459: The Bluetooth Adds Warmth


00:00:00   So I went on a little break, you know, a little vacation for Thanksgiving with the family.

00:00:05   And in order to keep things simpler, as I frequently do when I travel, I did not bring my Apple Watch.

00:00:12   Because I figured that's one less charger I need to deal with, right? So, I'm going to a bunch of different places.

00:00:17   Let me just bring my phone charger and not have to worry about it like a whole second one.

00:00:21   And I really missed it.

00:00:24   Uh oh.

00:00:26   I finally reached the point in my Apple Watchdom, and in my watch nerdery, I think, where I want to wear it most of the time.

00:00:38   And I mostly only want to wear fancy mechanical watches when I'm like going out.

00:00:45   Like, you know, for dinner or like for a special occasion or for like, you know, non-common everyday things.

00:00:52   Like for common everyday use, I'm pretty much wearing the Apple Watch now.

00:00:55   Apple Watch, the sweatpants of the watch world.

00:00:57   So wait, so what is it that you missed out of curiosity? Was it notifications?

00:01:05   Was it the tracking of your fitness and movement and things of that nature? What did you miss about it?

00:01:10   Notifications I miss initially. Like the first time I get the tap tap in my pocket and I look at my wrist and I can't tell what it's for.

00:01:19   Then I'm like, oh, I guess that's kind of unfortunate, but I forget about that within a day and don't miss it anymore.

00:01:26   Because I don't enable that many notifications.

00:01:28   It's mostly text messages and calendar alerts that I really want to be notified of. It's almost nothing else.

00:01:34   What I did miss was the complications. Three in particular.

00:01:41   Number one, I missed the day of the week.

00:01:45   Regular watches have that too, right?

00:01:49   They do occasionally. It's not a very common complication.

00:01:53   Which honestly, frankly doesn't make sense to me because mechanically speaking it's extremely similar to a date complication.

00:01:59   And it's usually triggered by some of the same parts.

00:02:01   So it doesn't really make a lot of sense why you wouldn't have that on more watches than it is on.

00:02:07   But it's on very few relative to the world of mechanical watches on a whole.

00:02:12   Almost every mechanical watch that sells in reasonable numbers has a date.

00:02:15   Very few have the day of the week, relatively speaking, to the date.

00:02:19   I've occasionally had mechanical watches that have had it.

00:02:22   I had this wonderful Damasko for a while that had it.

00:02:25   And I love having the day of the week because I actually need to know that.

00:02:28   I have things that only happen on certain days like most people do.

00:02:31   And I don't know why this is not a more common complication with the exception of maybe just not wanting to take up the space with another wheel inside to have the day wheel next to the day wheel and everything.

00:02:40   It was like a cautionary tale for the self-employed. Most people do know what day of the week is.

00:02:44   But if you are self-employed and if there's nobody in your house who has a jobby job, you can lose track.

00:02:50   And you live at the beach, you definitely lose track of what day it is.

00:02:53   Number two thing I missed was the temperature.

00:02:56   Very simple thing, I know. But this is something that no mechanical watch can do that.

00:03:01   Well, actually that's not entirely true.

00:03:03   There are occasionally mechanical watches that have thermometers in them, but they don't work very well because they're on your wrist.

00:03:07   But anyway, for the most part, that's not a thing that mechanical watches ever have.

00:03:13   And so I definitely missed that. That's a common thing that as things are getting colder here, I like to know what jacket should I put on.

00:03:21   And that's something I find out by looking at the temperature.

00:03:25   And then finally, I missed timers.

00:03:29   I frequently will do things like make coffee or tea and I need to know, I want a countdown timer for that.

00:03:36   Or Adam will ask, he'll request me to count down a five minute timer for a math worksheet he's doing that has to do a timed sprint for a math worksheet.

00:03:43   Stuff like that. I use timers all the time, it turns out.

00:03:46   Because part of the reason why I'm so annoyed at how mediocre they are on all Apple platforms.

00:03:52   All Apple platforms do timers in a way that I think could use significant improvement.

00:03:57   And then kind of a fourth little bonus one, sunset time.

00:04:02   Something I never care about in the summer because it's late.

00:04:05   But sunset time is very important when it happens at like noon.

00:04:10   Like it does in the winter here.

00:04:12   So when the sun's, it's not that bad, but it's like four o'clock maybe or four thirty.

00:04:17   And when the sun is setting at four thirty in the afternoon, I need to know, I need to be able to do my dog walk before then.

00:04:23   Because my dog is old and won't walk in the dark.

00:04:26   These kind of things are all on my watch face all the time on the Apple watch.

00:04:30   And so I actually did really miss it for this time.

00:04:34   You know, I finally reached an equilibrium point with the Apple watch where I have stopped trying to make it an analog watch.

00:04:41   Because it's a terrible analog watch.

00:04:43   So I just use the, what is this face, Infograph Modular.

00:04:47   I use Infograph Modular with complications, some of which I've made, most of which I haven't.

00:04:51   And I leave it there now. It's a digital watch.

00:04:54   I'm fine with that because it's a really good digital watch.

00:04:58   And a really terrible analog one.

00:04:59   I have the all-wheel-on display that makes it very useful and now complications have gotten more, a little more reliable than they have in the past.

00:05:06   So ultimately I'm now at the point where I am actually liking the Apple watch.

00:05:13   And I say that kind of reluctantly because I also love mechanical watches, but I do miss the utility of the Apple watch when I'm not wearing it.

00:05:20   So that has been what I've worn most of the time for the last year, really.

00:05:27   And I think it's going to keep going for a while.

00:05:29   This is basically the strategy that I have for my mechanical watches.

00:05:33   I have very unremarkable mechanical watches compared to what you're used to.

00:05:38   I have a Citizen that I really, really like that Aaron got me many years ago.

00:05:42   It is not anything to write home about, but it's important and special to me.

00:05:45   And I have a, what is it, Movement, an MVMT, I think something like that, that my immediate younger brother got me as a present for being a groomsman at his wedding.

00:05:55   So that's special to me as well.

00:05:56   And every great once in a while, like probably two or three times a year, I'll put on one of those, typically the Citizen, for like a wedding or something like that.

00:06:03   And that's about the only time I wear a mechanical watch.

00:06:05   And I do really enjoy wearing mechanical watches for those kinds of situations.

00:06:12   I think it makes a lot of sense, especially for something like a wedding where if you have a piece of technology visible for pictures and things like that, you're immediately dating those pictures.

00:06:23   You know, for the most part, if you ask me, for the most part, a men's suit or a woman's dress, I know we're talking about fashion, we have no business doing so.

00:06:30   But generally speaking, a man, you know, a decent suit or decent dress or whatever will mostly hold up over the years.

00:06:38   I mean, it may look a little dated, but not outrageous.

00:06:40   But if you see like a honkin', like, or if you saw like an iPhone 3GS today in a wedding picture, you'd be like, "Whoa, that was a long time ago."

00:06:50   Same thing with an Apple Watch, like, "Oh, in 5, 10 years we're going to look at these things that are so thick and beefy and whatnot and think, 'Wow, those things were ugly.'"

00:06:59   And so I really don't, I don't like the idea of flashing or flaunting to some degree any sort of technology on a picture that's going to hopefully last for years to come.

00:07:10   And so I basically have been in this mode that you're now finding yourself backed into, which is, you know, "Hey, if you're doing something special or fancy, then put on a special or fancy watch."

00:07:20   You know, commensurate with the event. But otherwise, it's nice having a little teeny computer on your wrist. Is it required? Of course not.

00:07:26   But is it convenient? Heck yeah.

00:07:28   Yeah. And you're right, like, if you've ever seen a TV show that features iPhones in the show, like--

00:07:35   Oh, that's another good example.

00:07:36   That happens a lot. Apple is always, you know, getting themselves put in TV shows and everything. But they age, so, like, they age, not only do they age, you know, proportionally to the actual age, they age faster.

00:07:46   Because when Apple releases a new iPhone design, the previous design looks old. Like, you instantly think it looks older, and it looks older than it is.

00:07:55   You know, you actually, if you're looking at a pair of pants from, you know, three to four to five years ago, that's going to look pretty much the same as it looks today.

00:08:04   Whereas if you look at a phone from three or five years ago, it's going to look like DOS. Like, it's going to look so old by comparison because this world moves so quickly.

00:08:13   And the Apple Watch is also, you know, it still moves quickly. Like, you know, if you look at an Apple Watch, even already, like, now that we've had, like, the Series 4567 design where it's, like, the more rounded corners and, you know, a little bit adjusted shape.

00:08:26   The previous generation Apple Watches, which they're still selling with a Series 3, but the previous generation Apple Watches looks really, like, old and clunky by comparison.

00:08:36   And that's going to keep happening over time. You know, an Apple Watch, like, on the formality scale, an Apple Watch is like a down, right down the middle of the road pair of sneakers.

00:08:46   So anytime you would not wear a pair of sneakers, you shouldn't be wearing an Apple Watch. So, like, if you're wearing a suit, that is not an appropriate combination, you know.

00:08:57   And look, there's plenty of time in life where a pair of sneakers is totally fine. I wear sneakers most of the time. It's fine.

00:09:05   But you can't wear them with every outfit and as you get up to the fancy level, you should not be wearing sneakers at a certain point. And that's how the Apple Watch is.

00:09:16   Anytime you would question sneakers, you should also be questioning your Apple Watch.

00:09:20   I think it's fine to wear an Apple Watch with a formal outfit. I don't think it's the equivalent of sneakers. I know what you're saying about that, but...

00:09:26   No, it's better to be wearing no watch than to be wearing an Apple Watch with a formal outfit.

00:09:31   No, I think it's... It's more subtle than you think. From a distance, it could be mistaken for a regular watch because at this point it is not so ridiculously differently sized and shaped than the giant, especially men's watches.

00:09:49   It may even be bigger and beefier than this. So I think it's fine. It's not like the screen is visible and glaring in the face of all your photos.

00:09:56   If you see a little bit of an Apple Watch peeking out from your suit jacket, it's fine. You have my permission.

00:10:00   You don't have mine.

00:10:01   Yeah, I think you're both right, but I tend closer to Marco.

00:10:05   How can we both be right? We have literally the opposite opinion on this issue.

00:10:08   That's the way of the Casey.

00:10:09   No, first of all, this is... Have we met? This is episode what? 400 and something.

00:10:14   No, what I mean by that is I think it is not as egregious as Marco says, but ultimately I come down more on Marco's side than John's in that I think you can get away with an Apple Watch, like John said, in situations where maybe you couldn't get away with sneakers.

00:10:26   But I still think that is a reasonable metric by which to question whether or not you should be wearing an Apple Watch.

00:10:32   Like if you're in a position that sneakers really aren't socially acceptable, God, how are we talking about fashion again?

00:10:37   If you're in a situation when sneakers are perhaps not socially acceptable, then I would say that you should at least consider taking off your Apple Watch and/or replacing it with something else.

00:10:49   I will say there's an exception to this principle, and that is if your more formal than sneakers situation is just like your everyday work, like if your office happens to require non-sneakers as office wear, like okay, you're fine to wear an Apple Watch to work.

00:11:05   I'm talking about special occasions, family events, fancy parties, whatever that kind of thing, things like attending a wedding or a funeral, something like that where you would be going to a formal event, not going to your office where they require you to wear khakis. That's different.

00:11:23   Plus, God, the things people wear at their offices, the most ill-fitting baggy suits and bag khakis, your Apple Watch is not the thing dragging that outfit down.

00:11:34   I have a revelation as well. You know how you kind of came crawling back to vinyl like a year or two ago and you're like, "Well, it still sounds like dirt and I hate everything about it, but it actually has its place." Remember that whole conversation?

00:11:52   We're going to get more into similar topics later.

00:11:54   I don't remember that exactly. When was Marcos super into it?

00:11:59   I developed an appreciation for what it's good at. It's not sound quality or convenience or reliability or anything like that.

00:12:08   I remember when you made the little physical digital media player with the SD cards or whatever, and I guess you did get a turntable at some point. I don't know, maybe I blocked it out. Stop listening to vinyl people.

00:12:22   Oh, and I got to tell you one more thing on that topic. One of the places we went last week for Thanksgiving, I already told you this, Casey.

00:12:31   Oh, yes, I did see that. That was one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

00:12:36   We stayed a night in a hotel room. It was a somewhat recently redone place, so it was a little bit hipster. They advertised that there was a record player in each room with a curated selection of records for each room.

00:12:53   We go in and there's a bunch of nice classic rock albums from the '60s. There's some Beatles, some Dylan, Van Morrison, some Zeppelin. It was a pretty nice collection of records.

00:13:07   They had this modern audio technical record player there. You have this beautiful analog medium. The whole point of vinyl is that it's all analog.

00:13:17   So, what is the speaker of choice? Next to the record player is a small Bose battery-powered Bluetooth speaker.

00:13:27   Emphasis on small, as in smaller than a tissue box.

00:13:31   Yeah, about the size of maybe a large stick of deodorant.

00:13:37   You might as well have just played it on your phone.

00:13:40   Yeah, so the record player, apparently modern record players, especially this one from Audio Technical, often offer Bluetooth output.

00:13:49   And of course, when I got there, it wasn't working because most Bose portable speakers have multi-pairing.

00:13:56   So, I went up and no sound was coming out. I was like, "Alright, let me see."

00:14:00   And I eventually pushed the Bluetooth button on the record player. That lit up, so it wasn't even on. So, I turned that on and still nothing's coming out. I turned up the volume on the speaker, nothing's coming out.

00:14:10   So, I finally found the button on the speaker that was the input select button. And you push it and you just keep pushing it.

00:14:15   It says, "iPhone, iPhone, iPhone, Bob's iPhone, Jane's iPhone, iPhone, iPhone."

00:14:19   And eventually, "Audio Technical, AT..." blah, blah, blah. So, then I finally found out how to do it.

00:14:23   But my God, a record player through a crappy little Bluetooth speaker.

00:14:30   It does not sound good.

00:14:31   And what's the point of the record? I mean, maybe the Bluetooth speaker adds warmth and charm.

00:14:37   No, no, no. That's the other side of it.

00:14:38   Nostalgia for crappy Bluetooth speakers.

00:14:41   Oh, yeah.

00:14:42   The records that were there were also completely destroyed because of records.

00:14:45   Yeah, any of the records that were from the most popular artists, like the Beatles records, were unplayable. You get through half a song before it would start a skipping loop.

00:14:54   Where it would just play the same segment, skip, play the same segment, skip.

00:14:57   It's almost as if this format has drawbacks that beg for it to be replaced by something better.

00:15:03   No, surely not.

00:15:05   The idea of having public records. I guess it's better than the idea that people are going to bring their vinyl records and pack them in their suitcase so they can all shatter when they're thrown in the back of their car.

00:15:15   But you go there, it's like, "Don't worry. We've got records for you. Just a public collection of records."

00:15:21   And you just know they're going to look like the toys in the waiting room at the doctor's office for the kids.

00:15:26   They've just been mangled by wave after wave of sick children. That's what these records are like.

00:15:30   Yeah, it was funny. We got halfway through Rubber Soul and I wanted to finish the album but it kept skipping so badly.

00:15:37   So I used to open up my laptop and play it there. And it was so much better.

00:15:41   You could play it on the same Bluetooth speaker and get the same high fidelity audio.

00:15:45   No, I just played it out of the built-in speakers on the new 16 inch and they're great.

00:15:48   You can compete. Which has more bass? This deck of cards Bluetooth speaker that's playing vinyl or my iPhone?

00:15:55   Well, I mean, and by the way, the vinyl format itself is not super great at bass for many good reasons.

00:16:00   That's what I'm saying.

00:16:02   Actually, I think the Bluetooth speaker did have more bass. That's one thing.

00:16:05   This is also my first time traveling with the new 16 inch. It's really surprisingly decent.

00:16:11   But it's still, like for speakers, but it's still not speakers. It's still not big speakers.

00:16:17   It still sounds like laptop speakers. It just sounds like really good laptop speakers.

00:16:22   But yeah, it's still very much laptop speakers. But still, very impressive device overall.

00:16:27   So Casey, sorry.

00:16:30   So you have been for two or three years now, maybe even more than that for all I know,

00:16:36   on a bit of a crusade trying to tell everyone that the LG Ultrafine monitor is neither ultra nor fine.

00:16:43   And I've had one for a couple of weeks now. And I have to say, when everything is working appropriately,

00:16:50   not unlike my BMW, it is a great monitor that I got for a really good deal.

00:16:55   And I don't regret it. Not one bit. I mean that genuinely.

00:16:58   However, this particular example is on the older side, and it appears based on not very scientific testing at all,

00:17:06   that Jon will surely poke holes into.

00:17:08   It appears that perhaps the main USB-C connector in the back, so there's four USB-C connectors,

00:17:14   and one of them is the one that you're allowed to transmit like power and the video signal on.

00:17:19   And the other three are just like a USB hub, right?

00:17:22   The one connector that transmits power and data and all that seems to be a little bit on the flaky side.

00:17:29   And so I think that's what happened last week when we were recording, was it just decided,

00:17:35   or maybe I grazed the cable or something like that, and it just decided, "I think I'm going to not work right now."

00:17:42   And that was undesirable.

00:17:45   So of interest to you, Marco, my MixPre-3 is connected directly to my laptop this week,

00:17:52   and not through the monitor as it was last week.

00:17:57   Just for the sake of argument, have you tried a different Thunderbolt cable?

00:18:00   I have. I have. And so I actually went to Apple and bought their $40-whatever-it-is-like-two-and-a-half-foot Thunderbolt cable,

00:18:09   and had no better luck with that.

00:18:11   In fact, that cable is currently carrying this audio from the MixPre-3 to the laptop as we speak.

00:18:16   But I tried that one. Well, it's a little overkill, but hey, it does the job.

00:18:21   I tried that one. I tried an Amazon one that I had laying around that I think was not Thunderbolt 3.

00:18:29   It was like some other flavor of Thunderbolt.

00:18:31   I'm really starting to hate USB-C in a whole new way now, because now it matters to me what cable quality I have for these sorts of things,

00:18:38   and it's completely unintelligible.

00:18:39   But nevertheless, I had an Amazon cable around that would run the monitor actually fairly consistently at like 4K,

00:18:45   but it wouldn't do it at 5K, which was very frustrating.

00:18:48   Anyway, so I'm back on the monitor that came with the monitor, and 98% of the time it works great,

00:18:56   but every day once in a while it decides, "Nope, I'm just going to sputter to death."

00:19:00   And then I have to reach behind and jiggle the little connection, and suddenly it all comes back to life again.

00:19:05   But it is very frustrating. I still stand by the purchase, and I know that my friend Chris, who sold it to me,

00:19:12   is probably listening to this and freaking out right now.

00:19:14   I stand by the purchase. I would say that to make him feel better, but it's also true.

00:19:17   I stand by the purchase. I got this at an incredible steal, and it was infinitely cheaper than a ridiculously overpriced Apple Pro Display XDR.

00:19:28   However, I kind of want a Pro Display XDR right now, because it is just barely frustrating enough to get on my nerves.

00:19:37   And it ruined--because the thing is, when it's working properly, as it is right now, it really is a great monitor.

00:19:43   The stand sucks, but the monitor's fine.

00:19:45   Great might be a stretch. I would say it's ultra fine.

00:19:50   It's an ultra fine monitor when everything is working properly.

00:19:54   But yeah, it's probably just this particular example, which again, I got it a steal. No regrets. Truly, no regrets.

00:20:01   I think this was the best compromise I could come up with.

00:20:06   But if any of you would like to go to ATP.fm/join and supply me with a Pro Display XDR, I wouldn't complain.

00:20:13   Yeah, so a few things. Number one, tell your friend this is why you don't sell technology to people you know.

00:20:18   No, no, no, no, no, no. He has nothing to feel bad about. Truly, he has nothing to feel bad about.

00:20:22   He really, really doesn't. Because as far as he knew, everything was working perfectly.

00:20:25   And 98% of the time it does! And he gave it to me at a great deal. So he has nothing to feel bad about. Hand to God.

00:20:31   This is the story of the LG 5K. It's kind of similar, but not as bad, but kind of similar to the butterfly keyboard thing.

00:20:39   Where like, you would have a problem with it. And if you ask people on Twitter or whatever, a third of the people saying,

00:20:45   "Yeah, I had the same problem. Mine flaked out or died or whatever."

00:20:49   And then you'll have other people saying, "What do you mean? Mine's been rock solid. What are you talking about?"

00:20:54   And it's enough people say it's been bad for them that there's definitely clearly problems with reliability.

00:21:01   But then somebody will say, "Oh, I managed a fleet of 50 of these for my office and we've had zero failures."

00:21:08   And you're like, "What?" But yeah, there's definitely something up with them. They have made multiple minor revisions over time.

00:21:15   And so some people try to say, "Well, the A and B revisions were bad, but then they fixed the C revision."

00:21:21   But who knows? It's hard to get solid data on that. But the result is you're having a very similar experience.

00:21:28   Actually, you're having a worse experience than I was with mine. Mine works. It's just mediocre.

00:21:35   Yeah, see, I actually genuinely stand accepted. Like my friend Chris, he said that the stand is a piece of garbage.

00:21:41   You have said the stand is a piece of garbage. Guess what? It's a piece of garbage. It functions as a stand.

00:21:47   And that's about the most praise I can give it. But that bill of goods was as it said on the tin.

00:21:52   Chris said to me before he sold it, he said, "I'm telling you, this stand's a piece of trash." And I was like, "Okay, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine."

00:21:57   But the display, again, it really is a nice display. It's not stupendous. It's not as fancy as your XDR.

00:22:04   But it is a nice display. And when paired with the laptop, especially this one, which is happy to run in clamshell mode,

00:22:10   I really, truly do love it. I really, really do. It's just that persnickety, like, every great once in a while, I'm done.

00:22:17   That gets a little frustrating, to say the least.

00:22:19   And the ports being unreliable is also not great.

00:22:23   Well, yes and no. Like, now that I'm not plugging my USB interface, my microphone interface through it, it's fine.

00:22:29   Because I don't really have anything of Note plugged into the back of it. Except, that's actually a perfect segue. I owe you a dollar.

00:22:35   It's a perfect segue to...

00:22:37   I sell segues, obviously.

00:22:39   I have plugged in my brand new Apple Magic... what is it? A Magic trackpad? Whatever the external trackpad is.

00:22:48   I am running it plugged in. Because, I don't know if the trackpad is a lemon. I don't think it is, I'll explain why in a second.

00:22:55   Maybe my computer is a lemon, I don't know. But the Bluetooth issues that I have never had in my entire life,

00:23:01   that's the same thing as you were talking about with the butterfly keyboard,

00:23:03   the Bluetooth issues that I've never, ever, ever had with any computer I've ever owned, it's killing me with this one.

00:23:08   So what seems to happen, this is, again, John can poke a million holes in this,

00:23:12   but the feeling of what's happening is that, like, either the laptop or the trackpad, or some combination thereof,

00:23:20   are like trying to go into low power mode too often.

00:23:24   So like, the second I stop mousing around, I don't notice any difference, but then I go, like I pick up my finger or whatever,

00:23:32   then I put my finger back on the trackpad and I go to mouse around some more, and it's like, hm? What?

00:23:37   Oh, oh, oh, yes, okay, sure, yeah, I'll do that. And it's like the most frustrating, infuriating thing.

00:23:42   And I haven't gotten scientific about it, I haven't moved the computer and trackpad elsewhere, I don't think.

00:23:48   But I did try the trackpad that worked great with my iMac Pro, the same iMac Pro that was sitting at the same desk,

00:23:55   and that had a similar problem. Now, I do believe I've used the trackpad without the LG plugged in,

00:24:02   and it's still at the same problem, because early LGs, of which this might be one, did have that, like, Wi-Fi interference thing,

00:24:08   but I've never noticed anything with this particular LG in that capacity, so I don't know what the deal is,

00:24:13   but I've tried two different trackpads, and they both seem to express the same problem.

00:24:17   I'm hoping that, like, some sort of software or firmware update or something can make it better,

00:24:22   but currently I have it plugged into the damn back of my--

00:24:23   You'll never get one.

00:24:24   I have it plugged into the back of this LG because it's more reliable that way, and it's preposterous.

00:24:29   I shouldn't need a cable for this damn trackpad that I just bought for a gazillion dollars.

00:24:33   I've heard a couple of parts of Monterey having some weird issues with Bluetooth stuff,

00:24:36   and anecdotally, my wife's crappy third-party Bluetooth keyboard that she likes to use has been, like,

00:24:41   spitting out double characters and other weird stuff since upgrading to Monterey.

00:24:46   I hope it's a just, you know, a software stack thing that they sort out in 12.1, but we'll see.

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00:26:48   All right, so apparently taking me to task about vinyl isn't quite done yet.

00:26:57   So, Marco, what else would you like to say, dear?

00:27:00   Okay, so you were on a delightful episode of the Double Density podcast.

00:27:04   We'll link to it in the show notes. That was a nice interview you did there.

00:27:08   You briefly breezed by and did a quick little hit on audio files, like the pH kind, not the F kind.

00:27:15   And one of the things you remarked upon is something that I hear all the time that I used to believe.

00:27:21   The ability on whether audio files are able to hear what's between the stair-step output of a digital sound wave

00:27:31   as opposed to an analog wave from a record would be a continuous sound wave.

00:27:38   But when you digitize sound, you sample it, and so you visualize it as a stair-step.

00:27:43   So I think I mentioned this a long time ago on the show.

00:27:46   You did.

00:27:47   Yeah, I did.

00:27:48   But we will once again link to this wonderful pair of videos on Ziff.org by this person, Monty,

00:27:57   who I think invented the Ogg Vorbis format or at least was involved in the inventing of it.

00:28:01   But the idea is the way that DACs work that convert digital sound back to analog for waves,

00:28:11   the output of digital sound formats, like when you output digital audio back to analog, is not a stair-step wave.

00:28:22   The way it works is complicated. I don't fully understand it.

00:28:26   But watch this video. You will see.

00:28:28   He uses an oscilloscope and shows you, even through a regular consumer-grade DAC,

00:28:38   the digital input and what samples are producing what output on the oscilloscope,

00:28:46   and it produces perfectly smooth waves.

00:28:50   That's what DACs do. That's how they work.

00:28:52   The conversion is not like a thousand percent flawless, but it's close enough that humans can't tell the difference.

00:28:58   And within sampling theory, it's important to know also that you're not losing any frequencies

00:29:06   if you are capturing things with a high enough sample rate so that the Nyquist level or whatever is within the realm of human hearing.

00:29:15   And 44.1 kHz is within the realm of human hearing. It'll capture every frequency we can actually hear.

00:29:21   So digital audio is not missing information that analog formats like records have that is within human hearing.

00:29:31   They're missing the noise, though.

00:29:33   Yes, they're missing the noise.

00:29:34   The noise added by hundreds of hotel guests scratching up the record. That's missing from the digital version.

00:29:39   You can't get the noise into it. No matter how many times you play it, it doesn't get scratched up.

00:29:44   I mean, I guess you can have bitrod eventually, but that's not really the fault of the file.

00:29:48   It's more the fault of the media that it's on.

00:29:50   Right. And DACs aren't perfect, and they can have components that flake out or die as well.

00:29:55   But the flaws inherent in digital conversion are well, well below what humans can hear, like in their levels and frequencies and everything like that.

00:30:06   The chat room is on the same wavelength as me.

00:30:08   I was going to say, if you would like to learn more about this topic more than perhaps could be covered in a YouTube video,

00:30:13   get an undergraduate education in electrical engineering and take a signals and systems class.

00:30:17   I did.

00:30:18   That's a bit much.

00:30:19   But it was 20 years ago.

00:30:20   And then Casey either flunked that class or forgot everything in it.

00:30:23   Okay, that's hurtful because I think I might have. And secondly, it was 20 years ago, so I've absolutely forgotten it.

00:30:30   What you need to know to be responsible nerd listeners out there is that digital audio output from a DAC is not a stair-step wave.

00:30:39   It is a perfectly smooth wave that perfectly represents the frequencies that were input within the rings that we can hear.

00:30:44   All right, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. There are many regrets and the offending person has been sacked.

00:30:50   All right, tell me, I think, Jon, about Apple's monitor pricing conundrum.

00:30:54   Yeah, we should have gripped this up with the monitoring talk, but it's fine. It's a slight diversion into vinyl.

00:30:58   I was thinking about this because we talked about it on the last show, you know, the monitor.

00:31:03   Well, maybe the show before that, the monitor situation and how Apple needs to make a monitor.

00:31:06   And we were also talking about the new displays and the MacBook Pros.

00:31:09   And I realized that kind of, you know, in rectus parlors, Apple kind of missed their window here.

00:31:14   We've been complaining about the lack of a reasonable Apple monitor for many years now.

00:31:20   And the old complaint was, hey, everybody loves the 5K iMac.

00:31:24   Why not just make a 5K iMac without the Mac?

00:31:29   You know, same display that's in there, you know, put it in a smaller case, don't give it a chin or whatever and sell that to us.

00:31:35   And you could sell it for a pretty high percentage of the cost of a bottom end 5K iMac because you're Apple.

00:31:41   You know, we kind of know what the price ceiling is.

00:31:44   Like, well, if I can get a 5K iMac for this price, surely just the monitor part would have to be the same price or less.

00:31:51   I mean, it stands to reason. You're moving the computer. No SSD, no CPU, no speakers.

00:31:57   So just, well, you know, maybe good speakers. Anyway, just give us that monitor.

00:32:01   But Apple never did that. And we complained for years and years and they never did it and it was all sad and, you know, we never got what we wanted.

00:32:07   But that's kind of the mindset we were in where we were saying like, oh, Apple should just make like a $1500 to $2000 monitor.

00:32:13   That's the idea of the 5K iMac without the iMac. That's what we're thinking.

00:32:17   But these new laptops have really screwed things up.

00:32:20   And that's why our previous discussion about pricing, you know, went in surprising directions.

00:32:24   The new laptops all have screens that are like, you know, better miniature Pro Display XDR.

00:32:31   Obviously, they're not as big as a Pro Display XDR. They have fewer pixels in them.

00:32:34   But they go just as bright. 1600 nits max brightness. They have way more zones.

00:32:38   Although I haven't been able to confirm this. They talk about how many LEDs are in there.

00:32:42   But the number of LEDs is not necessarily matched in the number of zones.

00:32:45   So I can't tell if these things actually have 10,000 zones or they just have 10,000 LEDs.

00:32:49   But either way, they surely have more zones and more LEDs than the Pro Display XDR.

00:32:54   They have great color reproduction. They have high refresh, which the Pro Display XDR doesn't have.

00:32:59   So these are their pro laptop screens.

00:33:02   The specs on these are so good that it doesn't seem like an Apple-ish thing to do to introduce a standalone screen that does not at least match the specs of their pro laptop screens.

00:33:16   Because historically, when Apple sells a big monitor, a 27-inch monitor or whatever, or a 5K monitor, it's something that you're selling to go along with the pro stuff.

00:33:27   If you're just getting a MacBook Air, maybe you're not going to get a 5K monitor to go with it.

00:33:32   Those are two different price classes of things.

00:33:34   There's nothing stopping Apple from making essentially the LG Ultra Find or a 5K iMac without the iMac.

00:33:41   They could do that right now. Do it today. Sell it for $1500. It's a perfectly fine product.

00:33:46   But it doesn't fit with Apple's line now that they've made the laptop monitors so good.

00:33:51   And as we discussed in previous shows, if you look for a 5K-ish or even 4K-ish monitor with similar specs to what the new MacBook Pro screens have, it costs huge amounts of money.

00:34:06   First of all, they're hard to even find, especially if you want everything.

00:34:10   If you want high refresh, 1600 nits, 99% P3 color gamut coverage, good luck finding a monitor that even does that.

00:34:19   And if you do find it, it's $3000. It's $5000.

00:34:23   And then Apple already sells a more than $5000 monitor to the Pro display XDR and it doesn't have high refresh.

00:34:29   And it doesn't have as many backlight zones on it.

00:34:32   And that's what we were trying to avoid.

00:34:34   "Hey Apple, you should make a monitor that's not the Pro display XDR."

00:34:37   So it's got me wondering if, because Apple decided to never make the 5K iMac without the iMac, they never did that.

00:34:44   Seems like they probably never will.

00:34:46   And then I'm trying to figure out, is there a space in the realm of reality for an Apple monitor that costs less than the Pro display XDR but is as good as the laptop monitors?

00:35:00   Granted, it would be smaller, 5K instead of 6K let's say, right?

00:35:04   But then again, how much would a 5K monitor with similar specs to the MacBook Pro screens cost?

00:35:11   Instead of being, what is the XDR, $6000?

00:35:15   Maybe it's $5000? And is that worth making a product because it's $1000 less?

00:35:20   Is it a $4500 monitor?

00:35:22   Because, you know, just look for a PC, you know, I was looking for my PlayStation, just look for a 4K PC monitor,

00:35:29   a "PC monitor," a 4K monitor from any manufacturer that matches the specs of the MacBook Pro ones.

00:35:36   If you can find one, then see what the price is.

00:35:38   I don't really understand how Apple can introduce a large 27-inch-ish retina monitor that matches the laptop display.

00:35:50   And if they can't do that, I don't really see them ever introducing a non-HDR 5K monitor at this point.

00:35:57   What we'll be telling is what the heck do they do for the large iMac? That's the real question here.

00:36:03   I can't imagine them launching a high-end, larger iMac with a worse screen than the MacBook Pro either.

00:36:11   So I think whatever they do there, that's our answer.

00:36:15   And I can't imagine that they would price the large iMac at greater than like a $3000 starting point.

00:36:25   Because the previous 27-inch was somewhere in the high 2000s, right?

00:36:29   I think that's right.

00:36:31   Yeah, so it's probably going to be at the most a $3000 entry price for whatever larger iMac they end up making,

00:36:40   assuming there is a larger iMac coming, which I don't necessarily know that that's a guaranteed thing, but I think it's a very likely thing.

00:36:46   I think it is coming, and I think you're hitting on what the key thing is.

00:36:49   Everything we're talking about is either old technology, like the old 5K iMac, or currently released technology like the laptop screens.

00:36:56   But the same way we couldn't have these laptop screens a year ago, when they come out with that bigger iMac, presumably it will have a screen made with technology that was not available.

00:37:06   That's not available now. It wasn't available six months ago when the current crop of monitors were made.

00:37:11   Display technology marches on.

00:37:13   So I fully believe that when they come out with a big iMac, it will have a much better screen in terms of HDR and all that stuff than the old 5K iMac.

00:37:22   I just wonder how good they can make it without destroying the price.

00:37:29   Because the laptop screens are small, you can sort of go all out.

00:37:35   Because it's a 14-inch screen, right?

00:37:37   And so we can afford to make it really good because it's just not that much of it.

00:37:41   But once you go out to 5K, there's so much more of it, you might have to hold the price.

00:37:46   Obviously I don't keep up with the latest in the panel market or whatever.

00:37:50   Maybe it's very easy to find scaled-up versions of the MacBook Pro panels and just, "Oh, I just want that panel at 5K."

00:37:56   Someone did that math. I think one of our listeners sent in, "If you just scale up in terms of square inches, the display in the 16-inch MacBook Pro costs this much.

00:38:05   And so if I scale up to 5K, it costs this much." That math mostly works out to a reasonably-priced iMac.

00:38:12   And then we're back into the previous situation, which is, "Okay, well just give me that iMac without the iMac."

00:38:16   And then Apple could field that display.

00:38:18   But the point is we haven't seen that yet. That doesn't yet exist.

00:38:21   And I don't think it exists. What I was trying to get at is I don't think it exists anywhere else either.

00:38:25   I don't think there's any sort of Microsoft Server Studio with these specs.

00:38:28   There's no gaming monitor with these specs.

00:38:30   This is technology that has not yet been released to the mass market as far as I know.

00:38:35   So it's kind of an unknown.

00:38:37   Obviously it will be possible eventually.

00:38:40   Hopefully it will be possible in the first half of 2022 when I hope to see the new iMac.

00:38:45   So if you do need a 5K iMac without the iMac, what you can use is, I think long ago, sponsor Luna Display, which just released a new version.

00:38:55   Yes, they did sponsor us.

00:38:56   Okay, they just released a new version that offers 4K and 5K support officially.

00:39:00   So I had tried this before I packaged my iMac Pro up for sale.

00:39:04   And in my experience, this was a couple of weeks ago now, it was basically unusable.

00:39:10   And as it turns out, I think that's because I didn't know at the time it wasn't really officially supported.

00:39:16   Now it is. So you can get 4K at 60Hz on a Mac or a PC, and you can get 5K at 30Hz on a PC or 45Hz on a Mac.

00:39:25   I can speak for 45Hz, but I have seen 5K at 30Hz in a different situation, and it is not great.

00:39:31   Because your mouse cursor seems like it is totally wigging out and not moving the way you expect it to.

00:39:37   I have not tried it with Luna Display, so maybe Luna does a better job, who knows.

00:39:41   But I do think that's pretty cool that you can do 4K at 60Hz on a Mac or a PC.

00:39:46   And if my iMac can't get sold by some other mechanism, then maybe I will just turn it into an external display.

00:39:54   If a combination of the iMac not selling and this LG just completely pooping its pants happens.

00:40:01   But anyway, for those of you who happen to have an old iMac laying around, you might want to give that a shot.

00:40:05   I love the idea of you having this Xeon workstation that's sitting there doing nothing except showing a video display from another computer.

00:40:13   Yep. You never know. It could happen.

00:40:16   Oh, that's sad.

00:40:17   Yeah, it is sad. But you know, this is the world I'm living in right now.

00:40:22   We also got some really good follow-up from Nick Matsakis with regard to junior vs. senior developers, which was an Ask ATP from last week.

00:40:30   I just wanted to read a quick excerpt from Nick.

00:40:32   To get hired or promoted into senior software engineering in his particular corporation, you also need to have the skills to deliver technical artifacts through others.

00:40:40   This means you need to be able to mentor junior engineers, but put processes and tooling in place so things don't go off the rails.

00:40:45   And know when you need to go deep vs. trust your juniors to get the job done.

00:40:49   Nick continues.

00:40:50   I feel that developers are more often career limited by their soft skills.

00:40:54   These skills are hard to quantify and develop not "more of the same" of what you were evaluated at as a junior.

00:40:59   Junior devs love to build stuff, that's why they got into the game, and get obvious rewards for building stuff. It's in the job title.

00:41:05   So many hit a wall when they try to move to senior development and the job is changed out from under them.

00:41:09   Or worse, they get promoted based on strong technical skills but then make bad decisions or fail to adequately mentor their juniors so the team falls apart without them.

00:41:16   I thought that was pretty good.

00:41:17   Also known as the Peter Principle. Being promoted to your level of incompetence.

00:41:20   "Hey, I was a really good developer, I keep getting promoted and promoted and now I'm in charge of other people and I'm not good at this job and now I stop getting promoted."

00:41:26   That's what the Peter Principle is for people who aren't around in the 60s who don't know how it was made up.

00:41:31   And it is still a thing.

00:41:32   I think the AskATP question was focusing on the technical stuff.

00:41:36   It's like, "What kind of things do I need to learn? Object oriented programming?"

00:41:38   That's kind of why we went off in the direction of technical skills and stuff like that.

00:41:42   But this is all definitely true.

00:41:44   To get anywhere in the workplace, forget about your job changing.

00:41:47   Which is definitely true as you march up in seniority.

00:41:49   I think we touched on a little bit of saying if you keep getting promoted, you'll eventually be like CTO.

00:41:55   And the job of CTO is so incredibly different from the job of entry level developer.

00:42:00   But there is a career path between them.

00:42:02   But there are big leaps in there depending on your organization.

00:42:05   Even if you're never going to management.

00:42:06   Even if you're an individual contributor for the entire time, you still have to learn how to work with and through others and mentor people.

00:42:14   Calling them soft skills is generally a derogatory term.

00:42:18   It's like, "These are the hard, manly skills like programming."

00:42:21   But then there's the soft skills like writing.

00:42:23   How are they different?

00:42:24   Well, you see, writing is squishy.

00:42:26   But when you write things that aren't words, that's hard.

00:42:31   As anyone who has programming, at least you have a compiler to check your syntax.

00:42:36   And no, grammar really doesn't count people.

00:42:39   I'm saying that the "soft skills" are much more difficult in the grand scheme of things than the "hard skills."

00:42:48   Especially at almost all levels of software development that people are likely to engage at.

00:42:54   Just because even at the junior and mid-level of being a developer, you have to write documentation.

00:42:59   And you have to communicate with people to do your job.

00:43:02   And that means you need to be able to express yourself through the written word.

00:43:05   And you need to be able to read words written by other people and understand them.

00:43:08   And those basic skills of reading and writing might not seem like what you thought you were getting into when you were a software developer.

00:43:15   They're part of every job.

00:43:16   Especially now in the age of email, there are very few "knowledge worker jobs"

00:43:21   where you will not be leaning heavily on and be eventually perhaps limited by your ability to communicate well in the written word.

00:43:31   In prose, not code.

00:43:33   Like just writing people emails, writing documentation, writing proposals.

00:43:36   Or even speaking. Speaking in a meeting, pitching your idea to a larger group.

00:43:41   Those are going to come up in every job, not just software.

00:43:44   People like to focus on, "Oh, which three-letter acronym and programming do I have to learn to become a super-duper senior or whatever?"

00:43:53   When the reality is, and I'm not even touching on things like office politics,

00:43:56   but the reality is that the thing that really makes you good at the next level of your job might have nothing to do with programming.

00:44:02   And office politics can be quite an adventure depending on where you are.

00:44:06   So be careful for that too.

00:44:08   That's a different skill set.

00:44:10   And I think the key skill there is knowing when it's time to leave.

00:44:13   [laughs]

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00:46:04   Thank you so much to Caseta by Lutron for sponsoring our show.

00:46:08   Let's talk about Mac Mini Rumors.

00:46:14   So this broke originally back in like May or something like that.

00:46:17   And this was Jon Prosser if I recall correctly.

00:46:19   We'll put a link to his YouTube video in the show notes.

00:46:23   But I guess there's been some new developments.

00:46:25   I haven't seen this myself.

00:46:26   I went looking and I must have missed it somehow.

00:46:29   So what's going on these days?

00:46:30   I was expecting to see like, okay, well, you know, this is just a fanciful idea.

00:46:34   But now we'll get the rumors will get more solid and we'll find out what the real deal is going to be as we get closer.

00:46:39   And from my, you know, vague glancing off the Mac rumor sphere, it seems like those old rumors are just being repeatedly, if not confirmed, then supported by all the evidence that we have.

00:46:53   So I thought it might be time to talk more seriously about these Mac Mini rumors, start taking it more seriously as a possibility that Apple might introduce a thing like this.

00:47:01   Because I look at it and I'm like, yeah, okay, I get what you're doing there.

00:47:04   Like I see, okay, that gives me the spirit of what a new Mac Mini might look like.

00:47:08   But now they're saying like, no, this isn't the spirit of the new Mac Mini.

00:47:10   This is literally going to be the new Mac Mini.

00:47:12   And I look at it and I have lots of thoughts and questions.

00:47:16   So to describe what we're talking about here, think of a Mac Mini as it looks today, but even even lower, even skinnier, even flatter.

00:47:25   Right. And, you know, that's why is it flatter?

00:47:30   Well, because it's got ARM CPU and they use less power and you don't need all that space and, you know, we can make it smaller.

00:47:35   And I kept going back and forth in this one, thinking about this topic.

00:47:39   It's called the Mac Mini is right in the name.

00:47:41   The fact that it's small is the selling point of this computer.

00:47:44   It's the smallest Mac. It's mini. Right. I get it.

00:47:49   But I do look at this and say, what has been gained by making the Mac Mini not as tall on your desk?

00:47:58   Because they reduced it. Let's say they reduce it by like a centimeter or something. Right.

00:48:03   You've made it many here, I guess, but you've made it many are in a dimension that I don't think matters for anybody except for Mac Mini Kolo.

00:48:13   They're putting them in racks like books, you know, even then, like once it's smaller than a you like, who cares?

00:48:19   No, but they stack them like vertically like books. Oh, that's right. Yeah.

00:48:23   More with. Right. So maybe it matters to them. But to the regular person. Yeah, you have made it many.

00:48:28   I'm not sure you've bought anything like if I wanted to make this many are I have a with and depth because it would take up less room on my desk.

00:48:37   Right. Rather than height, because I'm not stacking them. Right. And I don't there's no sort of height restriction.

00:48:42   And so making it lower down doesn't help me. And, you know, fashionably so.

00:48:46   Well, it looks cooler or whatever. And if we never made them lower, they would still be like, you know, three times as high like the original Mac Mini was like I get all that.

00:48:53   Like, I'm not I'm not saying you can never make it smaller. But if I had to choose which dimension to make it smaller, I might pick a different one.

00:48:58   And the other reason I think this is relevant is there were some rumors recently more fanciful rumors of trying to think like, would Apple make a Mac Mini with a M1 Max Duo?

00:49:11   Like basically two M1 Max's, you know, the rumored Jade 2C die thing. Like, would they ever make a Mac Mini with that?

00:49:18   And I don't think that these renders of a very slimmed down, even lower to the desk Mac Mini can support enough cooling for a Duo because they're so thin there.

00:49:31   I mean, they're not as thin as a laptop, but they're close to. And I don't think the laptops can support a Duo.

00:49:36   I don't think this can support. And so that brought me back to the other thing. I was like, what is gained by making this lower?

00:49:42   Well, it looks kind of cooler, right? What is lost by making it lower? If you had left it the same height, could you support a Duo in there?

00:49:48   Maybe that's a ridiculous machine. No one wants to spend three thousand dollars on a Mac Mini.

00:49:52   Although you might be able to with this one, depending if you put like a terabyte SSD in it or something.

00:49:56   Right. But I guess what I'm getting at is like, what is what is the role of the Mac Mini and Apple's lineup?

00:50:02   It has long since stopped being like, oh, if you want the cheapest possible Mac, get this one.

00:50:06   Like when the Mac Mini was like four ninety nine, I think when I was first introduced to something like that.

00:50:10   Those days are gone. Anyone who if you want to get a decent Mac Mini, you're at a four digit price immediately.

00:50:15   And it goes way up from there. And I think they're great. Like, I think this is a great machine to have in the lineup.

00:50:20   It doesn't come with a keyboard and a mouse. And, you know, you can connect an external monitor if you can find one.

00:50:24   Sorry, Casey. But hey, it can drive the XDR if you've got tons of bucks.

00:50:29   And if you want a desktop Mac, but don't want to have an integrated display, Apple offers your product.

00:50:34   I'm just wondering, like, where where is this product?

00:50:39   What is the pitch of this product? Like to say a little bit more about the rumor diagram here.

00:50:43   They also show the the magnetic connector power connector thingy from the iMac.

00:50:49   Right. And that presumably and the rumors say that like this wouldn't have an integrated power supply.

00:50:53   So we would have a power brick with the magnetic connector thingy. Right.

00:50:57   But the magnetic connector, it's like big and proprietary and it snaps into the little thing or whatever.

00:51:03   But on the the 24 inch iMac, it also has Ethernet on the power brick.

00:51:08   But this Mac Mini has Ethernet on the actual computer. So why?

00:51:13   Why would it use the same connector that has the ability to tunnel Ethernet over it?

00:51:17   Why not just use like an Apple TV type plug? And more importantly, why is the power supply outside the Mac Mini?

00:51:23   It becomes substantially less mini when a brick that is close to the volume of the entire Mac Mini is has to be dangling behind your desk somewhere.

00:51:33   So these rumors confuse me. And I'm not sure what to think about a Mac Mini like this.

00:51:38   Obviously, the performance would be great. You know, it would be great to have a Mac Mini, you know, a Mac Mini with an M1 Pro or M1 Macs inside it.

00:51:45   It would be faster. It would be a great little developer machine if Apple ever made a decent external monitor.

00:51:49   All that is is great. But I just I don't understand the sort of design brief for this computer other than to say, imagine a 24 inch iMac, but without the screen.

00:52:00   Yeah, I this these rumors, I think you're right that they are confusing.

00:52:05   How like, you know, the police kind of know when a story is like when when someone's lying or like grown ups know when kids are telling a story about what happened.

00:52:14   And it doesn't make sense because that usually means someone's lying like you can always kind of tell like, all right, this this story that like, like whenever a kid is explaining to you something that happened that is disputed or that somebody got in trouble or should get in trouble for it.

00:52:33   The first version of the story never makes a lot of sense.

00:52:36   You're always like, wait, why would this person do that? There has to be more information here that I'm missing because that version of the story doesn't make sense.

00:52:44   And usually that's because either something's being left out or something's being lied about.

00:52:48   So in this in the case of Mac product, Apple product rumors, if something about the rumors is really weird or doesn't make sense, they're probably just wrong.

00:53:00   Like that's like, not to say that they're like intentionally lying, but just whatever information source this came from is probably either incomplete or just flat out wrong.

00:53:11   Now, occasionally we do get surprised.

00:53:14   Occasionally, the rumors do say something that seems like it would be impossible or nonsensical.

00:53:20   And then Apple actually releases it just like that.

00:53:22   And the rumors were right and were blown away like, Oh my God, I can't believe they I found a way to do this or this actually happened.

00:53:28   But usually the rumors where we can't quite piece together like how or why it would work that way.

00:53:34   Usually those end up being wrong.

00:53:36   And I frankly, I don't believe this Mac Mini rumor in its entirety.

00:53:44   You know, the the allegedly leaked schematics of like this case, like the exterior case band that they have.

00:53:52   I don't necessarily buy that. And the render that they made based on that leak is not only a bad representation of the leak.

00:54:03   If you look at things like the vertical centering of the ports, it's just wrong in the render compared to the least schematic.

00:54:09   But also, I just don't buy that the Mac Mini would be this aspect ratio and would have those ports.

00:54:18   So the ports are the more interesting thing to me. And I think the reason why this this makes even less sense.

00:54:23   The more we like now that we've seen the the like MacBook Pro story of Apple Silicon, one of the biggest problems that this purported Mac Mini has is it has too many USB ports.

00:54:36   Now, one of the many problems with this design, as depicted here in the alleged leaks schematic and in the render they made from it, is that the USB ports are too close together.

00:54:46   I was going to say that when I first saw this thing, that's what made me think, OK, this is a fanciful render, but someone didn't think this through because those USB ports are so close together that I don't even think Apple's slimmest USB connectors could fit.

00:54:58   Like what we're saying is if you put if you filled all the ports, there's four of them there and they're vertical, right?

00:55:03   If you put four USB connectors in those four ports, you'd put the first one in fine. Then you try to put the one right next to it and it wouldn't fit because the plastic parts would hit each other.

00:55:11   These are so close together. The space between the ports is like half the distance of the half the width of the ports themselves.

00:55:18   But then there's the schematics and the schematics are like, well, you know, we have actual CAD files.

00:55:23   This is a real thing. So I'm at the point now I'm kind of panicking and I'm saying, I really hope Apple didn't make a computer with USB ports that are so close together that we're going to have to buy like this whole sort of like mini market for like these USB cables.

00:55:39   New, narrow enough to fit on Apple's new Mac mini, like a sub market where there have to be special products that they can gouge you on.

00:55:46   It could be like the original iPhone's headphone jack.

00:55:48   Exactly. It's a great, I mean, peripheral makers much love it. It's just like, hey, I know you have a ton of these cables already, but they're all useless. You have to buy our special one. And by the way, each one of them costs five bucks more.

00:55:59   You know, I wonder if this schematic would, or the renderings were wrong. Like I will be the first to tell you this is a very shaky theory, but what if those four USB C ports, so let me describe the renderings that we're seeing here.

00:56:12   So there's a circular power button, a larger circle that is that, you know, iMac style mondo power connector.

00:56:19   Then four USB C ports, as you guys described way too close together, just uncomfortably close together, two USB, what is it? A, I always get it wrong, USB A ports, an ethernet port, and an HDMI port.

00:56:30   What if, and this is based on schematics that aren't entirely clear as to what each of these ports are. So, you know, some best guesses are being made.

00:56:39   And I think the best guesses do make sense, you know, the proximity of the USB C ports notwithstanding, but what if the four USB C ports are actually like a vent and the two USB A ports are where USB C is going.

00:56:51   So there's only two USB C ports and there is a vent between the power and the two USB C ports.

00:56:57   Well, so if you look at the current M1 Mac Mini, it does have two USB As, HDMI, ethernet, and it has two USB C ports. If you also then look at the MacBook Pros that were just released, they have three USB C ports.

00:57:15   And it seems like one of the reasons why, like from some of the visualizations of the chip diagrams and everything, it seems like there might not be enough Thunderbolt controllers or bandwidth in the chip to supply four independent Thunderbolt 4 ports.

00:57:32   So, I'm guessing the next Mac Mini, unless it's based on the Duo chip, which I'm with John, I don't think it would be for lots of reasons, but unless it's based on the Duo chip, I don't think anything based on the M1 Pro or M1 Macs is going to have four Thunderbolt 4 ports and two USB ports.

00:57:54   That to me, that's wishful thinking, I think. And also, there's so much about this that seems weird. So, the Mac Mini, for all of its bad history of being neglected and everything, when Apple updated it in, what was it, 2018 when they kind of reinvigorated it with that event in Brooklyn, right? Wasn't that the Mac Mini?

00:58:17   I thought that was Mac with the random MacBook Air. It was both. Was it both? Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was the same event. So, yeah, it was like October 2018 or whatever. Yeah, we were there. You and I were there. Yeah, that's why it sticks out of my mind. Anyway, so I'm pretty sure there was a Mac Mini there and that was like the big revival of the Mac Mini, right?

00:58:33   And one of the things that was clear at that time was Apple had finally realized what the Mac Mini was and what it wasn't anymore, if ever. And one of the things that the Mac Mini wasn't anymore was an alternative to an iMac that most people should buy as a desktop.

00:58:55   They realized instead that what the Mac Mini had been being used for for a long time and what its natural role in the modern Apple product line is, is not a desktop most people should buy to put on a desk, but some kind of utility Mac that you need for some reason that's not covered by the iMac or MacBook Pro lines.

00:59:17   So whether you're running something headless somewhere in a data center or in a closet or as like a file server in your office or something, or whether you're running a media center or some kind of specialized role, maybe like a build farm, you know, stuff like that, render farms.

00:59:31   That's what the Mac Mini is for. It is not considered an iMac alternative for most people.

00:59:39   Once Apple realized that in 20, and when they launched it in 2018, like with this new direction, they loaded it up with ports, they maximized utility, they stopped trying to make it a very low end product and just made it like a nice mid range product that had actually some pretty high CPU options if you wanted to spec them up.

00:59:59   They went all in on the utility, it's almost like a pro product where they don't seem to expect most consumers to want to buy this computer.

01:00:09   And so if they still see it that way, which I hope they do because I think it has been much more successful that way ever since they've kind of redirected it like that.

01:00:18   If they still see it that way, it makes very little sense to me to make compromises to make it more like the new thin iMac when the product is not really being used in a way that would reward or even want those compromises.

01:00:34   So one of those compromises for me is the external power supply. I hope the Mac Mini doesn't have an external power supply.

01:00:40   I don't think that's a very good idea for the product and no one cares about making it a little bit smaller. No one is looking at the current Mac Mini and saying, well, I would buy this but it's too big.

01:00:51   Like no one, that's not a decision that anybody makes about that product. People who buy the Mac Mini buy it for some kind of utility that is not covered by the other Macs and it's already pretty small.

01:01:03   It could be made a little smaller but that's not a very important thing. And if the way you make it smaller is by pushing the power supply outside of the case, well that's kind of a cheap crappy way to make it smaller because then we have a big power brick to put somewhere.

01:01:18   So like that's outsourcing the problem to the exterior of the case, basically a dongle.

01:01:23   And it makes sense kind of maybe with the new iMac because of the ultra thin, yeah, yeah, whatever. It's very impressive, I'm very proud of them, I'm very happy that everyone's happy about it.

01:01:33   But it doesn't make sense for this product. Where this product is often put in tight spaces or places where you're putting a lot of them together for some reason.

01:01:41   Where having an external power supply is a big pain in the butt in that kind of context. So I hope they're not doing that.

01:01:46   And similarly, the idea of trying to make it as thin as possible, you know, similar to the new iMacs, I don't see why that would make sense either.

01:01:55   Again, that's not being demanded by the customers of this product. And if it's going to have an Ethernet jack in it, which I think A, it should for utility purposes.

01:02:06   But B, if that's going to be in there, then it's going to be a certain minimum thickness to fit the Ethernet jack.

01:02:12   And if you can fit that, you can probably fit a power supply in there. And if you can't, you should redesign the case so you can because external power supplies suck for Mac Minis.

01:02:20   That's a terrible idea, please don't do that. So this is one of the many reasons why I assume most of what we've heard has been wrong.

01:02:28   I also think it's interesting that the MacBook Pro event came and went and there was no Mac Mini.

01:02:34   There still remain more product in the lineup, the Mac Mini and the big iMac that we expect to probably have M1 Pro and Macs chips in them.

01:02:44   So maybe these rumors that came out almost a year ago, maybe these were based on previous concepts that they decided not to go with. Who knows?

01:02:54   It's probably just wrong. That's the most likely scenario here. These are probably just wrong.

01:03:00   And frankly, I hope they're wrong because if they go in this direction with this product of trying to make it as tiny as possible at the expense of utility and the way it's actually used,

01:03:12   I think that is a reversion to some bad Ivy in times that they seem to have thankfully moved away from.

01:03:23   They seem to have seen the error in their ways with some of their priorities being out of whack and they're now much better at making products that actually fit the customers who buy them and fit their needs.

01:03:34   And so to make the Mac Mini fit people's needs worse, I don't think is the right move.

01:03:39   And because they've had such a good record of that recently, that also makes it seem less plausible that they would do it.

01:03:45   I have a hard time believing that they would make decisions about this product that would make it worse for its users at this point, which is great.

01:03:51   I trust them to finally be doing things well on a reliable, regular basis. And this concept would not be doing things as well as it could.

01:04:00   Yeah, there's a couple of big question marks there because we don't... I know what you're saying, like, "Oh, the Mac Mini is kind of like a pro product now."

01:04:08   But it's not... it hasn't really been. You're right that it's no longer like, "Oh, this is a cheap bargain-basement thing."

01:04:14   You're right that they leaned into utility, but it's always been kind of this middle space where they haven't really... like, they never made a Mac Mini with a Z on it, right?

01:04:21   So it's not as pro. Like, the MacBook Pros were easier. This pro right in the name, they made them for pros so clearly they made them...

01:04:31   They didn't try to make them as thin as possible. They put a bunch of ports in them, whatever.

01:04:34   The Mac Mini has always kind of been there since 2018 with all those ports in the back and everything.

01:04:39   But it hasn't been the type of thing where they try to crank up the specs to, you know, the degree they did on the MacBook Pros.

01:04:45   One thing that does fit with that sort of utilitarian, almost pro kind of rumor is the fact that this has all these ports.

01:04:52   And you mentioned, like, for USB-C and everything, like, on the MacBook Pros, the reason they have the number of ports to do is they want each one of them to have the full bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4 or whatever, right?

01:05:03   And by the way, for the record, the current Intel Mac Mini does have exactly these ports. Like, it actually... it does have 4 USB-C and 2 USB-A and HDMI and Ethernet.

01:05:13   It's only the M1 Mini that drops it down to 2 USB-C for, you know, probably for bandwidth reasons.

01:05:19   But again, like, I think because we didn't get 4 USB-C on the new MacBook Pros, I think that would be unlikely to see that configuration in a computer that's probably using the exact same chips, does it?

01:05:29   Well, but the reason I think it fits to have 4 of them, not necessarily a misarrangement, is because on the Mac Mini, it's definitely a Mac Mini-ish thing to do to say, well, in the case of the Mac Mini, it's okay for two of those ports to share a single, you know, Thunderbolt bus.

01:05:45   Like, they're sharing the 40 gigabits between the last two ports, you know what I mean? Like, you can add USB-C ports as much, like, plain old USB-C ports as much as you want.

01:05:53   You're just stealing bandwidth from the Thunderbolt ones, so you can't, you know, those aren't all 40 gigabits per second, which is fine. For a Mac Mini, having that tradeoff of saying, in exchange for not having full bandwidth in every one of these ports, I'll have to maybe know which ones are full bandwidth, but I get more places to plug stuff in.

01:06:09   I just don't think the physical arrangement makes that much sense. And on the physical specs here, with Casey's idea that those could be vents, right?

01:06:16   The reason that's interesting is because if you look at the supposed cooling design, according to these renders and these specs, the supposed cooling doesn't make that much sense either.

01:06:27   It's got these long ski feet, which are like on the bottom of the iMac, the 24-inch iMac has these ski feet on the bottom of it, right? Like long strips of rubber instead of little dots of rubber on the corners.

01:06:37   And then it's got a downward-facing vent in the bottom, and then I think they're trying to say that around the top there would be an opening all around the top edge for intake, and then it would exhaust out the bottom.

01:06:50   But in general, you don't want to exhaust hot air out the bottom of anything. You really want to exhaust hot air out the top or maybe the back.

01:06:57   But what I'm saying is I don't understand how this machine cools itself, according to these renders. And in that world, those USB-C ports, they should be a vent, because it would be more efficient to eject the hot air from that than it would be to blow the hot air out this little skinny downward-facing thing.

01:07:16   And I was thinking of power bricks, by the way. I was thinking of having this in an entertainment center, like if this is your "I connect this Mac Mini to my TV," which is a thing a lot of hobbyists do with their Mac Minis. It fits into an entertainment center.

01:07:28   And I thought of the back of my TV, the giant rat's nest of wires back there, and there are way too many power bricks back there. So the Mac Mini would fit right in with its stupid, annoying power brick alongside all the other stupid, annoying power bricks that are back there.

01:07:41   And trying to eject hot air into your little entertainment center from this tiny little port, I don't understand this machine. But like I said, the rumors that I've been seeing have not been in the vein of "Oh, that was totally wrong. The new Mac Mini is totally different."

01:07:56   But on the other hand, we haven't actually seen this machine released either, to Marco's point. So maybe this was once the plan and is it now. I don't know.

01:08:03   But it is confusing. I don't think there will ever be a Mac Mini Pro, because that machine doesn't make sense to me. So I still think them making it lower to the desk, flatter, is a reasonable thing that I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

01:08:22   Because it's kind of like, what bonus do we have? The M1 Mac Mini, the one that's out now, to the point in case people want to bring it up, they don't need to transition the Mac Mini to ARM. They already did that. Yes, they did. It's got a plain old M1 in it.

01:08:36   But that was the conversion where they essentially took the existing Mac Mini, ripped out its guts, put in way smaller guts, and left a lot of empty space inside there. Kind of like they did with the MacBook Air. What we're looking at here is the 24-inch iMac or the new MacBook Pro version.

01:08:52   It's like, okay, but what if we designed a Mac Mini knowing ahead of time we have these amazing ARM chips? What would that look like? And I'm not sure what Apple's... We don't have any evidence of Apple's thinking for its desktop computers. We have evidence when they make their Pro laptops that they're going to make all the right decisions. And we've talked about that before, right?

01:09:11   But when they decide to redesign the iMac, they made very different decisions. The smaller iMac, they made very different decisions, right? So when they redesigned the Mac Mini, if they redesigned the Mac Mini with ARM chips in mind, do they take it in a MacBook Pro direction? Or do they take it in a 24-inch iMac direction?

01:09:29   And it's not clear to me, given the history since 2018 of the Mac Mini, which direction is more likely because I don't see them bringing in the MacBook Pro direction, right? To say, this is a Pro machine, we got to do the Pro stuff, and we got to really beef this thing up and put an SD card slot back in there and do it.

01:09:50   I don't see them doing that because it's not a Pro machine, as from Apple's stance. But it's also not, to Margot's earlier point, a consumer machine. It's not like, "Hey, everybody loves you. They come in fun colors." It is not a mass-market consumer machine. Not even to the degree the iMac is. The mass-market machines are laptops.

01:10:09   Already, when you're talking about a desktop, you're narrowing your focus to this tiny sliver of the population, right? And even within the realm of desktops, I don't know where the Mac Mini should go.

01:10:21   I guess the real solution that Apple will do is, what if we just don't update it for two years? And then, whatever we release, you'll be so happy to have any update at all that you won't be able to complain about this stuff.

01:10:30   But right now, we're still hungry for new machines, and the reason we believe it is we see the MacBook Pros with the M1 Pro and the M1 Max, and we say, "Those CPUs would work great in a Mac Mini. Release one with those in it."

01:10:44   But then all we've got to look at are these weird renders of this computer that we don't understand.

01:10:48   Hopefully this will be resolved eventually, but I think it's an interesting mystery about the Mac lineup. What will Apple do with the Mac Mini and then the larger mystery, what will Apple do with a desktop, with a Pro desktop? We have no evidence of that.

01:11:01   We're kind of like where we were before the new MacBook Pros came out. We didn't know for sure what Apple would do. What does a Pro computer with an ARM chip in it look like? And now we know that answer on the laptop, and it's great.

01:11:12   We still don't know the answer to the desktop. We hope it's great. We hope what we essentially see is, "Oh, the big iMac came out, and it is essentially just as great an iMac as the new MacBook Pros are at doing their job." But the Mac Mini, I don't have a good read on where that's going.

01:11:26   Can I give you one more stupid theory?

01:11:28   Absolutely. That's what our show is for.

01:11:31   What if the Mac Mini is so thin because it's being passively cooled? Like, the whole shell is one big heatsink.

01:11:39   That's an interesting theory, but I don't think that product needs that.

01:11:46   Where are the antennas, though? I think the top has to be not metal, and that's bad for dispersing heat.

01:11:52   Fair enough.

01:11:53   Also, if it's going to have an M1 Pro and Macs in it, we haven't seen any of those be passively cooled. We've only seen the M1 be passively cooled, and even the M1 Mac Mini has a fan. So I think it's unlikely.

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01:14:04   Alright, let's do some Ask ATP. And let's start with Ryan, who writes, "If Apple acquired and successfully integrated the best of Apple and the best of one of the following companies, Canon for their big camera optics and computational photography, BMW for perhaps the Apple Car, or Nintendo games on Apple Silicon, which would you be most excited about?"

01:14:22   I'm really having a hard time, this is such claim chowder, but I'm really having a hard time getting excited about the Apple Car. In fact, just today I think I saw a post somewhere about how another one of their executives have left to go somewhere else.

01:14:34   I'm having a hard time finding myself getting excited about an Apple Car. I like Nintendo, I've always liked Nintendo, and I like the idea of getting Apple into gaming, but I really think that Apple and Canon or equivalent, if not Canon, someone else,

01:14:50   just bringing the best of both worlds together would make me personally the most excited. To really see Apple go even further in the deep end with incredible optics I think would be super cool. Marco, where do you land on this?

01:15:04   Alright, so Nintendo having games on Apple Silicon, that to me, I think I would rule that out because as awesome as the Apple Silicon hardware capabilities are, like the iPad and the iPhone are gaming machines in a certain way that we've talked about, but Nintendo quality games and game systems, they tend to require dedicated game hardware.

01:15:30   And I don't see Apple really doing a good job at making that or running it. Now see, this question leaves a lot of room by saying if Apple acquired and successfully integrated the best of these companies, and that's a very interesting question.

01:15:48   But I would say Nintendo, I'm less excited about. BMW, with the idea of becoming a car company, I'm with you. I don't see the point of the car project. There was actually a really good discussion about this on the talk show this week with Gruber and Jim Dalrymple.

01:16:05   That if you think about the kinds of things Apple is good at and cares a lot about, most of that is not the car business. The things that you need to succeed in the car business and the kind of success you would get in an ideal scenario is really not Apple's wheelhouse or even something that Apple would seem to want.

01:16:28   So we have enough information to suggest that the car project is almost certainly real. What form it is now or has taken in the past is certainly up for debate and there's a lot of changes that seem to be going on over time.

01:16:44   But for the most part, we have a pretty clear picture that there is a large car project going on at Apple and has been for some time. I do not understand why. I really honestly don't. I don't think it's something that they can make.

01:17:01   I don't think it's something they should make and I certainly don't think it's something that is worth taking talent away from their other efforts and it seems like it has done a lot of that. So frankly, I think it will be interesting to look back on this era of Tim Cook's leadership and to see was this a good bet or not.

01:17:21   Because it's a big bet and it's a big project that's taken a lot of resources and churning through a lot of people and is that a good use of the company's resources? Is that a direction you even want to go? Frankly, I don't see it.

01:17:35   But anyway, so I wouldn't want them to become a car company in any way. I still think they shouldn't and the fact that they have gone so far, I think they should shut it down and you know, count their losses and move on.

01:17:47   That leaves Canon and the idea of integrating big camera optics. That I think is by far the most likely to succeed, the most likely to be useful and the most valuable thing they could do.

01:18:02   Because again, what drives iPhone upgrades? Cameras and broken screens and dead batteries but mostly cameras. Let's be honest, that's why most people upgrade their phones. Either their previous phone has died or has gotten so old that they can't use it anymore.

01:18:18   And/or they upgrade to get the new cool camera. And so anything that can push Apple's phone camera tech forward is very valuable to Apple and very useful to all of us consumers.

01:18:33   Most of whom are only using our phones as our only cameras now. Like we don't usually use big cameras anymore as consumers. Phones are by far dominant.

01:18:41   So that would benefit all of their customers and it would be a thing that would work very well with what they already do, what they're already good at.

01:18:51   And depending on what integration of Canon would entail, does that mean Apple would start making bigger cameras? That would be interesting. I've talked about it before. I would never expect that to happen but I would love that.

01:19:05   What can Apple do with larger sensors, with larger optics and a larger device? That would be awesome. But that I think is by far the clear choice here.

01:19:15   Make Apple better at cameras before you make them better at games or cars.

01:19:22   So Nintendo, I know the question says successfully integrate the best of or whatever. Nintendo, I would never want Apple to get near Nintendo because they would ruin it.

01:19:36   Is that like when Spotify integrates a podcast?

01:19:38   If Apple successfully integrated the best of Nintendo, it would mean that Apple suddenly learned how to make innovative gaming hardware and good gaming software. But what's missing from that, and we're just assuming the success of the scenario in the questionnaire,

01:19:56   what's missing is that it also means that Nintendo would no longer exist as an independent company outside of Apple's influence. So even though Apple absorbed the best of it and you'd still get Nintendo quality games, they just come from Apple now.

01:20:09   Nintendo as an independent entity would no longer exist and therefore it wouldn't be able to do things like make the Wii because that's just not something that Apple would do because it's such a weird Nintendo-y thing, a standard definition console with motion control when everyone else is doing HD.

01:20:22   What a stupid idea that's going to be an incredible failure. And then you get Virtual Boys mixed in there too. But Nintendo as an independent company is much greater than just the best of Nintendo.

01:20:35   I don't want the best of Nintendo to be absorbed by a bigger company that makes cars and computers. I want Nintendo to continue to exist as an independent company that does weird Nintendo things.

01:20:44   No. Don't like that one. BMW, and we've talked about this before, and Marcus said the same thing, Apple does have a tiny bit of overlap with a company like BMW in that Apple is good at manufacturing things and is very careful about it, but manufacturing the things that Apple manufactures with partners is very different than manufacturing things that BMW manufactures with partners.

01:21:06   It's just different scales. And in terms of repairability and reliability, it's whole different worlds of a car versus a delicate little device that you try to seal against dust and water, but that's about it.

01:21:19   So I don't think there's too many synergies there. The Apple car thing, the latest rumor, we just mentioned this now, the latest rumor is like, "Oh, Apple is really heavily concentrating on full self-driving."

01:21:32   It's not quite the same as the AR/VR stuff because even though no one has really solved that problem, I think you can see a path from current technology of like, "Oh, these big heavy goggles."

01:21:49   You can just extrapolate from existing tech and say, "Okay, well, but that tech will get lighter and the resolution will go up and the battery life will get better." Because that's just the path. These are not mysterious technologies. Look at how much better our screens are on our laptops. Look how much thinner they are. Look how much brighter they are. Look how much higher the refresh is. Look how much lower power and higher performance the CPUs are.

01:22:10   All those same effects will slowly bring AR/VR things from where they are now as gigantic, skee-goggly things to be smaller and smaller.

01:22:20   So even though that problem hasn't been solved, as we've mentioned in past shows, we haven't gotten to the threshold where it's a consumer product that everyone gets and is everyone's comfortable with, even though it's still a weird thing that only weird techy people use.

01:22:31   We can see a path to that. Right now, nobody can see a path to human-level driving ability in computers. And so it's great that Apple wants to sink some of its billions of dollars into that, but it is so much less likely to happen in any timeframe that anyone cares about than the AR/VR stuff.

01:22:50   The AR/VR stuff is Apple should be working on it. Everyone's working on it for a reason. Apple should be working on it. Apple is making good progress. That's a good use of Apple's money, even though it still hasn't produced any products other than LiDAR sensors and ARKit and all that other stuff.

01:23:04   The car, though, you can make a good car. I think that's a reasonable thing for Apple to do. But if your car project is now human-level self-driving or bust, I'm voting for bust. I want to put my money on bust because no one's done it. There's not even a path to it. No one has any idea.

01:23:24   People think, "Well, we've got 50% of the way there, so if we just extrapolate from current trends, we'll do it." And it's the same type of thing in the '50s where people were like, "Well, look at how smart a computer is today in 1950. And it can answer these questions. It's almost like a little human. I can type in the thing and it tells me a question. If I just extrapolate, by 1982, the computers will be smarter than all the humans combined."

01:23:48   And it's the story of AI. They always just push that farther and farther out because you get to 1982 and it's like, "Well, actually, this is a harder problem than we thought and computers are still pretty dumb."

01:23:57   But by the year 2000, computers will be so smart that humans won't have to do any work and they'll solve all our problems. Actually, by the year 2000, they're still pretty dumb, but you can get music for free on the internet.

01:24:07   It keeps getting farther out because we don't understand the problem space. I think that is true of driving as well. The problem space of driving in the general case is very similar to the problem space of general human level intelligence.

01:24:20   We like to think it's not because we don't need to be as smart as a human to drive. We just need to know where the road is and stay on it. Isn't that easy? You can get real close, but that last little bit makes all the difference.

01:24:32   Again, this is just based on rumors. If the rumor is true that Apple basically wants to sell you a car without a steering wheel. That's the physical incarnation of what I'm describing here.

01:24:48   It doesn't even have a steering wheel. Why would it have a steering wheel? You're never going to drive it. It doesn't need you to drive it. It drives itself. No steering wheel, no pedals. That's the goal.

01:24:56   If that's the goal, Apple, you're not going to ship. Because nobody has done that. You don't know how to do it because nobody knows how to do it. We can't get directly there from where we are now.

01:25:07   There is a leap that we have not yet made. Maybe Apple has made it and they'll wow us all and say, "Guess what? Here's a car with no steering wheel and you never need it."

01:25:15   Or maybe they'll sell that car but they can only drive around Cupertino because they've 3D mapped every inch of the roads and it never has weather. I don't know.

01:25:22   But if that rumor is true, it makes no sense and it makes me more pessimistic about the car project.

01:25:27   If Apple wants to make a car, I think the synergy between BMW and Apple. Because BMW for all its faults knows way more about making cars than Apple does.

01:25:36   If Apple just wanted to make a car, just a plain old car that human beings drive and has driver-assist functionality like a car as we currently understand them.

01:25:43   BMW would be a good partnership and I think they could make a better car than Apple on its own. Because Apple on its own is not going to make as good a car as Apple plus the integration of the best that BMW would make.

01:25:54   But the rumors are that Apple doesn't want to make a car. They want to make a fantasy pod with no steering wheel and that doesn't exist. So skip BMW.

01:26:02   Finally, we land on the camera thing with Canon. What this made me think of is there is actually the reverse synergy.

01:26:13   So Sony is a company that makes camera sensors and they may also make big interchangeable lens cameras and small point and shoot cameras. They make a lot of stuff.

01:26:22   Sony also makes smartphones. Sony actually made a smartphone that integrates the best of a smartphone company with the best of its own cameras.

01:26:34   They took a one inch camera from their own RX100 7 point and shoot camera, or one inch sensor rather, one inch sensor from their own camera and shoved it inside a smartphone.

01:26:47   So they basically took, like, "Oh, imagine if Sony, the camera company, merged with Sony, the smartphone company. What could they make?"

01:26:54   They did it. They literally took a sensor from one of their "real cameras" and put it in the phone.

01:27:00   And if you look at the phone interface, suddenly when you go to take a picture, it looks like the back of a Sony camera.

01:27:06   They put the software, like the software that you see on the back of your Sony camera, like when you're taking a picture and how it...

01:27:11   That's there. Their autofocus technology that's in their cameras that finds what it wants to focus on in the frame and grabs...

01:27:17   When you use this smartphone, it looks like you're using a really, really, really flat Sony point and shoot camera.

01:27:25   And it's literally got the same sensor from one of their point and shoot cameras.

01:27:28   So I think it's a fascinating example of, like, how could you bring...

01:27:33   What would it look like if Canon and Apple combined or if Sony and Apple combined? Could they take the best of their cameras, their big sensors, their big lenses?

01:27:44   Maybe even also, like, again, I would say the Sony autofocus system is better than what's available in iPhones.

01:27:50   Especially with moving subjects and everything, just because the sensors are bigger too.

01:27:54   It's better at finding what you want to focus on and grabbing onto it and staying, keeping that focus with lots of photos, way better than the iPhone.

01:28:02   And the interface to doing so, the UI for how you do that with, you know, in a situation where you're trying to take a picture of, you know, someone speeding by in a race car or like kids running or whatever.

01:28:12   The interface for doing that, the physical interface and the on-screen UI interface for doing that on Sony cameras is better than it is on iPhones.

01:28:20   It should be, because it's a whole dedicated device just for that purpose, right?

01:28:22   This smartphone, which is called the Xperia Pro Eye, by the way, we'll put a link in the show notes, takes the Sony camera interface and puts it on a smartphone.

01:28:33   So I think, I agree with all three of you, that if Apple could combine itself with the best of some big camera company, they would have, they could have a better camera experience on their phones.

01:28:45   Setting aside, like, making Apple interchangeable lens cameras, which I think would be awesome, right?

01:28:49   But like, what I'm saying is there is room for Apple to learn from these companies, because these camera companies' products do lots of things better than Apple's phones do in terms of the UI and of course in terms of the capability.

01:29:03   Would Apple put a one-inch sensor inside an iPhone? Probably not. Like, this is an extreme example. You're really sacrificing a lot of internal space for this. You're sacrificing battery.

01:29:11   And by the way, this phone is $1800. It's a strange product, but it is weird. By the way, there's a bunch of YouTube reviews of this too, you should take a look at it.

01:29:20   If you are familiar with Sony cameras, it seems like a fantasy mock-up that somebody made of like, "Imagine a Sony camera, but it's a smartphone."

01:29:27   And it's both, because it's just Android, you know, it's like an Android phone, but then you put it into camera mode, it's even got like a mechanical aperture on it.

01:29:34   Like, it really is like, you know, an RX100 squished really, really flat, and also it's a smartphone. Fascinating product. But yeah, so I guess unanimous, Apple should not buy, not merge with, but integrate the best of one of these companies, and it is some camera company.

01:29:52   I dig it. Alright, Joe Athman writes, "Between services like online photo libraries, Google Docs, iCloud Drive, Dropbox, and Git, I'm having a hard time thinking of any circumstance where I'd utilize my backups from Time Machine or some other online backup place.

01:30:05   Am I wasting my time with these additional backups?" No, you're not. But you make a good point, as I've said to you many times.

01:30:12   I do think of my computer, my laptop, previously when I was in a two-computer world, I do think of my laptop as basically ephemeral. Now that's less so, since I'm down to one computer life.

01:30:23   But when I was taking things off of my iMac Pro and moving them onto my MacBook Pro, almost everything was either stuff that I just hadn't processed, like movies, or not movies as in like, you know, falling off the back of a truck,

01:30:37   but like things I've downloaded that I need to file away or something like that, or I don't know, audio concerts that I've downloaded from artists that allow you to do that sort of thing.

01:30:50   All these sorts of things that I was just too lazy to file away, but in terms of like the stuff that actually mattered, like I don't have like a huge repository of Office documents anymore like I used to.

01:30:59   All of my code is in Git, like Joe said, so there was not that much of like important stuff that didn't exist in 13 other places.

01:31:09   So I do totally get Joe's point, but I am of the opinion that the more backups you have, the better off you are.

01:31:15   Since Marco went first last time, let's start with Jon. I presume you're going to be on the Backup Everything 18 Ways train?

01:31:22   Yeah, I understand where people come from, like, "Well, everything's already in the cloud, well I need to have the backup." Well, so the first and most obvious thing is having a single backup that's on somebody else's computer is not sufficient for backup.

01:31:34   You do have one backup, and it's a cloud backup, and by the way, it is a distributed cloud backup distributed across multiple companies, which in some ways is good, but in some ways is very bad.

01:31:43   But the bottom line is, just having cloud backup as your only backup is not sufficient, because what happens then if you want to get your stuff back and it turns out you've corrupted it in that backup, or that company goes out of business, or whoops, you tried to get it back from that company, but you couldn't get it back because there was some kind of error on their side.

01:32:00   Oh well, some kind of error in your iCloud drive, sorry, there's nothing we can do about it, right? Do not just rely on a single backup for your backup.

01:32:07   No matter what the backup is, if it's a cloud backup, if it's a local backup or whatever, just having one of them is not enough.

01:32:13   And you want the more diversity in your backup scheme, different companies, different media, different locations, that's what you want to have.

01:32:21   So that's the first important role of having something besides a cloud backup, because A, it's a second backup, and B, it's a different kind of backup.

01:32:30   But the second thing is, you're talking about wasting your time, you want to stay wasting your time, try, "Oh, my computer broke and I need to "restore" from my backup."

01:32:40   That's going to be a waste of your time, because trying to get back up to where I was before everything went wrong, before I spilled the liquid into my computer or whatever,

01:32:49   have fun pulling everything down from all those cloud services and redoing all your settings, there's tons more data that you put into your computer that is not represented in iCloud drive,

01:32:59   Dropbox, Git. This is mostly Apple's fault, because Apple could do a way better job of essentially iCloud backup for Macs, right?

01:33:07   But they don't do that. On the phones, they do. On the phone, you can throw your phone into the ocean, and if you have a recent iCloud backup, you can eventually be up and running,

01:33:12   essentially right where you left off as of that last backup. You can't do that with a Mac. Apple doesn't have that feature. They should, but they don't.

01:33:18   So what that means is if you don't want to waste your time, if you want to be up and running, like right where you left off,

01:33:24   your only and best option is to have one of the fully supported Apple blessed backups, essentially Time Machine or a disk clone like Super Duper or whatever, right?

01:33:35   Because those are the only ways to get "everything" back to the way it was. If you restore from a Time Machine backup, your Mac will look like it did at the time that the backup was made.

01:33:44   Same thing with a Super Duper clone or something like that. That includes all the cloud stuff, that includes all your connections to the cloud stuff, that includes everything, right?

01:33:51   Individually, iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Git does not include everything. All of your settings are not there, all your preferences are not there, user accounts are not there,

01:33:59   like tons of stuff is not there, and having to manually reset that stuff up, even if you have cool little scripts like Casey has with his Brew installs and stuff like that,

01:34:07   that is way more of a waste of your time than it is to sort of mindlessly restore from a Time Machine backup or a Super Duper clone.

01:34:13   Marco? Yeah, I'm pretty much with John. I think there is definitely a gradual move that we have here to what Joe is saying here,

01:34:27   where for many people and for an increasing number of people, an increasing amount of their actual data that they would need to back up is on cloud services

01:34:36   that kind of ostensibly are their own backup solution in some way, which again, it's questionable whether that is a backup, but anyway,

01:34:46   it is true that over time more of our stuff is moving towards things like this that we have to worry a lot less about than a single hard drive in a single computer on our desk.

01:34:56   So obviously the risk profile is different and better when you have these things here.

01:35:01   And there are certain features that you get from backup services that might not be in some of these services, things like history, being able to undo accidental changes or accidental deletions or protect yourself from ransomware, encrypting all your files and stuff like that.

01:35:18   So there is certainly some value there. Obviously some of these services have history built in like Dropbox, GitHub, obviously there are some history mechanics already built in there.

01:35:27   So anyway, I think ultimately though John's right that like what the backups give you, first of all, is another copy because that is after all what a backup is.

01:35:37   So if you only have your stuff stored in one location, that can be, you know, a hard drive on your desk or it can be one online service.

01:35:48   And what if, you know, John said, what if the service goes out of business, you know, one thing that you also might want to consider is like, what if the service suspends your account for some reason?

01:35:56   Like what if there's some like, you know, alleged TOS violation and Google Photos decides, oh, you know what, your Google account's dead.

01:36:03   Well, good luck contacting Google to get your data. Like really good luck with that.

01:36:07   So there are definitely other risks from these services that if you don't have your own like backup strategy that is like owned and controlled by you, you're not really as protected as you might want.

01:36:21   So I still think it's worth having backups. And the fact is, you know, backups are really cheap with today's storage and services.

01:36:31   Like whether it's a cloud backup like our, you know, frequent sponsor back plays that I mean, that's six bucks a month, you know, and or you can get like a time machine drive, which is not that much money.

01:36:42   Like external hard drives and SSDs are pretty inexpensive these days for large amounts of space.

01:36:47   So I would say the the value of having like an actual backup that you control in addition to all these online services far exceeds the cost of doing so.

01:36:58   So you might as well keep doing it.

01:37:00   Thanks to our sponsors this week, Squarespace, Linode and Lutron Caseta.

01:37:05   And thanks to our members who support us directly. You can join at ATPs.fm/join.

01:37:10   We will talk to you next week.

01:37:13   Now the show is over. They didn't even mean to begin.

01:37:20   Because it was accidental. Accidental. Oh it was accidental. Accidental.

01:37:26   John didn't do any research. Marco and Casey wouldn't let him.

01:37:30   Because it was accidental. Accidental. Oh it was accidental. Accidental.

01:37:36   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm. And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S.

01:37:50   So that's Casey, Liszt, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M.

01:37:54   Anti-Marco Armin, S-I-R-A-C. USA, Syracuse. It's accidental. Accidental.

01:38:05   They didn't mean to. Accidental. Accidental. Tech podcast. So long.

01:38:15   So I've been waiting for like a week and a half because we were off on Thanksgiving break, all three of us.

01:38:21   And I think I might know what the answer is, but I genuinely don't know for certainty what the answer is to your beep conundrum.

01:38:30   So would you... And I also, I had a guess. But like, as, so John sent us a recording of the beeps.

01:38:37   We pasted it into the last episode.

01:38:39   As I was here, I'm like, I've heard this exact song a lot before. Something in our house plays this exact song.

01:38:49   And I was like, is it the Roomba? Like, what is it that plays it? And then, and I played it for TIFF. I'm like, what is this?

01:38:55   We have, something we have plays this exact song all the time. What is it?

01:39:01   And somebody on Twitter said that it's from Whirlpool washers or dryers. Like, when you turn on the dryer and like, that's it.

01:39:10   It's when you turn the dryer on, or something like that. Like, that's, because that's the dryer we have.

01:39:14   So I'm really curious if, John, is this the fault of a washer or dryer?

01:39:22   So my goal with talking about it on the show, because I was kind of at my wits end, was like, you know, deploy the internet.

01:39:29   Surely someone knows this. And I was hoping for exactly the same thing that Marco said. Like, someone's got to recognize this song.

01:39:33   Right? And then that'll help me narrow it down. Right?

01:39:36   I also talked about doing recordings and narrowing it down that way and all that stuff.

01:39:39   So let me take you through what I did and how I solved this, because I did solve it and I solved it pretty quickly. It was like two days after the show recording. So the system works.

01:39:46   So the first thing I did was I did start recording down there and I did pull out an old iPhone. I found an old iPhone 6. Boy, they were so thin.

01:39:53   Old iPhone 6.

01:39:55   They were so thin they bent.

01:39:57   Yeah, I know. But they're so thin. And so slippery.

01:40:00   Yeah, right? Did you instantly drop it?

01:40:02   So I put that and I found a bunch of long cables. I gathered a power brick and a bunch of long cables. I went down to the basement, I plugged everything in. I go to plug it in and I'm staring at a USB-C connector.

01:40:13   I'm like, "Whoops."

01:40:15   Damn it. That's not going to plug into this phone.

01:40:17   A lot of long cables in the house are now USB-C cables. Anyway.

01:40:23   So I put the iPhone 6 in the middle of the room, recorded it and captured it.

01:40:27   That's what you heard in the last ATP was my first recording that I captured. I just put it in the middle of the finished room because that was my first guess of a recording location.

01:40:35   And I got the beeps, right? So great. I got the song, I posted it on Twitter, Marco put it in the podcast, now it's out there.

01:40:41   Then I moved the recorder. I moved the iPhone. I put it basically inside the Fios box. There's an outer grey plastic Fios box and inside that is the little box.

01:40:50   I put the phone literally inside that box. I routed the lightning cable up through one of the little cable holes in it.

01:40:55   Oh my gosh.

01:40:56   So I'm like, "Look, if it's the Fios box making this thing, it's going to be so loud because it's like an inch from the phone."

01:41:01   I left it there, caught it again, looked at the recording, it was quieter. It was quieter than the previous ones.

01:41:08   I'm like, "Alright, I have ruled out the Fios box and also anything in that same closet with the Fios box because it was way quieter than it was when it was just the phone in the middle of the room."

01:41:18   Around this time, I was starting to get barraged by people on Twitter saying, "It's your washer, it's your dryer, blah blah blah."

01:41:24   Lots of people talking about washer and dryer stuff. I was like, "You know what? I shouldn't investigate this because one of the reports, my wife, she was downstairs, she was in front of the washer and dryer, she heard it go off, she said, "I think it was the water heater," which is to the left of the washer and dryer.

01:41:36   I'm like, "Maybe it's noisy, maybe it's the washer and dryer. I need to investigate this."

01:41:42   Also, there was a lot of people saying that modern washer and dryers can play songs as a form of diagnostic.

01:41:49   I'm trying to think of, "Look, it's not an alarm, it's not a dying battery, it does it so infrequently that maybe the washer and dryer are just trying to tell me something mournfully."

01:41:59   "You should replace my belt!"

01:42:02   Maybe it only says it after a cycle when it's like, "By the way, I finished a cycle but I also noticed something is screwed up."

01:42:09   I did some research into that. A part of this was that someone posted a tweet that said, "What is that beep?" all one word on Twitter posted.

01:42:22   "This tune sounds extremely like a Whirlpool front load washer/dryer and it triggers when the power button is pressed."

01:42:28   We will put a link to this tweet in the show notes. You will be able to play the video of the sound and if Marco can put in the two clips, here is my sound.

01:42:38   [whistling]

01:42:41   And here is the sound of a Whirlpool front loading washer.

01:42:44   [whistling]

01:42:47   It's the same song. Marco correctly identified the song. It's the same song.

01:42:52   Part of the reason I was insistent that this is not a thing is because we don't have a Whirlpool washer or dryer.

01:43:00   Hold on, is it a white labeled Whirlpool that's actually being sold as a Kenmore or something?

01:43:09   I was going to say, I also know that in the realm of washers and dryers and lots of other appliances, there are a lot of brands that are really the same as the other brands.

01:43:17   I can never keep track of which ones they are, even though I know that Nissan is Infiniti and Honda is Acura.

01:43:23   I know all of those, but I don't know if Maytag and Kenmore are the same thing or if Kenmore and Whirlpool are the same. I don't remember those.

01:43:32   It's like how every microwave is the same microwave? That Medea, whatever brand it is, every single microwave except for two is that microwave?

01:43:40   Setting aside the current practice of people selling the same product under different names, there are brand sharing things.

01:43:46   I know that Mazda and Ford collaborated on the Ford Probe, but I don't remember. I have lots of useless car knowledge.

01:43:55   That's why I was saying, maybe I just don't know the brand things, even though I don't have anything Whirlpool, I need to investigate the washer and dryer.

01:44:03   I started an investigation. We have two different brand of washers and dryers. I think we replaced them at different times.

01:44:09   They both have a thing where they do a diagnostic thingy involving sound.

01:44:19   One of them had an app. My washer had an app. That's what I expected.

01:44:23   You go download the app, you press the buttons on the front of the thing.

01:44:27   I can't imagine any homeowner who hasn't done this, but Googling for the PDF of the manual of your appliance is usually more efficient than saving all your manuals.

01:44:40   You can Google for the PDF manual of almost every appliance. I recommend that.

01:44:45   I found the manual, pressed this button, did this thing, blah blah blah. It plays a little song.

01:44:49   This is the first time I had ever done this. I just had reports of people on Twitter talking about it.

01:44:54   As soon as I heard it, I know this is not barking up the wrong alley.

01:44:59   That's not an expression. Anyway.

01:45:02   The song it plays sounds like modem beeps. I'm assuming that's what it is.

01:45:08   It's transmitting information over an analog signal.

01:45:12   You launch the app, you hold it up to your thing, you press the button, it plays the song, and it sounds like your modem before it connects.

01:45:19   It is not a song. It is not a melody. It is data transfer.

01:45:25   And it sounds like data transfer.

01:45:27   And by the way, I found out my washer is fine. It has no complaints.

01:45:30   That's good. Everything's working. Great.

01:45:34   Then I went over to my dryer. My dryer has, it's a different company, my dryer has some kind of tech that was so ill-conceived.

01:45:43   It must have been on the cusp of the one that the washer has.

01:45:46   There's no app for it. If you have a newer one, they have an app.

01:45:50   This was before they had the idea of having an app.

01:45:53   What they wanted you to do was call someone on the telephone, like a support person,

01:45:57   and then they would say, "Okay, hold your phone receiver up to the thing."

01:46:00   And then you'd play the song over the phone line,

01:46:03   and then the thing on the other end of the phone line in the call center would interpret your beeps and tell you if they're okay.

01:46:09   I'm like, "Great. Maybe that was the correct technology for the day.

01:46:12   Maybe people didn't have smartphones."

01:46:14   But now we do, so just make an app. I don't want to have to call somebody.

01:46:17   Wait, was that automated, or does the person have to be like, "That sounds like Eddie Vedder. Oh, it's the motor."

01:46:22   Yeah, I mean, there is a human involved, presumably, but then there's the computer doing the interpretation.

01:46:27   And so I spent a while to eventually discover that you can't do this anymore.

01:46:33   There's no one to call. Whatever call center they had running this, that doesn't exist.

01:46:38   I did spend a while on holds trying to get through, but it was like, "I'm pretty sure you can't do that anymore."

01:46:43   Or I couldn't do it anywhere after like 30 minutes on hold.

01:46:46   While I was on hold, though, by the way, I'm like, "Okay, what could my dryer be complaining about?"

01:46:50   And I had a long, thorough session of spelunking the lint trap on the dryer.

01:46:56   I have lots of interesting tools to do this. They make lots of brushes and stuff.

01:46:59   I used the headlamp that Merlin gave me a while ago, one of the best gifts I've ever received.

01:47:04   Thank you, Merlin. Do you guys have a headlamp?

01:47:07   No.

01:47:08   It's an elastic band with a little LED light with a rechargeable battery that's in the front of your forehead.

01:47:14   Great for things like this where you're digging around and you don't have an extra hand to hold a flashlight, even a tiny one.

01:47:21   And no, you don't want to hold it in your teeth. You're going to wreck your teeth.

01:47:24   I took it under my chin, which is even harder to hold, and then I can only look at stuff that's directly below me.

01:47:29   Yeah, headlamp is great. So anyway, I really got in there.

01:47:32   I do this periodically to clean out the lint thing in the dryer and get all the stuff out.

01:47:37   Because I was like, maybe it's complaining that it thinks it's a lint blockage or a sensor or something like that.

01:47:41   And I just really thoroughly spent -- this is what I'm doing when I'm on hold.

01:47:44   I'm on hold with what I think is going to eventually give me a customer service person who I can make it play the song for, who can tell me whether my dryer has something wrong with it.

01:47:51   But in the meantime, the only thing I can imagine is wrong with my dryer, which otherwise seems to be perfectly fine, is there is a lot of lint just down around the edges of the thing.

01:48:00   And I had to replace the lint filter a while ago.

01:48:03   So I spent a good half an hour, 40 minutes digging around in there with my little flashlight with various tweezers and sticks and brushes and vacuums and compressed air and just getting everything out of there.

01:48:15   And while I am forearm deep in the lint trap, the beep goes off.

01:48:22   And I'm in the basement and I can hear it.

01:48:26   And I don't know what's wrong with everyone else's ears in my family, but when I was in the basement when it went off, I immediately looked at directly what it was.

01:48:35   Because my ears work. I have two of them. They both work.

01:48:38   And my head just went around like a swivel and I'm like, "Aha!"

01:48:43   It was not hard to identify. I immediately looked exactly what it was and what was it? What's your guess based on everything I've said so far?

01:48:50   The washer?

01:48:51   I'm still going to say the dryer. I still think it's the dryer.

01:48:54   I mean, this is kind of unfair because you don't know everything that's in my basement.

01:48:59   Although technically I'm sure I've mentioned this before.

01:49:02   What about a humidifier or dehumidifier?

01:49:04   I told you I unplugged that. That was my big theory. It was like it was a dehumidifier.

01:49:08   But then once the winter came and we don't run the dehumidifier anymore, it's unplugged and it was still going off.

01:49:12   Because we had just added, we got a new dehumidifier this year.

01:49:16   And that's what I thought it was for ages. But no, not the dehumidifier.

01:49:19   But no, what it was, what my head swiveled to, was our downstairs freezer.

01:49:26   Oh.

01:49:27   Guess who makes our downstairs freezer?

01:49:29   Whirlpool?

01:49:30   Whirlpool! I didn't think of this because who thinks of the freezer?

01:49:34   I walk past this freezer every day. It's just a white nondescript freezer.

01:49:38   And whirlpool I think of like maybe dishwasher, washing machine, dryer. I do not think of freezer.

01:49:43   We have a whirlpool freezer.

01:49:45   Why is it singing to you?

01:49:47   Well, I'll get to that. But anyway, that's what's making this noise. It was as clear as day.

01:49:52   And it's on the other side of the basement. I was all over by the washing dryer.

01:49:56   But when it went off and it played that song, I turned my head and I'm like, "It's you!"

01:50:00   And then I like ran over to it and I said, "Whirlpool!"

01:50:05   Because it's the Whirlpool song. Like Marco pointed out, as a Twitter person, that's a Whirlpool song.

01:50:10   Somebody at Whirlpool wrote this melody, which by the way did a terrible job of rendering.

01:50:14   And lots of people on Twitter were trying to put notes on a music staff to show what the song is.

01:50:19   And then all the music nerds were fighting amongst themselves about the different ways you could notate it and did they get the notes right.

01:50:25   So I wanted to put one of those in the show notes, but there are too many arguments and I don't know anything about music.

01:50:30   So I don't know which one is right. But anyway, that is the Whirlpool song.

01:50:33   There's also like a reverse version of it, which you'll hear in the tweet thing.

01:50:36   And so we have a Whirlpool freezer. And that's all I needed to be off to the races.

01:50:41   Because once you know what to Google for, you can find it. If you're just Googling for like "beeps song" whatever, especially if you're Googling for "washer and dryer"

01:50:48   I wasn't finding it. I wasn't finding the song. Right?

01:50:51   But now I knew what to Google for. And what I knew what to Google for was "Whirlpool freezer beeps."

01:50:57   And that will get you results. So here we go.

01:51:00   The first one I found was a forum post on AppliancePartsPros.com from StandFor on March 15th, 2020.

01:51:08   The subject is "Whirlpool freezer song, 7 note chime." There's lots of debates about how many notes there are here.

01:51:14   And Stand says "It's a song coming every few hours from our garage. The only thing capable of making noise in that part of the garage is our Whirlpool upright freezer."

01:51:23   And he puts the part number, which is my exact part number, which I also Googled.

01:51:27   "Or our very turned off weekend car. I've already checked with the service department. No chiming song is made by this car."

01:51:33   So here's another person calling a bunch of people who make products and saying, "Does our car... I know this is a weird question, but does this car make any beeps?"

01:51:41   And they're like, "No. No, sir. Our car does not make beeps."

01:51:44   Anyway, Stand says "It's a 7 note chime, like a song. Totally random times. Pretty loud. We actually hear it in the house."

01:51:52   It's 6 notes, by the way. It's clearly 6. Like, if you look at last week's episode, I put as the chapter art for last week's aftershow the spectral frequency view.

01:52:02   Yeah.

01:52:03   Of the notes. It's clearly... And you can see exactly what the frequencies are, so the music nerds can figure out what notes those are.

01:52:09   It's very clearly 6 notes. And anyone who's ever heard it would know it's 6 notes.

01:52:13   Well, the problem with the music nerds is, yeah, they can figure out the frequencies, but you can sort of notate the same frequencies in different ways.

01:52:21   You know, with music notation, right? And that's kind of what they were debating. But yeah. Anyway, they're hard to hear, but some of them are hard.

01:52:28   Anyway, Stand says "It's pretty loud. We actually hear it in the house, though. One day I was sitting in the car and heard it. Everything in the freezer seems fine. Freezing well. No buzzing. Motor noises, extra heat, red lights or beepings. Any sign of anything missed with the freezer itself? Any ideas? Thanks in advance."

01:52:45   So this is a person with literally the same problem. They're being haunted by this chime. It's so loud they can hear it in the house. They can't bear it when it is.

01:52:53   He was in the car when he heard it, but he knows it's his freezer, right? Here is another one from Applianceblog.com. Mike Hotsteller from January 13th, 2021.

01:53:04   "About 6 months ago, we would randomly hear a chime coming from the freezer. I unplugged it to investigate the sound/melody it makes when the freezer is powered back on and played. That is the sound it makes every few hours. My items stay frozen. I'm just wondering if this is telling me something."

01:53:18   It's definitely not the high temperature alarm or the door alarm. Anyone else have this problem, right? So as soon as you know what to Google for, you find the people down to the part number.

01:53:28   Like WZF5 6R16D W0. My actual freezer part number. People are being haunted by this damn chime.

01:53:38   And then what you will also find is an answer from Nitram987 or Nitram and various things. Unlike every one of these boards, Nitram visits like a fairy and posts the answer fairy saying, "Here we go. Are you having this problem? Here's what Nitram says."

01:53:56   It's the control board being inadvertently affected by noise it's picking up from the wires feeding the rather distant alarm PZO, which happens to be located at the bottom right of the chassis behind its cardboard shield.

01:54:08   You will need to find technical service pointer W108 54827, which lightly describes this, and then install W10861568, which currently supersedes W1084 6247.

01:54:26   After many months of bewilderment, this works! In parentheses, I'm an electrical engineer. Who would have guessed that these wires running along the side of many other wires within the freezer's interior would create such a problem?

01:54:40   The tune will be the same tune that you can recreate by manually turning on and off its cooling function via the interior temperature sensor button.

01:54:48   Yes, it does seem to coincide with the end of a compressor cycle, but that is only because any on/off cooling command to the control board begins with the compressor turning off for some minutes.

01:54:56   You will notice that if you unplugged it and plugged it back in the freezer, it will produce a different tune. Don't confuse that problem with yours that you think you have a main power problem.

01:55:05   As mentioned above, this tune is the same as the tune you hear by manually turning off the cooling.

01:55:09   This same answer is pretty much verbatim, copy and pasting it to everyone who has this problem. Not only have I found the problem with lots of people being haunted by this chime, Nitram has the solution.

01:55:19   It is a technical service pointer, you can look this stuff up, you can see the problem is this thing, you buy this part, you rip out the little sensor thingy, you put in the new one with shorter wires, and your problem is solved.

01:55:31   So you would think I would run out and get myself a W10846247 kit. Is option B just like disconnecting the piezo buzzer inside?

01:55:44   Well, here is the thing, before Nitram came in and saved everybody this problem, people were like can I just disconnect the buzzer? But one of the important features of a freezer like this is the alarm that tells you if it went over temperature or if the door is left open, that's the same buzzer. So I wasn't going to disconnect that. We had a freezer that didn't have the buzzer and it's bad. Like if a kid leaves it open, everything spoils in there.

01:56:07   That happened to us this summer. Yeah, you need the buzzer and the buzzer needs to be loud so you can hear it. And it is because when that buzzer plays a song, we hear it through the whole damn house.

01:56:18   So, I'm looking into this, but I'm not done here because I find a bunch of people with the same problem, but I'm suspicious when I notice the same person is posting the answer everywhere.

01:56:29   And that was from February 2021, this particular one, but it's like January, February, March, Nitram's going around putting the answer. Here is an April 2021 update from Nitram.

01:56:39   The solution that Whirlpool offers, and it's W10861568, kid, as it turns out, did not resolve, all caps, my melody issue in the long run. I apologize for the "this works" in all caps and quotes previously. It was premature. You think, Nitram? You think it was premature?

01:57:00   He posted the same answer on seven different bulletin boards. And it comes with an update. Oh, by the way, remember when I said "this works"? Didn't solve the problem.

01:57:09   Whoopsies.

01:57:10   So, I did not order this kit. I kept reading, you know, I wasn't about to just order this thing because what I wanted to see is more than one person says this solves the problem. I want to see everybody saying, "I installed this kit and it solved it too."

01:57:22   And the reason I was super suspicious is one, the IAM electrical engineer in parentheses, but two, the idea that it's like long wires are affected by electrical noise that's causing this.

01:57:33   Like, it didn't make sense to me because I'm like, what has changed? I even like what has changed in my basement environment that would like what is it picking up?

01:57:40   And I did recently put a new Eero down there. So I unplugged the Eero. Even with the Eero unplugged, the thing still went off. Right.

01:57:46   So my diagnosis, as a bunch of other people said in their problem reports, is my freezer is having difficulties.

01:57:55   I don't know what those difficulties are, but it is, like Casey's monitor, it is unwell.

01:58:01   Oh, come on.

01:58:03   Something about it is unwell.

01:58:05   My freezer works fine. You must be the problem.

01:58:08   And by the way, this thing about the, like, you can play the song, like this is what I did. I showed everyone in my family. I said, "Come down to the basement. Let me show you something."

01:58:15   I can make it play the song by essentially turning the cooling function off. If you hold like the little button for three seconds, you can turn the cooling function off.

01:58:23   And when you turn it back on, it plays the song. Right.

01:58:26   So whatever, something is happening, probably like at the end of a cycle, like a compressor cycle, right, that is causing this thing to think, "Hey, the cooling is off and now it's back on."

01:58:37   That's not healthy. It's not losing power because that's a different issue, as pointed out in these things.

01:58:42   If you lose power and it like boots up, if you unplug it and plug it back in, it's a different song.

01:58:46   This is the song of like, "I'm on and I'm plugged in, but someone has turned off the cooling function, but now they've turned it back on. But I was plugged in the whole time." Right.

01:58:54   That's the song it's playing. And no one is turning the cooling function on and off.

01:58:58   And there is a low temperature alarm and it's not getting below temperature, right.

01:59:02   It's just that at the end of a cycle, something happens that makes it think, "Oh, cooling is off. Oh, cooling is back on." Like immediately, right.

01:59:10   Maybe I could hook it up to a UPS. Maybe it doesn't need a line conditioner or something. Nothing has changed in that regard.

01:59:15   The power it is being fed is the same power it's always been fed. I haven't put new things on a circuit. It's like nothing has changed.

01:59:20   What has changed? This is a pretty old freezer. So my solution, again, I Marco'd the hell out of this one, is new freezer.

01:59:28   Like, I don't care what the problem is. I have too much stuff in this stupid freezer.

01:59:32   That was the right move.

01:59:33   Yeah. Because you know what it's like if you have a downstairs freezer or have it because certain people in my family like to have lots of food in the house.

01:59:40   And one gigantic refrigerator is insufficient for their needs. And therefore, we have a freezer in the basement and we have tons and tons of food in it because it's just the way it is, right.

01:59:50   Losing power or having a freezer that breaks and having to like throw all that stuff out. I know it's the winder and you can put it in the garage.

01:59:57   Like we've been down this road before. The bottom line is it is a disruption to lose your refrigerator or your freezer unexpectedly.

02:00:05   It is much better to sniff out the potential future betrayal of an appliance and preempt it by saying, "I'm going to replace you now while you're still working."

02:00:16   It's like bad sectors on a hard drive. Like you don't want to leave that just to go forever.

02:00:20   Right. And you know, it's like this is a pretty old thing. I think it's like seven or eight years old.

02:00:24   Like it's not like I'm getting rid of a one year old thing. And it still works. And so we'll give it to someone for free and say, "Look, do you want a free freezer? It's pretty good. It plays a song every few hours."

02:00:32   And by the way, the randomness of it is essentially, "Hey, when does the compressor run?" And that depends on how often the kids have been down there to sneak frozen cookies out of it or whatever.

02:00:40   Right. So it is it is random because human behavior is like mixed into it. But it is regular enough because the compressor does eventually need to come on.

02:00:49   Right. And with a freezer, if no one's going into it and it's well sealed and no one opens it, it can be a pretty long stretch between the compressor coming on.

02:00:56   Right. So I ordered a new freezer. It's slightly bigger than the previous one. It's a different brand, I think. It is arriving on Saturday.

02:01:04   Anyway, the solution to the problem is that was the Whirlpool song. We have a Whirlpool freezer. The Whirlpool freezer is actively in the process of betraying me and I am preempting that.

02:01:12   (beeping)