This Week in Tech Episode 936 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 Twin this week in tech. I have, I love this panel. Dan Patterson's back. Great to have Dan here from ZDNet from windows Central, the editor in Chief Daniel Rubino and the wonderful Abra Al Hedi from cnet. We're gonna talk about the big victory for Microsoft. Oh, over the ftc. It looks like that acquisition will happen next, and you won't believe the number one product people bought on Amazon Prime Day. That and more coming up on twit. This show is brought to you by Cisco Meraki. Without a cloud managed network, businesses inevitably fall behind. Experience the ease and efficiency of Meraki's single platform to elevate the place where your employees and customers come together. Cisco Meraki maximizes uptime and minimizes loss to digitally transform your organization, Meraki's intuitive interface, increased connectivity and multi-site management. Keep your organization operating seamlessly and securely wherever your team is. Let's Cisco Meraki's 24 7. Available support. Help your organizations remote, onsite, and hybrid teams always do their best work. Visit podcasts you love

TWiT Intro (00:01:17):
From people you trust.

Leo Laporte (00:01:19):
This is T Twit.

This is twit this week in tick episode 936 recorded July 16th, 2023. Leo is awful. This week at Tech is brought to you by HelloFresh, America's number one meal kit. Get farm fresh pre-portioned ingredients and seasonal recipes delivered right to your doorsteps. Skip the grocery store and count on HelloFresh to make home cooking easy, fun and affordable. Go to 50 and use the code TWIT 50 for 50% off. Plus free shipping and buy Duo Protect Against Breaches with a leading access management suite, providing strong multi-layered defenses to only allow legitimate users in. For any organization concerned about being breached and in need of a solution, fast Duo quickly enables strong security and improves user productivity. Visit today for a free trial and by ZipRecruiter. If you're hiring, you're currently dealing with a slowing economy, which adds to your challenges. Thankfully, there's a hiring partner who's focused on you and your needs. Ziprecruiter, four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter, get a quality candidate within the first day. Try ZipRecruiter free at and buy express vpn. Be smart. Stop paying full price for streaming services and only getting access to a fraction of their content. Get your money's slash twit and get three extra months free with a one year package.

It's time for this week at Tech, the show. We cover the week's tech news. Oh, I like this panel. We're gonna have some fun. We've got a little bit of Microsoft News. Fortunately we've got Daniel Rubino here, editor-in-chief of Windows Central. Hello, Daniel.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:03:31):
Hello. Thanks for having

Leo Laporte (00:03:32):
Me. It's already confusing. <Laugh>, we got two Dans on the, on the show and already the <laugh> the control room is confused. It's great to have you Daniel. Thank you for joining us. Sitting next to Daniel is Dan. I'll call you Dan and I'll call him Daniel. It's great to see you again. Dan Patterson, longtime friend of the show. Yeah. Contributor at seat net. Yeah. And yeah. Proud Papa. You're sitting minute.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:03:57):

Leo Laporte (00:03:58):
Right. You're sitting above your child's bed right now?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:04:01):
No, usually I sit above my child's bed, but it is child bedtime. My wife is gr graciously and putting her to bed. Usually I record on a platform above her head. But you know, that tends to wake up the baby <laugh>.

Leo Laporte (00:04:15):
I can't believe she's almost one. That's unbelievable.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:04:18):
She's cute as a

Leo Laporte (00:04:18):
Button. She's like, she was just born yesterday.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:04:20):
I know. That's, that's the way they go. Great.

Leo Laporte (00:04:22):
Is she, so she's is she walking? She must be. Yeah,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:04:26):
Almost. She wants to walk and talk. So, I mean, she's, she's saying words, just, nobody else understands what she's saying. But she's frustrated. Like, they're so close. I'm saying stuff. She's

Leo Laporte (00:04:34):
So close. Yes. So close. So close. Well, if she's anything like my daughter, enjoy <laugh>, enjoy these brief moments of quiet <laugh>.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:04:43):
Yeah. Knowing her parents, she is going to have strong opinions about

Leo Laporte (00:04:46):
This talker. Talker for a living. Yep. That's what Abby inherited also with us from cnet. It's great to see a bra all Hedi. It's been a long time. Welcome back. Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be back, video host and producer at CNET and good friend too. So we have a really nice panel to discuss. Well, let's see, where should we start? I guess since you're here, Daniel, we probably should talk about the fact that already the appeals court, the Ninth Circuit has upheld the decision saying, go ahead, Microsoft. Just buy Activision. Go ahead. We watched with interest the trial in San Francisco with a lower court and testimony from Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer, everybody from Microsoft talking about how this acquisition of Activision wouldn't harm gaming and, and all of that. The judge said, yeah, ftc, sorry, you got no case. FTC was looking for a, an injunction, a temporary restraining order to keep Microsoft from making the acquisition before the August hearing from an administrative judge. FTC appealed and as expected, lost, like instantly. It's over, basically. Right?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:06:05):
Yeah. I mean, technically the appeal is still out there. And it could go through, would

Leo Laporte (00:06:11):
They go to the Supreme Court with the ftc, go to the Supreme? Isn't that what's next? The Ninth

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:06:15):
Circuit? They're not gonna win it.

Leo Laporte (00:06:16):
They're not. No.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:06:17):
Yeah. And they're not gonna win it. And even if, you know, Microsoft closes the deal at this point, the, what's the FTC going do? Try to break 'em apart, find them. You know, it's just, this was politically unpopular. Linda Conn went in front of Congress congressional Oversight Committee this week, granted Republican controlled, she's appointed by a Democrat. So the natural politics going on there. But they brought up a couple legit questions like you, you know, got your butt handed to you in court, like, flat out, like, why are you appealing this and wasting taxpayer money? And, you know, she was asked kind of rhetorically, but you know, should, you know, are you bringing court cases that you know are gonna lose? And of course she's like, no. You know, of course not. But it's like that decision by the judge earlier on the injunction was, you know, flat out obvious.

There was no like, wiggle room for them. There, there was no like little bit of light, you know, saying that like, well, if you just showed this right, I might have considered it. It was just completely shut down. And so the only way appeals go through is if you can demonstrate that there was some kind of judiciary issue. You know the prosecution withheld something. The defense didn't have something like, you have to show something was wrong, but there was nothing wrong in this case. So it was even funny that they appealed and Yeah. So now the injunction, you know, is not gonna happen. It looks like Microsoft was gonna close the deal. They were supposed to close it. Well, they, they're gonna be closing it this week in the next couple days. And that's what made the FTC their behavior kind of like they knew they were trying to trip up the closing date because were, were this to fail. Microsoft would be on the hook for $3 billion, where to not go through the, the

Leo Laporte (00:08:05):
Would've fee Yeah. By

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:08:07):
18. Yeah. Yeah. And so it looks like they're gonna go through, the only thing now is the uk the UK is still an issue, but even that went from, we made our decision, that's it, to, well, I guess now we'll maybe take some concessions, a few more negotiations here and there, because those were the only two was the UK and the United States. The rest of the world was like, yep, fine. All right. You know, and Microsoft was very proactive in making concessions and trying to say, listen, we're not going to keep Call of Duty off of like PlayStation you know, we're gonna play fair with these. It was a weird case because Microsoft has like a distant third <laugh> and like with Activision Blizzard, they may have a shot at number two May, and

Leo Laporte (00:08:54):
Every, every country in the world had already approved it, including Japan, Sony's Home Nation Yeah. Had said, go ahead. I mean, it's reasonable for antitrust regulators to look at it. It was a very big Sure. Acquisition and it, it, Microsoft was quick to say, oh, we're still number three. But it made them a lot bigger in gaming. Sure. And I, and you

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:09:19):
Know, and, and

Leo Laporte (00:09:21):
The argument that, oh, Lena Khan keeps bringing cases and losing cases she lost against Meta trying to keep them from buying that fitness app with from within. I, I think you could make the argument that even the threat of this action is enough to keep companies a little bit careful. And I don't think that's a bad thing.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:09:46):
Yeah. I mean, the last time vertical merger like this happened, I think AOL time warn it, right? It didn't go so well. I definitely want regulators to at least keep their eye on acquisitions like this.

Leo Laporte (00:10:00):
Yeah. It is also the case though, that, and this is why they wanted the injunction. Once the acquisition happens, it's a lot harder to unwind that than it is to stop it before it happens. So what happens, Daniel, in the UK now if, if Microsoft goes ahead and they're expected by Tuesday to, to, to finalize the deal, then what is the UK just say, well, what have we told you to stop? What do, what do they do?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:10:26):
I mean, worst case scenario, which won't happen, is like, Microsoft closes the deal, this goes through and it just block UK <laugh>.

Leo Laporte (00:10:33):
See, we're not gonna sell it in the uk, so you win. Yeah. Congratulations.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:10:37):
It's just like you're cut off. Enjoy your,

Leo Laporte (00:10:39):
Your Libra office. Yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:10:41):
Yeah. They just carve 'em out. That won't happen though. Obviously the UK's feeling the pressure now cuz they're the only ones

Leo Laporte (00:10:47):
Microsoft says, hope you like Lennox <laugh>.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:10:50):
Yeah. So it seems like the deal that might go through is that Microsoft might sell off some of the cloud hosting. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:10:58):
The UK concern was weird. It was that they would be too dominant in cloud gaming, which is not a hot and vibrant category.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:11:08):
It does not sense. Google

Leo Laporte (00:11:09):
Just got outta it with Stadia. The companies that are doing it, like NVIDIA's G-Force now, Microsoft's game, Xbox Game Pass, or no, what do they call it? I can't even remember what they call it.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:11:20):
Yep. Yeah. Xbox Game Pass G-Force. Now

Leo Laporte (00:11:23):
They're struggling. They're not huge by any means.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:11:26):
Yeah, yeah. And that was revealed during the court case, right? They showed that like, it's very soft right now for cloud gaming. There's a lot of potential there. We have a couple new handhelds out, you know mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, but it's, I could tell you even the handhelds are

Leo Laporte (00:11:41):
Steam deck and the asce. Soft, soft. Yeah. No, yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:11:45):
So it's like it's a weird argument. But yeah, they could cons you know, let a local company handle the cloud stuff in the UK and everybody else will be happy. Just hopefully that <laugh> that company can deliver the experience that Microsoft expects Xbox Cloud gaming to deliver

Leo Laporte (00:12:03):
The UK moved the dateline the deadline back in time or forward in time indicating to a guess to experts. Oh, this means they're, they're gonna be negotiating some sort of, you know Yeah. Minor concession so that they can save face and back down. I

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:12:21):
Think it's, the whole thing has just been strange. Yeah. it's been strange. I mean, I understand like, if you're Sony, listen, if you're Sony and you're, you know, c e o, you have to fight this, right? That's your obligation to the, your, your shareholders. You have to try to block this as much as possible, even though you're not. But they're,

Leo Laporte (00:12:39):
They said, and it really didn't feel like Sony got the whole world, all the regulators in every country to step up. Like you should do something about this. But it's was more that they, was it the re I mean, it, it ended up they were worried that Call of Duty, which is made by Activision and is a huge title on PlayStation mm-hmm. <Affirmative> would suddenly become exclusive to Microsoft's Xbox. And they were worried about that, but Microsoft said, no, no, we'll, we'll make a deal with you. They made a deal with Nintendo. They, no, no, we're not this, we're only Microsoft said, is it credible Daniel Merino that this is just to get into mobile gaming, which we're not a part of and Right. That's the whole reason for this. Is that credible?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:13:23):
Yeah. I mean, between the cloud gaming aspect, which is geared towards mobile users, you can basically get a console experience on your smartphone directly as well as the stores. You know, they can launch their own store because Yeah. Blizzard activation King, you know, king has a lot of games. That King

Leo Laporte (00:13:40):
Is, is Candy Crush, right? Yes. That's the big one.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:13:45):
Boomers and Gen Xers Unite. That's one of our favorite games still, apparently. Yeah. but it's it's a huge business and it's, it's still an amazingly popular game and allows Microsoft to Yeah. Get a foothold into mobile gaming. It's gotta be which watch, they lost

Leo Laporte (00:13:58):
A good business. They're paying $69 billion

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:14:01):
Billion dollars. Yeah. It's it's, which goes to show you how much cash theyd laying around. I believe they had 130 billion laying around. So again, as a corporation, you can't sit on like 130 billion for long. You either gotta give it back to the shareholders at some point, or you make a big acquisition or multiple acquisitions that benefit the company. So that's what Microsoft is doing here. But the whole thing was just kind of strange. I understand Sony was, you know, had to fight it legally, you know, but at the same time, emails came out showing that even Sony wasn't like, oh, we know this won't really do anything to us because, and Nadella even came out said like, listen, we don't like exclusives. You know, if we could choose, we would not have exclusives for gaming. We, we think it's bad. And that is kind of his thing lately, right? I mean, ever since he came in, he undid all the bomber stuff. Balmer was very much e exclusive to Wino. We're gonna form our own Apple-like ecosystem. The de came in and said, no, we're doing that. We're putting Linux every where we want. We're going to, you know, put our apps wherever we can. We're gonna support every platform. So I really believe him that he doesn't want exclusives as much, but Sony is so into exclusives.

Leo Laporte (00:15:10):
And that's the irony. Sony's the bad guy when it comes to exclusives. Yeah. They really do

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:15:15):
It. They they nailed it. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, they pay so much money, but they have so many, like, I, you know, it was Halo and like Years of War, Fortza is still there for, is still doing war. But like Microsoft and Xbox just does not have a flagship game anymore. Where Sony's got a couple, they, you know, they have the was it God award, the Spider-Man series? Like, they have like a bunch of really, really good titles and they run commercials all the time, hammering that. So it's a, it's a weird case, but thankfully it looks like it's,

Leo Laporte (00:15:45):
Sony has signed the 10 year deal for Call of Duty. I thought they'd already made that agreement, but I guess maybe they'd agreed to it in principle, but they hadn't, they hadn't signed it. So now it is a binding agreement. The Call of Duty will stay on PlayStation for at least 10 years, according to Phil Spencer Tweeting yesterday.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:16:03):
And it can be renegotiated in 2033.

Leo Laporte (00:16:06):
Yeah. And why would Microsoft look, Microsoft as they, as we learn, doesn't make any money on Xbox. It's kind of a loser, right? <Laugh>. why wouldn't they try to make some money selling on a PlayStation? Why, why would they take, it begs

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:16:19):
The question, right? Say, say they did make Call duty exclusive to Xbox. What would the return on value be like? Are they gonna really catch up now to Sony? No. All of a sudden in console sales? No. Just because of Call of Duty and the revenue there. No, of course not. Would they make more money keeping it on PlayStation and still selling the game to them? Yes. They're gonna make way more money that way. So it doesn't really make sense for them to even make it exclusive outside of just being bitter. Ballmer might have done that, don't get me wrong, <laugh>. I think Steve Ballmer might have done that. Not Steve

Leo Laporte (00:16:47):
Jobs. Definitely.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:16:47):
But not done

Leo Laporte (00:16:48):
It. Yeah. Now Satya definitely Satya changed Microsoft, he said it used to be in fact the Microsoft mission statement was every com a computer on every desktop running Microsoft software. And and Satya Nadella said, we want to be wherever our customers are on any platform they are. And that was a huge shift. And actually, as, as everybody who has Microsoft Stock knows a very good, a very good shift stock market likes what happened on Friday as well. So I guess Phil Spencer had offered this agreement in January to Sony, but just Sony said, we're not January of last year, but Sony said, we're not gonna <laugh>, we're not gonna sign that we're gonna, we're gonna find

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:17:32):
It. Yeah. Why would we sign that if we think we can beat you? Yeah. Why would we sign? And they kinda came close. Right. You know, the FTC like, I think threw more sand into the gears of this Yeah. Than a lot of people anticipated. Yeah. they were really kind. And it was just a, it was a strange thing. And I'm all part of FTC and you know, watching tech companies and, you know, but this just was not that case. You know, it's like social media. Sure. Let's take a look at that advertising. Sure. Let's take a look at that one. But gaming, yeah. I don't know. That was a weird stretch. It's, it's not that a big

Leo Laporte (00:18:03):
Deal. Bra and Dan, I feel like we're leaving you out. Are you guys gamers at all? Do you, you care about, do you care in the least about this aar?

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:18:10):
I I'm sitting back and letting Dan and Daniel take this conversation. Cause I am not a gamer, so wait a

Leo Laporte (00:18:15):
Minute. Gonna, you don't play any, come on. Do you play any mobile games? Anything?

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:18:20):
No. You know, that, that classic question of when a kid sits, sits next to you and he's like, do you have any games on your phone? My nephew's always asking me that, and I don't like, it's, I'm incredibly boring. So what do you

Leo Laporte (00:18:28):
Do with your life if you don't play TikTok? <Laugh>. Oh, you watch TikTok?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:18:33):
Okay. See, I have no TikTok <laugh>.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:18:36):
It eats up a lot of time. Dan,

Leo Laporte (00:18:38):
Dan, you play, you played Diablo three, you said before you got married. I,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:18:44):
I became a gamer in my adulthood. And, and kind of because I mean, I like the systems in games. I like figuring out. It's like a puzzle, right? You figure out the mechanics of a game and you can figure out how things work. It's kinda like tech, right? Or, or Linux or any type of coding environment, right? You're trying to figure out systems and how they work. I was more, look, I, I agree. I kind of want regulators to pay attention to different or maybe larger issues, but I think that this was a good thing to pay attention to. And I understand Sony's grievance, look, it sounds silly to have an argument about Call of Duty, which is, if you watched or read or listened to these hearings, it really seemed to come down to Call of Duty. But I can understand in 10 years, Microsoft and Daniel, you rightly point out, Microsoft has pivoted to services a long time ago.

And I can under understand Sony's saying, Hey, look, the hardware market might be shrinking. And if Microsoft totally takes over cloud and services, we could, I mean, exclusives only last as long as the next console we could shrink and there could be no competitors left for us to buy. There could be no studios or very few studios that are capable of creating aa quality games that we have as exclusives. So I understand Sony's fear. Microsoft is a trillion dollar company, and them making a vertical acquisition like this and integrating the service providers into the Xbox as the platform, I, I would be scared. And I think that consumers have a right to be kind of wary of this acquisition because in the past, acquisitions like this have never gone well. Having said that, as a gamer, I really would like Bobby Codick, the C e O of Activision Blizzard King, the guy who oversaw sexual harassment, the guy who was responsible for all kinds of union busting. I'd like that guy to leave. I would like at least the studio to not be as noxious as it has been in the last decade or so.

Leo Laporte (00:20:42):
Well, and, and some say this was Bobby's way of getting out, he's gonna clear billions of dollars in this. But I think he's still, isn't he on the board still, Daniel? I think he is.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:20:52):
He does still have like a role. They haven't been as yeah, I agree with Dan here. They have not been as let's kick him out with the picture as much as I think a lot of us would like. But he still does play a pretty big role in this. Yeah. And you know, the company does have a, a lot to go through and Microsoft Yeah. You know, their history of acquisitions is kind of mixed, right? Like some of them were,

Leo Laporte (00:21:11):
But their gaming history is not bad. Yeah. I mean, overture was bad. Yeah. But, but look what they did with Minecraft. They were, I think, very good stewards Great. Of Minecraft, right? Yeah. They've, they've improved it. And this

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:21:20):
Is Phil Spencer

Leo Laporte (00:21:21):
Grown it. Yeah. Yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:21:23):
Yeah, the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer,

Leo Laporte (00:21:25):
And lately GitHub, that, that we were all worried about the GitHub acquisition. But that's been all right. I don't know. I LinkedIn, I, they certainly didn't change LinkedIn. I don't know if

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:21:36):
They're, they're making a lot of money. Are they? The membership of LinkedIn has grown. Yeah. Okay. So

Leo Laporte (00:21:40):
They've been a good steward there. That's a pro.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:21:43):
It's a new Twitter.

Leo Laporte (00:21:44):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:21:45):
Yeah. It's one of

Leo Laporte (00:21:46):
Professionals. There's so many new Twitters though. I don't know. <Laugh>.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:21:49):
Yeah. The social web is atomized and dead. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:21:53):
Except it's not. That's what's really, we'll talk about that in a little bit. Yeah, get rid of Bobby Codick for sure. There's also, I mean, they talked about Call of Duty, but there's World of Warcraft sure. There's Diablo for just came out there. There's, there's a lot of games. This is a big portfolio. And,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:22:14):
You know, don't forget, we talked about gaming here, but that I IP is important in other ways, right? What's the big thing we've been seeing lately is converting those kind of video games into blockbuster movies or TV series. Yeah. Yeah. They, Microsoft Controls at ip. That said, Microsoft hasn't had good luck yet converting this into, you know, look at what they did at the Halo series. They got mediocre reviews, but tales compared to like the last of us, right? With Sony again. Nailed. Right. So Sony's actually really good at this stuff. So I would love to see the Diablo series convert to a movie. We're all hoping for gears of War that's been in the works forever. We've, Dave Batista, like literally stepped up and said, let me play the lead. And we're like, he

Leo Laporte (00:22:52):
Is. Who else are you gonna cast? He's

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:22:54):
Perfect. Yeah. You know, so it's like, they could do all this, but it does have a lot of value besides Yeah. Just gaming, right? They, the long form TV series premiere, you know prestige tv has a lot of potential.

Leo Laporte (00:23:07):
That's where the 70 billion comes into play. It's not gaming, it's not mobile, it's ip. It's like the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars. It's, and by the way, star Wars was a lot cheaper than this. That was a hell of a deal for Disney <laugh>. Wow. 70 billion. All right. So the next step before Windows Weekly on Wednesday, it's probably likely that they will announce the acquisition has gone through. It's done. The UK is gonna be left holding kind of a limp hand, but I guess maybe they'll get some re reap some concession, some face saving concession outta Microsoft. And then, and then it's over. As a gamer, it makes me a little nervous to see consolidation. I like, I think from the, I I have mixed feelings. We talked about this a little on Windows Weekly. It is the case that these days, it costs more to make a triple A game than it cost to make a major motion picture. It's hundreds of millions of dollars.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:24:04):
So in development, hell <laugh> and years, six years.

Leo Laporte (00:24:07):
So yeah. It isn't likely that a small independent garage startup is gonna create the next big game anyway.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:24:15):
Yeah. I, I, I little disagree with that. We've seen quite a lot of studios come up over the, the recent years. Granted, they get snatched up kind of quickly now. You know, so there is that, but, you know, I think of like Vampire Survivors, it's a $3 and 99 cents game that came outta nowhere. And it's just like, now that's not called duty level. Right. But there is still potential.

Leo Laporte (00:24:33):
And that's what I wanna make sure, sure. That we, there's still a place for innovation, and, and it's not, it doesn't, you know, look what happened in the movie industry. It's, it's blockbuster after Blockbuster. Nobody's making the little, you know, movie anymore.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:24:49):
Indie films indie right now Indie gaming is a thing. I, I mean, and there is still Steam, which is the, you know, 9 million pounds gorilla. You're right. Yeah. I, you're right. And it is the iTunes of gaming. It's the distribution platform. And, and to this point, they've been pretty laissez-faire. I bra I'm curious, like, what is your take on all this as a non gamer? Like what are the implications of this outside the gaming nerd world?

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:25:14):
Yeah, I'm, I'm kind of observing this very much on the outside, but yeah, I think it's, it's fascinating to see discussions about monopolies kind of within, in the gaming sphere and, and all the parallels. I mean, I just, even observing big tech in general and, and and the ways that it's you know, the ways that there's a lot of scrutiny and, and to see it extend into the gaming world, I, I think I, I don't know enough to say how I feel personally about it, but it is, it is curious to see these companies just kind of in all these, in all these parallels and, and and what they want to acquire and, and all those, all those sectors. But yeah, I'm, I'm learning a lot just listening to you guys.

Leo Laporte (00:25:49):
Do you share my concern overall though, that on the one hand, you do need a big com, you know, there would be no Vision Pro without Apple having just billions of dollars to throw away, right? So on the one hand, you do need these big tech companies to do kind of these big things. But, but I also worry that you'd lose some innovation if you don't. And, you know, one of the problems with gaming and this is where big Problem in Activision Pleasure was, it, it was for a long time, just a bunch of bros. And so the games weren't representative. They were really violent. They, they were the kind of things, you know, the John CarMax of the world and the, and the Romeros of the world wanted to play. I think diversity and small entities are important to any creative outlet. Yes.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:26:37):
Yeah. And I think we,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:26:39):
Go ahead. Go ahead. Sorry, go ahead.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:26:41):
Well, I was just gonna say, I think that, you know, that what you're saying reflects a lot of what we've seen with these, you know, smaller startups that are acquired by companies like Meta, for example, right? So you see all these, those two sides of the argument where it's like, okay, that platform could grow because it was acquired by Meta or Google. But then you see a lot of people leave because the objective of the company changes and, and the, the culture changes sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. So yeah, it is interesting to see that kind of in, in the gaming realm as well.

Leo Laporte (00:27:05):
Yeah. Meta did eventually get Supernatural. They were able to acquire within, even though the FTC wanted to stop that, that was another one of the losses that they talk about with Well, you

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:27:16):
Know, to your point, the, oh, sorry. Well to your point about the, the very broadish and misogynistic nature of gaming, we have to look no further than Brianna Wu. I mean, she was a victim. Oh, poor

Leo Laporte (00:27:29):
Brianna of that culture. Oh, yeah, yeah. Gamer Gate. She was totally, yeah, totally. Abused in gamer gate and still is by the way. It hasn't stopped. Yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:27:37):
Oh, no, it has not. Yeah. Gamers are still toxic. Take a deep breath. <Laugh>. Yeah. Is the regard,

Leo Laporte (00:27:43):
Maybe the hope of the world is mobile gaming? Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead, Daniel. Finish your thought. I didn't mean to change.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:27:48):
Yeah, no, I was just gonna say about the indie gaming, like, I was kinda agreeing with Dan there with you know, steam is just like, I love Steam. Steam has so much. You really have, like, talk about indie. Like, you have games that are created sometimes by one or two individuals and they, they, they get like business, like they get great reviews and like all the PC gaming sites do eventually pick it up. And I, you know, often I see a lot more coverage of them than I do like the Call of Duties because everybody knows about those. But like, the, the indie stuff is really great cuz it's so much more, like, one reason I haven't bought Diablo before is it's like 70 bucks <laugh>, you know? But I can go get like other games for 10, $15 and have just as much fun.

Now. Microsoft does do a really good job, my opinion, of highlighting Indie. So they end up offering, like often going and taking a lot of the stuff on Steam and getting it on Xbox and even putting it into their game pass so people can just play all these really cool games. I've been a big fan of it. It was one reason I got into Nintendo Switch initially. I didn't care about any of Nintendo's ip. They had a lot of Steam ip, though. A lot of steam indie games were appearing on it. And that's what I want to play. And Microsoft's been, they have their idea at Xbox program. They support any developers a lot because I think there is a lot of we do focus a lot on the AAA titles and they are big business, but those small indie ones are also big business too, just on a different scale.

And I think it's a really interesting thing. And I think it'll be fine. I think those, you know, right now what we're seeing, we call 'em boomer shooters. We did a whole like, wrap up of them. <Laugh> boomer shooters are, are basically remakes of Doom Games from the nineties. And people are just taking that same graphics and this pixel art kind of thing and making these first person shooters, they're really affordable. They're like $10 half the time. So they're a lot of fun to play. They play on any low end system. And for people like my age, we're like, hell yeah. This is where it's at. You know, the gaming is, I think still very, and will be strong regardless of this deal. Cuz I know myself, I don't play Call of Duty. I don't play World of Warcraft. Yeah. I play a lot of like, the, the sides the side scrollers and indie stuff from Steam.

I thought, look, I, I mean I'm waving my steam deck around here, but this is, I mean, awesome. I play Microsoft games on my steam deck. It's the most interesting gadget released in years. It's a Linux piece. Absolutely. Right. You know, this is, if you wanna hack on a Linux computer, the Steam deck is the best place to do it. And it's open. You can install whatever you want, including Diablo four, which I, I use this to play D four <laugh>. Yes. We'll be talking about the Steam deck in 20 years. That'll be regarded as like Oh, interesting. One of the most, most innovative advice. Yeah. Yeah. It

Leo Laporte (00:30:19):
Seems just like a copy of the switch to me. Like No, no. It's a switch that could play Linux games.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:30:24):
Yeah. I mean it's like a handheld piece. A pc It's a PC and a form factor.

Leo Laporte (00:30:29):
Yeah. They just make something, you do

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:30:30):
Anything on it. It's, it scratches that. Like if you don't have time to really hack on Linux anymore, cuz you're an adult and you just got stuff to do and your PC needs to get stuff done for, you get a steam deck, then you can monkey around with Linux. And so you

Leo Laporte (00:30:42):
Actually don't just play the games, you actually drop into Linux on that thing.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:30:46):
Oh yeah, absolutely. There's desktop mode. You, you click two buttons and you're in desktop mode. It'll plug right into your monitor. They sell a dock for it, that props it up and plugs into your monitor and just runs. Or you can install Windows 11 <laugh>,

Leo Laporte (00:30:59):
Or you can Right, exactly. The Rock Alli, the r g ally from Asis is a Windows machine, which I thought was kind of surprising. Yeah,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:31:06):
It's a really good device. Is it? I played

Leo Laporte (00:31:09):
With the Steam deck when we, when it first came out, I was pre-order and all that. And I just, it's like I, the game I play, which is actually interesting that you should mention this is a $20 indie game outta Sweden, 10 developers called Heim. But it's incredibly competitive, compelling. Oh yeah. And in fact, they've, they've made hundreds of millions of dollars. They haven't even come out of beta yet. They're just like raking it in. And I played it on the steam deck and it, I just wanted to go back to my big monitor. I felt very constrained. But I guess you have a new baby. You don't get to sit down in your office.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:31:43):
That's what I was gonna say. The benefit of the handheld is you can sit on the couch with your significant others, pretend you're

Leo Laporte (00:31:49):
Paying a

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:31:49):
Attention to the kids, watching tv, hanging out with their pets, hanging out with everybody. But still kind of game. In my

Leo Laporte (00:31:54):
Day, all I had was a Blackberry. I couldn't <laugh> Yeah. Couldn't escape

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:31:58):
Otherwise to go like, buy family. I'm going into the next room. Close the door. See? Right. It's a very like the have the, to play games like Pre Prete deck or pre switch to play games. Seriously. You, it was a fairly anti-social activity. That's

Leo Laporte (00:32:14):
True. Yeah. Yeah. I love, actually, I liked the Switch a lot, but it saved me in the, in the beginnings of the pandemic playing animal, crossing New Horizons. And people love the Zelda games and, you know, I mean, yeah, the Switch has been a great success. Aar, you don't play any game. I don't understand you. I

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:32:33):
Know. It's, you know, the more I think about it, it is really good. Bizarre. You're missing out. I mean, growing up, like my, we had like my brother's old Super Nintendo that I would like play on when I was super bored. So I've played like the classics, like the Donkey Kongs and the Mario cards, but it's literally been like 15 years since I think I've like, really? Actually wait, I had a, we had a, we growing up, okay, so I guess we played like, like rock band and like, but I don't dunno if that counts, but like, that's really the extent of it.

Leo Laporte (00:32:57):
Point out this is Microsoft's vision is they know they've got us. They want you I

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:33:03):
Know <laugh>.

Leo Laporte (00:33:04):
And, and they, and they're desperate. I mean really the future for they in their mind, I think is mobile. And they really want to get all the people who don't yet play games to play casual mobile games. And I think that's why they spent $70 billion on this <laugh>. How do they get, how do they get a bra? I'll eat

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:33:23):
It. That's the challenge. I think that's on their list of priorities. That's on, that's on there. If,

Leo Laporte (00:33:28):
If you were gonna, if you were, so is it that just games like are waste of time and

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:33:33):
It's somehow I've just never felt compelled to do that? I always, I feel like social media has occupied my time, so I'm like, that's enough of a time waster. And then if I'm not doing that, I'm like, let me be a decent human being and like read a book every now and then. And so there's no room for like, oh, let me get a gaming console. Oh.

Leo Laporte (00:33:50):
But this is why I play Vehi because I can listen to a book while I'm playing Heim. It's perfect. I, I don't feel guilty. I'll write, I'm powering through books <laugh> and I'm gaming. It's great. You should try that.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:34:04):
I'll take, yeah, I'll take notes from you. This'll, this will be my, you know, my way in <laugh> my foot in the, I

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:34:09):
Actually totally understand that feeling I have. When it comes to gaming, like I'll get, I'm more fascinated almost with the hardware, the ecosystem, watching the games. Cuz the amount of talent that goes into creating this stuff is just unbelievable.

Leo Laporte (00:34:22):
You're like, Dan, you're observing it from a, from a little bit distance. Like the,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:34:27):
Then I, yeah. So I'm fascinated by that. Then I start playing and I'm like, yeah, this is fun. But I don't get that the dopamine rush that a lot of hardcore gamers do. No, I like, I don't like, I'll put down a game and I won't play for like three weeks. I'm like, oh yeah, I forgot about that. Like, that's not normal for gamers. Right. so I totally understand what bras talking about. It's just like

Leo Laporte (00:34:45):
A bra. Do you

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:34:46):
Even just not,

Leo Laporte (00:34:47):
Do you even Wordle

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:34:50):
<Laugh>? I did. I did in the beginning. And it didn't last very long. I can we count? We'll count that, right? Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:34:57):
Word's a game.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:34:58):
Couple weeks. Yeah. All right. All that's something We'll add to the roster. Yeah. <laugh>.

Leo Laporte (00:35:04):
All right, <laugh>. Anyway, the deal is done. Microsoft wins. The FTC loses, I think it's fair to say loses. I for one, don't want that feeling of, oh, you know, ftc, why are you even trying to regulate? Why are you trying to fight trust? Just let it all. I don't want that. I want the FTC to be active and slow down these big acquisitions. It's completely reasonable to say, with 70 billion acquisition, what is this good or bad for, for consumers? Is this good or bad for innovation? And so I hope that there's not this sense of, oh, they see, they keep losing, they're losers. No, I think we need the ftc, we need antitrust. Totally agree. Yeah. We might even need better antitrust regulations. I think it's very challenging to think of how do you, what do you do about big tech?

Because it becomes so dominant, becomes too big to fail, too big to compete with and, and too powerful in society. Look at Google's search, for instance. Very hard to create a competitive search. And frankly, Google's search determines what the internet is. If you can't find it on Google, it doesn't exist. That's a lot of power in society. I don't know who, and you can't count on Google to regulate itself. You need a little, you know a little bit of a stick to hang over their heads. I don't know. Let's take a break. We've got a great panel and we have other things to talk about, including shopping, coming up in just a little bit, and ai. But first a word from our sponsor. Wait a minute, let me, I, I've made a mess of this. I've deleted <laugh>. Oh my Add copy Our show today brought to you by, oh, I love this one.

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That's why they offer 40 recipes to choose from every week, every week. So you never get bored. You can always find something new to try and love. I love it. Hello, fresh. No wonder. It's America's number one meal kit. Go to hello 50 and use the code TWIT five oh TWIT 54. Get this 50% off and free shipping. I know you want to try this. Hello 50. And don't forget the offer code TWI 50 for 50% off, plus free shipping. Maybe this week you could say hello Fresh. Speaking of shopping, it was Prime Day. Now tell me a bra that you at least bought something on Prime Day <laugh>.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:40:26):
You're like, please contribute something to this panel. No, not,

Leo Laporte (00:40:28):
Not at all. I just wanna make sure you're human. That's all.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:40:32):
<Laugh>. I am a human. I did buy, okay. I tried to resist, but I did buy one thing from from Prime Day. I got a like a, a MagSafe wallet for, for the back of my phone. And that felt like a practical thing to purchase. So that, yeah, that was my contribution. But I, I'm proud of myself. I didn't, no, no big purchases. You know, we were very reasonable, which is good

Leo Laporte (00:40:56):
Actually. You should be proud of yourself if you don't buy stuff on Prime Day. I read a very interesting expose of an ottoman as an example that was sold and fulfilled by Amazon. It was an Amazon choice. You know what an ottoman is? It's one of those things you put in front of a chair, you put your feet on <laugh> and it was 37% off for Prime Day. But people, the, the people writing the blog post used Camel, camel, camel, and they went back in time. That's a really good tool to use before Prime Day to look at the price. The price was for the longest time. The, the 37% off ju the week before Prime Day. Amazon raises it to 113 bucks so that they can lower it in prime day. You're not really getting a deal in many cases. Right. I do, do people not know this? I think people don't know it. Yeah. Well it works. Have

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:41:54):
You tried to cover it? Like we, we had like how-to guides on using Camel, camel, camel telling people that, and like obviously with my job we had to highlight and do Prime Day like anybody else. And so, but we only focused on those deals where something was truly reduced so that, you know, we weren't kind of like leading on customers like, oh, it's the lowest price ever when it's been that price for a while. But it's true. I mean, a lot of those prices weren't lower than they had been or they've already been at that price before or they're at the same price right now. <Laugh>. Right. Didn't even know the prime day is over. Right. So yeah, it's a tricky thing.

Leo Laporte (00:42:30):
This ar I wish I could find this article, this article pointed out that if you are an Amazon affiliate, as almost everybody is, we are not. But if you are an Amazon affiliate, you're not allowed to disparage Amazon or you'll lose your affiliate status. So publications are kind of incented not to talk about this secret, this open secret that prime day deals are often not prime deals. We could talk about it cuz they can't take away my affiliates <laugh> thing. I won't make any of you say anything <laugh>. But it's, I should have probably made bigger deal about this last week than, than now. After you've all bought your 12 billion on Amazon Prime Day sales up 6.1%, they thought it'd be even bigger. 12.7 billion in two days. This is according to Adobe, which weirdly keeps track of this kinda stuff. <Laugh>. Yeah, <laugh> a big, a big number. And this worries me a little bit of customers used buy now. Pay later.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:43:37):
Oof. Yeah. Oof.

Leo Laporte (00:43:40):
Why is that? Oof.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:43:43):
I mean,

Leo Laporte (00:43:43):
I agree with you historically. I'm just gonna give you a chance to explain it. Yeah, yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:43:47):
<Laugh>, historically Americans have been bad with getting into debt over credits. Yeah. Now during the pandemic famously that went down so much, people were worried, quote unquote worried that, you know, oh my God, households now have reserve income and not as much what

Leo Laporte (00:44:04):
<Laugh>, but

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:44:04):
Yeah. Like we can't have that in America. But luckily for the financial institutions that has since reversed and now the numbers are going back up again. Basically households are overstretching themselves on credit once again. And these pay now pay later. Things are very convenient. You don't need you know, to put on your credit card and you just click it and it kind of goes through and it's a little bit more strict on, you know, we got payments, you gotta make it, but

Leo Laporte (00:44:32):
There is no interest usually. Right. So you're not getting, at least you're not paying 18, 19% interest as you would with a credit

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:44:39):
Card. Yeah. And in that sense, if you can pay it off in those installments right, you're, you're good. But

Leo Laporte (00:44:47):
It's tempting to buy more than you can afford if you don't have the money now to buy it, should you be buying it, you know, in two months or whatever. Right. Yeah. Nevertheless a huge success. People apparently think it's a deal, although I have to say, I had to laugh at what, what people are buying. USA Today had a list of the top products. Anybody wanna take a guess if you didn't see, if you saw this article? Don't but of the top products purchased on Amazon Prime Day, you know what the number one product was? Anybody

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:45:24):
I have it

Leo Laporte (00:45:25):
Was Cat Treats

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:45:27):
<Laugh>. That's practical. Okay.

Leo Laporte (00:45:29):
Number one. That makes sense. Temptation cat treats. So I'm reading this article yesterday morning at breakfast and look up and I see exactly that same thing on the table. That's what we give our cats <laugh>. Yes. I said, Lisa, I hope you paid only $11 and 12 cents at Amazon for the Temptation Catcher. The, of all the things you could buy on Prime Day <laugh>, that was number one.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:45:53):
Gotta look out for the cats. But you know, it's interesting too because that's the thing about you know, what we talked about a lot with, with Prime Day was it's not just the time to buy the big ticket item, it's the time to stock up on toilet paper or batteries or whatever you know you're gonna need.

Leo Laporte (00:46:08):
It's gonna be on sale and something that you know what the price is normally. Yes. So you know that you're actually getting a deal.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:46:14):

Leo Laporte (00:46:15):
Don't buy Ottomans on Prime Day. In other words Yeah, <laugh>

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:46:18):
Don't do. That's what we've learned today. Yes. We've don't do that.

Leo Laporte (00:46:21):
Cat treats. Okay. I bought, you know what I bought razor blades cuz I know how much they cost. And they were down like a buck 60 razor blade. And I thought, oh, that's a deal. So I stocked up on those. I didn't buy like thousands. I'm thinking I should grow a beard maybe. But anyway, <laugh> I bought, I bought a few months worth, let's put it that way. <Laugh>. So I did, I fell for it too. And I don't know if Lisa bought these crunches

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:46:42):
Get razor blades on eBay. Oh yeah. That's where you get the price. Are they used? Yeah, they fall a lot of the No, a lot of the ones that fell off the truck. You can get really big discounts on you're kidding. Really ones I'm telling you. Is that

Leo Laporte (00:46:54):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:46:54):
Secret? Yeah. Any kind of cosmetic stuff. If you go on eBay, I can guarantee you you can find it way cheaper. Here's

Leo Laporte (00:47:01):
A razor blade cheaper sharpener. <Laugh>. I don't think that's a good idea,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:47:07):
But they have the Gillettes on there and stuff and Yeah, but

Leo Laporte (00:47:10):
Are they really? That's my question. Are they really? Yeah. You know, the worst thing, I'll buy something on Amazon, I won't pay close attention and it comes from some guy's house <laugh> and you could tell it came like it's packaged. Like some guy went to Costco, bought a bunch of it, <laugh>, broke it up, put it in packages and sent it. And it's like, I am a sucker. I fell for it again.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:47:34):
<Laugh> sounds like a great business strategy though. Maybe I need to, I think a lot of

Leo Laporte (00:47:37):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:47:38):

Leo Laporte (00:47:38):
Be No, I saw it on Twitter. Drop shift, drop shipping, make millions in drop shipping. Yeah. Yeah. You don't even have to have 'em at your house. You could just have somebody else ship it. Just be be

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:47:49):
The I went down a rabbit hole and found, found some weird stuff. So there's, I, I forgot the name of it. There's a cereal that I really like that only comes out in the fall. It's like a pumpkins. Oh it's a pumpkin spice. Oh

Leo Laporte (00:48:00):
Lord. Not you

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:01):
A cornflake.

Leo Laporte (00:48:02):
Oh God.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:03):
Cheer. I love the pumpkin. Oh yeah, yeah. No. Is that Cheerios? No, they do too, but yeah. I've forgot the brand, but they, it's only out for a couple weeks and everybody buys them up and then they're gone. I bet you and you go,

Leo Laporte (00:48:15):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:15):
Bet you drink more like selling boxes.

Leo Laporte (00:48:16):
I bet you drink Grimace shakes as well. <Laugh>.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:19):
Is it? I haven't tried that yet, but I'm curious. They're

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:48:21):
Awful. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:48:22):
So Special Cake has a pumpkin Spice Crunch.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:25):
Yeah, that's it. Yeah. Special k. Really good. <Laugh>.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:48:29):
Okay, well this is

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:30):
Little box, like 20 bucks. <Laugh>, who's gonna buy a box?

Leo Laporte (00:48:33):
It's a collect collector

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:34):

Leo Laporte (00:48:35):
It. It says, it says limited edition. It's a special collector's item. I was

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:40):
Such, I was such a whack job. I bought like seven boxes at Target and I had the oh Lord, to, to I ordered online to pick up in the store. So <laugh> some kinda

Leo Laporte (00:48:49):
Weird how many boxes it it take Did it take to get really sick of pumpkin spice?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:48:55):
None. I can't wait for this year.

Leo Laporte (00:48:57):
<Laugh> you, you're, I love fall. It's when pumpkin, I fully spice survives

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:49:02):
Because I, there's a scent of Bath and Body Works that's only, it's like a leaves. It's called leaves, but it smells a lot better than leaves, I promise. But it's only in the fall. And then I restock through Amazon or eBay. I just got a shipment in and I don't know if it's real, but it smells like it. So

Leo Laporte (00:49:16):
Pumpkins Spice Baby. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:49:20):

Leo Laporte (00:49:21):
Prime Day was created not so long ago, 2015 to sell prime subscriptions and it has now turned into the, I think the biggest shopping. It's, I think it's almost as big now as black Friday. 12, $12 billion in two days. Oh.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:49:38):
The biggest thing too is not it's Prime Day, but we end up covering, you know, since we cover PCs,

Leo Laporte (00:49:43):
Singles Day, hp,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:49:45):
Dell, Lenovo Razor, everybody

Leo Laporte (00:49:47):
Their own sales, everybody. It's become a cultural thing. Right. That was just the Amazon sales. Yeah. But everybody does prime day deals. Last week

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:49:54):
Best Buy was doing 'em. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. Best Buy had three day deals and, and you know, as a website we end up often getting better revenue through those guys than Amazon. Oh. Interest. So that benefits kind of everybody. Yeah. But yeah, it's it's really interesting how much it's grown into like a shopping Black Friday. Basically. It's like another Black Friday, which of course fits into American consumerism perfectly.

Leo Laporte (00:50:15):
Yeah, yeah, that's

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:50:16):
Right. Walmart, target everybody. Yeah. Everybody's

Leo Laporte (00:50:19):
Online sales in general. Were up 6% in the first day. Not just on Amazon, but but everywhere according to Bloomberg Home Goods and household essentials.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:50:31):
It was a good timing cuz inflation is finally dropping now. Right. Even I noticed food prices are finally going back down. I do wonder how much of these numbers were adjusted for inflation though. And in terms of the money brought in. So cuz some of these items are still, I think, priced higher than they might have been two years ago. But I think consumers are feeling a little bit of economic relief now, so they might have felt more comfortable spending stuff.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:50:55):
It's also interesting to think about the timing because for Black Friday at least people can get a headstart on their holiday shopping. So there's an incentive to purchase.

Leo Laporte (00:51:02):
Yeah. What are they buying purchase for them? Right.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:51:03):
And then now it's just, yeah, it's like, what do I want? Let me just buy all this stuff from, lemme treat myself and my cats. Apparently

Leo Laporte (00:51:10):
Jason Howell said there were pumpkin spiced Oreos.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:51:14):
<Laugh>, yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:51:15):
2018. He said they, he rated it a 2.5 out of a 10. I don't, oh

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:51:20):

Leo Laporte (00:51:21):
Not sure it's rough

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:51:22):
Pumpkin. Now I have to try

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:51:23):
It. I I <laugh> I had on my Twitter, I was, I was buying all the pumpkin spice like weird things like there's pumpkin spice butter, pumpkin spice, hummus whiskey. That's not

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:51:33):
Okay. That's like offensive <laugh>. We can,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:51:38):
It pretty, can I

Leo Laporte (00:51:39):
Ask a dumb question? But I don't, there's no pumpkin in pumpkin spice, right? No.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:51:45):
It's all spice. Yeah. It's like all

Leo Laporte (00:51:46):
Spice flavor. It's spice for pumpkin pie, but there's no, it's called, but there's no pumpkin involved

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:51:53):
As far as I know. <Laugh>. Okay.

Leo Laporte (00:51:55):
So maybe I'll do it. I'm acin put, put the pumpkin back into pumpkin spice. And

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:52:00):
There you go. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:52:02):
Now we're, now we're really talking

<laugh>. All right. That's enough. That's enough <laugh>. That's enough of that. Amazon though. I don't know if you know is a V vop, A v a v, very large online platform. This is according to the eu the EU named 17 companies to be regulated under the Digital Services Act. The nominally. These are any company that ha, that has, is a social, well, a platform. A V O P has a, according to the dsa, has added responsibilities to protect their users from illegal content and products, hate speech and so forth. So, Amazon's response is URA <laugh>. Why are you calling us a very large online platform? I love the registers headline, obscure internet boutique, Amazon <laugh> su eu for calling it a very large online platform. Amazon said, but we're a retailer. We're not a social network. Well, okay. If you say so,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:53:15):
It's pretty close.

Leo Laporte (00:53:16):
Amazon's number one business is advertising, I think. And advertising is certainly covered by VAPs. So in any event, I, you know, this is one of those, another one of those regulations where the companies fight, fight, fight. And the VAPs are Alibaba's Ali Express, you know, they sell stuff. Amazon store, Apple's, apple Store,, Facebook, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, A bra Your favorite. Twitter, Wikipedia. Youtube, my addiction. And Zalando. You still addicted Twitter on there? Twitter's on here. You bet. Why? Yeah, I know. <Laugh>. You know, there, there's some thought that Twitter is doing so poorly that the pretty soon they're gonna shrink beneath the, the minimum revenue levels. Elon announced, or no, I, it was

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:54:15):
Always one of those.

Leo Laporte (00:54:16):
Go ahead.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:54:17):
That was, I gonna say it was, it was always one of the smallest social networks. Yeah. I don't think it's just, it's persistent. It re has a lot of reach in media. That's the difference. But it's actual usage is pretty small.

Leo Laporte (00:54:29):
Elon says Twitter is in, its in negative cash flow because they lost 50% of their advertising. Oh, wonder

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:54:38):
Why. Yeah. I shock.

Leo Laporte (00:54:39):
It's not my fault. Yeah,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:54:42):
No. Could

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:54:42):
Never be.

Leo Laporte (00:54:44):
So there's some question about why he announced this. Like, why would you announce, oh yeah, we're failing. There's some question that maybe he's planning to get outta this whole thing by declaring bankruptcy.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:54:56):
He's been wanting to get out since the beginning, so that I

Leo Laporte (00:54:57):
Think he never wanted to buy it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Since before he bought it. Yeah. Well, it would be sad if Twitter went away, but more because of its history than the way it is now. You y'all still use it? No, no.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:55:15):
I, I mean, I'm on there. I share things and follow. You kind of have to

Leo Laporte (00:55:18):
Follow promotion, right? I guess that's the reason.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:55:21):
Yeah. I use it for that. And if people message me, you know, or respond to something, I, I take the courtesy to respond to them. I won't say, though, my usage, especially for personal stuff, has gone way down, you know? Mm-Hmm. And I don't check it as much nearly as much. You know, I do appreciate threads a lot more. Yeah. Well's, you know, I'm hoping that that

Leo Laporte (00:55:44):
Takes, let's talk about Bra. Are you a Twitter user or are you

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:55:48):
I have been checking Twitter a lot. Less frequently. Yeah. I used to check it multiple times a day. It was like, my break from work was to just pop open Twitter, see what's going on. But now Threads has become the thing that I gravitate towards. Me too. And I wanna send something out. Also for personal reasons. If I have like, some random, random Taylor Swift take, I wanna <laugh> to send out, I'll go to Threads. Or if I'm trying to lean into that more with promoting my content. But but you know, obviously I, I have more followers on Twitter right now, but obviously the, the ability to import your followers from Instagram has been a huge boost. At least in the beginning. There's still room to add more people. But I have been gravitating towards threads more, even to the, to the point where I got used to the like button being you know, cuz they, they're kind of swapped on, on Twitter and Yeah. And I'm used to already on, on Threads. That's what I've already grown accustomed to.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:56:34):
Yeah. I

Leo Laporte (00:56:35):
Thread is is like a nice Twitter. It's very Twitter. Like it's clean.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:56:39):
Yeah. I'm waiting for engagement. Higher the following feed. Yeah. Engagement's higher. I think the for you page is kind of, sometimes I get something where I'm like, why did they think this was for me? Like, obviously the algorithm isn't as good as like talks, but it's I'm waiting for that following page to come out where I can just kind of choose the people I actually follow and just see their content. Cause there's a, they're pushing a lot of, a lot of random accounts on us right now.

Leo Laporte (00:57:00):
I don't know what I did, but now I only see people I follow. I think I, I think I followed somebody's instructions to go into threads, go into notifications and chase change the threads and replies to from everyone to people you follow. And now I don't see the Oh, that's a good idea. The algorithmic. That's a good anymore. Oh yeah.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:57:19):
I'm sorry. I should do that.

Leo Laporte (00:57:20):
Yeah, yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:57:21):
Yeah. My feet's been really clean. I haven't had as many issues. I like

Leo Laporte (00:57:25):
The algorithmic at first, cuz it, it, it told me who to follow. Right,

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:57:28):
Right. It's

Leo Laporte (00:57:30):
Helpfuls just starting out. But now I've follow everybody I've followed on Twitter. Yeah. So we're good. I can just watch the, like I don't need a four you feed anymore. They don't, they, I guess at some point we'll have a, for you and a following tab, like Twitter does

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:57:41):
Tiktok and an edit button, TikTok is apparently coming.

Leo Laporte (00:57:44):
Wow. Yes.

Abrar Al-Heeti (00:57:45):
You won't have to pay for it, which is a really big deal. Yeah. Yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:57:47):
Leo, you should have journalist Maria Ressa on the program. She is the c e and founder of, which is the Philippines largest and predominant news organization. She also won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. Wow. I can tell you about look, I'm a, I am on all of the atomized social platforms, and I, I bemoan the loss of the Twitter that was mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, I was in the beta for Twitter mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And it was, as a journalist, a remarkably useful tool. However, I have a hard time forgetting what Facebook has enabled. And Maria Russa mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, who is a journalist in a democratic country that was taken over by Rodrigo Duterte. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And she was imprisoned. She was attacked. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And she was so in, she was enabled by Facebook. She was attacked by so many trolls and threatened so much by, and enabled by the President by Duterte that her life was in danger. This was Facebook as a platform enabling the attack on the fourth estate, a democratic country journalist in a democratic country who won the Nobel Peace Prize enabled by Facebook. Yep. Let's look at some of the other things that Facebook has also enabled. If we go back almost a decade, and we, we look even at our own elections here in the United States, we look at 2016. I don't, I mean, I really don't wanna get into politics, but

Leo Laporte (00:59:21):
No, I agree with

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:59:22):
You. And this, I'm a hard time investing time and energy into Facebook platforms. Yeah. And it feels like we have all kind of, pardon the pun, lost the thread. I, I'm sorry. I don't mean to be self-righteous or preachy.

Leo Laporte (00:59:33):
No, but it's good

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (00:59:34):
That you brought this up. I have a hard time using threads for that reason.

Leo Laporte (00:59:37):
And that's one of the things that's interesting about threads is people, even I who refuse to use Facebook kind of, kind of forgot <laugh> and buried this Facebook enabled genocide and Myanmar. I mean, yeah. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> their, their trust and safety has left something to be desired. But this has been, in some ways, threads has been the great rev revival of Mark Zuckerberg.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:00:05):
Yeah. It kinda a humor. It's polished

Leo Laporte (01:00:06):
Brand. It's polished his brand. And, and, and you know, even people who wouldn't have Facebook often had Instagram, and if they didn't have Instagram, they'd have WhatsApp. So, yeah, there's, it's an interesting situation. Not many people are as principled as you, Dan, unfortunately.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:00:25):
No, I, it's not principles. Look, I covered conflict regions when I was a younger reporter. I saw people die, and I saw how social media contributed to some really horrific things. And I, I just, I'm a little triggered. I don't mean to, to be No, I understand San Ammonious or preachy, but I, I mean, like, once you kind of see some of these things, you can't unsee it. I think Maria Risa is a very valuable voice. And look, if a democratic institution can be tanked by social media being exploited, then we need to pay big attention to it. And simply forgetting the last decade or so, because there's a shiny new social platform is dangerous.

Leo Laporte (01:01:07):
Do you, is it, so I guess I'd have to do more research and you've done it. So I'm gonna ask you, Dan. Certainly it's the case that social networks, Twitter, you gotta include Twitter in this. Absolutely. Been used for

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:01:23):
Twitter and Qan on, were huge.

Leo Laporte (01:01:25):
Yeah. For good. And Ill you know, and you could say, you know, the Arab Spring was also enabled by Facebook and Twitter among others. Are they evil in intent? Oh boy. Or just in by omission or commission, I guess is the question.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:01:47):
Well, I can't call anyone evil. I I can't be that kind of stuff.

Leo Laporte (01:01:49):
Well, that, but that's, in a way, that's the issue, right? Because if so, Facebook is so big, so vast, it probably is impossible to police it, I would guess.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:02:00):
I think that they were pretty aware. I mean, look, everybody's talking look, Twitter, Twitter had remarkably capable people in their trust and safety, but they still overlooked the proliferation of Q Anon. Right. Which was a very harmful look. I was docx by qan sent countless death threats. I I mean, Twitter helped enable this, but do I think their trust and safety people helped enable it? No, I don't think that, so I, I don't know the answer to your question, Leo, but I think that, you know, and I'm sorry, I always come on this program and talk politics, and I don't mean to, but I think tech intersects politics. No, it's important's really important ways right now. It's

Leo Laporte (01:02:35):
Important. I think it's important to be aware of it, you know what is that new movie that is essentially a qan movie is being heavily promoted by the New York Times. Right now, the sound of Freedom, which is, well, if you look into it the, the origin story is not good. And I, I feel like it's so pervasive in our society that anything, any social network that reflects our society is gonna reflect that kind of evil content. Yeah. and even newspapers where you would expect, you know, the New York Times to know a little bit better than to promote sound of freedom make mistakes. I'm sure this was an editorial mistake on their part. I hope it was.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:03:25):
So the challenge I have with any social network is the vast sums of money and profit that has been earned by not just the companies themselves, but pocketed by the individuals there. And I do think that there is a significant amount of responsibility by the, the people who are responsible for these social platforms, for enabling things like, well, we say the engagement's up the engagement's really high. Well, that, that can do good things and it can do bad things. And I think that, you know, to quote Spider-Man for the 5 million at the time, with great power comes great responsibility. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, and I would like the platform owners to take a little more responsibility, and they have tremendous power. But I, I think they've dodged a lot of responsibility.

Leo Laporte (01:04:07):
So I take it you're not on threats. <Laugh>,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:04:10):
<Laugh>? I have like everybody. I mean, like, I made an account and like, I posted a couple links. I, I, but I don't engage and I don't have any social media on my phone. I, and that's in

Leo Laporte (01:04:22):
General, you have zero social media on I

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:04:24):
Have. I don't think I have fake YouTube on my phone. I feel like garbage in, garbage out. Oh, absolutely. I mean, yeah, definitely. Absolutely. I paid for the, I think

Leo Laporte (01:04:34):
There's nobody, without nobody with clean hands. But part of this is just the vast reach these services have. It would be almost impossible. I mean, it be almost impossible for them to have completely clean hands. Yeah. I think for sure. Youtube is an example of a company. I mean, Google and YouTube want to do not wanna promote terrorism or, or, or, or you know, genocide, but sometimes are used that way. They do their best not to, but it's almost impossible for them to prevent it a hundred percent. Right.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:05:03):
And they certainly, I mean, they're voices of anti-Semitism and voices of hatred that certainly were amplified on YouTube.

Leo Laporte (01:05:09):
Yeah. I mean, the problem is us and and to the degree that social networks reflect they're gonna be problematic. How, what is their res, how, how, how much can we expect them to, to filter this stuff and how effective are they gonna be is a big question to me.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:05:29):
We can expect that an honest effort, and we can expect that if at the very least have made billions, then, then don't be disingenuous. Yeah. I think maybe the formation of the, for example, Facebook oversight committee was disingenuous. Yes. It is not a Supreme Court. It did not do it. It, I mean, and it really did a very scary thing, which was, you know, they would get down to the very granular level and say, well, we, we are examining this post, this post, this post, and this post, which marginalizes and makes the scale of the problem seem small. It makes the scale of the problem seem like individual posts, and that they're ruling an individual post when the problem is large and at scale. And let me tell you, with artificial intelligence, the 2024 election and disinformation get ready, social media is

Leo Laporte (01:06:14):
Going to be

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:06:15):
A big challenge. Yeah. If you hate politics in your tech now, you're gonna hate it a lot more in a year.

Leo Laporte (01:06:20):
Yeah. Actually this week, a congressional report found that meta and taxpayer prep companies recklessly shared tax payers data. Another reason to hate to dislike meta, this comes from the markup, the h and r Block Tax Act. And TaxSlayer had a tool called the Megapixel on their software transmitting data to Facebook to Meta as you filed your taxes using those programs and those websites. And it sent information like your first and last name, your income, your filing status, and your refund amounts.

Yikes. but again you know, you have to consider intent. Was this just an accidental data leak or was this an intentional data mining effort? And I don't know, and I don't know if how I, I think we should investigate it. H and r Block meta and tax layer did not respond to the ma markups requests for comment. Google Analytics apparently does something similar. A spokesperson for Google said the company has strict policies and technical features to stop Google Analytics users from collecting sensitive data. And I think that that's the case. We use Google Analytics and even though it's been banned in Denmark and some other countries, we continue to use it. I've been trying to not use it, but our advertisers demand it.

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:07:55):
It's interesting how immune we've become to this idea that that, you know, privacy is, is really non-existent at this point. Yeah. And you bring up really good points about, like, about Meta's track record and, and and there was this really clear hesitation with a lot of people about whether they should join threads because of all the reasons that you bring up. But it's also a testament to how desperate people are to find that Twitter alternative. And I think, yeah, that's really the takeaway here, is that people were so desperate that they had to essentially choose between the quote unquote lesser of two evils. And it's just our reality.

Leo Laporte (01:08:27):
Yeah. I don't think anybody at this point can question the how horrible Twitter has become <laugh>. And, and I feel like being, how

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:08:34):
Invaluable it was was

Leo Laporte (01:08:35):
It was once valuable. But, but, but I think you can't, you must know if you use Twitter today, that you are kind of supporting something that is, that doesn't deserve your support. And yet, I know so many people that are still on Twitter as a company, we still use Twitter as much as I've tried to stop it. It's hard. It's hard. It's, it's, there's

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:08:59):
Always to be these weird, there's these weird moral choices all the time. Like Yeah. You know, right now we have, you know, Tom Cruise's new movie Mission Impossible Outright, and he's an incredible actor who does like amazing stuff in his films, and they're really good movies. And yet the Scientology thing, right? Yeah. So do you draw the line and say, I'm boycotting Tom Cruise films, and I, again, you know, like, I respect people who do, but the fact is most people aren't. And it's a weird moral choice.

Leo Laporte (01:09:26):
I don't even know whether the listen to Michael Jackson's music anymore.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:09:30):
You're, you're right. Exactly. Right. Yeah. It, it, yeah. It really does become these like, weird, like, what do you support? And we all just have to draw our, draw our own lines where they are, you know, thread. It doesn't have to be a line. Yeah. You know, you can just say like, you know, I have certain things that I, I believe, but like, you know, I still post it on threads. Like, it doesn't have to be a hard line. It can just be like, I have values,

Leo Laporte (01:09:52):
At least be aware, I guess, and thinking Yeah, right. And conscious. Yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:09:57):
Well, I think the idea is like, we use this power to push these companies into the right direction. I would argue that, you know, Facebook has been under a lot of scrutiny. They have improved a lot of ways. One thing that's interesting about threads, you know, people just say it's a Twitter alternative, but their mission statements kind of different than Twitter. You know, they've publicly said they don't want to focus on hard news and politics. They want to focus on people's, like, hobbies and interests and form communities around those. But how

Leo Laporte (01:10:24):
Are they gonna do that? Stop people? Are they gonna block politics and news? I don't understand. Well,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:10:28):
One interesting thing is you don't, if you go and post something, just because you post it, it doesn't get into people's feeds. So it's algorithm what it's

Leo Laporte (01:10:39):
The algorithm. You,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:10:40):
Yeah. I mean, the big thing with threads, it's the responses get the interest, right? So if you look at your feed mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, it's all about responses to things. So that's one way that they change things. I would also argue, argue that Facebook has a better if, I dunno, if you try to block anyone on threads yet, it's, it's more interesting than Twitter because when you block them, it goes, do you want to block all their further attempts creating another account on our service? Mm-Hmm.

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:11:05):
Kinda like

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:11:06):
Instagram and you choose that option. Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting. And so that goes a lot further than just blocking that one account. It's gonna go try to block any further creations. They have a little bit better moderation, but Facebook has also been famous for having very good or better moderation in the United States than other countries because of the marketing here. Right. You know, so I think we need to hold you know, threads their feet to the fire on this. But they are at least trying to create a, a nicer social network. They're they're, you know, they just ban people right away. Right. They, they're not taking, and there's a thing if you try to follow, was it Donald Trump Jr. It warns you. He posts like false information. People in the right, we're going, you know, crazy about it. Like they, they are that network that Elon is trying not to be, but a lot of people are like, no, we want that network. Right. And some people, it's an interesting choice. Yeah. Do you think they are Facebook meta? Do you think they're looking at threads as a second chance? I mean, they, they, yeah. Under, like you noted Daniel under so much scrutiny with the Blue App, and I mean, Francis Hogan, I, I mean, there is so much scrutiny under the, with the Blue App, so

Leo Laporte (01:12:17):
Much she was the whistle scrutiny, the whistleblower

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:12:18):
Instagram, the whistleblower who leaked the Facebook papers in 2021. Do you think Fred's is, are they like, man, if we could do Facebook again, would

Leo Laporte (01:12:28):
It be this? I think exactly that.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:12:31):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and the people actually in charge of threads are different. Right. It's a, it's

Leo Laporte (01:12:34):
Adam Moser and the Instagram team running it, but you gotta think z who has been transparent, Zuck has been like celebrating this, they're over 150 million users in a week. I mean, it's, yeah.

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:12:46):
Never seen him happier. He's very active on thread. He's still celebrating every little thing. He's,

Leo Laporte (01:12:51):
He's just like thumbing his nose at Elon and saying, and I, I think he knows this is his chance at rehab, rehabilitation his reputation.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:13:00):
He can give that moral alternative that people are looking for, not on Twitter. Right. Yeah. We, a lot of people want that. It's like what I was mentioning, you know, a couple times on the other times you had me on here with like, I think you know, verification should be offered to everyone where it's tied to your name and like Yeah. Your actual identity. And like, you should be able to sort by that. That'll help filter out, you know, a lot of trolls who rely on the being anonymous on the internet and I, you know, they're starting to go down that route. They, they haven't offered yet. You know, the whole verification to everyone, but it's kind of getting there. So it, it's about markets, right? I always tell people, corporations aren't like evil per se. Capitalism isn't evil. It's, it's an amoral system.

It reflects whatever people are looking for. So if you want to have, like, you know, back in the sixties when we had segregation and companies, you know, catered to that, it was the market, and that's what was reflected. Now, today, it's the opposite. Co corporations are like, wait, if we appealed to more people and different genders and identities and all that, we increase our market share, we can make more money. So now it's the opposite. And now the right wing is getting all of a sudden really upset about capitalism and, you know, the free market. So it's really interesting how I know

Leo Laporte (01:14:14):
These systems. Isn't that a shift <laugh>? It's hysterical.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:14:17):
Yeah. I, I, I saw the other day, it was Andrew Tate's tweet, and he was going about this system, and it sounded like a, a rage against the Machine song. Like, funny, come, I was 12 years old. Yeah. And it was just like, like he, he basically made the Marxist argument of alienation in today's, but he wouldn't say that. I'm like, you're a closet Marxist. Isn't that hysterical? That's what's happening to the extreme, right? They're basically turning to Marxist, but they don't know that because they don't read Marx. So it's like, and I don't mean that they think communism is the answer, but this is again, the misunderstanding with Marxism, right? Like, people just only know the second half. They don't know the, the criticism part. So they're almost there. They've, they've like connected the dots, but they haven't seen the big picture yet. It's really hilarious.

Leo Laporte (01:14:58):
You know, I'm reminded of that bumper sticker. You know, if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. And every time I see that, I'm going, well, you can't live your life in outrage. You'll have an ulcer and die at the age of 40. Yeah. So how, so the question, I think it's kind of an, an ancient question is how do you live in a world that doesn't live up to your standards? How do you survive in a world like that where you, and you know, Dan, maybe you've got the right idea, which is you, you push them in the right direction, but you can't be perfect. I think religion has handled this, you know, the, the Christian religion tradition is, we're all sinners, but it's, it's okay if you re if you acknowledge it and repent, we'll forgive you. And I think that that's rel was religion's way of dealing with what must have been some from time immemorial, this conflict between I know what's right and good, but I also have to live in a world that is not good. How do you deal with that? And I'm not perhaps a hundred percent good. How do you, how do you survive that without being outraged at all, <laugh> at all times? It, it is an internal question. Gimme try

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:16:12):
To answer that question my entire life.

Leo Laporte (01:16:14):
Yeah, yeah. And I know I'll die

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:16:17):
Not knowing the

Leo Laporte (01:16:18):
Answer. You were right, right. To be triggered by this whole conversation and that outrage came up. And you're absolutely right. And especially you, because you've, you've been in these war zones, you've been, I was just

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:16:27):
Too close to it

Leo Laporte (01:16:28):
For a long time. Yeah. but, but, and we all kind of in the back of our minds know this stories. I don't think there's anybody who doesn't know, you know, what hap or hasn't read what happened with Meta, but how do you live with it in the modern world? How do you survive without walking through life being outraged at all times? Maybe you believe, maybe you have to believe in redemption and forgiveness. Maybe that's the, the secret. I don't know. Anyway,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:16:54):
I think, you know, to segue maybe into AI a bit, you know, AI has a potential big role in this really, especially machine learning, because, well, there's no reason why AI and machine learning specifically can't look at, you know, the stream of data going onto to these social networks and analyze it by they, they already do this, right? By happiness scores, angry scores and stuff like that. Like, you, you can, there's actually a service out there. Now I take, you can tell

Leo Laporte (01:17:21):
Us, Daniel, let's take a break, cuz I do want, this is a good subject. Okay. You can go into the in then after the break. But okay. I <laugh>, I have some thoughts, but I'll hold on to them. <Laugh>, we got a great panel. Daniel Rubino is here from e i c of windows Central. Great to have you on the show. Daniel, it's great to have Dan Patterson back briefly. You flirted with the dark side, but you're back in the news and I love it. Dan's new newsletter on ck is news dot dan You'll see his work on Zd net as well. And we just are thrilled to have you back cuz I missed having you. It's great to insight on the show and Ab Bra Aldi, who we've been trying to get back on the show after your first appearance here. <Laugh> loves seeing you. She's video host and producer at CNET and doesn't play any games, which is weird. No.

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:18:10):
Which is, we're working on it. By the next time I'm on I'll I'll make sure I've played at least one.

Leo Laporte (01:18:13):
Expect to pick up a few games. <Laugh>

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:18:16):
And just for you,

Leo Laporte (01:18:17):
<Laugh>, that's great to have you. Bar are so today brought to you by Duo. Duo from Cisco protects against breaches with the leading access management suite. I've been using DUO for years. Strong multi-layered defenses and innovative capabilities work to allow only legitimate users in and keep the bad actors out. So for any organization concerned about being breached that needs protection fast, you need Duo. Duo quickly enables strong security without getting in the way of user productivity. It's also very cool because Duo will automatically sense rising risks and increased authentication requirements in real time as needed. DUO prevents unauthorized access with multi-layered defenses and modern capabilities to thwart very sophisticated malicious access attempts. You know, they're out there, you know they're happening. You need duo to protect you without, again, without getting in the way of productivity. Duo enables high productivity by intelligently sensing when authentication is needed and when it's not enabling swift, easy, secure access doesn't get in the way of your users, but does protect your network Duo provides an all-in-one solution for strong mfa passwordless single sign-on and trusted endpoint verification duo helps you implement zero trust principles throughout your network by verifying users and their devices.

It really works. Start your free trial today. Sign up at cs co slash twit, secure user access without breaking the bank with Cisco Duo. It's a great solution. Thank you Cisco and Duo. They've been great supporters of of all of our shows and we really appreciate your help keeping the lights on at this in tech. It's been ai, ai, AI for the last couple of months. I mean, really is the, the topic of the hour. It's so interesting to watch companies, you know, Metis says, oh, the metaverse, forget that. We're not interested in that. Or <laugh>, you know, just kidding. Google and Microsoft and all these guys. Yeah. Yeah. We were just kidding about that stuff. It's ai, AI is the hot the hot ticket. You think AI can solve this this social problem by being better and more proactive at protecting social networks. See, I worry about this, Daniel. I think that I don't wanna trust the machine to do this work. I I, no humans should have to either. I understand.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:21:02):
Yeah. so solve is doing a lot of heavy lifting. I wouldn't say solve, but definitely aid in, right? Yeah. So there's there's already this stuff out there, right? Twitter sentiment analysis has been known for a long time, right? So this looks at your words structure and the types of words you using. It assign ratings to those words based on negative, positive, or neutral. And like, you could actually analyze your entire account. It'll go through all your tweets and it'll give you like a rating. Like whether or not, like on average you're a pretty angry person, <laugh>, or you're a pretty positive person, or you write neutral stuff there's no reason why then you couldn't have your own personalized algorithm based on positive or neutral information coming in.

Leo Laporte (01:21:46):
Right? So you Well, that's, I mean, our, one of our sponsors, Grammarly, does sentiment analysis on your writing. Right. And will even say, I've seen it happen to my wife. You know, you should really tone that down. <Laugh>, tone that down. Yep. You might wanna put please and thank you in there. That kind of thing. <Laugh>, she's busy. She's, yeah. So no, she doesn't have time to do that. <Laugh>.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:22:04):
That's one way for viewing information is to have it apply to your algorithm and just have that as an option to choose. Yeah. Or, you know threads they want to implement this could basically try to block the most negative stuff and just say, you know, kind of like, I don't like a lot of stuff that Musk said, but what was his phrase? It was free speech without reach. You know, this idea that like, if you post negative stuff, like just

Leo Laporte (01:22:33):
The reach do

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:22:34):
It, but we're not gonna like promote it. Right. Right. I, I actually agree with that. And I think, again, sentiment analysis can play a part in analyzing those messages and making sure that they don't get they don't show up in people's timelines as much. And then you can also have a, on your end, you mentioned Grammarly, but, and Twitter kind of does this already, right? I don't know if you've ever tried.

Leo Laporte (01:22:54):
Yeah. If you, yeah, if you say something, respond

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:22:55):
To someone with a lot of swears, if you say something mean, it's like, do you

Leo Laporte (01:22:58):
Really mean that? Or,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:22:58):
Or audience doesn't really like that, you know? So they're already kind of using that already, right? Yeah. So you can kind of do it on that end as well. So that is one way, you know, and we already have Bot Sentinel, which is another Twitter tool that goes through and analyzes accounts based on whether they're trolling or not. And it's a really interesting thing. And you, I see people using it. They'll be like, they'll see someone, they'll do an analysis and they give the bot sentinel score and it's like, oh, this person, because you'll see, it'll be like red hot, you know, they're trolling, right? And just looks at their history. So that's where I think like ai, machine learning, sentiment, sentiment analysis can play a role. I don't think it's gonna solve problems. I still would like to get people just to stop posting unnecessarily everything that they comes in their head. I don't think you'll need to share an opinion on every single thing in their life. But that's a separate issue. Oh my God, I can talk about that forever too. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. So I, but I think this stuff can at least start to play a role in moderation. Cuz you're right. You don't want humans doing it capital intensive, right? It's super expensive. Well, it's

Leo Laporte (01:24:03):
Just hard on too, to do that. You

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:24:04):
Gotta do it all countries. Yeah. Yeah. Especially with the image analysis, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, there's been famous articles written about that mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and the problems there. But first you have to train the AI from humans, you know, to get to that level. So that's where I'm hoping, you know especially stuff for violence and things that we don't wanna see really, you know, AI I think does have a potential there to filter out things. The problem of course is there will be controversies, right? Some good stuff will get caught up in the bad. And then there'll be, you know, charges. And this is where transparency and algorithms, I think, you know, really does play a role in all this, right? Companies be a little bit more forthright sometimes. You have to see the bad stuff. Look, blue Sky's going through this controversy right now where they're making tools that allow you to not see things like racial slurs in, in user na user names. That doesn't mean they're not being used and not being used to target people. I mean, that's, that's one reason I never turned these, the filters on, because I, you

Leo Laporte (01:24:59):
Wanna know, you wanna know it's there.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:25:00):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I think that like, just pretending it's not there doesn't make the problem go away. It just puts you into a different filter

Leo Laporte (01:25:06):
Bubble. That was Twitter's response for a long time when we were being abused. They said, well, just mute them. I said, yeah, but still everybody else sees it. What does that, what does that help? How does that help me? This is, I,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:25:18):
There's definitely some truth to, you don't wanna filter out everything necessarily, but on the other hand, I think it's been proven over time, and this just gets into the you know, regulation stuff. People like moderated communities. Yeah. That's, you know, this is always an issue on for, you know, like on forums, you know, when people go off topic, it gets to politics. The moderator comes in, bans people, some people don't like that decision being made, but people no, you have to do it. Like, no, it's,

Leo Laporte (01:25:43):
Otherwise you get fortune, you know, it doesn't Yeah. You have to. Yeah,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:25:46):
Exactly. Yeah. Right. And, and a lot of people don just don't want that. So this idea of like having sort of a machine learning act as a moderation tool, I think is, you know, something that, and that's why, again, threads is kind of proving this point, right? <Laugh>, a lot of people say like, well, why is thread so much better than Twitter? A lot of us are like, it's not Elon <laugh>. Like, that's almost enough, you know, which is kinda sad. But the bar is pretty low for threads right now. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:26:10):
This is interesting because when a, when chat G p T came out, actually, Dolly before it, and then stable diffusion people were kind of acting as if AI could solve every problem. And I think one of the things that's happened over the last few months, which is good, is people are starting to say, well, it can't, but there are some uses of AI in a kind of directed manner that do make sense, you know, using I saw, I saw a a farm machine that goes through the fields and zaps weeds without, because it recognizes weeds without zapping the plants. Now they're doing that with pests as well, because it's using AI to recognize that's a pest, that's a plant zap the using lasers to zap the pest. So there are some kind of more restrictive good uses of, of AI than just kind of generally just throwing ai at everything. I, I think that's a good tendency because we've been really oversell, I feel like Overhyping ai, you agree Abar, what, how do you come down on this one?

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:27:24):
Yeah, it's really all we've been talking about, but I think you bring up a good point. With any new technology, with any platform in general, I do see a lot of parallels between, you know, it's not, it's not, it's kind of comparing apples to oranges. But there are a lot of parallels between, you know, social media existing and how we choose to use it and AI existing and how we choose to use it. And I think I think there is a combination of fear and hope when it comes to ai. A little bit more fear probably. It's not a 50 50 split here, but I Is the fear

Leo Laporte (01:27:50):
Justified, do you think? I mean, are you, do you share the, the existential terror that AI is gonna become Skynet and we're gonna have to fight the machines? <Laugh>,

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:28:01):
Every time I calm myself down, I see an article where someone is like, oh my God, this looks really bad. And I'm like, oh no. And so it, it's like an up and down for me. It's not a constant level of Yeah. Being at peace with it or being fearful of it. It's, it's very much this, this there's spikes and then it, it drops. But but, you know, I think it's really, really great to see people in, in various sectors and professions speaking up about it and saying, we need to figure this out now. We need, like, before it's too late, we need to put up those guardrails. So I think it's great that people are, are terrified and outraged and speaking up about it because, you know, it's, it we could potentially reduce any harm that that will come out of it.

Leo Laporte (01:28:40):
There is, there seems to be two groups. There's the one group, and, and, and actually Emily Bender had a great post on this last week the, the AI safety group that's saying, oh my God, it's an existential threat to humankind. Their machines are gonna, and then there's the AI ethics group of, of which Tim Nige and Margaret Mitchell with their stochastic parrots and others who are I think a little bit more sensible are saying, look, don't AI's not going to eat humans. But we should be very concerned about the ethical problems with ai, ai, you know, face recognition being less reliable with people of color, things like that. Those are the things we should be paying attention to do today. You interviewed Dan last month on your CK Kathy Baxter, who is the in charge of ethical AI practice at Salesforce. Tell me about that.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:29:41):
So this is actually what I've been doing for Jason Heiner at CD net. I, I write a column about ai and it has become about AI ethics once a week, although we took a little break in the early summer, once a week I interview somebody like Kathy Baxter. I in fact a couple years ago I spoke with Nick Bostrum. I just interviewed him again. Oh, he's,

Leo Laporte (01:30:02):
He's one of the the AI is going to eat our faces on guys.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:30:06):
Although he told me several years ago, I think I interviewed him for Tech Republic on, I it fascinating. 15 or 16. It is. He wrote the book, it is 10 years old now, but if you haven't read it, super intelligence path, dangerous Strategies, great book, super intelligence path, dangerous strategies. He told me, I'm paraphrasing, but he told me the great danger of artificial intelligence is that we will, we will anthropomorphize it and we will overestimate its capabilities, which puts us at risk of underestimating the potential problems and harms. And I think that might be,

Leo Laporte (01:30:38):
That's exactly right, right now, that's exactly what I was saying, isn't it? That we worry about about it. Yeah. Bostrum, yeah. Yeah. Being this kind of you know, iron giant gray

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:30:47):
Goo and like Yeah. Grey. Yeah. And, and he was

Leo Laporte (01:30:49):
The guy who came up with Grey Goo, though, wasn't he?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:30:51):
Right? Yeah. Bostrom came up with what's called the paperclip Maximizer. Yeah. Which is that, you know, if we, if we don't tune the values of artificial intelligence to be in line with human values, and we give it a problem to solve, we say like, make paperclips and we don't say, make paperclips for 10 minutes and then stop <laugh> AI's just gonna make paper clips until the universe

Leo Laporte (01:31:12):
Is, and it's gonna very good paper clips, by the way. Right. If you're looking for a game, this is the game for you, a bra. It's called universal paperclips. You get to make paper clips, and then you get into the AI involved, and pretty soon at the, the game ends when you consume the entire, every bit of matter in the entire universe to make paperclips.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:31:32):
This sounds like a blast. I'll

Leo Laporte (01:31:34):
Start right after the show. I, I think you would like this <laugh>. This is one of those games I keep coming back to. It's a simple game. It's not graphical, but it's basically, it's clicker Nick Bostrom's thesis that Yeah, you've gotta give the, the, really, the problem with AI is not the ai, the problem with the AI is the humans <laugh>. And you gotta, you gotta give it the right rules. Yeah. It's just gonna do what you tell it to do.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:31:57):
And so Kathy is one of the smartest in the business right now, and she, you know, she's connected to this whole network of people who are academics and pe like very smart people who are probably not like camera trained a and not loud voices, but very smart and really paying attention to the issues of AI ethics, AI bias. Because you know, like we've already noted here, you know, if you train AI on a corpus of data that happens to be biased, not that we're all racist, but you know, if you take a corpus of data that is just from one source, it is going to inherently be biased towards that source. Yeah. So we, you will have on the output, you will have ends that aren't for the good of all humanity. They will only serve that one particular group of people. Kathy lists the potential real world harms that we could experience right now. And I think that's really important to pay attention to so we don't get distracted by the existential potential problems. There's one other challenge. I sometimes feel like no one's talking about it, which, which climate change. Hold

Leo Laporte (01:32:58):
On just a second. But I sometimes feel like, yeah, yeah. Sorry. People like Sam Altman have a vested interest in us.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:33:04):

Leo Laporte (01:33:05):
Ignoring AI ethics and worrying about the existential threat to humankind. They want us to worry about this, pay no attention to the ethical concerns or the immediate concerns. Let's really think about what AI is gonna be like when it turns the world into a bunch of paperclips. Yeah. And I think that's a little self-serving. I've been wondering why these people who seem to be really knowledgeable about AI are so worried about ai, you know, taking over the world. I don't think that's the problem in any near term future. Alright. Let's take a break before we talk about climate change. But, but I that's, no, no,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:33:41):
That, that's, I'm all done.

Leo Laporte (01:33:42):
Yeah. I think I will watch this cuz it sounds like Kathy Baxter gets it. She works at Salesforce, but sounds like she, that's exactly what she's saying, right? Am I right? Am I paraphrasing her correctly? Yeah, that's,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:33:53):
You're exactly right. That's what she's saying. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:33:55):
Yeah. Don't you know, worry about these more <laugh> approximate issues. No, you don't have to worry about you know, the 23rd century in AI taking over. Let's break though. We got a great panel. Lots more to talk about. Let's get into AI in a second. That's that's our next topic of discussion. But first a word from ZipRecruiter. I know I know all about how hard it is to hire people as the owner of a small business. Plus as the owner of a small business, I know that you're not just dealing with hiring, you're dealing with economic uncertainty. An economy that's up and down. We've all got the challenges, but at least when it comes to getting the right people, you've got a hiring partner who's focused on you and your needs. It's the one we use and the one I highly recommend, ZipRecruiter, if you're hiring, you gotta hire the right people faster, more efficiently.

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Hire the best people with the help of a partner who's all about you, Megan, your life easier. Ziprecruiter, four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter, get a quality candidate within the first day. You wanna try it free, go to our special address Please use that address so they know you saw it here. Ziprecruiter.Com/Twit. I can tell you for a fact, ZipRecruiter is the smartest way to hire. All right, back to AI <laugh> Sarah Silverman is suing OpenAI. This is an actually an interesting case and while I'm a huge fan, I'm, I'm not sure I agree with the case. She says you can go to chat g p t, she's suing OpenAI and Meta along with others. She's a comedian, of course, author of a book called Bed Wetter. She says, you can go to chat g p t and say summarize bed wetter and chat. G p t will summarize it, which she says proves that it's read my book <laugh> that it's somewhere seen my book and absorbed it into its corpus. She says the reason is because even though her book is copyrighted, there are a number of sites which will illicitly, you know, torrent sites and so forth, put shadow libraries of copyrighted material online. And that chat, G p t would then has then scanned those. And that's how it knows what her book is.

What does is there merit in this case? I love Sarah Silverman, but I don't think there's any merit to this case at all.

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:39:21):
It also feels like there's no precedent yet. So this could be the determinant here where, what, what becomes of copyright law with something like ai. I don't know the answer to that either, but I think this will be really interesting in terms of, of setting that precedent, seeing what, what happens from here. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:39:37):
Yeah, it's the same, it's the same as artists suing stable diffusion because you know, well you must have looked at my art to be able to draw something that looks like me or Getty saying, well, we can see kind of fragments of our of our watermark on some of the images that you're putting up so that you must have looked at our stuff. But here's why I think there's no merit in this at all. If you ask me to summarize bed wetter, I have read it and I can summarize it. Is that violating Sarah Silverman's copyright? Absolutely Not

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:40:09):
Mean, isn't there a transformative Yes, yes. You transforming it into something. It's

Leo Laporte (01:40:13):
Not publishing her book, it's summarizing it. <Laugh>, which I can do, you can do completely legally

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:40:20):
Anymore. And I think the burden of proof here is gonna be difficult cuz you need to then prove that yes, they did have access to illicit copies of the book,

Leo Laporte (01:40:30):
Which maybe they bought a copy. I don't know.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:40:33):

Leo Laporte (01:40:33):
Or maybe they went to the library <laugh>,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:40:37):
Or I mean, they could have just summarized what the dozen, two dozen reviews of the book. Yeah. Which, yeah. Right. A lot of reviews summarized, right. A lot of aspects. Is she suing

Leo Laporte (01:40:49):
New York Times?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:40:50):
Google Books? Yeah. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:40:53):
I I mean this is, I think I under look, I'm sympathetic. I understand. But when stuff, okay, so I, I just don't see, I don't see them winning these cases because this is, every artist who ever created a painting looked at a lot of other art before they did that, and maybe they even copied some styles first.

Benito (01:41:17):
Hey, hold on, Leo, this is Benito by the way, everybody.

Leo Laporte (01:41:19):
Bonino, who is our technical director. Hello Benito.

Benito (01:41:22):
But now you're treating, you're

Leo Laporte (01:41:22):
An artist, you're a creator. So you have

Benito (01:41:24):
A, you're now treating the AI like a person though, saying that I can do it. But then why can't the ai, so, because it's an ai it's, it's a computer program. This is not a person you're talking about. So why would we treat the per, why would we treat the AI the same as people?

Leo Laporte (01:41:37):
Well, we have to treat copyright law. I mean, <laugh>, you're right. I mean good luck getting any money out of the machine. <Laugh>, when they sue, they're not suing the machine. They're suing the people who run the business. The company and machines

Benito (01:41:50):

Leo Laporte (01:41:50):
Copies like all the time. Yeah, you don't, you don't sue a Xerox machine <laugh> for copyright infringement. You sue the human who did it. So yeah, it's a machine, but they're suing Sam Altman at all. But it's, I don't, I, I don't know is so one thing that,

Benito (01:42:10):
But like a bar said, this is a precedent setting

Leo Laporte (01:42:11):
Thing. It is precedent setting, but don't think they're gonna win this one.

Benito (01:42:14):
One Sherman what Theis can do,

Leo Laporte (01:42:16):
Should, I mean Adobe, Adobe is saying very clearly to avoid this, no, we're only gonna license, we're gonna absorb licensed material. We're not gonna, but if you put something public on the internet, you're putting it in public, right? I don't, I think we'll see, of course it will be precedent, it feels like, but I think the course are gonna come down and say, no, this is, this is transformative. This is not, this is not what you wrote. No. Similar to the Google Books case with Right. With Hashet years ago. But that was actual, actual books. I don't remember the particular Google was copying the actual books. Scanning books, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:43:01):
And I guess the other issue would be like, could you go to chat gpt and be like, give me chapter one and just no output

Leo Laporte (01:43:10):
It. I'm sure you can't, but you could say,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:43:12):
I'm sure you can't either.

Leo Laporte (01:43:13):
So write me a book in the style of Sarah Silverman.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:43:17):

Leo Laporte (01:43:19):
I, that's not violating, you know, even if it's very much in the style of Sara Elman, just as, just as, you know, paint me a painting in the style of the, of Kincaid. Yeah. It's gonna look like Kincaid painted it, but it's not the same painting.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:43:33):

Leo Laporte (01:43:34):
I, we'll see. I think the courts are gonna universally say no, that that's not copying, that's, that's synthesizing. Anyway. It would be very interesting, very interesting to see. Abar, what do you think?

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:43:51):
I, I I agree with you. I do think it's, it's unlikely that they would that they would side with Silverman. But I do think I, at the end of the day, what's interesting here is, is that fear. Right? That fear from a lot of

Leo Laporte (01:44:04):
Creators. Oh, I understand it. Absolutely.

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:44:06):
And so, yes, so I think it'll be, it, it's interesting to see what becomes of that. And it is very reflective of, of that general anxiety about what can this do, what can we allow it to do? What should we allow it to do? But I think you definitely have a point in terms of I don't have a lot of faith that they'll be like, okay, no, you can't do that. I, I do, I do think you have a point there.

Leo Laporte (01:44:28):
Well, the courts could, I mean, if they did say that they would really put a <laugh>, put a a, a a a block in front of AI's development, it would slow it down quite a bit. If you can't just you know, there's an interesting article about AI using BRAVE Now is apparently allowing AI companies to take copyright data and use it for AI training. This is an article from stacked Diary, Alex ovs, the Shady World of Brave Selling Copyrighted Data for AI Training. But see, Google's been doing this too. A brave is going out and and using its spider to try to create a search index to compete with Google. And apparently you can brave offers numerous API products, some of which are specifically designed for ai. In fact, one's called Data for AI lets you feed results to AI models for inference.

You pay if you, if you pay for it you can get all that info that a, that brave is, you know, spidering for its search index and use it for your for your ai. So they're even enabling this. But I see, I don't, I don't buy the the headline, the Shady World of Brave, because it, it's, I don't think it's shady. Is it? If it were, if it were private information, yes. Google has proposed using something like robots do text. It wouldn't be robots dot text, but some sort of file you, as you may know, you can keep Google from indexing your website with a simple text file in the directory of your website saying it gives permissions to spiders and so forth saying, don't index this, index this. You can't, you can say, do not index any of my site if you don't want your site to show up in Google search results. Google is proposing something similar for ai, which probably is a good idea, but I don't think there's a legal requirement that you would do that. I think that if it's a public website, it's a public website. You're not saying, well, a human can look at this, but no machine can, or I mean, that's what Robots dot text says, no machines allowed humans only.

All right. You guys have nothing to say about that. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna move on. <Laugh>. It's a very interest, it's a brave new world we're part of.

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:47:06):
Yeah, it's, I think it's just interesting to watch it unfold cuz there's so much to think about, right? Yeah. Like, we just, we don't know the answers. And there there's, yeah, there's a, there's a lot to, to each side of the argument.

Leo Laporte (01:47:16):
Dan, you so this is good. This is a good beat for you. This is what you're writing about for Zed, huh?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:47:21):
It is. Yeah. especially the the weird gray area of AI ethics and balancing that with innovation because abroad, like you said, this is a, it's a brand new era. The social web era existed and now it feels like the past, it does feel like Metaverse or No Metaverse. This is a new era of the internet.

Leo Laporte (01:47:42):
Well, certainly that's one of the things. The Hollywood writers, the Writers Guild of America, and now the actors are worried about Sag AFTRA going out on strike. Boy, you got the actors and the writers out. I don't think there's gonna be a lot of new Hollywood material coming out in any time soon. Actors say one of the reasons they're striking is because Hollywood Studios will sign deals that basically give them the rights forever to your digital likeness. And so the so the the Sag AFTRA is saying, we wanna prevent this, the association, I'm sorry, Alliance of Motion Picture and television producers say, well, we have something that's gonna protect actors <laugh>. But the, the groundbreaking proposal, according to the Verge that they offered is that background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day's pay, and then the company owns the scan, the image, their likeness, and could be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want with no consent and no compensation. That's their proposal. <Laugh>

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:49:04):
Sounds like a great deal.

Leo Laporte (01:49:06):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:49:07):
And like signing, they showed that they showed Netflix there with the latest Black Mirror season. Yes. And yes. That, that first episode Joan is awful. I haven't seen it. Tell me what, what

Leo Laporte (01:49:19):
That is, what it is. Did they, did they digitize Joan?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:49:23):
Yeah, when <laugh>, you'll love it actually, because it's about when you agree to the terms of service. Yeah. In there was Netflix was saying, we can own the likes, your likes and basically what this says, and that we can do whatever we want with it, and you're not gonna get any money and any compensation. So that's standard

Leo Laporte (01:49:44):
Boiler plate. I have to say, when we would, if, if you came on on tech TV back in the day and maybe you did, I don't know, we would give you a contract that said, we own the rights to this to be used in any form of media now existing or to be invented in perpetuity. That's just normal.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:50:04):
The difference here was this was the consumers though, who just watched Netflix.

Leo Laporte (01:50:09):
Oh, wow. Yeah. I don't think that's, it

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:50:10):
Wasn't for the actors, although the actors were doing it too. Yeah. So then what happened was Joan had a bad day. She came home, she turned on Netflix, and then one of the first shows, it's not called Netflix though, it's called stream Berry, which is a really great

Leo Laporte (01:50:25):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:50:25):
Berry. In fact, if you go to, if you go to Stream Berry, you can create your own blah blah blah's. Awful. So I created a Daniel's awful show, and it does the whole banner.

Leo Laporte (01:50:35):
Here it is. Stream Berry tv. Somebody Oh, my, somebody did, who set this up? Was it the Black Mirror folks or is it

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:50:42):
Yeah, back the mirror. Netflix. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:50:45):
Oh, that's funny.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:50:46):

Leo Laporte (01:50:46):
Whether your name is Joan or not, you are the star of the show. Take or upload a photo of yourself, you could be the next star of Stream Berry. Well, wow, that's cool. So

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:50:58):
Having Joan comes home from work, she turns on stream Berry and is watching it with her boyfriend. And the show comes on called Joan Is Awful, and the lead is Selma Hayek, I think it was Selma Hayek. Yeah. Yeah, it was. And, but she has the same haircut as Joan does, and they start watching it and Joan's horrified to find out. It's basically her day acted out. And what they're doing is they're using Selma Hayek actually didn't act, they just used her face cuz she signed a contract saying that they can just use her face for whatever they want. And so the show is entirely generated by ai, not in real time, but a couple hours later. Oh my

Leo Laporte (01:51:44):
God, they've done it. And so <laugh>, that's

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:51:47):

Leo Laporte (01:51:49):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:51:49):
And so, so all her friends and family end up watching it and like, they're all like, learning about all the secret stuff she's been saying and doing. And that's why it's called Joan is Awful because it makes her look really bad, even though what she was doing wasn't really bad. And they sometimes they take liberties with some things to add drama, and then as a show progresses, it turns out that they plan to do this where everyone who signs up for Stream Berry that they're all gonna have their own show <laugh>.

Leo Laporte (01:52:19):
Wow. It's a little like watch, it's a little kind of Truman show, except it's everybody. Yeah. That's Leo to be. Wow. That has to be the name of this episode as Leo. Leo is awful. <Laugh>.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:52:30):
There you go. Yeah. It's

Leo Laporte (01:52:32):
18 plus a hundred percent match one season. I am awful. Wow. <laugh>, that's a, that's

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:52:38):
Gonna be, I have admit though, it was one of the funniest episodes I've seen Watch it, seen do. It's it's a riot and Selma is just in it. She's such, and it gets, it has a very meta ending to it that kind of just really starts to hurt your brain in, in terms of how deep the AI and supercomputer thing goes. But it's I mean it's that much different from what this is proposed with these actors, which is pretty absurd in my opinion. That like, I almost get, like, we can scan you and use you, but the no compensation part is

Leo Laporte (01:53:07):
Forever and hard. Amen. I mean,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:53:09):
Yeah, like if they had compensation, like I could see the benefit there reactor maybe like, but nothing and not even an acknowledgement. That's just like, I don't know. Oh, I think that you could probably use digital simulacra as a threat too. Like if you don't sign this, you're getting nothing. Like we're just gonna create our own Tom Cruise or, or Selma hi or whatever. Like, you know what? You don't like it. We can, there's new movie stars all the

Leo Laporte (01:53:36):
Time. We just create anyone. There's also plenty of artists who would just sign it Right. And say, fine. Yeah. You know, okay,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:53:44):
Give me, it's the new ones.

Leo Laporte (01:53:46):
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:53:47):
Look, Warren things worse. Well, yeah, I guess if you're the extremes, right? If you're super wealthy and you don't care, they might do it. Or you're, you're old and getting ready to die or you're pouring no other option if to the scene. I

Leo Laporte (01:53:59):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:53:59):
Mention that. Yeah. And if you're super young, new,

Leo Laporte (01:54:01):
A M P T P says No, no, we never said that. It's you'd get compensated for that show or movie, but if we were gonna reuse it, we'd have to negotiate with you for Yeah. But no

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:54:13):

Leo Laporte (01:54:14):
Yeah. Or yeah, maybe no residuals. I, you know, what I, if, if the, if Sag Ara wants to strike, I was, I'm no longer a member. I'm on on I don't know, on vacation or something cuz I don't do the radio show anymore, but I was a longtime member of Sag Ara. If they wanna strike, I support 'em. I think, and writers wanna strike. I support 'em. They deserve, they create great stuff for us. And it's clear that, you know, the, the moguls are making plenty of money. Just share a little bit with it's important

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:54:44):
To support unions. Yes.

Abrar Al-Heeti (01:54:45):
Yeah. I do think this is a prime example of what I mean by, I'm glad that people are speaking up now about these things because you know, imagine if that became the norm and, and people didn't speak up. Yeah. And that was just, that just became our new reality.

Leo Laporte (01:54:56):

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:54:58):
Anyone see the Fran re speech?

Leo Laporte (01:55:01):
She, she's the president on fire. Yeah. Mm-hmm. The nanny. Yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:55:05):
The nanny is the nanny. The President

Leo Laporte (01:55:07):
Aftra. Yeah. And she is great. I I voted for her and I support her. Let me see if I can should I play a little bit of this? Let me see. Bob Iger says, oh, you know we don't, we don't care. Disney Disney doesn't need these guys. He said this was at Sun, at the Sun Valley <laugh> conference. Bob Iger said, they're not being realistic. So Fran Drescher said in response, I f I found his remarks terribly repugnant out of touch. You have to do it in the nanny's accent, though. Positively don't deaf. I don't think it served him well, <laugh>, if I were that company, I would lock him behind doors and never let him talk to anybody about this. Because it's so obvious, he has no clue into what is really happening on the ground with hardworking people that don't make anywhere near the salary. He's making high seven figures, eight figures. This is crazy money. They make <laugh>, I don't care. And they don't care if they're land barons of a medieval time. I wanna find a recording of that. That sounds <laugh>. I wanna hear her say that.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:56:25):
You can. I guarantee you can make AI make that happen. Right.

Leo Laporte (01:56:28):
AI could do it. <Laugh>

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:56:30):
Give that speech in the voice of the nanny affirm by transcript. I'm sure that that could be done. I was gonna say though, like, what's interesting too is none of this is completely new, of course. Right? On Netflix, they're running that really good short series about American Gladiators. And that was the theme of that show where the, all the members were getting paid. The gladiators were barely getting anything. They're getting no residuals. They're getting nothing from the toys. Oh, it's terrible. And then, yeah, then they kind of gathered together almost as a union, but not quite. And they went and said, Hey, we would like more money. They got fired on the spot. Yeah. It was Samuel O Gold one. He's like, we don't renegotiate. Yeah. And that was a, it's just a's a little bit assessment going on forever

Leo Laporte (01:57:09):
From from your old employer. Dan, here's a little of Fran Drescher.

Fran Drescher (01:57:13):
Thank you. Thank you to Duncan. And thank you everybody for coming to this.

Leo Laporte (01:57:18):
It's her voice, isn't it?

Fran Drescher (01:57:19):
Today. It's really important that this negotiation

Leo Laporte (01:57:23):
Recover. She's a, I have to say she's a great president of Sag after the cast of Oppenheimer ready to promote the movie. Well, he was already in the group, whoop, sorry, of Strike. Stop that. It walked out of the London premiere of the movie when the strike was announced. They said, oh, we're on strike. Bye-Bye. Which makes you wonder who's gonna promote these films if the actors won't show up. This is not good. Sian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon walked out from the London premiere of Oppenheimer to quote, write their picket signs ahead of the strike Thursday evening.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:58:03):
Yikes. And Damon has a long history of labor. I mean, he's always been active in that good, that scene anyway. Yeah, yeah,

Leo Laporte (01:58:09):
Yeah. John Cusack had a great Twitter thread. I think he was talking about his sister Joan Ekk, about her getting paid a seventh of what the male stars of her show were getting. And not even getting, she was always a guest star cuz they could pay her less, even though she was on every episode. And yeah, there's all sorts of predatory practices in Hollywood. Are you surprised? Especially for women and yeah.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:58:34):
It's so unfortunate just because this summer felt like the first summer.

Leo Laporte (01:58:38):
I know we were coming back

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:58:40):
Baby with the movie theaters, got

Leo Laporte (01:58:41):
Some good movies. Like,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:58:43):
It's just like, wow. Where it's, it's some really good stuff in the cinema now, you know? And it's just like, oh, now the breaks. Everything has been put on, on pause.

Leo Laporte (01:58:51):
Yeah. Are you are you a Barbie or Heimer? <Laugh>. Which <laugh>

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:58:57):
I have to admit, Barbie Barbie looks up there with like the Lego movie where the Lego movie shouldn't have been that good. Yeah. And then like, I see this stuff on Barbie, I'm like, oh, this might actually be legit. Pretty hilarious. So I'm pretty excited about it. But yeah, Oppenheimer is gonna be a amazing too.

Leo Laporte (01:59:11):
Dan, is there social con conscience here? No. No, no. Should we, should we strike these movies? Should we not go see these movies?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:59:19):
No, we should go see movies.

Leo Laporte (01:59:20):
Oh, okay. Movies are fine. I was worried. I was a little bit worried, but I, I actually do support it. I wonder though, I mean, the effects of a strike aren't gonna be felt for a long time because a lot of stuff is already in the pipeline. It's not gonna be for 6, 7, 8 months, maybe a year before we start seeing nothing. A bunch of reality tv. Yeah. Depending on how long the strike goes on. Producers

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:59:45):
And the writers have been on strike already. I know. For

Leo Laporte (01:59:47):
Months now. Producers do the right thing. Take care of the writers. Take care of the actors, please. We want our shows chose. Nobody here is unionized though. Right? Okay.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (01:59:59):
I was once part of the wga I was actually a part of.

Leo Laporte (02:00:02):
Were you in the writer Guil? I wasn't the writer's Guil. Really? Yeah. Did you go out on strike last time? No. I,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:00:07):
I wasn't, I wasn't a part of

Leo Laporte (02:00:08):
That anymore. You were five years old last time, that's why. Yeah, I guess. I mean, I don't, I don't know what I would've done as, I mean, I'm, I was in aftra, the American Federation of Radio and Television artists, but then they merged with SAG a few years ago. So I have my SAG after card. I, I'd guess I would've had to we're not a union signatory. I could keep doing the show podcast. They don't care about

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:00:31):
I was in II for a long time.

Leo Laporte (02:00:33):
Were you, were you a stagehand?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:00:35):
No. Theater projectionist. Oh, projection. In fact, I organized a union Yeah. Actually for you. Yeah. Actually organized my movie theater. Good for you. Yeah. It was was a college project. My best friend and I came home for college and we're like, yeah, screw this. We're gonna organize a union. Tell me did it. Goddamn damn

Leo Laporte (02:00:48):
Awesome. Damn. College kids go back to school.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:00:50):
Cool. Exactly.

Leo Laporte (02:00:52):
Ruin it in our lives. All right, let's take one final break. We've got a great panel. It's so nice to have a bra all hedi here. Next time we'll find something good for you to talk about. I apologize. We talked so much about gaming. I'm

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:01:04):
Enjoying this. Okay. I'm enjoying the AI talks and the Amazon talks. It'll be great.

Leo Laporte (02:01:08):
<Laugh>, what do you, what do you, tell me a little bit about what you cover on, on cna. You do a lot of video for them.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:01:13):
Yeah, a lot of video. I'm, I'm very much focused on the social platforms and also digital accessibility is another focus

Leo Laporte (02:01:20):
Area for me. Oh, a very good area. Yeah.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:01:23):
Yeah. It's, it's, it's a great thing to work on.

Leo Laporte (02:01:25):
I just got iOS 17, the public beta of Iowa. 17. Yes. On my phone. And there's a feature, which I'm gonna, I guess I'll have to, I'll do this before MAC break weekly on Tuesday. But there's a, a thing where you teach it your voice,

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:01:40):
Personal voice. That's right.

Leo Laporte (02:01:41):
Personal voice. Have you played with that? Yeah.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:01:44):
I am waiting, so I'm too scared to download the bait on my personal device. Once I get into the office next week, I'm gonna play around with it. But I'm very excited about this feature. It's very cool. It says it's, it's slightly creepy, but yeah,

Leo Laporte (02:01:56):
It says create your personal voice. Record yourself. The reason I haven't done it yet is you have to read 150 phrases out loud, and then it securely stores your personal voice. The idea being that for, it says assistive technology. So if you have trouble speaking mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you can or if you think you're going to have trouble speaking, you can do this. And now you can use your voice type and just like, you know Steven Hawking instead of a robotic voice, it'd be your own, your own voice. So that's

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:02:28):
Pretty cool. Yeah, it's very cool. Yeah. There's a lot of really cool features on Android and iOS that are geared towards accessibility, but as with all digital accessibility, it benefits everybody.

Leo Laporte (02:02:37):
Yes, I agree. But I want my voice to be Siri's voice. I, I don't know if they'll let me do that. That would be great.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:02:45):
If it could. That'd be really cool. Play around with

Leo Laporte (02:02:46):
That. Could Siri would respond to me in my own voice. That would, that's what I want.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:02:50):
You don't want Fran's voice. I feel like you're really good

Leo Laporte (02:02:52):
That I could go Fran. I'll do Fran

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:02:54):

Leo Laporte (02:02:56):
That would be kind of fun being, being Fran. I, when we come back, I wanna ask you about how, what TikTok status is now. Like are they, are they, are they surviving all of the attacks on them? And I have to admit, I have a little dog in this hunt cuz my son has become this, you know, he's got like two and a half million followers on TikTok. Oh, wow. He's become this TikTok influencer and, and it's been huge for him. So I was very, I kind was very worried about what was going on. But, we'll, we'll check in with you in a second on that one. Also with us, Daniel Rubino, editor in chief of Windows Central, a great publication if you wanna keep up with Windows. And so glad to welcome Dan Patterson back. I thought we'd lost you to the dark side, but no, you're, you're back as a journalist and doing great. But would you be, if somebody came to you and said, do you wanna be freelance? Or when somebody came to you and said, we wanna hire you, would you, would you want to be hired? Do you have

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:03:55):
A I have a kid. I need a new job.

Leo Laporte (02:03:56):
You need a job. All right. I mean,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:03:57):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I mean, I was at CBS News for a very long time and I regret going to the particular <laugh>.

Leo Laporte (02:04:06):
Were you doing pr? Is that what

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:04:07):
It was? No, no, no, no, no, no. Okay. No, I I was editorial for a cybersecurity firm. Okay. So it was kind. And they, I I worked there for seven months and they laid me off.

Leo Laporte (02:04:17):
Yeah. They said, we don't, what do you, we, we were crazy. Why did we hire somebody? We don't need this. Sorry about that. Well, look at this one.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:04:24):
One, Hey, it happens. This's not personal. Lay still personal, but they're not personal. They're about

Leo Laporte (02:04:28):
Numbers. Believe me. I know. We've had to lay off people in the past and we, you can't afford to people. You can't afford people. But look at this pum. Who wouldn't hire, wanna hire this guy? He's a wonderful journalist. No, this is great. And Twitter's always great. I love having you on Dan. Sorry to be so sanctimonious. No, that's not sanctimony. That's, you're our con that's the conscience speaking. And I think it's really important. It really is. I've been bringing it up, but I've been bringing it up gently in all our conversations about threads. You know, it's meta right? You know, does that bother you? Yeah. Yeah. I got off, I got off Facebook years ago, cuz I don't, yeah, I deleted mine and yeah, me too. And, and I don't have WhatsApp. I had to have Instagram, but not so much to contribute up to it, but more because if you're not logged in, you can't show people's Instagram pictures.

And sometimes that's how we, you know, we would show that content on the shows. But then it made it really easy for me just to slide into threads and they got me. And so now you're making me think twice. And I think you're right. Absolutely right. Our show today brought to you by Express v p n, there are a number of good reasons to use a v pn security, privacy, eliminating geographic restrictions. But I gotta tell you, there's only one VPN I recommend for these purposes. And that's express VPN because they do it right. Let's talk about geographic restrictions. I have a Netflix account, right? But only when I'm in the US all I could see is Netflix, us. If I travel, I could see Netflix in the UK or Japan or wherever I am. They're all over the world. In fact, a hundred, I think they're in a hundred different countries.

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Express When you use that link express, you'll get an extra three months of Express VPN free with a one year package brings the price down below seven bucks a month. It's a good deal. Express We thank you so much for their support of our network. If you <laugh>, we had a little party here the other night, Friday night. It was kinda wild. It was a lot of fun. If you're a member of Club Twit, you probably were able to watch us do that and you can certainly go to the TWIT plus feed and watch it. But we made a little mini movie just so you can under, you know, enjoy the highlights. Watch.

Leo Laporte (02:10:57):
It just sits there and don't roll nowhere. We had a lot of fun and Yes. Mashed potatoes asking in the chat room. Is the table still greasy? No. We, we wiped it down. In fact, Lisa, my wife, cleaned it up afterwards. That was her on, on the left there. And she said they must never wipe this down. Look how filthy this, this is. So we, yeah, we don't, we don't clean it as often as we should. We actually left the place cleaner than it was when we started. If you're not a member of Club Twit, that's just part of the fun we have is these club events, special shows, things like the home Theater geeks with Scott Wilkinson, hands on Mac with Micah, Sergeant Hands on Windows with Paul Thot, the Untitled Linux show, the giz Fiz Stacey's Book Club, all of that available to you as exclusive content.

A free versions of all the shows access to our Discord. If you're not yet a member of Club Twit, you gotta join before the next party. Go to twit tv slash club twit. And I think it's very fair. It costs you $15 to get a blue check on threads. Yes. 15. I checked, I thought I want a blue no Club twit, seven bucks a month. That's it. And well worth it. You get a lot for that. Thank you to our Club TWIT members for their support. Okay. A bra TikTok. Remember everybody was saying as Chinese shut it down, states were blocking it. And just like last time this happened under Trump a few years ago, has everybody just said, moved on.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:12:30):
Listen, an addiction is an addiction. That's where I stand, <laugh>. It's the one social media platform that I feel like I I don't feel worse after I'm on it. And I think a lot of people are in that same boat where a lot of people just become hooked on it. It's a really, the the algorithm is unmatched

Leo Laporte (02:12:46):
And it's harmless. Right. It's not, it's,

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:12:48):
You know, as I, I will not go on the record saying that but I will say that I <laugh> I don't want that to be attributed to me if I'm absolutely wrong. But personally, I do feel like, you know, for, for me, you know, you're, you're gonna be at risk of, of sharing too much data no matter what platform you join. Yes. In, in 2023. Right. And so for me, what it ends up becoming is it's a platform where I don't feel myself you know, I don't feel like I'm comparing myself to other people like I do with Instagram. And I don't feel like I am just you know, becoming undone. Every time I open up this app, it's an app that I, I open up, it shows me exactly what I wanna see. I get a good laugh. And it, it brings a lot of people joy.

And I think you know, I actually read a really interesting article from Taylor Lorenz that really echoes what I feel in terms of people talking about Twitter versus threads. But really TikTok is, is the winner for a lot of people because that's where I go when I want to know about a trend or a product or know if other people feel the same way that I do. That's, that's the platform that I gravitate towards. And so I think that's why TikTok really has continued to grow. And that's why people don't feel deterred by a lot of the concerns that you know, lawmakers bring up. And, and a lot of privacy and security experts

Leo Laporte (02:14:01):
Bring up. Yeah. And if you're worried about privacy, everybody just jump on threads. I mean, if you look at the stuff threads gathers about you mm-hmm. What is the argument that doesn't send it to the Chinese government? Is that the issue?

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:14:14):
Right. That's a

Leo Laporte (02:14:15):
Silly issue because it does send data brokers and if the Chinese government or anybody else wants that information, they can buy it cheap from data brokers. They don't need TikTok to gather the information. Meta's doing it for them.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:14:29):
Yeah, exactly. And that's the argument a lot of people brought up was, would you prefer the, that, you know, the US gets your data versus China. Is that really where you're drawing the line? Same. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (02:14:38):
It's all same.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:14:38):
Exactly. So,

Leo Laporte (02:14:39):
So Taylor had a very interesting couple of pieces because they're, I don't know what it is about TikTok, but there's a certain group of society that just, it's just, they're Oh, it's sc Oh, TikTok. So the latest today show, the Today Show actually ran a segment on a dangerous TikTok trend called the Boat Jump Challenge, where people were apparently jumping off boats and they said, many have died except it didn't happen. And, you know, good on Taylor for, for looking into it. Stories were published in People Magazine, Forbes, the Daily Mayor, the New York Post. It's, and it, the mail and post tell you something both Murdoch publications that it's, that there is some political slant to this. There was no Taylor writes, there was no boat jumping challenge on TikTok before the media frenzy. No boat jumping videos had gone viral. No hashtag related to jumping off boats had ever been popular on TikTok. Now the single trending audio on TikTok has ever been linked to jumping off boats. So it started with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency saying on July 3rd, a news story was shared by today by NB NBC's Today Show regarding first responders warning against a deadly boating TikTok trend. Please be advised the information was wrong. There is no record of this happening until Thursday of this week. The spokespeople for today wouldn't refuse to comment. Finally, TikTok today admitted it and and has has retracted the story. Didn't

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:16:31):
Happen, but, but it does feel like a lot of, a lot of publications do hop on that when they hear about something that feeds into that, that bias of, okay, TikTok is dangerous. Let's, let's talk about this. Let's really lean into the fact that it's dangerous because of X, Y, Z and you know, it with a unequal distribution in terms of talking about the other social platforms and the dangers that they might you know, present

Leo Laporte (02:16:51):
The origin of the boat Jumping Challenge. Taylor Loren's rights could be traced in the Washington Post, could be traced to a single comment that a local Alabama resident made during a news broadcast. Bobby VIN, a multimedia journalist at ABC News in Birmingham got a tip about boating accidents. Spoke to Jim Dennis during the interview. Dennis claimed it was TikTok that was causing children to jump off the back of boats. <Laugh>, he just made that up. <Laugh>, it was wrong. It's the same thing with the Tide Pod challenge and the Benadryl challenge. We had the, in the Petaluma, our local paper read a story. Oh, it's all over TikTok. Teens are going up to doors and kicking on them and then running away kind of a, a, what is it? A dinging dash dong and dash ding dong and dash doorbell Ditch. Doorbell Ditch. Thank you. Sounds like you know a little bit about that there. Benito <laugh>. And they were saying, you know people were terrified. There were, there were shootings and never happened. Never happened. We, I don't know what it is. We just wanna believe this stuff.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:18:04):
It's, if it's a platform that people don't understand, then they'll very quickly lean into That's

Leo Laporte (02:18:08):
What it's,

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:18:08):
It's anything that sound makes it sound dangerous.

Leo Laporte (02:18:10):
Yeah, that's what it is. So don't worry, kids are not jumping off boats. <Laugh>, the Today Show says that was wrong. And don't kill wasps with gasoline. That's not a good idea either. <Laugh>. So what about the states? Well, actually, Texas has been sued now over its TikTok band saying that's a violation of the First Amendment. Government cannot do that. And you know what? I think that's a good point. The Knight First Amendment Institute, Institute at Columbia University filed the lawsuit against the Texas TikTok ban. So maybe these bans, Mon Montana has one. Alabama has one. I think that's

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:18:49):

Leo Laporte (02:18:50):

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:18:51):
Yeah, it's, it's interesting. I, you know, obviously people are not gonna you know, take it <laugh>, take it. Well, if, if you're, if you're banning a, an app that popular, I mean, I have to say that TikTok has the same issues that other platforms have in terms of you will come across content, especially younger users that, you know, that might make them feel

Leo Laporte (02:19:09):
That's up to the parents though. Users, that's up to parents and that Yeah.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:19:13):
Right. That is, you know, that that is an argument that that's up to parents to it. It's, it goes back to the discussion that we've had this whole show of, is it the platforms or is it the ways that people use those platforms? Right. But I, but I can't talk, I can't rave about TikTok without also saying, there is a caveat here. It's not all great, that's gonna make you feel amazing, but, you know, there are certain, certain demographics that might struggle more with the content that they see versus the content that I see. So I just had to put that out there too.

Leo Laporte (02:19:37):
There is nothing wrong with learning how to make sandwiches on TikTok <laugh>, and I strongly encourage that you all do that. Oh, it's delicious. Yeah. 8.4 million views on this one. My son though, has moved to Instagram for the most part, Instagram and YouTube. But he got a start on TikTok. It's funny. Went That's amazing. Went zero to it. Just took a, it took a few months because the algorithm picked it up. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And once the for him picks it up, it launches you. It's pretty cool. It's,

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:20:07):
The algorithm doesn't like me, so I'm glad it likes him, so. Oh, that's great.

Leo Laporte (02:20:10):
<Laugh>, do you think it's cuz you wear a hijab? Do you think it's like, I don't

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:20:14):
Know. I, I feel like I, I wish I knew the answer, but you know, my friends like my toss, so I'll take it.

Leo Laporte (02:20:21):
What's your tick? Let's get some followers. Oh gosh. What's your TikTok handle? A bra.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:20:26):
It's my first and last name. So it's a bra l het, no hyphen.

Leo Laporte (02:20:29):
How hard is that?

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:20:30):
It's, it's just, yeah, it's just me being ridiculous and anything that pops into my head, I just do it. So.

Leo Laporte (02:20:36):
And it says tech reporter who downloaded this app for research.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:20:40):
Yeah. Quote unquote 200

Leo Laporte (02:20:42):
For work. 66. Wait a minute. That's wrong. Everybody, please follow a bra right now.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:20:48):
I appreciate this

Leo Laporte (02:20:49):
On TikTok.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:20:51):
I have a video. My latest video is unboxing Elon Musk's Burnt Hair Perfume. So if you're into that, how's that smell? You see my reaction? Is it good? It's awful. I sprayed one spray and then my entire apartment, I had to like, open all the windows. Light a candle. I don't know what's in there, but Yeah. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (02:21:05):
What's wrong with him? <Laugh>. I mean, it's a funny, it's a funny dad joke, but he actually made it.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:21:11):
He made it and sold out and, you know, I bought it for work, so I wasn't like personally purchasing it with my hard earned dollars, but but yeah, I, I don't know why people are really excited. Somebody commented on there saying, sell it to me. And I was like, oh. I mean, I'm happy to sell it. I don't want it anymore. But

Leo Laporte (02:21:26):
If people want it, does it actually smell like burnt hair?

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:21:29):
I think it does. I think it, okay. So the way I described it in my video, which is really weird, but I said it smells like dirty outside, which if you don't live in San Francisco, you might not understand. Oh yeah. But it's basically like, that's what I feel like it smells like

Leo Laporte (02:21:41):
<Laugh>. What is wrong with Elon

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:21:43):
<Laugh>? We have to have a whole show about that if you want an answered, I don't know. I don't

Leo Laporte (02:21:47):
Know how it's sold out. So he's doing something right? He has his stands, doesn't he? He,

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:21:52):
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I mean, by the way,

Leo Laporte (02:21:54):
That Speak freely, Taylor's version. Thumbs up. Oh

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:21:59):
My God. Double thumbs up. I'm going to her concert in two weeks and people are treating it like it's my wedding day because they keep asking me, <laugh>, when's the big day? <Laugh>.

Leo Laporte (02:22:08):
That's hysterical. How much, I don't wanna, I shouldn't out you on this, but how much did you spend? You can help me on those tickets. Can

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:22:15):
I, I spent 365 for lower bull seats. Oh, that's not bad. And I would sell a kidney, honestly, at this point. So it, it was a steal for me.

Leo Laporte (02:22:23):
That's not bad at all. Yeah. So you got directly through Ticketmaster?

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:22:28):
It was a whole debacle. I was supposed to have access, you know, for presale it, you know, as we all know, Ticketmaster is a disaster. Awesome. It didn't work out awesome. And then a friend, a friend of a friend sold them at face value for me. So bless her. I hope that's, she knows how much I appreciate it. She doesn't even know me personally, but my friend told her that I am a diehard,

Leo Laporte (02:22:45):
What's wrong with her? I'm glad you Did she not wanna see Taylor?

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:22:48):
They had they had two friends that were successful, so they didn't need both tickets. Oh, that's good. It was like a friend group that broke it all up. So thank you to that, to that person. That kind Soul

Leo Laporte (02:22:57):
California Senate Bill 8 29 bars, entertainment facilities like Arena amphitheaters and stands from entering into exclusivity contracts with ticketing companies like Ticketmaster.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:23:10):

Leo Laporte (02:23:10):
<Laugh>. Let's hope that that passes because this is the problem is that Ticketmaster insists on exclusivity with the venues. And so artists like Taylor Swift have no choice but to use Ticketmaster. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:23:24):
To, and then it becomes a personal battle. Like, it, it falls upon the artist to kind of like, she's really been been pushing and speaking openly against Ticketmaster as much as she can. Yeah. Not that she can do that much, but it, it, the onus falls upon them to make their fans happy. But it's Live Nation is just such a huge force and, and venues don't wanna lose out on that revenue either.

Leo Laporte (02:23:44):
Where are you gonna see her

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:23:46):
At? Levi's In Santa

Leo Laporte (02:23:47):
Clara. It's here. Yeah. She's in, it's here. She's in town.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:23:51):
I'm taking the full day off. It's a Friday because I feel like we have to leave at like noon Oh yeah. To get there and like not deal with the traffic. So yeah,

Leo Laporte (02:23:58):
We used to go to Niners games down there. The trick is to drive part of the way and then take the train the rest of the way so you don't have to park.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:24:05):
Oh, that's smart. That's a good, I, okay, thank you. I've been asking around for tips. This is what little tip I needed to be asking you the whole time. Yeah, yeah,

Leo Laporte (02:24:11):
Yeah. Well I worked for football games. I don't know, Taytay is something, something

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:24:16):
Else. It's the next level

Leo Laporte (02:24:18):
<Laugh>. So not being a Taylor Swift fan, I had no idea. But I really admire her rerecording all of her albums cuz she lost the rights to the Masters. That's right. And so she said, well fine, I'm just gonna record 'em as Taylor's version and all my fans will buy from now on. Instead of the old version, they'll buy Taylor's version. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. I really admire that. So I listened to the whole album. I enjoyed it.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:24:41):
I love that. That makes a, I'm

Leo Laporte (02:24:42):
Not a young woman. I feel like it's music for young women primarily

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:24:46):
<Laugh>. It can be. Well, the thing that's really great about this is as much as much of a burden as it was for her to go through that and re-record everything and as much as it, you know, surely cost her a lot of money to do it. But people are rediscovering those albums. Yes. So that came out in 2010. But yes, the re-release is in 2023, so I don't know, you listen to it in 2010, but she's more

Leo Laporte (02:25:02):
Mature and has lived life. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So I've, I mean, I'm Christina Warren's also a big fan. She's Yes. She's been reviewing track by track, would you say, are they identical to No, they're d her voice is even different. Right.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:25:16):
Her voice is different. That's actually better. It's, she's, you know, her, it's richer, it's fuller. Her voices are more mature ex her vocals are more mature. Exactly. It's richer. And also, you know, there there's slight very, very slight differences in the songs, but usually it's better. And it just sounds cleaner. Her, her voice has, has improved obviously over the years. So it's, it's, it's like the new and it's like a remaster version. Are

Leo Laporte (02:25:36):
The music tracks the same? I mean, are are they roughly the same? They're not.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:25:39):
Production is the same. They're

Leo Laporte (02:25:41):
Noting it. It's just

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:25:42):
Exactly. They're, because if it was rearranged, people would be compelled to listen to the old version and that would completely defeat the purpose. So they've done a really good job recreating everything. Nice.

Leo Laporte (02:25:51):
Very nice.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:25:51):
Yeah. But she, how did she do this? She owns also a swift person and purchased the record. And my daughter, we play Taylor Swift Vinyl for her.

Leo Laporte (02:26:04):
Your one year old is a Tay fan. I

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:26:07):
Love that.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:26:07):
Absolutely. Train

Leo Laporte (02:26:08):
Young. That's awesome.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:26:09):
But I, I'm curious, how did she do, does she own the publishing? Yeah, she wrote, but she didn't own the Masters.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:26:15):
Right. But yeah, because she wrote the songs. Right. She's able to re-record them. There are, I I think there's something that says that they, there has to be a a you have to be able to distinguish them. So there might be one word that she sings slightly differently in the song. Oh, there's

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:26:27):
Something's You can definitely hear the bass or like Right. You can hear the instrumentation is different.

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:26:32):
Exactly. Probably a bit more subtle. Yeah. Yeah. It, that's the case. Usually it is better. I will say this is probably the album that she's done. The best job, kind of the production is, is the best. And, and the, the audio engineering has been the best because I think for Red, which she wrote at least a while ago, there were some that I was like, this doesn't feel finished. But I think this one is, is definitely the, the cleanest example. Nice.

Leo Laporte (02:26:53):
Yeah. Well now, now Dan and Daniel know what it felt like early in the show when they were talking about gaming and you had

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:27:01):
Nothing. Nothing. We've leveled the playing field. Thank you all for sitting through that <laugh>. You found my topic. Leo,

Leo Laporte (02:27:08):
You found, I had a feeling, I had the feeling. I might, I might be able to find that somehow. Thank you so much for joining us today. It's really great to have you Abbra. Alti you'll see here on C Net's, YouTube channel covering all kinds of stuff, including social TikTok and accessibility. Really appreciate you taking the time to be with us today. It's great to

Abrar Al-Heeti (02:27:29):
Have you. Thank you for having me. It's always a pleasure. Thank

Leo Laporte (02:27:31):
You. AB bra Dan Patterson back to in the Living amongst the living as a journalist. That's great to be here. <Laugh> that's running for CD net. And of course his blog or his really it's a newsletter. News dot dan on the CK. So great to see you. Yeah. Now you can go. Oh, it's great to be here. Cuddle your little baby girl. <Laugh>. Oh my. She

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:27:56):
Wants to listen to some Taylor right now.

Leo Laporte (02:27:58):
Yeah. <laugh>. My daughter's 31 and I still want to cuddle her and show you. They grow up. It's sad when they grow up. Anyway. Enjoy it cuz it's hard work. I know, but it's the best. Oh, we do thing. We do. She is the best. Oh, I'm so glad for you. Yeah. And Daniel Rubino, editor in chief at Windows Central. It's been a crazy week for you. Daniel, you get to rest a little bit. Relax.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:28:24):
Yeah. Although I'm about to go into South Korea. Oh

Leo Laporte (02:28:27):
Yeah. For

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:28:28):
The next weekend. What? Four Samsung. Oh, Samsung.

Leo Laporte (02:28:31):
Oh, you know their event. <Laugh> is at 7:00 AM Eastern. 4:00 AM our time, unfortunately. Yeah, <laugh>. So they're doing it, they're doing it in Korea I guess. So it's like in the evening. Yep. So you're going out for that live, that's for the flip phones, right?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:28:50):
Yeah, I believe so. I don't know. They've been there. They

Leo Laporte (02:28:54):
Haven't said so officially. How exciting. I think you're gonna have a great time.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:28:59):
Yeah, they got a lot planned for us, so should be kind of neat enough. Heard great things about soul, so.

Leo Laporte (02:29:03):
Oh my gosh, I'm jealous. You're gonna have a wonderful time. How long are you gonna be there?

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:29:09):
About four days. So

Leo Laporte (02:29:11):
Yeah, it's actually gonna take you longer to fly there than you're gonna be there, but that's okay. You'll have a good time.

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:29:15):
Yeah. And then next month I have Malaysia, which <laugh> I'm really not like, I I can't wait to get there. Oh, s

Leo Laporte (02:29:22):
I believe it takes Are you gonna Singapore or Kuala Lumpur or do you know

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:29:27):
The capital of Malaysia. Okay.

Leo Laporte (02:29:29):
I think that's Kuala Lumpur, but I might be wrong. I don't know. Yeah,

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:29:32):
That is. No, I think you're right. But yeah, I believe it takes 22 to 48 hours to get there or something, so.

Leo Laporte (02:29:38):
Wow. Yeah. So you're gonna be at Samsung unpacked. Good. We'll get you back on. I actually, I put in the 50 bucks to reserve the flip cuz I I really liked the original flip the Flip is

Daniel Rubino or Dan Patterson (02:29:51):
A fun phone. Four.

Leo Laporte (02:29:52):
Yeah, I thought it was great. Yeah. my wife's very interested. I said, it's not an iPhone. She says No, that's a good thing <laugh>. So yeah, I think I'll probably buy the flip five when it comes out. So, but I'll look for your review.

Thank you. Thank you very much all of you for being here. Thanks to all of our fans and our viewers and our listeners. We appreciate it. We, if you, if you're really a fan, you might wanna watch us do it live. We do the show live every Sunday, two to 5:00 PM Pacific Time. Yeah, well it's four 30, so you know, close to that starts at two, let's put it that way. Pacific, that would be 5:00 PM Eastern. That would be 2100 utc. You can watch the live stream or listen at live twit tv. People who watch live and listen live often like to chat with us. We like the interactivity. You can do that in our open to all chatroom at IRC TWIT tv. Of course Club Twit members get special access <laugh> behind the Velvet rope to our discord where they could chat about that.

It's also a social network. It's a lot of fun. If you remember of Club Twit, you know what I'm talking about. After the fact on-demand versions of the show are available at, supported at twit tv on YouTube. And of course you can subscribe in your favorite podcast player. That way you'll get it automatically the minute it's available. We think that's the best way to listen and encourage you to do that. Thank you for being here. Gosh, we've been doing this show now for 18 years, is that right? Yes. More than 18 years. And for 18 years I've been saying the same thing. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next time. Another twit is in the can. Bye-Bye.


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