The Talk Show

345: ‘A Fake Crank on the Web’, With Michael Simmons


00:00:00   Do you have one?

00:00:00   Do you want one?

00:00:01   What's what's your, what's your display setup at home?

00:00:03   So I don't have them.

00:00:05   I display set up, believe it or not is so I have a MacBook pro and I believe

00:00:10   or not, I'm using with an adapter, an old Thunderbolt display, I shit you not.

00:00:14   Like the non retina one.

00:00:16   Like, I think so.

00:00:18   Like I, I'm very into just using my laptop and then I use the display if

00:00:23   I have to have a second screen, but I'm very like, just, just use my laptop.

00:00:27   And I'm good.

00:00:28   Oh, so primarily though, you're actually, you, you're, you're just looking at the

00:00:32   actual M one Mac, you know, the built-in M one, just laptop display.

00:00:36   Exactly.

00:00:37   I just, I'm just kinda like, you know, that's my display and that's what I look

00:00:40   at and I have everything in one place and I'm good, but 16 inch or 14 inch.

00:00:44   I have the, it put me on the spot 14 inch.

00:00:47   Yeah.

00:00:48   Smaller, big, small.

00:00:50   Well, to me, the 14 inch as it's gotten bigger and bigger and

00:00:53   bigger, it feels bigger and bigger.

00:00:54   But it's funny you mentioned about the old thing.

00:00:56   Cause I feel the same way.

00:00:57   It's like, I used to be up at night creative and even the screen sizes and

00:01:01   stuff, like, I'm like, maybe I should get a studio display.

00:01:03   Maybe I should get a bigger display.

00:01:05   It's like everything bigger and slower and you know, older, right?

00:01:08   I don't want to rehash it too much, but I spent most of, or over two years, I guess,

00:01:14   starting at like the end of summer 2019.

00:01:16   And I've told this story, but it was a combination of, I had a retina

00:01:20   detachment in my right eye and, and we were doing renovations at our house,

00:01:25   including my office.

00:01:26   So I packed up my 5k iMac from 2014 and was full-time using a Mac book pro, a 13,

00:01:35   an older 13 inch Mac book pro with the built-in display, like in the kitchen

00:01:39   for all my work because I remember this, I remember this and the retina

00:01:43   detachment applies because then even after like the renovations were over,

00:01:48   like, which were luckily just ahead of COVID it was, we, we really, the timing

00:01:54   was just unbelievable.

00:01:55   Like it was literally like the city of Philadelphia said, Hey, this

00:01:58   Friday is the last day after this.

00:02:00   We're going to have a lockdown.

00:02:01   No, no work.

00:02:02   It would, you know, would have been illegal for our contractors to, uh, to be

00:02:06   in the house and, you know, and it did, you know, I don't blame them every, you

00:02:09   know, it was worrisome, but they, they were literally just finishing up the last

00:02:12   few things, putting like some grommets in my desk so I could string cables through.

00:02:17   It was just finishing up.

00:02:18   But even after that, I didn't set up the 5k iMac again, because that focal distance

00:02:24   I had terrible double vision.

00:02:26   Whereas if I was closer, like you are with a laptop, I could see it perfectly.

00:02:31   So I just kept working on the MacBook pro.

00:02:34   And then even as my eyesight got better, then I really realized it a year ago when

00:02:40   I tested the iMac, uh, 24 inch, you know, the first M1 iMacs from Apple, I was like,

00:02:47   Hey, I was like, Hey, I can see this really good.

00:02:50   And it's nice to have a big display.

00:02:52   But I didn't want to get the 24 inch iMac.

00:02:55   And I either wanted to wait to see if Apple came out with a big one or if they

00:02:59   came out, you know, with the thing that they actually did come out with the 27

00:03:04   inch iMac screen as a standalone 5k as a standalone display.

00:03:09   And I was like, I'm just going to wait for that.

00:03:10   And then, you know, there's another year, another year just goes fly by, but I, I

00:03:17   know it and I tell that to people, I have friends and, and, and they're like, that's

00:03:22   crazy.

00:03:22   So you spent like years and years with like a big 27 inch 5k display.

00:03:27   And before that I had, you know, uh, 20 inch, the old Apple 20 inch display.

00:03:32   Remember that thing?

00:03:32   I had that for forever.

00:03:35   And I had the 20 inch instead of the 23, because at the time it was all I could

00:03:38   afford, but I loved it.

00:03:39   And it never, it never gave me any trouble.

00:03:41   And I was like, yeah, it was a bit of an adjustment, but I, I sort of find that.

00:03:46   Only having the laptop screen.

00:03:50   It does help me focus, like, you know, and I think you, knowing you, I think you're

00:03:55   a little bit like me, like having too much on screen at once might be

00:03:58   counterproductive to productivity.

00:04:00   That's it.

00:04:01   Well, like the Thunderbolt display, the reason why I've always kept it is it's

00:04:04   27 inches.

00:04:05   It's really nice.

00:04:06   It's actually a good display.

00:04:08   It's one cable plugin.

00:04:09   But the thing is, as I start having all the displays, exactly, like you said, I

00:04:12   start having so many windows and I'm just like, why do I have all these windows

00:04:15   open?

00:04:15   I eventually close them and I'm back on my laptop.

00:04:17   I will say though, now that I'm back and I've got, I've still got the

00:04:20   review unit, a studio display.

00:04:22   I've ordered my own and it is, I forget what the shipping was.

00:04:27   The date was like July or August or something like that or end of June.

00:04:31   It is, the demand and supply chains issues are real, right?

00:04:33   So it is nice.

00:04:35   And I'm like, oh yeah, this was nice to be able to put two full-sized browser

00:04:39   windows side by side and see both of them completely.

00:04:42   And it's great for being able to work on two things side by side and drag and drop

00:04:46   things between them.

00:04:47   So I'm back hooked on it again.

00:04:49   But I totally understand your perspective of living on that.

00:04:52   I will probably break down and get one.

00:04:54   I'll leave it at that.

00:04:55   All right.

00:04:56   What's, what is your webcam situation?

00:04:58   Do you just use the built-in M1?

00:05:00   Yeah, I do.

00:05:02   You know, I've been looking, actually a bunch of my friends have really nice ones

00:05:05   and I've been thinking about getting like an external, like really high end one, but

00:05:08   I was reading Jason Snell's review of the firmware update and the camera's really

00:05:12   looking good with the firmware update.

00:05:14   There's, I still have some pickies and we could get into it if you want, but like.

00:05:17   It's, you know, that's why I'm thinking about getting one now is it kind of solves

00:05:20   two problems with one, you know, with one display.

00:05:22   See now that's interesting.

00:05:25   Cause I still think it looks bad.

00:05:26   I mean, not bad, bad.

00:05:29   I mean, I said, I still have some problems.

00:05:31   It's not perfect.

00:05:31   It doesn't look as good as it could.

00:05:33   And I think it's a firmware issue still.

00:05:35   It's, it's nowhere near as good as something, you know, like I think what

00:05:38   you're talking about with the really nice ones, like a lot of people have the Sony

00:05:41   whatever it's like a thousand dollars.

00:05:43   Exactly.

00:05:44   It's like the barrel or whatever it is.

00:05:45   Yeah.

00:05:45   Yeah.

00:05:46   And it's, it's sort of known as the YouTuber's camera because there's a, you

00:05:50   know, it's, it's just perfect for a lot of pro or semi-pro or prosumer level,

00:05:57   really polished YouTube style talking to the camera videos at a very affordable

00:06:03   price for a thousand dollars and you can use it as a webcam and you know, you'll,

00:06:08   you'll get in your, your team or, or company Zoom calls and just blow everybody

00:06:15   away with, with your image quality.

00:06:17   Exactly.

00:06:17   That's a, you know, a thousand dollars Sony camera is not what you expect from

00:06:23   a $1,600 built in webcam in a, in a studio display.

00:06:27   I mean, that's clearly above and beyond for anybody who's had their head in the

00:06:31   ground this week, the news this week on the firmware update for the studio

00:06:35   display is that Apple finally came out.

00:06:39   I know I like to put finally in quotes.

00:06:40   You have to, to, to get it though.

00:06:42   You have to have a Mac running the beta version of MacOS 12.4.

00:06:48   And then once you have a Mac running the beta version of 12.4, if you have a studio

00:06:54   display attached software update, we'll see it and tell you there's a firmware

00:07:00   update for the studio display.

00:07:03   And it is funny, like firmware is, is one of those words, like,

00:07:08   Uh huh.

00:07:09   What, what exactly did, cause remember we used to call the, I, we used to

00:07:12   call the iPhone's operating system firmware, like for the first year.

00:07:15   Nobody really, nobody really knew what to call it because it wasn't, you know,

00:07:19   and I think even Apple called it a firmware update.

00:07:21   There's a certain line that an operating system can cross where it

00:07:27   goes from being firmware to an OS.

00:07:29   But it's effectively, it's, it's just a beta version of iOS 15.5 that powers

00:07:35   the studio display under the hood.

00:07:37   So I did it cause I'm an idiot.

00:07:39   But also in my personal experience, the, these, especially like the end of the

00:07:47   cycle, OS updates, in other words, you know, we're obviously heading towards

00:07:53   WWDC, we're going to get announcements of iOS 16 and MacOS 13, et cetera.

00:08:01   And they're going to have betas for developers that are really, really,

00:08:05   really rough at WWDC.

00:08:07   That's just the way that the calendar works.

00:08:09   But these ones that come out at the end of the previous year's cycle, like

00:08:13   around now in April are really pretty.

00:08:16   You know, they're, they're, they're very stable.

00:08:19   Like, and honestly, I've been running and living on MacOS 12.4 beta three because

00:08:25   of this studio display thing all week long.

00:08:28   And I could not tell you one thing that I've encountered that seems like a

00:08:32   bug or glitch beta wise, you know?

00:08:34   So I don't, yeah, it's not, that's great.

00:08:36   I wouldn't, that's not to say that I'm telling everybody listening to this

00:08:40   podcast, go and go, go install a beta version of the OS on your production Mac.

00:08:46   Gruber says there are no bugs.

00:08:49   I mean, there's a reason they still call it beta, but pretty stable.

00:08:52   But I installed it.

00:08:53   I got the update.

00:08:54   It is kind of wild to, to, to have your display updating.

00:09:00   It's just such a weird, you know, you just, you just don't think of your.

00:09:06   Display is having an operating system and it's sort of like, I don't know.

00:09:12   It's like when your Apple TV updates, I mean, it takes a couple of minutes

00:09:15   and for the most part, day to day, you don't notice that the display

00:09:19   is actually an iOS computer.

00:09:21   It just, you plug it in and it just runs and runs and runs and wakes up when

00:09:26   you want to wake up the, the, the Mac.

00:09:29   But when you'd run a software update, it really does seem like a

00:09:32   weird thing to be waiting for.

00:09:34   I don't blame them for this.

00:09:36   I, I, I, I think the camera and getting the image signal processor to, to, to do

00:09:42   things with the camera is probably the main reason that they designed it this

00:09:46   way, you know, as an iOS computer, instead of just being a traditional dumb display.

00:09:52   My, my thoughts on the image quality are.

00:09:56   I, I think that what we saw a month ago when it first shipped and I wrote my

00:10:01   review and most of the reviews, if they mentioned the camera really trashed the

00:10:06   image quality were that there, there was something clearly wrong.

00:10:09   And I think what a couple of sources within Apple told me that something

00:10:14   happened late in the cycle and how it slipped through, I really can't explain.

00:10:20   Best way I can explain it is that in really good light, it, the problems were

00:10:25   harder to notice and they were probably, they probably, I don't know what happened,

00:10:31   but some kind of bug was introduced to the image processing and it was only

00:10:36   tested like inside Apple's beautiful headquarters with beautiful, even light

00:10:42   lighting, beautiful, even lighting, not just bright, but like bright and even.

00:10:48   And it, they just, you know, they didn't really notice it and whatever, but

00:10:54   yeah, it's definitely, it's definitely a lighting issue because even in like

00:10:57   Jason Snell's latest thing, you can see the colors are just off due to the

00:11:02   lighting, but you can tell it's a lighting issue with the old firmware.

00:11:05   Yeah, well, but I still feel like the new firmware, that's why earlier I

00:11:09   said it looks a lot better to me, but I still feel like they can tweak that

00:11:12   more and that there's still a bit of a color saturation light adjustment that

00:11:17   can be made, I don't know, there's something still in the picture that

00:11:20   just feels a little off to me.

00:11:21   It is funny, Ben Thompson and I mentioned it on dithering the other day, but it is

00:11:26   funny doing an audio podcast where we're talking about purely visual image quality

00:11:32   things, so you'll have to play along with us, but I think the biggest thing I see,

00:11:37   and I'm bad at talking about details like this, like I've all, I'm also really bad

00:11:44   at like describing food, like I could never be a restaurant critic cause I'm

00:11:50   just really, really bad at, if I get a dish that I really love, like, Oh my God,

00:11:56   this is great, every single time we come to this restaurant, I'm just going to

00:11:59   order this, I don't even care what else is on the menu cause this is so good.

00:12:02   I couldn't tell you why I couldn't describe what it is that they've done to

00:12:06   it, you know, I just know that I like it, which does not make for good criticism.

00:12:10   Yeah, I'm sort of like that with image quality.

00:12:13   I'm a little bit, I could talk about it a little bit better than I can with food.

00:12:17   To me, it's, it's a con, still a contrast issue, especially with skin tones.

00:12:23   Yeah.

00:12:24   The skin tone is really where you can tell exactly.

00:12:26   Yeah.

00:12:27   It's, it still looks very flat to me.

00:12:30   So I will, I absolutely, I will link to at least three different things.

00:12:35   Jason Snell's piece, which is terrific.

00:12:37   Definitely.

00:12:38   Because the thing Snell has that makes, it's like, there's no point in me

00:12:44   spending hours taking example pictures side by side because I only have one

00:12:48   studio display here and the thing Snell has going on is he still has his review

00:12:53   unit.

00:12:54   He also has the one that he ordered for himself because unlike me, he ordered

00:13:00   one immediately as opposed to waiting and allowing the backlog to grow to like eight

00:13:06   to 10 weeks.

00:13:07   So he updated the one that he, I guess the one that he owns, I forget which one he

00:13:11   did, but anyway, he's got two identical studio displays, one of which is running

00:13:15   the firmware from a month ago that everybody agreed was even Apple agreed,

00:13:20   had a bug, had glitches and the new one.

00:13:23   So, and he could take side by side images in the same lighting and then what more

00:13:27   could you ask for?

00:13:28   No, it was great.

00:13:29   What he did was he actually updated his display, the one he bought, and he kept

00:13:32   the stock firmware on the review units.

00:13:34   That way you could have them side by side, truly running different firmwares.

00:13:38   It was great.

00:13:38   But I might've, I might've done it the other way.

00:13:40   It just risk, risk the beta firmware on Apple's.

00:13:43   But what's the difference?

00:13:46   You know what I mean?

00:13:47   But it's all good.

00:13:48   It's a great comparison.

00:13:49   It's a great comparison.

00:13:50   Right.

00:13:50   And the thing that was confounding originally was that Apple admitted, they

00:13:56   said, and it's funny what they will talk about and what they won't usually what's

00:14:00   inside a sealed device.

00:14:02   They don't, sometimes they're very secretive about, but they, you know, told

00:14:06   everybody, you know, it's, it's in the tech specs that the studio display has the

00:14:10   A13 chip and they told, I don't think it's advertised as such, but they told people

00:14:17   in the media that the camera system for the webcam is the same camera hardware as

00:14:23   the front facing camera in the new iPad air and last year's iPad pros, which is,

00:14:31   it's kind of easy to know which, which iPads have this camera system.

00:14:36   It's all the ones that support center stage, right?

00:14:40   Because center stage is this feature that the front camera is ultra wide, not

00:14:47   just wide, it's like almost fish eye.

00:14:49   If you just took the pure image and center stage uses, you know, software

00:14:54   intelligence to identify people within this ultra wide fish eye frame and crop

00:15:00   to where the faces, or if two people join to expand the frame to include both

00:15:08   people, including, you know, if one person is sitting and one standing over their

00:15:12   shoulder and it'll, you know, dynamically pan the crop on this ultra wide image

00:15:19   sensor to hopefully keep the subjects in frame and generally does a good job of

00:15:27   that on the iPad.

00:15:28   And so they said it has the same cameras, equal, you know, the same camera hardware

00:15:33   as the, the new iPad, but clearly you could take a picture of yourself.

00:15:38   I did it.

00:15:39   Other people did it.

00:15:40   It was a big part of my negative comments in my review of the studio display webcam

00:15:46   that right, right, right.

00:15:48   It's like, even if I use this iPad, which supposedly has the same hardware here,

00:15:52   same, same, you know, taken 10 seconds apart at the same desk in the same light,

00:15:57   better image quality, noticeably better.

00:16:00   And it, and they said, you know, what I was told unofficially was that they

00:16:06   expected that a bug fix to the firmware should at the very least get the image

00:16:11   quality up to the iPad level.

00:16:13   I would say that's true.

00:16:14   I would say that in my experience over the last few days, using the new

00:16:19   firmware on the studio display, the image quality is on par very much on par with

00:16:26   the front facing camera on newer iPads.

00:16:29   It's, it's not quite apples to apples because.

00:16:32   Pardon the pun.

00:16:35   I know, right?

00:16:36   It's it, or it, but it is different because the iPad, it's hard to get a

00:16:43   picture that shows the exact same framing.

00:16:48   You can't overlay two cameras, the physical objects, right?

00:16:52   Yeah.

00:16:52   Right.

00:16:52   And, and the iPad is, is a device that rotates and the studio display is not.

00:17:00   So sometimes the camera is on top and that's when the camera is centered, right?

00:17:06   So like for me, I always think you look best on an iPad front facing camera when

00:17:11   you're holding it vertically, like a phone, because then the camera is centered.

00:17:16   Whereas, and I know that not to digress onto an argument about where the camera

00:17:22   should go on iPads, but there's an awful lot of people who every time these iPads

00:17:26   come out that have like a magic keyboard component and you can use them in a

00:17:30   laptop configuration, shouldn't the camera be at the top there because when you

00:17:34   have it in laptop configuration, you look off center in the, in the front facing

00:17:41   camera.

00:17:42   I always felt that camera should be like, it is like on a MacBook Pro where it

00:17:46   should be like in landscape mode top.

00:17:48   That's where I feel they should have put it.

00:17:50   I understand why they didn't because of like hardware plays, but I agree with you.

00:17:54   But it, but just in terms of comparing the iPad camera to the studio display camera,

00:18:01   it would sure make it easier if they had done that.

00:18:04   And it makes it harder.

00:18:05   But so framing aside, just in terms of lighting and exposure and quality, it's

00:18:12   clearly on par.

00:18:13   Very, very similar.

00:18:15   Why do you think, why do you think if it's supposedly the same hardware, same

00:18:19   software, same whatever, why do you think it was different?

00:18:21   I mean, I like, I'll give you my input, but I want to hear yours first.

00:18:24   I honestly don't know.

00:18:26   And I get asked it.

00:18:27   It's, it's the, one of the most frequently asked questions I've, I've gotten from

00:18:32   friends and just regular readers and listeners of the show in all my years of

00:18:37   doing Daring Fireball, the, what do you, how do you think this happened?

00:18:41   How did they, how did they ship this?

00:18:44   I honestly can't, I still don't know.

00:18:46   I really don't.

00:18:46   The only guess I have, and this is with all my hardware and software experience,

00:18:50   is that even though it's the same off the shelf components and it shares

00:18:54   similarities with, you know, we'll call it iPad OS, there's clearly something

00:18:59   different, whether it's higher powered, a little bit of a different type of,

00:19:03   there's usually, you know, a chip in between, right, the, the, the image

00:19:07   processor and the camera, things like that.

00:19:09   There's something else I think going on with the hardware structure that's going

00:19:13   to possibly unveil another feature, whether it's, I don't know, filtering or

00:19:18   boosting, or I don't know what, but I would say if it's really exactly one to

00:19:23   one, it should have been the same image quality from the beginning.

00:19:25   Yeah.

00:19:25   It's just different.

00:19:27   Well, the other thing though, here's the other thing though, is that it, it was the

00:19:32   same image quality inside Apple before it shipped, because that's the thing I heard

00:19:37   from a few birdies, you know, friends who work at Apple who actually had been using

00:19:42   studio displays for months before it was announced late in the game, either, either

00:19:48   because they were actually working on it in some degree or, or somehow were brought

00:19:53   into the internal group that was testing it and they were running previous

00:19:59   firmwares that were only internal to Apple.

00:20:02   And they were like, yeah, mine.

00:20:03   And, and they, you know, a couple of them said to me, you know, I still have mine

00:20:07   right on my desk, I'm running an older internal firmware and my image quality

00:20:11   does not look like the one that the pictures you're showing.

00:20:15   Do you feel the April 26th firmware, and this is, I wish Jason would have

00:20:19   almost done a comparison.

00:20:21   Do you think if you compare that to an iPad now it's literally the

00:20:24   same or is it still different?

00:20:25   I think it's, I think it's close enough, you know?

00:20:28   Okay.

00:20:28   All right.

00:20:29   So you'd say you feel like if it had shipped with this, no one would have ever

00:20:32   said anything?

00:20:32   Oh, I still think there would have been complaints.

00:20:34   That's, that's what I meant.

00:20:36   Right.

00:20:36   Exactly.

00:20:37   And it makes it to me, it's, I'm going to write about it and I swear.

00:20:40   I definitely do.

00:20:41   Definitely.

00:20:42   I'm a hand, hand on my MacBook.

00:20:45   I, by the time this podcast is out, there will be a piece on Daring Fireball, but

00:20:49   it won't be super extensive because I'm just going to, like I said, I'm going to

00:20:52   defer to Jason Snell.

00:20:53   James Thompson, the author of the absolutely wonderful PCALC calculator,

00:20:59   amongst other things, had a tweet with some, some example pictures that I'll

00:21:03   talk about.

00:21:04   Great examples.

00:21:04   In fact, his was the first I saw.

00:21:06   He really spelled it out well.

00:21:07   So I'll just link to them and give my thoughts, but the thoughts in rough form

00:21:12   are there's, there's three, let's say three levels of image quality that I'll

00:21:19   address.

00:21:20   There's what actually shipped back in the end of, back in March with this studio

00:21:26   display, with the firmware they originally shipped with, which was really

00:21:30   bad, surprising.

00:21:31   It's the worst camera Apple shipped in image quality Apple shipped in, in, in

00:21:37   memory.

00:21:37   Right.

00:21:37   Like I can't agree.

00:21:38   Not to mention the cropping and like the oddities, right?

00:21:41   Like I know you're talking about quality right now, but the, the cropping was just

00:21:43   crazy.

00:21:44   Yeah.

00:21:44   The, the only, the only, the, the last time they shipped a camera with image

00:21:48   quality that bad were the Intel Mac books, which didn't have a series systems on

00:21:55   chips, but had, and remember they weren't even HD there, or they were like 720p.

00:22:00   It was like 720p.

00:22:01   Yes.

00:22:02   720p without the, a series chip doing any signal processing and they just were

00:22:09   really bad and faint, you know, it was sort of like the last big complaint after

00:22:12   they fixed the keyboards.

00:22:13   The last big complaint people had about the state of Mac books was the built-in

00:22:18   webcams really had poor image quality.

00:22:20   Then the initial M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro shipped in November of 2020.

00:22:29   Yeah.

00:22:30   In November of 2020, the first Apple Silicon Macs shipped and they kept all of

00:22:36   the hardware other than the Silicon, the same, the same display, same form factor,

00:22:42   right?

00:22:42   Like if you held up the last Intel Mac book air next to the first M1, which is

00:22:49   still the only Mac book air with the M1, right?

00:22:52   Side-by-side without turning them on, you wouldn't be able to tell which was which,

00:22:56   right?

00:22:56   There's, there's no hard, no differences at all.

00:22:59   And they, they did this for a secrecy reasons.

00:23:02   They wanted to keep the fact that they were doing it secret, but I think the

00:23:06   biggest reason is, and I think you would agree with this, you know, this from

00:23:09   having built software over the years, that if you're going to make a really big

00:23:12   change to a low level thing, you want to keep everything else the same.

00:23:16   You know, right.

00:23:18   You don't want, you don't want to make like some sort of fundamental change, like

00:23:22   switching from Intel to a completely different arm based software architecture

00:23:28   and then have something go wrong.

00:23:30   Like, Oh, it's a new keyboard design or it's a new camera or new display type or

00:23:35   something like that.

00:23:35   Keep everything else.

00:23:36   Sure.

00:23:37   Keep every, keep everything else the same.

00:23:39   Isolate the number of variables that could be problematic or bugs that could show up.

00:23:44   But the neat thing about them doing this was the fact that the, like, let's just

00:23:49   say the Mac book air last Mac book air from Intel first Mac book air on Apple

00:23:53   Silicon, literally have the same camera.

00:23:56   Like I fix it could take, take the pot, take it apart, look at it and say, yeah,

00:24:01   these are the exact same cameras.

00:24:03   And the image quality from the Apple Silicon M one Mac book air is way better.

00:24:09   Not like, Oh yeah, I can kind of see that this looks better.

00:24:13   It was like night and day.

00:24:14   It's really fascinating.

00:24:17   And a very rare instance of, because the cameras are exactly the same, you could

00:24:23   really see what Apple Silicon image signal processing is capable of.

00:24:28   It's it truly phenomenal.

00:24:30   Uh, it just night and day, you can't believe it's the same camera.

00:24:33   So I that's like a baseline, right?

00:24:38   Like how good those cameras are.

00:24:41   What I would say for the studio display there, there's what shipped, which was

00:24:45   clearly problematic and didn't look even as good as like these year old year and a

00:24:53   half, almost old M one Mac books, right?

00:24:57   Like there were lighting and color and noise problems that you didn't even see

00:25:03   on those.

00:25:04   And yet this is a $1,600 standalone display that is much thicker.

00:25:09   It's three quarters of an inch thick.

00:25:10   Like a huge, huge problem with laptop webcams is that the lid is so crazy thin.

00:25:16   It's thinner than a phone, right?

00:25:18   It's thinner than an iPad.

00:25:20   And Apple to date at least has not not shipped cameras with a camera bump.

00:25:26   I don't know how they would do it, whether it would go on the back on the aluminum or

00:25:30   on the front and have like a hole under the, under the trackpad where it would go.

00:25:34   You can kind of the fact that both of those things seem so silly and ungainly is the

00:25:40   reason they probably haven't done it.

00:25:41   Right.

00:25:42   But you've got to ship these crazy thin cameras into these thin lids because you

00:25:47   don't want to make a lid as thick as an iPad.

00:25:49   Just to get a camera in there.

00:25:52   And even on the iPad, they have a camera bump, although not for the front facing

00:25:55   camera.

00:25:55   So I wonder if they could actually put the bump on the, so look at the clamshell,

00:25:59   right.

00:25:59   And do it on the backside.

00:26:00   I know what I'm saying.

00:26:01   Yeah.

00:26:02   Like in reverse.

00:26:03   Right.

00:26:03   But I think, I think it would be ugly, right?

00:26:05   It was so terrible.

00:26:07   Yeah.

00:26:07   So you can see why they don't do it, but with all this room in the studio display, I

00:26:13   just assumed that they would put a pretty nice camera in there, you know, like nicer

00:26:17   than, than you could ever expect on a, on a Mac book.

00:26:21   And.

00:26:22   I don't know that anybody's done this.

00:26:25   I mean, I get, I'm going to look for it after we record, but what I'm really

00:26:29   curious about is a side-by-side comparison of the 24 inch iMac from last year to the

00:26:36   studio display webcam, because I don't recall having any thoughts about the

00:26:42   webcam.

00:26:42   I was like, this is a pretty good webcam.

00:26:44   You know, it wasn't like blow away good.

00:26:46   Like, Oh my God, they've, Apple has made a webcam that looks as good as the iPhone

00:26:53   selfie camera.

00:26:54   Right.

00:26:54   Which, but which I thought was on the table for the studio display, right?

00:27:00   Like, okay.

00:27:01   You know, they sell iPhones starting at like five, $500, right?

00:27:06   You can get like an iPhone se for $500.

00:27:09   And the front facing camera on the iPhone se is way better than the front facing

00:27:16   camera on any other device Apple makes iPad, Mac, whatever it's it, you know, and

00:27:23   we've just sort of somewhat accepted that.

00:27:26   Well, that's because it's the iPhone, but it's, it's a $500 phone with all sorts

00:27:31   of other stuff.

00:27:31   Why wouldn't, why couldn't they put a camera that quality into a $1,600 display?

00:27:37   I'm not even saying like the iPhone latest and greatest, the iPhone 13.

00:27:42   I'm saying like, why, what about like the iPhone se, which is based on like a

00:27:46   several years old design?

00:27:48   I know.

00:27:49   Definitely.

00:27:49   So I was sort of hoping for something like that.

00:27:52   I ultimately, what I think happened inside Apple before we move on is I think very

00:27:58   early in the process of designing the studio display, they decided that center

00:28:04   stage was so useful, so cool that we should definitely get center stage into the

00:28:11   camera on the studio display and at a very early, and I don't know if that was a

00:28:16   debate.

00:28:16   I don't know if there were people, I sort of suspect from what I've heard that

00:28:21   there, you know, as you, as anything would be inside Apple, right?

00:28:25   That there are two sides to the argument and some people were on one side and some

00:28:28   on the other, but the center stage side obviously won the argument.

00:28:32   And, and I think everything else follows from that decision that the highest level

00:28:38   decision of what is, what, what kind of camera is going to go into this Apple

00:28:43   studio display was, well, first it should support center stage, like, like the

00:28:48   iPads do.

00:28:50   And then it means, well, then it needs to be an ultra wide because that's the whole

00:28:55   idea behind center stage.

00:28:57   And if it's going to be an ultra wide, the best ultra wide that we have is the one

00:29:02   we're using in the iPads.

00:29:03   Why don't we just use the same camera from the iPads?

00:29:05   People like the iPad front facing camera with center stage.

00:29:08   We'll use that and dot, dot, dot.

00:29:12   Here we are.

00:29:13   And it's just sort of flat, you know, because the thing is that that flatness,

00:29:18   that lack of contrast, especially on skin tones where it like somebody said, like,

00:29:23   it's hard to tell whether the person is really a person or whether they're a

00:29:27   cardboard cutout of a person.

00:29:29   Right?

00:29:30   Yeah, definitely.

00:29:31   You know, like if you, I don't know how many people have tried that, but like if

00:29:35   you're working remotely in zoom, just put a cardboard cutout of yourself in your

00:29:39   desk chair and you know, go play, go, go watch a movie or something like that.

00:29:45   While it looks like you're a, it sounds like a Seinfeld plot, right?

00:29:49   Like sometimes I was just thinking the same thing.

00:29:51   We got to make a show on this.

00:29:52   Something George would do.

00:29:53   It's very flat.

00:29:55   The, the iPad front facing camera is pretty flat too.

00:29:59   It's just, I think people didn't complain about it with the iPad pro when, when

00:30:05   center stage debuted last year, because nobody really expects better from the

00:30:09   iPad front facing camera.

00:30:11   Like there was expectations were just higher for this.

00:30:15   And I think Apple is, has been taken by surprise that people had that.

00:30:19   On the other hand, I would like to be, I try to be open and assume that my

00:30:24   preferences, I would have preferred a front facing camera that had no center

00:30:29   stage support and used a field of view that was just optimized for the idea of

00:30:37   one person right in front of the display, looking as good as possible.

00:30:42   You know, from about arm's length in front of the display.

00:30:46   And therefore it could have used a different lens that wasn't ultra wide,

00:30:51   a different sensor that wasn't meant for an ultra wide lens and then wouldn't need

00:30:56   to crop and could hopefully look better and look more like the, the front facing

00:31:03   camera on an iPhone.

00:31:04   Yeah.

00:31:05   Right.

00:31:05   Well, and I think also basically like the cameras are also changing so fast now and

00:31:10   our expectations of them are so much more that like they take time, right?

00:31:14   Cameras.

00:31:14   I remember the first, literally the first digital pack, like digital camera, going

00:31:18   back to the Kodaks and the Apple quick takes and all that.

00:31:21   Like if you look at how long ago that was to what we have, how it goes, there's

00:31:25   such a big difference in terms of like the development of it.

00:31:28   So I think it goes slow.

00:31:29   So then you see all these changes and then you're like, Oh wait, why isn't that one

00:31:33   as good as this one?

00:31:34   And you start comparing them.

00:31:35   Yeah.

00:31:36   So what I wish.

00:31:37   Yeah, exactly.

00:31:38   I had the quick take.

00:31:38   I remember it w it was super expensive.

00:31:40   I didn't own it myself.

00:31:41   The quick take magic, quick take 100, but I was doing a building a website at

00:31:46   Drexel university after I graduated.

00:31:48   And we, we got out of budget, we bought one and used it to take pictures.

00:31:53   And it was unbelievable because they weren't the greatest pictures in the

00:31:57   world.

00:31:57   But the fact that we could just take pictures and immediately put them on the

00:32:00   website was like, everybody was blown away.

00:32:03   Oh, it was so cool.

00:32:04   It was so cool.

00:32:05   It was terrible.

00:32:06   It was so cool.

00:32:07   Terrible.

00:32:08   I, I just feel, I just wish, I feel it.

00:32:12   What I'm trying to say, I guess is I think that they optimized for center stage.

00:32:17   And now they've with the firmware update, they fixed the color, some of the color

00:32:22   stuff.

00:32:22   And so it's a lot less noisy.

00:32:24   It's a little, it's better in low light, but because they're cropping an ultra wide

00:32:28   image to simulate a non ultra wide camera.

00:32:32   It's, it's always going to be a little, eh, not as good as just a camera that was

00:32:37   meant for that focal distance, like the camera that they put in the iMac 24 inch

00:32:43   last year, which nobody really talked about, right?

00:32:46   Like it's almost like the invisible webcam.

00:32:49   Nobody was like, Holy crap, this 24 inch iMac has an amazing web camera.

00:32:53   This is like, you know, Sony $1,000 standalone camera.

00:32:57   Nope.

00:32:57   Nobody said that, but also nobody was like, Hey, this camera makes everybody look

00:33:02   flat and it's way too noisy.

00:33:03   It's, you know, it's, it's sort of like exactly what you expected.

00:33:07   It was unremarkable and did its job and what it said on the 10, right?

00:33:10   Right.

00:33:10   And if they had put that camera, the same camera as the 24 inch iMac into the studio

00:33:16   display, I still think I would have been a little, a little disappointed because I

00:33:20   was really hoping that for $1,600, they could wow us, but I would have, I would

00:33:24   have had no complaints.

00:33:25   I also, you know, I would have been a little disappointed.

00:33:28   I might've mentioned, you know, I sort of was hoping that they would just blow us

00:33:31   away and give us something even better.

00:33:34   But you know, this is actually very good and I have no complaints and it would

00:33:38   have been like a very small section of my review as opposed to several days worth of

00:33:44   work.

00:33:45   You know, adding to your, adding to your argument, I think you're onto something

00:33:48   with the whole like center stage stuff, because the other thing is not only do

00:33:51   you have all that stuff, like you said, a different lens and all that, you also

00:33:54   have the image processing that has to be done to filter out, like you said, the

00:33:58   person centered in the frame, right?

00:33:59   So you're basically, no matter what you do, gonna get a subpar picture because

00:34:04   there's so much that has to happen to make that picture look right in the frame.

00:34:08   Right?

00:34:08   Yeah.

00:34:09   Yeah, absolutely.

00:34:10   I will say this.

00:34:11   I also complained in my initial review that center stage could lag significantly.

00:34:16   Like if you turned your head to the side and went to the edge of the field, it

00:34:19   would pan over to where you were, then you'd come back to the middle and it

00:34:23   would take several seconds to recenter.

00:34:25   Yeah.

00:34:26   Yeah.

00:34:26   They, they have definitely addressed that.

00:34:28   I mean, like, not like, you know, again, sometimes you get like a firmware

00:34:32   update or an OS update and they say we've improved the image quality.

00:34:36   And you're like, I think they have, but it's kind of hard.

00:34:39   The center stage thing is definitely different and the lag is gone.

00:34:42   I think, I think where they've gotten to with this firmware, and it's one of those

00:34:45   things I'm sure there's some engineer or engineers at Apple who are continually

00:34:50   working on tweaking the center stage.

00:34:52   So I'm sure it'll continue to improve, but it, this is, this addresses my

00:34:56   complaints and I w I wouldn't complain about the way center stage

00:34:59   works with the new firmware.

00:35:00   I, I didn't, I didn't see what Jason said, but he was also saying that I guess.

00:35:04   When it does the recentering of the image, it's apparently really fast, like jerky.

00:35:09   Like it's very abrupt, not smooth.

00:35:11   And that would kill me because I like, I, you know, I was a film major.

00:35:15   So for me, video work is very important to be smooth and natural.

00:35:18   So I, I got to see what he's talking about, but it needs to be subtle.

00:35:22   It needs to be like what you see on television, as he put it.

00:35:24   I, I, he might've tested that more than I have in the last few days.

00:35:29   I haven't seen what I would call jerkiness.

00:35:31   It is a little bit less smooth, but it's, it, it wasn't overcompensating for

00:35:37   smoothness that I complained about.

00:35:40   And that Jason also complained about in our initial reviews.

00:35:43   It was the fact that like their algorithms seem to want to say, if we pan over to

00:35:50   the left, because you moved to the left, we don't want to pan back to the right.

00:35:54   Too quickly, because then it looks like we're going back and forth.

00:35:57   But if you just temporarily leaned over to the side, like that's where I keep my,

00:36:02   my coffee or, or, you know, just to somebody else comes into room with a

00:36:07   question and you want to turn to them and answer their question, a real real life

00:36:12   person, and then come back to your video call, you kind of want that camera.

00:36:16   You don't want to wait three or four seconds before it re-centers.

00:36:20   I mean, the smoothness, you do want it to be a little more subtle.

00:36:23   You want it to be just a, I know what he's saying.

00:36:25   Like if you move around, you see almost moving around, like it's a camera guy,

00:36:28   like got to keep it centered on every shot, right?

00:36:30   You don't want it to be that.

00:36:31   Linear is all I'm saying.

00:36:32   Or that that that's surgical.

00:36:33   Yeah.

00:36:34   So I, you know, anyway, I guess where we've wound up bottom line is I'm well,

00:36:39   I'm disappointed.

00:36:40   I'm a little disappointed that they chose to go the center stage

00:36:43   route with this camera hardware.

00:36:45   I do think though, given the camera hardware, they're very close to as

00:36:49   good as it's going to get as opposed.

00:36:51   I actually think center stage was the right move for this display because the

00:36:55   whole purpose of it is everyone's working at home or at least will be for a while

00:36:59   or whatever.

00:36:59   And like, I think it's a cool technology, right?

00:37:02   You're on a conference call.

00:37:03   You want to be centered.

00:37:04   So I give them props for it, but I think they need to make it a lot better.

00:37:08   That's just my input.

00:37:09   I just wish they'd use the same camera as the iMac 24, but.

00:37:12   You know, I agree, you know, but I'm open to the idea that there might be as many

00:37:17   or maybe even more people who are glad that it has center stage, even if the

00:37:21   quality's a little less than it would be without center stage.

00:37:24   Yeah.

00:37:24   That's how I feel.

00:37:25   I feel like center stage as a feature really adds a level to the display to make

00:37:29   everyone on that display look centered.

00:37:31   And that's, that's pretty cool.

00:37:32   Yeah.

00:37:33   I, and I know that you can just buy a a hundred to $200 webcam and, and put it on

00:37:40   top and it's not that big of an expenditure if you really want to do it.

00:37:44   And you could spend a couple hundred dollars more and get a really professional

00:37:48   looking rig, but I don't need that.

00:37:51   I don't do calls enough, you know, and because I don't do them enough, I just

00:37:57   really don't want anything sticking up over my display.

00:38:00   Like I find it distracting.

00:38:02   Again, same again, but I do think they're going to improve the image quality.

00:38:05   I think, I think they have tricks.

00:38:07   They can make it better and they will.

00:38:08   That's my gut.

00:38:09   Yeah.

00:38:09   The contrast for sure.

00:38:11   I would hope it just seems like they could just up the contrast maybe.

00:38:14   And, and it would get some improvement because the other thing before we leave

00:38:17   the topic, the other thing that was so striking was with, I mentioned James

00:38:20   Thompson's tweet, he compared it to the image from his old, now we could say it's

00:38:25   old iMac pro and the iMac pro only had like a two megapixel webcam and.

00:38:32   But it, the image quality out of it was so much better.

00:38:36   It's so much better than the studio display.

00:38:38   Cause it has contrast.

00:38:39   He looks fine tuned very well.

00:38:41   Yeah, it has it.

00:38:43   And it, it, it just seems like how, how could they have shipped that a couple

00:38:48   of years ago and not matched it in contrast and just general image quality.

00:38:53   And it wasn't like James is, is some sort of a troublemaker who, who tried to make

00:38:59   the studio display look bad on purpose.

00:39:02   You know, it very, it was clearly very similar lighting in the exact same office.

00:39:07   It was like, you know, and it just nowhere near as good.

00:39:11   Like that doesn't seem right at all.

00:39:13   But yeah, no, for sure.

00:39:14   Here we are.

00:39:15   Here, let me take a break.

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00:42:00   Let's let's talk fantastic.

00:42:02   How.

00:42:02   All right, let's do it.

00:42:04   You guys had a big release.

00:42:07   I was going to say a month ago, I guess it's about two months ago.

00:42:09   Yeah, it happened.

00:42:10   And I was talking to the other day with someone on my team about it was back in

00:42:13   February, which I don't know how time is going so quickly, but here we are February.

00:42:17   We almost, I almost had you on the show right after it came out and something,

00:42:21   I forget what even happened.

00:42:23   Something fell through with, with us.

00:42:24   Scheduling wise, it was like you were traveling and then you were like, but

00:42:28   after, while I'm traveling, I could do it.

00:42:29   And it was, and here we are, it's the end of April.

00:42:31   Yeah, here we are.

00:42:32   May 1st is approaching.

00:42:34   I mean, it's a crazy, yep.

00:42:35   So tell me about the new, the what's new in fantastic.

00:42:38   Yeah.

00:42:39   So February was our big scheduling update called fantastic Cal scheduling.

00:42:43   And basically what we've done since we switched to subscription back in January,

00:42:47   2020 is we want to keep pushing fantastic Cal and card hop as a productivity

00:42:53   platform.

00:42:53   So not only just have apps, not only just have, you know, different like calendar

00:42:58   contacts, but also have services that allow you to get ongoing benefits and

00:43:02   functionality.

00:43:03   So in February we launched fantastic Cal scheduling, which included openings,

00:43:08   which is, you know, send someone your link, your fantastic Cal link, and they

00:43:12   can go and they can quickly set sign up for openings on your calendar.

00:43:17   So fantastic Cal, what we're doing a bit differently than the other scheduling

00:43:21   services is that we're privacy first.

00:43:23   So you have to opt into openings in fantastic Cal.

00:43:27   We don't just assume you want to use it because once you opt in, it will share

00:43:31   certain details about your calendars, which is your open slots.

00:43:35   So there is a level of privacy involved because now your open slots and some

00:43:40   information about your calendar setups, nothing in terms of content.

00:43:43   It's just a matter of like times and dates and things like that, but it is

00:43:46   going to get shared on a Flexibit server, which of course we have a great privacy

00:43:50   policy and you should go read it.

00:43:51   Flexibits.com/privacy, which we try to keep it real, but the privacy first

00:43:56   approach is really important and everything like, because at the end of the

00:43:59   day, we want everyone using our products to feel secure and private.

00:44:02   So yeah, you opt into openings.

00:44:05   It shares instantly.

00:44:06   You don't have to do any configuration setup or more importantly, put your

00:44:10   accounts on a server somewhere, which is how the other services do it.

00:44:13   And that's it.

00:44:14   Enable, you're ready to roll.

00:44:16   You share your fantastic Cal link.

00:44:18   You can create what's called event templates and these event templates

00:44:22   allow you to customize things like.

00:44:24   Maybe you want to have a call only every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from nine

00:44:27   to five, so you can kind of fine tune the criteria of when events will be, or,

00:44:32   you know, appointments can be booked and that's it.

00:44:34   And then you share your fantastic Cal link.

00:44:35   Someone goes, they self serve it books it right on your calendar.

00:44:39   Automatically adds it and you're good to go.

00:44:41   And then the other part of fantastic scheduling is called proposals.

00:44:45   We've had these for a while.

00:44:47   I know you've used them and everyone loves them, but this is where, you know,

00:44:49   let's say you're recording a podcast or you're getting a game together and you

00:44:53   send a bunch of times, you only want to do five times instead of giving all the

00:44:57   open slots, you would send this proposals link to people and they would vote on

00:45:02   the best times that work for them.

00:45:03   And then once there's a consensus or unanimous.

00:45:06   Nist between the group, you schedule the event and off you go, or it's been

00:45:10   or, or like the group organizer, if there is no consensus, the group organizer can

00:45:15   look at everybody's responses and say, okay, there is no date that's perfect

00:45:20   for all six people, but this seems like Wednesday at 7 PM seems like the best

00:45:24   time that's it, and then everybody will get a notice that it's Wednesday at seven.

00:45:29   You got it.

00:45:30   Exactly.

00:45:30   So it gives the organizer the power to see the voting.

00:45:33   In fact, there is an option you can opt in where you say, okay, if it's

00:45:36   unanimous, then just pick the first date that happens unanimously, right?

00:45:39   Why even bother giving, why even go, you know, why have a task to confirm the event?

00:45:43   It's unanimous, right?

00:45:44   So yeah, it's really, really powerful and helpful.

00:45:47   And we've added a lot of features since we launched in February to make it better.

00:45:50   And the big one that everyone wants, which is coming is the ability to add

00:45:54   conference calls instantly to these events.

00:45:57   So for example, I give you my fantastic Cal link.

00:46:00   I want to have a zoom call created automatically.

00:46:02   I don't have to go in an extra step and add that zoom call.

00:46:05   You will go, you'll click your time.

00:46:07   It'll create the event and add the conference call automatically in one step.

00:46:11   And how's it going so far now that now that it's in the wild and it's in

00:46:15   the customer's hands, I tested it.

00:46:17   See, the problem with me is I don't collaborate with anybody.

00:46:20   And I understand, and you know, I beta test your stuff and it's like, but you

00:46:26   guys, you know, and the collaboration stuff like this is, this is, this is not

00:46:31   like esoteric calendaring problem.

00:46:34   This is literally at the heart of, this was a problem before computer

00:46:39   calendaring even existed, right?

00:46:40   How do you find times that are good for everybody?

00:46:44   You know, it's, it's a hard problem.

00:46:45   I tested it as best I could without collaborating with people, but I'm curious.

00:46:50   And it is, it is very clever.

00:46:52   And of course, like everything you guys do, which is why I'm such, I really am.

00:46:56   It's not just because you're my friend and you're on the show.

00:46:58   I'm just such a huge friend, a fan of Flexibits design style and language.

00:47:06   You know, it's, everything is exquisite, including, and, and I was, this is one of

00:47:11   the things I was most interested to sort of poke around about.

00:47:13   Like I'm not the best beta tester because I'm not, or at least from your

00:47:17   perspective, I'm not actually exercising the features.

00:47:21   I'm just poking around the UI, but as a company that is so truly focused on

00:47:29   Apple's platforms, right, Mac and iOS, you guys don't do Android software

00:47:34   and you don't do windows software.

00:47:36   You guys are a traditional, the old school, what we used to call indie Mac

00:47:40   developers, but expanded to iOS and focused on those platforms, but

00:47:45   therefore using Apple's frameworks and the state of Apple's user interface

00:47:52   recommendations and design, and going on top of that to build something both

00:47:58   branded in the Flexibits style, but still clearly, oh yeah, this is definitely

00:48:03   a great Mac app or a great iOS app.

00:48:07   I was so curious to see what, you know, like a web app from you guys would look

00:48:10   like, and it is very Flexibits-y.

00:48:14   It is, it's a really, really nice web app experience for the stuff that you, that

00:48:19   has to take place on flexibits.com to do this.

00:48:23   Thank you.

00:48:24   Yeah, we spent a lot of time, our web team is really, we're growing our web team

00:48:28   very quickly, our front and back end teams for the web, and we have a lot more

00:48:31   coming for the web, and I know your heart is in the web as, as mine, and we do have

00:48:36   a lot of web-based stuff coming and we're investing a lot into this web-based

00:48:40   backend, especially so, for example, when I share my Fantastical link with you,

00:48:44   you don't have to even have a device, right?

00:48:46   You just need a web browser.

00:48:47   So we really want to make it so, yeah, you're a Fantastical user.

00:48:50   You're on an Apple device, you're on a Fantastical user and you're using it on

00:48:54   some device, but the people you send your Flexibits, sorry, your Fantastical links

00:48:59   to, they can be on anything because they're just going to open it in a web browser.

00:49:02   I do want to say though, of course, if you're a Fantastical user and we send

00:49:05   you one of these links, you do, of course, have the native experience as well, right?

00:49:09   So you get the best of both worlds.

00:49:11   Yeah, it's, it, it feels very, uh, it's a very seamless back and forth, you know,

00:49:18   where the stuff that you would expect to be able to do right within Fantastical

00:49:21   on your device, you do, and the stuff that has to take place on the web feels

00:49:26   natural to take place on the web, but then it also allows, I forget if you

00:49:30   mentioned this, but this allows you to involve attendees who don't use Fantastical.

00:49:36   Exactly.

00:49:37   And that's part of what we're doing with our growth with not only scheduling,

00:49:40   but the subscription alike is you don't have to just be a Fantastical user

00:49:44   now to get involved with Fantastical.

00:49:46   Right.

00:49:47   So, you know, and you don't, so you therefore don't even have to

00:49:50   have a Mac or an iOS device.

00:49:51   Anything with a web browser and then it introduces, it is interesting.

00:49:57   It's sort of like the, the, I, what iPod was for Apple 20 years ago.

00:50:02   It's sort of like that for, for you guys, you know, it's the glass of ice water and

00:50:08   hell for people who've never experienced.

00:50:09   And I'll tell you, you know, we are Apple guys as you are, and as we'll always be,

00:50:14   and native always rules for us, me personally, but we do have lots and lots

00:50:20   and lots and lots of users who at work will have a windows machine or have an

00:50:24   Android device or whatever, and they really, really, really want to use

00:50:28   Fantastical now, I'm not saying we're going to be coming out with an Android

00:50:31   app any day now, but you know, at some point you want to have everyone be able

00:50:35   to use Fantastical, especially if they don't have a device, so our web, you

00:50:39   know, our, our opening of the web and our platform agnostic, if you will, is

00:50:43   something very important to us because we really do want to have the Fantastical

00:50:46   experience.

00:50:46   What?

00:50:47   Card hop too.

00:50:49   I got to always throw my card up.

00:50:50   Card hop's my, my baby.

00:50:52   Like I just, once you use it and I know you use it as well.

00:50:54   Once you use it, it's just such a great app.

00:50:56   The thing is, is just contacts are so boring.

00:50:58   So I get it's not as exciting as a calendar app, but it's a great app.

00:51:01   Card hop.

00:51:02   Well, I love though, this is a great moment in the history of the talk show is

00:51:09   you, you just assuming that people think calendar apps are pretty exciting and

00:51:14   you, I know you didn't mean that sarcastically.

00:51:16   Oh my God.

00:51:16   I totally, oh yeah.

00:51:19   They're so hot, right?

00:51:20   Right.

00:51:20   Like for, for new listeners, somebody else who's never even heard the show,

00:51:24   what do you do?

00:51:25   You know, I have a podcast.

00:51:26   What's it about?

00:51:27   Well, it talks about how exciting calendar apps are.

00:51:29   Yeah, exactly.

00:51:30   And then, yeah, but I mean, Fantastical is pretty exciting as is Cardhop, right?

00:51:33   If you're into, if you're into product theory, but I hear you a hundred percent.

00:51:36   I, it's so exciting.

00:51:38   All right.

00:51:38   Hold that thought out.

00:51:39   Cause I want to, I want to come back to this, but let me just take a break here

00:51:41   and thank our next sponsor to our good friends at Linode.

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00:53:15   and said, we're never going to sponsor you again, I'd still stick with them.

00:53:18   Unless they, you know, gave me a really unpleasant reason why they weren't

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00:53:25   I don't host with them because they sponsor.

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00:54:15   to Linode from listening to this show.

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00:54:20   They're great.

00:54:21   Oh man.

00:54:22   I did not know that this, this is surprise serendipity between guest and, and sponsor.

00:54:28   That you, it was a true real segue that you didn't even know.

00:54:31   I did not know.

00:54:32   That's that's good to hear.

00:54:34   I don't, I'm not surprised though.

00:54:35   I honestly, I, you know, it's not like I go around and ask everybody on the

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00:54:41   But I don't know anybody who doesn't love Linode.

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00:54:46   So Flexibit's two main products.

00:54:48   You've got Fantastical and you've, which is calendaring and you've got Cardhop,

00:54:53   which is Contacts front end, and, but it uses the, because, you know, it's not

00:54:57   like you export your contacts from the Apple Contacts app and import them into

00:55:06   Cardhop and now your stuff is in Cardhop.

00:55:08   You guys use the system APIs that let you use the same database of contacts.

00:55:14   So, you know, if for some reason you only use Cardhop on your Mac and you

00:55:21   want to use the Apple Contacts app on your iPhone, or you just set up a new

00:55:26   iPad and you'd have an installed Cardhop yet, your contact, the changes you make

00:55:30   in Cardhop show up, you know, everywhere because it's just, it's, you're just

00:55:35   using these APIs.

00:55:36   That's right.

00:55:37   I personally find, I do, I, I'm not a big contacts user, but cause I, again, I

00:55:42   work by myself, but I love the interface to Cardhop.

00:55:46   I, I, if I had to, if I had to only use one, I would stick with Fantastical

00:55:51   cause I use a calendar more than I use contacts, but I like Cardhops more

00:55:59   than the built-in contacts app more than I like Fantastical more than the

00:56:03   built-in calendar app.

00:56:05   Does that make sense?

00:56:06   Absolutely.

00:56:07   Yeah.

00:56:07   The thing with Cardhop that's, that's still the nut that we're trying to crack

00:56:10   and we're cracking it, we see it working, is you don't think about your contacts

00:56:14   the way you think about your calendars, cause your calendars are events that

00:56:17   happen throughout the day.

00:56:18   So there's time-based things that are happening.

00:56:20   People say, oh, I want to meet up this and that.

00:56:21   But with your contacts, you are interacting with them during the day.

00:56:25   So whether someone gives you a phone number or someone says, oh, give me a

00:56:28   call, or you're going to message someone, there's also actions in Cardhop.

00:56:31   So, you know, love, we have tons of users who love it, of course, but the thing

00:56:35   that we're trying to do is get people to understand this is how easy it is.

00:56:39   Cause I think once people get into the user interface, like you said, they go,

00:56:42   oh, this is a better way.

00:56:43   I think people just don't think about contacts cause it's, it's so boring.

00:56:47   I know back to that boring thing, but it is, it is a boring topic contacts.

00:56:50   So my favorite feature, I really do love it is when you're in Cardhop on the

00:56:55   main screen, there's a, a list of recents and then a very clear search box where

00:57:02   you could search for anything and a plus button, a plus button, you know, what's

00:57:07   your, what's somebody's reasonable guess what that does well, that's make a new

00:57:11   contact.

00:57:11   You hit the plus button and you get a little pop-up menu with two options, new

00:57:16   contact or, and this is where I'm going scan business card.

00:57:20   Yes.

00:57:21   Now two things about this.

00:57:23   Number one, the animation, when you hit the plus button to go to this little pop

00:57:29   up menu is so exquisite.

00:57:31   This is what I'm talking about with, with the design eye and attention to detail.

00:57:35   You guys have number one, the, the little menu with these two options animates out

00:57:41   of the button.

00:57:42   It doesn't just appear it, it grows out of it, which is the style of design like

00:57:48   that.

00:57:48   Going all the way back to the Scott Forstall era at Apple, it's, it's

00:57:53   cinematic design.

00:57:54   It there's, and it's not just showing off and it's not just looking cool to me.

00:57:59   It, it helps emphasize to the user what is going on, where did this menu come from?

00:58:05   It came from the plus button, right?

00:58:07   And it animates out of it.

00:58:08   But while the menu is animating out of it, the plus button rotates to just like 45

00:58:16   degrees to become an X, which means it, which gives you this clue that you could

00:58:22   tap it again and make the menu go away.

00:58:24   I love that you noticed this stuff because, you know, going back to literally

00:58:29   fantastic Cal 1.0 that came out in 2011, which by the way, it's birthday's coming

00:58:33   up soon and I'm so excited.

00:58:34   Yes.

00:58:35   I keep track of my apps, birthdays, the floating words that we had.

00:58:38   You just said it perfectly.

00:58:39   We always try to convey with animation, something that could take a sentence or

00:58:44   two just to say, this is happening.

00:58:46   So it's so cool to know that you noticed that like, it's all deliberate.

00:58:50   I, I would honestly recommend downloading.

00:58:55   I say this all the time about, I say this about like rogue Amoeba software.

00:58:59   I say it about a panic software, but it's like, it's worth downloading and trying

00:59:05   just to play with the user interface and get ideas for how user interface can work.

00:59:10   And just to throw it out there, we're free now, right?

00:59:13   Since we switched to subscription, we have free and we have paid.

00:59:15   So everyone could download any of our apps for free.

00:59:17   They don't even need to pay just even have it to play with it or use it.

00:59:20   Basically we have free versions now completely free.

00:59:23   I, I swear, even if you're thinking, I honestly have no interest in a new

00:59:28   contacts app or calendar app.

00:59:30   I, I, again, I really mean it.

00:59:32   If you care about user user interface design, you should, you should try these

00:59:37   free versions and just poke around and examine some of these details and think

00:59:41   about how many other apps, including last.

00:59:45   A lot of them from Apple don't have such exquisite attention to every single detail.

00:59:51   I just love that little rotating plus button, but scanning the business card.

00:59:55   It would, this it's like, how has this not been a feature ever

01:00:00   since the phones have had cameras?

01:00:02   Right.

01:00:02   Somebody gives you a business card and you actually want to keep it, right?

01:00:06   Like that's the number one thing.

01:00:07   A lot of times you get a business card and you're like, Hey, thanks.

01:00:09   Thanks.

01:00:10   And then as soon as they turn away, you just throw it right in the garbage.

01:00:12   But if it's a business card, you actually do want to keep the contact information

01:00:17   for instead of sitting down and pecking it out, you don't want to sit there and

01:00:22   peck all these details out on your phone.

01:00:25   What do you think?

01:00:25   I used to just think, well, I'll put it in my back pocket.

01:00:28   And when I'm at my Mac, I'll make a new contact and it's like,

01:00:32   ah, you might forget.

01:00:33   Who knows?

01:00:33   It might, you might lose the card.

01:00:34   Just, just point your camera at it.

01:00:37   And it works really well.

01:00:40   Right?

01:00:40   Yeah.

01:00:41   Our parser is great.

01:00:42   And you know, now we have the tools to be able to take a visual picture of the car.

01:00:46   We even keep a visual image of the card.

01:00:48   So let's just say it's a cool design or you just want to have it for reference.

01:00:50   We don't, you could throw the card away because you now have a digital copy

01:00:53   visually and actually textually.

01:00:56   Yeah.

01:00:56   Uh, and not to get all American psycho into the design of business cards, because

01:01:01   because you can't, because part of the appeal of a truly great card is actually

01:01:06   the quality of the card stock and whether it's like letterpress or something like

01:01:10   that, but I personally, I like the idea of keeping the photo of the card.

01:01:16   Because even though I love you guys, I trust you guys in terms of actually

01:01:22   being able to parse it accurately.

01:01:24   I also love the idea that just in case, you know, there's like a six, but the

01:01:30   font is hard to tell and maybe it get parsed as an eight, right?

01:01:35   That's right.

01:01:36   Like, you know, in some fonts, the six might, you know, and, and the type is

01:01:42   often very, very small on a business card for the obvious reason.

01:01:44   You could see it as a lowercase G then or something like that.

01:01:47   Well, I'm thinking like a phone number, right?

01:01:48   Like you transpose a six into an eight or vice versa or something like that.

01:01:52   And as a one with it has like the top, top part of the, of the.

01:01:55   Right.

01:01:56   Or what about like a font that, that puts a slash in the zero, you

01:02:02   know, to make it look technical.

01:02:03   I love the idea of having a photo of the card as a backup, right.

01:02:06   Just in case, like, so I scan the card a day later, I'm going to, like, I'm

01:02:11   going to call this person and I call them and it's not the right number.

01:02:15   Well, I can still look, even though I've thrown the card away, I can look at it

01:02:18   and say, Oh, I see it actually, the OCR was wrong on this.

01:02:22   Yeah.

01:02:22   It was a mis-parse or whatever it is.

01:02:24   Right.

01:02:24   Yeah.

01:02:24   Are you guys using the OCR features from the latest OSs to, to parse or did you,

01:02:30   are you using your own library?

01:02:32   Both.

01:02:33   So we are using the built-in stuff and then obviously we, we train it and we,

01:02:37   we improve it and enhance it on our own, but yeah, no, we're using the built-in

01:02:40   stuff and the reason why we do it on iOS.

01:02:42   So if you haven't noticed the Mac version doesn't have the business

01:02:44   card scanning is the cameras, right?

01:02:47   So on your Mac to get a business card scanned and you have to use one of the,

01:02:50   I know how this is so funny, how we're tying all this right back to the

01:02:53   FaceTime cameras, but the resolution's just not good enough to get a good OCR capture.

01:02:58   Ah, interesting.

01:03:00   Plus you're usually on the go with your phone anyway, when someone hands

01:03:03   you with a business card, so it just kind of makes sense to do it on your phone.

01:03:06   But yeah, we, we, we, if we had better cameras on the Mac that really did it

01:03:09   well, we would have it cause why not just hold the card up and let it work.

01:03:12   And in the future we may do that, but for now it's all on iPhone iPad.

01:03:16   And it's in some ways parsing once you get the OCR part done, right?

01:03:21   Like where you actually just know the, the actual characters on the card, right?

01:03:28   Parsing it into the semantics of, okay, this thing is a person's name.

01:03:34   This thing is a person's job title.

01:03:36   This thing is a person's company.

01:03:38   This is a phone number.

01:03:39   There's a fax number.

01:03:40   This is obviously an email address because it's all these letters and dots

01:03:45   smushed together with an at sign in between them.

01:03:48   I would imagine that one is pretty easy figuring out an email address.

01:03:52   That it's like the card hop part parser when you type stuff in, right?

01:03:55   Yeah.

01:03:55   We can kind of glean from the formatting, from the spacing, from the positioning,

01:03:59   things like that, what it's going to be, or number of characters,

01:04:02   like a zip code, things like that.

01:04:04   Right.

01:04:04   So like in other words, in card hop, if, if you just met somebody named Jane

01:04:09   Doe and she gave you her email address, you know, and you want to make a new

01:04:15   contact, you can just start typing Jane space, Doe space and her email address.

01:04:21   And if she were already in your contacts, you'd get a match and you'd see it.

01:04:26   But because it's new, you can hit return and it'll just make a new contact with

01:04:31   the first name, Jane last name, Doe and Jane Doe at example.com is the email

01:04:37   address.

01:04:38   That's exactly right.

01:04:39   You want to make some tutorial videos for us?

01:04:41   It's awesome.

01:04:41   Yeah, it'd be great.

01:04:42   Right.

01:04:42   But it's not going to do the, the dumb thing and make a new contact where there's

01:04:48   only one field filled in the first name.

01:04:52   And the first name is Jane space, Doe space, Jane Doe at example.com.

01:04:57   You know, you got it exactly right.

01:04:59   But once you got, you know, you guys have had that natural language parsing all the

01:05:02   way back to the origins of fantastic.

01:05:04   How that was sort of like the first thing I remember as, as a neat feature that you

01:05:09   could just say a podcast with Michael Simmons tomorrow 12, and it'll just parse

01:05:17   it into an event, you know, with all that information in it, that sort of parsing,

01:05:22   it, you know, it probably was pretty reusable scanning the business cards.

01:05:26   Not as much as you think, because since we have to train, since you have to train

01:05:30   it, it's all like computer learning.

01:05:31   It's like, it's, it's all different sets, but I will tell you one thing.

01:05:33   The parser and card hop is like, you know, again, my apps for my babies, but the

01:05:38   car parser and card hop is so magical, but it's also because contacts are very

01:05:43   strict, right?

01:05:44   Your names, you have address, you have phone numbers.

01:05:46   Things can't really be as abstract as events, but I love how in card hop, it

01:05:50   knows whether you're adding, editing, searching or interacting with contacts.

01:05:55   And it literally just knows what to do, you know, nine out of 10 of the times.

01:05:59   And I just, I don't know.

01:06:00   I know it's been like a while since we designed it, developed it, all that, but

01:06:03   I just find it so cool how it just works all the time.

01:06:06   And I know it's my app, but I got to say it.

01:06:08   Here's a question for you.

01:06:09   I'm surprised I never asked this privately, but it's popped into my head.

01:06:13   Now I need to know how many, how many cards did you guys get actual real

01:06:18   world cards to train and test?

01:06:21   We had, I'd probably say a few hundred ish.

01:06:25   I mean, we didn't go crazy.

01:06:26   We didn't have like tons.

01:06:27   Like I had a whole bunch of really old ones from, you know, old Mac world in

01:06:32   person, lots of conferences, speaking at conferences, days, things like, and then

01:06:35   throughout our crew, we had a bunch.

01:06:37   But what we did was we also created some and then printed them out to try to

01:06:42   get weirder fonts and things like that.

01:06:44   So yeah, I mean, we definitely spent a lot of time training and it always gets better.

01:06:47   You know, users will send us an example of a card that doesn't work and we can retrain it.

01:06:51   So we're always wanting to, you know, we're always wanting to make it better.

01:06:54   And when you guys were, it doesn't recognize things.

01:06:56   Like if I put my Twitter handle on my, uh, business card, it'll,

01:07:00   yup, it'll see an app, whatever.

01:07:01   And no, to put that in the right field.

01:07:02   That's it's really cool feature.

01:07:05   So before we leave it, what I want to talk about on this front is the

01:07:08   shift to a subscription pricing.

01:07:11   Yeah.

01:07:12   And so it was January, 2020, you said.

01:07:15   Yup.

01:07:16   January 29th, 2020.

01:07:18   I will remember the day forever.

01:07:19   All right.

01:07:19   And so previously, and that, that, that predates the existence of Cardhop.

01:07:26   Am I correct?

01:07:27   No.

01:07:28   So Cardhop came out, so we had Cardhop and Fantasticalis buy once apps, you know, the

01:07:32   old school, right And then when we switched to subscription on January 29, 2020, it was

01:07:37   just Fantasticalis 3 with the Flexibits premium subscription.

01:07:42   Right.

01:07:43   Right.

01:07:43   Then we added a bunch of stuff in the year of COVID of course, COVID hit, you know,

01:07:47   great stuff or not great stuff, but we added great stuff.

01:07:50   COVID wasn't great stuff.

01:07:51   And then I knew what you meant, but you know, it's worth, it's worth, you never

01:07:57   know.

01:07:57   Right.

01:07:57   You never, never know.

01:07:58   You never know.

01:07:59   And, and then the following year in 2021, we brought Cardhop to the Flexibits

01:08:06   premium subscription, no extra price just included, and we added features to allow

01:08:11   Flexi, sorry, Cardhop to be even more powerful and take advantage of the

01:08:14   subscription.

01:08:15   And now everyone who was buying a subscription got both apps, all platforms

01:08:19   and everything.

01:08:20   And then of course this past year we added scheduling again, same price, no increase

01:08:23   because this, the whole point of an ongoing subscription is that you get

01:08:26   ongoing value.

01:08:27   Right.

01:08:28   Right.

01:08:28   So,

01:08:28   And more, more, more, more value for the existing price.

01:08:32   Exactly.

01:08:33   Like we, we don't want to increase our price because that's the whole point why

01:08:37   you keep paying over time as you keep getting more.

01:08:39   Right.

01:08:40   So you can use Fantastical and Cardhop for free.

01:08:44   Correct.

01:08:45   In perpetuity, with a certain subset of features.

01:08:49   So instead of like the old method would be download Fantastical and use it for 30

01:08:55   days and then when the 30 days are over, you, you need to pay whatever the price

01:08:59   is.

01:09:00   And then two years later, whatever, you know, maybe a new dot O release comes out

01:09:08   and it's a paid upgrade for existing users and you can choose to try a trial again or

01:09:13   something.

01:09:14   And then if you want to pay for the upgrade, you pay for the upgrade and now

01:09:17   you're on it.

01:09:17   And that, you know, is the way the software, you know, indie software,

01:09:22   include Apple's own software work like that for a long time.

01:09:26   I mean, they moved away from it early, but it used to have to buy upgrades to the

01:09:29   OS.

01:09:30   I mean, I know it, I.

01:09:32   People, yup.

01:09:34   It, you might find it hard to believe, but like a new version of Mac OS 10 would come

01:09:37   out and it was $129.

01:09:39   And you think, well, that's crazy.

01:09:41   Who would do that?

01:09:42   People would line up at the Apple stores.

01:09:44   It was like the early, it was like the first version of like the iPhone days, but

01:09:48   people would line up on the day that these boxes of, you know, DVDs with the new Mac

01:09:53   OS were coming out.

01:09:54   Those were the days question mark?

01:09:56   Well, I don't know, but I certainly remember them, but it's, there were problems with

01:10:02   that method.

01:10:03   Right.

01:10:03   And I know people got used to it and people don't like change.

01:10:05   There were benefits.

01:10:06   It's, it's one of those issues where there are trade-offs on both sides.

01:10:10   You know, there were definitely good parts of it where once you spent the money, you

01:10:14   kind of owned that version and you had all those features and you could just use it

01:10:19   forever, you know?

01:10:20   And I remember when I worked at bare bones, we'd, you know, in that time, I think the

01:10:23   current versions were like version 6.0 and 6.5 BB edit.

01:10:27   And somebody would, you know, have like a BB edit three from eight or nine years ago

01:10:33   and, you know, have a question about it.

01:10:35   Still got technical support, you know, but then they'd, they'd, you know, they'd ask

01:10:39   about something and you'd say, well, that's a feature in the new version.

01:10:42   It would be a $50 upgrade for you or something like that.

01:10:47   And, you know, and you could choose and, and it was never a hard sell and it wasn't

01:10:52   like, oh, you don't get tech support if you're not on the latest version.

01:10:55   you know, there, there were benefits to it, but the problem, there were problems to it

01:10:58   too, right?

01:10:59   Where you just couldn't, you had to strategize your software development schedule

01:11:05   around the, the need to periodically, you know, regularly have major versions that

01:11:12   were worth an upgrade fee.

01:11:13   Absolutely.

01:11:15   And that doesn't necessarily align with the, the features you'd like to add next.

01:11:23   Right?

01:11:23   Like I, you know, you might want to do some things that aren't really the sort of

01:11:27   things people would pay for or, or justify an upgrade fee, but they seem like they're

01:11:32   would benefit the most people the most.

01:11:34   I need to say this as loud and clear as I can, but like switching to subscription was

01:11:39   the biggest liberation of my designer, creator, director abilities in the history

01:11:46   of my career, because the prior 10 years was trying to schedule features to keep

01:11:52   our business making money, having people rewarded over time, right?

01:11:56   Because you don't want to have someone buy your app and then you're like, oh,

01:11:59   three months later pay again, right?

01:12:00   Like you just don't want that.

01:12:02   And while people will argue, well, isn't that what you're doing with subscription?

01:12:04   No, absolutely not.

01:12:05   Because the app that was 50, we're not charging 50 every two months, right?

01:12:09   You're paying 40 once a year.

01:12:11   So the difference is, is we had to say, oh, there's a great feature.

01:12:15   Hey, John, we've been building this thing.

01:12:17   Hey, we need to wait a year because if we ship it now, we won't make money and we'll

01:12:20   piss every existing customer off because it's too soon.

01:12:23   And we were literally making our roadmaps around big launches.

01:12:27   Now I have an idea.

01:12:29   We're going as soon as I want to go.

01:12:31   We're going as soon as I want to go because we can just say, okay, we'll ship it.

01:12:35   We have ongoing people paying ongoing money.

01:12:37   And it's really the absolute, you probably can look at the last three years of

01:12:41   Flexibits from when we launched subscription and you will see the most amount of

01:12:44   output, the best features and the fastest production we've ever done.

01:12:48   I've definitely noticed that.

01:12:49   And the other thing it lets you do is, is roll out features one at a time.

01:12:53   Right?

01:12:53   Because exactly.

01:12:54   You don't have to pull them all together.

01:12:56   The dot O mentality of version 5.0 will be a paid upgrade meant that there, there,

01:13:03   it's not any sort of nefarious marketing.

01:13:06   It's the way it kind of had to be is you've got to stockpile enough features

01:13:13   to make the, to put in the dot O release so that there's something for everybody.

01:13:17   That's exactly right.

01:13:19   And the other thing is we've actually like with fantastic how scheduling that

01:13:22   came out in February, we've already released some features on the web, like to

01:13:26   improve the web UI, right?

01:13:27   Where we just did it.

01:13:29   We didn't even have an announcement.

01:13:30   We didn't need to, okay.

01:13:31   It just gets better.

01:13:32   Like literally the web version of the product will just get better as things

01:13:36   are done because why would we hold them back for three months or even just to

01:13:40   say, let's say we even want to just have a 3.1 update to get some press or to say,

01:13:44   Oh, look at all the things we've done.

01:13:46   Right.

01:13:46   Right.

01:13:46   We don't need to do that anymore because our customers are paying us ongoing

01:13:50   and we reward them in real time.

01:13:51   Yeah.

01:13:51   And I know not, it's awesome.

01:13:53   I know not everybody is going in that direction and I know

01:13:56   that there's hybrid approaches.

01:13:57   The excellent, excellent app agenda has, has a sort of hybrid approach.

01:14:02   I know sketch the, the drawing and I don't even know how, I don't know how to define

01:14:09   sketch, but it is design app design app.

01:14:11   That's a perfect way to put it has had a sort of hybrid approach where you can pay

01:14:17   and then new, new versions come out and they might have some features that you're.

01:14:23   What you've already paid don't include, but you can get the new version of the

01:14:27   app, but because your license doesn't include those features, they're sort of

01:14:31   X'd out or grayed out.

01:14:34   And, you know, I'm not saying there's one right way to do it, but I, I look at like

01:14:39   the sketch style of doing it and I think, well, that's a lot of engineering work

01:14:42   that you, it's no fun, right?

01:14:45   And it's, you know, because now you've got to have these, if thens all over the

01:14:50   code of what, you know, what level of licensing a person is at, whereas the, I

01:14:57   think they moved away from it completely now, I feel like.

01:15:00   I don't remember that.

01:15:01   I could be, and maybe like the web, they have the web version now that's more of a

01:15:05   like collaboration platform, but either way, no, I, your point well taken.

01:15:08   And you're right.

01:15:09   The thing is, is I would like to know, cause it's an experiment, how long that

01:15:13   can be sustained by agenda.

01:15:15   And there's, there's other companies doing it too.

01:15:17   I think panic does it with, with Nova.

01:15:19   At some point when there's a major bug in the OS and it requires a rewrite of the

01:15:24   app, how do you handle that?

01:15:26   I'm not saying it's wrong.

01:15:27   I actually love it.

01:15:28   And if we could do it perfectly, I think we would.

01:15:30   But I think long-term it falls apart, but here's the thing it's too fresh.

01:15:34   We'll see in five years and we can look back.

01:15:36   Right.

01:15:36   But the, it, yeah, Nova is a good example too.

01:15:39   I like it.

01:15:39   I like it.

01:15:40   And it is, it is, it is you, I like it too.

01:15:43   I like it.

01:15:43   And I certainly like it in theory because it is user-friendly.

01:15:47   It is, it is the developer trying to, to give the best value and, and, and let

01:15:55   people pay for what they want to.

01:15:57   But I guess what the bottom line is that what it comes down to is that writing apps

01:16:02   is like, ultimately like nothing else on the planet.

01:16:06   It's not like writing, like making a movie where you, you make a movie and then you

01:16:11   edit the movie and then the movie is out and it's done right.

01:16:15   And you can be George Lucas and revisit it and re-edit it and add new special

01:16:23   effects, but you're effectively just making a new movie, right?

01:16:26   Software.

01:16:27   And it's not like writing a book.

01:16:29   It's not like running a restaurant where you order the food and drinks that you

01:16:33   want, and then you get a bill for what you've ordered and you pay the bill and

01:16:38   then you get up and leave and you could never, you know, it's not, it, it is.

01:16:43   It is, I think this is where I'm going is ultimately, even if it's an app and it

01:16:48   isn't, it doesn't even have a web component, it is still sort of a service

01:16:53   where the service is the continuing development and bug fixing and adapting

01:16:59   to new operating systems and new hardware and keeping that process going.

01:17:05   It, if you think of it as paying for a service, it, it, that's really sort of

01:17:11   what it is and a simple subscription model.

01:17:14   And that's the thing that I, that, that to me is one of the big benefits, not,

01:17:18   not from your perspective of running the business and planning the roadmap,

01:17:22   but as a user, it is so simple.

01:17:25   You, you pay 40 bucks a year to flex a bits and you get all the features.

01:17:30   And if you don't pay, you get a very clearly delineated subset of those features.

01:17:36   And that's it.

01:17:37   I agree.

01:17:38   And you know, your, your analogy is really good.

01:17:40   Cause I was just thinking, let's say you are George Lucas and you sell a copy of

01:17:43   star Wars on Blu-ray, right?

01:17:45   And now it's now the Blu-ray players don't work anymore.

01:17:48   I demand, do you demand that you get that movie on digital?

01:17:52   Oh, that's a perfect example.

01:17:54   Cause I own, I counted one time when we moved.

01:17:56   Oh, my DVDs in the basement are play, Blu-rays are plenty.

01:17:59   The DVDs and Blu-rays are plentiful.

01:18:01   No, I had the VHS.

01:18:02   Remember they came out with an exquisite VHS box set.

01:18:05   Yes.

01:18:06   Yes.

01:18:07   It was a really excellent VHS box set.

01:18:09   It was beautiful.

01:18:10   Yeah.

01:18:11   So I had, I had, I think I had the star Wars trilogy on VHS at least once.

01:18:17   Also an older version that fell off the back of a truck.

01:18:20   I had it on DVD and then I had it on Blu-ray and because I don't have a

01:18:25   Blu-ray hooked up to my TV anymore.

01:18:28   I've also repurchased them on iTunes.

01:18:31   So I've, I've paid for the whole thing.

01:18:33   VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes.

01:18:36   So that's four times at least.

01:18:38   No, absolutely.

01:18:39   And the thing is like where our apps, so, you know, when we switched to

01:18:42   subscription, we actually unlocked all of the fantastic Cal two features

01:18:45   for prior users for free, right?

01:18:47   Right.

01:18:48   And that was the way we handled it.

01:18:49   We said, okay, all the features you've paid for, you get for free.

01:18:51   You get to keep them all the new stuff you got to pay.

01:18:53   But we had a lot of people who just wanted the old app, but if we had left

01:18:57   the old app on the app store and then bugs came and the app died, that would

01:19:01   be even worse, right?

01:19:02   So they get all of their features in the new ongoing supported app.

01:19:06   And to me, I feel that's the best of both worlds because you're in the new stuff.

01:19:10   And if you don't want to buy the new, new, new stuff or the different stuff, then

01:19:14   don't, it is important to keep your customers happy, obviously, but you know,

01:19:18   you can't make everyone happy.

01:19:19   Well, that's the similarity to any good business, right?

01:19:22   Like that's the part where being a software developer is exactly like

01:19:25   running a restaurant or running a movie theater or running a movie studio or

01:19:30   anything, making or selling cars.

01:19:33   And it doesn't matter if you make your customers happy.

01:19:36   That's generally a very good way to build a sustainable business, you know?

01:19:40   And anything where you're like, ah, screw the customers, we could do this.

01:19:45   It is, you can get away with it for a while there.

01:19:48   You could argue that, you know, and if you gain a monopoly, you know, like

01:19:53   cable companies come to mind, you know, you can sustain it for a very long time

01:19:58   and make mountains and mountains of money.

01:20:00   But in general, keeping your customers happy and thinking about, you know, and,

01:20:05   and sort of cooking the food you yourself would like to eat or making the sort of

01:20:12   movies that you yourself would like to watch or making the calendar and contacts

01:20:18   app that you yourself would want to use and have is a good way to build a

01:20:24   sustainable business and be happy just as, as you know, being, enjoying what you do

01:20:30   for a living here, here.

01:20:32   I mean, that's what we do.

01:20:33   And, you know, again, you can't make everyone happy and you have to be careful

01:20:36   not to modify your business to apply to people who don't care if you're in

01:20:41   business.

01:20:41   Like I find that the people who went the craziest didn't actually

01:20:44   care if we were in business, right?

01:20:46   They just wanted what they wanted.

01:20:47   So if you actually then bend your business to people who don't care, you're

01:20:51   in business, it's not a good business to be in.

01:20:52   Yeah.

01:20:53   So I guess that is also a lesson.

01:20:55   I mean, that's the thing.

01:20:56   And I, and I'm sure with the size of the, this podcast audience, that there are

01:21:02   people who listen, who really hate subscription price, Mac and iOS software.

01:21:06   Still, I get it.

01:21:08   I understand that I get it too.

01:21:09   But I think that the, the lesson for running a business is you can't please

01:21:15   everybody all the time.

01:21:17   And sometimes you need to make changes that will greatly displease existing

01:21:22   customers.

01:21:23   I mean, exactly.

01:21:24   No, exactly.

01:21:25   You can't, you could not please a hundred percent of the people, but we have a free

01:21:29   version.

01:21:29   So why isn't that good for those people?

01:21:31   Or we, if they had F2, a fantastic L2, they opened all of the features.

01:21:35   So why isn't that good enough for them?

01:21:36   Like we go through the list of like, well, what did we offer?

01:21:38   What did we do?

01:21:39   How flexible were we in understanding?

01:21:41   Were we, wow, a lot.

01:21:42   So who's left?

01:21:43   Yeah.

01:21:43   I I'm certainly guilty of this.

01:21:46   I mean, you can look at the design of my website and, and tell, you know, that,

01:21:51   that this is true, that I'm guilty of it, that this is the way it's always been.

01:21:54   This is so therefore it's the way it should stay.

01:21:56   If you change your website, I think I'll freak out.

01:21:58   No, it'll happen.

01:21:59   What it is.

01:21:59   Well, it'll happen.

01:22:00   Not for a while, not for a while.

01:22:01   Yeah.

01:22:02   No, no, no promises, but seeing the way things are going, probably not for a while.

01:22:05   Um, which is fine with me, but you can get with business models too.

01:22:10   You can get caught up with, this is the way we've always done it and.

01:22:14   Optimizing for not upsetting the apple cart of the existing customer base.

01:22:21   Who's you know, and, and it's human nature.

01:22:23   Most people don't like change, you know, and if this is the way it's always been,

01:22:27   that's the way it should always be.

01:22:28   But you might be missing out on what you need to do to adapt to the future.

01:22:34   Yeah, I could see that.

01:22:36   All right, let me take a break here.

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01:24:57   That's another one.

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01:25:19   I swear you check out retool.com and you could probably build it yourself.

01:25:23   Um, Hey, so the last thing I want to talk about is speaking of panic.

01:25:28   Who's who's come up, come up a couple of times on this show.

01:25:31   They're long awaited play date has started shipping.

01:25:36   Can I just laugh about the list we can drop with an hour, right?

01:25:39   Like you talked about the, we got to schedule a lot of time for this one.

01:25:44   And like, where did the, where did the time go?

01:25:46   That's the story of my life.

01:25:49   Anyway, that was the, yeah, right.

01:25:50   Right at the play date for sure, because that's a good one.

01:25:52   Well, and it's purely again, just happy coincidence.

01:25:55   This is just, it just shows that this was meant to be, you happen to already

01:25:59   have your hands on a play date.

01:26:00   Yes.

01:26:01   I was helping test for a bit and it is delightful and everything you'd expect

01:26:06   from a panic handheld video game.

01:26:08   It's actually more than a video game though.

01:26:11   Cause like we were talking earlier, like the SDK, the tools, everything that

01:26:15   they're providing to be able to build on this thing is what you'd expect from

01:26:19   panic because it's beyond what you'd expect.

01:26:21   So like someone's already developing like a calendar context, obviously

01:26:25   very basic, it is what it is, right?

01:26:27   You have a couple of buttons in the crank and the joy pad, but like that's the

01:26:31   kind of tools that they've created to give you the ability to not just build

01:26:36   games, someone's building an MP3 player for it, from my understanding, and like.

01:26:40   It really has great development tools and the apps and games and products that are

01:26:46   coming out for it are a testament to that.

01:26:47   I would say.

01:26:48   So their development story, and I think, I kind of think I, you know, I, you know,

01:26:54   I could ask, get cable and hit friends and from panic on the show and do a whole

01:26:59   episode and probably will sooner rather than later.

01:27:02   I hope you do.

01:27:03   But from the outside, it seems like it was the software that was holding

01:27:09   it up and I know they even blogged about it and it just, it's like, oh man.

01:27:13   Like so bad.

01:27:15   Like they got like the first batch of production units a couple months ago and

01:27:18   there was like a problem with them and they had to like send them back to

01:27:20   Malaysia and have something, you know.

01:27:22   Hardware is hard.

01:27:23   Hardware is hard.

01:27:23   Hardware is hard.

01:27:25   When you get into hardware, all bets are off.

01:27:28   That's where all the Kickstarters all fail and have problems.

01:27:30   Hardware is hard.

01:27:31   Right.

01:27:32   There's like, there's like the adage from Alan Kay, the great luminary of computer

01:27:37   science and Steve Jobs most famously was a big, he was a friend of Alan Kay and

01:27:41   cited it at the debut of the iPhone, which was that people who really care about

01:27:46   software should build their own hardware, I believe.

01:27:49   Yeah.

01:27:49   It was something like that, but yeah, hardware really has always been, cause

01:27:52   I've dabbled in hardware with a couple of companies I've worked at and done stuff.

01:27:55   It is always so complex and things like the supply chain issue and parts and

01:28:01   things fail and batteries and on and on and on, right?

01:28:03   Software is you just find the bug and you figure it out and fix it.

01:28:07   So it's like my corollary or converse or inverse, I forget the logical terms, but

01:28:13   like a corollary to the Alan Kay adage is that people who think software is hard

01:28:18   should try building hardware.

01:28:20   I love that.

01:28:21   Yeah, no, it's true.

01:28:22   Cause we're like, we have a great in software world, right?

01:28:25   You know, just make it, make it happen and then just poke at it until it works.

01:28:29   It never involves, no matter how bad the bug, how unexpected, how much it's not

01:28:35   even your fault, how poorly timed the bug could have been, it never, with software,

01:28:41   it never involves packing up a bunch of crates and shipping them back to Malaysia

01:28:47   and then waiting for them to be fixed over there and then shipped back to you.

01:28:51   During, during a worldwide,

01:28:54   right, during the whole supply chain issue.

01:28:57   Right.

01:28:58   During this whole supply chain issue.

01:28:59   It was just incredible.

01:29:01   The fact that they shipped them, cause I know they're getting in people's hands

01:29:03   now, I've had a bunch of friends tell me, you know, they're excited.

01:29:06   They, they actually, for a small company as they are for a company with so much

01:29:11   care and heart, they did an incredible job to pull this thing off.

01:29:15   And I'm not just saying it cause they're friends.

01:29:16   I'm not just saying it cause we love them, but like, it is actually a

01:29:19   really big thing that they pulled off.

01:29:21   It reminds me of when we were like the nineties, you know, maybe even going to

01:29:29   the eighties where it's like a small team of enthusiastic people could just build

01:29:37   a new hardware thing, a computer device.

01:29:40   Exactly.

01:29:41   And it happened all the time back then.

01:29:43   Right.

01:29:44   And it's like, you didn't have to be a fortune 10, you know, one of the 10

01:29:51   biggest companies in the entire world to launch a new hardware platform.

01:29:57   Right.

01:29:57   And you, eh, you hear things like meta or Facebook, I'm still going to call

01:30:01   them Facebook screw them.

01:30:02   On their, on their financials this week, they said that they spent $3 billion

01:30:07   in the quarter on R and D for their metaverse platform that's forthcoming.

01:30:12   And $10 billion over the last year, eh, you know, just enormous sums.

01:30:19   I mean, $13 billion on a thing that's, that's not shipping and

01:30:23   isn't, won't be shipping for years.

01:30:24   They're not talking about like the headsets that are already shipping.

01:30:26   And like Tony Fidell had a tweet that I just loved where he, he like linked

01:30:31   to it and just said the entire iPhone didn't cost anywhere near $3 billion

01:30:35   to develop the whole thing over the whole process.

01:30:38   Like, yeah.

01:30:38   Yeah.

01:30:38   I'm not, I'm just saying though, that things have gotten big and it's

01:30:41   hard and it's like, oh, imagine if like a small company, privately held company

01:30:48   that's been around and, and has like, and I've, I know them, I know a bunch

01:30:52   of people who work there, I visited their office, they're such great people.

01:30:55   They're just good, good people.

01:30:56   And they have such great camaraderie in between them.

01:30:59   But imagine if a team like that could build like a new hardware platform to

01:31:02   do something as silly and fun as play black and white games, you know?

01:31:07   And it's like, uh, yeah, well, they've done it.

01:31:09   They've pulled it off.

01:31:10   They're shipping it.

01:31:11   It's great.

01:31:11   The thing I want to mention though, you mentioned that their software strategy

01:31:14   is great and I have followed along.

01:31:16   I have like a developer account with them.

01:31:19   I don't, I've, my personal play date is a few thousand down on the list of coming,

01:31:25   but I'll be patient.

01:31:26   I can wait, but I, you know, I'm very much looking forward to it, but I've followed

01:31:30   along with the development thing all along.

01:31:31   And I would say in broad strokes, what they have is three tiers of development.

01:31:35   They have a C API, which is what you would, it's correct.

01:31:39   Which what you would think would be the only one, right?

01:31:42   Where you, you program in C and they have libraries that, you know, help you, you

01:31:48   know, do things like play sound and, and draw graphics on the screen and get input

01:31:53   from the buttons and of course the crank.

01:31:55   But then they have a Lua programming interface, which is, I think it's fair to

01:32:00   say again, I haven't written a play date game, so I can't verify it, but it's

01:32:06   effectively like the C interface, but slower because instead of being compiled

01:32:11   C code, it's the Lua scripting language.

01:32:14   Right.

01:32:15   So Lua is the speedy development one, but it's pretty performance, not great due to

01:32:21   garbage collection, but then you use C obviously, if you're, if you're familiar

01:32:26   with C or if you want to learn C, I guess, because you actually get the performance

01:32:30   with C because it's native C code.

01:32:32   And you get the manual, you get all the benefits of manual memory

01:32:37   management and all of the penalties.

01:32:39   Yeah.

01:32:40   They got the garbage collection stuff in Lua is it's hit or miss.

01:32:44   The performance is just hit or miss.

01:32:46   Yeah.

01:32:46   And it's so depending on the type of game you want to make, if you're really pressing

01:32:50   the limits of the play date hardware, you're probably going to have to get dip

01:32:53   into C at some point and the games, I would guess, I don't know, I you've played

01:32:59   it, I don't know, but I would guess that the games that seem the most technically

01:33:05   fascinating are probably written in C.

01:33:08   That doesn't mean they're the most fun, right?

01:33:09   Because like, you know.

01:33:11   Yup, exactly.

01:33:11   It doesn't affect what the game design or the execution is.

01:33:14   It's just performance.

01:33:15   Right.

01:33:15   Like, you know, remember like when, or, or look at Wordle, I'm not, Wordle probably

01:33:20   wouldn't be that great of a game.

01:33:21   Well, maybe it could be on play date, but you don't really need a keyboard.

01:33:26   You're not typing.

01:33:27   So I guess you could crank out or D plus around a keyboard.

01:33:31   But the crank really is the way to go.

01:33:32   Cause think of it, it's like swiping, right?

01:33:34   It's like scrolling up or down or left or right or whatever.

01:33:36   Yeah, you can, you can really do a lot with the crank.

01:33:38   My point is the Wordle became a worldwide sensation that gets jokes made about it

01:33:43   on late night talk shows.

01:33:44   And there's like every other, at least every other week there now there's a

01:33:49   Wordle cartoon in the New Yorker.

01:33:51   A game of Wordle's magnitude could easily be written in Lua.

01:33:55   I mean, like you could be like a really sloppy, lazy loop, you know, wasting as

01:34:00   much memory as you can in Lua.

01:34:03   And it would still run fine on a play date.

01:34:06   Going back a couple of years on iPhone, remember the flappy bird, which was

01:34:10   an absolute sensation, you could easily write flappy bird in Lua and not run

01:34:16   into memory constraints, you know, it's, you know, so I think there's going to be,

01:34:20   you know, maybe the most fun games will be written in Lua because that's, you

01:34:24   know, it's the fastest way to develop.

01:34:25   That's, but that's, that's a twofold development strategy that sounds like,

01:34:30   wow, that's a lot of work for a small company.

01:34:32   This is the big one.

01:34:33   Let's go to the big one.

01:34:34   This is the big one.

01:34:35   I think this one's amazing.

01:34:36   It's called Playdate Pulp.

01:34:39   Yup.

01:34:40   And to explain this.

01:34:42   Yeah.

01:34:43   So it's a web based game editor.

01:34:44   And the thing is, is Cable and I are from the old days, as are you, you know,

01:34:47   Commodore 64, Amiga, where, as you said, the teams had all these great, crazy,

01:34:52   wacky ideas that were just like, yeah, we're going to do this and we did it.

01:34:54   Pulp to me is of the Anthem and spirit of, I guess we'll call them 80s kids.

01:35:00   Like us, like it is a full web-based.

01:35:03   And when I say web-based, you got to just go to like the website.

01:35:05   It's like play.date/pulp or something like that.

01:35:08   I don't remember, but basically it's a full web based game editor that

01:35:14   allows you to do pixel art, the music, scripting, sprite placement,

01:35:21   like it's just crazy good.

01:35:23   And like you use it, it has undo.

01:35:25   You got to check it out.

01:35:26   I just, I keep raving about it, but it is, it is so crazy cool that I'm like,

01:35:32   why did they do this?

01:35:33   But I think the reason why they did it was because a, they wanted to and could,

01:35:36   which is great, that's what indie developers do, but B I think it would

01:35:40   get certain people that don't want to look at a text editor, you know, input,

01:35:44   if you will, to writing code to go, Oh, I can just lay some stuff out.

01:35:48   Oh, okay.

01:35:48   I can just write some basic scripting.

01:35:50   Oh, okay.

01:35:50   Look, I have a game.

01:35:51   I have a game going.

01:35:52   I think it really is the most incredible entry to the play date to just

01:35:56   dabble, scroll around and make a game.

01:36:00   And by the way, you can either side load with a cable or wirelessly through the

01:36:05   web.

01:36:05   It is just, it's everything you'd expect in some crazy harebrained.

01:36:10   Anyway, that's great.

01:36:12   I can keep going.

01:36:12   Yeah.

01:36:13   And you know, and they've got the native environment.

01:36:15   That's the, you mentioned it's, it really was by coincidence, but you

01:36:19   mentioned Nova, which is their code editor for the Mac, sort of the new

01:36:23   version of what they used to have called Coda, but it's all new and you

01:36:27   could use it for any kind of text editing that programming sort of thing

01:36:31   that you would want to do.

01:36:33   But because they have their own text editor for the Mac Nova, which is

01:36:38   really good, really rich, really worth checking out and panicked to the max in

01:36:43   terms of how it's designed and looks and organized, but they've made it into

01:36:47   IDE for playdate development.

01:36:49   You know, and if you're never going to write a playdate app, you can use Nova

01:36:54   to make a website or to write shell scripts or markdown documents or whatever

01:36:59   it is that you might be doing.

01:37:01   And the IDE stuff doesn't get in the way, but if you want to write a playdate

01:37:04   app in C or Lua, you could do it and it integrates and they have a simulator,

01:37:10   you know, just like running the iPhone simulator.

01:37:12   So you can like actually just like build and run your game and it pops up on your

01:37:17   Mac and a little fake on-screen playdate and get it running, which is obviously,

01:37:22   you know, before the actual hardware was able to ship to developers, you know,

01:37:26   it was the only way to do it, you know?

01:37:28   So, all these games and apps have been in development from people who

01:37:32   haven't even touched a playdate yet.

01:37:34   You know, and I know some of the developers like you and testers have

01:37:38   had pre-release hardware for a while, but there are also, I don't know how

01:37:43   many, hundreds, thousands, who knows how many people are doing this already, who

01:37:47   could be building these things right there in Nova and testing on the simulator.

01:37:53   It's so much richer than it could be, you know, and it would have to be.

01:37:57   And the simulator looks, you know, so nice.

01:38:01   It's just like everything Panic does where it's like, well, if we're going

01:38:04   to build it, well, we should make it look as good as it possibly can.

01:38:07   But the pulp thing, and it reminds me, you know, to throw back to the last

01:38:12   sponsor, Retool, it is, Retool is super, super impressive for building like

01:38:16   business apps in the web with all of these components, like full featured,

01:38:20   like no joke, just drag them around.

01:38:23   And pulp is like that for building playdate games and apps, if your idea is

01:38:27   more app-like, it's just so super impressive and it just looks so cool.

01:38:32   They kind of make the whole user interface for playdate pulp on the web

01:38:36   looks playdate style.

01:38:38   Yeah, exactly.

01:38:40   Right?

01:38:40   You know, it reminds me of it, I want to go back to the Commodore 64 Amiga

01:38:42   days, it really reminds me there was like pinball construction kit, the

01:38:45   world of this video game, all these construction kits that I remember when

01:38:48   I was young, I didn't really know what I was doing.

01:38:50   You could just click around and, oh, I need that.

01:38:51   I put that there.

01:38:52   Oh, I do this.

01:38:52   And then when interpret everything you did and turn it into the bundle or the game.

01:38:56   It is so frigging cool.

01:38:58   I love it.

01:39:00   I love it.

01:39:00   I love it.

01:39:00   A pinball construction kit.

01:39:02   I totally remember that.

01:39:03   Haven't thought about it in decades, but you remember it, right?

01:39:05   Yeah.

01:39:06   There was, that was a good one.

01:39:07   There were some other construction kits like that, you know?

01:39:10   And there, you know, like there are whole games where the game

01:39:12   actually is sort of like that.

01:39:14   There's like the railroad construction kit and like build your own roller

01:39:18   coaster type games where the game is organizing like the tracks and building

01:39:23   a thing, but you're really, if you think about it, it's not that you're playing

01:39:26   a game, it's that you're making a game.

01:39:28   Right?

01:39:29   And it's so fun to make the game that it actually feels like a game itself.

01:39:33   Exactly.

01:39:33   Making the game is the game.

01:39:35   By the way, as I just Googled the construction kit, there was a music

01:39:37   construction kit, I remember this now, and you would go in and you would drag in.

01:39:41   I mean, obviously that's how most music editors work now, right?

01:39:44   You drag stuff on.

01:39:45   But in the day when this came out, what is this 1984, right?

01:39:49   You would be able to drag music notes and stuff and then make music.

01:39:52   This was like unheard of, right?

01:39:54   But you're putting it all together.

01:39:56   That's the game itself.

01:39:57   And then the output is your reward.

01:39:59   Right.

01:39:59   And I totally think that it circles right back to what we talked about earlier

01:40:04   about building things that you yourself would want to use.

01:40:07   And obviously the team at Panic forever has spanned the visual people, the artist

01:40:15   type designer type people, and the people who are truly just extraordinarily

01:40:20   talented programmers, you know, like Steven Frank, who wrote the code that

01:40:24   let the, geez, what was their MP3 player back in Audion, Audion, do transparent

01:40:30   windows on classic Mac OS.

01:40:33   The skins, remember all that?

01:40:34   Yeah.

01:40:34   I remember you'd see that like X-ray look, that transparent look, and you were

01:40:37   just like, what?

01:40:38   Right.

01:40:38   And it was like, oh, that's faking it.

01:40:40   That's not really what's behind the window.

01:40:42   And then you'd put something dynamic behind the window and see that it really

01:40:47   was updating.

01:40:47   And it was like, that's actually impossible.

01:40:50   I know enough about Mac OS that you can't do this.

01:40:53   And it's like, how are they doing this?

01:40:54   And you find out that they're doing it all at interrupt time, which won't mean

01:40:59   something to most people.

01:41:00   But if you remember classic Mac OS programming, knowing that they were doing

01:41:05   all this at interrupt time is sort of like, it's like doing all of your work

01:41:11   between seconds.

01:41:14   Like if seconds are a real measure of time and, but all, everything you do is

01:41:18   between those seconds, it's like, or like if you have a watch that ticks 60 times a

01:41:25   second, right?

01:41:26   That the second hand ticks 60 times a second.

01:41:29   You're doing all of your work only at the times when the second hand is moving

01:41:34   between seconds.

01:41:35   Right.

01:41:36   And then what the duration of the actual execution, right?

01:41:38   And once the, once the second hand is actually at the five second mark, you

01:41:43   don't get to do anything until it moves to six, but you only get to move.

01:41:47   You only get to do work in between the second hand moving from five to six,

01:41:50   which it does very, very fast.

01:41:52   Right.

01:41:53   Again, it's hackery.

01:41:54   And that's, that's why all this stuff is doable is the best.

01:41:57   I say the best app makers and the best experience makers hack to get their end

01:42:02   result, no matter how it's done.

01:42:04   Right.

01:42:04   Right.

01:42:05   I, I, I'm so looking forward to getting playdate in my hand.

01:42:08   I'm so hoping it's a hit form, but I do think that pulp in particular, even

01:42:12   though it won't let you make the richest games and the ones that push the hardware

01:42:18   to the actual absolute maximum, it will expose game-making to anybody who can just

01:42:24   look at it and just start, just do it visually.

01:42:27   And it's like you said, some people it's, it's just a fact that there are very few

01:42:30   people or far fewer men and women who have the programmer type minds to build a game

01:42:38   that is a thing you look at and play.

01:42:41   And that it's the feel of actually playing the game or the feel of scanning a

01:42:47   business card in a card hop or the way the menu comes out.

01:42:52   And, but, but can conceptualize all of that as source code in a text file,

01:42:58   whatever language, whether it's C or Lua or Swift or Objective-C, it's, it's a

01:43:05   special type of talent to be able to, to do that, to go from this completely

01:43:10   abstract thing of source code to build the real thing.

01:43:14   Whereas the pulp is just like direct manipulation of the thing itself.

01:43:19   You just build the actual game and it's like right there in your web browser and

01:43:24   then just move it over to your play date.

01:43:26   And now it's on your play date.

01:43:27   Pulp is how I actually wish, like when I was younger and I used to see programming

01:43:31   tools, I mean, obviously on Commodore 64 was like assembly language and then

01:43:34   hacking and pinking and poking and all that.

01:43:36   But I'm actually one day, I know it's never going to happen, but I wish that

01:43:40   there was a pulp for everything.

01:43:41   Meaning, why can't I just draw it on the screen?

01:43:44   Like I know you're kind of getting there with sketch and some other things, but

01:43:47   there really should just be a language that you put stuff down, you say make it,

01:43:51   it's almost like AppleScript or connecting stuff, HyperCard-esque, right?

01:43:54   Just make it work.

01:43:56   Well, HyperCard is probably the closest we ever got.

01:43:59   Yeah, HyperCard's the closest we got.

01:44:01   It was so good.

01:44:02   It was so, so good.

01:44:03   Yeah, I mean, maybe that's the, you know, for those old enough to remember it.

01:44:07   But I mean, I often bring this up, but when I was at Drexel in the early 90s and

01:44:12   Drexel was this camp, you know, a university that had this, every student had to

01:44:17   have access to a Mac, not just a computer, but a Mac, and they had worked out a deal

01:44:21   with Apple that every student could buy one at a tremendous, truly tremendous,

01:44:25   discount over retail.

01:44:27   And it, you know, they had a lab full of computers.

01:44:29   You didn't have to buy one, but you know, otherwise you'd have to go to the lab.

01:44:32   But that way, the professors in any field, not like just me because I was in computer

01:44:37   science, but like my math professor had built like a HyperCard stack to help teach

01:44:43   calculus.

01:44:43   Like it was his own work.

01:44:45   He made it and it was really polished.

01:44:48   It was awesome.

01:44:49   It was, and that's, that was the power of it.

01:44:50   It could let anyone make something look so great, right?

01:44:53   You didn't have to be a programmer.

01:44:55   Right.

01:44:55   It didn't look like something, you know, someone who had never programmed a computer

01:45:00   before had built and designed it.

01:45:02   It looked polished.

01:45:03   It was amazing.

01:45:04   You just wire it all up.

01:45:04   You wire it up, you tell it what to do and it acts, right?

01:45:07   Yeah.

01:45:07   And there were, you know, professors from all sorts of other, you know, more like even

01:45:12   liberal arts fields who had built their own HyperCard stacks and delivered them as courseware.

01:45:17   You'd just, and then you would, you couldn't download them.

01:45:21   No, you'd go to the, you would bring your own floppy to the computer lab and then just

01:45:27   type in the course name and then if there was available stuff, some of it was just stuff

01:45:31   to read.

01:45:32   You'd just get like MacWrite files or something like that.

01:45:35   Living thesis, or sorry, living syllabus or whatever it is.

01:45:38   Right.

01:45:38   But then you just hit a button.

01:45:40   And, but that, that thing at the, at the little kiosk, which was running on some sort of like

01:45:45   a Mac SE or something like that, was itself a HyperCard stack.

01:45:48   It was like a HyperCard stack that you would just walk up to, pick your course, put a blank

01:45:53   floppy disk in, hit a button, and it would copy those to your floppy disk and eject the

01:45:57   floppy disk and then you'd leave.

01:45:59   That's cool.

01:46:00   That's cool.

01:46:00   Anyway, Pulp is worth checking out and I know people have to wait for their playdate.

01:46:04   I'm waiting for my playdate, but I'm so excited that it shipped and I'm so happy

01:46:08   for them.

01:46:08   Well, the longer you wait, the more software there'll be.

01:46:11   And like you said, now that it's getting into people's hands, I think we're going to start

01:46:14   seeing, I mean, there's already a ton of games that'll be unveiled with season one and ongoing,

01:46:18   but there's going to be so many more things coming out now that people have their devices

01:46:22   and can start shipping stuff.

01:46:23   Yep, absolutely.

01:46:24   Yeah.

01:46:24   And you just get a, you get a better feel for the crank when you actually have the crank.

01:46:28   The crank's amazing.

01:46:31   The crank is like wacky cool.

01:46:33   Michael, it's always good to have you on the show.

01:46:35   I thank you very much for your time.

01:46:36   This is always, always fun to talk to you.

01:46:38   You're welcome.

01:46:39   We'll have to do it again because I got to get my favorite clip and work somehow.

01:46:41   Remember, you will leave that for the next one, but I got to get that clip worked in.

01:46:45   Flexibits.com is where you go to find out everything you'd want to know about Fantastical

01:46:51   and Cardhop.

01:46:52   I will also thank our sponsors today.

01:46:54   They were Linode, where you can deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode cloud.

01:46:59   Iodine, where they've introduced the all new data, Pro Data, which is all SSD storage,

01:47:05   massive, up to 24 terabytes for your M1 MacBooks.

01:47:09   And Retool, where you can build internal tools for your team up to 10 times faster than traditional

01:47:15   software development.

01:47:16   Thanks, Michael.

01:47:16   Thanks, John.

01:47:18   Have a great weekend.