262: A Clear Path to Okayness


00:00:00   John how are you? Let's lighten the mood. How's things going with you John? I'm tired. I'm exhausted. You guys are making me more exhausted.

00:00:06   I seem to have become the authority on not seeing easy solutions to my problems.

00:00:15   Is somebody going to tell you about rsync now?

00:00:19   I have heard about rsync and I actually have used it for years literally years, but that's not the issue

00:00:26   I've been working on an app that I don't particularly want to talk about the specifics on the show, but

00:00:31   Suffice to say it relates to health kit, which already means I'm kind of treading on underscores waters actually, but whatever

00:00:37   So I asked him you know hey

00:00:39   is there any way to export health kit data and

00:00:44   Bring it into the simulator because I'd prefer to do most of my development against simulator because it's quicker and easier

00:00:49   So I need a whole bunch of health kit data on on the simulator

00:00:53   And I was like, "Man, is there any way to export it, and then like import it?

00:00:57   Is there somewhere on the file system or something like that that I can do this?"

00:01:00   And in the most polite way, which is underscores, you know, M-O, in the most polite way he said

00:01:06   to me, these are my words, mind you, "You friggin' idiot, you can get on iCloud on the

00:01:12   simulator.

00:01:13   Just join your account on iCloud."

00:01:14   I didn't know you could do that, actually.

00:01:16   Well, see.

00:01:17   But I did know that you could do that, but I didn't put two and two together.

00:01:20   But this is where it gets really bad, and I shouldn't share this publicly, but here

00:01:22   Here I am.

00:01:23   He said, I said to him, "But underscore, here's the thing.

00:01:27   I want to be able to like save things to HealthKit, but I don't want them to actually save to,

00:01:32   you know, like the canonical instance of HealthKit.

00:01:36   So in other words, if I save, I don't know, like a workout, which is not actually what

00:01:40   this app does, but for the sake of conversation, I save a workout, I don't want it to go to

00:01:44   like my actual canonical HealthKit, I don't know, identity, for lack of a better word,

00:01:50   repository.

00:01:51   that to kind of just live alone on the simulator. So without batting an eye, Underscore says,

00:01:55   "So sign out of iCloud." I'm so annoyed right now.

00:02:03   >> You're like two weeks away from having an armful of Apple watches, like Underscore does,

00:02:07   you know? >> I know, right? But it's like,

00:02:10   this is such an easy solution. Why do I not see these things? Maybe I'm just a really crummy

00:02:15   developer and I don't realize it. But, oh, golly, like, I don't think I'm an exceptionally great

00:02:20   developer, but I didn't think I was that bad of a developer. Why don't I see these things?

00:02:24   Why can't I recognize this?

00:02:26   >> So everyone, hire Casey for your development needs.

00:02:28   >> Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's the trick. That's the ticket right there.

00:02:34   >> You really do a good job at selling yourself.

00:02:36   >> This is why I don't want to be an independent consultant.

00:02:39   >> I love that you keep--I heard your episode of Analog. It was very good. Last episode

00:02:45   of Analog where Mike talked you through a lot of this stuff, which I highly suggest

00:02:49   everybody I listen to, just because it's a good show

00:02:51   to begin with, but also if you're interested in our arc

00:02:54   of trying to convince Casey to go out on his own somehow,

00:02:58   it was a very good episode.

00:03:00   And I think, and we even got,

00:03:01   we got this like 2,000 word email that,

00:03:04   (laughing)

00:03:05   it does seem like your heart is not really in consulting.

00:03:08   Like it does seem like you don't really care to do it, right?

00:03:10   - And that's the thing, that's the thing.

00:03:12   - Then, you know, fine, I'm not gonna push that anymore

00:03:15   because to do anything like that,

00:03:18   you have to be a little more into it than what you are.

00:03:22   So that's probably not gonna happen.

00:03:23   So okay, I'll stop pushing that button.

00:03:25   I do however think it's hilarious

00:03:27   that you keep trying to trade in these ways

00:03:30   that you can immediately get a lot of money

00:03:32   for things that take years to build up to a livable wage.

00:03:36   Like I think I'm gonna start a YouTube app

00:03:38   and making small indie apps.

00:03:39   (laughing)

00:03:41   Or YouTube channel rather, excuse me.

00:03:42   - Yeah, that's indie success right there.

00:03:44   - Guaranteed.

00:03:45   Everyone is making money hand over fist

00:03:48   in the app store and on YouTube.

00:03:50   There's no way for this to be a disaster.

00:03:52   - All right, here's what you do.

00:03:54   You get five envelopes, and each one you put $5.

00:03:56   You mail the top two to these people,

00:03:58   then you mail out a whole bunch of letters to the other.

00:03:59   It's like, this is never gonna,

00:04:01   it's like, if you started doing these things 10 years ago,

00:04:05   you might now have enough to live on.

00:04:07   - Exactly.

00:04:08   - These are slow buildings, slow, like,

00:04:11   it takes a while. (laughs)

00:04:13   That's so true.

00:04:14   That's so true.

00:04:15   I don't know.

00:04:16   I don't know.

00:04:17   I have been waffling about this.

00:04:18   Aaron and I have been talking a lot about this, and not in an angry way.

00:04:24   Like I'm not upset about it at all.

00:04:25   But I don't want to talk about it anymore at this particular moment because I feel like

00:04:28   all I've been doing is stressing about it for the last month and a half.

00:04:31   But I have such conflicted and mixed thoughts that I don't know what to do.

00:04:37   And it's like, you know, I think your assessment is accurate that the idea of just 1099-ing

00:04:43   my way through life, that is to say being an independent consultant, like, there are

00:04:48   ways in which I think that would be fun.

00:04:49   Like let's say for the sake of discussion, I can wave my magic wand and I can have you

00:04:55   give me, I don't know, between five and 10 hours of work a week.

00:04:58   I can have Underscore give me five to 10 hours of work a week.

00:05:01   I can have some of my other independent app developers like, you know, Jelly who works

00:05:05   on Gifrap, which if you believe in animated gifs at all, you should have. Or, you know,

00:05:10   Curtis who works on Slopes as another example, which if you believe in skiing or snowboarding,

00:05:14   you should have that app. You know, if any of these people, if all of you guys, and Underscore

00:05:18   of course, you know, if you guys could each, you know, shave off five to ten hours each,

00:05:24   then I could probably make a living. But the idea of just like going out and chasing random

00:05:27   people for work and random businesses for work is just, just the thought of it is extremely

00:05:32   tiring. And that's not to say that that's bad or wrong or anything else. It's just,

00:05:37   I don't, to your point, Marco, I don't think my heart is in chasing, chasing work

00:05:41   from random people. And I mean that in a nasty way, just in an observational way.

00:05:46   So, well, I do wonder though, I think that the part of that, of the 2000 word email that

00:05:51   we got, that was mostly a little bit off-putting. But the part of it that I thought was interesting

00:05:57   and potentially a good path to consider,

00:05:59   is the part where the author says that,

00:06:02   clearly your heart's not in consulting,

00:06:04   which I think was true,

00:06:06   but that maybe you should consider

00:06:08   being the Swift person,

00:06:11   like the person who has a lot of

00:06:13   instructional Swift content.

00:06:15   Granted, that's a very crowded market.

00:06:16   There's a lot of people who have been doing

00:06:18   a lot of instructional Swift content for a long time,

00:06:21   but you also already have an existing audience

00:06:24   of developers, which is pretty good.

00:06:27   That's a pretty good advantage to start with.

00:06:30   And so you do have a bit of an unfair advantage there,

00:06:32   which you can use to your advantage.

00:06:35   The other thing I would say is,

00:06:38   when talking about who you can get consulting work from,

00:06:42   don't do me and Underscore and Curtis.

00:06:45   We're all indie developers working on indie budgets.

00:06:48   - Yeah, I know, that's the thing.

00:06:49   - We're the worst people to have

00:06:50   trying to get consulting work for

00:06:52   because we can barely afford employees.

00:06:54   - I think Margot just pre-fired you.

00:06:56   (laughter)

00:06:58   - I told him I'd give him some hours if he did this,

00:07:00   but I'm in a position that most indies are not.

00:07:04   And even I, I couldn't afford you full time.

00:07:07   - Although, can I just say publicly

00:07:10   that it may be worth, maybe not the money,

00:07:13   but worth the experience for both of us

00:07:16   to watch me have to slum it in Objective C land

00:07:19   and watch you have to slum it and deal with an employee.

00:07:21   Like, that would be hilarious on many different levels.

00:07:26   the world's least interesting reality show.

00:07:28   Well, it would be the least interesting, but perhaps most funny.

00:07:32   You get cards against humanity to sponsor it.

00:07:34   Yeah, right? Oh, God. But seriously, like, you—don't let me speak for you, but I

00:07:39   have the feeling, like, even with me—and I like to think I get a little bit of special

00:07:43   privilege here—you have no interest in having anyone as, like, an employee in any capacity.

00:07:49   And although I don't have any real angst against Objective-C, I have—let's say

00:07:54   I feel like it's a little bit old and a little bit tired.

00:07:57   - I mean, that could be said for all of us, right?

00:07:59   - Well, that's fair.

00:08:00   (laughing)

00:08:01   I just think it would be hilarious.

00:08:02   - Some days more than others.

00:08:04   - Can you imagine, like, you send me off

00:08:06   to work on some bug fix and I, like,

00:08:07   rewrite an entire class in Swift and try to pass that,

00:08:09   but I wouldn't do that for several different reasons,

00:08:12   but just for the sake of discussion,

00:08:13   like, I write this entire class,

00:08:14   or I rewrite an entire class in Swift,

00:08:15   and I'm like, "Here you go, here you go, Marco,

00:08:17   "this is good, right?"

00:08:17   You just look at this and I'm like, "What did you do?"

00:08:21   - I could just set all this money on fire

00:08:23   by making you write unit tests?

00:08:25   - Well, I don't know if it'd be setting it on fire.

00:08:27   I almost walked into that, you bastard.

00:08:29   (laughing)

00:08:31   You're more right than you are wrong, you big jerk.

00:08:34   Oh, goodness.

00:08:36   We should get started or slash continue

00:08:38   with talking about how Siri is all up

00:08:41   in front of the show, Daniel Jalkut's business.

00:08:43   So who added this to the show notes?

00:08:45   Can you tell me what's going on?

00:08:47   - I added it.

00:08:48   Here's the first account I read of, I think,

00:08:50   a story that I've heard from a lot of people now,

00:08:52   as it relates to HomePod, it's that you've got this thing in your house, and unfortunately

00:08:58   it has the same trigger phrase as a bunch of other things that you might also have in

00:09:02   your house.

00:09:04   So once you get past the, you know, being amazed that it can hear you over loud music

00:09:08   or whatever, and you just happen to be in your house, and you talk to some device that

00:09:12   may or may not be your HomePod, and your HomePod decides, "Oh, I can totally hear you, and

00:09:18   I'm gonna take this for you.

00:09:20   Hang on, I got it."

00:09:21   And Apple has this thing where if multiple devices are around and you say the trigger

00:09:25   word they negotiate amongst each other to figure out who's going to answer, but HomePod

00:09:30   will grab a request that it can't handle just to tell you that it can't do that.

00:09:37   So that it would have worked if it was on your phone, but HomePod grabs it, maybe because

00:09:42   it has better microphones or because it takes priority or whatever, and then it grabs it

00:09:46   and says, "Oh yeah, no, I totally can't do that.

00:09:47   Sorry about that."

00:09:50   So that's not nice behavior, and a lot of people have complained about that.

00:09:53   And it's kind of another situation where—Apple's had a few of these—where their best customers

00:10:01   are more likely to run into these complex problems, right?

00:10:05   Apple wants you to have a household of Apple devices.

00:10:07   You've got Macs and iPads and phones, and everybody should have one, and they should

00:10:10   be all over the place.

00:10:11   And yet, if you do that, you run into all the situations in which Apple doesn't handle

00:10:15   a house full of devices.

00:10:17   We've talked before about the families sharing iCloud and photos accounts, before the family

00:10:25   plans for iCloud storage existed.

00:10:27   It was a while before Siri could understand different people and you had to do the training

00:10:32   and everything, so now it can distinguish voices.

00:10:34   Well, here's another growing pain of the multi-Apple device lifestyle.

00:10:38   If you've got multiple things in your house listening for the same trigger phrase, it's

00:10:42   great that they negotiate with each other.

00:10:43   it's not so great that the negotiation results in

00:10:47   the worst possible device answering your question.

00:10:50   - I mean, the funny thing is, like, in many ways,

00:10:51   this actually rewards you if you're a person

00:10:54   who has not gotten into the Hey Siri ecosystem.

00:10:57   Like, if you, like me, like, I don't leave it on my phones.

00:11:00   I try to, 'cause I have, like, my iPad

00:11:02   that just sits in the kitchen all day for the most part,

00:11:04   and I figured, like, maybe I could use that

00:11:07   the way I use the Amazon Echo.

00:11:08   Like, maybe I could set timers and stuff

00:11:09   using Hey Siri on the iPad, and I've tried that,

00:11:12   And it's terrible, so I'd never do it.

00:11:15   But, oh crap, my development phone just went off.

00:11:19   - Well done.

00:11:20   - I was like, why are you saying,

00:11:21   see how nicely I said trigger phrase like nine times?

00:11:23   So you're just rattling them off

00:11:24   and now you're being punished.

00:11:25   - No, the rule is if Phil Schiller can go on the talk show

00:11:27   and say, hey Siri, in front of everybody

00:11:29   and have nothing go off, then I can do it on a podcast.

00:11:32   - But he's got a computerized chip in his throat

00:11:33   that masks it so the devices won't pick it up.

00:11:36   Like the Amazon Echo ads in the Super Bowl.

00:11:39   - By the way, that Amazon Echo method

00:11:40   where you cut out the three kilohertz thing,

00:11:42   I played with that.

00:11:43   I could not reproduce that.

00:11:44   I could not get that to actually work.

00:11:45   And that post was like a year old, so I'm guessing it's not the thing.

00:11:48   I tweeted something about it.

00:11:49   There was some paper about how you can make basically any spoken phrase be interpreted

00:11:53   by speech recognition engine as any other phrase that you want.

00:11:57   You have to know the details of the recognition engine, but of course Amazon does know the

00:12:01   details.

00:12:02   It's pretty neat.

00:12:03   You can notice that it's been modified, like there's noise added, but it's fascinating

00:12:06   and terrifying that you can have the audio say anything you want and have the transcription

00:12:10   say an entirely different phrase.

00:12:11   - Yeah, yeah.

00:12:12   Anyway, so the point is, if you are a HomePod person,

00:12:16   you actually have a pretty good reason right now

00:12:18   to disable the Hey Dingus feature

00:12:21   on as many devices as you can get away with it.

00:12:24   Because if you don't end up using that much,

00:12:27   if you're willing to just hit the button on things,

00:12:29   you're way better off having that off on lots of devices

00:12:31   because that way you won't have this problem

00:12:33   where the HomePod grabs it when it's actually not the device

00:12:36   that either you want or that even can handle

00:12:39   the request you're giving it.

00:12:41   Jalka had a good story too, he was using timers for like a midday meditation and the HomePod

00:12:46   grabbed the "please set a timer for whatever" which is fine, you know, whatever, you can

00:12:50   set a timer for me.

00:12:52   But unlike the device that he normally, that he was trying to talk to, it was his watch,

00:12:56   like taps you when like your time is up, the HomePod would speak out loud about setting

00:13:02   the timer and about when the time went off, it really kind of harshes your mellow when

00:13:06   you're trying to meditate.

00:13:07   So yeah, the intentionality of what you want, like if you talk to your wrist despite the

00:13:13   fact that the HomePod can hear you just fine and like quote-unquote "wins the contest"

00:13:17   and it can support timers, it doesn't understand that you were talking to your wrist.

00:13:21   Anyone looking at you would know you were talking to your wrist because they'd see you

00:13:23   doing that, but the HomePod can't see you.

00:13:25   Maybe it just needs cameras.

00:13:27   Wow.

00:13:28   Wow.

00:13:29   But on a happier note, tell us about the Sonos and wood furniture.

00:13:33   That's not happy, it's sad.

00:13:34   Why is this happy?

00:13:35   But yeah, Sonos and I'm sure lots of other audio and non-audio products that have the

00:13:40   same — feet made of the same or similar material that soaks up the oil from the wood

00:13:46   and everything can also leave marks.

00:13:49   And I think that's terrible.

00:13:50   I think that, again, I said on the last show, I understand that it's important to have something

00:13:55   vibration-absorbing down there for audio performance, but I have to believe there is some substance

00:14:00   on the planet that is both squishy and does not absorb oil from wood furniture leaving

00:14:06   rings or marks of any kind.

00:14:08   So shame on Sonos, shame on Apple, and I believe we have the technology to solve this.

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00:16:00   (upbeat music)

00:16:03   - Who has a HomePod?

00:16:04   Because I know I don't.

00:16:05   And that's in no small part because I friggin' hate Siri.

00:16:07   Marco?

00:16:08   - I do not.

00:16:09   Although that's in partially small part

00:16:11   because I've been traveling,

00:16:12   so I wasn't actually anywhere where I could buy one.

00:16:15   I have still thought about maybe putting it on the counter.

00:16:17   One thing I wanna know actually,

00:16:19   I was thinking like, 'cause I know like some of our friends

00:16:21   like Merlin are very positive about the Echo,

00:16:26   is it the Spot, the little circular one?

00:16:28   - I think that's right, yeah.

00:16:29   - I was wondering maybe I could try one of those,

00:16:31   'cause the one reason I got the Echo Show for a day

00:16:35   and then returned it promptly was that I really would like

00:16:38   to see the progress of the timers counting down

00:16:41   while cooking.

00:16:43   Right now I just ask the Echo, hey, timer status.

00:16:45   But it's, ideally I could watch them or see them

00:16:49   without having to ask something,

00:16:51   have it hear it over the fan on the stove,

00:16:53   and then, you know, so anyway.

00:16:55   So I was thinking maybe I could get an Echo Spot,

00:16:58   put it on the little counter right next to where we cook,

00:17:01   and then have the HomePod on the kind of like

00:17:06   transitional counter to the big great room

00:17:08   and dining room area,

00:17:09   where that's where the music should come from.

00:17:11   So I thought about that, but I don't know.

00:17:12   I still think I want to wait.

00:17:15   It just seems like there's so many 1.0 limitations

00:17:19   and little annoyances here and there that people are having.

00:17:22   And also, again, I'm not that hot on Siri,

00:17:26   so I think I'm gonna wait a little bit.

00:17:28   Or until I have a really good reason

00:17:30   for overcast development.

00:17:31   (laughing)

00:17:32   - Oh, we can hope, we can hope.

00:17:35   How about you, Jon?

00:17:36   - I actually got something for Marco.

00:17:38   Mark it on your calendar.

00:17:39   - What?

00:17:39   - You got the HomePod?

00:17:40   - I got a HomePod, yeah.

00:17:42   - Just one?

00:17:43   - Just one.

00:17:44   Which actually, more than one would have been cool,

00:17:47   But anyway, I had a place for it,

00:17:50   'cause I put it in the same room

00:17:52   that I have my Google Home Mini,

00:17:54   which I got for free as part of some other purchase,

00:17:56   and of course you'd never wanna play audio on.

00:17:58   So there's competition for it

00:18:00   in terms of answering questions.

00:18:02   And in general, I think I'll probably still ask questions

00:18:06   to the Google Home Mini, mostly about who stars in movies

00:18:09   that I'm watching on television while I'm watching them.

00:18:11   And yes, I know that lots of applications

00:18:14   on Apple TV can do that for you.

00:18:17   Some of them, like I think the Amazon one,

00:18:19   even if you just pause,

00:18:20   it will show you like who's on screen right now.

00:18:21   So be aware of that.

00:18:22   But anyway, I find myself asking questions

00:18:26   of the Google Home, mostly because a force of habit.

00:18:30   But I don't really have anything in that room

00:18:35   that can play good audio that is always on.

00:18:38   I do have okay speakers attached to my TV,

00:18:41   but usually that whole receiver and everything is off

00:18:43   when someone's not watching TV.

00:18:45   So it's nice to have something in there that,

00:18:48   you know, it sounds okay,

00:18:50   and that I can both speak to to make it play something

00:18:53   and in a pinch, airplay to.

00:18:55   So I subscribed to Apple Music.

00:18:56   I tried to do like some family trial thing or whatever.

00:18:58   I still assume I will unsubscribe eventually,

00:19:01   but I wanted to give it a fair shot to say,

00:19:03   I wanna be able to just speak to the air

00:19:05   and have it play music.

00:19:06   And it sounds pretty good.

00:19:09   No, I didn't put it on a coaster.

00:19:10   It is sitting on top of my furniture,

00:19:11   I don't have any nice furniture in my life period so I don't have to worry about it

00:19:17   Uh, do I have any let me see like my dining room table is okay

00:19:20   But anyway, I don't have a nice furniture for the most part so I don't have to worry about it leaving rings

00:19:24   It's sitting on top of what I assume is a computer printed

00:19:27   photograph of wood

00:19:29   You know transfer it onto some kind of aluminum powder cover with the plastic dust

00:19:35   crappy piece of furniture that I have. I tried it in a bunch of different positions to see

00:19:40   how it would adjust its sound. Couldn't tell much of a difference, you know, I couldn't tell whether

00:19:47   it was adjusting its sound or whether it just sound different because it was in a different

00:19:50   place. I do have it kind of near a corner which I think is not great for boomy bass but I really,

00:19:56   it's really the best place I have for the thing. I got white mostly because I couldn't decide and

00:20:01   so I asked my son and he picked white which I think is a reasonable choice because all the

00:20:04   the other things are white as well.

00:20:08   In terms of filling the room with sound, you can tell that it's a point source.

00:20:12   That's why I mentioned that if I get two of them it might be better.

00:20:16   Even if it wasn't just stereo, I can tell the sound was coming from that part of the

00:20:19   room, which of course you expect to be able to tell that.

00:20:22   It's not magic.

00:20:23   But let's put it this way, it is less enveloping than the 5.1 system that I have on my TV.

00:20:30   I probably sounds better than the 5.1 system, but the 5.1 system surrounds the room. So when I play, you know

00:20:36   Find that actually but most times I play music like during Christmas

00:20:39   You like Christmas music when you're like decorating the tree or on Christmas Day or whatever

00:20:42   It's nice to have it come from all around and maybe I'll still do that. But it's in the room. I talked to it my

00:20:49   My like out-of-box experience was not the greatest because you go and you set up the thing

00:20:55   It shows a little picture of the home pod. You're like, yes set up and you know, you go through the whole thing

00:20:59   everything seems fine

00:21:01   and then

00:21:03   you can go to the home app to

00:21:05   To control the device or to do something. I don't know I'd never even launched on it

00:21:08   So I launched the home app and there's my home pod that I just set up and just got a big red message on it

00:21:13   It says like not responding. It was like that for like 10 minutes. Like what do you mean not responding?

00:21:17   The thing is right there. I'm talking to it. It's working fine. How can you tell me it's not responding?

00:21:21   Eventually, it started responding and I saw you can tap on it to like pause the music and tap again to unpause and right whatever

00:21:28   And then like 15 minutes later launched the home

00:21:31   Application again to try to pause it from a different room and there was a little spinner on it like the little dotted spinner and the spinner

00:21:37   Just spun there, and it just spun for like five minutes since I closed the home app

00:21:41   Not you know what I don't know what the deal with that is. I don't know what its problem was seems to work now

00:21:46   Not a great experience just one of those kind of like oh sometimes Apple stuff doesn't work. You just have to wait

00:21:51   Those kind of kind of depressing I did all the experiments everyone else did turn the volume real bad

00:21:58   talk to it, it's impressive how well it can hear you. I was not impressed with

00:22:02   how quickly it executed my commands. It shows the most when you're telling it to

00:22:08   stop playing a song because I do that all the time with the with the Google

00:22:11   Homes I have because my kids make them play things and I want them to stop

00:22:14   immediately, right? So this is probably my most common interaction with any of

00:22:17   these devices, to tell it to stop playing whatever audio it's currently playing.

00:22:21   And the HomePod will do it, but it's a little bit more lag than there is when

00:22:25   telling any of the Google devices.

00:22:26   The Google device is like, as soon as I get the word out of my mouth, it's like, boom,

00:22:30   the audio cuts off.

00:22:31   The HomePod seems like I have to think about it for half a second or so, and I find that

00:22:35   a little bit annoying considering it's much more expensive than the other ones.

00:22:39   So yeah, no real surprises.

00:22:44   The only thing that I didn't anticipate is how angry my children would get when they

00:22:47   try to talk to it using the Google trigger phrase.

00:22:52   So they're constantly saying, you know, "Okay, Google," or whatever, to try to make it do

00:22:56   things.

00:22:57   Especially, again, if it's in the middle of something and one kid wants to stop it playing

00:22:59   audio or play a different one, they're yelling at it to be—so the Google thing is answering

00:23:03   them trying to play music at the same time.

00:23:06   It's like, you have to talk to them, but it's like, they don't understand why you would

00:23:10   have to use a different phrase.

00:23:11   I mean, I guess you can explain like it's not a Google thing or whatever, but that's

00:23:14   stupid.

00:23:15   So, yeah.

00:23:16   So, I have such mixed feelings about this.

00:23:21   So we got a letter from Tim Wouters and Tim said, "I see some funny parallels between

00:23:28   Apple product launches, even with you guys, with respect to HomePod in your latest episodes."

00:23:33   And Tim enumerates a bunch of things and I'll try to summarize his summary.

00:23:38   So when the iPod was released in 2001, it enters an existing market of MP3 players.

00:23:43   Oh, there's no wireless, there's less space in a Nomad, lame.

00:23:46   The iPhone, oh, it's ridiculously expensive.

00:23:48   doesn't have a physical keyboard, no copy paste, no 3G, etc. etc. HomePod, well, it's

00:23:53   ridiculously expensive, it doesn't do multi-room audio, it doesn't do stereo, it doesn't do

00:23:56   multi-user series, it's severely limited, etc. So Tim's point is he continues, I'm assuming

00:24:03   he continues, every time Apple obliterates critics with its relentless focus on continuous

00:24:08   improvement. So in so many words, why isn't HomePod the same thing all over again?

00:24:12   - Well, I mean, I don't think it's fair to assume

00:24:16   that every Apple product that is kind of weird

00:24:19   or iffy or delayed or incomplete 1.0

00:24:21   will grow up to be an awesome 2.0 or 3.0 or 4.0.

00:24:26   The initial iPod was really expensive

00:24:29   and it was pretty limited,

00:24:30   especially 'cause it was Mac only at the time.

00:24:32   There were reasons to be skeptical of the initial iPod

00:24:36   and that market wasn't really proven yet.

00:24:38   Whereas over time, they did make it great

00:24:42   and it was very successful.

00:24:44   The original iPhone was too expensive for a lot of people.

00:24:47   That original one did not sell nearly as many

00:24:49   as the follow-up models.

00:24:51   But over time, they made the iPhone ridiculously great.

00:24:55   I mean, in my opinion, it was pretty great from day one,

00:24:56   but they made it more successful and more mass-market

00:24:59   as time went on.

00:25:00   But look at the Apple Watch.

00:25:03   The first version of the Apple Watch was barely usable.

00:25:06   It was really a pretty mediocre product.

00:25:09   had lots of problems, lots of limitations,

00:25:12   lots of weird and bad design choices.

00:25:14   They did iterate that over time,

00:25:16   but most of that iteration happened

00:25:18   with the help of additional hardware generations

00:25:21   and a couple of years of software generations.

00:25:24   That doesn't mean that we were wrong

00:25:26   to criticize the Apple Watch 1.0.

00:25:29   The Apple Watch 1.0 needed a lot of criticism.

00:25:32   The HomePod, I think, is gonna be more like that,

00:25:36   although I think it's probably starting from a better place.

00:25:39   The HomePod is clearly a one-pointer.

00:25:42   There's lots of missing features.

00:25:43   There's lots of things that are a little bit wonky

00:25:45   or don't quite work the way people want them to.

00:25:48   But I do expect over time for the HomePod

00:25:50   to get significantly better.

00:25:52   That doesn't mean that this HomePod

00:25:54   will get necessarily a better look.

00:25:55   That might require new hardware.

00:25:57   So I think it is fair to criticize this one.

00:25:59   And the other side of this is that

00:26:02   a lot of the criticism about the HomePod today

00:26:07   is about Siri and the limitations of Siri

00:26:10   and inferior performance in some areas of Siri.

00:26:15   I don't think we can reasonably assume

00:26:18   that that's going to get better at the same kind of pace

00:26:20   that we're used to seeing Apple products get better with.

00:26:24   When you're mainly waiting on hardware advances,

00:26:27   like we need the CPU in this thing to get faster,

00:26:30   that's gonna happen, that's kind of a sure thing

00:26:33   to happen one to two years after the launch of version one

00:26:36   of pretty much anything that Apple makes.

00:26:38   When you're worried about the local device software

00:26:41   getting better, like Apple's pretty good

00:26:43   at local device software, there's some flaws here and there,

00:26:45   but they're pretty good at it.

00:26:46   But Siri is not new and has gotten better

00:26:50   at a glacial pace and in many ways has the same problems

00:26:55   today as it did when it launched like seven years ago.

00:26:58   I don't necessarily think it's a reasonable assumption

00:27:02   that the HomePod's flaws that are Siri related

00:27:05   are about to get better, or are gonna get better

00:27:08   in two years.

00:27:09   I actually don't think that's a safe assumption.

00:27:11   I would love that to be the case,

00:27:12   but the track record of Siri so far is pretty slow progress

00:27:17   and certain types of things

00:27:19   that basically are always problems.

00:27:21   I don't see that changing quickly,

00:27:25   at least not as a sure thing.

00:27:27   So I think it is reasonable to criticize HomePod 1.0

00:27:30   for no one to be making fun of us

00:27:32   for criticizing the things

00:27:33   that are actually wrong with it today,

00:27:35   and also to be a little skeptical of Siri improvements

00:27:39   being meaningful that are coming anytime soon.

00:27:42   - The funny thing about this is that,

00:27:43   Siri, or at least my understanding

00:27:45   of the implementation of Siri,

00:27:47   is one of the few things that Apple could actually tweak

00:27:50   on their end without a software update, right?

00:27:52   Like, they can make tweaks to Siri server-side,

00:27:55   and they can do that at any time.

00:27:57   And obviously, that's not a universal thing,

00:27:59   but generally speaking, they can make Siri a lot better

00:28:01   without having to do any sort of software update locally.

00:28:04   And so here's the one place where Apple is most well equipped to make changes.

00:28:09   And yet I completely agree with you, Marco,

00:28:11   that Siri has gotten potentially even worse than when it was new.

00:28:15   No, it's not worse than it definitely. And they started out pretty bad.

00:28:19   It definitely is better and it is getting better,

00:28:22   but it's getting better at a very slow pace and it's still is, you know,

00:28:27   it gains new abilities, you know, about once a year,

00:28:31   which is not frequent enough.

00:28:33   It gains new abilities about once a year,

00:28:35   but it is not, it seems like it hit a plateau

00:28:39   of reliability, like roughly in year two or three,

00:28:43   and hasn't really gotten more reliable since then.

00:28:47   - Yeah, the point I'm driving at though is that

00:28:49   it's weird to me that this is the one place

00:28:51   where Apple could really ship fast, ship off,

00:28:54   and they don't, and it really bums me out.

00:28:56   And, ah man, I have so many angry thoughts about Siri

00:29:00   that we'll probably get to next

00:29:01   that I'm just going to leave for now.

00:29:02   But I agree with pretty much everything you just said.

00:29:06   John.

00:29:07   >> So, when you read this, I think we got all of it from the email.

00:29:11   And so I think this, like we didn't leave out any examples.

00:29:14   And basically the only two examples are iPod and iPhone.

00:29:16   And the gist of the email is, you know, why do you doubt Apple?

00:29:19   Like haven't they proven the doubters wrong?

00:29:21   Right?

00:29:22   You know, the last line of history proves you wrong, doesn't it?

00:29:26   Right?

00:29:27   I think to start we have to say whatever logical fallacy or statistical bias that is, you know,

00:29:32   you cherry picked.

00:29:33   Like it's iPod and iPhone are the two examples, yes.

00:29:36   Yes there's the famous, what is it, Rob Muldove of Slashdot, anyone remember Slashdot?

00:29:42   Who said the iPod was no wireless less space than an homemade limb, that's what that quote

00:29:45   is.

00:29:46   And that lots of people doubted the iPhone, right?

00:29:50   Those are like Apple's two biggest products after the Mac.

00:29:53   So yeah, you can pick them and say they were doubters.

00:29:56   There were doubters for Ping, too, that didn't go anywhere.

00:29:59   There were doubters for the iPod Hi-Fi that didn't go anywhere.

00:30:01   There were doubters for the G4 Cube that, like, you know, if you just pick the ones

00:30:04   that end up being smash successes, it can look like, "Hey, history proves you wrong."

00:30:07   But setting that aside, like, so, whatever.

00:30:10   You know, so you can't use these as examples to anything, but what's different about the

00:30:13   HomePod than the successes?

00:30:15   What makes it more likely to be more like whatever sort of not so great success than

00:30:23   it is to be like the iPod and the iPhone.

00:30:26   And I think there is – not to say that this means HomePod is not going to be a success,

00:30:32   but I think it probably means that HomePod won't be as huge a success as the iPod and

00:30:35   the iPhone.

00:30:37   Both of those things came into the market and they were substantially different than

00:30:41   the existing players.

00:30:43   Obviously the iPhone was different.

00:30:44   A lot of the criticism was about how it was different.

00:30:46   There's no physical keyboard.

00:30:47   No one does phones like that.

00:30:48   You can't make a phone like this.

00:30:49   It doesn't even have 3G.

00:30:50   All the phones out there have 3G and it's expensive, but the iPhone was not just like

00:30:57   a Nokia candy bar phone but with an Apple logo on it, right?

00:31:00   It was very, very different.

00:31:02   It had things that no other phone in the market had.

00:31:05   The software, obviously, no other phone in the market behaved like that.

00:31:08   People didn't even think it could possibly be real, right?

00:31:10   The iPod was more conventional, but still it was smaller and more well-integrated than

00:31:17   the other devices that you could buy that hold lots of songs in them.

00:31:20   And the key part about the iPod was that normal people could be successful at the task of

00:31:25   taking your music collection and putting it on this device and listening to it.

00:31:29   I owned a bunch of pre-iPod solid state music players, and if you remember, they also had

00:31:35   pre-iPod hard drive based ones that were the size of a truck.

00:31:39   Normal people, if they bought those things at all, which they probably wouldn't, tended

00:31:44   to be less successful.

00:31:45   I know my wife was not successful at getting the audio onto her tiny little flash, whatever

00:31:50   a Samsung or maybe it was Panasonic, I don't even remember, like there were, or maybe Yamaha,

00:31:57   iPod was different than the others in that it was better in all ways in terms of like

00:32:02   size and number of songs that it held, and it was better in all ways related to user

00:32:07   interface and so even though it was very limited and it was Mac only and it was expensive and

00:32:10   it had no wireless and it had less space than a Nomad which I think was the one of the hard

00:32:14   drive based players in the market, it had significant advantages.

00:32:18   HomePod enters a market already populated by devices that already do more than the HomePod

00:32:25   does in exactly the same way that the HomePod intends to do it.

00:32:28   There are cylindrically shaped speakers that play audio that you can talk to, right?

00:32:33   There is no differentiator for the HomePod except perhaps audio quality, and it's not

00:32:37   like there's no competition for audio quality.

00:32:39   Sonos has good audio quality, and depending on whose test you look at, even the Google

00:32:43   Max thing seems to be so-so, right?

00:32:46   So HomePod comes in with no real differentiator, like there's nothing that it does that is

00:32:53   different.

00:32:54   It's not like everything else has a physical keyboard and it doesn't.

00:32:55   All the other ones require you to touch them and HomePod lets you talk to it.

00:32:59   No, it's exactly the same feature set.

00:33:01   And that's why the HomePod's getting slammed because it comes into a crowded market doing

00:33:06   nothing different or better than the competition and not doing many things that the competition

00:33:13   does.

00:33:14   only thing you could say HomePod has going for it is audio quality, but even audio quality

00:33:17   per price. You can get two Sonos 1s versus the HomePod, and two Sonos 1s sound just about

00:33:21   as good as the HomePod with the possible exception of bass, most people say. So that thin edge

00:33:27   of like, okay, well, it's the best sounding cylinder that you can talk to that you can

00:33:30   get, but on the other side of that coin, you can't talk to it in as many ways as you can

00:33:35   talk to these seven other products, means that it's getting slammed for, I think, legitimate

00:33:40   reasons and it also means that unless something very important changes, it doesn't have the

00:33:45   potential to be a breakout hit in the same way the iPhone and the iPod do because it

00:33:48   isn't differentiated enough.

00:33:51   Even if it gets better at everything and it is as good as the Google Home devices at answering

00:33:56   your things and as good as Sonos and audio quality or whatever, you've just caught up

00:34:02   then, right?

00:34:03   Whereas the iPhone is either going to live or die based on the idea that you can have

00:34:07   a phone that's all screen.

00:34:08   And guess what? It lived. Right? And same thing with the iPod. Is the ease of putting

00:34:13   some music on this thing enough to make up for the high price? Well, you know, it turns

00:34:17   out that it was, especially once it came to Windows. The iteration is definitely a thing,

00:34:22   but even iteration can't save you entirely or can't make you wildly successful. Apple

00:34:28   TV is a great example. Apple TV came out a long time ago, back when it was called ITV

00:34:32   before Apple learned they couldn't use that name.

00:34:36   The original Apple TV was not popular and did not succeed.

00:34:40   Other devices came on market

00:34:43   and did better than the original Apple TV.

00:34:45   Eventually, Apple, you know, caught up and said,

00:34:48   "We're going to make a little Puck-shaped thing,

00:34:50   and we're going to do what everyone else is doing."

00:34:53   But right now, Apple TV is, you know, it can --

00:34:58   it's main advantage is that you can play

00:34:59   your DRM-locked Apple content,

00:35:01   But other than that, it has no great differentiator

00:35:05   besides media lock-in from all the other

00:35:08   television connected devices.

00:35:10   And even some smart TVs can play Netflix

00:35:11   just as well as the Apple TV.

00:35:13   So they iterated an Apple TV for a long time

00:35:16   and it actually took them essentially two tries

00:35:18   to even figure out what the correct features

00:35:21   and price bar for that type of device.

00:35:24   So I think it's not like we're doubting

00:35:28   that the HomePod will be a successful product,

00:35:32   but I think it is entirely reasonable

00:35:34   to give it all the criticism that it's getting,

00:35:37   and I think it's entirely reasonable

00:35:38   not to expect it to be a breakout success

00:35:41   like the iPod and the iPhone,

00:35:42   at least until it comes out with some differentiator.

00:35:47   In fact, if it was, it would have,

00:35:49   they always say this,

00:35:50   if people aren't making fun of you,

00:35:52   you're probably not gonna be that successful.

00:35:55   If it was more differentiated

00:35:57   and did something radically different, that would give it probably more potential, because

00:36:02   maybe that weird thing that it's doing that nobody else is doing is going to be the thing

00:36:05   that makes it a great success.

00:36:08   But now you look at it and it's like, it's not doing anything differently than anyone

00:36:11   else.

00:36:12   It's doing exactly the same stuff, only some of it not as good.

00:36:15   And that doesn't spell massive success, it spells okay success.

00:36:21   Even the watch, I would say, is much more differentiated, and even the watch has taken

00:36:24   while to get going but there was really no other smart watch that had the

00:36:28   basically the the power and the you know the the fashion sense that the Apple

00:36:33   watch did on its introduction so even that had more potential upside than the

00:36:37   home pod so I think everyone is lukewarm on the home pod for valid reasons I

00:36:42   agree I mean it's just it's a fair point like I understand why the email was

00:36:49   written I just I don't currently see it as the same and even if HomePad version

00:36:55   7 is the best speaker that has ever been made I don't think that negates any of

00:37:00   the criticisms we have now. And I'm trying to think of like what would be a

00:37:04   breakout feature like you know it's a feature that doesn't already exist in a

00:37:09   Google or Amazon or Sonos product that the HomePod could have and you know just

00:37:17   Just because I can't think of one doesn't mean there isn't one.

00:37:19   There could be one.

00:37:21   But nothing Apple has announced I think fits that category.

00:37:24   Maybe, well, I don't know.

00:37:26   Maybe like if the HomeKit stuff ever takes off Apple could do a better job of integrating

00:37:30   all of our light switches and doorbells and whatever than Amazon currently does.

00:37:35   But I don't know.

00:37:38   And in the meantime we're all just hoping that HomePod catches up.

00:37:41   its voice stuff ends up being as good as Google and Amazon and that it gets all the capabilities

00:37:48   that Apple originally advertised for it in terms of having multiple ones and multi-room

00:37:52   audio and all the other things that some of its competitors already have.

00:37:55   I want one, but I know I'm going to be disappointed by it, and so that's why I haven't bought

00:37:59   one.

00:38:00   And plus, it's, what is it, $350, $400?

00:38:02   That's enough money.

00:38:04   That's not an impulse buy to me.

00:38:06   And not to say that it is to you two either.

00:38:07   Just for me anyway, it's not an impulse buy.

00:38:10   And so I just, it's new and shiny and Apple made it,

00:38:14   so that means I should have one, that's the rule,

00:38:18   that's what they tell me to do,

00:38:19   that's what Uncle Tim tells me to do.

00:38:21   And I don't know, I'll probably get one eventually,

00:38:23   but sitting here now, I know it's gonna disappoint me.

00:38:26   - Yeah, I really want to want the HomePod more.

00:38:30   You know, like I feel like I'm on Apple's team

00:38:34   for pretty much everything else,

00:38:35   as much as some people think I'm not.

00:38:37   I really am on Apple's team for the most part,

00:38:40   and the reason why I sometimes criticize them

00:38:43   is because I like them so much,

00:38:44   and because I think they're better than everyone else

00:38:46   in the industry at a lot of stuff.

00:38:47   But I really want so badly to love

00:38:52   and then buy everything that they make.

00:38:54   But I can't, like, the HomePod is about 70%

00:38:58   of the way there for me.

00:38:59   Like, I need something else.

00:39:00   I need really good AirPlay 2,

00:39:02   or I need a reason for Overcast to be developing on it,

00:39:05   which might be AirPlay 2 whenever that ships,

00:39:07   or I need a Siri kit API, like something,

00:39:12   give me something else, close one of these

00:39:15   open check boxes here that are making it

00:39:19   not quite enough for me.

00:39:21   Ultimately the thing that could really make it awesome

00:39:23   for me is if Siri gets a lot better.

00:39:25   And I think we might be waiting a long time for that.

00:39:29   - On the audio front, the audio quality,

00:39:34   or even just the, there are all device quality

00:39:36   and the integration with the Apple ecosystem.

00:39:38   HomePod has the very easy potential

00:39:41   to be the audio equivalent of Apple TV

00:39:43   in that there are lots of Apple TV-like devices

00:39:47   that you can connect to your television,

00:39:49   they can play like YouTube and Netflix and Hulu

00:39:52   and all that stuff, right?

00:39:54   Apple TV is not the only competitor in that market,

00:39:57   but a lot of people I know who are in the Apple ecosystem

00:40:00   and like fancy Apple stuff,

00:40:01   instead of having a Roku or a Fire TV, they have Apple TVs.

00:40:05   And why do they have them?

00:40:06   Is it because Apple TV is fantastically better

00:40:08   than Fire TV and Roku?

00:40:09   - Yes.

00:40:10   - It's better in ways that Apple nerds care about.

00:40:13   - No, trust me, it's better.

00:40:14   I mean, I tried like, maybe what was it, two years ago

00:40:17   when I tried like the all, I tried a Roku and a Fire TV

00:40:20   because I was frustrated with the Apple TV

00:40:22   and I'll tell you what, the Apple TV drives me crazy

00:40:26   but it's still better than those.

00:40:29   - I've used a bunch of them and I think it's,

00:40:31   the difference is not that big.

00:40:32   I feel like it's mostly aesthetic.

00:40:34   I like some of the other remotes better than the Apple TV remote.

00:40:38   That's for sure.

00:40:39   Well, yeah, that isn't hard.

00:40:40   But anyway, an Apple TV is more expensive, but people buy it because it's the Apple-iest

00:40:46   one.

00:40:47   So HomePod easily could get the market for people who want a cylinder they can talk to

00:40:52   that plays audio nicely, and there are people who are in the Apple ecosystem and are willing

00:40:56   to pay a little bit more for a nice-looking device that sounds really good.

00:40:59   That's the easy market, right?

00:41:01   Even if it doesn't do everything that Google Home and Echo do, and setting aside Sonos

00:41:06   for now, HomePod for sure should get that entire market, which is not a small market.

00:41:12   If it can suddenly be as successful as the Apple TV 4K, I think Apple would be okay with

00:41:17   that for a 1.0 product, and then they can go from there.

00:41:20   So I think there is a clear path to okayness for the HomePod, even without improving anything

00:41:26   about it, simply because it is nice looking and it sounds good and it's integrated with

00:41:30   Apple ecosystem and Apple people like you both just said, like to buy Apple stuff. So

00:41:34   I think that's a gimme.

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00:43:11   - Let's talk about Siri.

00:43:16   I have thoughts.

00:43:18   So this started a couple of weeks ago.

00:43:23   I was having a conversation with my friend, Jamie Pinkham.

00:43:26   And we were talking with a mutual friend of ours, and Jamie had said, "Siri is terrible,

00:43:34   but I applaud Apple for sticking to their guns in regard to privacy.

00:43:38   We all know if they gathered more info on us, it would be better."

00:43:41   And I thought, "You know what?

00:43:43   He's absolutely right."

00:43:44   And maybe the reason I'm so grumpy about Siri is because Apple isn't just forgoing and eschewing

00:43:52   — I think that's how you pronounce the word — eschewing privacy.

00:43:56   doing what I would want them to do, which is to do the right thing and keep user privacy

00:44:01   at the forefront and, you know, if their product is a little crummier because of it, then so

00:44:05   be it.

00:44:06   But then I got thinking about it a little bit more, and it occurred to me, but Siri

00:44:12   still sucks for a lot of things that have nothing to do with my data.

00:44:17   Like did I tell the story on the show?

00:44:19   I think I did, about asking when the UVA Tech game, basketball game was.

00:44:25   And I'd asked for like, you know, when is the Cavaliers game on?

00:44:28   And it wanted to show me the Cleveland Cavaliers.

00:44:31   Okay, fine.

00:44:31   And then I asked like, when is the Hokie game on?

00:44:34   And they was like, I don't know.

00:44:34   Okay.

00:44:35   When are the Hokies and Cavaliers playing each other?

00:44:37   Uh, yeah, the, they played each other six months ago.

00:44:40   Here's the score.

00:44:40   Okay.

00:44:42   What time is the Hokie basketball game?

00:44:43   Oh, it's totally tonight at six o'clock.

00:44:45   Why do you ask?

00:44:46   Like, it's just, and that's the thing that's so frustrating.

00:44:49   Well, one of the things that's so frustrating to me is that, yeah, I think

00:44:52   Amy was right that in and of itself, things could be a lot better or Siri would be more

00:45:00   knowledgeable if privacy wasn't as big a deal.

00:45:05   So much more of this stuff could be crunch server-side.

00:45:08   If my entire calendar was server-side, if all of my email was server-side, and by that

00:45:12   I mean Apple could read all of it.

00:45:15   In so many ways I feel like Siri could be so much better.

00:45:17   And I respect Apple.

00:45:18   I truly and honestly respect Apple for making their product by most arguments worse by not cutting that corner because I think that that's better

00:45:26   For me even though the product on the whole is worse

00:45:28   But can you get like an actor's name right? I was in even just basic dictation

00:45:34   So I went for a run

00:45:37   yesterday

00:45:40   And it's one point to the Ryan my iPods in I'm all I'm on my Apple watch my Apple watch with this LT

00:45:45   connection which I don't know if you've ever heard I'm a little grumpy about but here to be that as it may

00:45:49   I'm on my AirPods Apple watch. I am panting to be fair, but I have I

00:45:55   Had held down the crown on the Apple watch

00:45:58   so it would listen to me because I have hey Siri or actually hey Siri doesn't work with the AirPods, but I

00:46:04   Don't have the double tap to kick on Siri because I prefer to do it differently

00:46:09   I prefer for the double tap to do different things. So I hold down the crown on the watch

00:46:13   I hear the beep beep and I said something to the effect of like remind me to open a 529 savings account for Michaela and

00:46:19   Holy God, I wish I had recorded what it had come up with in the defensive series

00:46:25   I was panting this was like two-thirds of the way through my run, but it came up with like something that was barely intelligible

00:46:31   I was able to piece it together after the fact but it was

00:46:35   hilarious how bad the transcription was and all it was was a reminder like this shouldn't in

00:46:42   theory have been that complex. Then I get home and I decide I wanted to listen to some

00:46:48   probably god-awful music. I don't even remember what it was. And so I'm in front of my garage.

00:46:53   I'm on my driveway. My phone was sitting in my kitchen. Now Marco, you've seen the house

00:46:58   and we are talking 20 feet maybe from the, from basically the garage door to the kitchen.

00:47:05   And to be fair, there's a couple of walls including an exterior wall between me and

00:47:09   my phone. But...

00:47:10   and probably a lot of Tito's and Velveeta shells and cheese.

00:47:12   Naturally.

00:47:13   And so I, you know, said, you know, "Hey, can you play me the latest album by, you know,

00:47:19   Mute Math or something like that?"

00:47:20   I don't remember exactly what it was.

00:47:23   And then I see, "Hold on."

00:47:24   Again, this is on my watch.

00:47:25   Now, I have plenty of Wi-Fi coverage at this point, but it appears that's not good enough.

00:47:31   Hold on.

00:47:33   I'll tap you when I'm ready.

00:47:35   Yeah.

00:47:36   Nope, Siri's not available.

00:47:37   Sorry about that.

00:47:38   And it's like, come on, now maybe that isn't,

00:47:41   I guess strictly speaking that's not Siri,

00:47:43   like that's just a general connectivity issue because--

00:47:45   - Well, I mean, is it?

00:47:47   Or is it a local failure or a server failure?

00:47:50   Either way, it's kinda Siri's problem.

00:47:52   Like if your watch should be connected,

00:47:54   you know, like if it's in an area

00:47:56   where it has good coverage, it should be connected.

00:47:58   - I mean, I have plenty of LTE, although I did look,

00:48:01   and it was not on LTE at the time.

00:48:03   I have plenty of LTE though, so hypothetically it could,

00:48:06   should have falled back to—falled back—fell back to LTE. I certainly was well within my

00:48:13   Wi-Fi coverage, without question I was in wi—within Wi-Fi coverage. And yet it insists

00:48:18   on going, I think, to the phone, because, you know, when I did the swipe up to get the

00:48:22   little control center thing, I saw a phone icon in the upper left. And it was insisting

00:48:26   on going to the phone, which in and of itself is a first stop. Okay, fine, I'm okay with

00:48:29   that, but can you not fall back onto something else? And whatever I was trying to play was

00:48:34   something that I had in iTunes match. So this should have, like the way I expected it to

00:48:39   work is that maybe it would have tried the phone and then given up when it wasn't a strong

00:48:44   enough connection or whatever, and then just gone via either Wi-Fi or LTE and asked, you

00:48:48   know, Apple, "Hey, what did Casey just say? Oh, he wants to listen to the latest album

00:48:52   by Mutemath. Oh, okay. So does he have anything by, you know, Mutemath and iTunes? Oh, indeed

00:48:57   he does. Here's what you should play and it should work." And it's just these little failures

00:49:03   are happening all the friggin' time.

00:49:06   And it's to the point that I feel like

00:49:09   I cannot communicate with my phone verbally,

00:49:11   I cannot communicate with my phone by typing on my phone,

00:49:15   because that's become a disaster.

00:49:17   So I just, I feel like the only device that I have

00:49:21   that I can input any text into with any efficacy is my Mac.

00:49:25   And it's driving me insane.

00:49:28   - Let's better hope it's not the MacBook keyboard.

00:49:30   - Actually, my C key was a little bit crunchy today.

00:49:33   I was not too happy about that.

00:49:34   I was able to mash on it and get whatever,

00:49:35   you know, microscopic speck of dust

00:49:38   was in there out of the way.

00:49:39   I did not need to worry about grabbing

00:49:42   the can of compressed air.

00:49:44   That, I kid you not, I bought specifically for my MacBook.

00:49:47   I hadn't had a can of compressed air in the house

00:49:49   in like 10 years.

00:49:50   - Right.

00:49:51   - But I needed one for the MacBook.

00:49:53   - No, I mean like, I think a lot of the frustration here

00:49:55   is like, I mentioned I think last show

00:49:59   or maybe it was on my 17 hour talk show last week

00:50:02   or whatever it was.

00:50:03   I mentioned that when I first got the Amazon Echo,

00:50:08   after years of passively trying to use Siri

00:50:13   and have it fail a lot of the time

00:50:15   and just kind of be frustrated by that,

00:50:16   it was striking to me how reliable the Amazon Echo was

00:50:21   and how quickly it would answer me.

00:50:24   And in part, this is kind of not a straight comparison

00:50:28   because the Amazon Echo is stationary,

00:50:32   plugged in all the time, listening all the time,

00:50:35   for the wake word at least,

00:50:37   and is in a controlled environment.

00:50:39   It's always in the same spot.

00:50:41   And there are acoustic things that can happen,

00:50:44   like for instance, I mentioned earlier,

00:50:46   when my range hood fan is on, on the stove,

00:50:49   it creates a good deal of fairly broadband white noise,

00:50:54   and the Echo just can't hear anything anymore.

00:50:57   Even if humans can hear over it just fine,

00:51:00   certain types of noise that are in the room,

00:51:02   the Echo just seems to really hear very badly

00:51:05   if those noises are present.

00:51:06   But otherwise, the Echo is pretty reliable,

00:51:10   but again, that's because it's in one place,

00:51:13   plugged in all the time,

00:51:14   listening for the wakeboard all the time,

00:51:16   and has a stable connection.

00:51:17   Like, it can remain connected to the network.

00:51:19   It doesn't have to power save and drop itself off the WiFi

00:51:22   when it's not necessary, stuff like that.

00:51:25   So there are, this is not a straight comparison here

00:51:27   to your watch situation, which was very possibly affected

00:51:30   by connectivity and power saving stuff.

00:51:33   But that being said, like, you know,

00:51:35   the way the error rates of these things work,

00:51:38   suppose the Echo hears me 95% of the time,

00:51:41   and Siri hears me 90% of the time,

00:51:43   that still means Siri fails twice as often.

00:51:45   And so as you get closer to these higher numbers,

00:51:49   you know, it's very, same math

00:51:50   when you talk about cache hit rates,

00:51:51   you know, the same problem with like,

00:51:53   like, you know, it seems like my,

00:51:54   Like when one of my cache servers is down,

00:51:57   then about 8% of hits will miss.

00:52:02   But that also means that my databases

00:52:04   are then serving like five times as many hits

00:52:07   'cause the hit rate is usually so high.

00:52:10   So you'll see a huge spike in load on the databases

00:52:13   for what seems like a small difference in the cache hit rate.

00:52:16   So it's a similar problem here with like,

00:52:19   for Siri to get like competitive and better in this way,

00:52:24   it needs to get, it needs to dramatically reduce

00:52:29   its error rate and its failure rate.

00:52:31   And Apple might think it's really good.

00:52:33   If Apple has data on this, which I'm sure they do,

00:52:36   they might see it as somewhere being in the 80s or 90s

00:52:38   and think that's great, but the competition

00:52:40   is even better than that, and the difference

00:52:43   can still be seen and felt pretty regularly.

00:52:46   I would love so much for Siri to improve

00:52:50   at the same rate as Apple's hardware and software

00:52:52   usually improves, but it's been here a while

00:52:55   and we haven't seen that, so I don't think

00:52:58   anybody should reasonably anticipate

00:53:01   that that's going to happen now.

00:53:02   Like all of a sudden, is Siri gonna start

00:53:04   getting better at a rapid pace?

00:53:06   I don't know, like they have the HomePod,

00:53:08   which depends very heavily on Siri,

00:53:10   so you might think that's great motivation,

00:53:12   but I think the iPhone for the last seven years

00:53:14   is also pretty good motivation and they haven't done that.

00:53:17   So, you know, I don't, it just, it doesn't seem like

00:53:20   it's really a core competency of Apple

00:53:23   to make really good AI-based big data services like this.

00:53:27   And a lot of people lean on the privacy thing,

00:53:30   and Apple to some reason, or to some degree,

00:53:32   also kind of leans on the privacy angle

00:53:35   almost as an excuse of why it has to be this way.

00:53:39   And I think that's not a valid argument.

00:53:43   I think the privacy aspect of the way Apple does things

00:53:49   is nice, and there's merit to that, there's value to that,

00:53:53   I'm glad they do that, but that does not preclude them

00:53:56   from making really good services in this area.

00:53:58   It just doesn't, it's two separate things.

00:54:01   Yes, if they had more data, if they were more creepy

00:54:03   with collecting stuff, certain types of certain services

00:54:06   could get better, but Apple makes a lot of services

00:54:10   that could get better with what they already have,

00:54:12   and they don't, or they don't get better enough.

00:54:16   So I don't think that Apple has to give up privacy

00:54:20   to make great services.

00:54:22   Conversely, I don't think the privacy is the reason

00:54:25   their services in some of these areas are not great.

00:54:27   I think that's a convenient excuse

00:54:29   for people who don't really understand

00:54:30   how to make these services very well,

00:54:32   but otherwise, that's not the reality.

00:54:34   The reality is these services can get way better

00:54:39   with the amount of information

00:54:40   that they already do or don't collect.

00:54:42   I don't think Apple is culturally and structurally set up

00:54:46   to make really great services of this type.

00:54:48   I think they have proven that.

00:54:50   - Yeah, and that's exactly my point

00:54:52   when I was bringing up what Jamie had said to me,

00:54:53   is that there's so much that has nothing to do with privacy.

00:54:56   Like, okay, fine.

00:54:58   Maybe if Siri saw that I was sitting in Virginia

00:55:01   when I was asking about two Virginia colleges

00:55:04   playing each other,

00:55:05   maybe it could have narrowed down a little bit more.

00:55:07   But either way,

00:55:09   I don't think that would have made a tremendous difference.

00:55:11   And okay, even if that would have made a difference, then what happens when I'm using Siri as like

00:55:15   a front-end IMDB?

00:55:16   Like, I think it was John had mentioned earlier, you know, I want to know about who's acting

00:55:20   in the movie I'm watching or the TV show I'm watching.

00:55:22   Like, Siri falls all over its face on that half the time, and that has nothing to do

00:55:26   with anything, except I guess if it was listening to what I was watching, which is even creepy

00:55:32   enough that I don't think Google does that sort of thing.

00:55:34   So you know what I mean?

00:55:35   Like there's so much that has nothing to do with privacy.

00:55:39   And this is what I was saying originally, what Marco was saying now, just a moment ago.

00:55:43   There's so much that is beyond this.

00:55:47   And I just, it's frustrating.

00:55:51   And I want to see it get better.

00:55:53   And I'm frustrated that it's not getting better, especially since, unlike the annual release

00:55:58   cycles for macOS and iOS, which we hopefully talk about this episode, I don't understand

00:56:04   why this isn't getting better faster, except perhaps, just Marco, you said this a moment

00:56:09   a corporate culture that isn't conducive to it.

00:56:13   I think to generalize this from Siri specifically to these voice assistants in general, this

00:56:19   is just to reiterate what Marco just said and what he said on this topic many times,

00:56:23   and I think what we've all talked about in the past.

00:56:25   I think it's actually analogous to the iPhone, which I'm thinking about because we had that

00:56:29   earlier feedback about it.

00:56:34   talked about the percentage differences in the gaps and like so you know if the

00:56:39   competing products are this good in series that could even if a series

00:56:41   improving there's still a gap between it but I think the important part of those

00:56:45   hypothetical numbers is that like the original iPhone there is a there's a

00:56:52   threshold on one side the same interface is not acceptable on the other side of

00:57:00   that threshold you pass into the realm of acceptability. The iPhone was one of the first

00:57:05   mass market devices to cross that threshold for touch input on a screen. The touchscreen,

00:57:11   which touch screens which existed forever and people generally hated, suddenly got responsive

00:57:17   enough that it, you know, it wasn't just like, "Oh, this is like 1% better." It crossed over

00:57:23   all a line, right? And suddenly it was good enough. And they've gotten way better since

00:57:28   then, right? But it was so clear that this is the first device that is good enough that regular

00:57:34   people will use the touchscreen and not just find, you know, they'll like, they won't hate it. It'll

00:57:40   feel good. It'll feel right. It'll feel like they're directly manipulating the things on the

00:57:43   screen, right? For the cylinders that you talk to, the essential that there is the same line,

00:57:49   and Amazon crossed it a long time ago, and it's, there's a couple of aspects. One is it's got to

00:57:55   to hear you, right? Two is it has to know what the hell you're asking me about, and

00:58:01   three is it has to do it fast, right? And the combination of those three things produces

00:58:06   a feedback cycle for people who use the Echo that builds confidence. The first time you

00:58:12   use it, you're impressed that it even understood what you mumbled. Then you're impressed that

00:58:16   it did, like it could do the thing that you asked for. And then I think with the Echo,

00:58:20   you're impressed that it did it so quickly. Like you feel like you barely have the words

00:58:23   out of your mouth and it's setting your timer or doing whatever or telling you what time

00:58:26   it is or telling you the weather.

00:58:28   It just seems so fast.

00:58:29   And when that happens, the threshold that it crosses, like the utility threshold of

00:58:34   like, this is an appliance and it's no longer a computer thing where I just, you know, cross

00:58:38   my fingers and hope that something cool and computery works just becomes part of your

00:58:41   day, right?

00:58:43   Even if it has limitations like, oh, I just know it can't hear me with the range hood

00:58:46   on, right?

00:58:48   There's parameters to it.

00:58:50   If you know that's the case, that's bad, and Amazon should improve that.

00:58:54   But it's not like on some days when it's raining you can't hear me, and then on Thursdays

00:58:59   sometimes it doesn't hear me.

00:59:01   You cross that threshold where it becomes reliable.

00:59:04   And there are so many things that we can talk to, including Siri and lots of other things

00:59:08   that have some kind of voice interface, that do not cross that threshold.

00:59:13   And so you give up on them.

00:59:15   You don't use them, or you use them for an extremely narrow set of things in particular.

00:59:20   circumstances. Now, I think the HomePod has actually crossed some of those thresholds

00:59:24   for Apple. I think the HomePod can hear me really, really well. It may be able to hear

00:59:28   me better than any other device on the market. Not better enough, perhaps, to make a difference,

00:59:33   because in general, I'm still amazed at how well the Google Home can hear me, and I've

00:59:38   seen other people talk to their echoes from far distances, and it seems to work pretty

00:59:41   well. But the HomePod, I think, crosses the threshold for, "Can it hear me?" It does not

00:59:46   cross the threshold for "does it understand what I'm asking for?" because still many times

00:59:51   it will neither not do what I think it should do or the same command will get different

00:59:59   results.

01:00:01   And it also, I think, doesn't cross the threshold, as I mentioned before, for responding quickly

01:00:04   enough.

01:00:05   When I tell it to stop playing music, I know it hears me, I know it understands what I

01:00:09   want to do, and it does it, but it does it a little bit more slowly than I would like.

01:00:14   enough that it gives me that millisecond of doubt whether it's doing it, it doesn't create

01:00:18   that feedback cycle where I'm like, "Oh, now I feel like I have a voice connection to an

01:00:22   off switch," right?

01:00:23   In the same way that whenever Marco says, "Turn everything off," and it's downstairs,

01:00:27   that it turns everything off, and you get used to it doing that, right then, you don't

01:00:32   expect it to have a little spinner light going spin, spin, spin, spin.

01:00:35   "Okay, I'll turn off your lights."

01:00:37   That's too long.

01:00:38   That doesn't create the feedback cycle.

01:00:39   So I'm not sure exactly what values those lines are at, but I can tell that certain

01:00:44   devices are over and certain devices are not.

01:00:46   And I think HomePod, with the advancement of its audio output and input, has crossed

01:00:50   over a bunch of those lines, but still a couple things lag behind.

01:00:56   And you really got to get everything over the line, kind of like the original iPhone

01:00:59   did.

01:01:00   To sort of enter the game, to enter the realm of devices that regular people will use routinely

01:01:06   day after day and stop thinking about it as a tech gadget and start thinking about it

01:01:10   as an appliance that you just expect to work all the time.

01:01:13   >> Yeah, we're a long way from there, unfortunately.

01:01:16   >> But not for the other cylinders, Casey.

01:01:17   You should get a Google Home or an Amazon Echo.

01:01:20   >> I actually have an Amazon Echo on its way to me right now.

01:01:23   >> Really?

01:01:24   Wait, what?

01:01:25   Sorry about "Bury the lead."

01:01:27   >> Actually, yes.

01:01:28   So a friend of mine, Justin Williams, he might know from Glassboard, among other things,

01:01:33   He was getting rid of his Echo and said to me, rather than trying to figure out who to

01:01:40   sell it to, if I covered postage, he would send it my way.

01:01:43   And so Apple Pay cashed him the cost to send it from him to me, and it'll be here sometime

01:01:50   next week.

01:01:51   Probably after we record, actually, so you're not going to hear any more about this for

01:01:54   a couple of weeks at least.

01:01:55   I still don't have any particular interest in having an Echo in my house, but since almost

01:01:59   Almost everyone I know has one and almost everyone I know loves them.

01:02:03   I'm curious to see what will happen with it.

01:02:05   But yeah.

01:02:06   >> Put it in your kitchen and start asking it kitchen questions or putting it in a tea

01:02:08   room and start asking it TV questions.

01:02:10   By the way, I did test the HomePod on TV questions.

01:02:12   I asked it who is the star of a movie that's out now and I asked it when a movie was released

01:02:19   and I did both of them in just the first way that occurred to me.

01:02:23   The questions that I have a good comparison to because I ask my Google things all the

01:02:27   time.

01:02:28   in the movie, it more or less got it. It basically read me a webpage, but it read me the relevant

01:02:35   portion of the webpage, and it read me like seven of the people that are in the movie

01:02:39   and then asked me if I want to read the next two as well. So it didn't get like who the

01:02:42   star was. I think there's an obvious answer, like one person, but it read the cast. It

01:02:47   didn't read me the title and the ratings. So I give it that one, but it definitely sounded

01:02:50   like I found this on the web about blah, blah, blah, which is not as direct as when I asked

01:02:54   the question of Google and just tells me straight up. I asked it the release date, and it was

01:02:58   It was verbose about it, it said the movie XYZ was released on January 12th, blah blah

01:03:03   blah, but it got the right answer.

01:03:04   So I don't know if HomePod has gotten better about that than Siri.

01:03:12   Mostly I'm just enjoying the fact that I find it so much more reliably able to hear me.

01:03:17   I hate using Siri, I don't have my watch, I don't wear my watch most of the time, but

01:03:20   I hate using Siri on my phone because I activate it and I never know when it's safe for me

01:03:23   to start talking.

01:03:25   And almost all the time, I hold down the home button, and a little Siri thing appears on

01:03:30   the screen, and I say whatever I want to say, and I see the little waveform move, and while

01:03:37   I'm talking it goes, "Bubaloop."

01:03:41   That is exactly me.

01:03:43   And then I'm like, "Well, maybe it heard me anyway."

01:03:45   So I finish what I'm saying, and it just stares at me, and it says, "How can I help you?"

01:03:50   You moved your waveform in response to my speaking.

01:03:53   It's clear that the audio was entering into the system and jiggling, and so I always have

01:03:58   to end up saying everything twice, and I hate that.

01:03:59   It makes me feel dumb, and it's not a good interaction.

01:04:01   If I wait for the "ba-bloop," I feel like I'm waiting there forever.

01:04:05   Now is it okay for me to talk?

01:04:06   It's the worst.

01:04:07   Talking to a cylinder is so much better.

01:04:08   I don't care if it's ready for me.

01:04:09   I just start talking, and the HomePod definitely passes that test.

01:04:15   Not once did it not hear me.

01:04:17   Not once did it "ba-bloop" at me or do anything or interrupt me in any way.

01:04:22   I was able to say what I wanted to say and it was able to do what I wanted it to do.

01:04:27   I think HomePod definitely crosses some thresholds that previously hadn't been crossed by any

01:04:31   Apple product.

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01:06:11   We got word and not us three specifically just in general there was word spread a couple of weeks ago

01:06:21   I think that Apple is going to pull a snow leopard

01:06:25   But for real this time like we really mean it this time for realsies pinky swear

01:06:31   there's an article in Bloomberg that said Apple is going to kind of pump the brakes and

01:06:37   It's going to well the the the headline is how Apple plans to root out bugs and revamp iPhone software

01:06:44   so

01:06:47   There's a quote that one of you pulled for my convenience

01:06:49   So thank you quote instead of keeping engineers on a relentless annual schedule and cramming features into a single update

01:06:54   Apple will start focusing on the next two years of updates for its iPhone and iPad operating system,

01:06:59   according to people familiar with the change. The company will continue to update its software annually,

01:07:03   but internally engineers will have more discretion to push back features that aren't as polished to the following year.

01:07:09   I...

01:07:12   don't know where to start with this, other than to say that if this really is true,

01:07:20   sitting here now anyway, this sounds magical. This sounds like, you know, the glass of ice

01:07:26   water in hell. Not to say that things are that bad by any stretch, but what I mean is

01:07:31   I really think that Apple could stand to kind of pump the brakes on new features and just

01:07:36   work on hardening things. And I think that the three of us are amongst many voices that

01:07:41   have been saying the same. And when we were doing Jason Snell's end of year recap and

01:07:49   survey or whatever he called it, we'll put a link in the show notes. One of the things that

01:07:53   struck me as I was reflecting on some of the things he'd asked about, like software quality,

01:07:57   is that over the past year, so during 2017, I had had a lot of my like family members. And you know,

01:08:04   so most of my friends are kind of pretty big nerds, but most of my family members are not.

01:08:09   And I had had some family members say to me in so many words, "Holy crap, this Apple stuff

01:08:15   never works anymore. What happened to it just working? And that really struck me. And I

01:08:21   mentioned that to Jason. I think he actually used that in the report card. And it seems

01:08:27   like it's time, the perception anyway, whether or not it's reality, the perception is, and

01:08:31   I'm very much in this camp, that software quality is really kind of taking a turn for

01:08:35   the worse. So it's easy to blame the relentless speed of new features for maybe that being

01:08:44   the problem. Maybe that's just that they need to not have a litany of new features to release

01:08:50   every WWDC. So perhaps slowing down on new and shiny will give everyone time to improve

01:08:58   the old and, well, busted. But I don't know. It's hard because I've worked in big software

01:09:05   companies but not quite this big. John, you can be the adult in the room as you always

01:09:09   are, so I'll come to you after I ask Marco. Marco, how do you feel about this?

01:09:13   - First, let's have the children discuss it.

01:09:15   - Exactly.

01:09:16   You and me are at the kiddie table at Thanksgiving,

01:09:19   so let's talk amongst ourselves.

01:09:20   - Mark already talked about this for an hour

01:09:22   on another podcast.

01:09:23   - I haven't had the time to listen to that.

01:09:25   - No one has the time to listen to that.

01:09:26   - Well, I was trying to figure out a way to make that joke,

01:09:28   so thank you.

01:09:29   All right, so anyway, so can you give us

01:09:31   the chief summarizer and chief version then

01:09:33   of that argument?

01:09:34   - Yeah, basically, this is great to hear.

01:09:37   I'm happy that this, and this seems like

01:09:41   it has multiple sources and everything.

01:09:43   It probably happened, this meeting or this change,

01:09:45   but I don't think it really means much of anything yet.

01:09:49   It's very much a, like, okay, that sounds promising,

01:09:52   let's see what happens.

01:09:53   Let's wait and see what the actual results of this are.

01:09:56   I do think that the annual schedule

01:10:00   of heavy feature-filled releases

01:10:02   on almost all their platforms

01:10:04   has been a significant contributor

01:10:06   to the recent quality issues.

01:10:11   I think from the little bit we've heard here and there,

01:10:15   it really does seem like they don't devote enough time

01:10:19   to bug fixing and refinement before the engineers

01:10:22   on most of these projects have to go to the next thing,

01:10:25   have to build the next marketing features,

01:10:27   build the next headlining features,

01:10:29   or get to the next major version.

01:10:31   There's not a lot of time in an annual cycle

01:10:34   for refinement and bug fixes.

01:10:36   And so if indeed they're moving to a two-year cycle

01:10:39   for major efforts, and this isn't saying

01:10:42   that they're gonna only release iOS

01:10:44   every two years or whatever, it's just major features

01:10:47   will now be allowed to take two years.

01:10:50   That sounds good, I don't know how different that is

01:10:53   from how it has been though.

01:10:54   I mean, we know certain things like APFS,

01:10:57   that didn't take one year.

01:10:59   Major features have always been allowed

01:11:02   to take more than a year.

01:11:05   I don't know what exactly this is allegedly changing,

01:11:10   and I think we're not really going to know

01:11:13   whether it's working or whether it's having a real effect

01:11:16   for probably a couple years.

01:11:17   We're gonna have to just see how the software evolved

01:11:20   over the next couple of years,

01:11:21   and kind of see, does it seem better now or not?

01:11:25   - Yeah, I've been in a lot of big software companies,

01:11:29   and over the years I've seen,

01:11:31   I can't speak to what it's like inside Apple,

01:11:33   But I have to think that it's not so incredibly different from other large companies, especially

01:11:38   these days.

01:11:40   And a thing that happens in companies that do stuff with software or technology in general,

01:11:47   and probably in any company, is that the higher you go up the management chain, the more the

01:11:52   incentives are structured for those people to make it seem like things are going well

01:11:59   and to themselves believe that things are going well.

01:12:04   But eventually, something will happen that ripples all the way up the entire org chart.

01:12:11   Me from down at the bottom of the org chart, I always saw those unfortunate things that

01:12:15   happened as opportunities that must be seized upon by those in the lower ranks.

01:12:20   Because that's your chance to say, "You people higher up have thought everything's

01:12:25   great, but we've been down here telling you that X is really a problem, and now those

01:12:30   chickens that have come home to roost to let's howl, you know, come together and have a discussion

01:12:35   about how we're going to change things, right?

01:12:37   And this cycle just repeats itself.

01:12:39   Like it never actually like fixes all your problems, but basically, you know, you gather

01:12:44   together, you say we're going to change how we do things in a way that will prevent things

01:12:47   like this from happening.

01:12:48   And you do it, like you make the actual change.

01:12:50   You change procedures, you reorganize people,

01:12:53   you change priorities, you do, you know,

01:12:55   almost exactly the same things you're talking about here.

01:12:56   You know, lengthen schedules,

01:12:57   give people who are closer to the actual work

01:13:02   more authority to push back on deadlines, right?

01:13:05   You stop setting unrealistic internal deadlines

01:13:08   just so some middle manager can get a bonus this year.

01:13:10   Like you do all that stuff, right?

01:13:12   And it works, like, it's not like it doesn't work, it works.

01:13:16   Like you make things better.

01:13:20   The countervailing forces of things slowing down and everything also happen, but then

01:13:24   it just builds back up again.

01:13:25   You get into a happy place again, and then the same incentive structures cause people

01:13:30   to press hard and set aggressive internal deadlines, and fear of competition makes you

01:13:35   have lots of features, and so on and so forth, and then another crisis happens, and people

01:13:39   seize on it.

01:13:40   And I feel like this is just a cycle of any large group of people doing things.

01:13:45   And I'm not trying to be cynical about it.

01:13:48   I agree with Marco and almost everyone else has looked at this, is like, yes, this is

01:13:51   exactly what we want Apple to do. And I really believe that, A, they're really going to do

01:13:56   it and, B, that it will really help, right? I think this same cycle has happened inside

01:14:04   Apple many times in the past and it will happen many times in the future. And I just think

01:14:08   we're kind of in, you know, in like a downswing that hopefully is about to take a turn into

01:14:14   an upswing. So I see it as positive and there's an entire industry around how to not go through

01:14:21   this rollercoaster cycle and how to get sustainable growth and just do great things forever and

01:14:26   ever and it's just a constant struggle to get any large group of people to do that.

01:14:30   Maybe Apple, that's another topic we won't get to today, but people have rose-colored

01:14:34   glasses about whatever they think the heyday of Apple was and how well it was able to execute

01:14:39   during those times and I think we will talk about that on a future show. But in general,

01:14:44   This quality focus thing I think is positive, real, and we'll have real results, but we'll

01:14:51   find ourselves back here in about 10 years at minimum, or at maximum rather.

01:14:56   And that's just the nature of the beast and we just need to learn to ride it out.

01:15:01   So I'm optimistic.

01:15:02   I'm optimistic until I see what they do with the Mac Pro because if they disappoint me

01:15:07   they'll really crush me, but I think I may be unique in that regard.

01:15:11   - Well, and the Mac Pro is actually a really good

01:15:14   thing to mention here.

01:15:16   It's like they told us directly,

01:15:18   like officially on the record,

01:15:20   that they're working on a great new Mac Pro,

01:15:21   that our Mac Pro problem will be solved.

01:15:24   And honestly, half of us, I think our Mac Pro problem

01:15:26   was solved by the iMac Pro, it's pretty great.

01:15:28   But for the modular upgradable tower,

01:15:33   or modular upgradable Mac Pro,

01:15:34   I don't know if it's gonna be a tower,

01:15:35   that's still a giant unknown.

01:15:36   They said, they promised it will be better.

01:15:39   but until it actually comes out,

01:15:41   we don't know that it will be better.

01:15:43   And so it's like, great, that was great talk to get,

01:15:46   but we haven't seen the actions yet.

01:15:48   So we can't really say whether that's

01:15:52   an actual positive thing or not.

01:15:54   - And this, one more minor point on this,

01:15:58   and we've talked about this in the past as well,

01:16:00   particularly for the Mac, where the phone,

01:16:03   obviously they're still doing great in the phone,

01:16:04   and they have fierce competition in the phone, right?

01:16:07   So I bet they're going to still be running pretty hard on the phone front.

01:16:10   And so far they have been running hard.

01:16:12   They've been shipping good phones.

01:16:13   So good on them, right?

01:16:14   It's obviously the highest priority.

01:16:15   They do a good job on it.

01:16:17   You know, I don't expect that to change that much.

01:16:19   The OS that runs in the phone, you know, the push features out here and there, I think

01:16:24   they don't feel as much pressure from the competition as they did back when they had

01:16:28   really, you know, back when Android was just so far ahead of them in terms of notifications

01:16:32   and stuff and multitasking and stuff like that.

01:16:34   I think that, you know, it's a closer race now.

01:16:36   But the Mac, the fantasy opportunity that the low-level engineers would love to seize

01:16:41   upon us, like, boy, imagine if we could have sets of people permanently responsible for

01:16:49   every important part of the system, and those people just sat there and drained their bug

01:16:52   cues, and improved performance and test coverage and drained their bug cues for like three

01:16:57   years.

01:16:58   And why would you do that?

01:16:59   How can you afford to do that?

01:17:00   Because the Mac's competition is not moving as fast as the phones and the tablets' competition,

01:17:06   Not as much action is happening down there.

01:17:09   And if you're trying to find a role for the Mac in the company, it could – one possibility,

01:17:14   as we've discussed and chose in the past – is to make it the super reliable, bulletproof,

01:17:18   industrial grade, never crashes, never does the wrong thing, just does what it's supposed

01:17:25   to do reliably.

01:17:28   Make that the reputation of the Mac.

01:17:30   it seem, you know, you're in exchange for boringness and for slightly slower or

01:17:35   perhaps, you know, much slower rate of change, you get massive reliability. So

01:17:39   staff up the Mac teams, drain those bug queues, improve your test coverage,

01:17:43   improve performance and memory usage and all those type of things. You know, this

01:17:50   is assuming there's no major components that still need to be written because

01:17:52   there may still be things lurking in there. And then do that for a couple of

01:17:57   years to restore the Mac's reputation and to make it more attractive to the people who

01:18:02   are most likely to use the Mac before you go on to the next cycle, whatever that is,

01:18:06   the marzipan thing, and now it's time for the Mac to take its next evolution, time to

01:18:10   get radical again.

01:18:11   I don't think that will happen, but that is one way that, you know, were the people

01:18:16   who seized on this opportunity able to really seize on it?

01:18:21   I'm sure that's the dream of lots of low-level people who work on the Mac and who are sick

01:18:25   of ignoring your bugs just as you are sick of them ignoring them.

01:18:28   I mean this is definitely a good thing.

01:18:31   I don't see any way we can spin it as a bad thing.

01:18:34   But fast forward to what episode are we on?

01:18:35   Like 265.

01:18:36   Fast forward to episode, I don't know, 310 and we'll see what we think.

01:18:43   But no, I'm excited about this as much as I'm joking around.

01:18:46   I'm really excited about this.

01:18:47   I think this is a good sign that Apple is seeing what we're seeing.

01:18:51   And it's also tough too because, you know, we don't get to see all the like, I don't

01:18:57   know if analytics is the right word for it, but like the analytics data that Apple sees.

01:19:01   And they may see that, you know, hard crashes in software are trending down over the years.

01:19:09   And I think that that very well could be true.

01:19:13   But it seems to me that it's the kind of wiggly stuff that's really been letting us down lately.

01:19:19   Siri just not working when you want it to, for example, let alone just, you know, answering

01:19:24   the question incorrectly.

01:19:25   I don't know, it's tough, and it's, it's, I don't know what to make of it, but Stephen

01:19:31   Sinofsky, is that how you pronounce it?

01:19:33   I think something like that, wrote a tweet storm about this, and we'll put a link to

01:19:38   either the tweet storm or he eventually wrote a blog post about it, we'll put some sort

01:19:41   of link in the show, in the show notes, but I wanted to call out a few tweets of his.

01:19:44   He was a Microsoft engineer and headed up a lot of their bigger software products, if

01:19:52   not most of software.

01:19:54   I don't know exactly where he was when he left Microsoft.

01:19:57   But it's nice to say the guy knows what he's talking about, and he knows what he's talking

01:20:00   about when it comes to delivering software to lots and lots and lots of people.

01:20:04   So in some of the tweets he wrote, and this is tweet number 28 of his tweet storm, no

01:20:09   one ever anywhere has delivered a general purpose piece of software and hardware at

01:20:12   scale to a billion people delivering such a broad, robust, consistent experience. We

01:20:17   don't have a measure for what it means to be "high quality." I can say that in any absolute

01:20:22   sense Apple has exceeded everyone else. And that's kind of what I'm talking about, right?

01:20:26   It may be that really software quality is good, it's getting better, in terms of crashes

01:20:33   perhaps, and we've talked about this more than once on the show, but maybe it's getting

01:20:37   worse in some of the kind of gray area that's harder to track. Stephen continues in Tweet

01:20:42   31. But what happens to a team as complexity evolves is simply the challenge of coordination

01:20:48   and more importantly consistency or leveling of decisions across a complex system. This is

01:20:52   particularly acute if the bulk of the team has only known the previous few years of success.

01:20:56   He continues in 32. So Apple will just renew their engineering process. It means thinking about how

01:21:01   risk is analyzed, how schedules are constructed, how priorities are set. This is literally what

01:21:05   it means to run a project and what we are all paying them to do. So in conclusion, so to me

01:21:11   on Apple, this is Steven, to me on Apple, even as an outsider, I feel confident saying

01:21:14   this isn't reactionary or a crisis or a response to externalities. Importantly, it isn't a

01:21:19   massive pivot or a student body left. It's a methodical and predictable evolution of

01:21:24   an extremely robust and proven system. So the short, short version is, hey, when you

01:21:29   have a lot of people writing a lot of code for a lot of different systems, every once

01:21:32   in a while, just like Jon said, you're going to have to sit back and take stock and say,

01:21:36   we got to tweak a few things. And that's what they're doing.

01:21:38   I think what Sinovski missed is the cyclic nature of this.

01:21:41   Like that yes, this is a totally routine thing that happens, and that it happens repeatedly.

01:21:46   Like I don't know, again, that forms a kind of a rollercoaster that people don't like.

01:21:50   They'd rather see just like a gentle slope with constant improvement.

01:21:55   I've never seen that happen in the real world.

01:21:59   But the cyclic nature of it can make you jaded if you're a long-time employee or a long-time

01:22:04   engineer and be like, "Yeah, this always happens," or whatever, but the problems just come back.

01:22:08   I think that's true, but it's better if you don't do the up and down roller coaster,

01:22:15   it just becomes a down roller coaster that just goes down forever and you never do make

01:22:18   that adjustment.

01:22:19   So I fully believe that these type of adjustments have gone on at Apple for the entire life

01:22:24   of the company and will continue to go on and you just have to roll with it.

01:22:28   But I'm ready for an upswing, I think everyone is.

01:22:31   Yep, big time.

01:22:34   Barton Meeks writes in, "Do you think the modular Mac Pro will provide a solution to

01:22:37   a Mac Mini update at a reasonable price? Nope. Nope.

01:22:41   Alistair Campbell writes in, "You've alluded to a negative effect of running movies at

01:22:45   the wrong frame rate, but I must have missed the original explanation. I'm wondering if

01:22:49   it is better to hand-break Blu-rays at 24 or 30 frames per second. What's the good digital

01:22:54   backup for you?" And Jon, you seem to be the most opinionated about this, so do you want

01:22:57   to take this one? So the negative effect of running things at

01:23:00   the wrong frame rate is that they're not nice multiples of each other. It has to show frames

01:23:04   frames for different amounts of time. The video content we have expects you to show

01:23:08   every frame for an equal amount of time, whether it's 1/30th of a second or 1/24th of a second

01:23:12   or whatever. If you show some frames longer than you show other frames, it can make motion

01:23:16   look stuttery because it's like long, long, short, short, short, long, whatever. You might

01:23:20   not notice in lots of still images and maybe you don't notice that much in motion, but

01:23:23   it doesn't quite look right. So that is the negative effect. You don't want that. Asking

01:23:29   whether it's better to handbrake to encode Blu-rays at 24 or 30, you should encode them

01:23:34   at whatever the frame rate of the original source material is.

01:23:38   So if it's a TV show and it's a 29.97 whatever, encode it at that frame rate.

01:23:41   If it's a movie and it's a 24, encode it at that frame rate.

01:23:44   Don't do any kind of conversion.

01:23:46   Whatever the source frame rate is, keep that.

01:23:49   And what's a good digital backup?

01:23:51   I'm assuming you mean like take it off of your plastic discs and put it somewhere.

01:23:55   You have to just rip the data exactly as is.

01:23:57   transcoding know anything if you really want to have a digital backup use

01:23:59   something like make MKB or whatever to just pull the bit the bits off the disk

01:24:03   exactly as is with no conversion of format whatsoever and that is the only

01:24:08   digital backup then you can have stuff like this the best digital backup is

01:24:11   perhaps to buy all these things in the cloud and then you don't have to worry

01:24:14   about storing them but then you have to worry about the company going out of

01:24:16   business and you having no way to watch that stuff anymore which leads us into

01:24:19   our next question the next question is from Benjamin Esham John you've

01:24:24   You've mentioned that you prefer ebooks to paper books.

01:24:26   How do you deal with DRM slowly making your ebooks inaccessible over time?

01:24:30   Benjamin continues, "I quote unquote own a couple of Palm Digital Media books that I'll

01:24:34   never be able to read again."

01:24:35   So this is tricky.

01:24:39   There was a lot of churn in the ebook business early on.

01:24:42   Some people who made and sold ebooks no longer do so.

01:24:45   I worked for Palm Digital Media back when we had the largest ebook store in the world.

01:24:50   If you can believe it, this is before Amazon entered the game.

01:24:54   And many, many things went wrong there.

01:24:56   But anyway, they were DRM encumbered, and if you purchased them from the store, you

01:25:00   could read them in an application that was ported to all sorts of different platforms,

01:25:03   so that eventually Palm went down the drain and the business of selling ebooks went down

01:25:08   the drain with it, more or less.

01:25:10   And eventually you get to the point where the iOS reader application, which existed

01:25:14   for many years, doesn't even launch anymore.

01:25:16   I think it's probably because it's 32-bit these days.

01:25:18   So you've got these DRM-encumbered ebooks that you quote-unquote "own" that you can

01:25:23   no longer read or that you can only read on like a really old Mac that can still run the

01:25:27   old reader software or whatever.

01:25:29   So what to do?

01:25:30   How do you deal with that?

01:25:31   I do still prefer ebooks just for the convenience or whatever.

01:25:34   I understand the limitations they provide, but I think the convenience is worth it for

01:25:38   me.

01:25:39   In general, these days you're buying ebooks from one of the modern vendors.

01:25:45   of them, there's some shady way for you to crack their DRM and to make them unencumbered.

01:25:52   So you're still stuck with the format, like you can convert them to EPUB or whatever,

01:25:55   but 50 years from now you want to read your EPUBs and like, we have nothing that can read

01:25:58   EPUBs.

01:25:59   You know, HTML died in the fire of nuclear Armageddon or whatever, you know, who knows?

01:26:04   Who knows?

01:26:05   You won't be able to read your EPUBs.

01:26:06   But the point is it's not DRM-encumbered, at least you're only limited by the format.

01:26:10   For Palm Digital Media books specifically, I don't know if there is a way to crack them.

01:26:17   You can try the application Calibre, which I think is used to crack a whole bunch of

01:26:22   the Amazon stuff with certain plugins or whatever.

01:26:25   But Palm Digital Media ebooks were originally encrypted with your credit card number that

01:26:29   you used to buy them.

01:26:30   And if you don't know the credit card number, with modern computing hardware, I can tell

01:26:36   you that it should be feasible to brute force crack them.

01:26:39   But I don't know because this is a long time ago. I don't know of any actual application that

01:26:44   Understands enough about the DRM to actually brute-force it

01:26:48   But I believe that you could in a reasonable amount of time literally brute-force crack

01:26:51   It's much easier if you just know your your credit card number the palm ebook format was actually very simple

01:26:56   So if you can get the data out, you can easily convert it to ePub or some other more modern format

01:27:01   I know it doesn't help too much

01:27:03   I'm sure I myself have some purchased Palm Digital Media ebooks and Peanut Press ebooks that I can no longer read

01:27:11   But in most cases I also have those books in ePub from a different source and also in paper sitting to the right of me

01:27:19   Right here

01:27:19   So if you're really worried about it buy the paper copy and don't keep them in a basement that'll flood because you'll lose your paper

01:27:25   books that way

01:27:26   Not that you'd know

01:27:29   Thanks to our sponsors this week Betterment, Squarespace, and Simple Contact, and we will

01:27:33   talk to you next week.

01:27:34   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin

01:27:41   'Cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental

01:27:46   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him

01:27:52   'Cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental

01:27:57   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm

01:28:02   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S

01:28:12   So that's K-C-L-I-S-S-M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M-N-T-M-A-R-C-O-R-M-N-S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A-C-R-A-C-U-S-A

01:28:24   It's accidental (It's accidental)

01:28:27   They didn't mean to

01:28:29   Accidental

01:28:31   Accidental

01:28:32   Tech

01:28:33   Podcast

01:28:34   So

01:28:35   Long

01:28:36   I

01:28:38   Don't know what made me think of this to be honest, but

01:28:41   Obviously, I've been going back and forth about you know, if I'm going to buy a car which I'm not convinced

01:28:46   I am actually what should I buy should I get a Jeep Wrangler? Should I get a goal a golf R?

01:28:50   should I get something else entirely a new BMW etc and

01:28:53   It occurred to me that I think to me or to some degree I am as well

01:28:59   But particularly you to have self pigeonholed have pigeonholed yourselves into specific, you know kinds of cars Marco

01:29:06   You've basically said that until something dramatic changes you're gonna be a Tesla owner until the end of time John

01:29:12   You know unless something dramatic changes like, you know money raining from the skies right over your house

01:29:17   You know, you're seem to be an accord guy for at least the foreseeable future. So I

01:29:22   Have for each of you a question and I'll start with Marco

01:29:26   you know if if you couldn't buy a Tesla or and then I'll even broaden it to

01:29:32   if you couldn't buy an electric car,

01:29:35   and you've made it very plain that that's what you prefer,

01:29:37   but if you couldn't buy an electric car,

01:29:40   just out of curiosity, what would you buy?

01:29:42   - So I saw this in the notes earlier.

01:29:44   I've been thinking about it this evening,

01:29:45   and unfortunately I don't really know enough

01:29:48   about what cars are available these days

01:29:51   to have a great answer here.

01:29:52   - What has happened to you?

01:29:53   - But I'll tell you, very high on the list

01:29:56   would be the new M5, because even though

01:29:59   it doesn't have a transmission I would like,

01:30:01   I really enjoy having a fast, large sedan.

01:30:05   Now there's lots of options within that, you know.

01:30:09   Obviously, you know, and I should probably list

01:30:12   in this list something from like Mercedes or Porsche

01:30:15   or something, but I just don't know their lineups at all.

01:30:18   Audi might be somewhere on the list,

01:30:20   because honestly, one thing I really enjoy about the Tesla

01:30:23   that I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I do

01:30:25   is having the nice big hatchback trunk.

01:30:28   And so I know like the Audi A7 is kind of similar

01:30:32   in like size and trunk nature.

01:30:35   - And also hideous.

01:30:36   - Yes, it's pretty bad looking.

01:30:38   So yeah, like I don't know.

01:30:40   - I still like it, I think the A7 looks great.

01:30:42   - Oh, you're so wrong.

01:30:43   - I would probably at least give that like a look

01:30:45   just to see if I could tolerate it

01:30:46   because I do like having a large fast sedan

01:30:49   that is also a hatchback without being a wagon

01:30:51   or an SUV or a crossover.

01:30:52   So that's great.

01:30:54   So yeah, probably on the list would be,

01:30:57   maybe look at the A7, maybe look at the new M5.

01:31:00   I would probably look at whatever Mercedes offered

01:31:03   in the same thing.

01:31:05   I also might just consider a regular 5 Series,

01:31:07   like a 550 or even whatever the 540 is these days.

01:31:10   I might look at those because the M5 was a fun time

01:31:15   in my life, but I have now grown to appreciate

01:31:20   the value of a quiet car.

01:31:23   I like having a quiet car that is also fast.

01:31:26   I feel like I don't need to shout to the world

01:31:29   how fast my car is with noise.

01:31:32   So, but ultimately, when I drive other cars now,

01:31:37   like I, so I went on a trip,

01:31:39   which is why we're a couple days late,

01:31:41   and on the trip I rented a Nissan Maxima,

01:31:43   and it was a perfectly nice car.

01:31:45   It had lots of great features, you know,

01:31:47   lots of nice little luxuries inside.

01:31:48   I'm very happy I rented it,

01:31:49   'cause we were somewhere very cold,

01:31:50   and it was nice having the heated seats.

01:31:52   But it just feels like going so far backwards

01:31:57   to both have a gas car and to have some little

01:32:00   entertainment system on a six inch screen

01:32:03   with running basically DOS.

01:32:06   That's how these systems all feel to me.

01:32:08   And when I occasionally have to drive Tiff's car,

01:32:10   which is a modern BMW 3 series,

01:32:13   it doesn't feel modern to me anymore.

01:32:14   It feels old.

01:32:16   Using iDrive, everything without a gas car

01:32:19   with starting it up, putting it in gear,

01:32:21   and having to remember to actually turn it off and lock it.

01:32:24   - Like an animal.

01:32:26   - Yeah, it doesn't feel great to me.

01:32:31   So I think if I had to get a gas car again,

01:32:35   I might actually go lower end than an M5 or something

01:32:40   because I don't get the enjoyment out of that anymore

01:32:44   that I used to.

01:32:45   Like it's almost, it's like, well, I was gonna say,

01:32:50   It's like getting back with your high school girlfriend,

01:32:53   but I don't really have any basis on which to say that

01:32:55   'cause I never really had girlfriends in high school

01:32:56   'cause I was just terrible at everything.

01:32:59   So, but it's like I've moved past that in my life now.

01:33:02   Like I had a great time with loud, fast cars,

01:33:06   but now I'm perfectly happy with quiet, boring,

01:33:09   more comfortable cars that also happen to be fast.

01:33:13   So I would probably just get something fast

01:33:16   but not too ridiculous.

01:33:17   That's why I'm thinking maybe like a 550 or something like that.

01:33:21   Fair enough.

01:33:23   I want to hate the new M5 because it does use the ZF8 speed if I'm not mistaken, which

01:33:29   is very good.

01:33:31   But I can't believe the M5 can't be had with a stick anymore.

01:33:35   But oh my word, all the initial reviews of the new M5, oh, 0 to 60 in like between 2.8

01:33:43   It's a 90 million pound full-size sedan going to 60 in

01:33:47   three seconds.

01:33:48   I probably have mentioned this on the show 44 times, but when

01:33:52   I was a kid and really getting into cars, I remember that

01:33:55   having a 0 to 60 time in the four-second range was like

01:33:59   Lamborghini and Ferrari territory.

01:34:01   Like, nobody could get to 60 in four seconds.

01:34:03   And here it is, this M5 will do it in maybe two

01:34:08   worst-case low threes.

01:34:09   maybe two worst case low threes.

01:34:12   Like, yeah, god, it's just bananas.

01:34:15   - Well, I'll tell you what, maybe one of the direction

01:34:17   that I might wanna go is if I can't get my nice,

01:34:20   big comfort boat from space, maybe,

01:34:23   (laughing)

01:34:24   if Tiff's car could become the family car

01:34:27   that could hold a lot and be big,

01:34:29   then maybe I would do something

01:34:31   that electric currently is not very good at.

01:34:33   I'd get something small and light and fast and fun.

01:34:35   So maybe something like an M2

01:34:38   or like a Cayman or something like that,

01:34:41   something that electric cars really can't be very well yet.

01:34:46   - That's interesting.

01:34:47   Do you miss the 1 Series M ever?

01:34:50   - Occasionally, but not significantly.

01:34:54   Like, I would love to at some point drive the new M2,

01:34:58   or even the 235, like the M235.

01:35:02   I would love to drive either of those,

01:35:03   just because they do, by all reviews and accounts,

01:35:07   they do sound like they're pretty fun little cars,

01:35:10   I think that would be fun to drive those

01:35:12   and to consider those if I couldn't have

01:35:15   my big comfort boat, but ultimately,

01:35:18   I've gotten slightly older and a lot more boring,

01:35:21   and I kinda just like my fast comfort boat now.

01:35:24   So it's hard for me to really give this question

01:35:27   an honest answer or honest consideration

01:35:29   because my head's not in that space anymore.

01:35:33   - Yeah, that's fair.

01:35:35   I drove an M235i, which is now an M240i,

01:35:38   and it was really great.

01:35:40   I wouldn't say that there was anything

01:35:44   tremendously remarkable about it.

01:35:46   It was just a fun, small,

01:35:48   nimble car, which there's something to be said for that.

01:35:55   It was really nice in that regard,

01:35:56   and I had a lot of fun with it.

01:35:59   All right, so moving on to,

01:36:02   well, Jon, do you have any comments on Marco's choices?

01:36:04   to say that this was really designed to create an argument, but far be it for me to not give

01:36:08   you a chance to respond. Any thoughts?

01:36:10   I was going to start by telling Marco what he should have bought anyway in my answer.

01:36:14   So the best direct replacement, best non-electric direct replacement for his Tesla is the Panamera.

01:36:21   Has a hatchback. The new version is not as ugly as the old one. It's really fast and

01:36:25   fun to drive. It seats four, which should be adequate for his needs. And yeah, I think

01:36:31   would end up there because I think it is more exciting than the 5 series and you know shape-wise

01:36:38   like it practically looks like a Model S at this point so I think it would have a lot

01:36:41   of fun with it.

01:36:42   They're still not good looking.

01:36:43   You gotta see it in person.

01:36:45   I think they actually are pretty good looking.

01:36:49   The old one obviously had the weird hunchback that wasn't nice.

01:36:53   This is much more nicely proportionate and when you see it in person like the Model S

01:36:56   which I think looks kind of dowdy in pictures when you see it in person you realize it is

01:36:59   is lower and wider than you thought,

01:37:01   and it has a nice presence in person.

01:37:02   I know, because I see them all over where I live.

01:37:05   - Yeah, I mean, looking at these,

01:37:06   on the show on their website and everything,

01:37:08   because I really have enjoyed a hatchback,

01:37:11   I would give this a look,

01:37:14   but I wouldn't feel good about it.

01:37:15   - And everyone said, like, this behaves,

01:37:18   this is the least sedan, like, of all of the big sedans.

01:37:22   Like, everyone says--

01:37:22   - But I like sedans. - Porsche SUVs, no.

01:37:25   But I mean, like, in terms of not feeling heavy

01:37:28   and like a boat, right, that it feels nimble,

01:37:30   and it feels like a slightly bigger Cayman.

01:37:33   It doesn't feel like a souped up Cadillac or whatever.

01:37:38   - Eh, fair.

01:37:39   - They're making it electric too, by the way,

01:37:40   so Marco actually might be in the market eventually

01:37:42   when their electric come out,

01:37:44   'cause they will actually have

01:37:44   a direct electric competitor to Tesla,

01:37:46   and that's another reason Marco

01:37:48   will be in the Porsche dealership.

01:37:50   - Well, and their concept, is it the Mission E,

01:37:53   their concept that was like a year or two ago?

01:37:54   That did look really cool, but it's just a concept,

01:37:57   and who knows what will actually ship.

01:37:59   And when it does ship,

01:38:01   there's a big question of charging stations.

01:38:03   Like Tesla has a lot of superchargers

01:38:06   and they keep adding more at a pretty remarkable rate.

01:38:08   I know there's like the standard based networks

01:38:13   that are also out there,

01:38:15   but Tesla has a pretty big head start

01:38:18   and they're in a lot of places

01:38:19   and they're a lot of places that I go.

01:38:21   Like they now cover upstate pretty well.

01:38:24   They used to have very little coverage,

01:38:25   now they have great coverage.

01:38:27   they're getting all over the place.

01:38:28   And so anybody who comes in with a major long distance

01:38:33   electric car competitor is gonna have a pretty serious

01:38:37   fight ahead of them to get past the Supercharger network.

01:38:40   - What you should be worried about though is

01:38:42   when the hell are they gonna replace the Model S?

01:38:43   Because this always happens in comparison tests.

01:38:44   - I am worried about that.

01:38:46   - So it comes out in comparison tests where like

01:38:48   one model that has won the comparison test

01:38:50   for the five years running is at the end of

01:38:52   its generation's lifetime and it's about to be redesigned

01:38:55   And it comes up against the newly redesigned competitor and then loses for the first time.

01:38:59   And so yeah, the Model S is great, but you can't just keep the same car with minor interior

01:39:05   and exterior tweaks for 15 years.

01:39:08   You have to come up with the next version, and the next version has to be better.

01:39:11   So presumably everybody who's targeting Tesla, they've got the Model S in their sights, they

01:39:16   know what their benchmark they have to beat, and they're going to end up beating it, you

01:39:19   know, setting aside the charger network things.

01:39:22   Tesla, but you would fully expect,

01:39:24   okay, well Tesla's gonna beat it too

01:39:25   for the next Model S, and we'll see how that goes.

01:39:28   - I am very, very curious to see

01:39:31   what the heck the next Model S is,

01:39:33   because they've done a lot of things with the Model 3

01:39:36   that sound really good to me,

01:39:37   and a few things that sound really bad to me.

01:39:40   So I wonder, what are they gonna carry over?

01:39:42   Like the single screen thing?

01:39:44   Nope, not for me, that does not sound good.

01:39:48   The elimination of the auto steer cruise control stalk?

01:39:52   Nope, don't like that.

01:39:54   But things like having the one giant vent across the top

01:39:56   and having the way faster, more responsive touchscreen,

01:40:00   that sounds great.

01:40:01   So there's things I like from the Model 3.

01:40:03   We'll see what they actually bring over, right?

01:40:05   I really hope they don't ruin it.

01:40:07   It seems like every Tesla model,

01:40:10   they do almost everything right.

01:40:13   And one thing that's just a dumb risk they took

01:40:17   that didn't pay off that ends up being annoying

01:40:19   or failure-prone.

01:40:20   So like with the Model S,

01:40:22   it was the stupid pop-out door handles that fail constantly.

01:40:24   With the X, it was the weird gull wing doors

01:40:27   that caused them to have lots of delays and issues.

01:40:29   - Falcon wings, please.

01:40:30   - Whatever, yeah.

01:40:31   And then with the Model 3,

01:40:33   I think their weird risk they took

01:40:34   was having just that one screen

01:40:35   and having way too many functions rely on that one screen

01:40:39   and some menu there.

01:40:41   So who knows what they're gonna ruin with the next Model S?

01:40:44   I just hope it's something I can tolerate.

01:40:46   - So Jon's challenge, similar.

01:40:49   If you had to buy something that wasn't an Accord, what would you buy?

01:40:53   I was a 6 because it is about the same size, gets good reviews, comes with a stick shift.

01:40:59   Okay, and I didn't know specifically what you were going to say, but I had a feeling

01:41:03   it would be something along those lines.

01:41:05   So now let's assume for the sake of conversation that a two-pedal car is okay.

01:41:11   Just for the sake of conversation, I'm not saying this is what you think.

01:41:14   Would that change your tune?

01:41:15   Would you choose something different?

01:41:17   No, if it's okay, no, I would never pick it.

01:41:20   Okay, poor choice of words.

01:41:22   I'm not allowed to have a stick shift.

01:41:24   Let's go with that.

01:41:25   Let's say you're not allowed to have a stick shift.

01:41:31   I think I might find myself in the one accord that I recently learned comes with an automatic.

01:41:36   Not the CVT ones, but the one with the automatic.

01:41:38   Interesting.

01:41:39   Wait, is he allowed to pick an accord?

01:41:42   Let's say no, actually.

01:41:44   I didn't specify, but yeah, good point.

01:41:47   Let's go with no because let's make this more interesting.

01:41:49   Get you out of your comfort zone.

01:41:51   I don't know because now we start getting to spending more money than I want to spend

01:41:56   on a car.

01:41:57   Well that's the next question.

01:41:58   We're not there yet.

01:41:59   I know but I'm trying to think of what's the cheapest non-disgusting automatic transmission

01:42:05   car that it can fit my family that I would buy.

01:42:10   I don't know.

01:42:11   Does the Mazda 6 come with an auto?

01:42:13   Maybe I'll get that.

01:42:14   Yeah, I mean that's what Erin had.

01:42:15   She had a 2007--

01:42:17   - Yeah, I'm into the current model though.

01:42:18   - No, no, I know.

01:42:19   I'm just saying she had a 2007 Mazda6 Grand Touring.

01:42:22   It had darn near every option on it.

01:42:23   It was an automatic and it was a phenomenal car.

01:42:26   It was a really, really, really great car.

01:42:28   - Yeah, I think I would get the Mazda6 with an automatic.

01:42:30   - All right, so now some African prince has died

01:42:35   and bequeathed you all of his money,

01:42:37   but it's actually legit this time.

01:42:39   You have $10 million with which you can spend on this car.

01:42:44   What would you buy?

01:42:46   - 10 million dollars, well--

01:42:48   - Well, I mean, you don't have to use all 10.

01:42:49   - Can I spend part of that on the house to house the car?

01:42:52   - Sure. (laughs)

01:42:54   Don't worry about your Acorns, almost like a piece.

01:42:56   - I'm worried about it.

01:42:57   I'm not gonna buy a nice car and get ruined

01:42:59   by my kids scraping their bicycle handles across it

01:43:01   as I shove it into my little garage.

01:43:03   - Don't worry about the Acorns.

01:43:04   Just worry about the car.

01:43:05   Let's just presume that everything else is taken care of.

01:43:08   - And you said I can't, no Ferraris?

01:43:10   - No, no, I didn't say that yet.

01:43:11   You're cheating, you're looking at the show notes.

01:43:12   So in the show notes it reads as follows.

01:43:15   "John has to buy one non-accord, what would he buy?"

01:43:18   "Next bullet."

01:43:19   "What if two pedals were okay?"

01:43:20   "Next bullet."

01:43:21   "Okay, this is in the show notes."

01:43:22   "Okay, fine.

01:43:23   Now money is no object and it has to be two pedals, no Ferraris."

01:43:26   But let's start with the Ferraris, but even though we all know your answers, whatever

01:43:30   the V12 is.

01:43:32   I was looking at the 488 again.

01:43:35   I don't know, the 488 just hasn't grown on me as much as I thought it would.

01:43:38   So I'm wondering if I would actually get a 458 or even a 430.

01:43:43   Because I do like both of those cars better.

01:43:45   But then I look at the interiors,

01:43:46   and they're all kind of weird.

01:43:47   So I don't know.

01:43:48   But practically speaking, if you only let me have one car,

01:43:51   I wouldn't get any of those.

01:43:52   Because I can't drive that to work every day

01:43:55   and carry your kids around.

01:43:56   They didn't go on vacation and stuff.

01:43:58   It's just not practical.

01:43:59   It has to be your second or third or fourth car, right?

01:44:01   So I'm back into four-door sedans then.

01:44:06   I think, especially if I'm not allowed to get a new house.

01:44:10   No, just don't, again, don't worry about the house.

01:44:13   The Acorns have gone away, your kids will not touch the car.

01:44:17   But wait, wait, wait, so it was only one car.

01:44:20   I think I would end up with like an AMG E-Series, a Mercedes, because the S-Class, as much as

01:44:25   I love it, I think it's just too big to be, I think I would like the E's better.

01:44:32   Because the E's aren't that small these days, I feel like they're more or less a

01:44:35   the chord size. they're really fast but also are comfortable and have lots of tech gadgets.

01:44:40   i'm not even sure if i would get the AMG model frankly. i might actually end up with the

01:44:45   non-AMG model if i felt like that was fast enough or the AMG one was squishy. but i really

01:44:49   like the E's and i feel like they are more to my taste i think than probably the M5.

01:44:57   that said i haven't really seen details about the new M5 so maybe they've adjusted a little

01:45:00   bit and i did like Marco's M5 but i just feel like all the bad vibes that you've both

01:45:05   give me about BMWs and repair wheels and everything. Go to the devil I don't know in Mercedes,

01:45:11   I suppose.

01:45:12   But you would not get a wagon? You would get a sedan?

01:45:14   Yeah, I'd get a sedan.

01:45:16   Do you like wagons in principle?

01:45:18   I do. I just don't think I need one. We just have the two kids and it's not like we're

01:45:22   going camping. I do like wagons. I would get a wagon over a minivan any day, but I just

01:45:26   don't feel like I need that extra space up. Why would I get a wagon when I could just

01:45:29   get a sedan?

01:45:30   - Yes, I'm now a car journalist.

01:45:32   I've been looking at--

01:45:33   (laughing)

01:45:33   - That's awesome.

01:45:34   - I've been considering wagons more and more

01:45:36   with each passing day.

01:45:37   And even though, as an American,

01:45:39   I'm supposed to hate wagons,

01:45:41   there's something to be said for a fast wagon

01:45:43   that has no business being as fast as it is.

01:45:46   - So I'm configuring my Porsche Panamera.

01:45:48   - Excuse me, excuse me, it's Porsche, ah, sir.

01:45:51   - Don't pick the $20,000 option

01:45:53   that gives you a colored key fob.

01:45:55   (laughing)

01:45:56   - The options that they give you are,

01:46:00   First of all, there's like 90 different options.

01:46:02   That's not an exact duration.

01:46:03   And it is ludicrous.

01:46:06   Like I thought BMW was crazy with all the little

01:46:08   nickel and diamond for all the options.

01:46:09   - Porsche is the king of options.

01:46:10   - Oh my God.

01:46:11   So among other things, I have the option to add

01:46:13   a six disc DVD changer for $560.

01:46:18   - Wow, that's cheap.

01:46:20   - I can add a USB port in the rear for $420.

01:46:25   That's just the port.

01:46:26   I can add a fire extinguisher.

01:46:28   I don't know where or how, for $180.

01:46:31   (laughing)

01:46:34   I've never seen this many options.

01:46:38   It's ridiculous.

01:46:41   - I was watching a Demirra video recently.

01:46:43   I think it was talking about the 918 or something,

01:46:46   but I think, was it a paint color option that was 65 grand?

01:46:51   There was some option that was like a cosmetic option

01:46:55   that costs more than like, you know, most cars.

01:46:58   - So I can get the air vent slats painted for $2,330.

01:47:03   - Oh, sounds like a worth it.

01:47:06   - Oh, I do not like the look of this interior at all.

01:47:09   - I bet the interior is very highly configurable, so.

01:47:13   - It is very highly configurable as long as you're willing

01:47:15   to spend $2,000 to paint your air slats.

01:47:18   - Yeah, no, that's just, with Porsche,

01:47:19   it seems like that if you want anything that's not stock,

01:47:24   it costs such a huge amount of money that you're like,

01:47:27   do they just buy the stock car and then take out the parts

01:47:29   and burn them and then put it in new parts?

01:47:31   Like, why does it cost so much money?

01:47:33   - God, there's so many options.

01:47:35   - See, like, it's--

01:47:36   - Holy smokes.

01:47:38   - Like, and yeah, the good thing is like,

01:47:41   if, yeah, I think John's right, like, you know,

01:47:42   if you wanna customize, I mean, they have,

01:47:44   they have like 15 different wheels you can pick.

01:47:47   (John laughs)

01:47:48   Like, there's so many options to this.

01:47:52   And half of them, I don't even understand

01:47:54   what they would do or why I would want them.

01:47:56   Seat belts in chalk, $660.

01:47:59   - Decorative valve stems.

01:48:01   Decorative valve stems in black

01:48:03   with colored Porsche crest, $70.

01:48:06   (laughing)

01:48:07   - That might be the cheapest thing on this entire list.

01:48:10   - Oh my word.

01:48:11   - Oh my God, it's amazing.

01:48:13   - And this is starting at 150,000

01:48:15   for the Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive.

01:48:18   - Oh, I didn't go to the executive.

01:48:19   I stopped at the 4S, which my configuration is 124,000.

01:48:23   (laughing)

01:48:24   - Good grief.

01:48:25   - And I haven't even gotten like, you know,

01:48:27   like good seats and everything.

01:48:29   - I think there's like a game with the Porsche Opus.

01:48:32   You just, you wanna get the one with the good engine, right?

01:48:35   And then after that, you want to pick like two things

01:48:39   that are important to you,

01:48:40   and everything else just accepts stock.

01:48:43   - I think the real answer here is you wanna buy these used,

01:48:47   because like, you know, used cars,

01:48:49   you tend to get a lot of the options basically for free.

01:48:53   'Cause you don't, if you spec up a car,

01:48:56   the used pricing is based on not all the options,

01:48:59   it's based on the engine trim level, year, and mileage.

01:49:02   That's about it.

01:49:04   So the way to get any of these cars,

01:49:06   if you want a lot of options,

01:49:08   is to just wait for a used one to come up

01:49:09   that has a lot of options that someone else took a bath on,

01:49:12   and you get those pretty nicely.

01:49:15   - I think I mentioned this about Rolls Royce and Mercedes

01:49:17   last time we talked about it,

01:49:18   but I'm just so surprised that these companies

01:49:19   stick to this.

01:49:20   I mean, I suppose there is some attraction

01:49:22   to the high-end clientele of being able to customize everything, especially like on Bentley

01:49:26   and Rolls and stuff.

01:49:28   But as Marco has noted in his salad power user diatribe, it's the paralysis of choice.

01:49:37   I would be terrified that I would be accidentally configuring the world's ugliest Rolls Royce,

01:49:42   right?

01:49:43   Because you can choose everything, every kind of, every material, every surface, every color,

01:49:47   everything.

01:49:48   don't trust me to design it, especially if they have not so great visualization.

01:49:52   It's like, I paid 350 grand for this Bentley and it looks like a clown car because I didn't

01:49:57   think about how this color leather would look with this color stitching would look with

01:50:01   this material because I'm not a car interior designer.

01:50:04   Just give me some presets like Marco wants for his salads.

01:50:07   And then maybe I'll say, "Give me that preset," and then they'll tweak one thing or something.

01:50:12   Because think of how scary you, I mean, I think mostly in terms of how scary it would

01:50:15   be to buy a car sight unseen. You've never seen a car with this material. You've never

01:50:20   sat in it. You don't know what it's going to look like. You don't know how it's going

01:50:22   to feel. And just picking from a menu? Terrifying. So I wonder if rich people have other people

01:50:27   configure their cars for them, right? Or they just say, "Oh, I don't know. Just make it

01:50:32   nice for me." Or they hire car interior designers just like you hire them for your house. Poor

01:50:38   people just go to the home center and they pick out materials for their floor and their

01:50:42   their countertops and whatever and they cross their fingers

01:50:44   and hope it looks okay.

01:50:45   The rich people hire interior designer

01:50:47   and also cross their fingers I suppose,

01:50:50   but pay gobs and gobs of money for them to come up with

01:50:53   materials and everything that look good together.

01:50:55   So I wonder if they do that for cars too,

01:50:57   because it's a huge expense

01:50:58   and there's just too many choices.

01:51:00   - Yeah, I'm looking now like,

01:51:01   I would rather have just a regular five series,

01:51:03   I think, than the Panamera.

01:51:05   Like, you get so much more for the money

01:51:08   and it's a way nicer looking car,

01:51:09   even though it does have a little bit

01:51:11   the skin flap issue of modern ones.

01:51:13   But yeah, I think I'd rather have that.

01:51:16   - I found a new job for Casey.

01:51:18   Casey, do you have any interest in being

01:51:19   a car option configurer to rich people?

01:51:22   - I would love to.

01:51:23   Are you kidding?

01:51:24   I would love to.

01:51:25   - Wouldn't you feel the pressure though

01:51:26   of not accidentally making an ugly car for them?

01:51:28   - No.

01:51:29   I really wouldn't.

01:51:31   - 'Cause I mean, they're rich, who cares?

01:51:34   They're just looking for someone to blame.

01:51:36   - I mean, yeah, well you have to charge your fee.

01:51:38   It's like interior designers.

01:51:39   You have to charge your fee,

01:51:40   should be like at least one third of the price of actually doing the job.

01:51:44   Purely for like, you know, what service do you provide, you tell them how much options

01:51:47   to pick.

01:51:48   I have long thought about how fun it would be to be like a car headhunter, if you will.

01:51:54   So you know, take me for example, when I was buying my 3 Series, you know, I wanted a 335,

01:51:59   it had to have a stick, it had to have the M Sport package, you know, and I think there

01:52:04   were one or two other options I insisted upon.

01:52:06   white before either of you jerks pipe in.

01:52:10   Anyway, the point is, I would love to be a car headhunter.

01:52:14   I would love to be a car headhunter that my job is just

01:52:16   to scour Autotrader to try to find that perfect unicorn

01:52:20   for somebody.

01:52:21   I think that would be super fun.

01:52:23   But anyone who would have the money for that would be

01:52:25   buying new anyway, so they would just order one.

01:52:27   - I was gonna say, you just hang out, I wonder if you work

01:52:29   at the dealer and say, "We have this person here,

01:52:32   "their services are provided at a very small fee of 50 grand

01:52:35   and they will help you select the options for your $250,000 car.

01:52:41   I'm in.

01:52:43   If you're looking to hire me, you can find my contact information at kclist.com.

01:52:47   Yeah, 50 grand per car, like you can make some good money doing that.

01:52:52   If only.

01:52:53   And honestly, if I had the money to buy a Bentley, I would gladly pay 50 grand to someone

01:52:56   who would prevent me from misconfiguring my car and getting an ugly $350,000 Bentley instead

01:53:01   that I'd have a good looking $400,000 Bentley.

01:53:04   [door closes]

01:53:06   [BLANK_AUDIO]