00:00:00 ◼ ► I'm so happy Fidget is back. It changed everything. Now I finally have new music again for the first time in two and a half or one and a half years. Oh, so happy.
00:00:14 ◼ ► Yeah, but there hasn't been a lot of new music this past year from anybody, really. I mean, there's been some here and there, but...
00:00:30 ◼ ► No, I'm saying that's not even counting. She did two complete new albums of new songs, plus also re-recorded a bunch of old stuff, I think.
00:00:37 ◼ ► Just today I was going through my beloved Spotify playlist, which we'll be talking about a little bit later, and I noticed "Days of the New," which most people probably don't recognize, but you've heard, especially if you were in the late 90s, early 2000s, into rock of that era, you've heard some of their stuff.
00:00:53 ◼ ► Basically, "Days of the New" is Travis Meeks, I believe the guy's name is, and he's had really, truly awful, terrible substance abuse problems his entire life.
00:01:04 ◼ ► And I thought "Days of the New," which again is basically just him, had basically folded on account of him not being physically or mentally capable of performing music anymore, because he was in such a bad spot.
00:01:14 ◼ ► Well, apparently an album just dropped today, and I listened to about half of it, and I really liked it.
00:01:18 ◼ ► "Days of the New 2," I believe, was the one that imprinted on me in college, I don't know if you guys had this experience, but it was an album I never expected to listen to, or like, for that matter, and I still listen to it every great once in a while.
00:01:29 ◼ ► This is "Acoustic Grunge," I think is how it's classified. It's very peculiar, but I really, really like it. So yeah, new "Days of the New" album I was excited about.
00:01:37 ◼ ► Now, Marco, do you run out of fish? Don't you have about 800 hours of fish in your computer? Do you run out at some point? What happens?
00:01:45 ◼ ► I have 53.7 days currently. But, you know, there's some I listen to more than others, and some shows aren't that noteworthy, and some shows are really good, and some performances of certain songs I like better than others. I have a whole star rating system.
00:02:08 ◼ ► Yeah, no, I mean, it's not unfair, of course. Any new music, especially from someone you enjoy, is probably going to be good music. I don't begrudge you that. It's just funny that you're this excited about new music when you have 56 days. What is that, like one eighth of a quarantine? That you can not listen to anything, with no repeats over an eighth of a quarantine, or whatever that may be.
00:02:29 ◼ ► Yeah, well, and there's different, there's new songs. Like, you know, despite what Jon thinks, they also write new songs and add them into the repertoire, and so...
00:02:39 ◼ ► So a lot of the newer songs, you know, you might only have a small number of performances in your collection so far. And they evolve over time, and so, you know, you want new stuff. Plus, I just, I like that the band is back together, and they're making new music, and they're super happy, and the music's getting pretty good pretty fast, so, yeah, I'm very happy here.
00:03:00 ◼ ► You know, it's funny, I see that Dave Matthews is touring again, which I know Marco's super excited about, and obviously Fish is touring again. And a lot of other artists are touring, which in and of itself seems great. You know, I love live music. I love going to see live music, which I haven't been able to do, even COVID notwithstanding, in a few years now, because our kids were so small, it was hard to just pawn them off on someone.
00:03:20 ◼ ► But it seems like with everything that's going on these days, I don't know how long all this is going to continue, because Delta's really running rampant here. And have we mentioned, if you're an American, please get your shot. Please, please. Don't throw away your shot.
00:03:33 ◼ ► Anyway, I'm very curious to see if Dave and Fish and all these other artists are going to keep this up for much more than another month or two.
00:03:40 ◼ ► Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I think either most or all of Fish's tour is outdoors. Certainly, I think all the venues that I have looked up have been outdoors. So I think at least most of the concert or most of the tour is. So that probably helps a little bit.
00:03:56 ◼ ► But at this point, I wouldn't make any assumptions about the future of COVID and shutdowns and quarantines and everything. Like, we can barely see a few weeks out at this point. Like, it seems like the one lesson we know from all this is don't assume that, oh, in X days or months, things will be back to normal. Things will be fine. Like, you can't make that assumption very far ahead into the future.
00:04:23 ◼ ► We got a lot of people writing to help me out with my request to get Spotify's genuinely tremendous playlists into Apple Music, because I'm trying to force myself to migrate to Apple Music. It's not going well.
00:04:39 ◼ ► And Andrew Bement was one of the first, if not the first, to mention, and many, many, many people did. Andrew writes, "I use Apple Music daily, but Spotify still beats Apple hands down in regards to the playlist that they curate and provide for users. I use the app SongShift to move all of the information over from Spotify. Pretty solid app, frequently updated, and I've been using it for about a year and a half. It's a bit fiddly to get set up, but once it is, it's set and forget."
00:05:02 ◼ ► So many, many, many people suggest it's SongShift. I have tried it. I've moved a couple of playlists over. It is slightly fiddly, but I don't really think it's too bad at all. It's got the KC stamp of approval. It's pretty good. So check that out.
00:05:16 ◼ ► Moving right along, Mark Barrowcliff writes, "The iOS third-party music player market has never been stronger. It may be that dynamic, diverse ecosystem you've been missing. Also, many offer Apple Music and/or Spotify integration. Shameless plug for my annual iOS Music Player Showcase."
00:05:31 ◼ ► So Mark has a blog post, which we will link in the show notes, that discusses all these different third-party music players. I did look at the blog post. There was nothing that jumped out at me as like, "Ooh, that's the one for me." But I'm going to probably, over time, if I ever get spare time, start looking through this and trying some of these out.
00:05:48 ◼ ► So I forgot to mention last week that I have one of the popular third-party music players installed. I've tried a bunch of them. It's weird with third-party players where you want them to be different than the Apple one, because otherwise, why bother having a third-party app if it's just going to look like the Apple one?
00:06:02 ◼ ► But then in every way that they're different than the Apple one, you're like, "Oh, this is kind of weird." That's less true with Apple Music invading the Apple app, because now I see ways that these third-party apps are different that I like better.
00:06:14 ◼ ► But it's cool to check them out. Unfortunately, some of the stuff we talked about last week can't be fixed by these third-party apps, because they are just apps. So if your thing is like, "Oh, I don't know why this song takes a long time to play," or says it's not authorized, the apps can't fix that. That's the service behind the scenes, right?
00:06:31 ◼ ► And if Apple's app is experiencing those errors, surely third-party ones will be as well. But if you just want a different interface or a different way of looking at music, this is worth checking a couple out. I think the one I have is called Marvis or something.
00:06:45 ◼ ► Another popular one is called Albums, which is diverging even more in saying, "What if you just want to listen to whole albums? What if we made an app centered around that UI?" I think that's probably the more fruitful avenue. If you just try to say, "I'm going to make a full-featured app that tries to aim for exactly the same customer base as Apple, but it'll be different," that's difficult.
00:07:07 ◼ ► But for something like Albums, it seems like a more straightforward vision of, "I'm going to make a different kind of app, and it's only going to appeal to a certain kind of customer, but that certain customer is really going to like it."
00:07:21 ◼ ► I know especially young people don't like to pay for software or whatever, but when I see one of these showcase things, they're like five bucks each, half the time, or at least they used to be back in the day. Who knows where they are now? Or even if they're a subscription and it's like $3.99 a month or something, just subscribe and then cancel.
00:07:39 ◼ ► You can essentially get all the apps for less than the price of a decent meal and then just try them all. Maybe you don't like any of them. It's like, "Oh, well, that was a fun $25 weekend activity that I did for my..." It comes to your definition of fun, but I find it fun.
00:07:55 ◼ ► Just buy a bunch of apps and try them out. Now that everything is subscription, now that so many apps are subscription instead of purchase, it doesn't mean you can't play the same game. Just buy and cancel. For the most part, that works really well.
00:08:09 ◼ ► Most of them you can just subscribe and then immediately cancel, or you can subscribe, subscribe, subscribe, try all the apps, decide you don't like them all, and then go cancel, cancel, cancel.
00:08:19 ◼ ► So anyway, try that out. I hope these apps are successful because I wouldn't want Apple to... Well, not that this will help, but I was going to say I wouldn't want Apple to stop allowing third-party music players, but it really doesn't matter how many people buy these apps.
00:08:32 ◼ ► If Apple decides to do that, they're going to do it, which is kind of crappy. But anyway, I guess the advice then is get them all you can.
00:08:41 ◼ ► Something like that. Also, I'm thinking of it... Some people did point out some of the places that Apple has roughly analogous playlists to Discover Weekly and Release Radar, and at this point I'm not impressed by them, but it's also unfair to Apple Music because I don't have literally a decade worth of listening data that I've pumped into Apple Music.
00:09:01 ◼ ► And then that got me thinking, one of the things that I'm going to miss about Spotify, if I do successfully divorce myself of it, which I don't think I will, is over the years I've put in a bunch of metadata about what I enjoy.
00:09:12 ◼ ► And I don't even necessarily mean like listen counts and things of that nature, but when I follow an artist because I want to be notified that they have new music, like there's a lot of bands or artists or what have you that maybe I don't obsess over them like the way Marco does Fish or I used to do with Mute Math or still sort of do with Dave.
00:09:30 ◼ ► But I really enjoy their work. Like Emancipator is a great example of this. And I have all of these, probably hundreds of artists that I've followed or liked or what have you in Spotify, which is a hint to Spotify of what it is that I really enjoy.
00:09:44 ◼ ► And maybe there's a way to move that data over, but if so, I'm not aware of it. And it would be really kind of a bummer to miss out on that. Like playlists are kind of the biggest thing. And at least the non-weekly playlists, the ones that I curated myself, obviously those are easy to move over with Songshift.
00:10:04 ◼ ► I could continue to move the Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlist using Songshift. But the thing is, if I'm not using Spotify anymore, I'm not really giving them any more data to go on. So presumably those playlists are going to get crummier over time.
00:10:17 ◼ ► So I don't know. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm still trying to force Apple Music on myself, but I think it was Marco last week that said basically, "Why are you forcing this? Just do what you like."
00:10:26 ◼ ► And that's probably the conclusion that I'm going to end up at. But I really want to give it a try just to see. Because again, I have a lot of momentum on Spotify. And maybe something will click and I'll see the matrix for what it is and then I'll never look back. But Smart Money says Marco's right.
00:10:40 ◼ ► Well, what I was saying last week about use what you like, because don't consider the service that you're getting as part of a bundle an obligation that you have to then use this instead of this Spotify service you like. Because really all those things you just said about the history you have with Spotify and everything, all the recommendations and the stats and everything, that's all huge.
00:11:05 ◼ ► One of the reasons why I am still so tied to Apple Music myself is that I have all those stats and history and stuff on that side. And Spotify has almost no idea what I like. Because I don't use it much and I don't have my whole collection in there and everything.
00:11:21 ◼ ► And so Spotify, to have Spotify recommend stuff to me, it's basically shooting in the dark. And I have play count history in Apple Music/iTunes. I have last played dates. That all matters. And that factors into what I choose to play next. I have star ratings.
00:11:39 ◼ ► I have this huge amount of data and stuff in there. And I don't know if any tools would sync that back and forth between the two services. But either way, that all has value to me. And so to test out other services and everything that would lose that I think would be a problem.
00:11:59 ◼ ► And as for the third party apps, I was aware that there are third party apps. I've tried some before here and there. I've done a similar thing as John was saying. Just buy three or four of the top rated apps and test them out and see what you like.
00:12:15 ◼ ► But none of them really have fit me well. And I can see on almost all of them that are well known, I can see why people like them. It isn't that they're bad apps. They just don't fit me very well. And it's a shame. Because ultimately what I'm probably going to do is use Apple Music/iTunes until I can't stand it anymore.
00:12:39 ◼ ► Or until it goes away or changes in some major way that breaks what I need from it. For instance, if it went Apple Music only and there was no more concept of your own library, that would hurt me deeply.
00:12:53 ◼ ► So eventually I'll probably just make my own. At some point, once podcasting as a fad has passed and my podcasting business goes away and I have no idea what to make for an app, I will probably make the app that nobody wants to use except me. Which is a music player that just plays files that you just upload.
00:13:11 ◼ ► You have some cloud storage somewhere and you put files into it and it plays them. I basically want Winamp for 2021. Or like iTunes, like what iTunes used to be. That's what I want. No one else wants that now. Because no one else wants to buy or acquire DRM free MP3s in their own ways.
00:13:35 ◼ ► I don't even know in 5 years from now who's even going to be still selling MP3s. Right now you can still buy music downloads from a few places. But they're falling out fast. I can't imagine those are still going to be a thing in 10 years. Maybe not even 5 years.
00:13:53 ◼ ► The idea of an app that just plays music files that you somehow legally acquire, or illegally I don't really care. I would try to do things legally as much as I could. But the idea of an app that just plays files, nobody wants that except me.
00:14:16 ◼ ► I keep forgetting, just because I don't ever use it this way, but Plex will absolutely do this.
00:14:24 ◼ ► Of course it will. I love Plex. Everyone knows I love Plex. I am not passing any sort of endorsement on their music stuff. I've heard it's good but I never use it because I'm not interested in it. I'd rather just stream from Apple Music or Spotify or whatever.
00:14:38 ◼ ► But if you were wanting to deal with Plex, which for me is a pleasure but for many is a pain, that is one solution to your problem.
00:14:46 ◼ ► I think we need some kind of sound effect for whenever Casey mentions either Plex or Synology.
00:14:59 ◼ ► This is the chat room that prompted him to do that. Would you have remembered Plex if the chat room hadn't mentioned it?
00:15:04 ◼ ► No, I didn't think of it until "mm" said something. I was like "oh yeah, you're right." Because again, I just don't think of Plex as a music platform. It absolutely is. It absolutely will do it. Same thing with pictures.
00:15:15 ◼ ► They did for a while. I don't think that's true anymore. But again, Plex will do pictures. They have their own Google Photos knockoff. Oh, I have some follow up about that. It just reminded me. But anyways, they have their own Google Photos knockoff.
00:15:27 ◼ ► I tried it briefly. It was okay. But yeah, I think of Plex as purely for video. Which again, is not the case. But that's my mental model of Plex. So yeah, had "mm" not said something in the chat, I wouldn't have thought of it.
00:15:40 ◼ ► This is part of the annoying thing about modern platform companies and everything. There are so many companies and platforms that try to make their own everything. Between Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and then these smaller players like Dropbox or Synology or Plex.
00:16:04 ◼ ► Everybody has their own photo app and cloud storage syncing folder and music app and video manager. Everyone has all of these things. And most of them are just either terrible or they're at best mediocre.
00:16:18 ◼ ► I can't imagine the amount of time that's been wasted by all these companies making so many different things trying to be everything to everyone all the time. But certainly music library playback is one of those things. There's 15 different companies, large to medium sized tech companies that try to make you put all of your stuff in their system. And I don't think any of them work very well. Except honestly, Apple's.
00:16:45 ◼ ► I wouldn't love Plex into that. Plex's whole thing is that they're a media player and it makes perfect sense. They're not trying to do everything under the sun. They're just saying we have a media library where we keep your media in the form of files. Then we keep metadata about them and then we have various ways for you to get at across the internet. Music and photos totally fit into that.
00:17:03 ◼ ► It's a little bit more of a stretch for Synology because they're a storage vendor. Maybe we can make apps, but not that big of a stretch. But they're not trying to start a...what do you call this? I can't remember the word for the thing I'm trying to think of. The social network. There you go.
00:17:20 ◼ ► They're not trying to become the next Facebook and they're not trying to sell you books over the internet like Amazon. Not trying to become a cloud provider. I'm glad there's alternatives because competition. I want to keep these people honest. But I wouldn't specifically lump Plex and Synology into the group of people who want to do everything. Which does include Amazon, Facebook, Apple and those big companies.
00:17:41 ◼ ► On the topic of recommendations for music stuff, it's a shame you have your history of use someplace else. It's probably not in these companies' best interest to allow you to export that data to a competitor's app because they don't want you to switch.
00:17:58 ◼ ► But I always get a sneaking suspicion that it doesn't take that much data for them to get your number because we're all kind of much more basic than we think we are. So probably one afternoon of listening and your recommendations aren't going to improve that much more over the next ten years of listening habits.
00:18:16 ◼ ► Because I don't think the algorithms they use for recommendations are really tuned to do sort of deep analysis of like, well, listen to lots of fish but he hasn't listened to this year's concert recently. Other people who haven't listened to this year's concert in the last year are like, no. Fish is just like one giant word cloud.
00:18:35 ◼ ► That's probably all they need to know about you to narrow you down to like 90% accuracy and then after that you listen to three more songs and that's as accurate as that album is ever going to get. Then you just oscillate around that point forever.
00:18:49 ◼ ► And if you give the thumbs down to Dave Matthews now you're like at 95%. Like Fish doesn't like Dave Matthews. We pretty much know who you are at this point. Listen to one more song.
00:18:57 ◼ ► At that point all advertising is sold as, would you like to advertise to Marco Arment? Here's the guy who loves Fish more than anything else in the world and hates Dave Matthews. It's him. He's the one.
00:19:08 ◼ ► Alright, let's talk about photos. So I've been continuing to play with Apple Photos or iCloud Photo Library and things are mostly good. I had a couple of bumps here and there but nothing that interesting.
00:19:19 ◼ ► But a lot of people had some feedback, some of which I should have thought about, some of which I think was maybe not as smart as I thought it was with regard to how did the Dave Matthews and Mute Maths concerts get added as an album where Apple Photos stated, you know,
00:19:35 ◼ ► this is the night seeing Dave Matthews band or whatever it was, or the Mute Math concert. And a lot of people were like, "Hey dummy, of course they, you know Apple Photos, I keep trying to say they, of course Apple Photos knew that that was the Dave Matthews concert because it's in your calendar."
00:19:51 ◼ ► Well, yes, that is true. But remember that these events, these calendar events were like literally three or four years ago. And if I go spelunking into my calendar on iOS, they have long since fallen off my device.
00:20:09 ◼ ► The calendar events do. Calendar events only, on the Mac they stay I think forever, but on iOS devices, they're by default, they only sync back a certain amount of time into the past. You can change that though.
00:20:22 ◼ ► Well, so even if they're not displaying within the app, if they're showing up on the Mac, that means they're probably in iCloud storage, which means that if the memories thing wanted to look that info up, they could get it.
00:20:34 ◼ ► But I'll let Casey continue because all of these theories, a lot of people had theories that are essentially, this is the way Google would do it.
00:20:41 ◼ ► A, they're right that Google would do it that way. And B, they're also right that it would work. But C, that's not the way Apple's doing it, which Casey will get to in a second.
00:20:48 ◼ ► Right. So first of all, you're assuming I'm using iCloud for calendaring. I'm actually not. I'm using Google Apps for calendaring.
00:20:54 ◼ ► And yes, these events surely exist on Google servers. And yes, strictly speaking, the device could go crawling back years and years and years in order to ask Google for that data.
00:21:06 ◼ ► But that's not Apple style is exactly what you're alluding to, John. Apple style is to do all this on device, and if you can't figure it out on device, then oop, there's nothing to know.
00:21:14 ◼ ► So yeah, so people talked about my calendar. Similarly, people said, "Well, no dummy, you've got your ticket receipts and your email."
00:21:21 ◼ ► Surely that's how they figured it out. Same problem. I have literally two emails in my inbox right now.
00:21:26 ◼ ► I've been working very hard in the last few months to stay as close as I can to #inbox0.
00:21:31 ◼ ► So I have literally two emails in my inbox. Now, my archive goes back like 15, 20 years, and it does have all of these tickets for sure.
00:21:37 ◼ ► But again, it's not on device. And so at least in the case of an iOS device, I'm extremely skeptical.
00:21:46 ◼ ► Although now that I'm talking out loud, it just occurred to me it could have been the Mac that figured all these out. Maybe that was a secret sauce. But nevertheless.
00:21:53 ◼ ► But I don't even think Apple would go through your email for this because it's just not an Apple style thing to do.
00:21:57 ◼ ► Forget about on device versus not on device. Just sort of rummaging through your email to try to...
00:22:02 ◼ ► Not that Apple doesn't do that, but it's just not Apple's go-to. That is definitely Google's go-to.
00:22:08 ◼ ► Google's going through email for all sorts of things. Not human being, computers doing it, don't be scared.
00:22:12 ◼ ► But anyway, it's not Apple's style. So I think that's not the first option Apple would go to if they had other options, and they do.
00:22:19 ◼ ► Right. And so the first person I saw point this out to me, I believe it was Benjamin on Twitter, who said,
00:22:26 ◼ ► "Hey, in the WWDC 2018 keynote at about 29 minutes, 25 seconds, there will be a timestamp link in the show notes.
00:22:32 ◼ ► Federici says, and this is either verbatim or almost verbatim, "Photos indexes over 4 million events by time and place,
00:22:43 ◼ ► So I think if I'm understanding this right, basically, Apple's photo software has access to some sort of scraped or some other database of event information.
00:22:58 ◼ ► Here's a football game. Here's what concert appeared when. And that makes a lot more sense.
00:23:02 ◼ ► And apparently there are APIs that allow for this. I think setlist.fm might have some sort of API.
00:23:17 ◼ ► So to recap, it appears that something somewhere has indexed over 4 million events in 2018, anyway, by time and place,
00:23:26 ◼ ► so they can say, "Well, if you were at John Paul Jones Arena on such-and-such a day at such-and-such a time,
00:23:32 ◼ ► then you must have been seeing a Dave Matthews concert." And I think that was the missing sauce.
00:23:35 ◼ ► There's also a KBase article that reads, "Search for an event like a concert you attended or a trip you took.
00:23:41 ◼ ► Photos uses the time and location of your photos, along with online event listings to find matching photos."
00:23:46 ◼ ► And that's the more Apple-style thing to do it, because the Google-style will cover many more bases and be more correct,
00:23:54 ◼ ► but Apple doesn't want to rummage through your stuff, for the most part, so it does the more limited one.
00:24:00 ◼ ► It only handles events. It's not going to know Bob's Barbecue, because Google goes through your email
00:24:07 ◼ ► and finds 50 threads about organizing a barbecue over someone's house that it figures out as Bob.
00:24:13 ◼ ► It can do Bob's Barbecue, but Bob's Barbecue is not in the 4 million event database or whatever.
00:24:18 ◼ ► So it is more privacy-respecting, it is simpler, it is more limited, and it also involves less guesswork.
00:24:28 ◼ ► Like Casey said, if you're in that arena, the GPS doesn't have to be too accurate to tell you you're in a giant arena.
00:24:39 ◼ ► Very quick Google Photos follow-up. I think I said last week that I'm exploding out of my 1 terabyte of Google Drive online storage.
00:24:48 ◼ ► As of last recording, I had gone into Google Drive and I thought I had deleted all my photos, and then I emptied the trash and nothing actually got deleted.
00:24:56 ◼ ► Several people, although not many, well, alarmingly, usually when I ask for feedback I get quite a bit.
00:25:06 ◼ ► But it seems that the actual thing I'm supposed to do is delete all of my photos and videos by hand.
00:25:17 ◼ ► So I'm going in every time I sit down at the computer, I'll go through a batch, and I will go to the Google Photos website.
00:25:24 ◼ ► I will select the first picture or first day, and I'll swipe, swipe, swipe, scroll, scroll, scroll, natural scrolling because I'm not a monster, scroll, scroll, scroll.
00:25:32 ◼ ► And then I will shift-click a different photo, which then gives me several hundred or maybe a thousand photos, that I can then click the delete button and say "yes, delete them please."
00:25:45 ◼ ► So I'm going to have to do this for all of my pictures, which goes back almost 20 years, something like that.
00:25:52 ◼ ► Actually, it probably does go back about 20 years. So I'm looking super forward to that. Thanks, Google. This is great.
00:26:00 ◼ ► I tried, but I am a grandfathered free Google Apps user, so they said piss off, you don't get support.
00:26:13 ◼ ► When I was having the problem, though, I'm just like on the regular public Google Drive, and I somehow got through to some chat thing with somebody, and that's how they gave me all that advice.
00:26:30 ◼ ► And I read it, and it seemed logical, and it seemed safe before I tried it, but of course it hasn't been updated in the last 15 seconds.
00:26:40 ◼ ► Oh, no, I don't care. I mean, I have nothing of value in Google Photos, but, or not anymore, anyway.
00:26:59 ◼ ► And I didn't care enough to actually go through and debug it and fix it. So, here I am, shift-clicking and deleting like a friggin' monster.
00:27:07 ◼ ► It's very frustrating. Moving on, Henrik had some information about photo editing. Tell me about this, John.
00:27:13 ◼ ► This is just clarifying, like, what's the deal with, in the Apple photo, iCloud photo library, with originals and edits and when you can do edits and having to do with editors or whatever.
00:27:24 ◼ ► So this is sort of generalizing the situation, partially based on some documentation for one of the classes in PhotoKit that's involved.
00:27:33 ◼ ► So he says, "About photo editing versions, I believe it works like this. The library keeps the original, a final composite, and the last editor used can modify its previous edit."
00:27:44 ◼ ► So there's always, obviously there's always the original, and there's the baked version of the thing, but then whatever editor was used to make that baked version can modify that previous edit.
00:27:57 ◼ ► So presumably the thing that's missing here is item 2A, is like, essentially what adjustments in the editor can turn the original into the final version?
00:28:08 ◼ ► So then if you still have that editor installed, you can then modify the edit by saying, "Oh, this had a brightness of +5, I'm going to change it to +4."
00:28:16 ◼ ► And then it will simply rebake from the original with all whatever other settings you had, like it had to keep track of all your settings, and then instead of +5, this time it does +4 and rebakes it in, right?
00:28:26 ◼ ► And he says that this applies to the built-in editor as well. Obviously you can never be without the built-in editor when using Photozapp, because it's built-in, but it's the same system, it's just that if you use a third-party editor and then you uninstall that third-party editor, you lose the ability to just tweak one little setting on the modified version, because you need the editor to do that, obviously.
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00:31:04 ◼ ► The news is that Apple has new video cards for the 2019 Mac Pro. It has not revised the 2019 Mac Pro. It doesn't have new Xeons. There's no new version of the thing, nothing like that, but it just has new video cards. They've done this before.
00:31:18 ◼ ► One of the two video cards that's in my Mac Pro was released, what, a year after the actual machine was released? So, this is a thing that Apple does. Occasionally, they will release new video cards for their computer that takes video cards, which is a great idea.
00:31:31 ◼ ► I love it. Imagine a modular computer that occasionally they release new modules for. These are the, they're not super new cards, but these are the AMD cards, obviously. They're not Nvidia. And these are the AMD cards that are remotely competitive with the top-line Nvidia cards.
00:31:46 ◼ ► The RDNA2 cards, the part numbers are like 6,000, so 6,800, 6,900, in keeping with whatever naming scheme Apple has been using. You can buy a PC video card, a 6,800, RX or something, whatever they're called. Anyway, the Apples are always called W, then the number, then an X. So, W 6,800X, all squished together, no spaces between them.
00:32:11 ◼ ► I'm not sure what the W and the X are supposed to indicate, but anyway, these are Apple's cards.
00:32:19 ◼ ► Yes, that's probably what it is. Or, "The connectors are super wide." Anyway, so, we talked about this on past shows, that we knew in upcoming versions of Mac OS, there were drivers for these GPUs.
00:32:31 ◼ ► And we kept saying, "Why would there be drivers in a new version of Mac OS for a card that Apple doesn't make? Maybe Apple's going to start selling these cards." And lo and behold, here they are. So, from what I've read, if you buy the "PC" versions of these cards, like you just buy a Radeon 6800 for a gaming PC and stick it into your Mac, since the drivers are in the OS, it will work.
00:32:53 ◼ ► But, if you're like me, or if you have just money that you need to get rid of, like in Brewster's Millions, you may be interested in these cards.
00:33:01 ◼ ► Because, these cards are MPX modules. And to review, MPX modules is the standard that Apple came up with to essentially let them not have to have a separate power connector for their, among other features, not have to have a separate power connector on their video cards.
00:33:16 ◼ ► And also, their video cards, all these MPX modules thus far, are passively cooled. Like, there are no fans on them. And if you buy PC gaming cards, and you say, "What do you mean? You're going to get a Radeon 6900 with no fans on it? How is that not going to melt in your computer?" The heat sink is really big.
00:33:33 ◼ ► And the Mac Pro itself has very large fans in it. So that's how these things work. They have the regular PCI connector, and then like, I guess in front of or in back of, depending on how you look at it, the PCI connector, there's another connector on the card, and that supplies power and a bunch of other crap.
00:33:49 ◼ ► I think also Thunderbolt passed through and some other stuff that's not in the PCI spec. And that makes these cards special, and it makes them appealing to me because I wouldn't want to put a card that had a bunch of fans on it inside my beautiful Mac Pro, and I wouldn't want to have to run a little, you know, one or two power connectors from the various power supply, power connector ports with some stupid adapter probably, to get my card going.
00:34:12 ◼ ► Because there's no wires inside my Mac Pro. It's, you know, basically wireless. So that's cool and everything. And like I said, these are the good, the quote unquote good video cards. It's the best it's going to get because if Apple's not going to put it out on Nvidia cards, these cards are actually competitive for the top line gaming and video cards.
00:34:28 ◼ ► Now let's talk about the cards. It's 6800 and 6900 and also there's a 6800 duo. The MPX modules always cost more than regular cards because they're weird. They have Thunderbolt connectors on the back of them to connect to your Pro Display XDR and regular cards don't have that. Regular cards generally can have that. I had a little snippet about why it is extremely unattractive for a PC video card maker to ever put Thunderbolt ports on their cards.
00:34:55 ◼ ► But I have lost that piece of information. Maybe I'll dig it out for a future show. There's obviously lots of reasons like no one on the PC space has Thunderbolt monitors, but there's also other technical limitations that are annoying as well.
00:35:06 ◼ ► But of course Apple wants it because that's what their monitors use. And so my AMD W5700X whatever the hell card I have was $1000 which is more expensive than any 5700 you get for a PC. But it's an MPX module and I think mine might have more RAM than the average PC one.
00:35:28 ◼ ► And you're just paying a premium for something that matches your computer and all that. So that tradition continues. The W6800X with 32GB of RAM and you can find 6800s for the PC with 16GB of RAM or 32GB. Apple's price is $2800 for that card.
00:35:44 ◼ ► And that is not what it would cost for you to put a 6800 in your gaming PC. Now that said, as many people have joked, it's almost like Apple's prices are built in the scalping.
00:35:58 ◼ ► Because it's very hard to get GPUs to get gaming GPUs right now. Both because of cryptocurrency mining and also because of the general chip shortage from COVID and everything.
00:36:09 ◼ ► So if you want a top line gaming PC card, it's like a lottery. People are still trying to hunt them down. They're very difficult to find. And if people manage to buy them, they resell them for way above the actual price.
00:36:21 ◼ ► So it's almost like Apple is just self scalping. It's like, "Well, we've made these cards and now we're going to sell them to you at very high prices."
00:36:28 ◼ ► The 6900, I forget, I didn't put the specs of the details, but it's like the same differences between the PC68 and 6900. 6900 is faster, better, has more execution units, blah, blah, blah. The 6900 also with 32GB of RAM. This one really blew me away.
00:36:42 ◼ ► $6000. $6000 for a graphics card that you can get for substantially less than $2000 new on a gaming PC.
00:36:59 ◼ ► Wait, but is it the same card or is this like the workstation version of the card with workstation RAM and everything?
00:37:04 ◼ ► It's basically the same card. It's 32GB and you can buy them for the PC. It's not because it's an MPX module.
00:37:11 ◼ ► Physically speaking, the card has way more stuff going on on it to support MPX with the power and all that other stuff.
00:37:17 ◼ ► Yeah, but I have to imagine this is the typical difference between workstation cards and gaming cards of increased precision and stuff like that, right?
00:37:26 ◼ ► No, no. I don't think that's the case at all. I think it is computationally identical to a top line 6900 on a PC with the exception of all the MPX stuff.
00:37:39 ◼ ► I'm pretty sure. Obviously the Apple ones have the maximum amount of RAM and stuff like that, but what people buy these for, anything they use them for, whether it's crypto mining or playing games, you can just compare it.
00:37:52 ◼ ► Take a gaming PC with a plain old regular 6900 with 32GB of RAM and then play the same game versus the Mac one. It's not going to be a big difference.
00:38:01 ◼ ► I know games aren't what workstation cards are used for, so fine, pick anything else. Pick video rendering, pick anything that uses the GPU.
00:38:09 ◼ ► I don't think that these are... they're not like the workstation ones where they're bad at games, so these are very good at games, but they're not.
00:38:16 ◼ ► I don't think it's like they have higher precision or they have ECC RAM or anything like that. I'm pretty sure they're close to identical, but even if they're not, $6,000 doesn't really make any sense until you think about the fact that nobody's going to buy these things because they're super rare.
00:38:29 ◼ ► And then for the bargain price of $5,000, you can get two 6800s in a single card. So that's each one of those would have 32GB of RAM.
00:38:37 ◼ ► And then on the back of these cards, I think all of them, there's four Thunderbolt 3 ports and there's also an HDMI port, but the HDMI port is HDMI 2.0, which is kind of crappy.
00:38:45 ◼ ► Not that if you have it on a Mac, you're probably going to use HDMI anyway, but if you're hoping for HDMI 2.1, so you could do 120 frames per second gaming, that's not going to happen over HDMI on these cards unless they misspoke on the spec.
00:38:57 ◼ ► So kudos to Apple for continuing to update these computers. Not so many kudos for these prices, which are ridiculous.
00:39:10 ◼ ► But I'm not going to buy it at this point because I'm not going to spend another $2800 on this computer when I know it's just waiting around to be replaced by the ARM Mac Pro.
00:39:20 ◼ ► And also, the video card I have in there is actually pretty good and there's no games that I want to play right now that are overwhelming it.
00:39:32 ◼ ► I did look at what the sort of, if you work for Apple, how much of a discount do you get, which is kind of a good way to gauge what the margins are.
00:39:38 ◼ ► Because if Apple sells something with huge margins, usually you get a big discount if you're an employee.
00:39:44 ◼ ► So I think the employee discount on the $6000 card is much, much bigger than the employee discount on the $2800 card.
00:40:01 ◼ ► I really like the idea of, the reason I would be considering buying one of these is because I like the idea of it being an MPX module.
00:40:11 ◼ ► No PC makers, I wish I knew this tech stuff that I had written in the notes, but no PC makers make video cards with Thunderbolt ports on them.
00:40:18 ◼ ► So right there, it's like a, you know, forget about running your Proteus by XDR off of it.
00:40:23 ◼ ► And they don't care about making something with a giant passive heatsink with a special connector.
00:40:36 ◼ ► And if you didn't want these, you already bought a PC 6800 and already have it in your Mac making tons of noise.
00:40:45 ◼ ► But like I said, if the ARM transition didn't happen and it was just Intel from here on out, I would totally spend $2800 on that 6800.
00:40:52 ◼ ► What's interesting about this GPU update release is not the particular cards they're using.
00:41:05 ◼ ► Here we are well into the ARM transition and the Mac Pro as we know it today doesn't seem like it's going to be part of the ARM transition.
00:41:16 ◼ ► Like so far, based on, you know, we talked about this a lot before, it sure seems like the ARM Mac Pro replacement is probably going to be a smaller computer that does not have card slots for GPUs.
00:41:28 ◼ ► Like it's probably going to be an all-in-one thing, maybe it's the new Cube, you know, whatever people think it might be.
00:41:34 ◼ ► But like it's probably going to be some kind of smaller thing where the GPU is part of the system on a chip just like on the M1s.
00:41:42 ◼ ► Just like, you know, a giant version of that probably with giant GPU cores and giant CPU cores.
00:41:46 ◼ ► And it's going to cost a lot, but it's going to be the smaller thing that is a totally different beast than what we know of now as the Intel Mac Pro.
00:41:53 ◼ ► That's the current thinking and I still think that is probably pretty clearly the direction we are heading.
00:41:59 ◼ ► So the question becomes, what the heck do they do with this Intel one that they just released relatively recently?
00:42:05 ◼ ► I mean, it isn't that old. It hasn't been, you know, significantly updated yet in the sense that they're still the same Xeons.
00:42:17 ◼ ► And if they don't, that flies directly in the face of what they said when they launched it.
00:42:23 ◼ ► They were very clear, like this is going to be a modular system, upgradeable, and they said in various unofficial contexts that like they intended to keep this thing going for a while.
00:42:36 ◼ ► This wasn't meant to be a one-off. This was meant to be like, you know, here for the long haul we're going to keep this thing updated.
00:42:42 ◼ ► That was the clear direction I got from a few people like, you know, here and there off the record.
00:42:48 ◼ ► So it seems like when they shipped the Mac Pro, which again, not that long ago, they intended for it to have a significant future.
00:42:57 ◼ ► Well, they had to know at that time that the ARM transition was coming because they announced it like a year later.
00:43:15 ◼ ► And we don't know how the story ends yet, so I guess, and they might not even know how it ends yet.
00:43:24 ◼ ► But I think one of the big questions is like, well, if this thing is not going to be part of the ARM product line, do you keep updating it with Intel chips even into and after possibly the ARM transition?
00:43:38 ◼ ► This thing could have been a one-off like the trash can Mac Pro, could have been a one-off that never got touched again.
00:44:05 ◼ ► And so now we know in a much bigger way, they intend for this product to not be dead yet.
00:44:18 ◼ ► There are current rumors out there that there are upcoming Xeon updates that could be relevant to it.
00:44:30 ◼ ► And that therefore it is possible, maybe even likely, that there might be a Xeon update to the Mac Pros, which might involve a bigger thing.
00:44:38 ◼ ► And that would be great, because the way I think this is most likely to play out, I think the Mac Pro gets at least one processor upgrade.
00:44:47 ◼ ► Like at least one significant processor difference where we're not just getting more chips from the family that already gave them these chips, like they did once with the 2012 Mac Pro.
00:45:02 ◼ ► What I think they're going to do here is actually give this one more batch of Nuzions, because I don't think Apple wants to make a computer with card slots five years from now.
00:45:11 ◼ ► I think they made this computer because the market needed it, they needed something to carry us through this era.
00:45:18 ◼ ► They needed something to address what Pros weren't getting from the trash can Mac Pro or the iMac Pro.
00:45:23 ◼ ► So they made this thing out of need in 2018, 2019, as they were finalizing the design and targeting, getting it out and everything.
00:45:35 ◼ ► But I still don't think Apple has it in their heart to have a giant expandable slot filled tower five or ten years from now.
00:45:43 ◼ ► So I think they need this current Mac Pro to carry all the Pros forward until all the Pros are ready to buy the ARM Mac Pro cube whatever thing that has no slots and just the whole thing is basically replaceable.
00:45:57 ◼ ► We've talked about this before, but I feel like Apple, I'm hoping Apple has learned their lesson that that's just like doing the trash can all over again.
00:46:05 ◼ ► As amazing as ARM is, when I look at these MPX modules, I think, you know what, kind of like you just said with the Xeon, it would have to be a motherboard bump because it's a different socket.
00:46:17 ◼ ► The work they did to make these MPX modules for these cards, not wasted because you could just stick these cards in the new Mac Pro.
00:46:24 ◼ ► And you know where else you could stick these cards? Into an ARM Mac Pro in theory, possibly.
00:46:31 ◼ ► Right, exactly. But no, I don't know. We have to see what the ARM Mac Pro is going to look like, but just because it's half the size doesn't mean it has zero slots.
00:46:42 ◼ ► By the way, it's not just these video cards. If you go, it's so hard to do an Apple's terrible store interface.
00:46:58 ◼ ► That's so hard to do in the store. But it is possible. It is actually possible. You go to like explore and then you go to accessories and then you filter by product.
00:47:06 ◼ ► But it should be like when you go to the Mac Pro, there should be a giant button that says show me crap I can buy for my Mac Pro at horrendous prices.
00:47:12 ◼ ► Like that should be a link, but it's not. Anyway, if you go to like essentially the parts page, like what kind of parts can I buy?
00:47:20 ◼ ► The only computer Apple sells that they will essentially sell you parts for as a regular citizen is the Mac Pro.
00:47:26 ◼ ► Because you can stick stuff in it. You can stick little Pegasus raid drive things in the $400 piece of bent metal and like seven or eight or nine choices of video card.
00:47:35 ◼ ► And I think they'll even sell you SSD stuff. Like you can buy parts from Apple to stick in this Mac Pro. It is actually a modular computer.
00:47:42 ◼ ► And Apple has steadily been releasing these parts. And there's third party ones and there's first party ones and yes, they're all expensive.
00:47:48 ◼ ► But that really is the promise of a modular computer. And I have a hard time believing that when they transition to ARM, they're going to say,
00:47:54 ◼ ► you know, the whole moment we had where we realized you want a modular computer? Well, never mind. It's trashcan again. You're going to like it.
00:48:00 ◼ ► I'm hoping that even if it is smaller and lighter and quieter and it uses an amazing integrated GPU, that maybe there's still a way to take parts in and out of it.
00:48:18 ◼ ► So here's the information from anonymous source. A Thunderbolt spec requires that the port can supply both display port and PCIe and 60.5 watts of bus power.
00:48:29 ◼ ► On a card that PCI bandwidth and power would have to come at the expense of the GPU itself.
00:48:33 ◼ ► And nobody would want to make that trade off just to support Thunderbolt and the PC space.
00:48:41 ◼ ► So basically to support Thunderbolt, you'd have to zap power and bandwidth from the GPU.
00:48:47 ◼ ► And you know, it'll make your gaming card slower. So Apple's solution to that, Apple being Apple, is like, what if we just add a whole bunch of new connectors and pins?
00:48:55 ◼ ► Then we can supply all the extra power and all the other stuff and we won't have to zap CPU power for it.
00:48:59 ◼ ► And yeah, and again, only Apple can do that because no gaming PC maker is going to make a PC motherboard with a special connector that's only on their computers.
00:49:11 ◼ ► And then charge $6,000 for it, which as many people point out, for $6,000 of the 6900, you can build an amazing gaming PC with a 6900.
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00:50:51 ◼ ► A few weeks ago, a few days ago, I don't remember exactly when this was, there was a kerfuffle that happened because apparently there's some group that has some sort of like crack or spyware or something like that,
00:51:04 ◼ ► that was used to target journalists and human rights activists and this list of people who had been hacked had come out and everyone got their junk in a bunch.
00:51:13 ◼ ► And I didn't really follow this, hence that really crummy summary, but there's perhaps something to be said about this.
00:51:20 ◼ ► So Marco, can you kind of explain what's going on here or take me in a different direction if you prefer?
00:51:28 ◼ ► So I don't know much about the story specifics in the sense of like who was targeted, how they found it and everything, but the gist of it is this NSO group is one of these companies that basically sells iPhone hacks as a service to governments and things like that, which honestly is an extremely gross business in my opinion.
00:51:48 ◼ ► People have come up with justifications like, "Well, what if there were terrorists and you wanted to save children from abductors?" And it's like, okay, that's not the common case of how these things are used.
00:52:00 ◼ ► So the whole business of this I think is gross because usually it's used for things like spying on dissidents and journalists and women and it's a terrible business.
00:52:16 ◼ ► So the whole hacks to serve some kind of good, that's a bunch of BS. They're usually not serving some kind of good.
00:52:24 ◼ ► So anyway, so this company, NSO group, they have this software called Pegasus that basically allows them to remote hack iPhones and the way they do this is via security exploits.
00:52:37 ◼ ► So I don't know much about this whole underworld of the security area, but the idea is if you can find a way to exploit any modern operating system, especially phones, that's valuable.
00:52:53 ◼ ► That has value to somebody. So for example, if you can find a way to hack an iPhone in a way that just requires sending a specially crafted iMessage to the phone, that doesn't even require the user to click on a suspicious link or anything like that.
00:53:09 ◼ ► If it's a no-click exploit where the user just receives a message and breaks something in their phone and you have control over their phone, that's incredibly valuable.
00:53:18 ◼ ► That's worth millions of dollars apparently on the market. So you can imagine people like NSO group want that. Presumably the NSA or other intelligence agencies most certainly would be interested in something like that.
00:53:32 ◼ ► There's lots of ways to, lots of people who would be interested in buying that exploit from you and making sure you don't tell Apple about it so they don't fix it.
00:53:40 ◼ ► And the whole point of security bug bounties that a lot of the big companies have done in recent years is for people like Apple or Microsoft or Google or whoever to say, "Look, if you find an exploit like this out in the wild, we will pay you for it.
00:53:58 ◼ ► Hopefully we will match or beat the price that the bad guys will pay so that you don't sell it to them. We'd rather pay you ourselves so that you 'sell it to us' and then we can fix the bug.
00:54:11 ◼ ► And that way our platforms don't get attacked in this way and our users are not vulnerable in this way."
00:54:16 ◼ ► And Apple was very, very late to the bug bounty thing. They only started their bug bounty program about two years ago or something. Wasn't it pretty recent?
00:54:29 ◼ ► Yeah, so Apple has their security bounty thing and from what we've heard, it's not very good. We keep hearing stories over and over again. Now granted, these are anecdotal and a lot of the bug bounty stuff is not super publicized for obvious reasons.
00:54:48 ◼ ► You try to keep this kind of stuff hush-hush for plenty of reasons, not just bad PR but also just the practicality of things being exploited in the wild. So we don't have a lot of good data on this from the outside of how much Apple is actually paying out, how many reports are actually being addressed correctly and everything, how often somebody sells a pretty big exploit to Apple instead of "a bad guy."
00:55:12 ◼ ► But we keep seeing reports on Twitter and blog posts from people who have reported issues to Apple. And let me know if this sounds familiar to us as Apple developers.
00:55:24 ◼ ► We hear reports of people reporting bugs to the security bounty program and just never hearing a response.
00:55:32 ◼ ► Or people who report security bugs and the Apple people kind of argue with them and say it's not really a bug even though it clearly is and it's clearly demonstrable. Or we hear the Apple people say, "Oh, well, we fixed this but then they didn't fix it." Or the Apple people say, "Well, yeah, this is a bug but it's not that big of a bug so we're just not going to fix it yet." Or, "Yeah, okay, we'll fix it soon and then it never gets fixed." Does this sound familiar? Does this sound like any other Apple feedback process?
00:55:58 ◼ ► The biggest complaint that I've seen is that people will report a bug and everything will seem to be going fine with long delays between. But still, like, "Okay, well, we've got your bug report." There actually is some feedback of them.
00:56:11 ◼ ► "Hey, we got your bug report and we're investigating it and we'll get back to you." And everything seems great. Or maybe they even agree, "Yeah, we're totally going to give you the agreed upon amount for this thing." But then they change their mind and say, "You know what? We changed our mind. We were going to give you the bounty for this one but for reasons that don't make any sense to you, we've decided we're not going to pay you."
00:56:27 ◼ ► And that whole waiting a long time and potentially arguing about whether it's a jit or them deciding, "Oh, this isn't really the bug you thought it was. It's not as exploitable as you thought." And then they back and forth.
00:56:39 ◼ ► It kind of reminds me of the pitch for the iTunes Music Store back in the day because the way bug bounty programs work is that companies are trying to compete with the bad people.
00:56:54 ◼ ► If you have a security exploit, you could sell it to someone who's going to use it to break into the phones of dissidents in China or something. And they'll pay you a lot of money. The bad guys will pay you a lot of money for your security exploit.
00:57:07 ◼ ► So the idea behind bug bounty is, "Well, but what if Apple decides to pay you more or maybe even they pay you less and you just feel better about it because you're not selling it to the bad guys."
00:57:16 ◼ ► But bid against the thing. Say, "I know you could make money from the bad guys, but wouldn't you rather get an equal or maybe even a lesser amount of money from us so that you'll feel better about making our thing more secure?"
00:57:30 ◼ ► And you still get paid. If you're a security researcher, you can actually make a lot of money if you can find a lot of bugs because they don't pay you 50 bucks. The amounts that they pay you will go up into the six figures and maybe even more.
00:57:42 ◼ ► Network attack without user interaction. Zero-click kernel code execution with persistence and kernel PAC bypass. One million dollars from Apple.
00:57:51 ◼ ► Yeah. Apple's trying to compete. It's like when the iTunes Music Store is saying, "Well, we're competing with piracy because we understand that we're not doing this in a vacuum."
00:58:04 ◼ ► The problem with the bug bounty program is that it really falls down in the area where iTunes excelled. Piracy is free or close to free. And iTunes was trying to charge you $99 a track.
00:58:14 ◼ ► So how is that competing with piracy? You're not competing with piracy. You're way worse than piracy. I want it for free, not 99 cents per track.
00:58:22 ◼ ► But the thing the iTunes Music Store had going for it was, one, you're not pirating and so it might make you feel better about yourself. But two, and the most important one, it's easy and convenient.
00:58:33 ◼ ► And getting money from Apple for a bug bounty is not easy and convenient. They're totally falling down on the most important feature. It's not so much that Apple's not paying enough, which they probably aren't.
00:58:44 ◼ ► Let's be honest. They have so much money they should be paying way more. I don't understand why they're trying to cheap out on it, but Apple's going to be Apple.
00:58:49 ◼ ► But still, I would say if you're in the ballpark, a million dollars is not chump change. But you have to make it easy to get paid and you can't be like, "Oh, I don't know."
00:58:59 ◼ ► Maybe I'll give you 10,000 for that because it's not as big. Just pay the people because they're going to look at this. All of them say and they're like, "Boy, I spent like nine months waiting and fighting or a year or a year and a half waiting and fighting with Apple to try to get paid. In the end, I got zero dollars."
00:59:15 ◼ ► Some of them are like, "You know what, Apple? I'm not even going to take your $10,000 because I should be getting the 200,000 that I should for this thing."
00:59:22 ◼ ► They just become angry at the process and that is the exact opposite of the iTunes Music Store strategy. Apple needs to make it easier and more convenient to go to the good guys and tell them about the thing than it is to sell it to the bad guys.
00:59:35 ◼ ► Right now, the bad guys are probably like, "Here you go, Bitcoin," and they're off. It's really easy to get paid for them. In fact, you could probably sell them fake scams and then hope they don't find you and kill you.
00:59:45 ◼ ► Apple is really, really falling down on the... It's probably because it's being run by security people or whatever. iTunes Music Store had Steve Jobs eyes on it and people who understood that our main selling point is that it's easy and convenient.
01:00:02 ◼ ► It's a distant second that it'll make you feel good to actually pay for music. I hope Apple gets this act together. Not to just say, "Okay, we'll double our prices," but to instead say, "Let's not argue over stuff like this if someone finds a bug. Heck, what if two people find the same bug? Just pay them both. You have so much money, Apple. Just pay them both. Pay them in a timely manner.
01:00:23 ◼ ► Don't wait to the very maximum limit because they'll have these informal agreements of, "I'm going to go public with this exploit, Apple, if you don't fix it within six months," or something like that.
01:00:32 ◼ ► Just pay them immediately. Pay them speculatively. Just make it super easy because then everyone will say, "Hey, if you think you found a bug in an Apple thing, don't try to sell it to the bad guys. Just tell Apple. They'll pay you super quick."
01:00:44 ◼ ► That's how you get people to report bugs to you. I hope this does change. That said, the one thing I always worry about with bug bounty programs is that you are redirecting the security researchers who are most likely to consider selling their exploits to the good guys,
01:01:05 ◼ ► but the ones who are themselves nefarious still exist, are never going to participate in an Apple bug bounty program, and it only really takes one unknown exploit for whatever the given version of iOS is.
01:01:22 ◼ ► So I do wonder if your goal is to increase the security of iOS, it doesn't matter how many bugs you fix. It's like any kind of security thing. If there is one bug that you don't know about that provides a whole exploit, the hundred bugs you fix almost mean nothing.
01:01:40 ◼ ► True, but it is such a cat and mouse game that in the end, did we make it more secure or was this NSO company still able to exploit every single one of our phones on the day they were released? Because that's what you're trying to prevent.
01:01:52 ◼ ► The NSO company doesn't need 70 exploits, they just need one that works that Apple doesn't know about. So if they've got that one, all the bug bounty people you're paying might not actually be solving your problem.
01:02:02 ◼ ► But anyway, you're certainly not going to solve it by not doing bug bounties because then you just won't know about 50 bugs and it will take you much longer to close those holes. As it stands, they fixed this, what did they fix it in? 14.6 or 7 or whatever?
01:02:15 ◼ ► Yeah, so you've got to know about it before you can fix it, and having to do that to 5 exploits is better than having to do it to 1.
01:02:23 ◼ ► Yeah, I think my concern here is, so you mentioned that the iTunes Music Store had Steve Jobs' eyes on it, whereas this doesn't seem to have that kind of person in the company. I think it's bigger than that.
01:02:37 ◼ ► I think the iTunes Music Store was something that Apple was actively excited about. They really cared a lot about that. The bug bounty program was something that they seemed to do very reluctantly.
01:02:46 ◼ ► It seems like Apple does not like this. They don't think they have to do this. They're doing it not because they want to, not because they think it's the right thing to do, but because they think they have to.
01:02:56 ◼ ► And that's why they came late to it, and that's why they came really half-assed at the party. Unfortunately, not only is that attitude unlikely to ever change, but in a way this is part of the entire flow of developer relations in the company.
01:03:12 ◼ ► Because in large part, this is part of developer relations. It uses a similar feedback system, it's targeting a similar group of people, and it has a similar feedback and response problem and responsiveness problem.
01:03:25 ◼ ► If you look at the companies that do bug bounties really well, one name that comes up all the time is Microsoft. Microsoft apparently does a really good job with theirs. It's considered one of the best run, or if not the best run bug bounty program in the business.
01:03:37 ◼ ► People also say Microsoft's developer relations are awesome, and from all accounts they have been for a very long time. Microsoft is very, very good at dealing with developers.
01:03:46 ◼ ► The attitude towards developers is totally different. The feedback mechanisms are totally different. Everything is totally different between Apple and Microsoft with how developer relations are handled and what happens in practice.
01:03:58 ◼ ► Apple treats developer relations as mostly an afterthought, and they treat developers mostly as pesky annoyances that occasionally ask things of them, and they're just like, "Oh, do I really have to deal with you?"
01:04:14 ◼ ► Slash, you know, financial resources to be farmed. That's how being an Apple developer most of the time feels like. And the feedback mechanism for security is the same. Again, it's basically radar. It's the same feedback system, I think, or at least it certainly works the same way.
01:04:33 ◼ ► I was reading the stories of people arguing with their bugs. I was jealous of the amount of personal human interaction they were getting. Because they are getting argued with, but it didn't seem like what they got was a computer program responding to them or someone who had no idea.
01:04:52 ◼ ► It was, eventually, after six months of waiting, an actual human being who knew what the heck they were talking about who would respond to them and say things they didn't like, but still, it's like, "Well, at least you're getting a human to respond."
01:05:03 ◼ ► Right? Like, that's what I was, you know, going through bugs. It's like, even if I get the result I don't want, I just like to think a human being, like, read it and understood it and is closing it for a reason and not to have it, like, be closed by a machine.
01:05:15 ◼ ► That's some sort of automated process because they did a release and they want me to confirm whether my bug is fixed and stuff like that. So, I think they do get better treatment than regular developers, but I agree with Marco that that's not saying much.
01:05:27 ◼ ► Yeah. And that's why I fear that this won't ever really change. Because to change this meaningfully would require Apple to dramatically improve and change their entire developer relations ecosystem. They would need to dramatically change how they view us internally, how they treat us, the resources allocated to dealing with feedback and bugs.
01:05:51 ◼ ► And that goes down to engineering practices and engineering realities and incentives and resource allocation in the company. It's such a massive shift to change anything that would meaningfully improve their bug binding program.
01:06:04 ◼ ► And that's ultimately, I worry about that because I worry about the security of their devices. They just keep skating by on not having things quite blow up in their face too badly with some of these exploits.
01:06:16 ◼ ► But it's only a matter of time before there's a really bad one that's exploited on a really large scale. And then it'll come out later on, a few months later, "Oh, this was reported to them months ago in their bug binding program, but they ignored it."
01:06:28 ◼ ► Or they tried to cheapen the price to the guy and he went and sold it to Iran or whatever. This is like a ticking time bomb that Apple's just playing with fire here.
01:06:39 ◼ ► And it just seems like such a self-own to use John Parlin. It's like, this is such an easy problem to solve. Well, sorry. It's not an easy problem to solve from the place that Apple is currently at.
01:06:52 ◼ ► Because as I said, I think this requires dramatic improvement of developer relations, feedback, engineering practices. This gets down to software quality, allocation of time for bug fixes.
01:07:04 ◼ ► This is all intertwined, but I hope Apple goes in that direction someday. I don't see them doing it now. And I don't see any of the current leadership going for this.
01:07:16 ◼ ► Because I think if there was going to be any hint of this kind of change in the company, it would have happened in the last 10 years from these same people. And it hasn't.
01:07:27 ◼ ► So hopefully, maybe in 20 years, when all the current execs have hopefully retired and we have new people, maybe they'll prioritize things differently. Because this is such a stupid problem for Apple to have.
01:07:38 ◼ ► Apple should not be regarded as a company that does not respond promptly and well to security reports. Apple should be the company that everyone knows as, "Oh, you find a bug in the iPhone? You're going to get mad money from Apple."
01:07:59 ◼ ► Looking at the exchanges, I get the impression that the security org Apple absolutely wants to know about all these bugs and fix them. But the fact that there's anyone ever arguing back and forth about what should get paid or what level it should be paid at and all that sort of delaying and stuff makes me think that once you get up the org chart from the security people who are doing the actual technical work, at some point someone is responsible for saying,
01:08:27 ◼ ► "How much money did we pay out and how much benefit did Apple get as a company?" And that person is pushing back and saying, "Don't just pay everybody. We really need to justify everything." Because they're expensive. Not all the million dollars, but the six-figure ones and five-figure ones.
01:08:41 ◼ ► You have to justify. Someone is demanding that you justify. You gave how much in bug bounties? Show me what benefit we got from that. How many bugs did we fix? That's the pressure from above. That's the culture. I don't know if that's a real thing that's happening, but when I see the exchanges, the security researchers wouldn't be arguing about this.
01:09:01 ◼ ► It's not their money. They don't care whether you get this bug bounty at the full price. But someone, somewhere who is responsible for the budget or whatever or responsible for profit and loss. I know they say the departments don't have profit and loss. It's just a top-line thing.
01:09:15 ◼ ► But if you've been in a big company long enough, you realize you can smell someone somewhere caring about pinching those pennies and not wanting to pay stuff out. And that's the wrong motivation, especially at this scale.
01:09:26 ◼ ► Part of the reason I think these security researchers do get slightly better treatment than developers is there's a bazillion developers and there's probably like two dozen people in the world who are equipped to find these kinds of security things. It's almost like they could all be on a first-name basis with Apple.
01:09:42 ◼ ► So they should essentially get white glove treatment and they should be paid promptly and without argument. For all the money Apple has, they're just too busy buying back their own stock. They've got so much money they don't know what to do with it. They can't even draw down their cash.
01:09:56 ◼ ► And someone somewhere in Apple's org chart is worried about paying out too much in bug bounties. That is penny-wise pound foolish. It's not even penny-wise. It's just pound foolish.
01:10:06 ◼ ► Setting aside the larger debt relations thing, the bug bounty thing, I would just never want to see that. And a lot of the things that I read with the exchanges, it's almost like the person they're arguing with doesn't understand the exploit.
01:10:21 ◼ ► The security researcher is trying to say, you don't understand. Do you understand the implications of this exploit that I've shown you? So it's almost like the slightly less technical manager person hops onto the email thread and says, yeah, we don't want to pay you because we don't think this is X, Y, and X.
01:10:36 ◼ ► And then the person who reported it is like, are you kidding me? Do you understand what you could do with this and has to explain to them in laborious detail? Look, I could just do X and Y and Z and see I have you exploit. And it makes me think that it is a less technical person parachuting in to try to like, you know, like the person who comes in to try to get you to not leave Comcast, right, whatever they call it, retention specialists or whatever the Apple's money retention specialist parachutes in and they just don't even understand the technical issue.
01:11:02 ◼ ► They don't even understand it well enough to make a convincing argument. They just be like, yeah, we don't want to pay you the full amount. And it's incredibly frustrating for these people. And I don't I don't blame them.
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01:13:19 ◼ ► Alright, let's do some Ask ATP. And Arianne on Aha writes, "Do you guys still use e-readers? What is the general view on the cadence of slow software releases by Amazon for the Kindle? Do you think there are any particular features you would like to see?" I'll start. I have a Kindle paper white, I think. I don't even know what I have. I have an older Kindle that has some sort of quasi touchscreen that I, if I recall correctly, a friend of the show, Stephen Hackett sent me because he wasn't using it anymore.
01:13:44 ◼ ► I use it quite a lot and it lets me read books. Like, that's, I'm sure someone like a Jason Snell would have a more nuanced take on this because I know Jason reads many, many books and has very particular thoughts on what he wants from an e-reader.
01:14:00 ◼ ► For me, I just want something that has a light on it that lets me read books that I can put on there without connecting it to anything physically. And my not too new Kindle does that. And the battery lasts basically forever and it's easy to read in sunlight.
01:14:14 ◼ ► So, yeah, I still use e-readers. I don't remember how many books I read last year, but I've been on a pretty good tear of reading novels recently. And I probably read somewhere between 20 and 50 books last year, probably closer to 20 than 50.
01:14:27 ◼ ► And almost all of them were on the Kindle. And I really like it. Are there features I wish I had? I don't know, nothing I can think of. I'm not a very sophisticated e-reader user.
01:14:38 ◼ ► Marco, if I recall correctly, you don't believe in reading novels or any long form prose like that, right?
01:14:45 ◼ ► Yeah, for a while I used Kindles, but I rarely actually read full books on them. If I do ever read a full book, I want to do it on a Kindle. But that's unfortunately not something I do very often. Yes, I know I should read. I don't.
01:15:01 ◼ ► And I've used it much more in the Instapaper days, back when I was more of a reader. It's funny, I wouldn't even make Instapaper now in today's world for lots of reasons, but the biggest one is that I just don't read anymore.
01:15:15 ◼ ► But anyway, e-readers are, I think, a fantastic way to do it. Except that e-readers as a category pretty much just means Kindles now. So that's problem number one is like Amazon's massive dominance over the e-book business is so strong that...
01:15:34 ◼ ► Well, that's true asterisk. I don't remember exactly which one it is, but I know Snell's e-reader of choice is not actually a Kindle. And forgive me because I really don't remember what it was. But if he was to buy for himself, and I think what he did buy for himself was something else.
01:15:49 ◼ ► I know this because I just recently bought Aaron a new Kindle. And I was asking him, "Well, what do you recommend, blah, blah, blah?" And he had recommended, I want to say like a Kobe or something.
01:16:05 ◼ ► And I was like, "Oh, Amazon blight?" Like when Amazon owns a market, when any one company owns a market like this, it just becomes a blight because it's like, "Well, what's their motivation to make anything better?" Amazon's a little bit better about that and they seem to have some internal motivation to make things better. But yeah, having one company dominate is not great.
01:16:20 ◼ ► The good thing about e-books is that it is enough of a backwater as compared to like gambling games for children or other much larger sources of money that the reason Jason can do that is the DRM has essentially been cracked and you can buy your books from Amazon because they're the only game in town or whatever and then crack them and put them on your Kobo, whatever.
01:16:42 ◼ ► It's kind of like the MP3s and the Napster days or even like the iTunes days when you could rip off the fair play DRM or whatever. There are ways if you are technically savvy to pay for your books legitimately but then read them on the reader of your choice using publicly available tools that know how to crack the apparently not particularly strong DRM on these things.
01:17:03 ◼ ► But the fact that Amazon is so dominant in the area of e-books is not good for anybody in the e-book industry and we're just kind of saved by the fact that apparently Amazon doesn't care enough to fight against the "piracy" of you paying money for a book from Amazon and then stripping off the DRM so that you, the owner of that book, can actually read it where you want to.
01:17:27 ◼ ► For what it's worth, for me the prototypical garbage to look at and kind of to use app that functions flawlessly is Calibre.
01:17:40 ◼ ► Which is a Java app if I'm not mistaken so it looks like it does not belong on the Mac but it lets you do the sort of thing like strip DRM and or reformat for what is it?
01:17:52 ◼ ► Like a Moby or something like that which is Amazon's semi proprietary format. It will let you basically go from anything to anything. Kind of like Songwhip or whatever it's called that we were talking about.
01:18:03 ◼ ► Yeah, Song Shift. Thank you. That we were talking about earlier. Similar idea. It is not great to look at but it's open source, it's free and it works extremely well. I use it all the time.
01:18:11 ◼ ► Yeah, so going back to the actual question here of Amazon's software, slow cadence of software updates for the Kindle. Amazon has shown over the history of the Kindle that, and now into the era of their Echo devices with screens.
01:18:29 ◼ ► Amazon's ability to make software UIs for people to use is comically bad. It's so bad. It's almost mind bogglingly bad how bad Amazon is at making software for people to use.
01:18:47 ◼ ► Like UI, like actual interactive software. They seem to be pretty good on the backend stuff and the shopping stuff and the abusing workers stuff. They're all pretty good on that stuff but they really are not very good at all at making software that you interact with as a person.
01:19:04 ◼ ► And the Kindles, in the early days of the Kindle, it kind of skated by because it couldn't do much. The early Kindles were such primitive devices and the early E Ink screens were so primitive and limited that there was only so much they could even attempt to do.
01:19:22 ◼ ► So Amazon wasn't able to crap them up very much with their terrible UI design skills. And over time, Kindles got better and Amazon got more ability to screw things up. And they used it with great success.
01:19:39 ◼ ► I can't recall a time when the Kindle software got updated and it was overall a better thing in my opinion. Every time they've moved things forward, they've added more crap and made certain things harder or cluttered certain things or made bafflingly bad decisions about things like text rendering, like the justification.
01:20:02 ◼ ► It's so bad. Ultimately, I think this is one of those cases where you don't really want Amazon to be messing with the software on Kindles very often because they're really not good at it and they're more likely to make things worse than to make things better when they start messing with them.
01:20:19 ◼ ► So ultimately the super slow glacial pace of Kindle advancement I think is a benefit because the alternative is worse. That being said, I do wish that there was more competition in this area or I wish Amazon could get their game together in terms of making these things more usable.
01:20:41 ◼ ► But it seems like Amazon is really really good at making hardware that is okay and software that is okay and selling it for cheap prices. That's what they're optimized to do. And the entire Kindle line is just that now.
01:20:58 ◼ ► It's just a bunch of crap hardware running crap software, but it's pretty cheap. And so ultimately, expecting any kind of quality or good features out of that is probably a pipe dream.
01:21:11 ◼ ► I kind of like how cheap it is and it shouldn't be expensive. I like those very inexpensive models, but one of the results of not having a lot of competition and having one big dominant player is they don't see the need to cater to anything except for the fat part of the bell curve.
01:21:29 ◼ ► A friend of the show, Wave, do you know a person named Wave? Michael Johnson, who is he at Apple now? I think so. Formerly of Pixar. Complains all the time about the fact that if you read a ton of books and you buy a ton of books from Amazon, the Kindle experience is terrible.
01:21:50 ◼ ► They just don't expect people to buy that many books. It's kind of like when we complain about Apple experiences. If you own all the Apple devices and buy lots of things from Apple, the experience is worse.
01:22:01 ◼ ► Very often, your best customers say, "Oh, so you've bought 10,000 books? Well, our software just falls over and you can't find anything and it's really slow."
01:22:10 ◼ ► It's like, "Aren't I your best customer?" It's like, "Yeah, but you're at the edge of the bell curve." There's no reason for us to cater to you with a pro-level Kindle or to make sure that our backend can handle your 10,000 books or anything like that.
01:22:25 ◼ ► If there was a more competitive marketplace, if Amazon didn't have this locked up, if there was some kind of open standard, like EPUB, for ebooks that had actually become widespread and dominant, then lots of different companies can make ebook readers.
01:22:40 ◼ ► Maybe one of those companies would say, "We cater to the people who have tens of thousands of books, and we'll make sure that our system can handle your books and has a good way to filter them and organize them and doesn't bog down."
01:22:51 ◼ ► We sell them for more money, and it's the high-end pro version of the e-reader. There are Kindles that are expensive and there are Kindles that are cheaper, and the expensive ones are nicer than the cheaper ones. My wife has one of the fancy ones.
01:23:04 ◼ ► But Amazon has no motivation to cater to the really difficult use case. Just like they don't have any motivation to cater to, "Oh, I read these certain kinds of books, and they need this feature because the books have illustrations that need to be rendered in a particular way."
01:23:21 ◼ ► People don't do that. It's just a bunch of words. We can't even be bothered to get a justification right for a decade or however long they spent with that terrible default. So yeah, let's not have one big company dominate an entire market because it's crappy.
01:23:35 ◼ ► I hope things do improve. The good thing about it is that in the end, especially for simple things like novels, it is just text, and if you could get it and crack it open in one of those open source tools and convert it to EPUB, your reading options become a lot more numerous.
01:23:54 ◼ ► So I don't actually use Kindle. I read on my light-up screen devices, but I think Kindles are great. If and when my eyes ever got to the point where I found it tiring or something to read from a light-up screen, I would absolutely use a Kindle.
01:24:10 ◼ ► I don't find it tiring. I read my ebooks, yes, in the Kindle app. Sometime in the Apple Books app, but mostly in the Kindle app. On my iPad, even on my phone, it's just what I'm used to.
01:24:21 ◼ ► I read off screens all day. Reading off screens does not bother me at all. But if it did, I would go to Kindle. I don't actually like the fancy Kindle. The Oasis is the one that's got a lump on one side.
01:24:34 ◼ ► I think she has the fanciest of the fancy ones. I like the screen and everything, but the asymmetrical lumpen shape, I understand the appeal. It's just not how I read ebooks, partly for RSI reasons. So maybe I would have to use one of the step-down models. But I'm glad there are, at least within Amazon, a couple of different sizes and shapes of Kindles.
01:24:57 ◼ ► I think you didn't send me that one. Of all the ones, the giant stack of Kindles you sent me, the disgusting, ugly one, yes, I have seen that one. It is a hell of a thing. It's probably going to be a collector's item. You have one of those sealed in the box, never touched by human hands, original Kindle. Probably worth some money now.
01:25:14 ◼ ► All right. And moving right along, Stephen Robles asks, "Do any of you use a VNC app to remote into your Maxwell traveling? I've tried Team Weaver jump screens and more, but none of them seem ideal and I wonder about security."
01:25:27 ◼ ► So I think what Stephen is saying here is that they would like to have a one-stop solution to kind of tunnel into their computer at home and also VNC. And so if you're not familiar with VNC, what is it? Virtual network computing or something like that? I forget what it stands for. But anyway, it allows you to control your computer remotely.
01:25:51 ◼ ► Screen sharing. Thank you. And for me, what I do is I have a VPN running on my Raspberry Pi. Do we need some sort of musical instrument for that too? I have a VPN server running on my Raspberry Pi. And that's how I get onto my in-home network.
01:26:05 ◼ ► And then subsequent to that, which is secure, I'm running WireGuard is the particular VPN software I'm using. And so once I'm on my in-home network, I'm not too worried about security because that's covered elsewhere in this stack, if you will.
01:26:19 ◼ ► And for me, if I'm on my Mac, I just use the built-in client. And if I'm on my iPad or very rarely my iPhone, I'll use screens. And that works just fine for me, but I've never tried any of the fancy like tunneling or forwarding or any of the stuff that I believe screens will do.
01:26:35 ◼ ► But I've never had a need for it because I've always run a VPN server out of the house, be that the Synology with Viber Slap or the Raspberry Pi or whatever the case may be. So I do use and like screens. I've never tried any of these others.
01:26:49 ◼ ► I think I might have tried Jump Desktop a while ago and I didn't care for it, but you don't teach their own. But for me, controlling the tunneling portion and the VNC screen sharing portion separately was how I preferred to do it.
01:27:01 ◼ ► Marco, what's your situation? Do you ever do this? Well, you don't even have a desktop anymore, really.
01:27:05 ◼ ► No, I do. I have a Mac. I'm using it right now. The M1 Mac Mini has been my main computer for some time now.
01:27:31 ◼ ► I know you're using Mac Mini, so do all the listeners. Just in case he doesn't listen, it's fine.
01:27:35 ◼ ► Anyway, yeah, I used to do, I used to have like, you know, remote screen sharing enabled. I haven't had it for some time. I mean, geez, it used to be a feature of MobileMe.
01:27:57 ◼ ► Very on and off. Like, there were multiple parts of back to Mac, but the main one that didn't work is sort of like the sort of cloud sync discovery process of like, hey, we know where your computer is.
01:28:07 ◼ ► And then once you've made that connection and it showed up in the UI, then it would do all the cool tunneling thing through it.
01:28:13 ◼ ► And then it would essentially just use like, I don't know if it was straight VNC or if it was Apple remote desktop, which I think is its own protocol.
01:28:19 ◼ ► But either way, it was the, hey, I know about your computer thing that would fall down because I used to use it from trying to get to my computer when I was at work sometimes.
01:28:27 ◼ ► And it would be like back to my Mac. It's like so many Apple features where if it appears in your sidebar, you can use it. And if it doesn't, who knows?
01:28:37 ◼ ► Yeah, that's right. Now that I'm now that you're saying this, I remembered you're exactly, exactly right.
01:28:46 ◼ ► Yeah. So ever since then, I haven't really used, I don't have a need for it. So I don't, I try to minimize the amount of holes in my digital life.
01:28:53 ◼ ► This is a pretty large one that people could potentially exploit in terrible ways. So I personally choose not to open this hole.
01:29:03 ◼ ► Yeah. So when I described with like trying to get to my home computer from a work computer, I would do that occasionally when I had some specific need for it.
01:29:09 ◼ ► But in general, in terms of like, you know, when you're out of your house or when traveling, I don't like to expose anything in my house to the Internet.
01:29:17 ◼ ► I mean, or not intentionally anyway, let's say so. Like my Synology is not on the Internet.
01:29:23 ◼ ► In general, I don't have my computer accessible from the Internet. When I travel, I physically unplug my computer from power.
01:29:34 ◼ ► Partly because like, hey, if I'm away and there's lightning storm, I don't want to, I know I have a surge suppressor and I know I have a UPS or whatever, but it's like, why not just unplug it?
01:29:46 ◼ ► It's not that there's nothing exposed to the Internet, but it's a very, Markos point, it's a very limited service area.
01:29:51 ◼ ► And if I'm actually going to be out of my house, I really want my very expensive computer to be very safe.
01:29:59 ◼ ► I remember, I probably told this story at least a couple of times on this show, but I remember the first time I saw somebody VNC into their computer.
01:30:10 ◼ ► And a friend from like way at the other end of the hallway came and like asked me a question or something, decided to sit down and chill.
01:30:17 ◼ ► And I guess that he had left his like music running at his, in his room on his computer or something like that.
01:30:23 ◼ ► And so he asked me if he can use like my computer for a second. And I think there was a web front end that you could have installed on Windows machines at the time, or on VNC as installed on Windows machines.
01:30:42 ◼ ► And my mind exploded. I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. And, and I have always had the ability to do that ever since.
01:30:51 ◼ ► Now, do I use it very often? Actually, that's not true. I did use it earlier today to look at something cause I was too lazy to walk upstairs, but in terms of using it when I was using it, when I'm traveling, I do not use it often.
01:31:03 ◼ ► I don't use it in the context of like when I travel very often. But I do use it when I'm feeling lazy around the house pretty frequently.
01:31:17 ◼ ► It's kind of sad that the X window system didn't really catch on cause it's really the, or for that matter display postscript over the network that NeXT used to use.
01:31:25 ◼ ► Like the, the thing that we're describing VNC is essentially ship a bitmap image plus your inputs for your keyboard and mouse over the network.
01:31:34 ◼ ► And it's extremely inefficient when compared to the other approaches that have existed over the years.
01:31:39 ◼ ► But eventually I guess bandwidth and the simplicity of a screen scraping technique like that win out over the fancier stuff like display postscript or X.
01:31:52 ◼ ► There's that. Alright, finally on Ask ATP tonight, Phillip Wilkinson writes, "Imagine if Apple built their own chip foundry and fully owned the whole supply chain. Why wouldn't they?"
01:32:04 ◼ ► I'm curious to hear y'all's answers to this, but I think the most obvious thing is it is really expensive and takes a long time.
01:32:12 ◼ ► Now, are those problems Apple could fix or deal with? Sure. But it's super expensive and it takes a really long time.
01:32:20 ◼ ► So I just, I don't think they have the appetite yet. I think there's other things that they view as lower and more ripe hanging fruit.
01:32:29 ◼ ► But I wouldn't be surprised if at some point it does happen or there's an acquisition that gives them a foundry or something along those lines.
01:32:36 ◼ ► Like when you said like, could they do it? Yes, it's borderline because here's the thing.
01:32:41 ◼ ► Making a cutting edge chip foundry doesn't just take huge amounts of money. It also takes lots of expertise.
01:32:48 ◼ ► And if you like, the only way you can get an adequate return on that kind of investment is you have to have enough demand. Right.
01:32:59 ◼ ► So Apple presumably wouldn't want to be TSMC where they do business for everybody because the Apple way to do it would be like we make chips just for Apple.
01:33:09 ◼ ► And I do wonder, even with Apple being as big as it is, if Apple itself, I don't think Apple itself uses enough chips to justify the expense of a cutting edge fab.
01:33:20 ◼ ► You know, because TSMC doesn't just make chips for Apple, though sometimes it seems like that, but they don't.
01:33:28 ◼ ► But as Intel has shown, getting on the cutting edge and staying on the cutting edge of chip foundry is really, really expensive.
01:33:38 ◼ ► And there's no guarantee that you're going to stay there no matter how much money you spend.
01:33:43 ◼ ► So, you know, for all those reasons, I feel like unless Apple, you know, Apple doesn't want to be in the business of making things for other companies.
01:33:51 ◼ ► That's not a thing that Apple does. Right. They're happy for other people to do that, but they don't want to be in the business.
01:33:56 ◼ ► And then, you know, there's the obvious sort of business reason of, you know, if it's not part of your value proposition, let someone else do it. Right.
01:34:04 ◼ ► So, you know, Apple Apple is trying to innovate in all the areas Apple innovates. They design their own chips, but they don't fab their own chips because fabbing is kind of a commodity. Right.
01:34:13 ◼ ► You can fab anybody's design. TSMC will fab whatever you know. Right. That's a commodity.
01:34:18 ◼ ► But the actual chip design, that's the thing that Apple does. Right. Or, you know, making making memory chips.
01:34:26 ◼ ► And Apple competes with other companies and puts them against each other to get the contract to put the memory to sell the memory for their laptops or whatever.
01:34:33 ◼ ► But that's not where they add their value. There's nothing special about Apple's memory.
01:34:37 ◼ ► There's nothing special about, you know, the aluminum that goes into Apple's things, but the actual machines that, you know, carve them up or design or whatever.
01:34:51 ◼ ► when any company is choosing whether they're going to do something, as Apple has said, can we make a difference in this area?
01:34:56 ◼ ► It could be argued that, like, oh, Apple thinks they can, you know, fab things better than anyone else in the world.
01:35:06 ◼ ► So they would actually have to buy all the smart people in the world who know how to fab chips and buy all the factories and buy the entire supply chain that goes into them and spend years and years and years and billions and billions of dollars and then hope they have enough, you know, customers and just being themselves to make up the money that they spent ahead of time to make those giant factories.
01:35:26 ◼ ► So unless there is some amazing breakthrough that only Apple has access to, I don't feel like they would do that.
01:35:34 ◼ ► Now, the flip side of that is things like micro LED, for example, things like screens are more or less commodities.
01:35:50 ◼ ► So why is Apple buying micro LED companies, technologies that are not yet commodities like, oh, there's not 50 people you can go to and get a micro LED screen, right?
01:36:03 ◼ ► If Apple can buy a startup that thinks they have a good way to make micro LEDs competitively, own that company and be the first to market with a micro LED screen that can fit in a phone or a laptop or whatever their target thing is.
01:36:21 ◼ ► But eventually, if micro LED screens are made by seven different companies, their competitive advantage is over.
01:36:29 ◼ ► So if there was some secret chip company that says we can fab chips that, you know, one eighth of a nanometer feature size and nobody else in the world can do it.
01:36:45 ◼ ► I think the market leaders are gigantic and they fab chips for everybody and there is no secret startup with a way to do that better, mostly because a tiny little startup can't fab, can't make a chip fab.
01:37:01 ◼ ► But anyway, that's a lot of people think that's the way business always works, that there's some there's some secret that you can get.
01:37:06 ◼ ► There's some little company with these five people and they have a secret that no one else has.
01:37:10 ◼ ► And if only if you snap them up, then Apple will be able to make super holographic memory chips that no one else can make.
01:37:17 ◼ ► Very rarely does that happen. Best case scenario, you get a thing like Apple buys PA semi or turns out they got a lot of really good chip designers.
01:37:24 ◼ ► And then they gave those people like 10 years or whatever to make the world's best chips.
01:37:35 ◼ ► Apple buys all sorts of companies, companies that know how to make sensors for AR VR stuff, the headsets, the software, a lot of those things.
01:37:44 ◼ ► You know, turns out they don't produce anything great or, you know, like what was that big thing with the glass, the quartz glass that they were going to, they bought some company to do that or invested in some company.
01:38:12 ◼ ► And I think probably the reason they're okay is because TSMC is not owned by Samsung or Google, right?
01:38:23 ◼ ► And they respond to Apple's money by saying, okay, Apple, if you pay it lots of money, we'll give you our best chips sooner than everyone else.
01:38:29 ◼ ► And that is a relationship that Apple understands and I think is reasonably happy with.
01:40:10 ◼ ► So I pull up Spotlight, Command + Space, type in weather, and oh, there is no Apple Weather app on iPad.
01:40:45 ◼ ► there's a little thing near the bottom, and it will search the App Store for whatever term you typed in.
01:42:05 ◼ ► You launch it and the very first thing you see is a giant subscription required screen.
01:43:11 ◼ ► Like, the positioning they have, the ranking they have, they must have so many downloads.
01:43:18 ◼ ► And if you look, and you look and it's like, okay, this is not the worst app I've ever seen,
01:43:38 ◼ ► And the fact that this app can charge ten dollars a month to someone, someone's paying it.
01:43:52 ◼ ► And I think, like, people like Underscore and people like our friends like James Thompson
01:44:09 ◼ ► and, you know, Apple gives them occasional crap in app review for some little nitpick thing.
01:44:26 ◼ ► my favorite thing is like the hourly forecast on the free version is every three hours.
01:45:34 ◼ ► Obviously, this is definitely their legitimate business name that they've incorporated as.
01:46:37 ◼ ► And it just kind of makes me sad that all of this stuff is like sucking money out of the app store.
01:51:50 ◼ ► Because I'm not sitting in front of an iPad, I can't actually search and see what you're seeing.