315: 1.0 Was Just Speed


00:00:00   I heard an interview with Jon Hamm. Marco, do you know who that is? Yeah, Mad Men. Yeah, Don Draper. Yeah. Yay! Good.

00:00:07   And that's how I learned that he was going to be in the sequel to Top Gun. Oh my. And... And it's like... Wait, they're making it into Top Gun? Yes. Did you ever see Top Gun? I hate that I'm saying it like Top Gear because of Casey. Yeah.

00:00:21   I've seen like bits and pieces. I don't know if I've actually sat through the whole thing. Alright, that's a no. That's fine. Sorry. I thought there was a chance. You knew who Jon Hamm was. I was like, "This is it. This is going to be Marco's day. He's going to have seen a movie." He's going to have seen like an incredibly popular, influential movie that everyone has seen, but no.

00:00:41   Oh, I had a movie-related accomplishment last night. Well, I don't know. Maybe accomplishment is too strong a word. Did you watch The Godfather? No, I saw that a long time ago. Although I never saw two or three. I know, don't see three, but see two. Anyway.

00:00:55   Last night, for the first time ever, a movie that I searched for via Siri and the Apple TV was available to watch for free on Amazon Prime Video. Oh, look at you. That's awesome. It's the first time that's ever happened. Unfortunately, it was a terrible movie.

00:01:15   Ryan Jones wrote in to point out that the existing 15-inch laptop is actually 15.4 inches, which means that the mythical 16-inch laptop that we had talked about last week would be between six-tenths of an inch and 1.1 inches bigger than what we have today, which is really not that much.

00:01:37   I think Ryan was making this point in the context of, would that be a completely different thing, this mythical 16-inch laptop, or would that be just slotted in as a replacement for the 15?

00:01:47   Yep, this was an important point. I'm sorry if we missed it in the chat room. I assume someone in the chat room made this point, but I didn't see it and we didn't bring it up. And that's a big difference. That half-inch is a big difference, or that almost half-inch is a big difference. Someone else did a calculation of saying basically, if the bezels were the same size as the iPad Pro, if you assume you have to have some bezel, otherwise the screen's going to shatter. If you put those size bezels on it, you could fit a 16.21-inch screen into the existing "15-inch case."

00:02:14   So now I'm back to Marco's side of believing. If it's like a 16-inch screen, they can fit it in. They don't need to make the laptop bigger. If it's 16.5, it won't fit. They'll have to make it bigger, and then I start to wonder if you're pressing up against a different size class. But it's way closer than I thought it was, so maybe that's what they're doing. Especially since the rumor wasn't like, "We know exactly the screen size." They waffled it. It was like, "Well, it's 16 to 16.5-inch," which I don't know what that means, but if it's 16-inch, it'll definitely fit.

00:02:41   I would also say if they do end up making it a little bit bigger, it's the 15-inch. No one is buying the 15-inch because it's small. People are buying the 15-inch because they want the biggest screen possible and the most power possible.

00:02:56   I understand. I wouldn't recommend that they make a change that would increase the size of, say, the 12-inch because the whole point of that is to be as small as possible. But if the largest laptop in the lineup gets a half-inch larger, like case-wise, I don't think anyone's really going to care because people who care that much about minor size differences are not buying that model to begin with.

00:03:20   Of course, if they make it any bigger, and I would argue at its current size, it just makes the keyboard more ridiculous-looking. It just makes this tiny keyboard floating in the middle of this expansive metal look ridiculous. There's so much more room for keys.

00:03:34   But baby stuff is to get keys that work reliably first, and then maybe we can talk to them. Maybe they can do both at once. You know what? I don't think it's too big. They can do both at once. There's room for more keys. You can put a real inverted T. You could put function keys and home and end in there. You could do all sorts of things.

00:03:47   But no. Uniformity wins out above all. So we'll see. Maybe we'll be shocked. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that? They made new laptops with a new reliable keyboard with native resolution with more ports on them, and the big one had a bigger keyboard. We would all die from shock.

00:04:02   Inverted T, please?

00:04:03   Yeah, that's never going to happen, but we would just die from shock if they basically did what every other large PC-style laptop does. We have to pick from that menu, and I guess what we're all picking is reliable keyboard, bigger screen, maybe with better res.

00:04:22   I'm not even asking for what the PC makers do with their keyboards. A lot of them will have numpads on the side because they'll be really huge aircraft carrier-sized laptops. I'm not even asking for that. All I want is what they used to do, which is keyboards that worked.

00:04:40   A forward delete button.

00:04:42   Yeah, a little home and end shoved in the corner.

00:04:45   So you don't have to hit like a FN, right and left arrow, and FN delete for forward delete.

00:04:50   I'm not even asking for that. No one's asking for that except you. All we want is just reliable keyboards like you used to make.

00:04:56   If they actually made it a half an inch bigger, it just looks so ridiculous to have the same keyboard that's in the 12-inch be floating there in the middle of the 15-inch.

00:05:05   I think it would basically be the size of the old one, like the footprint of the old one just thinner. That's roughly what it would be at these sizes. Again, I don't think we're asking for a lot here, and if that model gets bigger and the other ones mostly don't, that's fine.

00:05:22   No one with the 15-inch is saying, "You know what? My biggest problem with this laptop is that it's a quarter inch too wide or too narrow." That doesn't matter at all for that model.

00:05:33   Yeah, I don't know. I have conflicting opinions about this. I rocked 15-inch machines for the last, I don't know, six years of my old professional career.

00:05:45   I liked that size a lot until I didn't like it anymore. It is big. I don't know how those people did 17s. I know they loved them, but I don't know how they did it.

00:05:55   I don't know. We'll see what happens. I suspect that this is a real thing, though, and we'll see more about this at some point or another.

00:06:03   God, I can't wait. I can't wait. Even though I don't use a laptop full-time, I'm so excited and nervous about whatever the next laptop is, because the stakes are so high to me.

00:06:18   For three years now, we've had really compromised, controversial, unreliable laptops. We know that A) the status quo is bad, B) we hear rumblings now that something new is going to come out soon,

00:06:37   and C) we know that if Apple takes a direction that we don't like, it takes three to five years for them to change that direction. The stakes are pretty high on these.

00:06:48   It does seem like they're getting a lot better at designing new Macs in the last couple of years. See the iMac Pro and the Mac Mini.

00:06:58   It seems like they're lined up to do something really great here, but I also don't want to get my hopes up because it's still Apple and they still only ever give me about two-thirds of what I actually want at best.

00:07:10   I'm nervous, but I'm fundamentally excited and a little bit optimistic that I think this time they're going to get it a lot more right than they did last time.

00:07:21   We'll see what happens. We have talked on and off in the past about how there's a real lack of USB-C hubs and things of that nature, but one of you has discovered there's not one but two bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 hubs. I know that is not exactly the same as USB-C.

00:07:39   Last episode I won this rant about how very few USB-C hubs are actually Thunderbolt certified and are Thunderbolt hubs. They're almost all USB-C things that are like $40-$100 and they have the USB and USB-A and card readers and network and HDMI ports on them.

00:07:59   Almost everyone I know who has a USB-C MacBook of some kind has at least one of these multi-port dongle things and they're all unreliable pieces of garbage. What I've been told is that Thunderbolt certified things are way more reliable.

00:08:12   Last episode I said as far as I could tell there weren't any Thunderbolt 3 hubs that were portable and powered by the port itself like all these little USB-C things that we all use.

00:08:23   Every other one I could find that was actually Thunderbolt certified was a desktop hub that required external power, was much bigger, usually in the $300 range.

00:08:33   I was saying does anybody make anything that is small, that is bus powered, but is Thunderbolt instead of USB-C?

00:08:40   It turns out I was able to find at least three different companies selling what appears to be the same thing just with very minor branding and port configuration differences. Elgato sells it, so does CalDigit, and there was one other one I forget that I was able to find.

00:08:56   They're all about $100 and the reason you can tell that I think it's the same thing being sold by three or four different brands is they all have the exact same port configuration and it's slightly odd. It is two either DisplayPort or HDMI ports, one USB-A port, and Ethernet.

00:09:16   It's kind of a weird combination that I don't think a lot of people need. Some of them have both of them as DisplayPort, some of them have both of them as HDMI, and some of them have one DisplayPort, one HDMI on those two, and then it's always one USB port and one Ethernet port.

00:09:33   So I'm glad this exists. This is the kind of thing I'm looking for. Not a very mainstream port configuration and not one that I would really use, but there should be more of these. There should be more things like this.

00:09:47   And I don't know if this one's actually reliable or not. I don't have one, but to get Thunderbolt certification requires quite a large degree of testing from either Intel or Apple. It bodes well for the quality of the product if it actually has that certification compared to the USB hubs, which I think anybody can just tape some metal together and call it USB and that's it.

00:10:08   So please don't email us about that. I know there's probably some kind of certification. I don't care. The results speak for themselves. Anyway, so I'm glad these exist. I hope there are more of them soon because this appears to be the only one and it's not very useful.

00:10:21   So Marco, did you order any of these or you're not really interested? Well, I would only use probably the USB port. I even stopped bringing any kind of wired Ethernet adapters with me on trips and stuff with my laptop because I haven't actually needed wired Ethernet on a trip probably for three or four years at least.

00:10:41   And what I really need out of my USB-C dongles is USB-A ports and card readers. And that's why almost every one of the USB-C dongles out there has those things in it. So we'll see. Again, I hope more Thunderbolt certified docks and hubs come out soon because they are supposed to be way more reliable and way higher quality than the USB-C ones. And we desperately need that in this ecosystem.

00:11:07   So speaking of the confusion between USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, there are a lot of very perturbed nerds about what's been going on with USB 3.2. And I have tried very hard, gentlemen, to summon up a little bit of interest in this. And I just really don't care. So John, tell me about this.

00:11:26   This is just based on last episode. I forget how it came over. We were talking about the USB standard and how they had all sorts of wacky names. What was the context of this? I don't remember. I don't.

00:11:37   I think it was something else that had weird names. And I think I said it's kind of like USB when they had those very confusing names when they made the bus faster. And what I was referring to was the, I don't know how many years ago now, USB standards starting from 1.0 and up from there. So they were, oh, I know what it was. It was HDMI cables we were talking about.

00:11:56   HDMI has like, they have these marketing names, but they also have spec version numbers, but you can't buy a cable based on a spec version number because the spec version number contains a bunch of different parts that you don't have to have went to all of. So, you know, anyway, it was very confusing.

00:12:10   And the names that I was thinking of are when they, when USB went above 1.0 and eventually had version 1.1 and 2 and 3, they had marketing names for the different speeds and they were called, and I'm not going to put them in any particular order, so you can just try to figure out which one was, you know, fast, medium, slow.

00:12:27   They were called high speed, super speed, and full speed. And if you're keeping track, super speed is one word and both high speed and full speed are two words. So which one of those is the fastest?

00:12:41   Hmm. All right. So I already know what 3.0 is. Is one of those 1.1? Because 1.1 was like, 1.0 was almost nowhere. Like almost nothing ever used USB 1.0.

00:12:52   1.0 was just speed.

00:12:54   Okay. So did 1.1, because 1.1 was the one that actually was in most computers in the early days of USB. And then, so I'm going to guess 2.0 is, wait, what was the first one? Fast?

00:13:07   Full speed, high speed, and super speed.

00:13:12   All right. So I'm going to say 2.0 was high speed.

00:13:16   Yeah. What about the other two?

00:13:18   I know 3.0 is super speed.

00:13:20   Yeah.

00:13:21   So I guess 1.0 is full speed or 1.1?

00:13:23   1.1, yeah. And so anyway, they're dumb names because like I think they would be fine if it was just high and super, because you could reasonably expect to understand that super is better than high. But full makes it sound like all the other ones are partial.

00:13:38   And so if you want full speed, you should obviously get, but this full speed is the slowest one. Anyway.

00:13:44   Yeah, because like 1.0 is like beta speed. The break-in period speed.

00:13:48   Yeah. That's what I was referring to with the confusing HDMI naming, because they have like ultra-mega high bandwidth, whatever the hell they're called.

00:13:55   But since last episode, there's been people passing around the new USB standards where the same brilliant people who came up with super speed, high speed, and full speed have renamed and remapped a bunch of stuff to be even more confusing.

00:14:09   They have made one improvement. They basically renamed everything to be super speed followed by a stat like super speed 10 gigabits per second, super speed 20, super speed 50, which is like, okay, well, there's numbers and they're all called super speed.

00:14:21   So we can forget about high and full and just relegate them to the dustbin of history. But then they renumbered a bunch of stuff. So like everything is within 3.2 spec.

00:14:30   And then there's the, anyway, it's very confusing and I want to go into all the details. But the key points of this is that the USB, whatever they are, that consortium that sets those standards, it's the USB IF, I forget what IF stands for, continues to be very bad at branding their standards.

00:14:47   There are reasons for it. It's not like, oh, they're just super bad at their jobs. Kind of like the connector where I argued they actually just were. It's as simple as that. They're just bad at their jobs. Back in hyper-h

00:14:57   about that. But there are reasons to rebrand and renumber things. They are trying to make it a bit more sensible, but it is helpful for vendors to be able to say all our new PCs have USB 3.2 ports, some of which support a USB 3.2, super speed 2x2, 10 gigabits, blah, blah, blah.

00:15:16   You can go into more esoteric detail, but you get to rebrand all your ports and they get to update the standard to say all your things have to be USB 3.2. They can operate at a slower speed, but they have to comply with all the other criteria that we standardized for 3.2 so they're better behaved citizens of the ecosystem.

00:15:35   Just before our showtime, we got a 1,000 word email trying to explain to us how these standards aren't actually as confusing as people are saying they are, and I think that speaks for itself.

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00:17:55   [Music]

00:17:58   Arash writes in, this is slightly long but I think it's worth getting the whole thing because it's just preposterous. This is with the context of your Apple ID woes, John, and how ridiculous Apple ID is.

00:18:10   Arash writes, "I recently moved from Canada to the US for work. I figured I would change my Apple ID region. I went in settings and tried to change it but it told me that I have to cancel my Apple music subscription before I can do it.

00:18:21   I cancelled it but I kept saying the same thing. So I called Apple and after staying on the line for a bit someone answered and he or she explained everything and then the Apple person said there's nothing that they can do.

00:18:31   So the Apple person checked with the next level support and apparently they can cancel Apple music early. However, the Apple person told Arash that they have to cancel another subscription as well.

00:18:42   So Arash looked and it turns out that they had one subscription for an app which was 99 cents a year. Well, they cancelled that but apparently that subscription was valid for another six months.

00:18:54   And so according to the Apple person, there's nothing they can do about it and that Arash has to wait six months until the subscription runs out before he or she can change their region for their Apple ID.

00:19:10   And so Arash continues to write, "I confirmed with disbelief that it's in fact correct and she, the Apple person, confirmed and suggested that I create a new Apple ID until that expires. So to recap," says Arash, "I have to wait six months for a 99 cent a year subscription to end before I can change my Apple ID region."

00:19:27   Just well done guys. Well done Apple. This is clearly without fault.

00:19:32   Yeah, because with Apple subscriptions, when you cancel them, they don't end immediately. They end at the end of whatever you paid until because you prepay for all subscriptions.

00:19:42   So if it's a dollar a year, when you say subscribe, you pay that dollar right then and then one year later, it auto-renews unless in the meantime you have "cancelled it."

00:19:53   But what cancelling means is just telling it not to renew at the end of its period. So you can cancel it a day later, but you will have that subscription active for 364 more days, at which point it will just not renew and at that point it will stop.

00:20:11   So I didn't realize quite how deep this went, but yeah, apparently this goes into their billing systems such that you can't move an Apple ID with any active subscriptions and god, I hope they fix that because now that they're pushing so hard into subscriptions as a more mainstream monetization method for apps and they're really promoting it hard in many different ways, stuff like that has to catch up.

00:20:36   I hope this is a problem that gets solved in their backend because stuff like that makes it feel like their backend is running DOS. What year is this?

00:20:45   Their backend is running a music store, that's why it's running. That's why their entire backend is so screwed up because at the time the iTunes Music Store was created, and still to this day for lots of media, there is region locking and region specificity and different rights of intellectual property in different regions.

00:21:10   And there's all the things related to that and they added subscriptions on top of that and it's just a giant house of cards with extremely surprising interactions between the components.

00:21:22   I have a follow up on my Apple ID woes, but I don't think it's particularly interesting. I also talked about it on other podcasts for a while, but suffice it to say that I'm still learning new and interesting things about the limitations of the Apple ID system and what exactly is preventing me from doing what I want.

00:21:40   One, I think what I expected to happen happened at least once, which is there's something messed up with one of my Apple IDs and someone behind the scenes does a thing and then says, "Okay, I did a thing, try it now." That actually happened and worked for one small aspect of the problem that I'm working on.

00:21:56   I'm always excited by that because that's all I want to happen when I get on a support phone call. I want to be like, "Look, here's the situation. Do whatever you have to do on the backend to make it work." You have access to things that I don't have access to.

00:22:12   I almost never want them to say, "Let me take you through a series of steps that you could have done before you called." Because I feel like I've exhausted most of the reason. Sometimes those will work because they have, you wouldn't think this would work, but try this weird combination. "Hey, it worked great and it's a successful call." Really what I want them to do is find out what's broken in your system and fix it.

00:22:28   Is there something corrupt or unexpected in my data? Fix that about it that I can't fix from my end. Just fix it. Is there a bug in your code? Fix that. They did that once and then I got to proceed to continue to do a series of steps, all of which were very surprising to me from the outside.

00:22:44   I think I'm mostly unblocked and on my way. I haven't completed all the things that I wanted to get done, but I don't think I'm currently blocked in anything other than the seven-day waiting period or something for Apple IDs to get deleted before I can move on to the next step. That's where I am with that.

00:22:59   Speaking of things that I'm not, I don't think I have too much of a strong opinion about this, but we'll see what happens in a few minutes. Mobile Worlds Congress was going on over the last few days. And the star of the show seems to be phones with bendable screens.

00:23:16   And there was a great discussion about this. Was it Upgrade this week, I believe, where Mike and Jason talked about there are two different kind of approaches to this. One is where you're kind of folding. The big version of the display is like the inside of a book. And so when you fold it, one of the manufacturers has a second display on the outside.

00:23:39   It's the Samsung versus the Huawei approach right now. So the Samsung approach is the screen folds in on itself so that when it's closed, the screen is in. And the Huawei one, the screen folds out. So it's kind of like the Samsung one is like the inside of the book is the screen. And the Huawei one, like the cover of the book is the screen, basically.

00:23:58   I personally think the Huawei one with the screen on the outside looks way better from the little bits of these things that we've seen. You do have the issue of like the screen is on the outside. So like if you set it down on a surface and there's a little bit of sand on that surface, like there's no way to set it down to avoid grit, possibly scratching your screen.

00:24:17   With the second problem that these screens are not glass. They are plastic, which in some ways should be better for durability, but also probably means they will scratch more easily. So there's a whole bunch of weirdness with foldable phones.

00:24:31   But honestly, I am very interested to follow this. Not interested enough to actually buy one of these things because these are two very first generation attempts and there's a whole lot of unknowns. Not to mention the fact that I don't care about Android phones at all.

00:24:50   And I probably shouldn't even be talking about this because I'm so out of that world. But the idea of a foldable phone is so, like, if you would have asked me six months ago if that was coming out in 2019, I would have said you're crazy.

00:25:09   - Yeah, no way. - Like we've seen at various CESs and things in the last few years, even more than that, we've seen rollable screens, folding screens, and it's always that kind of thing where it gets shown off at a trade show with one concept product that one manufacturer would help to make one of these things.

00:25:27   And then it never comes into reality. It's never a real product. So to have foldable screens actually come into the world in what appears to be usable products, even if they're weird and even if they have weird downsides, like the fact that these are released, or going to be released, I guess they aren't out yet, but they're going to be out in the next few months, that is really cool to me.

00:25:49   Like, just from a technical level. Again, I don't actually want these things, but just from a cool gadget, like, I can't believe what technology can do kind of perspective, that's really cool and it's very new.

00:26:01   Like, that's something that we have not had. It's not just another evolution of something else. This is a totally new thing that technology can now do.

00:26:12   And there's going to be lots of applications for flexible, bendable, foldable, rollable, tuckable, whatever, you know, screens you can fold into a paper airplane, whatever it is. There's going to be fun stuff with that that we can do.

00:26:25   So, the main thing I like about this is, for as long as I can remember, the main problem with phones is, we want, in many times in which we are using them, we want the screen to be as big as possible.

00:26:41   But we also want a small body to be hand-holdable in one hand a lot of times, and we want it to be able to fit in a pocket.

00:26:50   And kind of nearby to this whole struggle and compromise and debate, we have phones versus tablets also.

00:26:59   I really enjoy using my iPad quite a lot at home, you know, around the house and sometimes while traveling, but I also would love it if I didn't need to have an iPad.

00:27:09   Wouldn't it be great if a phone could just get a bit bigger? Because ultimately, that's all my iPad is, it's just a bigger phone. You know, it has the same processor as the phones, it has the same software stack.

00:27:22   So ultimately, if a phone could just unfold and get bigger, yeah, it's not going to be as big as my 11-inch iPad Pro, but it could be the same size as an iPad Mini.

00:27:32   And for a lot of people, that would negate the need for a tablet at all. I mean, obviously, many people are not having a tablet to begin with because they've made the calculus that a 5-inch phone is better than having two different devices.

00:27:43   But like, if you could have a 5-inch phone that unfolds into an 8-inch tablet, that is awesome to have in one device. Then you don't need a tablet separately.

00:27:54   That's huge, that's a huge deal. And for a lot of people, that makes it even easier for their phone to be their only or their primary computer, which is a trend that we've all been moving towards slowly.

00:28:06   And so, even if these two products that are out today are weird and have things about them that totally suck, it's still super exciting to be moving towards a point and to have taken this very large step towards this direction where you can resolve these two conflicts of having to own both a phone and a tablet, or wanting both but not being able to have both, or not having one with you all the time, or whatever.

00:28:33   You have that possibly being resolved with this, as well as phone sizing being helped out a lot by, like, you want something pocketable and one-handable, but also that can occasionally be as big as possible so that you can browse larger content with it and do more things with it and everything.

00:28:49   If these can do that, even if they have large downsides down the road, like, suppose, you know, these are weird, okay, suppose in two to five years we have good foldable phones, and that's actually a more mainstream choice, I don't think they're ever going to be compromise-free.

00:29:09   Like, there's always going to be compromises with this, and maybe the compromise is the screen covers have to be plastic again forever, maybe the compromise is, yeah, you know what, your screen just gets scratched a lot more, and that's just a thing that happens.

00:29:21   Cases are a huge unknown, how the heck do you put a case on one of these things? That's a big question mark.

00:29:28   But whatever the downsides are, you have these two massive upsides of, you have a phone that can be two different sizes whenever you want it to be, and you might not need a tablet anymore, and those are so big, those are such massive advantages that I'm willing to overlook a whole lot of the weirdness and the downsides and the clumsiness in order to get those.

00:29:51   Yeah, I agree with you. It's so clear, as you said, that this is the kind of us, we're dipping our toe into the water of foldable phones, right?

00:30:02   And it's clear that these are going to be just compromise machines, but that's okay.

00:30:08   And I think this is the time at which everyone starts getting grumpy that Apple doesn't seem to be doing anything related to foldable phones, which is almost certainly untrue, but that's what we see, is that they're not doing anything.

00:30:21   And this is when Apple is at their best in the past, is when they kind of sit back and wait and see, all right, how's this all going to shake out?

00:30:30   Maybe we don't want to be trailblazing on this one. Maybe we want to see how this goes. And then fast forward a couple of years, and suddenly the, well, not a lot of Apple just works anymore, see Apple ID, but it just works version of Apple's foldable phone comes out.

00:30:46   But this seems like it's an extremely cool idea, and it seems like this has legs, and I'm curious to see where the industry runs with it. I don't know, Jon, are you excited about it?

00:31:00   That's why you should have more segments on this show where we talk about television screens and television screen tech, because the whole exciting thing with OLED, the fact that you don't need to have a backlight behind it, it can be very thin. You've seen all those OLED televisions that have a very, very thin portion, and then maybe like a thicker portion down below where the power supply and stuff is.

00:31:17   It's because OLEDs are bendable, and if you're wondering when will I see bendable phones, if you'd watch in CES, yeah, they have all sorts of weird demos and everything, but this year, what happens is you get a bunch of tech demos, and then eventually you get a product.

00:31:30   This year, we have actual products. They're selling a roll-up television that looks like a soundbar and has a slit in the top, and the television rises up out of the slit. That's not a tech demo. That's an actual product they're going to sell to people.

00:31:43   It's because OLED screens have reached the level of maturity where we can do stuff like that with it, so that's where you get these bendable phones as well.

00:31:50   The main reason people haven't done bendable phones before, this is not because they couldn't make a bendable OLED screen. It's all the other ancillary concerns.

00:31:57   How do you power it? How do you deal with the hinge part? How do you deal with the compromises of product design? How do you do it in a reasonably affordable price?

00:32:06   We're still not there with a reasonable solution, but people are trying stuff out. That's why Android stuff is interesting, because someone will try every idea. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't.

00:32:18   You've seen a bunch of stuff where they have a phone that goes around your wrist. It's not bendable, but it's curved because you can wrap an OLED screen around your wrist, and that's probably not going to catch on either.

00:32:27   Try everything and see what sticks. The main thing I'm interested in is bendable screens, not bendable phones.

00:32:36   Obviously if it makes phone calls, I suppose you can call it a phone, but most of these things are bendable tablets.

00:32:43   A bendable phone would start the size of a phone and then bend into something half the size of a phone.

00:32:49   These things all start the size of a smallish tablet and bend into the size of a phone.

00:32:54   But bendable screens in general, what I'm thinking is what benefit are we trying to get out of it here?

00:33:01   I can envision some scenarios where the folding and bending they have now might be beneficial, but kind of like the naked robotic core thing where there's a certain amount of stuff on the outside.

00:33:16   Basically the argument is that taking a case and putting it on an acre robotic core ends up with a thicker phone than if you had built that case into the phone.

00:33:24   The exchange is that you get more flexibility, that if you don't want a case you don't have to have it and you can pick your own case.

00:33:29   But because there's the innards of the phone, the outside of the phone, and then the case, you double stack everything.

00:33:35   So with these current phones as they exist, or these bendable tablet things, it's basically like a regular device, more or less at regular device thicknesses that has parts inside it and circuit boards and batteries and radios and all that other stuff throughout the entire thing.

00:33:52   And then somewhere in the middle there's a hinge. So when you fold it over, it is necessarily thicker than you would expect a phone or tablet to be.

00:34:01   And I think for the current level of technology, I'm not sure there is a situation where you would want to trade within height for a doubled thickness if the single thickness is roughly the same thickness as current tablets and phones.

00:34:21   Because doubling that makes it pretty big. Like you could take an iPhone X and fold it in half and what you would get is my wallet that you two make fun of all the time.

00:34:31   It's smaller in width and height, but it's kind of thick. And what's easier to put in your pocket? Something that is an iPhone X folded in half so that it is pretty chunky thick but smaller in width and height?

00:34:44   Or something that is like this? I don't know if that is a big tradeoff. And then to Marco's point, if you want to go the other direction, say no, no, I don't want it to get smaller than a phone. What I want is a phone that folds out to be tablet size.

00:34:55   Well, you can't make it that big of a tablet, as Marco pointed out, maybe an iPad mini. And while it's in phone, it's a mighty thick phone. And of course they're very expensive.

00:35:04   The Samsung one, I saw it described in a video, it's basically two phones. If you take two iPhone Xs and connect them with a hinge and make it one continuous screen, that's basically what it is.

00:35:14   So you have twice the battery, but it's also twice the weight and twice the thickness. And I think the Samsung one also has screens on the outside too.

00:35:21   So there's the big screen on the inside of them. When you close it, you can't see the inside screen anymore because it's inside the book essentially.

00:35:26   But the outsides also have screen on them, so there's no place to escape the screens that are on these things. And then you have extra screen and extra power and how do you deal with the software. It's very confusing.

00:35:35   And Apple has patents on all sorts of bendable screen stuff, and they've been doing bendable screen stuff forever, but Apple doesn't have a product with it yet because they're not ready.

00:35:43   I'm not sure if Apple will ever jump into this, at least for a couple years, but really I feel like what we're working towards is not so much a bendable screen as a situation where the screen part is separated from the guts part.

00:35:59   The guts is the battery, the circuit boards, the radios, all that other part. Because the screen part can be incredibly thin and flexible, and because it's OLED or similar technologies that don't require a light behind a bunch of things, it emits its own light.

00:36:17   And it can be very thin and very flexible, which is why we can have these things exist anyway. If you can separate that part from the guts part, then you can get situations where, you know, look at the giant rollable television and imagine a shrunken version, where there is the computing part, and what comes out from it is a screen that could roll out and extend like a scroll of paper.

00:36:41   And that type of thing, you could like suck that thing back in, and now you have something the size and thickness of a pen with a screen that pulls out of it as far out as you want to pull the thing.

00:36:50   Right, that's, we don't have the tech for that yet, but that would be a situation where you're not just taking a phone and trading width and height for thickness, you are taking something that works as a phone and getting rid of like all of the width and most of the, you know, like it becomes like a pen.

00:37:13   It's a different form factor entirely. You could put it in your, you know, your front pocket of your shirt, right? That's not the case with like fold your iPhone 10 and a half and shove it in the front pocket of your shirt. It's just not going to work out that way.

00:37:23   So that's what I'm looking forward to. But in the meantime, I'm happy to see people experimenting with bendable. I still think the person who can get the most stuff out from behind the screen is going to win in the bendable thing.

00:37:34   I am concerned about the plastic screen just because anything with that you're going to bend back and forth a lot is going to like crease and kink. And if it's made of plastic, you're going to have the ugly crease part in the plastic, like setting aside how it feels when it's brand new.

00:37:51   Eventually, open, close, open, close. Imagine if every time you took out your phone, you unbent it or maybe some percentage of the time you can use it when it's in bent mode. That's not a great experience. The ones that have the screen on the inside, the radius and that bend is really rough.

00:38:05   Like, it's a tighter turn for even the OLED screen to make if your screen is on the inside, which is why screen on the outside is much friendlier to both creasing and the underlying screen.

00:38:16   But, you know, people will sort that out. I don't see Apple entering this market unless they can either make a significant leap or unless it be a particular arrangement of screen and hinge and device.

00:38:34   And, you know, like if something becomes popular, then yes, Apple, I feel like will enter the market. They'll say, well, we didn't think the market would want something like this, but all the Android phones now look like this, so we'll try it. But honestly, I'm not actually predicting that for a little while.

00:38:49   I think I'm not going to say it's like curved televisions because that was stupid, but I think we're going to have some experimentation and then another regrouping and then another run at this, because I really think the big win is get the guts out from behind the screen, because then many more exciting things become possible.

00:39:07   All that said, it's definitely cool and futuristic, and this is going to make movie props probably a lot easier to make, because rather than just doing it entirely in CG, it's great when you can buy a real thing and glue a bunch of futuristic-looking crap to it, and I bet these phones will be used for that.

00:39:22   Probably not. I think the screens on devices are usually composited afterwards for movies, so they're better off just carrying a piece of cardboard that's folded in half.

00:39:40   I think the two halves are separated so that when you unfold it, the two halves just abut up against each other, but the joint is so precise that you don't really see the crease. I think that is potentially an option.

00:39:53   If you wanted to have glass screens but folding, you'd have to have these sharp glass edges or something that abutted each other. On a television show, you can actually make them sharp because it's not a real device, but in real life, if you actually made them sharp enough so there wouldn't be a seam, they would cut you if you ran your finger along the edge of them.

00:40:09   There are challenges there, but it's interesting that even in the visions of the future on television, they don't always pick the thing that actually seems more futuristic. Like, "Oh, the screen's continuous and it wraps around the corner," probably because it's just easier to make a prop that doesn't work like that.

00:40:22   But now that we have real devices that work like that, they can use that as the prop. Yeah, and also still composite the screen afterwards, but the actual screen would be continuous all the way around the corner.

00:40:32   They could use that prop and people would buy it because eventually people are going to be seeing these things. This is what we should put in our calendar. First sighting in the wild of somebody with a bendable screen device of any kind. I haven't seen one yet in the wild.

00:40:46   So far, we've only seen them at trade shows, but if you go over some fancy rich person's house and they have that roll-up television, that'll count too, so keep your eye out for that.

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00:43:00   So there's one other phone that we should at least briefly discuss from Mobile World Congress and that is the Energizer phone. That is not a joke. Energizer, the people who make batteries, have made a phone that is basically a like mophie battery pack with a phone on top.

00:43:20   It's more than just a mophie battery pack, it's like four mophie battery packs.

00:43:25   And this thing, we'll put a link in the show notes to a picture of it next to what appears to be an iPhone, or maybe not an iPhone but something similar.

00:43:32   This thing is preposterous. And yes, everyone's saying, "Oh, ha ha ha, all you idiots who want more battery life and a thicker phone, well here you go, put your money where your mouth is."

00:43:42   Of course nobody wants this. I don't know why this was even made, to be honest. But what we do want is maybe a teeny, teeny bit thicker phone for a little bit more battery, just to get us right over the edge from ending the day a little uncomfortable to ending the day very comfortable.

00:44:00   This is cranking that all the way past 11 to like 45. So it is preposterous, although that shade of blue is nice, but it is otherwise preposterous and I don't know why anyone would want this.

00:44:12   I mean first of all, it was probably designed for more of a publicity stunt. I can't imagine they're serious about this. Because it's Energizer making a phone, right? Energizer is not known for their phone.

00:44:23   Did Energizer make it or are they just applying the branding to it after the fact?

00:44:27   Right, probably that, right? They probably like paid some contract manufacturer to make this, you know, make 10 of these things for them just to have it a trade show.

00:44:35   Because I think the Energizer headline is perfect. This 18,000 milliamp hour battery has a phone in it. Like it's not, it isn't a phone with an 18,000 milliamp hour battery. It's a battery with a phone glued inside of it basically.

00:44:49   And yeah, this has got to be some kind of gag or publicity thing. So it is kind of funny though to consider like maybe there might be some people who might actually want this.

00:45:02   Not us, not almost anybody, but there's a lot of people out there and everyone wants a phone and there's probably at least five or 10 people who would buy this thing.

00:45:12   But yeah, it is kind of comical. Like 18,000 milliamp hour, that's like the size of the large battery packs. Like the ones that weigh like a pound by themselves.

00:45:24   That's like, it's the kind of battery pack that if you were going like on a trip and you wanted to charge like three or four phones or you wanted to charge your iPad or a switch for a flight to New Zealand.

00:45:36   Or like something, like this isn't the little tiny ones you put in your pocket. This is like the big brick ones that like you know, you hope you don't carry but you hope like maybe you can convince your partner to carry it for you.

00:45:49   Like that's what these batteries are. And so to have this be an ostensibly pocketable device is just hilarious.

00:46:00   But yeah, it's fun for the publicity stunt but no one's going to buy this because anybody who needs that much battery life, you can just buy any phone and get a giant battery to use with it.

00:46:13   Like you don't need it to be always with you, always built in. Like I thought about like, when I wear dress clothes, I will take my phone out of its case so that it's thinner in my pocket.

00:46:27   Because you don't want a big thick phone when you're wearing like dress pants. I was thinking like I have the luxury of doing that because I have the, because my phone is the naked robotic core style where it comes with an okay battery in it.

00:46:41   And if I really need more battery, I can get a battery case. But most of the time I don't so I never even bother.

00:46:46   This phone always has that giant battery brick on it. So even if you're the kind of person who sometimes or even routinely needs that much battery life, I can't imagine that you would want it to just always be there and not be easily removed from it on the few cases where you didn't need that much battery life.

00:47:08   So yeah, it's a fun thing to consider the existence of but it's not a real viable product.

00:47:14   I think this phone is great. I think it highlights the advantage of the Android ecosystem where if someone has some idea for a phone, I'd make it like is like Apple is never going to make a phone like this.

00:47:27   And really no one should probably make a phone like this. But in the Android world, somebody can make a phone like this. And I don't doubt that there are people who want this phone like that they want a big giant phone.

00:47:38   They don't want to have a separate battery thing because they'd constantly be charging it and they don't want to slap battery case on they want it all in one unit. The only place I think this falls down is those people probably also want this thing to be totally encased in rubber so they can drop it from 50 feet and it'll survive.

00:47:52   Like these are people who are like, you know, I don't know like going out into the woods to do like logging or something for weeks at a time. And they you know, they don't have time to recharge and they're using the phone constantly.

00:48:03   And they don't want to have a separate battery pack and they don't have cables. They just want to have one big thick rugged thing that lasts a week. Right. And here you go. Almost this one is not rugged though.

00:48:14   Like something like the old Toughbook laptops or whatever. And that's the advantage of an open ecosystem. Apple is never going to make products like this. Apple is going to make products for the mainstream that they can sell a lot of that most people want.

00:48:25   If you have exotic needs, your best bet is to, you know, hope that Apple sticks to the naked robotic course strategy and see if you can slap a bunch of stuff on to an Apple phone.

00:48:36   Which for the most part you can, but there is something to be said to integration. So I like the idea that things like this exist even if this one just happens to be a marketing gimmick.

00:48:44   It is real, real weird though. They advertise like a week, like a week. It's not just like, oh, I can charge my phone every two days. They advertise a week of use of like normal uses, which I almost believe, but maybe not quite because it looks more like maybe three days to me. But what do I know?

00:48:59   Alright, so there is rumor of a March Apple event and I haven't read too much about this yet. It seems to be that there was a little flash in the pan, then it kind of just disappeared.

00:49:14   But people seem to think that this will be the unveiling of this Apple video, as I keep petitioning for it to be called, this Apple media thing, offering. And supposedly a lot of like movie stars have been invited and stuff. So what do we make of this, fellas? What's going on here?

00:49:33   Yeah, the rumors did sort of come and go, but this is supposed to be the subscription something something event. Apple has a bunch of subscription stuff in the works that we more or less know about. There's the video service you just mentioned. They bought texture, that sort of news subscription service.

00:49:51   There's rumors about the, you know, apparently ongoing contract negotiation with news vendors where Apple wants to take 50% of their money. If we're going through the service, there is Apple's gaming subscription service that we have separate item about below.

00:50:06   Basically, subscribe to all the things. Another area where Microsoft was ahead business model wise because they were forced to because their old business models fell apart sooner than Apple's did.

00:50:14   But Apple stuck stubbornly to selling music for way longer than most people thought they should until they eventually got a subscription service. And basically all the other things that you can buy from applications to video to news to I don't know, you name it.

00:50:28   Apple would probably love to sell you a subscription. At a certain point, all the things that I just listed that are rumors, you have to start actually announcing some. It took them a long time to come up with Apple music.

00:50:41   And that was like just one. It's like, is Apple just going to keep selling music forever? Surely they have a subscription service. All these other people are doing lunch and finally Apple music. And then we've been waiting since then for the other seven shoes to drop.

00:50:52   So this March event seems to be the time when Apple really needs to announce one or more of its new subscription services.

00:51:01   The difficulty is that none of all the stories about all the subscription services, none of them seem like they're slam dunks like this sounds awesome.

00:51:14   Apple has special advantages that it's going to make it attractive to people. Everyone is excited about signing up for it. And you know, it's going to be smooth sailing.

00:51:24   All of them are fraught in some way. We've already talked about their video business and their original content and what the landscape looks like there. The news thing is all tied up in how much money Apple seems to want out of this and whether that's viable for the content creators in that case and whether people want to subscribe to news in that way through Apple.

00:51:43   The gaming service is the most unproven even though everyone else is trying to come up with a gaming service. I pulled this quote from Satya Nadella talking in January about their gaming service.

00:51:55   He's like, "We are well poised to do a Netflix for games. We won't be the only ones doing it, but we've got a gaming console and we've got PC games and it'll be great and we already know about subscriptions."

00:52:07   And that's probably not on a lot of people's radar because who cares enough about games to subscribe to games in that way and that's not really a proven business model for games.

00:52:16   To be clear, we're not talking about paying every month to play World of Warcraft. We're talking about paying every month to get a selection of games just like you pay every month to Netflix and you get a selection of video that you can watch.

00:52:29   I haven't been keeping up with the March event rumors, but I assume the one and only thing they're going to announce is either their texture thing or Apple video thing.

00:52:41   If they announce both of them, I'll be shocked. If they announce only Apple video, I won't be surprised. I don't expect gaming subscription to come out.

00:52:48   Honestly, given Apple's tracker here with games, I feel like that one, we should just call that one Ping 3.0 preemptively and just assume it's going to be a miserable failure because Apple doesn't understand games.

00:52:59   But anyway, if and when they announce a March event, we're almost at March right now, it's time for them to announce a subscription thing and hopefully it will be good.

00:53:08   Yeah, I mean the subhead on the original article from John Pazowski at Buzzfeed is the company is expected to show off a long rumored news subscription service.

00:53:20   So there seems to be conflicting theories as to whether or not the video stuff would be there after all, but I don't know. I don't see. Would they really do a whole event just for this news thing? I guess if they thought it was a big deal.

00:53:32   They did events for the iBook store. They did all sorts of weird things. Here's the thing. They bought texture a while ago and they have Apple news and it's surprisingly popular.

00:53:41   So that would make sense, but the video subscription service has more concrete evidence behind it. They could buy texture and try to come up with a periodical news subscription service and then just in the end decide it didn't work out.

00:53:57   Oh well, lesson learned. We paid some money for another company. We tried to do something and it didn't work out. That happens, I'm sure happens all the time. But they can't really do that with video anymore.

00:54:07   They have to launch a video subscription service. It's really hard to write off the $1 billion, even if you're Apple. It's a lot of money that we know that they're spending.

00:54:15   They've actually paid for stuff. Things have already been produced. Contracts have been signed. That's a lot of public egg on your face if they decide. Actually, never mind that video streaming thing. I'm not quite sure what they're waiting for for the streaming.

00:54:28   Maybe they want to wait for more original content to be in the can so they have a strong launch lineup or something, but I feel like the clock is ticking on their video service way more than it's ticking on a subscription news service.

00:54:38   If the news service is all that's ready, then they can announce that. But if they announce that, all the stories are going to be, "Hey, Apple's news service. Let's talk about the economics."

00:54:46   And by the way, where is that video service? When is that coming? Is that a 2020 product? I don't know.

00:54:52   I still am skeptical that all these different things that we keep hearing that are rumored from Apple are separate subscriptions.

00:55:15   Do Apple produce things all at the same time anymore? They can't even ship AirPods and their wireless charging mat at the same time or in the planned year.

00:55:22   Forgive me if I'm pessimistic about their ability to ship a news thing and a new storage plan and a video service and combine it with Apple Music all at once and call it Apple Prime or whatever.

00:55:33   That's a valid concern. One thing Apple is really not very good at is multitasking. That's why they tend to focus on one area, get something out the door, and then not touch it for years as they move their focus to other things.

00:55:49   The idea of having to coordinate multiple different things all together to have one big combined launch is admittedly a high risk for them. But these are three different things that are theoretically all under the same organization.

00:56:05   It's all like the services and content sales kind of organization.

00:56:09   They're all backed by a music store.

00:56:11   I think in this case it's at least possible to have all those things be launched together. I don't see any of these things being incredibly strong on their own, but they could be incredibly strong when bundled with Apple's other services.

00:56:28   Apple Music is very strong. It took a while to get there because it wasn't bundled with anything else. It took a while to get there, but it is now pretty strong.

00:56:38   Well, Apple Music was bundled with something else. The only reason Apple Music is as big as it is and the only reason Apple News is as big as it is is because it's bundled with the iPhone. I know we don't think that counts, but that's why.

00:56:51   Because they are first party things that come on your phone. That's the reason the podcast app is the biggest app. When we talk about being bundled, we're talking about bundled with another subscription.

00:57:01   The only reason Apple is successful at all in this realm is because they have this incredibly popular product. Whatever they put on the home screen of that product when you take it out of the box and prompt you to potentially sign up for, that is their power move.

00:57:14   I think they actually can launch all these services piecemeal individually and eventually get traction because they come on the iPhone and they'll be on your home screen.

00:57:22   Yeah, that's fair. I'm hoping that there is a strong bundle here. So many people would enjoy, say, the magazine service or whatever it is, the news service. They would enjoy that, but they're probably not going to pay for that separately.

00:57:42   But if you can say, look, you can now, instead of just buying Apple Music for whatever it is, 10 bucks a month, you can now spend 15 or 20 bucks a month and get music, video, and news.

00:57:54   And then they'll throw games in later, maybe.

00:57:56   They'll throw games, yeah.

00:57:57   Yeah, I mean, we'll see how that plays out and whether that's actually going to be strongly compelling for a lot of people. I don't know. It might be. But if you can have that bundle where you can have multiple things where at least one of them is a strong draw and the value proposition isn't too bad.

00:58:14   I mean, heck, I would love if they threw in iCloud backup space. I don't know that that's realistic, but I would love that. And so to combine all these things into one bundle, that gives them incredibly strong leverage to get these services off the ground from nothing.

00:58:29   You know, that's why Amazon was able to do Amazon Video, because they bundled it with Prime, and they shoved a bunch of people into that service because you couldn't not get it. If you had Prime, you had Amazon Video, and therefore Amazon Video became big.

00:58:44   Bundling is incredibly powerful, and I really hope Apple takes advantage of that because I think it would be better for them and their services as a whole to be that strong right from the start. Because otherwise, if they just launch a paid news service that's just another separate thing, building you everyone with an iTunes, they'll get people to subscribe to it.

00:59:04   But I think the numbers are going to be way lower, and I think they're going to lose a lot of more casual people like us who might not be super into magazines to pay for it separately. But if it's part of a larger thing that we're already paying for, or if it's a very small upgrade fee from what we're already paying, then we might be into it.

00:59:23   With the video service, though, I think despite the fact that that is how Amazon Video came to be what it is, the current thinking on video, which Amazon eventually adopted, albeit after the fact that Amazon was the pioneer in, is original content.

00:59:37   And Apple seems to subscribe strongly to that aspect of how do you be successful as a video, that you have to have original content that people want. So they're doing that.

00:59:46   It doesn't mean they're not also doing the, "Oh, and by the way, also hit your thing to a star and do the Amazon Video thing." But I think if Amazon Video was launched today, it took a long time for Amazon Video to get on the original content bandwagon.

01:00:00   There was some original content, but they were slow moving. Netflix was the first mover and the strongest mover there, and Netflix has really doubled and tripled down on it in years.

01:00:10   That's the defining way of, "You can't be." Forget about being a video service if you don't have original content. That's why all the other players are entering the market, Disney's streaming service and CBS or whatever.

01:00:20   Those things don't launch streaming services until and unless they have original content that nobody else has, because that's how you succeed.

01:00:27   All we see from Apple is that aspect of it, that they're putting money into original content. So I still think it's plausible that they launch without tying it to anything else, video specifically, without tying it to anything else as a standalone thing on the strength of their original content.

01:00:42   Given Apple's video content so far, it's reasonably pessimistic about how successful they'll be, but we'll see.

01:00:49   If they did both, I think that would be a very powerful solution. Awesome original content and also, by the way, it's tied to something else and part of a larger bill and so on and so forth.

01:00:57   For the other things, the far less proven things like gaming subscription and news subscription, I don't think there is a strategy other than tying it that is a reasonable way to get traction in that market.

01:01:12   You're not going to get exclusive games on your gaming subscription thing. No one's going to take this economics. It doesn't make any sense.

01:01:19   And the news stuff, again, you're not going to get exclusivity. Washington Post and New York Times aren't going to shut down their website and say, "You can only get our content through Apple News," especially if they're giving Apple 50% of the money.

01:01:28   So all you can do with those services is either make them extremely cheap or bundle them with something else at a nominal fee to try to get traction.

01:01:36   The reason Apple News is so incredibly popular is A, it comes on your iPhone and B, it's free. It comes on your iPhone. You don't have to sign up for it. You don't have to do it. It's just there on your home screen and you can read news and it gets crazy numbers and huge traffic, which Apple is now using as a hammer to bash publishers over the head and say, "We have all the billions of users and these users have money in their wallets and they just bought a really expensive phone and, boy, you want these users, so we're going to make you pay through the nose for them, but we're never going to give you their names."

01:02:03   So that's going on over there. The game thing is we have tons of people who play games, granted mostly free games and you can fleece them with your free-to-play mechanics, but maybe if we could collect some money on a subscription basis, we could distribute that to you in tiny little pennies, most of which would go to the games that were making all the money anyway.

01:02:25   I don't even understand the gaming argument of how you get people on this service, but it's something they can try and if it doesn't work out and no one signs up for it, it's no skin off Apple's back and you just feel bad for the people who went all in on the gaming subscription service.

01:02:41   I don't know. If the March event is really just about one of those services, I am probably the least interested in the news one and I think I'm most interested in the video one, but yeah, my faith in Apple's ability to do the grand gesture, to do the big giant unification, to do the sea change, large unified product making sense out of what was once a complicated mess of different services, I just don't see that happening anymore.

01:03:10   And it's a tall order. I'm not saying, "Oh, they should be able to do this." Apple is one of the few companies that has ever done anything like this successfully, so doing a piecemeal is probably the smarter move and then you can discard the ones that don't work out and then unify it later and everyone will still be happy.

01:03:27   But if they do a March event and it's just a news subscription service, the most interesting story is probably about the thing they're not going to tell you, which is what the split in revenue is between Apple and the publishers.

01:03:40   And honestly, a lot of people are getting their hopes up for hardware in this event. I would not do that. I haven't heard anything, but it just seems unlikely. Apple, when they have a strong content story to sell or some strong other narrative to sell, they tend not to blend hardware with that in the same event.

01:04:00   And so in this, if the rumors really are strong, which they are, that this is going to be focused on some kind of news subscription service launching, I really don't think there's going to be AirPods thrown in for some reason or the AirPower, Matt.

01:04:14   I think those things, if AirPower and AirPods are going to be released in the first half of 2019 before June, I think it's going to be either a separate event or just briefings and press releases. I don't think that's going to be combined with the news service and possible video service and possible game service launching a news subscription.

01:04:38   It's two different things.

01:04:41   They can just release AirPower in the dead of the night and hope no one notices. It'll just appear on their web page with no press release.

01:04:47   Yeah, it'll just start being in the stores like, "What do you mean? You always want to buy AirPower."

01:04:52   But they announced that so long ago. They're getting the AirPods into the case that you can charge wirelessly. They announced that like a year ago. That's already out yet, right? Of course that's already out.

01:05:03   I need new AirPods, guys, because I've got the same sickness that everyone else has.

01:05:08   Low battery life.

01:05:09   I mean, yep, yep, yep. And I don't want to buy a new set. Not now, I mean. I want to wait. I want to get whatever's the new hotness.

01:05:16   Ah, man.

01:05:18   Become very familiar with that awesome sound. This is a great sound design. I'm reminded of the WWDC session where Apple talks about how they design sounds for their things.

01:05:26   That's a great session.

01:05:27   Yeah, very much like game sound design. Good sounding games is much harder than you think it is. When they do a good job, you don't notice it. And so the sound when your AirPods are low and badder, it goes doo doo doo doo. You know that little noise?

01:05:39   It's a sad noise. It's like, "No, no AirPods." And you start doing the thing where you put one in the case and just go with one ear and swap it back and forth to try to extend. I do that sometimes.

01:05:49   Yep, I need new AirPods too, but I'm not buying them if I can possibly help it until the new ones come out. I hope this is not going to be another Mac Pro situation. We're going to be ten years from now with AirPods with wires glued to the ends of them or something.

01:06:01   Those are the little batteries in there, I feel, for the little AirPods. I'm very satisfied with the AirPods, despite the fact that, and this is a fundamental problem with our current lithium-ion battery world, all these devices, I don't want removable batteries for my AirPods. I don't want them to be bigger or heavier.

01:06:19   I understand this is as good as they can be, given current technology. It is a bummer to have to buy a new pair every two to three years or whatever. It's like, "Oh, they make disposable technology." But I don't want the thing. If Apple didn't make everything all sealed up, you could just buy new batteries for your AirPods.

01:06:38   I don't want the AirPods that have removable batteries, because they would be bigger and heavier and more awkward. The beauty of AirPods is that they are these beautiful things. It's a shame that the batteries don't last longer, but I feel like the answer to that is better battery technology, not allow me to plug a AAA into my ear.

01:06:55   I love my AirPods. What are they? $150, $160? Something like that? Even knowing that, which is a fair bit of money, particularly for headphones, especially if you're not snooty about the headphones that you wear, because 98% of the time I'm listening to either a podcast or music, I don't really care what I'm listening to them on. The AirPods sound perfectly okay to me.

01:07:16   But $160 or whatever is a lot of money for these things, especially if they're dead after a couple of years. I tell you, I use my AirPods literally every day for at least 10, 20, 30 minutes a day. Given that the batteries in there are, as you said, John, freaking microscopic, I still feel satisfied with my expenditure on these things. I'm ready and waiting to throw more money at Apple to get a new set.

01:07:43   New battery technologies will help. We're still waiting for the next leap in battery technologies. There's tons of ones that are in labs and in universities that have great promise of not dying after a thousand cycles and retaining energy longer and charging faster and being more stable. None of them are commercially viable, especially in applications like this.

01:08:04   But I have faith that in my lifetime we'll have the next leap in battery tech and that will really help. Because think about it. Imagine if the only thing you changed about AirPods was that it was using a different battery technology that, let's just say it doesn't charge any faster, doesn't have any larger capacity, but it lasts for a hundred thousand cycles instead of a thousand.

01:08:21   That changes the product. Basically, if you didn't lose your AirPods, you would use them for your whole life, which is probably bad for Apple. We didn't really talk about this, but a couple of events ago, the environmental person whose name escapes me was Apple's working on making products that last longer.

01:08:38   There you go, Lisa Jackson. The products that last longer. And everyone was kind of like, tittering about that. It's like, well, you say that, but then look at all these products that you have that are practically disposable, that go bad after a certain period of time or whatever.

01:08:54   But then if you look at what Apple actually has been doing, up to and including the $30 battery replacement, they have been intending to try to make products that last longer. It's just that inherently sealed lithium ion batteries, they last for a certain number of cycles.

01:09:10   And if you use the thing regularly, there's your product lifetime. And I think it's harder to swallow for a thousand dollar phone, for a $1,400 phone. At least you can get the battery replaced there. But I think people don't consider that as an option for the most part, even after two years, just because it costs like $100 and you're not getting the cool $30 deal and people are like, well, I'm just buying a phone at that point.

01:09:31   But just a simple change of a 10X or 100X cycle life totally changes the face of these products. And every other aspect of them is all ready to go. It's not like, oh, they have to redesign a new AirPod so that it will be a longer lasting product.

01:09:46   The only thing that's weak about them is that everything like my AirPods look brand new. They're not scratched. They're not scuffed. They're not bent. There's nothing about the case or the operation. Like they have no moving parts.

01:09:58   The case has one moving part that hasn't broken yet. That's why everyone loves their AirPods. It's the culmination of the platonic ideal solid of the Johnny Ive school design where everything is featureless and no moving parts and all one color or whatever that matches up in this case with the best design from a user perspective of that type of thing.

01:10:25   That's why everyone loves the AirPods. It's like, it's a miracle. Everything finally came together. The way Apple wants to make things turns out to be the best way to make this thing.

01:10:33   And the only problem is current battery technology means they're going to go bad if you use them every day. And the reason you use them every day is because you love them.

01:10:40   So I forget when we did like what your favorite product, but I think a couple of us either picked AirPods or talked about it. And I still to this day, I use my AirPods every day too.

01:10:49   And God, it's so nice not to have cords. I was reminded of cords the other day when I got to see my daughter in her room. Like I'm walking by and I hear her like get angry and start yelling about something.

01:11:01   It's because, God, let's talk about first world problems. When she puts her hand-me-down Apple watch on the charger on her nightstand.

01:11:09   You know, she goes hand-me-downs from my wife. Every time she goes to do that and then goes back to her bed. This is a separate issue from a separate podcast.

01:11:19   Both of my children cannot live anywhere in the house without holding an iPad in their hand that has a headphone cord snaking from it to their ears.

01:11:29   So when she puts her hand-me-down Apple watch on her nightstand charger and goes back to what she was doing, the cord that is snaking from her ears to her iPad, which of course she is holding because there is no time when she's not holding it, gets caught on the little knob on the drawer on her nightstand.

01:11:45   And when she goes back to her bed, it yanks the earbuds out of her ear. And we all have that feeling. And it is, as I said on Twitter once, instantly infuriating for, you know, way out of proportion to what happened.

01:11:56   So she's like, "Ah, I'm so tired of these cords getting caught every time I do that!"

01:12:01   You know, I think we've all been in that situation where, whether it's your door handle or a car door or some other thing back when we were all using cords, we all left that behind when AirPods came out.

01:12:11   I don't get my cord caught in anything because I don't have cords. And it was just such a huge upgrade in those sort of like minor annoyances of life that I, like so many other AirPod owners, are so ready that if I lost my AirPods or if they finally die or they fell into the ocean, the next 10 minutes I would have ordered new AirPods.

01:12:33   Because I can't go back. I can't live without them. And so far my kids haven't discovered this and they're probably not going to hand me down AirPods because by the time I hand them down they probably will be well and truly dead.

01:12:44   But in the meantime, they're slogging around with their headphone cords getting snagged and everything and I'm just gliding through life with my AirPods shoved underneath my winter hat. You can't even see them.

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01:15:05   Thank you so much to Fracture for sponsoring our show.

01:15:08   Alright, let's do some Ask ATP. And we start with Mark Heeler who writes, "I had an iPad since the original one and have kept bringing the apps over ever since then. Some are for pacifying children on long flights and so on.

01:15:26   And in the past, I've had a heap of games and junk that I've accumulated that I don't need anymore. How do you guys easily purge all of these old apps? And the apps in a screenshot that he provided no longer work in iOS 11 and so on.

01:15:41   But how do you delete those easily? In his case, they're scattered all over the place in folders. What do you do? I have no idea. How do you delete a whole bunch of stuff very quickly and easily?"

01:15:52   Well, the best way to delete a bunch of apps that don't work anymore is to do an iCloud restore. Like backup to iCloud, restore from iCloud, and they just won't be there.

01:16:03   So it's not an amazing technique, but it does work that if you have a bunch of apps that didn't make the 64-bit transition or whatever, then yeah, just do a backup to iCloud, upgrade to iOS 12 if you haven't yet, and then do a restore.

01:16:20   And those apps just won't be there.

01:16:23   That's clever.

01:16:24   Yeah, the same thing this question made me think about as my continued frustration, and probably actually getting worse these days, about how meager the tools are for managing applications on the iPad.

01:16:39   My main concern is usually how incredibly, like, I don't know how you describe it. It's frustrating, it is, how can I say, dangerous? It is fraught, it is anxiety-inducing. It is to rearrange icons on an iOS device.

01:16:59   It's like a terribly designed game of hot potato, right?

01:17:05   The first thing I do, like, first thing I have to do is I have to pre-flight. My pre-flight is, okay, I'm going, let me find the icon I'm going to move. I'm going to move this icon, and let me find where I'm going to move it, and let me memorize the destination.

01:17:20   So I have to go, okay, the destination is three screens to the left, and it's to the right of the notes icon, right?

01:17:28   Pre-flight. Go begin the flight, begin the drag. You can go into WiggleMarty, you can not go into WiggleMate mode in this mod area, but you've got to begin the drag.

01:17:37   Then you have to hit the edge of the screen to go one screen, two screens. The animations go fast, so pay attention.

01:17:43   You know, don't, don't, oh, stop, we've got two screens, go back to the middle. You know, all right, get off the edge, because you don't want it to go three screens.

01:17:51   By the way, when you were going through screens, just because you were holding it against the edge doesn't mean that the icons on the screens that you are merely passing through aren't themselves squirming out of the way and ejecting one of their excess icons over to the next screen.

01:18:04   Don't think that they're not. Yeah, you were just passing through those screens, you may have perturbed those screens on your way through. You'll find that out later, but for now, just keep going, right?

01:18:13   Then when you get to the screen, and you pull the icon off the edge to stop the scrolling, God forbid you pulled it off of the edge and now you're over a folder, because now that folder's going to open up.

01:18:22   But I don't want that folder open, or maybe you hovered over another icon too long and now it thinks you want to make a folder out of those two things, and now you have to forget how to back out of that action.

01:18:29   Do you still remember where you were supposed to put that icon? Try to find the place where you want to put it. Oh, it's squirming, oh, it's making a folder, it's squirming, it's squirming.

01:18:35   Oh no, you were trying to put it near the edge? Now you've gone back to the previous screen. How many screens away are you from where you were before? Go back, wait, no, you've gone too far again.

01:18:43   Oh, just let go and cancel the operation? No, because if you let go, it'll drop the icon someplace. It is way harder than it's supposed to be.

01:18:50   I don't know how normal people successfully arrange their icons, it must be an incredible trial and error process.

01:18:57   I find it so annoying that I very rarely rearrange anything, just because I know the chances that I screw something up are very high, and there is no undo and there is no aborting the operation.

01:19:09   That's why I take screenshots on my home screen, not because I'm like, "Oh, look at my home screen, I don't remember this point in time."

01:19:14   It's because when I screw it up, the only way I have to get back to the way things were is to refer to a screenshot and try to reproduce it, and try to find all the icons that have gone everywhere.

01:19:22   iTunes lets you, I think still, arrange your icons in a different interface with a mouse and keyboard, but it is still a crap interface.

01:19:31   The main problem with the iTunes interface, and with the regular one for that matter, aside from the lack of undo and the crazy hover readings and all that other crap, is they want you to do direct manipulation.

01:19:41   Pick up, move to a new location, drop, and things will squirm out of the way. What they need to do is have a sort of current state, speculative future state commit type of thing, with a buffer area.

01:19:52   They need a shelf where you can chuck icons to the side, and they'll be like, "I am about to arrange my new thing."

01:19:57   I haven't done anything yet, I'm just saying, "Here is my speculative way things are going to be."

01:20:02   With a shelf off to the side where you can chuck things for holding, and then just arrange, arrange, arrange.

01:20:06   If at any point you're like, "You know what, I've screwed this up," or whatever, you haven't committed any changes yet.

01:20:11   You just work, and I know this is a way more complicated mental model, but honestly it is a more forgiving user model to let people rearrange it either on device or off in a non-committal way, in a better interface with a shelf or buffer area that's off to the side.

01:20:26   That's just me ranting about rearranging springboard icons. This thing is like, "Okay, if you're going to do better management for springboard stuff, how about a way to sort icons, sort of the equivalent of list view, to filter by supported OS level, to filter by date last used."

01:20:41   There's all sorts of features like that that are kind of an iOS where you can have offload apps that you haven't used in a while, and they get a weird icon and they'll download on demand.

01:20:48   Very meager tools for doing this. Doing an iCloud backup to do it is clever, but is kind of dangerous in that I really hope iCloud BlackApp doesn't have any weird, you don't lose any state in that transition, or the backup and restore work the way you think they're going to.

01:21:04   I would worry about messing something up. I know it's gotten way better, and maybe that's the only way to do it.

01:21:09   But honestly, if you're just worried about the clutter, if you can't find the icons to delete them with their little badge that shows that they can't be launched, then why are you worried about them? And if you can find them, then just delete them, right?

01:21:21   Anyway, I think there is a lot of room for improvement in springboard, both in terms of letting people do basic operations like arrange their home screen in a much less fraught manner, and then also, to Mark's question here, to just manage your applications and have different views on them and to be able to perform operations.

01:21:37   Basically, the stuff that we took for granted that we could do in the Finder in the 80s, we still can't do on our modern $1300 Super Megaphones.

01:21:46   All right, apologies for this pronunciation, but Plati Shue writes that they have been binge-reading Syracuse's OS X reviews for a while, and it's interesting to find the discussion on the spatial finder as a recurring topic through the years.

01:22:02   Jon, are you still a proponent of the spatial finder? Have recent improvements in the Finder satisfied you? And for me, for Casey, would you mind restating or reminding all of us, what is a spatial finder anyway?

01:22:14   I'll take the easy question first. Have recent improvements in the Finder satisfied me? No, no. I'm shocked.

01:22:20   I'm so surprised.

01:22:22   The spatial finder is the finder that existed on the Mac from the beginning of the Mac up until the Mac OS X error. So it's the original Finder from the original Mac, and it was the only finder until Mac OS X and things started to get weird.

01:22:37   So the spatial finder was just go find a classic Mac running classic on Mac OS and use the Finder. That's the spatial finder.

01:22:43   Oh yeah, I'll just pull one right out of the closet and it's right there. Easy to find.

01:22:47   You can run it on an emulator, you can run it on a web browser. Anyway, the key part of it was that the entire interface was modeled with sort of a consistent model of state.

01:22:59   So every folder that you saw, when you double-clicked it, it opened a window. That folder was that window. Like, there was no way to open two windows that view the same folder because it didn't make sense.

01:23:10   The mental model was you open the folder, the folder icon would change to show that it is opened, and if it is opened, that means there was a window on the screen that is that folder.

01:23:18   That was the model. Same thing with the icons inside there and everything like that. There was no way to look at the contents of the same folder in two different windows.

01:23:27   If you change the view of that folder, of that window, it changes the view of the folder. So if you change the list view and then close the folder and then open the folder, it's in list view. How could it not be in list view? It's the one and only thing.

01:23:37   Same thing with the icons. If you moved an icon, it was moved. If you moved a window or resized a window, it was moved or resized.

01:23:44   Every manipulation you did to the spatial state of anything in the Finder was retained because the model was completely one-to-one. There was no browser.

01:23:55   There was no way you could model a window as a portal through which you have different views of different aspects of your file system. That just wasn't the model.

01:24:04   So I wrote a big article about this and you talk about it. The main argument of the Spatial Finder, and you can read the whole article about how great it was, is because people are great at dealing with objects in space because that's what we're doing our entire lives.

01:24:18   That's what we've evolved to do. We have amazing skills related to that, both in terms of retention and remembering where things are and arranging our life and workspace to suit whatever it is we're doing.

01:24:29   And the low mental load of understanding, like, if I move that thing and it's over there, it'll still be over there, and the one-to-one relationship between folders and windows.

01:24:38   The argument against this is, "Well, we have so many files now and it's not tenable and yada, yada, yada." My argument has always been that that doesn't mean you discard this.

01:24:48   It just means you add tools on top of it. So you add a quick launcher like Quicksilver. You add a file browser, but you don't destroy the spatial interface.

01:24:58   These days it's much less relevant because who uses Max anymore and who uses the Finder and yada, yada, all that stuff.

01:25:04   But I feel like the iPhone is the ultimate vindication of spatial interfaces. As much as I just complained about the particulars of how you arrange icons on it,

01:25:14   Springboard and the user interface of smartphones as defined by the original iPhone are relentlessly spatial.

01:25:21   If your icons on your home screen randomly rearrange themselves or you looked at it at a different day and things were in a different place, people would flip out.

01:25:30   People arrange their home screens the way they like them and they expect them to stay that way.

01:25:35   And how do they find things? Do they consciously say, "Row 3, column 4." No, they just reach for it because they know where it is, because they're used to knowing where things are in space.

01:25:45   So I'm glad Apple sort of came back to spatial interfaces as not just an aspect of the interface, but the only way to get your applications.

01:25:55   I think they could extend out from there and now perhaps have different views of things as we just discussed.

01:26:00   But yeah, I'm still a proponent of spatial interfaces. I'm a proponent of the Spatial Finder as far as that goes, but I'm a proponent of spatial interfaces.

01:26:09   Same thing with Windows and applications and state preservation that you all talked about. Those abilities of human users are under-leveraged.

01:26:19   They could be leveraged more because they're things that everybody is good at doing that has very low cognitive load, that reaps benefits and makes things feel more effortless, fun, and natural to use.

01:26:32   And it's powerful. It's powerful to always know that your camera icon is right where your thumb is going to find it.

01:26:37   Dan Zaccaro writes, "Hey, you guys talk about Synology a lot or network attached storage devices a lot, and that made me look into it.

01:26:45   And yes, a NAS network attached storage looks essential. Those specs though, they're super low for the price.

01:26:51   Why didn't you build your own server for much cheaper? Seems like the best route for tech people and you guys qualify.

01:26:57   My parts are ordered, so wish me luck." Well, good luck, Dan.

01:27:00   This line of thinking I am not a fan of. I'm trying to be kind because Dan is well-meaning.

01:27:08   I don't think he meant to say anything that would make me upset, but it kind of makes me upset because this is like, "Oh, why don't you spend 35 hours researching all the things you need,

01:27:20   and then another 40 hours putting them all together, and then 15 hours installing and configuring everything?"

01:27:26   Obviously, I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea.

01:27:28   Why don't you do all this stuff? It's a small matter of effort.

01:27:31   It's like, "Oh, this rings the same as when I was consulting."

01:27:36   And someone who had never written a line of code in their lives would say, "Oh, I'm sure that's a small matter of programming. I'm sure it'll be simple."

01:27:42   Like, yes, the Synology is probably overpriced for what you get if you look at it on a spec sheet.

01:27:48   But what I want from my Synology is to buy one, to be honest, ours were all comped, but in principle, to buy one and then turn it on,

01:27:57   and then have it just work. I mean, to this end, "Dan, do you drive a car? Did you build the car from scratch? You could have. You could have. Why didn't you?"

01:28:07   For something as complex as network attached storage, I don't get this line of thinking.

01:28:14   I understand the point that Dan is coming from, but maybe it's just because I don't have enough time.

01:28:20   I'm sure 20-year-old me would have had a very different opinion about this, but very nearly 37-year-old me, no.

01:28:26   I don't have time. I just want something that I can turn on and just works, and I will trade money for that if need be.

01:28:33   But Marco, you seem to like occasionally spending a lot of time on things. I'm thinking specifically about your Wi-Fi setup.

01:28:42   Why didn't you just build one of these Synology clones on your own, Marco?

01:28:47   Well, first of all, setting up Ubiquiti gear for a computer nerd is not nearly as time-consuming as building your own Synology level NAS.

01:28:56   But I would say that I kind of follow the other side of this now. When we all got our Synology units, I mean, this was a good two or three years ago now.

01:29:08   It was like 2013, I think, 2014 maybe.

01:29:10   Yeah, so it was a number of years ago now. And things were different for my needs back then. If I were doing it today, I would not have a Synology or any other kind of dedicated NAS.

01:29:23   I would just plug some kind of external drive thing into a Mac Mini. Back then, that was a harder sell because not only did I not own a Mac Mini and had no other use for one at the time,

01:29:35   but I also, back then, hard drive sizes were such that to achieve the level of storage that I wanted, which was between 10 and 20 terabytes total space, required eight disks back then to do that with any kind of redundancy and reliability.

01:29:53   And so you needed a big box to have that many disks in it. And if you start looking at eight bay drive enclosures, the cost between that and between a USB eight bay drive enclosure or a Thunderbolt one and a NAS, the NAS is actually pretty similarly cost at that point.

01:30:12   So you might as well. And then also back then, I wasn't so clear on how I was going to end up backing these things up and everything.

01:30:19   I thought I would use more of the applications on the NAS. But the way that I actually use it now is I basically use the NAS as a dumb drive box.

01:30:28   I access it mostly via iSCSI mounted on a Mac Mini so it behaves like an external disk connected to the Mac Mini. And this is not a setup I recommend, by the way. It's just too complicated and weird.

01:30:39   But if any part of it broke significantly, I wouldn't replace it. I would instead change to a setup where I'm just plugging in a smaller number of very large disks, like 10 terabyte disks, like just a small number of those plugged into a dumb enclosure connected to my Mac Mini.

01:30:57   Because all the things that Casey does with his Synology, with the fancier actually running the apps on it and truck downloading to it and everything, I don't do any of that stuff. I don't run Plex on it. I do none of that stuff.

01:31:12   All my home server roles are served either by nothing or by the Mac Mini that I have now. And so just plugging in hard drives to a Mac Mini would be a lot easier and simpler for me.

01:31:23   So that's the direction I would take in the future. And if your needs can be solved by just connecting a few very large drives to a computer, especially a computer you already own, then I would say a NAS is not worth it anymore.

01:31:37   If you don't already own it, buying a Mac Mini plus hard drives is probably more expensive than a NAS. In current Mac Mini prices it is not a cheap computer. Kind of like my AirPods, if my Synology died, I would immediately buy another one.

01:31:53   I don't have to worry about weird open source incompatibilities. I don't want to have to do any of that stuff.

01:32:20   As nice as they make that, like "Oh, it auto-updates and blah blah blah," I've used Linux enough to know that there is still a substantial difference between a commercial integrated supported product like the Synology and a do-it-yourself one.

01:32:33   Even if the do-it-yourself one uses a well-supported open source thing and it's fairly straightforward commodity hardware, you can be successful with it and you can definitely get it for cheaper.

01:32:44   But when I look at the price of the Synology, I'm not saying, "Look at this crappy Atom processor and then a metal box and a power supply." I'm thinking of the whole package.

01:32:54   The fact that it comes with software, it will work out of the box, and during the time I've owned the Synology, which I think has been 2013, so like six years, the software has been auto-updated over the network and has added features that I have found useful over time.

01:33:10   And I haven't had to do a thing to it. In the very beginning I dabbled with SSHing into it or messing with it or whatever, but eventually I was like, "You know what? Just let it be."

01:33:20   And most of the features that I wanted eventually became officially supported, and every time I want to do something with it, I find it in some menu somewhere and it does it.

01:33:28   And to me, who's not really interested in a build-your-own-NAS project, that's what I want out of it.

01:33:34   But if you want to build your own NAS, go for it. You definitely will save money. As the saying goes, Linux is free as long as your time has no value. I forget what the saying is. There's some snarky saying about that.

01:33:46   Anyway, if that time is fun time for you, then double win. You save money and you get a cool hobby.

01:33:53   Thanks to our sponsors this week, Fracture, Discourse, and Backblaze. And we'll talk to you next week.










01:34:35   We can get an ear update.

01:35:04   Not much to say.

01:35:05   They're not fixed, but they're less bad.

01:35:10   My left ear is mostly normal, and my right ear is making progress.

01:35:15   It's like, have you ever, have you seen, like, like, I don't know, John, like, what are your,

01:35:20   what does your school do for grades for on the report cards?

01:35:23   Like, are they letter grades, or are they these newfangled things that are, everything

01:35:26   means something good?

01:35:28   Newfangled things?

01:35:29   Tell me about this newfangled thing.

01:35:30   We have letter grades.

01:35:31   What is the alternative to letter grades?

01:35:33   So, so our school, they do something, and I get the feeling this is like a more widespread

01:35:41   thing now, where we don't have the traditional letter grades like A through F. We have on

01:35:46   our, on our elementary school report cards, they basically, they change the letter grades

01:35:51   so that everything is a euphemism for good, but really it's like, so like, it's like developing

01:35:58   or something, or like developing towards standard is like the bad thing.

01:36:03   That's like the D or whatever.

01:36:05   And then like, you know, exceeds expectations is the good thing.

01:36:09   Yeah, you're talking about, I know what you're talking about now, yeah.

01:36:12   Elementary school, preschool, yeah, they have like on level or meets and exceeds, and it's

01:36:17   kind of, they do the same thing in yearly reviews and big person jobs, as Casey well

01:36:22   knows.

01:36:23   Yeah.

01:36:24   Well, the problem is that none of them mean is getting worse.

01:36:28   Like the negative thing, like the failure mode of it, the wording of it is they're getting

01:36:35   better.

01:36:36   Approaching, approaching, I forgot what their phrasings are, but yeah, approaching level

01:36:39   and stuff like that.

01:36:40   They're really, they're supposed to be.

01:36:41   But what if you're not, like what if you're below the level and not making any progress

01:36:45   towards success?

01:36:46   Like what if you're actually like having a downturn?

01:36:49   There's no way to represent that in this system.

01:36:52   But they're not vectors.

01:36:53   Like that's the thing.

01:36:54   They're not, they're not like magnitude and direction.

01:36:56   They're just magnitude.

01:36:57   They're phrased as vectors, as in, you know, approaching mastery or whatever.

01:37:03   But in general, like this, because the schools are judged on like how many kids do you have

01:37:06   on level, below level, above level or whatever.

01:37:09   But all the points and times don't have any direction.

01:37:12   So you're right.

01:37:13   They don't express whether your kid is actually getting better or getting worse.

01:37:15   They just express where they are.

01:37:16   But the phrasing of it suggests a vector though.

01:37:20   Yeah.

01:37:21   The only weird thing I've had in grading thing, I think it was my daughter in one of her middle

01:37:26   school classes.

01:37:27   It was like a, I'm not going to say not a real class, but it was one of the less academic

01:37:30   classes.

01:37:31   It was like health class or wellness or whatever the hell they call it now.

01:37:34   And she got into this thing where she turned in an assignment, but the teacher said she

01:37:38   didn't have it.

01:37:39   And it's like, well, I did it well, but I don't have it.

01:37:41   Did you turn it on time?

01:37:42   Yes, I did.

01:37:43   Well, you know, so it's like either she lost the assignment or the teacher lost the assignment,

01:37:46   but it was like at an impasse where it's like, well, you know, can she make it up?

01:37:51   And the teacher's like, no, if she did the work, she shouldn't redo it.

01:37:53   I'm like, okay, well, what are you going to do about the grade situation?

01:37:55   Because right now in the computer, it was like a really bad grade because homework counts

01:37:59   for X amount or whatever.

01:38:00   And I'm sure my daughter did it.

01:38:01   She's very conscientious.

01:38:02   She does all of her work.

01:38:03   I'm not sure she successfully handed it in because she does tend to be a little bit disorganized

01:38:07   in that way, but either way, that was the situation.

01:38:10   And so the teacher's solution was, okay, well, I just won't give her a letter grade for this.

01:38:15   I'll just give her a P like for past.

01:38:17   I'm like, wait, you can do that?

01:38:19   You can just take a class and say, you're not going to get a letter grade for this.

01:38:23   You're just going to get a U-passed.

01:38:25   I mean, it kind of makes sense since, again, it's like an elective and not like a "real

01:38:29   class" and it's middle school and not high school.

01:38:31   So it's not like an effective GPA because no one cares what grades you got in middle

01:38:34   school, right?

01:38:35   But it was weird that that was even an option because in my day, not only did we get straight

01:38:40   up grades, like they weren't letter grades, they were number grades from zero to 100 with

01:38:44   decimal points, with a single decimal point after the number.

01:38:48   And there was no change in that to a P. It's like, you're going to get a number.

01:38:51   It's like, what's my number?

01:38:53   And in middle school, it was like that.

01:38:54   So there is more flexibility.

01:38:55   And in elementary school, I think elementary school had actual letter grades.

01:38:59   It was just like As and Bs.

01:39:01   I don't think it had pluses or minuses or maybe there were minuses.

01:39:04   I don't know.

01:39:05   But yeah, the advent of often state mandated standardized testing and measurement of school

01:39:13   performance through these standardized tests, like in Massachusetts, we have MCAS and New

01:39:17   York.

01:39:18   In high school, obviously, they have the Regents, but that's a separate thing.

01:39:20   I don't know what they have for elementary school.

01:39:22   Has made all these schools, especially elementary, rephrase everything as, are you successfully

01:39:28   educating the students to the level that we are targeting as determined by this set of

01:39:33   criteria that's set down by the state?

01:39:35   And that all you care about is children's orbit around that standard because it affects

01:39:39   like your funding and all sorts of other stuff.

01:39:43   So it doesn't surprise me that every school at the elementary level has shifted to that.

01:39:48   And honestly, you don't need to be giving kids letter grades in elementary school.

01:39:51   It's kind of ridiculous.

01:39:52   Like I have plenty of time to be anxious about their grades later in life.

01:39:58   I'm happy to let the entirety of elementary school go by without kids having to worry

01:40:02   about anything about their education because Lord knows that the helicopter parents are

01:40:05   worrying about enough for everybody involved.

01:40:07   Yeah, I don't think, so Adam's only in first grade, but I don't think he knows that he

01:40:13   gets grades yet.

01:40:15   Well, I mean, if these could be called grades even.

01:40:18   Like he knows that we looked at a report card every few months or something, but I don't

01:40:25   think he knows, because he doesn't even get it.

01:40:27   Like when I was a kid, they would like hand you the report card and you'd bring it home.

01:40:31   Now it's all online or given to you like in parent teacher conferences.

01:40:35   So like I don't think Adam has even seen his report card.

01:40:38   I don't think he even knows he gets one, let alone like worrying about what grades are

01:40:43   on it.

01:40:44   But yeah, there will be time for that.

01:40:47   That basically ruined my childhood, so I'm hoping, trying to have it not ruin his, but

01:40:51   we'll see about that.

01:40:53   The thing that's worse for kids now is like, yeah, we knew we were getting report cards

01:40:56   and we had to bring them home and show them to our parents and often get them signed and

01:40:59   go through all of that crap.

01:41:01   But now since there's so much more, like in my education, standardized testing didn't

01:41:07   really become a thing that approached our radar until like high school.

01:41:11   Like we were tested with standardized tests in elementary school, but it was like, you

01:41:16   know, once in your entire elementary school career or maybe twice, like at two key points,

01:41:21   the whole school would be tested.

01:41:22   And it was like a curiosity, like, oh, look, the scientists are coming in to see how the

01:41:27   school is doing.

01:41:28   But you never thought it reflected on you in any way because you're like, whatever,

01:41:30   it was so infrequent.

01:41:31   But now every single year of education in Massachusetts, there's some kind of requirement

01:41:37   to make sure the children have achieved mastery according to some rubric, blah, blah, blah.

01:41:42   And the kids are essentially tested.

01:41:44   And it doesn't take them long to figure out when we go to the separate room and the

01:41:48   teacher asks me a bunch of questions or when we all take the certain test, like because

01:41:51   the teacher is not that they have to teach the test, but they do have to prepare the

01:41:53   kids for it.

01:41:54   They realize that the children themselves realize we are being evaluated because it

01:41:58   happens every single year like clockwork, sometimes two times a year.

01:42:02   So I think Adam will pick up on it pretty quickly.

01:42:06   But in general, good schools make it less stressful and it doesn't really matter.

01:42:12   It's only going to stress your child out to the extent that you stress your child out

01:42:16   about it.

01:42:17   Like I don't think kids on their own, for the most part, are going to be worried about

01:42:20   the grades unless their parents are worried about the grades and then they pass that anxiety

01:42:25   onto them.

01:42:26   If everyone is all chill about it, it can still be stressful to be put on the spot and

01:42:29   ask questions.

01:42:30   But if you come home and your parents don't seem to care about that stuff, like obviously

01:42:34   parents do care.

01:42:35   But I feel like the parents these days fret privately between the parents and teachers

01:42:39   about how they're going to get the kid to perform better if the kid is having problems

01:42:42   and less like, "I'm going to yell at my children until they get smarter," which

01:42:46   is not a particularly good technique, but sadly one that many of our childhoods involved.

01:42:51   I wonder, what's the current…

01:42:54   So I know you mentioned earlier like health class is like wellness now or something.

01:42:59   Wellness or something, yeah, I don't know what the word is.

01:43:01   I mean, it might as well be called like genitals and drugs.

01:43:03   That's really all it is.

01:43:04   But like what do they call like what used to be called home ec, which could be summarized

01:43:09   as like sewing and cooking.

01:43:10   Like what do they call that now?

01:43:11   Because I've heard like 10 different names for that.

01:43:13   Oh, God, I can't think of it now.

01:43:15   They call that not in the school curriculum anymore because school funding is ridiculously

01:43:19   lower than it should be.

01:43:20   Like nobody has home ec and shop.

01:43:21   Are you kidding?

01:43:22   Like if you want those classes in your school, you'd have to pay super duper extra money.

01:43:26   Like there are exceptions, but like the total destruction of every class except for reading,

01:43:32   writing, and arithmetic, the three R's, right, that is definitely a thing.

01:43:36   Even in all of my like I'm in a rich person town with a rich person in school with high

01:43:40   property taxes and all the kids are rich and everyone's got tons of money.

01:43:43   And even here, I feel like there's less richness in classes taken in high school than there

01:43:48   was in my high school, which is sad because God, how much money does it take to get like

01:43:53   so to that end, I'm pretty sure there is no home ec course offered in my kids' entire

01:43:59   high school, but there is like a 3D modeling class and the equivalent of a shop class.

01:44:04   And there is music and there is theater and there's other things, but a lot of that costs

01:44:07   extra.

01:44:08   So I wouldn't just assume that every school that children who are going through school

01:44:12   now go to is going to have home ec on the menu at all.

01:44:16   Wow.

01:44:17   Real time follow up, it is apparently called Family and Consumer Sciences.

01:44:20   For me, it was called Food, I believe, or Foods.

01:44:23   Literally that was the title of the course.

01:44:24   Foods.

01:44:25   Foods.

01:44:26   It was like a cooking course.

01:44:27   That was all it was.

01:44:28   It was like how to scramble an egg and things like that.

01:44:30   It worked so well for you.

01:44:31   It exposed you to so many world foods and different cooking methods.

01:44:34   Yeah.

01:44:35   It's more to home economics than just food.

01:44:36   Like I think the most valuable thing that I learned that I wouldn't have otherwise was

01:44:40   sewing.

01:44:41   How to use a sewing machine, how to sew by hand.

01:44:43   Like that was all part of my home ec class.

01:44:45   Mine was called Human Ecology because it almost abbreviates to home ec.

01:44:49   It's like they didn't want to change the abbreviation.

01:44:50   It's like humec.

01:44:52   It's close enough.

01:44:53   Human Ecology is like your zoo animals.

01:44:56   None of us ever knew what that meant.

01:44:57   Yeah.

01:44:58   It's a shame because I feel like, you know, those classes.

01:45:01   I'm glad to see wellness still hanging on but again, you do have to tell the people

01:45:05   about the STDs and the drugs and everything and vaping.

01:45:07   Don't forget about vaping.

01:45:08   Oh yeah.

01:45:09   I guess that's new now.

01:45:10   We didn't have that when we were kids.

01:45:11   Yeah.

01:45:12   So many vaping newsletters come in by email.

01:45:15   Really?

01:45:16   Vaping forums come learn about vaping.

01:45:17   Yeah.

01:45:18   Oh God.

01:45:19   It's a big thing.

01:45:20   I mean I like to think like I used to think this about my friends because I was kind of

01:45:26   the tail end of smoking in high school so like what was it called?

01:45:33   We had a designated smoking area in our high school.

01:45:35   Let's put it that way.

01:45:36   For kids these days listening, just to think about it.

01:45:38   It was like officially done so?

01:45:40   Yes.

01:45:41   Like officially by the school, an area designated by the school where students should go to

01:45:45   smoke.

01:45:46   It was called the smoking area, the smoking lobby.

01:45:49   It was outdoors, right?

01:45:50   Lounge.

01:45:51   It was incredible.

01:45:52   It wasn't a lounge, right?

01:45:53   The teachers' lounge was filled with smoke because the teachers all smoked there.

01:45:57   The teachers didn't smoke in the classrooms so they all smoked in the teachers' lounge

01:45:59   and the students had an area where they could smoke.

01:46:03   But I was coming up with kind of the tail end of that where like basically me and all

01:46:07   my other nerd friends, nobody smoked because we're the smart kids and smart kids don't

01:46:11   do stupid things and smoking is really stupid, right?

01:46:15   And I was so confident that that was going to be the case right up until all my friends

01:46:19   graduated and then half of them started smoking.

01:46:21   I'm like, "Come on, people.

01:46:23   Come on.

01:46:24   You're the smart people."

01:46:25   It's like, "Nope.

01:46:26   College and freedom."

01:46:28   And just that was enough to make half of them succumb.

01:46:32   So it was sad.

01:46:33   But anyway, these days vaping I feel like is similar.

01:46:36   Like you would think, "Oh, all the smart students aren't going to be doing that because

01:46:39   the smart students know."

01:46:41   You know, maybe that's true but at a certain point peer pressure and other things can overcome

01:46:46   any amount of supposed smarts to make.

01:46:50   Aaron do foolish things because their brains don't finish forming until they're 25,

01:46:54   people – 25.

01:46:56   Not 18, not 17, 25.

01:46:59   I got married when I was 25.

01:47:02   Aaron was 23, I believe.

01:47:04   She wanted to wait for your brain to finish cooking.

01:47:05   And you wanted hers not to.

01:47:07   Exactly right.

01:47:08   There you go.

01:47:09   [BEEPING]