397: We Can't Wait To See What You Do To It


00:00:00   That is the most startling ring in the world. God bless, it's nighttime, I don't have lights in the room on because that's the way I like it, and all of a sudden, doo doo doo, at like a billion decibels. It's not your fault, you're just doing what you need to do, but holy God, it makes me jump six feet every time.

00:00:20   I have the same problem, but in reverse, because since we last spoke, I got the 250 ohm 770s, and I was trying them out to see if my things can drive them, and they can, they can drive them loud enough to do podcasting, but you do have to crank up the volume.

00:00:36   So if you forget that you did that, and then unplug that stuff, and your volume's close to max, everything is very startling. I'm not using them today though, because the pads that come with them are not good.

00:00:49   Well, I don't mind them. I mean, you do you, if they don't work for you, that's fine, but I don't think they're so bad.

00:00:53   I mean, mine feels so, like, I'm like, have these been sitting in the box for a long time? They're like stale, like crackers? They're just kind of like, I don't know, I feel like, I knew this was going in, but like, they're circular, right?

00:01:06   Nothing on the side of my head is the appropriate shape to go into a circle. So they apply pressure in some weird places. Anyway, I have the good pads coming, so once they arrive, I will swap them out. That's all, I'm still using the old faithful for this podcast.

00:01:24   That's fair. So I'm curious, Casey, you mentioned that you podcast in the dark.

00:01:31   In a manner of speaking, yes. The lights in the room are not on.

00:01:34   I podcast in the brightest office I can possibly create because we do the show at 9 p.m. and I am an old person and I have to get up for school in the morning for kids' school.

00:01:48   And so I am always battling being tired. And so right, like, you know, I make sure on podcast day, I try to get a nap sometime in the late afternoon if I can for like a half hour to help refresh me.

00:02:02   I will delay my afternoon coffee until right after that nap so that way I'm like fresh, ready to go as much as possible. I will even avoid eating a carbohydrate heavy dinner.

00:02:12   Oh my word.

00:02:13   Because that would make me more tired. And then when it comes time for the podcast, I am in full lights and none of them can be particularly warmly colored. Like, none of this 2700K BS.

00:02:27   2700K lights are for like, I don't know, campfires and romance novels. They're so yellow. Like, nobody should ever work under 2700K lights. Give me like the 4000K. That's what I want here. 4000K.

00:02:42   You know, it's hilarious listening to you say that because I believe the Aaron approved light temperature or whatever the correct term is in our home is 2700K.

00:02:51   For many typical indoor lights, that is the right choice. But not when you want to be like awake and working. It is the wrong color to be awake and working in.

00:03:02   Now, I'm not saying you should go with the 5000K quote "daylight" color. That is the wrong choice for almost everything as well.

00:03:10   The problem with modern LED light choices is that almost all LED lights are available in just those two choices. You have 2700K, which is quite yellow, and you have 5000K, which is quite blue for indoor lighting.

00:03:23   And the better choice is almost always between 3000K and 4000K. And you can get some LEDs in those color temperatures, but they're not at all a common case.

00:03:36   In almost every case where people use 2700K bulbs, a 3000K bulb is actually a better choice. And in almost every case where people use 5000K, 4000K is an almost always better choice.

00:03:48   For my office, I like 4000K, but that is too blue for what most people would want in, say, a bedroom or a bathroom. Or even like a living room at night. You don't want your living room at night to be super neutral to blue.

00:04:03   But even then, a 3000K is usually a better choice. And the 2700K yellow-ish approximation that LEDs come in is actually, in my opinion, I think it's actually more warm, it's more yellow than incandescent bulbs typically were.

00:04:20   But I don't know. It's sad that we have these two extremes of LED bulbs leaving people to almost always choose a bad choice.

00:04:29   Well, I mean, I believe I presented a couple of different options to Erin way back when we started the transition to LED, which was probably years after you did, Marco, but you know, it's been a few years for us now.

00:04:40   And she just wanted something that fairly closely to her eye mimicked incandescent bulbs. And that's how we landed on 2700, which isn't to say anything you've said is wrong. All I'm trying to say is that's what Erin preferred, so that's what we stuck with.

00:04:53   If you'll permit me a tangent, though, a week or two ago, I guess it was early last week, I recorded an episode of a podcast with my friend Tyler Stallman where we talked about the Apple event.

00:05:05   And he wanted to do it with video, which was mildly horrifying because I do not have any attractive space for video, as you guys have accidentally seen from time to time when I accidentally start Skype with video on.

00:05:17   Well, anyways, although we haven't seen much of it because you don't have any lights on. So all I see is Casey in his sleepy shirt illuminated by his computer screen.

00:05:25   That's right.

00:05:27   Which vibe you've got going there.

00:05:30   So I needed to add a bunch of light for my face as I'm trying to record this. And my situation in the office here is that I have a ceiling fan with a very, very physically small and not terribly bright light bulb in it. I have a desk lamp that is some sort of fluorescent, if I'm not mistaken.

00:05:48   And it gets kind of bright, but in the nighttime, you know, it's not really bright enough. And so what I did was I took the, our office doubles as a guest room.

00:05:58   And so I took the bedside lamp and I put it on my desk and I put one of our LEDs in it. But it was interesting because our particular bedside lamp, this is very popular in, I don't know, like mid-90s or something like that, or relatively popular in the mid-90s.

00:06:12   It's actually one of those spinny electric meters that, you know, every house used to have, at least in America anyway.

00:06:17   Oh, those are awesome. We had one of those in my house growing up, like in the 80s and 90s.

00:06:22   Exactly. And so it's one of those where the base, you know, it's a wooden base and then like an electric meter and then just a single bulb on top.

00:06:30   And if I remember, I'll put a picture in the show notes, I'll probably forget. But nevertheless, I put in the LED bulb and I turned the lamp on and I'll give you one guess what wasn't working. The electric meter.

00:06:41   Because it pulls too little power.

00:06:43   It pulled too little power. And so it just didn't even cause the meter to spin at all. And I was like, holy crap, this thing finally died. Wait, I wonder.

00:06:50   And so I put the incandescent back in and by comparison, that little bastard was whipping at a thousand miles an hour.

00:06:56   That's hilarious.

00:06:57   Yeah, it turns out the LED is efficient. Who knew?

00:06:59   That's awesome.

00:07:01   Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny. So anyways, like I said, I'll try to take a picture and put it in the show notes.

00:07:06   But yeah, it's been impressive seeing, I can't say that I see it on my like power bill, but there's just, I don't know, seeing things like that remind me how little power.

00:07:18   Your average LED sips. I'm sure that like, what is it, a corn light that I keep talking about in my garage? You know, I'm thinking of the one.

00:07:25   Okay, that one probably does. That one probably does drink some serious power because that one is bright. But your average LED.

00:07:32   They're like, they're like 20 watts. They're still under any.

00:07:35   That's true. That's a good point.

00:07:36   I have a bunch of those things in my house and like they're big and scary. But then you look at the actual power rating and it's ridiculously low.

00:07:42   Yeah, like it ends up, you end up, you know, spending approximately say like 12 ish watts.

00:07:47   Oh, 35. There it is. 35 watt.

00:07:49   It's like 12 to 15 watts of LED equals roughly a hundred watts of incandescent for most LEDs.

00:07:54   So you've got this 35 watt corn bulb that is even take as much power as like the low power 40 watt dim incandescent bulbs.

00:08:02   Yeah. You have like a little like desk lamp, the little like tiny desk lamps. Those are like 40 watt bulbs usually.

00:08:07   So you have that amount of power to illuminate your entire garage.

00:08:11   It is wild. And my, I think both our cars, I think have LED lights, headlights. I believe that's right. I might be lying to you though.

00:08:20   Oh, we got a lot of neutral we got to cover at some point today. There's been, there's been things happening, but we should probably save that for later.

00:08:27   Also, we might have to do it next week because I have a very important after show we need to take care of.

00:08:31   Oh, I am intrigued as I sit here in my incredibly bright office. I am very intrigued.

00:08:39   Oh yeah. I never really explained why I'm in the dark. So I generally speak, well, I am old period.

00:08:44   And generally speaking, I like to go to bed. I'm usually Aaron and I are getting into bed around 10 ish, give or take some.

00:08:52   And we're passing around, passing out around 11 ish, give or take some. And we're up at seven on the nose because that's when our school routine starts.

00:09:01   I try to optimize my working setup for ATP anyway, for immediately going to bed and immediately going to sleep.

00:09:10   As I think we've discussed in the past, and I really don't feel like getting into now, which means of course we're going to get into it for two hours.

00:09:15   I prefer to shower at night. I've already showered. I already have my pajamas on or as we covered last week, although I think you might've clipped that from the release show, but the, as the bootleg people, ATP.fm/join.

00:09:28   As the bootleg people may have heard, I had let it slip that I occasionally call it my sleepy shirt and of course pants. I'm already in my pajamas. The lights are out.

00:09:38   So this way, the theory is that as soon as I walk away from this computer, I climb into bed and I pass right out.

00:09:44   Now, especially over the last few months in the, in the after times, I have found that it's always taken me at least half an hour to pass out.

00:09:51   And sometimes I've been just rolling and tossing and turning until one trying to fall asleep. I guess just cause I miss you guys so darn much. I don't know.

00:09:57   But one way or the other, this, this, this strategy is not working as well as I'd like, and it's probably terrible for me to stare at a bright screen.

00:10:05   And I understand that and that's why I don't typically do that. But that is the theory. That is the, that is the hypothesis for me being in the dark.

00:10:13   I'm sure there's probably many different kinds of science that say it doesn't work right.

00:10:17   I think I missed the logical leap from those two things. I understand going straight to bed. Remind me again how the darkness.

00:10:24   Because it's all, it's nighttime. Like my brain is switched into nighttime mode. You know, I have my computer in dark mode. Of course, nothing I'm looking at is in fact embracing dark mode.

00:10:32   But nevertheless, you know, my computer brightness is not cranked all the way up. Like I'm not trying to say any of this makes, is scientifically accurate.

00:10:40   It's probably all malarkey. But my theory is, is that I've, I've put my brain into sleepy time nighttime mode. And so as soon as we hang up, I can go to sleep. But in reality, it never happens.

00:10:51   One follow up question. When you knocked your water glass onto your computer, was dark in the room at that time?

00:10:57   That is a very good question. I don't think so. I now I might be lying to you, but it's not on purpose. I believe that was during the time that I used to leave all the lights on, but I'm not 100% sure.

00:11:08   Because I've gone through like several different stages, like early podcasting, like during the neutral days, I would stand when I, when I was recording.

00:11:14   And then eventually I got tired of that when our show started becoming three hours long. And so I started sitting and I don't remember exactly when it was that I decided to turn all the lights out.

00:11:24   But it's been at least a couple of years now. But yeah, that is a very fair question. I'm not sure the answer, but I think the lights were on, which makes it arguably even worse.

00:11:33   We, before we continue, should mention probably for the final time that we are continuing to try to help Relay raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

00:11:46   If you haven't tuned in to the podcast-a-thon that was this past Friday, as we record, it was excellent. I made an appearance.

00:11:53   John made an appearance, which was unexpected and freaking delightful. And we might be talking about that later. We'll see.

00:11:59   But nevertheless, if you can, even though Relay has already reached their goal, and thank you anyone who has donated, thank you, what is it, $315,000? Is that right?

00:12:10   $315,000, I believe, was the goal. And as I sit here tonight, they have reached $346,295. You know, it is September 23rd as we record this.

00:12:22   There is a week of September left. Let's at least get them to $350,000, please? Pretty please? So if you can, if you have any money to scrape together, please, stjude.org/atp, S-T-J-U-D-E dot org slash ATP, throw them a few bucks.

00:12:38   Declan donated a dollar. I don't think I ever mentioned that on this show, but Declan decided to donate a dollar after I explained what we were raising money for.

00:12:45   And so he literally went and found 10 dimes and handed them to me. And then I did a $1 donation, which I thought was very kind of him.

00:12:50   That's adorable. So anyway, so yeah. Did he pay the credit card fee?

00:12:54   No, and I actually, truth be told, I felt guilty doing a $1 charge because I knew they were probably getting eaten up in credit card fees, but I wanted, I wanted him to see it happen and I wanted to do the right thing.

00:13:03   Did he write Declan Starless? This is the name. No, no, no, he did not because he's not a moron. Thankfully, he takes after his mother.

00:13:10   More monsters. Thankfully, he takes after his mother, not his, not his father. But anyways, yeah, so what is St. Jude? Just a quick recap.

00:13:17   If you, God forbid, had a child who was afflicted with some form of childhood cancer, then St. Jude is quite possibly going to help you, help your child get better.

00:13:28   And even if they don't do it directly, because of the research that they've done, that they've released to the world, they're probably helping indirectly.

00:13:37   And if you do get treated directly by St. Jude, you don't pay a dime. And that's why they have to raise money.

00:13:42   And I cannot fathom what it would feel like to have my kid be afflicted with something so terrible and to know that at the very least, you wouldn't have to pay for it, pay for the help that you're getting.

00:13:55   That's a pretty incredible feeling if you live in a barbarous country like ours where you have to worry about these sorts of things.

00:14:01   So again, stjude.org/atp, please can we get them to 350k before the end of the month? That'd be great.

00:14:10   And finally, we have a new champion!

00:14:12   We do?

00:14:13   Oh, no, I'm sorry, it's not a new champion. We still have the same champion, but we have follow-up about the new champion.

00:14:17   I had to read the notes before the show.

00:14:20   Yep, yep, sorry. That was my fault. I got overexcited.

00:14:23   So we still have Doug reigning at $7,100, and Doug wrote in and confirmed that—can you re-explain this, Jon, because this was way before my era?

00:14:32   What was the relevance or the significance of the $7,100, please?

00:14:35   When I was talking about the amount that he donated last week, I weighed what I thought was a joke that he had donated the amount that matched the model number of his favorite Power Mac in the first line of PowerPC Macintoshes.

00:14:47   It turns out that Doug tells us that's actually true. He says, "I'm so happy you guys are nerdy enough to get the $7,100 reference."

00:14:54   Yep, so Doug has already had his stickers dispatched, but up until the last moment of September 30, if you want to unseat Doug and get a not-otherwise-for-sale ATP sticker, all it takes is $7,131, if you please.

00:15:11   You could be Casey's favorite listener for basically an entire year, you know?

00:15:15   That's true.

00:15:16   Bump Doug off the top of that leaderboard, get us over $350. You have about a week and a half left to do it.

00:15:22   Yeah, now's the time. All right, let's do some follow-up. To quote Merlin, do you need me for this one? Because I might just bugger off for a little while.

00:15:31   Don't you want to know about PlayStation 5 Digital Edition pricing?

00:15:34   Oh, sure. This is a thing that we've talked about so many times in the past, but because we mentioned it on the last episode in the context of pre-orders and stuff, I think, or maybe we missed it.

00:15:45   Anyway, we just briefly mentioned it, but then lots of people wrote in with feedback that was telling us about stuff that we had covered elsewhere.

00:15:53   So I just want to go back over the Digital Edition stuff, because I think it is interesting, and we have an Xbox story after this, related to the pricing of these things.

00:16:01   So the Digital Edition, to recap, doesn't come in an optical drive, but it's $100 cheaper than the big PS5. But other than that, it's exactly the same. It's got all the same guts. It just doesn't have the drive.

00:16:11   And obviously, the profit margins have to be lower on that one, because there's no way that drive costs $100.

00:16:17   Lots of discussion online as people are trying to order PS5s. Which one do they want to get? Are the digital ones available? How many digital ones versus non-digital ones were put out there?

00:16:29   And then part of that is also, how does Sony feel about the digital one? Do they want to sell more of the disc ones because the margins are bigger? Or how is Sony okay with cutting $100 off for just removing that one little part?

00:16:44   So there's a couple of explanations to that that we've talked about in the past, but we'll try to summarize here.

00:16:49   If you buy the Digital Edition, that means all the games you're going to be buying, you're going to be buying digitally. And you can only buy them from Sony digitally, because they run the online store, much like Apple runs the App Store.

00:17:02   And when you buy it from Sony, Sony doesn't have to pay 30, 40, 50, 60% of the sale price to the retailer.

00:17:10   When you buy a disc in Best Buy, Best Buy takes a big amount of the price that you just paid for that game.

00:17:16   So although Sony is maybe not losing money, but not making as much money when they sell you the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, they know that from that point on, every single game you buy will have way bigger margins for them than if you bought it elsewhere.

00:17:30   Now, part of that is also, okay, well, does that mean digital games always cost the same amount as physical games? No.

00:17:36   And lots of people sent feedback about this. Some people said, "I like to have the physical drive because you can find physical discs real cheap when they have too many of the game or they're in the bargain bin or whatever."

00:17:47   Some people said, "I like to not have the physical drive because you can find digital games really cheap when they have sales."

00:17:53   Of course, you can buy digital games on the one with the disc drive too, so it doesn't really hold. But the point is, both of those things have sales at different times for different reasons.

00:18:02   You can find bargains in both of them, so I feel like that's mostly a wash. If you buy it on a plastic disc, you can sell it to somebody else. You can sell it back to a physical retailer for peanuts.

00:18:13   You could sell it to your friend with a little bit more. It's a thing that you own that you can sell to somebody, and that disc acts as sort of like DRM for the thing. Like it has to be in the drive for most games.

00:18:22   Even though it's not running anything off the disc, the fact that you physically have the disc means you have the game. So if you get tired of a game and you want to sell it, you can and recoup has come to your cost.

00:18:32   Another thing is, if you have the physical copy of the game, this varies from game to game and system to system across Sony and PlayStation and Microsoft and Xbox and all different things.

00:18:44   The rules about "can I play this same game on multiple PlayStations in the same house at different times?" vary. If you have a disc, you can usually eject the disc from one PlayStation, go up to a bedroom, stick it into another PlayStation and play it there, and it's perfectly fine with it.

00:18:58   If you have the digital one, you can often do that by installing the game in both locations but only playing it in one location, but the rules vary.

00:19:05   So that whole sort of known quantity that is physical discs and the way Sony has dealt with them makes a lot of people go back to that and say "well I know how physical discs work, I don't have to worry about these weird rules, and I'll go with the drive."

00:19:22   Also, a lot of people don't have the internet bandwidth to download a 50GB, 100GB, whatever size these games are going to be. There are definitely reasons to buy the physical one, there's also reasons why Sony would want you to buy a digital one.

00:19:36   From everything I heard about the launch, I think it's like a 4 to 1 or 5 to 1 ratio of disc versions to digital versions. There's a surprisingly small number of PlayStation 5 digital editions out there.

00:19:50   I don't know if that's because they just wanted the bigger margin on the launch, I don't know if that's because they don't have as much confidence in making it up with the margins they're going to get on the games in the future.

00:20:00   I really have no idea, A) whether that's true and B) what their thinking was, but from everything I've heard, it's been harder to find the digital editions.

00:20:08   Last week when we were podcasting, that was me missing all of the pre-orders. I said that thing about GameStop and it was like "Oh yeah, GameStop put up their stuff early, but it must have been a mistake because their site just stopped working and nevermind."

00:20:22   And then we did a whole podcast, and then after the podcast I'm about to go to bed, like "Let me look at my phone." And all I see is everybody going "PlayStation, not 5 orders are up, they're up at Best Buy, they're up at Target, they're up at Walmart, they're up at Amazon."

00:20:35   And they're all sold out, so I missed all of that, which was kind of a shame.

00:20:41   I did manage to get a PlayStation 5 pre-order thanks to, I'm assuming an ATP listener, who I thanked on Twitter, if you want to find out who it was and thank them yourself, maybe donate to St. Jude in their name.

00:20:54   They had a spot in line at the Sony pre-order that they didn't need anymore, and they gave that to me. I had a bunch of other friends offer me spots like "Oh, I ordered 5 of them, and I only need one. If you want one of those 5, I can give it to you."

00:21:08   And 3 different people offered me that, like people I actually know in real life, all of them had ordered disc versions.

00:21:15   And I don't know, am I the weird one for wanting the digital one? Because I pre-ordered the digital one. I don't want the disc. A) I don't want to pay the extra dollars, and B) I've literally never put an optical drive in either of my PlayStation 4s.

00:21:28   So why would I buy the disc one? But everybody I know apparently is getting the disc one. Anyway, my PS5 in theory is coming on launch day, and I'm super excited even though the first and probably only thing I'm going to do with it for a while is just play Destiny 2.

00:21:40   Of course. And speaking of pre-orders, Xbox Series X pre-orders went up yesterday-ish. It went a little bit smoother than the PlayStation launch because at least people waited for the correct date and time to do the pre-orders, but it was still a little bit of a website melting thing.

00:21:58   Yeah, it's a sock of scarce and so on and so forth. The one story about the Xbox Series X launch I thought was fun was that sales of the Xbox One X are up 747% on Amazon's sales chart.

00:22:12   I love this so much.

00:22:13   And just to refresh your memory, Xbox One X is not the new Xbox that's launching. Xbox One X is the previous generation top of the line Xbox, but boy that name looks a lot like the new one, so I think there's going to be a lot of disappointed people and a lot of returns coming out of those.

00:22:31   Now to be fair, going up 700% of the sales chart probably didn't take that much because I don't think lots of people are buying Xbox One X's right now at the launch of another console, but the fact that there was such a big bump means a lot of people made a mistake they're going to feel very bad about shortly.

00:22:46   This is why naming matters.

00:22:49   I mean, same thing could happen with PS4 versus PS5, but boy the chances are a lot lower. You just got to remember one number. Five is the bigger number than four. Get that one, please.

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00:25:03   (music)

00:25:07   Alright, do you want to tell me, maybe Marco, about the solo loop inversion trick? I was talking last week about how one little caveat for if you were considering getting the new solo loop, which is that's the one piece fixed length band that is the rubbery one, not the braided one.

00:25:24   That most closely mimics the Apple sport bands. And I actually have one now. It's the wrong size because I used the tool wrong. But the sizing tool is wrong. So I'm waiting for the correctly sized one to come in the mail.

00:25:37   One little trick that I mentioned that it would be kind of a pain to have if you're accustomed to the standard two piece style of watch band, if you don't usually use a one piece circular one, that you have to charge it differently. That normally I just have a charger resting flat on my nightstand.

00:25:56   Just the bare cable, no fancy dock or anything. Just the bare cable just facing up. And I can just take off my two piece sport band and just stick the watch flat so it lays flat across that charger. And that's probably I think a pretty common use.

00:26:09   But with a fixed band like the sport loop, or the solo loop, excuse me, you can't do that because, you know, same thing with any of the bands that you kind of can't separate into two pieces easily. The watch can't lay flat.

00:26:24   And so our friend John Gruber at daringfireball.net suggested that there's actually a trick you can do. You can basically turn the whole band inside out so that it is looping like on top of the watch instead of behind the watch.

00:26:41   And that gives you a flat surface underneath the watch so that you can stick the watch down on a flat facing charger. So it's kind of an odd thing that I wouldn't have thought to do, but it does indeed work. So that is one way you can have slightly more convenient charging while still using these fixed length, always round bands.

00:27:01   I do worry about the wear and tear of sort of torquing it in that way, you know, sort of doing the dishrag thing, just ringing it out and just flipping it over. I haven't seen one in person, I don't know exactly how floppy they are. But that is a motion that a watch band would not normally expect to undergo.

00:27:16   On the other hand, shimmying your hand through that solo loop also probably puts it under some stress. And speaking of that, I know you got one size too big. What size did you get and how did you find the shoving it over your hand process?

00:27:27   I got a seven. It turns out I believe I'm actually a six. I have a six on order, but it isn't here yet. And actually, Gruber posted an article this evening that kind of maps these sizes onto like what hole you are on the sport band, which would have been much better if Apple would have done that.

00:27:46   I would have gotten it right. Gruber sizing is correct. And so it shows me exactly as a six basically. But yeah, Apple's tool like I had, I had followed the initial directions to what I thought was a correct tightness level. But it turns out it was not tight enough.

00:28:01   And you have to basically make it like, even though they said not to, you basically have to wrap it pretty tightly around your wrist. And yeah, so I'm actually a six. But anyway, I so I have the seven right here. It is way floppier than the sport band. If you haven't seen one yet or played with one yet.

00:28:16   It is like significantly more flexible. And I found the stretching over your hand process to be roughly what I expected, which is a little bit annoying, but doable. That being said, while I did order a second one of these, and therefore I'm spending $100 on something I'm about to tell you I don't really want.

00:28:35   I'm going to give it another shot once I have a properly fitting one because this one, this one is like, you know, loose, but I was able to do it like it was still worked. And I could wear it I wore it for a whole afternoon this way it was just like a little bit looser than than for my comfort.

00:28:51   But I was able to at least see what it was like. And frankly, I didn't notice a huge improvement in either comfort or in niceness over the regular rubber sport band. So I think if you're if you if you already have a rubber sport band that you are happy with.

00:29:09   I don't think it's particularly necessary to make the jump to one of these. It isn't necessarily an upgrade. It's more of a side grade, you're trading off certain things for certain other things. I still do find putting on and off a regular two piece sport band to be better.

00:29:24   I also like the fact that a regular two piece board band can at any time be adjusted to whatever size I want it to be. So like, if I'm doing a workout where I want like super tight heart rate monitoring, I might tighten it one hole. If I'm if I if I'm having like a really hot day, and maybe I'm like I'm on the edge of one of the sizes normally that I might loosen it one hole.

00:29:44   It's nice to be able to do that whenever you want to with with a different brand. When you have one that is fixed, that's always the same size and cannot be adjusted slightly bigger or smaller. It's actually it's actually less comfortable much of the time for me.

00:29:56   And for I think a lot of other people as your wrist changes size throughout the day. So my overall review of the of the sport of the solo loop so far having again only one actually for an afternoon because I got the wrong size so far is it seems fine.

00:30:09   But it is not better enough than a than a regular two piece sport band to be worth its downsides.

00:30:16   Unless you're really worried about Apollo Robbins taking your watch off because I've been way harder to do with that solo loop because he's got to slide over your whole hand and you're probably going to notice that.

00:30:24   Maybe but even like you know the regular sport band because it tucks under the like the because the tail the excess tail tucks under using the buckle.

00:30:32   You do have to like really get in there and a pretty precise way to be able to pop it out.

00:30:37   He's got very nimble fingers. Yeah. I'm sure somebody with practice specifically with Apple watch sport band stealing like I'm sure they could they could get good at it.

00:30:45   But yeah but you're right. Yeah certainly this would be more securely attached to you and maybe you know if you're doing that you constantly find yourself on stage at TED talks or large corporate events and Paul Robbins is there get a solo loop right.

00:30:57   Or maybe like if you are in some kind of context where your watch might get accidentally pulled off of you like if you're working maybe if you're in like brush or something and you're afraid like a twig might stick right in just the right spot and pop your watch off like maybe something like that.

00:31:13   You know it might be better for you but for most people in most conditions. I think it's kind of a toss up between you know whether it's actually better than the two piece sport band or not.

00:31:21   We also got word from a person that would know that apparently Apple is no longer shipping the five watt adapters for the fancy boy fancy girl fancy whatever versions the Hermes and edition series six watches.

00:31:34   So up until today the 23rd you would still get that little five watt brick with the Hermes and edition watches but you would not get it with all the regular ones.

00:31:45   Well supposedly if you order today then you will not get the five watt brick even if you buy the fancy pants versions.

00:31:54   Now what do you think is more offensive the loss of the power brick or your pronunciation of Hermes.

00:31:59   Whatever probably probably my pronunciation but I cannot be bothered.

00:32:05   It's French.

00:32:06   Okay moving on boring old menu bar.

00:32:08   John tell us about this.

00:32:11   This boring old menu bar if you take the first letter of each word it says B O M B which is probably not something you want to use as the abbreviation of your app but this person does.

00:32:20   But anyway boring old menu bar.

00:32:22   We talked a while about a while ago about Big Sur and its menu bar and exactly how transparent it is and how much it shows through the color of your desktop background and how that can make it hard to read and various ways we could try to fix that.

00:32:34   I myself tried to get a window behind the menu bar but the menu bar in Big Sur does not care.

00:32:39   We're talking about one app that put a window in front of the menu bar and then redrew its own menu bar on top of where the real menu bar was.

00:32:46   The developer of boring old menu bar link in the show notes has figured out a way to deal with this.

00:32:52   And I had mentioned this approach but I thought it was kind of terrible and I didn't think it would actually work which is if you just take the desktop background whatever picture you have and just draw a white stripe on top of it then what will be underneath the menu bar will be white.

00:33:05   But the sort of algorithm that the Big Sur menu bar uses to show color through is very sensitive to any little bit of color being underneath it.

00:33:15   Right? Like it smears it.

00:33:17   But apparently if you make sure that every single pixel underneath the menu bar is pure white and there's no stragglers and you get the margins right and everything it will change the menu bar to be actually white.

00:33:28   So what boring old menu bar does is it copies your desktop image.

00:33:32   It makes a new image with the top part of the image replaced with a big white stripe and then it sets your desktop image to that new one.

00:33:39   The bummer about that is you can't use dynamic desktops because that doesn't right now doesn't support it.

00:33:45   Right? So you know you if you take a screenshot of the image and replace it with the static one it's not going to change anymore.

00:33:49   Right? You could in theory make your own dynamic desktop that's a copy of the current dynamic desktop with all of the images with white stripes added to the top.

00:33:58   Like that's the thing you can do because we understand the format well enough but I don't think boring old menu bar does that yet.

00:34:03   So anyway if you want to fix your menu bar and you don't want to bother taking your desktop image and making sure you've got it scaled correctly in a graphics program and putting in a white stripe and realizing you made the white stripe too big or too small and going through all that try boring old menu bar because it will give you what the name says.

00:34:21   Cool. That's useful.

00:34:23   I actually made a while back, I want to talk about this on the show, I made a one of those dynamic wallpapers which was two different shots of the kids and Cape Charles and they and I just so happened to like really underexpose one of them so it made it look like it was much darker outside than I intended.

00:34:40   But put together with the like correct exposure ones it almost worked kind of well as like a day night wallpaper and so I actually did I think there was like a some sort of command line tool that I used to generate it I forget and it's probably somewhere in the ATP show notes from forever ago.

00:34:57   But anyways there is a means like you said John we understand the format well enough to do it and it's just like a little bit of JSON and a couple images put into a what is it HEIC file, HEIC file or something like that.

00:35:07   Anyways the point is it is kind of cool if you have images that work that way you know in the sense of you know two images that are complementary to each other it is cool to do this and watch it change when you go into dark mode or whatever.

00:35:19   So I would hope that this would be added to bomb at some point.

00:35:24   John while we're at it why don't you tell me about how you can delete local APFS snapshots if you please.

00:35:29   If I found a suggestion for a GUI app that in a fairly straightforward way lets you delete them I mean you can tell when you run the GUI app that all it's doing is running the command line tool but that's exactly what you wanted to do don't make me type the command line where I might screw something up just let a program do it.

00:35:41   If you use the program called ONIX O N Y capital X one of the many many things that it will do for you is delete local snapshots from time machine so if you're looking for a GUI to do that and you're afraid of the TM util command line check out ONIX.

00:35:57   Now this next one I don't think I properly understand what the concern was nor the fix so I'm guessing this was John that put it in here can you explain to me what's going on with Apple one please.

00:36:07   Apple one isn't available yet I forget what did they say it would launch it was like fall or something.

00:36:13   Yeah all right so we're still waiting for that but when it was announced a lot of people on Twitter had questions about like okay but like I use multiple Apple IDs and like I use one Apple ID for like my iTunes ID but then we my iCloud thing is a different one.

00:36:28   You know they were concerned about how does Apple one deal with that if you do individual services you can kind of manage that this specific question I don't quite understand but apparently everybody involved understood it and was satisfied with the answer so I figure we would convey this information because it comes from someone who works at Apple who tweeted this publicly.

00:36:45   Apparently Apple one will play nicely with different iCloud and Apple music logins some people were worried that if they had a different login for Apple music and iCloud services that that would be a problem but apparently that case is handled according to an actual Apple person who tweeted this.

00:37:01   So, and there's an I'm more story that will link in the show so you can read more about it so if you have a different Apple ID for your iCloud stuff than you do for your Apple music, I think they're trying to say like iTunes, if you if you use like one Apple ID to buy stuff from the app store essentially

00:37:15   different Apple ID to be like your iCloud photos and everything that Apple one will handle that case.

00:37:22   Somehow, we don't know how because it's not out yet but.

00:37:25   And apparently this was Chris Espinosa that tweeted the answer.

00:37:27   Yes, started working at Apple when he was 17 years old I think still working there.

00:37:32   He was 17 years old in like the 70s.

00:37:36   Just for clarity.

00:37:38   He's like employees seven or eight or something like that eight.

00:37:40   Yeah.

00:37:41   All right.

00:37:42   And then can you explain to me what this next one is about I'm also confused by this these blurbs are not working for me tonight maybe I should turn lights on wake myself up.

00:37:49   Yeah, you should this is this was Marco saying that like in terms of cutting down waste on the Apple Watch they still send you if you buy get a regular band they still send you the two different sizes with the holes in them for short and long.

00:38:01   Well, apparently according to Ryan Fung when you order an Apple Watch SE you need to pick the strap size so they'll only send you with one of the things with holes in instead of both of them.

00:38:10   Oh, really.

00:38:11   That's what Ryan says and would Ryan lie to us.

00:38:13   No, that I'm not seeing that choice when I go to the configurator online.

00:38:17   It does say band size regular.

00:38:20   Let me do some quick research here.

00:38:22   What's so this says 130 to 200 hold on.

00:38:25   I'm trying to confirm it trying to confirm it to hang on like I can't even get to the point where I let me add to the bag.

00:38:30   Can I actually while we're doing this can I go on a small rant.

00:38:34   I have not yet ordered an Aaron nor myself an Apple Watch and that's like fine whatever who cares.

00:38:41   But I maybe it's just me I find the Apple Watch ordering process to be so deeply frustrating.

00:38:48   This is the first world problem but it is so frustrating because like you know what I love that you're allowed to now because it didn't used to be the case pick out like whatever whatever case with whatever size band whatever band you want you can mix and match and so on and so forth.

00:39:04   But like to get to that point you have to scroll like all the way down or when you go into the buy page then you have to like find where you can go to the gallery and then you create your your your style or whatever it's called.

00:39:17   And then it's like you build up a list of styles and then you have to go into the styles to add them to the bag and then you get to add it to the bag and then when you get it in the bag you can realize oh the the cactus size isn't available anymore.

00:39:29   So now you have to start the whole friggin process over. I hate this so much and so that's part of the reason why I have an order to watch which nobody cares.

00:39:36   Like it's it's it doesn't matter but it's so frustrating and I would if I wasn't allergic to the inside right now I would love to just go to the Apple Store and just do it and just figure it out.

00:39:47   And A I'm not even sure if my Apple Store is open right now but B even if it is I'm allergic to the inside.

00:39:51   But it's so frustrating.

00:39:53   We I figured this out thanks to the tip from veg in the chat room who I'm guessing is a vegetable enthusiast.

00:39:59   This is not related to the Apple Watch SE.

00:40:01   The sport band I didn't know this the sport band if you get the black sport band either even by itself or with any of the watches it has an extra large option that you can take for the strap.

00:40:12   It looks like only the black maybe maybe other colors as well but only some of the sport bands possibly only the black are available in this XL size.

00:40:20   So if you have an extra large wrist that the regular sport band even it's like larger piece if that's not big enough for your wrist you can get the extra large black sport band that goes up another like 35 millimeters in length.

00:40:33   And so when you pick a watch with the black sport band you get that option even if it is the SE to go regular or XL.

00:40:40   But if you pick a different color sport band you don't get that option but you still get the same like two piece regular SM and ML set for the sport bands.

00:40:50   So it is not related to whether the watches an SE or not it's related to whether you pick the black sport band or not.

00:40:55   I don't know Casey this ordering process is terrible having just tried to go through it.

00:40:59   It is way harder than it used to be.

00:41:02   I remember in the beginning like the first couple of watches they had that cool animation they still have all those animations in there but just the process I should be able to sort of like like we go on this show for whatever reason we frequently go through car configurators on their websites.

00:41:15   Which have way more options than watches like you can do a million things to cars and somehow these companies that are terrible at tech with these mostly terrible websites.

00:41:25   We never have any problem configuring the car the way we want it. Websites are able to communicate oh if you get that stupid option package it turns off this and turns on that.

00:41:32   Like there's lots of weird rules with cars and somehow we can do it but these watches A there's no reason for there to be stupid rules.

00:41:37   Oh you want an aluminum case? Well you can't get an aluminum case with that kind of strap.

00:41:41   Why? Why can't we? Well we just don't think that's right.

00:41:45   Especially since they box them separately it's kind of a mess.

00:41:49   We're kind of boxing them separately this is another sort of blow up that's not entirely Apple's fault but it is Apple's problem.

00:41:55   If you buy an Apple watch with a solo loop and you miss estimate your size because you know the paper thing doesn't work for you and you just couldn't tell.

00:42:04   You have to return the whole thing you can't just return the strap and get a different size strap.

00:42:08   Even though they're boxed separately it still counts as one product and you can't return half a product.

00:42:13   So it all makes sense from a normal point of view except that in non-COVID times this wouldn't happen because you'd go to an Apple store and you'd try on the bands and you'd find the one that you like.

00:42:23   And the chances of you deciding a day later that you picked the wrong size are much lower when you've actually had it on your wrist than when you're at home printing out a thing and wrapping it on your wrist and just guessing.

00:42:33   So this is kind of a pain and I think what Apple should do is just let people return the straps. I know it's a pain logistically and they didn't expect to have to do it but guess what they do because that's the world we're in.

00:42:45   And I continue to think these straps cost way less money than the price would indicate.

00:42:50   So I think Apple can handle just let people keep the strap and send them a different one.

00:42:55   I don't know how much these straps cost. Again, maybe I'm shocked and they are incredibly expensive to manufacture or something but especially for the sport bands and the solo loops that are just made out of that plastic stuff.

00:43:06   Just let people exchange them. It's not the end of the world because everyone's going to be sad if they get their big fancy watch and then they just have to send the whole thing away just to get a different size.

00:43:14   And the worst thing is you get the one back and it's like finally my watch is back after three days or a week or whatever and that size doesn't fit me either.

00:43:22   And it turns out I just don't like the solo loop. I have to return the whole watch again.

00:43:26   Right? I think Gruber said they should just sell the little watch body. Little watch bodies. Just the watch by itself and then the strap separately with the understanding that if you just buy the little watch body you have to also buy a strap.

00:43:41   But people are fine with that. Just price them appropriately so that the combination of a strap and the watch body is the same price as they sell the unit. Make them two different SKUs. Problem solved, Apple. Maybe try that next year.

00:43:52   Yeah. Or even if they won't let you buy just the watch body, which they should with some kind of discount because I don't need another white sport band. I have like five white sport bands. And the previous ones from previous watches. By the way, there's another problem.

00:44:11   If you resell an old Apple watch once you're done, after you upgrade to a better one, resale value on the Apple watch is awful. They're basically worth nothing. Even after one year. The one year old model is worth almost nothing on resale.

00:44:27   That's not true. Mine is worth like $180 which is granted a lot less than the $500 or whatever I paid but that's not nothing.

00:44:33   Well, okay, yeah. But you lose, it's worth like 25% or 30% after one year. It's crazy how fast the Apple watch depreciates relative to other Apple devices.

00:44:48   But that being said, usually if you sell to one of those resell services, they send you a box and you send it through them. Whether it's Apple service or other similar ones, they never want the strap. They only ever want the watch body.

00:45:01   So you end up, if you've been in the Apple watch ecosystem for like five or six years, you end up with a bunch of extra sport bands or whatever comes with the one that you usually buy.

00:45:12   So if they actually want to make an environmental statement, they could sell just the watch body and that way we can reuse the bands that we already have if this is not our first Apple watch.

00:45:22   That would be a nice environmental statement but I agree they should unbundle this because imagine, again talking about not only the environment but their economics here, imagine all the waste.

00:45:32   When they take a returned Apple watch, they can't just wipe it off with a cloth and resell it. They can actually reuse a surprisingly small amount of that Apple watch.

00:45:44   Chances are they go towards the refurbishment process and if you look into what they can reuse for a refurbished watch, for most refurbished electronics, they can't reuse much of the case or anything exterior and often not the battery either.

00:45:59   So there's a huge list of things that they're not supposed to reuse for refurbished products or that they choose not to and you'd be surprised how little of something like an Apple watch is left to be refurbished.

00:46:08   So taking a return of the entire watch for an off by one or two size error on a fixed position strap is incredibly wasteful both of environmental costs and of money.

00:46:25   So if they really want to make this better for the environment, like yeah it's great they're made out of recycled aluminum and everything, you know what would be even better?

00:46:32   Is to make people have to return fewer watches and the way to do that is to split this bundle apart and let people buy these things separately.

00:46:41   We are sponsored this week by Hay.com. Email should not be overwhelming and let's face it, email has been broken for a long time but Hay.com fixes it.

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00:48:08   So once again Hay.com 14 day free trial. Try that today. Thank you so much to Hay.com for sponsoring our show.

00:48:17   Epic and Sign Up With Apple. What's going on there? This was a couple of weeks old. Sign in with Apple you mean? Sign in with Apple, sorry.

00:48:29   Sign in with Apple is the official name of the service but Sign Up With Apple is very similar in that you're signing up for a service by using it. Anyway, one last we left this which was a while ago in the Epic thing. Epic was saying that Apple was going to turn off Sign In With Apple for them because they don't have a developer account or an app and all this other stuff.

00:48:49   And what I was saying was that despite the fact that it makes perfect technical sense for Sign In With Apple to stop working for an application that is pulled off the store that belongs to an account that has been terminated, Apple should do whatever it takes to make sure Sign In With Apple continues to work anyway just to instill confidence in Sign In With Apple.

00:49:08   Even if the worst happens, Sign In With Apple will continue working. Well this is a tweet from Fortnite Status which is an official Epic thing from September 10th. They said that apparently Sign In With Apple will continue to work for them.

00:49:24   The Epic is still recommending that all their customers switch from Sign In With Apple to using an email address but apparently Apple did whatever it takes to make sure Sign In With Apple keeps working. It would have been better if they could have avoided the bad PR by preempting it but at least they're doing the right thing in the end.

00:49:41   How are they doing that? I don't know. Again, behind the scenes is their own systems. When you "terminate" an account, I don't think, you know, when you terminate anything in a big business, you don't actually delete the stuff for the most part. You just sort of soft delete it which means market is deleted but it's still there.

00:49:55   So I can imagine they can do what it takes to make Sign In With Apple still work for this basically non-existent developer account and app.

00:50:02   Alright, and then finally, this is actually some really good feedback from several episodes ago. John, you were complaining about no good videos about how different car things work and I think we were talking about transmissions at the time.

00:50:15   And I completely forgot, I have seen a couple of the, or at least one of the videos that Nick Blethrow wrote in about. I've seen the one around the corner, How Differential Steering Works. If I'm not mistaken, that's about how actually a rear differential works and it is super cool.

00:50:32   And apparently there's a different one of the same spirit, Spinning Levers, How a Transmission Works. And these are definitely worth watching if you're interested.

00:50:38   Yeah, I've seen these videos before. They're good. The problem with them is they're from the 30s so some of them are somewhat relevant. The differential thing is still relevant. The transmission one, it's kind of relevant but if you see what a modern transmission looks like, all the same basic pieces are there but they're very different these days.

00:50:58   But the main thing I was looking for was an abstract thing where, for a teacher who might get to drive, they don't need to know the intricacies of how does a synchro work to make sure the gear is meshed together, right? Or what is the little lever doing when you shift in the thing?

00:51:11   What I really wanted was the more abstract thing is like, look, the engine is the thing that turns, it turns a thing, that thing is either connected to or not connected to the thing that turns the wheels.

00:51:20   Just that type of very abstract sort of how does power get to the wheels and what things mediate it without the nitty gritty details of what is in that box in the middle. It's just a black box. That's all you need to know.

00:51:30   But you have to know that in one end the engine is connected, the other end the wheels are connected and there's a thing in the middle that mediates. Anyway, they're cool videos. You should definitely check them out. I think around the corner is the better of the two. Is it more than two? I've only seen these two.

00:51:43   Yeah, I'm not sure. They're really great. They remind me of PBS videos when I was a kid in that they're very gentle and sort of, you'd say boring, like they're not trying to zazz it up. They're not trying to make anything cool and snappy.

00:52:00   It's just like, we're going to explain carefully and slowly and take you on incremental steps for your understanding of how this works. You can still get lost. Like if they do a step and they say something and you're not on board with it yet because you don't know how levers work, you might get lost and it might all fall apart.

00:52:15   But for the most part, I think most people can watch it one or two or three times and hold it all together in their head and go, "Oh, that makes sense. That's very clever." Because people are very clever and they make cool machines.

00:52:25   All right. Jon, tell me about why I should care about a company I've never heard of called ZeniMax.

00:52:31   You've never heard of it because it's one of those companies that owns other companies. I guess we can start this with a story from January 2018. It's a story in Polygon that was talking about the challenges that Microsoft faces in competing with Sony in the upcoming console generation.

00:52:49   This was two years ago. We know that in this console generation, the PS4 kind of stomped all over the Xbox One for a variety of reasons.

00:52:58   But one of the reasons often cited is that Sony in this generation had a lot of exclusive titles that you couldn't get anywhere else. You could only get on a PlayStation. Very popular, very high quality, very well reviewed titles.

00:53:10   The fact that people knew those titles were coming or knew those franchises were platform exclusive motivated a lot of people to buy a PlayStation. There's lots of other factors as well in terms of Xbox trying to be a do-everything television box instead of just the game console.

00:53:23   The PlayStation 4 hardware was really good and the Kinect was a big diversion. Anyway, we're not going to get into that. But platform exclusives were often cited as a strength that Sony had over Microsoft.

00:53:33   To give an example, things like The Last of Us. Those are only Sony consoles and not anywhere else. Not like they are on Sony first and then someplace else later. They're only Sony.

00:53:46   Because Sony pays for them. They pay for them to be made. They pay the studio. They say we'll give you extra money, just put your game on our platform.

00:53:53   And platform exclusives also take advantage of the hardware because they don't have to make sure they run well on other platforms. They can spend all their optimization effort playing really well and looking really good on the specific hardware.

00:54:05   So fast forward to this week-ish and Microsoft has purchased ZeniMax for $7.5 billion in cash.

00:54:16   Who is ZeniMax? What is ZeniMax? They are a parent company of many other game companies. They've scooped up a bunch of game companies. The only place you may have recognized the name is they bought id Software several years ago.

00:54:29   And there was a bit of a falling out between John Carmack, who I think at that point had recently left to work at Facebook or whatever, or Oculus, which then got bought by Facebook. Anyway, they bought id Software.

00:54:39   They own Bethesda, which you may know from Fallout and Elder Scrolls and Skyrim. They also own the company that does Dishonored, Wolfenstein, Prey, the upcoming Starfield space game.

00:54:50   You may or may not have heard all these titles, but just trust me when I tell you that there are a lot of popular franchises that are owned by companies that are in turn owned by ZeniMax.

00:55:01   And so Microsoft bought them. Now ZeniMax and all of its subsidiary studios make games for all sorts of platforms. In fact, some of these game companies that are under ZeniMax have titles that are coming out as timed exclusives for the PlayStation 5.

00:55:18   Timed exclusives in the gaming world is where a game is going to be available first on a particular platform, but not forever. It'll be on a particular platform for six months or a year or whatever. And then after that, it's allowed to go on other platforms.

00:55:31   It's a way to pay slightly less money to get a game to be an exclusive. Because you have to pay people a lot of money to say you can never sell this game on any other platform.

00:55:39   I'm losing half the market. If you tell me I can only sell on PlayStation and I can't sell on Xbox and I can't sell on PC and I can't put it in the App Store for Android or iOS, that's a lot of money I'm leaving on the table.

00:55:50   Instead, what most companies do is a timed exclusive, which is you're going to be exclusive to PlayStation 5 for one month, for three months, for five months, for a year, whatever it is.

00:56:01   It's enough time that impatient gamers, if they want to play the game, will be motivated to get a PlayStation because otherwise they have to wait a year and all their friends have already played the game and it seems all tat or whatever.

00:56:10   So anyway, some of these studios have games that are timed exclusives for PS5. Now Microsoft bought the company.

00:56:17   And when Microsoft buys the company and all these different franchises, the question in everyone's mind is, "Wait a second. They make a lot of games. They make games for PC, they make games for PlayStation, they make games for Xbox. Some of these games are on all the platforms.

00:56:28   Does this mean going forward now that Microsoft owns them, that the only platforms these games are going to be on is Xbox and PC?

00:56:35   That there will be no Android version, that there will be no iOS version, and that certainly there will be no PS5 version, that there will be no Switch version?

00:56:42   That's what everyone's worried about. So Microsoft essentially used money to solve their exclusive title problem and said, "Now we have a huge number of popular franchises."

00:56:53   And at any time we could choose to say, "Guess what? The next Fallout game? Only on Xbox and PC."

00:57:00   But they haven't said that yet. What they have said is, "We will honor the timed exclusives for PS5."

00:57:06   Which, I don't know why they said that. It probably contracts. They mean that they have to. So they're going to do that.

00:57:13   But going forward, Microsoft says it will be on a case-by-case basis. So if you were a fan of one of these franchises and are used to being able to play it on your PlayStation, or being able to play it probably years later in worse quality on your Switch, maybe in the future that will not be the case.

00:57:32   I fully expect that one or more of these very popular franchises, like for example Doom, which is actually having a resurgence because a bunch of new Doom games look pretty good.

00:57:41   At some point in the future, sometime in this console generation, expect the next version of one of these games to only be available on Microsoft platforms.

00:57:49   And that's kind of a bummer for gamers, but it's kind of good for Microsoft because they have, in one $7.5 billion fell swoop, have shored up a big weakness in their game business, which is lack of exclusive titles.

00:58:02   Especially since some of their exclusive titles are sort of losing their luster, like Halo. Microsoft still owns Halo. Bungie split off from Microsoft a while ago, but Microsoft retained Halo.

00:58:12   But now they have other developers making Halo, and the upcoming Halo game has not been really setting the world on fire with its trailer.

00:58:19   And Halo has always been an Xbox exclusive, right? Or Xbox PC exclusive, despite the fact that Halo 1 was available on the Mac or whatever.

00:58:27   So with its current exclusives fading, it's great to get a giant bucket of really great franchises from which you can pick and choose.

00:58:35   The other aspect, and the final aspect of Microsoft shoring up its strategy is, and we didn't talk about this before, but I've heard it talk about it in other podcasts, Microsoft's subscription strategy.

00:58:45   They have, we talked about it in the context of the cloud gaming things, but they also have a subscription service for regular gaming.

00:58:51   You can pay them a monthly fee, and in exchange you get access to a bunch of games. And when you stop paying, you lose access to the games, right?

00:58:57   These aren't like streaming games that are running at a data center somewhere. These are games that will run on your local Xbox, right?

00:59:03   You just pay Netflix style to get access to them on an ongoing basis.

00:59:07   And in that subscription price, they also have a deal where you pay us X dollars a month, and for that price you get a next generation Xbox.

00:59:17   An Xbox Series X or an Xbox Series S, depending on how much you pay, and also that service that gives you access to all these games.

00:59:24   And the games that are in that service, as you can imagine, third parties don't want to put their games in that service because they won't get as much money.

00:59:30   They'd rather sell each individual portion of the game for 60 bucks than to get a fraction of your 30 dollar a month subscription fee spread over 20 games.

00:59:37   But now that Microsoft owns all these game studios, all the games made by these studios can be put into that bundle.

00:59:45   And they say, hey, Microsoft owns them, and if they say you're going to do it, you're going to do it. So take your whole back catalog and put it into this Game Pass subscription.

00:59:51   So instead of it being a 500 dollar console, now you just have to convince your parents to pay 35 dollars a month for the next two years.

00:59:58   And if you do the math, you end up paying like 800 dollars for a 500 dollar console, but you're also getting access to a huge collection of games during that entire time.

01:00:08   And they get you on the subscription bandwagon. Now you just assume it's a monthly fee that you pay, just like your cable bill or your cell phone bill or whatever.

01:00:16   You also pay your Microsoft Game Pass thing. I don't know how it's going to work out for them. Historically, gamers have proven to be a very stubborn and traditional lot.

01:00:29   That's one of the reasons they went with the PlayStation 4 in last generation, because it was a thing that they knew.

01:00:33   Gamers are not used to paying a subscription for their hardware and software. They're more used to "I buy a console than I buy games."

01:00:40   So we'll see how this works out. But Microsoft, in the very last stages of the race here, right before all these consoles launch, has made some bold moves and has some interesting strategies that should make this generation console race much more competitive than the last one.

01:00:58   Bad for Sony, but good for Microsoft, I guess. And Nintendo don't care. Because they're still selling a bajillion Switches.

01:01:08   That is true. I wonder how many of them were sold specifically because of the limitations in, uh, what's the game that everyone's playing? Animal Crossing? Is that what I'm thinking of?

01:01:18   Where you can apparently only have one island per thing or something? I've never played the game, but...

01:01:23   Yeah, I don't know if anyone's buying multiple Switches. Nintendo did make an announcement recently. Now that Microsoft and Sony are killing each other, Nintendo's announcement was that they consider themselves to be about halfway through the generation life cycle that apparently...

01:01:34   They're on their own generational timeline. Everyone at Sony and Microsoft are like, "This is the generational turnover, like, you know, six or seven years after the last generation, it's time for the new generation." And Nintendo says, "We're about 50% through."

01:01:45   That seems about right. Yeah, that seems totally fair. The Switch is still selling like crazy. The Switch, I think it did come out significantly after whatever the hell these current generation consoles are called, right? The PS7 and the Xbox One X, One X, One X.

01:02:03   There's a generation number for them in Wikipedia, but I can't remember.

01:02:06   Yeah, whatever it is, they stopped being relevant a while ago, I think. And I would love to see a Switch Plus or a Switch Pro.

01:02:16   Yeah, that's due soon, but in the same way that the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X did not mark a new generation, it's about the mid-generation is when you get the Pro version, so there is a Switch Pro coming eventually in some form or another that will have more power and other features like that or whatever. And they've already done the lower power Switches, where you can get the one where the Joy-Cons don't come off, whatever that one's called.

01:02:38   Yeah, the Switch Lite, I believe. You can't buy those anywhere either. The Switch and the Switch Lite, they're out of stock everywhere much of the time for this entire summer. And some of that was because of COVID, some of that was because of Animal Crossing. It's a very popular good console that everyone still wants.

01:02:54   They're making as many as they can and they sell every single one that they make and they just are ignoring. I mean, we joke because Nintendo's weird and doing a weird thing off to the side, but Sony and Microsoft simply do not have a game system that is portable. You've got to plug them into the wall. So they're competing and it's an entirely different market.

01:03:12   Nintendo's over here. They're in between phone games and iPad games and console games. And in between you've got the Switch thing, which is a handheld, but you hook it up to your TV, but it's got all these awesome Nintendo games that are exclusive. And until and unless someone buys Nintendo, Mario's not going anywhere else, except for, you know, he did appear on iOS, but not quite the same thing as the big name games.

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01:05:36   So over the last week we've seen the release of iOS 14 and we've seen everyone finally getting their hands on widgets. And holy smokes has this blown up.

01:05:52   So I often feel old and I often feel like I'm losing touch with what kids and people who are younger than I think are important. I'll catch an award show commercial or something like that featuring this artist that Casey doesn't know and that artist that Casey doesn't know and that other artist that Casey doesn't know.

01:06:17   And it's very disheartening. I'm not proud of this at all. It's the normal march of life but it's sad to realize that you are becoming that guy that just doesn't know who anyone popular is.

01:06:28   But...

01:06:29   To be fair I was always that guy at every age.

01:06:32   Well, some of us just wait a little longer than others I guess. Or a little less longer than others in certain cases. But anyway, dear friend of the show, _DavidSmith has had a very very interesting week and a half and I cannot wait for the pending under the radar where I hope you either did or will discuss this.

01:06:51   I'm happy to be chief summarizer and chief but Marco I wonder if you would like to do the honors and especially if you've talked to David more than I have recently.

01:07:00   So honestly we are saving almost all of this for the next episode of under the radar which will come out in a little bit less than a week roughly. Like next Wednesday-ish.

01:07:11   And I am looking forward to that as much as you are.

01:07:15   The short version of what we know so far is that _'s newest app called Widgetsmith which is a thing that lets you basically output and generate and customize tons of different iOS 14 home screen widgets.

01:07:32   Based on the same engine that he made WatchSmith for a little while back, WatchSmith is for making totally custom Apple watch complications. And that's even better now with watchOS 7 because you can do multiple issues, multiple complications of the same size from the same app now.

01:07:50   So WatchSmith was already a huge amount of work and sophistication from _ so you can customize your Apple watch complications but then he took a lot of the same concepts and many of the same possible complications and widget types and brought those now to iOS 14 home screen widgets.

01:08:09   Which it turns out is a way bigger market and so much bigger in fact that I haven't checked in the last couple of hours but as of this morning Widgetsmith is number one in the app store and has been number one in the app store for by now I think about four or five days at least.

01:08:27   So we now know the developer, the number one app in the app store. It's kind of fun. I know he's going through quite a lot. He's issued like four updates in that time. He's issuing like an update every couple of days. It's been pretty remarkable.

01:08:45   As far as I know he's holding up well. Everyone is happy and healthy and we will hear much more about this on next week's episode of Under the Radar.

01:08:54   And part of how this blew up, I don't know the origin because we just hear things secondhand over here in the old people world but apparently I saw at least one TikTok video of someone demonstrating look what you can do. You get iOS 14 and then you can get these things on your home screen called widgets and you can make them in different sizes and so on and so forth.

01:09:10   And there's this cool app called Widgetsmith where you can kind of make up your own widgets. And the widgets, you know, they're straightforward. It's not like you get to program them. It's like okay well there's a widget for time and weather and all sorts of different things and photos and so on and so forth but here's the key to Widgetsmith.

01:09:25   Like, that's great. Well those widgets are already on the phone. There's already a weather widget. There's already a calendar widget. What does this Widgetsmith app exist for? You can customize them. You can customize basically their appearance and layout. You can pick different fonts. You can pick different colors. You can pick different backgrounds.

01:09:40   And if I was to describe Widgetsmith to you before iOS 14 launched, you'd be like alright well what do I care about the color of the weather widget? Like oh great I can pick a different font. I can pick an ugly font.

01:09:55   You know, I don't understand why I would ever get this app because it just seems like unless I have a need of some specific widget that Widgetsmith can do that no other app can do, why would I ever do this? And the answer of basically the entire world was because you can change the font and the color and the layout and the size.

01:10:14   And it turns out that's a thing that people really really want to do. So a couple people have popular videos on TikTok showing the customization you can do with this. And this combined with the ability to use shortcuts to make a custom icon for a thing that launches an app.

01:10:30   Basically make the world's most trivial shortcut which is when the shortcut is run, launch mail. But because you can give that shortcut a custom icon, now you have all the ingredients for what was going viral on TikTok and spreading all over the world.

01:10:45   Which is I can make a home screen on my iPhone that has a custom wallpaper which you could do for years and years. Custom icons for every single "app" and widgets of different sizes and layouts of different colors and different fonts and different styles.

01:11:05   So now you can have a home screen that looks like no home screen you've ever seen. The combination of all those things can be color themed, can be laid out strangely. The options that you have are so much more than just a grid of icons that you can't control the appearance of unless the individual app lets you change the icon.

01:11:21   Which some apps do, but if you decide you want to have for example a complete pink and white theme with flowers in the background, you can't turn every single app to be pink because maybe one or two of your favorite apps allow you to change the icon to a pink one. But they don't match and they're not the same color of pink.

01:11:36   And it's all just a grid of tiny little icons. But with widgets you have all the different widget sizes and shapes. You can put whatever you want in them including photos and yes calendars and weathers and all sorts of things you can do.

01:11:46   You can customize your phone to look very different from a stock phone. And that's something people want to do. If you've ever seen people out in the world with their iPhones, most of them have cases on them.

01:11:58   And if you look at their cases, you'll see a lot of personality in those cases. They're not just black plastic cases. You'll see sparkly ones, purple ones, silver ones, ones with mirrors in them, ones with unicorns in the back, ones that are fuzzy, like anything you can imagine.

01:12:14   Now you can take that and do it to the screen of your phone.

01:12:18   Now another reason why we describe this to a bunch of Apple nerds before iOS 14 launched, they would say that's stupid and that's not really the Apple way.

01:12:30   Because the whole point of the iPhone is that everything looks nice and if you let people customize stuff, they're just going to make their phones uglier.

01:12:36   And it's just not the Apple way to do that. In fact, Apple will probably disallow that and ban it from the store because why would they let you make your phone ugly? That's the whole point of everything looking just so.

01:12:46   But people who say that have not been around Apple very long because there was a long stretch of time in the history of the Mac for example where customizing the appearance of your computer was a huge thing in the Mac community.

01:13:02   Granted the Mac community itself was tiny but within the Mac community there were utilities that let you change every aspect of what you saw on your screen.

01:13:08   From the font, the system font for all the menus and all the dialogues to the appearance of every single window on the screen in every possible aspect, all of the window widgets and of course the desktop background, the icons of every single one of your apps, the icons of all the folders and all of the little icons that appear in alerts.

01:13:24   In classic Mac OS you could customize everything, eventually using a framework that Apple itself designed to be threaded through the entire operating system.

01:13:33   There were huge communities around basically making your Mac screen look sleek and black with rusted metal everywhere or pink and sparkly or shiny silver.

01:13:44   I was in this community, I did this, I just thought about I should go up into my attic and dig this stuff out. There were various websites, one of which had contests, like submit your picture of your Mac looking as cool as it can with everything customized.

01:13:58   Whatever your theme is, whatever design you come up with, some combination of your own artwork and custom icons you got from IconFactory and Kaleidoscope themes and custom fonts that you downloaded.

01:14:08   Show us that one screenshot that makes people think, wow, that Mac looks totally different than mine and it's all a coherent theme.

01:14:14   That's all people would do, change their Macs and take a nicely arranged screenshot and upload it and have contests of who has the coolest Mac.

01:14:21   It's no surprise to me that people want to do this and it's also no surprise to me that people who are in the Apple community who sometimes people think, oh, they just want everything to be clean and simple and want Apple to design everything.

01:14:33   No, that's what Apple has wanted for a long time, but users have always wanted to express themselves through their devices.

01:14:39   They'll do it in hardware if you let them with weird-ass cases and they'll do it in software if you let them.

01:14:44   And Underscore's app, combined with the custom icons and shortcuts, finally opened the floodgates and now everybody is customizing all the things.

01:14:53   And yes, they're making things that you may think are ugly, the same way they did with Kaleidoscope themes and custom icons and classic Mac OS, right?

01:15:01   But people want to do what they want to do and there's no stopping this.

01:15:07   Once the barn door is open, that's it.

01:15:11   The only way Apple had stopped it up until now was making it so hard to customize anything about what your phone looked like.

01:15:16   In fact, it took years and years and years before they even let developers let you change the icons of apps.

01:15:21   But now that users can change it, they'll do it.

01:15:23   And this is on top of the fact that if you make a shortcut with shortcuts and launches the app, it launches shortcuts first and then it launches the app.

01:15:30   It's a terrible experience. You can't even use a phone like that.

01:15:34   But that's how much people want to customize their stuff.

01:15:38   They're willing to put up with a home screen that every time you tap an icon, it goes through shortcuts and then launches the thing that you want.

01:15:44   So I hope Apple takes notice of this and realizes this is the thing users want to do.

01:15:51   It makes them happy. It's no skin off Apple's back.

01:15:55   Like, what do you care if Apple, you know, people make their phones ugly or whatever.

01:15:58   Apple, change shortcuts or whatever, or make a way for you to launch an app without going through shortcuts.

01:16:04   There is actually a way to do it. You can make this other kind of bookmarklet thing and slap it on your phone like the configurator app.

01:16:09   But it's too difficult for people to make it easy to make custom icons that launches your app.

01:16:14   I know people are going to say, "Oh, there's security concerns. What if I make a malicious app that actually looks like a mail, but it's not mail?"

01:16:20   Those are all the same complaints about changing the app icons.

01:16:22   That's the reason why there's that scary dialogue that says, "You have just changed the icon for whatever app."

01:16:27   I know there are concerns, but look, people want it and they're going to find some way to do it anyway.

01:16:33   And congratulations to Underscore for being the catalyst that's setting this off,

01:16:40   but for having the forethought to think, "I think people will want to do this."

01:16:43   I mean, he was a little bit surprised by it too, but all the updates are like, "You know what?

01:16:46   Even more color customization, even more fonts." Right?

01:16:49   Because now he knows where the demand is.

01:16:51   First, he might have thought, "Oh, people just want to have just the right information."

01:16:54   But I think he quickly learned people want more shades of pink.

01:16:56   People want to be able to set gradients. Right?

01:16:59   People want to be able to pick even more fonts. Yes, including the "ugly ones."

01:17:04   Add all the things. Right?

01:17:06   So, it couldn't have happened to a nicer, harder-working person.

01:17:10   He deserves all the success that he is getting.

01:17:12   Hopefully, he comes out from under what must be the incredible avalanche of support email that he's getting.

01:17:18   Because remember, it's the top of the charts. It's a free app with in-app purchase,

01:17:21   which means that everybody can download this. And they will download it, and they will have a complaint,

01:17:27   and they will email him, and he's just one person.

01:17:29   I'm sure you'll talk about this under the radar, but the actual numbers involved in here are staggering.

01:17:35   A lot of people are downloading this app. A lot.

01:17:38   Yeah. And first of all, I totally agree. This could not have happened to a better person.

01:17:43   He's a friend of all of ours. Maybe we're a little bit biased, but he won't tell you this,

01:17:48   and he'll be really embarrassed when he hears this, but he's the nicest guy in the world, first of all.

01:17:53   Like, the nicest guy in the world.

01:17:55   He's disgustingly nice. You will hate him, he's so nice.

01:17:58   It's not just us because we're friends with him.

01:18:00   There is no one who has ever met this man who has not said that he is nice.

01:18:03   He's so nice, it makes you angry.

01:18:05   Yeah, exactly. So not only is he the nicest guy in the world, but he works so hard,

01:18:11   and he has put out so many apps, and he's had some successes here and there,

01:18:17   but nothing like this in terms of how many downloads it's gotten.

01:18:22   Sitting at number one on the charts, this is the kind of thing that iOS developers

01:18:27   dream of happening once in their career, and for most of us it never happens.

01:18:32   And so to have this happen to somebody who we know is noteworthy in itself,

01:18:38   and to have it happen to the nicest person that we know is also especially cool.

01:18:43   I will say, though, again, not to spoil anything for our episode,

01:18:47   but when I asked him how many emails he was getting a couple days ago,

01:18:51   he expressed it to me in a number per second.

01:18:54   Oh, God. Yeah, I had spoken to him when it was first starting to blow up,

01:18:58   and I think it was a number per minute at that point,

01:19:01   but this is earlier, I suspect, than you spoke to him.

01:19:04   Yes. I think it also helps, too, like, you know, what has helped WidgetSmith

01:19:09   take off as much as it has. Not only is it giving people this customization

01:19:15   that they so badly have wanted, and there's been all this pent-up demand

01:19:19   for customizing your iPhone and iPad, but not only that, but also, like,

01:19:23   if you show a screenshot of your home screen that has a WidgetSmith widget on it,

01:19:28   right below it, it says WidgetSmith, because that's how, like, the way widgets are designed,

01:19:33   they say their app name right below them, just like anything else on Springboard.

01:19:36   So it's kind of like a self-promoting thing, which is great, you know, for the app,

01:19:41   and so everyone who sees one of these awesome customized home screens

01:19:45   that says WidgetSmith one or two times all over it, like, that helps push the app even more,

01:19:49   which is even better. But, you know, just going back to the customization thing,

01:19:53   like, I just, I am so, I'm so delighted when I see some of the things people have come up with.

01:19:59   It is delightful. It is, like, first of all, incredibly impressive skill going into a lot of these.

01:20:05   Like, the amount of creativity and artistic skill and just work, just, like, you know,

01:20:12   brute force work going into some of these custom home screens is just incredible.

01:20:16   It's inspiring, and, you know, the downside of the way Apple usually does things,

01:20:23   you know, Apple really runs a really tight ship when it comes to any kind of customization

01:20:29   on any of their modern platforms. The Mac has had a decent amount of customization over time

01:20:35   simply because it's older. iOS has really not, and shortcuts help a lot, certainly,

01:20:41   because you could do stuff like this, but, you know, as John was saying,

01:20:44   the amount of customization possible on iOS has not been high,

01:20:47   and it kind of shows, like, when you rule something with an iron fist like that,

01:20:52   you really stomp out a lot of potential creativity, and, yeah,

01:20:57   there is a lot of bad creativity out there. There is a lot of stuff that people will do that is bad,

01:21:03   and you could maybe make the argument, maybe you should let them, because it's their computer,

01:21:08   it's their phone, it's their tablet. Like, maybe you should let people use the devices the way they want to.

01:21:14   And when Apple loosens the grip just a little bit in areas like this that have no real downside,

01:21:22   like, there's no real downside to this. Like, the security arguments are bogus.

01:21:25   The whole thing about, "What if I need to use your phone in an emergency?"

01:21:28   That's also bogus. Like, these arguments don't hold water to even the least bit of scrutiny.

01:21:31   If somebody wants to make their phone look like whatever they want to, just let them,

01:21:36   and they'll be happier, and they'll come up with not only something cool for them,

01:21:40   but something so great that maybe Apple will take inspiration from it for future OS versions

01:21:45   or future designs. Like, there's a lot of amazing creativity out there.

01:21:50   There's a lot of amazingly skilled artists and designers out there who want to customize their stuff,

01:21:54   in a different way than the very narrow, safe way that Apple has to do things.

01:22:01   If you let that creativity out, if you let people use their computing devices as computing devices,

01:22:07   by the way, this also extends to software, but if you let people use their computers as computers,

01:22:14   and the Apple Watch, you get this amazing creativity out of it.

01:22:18   This is what these devices are capable of. Like, we have amazing technology.

01:22:23   We should be breaking down walls as much as possible. We should be enabling people to do what they want

01:22:28   as much as possible, as long as we can make it safe. Even that's an argument.

01:22:33   There's even a good argument to be made that even if it's not safe, we should let people do it,

01:22:36   as long as we warn them properly or provide control to get back or whatever.

01:22:40   But I just love seeing this. It almost seems kind of like the success in gaming that Apple has had.

01:22:48   It almost seems like this happened to them accidentally, that they maybe didn't intend for this amount of creativity

01:22:54   to be unleashed inside of their platforms, but I'm just so happy to see this.

01:22:59   And I hope, even though I know this is kind of a tall order, but I hope Apple learns a lesson from this,

01:23:07   that loosening the grip, even just a little bit, can really result in amazing things that their customers

01:23:16   can now do with their computers. They should let this happen more often, and they should consider loosening the grip

01:23:22   in other areas, because there's only so much creativity and delight and spirit and joy that can come out of

01:23:32   what is now a pretty uptight, conservatively-run design company. Like, many of Apple's designs,

01:23:39   I would not classify as delightful anymore. I would not classify as even particularly humane.

01:23:45   I would classify many of them as uptight and safe. And to let people just explode in their own creativity

01:23:53   is a beautiful thing, and Apple should let that happen more often.

01:23:56   Yeah, back on the classic Mac that had no memory protection and people could do what they wanted,

01:24:01   Apple couldn't stop them. Even before they added Appearance Manager. People were hacking the

01:24:06   appearance of their computer. Apple actually provided a way for you to put custom icons on things,

01:24:10   and people took advantage of it. You always had the ability to do everything. But of course on the iPhone and iPad,

01:24:16   it was all locked down. And if you're inside Apple, or if you had talked to someone in Apple,

01:24:21   probably what they would have said, and what you would have agreed with, or I think what we all would have agreed with,

01:24:25   because it was true, is like, "Alright, but not a lot of people ask for custom icons. I understand what you said

01:24:31   when the iPhone is locked down, but seriously, we don't really actually get that many requests for being able to

01:24:36   customize things like that." And eventually they would say, "Oh well, five years into the life of the iPhone,

01:24:45   we actually will add a way for icons to be customized, but developers will do it, and we'll have to see all the icons

01:24:51   that they're selecting, and there will be a big warning dialogue." And they'd be like, "We're great here at Apple,

01:24:56   because we respond to customer requests, and even stuff like asking for custom icons for apps.

01:25:01   We don't even hear that request that much, but you know what, we eventually got around to it, and we did it.

01:25:06   So you're welcome." That's not the story we heard, just for the record, we heard some crazy story about

01:25:11   like Eddy Cue basically demanding that feature for like some sports app that wanted to do it, like the NBA or something like that.

01:25:17   I thought it was MLB. But the whole point is like, if you're inside Apple during this time where the iPhone is

01:25:22   massively successful, and you say, "Listen, of all the requests we get about the iPhone, please let me customize

01:25:29   my app icons and the appearance of my home screen," is really far down the list. And I bet that's true.

01:25:35   They didn't get that request, and that's the thing about allowing for, I mean, Apple always says this in their keynotes,

01:25:41   "We can't wait to see what you do with it." But what we can do with it is limited by what you let us do with it.

01:25:47   So even though the millions of people who want to customize their home screens, how many of them actually

01:25:54   sent any kind of feedback to Apple that says, "It would be nice if I could change my home screen."

01:25:59   Basically none of them, to a first approximation. Such a tiny number. Like, it's true.

01:26:04   If Apple's not lying and saying, "Actually, we were getting millions of requests," they were probably getting almost no requests for this.

01:26:10   But that doesn't mean that Apple is satisfying all their demands, right? That like, if we don't get requests for it,

01:26:16   that means nobody wants it. Absolutely not true. Apple itself says this. Sometimes people don't know what they want or don't know what to ask for,

01:26:22   but if you give it to them, they realize they like it, right? And so you have to make an intellectual argument, which is like,

01:26:27   "Look, Apple, I know you're not getting requests for this, but trust me when I tell you that lots of people would love this."

01:26:32   And they'd say, "What do you mean lots of people? Like, the only people who, like, you can do this now with Jailbreak,

01:26:36   but how many people Jailbreak? Like, nobody. Like, we have proof. Look, nobody wants this. It's not out there.

01:26:41   Why are we going to waste engineering time on doing this?" And you're like, "But just trust me. People love this."

01:26:45   And again, you make it up. Look what they do with their cases. See how all the cases are weird and everything?

01:26:49   It's like, "Yeah, whatever. People can buy third-party cases, but we want the iPhone. That's our branding.

01:26:53   It needs to look like us. We need to control that." And trust me, nobody wants this.

01:26:58   And that argument can go around and around, and like Marco said with gaming, they kind of backed into this accidentally,

01:27:04   but suddenly there is a critical massive functionality to make this happen.

01:27:08   I guarantee if you had told Apple before iOS 14's launch, guess what? Millions of people are going to use shortcuts

01:27:14   to customize their icons and pay the price of going through shortcuts before launching an app.

01:27:20   And you're like, "Nobody's going to do that. Like, maybe you'll do it once on a whim, but no one's going to actually do that."

01:27:26   And you're like, "No, but people really want to customize their homeskins." Like, "You're crazy."

01:27:30   Well, here we are. Here we are. Again, listen to the end of the radar episode to find out exactly how many people were interested in doing this.

01:27:38   Now, it's true that it's so awful now, having to go through shortcuts and having, you know, even widgets themselves are fairly limited

01:27:45   in what they can do within certain sizes. The functionality of widgets is very limited, which is a thing.

01:27:50   Yeah, that's what Marco was getting at before. Like, if you open up the world of software to allow widgets to be more interactive,

01:27:54   maybe you could have even more creative output from software developers.

01:27:58   But success hides problems, and your users will not come and tell you the feature that you should add to, as Marco said, have an explosion of creativity in your platform.

01:28:10   It's not that people don't know that they want it. It's just that that's not how the feedback loop works.

01:28:15   People aren't spending all their time and energy trying to convince you, Apple, of what you should do.

01:28:20   I mean, that's what we do on this podcast. But we are small. We are few.

01:28:24   Trying to convince Apple what they should do to make the iPhone better, and sometimes people just don't even know.

01:28:29   But when you give it to them, they know it when they see it.

01:28:31   And I really hope Apple takes this as a wake-up call and just buckles down and says, you know, for iOS 15, customizing your app icons is easier than ever.

01:28:41   And in fact, there's a giant global switch to turn off all the custom icons in case you ever want to, and there's an all-new management interface for rearranging your home screens.

01:28:49   Please, Apple, I want this personally, but other people would like it too. Trust me.

01:28:53   Yeah, so hopefully Apple is living and learning from this.

01:28:58   And honestly, I do think because it is so difficult to do the icon customization that that's not really going to last, but widgets and the wallpaper background, which Apple eventually lets you change to, it's all coming together.

01:29:10   So I think Apple should pursue this rather than either resisting it or trying to ignore it because it's real and it's spectacular.

01:29:19   Perfectly acknowledged.

01:29:21   I'd also say too, I totally didn't think that widgets and home screen customization would be as big of a thing as they are so far at least.

01:29:31   Because Android has had this, you know, we're going to hear from Android people, like, the Opera did it first, the Simpsons did it first, like, you know, yeah, we know.

01:29:38   Android has had this kind of stuff for a while. Like, you can customize certain things way more than iOS.

01:29:44   They've had home screen widgets, I think, for a while. Windows Phone even had home screen widgets.

01:29:48   So the concept here is not new, but I made the mistake of assuming that a similar feature that has already existed on Android once it came to iOS would have similar results.

01:30:03   What we've seen, like, imagine if the iPhone didn't have apps and Android did.

01:30:09   People would probably make the argument that the iPhone doesn't need apps because look at Android apps, they're crap.

01:30:15   By the way, sorry Android people, you can write to Casey if you have a problem with any of this.

01:30:19   No, no, no, don't look at me.

01:30:21   And so you would probably say, like, look, third party apps, it turns out people have no taste.

01:30:26   Third party apps are crap. iOS doesn't need them.

01:30:29   But then if you add them to iOS, you realize, oh no, no, Android's third party apps are crap, but iOS, the iOS community makes good third party apps.

01:30:37   And, like, you know, you would be proven wrong because these two communities are not the same thing.

01:30:41   See also any argument about custom Apple watch faces.

01:30:45   There have been other smart watches that have had custom faces.

01:30:49   And they have largely been a cesspool of crappy designs and copyright infringement from, you know, or like, you know, trademark infringement from major watch brands.

01:30:58   But that's not a good reason for Apple not to offer it because all that means is those communities and those user bases didn't have good enough taste to do well with this feature.

01:31:10   That doesn't mean Apple's users and Apple's developers wouldn't have good enough taste to do something good with this.

01:31:16   You know, the Apple community is not only amazing, you know, in general, but it's also huge.

01:31:23   Plenty of people will be able to come up with good stuff to do with any little tiny bit of freedom Apple gives us.

01:31:29   They let us make apps. You know, it wasn't a very long time before they let us make apps.

01:31:34   It was only one year, but that was a very good move to open up that door and to let other people besides Apple do something on their precious platform.

01:31:43   And the more of those doors they can open up, the better their platforms do.

01:31:50   This happens over and over again.

01:31:53   I can't think of anything that Apple has kept locked down and then later changed their mind and opened up where that became a really horrible thing.

01:32:02   Except for the clones in the 90s. That was the one time.

01:32:06   Were there any other times when they loosened their grip just a little bit and it turned out badly for them?

01:32:12   I mean, arguably the total lack of memory protection in the original Mac, but that wasn't loosening.

01:32:17   That was just a thing that they had to do in the technology at the time.

01:32:20   But it makes me think, like, your examples of different communities.

01:32:23   What I mentioned before, the sort of theming community, the Mac theming community,

01:32:27   Windows didn't have memory protection in the early days either.

01:32:32   So all the things that people were doing to the Mac to customize it, whether it be custom appearances or things that make a puking sound when you eject your disk or Oscar the Grouch in the trash can,

01:32:42   every single one of those things was possible on Windows 1.0 or Windows 3.0 or whatever.

01:32:48   But the same techniques of like, oh, well, I have free ran to the memory space and there's no memory protection.

01:32:53   I can inject whatever the hell code I want anywhere.

01:32:55   Like, you can't stop me from, you know, third party developers can make a thing that customizes the appearance of window frames and that makes Oscar the Grouch come out of the trash can when you empty it, like, or the recycle bin or whatever.

01:33:06   Like, or makes it, you know, well, I guess they couldn't do a puking sound when you eject this because they didn't have auto eject disks on most PCs.

01:33:12   Haha. Anyway, or sound cards.

01:33:14   Oh, my gosh.

01:33:15   Yeah, or sound cards. Right.

01:33:16   And so what was the difference? Why did all this stuff happen on the Mac?

01:33:21   It was the community. People attracted to the Mac for the reasons that, you know, whatever the Mac had, the vibe it had, the aesthetic it had, the values expressed through the software that the Mac embodied.

01:33:33   Like, the hard brand software embodied the values of the people who made it. And those values came through to the customers.

01:33:39   So everybody who was into that type of thing, it was a combination of people.

01:33:43   It's, you know, liberal arts and technology, which Steve Jobs would say decades later. The people who were incredible, technically good coders who could figure out how to on a machine with no memory protection more or less safely inject their own code into all sorts of corners of an operating system they didn't create and they don't have the source code for and large portions of which are written in assembly.

01:34:03   People who could figure that out and people, sometimes very often the same person, who had good taste and artistic ability and had a creative goal they wanted to pursue, almost people were on the Mac.

01:34:16   That's why the Mac had this rich customization computer and the Windows had a hot dog stand. Right?

01:34:21   And that was first party.

01:34:23   It's not to say that, oh, all the artist creative people were on the Mac and not on Windows.

01:34:28   It's just that, you know, the communities were different. There was more of that type of person on the Mac.

01:34:33   There was more of that special type of person who combined, I mean, just for the creation of that, who combined deep technical skills with artistic knowledge and creativity.

01:34:42   And that's why my entire childhood was spent customizing my Mac to the point where I would crash all the time on a computer with no memory protection, because that's what I love to do, too.

01:34:51   That's what attracted me to the Mac and I love the fact that that community was there and thriving. Even in Mac OS X, there was unsanity, finding ways to inject code through the mock kernel's code injection mechanisms.

01:35:03   There was a shape shifter, which did teeming on Mac OS X.

01:35:07   Eventually Apple locked down most of the stuff for mostly good security reasons.

01:35:11   But I always said I would complain in articles back, you know, the dawn of Mac OS X. Right?

01:35:16   I would say, look, I understand the reasons why memory protection is good.

01:35:19   In fact, I've been asking for it for years and years. Great, we want that.

01:35:22   And I understand the reason why it's not good to be able to inject code into arbitrary processes. Right?

01:35:26   We all understand security is a real thing.

01:35:28   The solution to this, though, is not you are never allowed to do this.

01:35:32   The solution is Apple, please provide what I always called clean hooks to do this type of thing.

01:35:38   To give one example, in the early days of Mac OS X, there was, you know, you could put menus in the menu bar.

01:35:44   If you look in the upper right hand corner of your screen now on your Mac, you can see a bunch of icons up there.

01:35:48   At one point, there were two different APIs for putting things there.

01:35:52   There was the one that Apple could use, which was the good API that lets you rearrange all the icons with the command drag and everything and lets you have all these features.

01:35:59   And there was the crap API that third party developers were allowed to have.

01:36:03   And what would third party developers do? We'll just use the private Apple API.

01:36:07   Because screw you. Like, why would I use the worst API in Apple?

01:36:11   You know, this was before the App Store, right? But like Apple didn't like that.

01:36:14   It's like, look, the solution Apple is not to give everyone the toy version of things or to not give them the functionality at all.

01:36:19   Provide, you know what I think, clean hooks.

01:36:22   Supported good APIs for doing things like putting a menu in the menu bar that you rearranged.

01:36:27   I still think it would be useful to provide a supported theming API for Mac OS.

01:36:33   That seems ridiculous to everybody. That's a thing that Apple did.

01:36:36   Apple made and shipped Appearance Manager. They went out at the last second and didn't ship the themes.

01:36:41   But at one point, Apple actually dedicated significant engineering resources to putting in clean hooks to theme the entire operating system.

01:36:49   And they made a bunch of cool themes for it.

01:36:51   And that may seem like why would they ever do that?

01:36:54   I know we're begging to get custom app icons on iOS. So we're far from that, right?

01:36:59   But on the Mac, there are many opportunities.

01:37:02   Custom window minimization hooks, custom sort of window management hooks.

01:37:05   Places where third party code can cleanly and safely hook into the operating system using supported secure APIs to simply provide people with the option to change the functionality.

01:37:16   Why can't I have Oscar the Grouch come out of my trash can on my Mac?

01:37:19   There is no reason you can't provide a secure API to do that.

01:37:22   Obviously that's not high priority. Who's asking for that? Probably literally nobody.

01:37:27   Apparently not.

01:37:28   But if you did it, I guarantee someone would make Oscar the Grouch come out of that garbage can.

01:37:33   And someone would make a YouTube video of it or put it on TikTok.

01:37:36   And a million people on their Mac laptops as they sit in Zoom school meetings and COVID times would have Oscar the Grouch coming out of their trash can again.

01:37:43   Because you know why? People like fun.

01:37:46   Yeah.

01:37:47   That's basically it.

01:37:49   And we've had so little of that.

01:37:52   You know, the computing industry, like many industries, goes through cycles and fashions and things like that and trends, certainly.

01:38:03   And in the last probably ten years or so, maybe even more, there's been this incredible reverence for designers.

01:38:13   To a fault, I think.

01:38:16   And I think I've made that clear on a number of occasions. That we put so much faith into designers as this high class of gods who can just dictate how things should be.

01:38:28   And they're always right. And they know better than you.

01:38:32   Designers will come up with, "Here's how the thing is." Period.

01:38:36   Our designers have declared this to be the thing. Period.

01:38:40   Ignoring for the fact that whatever the thing is changes every three years.

01:38:44   But we're going to put that aside for now.

01:38:47   And you end up having a very small group of people dictating how things look for everybody.

01:38:56   As we have a pretty small number of computing platforms that matter anymore, that have big audiences and big user bases,

01:39:04   you have a very, very small number of people in the world deciding how everything will look and work.

01:39:10   And as the modern platforms that have increasing usage, like iOS, Android, these have way less customization than Windows and Macs have in the past.

01:39:23   And they're much more locked down software-wise than the platforms that we've used in the past.

01:39:28   The more we go into this world of designer dictated norms from the top that are, by the way, getting increasingly conservative and broad market as these platforms have gotten so big and spread around the world,

01:39:39   combine that with the decreased freedom we have on the software side because this new generation of operating systems is just so locked down,

01:39:48   that we have just a severe lack of that customization and software hacking and freedom and homebrew type stuff.

01:39:58   So much of the stuff we just don't have much of these days. It's either impossible or it's out of favor.

01:40:04   But mostly on these new platforms it's mostly just impossible.

01:40:07   And I feel like that kind of hurts computing. And it hurts people learning computing, it hurts people having fun with their computers,

01:40:12   it hurts their computers ability to feel like delightful, fun things that they can just tinker with and play with.

01:40:20   And to some degree we are past a lot of that in the era of computing.

01:40:26   In the same way that you can't tinker with and play with a lot of cars anymore, because cars are much more integrated and sophisticated and everything.

01:40:33   You can make a lot of those same arguments about computers.

01:40:35   But I think there is still a lot of room for computers to be fun for people.

01:40:40   Like you were just saying, Jon, computers have not been fun for a lot of people for a while.

01:40:45   They've become cold, utilitarian, boring, or almost like dictators, like how you need to do things.

01:40:54   And they don't need to be that way.

01:40:57   Computers when we were growing up were fun. And you could tinker with way more than you can tinker with now.

01:41:03   You could write your own code on every computer that you had. Chances are you might not have done it, but you could have.

01:41:10   You could run any app from anywhere that you wanted to run.

01:41:13   You could customize lots of things. You could break stuff.

01:41:17   You could customize, you know, like I use a regedit hack to customize my start button in Windows 95 to say Marco instead of start.

01:41:26   Why? Because I could. And I was a teenager and it was fun.

01:41:30   I was a stupid teenager and I had fun with my computer. That's it. That's the reason. That's all the reason I needed.

01:41:36   And these days you don't have a lot of opportunities for that.

01:41:41   Anything we can do to just break open a few more of those doors.

01:41:45   It's better for everybody. Like it's better for the platforms because you make your customers happier.

01:41:53   And if your platform can be customized the way people want to customize it, then they'll stick with your platform.

01:41:57   If somebody makes a really awesome iPhone home screen that you can't get to look quite right on Android,

01:42:04   and you know, there's somebody you follow on TikTok or something, then maybe your next phone will be an iPhone so you can make your home screen look like that.

01:42:10   Like this helps them sell more phones. It helps people stick with the platform. It makes the customers happy who are already there.

01:42:16   Computing needs more of that fun. We've had so much fun stripped away in recent decades.

01:42:25   Anything we can add back in there I think is worth it and is worth considering.

01:42:31   It's kind of weird how all the stuff that exists on the Mac that you can do that is mostly just holdovers from classic Mac OS.

01:42:39   Like I was thinking about this as I look at my screen. Customizing icons. You could do that on the Mac for all time.

01:42:46   It became easier once they enabled you to copy and paste icons in some version of classic Mac OS.

01:42:52   Maybe it was like 7, 5 or 8 or something. And copying and pasting icons onto folders and applications and volumes.

01:43:02   That exists in Mac OS X and current Mac OS because it existed in classic and it was just an expected feature.

01:43:09   How many people even know that feature exists? I mean, Casey's over there not even renaming his hard drive, but let alone pasting a custom icon.

01:43:15   On classic Mac OS, every single one of my top level folders had a custom icon that did not look like a folder.

01:43:22   My favorite characters from Star Wars or anime or whatever. Everything had a custom icon.

01:43:29   My folders had custom icons, my apps had custom icons. I didn't give most files custom icons, but I had files with custom icons.

01:43:36   It was a very special notes document that I used all the time or something. It's not like Apple decided to do that on the Mac.

01:43:46   They just said, "Oh, well, it's a feature that we're going to bring over. Because we're going to bring the finder over and make it a carbon app and this is just the thing that's going to support.

01:43:54   And it supports resource forks or whatever." And to Apple's credit, they didn't expunge all of that as time marched on.

01:44:00   So you can still do some things like that, but they haven't been adding features like that.

01:44:03   The app Candy Bar, which used to be developed by Icon Factory and/or Panic, I forget who made it first and who adopted it.

01:44:11   One of the things that it could do was it would let you theme with icons.

01:44:15   So you can copy and paste custom icons onto most things on the Mac, although they're making it more and more difficult with weird permissions and stuff these days to customize the applications folder or certain volumes.

01:44:25   But anyway, you can do that. But what if you want to change the default folder icon? What if you want to change the folder icons for documents, movies, pictures?

01:44:34   You know, they all have those little embossed ones. What if you want to change all those icons?

01:44:38   What if you want to change the icon that appears in alerts for like, you know, a warning alert or an error alert, like the little face with the red badge or whatever?

01:44:46   All those are resources that exist in the OS, and back in the day, even on a Mac OS X, Candy Bar would let you change that stuff, change what the trash icon looks like in your dock.

01:44:57   Or put the dock on your desktop like DragThing used to do.

01:45:00   Lots of those features used to be possible through somewhat sneaky code injection type things, but in the modern era they were sort of non-destructive where it would just do it in memory,

01:45:11   but really if you just rebooted in safe mode or into a different account, it didn't actually alter your icons.

01:45:17   But slowly but surely, locking down the Mac has made those hacks less and less viable.

01:45:22   Apple didn't care if they broke them from OS to OS, and Apple didn't care if they stopped working entirely.

01:45:27   And it became eventually too annoying to do. Like, there's a threshold.

01:45:32   Like, you could always, not always, but for a long time you could make custom icons that would launch apps on your phone.

01:45:38   There's various ways to do that, but all of them are way too hard and annoying for people to get over that hump.

01:45:44   Same thing with jailbreaking. You can do lots of customization with jailbreaking, but jailbreaking is quite a hump for people to get over.

01:45:49   It's weird and complicated and scary, and not a lot of people are doing it.

01:45:52   As soon as the barrier was low enough for the masses to clear it, even if it was still a terrible barrier like going through shortcuts,

01:46:00   if you can do it just by tapping your finger, people were on board and they started doing it, right?

01:46:04   So I really hope, I'm thinking again about the Mac specifically, but I really hope the things that are left over from classic Mac OS,

01:46:11   that give us a little bit of customization functionality, stay in Mac OS.

01:46:16   Like, I think it's a terrible regression, like when I can't paste a new icon onto one of my mounted volumes because of weird permission errors or some APFS volume merging type thing, right?

01:46:26   Like, that shouldn't happen. And I wish apps like Candy Bar had clean hooks.

01:46:33   If people want to customize every icon on their system, and Icon Factory wants to make an icon for every kind of custom folder and every little icon and every system preference icon and every icon in the menu bar,

01:46:44   like all those icons, if someone wants to make all of those, which people did, they made complete icon sets for a complete transformation of your entire thing, provide an API for that.

01:46:53   Provide Modern Appearance Manager, provide hooks for, you know, the sound effects when you turn on like interface sounds of like the crumple sound with the trash and everything,

01:47:00   and Apple made a new set of sounds and we were all excited about that, remember that?

01:47:04   What if third parties could plug in any sounds for any event? And you have the kaboom, you know, control panel all over again.

01:47:11   This is not super high technology. Making a clean API for providing custom sounds for events, it's not that complicated, and it's the thing that people would like.

01:47:19   And people would make it so their computer farts when they empty the trash and they would make some kid laugh, and is that so bad really?

01:47:25   You know, listening to you guys talk about this, it reminds me that for pretty much every stage of my computing life,

01:47:34   I have had at least a brief window of time when I've wanted to customize stuff.

01:47:39   And I've told this story before, but when I was, I don't know, not too much older than Declan,

01:47:46   and when modern computers were like, I think 386s or 486s, modern PCs were 386s or 486s at the time,

01:47:53   my dad had found an old, I don't remember the model, but like the original era IBM PC.

01:48:00   And I think he had retrofitted such that it had a 10 megabyte hard drive, which was just so voluminous,

01:48:08   I cannot even begin to describe to you how much space that thing had. It was like it was infinite.

01:48:12   But he had put this in my room, and it wasn't connected to the internet, because there was no internet, it wasn't connected to anything.

01:48:18   But, you know, I had a stack of floppies, and I could play games and do stuff on it.

01:48:23   And I remember spending oodles of time, and I think I've spoken about this before,

01:48:28   making like a menuing system that was either one huge section of like autoexec.bat or a series of batch files

01:48:37   that was kicked off with autoexec.bat.

01:48:40   And I very strongly remember at least one version of this menuing system had a red background with yellow text,

01:48:47   because at like eight years old or whatever it was, I thought that looked frickin' cool.

01:48:51   And I spent hours doing this, absolute hours doing this.

01:48:55   And one could argue it was not useful, but when I'm screwing around writing a bash script,

01:49:02   like it's really spiritually not that different.

01:49:06   And then as time went on, you know, I eventually got to, I don't know, like 10, 15 years old, something like that,

01:49:13   and Windows 95 came out, and oh man was I excited when a friend of mine came upon, probably a copy,

01:49:22   of a Microsoft Plus exclamation point disk. Marco, do you remember this?

01:49:28   That's the one that came with the Buddy Holly video, right?

01:49:30   I think that's right, yeah. I thought it was part of Windows 95 until you said that, but yeah, no, I think you're right.

01:49:35   And it had like a pinball game on it, but among other things, it also had a theme system sort of thing,

01:49:40   where you could theme Windows 95. And I spent so much time messing about with this.

01:49:48   It was so much fun, and it was making my computer mine.

01:49:51   I think at some point or another, I don't remember when this was, but it might have been during the Windows 95 era,

01:49:56   I skinned it such that, or I found a skin, I should say, that made it look like a Mac, because it looked cool,

01:50:01   and I kind of wanted to see what it was like to be like it, to have a Mac.

01:50:04   Sort of like a Mac, maybe.

01:50:05   Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But that's not the point.

01:50:08   And then, after my Windows days, before I got a Mac, this was the early to mid-aughts,

01:50:13   I had a brief window of time when I was running Ubuntu full-time.

01:50:17   And that had a million and seven problems, but one of the cool things about it was you could tweak all sorts of stuff.

01:50:24   And I remember, I think it was like a virtual desktop switcher that was like a cube spinning, you know?

01:50:31   So instead of just sliding a virtual screen in like it works in Mac OS today,

01:50:37   it was an entire cube spinning around, and I forget there were other like really fancy 3D effects,

01:50:42   I can't remember for the life of me what they were, but I remember spending hours on that.

01:50:46   Partially because it was all in buried config files, and it was always breaking because I looked at it crossways,

01:50:52   but you know, that's the Unix way, or the Linux way, anyway.

01:50:55   But I spent a lot of time doing that.

01:50:57   And then, early-ish in my iPhone career, so to speak, I was jailbreaking from time to time,

01:51:05   because I wanted to get the, I don't remember, was it SB settings?

01:51:09   The thing where you swipe down from the top and you would get like a series of widgets or whatever,

01:51:13   in order to like turn off Wi-Fi and change the brightness, the volume, and stuff like that.

01:51:18   This is basically Control Center before there was Control Center.

01:51:21   And just a week or two back, because I found it in the show notes,

01:51:25   and because I think it was Jason Snell keeps talking about it, I started playing with BitBar,

01:51:29   which is a really neat thing that we'll talk about another time that lets you basically run a little shell script

01:51:34   and stick the output into your menu bar.

01:51:38   So, amongst other things, that means I have in my menu bar either a lock emoji or a blue car emoji

01:51:45   to tell me whether or not my garage door is open. Do I need that? Absolutely not.

01:51:48   I don't need it at all. But it's cool. I like it. Like, why not? It's neat to see.

01:51:53   How many things in your life tell you whether your garage door is open?

01:51:56   It is an Apple Watch widget, and this is what the widget would do.

01:51:59   It would constantly vibrate, but if it ever stops vibrating, the garage door is open.

01:52:03   It's perfect. It's flawless.

01:52:06   And I don't know. I have a zillion things notifying me, and I don't need them.

01:52:10   But I just like that there's this bridge between the physical world and my computing world.

01:52:15   And so there's all these different ways I've customized my computers,

01:52:20   and I would argue that some of them, especially early on,

01:52:24   are some of the reasons that I got comfortable with a computer in the first place.

01:52:28   That's what made me interested in doing this sort of thing.

01:52:33   And you could argue that the very first programming I ever did was that menuing system in DOS.

01:52:38   And so in so many ways, I cannot agree with you guys more that, you know,

01:52:44   you can look at some of these iPhones that some people have shared screenshots of their home screens,

01:52:50   and in my personal opinion, from any objective measure, they're hideous.

01:52:56   Not all of them, but some of them.

01:52:58   But objectively, you look at this and you're like, "Oh, God, those fonts are terrible.

01:53:01   The colors are wrong." It all clashes with each other.

01:53:05   It's like looking at the back of a device that Mike Hurley owns,

01:53:08   where there's nothing but sticker vomit everywhere.

01:53:11   But you know what? Mike likes that.

01:53:13   And I've done that from time to time on my devices. I liked it.

01:53:16   And if you want your home screen to look like, what was it, John, hot dog, or whatever the theme was?

01:53:20   Hot dog stand from Windows 3.1?

01:53:22   Hot dog stand.

01:53:24   Whatever. Fine. It's your phone.

01:53:26   And something that worries me deeply about, you know, what is going on in Cupertino

01:53:32   and how do people feel about this.

01:53:34   Obviously, they're willing enough to let this out into the world and see what happens.

01:53:38   But I'm deeply worried that maybe there's two different camps in Cupertino,

01:53:44   one of which is looking at all of this widget action and saying, "Oh, my God, you've ruined our phone."

01:53:51   And the other of which, which I like to think I agree with, is, "Well, it isn't our phone anymore, is it?

01:53:58   It's their phone now."

01:54:00   And I really hope that that's the team, so to speak, that's winning out.

01:54:04   And I don't know.

01:54:06   But, I mean, there are a lot of implications for expanding this access.

01:54:10   And I actually think that there are some security implications to this,

01:54:14   because I would assume, and I believe that a lot of the widget stuff specifically is done within Springboard,

01:54:19   and I don't really know that much about how iOS is architected,

01:54:22   but my limited understanding is that Springboard and Backboard basically run the show.

01:54:27   Like, that is almost everything.

01:54:29   And so exposing Springboard to arbitrary third-party code is potentially hazardous.

01:54:35   It's not code, it's data.

01:54:36   That's the magic of the Swift UI system they're using for the widgets.

01:54:39   It's not executable code, which is why they have limited functionality.

01:54:41   But anyway, these are technical problems that are solvable.

01:54:43   When you want to provide clean hooks for something, you can do it,

01:54:46   especially for the very limited use cases.

01:54:48   Like, we're not saying we want the world.

01:54:49   We need to be able to code everything.

01:54:51   It's just baby steps.

01:54:52   Like, get there eventually.

01:54:53   Yeah, and you make a good point.

01:54:55   That isn't really code.

01:54:56   That's a very good point.

01:54:57   But, I don't know.

01:54:58   I hope that there's more of this.

01:55:00   And the only thing that I can really think about,

01:55:02   or the only thing that comes to mind that's happened in Mac OS recently that allows this,

01:55:07   is for the longest time, like, Dropbox would use some sort of hack

01:55:10   in order to get, like, the green check mark or the blue, like, you know,

01:55:14   processing icon into Finder to show you whether something was being uploaded or downloaded

01:55:20   or whether it was already synced with Dropbox.

01:55:22   And it seemed to me, or if I recall correctly, there was eventually a proper API,

01:55:31   a clean hook provided for that.

01:55:33   Now, my understanding is that clean hook isn't exactly worked all the time.

01:55:36   But nevertheless, the point is that they tried.

01:55:38   It's supported rather than you injecting code into the Finder,

01:55:41   which becomes increasingly less possible as the OS gets locked down.

01:55:45   And it should be locked down, but that's a perfect example.

01:55:47   I mean, that took a customer in the form of Dropbox that is a little bit bigger than a random user

01:55:55   asking for, "Oh, it would be great if I could badge icons. Yeah, go away."

01:55:58   But if Dropbox wants it and, more importantly, to get into, like, the whole Epic strategy here,

01:56:03   if Dropbox is doing it anyway, and if Apple really, really wants Dropbox to stop injecting code into the Finder,

01:56:10   you could yell at Dropbox for them to stop, and Apple tried that and it didn't work.

01:56:14   Or you could provide a clean hook for providing that functionality,

01:56:17   and it just turns out you're going to need that same functionality for your iCloud stuff anyway.

01:56:21   So provide the API, then consult with Dropbox and say, "If we provided the API, would you use it?"

01:56:26   And Dropbox is like, "Hell yeah, we don't want to inject code anywhere.

01:56:28   As long as you make the API be able to do the things that we can do, we'll use it."

01:56:31   And I'm pretty sure the current Dropbox actually uses that hook to make the little icons next to their files.

01:56:37   So that's the success story that Apple should pursue with all this customization.

01:56:41   It's just that the threshold should be something smaller than a gigantic, important company like Dropbox wants it.

01:56:47   Dropbox was only -- it only came about because they were able to kind of hack things on the system in a certain way

01:56:56   and do something that Apple didn't anticipate them doing.

01:56:59   And it took off because it turned out it was really great,

01:57:02   and it didn't fit into any preconceived categories of things that could run.

01:57:10   It didn't fit any of the pre-written APIs Apple had blessed us with.

01:57:14   Dropbox had to do some hacks to get it to work in the seamless way that it did.

01:57:18   Back before, it was a steaming pile of garbage like it is right now, but back then it was better.

01:57:23   And Apple couldn't foresee that.

01:57:26   But because the platform was a little bit flexible, this thing was able to exist

01:57:31   and take off.

01:57:33   And there was a great tweet -- I think we mentioned it a few weeks ago -- that somebody said,

01:57:38   "If the web browser was written today, Apple would reject it, and it wouldn't be possible to release it on iOS."

01:57:45   And I often think when you have things so locked down as they are on iOS especially,

01:57:50   and even the way things are heading on the Mac, but especially on iOS,

01:57:54   when you have things this locked down, you run the risk of the next big potential thing

01:58:00   just not happening, either not being possible at all, or not happening on your platform.

01:58:05   Because it can't.

01:58:08   Because it does something that Big Brother Apple either doesn't permit,

01:58:13   or has made impossible in some way.

01:58:17   And that's a shame for everyone involved.

01:58:20   If major technological advancements or major potentially great applications

01:58:25   or very useful applications can't exist on your platform, that's not great for your platform,

01:58:31   or the industry, or society that could benefit from these applications.

01:58:35   So ideally, you want things to be possible.

01:58:39   You want to have a loose enough grip that greatness can happen on your platform, whatever it is.

01:58:46   And I don't care how smart Apple is.

01:58:49   They're never going to be able to predict every possible thing that they should enable,

01:58:56   or they should permit on their platforms.

01:58:58   They're never going to know what the next big thing is going to need, or what it's going to be.

01:59:03   And so the more they can loosen their grip, the better.

01:59:07   And Casey, what you said a minute ago, it really hit me.

01:59:11   I think it is a very prevalent attitude at Apple and many tech companies that the things they put out there,

01:59:17   whether it's hardware, software, or services, are theirs, not their customers.

01:59:23   And I think Apple probably very much, I bet many people in Apple,

01:59:26   look at the design of the OS or the widgets or the apps or whatever,

01:59:32   or the technical limitations that they impose,

01:59:35   or the policy limitations that the App Store rules impose,

01:59:39   and think, "Well, this is our platform. We can do whatever we want.

01:59:43   You bought a window into our platform."

01:59:47   Many of the ways the platform itself treats the users make it seem like they view it that way, too.

01:59:54   Like many of the upsell opportunities, many of the notifications for marketing purposes that Apple uses themselves.

02:00:02   Things like this, it kind of seems like Apple sees this as their platform and we're along for the ride.

02:00:07   That feeling is why I left Windows forever ago and came to Apple,

02:00:10   because Windows was starting to feel like that and I was tired of being taken for a ride.

02:00:14   I wanted a platform that felt like it was mine, because I was buying these things. Damn it, they're my computers.

02:00:19   And Apple felt more like that for a while. They're decreasingly feeling like that over time.

02:00:25   But I think we need to really push for a return back to that time where our computers were our computers.

02:00:35   And they would let us use them how we want.

02:00:40   And again, that goes from everything from customization to what software is allowed to run on them.

02:00:47   Apple is never going to have the best creativity in the world for everybody.

02:00:53   Apple is never going to enable everything everyone needs from their computers.

02:00:59   People want to customize their stuff. People want to run their own software.

02:01:02   People want to do their own stuff on their devices that they buy.

02:01:05   Apple should be very thankful to be the vendor of such devices that people pay premium prices for.

02:01:10   And that should be enough for them.

02:01:12   If I buy a Mac from Apple that is increasingly expensive to get good ones,

02:01:17   my obligation to Apple ends at that purchase. That's it.

02:01:22   I owe them nothing after that. I can do whatever I want with this thing from that point forward, as far as I'm concerned.

02:01:28   For some reason we don't think of phones and tablets and watches working that way, but they should too for all the same reasons.

02:01:35   And for Apple to keep things as locked down as they have been really restricts creativity and potentially great new applications

02:01:44   and potentially great new uses and great talent out there and enthusiasm that we could be having for these devices that we can't have because they're too locked down.

02:01:54   Or because Apple didn't think that something should be designed the way each of us thinks.

02:01:59   You know, that I can't use the Apple Watch in analog mode because I hate all the analog faces.

02:02:04   I would make small tweaks to literally all of them if it were up to me.

02:02:09   Apple shouldn't need to care about that. They should, like this kind of thing should be possible.

02:02:13   Either I should be able to tweak the ones that are there or I should be able to make my own.

02:02:15   Because it's a computer and it can do that. A computer can do amazing things.

02:02:20   I hope we can leave the era of the overbearing platform owner dictating what we can and can't do to the degree they do today.

02:02:31   Because it's a very high degree and it should be less.

02:02:34   Because these things are capable of so much more than what Apple will ever come up with on their own.

02:02:39   And I'm tired of the attitude of "we know better than you."

02:02:43   Because that is provably wrong for people on the whole.

02:02:48   There's been this attitude, you mentioned it earlier, there's been this attitude of having to keep things a certain way for safety or security.

02:02:57   Technical security is one thing. We have much more advanced APIs these days, much more advanced separation, amazing hardware features to prevent a lot of outright hacking and problematic security problems with customization.

02:03:12   So we don't actually need a lot of these restrictions for security reasons anymore.

02:03:17   Some of them we might need for battery life reasons, but not most of them.

02:03:21   And so we now have the technical platform sophistication to offer lots of customization, to offer arbitrary software to run, stuff like that, and to do that in a safe way.

02:03:34   I think a lot of the reason why we don't have that is a prevailing attitude of "we know better than our users" or "our users shouldn't be allowed to make bad choices."

02:03:50   And I just think we're past that. I think those are condescending, kind of like mansplainy, overbearing IT manager kind of arguments.

02:04:00   And I think we're past that. I think when we went through the era of overbearing control, I'd like to see that era end.

02:04:09   I said it before, the Apple's old line, "We can't wait to see what you do with it."

02:04:13   They need to look at that saying from more angles than they have, both in terms of "we'll be able to do much more with it if you let us."

02:04:23   That's one angle. And the other angle, which is the angle that I think the big blind spot is, is "we can't wait to see what you do to it."

02:04:31   Apple never says that. Here's the new iPhone, "we can't wait to see what you do to it."

02:04:35   Because they see it, and this is definitely a valid view, and the predominant view is like, "Look, we're giving you tools to express your creativity."

02:04:43   Even though we all love hacking on computers for computer's sake, in the end, you're trying to make a short film with a movie, or write a novel, or whatever. It is a tool to your creative end.

02:04:54   And that's an important aspect, and I think Apple has concentrated so heavily on that, making sure all the things they give you let you do things with them.

02:05:03   They are their products to pursue an end. But there is an important aspect.

02:05:09   Everybody does this, whether it's making a custom place to hang all your woodworking tools, or just having a cool-looking handle on your favorite set of golf clubs, or your lucky putter.

02:05:22   People do like to do things to their tools. And computers are so much more than just tools, they're practically a place that we live, and of course everyone knows they want to customize the place where they live.

02:05:33   Apple is not a monolith. I'm sure there are large factions inside Apple that are on the same page with all of this, but for the past decade or two, it's been swinging hard in the other direction.

02:05:48   Part of it is due to security, but part of it is just the way the culture is going.

02:05:53   I've heard this argument about the Mac, like, "Well, all this customization about the Mac, that was fine when the Mac was young, but it is a mature, stable platform now, and we can't have you running these hacks, and it's not important enough to add clean hooks for all this stuff."

02:06:08   The basics are already there, you can put icons in the menu bar, you can customize your icons if you really want to, but that's all you need, it's fine.

02:06:15   And we added dark mode, isn't that fun? And accent colors, all that's great, so everything's fine. It's a mature platform, right?

02:06:20   I see it the other way. I see that what iOS and iPadOS have reached now is true maturity, because now we're not just so overjoyed to have the ability to have a smartphone.

02:06:35   Now we're saying, "This is a platform reaching maturity, why shouldn't I be able to customize the way it looks? Why shouldn't I be able to do things to my phone?"

02:06:44   Because we've done the basics on the iPhone, and once you've done the basics, the next step is to say, "Let's let people have fun."

02:06:51   On day one, you can't expect, "Here's the iPhone, and you can customize everything, and it has all the features." It didn't even have copy and paste.

02:06:56   We understand, but I feel like it is an important stage in the maturing of a platform for you to be able to customize it in more ways, including "frivolous ways" like appearance.

02:07:08   The arc of the Mac is we went through that, it matured, you could customize it a lot, and then it kind of degraded. I don't know if it was going into old age or whatever.

02:07:16   I feel like, to be fair, dark mode, accent colors, is a swing in the other direction. As with most things in the Mac, if I have complaints about them, it's mostly about current position and not direction,

02:07:29   because for the most part, the direction is turning ever so slowly in almost all aspects in the direction that I like, so I'm positive on that.

02:07:37   But on the iPhone and iPad and all these changes, I feel like this is a sign of a maturing platform. This explosion of creativity is reaching a new stage, maybe the teenage stage of iOS in terms of a platform that allows people not just to use them as tools, but also to express themselves through how they manage and what they do to their tools.

02:07:58   I think it's important also to point out that most of this creativity is coming from young people. Just because we are old and boring, and we are fine not customizing our Mac icons and toolbars and everything...

02:08:13   Speak for yourself, mine's all customized.

02:08:16   Just because you or we don't want to customize something and are fine just leaving it the way it is, we all just said how much we wanted to customize it when we were younger.

02:08:30   Just because we don't want it doesn't mean no one does. Maybe as the people in charge of Apple got old and boring, maybe they decided it was fine to not have these kind of customizations, but there's always a younger group of people who wants to be really enthusiastic and wants to love their computing devices, and let's let them do it.

02:08:52   As a final note, I am not good at this, but something I'm trying really hard to be better about is to not yuck other people's yum, to not poop all over things that other people like.

02:09:05   I'm really bad at this. You could probably find a million and seven examples of me not doing this, but I'm really trying to get better.

02:09:11   A friend of the show, Steven Hackett, had a really good post on this called "On Widget Shaming" that we'll put a link in the show notes. It's pretty short and it's a pretty nice read where basically if people want to make their stuff look ugly, let them make it look ugly. It may not be ugly to them, turns out.

02:09:27   I think that's a really good post. We're running a little long and if permitted, we might have a long after show, but I'd like to remind you just one literally final time, stjoo.org/ATP.

02:09:42   We are now, as we are recording, $346,965, so close to $347,000. And I would like to add that Declan Starless has apparently donated $400, which is very kind of him, especially since he's sleeping and does not have a credit card, but that was very kind of him.

02:09:58   And then I also wanted to call out BMW Star, white parenthesis, who donated $5.40, which must be a reference to the 540 series BMW. But the comment I really liked, and I'm not saying this sarcastically, the comment was "It's not a lot, but I won't be neutral in the fight against cancer."

02:10:20   So well done. $5.40. And capital N on the neutral, yes. Well done, $5.40 is appreciated. So please, one last time, and you won't have to hear this again until next September, stjoo.org/ATP if you could.

02:10:34   Thanks to our sponsors this week, Linode, Hay.com, and Backblaze. And thank you to our members who support us directly. You can join them at ATP.fm/join. And we will talk to you next week.

02:10:48   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin, 'cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental. John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him, 'cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental.

02:11:11   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm. And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S, so that's Casey List, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M, A-N-T, Marco, R-M-E-N, S-I-R-A-C, U-S-A, Syracuse.

02:11:37   It's accidental, accidental, they didn't mean to, accidental, accidental, tech podcast so long.

02:11:49   I assert that the hot dog stand Windows theme was successful.

02:11:56   What is your metric for success?

02:11:59   Yeah, exactly.

02:12:01   I don't think whoever created that in that fateful day in the early 90s at Microsoft was being serious about it. I think they did it to be funny.

02:12:10   It was one of like 60 preset color themes you could toggle on Windows, and it looked hideous, and they called it hot dog stand.

02:12:18   And I think it was a bit of creative whimsy, they thought it was funny, it was funny, and we're all still, not only did, like, when you were playing with those things like back in the day,

02:12:30   or when you were showing someone else what your computer could do, you would always go to hot dog stand.

02:12:35   I mean, like, look at this, ah, you turn it on for like three seconds, and then you turn it into something else.

02:12:38   It was successful in that it gave people some joy when they were exploring this kind of, you know, frivolous, delightful little customization thing they could do with their computer.

02:12:49   I don't think it was intended to be serious, and it didn't achieve seriousness, it achieved joy, and it was one of many color themes to show off what you could do with custom colors with Windows.

02:12:59   And we are still talking about it like 30 years later, so I think it was successful in what it probably was setting out to do.

02:13:06   to do.

02:13:08   (beep)