This Week in Tech Episode 856 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Leo Laporte (00:00:00):
Hello everybody. Yes, I'm dressed. It's funny. I'm not in the studio because, well, first of all, it's freezing out and we wanted to warm up by the fire, but, and maybe with a little bit of Mezcal to help us, but it's also time once again, for the best of kind of a quirk of the calendar, our best of 21 is hitting on January 2nd, the best of 2021 on the first of 2022. But we have put together thanks to Jason Howell, our producer, and all of you and your suggestions, some of the best moments from 2021 coming up next.
Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is TWiT.
Leo Laporte (00:00:53):
This is TWiT, This Week in Tech episode, 856 for Sunday, January 2nd, 2022. The year's best this episode of This Week in Tech is brought to you by podium. Join more than 100,000 businesses that already use podium to streamline their customer interactions. Get started free at podium.com/twit, or sign up for a paid podium account and get a free credit card reader restrictions. And by Neva traditional audio conferencing systems can entail lots of components. Installation can take days and you might not get the mic coverage you need. That's complex expensive, but Neva audio is easy to install and manage no technicians required and you get full room coverage. They that's easy, economical, learn more at neva.com and by Blueland single use plastic is so year 2000 thing is it's 2022 baby, which means it's way past time to make cleaning fun, beautiful, and plastic free. Right now you can get 20% off. First order when you go to blueland.com/twit and by imperfect foods, imperfect foods is catching the food. That's falling through the cracks of our food system by sourcing quirky yet delicious foods. Right now imperfect foods is offering our listeners 20% off your first four orders. When you go to imperfect foods.com and use the promo code TWiT,
Leo Laporte (00:02:32):
Hello, everybody time. Once again, for the show we cover the weeks tech news, that some of the biggest journalism is in journalists in the business. Although, as you can see, I'm all alone, there are no journalists to help. And really it's not the weeks, but the years biggest tech news, it's our annual year end addition of this week in tech and actually it's a good way to begin a new year. Here we are in 20 22, 20 21 was a piece of work, a piece of work. We didn't know what it was gonna be like. We still don't know frankly, what 2022 is gonna be like. But I think at the beginning of 2021, we were kind of getting ready for the roaring twenties. We've our standards have really changed for what we consider entertainment during all of this. <Laugh> it's like, oh, I'll just watch somebody in his living room. I'm in my living room. You're in your living room.
Dwight Silverman (00:03:29):
Although I gotta say some of the best music has come out during the pandemic of people, just recording in their homes covering a song and then releasing the video, you know, just them playing it on the internet. There's a bunch of really excellent music out there as a result of this. And you gotta wonder how that's gonna change the music business. You know, when, when, when as I, you said, once we get come out of this,
Leo Laporte (00:03:55):
It's one of my favorite topics is what's gonna persist and what's not gonna persist. For instance, weirdly last year hardcover book sales were up 18% <laugh> so I don't think that's gonna continue. I think that's like a that's because of the pandemic, that's a blip audiobooks also up, I think, 16% and eBooks, which have been dying. They've been down every year for the last few years. We're up as well in the double digit percentage. But none of those trends I think will continue on the other hand, streaming services gained about 50% overall in customers. And that I think is, is gonna has in the end of cable television. And, and, and it is gonna really move us to the, over the top world that we've been slowly moving to. It's gonna Hasen it. So it's interesting in some cases, the pandemic makes changes that won't last, but I think things like zoom will continue for a long time. I think streaming, tele, I mean, Disney plus had a huge year because of it. Well, I gotta say,
Iain Thomson (00:05:05):
Oh, go ahead. I mean, usually usually on new year's Eve my wife and I will go out clubbing or, or raving as I believe it's known in new. And so three years ago, for example, we were watching one of our favorite bands in Glasgow and yeah, it was a great night out. And this year they did a paid stream. We listened to it at home. I didn't have anyone let you on the wife. I could have a cup of tea when I wanted to. It was actually a pretty good night. You missed the energy of a club, but I think those kind of streaming services are really gonna take off. Well,
Leo Laporte (00:05:34):
That's what I wonder. I mean, there are certain in-person things we do like conferences and concerts. I mean, I have to feel, I have to imagine that live performers are suffering mightily because of this and I, and will they come back? They say that the 1920s, the roaring twenties was part of the reason was the roaring twenties is because people were so burned out from the pandemic of 1918 and being quarantined and masked for so long that when they finally came out, it was the roaring twenties. Do you think we'll have our own roaring twenties? You think so? Do I? Yes.
Dwight Silverman (00:06:09):
100%. Yes. Without a doubt, if you there's that there's a book I've been recommending pale writer, which is about the the, the Spanish flu pandemic. And in it, they talk about kind of the changes in society as a result of that. And yeah, I think we're just gonna have an ex, an explosion of people traveling, going to parties, concerts. I think every band in the world that's a name will get out and tour. I mean, I think it's gonna be like a frantic golden age when this is all done. Oh,
Leo Laporte (00:06:41):
I hope you're right. <Laugh>
Iain Thomson (00:06:44):
Cause if you look on, if you look
Dwight Silverman (00:06:45):
On social many media, like all of my friends on Facebook and Instagram, all they talk about is with this is over. Here's where I'm going, you know, and they put post pictures, right. Of countries. They've been to the it, they love,
Leo Laporte (00:06:58):
It's what we Fanta what my wife and I fantasize about practically every night is where do you want to go first? What do you want to do first? Yeah. Right.
Fr. Robert Ballecer (00:07:05):
Yeah. And remember the, the roaring twenties, wasn't just about people going out and partying. It was people changing what they've come to expect from society, you know AF after such a prolonged time of not being able to do what you wanna suddenly, you're changing how you consume. You're, you're changing what you consider to be success. You're, you're changing what you consider to be stable employment or, or stable housing. We could do the same thing. And, and if you do that the, the companies that, that latch onto that and, and start feeding that appetite, they're going to make a mint. It's gonna be, it's gonna be a free for all once the dam breaks.
Leo Laporte (00:07:43):
And that's mostly analog. You think analog companies,
Fr. Robert Ballecer (00:07:47):
Experiences, experience companies.
Iain Thomson (00:07:50):
Yeah. Yeah. Physical experience. I mean, the one comment I'm getting again on social, again and again, on social media is when this is over some people, so many people are gonna get hugs. No one has been able to hug everyone else. No. One's been able to go visit anyone
Leo Laporte (00:08:02):
Else, why stop and hugging. Let's just all rip up. <Laugh>, you know, there's gonna be a massive baby boom. Yes. Nine months after this ends. Yeah.
Iain Thomson (00:08:12):
Yes, absolutely. It's
Dwight Silverman (00:08:14):
Lots of French kissing. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:08:16):
I think if we really want the roaring 2020s to duplicate the 1920s, we should ban alcohol as well. Let's just do that too.
Fr. Robert Ballecer (00:08:23):
<Laugh> let's just repeat it. Let's
Leo Laporte (00:08:25):
The formula. Now we remember how it ended with a great depression. So maybe we could skip that part, but well
Iain Thomson (00:08:31):
That's. Yeah, but I mean, yeah, the prohibitation of alcohol did have a huge social influence on, on the United States because men and women started drinking together for the first time, for example. Right. Different races started mixing together. Oh, that's a good point. Yeah. So, I mean, it was an enormous social driver, albeit and an incredibly stupid policy, but, you know, I mean, it was an enormous driver for social change and you saw women's HeLas going up and they were started smoking and okay. So it wasn't all good, but I mean, you know, men and women mixed
Leo Laporte (00:09:00):
A lot, I might start smoking smoking. I might, I, my next year I survive. It
Iain Thomson (00:09:05):
Takes years to keep it up. I'm never taking this. <Laugh>
Leo Laporte (00:09:08):
This in smoking. <Laugh> no, I promise I'm not, I'm not gonna start smoking.
Iain Thomson (00:09:14):
You say that I, I applied for a job in a magazine in the 1990s and they had a cigar reviewer and that was his job.
Leo Laporte (00:09:19):
What a great job reviewed, what a great job. Let me start with you. Alex is meme stock. It's a little bit of a put down like these people are real investors. This is just a meme. Is that a fair care characterization?
Alex Wilhelm (00:09:36):
I don't think it's as pejorative as we might think on the surface. I think it's almost one of those negative things you kind of take on as a joke that you then begin to enjoy yourself. So mem stock, to me just describes the group of stocks that are trading not based on fundamentals or long term value, but based on kind of current market sentiment amongst the retail crowd.
Leo Laporte (00:09:56):
And by the way, the sentiment may not be driven either by market fundamentals. It may be driven. And it seems to be somewhat driven by let's screw the hedge funds, right?
Alex Wilhelm (00:10:06):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of annoyance amongst retail traders about their position in the market. If you have a lot of money, you have access to better information, better tools and faster trades it. If you're a retail investor, like, you know, us here kind of regular folks, you don't. And so it feels like the market is a little bit set up against you and it is. And so what you're seeing here is a combination of greed social interest, kind of people banning together on the internet to bring something together and also annoyance with the way things are set up. And I think a lot of people are still pretty peeved about 2008, 2009, and how things kind of worked out there and how people didn't go to jail and how we, the taxpayers spent a lot of money to keep these big bang alive. And so when these social traders on Reddit and other places notice that game stop is shorted more than a hundred percent,
Leo Laporte (00:10:52):
140%. So I don't even know how that can happen by the way, that's a failure of regulation, but the hedge funds have bought more game, stop stock than exists
Alex Wilhelm (00:11:02):
And sold it short. And so people knew that if they took advantage of this, they could, could never of it up,
Leo Laporte (00:11:07):
Make it good. Right. There's not enough stock to buy.
Alex Wilhelm (00:11:11):
How did one, the most interesting things,
Leo Laporte (00:11:13):
How did they know that it had been shorted 140%? Somebody must really someone sophisticated must have looked at that and figured it out.
Alex Wilhelm (00:11:22):
No. So, so Philip, the short interest is periodically available. Before this show, I was Googling around a little bit and you can find data on that. And with more sophisticated tool in like a Bloomberg terminal, you can definitely find out, but what's really interesting. And you raise a
Leo Laporte (00:11:37):
Point by the way, the somewhat, some people characterize this as four Chan with a Bloomberg terminal, which is exactly what it's <laugh>, which is exactly what, but wait a minute, now I gotta point out. And, and by the way, Elizabeth Warren AOC and others in Congress have called for an investigation, the S S E which moves like molasses woke up late last week and went, oh, wait a minute. <Laugh> I gotta point out it is not obvi you, you know, this, this is the superficial description of this, but it's completely possible that it wasn't just retail traders that maybe other hedge funds we're intentionally short squeezing their competition. We don't know exactly right. Well, I think what's really going on here. Do we?
Christina Warren (00:12:21):
No. I mean, I think that what happened, you know, when the, the squeeze started and when you did have people like like roaring kitty and, and some of the other big wall street,
Leo Laporte (00:12:30):
Roy kit is deep, a deep fing valley. You it's his YouTube band. Now it it's his YouTube we'll call him more and kitty from now on. That's
Christina Warren (00:12:37):
Probably more, right? Yeah. So, so when you have this guy, who's, you know, turned a $50,000 investment into 31 million or whatever, and, and he's an actual, I mean, he's incredibly clever and incredibly smart when you have people like him who made those moves. I do think that those were people who saw a, you know, a, a glitch, a hole in the system and we're able to take advantage, and then we're able to propel this into other things. The thing is though, is that once the stock started rising and once everybody started kind of staring at it, like slack shot what's happening and it went up and up and up, obviously you're going to have like non-retail and investors who are interested in, in it too. Right? Like, so I, I think that it becomes at that point, you know, people who are doing high frequency trading and who are trading based on, you know, having, you know, wash lists and algorithms and are doing all the, all the ways that, you know, most professionals trade now, which is not the way that retailers, retail investors trade were obviously going to be getting in on it.
Christina Warren (00:13:32):
And, and I wouldn't be surprised if is usually not uncommon where some of the hedge funds will have a position to backstop against like their short position failing. Right. So I don't think we know exactly what it is. I I'd be very curious to hear Alex's thoughts, my thoughts just based on what we know now. And so much of it, we're still figuring out, as he said, the new cycle has moved so quick. But my, my gut tells me that while most of the interest has been led by retail investors, once things shifted past a certain point, then you did start to see traditional investors, whether they be hedge funds or, or, you know just you know, high frequency traders or, or whatever, starting to get in on the action too, which is only going to, can continue to, to keep this frothy.
Christina Warren (00:14:18):
And I mean, I look, I, I expected the crash have already happened. I was very clearly wrong on that, but I think this is one of those things where we're all expecting the inevitable crash. We don't know when the bottom's gonna drop, but the, the completely nuts. So thing about this is that we don't know how, how high this is going to go until things presumably regulate themselves, assuming they do. And, and maybe this is one of those weird things where, where it won't. I think that game stop as a company is in such a poor position that I don't see how it can continue to, you know, stay at these at these levels. But yeah, to, to your point, I don't think it's, it's definitely, I think that it started and was largely led by retail investors. But if people are making money in this, like the game is rigged, it, it is. I mean, I think anybody who's followed anything and has anything to do with finance understands and like accepts that you can't expect the billionaires to be sitting on the side lines and seeing regular people making money and not wanting to, to get in on some of the play too. I
Leo Laporte (00:15:15):
Mean, it's just bizarre roaring kitty. And this is what you do on wall street, bets, you post pictures of your, you know, losses and your gains. And so forth took to fi his, he posted, and nobody can verify this, but he claims he invested $53,000. And at some point it reached $48 million, whether he sold, I don't think because I think he's saying hold, which I think Alex is nuts, cuz isn't this bubble gonna pop at some point, here's a picture of a kid. 10 year old Jayden Carr. His mom gave him 10 shares in game stop. In 29, teen is a Kwanza present. <Laugh> that's amazing. He's happy, amazing.
Christina Warren (00:15:56):
Love him. Love, love, love. I genuinely
Leo Laporte (00:15:58):
Love that for him. She wanted to teach him about investing, but what lesson did Jayden learn? <Laugh> really, <laugh> about investing. That's one of the concerns I have. I see people like my own son, naive investors who say, oh, you know, I'm gonna get me that Robin hood. And I'm gonna put some money in here, cuz this is a, a great opportunity. But, but what do you think Alex is the bubble about to burst? Is it what I guess it's not because more and more people are coming along saying I gotta get in on this. Right. Even though now you're buying game stock game spot stock at like 300 bucks. I don't know what the current price is, but 325. So yeah, that's crazy. It's Leo, if this is the year to date graph, it was, it was, it was yeah, January 5th. It was $17. It is now $325 and there was a sell off on Thursday. I'm sure there's some market, you know market off market sharing trading going on right now. It's insane. It's insane. So are people gonna, but don't you think people are gonna get hurt by this Alex or no? Yeah. They are gonna get hurt by it. I mean wet, the hedge funds got heard, Melvin capital had to go borrow money from Steven Cohen. <Laugh> yep.
Alex Wilhelm (00:17:19):
To the tune of several billion dollars. Yeah. So the
Leo Laporte (00:17:21):
Billionaires bailed out the billionaires, we didn't
Alex Wilhelm (00:17:24):
Do it, which is super important to note. No one knows how long this can stay up because no one thought this was going to happen. And when you discuss people, posting their trades on wall street, bets and or forums, what they're doing is sharing with a large crowd. And in it's not like the old days where you had to go on C, BC to talk about your positions, to get people, to pay attention. Now you can kind of rally an army of individual traders who have access to things like options and more exotic investments than they didn't used to have. And so now you can really marsh a lot of buying power behind you. People are buying billboards and ads to encourage more people to buy and hold games, stop game game, look at stop stock, which is
Leo Laporte (00:18:00):
A twist, you know deep effing value posted, hold, hold, hold, hold, hold, hold, hold, hold. Oh of course he wants you to hold. In fact, he wants you to buy more because his value's gonna go up. You have to, at some point you have to start wondering about these people's motivations and, and maybe not buy into this. It's it's it's crazy. Yes. And I don't think we fully know what's going on here's but there's alar to me, there's a larger thing at play here that actually ties into the events of the last few years. This is essentially mob action, right? Have you ever, has anybody ever, I was in a mob when I was a kid. I was protesting against the Vietnam war with a big group of people. We, things that I would never have done by myself, you know, we blocked the freeway.
Leo Laporte (00:18:54):
We rocked police cars, stupid things that I would never have done. But when you get in a mob, you lose your mind and you start acting as a single brain in a mob. And we've seen this before. We saw it January 6th of in a way to me, what's happening in the stock market with game stop is similar to what happened in the insurrection in the capital is similar to what happened, I guess you could say, in the Arab spring. And again and again, what I think we're seeing is how social media, these messaging platforms like telegram and discord, WhatsApp empower the formation of mobs. When I was a kid, you, you only became a mob because everybody said, let's go down and protest the war in Vietnam on, you know, a certain day. And we all went and that mob never got much bigger cuz there wasn't this mass medium, but social media has in my mind weaponized the mob. And, and while this seems benign to me, I, you know, this is great. I'm glad some hedge funds suffered. They should, but it that's today. Tomorrow it could be less benign.
Alex Wilhelm (00:20:02):
I, I think the comparison to the January 6th is a little bit tenuous because that was a rally that the lead of America had called people to show up to. So it was much more central as to this sort of Reddit dis well, I'm not making type
Leo Laporte (00:20:14):
Thing. I'm not making deep effing value equivalent to president Trump, but that's the point. But I'm saying that had president Trump not had Twitter and Facebook had the, or had the organized, not had these social media platforms. To me, it looks like these social media platforms are ripe for this kind, and this is what we're gonna see. And I think we're gonna see it a lot more often
Alex Wilhelm (00:20:37):
Just to add to that point. There's currently a new meme amongst the same trading groups to squeeze the price of silver. I know I have not looked into this because all my money is in boring index funds because of journalism rules. But you know, this is not gonna stop. People have now found a lever and they're gonna keep trying to move the world as long as they can. And you know, we saw a lot of issues with Robin Hood's ability to stay up and so forth, but they'll figure that out. They'll get that sorted out. And then once those pathways are open, there's not gonna be the same kind of like slows to the system. And so I, I don't know where this goes, but as a person who cares about the financial markets in general, I'm gonna be fascinated to see what the next couple years look like. If we do actually see the revenge of retail traders against the professional money, it will be an inversion of trends that have been going on for, for decades, you know? And people are gonna get hurt Leo, but it's gonna be really fun to watch the financial carnage either way
Leo Laporte (00:21:29):
I'm diamond Han still holding on that game, stock game spot stock gonna be rich someday. I know I am coming up the other big fad <laugh> of 2021 NFTs. But first I would like to talk a little bit about something that's not a fad podium. Oh man. Podium is actually the future for small businesses. And I know it because every time now I leave my dentist office, my hair cutters what the ice cream parlor down the street I hear from 'em I get a text message. I, you know, sometimes it says your next appointment. Sometimes it says, would you like a coupon for your next visit? Sometimes it says, would you to leave us review on Yelp or Google? And in every case, that's podium, podium is the way to do business in this kind of modern era, friction free. It's what your customers want.
Leo Laporte (00:22:21):
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Leo Laporte (00:23:13):
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Kevin Rose (00:24:36):
Good to see you, Leo. Thanks for having me
Leo Laporte (00:24:38):
Venture capitalist with true ventures. He's got a brand new podcast. I want to give you a plug right up front. Mofi the, a modern finance podcast. You're only in your, you've only done three episodes, only two published so far, but the first one is a must. Listen, I listen to it immediately because I am completely baffled by this whole crazy NFT thing. We've spent a lot of time talking about the Beatles $69 million <laugh> art S JPEG sold at Christie's. But you explained it all very well with IM DC investor off top hae who was, who was, you know, and you, I guess you're also an investor you've bought some NFTs.
Kevin Rose (00:25:21):
Yeah. I mean, I was definitely dabbling way back when crypto punks first came out, which was probably, well, that was before the, the standard was actually defined. So
Leo Laporte (00:25:32):
Were years ago they weren't actually NFTs at first. Were they
Kevin Rose (00:25:36):
That that's right? Yeah. The, the standard was based on the work done with the crypto punks project.
Leo Laporte (00:25:41):
Oh, interesting. So they were, so you're smart. I, I heard you say that you sold, this is, these are the crypto punks
Kevin Rose (00:25:48):
They're yeah. They're five by 25 pixels.
Leo Laporte (00:25:50):
Yeah. They're icons of zombies. Right? other things
Kevin Rose (00:25:55):
Zombie is one at attribute type. Yes. And aliens zombies, and yeah. They all have different Mohawks and glasses and beard types. And I mean, but you
Leo Laporte (00:26:05):
Bought, but you buy these I, which, which I don't don't understand because I see them all right here. I have them all, you, you buy them so that if I, if I click on the smiling zombie, which apparently you own I can look at it, I could print it. I could do anything I want with it, but you own it.
Kevin Rose (00:26:24):
That's right. Yeah. You could do the same thing with the, get a high re copy of the Mona Lisa and print it out and hanging up, up in your house. But, but you don't have it.
Leo Laporte (00:26:31):
That's true. So it's like, you've got the Mona Lisa of, of smiling zombies. Is that it?
Kevin Rose (00:26:37):
Yeah. I mean, it's basically just a way to use the blockchain to prove that someone actually has ownership over something that makes a lot of sense into ownership. That makes a lot of sense, cementing it in the blockchain. That's a
Leo Laporte (00:26:47):
Real problem with artworks with baseball cards, with a collectible is attribution and, and who owns it, but also is it real? Is it a and so blockchain kinda solves
Kevin Rose (00:26:57):
That. And the third piece that's really important is how many were made. I mean, one of the things that, that how happened in the, the nineties around baseball cards and collectibles and comic books is you know, there's a, there's a great story. We all of course know the, the very famous franchise of the Wolverine and the very first Wolverine comic is still $150. And I, I dug into this. I'm like how this was made in the eighties. How can this possibly be? And it turns out they printed something like 300,000 of them and didn't tell anyone <laugh> they sold as many as they could. And which makes sense as a business, but as collectors, you didn't know that, you know? And so the blockchain gives you a way to say proven scarcity, right. Proven ownership. So that's, that's nice.
Amy Webb (00:27:40):
So there is another way biological way to, to barcode and to track authenticity and that's DNA. So you can spray custom DNA on just about anything it's odorless, it's colorless. It leaves no residue. It leaves no mark. And then you have physical. So blockchain is great, but you know, it's not
Leo Laporte (00:28:02):
Physical, physical way.
Amy Webb (00:28:03):
In fact, yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:28:04):
I mean, you could, the, the crypto punk is not in the blockchain, right? The image itself is not in the blockchain. Kevin, just the URL.
Kevin Rose (00:28:11):
Right. That's not true because the, with crypto punks, it was only a 25 by 25. They're small. You could put a hash of the, yeah, exactly. I believe you're right. In any modern, like the peoples, all that stuff. It is just a pointer to like an IPFS type you know, asset, right. Well,
Leo Laporte (00:28:27):
At least it's and there problems go ahead.
Amy Webb (00:28:30):
I was gonna say, I think all of that works well, as long as you have a ton of redundancy built in, but yeah, cuz if it's just one of the
Leo Laporte (00:28:36):
Cool things, it were a web URL. It could, you know, the server could go down, at least with IPFS is a distributed file system. And so in theory, it's not gonna go away.
Amy Webb (00:28:46):
You could spray DNA fragment.
Leo Laporte (00:28:48):
So I'm not gonna ask you <laugh> it's probably, it's not the traditional method of spraying DNA. I'm assuming it's some other, <laugh>
Amy Webb (00:28:57):
No, Leo, that's not what
Leo Laporte (00:28:59):
I was talking about. Okay. That's where my mind went. It's a sneeze, right? You sneeze on it. I'm sure if you think about it that probably a few van goes have his DNA on them, but you're not talking about that.
Amy Webb (00:29:13):
No, I'm not talking about that. I'm I you know, one of the really cool things that's happened, one of the positive after effects of the virus is that messenger RNA, which has been around forever. It finally found a use case, a BI in this case
Leo Laporte (00:29:28):
To make the vaccines in this case. That's
Amy Webb (00:29:30):
Right. And RNA is, is a pretty cool technology that has some knock on effects. And one of which is looking at RNA and DNA in, in sort of a new light. So you can, DNA is like, nature's hard drive. You can store a ton of stuff in it. And it doesn't go anywhere. And, and likewise, you can use DNA as a tracking system. So if you've got a really valuable collection of comic books, not Wolverine but something else more valuable, one way to physically mark products like that artifacts that you can authenticate in the future is, is using DNA fragments.
Leo Laporte (00:30:09):
One of the advantages of blockchain in this regard is it's distributed. And everybody has a copy. There's no with DNA, you'd still have to have some register, be somewhere of what the what's what's what's in that RNA, if, I mean, it doesn't have to be RNA. It could be any encoding method for encoding a long digit,
Amy Webb (00:30:30):
Right? I mean, it's like a, you can encode spores too. It's just like, it's like a barcode. But yes, you would still need a, you would still need a registry that should be distributed.
Kevin Rose (00:30:39):
That, that was great for like individual odd objects. But if you're going to do something like say fractional ownership of a digital object, oh, you can do that would be possible. You, you know, smart contracts enable things like artworks to change over time based on rule sets, like, like really kind of fun things like that as well are, are, are pretty cool with some of the NFT stuff. I
Leo Laporte (00:30:58):
Think people and I include myself in this get to attracted by trying to wrap their mind around. Well, people made a JPEG, which is infinitely reproducible, and then was able to sell it for 69.3 million to somebody who now can claim ownership in some abstract way. And we get wrapped around this notion of coal collectables, physical versus virtual objects and all of that. And, you know, you can go either way on that. I mean, I, you know, I'm kind of, of the opinion. It's pretty speculative. And, but so is so our collectibles, I mean, you don't buy a, a harness Wagner baseball cart, cuz it has any intrinsic value. You buy it cuz you think either you are really a big fan of the Pittsburgh pirates or you think it's gonna have more value in it down the road and you can sell it.
Leo Laporte (00:31:49):
It's a way of, of storing value. Just like unfortunately, a lot of artworks now are ways of storing value. They're not hung on any wall. They're stored in a locker at some airport to avoid customs and taxes there a store of value and you know, you'll be able to sell 'em at some point probably for more than you paid for it. Right? So I, I acknowledge that this is a good way to, this is a better, but blockchain is a better way to store value. But I think people like me get all tied than not over this. Well you, what are you kids doing? This is, this is, this is silly. There's also. And let me ask you about this, Kevin, cause you didn't address this in modern finance. There's also an environmental concern. Isn't there. I mean, there's a lot of energy being used to create these things and every transaction uses a lot of energy.
Kevin Rose (00:32:40):
I think I, the energy consumption of, of proof of work blockchain has been known for, for quite some time. I mean, there's, there's, it's horrible. And so, I mean, that's why there's a lot of work and effort going into making these chains. Just eco-friendly. I mean, if you take a look at all of the layer, two scaling solutions for Ethereum, everything is they're doing with optimistic rollups these are like very lightweight ways to do cryptographically proven transfers without happening to write it back to the main chain. So without spending a lot of resource power until we get to something that is proof of stake, which is not proof of work, which is not using very intensive CPU or GPU to do all these transaction processing, which is on the Ethereum roadmap. I mean, this stuff is coming.
Leo Laporte (00:33:27):
It's been on the for a long time though. Kevin.
Kevin Rose (00:33:30):
Yeah. I, I know, but you're also talking about, you know how many billions of dollars of you gotta be very careful when you're, when you're changing directions of a play of that size, right? Like you, if you're, if you're setting a new destination, like you don't want, you want to really battle and harden the code. And so, you know, there's been some E two is like there's, they've crossed a couple major milestones and staking is the next big one. So,
Leo Laporte (00:33:55):
And that will eliminate the the grotesque energy expenditure?
Kevin Rose (00:33:59):
Yes. And, and, and there's already other chains out there that like are getting a lot of traction that are already green from the get go, GIA Graham Cohen, the creator BitTorrent just launched his coin. Here just four or five days ago, very efficient green for the podcast.
Leo Laporte (00:34:11):
You actually interview him for the year, you just interviewed him for the podcast.
Kevin Rose (00:34:15):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a very efficient, super green cryptocurrency. It's going to have for smart contracts and other things on top of it Solana super like talk about high bandwidth, high throughput. They can do 50,000 transactions a second and it is super efficient and green. So you know, these, these are all problems that are being worked out, but I, I certainly acknowledge that today. It sucks. And of course like the, depending upon where you're getting your energy from, like there are a lot of minors that will go next to very cheap sources, which can be hydroelectric. They can be, you know, solar can be renewable they're they're mining those environments.
Leo Laporte (00:34:53):
Sure, sure. In fact, it only makes sense to, to mine where electricity's cheap cuz otherwise you probably not making a profit <laugh> right. It, it kind of brings up the issue of I saw some wag tweet Elon Musk said, Tesla now will accept Bitcoin to purchase a, a Tesla automobile. And of course some wag pointed out that you, you might as well just put gas engines in a Elon because <laugh>, you're not, if you're all the benefit, the environmental benefit of an electric vehicle is kind of abrogated by using Bitcoin to pay for 'em. I mean,
Kevin Rose (00:35:27):
Yes and no. I think that there's a couple things here. Like what are the payment rails behind the scenes, if you're going, let's say I don't know what they're using for, for on the, on the merchant side to accept Bitcoin, but let's just say it's it's Coinbase, right? Yeah. if you're going Coinbase to Coinbase, you're not doing any, there's no conversion actually running to the chain. Right? Exactly.
Jason Hiner (00:35:46):
I'm still wondering what I'm like, so curious now what Nicholas got from the NBA on his, on his NFT.
Leo Laporte (00:35:57):
Open it! Open it!
Nicholas De Leon (00:35:57):
Maybe in the background I can open it.
Leo Laporte (00:35:57):
Let's do an unboxing.
Jason Hiner (00:35:58):
Leo Laporte (00:35:58):
Did you get a box?
Nicholas De Leon (00:36:01):
I guess a digital box. Let me,
Leo Laporte (00:36:02):
How can you, how can you do an unboxing of a digital box?
Nicholas De Leon (00:36:07):
I don't know if I could show it on my screen. I can't share my, I probably could.
Leo Laporte (00:36:10):
Yeah you're on zoom. You can share your screen with us. You gotta make him the the presenter on the, on the zoom thing. I think John,
Jason Hiner (00:36:18):
I I'm waiting for the day now when like somebody does like a crazy dunk and like the kids are asking each other, is that dunk on the blockchain yet? <Laugh>
Leo Laporte (00:36:27):
They've sold, like I said, $200 million of highlights, nbatopshot.com. You just did it for research. I'm sure Nicholas. Right.
Kevin Rose (00:36:36):
I have a friend who was, who, you know, is mega into it and he's spending like hundreds of dollars. He's one of those speculators. And I was like, oh, that's, you know, I had been reading about it.
Leo Laporte (00:36:45):
So this is what you bought. You bought a pack. It's just, it is. Yes. It's just like baseball cards. Yeah. It's it's yeah. And so rising. Which one did you get?
Nicholas De Leon (00:36:55):
I pre-ordered the, just the base pack. That's the other thing is that, you know, they, they release these things in tranches. It's like, if you want like the fancy Seman pack, well you have to, you know, you have to wait in line.
Leo Laporte (00:37:08):
They're all sold out. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Look at that.
Nicholas De Leon (00:37:09):
It's a real, it's very interesting how they kind of like, they forever sold out
Leo Laporte (00:37:12):
Out. I presume they're so smart. Yeah. They're sold out forever. They're so smart because they didn't say
Jason Hiner (00:37:17):
This shock them. They sold way more than what they expected.
Nicholas De Leon (00:37:21):
Whoa. They were super surprised. Okay. Impulse buy it.
Leo Laporte (00:37:24):
Just a little tip, they look a little bit like condom rappers. You might want to change the size of that. Make it look more like baseball cards. But other than that, oh, I see. I would go for this one deck, the hoops 230 bucks sold out. So you just bought a base set. Did you get, you
Larry Magid (00:37:40):
Don't actually get anything physical in the mail. Do you?
Leo Laporte (00:37:42):
It all, no, you don't get this package or anything. This is what the that's what's hysterical about this. They make it look like you're gonna get something. Well, you get, you get a link, you get an email. What do you, what what'd you get?
Nicholas De Leon (00:37:52):
Uh no, you get, and it's funny too, cuz they make you wait in a queue. Like I a couple weeks ago I was in line with 150,000 I other people, oh my God. Trying to buy, you know, one of these pet
Leo Laporte (00:38:02):
That's smart. You want to create this false sense of urgency and this scarcity and yep.
Nicholas De Leon (00:38:06):
And the folks in the discord are like freaking out. They're like, oh my God, there's a hundred thousand people ahead of me. There's no way I'm getting and you're waiting in the queue for hours. And you're just kind of like that's, I'm getting and with the thing suggested because of the joy,
Larry Magid (00:38:18):
It took even longer for it to get to you, right?
Leo Laporte (00:38:22):
Oh yeah. You didn't have to mail it. They don't mail it. Don't
Nicholas De Leon (00:38:24):
Mail it. I don't know it. I don't know if I could open it live. I don't know.
Leo Laporte (00:38:29):
Yeah, you don't have to that's all right. All right. I just thought it'd be good for our YouTube numbers. If you did it on boxing <laugh>
Nicholas De Leon (00:38:34):
Well, that's, that's actually funny. You bring that up because that is like a burgeoning. Oh, of course. It's a piece of content. Like people opening
Leo Laporte (00:38:40):
Packs live and, and they have like hype videos and it's actually quite clever. I guess if I were smart, I would've promoted this. I would've said next week, Nicholas de Leon is coming on. He's gonna open his pack. This is huge. I would've done four or five videos all week long, building this up. See, I'm not good at this stuff.
Larry Magid (00:38:59):
He could have been the Geraldo of Rivera of oh my, are you
Leo Laporte (00:39:02):
Talking about Al Capone safe?
Nicholas De Leon (00:39:04):
Leo Laporte (00:39:05):
Which ended up having what? Nothing in it. It was like dust, nothing in it. Nothing.
Nicholas De Leon (00:39:10):
It's always like, I can save it for next time. I won't open it. Maybe, maybe we'll coordinate and I can open I've. Well,
Leo Laporte (00:39:16):
I, I would understand. I don't know. Maybe there'll be something in there that I don't think there would be that would give away like your credit card number or something. I don't,
Nicholas De Leon (00:39:23):
No, I don't think so. Don't think so shifts, but what happens? You should $10 for it between now and the next show it. Okay. I find that unlikely because it's a standard pack or it's a base pack,
Leo Laporte (00:39:34):
Whatever they call, but only five other people have it.
Nicholas De Leon (00:39:37):
Yeah's probably not, not the best. Jifs in this one if I had to guess. Yeah. But we'll
Leo Laporte (00:39:43):
See, just so that we can prepare for this next time. Give me the, the shock look that you do on YouTube, Nicholas. So like, oh my God. I just opened it. It's amazing. Give me that. Look, come on. You could do it. Oh my, no, no, come on. But yeah, there you go. There you go. Stick out your tongue, eh, eh, that's it.
Nicholas De Leon (00:40:01):
And then I up and I run around
Leo Laporte (00:40:03):
Over. Yeah, we got it. <Laugh> there's your, there's your,
Jason Hiner (00:40:06):
That's your that's the thumbnail? That's the's your thumbnail right now? You know, Leo, you should, you should make an NFT out of the first episode of I have them.
Leo Laporte (00:40:17):
Nicholas De Leon (00:40:18):
So I have, I guarantee you, I would buy that somebody would buy, would buy that. I would buy that. Would you buy it? I might actually buy that. I, I remember where I was sitting where you guys recorded the first TWiT, actually. So, but what would that mean? You, the copyright would that mean that the person who bought it would own the copyright or just
Leo Laporte (00:40:34):
We Don copyright the creative, the creative, we don't, we don't do anything. I would just, it would basically be me signing it digitally authenticating that's right. That this is the first episode of twin
Jason Hiner (00:40:46):
I, somebody in the public to own the first edit to. So they own the, the, the, one of a kind digital copy or the digital original essentially of it. And they, and all other versions are, are, are copies, copies of it. Right.
Leo Laporte (00:41:00):
Except I don't know if I could do that. Cause I don't really know if I have the original. Well, it
Jason Hiner (00:41:05):
Doesn't, it doesn't. So it's, that's the thing.
Leo Laporte (00:41:07):
Well, it becomes the original
Jason Hiner (00:41:08):
Have the original tweet. You designate the one
Leo Laporte (00:41:10):
Original. No, there is. Where is it? So John has gone through our old hard drives and he has actually, he has this John, John, I think, wants us to make money. <Laugh> big mistake there, John. So he's given me a list. These are pre-show clips from 2008. Me and Paul Thra. Pre-Show windows weekly. Me and Megan Moroni pre showed jumping monkeys, a live stream. We did on building the ultimate game machine with Colleen Henry and Ryan shroud security. Now pre-show this is, these are all from 2008 from August, 2008 and the daily GIZ fizz from 2008. It's on here. So these are now I, I, I, those are the originals. I just blessed them. <Laugh> so then what do I do? I don't know. I need, I need meta COFA tokenize them. Yeah. To tokenize them. Leo.
Jason Hiner (00:42:04):
I bet if you sold the first episode of, of TWiT as an NFT. Yeah. And took the, and put it in Bitcoin. Yeah. And held it for $10. Yeah. I bet you, that would be worth a million dollars. I
Leo Laporte (00:42:19):
Would lose my password and you know, I have eight Bitcoin in a, in a wallet. I have eight Bitcoin right now in a wallet that I can't get into. Cause I don't remember the password. What's that
Jason Hiner (00:42:29):
Worth that you got from like Mount go back when it was no, I,
Leo Laporte (00:42:33):
I, when Bitcoin first started, I downloaded a Bitcoin core, like the software that the Bitcoin foundation had and that created a wallet. Yep. And at, at some point I was smart enough and dumb enough to password, protect it, but not record the fast.
Jason Hiner (00:42:48):
Oh. So you've got it in cold storage and
Leo Laporte (00:42:51):
I have the wallet that far. And then, and then we put up a QR code with the, with the account on the website as part of our tip jar. Cause for a while we are, I think we still have a tip jar. I just know one knows where it is and people were, and people gave me a 10th of a Bitcoin or whatever. And it ended up being 7.85 Bitcoin. I know. Cause I can see the wallet and I know how much is in it. I know all the transactions, but I just can't on unlock it. So what is that worth? That's $480,000 right now.
Jason Hiner (00:43:18):
Wow. Yeah. That's not that's right. It's amazing. I'm an idiot. Will you ever be able to recover that value?
Leo Laporte (00:43:24):
Yeah. My feeling is if I had been able to unlock it at any time in the last five years, I would've sold it right when Bitcoin was a hundred bucks, I would've sold it. So I've done is gain value. I figure not being able to sell it is the best thing that ever happened to me. And it's you were,
Jason Hiner (00:43:43):
If you were applying for a loan, could you use that on your financial statement as part of your
Leo Laporte (00:43:47):
Network? No. You can't access it. So, so I'm figuring, here's what, here's my plan. This is my, my long, long range plan. Someday quantum computers are gonna happen and there'll be a computer fast enough to crack this wallet to
Jason Hiner (00:44:01):
Crack that password by then.
Leo Laporte (00:44:03):
You're probably right. Yeah. By then it'll be worth millions. You're right. Maybe worth a hundred million. We'll have more in just a little bit. In fact, we're gonna talk about cuz one of the big stories of the week was of the year I should say was was about Congress investigating Facebook. Some of Facebook's plan plans for Instagram coming up in just a little bit. Our show today brought to you by Neva complicated and costly. That's that's been the state of audio conferencing for big spaces for a long time. Choosing a traditional system could entail a difficult software design issues selecting from a kind of dizzying array of separate mic speakers, DSPs, and more, you gotta get a company, you come in map the space, then you bring in technicians to install often very invasive and certainly very expensive. And that can take your, your meeting room, your huddle room offline for days.
Leo Laporte (00:45:04):
Really. I think this is a good example of an industry that was just primed for a leap in, in technology. The same kind of one that's that's changed. So many other sectors, especially during COVID that's why Neva has really come at a time that we need it. Neva created the revolutionary microphone, missed technology. It's a patented technology that make one or two in a graded microphones and speaker bars work for a giant room. Fill the room with thousands of virtual microphones. It is a perfect affordable solution for today's bigger meeting rooms, no dead zones. Everybody can be heard anywhere in the room, no matter where they're facing, no matter how they're socially distancing, frankly, I think this is gonna be the future of conference rooms where it's a comfortable en engaging space and you don't have to pay attention to the microphone. That's the best way meeting participants classes.
Leo Laporte (00:46:06):
It's great for schools can simply talk and move naturally in the space. And they'll be heard clearly by participants. It's just a more natural way to run conference audio and thanks to continuous calibration. Your rooms are instantly and always ready with optimized audio, no outside technician required, no matter how the configuration changes, no matter how many people or how few people in the room Nova works first time, every time. And man has this simplified installation, no installers coming in, running wires, everywhere, drilling holes in the wall. It's a 30 minute job you can do yourself. I've done. It's simple. It's just like installing a sound bar means big savings on time and cost compared to traditional systems. So it works better and it costs less. Seems like a, a no brainer to me, simplified management too. You get the Neva console, which gives it the power to monitor, manage and adjust the systems from everywhere.
Leo Laporte (00:47:03):
No need for it to move from room to room. So it means you can have many Neva connected rooms and manage 'em all from a central console. It's just great. So I guess it's time to ask yourself, do you want to go with a costly, complicated traditional system or make the leap to simple and economical Neva, N U R evva.com Neva N U rva.com. It's it's simple. It's just the right way to do it. Neva. We thank you so much for supporting our, our special best of episode. We really appreciate that. Boy, it was a lot to talk about with Facebook and Instagram this year. Here's a plan at time. That seemed like a bad idea. They've backed down since Instagram for kids, what could possibly go wrong? Internal Instagram post obtained by Buzzfeed news says, quote, we have identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H one priority list. Youth work?
Roberto Baldwin (00:48:09):
<Affirmative>, you know, use youth like, like, you know, when they were like miners and stuff like the day now we will now instead of making now, instead of exploiting children, by sending them on the ground, we exploit with ads. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:48:22):
This is VHA Shaw who's Instagram's vice president of product writing on an employee message board. But of course, nothing private these days, we will be building a new youth pillar within the community product group to focus on two things. This is, I think, informative about how they think about these things, accelerating our integrity and privacy work to ensure the safest possible experience for teens and building a version of Instagram that lets people under the age of 13 safely use Instagram for the first time. For the first time, actually Instagram, like almost everything else because of kapa, the child online protection and privacy act will not allow you to join if you're under 13. But of course, I don't think that stops anybody. They don't make any real effort to verify that. But
Georgia Dow (00:49:11):
This makes me think about cigarettes when they used to advertise to kids that they understand that if you don't start at a certain age, then you're not gonna continue on.
Leo Laporte (00:49:20):
So get 'em young.
Georgia Dow (00:49:22):
Yeah. How come get 'em young and doctrine eight quickly. And people will, once you're used to an ecosystem you're comfortable, you're gonna stay and keep on using it. That's their thought or hope for it, even though that no, this is no, this is not good. Social medias, not great for kids because most kids are not don't understand what they're doing. What they're posting. They, not everyone has Owen as a dad. Let's just say it Owen. And you, you have to be all
Leo Laporte (00:49:44):
Of our dads. He's a good dad. Yeah. Be all our dad. Yeah, you should
Owen JJ Stone (00:49:48):
Fair. This has nothing to do with indoctrinating them. This has to do with TikTok and Snapchat. They are losing the youth at an alarming rate. They need to do something to bring the youth back because I, again, sending somebody, sending a kid to Instagram is like sending 'em Facebook or a letter by pigeon. They don't wanna go there. You know what I mean? This is not TikTok. This
Leo Laporte (00:50:14):
Is not real now. And maybe this is, this is not the the audience, but I, when I watch TikTok, a lot of talkers say, check out my Instagram accountant. Like they do. They do both. But that's like people trying to be influencers. You're saying it's,
Owen JJ Stone (00:50:27):
It's also the fact of check out my YouTube channel. Right? Check out my Twitter, check out my, whatever. If you're already here and you love me, I need you to love me on otherwhere platform. Build up. Yeah, my, maybe I can get you here and get you there. So that's why they do it. But everything you, 90% of what you watch on Instagram anymore. That's interesting. Has a to name floats around it. They've already posted it on TikTok. That's right. And then they put it on, on Instagram. By the time I look at something on Instagram, my daughter's looking at me like I'm a 92 year old man. She's like, I was laughing at that two weeks ago, bro. Right? Like, come on. <Laugh> like, you know what I mean? Cause I don't, I don't have the same algorithm she has on TikTok. So she's in the cool hip from the future TikTok I'm in the, Hey, let me sell you some socks and a good dad joke. All the cool fun stuff is on TikTok.
Leo Laporte (00:51:10):
If I could say to, to a TikTok, I would like that cool hip, younger algorithm. Can I trade my silver hair at algorithm in? I would buy that. Wouldn't you bother what to
Owen JJ Stone (00:51:23):
Do is give a 17 year old 18. Give, give your son the, to out for like a week and he'll be he'll fix it it'll change everything. Oh yeah. He'll fix the algorithm cuz it, it learns really quick. What you're into bro like real quick.
Leo Laporte (00:51:35):
Oh, that's disappointing. When I think about what I see on TikTok now I maybe, maybe it's not your fault. It's all my fault.
Owen JJ Stone (00:51:43):
It's the way the internet works. Right? So the internet, if you look at my Twitter or my Facebook, they think the, that I am a 71 year old white man that lives in Los Angeles or New York city. I get ads for old dating sites. I get dads for
Leo Laporte (00:51:57):
Is that cuz you did that on purpose or is that just who you are?
Fr. Robert Ballecer (00:52:01):
Oh, I did that because I don't, I don't want them selling things to me. I like to know what they're selling me. So when I they're selling me old stuff, I know that they're going by my age and my, you know what I mean? They, they think that I'm Awan from
Leo Laporte (00:52:12):
Actually a layer. I have to say it works cuz I have, I really enjoy TikTok. So they're obviously picking the right videos for me. I might not enjoy Henry's TikTok cuz it would be for a young guy.
Fr. Robert Ballecer (00:52:22):
Yeah. Their algorithm is impressive. It is impressive technology. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:52:27):
Is it the best scary <affirmative> well and how is Snapchat still in the game? Didn't Instagram kick, kick Snapchat's butt with their stories and all that. Well, I mean for the old, for the olds <laugh>
Owen JJ Stone (00:52:40):
For the old, did you see this on my phone? What they wait, what's what? Didn't see it. Right? That's the point because that's why Snapchat still cool. The kids are on there because they're putting up stuff to didn't want people and it goes away.
Leo Laporte (00:52:50):
Okay. It's at tos exact opposite. It's stuff you want everybody to see? Yep. Yep. So I should never go to a second location. Is that the rule? Just that's the rule. Never go to a second location. Okay. I'm learning. I'm just learning here.
Georgia Dow (00:53:04):
That's the rule.
Leo Laporte (00:53:06):
Jeff Bezos retiring, stepping down his CEO. He is gonna gonna be the chairman of the board, but less focused on data day operations. He's handing over the real, the reigns to Andy jazzy. He's kind of, maybe this is another one of the, it seems like the whole show's been about corporate spin and PR and maybe this is more of the same in the letter. He says if you've read some of the news reports, you might think we don't care about our employees. <Laugh> well, we do no <laugh> but maybe we ought to do better. He's coming off of victory. Of course, the Alabama warehouses voted against the union fairly substantially voted against the union. He says while voting results were lopsided in our direct relationship with employees is strong. It's clear to me, we need a better vision for how we create value from employees, a vision for their success.
Leo Laporte (00:54:15):
I'm sure Amazon will continue to fight unions. On the other hand you know, there are things they can do to make it better to work at Amazon. He said our employee are sometimes accused of being desperate souls and treated as robots. <Laugh> that's not accurate. Remember the was it a book that said that if you didn't cry at your desk once a day at Amazon, you really weren't working hard enough. <Laugh> if any shareholder shareholders are concerned that Earth's best employer and Earth's safest place to work, that's his goal might dilute our focus on Earth's most, most customer centric company. Let me set your mind at ease. Think of it this way. If we can operate two businesses as different as consumer e-commerce and Amazon web services and do both at the highest level, we can certainly do the same with these two vision statements I'm comp confident they will reinforce each other spin. Or do you think he genuinely is being, you know, a little affected by all of the blowback and wants to do something and make it a better company?
Alex Kantrowitz (00:55:24):
Well, this is Jeff Bezos's last letter to shareholders as CEO. So what he's thinking whn he's writing this is legacy legacy legacy, and for him he's reading the news and he's seeing, you know, what happened with the high profile Twitter battle, that leaded that led employees to end up like sharing photos of them, the bottles that they've peed in and letters telling them to stop pooping in bags with the press, which basically like, you know, Amazon is, is under fire and for the way that it treats employees and it's becoming it's on its way to becoming the, be the biggest employer in the US it's added a million employees under a decade. Wow. and, and it just keeps adding a hundred thousand, 200,000 a year. And so this is gonna be Jeff be's legacy, cuz at the end of the day, you know, he's gonna be the person who's gonna be responsible for the state of the American worker. Because the American worker is largely moving from places like the factory which produce things to PR places like the fulfillment center, which distribute with which distributes things. And so Bezos is gonna, you know, this stuff is gonna continue to grow. Amazon added 50 million prime members in the last year, up from 150 million. So that's stunning, I 33% growth first time we've
Leo Laporte (00:56:33):
Ever heard that number by the way, 200 million Amazon prime subscribers. Yeah.
Alex Kantrowitz (00:56:37):
So, so I think Bezo is thinking, you know, when, when people look back at him, they're gonna look back at the commerce he built, but they'll also look at the broader transformation that he led in terms of the economy and the way that work is structured. And of course there were other factors that were involved there. And so that's why I think we heard so much about the worker there and now does Amazon care? Yeah, actually I think Amazon cares a lot more than we end up hearing in the press reports. I don't think it's a miserable place for so many people able to work. It can be really tough. But I do think that the reality there is somewhere in between what we hear and some of like the worst, it's not like everybody goes in and brings their bottle to work, you know, and pees in it twice a day.
Alex Kantrowitz (00:57:17):
You know, there, there are good jobs at Amazon. But, but they definitely have room to improve. And I kind of, you know, the, the, the Amazon was freaking out when people were talking about the way that their employees are treated. And, and, you know, there is some righteous indignation that they can have. The United States, politicians are the ones that sign trade deals like NAFTA and encourage China to join the WTO, which ended up having us trade those production jobs with fulfill jobs and Amazon you know, pays $15 minimum wage where the federal government has a $7 and 25 cent minimum wage. And so, you know, I kind of see Amazon side a little bit when, you know, they're, they're looking at these, you know, politicians from the us government saying, you gotta treat workers better. And Amazon's like, you're supposed to be looking after the workers and America. I mean, of course Amazon, we talked about has lobbyists, but you know, there have been decades where our politicians have had a chance to make the situation better and they failed. You could also
Leo Laporte (00:58:14):
Make the case that voting down the union in Alabama was a, was a vote of confidence from the workers saying, we prefer Amazon management. We don't need a union.
Alex Kantrowitz (00:58:22):
Yeah, I'd buy them more if if Amazon didn't go through the painstaking union busting process that it did, if Amazon had that vote be, you know, let, let that vote vote be fair. And didn't like compel people to go into education systems and, you know, start like getting the post office to like have this mailbox in that, you know, might have made some people think that they were gonna read their ballots. Right. that might be one thing. I mean, why do you, if, if you really think that you can stand up based off of the merits, you don't need to bring the union busting firm in, you obviously have a right to defend yourself against unionization if you don't want it, but to just go through such effort and to be so against it. Like, I don't think this was, you know, entirely the worker standing up and saying, we don't want a union. Obviously Amazon had a role in it and Amazon's like, this wasn't a victory for us. It's what the workers wanted. But Amazon corporate, it was definitely a victory for them. They had a side, they picked a side, they pushed it real hard. And then we saw the impact of it.
Leo Laporte (00:59:18):
It's an interesting goal to become Earth's best employer and Earth's safest place to work. A lot of this letter was talking about how we already are. Great. so I'm not sure exactly what he plans to do to make it the best employer and the safest place to work. Well,
Ed Bott (00:59:37):
There's, there's a couple things, couple things here. Number one Bezos is doing what bill gates did 15 years ago. And
Leo Laporte (00:59:48):
Andrew Carnegie did before him.
Ed Bott (00:59:50):
Right. And Andrew Carnegie did back in the, you know, many, several generations ago. And so, and, and people were skeptical about bill gates walking away from a day to day role with Microsoft. And yet that's exactly what he did
Leo Laporte (01:00:05):
And became a philanthropist. One
Ed Bott (01:00:07):
Of the has, has really become the, the, you know, his, his primary focus there. So, and that's,
Leo Laporte (01:00:13):
I guess like Andrew Carnegie, some of that was to renovate his reputation
Ed Bott (01:00:19):
To, yeah, I think to a large extent, but was also I, I think people who know bill will say that there was some genuine personal transformation interesting that that happened along the way. Interesting. But I think the other thing about the, the, you know, the whole union vote there's two factors there that we really need to keep in mind. One is that this vote took place in probably, you know, perhaps the worst possible place to have a union vote. This is a, is one of the
Leo Laporte (01:00:49):
Reddest states in the country.
Ed Bott (01:00:50):
One of the reddest states with one of the most, most powerful so-called right to work traditions. I, you know, I just, I just get angry when I use, when I have to use the phrase right. To work cuz the exact opposite of, of what it should be, you know, but it's, but right now the United States is one of the most anti-union countries in the world. And so basically Bezos is operating as the kinder, gentler face of what every corporation is doing. They don't have to bust unions anymore. The unions are, are, are in shambles, they're in, they're in shards, on the, on the ground. And, and so, you know, and, and with an N L R B, that isn't able to really influence the course of the election very much. This one seemed kind of, kind of preordained. I, you know you know, the it's a, it's a country that's, anti-union, it's a state that's aggressively read and, and anti-union, so I guess this didn't surprise me at all and for Bezos to come back and say, well, thank goodness, the, that our employees love us so much. Nah, I don't think that's what it means.
Leo Laporte (01:02:08):
He quoted 94% of our employees say they would recommend Amazon as a, to a friend as a place to work. He says, we wanna make that a hundred percent, but 94 is not bad. This is as long as better than Wendy's <laugh> well, and it pays better than Wendy's I might add and pays better than Walmart I might add. There are plenty of,
Alex Kantrowitz (01:02:27):
And at the end of the day, like the workers did vote, you know, they did get to vote, they got to vote. You can't just count their, their choices even though do
Leo Laporte (01:02:35):
Amazon this influence, this is Jeff Bezos's. It it's his farewell. Do you think this is his attempt to kind of leave on a high note and, and and, and, and then just kind of wash, walk away, watch his hands of the whole thing. How, how well will Amazon do without Jeff Bezos at the hem there's I think for whatever you do, don't like about him, you have to say strategically, he is a, he's amazing, right? I mean, he's brilliant or no, I mean the culture, Go ahead, Alex. You first,
Alex Kantrowitz (01:03:12):
I, I would just say that the culture that he's built when you start to look at it up front and you know, of course, as an element of how workers are treated, I think it could be better. I think there's a
Leo Laporte (01:03:22):
Difference between the experience in the warehouse and the experience in the in the executive suite, right? I mean, there are doubt different jobs, very
Alex Kantrowitz (01:03:30):
Different jobs, no doubt, no doubt, but there are some, some constants where like you both of those, both workers in the fulfillment centers and workers in the <affirmative> and the corporate offices can have their jobs automated away. Right. and we'll have to adjust. And in fact, this past week on big technology podcast, I had one of the people who worked in Amazon's corporate offices, a woman named Ling qu who had her, her her job automated away. She was on the phone with Gucci and Versace stocking the fulfillment centers. And then all of a sudden that was handed over to machine learning. So it's you know, everybody inside that company needs to be able to adapt and embrace change. And you look at most big companies and they just kind of make something and they stop. Like, this was the case with Microsoft for a long time where they made windows, they were the desktop operating system and, and they stopped.
Alex Kantrowitz (01:04:18):
And only after we moved to mobile and, and the cloud that they actually have to catch up and they've done a good job although they were pretty late to the game. But you look at Amazon and they are always one step ahead of what's going on, you know, bookstore then selling everyone through a first party marketplace that build a third party, marketplace logistics and fulfillment, voice computing, hardware manufacturing with something like the Kindle, not to mention the fact that they are gross, an academy award winning movie studio, and now they're moving into healthcare and you don't Excel at all that stuff, unless you're a culture, your leadership and your processes and internal technology are locked in. And I don't think there's anybody on the planet right now. That's done a better job at that than Bezos. So I think the company will be able to survive.
Alex Kantrowitz (01:04:59):
And the big question is whether they're gonna able to keep that mentality that Bezos has instilled, you know, from his position at the top after he leaves joie, of course has shouted him as his technical advisor back in the day before he built AWS, he's done a good job with AWS, built it into a massive business. But you never quite know until the person at the top leaves. And we know with Microsoft bill gates left and they put Steve baller in who was just there to, you know, ended up making money. And they needed to make another leadership change to get back, you know, to their more inventive ways. So that'll be a question with Amazon, but I think Bezos's legacy as somebody who is, who who's been able to build a powerhouse company. I don't think that's ever gonna you know, go into question in the long term.
Amy Webb (01:05:41):
Um I'm now sleeping on an eight sleep bed.
Leo Laporte (01:05:46):
Nice. That is a wealth of information on stuff like that.
Amy Webb (01:05:49):
They just pushed a new update to their app, which is terrible. So if anybody at eight sleep is listening, please, please, please fix the junkiness. It was good before, and now it is challenging. This is
Leo Laporte (01:06:01):
The problem it's with I OT mattresses. Yeah. The mattress succeeds lives on, but the software yeah. Fails.
Amy Webb (01:06:10):
Yeah. Yeah. I will tell you though. I, I sleep. I sleep great. I sleep great. Nice with a thermal regulation.
Leo Laporte (01:06:18):
That's cooling is very important.
Amy Webb (01:06:20):
Isn't it? And heating. I cook myself awake. <Laugh> oh,
Leo Laporte (01:06:23):
That's interesting. So you chill yourself to sleep and you cook yourself to wake.
Amy Webb (01:06:28):
I do. And I, I haven't woken up to an actual alarm in months. So I'm up at five 40
Leo Laporte (01:06:34):
Every morning. So the software, so the whole idea of these, of these match is eight sleep.com spell out is it, it, it lets you control the temperature. Wow. In the mattress and with it has heating and cooling coils. So the software you're saying, so the software Amy says, okay, when you, you wanna go to sleep and it cools the mattress and then when you wanna wake up and it heats it
Amy Webb (01:06:56):
Up, but it gives you a bunch of other metrics like what your REM cycles were, what your respiration is, what your heartbeat is makes for how to get more restful sleep. It's actually up until this. I'm sure they're gonna fix whatever the problem was. And actually they would be a good advertiser for this show, cuz I'm sure everybody listening is
Leo Laporte (01:07:15):
This is their kind of, and you don't have to buy the mattress. You can just get a pot. No, no.
Amy Webb (01:07:18):
In fact, cuz we love our, we have a really nice mattress. Oh, so you
Leo Laporte (01:07:21):
Didn't get the mattress. You got the cover.
Amy Webb (01:07:22):
No I didn't. No. We just have a cover.
Leo Laporte (01:07:24):
That's a lot more affordable. I'm sure
Amy Webb (01:07:26):
It is. And, and if you've got a mattress that you really love, you don't need the whole thing. Holy cow.
Leo Laporte (01:07:31):
Oh, I have a CA I love my Casper. I'm not sure I'm gonna spend $1,895 for a mattress pad, but I guess you need it because it's kind, I'm telling you and
Amy Webb (01:07:40):
All that stuff. I, my husband and I both, and he, he has a weighted thermal blanket and I just have a, I sleep under a 20 pound blanket. Yeah. I'm, I'm sleeping better than I've ever slept. And I, I had chronic,
Leo Laporte (01:07:52):
You know, what's the, what is it worth to sleep? Well, I mean, absolutely. Yeah, definitely.
Amy Webb (01:07:56):
Any price sleep tech is like is under, if you, if you're like in the know then, then you, you become a super geek overnight, but how hot you
Leo Laporte (01:08:05):
Spend, how hot do you have to get it to be, to wake up?
Amy Webb (01:08:09):
So I have mindset to plus eight. I don't know what the actual temperature is, but I, I think it's 15. It's not like hundred 15 degrees.
Leo Laporte (01:08:16):
Okay. So it's eight above your body temperature. It's not about makes me you so uncomfortable. Oh, you do get hot. Yeah,
Amy Webb (01:08:23):
No, no, no. I get like so uncomfortable that I, I don't know the, it might be 120. I don't know. But no, no. It's, it's like, you wanna be up cuz you're it's too hot, but it's not. Yeah. But I, you wake up and you're like, I'm like awake. I'm ready. I'm well rested versus like jolting awake to an alarm clock when your body's not quite, you know, you haven't gradually come out
Leo Laporte (01:08:45):
Of your sleep. I hate alarm clocks. Yeah. Yeah. So this was the number one way you got rid of your insomnia or there were other tricks.
Amy Webb (01:08:52):
No, no, no. Years of cognitive behavioral therapy. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:08:56):
Also my son is going through this. He cannot sleep all night. He cannot, he lies awake a long, long time. And I, I feel like, so I also sleep with he's suffering because of it. So anything so
Amy Webb (01:09:07):
Boes Boes makes I have those headphones,
Leo Laporte (01:09:10):
Those ridiculous earbuds. It makes sense. Yeah. Yeah.
Amy Webb (01:09:12):
I also use those. I, I sleep, I, I work with brown ways during the day and I sleep with pink noise at night. So
Brianna Wu (01:09:19):
See, I found the trick the way I hacked my insomnia cuz Amy I'm exactly like you, I just have fought it for years. Is I found out if I get an awe book that I really, really really know, well, like something I've, I've read so many times, I kind of can guess what the next sentence is going
Leo Laporte (01:09:35):
To be. Yes.
Brianna Wu (01:09:36):
Like the expanse, this is why I've listened to it so much. What I do is I, I crack an audible file. I hope I can say that on here. I, I own it legally. And then turn it into an MP3 and I put it on an iPod touch and then I get ear butts and I listen to this novel again and again all night long. Oh. And the way it, the way that reason the hack works is because when you get busy brain at like three in the morning, it's because you're thinking like, oh, I've gotta do this tomorrow. I've gotta do this tomorrow. I've gotta do this tomorrow. But if it's a story you've listened to a ton, then you can kind of follow it. But you can also drift off and just start thinking about ran things. And this has been the, the magic bullet for me, insomnia, but listen
Leo Laporte (01:10:21):
To, I think that's like a linguistic, but I don't wanna, I don't wanna miss anything. So I love that idea. Listen to something you already heard. Yeah. It's like linguistic
Amy Webb (01:10:31):
Leo Laporte (01:10:32):
Right? Like counting shape. You mean? Right.
Amy Webb (01:10:35):
Most people who count already know how to count. You already know sequentially what's coming next. Right. Right. So it's, it's reducing the processing power and, and when you're focused on a single thing all of the chatter, you know, gets quiet.
Leo Laporte (01:10:50):
Chatter is the problem. Isn't it? Chatter is the problem. Yeah. I find as I get older that my mind is just an empty slate now. So I go, Hey
Amy Webb (01:10:59):
Leo, before we go, can I ask you one last question? Yes. So can have you NF teed,
Leo Laporte (01:11:05):
Is there a, I've never NF teed. <Laugh> I am proud to say, are you going to never gonna, well, I'm glad Amy Webb's sleeping well, <laugh> thank you, Amy. We love Amy. She's gonna be back by the way. In a couple of weeks, we're gonna do a very special looking forward version, a future version of Twitch. She wanted to do this. She's a futurist, as you know. And she said, why don't we do an episode where we just talk about kind of thinking about the future of tech. We thought this is a great idea. We're gonna be joined. I'm very happy to say by my favorite science fiction, author, Daniel Suarez, the author of freedom, TM and many other great books. He it's his job. It's especially to think about the future. So, and, and we're gonna get a scientist. We haven't decided yet who, but we're gonna get scientist to join us.
Leo Laporte (01:11:53):
So a futurist, a sci-fi author and a scientist walk into a room and there will be an amazing TWI. Is that next? I think it's next week. Isn't it? Jason? That will be, or is it two weeks from now? Jason's checking the calendar anyway. That's yeah, it's next week. Next week. The ninth. Okay. that that'll be a very special TWI. So this week we're looking back next week. A look forward should be, should be really, really fun, but I'm, I'm thrilled about this because I've been a customer for a while. We're talking about blue land, you know, we, Lisa and I have been really trying to cut back on our use of plastics. It's estimated 5 billion, plastic hand soap and cleaning bottles are thrown away. Every year. We've turned to water bottles. Instead of plastic bottles, I've stopped using plastic shave razors.
Leo Laporte (01:12:44):
I really want to cut down our plastic use. We don't use plastic bags anymore. All of that just goes in the landfill and it never degrades. It's just there forever. Not to mention all the fossil fuels that you uses to make it. That's why when we found blue land, we were really excited. It's it's, it's not just by the way, fossil fuels. These bottles are also made of water <laugh> so that's another thing. We don't have enough of people. It's 20, 22, stop wasting water, stop throwing out plastic. What you want is blue. Blueland a great revolutionary refill cleaning system. Instead Blueland was founded on the belief that a cleaner planet starts by eliminating plastic waste. You know, we talk a lot about cleaning up the plastic waste in the ocean, but the best way to get rid of plastic waste in, in the ocean is never to create it in the first place.
Leo Laporte (01:13:35):
Blueland makes a, a great, powerful, effective cleaners, a range of cleaners for your entire home. That eliminate waste. The idea is simple. Buy the bottle once, refill it forever. No more plastic waste. Of course <laugh> the only thing you'll need to do is get rid of all that outdated eco-friendly stuff. That's more expensive and less effective, cuz Blueland works. Just fill blue. Land's beautiful Instagramable bottles. That's what they call 'em. They, they are beautiful. They're blue with warm water. You pop in one of the hand soap or spray cleaner tablets. That's all the co that's all the factories doing by the way. They're shipping all that water with just a little bit of, you know, cleaning product in there. Why do that? <Laugh> why do that within minutes? You just add the, the, the important ingredients to the water from your own house. You didn't have to ship it.
Leo Laporte (01:14:27):
You you've got a powerful cleaning product and the most incredible, by the way, the smells are amazing. There's agave, there's Perine, lemon, lavender, eucalyptus. It's just, they smell great. And most importantly, they work, they work. So, you know, I don't <laugh> we all wanna make the planet a better place, but we also don't wanna sacrifice to, to do it right. We don't wanna use ineffective eco-friendly products. Well, this is an effective product. That's better. That works, uses less water. Doesn't use the plastic and cleans great check out their clean essentials kit, their hand soap duo the plastic free laundry and dishwasher. Tablets. Blue land has something for every inch of your home. And by the way, back by very popular demand. If you've been a Blueland customer, you'll be thrilled to hear this blue land's toilet tablet cleanser. It, the problem was it's sold out.
Leo Laporte (01:15:24):
So get it now, before it sells out again, Blueland stunning high quality forever bottles start at $10 when you buy the kit. And by the way, you really do save on the tablets because they don't have to ship all that water. They don't have to make the bottles. It's just $2. Just they started $2. Try blue land today. You're gonna love it. The planet will. Thank you. We've been very happy with blue land. We use it throughout the house. It just makes me feel good to know that we're not adding to all that plastic waste. It's way past time to make cleaning fun, beautiful, and plastic free. Right now you get 20% off your first order, when you go to blueland.com/twi 20% off your first order of any Blueland products, my suggestion, get the sampler, get 'em all blueland.com/twi. You'll never go back. You'll say this is it.
Leo Laporte (01:16:14):
We got Blueland blueland.com/we thank of so much for supporting our holiday episodes of this week in tech. This was the year, not exactly you know, something to be proud of, but this the year that the world's most famous internet meme hit 1 billion views. Rick Asley got his billion views. <Laugh> <laugh> I am not gonna Rick roll. You fear not, but the Rick, he remastered it. Yeah. NHD it's it's wonderful. Yeah. So the official video for Rick Ashley's 1987 hit, never going give you up is now a 1 billion view video on YouTube because of Rick rolling. Right? I don't think without Rick rolling, there would be in fact, anybody watching this video <laugh> and furthermore, in case you don't know, Rick rolling is of course punking somebody by sending him a link to something they really want. And instead they get a video of Rick Asley. Never gonna give you up dancing. They danced those days. He's really young in that. He was very grateful by the way. I, I did. Did, did he know, when did he learn that he was that what Rick rolling was? Cuz I'm sure.
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:17:41):
I think it's when, when he got Rick rolled <laugh> someone sent him his own video. <Laugh>
Leo Laporte (01:17:50):
He is very grateful. He his career obviously got a little, a little kick in the butt.
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:18:00):
All his parents explaining to their kids who he is.
Leo Laporte (01:18:02):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Here he is expressing his gratitude. Rick, let me go back. So I've just
Speaker 16 (01:18:12):
Been told for never gonna give you up has been screened a billion times with YouTube and is mind blowing. The world is a wonderful and beautiful place. And I am very lucky
Leo Laporte (01:18:22):
<Laugh> and now, you know why we use sound engineers when we record audio
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:18:30):
And we don't record on a lake, what
Leo Laporte (01:18:32):
Is he in a boat? What the hell is he? He's doing he's on a boat.
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:18:36):
He missed an opportunity to like start off saying they was thinking then cut into
Leo Laporte (01:18:39):
The Rick. He should have actually cut to it. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. 1 billion views. That's nothing. I mean oppo, oppo, gang them style. Where, where are we now with oppo gang them? There are many multi multibillion. It did, but there are many, many multibillion view. What is the most viewed YouTube video? I wonder, let me see. I always think he kinda looks like you in this by the way, Aang style father, Robert <laugh>. I know, I feel like it's its kind of father Roberts singing this song <laugh>
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:19:14):
I danced to this thing enough. Yeah, God knows. We had fun. We had a lot of fun with this song, this, this song singlehandedly. It proved the concept for the studio for the brick house, because there was so much entertainment that wasn't in the show. Yeah. We
Leo Laporte (01:19:29):
Between the show and you mastered that stray dance that he does with he's riding the horse. <Laugh> you, you actually were quite, you were quite good at that 4.1, 4.1 billion views on the, oh my goodness. Apple gang them style. But I don't think that that's the top, I think there's 7 billion view songs now. So 1 billion is in all, all that. Great. I suppose if I
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:19:50):
Went to, but, but okay. Look, you know what that song never gonna give you up is it's actually a good song. It's an eighties song. I mean it's a period piece. It is. It's not just a, a meme. It's not just a role
Leo Laporte (01:20:03):
Actually. I think baby shark might be the <laugh> most, most viewed 9 billion views for, oh my goodness. Serious 9 billion views. Also Korean also Korean there's something going on. There's something in the water. Should we just play a little actually that let's just play a little bit of that just to, oh no. Drive
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:20:26):
Away all you'll you'll get a copyright strike for sure.
Leo Laporte (01:20:29):
Will you, if you play it. Yeah.
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:20:31):
Actually Ali Ola broke this down. She explained why that song is so addictive. It's because it ends on a minor chord. And anytime we hear that we want resolution, you play it, you play it again and, and it never happens. Mommy, gimme a
Leo Laporte (01:20:45):
Of your chord please. Oh, I was completely blisfully unaware of this song until we were in Dubai a year ago. And you know, in Dubai they have the Burge Khalifa, the tallest building was the tallest building in the world and has lights going up and down and in front of it, they have a fountain display kind of like in Vegas in front of the Bellagio or fires and they play me music it on the hour and they do the thing. So we're staying there waiting for the fountain display and there it go, baby shark. And I had never heard this song before <laugh> but you know what? It ended in a minor note and that really bothered me. It, you
Fr. Robert Ballecer (01:21:22):
Had to the resolution. Yeah, that actually makes sense again. And again,
Leo Laporte (01:21:25):
Sense. <Laugh> big birth day this week. I love the register. The register's so good at headlines beige against the machine. The IBM PC turns, 40 51 50, not just a medical emergency. <Laugh> also the beginning of the office brick. It was on August 12th 1981 big blue released the first IBM PC. We didn't call it the fifty one fifty. We call it the PC. And it transformed a, an industry because up until then, there were lots of personal computers. Commodor and tar and apple S SI Miz all had made personal computers, but they were very hobbyist focused when IBM arrived. It gave it a serious BI business cache. And remember the FA full page ad that Steve jobs took out in the wall street journal saying from apple welcome IBM, serious. They might have underestimated <laugh> the impact. IBM would have you, do you remember Mike the first PC, when it came out, do you, do you have a memory of that? Maybe you're not old enough?
Mike Elgan (01:22:42):
I was not super paying attention at the point where that came out. It was more like the mid eighties when I started really getting into computers and stuff like that. But once I, you know, in 1990 I started editing a computer magazine that very quickly became windows magazine and that whole, you know, magazine thing in the nineties was a hundred percent a direct that you can draw a direct line to this very event that you're talking about, the creation of the IBM model, 51 50. And so of course we, you know, we are always writing about the history, the ancient history of the of, of the, you know, during the eighties of, of the IBM PC and you know, it really, it really, there are very few things that changed the course of technology, the way this did it could have gone in whole different directions, but because they use open components because they had a reverse engineerable bio because they idiotically went got in bed with bill gates. <Laugh>
Leo Laporte (01:23:43):
That's, A's a great, by the way
Mike Elgan (01:23:45):
That set the tone for everything to happen for the next 20, 25 years. So
Leo Laporte (01:23:50):
It was open, they chose off the shelf parts. The only thing that was proprietary was the bios. I don't think they designed it to be reverse engineerable, but it didn't take very long for compact and others Phoenix and others to say, oh, we can make a EC compatible bios, which meant that within a year compact was selling a compatible. It would run the same software run the same op well, that was the other smart thing. And the dumb thing that IBM did, they were looking for an operating system for the PC. They, they came out to, to Monterey California because Dr. Dos was a very popular operating system in the CPM days. And Gary KDO was a creator Dr. Doss digital research founder and president was famously flying his private plane and declined to meet with IBM. Yep. So they flew up to Redmond Washington, where there was another young upstart company, Microsoft known for its basic, not for an operating system.
Leo Laporte (01:24:52):
They met with bill gates and said we need a operating system for the PC. You got one bill said yeah, he didn't. But he knew of a company called Seattle dos, which had a dos that would be compatible with IBM's 80, 88 chip, the chip that they were putting in there, it's an Intel chip. And he, without telling the owners of Seattle Doss went across the street said, I'm, you know, I'd like to buy Seattle Doss. Didn't mention that there was another company in interested, bought it for a, and then turned around and sold it to IBM as PC Doss. The other thing that gates did, it was probably the single biggest business move in history. He made a deal with IBM and I don't know why IBM agreed to this, not to give it to them outright, not to sell it to them outright, but to retain the rights to it.
Mike Elgan (01:25:48):
And, and he looked like he was 12 at the time.
Leo Laporte (01:25:52):
Kia, we got, we got an off ring <laugh>
Mike Elgan (01:25:56):
I mean, but, but to me, actually,
Leo Laporte (01:25:58):
That's funny cuz Seattle Doss came from Seattle computer pros, which was staffed by high school students. So remember in the early days, this is in the early, late, late seventies, early eighties, this was a hobbyist thing. Nobody was serious about
Mike Elgan (01:26:11):
This. Yeah. I mean he set the tone, I think as a, as historian, Silicon valley, he set the tone for the industry. So you had these well-meaning companies actually seeing good products that were, you know, they were sort of relaxed about things. And then you have this bare knuckle aggressive liar come along <laugh> and just, just, just have this, just a hyper aggressive attack on IBM saying that he had things he didn't have and then a massive work at F to go with it, willing to just do whatever it took. I mean, when he did the ter basic you know, he lived in a trailer in a, in a strip mall. Yeah. And worked, you know, he dropped outta Harvard and worked night and day to make that deal happen. It's not like he's lazy. Oh God, he's just a combination. It's just a combination of massive work ethic. Lots of brains, no ethics
Leo Laporte (01:27:02):
And being a predatory, but business man,
Mike Elgan (01:27:04):
Basically. Exactly. And that set the tone for the Silicon valley. We know and love today. <Laugh>
Leo Laporte (01:27:09):
He bought PC do from Seattle computer products for $25,000. Like the same month that IBM came to him and he didn't have anything. Just prior to the launch of the PC on the August 12th on July 7th he's he went to Seattle Doss and said, I'll give you another 50,000 for full rights. And they didn't know anything about the PC. They said, okay. So for $75,000, he bought an operating system which basically made Microsoft. And then he made a deal with, with, with IBM saying, well, we'll keep the rights. We'll just license this to you. And don't know why IBM agreed to it. But what it made possible is the compatible, because then he was able to sell Ms. Dos to compact and all these other makers of PC compatible. And it made, it com completely a hundred percent IBM PC compatible, which was for us, people
Mike Elgan (01:28:01):
Went through. Right, exactly. But this is the thing that, you know, the in, among the hobbyist market software was just nothing and hardware was everything. They, you know, the hobbyists, like, you know, the, the chaos computer club that Steve Wasniak was part of, they would just write software and hang it around and it was free. It was no big deal. And then the computers were the thing that monetary value and, and bill gates had the vision to understand, no, whoever owns the software has all the, all the power
Leo Laporte (01:28:30):
Don Estrich a skunk works project out in Boca. Reon, you know, I, IBM is up in ARMAC New York up to up your way, Tim, not quite so far north, not too far away <laugh> but not too far away. So they said, look you know, we're no 'em for mainframes. Let's send a small team of engineers down to Boca Raton, and they're gonna design something. What was the code name for the original IBM PC. I'm trying to remember had a good code name project. Let's see project chess according, but I don't know if that was the code name for the original PC. Anyway, they designed it. You may remember the do you remember the ads for the IBM PC
Mike Elgan (01:29:14):
Acorn was the
Leo Laporte (01:29:16):
Acorn yeah. Code name. Yep. Thank you. Try early chap. Remember these for the first. Let me see if I can find one.
Mike Elgan (01:29:24):
Yeah. They're beautiful ads. You, while you're finding that, it's interesting that the low end model of the IBM PC had 16
Leo Laporte (01:29:30):
Kilobytes kilobytes Nottes I just bought,
Mike Elgan (01:29:34):
I just bought a, a, an iPad that has 16 gigabytes.
Leo Laporte (01:29:37):
I know. I know. And some consider that low <laugh> Charlie Chaplin with some of the original IBM PC ads, they were going after business. It didn't the the base model, which was 1500 bucks, did not have floppy discs or a hard drive heaven for fend. It had a cassette interface and you would save your programs and your files out to cassette. They did offer. If you were only spend more, you could configure it all the way up to $5,000. You could get dual. Floppys no hard drive there. It is with the dual floppies that big old CT, you could either get it in color kind of a hideous. I can't remember how many colors it had 256 colors, or you can get it. Monochrome green on black,
The IBM personal computer went on at a
Leo Laporte (01:30:30):
Store near you. Yeah. Wow. 1981, 40 years ago. It's not that long. Really? No, no. But boy, the world has changed. Thanks to that. Yeah.
Owen Thomas (01:30:41):
So Leo yeah, here, here's some interesting alternative history. Gary Hilda, who who started digital research in the Monterey area near where Tim staying says in his unpublished memoir, which is actually available via the computer history museum that he and bill gates had talked about urging their companies. Oh. And in which case Microsoft, which at the time was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Would've moved to Pacific Grove.
Leo Laporte (01:31:11):
Oh, that would've been wonderful.
Owen Thomas (01:31:13):
Hmm. I see that. Would've been a, a very different history of Silicon valley. I used to
Leo Laporte (01:31:17):
Live on lover's point in in Pacific Grove. I love that area <laugh>
Owen Thomas (01:31:22):
But killed all KDO thought that he, he called bill gates, opinionated. Yeah. And was always uneasy around him.
Leo Laporte (01:31:33):
So, and, and by the way, take that as you'll, I think he has said that that's apocryphal, that he was flying around in an airplane. Maybe that's an urban legend, but it's a great urban legend. Yeah. For whatever reason, IBM didn't do a deal with him and went to a company that did not in fact have a PC dust and and bought it from them. Like, but
Mike Elgan (01:31:53):
Bill gates didn't even have a tie <laugh> when he went to the meeting and he had to borrow one or so. Is that true?
Leo Laporte (01:31:59):
Oh, wow. Oh, that's, there's some story like that where he had to buy, bought one in the airport or something like that. I'm gonna see if I can find, I love these old I'm. I don't know. Maybe cuz I'm an old timer. I just love these, these here's the welcome seriously ad I think, let me see if I can find it here. It was in the wall street journal cleverly positioning the upcoming battle as a two-way contest between the spunky and rebellious apple and the establishment Goliath. Yeah. Here's an image of it from inc.com. Welcome. IBM, seriously. Welcome to the most exciting and most important marketplace since the computer revolution began 35 years ago. And congratulations on your first personal computer. <Laugh> when we invented the first personal computer system, <laugh> maybe a little hyperbole on that. We estimated that over 140 million people worldwide could justify the purchase of one. If they only understood its benefits next year alone, we act that well over a million will come to that understanding a million people. Wow. Little, did he know what IBM was gonna do? And just kind of dominate the, the space and to this day still PCs dominate, not so IBM
Owen Thomas (01:33:15):
Is of, of course completely out
Leo Laporte (01:33:17):
Of that business. Yeah. No, they don't do it anymore. Yeah. Although they do have a two nanometer chip, so good to, good to go. They're not, they're not sitting on the resting on their laurels base price for a 51 50 $1,565 fully loaded system. More than $3,000. You could have monochrome or CGA. That was the one. And CGA did not, not have many colors at all. 16 or 64 kilobytes of Ram, the processor in Intel, 88 chugging along at, and I do remember this 4.77 megahertz mega blistering, blistering speeds. Mega Herz.
Owen Thomas (01:33:58):
So did apples have the last laugh? They're still in the personal computer business. 40 years on
Leo Laporte (01:34:03):
Yeah, they beat IBM. Yeah. If anything, IBM's mistake was making it so easy to clone. But if you're talking about the platform that made, that's why they were so successful, you could clone a PC. And so there are thousands of people to this day making what is essentially an IBM PC compatible still,
Owen Thomas (01:34:25):
And Microsoft even makes them that's right.
Leo Laporte (01:34:28):
That's a good point. Happy birthday. 40 years ago, August 12th, the IBM PC was born. Carl bohi has, is bohi right? Yes. Yep. Not Tom Bodett Carl Boddy wrote an article saying, this is great news. More communities are building their own broadband. Why? Because of COVID how is that happening? Well, you know, everybody, most people don't
Karl Bode (01:34:57):
Like their regional telecom giant, whether it's, you know, Comcast or whoever it is, you know, and most people only have the choice. It's a mono 83 ado million AER. Yeah. 83 million Americans live under a, a broadband monopoly, you know, here in Seattle, which is, you know Silicon valley doth. I have the choice of one provider, Comcast isn't that
Leo Laporte (01:35:17):
Karl Bode (01:35:18):
You know, and this has been going on for 25 years. Literally we've thrown billions and billions and billions of dollars at this problem. And it just, so I think a lot of these local towns and cities have just gotten incredibly frustrated. So there's about a thousand different communities that have in the last decade or two built their own broadband access. That routine only winds up being cheaper, faster, more reliable. The money that's the locals spend on this service goes back into the community. The people who work for these providers tend to live in the communities they serve. So unlike a lot of these regional monopolies, the money is staying there and they're more accountable to the locals. So I'm
Leo Laporte (01:35:56):
Surprised because I, I know that when Philadelphia tried this, that they were immediately sued and and, and state legislatures across the country started passing bills, prohibiting municipal, broadband. Yeah. This is despite those bills.
Karl Bode (01:36:12):
Yeah. There's 17 states that currently have passed laws, restricting towns and cities from getting into the broadband business or building their own broadband networks or expanding those networks. But I think COVID really showcased when you saw toddlers, like sitting on the sidewalk outside of taco bell. Yeah. Yeah. To try and get online for class. You know, this has always been a problem, but COVID really accelerated, you know, the awareness. So it really is driven some action.
Leo Laporte (01:36:38):
Good. And so those 17 states forget it
Karl Bode (01:36:42):
There's, it depends. Each state has a different variation. Sometimes they they'll, it'll be an outright ban on building your own local network. And sometimes it'll be worded in a very convoluted way to make it as difficult as possible to raise funds or to expand, or you can't market in this zone. Or you can only if it, a lot of these networks are built on the back of the local power utility. And so what Noga did that, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. One of the fastest and cheapest fiber providers in the nation. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what a lot think about is say you can't expand, you can't expand this network outside of the local utility footprint. You know, some of the laws will say is something like that. And there's no real reason for it outside of the fact that the regional telecom monopolies who literally ghost, right. Most of these laws just told the state representatives that they didn't want that to happen. And there's no, this stuff is super popular. It's bipartisan, there's no excuse for the failure that I've seen. And, and the,
Leo Laporte (01:37:37):
The ideological argument is that, well, you wouldn't want government to compete with private industry.
Karl Bode (01:37:44):
Yeah. But the counter argument is that, you know, a lot of these companies have had 20 years to wire these areas and they don't want to, because the return on their investment is low, but at the same time, they don't want anybody else building their own broadband networks because they might wanna go back through someday.
Leo Laporte (01:37:58):
Yeah. We may some,
Karl Bode (01:37:59):
Yeah. It's a very, it's a very cake and eat two kind of thing for these companies. Oh,
Leo Laporte (01:38:03):
What a surprise.
Brianna Wu (01:38:05):
Yeah. I'm just thinking about when I ran for Congress, I got to know so much about local budgeting. Like more than I ever would've thought. And I'd like here in data, we're, you know, a friend of the show Paul Thoreau used to live here too. Right. We canceled our trail this year, like a just walking trail because COVID has destroyed our municipal budget. If you go over poor areas of Massachusetts like Brockton, I can promise you, the Brockton tax base is not, you know, gonna like the go for a bunch of broadband development right now. So I, I kind of, I I'm for you, I'm with you in principle, but I'm also thinking about the people that need it most. And thinking about towns like Whitman, where they're like, Hey, we're just gonna have our library open for three days a week. Cuz we have no money. You know, we're gonna have a four day a week police to, and you know, I I'm, I'm thinking about like, is it really a, a feasible thing all through the United States? Like COVID that affects our local revenues for years.
Karl Bode (01:39:07):
Yeah. It's not like a silver bullet where you could just do this in every nation. And, and there's also like multiple varieties of different types of ISPs that are built out of this model. You know, some will be on the back of the local power utility that won't use taxpayer money at all. Some will be a mm-hmm <affirmative> private, private public partnership that, you know, just works with a local provider like Google fiber or somebody to, to deploy to the area. So it's not, it's not all, it's not all just tax based driven models. I mean, there's a wide variety of
Leo Laporte (01:39:32):
Models that can explore here in this little town of petal, about 60,000 people. There was a big initiative about five years ago to put in community wifi. Initially Comcast was gonna help, but then they bowed out. Then another provider was gonna help. They bow out, they put some stuff up, but it didn't work. It's gone. And I think it's just a hard thing to do. And there isn't a lot of support from the incumbent, of course. So you really have to have a leader a civic leader. Who's gonna really push it through. Yeah.
Karl Bode (01:40:04):
It's like any, you know, I mean, one of the things the telecom companies will do is they'll just say that these are automatic tax payer boondoggles, and you should never try it. But I mean, they're just like any other business plan and they require a good leader and a sound plan and, you know, look at chat, look at Chatanooga that built its own fiber network when Comcast refused to they they've been ranked consistently one of the most affordable, fastest internet providers in the country.
Leo Laporte (01:40:27):
Well, the other good reason to do it is evidence shows everywhere that incumbents were challenged by fiber, whether it was Google fiber or others, that prices went down that you speeds went up and in, and even in some communities where there's fiber up to this road, you could see the prices go up. As soon as the fiber from the other, company's not available. It's like no competition, great. We're gonna raise the prices.
Karl Bode (01:40:52):
It's and the thing that, the thing, the thing that is frustrating is like, you know, the approach to ban these entirely we've spent literally about 25 years where the us ever since we broke up Mabel, the us telecom policy has basically been to do whatever the dominant regional monopolies want. I mean, with some exceptions, occasionally, you know, like net neutrality was an effort to say, okay, maybe we should apply some very basic rules to these companies. And anytime anybody tries to do that, the companies get Congress to freak out, you know, trying something different. We'll destroy the internet, you know, you know, that's basically their life, but
Leo Laporte (01:41:25):
Good news is I think this, we live in this great country. We have the best internet in the world. Right?
Karl Bode (01:41:31):
Incorrect. I'm afraid, I'm afraid. I'm afraid. We rank pretty much mediocre on every metric that matters whether you're looking at the country
Leo Laporte (01:41:39):
That invented the internet 14th place globally. Yeah. In speed. <Laugh>
Karl Bode (01:41:46):
Yeah. We're both 14th and fixed line broadband and 14th and wireless. And I think the, at least are consistent. Actually. We actually got a little worse in fixed line broadband, despite a lot of fiber.
Leo Laporte (01:42:00):
Wow. We're slower than Canada, Italy, Saudi Arabia. The argument I hear when I mention this is, well, those countries have federally, federally supported or federally owned government owned internet companies or telecom companies. Is that always
Karl Bode (01:42:17):
The case? No, not, I don't think Canada has too many of those. I mean the,
Leo Laporte (01:42:21):
Well, no, Canada's got the worst tele it's funny. Cuz Canada's got the worst telecom companies
Karl Bode (01:42:26):
Rogers. Yeah. They're very similar. They're they're very similar to us. They're they're re regional monopolies that have been allowed to write laws for literally 20 years. And then people stand around with a silly look on their face. Wondering why things are spotty and expensive and slow. Okay. Well I just, I really, I really support just anything. It, it seems logical to allow these little niche solutions to thrive so that we can have any kind of creative solution. Yes. Hundred percent common sense.
Leo Laporte (01:42:49):
And, and Hey, at least we may only be 14th in terms of speed, but we are the least expensive. Right? Carl, no,
Karl Bode (01:42:56):
Very much the most, one of the most expensive countries for both wireless wired, wait,
Leo Laporte (01:43:01):
You're telling me we pay more and get less.
Karl Bode (01:43:05):
Yeah. And then there's that customer service, which is, oh God,
Leo Laporte (01:43:08):
I love them. <Laugh> you know, I think I saw a survey once people would rather have a heart attack than call Comcast customer service. These
Karl Bode (01:43:14):
Companies are literal. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. These companies are literally ranked worst in customer satisfaction and service than pretty much any industry in America. And when you think about the fact that that includes, that includes banks, that includes insurance. That includes airlines. I mean, that's, that's a feat and it's been pretty consistent. There's been some minor improvements from some of these companies in the last few years, but it's, it's not great.
Leo Laporte (01:43:36):
I don't think, I think we're still in 14th place. I don't think <laugh> in fact maybe we're in 15th place. I don't know. I don't think it's gotten much better. All right. We've got our, we're gonna wrap it up with a look at the 20th anniversary of the iPod and big changes in China. But first I want to talk to you about the food box we got the other day. Okay. You've probably heard about imperfect foods and I'm sure like me, you thought, whoa, they're gonna be really, you know, imperfect. They're not, they're great. This is the best food box I've ever received. How about this for a three and one new year resolution. Let's reduce food waste. Let's save time on grocery shopping and let's eat more fresh and delicious food. That's imperfect foods. Here's a, you really wanna feel bad.
Leo Laporte (01:44:25):
A cringe worthy sta start the year, every year, 35% of food supply in this country goes unsold or uneaten wasted. 35%. This is food in the grocery store shelves that gets thrown out because nobody bought it. Imperfect foods is working to turn this around and I'm really happy to be part of this as a customer, by sourcing foods that would otherwise fall through the cracks of our food system. Not imperfect foods, just foods that are not gonna be sold, cuz they're too small. Right. Or they're the kind of avocado that bruises easily. Doesn't look good on the shelf, but they're great. When I get 'em home, they look great and I'm so happy to have them. I know, you know, we look, we all want to combat climate change, but that feels like, what can we do? What can one person do? This is a great way to make an impact.
Leo Laporte (01:45:22):
It's just, let's eliminate some waste imperfect foods. Let me explain what it is. I suppose I should explain. We get a box every Thursday. You can, you get a different day. I'm sure. But at this is when we get ours every Thursday the box, it's a grocery delivery service. It, it's not just vegetables, it's everything, an entire line of sustainable groceries. They taste delicious. They reduce waste and they save you time cuz they come to you and all you have to do is accept that it's not gonna be perfect. It is. It's perfect. <Laugh> go imperfectfoods.com. See if they deliver in your area. If they don't. I'm sorry. I really am. I'm so thrilled. They do here. Once you sign up, you, you personalize your weekly grocery order. With fresh seasonal produce, you can actually get there's pantry staples yummy snacks at am.
Leo Laporte (01:46:13):
You know, really a lot of the stuff you would just go shop for anyway. Plus your order arrives on the, you get to choose on the same day every week. So you can just make this part of your stress free routine on Thursdays. That's my job, the perfect foods box arrives. I put it in the fridge. I unpack it. I have to say again, not imperfect. Perfect really looks good on average. And you can feel good about this cuz on average imperfect food customers save six to eight pounds of food with every order food that would not be sold otherwise. And the, and, and it's great. Unlike on demand delivery companies imperfect delivers weekly by neighborhood. So that's reducing emissions. It's another goal of theirs, 25 to 75% fewer emissions. And you drive into the grocery store. It was on the way they dropped it off on the way and they, they consolidate it.
Leo Laporte (01:47:10):
So that's why we have Thursday. Your day will, will be different. Probably. You can also say, and this is a bigger thing for me say goodbye to packaging guilt. They're the only national grocery delivery company that makes it easy to return your packaging. After every order, they also use minimum packaging. So instead of a plastic bag full of, of oranges than a plastic bag full of grapefruit and plastic bag full of apples, they're just in there they're and I'm telling you again, perfect. <Laugh> okay. Maybe it's a little smaller than you'd see in the grocery store. Right? We got artichokes. They're a little smaller. So the grocery store won't stock 'em I want 'em they're great. They're better, frankly. Zucchini broccoli. I've never had a fresher head of broccoli in my life. Who's incredible. So I'm, I'm, I'm sincere in saying I highly recommend you try this right now in perfect foods is offering you 20% off your first four orders.
Leo Laporte (01:48:05):
Your first four orders. When you go to imperfect foods.com, use the promo code twit these 20% off your first four orders. That's like up to $80 off imperfect foods.com. They're beautiful imperfect foods.com. I don't care if my, you know, my, my squash has Nixon's nose on it. I don't care. Imperfect foods.com. When you use a promo code to join the movement, $80 value, 20% off your first four orders. And you're just gonna feel great about it. I love it. That two of our sponsors this week are making a difference in the environment. I just think that's so great. I, and I think I can probably thank my wife for that, cuz she really cares about this stuff. Imperfect foods.com, promo code TWiT. She also cares about the best produce, the freshest pros and we get it from imperfect foods. We're super happy, imperfect foods.com, promo code TWiT.
Leo Laporte (01:48:59):
Thank you. Imperfect foods. You're perfect. China's central bank. They, China has been CR you know, really clamping down on a lot of digital stuff, including the, the latest, well, when we did this show cryptocurrency boy, did we have a good panel that day? Listen, I'm gonna give you a chance. China, think of all the things China has been able to do, they they've, they've been able to shut down and, and Kurt hail this, you know, the ultra growth in some of their more consumer focused technologies, they get kids to only video game three hours a week through Mon on Saturday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and holidays. Now they have said all cryptocurrency related activities are illegal. Gee, wouldn't it be nice if, if we had a totalitarian government and we could just, just come on in and say, Facebook, this is gonna be fixed.
Steven Levy (01:49:59):
It would stop the Winkle horse twins.
Leo Laporte (01:50:01):
I'll tell you that We, we actually, we talk about, and obviously I'm a little bit tongue in cheek, so you don't, you don't have to you don't have to come down too hard on it, but it is interesting that they're doing a lot of the things that people say here in the United States too. We should, well,
Jeff Jarvis (01:50:18):
You will exactly be where we, we can see where it goes. It goes toward China. I've been streaming that for years. And some so you're right. Some would like that level of authoritarianism. But that ain't my country. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:50:34):
You're I think, I think Jen, you, you probably follow this fairly closely given your interest in Asia, the question that I've heard a lot of people say is, is this because the Chinese have decided the Chinese, the CCP has to focus more on infrastructure, technology and infrastructure and less on consumer technology?
Dan Gillmor (01:50:56):
I, I don't know. I, I think there's a case that the couple of things are going on, including the the regimes incredible zeal to be a dictatorship and to clamp down and, and control everything
Leo Laporte (01:51:15):
A, a free a free and VI and, and vibrant consumer techno technology sector is not, not helpful to that. Yeah.
Dan Gillmor (01:51:22):
What, what what's been amazing to see?
Steven Levy (01:51:25):
I'm sorry. Did it down, did I step on you finish up?
Dan Gillmor (01:51:28):
There was just one other thing on, on the clamp down on cryptocurrencies. I'm not sure that there's let me reverse. I think there's probably another motive there in addition to just general control freaky and to that because the economy and in particular real estate is grossly overheated in China. And mm-hmm, <affirmative>, they're in a major bubble on property values and have total overbuilt and have had companies that are wildly over leveraged owing, you know, hundreds of billions. And it may be that on, in banning cryptocurrencies, they're trying to control or at least slow down the flight of capital that tends to happen from countries that are perhaps heading toward economic really serious trouble. And of course the whole world would be caught in that if it does happen, but that seemed pretty Plaus to me and I read, I don't remember where I read that, but it that struck a chord as maybe that is part of the motivation to just prevent too much money from fleeing the country.
Jeff Jarvis (01:53:03):
But isn't it more cultural than that too? Isn't it, isn't it, you know, a matter of control. And if, if, if the regime could stay popular by everybody getting more money and, and, and, and growing, and having bigger homes and buying more stuff fine for long, that lasted, but then when trouble comes they have to put the hammer down and, and we're a most headed to a, an economic cultural revolution. Is that going overboard?
Dan Gillmor (01:53:31):
No, that makes sense. And it, I think it's, these are intertwined. The, the mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> it just, if we're looking for some specific thing, because I thought this cryptocurrency, the ban was very sudden and I had not there were, there were some things that happened that were perhaps in retrospect leading up to it, but this is this is a surprise to me. And, and, you know, when we look in our own country and other countries about cryptocurrencies, man, I think people who are speculating in those areas who are not the insiders who are already profited and will stand to profit even more be careful.
Steven Levy (01:54:19):
Yep. Yeah. I, I think there's a couple things going on then, you know, these are great points about, you know, this, these real estate companies, the people say this could be another subprime that affects the rest of the world, but in the last year, I've been really surprised to see how hard China is coming down against the entrepreneurs like Jack ma, who were once celebrated as, you know successes of the whole Chinese system. So it, it's almost reminiscent of what Putin did to slam down the oligarchs in, in Russia. And so maybe that's not the greatest way to build a global internet business to, you know, take your most glory entrepreneurs and founders and charge 'em with crimes or, you know, remove them. I think certainly it, it shows that the control in China shows it, it just can't be trusted as of global brand. And you see obviously we don't trust Huawei and TikTok is, you know, was sort of teeing in the, in the, the, the Trump era. And now still, it's still the most popular download among social network apps more engagement
Leo Laporte (01:55:43):
Than YouTube, longer, longer viewing times. Yeah,
Steven Levy (01:55:46):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it, it, but I, I would say that that stands as non an anomaly before the curtains come down on big private internet in China. Well,
Jeff Jarvis (01:56:00):
They were the only company. I mean, all these companies that are so and so universal and necessary in China that didn't break the border. I mean, isn't TikTok the only company that really did.
Steven Levy (01:56:10):
Yeah, yeah. Only did. So some people said that, well, no, some, some people said that was going to be the Dawn of this new era, but then you see what happened with Alibaba and Diddy now is under, you know, great pressure and China's, clamed down on them, you know, the, the huge success, the company that beat Uber. Right. and, and it's not just in China, but they're the main presence and ride sharing in some other countries. So it is really interesting to see how, what looked like China's participation in, in a, in a global internet, by nurturing these companies has done a 180
Leo Laporte (01:56:49):
China was even cracking down on WeChat. You were talking about these Chinese only companies that are completely dominant in China. Last, I don't know what the status is today, but last July WeChat had stopped signing people lot. Yeah.
Dan Gillmor (01:57:05):
Yeah. There's and there's another aspect to the clamp down on the social media type companies is that the the China regime is basically saying, you know companies, corporations, you may not spy on everybody. We will, that's our job, the government it's our job. Right. Right. You know, you'll help us, you'll help us. But, but when it comes to who really is in control, it's us. And don't forget that. I wonder
Leo Laporte (01:57:36):
If that's, I do a subtext of the American government crack that. Yep. Yep.
Steven Levy (01:57:40):
I think so. I do have one thing to say about this rule, that the kids gonna only play video games for like three hours a week. If these kids have not managed to figure out the hack their way past that, then China really is dead. <Laugh> maybe
Leo Laporte (01:57:56):
They're, maybe they're trying to create a hacker class. <Laugh>, that's probably one good way to do it. Teach kids how to get around the government crackdown. It's gotta be, that's gotta hurt three hours a week. Wow. 20 years ago today, Steve jobs taught the band to play put a thousand, a thousand songs in our pocket. And Connie, you were at that event.
Connie Guglielmo (01:58:25):
I was, it was a, it was a notable day, not just because Steve jobs was really good at doing presentations and keeping the audience enthralled, but because it was such a big risk for apple at the time, it was primarily known as the maker of the Macintosh. And it was 2001. So jobs had been back five years and they were still, you know, in financial struggles, they had had the new candy colored IMAX before, but they still, you know, weren't, you know, solvent, I would say they, they were still struggling to make money. So for them to take a on the consumer electronics market was a big move. And jobs started out his pitch that day with an emotional appeal, which was everybody's into music. This is a market that's never gonna go away. People love music, we love music, and you should do what you love.
Connie Guglielmo (01:59:19):
And he really did a good job of keeping the audience, you know, following along with him and his logic. There were other music players on the market. Apple is typically not the first into a new space, but he sold them on how it was gonna be apple was gonna make it elegant and easy and really fast to upload music to this, you know, very cool looking device. I mean, I have to admit, this is my original IPO. I got it that day. It's in pretty good shape. Not because apple gave away a case. I actually asked jobs about that. I said, have you, have you thought about making cases? And he said, what for it fits in your pocket? And I was wearing a skirt with no pockets. And I'm like, because some of us carry stuff in our bags. So I went home and I sewed my own little case. I found that, oh, it's a
Leo Laporte (02:00:09):
Little cow, it's a gateway
Connie Guglielmo (02:00:11):
Case with with yarn from my kids you know, play thing. And that's, what's kept this thing in pristine condition, but wow. It was a notable moment. Like I said, it was a risk. It did, it took a while for the IPO to be a success. I don't think people realized that it was not an instant hit. They, it took them four or five years to really sell in the millions of devices. But by then they'd introduced the iTune store and had taken on the music labels as all of us recall. It was one of Steve jobs, famous open letters to the industry and talking about why you should be able to buy songs individually rather than buying a whole CD. And it was just cool. Right? The silhouette ads, they had a YouTube iPod bono was there for the launch of that. I actually got to meet bono on the edge and that day. Cool. Very cool. And there was a lot of, of, there was a lot of good marketing hype, and of course, a thousand songs in your pocket was quite a great tagline. So
Leo Laporte (02:01:11):
Was it was we still remember it. And of course it's like trivial to put a thousand songs in your pocket. Now, what is on your what is on your iPod? Is, do you have the original music still on there?
Connie Guglielmo (02:01:22):
I do. Jobs gave a away 20 albums. And so everybody in the audience had to go home with a shopping bag with all the CDs. Otherwise it would've been music piracy, right? Oh, you're kidding to get them. So I have all 20 and I wrote a story about it on scene. You can see a photo, but there were a couple of Beatles, hard days, night Abby road, there was two Simon and Garfunkel. This is Steve jobs playlist. And so CNET put together a Spotify playlist, if you wanna hear it all yoyo ma Glen Gould, BB king. Of course Bob Dylan, you know, jobs was into Dylan. Just Sarah MCLA one was the first bit of music played. And I, the thing that I remember about that event, aside from people going well, that's kind of cool. Yeah. They had fire wire, which was their fast file transfer standard. I still have the fire wire
Leo Laporte (02:02:14):
Case. Yeah. You and I both in order to charge it, <laugh> had a fire wire fire and the fire wire official apple fire wire charging brick
Connie Guglielmo (02:02:23):
<Laugh>. Wow. it was fast watching him load music off of his, he had a Mac you know, computer on, you
Leo Laporte (02:02:32):
Had to connect it. You had to rip the CDs and then into iTunes, and then you had to connect it to your computer and you had to copy it over, synchronize it over. And it was carefully done so that you couldn't easily steal the songs later,
Connie Guglielmo (02:02:48):
But it was also autosync, which was very cool. You could rip a lot of music. And if you, you know, if you ripped 10 CDs on Tuesday, and then you went back on Friday and you ripped others, it, it knew that <affirmative>, you know, what to sync up was, which is something that we take for granted now. But that was a big deal in those days, honestly. And yeah, it was the start of apple moving into this consumer electronic space. And it was cemented in 2007, obviously when they introduced the iPhone, a lot of people don't maybe not remember this, but on the day they introduced iPhone, we've had the iPod and all the iterations, the iPhone kind of subsumes the iPod, right. Because the iPhone is a phone and it's a music player as well. And that was the day they, that jobs changed the name of the company from apple computer Inc. To apple Inc. In recognition.
Leo Laporte (02:03:38):
Oh, that was when that happened. Computer company.
Connie Guglielmo (02:03:39):
Oh yeah. On the day they entered, use the iPhone, not the iPhone.
Leo Laporte (02:03:42):
Oh yeah. The iPhone.
Connie Guglielmo (02:03:43):
Yeah. Yeah. So it was the start of that whole path. And of course, $2 trillion evaluation later, it was obviously the right was the right call.
Leo Laporte (02:03:53):
Yeah. This was before the iPhone, this was the most successful consumer product of all time. I think. I mean, it really was
Connie Guglielmo (02:04:01):
Dominant. I, you know, I have one story that I wanna tell, and that is, and no disrespect to Microsoft here, but at some point I, you speaking at an event and someone gave me a zoom and I still have the zoom. It still powers up. But I came home and I had two kids and I gave my daughter, you know, this iPod to use and I gave my son the zoom. And did he
Leo Laporte (02:04:23):
Say, why do you hate me, mom?
Connie Guglielmo (02:04:25):
<Laugh> he did. Do you love, do you love Laura better than you love me?
Leo Laporte (02:04:30):
So you can have a zoom. We had to,
Connie Guglielmo (02:04:33):
We had together one, we got him an iPod after that. So a shuffle, by the way, that, that was the years of the iPod shuffle. Even smaller with more capacity. Yeah. Anyway.
Leo Laporte (02:04:43):
Yeah. How many iPods? I mean, we all have owned, probably most of them, I even bought my sister, the U2, the black and red U2 iPod was loaded with U2 albums. Come to think of it. There's been a long heritage of, of love between apple and bono. For some reason. I'm not sure. I really understand that. Well,
Fr. Robert Ballecer (02:05:05):
It, it, wasn't just the
Leo Laporte (02:05:06):
Youtube who love bono. Everybody loves bono. Yeah.
Connie Guglielmo (02:05:08):
It wasn't just the YouTube iPod. It was the first time that bono and YouTube had licensed their music digitally. Right. They own big deal. Unlike a lot of musicians, they owns catalog catalog's. So that's why it
Leo Laporte (02:05:20):
Was a big deal. Cause that was a big deal. Getting them to say, okay, you can sell it digitally. Remember the right God people for it's moved so fast. You forget bands did not allow digital copies of their music. They were terrified by the whole thing.
Fr. Robert Ballecer (02:05:36):
Napster born line wire. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (02:05:39):
This was good. Old. The other thing that is, I mean, this was a early MP3 player. <Laugh> this was for a car obviously, but this is a,
Fr. Robert Ballecer (02:05:48):
Was that a, a, a, a laser disc was that had
Leo Laporte (02:05:51):
A, I drive in it. This is a, that's a R this is a R exactly. Yeah. I had the little small portable as well. The diamond Rio that was predated the iPod. But the thing that all of these did wrong, we even did many shows on the screensavers about building your own, put a computer in your trunk <laugh> and have MP3s on a hard drive. But the thing was hard about all these is navigation. It was miserable finding your music and playing it was miserable. And it was a really in a brilliant insight. Tony Fidel came up with the designer of the iPod to have that, that click wheel. These actually are sold. They actually turn. But they, they held up
Fr. Robert Ballecer (02:06:34):
That click sound is one of the, one of the things you could just like play and, you know,
Leo Laporte (02:06:38):
Well, dial up, you know, exactly. People know it. Yeah. a lot of Britney Spears on this one <laugh>, I'm just gonna say it must have been my daughter's <laugh>
Fr. Robert Ballecer (02:06:49):
<Laugh> or she was the last one to have it. I
Leo Laporte (02:06:52):
I'm gonna defend the I'm gonna defend the zoom, the first brown zoom, not great, but at the end of the zoom, the zoom HD was actually a really good music device. And I was kind of sad that Microsoft having finally perfected that device gave up on
Fr. Robert Ballecer (02:07:06):
By the yeah. By the, I was gonna say, by the time it got good, they were already, they had already lost.
Leo Laporte (02:07:11):
Yeah. That, I guess that's what it was. You couldn't there. It was too much headwind.
Speaker 25 (02:07:17):
Yeah. It's funny. There there's actually a huge falling. If you go check out Reddit, there's a huge file. And people still love that device.
Leo Laporte (02:07:23):
The HD HD. Yeah. Yeah. I think that was in every re it was kind of the windows phone of music players, because it had a great interface. It had a big screen. It, it was kind of in every way superior to the competition, but too late, it was too late. Just like the window's fun. It was, it was, it was over, you know I was kinda sad about that was shortly after Microsoft gave up its music. You used to be able to buy music for Microsoft and, and all of that. And they gave up all of that hard to believe 20 years ago. And, and does your son still think you like your daughter better? <Laugh>
Connie Guglielmo (02:08:03):
No, he has we've bought him iPhone, so yeah. He's okay. Now he's, he's been redeemed he's
Leo Laporte (02:08:09):
Okay. Yeah. That's good. Hard to believe. 20 years ago, the iPhone and I still have it right here. The original, as I showed on that, that episode, what a great fun time this has been. I really love going back through time with you through the year 2021, the only surpassed weirdness by 2020, another wonderful year in the books. We're gonna the, of 20, 22. It can be any better, but we are gonna immediately start collecting Becks best of segments, cuz it's always a lot of fun. Thank you so much for joining me again. Next week we look ahead, we look to the future with a futurist, a sci-fi author and a scientists gonna be very, very exciting stuff. I think you're gonna enjoy it. And I just wanna thank you so much for your support all year long, a special tip of the ho ho ho hat to our club TWI members, almost 4,000 of you.
Leo Laporte (02:09:05):
Now. I really, we started it this year. We didn't know, you know, if it, if you'd be interested, if you'd people would like it, but I'm so glad you do thank you to our members and for versions of all of our shows that great discord channel, it's so much fun. And of course the TWI plus feed featuring shows that are not on the network that are only for club TWI, like our untitled Lennox show, Stacy Higginbotham's book club. We've got some great ones coming up, Mike Algan and his wife Amira. We're gonna talk about the gastro Noma adventures coming up. I think Jeff Jarvis is gonna do and ask me anything, Lisa, and I'll do another inside TWI all of that available exclusively to members simply go to twi.tv/club TWI seven bucks a month. I think it's worth it. And it sure helps us out smooths out the, the dips in the economy.
Leo Laporte (02:09:57):
So as it were keeps keeps the, the podcast flowing. Thank you everybody. We'll do it again. Live, as I said that special edition next week, as we do every Sunday, two 30 Pacific five 30 Eastern 2230 UTC, you can watch us do it firstname.lastname@example.org. You can chat in our great chat room, open to all irc.twi.tv or for club TWI members in our discord. And of course after the fact on demand versions of this and all of our shows available at the website, twi.tv, there's a dedicated YouTube channel for this weekend. Tech subscribe though, cuz that way you get it automatically, the minute it's available and we thank you all so much for listening, have a happy new year. I'll see you next week for a look into the future with TWI another TWI in the camp. Amazing another year,
Speaker 26 (02:10:52):
The doing the, doing the, doing the baby.