This Week in Tech 473 (Transcripts)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT. My old friend Patrick Norton is here. It's a Screen Savers' reunion. Christina Warren from Mashable will join us. We will talk about a big week ahead; lots of new phones coming out, what we think the iPhone announcement will bring, and a whole lot more. Stay tuned, TWiT is next.
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This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 473, recorded August 31, 2014
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Leo: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover all of the tech news in obsessive, compulsive, over eager detail. That's why I brought Christina Warren in. Good to have you Christina; editor from Mashable, Film_girl on the Twitter. We are big fans as you know and every time I have you on people say, "You should have her on more." So you are on more.
Christina Warren: Wohoo!
Leo: Wohoo. And also my old friend, Patrick Norton, my co-host at The Screen Savers, current host of Tekzilla with snobs. It's great to see you once again. Also host of This Week in Computer Hardware. I immediately sent a note to Anand Shimpi. Did you see that Anand is retiring? Thirty-two years old and he is retiring!
Christina: No, he's going to Apple.
Christina: Yeah, they just posted this in IRC. I figured he was going to go to Intel, but no, he's going to work at Apple.
Leo: So, okay, Anand Shimpi; we've known him since he was a high school kid and when he started writing AnandTech. Thank you for that. Was that intentional? Goal! Patrick Norton and I interviewed him several times while on The Screen Savers. He is one of the smartest, if not the smartest analysts out there. His long pieces on how Intel works and stuff like that, just phenomenal.
Patrick Norton: Well, he kind of also, when solid state drives became a thing, Anand does the homework. Anand does the homework at an obsessive, compulsive level, and he benchmarks. You laugh, right? But when you realize how much time it takes and how many product managers and engineers that you have develop relationships with to get answers like that. It's crazy, right?
Christina: No, he's insane.
Leo: He says he was traveling 130,000 miles a year.
Patrick: I believe it.
Leo: That's how much work. The interesting thing there is that Anand...
Patrick: "After 17.5 years of digging, testing, and writing about the most interesting stuff in tech it is time for a change."
Leo: He was 14 years old when he started AnandTech in 1997; thirty-two now. What's interesting is that his blog post doesn't mention Apple.
Christina: No, but it made it clear that he would be around to talk to people if they needed anything, but that he wouldn't have any editorial anything going on. The way it was written made me think, okay so he got some sort of offer from a big company. I just assumed Intel, but Apple actually makes a lot of sense.
Patrick: Re/code just posted...
Leo: That it was Apple.
Patrick: "Veteran Tech Journalist Anand Shimpi Headed to Apple".
Leo: Interesting. What do you think Anand would do at Apple?
Christina: Chip research? I don't know, probably some product design. As Patrick was saying, he does his homework. He doesn't just do his homework, he does his homework hardcore. The testing suites he's created are some of the best out there. He is one of the smartest people I've ever met, and certainly one of the favorite people I have ever had to read.
Leo: I agree. It's a loss, I feel, to people, the consumer.
Christina: It is. It is unless he could actually have a role in building and designing the next generation of mobile phone chips, or GPUs, or CPUs. I mean, we certainly lose a huge amount from having him not writing these things, but if he could take his knowledge and his fantastic analysis to the product design side that could be kind of cool, right?
Leo: John Paczkowski as usual with the scoop, and he says in his article, which was posted a half an hour ago, "An Apple rep has confirmed that the company is hiring Shimpi". Boy that is an interesting, unexpected twist to that story.
Christina: Congrats to Anand.
Leo: Yeah, congrats Anand. I guess congrats. I presume that in order for him to abandon AnandTech they must have offered him a lot of money, don't you think?
Christina: They backed the Briggs' Truck up I think is what that is called.
Leo: Full of stock.
Patrick: Or more likely, they offered him a challenge that he couldn't resist.
Patrick: I don't really think that Anand is motivated by money. I'm sure that he likes money, but I don't think that he is motivated by it.
Christina: Oh sure.
Leo: Now I am embarrassed because I wrote him a note saying, hey, anytime you want to come on TWiT, please do.
Christina: You never know. You never know. I don't know. He was saying in his note, I can't believe that he is only like a year older than I am; he's been doing this for almost 18 years. That's a really long time to do something. I think that Patrick's point about wanting a new challenge makes a lot of sense.
Leo: He might be a little tired. He wants to relax a little. Well, that brings us to Apple because apparently they are building a giant structure next to the Flint Center. Something is going on, Apple invitations have gone out. Did you get one?
Patrick: Uh, no.
Leo: Did you get one?
Christina: I did.
Leo: Shut up!
Patrick: Do you remember the thing we did where I said that OS X is not that much easier than Windows?
Leo: Come on. Apple is not that petty.
Christina: Gizmodo got let back into the fold.
Leo: Gizmodo is going to the Apple event. This is the invitation. It says, "9.9.2014". This was the date that many had speculated. Renee Ritchie had said that this would be the date; I might point out, in the spring, but only based on previous Apple announcements. So it usually is right around the first full week of September. It is always on a Tuesday. "Wish We Could Say More" is the only text besides the date on the page. I don't think that you could get more oblique than that. Usually people read into these things. You can't read into that.
Patrick: I'm pretty sure if you wanted to go to Vegas and make a bet on this that nobody is going to take that. Oh, there's not going to be an iPhone.
Leo: There's definitely an iPhone.
Patrick: There's an iPhone 6.
Leo: Paczkowski says that there is a watch.
Patrick: Everybody says that there is a watch.
Leo: We didn't think that they would announce it. Well, Gruber said that they would announce it in September and then he took it back. He said, oh, I was just joking, but it turns out that it wasn't much of a joke because he was right. Paczkowski has said, now he's not saying watch, everybody is now saying "wearable". We don't want to get too boxed in. It could be a hat.
Patrick: The iHat. Maybe it's the iGlasses.
Leo: Jason Snell says that smarthat is a better idea than a smartwatch, and I kind of agree. More people wear hats than watches nowadays, right?
Christina: I don't know. Maybe if it has one of those Homer Simpson hats that connect to the beer cans so you can drink your beer or your apple martini through it that would be cool.
Patrick: I don't even want to engage the concept of a smart hat because suddenly like, I could totally see a boonie hat with solar cells on top.
Leo: It would be better. You could have a little thing for your ear so that it could measure more stuff like your blood sugar, and your vo2 max, and all of that stuff.
Patrick: They are already putting the little things that clip onto your finger in a hospital, I've already see those in actually watchband style.
Leo: To a watch? It goes buzz, and they put it on your finger?
Patrick: No, it's actually embedded into the bottom of the watch face. The underside of it actually does vo2, pulse, and...
Leo: I'm told that it is difficult to do, you do pulse but not when you are exercising, and it is difficult to do blood pressure on the wrist. I've been told, I don't know. I'm not a doctor.
Patrick: Blood pressure is pretty difficult period. You don't really want your watch getting really tight for a little while.
Leo: No, you don't want that. That would be weird. It will be at the Flint Center. Apple doesn't typically do announcements at Cupertino. In the past they have done them at the Mosconi Center.
Patrick: Well, they got too big to do them. For years...
Leo: Mosconi West is big.
Leo: Mosconi West is big, but they haven't...
Christina: This is like 4 times the size.
Leo: Is it?
Christina: Yeah, this is. I think David Smith posted the seating capacity and Cupertino where they sometimes do it on campus is a couple of hundred people.
Leo: That's pretty tight, yeah.
Christina: It's like 790 or 800 people at Masconi West, and then it's like 2,500 at the Flint Center.
Patrick: That's not that many.
Christina: No, but if you are talking like a four times increase, you know. Going from 700 something to 2,500 people, that is still pretty significant.
Patrick: But this also sounds like maybe they are going back to the old days. One of the things that used to be amazing about going to an Apple press conference back before I got, you know, persona non grata'd, was that they would have a layer of people that were going to be presenting or that were heavily involved, you know, a couple layers of people. They would bury the media a few rows back. Everyone who worked on the project came next. They would pack the building. It was so awesome because the media would be surrounded by people who were like ahhhhhhhhh as soon as Steve walks on stage and something is announced. The only time that I ever heard that backfire was when they announced the Intel processors.
Christina: Yeah, at MacWorld, that was bad.
Patrick: The entire audience when uhhhhhh except for like me and 3 other people who had actually done real benchmarks and knew...
Christina: I was excited.
Patrick: Yeah, the processors were going to be faster and less expensive? What a great idea Steve. You are going to actually use code that would be portable across different platforms? What a great idea Steve.
Christina: That was at the WBAC, right? That was when you had people who had spent a decade buying and drinking the cool aid that no, no, no PowerPC really is better even though we can't get a faster processor to go into a laptop because it runs so hot.
Leo: Well, do remember the developers’ distained little bit of the x86 architecture. There was, if you had spent all of your time on Power PC...
Patrick: Superior coders work on a risk platform because that's how it's been in a UNIX world for decades. If you are going to go the Cray route I guess that's a possible upgrade after decades. But yeah, you would also recreate benchmarks, and Apple was building ad campaigns around. It was like Apple was taking code that they finest engineers on the planet have combed, and taken the finest bits out of, and then they made jank out of the box code to run on an x86 platform. They would be like, megahertz for megahertz; we kicked their ass, okay. So you took the latest Audi diesel powered racecar and you put it up against like a '53 Beetle, and yes, you are faster. That was also the Apple way. We aren't lying; we are just nuancing the truth in a special way.
Leo: There's a very big, and I mean big, building being built next to the Flint Center that is obviously part of this Apple event. The Flint Center does have some history with Apple. That's where the Macintosh was announced. Remember Steve Jobs in a bowtie pulling the Mac out of the case? It says, "Hello, I'm a Mac." Remember that? That was at the Flint Center. In fact, they just had an anniversary celebration a few months ago at the Flint Center for the original Macintosh that came out in 1984, thirty, forty years. Wait, how many years? Forty years? Thirty. Thirty.
Christina: Thirty. Yeah, Apple is forty years old.
Leo: So you think it is so they can have more people?
Leo: So there would be room to invite Gizmodo, and me, and Patrick?
Christina: There should be.
Christina: I got an invite is all that I'm saying, is that I'm invited.
Leo: Are you going?
Christina: They are sending out a photographer in my place.
Patrick: This is crazy. They are calling it a side stage.
Leo: I think that is the demo room, but I don't know. I think that it's interesting, Apple, often at these events. The one reason that I would want to go is that Apple often, as they did with the iPhone and the iPad, gives you a chance to touch it long before it is actually available. They didn't do that with the iPhone, I take that back, but they iPad they did.
Patrick: Have you read the article about the launch of the iPhone?
Leo: Yeah, wasn't that fascinating?
Patrick: They weren't actually sure the iPhone would get through the demos.
Leo: This is from a book, a fabulous book called "Dogfight".
Christina: Dogfight, yeah.
Leo: Which I loved, and one of the scenes was one of the Apple engineers each time a step of the demo got cleared without a break without something crashing. He says that by the end of it we were very happy and very drunk because they were sitting in the audience. I was sitting behind them; I didn't notice all of that going on. I do think that this bodes well. It means that there will be a demo room, and a fairly large demo room at that for iPhones and maybe even for wearables.
Christina: Yeah, to me the fact that they are doing it this much bigger signifies that they are announcing something else. At least it feels like it.
Leo: Every queue, we might point at, at the AllThingsD Event, or was it Re/Code by then?
Christina: The Code Conference.
Leo: The Code Conference earlier this year said Apple has the best product pipeline I've seen in 25 years. That's a long time. This might be part of that product pipeline.
Patrick: So they are going to do something that is better than the resurrection of the Macintosh brand, the resurrection of the Macintosh platform, the introduction of the next generation?
Leo: That's saying a lot. Of the iPhone, the iPad, the iPod; that's saying a lot.
Leo: You can see Eddie. It could just be marketing. By the way, speaking of great articles; Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac, a long, very well researched piece on Apples' marketing technology and their ability to sway the press. It's fascinating reading, which I highly recommend. It's talks about the fact that, for instance, two weeks before these events they are rehearsing, which means that right now Tim Cook is spending his Sunday afternoon inside a sealed room at Flint Center. They are provided with white booklet for the keynote which is shredded before the actual event. It's a great story. The title is "Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apples' Mastery of the Media". I think, here we are, three people who have covered Apple for quite some time, I think that we would have to agree that there is no one better at doing this than Apple; whether it is the keynotes, the product announcements, or just simply getting the press to go along. Yes?
Christina: No, they are the best. Far and away they are the best. They are going to be announcing this and technically some things with eFolk will still be going on. I guarantee that the next week in Berlin everybody is going to be talking about Apple and not about the stuff that is happening there. They are one of the only companies I can think of in any industry that fully dominates the conversation no matter what is happening around them. They are masters of that, absolute masters.
Leo: How many times have you been at CES in January when Apple is the topic, not there, but the topic of discussion, right?
Patrick: Well, they also dominate the industry in some very interesting ways. John Gruber, Daring Fireball; great analyst, great to read, great, but then he got on the list. With who else, Walt Mossberg, David Pogue...
Leo: Mossberg, Steve Jobs would actually take him for walks. That's a bad sign.
Patrick: ...and John Gruber. Those are the 3 people who get early access, who basically get to see NDA looks at Apple products. Is there anybody else on that list?
Leo: Ed Baig from USA Today.
Leo: Pogue now is at Yahoo.
Patrick: But we can presume that he will still get access.
Leo: Mossberg now is no longer at the Journal. I wondered, I think that those guys will no longer get that kind of access.
Christina: No, they will.
Leo: You think so?
Christina: From what Mark was writing and from my own people I have talked to, I guess I should say sources familiar with the matter, yeah. They tend to follow the journalist more than the publication.
Leo: Well that would leave me to believe that it's not the clout of the journalist, but the fact that the journalist is friendly.
Christina: I think it's a big part of that. Engadget, when they got in, when all of them went to the Verge, the Verge then got access and it took Engadget a couple more cycles to get in their good graces. We got invited to some things, and then someone who no longer works for us was rude, or something. I'm still mad about that.
Leo: It's so easy, trust me.
Christina: So we were put on the list of not being allowed into anything. It took us a few years to get back on the list. I'm not sure if we are going to be getting any early access things. We typically are the first round of laptops, but not with phones.
Leo: John, here is the image of the big 4, the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse. You've got Pogue, you've got Baig, you've got Steven Levy, we left him out; I don't know, Steven not as important as he used to be although he is admired now, and of course Walt Mossberg.
Christina: And he is going to Medium, so...
Leo: That's right. He's going to be an editor at Medium. That's right.
Christina: Those were the four original iPhone reviewers. Mark put together this awesome spreadsheet that shows who gets in every single time, and it was one of those funny things where I was like, "Yep". From people that we know at other publications, because we all have these conversations, but none of us would actually be willing to write what Mark wrote, which is the really funny thing. That's why it's really impressive that he wrote this. Many of us know these details, but we don't have the balls to write it.
Leo: Well we don't want to talk about it because it looks like we are whining.
Christina: We don't want to get in trouble. If you are in somebody's good graces you are like, I don't want to piss you off, you know?
Leo: I don't care about that. But, of course, that's why I'm not in anybody's good graces. Look at, by the way, the top of the chart, AnandTech. No devices until the last 2, xxxxxxx. On the other hand, David Pogue and Ed Baig, every device, every device.
Patrick: And Mossberg.
Leo: Let’s go down to Mossberg; yeah, every device. That is interesting. Jason Snell, lot of x's, he's the Chief and Editor of MacWorld, three green checks. I used to get review devices in the era of the iPod. I remember Jim Louderback coming back from the iPod event in 2001, we were at TechTV, and saying, "Oh, Apple wanted you to have this." and throwing an iPod at me. But that's about the last time, wait a minute, I remember one Christmas I got a box with a red ribbon on it from Apple and it had a couple of iPods in it.
Patrick: That makes one of us.
Leo: Well, I sent it back. But the funny thing is that once you are off that list it's hard to get back on it. I wouldn't want to be on it, frankly. Is it not a way of manipulating media?
Patrick: Oh, absolutely.
Patrick: The thing that makes Apple so good at this is that most organizations are nervous around the media, or have a large enough pool that they are not particularly concerned, or they think that their product has a large enough footprint, or they just want to be nice to everybody. You never know who the next Walt Mossberg is going to come from, or where that person is going to come from. Apples' PR department is this huge, or has been for the last 15 years an extension of Steve Jobs' utter belief in total control, and paranoia, and there is this insane security mechanism that has been built. Maybe, I don't know, look at what the man did with the stock. I can't really question anything that has gone on with Apple with any legitimacy. But this incredible level of secrecy and this internal system of security that probably isn't rivaled anywhere except the KGB in the cold war years.
Leo: That's why we often talk about Kremlinology when we talk about reading the tea leaves of the Apple announcements. It's very much like Kremlinology now in analyzing who is standing on the podium during the May Day Parade next to Gorbachev. Who's that?
Patrick: You look at it, and they absolutely are like if you say something that's not nice; if Walt Mossberg said, "You know, this is a piece of crap." he'd be x'd.
Leo: Would he?
Leo: No, I take umbrage. I think Walt has said some negative things about Apple.
Christina: He has. If he were to go totally rogue, like do a 180 from his typical approach. You can be negative, you can give somebody a bad review, but if you were going to start leaking things, if you were going to do things like Mark Gurman does, if you were to start, you know...
Leo: Mark is not on this list by the way.
Christina: He never will be. Mark never will be. That's not a side of Mark. I think Mark is fantastic and I think that one of the reasons is that...
Leo: Oh my god, Mark has gotten more scoops than anybody.
Christina: Mark is amazing.
Patrick: I think that the people on that list, no one should be able to get away with leaking information. Violating an NDA should get smacked down, period. But the people on that list with all of the greens, really? Have they really had a negative review of an Apple product?
Christina: Some of them have.
Patrick: "This was not as much of a jump over the last iPad as I expected it to be." That's not really a negative review.
Christina: No, no.
Leo: Well I think does a disservice to the public. The public should know these facts because you want to know who to listen to.
Christina: Well, you do. But there is also that it comes down to the journalist and whether or not they feel like they can say anything that they want. I know that when I review and Apple product I've given some things bad reviews. I generally like their products, and I generally like them. But when there are things that I don't like I will go on a tangent about it. I remember when they released the iPad 4 a few months after they released the iPad 3 and I was mad. The fanboys came after me, which was really funny. I was like, okay guys. They started calling me an anti-Apple person, and I started laughing. I was like yesterday I was in their pocket, today I'm not.
Leo: The other negative that Apple creates by having these obvious favorites; not only is that bad for the favorites, but in a way it's bad for everybody. You really don't want to be on this list because it means that you are somehow suspicious. Don't you think?
Christina: No, you want to be on the list. You want to be on the list because...
Leo: I don't want to be on the list.
Christina: Well, you may not want to, but other places do because you want to have access as early as possible.
Leo: I can afford to buy stuff. I'm lucky enough that I just buy this stuff and review it.
Christina: We do too, but the difference is if you can have it 2 or 3 days early from a traffic perspective that makes a big difference.
Leo: I've got no lead time. We are live.
Patrick: I've got a hundred bucks that says if you get an invitation...
Leo: Oh, I would go. I would go. I have to say, I feel very fortunate that I got to see Steve Jobs in his prime. That's the iPhone and the iPad, two of the most amazing events I've ever been at watching a true master, a showman, a brilliant guy doing these demos. I was glad I was there, and I think that it is fun to go to these events. But really, we are going to cover the event. Just so our viewers know Andy Inhatko and Renee Ritchie did both get invitations. They will both be there. We are going to cover it as we always do whether there is a live stream or not. I've been told that there will be a live stream this time. But even if not we go live at 10 am on Tuesday the 9th. Mike Elgan and I will be anchoring it. So if I get invited, you can't cover it if you are invited. You have to live blog it, or if you bring a laptop just a little tip; you can turn it around and FaceTime it.
Christina: Don't do that. Don't do that.
Leo: It works great if you don't ever want to go to another Apple event. So we will be doing that, and we will have a camera down in Cupertino because there's no way that Andy and Renee can get back up here. That's 2.5 hours away, and there will be a demo I think. So we will get them and their initial reactions to the new iPhone. I like the idea of being off the list because then I don't have to tell anybody if I like it. If you like it and you are on the list then people think, and if you don't like it...I just want to be free to say what I think.
Patrick: I think that it is safe to assume that the journalists on this list have built up so much equity with their audiences that they probably are not really concerned.
Leo: I hope that's the case.
Patrick: The truth is, as Christina was saying, that if you say something nasty about an Apple product you immediately just get dogpiled on by people who just bought it and think you are an idiot for not loving it as much as they do. It's the reality of covering this stuff on the internet. It's like talking about if you say anything bad about the Xbox One, or the PlayStation 4. The iPhone, you immediately get this...
Leo: There are fanboys in every business.
Patrick: There are fanboys and there are fanboys.
Christina: There are fanboys, and there are Apple fanboys, and then there is the video game level. There is a special breed of Apple lovers, and I count myself amongst them. What is different now is that for years, Apple fans still see themselves as underdogs, like when Apple was first out.
Leo: That is not true anymore. You should stop thinking that way.
Christina: That's what I'm saying. But people still have this put upon feeling that they have to defend every aspect of the company because it's still 1987 and about to go bankrupt. You guys, it's the biggest company in the world. It's okay, you can criticize these things and it's not going to mean the end of the world. It's not going to mean that the Mac won't exist anymore and we won't have our iPhones. But I think that a lot of fans are still in that pre-2005 2006 Apple mentality, at least on the internet, which is interesting. I think that to Patrick's point, yeah, you build up equity with your audience. At least in my experience I think Apple is more concern about people who leak things rather than people who give negative reviews.
Leo: Leaks are bad for everyone.
Christina: And even when you give a negative review they are usually okay with it as long as you can back it up.
Leo: They've mellowed.
Christina: I've had conversations with them about when I've been negative with certain things. They are like, what's the problem? I will be very happy to enumerate the entire list and they will go okay, cool. It's almost like they just don't want to ad hoc, I don't like this because it's Apple. They want a little more nuance than that.
Patrick: I can remember being in a conversation about a very nuanced review and basically being told that I was an idiot and shouldn't have been allowed to review the product. So apparently they've mellowed over the last...
Christina: Maybe they've mellowed some, and that's good. I don't doubt that at all. My experience fortunately hasn't been like that, but it's been more recent. I know, at the same time, when I write negative things about other companies that they might ask for some feedback so that they can improve, but it's never an inquisition like, "Why did you write this?" You know what I mean? They are just like, okay.
Leo: Smart companies have to be beyond that. They are a little more subtle. So there are other events going on even before the Apple event. We are going to talk about IFA, which is in Berlin. We've got a Motorola event coming up next week. In fact, all the smart companies are releasing stuff now because after September 9th it's a whole new ball game. We will talk about that in just a second. From Mashable Christina Warren is here; always a pleasure to have you on the show film_girl.
Christina: Happy to be here.
Leo: And, of course, my old buddy Patrick Norton. He is also a host of This Week in Computer Hardware with Ryan Shrout. What day is that? Is that Tuesdays? Fridays?
Patrick: We record that on Thursday nights.
Leo: Thursday night. That's right. It's a welcome show on our network because I think that it's the only show in existence that talks about computer hardware obsessively.
Patrick: I don't think it's the only one.
Leo: It's one of the few.
Patrick: We hope it's one of the more attended ones.
Leo: Yeah. Our show today, brought to you today by my eyeglasses. Actually I should show the picture of Lisa. Lisa got her Warby box the other day, and she was trying on glasses. You found one you liked, right? Right, we are talking about Warby Parker. This is a really interesting company. Maybe you saw the 60 minutes piece on Luxottica, the company that has basically taken over eyeglasses.
Patrick: I don't actually have television.
Leo: A little Italian company that at one point said that if we buy every other eyeglass frame company, we can charge an exorbitant amount for a cheap piece of plastic. And they have succeeded. But what I admired is that the startup guys at Warby said, "Well, there's got to be a better way to do this." and we don't have to charge that much, and we can make you a great pair of glasses. Glasses at Warby Parker start at $95 and that includes the lenses. When was the last time you got a pair of glasses for that?
Patrick: Prescription lenses?
Leo: Prescription lenses, anti-glare coating and all. Progressive lenses available, too. They are a little more expensive, they start at $295, but they are using this digital free form lens; very advanced progressive technology. I really like it. It gives you a full field of vision by design. They are very precise computer design. So what happens is you get the free Warby try on. Here's what you do. You go to warbyparker.com and you pick some glasses out. You are going to pick out 5 of them. They will send you the home try on kit. Think about it, this is the thing with glasses. You don't want to buy them sight unseen; you need to put them on your face. So they will send you 5 frames, and you can try them on. Show them to your friends and family. Oh, I like these. What do you think? Who is that behind those Warbys? Not quite me, no. This is what you do. You get your friends; I actually posted pictures of me on Google+ trying them on.
Leo: Very superstitious. No, that's wrong. Now I like these. See, I'm a horn rim kind of guy. I like these. So here is the point. You go through these, you figure out which one you like, and they include a special box and a return label. You return it and you say, I want this one. They turn it around very fast. They will do the prescription. All glasses include anti-reflective and anti-glare coating, a hard case, very nice hard case, and a cleaning cloth. One of the things that I really like is that they partner with companies like VisionSpring. For every pair of glasses you buy they send a pair to someone in need. So it's a good company with a really great way of doing business. They make buying glasses fun, fast, easy, pain free, and affordable with low prices and wide selection of styles. You can actually have your, this is what I like, I have my clear glasses and my sunglasses in the car, both with my prescription. At this price why not. Give Warby Parker a try, stylish new pair of prescription glasses or sunglasses. Go to warbyparker, w-a-r-b-y, parker, p-a-r-k-e-r.com/twit for the free home try on. You will get free 3 day shipping on your final frame purchase, too. They turn it around very fast. I really am a fan. Warbyparker.com; don't settle for overpriced, bland, monopolized eyewear, just a few manufacturers that keep prices artificially high. No. Go to Warby. You are doing a good thing for the planet. Warbyparker.com/twit.
So we have a bunch of events to cover. I think that we are going to do live coverage of everything. Why not? I don't want to look like an Apple bigot. So September 3rd, which is what, 3 days or 4 days from today; Samsung Unpacked. Now, I have to say, when you have seen an Apple event, going to a Samsung event is a step down.
Patrick: Well, no, I'm just thinking of CES where it is like we are going to do every product from every division that has anything to do with anything that might be in a home, or in an apartment, or held by somebody anywhere. It's like...
Leo: Those are terrible. I bet you, Christina, because you are in New York, did you go to the last Samsung Unpacked event, the Broadway show?
Christina: Oh my god, I was just about to bring that up. That was the most amazing event ever, and not in the way that they intended it to be amazing.
Leo: That was the one where they were showing off the Galaxy s4, "Oh my nails are drying so I don't want to touch the phone..."
Christina: It worked better live and in person then it did over the web. The idea was to create like a 50' musical motif on it. The problem, however, that most of the audience who was watching at home or even in the audience, because they were at Radio City, doesn't understand the fact that this was a rip on 50's-60's era comedy musicals. So it played really, really awkwardly and then Samsung changes some lines in the script that muddled the humor a little bit more. Then they invited everyone literally and their brother, second cousin, and like my best friend's boyfriend's bother's girlfriend. It's like the Ferris Bueller line; every person was there because they needed to fill up this space. The problem was that there was this huge bottleneck to get into the space. Then afterwards, anybody who was wanting to look at the phones you would have to fight with 500 people, many of whom don't speak English, which is fine but when you are trying to get in to get a photo of this phone its like, okay, I'm just going to leave. It was chaotic, but also kind of amazing with the whole stage show thing. It was a horrible of Chase. He really tried, but yeah.
Leo: You know, I've thought that people who were there might have had a different experience. Those who were at home didn't really get a sense of the theatricality of the event.
Christina: Being there in person was a lot better than looking at the live stream, but there was still awkwardness. I remember turning to the people that I was with and being like, is this really happening? It just felt so funny and bizarre because you don't expect that. You are thinking really, really?
Leo: There's nothing worse than bad attempts to be funny, right?
Leo: Bad humor. Here we go, put up a little audio of this. This will give you an idea of how terrible this was. Can you hear my audio John?
(Audio playing): The new Samsung Galaxy s4. They are not going to give you a free phone Jesse. I'm not asking for one, but I thought, maybe you can find out if I can transfer all of it from old phone to the new Galaxy s4.
Leo: It's like, why am I here? Why am I watching this? And who is this guy? And why is there a car on its side on the stage, and on, and on, and on. It was just, it was like what? If you have been to an Apple event and then you see this then you go...
(Audio playing) Look at that. That's what happened with all of your brides' maids in all of your Broadway shows. Awesome feature. And you know, even if you only have 2 phones, you can still set up a great sounding 2 channel system. Plus you can adjust the volume of each device. And you can start up the music again right from where it was previously stopped.
Leo: I was just checking to see if it was as bad as I remember.
Christina: Yeah, it was.
Patrick: An awesome thing to think about was what the price tag for this was.
Leo: Oh my god.
(Audio playing) Never mind. And not only does group play let you share music...
Leo: So they are doing it in New York again. Is it Radio City Music Hall September 3rd?
Christina: No, what they are doing is they are doing it from Berlin, and then they are also live streaming it into China, or live streaming it to Hong Kong, I guess, and live streaming it to New York. That's what they have done the last 2 times when they have the offsite events. A bunch of people will gather and sometimes have alcohol, sometimes don't. I hope they have alcohol this time although it will be 8 in the morning.
Leo: 8 am. And you want what, Bloody Marys?
Christina: Heck yeah man. Shoot, if I'm going to have to watch through one of these things I would at least like to have something going on is what I am saying.
Leo: Remember the last event they had a very lugubrious orchestra playing very sleepy music. It made me want to go to sleep. And you are at 8 am. I think this might put you to sleep if they do that.
Christina: Right. So they are going to have the live stream, but they're getting everything out on the 3rd. That's Wednesday? They are going to be doing all of that and they will also have the stream to tune into. They will probably also have products in New York for people there to get their hands on. That's what they did last year at IFA and also the Galaxy s5 event. They had satellite things where you could still touch and play with stuff, then they had the live event from in that case it was in MWC.
Leo: It's too soon for an s6, right? We wouldn't see a Galaxy 6?
Christina: No, this will be the Note 4.
Leo: Note 4.
Christina: This will be the Note 4, and they pre-announced one of the watches last week, the new Gear Live Watches I guess, one of the new Gear Watches.
Leo: This is interesting, this is Tizen, right? This is not Android Wear and it's a phone; you don't actually need a phone for it.
Christina: Exactly, exactly. They might have an Android Wear component there, too, I'm not really sure. They are going to have the new Gear device, the Note 4, and I would not be surprised if we saw another couple of wearables. They just did their bit tablet revamp, but they might do more tablets again because, I'm going to be honest, I like the latest high end Samsung tablets, but they so many various models and series; the Note, the Tab Pro, the whatnot. Like I don't even know what they all are. They've got like 16 various types of tablets.
Leo: Isn't that always been? That is the difference between Samsung and Apple. Apple picks the one best thing and says, "This is all you need, just this. Don't think about anything else." Samsung says, "Whatever you want. We will make it any size that you want. We will make it any shape that you want, whatever you want." Those are two reasonable market strategies. Some people want a choice and some people want to be told what to do.
Patrick: But this is also, I don't know if its choice so much as an overwhelming array of options. The biggest joke in This Week in Hardware has been, okay, ASUS has announced 34 mother boards this spring, and Messiah has 34 mother boards this spring.
Leo: Sometimes it's too much.
Patrick: It gets to the point where it's like why is this tablet $150 less than this tablet? Is it the memory? Is it Wi-Fi? Is it G3? Oh wait, it's LG4, no it's not LG, and you just spend a lot of time beating your head against a wall drying to decide what you should buy.
Leo: Here is an interesting rumor. We knew that Samsung was doing a virtual reality headset. Everybody is.
Christina: Yeah, yeah, that's going to be what we are expecting.
Leo: And this is Project Moonlight?
Christina: I think that's what it's called. The idea with this is that I think basically you can drop in your Galaxy device and have the equivalent of an Oculus, which makes sense.
Leo: Oh, that's like the Google Cardboard.
Patrick: It looks like a stereoscope from the 19th Century.
Leo: Hey Burke, would you bring my Google Cardboard? It's on the desk in my office.
Christina: That was how the first prototype for the Oculus came about was that they basically built the Google Cardboard thing and used it with an iPhone. That was what they did at USC. That was like the first couple of prototypes before they built it into the unit for the Oculus.
Leo: So there is a rumor that this will work with the Note 4, this Project Moonlight.
Christina: Yeah, which would make a ton of sense. That would be a big reason to kind of push that.
Leo: I thought this was actually a very funny slap from Google. They gave this out at the Google IO Conference. It was a flat piece of cardboard which you then fold up into, yeah you are right, a view master. You could put any Android phone in here that has the software on it, there is some special software. You have a little view master button here. This is all like $1.50 to make. It's as good as an Oculus Rift, right?
Christina: It's not bad.
Leo: It's not hooked up to a game, right? So maybe that's the difference.
Christina: Right. The new Oculus, the new one that just came out, has a little bit higher resolution screen than the past ones did and the big thing is that the motion...
Leo: But this is 1080p!
Christina: Well, you are right, but it's better for motion I guess I would say. With that one when you are kind of turning around and looking at things it doesn't have that kind of depth of space where you feel like you could turn to your left, and turn to your right, and kind of see things, and get that kind of field of vision thing that you got with the Oculus. But it's not bad. I think that for a lot of people, for developers especially, it is a way to get a chance to try out developing for these types of headsets, which if everything is to be believed is going to become a much bigger trend. Sony is obviously getting into it with Oculus and what not. I think that it is a really affordable way to have people start developing stuff around that. So that's really cool.
Leo: Does anybody really want this? It makes me throw up. I mean literally.
Patrick: The first generation Oculus.
Leo: Chris wants it. Our intern Chris just raised his hand.
Patrick: No, a lot of people do. A bunch of gamers I know were desperately trying to hang on. We had two people who were running around using them.
Leo: Did they try it?
Patrick: Yes. Yes.
Leo: And it didn't make them nauseous?
Patrick: No, I mean, Ryan Trout; vomit. A couple of the guys from RAP3games; vomit on almost, one guy put it on and literally two minutes off, dropped to the floor, and crawled out of the testing lab.
Leo: I'm told, though, by a guy who is a navy pilot, that if you take a washcloth in ice cold water and you put it on the back of your neck there that you won't vomit.
Patrick: This is still not what we would call a positive experience with a product, right?
Leo: If 1 person in 100 can use it that's not a product.
Patrick: Well, it wasn't 1 person, but in extremely antidotal testing it was like 50/50. You either got through it or you took the thing off and you ran like hell for the nearest garbage can. In the second generation they've reduced the latency.
Leo: You think it was latency?
Patrick: A huge part of it was latency.
Leo: I though what caused it was the fact that you saw motion, but you were not moving. It's the classic car sickness. There is no latency in my car.
Patrick: No, but if we could add latency to your car you would be that much sicker.
Leo: The most sick I ever got I was coming down to The Screen Savers riding the Golden Gate Transit playing Quake on my laptop. I have never, ever felt worse in my life.
Christina: Oh my god, I can't even imagine. No, the new Oculus is so much better compared to the first one for latency and movement. They've worked with Valve I think it was to get it so that it's greatly, greatly reduced. I love it.
Leo: You don't get nauseous?
Christina: No, not with the new one, not at all. I think it's awesome. In fact all the hacks are on it. If I could spend all day, and unfortunately I can't because I'm supposed to do other things, I would love to spend all day hacking stuff with the Oculus. The Netflix team put together something where they have a whole interface for the Oculus. I would just like to spend time putting together a whole run once sort of configuration file so that other people could easily go into a loader and enjoy that sort of stuff because there are so many hacks available. It's a fun community.
Leo: I really want virtual reality. Don't think that I don't want this. I want the metaverse. I want Neal Stevenson's immersive alternate universe that I can hang out in. But putting a big headset on my head has not really gotten me there yet.
Patrick: No, well, that was so funny.
Leo: I need to jack in.
Patrick: Well, if you were jacking in with all, you thought beta testing was bad on cell phones, just wait until somebody puts in...
Leo: I want a port in my neck.
Patrick: Fiber port in your neck.
Leo: I want a port in my neck. But the early connectors will be big, so you will have to have a big port. I might wait until it is a little bit smaller.
Christina: Yeah, you want to wait for it to be smaller. You want to make sure that it will have enough bandwidth because the last thing that you want is to have to get the surgery the second time to install the upgrade.
Leo: Right, and the worst thing; you spend $10,000 to get the port put in your head. The first time you jack in you get horrendously nauseous and you go, oh, never mind.
Christina: And then the standard that you got put in turns out to be the wrong kind of Ethernet connector, right?
Leo: It's USB 5? I only have USB 4!
Christina: No, it's Token Ring.
Leo: So, this may not happen in my lifetime, probably in yours, for sure in Christina's, right? This is going to happen.
Patrick: I don't think so.
Christina: I think that at some point at some level it will, maybe not for everything, but for something. It's getting so much better so quickly. The fact that you can just use phones to power this stuff is insane.
Leo: That's amazing. That this cardboard thing works is truly amazing.
Patrick: Fairly immersive virtual reality, that part where you are putting on your goggles, that's one thing.
Leo: What kind of soda would you like?
Patrick: Anything with caffeine.
Leo: Anything with caffeine. Yeah, I will have what he is having. Christina, what would you like?
Christina: I have my coke here.
Leo: What are you drinking?
Christina: Coca Cola.
Leo: Wow, we are a heavily sugared and caffeinated group.
Patrick: I actually have given up on soda again, which is fascinating.
Leo: What would you like, black coffee?
Leo: I could get you an expresso.
Patrick: Anything with caffeine is good. No, at this point it's really weird because when you are not on a constant drip of Diet Coke or Coke Zero...
Leo: You feel better, don't you?
Patrick: The fact that it's not vaporizing minerals in your digestive system before they can get in to your body, which is good, right? But actually, it tastes really awful if you are having one and you haven't had one in a week. You are like...
Leo: You haven't built up your resistance to whatever that is, carbolic acid.
Patrick: Let's not even go down this particular path.
Leo: IFA, i-f-a, you are not going to Berlin either, huh Christina?
Christina: I am not. We sent someone else.
Leo: You are stuck.
Christina: I am stuck here, stuck here.
Leo: That's because you are so valuable to Mashable that they won't let you go. You are going to a new office, though, I saw. You are packing up.
Christina: Yeah, we just moved Friday, and we have a brand new office. It's huge, and it's very nice.
Leo: You are leaving the Flat Iron Building? That's a nice building.
Patrick: It's a nice looking building.
Christina: Well, we weren't in the Flat Iron. We were across the street from it. We are still in the same area but a little bit further up. We are on 17th and 5th Avenue. So it's huge. I've been at Mashable for 5 years, and when I started there was no office. We were all remote working. Then there was a co-working space very briefly in Union Square. Then there was a space that we lasted in about a year. We've been in our current location for 3 years. Now we are in this space, and this is like our first real, real space. I go into it and I'm like oh my god, I'm a grown up now. It must feel like when you guys built the TWiT House, the Brick House because it's insane.
Leo: Not only do I feel like a grownup, I feel like a broke grownup, so that's exciting. Would you like a Mexican Coke?
Patrick: I would love a Mexican Coke.
Leo: This is all the cane sugar and none of the...
Christina: I'm jealous.
Leo: Somebody says I don't know the difference between nauseous and nauseated. I don't, what is the difference?
Christina: So nauseated is the verb and nauseous is the descriptor, so I'm feeling nauseated and this makes me nauseous.
Leo: This makes me nauseous. So did I use that correctly editor?
Christina: I don't remember what you said. Probably not, but I almost never say it correctly. I say that I'm nauseous rather than I'm nauseated.
Leo: Right, it makes you nauseous, but you are nauseated.
Leo: Thank you. IFA is kind of the CES of mobile?
Christina: Yeah, um, no. Mobile World Congress is the CES of mobile. So IFA is kind of like...
Leo: It's a CES. It's Berlins' answer to CES. It was originally a radio show, was like International Telefunkin. I'm not kidding. In the 30's. It's been in Berlin ever since. It's the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin. Back to 1924 when it would showcase the latest developments in radio. Funkausstellung means podcast. Many people don't know that. No, it means radio show. You could be a podcaster or a funckausstellung; which would you rather be?
Christina: Totally. Totally funkass.
Patrick: Fire up bootsy.
Leo: I'm going to call myself, welcome to the TWiT funckausstelling broadcasting network.
Christina: It's so much fun.
Leo: I have never been to IFA. Have you been to IFA?
Patrick: I would love to. I want to go.
Christina: I have not. I would love to go. I will probably go next year. But no, I've never been. There is going to be a bunch of stuff announced; apparently it's all going to be about wearables. There's a big foray of stuff.
Leo: This would be the show to go to this year. This is the one, right? Is this a big breakthrough year? I think so.
Christina: Yeah, I think it is for a lot of merchants.
Patrick: Smartwatches or something that we haven't seen. I just don't find myself getting super excited about Android Wear or a smartwatch.
Leo: I'm excited about the new Moto X, whatever they call it, the X+1. That will be announced September 4th.
Christina: That is going to be in Chicago. What is Motorola doing? I don't get it.
Leo: Right now you should either be at BlackRock, or Berlin, or...
Patrick: Well, you are coming down from BlackRock, or you are part of the crew that is cleaning up after BlackRock.
Christina: Alright, imagine you are trying to get a bunch of journalists to come to your event.
Leo: The day before it's in New York.
Christina: And everybody else will either be in Berlin or New York either doing the live streams and hands on or in Berlin. Instead of going to New York, which would make sense, you say no, no, no, no, now you need to come to Chicago.
Patrick: Well, Motorola corporate headquarters is in Chicago isn't it?
Leo: Is it?
Christina: Yeah, but that doesn't make any difference. Motorola usually has their events in New York. To me that's completely irrelevant. They are doing it at whatever one of the big centers is in Chicago. Most companies are smart enough to move wherever their event is located to accommodate press.
Leo: Motorola is now owned by Google. They could do it somewhere else.
Patrick: They are not going to compete with Samsung, and LG, and Sony at IFA. They are not going to compete with Apple. Maybe they figured, you know, we announce a new phone, we send out a bunch of review units, we save a bunch of money, we do it at the corporate office.
Leo: It's fine with me. I don't care, I want one. They are going to make them in, remember the Moto X had the customizable backs; unfortunately they closed the factory, the Moto Maker factory. These will now be made in Mexico so they won't be as quick. But they will still have wood, and according to one leak; leather. You are going to have a leather backed phone.
Patrick: Take me to the Folsom Street Fair with my wood phone.
Leo: You don't have to wear chaps with these. It's okay. So leather, solid black, pearly white, and bamboo.
Patrick: The bamboo phones are pretty.
Leo: I had the wooden Moto X. I actually think the Moto X was the little phone that could. It was one of the best phones of the year and got not as much attention as it deserved.
Christina: I liked the Moto X a lot. I actually really liked the Moto G if I'm being honest. Not so much for me, but I think for a phone at that price point that was one of the best phones.
Patrick: 4G LTE for like under $200.
Leo: Is that what you are using?
Patrick: Yeah. I just refuse to buy, my iPhone 4s was just, it was gone and there was no way I was paying $600 for an iPhone 6-8 weeks before they launched the iPhone 6.
Leo: The G is probably going to be updated as well. I'm not sure what the G will have. The X+1, the next generation of the X, there were a couple of things that they had to fix. The camera wasn't good. The rumors are that they will come out with that 13 megapixel camera that everybody else is using.
Patrick: There are also issues on the Android; endemic structural issues that are being fixed inside of Android.
Leo: Software issues.
Patrick: Yeah, and a lot of the Android camera apps are just atrocious. Apple is so far ahead because when they launched the iPhone it being a camera was a big part of it. It being the biggest possible camera was a big part of it. Apple being Apple, they sort of locked down the best possible sensors the best they could.
Leo: I just read a study. The camera is the number one thing that people want to do with a smartphone is take pictures.
Christina: Oh, totally. When we do studies with our audience and we say what is the one thing that you want from a phone? Camera is number one and battery is number two. Like those are always the top two things.
Patrick: But when they build Android it didn't really occur that the camera was going to be that important of a decision, so they were several years behind in making that assumption, and building out the pipeline, and getting access to the latest sensor technology.
Christina: No, you see that with the Hyperlapse, Instagram’s' new app that came out last week that is just amazing. The technology behind it to me makes the app that much more incredible, the tech that they put into it. They want to bring it to Android, but they are going to have to wait for core Android things to change so that they can use the gyroscope that is on the phone and have access to some of their parts. It's not a matter of oh, we want to blow off Android users, it's a matter of, yeah, Android doesn't actually let us do this stuff that IOS does. As Patrick is saying, Apple has cared a lot more about the camera for a lot longer. Android is just getting with the program.
Leo: So Hyperlapse is, you know, as exciting as it is it is just a one trick pony and you can stop putting Hyperlapse pictures in my Instagram Feed. Thank you very much. The idea is that it can do time lapse, but it also does smoothing of bumps and bounces. So you would walk down a street or drive down a street and it would be smoothed out. It does look great, but let's face it; it's still a one trick pony. Time lapse is nice, but you don't want to use it all of the time.
Christina: No, no, I think that it is good for certain sorts of scenic stuff and walking things. I think sports actually is really cool. I time lapsed a tennis game during the US Open. I was at the US Open; I had really good seats, and so I time lapsed a game between Venus Williams and someone else. I was able to take like a 6 minute clip.
Leo: Who cares who else was there? Venus was there.
Patrick: I'm just envisioning the Take Down orders like NFL or MLB.
Leo: No, you can't. At the World Cup you weren't allowed. So were you panning back and forth to see the ball?
Christina: I was actually far enough back to see the entire thing in frame, so I was able to get a 6 minute game condensed down into 30 seconds. I put it on YouTube, and yeah so far the US Open hasn't come down on me. So we will see.
Leo: No, they won't.
Christina: But no, it was a really cool thing. So I got to thinking how cool this would be during the World Cup, or during football, or during other types of sports, to Hyperlapse movement because if you did want to go back and forth it would smooth it out. Yeah, here you go. It's a really cool thing to kind of watch.
Leo: Alright, yeah. I believe that Hyperlapse, the Instagram folks said that L, the L version of Android which is eminent this fall, will allow them to do the stuff they need to do for Hyperlapse.
Christina: I'm not sure. That sounds about right, but I'm not sure.
Leo: They just need access to the accelerometer in a way that they can't.
Christina: Exactly. Right, because that's what they are doing to do the smoothing for the camera capture.
Leo: That's kind of interesting. So they are doing in effect; like optic image stabilization post facto.
Christina: Precisely. Well, no, they are doing it in real time.
Leo: They are doing it in real time?
Christina: They are doing it in real time. So how they are doing that is that typically with a steady cam mount setup, like a digital real time mount setup what you would do is you would capture the motion of every single thing that was happening. That's really expensive and requires a lot of processing power. But what they found is that if you use the gyroscope on the camera, to take measurements from the gyroscope and extrapolate the movements from there then you can apply it to an algorithm which will then let you smooth things out. It mashed up really, really well. It's an incredibly smart thing. They put a post on there; Instagram’s' Engineering Blog went in to depth about how they do all of this.
Leo: It's really interesting, yeah.
Christina: It's super fascinating. When you read that you are thinking, you are right, it's a one trick pony, you are right, people are overusing it. But I feel like the technique that's in this app and the sorts of things that they are uncovering with their cinema algorithm and their other things could be very, very cool for future projects. The idea that you can do a moving time lapse thing on your camera is insane that they are able to do it all in real time with software. It also lets you select how quickly or how slowly you want the time lapse to work, and they will alter the algorithm based on what speed you select. It's just incredibly cool.
Leo: The thing that I find intriguing and I don't know if they are related, but it was only a few weeks ago that Microsoft research showed their first person hyperlapse videos. I just love this because Microsoft had it in the lab but within three weeks Instagram says oh, yeah, we can do that on the phone. And it's done.
Christina: Well they have been working on it I guess.
Leo: The same people?
Christina: No, no, no, no. I think that what had happened was the guy that was one of the engineers with Instagram, his thesis at Stanford was around this idea of the gyroscope for doing stabilization. So he had actually been doing that for a while. I think that internally at Instagram they had been working on this since February. It's not uncommon for people to be doing things at the same time. They don’t do a great job at productizing it, whereas Instagram was able to actually put out a product.
Leo: Three weeks later. It’s pretty amazing. Anyway, getting back to the X plus one; we got a little side tracked. I do hope they’ll have a better camera.
Leo: But as you point out, it’s really about software.
Patrick: It’s also about; I love the Moto G, running the Google camera app is a small improvement over the native Motorola app on the camera. But there’s also issues, some pretty serious issues with the camera itself.
Leo: That one has not as good a sensor. But I do hope that the X plus One will. It will apparently be much bigger. The last Motorola X was 4.7, which is a nice size but it was only 720p. Some are saying, rumors are, it may be as big as 5.2 inches. And I love this; front facing speakers. That’s something the HTC One has. That makes a big difference in the sound quality coming out of that phone. I love the HTC One’s front facing speakers. So, this is another one that you’re going to want to look at. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be 12 inches, 15? 108? How big is this going to be?
Patrick: That’s a really good question.
Leo: The current one is what, 5.5? 6?
Christina: 5.5 or 5.6 I think.
Leo: It’s a little bigger than 5. And of course the Lumia 1520 was 6 inches. I kind of like that size.
Patrick: Somebody handed me a Samsung Note 2, and I’d been carrying an iPhone. And it feels like a lunch tray.
Leo: You get used to that.
Patrick: Well and that was the first three days. It was like what is the giant thing in my pocket? Oh, it’s the phone. And then you know, I’m using it…
Leo: I have that question all the time.
Christina: Is that a phone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
Patrick: I’m just going to move right past that. There’s no safe place to go on this podcast with that one.
Leo: But this doesn’t look that big on my head, does it?
Patrick: It looks pretty big on your head. But the problem is when you go back to the iPhone at this point, and you’re like, oh no wonder… and you’re sitting there going like this. Spending two weeks not expanding a page up. And you’ve dealt with the fact that I’m so frustrated with so many of the web publishing systems that automatically generate an inflexible; we have a mobile version of the website. I can’t use it because I can’t find anything or it’s locked down. Or it’s locked down with six point type, and I can’t read it on an iPhone. It was funny to realize that now that was one of the things about going to this, is that it had a much bigger screen. And suddenly a 5 inch screen seems really reasonable, or a necessity for the next generation.
Leo: I think that’s one of the reasons Apple, I hope, I know they’re going to do a bigger screen. I hope they will do not only a 4.7, 4.7 is like the sweet spot. But I would love to see a 5.5 inch. And I would be very quick to get in line for a 5.5 inch. Absolutely. Alright, so that’s September 3rd, is Samsung. September 4th is Moto. Sony is going to have announcements about a new tablet and smartphone. We know they’re going to do the Experia X 3? I don’t know what their next generation is.
Christina: Z3 or something.
Leo: Z3 tablet compact. This is not the day to buy a new phone.
Christina: No, this is not the week to buy a new phone. Patrick, I think your solution of buying the Moto G is pretty genius.
Leo: Yea, the cheapest phone you can find as a stop-gap.
Patrick: And it turned out to be a really good….
Christina: It’s a really good phone.
Patrick: It’s a fantastic phone and having the 4G version meant I could also put SD cards in it, Micro SD cards in it. So I could have 64 GB. Ironically, it also underlined all the problems that Android has. The camera is problematic. Class 10 Micro SD cards wouldn’t work. By the time I bought it…
Leo: What kind did you have to get?
Patrick: Well I could either go back and try to find an older SD card.
Leo: Oh, slower is better?
Patrick: Well at the time I got through tech support, they’re like oh there’s a fix. Well you know there’s Kit Kat 4.4.4. I’m like well great! Where do I download that? Well AT&T is going to have to send it to you. I didn’t buy the phone from AT&T, I bought the phone from; and they’re like with Android, updates are released with the…
Leo: I have 4.4.4 on my Moto X.
Patrick: I have 4.4.4 on this now, but it came several weeks after. I was on the phone and they’re like well it’s being released with Verizon next week. That doesn’t really help me. Maybe it’s on the website, so we walk through the website, and they’re like it’s not on the website. Well eventually AT&T will release it. This is not the tech support moment you want to have. Or the tech support person when you’ve been elevated to level 2 tech.
Leo: There’s that Android fragmentation problem.
Patrick: And having dealt with some developers recently, because a whole bunch of applications that wouldn’t run on 4.3 suddenly run on 4.4.
Leo: I have to say though they’ve made great strides. I feel like Android gets better and better and better. And it’s getting better at a faster clip than iOS.
Patrick: I will agree with that. But Google also has to start taking the developers and the store seriously. Because Google, what was the Flappy Bird, his new game?
Leo: Flappy Hammer? What is it? It’s a hammer swing… Copter Hammer Swinger? Swing Hammer?
Patrick: The day of the release of the game, there were like 15 copy cats who were higher ranked than the actual original game. I’ve run into stuff where…
Leo: You know what’s worse than that, is the Microsoft app store for the Metro. There is an $8.99 VLC app that says it shows you how to download VLC. With the VLC logo.
Patrick: I would say that’s worse but when you run into this where I can obviously copy and enter, not be paying close enough attention and where there’s companies that exist to spoof the names of popular software companies and release crap where then attempts to… the one who was really great, I missed the one who was like Tocha Mocha. Children’s applications…
Leo: I love the Tocha!
Patrick: There’s two or three different companies that name themselves or in their titles that try to emulate that. I was trying to find a train simulator, one of them I downloaded was hitting me with notices that were basically trying to get me to use some sort of phishing scam or some sort of a PayPal scam. And it’s like this crap is everywhere in the Google Play store. And as somebody who mocks Steve Jobs, he’s like we’re not going to have…
Leo: There will not be any porn…
Patrick: So it’s like you’re going to remove the browser?! Because it’s connected to the internet?
Leo: The browser is rated 18+ because you can go to porn. Which cracks me up.
Patrick: Let’s save the children.
Leo: Anyway, don’t buy a phone now. Watch and see and learn and if you have to, buy a Moto G. There is also supposedly a Nexus 6 in the works. The Nexus 5 is still the most…
Patrick: I thought they canned the Nexus 6?
Leo: No, Christina is going no.
Christina: I’ve heard it’s been canned too. Usually it would have already been announced by now. So I don’t know.
Leo: Maybe because remember they sold Motorola. Maybe they’re waiting; I don’t know.
Christina: But they’ve done it with LG the last two times. I don’t know. Maybe we’ll see another LG device that will step in the way of the Moto. Or for the Nexus line. They seem to be very serious about the Android One or One Android thing. Maybe that’s what they’re going to shift there.
Leo: One Android to rule them all.
Christina: Their device-focus is on lower cost for the rest of the world. And letting other people do the Google Play editions for some of the others.
Leo: I think the choice now on Android phones is very good. And it will be better after next week. I think there are some excellent choices. The HTC One is still a very good phone. I use the One Plus which is a great phone. This was $350, it’s cheap.
Patrick: This is under $200. 4G LTE.
Leo: Okay, you win.
Patrick: No but it’s like you got a better camera on that, you’ve got a bigger screen on that. But it’s amazing how much phone you get for how little money.
Leo: Mike Elgin is here, our news director and he has a look at what’s ahead this week. Mike.
Mike Elgin: The week ahead is a big one for new phone and wearable product launches. The first Android One phones are expected to hit India this week. Android One is a low-cost smartphone reference platform and programmed from Google, designed to bring auto updating smartphones to emerging markets for around $100 or less. MicroMax may launch the very first Android One phone tomorrow, which is Monday, September 1st. Samsung is holding a big product launch on Wednesday, September 3rd which is taking place simultaneously in Berlin, Beijing, and New York. Everyone is expecting a Galaxy Note 4 tablet. And it could also unveil their virtual reality headset which is created in partnership with Oculus VR. Sony is holding a press event in Berlin on Wednesday as well. Rumors say they will announce an Experia Z3 flagship smartphone and other products. Asus is expected to unveil an Android-wear smart watch on Wednesday that is similar to the Samsung Gear live and LG G watch but a lot cheaper. Motorola is planning announcements for Thursday, September 4th in Chicago; we’re expecting the Moto X plus One, a successor to the Moto X phone, plus the official release of the Moto 360 smart watch. HTC should announce the world’s first 64-bit Android phone called the Desire 820 on Thursday. Wall Way is rumored to announce a new 6-inch high resolutions screen also on Thursday. And even Dyson, the vacuum cleaner company has an announcement Thursday; most likely a brand new vacuum cleaner robot. All that is happening before the five day IFA conference officially begins in Berlin on Friday, September 5th. That’s the week ahead. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: My goodness, what a week ahead! You can catch it all. Every detail, every drip and drop of announcement on Monday through Friday 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern time, 1700 UTC with Mike Elgin on Tech News Today. And of course at 4pm Pacific, our evening news program Tech News Tonight with Sarah Lane, 4pm Pacific, 7pm Eastern time, 1700 UTC. Our show today, brought to you by Carbonite online backup. If you’re using a computer, you’ve got something on it you don’t want to lose. Think about it, a thought exercise; thunkin-dunking; thinkins-haboppin… with me as Einstein did and imagine what would happen if poof, your hard drive went away? Would you be prepared? What would you lose? The great American novel sitting on your hard drive. Classical music composition? Pictures of your baby’s first steps? Your wedding pictures? Make sure you get that stuff backed up. And if you’re in business, losing that hard drive could mean you lose your customer list, your accounts receivable. Your suppliers. You got to back it up to get it back. Carbonite is the way to do it; automatic so you don’t have to think about it, continuous whenever you’re online. And it’s to the cloud. And by the way, I know everybody’s worried about privacy and security. Of course it’s secure on the way to the cloud. But you can also use Trust No One encryption to ensure no one can see it. So you can have absolute privacy. They’ve got plans for every business. Whether it’s an individual computer, and it’s by the way very affordable. Flat-rate pricing: $15.99 for a single computer. Or buy two years, get 20% off, buy three years and get 30% off. And they don’t measure. They don’t count the data. There’s no data caps on this. That’s a good deal. Less than $5 per month. For everything on your Mac or PC. They do have business plans including a great Carbonite appliance that gives you the best of both worlds. Local, and off-site backup. Check it out. Try it free. No credit card needed at carbonite.com. And when you use the offer code TWIT, you’ll get two bonus months free when you decide to buy. You got to back it up to get it back. Do it right! With Carbonite! So you’re going to go the event? The Samsung event, Christina? You’re ready? 8am?
Christina: I am, totally.
Leo: Totally prepared?
Christina: 8am! Yes. Like I said, I hope they’ll have bloody Maries or mimosas or something. Got to kick it into gear. If you have to be there that early; because at that point I’m like should I go to bed or should I just stay up?
Leo: Oh come on, 8am?!
Patrick: You have to remember. She’s in New York. The bars close at 4; it’s a different lifestyle.
Christina: Exactly. No, I mean it’s early it’s not that bad. It will be good. Samsung always announces a lot of stuff. And they always have very cool things. That’s the great thing about Samsung; they have so much money and they have so many different industries that I would not put it past them to come out with something that everybody just goes, huh? Really? Okay. Because you never know. They have an entire robotic division. You never know. Anything could happen.
Leo: Robots, I would take a robot.
Patrick: That’s one of those things at CES where it was like okay, the 4K content, the 4K screen battles. And it’s like oh, this washer and dryer will text me when the laundry is done. It’s just, it always seems like they’re trying so desperately to figure out how many additional failure points they could put into what used to be fairly functional appliances for long periods of time.
Leo: I did buy, what was it called? I had the double, there’s a new one I bought. It’s not here yet. The Lumo, the one that watches you and talks to you? What was that called? I’m a sucker for this crap. $500 and they took the money. Like probably I will never see that robot. But it looks really cool.
Christina: I had an Ivo.
Leo: So, the woman who is doing this, I met at a Foo-camp. She did these really cute little personal robots that would interact with people. What’s the name? Now I hope I remember the name because I bought one. And now I’ll never know when I don’t get it. Or something. But anyway, she’s got a track record of doing really great robots. This one sits on the counter and looks at you, follows you around talks to you, recognizes your voice. I’m a sucker.
Patrick: Now I’m looking for it. The Lumo? Canadian kick starter?
Leo: No, what was the name of that robot? It was four letters!
Leo: Jibo! Thank you Effingdun-our chat room to the rescue. They are my brains. Jibo. Myjibo.com. It’s a family robot. Friendly, helpful, and intelligent. It’s from Cynthia Brazil, who has done these before. And yes I sunk $500. Now watch though, see I think Samsung; looks it’s cute!
Christina: It is cute.
Leo: It’s cute. And it blinks. See!
Patrick: It looks like Ciron.
Leo: You have Ciron on your living room table.
Christina: It’s like the lamp for Pixar.
Leo: It’s very personable. Do you have audio on this?
Patrick: Tracking system engaged. Arming lasers. Targeting system.
Leo: You are so bad. Look, Katie Couric loves it. It ought to be good.
[Voice]: Melissa just sent a reminder to pick you up.
Leo: I hope he talks like that; I would very much like a robot that talks like that.
Patrick: Don’t unplug me, Leo. I hear you were thinking of disconnecting me, Dave.
Christina: I was going to say, can we give it the voice of Hal because that would actually be amazing.
Leo: I would do that. I will report that for them. There you are, Julie. I’ve been looking for you.
Patrick: It’s funny, right. Because on one hand, this could be amazing and one of the reasons they’re doing this in Japan, is because there’s this aging population that either their partners have died and they want to interact…
Leo: I am the aging population.
Patrick: You’re a little younger on the curve than that aging population that they’re targeting the robots that are Hyundai’s.
[Voice]: Can you order some take out for me?
[Voice]: Sure thing
Leo: I want to tell my robot, can you order some take out for me. Sure thing, Dave.
Patrick: I want you to be able to tell your robot to order you take out and have the take out actually show up.
Leo: Do you think they took the brains of a Teddy Ruxpin and put it in a robot?
Christina: It sounds exactly Teddy Ruxpin now that you mention it.
Patrick: Of course now I’m thinking of a movie.
Leo: Well there was that Bicentennial Man with Robin Williams.
Patrick: That’s not the one I’m thinking of.
Christina: That was an awful movie. Just awful. There was A.I., Artificial Intelligence.
Leo: That’s the one, A.I. Evil has never been so cute. That’s good, I like that. Mooby in our chat room came up with that slogan.
Patrick: This little bot of mine. So that was $500?
Leo: Yea, see Cynthia is actually a pioneer of social robotics at MIT Media Lab. She’s made robots before. She’s invented this stuff before. She’s not making it up.
Patrick: No, it looks fantastic. Eventually it will have wheels and follow you around the house.
Leo: Well that’s what I like about this; it can’t follow you around the house.
Christina: That was what I loved about my Ibo. It was so much fun. When it would get tired, it would find its way to wherever the charger was and charge itself. And it would do little jumps. That was like not the worse $800 I’ve ever spent. It certainly…
Leo: Wow, that expensive. Do you still have it?
Christina: Yea, I do. And a couple batteries. Because they’ve lost power, so I’ve had to track down replacement batteries which is kind of a pain. I got it at Sharper Image in 2003, I want to say. And I justified it by saying an actual dog would cost about as much.
Leo: Yea, and they die. This will never die. It might run out of batteries though.
Patrick: I don’t know, it’s interesting.
Leo: I’m excited about my Jibo. I hope I get it.
Christina: I hope it shows up!
Patrick: A lot of people were saying they were aiming for 100,000 on Indiegogo. They raised almost $2M.
Leo: Now they have to…
Patrick: Oh wait, and there’s 14 days; it doesn’t close until September 14th.
Leo: Still have a chance to buy a Jibo.
Patrick: I’m sure my wife will be thrilled to see that on the credit card.
Leo: You can come visit my Jibo. It’s been an interesting project. By the way, Mashable said Jibo isn’t an appliance. It’s a companion. One that can interact and react to its human owners in ways that delights, says Mashable.
Patrick: The idea of having something as entertaining as a cat without the vomit or litter box is tempting.
Christina: Then you just wonder are you going to get bored, you know. Or is it going to be; people in the chat were mentioning Chumby, right?
Patrick: Novistock. I do miss my Novistock.
Christina: You remember the Chumby? That was the really bad U.I.
Leo: It was like a bean bag with a screen in it.
Christina: Exactly. It had all these widgets and the idea behind it was great. But the software was never really executed. And then Sony eventually came out with what they called the Dash and that was slightly better but it was too late.
Leo: I had that too.
Christina: And so I wonder about these things and these concepts are so good. But the software is so crucial to make them work.
Leo: This is what I was thinking about the other day. I want to be able to, in my environment, talk to the environment and have it respond. I want it to understand what I’m asking for. I want to be able to say; and you can do that with your Moto G. You can say okay Google Now, what’s up? And it will say, hi, Patrick. You have three email messages, four text messages.
Patrick: You’ve never really seen me interact with things like Siri or Google Now.
Leo: It doesn’t go well?
Patrick: A friend of mine loaned me his Google Glass and I asked it something and it actually responded with an answer it should have. Instead of going, could you repeat that or telling me the population of Uzbekistan or telling me what floor wax is? When it actually works. But so few of these products have actually worked.
Leo: I think we’re getting close. What I’m saying is this is what I think what people want. And there is going to be a lot of this paranoia; oh it’s a robot. But once there’s utility, and you can say hey what appointments do I have today? Could you read me my emails? If I could merely listen to and respond to my email in the morning while I’m shaving, that would be worth a lot to me.
Patrick: See I’m in the future already. I’m working on single-tasking. You’re trying to figure out… you’re talking about your Jibo is reading your email to you and you’re responding while shaving.
Leo: I want Jibo to say, you have an email from Patrick. Okay, Jibo, read it to me. Patrick says, I’m going to be on TWiT this afternoon. Would you like me to bring you a pizza? I’d say, Jibo respond, yes, thank you Patrick. And have that all done automatically. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Patrick: Yes, if it actually works that way.
Leo: And you’d get an email that says [gibberish]. And you’d go I don’t know why Leo said that! I just feel like that’s what we’re headed for. And that would be very useful. I’ve been thinking a lot about this because Larry Page said the problem we have; here’s a good example. I was talking about this on the radio show; if you go to your Google dashboard and you look at your location history. Lately, people act as if they’ve never seen this before and it’s been there forever. But it will show you where you’ve been. Google.com/dashboard. Forever! Because the iPhone does this as well; Android does it. It’s always on, always tracking you. Here, I’ll show you; I don’t mind showing you my location history. But people get very nervous about this saying, oh my God, Google’s following you around. I can go to any day, see where I was. Today, this is how I traveled around. I can say show me my last five days. And I can even play it back. I can even go through; and people get very nervous about this. If I show you this, this scares you. But if on the other hand I say to you, you know this is really cool. I’ve got this Google Now so when I get to the airport it pulls up my boarding ticket and puts it on the screen. Or when I go into the grocery store, it says don’t forget to get milk, you put that on your list. Cortina does this, Siri does this, Google does this. That’s how they do it. They follow you, and they know where you are. And they use geo-fencing to say well you’re at the store now. And if you start with, wouldn’t it be cool if your phone knew you were at the store and told you you needed milk. Or pulled up your boarding pass when you got to the airport. Everybody would say, oh that’s great. What we don’t think is in order to do that, it’s going to have to track you all the time. What’s the problem?
Patrick: First of all, I’m looking at my history and it isn’t accurate.
Leo: Well you’ve got to turn your phone on or something.
Patrick: Well my phone was on but it put me in one spot instead of San Francisco, instead of all of the spots in San Francisco. It’s interesting because I’m looking at this and there’s like 23 updates on the Richmond Bridge.
Leo: Well you sound like a guy that goes to a restaurant and says the food’s terrible here and the portions are so small.
Patrick: But I’m saying if it’s going to take over my life, it actually has to work.
Leo: You’re right. It keeps putting me in Sebastopol for some reason.
Patrick: Do you understand what I’m saying?
Leo: Look at me, I don’t know where I’m going. Holy cow!
Patrick: But you’re going fast. If it’s going to automatically pop up my flight information, not that the airlines…
Leo: It does do that pretty well. Now that you have an Android phone, do you use Google Now?
Patrick: Very rarely. I will experiment with Google Now just to see if it works for me.
Leo: You should try it. Do you use it, Christina? You’re probably an iPhone user.
Christina: No I don’t because I use Trip It. Trip It has been doing what Google Now thing does for me for my flight stuff for years. I mean, I’m less creped out by Google Now than I was even two months ago. I think there’s some value there. My problem is, I’m looking at my location history and I don’t know what Android account all my stuff is tied to because I’m not in an Android account. I’ve got like three different Google accounts. So what information is tracking for me is different for each one. It’s not all consolidated, kind of a mess.
Leo: Well here’s an example. This is my Google Now. It knows what I’m doing. It says you’re in This Week in Tech right now. This is how long it’s going to take to get home, there’s no traffic. Here’s the weather report, here’s my Giants score, here’s some news stories, some problems are being shipped to me. Here’s where you parked. I didn’t ask it specifically, but it just said, oh I noticed you stopped moving so fast when you got there, so that must be where you parked. Here’s some stories based on previous stories it thinks I would like to read. And it’s absolutely right. These are good stories. And then it even says if this card useful? Yea, that was a good one, I liked that. The only thing wrong with this is it hasn’t done enough. I want more.
Patrick: Part of it is, I travel a lot in places where maybe the population is low. Or because I’m going to a lot of places in Oakland or Richmond when I’m picking up supplies for the house, I’m finding out that when you get into poor communities, Google Maps doesn’t work very well. Or if you’re getting into places where the population is fairly low…
Leo: I accept all this stuff is bad; it’s not doing very well. But if it really worked well, would you be willing to trade the invasion of privacy for the value you get from it?
Patrick: Probably less than the average human being.
Leo: I don’t know. A lot of people don’t. I want it. I want a robot, too though. I don’t care if it watches me. Even while I shower.
Christina: Get one that works.
Leo: So, Christina, if all this stuff did what it’s supposed to do, you’d go for it?
Christina: I would go for a lot of it, maybe not all of it. The key is, it needs to work. It’s partially there now, and I think that’s why it’s disconcerting when you see the other information because there’s still that disconnect between what it’s trying to do and what the ideal is. If it really would just work, then I think the information it captures would disappear in the background. But because there’s still a layer you have to go over, a step you have to go over to make it work, it makes all that information they’re collecting visible. And that’s what freaks people out.
Leo: I agree with you.
Christina: So I think if it just kind of worked, then everything they’re doing; it would still be creepy if you thought about it. But it would disappear into the background and you would just focus on the utility.
Leo: That’s what Larry Page was saying; if we make the mistake of showing them what we’re collecting. What we should really show them first is the utility. And then people won’t worry about it.
Patrick: My problem is when I’m searching for a restaurant and I’m being given the location of a Google advertiser instead of the restaurant I’m looking for. It’s a lot of stuff where it’s like; or the fact that Scobal talked about…
Leo: It shouldn’t do that.
Patrick: It shouldn’t do that; I would literally pay like $5 per month to eliminate most if not all the advertising from Google Maps.
Leo: All three of us have been in technology for a long time. We know that when it first starts, it doesn’t work very well. Remember Patrick, on the screensavers, the early MP3 players? Remember all the trouble it took to put an MP3 player in a car?
Patrick: Yes, I do.
Leo: It was painful.
Patrick: Yes it was.
Leo: But part of our job is to see beyond the immediate thing; this is going to mature. And when it does, it’s going to be useful.
Patrick: On one hand, I hear what you’re saying. But on the other hand, I feel like I’m going to buy a box of cookies at Railey’s in exchange for my 10 cent discount, they’re going to take that information, coordinate it against my number, send it to my insurance company, my insurance is going to go up. On one hand, yea sure…
Leo: When that happens, you should complain about it.
Patrick: You thumbs up, you thumbs down?
Leo: I’m thumbs down on the NSA.
Patrick: So you’re going to invite a higher level of incursion or invasion or collection of information that should be unidentifiable, but eventually will be identifiable.
Leo: Yea, but Google doesn’t have tanks.
Patrick: They’re just working on creating…
Leo: Drones. We’ll talk about that in a second.
Patrick: But they’re also working on creating a global internet in areas where there is not much internet by creating giant lighter-than-air dirigibles floating around with antennas. It’s just a thin line from giant…
Leo: You think they’re going to weaponize those dirigibles?
Patrick: No. Skynet’s got to come from somewhere, Leo.
Leo: Paranoid, you’re so paranoid. Technology is good.
Christina: I’m not really concerned about Google weaponize them; I’m more concerned about Google taking all the information they have and selling it to someone who would weaponize it.
Leo: Or just giving it to them because they have a subpoena. So get off the internet.
Christina: Right, that’s what it comes to.
Leo: What are you going to do?
Leo: Tor is made by the SCIA!
Patrick: You think Tor will protect you? That’s misinformation.
Patrick: Well that started…
Leo: Started in Philly!
Patrick: That was Verizon.
Leo: Comcast’s backyard.
Patrick: In 2004. I just pulled up one of the articles and I remember reading this 10 years ago. Basically, Verizon got so upset that Philadelphia decided to deal with the fact that there was no decent internet access in Philadelphia. They went to the state legislature and basically got a bill passed to prevent that from happening.
Leo: And they moved on. And 20 states now have that law.
Patrick: Companies such as Verizon have the ability to block Pennsylvania cities from building and charging for high-speed internet systems. Washington Post article.
Leo: I understand as a business owner that you don’t want the government competing with you. But if it’s a place where the commercial enterprises won’t do it, I think it’s incumbent of the government to do it. It’s what keeps jobs, keeps business. 130 cities offer fiber or cable internet to their communities. Of those 130, 89 are gigabyte. And it’s illegal in 20 states, and there are also in many cases laws that preempt municipalities from expanding beyond their municipal boundaries.
Patrick: I don’t remember the exact number, 11 or 13 million dollars. A couple of years ago, when the FCC was talking about net neutrality. Oddly enough, wireless internet wasn’t counted. And oddly enough, AT&T and Verizon had dropped somewhere between 11 and 13 million dollars logging inside the belt way.
Leo: And of course the solution in net neutrality, I believe; I understand people’s reluctance of getting the government involved. And I think they’re probably right. The last thing you want is the ham-handed members of congress who are being bought by telecoms, running the internet. The best solution is competition. If you’ve got Comcast in town…
Patrick: It’s going to be really tough in at least 20 states.
Leo: It’s going to be tough everywhere unfortunately. These guys don’t want competition. They want a monopoly. Alright, enough of that. That was in our indignation section. Hope you all enjoyed it. Back to Google’s secret drones. Actually it turns out, remember Amazon was talking about delivery drones. Turns out Google’s been working on this for years according to the Atlantic in their X projects, Google X. A drone delivery system, this is Project Wing that would deliver stuff like, very fast. Flying robots that can deliver products across the city in a minute or two. Here comes the product! Watch out! Quick catch it, here it comes! Oh it’s on a wire. Nice soft landing, and there goes the wire. What the hell?
Patrick: Let’s step back. First of all, look at the fact that they would have to significantly alter FAA regulations on airspace in every densely populated part of the country.
Leo: Amazon is lobbying the FCC to do that, allow them to test.
Patrick: I don’t know.
Leo: Imagine the sky filled with these things.
Christina: That’s really scary thought in some cases when you think about how poorly, not commercial pilots, private pilots already are for these areas, yea. I kind of worry. Having your drone shipment interfere with somebody in a single engine, playing.
Patrick: I’m more thinking about the drones, given how densely populated cities are and how much RF there is bouncing around in the average city.
Patrick: It’s kind of funny. It’s like, I can’t go to a store to pick this up and I can’t wait until tomorrow for it to be delivered. But I’m going to stand out in front of my office building and wait for the drone to lower me the package. At some point, it’s just…
Leo: I love it. I want drones. I want robots. I want weaponized zeppelins. I don’t care.
Patrick: You could send your robot out to wait for the drone to pick up your carton of milk.
Christina: See that actually does make sense. How a robot can be a drone carrier or whatever.
Leo: Wait till the ranchers start shooting the drones, shooting them down. This is not going to go over well.
Christina: Exactly, people are going to start having drone tracking apps so you can try to intercept the package before the person gets it.
Patrick: That’s called EMP blasting drones out of the sky to see if there’s cookies inside.
Patrick: This could be awesome.
Leo: Ooh, cookies.
Christina: When the next big PlayStation or Xbox comes out, you’re like drone alert, drone alert. Got to get the new one. They have iPhone release day. So the new iPhones are coming out and drones are delivering them.
Leo: Hundreds of drones in the sky delivering the new iPhone. It’s a bonanza!
Chad: Better make sure the kill switch is in place.
Patrick: Well can you imagine, you’re in New York City and I’m way south of downtown in San Francisco. If I’m sitting there staring there, how many people are going to get wiped out? Or how many things are going to get stolen?
Christina: Well that’s what I’m saying. It’s already risky enough, where we live to have something delivered if you don’t have a doorman in your building. It’s already kind of risky. I didn’t get this package.
Leo: The chat room says how is it different than robbing a UPS delivery guy?
Christina: Because there’s not a guy. It’s just something dropping from the sky.
Patrick: You’re looking up.
Leo: Plus it’s more fun. It’s like shooting skis.
Christina: Presumably, it would be easier to track. I’m sure you could hack into the UPS system and see where their delivery time is. In this case you can see exactly where it is in the sky. And where it’s supposed to land.
Leo: That’s why we’re going to weaponize the drones, so they can shoot back.
Patrick: It’s funny. I can understand from a financial perspective why they would want to do this. If you look, San Francisco is ridiculous when it comes to parking tickets, like $100M a year in revenue off parking tickets. But because there’s no parking; you have to understand, San Francisco is only 49 square miles and most of the…
Leo: $100M a year?!
Patrick: Yea, it’s pretty amazing. But what they do is for UPS and FedEx and DHL and whoever else is operating, the driver takes the ticket and they basically throw the ticket at somebody at the office. But essentially they settle. FedEx a few years ago settled for $19M or $10M worth of parking tickets for a flat $7M payment at the end of the year.
Leo: Okay, it’s worse than you said. $100M in tickets, $41M in parking revenue. And that was 2011.
Patrick: Yea, well the parking revenue means when you actually physically pay for parking. The meter and the lots.
Leo: That’s not an insignificant amount of money.
Patrick: Yea I would love to know what percentage of that now, because I think a $60 ticket is now a $75 or $80 and then immediately or very quickly bumps up to $165.
Leo: That was in 2011. In 2012, $187M a year.
Patrick: So there’s certainly a motivation to stop moving trucks around the city. But it’s also like how many drone deliveries can you do a day without a major event happening?
Leo: They’re fast. You need a very sophisticated air traffic control system.
Patrick: Well you also need a major advance in battery technology.
Christina: Yes, which I’ve been saying for years. We’ve got to go nuclear.
Leo: Little tiny nuclear, oh that’s a solution! Every drone has a small amount of plutonium and a little tiny nuclear reactor.
Leo: What could possibly go wrong?
Patrick: So many places I could go with that.
Leo: You know about Big Coin, you know about Light Coin, well Ecuador is the first government that is planning to do a virtual crypto currency later this year. Ecuador’s current cash is U.S. dollars and I guess they don’t want to have dollars anymore.
Patrick: I was going to say, they don’t really have a currency.
Leo: The Czech Republic launched, oh but this wasn’t the government. This was enthusiasts in the Czech Republic who launched the Czech Crown Coin. Well we’ll see.
Christina: Is this something like Chip Coin in Canada, or Mint Coin? I know it’s not crypto, but it has similar elements. Is that what it’s called? Mint Chip!
Leo: Mint chip sounds like my favorite ice cream flavor.
Patrick: I have to say the history of the currency use in Ecuador is a great Wikipedia article. Because you go from…
Leo: They decided to make it the dollar...
Patrick: From 1830 to 1845 is the peso versus the state of Ecuador and the Republic of Ecuador. Then it goes to the peso fuerte, the peso on the silver center, the cuecro on unconverted paper, the cuecro on the gold exchange standard, 1930-2000 cuecro and 2000-dollarization. It’s funny because we’re really spoiled in the United States because our currency is relatively stable.
Leo: That’s why they use the dollar.
Patrick: A friend of mine’s family had hopped on their way to the United States, and hopped through two or three Central America countries. And they don’t really believe in money in the way I do. Because money disappeared on them one and a half times.
Leo: Need wheelbarrows to buy a loaf of bread. Do you take Uber’s? Lyft?
Patrick: No, no.
Leo: I bet you, Christina, you’re an Uber girl.
Christina: I’m totally an Uber girl, absolutely.
Leo: I knew it! Do you do Uber X or regular Uber?
Christina: Mostly Uber X. But in New York it’s different because all the drivers are licensed. That’s the only way you can get in. If you’re a black car, it’s a late model either like an SUV or a Town Car. And then the Uber X’s are regular cars.
Leo: So where do you come down on this? I’m not sure what this; so Lyft says Uber has been calling Uber’s via phone and then cancelling. 5,500 cancellations in a year.
Christina: Right, but it’s worse than that. Really it’s this whole recruitment strategy. The cancellations are because they’ve already tried to recruit those drivers. That’s why those rides are being cancelled. It’s not to annoy them and make it so they can’t pick up other people. What it is, is they book rides with the implicit purpose of trying to recruit the driver to join Uber. So they bring full starter packs with them. They want to get them signed up. That’s the whole reason they’re doing the call. They have a whole Google Doc that says this is the person I’ve talked to. No one else talk to him. And if you call a Lyft and you get someone who’s already on the list, you immediately cancel so you can try and recruit again.
Leo: So the cancellations are a side effect of this recruitment strategy?
Christina: Exactly. And really I think it’s probably a lot more minor. The number is huge, but really if you cancel within the first 15 seconds then it’s not really going to hurt anything. You’re not messing anybody else up in that period of time. They’re cancelling immediately. It’s not like they’re waiting a couple minutes then cancelling to ruin somebody’s day. They’re doing this as part of a hardcore recruitment strategy.
Leo: By the way, Casey Newton got a great scoop on that, on the Verge.
Christina: Casey did fantastic work on the Verge on that.
Leo: A lot of credit goes to Casey who even got the documents.
Christina: Yea, he got it all.
Leo: The street team is called Slog. They have their own hashtag, shavethestash. Which is the take-off on the pink mustache the Lyft cars have on them. I like the pink mustache. But I’m nervous about Lyft because you don’t know what you’re going to get. You don’t know what kind of car is going to show up.
Christina: I haven’t used them in New York because their launch hoop is not very good. And frankly it turned me off in a lot of ways. Uber is pretty cocky but I have to say Uber is not dumb enough to come to New York City and think they couldn’t be part of the TLC, that they couldn’t actually be licensed. Whereas Lyft thought they could actually change the entire infrastructure. It’s like, no. That’s not how this works. Not in New York, not in one of the biggest cab markets out there. And that’s why Uber has managed to do okay in New York. And it hasn’t had a lot of the ire from some of the cabbies. The medallion holders might hate them, but the cabbies don’t. Because they are leased and registered with the TLC.
Leo: The Taxi and Limo Commission.
Christina: Exactly. So every driver who drives you is licensed. But my experience in San Francisco with Lyft haven’t been that positive. I have to be honest. So I would much rather take Uber, even Uber X in San Francisco. Because my experience with Lyft has really not been good.
Leo: See this is interesting. A lot of people read this article and said I will not take Uber again. They’re being so anti-competitive. And as Casey points out, it is a zero-sun game. A ride that Lyft gets is one that Uber won’t get and vice versa.
Christina: It’s not so much about; it’s really about what this proves and this has been written by other people before too. That the real currency in this market, and this is true whether you’re talking about a traditional cab or traditional liveries, or you’re talking about this mix between the two with Uber and Lyft; is that the real currency is with the driver, not with the rides. Because that’s what they’re going after. For now.
Patrick: Well, for now. That’s one of the big things that leaked out of Uber where they were like, we’re going to move to Google Cars as fast as we can. Uber’s valuation is kind of insane. They’re valued is over $18B. I was going to say, they’re pitching themselves as the drone alternative of the future. Where they’re automated cars will maybe have a fleet of cars and they’ll pick people up and they’ll deliver packages and move stuff around. And become this insane logistics system.
Leo: More than just a cab service.
Christina: Logistics are, I think, what makes them sort of genius. There’s another company in New York called Make Space, which makes it really easy to do storage. And they are also similar in a way, in that their real genius is their logistics. So I think Uber has a lot of opportunities it can go in, but I think for now you’re right the real currency is the driver at least until we get these drone things. Because there is a more limited supply of drivers, genuinely. In San Francisco, and most people, drivers that I talk to, drive for both Lyft and Uber. And they will just have them both on, and whatever they get they get. If Lyft comes on, they’ll put on the stupid mustache. If it’s Uber, they’ll put the Uber thing on there. They’ll use both.
Patrick: I will say not using a pink mustache was a genius stroke on Uber’s part.
Leo: I think the pink mustache is great.
Patrick: My problem is I drive in an area in San Francisco where there’s a whole bunch of startups and new buildings; we’re south of the ball park. So I know every time I get cut off by somebody who’s driving for Lyft or somebody who’s running a red light.
Leo: Oh, the pink mustache…
Patrick: I will say this about New York, they said, hey you have to play by adult rules in New York City. And that may be an entrenched bureaucracy that is stifling competition, but there also nobody in New York is walking around going, oh you told the insurance company you drive 100 miles a year for recreational purposes. When in reality you’re driving like 200 miles a day. Fairing people around, commercially? Oh, we’ll cover the difference. Oh yea, that’s a great business model.
Leo: Well you have to give credit to Uber. They’ve been around longer and have fought governments all over the world. So they’ve become savvy. That’s just experience.
Christina: Well it is and it’s not. They’ve been in New York a lot longer than Lyft has. When they came to New York, they didn’t make mistakes. They researched their market and they started the black car thing first. When they did Uber X, they did it the right way. Regardless of what you think about politician practices, one company I think is the adult in this situation. To kind of go back to that analogy, actually things they can get away with and what market they’re in. Whereas the other thinks they can just show up and, oh everybody loves us, give me a fist bump, bro. Like, no I’m not going to do that. You can sit in the front seat. No, I’m not going to do that.
Leo: See this is interesting. When I read Casey’s article, that’s it for Uber. People are going to be pissed off that they’re so anti-competitive.
Christina: Some people will be. But the difference will be for some people, that it comes down to price and experience, if you have a good experience. In San Francisco, the traditional cabs are so awful. They’re just so terrible. Uber and Lyft really fit a void there. Atlanta is the same way. Official taxi system is one of the worst I’ve seen in all my life.
Leo: New York has a pretty good cab system.
Patrick: New York has the best transportation system in the United States, and it runs 24 hours.
Christina: They do. But if you live in certain areas where you have to carry packages or maybe it’s raining; now it started under Mayor Bloomberg, and now it’s under Mayor de Blasio where they have the outer boroughs where they can’t do pickups. They had these green cabs which are kind of like Yellow Cabs, but they’re run more like Uber does. But they have credit card machines in the back. They will do drop offs and pickups. They’ll drop you off anywhere but they can only do pickups in Queens or the Bronx or Brooklyn. The problem is where I live in Brooklyn, it’s very rare to find a cab. You might get lucky. If I need a car, I call a car service. The car service in most cases will be pretty bad. It may be cheaper in most cases than Uber or Lyft, but it’s going to be pretty bad. And then what happens then is because they’re really antiquated, I’ve had gipsy cabs come up a number of times and say they’re from the car service I ordered it from and then the cop pulled us over as we’re crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. And the cop’s like, can I see your ID? And the guy lied to them and then got a ticket. The cop was cool. He was like, it’s raining, you can go ahead and take this ride; I’m not going to make you get out in the rain. I was like thanks, dude.
Leo: But Lyft says that on average 16% of rides. Uber’s said in the past; this is Nick Bilton writing in the New York Times. That 10% of rides, roughly are cancelled. Lyft found that accounts associated with people who identify themselves as Uber recruiters cancel 85% of the rides they call. 50 rides a day, that’s a significant disruption.
Christina: It is. It’s a disruption, I think. But it depends how quickly you’re cancelling. If you’re cancelling within the first 15 or 30 seconds, then it might piss off a driver and it certainly is an annoyance. But I don’t think it’s going to lessen the supply.
Leo: And if an Uber recruiter takes a Lyft cab to recruit him, isn’t that one less car that can pick you up?
Christina: Yea, it is. But you also have to think it is what it is. It’s a shady practice. I’m not saying that it’s great. It certainly is a shady practice. But I’m not at the same time, maybe I’m just really jaded by knowing how completely unethical and how the mob still runs the entire medallion system. In the grand scheme of things when it comes to transportation, this actually is like so benign. It’s bothersome but it wouldn’t stop me from using the service that for me, is better. I’m not going to not use Uber because their CEO says some questionable things and they have some shady competition practices. If that impacts their service, then that’s one thing. But I think that drivers I talked to seem to really like it. Which is interesting, Lyft drivers I haven’t talked to as much and haven’t gotten feedback. Uber feedback, people like it a lot. I have also noticed, and this would be interesting to see, regular cab drivers have told me they get recruited a ton by Uber people. So that is an interesting thing.
Leo: Do you make more money driving for Lyft or Uber than you do for a cab?
Christina: You can.
Leo: So is it a good job, do you think?
Christina: I think it depends on who it is. They try to sell it as a part-time thing, but you’re not going to make any money that way. People are doing it as a full-time thing. For people who are doing it as a full-time thing, they can probably do better than or at least as well as they would with a cab. But maybe not have to deal as much with the bureaucracy that goes with the medallion system. People like it because they can choose their own hours more. And they can kind of pick and choose; you can get a fare and say I feel like going there and not going there. You don’t have to stay and do the same area; you can go to areas where you otherwise may not think you could go. You know you can. So I don’t know. I think that a lot of cab drivers I’ve talked to have actually said, I’m interested in Uber, and people interested in doing Uber do it along with private car service stuff. Which is pretty lucrative for them; so they may have personal clients but then also do Uber if they need to fill gaps in their schedules. I don’t know.
Leo: Alright, we’re going to take one more break. Wrap this up pretty soon. But I do have some things to talk about including the kill switch: good or bad? Something to say actually; a way the government can shut down protest. I don’t know. We will also talk about the Keurig K-cup. The DRM has been cracked! Next, on Tekzilla. And a few more things, but first a word about your entertainment. Flying to London, that’s a long flight. End of the month, I’ll be taking a week for vacation. People are going to say, what do you do on a long flight? I listen to audiobooks. It’s the best thing in the world. In fact I look forward to it. I miss my long commute. I used to do that all the time on Tech TV and I started to listen to audiobooks and the year 2000, I became an Audible customer that year. 500 books later, I’m still loving Audible. What are you looking at?
Patrick: I remember, you were…
Leo: It was a nightmare, a 2-hour commute sometimes.
Patrick: Oh, you’re the reason I don’t live in Sonoma County, because I would have to spend four hours a day…
Leo: You need a job here.
Patrick: I knew exactly how much time I would be spending in the car.
Leo: The solution is get a job in Sonoma County.
Patrick: Yea, you had to start a company to do that.
Leo: I offered! You remember, I offered. I said, you and me and Kevin, we can do this together. But no you had to have a real job with things like salaries and benefits. I don’t understand!
Patrick: I’m so selfish! Being part of a family and contributing.
Leo: Oh, shut up. You fathers really annoy me. No, I’m just kidding around. The thing about Audible, it’s great, it’s 150,000 books. It is truly a wonderful book store and the readers are phenomenal. And the variety, I just saw this: E.E. Cummings, a Life by Susan Chiever. Wouldn’t that be a great book, if you love poetry? If you have kids, the Wind in the Willows, narrated by Shelly Fraser. Little Women, aww. I have been listening to auto-biography of Graham Nash. Read by Graham Nash. Loving it. I see Neal Young has his auto-biography. Who better to read Neal Young’s biography than Keith Caradine? That would be awesome! Probably looks and sounds just like Neal Young. This is one they keep offering me, based on my Amazon purchases: The Art of Fermentation. An in-depth exploration of essential concepts and processes from around the world. Believe it or not, I am a professional fermenter. I have many things fermenting on the counter in my kitchen, including vinegar and sour dough.
Patrick: I’ve read an entire book on salts. And an entire book on cod fish.
Leo: That’s a great book! That’s Mark Curianski. That’s a great book!
Patrick: So I’m actually going to put the Art of Fermentation into my queue.
Leo: It’s a must-read. I love Audible and I think you will love it. That’s why we arranged a special deal for you. If you go to audible.com/twit2, you can get two free books. Look at all the books I’ve listened to. This new one, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Have you read this yet, Christina?
Christina: I have not.
Leo: People are raving over this. New York Times said it was the summer read. The committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barrens is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear diary, an idealistic online underground stands in the way of that take over using radical politics, classic spy craft, and technology that makes big data look like dial up! Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Patrick: That does sound fun. Making big data look like dial up.
Leo: Sounds like an awesome book. People are raving about this. It’s called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I just bought it, and it’s in my library. One of the next things I’m listening too. There are so many great books at audible.com. We just had Andy Weir, who wrote the Martian on Triangulation. That’s a wonderful sci-fi story. I want you to visit audible.com, in fact go to audible.com/twit2. And what we’re going to do is give you a month free of the platinum account. Two books free, and you can cancel any time in the first 30 days. Pay nothing and those books will be yours to keep. And you’ll also get the daily digest of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. I’m telling you in the car, in the gym, walking the dog, washing the dishes, even when I go to bed, I listen. I love Audible. Audible, look economics, the user’s guide. You can learn a lot by listening to audio books from Audible. And also entertainment. Sci-fi, I just love it. Audible.com/twit2. Sign up today, I think you’re going to be very happy. If you have a long flight coming up, you’re going to want it. Factory Man, good book. Love that. It’s kind of fun, we get together, Audible listeners many of them in the chat room and talk about all the great books you can listen to next. So California law requires it, Jerry Brown the governor signed it into law: the kill switch. If California makes every phone manufacturer to offer a kill switch, I guess it will be in every phone. Because you don’t want to have two separate SKUs, one for California, one not.
Patrick: Why not, they do with automobiles.
Leo: That’s true. They do it with emissions, because their emissions standards are so high. I don’t think they’ll do that with phones. It’s so easy to put them in. Apple already has a kill switch on all the iPhones, right? The Android device manager is a free download. It comes on many Android phones but you can also get it free on Google. And that does the same thing. I don’t know about Windows phone, if they have kill switch. But I think that would be an easy thing to implement.
Patrick: What was interesting is this actually didn’t pass earlier this year in the California senate. Then, George Cascones, the DA for San Francisco and New York’s attorney general got together. And the reason they’re doing this is because smartphone theft is the crime of choice in New York City and San Francisco. And I presume a lot of other larger metropolises. Because there’s a huge market; they’re basically really easy to crack a phone, wipe a phone. And they’re really easy to turn over.
Leo: Does the kill switch mean you can’t re sell it?
Patrick: The kill switch means it’s dead.
Leo: So, does the iPhone have that? I think you have to sign into your…
Christina: You can do it through Find My iPhone.
Patrick: There’s actually information about will a kill switch kill a smartphone that has been reported stolen? No, it’s a reversible process.
Leo: But you have to prove that it’s yours to do that.
Patrick: The law states quote, the technological solution should be reversible so that an authorized user obtains possession of the smartphone after the essential features of the smartphone has been rendered inoperable, the operation of those essential features can be restored by an authorized user.
Leo: Is there some sort of history of this that shows it does in fact produce smartphone theft, or no?
Patrick: The issue is that there are so many crimes. Here it is, 30-40% of robberies in major U.S. cities involve the theft of mobile communication devices.
Leo: My daughter lost her iPhone in Mexico in Juan Jute at knife-point. And all they wanted was her iPhone.
Patrick: San Francisco, 65% of the robberies are over basically a cell phone or a tablet. So they at least want to try. The idea of being able to shut down the radio, the interface, or something else like that should not be that technologically difficult to implement on any of these devices.
Leo: Now the truly paranoid, and I think we can dismiss this off on the face of it; the truly paranoid say that it’s not such a good idea. Because the government could also use it to silent protests. After all, in the Arab spring, in Tiera Square in Istanbul, smartphones were used to organize.
Patrick: Yea, but as the resident paranoid if they want to shut down, you just call the phone company to shut down the towers. This is me talking, Mr. Paranoid, right? If they want to shut down communications…
Christina: Exactly. They can do it in a way that’s much more effective than having to go through manually with each phone. I think it’s a theft of tech can be really strong, I guess. The question is going to be, when this goes into effect, how much time manufacturers have to do this? And how long before there are enough phones with this feature seeded into the ecosystem for it to have any impact on the theft rate, if it does at all, in California. Then there will be the cat and mouse game for people who are trying to reverse the kill switch.
Patrick: It’s interesting, in an Information Week article which is California smartphone kill switch law, what does it mean? So, where did it go? So they put the activation lock on iOS 7. Quote, the technology has already had a positive effect on iPhone theft. In the first 5 months of 2014, shortly after Apple introduced activation lock, the theft of Apple devices fell by 17% in New York City. While thefts of Samsung products increased by 51%, compared to the same period in the previous year.
Leo: That’s positive.
Patrick: My understanding from having talked to people on the law enforcement side of it, these smartphones are kind of an ATM for anybody who’s willing to steal it. It’s just a lot of people who want these phones. And are willing to pay considerably less for them, and are not too worried about the providence of the phones.
Leo: One of the things Keurig did to keep you from using other people’s pods in their coffee maker; printer manufacturers do this too. They have smart chips in the cartridges and in the printer that keep you from using third party cartridges or injecting new ink into your cartridges. Well Keurig has done the same thing as well. The DRM has been broken; not by hackers but by competitors: Tree House and Real Cup.
Christina: That’s how it was broken on printers too, wasn’t it? It was the third party guys that figured out ways to get around that.
Leo: Well they’re incented too. If Real Cup wants to sell K-cups, they need to break it. So the question is, does this violate the DMCA? The reverse-engineered DRM…
Patrick: As long as they reverse engineer it themselves and don’t share it with anybody. In theory, it’s not a DMC violation. Well wait, it is a DMC violation because; well it’s a mess.
Leo: That’s a good point. They’re not telling anybody how to do it.
Patrick: Unless they did a deal with the second company to give them the technology.
Christina: I don’t know if it would be a DMC violation, but it would still be a violation of basic…
Christina: Right, because I’m thinking of Nintendo versus Atari. The case that went on forever in the 80’s was around that very issue. That Nintendo didn’t want anybody else that were making cartridges that would work for the NES unless it has the authorized seal of approval.
Leo: And Nintendo won, didn’t they?
Christina: Yes, they did. They won, and they basically won all the appeals process, too. It was totally undertaken and there were others; like a bible game I remember…
Leo: The important point: a cartridge is a copyrighted thing. I don’t think a coffee pod is copyrightable.
Christina: Why wouldn’t it be? Why would the cartridge be any different?
Leo: Are coffee pods copyrighted works? No, they’re just a thing with coffee in it.
Christina: No but wouldn’t the mechanism be the thing though? Because that’s what was being…
Leo: The DMCA says you can’t circumvent to access controls to copyrighted works. It’s the digital millennium copyright act. So if you can’t copyright a coffee pod, then it’s not circumvention because it’s not a copyrighted work. I can’t wait to see the court case.
Christina: Right but I’m saying in this case, wouldn’t it…
Leo: Your honor! This coffee pod is the creation of a true honest and bi-virtual; that is a copyrighted work!
Christina: But in this case with Nintendo, it was more of the connector that was copyrighted, not the contents of the cartridge.
Leo: I agree. They circumvented the copyright protection, but it has to be with an end of getting to copyrighted materials. No, you’re right. That was different because it was a bible game.
Christina: Right, exactly. Atari made the stuff, but in order to approve it, they didn’t want to pay Nintendo’s rates to get Nintendo’s approval. They just wanted the game to be able to be played on the NES. So they reverse-engineered so they could put the cartridge in. So it’s a similar thing than what this is. So I’m guessing they could just do a circumvention thing and the DMCA wouldn’t have to be involved at all. Although that would be funny.
Leo: This is from BoingBoing, he writes, but Keurig whose business model it is to sell you coffee makers below cost then make a profit by using the law to force you to drink overpriced crappy coffee out of it. May not be able to resist the temptation to sue. And as far as test cases go, this is about as perfect as it is likely to get.
Patrick: Well part of what’s so stupid about this, is so you buy a Keurig coffee maker and you go to buy your Tim Horton’s coffee or K-cup thing you want to do. And if it doesn’t work, I don’t know…
Leo: I think it’s the same thing as the printer cartridges. It’s very frustrating if you want to buy third party ink. It keeps the price artificially inflated of the K-cup or of the ink, right?
Patrick: I don’t know.
Leo: Hey, if you missed TWiT, do we have promo this week? If you missed TWiT this week, we have some good stuff. I just want to show you that and then I’m going to let you guy goes.
[Voice]: Previously on TWiT. It’s TWiT Wow, you’ll be saying wow every time you watch. Triangulation. Today we’ve got the visual effects supervisor of Sharknado. Would you prefer not to be known that way? I could leave that out. I’ll tell you, it gets me a lot of free drinks. Security now. We have the first confirmed major breach caused by heart bleed. Tech News Tonight. Amazon has beaten Google to the punch and will buy Twitch. Google was not going to give Twitch as much leeway. This Week in Google. Let’s just watch a little Twitch TV. More people are watching this right now than are watching us. This is like old people trying to understand this new thing called gaming. It is! Marketing mavericks. This is my favorite campaign ever. If this was here, I would be at Pizza Hut right now. I also don’t like associating animals and food. TWiT, now in color.
Leo: Living color, Jim Cutler. Our great announcer. Thank you, Jim. He ad-libs many of those.
Patrick: He does it quite well.
Leo: He did the screensaver, a great guy! We didn’t mention Twitch. You guys have any thoughts about that? Why does Amazon of all things want Twitch? Google made sense, YouTube made sense. A lot of the content on YouTube, the most successful content on YouTube is the same kind of stuff; gaming video, game play.
Patrick: I don’t know. They need something. It seems a bizarre purchase.
Leo: And by the way, not insignificant. Amazon is not as cash-rich as some of these other companies. It was something like 5% of their total cash holdings. $970M. No thoughts, Christina. You’re a gamer.
Christina: I am. I think it makes sense. In the sense that they’re looking at; they’re a bunch of companies that are really betting on the future of video. So you have companies like Netflix, and more traditional content companies like HBO Go, and different models with that. You have Hulu, Amazon, obviously YouTube, and then you have Twitch. Amazon has been making a really big push into virtual video. And they haven’t been that successful with their original productions. They’ve been trying to build more and more value into their Prime video ecosystems. So I think having this as a cornerstone of that, they’re hoping will turn Prime into an Amazon by extension into a destination for all of this content. So they’re saying, there’s already this huge audience here. We can help integrate that audience into our existing stuff. And then kind of do what Google did with YouTube, where it is slow to make money for a period of time. Although in this case, I think there were a lot of synergies for Amazon to make money off of Twitch. In a way that there wouldn’t even be with Google. And then there’s a way for them to build up their brand, of their original videos. So I think it makes sense on that level. Even though it isn’t as perfectly synergistic as the YouTube acquisition. But I also feel that’s why Twitch sold to Amazon because they don’t just want to become a division underneath somebody at YouTube. They want to continue to build their own brand. And Amazon will not be doing anything to dilute the existing Twitch brand. If anything, they’re probably going to promote more Twitch stuff across their other products and on their home page to try and build awareness to that stuff.
Patrick: I also said that gaming has never really been a strong point for Amazon. Maybe selling games through the Amazon store.
Leo: Well that’s what the other guy says in our chat room. That would be one way to monetize it. You’re watching League of Legends, now would you like to buy it?
Patrick: Monetizing Twitch isn’t a problem. The whole reason Google/YouTube was looking at Twitch was because it was a competitor to YouTube’s advertising environment. And it’s very passionate. Somebody who is going to watch game play for three hours is a pretty hardcore consumer of content. It’s a pretty huge network; there’s a lot of eye balls out there watching the videos. As for a company that’s kind of like starting to move in the content direction; like Netflix, they’re looking at opportunities for gaming on the Fire TV and on the other portable devices.
Leo: Oh, Fire TV. I didn’t even think of that.
Christina: There’s actually a really great Twitch app that came out in June for Fire TV and it’s quite good. But what I can’t wait for is the next Fire TV or maybe an update, to be able to automatically stream your Fire TV game play to Twitch.
Leo: Which you can do now on Xbox and PlayStation, right?
Christina: Right, and you can buy a capture, a number of companies makes little capture things so that you can connect it to Fire TV or something else so you can stream it. But I think having it built into the box could be cool. And the reason I say that is because the games that are on Fire TV, they have a couple of originals. But most of them are Android games. That is a market that I think is really ripe for let’s play and for shared gaming stuff that a lot of people haven’t done because it’s complicated to connect your Android or your iPhone, and stream live. So I think that if Amazon can get in early with that and have it built into their box that could be a potential draw for people too. Especially at that point, it’s not that far away to go from watching people play to then being able to then take place in exhibition matches you know with multi-player gaming and that sort of thing across the network. I don’t know.
Leo: I know one thing. We’ve gone on and on, and on and it’s time for us to stop. Say again? Oh, the week ahead. Well I’ll tell you what, we’ll show you what’s coming up in the week ahead because I think we talked about what’s coming up in the week ahead; with our news director Mike Elgin. But first let me say goodbye to Christina Warren, who’s been very patient. We started late and we ended late. I hope you’re not missing dinner, Christina.
Christina: If I am, it’s okay. I’ve got tomorrow off, so I’ll make due.
Leo: It’s Labor Day! What are you doing for Labor Day?
Christina: I’m watching the last day of the Simpsons marathon.
Leo: Yes! I’ve been enjoying that. I’ve TiVo’d, because some of this stuff you can’t even buy. So I was TiVo’ing Marge versus Monorail. Or Marge and the Monorail. I looked and I TiVo’d 70 episodes, so that’s a little more than perhaps I should have done.
Patrick: You should have TiVo’d them all.
Leo: What was your favorite episode? Did you stay up all night?
Christina: I’ve watched way too much. And I have all the available seasons on DVD.
Leo: Not all of them are available, am I wrong?
Christina: No they’re not. Up through season 16 and then there’s also season 20 that’s available on DVD. Season 17 is out in December. But we’re at season 25 now, about to go into season 26. So that’s still like eight years that’s not available yet.
Leo: I made sure to TiVo season 4 and 5, which I think many connoisseurs, the Conan years.
Christina: The Conan years. I’m more of seasons 6, 7, and 8. I’m really a big fan of Mike Scully. Not Mike Scully, Josh Weinstein and Bill Oakley seasons. They’re my two favorites.
Leo: Did you get upset about the aspect ratio issue?
Christina: A little bit. But I’m okay with it; this is why I’m okay with it. They’re going to have the weird messed-up aspect ratio on FXX but on the FX now Simpsons World app, they will be presented in the correct aspect ratio. Which is awesome! That means an even better promo for the app in my opinion. The app will have them all on the correct aspect ratio.
Leo: So there’s an app?
Christina: There’s going to be an app coming out in October called Simpsons World that is like HBO Go, but it’s like every episode of the Simpsons ever as well as clips put into an entire thing. With trivia, it’s yea…
Leo: How much is that going to cost? A million dollars?
Christina: No, it’s free. As long as you’re a cable subscriber, it’s free.
Leo: With in-app purchases? Do I have to buy donuts like on the Simpsons Tapped Out?
Christina: I don’t think they will do that. But they can do a lot of fun things with that. They’re creating an entire app just around the Simpsons. It will be out in October.
Patrick: So can I have your access code for the app, because I’m not getting cable to watch the Simpsons.
Christina: I was going to say, Patrick, should I make you one? You could totally be our child.
Leo: Patrick looks like a small baby. Got all swelled up. Yes, the aspect ratio because they’re showing it 16:9 even though these are 4:3 episodes. Stuff is cut off on the top and bottom; it’s kind of annoying. But you know what, it’s still great stuff.
Christina: It’s still the Simpsons is all I have to say. It’s still been 14 days of the Simpsons.
Leo: I am so relieved I can erase those 70 episodes on my TiVo and just get the app.
Leo: That’s great news.
Patrick: You should wait until the app ships before you erase them.
Leo: Yea, I still have several hundred donuts leftover from the Simpsons Tapped Out. You talked last time we were on, about what was it the Kardashians?
Christina: The Kardashian game. I haven’t played it since.
Leo: Good. You were shamed out of it!
Christina: I was shamed out of it, I would have to say.
Leo: Okay then I can admit it now. $300 in donuts in Tapped Out. Most expensive game I have ever played. Not to mention, thousands of wasted hours. For which I have no recompense and will never get back.
Christina: And didn’t the game get erased for you after you…?
Leo: Yea! It got corrupted. But the worse thing is, a year later, EA fixed it. And I started playing it again. And they keep pulling me in.
Christina: They keep pulling you in.
Patrick: So was the $300 in total or since you’ve restarted playing?
Leo: No, total. That’s like 5000 donuts. Oh lord, maybe I can use them in the new Simpsons FXX game.
Christina: See to me they should totally have a store built in and you can buy it with their own currency. And I would spend so much money. I recently bought the entire top series of the Simpsons trading cards from 1990 off of eBay. They were only like $5. I have most of them in my parent’s basement some place. But actually it was way cheaper than I thought it was going to be.
Leo: You’re such a nerd, a geek! I can’t believe you. You were Louise for Halloween.
Christina: I sure was.
Leo: So you love the Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers?
Christina: Absolutely. The Simpsons is like my gym. People were noticing the background; you can’t see it from here. But I actually have a Ralph Wiggum, that’s an original production drawing from the show, from this little wiggy episode. I got that eight years ago, it’s really cool.
Leo: Oh my God.
Christina: Yea, it’s really awesome. When that episode came on during the episode, I was ecstatic.
Patrick: Were you clutching the frame as you were watching the episode?
Christina: It came close to that. I was super excited.
Leo: All us geek boys are just madly in love with Christina. She’s our dream girl. So great to have you on Christina. We keep trying to hire you. Just once, get back to us! Every time you’re on, I get all these tweets saying why don’t you ever give Christina her own show? She’s so great.
Christina: I would love it.
Leo: Great. But you have to get permission from those guys at Mashable. It’s no conflict! Lance and I were like this. Pete Cashmore and I are great friends. Whatever I can do to pull some strings for you, you let me know. Is Cashmore involved at all anymore?
Christina: Well he’s the CEO but he doesn’t really have a lot of…
Leo: Does he ever show up? Or is he always like in Scotland?
Patrick: If you’re trying to make the thing happen, don’t diss the person that can say no to the thing.
Leo: He used to be on TWiT a lot but he’s very shy.
Christina: That’s the thing. You wouldn’t expect that he; he’s this big… no he’s very shy. But he’s a big thinker. He’s such a great guy. He is the best.
Leo: How old was he when he started Mashable?
Leo: It’s like Anon. these guys, these young guys and they’re just movers and shakers.
Leo: Well you too, probably. You started when you were 14, I’m sure.
Christina: Doing some of this stuff. But I haven’t been prolific and successful like they have. I look at them and I’m like wow, you guys are just like…
Leo: Soon. Soon it will all happen.
Christina: I have to say, then I’ll let you guys go. I’m geeking out now. I was such a huge fan of both Ziti TV and then Tech TV and so to be on with the screensavers is just like…
Leo: I didn’t think of that! But you have been on with the screensavers, haven’t you! You’re Kate Batello!
Christina: If I could talk to 17-year old me, I’d be like just wait. This is going to happen? No way.
Leo: Well we can make it happen anytime you want, Christina. Just remember that.
Christina: Thanks you guys.
Leo: Mashable.com at film_girl on the Twitter. Patrick Norton, my friend and old pal. Tekzilla, every week revision three. Tekzilla.com.
Patrick: Don’t forget Die Trying. To open VPN, we make things.
Leo: Or you die trying.
Patrick: Fortunately the bacon thing worked out. We were a little nervous about that one.
Leo: What is the website? Dietryn.com? No I, or G.
Patrick: No, yea, it’s like a pun. You ever try to find a .com and a URL these days. It was either that or...
Leo: Dietryn, anyway it’s on revision three. Dietryn, you and Michael Han, awesome. Build your own VPN. Data visualization.
Patrick: If you haven’t seen Plot.ly, see Plot.ly. It instantly creates animated, interacted and social graphs from any data you want.
Leo: Is that what you use for this?
Patrick: That was for our bathroom. Bathroomstatus.com. We built a bathroom monitor because we have like 54 people in two bathrooms in our office.
Leo: I love it. Well we’ll save it. I don’t want to watch that. So we’ll save that for later. Thank you, Patrick. Always a pleasure. Great to have you. Who is that? That young man there? That quiet young man? Is that Shamus?
Patrick: Yea, that’s Shamus, eight feet tall. He’s growing like a weed.
Leo: We probably have video of him as a baby.
Patrick: We have a picture of you holding him as a baby. That was six years ago. We’re getting older. Which means we’re not dead.
Leo: Yea, how’s Malachi doing, is he doing good too? Do you have a child named Malachi or am I imagining that? You don’t. I made that up, huh? Alex Lindsay has Malachi. Okay, never mind. Shamus and Malachi kind of go together, you know what I’m saying.
Patrick: I have Tristin.
Leo: Tristin! How’s Tristin?
Patrick: Tristin’s good. His language exploded. There’s this two year old, making complete sentences.
Leo: Well my love to all of them at home and Sara too. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon. A little late today; normally we try for 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern time. We are still in daylight savings time, so that’s 2200 UTC. We will move, which means daylight savings time will move in about a month, I think.
Patrick: It’s a good plan.
Leo: Meanwhile, if you don’t want to watch live, you can always get us at twit.tv. Or there are lots of ways to watch on your favorite podcast app. We’re also on YouTube. Share it with your friends, tell everybody about this episode. Because it was a lot of fun. Thanks, guys.
Patrick: Thanks for having us.
Leo: And we’ll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can.