28: The Pit Of Irrelevance


00:00:00   There's a review that keeps happening.

00:00:03   I think the person like updates it in some way or I don't know what they do, but they

00:00:08   asked the title is something along the lines of non-CASEY download option.

00:00:15   One star, I don't have it in front of you, but it's like one star and it basically

00:00:18   says I can't handle Casey and I need to fast forward every time he talks.

00:00:23   Well, we already do offer a non-CASEY download option.

00:00:28   It's the non-Casey download option that's not coming.

00:00:31   Feature already implemented.

00:00:32   I believe it was last episode we talked about the time capsule and how that is or is not

00:00:39   a acceptable way of backing things up.

00:00:43   And John lamented how network-based time machine backups are really crummy and the time capsule

00:00:49   is a piece of junk and blah, blah, blah.

00:00:52   And somebody whose name I need to rediscover, hold on, let me fill this dead air by mumbling,

00:00:57   uh...

00:00:58   cried off to come back to it and it was in fire

00:01:01   uh... it was whatever's in the follow-up yet

00:01:03   uh...

00:01:04   somebody posted uh... at a blog post

00:01:07   and the title is time capsule backup verses sarah kusa so immediately i was

00:01:12   intrigued

00:01:13   uh... so the a quick

00:01:16   uh... subsection of that post several weeks slash months ago my internal s_s_d_

00:01:20   suddenly died completely

00:01:22   i hadn't made a clone backup or manually offload of the data since the morning

00:01:25   I'd been working all day and had many irretrievable projects that were lost,

00:01:29   except for the time capsule backup from 30 minutes before I went in the SSD or I

00:01:33   send the SSD and warranty. And when it got back a week later,

00:01:36   I booted up the new drive with it connected to the time capsule.

00:01:39   It asked if I wanted to restore from the time capsule.

00:01:41   And I said yes and went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, my baby was back.

00:01:45   The beauty of the time capsule is it's fire and forget usability that earned some

00:01:49   loyalty and I'm quoting and Casey was right.

00:01:53   My work here is done.

00:01:54   What?

00:01:55   I've just quit the podcast, and I would drop this mic if it wasn't so darn expensive.

00:01:59   And chain to your desk.

00:02:00   And on and out.

00:02:01   And on and out.

00:02:02   Yeah, the time machine's been around for a long time.

00:02:04   Like that product's been around for a long time.

00:02:06   And in the beginning, it got a bad reputation because network time machine backups were

00:02:11   terrible mostly for software reasons.

00:02:13   So right away, out of the gate, it was like, "Don't buy a time capsule because it doesn't

00:02:17   work."

00:02:18   And how much of that was the time capsule's fault, and how much of that was the network

00:02:21   protocol they were using for a time machine?

00:02:23   We don't know, but that gave it a bad rep.

00:02:25   But even after they fixed the protocol,

00:02:27   I've heard from many, many, many people

00:02:29   over the many years that the time capsule has been out

00:02:32   and the story has not been good.

00:02:34   So I'm sure this person had a good experience

00:02:35   and it worked fine.

00:02:36   It's not like it doesn't work at all.

00:02:37   I mean, they keep selling them, right?

00:02:39   But in the grand scheme of things,

00:02:41   and all the feedback I've received over the many, many

00:02:43   years, it's decidedly negative for this product

00:02:46   for both hardware and software reasons.

00:02:48   And it's better now than it was, but I would still not

00:02:50   recommend anybody buy one.

00:02:52   And that was nuclear Zen fire on Twitter, like Marco said, whose first name is Michael,

00:02:56   and that's all we know.

00:02:57   So, thank you, Michael, for sending that in, and for once in my life, saying that I was

00:03:01   right and John was wrong.

00:03:03   That's very exciting.

00:03:04   He was wrong about it, though, so…

00:03:08   Oh, you John Syracuse.

00:03:10   All right, so how do we want to tackle the…well, is there any other follow-up?

00:03:13   I'm sorry.

00:03:14   I don't know.

00:03:15   Has anything really happened this week, like news-wise?

00:03:16   That's really…I mean, Balmer's fire kind of…

00:03:19   Someone's not looking at the file.

00:03:21   We have lots of things in there.

00:03:27   This is going to be a long one, so buckle up kids.

00:03:30   Let's start with Balmer, because that'll be pretty quick I think.

00:03:34   I think, I don't know, we've joked a lot about how Balmer has been performing pretty

00:03:42   badly in a number of ways for years.

00:03:47   But in fact, Ben Thompson, the guy who writes "Stratechery"--

00:03:52   I'll link this in the show notes--

00:03:54   he's a pretty awesome writer and thinker these days.

00:03:58   And he actually spent some time at Microsoft,

00:04:00   so he's kind of familiar with how it works.

00:04:02   And he made a really good counterpoint

00:04:04   to this, which is basically that Steve Ballmer actually

00:04:07   did a very good job with what he was kind of hired to do,

00:04:11   which is take the ship that Bill Gates kind of built

00:04:16   when he was at the head, and just keep it going.

00:04:18   Why was he hired to do that? Who decides that that's what he was hired to do?

00:04:23   Well, we can argue about that. But he did a part of his job extremely well, which is,

00:04:29   he kept Microsoft going, he made them more profitable, he made them get more success

00:04:36   in various business roles and enterprise roles, which is a massive part of their business.

00:04:41   So he did a lot of that well.

00:04:45   But what he failed to do was push into any new markets

00:04:50   and recognize new markets that he had to push into.

00:04:54   And almost all of his new initiatives

00:04:58   that he tried to do over the years that were not related

00:05:02   to the business and profit side-- almost everything

00:05:06   he tried to do on the product side was mostly a failure.

00:05:09   And but it's kind of hard to say, you know, the board let him keep his job all these years

00:05:16   because he was doing, I guess, well enough for on the business and profit side of things.

00:05:23   So it's not like, you know, he wasn't necessarily like a complete buffoon all this time.

00:05:30   I would say the board is more to blame for keeping him in that long when it was obvious

00:05:36   that a lot of major product direction changes were necessary.

00:05:39   I can't believe you're defending Ballmer.

00:05:41   Like the only thing you could, like any defensive Ballmer has to come down to defending short-term

00:05:47   thinking over the long term.

00:05:48   It's like, yeah, in the long term he screwed the company, but you know, day by day he wasn't

00:05:52   that bad.

00:05:53   Like, and they say, well, it's really the board's fault for not firing him.

00:05:55   Like, yeah, the board does share some of this blame.

00:05:57   But bottom line is, you know, if we look back on Steve Ballmer's tenure as Microsoft's

00:06:01   CEO, it's going to be he was the guy in charge when Microsoft lost.

00:06:05   Like, they were the big dog, they became not the big dog, he oversaw that, and during the

00:06:09   whole time, it's not like he was a total buffoon, it's not like he didn't see some of these

00:06:14   things, but as you said, every time something was coming that was a threat, and he tried

00:06:18   to counter it with his company and his products, he screwed up, he failed.

00:06:22   The only good thing that could be attributed to his watch is the Xbox, and even that is

00:06:26   not...

00:06:27   I mean, you have to say, look, they entered a new product area, they were successful,

00:06:34   not totally financially successful, but they are now a player, a major player in the market.

00:06:39   And that's saying something, right? But every other initiative, they just missed everything.

00:06:42   So in the micro level, saying, "Well, at least he was good at tuning their current businesses,

00:06:47   and he kept the money going, and he grew the company, he did all this." Yeah, but that doesn't

00:06:50   matter. What matters is what is your legacy? What have you done? You took control of a company that

00:06:56   was on top of the world, and you leave a company that's practically irrelevant. And that's how you

00:07:00   you have to measure how good a job did you do.

00:07:04   No, it's not.

00:07:05   Not if you're a shareholder.

00:07:06   All you need to measure is are you getting more money or not.

00:07:09   Look at their stock price over his tenure, too.

00:07:10   It is not a great looking.

00:07:14   Tim Cook has only been around a little while.

00:07:15   Look at the graph of when Tim Cook took over, what was the stock price, and what is it now.

00:07:20   That's after Apple getting slaughtered in the stock market.

00:07:24   I don't think he did any good for anybody except for the people who knew well enough

00:07:27   to sell when the getting was good.

00:07:29   Now Microsoft Stock price has been stagnant forever.

00:07:32   But anyway, it doesn't matter.

00:07:33   I think your job as CEO is not to just try

00:07:36   to goose the stock price so people can invest in bail.

00:07:39   It's like, if you care about the company--

00:07:40   and surely he does, because he was there from the beginning.

00:07:43   If you care about the company, you

00:07:44   want to make sure that your life's work is

00:07:46   to build this company and leave it better than you found it.

00:07:49   And I think that's what he cares about,

00:07:51   and that's what we should care about when we measure someone

00:07:53   as a CEO.

00:07:53   Not whether-- that's like saying,

00:07:55   we're going to measure someone's presidency by how

00:07:57   many of their friends they got rich with contracts,

00:07:59   government contracts during their tenure there. It's like, well, yeah, he totally screwed the

00:08:02   whole country and left it in the worst condition they started. But boy, while he was president,

00:08:07   he got so many of his friends awesome government contracts and they all got rich. That's not how

00:08:11   you measure things. No, it's not how you measure a president. You measure a president or a government

00:08:16   by, is the population's quality of life at least as good, if not better than it was before that

00:08:23   government came to office? And similarly... That's a high bar, but anyway, yeah.

00:08:27   Well, yeah, but similarly with the corporation, it's are they making money, and specifically

00:08:31   are they making money for the people who own portions of the corporation?

00:08:34   I mean, I agree with you.

00:08:36   To me, Ballmer was a schmuck.

00:08:38   But in the end of the day, did he or did he not please the shareholders and make the money?

00:08:42   Because arguably, that is the only measure that really matters.

00:08:46   No, I disagree.

00:08:47   That measure almost matters, almost not at all.

00:08:50   That's not what matters, certainly not what matters to Steve Ballmer.

00:08:53   It's not what matters to anyone, probably including Microsoft shareholders.

00:08:56   Because if shareholders are not just about to die and need to blow their money on a big

00:09:01   weekend, they also care about the long-term health of the company.

00:09:04   Because if you're buying shares and you're not just going to flip them in two days or

00:09:08   something, or some high-frequency trading favor, you're going to sell them 15 milliseconds

00:09:12   after you buy them.

00:09:13   You care about the long-term health of the company, because you're going to buy, hold,

00:09:16   and hope they go up and sell later.

00:09:18   And you don't want it to go up 5% or 10%.

00:09:20   You want it to double.

00:09:21   And Steve Ballmer did not make that happen, is not making that happen.

00:09:24   And that's true.

00:09:25   Anyway, I think that's just a terrible measure of a terrible way to look at things.

00:09:32   The reason the board didn't fire him is because even they didn't look at it that way.

00:09:35   Even the board of directors, who you think, "Surely they care about shareholder value

00:09:38   and everything," they kept them around because of personal relationships and thinking that

00:09:42   he was going to do it.

00:09:43   The thing is, he said most of the right things.

00:09:45   He saw the threats.

00:09:46   He tried to position the company to counter them.

00:09:49   He fielded products that were competitive with them.

00:09:50   It's just that they all flopped.

00:09:53   It's not like he was totally oblivious.

00:09:54   He just didn't execute.

00:09:56   And he was slow, he was wrong, and everything he did

00:10:02   had problems.

00:10:03   But I think it was time for him to go.

00:10:06   I'm glad he's gone.

00:10:08   Somebody could have done worse, yes.

00:10:09   But people could have done a lot better.

00:10:12   I agree.

00:10:13   Probably his worst problem-- you can

00:10:16   look at his various failings.

00:10:18   I mean, one of them is obviously not getting very well

00:10:21   into most new markets, especially

00:10:22   in the consumer space.

00:10:24   One of them was just that he was so embarrassing in public so often.

00:10:27   I mean, he really made himself and the company look stupid on a very frequent basis.

00:10:35   And I think, though, you can look at what Microsoft has done and not done in the last

00:10:41   roughly 12 years or 13 or 14 years, since around 2000 to now.

00:10:47   And it's very obvious that Microsoft's greatest enemy has been itself, not anybody

00:10:53   else. Not Apple, not Google. Its greatest enemy has been itself. And Microsoft has always,

00:11:01   even from before Ballmer, been infamous for infighting and having divisions, especially

00:11:07   like Office versus Windows. You'd have these ridiculous infighting groups that would really

00:11:12   hurt the products that came out and the company. But it seems like with Ballmer that all got

00:11:17   even worse. He famously had the stack ranking system for the entire company, all these performance

00:11:22   reports in this ultra-competitive environment.

00:11:24   That wasn't him, though.

00:11:25   That predates him as CEO.

00:11:27   Does it?

00:11:27   I don't know.

00:11:28   Yeah, I think it's been around for a long time.

00:11:30   Oh, OK.

00:11:31   It's possible.

00:11:32   It's been terrible for a long time at Microsoft.

00:11:34   But it seems like Balmer's greatest failure over the years

00:11:38   has really been not fixing or making that worse.

00:11:43   I mean, not fixing that or even making it worse.

00:11:46   Microsoft could do a lot of things.

00:11:48   They have a lot of smart people there.

00:11:49   They have a lot of resources.

00:11:51   I mean, they have a ridiculous R&D budget.

00:11:54   They have ridiculous staff.

00:11:56   They-- and a lot of good stuff happens within Microsoft.

00:11:59   But so little of it ends up making it into the products,

00:12:03   because it's just slaughtered by the process and the bureaucracy

00:12:07   and the people and the strategy tax and the complexity.

00:12:11   Maybe this giant reorganization he

00:12:13   was trying to do, which most Microsoft watchers think

00:12:16   is a pretty bad idea, and it's probably what actually finally

00:12:19   got him fired.

00:12:20   maybe this is actually his attempt to fix that.

00:12:22   >> Well, it's aspirational. It's like, "Boy, I wish this is the company that Microsoft was,

00:12:26   but it's not." And what everyone's saying is like, "That's a great vision, but explain to me how

00:12:31   you're going to get from where you are to there, because that's a big gap, and people don't trust

00:12:35   that they can get there." Microsoft's kind of got like a Xerox PARC kind of vibe. Xerox made all

00:12:40   their money selling copiers, and they had all this money, and they made this research center,

00:12:43   and they're doing lots of interesting research, and they made nothing out of it. Apple took the

00:12:47   the ideas. Microsoft took the idea that Xerox did not become the power in the personal computing

00:12:52   world that they could have been. And Microsoft had all this money from the PC business, and

00:12:55   they put it into R&D, and they were out there with the Microsoft pen for Windows computing.

00:13:01   They were doing tablets way before anyone thought that anyone should be doing tablets.

00:13:04   They made smartphones. They were putting Windows on phones. They were doing all these things.

00:13:09   It was all there for the taking, and they just didn't execute. They're like, "Xerox."

00:13:14   weren't fielding $10,000 Alto computers that no one wants to buy, but it was close.

00:13:18   They kept making tablets and Windows-type convertible tablet things and smartphones,

00:13:24   and just all of them were not good enough. And so they were there first, and they had the R&D,

00:13:28   and they had the tech, and they did lots of interesting things, but they could not get a

00:13:31   good product out of it. And that's the failure of the company. So then other companies came along

00:13:36   and ate their lunch. But they snatched defeat from the drawers of victory. They had all the money in

00:13:41   in the world, all the R&D in the world, all the right tech. They were looking in the right

00:13:44   places. Sometimes they were looking in the wrong places. Interactive TV was the wrong

00:13:47   place to look, and MSNBC was a side show. That's what happens when you have too much

00:13:51   money, I guess. But they were looking in the right places. Mobile pen tablet computing

00:13:56   that just didn't get there.

00:13:58   Yeah, and I thought a friend of the show, Guy English's post about Balmer's straight

00:14:03   jacket was really interesting, and you guys kind of alluded to this earlier in that, okay,

00:14:08   So now Balmer has said, we're going to go all Apple and reorg the company.

00:14:14   And now Balmer's gone.

00:14:15   So now somebody else is going to have to come in and either say, oh, just kidding.

00:14:22   Or they're going to have to roll with this decision that Balmer made.

00:14:26   And that's a tough spot.

00:14:27   I mean, arguably being the CEO of a company that big, even when they're doing well,

00:14:31   as tough when they're doing not so well as worse and doing it when you're using

00:14:35   somebody else's playbook that you may not buy into sounds worst of all.

00:14:40   No new CEO has to use that playbook, though. That's the thing about being a new CEO.

00:14:44   And yeah, it's embarrassing when you do the about face, but not that bad, because a new

00:14:47   guy comes in. The new guy comes in, and people expect him to like, "Well, now he's really

00:14:52   going to clean house," or whatever. And so your first move being reversing all your

00:14:57   predecessors' move happens all the time. That's part of the power move of asserting

00:15:02   So I don't think it's as big of a straight jacket as that post implied.

00:15:05   I think, you know, the problem that post was getting at is that like,

00:15:08   let's assume that this shape that Ballmer wants to make Microsoft is a better shape than it is now.

00:15:14   And I think most of us agree that the shape it is now is terrible, and this new shape looks a lot like Apple,

00:15:19   and Apple seems to be successful at doing the things that Microsoft says it wants to do,

00:15:23   like be a devices and services company or whatever.

00:15:25   So it's like, yeah, okay, that's good.

00:15:27   But, you know, how do you get there from here?

00:15:29   And it's not so much that you're tied into Ballmer's plan,

00:15:32   is that if you also agree that Microsoft should

00:15:35   be that kind of company, and it should eventually

00:15:37   look like this, now it's on you to figure out

00:15:39   how to get it there from here.

00:15:40   So he could just lay out the goals,

00:15:41   like we should be more like Apple, and I'm out of here.

00:15:43   But reading too much into it is like,

00:15:46   I don't know why he got kicked out.

00:15:49   Was the reorganization his idea, and then he got kicked out?

00:15:53   Was the reorganization the board's idea,

00:15:54   and he just got to announce it before he got kicked out?

00:15:56   Like there's so many things we don't

00:15:57   know about the details here. But once a new guy comes in, all bets are off. He could do

00:16:02   anything. He could pull that HP. What's his name? It starts with an A—

00:16:07   A Pompiger? Yeah. He came into HP and said, "We're not

00:16:12   going to make personal computers anymore." Was he the guy who sold POM? He made like

00:16:16   15 rapid-fire drastic decisions and then got booted out, and then half of them got reversed.

00:16:22   You're not looking for that kind of disaster here. I think this is just one thing. The

00:16:26   guy is going to say, "Yes, I agree with that vision. We're going to try to get there,

00:16:29   and that poor sucker is going to have to do the hard work." But it's not a straight jacket.

00:16:34   If he comes in and says, "Nope, I changed my mind. We're going to become like IBM

00:16:37   and be a consulting company," then he'll do that.

00:16:41   And speaking of IBM, the other series of interesting thoughts I saw about this was

00:16:46   another friend of the show, Craig Hockenberry, tweeted about how—I'm going to butcher what

00:16:50   he said, which was, although brief, very eloquent—but he said, "Hey, you know,

00:16:54   You know what Microsoft needs now is a Lou Gerstner and as the child of a nearly lifelong

00:16:59   IBMer I can tell you that IBM was in a really rough spot for a fair bit of time and then

00:17:06   Lou Gerstner came in and basically said you know we're going to shake everything up and

00:17:11   we're really going to cut the fat and you're just going to have to deal with it because

00:17:14   I have to save the company.

00:17:15   And now IBM is not the biggest company in the world but certainly one of the biggest

00:17:19   companies in the world, and it's doing, by most measures, very, very well.

00:17:24   And so now we're kind of wondering, okay, well, that's nice.

00:17:26   We know we need someone that looks and smells like Gerstner, but how do you find that person

00:17:30   and who is that person?

00:17:31   Well, I mean, don't you think he saved IBM by destroying it?

00:17:36   The village had to be destroyed to save it.

00:17:38   He saved IBM, the corporate entity, to making it into a profitable business again, but he

00:17:43   destroyed the old IBM to do that.

00:17:45   The old IBM was gone, and this was the new IBM, because he had decided that the old IBM

00:17:49   had no place in the world. And lots of things were lost with that. IBM, creator of the personal

00:17:56   computer, that's not the IBM we have today. They are more of a services company, and that's

00:18:01   how he was able to make them successful. But that's not what IBM used to be. So in some

00:18:05   ways, IBM was reincarnated under his leadership, which I'm sure Microsoft watchers would be

00:18:10   like, "All right, fine. Go ahead and reincarnate Microsoft, because currently it's like a lifeless

00:18:12   corpse and no one really is interested in it." But on other things, if you're looking

00:18:17   for Microsoft to return to its former glory, you don't want someone like that coming in

00:18:22   and transforming the company into something you don't recognize anymore, even if the new

00:18:25   thing is successful.

00:18:26   And that's fair. I think that's very fair. I just thought it was a very interesting point

00:18:30   in parallel. And I think you're both right. I think that they could stand to have a Gerstner,

00:18:36   but maybe that's not what they really want right now. And maybe they don't want to pivot

00:18:40   their brand, right Marco?

00:18:42   Nice.

00:18:43   Well, like Marco said, do they want a forestall?

00:18:46   Do they want like, we want to look like Apple,

00:18:48   we want to be like Apple, we want

00:18:50   to be like a cross between Apple and Google.

00:18:51   We want to have Google's online services with the Windows

00:18:54   Azure stuff or whatever.

00:18:55   Because Microsoft still has some good tech and good products,

00:18:57   which is a shame when any tech company is going down

00:19:01   the tubes, is like, there's always good stuff in there.

00:19:04   So there are good things, things to recommend.

00:19:06   Even Windows Phone is not actually a bad product at all.

00:19:11   It's just that an Xbox, again,

00:19:13   a product that is something, that could be something, right?

00:19:17   So you're looking for someone to say,

00:19:20   "Take all these things, get rid of all the bad things,

00:19:22   "but keep us as a company,

00:19:24   "the kind of company that makes the Xbox,

00:19:25   "the kind of company that makes Windows Azure,

00:19:27   "the kind of company that make Windows Phone.

00:19:29   "We can do all these things.

00:19:30   "We're smart and capable people.

00:19:32   "Just make all those things successful now, please."

00:19:34   And so if you want someone to do that,

00:19:36   and you're looking for someone with experience

00:19:38   making kind of like, we make devices,

00:19:40   of software that runs the mom plus the software and services, like you could do worse than

00:19:44   a forestall like figure, someone who has experience in another company that is successful doing

00:19:48   exactly the thing that you want to be doing.

00:19:51   Here's a weird idea.

00:19:53   What if Microsoft completely exits the consumer space?

00:19:57   So the way this would look would be Xbox would be spun off into its own company, which would

00:20:02   solve a big problem for Microsoft, which is making it profitable.

00:20:05   would be spun off, or sold, but probably spun off.

00:20:11   The rest of Microsoft would become a lot like IBM in that it would be focused on business

00:20:17   computing and consulting and enterprise services.

00:20:21   Because if you think about it, their consumer stuff is where all of the losses appear to

00:20:26   be happening in market share and relevance and probably in profits pretty soon.

00:20:32   The problem, I forget who tweeted this and I'm sorry,

00:20:35   it's somebody I follow who tweeted,

00:20:36   you know, the problem that Microsoft has is that

00:20:39   nobody's paying for software anymore.

00:20:42   And the direction on that-- - Well, corporations are.

00:20:44   - Well, yes, but-- - Oh, they are.

00:20:46   Oh, they are. - But,

00:20:48   look at Windows and Office as Microsoft's two big cash cows.

00:20:53   Think about how that might be collapsing

00:20:57   in the near future.

00:20:58   - Oh, no, we see it happening. - And it's not gonna go away.

00:21:00   - We see it happening.

00:21:01   It's not going to go away tomorrow, but it certainly seems like its best days are behind

00:21:05   it.

00:21:08   What if Microsoft's future really is just completely exiting consumer stuff and only

00:21:15   being enterprise-focused, high-end office needs, all that?

00:21:20   Basically, if your office would have an Exchange server or would use SharePoint, then that's

00:21:25   the kind of customer Microsoft wants to keep.

00:21:28   But those are not their good products.

00:21:29   I think SharePoint is terrible, Exchange is terrible.

00:21:32   Those are not like, I grant you those things, those products that make money, and then no

00:21:36   one else wants to be in that business except for maybe like, you know, SAP, Oracle or whatever.

00:21:40   But those are not their best products, right?

00:21:43   But they are probably their most successful.

00:21:46   And they're least competitive.

00:21:48   They have the lowest upside probably because, I mean, that's what people are looking for

00:21:52   is like, what is the upside?

00:21:53   Like do we think enterprise software that looks like this crap has a bright future and

00:21:57   that you're going to grow the company by selling more of that

00:22:00   for money.

00:22:01   The trend is in the other direction,

00:22:02   getting rid of that stuff, using simpler things,

00:22:04   switching to Google, integrating with non-Microsoft products.

00:22:07   So they're squeezing every ounce of money out of that.

00:22:09   That's like their last bastion, and they've defended it well.

00:22:12   And Balmer has goosed that to try

00:22:15   to make it produce as much money as possible.

00:22:17   And they have some good things in the web services space

00:22:19   that they kind of transition to.

00:22:21   But if anyone was going to look at the crown jewels

00:22:23   of Microsoft, I mean, I don't know

00:22:25   if they would pick that enterprise-y type software.

00:22:27   And anyway, you could make a successful enterprise.

00:22:29   I think I would, actually.

00:22:30   I would say, I think I would really consider it.

00:22:32   You have no idea how much a SharePoint license is

00:22:35   and how many-- I mean, for the last four or five

00:22:38   years of my life, I have more often than not

00:22:40   been working on top of SharePoint, which

00:22:42   is why I'm bitter and jaded.

00:22:44   But it's popular.

00:22:45   It's extremely popular.

00:22:47   And as you know, exchanges, I mean,

00:22:49   those are not cheap platforms.

00:22:52   And when you get an exchange server or a SharePoint server,

00:22:55   you're going to be doing that on Windows Server 2008, and you're going to be using SQL Server,

00:22:59   and it spreads quick. And it's profitable. It's got to be.

00:23:03   Yeah, but I don't think there's a bright future in selling that kind of software to businesses.

00:23:09   Well, no one uses it because it's good. Because it's good does not enter into this. Enterprise

00:23:15   software is not about what's good. There's all these other factors involved. And Microsoft

00:23:19   is pretty good at those factors. And there's no sign that's going to go away.

00:23:23   There is! They're already getting disrupted at the low end. It used to be everybody had

00:23:26   Exchange, but now you probably don't have Exchange if you're a smaller company. You

00:23:29   get away with having like Igloo or something like that, or you use Google or something.

00:23:33   And what about sharing? We have SharePoint and all these things, but in our office we

00:23:36   use Google Hangouts, we use Dropbox to share things because the enterprise software is

00:23:40   so terrible. And we're a pretty big company, right? We still pay for all the Microsoft

00:23:43   stuff, but it's being eaten from all sides. It's super duper high-end, I don't even know

00:23:48   if Microsoft plays there anymore, and that's kind of like rarified territory anyway, where

00:23:52   They have special custom systems for that.

00:23:54   And then at the low end, Microsoft

00:23:56   was constantly being eaten by all these little web services.

00:23:59   And even in companies that pay for these things,

00:24:00   the people who are in the companies

00:24:01   are choosing to use something else.

00:24:03   It's like the way iPhones made it into the enterprise.

00:24:05   Nobody wanted them.

00:24:06   RIM had a stranglehold on it.

00:24:08   They were great at serving those customers,

00:24:09   but people didn't want to use them.

00:24:11   They wanted to use iPhones.

00:24:12   And that's the problem with the enterprise business,

00:24:14   that it's surrounded on all sides

00:24:16   by other things that want to eat their lunch.

00:24:18   And if people don't want to use your product,

00:24:20   I did this thing, an article on Fatbutts, I think, ages ago about what defines enterprise

00:24:25   software or enterprise entanglements and why Apple doesn't want to get involved in the

00:24:29   enterprise space.

00:24:30   And enterprise software, my definition is when the person buying your product is not

00:24:33   the person that has to use it.

00:24:35   That's enterprise software, right?

00:24:37   Because that totally defines the entire shape of this product.

00:24:40   Because they're saying, "How am I going to get these guys to pay for my software?"

00:24:45   And making the software better is not how you get that, because they're not going to

00:24:48   be the ones who use it.

00:24:49   They don't care if it's better.

00:24:50   Does this make my life easier as an IT manager?

00:24:52   And so your product necessarily becomes shaped into this thing

00:24:55   that IT managers love and that who cares if anyone else likes

00:24:58   it because they have no choice.

00:24:59   And that is an evolutionary dead end for software

00:25:01   as far as I'm concerned.

00:25:03   So let me take a quick break right now.

00:25:05   And then I want to talk about another angle

00:25:08   of this Microsoft discussion.

00:25:09   But because we're a half hour in,

00:25:10   let me take a quick break and thank our first sponsor.

00:25:13   It is Wordbox.

00:25:15   Wordbox is a simple yet powerful text editor for iOS.

00:25:19   Now this is pretty cool.

00:25:20   These guys made it.

00:25:21   And we've had a long history with arranging this spot,

00:25:27   because they initially wanted to release this during the Dev

00:25:31   Center outage.

00:25:32   That was when it was originally scheduled.

00:25:33   So we had to bump them.

00:25:34   And they were the nicest guys in the world dealing with them

00:25:37   and moving this around.

00:25:38   So I want to thank them for, first of all, their flexibility

00:25:41   and how nice they are.

00:25:42   Then I got a chance to see this app.

00:25:44   And I got to say, Wordbox is beautiful.

00:25:47   It is an absolutely beautiful app.

00:25:50   Go to wordboxapp.com to see what I'm talking about.

00:25:53   So it's a text editor.

00:25:55   It has auto-saving, a magical scroll button.

00:25:58   You can move the cursor wherever you want really easily.

00:26:00   It supports multi-markdown.

00:26:02   It supports text expander touch.

00:26:06   It is all cloud-based.

00:26:07   It uses Dropbox.

00:26:09   It's really-- it has so many features.

00:26:12   I can't believe this came out of nowhere.

00:26:14   It has folder support.

00:26:16   It has dropler sharing, Dropbox backgrounding support,

00:26:19   offline support, exports to HTML or PDF from Markdown.

00:26:24   There are so many smaller apps that I think this could very

00:26:26   easily replace.

00:26:28   Word counts, emailing, it's really fantastic.

00:26:32   And what I like most about it is the UI design.

00:26:34   I mean, this not only fits right at home on iOS 7, I think,

00:26:37   but it just is beautiful.

00:26:39   And you can get it right now for iOS 6, too.

00:26:41   It's really a fantastic, clean, modern design.

00:26:45   There's no, quote, "skeuomorphism" around.

00:26:48   It's very clean and modern.

00:26:50   And do you remember the day before WWDC's keynote,

00:26:57   or even that morning, I think it was,

00:26:59   there was this company called Flesky

00:27:00   that everyone thought had blown a exclusive about iOS 7

00:27:05   supporting third-party keyboards,

00:27:07   because Flesky had made their own keyboard.

00:27:09   Well, Wordbox supports Flesky built in.

00:27:13   I believe it's their launch partner.

00:27:14   I believe it's the first app that has Flesky support.

00:27:17   So you can use this cool WordBox app

00:27:19   to try out the new Flesky keyboard

00:27:21   and see finally an alternative keyboard in iOS

00:27:25   and what that means and what that could bring us

00:27:28   and how good it is.

00:27:29   So really cool app.

00:27:31   It's called WordBox.

00:27:32   Go to wordboxapp.com or simply search the App Store

00:27:36   for WordBox.

00:27:37   It's the one with the cool light blue icon with the W

00:27:40   in the circle in the middle of it.

00:27:42   But it's easier.

00:27:42   You can go to wordboxapp.com.

00:27:43   You can see lots of screenshots and video.

00:27:46   It's really cool.

00:27:48   Thanks a lot to Wordbox App.com for sponsoring the show.

00:27:53   And once again, check out Wordbox.

00:27:55   Thanks.

00:27:56   Yeah, I'm running iOS 7 on my carry phone now and it fits right in.

00:27:59   I mean, it really does look good.

00:28:02   If you're a Markdown person, you should definitely check it out.

00:28:04   I'm really impressed by the design of those.

00:28:06   I know I said it before, but I'll say it again.

00:28:09   I love that they have this awesome, you can see in the screenshots, they have this awesome

00:28:13   black slide-up action menu where it grays up the whole screen

00:28:17   and all the buttons are the big circles, kind of like the iOS 7

00:28:19   dialer, the phone dialer.

00:28:21   Really, really cool.

00:28:22   And I was very impressed by this design.

00:28:25   The prevalence of applications that

00:28:27   do something other than the OS default for cursor control

00:28:30   should tell Apple that their cursor control

00:28:33   defaults are inadequate.

00:28:35   I keep hoping for the OS release,

00:28:37   will they realize-- every time I have

00:28:39   to do anything involving the cursor in a standard iOS text

00:28:42   field, it's like, come on, Apple, come on.

00:28:44   And now it's up to every third party app

00:28:45   they have to implement their own thing, which is kind of good,

00:28:47   because it's kind of like a lab to try

00:28:48   all sorts of different techniques in terms

00:28:50   of swiping and tapping.

00:28:51   And my big complaint is the wait.

00:28:55   How long do I-- press and hold, it's

00:28:57   such an important part of interacting

00:28:59   with text and selections in iOS by default,

00:29:02   but I don't like waiting anymore.

00:29:04   Who is it?

00:29:05   Was it you, Casey?

00:29:06   Or someone recently just installed iOS 7.

00:29:08   I know you did as well, Casey, and was complaining about the--

00:29:11   Or was it you, Marco, complaining about how long the animations take?

00:29:14   It wasn't recently that I installed it, but I complained about it last night.

00:29:17   Yeah, like I still haven't, last time I used iOS 7 was WWDC, right?

00:29:21   So, but when I do install it, I fully expect to agree with everything you said in that

00:29:26   post.

00:29:27   Oh yeah, you're gonna hate that.

00:29:29   And I can't do a default, right, you know, whatever hack to get rid of the animations

00:29:32   like I can in OS X.

00:29:33   Yep, exactly.

00:29:34   Yet another reason that the Mac is superior.

00:29:36   Anyway.

00:29:37   Oh goodness.

00:29:38   All right, so Marco, you said you wanted to make another point?

00:29:40   One more idea here to think about this Microsoft angle

00:29:44   a little bit more.

00:29:44   Or rather, do you think there is a way

00:29:51   that Microsoft could regain growth and a foothold at all?

00:29:56   But especially, could they grow market share again

00:30:01   in the world of mobile, of smartphones and tablets?

00:30:03   Like, do you see a way that that could happen?

00:30:05   Because honestly, I kind of don't.

00:30:07   I totally do.

00:30:08   But the company, things have to get worse before they get better.

00:30:11   So buckle up.

00:30:12   They're going to have to lose a lot of weight, a lot of money, a lot of personnel, a lot

00:30:17   of projects, a lot of products.

00:30:18   But it's like when Jobs came back.

00:30:21   He canned everything, basically, and said the whole company is concentrating on the

00:30:24   iMac, and then our next generation OS project, and that's going to take three tries for us

00:30:28   to get it right.

00:30:28   But everything else is gone.

00:30:29   Newton gone, Open.gone, HyperCard gone, everything.

00:30:32   And I doubt anyone's going to come into Microsoft and do that, but they should, because

00:30:38   if you want, pick your product. If you want the Xbox to succeed. If you want Windows Phone to

00:30:42   succeed. Whatever it is that you want to be your thing that you think has an upside in the future,

00:30:46   and I would say like, you know, Windows Phone, tablets, and Xbox, and any television-related

00:30:51   things like that, that set of consumer products probably has a much brighter future than their

00:30:55   other consumer products. Those can be made in, like, they're close. Like, you know, Windows 8

00:31:01   is terrible for policy reasons, not so much tech reasons. And as we've said in past shows,

00:31:06   They were the first ones to the new aesthetic.

00:31:08   So they have the right people in terms of design

00:31:10   and everything there.

00:31:11   It's just that all the other crap that they do,

00:31:13   and all the stupid entanglements,

00:31:14   and the fact that they have to have the desktop mode

00:31:16   on the surface.

00:31:16   And they're just their own worst enemy.

00:31:20   And I think they could turn this company around and pick

00:31:23   a few of those great products and make them successful.

00:31:26   The cost will be almost everything else they do.

00:31:30   But see, that worked for Apple.

00:31:33   But there's a very different,

00:31:35   that was a very different scenario.

00:31:36   That was, first of all,

00:31:38   Apple was in way worse shape then

00:31:40   than Microsoft is in now.

00:31:42   - Yeah, it's easier to do crazy things

00:31:43   when you're about to go bankrupt.

00:31:45   - Exactly. - And Microsoft is not,

00:31:46   unfortunately. - Not at all.

00:31:47   Microsoft is actually doing,

00:31:48   financially they're doing all right.

00:31:50   They're doing pretty well, I think.

00:31:51   - That has to get worse before it gets better.

00:31:53   - Right, but see, that's the thing.

00:31:56   I don't see that strategy working.

00:31:58   For a lot of the reasons,

00:31:59   I wrote this piece forever ago

00:32:01   about Microsoft and Apple's respective customer cultures.

00:32:05   This was back when Windows 8 hadn't come out yet,

00:32:08   but I think it was being shown off.

00:32:09   And I was speculating at the time

00:32:12   that Microsoft customers generally don't

00:32:16   like being told what to do.

00:32:18   And so they would probably resist Windows 8

00:32:21   if the new interface was mandatory

00:32:23   and they couldn't just turn it off and just always

00:32:25   see the desktop again.

00:32:27   And that turned out to be correct,

00:32:29   that Microsoft did release it that way.

00:32:31   people did hate it, and now with that whatever code name,

00:32:33   Blue Mountain, or whatever it is this fall,

00:32:35   they're going to revert that.

00:32:36   I think Microsoft-- the reason why people buy Microsoft

00:32:41   products is because the products let the people do whatever they

00:32:45   want with their computers, and they hardly ever kill anything.

00:32:50   They hardly ever restrict anything.

00:32:52   It's really not open in the sense of Stallman,

00:32:56   but it's open in the sense of capabilities and settings

00:32:59   and stuff like that.

00:32:59   It lets people do what they want.

00:33:01   But it's like raising a toddler and never telling them no.

00:33:05   That's what they're doing with their business.

00:33:07   It's terrible.

00:33:08   Back at that old hyper-critical episode where I talked about what's wrong with Microsoft,

00:33:12   their biggest problem is that when they had all the power in the world, they didn't use

00:33:16   it to subjugate the masses.

00:33:18   We are on top of the world.

00:33:19   Windows 95 has Jay Leno introducing it, and it's the greatest thing in the entire world.

00:33:24   Everybody loves Microsoft, and we do everything.

00:33:25   That was the time to say, "And guess what?

00:33:29   Our new thing is not even going to have a desktop.

00:33:31   It's all going to be like whatever the crazy idea was.

00:33:33   Because at that time, you know, they were like,

00:33:36   oh my God, I don't, you're right.

00:33:37   They would all go, I don't like this.

00:33:39   I want my old desktop back.

00:33:40   But if you didn't give them the option,

00:33:41   then Microsoft could have sat there with Zarmstolz

00:33:43   and say, what are you going to do?

00:33:44   Go to Linux on the desktop?

00:33:46   Buy a Mac?

00:33:46   Ha, I mean, those were ridiculous options, right?

00:33:49   They had the power to turn their whole user base,

00:33:51   as sort of Apple did, because the Apple faithful were like,

00:33:54   you know, we love Apple.

00:33:55   They're about to go bankrupt.

00:33:56   We'll buy anything you make.

00:33:58   a teal computer, I guess. All right. And this operating system that's humongously slow and

00:34:04   has these crazy buttons, the genie effect's kind of cool. They had a very small, tiny

00:34:09   amount of power and then grew it into something larger, but Microsoft was on top of the world.

00:34:13   And they could have, they should have, taken that opportunity to turn the ship.

00:34:17   Now, they're weakened and injured and like, "Here's Windows 8. We have some ideas for

00:34:21   new interface, but please, you can still get into us. Stop back. Don't hurt us." And I

00:34:26   I think they have more power than they thought they did.

00:34:28   And I think Windows 8 would have been more successful if they had really committed the

00:34:30   company to it.

00:34:31   But you're right.

00:34:32   At this point, people do have other options.

00:34:34   And maybe they don't have enough power to say, "You can't get the desktop back.

00:34:39   All of Windows 8 looks like this."

00:34:40   And then IT would have been like, "All right.

00:34:41   Let everybody start our plans to convert to..."

00:34:44   I don't know.

00:34:45   They still don't have great options, because Apple doesn't want their business, and they

00:34:46   can't use Linux.

00:34:48   So I don't know.

00:34:49   I think their big mistake is catering to their customers to this real and sometimes perceived

00:34:54   be larger than it really is, desire by their customers not to have things change. Because

00:35:00   it's that's what leadership is. It's telling people, "No, this is the way things are going

00:35:03   to be in the future. No, you can't have the old way back." You can't do that all the time,

00:35:07   but at certain turning points, it's time to do that. And if you don't do that ever,

00:35:11   you will just be left with your cranky customers who will never really be satisfied and who are a

00:35:16   dwindling base. IBM kind of got in that situation too, where people were selling mainframes or

00:35:21   whatever, where you just keep selling mainframes and they just keep making demands and those main

00:35:24   mainframe people want mainframe features, then eventually you realize you're selling

00:35:27   to three people and the government, and the entire rest of the industry has moved on,

00:35:31   and your three customers are still cranky about something.

00:35:33   Well, right, but the problem is when Microsoft caters to a large degree to enterprise, enterprise

00:35:40   is always a big, slow-moving entity, and if you're answering to the enterprise, they're

00:35:46   never going to want new. They're going to want new only when they have to have it, because

00:35:50   that means I have to spend money from their tight budgets to buy new.

00:35:54   And so as long as they have, they're concerned at all with what the enterprise thinks, I

00:36:00   don't think that there's much that can be done.

00:36:02   And that kind of comes back to our conversation earlier.

00:36:04   So how do you make Microsoft better?

00:36:06   I almost wonder if, as you got, I think maybe one of you guys said it, if you just spin

00:36:10   off the consumer business, however you define that and say, you go do your thing and don't

00:36:13   give a crap about the enterprise, do what you think is right.

00:36:17   And then the enterprise folks can do the boring stuff

00:36:20   that the IT guys need.

00:36:22   And they don't need to be as mobile in the sense of agile,

00:36:26   I guess I should say.

00:36:28   And they can continue to do the same old thing over and over

00:36:31   until they eventually wither away and die.

00:36:33   But say you tell the enterprise people, tough luck,

00:36:35   you're getting what we give you.

00:36:37   And they say, all right, no, screw you, Microsoft.

00:36:39   You didn't listen to us.

00:36:40   You're not giving us what we want.

00:36:42   What do they do after that?

00:36:44   All right, it's fine.

00:36:44   Microsoft says, fine, we lose all your business.

00:36:46   What are you guys going to buy instead?

00:36:48   And then they're going to be like,

00:36:50   I guess we'll buy Google services.

00:36:54   Wherever they run to, they're kind of a poison pill.

00:36:56   Say Microsoft completely pulls out of enterprises.

00:36:58   We are canning, we are stopping SQL Server,

00:37:00   we're stopping Exchange.

00:37:02   The only thing we're going to keep around is Windows Azure,

00:37:04   because that's like forward-looking network-type

00:37:05   services, and it's not the same thing.

00:37:07   You can't have it anymore.

00:37:08   We're canceling all those products.

00:37:09   And they're going to be like, but, but, but, wait, no, fine,

00:37:11   fine.

00:37:11   Go to someone else for their business.

00:37:13   Whoever gets all that business is now tied down

00:37:16   that crap and those customers. So if Google got those businesses, unless you're really,

00:37:21   really strong, unless Google also held the line, anyone who these enterprise customers

00:37:24   went to would be dragged down by them. It's like zombies dragging you down into the pit

00:37:28   of irrelevance, right? Because they're like, "We need to see the roadmap going forward,

00:37:33   and you can't change things, because now we're your big, important customer. How many millions

00:37:36   of dollars do we give you every year?" And it takes a strong company to be able to say

00:37:39   no to them. Microsoft can't do it. And whoever they go to, I don't know who they would go

00:37:45   or they go to Oracle, have fun with them.

00:37:48   Or again, SAP or some new company

00:37:51   would rise up to take their money.

00:37:53   You do not want those customers.

00:37:54   Those customers are not good for a successful business.

00:37:58   And if you lose them or intentionally piss them off

00:38:01   and abandon them, they're going to have to go somewhere.

00:38:03   And chances are good they're going

00:38:04   to go to one of your competitors and screw them,

00:38:06   and then you'll be free to sell like Apple.

00:38:08   You know what I mean?

00:38:09   Like Apple got out of that business for the most part,

00:38:11   except for maybe a little bit of education.

00:38:14   and it let them go forward and do what they want

00:38:16   without worrying about how they mess with the enterprise.

00:38:19   They did a little bit of like, oh, okay,

00:38:20   we'll change our iPhone to work a little bit better

00:38:22   with the enterprise, but they are not focused

00:38:25   on that customer.

00:38:25   They don't do what the enterprise wants.

00:38:27   Ask anyone who has IT has to deal with Apple.

00:38:29   They do not do what a large company wants them to do.

00:38:32   And I think Apple is freer and more successful for it.

00:38:35   - You know, and you're right, but also consider

00:38:38   what if Microsoft pulled an Apple card and they,

00:38:44   Let me try to get these words out in a way that makes sense.

00:38:46   What if Microsoft said, "Screw you, Enterprise,"

00:38:49   and then what if a different Microsoft product,

00:38:53   the new version of SQL Server,

00:38:55   the new version of Exchange that breaks all the old Exchange

00:38:58   but is better in every way,

00:39:00   what if that's what the new thing is,

00:39:03   so they self-cannibalize?

00:39:05   Is that so terrible?

00:39:06   Is that what it will take?

00:39:07   - That's not terrible,

00:39:08   but you have to go into it with a new attitude, right?

00:39:11   You have to go into it with the attitude of,

00:39:14   A, we're breaking everything, and I know you don't like it.

00:39:17   And we're hoping that you'll like our new product.

00:39:18   But B, going forward, you have to know the rules have changed.

00:39:21   You don't get to dictate what we want.

00:39:22   We are not going to hold backward compatibility forever

00:39:24   and ever and ever just to make you feel better.

00:39:27   You have to take more power in that relationship, which

00:39:29   they haven't been able to do it.

00:39:31   And that's why I think it's such poison

00:39:33   to have these as your customers, because they do pay you

00:39:35   tons and tons of money.

00:39:36   And it's natural for any business to go, geez,

00:39:38   these customers are paying us tons of money.

00:39:40   We have to pay attention to what we want.

00:39:41   Otherwise, that's the instinct of a business.

00:39:43   Do the customer's always right, do what the customer wants,

00:39:45   and you end up making your products beholden

00:39:48   to these buyers who are not gonna actually use your products

00:39:51   and it starts taking that same shape again.

00:39:53   So you have to, it's very difficult to serve

00:39:57   those businesses while still trying to make a product

00:39:59   that's good that the people who are buying it,

00:40:03   the actual users who are not actually buying it like.

00:40:06   And I don't know if any company's ever been successful

00:40:08   doing that.

00:40:08   Apple's solution was just like fine,

00:40:09   exit that business.

00:40:10   That's the solution.

00:40:11   If there's some company out there serving enterprise

00:40:15   and government while also making awesome products

00:40:18   that the users like, feel free to write us and tell us

00:40:20   about it.

00:40:21   Is it Lotus Notes?

00:40:22   I've heard it might be Lotus Notes.

00:40:23   [LAUGHTER]

00:40:24   Everything you guys have just said, I think,

00:40:26   supports the theory that Microsoft should probably

00:40:31   split itself into consumer and enterprise

00:40:35   as separate companies or majorly separate divisions.

00:40:39   to the point where they could have totally separate product lines. Because, you know,

00:40:43   if you think about it, trying to shove corporate Windows on the desktop at home and on laptops

00:40:49   and on consumer stuff has always kind of had problems. You know, back when Windows 2000

00:40:54   NT5, when that was supposed to be the big unifying release and it was so hard to do

00:40:59   technically that they had to push off the big unifying release to Windows XP and then

00:41:03   Windows's Mii came out.

00:41:07   It was clear back then that it was very, very hard

00:41:09   to mash these two worlds together of consumer

00:41:11   and enterprise on a technical level.

00:41:15   And then I think now we're seeing a lot of that

00:41:18   on the product level, and even on the company level,

00:41:22   where we're seeing-- Microsoft is not

00:41:24   doing a very good job of balancing these two things,

00:41:27   especially when it comes to their consumer device side.

00:41:30   You see like, you know, the Surface versus the Surface Pro as two separate products,

00:41:34   Office having its own giant pile of politics and conflicts and issues in that world.

00:41:40   You see Microsoft not being able to politically and strategically release Office for iOS or Android.

00:41:49   You know, you see these pretty big problems that are really hurting Microsoft big time.

00:41:54   Imagine this. Imagine Microsoft spins out a new consumer company.

00:41:59   They are responsible for Xbox,

00:42:03   whatever Zune still has left.

00:42:05   Basically they're responsible for Xbox

00:42:07   plus tablets and phones.

00:42:09   Scott Forstall is the CEO of that company.

00:42:13   Then their regular, everything else,

00:42:16   the entire enterprise and services side of their business,

00:42:19   all the server software, Windows for PCs, Office,

00:42:24   all of that is a totally separate company.

00:42:28   that has somebody like Ballmark but good at the head of that.

00:42:34   Why is that worse than what they have now?

00:42:42   Because the consumer side isn't making any money. There's no money to be made on the consumer side.

00:42:46   No, no, I don't think that's the problem. The technical problem is that all those things you just described share so much common technology

00:42:52   that it would be very difficult legally speaking. How do you divvy that up?

00:42:56   You could license it to each other.

00:42:57   They diverge or whatever.

00:42:58   Yeah.

00:42:59   But when I picture that in my mind, what I picture is a rocket ship going up into space.

00:43:04   And stage one is the enterprise business.

00:43:07   And it expends its fuel, separates, and tumbles back into the atmosphere.

00:43:13   And stage two and three is the consumer products.

00:43:16   And so it's like, who's going to volunteer to be on the stage one that fires us up and

00:43:19   then runs out of fuel and then tumbles into the ocean?

00:43:22   Who wants to be in that company?

00:43:23   But they're doing well.

00:43:24   The enterprise business goes well.

00:43:25   I know.

00:43:26   rocket, right? They have the most fuel, they have the most power, but inevitably they're

00:43:29   going to run a fuel tumble to the ocean. If I was there and they were divvying up the

00:43:33   company along those lines, I would wonder how many people would raise their hands to

00:43:36   be in that other part or to invest in that other part or whatever. It's like, this is

00:43:41   the future business and this is the current/dying business. That's a tough sell, too.

00:43:48   The current one is the one that pays dividends and makes reliable money every year, and the

00:43:52   consumer new one is the potential growth.

00:43:54   It's the shrinking one. I think those two things can exist within the same company.

00:43:58   It just has to be a change in attitude. I think existing within the same company gives you the

00:44:02   biggest benefit, because that's like using the booster rocket and not—and not—this analogy

00:44:06   is failing now—but not jettisoning it, like keeping it with you. It's kind of like what

00:44:13   Apple did with the Mac. The Mac, we have to get this thing back on track. We have to make one of

00:44:17   these teals so people will buy it. While we're doing that, let's work on the next stuff. And

00:44:21   we're going to try a whole bunch of things, and the one that stuck was the iPod. It's like,

00:44:24   "Oh, that gives us a small breathing room."

00:44:25   "Okay, we got to work on the next thing."

00:44:26   So it's not like the Mac was the office cash cow,

00:44:29   but it was the only thing they had.

00:44:31   And so job one was make sure that keeps making money.

00:44:33   And Microsoft already got that covered.

00:44:35   That can power your company while you work on the other things.

00:44:38   And when you work on the other things,

00:44:40   and if the other things are successful,

00:44:41   it's not like the Mac has faded away and slowly dwindled.

00:44:44   It's been growing along with everything else.

00:44:45   It's just growing at such a smaller rate than everything else

00:44:48   that it looks like it's unimportant.

00:44:49   But it's there.

00:44:50   So you can use that enterprise business as your platform that will keep you safe and

00:44:56   in the black long enough for you to work on the next big thing.

00:44:59   And if you hit that next big thing, that part that's been helping you stay safe and in the

00:45:03   black, that could be a successful business too and also still growing and also improving.

00:45:07   So I think probably keeping the company together but just organizing it and running it differently

00:45:12   is probably a better strategy than splitting it up.

00:45:15   Because with splitting it up, I don't see good things for that enterprise company and

00:45:18   I see all sorts of crazy issues in terms of like the entanglements almost get worse when you have to have some sort of cross licensing

00:45:24   agreement or you know

00:45:26   Coordinated development to maintain compatibility between enterprise windows and consumer windows and you know all that other stuff

00:45:33   You know the thing it is is that I feel like we've been beaten up Microsoft a lot

00:45:37   Today, and I think it's easy to kick somebody when they're down

00:45:42   But I think I speak for all of us when in saying that I'm actually very hopeful for Microsoft

00:45:47   And I was thinking about it, you guys made the point earlier that, you know, Microsoft

00:45:52   was really early on tablets and they were really early on smartphones.

00:45:55   Well, maybe they weren't that smart, but they were certainly more than just feature phones.

00:46:00   And so during those days, it was like they had good timing and they had decent vision,

00:46:07   but never really executed.

00:46:09   You know, they saw that smartphones were a thing and they saw it arguably before a lot

00:46:13   of other people did, but they never really did it well.

00:46:16   Now with, say, Windows Phone 8, they had pretty good vision and pretty good execution, but

00:46:24   the timing was terrible.

00:46:25   And so I wonder if for whatever the next big thing is, the next mobile, maybe it's TV,

00:46:31   as everyone's been saying, but I doubt it, but whatever that next thing is, maybe they

00:46:36   will get all three of those timing, vision, and execution right.

00:46:40   And then maybe that will really turn them around.

00:46:42   You could argue that maybe Azure is that thing.

00:46:44   I'm not saying that is, but you could pose the argument that maybe Azure's that thing.

00:46:49   And I'm really hopeful that maybe one of these days they'll get all three right at

00:46:52   the same time, because it's better for all of us, even die-hard Apple users, when Microsoft

00:46:57   is competitive and good.

00:46:59   Well, going back a second to the question I asked right after the last break, and it's

00:47:03   almost time for the next one, but my theoretical question here, let's ignore the question

00:47:10   of whether the company gets split up or not, because that obviously is a rat hole. For

00:47:15   the purpose of this, it doesn't actually matter.

00:47:19   Imagine what would an ideal Microsoft product launch look like today in the phone and tablet

00:47:26   area, like in the general mobile devices area, which is where all the growth is and which

00:47:30   is what's slowly eating PCs. Actually, not even that slowly. Where is Microsoft's place

00:47:38   in this market, because I'm kind of thinking they don't have one. Because here's the thing.

00:47:42   Let's say they release a real--I mean, look, Windows Phone 7 and 8 and Windows 8 were both

00:47:51   pretty good. Neither of them were great, but they were both pretty good, especially for

00:47:57   a Microsoft release in the last decade. They were really good. You can look at basically

00:48:04   the last few things Microsoft did on their major platforms, Windows 7 was very well received,

00:48:10   Windows Phone 7, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8. Those were all very well received critically.

00:48:16   But in the market, Windows 7 I think did well, but the rest of it, especially in the mobile

00:48:22   area, has really done pretty terribly. What could they do if they released something that

00:48:28   was really, really great. Let's say Windows 8 on the Surface. Let's say that was a really

00:48:36   great launch. Let's say they even got the Surface down to $300 at launch, and so it

00:48:42   was price competitive, because when it did launch, it wasn't. But let's say they got

00:48:45   it there. What could they release that would give them substantial growth and market share

00:48:52   in this market? I don't think there was anything they could do, because Apple has the premium

00:48:58   end locked up tight. Google has everything else locked up tight. I don't really see

00:49:04   room for a third party here doing similar kinds of things. And maybe they do something

00:49:09   totally different, but then what is that? They tried a little bit with Windows 8 and

00:49:14   some of the Surface PC crossover stuff, but that didn't work that well either.

00:49:18   Well, I think Casey was right that that was a timing issue. You either get the execution

00:49:23   wrong or they get the timing wrong or both, and this was a timing issue. They released

00:49:27   adequate products with some interesting things about them to recommend them, but the timing

00:49:32   was awful. They're kind of in the similar position that Apple used to be in. Apple used

00:49:37   to routinely launch better products, but nobody cared. Oh, because everybody uses Windows,

00:49:41   because they can't run my applications on it. Because the software, it doesn't matter

00:49:47   how good Apple makes stuff. No matter how good anything Apple releases, no one's going

00:49:51   to care. But that's not entirely—it's just the bar is really high. So who would have

00:49:55   thought the solution was to release a teal Macintosh. That will do it. Now, that generated

00:50:01   excitement. Why did it generate excitement? Because it was a different color and it looked

00:50:05   different like fashion. They took a different tact and it got them attention. Did that turn

00:50:12   the whole company around? No, but that gave them a little more breathing room. And then

00:50:16   the next thing, the iPod, which everyone shunned, but that turned out to be a great idea. It's

00:50:21   It's possible, it's just really, really hard.

00:50:24   And if you're really late, like if Apple--

00:50:26   Apple can't be the seventh company

00:50:28   to release a translucent colored computer,

00:50:31   no matter how good it is.

00:50:32   They had to be the one to make the big splash with it.

00:50:35   So Microsoft was not the first one to release a tablet.

00:50:37   They were kind of the first one with the Windows 8 type look,

00:50:39   but it wasn't enough, and it was diluted and watered down.

00:50:42   But there are plenty of areas where

00:50:44   Microsoft could be successful with a new product.

00:50:48   They just have to reset it.

00:50:49   I would say even the Xbox, an established category, could have been a runaway hit if

00:50:55   everything had gone their way.

00:50:57   So say they released a-- say Sony screwed up.

00:51:01   Nintendo let them do what they're continuing to do because they're already screwing up.

00:51:04   Sony screws up, and Microsoft comes out and they do everything right with the new Xbox

00:51:09   launch.

00:51:10   And everybody loves them, and they end up taking market share from almost everybody

00:51:13   else.

00:51:14   become the uncontested, undisputed platform for AAA games.

00:51:19   Because the competition for that market is like Nintendo, Sony, and PC Space, which is

00:51:25   kind of Microsoft/Steam/whatever, EA and stuff like that.

00:51:32   That is a big market.

00:51:33   That market makes a lot of money, and if Microsoft could have come out and dominated it, that

00:51:38   would be a big win for them.

00:51:39   Because they're already in that market, and this is a generational turnover where lots

00:51:43   of things that happen. If they had executed amazingly well, and if they got lucky and

00:51:47   their competitors didn't execute as well, that would be a big win. And all of a sudden,

00:51:52   you'd see that making a lot of money for them. They could have made like wee bucks from the

00:51:57   launch. That's not how it turned out. They ended up doing a whole bunch of things wrong.

00:52:01   And one of their competitors, Sony, did not do a lot of things wrong. And it looks like

00:52:06   it's going to be a horse race again. But I don't count them out. It's just that it's

00:52:11   going to be really hard, and you can't look at what your competitors have already done

00:52:15   and try to do it better because you never know what better part you need to do to make

00:52:21   it happen.

00:52:22   If you looked at Apple, it's like, "Well, what do they have to do?

00:52:23   How awesome is the computer they have to do?"

00:52:25   No, they have to release a computer that's faster than everybody else.

00:52:27   So they have to release one that is more reliable.

00:52:30   Oh, they have to release one that's a different color.

00:52:32   What?

00:52:33   What did that guy say?

00:52:34   A different color?

00:52:35   Whatever.

00:52:36   That turned out to be the thing.

00:52:37   A different color was the thing that got them attention and turned things around.

00:52:39   and obviously I'm making light of it, it's much more to it than that.

00:52:42   I didn't think it was that simple.

00:52:43   But you know what I mean, no one would have predicted that. If you had to ask,

00:52:47   "Okay, we're getting killed here, we're releasing better products to Microsoft,

00:52:50   what do we have to do to make people notice us?" and you brainstormed it,

00:52:54   the guy who was coming up with the idea for the iMac, everyone would have been like,

00:52:57   "That's not going to do it." Because in the abstract, it seems stupid. You have to see

00:53:01   the concrete iMac to understand what it is about it. That's a difference in vision and it has to be

00:53:07   executed well, but just the idea of like we're going to make a computer that is designed

00:53:11   differently physically speaking, that doesn't sound like a winning idea, but the execution

00:53:16   matters. So if you said we're going to make a tablet that also doubles as a PC, I don't

00:53:20   even know that's a winning idea, but certainly the execution where there's one arm version

00:53:23   and then like an Intel version with a fan in it, and you can put the desktop on both

00:53:27   of them because they're afraid to go all the way, you know, like the execution was not

00:53:31   winning and I'm not even sure if that idea was winning, but I don't rule out the concept

00:53:35   of them feeling a product that, you know, becomes very popular and makes people sit

00:53:41   up and take notice of Microsoft again.

00:53:45   And with that, our second sponsor this week is another new iOS app.

00:53:49   I love this kind of sponsor.

00:53:50   This is my favorite kind of sponsor.

00:53:51   It's another new iOS app.

00:53:54   It's called Notograph.

00:53:56   And it's like "photograph" but for notes.

00:53:57   So "notograph."

00:53:58   N-O-T-O-G-R-A-P-H.

00:54:01   And this is a pretty cool app.

00:54:04   We talked last episode or two episodes ago about photo storage and photo stream and stuff

00:54:09   like that.

00:54:10   This is...

00:54:11   Notograph is a place to keep photos that you're taking more for like a note-taking purpose,

00:54:18   and they can be kept outside of your camera roll.

00:54:20   So they aren't clogging up your camera roll because you're not really taking a photo of

00:54:25   the label of a wine that you like.

00:54:27   You don't really need that to be in your family vacation photos.

00:54:30   That's not the purpose that you're taking it for.

00:54:33   And I use my camera on my iPhone all the time for this purpose,

00:54:35   for the purpose of reminding me of something

00:54:39   that I want to come back to later.

00:54:41   For me, it's often as simple as a picture of where

00:54:45   I parked in the parking garage.

00:54:46   I'll take a picture of the nearest sign

00:54:47   with the letter and number on it, something like that.

00:54:50   Or it can be longer, like, oh, here's a beer I liked.

00:54:53   Here's a product I wanted to look at.

00:54:55   Here's something I saw in a store,

00:54:56   but I want to learn more about it.

00:54:57   I want to go read Amazon reviews,

00:54:59   whatever the case may be.

00:55:00   So, Notograph is an app made for this purpose.

00:55:04   First of all, it's designed primarily for quick captures,

00:55:08   'cause obviously when you're in these kind of situations,

00:55:11   you don't wanna have to be filled in

00:55:12   with lots of navigation.

00:55:13   So, you launch it, it's quick capture,

00:55:16   it opens always ready to take a picture.

00:55:19   It has all sorts of sharing options, iCloud,

00:55:21   syncing with Dropbox, Evernote, you can email,

00:55:25   you can message, all that stuff.

00:55:26   You can save these into your camera roll if you want to,

00:55:28   You don't have to.

00:55:30   It has a whole organizational system.

00:55:32   You can create folders and manage all these things.

00:55:36   But one of the coolest things about this, I think, is the UI.

00:55:39   It's a really opinionated UI, and I like that about it.

00:55:42   It was designed with iOS 7 in mind.

00:55:45   But if you take a look at the site,

00:55:46   it's notograph, N-O-T-O-G-R-A-P-H dot net slash ATP.

00:55:52   Go to notograph.net/ATP to take a look at their UI.

00:55:56   It's very text heavy, and it uses this awesome-- what's

00:56:00   the font here?

00:56:00   It's Tungsten by Heffler, Frere, Jones.

00:56:03   So it's a fantastic professional font.

00:56:06   And it is a very text heavy iOS 7 principle styled app,

00:56:12   but it doesn't look like every other iOS 7 app.

00:56:14   Because we're about to enter an era where

00:56:16   every app looks white with Helvetica, Noia,

00:56:19   and is all the same.

00:56:21   This looks different.

00:56:23   It takes a lot of the lessons learned from iOS 7,

00:56:25   but it has its own style.

00:56:27   And they have this cool UI mechanic

00:56:29   where to see the photos in a list,

00:56:31   you need some kind of thumbnail.

00:56:33   They have this thing where the list is a big rectangular cell,

00:56:36   the way table cells in iOS usually are.

00:56:38   And they have this cool UI where you just drag just

00:56:42   a horizontal box up and down the photo

00:56:43   to pick what part of it you want to be,

00:56:45   that little skinny rectangle thumbnail.

00:56:47   It's really cool, very cool UI, very cool idea.

00:56:50   And they even have-- and this is pretty cool--

00:56:54   They even have a video made by our friend Jonathan Mann, the guy who made our theme

00:56:59   song.

00:57:01   If you go to their website, notograph.net/atp, you can see this awesome music video that

00:57:05   Jonathan Mann made for it.

00:57:07   It's really cool.

00:57:08   So I think this is worth checking out.

00:57:10   I think you should definitely go get it right now to support them and our show.

00:57:13   So thanks a lot to Notograph for sponsoring our show.

00:57:16   N-O-T-O-G-R-A-P-H, like photograph, but for notes, notograph.net/atp.

00:57:22   Thank you very much.

00:57:23   Yeah, I'm glad you brought up the thumbnail thing, because that was-- I agree with everything

00:57:27   you said.

00:57:28   I think the thumbnail thing was the most interesting bit of the UI that I saw.

00:57:32   And it was a really clever way to make a list that didn't feel like every other list that

00:57:36   you've ever seen in iOS.

00:57:38   And it is a pretty slick app, so you should definitely check it out.

00:57:41   All these applications that use like a-- they want to show you your content as the item.

00:57:47   Like, they don't want to have an item that just has like a list box and like a thumbnail.

00:57:50   like they want, you know, if you're sorting pictures

00:57:52   something, they want the pictures to be the item.

00:57:54   Like iPhoto is like this on the Mac,

00:57:55   where when you have events, it picks one of the photos

00:57:58   from the events to be the thing of the photo.

00:58:00   The key feature for any application that does that

00:58:02   is there has to be a way for you to say,

00:58:04   you know what, you picked the wrong picture iPhoto

00:58:06   for that event, I would like you to use a different one.

00:58:08   Or you know what, Nodograph, actually I would have

00:58:11   cropped that differently so I could see like the name

00:58:13   of the wine label that I took the picture of or whatever.

00:58:16   And that's the key feature.

00:58:17   It seems like, well what's the difference?

00:58:18   like a power user feature who's ever gonna use that but oh man it's makes so

00:58:21   much of a difference when you can move that little rectangle and pick which

00:58:24   part you want to crop or by the way people who don't know in what is it an

00:58:27   iPhoto spacebar lets you when you're scrubbing through the pictures in an

00:58:31   event you scrubbing through with the cursor hit the spacebar use iPhoto you

00:58:34   want yes I do it to pick the one you want for the event that is one of my

00:58:38   favorite iPhoto features that they actually added in recent years one of

00:58:40   the few favorite features and the fact that notograph has something like that

00:58:44   is a great idea everyone should do that that is not only is that the

00:58:48   best Syracusian feature pic that I could possibly think of. But we have what I believe might

00:58:55   be the perfect Syracusian topic coming up next. So what happened with Nintendo today?

00:59:01   Not much. Not much. Yeah, I think a lot of people are making fun of this product. We're

00:59:10   talking about the Nintendo 2DS, which is not a typo. It's not a joke. Kind of like the

00:59:16   name Wii. It seems like it might be a joke to begin with, but no, it's the real name.

00:59:20   In some ways it's kind of clever, but anyway. The 3DS is their handheld gaming system with

00:59:25   a 3D, you know, you don't need glasses, kind of a stereoscopic screen on the top and a

00:59:30   touch screen on the bottom, which is crazy in a strange Nintendo kind of way. But actually,

00:59:35   after a fairly disastrous start, it started selling well when they slashed the price.

00:59:39   And so now they're making a version of their flagship product, and the flagship feature

00:59:43   of the flagship product right there in the name. 3DS was that it's like a Nintendo DS,

00:59:47   but it's 3D, right? So now they made a version of it without the 3D.

00:59:51   Now, can I interrupt you real quick? The 3DS, that folds in half, does it not?

00:59:57   Yes, it does. It has a hinge, just like the, you know, there was the DS, and there's like

01:00:02   seven variants of this thing that are out there. I don't want to enumerate all of them,

01:00:04   but Nintendo is not shy about making different variations. Big ones, small ones, ones with

01:00:08   extra cameras, you know. Ones as big as your head.

01:00:10   Yeah, and it's actually not a terrible idea, because they make the big ones basically for

01:00:16   adult-sized hands, and not that I play handheld games, but if I did, I would appreciate the

01:00:19   fact they made big ones.

01:00:20   But anyway, the 2DS is getting rid of the 3D, and the 3D has kind of been one of those

01:00:24   things where it almost amazes me that they ever shipped the product, because it's interesting

01:00:29   tech.

01:00:30   3D without glasses is a good idea, because everyone hates the stupid glasses.

01:00:33   It does work as advertised, but you do have to keep your head in a certain position, otherwise

01:00:39   you get the wrong image and the wrong eyes and it doesn't quite work right.

01:00:42   And they shipped it with a little slider that lets you turn down the 3D effect, and when

01:00:46   you put the slider all the way down it turns it off.

01:00:49   So they probably have some kind of stat since these things are internet connected.

01:00:52   How many people using our 3DSes that we've sold have that slider all the way down all

01:00:56   the time?

01:00:57   And probably determined that that 3D feature is not as popular as we thought it was going

01:01:02   to be.

01:01:03   It apparently isn't a big differentiator for people.

01:01:05   It's not the reason people are buying this.

01:01:07   They're buying them, they're putting the slider down to the bottom, they're leaving

01:01:09   it there and they're just using it like a Nintendo DS or whatever, and they're really

01:01:12   buying it because we make good games. So let's make one of these products without the 3D feature

01:01:16   because we can save money. And the way they seem to save money with this product

01:01:22   is by decontenting it, to use the word from the auto industry.

01:01:26   Getting rid of the 3D is surely cheaper to have a screen that doesn't do with that little 3D thing,

01:01:32   so little lenticular things on top of it and everything. It doesn't fold in half,

01:01:37   And I thought that was because they wanted to save money on the hinge, because hinges are

01:01:40   expensive on electronics and more moving parts, and you have to thread ribbon cables through them,

01:01:45   and there's reliability issues and all that other stuff. But what I read—and I don't know if this

01:01:49   is confirmed yet, but I've just read it, so by the time you hear this episode, maybe you'll know

01:01:52   whether it's true or not—is that it doesn't have two separate screens. It has one big screen,

01:01:58   and they just crop out the top and the bottom part. And that's why it doesn't bend in half,

01:02:01   because it can't bend in half. And one screen that's larger—if you look at it,

01:02:06   top and bottom screens aren't even the same size.

01:02:08   So if there's one big rectangular screen that's the width of the top screen,

01:02:12   they're just hiding part of it with the plastic surrounding parts,

01:02:15   you know, and they're hiding of course the middle part as well.

01:02:17   And it seems like that might be more expensive, but I can also imagine it being cheaper.

01:02:21   I don't know if that's true, but that would also explain why the thing doesn't fold.

01:02:25   And the final reason it doesn't fold is it looks kind of more like a tablet form factor.

01:02:30   Like you can kind of squint and think of it as kind of like an iPad Mini with like

01:02:34   like handles and controls on the sides, but then they put this thing on that makes it

01:02:38   look like it's a top screen and a bottom screen. And all this saved them 40 bucks retail, which

01:02:43   is not really that much, but it's a pretty significant amount. If you think of like,

01:02:46   if you had a consumer electronics product and someone told you, "Okay, we want this

01:02:50   to run all the same games and be a good product, but you have to take $40 out of it." You'd

01:02:54   be like, "40 dollars? How the hell do I get $40 out of it? I'm already using a plastic

01:02:57   for the case. I can't really get that much money out for the chips and stuff. Like, maybe

01:03:01   Maybe I can save a few bucks here and there if they have a die shrink of them or something.

01:03:04   Maybe we can combine some chips and save a buck.

01:03:06   But 40 bucks, how are we going to get $40 of value out of this handheld?

01:03:10   And this is what it took to get $40 out of it.

01:03:12   So it's cheaper, it plays 3DS games in 2D, it may be one big screen underneath the covers,

01:03:19   they move the controls around a little bit.

01:03:22   I don't think it's as ridiculous a product as everyone's making it out to be.

01:03:25   I've looked at it and I've seen it, especially the video that Casey put in that he said is

01:03:29   an embarrassing video and you know come on everyone can't make Apple quality videos right

01:03:33   but look at the size of the device and how it kind of zips up into the little bag

01:03:36   I would buy this for my kid if he wanted to play handheld games and I think the kid would like it

01:03:41   and enjoy playing games on it and that's what game machines are supposed to be for and I think

01:03:46   Nintendo would actually make money selling them because they have it seems found a way to take

01:03:50   some value take some not take some value but take some cost out of the manufacturing process and

01:03:54   lower the price while still making a profit. So I have to give this kind of a

01:04:00   tentative thumbs up. What do you guys think? I don't know. So I haven't played console

01:04:06   video games with any regularity in like 10 years. We only have a Wii in the house

01:04:10   which is on only occasionally and usually only for Rock Band John Judgeaway.

01:04:15   I saw the pictures of the 2DS and I saw the ridiculous video for the 2DS

01:04:21   And I don't know, the fact that it doesn't have a hinge just looks and feels wrong to

01:04:28   me.

01:04:29   It just looks like it's clearly something that was designed originally to have a hinge

01:04:34   and now doesn't.

01:04:35   And the thing that really kind of confuses me is that now you've taken a device that

01:04:41   we think is designed for children and people with perhaps smaller hands and smaller bodies

01:04:46   and now you've made it bigger because it can never fold in half.

01:04:49   But did you see how big it is?

01:04:50   I don't know if it's that much bigger.

01:04:52   It's still pretty darn tiny.

01:04:54   Look at it next to that little kid who zips it up into his little carrying case.

01:04:56   It is small.

01:04:57   Are we talking about the video?

01:04:58   Yeah, look at the video.

01:05:00   When you see it just by itself, you think it looks like some gigantic ... I don't know,

01:05:06   but look at it next to the ... it's practically like a toddler putting it away.

01:05:10   It is still small.

01:05:11   I think it's still a reasonable size for a kid to tuck in his backpack to go on a car

01:05:15   trip to have something to play in the car or on vacation or something.

01:05:20   I don't think it's too big.

01:05:21   It's certainly not huge, but maybe it's me.

01:05:24   And I just don't get the way--

01:05:28   it looks like it's supposed to have a hinge and just doesn't.

01:05:30   Like, they forgot it rather than they designed it out.

01:05:34   See, the thing with the one with the hinge is a lot of 3DS games,

01:05:37   like, there's shoulder buttons on it as well.

01:05:39   There's face buttons, shoulder buttons.

01:05:40   And you've got the analog stick and the D-pad.

01:05:43   And you've also got a stylus for the bottom touch screen.

01:05:45   And some games try to use all those controls at once.

01:05:48   And famously, I think it was the Pilotwings.

01:05:51   Chat room can tell me-- not Pilotwings, Kid Icarus,

01:05:55   whatever the Kid Icarus game for the 3DS.

01:05:57   Come on, chat room.

01:05:58   Wait for the delay to go.

01:05:59   Anyway, there was one game that Nintendo came out with.

01:06:02   They required you to use the styles at the same time

01:06:05   as the analog stick at the same time as the shoulder button.

01:06:07   And the game came with a little plastic stand thing,

01:06:11   because Nintendo recognized that trying

01:06:14   to manipulate the machine in this manner

01:06:17   while also supporting it is actually very difficult.

01:06:19   So find a table, use this special plastic stand

01:06:22   to prop it up into the right position,

01:06:24   and then you can play our game.

01:06:25   And that's kind of a failure of game design

01:06:28   and hardware design.

01:06:29   It's kind of ungainly to be trying to be holding

01:06:32   basically a little miniature laptop that folds open,

01:06:34   a little clamshell thing,

01:06:35   while using all these controls all over it

01:06:38   and sometimes using a stylus and everything.

01:06:40   I think the tablet form factor

01:06:43   gives a better grip on the overall thing,

01:06:45   like the fact that it's just one big solid piece instead of some floppy thing.

01:06:49   The chat room says Kid Icarus Uprising was the game, so I was close.

01:06:53   I think that form factor may actually be better.

01:06:56   Unfortunately, it's probably worse for some games that were designed around the clamshell

01:06:59   factor because some games, like someone was saying in Metroid Prime Hunters, it's going

01:07:03   to be very difficult to play that game because it was designed around the position of the

01:07:06   controls for the folding game where the controls were lower down, nearer to the touchscreen,

01:07:11   and now they're sort of slid up.

01:07:13   But I think overall, it will probably feel more secure in your hands, this one piece,

01:07:18   instead of having that strange hinge thing at various angles.

01:07:22   So again, I don't think this is necessarily a loser product, and I think they might sell

01:07:26   a lot of them.

01:07:27   And actually, I'm now looking at an image of what appears to me to be the 2DS, the...

01:07:34   What was the non-3D one, the DS and the 3DS?

01:07:37   And you're right, I didn't realize...

01:07:38   I believe that's 2DS, 3DS and 3DS XL.

01:07:42   Yeah, there's also the DSi which is the same size as the DSi.

01:07:45   And there was the old DS before they redesigned it.

01:07:48   Put it in the chat room or something so we can...

01:07:50   That's where I got it from.

01:07:51   It was from...

01:07:52   Is it a joystick one?

01:07:53   No, Medialib.

01:07:54   Yeah, blah.

01:07:55   It's from Alex Sibinski.

01:07:57   Yep.

01:07:58   So, anyway, whatever it is I'm looking at, compared to that monstrosity on the right,

01:08:03   it actually doesn't look that big at all.

01:08:05   That's the XL, and that's the one I would buy, by the way, because it's made closer

01:08:08   for adult hands.

01:08:10   So that's designed to be a monstrosity?

01:08:11   I'm not trying to be funny.

01:08:13   The whole point of that one is to be larger for older people who have trouble seeing and

01:08:17   it costs a little more because you have a bigger screen, but if you're an adult you

01:08:19   don't want to have your hands on those.

01:08:20   Yeah, but you're the only adult wanting to buy a 3DS.

01:08:23   Well, I don't.

01:08:24   I would already have one.

01:08:25   I don't play handheld games at all because they're terrible for RSI.

01:08:31   You can't make a really ergonomic controller when the controller is also the game system

01:08:36   and the screen and has to be portable.

01:08:38   So I understand the compromises there and I kind of miss out on some of the games that

01:08:41   that I would like to play. Like, I wish, what is it, Gravity Rush? I gotta ask the chat

01:08:45   room again to confirm my memory is failing. But anyway, there's a game for the Vita that

01:08:49   I would really love to play, but I'm not gonna buy a handheld gaming system to play it, and

01:08:52   I keep hoping it would come out for the PS3 or something.

01:08:54   Wasn't there some, like, third-party, or maybe it was first-party box that you could get

01:09:00   way back in the day to play original Game Boy games on a TV?

01:09:03   Yeah, there's a lot of products like that, and I keep hoping that there will be some

01:09:07   kind of product or maybe the virtual console games where 3DS only games will... someone

01:09:12   says it's pronounced "Vita", what did I say?

01:09:16   I thought that's what you said. Is that "Vita"?

01:09:18   I don't know.

01:09:19   I'm not going to say "Vita". Anyway, I keep hoping that these games that I've been missing

01:09:25   on handheld will eventually come to a system that I can play, you know, somehow on my television

01:09:30   holding a slightly more ergonomic controller in more comfort.

01:09:37   So you're saying that tentative thumbs up for the system. Is that fair?

01:09:44   Yeah. I mean, it's kind of sad that Nintendo has to go to these lengths. This is not a

01:09:48   power move. This is not like, "Oh, we're on top of the world, and now we're so successful

01:09:52   that we can do this." This is kind of like, "Look, the Wii U is doing really badly. The

01:09:56   3DS has actually kind of picked up in recent years, and it's not... That has a chance for

01:10:02   some growth. What can we do to get more money out of the part of our business that actually

01:10:05   Maybe we make a cheaper version around holiday time.

01:10:08   People are more likely to buy it for their kids.

01:10:11   Because their kid wants an iPad mini, but we can't afford that, so we're going to buy a $130 3DS or 2DS.

01:10:18   And honestly, I think that 2DS, like the games that are available for the DS,

01:10:22   plays any DS game plus any 3DS game.

01:10:25   So there's a huge game library available for this.

01:10:27   And I would put the game library that that thing can play

01:10:30   up against like seven App Store game libraries.

01:10:33   Not that there aren't great games in the App Store, but the depth of game available on that device,

01:10:39   and the type of gameplay experiences that you can have with buttons and shoulder buttons and sticks

01:10:43   and a touch screen and a stylus and all that other stuff, just puts the iOS gaming experience to shame.

01:10:47   So I would be totally comfortable buying this less expensive device. Now, granted, the games are

01:10:52   going to cost you more or whatever. Buy this less expensive device in like two games and the kid's

01:10:56   stocking for Christmas. And I think even though the kid wanted an iPad Mini, if he's the right

01:11:01   age and he is a gamer, he would be much happier with this device.

01:11:05   So two very sore thumbs up.

01:11:08   Yeah, pretty much. Real-time follow-up, Prihingya in the chatroom says it was a Super Game Boy

01:11:14   for Super Nintendo that I was thinking of, which it was.

01:11:17   Oh yeah.

01:11:18   So then, Jon, you kind of started down this road and then backed away. What do you think

01:11:23   this means as a barometer for the health of Nintendo and their power in the marketplace?

01:11:29   I mean, it certainly, like you said, doesn't seem like this was the move of the king.

01:11:34   It seems like it was the move of the competitor, almost.

01:11:39   So I mean, how does this make you feel as a Nintendo fan?

01:11:41   Yeah, I think that it's a good thing Nintendo made all that money during the Wii era, because

01:11:46   now their rainy day fund, it's now time for them to start using it.

01:11:51   And I think they do have some breathing room to regroup.

01:11:55   Doing these type of moves is like, "Okay, let's shore up the dam while we try to regroup."

01:11:58   And I really hope they are regrouping because they have they have some breathing room

01:12:01   They made tons of money with the success of the Wii. The Wii U is tanking

01:12:05   They have to decide are we going to try to recover the Wii U? Do we think that do we think they already did price drop

01:12:10   On that one they dropped they dropped the good one the one that you really want from like 350 300

01:12:15   So that's a good move to

01:12:18   The reboot the HD remake of Wind Waker which appeals to old people

01:12:23   Is going to be available early in digital only form that's also a good move like when you have a kind of like a

01:12:28   an important popular title that you know people are going to want. Release it early in digital

01:12:32   form to sort of reward people who don't want to go to the store and buy a disc. I think

01:12:37   the digital one might also be a little bit cheaper. So those are good moves, but are

01:12:41   they going to stick it out with the Wii U? Are they going to rev the Wii U way before

01:12:44   everyone else revs? Because there's no PS5 and Xbox. We don't want to even think of the

01:12:49   name. Those aren't coming out for many, many, many years. But Nintendo could produce a new

01:12:55   console in the next two years. Is that their reboot plan? Or surely they're not going to

01:13:00   stick with the Wii U for eight years. Eight years from now, pull out this podcast and

01:13:04   play it back to me.

01:13:06   So I would like to know what their strategy is, but I think they have a little bit of

01:13:12   breathing room, and I think these type of moves are like, while we're figuring out what

01:13:15   we're going to do, let's see what we can do to get a little bit more money out of these

01:13:21   good areas.

01:13:22   A lot of the problem could just be software. Maybe that's their strategy, regroup, and

01:13:26   we really need to be firing on all cylinders with first-party software.

01:13:29   Well, to that end, are we going to see Zelda and Mario in the App Store anytime soon?

01:13:35   I hope not. People keep saying that. I mean, Gruber said it today, like they should start selling for

01:13:40   the iOS store. Whether or not that's like—I don't think that would be a good long-term business

01:13:46   strategy for Nintendo, the company, but as a consumer, as someone who plays Nintendo games,

01:13:52   I would not like that at all, because the thing I love about Nintendo is that they make hardware

01:13:55   and software combined, they make a complete gaming experience, they tailor their hardware to fit the

01:13:59   software they want to buy, they want to make, and no one else does that to the degree they do. And

01:14:05   I love their games, and I would not want to play their games on a touchscreen.

01:14:08   Well, but you're assuming it's a touchscreen.

01:14:11   Or with any of those little controller things that Apple now supports. It's not the same thing.

01:14:15   I don't think they should do that, Nintendo doesn't think they should do that, I don't think

01:14:20   that would make anybody happy. It would turn them into Sega where it's like, "Oh, right,

01:14:23   well Sega's out of the hardware business. I guess we'll just make games now." And, you know,

01:14:27   people are not excited about Sega games, even though they are available. Are Sega games available

01:14:31   on iOS? I'm pretty sure. Yeah. A lot of them are. Yeah. Like, who cares? And they're mostly terrible.

01:14:35   Who cares? Nobody cares. Whereas, even as Nintendo fails, if they make a really good Zelda game for

01:14:41   the Wii U, it will make a lot of people very happy, even if it doesn't make Nintendo a lot

01:14:45   of money. So I'm one of those people who wants Nintendo to keep being Nintendo, and I would be

01:14:50   willing to have the Japanese government subsidize them to make them keep making it happen.

01:14:54   I'm actually with you on that. I think people calling for Nintendo to just make stuff for

01:14:59   iOS is a lot like people who used to call for Apple to just license Mac OS to PC hardware.

01:15:03   Yeah, it's exactly the same thing.

01:15:05   I think it's, obviously Nintendo makes a lot of money on their hardware, and that's the

01:15:08   business they're in. And so if licensing their games to other platforms would be really giving

01:15:15   up and it would probably lead to a dramatic shrinking of the company and probably a lot

01:15:21   of ruining of what's best about them.

01:15:23   The question is, Apple avoided that by finding another way out of their predicament.

01:15:28   The question is, can Nintendo do that?

01:15:30   Well, Nintendo has weathered a lot of ups and downs.

01:15:33   Like the Nintendo 64 was the beginning.

01:15:35   The Nintendo 64 and the GameCube were another pretty big, deep trough where like, "Oh,

01:15:40   we're totally counting Nintendo out."

01:15:41   And then they came out and over with the Wii.

01:15:43   And now it's like a roller coaster.

01:15:44   So now they're on their way back down again.

01:15:47   How far down is this going to go before they make U-turn again?

01:15:50   I think they're protected by their patience, by their determination, and by the mountains

01:15:55   of money that they make during the high periods that they presumably spend wisely.

01:15:59   I don't think they spend money extravagantly.

01:16:02   They don't have humongous staffs.

01:16:04   They are fairly conservative with what they spend, what their burn rate is.

01:16:08   So I'm hoping they can weather the storm and come out the other side.

01:16:13   Alright, and with that, let's wrap it up for the week.

01:16:16   Thanks a lot to our two sponsors this week, wordboxapp.com, that's the app Wordbox, and

01:16:21   Notograph, notograph.net/ATP.

01:16:24   And we'll see you next week.

01:16:25   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin, 'cause it was accidental, oh it

01:16:36   was accidental.

01:16:37   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him

01:16:43   'Cause it was accidental, it was accidental

01:16:48   And you can find the show notes at ATP.FM

01:16:53   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them

01:16:58   M A R C O A R M

01:17:07   A N T M A R C O R M N S I R A C

01:17:12   U S A C R A C U S A

01:17:14   It's accidental They didn't mean to

01:17:20   Accidental Tech broadcast so long

01:17:27   What kind of weird reality are we in where I was agreeing with you, Marco, about enterprise-y related things?

01:17:33   Well, you're the two PC users, so you still have that infection coursing through your veins in trace amounts.

01:17:42   I don't even know how to argue with you on that one. You're probably right.

01:17:46   I'm surprised you're so happy about the TDS.

01:17:49   I'm not happy about the state of Nintendo's end, but I don't think the product deserves the ridiculous skin.

01:17:55   It's not attractive looking either.

01:17:57   There's many things against it.

01:17:59   It's an embarrassing joke name, it's not attractive looking, it looks ungainly and

01:18:04   awkward, but I think it's an okay product.

01:18:07   And like I said, there's seven DS products that I think you can buy now.

01:18:11   You can buy the...

01:18:12   I think you can still buy the DS, then there's the 3DS, then there's 3DS XL, then there's

01:18:16   the DSi, then there's the 2DS.

01:18:18   What the hell is the DSi?

01:18:20   They added a letter, I think that's the one with more internet connectivity and extra

01:18:24   cameras and there's a whole bunch of like they have tons of products.

01:18:28   Do they still suck at internet and social things or have they gotten better at that?

01:18:32   Nope, they still suck.

01:18:33   Okay.

01:18:34   They still suck.

01:18:35   That sounds good.

01:18:36   I mean, they have gotten better though.

01:18:37   You can't say they haven't gotten better, but they are still pretty crappy at it.

01:18:40   And part of it is the philosophy of protecting kids and a lot of the things they do are to

01:18:45   avoid what happened on the Xbox.

01:18:47   Like, "Hey, Xbox, the Xbox Live does it the best," but it's also the place where you go

01:18:51   and will immediately be bombarded by teenagers saying racist and homophobic things to you,

01:18:58   and god forbid if you're a female, right? So Nintendo does not have that problem for

01:19:01   the most part, and has avoided it by keeping people away from each other. You know what

01:19:06   I mean? Keep them separated. And now they're slowly trying to allow some kind of interaction

01:19:12   on a trusted basis, and they're trying to avoid becoming Xbox Live, basically.

01:19:18   Which is sad because Xbox Live, with the exception of the 10-year-olds swearing at you and calling

01:19:23   you horrible names, it's actually very successful in all other ways.

01:19:28   Yeah, no, it is the best one.

01:19:31   And yeah, it suffers from all those terrible ailments.

01:19:33   But I don't want to say who is doing console online best.

01:19:36   It's not Sony and it's not Nintendo, it's Microsoft.

01:19:39   But Microsoft also, in typical fashion, is that the price of good online that you have

01:19:43   to deal with jerks?

01:19:44   I'm not sure it's the price of it, but Nintendo and Sony were just mostly incompetent.

01:19:50   They had people who make games.

01:19:52   Sony has less of an excuse, but Nintendo was like, "Look, they had a bunch of people

01:19:54   who make games, a bunch of people who make hardware, and then all of a sudden they're

01:19:56   expected to make network services?

01:19:59   They must have had to hire people to do that, because do we have anyone who knows how to

01:20:03   run a server here?

01:20:04   A what?"

01:20:05   That's been the past many, many years.

01:20:09   They are getting better and they're slowly learning, but they're doing it very cautiously.

01:20:12   I remember one of their first forays was you had to have friend codes, which was like those

01:20:15   nine digit numbers.

01:20:16   Oh yeah.

01:20:17   You would exchange, because that way you couldn't accidentally see somebody who would say something

01:20:20   terrible to you or try to abduct you or whatever, right?

01:20:24   It was so hard to connect with somebody, the only people who would ever connect would be

01:20:27   like you and your best friend after six tries.

01:20:29   Yeah, did anybody actually ever do that?

01:20:31   I did.

01:20:32   Yeah, no I did.

01:20:33   So we played Mario Kart Wii over the internet against friends of ours, and this was, shortly

01:20:40   after Mario Kart Wii came out and I was on Fios and my friend was on a reasonably quick

01:20:47   Comcast connection and it was a total disaster.

01:20:50   That's not friend codes, that was the better iteration. Friend codes were back, I think

01:20:54   the DS, someone in the chat room will tell me, but it was before the Wii were the friend

01:20:57   codes.

01:20:58   Oh, my apologies.

01:20:59   The Wii, the Mario Kart Wii was like, that was the improved version. Now see how much

01:21:02   easier it is for you.

01:21:03   Oh, that was god awful.

01:21:04   I know, but it was still better. They've been slowly making it slightly better and more

01:21:08   possible to do, but they're a long way from it just being a free-for-all, and I think

01:21:13   that's probably—the Wii U has a lot of things where people can scrawl notes to each other,

01:21:17   and they must have a fleet of people, like Amazon Mechanical Turk or something, filtering

01:21:20   out all the penis drawings and stuff.

01:21:24   It's got to be moderated, because if you go to a certain level and you die and you fall

01:21:28   in a pit in a Mario game, you'll get to see a little message from somebody who keeps dying

01:21:32   there too, and it's always something nice like, "Oh, I keep dying here!"

01:21:35   It's not like curses or vulgar drawings or whatever so someone must be filtering all them out, and I would not want that job

01:21:41   No, definitely not so our friend Ben Thompson who we were talking about at the very top of the show is in the chat room

01:21:48   username monk bent and he's asking me my thoughts on the new Microsoft Oh

01:21:53   God how many words are in this title the Microsoft sculpt?

01:21:56   ergonomic desktop keyboard

01:21:59   It was the successor to the Microsoft natural ergonomic keyboard 4000

01:22:05   So yeah, Microsoft doesn't have any problems.

01:22:08   No, they have the worst names of anything in the industry,

01:22:12   especially their non-critical products,

01:22:16   like all the side stuff.

01:22:17   Oh, it gets terrible names.

01:22:19   I think Nintendo gives them a run for their money.

01:22:21   New Super Mario Brothers Wii.

01:22:24   Fair enough.

01:22:26   But yeah, so far-- we should talk about Jeff Atwood's

01:22:28   keyboard too.

01:22:28   This is pretty cool.

01:22:29   The code keyboard, you saw this?

01:22:31   I saw that.

01:22:32   I don't understand what makes it cool,

01:22:33   other than some DIP switches on the bottom.

01:22:35   - I can tell you what makes it cool

01:22:37   and what makes it a PC user's keyboard.

01:22:39   What makes it cool is that it's a single person's vision

01:22:42   for what a keyboard should be.

01:22:43   So that is something that I think Apple fans can get behind.

01:22:46   Regardless of what the product is,

01:22:48   this is a single person's vision.

01:22:50   He knew exactly what he wanted,

01:22:52   and he made a keyboard that in every aspect of this

01:22:55   is presumably exactly how Jeff Atwood wanted it.

01:22:57   And so there is a certain attraction to that.

01:23:01   - And he's like a nerd's nerd, too.

01:23:03   Jeff Atwood is exactly the kind of guy you would want to design a keyboard if you're

01:23:07   a nerd.

01:23:08   Right.

01:23:09   And you may not like what his decisions are, but Apple fans can totally get behind this.

01:23:12   It's an interesting product because it is a singular vision.

01:23:16   But his singular vision is for a keyboard that looks and behaves like that code keyboard,

01:23:21   which is not to my tastes at all.

01:23:23   I don't think it's even to Margo's taste because he likes the split keyboard.

01:23:25   So this is not split because he didn't want that.

01:23:28   This has big keys with long throws and clicky keycaps, which I used to like, but now I don't.

01:23:32   I need a very light pressure short throws like you know for RSI reasons or whatever like scissors. Yeah

01:23:38   so it's not a keyboard that I

01:23:40   Would ever buy or be interested in I don't think it's attractive looking either

01:23:45   I think it looks like a PC keyboard because it is a PC keyboard even though you can rewire it for the control key

01:23:49   I don't think the the text on the key caps looks nice that you know it totally does not appeal to me

01:23:55   But the idea of it definitely appeals to me and if you want it if your interests and keyboard tastes align with Jeff Atwood

01:24:01   then this is the one to get because some guy went out there and made something happen that you know

01:24:06   That you could not have made on your own you would have been like which one of these 17 keyboards

01:24:10   I want I can't really decide

01:24:11   But it's like this guy cut through all the fat and made the keyboard that he wanted to make and I was selling it to

01:24:15   You so it's a very very appealing product, but I don't think I would ever buy it and I'm assuming Marco would say the same

01:24:20   Yeah, I think

01:24:23   You know Jeff and the other people involved, but it looks like it's mainly mainly Jeff on the design and concept side

01:24:29   they've made a really what appears to be, I haven't tried it yet, but it appears to be a really good implementation of

01:24:36   the same old keyboard we've been using forever. And to a lot of people that's exactly what they're looking for.

01:24:41   You know, a lot of people like it

01:24:43   it's gonna appeal a lot to the people who are still holding on to IBM Model M's or who try to find them on eBay

01:24:49   because it's like, you know, it's like the keyboard and like if you want the standard key layout that's been around forever

01:24:56   and you want a really good implementation of that, then this is the one for you.

01:25:02   Because it has everything that geeks love. It has the Cherry MX key switches,

01:25:05   the big clicky loud ones that have great feedback.

01:25:08   Well, these are the quiet ones. The Cherry Clear's are quieter.

01:25:12   Oh, right.

01:25:12   Right. That's an aspect that he wants. He likes the clicky keys, but didn't like the

01:25:16   calamitous noise that some of them make. So the Cherry Clear ones are... He has a whole

01:25:20   big keyboard post about the different color of Cherry key switches.

01:25:23   Right. Fair enough.

01:25:24   But yeah, so it's a very good implementation of the same keyboard that's been around forever.

01:25:31   My dream keyboard, so I got this Microsoft many, many words ergonomic sculpt keyboard,

01:25:37   and so far, I've only had it for half of today.

01:25:41   So obviously this is not any kind of long-term impression.

01:25:44   So far, I think it's pretty good.

01:25:47   But they chose to use scissor keys on it.

01:25:51   you know, just like laptop keyboards and all of Apple's recent keyboards.

01:25:54   So it's like the short throw, flat top, scissor switch on the bottom.

01:25:58   And it's not mushy like the old dome switch, I mean, not dome, the old membrane one was.

01:26:05   It's not mushy like that, because that was the problem with the original Natural 4000,

01:26:09   the predecessor to this one, was that it had just the mushiest, crappiest keys.

01:26:13   And this one has like decent scissor keys on it.

01:26:18   I would say probably as good as any Apple laptop keyboard

01:26:22   recently, possibly even a little bit better,

01:26:25   a little bit springier or firmer, I guess.

01:26:29   So I like the keys so far.

01:26:32   I haven't typed full time on a scissor keyboard

01:26:35   in a very long time.

01:26:36   So I don't know if it's going to be better or worse for potential

01:26:39   RSI issues for me.

01:26:40   But I'm hoping it'll be the same just by the layout.

01:26:44   It should be all right.

01:26:44   So we'll see about that.

01:26:47   But my dream keyboard doesn't exist.

01:26:49   My dream keyboard, the way I envision it today,

01:26:52   is basically this keyboard with Jeff Atwood's key switches.

01:27:00   And that, as far as I know, does not exist.

01:27:02   And everybody always recommends this one keyboard.

01:27:05   It's called Truly Ergonomic.

01:27:07   Here, I'll paste the link in the chat.

01:27:10   Everybody always recommends this.

01:27:12   And they say, why haven't you tried this?

01:27:13   Oh my god.

01:27:14   And the reason why I haven't tried that

01:27:15   is because of that ridiculous layout that it has.

01:27:18   I really do not like ergonomic keyboards

01:27:20   that have weird custom layouts.

01:27:22   And this one is, as weird layouts go, it's kind of moderate.

01:27:27   Like it doesn't go totally crazy like the Kinesis Advantage,

01:27:30   but it's kind of in the middle between regular keyboards

01:27:33   and that.

01:27:34   So it's very, very strange.

01:27:36   And I don't like those kind of layouts

01:27:38   because that involves a very high learning curve.

01:27:41   And it makes it a little bit difficult

01:27:43   go between different computers.

01:27:45   And I frequently have to use a laptop here and there,

01:27:49   or a TIFF's computer here and there,

01:27:50   or someone else's computer here and there.

01:27:52   And so I really like having just one standard keyboard layout

01:27:55   that my fingers know and are accustomed to, and that's it.

01:27:59   I also think the truly ergonomic one

01:28:01   doesn't have the right shape.

01:28:02   It's not-- see, what makes the Microsoft keyboards great

01:28:06   is they have this giant hump in the middle,

01:28:08   and then it curves down from there.

01:28:09   And they have this great negative tilt

01:28:11   where the keyboard actually tilts slightly away from you,

01:28:15   in the, I guess, relatively vertical direction from you.

01:28:19   It tilts away from you so that it's extremely comfortable.

01:28:23   And in theory-- I don't know how many

01:28:26   studies have proven this-- in theory,

01:28:28   it should be very, very good for RSI prevention.

01:28:31   So Microsoft has a great way of making those keyboards

01:28:36   with the best shape and the most usable layouts.

01:28:41   So far, the Natural 4000 was this giant, ugly boat

01:28:43   with mushy keys.

01:28:45   And the new Sculpt ergonomic desktop keyboard

01:28:49   is way better looking.

01:28:53   I mean, you could tell-- I've already

01:28:56   started writing my review just of my initial impressions.

01:28:58   And it's so obvious.

01:29:00   You look at the Natural 4000, and if you

01:29:05   do a Google image search for Dell Dimension 2005,

01:29:09   You will see that's what PCs looked like in 2005 when the Natural 4000 was designed.

01:29:15   The Natural 4000 looks just like the PCs of the day. By today's standards, it looks ridiculous,

01:29:21   and not in a good way. So the new Microsoft Sculpt blah, blah, blah is quite good. It looks nice,

01:29:30   the keys feel pretty good. I like it better than the Kinesis Freestyle 2 for Mac, which I was using

01:29:36   for the last year. I like it better than that. And I think it'll be okay. My one reservation

01:29:41   is on the key type, and it being scissor keys, I'm a little bit worried about that.

01:29:46   I think the key to getting any kind of RSI benefit out of scissor keys is you can't hit

01:29:50   them as hard. The whole point of them is that they activate easier, but it doesn't mean

01:29:54   that people actually don't hit them as hard because people get into the habit of just

01:29:56   pressing as hard as they used to have to press. And that's actually hard, especially when

01:30:00   you get going, you get everybody had a steam, you may find yourself hitting the keys as

01:30:04   as hard as you used to have to hit your mushy keyboard

01:30:07   or whatever you're using before.

01:30:08   And that's the habit to try to break.

01:30:11   Like, that's what I've had to do.

01:30:13   Right, exactly.

01:30:14   And it actually helped a lot.

01:30:15   Like, the Kinesis Freestyle 2 that I've

01:30:18   been using for about the last year

01:30:20   has extremely light-pressed key switches for that reason.

01:30:24   It's not scissor keys, but it's very, very light-pressed,

01:30:27   regular keys.

01:30:28   And so I've kind of gotten used to that, I think.

01:30:31   So we'll see.

01:30:32   Yeah, and that's one of the reasons I like.

01:30:33   I'm using the Apple aluminum keyboard now.

01:30:36   Since I don't type correctly, I have extreme difficulty

01:30:39   with any layout changes, because I'm using the wrong hands

01:30:43   and the wrong keys.

01:30:43   I'm doing everything wrong.

01:30:44   So split keyboards paralyze me, because I can't use them.

01:30:49   But what I try to do is do everything

01:30:51   I can within a standard layout, which

01:30:53   means very light key presses, but also get it

01:30:56   to slope away from me.

01:30:57   Remember keyboards used to come with kickstands in the back?

01:31:00   It was just torturing yourself.

01:31:02   The more you tilt it up, the worse it is.

01:31:04   Even the Natural 4000 for some reason came with those.

01:31:06   I don't know why.

01:31:07   The Natural 4000 has this big stand you can put on the front lip that lifts it to get

01:31:12   the negative tilt.

01:31:13   But you don't have to put it on.

01:31:14   It had these giant stands in the back so you could set up your perfectly awesome natural

01:31:18   keyboard to be terrible for you.

01:31:21   People expect it.

01:31:22   I know.

01:31:23   This one, the clip-on front prop thing is still optional, although now it's magnetically

01:31:29   attached so it's much cooler.

01:31:30   But there's no more rear stands.

01:31:32   are just gone. So you can't set this up as terribly as you could the other one.

01:31:35   Yeah, so I'd say for people who have keyboards in there, start off with just trying to make

01:31:39   it level. Like, let's start with that, because almost every keyboard, including the Apple

01:31:42   aluminum, has some kind of tilt in the wrong direction, where like, you know, if you put

01:31:46   a marble on it, it would roll downhill into your lap. You want to try making it level.

01:31:50   Just start with that. And you can do that by propping it. You can do that by, if you

01:31:52   have an adjustable keyboard tray, just tilting that or whatever. And maybe you don't have

01:31:57   to go negative with it, but, you know, small changes can make a big difference over a long

01:32:00   period of time.

01:32:01   Yeah, John, I would say, given what you just said, I think you might want to try this keyboard.

01:32:06   It is split.

01:32:07   I can't do split.

01:32:08   Have you ever tried really giving it a real solid try?

01:32:11   I've never given it more than a week, but a week has been enough so many times because

01:32:16   I just have bad, terrible habits that are not compatible with a split keyboard layout.

01:32:21   And the thing is, rather than adapting, I adapt my bad habits to it.

01:32:25   I end up crossing over.

01:32:29   I'll find myself doing that, and then I find all I'm doing is honing my increasingly terrible

01:32:34   crossover habits on a split keyboard.

01:32:36   This one actually has a physical gap between the two halves.

01:32:41   If you want, you could stick a DVD case in that gap upright to block you from crossing

01:32:46   over if you wanted to train it.

01:32:48   Yeah, I think they would not.

01:32:50   In the chat room, suggesting I learned, Vorak, the person next to me at work, does that.

01:32:55   Aside from being a mild security through obscurity hack,

01:32:58   because whenever he leaves his computer unattended,

01:33:00   it's more difficult for me to screw with it,

01:33:02   because I can't find what the damn keys are.

01:33:04   Because of course, the key caps are all qwerty.

01:33:06   Yeah, now I'm probably past the point

01:33:09   where I can learn new keyboard layouts or new keyboard shapes.

01:33:13   But typing is really not-- I don't

01:33:16   think that's my biggest issue.

01:33:19   I think my hand positioning and stuff like that

01:33:21   is not as bad as it used to be.

01:33:22   So just going flatter and getting the keyboard

01:33:25   at the right height is like 90% of the problem

01:33:28   was for me anyway, I think for most people.

01:33:29   Because most people have their keyboard way too high

01:33:32   and tilt it up.

01:33:33   - Honestly, I really do think you should try this,

01:33:36   even with the DVD case hack if you need to.

01:33:38   Because, I mean, obviously you probably have

01:33:41   a more severe problem than I did,

01:33:42   but I was starting to get RSI-like symptoms

01:33:45   back about a year into my first job after college,

01:33:47   'cause I was just constantly on the computer

01:33:49   and constantly on bad keyboards.

01:33:51   And I changed the keyboard and that was the number one helping thing, by far.

01:33:56   Well, the number one helping thing is typing less.

01:33:58   That is the number one thing.

01:33:59   I think you probably made that adjustment because that's when I had my problems was

01:34:02   when I had no life and no kid and I was just on the computer from the moment I woke up

01:34:08   until the moment I went to sleep, whether I was working or not, constantly typing.

01:34:12   And that's what killed me.

01:34:14   And you have a more balanced life where you only type for certain periods of time and

01:34:18   and then do other things that don't involve typing

01:34:20   for some portion of your waking hours,

01:34:22   it's amazing things happen.

01:34:24   - No, I definitely didn't do that.

01:34:25   I mean, I continued not to have a kid,

01:34:28   not to have a life for about five years after that.

01:34:31   No changes, no reduction, in fact,

01:34:34   probably an increase in computer use after that.

01:34:36   - Well, you are lucky, 'cause I could not do that

01:34:39   no matter what I was using, mouse, keyboard,

01:34:41   any shape, any anything, 'cause I was at my,

01:34:43   and also my keyboard always used to be way too high.

01:34:46   Like that was, if I had to pick my number one thing

01:34:48   I did was, once I crippled myself, was put the keyboard lower.

01:34:53   That's where I felt my biggest change.

01:34:54   Maybe I would have felt a similar increase if I had got a split as well, but if I had

01:34:59   the split and kept it up high, I would have still been killing myself.

01:35:04   Are we getting to the point then that in the same way that everyone was making t-shirts

01:35:10   right before WWDC, is it going to be soon trendy to make your own keyboard?

01:35:14   Is that going to be the next big thing?

01:35:16   I don't think that's something that regular people can do.

01:35:18   I think you have to be Jeff Atwood to make that happen.

01:35:21   And honestly, if I had to make my own--

01:35:22   Or John Siracusa or Mark Ormey.

01:35:23   If I had to make my own keyboard,

01:35:25   it would probably look a lot like the Apple aluminum.

01:35:27   I would just get those damn function keys away

01:35:31   from my number keys.

01:35:33   Because that thing kills me.

01:35:35   I know they want to make it as small as possible.

01:35:39   But the little dinky function keys

01:35:41   being right up against the number keys

01:35:43   is no reason for that.

01:35:44   Like for years and years, I was an Apple Extended 2 person,

01:35:46   and I still have a nice collection of Apple Extended 2s

01:35:49   upstairs.

01:35:50   And that was my keyboard that I used right up until the point

01:35:54   where I was crippled myself.

01:35:57   And I still like that better.

01:35:58   I don't like scissor keys as much as the Apple Extended 2,

01:36:01   but I recognize that scissor keys are better for me.

01:36:03   So they've become more attractive,

01:36:05   because now when I think about having

01:36:07   to hit the click of keys, it feels good,

01:36:09   but only for a short period of time,

01:36:10   then it starts to feel worse.

01:36:12   So plus, I thought your extended twos were your retirement plan, so you could sell them

01:36:16   all to Gruber.

01:36:17   Yeah, that's the plan now.

01:36:20   My left control key, which is apparently the only control key I use because I don't type

01:36:24   correctly, my left control key at work started sticking, and I tried to repair it.

01:36:31   I've taken apart scissor keys many, many times, Apple scissor key caps, and this was

01:36:35   the first time I successfully reassembled it, because those things are not easy to put

01:36:39   back together.

01:36:40   Especially if they come apart and you have all the pieces loose and you don't remember

01:36:44   how they went.

01:36:45   Luckily now they have YouTube videos and stuff to give you hints, but it is a very tricky

01:36:50   process.

01:36:51   Anyway, I got the key back together after cleaning it out and it still stuck, so I got

01:36:53   a new keyboard.

01:36:54   But that's one downside to scissor keys is...

01:36:58   You pretty much can't service them.

01:37:00   You can.

01:37:01   Like, I was proud of myself.

01:37:02   I was so excited.

01:37:03   Now I feel like I could take off an Apple scissor key cap and put it back successfully

01:37:05   after only 15 minutes of swearing.

01:37:10   But when I'm done, it will work like it did before.

01:37:15   It won't be off-kilter.

01:37:17   If you look at such tiny little parts in there, it's amazing that the thing functions at all.

01:37:20   It's extremely delicate.

01:37:22   Tiny, tiny little flanges and pins and stuff.

01:37:25   But there's something else wrong with that.

01:37:27   I don't know why it was sticking.

01:37:29   I brought it home with me so I can bring it down to the lab and try dousing it in alcohol

01:37:34   or running it through the dishwasher or all the other things I say you can do on the web

01:37:37   to one of these keyboards.

01:37:38   Wait, what else is in the lab?

01:37:41   You know what I mean.

01:37:42   Theoretically, it's like when the Grinch is going to take your Christmas tree to check

01:37:46   the lights.

01:37:47   So that's not actual lab.

01:37:48   [LAUGHTER]