94: Spirited Defense of Pong


00:00:00   Why did you make me download this stupid game?

00:00:01   - You should play this while rocking.

00:00:04   You get an infant in your arms.

00:00:06   - Yeah, you can do it one handed.

00:00:07   - One arm, baby holding, rock, bounce, walking,

00:00:10   tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, die,

00:00:13   tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, die.

00:00:15   - All right, so in the post show from the last episode,

00:00:20   we kind of had a post show neutral.

00:00:21   And I was talking, or I thought I was talking

00:00:25   completely hypothetically about "Cars for Aaron and Myself"

00:00:29   now that Declan's around. And I don't know if I made it clear that that entire conversation

00:00:36   was completely hypothetical. And of course, what with this being us, everyone came out

00:00:41   of the woodwork to give car recommendations or car anti recommendations, you know, never

00:00:45   buy this car, it's terrible, etc. Which is which is certainly appreciated. But I don't

00:00:50   think I made it clear that that it was all just hypothetical. I mean, neither of us is

00:00:54   going to get a car anytime soon. And I still love my BMW and I plan to keep my BMW for at least a

00:01:00   couple more years if not longer than that. And as I think I said on the show, Erin loves her Mazda 6

00:01:05   and I think she'd probably rather give me up than the cars and you know who can blame her. So I did

00:01:10   want to mention that additionally a lot of people came out of the woodwork to say the Gulf R wagon

00:01:16   is a thing or if you're not from the United States the estate. I believe that's right.

00:01:21   And saloon is the sedan, is that right? Yeah, and you're still saying golf apparently too?

00:01:25   Yeah, golf, golf, whatever. It's just all... What is that? It's not even an accent.

00:01:30   Is it G-U or G-O? Isn't it a G-O-L-F? Yes.

00:01:34   So it's Golf R. Yeah.

00:01:36   Why is everyone saying that's wrong? You keep saying like the Gulf of Mexico.

00:01:40   Oh, all right. Well, whatever. Anyway, the G-R. Point being, I know that's a thing. The reason

00:01:48   I didn't bring it up is because I don't suspect that we'll get it in the United States. And yes,

00:01:53   I believe it was in Los Angeles briefly, for the purposes of the Los Angeles Motor Show, Auto Show,

00:01:59   whatever, but the likelihood of that arriving in the States is slim to none. Additionally,

00:02:03   people have suggested various Subarus, including the Outback, also known as the BMW 3GT, as well as

00:02:10   the Subaru Forester and I owned a Subaru in the past and that car had its entire

00:02:18   drivetrain replaced over the course of the 60 or 80,000 miles that I had it and

00:02:23   although I drive like a jerk I don't drive like an animal so I don't think

00:02:26   it's my fault and the likelihood of me getting another Subaru is not good. So

00:02:31   thank you for all the recommendations for the cars that I'm not buying and

00:02:34   that will be enough of the car talk for now. You know TIFS 3 GT has not had any

00:02:38   parts on it replaced, it's actually going quite well. In fact, we use it for our Thanksgiving

00:02:41   trip this past weekend and it was glorious. I love all the luxuries of having, you know,

00:02:46   like all the weird little hooks and stuff in the trunk and all the little latch points

00:02:50   and little things that can move around, plus the giant trunk space to begin with. It was

00:02:53   quite pleasant and yeah, I think we're going to sell you and Aaron on one of these next

00:02:59   time. You'll see, you'll see. You're denying it now but I bet once you actually see it

00:03:07   give it a chance and once Aaron sees it and gives it a chance I bet we can convert you

00:03:11   guys.

00:03:12   That's not likely.

00:03:13   You could probably, you may be able to get me, maybe, but there's no chance it'll get

00:03:17   Aaron because she's, I think she thinks it looks too much like a wagon which she doesn't

00:03:21   like and beyond that I don't think she particularly wants a BMW much to my chagrin, I don't know,

00:03:27   that word I'm thinking of.

00:03:28   It's pronounced "shog ride."

00:03:30   Much to my dismay, let's go with that.

00:03:33   In no small part because all BMW drivers are jerks, myself extremely included, and she

00:03:37   doesn't want to associate with them.

00:03:39   Anyway, sorry, enough of the car talk.

00:03:41   You want to tell us about something that's cool?

00:03:43   I would love to.

00:03:44   In fact, this week we have a fourth sponsor, and it's a holiday miracle.

00:03:49   It's definitely not because of a clerical error last week, it was definitely a holiday

00:03:53   miracle that's the reason we have four sponsors this week.

00:03:57   Our first sponsor this week is Studio Neat, once again,

00:04:02   with a whole bunch of cool stuff.

00:04:03   So if you go to studioneat.com/atp,

00:04:08   they have made a really cool ATP holiday cocktail guide

00:04:12   for us, and they've made, you gotta check out this pig.

00:04:15   I mean, first of all, the pig looks incredible

00:04:17   because they have incredibly good design skills over there.

00:04:20   Go to studioneat.com/atp,

00:04:23   and they have actually made custom drinks.

00:04:25   They've made the Casey List, the John Siracusa,

00:04:27   the Marco Arment.

00:04:28   You can tell they actually listen to our show

00:04:30   and actually know us.

00:04:32   So the Casey List is a vodka drink.

00:04:34   The John Siracusa is non-alcoholic and is based on Sprite.

00:04:37   - (laughs) That made me laugh so hard

00:04:40   when they showed this to me,

00:04:41   when Tom and Dan Studio Neat showed this to me.

00:04:44   The John Siracusa was far and away my favorite.

00:04:46   - Well, because, and I was a little concerned.

00:04:48   It was like, I saw this,

00:04:49   you know, when we weren't on the air when I saw this,

00:04:51   and when I first saw they had made drinks

00:04:52   for the three of us, I thought, oh, well,

00:04:54   I don't know if John's gonna wanna be associated

00:04:57   with an alcoholic drink.

00:04:58   And I saw, oh no, it's Sprite.

00:05:02   It's fine. (laughs)

00:05:05   John, is that a correct assessment?

00:05:07   - I was happy that they made an alcoholic,

00:05:10   but I'm not a big fan of mint.

00:05:12   (laughing)

00:05:14   I'm not entirely sure I would actually like this one,

00:05:15   but if the drink is just supposed to embody me

00:05:18   more than be a drink that I like,

00:05:20   then I don't know, maybe it's a combination.

00:05:22   It might work.

00:05:23   I've never, I haven't tried this, so I can't say whether or not it works as a drink.

00:05:26   Well, similarly, I don't know if I'd like a Moscow Mule.

00:05:28   I mean, if you look at the constituent ingredients, it seems like something I would enjoy, but

00:05:33   I don't know that I've ever had one.

00:05:35   So like, I know I hate old-fashioneds much to the dismay, not chagrin, of Mike Hurley

00:05:41   and Marco, but this sounds like it would be all right.

00:05:45   I think it's funny, and mine is like, of course, a coffee-based dessert drink, which sounds

00:05:51   pretty good if I can say. I think it's even better that Jon has a minor complaint about

00:05:58   his. It wouldn't be the Jon Siracusa if the real Jon Siracusa didn't have a minor

00:06:04   complaint about it.

00:06:05   Well, I haven't talked about my vague dislike of mint things on the show before, so they

00:06:09   can be forgiven for not knowing this tiny detail about me.

00:06:12   Would you like to talk about that now, Jon?

00:06:14   I would not.

00:06:15   Would you talk about that now, Jon?

00:06:17   (laughing)

00:06:19   - No, we don't need to, we can move on.

00:06:21   - Fair enough.

00:06:22   - Well, we're still in the sponsor, right?

00:06:23   - Oh yeah, sorry, my bad.

00:06:25   - No, we're gonna come back to that at some point.

00:06:27   Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.

00:06:30   Anyway, this is all at studioneat.com/atp.

00:06:34   You gotta look at this page, it's hilarious.

00:06:36   They also have made a cocktail tool guide

00:06:39   at cocktailtoolguide.com, and check that out as well.

00:06:44   They've collected a whole bunch of gear,

00:06:46   some stuff they make, some stuff that they don't make,

00:06:48   and they don't care if they make it or not.

00:06:50   They want you to have the best gear

00:06:51   for making cocktails at home.

00:06:53   And some of this stuff is really cool.

00:06:55   And finally, they have this new thing

00:06:58   called the Simple Syrup Kit.

00:07:00   And it is exactly what it sounds like.

00:07:02   It is a kit to help you make and store simple syrup.

00:07:05   And honestly, when they first announced this,

00:07:07   I was a little skeptical,

00:07:08   because I've made simple syrup before.

00:07:10   It's sugar and water.

00:07:11   And I thought, what could you possibly need a kit for

00:07:14   to make this?

00:07:15   couldn't you make this in anything?"

00:07:16   And I have, and for years I've been making

00:07:18   my own simple syrup, usually for iced coffee recipes.

00:07:21   And the fact is, making simple syrup by yourself,

00:07:23   even though it is incredibly simple,

00:07:25   it does have like two or three potential spots

00:07:27   for annoyance, and I watched the video

00:07:30   and I saw the simple syrup kit tonight,

00:07:31   and I'm like, actually, that fixes those annoyances.

00:07:35   Like, I gotta hand to these guys.

00:07:36   I thought there was no room for a dedicated product

00:07:39   in that space, but they made one.

00:07:40   And it looks pretty good, I gotta say.

00:07:43   I mean, check this out.

00:07:44   These guys really have a knack for taking things

00:07:47   that maybe you didn't think you needed,

00:07:50   and then once you have them, you're like,

00:07:51   wow, of course I needed this, this is great.

00:07:53   How do I live without this?

00:07:55   Check out Studio Neat, and you gotta look at their

00:07:58   CocktailToolGuide.com as well as the StudioNeat.com/ATP,

00:08:03   where they created these awesome cocktails for each of us.

00:08:07   And really, they're really funny, I gotta say.

00:08:10   And the pages are beautiful,

00:08:11   the video they shot is beautiful, the simple syrup kit.

00:08:14   Check them out, they make great stuff.

00:08:17   As I mentioned last time, they have the Cosmonaut,

00:08:18   they have the Glyph, they have the Neat Ice Kit,

00:08:21   all this great stuff they make, studioneat.com/atp.

00:08:25   - Yeah, and as the final quick addendum to that,

00:08:28   Tom and Dan are the two guys that run Studio Neat,

00:08:30   and they're friends of ours,

00:08:32   and they're super, super, super awesome, awesome people.

00:08:34   So if you're gonna throw a little bit of money their way,

00:08:39   they're well deserving, and the stuff they make is awesome.

00:08:43   And I don't know if we mentioned,

00:08:44   but you get 10% off if you use the code ATP,

00:08:46   and forgive me if we already talked about that, but.

00:08:48   - Yes, forgive me if we're not talking about that.

00:08:50   That's very important.

00:08:51   Use coupon code ATP for 10% off

00:08:53   anything from the Studio Neat store.

00:08:56   So thanks a lot to Studio Neat once again.

00:08:58   - All right, what are we talking about tonight?

00:09:00   There's not that much going on.

00:09:02   All right, well, that was a good show.

00:09:06   - Thanks a lot to our four sponsors this week.

00:09:09   - Marco makes his own news, right?

00:09:11   - Yeah, you could say that.

00:09:13   Marco, what's been a bee in your bonnet these days?

00:09:16   - Well, I had to think about the push notification ad,

00:09:20   which was, I don't know how much of a topic that really is.

00:09:24   - It's really a topic.

00:09:25   (laughing)

00:09:27   You did a whole blog post about it.

00:09:28   You tweeted about it all day.

00:09:29   It's, let's just say about you making your own news.

00:09:31   That could have come and gone,

00:09:32   but you felt like you needed to chime in about it.

00:09:34   And so you wrote a big, a long blog post about it

00:09:37   and then argued with people on Twitter about it.

00:09:39   - It was 195 words, most of which were not about

00:09:42   that particular one.

00:09:43   - Really?

00:09:44   I thought it was longer.

00:09:45   - No, there was an image in the middle

00:09:47   that might have thrown you off.

00:09:48   - Make yourself useful and put a link in the show notes.

00:09:50   (laughing)

00:09:52   - So basically the other day, Apple sent out

00:09:56   two push notifications advertising the red App Store

00:10:00   promotion from the App Store app.

00:10:03   So if you had notifications enabled for the App Store,

00:10:06   And if I remember correctly,

00:10:08   I don't think I ever actually enabled those.

00:10:10   I don't think I was ever asked to.

00:10:12   Maybe the first time I launched the App Store app

00:10:14   on some OS version, maybe it asked me and I said yes,

00:10:16   but I don't usually say yes to things like that.

00:10:20   And mine were enabled, so I don't know what that was about.

00:10:23   If it's actually enabled by default

00:10:26   and it never asks you upfront, that's kinda crappy.

00:10:30   But I can't say for sure whether it was that way or not.

00:10:32   - Yeah, I was wondering why I didn't see this.

00:10:34   And now that you mention this,

00:10:35   I realized that the whole time I was reading your tweets and your post, I was like, well,

00:10:39   I didn't get that because I don't have an iPhone.

00:10:40   Right. But I realized I do have an iPhone and then I thought, wait, I have an iPhone.

00:10:45   Why didn't I get that? And I realized the reason I didn't get it is because any time I

00:10:48   set up any iOS device, I go to the notification screen, turn everything off and then

00:10:53   selectively turn on like the two apps that I want to allow to send me notifications,

00:10:57   which are, I don't know, like messages.

00:11:01   And is there another one?

00:11:04   - Messages and messages?

00:11:06   I can't think of anything offhand,

00:11:08   but certainly not App Store.

00:11:09   - Well anyway, so regardless of whether it was,

00:11:11   if it's on by default, it's even worse.

00:11:14   But regardless, what I was pointing out,

00:11:16   and it kinda got, the idea kinda got muddied a little bit

00:11:19   because the message they sent was promoting something

00:11:23   for the Product Red charity thing, which is,

00:11:27   and I don't, honestly, I don't know the details

00:11:29   of how the Product Red corporation works.

00:11:31   I think it's not technically a non-profit

00:11:33   and there's some kind of weird stuff.

00:11:34   I don't know the details, it doesn't matter.

00:11:35   And please don't email us,

00:11:37   but it really doesn't matter for the conversation.

00:11:40   A lot of people took issue with me

00:11:43   complaining about a push notification

00:11:44   that is for this good cause.

00:11:47   And the fact is, I'm not taking issue with notification,

00:11:51   I'm taking issue with,

00:11:53   or rather I'm not taking issue with the content of it,

00:11:55   I'm taking issue with the fact that Apple sent

00:11:59   a promotional push notification.

00:12:00   And there is specifically a rule

00:12:02   In the App Store guidelines, rule number 5.6,

00:12:05   and the rule says that apps cannot use push notifications

00:12:09   to send, I forget the exact wording,

00:12:10   but it's something like marketing or promotions of any kind.

00:12:14   This rule, if you've ever had any apps installed

00:12:16   on any iPhone ever, and you've ever said yes

00:12:18   to push notifications to anything besides messages, John,

00:12:21   if you almost certainly know

00:12:24   that apps violate this rule constantly,

00:12:26   apps always send push notifications

00:12:29   for advertising purposes.

00:12:31   is always like, "Hey, come back to our game.

00:12:33   "New bombs are 50% off today only."

00:12:35   Like crap like that.

00:12:36   And it is so incredibly common.

00:12:38   And it's really unfortunate.

00:12:39   And so my post was basically saying,

00:12:42   "This is really unfortunate how common this is,

00:12:44   "that it is against the rules,

00:12:45   "and Apple doesn't really enforce that rule."

00:12:48   And to some degree, they kinda can't enforce that rule.

00:12:50   And we talked about this a little bit before.

00:12:53   And now it's even worse that Apple itself

00:12:56   doesn't follow that rule.

00:12:58   And so that's my main complaint here,

00:13:00   after all this preamble that, yeah, it was a little thing.

00:13:03   Yeah, it was, you know, essentially for a good cause.

00:13:06   Yeah, it was only two push notifications

00:13:08   sent in one hour on one day.

00:13:11   But this is really setting a bad example.

00:13:14   It's setting a bad precedent and it's showing once again,

00:13:16   it's this is not that different from the U2 album

00:13:20   being shoved into our libraries.

00:13:21   This is not as bad as that, I don't think.

00:13:22   But it's, this is Apple showing that they don't respect

00:13:30   or they don't see that this is a boundary

00:13:32   that they shouldn't cross.

00:13:34   Like, an advertising push notification to me

00:13:37   is really offensive.

00:13:39   And I totally understand why like, you know,

00:13:44   the Target app or the Kohl's app

00:13:46   or some kind of crappy news sites app,

00:13:48   yeah, they will do it, of course they'll do it.

00:13:50   They're crappy retailers and they're shameless

00:13:52   'cause most giant retailers have to be shameless to survive.

00:13:56   And certainly news sites generally do as well.

00:13:59   So that's fine.

00:14:00   If somebody with really terrible low standards

00:14:02   with no self-respect,

00:14:04   and who doesn't respect their customers either,

00:14:06   wants to spam people, that's not a surprise.

00:14:09   But those are not usually terms used to describe Apple

00:14:11   or their products, and especially things

00:14:13   that are the default in their products.

00:14:15   And so what worries me here is that not only is Apple

00:14:18   setting a bad example that this practice is okay

00:14:21   by doing it themselves, but also that it just shows

00:14:24   that Apple is, like there's stuff getting through,

00:14:28   And you know, Apple is not one person.

00:14:30   Apple has lots of people, maybe some of them, you know,

00:14:33   don't follow the same standards or make mistakes sometimes.

00:14:35   That's fine.

00:14:36   But it's a worrying trend.

00:14:39   First we had the U2 album that somehow got out

00:14:41   and that, like, no one was able to stop that

00:14:43   and say, you know what, this is kind of a bad way to do this.

00:14:47   And now we have this message.

00:14:48   And again, it's a little thing.

00:14:50   But we're starting to see a trend here

00:14:52   and that worries me.

00:14:53   It worries me that Apple doesn't seem to respect

00:14:55   this boundary and doesn't seem to think this is a problem.

00:14:59   I think my issue with it is not so much everything that you said about push notifications and

00:15:04   boundaries in the YouTube album and everything.

00:15:06   It's part of a pattern of behavior with Apple and the App Store, where if this was the only

00:15:13   thing that happened, it probably wouldn't have bothered me that much and would have

00:15:16   just been a silly aside.

00:15:18   But this is happening in the context of an Apple with an App Store and a long history

00:15:24   of really weird, arbitrary, nonsensical enforcement,

00:15:29   or half enforcement of some rules when they feel like it,

00:15:32   but not other rules.

00:15:33   Like if Apple didn't have that pattern of behavior

00:15:36   where an app will be found in the app store for three years

00:15:38   and then get pulled, and Apple will get pulled

00:15:40   and put in after a bunch of stories appear on websites,

00:15:43   you know, or they'll reject an app for reasons

00:15:46   that don't seem to make sense or be fair, you know,

00:15:48   like that whole history and the fact that all of us

00:15:53   are kind of close to people who write applications

00:15:55   and come in contact with those sort of weird arbitrary rules

00:15:58   and all that stuff over the years,

00:16:01   that makes this thing more egregious

00:16:03   because it's like, it's like the rubbing end in our face.

00:16:06   Yes, we know the rules don't really apply to Apple

00:16:08   'cause they run the store.

00:16:09   Like we're aware of that.

00:16:11   But it's like, at least for me anyway,

00:16:14   my sort of bitterness and anger by proxy,

00:16:17   'cause I don't even have an app in the app store,

00:16:18   but I know a lot of people who do when I read these stories,

00:16:20   I'm like, this person did everything right.

00:16:22   They made a great app, they tried to do something.

00:16:24   It seems, if I could never predict it,

00:16:26   they would have got a pulse, not a borderline thing.

00:16:29   Seems like it's exactly what Apple wanted

00:16:30   and then the app gets pulled for some crazy reason

00:16:32   and Apple doesn't care and it's this person's livelihood

00:16:34   and they spend all this time on it

00:16:36   and they could not have predicted ahead of time

00:16:37   that this would have been the result

00:16:39   and yet now they could potentially out all that time

00:16:42   and money they spent developing the application

00:16:45   now may be wasted for reasons that don't make sense.

00:16:49   Like, you know, we all sit out here and try to divine

00:16:51   What is Apple's motivation?

00:16:53   What kind of store are they trying to make?

00:16:55   'Cause they're sure as hell not gonna tell us.

00:16:56   Like they list all these rules, but they don't say why.

00:16:59   And their decisions, you look at them

00:17:01   and you try to figure out based on this decision,

00:17:02   they trying to not have a store

00:17:05   where junky apps are on there?

00:17:07   No, there's plenty of junky apps.

00:17:07   Are they trying to not have a store

00:17:09   where apps have advertising?

00:17:10   No, they're trying to not have free apps.

00:17:11   They don't want apps like, it doesn't even make any sense.

00:17:15   With the exception of some simple stuff like no porn apps,

00:17:17   like that kind of thing makes sense

00:17:20   and they've been consistent on.

00:17:21   Almost everything else, I can't figure out

00:17:23   what it is that they're aiming for.

00:17:25   Why enforce this rule and not that one?

00:17:27   Why come down here and not there?

00:17:29   What is the shape of the app store

00:17:31   they're trying to make by these rules?

00:17:32   So it just seems arbitrary.

00:17:34   And in the context of all of that,

00:17:36   then doing something like this just seems egregious.

00:17:39   And it's not the incident,

00:17:40   it's the surrounding sort of sadness.

00:17:44   And the reason this incident is so galling,

00:17:45   you put the text of the rule 5.6 in your thing,

00:17:49   in case people think this is some big legalese thing

00:17:50   or whatever, here's the full text of this rule

00:17:54   in the App Store guidelines.

00:17:56   "Apps cannot use push notifications

00:17:57   "to send advertising, promotions,

00:17:59   "or direct marketing of any kind."

00:18:01   That's it, that's the whole thing.

00:18:02   There's not like 20 paragraphs of stuff, that's it.

00:18:04   And it is not ambiguous, advertising, promotions,

00:18:07   or direct marketing of any kind.

00:18:08   This is clearly either it's an advertisement

00:18:10   or it's a promotion or it's direct marketing.

00:18:12   It's certainly one of those things,

00:18:13   like that pretty much covers all your bases.

00:18:15   And so they do this one little thing,

00:18:17   like we were already kind of upset

00:18:19   that they don't catch all these ads that are spamming us

00:18:22   with, come back to our store to buy as an app purchase.

00:18:25   And then when they do it themselves,

00:18:26   for me it's not so much about the push notification,

00:18:28   which I never even saw.

00:18:30   It's about, like someone at Apple had no problem doing this

00:18:35   and it's just, it's like just rubbing it in your face.

00:18:37   And that's, maybe that's like transference,

00:18:39   like it's not fair to come down

00:18:40   on whatever this one little incident was,

00:18:43   but really it is, it's about everything else

00:18:46   that has to do with the app store

00:18:47   and it's just being focused on this one little,

00:18:48   Maybe for Marco it's also about the push notification, but for me this is just, you know, the flashpoint

00:18:54   of a much larger sort of sadness about the App Store.

00:18:59   Do you think that people who aren't in our little circle of tech nerd people know or

00:19:05   care anything about this specific notification?

00:19:08   Like if they don't read sites that covered it as news, if they don't read Marco's blog,

00:19:12   they don't follow anyone on Twitter, but the notification did come on their phones, did

00:19:16   they even take note that it was, they even notice.

00:19:19   - I mean, I would imagine most people

00:19:22   who have any reasonable number of apps installed

00:19:25   probably get regular spam notifications.

00:19:28   Like, I mean, so many apps send them,

00:19:31   especially like, you know, big retailer and publisher apps.

00:19:34   - Or games, game, free-to-play games are the worst.

00:19:38   - Yeah, like, all of those apps,

00:19:40   it is so incredibly common,

00:19:42   this is mostly what I'm posting about,

00:19:43   abuse of this system and directly breaking

00:19:46   this rule is so incredibly common that I would imagine

00:19:50   most people who have a reasonable number of apps installed

00:19:52   are accustomed to seeing push notification ads all the time.

00:19:56   So they probably didn't think anything of this one.

00:19:58   Maybe even the people who run the app store promo team,

00:20:02   like maybe the people at Apple who sent this ad

00:20:05   aren't even aware that it's against the review rules.

00:20:08   These are different teams.

00:20:10   They probably have, I bet the people who have sent this ad

00:20:13   don't even know about this.

00:20:15   and maybe on their phones,

00:20:17   maybe they see enough push notification ads

00:20:18   from other apps,

00:20:19   they just think it's a normal acceptable thing to do.

00:20:21   - Well, that's what I think.

00:20:22   I think it is a normal acceptable thing to do

00:20:24   for other people.

00:20:25   Again, that's why I'm getting back to the theory

00:20:27   that it's our closeness to people

00:20:30   who make and sell apps on the App Store

00:20:32   and the history of Apple dealing with the App Store rules

00:20:34   and those people that makes us in any way sensitive to this.

00:20:37   Whereas I think other people

00:20:38   who don't know anyone who makes apps,

00:20:39   don't care what it takes to make apps,

00:20:41   don't care what the rules are for the App Store,

00:20:43   this totally disappears into the noise.

00:20:45   Noise that is mostly not of Apple's making,

00:20:47   maybe just through their negligence

00:20:49   of not enforcing this rule on other applications,

00:20:51   which as you pointed out somewhere, maybe in the blog,

00:20:54   it's really hard to enforce this.

00:20:56   And Apple historically has not been good

00:20:58   at sort of crowdsourcing this kind of enforcement

00:21:00   because basically when you're reviewing the app,

00:21:03   if you review the app

00:21:04   and you never get an ad push notification,

00:21:06   you can't determine whether the ad

00:21:09   will never send a push notification.

00:21:11   The app is approved,

00:21:13   it goes into the store,

00:21:14   then here come the push notifications to be able,

00:21:16   like it's trivially easy to do that.

00:21:18   So there needs to be some mechanism

00:21:19   whereby people can report notifications,

00:21:22   but I think you also said like,

00:21:24   you don't put that in the UI

00:21:26   to say report this notification as spam or something,

00:21:28   'cause that's kind of mucks it up.

00:21:29   And it's like, there's kind of the maps thing

00:21:31   all over again, where people were trying to send corrections

00:21:33   when Apple had things in the wrong spot

00:21:35   and Apple was not good at integrating those corrections,

00:21:37   at least initially, into improving the map data.

00:21:40   This is not Apple's forte.

00:21:42   So if they are going to have a sort of very clear,

00:21:45   unambiguous rule against push notification ads,

00:21:47   they also need some mechanism for enforcement.

00:21:50   Independent of them sending it themselves,

00:21:52   which I, and I totally buy what Marco said,

00:21:54   is that the people who sent it either didn't know

00:21:56   that this was a rule or didn't care.

00:21:58   And both I think are equally likely.

00:22:01   But again, I think the only reason

00:22:03   that it's talked about in our circles

00:22:05   is because of our former contact with the App Store

00:22:08   and it has poisoned us on this entire issue.

00:22:10   Everyone else doesn't care at all

00:22:11   'cause their entire life is dismissing stupid notifications

00:22:14   about come back to the game now

00:22:15   because your seven sprouts have blossomed

00:22:17   and you need to pluck them and you can get this new

00:22:20   50 gems or 20% off, whatever.

00:22:23   - We shouldn't just accept that, oh, well,

00:22:25   this rule is violated all the time,

00:22:26   so we might as well not even try to enforce it.

00:22:29   Like, that's not good enough to me.

00:22:31   That, I've heard a few people say that,

00:22:33   like, oh, well, this is too common, who cares,

00:22:35   it's just one notification.

00:22:36   And the fact is, it isn't just one notification,

00:22:38   and the entire experience of your phone,

00:22:41   of using your phone, changes in a pretty important

00:22:45   and non-subtle way if you routinely get ad notifications.

00:22:50   Like that is not a small thing.

00:22:53   - Just wait until they start showing up on your watch.

00:22:55   - Right, like that is not a small thing.

00:22:58   Notifications should matter,

00:23:00   or you should at least be allowed to treat them

00:23:03   as if they matter, whether you do or not is another story,

00:23:05   but it is an interruption to you.

00:23:10   It is literally pushed, you don't ask for it,

00:23:12   it is literally pushed to your device at any time.

00:23:15   It alerts you, it is meant to interrupt you

00:23:18   to show you something that you care about seeing.

00:23:21   An ad is never gonna be one of those things.

00:23:23   And it's, the idea that oh well,

00:23:27   Apple can't really enforce us very easily

00:23:29   and lots of people break the rule,

00:23:31   so eh, we don't need to even try to enforce the rule.

00:23:34   No, that is not good enough, and that is not,

00:23:38   like Apple shouldn't think that's good enough.

00:23:40   And what worries me is whenever there's any sign

00:23:43   that maybe they do think it's good enough,

00:23:45   and I think that's why this irritated me so much.

00:23:50   - And see, the thing is, even though Apple's bad at this,

00:23:52   at sort of crowdsourcing, a type of thing

00:23:54   that can't be done in App Review really,

00:23:56   because it's so easy to circumvent,

00:23:57   that has to be sort of done in the field,

00:23:58   and they have to collect that information.

00:24:00   - Right, and most people don't realize,

00:24:02   App Review only spends a few minutes with each app.

00:24:05   - Yeah, so the other alternative is to

00:24:08   collect all the information,

00:24:09   and that Apple is not good at,

00:24:12   but the other part of it,

00:24:13   they're in such a powerful position to,

00:24:16   if they can get any kind of collection,

00:24:18   they're in such a powerful position to enforce it

00:24:20   because all they have to do is kind of have a sort of,

00:24:23   you know, I don't know, three strikes you're out,

00:24:24   or some sort of demerit-based system where,

00:24:26   you know, the first time, all right, so what,

00:24:28   maybe you didn't know about this rule,

00:24:29   maybe you didn't see this in the guideline.

00:24:30   by the way, app developer, we noticed that a lot of people

00:24:33   reported your app sending push notifications,

00:24:36   maybe confirmed with the app developer,

00:24:37   is this the case or are these people,

00:24:39   I don't know how you determine authenticity

00:24:40   'cause it's so easy to fake this, like or whatever,

00:24:42   but in consultation with the things that,

00:24:44   hey, not an automated kind of YouTube is taking down

00:24:47   your movie because someone was playing copyrighted music

00:24:49   in the background, right?

00:24:50   But in a human way, which I think they can afford to do

00:24:53   with developer relations, hey, we got a lot of complaints

00:24:56   about your app sending an ad,

00:24:57   somehow collect those things and say to the person,

00:25:00   you know, you're not supposed to do that.

00:25:01   It says this guideline.

00:25:02   Okay, my bad.

00:25:03   That's one strike.

00:25:04   And the second time they do it to say like, you know,

00:25:05   hey, we told you about this before

00:25:07   and it seems like you're still doing it.

00:25:08   You really need to stop doing that

00:25:10   because if we get more reports of you doing it again,

00:25:11   we're gonna pull you out from the store.

00:25:13   And then whether it's three strikes

00:25:14   because it's a baseball analogy

00:25:15   or something entirely different,

00:25:16   like they are totally in a position to talk to the people

00:25:19   about something because it's a willful violation.

00:25:22   It's not like, oh, I accidentally use something

00:25:24   that calls a private API.

00:25:25   Like those things happen all the time.

00:25:26   People aren't doing that intentionally.

00:25:27   There's no accidental push notifications for ads happening.

00:25:30   ♪ I can sit down and talk ♪

00:25:31   Maybe once you don't know about it,

00:25:33   maybe twice, oh, you didn't quite get it worked out,

00:25:35   but like three or four or five times,

00:25:37   or maybe it resets after a year or whatever,

00:25:39   they're in such a powerful position

00:25:40   to tell anybody in the App Store, you need to stop this.

00:25:43   And they don't need to be perfect.

00:25:44   They don't need to catch every single one,

00:25:45   but there has to be repercussions.

00:25:47   Right now, people are terrified to make,

00:25:50   and we'll talk about this maybe the next topic,

00:25:52   terrified to make notifications

00:25:53   at their widgets and stuff in iOS

00:25:55   'cause they're afraid they're gonna get pulled,

00:25:56   but nobody's afraid to send push notifications

00:25:58   'cause there's no repercussions.

00:25:59   and Apple has all the power.

00:26:01   They can, at their leisure, whenever they want,

00:26:03   according to whatever schedule they want,

00:26:05   put the fear of Apple into every single developer and say,

00:26:08   "Yeah, we may just pull your app if you keep doing that."

00:26:10   But they don't, there's no consequences,

00:26:12   they don't collect this data,

00:26:13   there's no three strikes policy,

00:26:15   it's just, you know,

00:26:16   it's completely falling through the cracks.

00:26:18   - Well, that's the thing, and you hit the nail on the head

00:26:20   and that they're enforcing the wrong stuff.

00:26:23   They're tearing apart all of these today widgets,

00:26:26   which maybe we should take a pause and then talk about that,

00:26:28   rather than going after all these

00:26:31   ridiculous push notifications.

00:26:33   And a lot of people have called for,

00:26:35   and I think they're right,

00:26:37   like I think one of you just said this,

00:26:38   but having some way of reporting them,

00:26:40   and I think it was Paul Haddad had said,

00:26:44   if you do, what is it, a right to left swipe,

00:26:46   did I get that correct?

00:26:47   Anyway, it doesn't matter.

00:26:48   If you do the swipe the one direction

00:26:50   to take action on the particular push notification

00:26:54   you just got, well, let's use swipe in the other direction

00:26:57   to like report for spam or something along those lines.

00:27:00   And I don't think that's a bad idea.

00:27:01   And I don't think most regular users have any idea

00:27:05   that you can get pretty granular

00:27:08   with your push notification settings,

00:27:10   more so than almost anything else I can think of in iOS.

00:27:13   And so I think a lot of people just live with all the spam.

00:27:16   And that begs the question,

00:27:17   if there's this much spam coming onto their phones,

00:27:20   at what point do people start feeling

00:27:22   like that degrades the experience?

00:27:23   Well, I love my iPhone,

00:27:24   except that it's constantly buzzing with weird messages

00:27:27   that I really don't care about

00:27:28   and I wish I could make them go away.

00:27:30   I don't know.

00:27:31   Marco, you wanna tell us about something that's cool?

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00:29:58   - You know what I like best about the Harry's handle,

00:30:01   the shaving handle thing?

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00:30:06   (laughing)

00:30:07   Like it's not like I'm holding

00:30:08   a tiny skinny robot in my hand.

00:30:10   I don't know when that started, maybe.

00:30:12   I think it started even when I was a teenager.

00:30:13   The razor handles had to look like transformers.

00:30:16   It doesn't make any sense.

00:30:17   It's like make it comfortable.

00:30:18   - Am I supposed to say H,

00:30:20   - So the British people understand what I'm saying,

00:30:21   even when I spell it out?

00:30:22   - Uh, the way they complain about hover,

00:30:26   you probably should.

00:30:27   - H-A-R-R-Y-S dot com.

00:30:30   Harries.

00:30:30   (laughs)

00:30:32   - All right, so do you wanna talk about today widgets,

00:30:34   'cause as if this episode wasn't grumpy enough,

00:30:36   let's get even grumpier.

00:30:37   So one of the friends of the show, Greg Pierce,

00:30:39   writes an iOS app called Drafts,

00:30:41   and he had a pretty cool today widget, from what I gather,

00:30:46   where there are several buttons that will let you

00:30:48   do several different things,

00:30:49   including start a new draft in the app.

00:30:53   And apparently he was told by Apple,

00:30:56   was it today or yesterday, recently,

00:30:58   that if he wants to continue to have his app in the app store

00:31:02   he needs to take away those buttons from his today widget,

00:31:05   which was effectively the entire today widget.

00:31:08   So here it is, he's getting told

00:31:10   you cannot have anything really interactive

00:31:13   in the today widget, that's not fair.

00:31:14   Anything that involves like creation,

00:31:17   I forget how he phrased it,

00:31:18   I don't have the tweet in front of me,

00:31:19   but it's something along the lines of,

00:31:20   it's for viewing data only.

00:31:23   - Right, well so, and I think we need to be very clear

00:31:25   on this because a lot of the tweets and stuff flying around

00:31:27   have not been, and Greg clarified this too,

00:31:31   but it's important that if we're talking about this,

00:31:33   we're talking about the right thing.

00:31:35   So it appears, and unfortunately this seems

00:31:38   to be constantly shifting, but it appears that

00:31:41   the reason why Apple is not letting them have those buttons

00:31:44   in the app is not because they are buttons necessarily.

00:31:47   It is because they launched the app from the widget

00:31:51   to complete a task or to do a task in the app.

00:31:54   And that is what Apple is saying you can't do.

00:31:57   Whether you agree with that or not, we can talk about,

00:31:59   but Apple is not saying you can't have buttons.

00:32:03   They're saying you can't launch the app

00:32:06   from the extension to complete a task.

00:32:08   - Was that something that was known beforehand

00:32:10   or they just decide that now or seemingly make it up?

00:32:13   - They seemingly made it up.

00:32:14   - Yeah, I've heard, and yes, and you know,

00:32:17   Monty underscore underscore in the chatroom is saying,

00:32:19   dash Evernote does that exactly, Marco, I know that.

00:32:23   And there are other apps that do that.

00:32:24   This is, as John was saying earlier,

00:32:26   part of the problem with App Review,

00:32:28   that a lot of times the rules are not enforced consistently.

00:32:30   And a lot of times, like Evernote might have been approved,

00:32:33   and they made like a little note to their boss saying,

00:32:36   hey, we might wanna consider the policy

00:32:39   on whether they can do this or not.

00:32:41   And then, you know, eventually they make that decision

00:32:43   and then draft gets hit by it,

00:32:45   and then maybe Evernote will get hit by it

00:32:46   in the future next time they try to update,

00:32:48   or maybe Apple will send them a pleasant phone call.

00:32:51   Who knows?

00:32:52   But the point is these rules are evolving,

00:32:55   and it's really a bad scene for all parties involved.

00:32:59   I think Apple is obviously,

00:33:02   Apple is never going to say,

00:33:03   "These are the rules, they are set in stone,

00:33:05   "and they are complete."

00:33:06   They even say in the rules document,

00:33:08   I think it says in the intro that it's like

00:33:09   a living document and it will be changed over time,

00:33:11   and they're gonna change their mind on rules,

00:33:13   they're gonna figure out new rules.

00:33:15   - Well see, the fact that they change over time,

00:33:17   like we'd expect them to change over time,

00:33:19   to change in response to changing markets,

00:33:22   to be refined and made more specific

00:33:24   and clarify things that are unclear,

00:33:26   that's why it's so important to do the thing

00:33:28   that Apple seems not to do that well,

00:33:30   which is explain the motivations.

00:33:32   Because if you say, here's a set of rules

00:33:34   and what we're trying to do with these rules is,

00:33:36   and then explain their motivations,

00:33:38   because the motivations let you say,

00:33:39   well, the rule doesn't say anything about this specifically,

00:33:42   but does it violate the spirit of the law?

00:33:45   We have the letter of the law,

00:33:46   we don't necessarily have the spirit.

00:33:48   Is there a good chance that this is like borderline

00:33:51   and might get rejected or, you know,

00:33:53   usually you can tell if you're trying to skirt a rule,

00:33:55   like you know you're doing that,

00:33:55   but sometimes you're just like,

00:33:58   the example I just put in the show notes

00:33:59   is James Thompson's PCALC,

00:34:02   where he made a, PCALC is a calendar application calculator

00:34:06   for iOS and the Mac.

00:34:08   And he made a little calculator in the today widget,

00:34:13   just a number pad with plus, minus, multi,

00:34:15   it's a calculator, right?

00:34:16   And that the whole time he was making that,

00:34:19   he's like, boy, this is a perfect example of a today widget

00:34:22   because it just so happens

00:34:23   that an extremely simplified version

00:34:25   of the functionality of my application

00:34:26   fits within a today widget

00:34:28   because the big calculator app, it's very complicated,

00:34:31   it's got a customizable keyboard

00:34:32   and a tape and scientific notation

00:34:34   and programmable functions like that.

00:34:36   But I can give you a simple

00:34:37   add a bunch of numbers together thing here.

00:34:39   And he got rejected.

00:34:40   And I haven't talked to him about this,

00:34:43   so I don't know whether this is the case,

00:34:45   but from seeing his tweets about it,

00:34:47   it seems like he spent the entire time since WWDC,

00:34:50   since iOS 8 was announced until now,

00:34:52   working on this widget,

00:34:53   never in a million years thinking

00:34:57   this widget is gonna get rejected

00:34:59   because you're not allowed to have calculators

00:35:00   as in a today widget, right?

00:35:02   It just didn't even occur to him

00:35:03   because looking at the rules,

00:35:05   there's nothing from what he could define

00:35:06   from the spirit of the rules that said this type of thing

00:35:09   would cause it to be rejected.

00:35:11   Now I'm pretty sure this was fairly quickly reversed.

00:35:13   I think it's back in the store now or whatever.

00:35:15   - That's correct.

00:35:16   But it was reversed after we all loudly publicized it.

00:35:19   - Yeah, after we all, you know,

00:35:20   because he's a well-known developer,

00:35:22   a long time Apple developer, there was lots of stories.

00:35:24   Is that why it got reversed?

00:35:26   Maybe, maybe not.

00:35:27   Maybe it was just a mistake or whatever.

00:35:29   But that type of experience

00:35:30   where you think you're doing exactly what Apple wants.

00:35:33   Like you're coming home from WWC and you're like,

00:35:35   "Boy, I'm totally on board with this thing.

00:35:37   I'm going to make a great,

00:35:39   I'm going to take advantage of these new APIs you made."

00:35:41   Like that's what WAC is trying to get you to do.

00:35:43   Here's this new software, here are these new APIs.

00:35:45   Now go out there and make something great with it.

00:35:47   And you do it and it's just like, nope, reject it.

00:35:49   And you're like, what do you mean reject it?

00:35:50   And you know you have no recourse.

00:35:52   You know, this is the appeals process,

00:35:53   but like it's so difficult to talk to someone

00:35:55   and you just don't understand.

00:35:57   You say, "I didn't think I was skirting a rule.

00:35:59   I didn't think I was even close to any lines.

00:36:01   Nothing in these things would indicate to me

00:36:02   that I would ever get rejected."

00:36:04   And then you just get rejected.

00:36:05   And would it have been reversed

00:36:07   if he wasn't such a well-known person

00:36:08   in the Apple community?

00:36:09   Maybe, maybe not.

00:36:10   You're never gonna get an explanation of why it happened,

00:36:13   or at least not a public one.

00:36:14   And there's just nothing in there.

00:36:16   What are you trying to do with these?

00:36:19   What are you trying to prevent from happening?

00:36:20   You're launching another application?

00:36:21   No. Are you putting advertisements in there?

00:36:23   No. Are you putting a tiny little game inside there?

00:36:25   No. It's just,

00:36:26   it's exposing some functionality in your application.

00:36:28   It's like, it's exactly what you think you were supposed to do.

00:36:30   So that type of stuff,

00:36:32   again, frustration by proxy.

00:36:33   I don't have an app in the app store.

00:36:34   It doesn't affect me, but it's just,

00:36:37   it makes me upset that this happens.

00:36:41   It's like mismanagement.

00:36:42   Especially when it's immediately reversed.

00:36:44   It's just bad blood for no good reason.

00:36:46   - Right, and I think what you just said about,

00:36:48   oh, well, he wasn't putting a little game in there

00:36:50   or anything, I think that should be allowed too.

00:36:52   I think what we're seeing here is Apple is obviously

00:36:57   still trying to figure out what the rules around this are.

00:37:00   And I think the rules should have already been decided

00:37:04   for the most part and should be pretty clear to them.

00:37:06   And I think they are exerting a lot more

00:37:09   like nanny state level control over this than is warranted.

00:37:13   Because from their point, and secondarily,

00:37:16   maybe the reason they don't want apps to launch themselves

00:37:19   or other apps from notifications or from today view,

00:37:23   maybe there's a security angle on that, I don't know.

00:37:26   If there is a security angle on that,

00:37:28   Apple should fix that security angle and then allow it.

00:37:30   Because like, that's stupid.

00:37:33   So maybe this is a security thing and that's the reason.

00:37:36   We haven't been told that, but regardless,

00:37:38   that's something worth fixing and then allowing.

00:37:41   I think what we're seeing here is Apple saying,

00:37:44   here's this great new system we've made, very powerful,

00:37:48   but we're gonna be extremely cautious

00:37:50   so that we don't allow users

00:37:52   to make a bad experience for themselves.

00:37:54   That is Apple's typical MO.

00:37:56   However, the way they've done it here is,

00:37:59   first of all, the process of adding a today widget

00:38:03   to your today view is pretty deliberate.

00:38:06   Like, you don't just install an app

00:38:09   and all of a sudden it's automatically in your today view.

00:38:11   Like, that doesn't happen.

00:38:13   You have to manually go and add it.

00:38:15   And that's a process that I would imagine most users

00:38:18   don't know how to do, don't care to do,

00:38:19   and are certainly not gonna be able to do it accidentally

00:38:22   too many times and not even knowing how they did it.

00:38:24   - And it's considerably harder than, say,

00:38:26   accepting push notifications for an app.

00:38:28   - Right, yeah, like, the app can't just present

00:38:30   a button that does this.

00:38:31   Like you have to actually go into your today view

00:38:34   and like go down to like the edit area

00:38:36   or whatever it is and add it.

00:38:38   Like you have to deliberately put these things there.

00:38:41   Because of that, so you have chosen to download this app,

00:38:45   you have chosen to add its widget to today view,

00:38:48   I don't think Apple needs to be as protective

00:38:52   of what's there because the user has chosen,

00:38:55   put this here, please, I am wanting,

00:38:57   this is so important to me, I want this in my today view.

00:39:00   'cause the today view, it doesn't scale well

00:39:03   to having tons of crap there.

00:39:05   You're gonna be picking a small number of things

00:39:07   to put there in all likelihood.

00:39:08   So Apple's concern, if I had to guess,

00:39:12   it's about keeping that simple and lightweight.

00:39:15   But they don't have to do that

00:39:16   because the process of adding those things

00:39:17   is already so deliberate and difficult.

00:39:19   And it doesn't handle having a lot in there

00:39:22   just design-wise already that I think

00:39:25   anything that an app is allowed to do in itself,

00:39:29   it should be allowed to do there too.

00:39:31   I don't think Apple is doing itself or its customers,

00:39:35   and certainly not its developers, any favors

00:39:38   by trying to say, well, you can put things here

00:39:41   and it's a UI view, you can render into it

00:39:44   whenever you want and you can have buttons and stuff,

00:39:47   but we only want it to be for these quick glance

00:39:50   kind of tasks, like that's a really hard line to draw.

00:39:52   We're seeing the problems with them trying to draw that line

00:39:55   And I think it's just, it's a bad idea

00:39:59   to even try to draw that line.

00:40:00   I think if somebody downloads a game,

00:40:02   let's say it's a game that puts Pong

00:40:05   in your notification center.

00:40:06   It's a Pong game and you can install the Pong Today widget

00:40:09   and you can play Pong in your Today view.

00:40:12   That's, you know, that's not a great idea for a game

00:40:15   but someone's gonna do it and make a billion dollars.

00:40:17   I will take my royalty later.

00:40:19   But if you wanna do that as a user,

00:40:22   why does Apple have to say, no, you can't do that?

00:40:25   That's not what this is for.

00:40:27   You have to go to the app for that.

00:40:29   You chose to get the app,

00:40:30   you chose to put it in Notification Center,

00:40:31   you chose to bring it down and play Pong with it.

00:40:34   This is not something that I see

00:40:37   ripe for abuse from developers

00:40:39   if you let them just do whatever they want with

00:40:41   in their little view there.

00:40:42   - Do you suspect that app review

00:40:44   is part of Federighi's organization?

00:40:47   - If I had to guess, I would say Schiller's.

00:40:49   'Cause it's part of developer relations, I think,

00:40:51   which is part of Schiller's.

00:40:52   - Right, I agree.

00:40:53   Well, could it be something as simple as,

00:40:57   you know, as far as engineering is concerned,

00:40:59   it's the Wild West in a good way, not in a bad way.

00:41:03   But Schiller's group is like, "Uh-uh, uh-uh, that's no good."

00:41:07   - But Schiller, well, all right,

00:41:08   so Eddy Cue is the App Store guy, right?

00:41:11   - Yes. - Running the App Store.

00:41:12   All right, and so Peacock, the weird thing with Peacock,

00:41:15   as Jason Snell pointed out in the chat room,

00:41:16   is that Peacock was accepted,

00:41:19   Peacock was promoted with like the big banner

00:41:21   in the App Store with the big artwork and everything,

00:41:23   accepted to the App Store, promoted, and then rejected.

00:41:26   - It was rejected while it was in the promotion.

00:41:28   - Right, so people who are responsible for saying,

00:41:30   "Hey, here's an application that demonstrates

00:41:32   this is a great iOS app.

00:41:34   This shows a developer is using our new APIs,

00:41:36   blah, blah, blah, whatever."

00:41:37   They choose what to promote.

00:41:38   That's Schiller's organization, maybe,

00:41:41   but EdiQ runs a store where it's promoted.

00:41:43   I don't understand how it's working,

00:41:44   but it seems entirely plausible

00:41:46   that one hand didn't know what the other hand was doing.

00:41:48   On the one hand, some people are picking out applications

00:41:51   they think are worthy to promote in the App Store.

00:41:53   And on the other hand, someone else is rejecting PCAL

00:41:55   'cause they think you shouldn't have a calculator thing

00:41:57   in the state.

00:41:58   And then eventually those people got together

00:41:59   and maybe talked and then the app was unrejected.

00:42:01   But it does not inspire confidence in the organization

00:42:06   when stuff like that happens because like,

00:42:08   guys, talk to each other, figure out what's going on here.

00:42:11   And especially since again,

00:42:14   we're trying to divine the motivations.

00:42:16   We're like, could we have foreseen this?

00:42:18   Is there anything in what Apple has ever said

00:42:21   from any public and private communication

00:42:23   about today widgets that would indicate to you beforehand

00:42:27   that this thing was even close to any boundaries

00:42:29   of something that you didn't want to have.

00:42:30   Because it's not, you know,

00:42:31   as much as your spirited defense of the Pong game, right,

00:42:35   because of the way today's center widgets work,

00:42:37   I think anybody doing that could have a reasonable

00:42:40   expectation that you were outside the bounds

00:42:41   of what a today's center widget is supposed to be.

00:42:43   Because it's so far out of the bounds of anything

00:42:45   that Apple has shown.

00:42:46   But Apple has shown things that are exactly

00:42:49   like a calculator type thing,

00:42:50   like a small vaguely interactive graph

00:42:53   or some information that you can swipe to do something

00:42:56   or a couple of buttons you can press.

00:42:58   It's adding numbers for crying out loud.

00:43:00   I mean, I know there are technical limitations

00:43:02   on today's center, which is in terms of like,

00:43:05   today's center, whatever the hell these things are called.

00:43:07   (laughing)

00:43:08   Limitations on like when your app is gonna be instantiated

00:43:11   and how quickly you're gonna be torn down

00:43:13   and like, you're not, you can't cram in,

00:43:16   you can't take a long time to initialize.

00:43:17   You don't have long time to tear yourself down

00:43:20   and you're getting pulled out.

00:43:20   Like there are limitations on putting it,

00:43:22   but if you're working within that context,

00:43:25   something like a procedurally drawn Pong game

00:43:28   or a calculator that has numbers, it's perfectly fine.

00:43:31   So it just doesn't make any sense.

00:43:34   And so when Apple does stuff like that,

00:43:36   this is the bad blood I was talking about.

00:43:37   When stuff like that happens, you're like,

00:43:39   it's not a big deal, but it gave one developer

00:43:42   a lot of stress for a day or two and doesn't make any sense.

00:43:45   and it makes it look like Apple is an organization

00:43:47   that doesn't have its stuff together, you know?

00:43:50   - Yeah, and it also, it does have a chilling effect

00:43:53   on other development.

00:43:54   Like, there's a, like, I mean, I don't have any plans

00:43:57   for a today widget, 'cause I don't think it makes

00:43:59   a lot of sense for Overcast, but if I had plans for it,

00:44:02   I would certainly be reconsidering them now,

00:44:04   because I don't know, like, as a developer,

00:44:07   like, should I invest a few months into doing something

00:44:10   that will very possibly get my app rejected in the future

00:44:13   and have to pull it out?

00:44:14   Like, it's such a big risk.

00:44:16   There are so many, and especially for apps like Draft,

00:44:20   like Peacock, where it's a bigger undertaking,

00:44:22   it's a bigger selling feature,

00:44:25   I don't know that I would be developing

00:44:27   for Notification Center widgets right now.

00:44:28   It's just not worth the risk.

00:44:30   - All right, why don't you tell us about something

00:44:32   that's cool, that maybe will make us a little happier

00:44:34   than this fiasco?

00:44:36   - Have you ever built a website, Casey?

00:44:38   - You know, once or twice.

00:44:40   - Building a website used to take a long time.

00:44:42   You would just set it all up yourself manually,

00:44:44   spend all day troubleshooting random errors and stuff.

00:44:47   If you ever had to edit the site,

00:44:49   it'd be pretty easy to break your links

00:44:50   or even break the whole site, break the layout,

00:44:52   put in like a space in the wrong place

00:44:54   and break your PHP file.

00:44:56   Sometimes even just changing the font color

00:44:57   would be a huge headache.

00:44:59   Now we have Squarespace,

00:45:00   and you can build beautiful websites with it without a sweat.

00:45:03   If you're new to Squarespace, check it out today.

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00:45:07   well now there's more with the brand new Squarespace 7.

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00:45:19   registered there, you can have your apps there,

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00:45:23   all that set up through Squarespace

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00:45:31   I mean, you probably don't need all 40 million of them,

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00:45:38   or officially commercially licensed photo

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00:46:27   you're having or promoting a special or promoting a new post

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00:47:52   - Do you wanna go totally meta and talk about podcasting?

00:47:54   'Cause people love that.

00:47:56   - So our friend Alan Pike of Steam Clock Software,

00:47:59   wrote a great post that we'll link to in the show notes.

00:48:02   They basically considered and started researching

00:48:05   the possibility of making a podcast double-ender recording app.

00:48:11   In the post, they go through the rationale for why they wanted it, why they think there

00:48:15   was a market, and then as they did more research into the market and ran some numbers, they

00:48:19   realized they actually shouldn't make it because there just aren't enough podcasters

00:48:25   to really support it financially.

00:48:28   The market is just not big enough for it.

00:48:30   So our friend Rob Rhine at Martian Craft wrote kind of a follow-up, maybe a counterpoint

00:48:35   argument to it that was really good, basically saying, "You're targeting professionals,

00:48:41   somebody who uses an app to do their work, basically, to make their job possible or easier

00:48:47   or better, and when you're targeting professionals, it's easier to charge more money."

00:48:52   And so he was saying maybe there's a way to charge more money to the small number of

00:48:57   podcasters who might use such a thing and fund it that way. What did you think of these

00:49:01   when you read them?

00:49:02   I thought they were both really, really good posts. What I loved about Alan's was that

00:49:08   here was someone who actually put a little bit of thought into what he was doing, which

00:49:13   if you know Alan is of no surprise whatsoever, but he actually crunched numbers like you

00:49:18   were saying, Marco, and really thought about, okay, is this a viable business, which is

00:49:23   much better way of going about things than just throwing something against the wall and

00:49:27   seeing if it sticks. And I thought it was a really great post. And then Rob Reins was

00:49:34   equally great because he was saying, well, if you spin it one or two other ways that

00:49:40   you may or may not have considered Alan, there may be something there. And certainly both

00:49:46   of them have built successful businesses by making intelligent business decisions. And

00:49:53   I think Martian Craft is quite a bit bigger than Steam Clock, so you could make an argument

00:49:56   that Rob is coming from definitely a place of knowledge and experience.

00:50:02   Not that Alan isn't, but I think both of them make excellent points.

00:50:06   And whether or not you care about how the three of us make our podcast, it's still an

00:50:12   interesting thought process with regard to entering a new market.

00:50:16   When I read the original post about, "Hey, we're thinking about making this podcasting

00:50:22   Which is something I think we've talked about on the show before about the weird hodgepodge of things

00:50:26   We use to do the podcast and how one app that put it all together

00:50:29   We've been nicer, but we always said the same thing as Alan did in this thing

00:50:32   Well one app that puts all the other would be nicer, but the total market for people who need this app is small

00:50:37   and

00:50:39   You know probably those those people even if you sold every single one of them is probably still not a viable business

00:50:43   Which is what these two posts are about

00:50:44   but the real the real thing that I think about when

00:50:48   Reading the the original post about this app is just how incredibly hard it would be to do this app

00:50:52   Well because it encompasses so many other applications that are in themselves

00:50:56   complicated hard to do applications and and

00:50:59   Connecting things together is I think even harder than making a good audio editor a good audio recorder, you know a good, you know

00:51:08   Skype type application, whatever you want to call those voice communicate like

00:51:12   trying to either integrate

00:51:15   Multiple apps or build those things in and have them all work together

00:51:19   It's just incredibly hard to do a good job on so I think that just the development job on this would

00:51:25   I'm not gonna say it's harder than Photoshop because Photoshop is a very full-featured application

00:51:30   But it's harder than Photoshop 1.0

00:51:31   I can tell you that right to do all that all the things they all the things that we do with these separate applications as

00:51:38   Well as we're able to do them with these separate applications in the first version because that's what you would need you'd be like

00:51:45   Especially for a tech nerd type people's like well we get the job done now

00:51:48   But it would be nice if we didn't have these hassles

00:51:50   But how much you know how much money am I willing to give up for that and that's what the other

00:51:55   Follow-up post is about but also how much quality am I willing to give up for integration?

00:52:00   You're like well if I got this application and the pricing isn't a problem

00:52:05   But I get better results when I use these seven different applications that I'm already using so is the

00:52:10   Downgrading control or quality or whatever for the 1.0 version of this product, you know

00:52:14   It's it's a tough sell even for the people who you know money is no object. We don't care about the pricing

00:52:19   You can make it really expensive. What are you giving me? That is an improvement over what I have and

00:52:25   Especially just out the gate. I

00:52:27   Just can't don't see how it's going to be as good as whatever system everyone's using if you're gonna sell to new people

00:52:33   Hey, you don't know how to use these seven applications to make a podcast. It's really annoying

00:52:37   If you don't want to have to deal with that stuff or learn all that sort of witchcraft get this one application

00:52:42   Then I think you'd have a better shot at signing them because they don't know what it's like to use logic and Marco's weird audio

00:52:48   Aligner and Skype and all these other things that we use to sort of make this all work together

00:52:52   They don't know how to do all that

00:52:55   So you're giving them a shortcut to getting up and running but that market of people who want to do podcasting

00:53:01   But don't want to learn all the other applications

00:53:04   like how many new podcasts are coming on the scene at this point and how many of those people have max and you know the

00:53:10   whole idea of like will you be able to to send someone a link and they'll download an application and that'll hook them into this

00:53:15   app or whatever like

00:53:17   Man, I would not want to try to make the first version of that application at any price even if there was a huge market

00:53:23   So this application terrifies me from a development perspective because I think it would be really really hard to do

00:53:29   And I still think no matter how you price it. The market is really small

00:53:33   Now, the one good thing it has going for it is there,

00:53:37   not for integrated applications,

00:53:41   but for sort of expert level applications,

00:53:45   there is a market for a really, really difficult to use tool

00:53:50   that is really capable, but is also like full of bugs

00:53:53   and the vendor is annoying.

00:53:54   Like there's a long history of applications

00:53:56   that you can think of some, whatever application you use.

00:53:58   - Oh, like Logic?

00:53:59   - Avid, Logic, you know, even Photoshop to some degree,

00:54:03   Like those things exist.

00:54:05   So that must be,

00:54:06   maybe that's less possible today than it was,

00:54:09   but I still think those type of applications exist.

00:54:12   But I don't know if people wanna be in that software.

00:54:15   Even something like, not Final Cut,

00:54:18   Final Draft is actually kind of a weird example of that

00:54:20   where, listen to those John August podcasts

00:54:23   where there's one application

00:54:25   that everybody has to use that got entrenched

00:54:27   and the vendor is not the best vendor

00:54:29   and people kind of have this love-hate relationship with it

00:54:31   but it's like, it's the thing that everybody uses.

00:54:34   Yeah, someone else suggested Pro Tools.

00:54:35   Like that is the thing that happened

00:54:38   is that that's like kind of like a dysfunctional customer

00:54:41   and software vendor relationship, I feel like.

00:54:43   So I wouldn't want to go into that,

00:54:45   even though it appears to be a viable business model.

00:54:46   QuarkXPress is another example

00:54:48   that kind of eventually went sour, right?

00:54:50   So I think that that is what I see as a way

00:54:54   to make a business out of this,

00:54:55   but I wouldn't want to go,

00:54:57   I wouldn't want to be in that business.

00:54:59   And the other side of that, I was talking about like,

00:55:00   hey, make it a easy to use, integrated,

00:55:03   my first podcasting app that will not give you

00:55:05   as good a results as using these dedicated,

00:55:06   expensive applications in this mishmash

00:55:08   with Marco's special custom code.

00:55:09   Like it won't give you those kinds of results.

00:55:11   It will be buggy and weird,

00:55:13   and it will be really hard to pull off.

00:55:15   That I think is less viable

00:55:17   because I just think there are fewer people

00:55:19   trying to do podcasts in that way.

00:55:21   If anything, I think the only way

00:55:23   you can get an entry level app like that

00:55:24   is to target iOS and not the Mac,

00:55:26   and somehow get an audio interface in there

00:55:28   with the USB connector or something like that.

00:55:31   But man, my head hurts just thinking about this.

00:55:34   - Yeah, I mean, there's a number of big problems

00:55:37   with trying to make an app for podcasting.

00:55:39   And you nailed most of them.

00:55:41   It's like, first of all, having to work

00:55:44   with everybody's setups is not trivial.

00:55:48   Because this is a world where there's a huge variety,

00:55:52   a huge range of diversity of hardware

00:55:57   and hardware types, hardware setups,

00:55:59   logical setups of like,

00:56:03   do you have four people together in a studio

00:56:06   recording onto a multitrack mixer?

00:56:07   Do you have four people on Skype

00:56:10   who are all trying to talk at the same time?

00:56:11   Do you have, are you recording church sermons

00:56:14   and putting that out as a feed?

00:56:16   Are you recording off of a phone?

00:56:18   Do you have one person on a phone in Australia

00:56:20   while three people are in the UK

00:56:22   trying to talk without latency?

00:56:24   There's so many variations there.

00:56:26   There's also the huge variations in budget.

00:56:30   A lot of podcasts are produced in radio studios,

00:56:33   and a lot of them are produced on people's laptops,

00:56:36   and there's everything in between.

00:56:39   And all of that you have applied to what really

00:56:42   is a very small number of producers.

00:56:44   Overcast's entire directory, every feed I know exists,

00:56:48   I think I have a little over 200,000 of them.

00:56:51   From what I've heard, I've heard rumors about the size

00:56:54   of iTunes's directory being somewhere

00:56:56   around the 500,000 number.

00:56:58   And if I look at the number of,

00:57:02   so Overcast right now has about 180,000 users.

00:57:04   Of those, only about, I think something like 40,000 podcasts

00:57:09   actually have any subscribers.

00:57:11   So, obviously not everybody uses Overcast,

00:57:15   but I think that can give you some idea

00:57:18   of like roughly how many distinct podcasts

00:57:22   are even listened to by more than a couple of people.

00:57:26   And so I would put the number around 50,000 maybe.

00:57:29   And so you think about, all right,

00:57:32   so how many producers is that?

00:57:34   Not every one of those 50,000 that has listeners

00:57:37   is produced by a unique producer.

00:57:39   There's a lot of people who produce many shows,

00:57:42   radio stations, podcast networks.

00:57:45   So how many people actually edit podcasts

00:57:49   that are listened to by more than a couple of people?

00:57:51   that number starts getting smaller and smaller.

00:57:53   And you know, so as you go through these steps,

00:57:55   you start saying, all right, well,

00:57:56   how many people might,

00:57:57   how many people could even use an app I make?

00:58:00   And I would say generously,

00:58:02   the number of unique podcast producers

00:58:06   is probably less than 10,000.

00:58:08   Possibly a lot less than 10,000.

00:58:11   How many of them would be even willing to use my app?

00:58:15   'Cause a lot of these people have their own workflows.

00:58:17   And this is like, when you get into like the pro

00:58:20   content production or the pro software markets,

00:58:23   you gotta fight with people's existing workflows.

00:58:25   So you have to say, all right, well,

00:58:28   I probably wouldn't use an app like this

00:58:29   'cause I edit this show and I use Logic.

00:58:34   And Logic is not perfect, but it works.

00:58:38   And it's only 200 bucks, I think, or 300, I think it's 200.

00:58:41   So it's only 200 bucks, it works,

00:58:44   and I know there's a fairly decent chance

00:58:48   I'm not the only person using it.

00:58:50   (laughs)

00:58:50   And so, I know the number of using it for podcasting

00:58:53   is small, but the number of people using this

00:58:55   is gonna be big enough that if there's a major bug,

00:58:57   it'll probably get caught and fixed before it hits me.

00:59:01   And I know that I can buy this knowing that

00:59:05   it's gonna probably work on the next version of Mac OS X,

00:59:07   so I won't be stuck after an upgrade.

00:59:10   It's probably maybe going to be maintained in the future.

00:59:14   All these fears that no one ever got fired for buying IBM,

00:59:17   that kind of thing.

00:59:18   You generally wanna be conservative

00:59:20   in your choice of pro tools.

00:59:21   And so a small app would have to fight against

00:59:25   all of those factors for the chance to possibly win

00:59:30   a small percentage of a small number of people's business.

00:59:34   - The worst thing for the other app competing in this area

00:59:37   is that the other applications that people are using

00:59:41   just have to add a few features

00:59:43   to their existing mature applications,

00:59:46   like so audio editing apps, right?

00:59:47   There's plenty of established audio editing applications.

00:59:50   All they have to do is add one or two or three features

00:59:53   focused on podcasting,

00:59:54   say if they built in your audio alignment thing

00:59:56   for multi-track stuff.

00:59:58   That's like, oh, well, like if each one of the constituent

01:00:01   apps that you use for each function,

01:00:04   like if Skype adds some features focused on podcasting,

01:00:06   if Logic adds some features focused on podcasting,

01:00:08   and it like, you know,

01:00:09   Squarespace already has features focused on podcasts,

01:00:11   and like the integration of like all the different pieces

01:00:13   that we put everything together,

01:00:15   if they just kind of say,

01:00:16   "Oh, I guess podcasting is a thing now

01:00:17   "and I make an audio editor,

01:00:18   "so I should have a template for podcasts.

01:00:20   "I should have some tools that are useful

01:00:22   "for people who do large, multi-track podcasts."

01:00:24   And that's it.

01:00:25   And then it's like, "Well, now why am I using your app?"

01:00:27   And it was so easy for them to do

01:00:28   because they're already a great audio editor.

01:00:30   They're already a widely used application

01:00:33   for talking to people over the internet.

01:00:35   It's just so hard to compete in it.

01:00:37   All this said, if someone did an amazing job

01:00:40   on an application like this,

01:00:41   even if it didn't do everything in-house,

01:00:42   even if it said, "Edit audio and external editor,"

01:00:45   and threw you into logic or something.

01:00:47   Like if it didn't do the whole thing,

01:00:48   but it just kind of integrated stuff together.

01:00:51   Even that, I think we would all be willing to try

01:00:54   because we would like it to be easier.

01:00:57   So I don't think it's not like

01:00:59   the idea of the application is bad.

01:01:00   It's just that the environment for pulling it all,

01:01:03   the degree of difficulty is really high.

01:01:05   And I mean, maybe someone just did it for free

01:01:08   out of the goodness of their heart

01:01:09   and was an amazing developer.

01:01:10   It would be a benefit to the world,

01:01:12   but as a business, it's tough.

01:01:15   - Right, and worth clarifying two points.

01:01:17   One, there is an app for editing called Hindenburg,

01:01:21   which H_B mentioned in the chat.

01:01:23   I actually tried this.

01:01:25   Honestly, I kind of find the name distasteful

01:01:27   'cause that's kind of a tragedy that killed a bunch of people

01:01:29   but anyway, so it's a dedicated like radio journalism,

01:01:33   podcast journalism kind of app.

01:01:35   It's made for radio journalists

01:01:38   to produce that style of podcast.

01:01:40   It is $375 to use commercially

01:01:45   And so Logic is half the price.

01:01:49   So they're fighting that battle already.

01:01:50   Like they have to, and I'm not saying they should charge

01:01:53   less 'cause I don't think they could charge less

01:01:55   and make enough money to survive.

01:01:56   Because the number of potential customers

01:01:58   are so small here.

01:02:00   But so that's another thing to consider.

01:02:01   Like there are alternative editing apps.

01:02:03   And they, I don't know anybody who uses Hindenburg.

01:02:07   And I mean, granted, I don't know a lot of

01:02:09   radio journalists, but you know, I'm sure they have users.

01:02:11   But that's a tough sell to a lot of people.

01:02:14   Second thing to clarify is that Alan Pike's potential product was not an editing product,

01:02:20   it was just something to do the double-ending recording.

01:02:23   And the number of people who do that style of podcast production is even smaller than

01:02:27   the number of producers, because that's a fairly rare way to produce a podcast where

01:02:31   everybody records their end and then an editor combines them all.

01:02:34   That's what we do here, that's what a few other shows do that we know, but most shows

01:02:40   that have remote guests just record Skype and it's fine.

01:02:43   And it's not the best audio quality,

01:02:45   but then you avoid sync issues,

01:02:47   you avoid trying to get the other person

01:02:49   to select the right input for the program

01:02:51   that's recording the thing,

01:02:52   or having them have to buy Piezo or Call Recorder

01:02:57   or something like that.

01:02:58   It avoids a lot of issues to just record a Skype feed,

01:03:01   so that's what most people do.

01:03:02   - That was one of the big pitches of this,

01:03:04   is the difficulty of getting guests.

01:03:06   So if you're gonna have a podcast where you have guests,

01:03:09   and you don't want to limit yourself to guests

01:03:11   who know how to do podcasting,

01:03:13   You have to have some way to say,

01:03:15   hey, person who probably owns a computer

01:03:17   but knows nothing about podcasts,

01:03:19   do these simple steps and you will be able to talk to us

01:03:22   over the internet in a way that you will be participating

01:03:24   in a live podcast or in a prerecorded podcast.

01:03:27   And it's kind of like the same problem

01:03:28   that like a "Fog Creek" co-pilot was trying to solve

01:03:30   or whatever where you need to screen share

01:03:33   with your relatives to help them

01:03:34   with their computer problems.

01:03:35   It's difficult over the phone to get them

01:03:39   to initiate screen sharing.

01:03:40   So here, you just send them an email,

01:03:42   They click the link, they click three buttons,

01:03:44   and you're connected to them, right?

01:03:45   That's a very difficult problem.

01:03:49   And I think that problem is easier than the problem of,

01:03:52   hey, do these simple steps,

01:03:54   person who's not too familiar with computers,

01:03:56   and you are now talking live with me

01:03:58   and possibly recording your end locally on your disc

01:04:00   that is surely fast enough to keep up with this

01:04:01   and you won't have, like it's just,

01:04:03   and your audio input will be through the right stuff.

01:04:05   And it's, but just doing that part of it,

01:04:07   just the guest application,

01:04:09   even just that is really hard to do.

01:04:11   because Copilot, I don't even know if that's still a thing.

01:04:13   I've tried to use it a few times.

01:04:14   The Mac version did not go well for me.

01:04:17   I kind of sort of got it to limp through what it was.

01:04:21   I've paid for it like many times.

01:04:22   Like they had a business model where you pay some amount

01:04:25   and you can use it for like an hour or something.

01:04:27   In desperation, I've tried it.

01:04:29   It's a good idea, but it was not smooth sailing at all.

01:04:32   And so even that's not a solved problem.

01:04:34   And many people have tried,

01:04:36   including Apple with the iChat stuff.

01:04:39   And podcasting too, it has a certain degree

01:04:41   of built in complexity.

01:04:42   You're dealing with microphones

01:04:44   and people's random computers, random environments,

01:04:47   and random internet connections.

01:04:49   And there's a reason why.

01:04:51   If you have a regular show with regular guests,

01:04:55   the three of us, it's worth it for the three of us

01:04:58   to have each end recorded separately

01:05:00   because we're always the same people.

01:05:03   All three of us were willing and able

01:05:04   to buy a nice microphone and have a quiet room

01:05:08   where we record and use software that records it

01:05:11   and we're technically able to do that

01:05:13   and to do it reliably.

01:05:15   And all of our internet connections we know

01:05:17   are solid enough and we even live geographically

01:05:19   close enough that it's not usually a problem.

01:05:21   So none of these things were problems for us.

01:05:23   So that's why we choose to do the show that way.

01:05:26   But again, like if you're having a new guest every week,

01:05:29   that's a tough thing to coordinate.

01:05:31   And it's hard enough getting them a microphone

01:05:34   to even use Skype properly.

01:05:36   And to add in the complexity of, are you

01:05:39   recording the right thing?

01:05:40   And you're going to send me your file?

01:05:43   It's just not worth it.

01:05:44   I think the market for that is extremely small.

01:05:47   And it's not--

01:05:48   And the way the big shows do this, by the way,

01:05:49   the way the big shows do the how do you

01:05:51   go to get a guest up and running and everything,

01:05:53   is they throw humans at it.

01:05:55   So someone will contact you the day or week before.

01:05:58   They will mail you a microphone in the mail.

01:06:00   The person will contact you and make

01:06:02   sure your setup is correct and walk you

01:06:03   through laboriously over the phone, over video,

01:06:06   over whatever they can do to make sure your setup is correct

01:06:09   so that when the actual show goes,

01:06:11   you have a setup that is known and validated

01:06:13   to be working by a member of their staff.

01:06:15   That is incredibly expensive.

01:06:17   That's way more expensive than buying a $300 application

01:06:19   or a $500 application or a $1,000 application

01:06:22   or a $100 a month application.

01:06:23   But that has a much higher chance of success, I think,

01:06:27   than the application will take care of it for you.

01:06:29   You're probably still gonna need that human

01:06:31   to walk the person through the supposedly so simple setup

01:06:35   because of physical factors, not even the software,

01:06:37   even if the software is perfect.

01:06:39   - And beyond all that,

01:06:40   if you go to take Rob Ryan's approach of saying,

01:06:42   well hey, charge more money, this is worth it to people.

01:06:44   Beyond all the problems of it being a really small market

01:06:48   of people who are producing these things

01:06:49   and willing to try your app,

01:06:51   there's also some severe budget problems for most people.

01:06:54   Most people, podcasting well,

01:06:57   using high quality stuff, is already a tough sell.

01:07:00   Because you're already asking people to spend

01:07:03   a few hundred dollars on a decent mic

01:07:05   and some kind of setup there, maybe a pop filter,

01:07:07   maybe an anti-shock thing or a mount and all this stuff.

01:07:12   Then oh, call record, it's another 30 bucks

01:07:14   and maybe Logic's another $200 or maybe GarageBand,

01:07:19   but GarageBand keeps getting worse for podcasts

01:07:21   in each new version.

01:07:22   You're already asking people to spend a lot of money.

01:07:25   Already most people are not willing to do that.

01:07:27   Most podcasts are not produced that way.

01:07:29   Most podcasts are produced from people's built-in mics

01:07:32   and headsets and iPhone mics and stuff like that.

01:07:34   They don't sound very good, but a lot of people,

01:07:37   you can't ask, maybe some church recording at servants

01:07:41   and everything, they don't have maybe the money

01:07:43   to buy Logic, you know?

01:07:45   There's so many podcast producers out there

01:07:48   who are not gonna be spending hundreds or thousands

01:07:51   of dollars on software and gear to do this,

01:07:54   and that will always be the case.

01:07:57   There's always gonna be, most producers

01:08:00   who are gonna be doing it as a hobby,

01:08:01   or on a low budget and you have to account for that.

01:08:04   And so that's like, I agree with Rob Ryan

01:08:09   that a professional app should be priced accordingly,

01:08:14   but I don't think there's enough podcast producers

01:08:17   to ever support something like this anytime soon.

01:08:20   - In defense of Rob's post, if you could snap your fingers

01:08:23   and make the theoretical application come into existence

01:08:26   that is awesome at all this stuff,

01:08:28   that does everything as high quality,

01:08:29   is integrated, is relatively bug-free,

01:08:31   like that really provides the benefit,

01:08:34   then all of his various pricing strategies

01:08:36   could probably work out.

01:08:38   But the prerequisite is you actually have an application

01:08:42   that helps people make money,

01:08:43   like that is more convenient for them,

01:08:45   that produces better results in less time,

01:08:46   that has fewer bugs,

01:08:48   that has features that would be difficult,

01:08:50   you know, like they can replace a fractional portion

01:08:53   of a staffer that you would need, right?

01:08:55   Then it may be viable.

01:08:57   But like, even then it's borderline

01:08:59   because you don't have the benefit,

01:09:01   I think it was another Joel article,

01:09:02   like the different kinds of software you sell,

01:09:04   the cheap free stuff that random person buys off the street,

01:09:07   the sort of consumer applications

01:09:09   that you could sell to an individual

01:09:12   who's gonna buy application for like,

01:09:14   they'll buy Photoshop for themselves or whatever.

01:09:16   And then, and that's like a hundred bucks,

01:09:19   a couple hundred bucks,

01:09:19   or maybe like a small monthly subscription fee.

01:09:22   Then there's a gigantic chasm

01:09:23   and then your starting price is 30 grand, right?

01:09:26   And that's like enterprise software.

01:09:28   you're selling it to a business, to a business,

01:09:31   this is such an essential part of their business,

01:09:32   the 30 grand or, you know,

01:09:34   let's use the Oracle pricing model.

01:09:36   How about percentage of revenue?

01:09:37   How does that feel to you?

01:09:38   - Yes, how much money do you have?

01:09:40   - Not profit, revenue, yeah.

01:09:41   - Contact us for pricing.

01:09:43   - That is just a huge gap between like a couple hundred bucks

01:09:47   maybe pushing a thousand

01:09:48   and then up into the multiple thousands.

01:09:50   And there's not much in that middle ground there.

01:09:52   And I don't know, podcasting is not at the point now

01:09:55   where it can be sold as enterprise software

01:09:57   for the most part.

01:09:58   enterprises that are doing it maybe kind of like, I don't know, maybe like Twitter or

01:10:02   TV network is trying to do a podcast or like the Daily Show, but even those I think of

01:10:07   like the Daily Show podcast is not, you know, you couldn't sell them 30 grand podcasting

01:10:11   stuff, they're just putting stuff together.

01:10:12   And anyway, I don't know if that market will ever exist for sort of enterprise level sales,

01:10:18   because even in the entertainment industry like, you know, Maya or whatever is a couple

01:10:21   grand but it's not 60 grand, whereas Oracle, you know, sells to businesses and their checks

01:10:28   have a lot of zeros on them, so.

01:10:29   - Well, and all the pro podcasters who are doing it

01:10:31   like from studios or as part of bigger companies,

01:10:34   they already have their workflows established.

01:10:36   Like you're probably not even gonna get them

01:10:37   with a new tool like this, because they already have,

01:10:40   they're already set up with how they do things.

01:10:42   - Wasn't it on Core Intuition semi-recently

01:10:44   that Daniel Jalkett was talking about how,

01:10:47   I think it was maybe Fast Scripts, is that his,

01:10:50   is that right?

01:10:51   - Yeah, Daniel Jalkett has Fast Script,

01:10:52   the little script menu thing with the keyboard shortcuts.

01:10:55   And so he had written it and had like per seat licensing model or something like

01:11:00   that.

01:11:02   And then he got approached by some company and they said,

01:11:05   we want to buy it for the entire company. And I,

01:11:08   I forget exactly how he phrased it,

01:11:10   but apparently he came up with some number that he thought was so ridiculous.

01:11:13   They would basically laugh at him and that's what they paid.

01:11:15   And that's kind of what you guys are talking about is, you know,

01:11:18   you find there's eventually a time when a company will pay just absurd amounts

01:11:23   absurd amounts of money in order to get this app.

01:11:27   But I agree with you that finding podcasters to do this

01:11:30   is gonna be challenging.

01:11:32   - Yeah, and maybe someday there will be enough podcasters

01:11:35   to make this a viable market.

01:11:36   But today there are just simply are not that many

01:11:39   and we're so far from that.

01:11:41   It's not like there are almost that many.

01:11:43   It's not like there are gonna be that many next year

01:11:45   but it's gonna be finished making this app.

01:11:47   Like we are pretty far from there being enough

01:11:49   to support things like this.

01:11:51   So in conclusion, somebody make this awesome app.

01:11:53   We will all buy it and tell you what's wrong with it.

01:11:56   And you go out of business, the end.

01:11:58   - Honestly, I probably wouldn't buy it.

01:12:00   I already have our workflow.

01:12:01   - We would totally get it to look at it.

01:12:04   We'll make you buy it, Marco.

01:12:05   - We would send one of us to go get it, probably Marco.

01:12:08   And Marco would try it and not use it

01:12:09   because he doesn't like things that other people make.

01:12:12   And additionally-

01:12:13   - That's a good summary.

01:12:15   - And moreover, on top of that, we are,

01:12:19   well, maybe not you, John,

01:12:20   but certainly Marco and I are of an age where we grew up trying to find ways to

01:12:25   acquire things without paying a lot of money.

01:12:30   And while I think I speak for all of us and saying,

01:12:34   we're willing to spend money here and there when it's appropriate,

01:12:38   when we think it's reasonable, if we have a workflow that works,

01:12:42   that is not something that we necessarily,

01:12:45   that's not a problem we necessarily want to throw money at. And,

01:12:48   And that's what I think Marco is saying is that

01:12:50   we have something that works and if it's a lot,

01:12:52   if it's just way easier than okay,

01:12:55   but if it's just a bit easier, eh, whatever.

01:12:58   - I've been afraid to upgrade to Skype 7, that's free.

01:13:01   (laughing)

01:13:03   - Our final sponsor this week,

01:13:04   this actually ties in a little bit, is Lynda.com.

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01:15:52   Thanks a lot to lynda.com for sponsoring our show,

01:15:54   once again.

01:15:56   - All right, Jon, tell us about the video games

01:15:58   on the iPhone that you've been playing lately.

01:16:01   - Just one game, which I think Marco has played it.

01:16:04   I guess you haven't, Casey.

01:16:06   The game is Crossy Road.

01:16:07   Everybody's playing it, it's very popular these days.

01:16:09   I like the name until I realize that it's probably

01:16:12   an attempt to cash it on the flappy bird.

01:16:16   - I didn't even make that connection, but you're right.

01:16:17   - I liked it so much better before I made that connection,

01:16:19   but I still think it's a good name, it's adorable.

01:16:21   Anyway, the game is like kind of like Frogger,

01:16:24   if you remember that, if you don't, you can Google it.

01:16:25   It's like infinite Frogger.

01:16:26   (upbeat music)

01:16:29   That's not what I wanna talk about about this game.

01:16:30   What I wanna talk about is the monetization strategy

01:16:34   of this game, which is simultaneously confusing

01:16:38   and depressing, but maybe I still don't quite understand

01:16:40   the way things are working these days.

01:16:42   So it's a popular game, it's really well done.

01:16:46   I think they could have easily sold it for 99 cents,

01:16:49   but they didn't, they decided to go free to play.

01:16:50   Fine, that's what, you know,

01:16:52   big people are doing these days.

01:16:54   But Crossy Road is either really bad at free to play,

01:16:59   which makes it good,

01:17:01   or I don't understand how this stuff works.

01:17:04   So most free to play games have to find some way

01:17:07   to get money from you somehow in the game

01:17:10   by buying things that help you in the game

01:17:12   or showing you ads or both.

01:17:14   And Crossy Road has both of those things.

01:17:17   It has characters that you can use in the game.

01:17:20   You can buy different characters.

01:17:21   Starts you off with a chicken,

01:17:23   you can buy all sorts of other characters.

01:17:24   There's an in-game currency that you get

01:17:26   that you can find these little coins

01:17:27   and you get some currency.

01:17:29   And you can use that currency to redeem

01:17:31   and it's kind of like a gumball machine

01:17:32   that gives you characters for free.

01:17:35   And there's a time-based mechanic

01:17:36   where you get a free gift based on how long you play.

01:17:38   It's got all this type of things you see,

01:17:39   kind of an energy mechanic.

01:17:40   How long do you have to play?

01:17:41   How much longer until I get a new free gift?

01:17:42   How many coins do I collect?

01:17:44   And you buy the players with actual real money,

01:17:48   you know, 99 cents each or whatever.

01:17:50   And it seems like a reasonably good monetization strategy,

01:17:52   but the characters don't make the game any easier for you.

01:17:57   So they don't give you extra powers.

01:17:59   They don't give you extra lives.

01:18:00   They don't give you anything like that.

01:18:01   In fact, a lot of the characters make the game harder

01:18:03   for you instead of easier.

01:18:05   So the only motivation to buy them is kind of like

01:18:09   buying hats in Counter-Strike or whatever.

01:18:11   Like, you know, it's a frivolous thing that,

01:18:13   and that has worked in the past.

01:18:15   So maybe I'm not quite understanding it,

01:18:16   but they're not pressuring you to buy things in the game.

01:18:21   You can play it and you won't have to buy things.

01:18:25   And they have little thing where you can see an ad

01:18:27   and they just present you like a little icon

01:18:29   that shows like a little movie, which I don't think,

01:18:32   yeah, Team Fortress 2, sorry,

01:18:34   chat rooms corrected me where the hats were.

01:18:35   I was wondering how that would look in Counter-Strike.

01:18:37   Yeah.

01:18:38   Not really the right setting.

01:18:39   No, no.

01:18:41   A little movie strip and then a little coin symbol

01:18:43   or whatever saying, hey, if you watch this movie,

01:18:45   we will give you coins.

01:18:45   And of course, that's an ad.

01:18:46   If you tap on that, it shows you an ad for some other game.

01:18:48   You know, they get some money for that ad.

01:18:50   And then you get this in-game currency

01:18:51   that you can eventually redeem in a little gumball machine

01:18:53   for random characters that you can get.

01:18:55   These are the same characters that you could buy otherwise.

01:18:58   And I forget who pointed this out.

01:19:00   It might have been Jason and his thing

01:19:01   that he was writing about Crossy Road.

01:19:02   The fundamental problem with their monetization strategy

01:19:05   from the outside, from someone who's playing,

01:19:07   is I think it's more fun not to pay any money

01:19:10   to play this game.

01:19:11   It's more fun to play, the game itself is fun.

01:19:15   Getting coins in the game is fun.

01:19:17   Redeeming them in the little gumball machine

01:19:19   for a random guy is fun.

01:19:21   And you don't feel like you're missing anything

01:19:22   because you're like, boy, if I could pay the 99 cents,

01:19:24   I could finally get the power that lets me walk on water

01:19:26   for two steps and that would really help you.

01:19:28   There's none of that.

01:19:29   And so it is entirely, for the most part,

01:19:32   friendly to the user, not in your face.

01:19:34   It does prompt you a couple times to say, "Hey, do you want notifications when essentially

01:19:38   our energy meter runs out and when you should come back to the game and play again?"

01:19:42   But you can say no.

01:19:43   It presents that in-game, maybe presents it a few more times than it should.

01:19:47   And maybe little kids, like watching my kids play it, they will watch the ads to get the

01:19:50   coins because they want to get the other characters, so I guess they're getting some ad revenue

01:19:53   for that.

01:19:54   But I just look at this game and I'm like, "Boy, I wish I could give you some money for

01:19:58   this game, but I don't want any of the other characters.

01:20:00   Like I've got all the ones I got, I got...

01:20:02   It was more fun for me to get them for free and now I have them and they don't make the

01:20:05   game any easier anyway.

01:20:07   So what I'm saying is I'm concerned about Crossy Road.

01:20:09   The developer is probably a millionaire right now, swimming in his bathtub full of money

01:20:13   saying "That's great kid, you tell me how I should run my business."

01:20:15   But it's puzzling to me because it seems to do everything wrong from the perspective of

01:20:21   the evil free-to-play game that learns to extract money from people.

01:20:25   So I guess what I'm saying is you should all go out and get Crossy Road.

01:20:27   It's a great game and I really hope the developer is swimming in a bucket full of money.

01:20:32   I just don't figure out how they would be unless everybody's looking at those damn ads

01:20:36   Yeah, it wouldn't surprise me. I'm trying to look around. I'm trying to look I just love it the app store

01:20:41   Do you know where it places on the top grossing list? Oh, I don't know

01:20:44   I don't look at those things because it's it's number four on the top free list

01:20:48   But it would not surprise me if it actually if you're right that it actually isn't making that much money

01:20:53   I didn't even when you were describing that I've only played on a handful of times. Yeah, your score stinks

01:20:57   Yeah, because I only played on a handful of times

01:20:59   I don't I don't I don't really like this kind of game. But like I for like when somebody says oh my god

01:21:04   This game is great. You have to play it

01:21:05   I'll go and buy it in the App Store and I will forget

01:21:08   What the upfront price is whether it was free or not. Like I just don't even remember because it's like, okay

01:21:13   It's usually so cheap. It's a dollar who cares or it's free. And so I didn't even realize this was the monetization scheme

01:21:19   I've played the game a handful of times

01:21:21   Like you can probably expect many people to have done who have downloaded it. I didn't even realize that's how it was monetized. I like

01:21:29   So that's a problem.

01:21:31   He might make it up in volume though, because this is a super popular game.

01:21:34   And like I said, little kids do want to see the ads, so maybe all of his money is made

01:21:37   by showing ads to little kids to buy other games.

01:21:40   And I think people will buy the other characters, but I mean, my other yardstick is so far my

01:21:45   son who has spent an undisclosed amount of money on Clash of Clans, and the amount is

01:21:51   large.

01:21:52   Well that's very different though.

01:21:53   But he is susceptible to in-app purchase.

01:21:55   He has not asked me once to buy him one of these things for 99 cents.

01:22:00   And he's not shy about asking me to press this button.

01:22:03   I think I read a tweet the other day about someone who woke up and found their kid slowly

01:22:09   trying to move their finger onto the Touch ID on their phone while they were asleep to

01:22:13   try to do an in-and-out purchase.

01:22:14   So you gotta watch these kids.

01:22:16   He's not shy about asking, and he has not asked once.

01:22:19   That shows me that as whoever it is who wrote this, again, maybe Jason, it's more fun to

01:22:24   play the game to unlock this stuff for free

01:22:27   than it is to buy it.

01:22:28   That is more fun.

01:22:29   So why would you ever, the other thing is less fun.

01:22:31   You're paying money to have less fun.

01:22:34   - Yeah, I mean, it would not surprise me

01:22:36   if this really isn't doing that well.

01:22:38   Like, as I said, so I just can't get the whole list.

01:22:40   I couldn't find it in the top 150, top grossing,

01:22:42   so I don't know where it is, but it's probably not high.

01:22:45   Somebody said there's ads in it.

01:22:46   Are there ads in it?

01:22:47   - Like I said, you can click on a little thing

01:22:50   that says look at this ad and we'll give you

01:22:52   20 coins or whatever.

01:22:53   - But it's not even showing the ads during regular gameplay,

01:22:55   like the way Flappy Bird did?

01:22:57   - Well, it puts up a dialogue box.

01:22:58   It puts up a dialogue box, here are your options.

01:23:00   If you have more than 100 coins,

01:23:02   you can redeem 100 of them right now in the Gumball Machine.

01:23:05   You might have a free gift on the time-based mechanic,

01:23:07   which will just give you one of those things

01:23:08   that you could buy because you've been playing

01:23:10   for a long time, or press this thing,

01:23:11   we'll show you an ad and give you 20 coins.

01:23:14   - But as a player, when do I even need to do that?

01:23:17   - You never need to do it.

01:23:18   And one of the things that I got from the Gumball Machine

01:23:21   was 500 coins, which is basically like five free characters.

01:23:24   Like it's just, I don't understand it.

01:23:27   - So I just opened it up to see like, you know,

01:23:30   how this is, like, so, so far, I'm playing this game

01:23:34   and I'm seeing no ad, I'm seeing no solicitation

01:23:37   for buying these coins or doing it.

01:23:39   - Go die and you'll see a little thing that says free gift

01:23:41   and if you have over 100 coins.

01:23:43   - Oh yeah, you know, I saw that the before

01:23:44   and I had no idea what that was.

01:23:46   - Yeah, and that's why I said like the little icon

01:23:47   that shows the film strip.

01:23:48   I don't know if kids know what film looks like,

01:23:51   the little celluloid with the little notches.

01:23:54   So when you do an icon,

01:23:55   it's like the old telephone handset icon,

01:23:56   which I guess kids are kind of socialized

01:23:58   to no means phone because it's the icon on our phones.

01:24:00   But whatever it is, celluloid film strips

01:24:03   with the little holes in the edges,

01:24:05   I don't know if people know what that,

01:24:06   but anyway, there's a little symbol that looks like that

01:24:08   and then it shows coins.

01:24:09   - Oh, here's this gumball thing.

01:24:11   Okay, so I'm seeing this now.

01:24:12   I saw this once before.

01:24:14   I had no idea I could even pay anything in here.

01:24:17   I thought it was literally a free gift

01:24:19   and I just get this weird cow or something.

01:24:21   - Yeah, but you can't pay there.

01:24:23   You can go, like when you start the game,

01:24:25   when you start the game, there's a little thing

01:24:26   where you can change your character in the lower left,

01:24:28   and if you scroll through,

01:24:29   all the characters have 99 cents underneath them.

01:24:31   - This is the worst monetized popular game I've ever seen.

01:24:34   - Well, but that's what I'm saying.

01:24:35   I don't know if it is.

01:24:36   Like, we're on the outside.

01:24:37   We don't know how much money.

01:24:37   Again, this person could already be a millionaire,

01:24:39   and we have no idea what's going on, but it's just--

01:24:41   - Honestly, I feel bad for this developer,

01:24:42   'cause whatever they're making,

01:24:43   they could be making a lot more.

01:24:45   - Yeah, I would have paid 5.99 for this game.

01:24:47   - It is an amazingly well done game.

01:24:48   I mean, yeah, granted it's just Frogger,

01:24:50   you know, he didn't make up Frogger or whatever,

01:24:52   but execution wise and like fit for, you know,

01:24:55   for input method and viewing context

01:24:58   and retina screens and everything,

01:25:00   it's beautiful, it's amazing.

01:25:02   - I mean, even if there was just an eye ad

01:25:03   on the top or bottom, like just the way Flappy Bird did it.

01:25:05   - That would annoy me and it would make the game less fun.

01:25:08   - Well, and you can pay a dollar to hide it.

01:25:09   - I would have paid that instantly.

01:25:11   - Right, like that itself, I guarantee you,

01:25:14   whatever monetization they're doing with this app,

01:25:17   with those weird coin thing, I guarantee you,

01:25:19   what I just said with an IAD and a dollar to hide it,

01:25:21   would have done at least 10 times better for them.

01:25:23   - But you wouldn't have done that

01:25:24   because you would have felt bad about an app like that.

01:25:27   If you buy all these characters,

01:25:29   there's 99 cents to like 20 of them.

01:25:30   I think you could spend like 20 or 30 bucks on this game.

01:25:32   - Well, but even, but as you said,

01:25:33   like there's really no reason to.

01:25:35   - Well, I mean, again, maybe, just in my experience

01:25:39   and in my kids' experience, it seems like there's not,

01:25:41   but maybe other people, again, with buying the hats

01:25:43   in Team Fortress 2 and all that stuff,

01:25:45   Like maybe people want horse armor,

01:25:47   there's another gaming reference for you.

01:25:48   Like maybe people do want to buy them

01:25:51   and don't want to unlock them and just can't live

01:25:53   unless they have the Dark Lord as their character.

01:25:56   The characters are cool and they do change the game,

01:25:57   they're really neat.

01:25:59   - You know, I can't help but feel like

01:26:01   we spent the beginning of this episode

01:26:04   talking about how the spammy push notifications

01:26:08   are really cheapening your product

01:26:09   and it's a terrible way to go.

01:26:11   And now we're ending the episode by saying,

01:26:13   oh, you should have put ads on this thing,

01:26:14   You would have made a fortune.

01:26:15   - Thanks a lot to our sponsor.

01:26:17   - I was thinking this is a good game that people should buy,

01:26:20   but they can't buy it.

01:26:21   I tell you what, everyone go download this game for free,

01:26:24   play it for five or 10 minutes.

01:26:26   And if you think it's worth something,

01:26:27   pay 99 cents for the favorite character of choice.

01:26:30   And by the way, when I said they changed the game,

01:26:31   they changed the graphics in the game.

01:26:33   They don't change the game play

01:26:34   only to sometimes make it harder.

01:26:35   But for example, if you buy the penguin spoiler,

01:26:38   it makes everything all snowy.

01:26:39   It's adorable.

01:26:39   Just get the game.

01:26:40   (laughing)

01:26:41   - Well, but even like what you said,

01:26:43   you said like like the whole idea of like oh I got this game for free I'm

01:26:46   enjoying it so much I want to give them money I forgot how much I pay for the

01:26:50   game days after buying it and it was free maybe you thought you already had

01:26:53   given this money but you didn't well exactly so many people I bet like they

01:26:58   don't like you know a lot of people will only buy free stuff or download free

01:27:01   stuff and that's fine but there's a lot of people like me who are like you'll

01:27:05   pay a dollar for a game without really thinking about it and so like if you see

01:27:10   game that has no ads in it and no obvious spam to try to monetize, I would assume I

01:27:15   probably paid a dollar for this and not even think about giving them more money in the future.

01:27:18   All right, I think we're done. Anyway, thanks a lot to our four sponsors this week,

01:27:23   Studio Neat, Harry's, Squarespace, and lynda.com, and we will see you next week.

01:27:28   [music]

01:27:31   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin

01:27:36   'Cause it was accidental (accidental)

01:27:38   Oh, it was accidental (accidental)

01:27:42   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him

01:27:46   'Cause it was accidental (accidental)

01:27:49   Oh, it was accidental (accidental)

01:27:52   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm

01:27:57   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them

01:28:02   @C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S

01:28:06   So that's Kasey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M

01:28:10   Auntie Marco Arment

01:28:13   S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A-C-R-A-C-U-S-A

01:28:18   It's accidental

01:28:21   They didn't mean to

01:28:24   Accidental

01:28:26   Tech Podcast So Long

01:28:31   Yeah, I should both get this game and I think I'm game center friends with all of you

01:28:34   I have this game and we'll play it more. I just played it on the air

01:28:37   I can't like I this is we had a podcast about podcasting followed by playing crossy road on the air

01:28:42   Yeah, this is the worst episode of this podcast ever. It really is

01:28:45   My favorite feature of this game, which I feel bad almost spoiling because when you see it, it's it's just really

01:28:50   Really well done is that your game center friends that when they play of course

01:28:55   It records their score and you can see a leaderboard and doing all that stuff

01:28:57   But when you're playing the game, you will see the name of the person

01:29:01   Written across the farthest distance that they've made it so their highest score

01:29:04   I was I always see Marco Arment on like, you know 30 or whatever your pathetic score is

01:29:08   Across the ground. So you literally hop over their name when you're beating their score. It's brilliant

01:29:13   Cool. Yeah, and I was trying to I kept trying to contact Jason. I think he left I sent him private messages

01:29:19   I sent him I am so what I was trying to do is

01:29:21   Send a friend request from my son's game center account to his because Jason has the highest score of anyone on my friends list

01:29:28   But my son I think has beaten him and I wanted to get my son motivation to beat somebody score

01:29:32   So I said if they could just get him to be friends with Jason then he would have you know

01:29:35   I just basically I just want Jason to be knocked into second place

01:29:37   All right, so I haven't I haven't a counter an app figures and app figures lets you browse other apps rankings

01:29:43   So I'm showing you know, the ranking is pretty consistent

01:29:46   It is if you if you look at just free like on the free chart

01:29:51   It is in like it's in the top five it most of the time

01:29:56   So Crossy Road is really in the top five depending on how you look at it, like what category

01:29:59   you're looking at.

01:30:00   It's in the top one through four in games.

01:30:03   Oh, it's number 12 overall, maybe number 13 when you look at it.

01:30:06   So we're talking like this is like, this is the number 12 most downloaded free app in

01:30:11   the App Store for the last, you know, while.

01:30:13   So that's a very, very high rank, probably tens of thousands of installs per day.

01:30:19   Now if you look at the top grossing, in iPhone, top grossing is around the 200th place.

01:30:25   So it's placing number 15 of top downloads,

01:30:30   number 200 in top grossing on iPhone.

01:30:33   On iPad it's like number 300, so it's even worse on iPad.

01:30:37   That is, I mean, I'm sure the developer's

01:30:40   making decent money on that, but the money they're making

01:30:43   is not proportional to the downloads they're getting at all.

01:30:47   Like that's a very bad ratio for how popular this game is,

01:30:51   how popular it has been for the last couple,

01:30:53   for the last week or two, however long it's been out.

01:30:55   That is not generating a ton of money

01:30:58   for that level of downloads.

01:31:00   And I think it shows, just getting a bunch of people,

01:31:04   if you have some kind of freemium

01:31:06   monetization scheme like this,

01:31:08   you have to also set the pain point

01:31:11   of what you're paying for,

01:31:13   you have to set that with some thought as well,

01:31:15   like just to be smart business.

01:31:18   Ranking in the 400 in the app store,

01:31:19   I'm guessing,

01:31:20   top of my head I'm guessing that's $5,000 a day or less

01:31:25   For a game this popular, that's not great.

01:31:27   That's really, the developer's getting really ripped off

01:31:32   on this basically by their own creation here,

01:31:35   by not giving enough of a reason for people to pay

01:31:38   and also not putting an ad in it

01:31:40   or not putting an upfront price on it.

01:31:42   I don't know, I feel bad for whoever made this

01:31:44   because it's clearly, the world is getting a lot more value

01:31:49   out of this than what they're being ultimately paid for.

01:31:52   - So real time follow up, I am playing this game

01:31:55   It's weird

01:31:57   but I'm looking at my leaderboard and

01:31:59   it's

01:32:01   Going from bottom to top me with 28 my friend Eric Wielander with 34

01:32:06   Marco with 43 Adam Swindon with 63 John Syracuse and 157 and

01:32:12   coincidentally

01:32:14   Dan Provost of studio neat

01:32:16   384 Wow

01:32:19   Yeah, I haven't really broken through in this game yet. You gotta get on that John

01:32:23   I mean we don't stand a chance but you you might my problem is with the with

01:32:26   With the control scheme and like I have my own sort of energy meter in the game where I'm just hearing

01:32:31   Excuses now if I play it if I play it more than two times my I have diminishing return lay in the controller

01:32:36   No, the computer's cheating Marco. Oh, yeah, it was a computer error now the ultimate

01:32:41   No, I mean like obviously the tap interface. This is one of those games where the ultimate interface

01:32:46   I feel like would be if I could hook up a d-pad or a joystick to this

01:32:50   Suddenly the game would be a million times easier. So of course so part of the game is like, yeah

01:32:55   You know part of the game is that the control scheme is not quite, you know

01:32:58   because they they use tap to go forward but swipe for the other three directions and

01:33:02   Frequently, I will initiate an action and get the wrong action

01:33:07   Like basically it'll hop forward when I really meant to be a swipe back or to left or the right because the controls are not

01:33:12   That precise but that's all part of the game. You know anyway

01:33:15   Really, but when I do best is when I'm not paying attention

01:33:18   Like I just I just sort of look absent-mindedly at the screen to run the algorithm and I'll find myself crossing into the hundreds

01:33:24   And I'll notice I'm crossing to the hundreds get nervous and die, but really I only play two or three games

01:33:29   And then I you know go back to the desert golfing or something. Yeah, I've actually been playing a lot of desert golfing

01:33:35   It's amazing. Wait desert golfing? Crossy Road is a better game than desert golfing. I think we can say that

01:33:42   I spent a lot more time in desert golfing. I'll tell you that I know I believe it

01:33:45   But that's not I don't think it's I'm currently on hole 217. Yeah, I'm farther than that

01:33:50   But I'm my of course you are my desert golfing score is not good. He's desert golfing is brutal

01:33:55   Yeah, I'm at 743 strokes for being on hole 217. Yeah, I'm my score is just just terrible because like it's

01:34:01   We should have a whole gaming section desert golfing is punishing and that like

01:34:06   It's brilliant and pure in that you've launched the game you start playing and that's it when you relaunch the game puts you back to

01:34:11   Where you were that's it. No saves no loading screen. No menus. No one do

01:34:15   You can't even reset it. Can you know start it you can uninstall it and you can install it again

01:34:19   Like that's it

01:34:20   The game is the game the best thing would be like if they actually

01:34:23   Stored your class it's toward your score and iCloud so that you couldn't even reset it, right?

01:34:27   No, but then you need to have like it would be like sinking and everything

01:34:30   It is just brutally like this is the game you are now playing in the game. Oh didn't like that stroke

01:34:35   You never get it back. There's no mulligans. There's no one dude. There's no resetting. There's no anything

01:34:40   It's just an endless desert scrolling from left to right and a terrible physics engine that is just filled to the brim with BS

01:34:47   Because I cannot believe however they program that I mean you played it Marco like oh, you're not gonna roll down that hill

01:34:53   Huh that doesn't make any sense

01:34:55   Yeah

01:34:55   It just like stops in the middle of one hill but any other hill it rolls down the entire thing slowly, right?

01:35:00   and like even just the the physics of bouncing like the angle of incidence does not equal the

01:35:06   Angle of reflection in any universe forget about sand simulation. It's just not even like accurate rigidbody physics. Oh, yeah

01:35:11   total BS in this game and yet I

01:35:14   Play it because you just launch it and what are you doing?

01:35:17   you're getting the ball in the hole and you quit it whenever you want when you come back you'll be right where you left off and

01:35:21   Yeah, I did 16 strokes in that hole because it was pissing me off

01:35:24   But the next one I got a hole in one you just keep going

01:35:27   Yeah, I love in fact speaking of Alan Pike on his on his video game pocket

01:35:31   I believe it's called up up down down. Is that right? John? Yeah. Yeah

01:35:35   Anyway, he interviewed the creator of this sometime recently and I listen to that

01:35:39   I love how the guy even said like, you know

01:35:42   Like you the first time you get a hole-in-one you expect like some kind of like congratulations and just nothing happens

01:35:47   Like you gotta goes to the next hole. That's it. No different than any other score

01:35:50   It is a lesson about life. This is really the next game

01:35:54   We need to get John Roderick to play although I think he'll probably bounce off of it

01:35:57   But if he ever comes out of his threes stupor desert golfing desert golfing can teach you something profound about life

01:36:03   I think kind of in the same way that Demon's Souls can I absolutely love it Marco real-time follow-up?

01:36:09   I now have 46 to your 43 so I can put the game down

01:36:11   Did you hop over his name didn't you wasn't that fun? It didn't look like his name. It looked like

01:36:16   Gobbledygook I assume you've never actually played Frogger or had heard of it before I mentioned it Casey

01:36:21   I had heard of it you big jerk, but no I've never played it. Oh, I

01:36:25   Think I've even seen the segment on Seinfeld and I didn't even watch Seinfeld

01:36:29   That's where you know for our room. Yeah. Anyway, this is better than fuck

01:36:33   Well that isn't hard.

01:36:35   Yeah.

01:36:36   Now I can't concentrate on playing this stupid game.

01:36:40   What have you done to me?

01:36:42   Ugh, I hate you two.

01:36:44   Just install Desert Golf, it will calm you back down.

01:36:46   Desert Golfing, not Desert Golfing.

01:36:48   Yes, sorry, Desert Golfing.

01:36:49   I kept calling it Desert Golf too.

01:36:51   People are going to search for it, they need to find it.

01:36:53   Desert Golfing is, you pay money for it.

01:36:55   And that's it.

01:36:56   You pay money, you get the game.

01:36:57   This is the game.

01:36:58   Was it a dollar or two?

01:36:59   You are now playing the game.

01:37:00   I don't remember what it was.

01:37:01   I have gotten so much enjoyment out of this game because I keep, and I know how, I've

01:37:03   like how abusive it is and yet I keep playing it

01:37:06   'cause it's like it is satisfying.

01:37:08   And it, like the guy was saying, it's like,

01:37:11   there's so many games that just,

01:37:12   it's just like a constant like showering you with praise

01:37:16   and with rewards of any time you do anything,

01:37:19   you're amazing, here's some fireworks,

01:37:21   you get a bonus coin for your cow.

01:37:23   And it's like, this is, there's none of that.

01:37:25   Like you just play the game and when you succeed

01:37:29   in doing each hole, you just move on to the next hole.

01:37:31   That's it.

01:37:32   And the game is cruel and arbitrary and incorrectly programmed.

01:37:36   But you love it.

01:37:37   Just like life.

01:37:38   The only thing that makes me mad about this game is that I didn't make it.

01:37:41   Because this is like...

01:37:43   I've always kind of wanted to make a game and...

01:37:46   You could have made this.

01:37:47   Yeah, and there's not a lot of games that I'm technically qualified to make.

01:37:50   And I totally could have done this.

01:37:51   And I just never thought of it.

01:37:53   Well, the tricky part is the procedural generation with a twist of the levels.

01:37:58   I think that is the...

01:37:59   Because the genius of this game is it just goes on and on and on you're like how can it go on and on to?

01:38:04   The human layout all these levels no it's procedurally generated, but not just is it yeah

01:38:08   It is there's an article about X interview where it's it's procedurally generated, but not random

01:38:12   So there is human influence over it somehow that like particular holes have certain attention paid to them

01:38:18   I don't know the details he didn't reveal these else, but it's for the most part procedurally generated

01:38:22   But with the human touch to you know when you're stuck on a hole that is particularly

01:38:27   Difficult I always see the you know the touch of the human, you know screwing with you there, right?

01:38:31   Like there's been like a like a big ramp up to the hole on both sides

01:38:34   So you instantly roll off of anything and weird little ledges and so like so you can kind of see the human touch there

01:38:39   But there's so many levels like, you know, did you even get up to the cactus yet? I don't know how where that there's a cactus

01:38:45   Just keep playing okay, I will I mean I I actually enjoy this game it's crazy

01:38:52   Like I said, I took so many friggin screenshots of that cactus. I

01:38:56   I knew it was coming. There are other things out there in the distance too.

01:39:00   I don't want to ruin what it is. It's not Frog Fractions, which you've both never heard of, but trust me, that's an apt comparison.

01:39:06   So it is not Frog Fractions. Desert Golfing is the opposite of Frog Fractions. So just keep playing.

01:39:12   The funny thing is, in the, like, nothing, the little thimbleful of game development I've done,

01:39:17   one of the things I've done is a procedural terrain generator for a Scorched Earth style game.

01:39:22   which is this style.

01:39:24   I actually already have an algorithm to do that.

01:39:26   And I don't have the things that make sure

01:39:28   that the hole is reachable in some reasonable way.

01:39:31   - Yeah, so that's what I'm saying.

01:39:32   Procedural generator is dangerous

01:39:34   'cause you could get unknowable holes,

01:39:35   especially with this BS physics,

01:39:37   you could get unknowable holes.

01:39:38   - Oh, yeah.

01:39:39   - So you have to be careful.

01:39:40   And the other thing is, so you procedurally generated,

01:39:42   you hope you have rules so you don't make unknowable holes,

01:39:44   but you have to play through them all to make sure.

01:39:48   And that's the worst punishment of all.

01:39:49   Wait, so like is my hole 203 the same as your hole 203?

01:39:53   - Yes, yes, it's deterministic.

01:39:55   There's a seed and everyone's levels look the same.

01:39:58   Although he said he might change that in the future

01:40:00   and might change some of the later levels.

01:40:02   I won't tell you what later means,

01:40:03   but you'll be depressed if you're in here.

01:40:06   - Like over a thousand?

01:40:08   - Just trying to-- - I'll keep going.

01:40:09   I'm just gonna keep-- - Just trying not to think

01:40:10   about, yeah.

01:40:11   Like if I never uninstall this game,

01:40:13   like I'll run this until it doesn't run

01:40:15   on my phone anymore, right?

01:40:16   It'll just keep going.

01:40:17   Like the numbers will keep going up,

01:40:19   the ball will keep going in the hole, I will keep getting angry at the physics.

01:40:23   Well was it you John that tweeted about how YouTube has to go 64 bit now because of Gangnam

01:40:27   style?

01:40:28   Yeah, well I retweeted somebody that time.

01:40:29   So it'll be the same thing.

01:40:30   Oh and the view counter you mean?

01:40:32   Yeah.

01:40:33   Wow.

01:40:34   They're using signed 32 bit.

01:40:35   Like animals.

01:40:36   Yeah.

01:40:36   [