339: Ketchup Momentum


00:00:00   But rest assured, Casey, we will get paid back because we will hear from every Hunts fan.

00:00:05   All six of them.

00:00:06   I don't know. I'm now in fear that like, it's another one of those mustard things. We'll see.

00:00:13   I would be stupefied, but you never know.

00:00:16   Even you would be stupefied if other people shared your bad taste.

00:00:19   Yeah, seriously. That's basically what it boils down to at this point.

00:00:22   John, tell me about your cheese grater. I'm hoping that this is your computer that has finally died.

00:00:29   I mean, I mean, I mean that it's still going strong, but I'm assuming this is about your literal cheese grater.

00:00:34   Yeah, it's about one of my literal cheese graters. The one I talked about last week, the electric one.

00:00:40   Good news, bad news. Good news, I know what the problem was. Bad news, the problem was all my fault.

00:00:47   This shows the danger of having the wrong mental model.

00:00:51   I don't know why I had this in my head, but I had this idea in my head that this grater, that you'd get it,

00:00:59   and like, I guess like all the other kitchen appliances that I have that use electricity,

00:01:04   you plug it into the wall with a cord and you use it, right?

00:01:09   That's exactly what I thought.

00:01:10   It's a plug-in appliance, like my blender and like the toaster, the immersion mixer.

00:01:17   Like I have plenty of, like the, just, but anyway, that was the wrong mental model,

00:01:23   and that led me down a terrible path.

00:01:25   So, the, you know, this is a German product, but the manual did have English in it,

00:01:33   because manuals have multiple languages, and I did look at the manual, but like ad banner blindness,

00:01:37   my eyes just slid right over the relevant sections, and I was just looking for what is the voltage,

00:01:43   what is the output of the AC/DC converter, like I just kept reading that and just was ignoring the fact

00:01:49   that this device is supposed to be used handheld, yes, but not plugged in.

00:01:54   It has a rechargeable battery inside it.

00:01:56   Now, I saw the thing about rechargeable batteries in the manual, and I kept dismissing it,

00:02:00   because, well, for really weird reasons.

00:02:03   One, obviously, was the mental model thing, because like, yeah, yeah, I don't care about battery.

00:02:06   I'm not using a battery power, I'm using it plugged in.

00:02:08   I don't need a battery for it, I don't need it to be usable on the go.

00:02:10   I just, you know, plugged in is fine.

00:02:12   And the second thing is the battery was nickel metal hydride, or whatever it is, NIMH, right?

00:02:18   And I associate that chemistry with those little rechargeable, like AA or AAA cells that you can get, right?

00:02:25   Because back when I was, I saw those NiCads before that, which were terrible, NiCads were gross.

00:02:29   Yeah.

00:02:30   And then the nickel, am I getting it right, nickel metal hydride, something?

00:02:35   Yeah, NiCad was the one where, if any of our listeners were children of the 90s,

00:02:39   and you had any kind of remote control vehicle, and it had that big yellow rectangle that was like six AA size cells glued together with like yellow wrap, that's NiCad.

00:02:48   Pretty much everything we had that was rechargeable as children in our age group was probably NiCad.

00:02:53   Yeah.

00:02:54   They had terrible problems. They had like memory effect, they didn't hold that much power, it was, they were a big pain in the butt.

00:02:59   They were very fanky.

00:03:00   And so when I saw all these references in the manual to nickel metal hydride batteries, I'm like, well, maybe there's a place where you can put in a rechargeable battery,

00:03:09   or maybe it's telling you this would be the equivalent, but I don't want to put in a bunch of little, you know, AA looking cells in there.

00:03:14   I'm just going to use it plugged in.

00:03:15   And I was just completely ignoring the fact that it's telling me this is not, it's a rechargeable device.

00:03:22   So the sole purpose of the thing that you plug into it is to charge the battery, which explains all the behavior I was seeing.

00:03:30   I got out of the box and I plugged it in and I tried running it and it just ran for like, you know, just turned a little bit and then died because it was dead, the batteries were dead in the box.

00:03:39   Even though it says, oh, it comes out of the box with a charge after I went back to the manual, but obviously that's not true.

00:03:43   It comes out of the box with no charge.

00:03:45   And then plugging it in, it doesn't immediately charge it and it's not like a pass-through effect where like on a laptop or even if the battery is dead, once you get past a certain point, you can just use it powered.

00:03:55   That's not how this device works at all.

00:03:56   In fact, the manual tells you that you shouldn't use it plugged in, although it's not clear whether they're just telling you that just because it helps them avoid liability to say, look, we told you not to use it plugged in because that's dangerous.

00:04:06   Who knows?

00:04:07   But anyway, they tell you not to use it plugged in and you do have to charge it.

00:04:09   Unfortunately, by the time I had figured this out, I had already gone through the procedure I described last show where I tried different adapters and they didn't do anything and it would only move like a little bit, which in retrospect is like the longer I would pause scratching my head between trying it, the more charge would fill the battery, right?

00:04:25   And then it would move like a little bit more.

00:04:29   But remember, I got the third party adapter and I cranked up the voltage and eventually fried, I'm assuming fried the batteries inside there.

00:04:36   So I did actually charge overnight to see how much charge I can get into the batteries.

00:04:40   And the answer is about 10 to 15 seconds.

00:04:43   So after an entire night charging it, I unplugged it from the charger, picked it up, pulled a little trigger and I went, were, were, were for like 15, 20 seconds and then petered out.

00:04:54   So I killed the batteries.

00:04:55   I is a rechargeable battery device and the batteries are dead because I killed them.

00:05:03   So the other bit of good news, the good news is I figured out what the problem is.

00:05:06   The other bit of good news is that reading more of the reviews of these type of devices, everybody hates them.

00:05:11   It's for the purpose that I wanted.

00:05:14   They're like, this is great if you just want to like grate some cheese onto your dish that you're eating right now.

00:05:18   But if you want to grate a whole bunch of cheese, which is exactly what I want to do, I want to like do it batch mode, right?

00:05:24   Just let me do a whole bunch up front.

00:05:25   It's terrible for that because you have to, you know, it's the mechanical disadvantage design where the lever is working against you and you have to sort of hold pressure on this thing for a really long time as that thing slowly wears and your hand gets tired from pressing because it's, you know, it's not an efficient.

00:05:39   So anyway, I've kind of given up on all these electric models now that I've learned my lesson for frying this one and learned that in general people don't like these for the purpose that I want them.

00:05:50   And so I started looking at like, looking again at the industrial ones.

00:05:54   I found an industrial one for the low, low price of $300 and I started thinking about it.

00:05:58   Oh my God.

00:05:59   But it makes the like, it looks really cool, but it's the Whole Foods problem.

00:06:03   It grates the stuff to look exactly like it comes from Whole Foods and I don't want it grated the way it comes from Whole Foods.

00:06:08   That's too fine for me.

00:06:09   So I'm just back to my mechanical ones and I'm back to babying them.

00:06:12   And when all my mechanical ones die, I suppose I'll try to build some kind of Frankenstein monster out of the parts of them.

00:06:22   You know.

00:06:23   That's amazing.

00:06:23   On the one side, and I feel like I've made this speech a hundred times, but I do understand and admire how particular you are about the things and the tools in which you use.

00:06:35   But most of me is so thankful that I just don't care that much.

00:06:39   And I'm so glad that I don't have to stress about these sorts of things.

00:06:42   But you do.

00:06:43   It's just that the things that you have things that you're used to in your life, whatever they may be, a brand of ketchup.

00:06:47   Say someone replaced your ketchup.

00:06:48   I'm assuming it's Heinz because there's always Heinz in this country.

00:06:50   But say someone said, "No, you're not going to have Heinz anymore. You're going to have a different kind of ketchup."

00:06:54   And you'd be like, "But I like Heinz."

00:06:56   It's like, "Well, this is ketchup. It's the same thing."

00:06:58   And you'd be like, "What if Heinz went out of business and all you could get was Heinz?"

00:07:02   And it's close, but you'd be like, "But I just want Heinz."

00:07:06   And you'd be like, "Oh, Casey, you're so particular about your ketchup."

00:07:08   It's not.

00:07:09   It's just you just want it the way you want it.

00:07:10   And just because you can get it easily and it is always available doesn't mean you have any less of a preference for it.

00:07:15   You don't notice until if we told you, you could never have Heinz ketchup again.

00:07:19   It's just Heinz forever.

00:07:20   You'd be like, "Oh, I suppose I could get used to it, but boy, it'd be great to have some Heinz."

00:07:23   And some Heinz would be available at an Etsy store for $75.

00:07:27   You'd be like, "Wow, Heinz ketchup. I'm going to get that."

00:07:28   And then we'd be having the same discussion about you.

00:07:30   For the record, I prefer Heinz 100% natural ketchup. Thank you very much.

00:07:34   What? What? You're a monster.

00:07:36   Oh my God, how?

00:07:37   It's the natural stuff.

00:07:38   This is the most startling revelation this show has ever revealed.

00:07:42   Oh my God, no.

00:07:43   What is wrong with you?

00:07:44   Oh my God.

00:07:45   I thought we'd found the bottom of your bad taste.

00:07:49   Every few weeks, we discover some new way in which Jon is incredibly particular and picky.

00:07:57   That's my whole point of this thing is I'm not incredibly particular.

00:08:00   It's just that I've been using this one type of way to grate cheese for a long time and it's the way I like it.

00:08:05   And if you told me I can't ever grate it like that again, I'd get sad.

00:08:09   And so I'm looking for alternatives.

00:08:10   That's it.

00:08:11   But then every few weeks, we also learn about some new way in which Casey has just terrible taste.

00:08:16   His favorite soda, RC Cola.

00:08:18   I honestly don't understand why this is so terrible.

00:08:20   Why is this so terrible?

00:08:21   Just because it doesn't say Heinz on it?

00:08:23   It's the natural ketchup, man. It's better for me, isn't it? No preservatives.

00:08:27   What's natural about it exactly?

00:08:29   I don't know.

00:08:30   The natural ketchup is tomato paste.

00:08:32   Well, fair.

00:08:33   Which, by the way, honestly, I've got to say, as I've been cutting out a lot of sugar for my life,

00:08:37   tomato paste just by itself, which if you can find one without a lot of sugar in it, which is very difficult.

00:08:42   Although, and I have found, the kind that comes in toothpaste tubes, that's like the super concentrated kind,

00:08:48   that seems to be the only kind you can buy that doesn't seem to have added sugar.

00:08:51   It's not any more concentrated than the stuff in the can, but yeah, the tube is more convenient

00:08:54   because you can reseal it because you never use it all.

00:08:57   Right, but anywhere that you would use ketchup, listeners out there, try just using that toothpaste tube tomato paste.

00:09:04   It's way less sugar, it tastes better to me because there's more of the savory tomato flavor.

00:09:10   Tomato paste by itself is delicious, and that's most of what--

00:09:12   Ketchup is basically just that plus sugar.

00:09:14   It's a lot of sugar, though, and vinegar.

00:09:17   There's two big things you're missing from tomato paste that make ketchup different.

00:09:21   Tomato paste is a delicious condiment, and I suggest you try it.

00:09:24   Yes, it is, but it's not a substitute for ketchup because the main flavors in ketchup are vinegar and sugar,

00:09:29   and neither of which is present in tomato paste.

00:09:31   Ketchup or not.

00:09:33   K.C. loves RC--you've got to think of all the things he loves. RC Cola.

00:09:37   No, no, don't you--actually, that is the way you got me.

00:09:41   I was going to make a Velveeta joke here in a minute,

00:09:43   but the real way you'll get a burr up my hindquarters is by taking away my Diet Coke.

00:09:48   What's the generic version of Velveeta? Is there a generic cheese food version of Velveeta?

00:09:53   I think Velveeta is the cheap cheese.

00:09:58   Anyway, if you're interested in "less artificial," a Heinz does make--that's what we get.

00:10:03   We get Heinz without corn syrup.

00:10:05   It's plain old sugar instead of corn syrup, so not much better,

00:10:09   but if you're worried about corn syrup, you can get Heinz without it.

00:10:12   I've tried a lot of fancy ketchups.

00:10:14   I've tried the various organic ones you get at Whole Foods.

00:10:17   I've tried the Sorkenzington ones.

00:10:20   Sorkenzington makes really good mayonnaise and mayonnaise-based products,

00:10:23   but all the other ketchups I've tried, none of them have been as good as Heinz

00:10:27   at just beating ketchup.

00:10:28   If you're going to have ketchup, have ketchup.

00:10:30   Have the right ketchup, and that's Heinz. Simple as that.

00:10:34   The thing with Heinz, and it's probably also true of Coke and Pepsi and RC or whatever,

00:10:37   is it's not that there's a quality difference, really.

00:10:40   It's just that there is a default that everyone gets used to,

00:10:42   and when they think of ketchup, they think of Heinz.

00:10:44   Anything that doesn't taste like Heinz is non-default,

00:10:48   and it's therefore wrong in some way.

00:10:50   It's just what you get used to.

00:10:52   I feel like ketchups are probably more or less all the same,

00:10:54   but because their formulation differs in any discernible way,

00:10:57   and Heinz is the default, Heinz is the massive default,

00:11:00   it's like, "Oh, well, Heinz is bad because it doesn't taste like ketchup,

00:11:03   because ketchup is Heinz and Heinz is ketchup."

00:11:05   But maybe there's some sort of Heinz line,

00:11:07   like the Mason-Dixon line somewhere where we switch over.

00:11:10   I don't, you know, where you switch to Velveeta and Heinz.

00:11:14   I don't even want to think about where that line is.

00:11:17   Apparently it's encircling my house is where it is.

00:11:20   Yes, nowhere else has this preference.

00:11:22   Well, now you're raising your children to be "Hunt's children,"

00:11:25   because they're going to be like, "Ketchup equals 'Hunt's.'"

00:11:27   What did-- no--

00:11:29   Well, but if you ever eat fast food anywhere, that's all Heinz.

00:11:31   Yeah, that's fine as well.

00:11:33   It's just when we're in the house, we want something that is marginally more natural and marginally--

00:11:38   But what's more natural about it? I don't understand the more natural part.

00:11:41   Here's the ingredients to 100% natural tomato ketchup.

00:11:44   Tomato concentrate, less than 2% of onion powder, garlic powder, and natural flavors.

00:11:49   Tomato concentrate made from vine-ripened tomato, sugar, distilled vinegar, salt,

00:11:52   less than 2% of onion powder, garlic powder, and natural flavors.

00:11:55   That's it. That's all you need.

00:11:57   But what is it that's in Heinz that's--

00:12:00   High-fructose corn syrup, my friend.

00:12:02   Yeah, but you can get simply Heinz. It's just the sugar stuff.

00:12:05   And you know what? I bet if you put both of them in front of me, I wouldn't know the difference.

00:12:08   I'm sure I would like that just as much.

00:12:10   My favorite thing is if you look up Heinz ingredients,

00:12:13   you get to this page on the Heinz website that has sections of all the different types of ketchup,

00:12:18   and you can jump to--the top section is classic.

00:12:21   The middle section is labeled "Health and Wellness."

00:12:24   And there are 11 varieties of Heinz ketchup under "Health and Wellness,"

00:12:28   including no salt added, no sugar added.

00:12:31   How do they do that? They put some crazy crap like sucralose in there.

00:12:34   Oh, God, it's sucralose! Oh, no!

00:12:37   Oh, my God, they have sucralose ketchup! Oh, why?

00:12:42   So the Heinz I get is tomato concentrate, vinegar, sugar, salt, onion powder, spice, natural flavoring.

00:12:48   It's the same ingredient list.

00:12:50   Yeah, it is. I'm not saying I have a specific allegiance to Heinz.

00:12:53   It's just that that's what I know that we have gotten and have felt was fine.

00:12:57   So we just get it again out of momentum more than anything else.

00:13:00   I'm not saying it's better than Heinz. I'm not saying it's--

00:13:02   You have ketchup momentum?

00:13:04   Yes. It's so hard to buy Heinz.

00:13:07   Speaking of top four, that's a great band name.

00:13:09   Yeah.

00:13:13   Oh, God.

00:13:14   Can we please get off of the subject before I get--

00:13:16   I just can't believe--

00:13:17   I'm already dreading the feedback.

00:13:19   I didn't think anybody bought Heinz or any--

00:13:22   No, Casey's the one.

00:13:26   There are dozens of us, Jon. Dozens.

00:13:29   I am just not going to look at Twitter for like a month after this because I just--

00:13:33   Maybe there's--

00:13:34   I don't care.

00:13:35   For all I know, it's like mustard on fast food burgers.

00:13:38   For all I know, it's like the whole rest of the country does it and just where I grew up doesn't and I'm the weird one.

00:13:43   No, I don't think that's true. I think I'm probably the weird one.

00:13:46   But I think we're--myself included--

00:13:48   I think we're all overblowing my loyalty to Heinz--

00:13:51   or excuse me, to Heinz over anything else.

00:13:54   It's just the thing that we got the most recently that we knew the entire family liked

00:14:00   and was marginally more healthy than the other alternatives.

00:14:03   I'm confident that if I tried the Heinz whatever simply whatever it is you called out a minute ago,

00:14:08   I bet you, like I said, I would not be able to tell the difference or perhaps would even prefer it.

00:14:12   So again, I think we are overblowing my enthusiasm for Heinz.

00:14:16   It's just--it just happened to me.

00:14:18   Well, now that we thoroughly buried my point which was pushing back Casey's idea that I'm super duper particular about everything.

00:14:23   Everybody has the stuff that they're used to and everyone doesn't think about it as long as it continues to exist.

00:14:28   And I mentioned name brands because that's a thing we just assume, well, Coca-Cola will always continue to exist.

00:14:34   People who don't remember New Coke. Anyway, there are some exceptions.

00:14:37   But even then, there's some sort of continuity where you get used to stuff.

00:14:42   And if suddenly that continuity after decades, someone says, "That thing that you're used to in your life,

00:14:48   you're not going to be able to have that anymore."

00:14:50   You would seek alternatives, not because you're super picky about it, but just because it seems like,

00:14:54   "Well, I've found a thing that I like and there is not a real--I'm not choosing to get rid of it for like health reasons or some other reason.

00:15:02   It's being taken from me."

00:15:04   Yeah, but that's not your problem though.

00:15:06   It is. The way my cheese is grated is being taken from me.

00:15:10   It's like, "Well, how about we grate it slightly differently?"

00:15:12   It's like, "Well, that way has always been available to me.

00:15:14   Example, I could buy it from Whole Foods.

00:15:16   And I don't like that way as much as my way, which is why I continue to do it my way.

00:15:19   See, but that's the thing is, for me, let's take the ketchup example.

00:15:25   If you subbed another approximately equivalent ketchup to this one, I wouldn't care or notice.

00:15:30   Well, then pick Velveeta. We sub another fake cheese that doesn't taste quite like Velveeta.

00:15:34   You'd be like, "But I want the real thing. I want the Velveeta."

00:15:37   But I wouldn't go out of my way, bending over backwards, going to a German Amazon in order to--

00:15:45   You would totally buy German Velveeta.

00:15:47   No, I would not.

00:15:48   And it keeps really well, so no problem.

00:15:50   That is true. There is the advantage there.

00:15:52   But no, I think the thing that's-- the delineation for me is that you are so hyper-particular about the kind of cheese that is emitted from this device

00:16:04   and the mechanism by which the device emits the cheese that it's not just being able to switch from one to the other.

00:16:10   Like, a normal amount of fussiness is, "Oh, I would like to grate my own cheese."

00:16:15   But the eventual end product, eh, doesn't really matter. I just want it to be grated right then and there.

00:16:20   That, to me, is like an acceptable level of fussiness.

00:16:23   But I don't even have that pickiness. If you notice, a lot of people will say that.

00:16:26   You know, you don't want to pre-grate it because then it loses something.

00:16:28   I pre-grate it. So I don't have that pickiness at all. I pre-grate.

00:16:32   Can you just take the spirit of my point, please, for the love of God, is that you are so fussy about the exact specific size and spiral--

00:16:42   I know it's not spiral, but spiral pattern and everything else, it has to be exactly 4.6 millimeters wide and exactly 7.9 millimeters tall.

00:16:50   And if it's anything else, it's bull.

00:16:52   I only care about the finished product. If something could get close, that would be fine.

00:16:55   The problem is the finished products that I've been able to get from any other mechanisms aren't even close.

00:16:59   So that's the problem. If I could find my hunts to my hinds, I would probably just accept it.

00:17:04   But I can't get anything even close.

00:17:05   [Laughter]

00:17:07   My hunts to my hinds. It's very good.

00:17:10   We are sponsored this week by Mack Weldon.

00:17:12   Now, allow me to get a little bit personal.

00:17:14   It is summertime in New York right now.

00:17:17   It was 78 degrees today with 90% humidity all day.

00:17:20   I've walked over five miles today at a good pace.

00:17:23   I ran a bunch of errands on foot earlier.

00:17:25   And I did certainly a good degree of sweating during the day, for sure.

00:17:28   Given these conditions now, like at 8 or 9 p.m., it would be totally reasonable if I smelled a bit bad.

00:17:35   Now, to exacerbate these things, the air conditioning has been off all day.

00:17:39   I've used no fans.

00:17:41   And I haven't been in the water.

00:17:42   In fact, I haven't even showered yet today.

00:17:45   So this should be pretty bad.

00:17:47   To top it off, I'm wearing only a light application of unscented natural deodorant from 14 hours ago.

00:17:54   So, by all accounts, I should stink right now.

00:17:57   But I don't stink at all.

00:17:59   In fact, there, I just checked.

00:18:01   Still, no, I just smell like nothing.

00:18:03   Because I am wearing a naturally antimicrobial t-shirt made with real silver fibers by Mack Weldon.

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00:19:21   Thank you very much to Mack Weldon for sponsoring our show.

00:19:29   We had asked last episode about Apple Card, and somebody had pointed out,

00:19:33   I forget who it was, that you should opt out of arbitration and...

00:19:36   It was me!

00:19:37   No, I thought that you were parroting somebody else that told you,

00:19:40   but it doesn't matter.

00:19:41   Anyway, the point is, John had recommended that you opt out of arbitration,

00:19:44   which was very smart, and John had looked through the terms and conditions and whatnot,

00:19:49   and it was not entirely clear the mechanism by which you do that.

00:19:52   And as it turns out, we got several people who wrote us that said,

00:19:56   and I have not done this, so I don't know exactly how it works,

00:19:58   but basically within the Wallet app, you can go slightly deep into the bowels of the Wallet app,

00:20:04   and then there's a mechanism by which you can use business chat,

00:20:07   not with Evernote, but with Apple.

00:20:09   And you can, I guess, very, very quickly and very easily chat in an iMessage-style way

00:20:15   and just say, "Hey, I would like to opt out, please."

00:20:17   And I guess they're basically like, "Okay, cool."

00:20:19   Yeah, that was the question from the contract wording last time,

00:20:23   was like, if you contact us via messages, email, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,

00:20:26   and the question was messages, where do you message to?

00:20:28   Well, that's what the button in the thing solves.

00:20:31   I don't know what it messages to, but the bottom line is you hit that button,

00:20:33   and now you're chatting.

00:20:34   Now, tons of people sent us their actual chat conversations.

00:20:38   I'll put a link to one tweet in the show, and it's very concise.

00:20:41   It's like, "Arbitration, I don't want it. Okay, done."

00:20:45   Like, that's the ideal scenario.

00:20:47   Lots of people had longer versions where they're like,

00:20:49   because the wording of the contract says you have to provide your email address

00:20:53   and your mailing address and your first name and your last name,

00:20:55   and that's what it says in the contract, so some people also did that.

00:20:59   You don't have to do all that based on these things,

00:21:01   but based on these chats that I've seen, some people just say,

00:21:03   "I don't want arbitration."

00:21:04   They're like, "Done," because they already know everything about you

00:21:06   because of the business chat connection and all that other stuff,

00:21:08   so that's an advantage to using it that way.

00:21:11   But still, other people send conversations where they'd say,

00:21:13   "I don't want that arbitration thing," and they'd be like,

00:21:16   "Let me connect you to whatever," and you'd say, "No, I don't want arbitration."

00:21:22   They're like, "I don't know. You'll have to call."

00:21:25   They were unsuccessful. The people didn't know what they were talking about.

00:21:28   So your mileage may vary, but I would hope that the longer this goes on,

00:21:33   the more every single person at the other end of that business chat

00:21:36   will have at least one instance of this arbitration thing,

00:21:38   and they'll just be rote for them as we all tell each other to opt out of arbitration.

00:21:44   But if you're not successful, there are other avenues,

00:21:46   and I would say if you're not successful, just try again a different day.

00:21:48   Maybe you get a different agent, but it seems like most people are successful.

00:21:53   And then the Apple card unsurprisingly lacks any sort of web interface,

00:21:58   and generally speaking, I guess push notifications in the wallet

00:22:01   kind of takes that place.

00:22:04   You want to tell me more about this?

00:22:05   It seems kind of backwards that there's no web interface, but it's Apple.

00:22:09   Well, that's the Apple way.

00:22:10   Is anybody surprised by this?

00:22:12   Not really.

00:22:13   Well, the reason it's weird is because when Apple does things,

00:22:17   they seem to not care about the status quo, which is good in many ways.

00:22:21   They're like, "Just because it's been done this way before by everybody else

00:22:24   doesn't mean that that's the best way to do things."

00:22:26   But in this case, the status quo is if you have a credit card,

00:22:30   chances are very, very, very, very good that there's some website you can go to

00:22:34   that will show you your transaction history, and you can pay your bill there,

00:22:37   and just a web interface to looking at the stuff you're doing with your card.

00:22:42   It seems like table stakes for a credit card.

00:22:45   That does not exist as far as anyone is aware for the Apple card.

00:22:49   Everything you do with it is through your iOS device,

00:22:51   which seems fine until and unless you lose your iOS device

00:22:56   and you only had one of them, and then you have no way to pay your bill

00:22:59   unless it's been set to pay automatically.

00:23:01   So there's some gnashing of teeth about this.

00:23:03   But in general, a web interface to your credit card seems like --

00:23:08   it's not just the status quo.

00:23:10   It seems like a good thing because the web is more accessible than iOS.

00:23:15   So if you say you're on vacation and you just have your phone

00:23:17   and you drop it in the ocean and you don't have any access to --

00:23:19   you wouldn't get to go to a cyber cafe?

00:23:21   Like what century is this?

00:23:23   Do they still exist?

00:23:24   Oh, yeah.

00:23:25   I'm assuming they would.

00:23:27   I mean, you'd have to get to some web interface anyway,

00:23:29   but the whole point is you wouldn't have one of your iOS devices with you

00:23:33   to do this stuff.

00:23:35   So it would be nice if Apple had a website.

00:23:36   And the push notification thing is something subtly different.

00:23:38   Yes, of course, it sends you push notifications.

00:23:40   But in the contract -- this is all people are doing.

00:23:42   It's the only time anyone ever reads a contract is when Apple does something.

00:23:45   You have to now read the contract to find out how evil Apple is, right?

00:23:48   Never mind if you read the contract for any other credit card.

00:23:50   It's equally terrifying.

00:23:52   But Apple is supposed to be good about this privacy stuff.

00:23:55   So the story here is that in the contract wording,

00:23:58   in very plain language, which is nice,

00:24:01   Apple says that based on what you purchase with your Apple card,

00:24:07   you may receive push notifications advertising services

00:24:10   related to what you've purchased, which is not great.

00:24:13   That's bad.

00:24:14   I really hope that this is some kind of boilerplate

00:24:16   that somebody had the guts to put in there but that they just never use.

00:24:20   They're going to use it.

00:24:21   That's the thing.

00:24:22   Apple has shown over the last few years

00:24:26   that they have very little regard for badgering the user with promotional messages.

00:24:34   They just don't care.

00:24:35   The app store does it.

00:24:37   Apple Music is relentless about it.

00:24:40   Apple has shown that they will badger people with annoying spam push notifications

00:24:46   to sign up for more Apple services and make Apple more money.

00:24:50   So I kind of think they're going to do this, and I really hope they don't.

00:24:54   And when they do, it's going to be a really bad look.

00:24:58   And even if they don't do that,

00:25:01   I'm sure I'm going to start getting the notifications myself to sign up for the Apple card.

00:25:05   So I think this is just modern Apple.

00:25:09   Modern Apple has lost a lot of respect for certain user boundaries,

00:25:14   one of which is spamming us for promotional stuff for their own gain.

00:25:18   So I fully expect this to be used.

00:25:21   Yeah, no, the reason I totally think it's going to be used is because--

00:25:24   there's a difference between what you're describing,

00:25:28   which is respect for the user's attention and time or whatever,

00:25:31   and privacy.

00:25:33   And Apple touts how they address privacy in this feature,

00:25:37   and they do in a good way.

00:25:39   They spam everyone equally.

00:25:41   Yeah, exactly.

00:25:42   So the idea is, well, I don't want them tracking my purchases and sending me--

00:25:45   the example they give is if you buy a ticket somewhere on an airline,

00:25:49   they'll send you travel-related spam push notifications.

00:25:53   But they don't-- because they want to de-identify

00:25:56   and make sure everything is all private,

00:25:58   that information about what your purchases were doesn't leave your device.

00:26:02   So it's like, well, how do they know who to send what messages to?

00:26:04   Well, they send push notifications for everything to everyone,

00:26:08   and then on your device, once it arrives on your device,

00:26:12   the device looks up in your transaction history that is only on your device,

00:26:16   hey, has this person made any travel purchases?

00:26:18   If so, show them this promotional message, spam, whatever.

00:26:22   But if it's something for promoting dog food

00:26:25   and you haven't purchased any dog food, it won't show you,

00:26:27   but that decision is made on your device.

00:26:29   So it's wasteful of bandwidth, but it preserves your anonymity.

00:26:32   But the bottom line is that's not what we all have a problem with.

00:26:35   It's not like, oh, I'm worried about you and know what my purchases are

00:26:37   because Goldman Sachs does know what your purchases are

00:26:39   because they have your transaction history, right?

00:26:41   So somebody knows.

00:26:42   What we're annoyed about is getting push notifications.

00:26:44   That's the top-level concern.

00:26:47   The bottom-level concern is if you are going to spam people,

00:26:50   do it in a way that preserves privacy.

00:26:52   So Apple is doing that.

00:26:53   And the fact that Apple went through that effort

00:26:55   and is promoting how they preserve privacy, that's all good,

00:26:59   but we would prefer it if you would just not do this at all,

00:27:01   not do it in a way that preserves our privacy to the maximum extent possible.

00:27:05   I'm just not doing it.

00:27:06   And the respect, blah, blah, blah, like everything that Marco was saying,

00:27:12   another way of phrasing that is sort of part of the reason we buy Apple stuff

00:27:19   and pay lots of money for it is we hope to get a better experience out of it.

00:27:22   So the Apple card, I think lots of people would be willing to,

00:27:27   like for it to be a premium experience, you should get less of this.

00:27:32   Like we would expect this from a regular credit card,

00:27:35   but this is going to be a premium Apple-y credit card.

00:27:38   In general, when you spend more money, you expect to be respected more.

00:27:43   There are counterexamples, obviously.

00:27:45   As you spend more money donating to political campaigns,

00:27:49   you get way more spam.

00:27:50   So there are counterexamples.

00:27:52   But with a credit card, you would think the fancier the credit card,

00:27:56   the less junky spam you get.

00:27:59   So Apple card is still, if you're trying to rank it where it is

00:28:04   on the snooty rich people cards versus the regular peon person cards,

00:28:08   Apple card seems much more like a regular peon person card

00:28:10   because they are doing all the regular peon card stuff.

00:28:14   Yeah. And you guys, neither of you have signed up for one yet? Is that correct?

00:28:18   I still want to. I would like to be invited now that I've complained about it.

00:28:21   Apple, where's my invitation?

00:28:23   I did some math the other day of like, you know,

00:28:26   if I get my 2% back on Apple Pay transactions,

00:28:29   and I get my 3% back on Mac purchases and stuff from Apple,

00:28:34   like how much money am I actually going to be saving every year

00:28:36   compared to the credit cards I already have now

00:28:38   that give me like, you know, one and a half or 2% back on everything?

00:28:41   The difference this would actually make in my life

00:28:44   would be something like $100 a year.

00:28:46   And I don't know that it's worth having an entire separate credit account

00:28:50   for that little of a game.

00:28:52   Yeah, I think if I were to be, I don't know,

00:28:55   like just graduating college or just entering college

00:28:57   whenever kids these days get credit cards, God, I'm so old.

00:29:00   Anyway, if I was just now getting a credit card,

00:29:03   I would very strongly consider getting this as my first and only card.

00:29:07   But, you know, when I first heard about it, I was like,

00:29:11   "Yeah, you know, that sounds good. Save money on Apple stuff.

00:29:12   All right, sounds great."

00:29:13   And the more I think about it, the more I think,

00:29:15   especially what with, you know, credit monitoring,

00:29:17   at least in the U.S., being so wonky and, you know,

00:29:20   opening a new line of credit being, you know, terrible except when it isn't.

00:29:23   I don't know, that's a whole level of alchemy and math

00:29:26   that I just can't wrap my head around.

00:29:27   But the more I think about it, the more I think just leaving well enough alone

00:29:30   is probably the right answer for me as well.

00:29:32   So I agree with you there, Marco.

00:29:34   And also, there have been many times, like, you know,

00:29:36   I've had credit cards for, let's see, about 13, 14 years now.

00:29:42   And I have had to log into their websites fairly regularly,

00:29:46   like maybe three, four times a year at least,

00:29:49   to, like, look up an old transaction or download a history of something

00:29:53   or, you know, check, administer or check something on the website

00:29:56   or something like that.

00:29:58   Like, it is frequently useful to do that.

00:30:00   And so to not have any way to do that for the Apple card,

00:30:03   yeah, I know you can look at the phone,

00:30:05   I know you can look up stuff there, but it's always going to be more limited.

00:30:09   As John mentioned, like, accessibility and, you know,

00:30:11   not only that, but just, like, being able to, like,

00:30:13   export everything as, like, a CSV or something.

00:30:15   Like, these are common functions.

00:30:17   Or copy and paste the text. How about that?

00:30:19   Yeah, right. Like, these are very -- or hit Command-F on a page

00:30:22   and then jump down really fast.

00:30:24   Like, these are very common things that people with credit cards

00:30:27   do on the credit card websites.

00:30:29   And to not be able to do that for the Apple card at all,

00:30:33   that's a pretty glaring shortcoming.

00:30:35   And so I'm sure over time they will probably --

00:30:38   God, I hope they will probably add something like this.

00:30:41   But I think the lack of this is --

00:30:44   it's just a bigger annoyance than I think many people might assume

00:30:48   if they haven't had it yet.

00:30:51   That's Apple for you. They're great, except that they're not.

00:30:54   You had talked last episode, Marco, about how you had created

00:30:58   your own kind of, like, streaming API to handle overcast requests.

00:31:03   And several people wrote in with a bunch of different options.

00:31:07   I think it was you that called out one in particular.

00:31:09   Do you want to tell us about this?

00:31:11   Yeah, so I didn't actually. John probably did.

00:31:14   Fair enough.

00:31:15   It's always me.

00:31:16   Yeah, it's always John.

00:31:18   Yeah, so my problem was trying to stream in JSON object by object

00:31:24   at the top level. That way I wouldn't have to, on the client side,

00:31:27   load the entire JSON object and decode it before I processed, like,

00:31:32   the sub-objects one by one from, like, large sync operations.

00:31:35   And so my solution was to send out little blobs that were a binary 32-bit integer

00:31:43   that specified the size of the blob to follow, and then the blob to follow

00:31:46   would just be a JSON string, so it would say, like, you know,

00:31:49   basically, you know, read 100 bytes, and then I'd read the 100 bytes.

00:31:52   After that was another 32-bit binary integer telling me the size

00:31:56   of the next blob until we ran out.

00:31:58   Many people wrote in to tell us about new line-separated JSON,

00:32:02   which is apparently a thing. I think it's called nd-json.

00:32:05   There are some issues with that. Basically, it's more complex to read that,

00:32:08   because when you have new line-separated JSON, you have to ensure that

00:32:13   the JSON you're generating will never contain new lines,

00:32:16   and if you have any kind of pretty printing turned on for debugging

00:32:19   or anything, that might happen. Or you have to basically, like,

00:32:22   verify all the libraries that you're using and all the settings

00:32:24   that you're always going to use will never have a new line,

00:32:26   and it's kind of annoying. And you also have to, like, read ahead until you--

00:32:30   so you have to, like, scan the whole string until you see the new line

00:32:33   and then, you know, parse that. So it's just--it's a little more complicated.

00:32:37   So that's why I like my solution better. And so John apparently wrote in

00:32:41   to say that there's also something on the Wikipedia page for JSON streaming

00:32:46   called length-prefixed JSON, which is almost what I'm doing.

00:32:51   The difference with length-prefixed JSON is that they are using the, like,

00:32:56   character, you know, ASCII representation of the number to describe the size.

00:33:00   So it actually has, like, the number in ASCII 18 in the example,

00:33:04   and then 18 characters of JSON, and then the number 55,

00:33:07   and then 55 characters of JSON. And the reason I still like mine,

00:33:12   while this is more human-readable, the fact is, you know,

00:33:15   this is a binary format for me. I don't really care.

00:33:17   And mine is you don't have to do any reading of numbers in ASCII

00:33:22   and then converting, and you also always know how many bytes to read.

00:33:26   So the code to decode on the decoding side, like in Objective-C or Swift,

00:33:32   whatever, the code to read that is super simple. It's like,

00:33:35   read 32-bit, begin the integer. That's it. It's binary, it's right there,

00:33:40   and you always know it's those 32 bits, whereas this, you have to basically

00:33:44   read the string until you see a non-number character,

00:33:48   and then decode the number that you got so far, which could be,

00:33:51   you know, one digit, it could be five digits. And so my way is just simpler

00:33:56   in the code on the client side. So I still prefer my way,

00:33:59   but it's good to see that lots of people have solved this problem in similar ways.

00:34:01   Indeed.

00:34:02   Your way is very low-level. You make it sound like you chose the byte order,

00:34:07   but obviously you're just using the native byte order of the platform

00:34:10   on which you wrote this.

00:34:11   No, no. No, I specified BigEndian on both sides.

00:34:15   But that's the default on the Mac side, or the iOS side, right?

00:34:19   An iOS is, I believe, BigEndian natively, but certainly not on my Intel servers.

00:34:24   It isn't.

00:34:25   You shouldn't really be using network byte order, but I don't forget

00:34:28   if that's already BigEndian.

00:34:30   I think it is BigEndian, yeah.

00:34:32   But anyway, it's network byte order. You're not supposed to know which one it is.

00:34:34   It's just network. I remember the protocol to a Mac chat client

00:34:40   from way back in the day was obviously written by someone who was just taking

00:34:44   their C structs and then just jamming them across the wire.

00:34:46   They were all just binary representations of C native types

00:34:50   in the byte order on this person's computer, and that was the protocol.

00:34:54   Terrible to parse.

00:34:56   It has the advantage of knowing that you have to read 32 bits

00:34:59   and then what order the bytes are in and decoding it,

00:35:02   but there's a reason almost every protocol involving the Internet

00:35:06   basically uses textual representation for everything, including numbers.

00:35:10   Right, because text never has weird encoding problems.

00:35:13   Well, so does transfer encoding chunk, by the way.

00:35:15   It also uses just the actual numbers written in text,

00:35:17   and it's not the number of characters, because that would be difficult.

00:35:20   It's always the number of bytes.

00:35:21   UTF-8 saves most of this. Almost every protocol has come around

00:35:24   with the idea of we don't support any other encodings.

00:35:27   It's UTF-8 or it's nothing. It's like JSON.

00:35:29   JSON is a young enough standard. They said it's just UTF-8.

00:35:32   Stop doing anything else.

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00:37:29   Upgrade had a very interesting conversation this week about

00:37:33   what Marco and John would be doing with regard to the Mac Pro.

00:37:36   And I will put an overcast timestamp link into the show notes.

00:37:40   I love that they're placing bets on our purchase intentions here.

00:37:43   They're placing bets on whether John and I would buy the Mac Pro and/or the Pro Display.

00:37:48   Right. And so if I understood and summarized their positions properly,

00:37:54   then Mike had said that Marco will get both the Mac Pro and the Pro Display

00:38:01   by the time that preorders end.

00:38:03   So in other words, you will put your name in the hat before preorders end.

00:38:07   Mike is right.

00:38:09   And Mike also said, interestingly, that you're more likely to get the display.

00:38:14   Jason said that Marco would not bother if it wasn't for the fact that you're a pundit,

00:38:19   which is not correct.

00:38:21   I understand the logic there, but no, that's not true.

00:38:23   Marco will always get the best Mac possible no matter what.

00:38:26   Marco will do it in the first two weeks.

00:38:28   Yep, I agree with that.

00:38:29   And John will buy one in the first three months.

00:38:32   And you might even just get the LG display instead of the Pro Display HDR.

00:38:37   So I would like to go on record in saying there is zero chance that both of you will not be buying one of these.

00:38:43   I'd say there is almost an equivalent amount of certainty that both of you will get the Pro Display XDR, HDR, whatever it's called.

00:38:51   And I think Marco absolutely will have his preorder in before the end of the preorder window, without question.

00:38:58   John, I think Jason has you pegged.

00:39:00   It will be in the first three-ish months, but I don't think it will be immediate.

00:39:05   So, gentlemen, with that said, let's start with Marco.

00:39:08   What are your purchase intentions right now?

00:39:10   First of all, I want to bet on John's purchase intentions.

00:39:13   Okay, fair enough, fair enough. I will allow it.

00:39:16   I think Jason had a lot of good points about John being practical and caring about the cost of the Pro Display and everything.

00:39:24   However, I think if you look at what kind of outcome can John stomach, the LG display or spending too much for the Apple display, I think it's no contest.

00:39:36   I think he's going to grumble and grumble, but he's going to get the Pro Display.

00:39:40   I agree.

00:39:41   I think there's no way John gets the LG.

00:39:43   If John gets a Mac Pro at all, he gets the Apple Pro Display, unless there's another option that becomes available from Apple.

00:39:50   But otherwise, I don't think there will be anytime soon.

00:39:53   So I think John gets the Pro Display XDR.

00:39:56   And if he gets the Mac Pro at all, he gets that display.

00:39:59   And I think he will get the Mac Pro, but probably not for a few months after it's released, because he's going to be afraid of lemon things.

00:40:08   As for me, I think Jason had a very good point that I probably wouldn't bother if not for my reputation and position on the show.

00:40:20   And it's kind of like, I almost have to get it because of...

00:40:30   It just happened to you, Marco.

00:40:32   Yeah, right.

00:40:33   It happened to you.

00:40:34   You have to admit...

00:40:35   He needs it for his work.

00:40:36   But I don't.

00:40:37   You say I'm always going to get...

00:40:39   I mean, your work of being on the podcast, not your work work.

00:40:41   Right.

00:40:42   Like you said, Casey, I always get the best Mac, but I don't necessarily.

00:40:46   I'm sitting in front of the iMac Pro, which currently is the best Mac, but I didn't get the top configuration.

00:40:51   I got a middle configuration of it, because I didn't really need the top stuff.

00:40:55   It wasn't really going to benefit me.

00:40:57   I feel like his point stands.

00:40:58   You did briefly own the trashcan Mac Pro, and you brought this.

00:41:02   So it's not the best Mac with everything set to Macs.

00:41:05   It's the best Mac with most things set to Macs.

00:41:08   Some things set to Macs or medium.

00:41:10   But I think the Mac Pro, again, it solves problems I mostly don't have,

00:41:16   and it introduces problems that I currently don't have.

00:41:20   It introduces limitations and bulk and size and especially cost.

00:41:25   And I really am incredibly reluctant to buy that Pro Display XDR or to use the LG when right now my iMac Pro really serves my needs incredibly well.

00:41:39   And I already own it.

00:41:41   So it's really very, very hard for me to justify the Mac Pro when the iMac Pro is very, very good for my needs in ways that the Mac Pro isn't.

00:41:53   So I don't think I'm going to buy one, honestly.

00:41:57   I mean, I played this back for me in a month when I bought one.

00:42:01   But I think they're both wrong.

00:42:05   I think I'm not going to get it, and Jon is.

00:42:08   But I don't think he's going to get it immediately.

00:42:09   I think he's going to wait like three months.

00:42:11   All right, Jon, what's your current theory?

00:42:13   My plan is that I'm going to get a Mac.

00:42:15   I still haven't decided on the monitor.

00:42:16   I'm probably not going to buy it on day one.

00:42:18   That's my current--

00:42:19   You've decided.

00:42:20   Marco could not be more correct about this.

00:42:22   You have absolutely decided, and it will absolutely--

00:42:24   I mean, I take your point.

00:42:25   Like, I totally do want an Apple monitor.

00:42:27   I just need to-- there are unknowns yet, which is I need to go to the configurator and see what it's going to take to configure my Mac the way I want.

00:42:33   And if the Mac is ridiculous, then I really have to reconsider.

00:42:37   You've waited 10 years, Jon.

00:42:40   Yeah, I'm getting the Mac.

00:42:41   I'm getting the Mac is just a question of-- because if I got--

00:42:44   Then you're getting the display.

00:42:45   Yep.

00:42:46   It's easy as ever.

00:42:47   There are other options.

00:42:48   There is no way you get the LG.

00:42:50   There are options other than the LG or the Apple one.

00:42:53   Non-retina?

00:42:54   There are options.

00:42:56   I'm just-- I own a bunch of monitors.

00:42:58   I could use my existing monitor.

00:43:00   Oh, please.

00:43:01   I could use the 27-inch Thunderbolt display that's upstairs.

00:43:05   So you're going to get a $6,000 at least Mac Pro and use a non-retina monitor with it?

00:43:11   Yeah, come on.

00:43:12   I'm looking at a non-retina monitor right now.

00:43:13   This would be a stopgap.

00:43:14   Oh, get out of hand.

00:43:15   A stopgap for another 10 years?

00:43:16   Until when?

00:43:17   What are you waiting for?

00:43:19   I really hope that it wouldn't be another 10-year wait.

00:43:23   Anyway, no decision has been made about the monitor.

00:43:26   Still, we're waiting.

00:43:27   We're waiting to price out the Mac, and then we'll see what we see.

00:43:30   Let me rephrase what Jon just said.

00:43:32   No decision that he's willing to acknowledge has been made about the monitor,

00:43:35   but Marco was 1,000% correct that you will be getting the monitor.

00:43:39   Yeah.

00:43:40   As sure as everyone else in the world is that I'm going to get the Mac Pro,

00:43:42   I'm that sure you're getting the monitor.

00:43:46   Well put.

00:43:47   Oh, man.

00:43:48   All right, let's get through a couple of topics before we have to go to Ask ATP.

00:43:53   Apple was at Black Hat recently.

00:43:55   Black Hat is, I guess, like a hacker convention of some sort,

00:43:58   and a security convention.

00:44:00   Maybe that's a better way of describing it.

00:44:02   And apparently Apple has decided to make a massive jump in their bug bounties.

00:44:07   So this is if you find a bug in Apple software that can be exploited,

00:44:10   and you report it to Apple in the right way,

00:44:13   and with the right examples and so on and so forth,

00:44:16   you can get pretty big payouts, including up to $1 million.

00:44:21   $1 million for a zero-click, full-chain kernel code execution exploit.

00:44:27   And additionally, what is perhaps even more interesting and exciting about this

00:44:31   is that Apple has announced that they will be giving what appears to be

00:44:36   a slightly sanitized version of their dev devices that they use internally

00:44:41   to certain security researchers.

00:44:44   So you have to apply for it, you have to have a clear history

00:44:47   of doing security research that is useful to Apple,

00:44:50   but you will be able to do some things that you could never do on an iPhone before

00:44:55   unless you worked for the fruit company, so like SSH into it and stuff like that.

00:44:59   This is exciting and surprising, and I applaud it.

00:45:02   So somebody ran on my parade before I get too happy.

00:45:05   I think this is good, and it's an example --

00:45:08   we talked about bug bounties before

00:45:09   and how Apple has been late to the game of bug bounties.

00:45:12   People used to complain that they didn't give them or that they were stingy with them

00:45:14   or they weren't available on all platforms.

00:45:16   And we've talked in the past a lot about problems that money can't solve,

00:45:22   but this is a problem that money can help with a lot,

00:45:25   and Apple has a lot of money, so why not throw money at it?

00:45:28   Like, security vulnerabilities are a serious issue.

00:45:31   Apple is bidding against the value of those vulnerabilities on the black market.

00:45:37   How much is this vulnerability worth if you can sell it to people

00:45:40   or use it for state-sponsored terrorism and all sorts of things?

00:45:43   Apple has to outbid the bad people,

00:45:48   and I feel like that's a position that Apple should feel comfortable in

00:45:51   because they do have a lot of money,

00:45:53   so you can just make those numbers bigger until you get the results you want.

00:45:57   The result you want is that if anybody finds any kind of bug,

00:46:00   it is in their best interest to give it to Apple and make all that sweet, sweet money.

00:46:04   So I think this is a good idea.

00:46:05   And the research things where you have, like, root access

00:46:07   and, you know, like, basically pre-jailbroken research devices is great

00:46:12   because that accelerates the process again.

00:46:13   It's another thing that Apple is empowered to do.

00:46:15   It's not, you know, it's not a big deal.

00:46:19   It doesn't change the face of anything.

00:46:21   It doesn't mean that we're all going to be able to sideload on our phones

00:46:24   because these are special research kits given to specially vetted people,

00:46:27   but it helps them find the vulnerabilities better.

00:46:29   So this may not be the most cost-effective economic way to find vulnerabilities,

00:46:35   but it may be the best way.

00:46:37   And like I said, Apple's got a lot of money,

00:46:39   and they're always trying to, you know, make their cash hoard shrink

00:46:42   because it's bad to have tons and tons of cash on the books

00:46:45   because the shareholders get mad or whatever.

00:46:47   So I give this program a thumbs up, and I hope they find lots of new bugs.

00:46:52   We got word from Andy Byer-Boden that Apple laptops are turning on in new ways now,

00:46:58   and apparently in the 2018 era MacBook Pro and MacBook Air,

00:47:04   they will turn on when you press any key on the keyboard or press the trackpad,

00:47:08   which is new.

00:47:09   I mean, I haven't had a touch bar laptop ever,

00:47:13   but I can tell you on my adorable, there is a power button that you have to hit,

00:47:17   and the only time this is important to me is when I, like once every month or so,

00:47:21   will turn the computer full off and take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to it

00:47:25   to get off all my finger grease from the keyboard and the wrist rest and so on and so forth.

00:47:29   And if I were to do that with the computer where it will turn itself on

00:47:33   as soon as you hit a key, that is going to be deeply inconvenient.

00:47:36   So not a big deal, but a little bit of a bummer, and something I had no idea was the case.

00:47:40   Yeah, they've been actually slowly ramping up the number of ways

00:47:44   that the computer will turn on in the last few years.

00:47:46   I believe, starting with the USB-C generation, so the original MacBook in 2015 and all the Pros in 2016,

00:47:53   I believe that's when they started that if you just open the lid, they would turn themselves on.

00:47:58   And I think there's some kind of NVRAM argument to disable that, but by default that is what it is.

00:48:05   And now, apparently the 2019 models are such that just brushing against a key turns it on.

00:48:11   And I think I can figure out why, because in both cases, if you look at the modern laptops,

00:48:19   there's no visible power button on most of them.

00:48:22   Anything with a touch bar or touch ID, you can't see a power button.

00:48:27   The power button is the touch ID sensor, but it's a blank black square with no markings on it.

00:48:33   So you kind of have to know that's the power button, and I think most people just don't know that.

00:48:39   And Apple probably got tired of support calls and everything from people saying,

00:48:43   "My computer won't turn on," or "Where's the power button?" because they couldn't find it.

00:48:47   So my guess is this is directly in response to them having a totally undiscoverable power button,

00:48:54   which is its own problem, but just being able to hit any key to wake it up from a power off state,

00:49:01   which is the same way you'd wake it up from a sleep state, is a fairly elegant solution to their design flaw.

00:49:07   [Laughter]

00:49:10   Arguably what they're shooting for, and they've done this in the past to much lesser degrees of success,

00:49:16   is like on the Mac where they would like you to not be so worried about the distinction between

00:49:21   running and non-running applications. In iOS they're much better about that.

00:49:25   The distinction is so incredibly blurred that most people don't even know,

00:49:29   and they just swipe upwards on all these little pictures of applications that are not running,

00:49:32   but that's a separate conversation.

00:49:34   But on the Mac, somewhere like Doc Preferences or whatever, you can decide not to show the little indicator dots

00:49:40   below running applications because in Apple's idealized world as of several years ago,

00:49:47   applications should resume exactly where they left off, and it shouldn't matter to you whether they're running or not.

00:49:52   You should just click on them when you want to use them, and then ignore them when you don't want to use them anymore,

00:49:56   and then automatic termination should handle them. They want to make it more like iOS.

00:50:00   So the hardware equivalent of this is I would like to not have a distinction between a computer that is turned off-off

00:50:09   and a computer that's just asleep, because it should boot right back to where it left off if all the defaults are set,

00:50:16   and things might take longer, but basically the computer should always be in the middle of doing whatever it's doing.

00:50:25   And whether it's asleep or off or whether the app is launched or not launched, it should all be the same.

00:50:30   In practice, it's not all the same. In practice, the gaps are actually longer than you would imagine.

00:50:35   You can always tell when it's actually booting. There's actually different things that appear on the screen,

00:50:39   so it is not as transparent. But I feel like these changes are moving more towards that goal,

00:50:45   and I think the disappearance of the dedicated power button is part of trying to get to that goal,

00:50:51   not a mistake they made that they're now trying to remedy, but they rolled out pieces of this vision out of step with each other.

00:51:01   So they got rid of the visible power button before they added the ability to turn it on by doing anything,

00:51:06   because that's what you do when a computer is not awake or whatever. You just hit the space bar, hit the trackpad.

00:51:12   That's what people are going to do. That's how you wake an already open laptop from sleep if you're just a regular person.

00:51:17   All that said, though, like Casey was saying, there is utility in being able to turn your computer off

00:51:26   and then clean the keycaps or clean the trackpad or do whatever with it actually off.

00:51:32   And now, these MacBook Pro 2018 and MacBook Air 2018, the Retina 1, they become like the Apple remote,

00:51:40   where you can't even touch them without them doing something. You're like, "I'm afraid to pick it up.

00:51:44   It's off, but I have to pick it up very carefully because if I accidentally hit a key, it's going to boot,

00:51:48   and the boot process takes some time." You're like, "I didn't want you to boot. I was just trying to pick it up,

00:51:52   and I accidentally hit a key." So I think this is fine. I think the vision is reasonable, and it's fine to have this feature.

00:51:59   But this is the type of feature that should have an actual GUI preference somewhere,

00:52:05   where if you don't like it, you can turn it off. In the same way that you can use the dock preference to change the indicator dots on the dock,

00:52:11   it shouldn't be like a hidden plist key. It shouldn't be an NVRAM or you have to go to terminal for it.

00:52:17   It should be an actual GUI. First of all, the existence of that GUI thing and system preferences may clue people into the fact that this actually happens,

00:52:23   because if you see a preference that says, "Would you like me to boot when someone hits any key?"

00:52:29   then that could clue people in, "Oh, I didn't know this thing booted if you hit any key."

00:52:33   And second, it makes it feel like an officially supported feature, so that if you do need to clean the keyboard,

00:52:38   you just change that preference, shut down, clean your keys, reboot with the actual power key.

00:52:42   They could even do a thing where when you unset that preference, it throws up a little thing that says,

00:52:47   "Just so you know, your power button is here," and shows you a little picture of the...

00:52:51   That's a thing that Apple can do, because they know what your hardware looks like.

00:52:54   That's how they have the little graphics of your actual laptop or your actual monitor or whatever.

00:52:58   So I think this is an okay, reasonable feature, but I really want there to be GUI support for toggling the behavior.

00:53:08   Yeah, agreed. All right, and then I think finally for topics this week before we go to Ask ATP,

00:53:14   we should talk about a couple weeks ago, maybe even actually it's like a month ago almost,

00:53:19   there was a new LG 5K display. Perfect for you, Jon, and it's beautiful.

00:53:26   Can you just imagine that sitting on your desk next to your $5,000 to $10,000 Mac Pro? Wouldn't it be perfect, Jon?

00:53:32   It does have advantages over the Apple display in that it has a microphone and camera in it, and the Apple display does not.

00:53:38   But other than that, I think... It comes with a stand? Oh, my God.

00:53:47   The price is right. It's $1,300 for essentially the same panel that's in the iMac, right?

00:53:54   As far as we know.

00:53:55   It's a bargain, but it's ugly. It's got a big forehead on it. The stand is not hideously ugly, but it's not attractive either.

00:54:05   Marco, did you have the 5K one or only the 4K one?

00:54:09   5K.

00:54:10   And you were not impressed with the monitor in many ways?

00:54:14   The image quality is great, but obviously the plastic surround is hideous.

00:54:19   And the biggest problem I had with it was it was just a little bit flaky.

00:54:22   Sometimes it wouldn't wake from sleep, sometimes the USB ports on it would flake out, like the downstream USB ports on it.

00:54:30   Sometimes things that were plugged into its USB ports wouldn't work well, but if you plugged them into the computer directly, they would work perfectly.

00:54:38   It was just stuff like that. The accessories about it were kind of crappy.

00:54:44   The panel itself was fine, but it seemed to just have flaky electronics in other ways.

00:54:51   I recall being in an Apple store maybe and experimenting with this. Wasn't there a thing where Wi-Fi would drop if you got too close to the thing?

00:55:00   As far as I know, that was fixed before I bought mine.

00:55:03   There was an issue with the first generation of the LG 4K and 5K displays where they were improperly shielded and they could cause Wi-Fi dropouts.

00:55:12   Apple suspended sale for a little while quietly, got LG to revise the design, and then they put them back in storage to revise.

00:55:21   I'm pretty sure mine was the revised one.

00:55:23   Stuff like that is not reassuring. That's not an obscure feature that you'd be surprised by if your business is making computer peripherals.

00:55:32   Firstly, you'd think that FCC rules would require that you don't interfere destructively in that way, but it's a fundamental thing.

00:55:43   You're going to make a monitor that's going to be near your computer stuff. Computers use Wi-Fi. Maybe test this? I don't know. It's not reassuring at all.

00:55:51   It's a very cheap monitor. People are sending other alternatives like other places where this panel might appear.

00:55:57   This is the one that Apple is selling on their website. This is the one that Apple is promoting.

00:56:02   This is the one that may or may not mean that we're never going to get a reasonably priced Apple display, which we've talked about in the past.

00:56:11   Anyway, this is out there. It's an option. It is what normal people should buy if you want a 5K display for your new Mac Pro and you don't care about all the features of the XDR.

00:56:23   But I really wish there were other alternatives. This is old news by now, but it's worth noting.

00:56:29   We had lots of debates and I had many crises of faith when this came out to say, "Apple sells all sorts of third-party stuff on their website."

00:56:44   It doesn't necessarily mean that they're not going to make something equivalent, but it kind of does. Or maybe not now. It's a very fraught situation.

00:56:57   I wouldn't rule out the possibility of them announcing a Pro display, not XDR. That's basically what we're asking for, a 27-inch iMac panel, external.

00:57:07   I wouldn't rule that out, but it just seems very unlikely for that to be announced this fall. I bet they will eventually do that because there is clearly a lot of demand for that.

00:57:20   But I just don't think it's going to happen soon.

00:57:24   Boy, how many of these can I buy for the price of that other one?

00:57:27   Like five?

00:57:29   Yeah, seriously. Can I make a wall of them?

00:57:31   Yeah.

00:57:32   The Mac Pro can drive them all, right? There's plenty of video cards you can show on there.

00:57:36   I can just...a giant wall of monitors.

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00:59:41   Alright, let's do some Ask ATP starting with Colin Devereux who writes, "What tech outside of Apple are you most happy with currently or, bonus, excited about in the near future?"

00:59:54   I don't have any stellar answers for this, I don't think, but some things that I thought of. Smart home stuff I think is definitely getting better.

01:00:01   I lived in a house that was deep into, what was it, X10 I think was the technology way, way, way back in like the mid 90s.

01:00:09   If you ever saw a pop under ad for anything ever, it was probably X10.

01:00:15   Indeed. Dad had the entire house wired for that and it actually did work pretty darn well given what year we're talking about here.

01:00:25   And I do think smart home stuff is getting a lot better. It's starting to converge a lot more in the good way.

01:00:31   I'm seeing home kit support for a lot more stuff and I'm finding less and less need for home bridge which I'm happy about.

01:00:38   Driving aids I think are getting a lot better. I'm not interested in having a conversation about what is or is not self-driving right now.

01:00:45   But I think in general driving aids are getting better. Things like lane keep assist, automatic braking, automatic parking which we tried in Aaron's Volvo about a month or two ago which was extremely scary but extremely cool.

01:00:59   I do think those are getting a lot better. I would absolutely use the summon feature on a Tesla if I had one. I would probably put a hole in my garage doing so but hey, you know, you win some you lose some.

01:01:09   And then speaking of Teslas, I do think electric cars in general are getting better and better.

01:01:17   I made the mistake of tweeting something negative about Tesla earlier today and my mentions have not let me live that down quite yet.

01:01:24   Tesla fans are the worst.

01:01:25   I mean Apple fans are not great but Tesla fans are the worst.

01:01:29   Anyway, I do think electric cars are getting a lot better. Something I said to Marco via the tweet in question was that I really think that now that Audi and Porsche among others are really starting to take electric cars seriously.

01:01:45   I am very interested in seeing what a "real" car manufacturer who actually understands reliability and build quality and things of that nature, user interfaces, service, exactly.

01:02:00   I am really interested to see what a traditional car company can do with an electric powertrain. And I suspect what will happen is the electric powertrain will not be as fancy and as advanced and the autopilot sort of stuff will probably not be as fancy and as advanced as a Tesla.

01:02:18   But everything else about the experience will probably be way, way, way better.

01:02:24   And so we'll see what happens. I mean I could be eating crow in a little while but that's my expectation.

01:02:30   So those are three things that I'm really pleased with and really, really hyped about.

01:02:34   Marco, what are you most happy about currently or excited about in the future?

01:02:39   Just to rebut very slightly on the Tesla thing because we Tesla people are the worst. Really most of the experience of owning and using a Tesla is great and in many ways better than what a lot of other car makers or any other car makers are doing.

01:02:55   They have a few significant drawbacks, most notably that the company is just seemingly always in manic mode and they're really bad at paperwork and service and the supply chain required to supply their service centers with parts and things like that.

01:03:11   They're terrible at that. But when you actually have the car and it's working properly, which is most of the time, it's fantastic.

01:03:18   And you mentioned things like user interface. I like the Tesla UI better than other cars. There's a couple of minor nitpicks I have with it but way fewer than most other cars.

01:03:28   So really I'd say in many ways they are way ahead and I think other car makers think they can compete well with Tesla by just turning some of their existing models electric or making something that's vaguely similar, that's new.

01:03:46   But I think it's going to take more than that. Similar to the way a lot of tech companies try to do what Apple does but kind of misunderstand all the things that make it good and only do a feature checklist competition, I think that's what the car makers are doing to compete with Tesla.

01:04:08   And I think it's going to have similar results where like, yeah, we're going to have more electric car options to choose from, which is great, we need that.

01:04:16   But I don't think they're going to come and kill Tesla just because they take a 5 series and make it electric or something like that. I think it's going to take more than that.

01:04:25   And I don't think they realize that or would even appreciate the differences if they did.

01:04:32   I think I mostly agree with you and that's why I was saying earlier that I don't think that a electric 5 series, to pick on that example, will be as good as a Tesla, as a Model S.

01:04:44   And I think the biggest issue that a lot of that that the other manufacturers are going to run into is that for all the things I love to make fun of Tesla for, and for all of their build quality problems and service problems and paperwork problems.

01:04:59   One thing that Tesla seems to have done extremely well and extremely right is the supercharger network.

01:05:04   And I don't see anyone else getting anywhere near that robust a network anytime soon.

01:05:11   And yes, I'm aware that there are like third parties and like independent, like, I don't know, people, companies that will provide electric charging.

01:05:18   But I don't think it will be near as easy or as seamless as it is with a Tesla supercharger.

01:05:23   I've seen superchargers in action several times and it is extremely cool and extremely convenient and extremely easy.

01:05:29   And I think that's probably going to be the biggest hurdle.

01:05:32   But the point I was making to you in a very snarky way on Twitter, but I really genuinely mean is that, you know, we have friends that had like cracks in their windshields and waited literally six months or something like that to get a new windshield from Tesla because Tesla is the only people that will provide the windshield for Model 3.

01:05:48   And that's just utterly preposterous. I've heard other similar stories of not being able to get in for service for months and months and months because parts weren't available or or technicians weren't available or so on and so forth.

01:05:58   And and certainly the ridiculous problems you've had for four years with your Bluetooth being barely usable, like that shouldn't be the case.

01:06:07   And I don't see a BMW or a Volkswagen or any other, quote unquote, real manufactured making those kinds of like rookie mistakes.

01:06:14   And, yeah, I think to some degree it's potato versus potato. Right. You know, maybe the infotainment is great in the fives in this mythical five series, but it only runs 100 miles at a time and there's nowhere to charge it.

01:06:24   So I'm not saying they're they're just going to swoop in and save the day.

01:06:28   But I do think that a longer and older, more traditional car company in some ways does have a lot of advantages in bringing something to market that is way more reliable and way more usable.

01:06:42   But I don't know. This is my two cents. John, where do you come down on the Tesla stuff? And then we'll circle back to the actual question at the end.

01:06:50   I mean, I think Tesla's still kind of a mess. And I think no matter how badly the competitors do, there's just going to be so many of them and their approach is going to be so much less company destroying, I feel like, than Tesla's because they have existing businesses that they're easing their way into that it's going to be difficult for Tesla to remain independent and thriving in this environment.

01:07:17   Like the I mean, who knows how long it will actually take, but there's lots of models coming out now. And like the car companies like Volkswagen was saying, no more internal combustion engine cars after 2025.

01:07:29   And that date keeps moving around a little bit. But in general, I think it's moving closer to the present rather than farther away.

01:07:35   Like, it's not like they're thinking of making a couple of electric models. These companies are slowly but surely going all in to basically be electric car companies.

01:07:45   So there's just going to be so many cars, some of them like internal combustion cars, some of them will be good, some of them will be bad.

01:07:51   You know, it's going to be so that like that will, it's not like they're all going to be better than Tesla. But there'll be enough of them that Tesla will just be another electric car maker that has its advantages and its disadvantages.

01:08:04   And you have to weigh them the same way you weigh, do you like BMW? Do you like Mercedes? Do you like Honda? They all make internal combustion cars and it really depends on what you value. And that's the world that Tesla is going to be living in.

01:08:15   As opposed to the world now or you know, the world they came from, which is they're so differentiated. It's just like they're in another league entirely. Their differentiation is going to be shrinking.

01:08:25   Now they may still be the best at many things and people may prefer them if assuming they're still in business by then. That's just a separate issue. But it's the, put it this way, the competitive landscape is getting harder for them, not easier.

01:08:39   And I think that, to Marco's point, the part that is most undervalued about what Tesla does is their lack of respect for orthodoxy. Because all the other car makers, like the thing, their respect for orthodoxy is their strength.

01:08:57   Because they're going to make cars that work and can be repaired and are reliable and work in cold weather and can be used repeatedly without overheating and like all the stuff that just car makers make. But that same orthodoxy is what's going to prevent them from making a UI like Tesla's that Marco really likes, right?

01:09:13   Because they're like, well, that's not just that's just not the way we make cars. Like we outsource most of that and it's mostly going to be a conventional car with a bunch of touch screens. And that's not the whole deal here. It's the powertrain or whatever. You're not going to end up with a user interface like Tesla has coming from an established car company, even if they think they're being super duper radical. That means that their screen will be a little bit bigger.

01:09:34   Now, me personally, I probably prefer the car interfaces that take a more orthodox approach with more buttons and knobs and smaller touch screens or whatever. But they're never going to give people who really like Tesla's what they want.

01:09:51   Because what people really like about Tesla, yeah, it's that it's electric car and everything. But if you really like the car, you like their Tesla's approach to making cars in terms of how they look, how they work, how you interact with them on a daily basis. And no one seems to be copying that.

01:10:07   I think that's good because I don't really like that approach that much. But if you're a Tesla fan, there's I don't think there's NDB out there trying to be just like Tesla, but better. What they're trying to be is just like the car company they already are, but electric, which is very appealing to somebody.

01:10:24   You made fun of like an electric five series. If you really like the five series and someone said, what if we gave you this car, but with better performance and it's silent, it has no exhaust. You're like sold. Great, because I love that car. But Marco fell in love with Tesla, not because it was like his old five, but electric, but because it was a very different experience. Not just because it was electric, but every other part of the experience was different as well.

01:10:45   That's it. Like that's that I think is what people underestimate about Tesla and why people choose Tesla. It's more than just the drive train. The drive train is really significant, but don't get me wrong. The drive train is awesome. And that's a huge reason why people buy Tesla's.

01:11:02   But also one of the reasons why people like Tesla's, especially after owning them, is all the other details, all the other niceties, all the other practicalities. Like I haven't had a Model 3, so I can't speak to it, but the Model S is a fantastic car.

01:11:18   I don't see a lot of people coming in and competing well with the Model S on anything except price. I think on price there's huge room to compete and that's going to be a huge market. And that's honestly going to be challenging for the other car makers because batteries are very expensive and they're going to be expensive for them too.

01:11:38   They're expensive for Tesla and they're going to be expensive for them, so possibly more expensive for them. So it's going to be hard to compete on price maybe, but that is where a lot of the competition is going to happen that will actually succeed.

01:11:51   What most car makers don't realize, and even a lot of drivers and the press don't realize if they haven't owned a Tesla, is that just turning other cars into electric vehicles while that is nice and while that needs to happen for lots of reasons, that's not going to be that much of a competitor to Tesla necessarily.

01:12:11   Because Tesla's really nice in a lot of other ways. And if you are not willing to be as forward thinking and aggressive as Tesla in certain ways, like with the controls or the shapes of the cars or the styles or the way the cargo goes in, what it holds, how it can be configured, all the stuff that makes Tesla nice.

01:12:32   The remote control stuff from the app, the giant touch screen, all that stuff. And the problems I have with it, like Casey you mentioned my Bluetooth stack was barely usable. That's not true. My Bluetooth stack works fine, it just lacks key features and it doesn't have CarPlay.

01:12:50   And those are not insignificant. Ultimately I think the lack of CarPlay or Android Auto, they support neither of them, I think that will hurt them more than almost anything else any car company could do to them.

01:13:04   Because once people get accustomed to having CarPlay, they really don't want to go back to not having it. And there's no way with a Tesla to add it later.

01:13:13   So that I think, their incredible stubbornness to not adopt CarPlay, and at this point it's clearly a choice, it's not like oh we haven't gotten to it, it's definitely obviously a choice now.

01:13:25   That I think will cost them more customers than an electric 5 series would or anything like that.

01:13:32   Because the fact is that's the kind of stuff that will start mattering again. Once everyone has electric drive trains, it's going to come down to how nice is the rest of the car then? How nice does it drive? How well does it fit your needs with things like size and space and price and everything else.

01:13:46   Like that's all that's going to matter. With the exception of not having CarPlay, Tesla really is, they compete very well on all of those fronts. Way better than I think most people give them credit for who haven't owned one. Because they don't realize that it's about way more than the drive train.

01:14:02   So when people start competing now on basically just the drive train, I think they're going to have a harder time than they think.

01:14:08   Well that's not the only thing that people compete on though. To be fair to BMW, the set of decisions that Tesla has made appeals to a certain set of people who like Teslas and maybe own them.

01:14:18   Other car companies, particularly BMW, have at various times made equally unorthodox but different decisions about how to make an electric car. Take the stupid i3.

01:14:29   Very different decisions than Tesla and it sure isn't a BMW 3 Series made electric. It's just that those decisions apparently were not as appealing as Tesla made.

01:14:40   It's not a worse car, some people love the i3. But it's a different set of decisions. Because when you make an electric car you have so many more options. Because you don't have the internal combustion engine and all those parts. You can configure it in all sorts of different ways.

01:14:52   The decisions that Tesla made fit exactly what Barco was looking for. Huge car, tons of capacity, good for a big family, not an SUV. The i3 is a very different set of decisions.

01:15:03   You can make it way smaller because you don't have to have all that stuff in it. You can have lots of cargo capacity without a lot of hoe orangs. It's not really car shaped anymore but it's not a van.

01:15:12   Or let's take the i8, that's the other one. Another set of decisions. BMW's attempts at making electric cars were not taking his existing line of cars to do the drive train.

01:15:26   It's just that they made two totally different cars, neither one of which found the audience that Tesla's set of decisions made. So Tesla's cars are unorthodox but being unorthodox alone is not enough. But other car makers are willing to make unorthodox cars.

01:15:43   Nissan LEAF is an example. Some people love their Nissan LEAFs because the set of decisions it makes appeal to them. They don't want a gigantic Model S with all those things. They want a tiny little car that they use to commute and they would rather have a Nissan LEAF than the Model S.

01:15:56   So there is room for car companies to make different sets of decisions. All the other cars are basically changing out the drive train, not changing out, but making new cars from scratch that have nothing to share with the other ones. But that are basically like if you squint at them, "Oh that looks like the mid-sized SUV it's replacing."

01:16:14   It's like, "Well actually it's all new and it shares zero parts with the previous one." It's like, "But yeah, but you made similar decisions in terms of how big should it be, how many doors should it have, how should it be packaged, what is the user interface?"

01:16:23   And those are good decisions because those car companies already have customers who like all those decisions. They like this size SUV with these features. If you could give them that same thing that has a little bit more cargo room, is a little bit nicer and is totally silent and is electric, that's great for them to make.

01:16:41   But car companies are also making different unorthodox bets. It's just that Tesla is pot committed. They don't have any "normal cars." They only have ones that are made like Teslas. And that set of decisions thus far has been the most popular and unconventional approach to making cars.

01:17:00   It could be that some other company comes up with another unorthodox approach to making electric cars that is equally appealing. But in the meantime, merely replacing all the internal combustion engine cars with electric cars that are packaged in similar ways is a smart decision for the rest of the industry.

01:17:17   Because there are lots of people who like those packaging decisions. As much as we complain about how every single car is some kind of SUV thing, that's what everybody loves. That's what everybody buys. So it's almost like Tesla is kind of, other than the Model X, Tesla is a sideshow until they come up with their, what is the Model Y, the small SUV?

01:17:34   I believe so, yeah. But that's the whole industry now, is those SUVs. So while we sit over here saying how much we love the fact that Tesla makes a car and it's a great car, everyone else is like, "Car schmar." All they care about are these stupid SUVs. And that's what everybody is making.

01:17:49   So I feel like the real war is playing out elsewhere, and it could be that most people's taste is kind of conventional. And maybe Tesla fans will remain Tesla fans, but the whole rest of the world, just like with the internal combustion, the whole rest of the world will just be buying cars that we all find unappealing.

01:18:08   The other thing that occurs to me, and I'm a little bit ignorant because I've driven Teslas more than most non-owners, but I've not spent an overabundance of time with any Tesla. But the things that I remember thinking were incredibly novel back when the Model S was brand new, things like the big touchscreen, things like autopilot to some degree, and being able to control it with an app to unlock and unlock the car and start the AC and stuff like that.

01:18:37   To some degree, I am not trying to say it's apples to apples, but to some degree, I can do all that same stuff with Aaron's car. Aaron's car has some amount of autopilot. I am not saying it's as good. I'm just saying it's similar. I can start it from my phone. I can turn the AC on from my phone.

01:18:56   It has a big touchscreen in the center of it that a lot of the controls are on, which is in some ways bad and some ways great. So I think a lot of the novelty behind the Model S, and then the Model 3 just cranked that novelty up even higher because there's nothing but a touchscreen.

01:19:13   But a lot of that novelty is not as novel anymore because every other car manufacturer is catching up to those sorts of things. And I think there will, to both of your points, I think there will always be people who just prefer Tesla in the way in which they do things, and that's fine.

01:19:29   But I think the novelty of a Tesla, both in terms of being electric in the first place and in terms of having a big touchscreen with which you interact with this stuff, that I think is becoming ever more normal with each passing day.

01:19:42   And I think that that's going to be hard for Tesla to compete with when you can do so many of these novel things, maybe not exactly the same, maybe not quite as well, but close enough. You can do all these novel things in quote unquote regular cars.

01:19:55   I don't want to make a Windows Mac analogy, but there is a little bit of that in here. Windows is like, "See, we have all the same stuff as Macs have." But they didn't really, there's more to it than the checklist. There's a commitment, there's a design ethos, there's a sort of cleanliness and simplicity that, again, to be clear, I don't particularly like.

01:20:15   But people who like Teslas like it. And so even though you will go down the list of things, your Tesla can do that, Micar can do that, your Tesla can do that, Micar can do that, the experience of being in and living with a Tesla is still materially different.

01:20:26   And it's like trying to explain the difference between a Mac and Windows 95 back in 1995. It's the same thing, right? It's like, "No, it's not the same thing."

01:20:34   The differences are subtle and nuanced enough that it's difficult to explain it, but people who like Macs know that Windows 95 is no substitute, and people that don't care one way or the other are like, "I don't understand what you're on about. It's all the same thing and everyone runs Windows, therefore you suck."

01:20:49   So I don't think it's exactly the same thing, but it's close enough. And honestly, I feel like I could explain, like, think about all the things that you and I, Casey, are not a fan of in the Model 3. The extreme simplicity, the extreme simplicity, the concentrating everything onto a screen.

01:21:06   People like that. It's refreshing. In the same way that people like their, you know, junky little GM EV or their Prius or their Nissan Leaf. The things about those cars that are different, so different from other cars, is what appeals to and eventually hooks the people who fall in love with them.

01:21:24   Tesla has a, it's not an advantage, but it is a loyalty and a willingness, that's what I was saying about their willingness to go against the Orthodoxy. They heard defining their own Orthodoxy, but it is so different than everybody else. And everyone else's attempt to defy Orthodoxy has been less successful.

01:21:40   Equally daring, I would argue that the i3 is an even more unconventional car than the Tesla. It's just not quite as beloved. So, like, maybe try again, BMW.

01:21:50   And we should probably get back to Colin's actual question. So, Marco, what tech, 20 minutes later, what tech outside of Apple are you most happy with currently or perhaps excited about in the near future?

01:22:02   I'm gonna go, I mean, there's honestly quite a lot of it. I, too, thought about electric cars, which we've now talked about a lot. But the area that I immediately jumped to is audio gear. And to some extent, video gear, too. But just like the boom in podcasting and especially the boom in YouTube being like a huge industry has created enough demand for manufacturers to make really, really good and

01:22:31   fairly affordable audio and video gear for, that is just incredibly capable. And the world of audio in general, you know, both production and consumption, audio gear is really good now. Because to some degree, like all that stuff has to compete with phones, and so it has to be really good to even compete at all.

01:22:51   And of course, there's more competition for all these new markets and everything, podcasters, YouTubers. So, like, to give some examples, like, the world of audio interfaces, like the thing that you plug in microphones to and then you can plug it into a computer.

01:23:05   The audio interfaces are amazing now. You can get really, really great ones at all different prices with all different capabilities, you know, pro level gear for decent amounts of money. You can get fantastic microphones. Microphones don't change that often, but you can still get fantastic ones for not that much money.

01:23:22   You can get, you know, amazing headphones for both, you know, both for like, you know, enjoyment listening and for professional monitoring. You have Bluetooth now in all the, in a lot of the consumer headphones, you know, that you have tons of choices there.

01:23:37   Like, basically areas that you used to have either no choice or very little choice, you now have a lot of choice. The choices you have now are usually very good and you're just deciding between, you know, fairly personal factors that just matter to you.

01:23:52   You know, any kind of production gear is just really, really good these days and there's lots of great options out there. And, you know, there's some crap still to be sure, but like, you can get good stuff now at way more accessible prices than you used to be able to.

01:24:07   And it's just getting really good. Like, one of the things that in particular I'm looking forward to that isn't out yet is the Zoom F6 recorder, which is very, very promising looking as like a six input audio recorder that has this amazing property where you don't have to set gain because it records it all as float.

01:24:27   And so it can't clip. There's all sorts of amazing stuff like that coming out. You know, the sound devices has made amazing stuff with the mix pre-series at the kind of higher end of the consumer and prosumer line.

01:24:39   There's all sorts of great stuff and AV stuff. In the drone area too, like the drone area is a whole other thing. The stuff DJI is putting out there is amazing. Like what drones can do now for like $500 to $1000 is incredible.

01:24:57   So stuff like that. Anything that appeals to podcasters and YouTubers, that whole, the industry of that gear now is really, really good.

01:25:06   And I'd like to jump in there and I'm glad you brought up DJI because just yesterday, I think it was, they announced the Osmo Mobile 3. So this is the gimbal that you would put your smartphone inside of.

01:25:18   And it's $120 bucks and I have the Osmo Mobile 1 and I bought it like a few weeks before the Osmo Mobile 2 came out. This one is foldable in a way that the other ones were not.

01:25:30   So it's much more compact. It has many more features. And in a lot of ways, spending $120 on a gimbal for your iPhone is really, really stupid.

01:25:39   But holy cow, the stuff, the video you can get out of that when it's stabilized is amazing. See also GoPros. Like in so many ways, GoPros are such a waste of money because you can do 80% of the same stuff with your smartphone.

01:25:52   But having something that you can put in water or throw or on the outside of a car and be okay with it because it's probably going to survive if it falls off, that stuff is just incredible.

01:26:04   And to your point, the drones as well. So much of this is so, so cool and I'm glad you brought it up because I did not even think about it. It is incredibly impressive stuff.

01:26:14   And even on the listening side too, or like the consumption side, I don't care about TVs like Jon does, but on the audio side, headphones are amazing these days.

01:26:23   Headphone amps and other gear like that, music players, they're all super cheap and amazing these days.

01:26:29   We just live in a time with just an embarrassment of riches of how good AV gear is right now, both consuming and producing, and how accessible it has become to make really high quality stuff.

01:26:44   All right, Jon.

01:26:46   Oh, not to touch on cars again, but I reflect on this when I'm driving around. I'm really happy with my car. I reflect on it more because I think about whether there will be another car that has the same set of attributes.

01:26:59   Again, very inexpensive stick shift car. It's my favorite car I've ever owned, despite having the brake caliper thing that does not put it in top of class in terms of reliability.

01:27:11   It's still, in the grand scheme of things, a very reliable car, but it's great. It performs well, it handles well, it's incredibly roomy. It has more creature comforts than my past cars.

01:27:21   I like it better than my wife's more or less equivalent car just because of the minor details. Like, I like my cloth seats better than her leather seats.

01:27:28   I have a little bit more headroom because I think her power-seeking mechanism is a little bit bigger or whatever.

01:27:34   I like my shifter better than her shifter. These are basically identical cars. I like my trim better than hers. It just lets me know how much do I like this car.

01:27:41   I like it better than basically the same car two years later with different trim options.

01:27:46   And I certainly like it better than any other option that's out there that I can buy with the possible exception of the upcoming new Mazda 6 because the new Mazda 3 looks really good.

01:27:55   But anyway, I'm happy with my car and I'm planning on probably just plowing lots of money into it and keeping it runny for probably longer than I should because once it goes, what are my options going to be?

01:28:07   Hopefully Honda will still be making stick shifter cords. Hopefully they'll be in a generation that I like because I skipped a generation of cord that I didn't like.

01:28:14   So, you never know. So I'm very happy with my car right now.

01:28:17   Cameras that we've talked about on the past several shows, I feel like in Sony I've found a camera brand that is more closely aligned with my values than the other camera makers.

01:28:32   It's not like Apple if Apple made a camera because Apple cameras would be very different.

01:28:37   But what Sony is doing is treating cameras more like an electronics company where they are really pushing the boundaries as far as they can go. Kind of like it's the early days of the PC era.

01:28:48   It's like how fast can we make the CPU? How much can we crank this? How much storage? How much memory? Just try to do better. Why? What's the point?

01:28:55   It's like, just do it. That's what we're doing because we're computer makers and every year we try to make it faster, bigger, and better.

01:29:00   And sometimes they screw up and make cameras that overheat or whatever, but what it means is that they keep iterating. Like rather than taking many, many years and come up with the single next generation product that is a conservative evolution of the previous one, they just keep trying stuff.

01:29:15   Models, they're coming out much faster than other camera companies and they'll upgrade the electronics, they'll upgrade their software, they'll improve.

01:29:23   They're doing computational photography, not to the degree that Apple would certainly, but to a higher degree than their competitors. They're motion tracking, they're eye auto focus.

01:29:32   They are flexing in the areas that the other camera companies are not. So I'm happy to have found a fancy camera company whose values more closely aligned to my own than the other more traditional camera companies.

01:29:49   And this is just, you know, I've just got the one camera, but I'm thinking of upgrading whatever, but it does, when I look at the action in the camera industry, like all I'm interested in is what Sony is doing.

01:30:00   I look at what everyone else is doing, I look at Fuji cameras, I look at the Nikon, I look at the new Nikon mirrorless, I look at Canon, I look at all this stuff, but Sony is kind of my Tesla in terms of matching with my values.

01:30:11   Let's see, what else? Future stuff, I'm not going to list TV because I still feel like, I mean, I don't know. We're very far away from mini LED.

01:30:24   OLED still has a bunch of compromises. I saw a review recently, someone reviewing one of those reference monitors that Apple was talking about in its thing, right?

01:30:35   You know, $30,000, but it's LCD based, it's not OLED. And the pitch of the review was, if you spend 30 grand, you can get a tiny LCD that actually outperforms OLED.

01:30:47   And it uses very similar technology to the XDR display with multiple layers and like basically dynamic backlight gated by another, essentially another sort of monochrome LCD that controls the show through of the backlight.

01:31:01   It's pretty amazing. Granted, it's not TV sized. It's a tiny reference monitor. It's not a 65 inch thing. I think it was like, you know, 20 something or 32 inches or something.

01:31:10   It's not for watching TV, but it looks pretty amazing. And it just goes to show, it's got tons of fans in the back of it, just like Apple's display and everything.

01:31:17   But it just goes to show that there is, like OLED is not the be all end all. You can already see existing technologies that if you spend horrendous amounts of money can beat OLED.

01:31:28   And out in the future, mini LED that could potentially beat it. So that's, I'm actually going to not list TV. There's a negative answer.

01:31:37   And then what else am I happy with in the near future? No, I had something else that I think I've forgotten. That's why I should write these things down.

01:31:48   Anyway, we've gone on long enough, but those are my two answers. My current car, thumbs up, and my current and future potential cameras.

01:31:54   Tom Tubbs writes, do you use portrait orientation lock on your iPads and iPhones, and how do you deal with watching video?

01:32:01   I almost never use it on my iPad. I almost never turn it off on my iPhone. So my iPhone is almost always locked in portrait.

01:32:11   Good apps will let you, and I think Plex recently added this as well, will let you optionally force to landscape for video playback.

01:32:20   But in the case that an app doesn't support that, I will turn off the rotation lock long enough to watch a video and then usually turn it right back on when I'm done.

01:32:29   My iPhone is pretty much always locked to portrait and iPad. It's almost never. Marco, how do you handle this?

01:32:35   I tried for a while to portrait lock my phone. Never on an iPad. That seems less common of a need. But on the phone I tried it for a while and it drove me nuts because the fact is, the reason I want portrait lock is because almost all apps, almost all the time, I want to be locked to portrait.

01:33:00   But, on the phone, not on the iPad. But there's also a very common set of things that I do on my phone that I want to be able to go to landscape.

01:33:12   And those are consuming video and pictures and taking video and pictures in landscape, which is a pretty common thing, I think. And so whenever I am portrait locked, those things just get in the way too much.

01:33:31   So I end up not being portrait locked. Now, the history of iOS rotation on the API side has been very turbulent. They change the rotation API every two or three years with iOS.

01:33:45   And there's always lots of bugs related to it. And it's really hard to make an app that rotates most of the time, but not all the time. But I think what I ultimately want is, I want iOS to have APIs where you can have rotation lock on, but apps can specify certain views or certain modes that they will rotate anyway, even defeating rotation lock.

01:34:11   And that would be for things like camera apps or video playback apps. Because I think a lot of people want rotation lock on their phone much of the time, but still want to be able to take and watch landscape videos and photos.

01:34:26   So that's my wish, but until that wish is granted, and unless that wish is ever granted, I turn rotation lock off because it's just too annoying to have it on.

01:34:38   I turn rotation lock on and off at least once a day. And it's because I use my iPhone in a reclined position, laying down on my side, whether it's on my couch or on my bed at least once a day. And everything flips sideways if you don't lock it.

01:34:56   And so that's just like sort of mandatory time. And then there's the optional times like Margo's where you do want to actually rotate the thing. So during the day rotation lock is off, but I always end up turning it on.

01:35:08   If I'm laying on the couch or laying on the bed, or you know, waking up in the morning, one of those times I'll end up turning it on. And that is enough. That sort of once or 1.5 times a day is enough to make me wish for the return of hardware rotation lock.

01:35:23   I don't think it was ever on the phone, but it was on the iPad. I use it frequently enough that I really wish there was a hardware solution. Or like Margo said, a software solution where apps can decide on a per whatever basis.

01:35:34   But boy, like hardware buttons, as easy as it is to get to control center and hit that little icon, it's faster to not have to swipe on the screen and to just flip a little button.

01:35:46   So I don't expect that button to come back. I understand why they get rid of it. Like there's so many good reasons to get rid of it, but I do it enough that it's annoying to me. I wish there was an easier way to toggle it.

01:35:57   Oh, iPad. I don't really lock at all on my iPad for the most part. iPad annoys me is when I'm using it like just in normal ways, but it's in between being laying flat on the table and being vertical. Like it ends up tilting and the accelerometer is triggered.

01:36:16   And you're like, there's no way that you should be triggering. You don't notice that like you're tilting it a little bit. You know what I mean? Like iPads, I feel like rotate more freely because they're larger. And I hate it when that happens and it makes me consider locking it.

01:36:27   But I go back and forth from portrait to landscape on my iPad in one session a lot. Like, you know, because what do I do on my iPad? I'm watching if I'm watching Netflix or YouTube on landscape, if I'm reading Twitter, I am portrait.

01:36:39   But sometimes I'll read Twitter and landscape too and then have a second app with, you know, the split screen thing. And it's just, I'm always going back and forth. Like that's the beauty of the iPad for me. So I wouldn't lock the rotation there. But my phone laying on my side, I really wish I could lock and unlock easier.

01:36:54   Yeah, I agree. I really missed when the iPad lost that hardware button because I did used to use it. I had the hardware button set to rotation lock rather than mute. And I did used to use it fairly often at the time. But yeah, it's been a long time since that's been a thing.

01:37:12   All right. Finally, David Sparks, I believe the other David Sparks writes, "If I have never played any of them, in which order should I play the Zelda games? Release order? In-world chronological order? Order of descending quality? Should any be omitted? Is there some core set of must-plays and some set of stayaways?

01:37:29   Does your answer change if the gamer is a young child as opposed to an adult? And bonus question, and I actually have a couple thoughts about this. I've been thinking about exposing my son to video games chronologically so that he tries, for example, NES games first, then SNES, N64, GameCube, et cetera, before jumping to the Switch.

01:37:43   My idea is that he might enjoy the older games more if he hasn't been exposed to the shinier graphics of newer games. And he might better see how gameplay mechanics have evolved. What do you think about the merits of this idea?"

01:37:53   So a couple of quick points about this. First of all, it would be wrong of us not to point to the wonderful post by Andy Baio about doing exactly that with his son and walking his son through, I think they started with the Atari or something like that, something that predated even my video gaming and went all the way through modern games. It's a really good post, and despite the fact that it's on Medium, it's worth reading.

01:38:17   And also, just last week, in the last week, I decided I wanted to try to see what the world of emulation was like again on the Mac. And so I cracked open the app OpenEMU and fed it some backups that I had taken myself off of cartridges I had in the past.

01:38:39   And I was able to play some old video games, and Declan has been really into Mario Kart on the Switch these days. And so I thought, well, it would be really cool to show him the original Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo and then Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64.

01:38:58   And we did that, and we also played a handful of other games that I remembered fondly from my childhood. And interestingly, he hated and did not do well with anything that predated the Nintendo 64.

01:39:12   And the reason was, he could just not get his little mind, in the span of, you know, half an hour or an hour, he couldn't get his little mind around the D-pad. He was so used to using an analog stick, that was the only thing he knew.

01:39:24   And he just could not get his mind around how to use the D-pad, which I thought was really, really interesting and kind of funny. And again, I'm sure if I had compelled him to keep trying and stick with it, I'm sure he would have picked it up.

01:39:35   But it was so weird to me as a kid who grew up on the D-pad and then had to adjust to a joystick or an analog stick, it was so weird to me to see him so flummoxed by the D-pad, which I thought was really wild.

01:39:47   Obviously there's a lot of questions about Zelda here, which I think we should leave to Jon, but since you will probably also be fairly quick about this Marco, what are your thoughts about doing this chronologically, or do you have thoughts about Zelda?

01:39:57   I don't have that many thoughts about Zelda because I personally don't play Zelda games because it's just not my kind of game, but I recognize they are obviously very popular and very good, so I think this question should be answered.

01:40:20   And she went through and played with him a couple years ago now, all of the old Zelda games, NES first, then Super Nintendo, then N64. I don't think we got to the GameCube, I think we had to just watch that one on YouTube because we couldn't find a good way to emulate it, but otherwise the other ones we could do.

01:40:36   And he enjoyed watching all of them, however he has only played the most recent one, the Switch one, the Breath of the Wild. He's played that and really enjoyed playing that, but he hasn't played the old one, so I can't really say for sure, but he did really enjoy watching them.

01:40:54   Alright Jon, drop some knowledge on us.

01:40:57   So for the Zelda thing, for the presumably a Delta-asker of this question, which order should you play them in? Release order is the answer. That's generally the answer for any kind of media legacy, going back to read a book series or watch a bunch of movies. Any order that is not release order is worse because the later games were made with the knowledge of the previous games.

01:41:22   So in a later game, there could be a reference to a previous game or a joke based on something that happened in a previous game. That's the way they're meant to be viewed. It's the same thing with the Star Wars movies, they're like "oh, we'll reorder them, I'll watch the prequels first, setting aside that you should never watch the prequels period."

01:41:40   That's not the way they're meant to be consumed, and it's interesting to do that. That's a fun experiment. You can read a book series chronologically once they're all out, even though they're written in a different order. That can be a fun exercise.

01:41:52   But for a first, if you've never played them, for a first run through, you have to do them in release order. They're purposely built that way, they're meant to be consumed that way. You will enjoy them more that way because they'll make sense to you that way.

01:42:06   That's the way we all experience them. So release order is the answer to that question. It doesn't mean you have to start all the way at the beginning, it doesn't mean you have to play them all.

01:42:18   So I would say go in release order and skip the games that everyone agrees are bad, because they're just going to take a lot of time to play them. Or maybe just play the very best ones. It really doesn't matter with the Zelda series how many of them you play, you can just sort them by order of quality and then go through them in release order and pick a threshold of quality that you're going to skip over.

01:42:42   So I think that's probably the best strategy for an adult playing the games. My personal recommendation is to start with the 3D Zeldas, because I like 3D Zeldas better than the 2D Zeldas, because what Zelda is all about is exploration and discovery and blah blah blah.

01:42:56   And I feel like that experience is enhanced by being in a 3D world, even in a primitive 3D world, versus a 2D one. But the 2D games are great, and some people like 2D better than 3D, and there are things to recommend the 2D games that 3D games don't have, so it depends on what you're tasting.

01:43:10   There's a lot of Zelda games, so pace yourself.

01:43:12   And then for the child question, I have gone through this. Now the first thing I would say is be prepared for the possibility that your child will not be into video games.

01:43:24   Which may be heartbreaking for you because you want your child to like all the things that you do, but that's just a parent cliche.

01:43:30   Your kids are their own independent people, sometimes they don't like the same things as you, so you can't force it, you shouldn't force it.

01:43:35   Support your kid, whatever they want to do. If they don't like video games, that's fine. I have two kids, one of them likes video games way more than the other, that's just the way it is.

01:43:43   For exposing kids to games, there's... I understand, I read the NBA article and I took a similar approach with my kids, but here's the problem.

01:43:55   You have a small window of time. It's the window of time between when your child becomes interested in video games and is able to play them in any way, and the ending time is when they've been too exposed to the rest of the world to deal with your manipulations basically.

01:44:15   So the idea is, you do want to get them to play the games that they would not otherwise play. Eventually they get older and more jaded and there's no way they're going to be interested in your stupid old game.

01:44:30   That's going to happen eventually, so you want to get them before that, but the other danger is that... it's not a danger, but they may imprint on the game that means the most to them, and they end up not being the best ones.

01:44:46   So let's say, not the Zelda series in particular, let's say you throw them at the Atari 2600 game because you're trying to do them in chronological order, and that's the game they imprint on and it's a garbage game. So now you've made their sentimental favorite game a bad game.

01:45:01   I think it's better to make their sentimental favorite game also happen to be a great game. So it's a good idea to just expose them to great games. It is a good idea to show them the more primitive ones first, because eventually they will be jaded and will turn up their nose at Atari 2600 graphics or whatever.

01:45:16   Because how could they not? They're so incredibly primitive. But what I was always going for was A. Get them to play it before they're disgusted by it, but B. Get them to experience a tiny massively condensed version of the thing that I got to experience in lots of people of my generation and the generation near there.

01:45:33   In our collective childhoods, there was this incredible accelerated advance of technology. We went from when I was born, personal computers not being a thing, period, to where we are today.

01:45:47   There was this run-up of whether it's game consoles or the PC space where things just got so much better from year to year. By the way, I finally remember the second technology I was excited about. I'll get to it in a second.

01:45:58   So much better. And part of the experience from year to year was being dazzled by the amazing thing that we can do next year that we couldn't do the previous year.

01:46:10   And that doesn't happen as much anymore because pace of change has slowed massively.

01:46:14   We went from nothing to colored blobs on the screen to barely legible 2D graphics to nicer

01:46:24   2D graphics to barely legible 3D graphics to nicer 3D graphics to amazing 3D graphics.

01:46:29   You can bring your kid through that and give them a tiny, tiny compressed version of the

01:46:35   sense of wonder of like, "I can't even believe that games can do this thing."

01:46:40   And they're never going to think that about Star Fox on the SNES.

01:46:46   They're never going to think that if they've seen a modern game because they'd be like,

01:46:50   "What is this junk?"

01:46:51   But if all they've ever seen is 2D side-scrolling Mario and they see Star Fox on the SNES, they

01:46:59   will be amazed by it as long as they've been sheltered enough not to understand what's

01:47:02   out there.

01:47:03   That gets harder and harder over time, obviously.

01:47:05   And you can't really do maybe that same ramp, but for the Zelda games in particular, if

01:47:09   you just do the 3Ds, if you let them play like Ocarina and they've never seen a 3D

01:47:16   game before, it's perfectly enjoyable and they'll love it and it's a great, fun

01:47:19   game.

01:47:20   And you'll have to help them with it because it's kind of difficult if you get them really

01:47:21   young.

01:47:22   And then when they see Wind Waker, they'll be surprised and charmed by it.

01:47:26   And then when they see Twilight Princess, they'll be like, "It's like Ocarina, but

01:47:29   10 times nicer."

01:47:30   And then you save Breath of the Wild to the last.

01:47:33   This is the key thing because it's such a change in strategy to going to open world

01:47:37   that if you let them play Breath of the Wild first, they'll never want to play a more

01:47:41   constrained game probably.

01:47:44   So my answer to this is basically release order, skip a bunch of games, get in as early

01:47:50   as you can, compress the timeline as much as you can, be aware that eventually once

01:47:54   they see the outside world, if you let them play iOS games with amazing graphics, they're

01:47:59   not going to choke down Mario 64.

01:48:02   Or maybe they will to humor you.

01:48:04   But it's kind of cruel to shelter them in that way.

01:48:10   And I feel like you can give them that experience of unfolding sense of wonder in a six-month

01:48:19   to a year-and-a-half period if you strike at the right time and if you constrain their

01:48:24   media consumption sufficiently such that they don't know what's out there in the world.

01:48:29   Oh, and my other technology thing that I'm excited about, game consoles.

01:48:34   But I'm not going to say more about it today.

01:48:35   I think I still have the PS5 somewhere down at the top because I do actually want to talk

01:48:38   about that in a future show, but we're going a little bit long.

01:48:41   So I'll save it.

01:48:42   Thanks to our sponsors this week, Linode, Casper, and Mack Weldon.

01:48:59   And I'll see you in the next one.

01:49:27   So

01:49:52   Marco, there's been some news from your past this week that just came out.

01:49:57   So Tumblr is not worth as much as it used to be.

01:50:02   Yeah, so this...

01:50:06   It's really hard for me to talk about whatever is going on with Tumblr these days.

01:50:12   Because of my history with it, people assume that I know a lot more about it than I really

01:50:17   do.

01:50:18   And I don't want...

01:50:19   Like, you know how occasionally Woz will give some asinine quote to the press about Apple

01:50:24   and he just kind of embarrasses himself and it's kind of painful to see?

01:50:28   I don't want to do that for Tumblr.

01:50:31   And so the news came out over the last couple days that Tumblr first...

01:50:37   Yahoo bought it five years ago or so.

01:50:40   Yahoo kind of collapsed and was kind of pieced out and sold off to various people.

01:50:45   And Tumblr was basically sold through to a bunch of different weird corporate entities.

01:50:50   It ended up in Verizon's hands as part of, you know, Verizon like buying a bunch of scraps

01:50:55   from Yahoo basically.

01:50:57   And I think whatever Verizon had in mind for what they were going to do with this new initiative

01:51:01   of buying these web properties, I think they might have changed direction or something.

01:51:04   I don't know, whatever happened, they decided they didn't want it anymore and so they...

01:51:09   It was just announced that they are selling Tumblr to the company behind WordPress, which

01:51:14   is automatic.

01:51:15   And I want to be precise, it's the company behind WordPress.com, not the WordPress open

01:51:19   source project because that has apparently a different ownership structure and they care

01:51:24   very much about getting that right.

01:51:25   Anyway, so automatic, the company behind WordPress.com, among other things, including Kees' favorite,

01:51:31   Gravatar, is they have bought Tumblr for...

01:51:37   They didn't confirm the price yet, but the reports are suggesting that it was less than

01:51:42   three million dollars, which is nothing for a company like that.

01:51:47   And so there's been all sorts of news articles about it and reporting about it saying like,

01:51:51   "Oh, I can't believe how much value they lost and now it's worth nothing.

01:51:54   Now I look at this house in Silicon Valley that's worth more than it or this special

01:51:59   fish that sold at a Japanese auction or whatever."

01:52:02   And I recognize that coming from somebody who has a podcast every week where I discuss

01:52:10   my thoughts on other happenings in the industry, it's kind of rich for me to say this, but

01:52:16   as I have seen the kind of reporting coming out about this, it has really illustrated

01:52:23   quite how little people understand about how stuff like this works when they comment about

01:52:28   it.

01:52:29   And let me preface this by saying, my knowledge of Tumblr is completely useless now.

01:52:36   I know nothing more about Tumblr than anybody listening does because I left Tumblr in 2010.

01:52:46   Those people who used Tumblr today probably weren't even using it when I left.

01:52:50   So my knowledge of this is not insider knowledge.

01:52:53   It is not anything about my past.

01:52:57   It is simply being around the web a lot and seeing these kind of companies come and go.

01:53:02   The fact is it's really hard to judge what a company is worth over such a long time span

01:53:10   when things change.

01:53:11   It's complicated.

01:53:12   I bet the purchase price was artificially low in part because they have a bunch of employees

01:53:18   and costs.

01:53:19   And so, you know, Automattic is going to take on a lot of these costs.

01:53:24   I don't think you can read too much into it.

01:53:26   People are trying really hard.

01:53:28   I don't think there's much there to be read into.

01:53:34   Everybody has their own pet complaint about Tumblr.

01:53:38   Everyone thinks that the part of a social network like this that they see is the whole

01:53:43   thing or is most of it.

01:53:45   That was true when I worked there.

01:53:47   It's true now.

01:53:48   And we say the same thing about Twitter.

01:53:50   You say people say the same thing about places.

01:53:52   People will say, you know, New York is all about finance culture.

01:53:55   And it's not.

01:53:56   New York is a massive state, first of all.

01:53:59   And if you're talking about the city, it's a massive city.

01:54:02   And there's tons of industries and communities and types of people in this large place full

01:54:09   of tons of people that you can't say like, oh, New Yorkers are all mad today.

01:54:13   Or, wow, New York is all about, you know, industry X.

01:54:16   Because it's just not.

01:54:17   It's too big for that.

01:54:18   There's like, if you focus on just that thing, it seems like it may be to you it might seem

01:54:21   like it's all about that thing, but it's not.

01:54:23   And everyone has this about social networks, too.

01:54:25   And Tumblr was no exception to that.

01:54:27   Everyone thinks that whatever part of Tumblr they follow and they focus on is all of Tumblr.

01:54:34   And it's a really big site.

01:54:35   It really isn't.

01:54:37   There's always been a lot more to any given social network than one community.

01:54:43   It's way bigger than that.

01:54:45   And so people have speculated all sorts of bad takes about like, this was about the porn

01:54:50   ban, or this was about drama, or whatever.

01:54:53   People have all sorts of guesses.

01:54:54   All of those things, while they might be big to a community, they might be very important

01:55:00   issues to a community.

01:55:02   No service like Tumblr is just one community.

01:55:06   It's way bigger than that.

01:55:07   So I would say, you know, as you're formulating your thoughts about this, if listeners, if

01:55:12   you have, keep in mind these things are really big and really complicated.

01:55:17   And the story is not probably anything simple.

01:55:21   Also, I did want to take this opportunity to say in public something I don't think I've

01:55:25   said anywhere before.

01:55:28   I think Marissa Meyer did a pretty good job.

01:55:32   And I recognize I profited handsomely from Marissa Meyer's job that she did.

01:55:37   So I'm biased here to some degree.

01:55:41   But she was brought on, like she was, I forget what she was, but she was some kind of high-ranking

01:55:46   executive at Google.

01:55:48   And she was hired away by Yahoo to be their CEO.

01:55:51   And she was brought in to a company that was struggling.

01:55:54   Yahoo was struggling to find relevance and growth.

01:55:58   They brought her on to basically an impossible job.

01:56:03   You know, Yahoo had, if you look at the parade of leadership they had before her, clearly

01:56:09   this was a tough position.

01:56:11   To be put in charge of this company, it was a very tough position to be put in.

01:56:14   It was a huge challenge.

01:56:16   That's probably why she took it, because she wanted a big challenge.

01:56:20   And yeah, she paid a lot for Tumblr because at the time Tumblr was both very valuable.

01:56:26   And also Yahoo really needed things like Tumblr.

01:56:30   They really needed more growth, more relevance to more younger people especially.

01:56:36   They needed that.

01:56:38   And she took a big risk in an impossible job.

01:56:41   And it worked for a while.

01:56:42   And eventually, you know, it wasn't enough to save the company.

01:56:46   The company ended up falling apart anyway.

01:56:49   But I don't blame that on her.

01:56:50   I don't think this was her big flop or anything.

01:56:53   I've seen a bunch of weird bad takes about it.

01:56:55   I think she took on a really hard challenge and it didn't quite work out.

01:56:59   But I don't think she did a bad job.

01:57:01   Given the conditions that she was in and what her options were, I think she did a pretty

01:57:07   good job honestly.

01:57:09   But again, I'm saying all this really from the position of an observer mostly because

01:57:15   that entire sale and the entire time that Yahoo owned it was all years after I left.

01:57:22   Again, I left in 2010.

01:57:24   So this is, you know, I don't know how the company was to work for or anything like that.

01:57:29   But I think in retrospect, she's getting a bad rap for this, especially this week with

01:57:33   the loss of value between the two prices.

01:57:36   But I think honestly, I think she did a pretty good job in the situation that, you know,

01:57:41   in the situation she was in and in the challenge that she took on.

01:57:44   I sure wouldn't have done any better.

01:57:46   Like if I was running Yahoo at the time, I wouldn't have done anything better.

01:57:49   Like I had no better ideas, you know, and I don't think most people who criticize her

01:57:53   right now would have any better ideas either.

01:57:55   I think given the same situation, I think people would have maybe done a lot of the

01:57:59   same things.

01:58:00   So anyway, I am really curious to see now what Automattic does with Tumblr because Automattic

01:58:08   is a pretty good company.

01:58:09   They're pretty well run.

01:58:11   The people behind it like, you know, Matt Mullenweg.

01:58:13   And by the way, he did a great interview on the Vergecast, I think today or yesterday

01:58:17   this week.

01:58:18   I'll put a link to it in the show notes.

01:58:19   It was very good.

01:58:22   I'm really curious to see what they do to it because one of the things that makes Automattic

01:58:28   unique as an owner is they're super into the open web, you know, the whole thing with WordPress.

01:58:34   Obviously, that's a huge role in the open web.

01:58:37   And they are not an advertising-based company.

01:58:42   And Matt said this much in the interview and he said he's made a few remarks here and there

01:58:45   in various interviews.

01:58:47   It seems like one of the main areas that they're going to seek to monetize Tumblr or to fund

01:58:52   Tumblr even is going to be via just payment from people like upgrades to certain premium

01:58:58   plans or facilitating commerce on the platform like kind of like what Patreon does or other

01:59:05   types of shopping commerce and like taking the cut of it, you know, stuff like that.

01:59:09   And that's really interesting to me because one of the things that if you look at the

01:59:14   history of how all this stuff played out, Tumblr was one of the companies kind of like

01:59:18   Facebook that really got caught off guard by the rise of mobile and apps.

01:59:24   You know, Tumblr had a very similar problem to Facebook at a very similar time which is

01:59:28   like apps were becoming a really big thing as they had this massive like, you know, computer

01:59:35   desktop web-based service.

01:59:38   And the entire interface for the service was like it was a web app that didn't translate

01:59:42   well to mobile initially.

01:59:44   And everything, the whole service was all about that web app.

01:59:48   And eventually Tumblr, you know, through various trials and, you know, revisions, they did

01:59:54   become a kind of mobile first company.

01:59:56   But it took a while because they had that legacy.

01:59:58   Again, Facebook had the exact same problem and had similar challenges.

02:00:02   And I think handled it about as well.

02:00:04   I think if Tumblr didn't have that baggage at that time, Tumblr I think could have been

02:00:11   what Instagram is now.

02:00:14   And I mean that in a good way.

02:00:16   Like there's some parts of Instagram that are bad but I think ultimately Tumblr could

02:00:21   have been Instagram if things had played out differently and if timing was different and

02:00:25   if some, you know, certain different things happened.

02:00:27   But you know, obviously in retrospect or in hindsight it's hard to really say.

02:00:32   What if Tumblr becomes kind of like Instagram now but without the ads?

02:00:39   Bear with me here.

02:00:40   So like I had this all earlier when I was walking around, I was walking my dog and listening

02:00:44   to the Matt Mullenbeck interview on the Vergecast.

02:00:46   But like Tumblr kind of reimagined for today I think would look and work a lot like Instagram.

02:00:57   But with automatic funding it and running it and figuring out ways to make it profitable,

02:01:05   ads aren't their forte.

02:01:07   And ads on Tumblr were never really like that great.

02:01:11   I don't know any Tumblr users who love the ads.

02:01:15   And so what if they just fund it in other ways whether it's by direct payment or facilitating

02:01:21   commerce or whatever.

02:01:23   And what if Tumblr could become Instagram without the ads basically?

02:01:28   But you know, and with some other stuff too, you know, with the short text types and the

02:01:32   quotes and links and everything else.

02:01:34   'Cause I love Instagram.

02:01:36   I use Instagram probably more than other social networks now.

02:01:40   And I really love a lot about it.

02:01:42   But man is the advertising getting really heavy handed.

02:01:46   And it's like, it's really starting to, I mean it's always been annoying like as

02:01:49   soon as they turn on ads for my account it's been annoying.

02:01:51   But like it's getting more and more shameless and more and more of the people on Instagram

02:01:56   are becoming ads themselves.

02:01:59   More and more of the people I follow are becoming influencers.

02:02:03   - You mean the dogs you follow.

02:02:05   - More and more of the dogs I follow are becoming like pro influencers.

02:02:08   And it's like every third post is like, we like this dog food.

02:02:12   And you're like, the dog's sitting next to this big bag of dog food.

02:02:15   And it's like, you know, they don't even say it's an ad but you know it's an ad.

02:02:17   And like it's just, it's turning into that.

02:02:21   And I feel like that's, I'm seeing a whole lot more of that on Instagram than I was two

02:02:27   years ago.

02:02:28   And they seem to have like turned up the ad load to like maximum to the point where I'm

02:02:34   seeing an ad about every three posts now.

02:02:36   And stories are about the same too.

02:02:38   And so maybe the role, maybe a role that Tumblr could take, again I'm saying there's no

02:02:44   information and no experience at all really that would be relevant to this.

02:02:49   But maybe a role they could take now would be an ad free Instagram.

02:02:54   Wouldn't that be kind of cool?

02:02:57   - It would be way more than kind of cool, Marco.

02:02:59   It would be amazing.

02:03:00   Oh, that would be so cool.

02:03:03   - Anyway, that's all I got.

02:03:05   I hope I don't get in trouble for any of this.

02:03:08   - And what are they gonna do, fire you?

02:03:10   [beeping]

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