265: Simon Says Volume Five


00:00:00   As we've already discussed, I have my paneled setup of Windows and the one...

00:00:05   Where does that accent come from? It's not a Connecticut thing.

00:00:08   I wasn't aware I had one.

00:00:09   The word for the thing that you cook in and the first syllable for your arrangement of Windows.

00:00:14   P-A-N-E-L versus P-A-N.

00:00:16   Panel?

00:00:17   Right.

00:00:18   How do you pronounce it?

00:00:20   Not the same way as the thing that you cook in.

00:00:23   Well, he says "pan-el."

00:00:24   Yeah, exactly.

00:00:25   Wait, what do you cook in?

00:00:26   A pan.

00:00:28   Oh.

00:00:29   Not a pan.

00:00:30   So, wait, so I'm…

00:00:31   You say them both the same. You say, "I cook in a pan, and I have a bunch of panels."

00:00:36   Yeah. So how would you say it?

00:00:37   "I cook in a pan, I have a bunch of panels."

00:00:40   That sounded the exact… Are you trolling me right now? That sounded exactly the same.

00:00:44   "Panelize the waveforms."

00:00:45   No, I don't.

00:00:46   "Pan panels, pan panels." Marco, you said it. What do you have going on over there?

00:00:54   I cook in a pan.

00:00:55   Yeah.

00:00:56   And I have panels.

00:00:57   Hmm, interesting middle ground. They're slightly different from each other.

00:01:01   I don't understand what's—am I hammered? What is happening? I can't hear the difference.

00:01:05   What is going on right now? Is this what being colorblind feels like? What the hell is happening?

00:01:12   All right, so we talked a lot last week about onboarding screens and why they're there,

00:01:19   what is their purpose, whether they're good, whether they're bad, etc. And I was informed

00:01:23   that the reason that these screens are happening is because of GDPR, which I know almost nothing

00:01:32   about, and I've been a little busy, and so I'm a poor chief summarizer-in-chief, but

00:01:36   nevertheless, GDPR is a General Data Protection Regulation, which is something that the EU

00:01:43   passed recently and has come into effect, or is coming into effect very, very, very

00:01:47   soon.

00:01:48   Oh, it becomes enforceable from the 25th of May, 2018, so we are coming up on it now.

00:01:53   I guess this doesn't apply to Britain too soon.

00:01:56   Anyway, the point is, the point is, sorry everybody, the point is, apparently it talks

00:02:02   about how companies store your data and tries to give you more control of your data, and

00:02:08   I've been told that that is the genesis of all of these onboarding screens.

00:02:12   I'm not sure if I buy that because I bet that screen is going to be everywhere, not

00:02:16   just in Europe, and it's not like Apple is above doing region-specific UIs.

00:02:20   I do a bunch of stuff that I think is only visible in China, for instance.

00:02:24   Interesting.

00:02:25   Maybe, yeah.

00:02:26   On the other hand, I feel like this GDPR thing, which I'm basically just learning about

00:02:30   now, because I didn't actually follow your link in the show notes, reminds me of the

00:02:33   European cookie regulation stuff.

00:02:35   Do you remember that?

00:02:36   Oh, yes.

00:02:37   I think you have to remember, I think it's still in effect.

00:02:38   Like if you go to—they got to throw up a pop-up that says, "Just so you know, this

00:02:42   website is going to use cookies to keep track of you.

00:02:44   Agree or disagree," right?

00:02:45   It's another example of properly motivated but ill-conceived legislation where the motivation

00:02:53   is pure, like there's these computers and they potentially could be storing us, personal

00:02:58   information and tracking us, which by the way they totally do.

00:03:01   Let's do something with the law to deal with that.

00:03:04   But this, you know, the impulse to do this comes really early on in the history of the

00:03:10   web, when the scariest thing out there is a cookie, right?

00:03:14   And the legislation is, I know, let's make every website in the world annoying forever.

00:03:19   And let's never do anything else related to other kinds of tracking that'll be much, much

00:03:22   worse than cookies.

00:03:24   And like so many other laws, it just sits there until someone who's going to have the

00:03:28   motivation say, "You know, we should stop doing that because it's dumb."

00:03:32   Or we should realize the folly of this particular technique of trying to get people to grapple

00:03:38   with privacy.

00:03:41   Because if you say this is the way we should deal with everything, then you've got to have

00:03:44   stuff like that for all forms of JavaScript, every kind of local storage, all the Flash-based

00:03:49   super cookie, whatever thing.

00:03:51   It never ends and you'd have to plow through 50 layers of click wrap, as they call it,

00:03:57   to get to the website that you want.

00:04:00   So if there's some new kind of legislation that says, by the way, every time you launch

00:04:04   an application you've got to throw a thing in someone's face, which I don't think that's

00:04:06   what this GDPR thing says.

00:04:08   But if there were such a thing, I think that would be sort of the modern equivalent of

00:04:12   the cookie legislation, perhaps motivated by a noble intent, but ill-conceived, badly

00:04:21   implemented, and sure to age badly.

00:04:24   So we'll see.

00:04:25   Maybe when these things roll out and Apple talks about them on stage, maybe they will

00:04:30   make a pitch in that direction.

00:04:32   But as far as I can tell, it looks a lot more like what we talked about last show, a way

00:04:36   for Apple to advertise one of its competitive advantages and to provide some reassurance

00:04:40   and to explain what the applications do in a more clear way than just showing an empty

00:04:45   list view.

00:04:46   Yeah, we'll see.

00:04:47   But supposedly that is kind of the genesis for this.

00:04:51   There's also going to be a link in the show notes.

00:04:53   Smashing Magazine has "How GDPR will change the way you develop," which talks about

00:04:59   kind of how all this will affect developers.

00:05:03   And the rumblings I've heard through various sources is that this is a bigger deal than

00:05:07   any of us Americans are realizing because it doesn't seem to apply to us, but it applies

00:05:13   to any of us that have, you know, code that reaches more than one country, more than just

00:05:17   America.

00:05:18   So.

00:05:19   And by the way, I think it is possible to make good legislation to protect consumers'

00:05:22   privacy.

00:05:23   It's just really hard to do when it comes to tech because, you know, the tendency is

00:05:27   to pick whatever the specifics of the technology are at the moment and attack them and demonize

00:05:31   them when really it's a much more general concern. And historically speaking, legislative bodies have

00:05:36   not had a good track record with legislating technology, essentially. Like, understanding

00:05:42   what the underlying issue is rather than attacking a specific technology as the one and only

00:05:47   vehicle through which this issue will manifest. And that's never true. Like,

00:05:51   maybe that, you know, cookies were how privacy manifested a long, long time ago. Privacy issues

00:05:57   Choose manifest in the following decades in so many more important ways than cookies,

00:06:02   and yet the legislation just sits there staring at cookies, which is why you can't really

00:06:06   legislate to technical details.

00:06:09   You have to figure out what it is that we're really concerned about and make a law such

00:06:13   that it applies in a useful way to any future technology, but also at the same time doesn't

00:06:19   preclude future technologies that may run afoul of the letter of law if not the spirit.

00:06:24   Making laws is hard.

00:06:25   Making laws about technology is doubly hard.

00:06:27   One way to help with this, by the way, I'm saying this mostly from a US perspective,

00:06:30   I have no idea what's done in Europe, is perhaps take the advice and consultation of people

00:06:35   who know things about technology, who don't have a vested interest in one way or the other.

00:06:39   Kind of like talking to mathematicians and cryptographic experts when you make any laws

00:06:44   related to cryptography, which the US seems completely incapable of doing, or they talk

00:06:48   to them and ignore what they say, and say, "I think I'll listen to industry lobbying

00:06:52   groups instead."

00:06:53   They have all the money, so they must know what they're talking about.

00:06:55   I mean, to be fair, like, we can't even agree that facts are facts.

00:06:59   I know, I know. I'm thinking back to a, you know, a more naive time when we could simply

00:07:07   just complain about how technologically illiterate our legislative bodies are, and now we have

00:07:11   much more pressing concerns.

00:07:13   And now I'm sad. Thanks for that, Jon. All right, last week we talked about how if you

00:07:19   are a member of one or 30 Slack teams, you can actually, a little known fact, you can

00:07:25   access Slack via IRC. I don't know when this announcement actually happened, but as it

00:07:30   turns out, we got word within moments of releasing the episode that that's going away now. So

00:07:38   it has been disabled for Slack teams that haven't enabled it, and I think it will be

00:07:41   the, it will be phased out in the next some duration of time. So, whoops.

00:07:47   I'm not surprised by this because it totally seems like a thing that Slack might do early

00:07:54   on as part of it.

00:07:56   Let's make sure you have no excuse not to use Slack, right?

00:07:59   And then as Slack becomes more successful and as they can compare the statistics of

00:08:03   how many people use our IRC gateway versus how much does it take to maintain it versus

00:08:07   how much does it help our strategic intent of the company, it's probably used by a

00:08:12   vanishingly small percentage of Slack's customers.

00:08:15   They no longer are in that mode where they need to convince people to use Slack because

00:08:18   the ball started rolling and it probably does take some amount to maintain and it's just

00:08:22   a distraction so it kind of makes sense that it goes away.

00:08:25   But I bet if you use it, you're probably pretty annoyed by that.

00:08:27   JONATHAN: Indeed.

00:08:28   So that happened coincidentally right around the time we were bringing up on the show that,

00:08:32   hey, you can do this too.

00:08:34   Moving on.

00:08:35   Amazon's Alexa is gaining a new follow-up mode, which no longer requires a trigger word

00:08:39   after every request.

00:08:41   So what will happen is Alexa will listen for five seconds after your previous request to

00:08:44   to see if you're wanting to ask another question.

00:08:46   The blue ring on your echo will remain lit

00:08:48   and it will indicate that she is still listening.

00:08:51   In this time period, you can ask her another question,

00:08:53   otherwise she'll go back to sleep mode.

00:08:56   That's cool.

00:08:56   - See, this to me, this is, it sounds cool

00:09:01   until you actually think about how that works in practice,

00:09:03   and I think you can actually enable it now,

00:09:05   but the problem with that is,

00:09:08   it's not addressing what you actually want,

00:09:10   which is what you actually want is to say,

00:09:12   cylinder, play El Scorcho by Weezer,

00:09:15   and turn the volume to five.

00:09:17   You know, like you want to be able to do multiple commands

00:09:19   in one sentence, or in one command,

00:09:22   and they can't do that right now.

00:09:24   None of them can, as far as I know.

00:09:26   And that's what you actually want.

00:09:27   What this feature does is,

00:09:29   hey cylinder, play El Scorcho by Weezer,

00:09:31   and then it says okay,

00:09:33   and then it starts playing.

00:09:37   Like you don't want that, like that is not what you--

00:09:41   - I don't think it's stopping on the command.

00:09:43   I think all it's doing is, I mean,

00:09:44   my reading of this article is all it's doing is

00:09:47   it will immediately start playing the song that you asked for

00:09:49   but for the next five seconds,

00:09:51   anything else you say will try to interpret as a command

00:09:54   as if you had prefixed it with "Hey, cylinder."

00:09:55   - Right, but then like, I'm pretty sure

00:09:57   then the volume still stays ducked and it's just like,

00:10:00   I feel like the percentage of the time

00:10:03   that's going to actually do what you want

00:10:06   versus the percentage of the time that it's going to either

00:10:08   keep listening to something you say afterwards

00:10:10   you did intend for it to be a command,

00:10:12   or just delay what you were trying to do,

00:10:14   or do something, or you thought it was still listening,

00:10:17   gave it another command, but the five seconds had just ended.

00:10:21   I feel like the failure rate of that,

00:10:23   to do what people actually want,

00:10:25   is going to be way, way too high to be acceptable.

00:10:30   It's not gonna be good enough of the time.

00:10:33   Whereas, and it's also, to me, that's not smart.

00:10:36   That's just a very small implementation detail.

00:10:40   That's not actually making the service smarter.

00:10:42   What we actually need is for all these voice assistants

00:10:44   to become smarter and to recognize compound commands.

00:10:48   That's what people actually want.

00:10:51   Play El Scorcho by Weezer and turn the volume to five.

00:10:53   Set a rice timer for 10 minutes

00:10:55   and a pasta timer for seven minutes.

00:10:57   This is what people actually want to do.

00:10:59   And so, you know, little tricks like this,

00:11:01   like, that's a dumb hack.

00:11:04   Really what we need is for the voice assistant to get better

00:11:07   to actually recognize multiple commands

00:11:09   the way humans will actually give them.

00:11:11   So this is also not what I was asking for last week.

00:11:13   I think that's why it was sent to us as follow-up.

00:11:15   What I was asking for was context awareness such that follow-up commands could be aware

00:11:19   of what you asked for previously and interpret your subsequent commands in light of what

00:11:24   you had just asked it based on, like the way a person would.

00:11:27   If you say something to a person and then an hour later you say something else, there's

00:11:30   no way they're going to connect that to the context of the last thing you said to

00:11:32   them.

00:11:33   But if you say something to them and then add an addendum two seconds later, they have

00:11:36   the context of the first command, you know, to understand what you mean. And the key part

00:11:41   of that is that the second thing that you say is not itself a complete command. It relies

00:11:46   on the knowledge of the context. That's why I said last week that it probably requires

00:11:50   some more local hardware, because you would want, at least for privacy reasons or whatever,

00:11:54   you'd want some of that local context awareness to happen, you know, locally. You don't need

00:11:59   the server to keep track of like your session or whatever, so it can understand that. I

00:12:03   I think we can keep some of that locally.

00:12:06   Compound commands would also be good and actually seem much easier to me than what I'm asking

00:12:09   for because it's two commands and there's a joiner and you can figure it out and break

00:12:14   it up into pieces.

00:12:15   But I think it's more natural to have a conversation to hone in on what you want because that's

00:12:20   what you do with other people than to formulate even a single command, let alone a compound

00:12:27   command as if, as I said a couple weeks ago, you're playing a verbal text adventure where

00:12:32   maybe you don't have to get the syntax just right,

00:12:34   but you understand that you're issuing a command

00:12:36   and now maybe you can issue compound commands,

00:12:38   but it's not the way you would yell into other room

00:12:41   for Marco to add something to your shopping list.

00:12:43   You don't have to formulate a command for Marco.

00:12:45   You can basically say it in any way that you want,

00:12:47   including addendums and revisions and you know what,

00:12:52   nevermind about that, just get the other thing.

00:12:54   You can say stuff like that

00:12:55   and it knows what the heck you're talking about.

00:12:57   And the cylinder does not.

00:12:58   And that is a really tall order.

00:13:02   delay mode or follow-up mode or whatever is not close to that, but it at least shows that

00:13:10   they understand that the current mode of wake word or wake phrase followed by single command

00:13:17   followed by I forget you exist is pretty primitive.

00:13:22   (laughs)

00:13:23   - Also, I feel like this has a Simon Says problem, where if you get accustomed to not

00:13:31   not saying the wake word before every command you give,

00:13:35   that doesn't work all the time.

00:13:37   Like, you can't say, "Cylinder, play a scorcher by Weezer,"

00:13:40   and then 10 seconds later say, "Volume five,"

00:13:44   'cause it won't recognize it.

00:13:44   - Yeah, you have to say, "Simon says volume five."

00:13:46   - You gotta say, "Cylinder volume five," right.

00:13:49   But sometimes you don't have to say that.

00:13:51   If you say it within five seconds

00:13:53   of the previous command being completed,

00:13:55   then you can omit the word cylinder.

00:13:57   And it's like, well, that's gonna be confusing.

00:14:00   it's gonna trip you up when,

00:14:02   like it's gonna increase your error rate.

00:14:03   Like this is, again, this is just one of the reasons

00:14:05   why this isn't a solution.

00:14:06   I feel like, at a high level,

00:14:09   I think what kind of makes me sad

00:14:11   about the voice assistant market

00:14:13   is that all of us, like Apple fans,

00:14:16   are accustomed to somebody being,

00:14:18   you know, historically Apple,

00:14:20   being really good at designing really smart software

00:14:24   and really good software experiences.

00:14:27   And the rest of the industry

00:14:28   has always been pretty crappy overall.

00:14:30   there's been a couple of bright spots here or there,

00:14:32   but not many.

00:14:34   And I feel like we're all having to use

00:14:37   Amazon and Google stuff,

00:14:39   and Amazon and Google have always been pretty rough,

00:14:42   especially Amazon, pretty rough at user interaction design

00:14:46   and software usability design.

00:14:49   And what we're seeing here is just like,

00:14:52   you know, tech companies making stuff that's mediocre,

00:14:55   which is what we've always seen,

00:14:56   and Apple is always the one who could save us from that,

00:14:58   but unfortunately in this particular market,

00:15:01   they just seem not capable of that for whatever reason.

00:15:05   And that just makes me sad, 'cause it's like

00:15:06   usually Apple will be the ones to save us

00:15:08   and to make the really good thing for people like us

00:15:12   who cared about good experiences

00:15:14   and all the details and everything.

00:15:15   And in voice assistants, they just aren't capable

00:15:17   of doing that for whatever reason, and it's kinda sad.

00:15:20   - I continue to think that this is much more

00:15:21   in Google's wheelhouse than Apple's,

00:15:23   because yes, it's a part of user interface design,

00:15:25   specifically this realm of translating words that a human comes up with into an intent

00:15:34   is what the Google search box is all about. It frustrates some of us because it no longer

00:15:38   works like AltaVista where you can formulate like a Boolean query with exact substring

00:15:41   matching and get predictable results. But that Google search box is all about saying

00:15:46   people just type lots of stuff there and you can type things there and I'm still amazed

00:15:52   at the Google search box. I type things there and it finds what I meant for it to find,

00:15:57   and I don't even know how it's doing it. Like, I didn't—it's not—you know,

00:16:01   how did you get what I was trying—you know, you go to the page or whatever and like none

00:16:05   of those words are on this page. Like, you somehow figured out what I meant. And granted,

00:16:10   it's still a single command and response and it's not a conversation, but Google

00:16:14   was founded on that strength of going beyond the sort of simple direct computer search

00:16:20   to intelligent interpretation of human-generated words and translating that to an intent and

00:16:26   satisfying the request, despite spelling errors, weird phrasing, you know, the foibles of humans,

00:16:34   right? And the verbal one of that, now that speech-to-text is as good as it is, it maps

00:16:40   very well onto the search problem in that you have to figure out intent, and you can

00:16:46   get the words from it pretty well, and then you have to figure out intent, and same thing

00:16:48   with spelling errors, same thing with homonyms or whatever, that Google's good at figuring

00:16:52   that out.

00:16:53   That's always been Google's strength, so I totally look to them to be the ones to figure

00:16:57   out this aspect of user interface before Apple, and I think they are doing it better than

00:17:02   Apple.

00:17:03   But I agree that all of them are not as good as I could hope.

00:17:08   Apple is way behind, and Amazon and Google have been ahead, but I'm waiting for them

00:17:13   both to take the next small step.

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00:19:41   (upbeat music)

00:19:44   - Well, did you guys see there was some sort of like drama

00:19:47   about Siri that happened today?

00:19:49   I did not get a chance to look up what happened,

00:19:51   but apparently someone was like,

00:19:53   "Oh, Siri's garbage and it's not my fault."

00:19:56   Did you know what I'm talking about?

00:19:57   - Yeah, I know it's a story on the information,

00:20:00   which when I see that website, I always think of Marco

00:20:02   and I'm like, there's someone.

00:20:04   - The website?

00:20:06   - It's much worse.

00:20:06   It's much worse than the magazine ever was

00:20:08   because the information is like, anyway.

00:20:10   - You know, the information is really spammy.

00:20:12   I really don't like, like, they signed me up

00:20:14   to their mailing list when they launched

00:20:16   as if I had signed up saying I was interested.

00:20:18   And as a result, even though I have never responded

00:20:20   to anything, never signed up for anything,

00:20:22   they still incessantly spam me.

00:20:25   And I really, like, you know, I know it's kind of low

00:20:29   to call them out publicly for this,

00:20:30   but that is not okay for anybody to do.

00:20:33   It just drives me nuts.

00:20:35   - You can unsubscribe.

00:20:36   I just unsubscribed today speaking of them.

00:20:37   - I did, because it finally drove me that nuts.

00:20:40   but I'm just like, I never signed up for this,

00:20:42   and all you're doing is promoting articles

00:20:45   that I can't see because I'm not gonna pay

00:20:47   40 bucks a month to a spammer.

00:20:50   And so, it drives me nuts.

00:20:52   People play fast and loose with mailing lists all the time,

00:20:55   and the mailing list companies,

00:20:57   like MailChimp and everything,

00:20:58   they're all complicit in this

00:20:59   because they don't require double opt-in

00:21:00   when you import a mailing list

00:21:01   from another service, allegedly.

00:21:03   And so, they're all complicit

00:21:04   because they all make spamming people en masse really easy,

00:21:08   And as a result, I get on all sorts of spam lists

00:21:10   that appear like I signed up for them.

00:21:13   And it's a dirty, scammy trick when you're launching

00:21:17   something like this to use a PR list you find somewhere

00:21:20   or you buy somewhere.

00:21:22   And the information was one of the companies that does this,

00:21:24   one of the many companies that does this.

00:21:25   And so I just have zero respect for them, zero.

00:21:28   And I know it's a dumb reason,

00:21:30   but that's how nuts this drives me.

00:21:33   - Well anyway, this explains why none of us

00:21:34   actually read the article, because none of us have paid

00:21:36   the information, but we know about it because they're good at spamming people and letting

00:21:41   them know this already exists. It was, I think, summarized on 9to5Mac, which is also kind

00:21:45   of a scummy practice of like taking a paywall article and then basically rewriting it worse

00:21:51   on your site so that people read your site instead of the paywall thing.

00:21:54   Yeah, I love this business. It's such a great business. I should really go back to publishing

00:21:59   web content. That sounds like a lot of fun. I mean, I can understand like a paragraph

00:22:03   and a link seems reasonable, but once you've gone on for a page and a half, laboriously summarizing

00:22:08   an article that you didn't write, anyway. The story as far as I could tell was a bunch of reports

00:22:14   from people inside Apple or ex-Apple people who know about the internal workings of Siri over the

00:22:19   years saying how and where things went wrong with specific quotes from specific people assigning

00:22:24   blame to other people, not to themselves, explaining the situation. It's just the typical,

00:22:29   you know, things aren't going great inside a big company, you know, product launches and it's not

00:22:34   scalable and it's band-aided and everyone points fingers about who set the priorities or what they

00:22:39   should be doing and how often it should be updated. I mean, it's mostly details that may be, like,

00:22:44   interesting, you know, or like from a business case perspective if you're learning about how

00:22:51   businesses run, interesting, but like practically speaking, I care less and less about the internal

00:22:58   political goings-on in Apple and mostly just say, "That's Apple's job to figure out. I'm not

00:23:04   running Apple. I'm not an executive there. I'm not a high-level manager." That's their job as

00:23:09   a company, to figure out how to corral the people to produce results. And if it doesn't go well,

00:23:16   I'm not that interested in why it didn't go well, who was to blame, which person was more difficult,

00:23:20   which person made the big wrong strategic decision at what point. They just need to figure that out.

00:23:25   But on the outside, they say, "Look, how's the product doing?"

00:23:27   And the product, as we've discussed in the past, not doing that great.

00:23:30   And they've had a long time, so I hope they get it sorted out.

00:23:32   I don't even want to get angry about Siri again.

00:23:35   So let's just move on.

00:23:37   And instead, let's get angry about keyboards.

00:23:38   Marco, this is your cue.

00:23:41   Apple apparently has patented a keyboard that cannot be defeated by crumbs.

00:23:46   Marco, I know you have been celebrating.

00:23:49   You are swinging from the rafters.

00:23:51   You are so excited.

00:23:52   So I don't know when we're gonna expect to see this,

00:23:55   but hopefully it will mean that I don't need

00:23:58   to invest in compressed air anymore.

00:24:00   - I mean, this is a problem I don't have

00:24:01   because I have a laptop that has a functioning keyboard.

00:24:03   - That's true, I walked right into that one.

00:24:06   - But why do you think Marco would be excited by this?

00:24:08   This seems like Marco's nightmare to me

00:24:10   because Marco loves the fact that the keyboard he hates

00:24:12   also has a terrible reliability problem

00:24:14   that allows him to righteously rail against it.

00:24:16   Imagine if they made that keyboard 100% reliable.

00:24:18   Then all he's got is,

00:24:20   this keyboard works all the time, but I hate it.

00:24:22   (laughing)

00:24:23   I mean, to be fair, when it first came out,

00:24:24   before where you knew how badly it would break all the time,

00:24:26   that is what I did.

00:24:27   (laughing)

00:24:28   And also, the arrow key placement is still horrendous.

00:24:31   Not having the gap above the arrows,

00:24:34   above the left and right, is unforgivable.

00:24:36   But anyway, look,

00:24:37   I'm of two minds of this.

00:24:41   You know, number one, John's right.

00:24:44   In a way, I don't want to see this keyboard succeed

00:24:47   and be fixed.

00:24:48   I'm not gonna lie, that is part of my motivation,

00:24:50   because I don't like it so much.

00:24:52   But also, keep in mind I had those keyboards for,

00:24:55   what, about a year before I finally gave up?

00:24:57   - Across 13 different laptops.

00:24:59   - Three, and so I had the keyboard,

00:25:02   and I got used to it enough.

00:25:05   I never liked it, but I was able to function with it

00:25:09   until it stopped working reliably.

00:25:11   And so the reality is I know,

00:25:15   I gotta choose my battles here.

00:25:17   I know that a lot of people out there don't care

00:25:19   or even like this keyboard.

00:25:21   I know that Apple is always going to press

00:25:25   to make these things thinner,

00:25:26   and I think Apple has shown across multiple years

00:25:30   and multiple products that they only care

00:25:34   about making the keyboard thinner,

00:25:36   and they will make some efforts

00:25:38   to make the thin keyboard tolerable,

00:25:41   but that they are no longer interested

00:25:43   in keeping it a good keyboard

00:25:45   if that means they can't make it thinner.

00:25:48   And so I just have to kind of resign myself to accept that.

00:25:51   I'm not gonna rail on this for a half hour

00:25:53   like I usually do because I fought this battle,

00:25:57   I lost this battle, and I'm going to continue

00:25:59   to lose this battle into the future.

00:26:01   The last thing I think Apple's gonna do

00:26:03   in the next MacBook revision

00:26:05   is to make the keyboard thicker.

00:26:07   It's just not gonna happen.

00:26:09   And I fundamentally don't believe

00:26:11   that they can make a keyboard with this little travel good.

00:26:17   you just don't think they can do it.

00:26:18   - Good as far as you're concerned though,

00:26:19   because lots of people do really like the keyboard.

00:26:21   I mean, Casey and I included have basically been converted

00:26:23   to this new keyboard.

00:26:25   It's just the reliability issues

00:26:26   and as you said, the key layout.

00:26:28   - Right, and so basically,

00:26:30   if they can fix the reliability problems,

00:26:33   yeah, I would love if they made the keyboard

00:26:35   a different style,

00:26:36   but if they can fix the reliability problems,

00:26:40   that's the best I can hope for.

00:26:42   - The key layout is just sitting right there too,

00:26:44   because there can be divisive opinions about

00:26:46   like how this keyboard feels or not. Like some people like it, some people don't, fine.

00:26:49   But I feel like key layout changes, there are certain key layout changes that would

00:26:54   be universally praised from the perspective of using the keyboard, and the only naysayers

00:26:59   would be aesthetic. For example, inverted T, full size, breaking the rectangle of the

00:27:03   keyboard. Aesthetically, people would hate that. It would be like the notch on the keyboard.

00:27:07   It would be like an asymmetrical notch on the bottom of your keyboard, and those people

00:27:10   would yell about it. But from the perspective of people who type, how does it feel to type

00:27:15   I don't see anybody saying please bring back the half size arrow keys with or without the gaps above them

00:27:20   I mean are there fans out there who would say please bring them back again?

00:27:23   I guess yes that here active I can imagine it but not from a functional perspective

00:27:27   Did you just say that you would bring asked to bring back the half hour keys?

00:27:31   Though what you mean the way I have them on my 2015 where the left and right are half height

00:27:35   No

00:27:36   I mean make a full height and have that have the rectangular shape that the

00:27:40   - These were defined to be broken.

00:27:42   - So basically have the up key in line

00:27:44   with the other ones now,

00:27:45   but have the down, left, and right

00:27:46   like in their own row below it?

00:27:48   - Yes, exactly, and have all of them be full-sized

00:27:50   and have gaps above them.

00:27:51   - I mean, that would be cool,

00:27:52   but they're never gonna do that, so yeah.

00:27:54   - I know, I'm just saying,

00:27:55   like there are key layout changes

00:27:57   that I think would be universally praised

00:27:59   from a functional perspective,

00:28:00   but derided only from an aesthetic perspective.

00:28:02   And I'm not even saying they're wrong,

00:28:03   'cause I understand thinking that's ugly,

00:28:05   but boy, would that be nicer for people who use arrow keys.

00:28:09   which is, I think, everybody.

00:28:11   Like, who doesn't use the arrow keys a lot?

00:28:13   My son, oh god, when he's taking those online--

00:28:15   [LAUGHTER]

00:28:16   --those online coding courses.

00:28:18   These days.

00:28:18   He's using the mouse to move his insertion point in one space.

00:28:21   I'm just like, use the arrow keys.

00:28:23   Use them.

00:28:25   Like, stop.

00:28:25   He goes from the keyboard to the mouse to the keyboard

00:28:27   to the mouse.

00:28:27   Well, he can't reach them.

00:28:28   He can't figure out where they are,

00:28:29   because they're all the same height as everything else.

00:28:31   Oh, no, he's using a full-size Apple extended keyboard

00:28:33   with full-size arrow.

00:28:34   Are you kidding?

00:28:35   We're not using--

00:28:36   Not in my house.

00:28:37   Yeah, he's using real keyboards here.

00:28:40   And I even showed him the modifier

00:28:42   for moving a word at a time and beginning of end of line,

00:28:44   but just for single characters, seeing him take the mouse

00:28:47   and steer it to go to the left of the place

00:28:51   where he needs to insert a quotation mark

00:28:52   to match the other one.

00:28:53   It's like, just hit the left arrow once.

00:28:55   I swear to you, it will work.

00:28:57   And he's just not on that page.

00:28:58   This is what happens from not using computers

00:29:00   and only using iPads and iPhones your whole formative years.

00:29:03   You have no idea about moving the cursor with arrow keys.

00:29:07   - Oh, anyway, yeah, I wouldn't expect Apple

00:29:10   to do anything that's gonna make the keyboard

00:29:13   less attractive to the current Apple design team's aesthetic.

00:29:18   - I agree, unfortunately.

00:29:19   - They're just not gonna do it.

00:29:22   This is not a rare thing with Apple these days.

00:29:24   Look at the Apple TV remote, look at,

00:29:26   I mean, even look, there are regular keyboards

00:29:28   and mice and everything.

00:29:30   If they were willing to make it a little bit ugly,

00:29:31   they could make it better economically or feel better

00:29:33   or work better or whatever else, but they're not.

00:29:35   And it's easy to see both sides of this argument.

00:29:37   Like, we all argue like these things should work better,

00:29:40   design is how it works.

00:29:41   They argue we are printing money,

00:29:43   and this is how we like to design things,

00:29:44   and this is what looks good.

00:29:45   And people buy our stuff in part because it looks good.

00:29:47   - Yeah, and it is aesthetically better.

00:29:49   I think we would all agree it does look better

00:29:51   when the keyboard is just a rectangle.

00:29:52   Like it just does, like as a piece of art, as a, you know.

00:29:55   - Yeah, and look, Apple these days is really good

00:29:58   at designing beautiful things that kind of suck to use.

00:30:00   Like that's kind of what they're best at, right?

00:30:03   - It could even be argued that the uniformity

00:30:05   is the reason the right and left arrow keys

00:30:07   became full height, because those little gaps

00:30:09   were in asymmetry.

00:30:10   - I guarantee you that's the reason.

00:30:12   Because there's no other reason to do it,

00:30:14   it doesn't make them easier to use.

00:30:16   - The same reason that the bottom row of keys

00:30:17   is now the same height as all the other rows,

00:30:18   again, uniformity.

00:30:20   - Yeah, oh totally, yeah.

00:30:21   It's, you know, 'cause it's designed purely to aesthetics,

00:30:25   it's egotistical design.

00:30:26   It is indulgent design for the designers

00:30:29   to indulge themselves in what they think looks the best,

00:30:32   without regard to how things work.

00:30:35   Someone I think also pointed out that even on the external keyboards for desktop computers,

00:30:41   the bottom row of keys is now the same height as all the other ones.

00:30:44   I didn't actually check this because I don't have one of those new keyboards to compare

00:30:48   with, but I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case, if only for part-sharing reasons,

00:30:51   because you all know Apple likes to use the same keyboard across all of its laptops from

00:30:57   12 inches to 17, which I will, you know, forever remember as a ridiculous thing. And now it

00:31:02   is only slightly less ridiculous. It's shared between the 15 and the 13 and the 12, I guess.

00:31:08   Oh, so on this, before we leave this, this bit of follow-up error on this, this patent,

00:31:13   the date of this patent is 2016, which makes me think like just as the original MacBooks

00:31:19   were coming out, was that 2016 or was that later?

00:31:22   They came out in early 2015, a year before, a year and a half before they brought this

00:31:26   keyboard to all of their laptops, during which it was very clear, during that year and a

00:31:30   half, that it failed a lot.

00:31:32   Yeah, so, but in 2016, they introduced the MacBook Pros with the same keyboard at the

00:31:37   same time they filed this patent. So it shows that they had been thinking about, at some

00:31:41   point, you know, before 2016, they had been investigating these different ways to seal

00:31:47   up the bottom of that thing. Now, I think I brought this up when we talked about the

00:31:51   original slimline keyboard, or maybe it was when we talked about the Touch Bar, but I

00:31:55   I think this is, I'll use this opportunity to once again promote the idea that I think

00:32:00   Apple would benefit from on all of its laptops.

00:32:02   This idea of sealing up the key caps with little membranes so that stuff can't get in

00:32:06   there, just take it to the next level and make these damn things waterproof.

00:32:09   If you can waterproof a phone, if you made a waterproof keyboard, which would also obviously

00:32:13   include as a side effect the inability to get crap underneath the keys, I would imagine,

00:32:17   I mean it doesn't have to necessarily, but I would imagine that could be part of it,

00:32:21   people will love you for it.

00:32:23   How many people, Casey, spill things on their laptops?

00:32:27   Is it beyond us, technologically speaking, to make a sort of sealed keyboard that feels

00:32:32   good?

00:32:33   I mean, maybe these patents are just patents because Apple figured out if you do this,

00:32:35   it makes the keyboard feel even worse.

00:32:36   I don't know.

00:32:37   We'll see if they ever produce something like this.

00:32:39   But –

00:32:40   Well, no, I mean, we kind of know that from the smart keyboard.

00:32:43   The iPad Pro smart keyboard has, I think, but the same butterfly switches, or at least

00:32:48   similar feeling switches, but it has like a membrane across the whole thing.

00:32:52   And so it is, I think, roughly water resistant at least.

00:32:57   But it doesn't get stuff under the keys.

00:32:59   It at least doesn't do that.

00:33:00   So we kind of know this is possible to do

00:33:03   with just a membrane.

00:33:04   I know that one of the Microsoft Surface notebook lines

00:33:07   does it too, and they have issues with it getting dirty

00:33:10   and looking really grimy and gross really fast,

00:33:12   but that's not to say that it has to go that way.

00:33:15   Maybe different materials choices

00:33:16   could have different results there.

00:33:18   Like, that's not actually that bad of a thing to try.

00:33:22   I don't know if it would feel better or worse

00:33:24   than what we have now, but like, the smart keyboard,

00:33:26   like I use the smart keyboard all the time on the iPad,

00:33:29   I wouldn't call it great, but it's tolerable,

00:33:32   and that's about what I can say for the notebook one as well

00:33:35   so it's just tolerable in slightly different ways,

00:33:37   but you know what, the smart keyboard keys

00:33:39   have never failed on me, not once,

00:33:40   because stuff can't get in there.

00:33:42   So it's not a ridiculous idea.

00:33:44   - Do you have the problems with the smart keyboard

00:33:46   with like, I think it was iOS 11 or something,

00:33:47   People are complaining the smart keyboard

00:33:48   doesn't work reliable anymore due to some change

00:33:50   in the debouncing firmware or some crap.

00:33:53   - Oh yeah, no, I mean, it's not, I haven't had,

00:33:55   I don't know if it's related to debouncing or not.

00:33:57   No, it definitely is less reliable.

00:33:59   That seems like an iOS software thing,

00:34:02   just like the way the apps behave

00:34:04   with the keyboard attached or detached.

00:34:05   It has been more buggy, rotation's been more buggy.

00:34:08   Yeah, it's been kind of a mess,

00:34:10   but I attribute that to iOS 11, but I don't know.

00:34:13   Anyway, I think one challenge you might have

00:34:15   with the idea of waterproofing a laptop

00:34:17   ventilation and cooling. Yeah, no, I mean, obviously the MacBook is your easiest one,

00:34:22   right? Because the reason I bring up this whole idea of waterproofing now is that Apple

00:34:27   has slowly been sealing up its laptops, not for the purpose of waterproofing, but just

00:34:31   for the purpose of Apple being Apple, like getting rid of moving parts and seams and

00:34:34   making them unibody and then the battery's not removable and then... I think another

00:34:37   way to look at this is decontenting? Eh, no, I mean, it's a simplification. It's moving

00:34:42   towards this platonic ideal of like this is a featureless, you know, smooth. They are

00:34:47   certainly featureless, right? And so the MacBook, no vents, right? You still have to deal with

00:34:52   the ports, which I think might be challenging because Apple doesn't get to define all those

00:34:56   ports. You have to come up with the sealed, but still repairable, internal or replaceable

00:35:00   USB-C port or whatever. But there's not a lot of holes in a 12-inch MacBook, right?

00:35:05   So I feel like that is a good candidate. If you can seal an iPad or an iPhone, you know,

00:35:10   It has a similar number of holes to a MacBook Adorable, the 12-inch Apple laptop.

00:35:17   For the ones with vents and fans, granted it's a lot harder, but even on those if you

00:35:21   say, "Look, it's not waterproof," but the top surface, the keyboard surface, if you

00:35:27   do a spill on it, you'll be okay.

00:35:30   The water will shed away and not be sucked into the vents and the top is sealed so that

00:35:36   it's waterproof so it can take a spill.

00:35:38   You can't dunk the thing in water, but it's better than it was before, where if you spell

00:35:42   on the keyboard, you're doomed and Apple will never repair your thing again.

00:35:45   And if this membrane keyboard, like if they do this for crumb reasons, I say while you're

00:35:50   in there, see what you can do about water, let's call it water resistance or something,

00:35:54   you know.

00:35:56   I just think it's kind of silly as time goes on that our phones can be dropped into a glass

00:36:03   of water and come back out okay, but our much more expensive laptops, like a pin drop of

00:36:11   water falls on the keyboard and filters down into the inside and starts corroding things

00:36:15   and it's all over.

00:36:16   One spec of dust, $700.

00:36:19   One spec of wet dust, $1,200.

00:36:21   Yeah, no, more than that.

00:36:22   It's like total replacement.

00:36:23   It's like, sorry, it's like probably like the phones.

00:36:25   Water got in this and we don't cover water damage.

00:36:29   I don't know if that's true of laptops, but I know the phones have those little water

00:36:31   damage sensor thingies on them that they yell at you about if it turns out your thing has

00:36:35   water damage.

00:36:36   No, it is also true of laptops.

00:36:38   Right.

00:36:39   Use desktop kids, they don't get wet.

00:36:41   Well, I don't know, they don't get wet unless Casey's around.

00:36:43   I bet he could find some way to get water into one of them.

00:36:45   Challenge accepted.

00:36:47   I would say hold my beer, but I'm going to need it.

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00:39:02   What do you guys think, I know this has been very well

00:39:07   covered, especially on the talk show a few days ago,

00:39:09   but what do you guys think of the rumors of a potential

00:39:12   MacBook Air update?

00:39:14   This to me I think is potentially very interesting.

00:39:17   - Yeah, I heard that it was the talk show with--

00:39:20   - With Jason. - Snell was on, yeah,

00:39:21   Jason Snell and John Gruber were talking about that.

00:39:24   I kind of agree with Jason about his consternation of this like somehow we can't kill this laptop

00:39:29   and I'm mostly coming at it from a sort of Apple should be embarrassed angle.

00:39:34   Not so much that the MacBook Air is a bad machine but there is one part of the machine

00:39:38   I think is inexcusable and that's the screen.

00:39:40   Not because it's not in retina, like they made all the points on the show, some people

00:39:43   don't care about retina, some people can't even see the difference, but because it has

00:39:46   has such incredibly bad viewing angles, brightness,

00:39:50   and color reproduction, right?

00:39:52   It's just, at this point, when it was introduced, fine.

00:39:55   At this point, it is just a bad screen.

00:39:57   It looks worse than basically any new PC laptop screen

00:40:01   you could buy at any price.

00:40:02   - Wait, hold on, honest question.

00:40:04   Have you seen a 12-inch MacBook screen?

00:40:06   - Yeah, sure.

00:40:07   - Because if you look at the 12-inch

00:40:09   compared to the other higher-end ones,

00:40:11   the 12-inch screen is also noticeably worse

00:40:14   at things like viewing angle, color, everything.

00:40:16   It's not a good screen.

00:40:17   - But it's better than the Air.

00:40:20   - That's true, I'll give you that.

00:40:21   But it's not, it's still like a crap screen.

00:40:24   - It is not, oh, a slow down.

00:40:26   It is not a crap screen.

00:40:28   - When you compare it to a MacBook Pro screen,

00:40:31   even the old ones.

00:40:32   - I do that every day.

00:40:34   I would take the MacBook Adorable One any day.

00:40:37   - It's retina, so it's like way better than the MacBook.

00:40:39   But I'm just saying for color reproduction and viewing,

00:40:41   a thing that Apple used to pride itself on,

00:40:43   that they never really had crap monitors,

00:40:44   they always had pretty much the best monitors,

00:40:46   and they wouldn't let a really old monitor

00:40:48   stay around for a long time, that they would refresh.

00:40:50   And they have been refreshing the MacBook Air,

00:40:52   like ripping out the, you know,

00:40:53   changing the internals and everything like that,

00:40:55   but leaving that screen, like it just boggles my mind,

00:40:59   'cause I feel like at this point,

00:41:01   I would never wanna buy a thousand dollar laptop

00:41:04   with that screen on it, it seems inexcusable.

00:41:06   So if they had been updating the MacBook Air

00:41:09   to keep it limping along on life support,

00:41:10   and had also updated the screen,

00:41:12   I would be like, "Well, this is not ideal," but they found themselves in a weird place

00:41:17   with their product line, so let's see what they do with it.

00:41:18   I think Jason and Gruber had a good analysis of that.

00:41:24   It's conceivable they somehow found themselves in this scenario where any move to replace

00:41:30   it would result in reduced margins on one or both lines as the pyre shifted.

00:41:35   And then Tim Cook's philosophy is like, "If it ain't broke, if people are still giving

00:41:39   us money for it, don't fix it, which is a terrible from a coherent product line directive.

00:41:43   And if there is another live talk show with Apple executives on it, I really hope Jon

00:41:47   asks them.

00:41:48   I hope he doesn't ask them, because if you ask them, "It seems like your laptop line

00:41:53   has no coherent story," you can make a coherent story like, "Well, the error is for people

00:41:58   who like blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

00:41:59   And then you have the MacBooks.

00:42:00   All you're doing is listing the pros and cons of your models, but there is no coherent story

00:42:05   to the naming, features, or pricing of the current Apple apps hotline.

00:42:08   It is a mess.

00:42:09   And so I would state that and say, you know, there's no coherent story to the naming features

00:42:14   or pricing of your laptop line.

00:42:16   Why is that?

00:42:17   And if they want to contest that, I would push back pretty hard to say, "Come on.

00:42:20   One of them's called Air, but it's not the lightest, but it's super old.

00:42:23   It's got MagSafe on it, but the other ones don't have MagSafe.

00:42:25   One of them's called MacBook Pro, but it's got the internals of the Air, and it's just

00:42:28   like, your brain explodes."

00:42:31   So I think their line is in disarray, and I think they can make -- and I think the MacBook

00:42:37   Air was a great model of laptop, but we have the technology now to make a line of computers

00:42:45   that spans the exact same price range that offers a better computer at the $1,000 price

00:42:50   point than they currently offer now.

00:42:52   And also offers a better computer at all the other ones, depending on how you want to do

00:42:55   it.

00:42:56   "Hey, put on MagSafe and USB-C and let people charge from both.

00:42:58   Let's see which one people like better."

00:42:59   Because then you get the advantages of Casey using his Switch charger and the advantage

00:43:04   of if you trip over my card, you won't break it.

00:43:06   Maybe you can choose when you order it,

00:43:07   whether you want the MagSafe or not,

00:43:08   because maybe you just want to be able

00:43:10   to use all your same chart anyway.

00:43:11   Or put an SD card slot on the side of these computers.

00:43:14   Or maybe have an HDMI port on one model.

00:43:16   Like, I don't know, I'm going a little bit crazy here.

00:43:18   But I long for the days when you could look at the line

00:43:22   of Apple laptops and say, "I see how it goes."

00:43:24   Big, small, low price, high price, not a lot of features,

00:43:28   a bunch of features, and have them all look like a family.

00:43:31   And that's not the case now.

00:43:34   Not the case at all.

00:43:35   So one, I think, curiosity that I had

00:43:39   throughout the other nice discussions over this,

00:43:41   and again, I think listening to the talk show this week,

00:43:42   it's a really good discussion about this

00:43:44   from a lot of different angles.

00:43:46   But one thought I had was like,

00:43:48   if they make a Retina MacBook Air,

00:43:52   if they literally change nothing else about it

00:43:56   except a Retina screen, and maybe replacing

00:44:00   the two Thunderbolt 2 ports, or does it have one or two?

00:44:04   replacing its Thunderbolt 2 ports with USB-C ports,

00:44:08   and then of course, a modern chipset of the same type

00:44:10   that's currently in the MacBook Escape.

00:44:13   Would anybody still buy the MacBook Escape?

00:44:16   - No, that's the problem we talked about.

00:44:19   If you improve the MacBook Air,

00:44:22   why would anyone buy a MacBook?

00:44:23   Or a MacBook, why would anyone,

00:44:25   no sorry, a MacBook Pro rather, not a MacBook.

00:44:27   - The MacBook Escape, the 13-inch MacBook without touch bar,

00:44:30   is by many measures a MacBook Air.

00:44:33   It has the MacBook Air class processors,

00:44:35   the MacBook Air class chipset and everything else.

00:44:38   It's the same approximate size and weight.

00:44:41   It's a little bit, it's slightly different,

00:44:43   but roughly the same size and weight

00:44:45   as the 13-inch MacBook Air.

00:44:46   But if you put a Retina screen

00:44:51   in the old, ancient MacBook Air body

00:44:53   that was designed in 2010, I bet it would sell better

00:44:57   than the 13-inch MacBook Escape.

00:44:59   - It would be a better laptop.

00:45:01   It has an SD card slot.

00:45:03   It has MagSafe, the option for MagSafe.

00:45:05   It has legacy USB ports, which Apple acknowledges is a thing that some people want, otherwise

00:45:10   they wouldn't have put them on the iMac Pro.

00:45:13   If you showed a regular person which one of these laptops do you think is better and which

00:45:16   one do you want and didn't tell them about the price, and they weren't sensitive to styling

00:45:19   cues that clearly indicate that the MacBook Air is super old, they would say, "Well, that

00:45:24   one's got more stuff.

00:45:25   It's got more features.

00:45:26   It's got more things, and this power cable is really smart."

00:45:30   Why would you ever pick the other one if we tell you, "Guess what?

00:45:32   one's $300 more." You'd be like, "Well, who would pay $300 more to have no ports on the side

00:45:37   for a computer that is basically the same size and weight?" And it perceptibly seems

00:45:41   thicker because it doesn't taper, right? Like the MacBook Air is thicker on one end but thinner on

00:45:46   the other, but it seems smaller because it gets skinny just for that perception type thing.

00:45:49   And it's fine if they do that. If they want to remake their line in that way, you'd have to

00:45:56   sort this type of thing out but instead they leave it in the current scenario where the

00:46:02   old one is clearly old and has serious downsides versus the regular one in terms of the terrible

00:46:07   screen they have on it, right?

00:46:09   The new one is expensive for no perceptible reason and you trade off a bunch of stuff

00:46:13   and then it gets even more super expensive and you still don't get your ports back and

00:46:16   you still have nomadic safe and the keyboard is weird and breaks all the time.

00:46:19   So they need to do something.

00:46:22   I really want them to just clean house on the laptop line and say, "All new line.

00:46:27   One nice family, unified in appearance features and has a coherent ramp from expensive to

00:46:32   inexpensive."

00:46:34   And by the way, at all price points and at all sizes, every one of them is better in

00:46:37   some way, whether it has more features or better reliability or faster or whatever.

00:46:42   David Schmittle Yeah, I suspect we're going to see some

00:46:46   kind of major movement in the laptop line this year.

00:46:50   I really hope we do.

00:46:52   The current line has so many of these weird issues,

00:46:55   not to mention some of the problems it has,

00:46:56   but just these weird things that make it

00:46:59   more or less compelling or seemingly weirdly priced

00:47:03   in certain ways or really segmented in other ways.

00:47:06   It needs help.

00:47:08   And I have a feeling Apple knew that two years ago,

00:47:11   like shortly after it launched,

00:47:13   and I have a feeling they've worked to fix it.

00:47:15   And so the only question is how they're fixing it.

00:47:17   And I don't expect this to be giving me all my hopes

00:47:20   and dreams or anything, but I do expect change

00:47:24   and hopefully improvement.

00:47:25   And so we'll see what that means.

00:47:27   - Speaking of hopes and dreams,

00:47:28   this is a tough question in the style of these recent ones

00:47:32   that the listeners have been sending us.

00:47:34   For the high-end laptops, which is where we're all shopping,

00:47:37   well, you two are shopping 'cause I don't buy laptops.

00:47:40   - I'm getting towards that point.

00:47:42   If you had to pick one port to add to the current crop of MacBook Pro parts, let's

00:47:50   just pick the 15-inch MacBook Pro because that is the most.

00:47:52   You can only pick one.

00:47:54   For your own personal purposes, not for like what would make a better laptop for Apple

00:47:57   to sell, what would you pick?

00:47:59   On a 15-inch, no question, an SD card reader.

00:48:03   Casey?

00:48:04   I'm torn between ancient USB and SD card reader.

00:48:08   I would probably, or actually HDMI would also be convenient.

00:48:11   - You're gonna pick one.

00:48:13   - I know, I'm thinking, ah.

00:48:14   - See, and to me, if it's less, if it's not the 15 inch,

00:48:17   like if you ask me what port I would add

00:48:19   to the MacBook Escape, it would be a third of anything,

00:48:22   like a third USB-C port, just one more of anything,

00:48:25   because that's what it most desperately needs,

00:48:26   like the 12 inch too, right?

00:48:27   - Yeah, yeah, yeah, the same thing.

00:48:28   I would kill for a second USB-C port in my--

00:48:30   - That's why I picked the 15, just to see,

00:48:32   you know, you feel like there's enough USB-Cs on the 15,

00:48:36   but you can add one more thing, you know, what would it be?

00:48:38   I am very torn between SD, between old USB, and between HDMI, but I think if I had to

00:48:44   pick, I think I would probably—for me, I would probably come down on SD card reader

00:48:49   because I don't find a need for plugging in the HDMI that often, and I have a dongle

00:48:55   for it.

00:48:56   I don't have a need for plugging in legacy USB stuff that often, and I have a dongle

00:49:01   for it.

00:49:02   But I do have an SD card reader that I like quite a lot, but it would be more convenient

00:49:07   to just be able to slot that thing right in the computer.

00:49:10   - Yeah, to me, it's like, you can solve a lot,

00:49:12   like a lot of the annoyances of the new laptop ports

00:49:17   are solved by just having a lot of them,

00:49:19   like when you have four of them,

00:49:20   well, technically really you have three of them,

00:49:22   because one of them has a power plug in it,

00:49:25   but when you have three useful ones--

00:49:27   - Well, unless you have pass-through,

00:49:28   like I hear your point 100%.

00:49:30   - Yeah, but then you're in dongle town, like, okay--

00:49:32   - Well, you're gonna be in dongle town regardless.

00:49:34   - Yeah, well, that's part of the problem.

00:49:35   - All landowners in dongle town, my friend.

00:49:37   (laughing)

00:49:39   - But I feel like the other ports,

00:49:41   you can fix a lot of the inconvenience

00:49:44   of USB-C on laptops with getting new cables for old devices.

00:49:49   Like you can go on Monoprice or Amazon or whatever

00:49:51   and get inexpensive cables that have USB-C on one end

00:49:55   and whatever your peripheral needs on the other end.

00:49:57   And you can just replace your cables

00:49:58   and there's some issues with hubs and multiplying those

00:50:01   that I've talked about before which is still annoying.

00:50:03   but I feel like you can reduce a lot of the annoyance

00:50:06   with just new cables.

00:50:07   But if you need SD cards as part of your workflow,

00:50:11   there's no way to reduce that annoyance.

00:50:12   You're always gonna have an SD card hanging out

00:50:14   of the side of it through a cable or something.

00:50:16   That sucks, and when it's built in, it sucks less.

00:50:19   So other problems can be solved with either time

00:50:22   or cabling choices or peripheral choices,

00:50:25   but not having an SD card reader,

00:50:27   if you use SD cards, is always a pain.

00:50:29   - So the reason I asked this question is because

00:50:31   I've been thinking about it a lot lately,

00:50:32   I can tell you if you surveyed all the people at my office at work, they would all say HDMI,

00:50:37   because every time, increasingly when we land in a conference room and someone needs to

00:50:41   project, never mind the fact that they should really, with the number of Macs that are in

00:50:45   this office, they should really have Apple TVs connected to every single thing so we

00:50:47   could airplay to them because it would solve this problem in a much nicer way.

00:50:50   Steve Jobs would approve, "You don't need an HDMI port, you just need to be able to

00:50:53   airplay to everything."

00:50:54   I agree, Steve, but you can't fight the IT department.

00:50:58   Anyway, they would all say HDMI, because it's so frustrating, we all sit down there and

00:51:01   and it's like we look around for the one person

00:51:03   with the 2015 laptop who can actually plug in

00:51:06   because everyone forgot their dongle.

00:51:07   Wow.

00:51:08   And it used to be there was just one person

00:51:10   with the new laptop and we would laugh at them,

00:51:12   and now there's like one person left with the old laptop.

00:51:14   And once the old laptop disappears,

00:51:15   there's gonna be a bunch of people sitting around

00:51:16   unable to project.

00:51:17   I don't understand why they don't put the adapters for this.

00:51:19   But anyway, that's what people at work would say,

00:51:21   but that's not what I would say

00:51:21   because in my regular life, if I was buying a laptop

00:51:23   for myself, I don't need to connect to HDMI.

00:51:25   So I would never pick HDMI, but work totally would.

00:51:29   I would have said in the past SD, right?

00:51:31   Because I do have cameras that have SD cards.

00:51:34   When I go on vacation, I like to offload pictures

00:51:36   from my camera to my thing without a dongle.

00:51:37   It's convenient, build it in, it's small, it's skinny,

00:51:40   it'll fit fine.

00:51:41   But the more I've been thinking about it,

00:51:42   the more I've been getting attached to the idea

00:51:45   of taking a 15-inch MacBook Pro and adding MagSafe

00:51:49   and still having the ability to charge

00:51:51   by any of the USB-C things, like not removing that ability,

00:51:54   but adding MagSafe as an addition.

00:51:56   Because I feel like you get the twofer.

00:51:58   You get MagSafe, which is better to trip over and stuff.

00:52:01   You get, as I think it was, was it Jason Snell?

00:52:03   Or maybe it was Gruber saying, you get the indicator light,

00:52:06   which I think is a useful feature

00:52:07   when you have your closed laptop and you plug it in

00:52:08   to make sure you see the little light

00:52:09   that shows amber or green,

00:52:11   to show whether it's fully charged or is charging, right?

00:52:14   - Yeah, it's a great feature.

00:52:15   It's not like, and Apple had that, what, 15 years ago?

00:52:18   Like, it's not a new thing and laptop this size.

00:52:21   - Right, and you also get one of your ports back.

00:52:23   Now you really do have four ports instead of three.

00:52:26   If you want the convenience of I just have USB-C charger with me on vacation, it can

00:52:30   charge everything, you've got it, but also you could have the MagSafe.

00:52:34   And then the only question is what do you ship in the box?

00:52:35   Do you ship MagSafe, do you ship USB, or do you ship both, and probably Apple would make

00:52:38   you pick or something.

00:52:40   And I know it would be backsliding, and I know MagSafe had problems too, and that's

00:52:43   why I feel like ship them both.

00:52:46   Let people decide what they want to use.

00:52:48   Hell, Apple can collect stats about what they use and anonymously send them back with its

00:52:52   differential privacy for how often laptops are charging via MagSafe versus how often

00:52:56   and they're charging via USB-C.

00:52:58   I probably would get more benefit out of SD,

00:53:00   but I'm finding the twofer of getting a port back

00:53:05   and having the option of MagSafe irresistible.

00:53:08   So now I'm envisioning, before I was envisioning

00:53:10   Apple revising its laptops by adding an SD card slot,

00:53:12   and now I'm envisioning them adding back MagSafe,

00:53:14   which I think is astronomically less likely

00:53:16   than adding an SD card slot, because it just,

00:53:19   it would be like egg on face of like,

00:53:20   oh, remember MagSafe, we're bringing it back.

00:53:23   That would be a tough sell.

00:53:24   Whereas SD, now there's so much room alongside those,

00:53:27   the edges of those 15 inch laptops, right?

00:53:29   It's just a giant expanse with these two little tiny

00:53:32   USB-C holes, an SD card slot, even Johnny Ive could tolerate

00:53:36   the aesthetic marring of a very skinny,

00:53:38   discreet SD card slot in there.

00:53:40   How it looks fine on Marco's 2015 MacBook Pro,

00:53:43   I think it would be fine on a 2018 model.

00:53:46   - One thing also that they could do that I think,

00:53:50   it probably goes against their sensibilities,

00:53:53   but I think it probably shouldn't,

00:53:54   'cause I think it's one of the biggest engineering flops

00:53:56   of the new lineup, is that the number of USB,

00:54:01   like to me, like one of the biggest problems with these,

00:54:03   as I've said numerous times,

00:54:05   is just there aren't enough ports.

00:54:07   Like if you're going to sell us on an all USB-C world,

00:54:11   okay, we can adapt to that over time

00:54:13   with dongles and stuff and new cables and everything.

00:54:15   There still aren't enough ports,

00:54:16   especially with one of them being lost to power.

00:54:18   As you said, like you basically lose one

00:54:21   during most practical usage for most people

00:54:23   most of the time.

00:54:25   So, you know, like the MacBook escape

00:54:27   basically has one port.

00:54:28   Casey's MacBook One has no ports.

00:54:31   - Pretty much.

00:54:32   (laughing)

00:54:33   - Right, and so like, and the 15 inch has three.

00:54:36   And if you look at, and you know, the 13 Pro also.

00:54:39   And if you look at like, you know,

00:54:40   what the previous ones had, like you could connect

00:54:43   more than that amount of things to them without adapters.

00:54:46   And I feel like one of the,

00:54:48   if you look at the engineering behind this,

00:54:50   One of the challenges, for example,

00:54:51   one of the reasons why the MacBook Escape

00:54:53   only has two ports is because of limitations

00:54:57   of how many Thunderbolt channels you can deliver

00:55:00   because Apple decided to make all of these USB-C ports

00:55:04   also Thunderbolt 3 ports,

00:55:06   except for the one in Casey's MacBook One.

00:55:09   And that's a choice that they made.

00:55:10   They didn't have to.

00:55:12   It is possible to have a USB-C port

00:55:14   that does not support Thunderbolt 3,

00:55:17   like the one in Casey's MacBook One.

00:55:19   And so Apple, no, trust me, this is in many ways

00:55:22   a good thing, you just need more of them.

00:55:23   And so I feel like one of the biggest ways

00:55:27   to solve the annoyance of these laptops

00:55:29   is to just, if you're gonna insist on USB-C,

00:55:32   okay, but we need more of them.

00:55:34   Two total, including your power hole, is not enough.

00:55:38   If you can't make them on certain models,

00:55:41   if you can't make them full-blown Thunderbolt 3 ports,

00:55:44   which you already can't, they're already not

00:55:46   Thunderbolt 3 and the MacBook One,

00:55:48   and the ones on the right side of the 13 inch MacBook Pro

00:55:51   are half bandwidth or whatever it is.

00:55:52   So there's already exceptions.

00:55:55   The cable that comes with it

00:55:57   that charges from the brick to the computer

00:56:00   is a USB-C cable that is not a Thunderbolt cable.

00:56:03   In fact, it's a USB 2.0 USB-C cable,

00:56:05   which shouldn't even exist, but they do,

00:56:08   and that's what it is.

00:56:10   You know, there's already all these exceptions

00:56:13   to what the ports can and can't do.

00:56:15   In addition, Thunderbolt usage in practice

00:56:18   is pretty low, and it is not the common case,

00:56:22   what most people are plugging into these things,

00:56:25   it needs either just power, or power and USB.

00:56:28   Most of the peripherals being plugged into these ports

00:56:32   do not need Thunderbolt 3.

00:56:34   And so by Apple taking these ports on most of these laptops

00:56:37   except for Casey's and saying,

00:56:39   "We can only have as many as the Thunderbolt controllers

00:56:41   "allow us to with this chipset or whatever,"

00:56:43   that's very limiting to the number of ports you can have.

00:56:47   If they had like two to four of them

00:56:51   that could do Thunderbolt 3,

00:56:53   and two more that couldn't,

00:56:56   maybe on the other side or whatever,

00:56:58   that's not ideal,

00:57:00   but I think that's better than not having enough ports

00:57:04   to do basic things that you need.

00:57:06   So I know it'd be more complicated.

00:57:08   I know they wouldn't be able to put

00:57:09   the little Thunderbolt lightning bolt symbol

00:57:11   next to all of them,

00:57:13   but I think that is the best compromise that we have.

00:57:16   we're gonna do in all USB-C world,

00:57:18   we need more of these ports.

00:57:20   And it is a waste to suggest

00:57:23   that they all need to have Thunderbolt 3.

00:57:24   I mean, look, one of them, most of the time,

00:57:27   is used for power and nothing else, no data at all.

00:57:31   You're wasting Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth on a port

00:57:34   that transfers nothing except power.

00:57:38   So obviously, there's a major engineering inefficiency

00:57:42   in tying Thunderbolt 3 to USB-C for all these laptops.

00:57:46   If you can separate them, you could give us way more ports.

00:57:49   Well, not way more, but you can give us two more ports

00:57:51   at least on most of these

00:57:52   without having any bandwidth challenges.

00:57:54   - You could give way more.

00:57:55   Like, they have USB inside these cases.

00:57:57   You could give six USB-C ports

00:57:59   along with four Thunderbolt ports.

00:58:01   I feel like they have the controller capacity

00:58:02   or space inside the case to put a controller

00:58:04   that can support that.

00:58:05   Like, USB connections are cheap

00:58:07   in the grand scheme of things.

00:58:08   - Yeah, I mean, it becomes, I think, more complicated

00:58:11   with the wiring and stuff if the other ones

00:58:13   could also do some of the other alternate modes.

00:58:15   Like if they can take power input

00:58:17   or if they can do certain video output types.

00:58:19   But, 'cause I know Thunderbolt's required

00:58:21   for some of the alternate modes, but not all of them,

00:58:23   or it is one of the alternate modes,

00:58:24   I don't know, something like that.

00:58:25   But like, tying this to Thunderbolt 3

00:58:28   made these ports very limited in number

00:58:31   and probably fairly expensive to implement.

00:58:33   But that was an unforced error.

00:58:35   They didn't need to do that.

00:58:36   I understand why they did,

00:58:38   but I think that was the wrong move,

00:58:39   and I hope they fix it.

00:58:41   - Okay, a couple of things.

00:58:42   First of all, you just said unforced error,

00:58:44   and to my ears, it was the correct usage of the term,

00:58:47   and I'm really uncomfortable with my reality right now.

00:58:50   - Wait, so is that a sports term?

00:58:52   'Cause I learned it from John.

00:58:53   - It is a sports term.

00:58:55   - Okay, to me it's a Syracuse term.

00:58:57   - Wow, well, now my reality is back to being reality,

00:59:00   so I appreciate that.

00:59:02   Let's go on a adventure together,

00:59:06   a little mental exercise together.

00:59:07   It is 2016, or whatever year it was,

00:59:10   that the USB-C MacBook Pros came out.

00:59:12   Doesn't matter when it was,

00:59:13   But whenever they debuted, it's that year, that moment.

00:59:17   And within a few weeks of each other, the new MacBook Pros come out.

00:59:21   Let's pick on the 15 specifically.

00:59:22   There's a new MacBook Pro, it's 15 inches, it has four USB-C and Thunderbolt ports.

00:59:27   Simultaneously, Lenovo or Dell or somebody else comes out with effectively the same thing,

00:59:33   as they are off to do.

00:59:35   And it has the same four physical USB-C ports, but only two of them are Thunderbolt.

00:59:42   Do you know what the three of us would be doing at that moment?

00:59:45   We would be saying, "Oh, haha, these idiot PC vendors.

00:59:47   Now that you have to worry about whether or not you're plugging in to the right port,

00:59:51   what a ridiculous mess that is."

00:59:53   We didn't say that on the MacBook where, as Margaret has pointed out, it's a situation

00:59:57   now where you have to know one side is special and the other.

00:59:59   That's been a thing on Apple Apples for a long time, that certain ports on one side

01:00:02   are better than the ports on the other side.

01:00:04   That's been true for many laptops in Apple's history.

01:00:05   And yeah, it's always kind of annoying, but we understand why it is the way it is, and

01:00:09   we accept it.

01:00:10   it's a source of ridicule.

01:00:12   All right.

01:00:13   I just feel like all I can imagine is all of us going, "Ha ha, those idiot PC people."

01:00:17   I mean, we have talked about that as an inherent problem with using the same connector for

01:00:21   all these things.

01:00:22   I still think that the advantages of using the same connector for all of them outweigh

01:00:24   the disadvantages, but as Marco just said, your laptop has a port, has a hole that's

01:00:29   exactly the same shape as the ones in Marco's, and yet it is not capable of the things that

01:00:33   Marco's old ones were capable of, right?

01:00:37   It's both the same cables fit into both of them, but if you plug in a thing that expects

01:00:40   Thunderbolt into yours, it won't work.

01:00:42   And there's no indication for that, physically speaking.

01:00:44   I don't even know if there's a little lightning bolt thingy next to them anymore.

01:00:47   No.

01:00:48   So, I mean, that's just the nature of the piece.

01:00:50   Well, it wouldn't be next to yours.

01:00:51   No, if at some point, yeah, maybe you shouldn't ask me after all.

01:00:54   So, you know, I think the implicit assumption, I'm also thinking of my own feelings about

01:01:00   underlying discussion, is that I still believe, I'm still hoping, I guess, that when Apple

01:01:06   does make a big revision to their laptop line, that one or more of the new laptops they introduce

01:01:13   will have more ports than the thing that it's replacing.

01:01:16   And that's why I keep getting to what do you think they'll add or whatever.

01:01:19   If I'm wrong about that, and if they introduce a whole new laptop line that's like the next

01:01:24   generation after this current crop of 2016, 2017, like they've had time to process the

01:01:29   feedback from the market and so on and so forth, and none of them have any more ports,

01:01:34   I will be extremely disappointed.

01:01:36   Like I realized to myself that I've just been assuming.

01:01:38   Basically since the Apple round table about the Mac,

01:01:41   when they talked about the Mac Pro,

01:01:42   from that point on, I read into what they said,

01:01:46   within my hopes and dreams of saying,

01:01:48   "Yeah, I know you're talking about the Mac Pro

01:01:50   and the iMac Pro, like I know that's what this is really

01:01:52   about and about a re-editation of the Mac,

01:01:54   but the few sentences they said about the laptops,

01:01:56   I latched onto really hard and said,

01:01:58   that means eventually, after two year cycle,

01:02:01   whatever, it takes a long time, like not immediately,

01:02:03   but eventually when they do the next big laptop revision, one or more of them will have more

01:02:08   ports.

01:02:09   And I don't know what I'm going to do if that turns out not to be the case.

01:02:13   My faith in — I'm already a laptop hater, I guess — but my faith in Apple's laptops

01:02:16   will be fundamentally shaken.

01:02:18   So far, it's still just like, they made a wrong turn, and things were already in the

01:02:22   pipeline, and they couldn't really do much about the revision for 2017.

01:02:26   All they did was add the rubber gaskets and stuff, and it's like, hopefully they know

01:02:29   what's wrong.

01:02:30   time they do the big revision, that'll be the time to make more different fundamental

01:02:34   decisions. But if the next ones come along and they're exactly the same set of just USB-C

01:02:38   only, MacBook One is still the MacBook One, the other ones still just have two ports and

01:02:44   there's no changes and no MagSafe and no SD card, no HDMI, nobody gets anything, not even

01:02:49   an additional USB-C port, nothing, I'm going to be super disappointed. I'll probably console

01:02:56   myself by hugging my new Mac Pro, but I don't know about you. Have you internalized that

01:03:05   as a thing you expect and so now you're set up to be disappointed by not being there?

01:03:08   Or are you still pessimistic and you'll be pleasantly surprised if they do anything?

01:03:12   I will be stunned if there's any sort of, not really mea culpa, but if they add any

01:03:19   sort of ports to any of these laptops, I will be flabbergasted. I'm not saying it's unreasonable

01:03:26   but I do think it is a, what did you say, like egg on the face sort of admission that

01:03:31   oh maybe we didn't get this exactly right.

01:03:32   Well if they add a USB-C or a Thunderbolt 3 I feel like it's not an admission of anything,

01:03:36   it's just they added a more port.

01:03:37   Even that will be something, it will say look we realize USB-C is great but when you only

01:03:41   get two of them, the ones taken with power, it really limits things so now you got one

01:03:44   more so you got three.

01:03:45   Yeah, I mean, and let's be realistic here also, like if you look at the side of one

01:03:49   of these things and you look at like the height of ports, I think it's very unlikely that

01:03:54   that we will see the return of USB-A or even MagSafe,

01:03:58   because I don't think they fit.

01:03:59   I think they're too tall.

01:04:00   I don't think they could reasonably fit those.

01:04:02   - Oh, it would have to be a new MagSafe, yeah.

01:04:04   It would have to be MagSafe 3.

01:04:06   - Yeah, right, because I can't see them doing that.

01:04:09   And honestly, I'm totally okay with USB-C charging.

01:04:13   I wish the charger was nicer.

01:04:15   I wish it had things like the charging light

01:04:17   and some kind of version of MagSafe would be nice.

01:04:22   But other than that, I actually like USB-C charging

01:04:25   'cause you can get third-party chargers

01:04:26   that have like the wonderful Anker one

01:04:28   that has the built-in USB charging also.

01:04:31   It makes the charging situation much more flexible

01:04:34   and then you can travel a little bit lighter

01:04:36   and stuff like that.

01:04:37   So I like that.

01:04:38   But if you look at what can actually fit

01:04:42   in this new super thin case design, not a lot can.

01:04:46   USB-C, you could fit more of them.

01:04:50   And maybe, you know what, Apple,

01:04:51   maybe you could put them a little further apart

01:04:53   because they're really close to each other

01:04:55   and it makes it a little bit annoying to use.

01:04:58   Also, the headphone jack should move back to the left side

01:05:00   where it belongs because there's a reason why headphones

01:05:05   were always on the left side of laptops before.

01:05:08   It's because when you have a headphone cable

01:05:10   that only has a wire on one side,

01:05:13   historically that has been conventionally

01:05:15   on the left ear cup.

01:05:16   So your headphone cable goes down the left ear cup,

01:05:18   your left arm into the left side port of the laptop.

01:05:21   When it's on the right side, you have to cross your

01:05:22   headphone cable over your laptop, which sucks.

01:05:25   So, that's wrong.

01:05:25   Anyway.

01:05:26   - You can wrap it around the back.

01:05:27   Oh, by the way, speaking of ports on different sides,

01:05:29   that's another thing I appreciate about USB power,

01:05:32   that you can connect the power to either side,

01:05:33   so depending on where you are on the couch or wherever,

01:05:36   if you're in some weird place that you can do it.

01:05:38   That's why I think they should always keep that,

01:05:40   and I really don't ever expect them to make MagSafe 3,

01:05:42   but I've been musing on it lately.

01:05:45   - Yeah.

01:05:46   So I think if we look at like what kind of ports

01:05:49   we might realistically actually get,

01:05:52   I wouldn't expect USB-A, I wouldn't expect MagSafe.

01:05:56   SD cards are actually plausible.

01:05:57   That I think could fit.

01:05:59   I'm not sure if they want to,

01:06:01   but again I think that would go a long way

01:06:03   towards addressing a lot of people's complaints.

01:06:06   HDMI almost certainly won't fit.

01:06:08   They could do mini HDMI, but they won't.

01:06:10   They're gonna rely on Thunderbolt and USB-C for that.

01:06:14   But ultimately, I think the most realistic option

01:06:18   is to either get no port changes at all,

01:06:22   which, like Jon, I would be very disappointed by,

01:06:24   or to get more USB-C ports,

01:06:27   which I would be very happy with.

01:06:29   So we'll see.

01:06:31   - Yeah, more USB-C ports is the most likely.

01:06:35   I'm still rooting for SD, I think,

01:06:36   when we talked about this originally.

01:06:37   I said just add an SD card and it'll be fine,

01:06:39   but the more I think about the port being taken up by power

01:06:41   and experiencing myself,

01:06:42   the more i think more more USB-C would be a good idea and by the way for a MagSafe 3 design again

01:06:47   not that they're doing this but if you give up on the notion that the magnet is on the side of the

01:06:51   computer you can do lots of interesting things imagine if MagSafe looked like a little shovel

01:06:55   and and it was large surface area magnet sort of on the bottom like in an L shape like it clipped

01:07:00   onto the corner and tucked underneath the little curve like there are things you could do to add

01:07:04   much more magnet surface area while keeping it very thin like we don't have to think inside the

01:07:08   the box defined by MagSafe as it previously existed. Magnetically detachable charging

01:07:14   cables for trip-proofness is, I still think, a good idea and an idea that could manifest

01:07:20   in a way that will work with the thinnest possible laptops still.

01:07:23   So, in the chat room, Espressly asked an interesting question. They said, "Would you prefer a second

01:07:29   USB-C on the adorable or a headphone jack?" And I presume the genesis of this is that

01:07:35   On the opposite side of the laptop, on the right hand side, and Marco you're right to

01:07:38   say that that is bananas, but on the right hand side of the laptop of the adorable, there

01:07:42   is a headphone jack.

01:07:44   And I would absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, trade in that headphone jack for

01:07:48   another USB-C port without question.

01:07:50   Because you've got AirPods and that's fine.

01:07:53   Yeah, I mean, and all sorts of other Bluetooth headphones.

01:07:56   And yeah, there are occasions that I have plugged in headphones to this laptop, but

01:08:01   they are extremely rare.

01:08:03   And I would get much more, maybe not daily,

01:08:06   but much more frequent use out of a second USB-C port

01:08:09   than I would the headphone jack that's there today.

01:08:12   - There's no reason to make that trade though.

01:08:14   We already did 20 shows about complaining about it.

01:08:16   There's no room for another USB-C port.

01:08:18   There is, there's room for another USB-C port

01:08:20   and a headphone, it will be fine.

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01:09:45   (upbeat music)

01:09:48   - WWDC is announced.

01:09:51   It is in San Jose again.

01:09:53   It is the fourth through the eighth of June,

01:09:56   is phenomenally great because that's what the three of us guessed it would be. And that's

01:10:01   what we booked hotel tickets for a long time ago. So that's great news. It is going to

01:10:06   be apparently about marzipan or whatever it's being called today if you believe what people

01:10:12   are looking at on the invitation, which I think is a exercise in futility, because the

01:10:17   invitation is anything but also of interest on that Monday, which is the fourth, all three

01:10:24   of your hosts will be there to do another episode in addition of ATP Live, which is

01:10:28   part of a, what are they calling it, like a podcast fair or something like that?

01:10:32   Festival. Festival, that's what I was looking for, thank

01:10:34   you. Which means two live podcasts at Alt-Conf.

01:10:37   Whee! So yeah, so we're going to be doing a kind

01:10:41   of a joint thing between us, Alt-Conf, like Marco said, and Relay. They're going to be

01:10:48   doing an episode of Connected in addition to some other things that I genuinely don't

01:10:54   what's happening, but I know enough to know that it's going to be an extravaganza. So,

01:10:57   if you are interested in coming to see ATP Live in San Jose on Monday, June 4th,

01:11:03   you can get tickets at AltConf's website, and we will put a link in the show notes.

01:11:09   They are $5 apiece if they are still available. I honestly haven't even looked. That money goes

01:11:13   to AltConf, which is good because AltConf is free, so we don't see any of that money,

01:11:18   but I don't think that's a bad thing at all. And additionally, you can get tickets to the

01:11:21   the relay thing as well, or to Alt-Conf. And it's worth noting that even if WWDC, if the

01:11:28   lottery doesn't work out well for you, in addition to Alt-Conf, there's also layers

01:11:32   that will be going on the same time, run by a friend of the show, Jessie Char, and a couple

01:11:37   of other lovely women. Actually, I think it's just Elaine and she. But anyway, they are

01:11:41   awesome. They are super, super awesome. And the conference is super, super awesome. And

01:11:46   the snacks at the conference are super, super awesome. So no matter how you slice it, layers

01:11:50   is great, AllConf is great, WWDC is great, plenty of options if you can find yourself

01:11:55   in San Jose that week. Is that it? Wow, that was fast.

01:12:00   You covered it pretty well. Go team!

01:12:01   You summarized in chief. Yeah, chief summarizer in chief. Chief actually

01:12:04   doing my job for once. We can talk about the WWDC graphics, which

01:12:07   you alluded to earlier. I think some of the commentary about this, or commentary, tweets,

01:12:13   whatever, about this have kind of combined two things that are not really related. One

01:12:19   One is the artwork Apple puts on the email invitations to select press when they are

01:12:25   going to have an event come hear us talk about whatever, you know, like iPhone announcement

01:12:30   event or, you know, Mac update, press events, right?

01:12:33   And traditionally they make a little graphic and usually sometimes a little phrase underneath

01:12:36   it, right?

01:12:38   And then there is what we're actually talking about here, which is every year when they

01:12:41   do WWDC, there's some kind of graphical motif or theme.

01:12:45   It's used in the banners that hang in the exhibition halls and the rooms where they

01:12:50   have things.

01:12:51   It's used in all the websites and the materials and the emails.

01:12:54   And it started off pretty generic many, many years ago, but it has evolved so that now

01:12:59   each WWC has kind of like a branding theme or flavor.

01:13:05   So for the press invitations, sometimes those have been intentionally pointing to something

01:13:12   they're going to say. Like the one with the little rotating apple with the like back to

01:13:17   the Mac thing behind it where they were going to talk more about the Mac and guess what?

01:13:20   They talked more about the Mac. Some of them are only explicable in hindsight where you

01:13:25   can tell some of the graphic treatments on the invitation were the same ones they would

01:13:28   use when they announced a particular product, whether it's the iPhone or whatever. But sometimes

01:13:33   it's just a fun graphical theme that has to do with "Hey, we have an app store and you

01:13:37   make apps for it and apps are these little rounded rectangle things so we use lots of

01:13:40   rounded rectangles in our stuff. But I would say that there is a fairly solid track record

01:13:47   of some of the time the press invitations do in fact intentionally indicate something

01:13:52   that they're going to talk about in a vague way. WWDC art on the other hand has a much

01:13:57   worse track record of communicating anything about what's going to be represented other

01:14:01   than the fact that it's a developer conference where they tell you about developing for Apple

01:14:04   platforms. As far as I can recall, there has never been a WWDC website that hinted strongly

01:14:11   at the specific nature of a specific thing they're going to announce, probably mostly because at the

01:14:16   time this artwork is commissioned, they're not even entirely sure what's going to be presented

01:14:19   at WWDC and things that are going into and out of the keynote and into and out of the sessions

01:14:24   for a long time. So I feel like this, trying to read the tea leaves in this artwork is probably

01:14:33   about as useful as trying to read the tea leaves in last year's artwork, which is all

01:14:37   those top views of people.

01:14:39   Yeah, the little people.

01:14:41   Which was like, it's a particular artist who does that style of stuff.

01:14:44   And that aesthetic theme was all over WWDC last year, but it had nothing to do with anything

01:14:49   that was presented.

01:14:50   It was just a cool, fun marketing style that talked about, you know, people, developers

01:14:55   are people, and they're doing developing things, and it's fun and interesting or whatever.

01:15:00   one looks super cool and it's got these cool 3D representations of like, you know,

01:15:04   UI elements from iOS and the Mac. It's because, and it's got curly braces and other weird shapes,

01:15:11   it communicates like, "Hey, these are things you use when you're developing for our platforms,

01:15:16   and this is a conference about developing for our platforms." It's really hard to read anything

01:15:20   into it, but people are so, they so want to see something in it, they're saying, "See how these

01:15:26   are all 3D, it's showing that they're moving away from flat design because nothing is flat in this.

01:15:30   Get it, man? They're coming, you know? And like, it's really reaching. And I have to admit, when I

01:15:37   saw this, my thought was nostalgia, because one of—I tweeted this—one of the elements in this

01:15:42   very cool-looking—like there's an animation that goes along with it—very cool-looking 3D

01:15:45   rendered thing showing a bunch of controls. One of the elements in the lower left corner are three

01:15:51   translucent spheres with symbols in them, an X, a minus,

01:15:56   and then two little arrow-y things,

01:15:57   like a box with a slash through it.

01:16:00   And I tweeted about it with one word tweet

01:16:04   that said memories, dot, dot, dot.

01:16:06   A lot of people didn't know, they responded

01:16:09   and thought I was referring to things in like iOS 10

01:16:12   or something, or pre-iOS 7 or whatever.

01:16:15   What I was actually referring to was

01:16:17   the window control widgets,

01:16:19   what we used to call the stoplight widgets, red for window close, yellow for minimizing,

01:16:23   green for what used to be zoom and is now full screen or whatever the hell it does now.

01:16:29   They used to be rendered as if they were glossy spheres, and when you brought your mouse near

01:16:35   them or hovered over one of them, you'd see these symbols appear in the spheres.

01:16:39   And they were glossy spheres just like these spheres, although this is just viewing them

01:16:42   from a different angle.

01:16:43   Later in the life of the Mac operating system, they became flatter and eventually they just

01:16:48   became like what they are now, which is like, you know, flat colors of red, yellow, and

01:16:52   green. They don't even look like they're spheres at all, right? Even though they still have

01:16:56   the symbols in them. But floating in this thing are not the flat window widgets of today's

01:17:00   High Sierra. Floating in this thing are the window widgets of, you know, Cheetah, Puma,

01:17:04   and Panther. Mac OS X, I forgot, I missed Jaguar, sorry. Mac OS X, .01, 2, and 3, I

01:17:13   think is how long these things lasted before they start getting really flat. And that,

01:17:16   thought was a nice nostalgic nod or an indication that the Mac is considered legacy. But it's

01:17:22   a nice nod towards the past because most of the other controls that you see here are clearly

01:17:28   elements from iOS or elements from applications that are popularized by iOS, like the little

01:17:32   dot dot dot when someone's typing in messages, right? I think it's the same graphic they

01:17:35   use in messages on the Mac, but I associate it with iOS just because that's where text

01:17:41   messaging first came to the Apple platform. So my take is that you should not read into

01:17:48   these types of graphics. I think this is an awesome graphic. I love the aesthetic theme,

01:17:51   and I'm just enjoying it as cool branding for WWDC.

01:17:55   I agree with everything you just said. So we will all be there, and I'm excited for

01:18:01   it. It's one of my favorite times of year, and it's really, really fun. I don't really

01:18:07   care at all about texture.

01:18:09   So I don't know which one of you added this to the show notes, but do you want to take

01:18:13   it away?

01:18:14   Apparently magazines are a really hot business right now.

01:18:16   It's really a growth industry Apple's getting into here.

01:18:18   Yeah, you really messed that one up, Marco.

01:18:20   We should explain what this thing is.

01:18:23   I hadn't heard of it before today, surprise.

01:18:27   Because it's really popular.

01:18:28   But anyway, Apple, as an Apple press release and/or PR person would say, Apple acquires

01:18:33   small companies all the time.

01:18:35   Yeah, it actually is really a high number every time they say like did you know the last year Apple acquired 35 companies or some

01:18:40   Some huge I'm really really they you know, it's mostly small like Apple doesn't want to buy them when they're a 10 bazillion dollar company

01:18:47   They want to get them before that sometimes they buy companies just for the people sometimes for the technologies or patents

01:18:52   Rarely do they buy them for complete working businesses, but that does happen to like beats

01:18:57   They bought beats and then continue to sell beats headphones as beats headphones, right?

01:19:01   I guess maybe the one of the most recent full-fledged businesses they purchase so texture seems like one of the small ones

01:19:06   It's not clear to me whether they bought it for the business or the people or the tech or anything like that

01:19:09   but it what it is described as is

01:19:11   Netflix for magazines where you play a flat fee and get access to a bunch of magazines in the same way you pay a flat fee

01:19:17   Every month for Netflix and you get access to a bunch of movies

01:19:19   Why does Apple need to buy this

01:19:22   I'm not sure why they might want to buy it but

01:19:27   Apple has in the past shown that they're interested in

01:19:31   Being some kind of a platform aid to periodicals. We all remember newsstand Marco. I'm sure most fondly

01:19:39   That was an attempt to do something like this newsstand did not work out so well newsstand is now gone

01:19:45   But it signals Apple's interest in this

01:19:48   Texture strikes me as all right the approach with newsstand of making this weird app

01:19:54   Slash folder where a bunch of things go and putting weird limitations on them or giving them

01:19:57   You know of recurring structures like the whole newsstand thing didn't work out having individual applications for individual things

01:20:03   But having them be newsstand savvy that that model didn't work for us

01:20:06   Let's try this model and this model

01:20:08   Seems a little bit more like Apple news or Apple itself could potentially make an application and within that application

01:20:14   you see a bunch of magazines just like within Apple news you see a bunch of news and

01:20:19   And other content providers can participate in Apple News not by launching their own application

01:20:24   that is Apple News-powered, but rather by getting their news into the one and only Apple

01:20:28   News application.

01:20:30   Texture is an established business that works in a certain way, so I'm not sure if Apple's

01:20:34   going to rebrand it or just put it out the way it is or just scrap texture entirely and

01:20:38   take those people and tell them to make Newsstand version two.

01:20:41   This time it'll be better.

01:20:44   But as Marco or maybe Casey pointed out, it's great that they're kind of into that, but

01:20:49   I'm not sure magazines on computers or otherwise are really where it's at in terms of a growth

01:20:56   industry.

01:20:57   But I would give Apple full credit for recognizing that Newsstand didn't work out.

01:21:03   Sunsetting in a fairly graceful way, as I think Marco said, the best time to cancel

01:21:08   something is when no one notices that you canceled it, and many people don't realize

01:21:11   Newsstand is gone now.

01:21:12   Because if you never really used it, you're like, "Is Newsstand gone?"

01:21:15   Or if you remember what Newsstand was, "Yeah, it's gone."

01:21:18   And no one really kicked up a fuss about it.

01:21:20   So that was good.

01:21:21   And I think it's worth taking another run at.

01:21:23   I know I read magazines, and I do have individual apps, you know, I have like the Edge magazine

01:21:27   application.

01:21:28   Like, I read magazines on my iPads.

01:21:31   I'm not totally offended by that idea.

01:21:33   I read ebooks on my iPad too.

01:21:35   And so if Apple wants to make a really nice service application thingy for reading magazines,

01:21:41   Sure, give it a shot. Why shouldn't they be allowed to give that a try?

01:21:44   Yeah, no argument here. It's just this was not on my radar before and as soon as we cease talking about it

01:21:50   It will not be on my radar again.

01:21:52   Do either one of you read magazines at all on any iOS device? No. I don't read magazines at all on anything ever.

01:21:58   Hmm

01:22:00   Yeah, no

01:22:00   I mean I still read Car and Driver on paper and I read Edge on paper and also in iOS because I think their iOS app

01:22:06   I mean, it's not great, but it's not the bad old days of like the original Zinnio for all

01:22:10   I know this is the new Zinnia behind these, I have no idea what technology powers it is.

01:22:13   But it's not just a bunch of PDFs that they throw onto your screen.

01:22:17   Although with today's retina they could probably do that and it would probably be okay, especially

01:22:20   on a 12.9 inch because it's practically magazine size and with a retina screen it would look

01:22:24   great.

01:22:25   I'm mostly doing it for Edge and Car and Driver because I like the content, but the presentation

01:22:29   on iOS isn't bad.

01:22:31   And it's nice not to have to carry around, you know, if you're going on vacation and

01:22:34   you want to read through your last three issues of Edge magazine, to have them all on your

01:22:38   iPad rather than three paper things.

01:22:40   It's convenient.

01:22:41   So I will probably download this and try it and see how good the app is and if there are

01:22:47   any magazines that I care about in there.

01:22:48   I doubt I'll subscribe to it though.

01:22:51   Cool.

01:22:52   I have nothing to say about this at all.

01:22:54   I know.

01:22:55   I just don't care.

01:22:56   And maybe I should care, but I just don't care.

01:22:58   Apple buys leading manufacturer of fax machines.

01:23:00   Fax machines, yeah.

01:23:02   I mean, here's the thing with magazines.

01:23:04   Like we're making fun of them because magazines is the old world or whatever, but websites,

01:23:08   websites are not that different from magazines and once you have a magazine that publishes

01:23:11   through an application it's like, is this just like a closed version of the web and

01:23:15   a closed version of a web browser? Maybe, but, you know, websites and magazines still

01:23:22   seem slightly different, like magazines have websites, but, I don't know, maybe I'm just

01:23:27   nostalgic for the old days of magazines and there's lots of legacy businesses that are

01:23:32   are tied to the magazine format that I'm glad to see allowed to live another decade or two

01:23:38   through an effort like this.

01:23:40   All right, so time for Ask ATP.

01:23:42   Matt Wallin writes, "My Mac Pro does not have a Wi-Fi card."

01:23:45   Wait, this is a Mac Pro question.

01:23:47   I don't care.

01:23:48   Bill Ballinor writes—I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding—"My Mac Pro does not have a

01:23:52   Wi-Fi card.

01:23:53   My wife and son both have accounts on the Mac Pro, and I was thinking of using Migration

01:23:55   Assistant to copy stuff from the old machine to the new.

01:23:58   Can I connect them via Ethernet for this purpose?

01:24:00   or will it matter that the new machine will be running on High Sierra and the old machine

01:24:03   is El Capitan. I've looked for specific documentation on this online and haven't found a satisfyingly

01:24:08   definitive answer." Now, I don't think I have ever used Migration Assistant, ever. I'm not

01:24:14   saying it's bad, I'm not saying that I'm doing things the right way, it's just I like to

01:24:18   kind of start fresh each time. I know that this is also a little bit different because

01:24:22   you're talking about other people and they may not want to start fresh even though you

01:24:25   do, but I don't really have any good answers with regard to Migration Assistant. Have you

01:24:31   guys used that? I thought both of you have.

01:24:33   I definitely have. I'm a big proponent of Migration Assistant. I think there are a couple

01:24:38   parts to this question. Starting at the very end, I've looked for specific documentation

01:24:42   and haven't found anything. I almost guarantee that there is satisfying definitive documentation

01:24:47   related to this on Apple's website, but yes, sometimes it can be hard to find. The beginning

01:24:50   of the question, going back to the beginning, I can connect via all these different things.

01:24:53   I don't have Wi-Fi, does it matter?

01:24:57   I can tell you that you do not want to use Migration Assistant over Wi-Fi if you can

01:25:03   at all help it.

01:25:04   So the fact that your Mac Pro doesn't have a Wi-Fi card, don't worry about it.

01:25:07   I would never recommend doing it.

01:25:09   It was worse when Wi-Fi was slower.

01:25:11   It's better now that Wi-Fi is faster, but I have not had good luck with using Migration

01:25:15   Assistant over Wi-Fi.

01:25:17   The good news is that most reasonably modern Macs can do Migration Assistant through almost

01:25:23   any of their ports. Like I don't know if they can do it over the headphone jack yet, but

01:25:26   who knows.

01:25:27   Like the old iPod shuffle sinking over the headphones jack?

01:25:31   Yeah. I used to do it through FireWire. You can do it through Ethernet. You can do it

01:25:36   through Thunderbolt. There's all sorts of ways that migration assistance will work.

01:25:41   The bad news is figuring out how to get it to work, especially with the more obscure

01:25:46   ports, can be tricky. So what I would recommend is going back to Apple's website and digging

01:25:51   through this stuff and finding the documentation for your specific computer, and it will usually

01:25:56   tell you, and by the way, from your computer, you can only migrate to this set of computers

01:26:01   through these interfaces.

01:26:02   There is sort of a matrix of what connectedness can I use and how is it known as the computer,

01:26:06   and you can, unfortunately, find yourself in a situation where you're trying to migrate

01:26:09   from a really old computer to a really new one, when there's no great way to do it, except

01:26:14   for maybe Ethernet, but then you need an Ethernet adapter or whatever.

01:26:17   But I have never, as someone who keeps computers for a long time, I've never kept on long enough

01:26:21   that I was unable to run Migration Assistant.

01:26:24   So I would suggest using the fastest connection you can.

01:26:27   Ethernet is probably sufficient and it's probably the baseline, so try to do that if you possibly

01:26:32   can.

01:26:33   Find the docs for it and just give it a try.

01:26:36   I think you will be mostly pleased with the results.

01:26:39   I always have been.

01:26:40   I find that Migration Assistant really does migrate my stuff.

01:26:44   And yes, it does take a long time, but the amount of time it takes when I do the math

01:26:47   works out to be roughly amount of data it has to transfer, you know, divided by the

01:26:53   transfer rate or whatever.

01:26:54   I have had almost similar luck as that. The only difference I would suggest are when you

01:27:01   connect the old Mac via target disk mode, it tends to be significantly faster. My greatest

01:27:07   has a pretty big problem that I think it's had basically forever in that it is terrible

01:27:13   at estimating how much time you have left.

01:27:16   And it will frequently get into a state

01:27:18   where it appears as though it's making no progress at all.

01:27:21   And it could stay there for hours or even days.

01:27:25   And that's very frustrating.

01:27:26   It's very hard to tell often what it's doing,

01:27:29   whether it is still going to go,

01:27:30   how long it's still going to go for.

01:27:32   - That's why I said do the math.

01:27:33   If you know you have a one terabyte hard drive

01:27:36   that's mostly full and you know your connection

01:27:38   is one gigabit, do the division,

01:27:40   figure out how long you think it's gonna take

01:27:41   You can use that as your outside, you know,

01:27:43   like to get an idea of how long you think it's gonna take.

01:27:46   If it takes 10 times that thing,

01:27:47   something's probably gone wrong.

01:27:49   But don't believe the progress bar,

01:27:51   'cause it doesn't know.

01:27:52   - Well anyway, I have had significantly better luck

01:27:57   with doing it via target disk mode on the sending machine,

01:28:01   rather than having both machines

01:28:03   run the Mega

01:28:03   the Migrator Assistant app.

01:28:05   This would probably also, if there's any problems

01:28:07   with the old one being El Capitan,

01:28:11   target disk mode would probably avoid those problems

01:28:12   a little bit more likely or more easily

01:28:15   than running the Migrator Assistant app on both sides.

01:28:18   But also, yeah, I found the disk method to be way faster

01:28:23   and way more reliable and I have never had it reach

01:28:26   one of those states where it seemed like

01:28:28   it's gonna just take forever.

01:28:29   Whereas over WiFi and even Gigabit Ethernet,

01:28:32   I've had that happen.

01:28:34   So by doing target disk mode, you have most of the options

01:28:38   that Jon suggested on the old Mac Pro.

01:28:41   You probably, let's see, Mac Pros that had Wi-Fi

01:28:44   are optional, would be 2006 into 2008.

01:28:47   I believe it was standard after that, so it's pretty old.

01:28:50   It will definitely predate all Thunderbolt,

01:28:52   'cause Thunderbolt came after the Mac Pro.

01:28:54   So your best port is probably FireWire 800,

01:28:58   assuming you have, well you definitely have that,

01:29:00   assuming it still works, then I would suggest,

01:29:03   you know, if you have any problems trying to do this

01:29:05   over ethernet, I would suggest,

01:29:07   assuming the new machine has Thunderbolt,

01:29:10   go to the Apple Store, get a Thunderbolt to,

01:29:14   well, let's see, you're gonna need two dongles.

01:29:16   - No, FireWire 800, that is what I've got

01:29:17   on the iMac right now, I was gonna suggest.

01:29:19   If you, like, Target is Smoking--

01:29:20   - But does it go FireWire 800 to USB 3 Thunderbolt,

01:29:23   or does it have to, you have to adapt two to three,

01:29:25   and then two to 800?

01:29:28   - I only have one adapter in the back of my 5K iMac.

01:29:31   It's like Firewire 800 into this adapter

01:29:35   and this adapter into the back of the iMac,

01:29:36   but I confess I do not recall what exactly

01:29:38   it's going into the back of the iMac.

01:29:40   - So assuming that you're,

01:29:42   he doesn't actually say what he's going to, right?

01:29:45   - No, I believe that's correct.

01:29:47   - Okay, so assuming that it's a current generation machine

01:29:51   that only has Thunderbolt 3 ports,

01:29:53   you might need two dongles to go once from 800

01:29:57   to Thunderbolt 2, and then once again,

01:29:59   from Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3.

01:30:01   So that might be like $80 worth of dongles,

01:30:05   'cause the Thunderbolt one's like 50 bucks.

01:30:07   - Well, then we have to start considering ethernet,

01:30:08   'cause eventually they do both have ethernet ports,

01:30:10   ethernet is fast.

01:30:11   And practically speaking,

01:30:12   the reason I find myself using ethernet

01:30:14   is because I'm doing two desktops

01:30:15   and they're far away from each other,

01:30:16   and it's kind of a pain to like disconnect the desktop

01:30:18   and lug it over and put it close enough

01:30:20   so your little firewire or Thunderbolt or USB-C cable

01:30:24   can connect to the right ports.

01:30:26   It's just, then you're like, look, Ethernet is easier.

01:30:29   Even if your home doesn't wire for Ethernet,

01:30:30   to just get 100 feet of Ethernet cable

01:30:32   and plug it in and snake it over

01:30:34   and leave it there for a day for you to do the transfers,

01:30:36   that'll of course encourage you to wire your house

01:30:38   for Ethernet like a civilized person.

01:30:40   - Yeah, well, I mean, if they have a Mac Pro

01:30:43   that doesn't have WiFi, they probably have this covered.

01:30:46   - Yeah.

01:30:46   - Anyway, so yeah, I agree.

01:30:48   Try Ethernet first and only go buy the $80 worth

01:30:52   of dongles and cables if for some reason

01:30:54   Ethernet always fails.

01:30:55   - And backup before you do anything.

01:30:58   Backup, make a bunch of backups, take the backups,

01:31:00   disconnect them from all your computers,

01:31:01   put it someplace else, and then have fun screwing

01:31:04   with your computers.

01:31:05   Worst case scenario, you screw everything up,

01:31:07   you erase everything you restore from backup,

01:31:08   and then you're back to your initial stage again.

01:31:10   - Also, wait, if you can backup to a USB 3.0 hard drive,

01:31:14   your old Mac Pro doesn't have USB 3.0.

01:31:17   - Migration.

01:31:18   - But yeah, you could just then plug that

01:31:19   into the new computer and just do it that way.

01:31:21   (laughing)

01:31:22   - Oh, my word.

01:31:24   All right, Bill Ballinore writes,

01:31:26   "Is it okay for developers to force polite interactions

01:31:29   "on their users such as labeling the OK button in a prompt,

01:31:32   "'Yes, please,' or the dismiss button

01:31:34   "in a confirmation dialogue, 'Thanks.'

01:31:36   "These things make me cranky."

01:31:38   You're wrong, this is absolutely acceptable and I like it.

01:31:41   - Oh, God, no, what's your, okay, so, okay, there's,

01:31:45   if done in a non-intrusive, non-suggestive,

01:31:51   not putting words in my mouth kind of way,

01:31:53   It can be fine.

01:31:56   Unfortunately, that's not what happens in practice.

01:31:57   In practice, you have things like,

01:32:00   "No, I don't want to subscribe to the newsletter

01:32:02   "and get all these special deals because I'm cheap."

01:32:04   Or something like that.

01:32:06   They make you, so often, the words they use

01:32:10   are passive-aggressively condemning yourself

01:32:13   for making a choice that does not benefit

01:32:16   the developer's business interests.

01:32:18   And it's really obnoxious.

01:32:20   Oftentimes, other than that,

01:32:21   It just, you know, it tries to sound human and hip and cool,

01:32:26   but it's from like a big corporation

01:32:27   and we know that's fake.

01:32:29   And it comes off as just insincere fakery

01:32:32   trying to appeal to be more human

01:32:34   from a company that is anything but.

01:32:36   So it's very hard and very rare

01:32:40   to get this kind of thing right in a way

01:32:42   that sounds both sincere and non-offensive.

01:32:46   - I think you're reading too much into this,

01:32:48   or maybe I'm not reading enough into it.

01:32:50   To me, like, having a dismiss button that says "Thanks!"

01:32:54   I don't have a problem with that.

01:32:55   Having a dismiss button that says "No, I'm too cheap," or even if it's passive-aggressively

01:33:00   saying "No, I'm too cheap," and not using those literal words, that, yes, I agree with

01:33:04   you, that's total garbage.

01:33:05   But something as simple as "Yes, please," or "Thanks," or "No, thank you," like, I don't

01:33:09   have a problem with that at all.

01:33:11   I think you would have a problem with the "Thanks," because "Thanks" is putting words

01:33:14   in your mouth.

01:33:15   Like, you just want the box to go away.

01:33:16   So there's two aspects of the problem.

01:33:17   One is the giving your personality and putting words into the mouth of the user, because

01:33:22   what if they're annoyed at your application right now and are forced to hit a button that

01:33:25   says "thanks" and they don't want to thank your application at all because they're frustrated

01:33:28   with your application?

01:33:29   The "thanks" button makes them hate your application even more because you're forcing them to pretend

01:33:32   they're saying "thanks," right?

01:33:33   But the second reason, independent of all this stuff, is people are accustomed to dialog

01:33:38   boxes alerting a certain way.

01:33:39   Yes, no, okay, cancel.

01:33:40   Like there are interface standards that they're accustomed to, and if your application deviates

01:33:44   from those standards in any way, there should be a reason for it.

01:33:48   Maybe you care at weather and you have a personality type thing and that's part of the selling

01:33:52   point of your application.

01:33:53   Fine.

01:33:54   But if your application is selling point, it's not like there's a cost to defying expectations.

01:33:59   It causes people to pause and have to look at it and think about what they hit and like

01:34:03   read.

01:34:04   It causes them to have to read, whereas no one reads yes, no, or okay, cancel.

01:34:06   If they see them a million times, they just, you know, it becomes like a visual macro.

01:34:10   You're just like, oh, I recognize that.

01:34:11   I don't know which thing I want to hit.

01:34:13   or even just a single button dismiss thing in iOS,

01:34:16   where the button is always labeled as okay,

01:34:18   and now suddenly that button has different text on it,

01:34:21   you're forced to read it, you find out it says thanks,

01:34:23   you don't feel like thanking anybody,

01:34:24   and now you're annoyed.

01:34:26   So I would, I would in general say there is no 100% safe way

01:34:31   to inject personality into labels like that.

01:34:34   There are a lot of downsides,

01:34:36   and the only potential upsides are

01:34:37   if your application's value proposition

01:34:41   is based on its personality and whimsy,

01:34:43   which can be done, but is much trickier than you think.

01:34:48   - It also, be very careful when you're writing dialogue text,

01:34:51   if you're a developer or if you're Apple,

01:34:54   that attributes malice or actions to the user,

01:34:57   or it attributes an intent or actions to the user

01:35:01   that may or may not be the case.

01:35:04   One of the most infuriating pieces of text

01:35:06   in all of Mac OS is the dialogue that comes up

01:35:09   after it has a kernel panic and shuts down and reboots

01:35:12   that says, "You shut down your computer

01:35:15   "because of a problem."

01:35:17   And a lot of times, no, you shut down my computer

01:35:21   because of your problem.

01:35:23   - It doesn't say that, does it?

01:35:24   - It totally says that.

01:35:25   - It says your computer shut down due to a problem.

01:35:27   - It says you shut down your computer.

01:35:29   - I gotta Google for this now.

01:35:31   - I agree with John, that is not how I remember this.

01:35:34   - Are you sure?

01:35:35   - I am not sure, but.

01:35:36   I would check, 'cause I don't see it often,

01:35:39   but every time I see it, I'm like, oh, I'm on fire.

01:35:42   You shut down my computer.

01:35:44   I didn't shut down my computer.

01:35:46   - So here's what the kernel panic, you know the overlay?

01:35:49   The overlay that comes on in five languages

01:35:50   when you go to kernel panic?

01:35:51   - Yeah, it's not that.

01:35:52   It's the dialogue that shows up on the first boot after.

01:35:55   - Right, okay, but so anyway, the overlay says,

01:35:57   your computer restarted because of a problem.

01:35:59   So that may be what I'm remembering for that wording.

01:36:01   All right, now the after your computer restarts,

01:36:04   Marco was right, I'm looking at this thing

01:36:06   Apple's website. It says, "You shut down your computer because of a problem."

01:36:09   Wow, really?

01:36:10   I'm telling you, it sets me on fire if I ever see it.

01:36:13   It's right on Apple's website. We will put it in the show notes. I'm assuming this is

01:36:16   the current dialogue, but it's an Apple support document.

01:36:19   It looks like it might be an old theme, but yeah, that's definitely the current wording.

01:36:22   Yeah, maybe I was reading it as "your" because the kernel panic one does say "your," but

01:36:28   the dialogue after it says "you shut down." It doesn't even make sense. How would you

01:36:32   shut down the computer spontaneously because of a problem?

01:36:36   Is it just like all of a sudden you saw a problem

01:36:38   and you reach for the plug in the wall and yanked it out?

01:36:41   How is that even a thing that you could do?

01:36:43   Because if you found a problem and you selected shut down,

01:36:45   you would never see this dialog box.

01:36:48   - It's kind of like putting words in my mouth,

01:36:49   but in this case it's like putting actions in my mouth.

01:36:51   It's like, "No, I didn't do this.

01:36:54   "You did this."

01:36:55   So when you see an app that's forcing you to say,

01:37:01   thanks or no, I don't wanna see your great deals,

01:37:05   I don't like great deals.

01:37:06   Like, that is, it seems like it might be cute

01:37:11   or helpful or something and trust me, it's not at all.

01:37:15   Like, you have to be so careful with that stuff.

01:37:18   - And there is an additional dialogue by the way

01:37:21   that says your computer was restarted because of a problem

01:37:24   and that one says the, you know, ignore more info

01:37:29   and move to trash for like an application that crashed.

01:37:33   Like we see that one when an app crashes.

01:37:34   So there is one that is more, you know, less blamey.

01:37:39   But the fact that there exists any dialogue

01:37:41   that says you shut down your computer because of a problem,

01:37:43   it's the dialogue that's asking whether you want it

01:37:46   to restore all the applications that were open.

01:37:48   So your choices are please reopen everything

01:37:49   like it was before, or hit cancel to not reopen stuff,

01:37:52   which by the way-

01:37:53   - I'm sorry, what reopen everything?

01:37:54   Please reopen everything?

01:37:55   - Yeah, I'm not a dialogue box.

01:37:57   I don't have to put that.

01:37:58   The button does not say "please open."

01:38:00   The button says "open" and the cancel button says "no thanks, cancel."

01:38:03   Oh, I'm sorry, it doesn't say "no thanks, cancel."

01:38:05   It says "cancel" because that's what cancel buttons say on them.

01:38:08   I'm not a button-on person.

01:38:11   That's what it's asking you.

01:38:12   And so, again, if it's asking you that, it means the entire thing abruptly stopped functioning.

01:38:19   And it realizes that it abruptly stopped functioning because it didn't do all the nice shutdown

01:38:22   cleanup stuff.

01:38:23   So the next time it starts up, it says, "I don't see the nice shutdown cleanup stuff,"

01:38:25   which means things ended abruptly last time.

01:38:28   And I honestly don't think there's any user action

01:38:31   that you could take other than if it knew somehow

01:38:34   because of cameras that you had yanked the cord out

01:38:37   or flicked the hardware power switch yourself.

01:38:39   - Even if it sees you do it, it still shouldn't say that.

01:38:42   It's just setting you on fire unnecessarily.

01:38:46   - And how would it know it was because of a problem?

01:38:48   Maybe you shut down your computer

01:38:50   because you couldn't figure out any other way.

01:38:52   You're an inexperienced computer user

01:38:55   and the only way you know how to turn it off

01:38:57   is to hold down the power button for five seconds.

01:38:59   - Maybe you shut down your computer as a statement.

01:39:02   - Because of a problem.

01:39:03   It wasn't a problem with your computer,

01:39:04   it was just like a problem in the world.

01:39:06   (laughs)

01:39:08   - I think you might be reading too much into this.

01:39:10   I think the way I've always read this

01:39:12   and why I haven't been perturbed by it

01:39:15   is because the computer,

01:39:17   well, I guess it can turn itself off,

01:39:18   but in this scenario of a kernel panic,

01:39:20   it doesn't turn itself off.

01:39:21   It is you that is physically turning the computer off

01:39:23   and restarting it.

01:39:24   - Not always.

01:39:25   - No, not in the case of--

01:39:26   - In fact, by default, it reboots itself, doesn't it?

01:39:28   - Does it reboot?

01:39:29   I didn't think it did.

01:39:30   - I think it does now.

01:39:31   I think that's been the case for the last few years.

01:39:33   - Oh no, you're right.

01:39:34   Press a key or wait a few seconds to continue starting out.

01:39:36   No, I guess you're right.

01:39:37   I guess you're right.

01:39:38   All I know is you guys are clearly from the Northeast

01:39:41   or have lived there too long

01:39:42   because you're impolite assholes.

01:39:44   Moving on, Chad's a poor sneak.

01:39:46   - No, no, before you move on,

01:39:47   like again, I want to iterate.

01:39:48   It's not about politeness.

01:39:50   It's about the fact that there are conventions

01:39:51   for the user interface.

01:39:52   Anything that deviates to the convention,

01:39:53   like, "Don't make me think." Whatever. "Don't make me think." Anything that deviates from

01:39:57   the convention requires thinking and processing time, and it's cognitive load for no benefit

01:40:03   unless there is actual benefit of the personality of the application. Otherwise, every time

01:40:07   we look at a dialogue, we'd have to parse each person's politeness and phrasing and

01:40:13   preambles and stuff, and we just want "Okay, cancel," or we just have standard buttons

01:40:17   that say standard things that fit in a standard amount of space, and we don't want to have

01:40:20   to read them.

01:40:21   actually do completely agree with you on that. Chad Toporski writes, "When it comes to video

01:40:25   games, how much of a completionist do each of you consider yourselves to be? How much

01:40:28   does it depend on the type of game, scope of the game, and your level of interest in

01:40:31   it?" I will start by saying I am not at all a completionist, and obviously I am—I think

01:40:37   Marco and I fight over who is the least video game-y person of the three of us, but I do

01:40:44   play video games from time to time. As I think we mentioned last week or the week before,

01:40:47   up and getting back into Breath of the Wild. But whenever it is I beat Ganon at the end

01:40:52   of Breath of the Wild, if I don't have all 120 whatever it is, shrines, if I don't have

01:40:56   all 80 gazillion kurok or kurok or whatever they're called seeds, I am not going to care.

01:41:01   I will be putting that game down and probably never playing it again. And that's just me.

01:41:06   Marco, since you are also useless like me, how do you treat this?

01:41:09   - Kind of in between you and a normal person.

01:41:13   (laughing)

01:41:14   I will try to be fairly complete as I'm playing,

01:41:18   but then I will usually reach a point

01:41:19   at which my interest just falls.

01:41:22   For a game that can be quote beaten,

01:41:25   or that has like a main storyline that can be completed,

01:41:27   I do really wanna complete that main storyline.

01:41:29   But like you, once I, and on my way there,

01:41:34   I might be collecting as much as I possibly can.

01:41:37   like when playing Mario Odyssey,

01:41:40   I really tried to get as many of the moons as possible

01:41:45   as I'm going through each world.

01:41:46   I don't just fly away as soon as I can.

01:41:49   But then after you complete the main storyline,

01:41:51   you can go back and get a whole bunch more.

01:41:53   And I started doing that

01:41:54   and I just haven't really continued yet.

01:41:55   And I intend to go back and play it.

01:41:59   I don't know when I will exactly,

01:42:01   'cause now I'm playing other games now,

01:42:02   so I don't know when I actually will.

01:42:05   but I do intend to still go back and do that.

01:42:08   I don't stop because I decide,

01:42:10   "Oh, I'm done with this game forever."

01:42:13   It just kinda happens.

01:42:15   Like Stardew Valley, I played Stardew Valley

01:42:17   very heavily for a long time,

01:42:20   and I intend to go back to it,

01:42:22   but the last time I played it was probably three months ago,

01:42:25   and I just haven't gone back to it yet.

01:42:27   But I do intend to, I haven't had a kid yet,

01:42:29   I wanna see how that works, so, you know,

01:42:32   there's more I wanna do in that game,

01:42:33   But once I reach a certain point where I feel like I've done mostly everything there is

01:42:38   to do, I find it hard to motivate myself to go back and get the last 10%.

01:42:43   Well, you did have an actual kid.

01:42:46   What do you mean as a pixelated kid?

01:42:48   Yes.

01:42:49   All right.

01:42:50   Just to make that clear.

01:42:51   You feel like, "I haven't had a kid yet."

01:42:53   In Stardew Valley, the game I was talking about during that sentence.

01:42:56   It just seems context-free.

01:42:58   Where's Adam?

01:42:59   He's upstairs asleep.

01:43:01   So this question doesn't really define what completionist means, but I'm kind of with

01:43:07   Marco and there's two strains.

01:43:09   I like Marco if I'm playing a narrative game that is trying to tell me a story, and if

01:43:14   I like the game well enough, like I'm having fun playing it, I do want to see how that

01:43:21   story turns out.

01:43:24   But the modern practice of video games, of basically providing a tremendous amount of

01:43:31   things to do outside the main story means that for me to actually 100% clear a game

01:43:37   by getting all the things that you can get and doing all the things that you can do has

01:43:41   actually become a lot harder over the years, both in terms of time investment and skill.

01:43:45   It used to be that if you finish a story, then there'd be a couple of ancillary things

01:43:48   to do, but Mario Odyssey is like, the story is like one eighth of the game.

01:43:52   And then like, if you really wanted to complete it in terms of hours spent and effort required,

01:43:56   the real game begins after you finish the story mode.

01:43:59   So I did finish the story mode of Mario Odyssey, and I did enjoy it.

01:44:02   And I do like the fact that there is a lot more after that and that you can do it kind

01:44:05   of in any order that you want, but I don't think I will 100% clear Mario Odyssey ever.

01:44:11   Contrast that with Mario Sunshine, which was not as good a Mario game by any stretch of

01:44:14   the imagination as Odyssey, and yet I 100% cleared Sunshine.

01:44:18   Because the amount of stuff that you had to do beyond the main story in Sunshine seemed

01:44:22   so much more tractable to me.

01:44:25   because the things they had you doing were like one annoying collection quest and a bunch

01:44:29   of levels that were hard but of the variety that they'd already had that I really enjoyed.

01:44:34   And so it seemed like a thing that I could do and lo and behold I did do it.

01:44:39   Similarly with Zelda games, I will always finish a story in any Zelda game, I love Zelda

01:44:44   games.

01:44:45   I 100% cleared a couple of Zeldas but not all of them because especially as time goes

01:44:50   on when they start adding even more and more collectibles I'm never going to get all the

01:44:53   the Korok seeds in Breath of the Wild. I won't. It's never going to happen, right? But I probably

01:44:58   will do eventually all the shrines. And that's a game that I love. If it's not a game that

01:45:03   I love, I'll do the story and I feel like I'm done with it. What if the game has no

01:45:07   story? If the game has no story, I'll just play it when it's fun and when it stops being

01:45:10   fun I'll stop playing it. I feel like I will actually continue to play a game after it

01:45:14   stops being fun if I'm really close to the end of a narrative story just because I want

01:45:17   to see how it ends. That's kind of true with movies and books too. Sometimes you're like,

01:45:20   Well I'm invested and I know there's only three chapters left and even those books kind

01:45:25   of annoy me I still want to see how it ends and so you'll power your way through.

01:45:29   That's kind of my take on completionism in video games.

01:45:31   Thanks to our sponsors this week Aftershocks, Backblaze, and Jamf Now and we'll talk to

01:45:36   you next week.

01:45:37   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin, cause it was accidental, oh it was

01:45:48   John didn't do any research, Margo and Casey wouldn't let him

01:45:55   Cause it was accidental, it was accidental

01:46:01   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm

01:46:06   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them

01:46:11   C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S, so that's Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M,

01:46:19   N-T-Marco-Armin, S-I-R-A-C, U-S-A-C-R-A-Cusa.

01:46:27   It's accidental.

01:46:28   It's accidental.

01:46:29   They didn't mean to.

01:46:32   Accidental.

01:46:33   Accidental.

01:46:34   Tech podcast, so long.

01:46:39   - Casey, you're back at work now.

01:46:42   - Yeah, tell us about that.

01:46:43   So you're full-time back now, right?

01:46:45   - No. - Like totally back to normal?

01:46:46   - No, no, no, no, no, no.

01:46:48   I'm spending the month of March easing my way in,

01:46:52   so as we record this last week,

01:46:54   I did a sum total of one day of work,

01:46:57   and I did two half days, which basically means

01:47:00   I went in when Declan was at preschool.

01:47:02   And then this week, I did a full day Tuesday,

01:47:07   but only half of it at work.

01:47:08   I did the rest from home, so you can guess where this is going.

01:47:11   I went to work when Declan was at preschool, then I came home and was here working on my

01:47:16   iMac for the remainder of the day.

01:47:18   And then tomorrow, I am doing sort of kind of the same.

01:47:23   We have an appointment to get Michaela's passport for some events that are happening

01:47:27   in a couple of months that I believe I will be seeing both of you at.

01:47:31   So we need to get that squared away.

01:47:33   But this week I'm doing two days, next week I'm doing three whole days, and I think

01:47:37   I think the week after that I'm actually ramped up to full time.

01:47:39   Now I might be doing some of that from home here and there, which is not what I usually

01:47:43   did.

01:47:44   I usually pretty much only worked in the office, but it's a week after next that I will be

01:47:49   a real adult worker again.

01:47:53   And it's going fine.

01:47:54   It's a pretty understanding job letting you ease back into it.

01:47:56   I've never even heard of a company doing that.

01:47:58   Just a second time.

01:47:59   Now, like, the last time I took less time easing my way into it, and I also didn't take

01:48:03   and unpaid leave, but they were fairly cool about it,

01:48:07   both the last job and this job, so that's good.

01:48:10   - That's pretty cool, yeah.

01:48:12   I don't think I've ever had a job that would give me that.

01:48:16   At most of my jobs, I had trouble at taking vacation days,

01:48:19   let alone doing anything like this.

01:48:21   - Yeah, and to be fair, I didn't as much ask as said

01:48:24   this is what I was planning to do,

01:48:26   and waited for somebody to say no, and nobody said no.

01:48:29   And that's been nice.

01:48:31   I mean, the place I work, it's pretty, I was going to say chill, but I sound like a tool.

01:48:36   I don't know, it's very relaxed.

01:48:39   And I think in part because it's not consulting like most of the last few jobs I've had, there's

01:48:46   a lot less urgency and it's kind of okay if I'm gone.

01:48:50   That being said, I'm easing back in terms of hours worked.

01:48:54   I am not easing back in terms of stress level and need for me to be paying attention to

01:48:59   things again. The staff that I work with is excellent, but—or at least on the iOS side—but

01:49:07   is very young. And that's not a bad thing at all, but that means that they've kind

01:49:12   of been queuing up a whole bunch of questions to ask and, "How do I do this? What should

01:49:17   we do here? What are we going to do about this other thing?" And so I have been in

01:49:23   high demand in the little bit of time I've been working, which is a good problem.

01:49:26   - Are they elementary school students?

01:49:28   What the hell does very young mean when you're saying--

01:49:29   - No, one is, she started as an intern

01:49:33   and is still in school and is part-time, so she is--

01:49:36   - What major version of Pearl were they born during?

01:49:39   - One of them--

01:49:42   - So are you at the stage now

01:49:43   where anyone in their 20s counts as very young?

01:49:46   - I'm getting there.

01:49:47   I mean, my birthday's Saturday, for goodness sakes.

01:49:48   I'm turning 36.

01:49:49   I'm getting old, John, getting old.

01:49:51   - Hey, I'll be that old in a couple more months.

01:49:53   - Yeah, I know.

01:49:54   - So the 29 year olds at work are very young.

01:49:56   - No, no, no, the intern just turned 21

01:49:59   at the end of last year.

01:50:01   So she was born in '96, I guess, which is bananas.

01:50:05   - Oh my God, she's younger than Weezer.

01:50:07   - There you go.

01:50:08   So yeah, so the intern who is now part-time was born in '96

01:50:14   and we just hired a guy who I don't know how old he is,

01:50:18   but I would guess 25 or less.

01:50:21   So, and that's the whole staff is me and these two,

01:50:25   well, the whole iOS staff that is.

01:50:27   So it's me and these other two.

01:50:29   And they're great, they really are great.

01:50:32   And I'm really, really lucky to have them as my coworkers,

01:50:35   but they're young and that's not a bad thing.

01:50:37   It's just, there are things that you only get

01:50:41   from being in the trenches in any sort of code base,

01:50:45   be it iOS or otherwise for a long time.

01:50:47   And so I am the old man in every measurable way.

01:50:51   And that's just my life I need to adjust to.

01:50:54   - So here's a question.

01:50:55   Do you have anybody yet who is either so young

01:50:58   or just so new to iOS programming

01:51:01   that they have no Objective-C experience,

01:51:05   that they only have Swift experience?

01:51:07   - I'm trying to think if the part-time person did.

01:51:11   I think she had done some Objective-C in the past,

01:51:14   if I'm not mistaken, but it was a toss-up.

01:51:16   - 'Cause I almost wonder,

01:51:17   that might make things easier, right?

01:51:19   Like if you have, if you try to maintain

01:51:21   an all Swift code base, or a mostly Swift code base,

01:51:24   and you have somebody who doesn't have any

01:51:26   mental baggage of Objective-C,

01:51:28   that actually might be a good thing, right?

01:51:31   - I don't know.

01:51:32   I totally understand where you're coming from,

01:51:34   and I'm not at all saying you're wrong.

01:51:36   I really don't know, because it's one of those things like,

01:51:40   do you really need to understand what a pointer is

01:51:43   to be able to write code today?

01:51:45   And I know you're both probably gonna jump all over me,

01:51:47   But like, if you think about it on a surface level, in a lot of cases you don't really

01:51:52   need to know what a pointer is.

01:51:53   Now I strongly believe that you do, so I'm like, I'm presenting an argument I don't actually

01:51:59   believe in.

01:52:00   But you could make an argument that, you know, you don't totally need a pointer to understand

01:52:04   what the concept of a pointer is in order to be able to write Swift.

01:52:08   Yeah, I would totally argue that, actually.

01:52:11   And I still think it's important to understand what a pointer is, it's important to understand

01:52:15   these sorts of things. And I think to some degree you get a lot more of that from Objective-C,

01:52:20   and not only because you have stupid asterisks everywhere, but what I'm meandering toward

01:52:26   is I think having an understanding of what makes Objective-C Objective-C helps you understand

01:52:32   what makes Cocoa and Cocoa Touch Cocoa into Cocoa Touch. Does that make any sense at all?

01:52:37   Yeah, I can see that. Although I would also suggest that like, like, I mean, in my time

01:52:43   working around other programmers.

01:52:45   I was fortunate enough that to usually work around

01:52:48   really smart people, but not 100% of the time.

01:52:52   And I was always sometimes really surprised

01:52:55   how little somebody could know about programming

01:53:00   and be working full-time as a programmer.

01:53:02   - Oh yeah.

01:53:02   - And I'm not saying this till I say like,

01:53:04   "Oh, they're so dumb."

01:53:05   Like, that just, there are a lot of programming jobs

01:53:10   out there that are pretty forgiving

01:53:12   of having a very shallow understanding of it,

01:53:15   or pretty forgiving of bad coding or mistakes

01:53:18   or leaking memory or things like that.

01:53:19   And iOS is a huge example of that.

01:53:21   Like, when the App Store was this huge explosion

01:53:24   gold rush thing back 10 years ago,

01:53:28   and in the intervening years since,

01:53:30   like a lot of people learned Objective-C just enough

01:53:34   to get an app out there and just like

01:53:37   kinda stumbling through and, I mean,

01:53:39   heck, that was basically me when I first started too.

01:53:41   I mean, I had a C background, so I knew that kind of stuff,

01:53:44   but there's a lot of people who start knowing a lot less

01:53:48   and can get an app in the store,

01:53:49   because if they leak memory all over the place,

01:53:52   it doesn't matter at the scale they are,

01:53:54   or if their app gets kicked out of the background

01:53:56   'cause it crashes in the background,

01:53:57   you don't even notice.

01:53:58   You launch it again, and there it is.

01:54:01   - Especially that thing.

01:54:01   - Yeah, it's actually a fairly forgiving environment,

01:54:06   and the tools now protect you so much

01:54:09   doing things that are too horrible, that you can actually get by pretty far without having

01:54:15   knowledge of things like pointers and memory and stuff like that.

01:54:18   - Yeah, so, and it's also, you know, to some degree, like, what level are you hiring, right?

01:54:23   Like when we hired our newest developer, you know, we were hiring somebody, we were intending

01:54:29   to hire someone that was a bit junior, and so I don't recall how this went during his

01:54:35   interview, I did interview him, but like, I'm sure asked him, you know, what's a retain

01:54:39   cycle, how do you create it, how would you accidentally create it, how would you find

01:54:43   it, how would you fix it? And if I'm hiring a junior developer, they can get that wrong

01:54:48   and I potentially would be okay with it. I would hope that they would at least somewhat

01:54:52   understand what I'm talking about, but they can have a wrong answer and as long as they

01:54:57   have a vague understanding and I feel like they're coachable, which is a very corporate

01:55:01   thing to say, then –

01:55:02   Well –

01:55:03   Yeah, exactly.

01:55:04   We can have a coaching opportunity in the parking lot after we stand up.

01:55:07   - Right, so you have worked with me.

01:55:10   (laughing)

01:55:11   But you see what I'm driving at?

01:55:14   I don't think that being,

01:55:18   I'm agreeing with you in a roundabout way,

01:55:19   I don't think being super experienced

01:55:20   and having a deep, deep, deep knowledge

01:55:22   of the history of Objective-C

01:55:24   and why is message passing different than calling a method?

01:55:28   I don't think you need all of that,

01:55:31   but I do think it is-- - No one needs that.

01:55:33   - Fair enough.

01:55:34   But I do think it is assistive in understanding,

01:55:36   like I said earlier, what makes Cocoa the way it is. It's in large ways because of what

01:55:43   made Objective-C what it is. And I don't think it's necessary. What is the thing? It's necessary

01:55:52   but not sufficient, but I screwed that up, didn't I? Sufficient but not necessary. You

01:55:54   get what I'm driving at.

01:55:55   - That's it, sufficient but not necessary. That's what John always says.

01:55:58   - Yeah, totally. But anyway, so the point is that it's useful to have but not required.

01:56:06   Jon, you've been very quiet. Any thoughts about this?

01:56:08   Jon Moffitt I think this is a specific instance of the

01:56:11   more general question of whether—not whether you should have—but what the value is of

01:56:19   having a background in the fundamentals when it comes to the everyday craft of doing a

01:56:25   thing. Like, so can I do a particular task without knowing the history, cultural baggage,

01:56:35   all the other lower levels of abstraction that I'm building upon? The answer is yes, you can. You can

01:56:40   be a craftsman at a higher level of abstraction without knowledge of detailed knowledge of history

01:56:45   and culture and all the lower layers. But there is most certainly value in knowing all that stuff. I

01:56:52   mean you could take it just auto mechanic, right? There's lots of things that you can be trained to

01:56:56   do to a car without knowing the details of the levels of abstraction that you're not dealing with,

01:57:01   without knowing the history of internal combustion engines, particularly the history of the features

01:57:07   of the internal combustion engines of a particular make-up car, you don't need that background to be

01:57:11   really good at doing the brakes, changing the oil, even disassembling and reassembling a particular

01:57:17   model of engine. If you know how to do that at that level, you're fine. But getting back to

01:57:24   computer programming, the question is, do I need a computer science background and a knowledge of

01:57:28   algorithms, data structures, electrical engineering, circuit design, basics of electronics.

01:57:34   Like, do you need to have all that to write an iOS app? Hell no, you do not. But having that

01:57:40   background is valuable and makes you better at the job of writing an iOS application,

01:57:45   particularly when, as inevitably happens, things go wrong and you have to figure out why they're

01:57:51   going wrong. That's when whatever level of abstraction you're working at starts to fall

01:57:56   apart and you find yourself looking at memory addresses in a debugger, assuming you even

01:58:00   know enough to navigate a debugger. And if you don't know what a pointer is, it just

01:58:04   feels gibberish and you feel lost, right? But if you understand all those lower levels,

01:58:11   you can drop down a level and drop down a level further. And if you're really good to

01:58:14   know the whole stack and you're a Mike Ash type person, you can look at machine code

01:58:18   and figure out what in the hell is going on, right? And even if you're not though, even

01:58:22   if you're not like someone who really can navigate the whole stack, just knowing how

01:58:26   in general computers work from top to bottom lets you understand at least what parts you

01:58:31   don't know and where you might go to look up something and understand, I know what I'm

01:58:35   looking at here. I just don't know specifically what it says, but I understand where it came

01:58:39   from and I understand if there's a part of it that I need to figure out, I know where

01:58:44   to look for it or, you know, and all the way down to like, hopefully none of us get down

01:58:47   to the hardware level where you got to figure out what's wrong with the hardware level,

01:58:50   But I still feel like even that, which probably won't come up in debugging a program, is useful

01:58:55   to know because it explains many of the features higher up.

01:58:58   Just as you were saying, knowing about Objective-C explains a lot of the weird features of Swift.

01:59:03   Like if you don't know about Objective-C, it may seem weird that Swift has these things

01:59:06   and what the hell does @objc mean and why is that even there?

01:59:10   And what do you mean by an object being backed by the Objective-C runtime versus one that

01:59:15   isn't?

01:59:16   And like what is that, you know, you can get by without it, but there is most certainly

01:59:20   value for it. And I think the question when people ask about this, whether it's should

01:59:23   I have to know pointers or do I have to have a computer science background, is they want

01:59:27   to know if it's like a gating factor. And I don't think it is. I think you can actually

01:59:30   be a successful, good programmer. But I think all that background that you're like, do I

01:59:34   have to know this? There is value for it. It's just a question of how much value does

01:59:39   it have for the thing that you are doing. If you are working at Apple on frameworks,

01:59:44   it's probably more important that you have that kind of background. If you're working

01:59:47   at Apple on the compiler team, yet more important.

01:59:50   If you are designing a hardware and software system

01:59:52   from top to bottom, really, really important.

01:59:54   So you just kind of have to decide

01:59:56   how much of the background knowledge do I need

02:00:02   to do my job well, and what is the cost

02:00:06   of me acquiring an Apple in terms of time and money?

02:00:10   - I think you said something smart a minute ago

02:00:12   with regard to it becomes important when things fall apart.

02:00:17   You know, in general, in my experience, like, I'm a relatively novice iOS developer.

02:00:22   I mean, I've been doing it casually for a fairly long time, but I've only been doing

02:00:25   it professionally for two years now.

02:00:27   And it's when things fall apart that I start really getting stressed and I have to start

02:00:34   kind of reaching way outside my comfort zone trying to figure out what is broken and why.

02:00:41   And so I think in some ways, if I was a more experienced developer, I would get through

02:00:46   these problems a lot quicker, or more experience, I'd ask the developer, I would get through

02:00:49   some of these problems more quickly. But it's my experience in general as a developer, and

02:00:54   in general it's my experience of understanding most of the stack. And that's what keeps me

02:01:01   kind of level-headed, and that's what gives me the patience and tenacity to figure out

02:01:05   a lot of these problems. And I wish I had a specific example offhand, and I don't, which

02:01:08   is good, I guess, because that means things haven't violently died recently. But I do

02:01:14   think it's valuable that I have not only a CS background, but a computer engineering

02:01:20   background, which to me is a combination of CS and electrical engineering. And I'm sure

02:01:23   a lot of people will take offense at that. I don't care. That's just the way I look at

02:01:26   it. And that means, you know, where CS, from my experience, and I'm not trying to say this

02:01:34   is fact, this is just the way I look at it, CS tends to stop with code usually or maybe

02:01:41   maybe memory, whereas computer engineering goes all the way down to logic gates. And

02:01:45   that isn't helpful in a day-to-day time, but it is helpful, just like Jon said a minute

02:01:50   ago, it's helpful to understand what, at least vaguely, what are all these abstractions and

02:01:55   how do they relate to each other?

02:01:56   It demystifies it. I don't know the details of how anything works, but I know how a CPU

02:02:01   works, and I have built a CPU from the logic level up, and I have built a logic gate with

02:02:06   the solid-state electrical components and that whole thing. It doesn't mean suddenly

02:02:10   you know how your computer works, but there's no more magic.

02:02:13   Like you know from top to bottom,

02:02:15   the magic starts basically at the quantum level

02:02:17   where my physics courses ran out.

02:02:18   Like that's where the magic starts, and that's pretty low.

02:02:20   That's pretty low down.

02:02:21   Everything else is like, I'm not scared of it.

02:02:23   It doesn't seem magical.

02:02:24   The other thing I forgot to mention

02:02:25   about having a background in the fundamentals

02:02:27   is it also gates how high you can go.

02:02:32   So if you want to make an iOS application,

02:02:36   chances are good that you won't need

02:02:39   any sort of in-depth knowledge about data structures and fundamental computer science-y

02:02:45   algorithms or even things like neural networks and stuff like that, because the frameworks

02:02:50   do a lot for you and probably your application is not as complicated as you think it is.

02:02:54   Probably it's just a fairly basic application, right?

02:02:56   But if you are building a more complicated application, games are a great example because

02:03:01   they employ a lot of things where the first approach that occurs to you is terrible and

02:03:06   won't work well.

02:03:07   That's the time where you're like, if I had a background in computer science, I might

02:03:11   know some algorithms that would do this in a more efficient way.

02:03:16   If you don't have a background in that, very often you'll find yourself deriving from first

02:03:23   principles a sort of half-assed version of a well-known algorithm.

02:03:30   You can figure it out yourself, but you're wasting your own time.

02:03:32   If you had just had a background in data structures and algorithms, you would have immediately

02:03:36   narrowed down to a couple of choices and maybe recalled off the top of your head the big

02:03:40   O notation for all these different things and known which one works best and then just,

02:03:46   you know, you know, implemented that yourself. Most of the time, again, most of the time

02:03:49   you don't have to do this. Most of the time libraries implement these things for you.

02:03:52   If you have some sort of associative array or dictionary or hash structure or NS array

02:03:56   under the covers, it's doing all sorts of smart things with all sorts of smaller algorithms,

02:04:00   switching from hash buckets to a linear search when the size dictates that it's smart. Like,

02:04:04   You don't even have to know about that.

02:04:05   The magic happens behind the scenes for you.

02:04:06   But if you are building a structure like that yourself

02:04:08   to manage your own data, again, maybe in games

02:04:10   where efficiency is paramount,

02:04:12   it really, really helps to have that background knowledge.

02:04:15   So not just figuring out the lower layers above you,

02:04:19   but being able to do for yourself

02:04:21   the things that for most developers are done for them

02:04:24   by the frameworks and the OS and everything

02:04:26   does give you the ability to do more complicated things.

02:04:30   And if you don't have that background, you can still do it,

02:04:33   but you will essentially be figuring out things

02:04:36   that people figured out tens or hundreds of years ago

02:04:38   as you derive from first principles,

02:04:39   basic old mathematical concepts and data structures,

02:04:42   which works fine, but it takes more time.

02:04:45   - There is a truly phenomenal series of YouTube videos

02:04:50   that PBS made in association with,

02:04:52   I think, a few other groups.

02:04:53   It's called Crash Course Computer Science,

02:04:55   and Mike and I talked about this a little bit on analog,

02:04:58   and we were trying to do like a, you know,

02:05:01   we'll watch one each week,

02:05:02   it turns out that it's not very entertaining as a podcast, but I cannot recommend enough

02:05:08   watching this series. There's 40 videos of which each of them is like 10 to 15 minutes,

02:05:14   and it brings you from the abacus all the way to modern computing. And I've only watched

02:05:19   the first maybe quarter of them, but it is step by step going from an abacus all the

02:05:26   way up to cloud computing and machine learning and stuff like that. And what you learn by

02:05:30   watching these, even if you don't totally understand the the ins and outs of what

02:05:35   they're talking about, the thing that I think is most important that you can

02:05:39   glean from these videos is that everything is just one abstraction on top

02:05:44   of another, and it's abstractions all the way down. And it is impressive and

02:05:49   fascinating to see this broken out in 40 different chunks, little bite-sized

02:05:55   pieces, and you see, like, especially once you get into like how memory actually

02:05:59   works and how these logic gates are held together, or put together, I should say, in order to

02:06:04   make memory. Even I sort of kind of have my eyes glaze over a little bit. But the point

02:06:12   that you get from this isn't necessarily that, oh, you need 13 NAND gates or whatever in

02:06:16   order to store 8 bytes of data, and I'm obviously making this all up, but the point is just

02:06:21   that, oh, you take a bunch of transistors, hook them up, that makes gates. You take a

02:06:26   bunch of gates, hook them up, that makes memory. You take a bunch of memory, hook it up, that

02:06:29   makes a whole, you know, wad or block of memory, and it's just you build upon what happened

02:06:35   before you. So if you happen to have roughly 400 to 500 minutes to spare, I cannot recommend

02:06:41   Crash Course Computer Science enough, and we'll put a link in the show notes.

02:06:45   I'm behind in analog, so you and Mike just bailed on that?

02:06:48   Yeah, we did.

02:06:49   I knew that already.

02:06:50   That's disappointing. I was excited for that series.

02:06:52   I was too. I couldn't get him to get into it. I tried. And I don't blame him. Like,

02:06:56   problem. I think he enjoyed it to some degree, but there isn't a lot for us to say about it,

02:07:01   because there's little interpretation involved, right? And that's the bummer behind it. But I

02:07:07   really, I hope that he won't, but I hope that he watches it.

02:07:10   He's just not that into computers.

02:07:12   Well, he uses a fake computer all the time. What do you expect?

02:07:16   Yeah, can you make him a video series called How iPads Work? And maybe that would work better.

02:07:20   Yeah, just open it up and it's just a bunch of unicorns and elves dancing around.

02:07:24   (laughing)

02:07:26   - Well, just two at a time, one maybe hovering over.

02:07:29   (beeping)