21: The Transitive Property of Nerdiness


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00:00:09   [music]

00:00:13   Linode, Linode, I hate... Linus, Linux...

00:00:18   Linus... there's so many problems.

00:00:22   [music]

00:00:24   Are we allowed to do follow-up?

00:00:26   Sure, why not?

00:00:27   John, have you licensed the term to us?

00:00:29   Yeah, you haven't been getting my bills?

00:00:32   My rates are very, very reasonable.

00:00:34   Funny, I've been getting them.

00:00:36   Yeah.

00:00:37   Alright, so this first bit is just somebody posted something on App.net whose username

00:00:41   is J-A-S-T-E, but I don't know if that's the real name or handle or whatever.

00:00:45   I believe it's pronounced "jaste."

00:00:47   You think so, but who knows?

00:00:49   This is about, it's an iWatch follow-up, and he thinks that the iWatch will be Apple's

00:00:54   foray into identity, and this is an aspect of the watch that we didn't talk about in

00:00:58   the last show and I think it's worth talking about, and the identity problem in general.

00:01:05   The concept is that the thing that you wear on your wrist will somehow identify you to

00:01:11   all the other things that you come in contact with. To your television set, I guess to your

00:01:16   phone if you wanted to pay for something, at Starbucks you wave your wrist by it or

00:01:20   or something like that. I don't think there's anything special about the watch that makes

00:01:27   it more possible to be your source of identity than, say, the phone. We all have phones now,

00:01:32   and if we were going to have some sort of device be your source of identity, it would

00:01:36   have been the phones by now. And lots of people have tried to do that in various ways. So

00:01:40   this idea is that maybe the phone is too big or too expensive, or the battery doesn't last

00:01:45   long enough, or you have to dig it out of your pocket or something else, so this would

00:01:48   be slightly more accessible than it would give us another crack at making this magical

00:01:51   identity thing where our identification is securely carried around with us by this little

00:01:56   physical dongle.

00:01:57   And when you sit down at your computer, it detects that you are you because you're the

00:02:00   one wearing the watch, and it automatically unlocks your screen and logs you in.

00:02:04   And when you walk into a room, it plays the music that you like, and it puts things on

00:02:08   your tab when you swipe it when you buy things at stores.

00:02:10   This is the fantasy scenario.

00:02:11   And I think the barriers to that are not technological.

00:02:16   They're business-related, where there's payment processors

00:02:21   camped out at every possible place

00:02:22   that want to give you money.

00:02:23   And maybe standards-related, where

00:02:26   if you want the same little dongle to do all these different

00:02:28   functions throughout your house, everything you own

00:02:29   has to be created by the same company and purchased recently.

00:02:32   Because even if Apple rolled this out,

00:02:34   it wouldn't work with all past Apple hardware, probably.

00:02:37   You'd have to get new stuff, or at the very least,

00:02:39   you'd need to update software.

00:02:40   So I think this scenario will continue to be a fantasy, but while nothing is actually

00:02:46   announced, this is the time to indulge in that fantasy, I suppose.

00:02:50   So this person basically just wants to enable the pictures on the wall from the movie Antitrust.

00:02:55   Did you ever see that abomination?

00:02:57   I did not.

00:02:58   Oh, you should.

00:03:00   It's Ryan "Phil-e-pe" Philippi or whatever, and Tim Robbins basically plays Bill Gates,

00:03:06   and Ryan Philippi, Philippi, whatever, is a crack programmer.

00:03:10   And so they go into quote unquote Bill Gates house and as he goes in between rooms like

00:03:16   the the the lights dim to a certain level and the pictures on the wall which are all

00:03:21   like LCD displays show different pictures and I think this was based on something that

00:03:25   Jobs supposedly had in his mansion or excuse me not Jobs Gates had in his mansion but the

00:03:32   theory being that this watch could kind of enable that.

00:03:35   In other words it's always on you and just like you said it's always personalized to

00:03:38   you.

00:03:39   And it would be like lower power than a phone,

00:03:41   so I guess it wouldn't run out of charge as easily.

00:03:45   I don't really see this happening

00:03:47   in that way with watches.

00:03:48   I mean, rather, I don't see watches changing anything.

00:03:53   I think, first of all, one big problem with this

00:03:56   is that I think there's going to be a lot more phones

00:04:00   than watches out there.

00:04:02   And my theory from the last episode

00:04:05   was that the watch would really just be a phone accessory.

00:04:10   And that it wouldn't-- I don't know if I outright said it,

00:04:13   but my theory here is that it wouldn't be anything by itself.

00:04:17   It'd be like a Bluetooth headset with no device.

00:04:20   It would just be communicating over Bluetooth, low energy,

00:04:24   and it would just be a peripheral to your iPhone,

00:04:27   or maybe iPad, and maybe iPod touch,

00:04:30   which would be interesting.

00:04:31   But for all the reasons why we don't yet

00:04:36   have this magical automatic identity

00:04:38   thing with these devices, I think all those same reasons

00:04:42   are going to continue to make it impossible for us

00:04:46   to have that with watches also, or rather impractical for us

00:04:50   to have that with watches.

00:04:52   All the same reasons apply.

00:04:54   You have weird privacy and security issues.

00:04:58   You have a big boil the ocean problem.

00:05:00   You have a lot of just weird incompatibilities in reality,

00:05:05   because in reality, it wouldn't be one company making

00:05:09   all these things that all work together.

00:05:12   Look what you have now.

00:05:13   You have Apple doing pretty well with the iPhone,

00:05:15   but then you still have Android.

00:05:17   You still have Windows Phone.

00:05:18   You still have all these other things.

00:05:21   Of all the people who have iPhones,

00:05:23   a small portion of them have Macs, but a lot more of them

00:05:25   have Windows PCs.

00:05:27   And some of them have iPads, and some of them don't.

00:05:29   And people who have Macs sometimes have Android devices.

00:05:33   People who have iPads sometimes have an Android phone.

00:05:35   There's this giant, diverse environment

00:05:38   that things would have to work in these days.

00:05:40   And for something like Identity to work that well

00:05:43   and to be that ubiquitous, I think

00:05:46   you'd have to have one company so dominant in the field

00:05:50   that it could make everything for almost everybody.

00:05:53   And I don't think we're going to have that for at least

00:05:56   the next decade and hopefully longer,

00:05:58   because we're better off not having that.

00:06:01   You know, this segues somewhat well--

00:06:03   something you said a moment ago--

00:06:05   segues somewhat well to a post that my friend Eric

00:06:08   Wielander wrote.

00:06:10   The post, which I'm pasting in the chat.

00:06:13   Let me kind of take you on a little mental journey.

00:06:17   So we talked last episode about what is the thing

00:06:20   that this iWatch is solving?

00:06:22   And also, what's the challenge of it?

00:06:25   And the challenge is that there's really

00:06:27   not a lot of input that can go into this and also not a lot of output that you can get

00:06:32   from it.

00:06:33   And so, you know, what already fixes that?

00:06:36   And Eric pointed out, well, Siri could be a good answer for that.

00:06:40   And I think part of the reason I'm bringing this up is because I'm so excited at the thought

00:06:45   of a Dick Tracy watch, which I joked about at the end of the last episode.

00:06:48   But the thought being, hey, you know, Siri could solve a lot of these problems about

00:06:54   an input output for an iWatch.

00:06:56   And the other thing that occurred to me that Eric didn't bring up was, uh, Eddy Q during

00:06:59   the keynote at about an hour and 42 minutes said something about how, Hey, Siri's going

00:07:04   to have a little more control over the things the phone can do.

00:07:08   And the example he used, I think was things were things like brightness and, uh, one or

00:07:13   two other things, maybe even Bluetooth, which maybe wouldn't be relevant in terms of an

00:07:17   eye watch.

00:07:18   But I thought it was an interesting idea that perhaps some sort of really Siri based integration

00:07:25   could work well with a watch. Now on the other side of the coin, to argue with myself and

00:07:29   with Eric, I don't know if a Dick Tracy watch as much as I joke and say I want it

00:07:33   would be a really socially acceptable thing. I think that would be a little awkward if

00:07:37   we all walked around talking to our wrists. But then again, we all walk around staring

00:07:41   down at our crotches, so I guess it can only be but so bad.

00:07:45   I guess my problem with so much of this is, you know, basically why don't we have this

00:07:50   now? What's stopping us from doing this with phones already? Because really, when

00:07:55   it comes to things like capturing input and having sensors and everything, the phone already

00:08:01   covers pretty much all of this area. There's not a whole lot of ground that a phone in

00:08:06   your pocket or bag or jacket doesn't really cover. And there are certainly some things.

00:08:13   There's things like biometric information, pedometer-style things. Those are things that

00:08:17   a phone either doesn't reliably have or just can't get practically.

00:08:23   But unless you press against your naked leg all the time or something, that would be kind

00:08:28   of…

00:08:29   I'm sure somebody does.

00:08:30   There's a lot of people with iPhones.

00:08:34   For most of these things that we think of as, "Oh, will the watch allow us to do X,

00:08:38   Y, and Z?"

00:08:40   Almost all of them you could do with a phone, and we aren't doing with phones.

00:08:44   think it's worth asking why and looking at it with some healthy skepticism of, "Well,

00:08:49   if this isn't working with phones or if we're not doing this yet with phones, there's probably

00:08:53   a really good reason for that." And it's probably not going to change if we have a

00:08:57   microphone or some sensors or an E-Ink screen or anything else stuck to our wrist instead

00:09:01   of in our pockets.

00:09:02   The Siri thing is weird though because I don't see how it could ever provide an experience

00:09:08   that's even as good as it is on the phone because it would have to communicate with

00:09:11   the phone to do the Siri thing, so it would be like using Siri on your phone, which already

00:09:15   is not snappy, only delayed by one more hop, because it's not like the phone is going to

00:09:19   talk to the Siri servers itself, it's not going to have, you know, 3G wireless, it's

00:09:23   going to be talking to the phone, the phone is going to be talking to the Siri servers,

00:09:26   and then, you know, playing this little game of relay back and forth, and it has all the

00:09:30   same problems as Siri, you know, say something, hopefully wait as you stare at it and wait

00:09:36   to see how it interpreted or misinterpreted what you said, and then wait for an answer.

00:09:39   It is not a snappy experience.

00:09:42   It's not even ignoring the whole "how do you feel about talking to yourself" type of thing.

00:09:46   I do not see people...

00:09:49   People use Siri as a game when you're conversing with it, and then use it for very focused

00:09:53   tasks rarely.

00:09:55   And I don't see them, maybe they feel like they need to do it in private, but people

00:09:57   tell me, "Oh, I use it to set reminders," or "I use it to answer text messages when

00:10:01   I'm in the car," or whatever.

00:10:02   Those are all times when they're not with somebody.

00:10:04   All your friends are secretly using Siri when you aren't around.

00:10:07   Yeah, because people feel more comfortable talking to their thing and using speech recognition

00:10:15   when no one is in the room.

00:10:16   Even when I do speech recognition to write my articles for dictation, it's more comfortable

00:10:20   to do that when no one is in the room hearing you say fragments of sentences and issue voice

00:10:24   commands.

00:10:25   Oh, yeah.

00:10:26   I would definitely say also that whenever I have to use Siri in public, I will usually

00:10:33   try to use it as quietly as possible and often I will do the thing where I pick

00:10:37   up the phone and put it to my ear because most people don't know that also

00:10:39   triggers Siri with the proximity sensor and you can use then just

00:10:44   talking to it like so it looks almost like you're talking to somebody on the

00:10:47   phone like you're giving a command to your secretary yeah and a very stern

00:10:52   voice we are by restaurants remind me to tell my wife I love her when I get home

00:11:02   Yeah, it sounded like a goodness.

00:11:03   [LAUGHTER]

00:11:07   Anyway, so I mean, is there anything really new

00:11:10   that we think about the watch now?

00:11:12   One thing, we got an interesting article also by response.

00:11:15   I got to put this in the notes because I lost it.

00:11:18   But somebody basically outlined what Bluetooth low energy does

00:11:22   and what it makes possible and why it's so much better

00:11:27   in the context-- in response to our episode last week--

00:11:29   context of the iWatch. And...

00:11:33   I hope it's not called that. The name is already

00:11:37   starting to sound stupid in my head. Anyway. Yeah, I agree.

00:11:41   All those trademark applications, I thought iPad was stupid too. And MacBook, ugh, terrible

00:11:45   name. So, anyway. I really do

00:11:49   hope that if this exists, it's either

00:11:53   a very small scale thing at first, like the Apple TV Now,

00:11:57   now, which is like, you know, everyone was so excited, Apple didn't release something

00:12:00   for TV, and then they released the Apple TV as we know it today, which is like, okay,

00:12:04   it's nice, but it's a pretty small scale problem solver.

00:12:08   And so, you know, if they make a watch, it could be that, right?

00:12:11   It could just be doing things that are very similar to what the Pebble and the other things

00:12:16   like that do now, which is basically showing notifications on the watch and maybe having

00:12:21   some minor sensors like a Fitbit or fuel band equivalent, but not doing a whole lot at least.

00:12:27   not having a microphone for Siri, you know, maybe they add those things later on,

00:12:31   but just starting out with a nice simple problem set they can do really well with

00:12:35   all the existing hardware and have great battery life and

00:12:39   not be this giant bulky thing on your wrist, not look ugly, not look like

00:12:43   a nerd convention happening on your wrist, and just do that

00:12:47   really well. I hope that's what they do. Because I don't, you know, looking at everything else,

00:12:51   all the things they could possibly do that would be all these crazy transformative ideas,

00:12:55   It seems like for a lot of them they have extremely fatal practical or technological

00:13:02   restrictions that would really prevent them from being good.

00:13:05   Yeah, and the more I think about the iWatch, the more I keep coming back to, I feel like

00:13:10   the only way it's going to be really interesting is if it aggregates sensors in a new and clever

00:13:19   way.

00:13:20   Let me give you a couple examples.

00:13:21   as opposed to having to hit a button to rotate the screen from portrait to

00:13:26   landscape it added an accelerometer in order to do that automatically in order

00:13:31   to prevent cheek dialing somebody or cheek hanging up on someone it had a

00:13:36   proximity sensor in order to turn off the display and turn off the touch input

00:13:41   when the thing is up against your head and maybe that's not aggregation in

00:13:46   the strictest sense but I feel like taking sensors that we have today like a

00:13:49   a Fitbit or something like it and taking either new sensors or the existing sensors and putting

00:13:54   that data together in a new and interesting way, that's what I feel like an iWatch would

00:13:59   do that would differentiate it, but how specifically?

00:14:02   I don't have the faintest idea.

00:14:04   You know what Samsung would do with the iWatch?

00:14:06   Copy everything?

00:14:08   They would make it so that when you use the Samsung iPad equivalent, whatever that is,

00:14:13   you could wave your hand in front of it without actually contacting the screen to do gestures

00:14:16   because it would have accelerometer on your wrist.

00:14:20   They already do things sort of like that with a single device, but once you have two of

00:14:23   them you have to sort of start thinking like Nintendo.

00:14:25   Okay, well, I've got a sensor on my wrist and there's a screen over here, and if I wave

00:14:29   my hand, the sensor can recognize my gestures without me physically interacting with the

00:14:35   other device and use it, you know, that type of thing.

00:14:38   I assume Apple would pass on most things like that because non-contact UIs are not particularly

00:14:46   nice feeling, but guaranteed Samsung would do it just because it's possible. They seem

00:14:50   to try everything. Anything that's technically possible, try it out. Ship it on a device.

00:14:54   See if people like it.

00:14:55   Exactly. When they launched, what was the most recent one? The S3?

00:15:00   S4.

00:15:01   Okay. So whatever the most recent one was, remember, it had the hover feature, it had

00:15:06   the tilt scrolling and all these crazy things.

00:15:09   The eyeball tracking to see when you're looking at the video.

00:15:11   Yes, yes, yes.

00:15:12   You're not like, "If we can sort of do it, ship it."

00:15:15   We heard a lot about those when it was launched. I haven't heard a thing about them or actually

00:15:19   --

00:15:20   Well, they have to be awful because if any of them had passed the threshold into being

00:15:26   so reliable that they're really useful, they would quickly spread elsewhere. But if you

00:15:31   don't see them everywhere else, it means that the technology to do that is not quite ready.

00:15:34   So the eyeball thing, if that was reliable enough that it felt better than actually hitting

00:15:39   a play/pause button, it would be everywhere. But it's not because it's not that reliable

00:15:42   yet.

00:15:43   Yeah.

00:15:44   Well, let's go to things that are reliable.

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00:19:41   Casey, you've had one of these things.

00:19:43   - Indeed, and it is really nice, it really is.

00:19:46   It's pretty much exactly like Dropbox,

00:19:49   but just like you said, rather than being in the cloud,

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00:20:13   Well, I'm saying at before this point the NSA has read everything, but once I remove

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00:21:11   It's a great idea for a product,

00:21:12   and I'm very, very happy that they made it.

00:21:14   All right, so moving along.

00:21:18   Thanks, transporter.

00:21:19   John, you mentioned last week in the after show

00:21:24   strange ways that real people use iOS.

00:21:28   I was wondering if you could expand on that a little bit.

00:21:30   Sure.

00:21:31   This is based on my recent vacation to see family.

00:21:36   And since the last time I visited, it seems like all of them got iPhones, usually like

00:21:40   4S's.

00:21:41   4 is, you know, the less expensive iPhones.

00:21:44   I didn't see any iPhone 5s.

00:21:46   And I noticed a little bit of this at WOADC, strange ways that other developers use iPhones,

00:21:51   but seeing how regular people use them, because they don't have any circle of people to give

00:21:56   them sort of the social norms of how you use an iPhone.

00:22:01   And here are the things that I noticed right away.

00:22:04   The first thing, and this is the one I noticed at WWC as well, is I didn't see anybody who

00:22:10   filled their screens with icons, the springboard screens.

00:22:14   And up until very recently, everyone I saw filled their screens, because your first screen,

00:22:19   you'd fill it with icons, and when you ran out of room, you'd go to your second screen

00:22:21   and fill it from top to bottom with icons and so on and so forth.

00:22:25   And that is sort of the—correct me if I'm wrong—but that's more or less the social

00:22:30   norm of how you configure your iPhone.

00:22:34   And then at WWC—go ahead, Gacy.

00:22:36   I was going to say that's the norm, although I will use myself as an example of an odd

00:22:41   way that people use their iPhone.

00:22:43   For whatever reason—and I read this somewhere, and I've been trying to figure out where

00:22:46   I read this—but I copied from someone on the internet that on their first home screen—only

00:22:53   first home screen. Was it one of you? Was it you? Okay, so on Marco's first home screen,

00:22:59   he leaves the row above the dock blank. And I don't know why that rang true with me, but

00:23:05   I was like, "You know what? That's a really good idea." So on my first and only first

00:23:08   home screen, I have the bottom row blank, but on every other screen of which there are

00:23:15   generally a total of three, I use up every single space.

00:23:20   Yeah, and that's that's the thing I started to seeing people intentionally leaving blank

00:23:24   rows on

00:23:25   a knot in the last page and like even having it on the first page and

00:23:28   My question I guess for both of you since you're doing this is why why do you have a blank row above your dock on?

00:23:33   first page well, I have a I have another whole complexity of my system also, but

00:23:38   Which iOS 7 makes awesome actually?

00:23:40   But the main reason why I have always done that was that like the very first iPhone like with version 1.0 before apps

00:23:48   had, I believe, one icon in the bottom row or none.

00:23:53   I'll have to look this up.

00:23:55   So it was just kind of always what I was used to.

00:23:58   It provides a nice kind of neutral swipe area

00:24:01   to swipe between the two screens where--

00:24:02   - You can swipe anywhere.

00:24:03   - You can, but it's like a reliable area.

00:24:06   You know you can swipe there

00:24:07   and not accidentally launch something.

00:24:09   - You will never accidentally launch something by swiping.

00:24:12   It will not happen.

00:24:13   - I bet it has happened.

00:24:14   Anyway, so there was that kind of legacy reason.

00:24:18   I also think it looks better.

00:24:19   It looks a lot less crowded.

00:24:21   And I also-- the bottom row is always

00:24:24   like where my app in progress, which is usually Instapaper,

00:24:27   would go.

00:24:28   And so because at first, like in the early versions of the SDK,

00:24:33   I think every time you installed the app on the phone,

00:24:36   it would move it to like the default next application

00:24:38   or something like that, which was always right there,

00:24:40   something like that.

00:24:40   Anyway, there was some reason with development

00:24:42   would always have Instapaper and back when we used it, Instapaper free in that bottom

00:24:47   row by themselves so that the second half of it was clear.

00:24:50   The other thing I do that's weird that I recommend to anybody who wants to try this, I used to,

00:24:56   you know, back when the Apps Script first came out I would have all these different

00:24:58   pages of apps and it just sucked. Once folders came out I decided to do a different system

00:25:04   which I don't, generally I don't like folders. I think they're very clumsy to enter and leave.

00:25:09   and actually on iOS 7 I like them even less because they hold less per screen. You at

00:25:15   least do have paged folders now, so folders have way more total capacity, but it moved

00:25:21   from showing, what was it before, 12? It would show three rows or four rows?

00:25:26   Let me look. I think you're right.

00:25:28   So on iOS 6 I believe it showed either 12 or 16 icons in a folder.

00:25:31   It is 12.

00:25:32   And, oh, but you have the short phone, though. The big fat heavy one.

00:25:36   Why do you have to be a jerk like that?

00:25:38   - Yeah, you get 16 on the file.

00:25:41   - Right, okay.

00:25:41   - Is that true?

00:25:42   Is that really true?

00:25:43   - Yeah, you get an extra row.

00:25:44   - God, you're so spoiled.

00:25:45   - Isn't that great?

00:25:46   But on iOS 7, let me double check here,

00:25:49   just to make sure I get this right,

00:25:50   I believe you only get nine.

00:25:52   This is not against the NDA, of course.

00:25:55   Yes, on iOS 7 you only get nine per folder screen.

00:25:59   And you can have multiple screens, as I said,

00:26:01   but it ends up that getting into the folder

00:26:05   is already an extra tap,

00:26:07   And so to have to page through a folder only seeing nine at a time is kind of clumsy.

00:26:11   And you have no neutral swipe area inside folders. What do you do?

00:26:15   That's a great question. I don't know. I just launch apps accidentally all the time.

00:26:19   But what I do is, my very first page, I keep configured mostly the way the original iPhone

00:26:25   always was configured, with everything in roughly the same spots. If I have a really

00:26:30   awesome preferred replacement app, I'll put it in the same spot that the Apple app used

00:26:34   to go. For example, I'll use Silver instead of Calculator. So Silver is the second row,

00:26:40   rightmost spot for me because that's where the calculator was, I believe, in the original

00:26:43   iPhone. Anyway, on the first page there's no folders. On the second page, that's where

00:26:50   all the folders go. It can have individual icons also. The second page is where all folders

00:26:54   go. And then I only have those two pages, which is really honestly great. I love having

00:27:00   switched to a two page only standard because you always know where you are. You're either

00:27:07   on your first page or you're not. It's very, very, very easy. And all the things that you

00:27:13   want to bury for occasional use can go in one of those folders on the second page. And

00:27:17   with iOS 7 now, now that folders can hold so much more in total, you can at least say

00:27:22   like, you know, I used to have like games, new games, new games to test. Like three different

00:27:27   folders for games because they wouldn't all fit in one, and now I just have one. I have

00:27:31   a folder called Rare and Utility, and now I just have Rare. Anyway, I highly recommend

00:27:39   doing a two-screen only setup and using as many folders as you need to on the second

00:27:42   screen to do that. It really is awesome. And on the iPad, I even just do a one-page setup,

00:27:47   which is even better. There's not enough room in the iPhone to do it.

00:27:49   You don't have to swipe anywhere. Exactly. Thank God they moved Spotlight. I love that

00:27:57   change in iOS 7. They moved Spotlight so that you have to pull it down from the top. It's

00:28:00   no longer like a springboard page to the far left.

00:28:04   I think one of the stupidest things in old iOS was when you were on the home screen,

00:28:08   if you tapped the home button, that would be a shortcut to go over to the Spotlight

00:28:12   screen. So many times I accidentally did that, and I've seen other people do it even more.

00:28:21   In fact, Jon, you can probably tell me from your regular people experience, how many times

00:28:25   do they accidentally go to Spotlight by hitting the home button too many times?

00:28:28   I see that a lot, but I also think it's kind of like people hit the home button when they

00:28:32   want to go back to the beginning and they understand that concept. And if they're already

00:28:36   at the beginning and they hit it again, it probably means that they want to go back,

00:28:41   backer to the more beginninger. And basically, they can't find what they're looking for.

00:28:45   They're like, "No, just bring me back to the beginning beginning." And throwing the search

00:28:49   field in their face is like, "Oh, all right. Well, I guess I can type here because I kind

00:28:54   know what the name of the thing is that I'm looking for.

00:28:56   So it's kind of like, look, this is the last resort.

00:28:59   You press this button because obviously you're not finding what you think you're supposed

00:29:02   to be finding, but we've already brought you to the place that this button press takes

00:29:04   you.

00:29:05   So by pressing it again, you're saying, "No, I'm still not satisfied.

00:29:08   Here's the last resort.

00:29:09   Go to search."

00:29:10   But for me personally, it's just frustrating when I accidentally hit it because I don't

00:29:13   notice I'm on the first screen or something.

00:29:15   But for other people, I have to wonder if it's not an okay thing.

00:29:20   And I kind of like the fact that it was to the left of the home screen.

00:29:22   I especially like what they did with the little icons at the bottom.

00:29:26   Maybe this is too subtle for most people.

00:29:28   But the little dot icons, right?

00:29:30   And when you're on the first page, there is one more dot to your left, but it's not a

00:29:33   dot.

00:29:34   It's a tiny, tiny magnifying glass, which is adorable.

00:29:37   So I kind of like that.

00:29:39   Go look at your iOSX device now.

00:29:41   No, you're right.

00:29:42   And that was a nice touch.

00:29:44   But I have personally and I've witnessed so many accidentally invocations of Spotlight

00:29:50   by that double home button tap thing that I have to imagine that's not worth it.

00:29:55   So I'm very glad I got rid of that in 7.

00:29:57   For experienced users, it's not a good experience.

00:30:01   So what I saw for people using the iPhones was not just leaving a row blank, but wiping

00:30:09   out every single icon except for one row of four on the top.

00:30:14   And what I even saw on one person's phone was one row of four on the top on the first

00:30:19   home screen page, all folders.

00:30:22   Everything else basically deleted and wiped out.

00:30:26   Some people had multiple pages where you go to the next page, one row of four at the top.

00:30:30   Maybe not all folders, maybe all folders.

00:30:32   Only a couple pages, maybe three or four pages, but only one row of icons at the top, and

00:30:36   of course the doc on the bottom, because I don't know if they knew how to get things

00:30:39   out of there or whatever.

00:30:43   Before I spoke to these people, I just saw their devices or saw them using them or whatever.

00:30:47   I'm like, "What's going on there?

00:30:49   Why would you ever do that?

00:30:51   It doesn't make any sense.

00:30:53   Unless they're following the Marko philosophy, I just need a massive safe region to swipe.

00:30:57   But that wasn't it, because these people weren't looking for a safe—

00:31:00   So after speaking to them, the reason they're doing this—

00:31:03   Can you guys guess before I reveal it?

00:31:05   Do they think it saves battery life or otherwise it's performance-related?

00:31:08   No, no.

00:31:09   Too sophisticated.

00:31:10   Casey, nothing?

00:31:11   I don't even have the fan—

00:31:15   Because they want to make sure they have the space for the expanded folder?

00:31:18   No.

00:31:19   That's a good one though.

00:31:20   That's close, yeah.

00:31:21   It's because they put a picture on their wallpaper and they want to see the picture of their

00:31:25   kids or family or whatever.

00:31:27   And the picture is like the top part of the picture is just background like trees or whatever,

00:31:32   but the faces are in the bottom part.

00:31:33   And it's people with pictures.

00:31:34   People had pictures that were purposely like biased to the lower part so that people's

00:31:38   faces were lower down so they could get two rows of icons because they want to see the

00:31:42   people's pictures.

00:31:43   That makes so much sense.

00:31:44   And that is something that like, you know, adding...

00:31:46   What did they edit it in?

00:31:47   iOS 4 or 5?

00:31:48   the ability to have wallpapers instead of just a black background.

00:31:54   That's an unforeseen side effect of giving people the ability to put a picture in the

00:31:57   background is that they're going to want to see it and they're going to clear out because

00:32:00   they don't want some icons sitting on top of their kid's head.

00:32:02   They're just going to move those things out of the way.

00:32:04   What they're left with is a screen with nothing on it.

00:32:07   Four folders at the top is like, "Well, when you only have one row of icons, you still

00:32:11   want some minimum amount of stuff to be on page one, so then just shove it all into folders."

00:32:15   It's incredibly inefficient.

00:32:16   And it makes no sense to me, but this is how they choose to use their phones.

00:32:18   And it just goes to show that features have unforeseen side effects, and the way you think

00:32:24   people will use your device is very different from the way they'll use it in real life,

00:32:29   because they have very different concerns.

00:32:31   So I was fascinated to see this common pattern across all of you.

00:32:35   And the other thing of this, I could have guessed, is that the people who delete everything

00:32:38   off their phone, they could possibly delete because they don't know what it is.

00:32:41   This is why it's actually good that you can't delete the phone app and stuff, because if

00:32:45   You could, they would, and then wonder why they can't send a phone, you know what I

00:32:48   mean?

00:32:49   We're all annoyed that you can't delete calculator and stuff like that, and maybe

00:32:51   you'll be okay to let those go, but people are just like, "Nope, I know how to use four

00:32:54   things on this phone, I want to get everything else out of there."

00:32:57   So their solution is just to move them off the other screen.

00:32:58   That I would have predicted and have seen before.

00:33:01   Don't tell them about parental controls.

00:33:02   Oh yeah, no, that's too deep.

00:33:04   I don't know if they knew what the settings app was.

00:33:07   They deleted settings.

00:33:09   Yeah.

00:33:10   And these are the same people.

00:33:13   One person really was annoyed about the Weather Channel on their new television service.

00:33:17   And I said, "Well, you have an iPhone.

00:33:20   There's eight gazillion weather apps.

00:33:22   Find one that you like."

00:33:23   But there's no good ones.

00:33:24   You'll have the weather forecast.

00:33:25   I'll check the weather space.

00:33:26   No, you're right.

00:33:27   You'll have the weather forecast right there.

00:33:30   Even something like Dark Sky or whatever, saying if your whole obsession is when it's

00:33:34   going to rain, there's apps with real-time radar.

00:33:36   We have the technology that's better than watching the Weather Channel and wading through

00:33:40   commercials and weather reports for areas where you don't live or whatever, having to

00:33:44   go into the TV room, turn on the TV.

00:33:45   I said, "No, I prefer to see it on TV.

00:33:47   I want someone talking to me."

00:33:49   Even though it involves watching commercials and watching weather for towns that are not

00:33:53   your town.

00:33:55   That's crazy to me, but old habits die hard, I guess.

00:33:59   I will say dark sky is still one of those things that can blow the mind of any normal

00:34:04   person.

00:34:05   Yeah, no, I try to show them, but it's not impressive.

00:34:08   I want a weather person on TV telling me the weather.

00:34:12   I want that human touch.

00:34:14   Anyway, all right, do you want to talk about this Dropbox

00:34:17   thing?

00:34:19   Well, is John done?

00:34:20   Is that all you got?

00:34:21   Yeah, I'll think of more later.

00:34:23   But the two big ones were the home screen,

00:34:27   so you can see the picture, and getting

00:34:29   all the applications of the home screen,

00:34:30   and then totally being unimpressed by applications

00:34:34   that-- not just the weather, but any kind of applications,

00:34:36   like things that we all know that you can do with your phone that you know you

00:34:39   can do XYZ with your phone. That doesn't seem appealing. Now did you see a lot of

00:34:44   people force quitting apps for no good reason? Because I still see that

00:34:48   constantly. None of these people know how to do that. Well the really scary part is

00:34:51   in 7, I don't know how much this was public I'll tread lightly, in iOS 7

00:34:56   there's actually a really good reason to remove apps from the multitasking

00:35:01   switcher. Now they have it in the movies yeah because you want to you want to get

00:35:05   to get them out of there so they're not in your way.

00:35:08   No, that's not it.

00:35:09   Well, maybe that's part of it for some people.

00:35:11   But in 7--

00:35:12   I know what your thinking is.

00:35:14   --the new backgrounding stuff-- I

00:35:16   don't know if this is public or not.

00:35:18   Well, let's see if anybody cares.

00:35:20   The new backgrounding stuff in 7,

00:35:22   where your app can be woken up periodically in the background,

00:35:25   if your app has been removed from the switcher,

00:35:27   it does not do that.

00:35:29   So you can't get background updates,

00:35:31   which is a change since iOS 6.

00:35:34   Because with 6, even the new stand content available things

00:35:37   would go through no matter what.

00:35:39   But in 7, if your app's been removed from the switcher,

00:35:42   you don't get any background wake up types.

00:35:44   You can still get push notifications

00:35:46   that alert the user, but your app will not

00:35:48   run in the background at all if you've been removed.

00:35:51   So there actually is a pretty substantial reason

00:35:55   to manage or not manage the things in that switcher now.

00:35:59   So come to think of it, that means that all these ill

00:36:03   uninformed people who are constantly clearing out what is now their multitasking tray are

00:36:08   actually kind of shooting themselves in the foot because now all of their apps that are

00:36:13   not running in the background won't get up, well, running in the background so to speak,

00:36:17   aren't getting updates and they're actually demonstrable.

00:36:20   They were already demonstrably penalizing their own experience, but now it's even worse.

00:36:26   There's even more reason not to do that.

00:36:28   Or to do it.

00:36:29   This is all just a sliver of-- there's

00:36:33   the people who are tech nerds who know all the details.

00:36:35   Then there's the aspirational tech nerds

00:36:37   who know enough to force quit.

00:36:38   And then there's the vast, vast majority of people

00:36:40   who have no idea about holding down your finger

00:36:42   to get the little red thing and who

00:36:44   will continue to have no idea about swiping up

00:36:45   to get rid of those icons.

00:36:46   Because there's nothing there that

00:36:48   indicates that that's possible, just like there's

00:36:50   nothing there that indicates that you can press and hold

00:36:52   on the multitasking switcher.

00:36:54   And I have to think that the vast majority of people

00:36:56   will never use either one of those features,

00:36:57   and the phone will just manage it for them.

00:36:59   So it's just this fringe of the people who know enough to be dangerous that are problematic.

00:37:03   Right, the power users.

00:37:04   Power users are the most dangerous users to support, or for anybody, for IT departments,

00:37:08   for developers, for themselves.

00:37:10   They're just always the worst type of user to support, because power users, they know

00:37:14   enough to cause trouble or to cause headaches for themselves or others, but usually not

00:37:20   enough to really fix things if they break them or have a really great environment.

00:37:25   And they're usually the ones that are most susceptible to superstition and myths and

00:37:31   crazy stuff like that.

00:37:33   When I heard a lot of reports that geniuses, quote unquote, "geniuses" were telling

00:37:38   people to force quit everything under the sun because that makes your iPhone run faster,

00:37:42   which is just patently wrong.

00:37:44   Even in iOS 6, that's just wrong.

00:37:46   Right.

00:37:47   Well, and again, geniuses, many of them are this type of person.

00:37:51   the power user who they know enough to have that job,

00:37:56   that doesn't necessarily mean that they know

00:37:57   the intricate details of how iOS works

00:38:00   and why that's a bad idea or why that does

00:38:02   or doesn't do something.

00:38:03   And almost any IT person that you're likely to run into

00:38:08   in any kind of work IT department or anything like that,

00:38:12   almost all of them are this type of user.

00:38:14   There's some really good ones that know a lot more,

00:38:17   but most of the people you'll run into

00:38:19   in this kind of context are like the nose nuts

00:38:22   would be dangerous power user.

00:38:24   And that's one of the reasons why all these crazy myths

00:38:26   like defragging, long after that mattered,

00:38:31   all these crazy myths get propagated and live on

00:38:34   because it's all these power users saying,

00:38:37   oh, well, you need to do this and this and this every day

00:38:41   to keep your phone clean or whatever.

00:38:43   And nothing bad ever happens if you do that,

00:38:46   so you just keep propagating it.

00:38:49   You know, your platform has arrived when you get one of those because the Mac had a long

00:38:53   sequence of them.

00:38:54   I think it'd probably be the first one I can think of.

00:38:56   It's like rebuilding the desktop.

00:38:57   But you had zapping the PRAM.

00:38:59   You had all those things.

00:39:01   And then, like, the Mac OS X got repairing permissions.

00:39:04   And then iOS, I guess, is the first one that iOS got was the force quitting apps.

00:39:08   That's the only one I know of.

00:39:09   I believe so.

00:39:10   Because that was, like, one of the first things you could do as kind of, like, an amateur

00:39:15   system administrator for your phone.

00:39:17   It was like, there's not much else you can do.

00:39:19   There is no iOS defect.

00:39:21   Although there are.

00:39:22   There have been crazy scam apps in the App Store

00:39:24   that are like, maximize your battery life and stuff

00:39:28   like that.

00:39:28   And I always wonder how they get approved.

00:39:30   Because then you read the description,

00:39:32   you find out like, oh, well, it's actually just like,

00:39:34   it's a joke app officially, or it's educational only,

00:39:38   or it just has a list of tips and tricks

00:39:40   that you're supposed to do.

00:39:42   But there's a lot of apps.

00:39:43   Even if you look in the top lists,

00:39:44   there's a lot of apps that are selling really

00:39:46   that are basically scams preying on this kind of mythology of like, "Oh, an app can compress

00:39:53   your memory on iOS or can speed your phone up or save your battery life."

00:39:57   Yeah, and somebody in the chat, I shouldn't share this person's name just to be safe.

00:40:04   Again, from working in the Apple Store or at the Apple Store, the company would send

00:40:07   out numerous memos reminding us that force quitting everything under the sun was wrong,

00:40:12   But some of my colleagues would spread that lie and practice it themselves, which is kind

00:40:17   of sad.

00:40:18   But that's the nature of superstition.

00:40:21   You can't be convinced by a presentation of evidence, the whole point of superstition.

00:40:25   Right.

00:40:26   And those things that spread so easily are the things like, well, if you do them, nothing

00:40:30   bad really happens.

00:40:32   And you can't really tell if anything good happens because it's too small of a difference

00:40:36   if it "works."

00:40:38   You don't need the feather.

00:40:39   You just need to believe.

00:40:40   I think that's a Dumbo reference. I haven't seen the movie in years.

00:40:44   I don't know. Yeah, neither have I. So this episode is also sponsored

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00:41:13   Go to audiblepodcast.com/ATP to take advantage of this special offer.

00:41:19   So once again, it's audiblepodcast.com/ATP to get a free audiobook with a 30-day free

00:41:27   trial.

00:41:28   Guys, do you have any audiobooks to recommend?

00:41:31   You know, I haven't looked, to be honest, to confirm that this is on Audible, but I

00:41:35   bet you it is.

00:41:37   I was asked recently what my favorite movie is, and if you bear with me for a second,

00:41:40   my favorite movie, if I had to pick just one, is probably The Hunt for Ed October.

00:41:44   You can judge me on that and I won't be offended.

00:41:46   But it's actually based on a Tom Clancy book, also, curiously enough, called The Hunt for

00:41:50   Ed October.

00:41:52   And the book, as with almost every book that's ever been written that was eventually turned

00:41:56   into a movie, is actually considerably better than the movie.

00:41:59   So I would recommend The Hunt for Ed October if you're into political thrillers based

00:42:03   in the early to mid 1980s when we still hated Russia and Russia still hated us.

00:42:07   Awesome. All right, well thanks a lot to Audible for sponsoring the show.

00:42:12   Remember, go to audiblepodcast.com/atp. Thanks a lot.

00:42:16   You're not even going to ask me if I have a pick?

00:42:18   Do you have a pick?

00:42:19   I have one. Maybe we should save it for the next Audible sponsorship.

00:42:22   All right, save it. Be that guy.

00:42:25   All right, so moving along. Is there anything we should talk about with this Dropbox thing?

00:42:33   Actually, I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not, but I thought there was.

00:42:36   You know, I'm so tired of platforms.

00:42:38   Really?

00:42:39   I mean, do we really need another platform?

00:42:41   Well, I mean, it's an existing platform, though.

00:42:44   Well, as Steve Jobs would say, it's not a platform, it's a feature.

00:42:46   But anyway, Dropbox exists and is popular.

00:42:48   And the reason we're interested in their data store, or at least I'm interested in

00:42:52   their data store, is because it's from Dropbox.

00:42:55   People already have Dropbox accounts.

00:42:58   Many people already pay for Dropbox.

00:43:01   the iOS applications already integrate with Dropbox using an existing API for file storage.

00:43:07   So that's an advantage that many, many other things that are supposedly going to store

00:43:11   your crap do not have. Even Google, mighty Google, comes with an API, but it's like,

00:43:17   "Well, all right." And how many applications are already integrated with Google data storage?

00:43:21   It's a bigger hurdle to overcome. Whereas Dropbox, you're already there. Your apps are

00:43:24   already talking to it. This is basically the equivalent of, instead of just documents in

00:43:30   in the iCloud storage, it's like their equivalence,

00:43:34   kind of, sort of, not really, of Core Data Sync, where you're--

00:43:37   I hope not.

00:43:38   Well, you know what I mean.

00:43:39   You're not just storing files.

00:43:41   You're storing something that's not just

00:43:44   a linear stream of bytes in a single named entity, right?

00:43:47   That's basically where the similarity

00:43:48   ends, because Core Data is this whole other sort of persistent

00:43:51   object store thing.

00:43:52   And this is much simpler.

00:43:53   This is basically schema-less fields and basically tables.

00:44:00   So you have a table that has records.

00:44:02   The records have an ID.

00:44:03   They have main value pairs in them.

00:44:04   And you can do one small level of nesting underneath that.

00:44:07   And that's it.

00:44:08   I look at these things because I think

00:44:10   it's interesting to see what kind of API

00:44:11   are they going to offer.

00:44:13   They're definitely not going the core data route where

00:44:15   they say, just use your objects in memory,

00:44:18   and we'll magically synchronize them with the persistence

00:44:20   across all these applications.

00:44:22   And the rest of your application just

00:44:23   behaves as if it's using objects in memory,

00:44:25   and we make everything work.

00:44:28   it's not quite doing, you can just speak to a database over a wire and we'll do updates

00:44:34   where it's like a server resident database. It's kind of in between. They want you to be able to

00:44:38   store records in this thing and get notified when there are changes to these records,

00:44:44   but they don't want you to have to implement your own conflict resolution. This is where the

00:44:50   rubber root meets the road. It's like, "What if I do two different things on two different devices?

00:44:53   they're both offline.

00:44:54   They come back online and synchronize the changes.

00:44:57   What do I do to sort these things out?

00:44:58   And looking at their documentation briefly,

00:45:00   it seems like your choices are minimal.

00:45:02   All the conflict resolution seems to be automatic.

00:45:05   And your choices are like biggest value wins,

00:45:07   smallest value wins, sum of value wins.

00:45:09   And that's about it.

00:45:10   And it's like, well, that doesn't help me

00:45:11   if I'm trying to synchronize an address book.

00:45:13   None of those policies seem like they would be helpful.

00:45:17   Local wins versus remote wins.

00:45:19   There didn't even seem to be any date stamping type things

00:45:22   in there where you can tell which one happened at a different time and synchronize based

00:45:24   on that and resolve conflicts based on that.

00:45:26   So I'm not sure what the target audience for this thing is, but like any kind of service,

00:45:31   the real proof is going to be, is it reliable, is it fast, and is it easy to program for

00:45:37   in a way that doesn't block my application when the changes don't come in?

00:45:41   And in that respect, it looks like it has some advantages over iCloud coordinated the

00:45:47   way it existed in that you don't need to be online.

00:45:51   Your changes can take effect locally, and remote changes can come in whenever they want.

00:45:55   In theory, you shouldn't be blocking as long as you can write to your local disk and as

00:45:58   long as you can read from your local disk.

00:46:00   So that's good.

00:46:03   I also looked at the API and the documentation, and there were a couple of things that piqued

00:46:08   my interest.

00:46:09   Firstly, and this is outside of the documentation, quite obviously Dropbox is cross-platform.

00:46:15   And let's suppose for the sake of argument that even core data in iCloud worked flawlessly,

00:46:21   which is a pretty funny thought just to begin with.

00:46:23   Well, it's still Apple-centric.

00:46:26   And even though I speak for all three of us

00:46:29   in saying we're all in on Apple platforms,

00:46:31   not everyone is like that.

00:46:32   We talked about that earlier in this very episode.

00:46:34   And so Dropbox is cross-platform, which is really nice.

00:46:38   So if I was psychotic enough to want to write

00:46:41   not only an iOS app, but also an Android app,

00:46:43   I could presumably use this Dropbox data store API

00:46:47   in order to get data between them.

00:46:49   Additionally, like you mentioned John, it's not straight SQL.

00:46:53   And while core data, you'll get smacked on the wrist if you call it a database, it isn't

00:46:59   a database, just like you said, it's an object persistence or object graph persistence mechanism.

00:47:06   Generally speaking, behind the scenes, it's SQLite or SQLite or whatever crap it's supposed

00:47:10   to be pronounced as.

00:47:12   Whereas this, like you said, John, is a little more flexible than that, which is nice.

00:47:16   Obviously there's caveats to that and that could be bad.

00:47:19   But generally speaking, it's nice.

00:47:21   But the other thing that was really interesting is they have a data store web inspector.

00:47:27   And I glanced at it very, very quickly.

00:47:30   And it appears that even regular people, not even necessarily developers, can go in and

00:47:35   inspect the data source stores associated with their Dropbox account.

00:47:40   And I think that's both very good and arguably maybe not so good because it allows developers

00:47:47   to go in and see exactly what tables and records and things are stored in their own Dropbox.

00:47:53   But that also gives some amount of visibility for user.

00:47:56   Now it is read only through this web interface, but it's still more visibility than you may

00:48:02   want.

00:48:03   Now to argue with myself briefly, maybe that's a good thing after all in the sense that if

00:48:08   somebody's storing a bunch of data that I don't want them to store, I could go see that

00:48:12   and then remove that app.

00:48:14   I don't know, it just freaks me out for the idea of users seeing exactly how I'm persisting

00:48:19   data.

00:48:20   Well, that's good because then you could shame people who start plain text passwords and

00:48:23   stuff.

00:48:24   It's true.

00:48:25   That's exactly my point.

00:48:26   Because regular users can go and see it, and so they can see, "Hey, you're storing my whole

00:48:27   address book," or, "Hey, there's my plain text password for whatever service."

00:48:32   It's interesting.

00:48:33   The reason I put that link in the show notes is that it's interesting that they launch

00:48:36   with that.

00:48:37   Of course, of course it's going to be a web interface to see what's in the service.

00:48:40   How can you develop an application if you don't have visibility into what we're doing

00:48:43   in the data store. And their data store is so much simpler. It is just very simple and

00:48:49   primitive compared to the amazing thing that Core Data is supposed to be doing for you.

00:48:53   It's up to you to figure it out. No schema, name value pairs, lists. You're going to get

00:48:59   a notification that something changed. We'll give you a list of record IDs. You figure it out. I

00:49:02   don't know. Whatever. It's really primitive. And primitive things are kind of annoying. You have

00:49:07   You have to write all your own logic to deal with the updates and stuff.

00:49:12   But it's easy for developers to understand.

00:49:14   Time and again, that's proved to be much more important than the amazing framework, especially

00:49:18   if it doesn't work right.

00:49:19   The amazing framework does awesome things to you versus the simple one that doesn't

00:49:22   do as much for you, but what it does do is easily understandable by any developer.

00:49:25   That gives even a novice or a mediocre developer a fighting chance of using your API to do

00:49:30   useful work.

00:49:31   Because maybe they use it inefficiently, and maybe they have to write a ton of code themselves.

00:49:35   But conceptually, the way it works is simple enough that they can wrap their head around

00:49:40   it, so they never get themselves into a situation where they have no idea what's going on.

00:49:43   They just perhaps make inefficient code.

00:49:46   So again, we'll have to look at their performance and how reliable their service is and stuff

00:49:53   like that.

00:49:54   But I think they have a big leg up on everyone else, simply because we already all have Dropbox

00:49:57   accounts.

00:49:58   And I think the first five megabytes per application that you use does not count towards your Dropbox

00:50:02   quota.

00:50:03   uses to store preferences or small amounts of state information, or you know, 5MB is

00:50:08   actually a lot, as long as you aren't using it as your main data storage, that doesn't

00:50:13   count towards your Dropbox quota.

00:50:14   And of course, once you go over that, then you just start using the person's Dropbox

00:50:17   quota, which is great for Dropbox, because then eventually if you're a free user, you

00:50:19   hit your limit because you use some application, and you end up being a paid customer, and

00:50:23   it's all a virtuous cycle.

00:50:24   So I'm cautiously optimistic about this.

00:50:27   Now, what are the implications for Apple?

00:50:30   one could argue that this is iCloud, or Core Data iCloud, but not done by Apple and hopefully

00:50:38   actually functional. So does this light a fire under Apple's keister and make them

00:50:42   make Core Data and iCloud actually work, or do you think they don't care?

00:50:46   Oh, they don't care. I mean, there are people there who do care, obviously. You know, the

00:50:50   people who are on that team obviously do care quite a bit and are working their butts off,

00:50:54   I assume. However, you can simply look at what Apple does, look at the results. You

00:51:00   can tell that iCloud is really seen as an accessory in the company, and especially the

00:51:05   iCloud developer APIs, the sync APIs and stuff that Apple themselves barely uses for their

00:51:12   own apps. You can look at that stuff and you can very much see this is not a very high

00:51:19   priority for the company. Again, I'm sure it's a very high priority for people working

00:51:23   on it, but you can tell that it's not getting the resources it needs, it's not getting the

00:51:26   priority it needs, because look at the last year, not much has really changed.

00:51:33   Well, this was in the WWDC keynote, though.

00:51:35   Didn't they have a section of the keynote that we can actually talk about where they

00:51:38   said what their policy about iCloud Core data was going forward?

00:51:42   That was not in the keynote?

00:51:44   Maybe it was in the State of the Union.

00:51:45   I don't remember.

00:51:46   Well, they mentioned it in the State of the Union, which we can't talk about, but I

00:51:50   believe it's safe to say that they basically said, "Give us another shot," in as many

00:51:55   But I just don't see it.

00:51:59   I mean, we see this with almost all of Apple's online services,

00:52:03   especially the ones that Apple themselves doesn't really

00:52:07   rely on very much.

00:52:08   We see that they just don't really

00:52:11   put that much effort into them.

00:52:13   Well, even ones that are ostensibly

00:52:15   flagship features, like messages,

00:52:18   like that's Apple's application.

00:52:20   It's an important Apple application.

00:52:22   It obviously got attention because it was nicely

00:52:23   redesigned yet it still doesn't perform its basic functions in a reliable manner.

00:52:27   So even when Apple is totally using—not that I'm saying it uses iCloud Core Data,

00:52:30   I don't know what it uses—but the point is it uses an online service that Apple implements,

00:52:35   and it is a flagship application, and it still doesn't work.

00:52:39   So them using it is not a guarantee that their online services work correctly, but it certainly

00:52:44   helps.

00:52:45   Right.

00:52:46   But it just seems like Apple still has a lot of that tunnel vision that they are infamous

00:52:51   where something gets a whole lot of attention, but then everything outside of the immediately

00:52:58   obvious first interesting thing that they're working on gets pretty neglected for a while.

00:53:04   And it's still a sign of Apple being a smaller company than their success and their money

00:53:12   and their sales and their presence would indicate. They still are a very small company with very

00:53:18   small teams relative to all the stuff they do.

00:53:22   And so how they prioritize their resources, it still is very much a zero-sum game with

00:53:30   them.

00:53:31   They don't just add a brand new team to address brand new things they're doing.

00:53:36   They move people around and deprioritize other things to prioritize certain things.

00:53:42   They don't just buy more people out of nowhere and they have this giant department all of

00:53:45   a sudden.

00:53:46   And we've talked in the past about how Google is so good at just applying way more brute

00:53:53   force engineering to problems than Apple usually does, especially in the services area.

00:53:58   And I just don't see any evidence of Apple changing that anytime soon.

00:54:03   So anything like this that is basically a major online service that's really tricky

00:54:08   to get right and has lots of substantial design tricks, technical challenges, and service

00:54:16   challenges and big data challenges.

00:54:18   I don't see Apple ever doing well.

00:54:20   Well, see, Apple's making their life harder here by — not Google — Dropbox has chosen

00:54:26   to make a simpler API.

00:54:28   It does less stuff for you.

00:54:30   It is just simpler, right?

00:54:31   Much simpler than iCloud Core Data.

00:54:33   Far, far simpler, right?

00:54:34   So that gives them a fighting chance of getting it to work correctly, having a small API that

00:54:39   developers can pick up.

00:54:40   And that's like a philosophical difference between the team that's responsible for

00:54:43   for doing these kind of services for Apple, philosophically, I mean, part of it's philosophical,

00:54:47   and part of it's like, look, they already had Core Data. People already have Core Data

00:54:50   applications. What are you going to say to those people, "Hey, we want your applications

00:54:53   to work with iCloud, but Core Data doesn't work with iCloud, so rewrite your thing to

00:54:58   use something more like the Dropbox Sync API." That would have been a tough sell back when

00:55:03   iCloud Core Data was introduced, which is why everyone's so excited. "Oh, but I have

00:55:06   a Core Data application, and they tell me we'll work with iCloud. Yeah, I don't have

00:55:10   to rewrite it. Because think if you told them, "Okay, well, you just have to throw out core

00:55:14   data and use this new API that is totally unlike core data. Much simpler. You have to

00:55:19   do a lot more coding to get it to work." But trust us, that's how online will work.

00:55:22   And that's kind of like online companies know. Your APIs have to be small, simple, and semantically

00:55:27   easy to understand, because that's the way to do it. If you try to make something big

00:55:32   and complicated, your APIs are going to be big and complicated on the client side, and

00:55:36   the server is going to be really hard to implement in an efficient manner and scale and all those

00:55:39   other things, so don't do that. But Apple is, so far, sticking to their guns and saying

00:55:44   where they do have key value store, and they could enhance key value store over the course

00:55:48   of a year to basically make it match this Dropbox API and remove all their storage limits,

00:55:52   because key value store is really just for tiny data. And they would have the equivalent

00:55:56   of this. And by all accounts, key value store does work better, because it's simpler. It

00:55:59   has to do less stuff, right? But they're saying, "No, we want to make core data work magically

00:56:05   over the internet." And it's a big, complicated API with lots of corner cases, both on the

00:56:09   client and the server.

00:56:11   And if anything goes wrong, bad things happen and we need more debugging tools, and it's

00:56:14   a really hard problem.

00:56:16   And the size of the team that's doing the Dropbox data API is probably like one tenth

00:56:21   of the people who are trying to do the core data thing, and yet they'll probably be more

00:56:24   successful because they chose to do something simpler.

00:56:28   The only thing that I wonder, and I didn't see specifically noted in the API documentation,

00:56:33   is what about sharing?

00:56:35   So I keep coming back to my example of sharing a grocery list with my wife, and it seems

00:56:41   like this Dropbox data store API would be perfect for it, except that I didn't see

00:56:46   any mention of sharing, but maybe I missed it.

00:56:48   John, did you happen to notice anything?

00:56:50   I don't think there's any sharing.

00:56:51   I think it's kind of like, it's just a data store for your application.

00:56:55   It's shared from that user on multiple devices, but not, like, there's no, like,

00:57:00   server, you know.

00:57:01   Well, there is one important part, though.

00:57:02   there is a JavaScript API as well.

00:57:05   And I haven't verified this yet, but I

00:57:08   would assume that you could use that maybe

00:57:11   from Node or the other server-side JavaScript

00:57:14   interpreters.

00:57:15   So you could probably run this server-side

00:57:19   with their JavaScript API.

00:57:23   Well, yeah, but you still need to authenticate as you

00:57:25   to get access to your data store.

00:57:27   So if I authenticate as me, I'm not

00:57:28   going to see any cases of data stores.

00:57:30   I guess you could copy it onto some other service then.

00:57:32   Right.

00:57:33   Like if you ran your own web service that used this,

00:57:37   I would imagine you could whip that up.

00:57:39   You could just have a few pages that

00:57:42   do the bounce through authentication for you,

00:57:45   and you authenticate your own people.

00:57:49   Who's going to see what?

00:57:50   Although if you're going to go through all that,

00:57:51   you might as well just have your own sync service on your server.

00:57:54   Yeah.

00:57:54   That's what it boils down to.

00:57:56   But since they have sharing for their file API,

00:57:59   this is like their version one.

00:58:01   So maybe the next version, they add--

00:58:04   obviously, they know about sharing.

00:58:05   They have some means for you to take the same file

00:58:08   and share it amongst many people and revoke sharing

00:58:11   and all that other stuff.

00:58:13   It seems like that would have to come for these data

00:58:15   stores because they have it chunked out into like,

00:58:16   you have a data store.

00:58:17   Data store have tables.

00:58:18   Tables have records.

00:58:20   They could do the sharing at probably the data store or table

00:58:24   level, and it wouldn't be crazy.

00:58:25   But maybe not for version one, right?

00:58:27   Yeah, I doubt it.

00:58:30   But all in all, I give this two thumbs up.

00:58:33   I think this is definitely-- well, a

00:58:35   tentative two thumbs up.

00:58:36   I think this is definitely a good start.

00:58:37   If it actually works, I think it's a very simple, yet at the

00:58:41   same time, like you were saying, John, kind of robust

00:58:44   way of syncing data.

00:58:46   That's a very low cost of entry, both financially and in

00:58:49   terms of effort.

00:58:50   And so I think this is really cool.

00:58:51   And although I'm not sure I disagree with you guys in that

00:58:56   Apple won't care about this, it also makes me wonder,

00:58:59   especially if adoption is really high.

00:59:00   Marco said that, not me.

00:59:02   Fair enough.

00:59:04   But I hope and I wonder that if adoption of this Dropbox Data

00:59:08   Store API is really high, if Apple will start

00:59:11   to pay attention and really do something

00:59:12   about iCloud and Core Data.

00:59:16   I should also say that I know that there

00:59:18   was a session or two about iCloud and Core Data at WWDC,

00:59:22   but I've not yet watched them.

00:59:23   So I don't know if that was just Apple groveling.

00:59:26   I don't know if perhaps in iOS 7,

00:59:28   There's going to be massive improvements.

00:59:30   I truly, honestly don't know.

00:59:31   But those of you who do have a developer account

00:59:34   should go check it out.

00:59:35   And I should take my own advice on that issue.

00:59:37   I've seen those sessions.

00:59:38   And there is news to be had there.

00:59:41   Interesting.

00:59:42   One thing we didn't mention to tie it back to topics

00:59:45   from last week's show is what if a news reader decided

00:59:48   to use Dropbox Datastore as its sync service?

00:59:51   Obviously, you can't use it to get your feeds for you

00:59:53   and give you your content.

00:59:54   But just keeping track of which things you read and haven't

00:59:56   like a fairly ideal, you know, so you don't want to make someone sign up for your own service,

01:00:01   you want them to use the account that they already have that they pay for, you don't have to run the

01:00:05   servers, you just have to store some state information about last read state and what

01:00:08   articles have marked read and favorited or whatever random metadata you want to keep,

01:00:12   like it's basically, you know, you make up the data story that you want, you still might need

01:00:17   the service to fetch all your feeds and do all that other stuff, but that this other part of it

01:00:21   for synchronizing which things are read.

01:00:24   And even just having the applications themselves

01:00:26   fetch the feeds, I know that's torturous,

01:00:28   but in the old days, that's what things used to do,

01:00:29   and hell, that's how I'm using that newswire now.

01:00:32   It's possible.

01:00:33   This could be a piece of people's reading API.

01:00:38   - Well, and even more than that,

01:00:40   what if you mix that with this new backgrounding stuff,

01:00:44   where it could be a nice combination?

01:00:46   I agree with what I think you're about to say, Marco,

01:00:49   in that. I don't know if that's really sustainable, but it's a very interesting approach.

01:00:54   Well, my big thing with it is that if you're going to run, if you're going to be having

01:00:59   like feed syncing and stuff like that, there's a lot of advantages to running your own service

01:01:04   to do that. There's not only things you can do in the background when the app isn't

01:01:09   running, but you can also, one of the biggest things with feeds in particular is parsing

01:01:14   that was parsing them and running

01:01:15   into people's weird malformed feeds.

01:01:18   Like if you can adjust your parsers on the server side

01:01:21   immediately and have that apply to everything for everyone

01:01:25   immediately instead of having to bundle them into an app update

01:01:28   and ship the app update or have some kind of weird system

01:01:30   where you have server-side definitions of what

01:01:32   the app will interpret and then you

01:01:34   have to add new things it can do to accommodate

01:01:37   some crazy new feed condition, there certainly

01:01:40   are a lot of reasons with readers in particular

01:01:43   to still have a service.

01:01:45   Plus, now we have like 15,000 reader services.

01:01:48   - Well, that's what I was thinking of,

01:01:49   is to say you make a reader, right?

01:01:50   And you wanna let people pick from the umpteen

01:01:53   other reader services that are gonna do the feed parsing

01:01:55   for you and stuff like that, right?

01:01:56   But you also wanna add value in your application,

01:01:59   and you also want, say you have awesome ideas for features,

01:02:02   but three out of the four feed things that you support

01:02:05   for your aggregation and everything,

01:02:07   don't support those features.

01:02:08   You need some layer on top of that

01:02:10   to add your own enhancements.

01:02:13   So maybe one of them, three out of the four don't support favoriting or something like

01:02:17   that.

01:02:18   Well, you could store information about your favorites.

01:02:19   Where?

01:02:20   Do you want to run a whole service on that?

01:02:21   Yeah, you could, but if it's simple enough, you could just use Dropbox as your backend.

01:02:25   Dropbox and iCloud are two possible options for key value storage or whatever, depending

01:02:28   on how much data you have, to enhance the backend features.

01:02:31   Because otherwise, you're forced to do the lowest common denominator of all your services.

01:02:36   So if one of them doesn't support folders or something, you're like, "Well, I guess

01:02:39   I can't support folders because where would I keep track of my folders?"

01:02:42   well, I keep tracking locally, but then it doesn't synchronize.

01:02:44   Or it just synchronizes on iOS if I use iCloud.

01:02:46   But if I want to have a web version, blah, blah, blah,

01:02:48   well, there's the Dropbox Datastore.

01:02:50   That's what I'm thinking, as an enhancement layer,

01:02:52   so that your application can be better than the umpteen

01:02:55   services that it supports.

01:02:56   Maybe.

01:02:57   But then it also has the problem--

01:02:58   I wrote about this with NetNewsWire in particular.

01:03:01   There's the problem then of you only

01:03:03   get that benefit if you use that application on all

01:03:07   your devices that you browse feeds from.

01:03:09   And so if you only get, like if NetNewsWire adds features

01:03:13   that only work in NetNewsWire,

01:03:15   then you have to use NetNewsWire on Mac and iPhone and iPad

01:03:20   if you read feeds in all those places to get those benefits.

01:03:23   - But if you use Feedbin as your backend,

01:03:25   then you can use any iOS reader that supports Feedbin.

01:03:27   And yeah, you won't have those fancy features,

01:03:29   but maybe you like a different reader better

01:03:30   on the other platforms.

01:03:32   And presumably you like it better for whatever reasons,

01:03:34   but you're not tied, you're not like,

01:03:36   you know, we were saying in NetNewsWire,

01:03:37   you're not actually tied to use the same reader everywhere

01:03:39   because the basics, the lowest common denominator,

01:03:42   syncs everywhere because everyone uses Feedly or Feedbin

01:03:44   or whatever your third-party services think the basics are.

01:03:47   But on particular platforms, you have enhancements.

01:03:49   And if they do a good enough job with their clients,

01:03:52   maybe you'll want to use those enhancements

01:03:53   on other platforms.

01:03:56   Basically, you're saying, OK, if I

01:03:58   want to use different readers on different platforms,

01:03:59   that means that either the reader isn't available

01:04:01   for all the platforms I want, or maybe I

01:04:02   have different feature desires from one platform

01:04:04   and the other.

01:04:05   But if you have different feature desires,

01:04:06   then you don't care that those enhancements

01:04:08   that you use on your Mac don't work elsewhere.

01:04:10   But if you do care about these awesome features in the Mac client, what you'll want to use

01:04:12   is the iOS version of that same client.

01:04:15   So nothing is going to give you everything you want, which is don't give me lowest common

01:04:21   denominator features.

01:04:22   Give me my choice of readers on every single platform and synchronize everything between

01:04:25   them.

01:04:26   That's never going to happen because it's just not.

01:04:28   It's not a solvable problem.

01:04:30   So you have to pick and choose.

01:04:31   And I think this type of solution where you use a common backend for lowest common denominator

01:04:36   functionality and then individual applications are free to enhance in the front-end using

01:04:40   some other service, that's pretty close to ideal.

01:04:47   I guess. It causes weird issues in other ways though. For instance, let's say BlackPistol

01:04:53   ships NetNewsWire and it uses Feedbin or FeedWrangler or any of these other services, or it can

01:05:02   use them, and then it does what you're saying, where it uses some other backend, whether

01:05:06   it's their own or Dropbox or whatever, to add bigger things to it. And then, let's say

01:05:11   Feedbin and Feed Wrangler add to their own services that capability, and then other clients

01:05:17   add it. Does NetNewsWire then adopt that? Because then they're removing a competitive

01:05:22   advantage they have over other feed readers by doing that. It'll cause weird situations

01:05:27   like that if people really do this.

01:05:28   Once we get real numbers, though, they'll be like, "Look, okay, I added support for

01:05:31   these five backends, but in reality, 90% of my users use these two backends. So right

01:05:35   way I can eliminate those other back ends from having to support them because it's

01:05:38   kind of a pain to support lots of different back ends.

01:05:40   And of the two remaining features, actually some of the stuff I was implementing myself

01:05:43   is available in both of them.

01:05:44   I think all developers would be happy to say, "Oh, great.

01:05:47   Well, the two remaining ones that I support have this feature so I can shift it off onto

01:05:50   them."

01:05:51   But there's always that tension between how much of the value of my application is reliant

01:05:55   on the value of a third-party service that I don't control.

01:05:58   And it's great that you can have different clients in the same third-party service, but

01:06:01   You are, in some respects, at the mercy of that third party

01:06:06   service, like if they take away a feature that you were relying

01:06:09   on.

01:06:09   So it's good to have some place to--

01:06:11   either if they take away a feature,

01:06:13   you can shift it to your back end.

01:06:14   And if they add a feature, you can take it out

01:06:16   of your back end if it is now part of the new lowest common

01:06:19   denominator that you decided to support.

01:06:21   This is just an uncomfortable period

01:06:22   now because people are just supporting as much as they

01:06:24   possibly can.

01:06:25   They don't know how things are going to shake out.

01:06:26   But I have to think there's going to be-- instead of seven

01:06:29   of them, there's going to be like two or three

01:06:31   ones left standing after a year, right?

01:06:32   Well, I think we're actually already seeing that shakeout happening now. I mean, I published

01:06:36   my numbers earlier today from what I could get. It seems like Feedly is by far the most

01:06:43   popular alternative, mostly because it's free. And I believe it's one of the only ones that's

01:06:48   free. NewsBlur is second. I think NewsBlur is free but then has premium features that

01:06:52   you can optionally buy. And NewsBlur has been around forever. It's been around way longer.

01:06:59   I believe it was four years.

01:07:01   It's been around way longer than these other services have.

01:07:05   And then Feed Wrangler and Feedbin

01:07:07   are basically neck and neck.

01:07:09   They're very similar in that they're both paid services,

01:07:12   run by very small teams.

01:07:14   I believe they're both run by single people.

01:07:18   Or Feedbin might have two.

01:07:19   Anyway, very small teams.

01:07:22   And then pretty much after that, there's a pretty big drop off.

01:07:27   Like, besides that handful, like there's--

01:07:30   literally my list is Feedly, NewsBlur, NetNewsWire,

01:07:35   clients not even using a service, FeedWrangler,

01:07:37   and Feedbin.

01:07:38   And then everything else is like less than half of those.

01:07:41   And it drops off pretty quickly.

01:07:44   And so I think we're already seeing that very few services

01:07:47   are showing up.

01:07:48   Now, that being said, I don't yet

01:07:50   have numbers for DigReader or AOL.

01:07:52   And those are pretty-- I've heard a lot of people

01:07:56   mentioning those.

01:07:57   I don't know how big they are, but we will see.

01:08:00   There's probably room for new entrants in this next year

01:08:02   as well.

01:08:03   Oh, sure.

01:08:03   Because these are all--

01:08:04   People who haven't come-- these are the guys who scrambled

01:08:06   to get something ready because the Google

01:08:07   Reader was going away.

01:08:08   And in general, they tend to be small people.

01:08:10   There's some bigger, slower moving entity

01:08:12   entering this field.

01:08:13   Who knows when they could land something that does this?

01:08:15   Amazon could do it for all we know.

01:08:17   They do crazy things all the time.

01:08:18   And I would say Feedly is not likely--

01:08:22   Feedly is likely to burn out, I think,

01:08:24   because they have a very large staff and they're free.

01:08:29   And I assume they're venture funded

01:08:32   as a result of all these things.

01:08:34   And generally companies that are on that trajectory

01:08:38   don't stay in it for the long haul.

01:08:40   Chances are Feedly is going to either shut down

01:08:44   or way more likely get bought by somebody

01:08:47   and possibly dramatically change the service as a result

01:08:50   a year or two later or even immediately.

01:08:52   - Yeah, they have to monetize it at some point

01:08:54   and any monetization is bound to be annoying.

01:08:56   - Right, so I'm guessing Feedly is gonna

01:08:59   like explode quickly and then burn out.

01:09:01   And then NewsBlur, FeedWrangler, and Feedbin,

01:09:05   I think are all in it for the long haul.

01:09:07   And we'll see what happens with them.

01:09:10   And I'm sure there's always gonna be a free option

01:09:12   from somebody that gets popular,

01:09:14   whether that's Feedly or AOL or Digg, I don't know.

01:09:17   I don't know what it's gonna be like in a year.

01:09:19   But I bet the smaller services that are run by individuals

01:09:22   have sustainable business models will last a long time, especially NewsBlur has already

01:09:26   been around for like four years. So obviously, that's a stable product, right? So we'll see.

01:09:31   I was pleased to see though that your subscriber numbers didn't plummet by virtue of Google

01:09:39   Reader going away. And I think we all kind of figured that would be the case, especially

01:09:44   for a site like Marco.org. I didn't figure.

01:09:47   Well I think that there was hope at the very least and for Marco.org which caters to nerds

01:09:53   I think you perhaps are seeing a kind of outside of the normal case situation wherein you'll

01:10:03   get a lot of subscribers moving to other platforms because we're all nerds.

01:10:08   I'm curious to hear for something more mainstream say like a CNN or something like that how

01:10:14   things change. Because that's not catering to nerds, that's catering to normal humans

01:10:19   who may or may not care about this.

01:10:21   But only nerds use RSS.

01:10:23   That's true. Well, I mean, that's not really true. Like, my wife uses RSS in a very odd

01:10:28   and in a very different way.

01:10:30   She's nerdy by a transitive property of nerdiness.

01:10:33   She is. But I mean, I know regular people that use it, but to your point, it's very,

01:10:38   very frequently a nerd that even has any idea what RSS is, and it's not very regular to

01:10:44   to hear a regular person talk about it.

01:10:47   - Yeah, I don't know.

01:10:48   I mean, these numbers sure are big.

01:10:51   You know, like I feel like RSS is one of those things

01:10:53   that I'm sure it's much more talked about

01:10:58   and maybe more actively used by nerds.

01:11:00   And certainly of course there's a whole class

01:11:02   of applications that are powered by RSS

01:11:06   and that use it in some other way like Flipboard.

01:11:08   And those tend to do way better than anything

01:11:11   that just uses RSS kind of raw the way we use it.

01:11:13   But even if it's just nerds, there's a lot of nerds.

01:11:18   Like, I learned this with my apps.

01:11:23   With the magazine, I tried to be less nerdy.

01:11:28   I tried to broaden past nerds.

01:11:30   And not only was it harder than I expected,

01:11:34   but I think that was actually a fatal mistake.

01:11:36   I think it would have done a lot better

01:11:39   if I would have just really nailed the nerd market.

01:11:42   You know, nerds are a massive market.

01:11:46   And sure, we are the worst customers in the world

01:11:49   because we're picky and we're needy and we are entitled

01:11:54   and we're generally smart and we think we're really smart

01:11:58   and so we will tell you how stupid you are for your app

01:12:01   doing a certain thing or not having a certain thing

01:12:03   or breaking in a certain way.

01:12:05   I mean, nerds are really a terrible market to serve.

01:12:08   However, if you are already in it by being a nerd

01:12:12   and you are familiar with it,

01:12:14   and you can appease the nerd market in some small way,

01:12:17   there sure are a lot of them.

01:12:19   And I've always been served very well

01:12:23   by serving the nerd market.

01:12:25   And whenever I've tried to break out of it,

01:12:27   that's when I've had trouble.

01:12:28   And I've done it.

01:12:29   Like Instapaper was not used by all nerds.

01:12:33   I mean, there were a lot, as my support email would show,

01:12:36   there were a lot of regular non-nerd type people

01:12:39   using Instapaper, and there probably still are.

01:12:41   Actually, I know there still are.

01:12:44   But you certainly can't go wrong.

01:12:47   If you think something will only appeal to nerds,

01:12:51   there's still a lot of those.

01:12:52   And you're probably wrong.

01:12:55   One thing that nerds do, which is kind of condescending--

01:12:57   and I do it too, I've been guilty of this as well--

01:13:00   is that we underestimate regular people's skills or desires

01:13:05   or abilities.

01:13:06   And certainly, there's reasons to sometimes do that.

01:13:11   Like when you're designing an interface,

01:13:13   or when you're writing the text of a dialog box,

01:13:16   you want to write it so that it will work no matter how smart

01:13:19   or not smart or engaged or not engaged the user is.

01:13:23   And you want to really be inclusive there and assume

01:13:27   nothing about the user's skills.

01:13:30   But outside of contexts like that,

01:13:35   we've got to give people credit.

01:13:37   And a lot of times, I'm very pleasantly surprised

01:13:41   by what non-nerds are able to do, especially

01:13:43   with some of the crazy crap that nerds build for themselves.

01:13:46   And we think no one else is going to use it.

01:13:48   And then people do use it, and they figure it out.

01:13:51   I'm always very surprised by that.

01:13:52   And so I think we should be careful to not say,

01:13:57   oh, this is just for nerds, because a lot of times

01:13:59   it isn't.

01:14:00   Go ahead, John.

01:14:03   I was going to say, on RSS, it's not so much

01:14:06   that there's anything inherently about RSS or what it does that is nerd-focused, but

01:14:14   I think as Marco probably pointed out in one of his things that he wrote about, it's because

01:14:18   it's an open standard not owned and controlled by a single company that these other companies

01:14:23   flee from it because Google wants you to use Google+ and Facebook wants you to use Facebook.

01:14:27   All these companies are like, "All right, so the web is great and RSS is great and all

01:14:30   these protocols that no one owns is great, but what if we could do something similar

01:14:35   but in a proprietary manner on servers that we control that locks people into our platform

01:14:39   and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

01:14:41   They all just want to do all these same things.

01:14:42   So you've seen just everything flee from RSS, and it's not because people don't want the

01:14:46   services provided by that technology, nor do they even need to know what RSS exists.

01:14:51   If companies all embrace this the same way they've essentially been forced to embrace

01:14:54   web browsers, and every single device you own came with a first-party, built-by-the-vendor,

01:14:59   essential, got-to-be-awesome newsreading application, people would love it.

01:15:04   love to use it. It's not like they don't like to read news, but it's because we didn't get

01:15:09   past that critical threshold like we did with the web. We're like, "Look, if you buy a device,

01:15:12   better have a web browser, or it better be a good web browser." And I don't care that

01:15:15   you don't control the web because customers demand it. We never got there with RSS. We

01:15:20   seemed like we were close when Apple was adding RSS to all of its things, but if we had gotten

01:15:24   there, people would just spend all day in news readers because it's a great way to consume

01:15:27   content on the web. It's not that news reading itself is nerdy, it's that the protocol didn't

01:15:33   break through that barrier and now we're kind of, you know, they successfully

01:15:36   marginalized it and are trying to bring us all to their stupid proprietary

01:15:40   platforms to do all the similar things.

01:15:41   Yeah.

01:15:44   And the thing I was going to say, um, also going back a step is that the, the

01:15:50   interesting thing about nerds is that once you hit about age 25 or so, more

01:15:55   often than not, nerds are willing to spend some money and they're willing to

01:15:58   spend some money on things that make them happy and, or at least that's the nerds

01:16:01   that I interact with, which, granted, are all typically Apple users and stereotypes

01:16:07   are true for a reason, or stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

01:16:12   Most of my friends and family members have come to realize that a three, four, five dollar

01:16:17   app is the cost of one of Marco's beloved Starbucks coffees, and they last a lot longer.

01:16:25   Marco catering to nerds is often a lucrative thing because nerds are willing to spend some

01:16:31   money on stuff that makes them happy. And that's a good thing.

01:16:35   They're likely to be gainfully employed as well.

01:16:37   Oh, so true. Presumably their nerdiness translates into

01:16:40   some kind of marketable skill. Right, exactly. And Sam the Geek in the chat

01:16:44   is offended that I said it's only the over-25 nerds, but that's just a ballpark. Some

01:16:50   of the younger nerds can also pay for things too.

01:16:52   The younger nerds jailbreak and pirate everything. Exactly. That's what I thought. That is

01:16:57   very true. And on that bomb shot—

01:16:59   you want to wrap it up? Alright, thanks a lot to our two sponsors this week, Audible

01:17:03   and Transporter, and I'll see you guys next week.

01:17:06   week.

01:17:13   begin cause it was accidental. Oh it was accidental. John didn't do any research, Margo and Casey

01:17:20   wouldn't let him cause it was accidental. It was accidental. And you can find the show

01:17:31   notes at ATP.fm. And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them at CASEYL.

01:17:39   You can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S

01:17:45   So that's Kasey Liss M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M

01:17:49   Auntie Marco Arment S-I-R-A-C

01:17:54   USA, Syracuse

01:17:57   It's accidental (it's accidental)

01:18:00   They didn't mean to

01:18:02   Accidental (accidental)

01:18:05   So what are we doing about titles?

01:18:12   Oh, I haven't even looked yet.

01:18:13   I was saving it.

01:18:14   It's like podcast dessert.

01:18:16   I didn't get a chance to add my two cents on the Nailing the Nerd Market, the other

01:18:23   big factor, which I think you probably talked about at some point, and back to work.

01:18:27   Building Analysts, the reason you're going to have an easier time being successful in

01:18:32   nerd market is because it's so much easier to make an application used by people who

01:18:35   are like you, right?

01:18:36   Oh, definitely.

01:18:37   It's so much easier to empathize, right?

01:18:38   So, you know, because you are a nerd and because, you know, presumably software developers have

01:18:42   nerdy tendencies, yes, it's much easier, you know, to hit the nerd market with nerd applications

01:18:47   written by a nerd who understands what nerds like and is a one-man shop and you know what

01:18:51   I mean?

01:18:52   So that's also a big factor in there.

01:18:54   Oh, absolutely.

01:18:55   But, you know, a lot of times, too, like, you know, nerds think of solutions to problems

01:19:01   that most people don't even think they have.

01:19:04   But a lot of times they do have that problem,

01:19:06   and they appreciate the solution once they see it.

01:19:09   - Well, that's engineering.

01:19:10   It's solving a problem you didn't know you had

01:19:12   in a way that you don't understand.

01:19:13   (laughs)

01:19:14   - Right, exactly.

01:19:16   Exactly.

01:19:17   And so I do think there's some value,

01:19:18   and that's one of the reasons why a lot of nerd stuff

01:19:21   does jump the gap into regular people,

01:19:24   because, you know, I mean, some of the stuff,

01:19:26   like, you know, if you're making some kind of web sync

01:19:30   service to synchronize your Twitter posts onto the newest social network.

01:19:36   So you cross post between Twitter and app.net.

01:19:39   That is a problem that normal people don't have and are unlikely to ever have.

01:19:43   And so that is going to be limited really only to nerds.

01:19:46   Look at something like If This Then That, IFTTT.

01:19:50   Great site, great idea, almost definitely going to stay with nerds.

01:19:54   Because it solves a whole class of problems and desires

01:19:59   that mostly only nerds have.

01:20:01   But things like Twitter itself, that

01:20:04   was something that started out pretty nerdy.

01:20:06   But it solved a problem that a lot of people had.

01:20:09   Just it first was only known about by nerds.

01:20:12   And that's the kind of thing that can break out.

01:20:15   That's another thing you can do with a Dropbox API.

01:20:17   Synchronize my direct message red state

01:20:19   so I don't have to use the Twitter official client, which

01:20:21   is how I added that feature.

01:20:22   But only as my understanding for the official Twitter

01:20:24   client, which I don't want to use.

01:20:26   Yeah, I totally understand.

01:20:27   They didn't actually make an API for it.

01:20:28   They used to add it themselves.

01:20:29   Yeah, they just added it to the—right.

01:20:30   So then it's like, well, fine.

01:20:32   If I use Twitterific on both platforms, if they both talk to the Dropbox thing, they

01:20:37   could also use iCloud key value storage, but that's not cross-platform.

01:20:39   It has size limitations.

01:20:41   So just use this.

01:20:42   It's really easy to do with the Dropbox data storage.

01:20:44   You're just—you have an identifier for the message, you just store a big list of them.

01:20:48   If it's fast and efficient, go to town.

01:20:52   So with regard to titles, I don't think I care, but I would recommend something that

01:20:55   relates to Dropbox and not something that relates to iWatch.

01:20:58   So I don't know what that would be, but whatever.

01:21:02   I'm pretty bored of iWatch already, even though we don't know about it yet.

01:21:06   Even if it's real or anything about it.

01:21:08   Like I'm bored of everyone, including us, speculating about it, just because we have

01:21:15   nothing to work on.

01:21:17   And it could be something really cool, but that's really unlikely, and the most likely

01:21:22   thing is going to be is really boring. And so I just, like, I just, I'm so burnt out

01:21:29   from people talking about it.

01:21:30   Yeah.

01:21:31   And again, that includes us and me even. Like, you know, I say this with full self-realization

01:21:37   that we just talked about it for like 25 minutes earlier. But it's just so, I don't know, we

01:21:44   have nothing to work on.

01:21:45   You'll be reinvigorated when it's not a watch but it's actually a necklace or perhaps an

01:21:49   earring. Then what was I meant to talk about? I cannot wait to hear the story of Marco getting

01:21:54   his ear pierced in order to wear the eye earring. The apple tongue stud. Oh god that'd be terrible.

01:22:03   Think of the sensors they could get in there. Holy crap. I'm uncomfortable. Oh man. Hey,

01:22:11   so in random other news, since Marco and his family came to visit this weekend, I've seen

01:22:17   his new app and it is glorious.

01:22:19   - The new one or the practice new one?

01:22:22   - The practice new one.

01:22:23   - The practice new one.

01:22:24   - Yeah.

01:22:25   - To be honest, I'm just trolling the chat room right now

01:22:28   'cause they were begging for information about it

01:22:30   and I'm not gonna give them any.

01:22:30   - Well you know Underscore David Smith saw it too.

01:22:33   - Are you releasing it or what?

01:22:34   It's done right?

01:22:35   - It's awaiting approval.

01:22:36   It is officially shipped to Apple

01:22:39   but it's awaiting approval.

01:22:40   It's been about eight days so it's not totally unreasonable.

01:22:45   I can tell from my Tapstream analytics--

01:22:49   I'm trying Tapstream for the first time here,

01:22:51   previous sponsor of my site, Disclosure--

01:22:54   I can tell from their analytics that there have not been any new

01:22:57   launches of the app since I submitted it.

01:23:00   So as far as I can tell, it's not like hitting some wall

01:23:04   that somebody has to ask someone about.

01:23:06   Like, it's just waiting in the queue.

01:23:10   So we will see.

01:23:10   That's interesting.

01:23:11   You should write a Mac app, because I

01:23:12   keep hearing people getting their Mac apps

01:23:14   through in like one day.

01:23:15   I know, it's crazy.

01:23:16   But that's such a roller coaster.

01:23:18   Last year, it was like 45 days or something.

01:23:23   It was ridiculous.

01:23:25   So yeah, at least iOS is fairly consistent.

01:23:28   iOS is pretty much always six to eight days.

01:23:31   It's very rarely outside of those bounds.

01:23:34   And when it is, not by much.

01:23:36   So we will see.

01:23:38   But yeah, I'm just waiting for that to be approved.

01:23:41   And then I actually just today restarted work

01:23:44   on the other big app that'll be out this fall, I hope.

01:23:47   It's funny, I've decided that I'm

01:23:49   going to require iOS 7 for the new one.

01:23:51   But the question is, then, when do you release that?

01:23:56   Obviously, it's great to get it out there early.

01:23:58   But the earlier you get it out there, the fewer people

01:24:00   can actually use it.

01:24:02   And the more you're competing for press attention and Apple

01:24:05   features, if you're trying to get out there,

01:24:07   like the week of iOS 7's launch.

01:24:09   I think you want to be out on launch.

01:24:11   You definitely want to be out on launch.

01:24:13   I know all the downsides, but the downsides all have nothing to do with the number of

01:24:18   sales you're getting and everything.

01:24:20   As soon as people get an iOS 7 device, they're going to want to put applications on it that

01:24:27   show off iOS 7 and that are sort of iOS 7 savvy, to use the old System 7 term, and you

01:24:32   want yours to be one of those things.

01:24:34   Because I think that's a big foot in the door.

01:24:36   If you think about all the people who were like that on day one on the iPad or day one

01:24:39   in the iPhone app store. I think that's a huge advantage.

01:24:43   Yeah, that's true. That might work. Yeah, I'll have to see.

01:24:47   It's a nightmare scramble to do that. Right.

01:24:49   You end up shipping something that is not in the state that perhaps you would want to

01:24:52   ship it, but I still think you're going to work on the application. It's going to improve,

01:24:57   even if that first version is new. People are just going to go through, like, "I just

01:24:59   want to buy it." Like in the iPad launch, "I've got a new iPad. Which applications

01:25:03   are iPad savvy?" Put them on here. I really do wonder also, though, how many

01:25:08   people are going to hold off upgrading on 7 because it is so different. And certainly

01:25:12   there's going to be a lot of backlash when it launches from people who want things back the old way.

01:25:16   And so I wonder like

01:25:20   I don't think it's going to be a big delay for people but I bet there will be something. I bet we'll hear it.

01:25:24   Like every time there's a new iPhone

01:25:28   or iOS release but especially a new iPhone release, every time there's some kind of stupid

01:25:32   consumer report scandal about some part of it that everyone doesn't like and

01:25:36   I think it's going to be iOS 7 that's following. I think that's going to be the big Apple scandal.

01:25:40   It's like, "Oh my God, nobody likes iOS 7 and no one can figure out how to use it,"

01:25:44   even though it takes a minute to get used to.

01:25:48   Yeah, but all the five million people who buy the iPhone 5S or whatever the hell in

01:25:53   the holiday season, those people are going to have to be stuck with iOS 7 and they'll

01:25:57   buy your application.

01:25:58   Yeah. We'll have to probably save this for next show. I am curious to talk about Apple's

01:26:01   fall lineup. Yeah, let's save that for next show.

01:26:05   All right.

01:26:06   Because this looks like there's a lot coming, and possibly like all in the same month.

01:26:12   If I were you, Jon, I would maybe get your review done for September.

01:26:18   Yeah, no.

01:26:19   I know all about it.

01:26:20   I know all about it.

01:26:21   I'm so angry.

01:26:22   I can say, so slow going, so friggin' slow.

01:26:25   I just look at it and I'm just—this is—I'm on the page where I'm like, "This is never

01:26:28   going to be finished."

01:26:29   It was literally never going to be finished.

01:26:30   Jon, you know, maybe if you gave up on all your other podcasts and actually worked on

01:26:35   It's not the podcast, it's the 9 to 5 job.

01:26:38   It really takes time away.

01:26:40   Let me tell you.

01:26:41   I'm just giving you a hard time.

01:26:44   So to continue darting around between topics, IceVix from a 16-year-old perspective says,

01:26:50   from a 16-year-old perspective, most kids seem to like it except for the UI change,

01:26:54   the main change, and there are very few that don't like it.

01:26:57   So what is there that one would like that isn't the UI change?

01:27:02   Because no normal 16-year-old has any idea what the hell.

01:27:04   But 16 year olds don't write articles. It's grumpy old men who write articles in the stupid

01:27:08   magazines that are like, "Ah, my phone changed and everything's all white. I can't read the

01:27:12   text because it's too thin." And there'll be legitimate complaints mixed in with the

01:27:16   fear of change mixed in with the blah, blah, blah. But I don't know if the back... Hopefully

01:27:19   we're getting through all the backlash now. And by the time it ships, we'll be like, "Eh,

01:27:24   we're used to it. It's all right."

01:27:26   Do you want to pick a title? Oh, you know, one thing I do like, which John mentioned

01:27:30   very quickly in passing, the transitive property of nerdiness. Is that too long? I like it.

01:27:36   I do like that as well. You should Google that to make sure I use the

01:27:39   right word. I guess back to my tweet about Googling embarrassing

01:27:45   questions. Much better to Google the answers than to not.

01:27:49   I'm pretty sure that's correct. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's correct too,

01:27:52   but this is exactly the type of thing. Yeah, I'm almost 100% certain it's correct, and

01:27:55   yet the internet is sitting there saying, "Why don't you just ask me? I have the actual

01:27:59   Like, why not double-check?

01:28:02   That's why writing this freaking review takes forever, because every single thing I write

01:28:05   in there, I'm like, "You know what?

01:28:06   Let me check that.

01:28:07   You know what?

01:28:08   Let me check that."

01:28:09   John, have you ever been wrong about anything?

01:28:10   You know what?

01:28:11   Let me check that.

01:28:12   And you find out you're on a five-minute diversion to check some fact that you were 99.9% sure

01:28:13   it's correct, but you have to prove it before you can go on with the sentence.

01:28:16   Anyway.

01:28:17   Have you ever been wrong about anything ever?

01:28:18   No, that's what kills me, the reviews.

01:28:20   All I see is the one fact that I didn't check that I got wrong.

01:28:27   the name of this machine, the release date of this thing,

01:28:29   or the price is off by a dollar because I didn't check it

01:28:31   'cause I was just going by memory and it just kills me.

01:28:35   - Here's the problem, John, here's the problem you have,

01:28:38   is that that Retina MacBook Pro that showed up

01:28:40   in Geekbench a few days ago was running Mavericks.

01:28:44   Do you see why that's a problem?

01:28:46   - I know, when they say fall, I try to be ready

01:28:51   by the first day of fall.

01:28:52   Like, I'm no dummy, I know how this thing goes.

01:28:55   I don't assume it's going to be the middle or end of fall.

01:28:57   I assume it's going to be on the first day of fall,

01:28:59   and that's what I'm still shooting for.

01:29:01   - I'm thinking we have two big events.

01:29:04   We have an iOS event and we have a Mac event.

01:29:06   I'm thinking those are separate events.

01:29:09   The iOS event happens later, more likely November,

01:29:11   because iOS 7 needs a lot of time.

01:29:14   iOS 7 is nowhere near done.

01:29:15   However, I'm thinking that the Mac event

01:29:18   might happen as early as September,

01:29:21   and that Mavericks comes out then,

01:29:24   along with the Mac Pro, new Retina MacBook Pros,

01:29:29   and maybe an iMac refresh.

01:29:31   - I think they'll delay the Mac Pro,

01:29:33   because like, well, the Retina screens aren't ready,

01:29:35   so the Mac Pro will have more to say

01:29:37   about that later in the year,

01:29:38   'cause back to the old, they can't resist.

01:29:40   It's like, you know what, screw those Mac Pros.

01:29:42   We'll get it out in the fall, December 19th.

01:29:45   Well, you know, because like, they're holding the Mac Pro,

01:29:48   we all hope they're holding it with some monitors too, so.

01:29:51   Even if they're not, they'll just be like,

01:29:52   you know what, screw the Mac Pro.

01:29:53   that one's gonna wait.

01:29:55   We gotta hire all those Americans to build it or something.

01:29:57   - Well, the Mac Pro right now, they can't release it now

01:29:59   because Intel hasn't released those CPUs yet,

01:30:02   presumably in volume.

01:30:03   The official delivery date of those CPUs is September.

01:30:08   And it's the same delivery date for many of the Hasselt parts

01:30:13   in volume, I believe.

01:30:14   I'm not sure on that part, but obviously they're holding

01:30:19   back the Retina MacBook Pro for some reason.

01:30:21   - The Mac Pro also has to wait till Mavericks,

01:30:23   All these new Macs have to wait for Mavericks.

01:30:25   They're not going to bother getting them to work correctly with Mountain Lion because

01:30:30   there's no big rush in the Mac Pro.

01:30:31   People have waited so long already.

01:30:32   What's the big deal?

01:30:34   Same thing with the Retinas.

01:30:36   But that also means we're probably not talking November here.

01:30:39   We're probably talking September.

01:30:40   Yeah, I know.

01:30:41   I'm planning on it.

01:30:42   I'm trying to get done.

01:30:44   Well, October is after September, last I checked.

01:30:48   So you'll be clear about that.

01:30:49   I never know because the wild card is maybe it's such a mad scramble for iOS 7, which

01:30:54   is do or die, that they pull everybody off everything and it's like, "Everyone just get

01:30:58   iOS 7 done," and then go back to what you were doing and then Mavericks get deleted

01:31:03   just because due to sheer neglect.

01:31:05   Because everyone was pulled off to work on iOS 7 because that is far from done and they

01:31:10   have to get that done.

01:31:11   Oh yeah.

01:31:12   Well, honestly, I think they're just going to ship whatever the hell they have in mid-November

01:31:17   or whatever it is.

01:31:18   They're just going to ship it, period.

01:31:19   Whatever they have at that point, that's what 7.0.

01:31:23   You can do that with iOS 6 and 5 where they just cut off features, but they can't have

01:31:27   a disaster where everyone gets their phones on Christmas morning and there's some fatal

01:31:30   bug that they just can't have that.

01:31:32   It's a problem.

01:31:33   So they have to ship what they have, but they also have to make sure that what they have

01:31:37   is stable, does not have any fatal flaws, and that's really hard to do when you're making

01:31:43   a mad scramble like this.

01:31:44   Well, they're already almost to that point, though.

01:31:47   beta is two, I didn't use beta one much, but between beta two and three there's already

01:31:52   a significant reduction in reboots.

01:31:54   Well, a reduction in reboots is not...

01:31:57   Well, with three I haven't seen one.

01:31:59   With two I would see about one a day.

01:32:01   With three I haven't seen any yet.

01:32:02   I mean, I've only had it for a few days so far, but...

01:32:04   It's not burning your battery, it's not failing to sync something, like so many things, yeah.

01:32:08   It's so much easier when you're doing...

01:32:10   Most of the bugs that remain in iOS 7 right now are just like minor UI problems.

01:32:16   "Oh, this label disappears," or "The status bar appears rotated in the wrong way on the

01:32:22   screen." It's minor UI quirks that, yeah, they suck, and they're definitely bugs, but

01:32:29   if they ship with that, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

01:32:32   Yeah, no data loss, no crashes, no phone reboots, and no failure to do some essential function

01:32:39   like convey text messages or synchronize something or get mail or skipping mail messages.

01:32:46   Right. No, I mean, I have no doubts that they'll be able to get something out there that is stable and doesn't have major bugs like that by November.

01:32:55   I suspect that 7.0 is going to have still some weird little edge case UI bugs, just because there are so many new UIs and so many of them are not quite baked yet.

01:33:08   But the the solid like you know like the kernel is fine. I'm sure like springboard will be pretty much fine

01:33:13   You know like that all the really important stuff the the common stuff the underlying stuff that'll I think be fine

01:33:20   By November because it's already almost fine now

01:33:23   Well and plus yeah, I mean everything I've read on

01:33:27   Twitter says that Mavericks is good to go immediately. You know that they're ready so even if there's a grant well

01:33:34   Which means John you're I?

01:33:36   I wouldn't say that. When I come back to my Mavericks laptop, it is after a night. I put it to sleep.

01:33:42   I put the Mac laptop to sleep, and then I go to bed and come back down in the morning, and the thing is

01:33:47   usually awake, fans on, but totally hard-hung. So, maybe it's not ready yet.

01:33:53   Fair enough.