44: A Plague With Very Minor Effects


00:00:00   What does your application have going for it brand-wise?

00:00:04   It has a hideous icon that happens to include feet.

00:00:07   And so, following that brand, like, you're going through a rebranding effort, all you've

00:00:14   got going for you is the fact that your icon had feet.

00:00:17   And so getting a non-hideous icon that has feet, it's like you're owning it.

00:00:22   You're owning the feet.

00:00:23   So, but what if I don't really need to worry about brand recognition because only like

00:00:27   three or four hundred people I've ever bought the damn thing in the first place.

00:00:30   It doesn't matter. It's not like people are going there looking for the feet. That's what you got

00:00:34   is feet. And you know, I think being whimsical, like that was your instinct. That's what you

00:00:39   brought to the application. You drew feet on that terrible icon. You brought that. That came from

00:00:43   you. That is your own personal creative input into the branding of this application. If you've got

00:00:47   some other creative input, put it in, but don't like, I wouldn't just throw that away. You wanted

00:00:51   feet, you got feet. Hey, your app is basically UI kit plus feet.

00:00:57   Here's one from John Dark, spelled with an "e" at the end of "dark." That's a pretty

00:01:02   awesome name, although he should really have an "h" in his first name. But anyway, he brought

00:01:07   up an interesting point that I didn't think of when we were talking about the Apple Lightning

00:01:12   connector and the upcoming USB connector that we don't know anything about other than it's

00:01:18   not going to suck and it will be bi-directional.

00:01:20   Wait, we don't know it's not going to suck.

00:01:22   Well...

00:01:23   It still very much can suck.

00:01:24   I guess I suppose but they're saying all the right things about it and when we talked about that

00:01:28   I was saying like it's hard to think of that connector being anything except for

00:01:32   Something like the lightning connector not exactly but you know reverse with it with the contacts on the outside and a solid metal thing

00:01:38   instead of being like micro USB and mini USB where it's like a little bent piece of metal with crap on the inside because

00:01:44   that is very delicate and annoying and crappy and

00:01:48   It seems crazy to me that they would make a new connector and make it's like it's like micro USB only now

00:01:53   Now it's reversible.

00:01:54   That's not really great or that wouldn't be a very big improvement.

00:01:58   But Marco's right.

00:01:59   I suppose they could still do that.

00:02:00   But anyway, this blog post says, "Okay, so say my speculation ends up being close to

00:02:06   right and they produce a connector that is in the style of the Lightning connector but

00:02:11   is obviously not a Lightning connector.

00:02:14   And say that Apple eventually adopts that because it's a better connector than the current

00:02:18   full-size USB and they put it in all their products and all that stuff, you would end

00:02:22   up with a cable like the one that's drawn in this blog post. Did you open the link yet?

00:02:26   Yeah, I actually read this post earlier. That cable would be kind of a nightmare, don't

00:02:31   you agree? Because it looks like lightning on one end and a made-up USB connector on

00:02:35   the other that looks kind of like lightning but not really like it's a little bit thinner

00:02:38   and the contacts are longer. And you lose all the advantages of the reversible cable,

00:02:43   the new USB thing and everything. And you know consumers would have trouble figuring

00:02:48   out which end is which because they look so similar. And a regular nerd would be able

00:02:51   to know every time, but maybe even we would mess it up if we were bleary-eyed in the morning

00:02:56   trying to plug something in.

00:02:58   So that's kind of like the curse of being first, where Apple came up with a lightning

00:03:02   connector while all the USB guys kept screwing up their connectors and making their crappy

00:03:05   things.

00:03:06   And for a while now, we're like, "See, Apple's got these great connectors on their devices."

00:03:10   And of course, the big, fat, ugly other end that connects to your computer is, you'd never

00:03:13   get that computer with a lightning connector, right?

00:03:16   But if the new USB connector looks something like lightning, Apple could find itself in

00:03:19   a strange or uncomfortable situation.

00:03:21   And I don't think they can go USB on both ends because of all

00:03:24   of this planning they have for the Lightning connector

00:03:27   and how it works with all their devices

00:03:29   and how it lets them change the insides while keeping

00:03:31   the connector the same and all that good stuff.

00:03:33   Well, first of all, I'm guessing that the USB reversible--

00:03:37   so this guy's calling it USB type C.

00:03:40   Do we have-- is that an official name, the type C plug?

00:03:43   Yeah, I think that's what they call it in the thing

00:03:45   that he links from me.

00:03:46   All right, good.

00:03:46   So we can call that.

00:03:47   So if this Type-C thing ends up coming out, being reversible,

00:03:52   and resembling lightning in its general design,

00:03:57   I would guess almost certainly it

00:03:58   would be wider by a substantial amount

00:04:02   to accommodate all the pins necessary to do

00:04:04   USB 3.0 at a reasonable cost.

00:04:07   Because the lightning connector has very, very tiny

00:04:10   little contact pads.

00:04:11   And then the port is required to have these little tiny pins.

00:04:16   All that super-miniaturization, I'm guessing, might run afoul of USB's desire to be super

00:04:23   cheap and to have pretty broad tolerances so that any idiot can make one of these connectors

00:04:29   or ports and it'll work.

00:04:31   I'm guessing the connector would not be nearly as small as Lightning, and that alone would

00:04:34   be a pretty big switch.

00:04:36   Also, let's think about realistically speaking here, like, how likely is it that the USB

00:04:43   people are going to make a spec that's as good as lightning to be actually easily confused with it.

00:04:48   Like, I'm guessing it's going to be in some way clunkier. And I'd love to be proven wrong on that,

00:04:52   I hope I am proven wrong on that, but I'm guessing, you know, looking at their history of

00:04:56   how they do things and what they prioritize, I don't think what they make is going to end up being

00:05:02   confusingly similar to lightning. The Apple's easy out would be that no matter what the connector

00:05:06   looks like, make the plastic grommety end thingy on the lightning connector just massive, so that

00:05:11   it's like the same size as the current USB connector on a lightning cable except maybe

00:05:15   it has a little dinky thing.

00:05:16   So even if they made the connector exactly the same size, Apple, since it more or less

00:05:20   controls the lightning connector market or the people who want to use lightning connectors,

00:05:24   could dictate that the end that's not lightning has to be this big fat chunky thing.

00:05:28   I think also I'm pretty sure we can safely rule out the latter two possibilities in Jon's

00:05:35   blog post about either Apple basically killing Lightning and adopting USB or Apple working

00:05:42   together with the USB forum people to make one better standard together. I think we can

00:05:49   pretty safely rule those things out. It's very, very unlikely.

00:05:51   Yeah, Apple's... I don't know what Apple's motivation would be to standardize, since

00:05:56   they love having their very own connector with their own particular attributes that

00:06:00   they can license to accessory manufacturers and do all that good stuff.

00:06:04   Because they do make a lot of money off those licensing fees.

00:06:08   And I think more than the money, I think the money is a secondary concern for them.

00:06:13   I think the bigger reason they do it is control.

00:06:16   They love having control over what their devices can and can't do.

00:06:21   They love having control over what accessories can and can't do, how they interact with

00:06:25   the device.

00:06:26   And then I think they also like that if you make a LightningPort device, it's not going

00:06:31   to work on somebody's Android phone.

00:06:33   All these things really benefit Apple, and there's really no motivation to change that.

00:06:37   The best thing about it is, finally, Apple has found a market and a position in that

00:06:41   market where this lack of compatibility with the other guys does not hurt them.

00:06:46   Because back in the day, it was like, "Well, real keyboards and mice use insert connector

00:06:49   here, but Apple uses this crazy thing called ADB."

00:06:52   And so you have to buy a special Apple keyboard.

00:06:54   You can't just buy a regular keyboard.

00:06:56   And Apple eventually adopted USB, and now more or less you can take a USB keyboard and

00:07:00   connect it to either computer.

00:07:01   So during the whole Mac PC era, the Mac was dinged on every single area where it didn't

00:07:06   conform to the rest of the industry.

00:07:09   Now in the portable device space and the iPod space, Apple so dominated the portable music

00:07:14   player space that 30-pin became sort of the de facto standard.

00:07:18   And now in the phone market, people might not buy an iPhone because it doesn't have

00:07:21   a big enough screen or other things like that, but I don't think people are saying, "Well,

00:07:25   I was going to get an iPhone, but it doesn't use USB.

00:07:27   It uses this lightning connector type thing."

00:07:30   may still gripe about Lightning Connector and the cost of it, but it doesn't hurt them

00:07:33   as much as I think all their special Apple-specific weirdness used to hurt.

00:07:38   And Apple always wanted to have its own weird thing, but the negatives were not overwhelming,

00:07:44   but kind of must have annoyed Apple.

00:07:46   And now finally they have, in the portable device market, a place where they can do their

00:07:51   proprietary stuff and only take a minimal hit in the market for it, almost nonexistent.

00:07:57   People will just grin and bear it.

00:07:59   You say that though, but Gruber made a post about this, I don't know, maybe a week or

00:08:02   two ago, about how the lightning cable, I think he was talking about the lightning cable,

00:08:07   is the epitome of the difference in perspective between Apple users and Android users.

00:08:13   And I actually pointed this out.

00:08:14   I sent this article to a bunch of my Android-loving friends, and they were like, "Yeah, that's

00:08:18   stupid.

00:08:19   Why would you want a proprietary cable?"

00:08:21   And man, it's just, to me, that makes no sense.

00:08:24   I don't need to have a really clunky cable that I have 300 of.

00:08:29   I'd rather have one cable that works very well all the time.

00:08:33   And I don't know.

00:08:34   It just struck me as so weird that that was the thing.

00:08:37   And that post was right about the difference between the users.

00:08:39   But those are users who have already made their choice

00:08:41   or who have some sort of like some allegiance

00:08:43   to one side or the other.

00:08:44   Regular people who have no allegiance to one side

00:08:46   of the other don't care or know anything

00:08:48   that's different about them.

00:08:50   And like they expect when you get a new thing,

00:08:52   there will be new accessories that have to come with it.

00:08:54   I don't know if people are like, well, if I can't reuse my charging cables, then forget

00:08:58   it.

00:08:59   Because across Android phones, maybe you can't reuse the same cables or the same chargers

00:09:03   so they don't work as well.

00:09:05   It's not that big a deal besides they come with one or two cables or whatever the iPhones

00:09:09   come with these days.

00:09:11   I think the experience of using a Lightning cable, like you said, Casey, for regular people

00:09:16   is more important than the theoretical advantage of being able to reuse cables across phones

00:09:22   that you buy.

00:09:23   All right. We also got a lot of feedback about dual input displays, because during the—I

00:09:30   believe it was the last show—we talked—

00:09:32   Wait, was it a lot or was it one tweet?

00:09:33   Well—

00:09:34   I saw one tweet. Now, people kept tweeting and saying, "Isn't it possible if they

00:09:39   just hooked up two cables?"

00:09:40   Right.

00:09:41   From two cables from your Mac Pro to your monitor, then doesn't that solve the resolution

00:09:44   problem? Or, you know, do you think Apple could do this? Do you think Apple will do

00:09:47   this? Every variation. So there were a lot of tweets about that.

00:09:50   Right, but John, you have put one specific tweet into the show notes.

00:09:55   Do you care to expound upon that?

00:09:56   Yeah, it's a slide from Apple's most recent presentation about the Mac Pro that's showing

00:10:01   the back of the machine.

00:10:02   It says, "Next generation video up to three 4K displays, single and dual input displays."

00:10:09   And I don't even know what that means.

00:10:10   I remember that being on the slide, but I guess I just forgot about it entirely.

00:10:14   I'm not even sure what they're getting at.

00:10:15   Do either one of you want to venture a guess?

00:10:18   Well, in last episode we talked about how it was going to be pretty impossible for them

00:10:24   to ship a 5120 pixel wide monitor, which would be a perfect 2x of the current 27 inch.

00:10:32   That it would be impossible because it would use more bandwidth than a Thunderbolt 2.0

00:10:36   cable will support.

00:10:40   Now back in the forever ago days when the 30 inch cinema display first came out, it

00:10:44   It was one of the first monitors in the market to require dual link DVI.

00:10:48   What dual link DVI basically is, is a whole bunch more, it's basically like two regular

00:10:55   DVI channels in one cable that has just a ton of pins.

00:11:01   It required special video cards that would support this and everything was very expensive

00:11:05   and everything.

00:11:07   That was pretty much the same idea, which is like you have this standard, and forgive

00:11:10   me if I'm getting this wrong, please email us actually if I'm getting this wrong, I'm

00:11:14   but the standard is not fast enough to support all this resolution, so they basically, as far as I know,

00:11:20   they basically divided the display in half logically in the controllers and just had each channel render one half of it.

00:11:27   So by doing something similar, if you could link together, say, two Thunderbolt cables into one monitor that was made to handle this,

00:11:35   handle this and the video cards for me to handle this as well, you could theoretically

00:11:39   then have enough bandwidth to drive a 5120 pixel wide display off of the new Mac Pro.

00:11:48   And doesn't the new, actually yeah the old one too, the new Retina MacBook Pro that also

00:11:53   has Thunderbolt 2, so far it's the only Thunderbolt 2 computer that's shipping from Apple, that

00:12:00   has two ports on it as well.

00:12:03   And I don't know if it has this capability.

00:12:04   It might not.

00:12:05   I don't think they've advertised it,

00:12:07   but it's worth noting that that does have two ports.

00:12:09   But this would be a way now.

00:12:11   So last episode we were saying it's impossible

00:12:14   for them to offer this monitor.

00:12:15   Now, with the proof from this slide from Vegard Nielsen,

00:12:19   thank you, with the proof from this slide,

00:12:20   it actually shows that if a dual input display exists

00:12:24   and that works the way you think it would,

00:12:27   which is being able to combine the bandwidth

00:12:29   of both cables into one display, like dual link DVI,

00:12:32   although that was one cable, but regardless.

00:12:35   If this works the same way as that,

00:12:37   that theoretical display now is possible again

00:12:40   for the new Mac Pro.

00:12:41   - But is that what it means on the slide

00:12:43   when it says dual input displays?

00:12:44   I'm not sure that what it means is a display

00:12:47   that has two inputs and you need both inputs

00:12:49   to drive the display at its native resolution.

00:12:51   It could just as easily mean a display

00:12:54   that has two different inputs

00:12:55   so that you can switch between them

00:12:57   so two different Macs could share the same monitor.

00:12:59   I don't know what dual input display means.

00:13:01   That's what I'm getting at

00:13:02   But what value would-- and I don't know.

00:13:05   I mean, I've never bought-- like maybe there's

00:13:07   something about pro display, but this is a common feature.

00:13:10   What value would there be in Apple advertising their ability

00:13:13   to plug into a switched monitor that has two different inputs

00:13:16   for two different sources?

00:13:17   I know.

00:13:17   That's what I'm getting at.

00:13:18   I think there's some context we're

00:13:19   missing from people who-- from pros, video pros or something

00:13:22   that might use this.

00:13:23   I'm sure we will get email from the people explaining to us.

00:13:26   Because they put it on a slide with the expectation

00:13:28   that everyone knows what it means.

00:13:29   And I hadn't heard anything about it,

00:13:31   meaning the equivalent of, if you don't have bandwidth to run the resolution, you can run

00:13:35   two of them on it.

00:13:36   so for all the people asking, is it possible that they could do this, it seems technically

00:13:42   plausible, vaguely plausible, because dual link DVI wasn't a standard that Apple made,

00:13:46   I don't think.

00:13:47   it was part of the, you know, whatever the DVI consortium is or whatever.

00:13:50   no, I think they were just some of the first ones to use it.

00:13:52   all right, this sounds a little bit weirder, you know, especially since it would be two

00:13:56   actual cables and they'd like bundle them together or something.

00:13:59   I don't know, but it's within the realm of possibility.

00:14:01   Will Apple do this?

00:14:03   I think probably the cost of a display at that resolution puts it outside the realm

00:14:09   of things that Apple will do, even if they could technically do it.

00:14:13   But I think the wild card is, what did Apple mean by dual input displays?

00:14:17   And it seems like none of us know for sure, so if anyone out there knows for sure exactly

00:14:21   what Apple meant by dual input displays, let us know.

00:14:24   The other thing we should point out right now is that we're recording this on Monday,

00:14:29   December 16th at night. It is very, very likely that the Mac Pros are coming out tomorrow.

00:14:35   So it's very likely that by the time most people hear this, the new Mac Pros will already

00:14:40   be out. And if Apple is going to make any kind of display announcement at that time,

00:14:46   that might have already happened as well. And other people might have already gotten

00:14:49   these and tested them. And we're saying all this before the new Mac Pros actually out.

00:14:53   So this all could be irrelevant in 12 hours.

00:14:57   - Why do you say that tomorrow would be the day,

00:14:59   which would be Tuesday the 17th?

00:15:01   - Because today they've rushed out a 10.9.1 update

00:15:04   that supports the new Mac Pro.

00:15:06   And this is one of the,

00:15:08   and they like to do the releases on Tuesdays,

00:15:10   and this is one of the last potential weeks

00:15:13   for them to release something and still be in December,

00:15:15   'cause half of Apple shuts down next week.

00:15:17   - And this was the rumored date

00:15:19   as of a couple of weeks ago anyway, right?

00:15:20   - Right, yeah.

00:15:21   So I would say the 10.9.1 release today all but confirms it.

00:15:27   I would say it's almost certain that they're being released in 12 hours.

00:15:31   Although, hasn't Apple released hardware in the recent past where if you buy the new hardware

00:15:37   you get a newer build of the OS than you could get on an existing Mac?

00:15:41   I don't know if they've ever done it where you can get 10.9.1 but only if you buy a Mac

00:15:46   Pro and then a week later it comes out for everybody else.

00:15:48   But they have definitely done things where if you want to buy this new hardware you get

00:15:51   a newer build of OS X than anybody else can get and you gotta wait until the next update.

00:15:56   Yeah, they definitely have done that. So with its release imminent, John, are you buying

00:16:02   one tomorrow?

00:16:03   I'm definitely not buying one tomorrow. No, I have to wait, even if everything was just

00:16:08   right, I want to wait until people test it. I want to see gaming benchmarks, you know?

00:16:14   As far as I know, I don't think I'm going to buy one tomorrow. As I said, unless they

00:16:19   actually announced some kind of red in the display.

00:16:20   In which case I would buy both immediately.

00:16:23   But besides that, I think I'm also gonna wait and see.

00:16:26   I'm really curious to see from reports from people

00:16:29   about how it compares to the 2010 Mac Pro in practice.

00:16:34   It has all sorts of, besides the CPU improvements,

00:16:37   which are, they're there, but it's not really

00:16:41   what you'd expect from three years of CPU progress.

00:16:44   So besides the CPU improvements, which are, say, moderate,

00:16:47   I want to know, is this whole new version of the system architecture, like this all

00:16:52   PCI express everywhere, maximized for throughput, and then these GPUs being super high power,

00:16:58   like I want to know, how big of an upgrade is that in practice, in regular use, using

00:17:05   not just 3D rendering apps that will use the GPUs, but using just general apps, development

00:17:10   apps, photo, audio, production stuff, you know, that kind of stuff.

00:17:15   I would love to know how much of an upgrade is this really, if you already have a 2010

00:17:20   Mac Pro?

00:17:22   With a gigantic PCI Express SSD in it already.

00:17:26   That's true.

00:17:27   Well, my SSD is mediocre.

00:17:29   That's another thing.

00:17:30   The disk throughput, the "disk throughput" of the solid-state drives in this thing, I'm

00:17:37   interested in that as well, because I think that will have more of an impact on my daily

00:17:41   life than the speed of the CPUs.

00:17:43   Right, exactly.

00:17:45   And in theory, the way this is architected, there's a lot of stuff missing from it,

00:17:52   and various card slots and a few old interfaces like FireWire.

00:17:56   One of the reasons they did all that was so they could basically devote all of the PCI

00:18:01   Express lanes available in the chipset and from the CPU, devote all of that to just maximum

00:18:07   throughput for the core components.

00:18:10   And I want to know, can you feel that?

00:18:12   Is that noticeable?

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00:20:57   "about backing up because I just lost 12 months

00:20:59   worth of work because I didn't have a backup.

00:21:02   It could have just installed a piece of software in five minutes and paid five dollars a month,

00:21:06   which is not that much in the grand scheme of things. Just don't go out to lunch one

00:21:09   time a month and you're fine. And he would have had all his stuff and some peace of mind.

00:21:14   Yep.

00:21:15   Yeah, it's really great. And it's also, you know, this is a great thing too. If you're

00:21:18   like, if you're visiting, say your parents or grandparents and they have a computer,

00:21:22   like I use online backup for my mom because I got her a computer a few years back. She

00:21:26   She loves it, she puts everything on there, but I know she's never going to manage Time

00:21:30   Machine.

00:21:31   You know, it's a laptop, it's all over the house, time capsules are unreliable.

00:21:34   I don't even want to mess with that.

00:21:36   I just want to know that she has online backup and I can check in, I can go online and I

00:21:41   can make sure her computer has been backed up recently.

00:21:43   And Backblaze provides all that nice peace of mind, fantastic for yourself and for setting

00:21:48   up things for your relatives who you don't want to lose data.

00:21:52   It should make it as a Christmas gift idea when you do the the annual visiting the relatives and fixing all their computer stuff

00:21:58   Just install back plays on them for because for casual users who are not downloading multi gigabyte things all the time and everything

00:22:04   You saw all that their internet connection is not fast enough to use online back

00:22:09   The initial backup is probably going to take a long time on their terrible like DSL connection or whatever crazy thing they're using

00:22:14   But once they get through that initial backup casual computer users don't produce data that you know

00:22:20   and that high volume. Backblaze will automatically not back up stuff that it doesn't have to.

00:22:26   So you don't have to worry about, "Oh, well, what about all their cache files from Safari

00:22:30   when they do web browsing?" It's not going to back up that stuff. It's just going to

00:22:32   back up their own data. And casual users don't produce that much data, so it will have no

00:22:37   problem keeping their backup up to date practically in real time every day once it gets caught

00:22:44   up, and it won't take that long.

00:22:45   Oh yeah, I mean, my mom's entire backup set is 30 gigs.

00:22:49   And how much does it grow a day?

00:22:53   The daily churn in that is probably like a megabyte or two.

00:22:57   No problem uploading that.

00:22:59   Right, and I can tell you too, I have on my computer, I have about 800 gigs in Backblaze.

00:23:05   My wife has about one and a half terabytes in Backblaze.

00:23:08   And I said, "We've used this for years and we've never had a problem, even with that

00:23:11   much data."

00:23:14   We have a little bit more follow-up, specifically around TV-related things.

00:23:17   John, you went on an absolutely fantastic rant last episode

00:23:21   about your new TV.

00:23:22   And one thing in particular, that and the dual link display

00:23:27   idea, we got a lot of feedback about.

00:23:29   So would you care to talk about how to calibrate your TV?

00:23:32   I talked a little bit about calibration last episode,

00:23:35   how there's lots of settings that I was playing with all

00:23:38   and trying to get it dialed in.

00:23:39   And then I got a bunch of tweets from people

00:23:41   asking about this topic, including

00:23:43   some tweets from Daniel Jalkud who just recently brought

00:23:45   a Panasonic Plasma television.

00:23:47   I was talking to him about it, it was making me realize how few people know anything about

00:23:52   it.

00:23:53   I mean, even you guys are like, "Calibrate my TV?

00:23:54   What are you even talking about?"

00:23:56   So I figured I would go over just a couple of basic things you can do to make your television

00:24:02   look better.

00:24:03   Almost anybody.

00:24:04   You don't need to have a fancy TV, it doesn't even need to be a plasma TV, but you can make

00:24:08   your TV a lot better.

00:24:09   And basically what it comes down to is that your TV looks bad now and you probably don't

00:24:13   even know it.

00:24:14   So the first thing lots of people tweeted about was a calibration app that's on the

00:24:17   App Store from the THX company.

00:24:18   Well, I guess Lucasfilm or whoever owns them now.

00:24:21   I believe it's pronounced Thix.

00:24:23   I don't think so.

00:24:25   Oh, God!

00:24:26   John, I thought you were better than that.

00:24:29   No.

00:24:30   And it works if you have an iOS device and either an Apple TV so you can AirPlay it to

00:24:36   your TV or some way to connect the iOS device to your TV with an HDMI cable.

00:24:41   I used AirPlay to my Apple TV.

00:24:43   I think it had options for HDMI, but I don't know what the options are there in terms of

00:24:48   cable.

00:24:49   So anyway, it's like $2.

00:24:50   Don't buy the application if you can't do one of those two things.

00:24:52   You can read the description to see if you can.

00:24:56   I bought it just out of curiosity because I already have a THX calibration thing that

00:25:00   came with my TiVo that is basically the same test.

00:25:03   The iOS one has a little bit of integration with your camera, which is only so-so, but

00:25:07   it's really simple, really basic.

00:25:09   And even without that, you can probably find somewhere where you can download some test

00:25:16   patterns or something to adjust your television.

00:25:18   The THX app just happens to make it easy to do this stuff.

00:25:21   The tricky part is you need to get a picture on your television, and you don't want it

00:25:26   to go through anything that screws with the picture.

00:25:28   So if you got an image on your computer and tried to use airplane mirroring onto your

00:25:33   TV, I would worry that that would not be a good simulation of the image.

00:25:37   or if you wanted to adjust your Blu-ray player, really you'd probably need something on a

00:25:42   Blu-ray to go out the Blu-ray player and onto your television.

00:25:45   That's not to say that you need to calibrate every single input of your television separately,

00:25:49   but it is possible that some devices you have connected to your computer could output different

00:25:53   kinds of signals than other devices, so be careful about that.

00:25:57   But anyway, here's my quick tips for calibration.

00:26:00   The first one is make sure the devices that are connected to your television are outputting

00:26:05   what you think they're outputting to your television set.

00:26:08   So for example, if you get a cable or satellite TV or whatever, something like

00:26:12   that, it's sending you your television shows in a particular format and say you

00:26:18   have Comcast and the television comes over as 1080i, make sure that it's going

00:26:24   into the back of your television as a 1080i signal.

00:26:26   You'd be surprised at how many people have things configured where their

00:26:30   television shows are 1080i, but through the series of boxes or devices or inputs,

00:26:35   they're going through, it's being converted to 720p to be shown on their television. Or vice versa,

00:26:39   you have a 720p signal and your TV could show 720p, but it's set up to show it as 1080i.

00:26:44   Most televisions and the boxes and receivers and things in between will convert between 1080i and

00:26:49   720p and, you know, and even 1080p. They will upsample, downsample, do whatever it takes.

00:26:54   You want it to go through sort of natively. Whatever the native is, if the native is 720,

00:26:59   have your TV show at 720. If the native is 1080i or p, have it show that way.

00:27:03   That's not even a calibration step.

00:27:05   That's just, you know, look at all the settings

00:27:07   and all the devices in your training

00:27:08   and make sure you're not messing up the signal.

00:27:10   That sometimes is easier said than done.

00:27:12   Like old TiVos used to have a whole bunch

00:27:14   of different settings where you could,

00:27:15   you put out like the cable goes into your TiVo,

00:27:17   like the television signal.

00:27:18   And then HDMI comes out of your TiVo

00:27:21   and the TiVo used to say, okay,

00:27:23   I can take the signal coming in

00:27:24   and I can convert it to any format you want

00:27:26   and send it to your television.

00:27:27   Or I could not touch it at all and just pass it through.

00:27:30   And that's always the one you want.

00:27:31   They used to call it native or whatever.

00:27:33   Nowadays with the modern TiVo's I don't think they even have that option.

00:27:35   You just have to know what the input signal is and match it up for the output signal.

00:27:38   And the second thing for TiVo's in particular is if you hit the up arrow button on the five-way selector

00:27:44   it will change the format and if you have children in your house

00:27:47   they will accidentally hit that up arrow selector many many times and so you will have everything configured

00:27:52   then one day sit down to your television and wonder why things look a little weird.

00:27:56   It's probably because one of your kids hit the up arrow while they're watching television and change the format. You should check for that.

00:28:01   The second thing is about the size of the image on the screen and there's another thing

00:28:06   I'm surprised that I'm not a lot of people know about if you buy television like oh 1080p

00:28:11   It's got full HD 1080 resolution, right?

00:28:13   and if you know about the resolution

00:28:16   I think it's it's 1920 by 1080 if you were to do it in pixels and

00:28:18   So you figure if you're watching a television show and that television show put up a test pattern image that showed a one pixel wide

00:28:26   rectangle that was 1920 by 1080

00:28:29   Pixels you would expect to see like around the edge of your screen that one pixel wide border

00:28:34   You know say it's like a white a white rectangle on a black background in

00:28:36   Reality on any television you buy pretty much you will see nothing because they will cut off the edges of the screen

00:28:43   That's called over scan or lots of other different names for it

00:28:46   it's from the the CRT days where the images at the edges of a CRT were really low quality and

00:28:52   they would cover them on television sets with like a plastic part of the bezel and everything and

00:28:58   Someone was giving more historical context of why they did that, but the bottom line was that there was a safe area where you can

00:29:02   Show an image where you were sure it would show up on everybody's television set and there was the unsafe area which on most people's television

00:29:07   Set would be covered by some other plastic trim piece

00:29:10   There are no plastic trim pieces covering the edges of your televisions if you have an HD television

00:29:15   And it has 1080p resolution you can see all those pixels

00:29:19   But all those televisions will take your television signal and zoom it so it's bigger than your television

00:29:25   so you can only see sort of like the inner, you know, that it'll cut off a frame of the thing.

00:29:29   So that does two things. One, it makes you misinformation. Things that are outside of that area you won't see at all.

00:29:34   And the second thing is it takes all those nice native, if you're lucky, 1080p or 1080i pixels, and it will stretch it.

00:29:40   It's like taking a picture, taking a desktop background picture that exactly fits your monitor, and then making the size bigger by 5%.

00:29:46   You're missing part of the picture and the part you see is blurry.

00:29:50   So almost all televisions not just the fancy ones have a setting somewhere in them where you can tell it don't do that

00:29:56   Don't turn off over scan sometimes. They have what size should it be size one size to look in the manual for your television

00:30:03   This is another tip if you can't find the manual for television just Google for your television's model name manual PDF

00:30:09   you'll find the manual PDFs online somewhere and

00:30:11   Find that setting because if you paid for a 1080p television or 720p television or whatever

00:30:17   You should see all those pixels at their native resolution to think of it in a television parlance

00:30:23   This is these are these two steps input resolution and the size of the picture are two things anybody can do

00:30:28   You don't need an application to do it and there are pretty much no down ties

00:30:32   It's downsides to it

00:30:33   Some people were saying that if you do that you might see booms in the shot like

00:30:36   microphone booms because people expect

00:30:38   Every television to be over scanning that in my experience running television at the proper size for four years now since I got my first

00:30:44   HDTV

00:30:45   That has not been a problem. I have not seen a bunch of

00:30:48   You know boom mics coming down from the top of the screen or things from the side

00:30:52   But even if I did I would say that's the problem of the show is not mine

00:30:55   I don't want all my television to all the images on my television to be zoomed in and

00:30:59   A little bit blurry with stuff cut off around the edge

00:31:02   Third item I would say that everyone should adjust and here's where you need a calibration thing is brightness and contrast the two

00:31:08   Calibration things that you'll look at and either this THX app or any other type of thing are

00:31:13   One shows you a bunch of gray boxes going from white down to black and

00:31:17   You will adjust your brightness until a certain number of boxes are visible

00:31:21   Like they'll usually have it so you're not supposed to see all the boxes like you shouldn't see the last box or the second to

00:31:26   last box or whatever

00:31:27   Adjusting that level is important because it lets you see some shadow detail

00:31:32   But you know not too much

00:31:34   like

00:31:35   The test images often say you should see a person in front of a background and if that background looks entirely black to you

00:31:40   your thing is not dialed in correctly.

00:31:42   And if you see too much stuff on it, then it's too bright.

00:31:46   So you should adjust it until you get just the right boxes visible.

00:31:49   It's a pretty easy test to do. You don't need any special equipment.

00:31:51   You just need your eyeball.

00:31:52   They'll say something like, "Make it as dark as you can so you can still see box 7."

00:31:56   That's something anybody can do just by looking at it.

00:31:58   Maybe you want to do it in a light room or a dark room,

00:32:00   depending on how you watch television.

00:32:02   And contrast similarly, they'll show you something like

00:32:05   a series of four white boxes.

00:32:07   I said if this just looks like a big white rectangle your contrast is too high.

00:32:10   Turn the contrast down until you see actual four distinct white boxes of varying levels of gray.

00:32:15   There should be lines between the white boxes. If you're losing the line between the last two white boxes

00:32:21   and they're starting to blend together, you need to dye your contrast. Those two settings plus the size plus the input resolution

00:32:27   will improve the picture on your television set. Not just making it more accurate to what it's supposed to look like,

00:32:33   But generally making things look nicer not look washed out not look too dark not look too bright

00:32:38   And I haven't even touched anything having to do with color

00:32:41   In terms of exactly dialing in the red the green and the blue and all this other stuff

00:32:45   But just brightness contrast size and input resolution will go a long way and the final thing I talked about this in the last show

00:32:51   Was turn off all the crazy effects

00:32:53   If your television has crazy effects, and it probably does

00:32:56   You just need to turn them all off

00:32:59   LCDs you might want to leave motion interpolation on if it looks weird motion looks weird to you without it

00:33:04   but other than that all the things about like

00:33:07   Vivid color and extra brightness and the title of the last episode brilliance enhancer

00:33:11   You just need to turn that off and I actually pasted into the show notes because I wanted to know these actual names

00:33:15   I didn't have them in front of me last time

00:33:17   here are the actual names of the settings from my fancy new television set is not made up and

00:33:22   These are not like gathered from several different models. These are all on one television set

00:33:27   Caption Smoother, MPEG Remaster, Motion Smoother, Resolution Remaster, Video NR, CATS

00:33:34   acronym with periods between letters, Photo Enhancement, Vivid Color, Color Remaster,

00:33:39   Black Extension, and Automatic Gamma Control.

00:33:42   And all those things have explanations in the manual trying to explain what they do.

00:33:45   The bottom line is, just turn them all off.

00:33:47   Every single one of them, turn them off.

00:33:49   What if I like cats?

00:33:51   Do you know what cats is?

00:33:53   Nobody knows.

00:33:54   They have terrible names, too.

00:33:55   You can look up what they do.

00:33:57   Basically what all of them do is mess with the picture in a way they think might be helpful,

00:34:02   but generally is not helpful, especially on a plasma television that doesn't have the

00:34:05   problems that need to be compensated for by effects like this.

00:34:09   The motion smoother is the one that really galls me on plasmas.

00:34:12   On an LCD television you will have similar settings.

00:34:15   If you turn them all off and it looks like crap, figure out which one or two you need

00:34:19   to turn on to make it not look like crap to you.

00:34:21   But do not leave them all on.

00:34:23   Especially things like vivid color or color remaster, things that are going to screw with

00:34:26   your colors, those just make everybody look like clowns and make things look totally wrong.

00:34:31   So you don't need to hire someone to come into your house to do a professional calibration

00:34:37   to improve the picture of your television.

00:34:39   Those four things just turn off the effects, check your input resolution, check your size,

00:34:43   and check your brightness and contrast.

00:34:45   It'll make a big difference in your life.

00:34:47   I actually hate cats.

00:34:50   What about CATs though?

00:34:51   You might like them.

00:34:52   I don't know.

00:34:53   I haven't read the manual.

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00:37:25   Got a couple more things on calibration.

00:37:28   You?

00:37:29   Yeah.

00:37:30   One is the frequent suggestion by many people who either have the same television meter

00:37:35   or have other similar television they say.

00:37:37   They go into a forum, CNET has forums like this, there's AVS forums, there's tons of

00:37:41   websites about high definition televisions on the web, where people buy televisions,

00:37:47   them either professionally or sort of by hand by themselves, and then they post to the forum

00:37:51   group what their settings are.

00:37:52   So there's a million different settings for brightness, contrast, color, tint, gamma,

00:37:56   like tons of things you can adjust, and they will adjust it to their liking or have it

00:38:01   professionally calibrated and post those numbers to the forum.

00:38:05   And CNET, the people who review televisions on CNET will also post their settings and

00:38:08   say, "We calibrated this television before we did our testing for our review.

00:38:11   Here are the settings we used."

00:38:13   I tend not to just take those settings and use them on my television because particularly with

00:38:19   plasmas, each individual example of a particular model varies enough that you're not going to,

00:38:24   I don't think you're going to get, I mean these are like you know 10 point, 15 point white balance

00:38:30   adjustments of tiny minute degrees. I don't think those settings that they use for their television

00:38:36   set are going to work for mine even if we have the exact same make model in year just because of

00:38:41   variations within individual televisions. And then on top of that there's aging where

00:38:46   the televisions look different as you use them or again particularly the plasmas.

00:38:50   So I wouldn't blindly take any of those settings and apply them to your television and expect you

00:38:54   are seeing what they're seeing, but I've been looking at them to give myself sort of a ballpark

00:38:59   idea of what are people doing. In particular, I look at the gamma settings to see, you know,

00:39:03   what what gamma values they're using. And there's lots of weird stuff, especially with Panasonic

00:39:08   televisions where they'll have a bunch of presets and then a custom setting and if you pick one

00:39:13   gamma level and the custom it's not the same as if you did it on a preset so you have to look at

00:39:16   all the details like they started with the setting they tweak these things so they started with that

00:39:19   and they tweaked those and there's also the super duper professional mode where you can expose all

00:39:25   the settings in the television through some crazy interface by you know typing in weird

00:39:28   codes on your remote to get even more settings and screw with those and at that level you mean

00:39:32   once you're doing that i would say don't do that hire a professional to do that but if you want to

00:39:37   look at these forums to get an idea of what things people are setting. For example, if

00:39:41   you did it visually, like you did those tests with the black levels and the contrast and

00:39:45   you got some numbers dialed in, and then you go to a forum post and you see seven different

00:39:50   forum posts on different websites and everybody has their contrast set at like 63 or 62 and

00:39:56   you have yours at 12, you probably did something wrong. It's just like a sanity check, so I

00:40:00   wouldn't say copy those numbers, but a lot of people have talked about that and asked

00:40:05   if I had used the settings. No, I don't use them directly, but I do use them to just check

00:40:10   that I'm not entirely crazy. Good thing that can be verified.

00:40:13   Well, you know, it's supporting evidence against for or against.

00:40:16   All right, so everyone has been talking about rating things. So I think now's as good a time

00:40:24   to any as any to say, "rate the radar show on iTunes." Now, do you want to do that now?

00:40:30   Later or not at all? No, no, no. Do you want to

00:40:32   to rate our show well now, or do you want to email us your negative thoughts, or do

00:40:38   you want to be reminded to rate us well in two weeks?

00:40:41   Or how about with every episode of the podcast, we'll just ask you again during the show,

00:40:46   do you want to rate us?

00:40:47   That actually is what a lot of podcasts do.

00:40:50   Yeah, I realized about halfway through that that I was sticking my foot right down my

00:40:54   throat.

00:40:55   So, let me move on and say, Marco, do you happen to have any thoughts about rating apps

00:40:58   and asking and soliciting users to rate apps?

00:41:01   Yeah, don't.

00:41:04   Moving on.

00:41:05   [laughter]

00:41:06   Fastest topic ever.

00:41:09   We figured it out.

00:41:10   No, I mean, this was discussed at length in last week's episode of John Gruber's The

00:41:15   Talk Show with Daniel Jalkut.

00:41:18   And it was a really good discussion, so I don't think we need to rehash most of it.

00:41:23   The gist of my position is really, you know, so we're talking about those—in case you

00:41:26   couldn't tell. We're talking about those rate this app dialogues that pop up in many iOS

00:41:33   apps big and small. Hey, rate this app. You want to go leave a great rating now or remind

00:41:40   me later or never do it again? They've kind of become this like plague on iOS devices

00:41:46   with a plague with very minor effects that it's just like slightly annoying everybody.

00:41:55   You know, Gruber started out about a week ago now saying, like, "I've often thought

00:41:59   about starting a campaign online to just make everybody rate one star when they see one

00:42:04   of those," which is like his nice way of, like, kind of seeding the idea without saying,

00:42:09   "I'm telling you all to do this right now."

00:42:11   It was a masterful phrasing.

00:42:14   You know, we've had a lot of discussion here and there between various smart people

00:42:18   in the community about the pros and cons of these "rate this app" dialogues and the

00:42:24   the pros and cons of what would happen if you started retaliating and rating everything

00:42:29   one star or rating everything only three stars instead of five or whatever the case may be.

00:42:34   My position is not that you should necessarily take any particular action towards the apps

00:42:39   that do this. My position is really just telling developers you should not have this in your

00:42:43   app. Because it really -- and I think Gruber had a really good point on the talk show about

00:42:49   why this is so irritating is that a modal dialog box that pops up in your face when

00:42:56   you're trying to do something with an app, like that's -- a modal dialog box should be

00:43:00   reserved for basically exceptions, like in a programming parlance, like something that

00:43:04   is not supposed to be the common case. You know, like there was some kind of weird server

00:43:10   error and we can't do what you asked. Or you just tried to authenticate and you couldn't

00:43:15   and log in because it refused your password.

00:43:17   Or like, you're trying to do something right now,

00:43:20   and we can't do it because you turned off cellular data

00:43:23   or location services or something like that.

00:43:25   You know, that's the kind of conditions

00:43:27   in which a modal dialog block is appropriate.

00:43:29   Interrupting people to serve the developer,

00:43:34   like, rating an app doesn't do crap

00:43:36   for the people who are doing it.

00:43:37   It doesn't serve them at all.

00:43:39   It only serves the developer.

00:43:41   You're asking people to promote you

00:43:43   or to make you feel good about yourself.

00:43:44   Either way, you the developer are asking people to do something for you.

00:43:50   And you're asking them that by interrupting them in the middle of them trying to use your

00:43:54   app and probably trying to get something done.

00:43:57   You're interrupting them to say, "Hey, help me out here by reviewing me and pimping me

00:44:02   in the store."

00:44:04   And that seems like a very inappropriate use of an interruption to your user like that.

00:44:10   You know, I almost wonder if now is a decent time to expose Marco to corporate culture.

00:44:17   And what I mean by that is, I wonder if now is a good time for the five whys.

00:44:23   So Marco, put on your not so awesome developer hat and you're thinking right now about putting

00:44:32   this into your app.

00:44:33   Or actually, let's say you just did put this into Overcast for the sake of conversation.

00:44:39   I know you never would. Just try hard.

00:44:41   Well, and for me, let me just say, while we're on the Overcast topic, I said right in my

00:44:45   post, I am putting a thing in the settings screen that, like, a button to say, "Leave

00:44:51   a review for this app in the store," like, just a button there. That is different. If

00:44:56   you want to make it easy for people who do want to leave a review for you, if you want

00:45:00   to give them a shortcut or suggest they might want to do that in a passive way, like a button

00:45:05   in and about screen. That's very different than interrupting them with a message box

00:45:10   in normal use of the app. I don't have any problem with a button in and about screen.

00:45:15   That you can put whatever you want there, I don't care. That doesn't interrupt me and

00:45:18   if I'm browsing in settings or about, I might actually consider doing that because I'm like,

00:45:23   "Hey, I'm playing with stuff or I'm exploring this app." But when you're actually trying

00:45:27   to do something and you get interrupted by a little dialog box, that's the problem. So

00:45:32   I want to draw the distinction. It's not that asking for reviews at all is bad, or providing

00:45:37   a shortcut at all is bad. It's the way you're asking by interrupting people in a modal way

00:45:43   like this.

00:45:44   Right. So you were writing Overcast, and you had a brain fart—I don't know, maybe you

00:45:50   had too much shame one night—and you've put this into your app. Why did you put a—

00:45:58   I love the idea of a drunk feature edition.

00:46:00   That's when the best work is done.

00:46:03   Why would you put a solicitation to rate your app into Overcast, if you were the kind of

00:46:10   developer that would do that sort of thing?

00:46:11   The main reason why people do this, and the reason why hypothetical drunk me would do

00:46:16   this in Overcast if I somehow…

00:46:18   I don't know.

00:46:19   When I have a lot of chamois, I don't get bad taste.

00:46:22   In fact, I would argue if you're getting drunk on chamois, I think you have pretty

00:46:29   good taste. But, you know, in all seriousness, to borrow one of your phrases, I think the

00:46:37   reason people do this is very clear. It works. In the definition of "works," where it

00:46:44   does get you more reviews.

00:46:45   Now, why would you want more reviews?

00:46:48   The theory is, I've heard different things. Obviously, we know from just like a customer

00:46:54   from a perspective, we know that when we are browsing

00:46:56   for apps, usually we do read the reviews.

00:46:59   Or at least we'll glance at them or glance at the star

00:47:01   rating, the average star rating.

00:47:03   And there is a distinction between ratings and reviews.

00:47:06   You don't have to write a written review to leave

00:47:08   a star rating, but I don't think for the purpose

00:47:10   of this discussion, I don't think it really matters.

00:47:13   So there's one argument to say that when customers find it,

00:47:17   they will read the reviews, and if you don't have a lot

00:47:19   of reviews or if you have a couple of bad reviews

00:47:21   no positive ones to offset them, then that'll make them less likely to buy your app. That

00:47:28   I can't argue with. That is true. However, I've heard a lot of people also say that reviews

00:47:34   are correlated with rank. And I don't think we have any evidence to confirm that. And

00:47:40   a couple people said that it specifically doesn't do that. So that's all over the map.

00:47:44   I would love to hear from anybody who has actual evidence to support whether that's

00:47:49   true or false or not. As far as I know, rank is all about sales volume. It's like sales

00:47:54   volume per time interval. I don't think it has anything to do with reviews, but it

00:48:00   could change. I don't know.

00:48:02   Why do you want a higher rank?

00:48:05   To get rich in the App Store.

00:48:07   Why would that make you rich in the App Store?

00:48:10   Because nobody pays for apps anymore.

00:48:13   The line of—all kidding aside—the line of questioning I'm trying to lead you down

00:48:16   is that, and I believe that to some degree _DavidSmith talked about this in his really

00:48:22   good blog post today, but I feel like the end of the five whys of this conversation

00:48:31   is that discovery is broken.

00:48:33   And if not discovery, then finding a way to pitch your app so that I don't need to double

00:48:42   check your work.

00:48:44   What I mean by that is if I throw up a bunch of really awesome screenshots and I throw

00:48:48   up a really nice description, you're going to want to double check from real people that

00:48:54   I'm not full of it, that I'm not lying.

00:48:58   I think it's a combination of discovery and representation of the app that makes this

00:49:04   sort of gross behavior necessary.

00:49:08   Because if discovery was really good, then I would be able to find apps very easily.

00:49:14   And then once I found the app that I think I might want, if the selling of it, if the

00:49:20   marketing of it within the app store was really good, say if we had a video for example, or

00:49:27   maybe if you had a trial, and I'm not trying to go down that road, I'm just saying hypothetically

00:49:30   if you had like a one day trial or whatever, then it wouldn't matter what the reviews,

00:49:36   or certainly wouldn't matter as much what the reviews say.

00:49:38   And it wouldn't matter as much what the ratings are.

00:49:41   But because developers have almost no levers to pull

00:49:46   in order to improve their performance,

00:49:48   to find performance however you want in the app store,

00:49:51   this is one of the only levers they've got.

00:49:53   So darn it, they're gonna pull on it.

00:49:55   And that was the exercise, the five whys exercise

00:49:58   I was trying to bring you down.

00:50:00   - I think the reason this comes up at all,

00:50:02   like the reason it ends up on Daring Fireball or whatever,

00:50:05   is not so much because apps do annoying things, because I think the app store has always been,

00:50:11   you know, like the "Two Americas" thing from whoever that guy was who tried to run for president.

00:50:15   There's the two app stores. There's the one that's full of crap that we just ignore,

00:50:21   we being, you know, the Mac nerd blogger, whatever people. And there's the good app store with the

00:50:27   apps that we like and we use. And the reason this "rate me" thing comes up is because

00:50:34   it's not limited to the crap App Store. Apps that we all like and use every day do this.

00:50:39   Instagram, like our favorite Twitter client, you know, our favorite note-taking application,

00:50:45   everybody does it. The super high class, well-designed, well-regarded, we love the

00:50:51   application, couldn't live without it, everything about it is awesome, responsive developer,

00:50:54   releases bug fixes, has reasonable prices, great application all around, even they have stupid

00:51:00   rate me dialogue boxes on them. Not all of them, but it's an infection of annoyance that has

00:51:06   crossed over into our world. And that's why you get someone like Jon Gruber saying, "Well, this

00:51:10   has got to stop. I mean, I love these applications that I use every day, but they got to get out of

00:51:14   my face." Because there are tons of terrible things that happen only in the crap app store,

00:51:20   like blinking ad banners in your face and just all sorts of ugly UIs and things that are modal

00:51:28   when they shouldn't be, and just, you know, there's tons of crap applications.

00:51:31   We don't care what happens over there.

00:51:33   It doesn't affect us, because we, you know, we feel like we're discerning, and we talk

00:51:35   to each other and say what the good applications are and make recommendations.

00:51:39   And then when we get one of these good applications that we use every single day, and it throws

00:51:42   up one of those rating dialog boxes, it's like a betrayal.

00:51:45   It's like, that's not supposed to happen here.

00:51:47   This is the good app store, where I all talk to my friends and get all my stuff.

00:51:50   And that gets back to the discovery that Casey was talking about, where if we had a way to

00:51:55   look at an application and it said something like,

00:51:57   and I know this is getting all Facebook-y,

00:51:59   it's gonna scare everybody, it's gonna be like,

00:52:00   oh, six of your friends use this application

00:52:02   and they like it.

00:52:03   It means so much more than wading through 100

00:52:06   possibly paid for five-star reviews

00:52:08   from Amazon Mechanical Turk or whatever these developers do

00:52:13   just to get their scam reviews in,

00:52:14   especially when you're going into an area

00:52:16   that you're not that familiar with on the App Store.

00:52:18   These sort of social proof that people who you know

00:52:22   and trust have decided this application is good,

00:52:25   That's all you need is to see like from three other people saying this is good or this is

00:52:29   bad that you happen to know.

00:52:31   That would make so much more difference to you than just these random reviews, but there's

00:52:34   no way to put that in there.

00:52:35   There's no way to, you know, I guess we have the reputation of the developer, which maybe

00:52:39   we know and maybe we don't.

00:52:41   And then we just have a whole bunch of reviews that we can't even tie back to individual

00:52:43   people, even if we see a name that we think we recognize, unless we know that's the name

00:52:47   under which some friend of ours leaves reviews on the iTunes store, we have no idea.

00:52:52   So the reaction to this in terms of putting up a thing that says, "What if we..."

00:52:56   I've been thinking about asking people to one-star rate this as a weird way to suggest

00:53:00   one-star rating of it.

00:53:03   In effect, that's not the way to go about it, the actual campaign suggestion of a way

00:53:07   to campaign to go about it.

00:53:09   But what we want to happen and what I think is going to happen is not that kind of one-star

00:53:14   campaign, but a socialization of the idea that putting up rating dialog boxes is unacceptable

00:53:20   in the quote-unquote good app store.

00:53:22   And that's what we're all looking for.

00:53:24   You know, get that stuff out of the applications that we like, the high-quality, well-designed

00:53:28   applications from good developers that we use every day that are really popular that

00:53:31   we like.

00:53:33   We've already got this whole thing of like when an application goes bad, like people

00:53:36   used to like Tweety and then Twitter bought them and it was still okay and then they changed

00:53:40   it and now it's crap and now nobody uses the official Twitter client for iOS if they can

00:53:44   help it at all.

00:53:46   That's an application going bad.

00:53:47   It was good.

00:53:48   sort of our taste and social norm guidelines,

00:53:53   at least in the Mac nerd or iOS nerd community,

00:53:56   and then it didn't anymore, and we kicked it out, right?

00:53:58   But all these other applications are still doing this.

00:54:01   We need to socialize all of the software reviewers,

00:54:05   developers, consumers of it,

00:54:08   people who think they have a good taste in everything,

00:54:10   socialize the idea that you can't put up

00:54:13   these RateMe dialog boxes,

00:54:14   otherwise we will look down on you in some way.

00:54:17   That's all you need.

00:54:18   You don't need to do one star ratings.

00:54:19   You don't need to attack people

00:54:21   or to punish their applications.

00:54:23   If you socialize everybody involved

00:54:26   in this good half of the ecosystem

00:54:28   that putting up rating dialogs in boxes is unacceptable,

00:54:30   the problem will take care of itself

00:54:31   because no one wants to be that app

00:54:33   that puts up the rating dialog boxes.

00:54:34   And the problem is that somehow we got to a point

00:54:36   where that was deemed acceptable

00:54:37   by almost everybody involved.

00:54:39   And I think this exercise is going to turn that around

00:54:42   if we keep at it without any stupid campaigns

00:54:44   rate things one star to retaliate or send people an email.

00:54:47   Yeah, I mean that was kind of the main argument of my post is like, "Yeah, you can do this,"

00:54:54   and it "works," but at what cost to quality and to your reputation, to your brand? There's

00:55:04   lots of things that work. Telemarketing and spam work, but most reasonable people hate

00:55:10   those things. And the telemarketers would argue, "Well, we're just calling you up

00:55:17   and it's once a week maybe for two seconds and you hang up if you don't like it."

00:55:22   Like I've gotten… it's always good when you attack a portion of your own audience.

00:55:28   That's when you get the biggest feedback. But I've gotten so much feedback since I

00:55:35   published my post about this from developers saying, "It's no big deal. If you don't

00:55:39   those you just hit dismiss and you don't see it for a little while or something.

00:55:45   But that is a big deal. That's like if you're annoying somebody slightly, you're still annoying

00:55:50   them and that builds up over time. You get the image in people's minds, the brand image

00:55:58   of like of kind of being mediocre on quality or on standards. That matters. It all adds

00:56:04   up. And I don't know, I'm torn on this because, you know, it's hard for me to talk about this,

00:56:11   because anything I say, people jump down my throat immediately saying, "Well, you didn't have to do

00:56:17   all that because, you know, you were popular," or something. Forgetting that the way I got popular

00:56:22   was because of Instapaper, you know? I wasn't popular before launching that. You know, that's...

00:56:30   That's, so it's hard for me to say anything

00:56:33   and for anybody to take it seriously in this regard

00:56:35   because they just pulled the that's fine for Merlin

00:56:36   argument against me.

00:56:38   But I really, I can't say enough how much

00:56:43   those little quality decisions matter and they add up.

00:56:46   And that's how you get popular, that's how you get respected

00:56:49   is by caring so much about quality that you won't

00:56:52   annoy your users first, but second every two weeks.

00:56:55   That really matters.

00:56:56   And I don't know how else to tell people that

00:57:00   without sounding like I'm attacking them,

00:57:02   but it is annoying and it does matter.

00:57:06   Let me take a quick break right now

00:57:07   before I get to my next bigger point

00:57:09   and tell you about our final sponsor this week,

00:57:11   it is Audible.

00:57:12   Audible is the leading provider of downloadable audiobooks

00:57:15   with over 150,000 titles in virtually every genre.

00:57:19   They have a huge catalog, it's growing constantly.

00:57:22   If you wanna listen to it, Audible has it.

00:57:25   You can listen to Audible audiobooks anytime, anywhere.

00:57:28   iPhones, iPads, computers, Kindles, even old iPods if you actually have one of those still

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00:57:34   Audible's offering ATP listeners a free audiobook along with a 30-day trial.

00:57:39   Go to audiblepodcast.com/ATP to take advantage of this special offer.

00:57:44   Now Casey, I've heard through the grapevine that you have recently listened to a book

00:57:49   or read a book.

00:57:50   >> Indeed.

00:57:51   I recently read, and this was actually recommended by someone on Twitter a few months ago when

00:57:56   I was going to the beach and I wanted to have some books to read.

00:57:59   So I solicited recommendations on Twitter and somebody recommended Machine Man by Max

00:58:05   Berry.

00:58:07   I just finished reading it.

00:58:08   I did not read it on Audible, but I read the book book.

00:58:13   It was extremely weird and I don't know if I liked it or not, but it was very different.

00:58:18   For that alone though, it may be worth checking out.

00:58:25   The TLDR version is, I'm sorry, the summary, John, is that there's a guy who's a PhD and

00:58:34   he accidentally chops off one of his legs working in his lab because he works with this

00:58:39   big equipment.

00:58:40   And so he gets a prosthetic leg and then realizes, "Well, you know, I could build a better one."

00:58:47   And so he builds himself a better prosthetic leg and then realizes, "You know what?

00:58:50   This would be better as a pair instead of just one.

00:58:54   And I'll let you read the book to fill in kind of where this goes.

00:58:59   But it was very, very, very different.

00:59:02   And so I double checked and it of course is available on Audible and Audible has been kind

00:59:06   enough to sponsor ATP a handful of times.

00:59:09   And every time I think of a book recommendation, even if it's slightly esoteric, I go to

00:59:14   Audible to see before I recommend it, "Hey, is this available on Audible?"

00:59:18   And every single time the answer's been yes.

00:59:21   So feel free to go to Audible and get Casey's weird book recommendation.

00:59:24   What was it called again?

00:59:25   The Machine Man?

00:59:26   It's called Machine Man by Max Barry.

00:59:28   B-A-R-R-Y.

00:59:29   Did he win the Pulitzer Prize for that or no?

00:59:32   I don't think so, but it's a lot shorter than your recommendation.

00:59:36   Just asking.

00:59:37   It's just questions.

00:59:38   Less than 60 hours.

00:59:39   I think it was 600, wasn't it?

00:59:41   I don't know.

00:59:42   The length is nine hours and 27 minutes on Audible.

00:59:45   Awesome.

00:59:46   So thanks a lot to Audible once again for sponsoring our show.

00:59:48   go to audiblepodcast.com/atp.

00:59:52   And really quickly to build on not the book but Audible, we're going on a car trip to

00:59:58   go to my family's soon. And the best way in the entire world to kill time on a car

01:00:06   trip other than listening to this show is to get a book on "tape." So to get something

01:00:13   Audible and right now, I mean, they're offering you a free audiobook to fill, in the case

01:00:19   of this particular selection, a 10-hour car ride. How can you say no to that? There's

01:00:23   no reason not to go check it out.

01:00:24   Or you can get John's pick, which is the Power Broker, and fill your next three years

01:00:30   of car rides.

01:00:31   Right.

01:00:32   All right, so the point I wanted to start before I took that break, because I knew this

01:00:36   might be a little bit long. So back to Apple and discoverability and searchability. I would

01:00:42   take the position, and I know this might not be popular, but I think it's realistic, that

01:00:48   it's no longer Apple's responsibility, and it might never have been, but it's no longer

01:00:52   Apple's responsibility to promote your app. The app store is just huge. Back in the early

01:01:01   days of the web, Yahoo had this directory where they were trying to make a directory

01:01:05   of every website, basically, and it worked in like 1995 because the web was a really

01:01:10   small place. Eventually though, that was abandoned, I think, it might still be running, I don't

01:01:17   know, but I think it was abandoned, because the web just got too big and a directory paradigm

01:01:23   was, it just, there was too much data, too much out there on the web, it just didn't

01:01:27   fit. And so that was pretty much abandoned in favor of search. And search has all sorts

01:01:35   of challenges. It has ranking, it has spam issues, but the directory of Paradigm did

01:01:42   not scale. And on the web, you're on your own to get attention for your site. You're

01:01:48   on your own to get traffic. Some of it will be merit-based if you can get good people

01:01:51   to link to you, but in general, you're on your own. And making something good enough

01:01:57   is still on you anyway to get people to link to you.

01:02:00   So I think the App Store has reached that point very clearly where discoverability is

01:02:06   a word thrown around a lot with this.

01:02:09   I don't think it's Apple's problem.

01:02:11   I really don't.

01:02:12   I think they can have their editorial picks which will cover some discoverability.

01:02:17   But relative to the whole store, chances are you're not going to get featured that often

01:02:22   to matter.

01:02:23   You might get featured once or twice if you have a good app.

01:02:26   Chances are you're not going to be featured every two weeks or anything.

01:02:28   So discoverability through Apple's official editorial channels is going to help you occasionally,

01:02:33   if ever.

01:02:35   Every day discoverability is not Apple's problem.

01:02:37   It's your problem.

01:02:38   It's you as a developer, you have to get your own attention, you have to get your own traffic.

01:02:43   And whether you have to buy that traffic, or whether you have to earn it, or whether

01:02:46   you have to luck into it if some influential person happens to use your app and link to

01:02:50   it or talk about it or something, you might get that.

01:02:53   But you have to do your own marketing.

01:02:56   That's the right attitude from a developer's perspective because you want to be motivated

01:02:59   to do the right things.

01:03:00   I think that's the correct way for a developer to think about it.

01:03:03   But in the grand scheme of things, it is Apple's problem in that if they have a customer who

01:03:08   buys an iOS device and they say, "I would really like an application to keep track of

01:03:12   my shopping list," and they search for shopping list on the App Store because they don't know

01:03:15   what else to do.

01:03:16   Like, the Google for shopping list app, or they find the App Store, luckily, and type

01:03:21   shopping list into there, and they get search results.

01:03:24   And if those search results are filled with tons and tons of crap that the person looking

01:03:29   at those screens has no way to determine whether they're being lied to, whether these are all

01:03:33   automated reviews, whether, you know, it just feels lost, that's a bad experience for the

01:03:37   customer.

01:03:38   And they're like, "I just want a shopping list in this.

01:03:40   There's too many of them and I can't tell which is which."

01:03:42   And I think that's a problem for Apple because they want people to get their thing and be

01:03:46   able to have a cool shopping list app.

01:03:47   And surely there are many cool shopping list apps, but the chances of them being anywhere

01:03:51   near the top of the results for shopping lists in the App Store are slim.

01:03:54   Like so many people are talking about, you know, we all know the handful of really great

01:03:57   Twitter client apps out there.

01:03:59   If you search for Twitter or Twitter app or something like that in the App Store, all

01:04:03   the apps that we know and love that we think should be at least on the first page of results

01:04:07   or somewhere near the top are very often are buried.

01:04:10   And you know, is that a problem for, it's like the app developer can't say, "Oh, Apple,

01:04:14   it's your fault I'm not selling my stuff because I'm buried."

01:04:16   Well, you're right.

01:04:17   The app developer has to do their own marketing and everything.

01:04:19   But from Apple's perspective, they want everyone who buys an iOS device, who types in Twitter

01:04:23   app, to end up with a good one.

01:04:25   Like one that Apple agrees is good, one that everyone agrees is good, and not have to sort

01:04:29   through tons and tons of crap.

01:04:30   And I think that's a bad experience for Apple's customers.

01:04:33   Not on any individual developer deserves to be at the top or whatever, but just in terms

01:04:38   of how satisfied is the user with that experience of typing in shopping lists and finding a

01:04:42   good shopping list, especially with no trials.

01:04:44   And even if they had trials, there would just be another form of torture because you'd be

01:04:47   like download, trial, delete, download, trial, delete, download, trial, delete.

01:04:51   We want some way to, like Casey was saying, to look at an application and to be able to

01:04:55   tell is this going to be good, am I being scammed, am I being fooled by reviews, or

01:05:00   can I not trust these people in these reviews.

01:05:02   Right, and you know, that's why I think it's very important to draw a distinction here

01:05:08   that, you know, in air quotes, "discoverability," that word alone, that's not Apple's problem.

01:05:16   is Apple's problem and search ranking.

01:05:19   And, you know, so making it so that if you

01:05:22   search for shopping list in the App Store

01:05:24   and, you know, making it so that mostly

01:05:27   good/popular apps show up on top,

01:05:30   that's important. And their search engine

01:05:33   sucks. I mean, there's no better way to

01:05:34   say it. App Store search has always

01:05:36   sucked. So, you know, that's... that they

01:05:40   have tons of room for improvement and

01:05:42   they really should be working on that.

01:05:43   However, you're still mostly on your own. Assume they make good search. Let's say they

01:05:50   fixed their search, which honestly is probably not happening anytime soon. Let's be realistic

01:05:56   here. But assume they actually did make really good search. And so it would be kind of Google-like,

01:06:03   which is like the most popular generally, the most like validly popular things would

01:06:09   generally rank on top for any given terms.

01:06:11   Well, they can't use Google's thing because Google is all based on when other people link

01:06:14   to them, but the App Store is this closed ecosystem.

01:06:17   And the problem with a closed ecosystem of the App Store in terms of searches, what is

01:06:20   your signal for determining what's good or not?

01:06:23   You can't use user activity as a signal because users are not, they're not like independent

01:06:29   entities.

01:06:30   Because if you keyword spam, you will get boosted.

01:06:33   If you spam people's rating dialog boxes, you will get boosted up in terms of, "Well,

01:06:36   we don't know how that ranks."

01:06:37   But there's lots of scummy things that you can do.

01:06:39   And that's the only thing that affects the signals is user activity.

01:06:42   So if you can convince tons of users to download your application and they all give it one-star

01:06:47   reviews but you pay for five times more five-star reviews from just random people around the

01:06:51   world, you will be high ranked, have all the signals that the App Store says are good,

01:06:55   which is why their search algorithm puts this crap near the top.

01:06:58   Because those people have sort of gained the system to get near the top.

01:07:02   And if that's the only input signal, then Apple is at the mercy of its own rule set.

01:07:07   And every time it changes the rules,

01:07:09   the scummy people game it again, which

01:07:10   is why the top results for almost any category of app

01:07:13   is filled with crap applications.

01:07:16   And one solution is to open up that ecosystem like the web,

01:07:20   where you have to do all the SEO battling stuff that Google

01:07:26   does, where they figure out when people make link farms

01:07:28   and they combat that.

01:07:29   It's just a constant stream of battling,

01:07:32   but within a very narrowly defined app store

01:07:34   with no other signal coming into this.

01:07:36   You know, like for example, a social networking type signal of "I'm friends with this person,

01:07:41   therefore their opinions and ratings mean more to me than these random other people

01:07:44   who I don't know," or some other source of signal.

01:07:47   It's difficult for Apple to ever make a search that doesn't suck, not because they don't

01:07:51   know what they're doing, but because any criteria that you choose to rank on will be gamed inside

01:07:57   this little bubble.

01:07:58   Oh yeah, I mean, that was always a problem.

01:08:00   Like my first job was Enterprise Search, and that was a big problem in Enterprise Search

01:08:05   even is like if your job as a search engine is to search through this company's intranet

01:08:11   and there are like tens of thousands or millions of documents they have on file stores and

01:08:16   stuff, there's no page rank information there. There's no helpful way to rank results of

01:08:25   any kind of importance or popularity there.

01:08:27   And if you do the sort of incompetent but not evil thing and you just say, "Well, I'll

01:08:31   track activity and you can say well people searched for vacation schedule or

01:08:36   people search for the word vacation on the internet and you know 80% of the

01:08:41   people who search for vacation and clicked on this link it must be really

01:08:44   good well all it means is that link probably came up near the top for

01:08:46   whatever reason and everybody clicks on it because it's near the top and

01:08:49   everyone goes to it and is disappointed by it because it's like three years ago

01:08:52   vacation schedule and as more people do that it gets higher and higher in the

01:08:56   rankings and just gets cemented as the number one match it everybody who clicks

01:08:59   it says, "No, this was two years ago's vacation schedule." That's an example of where you

01:09:03   don't have any other input signal, so any errors that you have in your algorithm just

01:09:08   become magnified by things that you didn't intend. I totally see that on the App Store.

01:09:11   Oh, the top lists work exactly like that.

01:09:14   Yeah, because if you get—what is it? There's some expression that I can't remember that

01:09:18   someone in the chat room will—

01:09:20   The rich get richer?

01:09:21   That's not it, but it's like that. Anyway, that's good. We'll go with that. But yeah,

01:09:24   you get on the top of the top list, and everyone sees you on the top list, and they buy you,

01:09:27   which makes you higher in the top list.

01:09:29   And when you talk about discoverability, I think what you're talking about is like, say

01:09:32   I'm not on the top list.

01:09:33   I'm unknown.

01:09:34   I didn't scan my way to the top.

01:09:36   I don't have a popular application.

01:09:38   How do I break through?

01:09:40   How do I get people to know that I exist?

01:09:41   I believe I have a good application.

01:09:44   That's just quote-unquote "discoverability."

01:09:46   That's where marketing, you have to do your own marketing.

01:09:48   You can't expect Apple to help you get in the face of, you know, get on the top list.

01:09:53   How do I break into those top results?

01:09:54   but you could do all that scummy stuff that Apple is hopefully battling, or you have to do something else.

01:09:58   It's not Apple's problem to figure out, "How do I go from zero into the top list?"

01:10:01   But it is Apple's problem to say, "Look at the ecosystem of apps."

01:10:05   Within any search term or any category, there's a handful of applications that we think are great,

01:10:09   and we can't editorially handpick every single category of app.

01:10:12   We should have some kind of algorithm that will put up the applications that,

01:10:17   if you talk to anyone on the street, would agree are good, or popular, or high-quality, or not pieces of crap.

01:10:24   And that's also worth a bit of exploration too.

01:10:26   And this is hard for a lot of people to even recognize

01:10:30   as a possibility or to judge or accept,

01:10:33   but it's also possible that your app either isn't that good

01:10:36   or isn't that compelling.

01:10:38   What if no one's buying your app

01:10:41   because they don't really want it

01:10:43   or they don't really need it enough

01:10:44   to justify the price to them?

01:10:45   - Nursing clock.

01:10:46   - Yeah, nursing clock.

01:10:47   I mean, I have bug shot in the store now for a dollar

01:10:51   and it makes about two to four dollars a day,

01:10:56   sometimes one, but usually two to four.

01:10:58   I don't do any promotion of it.

01:11:00   In fact, mentioning it here is the first time

01:11:02   I've even thought about it besides using it in months.

01:11:05   And that's a good example of an everyday app.

01:11:10   It's paid, it's only a dollar though,

01:11:13   so it's paid but really cheap,

01:11:15   and there's no external promotion of it

01:11:19   except a link on my, a relatively buried link on my site

01:11:22   that nobody ever clicks on.

01:11:24   And you know, it does poorly.

01:11:26   - FastX is the same way.

01:11:28   I get excited if I have one sale in a day.

01:11:31   And I would say, you know, every two or three days,

01:11:35   I do get a sale, and I've actually had a really good run

01:11:37   of like three whole days where I've had one sale.

01:11:40   But if I see more than one sale in a day,

01:11:41   that's like, baby, let's go to dinner,

01:11:44   'cause daddy's rich, you know.

01:11:46   kidding aside, it's very much the same for me.

01:11:48   Right, but that's a symptom, and that and the bug shots, that's a symptom of a lot

01:11:54   of different conditions. One of which, especially in my case, and probably your case too, there's

01:12:01   tons of competition. There's tons of other apps, many of them free, that do roughly the

01:12:05   same thing. And this is an area, like Apple could do very well to improve how we're

01:12:11   able to communicate what our app does. Like, there was a rumor a couple of weeks ago, they

01:12:16   enabled a video in one app's description. And people were thinking, "Oh, what if they

01:12:22   enabled video for all apps in the future?" And, you know, I wrote a post that comes with

01:12:26   pluses and minuses. You know, the pluses are you could show off more of your app and it'd

01:12:29   be easier to sell a paid app up front if people could watch a video about it right there in

01:12:34   the App Store and you can kind of show off how good it is, assuming it's good.

01:12:39   But then the downside is you'd be expected to make a video, which is time consuming and

01:12:43   potentially expensive.

01:12:45   So there's all sorts of pluses and minuses there.

01:12:49   But the fact is the app store is a very crowded place.

01:12:52   And if your app is selling very badly, especially if it's paid up front, I mean Instapaper was

01:12:57   not selling very well in its last year before I sold it.

01:13:00   I mean it didn't sell that well because it was a paid app in a crowded app store.

01:13:06   People think I'm immune to all these effects, but I'm not.

01:13:09   And again, look at Bugshot. It's out there for a buck and no one buys it, because I'm

01:13:13   not immune to this. Like, popularity on the internet, it only takes you so far. And so

01:13:21   the bigger problem here is not that Apple has to improve discoverability, you know,

01:13:27   in quotes. It's that the app store is really crowded, and maybe your app just isn't taking

01:13:32   off in sales because it isn't that compelling for that many people. Or there is the need

01:13:38   for that kind of app, but someone else is doing it for free, or is spending more on

01:13:44   advertising or is sending promo codes to all the people who run all the Mac blogs or something

01:13:49   like that. And those are things you have to do to get noticed. And if your app is really great,

01:13:54   even if you just do a little bit of promotion, if your app is really great, it will get noticed,

01:13:58   and it will spread. Yeah, people will find it. All these apps that I'm saying, "Well, we all know

01:14:02   what the good Twitter apps are. We could probably name all of them, right, even if we don't use them

01:14:05   ourselves. And the reason we know is because people who write about applications, who review

01:14:11   iOS applications, who use a lot of iOS applications, who have popular technology blogs, talk about

01:14:17   their applications. If they're in an interview, sometimes they ask, "What's your favorite

01:14:21   mail application? What's your favorite to do?" Like, people talk about things. And,

01:14:24   you know, just through word of mouth and old-fashioned, this is the, you know, sort of organic marketing,

01:14:28   in addition to the regular marketing, people doing advertising on podcasts, buying ads

01:14:32   and magazines, giving promotion codes to everybody, getting reviewed.

01:14:35   If you actually make a good application that most people who review it give it, you know,

01:14:40   four or five stars or a thumbs up or generally positive review, you will eventually start

01:14:46   to gain traction.

01:14:47   And the tragedy of that situation is, I made an awesome app.

01:14:51   It's in a crowded market, but like mine is a popular one.

01:14:54   People think it's interesting.

01:14:55   People think it's got a new take on this genre or it's a great example of the form.

01:15:00   It has lots of features and it's high quality application.

01:15:04   Everybody likes it.

01:15:05   And people go to the App Store and search for that with a generic term because they

01:15:08   can't remember your name.

01:15:09   Even if they remember your name, they can't find it.

01:15:12   And they just end up with tons of results of crap.

01:15:15   And that's where you're just being handicapped by the App Store where you're like, "Unless

01:15:18   I have a direct link to my product with the exact iTunes URL, if people search for me,

01:15:23   they're very likely to find a clone application, an unrelated application, or just generally

01:15:28   be distracted by crappy other applications that are not what they're looking for, even

01:15:32   if I get them to go there to try to find my application. That is terrible. That's where

01:15:36   you feel like Apple is actively impairing what would otherwise be a success for you.

01:15:42   I have a great application. It's the new version of Tweetbot. Go find it. And people can't

01:15:46   remember what it was, but they just search for Twitter, and Tweetbot is on page 17, and

01:15:49   no one ever finds it.

01:15:50   Right. I mean, and as I said, obviously there's a lot Apple can do there. But if your app

01:15:55   is barely selling. It is not because you don't have enough reviews. That's not the reason.

01:16:02   And let's say you get a bunch of reviews by putting in one of these stupid dialogues,

01:16:06   and then your sales go up like 10% the next week or something. How long is that going

01:16:12   to last? And what else are you willing to do to keep that going? And is that really

01:16:16   worth it? The fact is, if your app is selling very badly, chances are it's because it's

01:16:23   not that necessary or not that compelling or not priced right or something like that.

01:16:27   And you need to change something. It's not about like juicing the sales you have. It's

01:16:32   about either dropping your price, figuring out some other way to make money, you know,

01:16:38   make a free, you know, do an app purchase or, you know, drop it to a buck and see if

01:16:42   that helps, something like that because that's what the market demands.

01:16:45   Or find your audience because like say you're trying to sell nursing clock and you've just

01:16:49   been advertising on Mac tech websites. You know, you gotta find like where are new mothers

01:16:55   hanging out. Maybe, you know, find in the old days you'd go to the Usenet group and

01:16:59   you'd post it there and you'd get more sales from one Usenet group posting than, you know,

01:17:02   I'm crossing the streams here, Usenet existing is an active thing at the same time as the

01:17:06   App Store. Anyway, you have to find where your audience lives and advertise in that context.

01:17:10   What podcasts they listen to, what websites do they visit. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe

01:17:13   it's not that your app sucks. Maybe you just haven't found the audience. Or maybe there's

01:17:17   there's an audience of people who want really complicated nursing clocks and yours is a

01:17:20   simple one.

01:17:21   Find the people who want simple nursing clock.

01:17:23   It's the same product marketing thing as any other product.

01:17:28   Getting the right features at the right price and getting that message in front of the right

01:17:31   people.

01:17:32   But yeah, rating applications are not the way to do that.

01:17:36   Especially since, as Margo said, if there really is no hard and fast evidence that getting

01:17:41   more ratings or higher, getting more ratings by bugging people is going to help move you

01:17:47   up the rank in any significant way.

01:17:49   Well, people say it works. I have no evidence to support this. I tweeted the other day that

01:17:54   there was this one version of Instapaper that, due to an App Store publishing bug, this was

01:17:59   when everything was being published with broken signatures and they couldn't launch, it would

01:18:03   crash on launch for like a day, two years ago, whenever that was. That version of Instapaper,

01:18:08   it was fixed and republished, was not reviewable. And it was in the store with no reviews for

01:18:14   however long that was the latest version. I forget how long, I think it was at least

01:18:18   a few weeks, maybe even longer, maybe even a couple of months. And it seemed to make

01:18:23   no difference in what my average daily sales were. Like, none at all. And yeah, sure, not

01:18:28   every app is going to be just like this, there are obviously different conditions around

01:18:32   everything, but that was just one data point. A lot of people have given other data points

01:18:35   saying like, "Oh well, one release I had no reviews,

01:18:39   "and then I didn't sell that many,

01:18:41   "and then the next release I had a bunch of reviews

01:18:43   "and I sold a lot more."

01:18:44   That could also be due to different factors.

01:18:46   Like it's hard to run controlled experiments

01:18:48   in the App Store.

01:18:49   So it's hard to really say

01:18:52   whether it works definitively or not.

01:18:55   Chances are it works a little bit.

01:18:57   The question is whether it works enough

01:18:59   to make it worth it to you to have that quality reduction.

01:19:02   And that depends on where your priorities lie.

01:19:05   I think the reason that the good app developers are resorting to the rating dialog boxes is

01:19:11   as a way to combat the crappy developers.

01:19:17   If you go to some crappy application and you look at the little histogram, it will have

01:19:21   a huge number of five-star ratings that they scammed their way into somehow, right?

01:19:25   And then there'll be a bunch of one star, it'll be like U-shaped or whatever.

01:19:29   If you make a really popular application that everybody loves, especially if it mostly plays

01:19:34   to an audience that doesn't spend its time writing reviews or rating applications, what

01:19:37   you'll see is a bunch of angry people who rate it one star because of backlash, because

01:19:40   they read about it on seven different websites, and they tried it and they didn't like it.

01:19:44   So like, "I read about it on these websites and everyone said it was great, but I don't

01:19:47   think it's great. One star, one star, one star." And all the people who love your application

01:19:51   are not going to rate it. And you're like, "Geez, this is not a one-star application

01:19:56   or a two-star application. I really think this is a four-star." And every place that's

01:19:59   reviewed it and every person that's used it has said it's great. Why am I rating so bad?

01:20:03   And if someone does a search with their crappy search system and sees, well, this thing has

01:20:07   an average of 4.8 and this one has an average of 3.2, they're like, oh, that 3.2 one must

01:20:12   suck.

01:20:13   In reality, the 4.8 one, that guy scammed all his reviews by paying people to rate it

01:20:17   five stars or whatever, and no one rated it one star because there are no legitimate users

01:20:21   of that application because no one would ever willingly download it or pay for it.

01:20:25   And the application that is actually good just has the backslash negative -- backslash

01:20:29   -- am I saying it right now?

01:20:32   Backlash.

01:20:33   There you go.

01:20:34   That's the word.

01:20:35   Backlash negative reviews and not enough positive ones.

01:20:37   Maybe it has some positive ones but not enough.

01:20:39   And that will bring this developer to feel justified in saying, "Look, I worked hard

01:20:43   on this application.

01:20:44   It gets great reviews.

01:20:45   Every magazine and website that reviews it says it's good.

01:20:47   I know I have a lot of users whose people are buying it.

01:20:50   Please can you go and rate my application?"

01:20:51   I think this is what leads good applications to go bad.

01:20:55   Good applications to throw in your face a dialogue box that says, "Please rate my application,"

01:20:59   because they're fighting against that crap.

01:21:01   And that's another case where I think if Apple did something about the crap in the App Store,

01:21:07   these developers would feel less pressure and they would feel less justified in saying,

01:21:12   "Well, I'm just asking my happy users of my application that's popular to rate things,

01:21:16   because if I don't ask them and all the crap applications do ask them to or pay people

01:21:20   to, my application looks worse and people buy it less."

01:21:25   And again, that's the role that Apple plays in this, is to get rid of the bad stuff.

01:21:29   you said earlier, Jon, kind of got me to think in a little bit. And I was wondering, you

01:21:34   know, you had said something about like the Facebook, Facebookification, if that's even

01:21:40   a word, which it isn't, it is now it is now of the App Store. And you know, hey, 12 of

01:21:45   your friends are using this app or whatever. It got me to think in that firstly, imagine

01:21:51   if on the App Store, you could see that, you know, x number of your of your Facebook contacts

01:21:58   or Twitter followers or the people you're following on Twitter would probably be an

01:22:02   even better metric. X number of those people have downloaded this app. And then separately,

01:22:09   Y number of that same group actually have this app on their device. And that would be

01:22:15   really cool. And that would be a tremendous amount of data. And yes, it's a little bit

01:22:20   creepy, but if it was all anonymous, you could never find out who those people were. Maybe

01:22:24   it would be okay.

01:22:25   Well, when I said the Facebookification or whatever, I was saying in a negative sense,

01:22:29   because that's a privacy thing.

01:22:31   Where Facebook does that, but I would not want the App Store to, by default, show even

01:22:38   just counts.

01:22:39   Because if you see an application, if you friend two people and you see the number on

01:22:47   your guide to getting a divorce application go up by one, you know that's one of your

01:22:52   two friends and you know which one is most...

01:22:54   Totally it can't be the default it has to be totally opt-in it can't be like Facebook

01:22:59   But that's the reason Facebook and all the other things do it by default is because they can harvest

01:23:03   Lots of good signal from these relationships and these activities, and I don't think Apple should do that

01:23:09   But there is a there is a there is a place between what Apple is doing and what Facebook does

01:23:15   Even if you just look at something like more like what Amazon does where Amazon still has it's basically like the App Store and their

01:23:20   Reviews where it's just a bunch of anonymous people most of whom are angry

01:23:23   writing things that may or may not be true.

01:23:26   What is Amazon Ad?

01:23:28   One tiny extra thing that Amazon Ads is

01:23:30   the ability of other people to respond to reviews.

01:23:33   So someone will write a big angry review

01:23:34   and say I got this thing home

01:23:36   and it didn't work as advertised

01:23:38   and it was supposed to do this and it said it did that

01:23:40   and blah, blah, blah.

01:23:41   Just be able to have one person respond and say,

01:23:43   oh, well you didn't see the whatever switch

01:23:45   or you have to know that you have to hook it up

01:23:46   to the whatever and then it will do the thing

01:23:48   that you wanted or if you had read the manual

01:23:50   you would have realized that you have to do this,

01:23:51   that and the other thing.

01:23:53   That's it. All they've added is just another level of sort of anonymous random garbage.

01:23:58   Even that is better than the App Star, where it's just one big long linear listen.

01:24:01   If you're lucky, you can scroll through 20 pages and find some person correcting somebody who says something totally bogus and bad.

01:24:07   That's one tiny step towards the direction of, "I see that seven of my trusted friends have installed this and have launched it in the last day,"

01:24:13   which is totally creepy Facebook-y type stuff.

01:24:15   It is creepy, but nevertheless, I feel like there's a way in which it could be only slightly

01:24:22   creepy but very, very useful.

01:24:24   And the actual point I was trying to drive at is, what if this is what Topsy was for?

01:24:29   Because Topsy's, of my limited understanding of Topsy, is that it was built for handling

01:24:34   massive amounts of data.

01:24:36   And to me, the only really massive amounts of data that Apple probably cares about, if

01:24:42   if not Twitter itself, is their retail stores and the app store.

01:24:46   And I'm not saying that Topsy necessarily

01:24:49   is going to do this weird thing that I just concocted about

01:24:52   how many of your friends have this

01:24:53   and how many of your friends have this on their devices.

01:24:56   But I could easily see Topsy being used

01:24:59   for either one of these things.

01:25:00   And the other popular thing that a few listeners have written

01:25:03   in about and I think makes sense is

01:25:05   if eye beacons are sprinkled throughout Apple retail stores,

01:25:09   perhaps aggregating that data and seeing,

01:25:13   speaking of being creepy, where people

01:25:15   walking within an Apple store.

01:25:17   Because at that point, with enough iBeacons,

01:25:19   and if you have the app installed on your phone,

01:25:21   presumably you would be able to maybe even know

01:25:23   that much information.

01:25:25   That's more like usage data.

01:25:26   That's getting the Google creepy of like,

01:25:28   what if Apple just tracks every time you launch an application?

01:25:30   And I think someone was suggesting to Marco

01:25:32   or that you respond to on your blog,

01:25:34   what if they tracked how long you use an application?

01:25:35   Which almost any metric you pick up can be gained,

01:25:38   I think Marco pointed out with the how long you use it, that's punishing applications to get you in and out quickly.

01:25:42   Like the application that's efficient that you don't need to spend a long time in, that application gets punished

01:25:47   versus the one that like keeps you inside the application because it's cumbersome to use. Like any metric you pick is gonna have some

01:25:53   downsides, but there are tons and tons of venues to get some other signal in here

01:25:58   and you just have to be careful on how you pick them,

01:26:01   but I think you need some more input than what you have because if it's a closed ecosystem

01:26:04   it's much easier to game than if you have lots of different kinds of input that are more difficult to control like

01:26:10   The App Store reviewer, you know, the scummy people can pay people to leave talk as our reviews and stuff

01:26:15   They will have a much harder time

01:26:17   They can't what they can't do is pay every single website that reviews iOS applications to give them a good review

01:26:23   That's much harder than just paying a bunch of people to give one-star review

01:26:25   So that signal that external signal is harder to control than the internal one anything that just exists inside the App Store

01:26:31   store is going to be a lot easier to game than anything that involves all of us.

01:26:34   And the trick is to find some way to get useful signal from us in a way that's not creepy,

01:26:38   that doesn't track every single thing that we do, that doesn't violate our privacy by

01:26:43   showing everybody which applications we're downloading and using and when, but just get

01:26:46   that signal somehow.

01:26:47   I suppose Topsy couldn't be involved in looking at that, but it's like any time Apple buys

01:26:51   any company that, you know, they're not going to tell us what they're going to do, and we

01:26:55   just have to guess.

01:26:56   And it's like, "Yeah, Topsy could do that."

01:26:58   I guess that PrimeSense company, they could do that.

01:27:01   They could have a sensor for their TV or for their next iPad or for their next iPhone or

01:27:05   for their watch or for a ring they're going to design or for their glasses.

01:27:10   We don't know.

01:27:11   We'll see.

01:27:12   Well, the only one that was easy was when they bought – what was that called?

01:27:15   The Chomp company or whatever that redid the store.

01:27:19   They bought that company.

01:27:20   I bet they're going to use them to redid the store.

01:27:22   And as far as I know, yeah, they did use them to redid the store and nobody likes it.

01:27:26   least people guessed right about what they were going to be doing with that company when

01:27:30   they bought them.

01:27:31   You know, I wouldn't have high hopes for Apple doing meaningful things here. I mean, look

01:27:36   at how they've improved the App Store since its introduction. This is where I would paste

01:27:43   in the crickets sound effect.

01:27:46   Well, they kind of shove things in in one direction, then it pops out someplace else,

01:27:52   and they shove it in over there, and then a new thing pops out. And so they're kind

01:27:55   of doing stuff, but it's all just like equilibrium.

01:27:59   You know, they shift in one direction, shift back in the other.

01:28:01   There's never any like big clean push into a whole new realm of win.

01:28:05   It's always address whatever the most egregious problem is, but accidentally cause another

01:28:10   one and then address that one and cause another one and kind of staying in the middle.

01:28:13   I mean, the big problem with the App Store during this whole time is during the time

01:28:17   that they've been working on trying to tweak it and make sure it doesn't get too far out

01:28:21   of line, the volume has gone up like crazy and it's really difficult to do anything useful

01:28:25   unless you get it exactly right, when the volume is going up so fast because new kinds of problems

01:28:29   are cropping up all the time, and a solution that would have been perfectly viable when it was small

01:28:32   is now useless, and you need to come up with a new solution, and you get that implemented,

01:28:36   and then your volumes go up again. And like Margot said, if eventually you reach web scale,

01:28:41   then this whole idea of having a directory, like, what are they going to do? They're like,

01:28:46   they're reproducing the web, you know? Like, it's a, I guess Amazon does the same thing.

01:28:51   Amazon, I assume, will always have more products than the App Store does.

01:28:54   and they managed to do better sort of searching and recommendations. It's very

01:28:59   rarely do I type something into Amazon and not find the thing I want. I can

01:29:03   misspell it, I can misremember what it's called, as long as I'm misremembering in

01:29:07   the same way that a bunch of other people are misremembering, Amazon seems

01:29:10   to do a good job of keeping track, just like Google, keeping track of not

01:29:14   the first bad result that people click on, but the first result that actually

01:29:17   leads to like a sale or lingering on a page or whatever they're doing over

01:29:21   there at Amazon. There's another company Apple should just acquire or merge with

01:29:24   you know, someone please help them. Amazon? Well, I mean, who sells lots of things and makes them

01:29:30   discoverable and has a reasonable system for buying stuff that people tend to like? Amazon,

01:29:35   right? Well, hold on, though. But yeah, you're right about that. But you're also talking about

01:29:39   physical goods and audio and things like that. What I was just wondering is, how is Amazon's

01:29:46   App Store for discovery and things of that nature? I think the problem is they don't have a lot of

01:29:50   apps. No one uses it. And nobody uses it. But, I mean, even amongst the 12 people that

01:29:55   use it, is it any better? It may not be. We've had a number of comments in the chat room

01:30:00   during the show that apparently the Google Play Store is really good about reviews and

01:30:04   rankings. And that makes sense. You know, if it's true, that makes sense because Google

01:30:09   is really good at search and ranking. Like, they know how to do that well. And they prioritize

01:30:15   that. They are probably totally not above keeping track of when every application is

01:30:19   launched on an Android phone and how long people spend in it and all those stats that

01:30:23   they can track anonymously or however, you know, and they're not trying to do it.

01:30:26   But that is, because that's what they do on the web.

01:30:29   They gather every ounce of signal they can on the web and try to block out every source

01:30:34   of noise and gaming of the system they can for the entire web.

01:30:36   And that's what the whole company was founded on.

01:30:38   So of course they're going to focus those same tools on their web store and of course

01:30:42   they're going to do better.

01:30:43   That reminds me of the final replies to talking about that tweet I talked about last week

01:30:48   about someone saying, "Why isn't anybody talking about this feature that didn't ship in whatever?"

01:30:53   I was mostly talking about the "Why isn't anybody talking about it" angle, but a lot

01:30:56   of people were like, "I thought it did ship, I just thought it didn't work."

01:31:02   And some people are doing that as a joke, but some people were kind of half serious.

01:31:08   And I have to admit to myself, lots of features that Apple ships—you just mentioned back

01:31:12   to my Mac feature, which also has worked sporadically for me.

01:31:17   If Apple ships a feature that has anything to do with the net, it's very difficult to

01:31:22   tell whether the feature is missing entirely or just isn't working right yet, because they

01:31:25   hide all of the nuts and bolts from you.

01:31:28   So when back to my Mac isn't working, if we had told you that Apple removed back to my

01:31:31   Mac from OS X two years ago, versus, "Oh no, it's always been in there, it just doesn't

01:31:35   work," as far as you're concerned, the experience is the same.

01:31:39   It doesn't seem to do what it's supposed to do, and maybe there's still a checkbox for

01:31:43   it, but that's how far Apple's reputation—

01:31:47   If a tree falls in the woods, then it never works for anybody.

01:31:50   Yeah, that's how far Apple's reputation has fallen so far, that if any feature has anything

01:31:54   to do with online, people just assume it shipped, but it didn't work.

01:31:58   I think App Store search, because search is such a hard problem, and you look at the difference

01:32:04   between it—and apparently Google does it very well, which is not a surprise, and Apple

01:32:08   as poorly, which is also not a surprise, I think this is the kind of problem that Apple

01:32:12   would probably just never do that well. Like it's just not in their DNA to really do search

01:32:20   and management of this large dataset and management of spam and gaming and everything else. It's

01:32:25   just not what they do well. And they've never ever shown an ability to do that kind of thing

01:32:31   well nor really a priority to really put a lot of resources into it.

01:32:36   And so I don't, I would not expect the situation to change from their end.

01:32:41   Before we leave this topic, there's one more thing I wanted to briefly touch on, which

01:32:44   is the reason how these links in here, they're linking to your blog post about rating this

01:32:50   app and then that other responses to saying that Apple, you said that they can't ban the

01:32:56   rate this app dialog boxes and someone responded and then you responded back to them.

01:33:00   This idea that, this is basically the idea that one solution to this problem with rating

01:33:05   dialog boxes is that Apple could just say you're not allowed to put up a dialog box

01:33:08   that asks someone to rate your application.

01:33:11   And you were saying you could make that rule but you can't enforce it and you're arguing

01:33:14   back and forth.

01:33:15   Right.

01:33:16   Do you have anything more to add to that other than what you put in the blog post there?

01:33:19   Not really.

01:33:20   I mean, a lot of people have suggested ways they could add a report button or something

01:33:24   to, but it wouldn't actually work in practice.

01:33:26   Like if they added a report as of use or inappropriate

01:33:31   or whatever button to every UI alert view,

01:33:35   that obviously is very costly in other factors

01:33:38   and then people just stop using UI alert views.

01:33:41   Like it's not that hard to write your own popover view

01:33:45   like that looks and works like a dialogue box

01:33:48   and just attach it as a sub view of the window

01:33:50   and what are they gonna do,

01:33:52   add a button in every UI view?

01:33:53   Obviously they can't do that.

01:33:54   So there's really no-- any kind of minor offense

01:34:00   that lots of apps will do that will appear after app review

01:34:05   time, such as spam push notifications, which

01:34:08   are also against the rules.

01:34:09   But they're very prevalent anyway.

01:34:11   Yeah, I was going to say that that's the perfect example,

01:34:13   because those already are against the rules.

01:34:15   You're not allowed to send people push notifications

01:34:17   with advertisements in it.

01:34:18   And yet many of us see push notifications

01:34:21   with things in them that look a lot like advertisements.

01:34:24   Right, all the time. And this is the purpose of my post, it's very similar to that problem,

01:34:30   which is this thing already is against the rules, this spam push notification, it's already

01:34:34   against the rules. But it's really not enforced because unless the reviewer from AppReview

01:34:40   gets this thing during the five minutes they're spending with the app, unless they themselves

01:34:44   get spammed and notice it's against the rule, they're never going to catch it, really. And

01:34:51   And once it's already in the wild after the fact, these are such relatively minor rule

01:34:56   violations. It would be different. If your app passes app review and then you have it

01:35:01   hard coded so two weeks later it becomes malware somehow, that would get noticed and that would

01:35:08   get shut down. Because that's really bad. You'd be kicked out of the developer program

01:35:13   or whatever else. Fine. But for something like this, like a minor offense, like a push

01:35:18   notification or rate this app dialog, those are not major enough PR problems, major enough

01:35:24   offenses in the app store that if it happened after review time, Apple would make a big

01:35:30   effort to crack down on that and eliminate that.

01:35:32   It's just not important enough relative to everything else they have to do.

01:35:35   So realistically speaking, it's very unlikely that Apple would ever ban these dialogs, and

01:35:42   if they did, it's very unlikely it would be enforced.

01:35:46   So my position on this is that I mostly agree with the difficulty of enforcing this, although

01:35:51   I also agree with the, you know, like, just because it's difficult doesn't mean it can't

01:35:54   be done.

01:35:55   But I think that if this agreement within Apple that this is an experience they don't

01:36:02   want people to have, that they're using their application and a dialog box pops up and asks

01:36:05   you to rate applications, they should absolutely add it to the guidelines, just like the thing

01:36:09   that says you're not supposed to get ads and push notifications, because Apple's decided

01:36:12   that getting advertisements to push notifications is not the experience they want on their phones.

01:36:16   Enforceability, I think, should be not entirely separate, but mostly separate from making the

01:36:21   rules. I think the rule against advertising push notifications is a good rule. It's kind of like

01:36:26   the school zone speed limits, which are usually set super low. It's so that if they wanted to,

01:36:33   they can give every single person in the school zone a ticket. It makes it so that everybody is

01:36:37   breaking the law and then you can pull anybody over.

01:36:41   But in this case, I think it's a reasonable speed limit.

01:36:44   If you just put in a rule that says you can't put up a RateMe dialog box, you're right.

01:36:47   It's not like it's going to turn to malware.

01:36:49   How are you going to know that this thing really put up a dialog box?

01:36:53   And who was it that had that blog post explaining a big system of a social engineered system

01:36:59   where different people could report violations and then if their accuracy of their reporting

01:37:04   gives their reports a higher ranking.

01:37:06   There's lots of systems that are possible.

01:37:07   Yeah, that was the Chuck one.

01:37:09   Yeah, I wouldn't get too bogged down in the details of that.

01:37:11   I would just say, if this is an experience that Apple thinks you shouldn't have, put

01:37:14   it in the guidelines.

01:37:16   And maybe it's incredibly sporadically enforced, almost never enforced.

01:37:21   The fact that it's there, and I think it's probably easier to enforce than the push notification

01:37:25   one, because the push notification comes from elsewhere.

01:37:28   The rate me thing, I guess it could be triggered by an external server-based thing, but the

01:37:31   code to put up that dialogue has to be in your application somewhere.

01:37:36   It's the type of thing where once it becomes a guideline, that alone could push it off

01:37:40   into the crappy section of the app store that I was talking about before.

01:37:44   And all the good developers of the well-known applications that we all know and love and

01:37:47   use all the time would comply with the guideline because those people aren't willingly sending

01:37:51   out push notifications for ads either because it's against the guidelines.

01:37:55   And so even, you know, just putting in that guideline, even though it can't stop all the

01:37:59   other crap apps from doing it, just putting it there at all would give a position that

01:38:05   the quote unquote good guys in the app store would follow along with, I think, for the

01:38:09   most part.

01:38:10   Well, but there's already, like, I think everyone for the most part knows that it's kind of

01:38:16   not okay, but most developers who have implemented it are probably implementing it because they've

01:38:22   weighed that trade-off in their head and they've been like, "Well, I know it's kind of annoying

01:38:27   to some people, and it's kind of not okay, but everyone else is doing it, and I need

01:38:34   all the help I can get because my sales suck."

01:38:36   And that same rationale, I think, would still be there.

01:38:40   No, but that cost benefit is going to be way different if it's against the rules.

01:38:43   You would never knowingly put something up on the store that violated a guideline, especially

01:38:46   if it was a high-profile guideline that came into being under circumstances like this,

01:38:50   where now Apple releases a new guideline not allowed to put up a rate meet.

01:38:53   You would never put up an application that knowingly violates—like, it's not even

01:38:56   subtle.

01:38:57   Like, if a dialog pops up and says, "Please rate this application," you're in violation.

01:39:01   none of the good developers would willingly violate,

01:39:04   because suddenly the cost benefit is like,

01:39:06   well, I'm being kind of annoying, blah, blah, blah,

01:39:08   versus my app is going to be rejected,

01:39:11   or there's a chance my app is going to be rejected,

01:39:13   or as soon as somebody sees this,

01:39:14   I'm going to have all those backlash users saying,

01:39:17   you need to get this off the store,

01:39:18   it violates your bizarre readabout on this website.

01:39:20   Like, I think all the good guys would follow it.

01:39:23   You certainly would, right?

01:39:23   You would, I mean, you don't even put it up now,

01:39:25   but like, think of a guideline that Apple could come up with

01:39:28   that you would willingly flout

01:39:29   because you think it gave you some minor increase in sales.

01:39:32   You wouldn't.

01:39:33   You would just say, well, Apple has changed the rules

01:39:34   and made my application unviable,

01:39:36   and you'd go do something else.

01:39:38   You would not violate the rules.

01:39:39   And I think that's the function the rules would serve,

01:39:41   not to eliminate the practice, but really

01:39:43   to further marginalize it and make it socially unacceptable.

01:39:48   Not just socially unacceptable, but the smart developers

01:39:51   who have a clue who don't plan on registering new Apple

01:39:54   IDs for the Apple developer program every two weeks

01:39:56   to keep their business in business

01:39:58   I would say, I can't willingly violate this.

01:40:01   You know, something I was thinking-- and I know we

01:40:04   probably shouldn't get into the details of how

01:40:06   to implement that kind of rating, or to enforce,

01:40:09   I should say, that kind of rating.

01:40:10   But what's stopping Apple from-- as part of the scan

01:40:15   that they do for private APIs-- what's

01:40:18   stopping them from looking for rate and app as something

01:40:22   that's passed into a UI alert view,

01:40:24   or just doing a string search within the compiled code

01:40:28   for rate and app only a couple words away from each other.

01:40:33   And maybe they don't unilaterally reject upon finding that,

01:40:36   but maybe that raises a warning to the reviewer saying,

01:40:40   "Mm, you should probably take a look at this."

01:40:42   - Yeah, that's the kind of heuristics they could pull off.

01:40:45   And again, that's totally not gonna stop anybody

01:40:47   who wants to do it,

01:40:48   because you could have the text fed from a server,

01:40:49   you can obfuscate it, whatever.

01:40:51   But yeah, more so than push notifications,

01:40:55   because those come from entirely elsewhere.

01:40:58   I think you'd have a fighting chance at an automated tool

01:41:01   that might bring up a flag on this.

01:41:03   And even if the reaction to that was just

01:41:04   that the reviewer would contact the developer and say,

01:41:07   this thing doesn't have a dialog box that would pop up to say,

01:41:09   rate notification, does it?

01:41:11   And then they have to lie to you to get through.

01:41:13   They have to say, oh, no, it doesn't have anything like that.

01:41:15   And now you've got them on records telling them a lie.

01:41:17   you know, it's, I think it would be helpful.

01:41:21   All right, I think we're good.

01:41:24   Thanks a lot to our three sponsors this week, Backblaze, Hover, and Audible, and we will

01:41:28   see you next week.

01:41:33   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin, 'cause it was accidental.

01:41:40   Oh, it was accidental.

01:41:43   John didn't do any research, Margo and Casey wouldn't let him

01:41:48   'Cause it was accidental (it was accidental)

01:41:51   It was accidental (accidental)

01:41:53   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm

01:41:59   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them

01:42:03   @C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S

01:42:07   So that's Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M

01:42:12   ♫ Anti-Marco Armin, S-I-R-A-C, U-S-A-C-R-A-Q-S-A ♫

01:42:19   ♫ It's accidental, accidental ♫

01:42:22   ♫ They didn't mean to ♫

01:42:25   ♫ Accidental, accidental ♫

01:42:27   ♫ Tech broadcast so long ♫

01:42:32   I'm so upset I missed the joke.

01:42:34   Somebody in the chat pointed out the much better joke of "It's pronounced T-H-10."

01:42:38   Yeah, that would've been a better joke.

01:42:40   That's much better. I wish I would have said that instead.

01:42:44   But you didn't.

01:42:49   There was one other additional thing I wanted to tack on to the "rate this app" thing.

01:42:53   Might as well put it here.

01:42:56   The way these dialogues work

01:42:57   to kick you over to the App Store to review it, is they call special URLs that

01:43:02   launch the App Store app to particular pages.

01:43:04   And in iOS 6 and earlier,

01:43:06   it was possible to link directly to the review form for an app

01:43:10   and in 7 that was no longer possible. In 7

01:43:14   the best you can do is link to the apps page in the app store.

01:43:19   One thing Apple could do to

01:43:22   combat this in a way that would actually be more effective than a policy

01:43:27   is to make it stop working.

01:43:29   Now, they can't make links to the app store or apps stop working.

01:43:34   One thing somebody suggested on Twitter somewhere,

01:43:36   sorry I forget who it was,

01:43:39   is that what if they make it so that if the app store

01:43:42   is invoked by a URL from another app,

01:43:45   don't allow the input of a reviewer rating?

01:43:49   - That's an interesting point.

01:43:51   - I think that could be frustrating from a user's perspective

01:43:55   because they're like, I can't rate the application

01:43:58   and then it's like, well did you get that window there

01:44:00   from a link from another and then they don't remember

01:44:02   know what that means. And it looks like their website is broken. I don't know if we could

01:44:07   – that's like the people who try to punish their dog for pooping and they don't connect

01:44:13   you yelling at the dog with the poop you made five minutes ago.

01:44:16   One other thing they could do that I thought of also is – so they have – I believe

01:44:21   this was added in iOS 6. It's at least here in 7 where they have this ability to show

01:44:27   a modal sheet for the app store, like for an app,

01:44:31   within your app without kicking you over

01:44:33   to the app store app.

01:44:34   And so what if they removed the review input method

01:44:38   just for those modal sheets and then made it a policy

01:44:42   that if you were going to link to an app,

01:44:44   whether it's yours or someone else's,

01:44:45   if you're gonna link to an app from your app,

01:44:47   from your app, you have to do it

01:44:49   through one of those mobile sheets

01:44:50   and you are not allowed to kick over to the iTunes app.

01:44:54   That would be an easier policy to enforce.

01:44:56   You could even check for those URLs or even make those URLs stop working.

01:45:00   It would be like institutionalizing the idea of something that is triggered from an application

01:45:07   that lets you rate the application.

01:45:08   I don't know if that, like, I almost think that if that's the, like, it has to be, it

01:45:12   should be on a springboard level type thing, but no one would ever do that.

01:45:16   In an application, you can't have everything that's coming up.

01:45:18   That's why a lot of people are talking about the idea of making a new website, you know,

01:45:23   sort of gamifying a website where people could read applications outside of the app store

01:45:29   and outside of anything else, but all you're doing is kind of recreating a crowd-sourced

01:45:33   review website, and there are tons of websites that review iOS apps.

01:45:38   Some of it, I bet Apple people thinking about this have the same thought as I do sometimes,

01:45:42   it's like, what if Apple just got entirely rid of ratings and reviews and everything,

01:45:46   and all they were was a directory of things that you could download, and they had release

01:45:49   notes and that was it. and they used a signal that they didn't show you to rank the applications

01:45:56   that was probably equally mysterious to whatever they do now but would actually work and when

01:46:00   i search for twitter i would see the 10 best twitter clients on the first page of results

01:46:05   and i wouldn't care about the sort order you know what i mean. but then people want reviews

01:46:09   and people want all those other things and apple has signed up to do that and now they're

01:46:12   kind of stuck with it. say they had never had reviews but left it entirely to websites

01:46:17   to review their stuff. That would be a different story, and maybe that would be an acceptable

01:46:23   thing to do, but we would probably just be asking for them to do reviews. So, I don't

01:46:26   know, they're kind of stuck. It's like, once you start censoring stuff, now you're on the

01:46:30   hook for anything that comes through. But once you start accepting ratings and reviews,

01:46:33   now you're on the hook for making them not suck. And Apple has not done that yet.

01:46:37   Well, and they love—and they want the control. I don't think they'd like that the official

01:46:41   source of whether an app is good or bad is not controlled by them.

01:46:46   Well, you know, the thing we didn't even talk about, everyone except for Apple agrees that

01:46:52   it should be possible for the developer of application to leave a response to a review,

01:46:56   and for both parties involved in that process to update their thing.

01:46:59   Because nothing is more frustrating as a developer having someone say, "I got your to-do application,

01:47:04   but it doesn't let me delete items one star."

01:47:08   Let the reviewer write, "Actually, it does let you delete items you have to swipe," or

01:47:12   something like that, right?

01:47:13   It doesn't mean that the developer is going to be correct or is official in any capacity,

01:47:17   but just simple matter of like, because then, you know, you can edit your review and, you

01:47:22   know, like the people who leave that non-Casey review all the time are constantly editing

01:47:26   it, right?

01:47:27   You can edit your review so they could respond and say, "Actually, you can't swipe."

01:47:30   And like, you don't want to turn it into like arguing back and forth, but if they just get,

01:47:34   they both just have their one thing.

01:47:35   There's one review and one response from the developer.

01:47:38   And the two of them could fight continually updating their response and review if they

01:47:43   although I think it's counterproductive, but a smart developer would leave an authoritative

01:47:47   response to the problems that were raised there, and that would be that.

01:47:52   And I guess the fear there is you would have every single review having a contradictory

01:47:59   response from the developer, and that would be annoying to read like a big giant argument,

01:48:03   but they've got to do something like that.

01:48:05   They have to have some way to have other people be able to upvote and downvote them.

01:48:11   roads lead back to Apple having to learn how to do social stuff, which they don't know

01:48:15   how to do, as evidenced by ping. It's a bad situation for everybody.

01:48:19   I think what this boils down to is the need for reviews is to give more inputs when someone's

01:48:27   browsing and they stumble upon your app, to give more signal as to whether the app is

01:48:32   good and works the way it should. And if there are more ways that Apple could communicate

01:48:39   And a trial would certainly help for paid apps,

01:48:43   but I don't think we're gonna get trials.

01:48:46   If there were other ways, as I said earlier, videos,

01:48:49   let people upload videos.

01:48:51   Developer response to comments or to reviews,

01:48:55   that is another way for developers

01:48:57   to communicate their quality level.

01:49:00   Like if a developer responds to every negative review

01:49:03   in a really good way, like in a helpful way,

01:49:05   to say like, even if the person reviews something negative

01:49:09   and they're right, and the developer is like,

01:49:11   "Sorry, we're working on that for the next update."

01:49:14   And then you can diffuse all the invalid ones too,

01:49:16   say, "Oh, actually this feature exists here,"

01:49:18   or, "The bug you're reporting is fixed

01:49:20   "in this version that's up now."

01:49:22   You know, that's still another venue for you

01:49:25   to communicate more signal to browsers

01:49:28   to tell them, like, this is an app

01:49:30   that's worth checking out or that's worth buying.

01:49:33   - As long as that developer doesn't lie

01:49:34   in every single one of their responses,

01:49:35   because then it becomes incumbent upon

01:49:36   additional reviewers to say,

01:49:38   don't believe any of the developer responses there, entirely fabrications.

01:49:41   What I'm thinking of now is a formalized structured system for doing the equivalent of blurbs

01:49:48   in the back of a book.

01:49:50   Thrilling adventures, says the New York Times or whatever.

01:49:52   And if you had a formalized structured system for that where you had to link back to the

01:49:56   actual source, that's another way to pull an external signal.

01:50:00   Macworld gives it five mice, right?

01:50:03   New York Times, a quote from the New York Times review of this application says blah,

01:50:07   blah blah blah, link back to that article, link back to the Macworld thing so that people

01:50:11   can read it. See, this is a well-reviewed application. In fact, I can follow these links

01:50:16   to confirm that they didn't make up these blurbs and I can actually read the reviews.

01:50:20   And again, it's the whole thing of, "Well, how are you going to police that? And what

01:50:22   if the link goes away?" and blah blah blah. But these are all things that have worked

01:50:25   in other contexts to give people signal that the thing they're looking at, is this book

01:50:29   popular? Do lots of people like this book? And some of it is like, "Oh, I hear about

01:50:33   it on the news all the time, or this is a very popular book, or I hear it on monologues

01:50:38   on a late night show, or whatever. How do we all know that The Hunger Games is an exciting

01:50:42   thing? Oh, they're making a movie of it. All those other ways the signal can get in. Unfortunately,

01:50:47   iOS applications have not reached quite that level. I guess Angry Birds kind of, maybe

01:50:52   Words with Friends made it to that level. But that's how people hear about these things,

01:50:55   that, oh, that must be the application I like. But even in that case, you're like, oh, well,

01:50:59   Words with Friends used to be good, but then Zynga screwed it all up, and now it's annoying

01:51:03   to use and how do you learn about that later. It's not an easy problem and yeah, people

01:51:10   are inscrutable little things and I think Apple wishes they weren't.

01:51:13   [BLANK_AUDIO]