34: Made The Dot Smaller


00:00:00   I took the bold step, the very first time I think I've ever done it, and marked that

00:00:04   review as not helpful.

00:00:05   What's up?

00:00:06   Oh, no, I totally marked them as not helpful if they're not helpful.

00:00:12   I want to talk about TV for a minute and not Breaking Bad.

00:00:16   And this is going to have a point.

00:00:18   I was watching Agents of SHIELD earlier tonight with Aaron.

00:00:23   I'm sorry.

00:00:24   Well, it's okay.

00:00:26   It's got promise, but it's not very good at the moment.

00:00:30   Well, the reason I bring this up is because there was a portion of the episode, and this

00:00:36   is not particularly important if you haven't seen it yet, but somebody was going behind

00:00:41   enemy lines, if you will, and they had like, you know, an invisible, almost invisible secret

00:00:47   agent earpiece thing.

00:00:49   And this person was trying to schmooze people they didn't know at a party.

00:00:53   And so what they did was they had the other agents like up in the magical plane thing

00:00:59   telling the person in the field, "Oh, well this is so-and-so and he has twin kids,"

00:01:06   and ask him about this and that and the other thing so this person could schmooze and not

00:01:09   look like an outsider.

00:01:10   Well they walked away from this conversation where they had to schmooze with people they

00:01:14   didn't know and they said something to the effect of, "Wow, it's really awesome

00:01:20   having you guys here.

00:01:21   I could really get used to this."

00:01:22   And then they said, and I'm quoting, "It's like Siri if it worked."

00:01:27   And so this is a national TV show, and granted America is not the be-all-end-all, but I mean,

00:01:33   this is Apple taking potshots on national television, which I thought was a little bit

00:01:38   surprising.

00:01:39   Well, to be fair, Siri has never been that reliable.

00:01:42   No, it has.

00:01:43   I mean, it's not unreasonable.

00:01:44   I just thought it was surprising that it's become part of the—I don't know if vernacular

00:01:49   is the right word, but it's become something that everyone recognizes as an issue.

00:01:52   That's the AI trap. Anything you do that, to a layperson, seems like it should be like

00:01:57   another person talking to you, until we get actual real, you know, whatever the term is,

00:02:03   strong AI, is not going to be like that, and there's going to be an expectation gap. I

00:02:08   talk to a thing, I want it to respond to me like a person, it's not going to, we all know

00:02:12   it's not going to, but it doesn't matter, because once I start talking to it like a

00:02:14   person it damn well better work like a person.

00:02:18   And that combined with just reliability.

00:02:20   Sometimes it just says, "Sorry, I couldn't do it.

00:02:21   Couldn't reach the servers," or "It's not available now," or whatever.

00:02:23   But even when it responds to you, it's fun to play with, and then you quickly realize

00:02:27   it's not like talking to a person and you're disappointed.

00:02:29   And that's never going to go away.

00:02:31   Google Now, Siri, these things are going to get better and better and just be leaps and

00:02:37   bounds over where they are today, and people will still be like...

00:02:39   There'll still be jokes about them on late night TV because they're aren't they so stupid, you know

00:02:45   My dog is smarter than Siri like it doesn't understand me doesn't understand and it won't it doesn't understand

00:02:49   It won't understand for you know years decades our lifetime. Who knows how long it will take to get actual

00:02:55   Intelligence on the level of a human being at the other end of a computer thing

00:02:59   And up until that point it's going to be the butt of jokes

00:03:02   It's hard to tell it on the agent of shield episode if they were making fun of the reliability

00:03:08   or the intelligence or both. Because like the reliability that you know that

00:03:14   Apple could slam right now, well we could make this stupid thing reliable at the

00:03:18   very least and then you're just complaining about all the responses

00:03:20   aren't very smart but when it says oh sorry it's not available right now series

00:03:24   now whatever the heck it says when when you know the servers don't send a

00:03:27   response that is something that Apple should be ashamed of now but everything

00:03:31   else if you're doing anything that you talk to that talks back you're just

00:03:34   going to have to take your lumps. But you know as far as as far as popular culture

00:03:39   is concerned and as far as regular people are concerned, hell even as far as

00:03:43   geeks are concerned, it doesn't really matter whether the server failure

00:03:47   happens or whether it does the wrong thing or thinks the wrong thing about

00:03:52   what you said. Either way it's a failure and and all it takes is a few failures

00:03:56   where you know after that you just decide you just forget about using it

00:04:00   you can stop using it. Right, and so it seems weird to me, well I don't know if weird is

00:04:06   the right word, but I can't help but wonder, this got me to thinking that I can't help

00:04:09   but wonder at what point is Apple going to say enough is enough and let's properly fix

00:04:14   this. And I know that we've talked about this a lot with like iCloud and Core Data for example,

00:04:21   and we've talked a lot about this with Siri as well, but at some point you have to think

00:04:26   that they're going to get together and say, "Guys and girls, we really, really, really

00:04:30   have to fix this." Like, is that time ever coming? Am I waiting for a train that's

00:04:34   just not going to show up? Well, it was kind of a victory for Apple

00:04:37   to be mentioned because the worst thing for Apple would be for them to make that same

00:04:40   joke about Google Now or something like, "Siri has the mind share as that thing on your phone

00:04:44   that you talk to." And there is value in having that mind share, even if it comes along

00:04:48   with all that other baggage and everything, just because, like, you know, not that you're

00:04:54   you're going to become the Kleenex or whatever of the thing, or whatever it is, genericized

00:04:57   brand name. But that's what they went to for the joke, because they figure most people

00:05:01   know of that, they'll know what we're talking about, they'll get the joke. Whereas Google

00:05:06   Now or any of those other things that you talk to are more reliable, yes, but again,

00:05:11   I don't think the joke was about reliability. I think it's like, if it worked, as in, if

00:05:15   you could actually ask Siri things and she would give you answers, versus just saying,

00:05:20   "I'm sorry, I don't know what that is," or doing a Google search for it, which is what

00:05:22   Siri does when you try to talk to it like a person. I don't know, but I think it's good

00:05:28   that the word is in the public consciousness, and I think Apple continues to work on the

00:05:33   reliability and fail for the same reason they fail to make all their online services reliable,

00:05:38   but it's also working on the intelligence part of it. At this point, I think it's just

00:05:42   the cost of doing business. You want to be in the phone market, you've got to have some

00:05:45   sort of thing that you talk to that does real-time intelligence searches from multiple sources.

00:05:49   So it's never going to go away.

00:05:50   They're going to keep trying to make it better.

00:05:52   And you know, think about online services.

00:05:55   Like, oh, when are they going to fix this whole online thing?

00:05:57   Like, you know, .Mac and iTools and MobileMe.

00:06:01   Was iCloud the one where they fixed everything?

00:06:03   No, not really.

00:06:04   They just keep trying, I guess, right?

00:06:07   Yeah.

00:06:07   I mean, and you have to start wondering,

00:06:11   what is it about Apple that makes them, quote,

00:06:14   "not good at web services?"

00:06:16   Like, we all say that.

00:06:17   We all write that.

00:06:18   We all think that, "Oh, Apple is not good at web services."

00:06:21   But what's different?

00:06:23   What's going to be different a year from now compared to now in that area?

00:06:28   What steps are they taking or what steps could they even take to meaningfully change that?

00:06:34   What is it about the company that makes them not good at web services?

00:06:40   I don't really see from the outside any evidence that meaningful change is happening

00:06:45   there.

00:06:46   you know, as we've discussed before, it's probably a problem of engineering resources

00:06:51   and priorities. And up until this time, Apple has clearly put some priority on web services,

00:07:00   but they are still a very small company with their engineering resources. And it doesn't

00:07:07   really ever seem like that's going to take a massive turn for the better, where suddenly

00:07:14   their web services are going to have tons more staff on them, tons more resources, and

00:07:18   be a much higher priority in the company. I don't see that happening.

00:07:21   Yeah, I don't know either. And it seems weird. Not everything is web objects, right?

00:07:28   I know the iTunes stories, but we have no reason to believe everything else is web objects,

00:07:32   do we?

00:07:33   Right. And I really don't think web objects, the technology, has anything substantial to

00:07:38   do with why Apple is not "good at web services." I mean, you can pick on any language or platform

00:07:44   and say, "Oh, well, that doesn't scale," or "That's old," or whatever. The fact is, that's

00:07:48   not the problem. With proper administration and proper coding, you can make anything scale.

00:07:54   You can make anything work. The platform is rarely the problem. The platform is--and by

00:08:01   the way, there's nothing saying Apple has to be using WebObjects. Maybe they're not.

00:08:05   Maybe they're using it for part of the stuff. Maybe they're using it for just a front-end

00:08:08   somewhere and using big Oracle stuff behind it, who knows? But I would not put blame on

00:08:15   the fact that they occasionally have WebObjects URLs that we're looking at from the front.

00:08:20   I don't think that has a lot to do with it.

00:08:21   Well, but the hard thing about WebObjects is that how do you hire for someone that can

00:08:26   do WebObjects? Obviously, you can teach any competent programmer just about anything,

00:08:31   but if you want a WebObjects guru, there are like, what, four of them in the world and

00:08:36   and they're all probably on Apple's payroll already.

00:08:38   So yeah, in and of itself,

00:08:39   Web objects may not be the problem in the sense of

00:08:43   it functions and with, like you said, good coding,

00:08:46   it'll continue to function,

00:08:47   but it's hard to hire into that role

00:08:50   if you wanted to throw people at the problem,

00:08:52   which may or may not even be the solution.

00:08:54   - Well, but really, looking at a major code base

00:08:59   for a major web service under heavy traffic

00:09:02   that's very high profile,

00:09:03   I mean, really, does it matter what language it's written in?

00:09:07   Any new hire is going to have to go through a lot of training and a lot of time just becoming

00:09:11   familiar with this code base and becoming useful in working with it.

00:09:15   I don't think, even if it was written in Java, which everyone either knows or can be taught

00:09:20   very quickly, I don't think that would really make a difference.

00:09:23   I mean, really, I think if WebObjects really was the big problem that they're having, either

00:09:29   a giant failure of leadership. Or, well actually no, that's it. It's a giant failure of leadership.

00:09:37   That's it. That's the reason. If they're being held back because they're using WebObjects,

00:09:43   that's a really stupid reason to be held back, and there's no reason to continue it. These

00:09:47   services are all pretty new. If that was really the problem, they could rewrite them. It would

00:09:53   be a big undertaking, but it wouldn't be insurmountable. The fact is, I don't think that's really

00:09:57   the problem. And if it is really the problem, then I'm still correct that it's a problem

00:10:03   with something about high-level leadership and priorities, rather than "this technology

00:10:09   can't do this." WebObjects is actually, not now, but back in

00:10:14   the day, was actually a tiny example of Apple sort of doing the right thing. And I've done

00:10:19   this rant several times on many other shows, and you two should be able to recite it by

00:10:24   now.

00:10:25   But if you're going to do web services or anything online, at the scale Apple does it.

00:10:33   You go into a different realm.

00:10:36   And what Marco said about you can make any web service scale on any platform is true,

00:10:39   but once you start getting into Apple scale or Google scale, things like that do matter

00:10:44   a little bit more than they do.

00:10:47   There's a threshold through which you pass, and it's like, OK, now any old platform won't

00:10:51   do.

00:10:52   platform actually does matter because any tiny inefficiency is multiplied by the hodgillions

00:10:57   of servers that we have, or maybe a particular architecture dictated by a particular platform

00:11:01   doesn't allow us to be in 8 million different data centers around the world in a synchronized

00:11:05   manner, and all these other things that come into play for like seven people in the world,

00:11:09   for like maybe Amazon, Microsoft, Google, anybody who's got a worldwide online presence

00:11:15   who, you know, has huge servers with just millions and millions of customers.

00:11:20   And the good thing that WebObjects had going for it is that, well, they didn't make it

00:11:25   themselves, but it was in-house.

00:11:26   I mean, it came with Next, obviously.

00:11:28   Like half of the technology they're using now all came from Next, right?

00:11:31   And that's what you have to do with this scale.

00:11:33   You have to take ownership of your online platform.

00:11:36   You can't just use sort of off-the-shelf stuff and buy experts and have them hook them all

00:11:40   up to each other.

00:11:42   Once you pass a certain threshold of scale, you've got to do stuff yourself.

00:11:45   Amazon does, Microsoft does, Google does practically everything themselves.

00:11:50   down to, you know, specking out their own hardware and everything.

00:11:53   And Apple seems to do so much less of it.

00:11:56   And Apple is at that scale now.

00:11:58   Hundreds of millions of people using iOS devices, connecting to iCloud, like, they're there.

00:12:02   They're at that scale.

00:12:04   They can't be the only person doing stuff off the shelf.

00:12:06   They need to take ownership of their online platform technology.

00:12:09   And I don't understand the leadership gap here too, because it's clear that the leadership

00:12:13   Gap doesn't exist for the client-side stuff because the organization that does

00:12:19   a Mac OS X, iOS, and all this other stuff so clearly, whether this comes from the top or not,

00:12:25   but so clearly understands that it needs to take complete ownership of its platform.

00:12:31   We have to be responsible in making sure we have good tools, good compiler, good language,

00:12:36   and we're going to not just do them once and just say, "Okay, we're done. Coco is awesome.

00:12:39   Project builder, we're all set. We've got our own tools. We're great."

00:12:43   They're going to be saying, "No, we're not satisfied with that.

00:12:46   We need a better compiler.

00:12:47   We need to ditch Project Builder.

00:12:48   We need to make a thing called Xcode.

00:12:50   We need to keep making Xcode better and better.

00:12:51   We need to switch out our debugger for LDB.

00:12:54   We need to rev the Objective-C runtime."

00:12:57   They just take such incredible ownership of their platform,

00:13:00   and they know they can't just let it sit there.

00:13:01   And they're not relying on some other vendor

00:13:04   or some other platform to solve their problems

00:13:06   and just throw it at a bunch of people and go,

00:13:07   "Here you go. Here's some pieces."

00:13:09   They totally take control of their client side.

00:13:11   And the service side is just as important.

00:13:14   They need to be doing all those same things.

00:13:16   Where is the team that has been working on-- this

00:13:18   is the technology that we're going

00:13:19   to use inside Apple to deploy online services, starting

00:13:23   10 years ago and continually revising it.

00:13:26   10 years ago, they had WebObjects,

00:13:28   which even then was kind of weird and dated.

00:13:29   And they just didn't keep it up to date and modernize it

00:13:33   and history passed it by.

00:13:35   They didn't let that happen on the client side.

00:13:37   They've been racing ahead as fast as they can,

00:13:39   again, with the exception of the file system.

00:13:41   But in most other aspects, they're taking ownership of their platform there, and on

00:13:45   the server side they're not.

00:13:46   They're going to third-party vendors, and that's an untenable strategy.

00:13:49   They need to be more like Google and Microsoft and Amazon and have their own platforms with

00:13:55   their own announced technology and dedicate those kind of resources to it.

00:13:58   And I don't understand why one half of the company can do that and the other half can't,

00:14:02   because it seems like it's the same leadership, right?

00:14:04   Well, yeah, but why do you say that WebObjects isn't getting better?

00:14:08   I mean, from the outside, there's no indication it's getting better.

00:14:11   But who's to say that it isn't getting better on the inside, and they're just not letting

00:14:14   anyone see it?

00:14:15   The model of the way it works.

00:14:17   The model of the way WebObject works is the whole idea of having object transparency and

00:14:23   just kind of working like cocoa on the web and all these conveniences that you have.

00:14:26   That's not what massive online service is about these days anymore.

00:14:29   They're about infrastructure pieces to manage storage and data in ways that are totally

00:14:33   unlike the WebObject stack in terms of where the state is and how it all fits together.

00:14:40   Just look at Google's Spanner thing that they use for their database stuff and then all

00:14:45   of its predecessors like GFS and what was the... Someone in the chat room told me what

00:14:50   was the thing that predated... Oh, Bigtable.

00:14:52   Bigtable.

00:14:53   Yeah. And all these infrastructure projects that have come and gone and MapReduce and

00:14:57   all those things that Google is constantly revising, Apple hasn't gone through that revolution.

00:15:01   revolution. I mean, Google started out, its first things of just GFS and MapReduce were already ahead of

00:15:06   where Apple was with WebObjects in terms of doing things at scale.

00:15:10   And Google is constantly throwing away its old ones and replacing with new ones over and over and over again

00:15:15   for its service. And same thing with Amazon and all the stuff that it's using to run its services.

00:15:20   Apple

00:15:21   started with WebObjects, which was already like sort of the old model. And you know, look,

00:15:26   it's much more convenient for developers to do, you know, like,

00:15:28   Google has proven that

00:15:31   you can make things annoying for developers.

00:15:33   It's certainly using Bigtable is super annoying,

00:15:35   which is one of the reasons Spanner exists for developers.

00:15:38   But it was like, you know, scaling is king.

00:15:40   And even though it's going to be annoying

00:15:42   for you to do this stuff at the application level,

00:15:43   scaling is more important

00:15:45   and will work out the other things later.

00:15:46   Whereas Apple was like, oh, we want this to be all nice.

00:15:49   And it's kind of like working with objects

00:15:50   and it's real convenient

00:15:51   and everything is magically objects and persistent.

00:15:53   Sounds kind of like core data, I guess.

00:15:55   (laughing)

00:15:56   But online, and isn't that nice?

00:15:57   And that is nice and everything,

00:15:58   But your hands are tied behind your back in terms of how do you scale this to 17 data

00:16:03   centers with redundant hardware and all these other things.

00:16:08   We'll know the day has come when Apple has finally sort of joined the modern age when

00:16:12   they don't have to bring the store down before they introduce new products.

00:16:18   The reason they do that is not so much like, "Oh, we have to take the store down to add

00:16:22   new products."

00:16:23   They don't have to take the store down to add new products.

00:16:24   They have to take the store down—this is my theory—they have to take the store down

00:16:28   to add new products that appear to customers in a deterministic manner.

00:16:32   Because they can add new products without taking the store down, but they have no idea

00:16:36   when or where they'll appear for people because their architecture doesn't allow them to have a

00:16:41   way to say, "Okay, now this is available for the entire world." It's just like they can add it,

00:16:45   and then it trickles out through their whatever system they have going, combined with their CDNs

00:16:49   and other stuff. And they don't want it to spoil the surprise. So instead, they bring the whole

00:16:53   thing down, rev the whole thing, put all the new stuff in, and then just wait for the moment.

00:16:57   say, "Okay, and go bring it back up." And then you're sure that nobody sees it ahead

00:17:01   of time accidentally, right? And you're sure that when you do turn it on, everybody sees

00:17:04   the new thing because presumably you've had time for it to propagate during, you know.

00:17:08   That's my theory of why they take the store down, but that's not how the web works. You

00:17:12   can't take your store down when you don't want to spoil a surprise, right?

00:17:16   Do you really think taking the store down is still necessary, or do you think they're

00:17:20   doing it only for the theatrical element? It's because if they didn't, they wouldn't

00:17:24   have control over when people saw things.

00:17:26   They want it to be visible to everybody all at once as much as possible, but only starting

00:17:32   at a given point.

00:17:33   I feel like this, again, is just speculation.

00:17:36   If they just put it up in the store now, it would either slowly trickle out to people,

00:17:39   which would be kind of annoying because you want everybody to see it when you announce,

00:17:42   or if you start it early, some people might see it early.

00:17:45   So I think it's about making it so that everyone sees the thing simultaneously.

00:17:50   It could be purely for theatrics, as in they don't have to do it at all, but I think they

00:17:55   would have stopped that by now.

00:17:56   So many things that they've done for theatrics have sort of come and gone, but my guess is

00:18:00   that it has to do with content propagation and being in control of when it appears to

00:18:05   the first person and getting it to appear to the most people as soon as possible.

00:18:10   But there's no technical reason why it has to take that long.

00:18:16   They don't have to take the store down for an hour and a half

00:18:20   to update something.

00:18:21   - How long does it take for the new content

00:18:24   to propagate through their worldwide network of CDNs?

00:18:26   - It depends how they do it.

00:18:28   - I know, but I'm saying maybe it actually takes them

00:18:30   like two hours to be sure that all the new content

00:18:33   is propagated to all the CDNs.

00:18:35   - But that's a choice they make in implementation.

00:18:36   I mean, they can do it within a few seconds

00:18:39   if they wanted to.

00:18:40   - I mean, who knows?

00:18:41   This is just my guess of why they would do it.

00:18:44   And you're right, it's down for a long time.

00:18:45   It's not like it's down for five seconds then comes back up.

00:18:48   It's down for like an hour during the whole keynote practically.

00:18:51   Yeah, actually, it usually goes down before the keynote, and so it's down for like three

00:18:54   hours total.

00:18:55   Yeah.

00:18:56   And the only other thing I think of is maybe they're trying to prevent people from accidentally

00:18:59   buying the old products while they're announcing the new ones.

00:19:01   I don't know.

00:19:03   But you can still go into an Apple store and buy them.

00:19:05   You can still buy them like that morning.

00:19:07   You can still, you know, it doesn't...

00:19:09   That can't be the reason either.

00:19:10   Yeah, I wonder if Apple store employees wave you off.

00:19:13   Like if you go in and the keynote is going on, surely everyone at Apple Store knows the

00:19:16   keynote is going on.

00:19:17   If you go in on the October 22nd iPad event and you go in while someone is on stage introducing

00:19:22   a new iPad and you try to buy an old one, you would think the Apple Store guy is going

00:19:26   to go, "You know they're announcing new ones now.

00:19:29   You can still buy this.

00:19:30   Here you go.

00:19:31   It's fine.

00:19:32   You can have it now.

00:19:33   But just in case, you might want to know.

00:19:34   Maybe you don't know they're announcing new ones right now."

00:19:35   I wonder if they tell you that.

00:19:36   I think you might be overestimating the geekiness and attentiveness of both the staff and the

00:19:41   customers in an Apple Store.

00:19:43   I'll be depressed if they don't even know that it's going on.

00:19:48   So do you think, thinking about some more of this Apple service stuff before we go to

00:19:53   a different topic, do you think Apple's really feeling pain from this? From their stuff being

00:20:02   the status quo of working most of the time, but not being up to the standards service-wise,

00:20:08   wise, uptime wise, reliability wise of Google services, Amazon services, Facebook services,

00:20:15   the other big giants. Do you think Apple's really feeling the pain from that? Do you

00:20:19   think this is really hurting them? Because with Google, they had to scale ridiculously

00:20:24   well because A, not a lot of other people in their business were doing that. B, they

00:20:30   were scaling way past what everyone else was doing. And C, that's their entire business.

00:20:36   where everything comes from. If Google doesn't serve an ad, they lose money. Whereas Apple

00:20:41   is selling all this hardware regardless of whether iMessage is down this morning. You

00:20:46   know, it doesn't really hurt them directly and severely where there's one or two instances

00:20:52   of downtime here and there. How much do you think, how much pain do you think they're

00:20:56   feeling? Because it kind of seems like they're not feeling enough to do anything drastic.

00:21:00   Well, maybe. But let me answer your question by asking you a question. Do you think Apple

00:21:06   is proud. And I think it's pretty clear to me that they're a very proud company.

00:21:11   And I can't imagine, to come kind of full circle, I can't imagine that they like hearing these

00:21:16   potshots taken at them during Agents of Shield. Does that make sense?

00:21:20   That's the question, though. The question is, it's like a Bulmer-type question. Are they in denial?

00:21:25   If you were to ask them, like, you know, off the record, I'm not going to report this and

00:21:29   make a story out of it, just that you bump into Tim Cook in an elevator or whatever, and it's like,

00:21:33   Do you think Apple does online stuff as well as Google, Amazon, or Microsoft?"

00:21:40   This could explain the leadership gap where they're like, maybe they're in denial and

00:21:46   they think, "Everyone has troubles every once in a while.

00:21:49   We're kind of in the mix.

00:21:50   We're kind of pretty much almost as good as Google and Amazon.

00:21:53   Maybe some days worse, some days better.

00:21:54   Everyone has their ups and downs."

00:21:56   Or do they really realize what the gap is?

00:22:00   The gap is not, if you were to put it on a little graph or something, it's only a couple

00:22:04   of percentage, but it's like that last couple of percentage, it's like uptime, going from

00:22:08   like three nines to seven nines is just astronomically hard.

00:22:12   So much harder than going from 90% uptime to 99, you know what I mean?

00:22:16   The last little bits of the part that matter.

00:22:18   I wonder, that could explain why they haven't sort of gotten religion on this and dedicated

00:22:23   themselves to doing the service side, taking ownership of the service side tech the same

00:22:28   way they do on the client side, is that they think they're not that bad.

00:22:33   Maybe they really actually think, "Yeah, we have room for improvement.

00:22:37   We're not satisfied with where we are, but it's not that.

00:22:39   We're close."

00:22:40   I would say, "No, you're not.

00:22:42   It seems like you're close, but really, those last few inches on the graph make all the

00:22:46   difference.

00:22:47   You are not close."

00:22:48   There is nobody, there is not a single person who has any technical clue who would say,

00:22:51   "Do you think at any day of any month of any year that Apple does online stuff better than

00:22:55   Google?"

00:22:56   It's never happened.

00:22:57   has ever had that opinion. It's just 100% "Okay, Google is better. How much are they

00:23:01   better? Are they a little bit better?" But nobody believes that we're better. Nobody.

00:23:05   And I have a feeling that if you ask someone on the iTunes Music Store, "Well, of course

00:23:08   we're better. Look how many billions of songs we sold. Look how many apps we give people.

00:23:11   Google doesn't do stuff like that. Their store sucks. We do so much better."

00:23:16   Because they excel in a few areas of read-mostly distribution of static data to people that

00:23:21   they think, "We're an online services company and we're awesome," and it's just not the

00:23:25   the same as an interactive thing. Do you think anyone's ever returned an iPhone

00:23:28   because iMessage was down for 20 minutes a month?

00:23:31   Yeah, no, you're right about them not feeling it. It would be better if they felt they have

00:23:34   more of a cushion than Google. They just do it because there's so many other interesting

00:23:37   things you can do with the device that don't matter.

00:23:41   You can use Google services, for example. You can use Google Maps, another area where

00:23:45   they have little trouble. You can use Google Now. It's not their whole business. It's just

00:23:49   part of their business. And so, yeah, no one's going to return the thing because Siri is

00:23:53   wonky every once in a while. Like it doesn't hurt them as much and it's almost kind of a shame because if it hurt them more

00:23:58   maybe you know like jobs I think knew they weren't you know the Google does stuff better

00:24:02   Which is why I kept yelling at like the the mobile me team and having all those meetings and trying to do iCloud like at

00:24:08   Least he I think he understood

00:24:10   We're not good at this. We should get better. He didn't know how to make that happen apparently, but he sure tried

00:24:16   So we'll see if there ever comes a time where like I mean I guess Tim Cook

00:24:21   maybe did that about maps like apologizing for maps and we need to do better and some understanding that maps but maybe he's just sees

00:24:27   That as a data problem and not a server problem

00:24:29   I don't know like I mean the thing about maps is if I was Tim Cook could be like, okay

00:24:33   Well, no, we just need a better map that it's like, okay Tim. So you'd haven't forgotten about the fleet of cars

00:24:39   They're gonna drive over every single road in the entire world and take pictures

00:24:42   Did you forget about that part because you don't get that for free if you just get better map data, right?

00:24:46   Google did that that's a crazy project. It's huge and it's ongoing

00:24:50   Right, and they don't stop doing it. And if you don't have an answer for that, you're not gonna have Street View

00:24:55   You're not gonna have like let me fly 3d through the middle of Fog Creek's offices like you're so far from that

00:25:00   So how are you ever going to compete and it could be that he's like, okay

00:25:03   Well, we're never gonna do that

00:25:04   We just need maps to say we have maps

00:25:06   And they can just continue to use Google Maps from our things and Google Maps are always gonna be better

00:25:10   But that's not an Apple kind of attitude, you know

00:25:13   and and it's not like when I say this is like a

00:25:18   substantial problem in the company that probably

00:25:20   would never change.

00:25:21   Like imagine, to take another example in the industry,

00:25:24   imagine if some Microsoft CEO comes in,

00:25:29   which I guess is plausible,

00:25:32   some new Microsoft CEO comes in,

00:25:34   and they say, you know what, our devices aren't cool.

00:25:38   Everything we make, our hardware is not cool,

00:25:41   our software is not cool, nobody thinks our stuff is cool.

00:25:45   Let's hire somebody in charge of keeping things cool,

00:25:48   or let's increase the funding to our cool department by 50% this year. Do you think

00:25:55   that's really going to change it? It's not that easy.

00:25:58   I feel like looking at Apple and saying, "How can they address the services issue, that

00:26:05   their services aren't that good traditionally and continue to be that way?" I don't think

00:26:10   there is an answer. I don't think that's the kind of thing that can change in a large

00:26:15   I think either it's a priority from the start or it's not.

00:26:19   And the elements that Google has that enabled them to produce these kind of services that

00:26:26   scale very well and that prioritize all these things, Apple just doesn't have those elements.

00:26:32   And in the same way that Google is never going to make something client-side that has the

00:26:36   kind of quality and taste of an Apple client-side platform and software, I don't think Apple

00:26:43   will ever have what it takes to make Google quality services.

00:26:47   But the good thing in Apple's favor is that the thing that Apple has that

00:26:51   Microsoft and Google seem not to have is it's kind of like it's one of those

00:26:54   things you label as intangible in scare quotes because it's not intangible but

00:26:57   it's like it's more mysterious whereas the things that Google has are

00:27:02   tangible and a great example of it is Google was a company that made web

00:27:05   search and they indexed the entire web which is an amazing technical feat,

00:27:08   right? But they decided they wanted to have a client-side OS and they

00:27:13   did that by making a client-side platform that they completely took ownership of.

00:27:17   They have their own, you know, don't call it Java Dalvik VM, their own API, their, you

00:27:23   know, their own IDE, their own store.

00:27:25   Like they understood if we want to have a client-side mobile platform, we need to own

00:27:30   it.

00:27:30   We need to own the technology from top to bottom.

00:27:32   We're going to like define the VM.

00:27:33   We're going to define the language sort of, you know, it's Java, whatever, with native

00:27:37   client and all of those stuff.

00:27:38   And we're going to have the ID.

00:27:39   They understood that, Hey, we were a server-side company, but we want to get into

00:27:42   client side and we can't do it by licensing a bunch of software from someone else. We

00:27:47   have to take ownership of it. So that is a tangible thing. And I think that's proof that

00:27:51   Apple could, if it wanted to, say, "We need to get into server side," which they have,

00:27:56   but also say, they forgot to say, "And we need to take ownership of it the same way

00:28:00   we take ownership of the client side." The thing that's harder to transfer is taste and

00:28:05   culture and coolness. That is much harder to do because there is no coolness department

00:28:09   at Microsoft. You can't increase funding and 50% to something that doesn't exist, right?

00:28:14   And maybe it's just like, "Oh, well, designers are tangible. We could just steal them all

00:28:17   from Apple." But that's hard to do because they don't want to leave Apple and go to—Microsoft

00:28:21   has good designers too in their Metro stuff.

00:28:23   Well, and that wouldn't work because the structure around them is different there.

00:28:28   Right. But I think the tangible things of a server-side company proved that it can get

00:28:32   into client-side and take ownership of it. I think there's no reason that a client-side

00:28:35   company can't prove that it can get into server-side and take ownership of the tech

00:28:38   It just didn't do it.

00:28:39   Whereas the intangibles about coolness and taste and design,

00:28:44   that is much harder to do.

00:28:45   Like more rarely do you see a company like Google or Microsoft

00:28:49   saying, we're not cool and stylish.

00:28:50   We're going to put some effort in.

00:28:51   And Google has tried to increase its style, and so has Microsoft.

00:28:54   But none of them-- they're still not reaching the heights

00:28:58   that Apple gets in terms of taste and design.

00:29:00   They've both made efforts in that area,

00:29:02   but it seems harder to do.

00:29:03   Whereas I would say technology-wise,

00:29:05   Google has as much control over, you know,

00:29:08   pending whatever the lawsuit is with Oracle,

00:29:10   but as much control over and like determining

00:29:13   its own destiny for all of its core tech,

00:29:16   all of its server-side tech, all of its client-side tech,

00:29:18   hell, they even took WebKit back and they have Blink now.

00:29:20   Like, they have taken ownership of their tech stack

00:29:23   and so has Microsoft.

00:29:24   Microsoft has always had ownership

00:29:25   because they don't like to use anything from anybody else.

00:29:27   And same thing with Amazon.

00:29:29   You know, even they took Android

00:29:30   and they took ownership of it.

00:29:31   You know, we're not gonna even call it Android.

00:29:33   it's going to be whatever the hell the Kindle OS is, right?

00:29:36   - Sh*t OS?

00:29:37   - Yeah.

00:29:38   (laughing)

00:29:39   I think it is totally within the realm of possibility.

00:29:41   You do have to change how the company works,

00:29:43   like the structure of it and stuff like that,

00:29:45   but not in any more radical way than Google had to change

00:29:48   when it made Android, you know?

00:29:50   - This episode is brought to you in part

00:29:53   by our friends at Squarespace.

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00:32:25   - It's ads are making me depressed

00:32:26   because I've been wandering websites recently

00:32:29   that look like they were designed in 1993 by some person

00:32:31   that they probably paid tons of money.

00:32:32   I'm looking at home improvement type,

00:32:34   construction companies and stuff like that, their websites,

00:32:38   they look like they probably spent $15,000

00:32:41   to give to some teenager in 1994 to make their website.

00:32:44   - It's a Merlin's old company.

00:32:45   - Yeah, or like in simple things

00:32:47   where you could make appointments or buy things,

00:32:48   and it's like, look, if you just spent like $8 a month

00:32:51   on Squarespace and put up a Stripe for it,

00:32:53   like that experience in all ways, it's cheaper for you,

00:32:57   it's nicer for your customers, you'll make more money,

00:32:59   it's so cheap, especially when you look at the prices

00:33:02   for the work they're gonna do, like you guys have the money,

00:33:04   you have all the money in the world,

00:33:05   you know the prices you charge, it's so cheap,

00:33:07   just get a Squarespace, and I bet they're so proud

00:33:10   of their sites.

00:33:11   - Oh yeah, they invested so much money early on.

00:33:13   - Right, it was like, ugh, 15 grand site in 1994,

00:33:15   "No, tear it down. Pay $8 a month." God. And I was one of those people building those

00:33:21   sites for people, and everything I built was terrible compared to what any modern web CMS

00:33:27   offers you out of the box. Everything I did back then was horrible, and I charged people so much

00:33:31   money because it was all one-offs. But now you can just go to these big platforms.

00:33:35   I wonder, all these restaurants that have these flash-only sites,

00:33:39   don't get me started. They have to be losing more than $8 a month in sales

00:33:45   to keep having their stupid Flash site.

00:33:47   Yeah, some sites do get a clue, but they still, like, you can tell they paid someone in the

00:33:51   last 10 years to do it, but it's still gross. It's still like, you know, just, please, just

00:33:56   use Stripe. Every time I can now recognize, like, the Stripe form, like, the fact that

00:33:59   it's all client-side and everything, it's like so beautiful. It's just like, I feel

00:34:03   kind of bad because, you know, I made e-commerce sites too, and it used to be such a pain to

00:34:07   make e-commerce sites. And I was like, if we had Stripe back then, it would have been

00:34:10   done in an afternoon.

00:34:11   Oh, yeah.

00:34:12   It has all the features that I'd spent months implementing manually.

00:34:16   There was no companies that you could outsource this stuff to.

00:34:19   No one knew what they were doing.

00:34:20   We were all just like, "I guess we'll take money from people over the computer?"

00:34:23   It seemed like a crime.

00:34:24   We were getting away with something.

00:34:27   And Stripe really isn't that old.

00:34:29   When it came out, what was it, maybe three years ago?

00:34:32   It's not that old.

00:34:34   I just remember even then, even three years ago, taking money online was still a hassle.

00:34:39   basically had the PayPal API, which is a disaster in every possible way. Having run Instapaper

00:34:47   subscriptions off the PayPal API, I cannot tell anybody enough how much they should not

00:34:51   use PayPal for anything. Even if you ignore all of the crazy stories about how PayPal

00:34:59   locks your account and takes all your money, that's bad enough. But even when everything's

00:35:03   working as intended. It's terrible. It's absolutely the worst thing in the universe.

00:35:10   And for managing recurring subscriptions, there's no way to get a list of subscribers.

00:35:16   Still, there is still no way to get a list. You just have to take in all those messages

00:35:20   saying "hey, new person" and keep track of them yourself.

00:35:23   Well, it's like Newsstand, only you can't even do that in Newsstand.

00:35:26   That's true, I think. Yeah, although Newsstand has the weird thing where you can go into

00:35:31   iTunes Connect and download everybody's zip code. I don't know. But anyway, yeah.

00:35:34   PayPal is the worst. When Stripe came out a few years ago, whenever that was,

00:35:39   the reason why it made such a splash was on their page it was like, "Here's a cURL command,

00:35:45   and here's a block of JSON that's equivalent. Here's how you charge somebody's card."

00:35:49   And it's like these four lines of JSON, there's one cURL command. You're like, "Oh my god.

00:35:53   That's so much better than everything else I've ever seen to this point."

00:35:57   I don't have to form a soap message.

00:35:58   [laughter]

00:35:59   Nice.

00:36:00   There was the Amazon payments story in the news this week, too, right?

00:36:07   Speaking of the death of PayPal, PayPal is the experts exchange for some of the other

00:36:12   businesses.

00:36:13   Stack Overflow is the experts exchange as, insert the blank, is to PayPal.

00:36:17   And insert the blank is Amazon payments, Stripe, and all the other companies that finally recognize

00:36:21   that despite PayPal being the 800-pound gorilla, everybody hates it.

00:36:24   It's terrible.

00:36:25   needs to die and all it takes is some new services that can nip away at it.

00:36:31   Dwalla's weird. Have you seen Dwalla?

00:36:33   I've heard of it.

00:36:34   Is that the interest-free lending thing?

00:36:37   That's Kiva. I think you're right.

00:36:38   Oh, no. That's the one where you pay a quarter and you can send money to anybody?

00:36:43   Yeah. It's basically—I'm not sure how it works. I think it might be based on ACH

00:36:48   or something. But somehow, it doesn't use the credit card network to move money around.

00:36:53   So they charge only 25 cents, but then there's no fraud protection.

00:36:58   It works a lot like cash, something like that.

00:37:02   I don't know all the details, but somehow they're able to only charge 25 cents for

00:37:08   pretty much any size money transfer.

00:37:10   It sounds like a complicated money laundering scheme that you are an unwitting participant

00:37:15   in.

00:37:16   What was weird is, I signed up for that a few months ago because that's how we were

00:37:20   doing some of our ad payments. And it feels wrong. It feels suspicious to me to only pay

00:37:31   25 cents to move a giant chunk of money somewhere. It made me uneasy.

00:37:36   But it shouldn't. It shouldn't, though, because the fact that it costs money to transfer

00:37:41   money is an artificial construct, mostly artificial construct based on the old world. Now that

00:37:46   we have all our computers are connected together. But the problem is there's no sort of secure

00:37:51   standard for, there's no common secure standard for transferring money other than I guess Bitcoin

00:37:57   or whatever. Like really secure. And everything is kind of this strange game of like trust and

00:38:03   parties are sufficiently trustworthy and you assume that they're not, and then they communicate

00:38:10   over this terrible protocol that it's like a check where you just need like the account number and

00:38:15   and routing number and somehow you can send money

00:38:17   into people's accounts.

00:38:18   The entire banking system has not kept up

00:38:20   with current technology and it's all kind of a house of cards

00:38:24   that were just kind of saying, all right, everybody,

00:38:27   let's just not blow this here.

00:38:28   So things like Walla come in and it does seem crazy,

00:38:31   but you're like, you know what?

00:38:33   We shouldn't be able to transfer money seamlessly

00:38:35   from account to account.

00:38:37   Why would we need a middleman for that?

00:38:38   And it's because, well, we don't have any real secure protocols.

00:38:41   And if we did the NSA, he's dropping on them anyway.

00:38:44   Well, you know what kind of along the same lines is a Square Cash, which I think it was

00:38:49   Andre Arco sent, it might've been him, maybe not.

00:38:53   Somebody sent me a few dollars of Square Cash just so I could try it out.

00:38:56   And basically what's the way Square Cash works is you send an email to whoever, whomever,

00:39:01   whatever is supposed to receive the money.

00:39:05   You CC their email address, the Square Cash email address, and you put the dollar amount

00:39:12   subject line and then Square will send an email to the person receiving the cash saying,

00:39:18   "We think somebody is about to pay you.

00:39:20   Hold on."

00:39:21   They send an email to the person that sent it.

00:39:23   So they send it to you saying, "Hey, man," or girl, "Are you really sure you want to

00:39:27   send this money?"

00:39:29   And then what happens is the person receiving the money just inputs their debit card account

00:39:34   number and all the money is transferred and I think it's 50 cents a transfer.

00:39:38   I'm sure there's a limit in terms of how much you can send, but I don't know what it is.

00:39:43   So it must be pretty high.

00:39:44   And it works flawlessly.

00:39:47   You did that with us.

00:39:48   I think you sent me a dollar or something to try it out.

00:39:50   That was pretty neat.

00:39:51   And people in the chat room are saying that they have a system in Europe that works with

00:39:53   this.

00:39:54   It does not surprise me.

00:39:55   Europe is the new Japan.

00:39:56   Remember, it used to be that in Japan, they had flying cars and hoverboards, and all we

00:40:02   had in the '80s was Donkey Kong and Casio keyboards, but they had the cool stuff.

00:40:06   And then there are economy tank.

00:40:07   But now it's like in Europe they have socialized medicine and unemployment.

00:40:15   And Switzerland was passing a law for the minimum monthly income to be the equivalent

00:40:20   of $2,800 for all citizens.

00:40:23   Yeah.

00:40:24   We're going to get so much email from this from people who are like, "I can't believe

00:40:28   how terrible your system in the US is.

00:40:30   Don't you know how much better this is in Europe?"

00:40:32   And the answer is yes, we know.

00:40:34   We are very aware of how terrible our system is.

00:40:36   Please, you don't have to tell us.

00:40:38   Although I think, like, I mean, they're saying, you know, they just need two numbers and they

00:40:41   can transfer money to each other.

00:40:42   Like, they still don't have, like, Bitcoin is actually at the forefront of this technology,

00:40:46   as sad as it is with their, you know, crazy thing that they have going on there.

00:40:49   At least they have sort of an attempt to make a secure, you know, mathematical foundation

00:40:54   for distributed middleman-less transfers that everyone could be assured are, you know, happening

00:41:00   correctly.

00:41:01   You know what else Europe does right?

00:41:04   and I bring this up only briefly because I just watched a video from Mythbusters about

00:41:07   this is roundabouts.

00:41:09   So the Mythbusters, which are clearly the bastion of all things good about science,

00:41:13   and they never ever flub anything ever, they did a test with a four-way stop versus a roundabout,

00:41:18   and the roundabout crushed the four-way stop in terms of throughput.

00:41:21   I just thought that was interesting.

00:41:22   Oh yeah, I don't even think that's up for debate.

00:41:24   I think almost every study has always proven that, that roundabouts really are way better

00:41:28   for throughput.

00:41:29   Yeah, no, we have a ton of them around.

00:41:31   I don't know if you have them down where you guys are, but yeah, Massachusetts is the land of the roundabouts. We have plenty of them

00:41:36   Yeah, no, they're all over the place here. Well, they're becoming popular here

00:41:39   And it's funny watching everyone try to navigate them because nobody knows what they're doing. Yeah

00:41:45   John while I'm thinking of it, how's the review going?

00:41:50   Do you feel like you have a release date based on the what is it?

00:41:53   October 22nd iPad event that everyone's kind of assuming will be Mavericks as well

00:41:58   And we got the GM two hours after the last show.

00:42:01   Oh yeah, that's right.

00:42:02   That's right.

00:42:03   I think it turned out that Apple Insider story that I was poo-pooing, they had it right.

00:42:05   It was just that they were talking about the people who get the early seeds.

00:42:08   As soon as I saw that story, I went to the Apple developer website and saw nothing there.

00:42:12   I'm like, "Oh, maybe it's just bogus."

00:42:13   But it was just a staged rollout.

00:42:15   The super-duper Apple seed program, people got it, and then a couple hours later, we

00:42:21   got it.

00:42:22   So the update on the review is, "Yay, I've got a GM."

00:42:24   Boo, I had to redo a whole bunch of screenshots.

00:42:27   God, the things they changed are just insane.

00:42:30   They changed functionality too, so I had to rewrite an entire section because everything

00:42:34   I had written about it and all the screenshots that I'd taken were no longer there.

00:42:37   And the worst thing about the section I had to rewrite is I don't understand one of the

00:42:40   things that they changed.

00:42:42   They changed the pop-up menus, where they are, what the choices are, and I understand

00:42:47   all the choices except for one.

00:42:49   And so right now in my review I have written that I could not figure out what this meant.

00:42:54   I tried.

00:42:55   I tried so many.

00:42:56   Maybe it means this.

00:42:57   Let me try it.

00:42:58   Nope.

00:42:59   Maybe it means this.

00:43:00   Let me try it.

00:43:01   Like, I could not figure it out.

00:43:02   And of course, I asked Apple.

00:43:03   Like, I have so many questions into Apple, but they, you know, ignore me.

00:43:04   So maybe I'll hear from them.

00:43:05   Maybe I won't.

00:43:06   But having a GM build is good, so I did a lot of work revising things.

00:43:09   By the end, I was getting pissed because it's like, I mean, this, we've all seen the screen

00:43:14   chest.

00:43:15   You know, you know the labels or the tag things or whatever in the Finder?

00:43:18   You've seen the screen chest.

00:43:19   They put, like, a colored dot next to the file name if you give it, like, a red label.

00:43:23   They change the size of those dots by, like, a pixel.

00:43:25   I was like, "Come on, guys."

00:43:26   They did that just to troll you.

00:43:28   Every single screenshot that had a freaking dot.

00:43:30   Yeah, I was like, "And I like the old size better."

00:43:32   They made them slightly smaller.

00:43:34   I'm like, "Oh, come on."

00:43:35   So now it's just like...

00:43:36   If I had to redo a screenshot because they totally changed the way something works, fine.

00:43:41   But I had to redo it because you made the dot smaller, that's just cruel.

00:43:44   And then the one I tweeted was that one pop-up menu was two pixels farther away from the

00:43:49   label.

00:43:52   We have to have some very high ranking design manager on OS X has to be a listener of this

00:43:59   show.

00:44:00   I was just about to say that, and if that is the truth, can you imagine, or even if

00:44:03   it's just whoever's in charge of that particular screen just thinking to themselves, "You

00:44:07   know what?

00:44:08   I'm gonna troll John Syracuse."

00:44:10   The reason I moved the one with the pop-up menu, that one I kind of gave them a pass

00:44:13   for it because it was misaligned in the pre-release builds.

00:44:17   You know what a dialog box looks like.

00:44:18   It has a bunch of pop-up menus.

00:44:19   It's supposed to be all kind of left.

00:44:20   Their left edges all line up.

00:44:22   And one of them wasn't.

00:44:23   The top one was sticking out more than it should have.

00:44:26   They were simply correcting.

00:44:27   Like this is how you can tell it's a GM.

00:44:28   Someone did a once over on every single screen and when someone in interface builder didn't

00:44:32   drag the little thingy to be lined.

00:44:34   You know what I mean?

00:44:35   So they realigned it.

00:44:36   And it's like, "I gotta retake the screenshot."

00:44:39   At that point I was like, "Really?

00:44:41   Is every screen changed in some small way?"

00:44:45   People are asking me on Twitter, "Is there anything that I'll let slide if it's not off?"

00:44:50   That pop-up menu is off by a pichlerite.

00:44:52   Once you see that it's off by a pixel, you can't unsee it.

00:44:54   I'm not going to leave the pre-release screenshot in there, not just because it's pre-release,

00:44:57   but because it's like, "Hey, the top pop-up menu is in a line.

00:45:00   Someone screwed up an interface build it."

00:45:01   So I'm going to fix that one.

00:45:04   In every review, there's at least two or three shots that are not from GM and different ways

00:45:10   that only I would notice, and I've never been called on it.

00:45:13   So I shouldn't even say this, because now someone's going to go sit there and graphically

00:45:16   diff every single thing and find the one that...

00:45:18   But rest assured, there will be shots in there that were taken not on the GM, but in immaterial

00:45:25   ways of like, you know, a pixel here, a pixel there, that no one will ever notice.

00:45:30   And I'm okay with that, because seriously, I'm not going to redo every single one of

00:45:33   these screenshots.

00:45:34   The only person on Earth who would notice is you.

00:45:37   Or like the person who, you know, the graphic designer, who's like, "I changed that.

00:45:40   That's a different color now.

00:45:41   That just, you know..."

00:45:42   Nope, not even them.

00:45:43   Well, maybe.

00:45:44   Maybe.

00:45:45   Like, we'll see.

00:45:46   Because it gets cumbersome redoing it, especially when, like, if it was just changing screenshots,

00:45:50   fine.

00:45:51   But when I had to redo a whole section because they totally changed the functionality, it's

00:45:53   like, you wait till the GM build to massively change its functionality.

00:45:58   Oh, well.

00:45:59   And do you think it's ready to be called a GM?

00:46:02   Remember when they started doing this?

00:46:04   They'd be like, "Here's the GM seed."

00:46:06   And we're like, "What does that mean?

00:46:07   What is a GM seed?

00:46:08   Does this mean you are seeding us the GM?

00:46:11   Or does this mean it's like, will we ever see a release where it says GM seed 2?

00:46:17   Because that's the big fear.

00:46:19   It's like, what?

00:46:20   GM seed 2?

00:46:21   That shows that you were misinterpreting the previous title.

00:46:22   The previous title did not mean it was a seed of the GM.

00:46:25   It meant this is, it's like release candidate.

00:46:28   They used to use that terminology of like, maybe this is GM, here you go.

00:46:33   And so I really hope there will not be another one that says GM seed 2.

00:46:36   And I don't think there will.

00:46:37   I think they could ship this and it would be fine.

00:46:40   I need a price and a date.

00:46:41   I need a price and a date.

00:46:42   I have right now the text in my review says I don't know what the price is.

00:46:47   Because now I can press the button and like publish it and you know I could submit it

00:46:51   to an e-book store and it would be valid assuming they don't change the GM.

00:46:56   But I also have two more different versions based on two different guesses of what the

00:47:00   price might be.

00:47:01   So I need a price, I need a date.

00:47:03   I'm waiting patiently.

00:47:05   What else is going on?

00:47:06   How's the overcast going?

00:47:08   This episode is also brought to you in part by Audible. Audible is the leading provider

00:47:12   of downloadable audiobooks with over 150,000 titles in virtually every genre. Their catalog

00:47:19   is huge and it grows constantly. Only a few months ago we were saying 100,000 titles.

00:47:24   Now it's 150,000. They're huge and always growing. If you want to listen to it, Audible

00:47:29   has it. You can listen to audiobooks anytime, anywhere. They support iPhones, iPads, computers,

00:47:35   Kindles, even old iPods, if you're one of those people still carrying an old iPod, or

00:47:39   if you use one to exercise or whatever the case may be, you can even play audiobooks

00:47:43   there.

00:47:45   Audible is offering ATP listeners a free audiobook along with a 30-day trial.

00:47:49   Go to audiblepodcast.com/ATP to take advantage of this special offer.

00:47:56   So John, from what I understand, you actually have a book recommendation.

00:48:01   Yeah, this is not a new book recommendation because anyone who's listened to my past podcast

00:48:07   knows that I talk about the same three books over and over again.

00:48:10   This is one of them, but it's in different contexts this time.

00:48:12   It's in the context of an audiobook.

00:48:14   This book is ... I don't read a lot of biographies, but this is my favorite biography that I've

00:48:18   ever read.

00:48:19   It also won a Pulitzer Prize, so it has some pedigree to it.

00:48:22   It is also, interestingly, a book that most people will never, ever read on their own

00:48:28   in paper form, because it's like over 1,000 pages.

00:48:31   And truth be told, it's like, if you're not

00:48:34   into the subject matter, that's a lot of pages

00:48:36   to read about one person, no matter how interesting they

00:48:38   were.

00:48:38   Now, I am super into this one person,

00:48:40   because the biography is of Robert Moses.

00:48:44   I knew this was going to be.

00:48:45   And I grew up on Long Island, and I

00:48:47   went to all the beaches and parks

00:48:48   that they talk about in here.

00:48:49   And it's just an amazing experience for me.

00:48:51   I'm such a crazy big fan of Long Island

00:48:55   to read about how all these things that I enjoyed

00:48:57   my youth came to be in their sort of tortured history, and the interesting man that was

00:49:01   behind them.

00:49:02   And it really is an amazing book, but I recognize when I recommend it to people, they're like,

00:49:06   "Yeah, I'm going to read this phone book," or whatever, "So get the audiobook."

00:49:10   And this, unlike I think in the past episode where Margaret said he liked to bridge things,

00:49:13   this is an unabridged audiobook of a thousand-page Pulitzer Prize-winning biography.

00:49:17   Do they have an abridged version?

00:49:19   Out of curiosity.

00:49:20   No, you don't want the abridged version.

00:49:21   You want it to be like this, like, "Admit to yourself that you're never going to read

00:49:24   it, right?

00:49:25   And instead, just use it as an audiobook."

00:49:27   66 hours. It's like more than two and a half days of audio. Say you're going on a cross-country

00:49:34   drive or something. This is what you want. Think about the value you're getting for your

00:49:40   money for this. Use this as just an unbelievable value, enriching your life in a way that you

00:49:45   would never do on your own because you have to admit to yourself that you're never going

00:49:48   to read this book, but you will just stick it in your iPod and listen to it on your drive

00:49:53   to and from your colleges across the country or whatever. So highly recommended. The Power

00:49:57   Broker, Pulitzer Prize winning by Robert A. Caro, a man with an amazing accent if you

00:50:02   Google him and find some YouTube videos, all about Long Island and Robert Moses, two things

00:50:06   near and dear to my heart.

00:50:08   That is awesome.

00:50:09   Although not Robert Moses himself because he was a terrible person. But anyway, read

00:50:13   the book!

00:50:14   All right, thanks a lot. That is so like the typical John Siracusa pic.

00:50:21   Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

00:50:22   Thanks a lot to Audible for sponsoring ATP. Go to audiblepodcast.com/ATP to take advantage

00:50:28   of our free 30-day trial. Thanks a lot, Audible.

00:50:32   So was that your hint that you don't want to share what's going on with Overcast?

00:50:37   There's not a whole lot to share. I mean, another week went by. I'm working on it. I've

00:50:43   been working on it. I'm doing a little more with the sync engine. Today I was writing

00:50:49   playlist sync and a couple of other preference sync type of things. Nothing really exciting.

00:50:57   Just optimizations, fixes, and just moving forward with the feature set. Adding podcasts,

00:51:03   removing podcasts, that's all still in the works. There's still a whole lot missing.

00:51:09   But yeah, that's about it. Nutty Gamer in the chat wants me to talk about pricing for

00:51:16   the app. And pricing is interesting, but honestly, I have not really made a decision yet. And

00:51:25   I'm not just saying that to be coy. I really haven't decided what I'm going to do yet.

00:51:30   There's a lot of options. I really don't think I'm going to do the paid-up-front thing.

00:51:37   There's a lot of value to that. And I could, with the new iOS 7 receipt validation API,

00:51:44   I could launch as paid up front, see how it goes, and then move to free within app purchase

00:51:50   and simply migrate those users over who bought it. You can migrate them over and you basically

00:51:57   know if they bought the paid version or not when you make the same app free. So you could

00:52:02   move from paid to free within app purchase easily for the first time ever, whereas before

00:52:07   iOS 7 you could not do that. There was no good way to do it and you just anger everybody.

00:52:13   So I could do that, and I've certainly thought about doing that.

00:52:17   I'm leaning towards not, but the reality is also I'm probably still at least three

00:52:24   to four months away from release.

00:52:27   At least.

00:52:28   That's why I said I'm going to try to get it out this year.

00:52:32   In reality I think January or February is more realistic and more likely.

00:52:39   So all these pricing dynamics could be different then.

00:52:43   I might change my mind on the business model in the last month.

00:52:47   I really don't know.

00:52:51   That's about it, I guess.

00:52:52   BD Fortin in the chat asked a good question, which I addressed on another show.

00:52:57   I don't think I addressed it here.

00:53:00   What about an iTunes match style subscription to remove ads and give the money to the podcasters?

00:53:05   Basically the readability model.

00:53:07   Collecting money from people and then distributing it to what you listen to.

00:53:11   There's a number of practical problems to that, most of which is what Readability faced,

00:53:17   which is if you default to collecting money for everyone without them claiming it, it's

00:53:21   kind of weird and there's a lot of issues with that. I could do something like integrate

00:53:26   with Flatter. Flatter is a decent service. It's not really my style, but it's a good

00:53:31   service, and they have good intentions and stuff like that.

00:53:34   I think the biggest problem with the podcast app or platform collecting money for everybody

00:53:40   and distributing it out is that I don't think you could get any number of podcasts

00:53:48   to really agree on how they want to do that, how they want to message that, how they want

00:53:52   to receive that money. A lot of podcasts already collect money directly through themselves and

00:53:57   wouldn't want the competition. A lot of them, it would cause confusion as to who the people

00:54:01   should be paying. Yeah, the advertisers. I mean, it's not good for advertisers either,

00:54:05   because that hybrid thing makes nobody happy. You can either have a broadcast that's less than or

00:54:09   supported or you can apologize as ad supported. But when you try to do both, it's like, well,

00:54:13   the advertisers are pissed that they're not getting those people who are paying to skip

00:54:16   their ads. And so you're advertising to fewer people, and then some people are pissed because

00:54:22   they feel like they have to pay for it or should pay for it so they can skip the ads

00:54:25   because they'll know that some people are skipping the ads and they're not. So it's

00:54:27   much cleaner to say, "Look, it's free. It's supported by ads." Or it's you pay for it

00:54:32   and they give it to you like the magazine type model where there's no ads, you just

00:54:35   pay money. Those are so clean and understandable and you don't have this confusion. A hybrid

00:54:39   solutions, especially hybrid solutions that you impose on people that they haven't chosen

00:54:45   to do, or just sadness all around, I think.

00:54:48   Exactly. And John, it wasn't one of the last hypercritical episodes where you talked about

00:54:52   how advertisers almost always outbid the listeners or audience directly. That's very true. Almost

00:55:00   always, a podcast can make more through ads than through direct payments. But anyway,

00:55:05   I don't think it's the platform or app's responsibility to monetize podcasts.

00:55:11   I think every show is going to have a different audience with different needs and different

00:55:15   priorities, and I think I should just leave it up to the shows and their producers how

00:55:21   they want to monetize and where they want to do that.

00:55:24   Also, from a practical point of view, didn't Instacast have flatter integration for a while

00:55:30   and it caused tons of problems with app review?

00:55:33   Anytime you collect money in an app, either not through Apple or if you're collecting

00:55:39   money to distribute in some other weird way, you know, and telling people that in the app,

00:55:44   you're running a very big risk of being rejected for any update you try to make or being kicked

00:55:48   out of the store when you're already in it.

00:55:50   And because that's right tiptoeing along the line of what Apple will allow with in-app

00:55:54   purchase rules.

00:55:55   And it is just--oh, here's the link.

00:55:58   Thank you, underscore David Smith.

00:56:00   it is just not worth even risking that.

00:56:03   And to build a major feature around depending on that

00:56:06   is not wise.

00:56:07   So not only do I think it wouldn't really

00:56:10   get past Apple very reliably, but I also

00:56:12   don't think it's a very good idea for one particular podcast

00:56:18   app or even any group of them to try to create and enforce

00:56:22   a new universal podcast monetization model where

00:56:25   every show is going to want to do something different.

00:56:29   you know, even the language around collecting the money.

00:56:31   Like, I've, I talked forever ago on Build and Analyze

00:56:35   about Flatter and TipJoy, I think,

00:56:38   and a couple other things like that,

00:56:40   where I was saying, I don't like that,

00:56:43   I don't like the idea of having like a tip jar on my site.

00:56:47   You know, like the, just socially,

00:56:49   that's kind of a weird thing to me,

00:56:52   and I would want to very carefully control

00:56:55   any language or implication or pressure

00:56:58   around asking people to give me money for something.

00:57:01   And everyone's gonna have different opinions

00:57:03   on what that is for them,

00:57:05   and what they wanna present to people,

00:57:08   what they wanna ask people to give or to do,

00:57:10   and in what context and with what language.

00:57:12   So there isn't one solution that's gonna please everybody

00:57:16   who cares about this stuff as much as I do.

00:57:18   - You know, another thing that we've gotten

00:57:20   a lot of feedback on,

00:57:22   and I don't know if there's really anything you can

00:57:24   or do have to say about this,

00:57:25   but a lot of people seem to have taken offense

00:57:28   you saying that the now playing screen is the only thing that matters. Do you have anything

00:57:32   that you'd like to clear the air about? And maybe not. I don't know. I mean, I didn't,

00:57:36   I don't, I can see both sides of the story, so I don't know. I don't have any particularly

00:57:40   strong opinions about it, but I didn't know if you had anything to say.

00:57:43   Yeah. I mean, I don't want to take too long on this cause I don't want to make it too

00:57:46   boring. But, um, yeah, last episode I, I threw off the comment that I was focusing a lot

00:57:52   of my design effort on the now playing screen and that the rest of the app could just be

00:57:56   a bunch of table views and it wouldn't really matter that much because you spend the most

00:58:00   time navigating the NowPlayingScreen.

00:58:03   Whatever exactly I said there, we got a lot of email about it from people saying, "That's

00:58:07   wrong.

00:58:08   As soon as I start playing a show, I turn the screen off, put the phone in my pocket,

00:58:11   and that's it."

00:58:12   So I'm interacting more with the rest of the app.

00:58:15   So what I was getting at, whether I said it or not, who knows if I messed up, oh well,

00:58:21   That's the reality of talking for two hours every week and unrehearsed and with no preparation

00:58:26   What I what I mean is

00:58:30   The now playing screen has very frequent

00:58:32   interaction whether you're skipping a section or using the scrubber or

00:58:37   Playing and pausing because so, you know, you got to listen to something somewhere else very frequent interaction

00:58:42   Some of that you can do with the remote with a clicker in some cases some of it

00:58:45   You can't some of it you're doing directly. So

00:58:48   That screen to me like I'm everything else about the app

00:58:52   it matters a lot less how it's designed because

00:58:57   No matter how you design it

00:58:59   You're probably scrolling through some kind of list or collection of shows

00:59:02   That each within it has a list of episodes or maybe you have playlists that have a list of episodes within them

00:59:08   Whatever the case is those are pretty straightforward designs like yeah, you can you can tweak it here and there

00:59:14   You can add little flourish here and there the you know, there's there's a lot of little decisions

00:59:18   you can make differently, but structurally,

00:59:20   navigationally, the rest of the app

00:59:22   is not that hard to design.

00:59:24   It just isn't.

00:59:26   If you want to go that route with your podcast app,

00:59:28   feel free.

00:59:29   But the fact is, it doesn't really

00:59:31   matter how I present a list of episodes

00:59:33   in the grand scheme of things.

00:59:34   I'll try to do it as nice as I can,

00:59:35   but I'm not losing sleep over that.

00:59:38   The Now Playing screen, there's more variability--

00:59:40   although you wouldn't know it based on looking at the apps

00:59:42   out there right now-- but there's

00:59:44   more variability in how that can be designed.

00:59:48   And I think it matters more because maybe you're

00:59:52   interacting with it for a split second

00:59:53   and putting it back in your pocket.

00:59:55   But what if you're jogging?

00:59:56   Or what if you're in a car and you can't really

00:59:58   look at it safely?

01:00:00   There are situations like this where it matters

01:00:02   how it's designed.

01:00:03   It matters how it's laid out.

01:00:04   It matters what's on there and what's not to a level

01:00:08   that I think is more nuanced and more important and harder

01:00:10   to design for than a list of episodes.

01:00:13   That's what I meant.

01:00:14   I think I understood what you meant

01:00:16   And what I would have said to--

01:00:18   my interpretation of it was that that's

01:00:20   where you're concentrating your development

01:00:22   effort for the 1.0 because you have to pick something.

01:00:26   But the one kernel of truth that I think

01:00:29   was in all the feedback, at least from my perspective, is

01:00:32   when I think of podcast apps, which again I don't use--

01:00:35   I'm going to listen on the iPod Shuffle--

01:00:37   that the problem that I would like solved by them that is not

01:00:42   solved adequately by most of the ones that I use

01:00:45   is the particular way that I deal with deciding what I'm going to listen to.

01:00:50   When I do it manually, it's this terrible process of using iTunes, and iTunes 11 has

01:00:54   gotten even worse about this than me hunting around for the stupid things, dragging them

01:00:58   onto my iPod shuffle.

01:01:01   If I'm lucky, I can hunt around for all of them and then drag them all at once, but if

01:01:03   I'm unlucky, I have to do it in two or three trips.

01:01:05   Then I go over to the iPod shuffle, and all those things are down at the bottom, and then

01:01:08   I manually drag them up into the order that I want and rearrange them, and then wait for

01:01:11   it to sync again.

01:01:14   I have an idea what I want to do. I'm like, "Okay, well today I'm going to listen to this,

01:01:17   and then I want to listen to that when it comes out, and then I'm going to go on a binge

01:01:20   and catch up with this podcast, and when I go on this car trip I want to do these things."

01:01:24   That whole idea of managing what I'm going to listen to next is the thing that I just

01:01:29   think is not solved by the current crop, certainly not by my stupid iPod Shuffle, and by the

01:01:33   current crop of iOS podcast applications. Even though I would be spending most of my

01:01:39   time on the now playing screen, the features that are important to me are the ones that

01:01:43   It let me sort of set up my queue of like, you know, I don't know if you want to call

01:01:47   like a Netflix queue or whatever.

01:01:48   Like, here's what I'm going to listen to next.

01:01:49   And that queue is just random, arbitrary.

01:01:52   It's not like one podcast is higher priority than the other or like there's no automated

01:01:56   way to do it.

01:01:57   It's like I manually pick what I want to listen to in what order.

01:02:00   And that's what I, if I had to pick another part of the UI for you to concentrate on,

01:02:06   that would be the second one because yeah, most of the time we'll be on either the now

01:02:09   playing screen or the controls on the sleep screen or whatever.

01:02:12   to get to that screen at all, I have to sort of have my queue set up, you know what I mean?

01:02:17   Makes sense.

01:02:17   Yeah, and the other thing about this, I think, is that I'm assuming you're not telling us every

01:02:24   single feature that you're going to have in the application, because why would you? You know what

01:02:26   I mean? So that's something for people to keep in mind, is they don't realize that you're not going

01:02:30   to reveal every single feature that this app will have or that you're planning in the future,

01:02:35   because that's just not what you do when you're making an application, because why would you give

01:02:38   your competitors the head start and never mind the features that are going to be in version 1.1

01:02:42   in 2.0 and so on and so forth. I would keep that in mind.

01:02:45   Oh yeah, I mean that's the other thing too. Everything I'm talking about is 1.0. As

01:02:51   soon as I release it, there's hopefully going to be a lot of users. And those lot

01:02:56   of users are going to give me feedback and are going to use it in ways I didn't expect.

01:03:00   And I'm going to see how it works with full scale and how the server stuff works and how

01:03:06   the structure of the app works, how navigation works. People are going to report problems

01:03:10   or suggest improvements that I haven't thought of. And so all this planning and all this

01:03:17   thinking about the design and making these decisions, that's all just for 1.0, and it

01:03:22   could all change like a month after I release it.

01:03:24   Yeah, think about Instapaper 1.0 and how it compared to, you know, the final version.

01:03:28   Oh my god, I don't even want to think about Instapaper 1.0.

01:03:31   So yeah, long way to go. So it's a marathon, not a sprint.

01:03:35   Some people have nostalgia and positive memories and they look back fondly on the stuff they

01:03:41   made in the past. I am not one of those people. I look back on stuff I made like three years

01:03:46   ago and was like, "Oh, I'm embarrassed. I don't even want to think about it. I don't

01:03:51   want to look at it. I'm just deeply embarrassed by it." Which is probably unhealthy. But

01:03:57   I don't know. It keeps moving forward at least.

01:03:59   Yeah. All right, we good? Yeah, I think so. Cool. Thanks a lot to our two sponsors this

01:04:07   week, Squarespace and Audible, and we will see you next week after our Singleton trip.

01:04:12   Indeed.

01:04:13   Now the show is over They didn't even mean to begin

01:04:19   'Cause it was accidental Oh, it was accidental

01:04:26   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him

01:04:31   'Cause it was accidental (accidental)

01:04:33   It was accidental (accidental)

01:04:36   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm

01:04:41   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them

01:04:46   @C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S

01:04:50   So that's Casey List M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M

01:04:55   ♪ N-T-M-A-R-C-O-R-M-N-S-I-R-A-C ♪

01:05:00   ♪ U-S-A-C-R-A-C-U-S-A ♪

01:05:02   ♪ It's accidental ♪

01:05:04   ♪ It's accidental ♪

01:05:06   ♪ They didn't mean to ♪

01:05:08   ♪ Accidental ♪

01:05:09   ♪ Accidental ♪

01:05:10   ♪ Tech podcast ♪

01:05:12   ♪ So long ♪

01:05:15   - This is like the least we've ever gotten

01:05:17   through our little notes document

01:05:18   that Marco doesn't look at.

01:05:20   - Yeah, I know, I know.

01:05:21   - One item, this zero follow-up,

01:05:23   And Casey put in the Agents of SHIELD item right before the show, and that's the only

01:05:27   one we did.

01:05:29   This is the first time I've actually gone the whole show without even looking at the

01:05:32   document.

01:05:33   It is?

01:05:34   Yeah, exactly.

01:05:35   Well, it doesn't matter.

01:05:36   Two out of three, Casey, as long as we stay strong.

01:05:39   We have to not compromise with the—don't negotiate with terrorists here, just because

01:05:44   he doesn't want to use the document.

01:05:46   We have the majority.

01:05:47   Two out of three people use the document.

01:05:49   The document is official.

01:05:50   It's been placed.

01:05:52   whether Marco looks at it or not.

01:05:55   OK, so did you see that Bimmerpost put out a thing--

01:05:59   this is accidental neutral--

01:06:00   Bimmer?

01:06:02   --Bimmer, whatever, Bimmerpost.

01:06:03   Don't even talk about religious arguments.

01:06:05   Don't even get into that.

01:06:06   Oh, god.

01:06:07   Yeah, seriously.

01:06:07   Is that a real-- is there actually

01:06:08   a controversy about that?

01:06:09   There is.

01:06:10   Oh, jinx it.

01:06:10   Oh, well, do we both-- do we all three of us

01:06:13   agree that it's Bimmer?

01:06:13   Apparently Casey doesn't.

01:06:14   No, it's because it's spelled B-I-M-M-E-R.

01:06:17   I know, I know.

01:06:18   I understand.

01:06:19   Well, anyway--

01:06:20   But the nickname for the car is Beemer, right?

01:06:23   Yeah, well, that's the religious debate,

01:06:25   is that the motorcycles are Bimmer or Beemer,

01:06:28   and the car is Bimmer or Beemer.

01:06:32   And I think the car is actually supposed to be Bimmer,

01:06:34   if you talk to a zealot.

01:06:36   And yeah, I don't like it at all.

01:06:38   See, this is why I just avoid saying either of them.

01:06:40   I don't want to have to deal with that.

01:06:42   Porsche, Jaguar, yeah, it's a wrap.

01:06:45   Subaru.

01:06:47   No, no one says that.

01:06:48   Wow.

01:06:49   I see that.

01:06:50   Now I can't even remember what the hell it was I was trying to talk about.

01:06:53   Bimmer post. Controversy.

01:06:55   Bimmer post.

01:06:56   Uh...

01:06:57   (door slams)