361: It’s Not an Artistic Exercise


00:00:00   [Intro music]

00:00:13   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, Episode 361. Today's show is brought to you by Privacy, Squarespace, Calm, and Hello.

00:00:23   My name is Myke Hurley and I'm joined by Jason Snow. Hi, Jason Snow!

00:00:26   I'm joining you as always, Myke!

00:00:28   As always, no change to that. You're always here.

00:00:32   I am always, I have been on every episode of Upgrade up to now, including this episode.

00:00:37   Including this very episode and nothing will change that.

00:00:40   Why would we even mention that? That's strange.

00:00:43   It is weird to spend so much time talking about that.

00:00:46   About something that's just been a given for 361 episodes. Why even mention it?

00:00:50   It's a super regular thing. It's weird. We should probably stop talking about it.

00:00:53   It's also a shame.

00:00:54   It's because it's the Summer of Fun.

00:00:55   Oh no, there's nothing Summer of Fun today.

00:00:57   No? I mean, technically, I heard the music. Technically, it is the Summer of Fun.

00:01:01   But we haven't got anything special. It's just me and you. Super normal episode.

00:01:06   Nothing different is going to happen in the middle.

00:01:08   Right. As we usually say on this podcast, super normal. Just super normal.

00:01:13   Regular episode with no differences.

00:01:17   But enough about that, Myke. How about a #SnellTalk question for me?

00:01:20   Of course, like every episode. Matthew asks, Matthew doesn't always ask this.

00:01:25   I'm really tired of the #SnellTalk question being the same every single time.

00:01:29   I have to answer it because Matthew won't stop.

00:01:32   How do you arrange your apps on your Apple Watch? Do you use the grid, which is dubbed the honeycomb by many, or the list?

00:01:41   Well, this is an easy one. The moment the list was available, I switched to the list and I used the list because I hate the grid.

00:01:47   I think it's too small. I think it's confusing.

00:01:51   Alphabetical list for me.

00:01:53   Alphabetical all the way.

00:01:55   If you would like this, that was a very easy one.

00:01:57   I was going to throw in, I actually would like the option to do that on App Library too.

00:02:03   Never see the folders?

00:02:05   Not to complain about App Library, but I don't find those folders useful.

00:02:08   Okay.

00:02:09   I don't find the App Library like, "Oh, we've categorized your apps in various ways that you weren't involved with and you can use it to browse."

00:02:16   If you like that, great. I'm glad it works for you.

00:02:19   It apparently works for whoever invented it at Apple, but I find it useless and I would really rather, I think, have an alphabetical list on that page as an option because I would choose that.

00:02:29   I think I would like it too. I do use it, but I think if I had the choice, I would go to default to show me the list immediately, I think.

00:02:39   If you would like to send in a Snell Talk question to help us open an episode of the show, just send out a tweet with the hashtag #snelltalk.

00:02:46   I'll use question mark Snell Talk in the Relay FM members Discord.

00:02:49   We would like to thank everybody who purchased an Upgrade Summer of Fun t-shirt over at upgradeyourwardrobe.com.

00:02:57   Depending on when you're listening to this episode, if you are listening on Monday the 12th, it will be available until 5 p.m. Eastern time, so you may be able to just squeeze in an order.

00:03:08   If you didn't and you missed out, be faster next time.

00:03:13   Thanks to everyone who did buy one.

00:03:15   We hope that you enjoy them when they arrive, hopefully in time for you to have some summer days.

00:03:20   Oh, great news everybody. It's actually 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 Pacific.

00:03:25   You just got three hours more.

00:03:26   So you got three more hours to do it, so if you are a first-day listener to Upgrade, you still got time to get that sweet Summer of Fun t-shirt and also the other Donkey Kong shirts.

00:03:38   Let's do some upstream, but there's actually been an article that you've wanted to talk about for a while. It's kind of like a special segment.

00:03:46   Sure. Summer of Fun?

00:03:49   Yeah, sure.

00:03:50   Josef Adalian at Vulture spoke with a selection.

00:03:55   I always think of him as Joe Adalian, but whatever.

00:03:58   Okay, well, you know, I was going with Joseph.

00:04:01   Yeah, maybe it is.

00:04:02   It's an interesting spelling of Joseph that I'm not too familiar with.

00:04:05   We'll go with Joseph at Vulture.

00:04:07   Joseph at Vulture spoke of a selection of Hollywood insiders to get a sense for how the industry is currently perceiving which streaming service is the most powerful or influential right now.

00:04:20   This is cool because what Joe has done is not a financial analysis of estimated number of subscriptions.

00:04:40   It's not a critics analysis of who's got the best content. It's we talked to people who work in the business about how the streamers are perceived in the business.

00:04:53   It's an interesting perspective because it combines what's the buzz, it combines what is perceived as being a success, and also how people in Hollywood rank their preference in terms of who they would work with.

00:05:13   And along the way, beyond the ranking, I think it's really interesting to see how people who this is their business view how it's going for all of these streamers.

00:05:23   So I have a list of seven. I picked out some of what I thought were the key opinions levied by these insiders.

00:05:32   They were all unnamed and they're people that work somewhere in Hollywood or maybe in Wall Street but in the Hollywood sphere of Wall Street, maybe their investment or something.

00:05:40   Right, and the opinions varied I thought. The people who are outside of Hollywood but are more like money people had sort of different opinions than the people who are inside and I think that's instructive.

00:05:50   But it was very interesting for that idea. Number seven, which is the bottom, is Peacock.

00:05:56   Needs more money for content marketing, is well liked by talent, and also has poor international offerings.

00:06:05   Yeah, it's funny that we're recording this now. We're a week and a half away from the Olympics.

00:06:15   Peacock was meant to launch with the Olympics as its launch strategy, and the Olympics got delayed a year.

00:06:22   And the story mentions this. The Olympics might get people into Peacock that are not there now. But yeah, there's this feeling like one of the people said that they've got a Myke Schur show and a Tina Fey show and it still doesn't seem to be making much of an impact.

00:06:39   And those shows are pretty good by the way. Rutherford Falls and Girls 5 Eva are actually pretty good. There's good content and AP Bio is on there which is a Peacock original now which is a show I really like.

00:06:49   I think Peacock's actually got some interesting content going on, but like I said, it sort of feels like there's not a lot there in terms of the original content and the marketing hasn't been there.

00:07:00   I imagine the Olympics is going to see their enormous Peacock marketing push. NBC is also experimenting. They took the Giants-Phillies baseball series a few weeks ago and they moved that off of the cable channels and onto Peacock.

00:07:14   And it was very much a sort of "let's see if we can encourage people to try Peacock out" kind of situation.

00:07:23   And they also have their partnership with the WWE as well.

00:07:26   Right. And there's a lot of soccer, especially the English Premier League. Some of that's on NBC's broadcast channels and cable channels, but a lot of that stuff is on Peacock now. They moved it from their other kind of streaming that they were doing.

00:07:41   Well liked by talent is an interesting note because I think that's the idea here that NBC Universal is actually really well known and has good relationships with talent.

00:07:49   That's not the issue. Right. Like they're not a bad group to do business with, but your concern is that you're going to make a show for Peacock and then it's going to fall off the map when you do that.

00:08:02   Like is anybody talking about Rutherford Falls? Is anybody talking about Girls 5 Eva? And the answer is, I don't know, a little bit. Those are fun shows, but they're on Peacock and maybe somebody will discover them at some point.

00:08:13   But it's early days yet, I guess, for Peacock. But this is brutal. Like there's some encouraging talk here, but I mean, it's seven of seven. That's rough.

00:08:22   It's pretty rough. Hulu. I love this comment. "Why does Disney need two streaming services?"

00:08:30   Which is a very good point. Several people basically said, "I don't see why this needs to exist and why it isn't going to end up being the Star tab on Disney Plus."

00:08:41   Or maybe in the US they'll actually call it the Hulu tab. But for those people who don't know, there is a service that Disney owns in the rest of the world called Star that what Disney is doing is it's got more adult content on it.

00:08:54   It's not just the Disney branded stuff. And they've created this Star tab essentially inside the Disney Plus app. And that's where that other stuff lives.

00:09:03   But it's not everything that's on Hulu, though.

00:09:05   No, because Hulu was originated as a way for legacy broadcasters to put stuff on streaming and they all kind of went in on it together. And that's breaking up.

00:09:13   But what's going to be left is some catalog content, but also all of this kind of original material that isn't a great fit for the Disney brand.

00:09:21   And it feels like ultimately, I think I agree with the sentiment in this article, like ultimately it doesn't make sense for Hulu to exist.

00:09:28   And that it's probably going to just fade into a tab in Disney Plus. Even if the app persists, that they're going to really kind of focus it on like one app that has all this content in it in one place.

00:09:38   There's a comment in there about FX on Hulu, which is the idea that they're taking John Landgraf, who is the development executive who powers the FX and FXX cable channels.

00:09:51   And he's been developing shows that are originals on Hulu. And somebody in the article basically says they got to give it up, which I thought was funny.

00:09:59   I was like, well, why? But yeah, there is a kind of question of what's the coherent strategy here for Disney, especially given that they have Disney Plus.

00:10:08   And you've tucked this content into Disney Plus under an adult tab, basically. Like not just for kids. We say adult and people are like, oh, adults.

00:10:19   It's like not for kids, right? It's got edgier stuff that's not for kids. Why wouldn't you just do that in the U.S.? So what I read from Hulu, the comment about Hulu was really like, why does this exist?

00:10:35   Right? It's more more existential questions about Hulu.

00:10:38   Number five is Apple TV Plus, which I think is probably higher than I would have expected. But reading the comments made me think that it should be higher than five.

00:10:47   Yeah. I think the comments are very much in line with you, which is people really are actually thinking Apple TV Plus is doing better than they thought.

00:10:55   But that wasn't enough for it. Also, the article's structure and the point totals that it because he kind of did this on a point system.

00:11:06   And so you ended up with like certain categories were like catalog and there isn't any. So Apple TV didn't score as well, but they did.

00:11:21   The comments were pretty positive in the sense of like, this is promising.

00:11:27   And in fact, one person said they're aiming to be the HBO of streaming video on demand, which we've talked about for a few years now, that that seems to be absolutely Apple strategy is high quality originals.

00:11:40   That's what the whole promises is high quality originals. And the people quoted the article are like, they're they got the money.

00:11:46   They are spending the money. Well, they're making good decisions. They're doing better than we thought. But there needs to be more like they need more breakthroughs.

00:11:53   They need more Ted lassos. They need more of that kind of thing to break through. But but yeah, pretty positive stuff about Apple TV Plus.

00:12:00   I feel like what they want Apple to do and I think it's, you know, what we would ask them to do too is to basically do what Disney is doing where it's like you have hit show off the hit show.

00:12:12   And as soon as one ends, another one starts. You don't have to have 20 shows going on at once, but you have to have something happening all the time that makes people stay subscribed.

00:12:23   And they do have loads of content that's coming like not low, but they have they have content rolling out all the time.

00:12:28   But it isn't all of that top tier quality of say the morning show for mankind Ted lasso.

00:12:38   I would say mythic quest in that one, but maybe it's not as popular. So a studio exec said the arrows going up and says I was dubious, but they're one massive hit away from becoming real, which I think I think that's about right.

00:12:51   Like Ted lasso was a breakthrough, but like what's the next step? What's the thing that pushes them over the edge and they haven't quite got there yet, but they could get there.

00:13:00   I guess they're hoping for foundation, right Apple, right? And a bunch of people are saying, look, they've got the money they're spending it. They'll fulfill their fulfilling their side of the bargain.

00:13:10   One PR exec said they need more, but I have to think they will get many, many chances, right?

00:13:15   The idea is that was so much money that if they keep trying and keep pushing here, they will eventually get the thing that they're seeking.

00:13:23   It is funny that they talked to two wall street analysts, one of whom said this product is in need of a reason to exist and the other one said dollar for dollar.

00:13:30   It's the most impressive content slate since they launched. And that's the one who said they're trying to be the HBO of streaming video on demand.

00:13:37   And so, you know, wall street analysts are split. And actually I think I could agree with both of those statements because on one level it's sort of like this product doesn't need to exist, but Apple's decided they're going to do it and they're doing a pretty good job.

00:13:49   So yeah, I mean, maybe that person thought they were talking about the Apple TV box, you know, I don't know.

00:13:55   I don't like the remote, Wall Street analyst.

00:13:59   Number four is Amazon Prime Video. And like the comments of this one is what made was surprising to me because it seemed like they were much more negative about Prime Video.

00:14:09   That Amazon executives are a pain to deal with, which we could have guessed from that book, right?

00:14:14   We were talking about a few weeks ago, but apparently when they make a decision, they go all in on it.

00:14:20   And that's what people respect about them. Their promotional efforts are bad. Like they have stuff they have like I think they were referencing like Oscar winning director working on a show.

00:14:30   I think it was a director. I don't remember off the map, but they had Oscar winners working on a show and nobody knew anything about it.

00:14:36   Oh, this is the this is Barry Jenkins's show. Yeah, this is this is something that I've heard before and when I was doing TV Talk Machine with Tim Goodman.

00:14:42   We talked about this a lot that a lot of people in Hollywood. The frustration they have with streaming video is that is in promotion and is making that ripple where people are talking about it.

00:14:54   And if you and this is one of the knocks on Netflix too, is that there's so much on Netflix that you produce it.

00:15:00   And does anyone know and this set about Amazon Prime Video is perfect, which is like Oscar winner Barry Jenkins just did a show for them and it was like a tree falling in the forest with no one to witness like that is a challenge with all of these services.

00:15:15   The advantage Apple has and not having too many originals is that they can really put their promotion behind them.

00:15:21   But it may the volume play may work. It works for Netflix in a lot of ways, but it doesn't make friends in Hollywood. If you're seen as being kind of like just filling in what is extruded out of the Netflix pipe this week, right?

00:15:35   They want to feel special and I would argue that there's value in like if you're going to spend all this money making this thing, you want to promote it so that people know it exists and they see it and you have the show from an Oscar winner and nobody even knows that it exists.

00:15:47   That's not great. They referred to Amazon though as a sleeping giant. They have all this money and they have stuff in the wings, right?

00:15:57   Like that's the thing is they haven't spent a lot of money yet or or maybe more truthful is they are spending that money rapidly now, but we haven't seen all of it yet.

00:16:05   Yes, but it seems like the like Lord of the Rings is an example of this right like there they have a lot of power.

00:16:14   So I think this is one of those cases where Amazon ranks highly more for its potential because of the power of Amazon than anything else because it does sort of feel like its current state is kind of like it's great advantages that Netflix did all the hard work to establish this category and then Amazon just kind of rolled into it and that was a lot less effort, but that they they have for for a company this powerful.

00:16:37   They ought to be doing more and I think that's about right. Like I watched some stuff on Prime Video, but very rarely like it is one of my least watched streaming services and and it shouldn't be that way like it shouldn't be that way.

00:16:54   My thing about them is it's almost impossible to browse the app is so bad. Yeah, the app is so hard to deal with because they're also trying to sell you stuff and they're trying to sell you stuff. Yeah, which I think is a mistake. I feel like they need to do the Apple TV thing and like have an originals a real like originals interface that is totally separate from the sales interface, but instead they kind of intermingle them.

00:17:17   I think they have something good included with Prime maybe but it's just it's a mesh. I don't like that happens. It's not very helpful.

00:17:24   Well, and I search and I find things that are oh, they do have this. Oh, no, they don't they want to sell this exactly. I don't want to buy it. I just want to stream it. That's frustrating.

00:17:32   Number three is HBO Max that the brand has been tainted but it's still an important one especially to create as HBO is important. I have great content with some more on the way but HBO Max itself needs some awards for that kind of like extra claim and I believe they will get them.

00:17:51   So this is interesting because for all of the the tumult around HBO and HBO Max and AT&T and all of that the truth is HBO still executing with high quality content and HBO Max is finding its way right they quote an agent as saying, you know, flight the flight attendant and hacks or to HBO Max originals that really could have been on HBO and have done a good job of finding a niche hacks is great.

00:18:20   And then mayor of East town, which is on HBO proper also really good. They're all going to clean up at the Emmys. So like creatively. I think the feeling is that HBO is actually executing pretty well.

00:18:33   The challenge is that HBO Max is also about volume as the studio exec says which means just by the nature of not being entirely about quality but also being about volume. It makes it as the exec says not as Niche not as cool and that is that's their challenge right is how do you build an HBO Max brand that is more expensive and yet still has some of the cache of HBO.

00:19:02   And it's a different version of Amazon's problem right which is how do you do this prestige high quality original thing and also have kind of your volume business and can you bring those together? Can you separate them? How does that work?

00:19:18   But but yes for a service that's been kicked around a lot here it is at number three with fairly positive words from the people involved. That's I think that maybe shows you how how Hollywood views HBO still I see this is two things that one they probably do have outside of Disney maybe the best just in quality of catalog like the catalog so good because HBO stuff is so good plus they brought in some extras like friends or whatever right like right they have a great catalog and I think that's a really good thing.

00:19:47   And I think at the moment they're just writing on that name but they've got to back that up but they're riding on that HBO name in the industry.

00:19:55   The advantage that they've got is that they do have this content generation engine that that is HBO that has been generating a lot of great content and they've been handed more money to generate more of it and put it on the streaming service.

00:20:06   And so they've got a lot of potential right I think that that's maybe what the Wall Street analyst who's quoted in this article is saying which is they got a lot of potential because they've got this great library and they've got the content machine they just need to you know spend the money to generate more of that stuff but that they they have a lot of potential here despite all the hiccups in that have gone into launching HBO Max.

00:20:26   Number two is Disney Plus they've had an unparalleled success rate since launch with the content that they've been producing they understand scale on marketing better than anybody else they have realized that they need more content and they're executing on that and they were very smart to not drop full series at once the Netflix model because they dominate weekly conversation online.

00:20:48   And again this is from the perspective of people in the biz and not necessarily consumers but I think that that I agree with that statement about their smart to not drop things in a in a in a binge but instead do it weekly but you can see that especially from Hollywood's perspective having the conversation be dominated like it matters.

00:21:08   It goes back to that that statement about nobody talking about the Amazon release like having people talk I think it matters to everyone I think it's a great way to do marketing but if you're in the business it really matters that every week people are talking about whatever show got dropped on Disney Plus.

00:21:26   They say bet against Star Wars and Marvel at your own risk we've talked about this and I think it is important like franchises really help like if you don't have a franchise it's hard and Disney owns a lot of the big franchises and this is this is kind of the challenge that they've got.

00:21:44   The I thought that these positive statements were also really interesting because just as we said Apple seemed like it is is more low rated than it should be based on the tenor of the comments I think that's the equivalent of an up arrow it's kind of like on its way up Disney Plus is ranked number two.

00:22:03   But I would say is rated number one like it feels very much like the only reason Disney Plus isn't number one is that they haven't been out as long as Netflix.

00:22:14   Yep 100% they just don't have as big enough catalog.

00:22:16   I have a lot of stuff right but they don't have I think what Disney Plus is for me is really missing is a lot of TV shows or movies but I have a lot of TV shows obviously that is what they are 100% focusing on now feels like right rightly so they're doing a great job.

00:22:33   We spoke before there's been varying quality of the stuff that they've released but it's all being good to great.

00:22:40   You know they haven't released something bad yet.

00:22:43   I appreciated that the Wall Street analyst who said they have quickly realized they need more content and that the other analyst said watch out amazing success with a limited amount of content and so the idea here is they are.

00:22:59   We complained about early on about how Disney Plus seemed to be leaning way too heavily on their library and not on their originals but I think that's a function of them wanting to get out there as quickly as possible and the best way to do that was with the Disney vault.

00:23:13   And so they launched a service that was mostly catalog just because it got them out there fast but that the perception in Hollywood is now they understand the game they need to play.

00:23:22   They need to play as original material and they're going to do it and they're already starting to execute on it and once they get that up that machine running at full blast they will be hard to compete with and I think that's true.

00:23:34   I think that is absolutely true.

00:23:38   And then the last one of course is Netflix referred to as the Kleenex of TV.

00:23:43   Talk about damning with your praise. It's like they're ubiquitous which is great except once you're number one and you're ubiquitous.

00:23:52   You're also kind of boring.

00:23:55   Some I'll echo that with Netflix in the industry is not considered sexy anymore. They're like Walmart.

00:24:02   Yeah and the idea that unless you're the big show that Netflix is choosing to promote nobody knows you're there and again if you're viewing this from the perspective of I want to make deals I want to sell my show because you're in the business.

00:24:16   There's this feeling that like unless you can make an a list deal with Netflix.

00:24:22   It's kind of like your first choice and your last choice if that makes sense like first is can I be a list at Netflix and like if I can't be maybe I want to be somebody else's a list before I go back to just being in the pipe right in that that extrusion of content in the weekly extrusion because like it's money and you're on Netflix and that's good and maybe some good will come of it.

00:24:43   But you probably would rather be a heavily promoted show on HBO Max or Apple TV plus or Peacock even than being a not promoted show that gets dumped on a Friday by Netflix.

00:24:54   And they seem to cancel quite a lot of stuff that otherwise I think should work like a good example of this for me is Next in Fashion which was hosted by Alexa Chung and Tan France.

00:25:05   They did one season of it was like a fashion show competition thing kind of like a Project Runway type deal.

00:25:16   And it had one season and they cancelled it and it's kind of like if you like Queer Eye is one of your biggest shows.

00:25:24   You should be able to make anything with any of the Queer Eye hosts work.

00:25:29   But it seemed like they weren't really marketing it and I feel like I've seen a lot of people that make Netflix shows talk about like please watch it and share it with your friends right like you know.

00:25:41   They're doing their own marketing because they're afraid that they're going to be completely missed and that's the danger.

00:25:46   We like I like Next in Fashion it was a very good reality like reality competition show.

00:25:51   And Netflix knows like within a few weeks Netflix has made its canceling shows after they're like on for two weeks because it you know they don't even get a chance to find an audience.

00:26:02   Because they know that basically if you aren't found immediately you'll never be found and yet if you don't get promoted enough.

00:26:09   It's a real conundrum because there is a reality producer quoted in this story who basically says this is where you want to go because the budgets are great.

00:26:16   They're easy to work with and everybody even your grandparents know what Netflix is the producer says and I think that especially for reality where you want to have kind of a broad appeal and you're used to getting bad budgets that Netflix would be a good place to go.

00:26:29   I think it is a real live by the sword die by the sword kind of situation though where you you it's good money.

00:26:36   And everybody knows what Netflix is but also you may realize that you know you get one shot at it or maybe you get two seasons and then you're gone and it's very unlikely that you're going to be the belle of the ball.

00:26:47   But you will get your money and make your show and be on Netflix forever and that's something apparently as well they've had some executive changes and losing some love in the industry after these that the new executives.

00:27:00   A more budget conscious or like tougher to work with right that they had a had a programming who they who they said lost a lot of luster and then her successor came in trying to cut prices and that would be you know that's a frustration to agents and this agent says also I don't know why you wouldn't want shows to last longer than three seasons or some bath.

00:27:25   And that's another Hollywood thing right which is if you cancel these shows that are successful after three years like so many people in Hollywood make all their money from a hit show going a long time and that's when the money is made like when you're on like season seven right because you got the leverage and Netflix seems to be of the opinion that for most of their shows is like nope we don't want that.

00:27:48   We just want more more 123 season shows and then out because then the product is Netflix and not your show and then Netflix has all the leverage.

00:27:57   So I think that's interesting.

00:27:59   We should mention Paramount Plus and Discovery Plus aren't on this list not because they finished eighth and ninth but because they decided any platform that hadn't been up for a year.

00:28:08   And since Paramount Plus is technically new because it is more than CBS all access was they didn't get on this list but maybe Joe do this list again next year and that would be fun.

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00:29:55   Go to privacy.com/upgrade and sign up now. Our thanks to Privacy for the support of this show and Relay FM.

00:30:02   Alright so Jason finally he's on holiday right now. I've got him off the show mostly. So he thinks the show is over but it isn't.

00:30:13   I've always been super jealous of the episodes that Jason does when I'm away because he brings in wonderful guests. So that's what I'm going to do for the rest of the episode.

00:30:22   Later on in the episode I'm going to be joined by John Siracusa. We're going to try and understand exactly what John's perfect Mac would be.

00:30:29   I'm also going to be joined by Merlin Mann. We're going to check in with Merlin to see what hardware and software products are exciting him right now.

00:30:35   I'm having an extravaganza of an episode. But before we do all that as all Upgradians know you've got to start with a little warm up.

00:30:41   So we're going to do the first ever #miketalks segment and to help me out please welcome my friend and podcaster Jay Miller to upgrade. Hi Jay.

00:30:48   Hi Myke. Happy to be here.

00:30:50   So what have you got for me?

00:30:52   If you could redesign any tech accessory what would it be and what would you do with it?

00:30:59   I know exactly what this is. I want an Apple Watch that isn't a watch.

00:31:05   So I've been wearing my Apple Watch again recently because I'm tracking some fitness stuff.

00:31:11   But I kind of don't want any of the other features and I also want to wear the watches that I like the look of more.

00:31:19   So I want basically just a band. Pure fitness tracking. That's all I want.

00:31:25   I want all of the sensors that they currently have plus more of them and it can interface with my iPhone if I need to get any information from it.

00:31:33   I was thinking they could basically just make some nice bracelets that just look like the Apple Watch bands but just go all the way around.

00:31:43   There's just no watch in the middle of it. Maybe there could be some way to put a time on it.

00:31:49   They could have some LEDs that shine through the band if you really wanted that but you could just turn it off.

00:31:55   All I want is all of the really great... I always find the step count is more accurate because I'm always wearing the watch where sometimes I'll leave my phone down.

00:32:05   The exercise stuff. I enjoy all of the activity, right? Like the fill in the rings and stuff like that. But I don't always want to wear my Apple Watch every day because I have other watches that I like more.

00:32:16   So if I was given the power, I would redesign this product, maybe make another one. Let's not kill the Apple Watch.

00:32:24   But just a pure Apple fitness band. That's what I want.

00:32:28   You mentioned filling in the rings. I actually had the same idea but instead of a band, it would be just a ring. Similar to those silicon rings.

00:32:39   And some people have tried this before.

00:32:41   There's a sleep tracking one, right? There is a product that does this kind of stuff.

00:32:46   Yeah, so I think Apple could do it. They could make a thicker ring, a thinner ring, something that's discreet. But I'm also with you. If you can't do a ring, just give me a band. I don't mind. I would love a band.

00:33:01   I actually have a Series 0 watch that I stopped wearing when the Series 2 came out. And I just never got a new one. So I'm definitely on board with you there.

00:33:12   Jay, thank you so much for that question. I really loved it. It's nice to get a question soon.

00:33:15   You start podcasts. What a novel idea.

00:33:18   Maybe #miketalk should become a more regular thing.

00:33:22   Maybe it should. Hey, Jay, you've got something cool coming to Relay FM pretty soon, right? Do you want to tell our listeners about it before we let you go?

00:33:31   Absolutely. So for those that do know of me, I've been doing productivity stuff for years now. Never professionally, always as a fan.

00:33:40   And recently I got with my great friend and unicorn of the internet, Kathy Campbell, and we said, "Hey, we should do a productivity podcast that doesn't focus on the apps, but focuses on the people and provides the connection between what we'd hope to get done and what ultimately gets done."

00:34:03   So I'm happy to announce that coming very, very soon, like this same week, we're going to be releasing our podcast, Conduit, which is full of puns, full of encouragement, full of excitement, and hopefully full of a lot of connections.

00:34:21   So you can go and check it out for yourself right now. You go to relay.fm/conduit and you can subscribe. Go check it out and support this new show that we've got coming here on Relay FM. Jay, thanks so much, man.

00:34:31   Absolutely, Myke. Anytime.

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00:36:30   John Siracusa, welcome back to Upgrade.

00:36:32   Thank you for having me.

00:36:34   This is a treat for me to have you. I am with Jason out of the picture this week. I am running...

00:36:40   That makes it sound like you had him murdered.

00:36:42   Like I don't want to say.

00:36:43   Jason out of the picture.

00:36:44   He's gone. So I'm running through all of the things that I want to do.

00:36:48   And I was looking back through the times that Jason's had you on most recently when I've been away.

00:36:54   Because obviously we had like a year, more than a year, where you haven't been on the show with Jason because I've been around every single week.

00:37:02   So I was looking through the show notes of those previous episodes and they all for the last like three years prior had all had some reference to our Macs.

00:37:14   It was like first of like, what could it be like to have an iPhone processor and an iMac?

00:37:18   And then like that's how that was like in the description of the first one.

00:37:22   And then like for the next two, our Macs, oh, maybe they're coming because obviously we thought and knew they were coming for a long time.

00:37:29   So now that they're here, now that we know what they are, now that we have, I think, a much greater idea of what the future of the Mac can be.

00:37:38   So I wanted to know what is the perfect Mac for John Siracusa as of 2021.

00:37:46   Yeah, I hate making car analogies with computers, but I always talk about cars in my other podcast, so it just tends to happen.

00:37:51   And I think it's tempting to when considering something like this to look at the computers I've had in the past, kind of like you'd look at the cars that you've bought in the past and say, what kind of vehicle would appeal to this person?

00:38:03   Well, let's see. It seems like they've owned a series of these things, so we should make another one like it.

00:38:07   So if you look at the Macs I've owned or the ones that I really like, these big tower Macs that I've had, you know, basically since the blue and white G3, when I started buying Apple towers, like I couldn't afford a 9500 or 840 AV.

00:38:20   Or a quadra 700 tilted on its side. So the blue and white G3 was my first tower Mac, and I've pretty much stuck with them since then.

00:38:27   So you would think it's like, oh, with this computer of your dreams, what would it look like?

00:38:31   It's going to be kind of like the one I'm sitting next to now, some big honking tower with lots of stuff in it.

00:38:36   But I think that's probably a mistake.

00:38:40   And you know, what you mentioned about the ARM chips and the new iMac built around the ARM chips, there is a bunch of new possibilities.

00:38:49   And you have to consider that what I've purchased in the past has mostly been based on what I've been offered, not necessarily the question you're posing, which is like, if you, you know, if you had to make your ideal computer, what would it be like?

00:39:03   Now there is the angle, speaking of cars, of a lot of people, like, they keep buying big trucks.

00:39:08   In their heart of hearts, and very often they will tell you outright if they're self-aware enough, they just want a big truck.

00:39:14   Like, the bigness is the feature, right? Do you need to carry a lot of stuff? Do you need it to be super high?

00:39:20   I say, I just like big trucks because they make me happy because they're big and I want a big Tonka truck to ride around in, whatever, right?

00:39:25   But I don't think that's the case with me. Like, I don't, I'm not wedded to a huge computer that you could, you know, live inside, right?

00:39:34   That you can put seven Mac Minis inside the thing and there's tons of stuff inside it.

00:39:38   I'm not wedded to that. I don't need it in the way a lot of people need really big trucks that are very high off the ground.

00:39:44   I just, that part doesn't appeal to me. It's always been for me about the benefits that, that I'm getting.

00:39:52   And it just so happens for the past several generations to get those benefits, Apple has been closest to providing them in these giant tower cases.

00:40:03   So, I don't know. Have you, have you ever had one of the big tower max? You've mostly been on iMacs that way.

00:40:08   I never, I've never had a tower Mac. No, I've obviously had and have PC towers, but my Macs have always been either a laptop or an iMac.

00:40:19   Yeah, you got the big gaming PC now, I guess. But, but again, I feel like that, you know, if you could have gotten all the same stuff that you have in your gaming PC in a slimmer, quieter case, would you have done it?

00:40:31   No, because it was part of the fun. Oh, that's right. It was like a little project. Yeah. All your RGBs and silliness. Anyway. Yeah, that's, that's another, you know, anyway.

00:40:40   So I'm, I'm not particularly into that aspect of it. So when thinking of my ideal computer, I have to think about what benefits, what benefits am I trying to get?

00:40:47   Why do I keep buying these tower computers? What are they giving me that a Mac mini or an iMac or whatever wouldn't?

00:40:53   And I could probably divide them into two things, like the benefits that you get when you buy it and then the benefits that you get over the course of ownership.

00:41:01   Because I tend to own my computers for a while. I don't like the, the turmoil of, you know, replacing my system and with a new one, I just want to get a thing that I really like and keep it on the same way with cars.

00:41:11   So benefits of time of purchase. The easy ones to start with are capacity.

00:41:18   And you might think this is leading you down the road of a tower computer again. Ah, capacity. You gotta have all that room.

00:41:23   But well, let's list some of the things that I'm interested in the capacity of. You've got RAM, obviously, storage, the number of ports, how much cooling you can put through the thing.

00:41:33   Lots of Apple's computers are very limited in capacity on those fronts, particularly M1s where so far, you know, or the ARM Macs.

00:41:43   So far, 16 gigs of RAM has been your limit, which is pretty tight. And, you know, we assume the new ones will have higher limit.

00:41:49   I use the MacBook Pro most of the time, the one and I have 16 gigabytes of RAM in my MacBook Pro.

00:41:54   And I keep getting an error message to tell me I'm running out of system memory. It suddenly started happening in the last week.

00:42:00   I don't know why. And I keep getting like a little box and it's showing me all the apps. It's like, which ones do you want to force quit?

00:42:07   And it's like, hang on a minute. Whoa, what is this? I've never seen this before on a Mac.

00:42:11   Yeah, that sounds like something is going wrong, but still 16 gigs is not a lot.

00:42:17   And then there's also the flexibility of a desktop by which I mean desktop computers, like as opposed to a laptop.

00:42:25   Right. You know, I didn't say this up front, but it should go without saying that I'm talking about a desktop computer.

00:42:30   I wanted to check this because I wondered if we were going for a big reveal here.

00:42:34   But I think what you're saying is not necessarily that you don't want a desktop, so it doesn't need to be the biggest that is possible.

00:42:43   But desktop is your desired perfect format. Right. Yeah. Because like I just talked about capacity and you could say, well, you know, as we'll get through in a little bit, you want a lot of capacity.

00:42:52   But that could be in a smaller thing. Right. It could be a laptop or it could be, you know, in a Mac mini size thing or whatever.

00:42:58   But the flexibility you get from a desktop, you know, I don't need the portability.

00:43:02   So what am I getting for the fact that I have to plug it into the wall and I can't carry it anymore?

00:43:06   You get flexibility, obviously, in having an external monitor.

00:43:09   I mean, you could say you could use it with a Mac mini, but like you're separating the monitor from the computer so you can, you know, change them independently.

00:43:17   So let's say, for instance, somehow you'd found yourself buying a horrendously expensive Apple monitor.

00:43:21   You'd hope that you could use that monitor for several Macs to sort of spread the cost over the next decade to make you feel better about this purchase.

00:43:30   And then you could change out the Mac that's behind it. Right. Right now, I've got the, you know, 2019 Mac Pro connected to this Pro Display XDR.

00:43:37   I fully expect that Mac Pro to disappear and be replaced with an ARM Mac.

00:43:41   And I'm not going to change the monitor if I can at all help it. Right. So that's flexibility.

00:43:46   Internal storage is another piece of flexibility. When you have something portable, they tend not to give you lots of places inside the thing to add storage.

00:43:54   You get whatever storage you get, but it's not like you can add more stuff in there.

00:43:58   Whereas a desktop computer that doesn't have to go anywhere or be carried, you can, in theory, make room inside the actual thing for new storage.

00:44:09   Now the Mac mini doesn't currently offer that. It could. You can imagine a Mac mini, especially an ARM one, if you look inside the ARM ones, like there's a lot of empty space in there.

00:44:16   You can imagine that Mac mini with like a M.2 slot for another SSD or something. Right.

00:44:21   There's room inside a desktop computer to add more storage.

00:44:24   Obviously in a tower, you have way more room to add more storage, you know, all sorts of drives you can fit in there.

00:44:30   That's a flexibility you don't get from a laptop.

00:44:33   And then the final benefit that I'm looking for at the time of purchase is, this is kind of under the realm of capacity, but it deserves its own item, which is video capacity in terms of like, you know, video card performance, GPU.

00:44:47   And that's important because Apple tends not, has never historically really given, cared too much about GPU power on anything but the highest end computer.

00:44:57   And GPUs are such an important part of lots of different big markets, obviously gaming, but even video and even some computational things.

00:45:06   And GPUs constantly advance and get better and better. And if you're stuck with whatever GPU the thing came with, that's not great.

00:45:12   But even if you, even if you're setting that aside, because we're talking about benefits on day one, anytime you've ever looked at Apple's line of computers and said, well, I want a quote unquote good GPU.

00:45:23   You always had to pick the most expensive one. It was literally your only choice that had like a slot where you could put a real GPU in there.

00:45:30   You know, again, historically Apple has not really played in the high end GPU space. They haven't offered their own GPUs.

00:45:36   They've always been buying them from either Nvidia or AMD, sticking them inside their computers. And those companies are fiercely competitive and are constantly making better and better GPUs.

00:45:45   And if you wanted a decent one at the time of purchase, your only choice was to get the usually one and only computer that Apple would sell that you could stick a real GPU from, you know, AMD or back in the old days, Nvidia inside there.

00:45:57   I care about it mostly for gaming, but I would just feel better having a big GPU that can drive a big screen, let's say, because, you know, the number of GPUs that can drive a 6K monitor over that single cable is small.

00:46:09   To have multiple displays if you're into that, or even just for computational stuff.

00:46:14   So I'm looking for those benefits and historically they've been in a giant tower computer.

00:46:19   And then over the course of ownership, so years later, what else do you care about? This is the upgradeability thing. Alright, what if I get all those benefits in day one, but if I'm going to keep this computer for many years, don't I want to be able to swap things out of it?

00:46:32   Wouldn't I want like a socketed GPU and all my RAM to be in sockets and, you know, the SSD not to be soldered to the motherboard and, you know, all this other stuff that I want to swap in and out?

00:46:42   I don't really relish upgrading. It's just a means to an end. And so when I look at the things that I just listed, you know, storage, ports, GPU, RAM, all that stuff.

00:46:55   Like I don't expect to be able to upgrade the ports, right? That usually doesn't... you can, I mean, I could put a PCI card in and put more USB ports or whatever.

00:47:05   And storage, that's something you probably want to upgrade, but if you have a certain number of storage slots, storage just tends to get bigger over time anyway.

00:47:12   So you can just take out the existing storage and put a new one in the same slot, you know what I mean? Exactly. Yeah, it's not really something you have to think about in the same way, right?

00:47:20   Like it's not like, oh, the only way I can get more storage is to physically double the amount of disks I have. You don't have to do that. You can just get a bigger disk.

00:47:29   As long as you have literally just one storage place where you can remove a thing, you know, take a thing and you know that over the course of the life of that computer, you'll be able to take out whatever's in there now and put in another thing that just holds more stuff.

00:47:44   Because that's just the way storage tends to go. RAM is an interesting one because I feel like I don't necessarily need upgradable RAM if I'm given sufficient capacity to begin with.

00:47:56   You know, there's the other thing if you want to buy a computer for not too much money and you get like a small amount of RAM and you upgrade it down the line.

00:48:03   But in theory, I can just buy the computer on day one with enough RAM that I think it will last for 10 years and have it be soldered to the motherboard or, you know, whatever.

00:48:14   It's stuck on the system on a chip, an M1 parlance or whatever. Now, the current crop M1s don't offer anything close to that amount as you're finding out.

00:48:21   But this Mac Pro I got with 96 gigs of RAM, I don't think I'm ever going to upgrade the RAM on this Mac Pro unless I use it for like 15 years.

00:48:30   Because I think that 96 gigs is going to hold me for my usage until I eventually replace the computer. So I don't need that to be upgradable.

00:48:38   Yeah, I feel like that's probably a pretty good amount. I think you're probably OK.

00:48:42   I mean, it depends on what you're doing. Like if you're doing some kind of scientific computing, you need these huge data sets and memory.

00:48:46   Like there's a reason we know you're not doing that.

00:48:48   Like, you know, yeah, there are always reasons. But like I think for you, 96 gigabytes of RAM is probably, as you say, would be good for the 10 years if you were to keep that computer for 10 years.

00:48:58   Right. And, you know, it is upgradable and I could add more and it would have cost less if I had bought less and added more over time.

00:49:05   And my other tower computers, I have purchased them with less RAM and added more RAM over time.

00:49:10   But I feel like both RAM and storage, like the upgradeability is needs are pretty limited.

00:49:16   I'd be fine with if especially if it was super fast RAM, I would be fine if that was like on the system on a chip, you know, like the M1 style, as long as there was enough of it.

00:49:24   So I feel like, OK, I'm all set with that. And as long as there's something replaceable with storage, I'd be OK.

00:49:30   GPUs, on the other hand, GPUs change a lot. Every year there's better and better GPUs.

00:49:36   It's not very predictable. You know, next year the GPUs are going to be better than this year.

00:49:41   And then three, four or five years, the GPUs are going to be worlds better.

00:49:44   So I really feel like the GPU has to be upgradable for longevity somehow, or at least maybe there's a GPU that you can upgrade.

00:49:52   But like the storage is a place where you can stick another GPU. Right. That is upgradable.

00:49:57   So something some kind of interchangeable GPU, because it's very difficult to buy a machine up front and have a GPU that's going to last you in five years.

00:50:05   Right. Because eventually, you know, if you buy the best GPU you can, five years later, there's some game that's going to be chugging on that GPU, which is kind of disappointing.

00:50:12   It feels like of those things, you know, excluding the idea of moving from x86 to ARM, of those elements, CPU, GPU, RAM,

00:50:21   it feels like there's still the most amount of movement occurring in GPUs on a year over year or multiple year over year basis.

00:50:28   As you say, right, like games continue to get more demanding.

00:50:32   And that is a casual or like a regular use case where most people's regular use cases of what is taxing a CPU is not continuing to grow at that same kind of level.

00:50:44   Right. Like the CPU improvements can typically be a bit more incremental and smaller over a longer period of time, it feels like, than GPU.

00:50:54   Yeah, because the GPUs obviously are working on a problem that is, you know, nearly infinite parallelism. Like, you know, if you could just give me more things to crunch pixels, there's always more pixels for you to crunch.

00:51:05   And you can usually do most of them in parallel, right? Whereas with the CPU, it's doing, it's working on algorithms that have inherent data dependencies.

00:51:14   There's a limited amount of parallelism that you can extract from workloads of doing actual sort of computation and conditional logic, right?

00:51:21   Whereas, you know, if you give me however many pixels there are on a 6K display and say, I just need you to, you know, crunch through those and do 3D calculations and now add on top of that the sort of, not going to say fake, but the ray tracing like functionality that they're adding to game engines.

00:51:40   Like, give me more execution units, give me more, you know, flops on my GPU and game developers will use them. And it's easier to do. Not that it's easy, but it's easier because as soon as you can fit that number of execution units into the silicon chips within the cooling envelope, they just print more of them.

00:51:57   They just, you know, how many execution units do you have? Right. And kind of similar with RAM, how much VRAM or depending on how the RAM works or whatever. Right. So it's, it's quote unquote easy to keep making a bigger and bigger GPU. So that's what happens every year. They just keep making bigger and bigger ones as, as much as the manufacturing technology of silicon chips allows them to do that without starting a fire inside your computer.

00:52:18   And bigger and bigger is right. Like the new series, you know, like the new Nvidia and AMD cards, they are physically massive. Like they are massive. People are having to buy completely new cases for their computers because they just don't fit. They are huge and they got tons of fans on them. They are massive.

00:52:36   I mean, it's kind of like farming or solar panels. It's like, if you give me more fields, I'll just plant more wheat. Right. And so it's like, how much, how much fields can you give me? That's the only limit on the capacity of wheat, right? Or how much acreage do you give me to put solar panels? I can make more electricity if you give me more land to put more solar panels on. That's the only limiting factor. And so the limiting factor for GPU is how much electricity and power and heat and how much space.

00:53:01   Because if you, if you said you have, you know, a thousand times the power budget and, you know, obviously a thousand times the cost and a thousand times the space, I can give you a thousand times the GPU. Like it's, again, it's an embarrassingly parallel problem.

00:53:14   There's always, there's always more work to be crunched through. So obviously Apple and, you know, and card makers in general try to constrain themselves to reasonable sized tower computers.

00:53:27   But as you noted, this generation, they're really pushing up against, well, even in a large tower computer, can we get a few more millimeters here and there? Like, you know, there was a 3090 is just sort of comically large.

00:53:39   And as you know, it just doesn't fit in a lot of cases that people bought those cases and think this will fit any GPU that we need.

00:53:45   And this happens periodically, like when GPUs went from single slot to double slot to just being like, look, half your case is going to be taken up with the GPU and it's a cooling solution.

00:53:53   Right. Or even even Apple with the MPX modules. Right. Which take, I don't know, like triple height, double height, quad height, whatever.

00:54:01   They have these huge heat sinks because they don't have fans, which I love. But yeah, so something something upgradeable in GPU is really important.

00:54:08   So I feel like GPUs, some kind of bay for internal storage. And then I don't expect to be able to upgrade my CPU, even though that's been a thing in the past.

00:54:17   And RAM, if I can buy enough of it up front, I'm fine with that. And then I feel like the final aspect of this thing that I'm describing here is the intangible one, the equivalent of I just want a big truck, which is aesthetics and build quality, which we mostly take for granted with Apple stuff, especially the high end stuff.

00:54:33   You assume it's going to be nice, sturdy, quiet ish. Right. No particularly delicate parts. You'd hope the ports are inconvenient places, which we can't take for granted with Apple, unfortunately. Right.

00:54:47   But for the big tower computers, for example, maybe some ports on the front or the top so you don't have to reach around the back for all of them.

00:54:54   You want it to look nice on the inside and out, which I appreciate. It's just it's against the big truck thing.

00:55:01   There's no reason that I care that the inside of my computer looks nice, but it does make me happy if you've seen the inside of any of the Apple's tower computers.

00:55:09   Again, starting with the blue and white G3 where you opened it up and you saw the parts laid out. That was cool and convenient.

00:55:14   And the current 2019 Mac Pro makes the blue and white G3 look like it was slapped together by a hobbyist. Like this thing is a work of art inside. There's no visible wires anywhere.

00:55:23   There are no fans in any of the cards. It's beautiful, silent. Everything is color matched and just precision machined. It's an amazing work of art.

00:55:32   And no, this doesn't actually make the computer "better" at doing any of its stuff, but it makes me happy.

00:55:37   And if I'm going to be spending as much money on something, kind of like buying a nice car, you wouldn't buy a nice car and say, well, it's got a quiet ride and it's very fast and it's comfortable to ride in, but I hate how it looks.

00:55:48   Nobody spends a hundred grand on a fancy car that they hate the looks of. Similarly, I feel like when you're, unless you're doing it for like work and you need it for your quote unquote job, right?

00:55:57   No one buys a high-end computer, like a sort of hobbyist high-end computer where you don't actually need it to do anything. You just want it because it's cool.

00:56:05   You don't buy that computer if you hate how it looks. And I feel like I wouldn't buy a computer that fit all my criteria if it was shoddily built or hideously ugly or something like that.

00:56:16   Which, again, people think is weird when it comes to computers, but no one bats an eyelash about it with cars. No one buys a car they don't like the looks of, right?

00:56:24   Maybe if you needed to be a work truck or something, you're going to use it to like drive into the forest and haul timber, but for your daily driver, luxury sports car, whatever you, yes, you look at all the other criteria of how fast is it and how much mileage is it, whatever your criteria are.

00:56:38   But then you also got to like how it looks because you don't want to spend a lot of money on something that you find ugly or seems cheap feeling or whatever. So that is my final bit of criteria.

00:56:48   So given all of that, I can imagine a much, much, much smaller computer than the one I have now because if all you need is one or two internal storage bays, a swappable GPU, and then you can have RAM and system on a chip in, you know, totally unupgradable.

00:57:07   You can get one that's like a half or a quarter of the size of this Mac Pro and be perfectly fine.

00:57:13   And, you know, driving my 6K display is not that big of a deal anymore because what now, you know, the MacBook Air can do that now. It's nothing with the ARM chips in and everything.

00:57:22   So these rumors of a half size Mac Pro, that's might be right up my alley.

00:57:27   It really depends, though, on the GPU because you can make this box smaller, but the GPUs, especially if Apple's not making them itself, right, if it's still an AMD GPU, AMD GPUs have a certain minimum size that will dictate how small a box you can fit around this stuff because they're going to be like long PCI cards and they're going to need a lot of vertical space for cooling and all that.

00:57:50   So I do worry about that.

00:57:52   You know, I'm not going to be happy with the Mac Mini.

00:57:55   That's what I'm saying. Do you think they will still have GPUs from third parties?

00:58:01   See, when I look at the 2019 Mac Pro and the people who actually need like the dual Vega 2 cards, like they actually use those because, you know, having four of those makes their work take, you know, a quarter the amount of time that if they just had one.

00:58:16   Right. I don't know how you sell those people on the idea that, OK, well, we don't sell AMD stuff anymore and there's an Apple one and the Apple one is great.

00:58:24   It's even faster than one of those Vegas. And they'll say, OK, but is it faster than four?

00:58:30   Like because right now it takes me, you know, X amount of minutes and you're telling me it's going to take like X times three amount of minutes.

00:58:36   That's not an upgrade for me.

00:58:38   And I guess as well, for a lot of those use cases, the software is tuned to work perfectly on the hardware or whatever.

00:58:46   I can imagine that that could be the case. And unless, you know, if you don't feel comfortable with that or confident with that, then it's not going to help you out fast. Apple's GPU is.

00:58:55   Yeah, I mean, that's Apple's usually their pitch is like, OK, well, you know, if you use our software with our GPU, it's way faster than if you use third parties on the AMD one.

00:59:05   But I just don't see how, you know, again, it gets down to just sort of, you know, acreage in the wheat solar panel thing.

00:59:11   Right. How many square millimeters of silicon are in a twenty nineteen Mac pro with four AMD Vega GPUs in it?

00:59:20   There's just like in terms of how much power that's drawing from the power supply, how much heat is generating and the literal number of transistors at a certain point.

00:59:29   No matter how great Apple's one GPU is, you you you can't compete with four times as much surface area and silicon chips.

00:59:38   Maybe if you're really good, you can say, well, you know, if you have this amount, I can give you like three quarters of that amount and be faster because you're Apple and you do know you're better at it.

00:59:48   But if you're just going to be one GPU versus four, I don't think Apple's going to be four times as good as as the best third party GPUs that are out there.

00:59:56   So, you know, so the choice Apple has is we can say, well, most of our customers don't need that. It's such a narrow slice.

01:00:02   Those people were just going to say, look, we don't serve your needs anymore. Sorry. Or alternately, they could just keep serving that market by saying, yeah, we have great GPUs, but also we have a bunch of slots.

01:00:14   And if you want, we'll sell you a horrendously overpriced Apple version of a third party GPU that you can stick in those slots.

01:00:20   And that seems like the most straightforward solution. Like why give that up? They spend all this time with twenty nineteen Mac Pro.

01:00:26   Twenty nineteen Mac Pro does not have one slot. It doesn't have two slots. And it's a huge number of slots in there.

01:00:31   It's giant. And they fill them with stuff, including their afterburner card and, you know, multiple GPUs, whatever you want to put in there for Apple to come out with this product.

01:00:41   And then five years later say, never mind. That's going to be a difficult conversation.

01:00:47   And that's exactly the reason why pros don't trust Apple with this stuff. They say, oh, you made this great computer that fits our needs.

01:00:52   And then you change your mind a couple of years later and say, oh, well, since we're not doing third party GPUs anymore, we think one Apple GPU is good enough for everybody.

01:00:59   So get in line or just go to PC and people will just go to PC.

01:01:02   So I really hope that the rumors of a quote unquote half size Pro Mac and a full size one are true, that they will offer both of those.

01:01:12   And you'll know which one you need. Do you know, do you just want like the needs that I described where you can get away with a half size one and be happy as long as the GPU is upgradeable?

01:01:19   You know, or let's say even if the GPU is not upgradeable, but the computer is inexpensive enough that you can buy a new one more than once every 10 years.

01:01:25   That's another option Apple could go with. I'm not sure they're going to go with that one.

01:01:29   Yeah, I can see myself with a smaller, quieter computer that has just the kind of flexibility that I need.

01:01:40   It's a model of the GPU, some internal storage. And I would be perfectly happy with that.

01:01:46   But I'm not sure all of the 2019 Mac Pro customers would be.

01:01:51   But we're not asking them. We're asking you. So we don't have to worry about all those people right now.

01:01:56   And I think also in my old age now, if you'd asked me the same question like a decade or two ago, I probably would have wanted all the things to be upgradeable.

01:02:04   And I would have wanted all that empty space because I'd be like, well, who knows what I want in the future?

01:02:09   This is kind of part of the narrowing of the possibility space of aging.

01:02:13   It's like, am I the type of person who will ever fill all those card slots when you're in your 20s? You think I might be that. Who knows? Someday maybe I'll be making music or maybe a bunch of, you know, cards in there that connect to sound interfaces.

01:02:27   Or maybe I'll have five GPUs and I'll be doing. Yeah, it's like at a certain point you're like, OK, well, I'm not going to do those things. I'm not interested in them.

01:02:35   So the number of things you need your computer to do for you becomes better defined, let's say, rather than just being narrower.

01:02:41   And I feel like now at this point in my life, I know which things I will want to upgrade and which things I want.

01:02:46   And, you know, there is an element of just wanting to make sure that your time spent at your computer will be with a working computer.

01:02:55   Right. And it's not that you're going to have to spend a bunch of time troubleshooting the thing that you put in there or whatever.

01:03:01   Right. Like it's that time is is more limited than when we're younger, I suppose.

01:03:06   Yeah, that's part of the internal storage discussion, too, is like, why do you care about internal storage?

01:03:11   Like it's just with current technology, it's part of my backup regime is I need to have like a local time machine backup and then a local like clone of some kind.

01:03:20   Right. Just because history has shown that when I screw something up, that's the fastest way to get back up and running is to not have to go to your cloud backup provider to get all that stuff.

01:03:31   And the only way to do that with current technology is either to have some minimal amount of internal storage that you can put, you know,

01:03:37   buy third party things and shove them inside your computer or to have a bunch of boxes on your desk.

01:03:41   And I hate that I hate the boxes on my desk. Not so much that I'm going to go with a Mac Mini or an iMac.

01:03:45   That's exactly why I want a computer with some kind of internal storage, because I can make all that disappear and just have my one computer that has all my stuff,

01:03:54   a time machine backup of my stuff and a clone of my stuff all in one box. And I don't think that's too much to ask.

01:04:01   All right. So I feel like we have very thoroughly set the stage. So I am now going to ask you a series of questions and I just want you to tell me what you want from these things.

01:04:12   Right. So format desktop, laptop, big, small. What is the format of this dream computer of yours?

01:04:21   It's a desktop and I'm going to say medium. OK, so we're talking like.

01:04:26   Obviously much larger than a Mac Mini and much smaller than your current Mac Pro.

01:04:32   Yeah, because all these tower computers, there has always been enough space for like a rabbit to live in there along with all my stuff.

01:04:39   I've never filled all the slots. You know. OK, what about the design?

01:04:44   What do you want it to be aesthetically? Do you want it to be a small version of what you currently have or would you like if in an idea?

01:04:50   Well, but you want something different. So these things, you know, fashion trends come and go in the computer world.

01:04:56   And I think in the desktop world, we've been kind of overdue on the Apple.

01:05:02   Not really, because we got it with the trash can. But like I feel like it's it's time for the pro tower line to swing back in a Darth Vader direction.

01:05:11   I'm kind of liking the idea of a matte black thing. Right. I know that the trash can was black and shiny,

01:05:17   but it was actually kind of like a chromey silver thing and it wasn't quite the aesthetic I was looking for.

01:05:21   And we've had silver computers for a while. I'd be happy with a candy colored like, you know, blue and white G3 style tower as well.

01:05:28   But I have actually kind of been hankering for a Darth Vader style black tower computer for a long time now.

01:05:34   And I feel like the trash can was like a near miss. And we're talking fully black, right?

01:05:39   We're not talking any of Apple's vast variants of what gray can be. No, not space black, like actual black, like the black book.

01:05:46   Like the black MacBook. Matte black. Just black. No midnight green mixed in. No blue mixed in. Just black.

01:05:55   Now the screen in an ideal world, are you keeping your screen or do you now want a screen to match?

01:06:02   I mean, I feel like the Apple's aesthetic is like on the XDR is neutral enough that it will match.

01:06:09   It would match a black computer, certainly. It has a black surround on the screen here. Right. Like the bezel is black.

01:06:14   The base is neutral silver and you don't really see it that much.

01:06:19   So I think that, you know, matching obviously is not going to match as well as this thing does.

01:06:24   But practically speaking, I can't see the back of my XDR.

01:06:27   So I know that it matches the front of my Mac Pro, but that's just an academic.

01:06:31   Like someone could have come and shaved off all those things that would never know. It's facing a wall. I can't see it.

01:06:35   So I don't need it to be matchy matchy, as they say.

01:06:38   I just need it to be in fitting with the aesthetic and I think a matte black tower connected to this thing would look fine.

01:06:46   That said, a lot of the reason I am keeping this monitor is because it costs so much money.

01:06:50   If it was cheap, I'd replace it with a matching one. Right. But it's not cheap.

01:06:54   So you really got to get your money's worth out of these monitors. Even like, think of my last monitor.

01:06:58   It was a 23 inch Apple Cinema display that I think I use for at least two different computers.

01:07:03   It didn't really match any but the first one. But you know, you just keep using it just because it seems like an investment.

01:07:10   And it gives you the flexibility to reuse it. So money, no object.

01:07:14   I'd want it to be replaced with like an ultra thin, ultra bright OLED 8K display that matches my computer exactly.

01:07:22   But that doesn't seem like it'll be in the cards money wise.

01:07:25   So I want to talk about specs.

01:07:27   Obviously, I'm going to assume that you are not like desiring to keep an Intel processor inside this during computer reviews.

01:07:34   Do you have any kind of feeling as to how big an Apple Silicon processor you want?

01:07:41   You mean like physical size or like number of cores?

01:07:44   I mean, if you have a desire for physical size, I would be interested to know.

01:07:48   But I did think more cores. I mean, if you do have a feeling for how physically big you want it to be, I would like to know that.

01:07:54   But really more of like cores.

01:07:56   The size actually is the thing. It's not size so much as like the bigger it is, the more heat it puts out and the more cooling it needs.

01:08:02   And so I do like the ARM chips low power because it lets you have a quieter computer.

01:08:10   So what I wouldn't do is spend every ounce of that low power advantage on adding more square millimeters of silicon to the point where you use all the cooling capacity of the case.

01:08:24   So the case I have now has tremendous cooling capacity. You could put a huge ARM chip in there and cool it.

01:08:30   But I wouldn't do that. I would say let's not make literally the biggest ARM chip we can to fit within the cooling capacity.

01:08:35   Let's instead make an ARM chip that's kind of medium sized and lower the cooling capacity.

01:08:42   Say, OK, we don't need so many fans. The fans don't need to be as big. They don't need to spin as fast.

01:08:47   I'm not saying do what you did with the M1s, which is like we can have a computer with no fan because that's not the trade off I want to make on a desktop.

01:08:53   Right. So I would expend half, let's say half the cooling budget making the chip bigger. But then I'd stop.

01:09:01   I would not use all of the cooling budget of even a half sized tower. Right. Because that's then you're losing some of the advantage.

01:09:07   Right. I'm not I'm not mining for Bitcoin here. I don't want every ounce of performance. I do want some, you know, quietness. Right.

01:09:13   In terms of number of cores, I would say maybe double the number of cores that I have now would be fine.

01:09:19   What do I have now? Eight core, 12 core. I don't even know. I bought as many cores as I could afford. I have 12 core.

01:09:26   Yeah. 20 core. You know, because the type of stuff I do on my computer can take advantage of multiple cores because I'm doing lots of little things.

01:09:33   Yeah. You know, even now, and I'm talking, you know, you know, I'm recording in Skype and I'm also recording an audio hijack.

01:09:38   Right. And the networking stack is running and maybe, you know, Google Docs is like this.

01:09:42   There's always something to be using these CPU cores. And then every once in a while, like compiling an Xcode, I can use them all at once.

01:09:48   Right. And that will actually give me a benefit of actually making the time I have to wait for my computer to do a thing to be lower. Right.

01:09:54   Yeah. And of course, core counts are different now. Right. Because we have energy and efficiency, you know, like performance and efficiency.

01:10:01   So, you know, you wouldn't want to have necessarily the same amount of cores. You would want to have some more because they're not all the same as it used to be.

01:10:10   Yeah. I'm not sure how they would do that breakdown in terms of the low power versus high power ones.

01:10:14   I would imagine there wouldn't be too many low power ones because the whole point of low power, if you had like 20 low power cores, it's like, well, that's not really low power because you're running all 20 of those at any given time.

01:10:25   That's not low power. Right. There's a certain beyond a certain number of low power cores beyond which you probably shouldn't be using any more low power cores.

01:10:32   Right. So I think maybe four or eight low power cores or whatever you that's plenty.

01:10:38   And then just fill the rest with the high performance ones, because when you want to be in low power mode, you're going to turn off all the high performance and maybe even turn off some of the low power ones.

01:10:46   Right. Just enough to get by. Yeah. But again, on a desktop, that's less of a concern.

01:10:50   Just for the numbers, the reporting that Mark Gurman had was that there would be 20 or 40 core variants, 16 high performance or 32 high performance.

01:11:01   So four and eight efficiency cores respectively.

01:11:04   Yeah. As we discussed on ATP, like a lot of that has to do with the sort of economies of scale of like they're not going to make one bespoke 40 core CPU.

01:11:12   It's going to be made up of these tiles, essentially.

01:11:14   Each tile comes with a certain number of high and low. So you end up being a little bit oversubscribed on low performance just because your tiles all have a certain.

01:11:22   They basically have enough low performance cores for a MacBook Pro on each one of the little tiles.

01:11:27   So when you get four of those tiles, guess what? You get four times the low the low power cores as a MacBook Pro.

01:11:32   But not because that's the optimal number. It's just because it's not worth it financially for Apple to make a custom CPU just for the Mac Pro.

01:11:40   It's much more economical for them to take the MacBook Pro CPU and take four of them and shove them together.

01:11:46   Right. So just find something to do with the other ones. Right. Like you've got them now. So just find something to do with them.

01:11:51   Yeah. Like obviously you'll use them. You'll use them in burst mode when you're doing a activity, use everything.

01:11:56   And then almost all the rest of the time, maybe they're just not doing anything. RAM.

01:12:01   So my this experiment with 96 gigs, like I bought this this way just because I was spending so much money.

01:12:07   It's that the thing again, when you're buying cars or buying airline tickets, you're like, oh, I can upgrade a thing for an extra 100 bucks.

01:12:13   And suddenly it seems like nothing compared to your hugely expensive plane ticket. But it's still 100 bucks.

01:12:17   Or like the floor mats in a car. The floor mats are $150. Like, ah, throw it in. It's a $30,000 car. What's $150 for the floor mats?

01:12:23   It's still $150. But next to the $30,000 car, it seems like less. It doesn't actually change size.

01:12:29   So it's a, you know, a bug in our ability to reason about price. RAM was similar.

01:12:36   I got this thing with a huge amount of RAM, even though I know that I overspent on it because Apple charges an arm and a leg for RAM.

01:12:41   But honestly, I just didn't want to have to think about it. I want RAM to be off the table. I just want RAM to be a thing I don't have to think about anymore.

01:12:46   And so far, a year or two into using this computer, I never think about RAM. I never look at my RAM. I never think about it.

01:12:54   It just, it doesn't exist for me anymore. RAM is not something that I ever, ever, even when I was running it, I put it into Windows and ran Unreal Edit 5 for the Unreal Engine 5 demo.

01:13:05   I don't know if you've seen any videos of that. I didn't think about RAM the whole time I was doing it.

01:13:10   I thought about my video card, which was, you know, on its knees trying to do this processing at 6K. But I just don't think about RAM.

01:13:17   So I feel fairly confident that there is an amount of RAM where it becomes a non-issue for my personal use.

01:13:25   And so 96 is the right value maybe for 2019, for 2021, 2022, 128, right?

01:13:35   I mean, it really depends on the price because you know what Apple does with the RAM, especially if it's on the system on a chip, the price might go up, you know, in a nonlinear fashion and really cause problems.

01:13:46   But somewhere around 100 gigs of RAM, I feel like is the 2022 starting point for saying I won't have to think about RAM for five to 10 years.

01:13:55   What about a GPU then? What would you be going for here? Is there something on the market now that you're aware of that you would like?

01:14:04   Or do you have like a particular thing that you would just like to be focused on?

01:14:09   So I admit that I am attracted to the idea of an Apple GPU that tries to compete with current high-end GPUs, if only because of the sort of advantages, you know, the sort of M1 advantages where you're sharing the very fast RAM, you're on a big system on a chip.

01:14:26   There's lots of areas where that there's a performance advantage to having that arrangement.

01:14:30   The obvious disadvantage is, as cool as that is on day one, come next year, it's outclassed by whatever the new Nvidia card or AMD card is.

01:14:38   So it's just a fact of life. Like every year, AMD and Nvidia are going to come up with new cards.

01:14:42   And Apple historically has not been that fast. And either way, if it's part of your system on a chip, you're not getting that upgrade unless you buy a whole new Mac.

01:14:49   Yeah. And these are companies that are doing a very good job right now in what they're doing.

01:14:54   Right. Like it's not like the perceived things like Intel with chip with their CPUs.

01:14:58   They're not doing so great. But Nvidia and AMD are doing very good with graphics cards. Like everybody's very happy, which is why you can't buy them.

01:15:07   Yeah. And they're competitors to each other. Like it's not like one massively dominates over the other.

01:15:12   Although if you asked Nvidia, they'd say they dominate in like AI and whatever. But either way, like they at various times are jockeying for the lead.

01:15:20   And so they push each other to do better every single year. They don't take a year off. They don't say, "This year's cards, we're just not going to change it."

01:15:28   And they have architecture changes from whatever, Pascal to Tempest. I don't remember all the code names.

01:15:33   So they have architectural changes of the RDNA versus RDNA2 and all that stuff. But every year they just keep making it better and better.

01:15:39   So there's pretty much nothing Apple can do on a built-in, like integrated into the system on a chip GPU that will not be eclipsed by a third party GPU next year.

01:15:52   The only move Apple has is to not allow third party GPUs at all, as in don't have any slots or don't support third party GPUs.

01:15:58   In which case, it's like, well, tough luck. If you want a Mac, you get what you get and you don't get upset.

01:16:03   But what I would prefer is to have a really great built-in Apple GPU. Maybe that I could get away with just using that for the first year.

01:16:12   But then a slot for an MPX card or some other similar Apple flavored slot that I can put a...

01:16:20   You know, one of the things I love about the GPU I have in here now is it was a 5700 XT or whatever the hell it is. It's an AMD card, but it's Apple's MPX module that again has no fans on the card.

01:16:32   You get the card from Apple and it's just a huge card with a gigantic passive heatsink on it. And I love that.

01:16:38   A) It matches my case. B) When I stick it in there, it does not make my computer appreciably louder.

01:16:43   Yes, the fan in front of it might have to spin at faster RPM, but it is so much different than in my previous Mac Pro where I would buy a GPU and it would have a cooler on it with a terrible fan that would get noisy and noisier over time.

01:16:57   And I could replace it with a third party cooler. I just don't want to deal with that at all.

01:17:00   So that's my ideal. Built-in great Apple GPU that is competitive with the best GPUs for the first year and then a slot underneath it where I can buy something from AMD or who knows, stranger things happen.

01:17:12   Maybe one day Nvidia and shove it in there two or three years down the line when the built-in Apple one is struggling.

01:17:17   And do you have any particular desire for specific ports on the machine?

01:17:23   Yeah, I think one of the advantages of having a desktop computer is there are fewer excuses for why you can't have, let's say, another USB port.

01:17:31   Because there's plenty of acreage to put holes in your computer.

01:17:35   You're not like on a laptop where the sides are so small that you can't even think of where you can stick another hole.

01:17:39   Or the iMacs.

01:17:43   Even the iMac, I feel like, all right, it's clear that that design was as thin as possible.

01:17:48   And that's a direction to go. But none of the computer I'm describing as thin as possible is not one of the goals of any aspect of this computer whatsoever.

01:17:55   So there's no excuse for you.

01:17:57   They might be going for as small as possible, but that doesn't preclude I/O as an issue.

01:18:03   It's not an artistic exercise to make the computer disappear or be very slim. That's not going to happen.

01:18:10   You might want to not waste any internal space and to make a smaller computer or whatever.

01:18:15   But at the scale we're talking about here, there should always be room for a full-size headphone jack.

01:18:21   A bunch of USB-C ports. Like all that good stuff.

01:18:24   I always want more USB. Like if I just look at what I have around my desk, I don't have that much stuff connected.

01:18:32   But I do have a USB hub for things like keyboard and mouse, which I still use wired.

01:18:38   And the plug that I used to plug my phone into and the little plug that I plugged my dedicated camera into, which still uses USB Mini because camera manufacturers are backwards.

01:18:49   Those are all connected to a USB hub.

01:18:52   Part of that is because my computer is far away from them.

01:18:55   But part of it is just because I'm kind of out of USB ports.

01:18:59   Like there's a Thunderbolt port on top of my computer that I use for, you know, I put a thumb drive in my Thunderbolt port or whatever.

01:19:07   But there's not that many plain old low-speed USB ports.

01:19:10   I would prefer if there were more of them for peripherals that don't require high performance.

01:19:15   But other than that, the port set that has been available on all my Tower Max has been mostly adequate for what I want to do.

01:19:24   There's a lot of space in the back, a lot of different things you can plug it into.

01:19:26   At this point I even have like four, no more than that, I think I have five places I can plug my monitor into.

01:19:33   I just have the one monitor, but it just boggles my mind because now we've, you know, unified on the Thunderbolt standard and everything that the video cards themselves have multiple Thunderbolt ports where you could, I could in theory hook up multiple 6K displays.

01:19:44   And then you can even plug the monitor into a thing that's not a port on the video card on the Mac Pro because of the whole Thunderbolt bus on the inside.

01:19:51   Like the top card on the 2019 Mac Pro that has USB and stuff on it, there's a Thunderbolt port there and you can plug the monitor in there and it works.

01:19:59   Which boggles my mind as sort of an old school computer user thinking of plugging your monitor into someplace other than your video card and it works. Strange times.

01:20:07   I didn't know that. I figured you just had to plug it into the video card.

01:20:10   Nope, you can just plug it into that little add-on because it's all Thunderbolt bus, right? It's the magic of the Thunderbolt.

01:20:16   This is one of those things I understand, but I still don't feel like I can get my head around that. It doesn't seem right at the same time.

01:20:22   And then my question was like, because I have two GPUs in my Mac. I have the one that I bought it with and then I have the upgraded one.

01:20:28   How does it know which one?

01:20:29   So it has to know which one to use and you know, you can go to about this Mac and you see it does pick the big one. It's just weird.

01:20:37   I mean, I'm sure there's some setting that you know, or some policy or whatever. It's not picking randomly, but yeah.

01:20:42   If I don't plug it into the card, how Mac do you decide which one to use?

01:20:46   It's using some weird onboard graphics chip that it's got in there somewhere, you know, it doesn't care.

01:20:52   All right. So look, long time listeners of ATP know, you know, you took a long time to upgrade your machine.

01:21:01   But you were ready to go, right? When the Mac Pro came out, you were ready. And so you just went for it.

01:21:08   You know, and it was expensive. You spent a lot of money on it. You got it the way that it was.

01:21:12   If Apple announced, say, next June, this exact machine, which gives you all of the specs that you've just listed here.

01:21:23   How soon would you buy it?

01:21:25   I would be pretty tempted to buy pretty soon. I would probably let the rest of the world try it out and tell me if there's some horrendous problem.

01:21:32   But I know I've emphasized this a bunch of times, but this monitor was really expensive and I'm going to get to reuse that part.

01:21:41   So if I'm just replacing the computer part of it.

01:21:43   Really? You're just saving money if you think about it.

01:21:45   Yeah, because the computer part, especially if it's a half size one that is presumably less expensive because it doesn't have 12 PCI card slots and all that stuff, right?

01:21:55   I think, and you know, again, the ARM chips are going to be so much faster. They already are so much faster than the cards they're on.

01:22:02   And presumably, like, it's going to be so much faster for less money than I paid for this one.

01:22:08   It's going to be really hard not to just say, this actually isn't like buying a whole new system. I'm just swapping out one component.

01:22:14   I wouldn't even need to change any connectors because, like, everything that's plugged into the back of this computer presumably will still plug into whatever replaces it.

01:22:22   Maybe it won't have USB-A, I'm not sure, but anyway.

01:22:25   I'm going to be very tempted to only keep this computer around for like maybe three years or something if the replacement comes and is reasonably priced.

01:22:33   And I feel like, oh, you know, I can get at, for less than the cost of this monitor, I can totally replace my computer.

01:22:39   Because, as you know, I mean, you've already switched over, like, once you start using these ARM Macs, and we do have an M1 MacBook Air on the house, once you start using them,

01:22:46   it's very difficult to intentionally stay behind in Intel-AN, just because everything is so much faster in M1.

01:22:53   That's setting aside the stuff like, you know, Touch ID or potentially in the future Face ID and all these other benefits that come with the M1.

01:23:01   All the features of Monterey that only work on the M1, the neural engine stuff.

01:23:06   It's really hard to stay away. And I knew this going in. I knew this when I bought this thing.

01:23:10   I said, if this is the last grade x86 Mac, I'll still be content with it. And at this rate, I will definitely be using this thing by, for at least two years, probably three before I even consider a new one.

01:23:20   But two or three years in, I'm going to be looking pretty hard at where those new Mac Pros are.

01:23:25   Thank you very much. Don't sorry, sir.

01:23:28   Can't wait for you to buy me this computer. I'm very excited.

01:23:30   Oh, that was the deal?

01:23:31   You buy me the computer of my dreams?

01:23:33   I'll tell you what, if they make everything you've listed here, then I'll think about it.

01:23:39   I've listened to too many of your podcasts and how you weasel out of the precise wording of the rules and everything.

01:23:44   There's no way I'm going to win this bet. It's just pointless.

01:23:47   I feel like if there was one person I know other than my co-hosts on my various other shows that would appreciate precise rules, it would be precise rules.

01:23:55   Precise for the purpose of never paying out. I understand.

01:23:59   This episode of Upgrade is brought to you by Hello.

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01:25:38   Merlin Mann, thank you for joining me.

01:25:40   Myke, thank you for having me on. It's been a while.

01:25:43   It's been a very long time. I think it's been never on this show, which is part of the reason that you're here.

01:25:48   Now that I've got rid of Jason for the week, I can bring Merlin in.

01:25:50   I think I was on an upgrade once when Jason was away. I think there was some Snell talk.

01:25:56   No wait, I talked to Snell. It was you who weren't there.

01:25:59   Yeah, Jason always brings in people when I'm away, but I don't go away anymore.

01:26:04   Jason goes away, so the tables have turned.

01:26:06   Now, I wanted, one of my favorite things about you Merlin Mann is your enthusiasm for things.

01:26:13   So it's one of the things that I've loved about your work for many, many years.

01:26:18   More years than you probably want me to mention.

01:26:20   New hardware, new software, back from the Macworld show four days.

01:26:26   I've always taken great inspiration from your enthusiasm.

01:26:32   I think it's one of my favorite things about you, and it's something that I've tried to make a thing that I will try and do for things that I like too.

01:26:41   Because I think people like to hear that stuff.

01:26:43   So I'm always excited to know what you're excited about.

01:26:47   So that's what I wanted to talk about.

01:26:49   If there are any new little gadgets or pieces of hardware that you're enjoying, any apps and services, this is the stuff that I want to know about.

01:26:57   What is tickling your fancy right now?

01:26:59   You contacted, thank you very much first of all, but you contacted the right fellow because I am additionally, I'm meta excited.

01:27:04   I'm excited to talk about what I'm excited about, so that works out fine.

01:27:08   But it's also to your, I don't know, you and me. I love my big philosophical points.

01:27:13   The thing that you said kind of at the top is something I think about a lot.

01:27:17   Like how do you maintain your curiosity and your, you know, your plasticity?

01:27:24   You know, keep trying new things.

01:27:26   Kevin Kelly recently said something along the lines of, "You're only as young as the last time you changed your mind."

01:27:33   Which is something I try to keep in mind.

01:27:35   Well that's much better for me as a fortune cookie than a life principle because I'm not that good at it.

01:27:39   But you know, what's funny though is like for example this week on Dubai Friday show I did with Alex Cox,

01:27:44   the challenge, my challenge this week is what I call harness your horses.

01:27:47   And I'd been watching that movie, What Happened to Miss Simone?

01:27:51   And long story short, Alex and I both have weird brains.

01:27:53   And we were, I was just saying like, is there a way that we could figure out how to take the stuff about us that's weird or psychically challenging or emotionally strange or chemically, you know, problematic?

01:28:05   And how can you turn that into a mutant superpower?

01:28:07   Like how do you basically go to the Professor X school of, you know, mental health?

01:28:11   And take something that could be a real liability and turn it into, you know, something that's really good for you.

01:28:18   And that's a way that I actually do think about this stuff which is I love little projects that keep my demon dogs at bay.

01:28:23   I'm always excited to play with new stuff, you know, probably to a fault.

01:28:27   The balance that I do try to strike though is like, you know, you know what they used to say when you're kids?

01:28:32   It's always, everybody's, it's always fun until somebody gets hurt.

01:28:35   I try to stop myself before I get hurt.

01:28:37   That's the main thing.

01:28:38   Right?

01:28:39   So this goes way back to like the 43 folders days of like one of my early realizations that not only should I not spend all of my time, you know, messing around, but I shouldn't encourage other people to spend all of their time messing around.

01:28:54   And so the thing, the lesson in this for me is like, how do I strike this balance of doing the stuff that will keep me not young, but will keep me plastic and keep me interested and keep me curious?

01:29:06   Because gosh, it's so easy to lose your curiosity.

01:29:08   Even if that's just, you know, playing with a new calendar app for that matter.

01:29:13   How do I do that?

01:29:14   But then, you know, I have to say, this is the neat thing about becoming an old man maybe is like I have crossed a certain kind of Rubicon where I've said to myself, and this actually goes to something you said on upgrade recently where you were like, you know, if you want to get the betas, it's a toy, have fun, get the betas.

01:29:30   Yeah, Contra Jason's whole like, I have to do this for my work.

01:29:34   It's Contra everybody, right?

01:29:36   Like, just install it on the work phone.

01:29:39   I know.

01:29:40   I know.

01:29:41   It's like, what's, especially these days, what's the worst thing that can happen?

01:29:43   So mainly I just, if we leave town and when we leave town, I don't want my phone to be broken.

01:29:47   But the reason I, but here's the thing though, man, you only go around once, dude.

01:29:51   You know what, what do you, what do you, I mean, yes, do backups, do all the things in life.

01:29:56   Like don't waste your day.

01:29:57   Don't, don't procrastinate unless you mean to procrastinate.

01:29:59   There's all kinds of, but you know, I, a thing I found myself saying on Roderick that's very related to this.

01:30:06   Kids, kids don't play with blocks because they're trying to get into a school.

01:30:09   Kids play with blocks because blocks are fun.

01:30:12   And blocks are always fun.

01:30:13   And isn't it okay for us to do things because they're fun and because they keep us curious and they keep us stimulated and excited and engaged with what's happening in the world?

01:30:24   Like, do we need a reason to have fun?

01:30:26   Do we have to say it's for my work?

01:30:28   So anyway, those are all competing thoughts in my head.

01:30:31   But you know, the overriding principle I think in some ways is, well, do, do your stuff, do your work, do your fun.

01:30:38   And, and if you like who you are, why would you feel terrible about how you have fun?

01:30:43   You know, it's okay.

01:30:44   You know, if you don't like who you are, you'll never have fun.

01:30:47   Yeah, that's, you've got something else to deal with first.

01:30:50   And then how-

01:30:51   So with all the philosophy out of the way, yes, I have, I have jotted down innumerable things that I am excited about.

01:30:58   Some of which are for my work and others of which, you know, they're not.

01:31:02   But you know, start anywhere.

01:31:04   So hit me, give me something.

01:31:06   Well, you know, I, gosh, the most boring one that I should just get out of the way, but is kind of interesting is, like the great Casey List, I'm the sort of person that's always like, "I don't think I'll need that thing that was announced. I don't want that."

01:31:20   You know, that's my pre-WWDC mindset.

01:31:23   And then I'm watching it and I go, "Hmm, that's kind of cool, but I don't need that."

01:31:26   Long story short, like, I bought a new iPad.

01:31:29   Do I need a new iPad?

01:31:31   Not really.

01:31:32   But I, let's just say I got a good iPad, partly because it was one that was available, you know, that didn't take a month to get. It took two hours to get.

01:31:40   Big one?

01:31:41   Yep. Big and big.

01:31:42   Yeah.

01:31:43   So I got the, I got the, I got the, I got the large one and I got the, you know, the big, lots of space on it, which I believe has a role in some of the power stuff and the RAM stuff. Right?

01:31:53   So it has more.

01:31:54   I got the tricked out one and it's really, really nice.

01:31:58   And it's having the beta on there and playing with that.

01:32:00   I won't dwell on this, but the interesting side impact of that though is that that had me, it means I have this older, not, not, not the huge iPad that my wife has, but you know, the 12 inch, right?

01:32:12   I've now made that a sidecar monitor and I'm looking at it over here.

01:32:17   My texts are over here hanging in midair on this mounting system that I would like to tell you about.

01:32:23   And it's great.

01:32:24   So like I've got my new iPad with, and I'm using the pencil and I'm trying to finally, Myke, I'm trying to finally get good at the stuff you nerds understand and I don't, which is the multitasking stuff.

01:32:34   I'm really setting myself to trying to like operationalize that, but it's also neat because now I got it.

01:32:39   My old iPad's over here and when I get universal control, I'm going to be the happiest boy in the world.

01:32:44   Yeah. That's going to be pretty sweet.

01:32:45   Yeah.

01:32:46   I like that.

01:32:47   So do you use the sidecar very frequently?

01:32:51   Until three days ago?

01:32:52   Not at all.

01:32:53   Well, you know, it's the canonical example for me.

01:32:57   And I think you were on this bandwagon too.

01:32:59   It's like, uh, I mean, how much do I use iMessage stickers today?

01:33:05   You know, I don't, I really, all I really care about is I wish they'd add back a permanent button.

01:33:10   Please give me a permanent button for photos and please take away the thing that records my voice.

01:33:14   That's all I really want out of messages.

01:33:15   But for three or four days, I made me emojis.

01:33:18   I added clothes.

01:33:19   I don't use any of that.

01:33:20   That's kind of how I felt about sidecar because I didn't have any need for it and I didn't have that much hardware that would do it.

01:33:26   And now though, yeah, I am playing with it partly because I think probably like everybody who's a beta cuck, I've got, I've got all this stuff where I'm saying, oh, is it in there yet?

01:33:36   Is spatial audio in there for FaceTime yet?

01:33:39   Is universal control right?

01:33:41   And so when a new beta comes out, I check that out.

01:33:43   So I'm very excited about universal control.

01:33:45   That looks extremely promising to me.

01:33:48   But in prep for that, I thought I'd play more with sidecar and it's great.

01:33:52   I can't believe how well this thing works.

01:33:54   Like I'm not using the iPad for anything but that the old iPad, anything but that.

01:34:00   But there's nothing to do.

01:34:02   It just, it shuts off when the computer's sleeping.

01:34:05   It turns on when it's on.

01:34:06   And I've just got this extra little window that is really bigger than the screen I had on a lot of Macs in the nineties.

01:34:14   Oh yeah.

01:34:15   In addition to this, you know, whatever, 27 inch monitor, it's, it's, it's really great.

01:34:20   But like you start finding uses for it.

01:34:22   Like what we used to call a pallet monitor.

01:34:23   Like you keep all your Photoshop pallets over here or whatever, or your Dreamweaver stuff.

01:34:27   Yeah, it's really neat.

01:34:29   It's, the reason I mentioned that here is it's a little bit of like, like you would see in snooker.

01:34:32   It's a little bit of a bank shot because like I do get a new iPad out of this with a beautiful screen and all the things crazy fast.

01:34:39   But now the old iPad like still finds a use.

01:34:41   It's, it's, it's kind of neat like that.

01:34:44   And because it's Apple and the stuff mostly works together, it's, it's very accommodating of being reused for cool things.

01:34:51   I think that's actually a pretty good use for old iPads now and will continue to be more of one.

01:34:55   But now you, now you've got a 13 inch monitor that you can move around and put whatever you want on.

01:34:59   It's pretty great.

01:35:00   I've thought about, because I'm also really into this dorky home assistant thing.

01:35:04   I've thought about someday using an old iPad to like make a control panel.

01:35:09   That might be a bridge too far.

01:35:10   I certainly could not have that at home.

01:35:11   My family would not tolerate this Jetson stuff on the wall, but, but it'd be fun to try here at the office is to use something like, I don't know, like home plus or I don't homie or, you know, one of those things to create like a control pad, but I'm not quite there yet.

01:35:24   But that's an easy one because you know, bricks are fun.

01:35:28   Blocks are fun.

01:35:30   I like, I like making things.

01:35:32   iPad good.

01:35:33   And what do you know?

01:35:34   What are you rolling with right now?

01:35:35   If I could ask.

01:35:36   I'm mostly using my 11 inch.

01:35:38   That's the one that I use most of the time for what to be my iPad.

01:35:43   That's my walking around iPad.

01:35:45   That's my, my, my, that's what goes in the bag.

01:35:47   I got a very, my curly orange cover for mine that I really like.

01:35:52   Oh, it feels so good.

01:35:53   And yeah, but no, those are just in the pocket for sitting on the couch.

01:35:57   Such a good size.

01:35:58   And that's where I have it.

01:35:59   I have it on the couch at home and you know, whenever I'm sitting reading or doing anything, that's the device that I use at home.

01:36:06   I have my 12.9 inch here at the studio.

01:36:09   Um, and I've been finding some new uses for it recently with like looking at kind of product designy type things.

01:36:17   Like it's been using the Apple pencil and you know, being able to sketch stuff out and highlight things.

01:36:22   This has been really useful for me actually.

01:36:24   Uh, but that's definitely been something that 12.9 inch iPad for me is, is, is a bit of collateral damage of moving kind of most of my processes back to the Mac again.

01:36:34   Right.

01:36:35   And I want to talk about that because for a long time you were, you were so Vitichi for a while where you were, and I think you actually coined that phrase, right?

01:36:41   Was it the dual iPad lifestyle? Was that you?

01:36:43   Multi-pad. Yeah, me and Greg were talking about that.

01:36:45   Multi-pad. That's it. That's it.

01:36:46   And so that was-

01:36:47   And then you were saying, but like you, you keep your Mac like running clean now because you do use your Mac for a lot of stuff.

01:36:52   Is that because of changes in availability of hardware or is it because of your work or what combination of things leads you to going, oh yeah.

01:36:58   Like in my case, I started using my old big iPad less because guess what?

01:37:02   I got an M1 MacBook Pro that is just, it's, it's tiny and perfect.

01:37:06   That really tipped it over the edge. The M1 MacBook Pro tipped it over the edge, but it was, for me, it was part of like ergonomic changes during COVID and with my studio that it just meant that I was finding myself just at desks more.

01:37:21   And then I wanted a monitor a good height.

01:37:23   And so it just, you know, it just ended up being like, really for this set up that I want, the Mac is best for that. And then the M1 kind of just pushed it over the edge, like just because it is just such a stupendous computer in every possible way.

01:37:37   It really, it really is a joy to use, but you know, I mean, you still always, it is neat as all of this technology makes occasional steps forward in both power and, what's the word I'm looking for, the way that Apple stuff works with other stuff.

01:37:53   It's cool though, that you could always, if you're in a pinch, you could grab that big iPad and do all kinds of stuff that you could not have done even five years ago.

01:38:01   Right. It's just, I don't know. That's, that's, that's exciting. I'm pretty pro Apple right now.

01:38:05   So what else have you got going on?

01:38:06   Oh, let's see. I'll burn through a couple of these. I think I mentioned to you that Elgato, I love Elgato and Eve. Like Eve, like the Eve family of smart devices, I think are really impressive right now.

01:38:20   I had reason to, so Eve makes stuff like what? They make stuff like, does they make the Eve room, which is, you know, I don't know how much you know about me, but I'm always interested in knowing what the humidity is for some reason.

01:38:33   Things like that, air quality. There's one called the Eve weather that can live outside and tell you what the weather is, but they also have amazing new ones with thread compatibility.

01:38:42   They have, they have like a door and window sensor. That's really cool. So you not only get a door and window sensor out of that, but you get another little node on your thread network, which is cool.

01:38:52   And then like I say, what's the other one? Oh, Eve energy is my go-to now for smart plugs and it all works together.

01:38:58   It's, I find it all very easy to use. I think it's super cool. But what's funny is, as owing to a strange coincidence of like getting more into next level smart home stuff combined with doing some mostly sort of, abortive, but you know, I don't know, one of my projects has been like doing more stuff with video.

01:39:19   And what does that mean? Well, I mean, the irony is I ended up mostly just using my iPhone to do video, but I needed good lighting. So what did I do? I got some Elgato lights. They make these really good lights and key lights and spotlights in these hair.

01:39:32   I have a hair light behind me now, like a gentleman. And, but they also make all kinds of other great stuff. They make a green screen that I got. That's really neat.

01:39:39   But the thing of theirs that I'm really so dorky, they make this thing called the multi-mount. And it sounds like you might know, I might've heard of this.

01:39:48   I saw this product when I was looking into some gear for Twitch streaming. So similar to you. And I'm, I got a little bit confused by it, if I'm being honest.

01:39:58   It looks like Dr. Octopus. Yeah. Skinny doctor. Yeah. I mean, and it's not by any means unique, but as with, as we've talked about a little bit offline, there's sometimes something that seems like a commodity product.

01:40:11   You end up getting like a real preference for this one and not those ones. And this one's just really neat. So long and short of it is you get this thing called the, it starts with the multi-mount, which is, which, which, you know, uh, has a little screw mechanism to clamp it to your desk.

01:40:25   And it's got, uh, two telescoping. And so the idea is you mount stuff on it. Like it could be cameras, could be lights, could be whatever. And all the stuff works with other stuff.

01:40:34   So you start out with this telescoping thing that you clamped to your desk, which is cool. And they're all about the, these ball joints, the kind of thing, you know, what sort of like on a 12 South iPad thing, you know, you get that little grommet thing.

01:40:47   You screw the little dingus onto there, and then you've got this ball joint that can move around freely in something like 360 degrees, but it's not just one of those.

01:40:56   It's multiples of those. So you can, you can get straight long arms that attach to the side, like sideways, attached to the pole, right? You can get short, you can get short ones, you can get long ones.

01:41:05   But then you can combine, it is essentially like Lego or as Jason would say, micronauts. You can just combine all of these little things together to make exactly what you need.

01:41:14   And you know, I have this tub full of, you know, stuff for use with cameras and mics. You know, all the different kinds of things that you could attach to other things. And I just didn't send you a photo of this.

01:41:26   So like right now, the thing that I use as a mount for my camera is a multi-mount attached to like a camera cold shoe, which goes to a double ball joint, which goes to a Joby, you know, what's it called, GorillaPod?

01:41:38   You know, one of those mounts. And then I have this really, really great actual mount by this company called Ulanzi, which I had first thought was one of those made up Amazon fake companies.

01:41:48   But it's actually this beautiful, beautifully made mount that you screw your phone into. So now I have this like total mobility stuff and that's how my iPad is hanging. My iPad is hanging off the arm of a multi-mount.

01:42:00   It's just a really neat way. You could put your lights onto, your Elgato lights onto there. You could have a monitor up there, you know, like I have a monitor for my Blackmagic camera that can live up there. And I don't know, it's like it's Lego for stuff with holes basically.

01:42:17   This looks pretty cool. So like I do have like I have a couple of their key lights and I have them on the individual stands and I can take up quite a lot of space on the desk. But I like this one because it can clamp. So you can get a stand for it.

01:42:33   But what I really want to do is just clamp it. I actually might get one of these. I need to sit down and like really look at it because it's like, how many attachments do I need? I don't know.

01:42:42   I went overboard, but no, they have like a little, it's almost like buying a Synology. They have like a configurator. Like, well, what kind of dork are you? Oh, I'm a streaming dork. Show me all the streaming dork ideas.

01:42:53   But if you want to be like have stuff like an overhead camera, this makes that a lot easier. And also, you know what it really does? It encourages you, this sounds again dorky, but it encourages you to think in more than a couple of dimensions.

01:43:05   Because instead of just going like how high or low in the air near my eyes will this go, you have a lot of options now, especially if you have a couple arms on there that was stuff that's not too heavy.

01:43:14   You can think much more creatively. In my case about finally getting over the top of my monitor so that the camera is someplace that was comfortable and had a good eye line, which is difficult to do if you all your only option is up and down.

01:43:27   You know, it's I don't know, it's kind of neat. It's been fun to play with. I like stuff where I can do something with my hands keeps keeps me out of trouble.

01:43:34   I will agree with you actually like Elgato is one of my kind of favorite companies at the moment. They remind me a little bit of DJI in that DJI completely own drones.

01:43:49   Right. There's just nobody that other companies come along and they try and do a thing and then DJI just makes a better version if they haven't already got a better version of the works.

01:43:58   And I feel like Elgato are just continuing to stretch out into different areas of content creation, like tools for content creators, and they make just excellent products.

01:44:12   I mean, and now it's like a full on like they keep acquiring these companies too, right? Like, I find them to be a very intriguing company right now. They do a lot of cool stuff, I think.

01:44:23   Yeah, I agree. Sometimes you see a company like that and it feels like they're doing the opposite of what Elgato does where it's like, you know, especially in the smart home space where you're like, well, you make you make a thing for like, turning off your hose, you know, but you also make like, you know, super high end speaker cables.

01:44:40   You're like, I don't understand where you're going with this, but Elgato, I don't love that word prosumer. But for example, you take something like a camera tripod, like for camera tripods, like if you're just messing around, man, you probably don't even need a tripod.

01:44:54   But if you get a tripod, you can get by with like a $16 Amazon tripod, but I finally bought like a halfway decent tripod. Like not like, you know, it's not like a Wes Anderson tripod.

01:45:06   But I can't believe the difference. Like using it, it feels so much more solid. It's just, I don't know, it makes me feel like I it improves my posture a little bit because I'm like, oh, like, I'm going to take this more seriously. I'm going to put this away and store it well.

01:45:21   I'm going to like keep it all that kind of stuff. And I feel like with the Elgato stuff, especially stuff with this multi mount, multi mounts by no means a unique entry into the market.

01:45:29   It's just that it is, it's better than a lot of other ones and it does work together. Yeah. You end up trusting that company a little more. Good company. Thumbs up.

01:45:37   Have you got any software stuff that's intriguing you right now?

01:45:40   I do. I, well, yeah, I mean, I'm so basic. Um, I think, yeah, you and I have talked about this on Slack. I can't tell you how much every day I continue to be delighted by Descript.

01:45:54   Yeah, you are...

01:45:56   I'm in deep.

01:45:58   You are the person that I know that uses this, right? I know a lot of people who work in the audio space and this is an audio editing tool that has a lot of interesting stuff that it can do.

01:46:09   You're the only person that I know that uses it, but you really use it and it is intriguing.

01:46:15   Yeah. Well, you know, I just real quick. So for folks who haven't heard of this, I learned about this through Adam Lissagore who had done one of his famous, wonderful commercials, really good commercial for Descript.

01:46:24   What is Descript? Well, you know, for most of us who are doing stuff with primarily audio, but some video, like you're going to need an app, like even like GarageBand where you got swim lanes, but most people are using Logic, right?

01:46:36   Most people who are editing podcasts are using Logic, correct?

01:46:40   I feel like at some point, yeah. It's going to be one of those two, GarageBand or Logic.

01:46:44   Well, GarageBand, the current GarageBand does not play well with podcasts as a thing anymore. That's why I was using the version from, I want to say 2013 until it was just no longer, it wasn't 64 bit or whatever.

01:46:55   So Descript though, it's such a weird app. I'm not recommending this. I'm just saying I love it more than my family.

01:47:02   If you check it out and see what you think, but it does several very novel things.

01:47:08   One of the things is that you take some audio, the way I would use it, like coming from things like GarageBand or Logic, say I've recorded the example that I do every Monday.

01:47:17   I record a podcast with John Roderick where I just record both sides.

01:47:20   You toss it into Descript. And when the first thing that's interesting is when you throw that in and says, do you want to transcribe this?

01:47:25   And you're like, yes, please. What? Yes.

01:47:28   So they have an AI based transcription service that turns that audio into what looks like one swim lane of waveforms.

01:47:39   But guess what? Above that is a Microsoft Word or, sorry, bad example, a text word processor like transcription.

01:47:47   It looks like a script. You see John said this, Merlyn said that, et cetera, et cetera.

01:47:51   It's not 100 percent, but it's pretty good.

01:47:53   Now, that's pretty neat. Like you get pretty OK, good transcription. You can certainly recognize what's happening, but then it gets good.

01:47:59   First of all, that swim lane that looks like one swim lane, that's actually all of your tracks.

01:48:03   It's just showing it to you as multicolored waveforms visually.

01:48:07   At any point, you can right click or control click on that and go edit and go in the same way you would in Logic on delete parts.

01:48:15   But here's the marquee feature that is actually amazing is you can edit the text of the transcript.

01:48:23   And when you edit the text of the transcript, that's reflected in the audio.

01:48:28   So if you want to remove silence or you want to remove a word, you can do all of that right up like it's a word processor.

01:48:35   And it does a really capable job of that.

01:48:38   Now, if you don't like exactly where it thought that edit should be, you can always go in. It's nondestructive.

01:48:42   So you can drag a little bit left or right to fix that. You can drag in other audio.

01:48:46   And I don't want to go on about this except to say you all might want to check this out.

01:48:50   It's become so huge. I've talked about this ad nauseam on Slack because I use it for so many things that are not the production of a podcast.

01:48:59   So yes, I do Roderick on the Line like that because I don't want to edit a podcast. I'm not a monster. I'm not Jason Snell.

01:49:04   I just want the thing to go up on the Internet. So that's great. That's great for that. It's perfect for that.

01:49:09   Yesterday, remember when I was really late giving Jim the ads for Reconcileable Differences?

01:49:13   All I do is pop open Descript and you create what's called a composition.

01:49:17   I went in and recorded them right there, hit a button, exported everything.

01:49:20   I can export it to WAV and then bring it into forecast if I want to make it into a podcast.

01:49:24   But Myke, here's the money shot. This is what I really love is every show that I do, I have the sole or primary role.

01:49:31   I would say, well, kind of with, yeah, I'm doing it by Friday too, of like coming up with the titles that seemed good and, you know, finding links to things.

01:49:39   And, you know, generating in the case of Reconcileable Differences, writing the show notes eventually.

01:49:43   Right? So I always just toss the audio for anything I've done into there.

01:49:47   You cannot even believe how much easier this makes everything.

01:49:50   So anybody, hi, I'm Merlin. If you've ever heard me on a podcast, there's a bit that I do sometimes where I'll say something that I regard as funny and then kind of mutter the word title.

01:49:59   Guess what? That now enables me to go in and find everywhere I ever had a title.

01:50:06   That's clever. That's very clever.

01:50:08   Not all the time. You don't want to be too cute. But Myke, how many times, how many times, as Tim Robinson says, how many times has this happened to you?

01:50:14   You're recording a podcast and you make some, oh, this is, believe me, this is John Syracuse's Stock and Trade.

01:50:20   John is very good at generating work for his co-host. Oh, we'll put that in notes. Oh, we'll put, who will put that in notes?

01:50:26   We will, will we?

01:50:27   Oh, why do I bother telling you that the episode is staged on the relay CMS and you can put in links like a, like an adult?

01:50:33   No, I got to find everywhere John Syracuse had promised to put in, I don't know. He likes to play a video game where you wear a dress and then put cursed swords into a vault.

01:50:40   I don't know what it's called. And everywhere that John or me or whomever says things like, we'll put it in show notes. I'll find that video.

01:50:48   I think I read an article about that. Well, guess what? It's all text in Descript. So text means search.

01:50:55   So I go in and I look for anywhere. Look for the word notes, look for the word video, look for the word article, et cetera.

01:51:02   And it's not perfect, but that's a real good way of making that so much easier. And then you've seen this on, on Slack as well.

01:51:10   So I kid, but you know, he is my worst friend. I'll go to Syracuse and I'll say, Hey, look, here's the titles I found.

01:51:16   Here's, you know, go ahead and edit away the CMS. And you know, you've seen what I do.

01:51:20   I drop in an MP3 of every time I captured a title, I also went in and highlighted that text in Descript such that I could say, grab every highlight, make a new composition called titles, export that.

01:51:34   Cause John is like me has a terrible memory. And now he can hear in context everywhere that a title came up. It's that fast. It's that easy.

01:51:41   Yeah. This is the thing that, that impresses me the most of it. Cause like sometimes you have your title on John will be like, I don't remember that. And then you just drop in a link.

01:51:50   It's like this exact moment.

01:51:52   It's like when your Instacart shopper sends you a photo of a shelf. I guess it's helpful. I don't know. They don't have any bread. What do you want?

01:51:59   But anyway, I don't want to go on, but, um, you know, it's a, there's a thing Alexandria and I talk about sometimes.

01:52:05   Well, one of the running bits on Dubai Friday is there are so many things in life that we need a word for like a sniglet. We don't have a word for that.

01:52:11   I need a word for the shame of adding items to an online order to get free shipping. I need a name for that terrible phenomenon. Why did I buy a pound of shrimp?

01:52:20   Oh, I had to get to $35. I am the worst. I need a name for that.

01:52:23   One thing I need a name for is things like software and services that I have almost no reason to need or use, but I love using like that ASCII art generator, mono draw that, uh, that we talked about a couple of weeks ago.

01:52:36   But what's neat about Descript is if I didn't have a reason to use Descript, which I gratefully do, and it helps me so much in my theoretical work, even if I didn't have a reason to use this, I would use this.

01:52:49   When I very first got it, I did it to make super cuts of, um, Mabimbam and Blankcheck. Um, because again, now I can go through and find every time in every Mabimbam best of episode that somebody said the word boys.

01:53:02   And I can make a super cut of every one of those mentions or I can, every time that David Sims on Blankcheck goes, "Oh boy!" I can find all of those.

01:53:11   It's a joy to do. It's the same feeling you've got where like, like the first time you ever use a scanner, like back in 1991 was the first time or 1990 probably first time I ever used a scanner. I was like, this is magic.

01:53:22   How did, how did the pictures of words go into the machine and then turn into text? Well, this is like that, but it's for speech and it's, it's a playground because you and they're constantly improving it.

01:53:32   Yes, it now works with video, right? And if you, it also has a functionality called overdub where you can have it learn your voice and simulate your voice.

01:53:41   I hate this. It scares me so much, Merlin.

01:53:45   They're trying to be responsible about it, but you know, um, and then, but it also will do stuff like if you change something, uh, like it'll try and it'll try to adjust the speed of the video so that it accommodates the, at least the amount of time.

01:53:59   Yeah, if you're doing video, but let's say you just have to go in and you, you, you, uh, you know, you biff the offer code, you know, and you could go in and fix that. Anyway, long story short, sorry to go on, but this is, this is reflective of how much I just treasure using this app.

01:54:15   And I'm, I'm just always so excited. Obviously I'm excited about things like drafts. What Greg is doing with that and constantly just grinding to make that better and better.

01:54:23   What Gus does with acorn. There's all these apps that are like, why would I use anything else for that? But then there are also still people out there swinging for the fences and it makes me really happy and I hope they don't get acquired and get it ruined by Spotify or something.

01:54:35   I have used G script for a couple of things in the past. Like there was one episode of cortex where I was convinced there was a curse word I hadn't removed.

01:54:43   Haha. You went did a search. Yeah. I dropped it into D script, the translation, I did the search and I had removed it. I'd beeped it out. But that was like, that's really great.

01:54:54   I think the, for me, I think I don't know if I value it as a audio editor, which is I think a way that they try and position it. I don't think that, you know, command F delete is going to produce a good sounding podcast.

01:55:13   I used stuff like strip, like remove silences, but then that also means anything that it didn't recognize as a word and a lot of the things I say aren't actually words. Like if you cut all that out, it's going to sound really overworked. It's going to sound very over edited.

01:55:27   And it sounds terrible. And also at the same time, like the transcription stuff is good, but it does not produce automatically a transcription that's worth publishing.

01:55:35   It totally does not. Absolutely not. But you can do interesting things with it. It's just, you know, marketing is marketing and they put their foot, their best foot forward in certain circumstances. You can do these things, but it's then it's not reliable enough for that stuff.

01:55:51   However, you can do really cool stuff with it, like all the things that you've mentioned, but these are like ancillary tasks.

01:55:58   Yeah, that's a good way to put it. But then the other part that I don't have a reason to use, but I think is interesting is there's all this team stuff which keeps improving.

01:56:07   So stuff like if you're on a team of people working on this, you can have things like sort of review and approve, but then they just keep adding last thing. They just keep adding things that just delight me.

01:56:17   I forget what the key command for this is. It's a chord, but jump to the next edit, jump to the previous edit. That's probably the kind of thing you could do in Logic that I don't know how to do.

01:56:26   But I spend, I always, I'm so, as much as I could care less about editing a podcast, I am a little bit anal about lining up stuff like when the music hits, when the ding hits at the end of Roderick and, you know, making sure I fade out the beginning in a way that has the right amount of silence of John saying hello or whatever.

01:56:45   And I do go and it seems I'm really not picky about this stuff, but it seems unbelievable to me when people put out a podcast with like 40 seconds of silence in it and it's like, oh, dude, like, did you not go to every transition and make sure it was okay?

01:57:00   And this makes that really easy. So anything you can do to make your work exciting, you know, that's a that's a that's like a hundred year app that comes along and changes your game and makes you excited about doing something you used to despise.

01:57:10   So double thumbs up to Descript, Lyra Bird and Descript.

01:57:14   Yeah. Tell me a couple. Okay. You got it. You got it. I'll do some odds and sods here.

01:57:20   Hardware software. You know, I found myself typing this and going, God, this has got to be the most boring thing I could possibly mention. But it's the boringness of this product. This product that makes me love it.

01:57:30   And I imagine you've got to have some of these sitting around. Samsung makes these little solid state hard drives that are.

01:57:40   They're basically a little bigger than a credit card and the thickness of probably six credit cards. Right.

01:57:47   Proproximately, they got the blue ones, they got the black ones. The T5, right? T5 and T7. Yeah. And they're USBC.

01:57:56   And I have come to really love and rely on these things. I mean, they're not crazy cheap, but you're going to get what is it almost like 200 bucks for an eight terabyte SSD.

01:58:08   Something like that? I think these are the perfect. The T7 is 300, I think. But the T5, I think. Yes, exactly.

01:58:16   As Snell says, you can tape it to the back of your Mac and forget about it. You can use it as a thing you just keep in a bag because you're going to need it someday.

01:58:24   But listen, friends, get your heads around this. It's an eight terabyte SSD. It's bananas.

01:58:32   If I have really big movies at the office that I want to bring home to put on, I mean, I'd rather not have to burn every bit of bandwidth I've got, you know, having Synologies just do something that mundane.

01:58:42   So sometimes I'll bring something home like that. But yeah, absolutely. That is my, that is one of those hangs off the back of my Mac Mini now for Time Machine, one of my Times Machine.

01:58:53   I just want to mention that because, first of all, for somebody of my advancing years, that is a technological wonder that you can get a solid state hard drive of that size for that amount of money.

01:59:04   And then once you have them, you find, you sure find uses for them. It's great for doing video on the Blackmagic or my Canon camera.

01:59:10   That's, it's, you know, unparalleled for that. But I just want to mention it because, you know, we all struggle with these little, the mundane parts of our life.

01:59:18   And can you find the hammer that you can live with? Well, this is definitely the hammer that I can live with. That's, that's one. It's kind of boring, but you've heard of Home Pass?

01:59:27   Home Pass? No.

01:59:29   From the people who make Home Run and stuff like that? Oh, yeah, I've come across this.

01:59:34   Yes. I didn't think I needed this. I scoffed at this. I publicly scoffed at the idea of this product. And then I bought it the other day and I wish I'd had it for five years.

01:59:41   Home Pass does, does a cool thing. Well, on the face of it, it does one thing and does it well, but it's a very cool thing, which is it keeps track of all your HomeKit codes for you.

01:59:52   And I thought I was doing a good job with that using Apple's Photos app, but I did not do a good job with that, Myke.

01:59:58   I have the codes, but I don't know what they're for. Like, I didn't always write it down. With this app, which you buy once and then is available, $3.99, I believe.

02:00:07   It's available on all your Apple platforms once you've got it. You get this app. And boy, what do I say five years ago?

02:00:12   Because if I had had this, even up two months ago, when I was moving from WeMo stuff to Eve stuff, it would have been so great to have this.

02:00:22   What do you do? You say, okay, well, do you already have a device that you want to get the code for? That's obviously the big one for me.

02:00:28   You say, okay, well, get permission to go to HomeKit, right? And then say, okay, this is the Eve room over my desk. And you take a photo of it and now it's in there.

02:00:38   And it remembers it. You can even then hit a button to add it to an NFC tag for use in the future. It's so handy.

02:00:48   But if you're starting out with this, if you're just getting going with HomeKit, please get this app because it works with HomeKit, meaning when you are adding it to your HomeKit system, you can take the photo right then.

02:01:00   Set it and forget it. You're done. It's all captured. This will not matter to you until a day. It super matters to you.

02:01:06   So you think, why would you need to store the codes? Well, I'll tell you why. Once you've set everything up and you plug something in and it's underneath the desk and something's going weird and you want to reset it, you have to...

02:01:17   Climb under the desk, unplug it to get the code.

02:01:21   If you're lucky. But then the great example of those is Wemo. God, I'm so mad at Belkin and Wemo. They really screwed that pooch so bad over the years. It's gotten stupider and stupider and I've finally given up.

02:01:33   Anyway, with Wemo, there was a time where, first of all, like you said, it's not the size of one plug. It's like the size of a baby goat. It's just this huge thing. And I was using rat tails just to get it onto a power strip, Myke. It looked like a Medusa of pain.

02:01:51   But anyhow, guess where they put it? It's on the back, right next to the plug when it's supposed to be plugged in. And you're like, oh god, really? Now, Eve, Eve. Eve's stuff, they're real good about putting it in a place, but there are innumerable kinds of devices where if you didn't keep that little piece of paper, you are SOL. You know what I mean?

02:02:11   So anyway, that's a dumb one, but I really liked it. I got one more that's really stupid. I want to say I heard about this from, I'm almost positive it was Dan Frakes and sort of along the lines of dscript as in like, what is this black magic? Dan Frakes saw this app called Brickit. Have you seen this?

02:02:29   I don't think so.

02:02:30   Brickit. Brickit is, as I understand it, is an app made by fans of Lego building block bricks. And Brickit, I can't believe this works. And I did not believe it worked until I tried it. Okay, try this. If anybody out there, you know, especially people with dumb babies like me, you've probably got butt tons of Legos.

02:02:52   You know, everybody reaches a fit of peak. It's not like you're going to keep your Apollo on your desk all the time. Sometimes you just have giant boxes and boxes and boxes of old Lego pieces. You spread this out on the floor. You take a photo of it. And it scans the entire thing and tells you what bricks you have and what you could make with it.

02:03:10   No, it's impossible.

02:03:12   Try it. You're looking at you're going, okay, this is cute. This is cute. It's gonna be like one of those basic misdirection party tricks where you pull a quarter out of my ear or whatever. It goes, you go, okay, look at the point of the floor and goes, doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo, skin, skin, skin. You have 117 Legos, you could make this dog.

02:03:29   Cool.

02:03:30   No, it's called it's called brick it. Check it out. And again, it's a community based. We're not affiliated with Lego app. I am. I'm gonna guess I imagine it is leveraging some bananas library that's out there that you can do something cool within the I'm guessing they adapted it to this.

02:03:51   I mean, there's a better you've got to assume that the people building this they just want to be hired by Lego.

02:03:57   Like everybody's dream is to be one of those Lego residents who gets to make fountains that Disney World like the designers or whatever they call it like that YouTube channel.

02:04:07   Yeah, nice.

02:04:08   This looks like a free app.

02:04:10   Yes.

02:04:11   I mean, I'm not here to say it's perfect. I can't say it's perfect. But here's what I did. I went into the closet. I grabbed two heaping handfuls of old Lego, many of which are from the friends collection which any any Merlin man Stan will know is my favorite.

02:04:26   I love the creator series and I love the friends series friends are the ones that are for girls that has all the good stuff. You can make a hot dog stand and it's so fun. Anyway, two heaping handfuls I laid down like a like a towel and just need spread them out real thin so that each one is visible and exposed.

02:04:41   And like I said, I can't say that's perfect. But I did take the same amount of Lego, mix it around, make a flat three times and it was within five Legos of like 117 three times.

02:04:54   It counted more or less correctly three times. So I would even say plus or minus 10% would be bananas good. You should try it. It's really fun.

02:05:03   I'm going to download this. Just throw some Lego on the ground. See what happens.

02:05:07   Throw it on the ground, man. I mean, you know, it's really though, you know, if you ever have kids ended up in your life, watch out for those brown Legos because boy, they'll take a man out. They will really take a man out.

02:05:16   They hurt a lot when you step on a brown Lego. The brown ones hurt more and I couldn't even tell you why. Maybe it's sepsis. I don't know.

02:05:22   Well, man, thank you so much for joining me. It's been an absolute pleasure.

02:05:26   Thank you, Myke, for everything you do for, uh, for your for your audio work and being one of the suits. That's my favorite podcast network. It's a it's it's a joy to have proximity to you. Thanks for having me on.

02:05:38   Thank you.

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02:07:13   [Makes sound effects]

02:07:15   Myke! Myke!

02:07:17   Oh! Hello! Hi Jason! Hi Jason!

02:07:21   Lasers!

02:07:23   Hashtag Ask Upgrade, right?

02:07:25   Yeah, I've been waiting here for Ask Upgrade. Come on, what's going on?

02:07:28   Nothing. Snap to it, Myke.

02:07:30   Ryan asks, "Do you ever re-listen to podcast episodes?" Not the ones that you appeared on per se, but do you ever re-listen to stuff?

02:07:38   I mean, listen, I definitely don't listen to ones that I appear on, which is also weird, right? Because that means, we talked about this, our listeners remember more about what we say than we do, because we don't go back and sometimes listeners do.

02:07:49   I very, very, very rarely ever re-listen to a podcast episode. It has happened occasionally with a particular favorite, but there's so many podcasts out there that I struggle to even keep up with the new episodes of my favorite shows.

02:08:01   So I have re-listened to a couple of Flophouse episodes that are kind of classics. Somebody mentions it. What I actually prefer is when somebody's done a video, like an animated version.

02:08:13   My way that I relive the funniest moments of the Flophouse is that there's a Flophouse YouTube channel where this guy Tony Ochre does these animations of classic bits, and those I will watch again and again, but that's the most reliving of a podcast I usually do.

02:08:33   I have some shows that I have listened to a couple of times. They're more narrative, right? So it's kind of like reading a book again or watching a movie again.

02:08:48   And like you, there are some of my favorite shows of all time. I have an episode that I might listen to multiple times, but outside of that, for most of the stuff that I do listen to, there kind of isn't really much of a need, I think, to listen again for the majority of podcasts that I enjoy.

02:09:09   I do appreciate that some people do it. I know that there's at least one podcast that I'm involved with that gets re-listened to by people every year, which is there's an incomparable episode that is the human centipede.

02:09:23   And it is our holiday music episode. And I have heard from, I mean, it's dozens of people who say that it is their go-to holiday listening tradition as they listen to this podcast episode that we did, like back in 2013.

02:09:46   And as a result, I have gone back to the master files and generated the highest quality version of it using modern technology.

02:09:57   We love high quality versions.

02:09:59   Well, people were listening to the unedited version of it. And I put a huge amount of work into the edited version. And then people are like, nope, we want the unedited version, which is really depressing.

02:10:08   Right. Because it's like, but I, I, I tried to have it make more sense and be this edited version of people. Like, nope, I just want to hear the whole thing go off the rails. And it's funny.

02:10:16   So I went back and I like, I denoised those tracks and I like, I did an official, we'll put a link in the show notes, enjoy it over the, over the holidays, a crackling fire and whatever else you can listen to this episode where we're terrible and say terrible things about holiday songs.

02:10:31   But, but it's fun to be that because people check in every year and they're like, I'm listening to it. And that's fun. I'm glad people get that out of it. I haven't done that with anything. I don't have a designated podcast listen that I do on a regular basis.

02:10:46   Chris wants to know how do you use tech for following and watching baseball at home on the go and at the ballpark?

02:10:52   You want to take this one, Myke?

02:10:54   Yeah. When I go out to the ball game, I make sure that I have my special, uh, baseball communicator with me at all times.

02:11:02   It's a base. It's literally a baseball that talks to you.

02:11:05   Yeah. And it's like, you don't understand what's going on here. So let me help you.

02:11:08   Let me tell you how the baseball works.

02:11:11   Um, how do I use tech for following and watching baseball? I mostly watch baseball on regular TV because it's not available in apps for my local team. When I want to watch a baseball game and my local team isn't playing, I use MLB at bat.

02:11:26   I use the Apple TV app, which just got worse, but it still works. I have the app.

02:11:30   Like many Apple TV apps recently.

02:11:32   Yeah, seriously. I, uh, I will check in with my favorite team, like looking at the score and stuff, or even playing, uh, the audio of like the radio broadcast or something, um, at the ballpark.

02:11:45   Not so much other than like occasionally I'll look to see like if there's a highlight or there's something I missed when I was out getting a hot dog or something like that.

02:11:54   But I don't know. I mean, the tech has made it, my favorite thing about tech and baseball is that I can watch those other games and I will sometimes put those on in the background when I'm working.

02:12:04   Um, or if I'm even Glunch or something like that, if there's a game going on, I'll just pop it on.

02:12:09   Or if the Giants aren't playing and there's another game in the evening and I pop that on for a while, uh, see different teams go see close games or interesting things going on.

02:12:19   That part has been the most fun is, is buying the MOB package and watching out of market games.

02:12:25   But, um, otherwise I just, you know, I'm using the app to, if there's a game I didn't catch, I will watch the highlights like the next morning or that evening if it's a day game on my iPad.

02:12:35   That's about it.

02:12:36   I would assume that Chris was also interested to know if you use any apps or anything to score games when you're at the park.

02:12:43   Uh, no, no. When I go to the ballpark, I do like to keep score and I have a, uh, a paper score book for that, which I just, I have two of them from a bookstore that is out of business and I filled one up.

02:12:56   One, the last game we went to this year, uh, the first game we went to this year was the last page in that book.

02:13:03   So that book has got a lot of great memories in it, a lot of great history, but, um, now I just have the remaining pages in the other book and then I'm going to have to get a new score book, which is, uh, that's a problem for another day.

02:13:16   I'm going to have to figure out what I wanted a new score book, but I do that on paper.

02:13:20   I did it for my daughter's softball team.

02:13:22   I used an app because it generated stats and stuff and I could email it to the coaches and stuff like that.

02:13:27   But, and that was fun, but like for watching a game just for fun, it, the reason I do it is because it's paper and pen and it just sort of fun and focuses me and is also a souvenir at the end.

02:13:42   And Brian asks, if Apple removes the lightning port from the iPhone, do you think it would live on in things like the keyboard and trackpad charge, like charging method, or do you think they would also replace that with USB-C as well?

02:13:55   I think that once lightning disappears from the iPhone, it will start disappearing from everything.

02:14:03   I actually think it would go the other way around. I feel like it might be lost on the iPhone.

02:14:10   Well, okay. So the premise here is if Apple removes the lightning port from the iPhone, what will happen to the rest of the stuff? I think you might be right.

02:14:18   Although to be fair, they did just release new trackpads and keyboards and their lightning charger.

02:14:23   I know, it's still there.

02:14:24   Yeah, that's a good, that's an interesting thought.

02:14:26   It's still there.

02:14:27   So while logically I might say that maybe it would be the other way around, maybe they would keep it as a weird peripheral charger for longer, but I would just assume that the iPhone would lose it last because it makes perfect sense to have keyboards and trackpads charged by USB-C.

02:14:45   Because they have loads of stuff that charges by USB-C now.

02:14:47   I don't know what is up with lightning and where it's going. It does feel like kind of unnecessary, but we have it.

02:14:55   So I mean, I would love to be able to just, and the thing is the moment they do it, it's still going to be years of transition, right?

02:15:03   So that's the thing is I would like to be in that transition because I'd like to get to the other side where I don't have all these lightning cables around, but that's just how it is.

02:15:11   If you would like to send in a question for us to answer on an episode of Upgrade, just send out a tweet with the hashtag #AskUpgrade or use ?AskUpgrade in the Real AFM members Discord, which you can get access to if you subscribe to Upgrade Plus.

02:15:25   Go to GetUpgradePlus.com and you'll get longer episodes of Upgrade every single week with no ads as well.

02:15:31   I would like to thank Privacy, Squarespace, Calm and Hello for their support of this episode.

02:15:36   If you want to find Jason online, you can go to SixColors.com and he is @jsnell, J-S-N-E-L-L.

02:15:42   I am @imike, I-M-Y-K-E.

02:15:44   I would like to thank all of the guests I had on this week's episode.

02:15:47   You can find them for their projects and the show notes.

02:15:49   What?

02:15:50   No, I don't, no, nothing.

02:15:51   Wait, did you hear that?

02:15:52   No, it was nothing.

02:15:53   Nothing, nothing.

02:15:54   No.

02:15:55   And thank you for listening.

02:15:56   We'll be back next time.

02:15:57   Until then, say goodbye Jason Snow.

02:15:58   Goodbye everybody.

02:15:59   [Music]