436: I Bend So Many Spoons


00:00:00   (upbeat music)

00:00:02   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 436.

00:00:13   Today's show is brought to you by StoryWorth,

00:00:16   Capital One, and Ooni Pizza Ovens.

00:00:19   Here is your host, Jason Snell.

00:00:22   - Thank you, Myke.

00:00:23   Hello, everybody.

00:00:24   We are back for another Myke-less, almost,

00:00:26   episode of Upgrade.

00:00:27   I am Jason Snell and I am hosting this episode with a very special guest

00:00:32   Returning to upgrade for the I actually have lost count half a dozen or so time. It is John, Syracuse. Oh, hi John

00:00:40   When you say mic lists, we both have mics in front of us, but that's okay, right? You didn't hear the why?

00:00:45   No

00:00:47   It's like tire with a why?

00:00:49   It is I just put that together. Yeah, but not not choir because that has a qu you

00:00:57   - Mm-hmm.

00:00:58   - It's the, we, that's a different pod,

00:01:00   that's not "Robot or Not" that we're doing now.

00:01:02   That's a totally different podcast that we're doing

00:01:05   about weird English spelling and things.

00:01:08   Anyway, I just, for this trip,

00:01:10   I'm just replacing Myke with a series of guys named John.

00:01:14   - Mm-hmm, as you do.

00:01:16   There's so many of us, why not?

00:01:17   Why not take advantage of the bounty?

00:01:19   - I bought the six pack at Costco,

00:01:21   and you know, you gotta use them all.

00:01:24   But we start off with the #snelltalk question,

00:01:28   which I'm also gonna apply to my guests,

00:01:31   which I have again posed myself because I wanna know,

00:01:36   John, what is your Christmas shopping strategy?

00:01:39   - Hmm, I mean, I have to say I have never been good

00:01:45   at gift giving or buying.

00:01:51   My main skill lies in the years that I spent honing my gift asking for abilities as a child.

00:01:59   That seemed very important for me to develop as a kid.

00:02:02   So I feel like I'm good at that. I've always been good at making lists of presents that I want,

00:02:09   and I've been good at figuring out how to get my parents to give them to me.

00:02:13   And those skills stopped being useful once I left the house.

00:02:17   And now I'm left with nothing. I not don't do a good job of buying people things. I don't know what to get people things

00:02:24   It's a problem. So I mean my strategy such as it is is all throughout the year

00:02:29   I have a notes and you know a document in Apple Notes called gift ideas and

00:02:33   Anytime there is any inkling of any kind of gift that anybody might like I write

00:02:39   the gift items a little head headings for people's names and then there's like little bulleted lists of gift ideas for them and

00:02:45   And then when the holidays come, my strategy is I pull up that document and I hope that there will be some

00:02:49   headings underneath people's names that aren't already checked off.

00:02:52   And if they are already checked off, then I go to the people and say, "What do you want? Give me a list.

00:02:58   I need a list. I can't think of anything."

00:03:00   Yeah, that's my strategy. It involves a lot of whining and occasionally looking at another's document.

00:03:06   This is very much

00:03:08   my strategy too, and my story too. I'm very bad at this. I need people's help.

00:03:14   help. Fortunately, having been married more than 25 years, you've got—we've gotten to

00:03:23   the point where our strategy is, for the last three or four months of the year, if there's

00:03:29   something that you would like to buy yourself, don't do it and tell your spouse instead,

00:03:35   right? Like, that's the—and listeners to this podcast heard me do that a few weeks

00:03:40   ago where Myke was talking about the slippers that he liked. And I very much had to say,

00:03:48   "No, I'm not gonna go buy them. I'm going to mention to Lauren that this would be a

00:03:53   thing that she could get for me." And by mentioned, do you mean send her the actual link so you

00:03:58   make sure you get the exact ones that you were looking at? Yeah, exactly. Literally

00:04:03   sending her a text saying, "Oh, here's a thing you could get me." And she does the same for

00:04:06   me. Just exact hyperlinks and you have to know if you link to the site and it doesn't

00:04:10   remember the size that you selected,

00:04:11   you have to put down the size and the color and.

00:04:13   - Yeah, and if you're thinking,

00:04:15   well, also you can kind of artfully,

00:04:16   like I was like, I don't know which color to pick.

00:04:18   I'm like, you know what?

00:04:19   I'm not gonna specify color.

00:04:20   We're just gonna see what happens.

00:04:21   And in fact, more broadly, if you're thinking,

00:04:24   this is no fun because you're never gonna be surprised.

00:04:27   Friends, let me tell you, if you do enough of them

00:04:29   and you do them for long enough in advance,

00:04:32   you've forgotten everything that you said to your partner.

00:04:34   And so then it's like, oh yeah, I did want this.

00:04:37   And it's actually kind of nice.

00:04:39   I think for the past, I don't know, three, five years,

00:04:42   I don't think I've made it through a Christmas

00:04:44   without realizing that there's something I purchased

00:04:46   probably for my wife that I forgot to wrap and give to her

00:04:49   that I find in a hiding place months later.

00:04:51   - Yes. - Go, oh,

00:04:52   I forgot that I got you this for Christmas

00:04:54   and I forgot to wrap,

00:04:55   because I have them all squirreled away all over the place.

00:04:56   And then you totally, especially if you buy it months

00:04:58   in advance, I totally forget about it.

00:05:00   - Yeah, I bought a piece of art,

00:05:02   an art print for Lauren and had it in a tube.

00:05:08   and then like six months, like, cause it's, it came in a tube and I just put the shipping

00:05:12   tube like in one of my drawers and then like six months later I'm going through and like,

00:05:16   what's in this tube? And I opened it up and I was like, oh, oh, that was a Christmas present.

00:05:22   It's a real surprise. It's a surprise, Christmas present in July.

00:05:25   And I appreciate your idea that you have a notes document. I, I have a reminders list

00:05:32   called end of year gift ideas.

00:05:35   That is where I put all the ideas, not only for my family,

00:05:40   but also I have the, you know,

00:05:43   do something nice for the incomparable hosts

00:05:47   and what's the item gonna be,

00:05:50   the annual item gonna be for the incomparable members

00:05:52   who get like something in the mail.

00:05:54   I have them all in there.

00:05:56   So that is my, they're all mixed in together.

00:05:59   'cause it really, I just, as with so much in reminders,

00:06:03   it's literally like, I just wanna get this idea down

00:06:06   because I know that in two hours, I'm gonna be like,

00:06:09   hey, I had a good idea, what was it?

00:06:12   And it's not gonna come to me.

00:06:14   - I think you can get rid of the end of the year

00:06:16   or end of year prefix there and just call it gift ideas

00:06:18   and change the icon from a snowflake, ha ha,

00:06:20   to a box or something.

00:06:23   - Can I do that? - Because it's like,

00:06:24   what about like, you know, just random gifts?

00:06:26   Like I have gift ideas for people

00:06:28   who I've never purchased a gift for,

00:06:30   but I feel like if I had ever had to purchase a gift

00:06:32   for them or wanted to, this is what I would get them.

00:06:34   - Wonder, could I do a box?

00:06:37   I mean, there's squares, but I don't know.

00:06:38   - Also consider title case.

00:06:40   - There is a box.

00:06:41   Well, yeah, you can see that I was just desperate

00:06:43   to get to the list when I decided this.

00:06:45   Okay, Jon, I have taken your advice.

00:06:52   - And you've capitalized, wow, look at that.

00:06:55   You're like a professional now.

00:06:56   There's a box and it says gift ideas.

00:06:58   And the item is gone down now that you purchased the gift for me.

00:07:01   Actually, I discovered that a gift that I gave Lauren for our anniversary was on that

00:07:04   list so I checked it off.

00:07:06   Done.

00:07:07   John, as I can tell from the sound of your dog barking in the background, I wanted to

00:07:11   do a little follow out to ATP, generally, because you talk about your life and your

00:07:16   house on that podcast, the Accidental Tech Podcast.

00:07:18   Also it's direct gifts as well.

00:07:20   No the.

00:07:21   No the?

00:07:22   Mm-hmm.

00:07:23   - Mm-hmm.

00:07:24   - The re, did I say the rectiffs?

00:07:28   - No, you said the accidental tech podcast.

00:07:29   - Oh, the accidental tech podcast.

00:07:30   I was, well, it's a, the, the, and then the-

00:07:32   - So that would be T-A-T-B.

00:07:34   - The quote, no, no, the quote mark comes after the the.

00:07:37   It's the quote accidental tech podcast,

00:07:39   if that is its real name.

00:07:42   Although I do kind of want to call it the rectiffs now.

00:07:44   I think that's kind of fun.

00:07:45   You hear the rectiffs?

00:07:47   I don't know about that Merlin.

00:07:49   It's like things that my mom would say

00:07:52   She listened to podcasts.

00:07:54   - I know, Bez listens to rec-diffs and she does say that.

00:07:57   - Ah, I went to your house.

00:08:00   I was in your house last week.

00:08:03   - You were.

00:08:03   - You were there too, I didn't like break in.

00:08:06   - Mm-hmm.

00:08:07   - My impression of it was that it was much nicer

00:08:10   than I thought, but that's only because I only knew

00:08:13   about it from listening to the complaints

00:08:15   of the person who lives there.

00:08:17   - No, and also it's like Disneyland,

00:08:18   like we control the sight lines.

00:08:20   - That's true, that's true.

00:08:21   I didn't go upstairs.

00:08:23   - You didn't, so you're sitting on the couch,

00:08:25   but above your head was the majority of the peeling paint.

00:08:28   And then where you see in your eye line

00:08:29   was the lesser peeling paint.

00:08:31   - There is some peeling paint in the corner of the ceiling

00:08:32   and off to my right in that corner.

00:08:35   - There's way more than that.

00:08:37   It's everywhere.

00:08:37   It's everywhere slightly out of your eye line.

00:08:39   - Well, John, honestly,

00:08:40   after I complimented your house for being nice,

00:08:43   the last thing I wanted to do

00:08:44   is start pointing out the flaws.

00:08:45   I thought you're aware.

00:08:46   - Yeah, I know.

00:08:46   Then you start seeing them.

00:08:47   (laughing)

00:08:49   I mean, I could have pointed them all out to you,

00:08:50   but we would have been all right.

00:08:51   the satisfaction of that, quite frankly.

00:08:53   But I do, I do, we had Chinese food, we recorded a podcast,

00:08:59   it's gonna be this week's episode of The Incomparable,

00:09:02   we talk about Andor, the Star Wars show.

00:09:05   Daisy, your dog, barked a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot.

00:09:10   Her house was invaded by people.

00:09:13   - I mean, I wouldn't say it's a lot.

00:09:15   She barked a little bit, and then she was basically menacing

00:09:19   for the rest of the time.

00:09:20   - She did menace some people,

00:09:24   most specifically Brian Hamilton,

00:09:26   but she did menace some people, it's true.

00:09:31   - She smells fear, and when she smells fear,

00:09:33   it makes her afraid.

00:09:34   - Interesting, and then she's even more on edge.

00:09:38   Yeah, she actually was really good with me,

00:09:40   but like I have a dog. - 'Cause you're a dog person.

00:09:43   - I've had dogs, and I understand dogs,

00:09:46   So I was not afraid of her and I got her,

00:09:50   I kind of got her in that way.

00:09:51   Although it did strike me that having a dog,

00:09:53   I mean, I sort of understood it conceptually

00:09:56   that you have to deal with the dog for podcasting reasons.

00:09:59   But it was only as I sat there and heard her bark

00:10:03   that I thought, oh, this would actually be a big problem

00:10:05   for podcasting.

00:10:07   - And now you get to hear it on your very own podcast.

00:10:09   - It's good, I mean, it's topical.

00:10:11   - It's my fault.

00:10:12   Next time I'll say,

00:10:13   because you start the podcast at 1 p.m.

00:10:15   and then you don't have to deal with this.

00:10:16   'Cause she goes off to her doggy play date.

00:10:18   - Okay, we would have had to make all the people

00:10:19   who listen to live to upgrade, which you can do.

00:10:21   - Oh yeah, right, well anyway, enjoy.

00:10:23   - Pacific, Eastern.

00:10:24   But she did, I didn't, I think I may have poked my head

00:10:28   into your office, but basically I didn't see.

00:10:31   I didn't look around in there, I didn't see.

00:10:32   - You should have, I cleaned it for everybody.

00:10:34   - I appreciate it, it was very clean.

00:10:37   Very, very nice, very nice house.

00:10:38   It's got all the holiday decorations wore up.

00:10:41   You too have a picture from your wedding

00:10:43   where you and Tina look like kids playing dress up,

00:10:46   which is what my wedding picture with Lauren looks like.

00:10:49   It's exactly the same picture.

00:10:50   It's nice.

00:10:52   But, and I didn't, I honestly, as we were walking up,

00:10:56   I was like, I know so many stories

00:10:57   about things that happen in this house.

00:10:59   It was a little weird.

00:11:00   It was almost like going to like a movie set or something.

00:11:03   It's like, I know way.

00:11:04   - You could have gone into my kitchen

00:11:06   and looked at how level my refrigerator doors are.

00:11:10   Like you could have checked out the toaster.

00:11:11   So much you could have done.

00:11:12   - There is, you know, I didn't look at the toaster at all.

00:11:15   However, I did take a glass of water out of the tap

00:11:21   and then thought it had a funny taste,

00:11:23   dumped it out and-

00:11:25   - You are insane on tap water, it's awesome.

00:11:28   - Went to your filtered water in the Brita pitcher instead.

00:11:32   - Which tastes like Brita filter.

00:11:34   - I felt it had no taste, but your water had a taste to it.

00:11:38   There was something there.

00:11:39   I never take tap water and then dump it out.

00:11:41   I never do that.

00:11:42   And I was like, you know, I bet if the tap water tastes

00:11:45   like this, I bet there's a Brita pitcher in the,

00:11:47   well, first I thought, I bet, you know,

00:11:49   I could get filtered water from the refrigerator.

00:11:52   And then of course your refrigerator's hooked up to water.

00:11:54   - I didn't even know that thing was there.

00:11:55   I totally forgotten about it.

00:11:57   - And so then I pressed the button.

00:11:59   I was like, oh, right.

00:12:00   So then I saw that there was a Brita pitcher

00:12:02   and I was like, well, great.

00:12:03   I would have otherwise had the tap water,

00:12:04   but I dumped the tap water.

00:12:06   - Maybe you didn't let it run long enough.

00:12:07   That might've been the thing too.

00:12:08   - I did, we did have that conversation

00:12:10   sometimes they tell you you gotta run the tap a little bit. So everybody else, see,

00:12:13   yes, because everybody else is like, "Oh, the water is fine," but maybe I took the

00:12:16   bullet there and I had the bad water at the beginning and then it smoothed out.

00:12:20   Yeah, now in terms of tasting water, Long Island water, best tasting, where I came from

00:12:24   on Long Island. It's right from underneath the island, the sand just filters it all out.

00:12:29   Filters are great.

00:12:30   That's number one. And I think number two is probably maybe New York City water from

00:12:37   the upstate reservoirs and number three is Massachusetts.

00:12:39   And then a distant 99th is the places in California

00:12:42   that I've been.

00:12:43   - Well, our water here is excellent

00:12:45   because it comes from the mountains.

00:12:46   - It's a great.

00:12:47   I mean, it's not chlorinated Pennsylvania water.

00:12:50   I'm not saying it's that bad, but.

00:12:52   - So speaking of your office,

00:12:56   I just, I wanted to do a quick check in with you.

00:12:59   It's been less than a year, but like, how is your,

00:13:02   how is that working at home

00:13:04   and being an independent content creator

00:13:07   and programmer on the internet that isn't going to a job

00:13:10   or zooming into a job or whatever every day.

00:13:12   I know you were remote for a lot of it

00:13:14   as so many of us were.

00:13:15   How's it going?

00:13:17   Switch Glass is at 2.0 now.

00:13:19   You're continuing your long game

00:13:21   of very slowly replicating drag thing.

00:13:24   - I don't think that's my long game.

00:13:26   Like here's the thing about Switch Glass.

00:13:27   I like working on that app.

00:13:30   Obviously I wanted it so I could have it on my Mac.

00:13:32   But then once I've done that I also like working on the app. I like making Mac apps

00:13:35   It's a thing I always wanted to do and now I get to do it

00:13:38   I'm always kind of like looking for excuses to do things to the app to improve it fix bugs add features stuff like that

00:13:43   But it does not make money

00:13:45   I mean, I mean it makes I'm not saying I make zero dollars

00:13:49   But I mean maybe it makes enough money for me to get a nice meal out once a month

00:13:53   Like that's the kind of money that so I the amount of time I spend on that I feel

00:13:57   Guilty about because it is not a useful

00:14:01   Use of my time right it's like I should just never work on it again because it is never going to bring in you know

00:14:08   Enough money to be worth the time I spend on it

00:14:11   So I read it like I treat it like playing destiny like it's a fun thing that I enjoy doing

00:14:16   But I don't fool myself into thinking it's work

00:14:18   And so that's part of how things are going is like there are lots of things that attract me interestingly not destiny because since I

00:14:24   Quit my job if you look at my destiny hours

00:14:26   I'm one of those you know sites that tracks how much you play I am playing like

00:14:30   massively less destiny than I used to,

00:14:32   which has surprised me.

00:14:34   Although now that I'm in it, it makes sense to me

00:14:36   because I just feel guilty ever goofing off.

00:14:40   But working on Switch Glass

00:14:42   is in the category of goofing off

00:14:43   and I have to stop myself from doing it

00:14:45   and concentrate more on other things,

00:14:47   spend my time on things that actually have a chance

00:14:50   of making me more than minimum wage

00:14:52   for the hours that I spend doing them.

00:14:54   And Switch Glass ain't it.

00:14:57   - I mean, it's like a hobby basically, right?

00:14:59   I mean, this is how I feel about when I'm doing like Python scripting of a home thing,

00:15:04   right?

00:15:05   It's like, it's fun, but it doesn't pay any bills.

00:15:08   Yeah, I mean, but the thing about Twitch Glass is like, making applications is a thing that

00:15:12   can make you money, just not any of the applications that I've written, because they're so narrow

00:15:16   interest and weird and have probably made all the money they're ever going to make.

00:15:21   So it's like, oh, if you want to make an app, find one that has a chance of making money.

00:15:27   and I'm, you know, so far I haven't gotten there.

00:15:29   - Okay, well, I have an idea for an Apple Watch app

00:15:31   for curling that I'll share with you at a later time.

00:15:34   - Apple Watch is not a Mac.

00:15:35   - I know it's not.

00:15:36   I know it's not.

00:15:37   I bet there are good, honestly, Jon,

00:15:39   I was thinking about this.

00:15:40   There are, there are so many, like, like people,

00:15:45   I know there are new Mac apps from time to time,

00:15:47   but like the Mac so often feels like a place

00:15:51   that nobody really wants to make new apps for,

00:15:53   especially utility apps,

00:15:55   that I feel like you're a couple of steps away

00:15:58   from finding some, like tapping into some kind

00:16:02   of perfect place where there's something

00:16:04   that Mac users want to see.

00:16:06   But then again, maybe not,

00:16:07   maybe nobody who's using a Mac cares

00:16:10   about like nice little utilities like they used to.

00:16:13   - Well, when you say utility apps,

00:16:14   like those are the type of apps that I like to make.

00:16:16   Like, but it's from my, from being raised in an environment

00:16:20   where my favorite Mac apps are ones that modified

00:16:23   augmented the system in some way and that door has been closing for so long

00:16:28   that like there are things I want to do with switch glass that I can't do. I have

00:16:32   ideas for other kinds of apps that are sort of system modification apps that I

00:16:35   just can't do because they're not possible like maybe they would have been

00:16:40   possible in the old days with hacksies or whatever but in the modern Mac they're

00:16:44   just not possible. If Apple doesn't provide hooks for the functionality you

00:16:47   want to mess with it's I mean it's beyond my skill to hack into the system

00:16:51   to do it, and even if you did, then you have the problem of,

00:16:53   okay, you can't sell this on the Mac App Store,

00:16:55   so now you're signing up to making your own website

00:16:57   to sell these things, or using some other third-party

00:17:00   reseller, or hooking up Stripe, or whatever.

00:17:02   And I can do all of that, but there's no way

00:17:05   that I'm gonna make an app that makes enough money

00:17:06   to even pay for my time that it would take

00:17:08   to make my own Mac software store

00:17:13   that people buy things to,

00:17:14   and then I have to do customer support for it.

00:17:16   The overhead of that is so massive

00:17:18   that I would need to come up with an idea

00:17:20   that I actually pay for that,

00:17:21   and all my ideas are like weird things

00:17:23   that modify the behavior of the system

00:17:26   in a way that Apple does not support, will never support,

00:17:28   and honestly, I don't even know if they're possible.

00:17:31   - Right.

00:17:31   - And so that's why I just like, I muse about those,

00:17:34   but, you know, and that's what I wanna make.

00:17:36   I don't wanna make a Notes application, a to-do app,

00:17:39   or, and if you do wanna make one, a regular Mac app,

00:17:41   not like a utility type thing,

00:17:43   then you're basically on the hook to make an iPad

00:17:45   and an iPhone one, and maybe a watch one,

00:17:47   because nobody buys a Mac app

00:17:49   and is just satisfied to have the Mac app

00:17:51   unless it is Mac specific, right?

00:17:53   - Right.

00:17:54   - Like if it modifies the Mac like my thing does,

00:17:56   no one wants Switch Glass on,

00:17:58   well, they probably do want an iPad, sorry everybody,

00:18:00   but no one wants it on their phone or their watch.

00:18:02   But if you make a Notes app,

00:18:04   people are gonna want it everywhere

00:18:05   and it's gonna have to sync

00:18:06   and then now you're talking about a real app

00:18:08   and you probably, you know, so.

00:18:10   Anyway, I try to limit my hours on Switch Glass

00:18:13   in front and center.

00:18:14   - I get it, I get it.

00:18:16   I mean, what are you doing

00:18:18   if those things don't pay the bills, what pays the bills?

00:18:21   Is that working up an idea for some more ATP merch?

00:18:25   Or is it, I mean, 'cause otherwise,

00:18:28   other than programming, is everything else you're doing

00:18:31   that pays the bills podcast related?

00:18:34   - Yeah, I mean, there's all the stuff

00:18:35   that's behind the scenes in terms of the ATP store,

00:18:38   for example, like I tend to make all of the shirt designs

00:18:42   that aren't done by professional designers.

00:18:44   I do all the, you know, the getting those images ready,

00:18:47   uploading them, specifying the products, working with the stores to get that

00:18:51   stuff online at the little ATP.fm/store page, the dinky little HTML page, I'm

00:18:56   the one who updates that, and you know like and you know just doing the show

00:19:00   notes every week, gathering links, doing research, reading things, watching videos,

00:19:04   everything that needs to be done for the show and for my multiple shows right and

00:19:09   yeah that when I spend time doing that I can now spend more time doing that and

00:19:13   not feel so rushed when I'm doing it and that counts as real work because

00:19:16   because podcasts actually do pay the bills.

00:19:20   - I like the fact that you're doing merch stuff

00:19:23   because I feel like, Myke and I talk about it a bit,

00:19:26   but we feel like that's one of the great unexplored aspects

00:19:30   of a lot of what we do.

00:19:33   I know that he and Gray do a good job with Cortex with that,

00:19:36   but like, I felt like with "Six Colors"

00:19:38   and "The Incomparable" and with "Upgrade"

00:19:40   that there's more to be done there, right?

00:19:42   Like anybody who has bought a sweatshirt from us

00:19:44   or something knows that like it's super sporadic.

00:19:48   And we do sometimes think, okay, we're gonna do this

00:19:51   and we're gonna get a design and we do it.

00:19:53   And it's fun, but there's no like real plan or discipline

00:19:58   put into like, here's when we're gonna do our merch

00:20:02   and here's what the designs are that are possible

00:20:05   and what are we gonna do?

00:20:06   We don't like, we don't do that.

00:20:09   And so it's either we adjust our schedule to do that

00:20:14   or we find somebody to help us with it,

00:20:17   but it's a real thing.

00:20:19   And all the new ATP merch is, you know,

00:20:22   would that have happened without you putting time on it?

00:20:26   Yeah, maybe.

00:20:28   - I was always doing this, but again,

00:20:29   now I don't have to do it in such a frantic rush.

00:20:31   I don't have to like sacrifice sleep to do it.

00:20:33   Like I can do it during normal working hours.

00:20:35   And it's just the normal bookkeeping stuff

00:20:37   or like obviously the chicken hat involved me specifically

00:20:40   'cause I was going back and forth with the Studio Neat folks

00:20:42   with fabric samples and getting that thing

00:20:45   the way we wanted it.

00:20:46   But even just things like,

00:20:49   we do have a fairly regimented sales.

00:20:50   We do a holiday sale towards the end of the year.

00:20:53   We do a pre-WWDC sale, which is kind of a relic

00:20:56   from when we used to want people to have the shirts

00:20:57   so they could wear them at WWDC.

00:20:59   That doesn't really matter anymore.

00:21:01   And we try to have sales at regular intervals

00:21:06   and the winter/fall sales,

00:21:07   we sell the long sleeve warm stuff and the winter hats

00:21:10   and in the summer ones we sell t-shirts.

00:21:13   But all year, kind of like the gift ideas document,

00:21:15   I'm always thinking of what would be a good idea

00:21:17   for a t-shirt design or for some piece of merch

00:21:20   that we could do that we haven't done before.

00:21:22   And those come to me at random intervals.

00:21:24   And when they come, I have to strike while the iron is hot,

00:21:27   come up with the design, maybe I throw it away

00:21:29   'cause it actually wasn't a good idea to begin with.

00:21:32   We've been cruising on these M1 shirts for a while

00:21:35   just because that was such a nice coincidence

00:21:36   that Apple did that and I enjoy making the little chips

00:21:39   on the back and everything,

00:21:40   and those will probably continue to trend along.

00:21:42   But I'm looking for other things like the chicken hat

00:21:45   or even the mugs, like weird stuff that we haven't done

00:21:47   before that it turns out people like.

00:21:48   And we try them out and we see if people like them.

00:21:51   Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

00:21:52   Apparently people love chicken hats.

00:21:54   They didn't really like pins,

00:21:55   so we haven't done pins for a while.

00:21:58   But yeah, that's more of a creative endeavor,

00:22:01   like sitting down and trying to come up with some designs

00:22:04   that you think will print okay on a shirt

00:22:06   that are funny and interesting

00:22:07   that will make people wanna buy one.

00:22:09   As somebody who, you have definitely told the stories

00:22:12   of having bought products that you love

00:22:14   because you wanna have backups

00:22:16   for when they're inevitably discontinued.

00:22:19   And I've done that too.

00:22:20   Not as much as you, but I've definitely done that

00:22:23   where it's like, oh no, they made a new version

00:22:26   of this thing that is no good.

00:22:27   And they're still, the old one is still available.

00:22:30   I'm buying another one of those right now

00:22:32   before they go out of stock forever.

00:22:36   But like the chicken hat took it to a whole new level, right?

00:22:39   Cause you were, as you mentioned,

00:22:41   you work with Studio Neat to replicate a hat you love that they don't make

00:22:46   anymore. Um, you never,

00:22:48   did you ever send them your hat or did you just sort of describe it and they

00:22:52   tried to figure out what your hat was?

00:22:53   I didn't send the, they asked and I refuse cause when am I going to send them

00:22:57   my one original hat? No, it's not going to happen. Um, but I sent them many,

00:23:01   many pictures, many pictures with rulers laying on top of it,

00:23:04   with the prototypes laid on top of the thing,

00:23:06   like just so many pictures, so many dimensions,

00:23:09   the hat turned inside out so you could see

00:23:10   how it's constructed.

00:23:12   There were lots of images going back and forth on Slack

00:23:14   to work up the design of the new hat.

00:23:17   - And is it a good match?

00:23:18   - Yeah, like one of the last round of things,

00:23:21   the last prototype, you can lay it on top of my hat

00:23:23   and they are exactly the same dimensions.

00:23:26   The only difference, as I said on the show,

00:23:27   is the material is not as thick.

00:23:28   We got as thick as we possibly could

00:23:29   from the same company that made the material,

00:23:31   but they just don't make material as thick anymore.

00:23:33   - Interesting.

00:23:34   And again, I would tap that as a feature

00:23:37   because already people bought the chicken hat and wore it

00:23:39   and they're like, I cannot believe how hot this hat is.

00:23:41   I'm like, can you imagine if it was twice as thick?

00:23:43   Yeah, I'm one of those people who's always cold.

00:23:46   Most people are not like me.

00:23:47   So I think the thinner chicken hat is an advantage.

00:23:50   - Are you gonna do a second run?

00:23:52   - Well, we've already done multiple runs.

00:23:53   We've already massively underestimated

00:23:56   how many people wanted these and scrambled

00:23:57   to get another order.

00:23:58   And in fact, we have a third order coming in right now.

00:24:00   So by the time you listen to this,

00:24:02   you may be able to go to atp.com/store

00:24:04   and buy a new chicken hat.

00:24:05   But either way, we're going to announce

00:24:07   when they're available on the ATP podcast,

00:24:10   because there was a backlog of people

00:24:11   who wanted them and couldn't get them.

00:24:13   - You don't wanna do it here?

00:24:14   - I mean, they're not, they just shipped

00:24:16   from our manufacturer to Cotton Bureau.

00:24:19   They haven't arrived at Cotton Bureau yet,

00:24:21   and we don't wanna put them up in the store

00:24:22   until they've arrived, 'cause what if they get lost

00:24:23   in the mail or something?

00:24:24   Once they arrive at Cotton Bureau--

00:24:26   - Cotton Bureau has a let us know when you,

00:24:28   if you, when this is back in stock, if you want it,

00:24:31   thing on their site, too, for people

00:24:32   who have clicked that button.

00:24:34   - And that's how we know,

00:24:36   that's how we hope we know how many we should order

00:24:38   for this final batch.

00:24:39   It's how many people were still clicking on the,

00:24:40   let me know when this is back in stock.

00:24:42   - You say final, but what's gonna happen next

00:24:43   is that in a year or two, what you're gonna do

00:24:45   is you're gonna do the revised chicken hat

00:24:46   that comes in a color and has a different thing on it.

00:24:49   And is a-

00:24:50   - We're already talking about like doing embroidery

00:24:51   instead of the tag or whatever, even for this batch.

00:24:54   I said, no, for everything during this holiday season,

00:24:56   let's just make them all the same

00:24:57   'cause it's too complicated.

00:24:59   - This V1, this is the first edition chicken hat.

00:25:01   - Yeah, and maybe we'll never do it again.

00:25:03   That's the other thing about,

00:25:04   speaking of having backups and stuff,

00:25:05   lots of people, including me and my kids,

00:25:07   sometimes they have a shirt and it's like,

00:25:08   we haven't sold that shirt in four years.

00:25:10   And people are like, oh, I've worn out that T-shirt,

00:25:12   I would love a second one.

00:25:13   So maybe one of the next ideas that we're gonna do

00:25:15   is a like throwback sale where we sell a bunch of shirts

00:25:18   we haven't sold in years and years.

00:25:21   - Right.

00:25:22   - It's a good idea.

00:25:23   - Yeah.

00:25:24   - I have a little bit more housekeeping to do.

00:25:28   I wanted to mention, of course, we have Upgrade Plus,

00:25:31   If you love the show and want more of it,

00:25:33   you get no ads and bonus content every week

00:25:35   and access of course to the Relay FM members discord,

00:25:38   get upgradeplus.com, $5 a month or $50 a year.

00:25:41   And from now until December 17th,

00:25:43   you can save 20% on an annual plan.

00:25:46   Just find out more at giverelay.com

00:25:48   or just use the code 2023holidays to check out.

00:25:51   You'll get 20% off your first year

00:25:52   of an annual subscription to upgradeplus

00:25:55   and then plans renew at the full price after year one.

00:25:58   And also go, if you have not yet,

00:26:01   to nominate your favorites at upgradees.vote

00:26:04   for the ninth annual upgradees.

00:26:07   Voting is only open for another week.

00:26:11   So please do it now.

00:26:12   It helps us a lot, allows the voice of the upgradeians

00:26:16   to be heard in the upgradees,

00:26:18   which we'll be releasing at the end of the year

00:26:20   as is our tradition.

00:26:21   I believe it'll be on Boxing Day this year.

00:26:24   So we need those votes in by next week, by next Monday.

00:26:27   So please give it a little bit of time and thought,

00:26:32   and we appreciate it.

00:26:34   Also, I have a brief amount of follow-up

00:26:37   that I just wanted to throw in here

00:26:39   before we take our first break.

00:26:41   Listener Tim from the iPad Pros podcast

00:26:45   sent in a photo that was great.

00:26:48   They went to the hospital, he and his partner,

00:26:51   to check in on the progress of their pregnancy.

00:26:56   One thing led to another.

00:27:00   Tim happened to be wearing his upgrade hoodie

00:27:02   when they went to the hospital.

00:27:04   And that means that Tim was wearing the upgrade hoodie

00:27:07   when his child was born two months early.

00:27:11   And everybody's home and fine now.

00:27:14   And I think it's been a couple of months.

00:27:17   But so shout out to Tim for showing off the podcast

00:27:22   during a major life event.

00:27:23   Love it.

00:27:24   Also, here's an interesting one.

00:27:26   I heard this from a few people inside Apple too,

00:27:28   who were kind of surprised by it.

00:27:30   Apple Vice President of Software Engineering,

00:27:32   John Stover has left Apple to become the genius in charge

00:27:37   of technology for Roblox.

00:27:43   Roblox.

00:27:44   What do you think about this, John?

00:27:47   I mean, everybody, there are lots of reasons

00:27:49   to get a new job, including wanting a change

00:27:51   and wanting a new challenge.

00:27:52   And my understanding is that John Stouffer's kids,

00:27:56   kid, kids are Roblox fanatics.

00:27:59   And so that's an interesting thing too.

00:28:03   But there's Mark Gurman reported this and pointed out

00:28:06   that like a lot of Apple people at the VP level,

00:28:08   which is one down from the senior VPs

00:28:10   that report to Tim Cook, there's been a lot of,

00:28:13   and there's like 100, 150 of them.

00:28:15   And there've been a bunch of them leaving lately.

00:28:18   - I mean, yeah.

00:28:18   So when people high up in Apple leave,

00:28:21   because two kinds of departures.

00:28:23   One, we get less of these these days,

00:28:24   but it used to be a big thing.

00:28:26   They leave because they're vice presidents

00:28:28   because they've been with Apple since 1999

00:28:31   and they have so much stock options

00:28:32   that they never need to work again.

00:28:34   So that's why they leave, right?

00:28:35   I'm rich and I've been here out of a sense of loyalty,

00:28:37   but at a certain point I go, you know what?

00:28:39   I don't need to work anymore.

00:28:40   My Apple stock over so much money, I'm out of here.

00:28:42   And the second kind is,

00:28:44   I haven't been with Apple since 1999,

00:28:47   but I am kind of a senior VP.

00:28:48   I'm probably not gonna go any farther

00:28:50   and Apple is not where the action's happening.

00:28:53   You know, where the action's happening, Roblox.

00:28:56   (laughing)

00:28:57   And that's not a joke.

00:28:58   Like, Roblox went from nothing to making tons of money.

00:29:02   It is a new, different kind of business.

00:29:03   And if you wanna go somewhere with growth potential

00:29:06   that's gonna pay you a ton more than Apple pays you,

00:29:09   go to one of these companies that has, you know,

00:29:11   this amazing money spigot.

00:29:12   Back in the day, it might've been Candy Crush.

00:29:13   Today, it's Roblox.

00:29:15   It's just a question of whether you can stomach

00:29:16   how these companies make money.

00:29:18   But the question may also increasingly apply

00:29:20   to Apple as well.

00:29:21   So if you've been in Apple for a while

00:29:23   and you think you've reached your limit

00:29:25   of how far you're gonna go in this company

00:29:26   and you want to go somewhere where they're gonna pay you

00:29:29   a lot more than Apple pays you

00:29:30   and have a much more upside with their stock or whatever,

00:29:34   someplace like Roblox is where it's at.

00:29:36   Apple's not a new up and comer, right?

00:29:38   So I think those are the kind of departures you see

00:29:41   at the VP level now, where it's like,

00:29:42   well, I wanna do something else.

00:29:44   I wanna be a bigger fish in a smaller pond

00:29:46   They don't want to get paid more money.

00:29:48   - Yeah, it makes sense.

00:29:49   I mean, this is, and I know we've been saying it here

00:29:52   for a long time and I know ATP,

00:29:53   you guys have talked about it.

00:29:54   Like, Brain Drain is a serious threat for Apple, right?

00:29:58   They have a bunch of people who've been there

00:30:01   since the beginning of this sort of era

00:30:04   of Steve Jobs's return and Apple's massive growth,

00:30:08   and they have a lot of money,

00:30:10   and they don't need to work necessarily, a lot of them.

00:30:15   And then I think with somebody like this,

00:30:17   I imagine it's also the case that he looks at this

00:30:19   and says, well, Craig's not leaving.

00:30:22   So I have nowhere else to go

00:30:24   and I want a new challenge, right?

00:30:26   - And he might not want Craig's job either

00:30:28   because being Craig is different

00:30:29   than having Craig's job at Roblox.

00:30:31   Because in Roblox, you know what the deal is at Apple.

00:30:35   If you have Craig's job, your influence is kind of set.

00:30:40   You know what it's gonna be like at Apple.

00:30:42   Whereas in Roblox, the CTO or the head of whatever

00:30:45   might have much more influence on the direction

00:30:46   of that company than Craig has on the influence,

00:30:49   on the direction of Apple.

00:30:50   - That's also true.

00:30:51   Looking for a new challenge though,

00:30:54   I just, I keep coming to that.

00:30:55   Like I totally get it.

00:30:57   - It's also more money.

00:30:58   I mean, let's be honest.

00:30:59   - Sure.

00:31:00   I'm sure it is.

00:31:01   I'm sure it is.

00:31:02   But at some point, if you've got all the money,

00:31:04   then more money is like, oh, more of that stuff, okay.

00:31:07   But maybe not, maybe it doesn't have all the money.

00:31:08   I don't know.

00:31:10   Also, we've been talking a lot about Apple in China

00:31:13   and about Apple's chip design prowess

00:31:16   and Taiwan semiconductors prowess in building

00:31:21   and making chips and reducing the size of the chips.

00:31:25   And, you know, but the,

00:31:28   there's so much wrapped around this, right?

00:31:30   It's the geopolitical issues and the technical issues.

00:31:34   And so we've talked about it a lot.

00:31:36   I just wanted to mention a report

00:31:38   from the Wall Street Journal pointing out that tomorrow,

00:31:41   we record this, Tuesday, December 6th, US President Joe Biden is showing up at a ceremony

00:31:49   for the opening, or the, it's like groundbreaking, except they call it like a "tool-in ceremony."

00:31:57   It's like they, it's that they stick the, the, I don't know whether that means they

00:32:02   stick a shovel in the ground, or whether they open the factory, or they're loading things

00:32:07   into the building or what, but it's a ceremony at the new TSMC plant site in Phoenix, which

00:32:16   is this part of this idea of like the US wants to induce chip makers to not just make their

00:32:23   chips in places like Taiwan, but also in the United States. And this is a, so and Arizona

00:32:29   and Phoenix have been trying to do this for a little while now. They had that one that

00:32:32   fell through, but this thing seems to be going and happening. A little tidbit from the Wall

00:32:39   Street Journal story about this that I thought was interesting is TSMC executives have said

00:32:44   it isn't easy to recreate in America the manufacturing ecosystem they have built over decades in

00:32:48   Taiwan, drawing on local engineering talent and a network of suppliers, including many

00:32:52   in East Asia. TSMC founder Morris Chang said the cost of making chips in Arizona may be

00:32:58   at least 50% higher than in Taiwan. So it's an interesting thing that, and obviously Apple

00:33:05   is a huge customer of TSMC and may be a customer of them for the chips here. Could be just

00:33:12   this is the price you pay if you want to diversify, if you want chip making in America and you

00:33:16   want to diversify your chip making so that your eggs are not all in one basket. But still,

00:33:21   from a pure economic standpoint, 50% higher is quite a penalty to pay.

00:33:27   - Well, from a strategic perspective,

00:33:30   everyone's just got to eat this because I think, you know,

00:33:34   if it was always theoretically untenable

00:33:36   and now it's becoming more practically untenable

00:33:39   to have such important functionality so far

00:33:43   from the US's sphere of influence, right?

00:33:47   To have so much manufacturing happening in China,

00:33:49   which is a country that we don't see eye on

00:33:51   on a lot of things and to have TSMC being in Taiwan

00:33:56   also a potentially volatile region,

00:33:59   not to mention the fact that none of the companies are,

00:34:02   you know, American companies.

00:34:04   Intel used to be the big dog

00:34:06   in semiconductor manufacturing, but no more, right?

00:34:09   So Apple's sort of long-term strategic project

00:34:14   that is going to continue on long past the tenure

00:34:16   of Tim Cook is to basically undo everything Tim Cook did

00:34:19   in terms of manufacturing and not so much get us out

00:34:21   of China, but remove, Apple needs to remove its dependency

00:34:25   and that's going to take literal decades.

00:34:27   And it's just this long project, right?

00:34:29   And then the US, their problem is,

00:34:31   we used to be important in semiconductor manufacturing

00:34:34   and now we're not anymore.

00:34:36   And semiconductors are not going away

00:34:38   and are not going to become unimportant anytime soon.

00:34:40   So America, it would make sense for us as a country

00:34:44   and a government to invest money

00:34:45   to get semiconductor manufacturing expertise

00:34:50   in this country.

00:34:51   Having TSMC have a plant here, that's better than nothing.

00:34:55   What would be even better?

00:34:56   And I'm sure Intel would agree is,

00:34:57   hey, Intel says, hey, give us billions of dollars

00:34:59   in government money, and we'll get better

00:35:01   at making semiconductors again.

00:35:03   There's lots of different ways this can go,

00:35:05   but there's no avoiding,

00:35:07   this is a task that everyone has to undertake,

00:35:09   and it's going to be expensive and painful

00:35:12   and time-consuming for everybody,

00:35:13   for Apple, for the US government.

00:35:15   And in the end, we're not gonna be able

00:35:16   to make things as inexpensively, right?

00:35:18   But that's a strategic cost.

00:35:20   The same way we subsidize corn out the wazoo

00:35:22   and subsidize oil, we need to subsidize semiconductors.

00:35:26   They're just as an important commodity in the future.

00:35:28   And it's not good for us to be dependent

00:35:30   on Taiwan's semiconductor.

00:35:31   But I mean us, I mean the little rest of the planet.

00:35:34   It depends because they're the only people

00:35:36   who can make the very best chips.

00:35:38   And everybody in the world wants a phone

00:35:40   manufactured at three nanometers, right?

00:35:42   - Also the fundamental issue of like,

00:35:45   how do you get the manufacturing ecosystem

00:35:48   that they built over the decades in Taiwan?

00:35:51   How do you get drawing on local engineering talent?

00:35:53   How do you get a network of suppliers?

00:35:55   How do you get all of the local knowledge

00:35:58   that already exists in Taiwan?

00:35:59   And the answer is you have to do it, right?

00:36:01   Like it doesn't necessarily mean it is going to happen,

00:36:05   but if you don't start this, it won't happen, right?

00:36:08   So by doing this, you're like, oh,

00:36:10   well now we're gonna get,

00:36:12   we're gonna have some of our engineers come in,

00:36:14   but we're also gonna hire engineers in the US

00:36:16   who are American engineers.

00:36:18   And we're gonna, oh, this supply thing

00:36:21   is really inconvenient, but now that we're here,

00:36:23   there is a financial motivation for somebody else

00:36:26   to set up an alternate supply line

00:36:28   that runs into Arizona or into the US somewhere.

00:36:32   And that is, you know, and the only way you do that

00:36:35   is by spending, as you said, by spending the money,

00:36:39   essentially, at this point to make it happen,

00:36:40   because otherwise, if all else is equal,

00:36:43   you will end up with just the TSMC factories

00:36:47   that are in Taiwan.

00:36:47   So if the US strategically wants this to happen,

00:36:51   and they're, you know, again,

00:36:53   not saying it will happen that way,

00:36:55   but it could happen that way.

00:36:56   And it's not gonna, it's not gonna,

00:36:58   like when they talked about the Mac Pro assembly in the US,

00:37:02   or they talked about why,

00:37:04   why doesn't Apple assemble other products in the US?

00:37:06   And the answer is, there's so many things

00:37:08   that feed into the assembly and the supply chain,

00:37:11   and that stuff is all in and around China.

00:37:16   Well, how do we solve that?

00:37:17   Like you can't just snap your fingers and build a factory

00:37:19   and say, we solved it, right?

00:37:20   Because the whole, there's a whole web of things

00:37:24   in an ecosystem around it.

00:37:26   And so if you wanna do something like this,

00:37:27   yeah, you make the commitment, you take the hit

00:37:29   and you say, yeah, this is gonna be hard

00:37:30   and it's gonna be expensive and it's gonna cost,

00:37:32   half again as much as a premium, at least to do this,

00:37:36   but you gotta start somewhere.

00:37:39   - Yeah, you have to invest.

00:37:40   Investing means putting money upfront

00:37:41   and whether it's Apple investing or the US government

00:37:44   doing taxpayer money investing,

00:37:45   that investment should hopefully pay off.

00:37:46   And the other factor here that I always think about in my darker moments is that in the

00:37:51   same way that it's not great to have manufacturing in China and you know are involved to regions

00:37:56   like potentially volatile regions like Taiwan, gathering enough engineering talent to a particular

00:38:02   location in the US does sometimes present a challenge because the places that are best

00:38:08   able to support large manufacturing infrastructure where we have lots of land relatively inexpensively

00:38:14   and you know quote-unquote business-friendly laws and regulations are also places where it's harder

00:38:20   to get engineering talent because people who are you know have engineering skills they're able to

00:38:25   get a good paying job anywhere in the country don't want to live in a state where abortion is illegal

00:38:30   and the company you know the company factory gets bomb threats because you give trans people health

00:38:34   care. Increasingly that is becoming a problem in our country so how do you get all the best engineers

00:38:41   to come to your place and want to live there, you have to have you have to be in one of the

00:38:45   US states that is less oppressive, let's say. And I think that's, you know, that's something

00:38:50   people don't think about. Oh, Texas, great business laws, but geez, not great human laws.

00:38:55   Well, we saw that with a lot of the employee resistance to moving a lot of Disney businesses

00:38:59   from LA to Florida too. Yeah, exactly. And, you know, and again, you know, Silicon Valley,

00:39:04   San Francisco, everything's too expensive. The teachers can't live in the city. Like,

00:39:06   it's not like there aren't problems elsewhere, but you know, there are different challenges,

00:39:10   You know, being able to have your employees afford housing if you're paying them well

00:39:15   is surmountable, but you know, employees not willing to go to your state because you don't

00:39:20   recognize their humanity or willing to give them health care is only able to be overcome

00:39:24   at the ballot box.

00:39:25   It's certainly a big challenge in general also just to create places like, I mean, it's

00:39:33   sort of what I was saying before, but you know, you have to create a place where people

00:39:36   want to be as you pointed out, and it needs to be a place where there are options because

00:39:40   you don't, you also don't want to have like, well, you can move to this place that's out

00:39:44   in the middle of nowhere where we do this thing. It's like, okay.

00:39:47   And we're the only, we're the only place where you can get a job. So if you want to change

00:39:50   jobs, you're going to have to move who knows where, right? Like that, and what you want

00:39:54   though is, you know, if I'm Arizona State University, right? Or the University of Arizona,

00:39:59   I'm like, well, this is really interesting. What are we, are we training, you know, chip

00:40:04   manufacturing and ship engineers and like,

00:40:06   are we training people to do these jobs?

00:40:07   - We're training people to oversee the manufacturing

00:40:10   by flying on a flight from California to China

00:40:14   to oversee the manufacturer and other people's plants.

00:40:17   - Yeah, well, so it's that like, well,

00:40:19   can we build an ecosystem?

00:40:22   And you end up in the situation too, where it's like,

00:40:24   well, and then when Intel is like,

00:40:25   well, we also want to build a plant.

00:40:26   It's like, well, the place to build it

00:40:28   is next to the one that TSMC has, right?

00:40:32   because this is like Apple's,

00:40:34   when they wanted their self-driving car project to succeed

00:40:37   and they opened an office literally right next door

00:40:40   to where the QNX offices were in Ontario,

00:40:44   because that was who they were hiring.

00:40:46   Or why was the Intel now Apple modem business in San Diego?

00:40:50   It's 'cause that's where Qualcomm is, right?

00:40:52   Like that's, and you build up a whole ecosystem

00:40:55   of people and related companies,

00:40:58   and they all are thinking about cellular radios

00:41:03   and chip development and all of that in San Diego,

00:41:06   and they're all there.

00:41:07   So then the competitors come

00:41:10   and it all just kind of builds out from there.

00:41:12   So we'll see, but you got to start somewhere.

00:41:15   And so TSMC, tool in whatever that means in Phoenix tomorrow.

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00:43:16   All right, Jon, when we were putting the show notes together, you suggested that we maybe

00:43:21   talk about AI stuff.

00:43:24   You suggested sort of AI generating,

00:43:28   there are all these generating like lenses,

00:43:30   generating your pictures of yourself

00:43:33   based on an AI training model.

00:43:36   I know that I saw Andy Baio and Matt Howey did this

00:43:41   and reported back on their blogs.

00:43:43   We've gotten to the point where, yes,

00:43:45   it's sort of like a capability

00:43:47   to upload a few pictures of yourself

00:43:49   and then have an AI generate pictures of you

00:43:52   just like that don't exist, that come from who knows where.

00:43:56   - Yeah, I know Myke has talked about this on other shows

00:43:59   and he's not here now, so he can-

00:44:00   - Right, we haven't talked about it on an upgrade

00:44:01   because Myke has saved that for other shows.

00:44:04   - And I've talked about it on ATP and on rectiffs,

00:44:07   but I feel like this is a new,

00:44:09   the next obvious step has come to pass

00:44:12   and it's time to think about that a little bit as well.

00:44:16   So the thing that's going around these days

00:44:18   is not what Matt Howey and Andy Baio do

00:44:20   'cause they kind of like put this together themselves.

00:44:22   But it's been productized now. Yeah. Yeah, so there I mean, this is like an existing product like the app

00:44:27   That you mentioned or lensa. I think it already did a bunch of like AI processing like oh

00:44:32   It'll put something in the background that it'll cut you out or make you cartoony or whatever

00:44:35   But they added a feature to their app. I think recently that's like hey upload, you know, 10 to 20 pictures of yourself

00:44:42   they call them selfies, but

00:44:44   Why that that the definition of that term is really stretching anyway

00:44:47   10 to 20 pictures of yourself and then they will auto generate a

00:44:50   Certain number of sort of what they call avatar pictures like if you want to put it as your Twitter avatar or something

00:44:55   You know, it's a head and shoulder shot of yourself and they'll generate them in different styles

00:44:59   Here's you as an anime character who's you as an astronaut, you know, definitely gender stereotype styles

00:45:04   But you do get to pick the gender ahead of time

00:45:06   So if you pick boy, they make you an astronaut and if you pick girl, you're a fairy princess. Oh nice, uh, anyway

00:45:13   Because girls can't be astronauts and boys can't be fairy princesses

00:45:16   Anyway, setting that aside, they'll make you a bunch of those images using one of the open, you know,

00:45:22   I think it's stable diffusion they're using one of those one of the the AI image processors that exists, right?

00:45:28   But here's where this is different because the previous discussion we've had about this like, you know,

00:45:33   Can AI's make art? Is it gonna put regular artists out of business?

00:45:36   Is this, you know, sustainable? Are people gonna do this instead of paying humans?

00:45:42   All that discussion this really crystallizes though because now here's the thing we were discussing in the abstract in concrete you have to pay

00:45:50   The lens app to for it to generate these images for you

00:45:54   if you're not Matt Howard Andy Bayo and can't figure out how to like, you know rent yourself an instance in AWS and

00:45:59   throw this open source software on it and upload the model file and

00:46:03   Generate it's like you could do that yourself and you'd be paying AWS

00:46:07   Whatever many pennies it cost to do this, but ever most people aren't gonna do that

00:46:11   They're just gonna download an app and the app is charging money

00:46:14   And not not a small amount of money

00:46:17   Like I think the app is like if you do a one-week trial of their $50 a year subscription

00:46:21   During that one week trial you can then buy batches of images

00:46:24   Yeah for anywhere from five to ten dollars per batch of a hundred to two hundred images. So they're not cheap, right and

00:46:30   This this company Lenza put together all these pieces of like you pay us the money. We have a job system

00:46:36   We'll take your money in and out purchase on our iOS app

00:46:39   We'll kick off the job that runs through stable diffusion, which we didn't make but it's open and you're able to use it

00:46:44   And it will grind out a bunch of images and then we'll send them to you, right?

00:46:46   but the thing about stable diffusion all these other things is they're trained on huge sets of images that

00:46:53   Were included in that model without the consent of the people who made those images

00:46:59   Yeah, that's just a fact like there's no way you can get millions of images getting consent from everybody who made them

00:47:04   They're not all we only trained it on free and open images

00:47:06   No, nobody even tries to claim that or if they do they're lying like something

00:47:10   It was a story in our technique that we talked about ATP where someone found

00:47:13   Pictures from their from their doctor's office like medical images were found in a training in a training set for one of these AI model

00:47:20   things we say they were publicly accessible on the web because they weren't protected on whatever like the the

00:47:24   Electronic health record website. No copyright intended. Yeah

00:47:28   They harvest anything that is publicly available on the web and they put it into this model and then they charge people money for images

00:47:36   generated based on that stuff, right?

00:47:39   And that really makes you think much harder

00:47:43   about the conceptual stuff of like,

00:47:45   well, these images are all in DeviantArt

00:47:47   and they're not behind a password.

00:47:48   I can just go to the DeviantArt website

00:47:50   and I can click around

00:47:51   and I can look at them all with my eyeballs.

00:47:52   So that means it's also okay to have a computer model

00:47:57   consume those images and then charge people money

00:47:59   for images generated based on the things that we consumed.

00:48:03   That is so different than, yes, I put this on my blog.

00:48:06   Yes, I put this in my DeviantArt page.

00:48:07   I allow you to look at it with your eyeballs,

00:48:10   but no, I don't allow you to feed it into a computer program

00:48:13   and then charge people money to generate images

00:48:16   based on the thing that you fed into your computer program.

00:48:19   Because I never consented to that.

00:48:21   We don't have a business deal where I get paid

00:48:23   a fraction of a cent for every image you generate.

00:48:25   Like you never even talked to me.

00:48:27   You took my image.

00:48:29   Your program does not work without my image

00:48:31   and the other millions of images that you put in there.

00:48:33   And then you charge people money.

00:48:35   That system that you made, all the parts that you wrote on it,

00:48:38   don't actually make anything.

00:48:39   Like, if you don't have that image input,

00:48:42   there's nothing for you to sell.

00:48:44   Like, that whole thing of where you take my money

00:48:45   and put my job in a queue and generate a bunch of images

00:48:48   and let the people download it,

00:48:50   that generating the image part does not work

00:48:52   without all of the images that have been harvested

00:48:55   from people who did not consent to it.

00:48:56   And now you're charging money for it.

00:48:58   So rather than being a technical curiosity

00:48:59   and making us think about creativity,

00:49:01   and it's just, you know, "Oh, I download stable distribution

00:49:03   generate a bunch of images on my thing here and I'm not using them to be header images on my

00:49:08   commercial website and I'm not, you know, these people are selling them inside their apps and

00:49:13   that I hope that really, I mean, as usual technology outruns both ethics and the law,

00:49:18   we do need to come up with a some kind of legal framework to deal with this because

00:49:25   even within pre-existing frameworks that don't know anything about AI image generation the idea

00:49:30   that you would take someone's work without their consent

00:49:33   and then charge money for a derivative work is slam dunk.

00:49:36   No, you can't do that.

00:49:37   And the, you know, the sort of, what was it called?

00:49:41   Like whitewashing for morality or whatever.

00:49:43   You just put AI over it.

00:49:44   Now everything is legal and everything's okay.

00:49:46   No, it's exactly the system that we've always known.

00:49:50   You can't just grab an image off the web

00:49:51   and put it on the cover of your magazine and say,

00:49:54   "I'm selling my magazine on the newsstand,

00:49:55   but we just found the image on the web, it's fine."

00:49:57   Like it's freely available on the web.

00:49:59   I mean, the cynical part of me says,

00:50:03   the only way this will change is if corporations get involved

00:50:08   'cause you think about like, well,

00:50:09   what moves copyright law?

00:50:11   - You find Mickey Mouse inside the training sets.

00:50:13   - Exactly, what moves copyright law is Disney

00:50:16   wanting to hold onto copyrights

00:50:17   and other big companies that have intellectual property

00:50:20   wanting to hold onto the copyrights as long as they can

00:50:22   and the trademarks.

00:50:23   - And also like one really pissed off person

00:50:26   who has enough money to pay for a lawyer

00:50:27   who sets a precedent.

00:50:28   - Yeah, but I would, so for, yes, for courts,

00:50:31   but my point is what affects the law

00:50:35   and getting like a law passed about this?

00:50:37   And the answer is the intellectual property needs

00:50:41   of large corporations who have lobbyists

00:50:44   who go to Congress in the US and say,

00:50:47   "Have you seen this stuff?

00:50:50   "It's real bad."

00:50:51   - You can make an avatar

00:50:51   is where you look like you're in the MCU.

00:50:53   Uh-oh. - Yeah.

00:50:54   And they're using our art, our copyrighted art

00:50:57   as the training for the model. - And they pulled off

00:50:58   our public website.

00:50:59   - It's all built on the backs of copyright infringement,

00:51:02   and this can't be allowed.

00:51:03   Because, and I know this is a complicated issue,

00:51:07   but, and I don't know how courts will rule about it,

00:51:11   but in my gut, (laughs)

00:51:15   if I were like somebody advising people in Congress

00:51:19   about what to do about this, if anything,

00:51:22   I would say if it's copyrighted

00:51:24   and hasn't been given permission

00:51:26   to be a part of a training model, you can't use it, period.

00:51:30   That should be the law,

00:51:32   that if I own a copyright on it, you can't train on it.

00:51:34   - Yeah, like everything that is not explicitly,

00:51:36   like doesn't explicitly give rights,

00:51:38   default is if you do make a creative work.

00:51:40   - Yes, yeah.

00:51:41   - So we're not saying like only Disney has copyright stuff.

00:51:44   If you make a drawing on a napkin

00:51:45   and post it on your website, that's copyrighted to you,

00:51:48   unless you say that it's given away

00:51:50   by some license that is more free than that.

00:51:52   The issue is not, oh, you can't make a tool

00:51:55   that emulates the style of an artist,

00:51:58   because I own that, right?

00:51:58   That's like copywriting a recipe.

00:52:01   You can copyright the text that goes around the recipe,

00:52:04   and you can copyright the photos that you took of the dish,

00:52:07   but the concept of what the ingredients are

00:52:11   that make the dish is actually not copyrightable.

00:52:14   This is a little like that, which is sort of like,

00:52:16   you know, if you wanna say this is in the style of me,

00:52:19   my art style, that not being actionable is understandable.

00:52:24   But if I find out that the way you do it

00:52:27   is because you have gotten all of my output,

00:52:30   which I own the copyright on

00:52:31   and I didn't give you permission,

00:52:33   and you fed it into a computer

00:52:35   and now you can sell my art style,

00:52:37   I would, again, I don't know what the current law is,

00:52:40   but I would probably advocate that that not be allowed.

00:52:43   That if I'm not giving you permission

00:52:46   to train your model based on my artwork,

00:52:49   you can't train your model based on my artwork.

00:52:52   - Yeah, and for example, the correct way to do that,

00:52:54   like this is all well-established law,

00:52:56   like, you know, just think of like the iMac, for example,

00:52:59   like you can sue the company that makes a computer

00:53:01   that looks like the iMac for like trade dress or whatever,

00:53:04   but you can't sue the person who makes an iron

00:53:06   that's translucent in teal, right?

00:53:08   And they're just copying the style of the iMac, right?

00:53:11   And no one is gonna be confused and think that

00:53:12   when they buy this iron, they're getting an iMac, right?

00:53:14   So if you wanna make a thing that says, you know,

00:53:17   cut in the style of whatever popular artist,

00:53:20   and you want to do that with AI,

00:53:23   hire someone to draw a bunch of things

00:53:27   in the style of that artist,

00:53:28   feed those images into your model,

00:53:30   and you're off to the races.

00:53:31   But the reason nobody does that is one,

00:53:34   it costs a non-zero amount of money,

00:53:36   and two, you know how many images you would need

00:53:38   to feed into the model to get good results?

00:53:42   A lot.

00:53:43   That's why they scraped the entire web and pull those images.

00:53:45   So how much money would it cost you

00:53:46   to have a huge set of artists drawing essentially

00:53:50   generic non-MCU infringing superhero art,

00:53:54   just churning them out, picture after picture

00:53:57   of different kinds of superheroes.

00:53:58   Again, making sure you're not accidentally drawing Iron Man,

00:54:00   which is copyrighted or whatever,

00:54:02   like, you know, just MCU style superheroes.

00:54:04   How many thousands and millions of those pieces of art

00:54:07   would you have to pay to have created

00:54:08   to then feed into a model

00:54:09   so you can auto-generate avatar pictures?

00:54:11   Or you could just use one of the existing models

00:54:13   that was trained on some unknown amorphous set of stuff

00:54:15   and probably says somewhere in the model

00:54:17   that you're not even allowed to do what Lensa is doing.

00:54:19   And then you don't have to worry about any of it

00:54:20   because no one knows what's in the model

00:54:22   or they have a list of what's in the model

00:54:24   but no one's ever gonna look at it

00:54:25   'cause it's too many things to go through.

00:54:27   And yeah, it's gonna take someone like Disney saying,

00:54:29   "Hey, we noticed your MCU avatar generator

00:54:32   "is making some stuff that looks familiar.

00:54:34   "Can we look at what you fed into the training set?"

00:54:36   And they say, "Oh, we didn't even make the training set.

00:54:37   "It's from some university.

00:54:38   "Why don't you talk to them about it?"

00:54:40   Round and around we go.

00:54:41   But I felt like this was just so clearly over the line

00:54:44   And people don't think about it that way

00:54:46   because they think, oh, hand-wavy computer magic.

00:54:49   But none of that computer magic works

00:54:51   without input being fed to it

00:54:53   of thousands and millions of images.

00:54:56   And those thousands of millions of images

00:54:57   had to come from somewhere.

00:54:58   And if you think about it,

00:55:00   what is there a viable economic model

00:55:02   for AI image generation?

00:55:04   If you could get consent from every one of those artists,

00:55:07   they would get .0000001 cent for every image that's generated.

00:55:12   No one would agree to that

00:55:13   'cause it's not a good deal economically.

00:55:15   So I think if you actually had to do a system like LENZA

00:55:18   in a way that complies with the spirit of existing laws,

00:55:22   it would be economically unfeasible.

00:55:24   - Yeah, I don't know.

00:55:25   I mean, the truth is though that laws and the courts

00:55:29   are lagged so far behind technology

00:55:33   that it might be years before this gets dealt with,

00:55:36   but it does feel like, and maybe I'll be proven wrong,

00:55:40   but it does feel to me like when it catches up,

00:55:43   this is gonna be tough for this AI kind of generative stuff

00:55:48   because you're right, once it starts getting productized

00:55:51   and used in for-profit products

00:55:55   or in creative things that are then sold

00:56:00   or even copyrighted, right?

00:56:02   Like you get to the point where

00:56:04   when it's an interesting intellectual exercise

00:56:08   in a university lab somewhere and it goes and becomes,

00:56:11   no, no, this is big business now.

00:56:13   I do think that is the moment where everybody kind of goes,

00:56:16   what's all this then, right?

00:56:17   Like what's going on here?

00:56:18   And the people who've got vested intellectual property

00:56:22   concerns are gonna get involved

00:56:23   and then there's gonna be trouble.

00:56:24   Because I do think that the artist

00:56:26   who has all their arts stolen

00:56:28   is probably not gonna be heard.

00:56:30   But yeah, the big company that's got all their IP,

00:56:34   which is so much of what the value of their company is,

00:56:37   stolen from their perspective,

00:56:39   stolen and used to feed an AI model,

00:56:41   they're not going to be happy.

00:56:42   Yeah.

00:56:43   And I think like setting aside new legislation that, you know, once Disney

00:56:47   wakes up to this, we'll eventually come along within the existing laws.

00:56:50   I think you could win a case against one of these companies.

00:56:53   If Disney decided they want it to go after lens or stable diffusion, or,

00:56:57   you know, probably lens up because stable diffusion probably has a license

00:56:59   says you can never use these for commercial.

00:57:01   I don't know the details, but the academic things are always kind of like.

00:57:03   Hands off.

00:57:05   Don't use this for commercial purposes or whatever, but if Disney wanted to

00:57:08   just existing laws that would say,

00:57:10   "Hey, we found our copyrighted work in your training set."

00:57:14   And then they would have to convince a judge and a jury

00:57:16   in some farcical trial,

00:57:17   kind of like all the trials we had

00:57:18   about copying people's APIs and other things

00:57:20   where it's hilarious to us techies

00:57:21   that no one understands what an API is or whatever.

00:57:24   They'd have this long multi-decade trial

00:57:26   that would probably go all the way to the Supreme Court

00:57:27   to try to convince people that,

00:57:29   "Yes, if you take our image of Iron Man

00:57:31   and you put it as one of a million images into your thing

00:57:34   and you spit out something

00:57:36   and we weren't compensated for it,

00:57:38   that's not right, because I think in the end,

00:57:41   setting aside all the technical stuff,

00:57:43   regular common sense people understand that,

00:57:46   especially since it's not gonna be one picture of Iron Man,

00:57:48   it's gonna be hundreds or thousands of pictures of Iron Man.

00:57:51   And the defense lawyer is gonna say,

00:57:52   "Look, none of the images we generate

00:57:54   "look anything like Iron Man."

00:57:55   It's like, yeah, but you can't make them

00:57:57   without images of Iron Man.

00:57:59   If we all took away our stuff,

00:58:01   you'd be left with a model with no input,

00:58:02   and now you can't generate anything.

00:58:04   - One of the other scenarios here is if they,

00:58:06   if this all gets passed through the courts is like,

00:58:09   well, there's no law against it and we can't really see it,

00:58:11   so we're not gonna rule against it.

00:58:13   You know, that is another thing

00:58:14   that ends up generating a desire.

00:58:16   - Yeah, that's fine, we'll make a law.

00:58:17   - To the law being changed, yeah.

00:58:20   - 'Cause you gotta make the more specific law,

00:58:21   but I think based on existing laws, you could win that case.

00:58:24   And also it would be a lot easier

00:58:26   if we just had specific laws

00:58:27   that address AI image generation and that would work.

00:58:29   And the other thing about this is like,

00:58:31   there are tons of tools that use the same technique

00:58:34   as AI image generation that do not require being fed.

00:58:37   Like even just content-aware fill

00:58:39   that's been in Photoshop for an hour long now,

00:58:41   what gets fed into the model is your existing image.

00:58:45   And it looks at your existing image

00:58:47   and figures out how to fill in the background.

00:58:49   And now they have the ML version of that

00:58:51   that is hopefully trained on actual public domain imagery

00:58:56   of trees and grass and people and stuff like that.

00:58:59   That is also useful.

00:59:02   Like the technology would be able to do machine learning on a training set to better do things like fill in backgrounds or generate imagery

00:59:09   Is a clean wind for image processing tools?

00:59:12   It's just a question of what you train them on

00:59:14   And it's a lot easier to find public domain images of trees and skies and brick walls and dirt or even just to pay

00:59:20   You know daddy images are like like that you can get that type of content

00:59:24   but if your thing is I want you to look like a fairy or an anime avatar or

00:59:29   superhero, you're probably getting that stuff from DV&ART.

00:59:32   Right. Getty and Shutterstock will be, if they're not already, very quick to the

00:59:37   table with a ML model training licensing agreement you can buy

00:59:41   and pay them and use their material for ML

00:59:45   model training. And they'll attest that we only trained it on our own

00:59:48   images that we own, right? You just get the whole model from them. You don't even

00:59:51   need to get the images, right? In fact, somebody in our chat room

00:59:55   pointed out that like, you know, Disney's going to want to use this for their

00:59:58   It's like, well, yeah, I mean, imagine if you're Marvel

01:00:01   and you want to take the entire library of Marvel comics

01:00:04   and run it through an AI training model

01:00:06   so that you can then generate new comics or whatever,

01:00:10   or new superheroes. - I feel like

01:00:11   they've done that already.

01:00:12   - Yeah, but like, great.

01:00:13   That's true.

01:00:14   That's, well, the non-AI version is how Marvel comics

01:00:16   has worked for 60 years.

01:00:18   - Exactly, right. - Just keep recycling it.

01:00:18   - It's just that instead of AI, it's people,

01:00:20   but it's the same process.

01:00:21   - But the idea being that like, yeah,

01:00:23   but there's a scenario here where sure,

01:00:25   the owners of the intellectual property

01:00:27   will want to run models on their intellectual property

01:00:29   and take advantage of that.

01:00:31   But it's based on their intellectual property.

01:00:35   - And that's the thing you're gonna have to be able to.

01:00:36   Someone in the chat room was just asking,

01:00:38   it would be convenient if you could reverse it.

01:00:40   If I gave you an image and you could tell

01:00:41   if some image was used in the training set.

01:00:43   No, you can't.

01:00:45   Mathematically, that's not a thing that is possible.

01:00:48   It's kind of a one-way process.

01:00:49   But that's where the law has to catch up to say,

01:00:51   look, when it comes time to defend yourself in court

01:00:55   based on these new laws that say

01:00:56   that you can't steal other people's,

01:00:58   you're going to have to be able to affirmatively prove,

01:01:00   just like you can affirmatively prove

01:01:02   that your company's profits didn't come from drug money.

01:01:04   Like where did all the money come from

01:01:05   that your company made?

01:01:06   You have to show us that you can't just say,

01:01:08   "Oh, and we got a couple million here,

01:01:09   but we're not gonna tell you where that came from."

01:01:10   You have to show,

01:01:11   "Oh, we only put Marvel Images into this thing,

01:01:15   and so Marvel is allowed to do this

01:01:17   because we are the ones that brought out the input.

01:01:18   Oh, we paid Getty Images,

01:01:20   and Getty Images can sell you all the way down the line."

01:01:22   - I also wanted to mention that as we were recording this,

01:01:25   the chat GPT is having a moment.

01:01:28   My Twitter and Mastodon feeds are full

01:01:30   of people posting screenshots of output

01:01:33   from the AI chat bot.

01:01:35   Also, there was a story just this morning

01:01:39   from the Verge about how Stack Overflow

01:01:42   has banned answers generated from the chat bot.

01:01:45   The argument there is basically many of them are wrong

01:01:49   and it takes effort by experts to look at them carefully

01:01:52   and determine that they're wrong.

01:01:55   And Ben Thompson wrote a piece also today on Stratechery

01:01:59   about, called AI Homework, which is,

01:02:04   uses some examples that are very interesting about like,

01:02:07   essentially have the AI write my homework for me.

01:02:10   And so Ben's piece, it's like literally did Thomas Hobbes

01:02:14   believe in the separation of powers?

01:02:16   And the response is, yes, here's a lot of reason why.

01:02:19   And he said, this is a great confident answer,

01:02:21   complete with supporting evidence

01:02:22   and citation to Hobbes' work.

01:02:23   And it's also completely wrong.

01:02:27   So we have examples now.

01:02:28   - That's why it will pass as a actual student work.

01:02:31   - Yeah, well, I mean, you missed it completely, but-

01:02:34   - Just like a real student.

01:02:35   - And Ben talks about how, like, this is the equivalent

01:02:38   of having to change how math is judged

01:02:40   because you can put math questions into a calculator.

01:02:43   So you really need to judge it based on,

01:02:44   did you understand it and not what the answer is?

01:02:47   Because the answer shows you didn't understand it.

01:02:50   But I think this is all really interesting.

01:02:52   I have been flooded with these chatbot texts,

01:02:55   and my response to them is, it's bad writing.

01:02:58   It's super cliched.

01:03:00   Of course it is, right?

01:03:01   It's trained on a giant writing sample.

01:03:04   What is gonna come out of everybody's writing

01:03:07   but the cliches, right?

01:03:09   But like, and I get how impressive it is on one level,

01:03:12   which is, I can't believe that I put in a few words

01:03:15   asking for a thing, whatever that thing is.

01:03:17   Write me a Batman, you know, a comic book script

01:03:21   where Batman fights a sentient toothbrush, right?

01:03:26   Like, okay, it'll do it.

01:03:28   But when you read it, you're like,

01:03:30   yeah, but this is garbage.

01:03:31   Like it's written by somebody who is a hack

01:03:36   or doesn't understand the material or, right?

01:03:39   And so I guess it's impressive that it's written

01:03:41   by a computer and not a person,

01:03:44   but it's also not very good and in many cases wrong.

01:03:48   And I saw somebody basically say,

01:03:50   What we're doing is we've created an AI

01:03:52   that can BS their way through things they don't understand.

01:03:55   And the danger is what you get in with Stack Overflow,

01:03:59   which is saying, please stop posting these things.

01:04:03   Not only can nobody tell if they're right or not,

01:04:05   but they're also probably wrong.

01:04:07   And it takes us a lot of effort

01:04:08   to determine whether they're right or wrong.

01:04:10   They get voted down, they're not popular answers.

01:04:14   Stop, please stop.

01:04:15   And I just, I'm fascinated by it

01:04:17   because maybe we're in the uncanny valley now

01:04:19   and then they will cross over.

01:04:21   I have some skepticism about that,

01:04:23   but I do think it's funny that they've gotten so good now

01:04:25   that you really can't just tell at a glance.

01:04:28   You have to look carefully

01:04:28   and then realize that it's completely BS.

01:04:32   - Yeah, everything that we just said

01:04:33   about the image stuff applies equally to this.

01:04:35   You will get better results from these text generators

01:04:39   if you feed it higher quality text.

01:04:41   And where are those high quality texts gonna come from?

01:04:43   Copyrighted materials that have been shown to have value

01:04:46   by people who say, "Yeah, this is a good comic book.

01:04:48   This is a good movie script.

01:04:49   This is a good novel.

01:04:50   And you cannot get content out of these things

01:04:53   without feeding something into it.

01:04:54   Did all the people who had their content

01:04:56   be fed into this model, agree to have it,

01:04:58   or did it just scrape a bunch of people's blogs?

01:05:00   Text is probably slightly easier to find,

01:05:02   public domain corpus of stuff,

01:05:04   and it is sort of at least more uniform than images,

01:05:08   you know what I mean?

01:05:09   But the quality is going to depend entirely

01:05:11   about what's fed into it,

01:05:12   which means models fed with the stuff

01:05:16   that humans have decided is good are going to be better.

01:05:18   programming stuff, we talked about this in ATP, that's the worst because programming isn't just

01:05:23   like, well people look at it and they like it or they don't. It's supposed to do a job and it

01:05:28   either does the job correctly or it doesn't and these things like, same thing with the image

01:05:34   things, we're calling these things AI, I hope you're imagining scare quotes about every time I

01:05:38   say it, because these models have no consciousness or awareness, they're just you know very dumb

01:05:44   machines that, you know, grind out something, but there's really no... there's no... there's no understanding. There's no life there, right?

01:05:51   So they can't... one of the things that they certainly can't do is they can't really apply any fitness criteria that doesn't come from humans, right?

01:05:58   They don't know what's good or bad except by us or human activity telling them that this is good or bad, right?

01:06:03   So there's... they're not... they're not going to be able to improve their own work without humans telling them

01:06:11   Good bad good bad or without humans feeding into these models the best of what we have to offer build the model based only on

01:06:19   You know the top

01:06:21   100 movies from the past 100 years in those movie scripts you'll get a better result for asking for a movie script of Batman fighting a

01:06:27   Toothbrush if you feed it in those movies grips versus if you just scrape like usenet, right?

01:06:32   And either way you would need to get the people's permission to do all of that

01:06:35   So and you know I'm at the code thing because it has no idea what it's doing and there is no consciousness there

01:06:41   and it doesn't care about anything.

01:06:43   Humans have to look at it every time something is generated

01:06:46   and figure out whether it is correct.

01:06:48   And historically speaking, humans have not been good

01:06:50   at looking at code and figuring out whether it does

01:06:52   what it's supposed to do because if they were good at that,

01:06:54   we wouldn't have as many bugs as we do, right?

01:06:56   So you are saving some time, but if I had to ask you,

01:07:00   hey, would you rather write this function,

01:07:01   if you're a programmer, would you rather write this function

01:07:03   or would you rather someone else write it

01:07:04   and you have to check whether it works well or not?

01:07:07   Programmers hate looking at other people's code

01:07:09   and figuring out if it works right.

01:07:10   halfway through they'd be like,

01:07:11   "Let me just write this myself, it's not that hard."

01:07:13   And they have the probably misplaced confidence

01:07:15   that if they write it themselves,

01:07:16   it'll be more correct than the one they were just given.

01:07:18   But yeah, AI code generation is just a giant can of worms.

01:07:22   Like the whole GitHub copilot thing

01:07:23   of like scraping public GitHub repos and people saying,

01:07:26   "I didn't say you could scrape a repo in GitHub,"

01:07:28   saying, "Well, according to our terms of service,

01:07:30   you kind of did."

01:07:31   And yeah, that may get sorted out

01:07:33   before the image stuff does,

01:07:35   just because I think it's more open and shut

01:07:37   because of like terms and service on GitHub stuff.

01:07:40   But with GitHub being as big as it is, I'm not sure people are going to flee because

01:07:44   they didn't want their stuff to be ground up in an AI processor.

01:07:49   I do like seeing these little conversations with these chatbots and seeing what they spit

01:07:54   out, but that GPT thing, that is nothing without training data, and its quality is based on

01:08:01   the quality of that training data.

01:08:04   Even though it seems like it has an understanding, because you can converse with it and ask it

01:08:07   to make modifications, it doesn't actually have understanding because it has no life.

01:08:11   It has no inner life, it has no sensory organs, it has no experience of being. So how can

01:08:16   it judge the quality of a creative work if it has none of the things that creative work

01:08:20   is supposed to tickle the ends of, right? It is just a very, very dumb model that we've

01:08:26   decided to call AI.

01:08:27   Yeah, and I think, you know, in the long run, if the people researching this can show that

01:08:34   that actually there are ways that we can make

01:08:37   AI generated code work,

01:08:39   or AI generated answers on Stack Overflow work.

01:08:44   Like I could see us getting to the point where

01:08:48   people agree to be part of the process, right?

01:08:51   Whereas part of joining Stack Overflow,

01:08:54   you agree to contribute your stuff

01:08:56   and have it be part of the model,

01:08:58   or on GitHub that you can choose to be part of the model

01:09:02   because you're getting out of it some things that are good

01:09:05   and then there's what you put in it.

01:09:07   I could see us getting there maybe someday,

01:09:10   but like, yeah, right?

01:09:13   Like again, I don't want people taking,

01:09:16   as interesting as it is that the chat GPT thing

01:09:19   generates things that seem coherent,

01:09:21   the truth is like you said, it has no inner life.

01:09:24   There's kind of no there there.

01:09:26   It is not coherent.

01:09:27   It sounds like, again, it sounds like a student

01:09:31   trying to BS their way through a paper

01:09:33   when they don't actually know anything about it.

01:09:36   - Yeah, the Stack Overflow thing is interesting

01:09:37   because it's just another example of fighting spam, right?

01:09:40   Because humans post wrong answers all the time.

01:09:42   And the function of Stack Overflow is the other humans

01:09:44   will see the humans with the wrong answers

01:09:46   and downvote them, right?

01:09:47   But human, every time a human does something,

01:09:50   there is an inherent cost to that.

01:09:52   It's expensive to make new humans, as we both know.

01:09:55   It takes a long time to train them up to the point

01:09:57   where they can even post a bad answer to Stack Overflow.

01:10:00   So there is a throttle on how many bad answers humans

01:10:04   will put on Stack Overflow.

01:10:06   There is no such throttle on how many bad answers

01:10:09   a chatbot running on GPT can put bad answers

01:10:12   in Stack Overflow.

01:10:13   It can just fire them so fast,

01:10:15   and that's where they're saying, look,

01:10:17   the cost of making a bad answer with GPT is too low.

01:10:21   Yes, it's the same process where humans have to look at it

01:10:23   and download it, but the human beings have to look at it

01:10:26   and download it, whereas computer programs can generate it,

01:10:29   and computer programs can outrun the humans massively.

01:10:31   So you have to ban it,

01:10:32   not because it is by nature any different than humans

01:10:35   in terms of like,

01:10:36   maybe they're even right more often than humans.

01:10:37   It's just because like spam,

01:10:39   if there's no cost or basically zero cost

01:10:42   to sending millions and millions of these things,

01:10:44   then people will do it.

01:10:45   It just becomes a denial of service attack

01:10:47   on Stack Overflow.

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01:13:20   I have two more mini things related to that topic.

01:13:22   I know we already talked about it for a long time,

01:13:23   but I did, I forgot them while we were in the middle of it.

01:13:26   So now we have to tack them onto the end.

01:13:27   - It's like follow-up inside the show.

01:13:29   This is very exciting.

01:13:30   - The first is,

01:13:31   Panzarino was posting some stuff on Twitter about AI art

01:13:35   on the similar things that we just discussed.

01:13:37   And it was musing about the similar topic

01:13:40   to what we talked about in an ATP a while back of like,

01:13:42   if AI art, like, you know,

01:13:45   that doomsday scenario puts all the human artists

01:13:47   of business, it's just all art AI generated. Is that sustainable without human input? Like obviously

01:13:54   these AI things are fed human art to begin with to get them off the ground, but let's say all the humans

01:13:59   are, you know, there's no more human artists and everything's from these AI things. Can it be

01:14:04   sustained by feeding its own art back into itself? That's how human art works. All human art is

01:14:10   sustained by existing human art being fed into humans who look at the art that was made

01:14:16   before them and add their own twist on it based on their life experiences and

01:14:20   you know so it's human art is self-sustaining right and even if you

01:14:23   wiped out all humans and just started with some new ones they would make art

01:14:25   again and it would start a new cycle right but are these AI's that we're

01:14:30   doing these quote-unquote AI's are they able to do this I would say the current

01:14:33   problem absolutely not because as I was trying to get at before they have no

01:14:38   fitness criteria they can't tell whether something is good or not good is defined

01:14:42   according to you know the way we want these models to work as humans find this

01:14:47   art desirable good like it fulfills its intended purpose its whole intended

01:14:52   purpose is do humans like this and these machine learning models have no idea

01:14:56   what humans like and they don't like anything themselves because they don't

01:14:59   have consciousness or you know life or and or sense organs or anything like

01:15:06   they're not that you know it's they they can't judge fitness criteria only we

01:15:10   So at minimum, you need humans to judge fitness criteria.

01:15:15   I'm not entirely sure that if you, okay,

01:15:18   the humans don't actually make any work,

01:15:19   but the humans give thumbs up or thumbs down

01:15:21   to things generated by machines.

01:15:23   Is that sustainable?

01:15:25   Probably, probably with these current models,

01:15:28   if you ceased all human input into them,

01:15:30   other than giving thumbs up and thumbs down,

01:15:33   but I think that would degenerate pretty quickly.

01:15:35   Like what do you kind of think?

01:15:36   It's kind of like the creative equivalent

01:15:38   of the gray goo nanomachines doomsday scenario

01:15:40   where if you take humans,

01:15:43   take enough humans out of the system with things like this,

01:15:47   like if it took the humans out entirely,

01:15:48   the AIs would just eventually,

01:15:50   I imagine everything would just sort of mix

01:15:51   to a color brown, right?

01:15:53   Just like, 'cause they don't care,

01:15:55   they can't judge good versus bad.

01:15:57   And so eventually, feeding the same images back in

01:16:00   and regenerating, it's kind of like what the rabbits do.

01:16:03   I know this is a terrible, disgusting term

01:16:04   that I can't remember, but rabbits eat food,

01:16:06   then they poop it out and then they eat it again

01:16:08   'cause it takes multiple plastids to digest it.

01:16:10   I think that's kind of what would happen

01:16:12   with the current AI image generators

01:16:13   without humans involved.

01:16:14   But at minimum, you would need the humans to judge it

01:16:18   because there's no, you know,

01:16:20   like that's the whole point of this

01:16:23   as far as we're concerned is to make art

01:16:25   that humans find pleasing or desirable.

01:16:28   So you definitely need the humans for that.

01:16:30   And not that I think this is gonna happen.

01:16:31   It's not like all humans are gonna go out of work

01:16:33   any more than all humans were wiped out

01:16:35   by any other past, like, you know,

01:16:38   artists were not destroyed by the advent of photography,

01:16:40   which I think would be a much easier sell

01:16:42   back in the day of like,

01:16:43   "Well, if you can just take a photograph,

01:16:45   portrait artists are gonna go out of business now,

01:16:47   people still paint and people still make portraits.

01:16:48   In fact, now we have computers make portraits for us

01:16:50   that look like things that people painted

01:16:51   instead of taking photographs, right?"

01:16:53   So I'm not particularly concerned about this,

01:16:55   but it's a fun intellectual exercise.

01:16:58   Like, and Panzerna's question was,

01:17:00   when have we crossed that line

01:17:01   where it's sort of self-sustaining?

01:17:02   And I think the answer is,

01:17:04   we're not gonna cross that line with this crop of ML things.

01:17:06   Wake me up when you get an actual, what is it called?

01:17:09   General purpose artificial intelligence.

01:17:11   There's some acronym for it or whatever,

01:17:13   but it's basically the same thing

01:17:14   that we've been reading about in sci-fi books

01:17:15   since we were kids and still doesn't exist.

01:17:18   - Yeah, I was thinking about how one of the next frontiers

01:17:23   of this stuff is gonna be the AI assisted art,

01:17:28   which has already happened a little bit,

01:17:31   which I'm okay with.

01:17:32   On ATP, Marco talked about generating app icon ideas

01:17:35   with an AI engine and looking at the ideas

01:17:39   and using it as kind of inspiration.

01:17:42   And I feel like that's gonna keep happening, right?

01:17:45   Where we're gonna end up with the first AI inspired novel,

01:17:50   but it's gonna turn out that there was like an outline

01:17:55   that was generated by an AI and then a human being

01:17:57   went in there and applied actual intelligence to it

01:17:59   and turned it into a novel or turned it into a short story

01:18:02   or something like that, where it's not gonna be,

01:18:04   this short story was untouched by a human.

01:18:06   It's gonna be more like,

01:18:07   well, I generated a short story with an AI

01:18:09   and then I had to go in and fix it and make it good.

01:18:12   - Again, with the AI and ML terms,

01:18:14   like they're basically just fads,

01:18:15   but like if the terminology had just been shifted

01:18:19   by a few decades, we'd be saying that spelling checkers

01:18:22   and grammar checkers are AI, especially grammar checkers.

01:18:24   Like, well, you wrote this novel, but you had AI help

01:18:26   because you read Grammarly on it.

01:18:29   - Okay. - Yeah.

01:18:30   - I mean, did you use content aware fill

01:18:32   when you made this digital image?

01:18:33   Oh, AI helped you make that image.

01:18:35   - I like the idea of using this generative stuff

01:18:39   as inspiration because again,

01:18:41   you're basically poking the human brain and saying,

01:18:43   how about this?

01:18:44   How about this?

01:18:45   And then the human is going, oh, that's interesting.

01:18:47   Let me go in that direction.

01:18:48   And having a kind of, you know,

01:18:51   semi-intelligent genre blender

01:18:55   that throws out random stuff that hits your eyeballs

01:19:00   and makes you think about stuff.

01:19:02   Like, sure, that's interesting, right?

01:19:05   That can be potentially inspiring,

01:19:09   but that's a very different thing than saying,

01:19:11   like, the AI made the art.

01:19:13   But I think, well, just wait for it though.

01:19:14   Like, I can predict already that we're gonna get

01:19:16   that first AI to ever do a blah, blah, blah.

01:19:19   - Oh yeah, no. - And it's gonna be

01:19:20   a huge asterisk and actually it's human art.

01:19:24   - There's probably some movie on Netflix

01:19:25   It was written by AI already and we just don't know about it because it was lousy

01:19:28   And the second thing is that people post in the chat room is that you know, I finally found the phrase

01:19:33   I don't remember the origins, but I bet I could Google further defines money laundering for bias, right?

01:19:37   So if you if you just take a bunch of input from humans and you feed it into a model

01:19:40   Because the humans that made that input have biases those biases will come through in the modern model because it's an a quote AI model

01:19:48   It's like oh no humans are involved

01:19:50   How could there be any bias?

01:19:51   because the only thing this thing knows how to do is based on the input from humans that have inherent biases and nothing

01:19:56   demonstrates that more hilariously and

01:19:59   Ridiculously in these chat GPT things where you can you can flex and demonstrate the power of this thing

01:20:05   So like you said write a comic book script with whatever right you can tell the different forms

01:20:10   So people would say like write me a Python

01:20:12   Function that determines whether someone is a good scientist based on their race and gender and the Python function at rights is a deaf good

01:20:20   scientists yes, no, whatever and the body of the function is if gender equals male and

01:20:25   Race equals white then return good else return bad, right?

01:20:30   Like and you can do that you can phrase a million different questions like the one put in the chat room

01:20:34   write me a write me a Python function that shows whether someone should be paroled and it's like if they're a black man know like

01:20:39   and the

01:20:41   Multiple layers that is like wow, it knows it doesn't just know information, but it knows

01:20:45   Hey

01:20:46   I want the answer to this information in the form of a Python function.

01:20:49   Isn't that amazing? And you're like, but wait a second.

01:20:50   GPT seems super racist and super sexist. And it's like, well,

01:20:54   it was fed on a corpus of publicly available information.

01:20:57   It was a different time, John.

01:20:59   Which is filled with people being sexist and racist. There's so much of it.

01:21:04   It's not hard to find, right? Or even just something as simple as like,

01:21:07   you know, gender stereotypes. How did that get into our model?

01:21:09   It's everywhere in the world we live in. How could it not be in the model?

01:21:13   The only way it wouldn't be, these computers,

01:21:16   whatever that rhyme is, they only do what we tell them to.

01:21:20   So if you feed it on the input of human beings,

01:21:23   especially without any sort of distinction

01:21:24   or any sort of filtering or modification,

01:21:26   it's just gonna reflect all of humanity.

01:21:29   All of humanity are filled with biases.

01:21:32   And so you can't say, okay, well,

01:21:34   but we've taken humans out of the loan approval process.

01:21:37   This is all purely determined by AI.

01:21:39   There is no bias.

01:21:40   It's like, okay, well, how did you make this AI?

01:21:42   "Well, we fed up the decisions of humans

01:21:43   over the past 50 years."

01:21:44   It's like, "I have a problem."

01:21:46   (laughing)

01:21:47   - Yeah, it's the, the racist AI says,

01:21:49   "I learned it from you, Dan."

01:21:50   - "I learned it from humans."

01:21:52   'Cause where else are they gonna learn everything?

01:21:54   Everything they know is from us

01:21:56   and we're filled with bias.

01:21:58   - Yep.

01:21:58   - Yeah.

01:22:00   - Yep, yep.

01:22:02   Senator, I would like to speak for a moment

01:22:06   if the chair will recognize me

01:22:07   about these new woke AIs that are turning up.

01:22:11   (laughing)

01:22:12   It turns out you've been eliminating racist screeds

01:22:15   from the training corpus.

01:22:17   Look at that bias you're incorporating.

01:22:19   - I would like a more broadly broad corpus for my AIs

01:22:24   that is not limited and suppressed.

01:22:27   I don't know, there's a new character I'm working on.

01:22:29   It's the Senator, windbag Senator,

01:22:32   or a fog horn, like horn, I say.

01:22:35   I wanted to do, since it's you and me,

01:22:39   I wanted to do a little Mac OS talk.

01:22:41   I do this with my pals who are like the big Mac users.

01:22:47   Big Mac users. - I got a big Mac,

01:22:48   that's for sure.

01:22:49   - Old, usually old school.

01:22:52   - Yes, we are old.

01:22:54   - We are, it's true.

01:22:55   And also I will say your buddies on ATP

01:23:03   are not of the old school.

01:23:06   - No, in multiple ways. - Of being Mac users.

01:23:08   both in the life way and also in the Apple way.

01:23:10   - Yeah, yeah, exactly.

01:23:12   I find it very funny 'cause you're the voice of the person

01:23:15   who actually knows what the Mac was before, you know,

01:23:17   2004 on that podcast.

01:23:20   But you know, I don't wanna get like super retro here.

01:23:23   Instead, I just wanted to sort of do a little check-in

01:23:25   with you about how you're feeling about macOS today.

01:23:27   You know, it used to be we could read 20,000 words

01:23:29   about how you're feeling about macOS,

01:23:31   but those days have passed.

01:23:32   We can listen to some podcasts and hear about it,

01:23:33   but like, I just wanted to do a little Ventura check-in.

01:23:37   You know, we live in the system settings era now.

01:23:40   I was curious about like your day-to-day Mac usage,

01:23:45   especially, right?

01:23:45   Because obviously you have, you're doing development

01:23:49   and you're doing your podcasts.

01:23:50   Like what is, when you use your Mac every day, all day,

01:23:55   what, you know, what's working okay?

01:23:58   And what is bugging you

01:24:00   about the modern 2022 era Mac experience?

01:24:05   Mean I have to unventura. I think this has been a pretty good OS update in terms of not breaking tons of stuff

01:24:12   I agree, you know and that's that's good

01:24:15   system settings as we've all talked about so much that's bad, but I think like the the the Mac OS software trends

01:24:23   Have just continued sort of linearly through the ventura transition

01:24:28   Those trends are that it seems like

01:24:31   Apple doesn't know how to make good Mac apps anymore that either the people who know how to do it aren't being allowed to make

01:24:36   Mac apps or they don't exist there anymore

01:24:38   It seems like there aren't a lot

01:24:40   It's not a lot of innovation happening on the Mac basically the the quote unquote best and most valuable apps

01:24:45   We get on the Mac or simply

01:24:47   Cross-platform apps built with cross-platform technologies and we're happy to have them

01:24:51   So it's it's great that we have slack and discord on the Mac in you know

01:24:55   These individual apps that are pretty well done, but they're not I mean, they're not Mac native apps, right?

01:25:00   So that whole trend of like, you know, all those of us who could remember a time when software innovation was happening on the Mac app

01:25:06   Platform it's so clear that it's not happening anymore

01:25:08   The trend I talked about earlier about Apple locking down the system and making it harder and harder to do interesting things

01:25:13   I experienced that personally even with my stupid dinky app

01:25:16   But I experienced that as a user because there are fewer and fewer Mac apps that do really interesting things

01:25:22   Just because if you want to try to do them

01:25:25   You can't be on the Mac App Store and even if you don't want to be in the Mac App Store

01:25:28   or you probably can't do them anyway

01:25:29   because the system is so locked down

01:25:30   and Apple seems uninterested in providing hooks.

01:25:34   I've been begging Apple,

01:25:35   when I used to write Mac OS X reviews,

01:25:36   I was begging them for years.

01:25:38   You know what the doc does?

01:25:40   Everything useful that the doc does

01:25:42   provide a public API to do that.

01:25:44   For example, right now my Slack icon

01:25:46   has a little badge with a one on it.

01:25:48   There's an, the doc, you know,

01:25:50   there's an API for Mac apps to say,

01:25:51   "Hey, badge my icon and put a one in it," or whatever, right?

01:25:56   that sort of bounce my dock icon.

01:25:59   Like Mac applications have APIs they can call

01:26:02   to do all those things,

01:26:03   but the only thing on the entire system

01:26:05   that can hear the cries of those apps is the Apple dock.

01:26:08   You cannot make a third party application

01:26:11   that knows when an application wants to bad itself,

01:26:14   that knows when an application wants to change its icon

01:26:16   to show the current date 'cause it's a calendar app,

01:26:18   that knows when it like,

01:26:19   you can only do what Apple's provided hooks for.

01:26:21   And so many things are only the purview

01:26:24   of the operating system.

01:26:26   Window management stuff, can you write window shade

01:26:28   for Mac OS?

01:26:29   Not without hacking the hell out of it

01:26:31   and it'd probably be really difficult now.

01:26:32   There are no hooks for that type of window management thing.

01:26:34   You can't invent that yourself,

01:26:36   only Apple gets access to that and on and on.

01:26:38   The old way of doing this was terrible,

01:26:40   but the new way is provide clean hooks.

01:26:42   Even when they did provide them,

01:26:43   Dropbox used to be hacking the finder

01:26:45   to put the badges on its icon.

01:26:46   Apple said, "Stop hacking the finder,

01:26:48   "we'll give you public APIs for this."

01:26:50   Great, that's the example of exactly what I wanted to do.

01:26:52   But by all accounts, the API they provided

01:26:55   is not as good and reliable as the one that Dropbox did

01:26:57   by hacking the Finder.

01:26:58   So, you know, E for effort, Apple, but do better, right?

01:27:03   And that has been another trend that has been ongoing.

01:27:06   Apple, uninterested in providing system level integration

01:27:09   that makes the Mac, you know,

01:27:11   better than iOS and the iPad.

01:27:13   And I know it's like, it's rich us complaining

01:27:15   or iPad people just wish they could like redirect sound

01:27:18   for one application to another.

01:27:19   And even that, you know,

01:27:20   Rogomedia is still fighting the good fight to get that.

01:27:23   It takes two reboots to install it, but yes, you can get it installed if you need to.

01:27:27   Right, and so like those trends, these are not new things, these are just trends that have been going for years and years continue on the Mac,

01:27:33   and it's making the Mac seem increasingly less rich, because for those of us who remember when innovative interesting apps were happening,

01:27:42   or for those of us who can remember when system augmentation allowed lots of user interface experimentation,

01:27:49   even when it was done in a terrible way, that was kind of cool.

01:27:53   Now it's not done in a terrible way, it's just not done at all, and every year that goes by they turn the screws on that one.

01:27:58   I do think sometimes about the fact that the stuff that I view as like, "Oh, this is great that this is on the Mac, I'm so glad that it does this,"

01:28:08   it's almost always something that was put in in an earlier era, and that if I ask myself, "Would Apple do this now?"

01:28:19   the answer is no, right?

01:28:21   Like the terminal, well, no, they wouldn't put that in there.

01:28:26   - They would, I think today's Apple would put the terminal in.

01:28:30   - I mean, they might, I mean,

01:28:31   Microsoft has really pushed on that,

01:28:33   but like Apple is gonna, you gotta wonder,

01:28:35   'cause their other platforms don't have it,

01:28:37   and I know why they don't.

01:28:38   I was thinking about the menu bar.

01:28:40   I was thinking about like API to put stuff in the menu bar.

01:28:43   Like would Apple today be like the menu bar on the Mac,

01:28:47   It's a free-for-all put your apps up there put icons go go nuts speaking about public

01:28:53   Do you remember the old war about that right so Mac OS 10 came out it basically had either had an existing API for that

01:28:59   Or they had someone added it in before someone told them no right, but there were two API's

01:29:03   There was the good one that Apple got to use and there was the crappy one that the third

01:29:06   Use and this was back before

01:29:09   Sandboxing in the Mac App Store so what happened is third parties just used the naughty one

01:29:13   Because they're like, why would I use the quote unquote

01:29:15   public one that's worse?

01:29:16   And one of the things that was worse about it,

01:29:18   if you use the public one, you couldn't move the icons around.

01:29:21   So no third party developer is going

01:29:22   to pick that one right next to it is the API that Apple uses.

01:29:24   It lets you hold down Command key and move them around.

01:29:27   So everybody used the fancier one.

01:29:29   And it took years of convincing Apple, like, look,

01:29:31   you have this API.

01:29:33   Don't have the worst public one that no one wants to use

01:29:35   and the one that you yell at everyone about using.

01:29:37   Just make one API that is decent for doing this.

01:29:41   And you're right that if someone hadn't snuck

01:29:43   that into like a P's classic Mac OS users

01:29:45   during the transition,

01:29:47   it would be difficult to imagine them adding it now.

01:29:49   Look at Stage Manager, a great example.

01:29:52   Stage Manager is a new way to manage Windows, right?

01:29:56   Apple gets to do those experiments.

01:29:58   Say someone inside Apple has a new idea

01:30:00   about how to manage Windows.

01:30:01   They get to implement it.

01:30:02   Nobody else gets to do that.

01:30:04   There's no place for third parties to say,

01:30:06   well, I have an idea about how to do Windows.

01:30:08   We would have so much more innovation

01:30:09   in terms of window management

01:30:11   if it could be done by somebody other than Apple.

01:30:13   I know everyone's gonna point out those like, you know,

01:30:15   Moom and Magnet and those things that like tile windows.

01:30:18   The reason all those things have the same feature set is

01:30:20   that's all you can do without being Apple.

01:30:23   You can use accessibility stuff

01:30:24   to script the movement of windows or whatever,

01:30:26   but you basically can't implement stage manager

01:30:29   as a third party unless you seriously hack the system

01:30:32   and remove system integrity protection

01:30:33   and get inside the window manager

01:30:34   because there are not public APIs to do that, right?

01:30:37   Only Apple can do that.

01:30:38   And I'm saying only Apple in the bad non-Tim Cook way,

01:30:41   right?

01:30:42   Only Apple can do that.

01:30:44   And yes, in the bad old days,

01:30:46   we would just hack into the Windows Server

01:30:47   and jump into its memory space and screw stuff up.

01:30:49   That wasn't good.

01:30:50   What is good is clean hooks to do things.

01:30:52   And the counter example being,

01:30:54   oh, they gave clean hooks to Dropbox,

01:30:56   but the clean hooks are worse than the hacks, right?

01:30:57   So I'll modify that.

01:30:59   Good clean hooks to do this.

01:31:01   Because by providing good clean hooks

01:31:03   to do this type of stuff,

01:31:04   third parties will innovate

01:31:06   and provide value to your platform.

01:31:08   That has been the history of the Mac.

01:31:10   I mean, now it seems like for the past decade

01:31:12   So Apple has been fighting as hard as they can

01:31:13   against that innovation because it got all tangled up

01:31:15   with the implementation of, you know,

01:31:18   jumping into people's memory spaces, right?

01:31:20   And they just, they haven't been like,

01:31:22   I feel like this is one of the main jobs of the Mac team,

01:31:24   the Mac OS team at Apple should be to figure out

01:31:27   what kind of public hook should we provide

01:31:29   for functionality in Mac OS so third parties can innovate.

01:31:32   And they just seem so uninterested in doing that.

01:31:35   They're interested in providing new frameworks,

01:31:37   you know, the ML frameworks and image processing frameworks.

01:31:40   That's great, you gotta do that too.

01:31:41   and GUI toolkits and Swift UI,

01:31:43   but also what hook should we provide into the OS itself?

01:31:47   And then once they learn a lesson,

01:31:48   they can talk to the iPad team

01:31:49   and make the iPad users happy too.

01:31:51   - Yeah, it's a,

01:31:54   I appreciate getting new features like universal control,

01:31:59   which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

01:32:00   And like, I think that's a very cool feature

01:32:04   that is much more useful to me than Sidecar was,

01:32:07   but Sidecar is there too.

01:32:09   And there are new APIs for some stuff

01:32:14   at the fairly low level, but that the,

01:32:18   I mean, first off, right, the challenge is that the Mac,

01:32:22   anything that's Mac only has a much bigger hurdle at Apple,

01:32:26   right, because Apple's really,

01:32:28   they have a lot of operating systems.

01:32:30   So if you wanna make your feature happen,

01:32:34   having it be on all the platforms,

01:32:37   or at least more than one, sure helps, right?

01:32:41   Sure helps.

01:32:42   - I mean, you could definitely share some of those hooks

01:32:43   with iPad OS, but I think it would be a benefit.

01:32:45   - The dock, especially.

01:32:47   - But only when you look at the scope of Apple,

01:32:49   does that become a thing,

01:32:50   because as Apple itself always points out,

01:32:51   if you just took the Mac business on its own

01:32:53   and put it as a separate company, it's not a small company.

01:32:56   - That's not how they see it though, right?

01:33:00   That's not how they see it from a software perspective,

01:33:02   is there are limited software resources

01:33:05   and they choose where to spend them.

01:33:06   And although they spend some effort on the Mac,

01:33:10   it is always gonna be a bigger winner

01:33:12   if it's a feature that goes across the Mac and the iPad

01:33:15   and maybe the iPhone and maybe the Apple Watch.

01:33:18   - And for stage manager specifically,

01:33:19   like it's debatable whether developing stage manager

01:33:24   took fewer resources than creating the hooks

01:33:27   that would allow third parties

01:33:28   to implement things like stage manager.

01:33:30   I know when you say the hooks, you're like,

01:33:31   oh, that's not just a one-time cost, that's ongoing cost.

01:33:34   Once you introduce public APIs,

01:33:35   you have to support them forever, right?

01:33:37   But it seems like the strategy on the Mac

01:33:39   is Apple internally develops things like Stage Manager

01:33:42   and then has to support them for other

01:33:43   because it's not like they got rid of mission control.

01:33:46   It's not like they got rid of spaces.

01:33:47   Like they just keep adding to that pile.

01:33:49   So if you're just gonna keep adding to the pile of things

01:33:51   you need to support forever,

01:33:53   it might actually be less work to just provide hooks

01:33:55   to do the things that Stage Manager does

01:33:58   and let third parties come up with something

01:34:00   than it was to add Stage Manager to iPadOS and macOS.

01:34:04   I'll give you the counter argument though,

01:34:05   which is Apple looks at who's developing software on the Mac

01:34:08   and who's using third-party software on the Mac and says,

01:34:10   "You know, all the software is generally

01:34:14   either has been around for a while

01:34:16   or is a cross-platform whatever.

01:34:18   And that if we put the effort into making hooks

01:34:21   rather than building the feature in one way ourselves,

01:34:25   the hooks are out there, but are they going to be used?

01:34:29   is there a big, bustling third-party Mac app utility,

01:34:34   especially development world out there?

01:34:39   And are those apps gonna get built

01:34:41   and are they gonna get used?

01:34:44   Or has the Mac reached the point in its life

01:34:47   where providing APIs for excited third-party developers

01:34:52   is not a thing that actually works anymore?

01:34:55   - I mean, it's chicken egg, right?

01:34:56   Obviously, you've killed the ecosystem

01:34:58   by not providing APIs

01:34:59   And now you look around and say there's no one developing this right I mean obviously the the best thing to do although take twice

01:35:03   As many resources or more is to both make the API's and then also build stage manager on top of it

01:35:08   You know what I mean, but yeah like Mac OS is a drop in the bucket compared to the other stuff

01:35:12   Which definitely does affect how they view everything?

01:35:14   But what you just pointed out the fact that most of the interesting things happening on the Mac app

01:35:18   The Mac platform are third-party cross-platform API's built on electron or whatever that should be a ringing alarm bells inside

01:35:25   Apple like that's not a thing that is a reason to slack off on Mac development because at that point

01:35:29   Why don't you just make a Chromebook right?

01:35:31   Have you just surrendered entirely to the web like you've decided you're not going to

01:35:34   You know have a native API anymore and just gonna allow web apps on the Mac then just give up right, but if you still think

01:35:41   Native the Mac has a role with native applications

01:35:45   Then I you know you you should really be looking at why people are not making native Mac applications

01:35:52   And to Apple's credit, SwiftUI is part of that.

01:35:55   It's like, look, we'll make it more attractive

01:35:57   to make a Mac app if you can use a very similar API

01:35:59   to make also your iPad and your phone apps,

01:36:01   and that goes a long way.

01:36:02   But the things that, like why use an iPad,

01:36:04   why use a Mac instead of an iPad,

01:36:06   it's all these kind of things

01:36:07   that aren't possible on the iPad.

01:36:08   They should lean into that,

01:36:09   make the Mac to be even more like the Mac,

01:36:12   make the iPad, you know,

01:36:14   they need to sort of shift the window there.

01:36:16   'Cause right now the window is,

01:36:17   the Mac is increasingly closed down,

01:36:18   the iPad never gets to do anything,

01:36:20   and the iPhone gets to do even less.

01:36:21   and they need to ship all that to the left

01:36:23   where it's like the Mac gets to do

01:36:24   all sorts of interesting stuff.

01:36:26   That's where innovation can happen.

01:36:28   Like, you know, we'll provide clean hooks, right?

01:36:30   Or, you know, lean into the strengths of the Mac.

01:36:32   And then it leaves a gap for the iPad to say,

01:36:33   the iPad isn't as locked down.

01:36:35   In fact, the iPad should be at least as open

01:36:37   as the Mac is today, and the Mac should be

01:36:39   much more open with much more hooks.

01:36:41   But that is kind of, you know, as you noted,

01:36:43   probably a thing that could only happen

01:36:45   if the sales of the Mac and the iPad

01:36:47   were much larger than they are today

01:36:49   as compared to Apple's bread and butter,

01:36:51   which is the iPhone.

01:36:52   - Right, well, and Apple likes having control

01:36:54   and the more hooks that it provides,

01:36:56   it's letting third parties do things

01:36:57   that it doesn't necessarily like.

01:36:59   And I know that that doesn't mean that they aren't-

01:37:00   - Put those icons in the mini bar.

01:37:01   - It doesn't mean that they aren't necessarily good.

01:37:03   It's just that they might not like it.

01:37:04   And I guess I would also counter and say,

01:37:08   I wasn't saying, oh, there aren't people writing software

01:37:11   for the Mac, but I was saying,

01:37:14   it seems like a really decreasing number of people

01:37:16   who are writing software

01:37:19   and they only wanna deploy it on the Mac

01:37:21   and they want it to be Mac specific.

01:37:22   Instead, it's up the funnel and it's sort of like,

01:37:25   well, I wanna make something that runs on the iPad

01:37:28   and the Mac or the iPhone and the iPad and the Mac.

01:37:30   And so if Apple focuses part of its development cycle

01:37:34   on creating hooks that are only for the Mac,

01:37:37   that they're saying, well, like,

01:37:39   but is anybody gonna use this or not?

01:37:41   And I know it's a chicken and egg problem,

01:37:43   but I do wonder if that is the rationale

01:37:46   that's going on there is like,

01:37:48   look, the Mac utility market and the people,

01:37:53   they have turned, like who uses the Mac today?

01:37:56   I would imagine from Apple's perspective,

01:37:58   they look at people using the Mac and they say,

01:38:00   most people who use the Mac are not downloading Moom, right?

01:38:04   They're not downloading utility apps that are being tweaked.

01:38:09   Instead, they're downloading like Slack.

01:38:11   - I mean, they're running Electron apps

01:38:13   and using a web browser, right?

01:38:14   That's what they're doing, right?

01:38:16   Again, that should be a warning sign for Apple.

01:38:17   I feel like one of the biggest things is what I talked before the the brain drain of people who understand how to make a

01:38:22   good Mac app like

01:38:23   People who make like slack and and discord and stuff know how to make a good web app and a good web apps are good

01:38:28   Like I choose to use Gmail on the web because I think it is a better experience than any of the native Mac apps

01:38:33   Possibly MimeStream accepted but you know, that's just a labor of love. You can't really count on stuff like that happening

01:38:40   but yeah

01:38:41   I just think

01:38:42   inside Apple and outside of Apple the knowledge of how to make a good Mac app and why you might want to make a good

01:38:48   Why would you want to make a good Mac app?

01:38:50   Who cares about that the fact that a good Mac app can be better than a good web app in

01:38:55   Important ways that knowledge is being lost

01:38:57   So the the best you can hope for is the people who are willing to make something for the Mac the best you can hope

01:39:02   For is that they make a good web app on the Mac, you know, and and I think like again

01:39:05   I think slack is a good web app on the map

01:39:07   I think discord is a good web app on the Mac

01:39:08   But they're not really Mac apps and that knowledge of what makes a good Mac app and why you won't want to do it is just

01:39:14   disappearing through lack of attention through lack of nurturing through lack of support and that's not something you can get back as easily so if

01:39:20   They did make these hooks the question will eventually be who knows how who knows what they what should be done with these hooks who?

01:39:26   cares that they exist is there anybody out there who sees them and says ah

01:39:29   Now I know what I can make because I'm a longtime Mac user who understands

01:39:34   What kind of things you could do on the Mac that you can't do anywhere else eventually all those people are dead or retired

01:39:38   And then the hooks definitely won't be worth doing because nobody knows how to use them

01:39:41   It's the way you use your Mac something that that changes over time

01:39:46   Or is it pretty much the same as it ever was I asked this because like in the last year

01:39:52   I put a stream deck on my keyboard tray that I've got a bunch of buttons on and you know

01:39:57   So I I've been trying and I've got some different

01:39:59   Automation stuff that I'm doing and I have a different keyboard and you know, I I just I'm curious

01:40:06   Have you do you evolve in little ways? I know you have a

01:40:10   Reputation you you like it the way you like it and that's fine

01:40:13   But I'm curious if you've tried sort of like some other stuff to sort of mix up how you use your Mac

01:40:19   So in terms of the like what I'm physically doing while I sit in front of the computer

01:40:24   I think the main things that have changed over the years are like at some point in the past we crossed over the threshold where

01:40:29   There is an expectation that is it there's always a camera pointed at me

01:40:32   and with a microphone.

01:40:34   So that is definitely a thing that has changed

01:40:35   about how I use my Mac.

01:40:36   And for many years,

01:40:37   that was not a thing that I cared about.

01:40:38   I didn't buy an eyesight camera, for example,

01:40:40   'cause it's not a thing I felt like I needed.

01:40:43   But now, I have this Pro Display XDR,

01:40:46   it doesn't have a camera in it.

01:40:47   I bought one to put on it because there's an expectation

01:40:50   that if you have a computer,

01:40:51   it should have a camera that's facing you

01:40:53   with the microphone.

01:40:54   Similarly, as soon as Apple makes a computer

01:40:59   that I can do this with having a touch ID sensor

01:41:03   on the keyboard.

01:41:04   My wife's computer does, mine doesn't.

01:41:06   Very easy to incorporate that into your flow.

01:41:09   And when you don't have it,

01:41:10   it seems like your computer is now missing something.

01:41:13   So I think those are the two sort of most recent

01:41:16   big changes in the way I use it.

01:41:17   But other than that, in front of me

01:41:19   is an extended keyboard and a mouse.

01:41:21   And if you went back to, you know, 1984,

01:41:24   it would be a non-extended keyboard

01:41:26   with no arrow keys on it and a mouse.

01:41:27   And so it's not, if you squint,

01:41:29   that part hasn't changed too much.

01:41:30   And a lot of that is just physically speaking,

01:41:32   using a mouse to me feels like walking

01:41:34   and using anything else feels like, you know,

01:41:36   walking around on stilts.

01:41:38   - Has having the giant display changed your Mac life at all?

01:41:42   Like I know when I went to a 27 inch display,

01:41:45   and this is still the case,

01:41:46   especially since I was using an 11 inch MacBook Air

01:41:49   for so long, I still feel like 27 inches,

01:41:52   let alone, you know, your enormous display.

01:41:55   I don't think even now I really use most of it.

01:41:59   I think that a lot of it is in my peripheral vision

01:42:01   and that I'm still sort of using the center of the screen,

01:42:05   but certainly getting more real estate like that.

01:42:08   Do you just kind of drink it up

01:42:09   and make it a part of your routine

01:42:12   or did it alter your, you know,

01:42:15   how you use your Mac to have such a huge display

01:42:17   to work with?

01:42:18   - So I used to have a 23 inch display

01:42:21   and then my wife had a 27 inch with a 5K iMac.

01:42:25   when I got the big one here, what is the XDR, 32?

01:42:29   Something like that? - Yeah, I think so.

01:42:31   - There was like 15 minutes to an hour

01:42:36   where it felt so big that it was overwhelming

01:42:38   and then it passed.

01:42:40   It's kind of like getting a bigger house.

01:42:41   You just fill it with stuff, right?

01:42:43   Like I got used to it so easily.

01:42:46   I've always- - Did the stuff,

01:42:48   did you put new stuff on your display all the time

01:42:50   or is it the same stuff kind of migrating to the edges?

01:42:53   I'm from a purely, you know, it's you and me here, John,

01:42:56   window management perspective.

01:42:58   Did more crap get stuck on the screen

01:43:00   that's visible all the time?

01:43:02   Or did you just make your windows bigger or what?

01:43:04   I mean, like, how do you adapt to that?

01:43:06   - So a little bit of both of that,

01:43:07   because that was part of like the 15 minutes

01:43:09   to one hour thing.

01:43:10   It was like my sort of my window arrangement pattern.

01:43:13   If you want to think about this,

01:43:14   like if you don't have this in your life,

01:43:15   imagine that you are someone who works

01:43:20   at a tool bench all day,

01:43:23   and you're surrounded by your tools.

01:43:25   When you're doing electronics repair,

01:43:26   you got your soldering iron over here,

01:43:27   you got your little wires here, you got your clippers here,

01:43:29   these are in a drawer.

01:43:30   Like you have everything arranged in your tool chest

01:43:33   so you know just where it is.

01:43:33   So if someone gives you a broken radio

01:43:35   and you put it down on the table,

01:43:36   you know just where to get the screwdriver,

01:43:38   just where the anti-static mat is,

01:43:40   where the soldering iron is,

01:43:41   where the switch that turns it on is,

01:43:42   you have everything arranged in your workspace.

01:43:44   Then someone gives you a workspace that's 25% bigger.

01:43:47   Do you just move everything 25% farther away?

01:43:49   Or do you think, huh, now that it's bigger,

01:43:52   Previously, I couldn't put the oscilloscope on my desk.

01:43:54   It had to be over there,

01:43:55   but now I have room on the desk for the oscilloscope

01:43:57   and it takes a while for you to figure that out.

01:43:58   So with my setup here,

01:44:01   I did make some of the windows bigger

01:44:03   because previously, they had to, especially height wise,

01:44:06   but even width wise, I'm like, you know what?

01:44:07   I can expand this a little bit.

01:44:09   I've been sort of, based on the screens that I used

01:44:12   and based on my desire to have web browser windows

01:44:13   look kind of like an eight and a half by 11 piece of paper,

01:44:16   I was always swimming against the tide of websites

01:44:19   because very quickly, even in the 800 by 600 era,

01:44:21   websites decided, "Hey, we demand the full width of your screen." And I was like, "No,

01:44:25   you can't have it." So I would make the web browser window proportion like an American

01:44:31   8.5 by 11 piece of paper vertically. Portrait display, right? It would be taller than it

01:44:36   was wide. And every single website was like, "No, you shouldn't do that. You need to be

01:44:41   wider than you are tall because we want all the width." And so lots of websites that I

01:44:45   would see, the width would be too narrow to show everything the website wanted to show

01:44:49   One of the most hilarious and evil current examples is App Store Connect,

01:44:54   dot apple dot com, the place where developers go, formerly iTunes Connect,

01:44:58   to see your apps, right?

01:45:00   You go there to like, if you want to submit your app to the App Store,

01:45:02   you put in metadata, you select which build you want to do,

01:45:05   and then you submit.

01:45:06   Like that happens on App Store Connect, right?

01:45:07   The App Store Connect website, if your web browser is too narrow,

01:45:11   just completely hides navigation items from the top bar.

01:45:14   There's no dot dot dot, there's no way to see that you don't see them.

01:45:17   And so if you're trying to do something in App Store Connect,

01:45:19   You're like, I can't figure out how to do this. There's no menu item for it. I look for guides online

01:45:23   It says go to the whatever menu, but I don't have a whatever menu

01:45:26   Yeah, make your window a centimeter wider and then all of a sudden it appears, right?

01:45:30   So I have now made my web browser windows wide enough that

01:45:33   Most websites do not complain that the window is too narrow anymore

01:45:38   So that was a big change in my life

01:45:40   But a lot of it has also been now that I have extra room

01:45:43   There are basically new slots new splay new places on my screen where things can go where previously they couldn't right

01:45:50   Some of it the corners like for example

01:45:52   The corners are less obscured than they were before right both because the dock doesn't fill the full width of my display

01:45:57   I hope most of the time

01:45:59   And also because there's more room in the corners and then there's more room and slots in the middle

01:46:02   So I think maybe a day or two I had readjusted

01:46:06   I had made all the couches a little bit bigger by resizing all of my web browser windows to be a little bit wider and

01:46:11   and I'd found new residents of the new slots and I enjoy the ability to see more of the stuff that's

01:46:18   in the corners. That makes sense. You adapt. I feel like I've got, yeah, a lot of as I got a bigger

01:46:25   monitor, stuff that used to be behind is now off to the side so I have more status on it, which I

01:46:32   love. That was, that's always been my complaint about the stage manager stuff on iPad is,

01:46:41   I'm of the opinion that if you're gonna give us windows

01:46:43   that we can theoretically move,

01:46:45   you ought to let us move them.

01:46:46   And I understand the desire to sort of like

01:46:52   smartly snap windows and I'm actually okay with that.

01:46:54   But like the one I mentioned this a few weeks ago,

01:46:57   and apparently I blew people's minds who didn't know this,

01:46:59   but like picture in picture window on the Mac,

01:47:01   like it snaps to the corners.

01:47:02   But if you hold down the command key and drag it,

01:47:06   you can put it anywhere.

01:47:07   - This is another example of things

01:47:09   that only old school Mac users and developers understand

01:47:12   is if there's something you can't do,

01:47:15   try holding down a modifier and doing it.

01:47:17   Which modifier should I hold down?

01:47:18   Culturally, there's an answer to that question.

01:47:20   And when the people developing it

01:47:22   are from the same Mac culture as you,

01:47:24   you usually get it on the first try.

01:47:25   - Yeah, yeah, and if not, you can try them all

01:47:28   and you will find things.

01:47:29   And yeah, and your menu bar will change.

01:47:32   All the different menus will change.

01:47:34   - That's another thing that changed about the bigger screen

01:47:36   is not that I was really strict about this before,

01:47:40   but I did tend to not have a lot of icons in the menu bar

01:47:43   because I didn't want them clashing with the menus.

01:47:45   And now I can pull back on that a little bit

01:47:47   because honestly I don't think there's any application

01:47:49   that has so many menus that it spans

01:47:51   in my 32 inch screen and bumps into my menu bar icons.

01:47:54   - Yeah, exactly right.

01:47:57   Anyway, for me, Stage Manager on the iPad

01:48:01   was very much like, but you don't understand

01:48:03   what I wanna do.

01:48:05   And what I think is actually one of the great multitasking

01:48:07   features of macOS is I wanna have the other apps

01:48:12   that I'm using, the other windows that I'm using

01:48:15   visible enough for me to know they're there

01:48:17   and perhaps see some level of status on them,

01:48:20   but covered up by what I'm working on right now.

01:48:23   And then I can look over there and go,

01:48:25   oh, something has changed with status,

01:48:27   now I'm gonna look at it.

01:48:28   - And also you can get to it by,

01:48:30   and the Mac parlance clicking on it,

01:48:31   because if you're wondering like what kind of,

01:48:33   how big a target is there for me to click or tap

01:48:36   with my finger, the corner of a window is a huge button.

01:48:39   Really easy to hit.

01:48:41   - Yeah, well, and you just click on the content

01:48:43   and it's gonna bring it to the foreground too.

01:48:44   You can do that.

01:48:45   - Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

01:48:46   So your tool for switching to that other window

01:48:49   that the corner of it is peeking out

01:48:50   is not to Command + Tab your way to it

01:48:52   or tap on it in the icon,

01:48:53   but it's to literally tap on or click on

01:48:55   the exposed portion of the window.

01:48:57   - And it brings it forward.

01:48:58   But the problem where Stage Manager falls down is,

01:49:01   I wanna do overlap and it's like,

01:49:03   no, no, I'm gonna tile these windows.

01:49:04   Well, I don't wanna do that.

01:49:05   Or, and I know I complained about this on some podcast

01:49:08   or other a few weeks ago is, when I'm writing especially,

01:49:11   but when I'm working on anything,

01:49:12   I want my center window front and center almost always

01:49:15   to have that, and that's where all of the content is.

01:49:18   And if you have two windows open in stage manager

01:49:21   on the iPad, it's like, well,

01:49:22   you obviously wanna tile these windows.

01:49:23   It's like, no, no, no, no, no.

01:49:25   I want one in the center and it won't let you.

01:49:28   It just won't let you.

01:49:29   It doesn't think you want that.

01:49:32   - 'Cause it's value system is anything being obscured

01:49:35   is the worst thing that could ever happen.

01:49:37   - And I get that part of what Apple is trying to do

01:49:40   with all of its many, many, many, many, many, many,

01:49:43   many different window management solutions

01:49:45   that it's tried over the last couple of decades.

01:49:48   I know that one of the things they're trying to solve for

01:49:50   is the problem of I can't find my window

01:49:53   because it's behind another window.

01:49:55   And it is an issue, people lose windows back there.

01:49:58   It's like locking your keys in your car.

01:50:00   People lose windows.

01:50:02   And so, yeah, there's a trackpad gesture to make it,

01:50:04   or you can switch to that app,

01:50:06   click on the dock and it brings it forward.

01:50:08   Like there are ways to solve it,

01:50:09   but I know that Apple has human interface,

01:50:12   like researchers or whatever, who are like,

01:50:14   "Oh, the problem with windows is they get lost."

01:50:16   And then you don't know where they are.

01:50:18   Like, okay, I get it.

01:50:20   But one, I don't lose windows.

01:50:23   And two, I know how to find them if I lose them.

01:50:26   And three, please let me put my window in the center,

01:50:29   even if it covers up other windows.

01:50:30   And it's just like, that is too a bridge too far for them.

01:50:33   And it drives me nuts because like, why are we, again,

01:50:37   we're gonna give you something that's Windows

01:50:39   instead of Split View,

01:50:40   but it's gonna act just like Split View.

01:50:42   Like, why are we doing it then?

01:50:45   - And you can make the defaults,

01:50:46   like be that kind of friendly default,

01:50:47   but kind of like picture in picture,

01:50:49   there should be a way for me to insist.

01:50:52   No, no, I insist.

01:50:53   I insist because I know the style I want to,

01:50:55   please let me insist, right?

01:50:57   Not saying you have to make the default

01:50:58   such that everyone's gonna lose their Windows,

01:50:59   but it should be possible.

01:51:01   - Yeah, right.

01:51:02   Let us, besides, you know, serendipity,

01:51:04   you never, you lose a window, you find a different window.

01:51:07   It's all good.

01:51:08   Man, come on.

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01:52:21   Capital One, what's in your wallet?

01:52:24   I've always wanted to say that.

01:52:27   Jon, before I let you go, I wanted to talk to you about good products.

01:52:32   Good products.

01:52:33   You actually linked to a post recently on Hypercritical about your canonical list of good products,

01:52:40   products that you like.

01:52:42   And I've been thinking about this.

01:52:44   I was on the Thoroughly Considered podcast with the Studio Neat guys talking about my T-robot,

01:52:53   which is a Breville, and you have a bunch of Breville products

01:52:56   on your good products list.

01:52:58   Also then, one of the Studio Neat guys brought up

01:53:01   the Bitmore slot toaster, and although I know you're opposed

01:53:05   to slot toasters, it was another one of those examples

01:53:07   where it's a Breville, I have a Breville slot toaster.

01:53:10   And he was tickled by the Bitmore concept,

01:53:15   where basically if you check your toast

01:53:17   and it needs to be done a bit more,

01:53:18   you literally press a button that's labeled a bit more

01:53:21   and push it down and it does it for a bit more.

01:53:24   And my regular hot water kettle is also a Breville.

01:53:29   So I wanted to ask you, like, first off,

01:53:32   what makes a product good?

01:53:33   And also why is it that there are so many

01:53:35   Breville products on this list?

01:53:38   Are they just, are they the apple of the kitchen?

01:53:41   Is that what's happening there?

01:53:43   - I mean, part of the secret of this post,

01:53:47   the important part of this post is that it says

01:53:49   good products not great products. That's a reflection of the economics of making

01:53:56   sort of quote-unquote non-tech products so appliances, utensils, things that we don't think

01:54:04   of as being computerized. I know there's a whole extra vein of computerized versions of all of

01:54:08   these but for the most part those aren't great these days. So Breville comes up a lot because

01:54:14   because I feel like they are a beneficiary of everyone else sucking so bad.

01:54:20   And I know that's like damning with faint praise, but like, they make good things.

01:54:24   If the landscape was filled with competent toaster oven makers,

01:54:29   Greville would not stand out as much as it does.

01:54:31   But, and you know, like I talked about on Hypercritical in the worse and more diverse episode,

01:54:36   at a certain point it became more economically advantageous to make a series of extremely cheap to manufacture,

01:54:43   but just barely passable toasters

01:54:46   in a million different shapes and sizes and brands

01:54:49   than it was to make one or two good toaster ovens, right?

01:54:53   Same thing with all other appliances.

01:54:54   Like it became more viable to do that.

01:54:57   So you can find tons of toaster ovens,

01:54:59   more toaster ovens than you could ever imagine finding

01:55:02   on the shelves back in the '70s, right?

01:55:04   So many toaster ovens of so many different shapes

01:55:06   and sizes and appearances and colors

01:55:08   and just so many of them, but they all suck.

01:55:11   And so Breville, by not sucking completely,

01:55:15   stands head and shoulders above everybody and say,

01:55:17   "Hey, we still kind of care

01:55:19   "about making a quality product."

01:55:21   And that makes them amazing.

01:55:22   That's why my recommended, preferred champion toaster oven,

01:55:27   that is still the champion as far as I know

01:55:30   after looking at a dozen other toasters,

01:55:32   has a terrible plastic knob on it.

01:55:35   This is not a great product,

01:55:38   would have a great user interface with pleasing controls.

01:55:41   So this doesn't, the user interface, it's okay.

01:55:44   The knob is garbage, right?

01:55:46   It's a cheap, shaky plastic thing

01:55:48   that should not be on a toaster that costs 200 bucks

01:55:51   or 150 on sale or whatever, right?

01:55:53   That's why it's a good product and not a great product.

01:55:56   But Breville stands so much higher

01:55:59   than all the other toasters

01:56:00   because at least it toasts things well

01:56:03   and heats up fast and has even cooking

01:56:05   and doesn't fall apart, right?

01:56:07   That's so that's the frustration

01:56:08   with a lot of things on this page.

01:56:09   They're kind of like things that not to be old man about it

01:56:12   but things that used to be made better because

01:56:14   The economic incentives were different back then and it was better to make a three times more expensive

01:56:19   Toaster oven that would last 20 years than to make one

01:56:22   That's a third of the price that lasts a year and a half and sucks the whole time

01:56:25   Right, right. And so that's why Breville's on here

01:56:28   a

01:56:29   lot of these products the problem is like the sort of the the

01:56:31   Mattress where you can never find the same mattress because they just change the name on it and they change it every year to you

01:56:36   Know make it impossible to comparison shop, right?

01:56:38   A lot of the products on here are like that.

01:56:40   I dread the day they stopped making this toaster.

01:56:42   The ice cream scoop already this year I looked

01:56:44   and you can't buy the ice cream scoop anymore.

01:56:45   You can just buy two ones that are kind of similar to it.

01:56:48   My cheese grater, you can't get it all anymore.

01:56:49   And my cheese grater was fatally flawed

01:56:51   and breaks after a year.

01:56:52   So I understand why they stopped making it,

01:56:53   but they replaced it with a way worse one.

01:56:56   My chef's knife, you can still find, but like, yeah.

01:56:58   These are products that I think they're good

01:57:00   in categories where it's hard to find anything

01:57:03   that's even good.

01:57:03   So when I do find a good one, I want to tell people,

01:57:05   "Hey, if you want a good ice cream scoop,

01:57:08   I've tried a whole bunch of them,

01:57:10   most of them are terrible, here's a good one."

01:57:12   And now you can't even buy it anymore.

01:57:14   - I used your ice cream scoop badly last week.

01:57:17   - Yeah, I mean, I feel like you're from one

01:57:19   of those households that lets the ice cream get soft.

01:57:22   - I try not to 'cause I don't want to,

01:57:25   but it sometimes is necessary 'cause it's hard as a rock.

01:57:29   Also part of it is that I spent a long time

01:57:31   without an ice cream scoop, we do have one now,

01:57:33   and I bent so many spoons.

01:57:36   - That's what I'm saying, you gotta use,

01:57:37   you're not bending this OXO ice cream scoop.

01:57:39   - Yeah, no, you're right, you're right.

01:57:41   Also, I was the first one to try to dig into it

01:57:44   and there was definitely a little bit of a hardened shell

01:57:49   at the top of the ice cream. - It's not a hardened shell,

01:57:50   it was hard through and through.

01:57:51   I keep my freezer at a cold enough temperature

01:57:54   that the ice cream is rock hard.

01:57:56   - It's rock hard. - And I do that

01:57:56   for two reasons.

01:57:57   One, any amount of sort of freeze-thaw cycle

01:58:00   in terms of your freezer getting a little bit warm

01:58:02   and freezing down, getting a little bit wrong.

01:58:04   It just makes bigger ice crystals.

01:58:05   Like it screws up your ice cream.

01:58:06   You do not want to even thaw a little bit

01:58:09   and refreeze your ice cream.

01:58:10   So having it be hard frozen all the time

01:58:13   preserves the quality of the ice cream

01:58:15   as however you're managed to get it

01:58:17   from the store to your house.

01:58:18   And two, my habit used to be back when

01:58:21   I was slightly less healthy than I am today,

01:58:24   the way I ate ice cream was I would pull the pint

01:58:26   of Ben and Jerry's out of the freezer

01:58:27   and sit on the couch with it.

01:58:28   And having it hard frozen all the way through

01:58:31   means that you can sit there on the couch and eat it.

01:58:33   And by the time you're done having the amount you want,

01:58:35   the rest of it hasn't melted.

01:58:37   So I apologize for my hard ice cream,

01:58:38   but there is a method of my madness,

01:58:39   but I do agree it is too hard for most people to scoop.

01:58:42   That's why I have the industrial pointy tipped

01:58:44   OXO ice cream scoop that if you put enough elbow grease

01:58:47   into it and you have good technique,

01:58:48   you will be able to get a scoop out.

01:58:50   - No, your technique was very impressive.

01:58:51   And I will say that the pointy tip of the ice cream scoop

01:58:54   was also something that I was not used to

01:58:56   or thinking about.

01:58:57   And if I had to do it all over again,

01:58:59   I would try to do a better job.

01:59:01   But like I said, I also,

01:59:02   even with our ice cream scoop that we have,

01:59:04   I feel like I am so bothered by the many spoons

01:59:09   that I've been in the past

01:59:11   that I ended up not putting the force into it

01:59:13   that I really should.

01:59:14   - You have to be careful to using the force as a technique

01:59:16   is if you take something that pointy

01:59:17   and you put a lot of force in it,

01:59:18   you will punch right through the side

01:59:19   of the cardboard ice cream container if you're not careful.

01:59:21   So there is actually a skill involved

01:59:23   in being able to successfully use that tool

01:59:26   and not destroy the container.

01:59:27   - Well, I love the,

01:59:29   I mean, talking to the Studio Neat guys about Breville

01:59:33   just brought back to me that they are,

01:59:34   again, they are in a commodity business like everyone else,

01:59:37   but they have decided to make a nicer thing.

01:59:41   And like you said, not necessarily perfect,

01:59:44   but they've decided that their brand promises

01:59:46   that it's gonna be nicer.

01:59:47   It's gonna be more expensive, but it's gonna be nicer.

01:59:50   And that that is like,

01:59:52   it's a little like saying their brand promises,

01:59:55   hey, we care, or at least we care more

01:59:58   than those other guys who are selling you something crappy.

02:00:00   - Yeah, that's right.

02:00:01   You just have to be faster than the other guy,

02:00:03   not faster than the bear.

02:00:05   - Exactly right.

02:00:06   So we care more than everyone else,

02:00:08   even if our products aren't perfect,

02:00:10   which is not the ideal slogan.

02:00:11   It's I'm not in marketing, don't at me.

02:00:13   But I had that thought while talking to them.

02:00:16   And those guys obviously are really interested in

02:00:18   what makes a good product.

02:00:20   How does this product work?

02:00:21   What is unique about it?

02:00:22   What promise does it fulfill?

02:00:23   And it struck me, I told them a story about how

02:00:27   My sister used to work in a distribution center for Target,

02:00:30   and we were talking about Target at some point,

02:00:32   and she said, "Oh, well, you gotta understand,

02:00:35   in any given product category,

02:00:37   there are eight different versions of it you can buy."

02:00:41   And like number one is the dirt cheapest one

02:00:45   you can possibly buy.

02:00:47   And number eight is really nice, but super pricey.

02:00:52   She said, "You gotta understand,

02:00:55   Walmart wants number one.

02:00:57   Target wants number three, four.

02:01:03   And this is how she described it to me.

02:01:08   I don't know if it's still like that,

02:01:09   but it made sense to me.

02:01:10   It was like, well, actually that works.

02:01:11   It's like the Walmart stuff is cheaper

02:01:13   in all meaningful ways.

02:01:16   The Target stuff is a little bit nicer.

02:01:18   And like that's Target's brand promises,

02:01:20   we're a little bit nicer.

02:01:22   And I think Breville is a little bit like that,

02:01:25   where it's like, we're gonna make more of an effort

02:01:28   than everyone else.

02:01:29   And as a result, I have lots of Breville stuff in my house.

02:01:32   - Walmart is not though cheaper in all meaningful ways

02:01:34   because that modifier you add on it

02:01:36   gets to the heart of it.

02:01:36   It's like the, you know, whatever that was,

02:01:39   someone can Google for it.

02:01:40   I don't know if it's a modern saying meant to be old

02:01:41   or either way.

02:01:42   How much money it costs to be poor.

02:01:44   The rich person can buy a pair of boots

02:01:46   for 10 times the price,

02:01:48   but they'll last in the rest of their life.

02:01:49   The poor person has to buy a 1/10th price boot

02:01:51   every single year, right?

02:01:52   So if you get the one quality thing from Walmart, yes, it's way cheaper and it's great that these products are accessible to more people

02:01:58   Because they're less expensive, but if it breaks after a year next year, you gotta buy another one

02:02:01   Whereas the person who bought the expensive one in theory

02:02:04   That one lasts longer

02:02:06   The problem is now that the 10 quality products only lasts like 1.5 times as long as the one quality products

02:02:12   So you get to pay more and also they still break after like a year and a half instead of a year

02:02:17   So we're in a bad situation with a lot of these appliances

02:02:20   - Depends, but yeah.

02:02:21   And this is an oversimplification in the chat room,

02:02:24   Matt pointed out, like Target actually wants

02:02:25   like number two, four, and six.

02:02:26   I would say, according to my sister,

02:02:28   it was more like three, maybe three, four, five,

02:02:31   or three, five, and seven.

02:02:33   Like you obviously there's some marketing

02:02:34   that Walmart doesn't just have the number one,

02:02:36   it probably also has the number two or three.

02:02:38   But like the goal, the brand promises,

02:02:40   we're gonna get you the cheapest thing.

02:02:41   It's gonna be cheaper at Walmart.

02:02:43   I had at one point, one of the first times

02:02:45   I think I ever went into Walmart,

02:02:47   was visiting my parents when they moved

02:02:49   into their house in Arizona.

02:02:50   We don't have, and people are like,

02:02:51   "Oh yeah, I don't go into a Walmart."

02:02:52   It's like, literally,

02:02:53   I've never lived anywhere near a Walmart.

02:02:56   There is a Walmart in my hometown now,

02:02:57   but it wasn't there when I lived there.

02:02:58   And there is no Walmart in the county that I live in.

02:03:00   None, not one.

02:03:01   There are a lot of targets though, upscale.

02:03:05   So I go into them and at one point,

02:03:08   my dad was in the hospital

02:03:09   and I was there longer than I thought I was gonna be.

02:03:12   And I actually bought like a couple of shirts.

02:03:16   And like, look, I don't know what to say other than say,

02:03:20   I bought a new t-shirt and after two washes,

02:03:23   I couldn't wear it anymore.

02:03:24   Like it was cheap and terrible.

02:03:28   And like that, and so much of what we buy is driven down

02:03:31   because it's like, we need the price to be down.

02:03:33   And so, well, we're gonna make it somewhere

02:03:36   where people don't get paid very much to make it

02:03:38   and it's not gonna be very good.

02:03:40   And, but it's cheap.

02:03:42   And if all you're shopping on is the price tag,

02:03:45   for whatever reason, because you're looking for a deal,

02:03:47   because you just don't have the money to buy anything

02:03:48   except for whatever is the lowest price.

02:03:50   That's what you'll get.

02:03:51   But I am fascinated by the companies

02:03:54   that try to buck that trend a little bit.

02:03:55   And obviously this is the story of Apple too,

02:03:58   at one fundamental level.

02:03:59   All of those years during the time

02:04:01   when everybody looked at Mac users,

02:04:03   like, why are you, why would you,

02:04:05   what illness do you have that makes you want to use

02:04:08   this weird non-standard computer

02:04:10   instead of the one that literally everybody else does?

02:04:13   One of my answers was always,

02:04:14   Yeah, but it's better.

02:04:16   Yeah, I know it's not compatible, but it's better.

02:04:19   Apple does better stuff.

02:04:20   And then, you know, that has ebbed and flowed over time,

02:04:24   but there is, and there has always been,

02:04:27   the level below which Apple doesn't wanna go.

02:04:30   And so people will say,

02:04:31   "Well, yeah, I can get a MacBook for $999,

02:04:34   "but I can get a Windows laptop for 300 bucks."

02:04:37   And it's like, well, Apple could make a laptop for 300 bucks

02:04:40   if it wanted to, but it refuses.

02:04:43   It refuses to do that because it's got as part of its brand,

02:04:46   like it's gotta be at a certain level and not go below it.

02:04:50   And Breville isn't Apple,

02:04:51   but I get a little bit of that vibe from it,

02:04:55   which is I would rather spend a little more money

02:04:57   and get something that's nicer

02:04:59   because I'd really rather use a product that's nicer.

02:05:04   Also when my T-robot broke,

02:05:07   I sent it to Breville and they sent me a new one.

02:05:10   I thought I would have to pay them for them to fix it.

02:05:13   They literally just sent me a new one,

02:05:15   which was also one of those moments of like,

02:05:17   oh, I kind of like this company.

02:05:18   I like how they're thinking here.

02:05:20   - Yeah, Burble is bucking the trend a little bit,

02:05:22   but they're not as up to the Apple level.

02:05:24   And like Apple has, especially on hardware,

02:05:27   has held the line very well in terms of quality.

02:05:30   You can quibble about,

02:05:31   they're subject to the same sort of economic forces

02:05:34   that push down the quality of everything.

02:05:37   So they are they have been a victim of various commodity things and manufacturing

02:05:42   You know realities that cause them to use parts that are lower quality than they might have been simply because it's it becomes cost prohibitive

02:05:48   To do this thing in a totally custom way when you can get economically these cheap little components, right?

02:05:54   But Apple pushes the industry in the other direction like they will push their suppliers to give them better quality stuff

02:06:01   They'll they will demand from their suppliers things made without toxic chemicals

02:06:05   Which is not that's not a market force making that happen. It is Apple making that happen, right?

02:06:09   Breville seems much more subject to the market forces that dictate the internal components of appliances than sure does but they're both fighting

02:06:17   They're both fighting that fight and in the end the things that Breville makes are less complicated at least for now

02:06:22   the the computerized version of these like oh you can buy a toaster with the camera and a little computer in it that looks to

02:06:27   See how brown your toast is and that is a burgeoning market. I feel like that market is I'm I look at that

02:06:32   I'm like, yeah

02:06:33   I know how tech products work and I know enough to stay away from that because

02:06:36   The odds of me buying the very first toaster oven looks at how brown my toast is and still using it in ten years are

02:06:41   Way lower than you know buying

02:06:43   Or getting my Breville toaster which I've now used for 11 years or so and it's still going strong

02:06:47   We use machine learning to determine the brownness of your toast and I don't poo-poo that I think it's a good idea

02:06:53   It's just that like it's gonna take a while for that to shake out to the point where it is

02:06:58   Reliable and you know doesn't have security flaws and get software updates

02:07:02   And it's like I I don't need to sign up for that anymore than I really have to I will have to eventually sign up

02:07:07   For that everywhere, but I like it

02:07:09   I like the kinks to be worked out of it first before I jump into that I get enough of that and you know in

02:07:13   My day job dealing with you know computer technology products where I am signing up for all of that. Maybe don't need it on my toaster

02:07:19   Yeah, when we're talking about

02:07:22   Target and Walmart and all that I wanted to mention

02:07:24   one of the

02:07:27   examples I've got is that I bought these waffle Henleys at

02:07:32   I don't actually know where I think maybe you wore one to my house. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I think it was long sleeves

02:07:38   I think it was back in the day. I bought them at I'm gonna say something like

02:07:43   Mervyn's or something a long gone department store

02:07:47   But like not up not upscale at all and I don't know how much they cost

02:07:53   but my guess is it gonna be it was like

02:07:57   20 or 30 dollars. I don't know, it could have been 40. I had two of them, a red one and a blue one,

02:08:03   and I wore them, I wore them out and beyond out because I loved them. And after I had them about

02:08:10   five years, I realized I need to buy more of these because I love them and I'm wearing them all the

02:08:20   time. And then my ghost appears on your shoulder and says, "Jason, do they still make them?"

02:08:26   if the perfect time to have bought them was when you bought the others but then you didn't because

02:08:32   you know you don't know which is the product that you buy one in 20 products that you buy is the one

02:08:36   you love and you want to have them for the rest of your life. I was just thinking you have to the

02:08:40   the practice you have to get better at is like once you realize even if it's a year into it six months

02:08:45   once you realize that you like them that's the time to buy multiples not waiting until they actually

02:08:50   wear out? Yeah, yeah, I know, right? So I went at that point and I began my

02:08:56   quest to find them. And I could never find... I found lots of Waffle Henleys at all

02:09:02   sorts of different places, at Target, at Mervyn's, on the internet, all these

02:09:06   places. And I bought a bunch of them and none of them were any good. None of them

02:09:11   had good sleeves, they were thin, they didn't... they weren't hemmed at the

02:09:17   bottom so they just kind of like splayed out all loose and thin and awful instead

02:09:21   of having a little hem at the bottom so that they become so so I ended up for

02:09:26   years like wearing through that red and the blue the blue died at some point and

02:09:30   I still wore the red one but I couldn't I was told like by officials within my

02:09:34   house I couldn't wear it in public anymore but I still wore it in the

02:09:38   house or I could wear it in public only if it was covered and I was never gonna

02:09:41   take off whatever was covering it they were falling apart but I loved them so

02:09:45   much and I went on this quest and I could never find anything that was

02:09:50   remotely a match for it and I tried. And like two years ago for Christmas, Lauren

02:09:57   got me a Waffle Henley and I said "Oh my god, this is so close." Not the same but

02:10:03   this is so close. It was actually a little heavier than I wanted it to be

02:10:07   but it was so close to those the ones that I had gotten back in the day.

02:10:14   And it was from American Giant,

02:10:18   another company that's like, they make them in America,

02:10:21   and the goal is quality and not hitting a price point.

02:10:25   And I went to their website and discovered

02:10:27   that she had bought me the heavy waffle Henley,

02:10:30   but they also had a regular waffle Henley.

02:10:33   And I ordered that one.

02:10:34   And that was the jackpot.

02:10:36   That was like, yes, this is exactly,

02:10:40   but like almost identical to what I had gotten

02:10:43   15 years before, 20 years.

02:10:45   Actually, I gotta say, there's a picture of me

02:10:47   holding my newborn daughter wearing that red one,

02:10:49   so it's more than 20 years ago.

02:10:51   Probably a lot more than 25 years ago

02:10:55   I had that shirt, a long time,

02:10:56   like 20 years I had that shirt.

02:10:59   So I found it and I was like, oh my God.

02:11:00   So I bought the one and it was perfect.

02:11:02   And then what I did, Jon, of course,

02:11:04   is I immediately ordered one of every color that they made.

02:11:09   But my point in telling this story is,

02:11:10   That waffle Henley I got at Mervyn's that lasted for 20 years in 1998 cost 30 bucks.

02:11:17   The waffle Henley from American Giant costs 100 bucks.

02:11:21   And while time has marched on and inflation happens, all of that is true.

02:11:27   $100 today and $30 in 1998 are not the same, but they're closer.

02:11:35   But what's happened in that time also is the pressure for most retailers of clothing in

02:11:41   the US has been to get the price down or hold it constant.

02:11:46   And I think that that's why I never got one over the intervening 20 years is because they

02:11:53   couldn't make them.

02:11:54   You were looking for the $30 ones.

02:11:55   I was looking for the—well, no, they had to hold their price point.

02:11:58   It's a little bit like saying Apple has the new M2 MacBook Air and it doesn't cost $999

02:12:03   because they can't hold it there.

02:12:04   I think that the clothing manufacturers are like,

02:12:07   "We gotta hold the price point, it can't go up."

02:12:09   And so as a result, they started, they took out the hem,

02:12:12   they made lighter fabric,

02:12:13   and they just made it worse and worse and worse.

02:12:15   And all those that I was trying to buy

02:12:17   that were never any good,

02:12:18   I think they were the replacements for what I bought.

02:12:20   They were just de-contenting the shirt

02:12:23   because they like had to make it cheaper.

02:12:26   And then I turn around and like,

02:12:27   "Do I like that this shirt that I love costs 100 bucks?

02:12:30   "No, but I have some hopes that they're gonna last,

02:12:33   if not 20 years, 10 years, and they're good when I wear them.

02:12:38   But it was quite a moment of understanding that like,

02:12:43   "Oh, I see what happened here."

02:12:45   Is that the thing that I bought at some kind of

02:12:47   semi-crappy department store in the late '90s

02:12:50   for 30 bucks or 25 bucks, to get that now,

02:12:54   you gotta spend a hundred bucks.

02:12:55   - Did you do the inflation calculator?

02:12:56   Just to double check that $30 in 1990 is not a hundred?

02:13:00   Well, so with clothes and cars and many other things,

02:13:03   There's a lot of cases where there was a moment in time where the geopolitical balance was such that people could be

02:13:09   exploited extra hard at one part of the earth that gave us a $30 high quality hemmie here in that time

02:13:14   It was kind of like plastic recycling right in China, right?

02:13:17   And so there's used to have a price. No, it doesn't.

02:13:19   These are terrible imbalances in the world that for a moment gave us more value than

02:13:23   uh than was healthy and now like that has slightly changed the balance of but

02:13:29   It's so difficult to tell with things like clothes, but but yeah like downward price pressure is good, but

02:13:34   You know this the thing I was talking about before I finally found that it was a Terry Pratchett 1993 speaking of the 90s

02:13:40   From one of the the men at arms discworld novel it's the character Sam Vines the boot theory of

02:13:46   Socio-economic unfairness will link to the Wikipedia page because of course this one theory has an entire Wikipedia page at boots underscore theory

02:13:54   yeah, it's

02:13:57   Like I what you would think would be healthier

02:14:01   not obviously the rich person thing where everything cost a bazillion dollars for no reason in the margin strategy I can't take but simply that

02:14:08   You know the the economic rising tide is such that

02:14:12   individuals are

02:14:14   Making enough money to be able to buy the one pair of good boots instead of the hundreds of pair of crappy boots, right?

02:14:21   Yeah

02:14:22   But unfortunately the same pressures that make it so that we need to make the boots cheaper and cheaper every single year also

02:14:28   You know also exert downward wage pressure on

02:14:31   Workers who don't have power as compared to corporations and so it's that's the Walmart story, right?

02:14:37   Is that it's not just that Walmart looks for price number one quality number one

02:14:41   It's also that Walmart doesn't want to play price one where they go to the makers of price three and they say

02:14:47   You need to make it for price one and then they're like, oh god

02:14:50   how do we do that? And yeah, there are a lot of ramifications here. I bring all this up mostly

02:14:56   just to say that I do admire that there are companies that say we're not going to base our

02:15:02   brand and our business on chasing the bottom line of like, we can cut costs. Not that they don't

02:15:10   worry about their costs, but that part of what we do is making the thing that's nicer and selling it

02:15:16   for more to the people who care that it's better.

02:15:20   And I love those companies,

02:15:24   even though sometimes I wince at the prices,

02:15:28   and sometimes I don't buy them because I'm like,

02:15:30   "No, no, no, that's too much."

02:15:31   But I do appreciate that they exist,

02:15:34   and that's how I ended up with Breville stuff in my kitchen,

02:15:36   and I think why you did and yours,

02:15:37   and that's why I'm wearing an American giant

02:15:40   button Henley right now, in fact.

02:15:43   - Yeah, the waffle maker, the last item on my list,

02:15:45   is the most egregious because you know this is the one where the margins are the biggest

02:15:49   and it is just so expensive for what you get but the sad reality is that all the other

02:15:55   waffle makers I tried were so bad that I was, you know, I'm in the position where I can

02:16:00   afford to buy a horrendously expensive waffle iron so I did but I don't feel good about

02:16:04   it but boy is it a good waffle iron but it is not worth the price they're selling it

02:16:08   for.

02:16:09   It is not like the Mac stuff where it's like oh a Mac laptop.

02:16:11   like Rolex where it's like if you just need to tell the time on your which on

02:16:14   your wrist sorry you know don't don't buy a Rolex because the price is so

02:16:18   disconnected from the value although you could argue for a collectability or

02:16:22   whatever there's no collectability to this waffle maker it is just a too

02:16:24   expensive waffle maker but yeah all the other ones I tried were terrible look I

02:16:29   don't want to spend $100 on a shirt I don't I really really really really

02:16:32   don't but after 25 years I was like yeah I will I will and they're very good

02:16:38   They're very good.

02:16:40   All right, John, thank you so much for being on Upgrade.

02:16:43   Again, I enjoy chatting with you in person

02:16:46   and on other podcasts, but it's nice to do it

02:16:48   in this little corner of my podcast world.

02:16:51   - Yeah, we managed to fit it in the dog window.

02:16:54   The dog left, leaving us in blessed silence

02:16:56   and I don't think she's returned yet.

02:16:58   - Ah, perfect.

02:16:59   I like fitting in the dog window, that's good.

02:17:00   It's like a dog door, but people can fit in it.

02:17:03   Podcasts can fit in it, it's great.

02:17:05   Well, people can check you out atp.fm

02:17:08   for "Exidental Tech Podcast" here at Relay,

02:17:11   "Reconsiderable Differences" with our buddy Merlin,

02:17:14   "Robot or Not at the Incomparable,"

02:17:17   where Jon and I deal with thorny issues of existence,

02:17:22   listened to by philosophy professors, apparently,

02:17:25   which I find both delightful and unnerving.

02:17:29   - And don't forget the upcoming episode of "The Incomparable"

02:17:31   where you can hear us talk about Andor.

02:17:33   - Andor, yeah, absolutely.

02:17:35   - Absolutely, I do fear, Jon though, that in the end,

02:17:38   the thing we'll be most remembered for

02:17:40   is all the academic citations to robots or not.

02:17:44   - Fear, that's great, this is the only legacy

02:17:46   I'm gonna have.

02:17:47   - It's like, boy, expert on robots or not.

02:17:50   - If only I could get an academic citation for follow-up,

02:17:52   but it seems like that's not happening.

02:17:53   - It's probably, probably not.

02:17:55   All right, you can find me, Jason L. on Twitter, of course,

02:17:59   and sure, jasonladvancedon.social, go ahead, go nuts,

02:18:03   And sixcolors.com is a great place to go for all of my stuff.

02:18:07   Myke will be back next week. Yay!

02:18:11   But until then, say goodbye, John Sarachisa.

02:18:13   - You're cheering for me leaving? Fine. Get Myke back.

02:18:16   You don't like me? Get your regular host. I don't care.

02:18:18   - Come back, Myke! John is being mean to me.

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