you have a birthday cake or anything? We went black and white for the day. Our stream was black and white. And we put a link on our website, on the shows to encourage people to go to battleforthenet.com and to most importantly, write or call your member of Congress and say, "We're in favor of open internet." Apparently, AT&T is also in favor of an open internet which surprised me because I think AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are widely considered as the three villains in the net neutrality saga. They would love to charge extra for Netflix to get to you and so forth. They don't believe all businesses should be equal. So, AT&T surprised everybody when they announced, "Oh, no. We're in favor of net nuerality." In fact, this is an article in The Verge, somebody tweeted Eli Patel with this picture, this screen shot from his DirecTV. Look at that. Right there on the TV it says, AT&T supports an open internet. And here it says AT&T supports an open internet. Tell Congress to protect your internet by adapting lasting rules. So, really, AT&T, you're in favor of this, huh? So, if you go to their website, they offer some canned messages you can send to your member of Congress. And, by the way, you include your name, phone number and address which I imagine AT&T were harvesting. And you're not able to edit these messages, so you have to send them out as AT&T wants. Read them carefully. For instance, "I agree with the FCC. It doesn't make sense to apply and eighty-year-old regulatory scheme to the internet." "There is a right way and a wrong way to preserve the concept of an open internet. I am in favor of protecting the open internet with legislation." In other words, this is all about AT&T saying, sneakily tricking its customers into lobbying its congressmen to go ahead with Ajit Pai's decision to abandon Title II Regulation of the Internet. "While I support the FCC's work to get rid of the rules that were harming the internet economy," oh really? They're harming the internet economy? They're harming AT&T's economy, I'll grant you that. "I believe the only way to permanently guarantee an open internet is by Congress creating a law." So, nice try, AT&T, but no.
Devindra: I mean the idea of open internet to a lot of these companies do co-opt that idea, right? So, some open internet means yea, no.
Leo: I remember when coal fired power plants put up serve and conservation signs all over their lunchroom to just convince their employees, "Oh, no, no. We're all for conservation. We're all in favor of it. We love the environment." Comcast says, "We're creating hysteria." Comcast, Verizon and Century Link counter the day of action saying, "Net neutrality supporters create hysteria." It's all positive. Reversing the net neutrality regulation will do several positive things. Increase customer choice.
Georgia: For our bottom line.
Leo: Yea, for our bottom line. Spur innovation and investment. See, they claim that hey, if you do this, we're just not going to invest in any more internet.
Georgia: And not all those government subsidies that they benefitted from.
Leo: Right. Anyway, I don't—I'm not going to tell you what to think about it, but read up on it and write your member of Congress and tell them.
Georgia: Support net neutrality. I'll say it. I'll say it. Support it. Go on dial-up for a day and see how happy you are.
Leo: Yea. Well, and frankly, I don't think sites like mine and many of yours wouldn't exist if you had to pay a tariff to the internet service provider to access end-users.
Devindra: The internet as we know it would end.
Georgia: You won't get your Game of Thrones. We just need to say it. You won't get your Game of Thrones.
Leo: So, there. Now, that's just hysterical.
Georgia: If you want to keep your Game of Thrones and be able to just—it's true. It's true. No Game of Thrones. So, support net neutrality. There we go.
Leo: (Laughing) Microsoft did, not exactly at the same time but at a similar time, also put in its two cents. They want to create a rural air band initiative and they want to put $10-billion dollars investment into it to bring internet to 2 million rural Americans, high-speed internet. See, this is the real problem. There are very many people in the countryside don't have access to true broadband. This is I think a great idea. They're using the unused white space in television signals to provide wireless internet. Targets initially will be 12 states, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. And it's just the beginning. Use that white space. That's one of many, I think, very good solutions to bring more broadband to everybody. And it's sad to say, but Windows Phone 8.1 is officially dead.
Devindra: Oh, man. Nobody saw this coming.
Leo: (Laughing) This headline really isn't fair because there's still Windows Phone 10. But the Windows Phone 8.1, which actually was really great. Came out 3-years ago. But Microsoft is ending support on that. 80% of all—this is so sad. 80% of all Windows powered phones are still running Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, or Windows Phone 8.1. They're now unsupported. Only 20% are running the latest Windows 10. That sounds like a lot, but 20% of all the Windows Phones is really only 7 or 8, so. Yow. Yow. That's just kicking them when they're down. All right. Let me take a little break and we'll end with good news like the world's first robot lawyer. And then we're going to wrap it up because it's getting perilously close to—actually, it's not Game of Thrones time, it's pre-gaming Game of Thrones times, right? What are you going to do to pre-game, Devindra? Are you going to—
Devindra: I'm going to eat dinner.
Leo: Eat dinner. That's good.
Devindra: That's a good start.
Leo: You never want to watch on an empty stomach.
Georgia: You don't want to be hungry.
Jill: And you don't want to be eating during the show.
Leo: Well, is popcorn ok? Can I make a nice, big bowl of buttery popcorn?
Georgia: No, you'll drool butter everywhere and you won't be able to find a napkin because you can't keep your eyes off the show. You might choke on a husk.
Leo: Jill really dramatized the danger effectively (laughing). It was more of a visual thing.
Jill: Yea, to make it explicit, that show is really gory and you might lose your cookies.
Leo: Yea, you don't want t0—so, maybe we should wait and eat after Game of Thrones.
Georgia: I'm going to eat before. I'm going to eat pre-Game of Thrones so I'm all prepared. I have my shirt. I'm going to be bringing down a little, tiny dragon, maybe a sword. Who knows? You have to get kind of all ready. You never know.
Leo: I hope you'll wear your Magikarp hat.
Georgia: Do you think that that will be like—I'll wear my Magikarp hat if you wear your sunflower hat. I've got mine. But I want a photo.
Leo: I am the boy with no name.
Georgia: I'm just not wearing the Magikarp hat alone and I'd feel silly. Doing it together feels better (laughing).
Leo: I put it on wrong. The daisy has no name.
Georgia: You're wilting.
Leo: God. I'm wilting. It's a wilting daisy. Anyway, what do you got? What are you wearing there? What is that, Jill?
Jill: We just talked about that.
Leo: I'm doing it wrong. It doesn't look the same. I look like a sad babushka daisy.
Georgia: Like it swallowed your head.
Leo: A daisy swallowed my head.
Georgia: There we go.
Leo: Devindra, you're the only one now.
Devindra: I've got nothing. I've got VR headsets. I could compile them but that would make it really hard to do the show.
Leo: Yea, don't wear your VR headsets.
Georgia: Do the show in VR next time.
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Leo: Engadget's Senior Editor, Devindra Hardawar is here with us. Also from PC Magazine, she's back from her 2-years in India. We're really glad to see you again, Jill Duffy. And when are you—do you know when you're going to Bucharest? When is that?
Jill: First, my partner Leif needs to learn to speak Romanian. But we're aiming for March, March 28th.
Leo: Wow. So, that's actually a requirement, that he has to speak Romanian?
Leo: That's a hard language.
Jill: It's a romance language. So, he has some French and Italian, so we're hoping that it will actually not be too much. We keep joking that it's like speaking Italian with a Russian accent which is not at all true, it's just a joke. Please don't be offended by that joke.
Leo: Sounds true.
Jill: Yea, actually I was really excited because Duo Lingo recently released Romanian on its app. So, I'm trying to pick up a little bit too.
Leo: Are they sending him to Monterey or something to learn this, the Defense Language Institute? Because they have—
Jill: No, in Arlington, Virginia.
Leo: Arlington. They have really high-speed training for the diplomatic corps that they can get up to speed very quickly. Learn all the important things like no nukes. Let's see. Nielson on-demand audio streaming at a record high. It's up 62.4 %. I think a lot of people saw this stat and said, "Oh, it's all Spotify and music." But I'm not sure it is, because that includes other forms of audio including podcasts. Nielsen isn't breaking it down. But a big jump in on-demand audio. 62% year over year growth. I know, it could be 444. It could be Kendrick Lamar. It could be Ed Sheeran. But I think it's TWiT. That's what I'm going to say. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anybody going to Black Hat? It's coming up this weekend in Vegas.
Leo: We—I don't—normally we send Father Robert Ballecer. He's a Jesuit priest and he's actually made a vow of silence. So, I don't think he can go.
Jill: He's probably the perfect candidate.
Devindra: Yea, exactly.
Leo: Wouldn't it be interesting? I wonder if he's going? I don't know if he's allowed. I think he kind of has to—he's supposed to like wander around and think deep thoughts. He can't like go to Vegas.
Georgia: For how long is he going to be silent for?
Georgia: All of August?
Leo: No, no. He started last month. It's like a three-month thing.
Jill: That is really impressive.
Leo: And if you're following him at all on Twitter, he is tweeting but he's got like a bot doing it (laughing).
Georgia: So, even messaging would be not allowed.
Leo: He can't do that. No. So, I have a feeling.
Georgia: Amazing. I wanted to go on a silent retreat for a like a few days, so.
Leo: Me too. I would like to do that. They do them out here. Come down here again. They have them in Casio over at Spirit Rock. And you wander around and you don't say anything. They have them all the time. You can do a weekend, a week, two weeks. It would be very—
Georgia: I would probably giggle though. I'd get in trouble. I'd probably get thrown out.
Leo: It's very hard for me not to talk for any length of time. I can barely stop talking when you guys are talking. The Afghan First Robotics Team, the all-girl team that had been blocked from coming to the United States because terrorism, President Trump has granted them US visas. They twice made the trek across Afghanistan, facing serious danger to apply at their embassy and they couldn't. And at the embassy they couldn't do it. But the White House has intervened, at the same time that he's denying entrepreneur visas for anybody else who wants to come to the United States (laughing). But the girls got in and they're going to be allowed to compete. I think they're already here as a matter of fact. The competition is in Washington D.C. Teams from 160 countries, students from Syria, Iran and Sudan. But apparently, there's something about Afghanistan they just didn't like. They created a robot that sorts balls. Took 6-months to build and I think you've really got to support. I think it's great that they're coming and I support them. They're girls getting an education in Afghanistan. That's not easy by itself. They're doing technology. They're studying robotics. Good for them. Speaking of robotics, the world's first robot lawyer is now available in all 50 states. I love this subhead in The Verge, "Free, strongly worded letters." I don't know if you trust it. But, anyway. This is the one that they use in the U.K., right, to get you out of traffic tickets. Do not pay, remember? And now you can use it to fight moving violations here in the states.
Devindra: That's cool.
Leo: Didn't say it was good. Just said it's doing it. Just said it's doing it.
Georgia: It would probably be much cheaper. A lot of people cannot afford to have legal aid, so I think that it's a good beginning point. And we know that robots are actually better at diagnosing many illnesses, so, it could be better.
Leo: One movie that will be at Comic-Con, and a good thing, Steven Spielberg's making Ready Player One. Isn't that a great novel? Everybody must have read that here. I think Will Wheaton narrated it for Audible.com. So, it is going to make a big splash at Comic-Con. And Ernest Cline's really popular novel—popular? I don't know if it was a best seller in the real world, but among us geeks it was a very widely loved. Mark Rylance is in it.
Devindra: It was a pretty big hit.
Leo: Was it? I think probably, I know everybody I know read it. T.J. Miller's in it. I love Mark Rylance. Did he—he was nominated for an Oscar. I think he won an Oscar this year.
Devindra: Yea, he's been doing a bunch of stuff with Spielberg recently. I really like Bridge of Spies which is like a nice slow-paced thriller starring him.
Leo: Yea, well starring Tom Hanks.
Leo: But Rylance had the best role in it which—
Devindra: I loved his performance in that film.
Leo: Amazing performance, yea. Twenty-two thousand people neglected to read the terms for the Wi-Fi and so, they basically agreed to clean public toilets. Purple is a company based in Manchester that does Wi-Fi hotspots for Legoland, Outback and Pizza Express. They inserted a community service clause into their 2-week, Wi-Fi agreement terms of service for 2 weeks that required users to do any of the following: Cleansing local parks of animal waste, providing hugs to stray cats and dogs, manually relieving sewer blockages, cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events, painting snail shells to brighten up their existence, or scraping chewing gum off the streets. There was a prize for anyone who contacted the company and pointed out the clause. Only one person contacted the company. Everybody else agreed. Yea, why not. So, next time you don't read the agreement, you might be getting more than you expected.
Jill: We really do need to do something about that. I think that, you know, before I was a tech person I was really a writer and an editor and I cared a lot about my language. And I care a lot about the way that we communicate with one another. And there's just something fundamentally wrong with the way that we handle these terms of service that it's not clear. Nobody reads it. They're always so long that you can't actually get to anything important anyway. And I frankly feel the same way about a lot of the way that laws are written and legal decisions are written. They're not written in plain language for people to make sense of them. And I think it's done on purpose. And I think there's got to be some other, better way to legislate that it should be clear. I don't know if legislate is exactly the right way to do it, but there's got to be some company to step up and make these terms clear, short, concise, understandable, so that we make the point that people can consent when they know what they're consenting to.
Leo: Yea, I agree 100%.
Georgia: 100%, Jill.
Devindra: Maybe more like the way Android handles permission alerts. Like this app is going to do this and this and this. There has been some talk about trying to make EULA's a little more human readable, but yea, I don't know what it's going to take for that to happen.
Georgia: We're going to need those robot lawyers.
Leo: Well, here's good news. AI's coming and Elon Musk has just told a group of America's governors, "We better make up some rules on AI before it's too late." Elon thinks it could be too late. He says AI is the biggest risk we face as a civilization. He spoke at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island. He said, "Government has to proactively regulate artificial intelligence before things advance too far. Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don't know how to react because it seems so ethereal. AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI, it's too late."
Jill: The biggest risk for civilization? Are you kidding me?
Leo: (Laughing) There are some other problems I think out there. There's a giant iceberg the size of Delaware that's heading our way. There's other issues but—
Jill: But the robots that we program to come shoot us. Like, got to watch out.
Leo: They're not going to write those.
Devindra: He's been saying this for years, though. Like, this isn't a new thing for him and actually Steven Hawking of all people is on this bandwagon too. The thing is, like we're making fun of it now and yea, because there's so much else going on in the world that's terrifying. But yea, I'm also kind of, of the mind where there's the point of where we need to just like really step back and look at what we're doing philosophically and like logically as well. Like, we are going to start creating these things and we're not going to know what to do with them. But, yea, if you start warning people about robots killing them in the streets, then that sounds like too hyperbolic for right now anyway.
Jill: Yea. And ethically, too, but, your point taken. We've got to scare people into it first.
Devindra: Yea, wasn't that—there was that climate change article from, was it The Atlantic? The one that was—
Leo: No, New York Magazine.
Devindra: New York Magazine.
Leo: Oh, that was depressing.
Devindra: And a lot of climate scientists came back and were like, "Yea, some of this is true, but also this seems really overblown." Scaring people probably isn't the best tactic. But yea, I'm also of the mind that we need to think harder about this technology. Like what AI will mean for us as humanity once we have these robots doing all this work for us. Maybe not even like, I'm not personally afraid of robots killing us, but I am, it's pretty clear, they're going to take a lot of jobs. And what's going to happen then?
Georgia: Well, I can barely get Siri to read my music and my shows to me, so, I don't think we have to worry now but I do think that if people aren't—like we've become so easily complacent. We're kind of lazy by nature, so if we're not really frightened of something, we're not really going to do anything to it. And for robotics and AI, we do want to make sure there are rules in place before we do it. We don't want this to be like testing nukes where like oh, it might burn through the atmosphere. Let's do it anyways and see. We want it to be beforehand. So, I can understand why they kind of use the fear based tactics. It works for like politics and poker players, so, it might work for this too.
Leo: All right. I'm going to cheer everybody up. It's National Ice Cream Day today. Go out and get an ice cream cone. There's lots of places giving away free ice cream deals including Mickey D's, Carvel, Dippin' Dots, Steak ‘n Shake, PetSmart. Well, those are only doggie ice cream Sundays and of course, world famous Baskin-Robbins. Ice Cream Day. Tomorrow is Emoji Day, World Emoji Day.
Devindra: Oh, man.
Leo: You don't like emojis? What's wrong with you?
Devindra: I need like an emoji of existential dread to describe 2017. I don't know what that looks like.
Leo: I have a World Emoji Day t-shirt. I'll bring it out for tomorrow to celebrate. Actually, our own Tonya is responsible for one of the new emojis that is appearing this year. She really lobbied hard.
Leo: Yea, we had a guy from the Unicode Committee who was talking on the show about all the new emojis. She said, "There really ought to be a milkshake. Why isn't there a milkshake emoji?" And Tonya hall convinced him to submit it. They accepted it. It's officially called drink with straw or cup with straw but it sure looks like a milkshake to me. Except at Twitter where it looks like a cool, refreshing glass of water. And EmojiOne apparently looks like a Solo cup, so I don't know what they're drinking in there. But happy World Emoji Day. Happy Ice Cream Day. And thank you all for being here. Thank you especially to the return of Jill Duffy. Please come back soon. @jilleduffy on Twitter and don't forget her website. I see it's in here. Do you want to plug the productivity report?
Jill: Oh, yea, so for the last 2 years I've been doing this thing called ProductivityReport.org. I'm reading research about personal productivity and looking to see what's true and what's not true. So, things like multitasking. You know, we've all been told, "Don't do it. Don't do it." And it turns out there's a lot of good research that supports it under the right circumstances. So, topics like email and time management, distractions, what kinds of things should you have on your desk to help you focus. All that kind of stuff.
Leo: Oh, this is good. And I agree with you. Your most recent article that says, "Nobody likes open offices. So why do we still use them?"
Jill: They're cheap. That's why we use them.
Leo: We had an open office, remember, in the old building, the brick house and everybody who had to work in the open office complained because we were already saying—so, they now have regular, normal offices.
Georgia: Oh, that's so nice.
Leo: And we're in a little room all alone.
Georgia: You're happy there (laughing).
Leo: This is good. I'm going to read more of this. Productivityreport.org. Thank you, Jill Duffy.
Jill: Thank you.
Leo: And I'll see you soon. We've got to get you on before you got to Bucharest. Although Bucharest is not as different a time zone as Shanai.
Jill: No, not nearly as bad. I did it. I don't know if you remember, but all of your Indian fans remember. I did it one time from India and it was from—I think it was from 3:30 in the morning until 5:30 in the morning.
Leo: Oh, I do remember and I felt so terrible.
Jill: And the sun was coming up behind me. I just treated it like I was going to the airport for an early morning flight. It was kind of fun for me.
Leo: At the time when we got you on, I found out you were in India, I was blown away. I had no idea. I thought, "Well, this is very nice of her to do this." So, thank you. And now that you're in the Bay Area, it won't be so hard and I hope we'll get you on more and more. And of course, we love seeing Georgia Dow. Good luck in finding a home with two 14 x 11 rooms.
Georgia: Thank you.
Leo: Completely empty, devoid of furniture or any obstructions.
Leo: Are you really going to get that? Is that really what you're looking for?
Georgia: No, that's really what we're going to get. Like we need to have a downstairs place for the kids to play but we can also then hook up the machines as well. So, it's also like playrooms for my boys.
Leo: Yea, sure it is. She's buying a house with two VR rooms. You'll find more of Georgia Dow on iMore.com and of course, anxiety-videos.com. Thank you, everybody for joining us. We had a great studio audience from all over the world. It was really nice to have all of you in here. Appreciate your visit and a whole family and they survived mostly. Mom's gone. No, mom's still here. Who's gone? There's an empty seat. Did one of the children get eaten? Oh, I'm so sorry. But thanks to everybody. If you want to be here in the studio, and I guess because it's summer time, we're getting a bumper crop of studio visitors, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can make sure we've got space for you. You can also watch live streams. We do live streams of all of our shows at YouTube. Well, I'll just say go to twit.tv/live and you can choose the channel you watch. You can listen as well. We have live audio streams. And if you are watching live, please join us in the chatroom at irc.twit.tv and be part of the conversation. I saw that, Georgia, you went in there and you said you loved—the chatroom makes it so much fun.
Georgia: I do. They're just so nice. You can hear all this great feedback.
Leo: They are fun. Well, they love you. They're not nice to me but they do love you.
Georgia: I'm sure they're nice to you (laughing).
Leo: I try to cheer them up with a daisy hat and stuff, but, no.
Georgia: They weren't?
Georgia: That's a hard audience.
Leo: They're tough. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern, 2200 UTC if you do want to watch live. But if you don't want to, don't worry. On-demand audio and video of every show we do at TWiT is available at the website, twit.tv. You can also subscribe. However, you get podcasts, just subscribe. Every one of them allows you to download it automatically, and that's the beauty of it. That way you'll wake up every Monday morning with a brand-new, fresh TWiT ready to listen to. Thanks for being here. I'm Leo Laporte. We'll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can! Bye-bye. And then we'll just dub in audience applause. Oh, go (laughing).