This Week in Tech Episode 903 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):
It's time for TWiT this weekend. Technic Nicholas Deleon is here from Consumer Reports. Jill Duffy from PC Mag and Owen Thomas, formerly of Protocol. We'll talk about the demise of protocol chaos in China. Chaos at home with Elon Musk's TWiTtter, black Friday, kind of a bust in a French court that says it's okay not to have fun. It's all coming up next on TWiT podcasts you love

TWiT Intro (00:00:30):
From people you trust. This

Leo Laporte (00:00:33):

This is TWiT this week in Tech. Episode 903 recorded Sunday, November 27th, 2022. Opt in for fun. This week In Tech is brought to you by Collide. Collide is an endpoint security solution that uses the most powerful untapped resource and it end users. Visit to learn more and activate a free 14 day trial today. No credit card required and buy aid sleep. For a limited time aid sleep is offering TWiT listeners up to $400 off their sleep fit holiday bundle by visiting aid after November 30th. Go to eight and check out the pod and look for other exclusive holiday savings. Or save $150 at checkout with our normal offer. And buy Audible, audible lets you enjoy all of your audio entertainment in one app. Let Audible help you discover new ways to laugh, be inspired, or be entertained. New members can try it free for 30 days. Visit or text TWiT to 500 500. And by on Logic. On Logic is helping innovators around the world solve their most complex technology challenges using on logic industrial computers, engineered for reliability, even in environments that would challenge or destroy traditional computer hardware. Learn more and find out about on Logic's 30 day risk-free hardware trial by visiting on

It's time for TWiT this week at Tech. The week's tech news digested, chewed, digested, and regurgitated by some of the best tech journalists in the business. That's disgusting. Nicholas Deon is here from Consumer Reports. He's Senior Electronics Reporter. Great to see you again, Nicholas.

TWiT Intro (00:02:38):

Leo Laporte (00:02:39):
You Leo. Welcome. we also wanna say hi to Owen Thomas. He used to work at Protocol. Actually we'll get this, we'll get the scoop on on what happened there. But always a good friend is his lower third used to say Alex's TWiTtter Daddy. Is that correct? Twittter

Owen Thomas (00:02:59):
Dad? Alex's TWiTtter Dad. Close enough. Twittter. Dad, daddy is, daddy has a different

Leo Laporte (00:03:03):
That's it's a, it's a step too far. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, but it's true. It's true. Alex Wilhelm owes it all to Owen Thomas, let's not forget. And we are also reviving his more, more abundant blog, which he hasn't supposed to do in six years to the, because, hey, we all need a blog these days.

Owen Thomas (00:03:25):
Exclusive. You are hearing it here first. Yes, it is relaunching. It is back.

Leo Laporte (00:03:30):
Quick post something also here from PC Mag. I am thrilled to say hello to Jill Duffy. She's also the author of The Everything Guide to Remote Work, which probably is still pretty Oh, Quran, isn't it?

Jill Duffy (00:03:45):
It absolutely is. And I hope it stays that way for as long as possible.

Owen Thomas (00:03:48):

Leo Laporte (00:03:49):
You might wanna look at that, Owen. Actually Owen you're in the protocol offices right now. What is, what is going on? I

Owen Thomas (00:03:58):
Am, this is like the opposite of remote work, right? No, it's, you know, it's a, it's a nice podcasting studio among other things. Yeah, yeah. We're, we're technically in what the Germans call Aben or the winding down of protocol. So the office is open for a, a few weeks longer.

Leo Laporte (00:04:15):
What is there to wind down on a tech blog? 

Owen Thomas (00:04:20):
You know, there's, they're, they're actually continuing the source code newsletter. 

Leo Laporte (00:04:24):
Oh, that's right. Okay.

Owen Thomas (00:04:26):
For, for I think a few weeks longer. And yeah, you know,

Leo Laporte (00:04:30):
I'm really sad. I really liked protocol and every time we had you on, I would say what a great job you were doing. What great coverage this was, you were, I didn't realize this, you were still under the umbrella of Politico, which was sold to Axel Springer, the big German publisher some time ago. And it was Springer's decision, I think, to to cut protocol. Would you say it is a comment on tech, like maybe, maybe we're in a bad business heaven for fend covering tech?

Owen Thomas (00:05:03):
I think, I think it's much more a common about media. I mean, you know, there, there certainly is like a you know, an incestuous merging of tech and media these days. But you know, it's a tough business. I have been through a lot of publications that are sadly no longer with us. Yeah. you know, r i p, red Herring Business 2.0. Wow. I mean, maybe it's me, maybe

Leo Laporte (00:05:30):

Owen Thomas (00:05:31):
You. Maybe I'm the problem.

Leo Laporte (00:05:33):
By the way, all of those were great. I loved What a wonderful attitude and take and I, and a great place. Great writing Tony Perkin's. Red Herring was fantastic. I loved Tony and I loved Red Herring. I mean, it's kind of, you worked for the best except for Gawker. I'm not gonna include Gawker, but you've worked for everyone else. It's been great. It is a tough, it's a tough road. Ahoe, we're even struggling, I think, as a tech focused podcast. I'm really close to murdering somebody and having a mystery show because there's joking, joking. It's okay. John John's gonna disappear and people are gonna think I did it. What happened to Jammer B? It could be a good podcast. Jill, you're still PC magazines still around, but kind of a shadow of its former Glory days. I guess

Jill Duffy (00:06:25):
It just had its 40th anniversary, actually. So there was, there was a lot of interesting, fun stuff we did this year, such as a second big interview with Bill Gates, which I believe was in the inaugural issue back in the early eighties

Leo Laporte (00:06:40):
Under Bill Macron, probably, or even before Bill Macron. Yeah, 40 years. Wow. That's kind of amazing. I worked for Jeff Davis, so I was part of the, you know, the family for a long time. Yeah.

Jill Duffy (00:06:53):
This year, PC Mag has its first female editor in chief, and that is Wendy Shein Dunnell, who has been with the publication for a long time. She started out managing and editing covering consumer electronics and kind of worked way up. And she's really taken the helm with great leadership and I'm really grateful to work with her. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (00:07:15):
That's good news. I see your article here on the Top Tech and tools you need for taking digital notes. It's funny, we had Phil Libin on last week who founded Evernote.

Jill Duffy (00:07:25):
Oh yeah, I know Phil.

Leo Laporte (00:07:26):
Yeah. Phil's great. And it was, you know, I was trying to get him to say bad things about Evernote and Bending Spoons, our new owner, but I couldn't get him to, so,

Jill Duffy (00:07:33):
Ugh, I gotta say, since he left, I have not been super happy with Evernote direction. I I jumped ship a couple years ago on that. I I just couldn't keep up with that tool

Leo Laporte (00:07:44):
Anymore. We all did. But Phil is one of those diplomatic guys who's gonna be careful. <Laugh> even almost had something nice to say about El Musk, almost <laugh> and Consumer Reports. How old is Consumer Reports, Nicholas? It's

Nicholas de Leon (00:07:59):
I think 93. Yeah, something like that.

Leo Laporte (00:08:01):
It's older than than my mom.

Nicholas de Leon (00:08:03):
Yeah, it's an old publication. Still around still. The magazine is still around. It still does. Well, I still get it. The website, I mean, most of my stuff is on the website of course. But yeah, I I I'm happy to be here. I'm proud to be here. And long may it continue, I guess, although with media and, you know, everyone, you know, we're be a

Leo Laporte (00:08:21):
Firefighters. Yeah. We all feel lucky just to be, just to have a day job.

Nicholas de Leon (00:08:25):
It's, it's, you know, it's, it's a tricky business like Owen was saying. And I, I'm actually interested too is like, is it, is it a tech thing? Are people just over tech? I feel like since 2016 it's been just like non, like an onslaught of nonstop, like big tech, tech is evil, yada, yada. And maybe people are just over

Leo Laporte (00:08:42):
It. Maybe they're done. I don't know. Yeah, yeah. Consumer Reports made a little bit of headline last week for the first time, dis recommending the Tesla. I remember in the early days of the Tesla, it was the highest rated car. And I know you're not involved in the car testing, so Yeah, I have zero, yeah, zero input to be honest. But they said it's the highest rated car we've ever tested. They gave it a hundred points. Now here we are some years later and they've actually de oh no, it was Ford, not Tesla. It was Ford. They delisted their electric vehicles. I, I noticed this cuz I drive one <laugh> because of unreliability. But even, even the Tesla, even all the electric vehicles do not score very highly on the rated, on the on the reliability.

Nicholas de Leon (00:09:28):
I just bought a brand new 22 Toyota RAV4 gas engine. The electrics seem interesting, but I feel like I'm not quite there yet.

Leo Laporte (00:09:39):
Not there yet. Yeah, they, it's an interesting thing. You know, maybe we're going back to gas engines. Maybe it's, maybe gas is back. No idea. No <laugh>. I hope not. So let's talk, I guess, about TWiTtter.

There's really only one news story at this point, which is that Musk said on Friday that they're going to restore. He had a, he had a poll. It's so weird that Elon Musk, who tried to get out of the TWiTtter deal by saying, oh, the bots, the bots, the bots, you can't, nobody's real on TWiTtter. And now has having polls, which are clearly botted, heavily botted the polls, 72% I think voted yes. Twittter should reinstate accounts, bann for harassment, misinformation, hate, as long as it's not illegal. He said, we're bringing them back. Is next week gonna be a nightmare on the health site? Owen? Do you still spend time on the TWiTtter?

Owen Thomas (00:10:46):
I I tend to be more of a broadcaster than a

Leo Laporte (00:10:50):
Consumer. Yeah, me too. When I use TWiTtters

Owen Thomas (00:10:52):
On TWiTtter, I tend to, I, I tend to put messages out there. I try to keep up with any responses, but like I'm, these days especially, I'm just not going back and forth a lot with it. And I, I find that's kind of a healthy, like, relationship with TWiTtter. I, you know, I think it is an unwinding of all of the work that TWiTtter Yeah. You know, TWiTtter under Jack Dorsey did on Prioritizing Health. And I think the real impact you're going to see is that advertisers who had already paused a lot of their business with TWiTtter are going to just walk away because it's not a must buy. It is a relatively small audience online. It doesn't, you know, it doesn't move the needle for like a big you know, consumer brand these days. And that's gonna be a real problem for, for Elon because, you know, it doesn't seem like blue verified is you know, burning up the charts either

Leo Laporte (00:11:52):
In terms of bringing in revenue. I note that Jill's TWiTtter handle is now Jill, I didn't pay for the check Mark Duffy <laugh>. You still haven't, by the way. I didn't pay for mine either. We still have 'em, but I guess at some point they'll expire.

Jill Duffy (00:12:08):
Yeah, yeah. And that's fine with me. I don't really care. I, I'm take I'm taking a hiatus from TWiTtter. Last week was just the moment where I said, this is not what I can do right now. This is not where I can spend my time. Yeah. This is not where I feel good about spending my time and sending out my message. So for those of you on Macon, I'm on the big server at And I'll, I'll build up there a little bit. We'll, we'll see how it goes. 

Leo Laporte (00:12:33):
I just followed you on our Macon instance. Thank you Yeah, that's great. You're,

Jill Duffy (00:12:41):
And I, I'm happy to see some new ideas coming up about social media. You know, I, I think TWiTtter, TWiTtter really did have a place. Maybe it will continue to have a place, I'm not sure. But I, I think that what Macon is really doing is getting people to think about, well, what would something that's similar to TWiTtter be different? Be like, I agree. And anybody who's coming to Ma Macon thinking that it is a TWiTtter alternative that is just a recreation of TWiTtter on a different place, they're totally wrong. You have to go into Macon thinking that this is something new and you should really be open to experiencing it in a new way. So the way that you interact with people, the way that posts don't get bumped up into your line of site based on how popular they are, the way that people are hosted on different servers, that it's not just one big place controlled by one person. Like this is, this is a great experiment in a way for people to try out something new, see if they like it, continue critiquing what they don't like about social media and get more experience with it.

Leo Laporte (00:13:51):
Yeah. Maybe it could be a different thing entirely. Kinder, gentler, no ads, no algorithm conversation is an interesting idea. But Nicholas, you're done with, you said you're done with social entirely.

Nicholas de Leon (00:14:04):
I <laugh> I kind of think, so about six months ago, I really kind of stopped caring about social media and stopped using not just TWiTtter, but Instagram. I

Leo Laporte (00:14:13):
Think you're not alone. I think a lot of people feel that way. Burnout.

Nicholas de Leon (00:14:16):
I mean, I've always used TWiTtter, frankly as like a silly, you know, soccer jokes and video game gifts. I've, you know, since going back to 2008. So I've never really treated it as like, critical to my life. So for me to step back and, and just like not use it as much is frankly not that big of a deal. But yeah. I, I wonder if, if, if, you know, just seeing the news coverage of this and seeing how people get really, maybe in some cases kind of justifiably upset about the changes made. It's like, do we really want a website to have that much control over our lives? Yeah. like I don't, I don't know, not

Leo Laporte (00:14:50):
Just lives our mental state, our, our for sure. You know, how we, how we think about the world. Yeah. And especially one that's designed to spin up outrage and, and upset. I stopped using Facebook cuz I always felt bad afterwards. That was years ago. Twittter.

Nicholas de Leon (00:15:07):
Like, I often think, I often think, you know, as I'm, you know, you know, on, on my deathbed or whatever, not to be too weird, but like, am I, am I really gonna say like, well, I wish I spent more time refreshing my timeline on TWiTtter. Probably not. I prob I don't think I'm gonna be saying that. I think, I think I'm gonna be saying, oh, I wish I spent more time with my friends and family. So like, I just, I just feel like the, the balance on a lot of these platforms has gotten way out of whack. And I personally am am am just trying to like, bring it back a little bit. And I've had frankly great success. Over the summer I really tried to start jogging and I've gotten pretty decent at it. I've gotten into pretty decent shape. And just like the number of hours that you just like spend just scrolling through

Leo Laporte (00:15:51):
Dooms scrolling these things.

Nicholas de Leon (00:15:52):
Yeah. It's, I don't know. And I'm not trying to be glib or anything, but like, I, I really, I hope folks kind of use this kind of like TWiTtter moment as an opportunity to kinda like, reflect and be like, is this, is this how I wanna spend my life? Just like really getting amped up about this site? I don't know. I feel

Jill Duffy (00:16:10):
Like, you know, TWiTtter, TWiTtter has had its time though. I gotta say, you know, if we think back to the Arab Spring for instance, or even Occupy Wall Street, TWiTtter really became the way that people organized and that they were allowed to talk to one another, find out what was going on. Even as recently as some of the riots in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. A lot of that was just, you know, grassroots, organized through TWiTtter. So I, I, I think we should keep in mind that there, there is a population of people who are using it for doom scrolling. I think it's, it's really become a replacement for RSS in a lot of ways, in the sense of getting your news, right. So instead of getting an RSS feed of, of headlines that you're interested in reading, people started using TWiTtter instead and following journalists.

And that was kind of an interesting use case in the same way that organizing social movements has become an interesting use case. And so, you know, I I think the, the doom scrolling and getting sucked into it and feeling bad about yourself that certainly is a problem for a lot of people. But it's not the only way to use this tool. And again, like if we think about the ways that we are experimenting with social media, like there's a lot to be learned, whether people decide to stay with TWiTtter or not, there's a lot to be learned from it going forward about what kinds of tools do we need if people are gonna collectively organize against a government or an institution of some kind.

Leo Laporte (00:17:36):
You know, it's interesting that you say that cause it's going on right now in China. I think that to some degree that's opportunistic. People have done the same with WhatsApp or Telegram. Twittter was there, so they used it. But, but there are other ways to do it. It's interesting cause about three weeks ago, apple changed iOS 16 to change the way airdrop works. You can't turn on accept airdrops from anyone for longer than 10 minutes. It turns itself off. And in the US I guess you could say, well, that's a security measure, but it was widely used in China for organizers because it was one of the few ways you could communicate with anybody in your vicinity. You had to be geograph, you know, within, I guess a hundred feet of each other. But you could communicate with anybody in your vicinity without identifying yourself or them.

It was a fairly anonymous way. And it I'm told it was widely used in China for organizing. China is now undergoing the most severe civil unrest it's had in years without that. And it's, and it, you know, I I'm not, I mean, we can't point a finger at Apple and say, well, you see, the Apple was asked by the Chinese. I mean, you'd have to presume Apple was asked a few weeks ago by the Chinese government to turn that feature off preemptively. They're no longer able to use it. But I find, I think you find other ways too.

Jill Duffy (00:19:01):
Yeah, I I think TWiTtter is one example, but some of the things that you just said, you know, air dropping information using WhatsApp, finding other encrypted messaging apps these are all ways that we're, we're still trying them out. We're still figuring out what works. I just think when we look back at TWiTtter and its value Yeah, we should I agree. Remember those things and remember how they worked when, why, and not just say, oh, it was just doom scrolling all the time. And, you know, looking at Trump's tweets in Elon Musk's

Leo Laporte (00:19:29):
Tweets. Yeah. And we are very US centric. I mean, TWiTtter is, is most of the users are, 80% of the users are outside the us I read, I don't know if that's true. I think Elon said that, and many of them are in Japan. It's very popular in Japan.

Owen Thomas (00:19:43):
Do you all remember when the, the White House actually called TWiTtter and asked them not to shut it down? For like scheduled maintenance? Because there were protests, I think, in Iran at the

Leo Laporte (00:19:55):
Time. Oh,

Owen Thomas (00:19:56):
Interesting. Yeah. And they were, they were worried that it would, you know, interfere with the ability to communicate. Yeah. I I, I think I, I agree with what Jill's saying. I think people are mourning that TWiTtter, you know, or the many TWiTtters, you know, everyone kind of had their black

Leo Laporte (00:20:09):
Twittter experience. A lot of people who, who didn't have a voice used TWiTtter to create community to, to get a voice. Yeah. We're mourning it.

Owen Thomas (00:20:19):
Yeah. And I think those people are feeling that, like with the, you know, with the dramatic loosening of, of policies and the deprioritization of health that like, you know, TWiTtter's just no longer a home for them. And it's, it's hard to move homes. You know, it's certainly Macon and Telegram and you know, everything else is out there, but you just,

Leo Laporte (00:20:41):

Owen Thomas (00:20:42):
Tum, there's a lot. People go tum home

Leo Laporte (00:20:44):
Smuggling Wake said, 18% increase in Tumblr signups this week. Wow. Yeah.

Owen Thomas (00:20:49):
That's a

Leo Laporte (00:20:50):
Throwback. But yeah, I, I know I'm not gonna go to Tumblr or Mastodon to organize the next revolution. I don't think it's gonna happen there. It's not that kind of a place it did. Twittter felt so much more public. I wor I do also, like you Nicholas got news from TWiTtter.

Nicholas de Leon (00:21:08):

Leo Laporte (00:21:09):
And that's gonna be a big loss. That was a, it was almost a, a wire service in a way.

Nicholas de Leon (00:21:15):
I mean, it definitely replaced RSS for a lot of my colleagues and friends. And in media, you know, we all used to use Google Reader. I used to use that news wire on Mac back in the day, and it's like these TWiTtter replaced all that for better or worse. And so it will be interesting to see, you know, the, the other thing I'm thinking is that maybe, you know, with, you know, these communities that are, maybe it's time for a new, a new thing. Maybe TWiTtter had its time in the sun. Okay, great. Let's try something. It's like it, the idea that TWiTtter was that, was it the, you know, the final boss, like that's the, that is as good as it's ever gonna get on the internet is very weird to me. That's not, yeah. Like the idea, it should be constantly getting better and improvement and like cooler or more interesting or more, but just the idea that TWiTtter is, that's it. No more that, that never sat well with me.

Leo Laporte (00:22:00):
It's interesting. Chatroom is saying you're talking as if it's dead. It's not dead.

Owen Thomas (00:22:05):
I do feel like people are performatively quitting TWiTtter. Like an example is, oh yeah. Phil Shiller the long time Apple Marketing executive. Now you gotta remember, so Phil Schiller deleted his TWiTtter account, but this is also the guy who deleted his Instagram account when they launched on Android years ago. So, you know, it likey, you've gotta remember that some people have their own agendas for like using this moment to say, well, I am done with TWiTtter.

Leo Laporte (00:22:34):
Well, and I note that Tim Cook posted recently on TWiTtter apple is you know, Tim Cook sent Thanksgiving Greetings on on Thursday on TWiTtter. I think some people are saying, I'm gonna stay on TWiTtter because I want to preserve it. I, I wanna make sure that there are other voices on TWiTtter. One of the things Elon really seems to be taking it rightward. And it would be, it would be a shame if he turned it into another, you know, gab or truth, social or right wing network. He seems to want do that. I'm not sure I understand why, what the motivation is, but it's certainly not dying. Right?

Nicholas de Leon (00:23:15):
No, but I will say anecdotally, when I log on in the morning, and, and this is the thing, I've never had TWiTtter on my phone for several years. That, that to me is a bad idea. I only use it on a desktop when I'm working during the day. But when I log on in the morning, I, especially the past week or so, I'm definitely seeing fewer humans that I know on the timeline. It is more just kind of like brands like Pepsi or Yeah. Or cnn.

Leo Laporte (00:23:37):
A lot of broadcast, I don't know, lot of broadcasting on TWiTtter

Nicholas de Leon (00:23:40):
Now. Yeah. That was very interesting to me. I noticed that a couple days ago. I was like, huh, what is hap, I

Jill Duffy (00:23:44):
Dunno, who knows? I think part of this preemptive death sentence is that people were worried when a bunch of engineers got laid off and a bunch of people quit, that there wouldn't be the staff around to support the tool anymore. And that little by little cracks would show things would break and the site would go down. So, and I saw a little bit, little bit of that personally. There was a day when somebody who had protected tweets was retweeted by somebody, and that retweet became visible to all no longer protected. Oh. So, so it's that kind, that's that level of subtle stuff that may break. Yeah. Right. And little by little, if enough of it breaks, the site could theoretically go down. I don't think it will just one day, you know, not be available on the, on the URL anymore. I think what we're gonna see is these cracks showing, and certainly a lot of that is gonna come from content moderation. You know, those divisions all got completely obliterated from, from the various layoffs and quitting and protest. So, you know, there's a lot that those of us who don't work at TWiTtter don't know it was going on. Behind the scenes. We don't know the extent to which people were studying the kinds of language that was being used, what sort of harm was being done, how to prevent that harm. And, and so that's again, where we may start to see things very slowly devolve and break rather than the site disappearing altogether.

Leo Laporte (00:25:18):
It was Phil Li's opinion last week. I got, by the way, I got a lot of email in both saying, you should never have Phil on again. He's obviously, you know, in Elon's, you know, corner, and then people saying what's really great to hear a different take, a refreshing take. He's, and I, and I, I like Phil and I trust him, and I think he's very honest. And I think he, he said, you know, you shouldn't count it out. It may well be what Elon is up to is getting, and I think there's some evidence for this, getting rid of all the people who didn't like him weren't a hundred percent in, in, you know, believers in TWiTtter, stripping it down to the metal and then building it back up is a brutal way to do it. But it could be said that that was what he was doing. And maybe, maybe, you know, it certainly didn't go offline on Friday. I thought, if it's gonna go down and it'll go down during a England US in the World Cup, sure. Didn't it handled it fine. Elon posted that. In fact, TWiTtter's doing better than ever and has signed up more. It's more active than ever before. He

Jill Duffy (00:26:20):
Says, well, active doesn't bring in any money though,

Leo Laporte (00:26:22):
Right? I mean, but Elon, look, Elon still has plenty of money, even with the, he says new users signups are at an all time high, which is, I think interesting. He posted a TWiTtter slide talk that he gave to the company showing, you know, we're recruiting new users signups at an all time high, 2 million a day, new users active minutes also at an all time high. Although that doesn't say anything, that some of that could just be people coming to watch the, the flames. The, the MDOs passed a quarter million monthly. Daily, I'm sorry, what is m Daily active users m

Owen Thomas (00:27:05):

Leo Laporte (00:27:06):
Monetizing. That's

Owen Thomas (00:27:07):
Right. In other words, not

Leo Laporte (00:27:08):
Bots. Not bots, yeah. Hate speech. Impressions are lower. Okay. certainly lower than they were when he took over, let's put it that way. Reported impersonation spiked. Yeah. We know why. And then fell TWiTtter 2.0. And this is his plan for TWiTtter going forward. Advertising is entertainment. I, I do remember one story that he was talking to some people and said, you know, we should do more native advertising on TWiTtter. You should make ads look like tweets, to which somebody responded. That's what we're already doing. I don't know what he means by advertising his entertainment, maybe this, in this case, the, the picture he is showing is from hbo. Are you a Arian, Valer or High Tower? Take this, like this tweet and I'll analyze your profile. This is straight out of the Facebook playbook and Oh man. And absolutely something I don't wanna see on TWiTtter. Video as part of TWiTtter. Well, TWiTtter already has video. He has been, it's been rumored. He wanted to bring back Vine, which TWiTtter bought and killed with mismanagement, encrypted dms

Owen Thomas (00:28:19):
Which they were working

Leo Laporte (00:28:21):
On. They were working on. He says he's doing he's working with Moxi Marlin Spike, formerly CEO of Signal. And there is some, some people have seen code saying the word signal. So maybe that's gonna happen long form tweets. So he fired the guy <laugh>, who who cheer, cheer led the 280 character tweet, internet TWiTtter. He's gone. But maybe they're gonna do something even longer. Relaunch Blue verified, at which point Jill and I and you guys will all lose your blue checks, I guess, which is fine with me Payments. It's interesting, that flight has nothing

Owen Thomas (00:28:56):
<Laugh>. I I, yes. That blank, that blank space shows you how little Elon has thought about this. Yeah. in, in, in one of my last pieces for protocol, I actually wrote about how Elon Musk's plan for TWiTtter and Payments basically looks like PayPal in 1999,

Leo Laporte (00:29:15):
Which he was one of the early founders of, right? He's his company. X.Com was sold to TWiTtter and he's one of TWiTtter,

Owen Thomas (00:29:23):

Leo Laporte (00:29:24):
Paypal. Paypal Mafia.

Owen Thomas (00:29:25):
Yeah. He merged. Yeah, he merged into Infiniti, which then became PayPal. But the problem is Leo, that his playbook has not evolved in two decades, and payments has moved on, and e-commerce has changed enormously. Twittter has never been a good spot for e-commerce. They have tried payments, they've tried, you know, shopping inside, you know, inside a tweet. And the, the problem is people are there for conversation. They're not there to, you know, to buy things generally.

Leo Laporte (00:29:56):
Yeah. Nicholas, you're a, obviously a football fan, and by which I mean soccer was it a good place? Elon says Follow the World Cup on TWiTtter for best real time coverage. Was it,

Nicholas de Leon (00:30:09):
I mean, I think television is better <laugh>

Leo Laporte (00:30:11):
You can actually watch the game. Yeah,

Nicholas de Leon (00:30:13):
Yeah. On 4k. Fox is producing in 4K this year. It looks awesome. It does,

Leo Laporte (00:30:17):
Doesn't it?

Nicholas de Leon (00:30:17):
Yeah. But I, I will say, I remember, man, I remember 2009 being on like a tech crunch, an Early Tech Crunch podcast. We were recording the podcast during the Champions League. And, and I, I think Barcelona scored a goal. And I, and I was like, hooray, et cetera. And I was saying, wow, this is, TWiTtter is perfect for this. I'm, I'm talking to you guys on the air and I'm tweeting as we're speaking and I'm seeing all the people saying, haray messy score. This is great. So TWiTtter has always been like a very good sports thing. So I, I definitely agree with Elon there. That's one of the things I've used TWiTtter for since 2008, is like sports commentary, sports rumor trade stuff, live kind of like a live water cooler or whatever. So it's actually awesome for that. And it has, it is held up during the world.

I actually kind of semi expecting it to kind of buckle under the pressure of the World Cup, the, the volume of tweets, maybe bringing the site down or bringing back the fail whale or whatever. I haven't seen that. No. and I've been on the site and I've been watching every, more or less every second of the World Cup and on my desk cut here. So it's like, it seems to be okay. I don't know that it's the best place for life coverage. I think television's a little better. But I see his point. It is, it is a, it is a nice additive to the experience and, and it makes it you know, I used to you know, back, back in the day, I used to watch a lot of WF Pro wrestling. And I remember I was in an IRC chat room with some friends during the show on Monday nights. And okay, maybe that was like 10 people. So this is the same thing now with millions of people. And it's kind of fun to kind of join in, like in hooray, you know, Spain score, Germany score and go back and forth. So I I, I don't entirely disagree with them there. I guess

Leo Laporte (00:31:52):
I used to you know, anytime it was not just sports, any live event, Oscars or whatever, I would open up the, I would have my laptop in front of me while I'm watching the live broadcast. Cuz it was always fun to qubits with, with other people. That is a, that is a social activity. And TWiTtter was very good at that. Some people in our chat room are saying, well, you could do the same in Macon. I don't know. This is a world, if I pin a column with World Cup as the hashtag, I guess I can, I can follow. It's not a, it doesn't have, it's not quite the Harray place. Is it

Owen Thomas (00:32:26):

Nicholas de Leon (00:32:27):
I'm not familiar with. I know Madison N exists. I haven't, I haven't started one. I'm probably not going to start, but I do. My brother, my brother is 10 years younger than me. He's 26. What does do,

Leo Laporte (00:32:36):
I don't, what do the Youngs do? That's what

Nicholas de Leon (00:32:38):
I want. I was gonna say, say he's on Discord basically all day. Yeah. so, and to me Discord feels like that. I agree. Almost like that recreation of like the IRC or the Usenet chat groups back in the day where it's like, okay, we have a small little community that are all into pick your top and they're all friendly and they, yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:32:56):
There's gotta be you know, a hashtag Manchester United discord, that all the man, you guys are in there and go.

Nicholas de Leon (00:33:04):
Or there might be multiple ones for there are,

Leo Laporte (00:33:06):
You know. Yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Nicholas de Leon (00:33:08):
You know, Boston supporters are folks in, in Miami or whatever, and it feels like maybe TWiTtter, it's, it's so big our brains can't wrap around. Like having that many people in connecting to and maybe a smaller discord with like, eh, 20 folks or whatever. Maybe that's more manageable. A

Leo Laporte (00:33:24):
Dunbar number. Yeah, yeah,

Nicholas de Leon (00:33:25):
Yeah. Something to that effect. But my brother is on Discord frequently, and I, I know I've seen smaller podcasters who, you know, who are in fact kind of migrating their communities away from TWiTtter and putting, you know, discord access behind a Patreon paywall and saying, Hey guys, we're gonna hang out here. We're gonna talk about the same stuff, but this feels like a little bit more curated, a little more personal, and we'll see how it goes. But I do see Discord as being kind of like a place where, where the kids are, well, they're already there, so

Leo Laporte (00:33:53):
Gee, what a great idea. We should do that. Oh, we did <laugh>. Yeah. It's been, it was, that was an eye opener for us. We started club to about a year ago, just like, just as you said, it was behind a paywall, seven bucks a month. Mostly we thought the benefit would be ad free versions of the shows. No ads, no track. Right. You just get to listen to the content. And it turned out the Discord, which we threw in, is a sweetener turned out to be the best place. It's a, it's a great social network. There's about, I think there's 3000, 4,000 people in there now. And it's just Mitch is maybe a little too big to be honest, but what we did is we created a lot of sub channels. So, you know, you can hang out in, you know I, I hang out in the coding channel. In fact, a advent of code is coming up, so we're getting ready for that. But there's, you know, beer and, and I wonder if there's a, a football, we, you know, geeks are not big. Yeah. There's a sport ball. <Laugh>,

Nicholas de Leon (00:34:51):

Leo Laporte (00:34:51):
Course, geeks are not sports. The biggest sport ball people, but <laugh>, we got,

Nicholas de Leon (00:34:57):
We got sports. What's That's interesting because, you know, you, you have an audience of, of technology enthusiasts, folks who are into this stuff, right. Regardless of what's happening industry, the people who listen to your shows like this stuff. Yeah. They wanna hang commonality there. Yeah, exactly. So maybe, okay, we all like Android, we all like the iPhone or whatever, but Oh, also, maybe we'll talk about the Oscars, because we all, we're all friends anyway about this grander thing, but I wanna watch the Superbowl. That's

Leo Laporte (00:35:22):
A good point. That's a very good point. Yeah. So it is, it starts with the, the podcast at Tech, but it's not limited to that. That's a very good point. We need it.

Nicholas de Leon (00:35:32):
Whereas with TWiTtter, it's like, it's all, it's everyone. It's every, everyone discussing everything simultaneously, which can be a little bit intimidating, a little bit. Well, I don't wanna hang out with those folks because they're jerks and a lot of them are jerks on TWiTtter. Yeah. So it's like, all right, well maybe the smaller community and we can just hang out there. So

Jill Duffy (00:35:47):
I think you're bringing up a really interesting point though about communities. So I, I think, you know, these smaller places that are a little more protected, a little more private, maybe behind a pay wall are, are good for cultivating small communities if people have similar interest. When we start to think about news and culture and education, I think that's a point where we also need a place that isn't an insular community where we should be exposed to news that we aren't individually seeking out, or articles and reading that are not just in, you know, the, the group of people that we follow are gonna tweet about them or push them out or whatever. I've been, I've been doing some mentoring this year with some younger writers who are just starting out in their careers. And something that I never really put words to before, but I've realized in talking to them is the value of a very broad general magazine.

So when you get a magazine, content is coming to you that you have no idea what it is, whether it's weekly, monthly, whatever. But it's this opportunity to explore ideas that you wouldn't necessarily go and seek out yourself or that people in your small, in insular community aren't gonna share with you. So I think they're, they're, and, and they shouldn't necessarily be thought of as the same thing, right? These insular small communities and this idea of expanding yourself, reaching out, getting new ideas, new information, exposing yourself to that. And, and I think a lot of what has gone wrong on places like Facebook and TWiTtter and even to some extent YouTube, is that those two things started to at times kind of interTWiTne in really ugly ways where people were sharing articles and, you know, information that wasn't factual and people were fighting about it, or people had different ideas and opinions about what the facts were. Right. And so, I I, I think it's just so, so interesting to think about the ways that social media could, could feed those two different parts of our needs and our desires for both community and information beyond our own walls

Leo Laporte (00:37:57):
Get out of the filter bubble

Jill Duffy (00:38:00):
To some extent. Yeah. I mean, but even more than that sort of being open to ideas that, that are just nothing you would've ever thought of before. Yeah. You know, the, the, the unknown unknowns as it were <laugh>

Leo Laporte (00:38:16):
Masked on, which, you know, we've been doing a ma on server for three years. My lower third has had my mato on handle forever is nice because it's international. So, and it's much more aggressively international. And so that's kind of, and I shouldn't, I shouldn't really call it it, Macon I should call it the Fed averse, because it's not just Macon. There are lots of other ways people can talk to one another across barriers using activity streams. Macon is just one way to do it. And I think that that is one of the things that Macon can, can bring to the table not to flog Macon, because honestly, I think it's maybe groaning under the weight of all these new TWiTtter people. But I, I just think that there, I guess my point really is that there are other ways, discourse, discord, mastodon, there are lots of other ways that we can communicate, and maybe this is just an opportunity for us to find it. It's sad that Instagram has chosen, Facebook has chosen at this time to turn Instagram into TikTok and really destroy, its, its personal. It's so much more algorithmic now than it used to be. Do you guys still use Instagram at all? Anybody? Do you own one? Do you Insta

Jill Duffy (00:39:31):
I look at it, I look at it. I don't share so much on Yeah. But I, I do, I have a lot of friends kind of spread out around the world. And that's where people post pictures of their kids in Halloween costumes. Right. And that's what I'm there for.

Leo Laporte (00:39:45):
Right. But less and less that where it's reals.

Owen Thomas (00:39:49):
Yeah. I probably post more more on my dog's Instagram account than my own

Leo Laporte (00:39:55):
<Laugh>. Sure. But that's, as you should, Lisa Cats, she's this is our newest kitty. No, it's not. Oh my God. <Laugh>. yeah. I, I feel like Instagram maybe has kind of fumbled what it could have been as a refugee. I

Owen Thomas (00:40:12):
Thought it was fascinating that Instagram has been promoting the idea of alt accounts. You know, Facebook for a long time was like, you know, you must have one real entity on web. Yeah, yeah. But now they're kind of embracing this idea that you'll have, you know, a second account that you use to kind of lurk and, you know, lurk and scroll and another account that you, you know, actually post with.

Leo Laporte (00:40:35):
I guess that's really the bigger question, is social's clearly changing. Right. What social means, whether people want to use it. Nicholas, you're done with social. I bet you're not alone. I think there are a lot of people, especially in your age group, you're not really young. You're not old like me.

Nicholas de Leon (00:40:49):
That's a great point. No, I'm in between. I, I remember pre-internet, I remember, I feel like I've seen so many websites and I've been a member of so many message boards that have died over the years, and she's like, right, well, here's another one that's gonna die. Oh, well. So

Leo Laporte (00:41:02):
You just, it's just part of the, the way of the world.

Nicholas de Leon (00:41:04):
It's part of, part of the, the circle of life, kind

Leo Laporte (00:41:06):
Of with Facebook suffering you know, and Mark saying, well, I guess we're gonna get outta social and head to the metaverse. I wonder maybe we're seeing a, a complete transformation of, of how we, how we use the internet. The Internet's young. We don't know what the internet, you know, is gonna be like it's still a young technology and it's still getting molded by its users in every generation that comes along uses it differently. That's why TikTok took off. That's, that's a, that's, you know, that's a different generation than the Facebook generation. All right. We're gonna take a little break. Come back and talk about something, anything other than Elon Musk, if you'll let us <laugh>. It's great to have Jill Duffy here, PC Mag, the book, everything, the, everything, everything, the, everything. There it is the everything guide. Everything you need to know in a remote work is hybrid's not, not remote, right? I mean, hybrid's,

Jill Duffy (00:42:04):
It's included. One of the, one of the things I say very on in the early on in the book is that remote work is not one thing. There are so many different ways that we experience remote work. So sometimes it's an entire team being remote. Sometimes it's one person being remote in a different time zone. Sometimes it's a hybrid situation of people coming in one or two days a week. There's no one right way to do it. But there are lots of tools and guidance and best practices that make all of remote work better.

Leo Laporte (00:42:34):
And when Elon says everybody has to come in, I feel like that's very backward. That's not, that's, that is not a modern way of thinking about things.

Jill Duffy (00:42:43):
And I think it's, I will say, especially in the accessibility sense, you know, I, I think he had to specifically kind of throw in a disclaimer at the end that said, oh, yeah, yeah. Unless of course it falls under ADA compliance in some way. Yeah. yeah. If you can do your job from home better, more efficiently, healthier with the tools that you need, why on earth you need to be in that office?

Leo Laporte (00:43:07):
Is there evidence that people do as well or better working remotely?

Jill Duffy (00:43:10):
Yeah. Yeah. There's lots of mixed studies. You know, like I said, remote work is not one thing. It depends not just on the configuration of who's remote and how and when, but also the actual work that you're doing. So, a number of years ago before the pandemic, and I'm gonna bookmark that and come back to that idea in a second, that remote work under the pandemic. But before the pandemic, there was this great study done I believe it was in China with es essentially like travel agents. And about half of the team was randomly selected to work at home. And if they didn't want to, they could opt out of it. But they sent 50% of the people home, and they worked for about seven months and collected data on the number of calls that they answered, the number of you, you know, travel reservations that they made, et cetera.

And they found that the people who worked from home they weren't burned out from a commute. So they started work on time. They weren't worried about rushing to get home for kids or other obligations, elder care. So they worked until the end of the day. They were at their leisure to take breaks when they needed, which helped them be more productive throughout the day. And so the productivity of the team that was working remotely was much, much higher. So I wanna come back to this idea about remote work during the pandemic, because the most important thing that happened then that people often neglect to mention is that people weren't opting in. People were being sent home and told, you must work remotely. It's not your choice. It's not my choice as the employer either. Everybody's gotta go home, huh. So that created a situation where people weren't choosing to do it right.

And organizations weren't set up to support them. So when we look at what happened during the pandemic, we had really mixed results. Some people hated it, some people were less productive, some people were more productive. But it depended a lot on whether you wanted to be there, what the other conditions were in your home at that time. If you had kids at home, if you had other people in your house that wouldn't normally be there. And whether your organization was ready to support you and give you the tools that you need. And really the corporate environment to support people being remote and sort of trusting them to do their jobs effectively.

Leo Laporte (00:45:23):
Well, we've had that experience with our small company and I think at this point we've kind of decided, do what you want, <laugh>. Some people come in, some people don't. There's some people have to, engineers have to but a lot of our hosts still do shows from home. And it's worked out fine. I think there's some fear among manage management, not here, but in other companies that, oh my God, these people aren't gonna be, Elon feels like he really thinks you're not gonna be working if you're at home. I wanna, I wanna be, I want you to send me a snapshot of your codes commits every week to make sure you're working. Even <laugh> even even said managers, make sure that everybody we're paying is a real person. That there's no fake people on your payroll. I think he's kinda got a little screw loose around that people aren't working. Thing is, is most, was most a protocol in office, Owen? Or was it some of it work at home?

Owen Thomas (00:46:20):
We were, you know, I like to say protocol was distributed rather than hybrid or remote. You know, we had offices like this one in San Francisco, New York, and Rosalind, Virginia, right outside dc. We had a lot of people in places like Philadelphia, Portland, you know North Carolina Chicago, where we didn't have physical offices. So we tried to come up with some benefits, you know, for example, like a, a stipend you could use for commuting expenses if you were going into an office or just you know, any remote work expenses. If, if you

Leo Laporte (00:46:54):
Weren't, I'm one of those people who actually likes to come in. I all through Covid, I came in and I, but, but very, you know, and then I guess John, you had to come in cause we had to have somebody in studio. And we, we observed Covid protocols to kind of keep people safe. Nobody got it. Until we had to, actually, nobody got it until it was over. And we all got out, went out into the real world and got sick immediately, <laugh>. But it worked out pretty well. And then a lot of our staff doesn't want to come in. I would feel lonely. I like to come in and see people. Nicholas, do you go in or I can't remember.

Nicholas de Leon (00:47:29):
Cr, I, I guess hybrid would be the word. My department was made remote. I pre pandemic. I usually have, I guess like a little cubicle in the Yonkers office. All those offices were requisitioned and they were, they're kind of just like roving offices. And so I go in maybe once a month, TWiTce a month. I, I, I basically work for my home office every day. I prefer it. My first job at TechCrunch was work from home. I learned to work from home, basically.

Leo Laporte (00:47:55):
It says a lot better than a little cubicle in Yonkers. I'll be honest.

Nicholas de Leon (00:47:59):
<Laugh>, it was actually the, the, the office itself was probably the nicest office. Yonkers is, is not exactly Midtown Manhattan. To be fair but I've worked in Midtown and I didn't have as nice of an office. So it's kind of like a, you know, give or take there.

Leo Laporte (00:48:13):
All I know about Yonkers is that's where Hello Dolly was. That's all I, that's all I know about it.

Nicholas de Leon (00:48:18):
It's a fine place. There's

Leo Laporte (00:48:20):
What borough? What borough is Yonkers in?

Nicholas de Leon (00:48:23):
Oh, it's in Westchester County. Westchester,

Leo Laporte (00:48:26):
Yeah. So it's pretty far outta town.

Nicholas de Leon (00:48:28):
It's like 30 minutes by car north of New York City. So it's, it's more, it's the New York City area. But it's not literally in the the boundaries of New York City. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:48:37):
I just see you in this little cubicle in Yonkers, just head down type and type and type it. It was, it's, and

Nicholas de Leon (00:48:42):
You're selecting. Yeah. I mean, and that was, Hey, I'm fine with that. I have, that's my happy place. Sitting at a little desk writing about like the iPhone or whatever. I'm more than happy to do that forever, basically. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:48:52):
When we, I started doing the radio show 19 years ago in 2004. I did it from my house. And what I found was I, you know, I'd go in my slippers, right? And I just didn't have the energy. It was like, yeah, it's time to do a radio show. Like, it didn't feel like work. So I actually rented a place down, down in the downtown that I would go to a little like Garrett, but just the fact of having somewhere that I would get up, get dressed and go to. So I guess, I guess I'm the person that needs an office. I think Lisa's that way too. Our, my, my wife and our ceo, she likes to come in and she likes to have the people she's working with there so she can, you know, communicate with them in real time instead of over slack. It's funny. Everybody has a little different,

Nicholas de Leon (00:49:36):
I definitely had friends, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, who were having a pretty hard time with not going into an office. Yeah. And not seeing they get that energy. Yeah. And so they, they they needed that. Me, I was, you know, I was like, I'm fine either way, frankly. But I definitely know folks who are in the same boat, Leah, who are like, I need to be in an office. I need to see humans. Otherwise I can't, I can't do this thing that you're asking me to do.

Leo Laporte (00:49:57):
Yeah. Can you, I mean, well just for me, the idea of staying at home all the time seems like horrible. That's, that was the bad thing about the pandemic is being locked inside all the time. Hey, I wanna take a break. Come back with more, with a great panel. So fun to have all three of you. Our show today brought to you by Coli. This is actually timely because a lot of people are working in hybrid situations. A lot of IT departments are going crazy with endpoint security these days. And, you know, it kind of brought home a truth about endpoint security when you, when you, everybody was in the office, you know, you could do things like, you know, crazy glue, the USB port and, and you know, really lock everything down. But as soon as people went home, if they didn't like, you know, the user agents you were putting on their machine, if they didn't like how lockdown their system was, if they were worried about, you know, the company spying on 'em, what do they do?

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No credit card required. Co collide, K o l i d I just love the idea of making your users part of the team, not your opponents collide. Thank you collide for your support. We appreciate it. Thank you for supporting us by using those addresses. Make sure you know you use those so that the they know you're here. So we mentioned, I mentioned kind of tangentially. There's something going on in China protests, significant protests due to a number of causes. Covid lockdowns ex, you know, zero, the zero Covid policy. I don't know, you know, I imagine the she regime has the will and the ability to, to crush the dissent. I'm sad to say it seems like it's a kind of childish to say this, but it's also gonna affect iPhones <laugh> among other things. 30% production loss because of mass quitting at Foxcon.

 Foxcon, this is just part of the overall unrest. I'm very curious to see how this is gonna impact China. But among other things, at least in the tech sphere Foxcon was losing workers. They promised a $1,400 bonus for workers coming to Foxcon and then neglected to pay it. Due to the failure to pay and growing fears about Covid 19, it is said that more than 20,000 new hires have left. And according to nine to five Mac, an internal estimate reportedly says that more than 30% of production for iPhone 14 could be lost. It's already behind due to Covid. All of this is happening at iPhone City in Juang Jo China, the big foxcon plant. Just one of many ways unrest in China is gonna be disruptive globally.

Owen Thomas (00:55:55):
You know, it's, it's interesting the quiet quitting that you hear about in in the states. And I, I know there's controversy of that term, but it really had its its roots in the live flat movement in China. And live flat is basically what it sounds like. You know, you're just, you stop working, you just live flat on the floor. And that really came from, you know, this kind of crazy culture of overwork in China's tech sector where, you know, people were, were expected to work like you know, like 12 hours a day, six days a week. Elon Musk would've loved it. But tech workers revolted against those conditions. And I think you're, you're seeing that kind of now move down to, to factory workers who have historically not been kind of apt to, you know, engage in these kinds of mass protests.

Leo Laporte (00:56:49):
This is a big story. You know, just as a global news story here last night Sunday night in Beijing demonstrators holding up blank white pieces of paper. This is from the bbc to the pieces of paper are symbolic of censorship, censorship. People are saying president she should step down. It's, this is, you know, I mean, since Tiananmen Square, this has not happened in China. This is somewhat shocking. So it's, of course, you know, look at this. I'm, it is kind of amazing to think of it in a country where you really assume rigid control of the populace that people would take their chances. But you see this in Iran too. You know, you see people, there's a point at which people say enough. So we'll watch that. It's more than just a iPhone 14 production, but still, that's one impact that we're gonna feel in the us I guess probably in, in manufacture in many ways.

Owen Thomas (00:57:58):
You know, I studied China in, in college and the throughout history, the Chinese government is always thought of as having the mandate of heaven. You know, a legitimacy that's kind of handed down. And even the modern you know, Chinese Communist Party in some ways is legitimate because it's legitimate. You know, that, that taught logical mandate of heaven I think applies even in the modern day. And so that's why it is so interesting to watch. And it's possible that this could really spiral, because once you lose it, it's gone. You know? And so much of the Chinese regime really relies on kind of compliance. And it, you know, you can lose it quickly.

Leo Laporte (00:58:44):
I'm rooting for him, for the people. Yep.

Jill Duffy (00:58:48):
And as much as these stories are kind of taking the news now and last month a little bit with this relationship with Apple and how's it gonna hurt, you know, international business the lockdowns have been really strict and severe, particularly in a, in a few of the major cities going back to like July and August, where I, I follow a lot of news outta China, and there were reporters who were just giving their day to day accounts of being locked in an apartment building in Beijing.

Leo Laporte (00:59:16):
Yeah, I remember that week after week.

Jill Duffy (00:59:17):
Yeah. They couldn't, and having to kind of like, trade with your neighbors to get the, the right foods that you need because you couldn't get access to food. So if you think about like, the stress people have been under for the last four months of going through this, you know, in a, in a strict and severe way, not just, not just the, the standard everyday protocols with Covid lockdown, but the more strict covid lockdown measures that have been going on as cases have been rising. Yeah, people are at a real breaking point.

Leo Laporte (00:59:48):
Does Apple get any heat for shutting off Airdrop? Right before these protests broke out, we don't know if the Chinese government said Apple had told Apple to do this, but they did it kind of unilaterally. You know, they've, they're seemed to cover it up by saying, well, we're gonna do this globally as well, eventually. It sure feels like this was Apple once again, acting at the behest of the Chinese government that's gonna hurt their reputation if people, if people start to think that. Right? What do you think, Nicholas?

Nicholas de Leon (01:00:29):
Oh, this is so outside of my wheelhouse. That's

Leo Laporte (01:00:32):
Why I'm asking you. I wanna push,

Nicholas de Leon (01:00:34):
Man. Well, no, I, I, I, I, I wonder how many, like average consumers really think about what Apple's policies in China are like, at least consumers in the United States. I, I would wager they probably outta sight outta mind type of thing. So I don't know. You know, all of us as journalists and, and are aware of this, it doesn't, it doesn't look right. But also, you know, I didn't, I didn't like when, when the tech companies kind of bent to the will of the NSA during all that stuff during the stolen stuff either. And, you know, I still use, I still use, use those products, so I don't really know. It,

Leo Laporte (01:01:08):
It, I, maybe I'm being a, a, a troublemaker, but I really think that the public should know about this and that Apples should be held responsible for this. They, they tout, you know, that they are, you know, this privacy loving, freedom, freedom loving country company. And Tim Cook, you know, says that, but they have very close relationships with China. So November 9th, apple released an updated version of iOS 16, 16.1 0.1. You might have seen it globally. All they said was, this update includes Bud Bug fixes and security updates as recommended for all users. But, and this is from quartz hidden in the update was a change that only applies to Apple iPhones sold in mainland China. Airdrop can only be set to receive messages globally from everyone for 10 minutes and then turns itself off. There's no longer a way to keep the, everyone setting on permanently in the Chinese phones.

And you're right, Nicholas, probably nobody understands that that's a big deal in China until, you know that airdrop has been used as a communication tool in Hong Kong for protestors. It's been used to communicate with other protestors to reach passers by, to spread messages to tourists from mainland China, visiting Hong Kong. We had stories some months ago when mainland Chinese people arrived in Hong Kong. They would just miraculously get on their phone a pamphlet explaining what's going on. News that these people in mainland China never heard because it was censored on the mainland. According to courts, protestors have also airdropped protest literature, particularly on college campuses, which is by the way, where some of these protests are breaking out now. China's control of the internet is so strong that dis dissonance have to use any tool they can to get around the great firewall. Now, apple, when asked about this according to Bloomberg, didn't respond to questions. They said, we're gonna make this feature global next year. But, you know, they did it without announcement in China just three weeks ago.

Nicholas de Leon (01:03:23):
I seem to remember Airdrop also being like, like, like a vector for abuse. If you just have, accept everything for everyone, you could be on the subway and people are just sending you photos you don't necessarily wanna see. So I always turn that off personally, I always recommend it to friends. Like, you should just turn that off. I don't really see the point in having everyone having the ability to just send you stuff. Obviously the context in China's different but yeah,

Leo Laporte (01:03:45):
Yeah, no, in fact, I agree with you. I would recommend turn it off. You don't want everyone, but if you are a protestor in China,

Nicholas de Leon (01:03:52):
<Laugh>, sure

Leo Laporte (01:03:54):
There's a value to it. So ch Apple gets a little cover cuz they could say, well, this is the right way, this is the way we should do it anyway. Everybody's gonna do this globally soon. So they get a little covered that way.

Jill Duffy (01:04:05):
Just to make it explicit, I feel like what the court's article is kind of suggesting in Leo, what you're sort of suggesting is, did the Chinese government ask Apple to make this fix explicitly and did Apple comply and do it? And we don't without explaining in its notes, right? And we don't know. But that is certainly a conclusion that one might speculate

Leo Laporte (01:04:29):
<Laugh> and Apple has cooperated with the Chinese government in other ways with VPNs. Yeah. They've, they've dropped apps and remember that you can't display the Taiwan flag on iPhones. The emoji for the Taiwanese, he is flank is not available to iPhones made in China, which Apple obviously

Jill Duffy (01:04:44):
Did. It's, it's all kind of pointing at the fact that the relationship of a major world power and a government that is pretty oppressive, has, has a strong relationship with the world's richest company and perhaps the, the, the most important company, at least in the Western world. And that relationship is a little bit worrisome. Like the, the phrase too big to fail kind of comes back to mind, right? If, if, if, if either one of these parties you know, reneges on this contract that they essentially have with one another for Apple to get its inexpensive labor, to make parts for its products, right? And, and, and keep feeding the purchaser, the people purchasing these products to keep growing the company. Like that relationship is, is kind of worrisome. Like it's so big and so important to both parties and really internationally, that you almost, you almost need to make sure that it doesn't fall apart. And that if it is dismantled, it is dismantled very slowly and with care. And I, I wanna say about a month ago, there was a lot of pressure on Apple to find new partners to start making some of its phone products or pieces of the phone product from other countries so that it wouldn't be relying explicitly on China because there were already so many factory shuts downs.

Leo Laporte (01:06:19):
Apple makes phones, iPhones in India, they've already started that Brazil, I think they wanna make 'em in Vietnam, but that's for a number of reasons. It's partly because they wanna diversify, but also Brazil and India both have very high tariffs against products not made in country. So it's also just an economy. You can't sell an iPhone in Brazil or India at a reasonable price unless you make it there.

Jill Duffy (01:06:41):
But you've gotta start to one or two. What does China think of the business starting to triple out elsewhere?

Leo Laporte (01:06:47):
Right? That's good point. Yeah. Here, this is a year ago, the New York Times did an investigative report, censorship surveillance and profits, a hard bargain for Apple in China. Apple built the world's most valuable business on top of China. Now it has to answer to the Chinese government. And we're seeing that, you know, we're seeing it. We saw it a year ago, and then we're seeing it again. Tim Cook went to China. He meant with she and others. He probably made commitments in order, you know, and that's the business of Apple is to, they gotta make these iPhones, they've make 'em in China. It's the cheapest best place they can make it. They've actually, you know, built up the Chinese industrial economy considerably by building so many iPhones there. How, I mean, what, so Nicholas, you're right. I think most people aren't aware of it. I want to bring it up because does Apple have a responsibility and what is its responsibility? I mean, they have a responsibility to their shareholders to make the most money possible if you want to. The Chinese business is huge for them and growing. If you wanna do that business, make that money in China, you're gonna have to follow the laws of China.

Nicholas de Leon (01:08:00):
Yeah, I mean, I I, yeah, that sounds almost too literal, but like, if you, if you want to do business with China, you kinda like, I, I don't, I don't really fault companies for, you know, doing find the law of their local, you know, whatever country. So I, I don't know. I I I, I, I, I struggle with this because it's like, if China wants to be, if if Apple wants to be in China, China has rules. If Apple doesn't wanna be in China, they're free to leave. But it certainly feels like you don't, there's

Leo Laporte (01:08:25):
There no ground is there. Yeah,

Nicholas de Leon (01:08:27):
Yeah, yeah. So I don't, you know, what do I want Tim Cook to do? I don't know. I'm just a, I'm just a guy in the Hudson Valley. What do I know that's like, but it's like I'm just

Leo Laporte (01:08:35):
In the cubicle and Yonkers here, folks. Let me,

Nicholas de Leon (01:08:37):
I'm just typing. But no, I, I, I hear you. And, and it's interesting. It's like we want companies to do better. We want, we would like companies to stand up for like human rights. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:08:46):
Google walked away from China, but Google didn't depend on China in the way Apple does. Right. A times analysis is from that article, may of last year at times, analysis found that tens of thousands of apps have disappeared from Apple's Chinese app store over the past several years, more than previously known, including foreign news outlets. Courts, by the way, was one of them. Gay dating services, encrypted messaging apps. It also blocked tools for organizing pro-democracy protests and skirting internet restrictions as well as apps about the Dai Lama. So, I don't know, Owen, what do you think? What is Apple's responsibility here?

Owen Thomas (01:09:27):
Well, I think, you know, apple obviously wants to operate in China, and it's really hard for the, the iPhone business model to work unless you, you know, unless you have that tight link of the app store, the apps, and, you know, and the hardware. And you know, to do that, they have to go along with, with local governments. I mean, we, we do expect tech companies to obey local laws. You know, that's, that is a reality.

Leo Laporte (01:09:56):
Well, and, and complicating this is the fact that the US government is now starting to cut off China to some degree. They're actually Apples going contrary to US policy in some respects. So is this a balancing act that they're trying to keep two superpowers happy so they can continue to sell products in both?

Owen Thomas (01:10:16):
I mean, it would be fascinating to see you know, a, an American administration, any American administration go as far as saying like, Hey Apple, you can't make iPhones in China. You know, or, or sell them. Yeah. but it doesn't seem like the, you know, the kind of brewing Cold War has, has gotten to that point. The Biden in administration has taken a really surgical approach to this. And I credit my my soon to be ex-colleague Max Charney at Protocol for doing really in depth reporting on this. They've been going after very specific chip manufacturing technology, right? Especially technology that helps China build like the most sophisticated chips for artificial intelligence

Leo Laporte (01:11:03):
And decryption of our encryption, right? Is one of the fears of the US government is they're gonna be able to decrypt our,

Owen Thomas (01:11:14):
And, you know, and the, but the thing is, again, I would, I would stress the word surgical. Like they've been doing things that are kind of like aimed at, at cutting China off at, you know, at the knees. But without initiating some kind of like global trade war or, you know, or really, really doing anything that consumers in, in the US or China would, would even notice.

Leo Laporte (01:11:35):
Yeah. there is an issue in specifically with a company called Y M tc, which is a small Chinese chip maker the government, the Chinese government funded and Apple uses, but not in its American iPhones, only in its Chinese iPhones. There is a pressure on genome ramondo, the, the Commerce Secretary to add Y MTC to the entity list, that surgical list of Chinese chip manufacturers that are not allowed to buy America technology or components. But Apple is saying, you better don't do Apple saying, we don't worry. We only use Y MTC chips and iPhone sold in China, <laugh>. But if, if it's put on the entity's list, then Apple would have a problem. They actually couldn't use those chips anymore. So somehow they lobbied, I don't know the, the Commerce Department put export restrictions on Y mtc, but they did not put 'em on the entity list.

 This is the balancing act. And actually, I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, cuz that's a, he's doing diplomacy like real hardcore diplomacy, balancing the US government's interests, Chinese interests, and still trying to sell iPhones to both. Marco Rubio said, if Tim Cook understands the risks that Y MTC and the rest of the Chinese communist parties chip making efforts pose to US national security and that of our allies, and he and his company should clearly commit to not proceed, but they haven't yet. It's an interesting situation. This is increasingly the problem with big tech, isn't it? That they're global and they have to operate in a global environment. A Elon's gonna face this in spades. He's fired most of the eu the people in charge of, of responding to EU privacy issues and laws. I don't, I don't know what's gonna happen at TWiTtter there. It's, it's tough. I just, I think it's important for people before we buy iPhones to understand the deal with the devil that Apple has done and to be okay with that, or not okay with that and, and respond. But consumers don't do that, do they? Nicholas? They don't care. In

Owen Thomas (01:14:09):
My experience.

Nicholas de Leon (01:14:10):
Not, I, I don't know. I I feel like a lot of consumers have bigger problems in their lives than worry about Chinese government policy for the, I just wanna be

Leo Laporte (01:14:17):
Able to message grandma and she's got an iPhone. Yeah. I don't wanna be a blue bubble. So there,

Nicholas de Leon (01:14:22):
And I get that people have jobs, they got kids that work a million hours a week. You know, they just want their iPhone to send the funny little emoji without necessarily thinking too hard about like Yeah, I understand that too, chip that are in it. Yeah, I'm, I'm sympathetic to that attitude, actually. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (01:14:35):
It's not, not, you know, I don't know though. I mean, one of the few tools that we as consumers have to influence all this stuff is our dollar, right? Yeah.

Anyway, now you, so now you know the rest of this story, all right? I'm gonna take a little break, talk about other tech stories in just a bit. But first I wanna talk about what a good night's sleep I got you. Don't care. You should care cuz you deserve a good night's sleep. And our sponsor eight sleep is gonna get it for you this holiday season. Give the never ending gift of deeper sleep. Consistent good sleep is a life changer. Nature's gentle nurse, we call it. It could reduce the likelihood of serious health issues, decrease the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. But most Americans suffer with poor sleep. And the number one problem with sleep, I think for a lot of us is getting hot in the middle of the night. It's the worst. And, you know, you'd think, well, that's only a problem in the summer.

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And then of course, the access to the Discord. That is really the social network for anybody who listens to TWiTtch shows. It's fantastic. Plus your subscription supports masked on it supports our masked on instance at TWiTT social. It supports our It supports everything we do. It keeps people hired. And as we're heading into the holiday season, things are looking a little bleak for 2023. We are not alone. The tech industry advertising is really slowing down. You're, your contribution makes a big difference. It keeps the lights on, please. Twitt tv slash club TWiT. I know you if you can't afford it, that's fine. I had, we had somebody send us an email saying, I'm on a, a fixed income. I only have a thousand dollars a month. I said, please don't join Club TWiT. I sent him a complimentary subscription. He says, no, no, you don't have to do that. I'm gonna do it anyway. <Laugh> said, alright, if you can't afford it, I understand, but if you can, it really makes a difference. Twit.Tv/Club TWiT. Hey, some good news in the robo call world, the FCC is finally getting some teeth. Nicholas, you must get people talking to you all the time about how do I get rid of the robocall and the spam Yeah. Texts and all that stuff.

Nicholas de Leon (01:21:58):
Yeah, I get that all the time. I, I personally get those calls all the time. And it, I don't really have advice for folks. It's like, this, this is, this stinks, doesn't it? I don't really know what to tell them. So I'm, I'm, I'm glad that hopefully there are some steps being taken to eliminate because it's gotten to the point where it's like, I, I know like millennials, people don't pick up their phones anymore because they expect it to be about like their phony car warranty or some other scam. Oh. And so it's like, well if phones, if I can't call someone because they're afraid to pick up the phone, because then phones become, what's the point of, of having a phone anymore? Yeah. so this is a very American problem. We just let scams get outta control so much that phones don't work anymore.

Leo Laporte (01:22:37):
Well, and it's frustrating cuz the FCC can regulate this. They have, they, you know, there's this protocol called Stern Shaken which is a, basically an authentication protocol that lets your phone company, whoever your cell phone company is, authenticate that the call is coming from an actual subscriber to that actual co company. That's their real number, not a spoof number. And the fccs been really dragging their feet enforcing this. So that's why this is good news. The, the commission required that any US based carrier with IP networks, which is all of them, by the way, used Stern shaken, and they had to implement it by June, 2021. But at the same time, because the FCC is the best commission money can buy they created something called the Robocall Mitigation database, which actually should be called it's okay to Spam People database. Because if you're in the robocall mitigation database, then T-Mobile and at and t and Verizon and US Cellular, all the cell phone companies can say, yeah, yeah, go ahead.

Two of those robo calls. So this database, which is basically a get outta jail free card. Finally the FCC is finally, they've took years to do this, gonna start blocking companies. They told providers that if, as of September of last year, if the company is not in this database, block 'em, you have to legally you have to block them. But they didn't take anybody out of the database in October last month. They said, we are, they warned Global, a company called Global uc and six other companies, we're gonna take you out of the database. We're gonna, you're gonna lose your, your your Get Outta jail free card if you don't comply with the anti robocall technologies. For the first time in Living Memory, <laugh>, the CC has actually done something. They have blocked Global uc. Now, I don't know how many robocalls come from this one company.

I I, but they're no longer in the database. There's, it's unknown according to in Gadget, whether anybody else will be blocked, whether there's any other penalty. The FCC says, we're still reviewing responses from the firms that we've warned. Nor does do we know yet if this is gonna reduce the volume of robocalls. Just anecdotally, it doesn't seem to send much. You're still getting them. I, you know, I'm, I just feel like the FCC needs to kind of step up and, and, and do what they said they were gonna do. June of next year is the drop dead date for any call, any company outside the US that doesn't have that has facilities, that has buildings, maybe June of next year, robo calls will be a thing in the past. I doubt it. I doubt it. At least they're making an attempt. Let's see, what else here. New York State has banned for two years proof of work mining. The new governor, the newly elected governor has signed the law because crypto mining, using proof of work, is incredibly energy intensive. They have made that illegal, which just means they'll move over to New Jersey. But, you know, everything's legal in Jersey, as they said in Hamilton. Anything to say about that? Are we are we happy? Are we celebrating? It's only a two year moratorium, which is kinda weird.

Nicholas de Leon (01:26:37):
It's, it, to me, it's just interesting because I feel like the proof of works, like that's, feels like that's fizzled away, especially like GPU mining. Yeah. certainly for individual people, but even for like these firms. Like, is that even a thing anymore?

Leo Laporte (01:26:48):
Well, it's less valuable now that Bitcoin is that it's you know, low for the last two years. Apparently a lot of, we talked about this a couple of weeks ago. A lot of Bitcoin miners have sold their, are selling their used GPS GPUs.

Nicholas de Leon (01:27:02):
Oh, yeah. It is, is a great time to buy a graphic card. They're so cheap.

Leo Laporte (01:27:06):
I'm not sure you'd wanna heavily use

Nicholas de Leon (01:27:08):
Well, true

Leo Laporte (01:27:09):
Yet. Crap. I don't know. Maybe you would. It's worth a try if it's cheap. I,

Owen Thomas (01:27:14):
I mean, the funny thing is you know, these miners were very reluctant to sell Bitcoin when it was peak, because they were, they were totalling, right? They were holding on for dear life. They kept betting that the price would go up, and so they would borrow money to buy Bitcoin mining equipment. They'd borrow fiat. And so they've been like, you know, just kind of like triply hit by rising interest rates you know, dropping the dropping price of Bitcoin and

Leo Laporte (01:27:42):
And the collapse of ftx.

Owen Thomas (01:27:44):
Yeah, absolutely.

Leo Laporte (01:27:46):
We've been talking about that a lot in Sam Bankman Freed and the crazy stories coming outta there. I can't wait to see the soap opera. But I have to think this has hurt crypto in general, and NFTs in general is this, now this what must consumers must have this kind of pervasive feeling that it's all a scam and I'm gonna stay away from it. I hope so. We can. But hope Julie, are you, I mean, Judy, I mean Ms. Duffy, are you? I

Jill Duffy (01:28:17):

Leo Laporte (01:28:17):
Judy. Judy, Julie, are you are you a big crypto supporter? I don't seem like, doesn't seem like you might be, but I, Judy,

Jill Duffy (01:28:25):

Leo Laporte (01:28:26):
Judy, Judy Duffy.

Jill Duffy (01:28:28):
No, I am not a big crypto supporter. No. so my, my partner works in like international politics and has a background in that kind of stuff. And from the beginning, he's been a bug in my ear saying, not only is it a scam, but it is, it is. It's gonna defraud people. It's gonna hurt when

Leo Laporte (01:28:52):
He start saying that. That's good. He was right. He was ahead of the game.

Jill Duffy (01:28:55):
20 15, 16.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. All along, all along. You know, people who know history sort of were, were really alert to the fact that this whole money scheme was not gonna, was not gonna go anywhere. And, and I think in the international scene, what we've seen happen in El Salvador with the B Kele regime and people being literally murdered in the streets after the value of crypto dropped you know, presumably because the government was paying off the gangs, and then the value of the payment that the gangs received dropped incredibly suddenly. So they had to make a big statement. And, and somewhere above 50 people were murdered. One night in the street. Just shot in the street. I

Leo Laporte (01:29:36):
Didn't hear about that. This was in South Africa? Of

Jill Duffy (01:29:38):
Course not. No. El Salvador. Oh,

Leo Laporte (01:29:40):
El Salvador. Oh, yeah. That's the guy who's buying a Bitcoin a day. Yes,

Jill Duffy (01:29:44):
Too. Yeah. The, the, the very young leader of El Salvador bouquet. So, you know, these are the, the small struggling countries that we don't hear enough about what's going on in their economies. Those are the people who get really hurt. You know, we can talk about the people in the United States who put their money into Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, lost it, no longer have any value to cash out, no longer have any equity. But the, the real people who are being hurt are like actual physical human bodies, human beings in other countries.

Leo Laporte (01:30:19):

Jill Duffy (01:30:20):
Sad. It's, it's really messed up because, you know, we have to remember like, money needs to be stable. That's part of what, that's part of what money does when it is a, when it has value to a soci society, is it needs to be stable. And when it's not really bad things happen. And we can look at all kinds of examples throughout the world where, you know, a physical currency was not stabilized.

Leo Laporte (01:30:45):
The collapse of the Deutschemark and the Weimar Republic led to the rise of Hitler.

Jill Duffy (01:30:52):
So much insecurity for people. And, and I'm not an economist. This is not something I specialize in. It's, it's something I have a little tertiary knowledge about, but it's, it's really frightening. And, you know, I think in the United States, the discussion was so much about are you being scammed or are you gonna make a million dollars? And the conversation really needs to be a lot broader than that.

Leo Laporte (01:31:16):
Yeah. I did not know about the 62 murders <laugh> in a gang, gang warfare in El Salvador. That was in March. Yeah. Wow. Horrific.

Owen Thomas (01:31:30):
The sad thing, and just to pick up on some points Jill is making very, very eloquently, is that there is actually potential for crypto to serve a purpose in, say, international remit. I'd say for a lot of purposes, like day to day payments, buying a pizza, buying a coffee. Crypto's not particularly useful in any, you know, developed economy. But remittances are still really expensive. They take a big chunk out of you know, out of the budgets of some of the least well off households in the US and, and around the world. And you know, this, you know, this erosion of trust is absolutely correct. You know, you should not trust people who have behaved this way. But it's, it would be kind of sad if that, if that potential to pull out costs from a really costly system you know, were to, you know, were to be lost in all of this.

Leo Laporte (01:32:29):
I, you know, I think, I don't know if B was a conman from day one. I understand why. You know, he wanted to you know, withdraw from the world banking system that he felt like was, you know, conspiring against El Salvador. He moved the El Salvador currency from the US dollar to Bitcoin about a year ago. Unfortunately, he did it right before Bitcoin crashed. So a lot of people in El Salvador lost a lot of money. It's dropped 61% since September. And b spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Bitcoin. And still says to this day, he is gonna buy a Bitcoin every day. They put in Bitcoin ATMs in every Town Plaza. They told businesses, you must accept Bitcoin is payment. He bought a hundred million dollars worth of Bitcoin at its absolute peak, which means it's only worth about 30 million now. This is probably, but do you think it was, you know, I think maybe he just was as much a victim as anybody. He,

Jill Duffy (01:33:40):
I think you might, you might read a little bit more about his past.

Leo Laporte (01:33:43):
Oh, really? Okay.

Jill Duffy (01:33:45):
Not, not, not the, not the standup guy, you might

Leo Laporte (01:33:47):
Assume. Okay. Oh,

Owen Thomas (01:33:49):
Well, yeah. I mean the, you know, he, he's been called the authoritarian hipster and, you know,

Leo Laporte (01:33:55):
Justly just, it's a perfect combination, isn't it?

Owen Thomas (01:33:58):
But you know, like El Salvador did, you know, did have kind of a legitimate sovereign interest in D Dollarization, right? They had their own currency. It, you know, it fell apart as many, you know, many of these small country currencies do. And they went on the dollar, which has a lot of downsides, but it ha it at least

Leo Laporte (01:34:18):
Offers stable.

Owen Thomas (01:34:19):
It offers some stability. Which, you know, in the face of like, you know, runaway hyperinflation has some appeal. But, you know, for me, El Salvador embracing Bitcoin was as much about d Dollarization as it was about Bitcoin. It was just, you know, they didn't, they didn't have their own currency to use. And Bitcoin was kind of fun. Fun and trendy.

Leo Laporte (01:34:44):
Yeah. very sad. Not going well in El Salvador. And I guess not going well in crypto in general. Miami Club to owners told the Financial Times business is slumping as the bus, as the crypto industry takes a blow. It's hurting even Miami clubs. I guess that's where a lot of the Bitcoin bros went to celebrate many clubs. This is from Business Insider and the Financial Times. Many clubs had grown, used to serving a new demographic, 95% men young, with a kind of nerdy style <laugh>. They were all crypto bros. Out of the blue. All these kids from crypto started coming down and spending a lot of money, like an insane amount of money. Said Andrea Vema, Kati, director of Food and Beverage at Moxi Hotel Group, he said, high rolling crypto regulars have completely disappeared. <Laugh>. Oh, live by the Bitcoin. Die by the Bitcoin, I guess. 

Owen Thomas (01:35:55):
Leo, you'll love this. There's a restaurant in Salesforce Park in San Francisco that has a membership tier. You have to buy an NFT to, to join it.

Leo Laporte (01:36:06):
Is this the one at the top of Herba Buena Center that they, they put in?

Owen Thomas (01:36:09):
So Salesforce Park okay. No a couple blocks away in, it's actually in Salesforce Park.

Leo Laporte (01:36:15):
In Salesforce Park. Oh, it's on top of the building. Yeah,

Owen Thomas (01:36:17):
Yeah, that's right. Yeah, exactly. Yes,

Leo Laporte (01:36:19):
I heard

Owen Thomas (01:36:19):
About this. And I, I, I've gotta think like this is, this has gotta be the most doomed business plan of, of 2023 <laugh> between, you know, Salesforce not forcing people to return to the office, conferences being way down, and NFTs being, you know, being kind of in the shitter. I would not be betting on show. That's the, that's the name of the

Leo Laporte (01:36:41):
Restaurant. This is a private members lounge and restaurant cost as much as $300,000. Well, what, how could a restaurant be NFT based? I don't,

Owen Thomas (01:36:53):
I mean, I mean, that's just like a fancy, a fancy membership card, right? Like, it's a fancy way to sell someone A membership card. Show

Leo Laporte (01:37:00):
Club is a members only NFT based hospitality club providing exclusive access to immersive experiences and services around its flagship restaurant show. S o Did you ever go there? Did you ever get invited there?

Owen Thomas (01:37:19):
I, I'm not even sure it's,

Leo Laporte (01:37:21):
Did it ever open?

Owen Thomas (01:37:22):
Yeah, I'm not sure. It's opened

Leo Laporte (01:37:24):
$300,000 a pop for its top tier membership fee for us, said the the founder. It's not about building a Web three NFT community. It's about building a community period and the value we place on creating and serving the communities that we operate in. Is it the Fyre Festival top the Salesforce building? Is that what it is? Do you get a cheese sandwich at least for your three?

Owen Thomas (01:37:56):
I I mean, I, I I would hope the sushi would, you know, would be good. I think it's, I think it's Za style,

Leo Laporte (01:38:02):
Actually. Oh, well,

Owen Thomas (01:38:04):

Leo Laporte (01:38:05):
Well, there was a 2019 New Yorker article about the floating utopia of sales port port for park. Have you been up there? At least it's five acres on top of the building.

Owen Thomas (01:38:16):
Oh, the park is wonderful. It's got it's, it's got like trees from every kind of Mediterranean climate around the world. Wow. you know, kind of like same climate as California, but from Australia, from South Africa. It's, you know it's an, our boreal, you know, it's an our Boreal fantasy. And, and, you know, you know, people love to walk around there. I don't think they love to pay $300,000 for, for an nft.

Leo Laporte (01:38:46):
Let me see. Here it is. The show club restaurant experience iconic location, heart of San Francisco. All this is is drawings. So far it was pretty though. Looks pretty, Ooh, nice. Let me see. Let me apply. Wonder how much <laugh>, oh, they're not gonna tell me. I just have to give them my name and address and they'll be, if you

Owen Thomas (01:39:13):
Have to ask Leo, if you have to ask, you can't afford it,

Leo Laporte (01:39:16):
But I want private mezzanine dining. These are all renders, right? This is this, this, did it ever open?

Owen Thomas (01:39:24):
You know, the, I I will say the last time I, I was in Salesforce park which was not long ago. It, there was no sign that it was open. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:39:32):
Powering this community is an entirely unique application of digital tech and web three technologies in the culinary arts. That doesn't sound too good to eat, to be honest with you. <Laugh>. I don't want web three in my, in my sushi. All right, let's take a little break. More to come with our esteemed panel. The wonderful Jill Duffy, not Judy Duffy. Not Jill Duffy, just Jill, did they ever call you Jill?

Jill Duffy (01:39:58):
Yeah. Sometimes, sometimes people get confused by, I put my middle initial in all my online handles.

Leo Laporte (01:40:04):
So, Jill, you got the d Duffy, Jill, e Duffy, Jill Duffy PC Magazine going great. And the new book, the Everything Guide to Remote Work, all the tools and technologies in there. Everything you need to know, everything, everything. Owen Thomas, who's looking for work, if you wanna hire him, are you looking, are you actively looking or

Owen Thomas (01:40:28):
I'm, I'm having conversations. Is that, is that what say

Leo Laporte (01:40:32):
The same position as all those TWiTtter employees who got the three months severance? I three months should be enough time to find a job, right?

Owen Thomas (01:40:39):
Yeah. I'm, I'm glad I'm not a product manager, or, you know,

Leo Laporte (01:40:43):
Or a, oh gosh, that would be hard to find that job.

Owen Thomas (01:40:47):
I, I mean, they, they laid off the entire communications team. Reportedly, this

Leo Laporte (01:40:51):
Is the fun thing. Every story now about TWiTtter ends with, we attempted to contact TWiTtter to get a response, but they've laid off their communications team. Honestly. Think newspapers like writing that, like <laugh>, they just enjoy that. I mean, the old

Owen Thomas (01:41:07):
Joke, the old joke about Apple is that, you know, they had a huge communications team and you would never get an answer anyway. Right. So,

Leo Laporte (01:41:13):
Doesn't matter. Yeah. Yeah. Is there a way to reach you if somebody wants to employ you as a fabulous writer? Cuz you are.

Owen Thomas (01:41:23):
Oh, well, thank you. Yes, please. Owen@Thera.Com, you can DM me on TWiTtter at Owen Thomas. I suppose I really should be on Mastodon, right? For

Leo Laporte (01:41:33):
Your colleague Megan. Megan Moroni. Good. Our good friend tweeted. She said, I'm, I'm available. I just, it kills me when you have a, what was a great product protocol with very, very good people who all moved over to work there. Didn't, didn't Yanko Rutgers move over there too?

Owen Thomas (01:41:52):
Yes. I think he was at I want to say Variety. Before.

Leo Laporte (01:41:55):
Before, yeah. He went from, he was gig home and then he did a great job of Variety outta work. I mean, so many talented people. I, it just breaks my heart. Farewell from a protocol. So, you know, and Dati, which is d i t h e r a t is Owen's more Abu blog. But it's, it's coming. I think it's coming back to life. I, I, I

Owen Thomas (01:42:22):
Hear blogs are, I hear blogs are retro.

Leo Laporte (01:42:24):
Blogs are back, baby,

Owen Thomas (01:42:26):
I'm a blogs are

Leo Laporte (01:42:27):
Back. I, you know, everybody's talking about, well, if we don't have TWiTtter, how do we communicate? Have a freaking blog for Crying Out Loud. What that, what's wrong with that? And I like what you're doing. You do Little Short. This is, this is like a true, a true blog or it used to be little short clips and links and stuff. It's a link. Yeah. Link Blog.

Owen Thomas (01:42:49):
It actually started, I want to say in 97, which was before the term weblog was invented. Right,

Leo Laporte (01:42:56):

Owen Thomas (01:42:56):
Take that for what you will. There

Leo Laporte (01:42:58):
You go. Did, did the, I wanna see Owen start this up again. Of course. I'm not the one to talk, I haven't posted my plugin months either. <Laugh>, I know how it's and Nicholas Deon, who has to file, he's got to write because he has a job at Consumer Reports, is the senior electronics reporter. So you No, no resting for you get that cubicle. Did you, do you still have the cubicle in Yonkers or is that gone? No,

Nicholas de Leon (01:43:25):
They took it from me. They took it, well, they took it from us. I liked, I liked the cubicle itself. I, it was glass, but I had a door. I could close it, I could concentrate. Nice. so it was actually very nice. But that is no longer, I had to send in the key. I sent them the key to look the facilities guy over the summer. So vo

Leo Laporte (01:43:43):
I guess, oh my, oh, cubicle. We hardly knew you. <Laugh>. Our show today brought to you by something we all know and, and love. I think this is the longest running sponsor on our shows, Early on people said, do you really wanna promote audio books? People will listen to them and not listen to your shows. I said, yes. I said, if that's what you wanna do, you do it. Cuz Audible is the best way to enjoy audio entertainment all in one app. I am, I've been an Audible member since the year 2000 when I had a long commute from here to San Francisco every day, sometimes as much as two or three hours a day in the car, sometimes even longer. And I was going nuts. And I found Audible and it saved my life. I had the Diamond Rio, I used to <laugh>, I used to listen on a little and Audible had its own little thing at, at first.

And then I listened on the Diamond Rio. And of course, now it's easy. You kids today, you don't know. You get an Audible app on your iPhone or your Android and you've got a whole world of audio entertainment waiting for you. You don't, you don't ride in an elevator to listen to the music. Right. You don't choose an airline because it's got the best movies. So when it comes to audio entertainment, it makes sense to choose Audible because they've got the best. The home for stories told by the biggest stars. Ethan Hawk, Kerry Washington, Kevin Hart, Lisa and I have been listening. We've listened to all of Kevin Hart's audio books. Audible is Home to Epic Adventures, chilling Mysteries Can't miss comedies. When the Peripheral came to Amazon Prime, I said, wait a minute. Yeah, I was in my library. And that's what I love about Audible, is I can listen to audio books before they become major motion pictures or big T big time TV shows and and see the pictures.

In my mind, that's kind of what the best thing is about Audible. Go to a u d i b l or you can text TWiT to 500, 500. Just now, I, I have any of you ever listen Ian Banks' sci-fi I have not. His culture series I found out is a major influence on one Elon Musk. So I thought, oh, oh, I've gotta listen to this. In fact, those crazy names, he gives the drone ships when, where they land the the rockets. Those all come from Ian Banks novels. So I am now embarked upon a long, well, we'll see. We'll see how long it is, how good it is. Long Journey with Ian, they're think they're still recording them cuz they're not all there yet. That's one of the things Audible does. That's fantastic. Audible's Frontiers program is recording classic sci-fi that never got turned into audiobooks.

So you can listen back to some great stuff. Oh, new Stephen King. Gotta put that on the list, right? Whenever there's a new Stephen King Paul Throt and I were talking about 11 22 63, about one man's attempt to go back in time and stop the Kennedy assassination. Paul just re-listed to it. Another thing Audible does that's great is they do what do they call it? Full cast. So if you're a Neil Gaman fan, for instance, audible is Heaven for Neil Gaman fans. But they also have done an incredible dramatization of the Sandman and a full cast with some of the best actors in the business, including Neil himself. It's the Sam man is amazing, and you're just gonna love it. If you go to, you can pick your first audiobook and that might be a good one. But one of the nice things that they do is they let you sample before you buy.

So I recommend you do that. They have an incredible selection of audiobooks, every genre, best sellers, new releases, mysteries, thrillers, motivation, wellness business. As an audible member, you could choose one title a month to keep. That includes all the latest bestsellers and new releases. But, and this is something relatively new, and I really like this, you also get full access to a growing selection of audio books that are included in your membership. You get podcasts you can download or stream. They're included titles all you want. Steve Gibson told me about the Silver Ships series, great audio books. I listened to the first one and then I noticed most of the rest are part of my account. I can get 'em just for free listening any time I want. That's, that's awesome. Audible, no matter where you are, washing dishes, walking the dog, driving to and from work, whatever you're doing, you can let your imagination run wild.

You, I, I swear, if you can watch the peripheral or you can listen to the audio book and it comes to life in your head and you can listen about the lives of celebrities journey to your best self, check out the Spider Web of True Crimes. I love Mysteries on Audible. Discover New World's, old Worlds and how to make a better World. It's all on audible. Let Audible help you discover new ways to laugh, be inspired or be entertained. I hope I've sold you on. If you're not a member, I, most of you probably are by now, but if you're not a member, you could try it free for 30 days by going to or text TWiT to 500 500. That's a good thing to do on your phone cuz they'll just send you a link to the app. You can download it right away, or text TWiT to 500 500 and you get it free for 30 days.

That's a lot of listening. Audible.Com/To it. Highly, highly recommended. Speaking of Amazon, it just came out that, who would've thought it? The Amazon Echo is a colossal failure on pace, according to ours. Technica to lose 10 billion this year in their layoffs. Amazon laid off as much as half of the Amazon, I'm gonna call it Echo team, but you know, it's the, a word, A L E X A team. This is a report from Business Insider, which says, even though Echo's been around for 10 years and has been kind of the trailblazer as a voice assistant copied by Apple, copied by Google and Samsung, it never created an ongoing revenue stream.

Business Insider says the division lost $3 billion in just the first quarter of this year with the majority of the losses blamed on Echo. That's the worldwide digital group. So it includes Amazon Prime, but Echo has really been the Money Loser double the losses of any division, the hardware team on pace to lose 10 billion. How do you lose money in Echo? Well, one, the devices are sold basically at cost. Echo's Echo is among the best selling Amazon items, but most of the devices are sold at cost. The internal document seen by Business Insider describe the business model by saying, we wanna make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices. But the problem is, well, you tell me, how do you use your Amazon Echo if you have one, set a timer, place some music. That's it. Right?

Jill Duffy (01:51:26):
<Laugh>, I, I have owned them to test them, and I have never in my life had one that I've just kept in my home. You

Leo Laporte (01:51:34):
Don't even have one

Jill Duffy (01:51:36):
Because why would you want a device that is listening to you at all times in your home? I mean, this two fundamental things. One is listening to you all the times.

Leo Laporte (01:51:48):
So is your phone, Jill, let's face it, right? You're carrying a device like that in your pocket.

Jill Duffy (01:51:55):
Yeah, the, I mean, you have to trust that the ac that the microphone is not active at all times, right? Like, I don't have my device set to automatically hear me if I say a trigger word or lift it up. I have that all turned off. But the other fundamental problem with the Amazon devices is what have they done differently in 10 years? Right. You know, when, when they first came out, I think they did not meet consumers expectations of what they could do. People thought they could talk to them naturally and have information come back to them. That is sorely not the case. Anybody who actually has one of these devices knows you get trained over time to know what you can and cannot say to it, how to phrase it in what order, et cetera, et cetera. And that has really fundamentally not changed in the 10 years since it's been around. So I think if you, if if you were to give this device to a new person who had never used it before and said, you just get to talk to it and it will give you answers, do things for you, they would immediately do five things that just don't work at all. <Laugh>. It's, it's not, it's not an impressive device. It's just not,

Leo Laporte (01:53:01):
Earlier today I asked it to open the pod bay doors. It actually responds and says I'm not Dave and I don't have any pod bay doors, <laugh>, I'm just a device.

Jill Duffy (01:53:12):
And so maybe that made you giggle, but it didn't open your pod bay

Leo Laporte (01:53:15):
Doors. They didn't do anything, didn't do anything. I, we have, I'm, you know, the poster boy for these things in every room of the house. I have an echo, I have a Google assistant, you know, a show, one of the Google screens. I have a Siri. I even in my kitchen have Sonos, which listens to me. And frequently when we're watching tv, these devices wake up and go, what? No okay. And go back to sleep. It's like your house is inhabited by nice little preachers that really aren't very helpful, but they're there. Do you who anybody do you have one of these? Any of these? Owen

Owen Thomas (01:53:58):
You know, I have an Echo Flat, which I think is the smallest one, which I think I, I literally got for free. You know, it was, it was like, Hey, we'll sell you an eco flex in this order for $0. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:54:10):
Like, or 99 cent like that.

Owen Thomas (01:54:12):
Sure. And I put it in my garage where I had a garage gym during the pandemic, and I used it to play music while I worked out so I didn't have to have family.

Leo Laporte (01:54:21):
That's nice. Right.

Owen Thomas (01:54:22):
Something in my ear. Yeah. Yeah. And that and then I occasionally tried to use it as like an in-house intercom, and my husband hated it,

Leo Laporte (01:54:30):
So Oh, it annoys people so much when you do that. Yeah,

Owen Thomas (01:54:33):
Yeah, yeah. Totally. so, so that was off. I was, I, I remember writing about this when it first came out and being fascinated by the idea of, you know, essentially an an audio app store. And I think that was the ambition Amazon had. And it just never realized it, as Jill pointed out, the quality wasn't there. The understanding, you know, the natural language understanding wasn't there. And and so they never really, you know, created that business model. Like Apple makes 30% off of, you know, off of app store transactions. And that helps, you know that helps kind of fuel the profitability of, of the iPhone business. Amazon, you know, doesn't make money when they sell hardware by and large, and they don't have the app store that, you know, that, you know, kind of buffers that. So I, I can see it, you know, just kind of spiraling out of control in terms of, of losses.

Leo Laporte (01:55:33):
They originally thought this would be a device in the house that people would use to buy stuff from Amazon, but apparently nobody does that. I do it from time to time, but I guess I'm their like perfect client.

Owen Thomas (01:55:46):
Well, they sell with Amazon Prime that they sell with Amazon Prime, that if you're a prime subscriber, the lift that Amazon gets from from increased purchasing behavior. Yeah. More than it makes up for the cost of the, you know, of the fast shipping. That's

Leo Laporte (01:56:03):
True. That's true. Right. And by the way, Amazon Prime is now over 150, what is it? 170 bucks or something. Yeah. Plus they make a lot less expensive. But it, but I pay for it. And you're right that because I pay for it, I immediately go to the Amazon site when I, when I, like, I'm in the bathroom, I run outta shaving cream, which I don't use, but I'm using as an example. If I run, I would say Echo, buy some shaving cream and then it will say, well, last time you bought this kind of shaving cream, you wanna buy that? And I'll say, yes. They say, what's your order number? I say, what's your magic number? I have a pin. I say that. And then the shaving cream comes the next day. That's wouldn't want that. Apparently. Nobody, nobody wants people. Not enough people want that. Come on, Nicholas. You must use the Echo.

Nicholas de Leon (01:56:51):
I yes, I do. I have, I have a Sonos one. I just bought an Echo an Echo dot on the Black Friday sale. I use, but I use them for, and I think this is the issue, actually's, like I use them for very simple things. What's the weather? You

Leo Laporte (01:57:07):
Know, you're not making 'em any money. You

Nicholas de Leon (01:57:08):
Just constantly, you can't play a podcast. Yeah. There's no, there's no way. One

Leo Laporte (01:57:12):
Thing, I think it's great for Audible, I actually say read to me and it will pick up my current book wherever I left it

Nicholas de Leon (01:57:18):
To, to kind of, to Owen's p I feel like in 2016 when I was at Vice Motherboard, we, we randomly did a story on like, I dunno, like cool Amazon digital assistant skills you could use or whatever. Something to that effect, right? And the story did like very well, which was very surprising to us because like, motherboard was not like, you know, motherboard was a tech is tech is bad. That was basically on motherboard idea, right? And this story about like, oh, the cool things

Leo Laporte (01:57:44):
Do with motherboards still in business protocol is not. So I think you chose the right path.

Nicholas de Leon (01:57:49):
I'm sorry Owen be that as an, but I think they just

Leo Laporte (01:57:52):
Oh, and don't cry. Oh, I, oh, I'm sorry. It was mean. That was mean. I'm sorry, Owen

Nicholas de Leon (01:57:59):
<Laugh>. That was meanly though.

Nicholas de Leon (01:58:02):
But we were just kind of surprised. I like this site is not really about like, oh, the cool things you can No,

Leo Laporte (01:58:06):
No tech. It's not, that's more of a gizmoto or a Verge. Yeah, that's a Verge story. Yeah.

Nicholas de Leon (01:58:11):
Yeah. Or someone else, whatever. That's fine. But like it, we did it and it did well and so it was like, okay, that was 2016. So that's a few years ago. Maybe back then people were more like, oh, this is kind of a neat new tech. No, you know.

Leo Laporte (01:58:23):
I know, cuz I read that article I read Every, once You Have one, you're desperate to find something it could do that's useful.

Nicholas de Leon (01:58:30):
So you, that could be it too. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:58:31):
You read all the articles hoping there's some magic command.

Nicholas de Leon (01:58:35):

Leo Laporte (01:58:35):
Instead you're just doing timers music. Yeah. There's not much people

Nicholas de Leon (01:58:42):
Do with, which is fun. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:58:44):
Fart sounds

Nicholas de Leon (01:58:45):
Play podcast. I

Leo Laporte (01:58:46):
Don't do the skills. And that's do you, I mean, I remember they were pushing the skills like

Nicholas de Leon (01:58:50):
This. I do remember that. Yeah. Yeah. No,

Leo Laporte (01:58:51):
I don't use that. You played Jeopardy. Don't use any of that. Nope. I think this has really been a flop and I have to think it's not just Amazon. Well, we don't know, but I bet Google's having the same problem. What's Google getting out of this? Except listening to Jill and

Nicholas de Leon (01:59:05):
Didn't, didn't Microsoft basically kill off its

Leo Laporte (01:59:08):
Core? They did. They had one. They made one the Harmon Garden called Cortana. Yeah. Oh yeah. And that was, in fact, I bought that too cuz I wanted everyone <laugh> to listen to me. I live in front of a microphone. What am I gonna, what's, what are they gonna hear that they don't, everybody else isn't hearing. But the Cortana, they now have repurposed it. So it just kind of, it stopped working as a Cortana device. And you can, it's a Bluetooth speaker now. It was a very pricey Bluetooth speaker. <Laugh>

Jill Duffy (01:59:36):
For Microsoft, Amazon, and Alphabet. They don't need that money though. Yeah. Like that loss of their business is not really hurting them. Right. I think, I think there was definitely some early speculation that natural language processing was gonna have a big value payout and it just, I don't think it, I don't think it has. But that's not to say it's not valuable for the business at large. So for example, Microsoft can use a lot of the information. It's, it's learned and acquired in its natural language processing systems and use that for accessibility features. Right. So it's not, it's not like they would scrap it entirely. There's still useful things that they can take from that end of the business and put into other sides of the business with Amazon. I'm not sure how they could leverage it in a different way, but I'm sure they have ideas about how they

Leo Laporte (02:00:25):
Could do that. Don't you feel like they're trapped though? They can't just turn it off. I mean, Microsoft turned it off soon enough that it didn't hurt anybody. But, but Amazon, Google, apple, Samsung.

Nicholas de Leon (02:00:36):
It's also interesting they

Leo Laporte (02:00:38):
Turn those off.

Nicholas de Leon (02:00:39):
They're kind of expanding it like the, the Echo dot that I just purchased can also double as a, as an euro wifi beacon. So I haven't set it up yet. That's, but Right. I did by the Euro as well. That's

Leo Laporte (02:00:49):
Right. It could be a beacon now. Yeah.

Nicholas de Leon (02:00:50):
That's, so that's, that's useful beyond just timers and whatever. And also as, as an aside, you know, it, these devices may not be transformative to Google's business or whatever, but they're kind of neat and useful. I, I can ask the weather that. I couldn't do that 10 years ago. I could set it multiple timers. That's kind of cool. I know my father has these devices all mixed, smashed all throughout his house. And he just kind of gets at a kick out of like turning off the lights and stuff. Is that, you know, is that, is that so bad? I

Leo Laporte (02:01:18):
Do that too. Doesn't make Amazon any money. No,

Nicholas de Leon (02:01:20):
It doesn't make any Amazon money. Which is I suppose the bigger problem. That's

Leo Laporte (02:01:23):
The problem. Amazon. Cause it costs them, right? They gotta have servers. They gotta have software. They gotta have people maintain it. It costs them, it costs 'em 10 billion a year apparently. I'll tell you one place Amazon's Echo is in space aboard the Artemis Orion capsule. This is Calisto Orion's onboard technology demonstration. Now there's no astronauts in Orion, but they said they thought astronauts would like having echo and space. I can't <laugh> the only, you know, AST rod pile space guy. Is this just basically a, an ad for Amazon? And he said no, actually if you're in a spacesuit, doing an eva, being able to talk to the system and say open the pod bay doors please would be useful If it does, as long as it does. If it doesn't, not good. Callisto involves both an iPad and <laugh>, Amazon's Echo. And for some reason Cisco's WebEx there is nobody up there. They obviously don't have to call back to the home offices in in Seattle. They have the whole database up there in space. But the only good thing about this is if you wish you can leave, you can actually send a message to Calisto before they get home, which they're gonna be home in a couple of days. You can be part of the one AIS one mission by sending a personal message for free. And it will show it on the screen <laugh>

Jill Duffy (02:03:00):
As if the trolls can't already get you in enough places.

Leo Laporte (02:03:04):
<Laugh>. Well, could

Jill Duffy (02:03:05):
You imagine going to space and getting nasty messages

Leo Laporte (02:03:08):
In space? Really, really? What about Hunter Biden's laptop? Huh? What about it? No. In fact, they're very careful to say upon submission, your her message will be reviewed and selected for display at the sole discretion of Lockheed Martin. Messages with derogatory, defamatory, racist, sexist, or otherwise inappropriate content will be automatically rejected. Messages that include any copyrighted materials or endorse any person's products, brands, et cetera, will also be automatically rejected. I think you have to say something like, I come in piece for all mankind. If you really want to get it up there,

Jill Duffy (02:03:42):
You should send them a message.

Leo Laporte (02:03:45):
Rod, that's what I really want. Rod wrote a space haiku that he sent to them. We'll see if he gets it. Go ahead.

Owen Thomas (02:03:51):
That's who I really want. Moderating moderating the internet as Lockheed

Leo Laporte (02:03:55):
Martin <laugh>. Lockheed Martin. You know, we brought you the Vietnam War and now we're gonna bring you internet. No, that's unfair. Lockheed Martin has done many wonderful things, including this spacecraft and it has Amazon's echo and an iPad in it because something has to talk the echo cuz there's no people there. There's just what is his name? Mannequin Skywalker. The the dummy. And there's a little stuffed snoopy floating around as well. It's pretty capsule though. I wouldn't mind going up there, you know, and if you get lonely, you can always talk to echo. All right, final break. I got a few more stories. I will find something of interest, I promise. And I will not say anything bad about protocol. Again, I'm sorry. I loved protocol. That's what I was saying. I was saying how much I loved it, how sad I am to lose it.

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Leo Laporte (02:10:21):
Not good. <Laugh> crazy. That's not, it's a weird problem tot technology isn't always pretty, but we are <laugh> Well, I don't know about that. <Laugh> thank you Jim Cutler, the great Jim Cuter, who is the voice of our promos thanks to our promo department to Victor Bogden, et cetera. An Anthony Nielsen for those wonderful promos. Couple more stories before we wrap things up with our wonderful panel. Well, when Thomas from, <laugh> com formerly of Jill Duffy from pc and from Consumer Reports, their senior technology reporter, Mr. Nicholas de black Friday was day before yesterday. Cyber Mondays tomorrow doesn't seem like people really care about those anymore, right?

Nicholas de Leon (02:11:20):
I mean, we write a million stories about that stuff and the stories do pretty well. So I don't, I don't know. I I love a good deal. Like I said, I just bought an Echo Dot about 50% off. I bought the Euro six e Euro Pro 60 whatever percentage off that was. I bought a bunch of steam. I still get excited about like, oh, this thing that used to be a hundred dollars a month ago, now it's 60. Like, I don't know. And so I don't know how big. I think one of the issues is is that like everyone, this coverage is now wall to wall. I feel like you can go to like or like the Hollywood Reporter and read about Amazon's Cyber Monday deals. That doesn't make sense. If Gizmodo wants to do it, if consumer Reports wants to do it, okay.

That at least makes sense. You see. But it's so pervasive now. Yeah, exactly. Folks who cover this stuff. Like, I don't need Sports Illustrated telling me about like the best Amazon. And that's what it feels like. It's becoming over the years I've been doing this, Lord knows many years now. So I've kind of seen, now everyone does it. So I think there's kind of like an exhaustion there. But as far, like on the, the low level tactical, I don't know. I feel like folks still like getting a deal on a Kindle or whatever the case may be. So

Leo Laporte (02:12:28):
You've got your Cyber Monday story then We've

Nicholas de Leon (02:12:32):
Got, we've got a bunch. Yeah, yeah,

Leo Laporte (02:12:33):
Yeah. I know Jill, you've got yours at PC Mag. Actually it's Jade Chung Lee wrote this one. The Best Cyber Monday deals of 2022. The only place that doesn't have it is protocol. Oh God, I did it again. I'm so <laugh>.

Owen Thomas (02:12:47):
And really I don't, I don't think we would have had

Leo Laporte (02:12:49):
A, you were a news, fewer news organization.

Owen Thomas (02:12:51):
Not a, you know, not a straight up sorry. Actually the story I might have written was how, you know, black Friday and Cyber Monday have have blurred into one kind of online, offline mega sale. That that probably starts like November 1st. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (02:13:10):
I think it's a month now. Yeah,

Owen Thomas (02:13:12):
For sure. Remember Cyber Monday as a phenomenon existed because people were on dialup modems at home. Yep. And then they would go back to work when they had high speed connections on Monday and do their shopping. And I mean, that's just ridiculous in 2022. Like, that's not the behavior.

Jill Duffy (02:13:30):
So I spend a lot of time outside of the United States and I've lived in a couple of countries outside of the United States and it just tickles me with so much delight in November when all the shops have Black Week sale, black Fridays.

Leo Laporte (02:13:45):
Cause they don't have Thanksgiving. They got

Jill Duffy (02:13:46):
No Thanksgiving. Yeah, no, but in, I would go to the mall in Romania and they're like, it's black Month sale. And it was just like, kind of joyous and fun. It would start on a random day. It wasn't necessarily on a Friday. And I love it. I love it.

Leo Laporte (02:14:03):
Black Friday was somewhat of a success. We already have metrics, you know, Adobe and others do, do report on how it went. I think it's pretty clear now that online shopping has to some degree replaced Instore shopping. There was a boost in in-store traffic. Actually there was a surge last year in 2020. People are so happy to get outta the house. But high gasoline and grocery prices and inflation have weighed on households. The report is from, at least this is from retail. Next, there's several reporters store traffic up 7% on Black Friday compared with 2021 in store sales up 0.1%. A lot of lucky loos going in there. I think people, I hope people aren't doing this. They're going into stores to choose what they're gonna buy and then go back home and buy it online. I hope they're not doing that.

But that kind of implies that they might be MasterCard, which kind of monitors everything, says Black Friday sales were up 12% over last year, but that's also online as well as in store. And is not adjusted for inflation. So it might be with taking inflation into account only a few percent more. It wasn't this giant we're gonna get out of the red and into the black holiday that it used to be. That's why it was called Black Friday, right? It was a chance for retailers to make, you know, all the money to get out of the, get out of the money losing column. Get into the Money plus column customer sentiment index from the University of Michigan. By the way, congratulations. University of Michigan fell 5.2% compared with October down 16% compared with November, 2021. So people are less bullish than they were last year, but a little more bullish than they were last month. Walmart and Target said shoppers are spending less on discretionary items. Again, that chill in the economy. People are buying things they have to buy, but not things they don't have to buy. Macy's, Kohl's and Target said sales slowed in October, in early November, and people think that are, that it's possible shoppers are delaying their holiday purchases until closer to Christmas. In other words, bottom line, a Luke warm Black Friday.

Nicholas de Leon (02:16:43):
I feel like we also didn't see a lot of the crazy Black Friday stuff that we saw. Maybe Yeah.

Leo Laporte (02:16:47):
The fist fights.

Nicholas de Leon (02:16:48):
The fights and all that stuff that was, and they, like the retailers were making folks, you know, go to work during Thanksgiving dinner. Yeah. Like, like that was kind of ridiculous.

Leo Laporte (02:16:57):
3:00 AM openings. All that stuff's gone.

Nicholas de Leon (02:16:59):
I went to a local Macy's on Black Friday itself to buy some dress socks. And it didn't seem any crazier than any other Friday or Saturday. It felt the traffic seemed about the same. It, it just felt like a normal day. So I assume that's a consequence of just so much shopping going online. But I, I wanted to see the, the calamity and I didn't really,

Leo Laporte (02:17:20):
There is a there is a, a short story there. That's the perfect first sentence on Black Friday. Nicholas Deleon went shopping to buy some dress socks. I don't know where's gonna go from there, but there's something there. There's a whole story there. Not, not, not athletic socks, dress socks.

Nicholas de Leon (02:17:38):
They were dress socks.

Leo Laporte (02:17:40):
<Laugh>. Okay.

Nicholas de Leon (02:17:40):
It's very George Castanza savvy. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (02:17:42):

Nicholas de Leon (02:17:44):
Or maybe Frank Castanza to be

Leo Laporte (02:17:46):
More <laugh>. Well, hey, Fest of us is just around the corner. Let's not forget. Yeah. And we've got our poll ready to go and all our grievances <laugh> final story. You like this tickled you Jill Duffy French man wins. Right? Not to be fun at work. This

Jill Duffy (02:18:06):
Is great headline <laugh> great headline.

Leo Laporte (02:18:08):
That's the Washington

Jill Duffy (02:18:09):
Place. You No, when you read the story, it's, it's more about, you know, having to go on these weekend retreat getaway things where there's excessive drinking and people sleeping with one another. Legitimate that he doesn't wanna participate in this. But I, I love the headline and I love the idea of bringing up this topic that not everybody wants to have fun at work. Yes. And you flash of us wanna do our job. Yeah. Get paid for what we are contractually ob you know, correctly obligated to do and go home and have the rest of our lives to live. We want to enjoy our leisure time. I think that is such an important thing for people to learn at an early age before they get indoctrinated into this idea that you have to work so hard over time. You have to give your all, you have to be at work all the time. You should make friends with people at work. Hey, enjoy the free dinner we give you at work. Okay? Learn early on that you can set those boundaries and you do not have to participate in those things if you don't want to. Something I talk about in my book for remote companies is that if you're gonna make it fun, make it optional. Everything that you're gonna put out there for employees to socialize, get to know one another. It has to be opt in, not opt out.

Leo Laporte (02:19:22):
Very good. I like

Jill Duffy (02:19:24):
That. You can't make people feel pressured. Yeah. To be a part of something that is optional. It's so important to talk, talk about this.

Leo Laporte (02:19:33):
The man referred to by court documents as Mr. T pit the fool who doesn't wanna have fun at my company was fired from Cubic Partners in a Paris space consulting firm in 2015. This has been winding its way through Parisian courts for seven years. He refused to take part in seminars and weekend social events that his lawyers argued included excessive alcoholism and promiscuity. Mr. T argued that the fun culture in the company involved quote, humiliating and intrusive practices, including, you know what, this guy should get compensation, mock sexual acts, crude nicknames and obliging him to share his bed with another employee during work functions in its judgment. This month, the highest court of, in France, the Court of Cassation rule, the man was entitled to freedom of expression and refusing to participate in social activities was a fundamental freedom under labor and human rights laws and not grounds for his dismissal.

Jill Duffy (02:20:39):
Oh, I mean, wasn't that like what was on succession? Yes.

Leo Laporte (02:20:42):
<Laugh> bo on the floor, the house we're gonna play Bo on the floor. Oh my God. I, I, you know, from your mouth to my wife's ears because she's gonna force me on Tuesday is my birthday. And I know she's already saying I'm sorry. I said for what? She said, you'll find out <laugh>. So I know I'll be, I will, I will be sub subjugated to something. I don't know, maybe bake cake on the floor. I don't know. But that's okay. It's something you put up with. That's fine. When your, when your wife runs the company, you have to, you have to do it. The company didn't like Mr. T's brittle and demotivating tone. <Laugh>. You're so cranky. Anyway, thank you Jill Duffy and I'm sure we will find this in your book all about the guide, the everything Guide to Remote Work,

Jill Duffy (02:21:43):
The everything Guide to Remote Work. There is an e-book available if you wanna get a two day right now. There's no audio book, but it's not that kind of a book. It's the kind of book you can pick up. Say I'm having a problem right now. I need to fix whatever it is in my remote work life. You can flip to the chapter, get some good advice.

Leo Laporte (02:22:02):
Very nice. Very nice. Just came out this year. So nice to see you. We haven't seen you in a while. I'm glad to get you back on and oh, thank you for having me. Everybody loves your dial phone on your bookshelf behind you. That actually used to work.

Jill Duffy (02:22:18):
It does work. No, it does work. I had to unplug it because it was ringing all the time. But it do functioning. How

Leo Laporte (02:22:23):
Do you get you go and the phone company works with that?

Jill Duffy (02:22:28):
Oh, I don't dial out.

Leo Laporte (02:22:29):
Oh, okay. <Laugh>.

Jill Duffy (02:22:31):
No, it does work. I did test it though. I called, I called my mobile phone from the landline phone to make sure it, it did work and it works. Yeah, yeah.

Leo Laporte (02:22:38):
I'm surprised cuz that, that that click system has so obsolete. I'm amazed. Oh,

Jill Duffy (02:22:45):
I'm not in the us I don't know. I I assume we work in the us I'm not in the US right now. Oh,

Leo Laporte (02:22:49):
You're not in the us No, I had no idea.

Jill Duffy (02:22:52):
Not today. I'm not.

Leo Laporte (02:22:53):
Oh. Where can I ask? Are you, is it secret?

Jill Duffy (02:22:57):
No, it's not secret. I'm in Guatemala right now.

Leo Laporte (02:22:59):
I had no idea how wonderful. Yeah. Yeah. And is it the custom in Guatemala to arrange your books on the shelf and by color?

Jill Duffy (02:23:08):
I, I have no idea.

Leo Laporte (02:23:09):
<Laugh> <laugh>, do you have somebody who comes in and does that for you?

Jill Duffy (02:23:13):
It looks nice though, doesn't it?

Leo Laporte (02:23:15):
It's beautiful. It's beautiful. That's fabulous. Yeah. so that's interesting. So that kind of dialing works in Guatemala. I'm

Jill Duffy (02:23:25):
Gonna, I assume it would work in the

Leo Laporte (02:23:27):
Us. I would think so. I really don't, but I don't know. Now I know why you do remote work. So you can be at Guatemala.

Jill Duffy (02:23:35):
I move around all the time. I'm, I'm technically still based in Virginia, but I'm spending a lot of time in Guatemala lately.

Leo Laporte (02:23:41):
Is is that cuz of your husband's work or is he a diplomat?

Jill Duffy (02:23:46):
I I don't wanna talk about my

Leo Laporte (02:23:47):
Partner. He's a spy. He's a spy. <Laugh>. That's it. We know. Okay, nevermind. Nevermind. Is he gonna overthrow the government on behalf of the United Fruit Company?

Jill Duffy (02:23:56):
I think we already did that in the eighties.

Leo Laporte (02:23:58):
Now <laugh>. Okay. Just, just checking. Just making sure. Anyway, I love having you on Jill. I had no idea you were in Guatemala. That's wonderful.

Jill Duffy (02:24:06):
I'm always somewhere

Leo Laporte (02:24:07):
Interesting. That's very cool. Yeah, that's wonderful. Poco in our chat room says I have a dial phone and it works. So I guess these still work. I thought for sure they were, you know, deprecated by now in the phone system cuz the way they work, you know, it's clicks and like the zero is like a bunch of clicks and then the one is one click and the phone system hears that and switches based on that. I thought there was a replaced by dial tone years ago. Years ago. Wow. I've learned something today. Thank you Jill Duffy. Thank you Also Owen Thomas. So great to see you. Did the Look for his work. He's already working freelance. I'm just teasing him. He's doing great. And you still tweeting at Owen Thomas? Yes.

Owen Thomas (02:24:55):
I'm still, I'm still tweeting

Leo Laporte (02:24:57):
For now. You're tweeting or tweeting

Owen Thomas (02:25:00):
Tooting my own horn on

Leo Laporte (02:25:02):
Twittter's tweeting. Jill is, Jill is tweeting. And are you tweeting or just tweeting?

Jill Duffy (02:25:08):
I'm, I'm taking a break from the tweeting.

Leo Laporte (02:25:10):
Yeah, I'm tooting myself. I like tooting and I followed you on the, on the tutor verse. So I look, I look forward to your, your toots. Also Nicholas de Leon Consumer reports. So good to see you. Thank you Nicholas. I hope you had a great holiday and I hope thanks Leah. I hope you have a wonderful December. We'll see you real soon. Likewise. Thanks for being here. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon, 2:00 PM Pacific, 5:00 PM Eastern. 2200 utc. What time is it in Guatemala right now?

Jill Duffy (02:25:42):
What are we an hour off of California.

Leo Laporte (02:25:44):
It's just an hour. Oh. So it's not bad.

Jill Duffy (02:25:45):
You know what time it is. It's doggy dinner time. Doggy

Leo Laporte (02:25:48):
Dinner time.

Jill Duffy (02:25:50):
If there's been any grumbling space up on my

Leo Laporte (02:25:52):
Microphone. No, I didn't hear anything, but at one point I saw you lean over and I thought there's somebody's over there. I don't know what, but there's <laugh>. She's patting somebody. Thank you. All three of you join us for TWiT every Sunday, 2:00 PM Pacific, 5:00 PM Eastern, 2200 utc. You can watch live all the things we do. Live@Live.Twit.Tv. Chat, live with or in our discord if you are a Club TWiTt member after the fact. We put on demand versions of the show slash this week in tech, I think. Anyway, just go to You'll find it pretty quickly. You can also go to your favorite podcast client and subscribe. That might be the easiest thing to do. And that way you'll get it automatically the minute it's available just in time for your Monday morning commute from the bedroom to the kitchen, or wherever you might be going. Thanks for listening everybody. We'll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can!

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