The Talk Show

165: ‘I Do Feel the Pea’ With Guy English


00:00:00   This argument is why we're going to stop being friends.

00:00:02   Like one day we're going to get drunk and get really mad about this.

00:00:04   I think we have.

00:00:06   I think we probably we probably have.

00:00:08   Like like in a way that like,

00:00:11   you know, maybe other guys would get in a fight over,

00:00:13   you know, sports or a girl or something like that, like,

00:00:16   you know, getting fights over Celsius versus Fahrenheit.

00:00:20   Right. Yeah.

00:00:22   You're the only person I know who I can't convince that,

00:00:25   OK, at least it makes sense for temperature.

00:00:28   Yeah, you can't convince me because it doesn't make sense.

00:00:30   It's just anyway, whatever.

00:00:33   I don't want to get into it, but it's, it's a, in the nineties, way too hot in

00:00:38   the hundreds, dangerously hot in the eighties, nice and warm.

00:00:42   Honestly, I kind of believe you.

00:00:45   I get it.

00:00:47   I really do.

00:00:47   Especially as I spend more time in, in the States.

00:00:51   I, I really do.

00:00:53   And I can't leave this close circle of you, me, and all of you listeners.

00:01:00   So I do get it.

00:01:03   But the arguments for it make no sense, man.

00:01:07   It's all about what you're accustomed to.

00:01:09   I totally agree that for anything else, for doctors, you go to the hospital,

00:01:13   they should do everything in Celsius.

00:01:16   All science, obviously, should be conducted in Celsius or Kelvin

00:01:20   or whatever scale makes sense.

00:01:21   but for talking about the weather.

00:01:23   Fahrenheit's the bomb.

00:01:25   So, trying to get away from this a little bit,

00:01:29   Apple introduced a whole bunch of new APIs

00:01:33   this last cycle for different

00:01:37   measurements. And one of them was temperature.

00:01:41   What do you think the system they used was?

00:01:45   Probably Celsius.

00:01:49   Kelvin. Kelvin? Huh? Yeah, because I wanted it to be Celsius because I want it to be like,

00:01:54   "Hey, screw you, John." But no, it was Kelvin, which makes sense because zero in Kelvin is like...

00:02:00   It's absolute zero, right? It's absolute zero. Yeah, there is. I mean, there's...

00:02:06   So it's the... There are no... Nothing moves there. There is no... Like, it is zero-zero. It's not like

00:02:12   water gets cold. It's like... Right. Done. Yeah. Yeah, that makes some sense. It's sort of like,

00:02:19   you know, the equivalent of keeping time from the epoch.

00:02:23   Yes, yeah. Although, yeah, right, like you got to pick an amateur date kind of thing.

00:02:28   So, right, yeah. I got some follow-up. I don't know if you

00:02:31   listened to my last show with Jason. Jason Snell was on, and we got

00:02:35   talking about mechanical keyboards. Yeah. And I expressed my

00:02:43   frustration with the fact that there's, you get into mechanical keyboards,

00:02:47   I got into them and I like the Apple Extended 2.

00:02:51   I don't know what kind of switches. I think they're made by a company called Alps.

00:02:54   But you don't have to choose. I just know that I like the Apple Extended 2 keyboard.

00:03:00   I used it when I was a kid. I owned one since I was 19 years old.

00:03:06   This is one thing where I... I mean, honestly, really only the temperature thing is where I think you're off your rocker.

00:03:12   But you were totally right about that keyboard.

00:03:15   I think you have a weird obsession with it.

00:03:17   Like I move with the times.

00:03:19   Right.

00:03:19   It is a weird, but I admire, I admire your dedication to that one keyboard.

00:03:24   Well, Jason and I, Jason, I've got talking about modern mechanical keyboards and

00:03:28   you buy like a new USB one.

00:03:29   And when you buy them, you get the choice between different switches.

00:03:33   So, and there's other companies too, but the famous company is Cherry.

00:03:36   This company Cherry makes mechanical keyboard switches and they make blue

00:03:41   ones, red ones, brown ones, clear ones, black ones, and I think green ones. And how

00:03:50   do you choose? And there's descriptions of them and they play, you

00:03:52   go to the website and they have little sounds and you can listen to them, but

00:03:55   that listening to the click of a keyboard is nothing like actually using

00:03:59   it. A couple of readers, this is the follow-up, a couple of readers sent in that

00:04:03   there's a company called, I don't know how you pronounce it, WASD keyboards. W-A-S-D

00:04:08   keyboards. Those are the movement keys for games like Doom or

00:04:15   Quake or if it's a Mac. Oh man, it's a classic Mac one. Mac Shooter.

00:04:21   It's the Bungie guys from way back in the day and I'm

00:04:27   blanking on it right now. You know what's funny? It's been so long since I was

00:04:30   in the games I didn't realize that that's where they got the company name

00:04:32   from. But that is exactly what I'm guessing. If you look at their logo.

00:04:38   It makes no sense. So WASD keyboards. They sell a product that is amazing. It is called the Wads-D

00:04:46   6-Key Cherry MX Switch Tester. You pay 15 bucks and it's not like an electrical device. It's just

00:04:52   like a piece of metal with one of each of the six types of switches on top and the clear key cap.

00:04:58   And then they also send you a pack of these O-ring dampeners. They're just like little rubber band

00:05:04   type things that you can optionally put into the key to sort of dampen the clickiness, the sound of it.

00:05:09   For 15 bucks, it's a great thing. I have no idea if I'm even going to buy one of these keyboards,

00:05:15   but I instantly bought this thing for 15 bucks. It came in like two days.

00:05:18   Marathon, just before Syracuse gets mad at me. It was Marathon.

00:05:25   Yeah, anyway, so sorry, 15 bucks. Marathon was the last time I really got into a 3D game.

00:05:30   I was deeply obsessed with Marathon.

00:05:33   Cool.

00:05:33   And that was before the gaming part of my brain rotted away.

00:05:37   Anyway, this sample kit, highly recommend it.

00:05:39   I will put it in the show notes.

00:05:41   Very fun if you're curious about the different types of key caps.

00:05:45   But it's also-- it makes it very fun, in my opinion, desk toy.

00:05:48   I like to just have it here.

00:05:49   Now I've got a keyboard where I can just sit here and click keys,

00:05:51   and I'm not doing anything on screen.

00:05:54   That's cool.

00:05:55   I think what I like-- if I were going to buy one of these keyboards,

00:05:58   I think what I would get is the cherry brown switches, probably with the dampener in there.

00:06:05   And it feels to me—

00:06:06   Oh, you'd go with the dampener. Interesting.

00:06:07   I think so. It's very hard to tell. I almost wish that I didn't have to choose whether I got the dampener.

00:06:12   Yeah. You know what I love about this? It's a real nerd connoisseur kind of thing.

00:06:16   Like, most people on Earth do not care.

00:06:21   No.

00:06:22   But the people who care, care a lot.

00:06:24   Yeah.

00:06:24   Like, you know, like you're going to be pulling your hair out trying to make a decision to go with the damper or not.

00:06:29   You know?

00:06:30   Well, and the other thing I found out, and this WASD company has a very good FAQ on their website.

00:06:35   So the other thing that I found out is that it's not quite the decision between these six key cap or key switch colors isn't quite as complex as you think.

00:06:44   There's really only three types.

00:06:46   The blue, the brown, and I forget what the other one to the default is.

00:06:54   I think it might be the black.

00:06:55   But the idea is that the--

00:06:57   or the red, I guess.

00:06:58   The three main ones are the blue, the brown, and the red.

00:07:02   And then the other three, each one of them

00:07:05   corresponds to one of the other two

00:07:07   and just requires a little bit more force to activate.

00:07:11   It has a spring that has more resistance.

00:07:17   So it takes a little bit more force to push it.

00:07:19   And when you're done pushing it, it

00:07:22   will push the key back up faster. Apparently gamers, a lot of gamers, prefer the ones with

00:07:26   more resistance because they feel like they can hit the key faster because it springs

00:07:32   up a little bit faster. That's interesting. So the black one is the red with more resistance.

00:07:39   The clear one is the brown with more resistance and the green one is the blue with more resistance.

00:07:46   So there you go. You've learned something every day.

00:07:50   So what do you like about the travel? The sound?

00:07:54   I mean, it's just satisfying. I feel the sound is like an

00:07:58   artifact of you actually liking to type on the thing, right?

00:08:02   It's just a tactile satisfaction.

00:08:06   There's something satisfying to me about clicking an actual button.

00:08:10   Yeah, okay, but more so than like, well, whatever

00:08:14   looking at now like the Apple magic. Did they call a magic keyboard?

00:08:17   Yeah. You know, the standard Apple keyboard, like, yeah,

00:08:21   I think they're called the magic keyboard to now. Okay. Which is not a bad,

00:08:25   these guys have like very little travel. They're basically laptop keyboard,

00:08:28   right. But you know, with a little bit of extra travel just because they can

00:08:32   little bit, yeah. They can afford it in the space. Right. And I, you know,

00:08:37   I will offer, you know, when I travel, I don't take a mechanical keyboard with me.

00:08:40   I just type on a MacBook for as long as it takes.

00:08:44   I mean, it's not like I'm a princess who

00:08:46   can't sleep on a mattress if there's a pee underneath.

00:08:51   But I do feel the pee.

00:08:54   I just still sleep right on top of it.

00:08:56   It's like, OK, I'm going to deal with it.

00:08:58   Anyway, that's my follow-up.

00:08:59   I highly recommend it.

00:09:00   Hopefully this company will be overwhelmed with requests

00:09:04   from talk show listeners buying these switch testers.

00:09:07   And like I said, it's a very fun little desk toy, in my opinion.

00:09:11   Yeah, I'm going to probably check one out.

00:09:13   That's cool.

00:09:14   All right, I wanted to talk-- here's a piece from earlier this month

00:09:17   that I specifically wanted to talk to you about, because I feel like your

00:09:19   sensibility might be--

00:09:21   you might have an interesting take on this.

00:09:23   Earlier this month, during--

00:09:25   I forget which beta release, but the betas for iOS and Mac, Sierra,

00:09:32   macOS Sierra, were updated.

00:09:34   And one of the changes-- they made some changes to the emoji,

00:09:37   and the one that was controversial, I wrote about it, a lot of people wrote about it,

00:09:41   is that Apple changed the, it's called the pistol, I mean a lot, most people maybe call it the gun,

00:09:46   but like the official Unicode name is pistol, they changed it from a realistic uh revolver type gun

00:09:53   to a uh toy like space gun. Water pistol. Oh no, is it a, it's a water pistol, that's right. It's a

00:09:59   water, well it looks like a water pistol to me, I mean whatever, use your own interpretation. No,

00:10:05   I think it definitely does. When you make it big, you can definitely see it's a water pistol.

00:10:08   It's Microsoft that used to have a ZAP gun, that's right.

00:10:10   So they made it a toy water pistol.

00:10:12   Oh, Microsoft.

00:10:14   So wait, what's the question?

00:10:17   Well, what do you think about it?

00:10:19   I mean, the controversy is...

00:10:22   Let me try to summarize it.

00:10:24   I'd say one angle on it is...

00:10:26   This is the nanny state.

00:10:29   They're coddling us.

00:10:31   Whatever problems there are with real guns in the world,

00:10:34   The problem is when actual guns are fired and actual bullets rip through actual human flesh.

00:10:41   A picture of it, a cartoon picture of a gun that you send as a text message is an abstraction.

00:10:48   And it would be, you know, what's the difference between not showing the emoji

00:10:52   or not allowing you to type the character string "G-U-N" in it.

00:10:57   I think that would be the expression of the opposition to this that I've seen.

00:11:02   And then the second opposition, which is less politically charged, it's more of a linguistic

00:11:08   argument, is if all other major platforms render this code point as a realistic gun,

00:11:19   and I send a string of emoji that includes the gun, it will have a different... it could

00:11:26   be interpreted as having a different semantic meaning on iOS and Mac now compared to these

00:11:32   other platforms. Yeah. That I might think that everybody sees it as a squirt gun and I send it

00:11:39   to you and... Which is harmless and guess what? Right. Everybody else sees an actual gun which is

00:11:45   not good. Right. So to the first argument, that's an argument for inaction.

00:11:53   Yes, you're right. Okay, stupid emoji is not going to change anything and the gun's actually being

00:12:01   fired in real life really do cause harm.

00:12:04   But I don't see that as an argument for why you must keep the pistol emoji to be

00:12:10   like a gun pistol, like a like a weapon rather than a squirt pistol.

00:12:16   You know what I mean? Like it's the that argument is one that you're

00:12:21   completing two different things and pistol isn't perfectly fine thing that you may

00:12:26   want to represent an emoji.

00:12:28   OK, maybe so.

00:12:30   Also, a water pistol is something you may want to represent.

00:12:35   It's purely a politically-cherished argument, I think, at least.

00:12:42   And I think probably because this comes on the heels of the rifle emoji being rejected.

00:12:53   Right, there was a proposal in the – like, every year there's some sort of process that the Unicode Consortium goes through

00:12:59   where new characters are suggested for emoji.

00:13:03   I guess for all of Unicode,

00:13:05   you know that there might be some obscure language

00:13:09   from a small tribe in Asia or South America

00:13:14   or something like that,

00:13:15   and they'll add glyphs to support their language or something.

00:13:18   You can make all sorts of proposals.

00:13:20   Unicode, it grows every year.

00:13:21   And one of the proposals that I guess was pretty far along

00:13:26   was the rifle.

00:13:27   And some point last year, Apple said,

00:13:30   we are not going to implement this.

00:13:32   Whether it passes or not, we're not going to implement it.

00:13:34   And as soon as Apple said that, it was dropped.

00:13:37   - Yeah, was it Apple uniquely?

00:13:40   Or was it like Apple and Google and Microsoft are like,

00:13:43   nah, we're not gonna do it.

00:13:45   Maybe Apple said it first and everybody was like,

00:13:47   yeah, you know what, we don't need this.

00:13:49   - Right.

00:13:50   I'll have to look that up.

00:13:53   But I think--

00:13:54   - I think you're right.

00:13:55   Certainly all the articles I read said it was Apple, but I don't know if it was just...

00:13:59   Apple might have, at the very least, might have led the way.

00:14:02   Yeah, yeah. That was my understanding at least, but that could be biased.

00:14:08   I'm okay with that. Do we really need a rifle emoji?

00:14:10   And look, I'm not a...

00:14:13   You know, just to expose myself, I'm clearly not a gun advocate.

00:14:21   But I do understand why you may, you know, there's a lot of really sensible and responsible gun owners out there.

00:14:31   I don't think we need an emoji.

00:14:34   No.

00:14:34   It's kind of where it goes to.

00:14:38   Yeah.

00:14:38   And one of the things that really bugged me about the pistol was like this smiley face with a pistol next to itself, like for the suicide.

00:14:46   Yeah.

00:14:47   That's not cool.

00:14:48   That's not funny.

00:14:50   No.

00:14:51   That's like a real... I mean, that happens a lot. There's what, 30,000 guns deaths in the US each year?

00:14:59   Something like that? And a lot of those are suicides?

00:15:02   I think suicide is the most common. Or at least it's very, very close.

00:15:07   Almost certain it's the most common.

00:15:09   And I understand that these are goofy little things and you're cracking a joke.

00:15:14   And you can do "Die in a fire". Casey List does this all the time.

00:15:18   He's got the little skull face and a fire.

00:15:22   And I'm like, that's horrible.

00:15:26   That is a horrible notion. I understand it's a phrase, and

00:15:30   I look the other way, but since we're bringing up the topic, man,

00:15:34   that's harsh. The suicide one is interesting, and I'm

00:15:38   talking from memory here, so I might be wrong, but I'm very, very

00:15:42   close to certain that I am correct here.

00:15:46   It is a leading form of suicide, or maybe the, and especially for men.

00:15:52   Men overwhelmingly choose to, if they choose to, often choose to use the firearms.

00:15:59   And in countries where firearms have—

00:16:02   Australia is the great example, because Australia used to have a gun culture very similar to the US

00:16:07   in terms of guns per population.

00:16:10   Outback, like the cowboy culture, literally, like very much the same kind of thing.

00:16:16   And after a mass shooting, terrible mass shooting, I think in 1997,

00:16:22   they legislated, they did like a massive gun buyback,

00:16:25   where the government just bought back literally millions of guns.

00:16:29   I don't know what they did with them, I don't know if they destroyed them or whatever.

00:16:32   But it's a great, in terms of actually studying scientifically the effects of gun ownership,

00:16:38   It's a tremendous case study because it used to have lots of guns and now they have very few and all sorts of guns are missing.

00:16:45   And it's not obviously the suicide rate by firearms did go down, but actually this overall suicide rate went down because guns are a particularly easy way to do it.

00:16:57   I mean, I don't want to get too dark here, but...

00:16:59   Yeah, but I mean, if you're drunk and having a bad day and you have access to something that you know is going to do the job, you know.

00:17:07   It doesn't hold water to say that if you ban guns that suicide will stay the same because people who want to kill themselves will just

00:17:13   Find another way. It's actually there is statistical proof that I mean obviously some will but it's there's actually it's it's just too easy

00:17:20   And it's the other, you know, terrible problem with it is that they're very effective. They they they work very well

00:17:26   So a higher percentage of suicide attempts that are made with a with a firearm

00:17:30   right, actually you end up killing yourself as compared to

00:17:36   pills, for example, people who try to kill themselves by overdose.

00:17:39   There's a tremendous number of them who survive because they just pass out and somebody finds them and they get medical attention.

00:17:46   And it's a lot easier to recover from an overdose than it is to a gunshot.

00:17:51   Yeah. Well, turns out a device made to kill things is good at killing things.

00:17:55   Yeah.

00:17:57   Not to be too... Man, you're gonna get some hate now.

00:17:59   Well, I don't see how that's... I don't see how what we're saying is...

00:18:04   It shouldn't be controversial.

00:18:05   Right. I'm not saying that we should ban guns. I'm not either making that, you know, I'm just

00:18:10   saying it's the truth though that if you want to accept the gun culture that we have it's going to

00:18:14   result in higher suicides and much more effective argument solvers. And frankly, I mean, obviously,

00:18:22   yeah, I do advocate for some kind of change, but I'm not like nobody should have any guns.

00:18:29   In Canada, we have a lot of guns. We don't have the same kind of crazy gun culture. So,

00:18:34   you can do it. The current state of the US gun laws is kind of bananas.

00:18:42   I am kind of fascinated by emoji.

00:18:46   Thank you for getting us off the topic.

00:18:50   Well, when they first became a thing, I was a little skeptical.

00:18:54   I think anybody who knows my style can tell I'm a little...

00:18:58   I don't go for frivolous things. I was never a fan. I've never really made

00:19:02   very extensive use of like ASCII smileys, you know, like colon dash parentheses to make a smiley.

00:19:11   And that even in text messages to me, you don't do that.

00:19:15   Right, and I used to turn...

00:19:16   Maybe in Aubergine every now and then.

00:19:18   So I was never big on smileys. And the first... the way that emoji sort of crept up on me was

00:19:24   like with iMessage or what iChat I guess it used to be called at the time, was there I think by

00:19:29   default it would automatically turn certain character sequences into smileys

00:19:33   and this was before we called them emoji and there was a limited set. I think that

00:19:37   the set character set came from AIM actually, like it was like an AOL

00:19:41   instant messenger thing, but different character sequences would turn into

00:19:44   different smileys and I turned that off. But there were, you know, you'd run into

00:19:49   them accidentally sometimes. There were certain character sequences that you, like

00:19:53   if you were, I don't know, if you were pasting like source code or something

00:19:56   that to somebody, you know, the semicolon and a thing would somehow turn into a smiley and it

00:20:01   wouldn't make any sense. But once the, you know, the full emoji set, I sort of, you know, I'm sort

00:20:06   of fascinated because I feel like people are expressing themselves in a way, like, it must be

00:20:11   like a field day to be like a linguistic researcher to study this because people take to them naturally,

00:20:16   you know, and you've mentioned Casey Liss, you know, who's, you know, like, an idiot savant.

00:20:23   He's a very nice guy.

00:20:25   In written English, he's barely literate.

00:20:28   I mean, it's very tough to make any heads or tails out of his writing in English prose,

00:20:34   but he can express himself fluently in emoji.

00:20:37   That's true. That is the most true thing anybody's ever said about poor case limits.

00:20:41   And I think it's fascinating, people who are good at it. And I use them.

00:20:45   There are certain ones that are very fun.

00:20:51   I do think though, I think it's interesting and I think that it is a form of real communication

00:20:57   and it conveys emotion much better than prose, especially in very short form.

00:21:03   I mean it's no surprise that they get mostly used in text messages.

00:21:06   Text messages and Twitter kind of thing.

00:21:09   Right. And you can convey things like if somebody says, "Hey, I got the job."

00:21:16   They've been trying to get a job at a place and they got it.

00:21:20   and you send them the two beers clinking emoji, it's a very, very quick and efficient way of saying,

00:21:27   "Hey, congratulations!" And maybe, "Hey, let's meet up and have a beer and celebrate." You can convey

00:21:33   that with one character. Yeah, congratulations and celebration, like all in one. Yeah,

00:21:38   I totally agree with you. There is, to me, although, even though I do think it's a serious

00:21:43   form of expression, to me they are inherently frivolous. And that to me is where, to me,

00:21:50   taking out the the realistic pistol is to me okay, because I think that there is an inherent

00:21:56   frivolousness to emoji, and that they're best used for... and if you look at them, most of them,

00:22:01   overwhelmingly, they're mostly like expressing things that are either completely innocuous,

00:22:09   like strawberry or you know it's like surfing right some weird random like the woman dancing

00:22:18   or yeah it it's which is a little weird because well they're they're finally expanding their

00:22:23   female representation right but yeah it's all happy and good and uh like a rifle and a

00:22:31   you know like a pistol it's an ill-suited it's an ill-suited language for expressing

00:22:39   negative things, in my opinion.

00:22:43   I agree. Now that could just be because culturally

00:22:47   I haven't grown up with guns and guns are not a thing in my life.

00:22:51   Maybe a goofy pistol is funny.

00:22:55   And maybe we're

00:22:59   now doing the thing where

00:23:03   eventually people look back at Looney Tunes and are like, "Oh man,

00:23:07   I know, yeah.

00:23:08   We gotta cut a lot of these scenes.

00:23:10   Right.

00:23:10   Which I hated, by the way.

00:23:12   But, I mean, we don't need a pistol pistol.

00:23:16   Water pistol's fine.

00:23:17   Whatever you want to express as a joke with a pistol,

00:23:21   you can express with a water pistol.

00:23:23   I loved the Looney Tunes.

00:23:25   The Looney Tunes were one of my--

00:23:26   Me too! That was some horrible stuff.

00:23:28   But they had an entire character.

00:23:30   Yosemite Sam.

00:23:31   The entire basis of his character was that.

00:23:33   Yeah.

00:23:34   Yeah, yes.

00:23:35   He was so gun crazy that he had two guns.

00:23:38   Like one gun wasn't enough for somebody to say, man, I love that guy.

00:23:42   Yeah.

00:23:43   And while he go to karate died in like every way possible.

00:23:47   That was horrible.

00:23:48   Who was your favorite?

00:23:50   Who's your favorite living?

00:23:51   Oh, um, I'm blanking.

00:23:53   Uh, uh, the giant chicken, foghorn, leghorn, this is why, this is why

00:23:59   we're going like horn is exact.

00:24:01   Thank you.

00:24:01   I forgot his name.

00:24:02   This is why we're friends.

00:24:03   He was my absolute favorite.

00:24:05   He is, I swear to God, like a year ago, maybe two years ago.

00:24:09   I can't remember.

00:24:10   I spent an entire night just watching fuck one, like one on YouTube.

00:24:14   I was like, this is, he's the best.

00:24:16   Why the hell was he so big?

00:24:17   I don't know why he's so big.

00:24:19   It was like seven feet tall.

00:24:21   Yeah.

00:24:22   And yeah, I love it.

00:24:24   He's like a total asshole to like the dog that's tied up.

00:24:28   Like the dog, this basically, I guess mentally you're a guard, everything is

00:24:33   tied up and all he does is like he wakes up in the morning and he goes and he

00:24:37   stands just outside the line of where the dogs leash, lets him go.

00:24:41   And he just baits the dog into charging at him and then laughs.

00:24:45   He's such a asshole.

00:24:48   I always love a fog horn like going.

00:24:53   He was definitely my best.

00:24:54   Yeah.

00:24:55   And a chicken Hawk who the ad they added later was like teeny tiny.

00:25:01   Yeah.

00:25:01   Yeah.

00:25:02   But he was like this, like, uh, you know, like rough,

00:25:06   like he always wanted to get in a scrap kind of guy. So good.

00:25:10   The other thing about the dog was that the dog was a worthy adversary.

00:25:14   Oh yeah. Yeah. He wasn't a dummy. He was just tied up half the time.

00:25:18   Like what are you going to do? Apparently his name,

00:25:20   his name was just barnyard dog, but it was spelled D A W G

00:25:25   dog. Oh, this gives it the Southern drawl. Barnyard dog.

00:25:31   Yeah, that was the other thing. I mean, just Fokker and Leggon's voice was hilarious.

00:25:36   And the dog sometimes got him back.

00:25:40   Just like his delivery, like, "Oh, God."

00:25:42   It was gut--oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:25:44   Not even sometimes.

00:25:46   Like, it seemed like a fair fight to me.

00:25:48   Yeah.

00:25:49   As opposed to, like, the Roadrunner and Wile E.

00:25:53   Coyote.

00:25:54   Yeah.

00:25:54   Which was good, too.

00:25:55   Wile E.

00:25:55   Coyote is a bit of a tragic--you know, he's kind of a tragedy, though.

00:25:59   Right.

00:26:00   But the Roadrunner would never do anything mean to him.

00:26:03   No, he did it. He always did it.

00:26:06   It would just backfire.

00:26:08   Did you ever read the rules?

00:26:10   There were the written rules of the Roadrunner.

00:26:14   I think I did years ago.

00:26:16   I'll have to put it.

00:26:17   I'll put it in the show notes, but the rules are brilliant.

00:26:19   And it was almost like writing the script for a Roadrunner

00:26:24   Coyote short was almost like a logic puzzle because you had to follow this very, very

00:26:32   specific list of rules. And one of them, there's things that I never even really thought of,

00:26:37   was that one of them is that the Roadrunner never leaves the road. No matter what happens,

00:26:42   because he's a Roadrunner. Everything that ever happened in all of those Wile E. Coyote

00:26:49   Roadrunner shorts, he never once left the road.

00:26:51   I hadn't even noticed that. That's cool. That makes sense.

00:26:55   Yeah, that's great. It's like the cartoon version of Asimov's

00:27:00   three little robots. You set up a structure and then

00:27:07   you debug it, basically, by like... your story is like, "well, see how this went wrong?"

00:27:12   Yeah, and I think one of the rules is that every bad thing that happens to the

00:27:15   coyote has to be his own doing. I would totally believe that.

00:27:18   It seems that, I mean, that's what I took away from it.

00:27:21   So because, and he's not even a bad guy, really.

00:27:27   Well, I guess he does want to eat the roadrunner, but I think he's just hungry.

00:27:31   He's hungry. Yeah. I'm sorry. He's got to eat something.

00:27:34   I don't, what is, I don't, yeah.

00:27:37   And he falls off cliffs and gets blown up.

00:27:40   And it's like horrible. The things that happened to him are the worst.

00:27:44   Like he falls off a cliff and then a giant boulder falls on it.

00:27:47   It's like as if that wasn't enough.

00:27:50   Let me take a break and thank our first sponsors, our good friends at Casper.

00:27:57   Casper is an obsessively engineered mattress and they sell them at shockingly

00:28:01   fair prices. Go to casper.com/the-talk-show and just, uh,

00:28:06   I think you automatically get it by going to that URL,

00:28:08   but the code is the talk show and you will save 50 bucks towards your mattress.

00:28:13   Casper created one perfect mattress.

00:28:16   They don't have to choose what type of foam you want,

00:28:20   what type of springs you want.

00:28:21   They've got one.

00:28:22   They spent years.

00:28:23   They spent a lot of money.

00:28:24   They really do.

00:28:25   They have engineers who just went into

00:28:27   what is the perfect default mattress.

00:28:31   They ended up with a combination of springy latex

00:28:34   and supportive memory foam for a sleep surface

00:28:36   with just the right sink, just the right bounce.

00:28:38   So you don't have to choose.

00:28:39   Who wants to?

00:28:40   It's like you don't have to get

00:28:41   one of those six keycap testers for six types of mattresses from Casper. They've got one

00:28:46   type, exactly what you want. It's not like buying one of these mechanical keyboards.

00:28:50   One type of mattress, you just pick the size. And because they make them, and they manufacture

00:28:57   them right here in the United States, they make them and sell them directly to you. This

00:29:03   is how they get away with charging, in a lot of comparisons, half the price of a premium

00:29:09   mattress that you would buy at a mattress store. Most premium mattresses

00:29:14   start at over 1,500 bucks. Casper's start at just 500 bucks for twin and they go

00:29:19   up to just 950 for a king, 850 for a queen, and they're made right here in

00:29:25   America. There's a cool thing too if you live in New York City, I don't know if

00:29:28   you've ever seen pictures of this, but if you live in New York City they deliver

00:29:31   them to you on a bicycle. There's just, I mean it is a big box to be carrying

00:29:34   around on your back on a bicycle, but you can get like same-day delivery in

00:29:38   in Manhattan, maybe elsewhere in New York, which is kind of amazing. They show up in your house

00:29:44   in these ridiculously small boxes. Big box, like probably the biggest box you'll get all year,

00:29:49   delivered to your house, but considering that it contains a mattress, it's remarkably small.

00:29:53   Simple instructions on the box. Bring it up to the room, the bedroom where you're going to put it.

00:29:57   Open the box the right way and it just sucks all the oxygen out of the room and next thing you know

00:30:02   you've got a full-size mattress. They have, and this is the whole key to buying a mattress without

00:30:07   trying it in a store or just taking the word from me, John Q.

00:30:12   Podcaster, that these are good mattresses.

00:30:14   And they are very good mattresses.

00:30:16   But they have a 100-night home trial.

00:30:17   So you buy it, open it up, sleep on it for three months.

00:30:22   And if you don't love it, you just go on the web, go back,

00:30:25   and with no questions asked, no hard sell,

00:30:27   they don't make you sit there and try to convince you to keep it.

00:30:31   They'll just say, OK.

00:30:32   And they'll come and pick it up, and you get your money back.

00:30:34   So you can't lose.

00:30:36   It is the easiest way to buy a mattress and you get a terrific mattress.

00:30:40   So go to Casper.com/thetalkshow and remember that code,

00:30:44   the talk show, and you will save 50 bucks on their already amazing prices.

00:30:48   So this is honestly not part of the pitch, but, uh, they,

00:30:55   uh, they started selling dog beds.

00:30:58   Is that true? I did not know that.

00:31:00   I hope they're not mad at you because I'm muddying the water or something,

00:31:03   But yeah, they started selling dog beds.

00:31:06   And that seems pretty cool to me.

00:31:07   Yeah.

00:31:08   Yeah.

00:31:09   Well, that's a good idea.

00:31:10   Similar kind of technology and a good cover so the dog doesn't just eat the whole thing.

00:31:15   [LAUGHTER]

00:31:17   But yeah, no, it's pretty cool.

00:31:19   Your dog's got to sleep somewhere.

00:31:21   Yeah.

00:31:22   May as well sleep on the best.

00:31:24   Yeah.

00:31:24   Anything else on the-- you don't want to go back to the emoji, do you?

00:31:30   I think we covered it.

00:31:32   Yeah.

00:31:32   Oh, the second point was that the inter-OS operability.

00:31:38   Yeah, we talked about that before, but we would talk about a smiley face.

00:31:43   Like the one with the teeth.

00:31:45   Yeah. Apple has a... it's like a grinning face that looks almost exactly like their grimacing face, except the eyes are different.

00:31:56   And on other platforms, the grinning face is clearly somebody who is happy,

00:32:01   whereas the apple one really looks like somebody who is grimacing for whatever reason.

00:32:06   Yeah, like if I pick it out, I pick it out because it looks like it's sucking your teeth.

00:32:10   Yeah, like the face you would make if you just

00:32:14   talked bad about somebody and you found out they're standing right behind you.

00:32:18   Yes, exactly. Yeah. But it's different platforms render them in different ways, so that sucks.

00:32:25   So yeah, the water pistol doesn't convey the same notion.

00:32:30   But it's fine. I think it'll all get sorted out.

00:32:36   The other thing is, man, poor Microsoft. Those guys.

00:32:41   They had the right idea. They had a ray gun.

00:32:43   And now they changed it to a pistol the day that Apple changed it to a water pistol.

00:32:48   I actually think, and the worst part about that, not only did they change it the wrong way, or at least just keep up with Apple.

00:32:54   To me, yeah. To our tastes.

00:32:57   Well, and not just to our tastes, but it is true that the iPhone is so singularly popular

00:33:05   that what Apple does, their user base is arguably the leading,

00:33:13   or at least in the Western world, is the leading users of emoji.

00:33:19   So it really does matter, disproportionately, what Apple does.

00:33:22   Yeah, I'd agree with that.

00:33:26   I mean, for as many tens of hundreds of millions of people

00:33:30   who are using Windows and sending emoji on them, there's more people using

00:33:34   iOS devices. And Android is splintered

00:33:38   because Samsung has their own set,

00:33:42   different Android makers have their own sets of emoji, they don't all just

00:33:46   use the default Google ones. So even though there might be more users

00:33:50   of Android in "Android" is so splintered that there's no single base the way that iOS does.

00:34:02   Right. And Android splintering is not helping.

00:34:10   Pick a metric. Pick some avenue that you want to talk about.

00:34:15   like almost always it's like oh yeah but Android is not one thing it's just right

00:34:20   it's that that's the best way to think about it though if you stop thinking

00:34:23   about it as though it is one thing it's it's you know it makes more sense I do

00:34:28   think I also think I personally I think Microsoft had a better idea yeah going

00:34:33   with a ray gun than the water gun because I think a water gun I think 90

00:34:38   some percent of cases it won't make much difference but a water gun is a little

00:34:41   bit more specific where you could combine it with like the splashing water drops.

00:34:48   Yeah. Right? And then that will make any sense at all with other platforms.

00:34:54   Whereas if you went with the Ray Gun, I don't really think there's any context

00:34:58   where you could use it with other emoji where it changes things that much.

00:35:02   Just sort of puts a more frivolous spin on the idea of a pistol. Yeah, I agree.

00:35:08   And I... you know what, I'm gonna say I do know, but I'm not sure if I know, because I'm pretty sure I saw it.

00:35:17   But the water pistol emoji used to be flipped the other way.

00:35:21   Yeah, and apparently...

00:35:22   Internally. Before they shipped it, it was like going the other way.

00:35:25   So... which would have really broken everything.

00:35:29   Yeah, because it would matter if you were saying you want to shoot...

00:35:34   Shoot to the left or shoot to the right.

00:35:36   Right, and you're putting an emoji that's what you want to shoot, you know.

00:35:40   Yeah.

00:35:41   And I kind of like the fact that they made it the other way,

00:35:46   just because it literally breaks any of that.

00:35:50   You're shooting at the wrong thing, and that's a very personal, political thing.

00:35:56   I think it is smarter that they probably flipped it back to the left at this point.

00:36:00   So it at least faces the same way as all the other pistols.

00:36:04   And I think Craig Hockenberry pointed this out, is that the Unicode spec specifically mentions that it should be pointing one way.

00:36:20   Yeah, I think it does. We could say this a bit. Craig knows more about emoji than we'll ever know, because the Icon Factory has done the emoji sets for a couple of companies.

00:36:33   Yeah, big companies. Companies that everybody knows.

00:36:38   So they've done a lot of, as you might expect from a company,

00:36:43   the entire name is based on drawing icons. They've drawn a lot of emoji.

00:36:48   And Craig, while he's not drawing the emoji, is obviously

00:36:53   the point person on making sure that all the hexadecimal code points

00:36:58   and etc. are. Yeah, well, he made his own internal awesome tool to make those fonts.

00:37:07   Of course he did. Because they're fonts, right? Like, it's still a font. So, yeah, so he made an awesome tool for it.

00:37:12   All right, moving on. What else can we talk about?

00:37:18   How about, did you read the Steven Levy piece for Backchannel with a profile of Apple's AI

00:37:26   and "machine learning" work?

00:37:29   I did a little bit, yeah. I read it.

00:37:32   I haven't read all of the subsequent follow-ups of

00:37:36   trying to frame it in different ways.

00:37:39   So the gist of it is that Stephen Levy,

00:37:43   I think it's Levy, I don't know if it's Levy, Stephen Levy. I know him, I should know.

00:37:47   I should know him.

00:37:50   Also, seems like a smart guy to me. He's been in the racket forever.

00:37:54   forever. So, right. Yeah. Has written some great, great books, including, uh, what was the name of the iPod book? The iPod book was amazing. Oh, yeah. It was like, perfect. Horrible names. But yeah. He's written books. He has written about cryptography. He is, you know, again, he's smart guys been around for, right. As long as I've been following this stuff, he's been a go to, like,

00:38:23   A name worth trusting.

00:38:25   The iPod book was called "The Perfect Thing."

00:38:27   Oh, cool. Man, that's a good name.

00:38:29   Yeah, really it was.

00:38:31   So he was somehow obtained, whether it was offered to him or whether it was him asking,

00:38:38   but it was probably a combination of the two through Apple PR,

00:38:41   was granted exclusive access to Apple's executive leadership on AI and machine learning in Siri,

00:38:49   Siri, which is Eddie Q and Greg Federighi, of course.

00:38:55   And then two other guys who--

00:38:58   one of them's name, I do remember, is Tom Gruber, which is, just for the record,

00:39:05   no relation.

00:39:07   And another guy whose name escapes me, but he's in charge of the voice stuff.

00:39:12   Bob English, I think.

00:39:15   Alex Sera.

00:39:16   Oh, I missed your joke because I'm looking for his name.

00:39:19   Yeah, it's too funny. Too funny for anybody to notice.

00:39:22   Alex Asiro. He's in charge of voice recognition.

00:39:28   I saw people complain that this was a quote-unquote--

00:39:30   a lot of people say it's a PR puff piece. I saw the words "PR puff piece"

00:39:35   at least, I don't know, 20 times in response to this. And of course

00:39:39   there's a certain truth to that in terms of

00:39:43   it's not like Steven Levy got free access for a year

00:39:48   to just be a fly on the wall and watch the team work.

00:39:52   He, you know, he got like one day of access to what Apple had planned as almost, you know,

00:40:00   like a presentation of here's what we will reveal to you and talk to you about.

00:40:04   And so of course, what Apple revealed and talked to about was meant to, you know, make Apple look good.

00:40:10   Right.

00:40:11   There's no other way around it.

00:40:12   But I mean, the alternative is that Steven Levy declines to do the story,

00:40:19   and I feel like the world is a worse place.

00:40:21   I'm not saying that this is inaccurate, that it's not a slanted look at it.

00:40:27   It's obviously what Apple was willing to reveal.

00:40:29   But there's a lot of interesting stuff in the article, I thought.

00:40:33   Yeah, I agree with you.

00:40:35   There's a difference between being a minion and reporting and letting everybody know the circumstances under which you got the information or you had the conversations.

00:40:49   Right.

00:40:49   You know what I mean?

00:40:50   I think there's a false equivalence between—

00:40:56   I'm very carefully trying to pick my words here—

00:41:02   between a press that is very politically aligned

00:41:07   and a press that gets some kind of access

00:41:13   and lets you know they had that kind of access

00:41:16   and then tells you what was said.

00:41:19   Right. The context of the access is right there in the story, and you can judge it, be a critical reader, and judge it for what you will.

00:41:27   Exactly. That's the baseline. Always be a critical leader.

00:41:30   But, I don't know. Especially with this current political cycle going on in the US.

00:41:39   Gauging the press is like, no, it's not always easy, but you shouldn't just throw everybody in one bucket and be like,

00:41:50   "Well, I don't believe anything that anybody says."

00:41:54   And he's very upfront and I think he makes it very clear exactly what the context was.

00:42:02   And that's what you need as an intelligent, critical reader to make your own decision.

00:42:10   Right. And it's not like if you read it—and I read it very thoroughly—but it's not like Steven Levy was trying to make the argument that Siri is perfect or even great or far ahead of the competition.

00:42:25   Apple might be making that argument, and he might quote them saying it, but he's not.

00:42:32   Again, Steven Levy has been around the block before.

00:42:34   I mean, he's very, very well-sourced at Google in particular.

00:42:41   Also, Steven Levy is the type of guy who writes stuff that really stands up over time.

00:42:49   The value of this article might be better 10, 15,

00:42:52   20 years from now than it is today in terms of looking at either where things went wrong for Apple or where, you know, the beginning of where things went right in their AI and, you know, it's written for the long term.

00:43:04   Yeah. And you write about it. He wrote In the Plex, like a book about, and if anybody is looking for a book to read on a hot summer day, In the Plex is definitely worth reading.

00:43:18   Right. That's his look inside Google.

00:43:20   He's looking at Google.

00:43:22   With extensive and long-term access that he was paying for.

00:43:24   Oh yeah.

00:43:25   Like it's, yeah.

00:43:27   Like years, years worth of reporting in that.

00:43:30   That's hard work.

00:43:31   And he did it.

00:43:32   So this interview or piece carries all the more weight

00:43:37   because he's familiar with both companies.

00:43:40   And I think among people who read our stuff, listen to our shows,

00:43:45   people who are listening to us talk right now, I feel like,

00:43:48   hey, is Siri good, bad, mixed bag, whatever, is probably one of the most contentious--

00:43:53   you know, I worry a lot.

00:43:54   I do, that me in particular and the type of people I have on the show,

00:44:00   that we're all just preaching to the choir,

00:44:02   and that we agree on so much of what's going on that--

00:44:06   what's the point?

00:44:09   I feel like that Siri and Apple's machine learning efforts and stuff

00:44:12   like that is a great point where there's--

00:44:14   I know that there are people listening right now who

00:44:16   I think Syria is a big pile of dog shit.

00:44:18   Yeah.

00:44:19   And those are, I think, some of the people who are most frustrated with this article

00:44:23   and think that it's a "PR puff piece" because how can this article keep going on and on

00:44:27   and not say that Syria is garbage?

00:44:29   Because they, for whatever reason, they think Syria is garbage.

00:44:32   Which I disagree with.

00:44:34   Well, there's two things here.

00:44:39   I don't think you can just unequivocally say that.

00:44:42   That's a value judgment, right? It's up to everybody else.

00:44:46   Which, man, that sounds like wishy-washy.

00:44:50   Because, yeah, it could be garbage. But it's not.

00:44:54   It's in the field. It works. I think people use it all the time.

00:44:58   It's in everything from the watch to now the Mac.

00:45:02   Soon the Mac, it's in beta. The Apple TV.

00:45:06   All the iOS stuff. Working pretty well.

00:45:10   Now, does it answer everything perfectly? No.

00:45:13   But I think it's more audacious.

00:45:17   The aspirational goal is higher than I think something like the Amazon Echo is,

00:45:24   which is what it often gets compared to.

00:45:27   Or, you know what I don't hear a lot about now?

00:45:30   It's Google Now.

00:45:32   I just read a story that Google made a change somehow recently,

00:45:36   recently and made something that they change in Google Now has a lot of people upset.

00:45:41   I don't hear as much about that and I don't know why that is. I don't know if it's because I don't

00:45:46   read enough Android stuff or... Maybe. We should talk to Vinay.

00:45:51   Well, here's what I think. This goes unsaid

00:45:56   in this article, but I do feel that the disadvantage that Google has with Now,

00:46:01   And this might change coming up later this year because they pre-announced their echo-like

00:46:06   device, the little home speaker system.

00:46:09   But this whole AI bot assistant type thing, it makes intuitive sense.

00:46:18   This is not a very profound observation, but as we go on and we live with these things,

00:46:24   it's shown to be more and more true.

00:46:26   It can't be part of an app.

00:46:27   It has to be part of the system on the device.

00:46:30   Yeah.

00:46:31   You have to be able to say, "Hey, dingus," to your thing.

00:46:35   It's like going to open the Google app on your iPhone first and then speaking into it.

00:46:42   What's the point?

00:46:43   The whole point of the voice-driven interface is that you don't have to fish an app out.

00:46:46   Yeah, I'm coming to think that maybe apps are...

00:46:53   Not a dead end, but it's like...

00:46:56   It's not a path for this sort of voice.

00:46:58   It's certainly not a path for this kind of thing.

00:47:02   And we've had it for, what, 30 years now?

00:47:06   Well, we've envisioned it since 1968 with HAL.

00:47:10   Yeah. Oh, sorry, I just mean apps.

00:47:14   Oh, apps. I'm like, maybe apps are like, maybe that shouldn't be the focus.

00:47:18   And not necessarily do the OpenDoc thing.

00:47:22   But we are totally right with HAL.

00:47:26   Hal doesn't run apps? You don't ask Hal to, like, "Hal, launch the Podbador app."

00:47:32   Right. Or launch the Hal app and then talk to Hal. No, he's just there.

00:47:37   Right. That stupid Podbador app should have been updated, though.

00:47:44   Before they went off to Jupiter, they really should have updated that sucker.

00:47:48   I'll just read an example. Here's a tweet in my Twitter replies to me. I won't call the guy out because I think he's not asking to be called out. It's not rude.

00:48:00   But there's a guy who sent me a tweet. What's Gruber? What's with Apple doing a press victory lap, I think he meant, about how great they think Syria is?

00:48:09   It's laughably poor compared to anything else.

00:48:12   I really disagree with that.

00:48:15   I think there are clearly areas where, you know, I think what's interesting

00:48:19   about this is that the big players in this are all better.

00:48:22   They have different strengths and weaknesses.

00:48:26   Yeah.

00:48:26   Oh, yeah.

00:48:27   Yeah.

00:48:27   Which makes it cool, right?

00:48:29   Right.

00:48:30   I keep going back to a couple of examples.

00:48:34   I have an Amazon Echo, you know, here in the kitchen, and I barely use it.

00:48:39   But I think I'd use it more if we had more of the home automation stuff that you can hook up to it, like turning the lights on and stuff.

00:48:45   Did you buy that? Or did you store it somehow?

00:48:47   No, I bought it.

00:48:49   Sorry, that's a weird question, but I'm trying to gauge your engagement with it, I guess.

00:48:55   Yeah, but for example, if you ask the Echo and Alexa anything about the weather, all you get is the exact same canned weather report for where you are.

00:49:06   are. So if you say, "What's the weather?" you get a weather report with

00:49:13   like the expected highs and lows and whether it's gonna rain. And if you say,

00:49:16   "What is the current temperature?" instead of giving you the temperature, you get

00:49:20   the exact same weather report. You just can't let temperature go, man.

00:49:24   I know. You can't let it go. It's in Celsius or Fahrenheit? It's in Fahrenheit.

00:49:28   Oh well, so at least it's on the good side. Although I wonder what would

00:49:32   happen if if I just said to you know hey dingus please please give me the

00:49:41   temperature in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit from now on I wonder if that

00:49:44   would work I'll have to try that but if you ask for the humidity you get the

00:49:50   weather report and it the the weather report doesn't even include the

00:49:52   humidity yeah so it understands that you asking about the humidity is you asking

00:49:57   about the weather but the answer is just the same exact word-for-word canned

00:50:01   weather report. If you ask Siri those questions, you get the actual answer. If you ask for the

00:50:07   temperature, you just get the temperature. If you ask for the weather, you get a full weather

00:50:10   report. And I even tried asking for the humidity, and Siri can tell you the current humidity.

00:50:15   So there's an area where I could say unambiguously, Siri is better than Alexa.

00:50:21   And on sports is another example where Alexa can tell you some basic stuff about sports,

00:50:26   I think like scores and stuff like that. But Siri can tell you things like the Vegas betting odds

00:50:31   and who's favored in a game.

00:50:34   I mean, is that a big difference?

00:50:37   I mean, for me it is, because I'm a gambling junkie.

00:50:39   Yeah, no, I think it is.

00:50:40   I mean, because I'm a gambling junkie.

00:50:46   What's your tweet?

00:50:47   I don't drink, I don't gamble.

00:50:50   My only vice is buying a new iPhone every year,

00:50:54   and that and lying about drinking and gambling.

00:50:59   That's still the funniest one.

00:51:01   It's a pretty clever little logical one.

00:51:03   Yeah, I was like, "Oh, man, I was cracking up on the red dead."

00:51:07   Yeah, I know. I think

00:51:11   Siri seems to have

00:51:15   a broader area that it aspires to cover.

00:51:19   And perhaps in some

00:51:23   place it doesn't cover it as well as what the more

00:51:27   focused things do, which is interesting because Apple typically narrows things down to the solvable problems.

00:51:41   Right. But in the case of Siri, it seems like they've gone deep.

00:51:46   Like, it's interesting because they also bought the company that made Siri.

00:51:53   So there could be a cultural divide a little bit there, which I don't know, but it's possible because

00:52:02   you would think that Apple would be shipping something like the Echo, which does way less.

00:52:09   But when you ask it to do something, does it?

00:52:11   Right.

00:52:12   And instead they've got this thing that when you ask it to do something, it will make a best effort to answer

00:52:21   any spoken question and give you a good answer.

00:52:30   Can you wrap your head around how hard that is?

00:52:33   I couldn't do that.

00:52:34   Well, I mean, I think--

00:52:35   It's me like five of the things that Siri could help you with,

00:52:38   and be like, I have no idea.

00:52:39   I think all of us who've ever programmed,

00:52:42   or at least if you started programming as a kid,

00:52:45   have written, tried to write like a choose your own adventure type

00:52:50   thing, you know, at least in the days when starting a program, meant you were around like a little command line,

00:52:55   and you'd just build up a list of "if/then" statements for what the input was.

00:53:01   Right, and that just doesn't work. Like, you'd have to have an exact match for every single input.

00:53:07   You can do that, it's tedious, but that's not how Siri works.

00:53:10   No.

00:53:12   Well, and they're very, very ambitious about it.

00:53:15   I mean, and they even have examples of things that work, where in this story, the Steven Levy story,

00:53:19   Eddy Cue shows that with integrating with Square Cash,

00:53:23   where he says, use Square Cash to send Jane $20.

00:53:27   And Siri interprets it and opens Square, the Square Cash app,

00:53:31   to send his wife $20.

00:53:34   And he says it differently.

00:53:35   He says, shoot $20 to my wife.

00:53:38   He can call her Jane.

00:53:39   He can call her his wife.

00:53:41   He can say, send $20.

00:53:42   He can say, shoot $20.

00:53:44   I mean, shoot $20 is actually, linguistically,

00:53:47   pretty advanced if it you know if that yeah you know yeah i would never say that but i could see

00:53:51   somebody like i would understand it if somebody told me that i'd be like okay i get it like send

00:53:57   them some money i don't even know how many of those things work like i even me as a being

00:54:03   generally on the you know i'm on the positive end of the spectrum of where i think siri is i

00:54:07   and i know that a lot of people aren't but i am i'm a fan and i think they're doing well even i

00:54:11   might be underestimating like i wonder if you can like tell siri like to get my wife on the horn

00:54:16   horn. Like would it know that you want to make a function?

00:54:21   Yeah, that's like Trappi John in MASH.

00:54:25   I would never think to try that with a computer.

00:54:28   Oh, well, no. My dad says that all the time. My dad probably says get somebody on the horn more

00:54:33   than he even says I talk to him on the phone. I love that expression. I really love that

00:54:38   expression. That's old school. You would like my dad. I'm sure, yeah.

00:54:43   should come to a family gathering.

00:54:46   Exactly.

00:54:47   Yeah, that is awesome.

00:54:49   Especially because it evokes the old school headsets, right?

00:54:54   Where you have to pick it up and there's no buttons on it.

00:54:57   It's just a horn that you kind of stick to your head.

00:55:00   Alright, here's the big question I have.

00:55:02   Why does this article exist?

00:55:04   Why did Apple agree to give Levy access to write this article?

00:55:09   I don't know, they seem to have been on a PR blitz recently.

00:55:13   Yeah, definitely. I mean, it's definitely, you know,

00:55:17   big picture answer is this is part of the new, more open Tim Cook's apple.

00:55:21   This is part of the apple where Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller

00:55:25   go on this show, and Craig Federighi goes

00:55:29   deep on stage in front of a live audience on the differential privacy,

00:55:33   which is a big part of the same story. Oh yeah, no, no, yeah.

00:55:37   The differential privacy is a huge part of this AI learning thing.

00:55:43   I don't know.

00:55:44   But old Apple not only wouldn't show up on Joe Random podcast and talk about it in front of a live audience,

00:55:51   they wouldn't talk about differential privacy period.

00:55:53   Well, at this point you're not Joe Random podcast.

00:55:56   I know, I know. But they wouldn't have gone on my podcast six, seven, eight years ago and talked about this.

00:56:02   And they wouldn't have talked in detail about how it worked.

00:56:05   you know, that they didn't talk about how anything worked, really.

00:56:10   Right.

00:56:10   Right? That would have just been part of the black box.

00:56:13   Yes. No, they would never talk about that. That shocked me, actually.

00:56:17   Like, you're not in a bad way. I was happy for you.

00:56:21   But like, the access that you got was like, "Ooh, that's pretty surprising."

00:56:25   It's definitely, but maybe it shouldn't be.

00:56:28   And I think that the fact that they're talking to Steven Levy shouldn't be surprising.

00:56:32   I think that one of the aspects of Tim Cook's Apple, the new Open

00:56:39   Apple, that is different from Steve Jobs' old Apple,

00:56:44   isn't just that they're open for the sake of openness.

00:56:47   I think it is very specific, and I

00:56:52   think it is that they wish to be better understood as a company.

00:56:57   And when they perceive that they are being misunderstood

00:57:02   or that the conventional wisdom about X within Apple is wrong,

00:57:08   they want to do what they can to correct that.

00:57:13   Whereas I feel like with Jobs, it was like if-- I really do--

00:57:16   I mean, this is a little flippant.

00:57:18   But I really think that with-- under Steve Jobs,

00:57:20   it was like, well, everybody thinks we're blank,

00:57:23   but we're not.

00:57:24   And I think Jobs' attitude was, well, screw them.

00:57:27   I don't care.

00:57:27   Who gives a crap if they understand us or not?

00:57:30   Or maybe it's even better if we're misunderstood because, you know...

00:57:34   Nobody's going to see us coming.

00:57:35   Everybody wants to treat us like the dummy.

00:57:38   Well, we'll just take the lunch.

00:57:40   We'll show them.

00:57:42   Whereas I feel like Tim Cook's Apple is frustrated by being misunderstood

00:57:47   and seeks to correct it.

00:57:49   And in this case, I believe that they are frustrated with the conventional wisdom

00:57:57   that Apple doesn't get AI, may not even care about it,

00:58:01   and that they are--

00:58:04   while the rest of the industry, led by Facebook and Google

00:58:09   and perhaps Microsoft, are racing ahead on this stuff,

00:58:13   Apple is going to be left behind with pieces of glass

00:58:16   that you touch, whereas everybody else is

00:58:19   moving towards these AI bots.

00:58:20   And I think Apple is saying, no, we are deadly serious.

00:58:23   We are different.

00:58:24   We are different in two big regards.

00:58:27   which I'll get to, but we are deadly serious about this, and we think we're doing pretty well.

00:58:31   Yeah, I agree with that.

00:58:34   I feel like they want to color that. So here's a paragraph from this story. I don't want to

00:58:39   cut you off, but one of the differences between Apple and other companies—here's a read from

00:58:44   Levy. Though Federighi doesn't say that this approach might be a necessity, Apple's penchant

00:58:48   for secrecy puts it at a disadvantage against competitors who encourage their star computer

00:58:52   scientists to widely share research with the world.

00:58:56   Quote, "Our practices tend to--" this is Federighi talking.

00:58:59   "Our practices tend to reinforce a natural selection bias.

00:59:03   Those who are interested in working as a team

00:59:05   to deliver a great product versus those

00:59:08   whose primary motivation is publishing."

00:59:11   So back to Steven Levy.

00:59:12   "If while improving an Apple product,

00:59:16   scientists happen to make breakthroughs in the field,

00:59:18   that's great," says Eddy Q. "But we

00:59:22   driven by a vision of the end result. And I think that what they're getting at

00:59:27   here is that the researchers in the larger community who are largely

00:59:32   focused on publishing see Apple as out of it because nobody from Apple

00:59:37   is publishing. Yeah, I think the security area had this at one point. Yes, yes

00:59:47   Yes, definitely. That Apple was outside the mainstream in the security industry.

00:59:54   Because they weren't participating in it.

00:59:56   Right. And they didn't answer. You'd send in...

01:00:00   They were even dinged for not giving credit to people for when they'd fixed the bugs.

01:00:07   Yeah. Which probably they should have, and they do now.

01:00:13   And that's another example that's changed.

01:00:14   The head, Apple's head, chief engineer for security.

01:00:17   Yeah, he's had Black Hat recently.

01:00:19   Right, and gave a very well-regarded talk.

01:00:22   It's been a couple of years since Apple had spoken at Black Hat,

01:00:25   and the last time they did, it was sort of panned

01:00:28   because it was deemed insufficiently detailed,

01:00:32   that it was just sort of painting in broad strokes.

01:00:34   Whereas this talk that the guy gave last month at Black Hat

01:00:39   was very detailed about some things,

01:00:40   and that's where they introduced the new bug bounty program.

01:00:43   Mm-hmm.

01:00:44   We talked about unencrypted kernel caches.

01:00:48   Whatever topic was on the table for Apple security,

01:00:53   he was on it.

01:00:55   He explained it great.

01:00:57   These people are brilliant.

01:00:59   They're not dummies.

01:01:01   With the proviso that I really do think that serious academic research is best,

01:01:09   shared so that it can be checked.

01:01:14   Right.

01:01:15   Because that's how science works.

01:01:18   I kind of agree with the fact that, like, say, well, we're going to build something

01:01:25   and then we're going to ship it and then you can judge it by its merits.

01:01:28   I appreciate that approach because all of the mistakes and stuff along the way may be interesting,

01:01:35   but it's what you actually get to. It's the goal, and it's the thing that everybody should be thinking about, rather than all the mistakes.

01:01:48   Levy's article even mentions that Apple is making an exception to it.

01:01:52   We don't really publish papers about the work we do, we just use it to make great products.

01:01:57   They're making an exception on differential privacy, which they consider to be such a breakthrough

01:02:02   and such a big part of what they're doing, that they are having their researchers behind it publish what they're doing,

01:02:09   because they want everybody else to get on board with it as well.

01:02:12   Yeah, it's not just that. It's the compression thing that they did last year.

01:02:16   They've got so much open source stuff going on, like WebKit's open source.

01:02:21   Chrome, the OS, did they call it Chrome? What do they call it?

01:02:26   There is Chrome OS.

01:02:28   Yeah, Chrome OS, Chrome browser, it's all WebKit. It's being hacked a lot.

01:02:33   But I mean, that's Apple's stuff. Since '97, Apple has been releasing huge chunks of open source software.

01:02:42   Well, Chrome is a perfect example of why some people would argue against open sourcing stuff.

01:02:53   stuff because it's, you know, it is it the, you know, quote-unquote worst-case

01:02:59   scenario where here's this thing that Apple did, WebKit, and put all this work

01:03:03   into and Google used to be an active participant in submitting patches to

01:03:09   WebKit and at a certain point Google and Apple had enough differences on the

01:03:13   future of WebKit where Google said we're gonna fork this and what do they call

01:03:17   the new one, Blink is there. But Blink was, you know, when it Blink started was

01:03:22   just a copy and paste of WebKit, and then they went their different ways.

01:03:28   Yeah, well, the process models wanted to be different.

01:03:32   But a thing that was an Apple-led project, WebKit,

01:03:37   now serves as the foundation for an entire competing operating system.

01:03:42   And it really does compete against Apple, like in education, where I think

01:03:47   Chromebooks are probably the dominant device in education.

01:03:51   Which is the argument that somebody would make against participating,

01:03:55   a corporation participating in open source, is that, "Hey, our competitors

01:03:59   can take our work and use it against us."

01:04:03   I think Melton has heard both sides of that.

01:04:07   So Don Melton, a mutual friend, he's been on my show a couple of times.

01:04:11   He started WebKit.

01:04:15   And he's told me that it can go either way.

01:04:18   Like one month, they're like, what the fuck, man?

01:04:23   Why?

01:04:24   These people are just taking our work.

01:04:26   And then like another month, it's like, oh, that's brilliant.

01:04:29   Good choice.

01:04:30   So I really don't know.

01:04:32   It's probably somewhere in the middle.

01:04:34   But I mean,

01:04:35   Avi Tvenian wrote the Mock Colonel.

01:04:43   And he came over with Next and Apple has been open sourcing a lot of their OS stuff for years.

01:04:50   Like at this point, 20 years.

01:04:54   And I think it's kind of the right thing to do.

01:05:00   I think they're making the right choice.

01:05:02   It's weird because there was a new Apple kind of thing that came in with, you know, like when Next came in,

01:05:11   that had a fair amount of academic or academia feeling to it, at least.

01:05:17   Certainly they were selling into the academic market.

01:05:20   I mean, they shipped the collective works with Shakespeare, for crying out loud.

01:05:27   Like, nobody wants that on their home computer, unless you're in academia.

01:05:37   But I think that has kind of permeated the culture to a certain extent.

01:05:42   But what they don't do is share user-facing work.

01:05:48   Like the Windows Server app kit, UI kit,

01:05:54   none of that is open to the public. And that's because that's where their value is.

01:05:59   And they are right to protect it.

01:06:03   And so with Siri, I think that they're putting that in the same bucket.

01:06:08   That's where they interface with the user.

01:06:13   What's Apple good at? What's their value interfacing with the user?

01:06:17   Why are they going to write up all the papers about exactly how they do it?

01:06:22   So one of the things that the Levy article mentions, and there's even a quote from somebody,

01:06:27   is that the people leading minds in the AI community are like, "Well, who among the top five

01:06:32   know, who among the top five brains in AI does Apple have on their staff? And it's,

01:06:37   you know, show me, and there's a lot of skepticism. One of the—to me, one of

01:06:42   the interesting things was that Federighi said that a lot of their people who are

01:06:48   doing this machine learning don't really come from the AI background. Here's the

01:06:51   quote, "We hire people who are very smart in fundamental domains of mathematics,

01:06:54   statistics, programming languages, cryptography. It turns out a lot of these

01:06:58   kinds of core talents translate beautifully to machine learning." So it's

01:07:01   people that--

01:07:03   and if you're smart and you're a good programmer,

01:07:06   you can do all sorts of things.

01:07:10   I know a guy who used to do a lot of graphics programming

01:07:14   for games.

01:07:15   Oh, yeah?

01:07:16   Yeah, and then he does other things as well.

01:07:19   Seems like a good idea.

01:07:21   But I think you would agree with me firsthand

01:07:25   that you can enter a new field in programming

01:07:29   and be good at it, get up to speed,

01:07:31   just because a lot of this stuff doesn't have to be its own domain.

01:07:36   Yes, I agree.

01:07:41   I actually really do agree with you, but I'm going to do the devil's advocate thing.

01:07:45   I think the idea is that the back end knowledge and the way to structure and machine learning from a system,

01:07:58   accepting input from billions of sources and then learning from that is not knowledge that is internal to Apple at this point.

01:08:10   And I think that's the argument. I don't know if it's true. And I do know that this differential privacy thing is probably going to make it harder.

01:08:20   And I like that it's going to make it harder because they're prioritizing privacy.

01:08:28   Yeah. I think that secondarily, I think that is one of the reasons Apple participated in this article.

01:08:37   Is that they want to push back hard on the notion that the one way to do this machine learning style features

01:08:47   that are exposed to end users is by collecting tons of data and doing it all server-side.

01:08:55   This is one way that Apple is clearly going against the way that Facebook and Google work.

01:09:02   But of course that's the way Facebook and Google work is because they are fundamentally server-side companies.

01:09:09   And Apple is fundamentally a device company.

01:09:12   But Apple is effectively doing a lot of this stuff in parallel by having each and every individual device do the work.

01:09:20   And it's explicit in the article with Levy where a lot of this data is staying on the device,

01:09:27   and therefore all of the AI-style analysis of it is doing it on the device.

01:09:34   So like the face detection in the photos happens on the device.

01:09:37   Yeah, I mean, I think the obvious assumption is that if you had a personal assistant that could do everything that Siri or like the ultimate version of Siri, like the best personal assistant you could ever have, obviously they're going to know everything about you.

01:09:56   because they need to in order to do their job.

01:10:00   And that's true for a person, but I don't know if that needs to be true for

01:10:07   a system or like an artificial intelligence.

01:10:11   It seems like the way to go, just because we can rationalize about

01:10:17   that. It's like, "Okay, well if I tell this person

01:10:19   every little detail, they can try to help me.

01:10:24   But I don't know if that's the only way.

01:10:29   Honestly, there's probably some hardcore mathematical proof that you could work out this, right?

01:10:37   You could throw information at a thing that is obscured in some way,

01:10:45   and it could come back with answers that are incredibly accurate, but they still can't reason about you as a whole.

01:10:53   Which is where I think Apple is trying to go.

01:10:56   Yeah. And skating to where the puck is going.

01:11:00   I mean, it's not like Apple is going to stick with the A9 system on a chip and that there's not going to be an A10, an A11, A12, and that these chips aren't going to keep getting faster and faster and faster.

01:11:12   I mean, five, six years from now, we're going to have iPhones that make the current iPhones

01:11:16   look like a joke in terms of the computational power.

01:11:20   And it's just one of those things that the phone is going to have, you know, it's going

01:11:24   to be easier and easier, I think, to do advanced computational work.

01:11:28   Unless you needed a headphone jack.

01:11:32   Anyway, I don't think I have anything else on this Steven Levy article, but I don't think

01:11:39   it should be dismissed.

01:11:40   Yes, read it with an open mind and understand that this is exactly what Apple presented to

01:11:46   Steven Levy, but I think there's a lot of interesting stuff to grok from that.

01:11:50   Yes, I totally agree with you.

01:11:52   All right, let me take a break and thank our next sponsor. It's our good friends,

01:11:55   old time, long-time sponsors of the show. Warby Parker. Warby Parker makes buying glasses online

01:12:00   easy and risk-free. Go to warbyparker.com/thetalkshow and order your free home try-ons

01:12:07   today. Warby Parker offers contemporary eyeglasses that are extremely affordable

01:12:11   and fashion-forward. They believe glasses should not cost as much as an iPhone.

01:12:16   They offer prescription eyeglasses. Prescription eyeglasses are just 95 bucks,

01:12:21   and that includes the prescription lenses. They don't upsell you on the

01:12:25   coatings and stuff like that, the anti-glare and the anti-scratch. You just

01:12:28   get them. You get anything you want. There's no upsell. Last time I bought

01:12:31   glasses in a glasses store, it's like you end up spending twice the money from the

01:12:35   starting point just to get the coatings that you want on the glasses. They also

01:12:39   have a titanium collection that starts at just $145 including lenses with

01:12:44   premium Japanese titanium and French non-rocking screws. They even sweat the

01:12:50   detail down to what type of screws they use. All Warby Parker glasses include the

01:12:54   anti-reflective and anti-glare coatings. They also include excellent cases. I

01:12:58   really vouch for the case, it's great. A cleaning cloth, no extra charge.

01:13:04   So whether your eyesight is pretty good or absolutely abysmal, Orby Parker has you covered.

01:13:08   You can get eyeglasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, whatever kind of glasses you need.

01:13:13   You just go there, you pick like five of the ones that you that you're interested in out,

01:13:17   give them your address. And like in two days, there's a box at your door and you try them on

01:13:23   at home. Now they don't have your lenses in yet. They're just you know, like dummy lenses. You have

01:13:28   five pairs, you can try them on look in the mirror. You know, get the people in your family to tell

01:13:33   which ones look good. Pick the one you like, order it. They'll get it to you within 10

01:13:39   business days, usually even faster. And then they have free return label. You just put

01:13:43   the samples back in the box, put the return label on and boom, I'll back off to Warby

01:13:47   Parker it goes. So it's easy to buy them easy to shop, no pressure and couldn't be easier.

01:13:54   So go to warbyparker.com/thetalkshow. I'm reading this, these notes while I'm wearing

01:14:01   a pair of Warby Parker eyeglasses as we speak. Very good stuff.

01:14:05   You know what? I need glasses, man. I have glasses, but they look me,

01:14:10   they make me look like a serial killer from like the 1980s. They're horrible.

01:14:14   You've been saying this to me for years, though. We'll be out.

01:14:17   I know, I know, I know. But I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it.

01:14:20   And I feel like I'm pimping your ads a little bit too much.

01:14:24   But like Warby Parker is making me be like, oh yeah,

01:14:27   I should just actually go on that website and get some glasses.

01:14:30   You know, I would say this about the Warby Parker thing, about them having to load these $95 starting point,

01:14:35   is that you can buy without feeling, you know, if you go to like a regular eyeglass store and they're

01:14:40   like five or six hundred dollars, you feel like, okay, I'm going to buy a pair of eyeglasses and

01:14:43   then these are my glasses for the next few years. With Warby Parker, it is so much easier to buy

01:14:47   like two or three pairs and not feel like you're a profligate. And you can either buy two or three

01:14:53   pairs and have them so that they are different and you can have like, you know, minimal glasses and

01:14:59   thick black glasses, whatever, different looks.

01:15:02   Or just to have them laying around so that if they're more like reading glasses,

01:15:07   you can keep a pair in the office and keep a pair downstairs.

01:15:10   And it's so much better at that price.

01:15:13   But it used to be like when I was growing up and I first got glasses,

01:15:15   it was like I got one pair of glasses and that was it.

01:15:17   And don't break it.

01:15:18   That was it.

01:15:19   Yeah, me too.

01:15:20   I looked like a serial killer.

01:15:22   And I picked them myself.

01:15:24   And I thought they were like silver and they kind of--

01:15:27   they're East St. Laurent, but they kind of like lean in a little bit.

01:15:30   Like, I look crazy.

01:15:31   I look like I'm going to murder you.

01:15:33   More than usual.

01:15:35   And I just, I got to let it go.

01:15:38   But yeah, so I bought these one pair of glasses and I can do my job fine.

01:15:42   But I mean, distance is like, I can barely read my TV at this point.

01:15:47   Like I don't.

01:15:48   Like I guess what shows are on, like I guess what the names of shows or episodes

01:15:52   are based on what's most likely, which is probably not the way most people actually read the world.

01:16:02   I'm like, "Eh, this is probably the most likely."

01:16:06   You should probably get your eyes checked.

01:16:08   Yeah, a little bit.

01:16:09   So Tim Cook has been CEO now for five years, as of two days ago.

01:16:14   He has been the CEO of Apple for five years.

01:16:16   So there's a couple of people commemorating that with, "What are the five years of Tim Cook like?"

01:16:21   I think that that was the basis. There was a really long interview with Tim Cook in the Washington Post.

01:16:27   I think the date was the 13th, so that was about two weeks ago, actually.

01:16:31   I'm not quite sure that that was timed to be with the five-year thing, but it might as well be.

01:16:38   I will put a link to that interview.

01:16:40   Yeah, I think so. I like that interview. It was really good.

01:16:42   Yeah, it's so long, and I was actually on a brief vacation with my folks at the time.

01:16:49   So I actually didn't finish reading it until today, actually,

01:16:53   which is why I haven't linked to it on Daring Fireball.

01:16:55   Yeah.

01:16:56   You should.

01:16:57   It's worth thinking.

01:16:57   I know.

01:16:58   But now I'm two weeks late.

01:16:59   Yeah, it's OK.

01:17:00   You're always late.

01:17:01   Yeah, it's typical for me.

01:17:03   It was very interesting.

01:17:05   And a lot of it is stuff that I already knew about Tim Cook.

01:17:09   But some of it was insightful.

01:17:10   And one of the questions they asked that I've seen people ask about,

01:17:14   but nobody asked him, was whether or not

01:17:18   he thinks that growing up gay in the US South in Alabama, did that fuel his focus on privacy?

01:17:30   Right.

01:17:31   You know, and that he was...

01:17:32   What a great question.

01:17:34   It is a great question. It was very well worded.

01:17:36   And in short, I don't want to... you know, you should read his article.

01:17:38   I don't want to read the whole thing, but in short, he says no.

01:17:42   That it's two separate things.

01:17:43   that obviously his upbringing was, you know, everybody's upbringing informs who they are as an adult,

01:17:49   but in this particular case on the issue of privacy, he believes that it is fundamental to the United States,

01:17:58   and that it's as much a part of the founding of this country as freedom of speech and freedom of religion,

01:18:04   that you have a right to privacy, and that he believes that so strongly that it has, you know...

01:18:08   But who knows? Maybe he's, you know...

01:18:11   I don't know.

01:18:13   But I would agree with that 100%.

01:18:16   Yeah.

01:18:16   And just to get, oh man, I hate that I'm going to do this, but just to get back to

01:18:21   the gun rights thing is like, first you should be concerned about privacy.

01:18:25   Then you won't need a gun to protect yourself from whatever the hell you think

01:18:30   you're going to protect yourself from.

01:18:32   But yeah, no, I totally agree with them.

01:18:37   And for a long time, I did.

01:18:40   I had my own narrative.

01:18:42   I'm like, well, he's like a gay guy growing up in the South.

01:18:45   That's got to suck.

01:18:47   I've given his age and all that.

01:18:49   Things are different now.

01:18:51   I hope.

01:18:53   Well, they're certainly better.

01:18:55   I don't think anybody would deny.

01:18:58   Whether it still is problematic or not, I would guess that being--

01:19:02   Probably really problematic.

01:19:03   And hopefully the worst that's happening

01:19:06   is arguing about who's going to make your wedding cake, when it used to be like, "Oh, you just may get murdered."

01:19:14   Right.

01:19:15   So, hopefully. But, you know, just kind of change takes some kind of time.

01:19:22   So, yeah, that would have been what I would have thought.

01:19:27   But I like this answer a lot. It's just like, "No, this is a fundamental freedom."

01:19:34   It's hard to not get behind that.

01:19:39   Right.

01:19:40   He's a very careful speaker, as he needs to be.

01:19:46   And they even address that.

01:19:48   One of the things he's surprised by is he thought he would operate a little under the radar

01:19:54   because he thought that the attention Steve Jobs got was because he was Steve Jobs.

01:19:58   I love that quote.

01:19:59   And that it didn't come with the job, but that he was wrong.

01:20:02   that being the CEO of Apple brings an intense scrutiny to everything you say and do,

01:20:07   that he didn't quite anticipate, because he really thought it was Steve and not the chair, as he calls it.

01:20:13   Yeah. I think he's partially right.

01:20:16   Like, a lot of it was just because of Jobs.

01:20:18   Like, if Jobs had quit Apple and went somewhere else, which I can't even imagine happening,

01:20:23   but if he had, people would still be following Jobs.

01:20:27   Right.

01:20:29   At this point, yeah.

01:20:30   At this point, Apple is huge.

01:20:32   Right.

01:20:33   Yeah.

01:20:34   The hot seat is not just Steve anymore.

01:20:41   You won.

01:20:42   It worked.

01:20:43   Now you're going to have weird pieces written about you that you don't...

01:20:51   You are unsure of their sourcing, or you say something and somebody's going to take it

01:20:55   the wrong way.

01:20:57   I really don't envy that kind of scrutiny.

01:21:01   It is weird, though.

01:21:02   I mean, I don't write the five-year commemorative piece.

01:21:08   I tend not to do those sort of anniversary-type things.

01:21:12   But it is still fun to think about.

01:21:15   And it is weird to me to think that he's been CEO for five years.

01:21:18   Now, just as a point of reference, the thing that made me go, "Whoa," is I've been writing

01:21:24   during Fireball since 2002, actually August 2002, so exactly 14 years.

01:21:32   So over a third of the time I've been doing during Fireball has been, Apple has been under

01:21:37   Tim Cook.

01:21:38   That's kind of crazy to me.

01:21:40   That is crazy.

01:21:41   In my gut, it doesn't feel that way.

01:21:43   It doesn't feel like, it still feels like the Tim Cook era is new and that I've spent

01:21:47   most, you know, and that's true, I've still spent two-thirds of the time, but, you know,

01:21:52   it another five years and it'll be half the time I've been doing this, Tim Cook's been

01:21:56   in charge.

01:21:57   Yeah, yeah.

01:21:58   I feel the same way about, well, first of all, when Tim Cook was there for five years,

01:22:03   I realized that like, I've known you way too long and I should spend some time finding

01:22:09   better friends.

01:22:11   Because like we'd been friends for a long time when Tim Cook took over.

01:22:17   It's just, I feel like I'm wasting my life here.

01:22:20   The other thing is, his tenure was so questioned at first.

01:22:34   But I mean, if you look at, was it Horace that posted the charts recently?

01:22:40   Oh, I'm sure he's posted some charts recently.

01:22:42   Horace Dejue has always posted some charts recently.

01:22:46   Jared. But no, Tim Cook's been killing it for the first five years of that, his tenure as CEO of Apple.

01:22:58   And I don't think he's doing it in the same way that Bonner did, because Bonner also had great results.

01:23:08   Yes.

01:23:11   But it was more like doubling down on what already existed and in a way kind of riding out the wave of success of Microsoft for a while.

01:23:20   Yeah.

01:23:21   Who I honestly these days, I just do better guys.

01:23:26   It might have been.

01:23:28   I'm actually like a Microsoft cheerleader at this point.

01:23:32   Like, I want them to do well.

01:23:33   I really do.

01:23:34   Yeah.

01:23:35   I think that the biggest mistake under Balmer, I mean, again, we could probably do a whole show about that.

01:23:39   But the biggest mistake was missing out on mobile.

01:23:44   And again, I've said this many times where--

01:23:47   And he laughed about it, which I think is unfair,

01:23:49   like that thing where he's laughing off the iPhone.

01:23:51   Right.

01:23:53   But I--

01:23:53   OK, that's what he's doing in an interview,

01:23:55   and he's a boisterous, over-the-top kind of guy.

01:23:57   I kind of get the feeling, though,

01:23:59   that in that video where he laughs about the iPhone,

01:24:02   that it doesn't have a keyboard, and it's $600,

01:24:05   and how are you ever going to do work without a keyboard?

01:24:08   and he laughs. I know it is his personality, and of course he's not going to say very good things

01:24:13   about it. But I do feel though that the way he, his attitude in that video, to me, indicates that

01:24:22   he didn't, even privately, didn't get it. He didn't look at the iPhone and think, "Oh, fuck. This is

01:24:30   amazing and we don't have any that we are what and I do believe that he should

01:24:37   that CEO of Microsoft should have been able to look at the iPhone and say that

01:24:41   first iPhone and say oh we are screwed but it's true if you read the the great

01:24:49   what was Andy the great book by the guy from the original Macintosh team Andy

01:24:56   Hertzfeld Andy Hertzfeld I was gonna say Andy and not go I know that that was

01:24:59   Andy Hertzfeld's book. Andy and not go is a great guy.

01:25:02   Revolution in the Valley and then he's also in most of those stories are also

01:25:06   on his great website folklore.org yeah that's a great site oh my god it's

01:25:12   amazing but I like it in the book I like the book better but if you want to be a

01:25:15   cheapskate you can read it for free he tells the story he was there in the room

01:25:22   when Bill Gates first saw a Macintosh. I think it was still a prototype.

01:25:28   And what Gates was specifically obsessed about was the way that the mouse pointer moving on screen was so smooth.

01:25:38   That the animation was so smooth. Because all other previous attempts at that, there was...

01:25:44   I don't know what the details of how Apple did that, what the trick was.

01:25:48   was some serious trickery going on that made--

01:25:51   These days it's done in hardware.

01:25:54   Back then, no, like you'd have to--

01:25:57   you'd redraw the thing underneath, like your mouse was there,

01:26:01   then you would move it, and then you'd have to redraw it

01:26:04   where it was. And that's like--

01:26:07   on those kind of computers at that time, that was hard.

01:26:11   Like, you know, it's a big deal. If you didn't do something special,

01:26:14   the mouse movement on all other systems that had a mouse,

01:26:17   The mouse moved very jerkily. It was just real jerky.

01:26:20   And on the Macintosh, even though the hardware was, by today's standards,

01:26:24   almost laughably, you know, minimal, you know, 100, what was it, 128 kilobytes of RAM?

01:26:30   Yes.

01:26:31   Or was the 128K one the fat one?

01:26:34   I think that might have been the fat one.

01:26:36   That might have been the fat one.

01:26:37   It's just a laughably slow processor.

01:26:41   So the other one would have been like 64K.

01:26:43   We could be wrong on that. Syracuse.

01:26:47   I think the fat Mac was 512. I think the fat Mac was 512.

01:26:51   And I think the original was 128. I don't think they ever shipped a 64K Mac.

01:26:55   It was about 128. But it was ridiculous. But Gates saw the mouse movement

01:26:59   and accused them of having dedicated hardware to do it because otherwise it would be impossible.

01:27:03   And I think as the story goes, the jobs told Andy Hirtzfeld to shut up.

01:27:09   Because Hirtzfeld was going to tell Gates exactly how they did it.

01:27:14   Of course he would, which goes back to the previous point about scientists, dudes, want to just tell everybody all the stuff all the time.

01:27:21   But Gates is the type of guy who could look at the Mac and see something like that and say, "Whoa, this is something."

01:27:29   Whereas Balmer, because he's so outside the product development and not really a software guy, really is just a true businessman CEO,

01:27:40   didn't look at the iPhone and see, "Whoa, this is not something to laugh at."

01:27:46   There was a way to answer that question where he doesn't look so bad in hindsight.

01:27:50   And the keyboard thing is a fine answer. I've made hay over that over the years.

01:27:55   But at the time, because all people with business phones had BlackBerry-style devices,

01:28:00   or the Windows mobile device was BlackBerry-style, where it had these hardware keyboards.

01:28:05   That was a fine part of the answer.

01:28:07   But Joanna Stern, who's been on the show a lot, she should be more often, because she's hilarious,

01:28:13   huge Blackberry physical keyboard fan, you know, she loves it. But, you know,

01:28:21   that ship has kind of sailed at this point. Right, but that was a fine answer. But the laughing at

01:28:24   it was inappropriate. And you could just see, I could just see that he just didn't have that.

01:28:28   I feel like Tim Cook doesn't have that problem. He may not be a product guy, but he is absolutely,

01:28:32   to my mind, not focused solely on milking what Apple's got.

01:28:37   Okay, so two things.

01:28:39   Steve Jobs also crapped on products.

01:28:45   Right. Competing products.

01:28:48   Yeah, competing products. Like Ballmer did.

01:28:51   So why do you think he managed to pull it off and Ballmer didn't?

01:28:57   I think because Ballmer was so profoundly wrong on that particular issue.

01:29:01   It's not like Steve Jobs saying Blu-ray is a bag of hurt, which it is, and we still don't have Blu-ray on any Mac.

01:29:10   Right. It literally became, I mean, this is no exaggeration, no hyperbole.

01:29:14   The iPhone is the most successful product in the history of consumer electronics.

01:29:18   It's maybe the most successful product, period.

01:29:21   Like more successful than the Model T Ford.

01:29:24   You know, it's unfathomable how much money Apple has made

01:29:28   and makes every day on the iPhone.

01:29:31   Would I have predicted that when I first saw it,

01:29:35   when I was in that audience at Macworld Expo

01:29:38   when he showed, Steve Jobs took the iPhone

01:29:42   out of his pocket, would I have predicted

01:29:43   that it would be the single most successful product

01:29:46   in the world and would propel Apple to become,

01:29:48   I think Apple's just, if they only sold the iPhone

01:29:51   and they had no other business,

01:29:52   they would still be the biggest company

01:29:53   world by revenue and profit. Would I have predicted that that would be true? No. But if you told me I'm

01:29:59   from the future and that is true, I would have believed it. I would have said, "Yeah, this is so

01:30:03   amazing that I can believe that it's going to be that big." Yeah. I mean, I've told you this story

01:30:10   before, and I'm sure I've said it before, but I bought an iPhone when I couldn't even use it.

01:30:13   All I could do was swipe and call 911. That's all I could do. And I bought it just because of that.

01:30:22   I'm like, I want this thing.

01:30:24   I think you told this story on the show before.

01:30:25   It's just amazing.

01:30:26   And the thing that I forgot, you got halfway through the story last time,

01:30:29   and I had totally forgotten.

01:30:31   I still assume, though, OK, you couldn't make phone calls

01:30:33   because you were in Canada, but you could still use notes

01:30:37   and get on Safari and do email.

01:30:38   But you couldn't, because those original iPhones had to be activated.

01:30:43   You take it out of the box, and you had to activate with AT&T before you could get past the--

01:30:49   I had the lock screen.

01:30:50   That's what I had.

01:30:52   And Swype was like, not swipe to unlock, it was like swipe to call 911.

01:30:56   That was it.

01:30:57   That's the only thing I could do.

01:30:59   And I thought about doing it, but I'm a good citizen, so I didn't do it.

01:31:03   But like, I still bought that phone and loved it.

01:31:07   That was a great phone.

01:31:09   Eventually it got unlocked and things worked out okay.

01:31:13   I've still got it.

01:31:13   It's on my desk here.

01:31:14   I'm not giving that thing up.

01:31:15   But, yeah, that first iPhone.

01:31:19   Whew! A little bit of a ... That's a cultural moment.

01:31:23   I don't know if you read it. I linked to it the other day.

01:31:27   A guy on Medium. I've heard him before, but never really noticed.

01:31:32   A guy named Jan Dawson wrote a big, long Medium post.

01:31:36   It was five years of Tim Cook in charts, and he had all sorts of information.

01:31:41   I just pasted it. It will be in the show notes, I swear.

01:31:44   But I thought it was really interesting.

01:31:48   And he makes a very interesting observation.

01:31:50   I'm sure Horace has noticed it, and I probably should have.

01:31:53   But Dawson points this out in a way that makes it very clear,

01:31:57   is that under the five years of Tim Cook,

01:32:01   Apple's profit margins have gone down slightly.

01:32:05   They're high enough that a 2% drop in profit margins

01:32:08   is not that big.

01:32:08   But it's kind of gone from-- just dropped 2%.

01:32:16   but that their spending on R&D has gone up as a percentage of revenue, has almost doubled,

01:32:21   gone from like 2% to 4%. And that extra 2% correlates pretty much exactly with the 2%

01:32:26   drop in profit margin, that Apple has taken a little bit of a hit on profit margin to pump

01:32:33   into R&D, which again, they can well afford to do because the profit margins have gone from extremely

01:32:40   high to very high, or ever so slightly less extremely high.

01:32:46   And to me, again, the proof will be in the pudding as to what pans out of this increase

01:32:51   in R&D spending.

01:32:56   But to me, it's evidence that he's, as a leader, he's not focused on milking the past products.

01:33:04   Oh, no.

01:33:05   That's-- I don't want to just be like an Apple cheerleader or a Tim Cook cheerleader here,

01:33:13   but I think that this is a sign that what Tim Cook is doing is very different than what Bonner

01:33:20   was doing at Microsoft. Microsoft doubled down on their existing assets, Windows and Office.

01:33:29   I don't think that that was a problem, though. I feel like, like I said before, I think the only

01:33:35   big mistake he made was missing out on mobile and that the mobile plan they had was a bad idea.

01:33:41   Yeah, but I see that as a symptom of doubling down on Windows.

01:33:47   But I think Ben Thompson has made this case. I'm just parroting Ben Thompson, frankly. But

01:33:51   the fact that that Ballmer made Windows and Office so much more profitable than they were when he

01:33:57   took over from Gates, it really did help strengthen Microsoft as a company. He did such a good job of

01:34:04   taking two products that were already incredibly profitable and incredibly, you know,

01:34:09   strong in the market and made them even more so. It really strengthened Microsoft so that the fact

01:34:16   that they frankly missed out on mobile... Well, so when you say frankly missed out,

01:34:22   I say at the expense of missing out. I don't think that they're exclusive though. I think they could

01:34:27   have done the same thing and had a better strategy. Oh, they could have, but I mean,

01:34:31   Their focus was on deriving revenue from their two key assets.

01:34:36   And so I think they got blindsided, frankly.

01:34:44   And they had Windows CE and they thought they were good.

01:34:47   It was not good.

01:34:53   It's literally Wince.

01:34:57   It was the joke since they wanted it, they shipped it.

01:35:00   And it looked like Windows 95 on a phone.

01:35:03   It even had a start menu.

01:35:04   It had a start menu.

01:35:05   Right.

01:35:06   Come on guys.

01:35:07   Like bad idea.

01:35:10   Yeah.

01:35:10   It would be like if the iPhone had in the top, starting at the top left,

01:35:14   Apple.

01:35:15   Right.

01:35:16   Yeah.

01:35:16   Remember those rumors that were like,

01:35:18   File edit view.

01:35:19   Remember like the phone rumors that every time you'd see like a, like a rendering,

01:35:24   you'd be like, that is garbage.

01:35:25   That's not going to happen.

01:35:26   Yeah.

01:35:27   And during the iPhone launch, those rumors were so popular that Steve put up a photo of an iPod with a rotary dial and a list of names.

01:35:42   They're like, "Make phone calls." Which is hilarious.

01:35:47   But yeah, I think Microsoft, at the expense of getting into mobile, focused on getting the most revenue out of their existing assets.

01:35:54   out of their existing assets.

01:35:56   - I do think, and looking back at Tim Cook's five years

01:36:01   and these interviews and the stories and stuff like that,

01:36:03   I feel like part of it, and he reiterates it

01:36:05   over and over in that Washington Post interview

01:36:07   that he's focused on the long term, not the short term.

01:36:09   And he said something about,

01:36:10   like the question was something to the effect

01:36:12   of what do you say to short term investors

01:36:14   who are frustrated because like, for example,

01:36:16   if you're in Apple's on the short term right now,

01:36:18   for this calendar year,

01:36:20   they're down year over year for the first time.

01:36:23   And his answer is, we welcome investors of all sorts, whether you're in for the short term or long term.

01:36:27   But we're very clear that our strategic plans are solely and only focused on the long term.

01:36:32   So if you want to ride us for three months and try to make a quick buck, you're welcome to try.

01:36:38   But we're not playing that game.

01:36:39   Yeah.

01:36:40   I love that quote, by the way.

01:36:41   Everybody's welcome.

01:36:43   We're thinking long term, so you should know about it right now.

01:36:48   Come in with your eyes open.

01:36:49   Yeah.

01:36:50   And that I'm not going to worry about one 90-day blip.

01:36:55   Right. So just to be the Denis Lui to your Jon Stewart,

01:37:02   you want to talk about Vesper?

01:37:04   Yeah. Well, let me take a break. That was the last topic I wanted to talk about.

01:37:07   Oh, you did? Okay. I thought I was going to have to twist your arm.

01:37:11   No, but I figured let's not be self-indulgent. Let's talk about the real news first.

01:37:15   Let me take a break, though, and thank our third and final sponsor of the show.

01:37:18   longtime friends of the show, great company, Fracture.

01:37:22   Fracture is a photo decor company

01:37:24   that is out to rescue your favorite images

01:37:26   from the digital ether.

01:37:28   You've heard, if you've listened to the show,

01:37:29   you know what they do.

01:37:30   They take your photo, you send them digital photos,

01:37:31   they print them directly on glass.

01:37:33   If you haven't, if you're new to the show,

01:37:36   if you haven't heard the Fracture thing before,

01:37:39   I mean it, I don't know how they do it.

01:37:41   I would actually, I almost am tempted to go down there

01:37:43   and see the factory and see how they do it,

01:37:45   'cause I don't understand it.

01:37:47   They don't print photo on paper and then glue it or seal it

01:37:51   to glass.

01:37:52   Somehow, they actually print directly on glass.

01:37:55   I don't know how they do it.

01:37:56   I've never seen anything else like it.

01:37:58   I never heard of anything else like it.

01:38:00   I think it's some kind of proprietary process.

01:38:02   I don't know.

01:38:03   But it is amazing.

01:38:04   It really does make the color and the contrast

01:38:08   of your photos really pop.

01:38:10   It looks better than printed photos in a glass frame.

01:38:13   I don't know why, but it does.

01:38:16   And because it's right there on the glass,

01:38:19   you could just use the actual piece of glass.

01:38:21   And it comes with everything you need to hang it up on a wall.

01:38:24   It's got cardboard on the back.

01:38:26   But you don't have a frame.

01:38:27   It just goes edge to edge.

01:38:28   So it ends up looking like the cell phones from--

01:38:34   what was that, Ryan Johnson movie with a looper,

01:38:36   where it's just like a piece of glass,

01:38:38   where it just goes edge to edge and there

01:38:39   is no bezel around it or anything, any kind of frame.

01:38:42   It looks futuristic.

01:38:43   It is amazing.

01:38:44   It is a really cool look to not have any border at all.

01:38:47   When you get your fracture, you don't have to then

01:38:49   put it in a frame or something to hang it up.

01:38:52   You just open the little cardboard thing it comes with

01:38:54   and it's ready to go right up there, everything you need.

01:38:57   It's really, really great.

01:38:58   Just fill your house with these things.

01:39:00   Take your pictures of your kids, your family,

01:39:01   whoever else you got, your dog,

01:39:04   sleeping on his new mattress.

01:39:06   Take a cool picture of your dog,

01:39:07   get a fractured print of it, hang it up on a wall.

01:39:09   They do it right in Gainesville, Florida

01:39:12   from US Source Materials.

01:39:13   Their factory is carbon neutral.

01:39:16   Can't say enough good things about this.

01:39:18   Take some summer vacation photos, get 'em printed.

01:39:21   You won't regret it.

01:39:22   So here's where you go for more information

01:39:25   and 10% off your first order.

01:39:27   You'll save some bucks.

01:39:28   Go to fractureme.com/podcast.

01:39:32   They're gonna give you a survey.

01:39:34   It is a one-question survey.

01:39:36   That is, where did you hear about them?

01:39:38   And then that's where you just say

01:39:40   you heard about it on the talk show.

01:39:42   Couldn't be easier.

01:39:43   fractureme.com/podcast

01:39:46   Alright, Vesper. We shut down Vesper.

01:39:48   Wait, one... just because I did it for the other two.

01:39:51   I've used Fracture. I like them. It's good.

01:39:54   Like, I love the product. I would recommend it.

01:39:59   And this is totally unsolicited and kind of just jumping in the middle of your show to say that.

01:40:06   Anyway, what's up with Vesper, man?

01:40:10   Well...

01:40:14   Yeah, okay, so Vespers ran for what? Two, three years?

01:40:20   Three years. We shipped in June of 2013.

01:40:24   Okay, and you've wrapped it up now. By the end of, I believe, this month,

01:40:30   you're shutting off the Sync service.

01:40:34   Right. At this point, we really only have two things. We have an iOS app, and we have a Sync service.

01:40:38   And for various reasons, we need to shut down the Sync service.

01:40:42   there's some changes coming to Azure

01:40:46   mobile services. We might, it's possible that after

01:40:50   these changes that it would, if we had left it running, would keep running

01:40:54   but there's also possible, we just don't know yet until they make the change, it's also possible that it would

01:40:58   require engineering to fix the effort that we don't have

01:41:02   because Brent is not working on Vesper anymore, so we don't have the engineering to keep

01:41:06   them running. So since we can't guarantee it and we're thinking we should shut it down anyway

01:41:10   now is a good time to do it.

01:41:12   So we're shutting down the sync service.

01:41:13   So what we did is we shipped a new version of Vesper

01:41:16   that has two changes.

01:41:19   One, you can no longer sign up for a sync account

01:41:22   because it really doesn't make any sense

01:41:24   to allow people to sign up for a sync account

01:41:26   that is only gonna last for five days.

01:41:28   And two, it adds an export feature,

01:41:33   which we probably should have had all along,

01:41:35   but didn't for various reasons.

01:41:37   But the way that we're doing export is really,

01:41:40   To me, it's ideal.

01:41:44   Yeah, if it checks it out, you did a good job.

01:41:46   There's confusion.

01:41:47   And I don't think that if you read what we wrote about it at various places,

01:41:51   either in the release notes for this new version of the app,

01:41:54   or like Brent's blog, or my blog, I don't think that what we wrote

01:41:58   is confusing.

01:42:00   But I think because of the way so many other services work,

01:42:03   people just come at it with the wrong impression and are confused.

01:42:06   The one source of confusion people have is, hey, wait.

01:42:09   if you're shutting down the sync service at the end of August, this is like too short of a notice.

01:42:12   How am I going to export my notes? Because you're shutting it down. You know, like what if I'm up, what

01:42:17   if somebody is on vacation for the last week of August and they don't get it and the sync server is

01:42:21   already off and they haven't been able to export their notes. And the confusion is that export doesn't

01:42:26   go from the cloud. It's not, we, in fact, we can't like the way that the sync services is worked is

01:42:32   I guess we could, but it...

01:42:35   The data's on the device. Right. And it's exported through

01:42:40   iOS document pickers. Is that what it's called? Document pickers?

01:42:44   Close enough. So the one that's there by default for anybody who has iCloud

01:42:48   is you can export to iCloud Drive. But if you have any other app

01:42:53   that has a document picker extension, Dropbox is an obvious one.

01:42:58   Another one that is very cool that I've tried is transmit from our friends at Panic.

01:43:05   So if you have transmit on your phone, you can export your Vesper notes from your device

01:43:11   to any web server that you have configured in transmit.

01:43:15   Yeah, that's really weird that Panic did a great job.

01:43:18   Yeah, it's shocking.

01:43:20   But anyway, export goes from the device, not from the cloud.

01:43:26   So we can shut down the sync server and anything that notes that you already have on your device you can export

01:43:31   including the pictures and

01:43:34   Then what we're gonna do is we're probably going to take Vesper out of the App Store soon

01:43:38   Yeah

01:43:41   How do you feel?

01:43:43   Well, I wrote about I mean, I'm sad

01:43:45   I mean, I really love the app and I liked you know, I liked working with Brent and Dave

01:43:49   I really did have a lot of fun. But the truth is that once you know, we just never made enough money

01:43:54   I mean, I wrote about it. We never made enough money, so we couldn't really...

01:43:56   We needed to make enough money to keep Brent full-time, and we didn't.

01:43:59   We never made that much money.

01:44:02   So Brent... when was that? 2014? At some point in 2014.

01:44:06   He's been in Omni for a while now.

01:44:07   Yeah, so it might be like two years.

01:44:09   18 months? Maybe two years.

01:44:10   Yeah, I think it's like two years. I think two years come September.

01:44:14   Brent went to work at the Omni Group, which, you know, again, it's like working for Panic.

01:44:19   It's like, kind of like an all-star team.

01:44:22   Oh yeah.

01:44:24   you know, it's like Kevin Drant going to the already great Golden State Warriors.

01:44:32   Like, "Oh yeah, now they just picked up Brent Simmons."

01:44:34   [laughter]

01:44:36   Yeah, sure, that's great.

01:44:37   Brent has an awesome three-pointer shot, by the way.

01:44:40   But the truth is that once Brent went to work for Omni full-time,

01:44:43   the writing was on the wall that there was no way for us to continue.

01:44:48   I mean, in theory, we could have hired somebody else or found somebody else to take over for Brent.

01:44:53   Man, if only you knew another programmer.

01:44:57   [laughter]

01:45:01   But, I guess part of the whole thing

01:45:05   wasn't really that we wanted a programmer. The whole point was that I wanted to work with Brent Simmons.

01:45:09   That makes me feel a lot better.

01:45:13   I'm joking. It's all--whatever.

01:45:17   It's for the sake of comedy.

01:45:21   I mean, it's not like I asked you if you wanted to do it, but I said, would you think of, you know, we did talk about it a while.

01:45:26   Oh, yeah.

01:45:27   No.

01:45:27   Oh, yeah.

01:45:27   That's that's well, I didn't even want to bring that up.

01:45:29   But yeah, it's all a joke.

01:45:30   Uh, just as a maybe as a what if.

01:45:32   Working with Trent is like a life goal.

01:45:35   He, that guy is amazing.

01:45:37   I would love to have like work conversations with him.

01:45:40   He's man.

01:45:43   He's good.

01:45:44   Really good.

01:45:45   He's smart, smart, like one of the smartest guys I know.

01:45:49   Yeah.

01:45:51   He is. It was great working with him. I really enjoyed it.

01:45:54   And I personally feel very-- I feel responsible for the failure of Vesper as a business,

01:46:00   because that was really-- that was the part that was--

01:46:02   Really?

01:46:03   Yeah, I do. I think Brent would disagree, and Dave would disagree, maybe.

01:46:06   Yeah, I also disagree.

01:46:08   Because I feel like that was my job. Brent's job was to make the app, to do all of the engineering.

01:46:13   And Dave's job was to do the design and make it look great and work great and have a logic to it.

01:46:20   And I definitely worked, certainly worked a lot on the design with Dave.

01:46:24   But I feel like fundamentally, my role as the director, as we called it,

01:46:30   was to make sure what we're doing is, you know, if anybody was responsible for

01:46:36   coming up with an idea and a business model that makes enough that we would be a success, that was me.

01:46:42   Well, it's admirable that you think that, but I think you're an idiot.

01:46:47   That's not your fault.

01:46:51   I feel-- let me put it this way.

01:46:52   I feel responsible for the failure,

01:46:55   but I'm not losing sleep over it.

01:46:56   [LAUGHTER]

01:46:59   Does that make sense?

01:47:00   Yeah, that's good.

01:47:01   That's good.

01:47:02   I'm not trying to be a martyr about it.

01:47:04   I'm not trying to say, oh, poor me.

01:47:06   You know, feel bad for me that I'm blaming myself.

01:47:08   But I do think that I should have known it.

01:47:10   I feel like, in hindsight--

01:47:12   like I wrote about it.

01:47:13   I really feel like what we wanted to do--

01:47:15   I mean, number one, there's all sorts of things.

01:47:18   One thing we agreed from the outset

01:47:20   was that we didn't want to raise money.

01:47:22   We did not want to be funded in any way.

01:47:25   We wanted to effectively self-fund with, as they call it,

01:47:29   sweat equity, where Brent could afford

01:47:33   to spend the good part of the first year working on it

01:47:38   before we made any money.

01:47:40   He was coming from Glassboard and had

01:47:43   the luxury of being able to work for a while without making money.

01:47:46   And the idea was we would self-fund by doing the iPhone version, selling it,

01:47:51   making enough money from the iPhone version

01:47:53   to sort of bootstrap the company financially

01:47:56   while we worked on the next stuff, which was to do a sync service

01:48:00   or figure out a way to--

01:48:01   whether it was building our own, which is what we wound up doing,

01:48:04   or using iCloud or Dropbox or something, and then doing a Mac version

01:48:09   and selling that, and then going forward from there

01:48:11   with effectively a system where you could be at your Mac,

01:48:15   or you could be on your phone, and maybe, depending on how we did the sync service,

01:48:19   you could be just on the web, and you could do it from anywhere.

01:48:23   And I really do feel like, in hindsight, I should have known better,

01:48:27   and we should have done the Mac version first. I feel like--

01:48:31   That's an interesting choice, and it's atypical.

01:48:35   It's the word I'll use. Most people don't even think

01:48:39   think of doing a Mac app. I tend to agree with you, but I'm kind of a Mac advocate.

01:48:45   I really love the Mac. Right. And you're, you know, at Aged and Distilled, you're...

01:48:49   We have a Mac app. Yeah. Right. Napkin. Yeah. Thank you. And, you know, and for the same reason

01:48:57   that you and Chris, you know, did Napkin as a Mac app first, and so far only, you

01:49:04   know, I think we should have done the same thing with Vesper. And I wrote

01:49:07   about this. I mean, I'm just repeating it. You can go read the article on "Daring Fireball."

01:49:10   But I do think that Dave and I did the right thing, where the schedule that we had was that

01:49:15   Dave and I, we, we, we, you know, where we agreed to, to create the company, it was at Singleton.

01:49:19   I had heard that actually at the bar. Yeah, so, uh, at Singleton 2012, uh, Brent said he wanted

01:49:30   to talk to me and Dave. And I even remember who was speaking at the time. It was a friend of the

01:49:34   the show Glenn Fleischmann.

01:49:36   So we snuck out on Glenn.

01:49:42   Singleton was a conference I used to run for the audience.

01:49:46   But yeah, you totally ducked out.

01:49:48   So during Glenn Fleischmann's talk, Brent and Dave and I went to the bar,

01:49:54   which was right next door. So, I mean, we could vaguely hear Glenn's talk,

01:49:59   but it was held in a nice hotel and there was a bar right next door.

01:50:02   And we had a couple of beers.

01:50:05   And Brent said, here's what I'm thinking.

01:50:07   I'm leaving Glassboard soon.

01:50:09   I want to go back to doing indie apps.

01:50:12   What I would like to do is make an app with you two guys.

01:50:15   I think that we would make a good team.

01:50:17   I don't even know what the idea is.

01:50:18   What do you guys think?

01:50:19   And we went from there.

01:50:20   But that's where-- Dave and I instantly were like, yeah,

01:50:23   I'm in.

01:50:23   Let's figure this out.

01:50:24   Let's make it happen.

01:50:26   But the timeline was that Brent wasn't-- he had months

01:50:30   to go at Glassboard yet.

01:50:31   He was going to give notice and wind down very gracefully so we had lead time.

01:50:37   That guy's a professional.

01:50:38   Yeah, and he left on perfectly amicable terms.

01:50:42   But there were going to be months in advance where Brent wasn't spending any time on Vesper,

01:50:49   which was fine.

01:50:50   And in fact, we thought this works out great because once we decided on the idea of this notes app concept,

01:50:57   Dave and I spent months going over the design

01:51:01   before Brent wrote anything.

01:51:02   And I think, in hindsight, I still

01:51:04   think we did the exact right thing by designing the iPhone

01:51:07   app first.

01:51:08   But I think that we should have, as soon

01:51:10   as we were done designing the iPhone app,

01:51:12   should have designed the Mac app and then

01:51:13   had Brent build that first.

01:51:15   And the reason I say that is that I really

01:51:17   do think that in today's world, if you plan

01:51:21   to have an iPhone app or a mobile app in general,

01:51:23   if you want to include Android, you should design that first.

01:51:26   because that's where all the constraints are going to be.

01:51:28   That's where the screen size is most limited.

01:51:30   That's where the features are less limited.

01:51:33   I mean, we're all plain text guys.

01:51:34   One of the things I love about Vesper

01:51:35   is that it's a plain text app,

01:51:37   meaning there's no italics, no bold.

01:51:39   You don't get to change the font.

01:51:40   You don't get to make it bigger.

01:51:41   Or if you do, it's system-wide, so all your notes.

01:51:44   - Right, yeah. - If you make it bigger,

01:51:46   all your notes are bigger.

01:51:47   And I love plain text.

01:51:50   I think plain text has won the war.

01:51:52   I think, you know, I have a rant in me about that,

01:51:54   but I think the way that Facebook and Twitter don't have fonts,

01:51:58   that it's just plain text, is a better system.

01:52:01   I feel like email got ruined as soon as email changed from being a plain text medium.

01:52:06   I agree. But I'm old, so whatever.

01:52:11   But, so we were never, we were always, there was never any question that Vesper was going to be plain text.

01:52:16   But, as an example, one of the things that would be easy to do if you went Mac first

01:52:21   is there's a fantastic, what is it, NS text field?

01:52:26   On Mac.

01:52:31   On Mac, yeah.

01:52:33   Right. You get a full word processor for free.

01:52:35   Yeah.

01:52:37   Right? You can make a Hello World app without writing any code.

01:52:41   And just in Xcode, you can just use Interface Builder.

01:52:45   That was a Steve Jobs demo.

01:52:47   Yeah.

01:52:47   Like, drag one of those out.

01:52:49   It's one of the things next was proudest of, but there's an RTF, Rich Text Format, Text Editor.

01:52:56   You know, you can effectively build...

01:52:57   Which text document is what RTF stands for?

01:52:59   Right. I mean, the actual TextEdit app has a bunch of other features.

01:53:02   There's, you know, the auto-save and a whole bunch of nice stuff.

01:53:05   But you can effectively build TextEdit for free, or a version that's very close to it, where you get...

01:53:11   Also, they give you the code.

01:53:12   Yeah, they give you the code.

01:53:14   It's like the demo code that you get.

01:53:15   I think they still do, at least back in the day they did.

01:53:19   If you made a notes app, and there's plenty of them,

01:53:23   using that field, which would be very natural to do if you go Mac first,

01:53:27   you're up Schitt's Creek trying to make that go to the iPhone, because the iPhone doesn't

01:53:31   have an RTF editing field.

01:53:35   Right. Yes. I think you can render it now as of iOS 7?

01:53:39   Yeah, it's not quite...

01:53:43   I believe there's cases that you can't.

01:53:47   But you know, because you shipped an app with it.

01:53:51   It's just one example, though, of the type of thing where you can do all sorts of more powerful stuff on the Mac

01:53:55   than you can do on the iOS.

01:53:59   But I think that that serves your point. Get designed for mobile first,

01:54:03   and then do a Mac app. Because that's chargeable money for a family.

01:54:07   Right. But the only way you can make a Mac app where you're aware of the

01:54:11   constraints of the iOS version is to design the iOS version first.

01:54:15   Yes, I agree.

01:54:17   And I really think we could have done that. I think that we definitely could have sold it for a lot more money

01:54:22   because I think we would have sold it for $20 a copy. And the counter, I could be wrong.

01:54:26   The counter argument is obviously that there are way more iPhone users than Mac users.

01:54:30   But I don't think there are that many more iPhone users who pay for productivity apps

01:54:36   like Notep than there are Macs.

01:54:38   This is one of the things. At one point, there were so many Windows machines out there that it was crazy.

01:54:49   But nobody was buying software on them, which matters a lot.

01:54:58   That's all you care about is how many people out of this install base are actually buying software.

01:55:03   And if on iOS it's really low, it's less of an appealing target than the Mac, where maybe it's a little bit higher.

01:55:16   And people are willing to pay you a little bit more money.

01:55:19   So there was a notion in the early years of the App Store that, and certainly a lot of the people in our circle, people we know,

01:55:27   indie Mac developers started making indie iOS apps and there was a feeling like maybe

01:55:35   that the iOS market would be a lot like the Mac market, which has a long term, you know,

01:55:41   for you know, back when we used to call it shareware supported independent software where

01:55:45   independent developers could create apps, sell them at a price and a quantity that multiplied

01:55:51   by each other would equal enough money to be to do this full time and call it a job.

01:55:57   that iOS would work out similarly.

01:56:00   And then it was very clear, very quickly,

01:56:02   that the prices on iOS were going to be a lot lower.

01:56:05   And the thought was, well, maybe the quantity

01:56:07   will be so much higher that we multiply the price

01:56:10   by the quantity and it'll be equivalent.

01:56:13   And it hasn't worked out that way.

01:56:16   I mean, that's-- and again, I'm not assigning blame.

01:56:18   I'm not saying-- we could maybe make an argument

01:56:21   that Apple had some blame.

01:56:22   But I'm just stating the fact that the way it's worked out

01:56:25   is that with rare exceptions-- and there

01:56:27   are exceptions, but it is a lot less of a feasible platform for that idea. The idea

01:56:33   of you'll make an app, sell it for X dollars to Y people, and then you'll have X times Y revenue

01:56:39   minus 30 percent. And it just didn't work out that way, whereas the Mac is still thriving for stuff

01:56:47   like that. And I think ultimately it's better to look at iOS as something more akin to the web,

01:56:52   where you can't make daringfireball.net, and then when you load it, you say you have to pay $5 before you can read it.

01:56:59   Like, the web just doesn't work that way.

01:57:01   I mean, the closest the web comes to that is paywalls, and everybody knows paywalls suck.

01:57:07   So I think for application software, I think in general, and again, there are exceptions, and Fantastical is a great example.

01:57:14   Tweetbot is a great example where they are iOS apps that sell for a couple of

01:57:21   bucks and sell in sufficient quantities that the developers can afford to do it,

01:57:25   work on them full-time. But for the most part, iOS doesn't work that way and I

01:57:29   think most people should approach it as being more akin to the web where the app

01:57:33   is free. And maybe there's an in-app purchase to unlock better features or

01:57:38   themes or something like that, but that fundamentally it has to be a free

01:57:42   download or else you just get lost. Yeah, I largely agree with that.

01:57:46   You know, and the demo thing is the one area where you can complain that Apple doesn't allow you to have iOS app demos.

01:57:53   And the Mac you can I mean, even there are even apps like I just tried it because the guys at Ulysses Ulysses is a text

01:57:59   editor, great text editor,

01:58:01   or project based writing editor, sort of like an Xcode for writing type thing. They released a very nifty tool specific for the

01:58:11   VSEPR export format where you can just drag the folder onto this tool that they

01:58:15   just released yesterday and it will translate your VSEPR export into a

01:58:21   format that is exactly imported into Ulysses. So Ulysses on the Mac, I thought

01:58:27   this is really interesting. The only way to buy it is to get it through the App

01:58:30   Store. It's one and only way, but they still have a demo version on their

01:58:34   website that you can download so that you can try it before you buy it. But the

01:58:38   demo, unlike a lot of other developers, the demo, there's no way to do it in-app and circumvent it.

01:58:44   They are apparently so happy with the App Store in terms of using that for all the processing and everything.

01:58:50   Well, there's a bunch of technical issues for that.

01:58:52   Right. There are. And they can do iCloud, and they can count on iCloud.

01:58:57   Yeah, because you can't change your entitlements.

01:58:59   Entitlements means it's a technical term.

01:59:03   Right. But long story short, there still is a demo version that you can try.

01:59:08   And that really, to me, is fundamental to getting people to part with $20, $30, $40 for an app.

01:59:14   Yeah. I agree. As a guy that sells a $40 app on the way.

01:59:19   Right.

01:59:20   I think it's a great idea.

01:59:23   How many people do you think, for Napkin, how many people do you think try the demo before they buy?

01:59:28   I have no demo.

01:59:29   Oh, you guys don't have a demo? Are you guys App Store only?

01:59:31   Yeah.

01:59:32   Wow.

01:59:33   Yeah.

01:59:34   You guys should have a demo.

01:59:35   Yeah, we want to.

01:59:37   I didn't know that.

01:59:39   Well, you know a guy.

01:59:43   I know a guy and he hooked me up with a free copy of Napkin, so I'm not familiar with that purchase.

01:59:47   That's good.

01:59:49   Did we give you a free one?

01:59:51   I don't know. Maybe I bought it.

01:59:53   I don't remember.

01:59:55   Maybe I owe you a foot of bucks.

01:59:57   But yeah, no, we don't have a demo.

02:00:01   And the original reason was that one of the key features we had was sharing the graphic that you create on iCloud.

02:00:12   And we couldn't do that without selling through the App Store.

02:00:17   And it wasn't worth having two versions that were different.

02:00:21   Yeah, that's changed.

02:00:26   Now that we know the audience a little bit, that's not necessarily the primary use case.

02:00:31   It's sort of the opposite of what Rich Segal did with BB Edit, where Rich had BB Edit on both as an independent download and in the Mac App Store.

02:00:39   And in fact, gave a terrific talk at Singleton. It was really one of my favorite Singleton talks ever, was Rich Segal.

02:00:46   It was great, yeah.

02:00:47   About why he was leaving the Mac App Store.

02:00:49   And I think to make a very, it was a 40 minute talk and it was great.

02:00:54   To boil it down to a nut, it was just a lot less stress to have one version that wasn't in the Mac App Store.

02:01:00   Yeah. And Rich Segal of BB Edit and Barebone Software, not a dummy.

02:01:08   They've been in business for like a long time.

02:01:13   It'll be a surprise when it happens, but I was just talking with Rich. He's going to be a guest on the show very soon.

02:01:18   Oh cool. Oh man, that's awesome. He's great.

02:01:21   He's pretty good. Anyway, Vesper.

02:01:26   So anyway, we didn't make enough money. We went iPhone first. I think it was foolish to go iPhone first

02:01:31   and expect to make money from selling a paid app to justify the company.

02:01:36   Whereas I think if we had gone Mac first, we would have made at least as much money,

02:01:41   and I think we would have made more. And therefore Brent could have worked on it full-time more

02:01:45   we would have gotten off the ground.

02:01:48   Would you do another app?

02:01:51   Oh, absolutely, if the situation were right.

02:01:55   I mean, it's not like I'm going to do an app, period, but if the right, you know,

02:01:59   Yeah, give me the circumstance.

02:02:01   It would depend on who it was, if I wanted, you know, if I like them, I wanted to work with them,

02:02:05   and whether the idea appealed to me. I mean, Vesper was a perfect storm

02:02:09   for me, because I really have always wanted to work with Brent. Dave and

02:02:13   I really did have a fantastic design process. We really did. I mean, and we disagreed in

02:02:24   the best possible way. And sometimes he would change my mind and sometimes I would change

02:02:30   his mind, but we both would listen to each other and we would be able to sort of say,

02:02:34   "I kind of feel like it should be this instead of that." But if I said, or he or I said,

02:02:40   I feel incredible. I'm convinced that I'm right.

02:02:43   And even if you, you know, and we would pull that card, we would listen to each other.

02:02:46   Like even if I disagreed, thought it should be this, and he said that, but he said I'm convinced it should be that,

02:02:52   then I would say okay.

02:02:53   Because I'm not convinced.

02:02:54   It was a great...

02:02:56   Working relationship you can have.

02:02:57   And I love the app. I really, I still love it.

02:03:00   So...

02:03:01   Yeah, me too.

02:03:01   It was, it was...

02:03:02   Good work.

02:03:04   It was a perfect storm. It was worth putting a lot of time into.

02:03:09   But I don't know what else to say about it.

02:03:11   Yeah. Remember when we wanted to do a Fart app?

02:03:14   [laughter]

02:03:17   This was way back in the first year. We could talk about it in front of you.

02:03:21   This was like 2007. Yeah, at this point.

02:03:23   No, 2009, right? Or 2008, I guess.

02:03:25   Oh, 2008, I guess. Yeah.

02:03:27   The idea of--

02:03:29   I was just cracking a joke. We don't need to actually show this story.

02:03:31   All right. Maybe not, because I still think it's a good enough idea.

02:03:33   Yeah. I want to keep that. But...

02:03:37   I think I still have the domain name.

02:03:39   I love the idea of you renewing that all the time.

02:03:48   It's pathological.

02:03:49   It's probably going to bankrupt me eventually, but it'll eventually

02:03:51   bankrupt me is my annual bill.

02:03:55   Let me know.

02:03:56   Maybe I'll toss some money away.

02:03:59   The annual bill for unused domain names.

02:04:03   Oh, the-- yeah.

02:04:05   Well, I'm not paying for all the other ones.

02:04:07   I have, you know what?

02:04:09   I have so many dumb domain names.

02:04:11   I think I have common fireball.net.

02:04:15   Almond fireball.

02:04:18   Something like that just to be a dick.

02:04:21   And I can't even remember what the joke was.

02:04:23   It's probably had something to do with that common markdown or something.

02:04:26   Right?

02:04:26   Yes.

02:04:27   Yes.

02:04:28   Right.

02:04:28   Yes.

02:04:31   It was like, I think of a joke where I'm going to be a dick to you.

02:04:35   And then I just, I don't, it's like, oh, that's work.

02:04:38   And I don't care.

02:04:39   Anything else?

02:04:43   Anything else you wanted to ask me about Vesper?

02:04:45   Um,

02:04:46   I mean, I think we covered it all.

02:04:50   I mean, it's, yeah, you covered a lot.

02:04:52   Uh, people, I will say this, let me just say this.

02:04:56   I will say that we have received an awful lot of both on Twitter and by email and

02:05:01   awful lot of very, very, very, very nice things that people said after we said

02:05:05   this about Vesper, and I want to thank everybody who took the time to write. I

02:05:08   do appreciate that. Do you have a question? That was going to be my question,

02:05:14   is do you feel a responsibility to your users? I do. You've kind of

02:05:19   covered a bit with the sync issue. Right. But yeah. I do, but on the other hand, even

02:05:25   at its most expensive, it was ten bucks. And I, you know, I feel like... And an app

02:05:30   will keep working. If you've bought it and you have it on your phone, it should keep working for a long time.

02:05:37   It definitely still works on iOS 10, or at least on the betas. There's nothing in iOS 10 that breaks it.

02:05:42   Eventually something in iOS, I guess, will break it. But it might be many years.

02:05:48   Yeah, we talked about that privately, but I think you're good for at least two more releases.

02:05:55   releases, so that's at least two years, you know? Because you don't do anything crazy.

02:06:00   Right, and it would be something like when apps went from 32-bit to 64-bit, and now 32-bit apps launch and you get a warning for various reasons.

02:06:14   We don't have to say why, but I think it's presaging the fact that eventually, maybe next year, 32-bit apps are just not going to launch on iOS anymore.

02:06:22   I think that's eventually going to happen.

02:06:24   Some change like that will eventually happen and Vesper will break, but it might be many, many years away.

02:06:29   Because I don't think there's any kind of change that big coming soon.

02:06:32   Yeah, who knows? But it doesn't seem like it.

02:06:37   Yeah, I think you'll be fine for years.

02:06:39   Yeah, and there could be something...

02:06:40   I wish there was... Can you take an app off the store and still have people upgrade to it?

02:06:45   I don't know. I actually don't know.

02:06:48   so that it's there so that if you already I think you've got like an old one you want to upgrade to

02:06:53   the one with export right you can get it despite the fact that it's not actually available for

02:06:58   purchase well yeah free download on the star yeah the current plan is to take it off the store I

02:07:06   think we can do it in a way where if you want to restore you'll still be able to download it'll be

02:07:10   there but it will be hidden from new users but since we've made it free I don't know maybe I

02:07:15   I'm not quite sure. Maybe we could reconsider that. Maybe, who cares? Just keep it there.

02:07:19   You got a bunch of new downloads.

02:07:21   More downloads. Since we made it free, more downloads than we had in the entire three-year history of it being a free sale.

02:07:27   Which I'm not surprised about. And again, I'm not complaining. I understand how this works.

02:07:32   But there were times where we were selling it for as low as like $2.

02:07:36   Yeah, you guys messed with the price a bit.

02:07:39   Right.

02:07:40   Because it was $10 originally?

02:07:42   No, $4.99, I think, originally.

02:07:44   And that was when it was most, like it was far more successful in the first year.

02:07:48   I mean, it corresponds to when it was most actively developed.

02:07:50   The first year it was most successful was mostly, for most of that time, $4.99.

02:07:55   I think we were in like a Christmas promotion where we lowered the price.

02:07:58   And then once we realized we were running out of steam financially,

02:08:05   we'd, you know, well, we have nothing to lose.

02:08:07   Let's see what happens if we make it cheaper.

02:08:08   Let's see what happens if we make it more expensive.

02:08:10   And neither really made any difference.

02:08:13   Well that's what you get for making a shitty app man.

02:08:19   Thanks guy.