173: The 2017 Upgrade Holiday Special


00:00:00   [MUSIC]

00:00:01   From Relay FM, it's the Upgrade Holiday Special!

00:00:06   With your host, Myke Hurley!

00:00:11   Thank you for that wonderful introduction, Jason Snell.

00:00:14   This episode is brought to you by Text Expander from Smile, Encapsula, App Optics, and Pingdom.

00:00:20   My name is Myke Hurley as I was so wonderfully introduced,

00:00:24   and I am joined on this very special holiday episode by Jason Snell.

00:00:28   Happy Holidays Jason Snell.

00:00:29   - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays Myke.

00:00:32   What better Monday than Christmas Monday

00:00:35   to do an episode of Upgrade?

00:00:37   - Mm-hmm, most definitely.

00:00:39   And we couldn't leave the Upgradians out in the cold.

00:00:41   And Jason, that actually leads me quite nicely

00:00:44   into our Snell Talk question,

00:00:46   our holiday Snell Talk question from Kevin.

00:00:48   Not Kevin McAllister, a different Kevin.

00:00:50   Kevin would like to know,

00:00:52   have you ever had a white Christmas, Jason?

00:00:54   - I have.

00:00:55   I grew up in a place-- - Oh yeah?

00:00:56   where we had snow once or twice a year.

00:00:59   It usually wasn't very much, but sometimes it would be.

00:01:02   But it was occasional and rare

00:01:05   because we were at like 2,000 feet elevation,

00:01:07   so it didn't happen that often in California.

00:01:09   But it did happen.

00:01:11   A couple times a year, we'd get snow.

00:01:13   Maybe once every three or four years,

00:01:15   we'd get a sizable accumulation.

00:01:18   And, boy, as a kid, when there was a possibility,

00:01:22   when it looked like it was going to be cold

00:01:23   or it might be precipitation --

00:01:25   In Northern California and California in general, you have this issue where if it's going to

00:01:29   rain, the clouds trap in the heat, and so it's less likely to snow.

00:01:35   And when it's really cold, it's usually because it's clear and the heat escapes, and so to

00:01:41   get them both, to get it cold enough and raining, turning into snow, is a magical kind of thing

00:01:47   for lower parts of California.

00:01:51   So always as a kid, I would be like, "Oh, white Christmas, white Christmas, white Christmas."

00:01:57   Get up the next morning, nothing, right?

00:01:58   It's just rain.

00:01:59   That would happen a lot, whereas the possibility we might get some snow, even if it wasn't

00:02:02   Christmas, I'd get excited about it.

00:02:04   Then I'd look, peer out my window in the morning, get up, you know, right when the first sign

00:02:08   of light and I'd look out and there would not be snow.

00:02:11   And those moments when there was snow were great, but like mostly it was disappointment.

00:02:16   And the Christmas, it's actually of my freshman year in college, coming home for Christmas.

00:02:23   That Christmas, it snowed on Christmas Eve, and there was snow on the ground and on the

00:02:31   grass and everywhere outside on Christmas morning.

00:02:35   And that was the one time I had a legitimate white Christmas.

00:02:41   I went through all high school and I went off to college and I thought, "I guess it's

00:02:43   just never going to happen.

00:02:44   I'm never gonna be lucky enough to have those two times a year that randomly it snows land

00:02:49   on Christmas.

00:02:50   And it was never close.

00:02:53   And then on Christmas Day 1988, it was a white Christmas.

00:02:59   It was great.

00:03:00   I've never had one.

00:03:02   I mean, I think it snows even more rarely in London than it does where I grew up.

00:03:08   Yes, I think it does.

00:03:09   So, yeah.

00:03:10   When I was a kid especially, it very rarely snowed.

00:03:12   And it has snowed more because of #climatechange as I've grown up.

00:03:17   And we have had, it was a couple of years ago, we had a very bad snowfall here.

00:03:20   Yeah, I remember.

00:03:21   Which shut the entire country down.

00:03:22   But I don't even know if it was in December, but it may have been actually in the beginning

00:03:27   of the next year.

00:03:28   But I've seen snow, I've had snow, I've had lots of snow, but I've never had a white Christmas.

00:03:33   So as you can imagine from the fact that this is called the Holiday Special, we have a special

00:03:38   episode.

00:03:39   We're gonna talk about some some thoughts on 2017 and into 2018 about technology

00:03:45   We are then going to be joined later on in the episode by Stephen Hackett and Serenity Caldwell

00:03:50   And we're gonna be doing we're gonna be answering some holiday questions. We have a Secret Santa

00:03:54   And a mic at the movies Home Alone 2 so you have all of that to look forward to but I wanted to mention Jason

00:04:01   Everyone's gonna be thinking. Oh, they're gonna talk about all the Big Apple news of the week. No, we're not

00:04:05   That's not what a holiday special is all about.

00:04:07   We're not going to talk about the comings and goings of the last week.

00:04:10   I mean, I am reluctant to dive in, yeah, because it's Christmas.

00:04:15   We'll get to it in the new year, right?

00:04:16   I mean, if everybody's still freaking out about how Apple handles throttling processor

00:04:23   power when old batteries are failing to provide enough power, we'll catch up to that in January.

00:04:28   Or if Macintosh software is dead.

00:04:30   We'll get to that in January.

00:04:31   If Mac apps are going to become iOS apps, we will talk about it in January.

00:04:35   It's all, it's, you know what, it's still gonna be there.

00:04:38   And even though, that was like holding up a newspaper as proof of life, by the way,

00:04:43   that we didn't record this episode in October.

00:04:45   We are actually aware of what happened last week, but we're not gonna talk about that.

00:04:52   We'll wait for January after the Upgradies.

00:04:55   After, of course, the most prestigious award ceremony of the year, which is the Upgradies,

00:04:59   which is next week, so get excited.

00:05:01   The Upgradies coming.

00:05:02   So Jason.

00:05:03   Yes, Myke.

00:05:04   you a little bit about the year of technology in 2017. I want to talk about a

00:05:09   couple of big themes that have occurred in the year and then talk about maybe

00:05:12   some some things we're looking forward to in 2018. And I think that there have

00:05:16   been, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think maybe in 2017 we've seen

00:05:21   two pretty big trends and one is in smartphones and one is in home technology.

00:05:28   In smartphones we've had disappearing bezels and in home technology we've had

00:05:33   smart speakers. I think that they have been two of the biggest trends in consumer technology

00:05:38   of the year. Would you agree? I mean, I couldn't, they were kind of the biggest things to me,

00:05:43   I think, of stock out.

00:05:44   I feel like this is the year of the big players all aggressively pushing toward the disappearing

00:05:52   bezel smartphone as close as they can get to it, that that is the goal now. And really,

00:06:00   is not just, you could say it's like almost a lemming-like kind of just like everybody

00:06:05   follows everybody else and everybody goes in that direction. But I think realistically

00:06:08   it's also just about the technology. Like the technology is improving to reduce the

00:06:13   size of the bezels and get that screen out there. And what is more natural, I mean, I

00:06:18   think, I think Johnny Ive actually said this at one point, the iPhone X is the closest

00:06:23   that Apple has come to like their vision of what an iPhone would be. Because the fundamental

00:06:28   vision of all of these smartphones, like if you really boil down, what would they look

00:06:31   like? Ideally, they would be all screen like they would be all screen. Yeah, that is the

00:06:35   dream is that this is just a screen you hold in your hand and interact with. And they have

00:06:41   not been able to do that because of lots of technological limitations. And those limitations

00:06:48   are being solved. And so this was the year we got, you know, everybody's pushing in the

00:06:55   borders around their devices to try and get there because the technology makes that more

00:07:00   possible. So, you know, not just Apple, Google, Samsung, lots of different companies doing

00:07:05   that. And I think it's great.

00:07:06   And Staxophone did it?

00:07:07   Yeah, that's right. And I wanted...

00:07:08   That was a big one.

00:07:09   I want it in... I want it on my iPad, honestly.

00:07:11   Me too. I mean, even then though, we got it to a point, right? Like the bezel...

00:07:16   On the side is a lot less. Yeah.

00:07:18   Right? It's a lot less. And that has happened over time. And I hope that we see something

00:07:22   like that. I hope and like, you know, we're going to talk about this. But 2018, I would

00:07:26   love to see an iPad with a bigger screen in a in a same size or vice versa, right? Like

00:07:32   I would love to see a very thin bezel iPad. That would be that would be very exciting.

00:07:37   I think that, you know, the thing about this disappearing bezels, you know, you mentioned

00:07:42   it like the technology allowed it. I think by and large, this wasn't a case of like these

00:07:46   technology companies copying each other because of how long it takes for these devices to

00:07:50   come together. I think it was just 2017, you know, back in 2016 and into 2017 was just

00:07:57   the first time that this kind of stuff could be done. Like the technology is at a point now

00:08:02   where for about around a thousand dollars you can sell a phone that is mostly screen and that

00:08:09   it doesn't need a huge chin or forehead, it doesn't need a huge space around the side

00:08:14   because the miniaturization and all the screen tech has gotten to where it needs to be,

00:08:18   that this has become a possibility.

00:08:19   And I think that for observers of consumer technology, I think the last couple of years

00:08:24   have seen some, every advancement in smartphones has not really been too heavily focused on

00:08:32   physical design.

00:08:33   Like there have been different designs, but not like leaps and bounds forward in design.

00:08:38   And I think that 2017 across the board, Android and iOS has seen huge, huge changes.

00:08:44   Like Samsung, I think, have been ahead of the curve for a bit.

00:08:47   you know, they have been, I think of all companies, have been edging to this,

00:08:52   where other companies just went from having all bezels to no bezels,

00:08:57   you know, or minimal bezels.

00:08:58   And they have been kind of edging towards it over the last couple of years with

00:09:03   the way that they've been like curving their screens over the edges and kind of

00:09:07   pushing and pushing and pushing,

00:09:08   which is unsurprising because Samsung make the displays that everybody's buying,

00:09:14   right? Like,

00:09:15   It is unsurprising that they are the company that's been able to get to this first.

00:09:19   But this has been a great trend and as an incredibly happy iPhone X owner,

00:09:26   I am very, very pleased that this has been what we've been able to see this year in smartphones.

00:09:31   Yeah, I think it's a good trend. A lot of times when we talk about smartphone trends,

00:09:37   we talk about things like screen size or thinness and lightness or processor power or things like

00:09:43   that or transfer speed on cellular networks and I feel like not enough attention is paid

00:09:48   to the physical innovations that happen and that is things like getting the bezels to

00:09:54   be smaller. It's things like improving glare reduction, improving shatter resistance, which

00:10:04   even though people drop their phones and they still break, trust me, the glass is getting

00:10:09   better all the time and you know this is gonna keep people don't notice but like

00:10:14   I will throw waterproofing in there too because now all the Apple phones are

00:10:17   waterproof all the new models like there's a lot of material science going

00:10:21   on and a lot of engineering going on it's not just chip design and software

00:10:26   so the other trend that mentioned was smart speakers and this is one where I

00:10:31   think the battle for supremacy is still is still on in a way that it maybe isn't

00:10:37   in smartphones, right? There are the big players, the big players are there and they're going to be

00:10:41   that way. You know, Samsung and iPhone, Google is trying, but you know, Samsung is murdering them

00:10:49   still in the Android arena. The battle for supremacy I think is still on in the smart

00:10:55   speaker world because there are some products still to hit the market from big companies like

00:10:59   Apple. But as it stands right now, I think Amazon is kind of sitting pretty at the top,

00:11:05   at least in what is considered to be the best by people in technology. I think mostly people

00:11:11   are recommending Amazon's products and Amazon this year decided to release every possible Echo

00:11:19   possible. We had the look and the show and then the spot has just come out and we had the second

00:11:26   gen Echo and the what is the one with the home chip in it the Echo Plus? Oh yeah I mean something

00:11:33   like that. I don't even know I've lost track. I've lost track. There's lots and it's a it's

00:11:37   an interesting category. I think there's a real question about Amazon like Amazon is

00:11:42   putting its foot to the floor here because Amazon has a lead but you're absolutely right

00:11:46   in saying that Google has got them in their sites. Apple has got them in their sites and

00:11:50   the challenge there is that Google and Apple bring ecosystems with them and Amazon's ecosystem

00:11:55   is not really a device ecosystem. It's a shopping ecosystem and the weakest thing about Amazon

00:12:01   to me and about the Echo in particular is that all my devices are Apple devices and there's just

00:12:09   a failure for interaction there because there's only so much Amazon can do. Amazon's ecosystem

00:12:16   is great in some areas and terrible in others and whereas Apple is tied into my devices directly

00:12:23   and is interested in making that experience better and that's the advantage the HomePod will have

00:12:29   have when it ships for people who have Apple devices is that it'll be

00:12:32   integrated in a way that Amazon will have a very hard time doing and likewise

00:12:36   if you use Android devices the Google stuff is going to integrate with all of

00:12:41   your Google services and your Google Assistant stuff and they have a huge

00:12:44   advantage there so Amazon's trying to get enough of a lead and use its

00:12:48   leverage to get enough partners and things like that everything connected so

00:12:52   that it can stay afloat but I'm not sure I'm not sure it's a good match

00:12:57   I'm not sure if ultimately as all the success

00:12:59   the Echo has had, if tying in with your other devices

00:13:04   and platforms and things ends up being important

00:13:08   to smart assistants, Amazon's gonna have a hard time,

00:13:11   which is why Amazon's trying to make it not be that way.

00:13:14   Trying to have as many--

00:13:15   - They're trying to make an Echo for every use case

00:13:17   for every person.

00:13:18   - Yeah, and tied into every service.

00:13:19   And when it works, it works incredibly well.

00:13:21   Our shopping list is, we use AnyList,

00:13:25   and I have any list on the desktop and I have it on my devices and my wife has it on her

00:13:30   devices and it syncs with the Echo lists, which means the Echo is seamlessly a part

00:13:38   of our shopping list on all our devices and the Echo, they all have the same list. That

00:13:42   was not the case until earlier this year when they built that bridge between the two apps.

00:13:50   It's like night and day. It is so much better because now we can rely on that data to pass

00:13:55   across. So the more of that Amazon can do, where all the pieces of your life in your

00:14:01   other silos on all these other devices are all kind of like interconnected to the Echo,

00:14:07   then they've got a fighting chance. But the value, having seen that with the shopping

00:14:12   list thing, it's like, oh my God, the value of being integrated versus not is enormous.

00:14:17   And it's going to be tough for Amazon. They've got the lead. They've got a lot going for

00:14:21   but it's gonna be tough because my gut feeling is that you're gonna want

00:14:27   those assistants to be tied into everything else you're wanting. In fact,

00:14:32   I have an Echo Show and I do have those moments where I think if the HomePod

00:14:36   does well, I actually think an iOS-ish HomePod with a screen might actually be

00:14:44   good only because the problem with the Echo Show is that it has no apps and

00:14:51   you know the video screen is only occasionally useful and I well that was

00:14:56   the original rumor right that the apples answer to the echo and to the Google

00:15:02   Home would have a little light up thing I was yeah I remember when when they

00:15:09   announced the HomePod at WWDC I was very surprised and almost a bit turned off it

00:15:13   like my initial because I'm really not very excited about that product at all.

00:15:17   And that began for me where I was like, no, that's not what I want.

00:15:20   Like I want it to have a screen on it like that is a worthwhile upgrade for me.

00:15:26   I mean, I am not interested in the Echo show because all of the things

00:15:31   that I would want a device like that for, I don't.

00:15:34   Amazon doesn't provide that for me.

00:15:35   Like I don't want Amazon's version of FaceTime.

00:15:38   I just want FaceTime.

00:15:40   Right. Like stuff like that.

00:15:41   where it's like, oh, I'm not interested. Right? Like, I don't want to get into Amazon's calling

00:15:47   ecosystem to provide this for me because I think that that's, for me, nonsense. Like,

00:15:51   I don't want to do that. Like, I'm not going to go through the pain of trying to get my

00:15:55   nan to use Amazon face calling time. Like, I'm just not interested in that.

00:16:02   It's never going to happen.

00:16:03   That's not a thing. But I'm hoping that version two, version three of the HomePod becomes

00:16:08   something more compelling for me. Like I really don't envision a world in which I

00:16:11   buy the HomePod as we have currently seen it. It is a music device with

00:16:16   limited smart speaker functionality and that is the reverse to which I use my

00:16:22   Echo products, right? Like I use them as smart speakers with different tools and

00:16:27   services and then maybe sometimes use it for music. Like you're saying about any

00:16:33   list, I mean I think I can go one better. The actual company that we have

00:16:38   our shopping delivered via which is a

00:16:39   card. Oh, they have a skill now

00:16:41   so we can add things directly to

00:16:43   our shopping cart, right?

00:16:44   Like with the grocery provider that

00:16:46   we use and

00:16:49   unless Apple is able

00:16:51   to convince companies to do this kind

00:16:53   of stuff, then it won't work.

00:16:54   But that requires

00:16:56   Apple to make the

00:16:58   Siri APIs better because currently

00:17:00   they're incredibly limited and they

00:17:01   don't look like they're going to

00:17:02   change.

00:17:03   And for all intents and purposes,

00:17:05   it looks like that

00:17:07   If you didn't like the way the Apple watch used to work

00:17:10   you're probably not gonna like the way the humble works because everything is being processed on phones and

00:17:14   I'm just I think except the music stuff and I'm just not that this just doesn't feel like a compelling product for me

00:17:22   I'm very interested to see people like you have to say about the home pod

00:17:26   from a usage perspective once it launches to see if it can turn me around but

00:17:30   This is just one Apple product that I'm not interested in. That's fine because I don't have to be interested in all true

00:17:37   But this is the one which is, it hasn't been that way for a while.

00:17:41   I mean, like even something like the iMac Pro, I don't want to buy it, but I'm still interested in it.

00:17:46   I would still like one.

00:17:47   I just don't feel the need for one.

00:17:49   But currently, like Apple have, I've been in the distortion field, right?

00:17:54   I've seen this product.

00:17:55   I've been sitting in rooms of other nerds who are excited about it at WWDC and I just couldn't care about it.

00:18:00   Like, it's just not something that I care for.

00:18:02   - I gotta be honest, it is an interesting choice Apple made

00:18:06   to make this a kind of higher-end audio product

00:18:08   is how they're selling it.

00:18:09   It's big, it's meant to sound better

00:18:13   than things like the Echo, which is fine,

00:18:17   but I'll point out, the Echo was successful

00:18:19   because it was small and you could stick it

00:18:22   on a countertop in your kitchen.

00:18:24   And although it doesn't play music very well,

00:18:28   although it's okay, it's not great, but it's okay,

00:18:32   it still succeeded. And I think it succeeded because it was relatively

00:18:36   small and filled a niche for utility reasons. And, you know, the HomePod

00:18:45   isn't filling that niche. It's in this like Sonos-like place. And I'm not

00:18:51   convinced. I think that is a place for you to make a lot of money if you're

00:18:56   Apple. I think it's gonna have good margins. It allows them to charge a lot

00:19:00   money for that product but I don't think people looking for a place to put a

00:19:06   device where they're going to sit and listen to music and all it does is

00:19:10   basically play music. I don't know. I have a hard time thinking that

00:19:15   that's a huge market compared to something like the Echo which,

00:19:19   because it is lighter and not as high quality in terms of the audio, but it's

00:19:26   very utilitarian. You stick it somewhere and it listens to you and you have a

00:19:30   do stuff for you, including play music. I feel like that's just a more kind of broad

00:19:37   audience for a product like that versus the HomePod, which feels just very focused on

00:19:43   music. Focus is good, but I don't see the broad appeal there. I feel like if Apple—Apple's

00:19:49   going to do this and that's great, but Apple needs to be working on a line of these things

00:19:53   that are smaller and larger and have video and don't that can go in different places

00:19:58   because I'm not sure like and again I'm just coming from my own experience here

00:20:03   I don't know where I would put the home pod in my house quite honestly I don't

00:20:08   think I have a place for it and some people will but I don't know I I share

00:20:14   your skepticism about it'll be interesting to see how it plays out all

00:20:17   right gather round the fire ladies and gentlemen as I tell you about our first

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00:22:23   heard you know where they heard their messages on the upgrade program you don't have to tell them

00:22:28   it was on the holiday special but you can if you want to our thanks to text expand after they

00:22:32   continued support of this show and really have them so as i look forward to my 2018 jason a

00:22:40   big project that i have on the horizon which i've mentioned in the show is i want to build a gaming

00:22:45   PC and I started looking into it a little bit. I've been looking at some guides and

00:22:50   stuff. It seems like a hugely daunting project. My friend John Voorhees is currently building

00:22:55   one for his son and he's had some problems with some components. But just even the case

00:23:00   of like wondering where to start, like what stuff do I actually need to buy? I've been

00:23:04   looking at that. It's a big project. I'm excited about it, but it is a big and daunting project

00:23:09   that I've got in my 2018. And I wondered if you have anything in 2018 that you're looking

00:23:14   forward to like that in general technology. Is there a project that you want to tackle

00:23:18   this year? Is there anything that you've been kind of mulling around that is a thing on

00:23:23   your horizon?

00:23:24   I don't have anything particular. I mean, these things do emerge, but I don't have anything,

00:23:28   I think, floating out there right now. I do, like, I wasn't planning last year to replace

00:23:35   my Mac Mini and build a Hackintosh server with an Intel NUC box, right? I had no plans

00:23:43   to do that, but some instability in my existing Mac Mini and Apple's lack of updates for the

00:23:48   Mac Mini and our friend Russell talking about how he created a hacked Intel NUC as a Mac

00:23:57   kind of led me down that path where I have ended up doing that. So that was a project

00:24:02   that I did this year. I hope to, I'll say, to be fair, I hope to replace it with a real

00:24:07   Mac Mini someday, but they would need to release one. So we'll see. I keep toying

00:24:14   with the idea of going to 4K HDR and getting a much larger TV than I have

00:24:20   right now, which has a lot of ramifications in terms of like taking

00:24:24   down pieces of furniture and running cables through the walls and things and

00:24:28   mounting a large TV in the living room. I'm not quite sure when I want to do

00:24:34   that and whether I want to wait a few years for OLED stuff to come down in

00:24:37   price or whether that I want to just kind of bite the bullet because I would

00:24:39   literally like my TV's 50 inches diagonal I'd like to I'd like to go up

00:24:43   to something that isn't just 55 I'd like to go up to like 65 or something like

00:24:46   that and have it be nice and big and I'm still toying with that idea so we'll

00:24:52   see but that's one like kind of home thing but stuff just happens I didn't

00:24:56   expect to buy an electric car this year and that happened and I got to learn

00:25:00   about like electric car charging networks and things like that which was

00:25:03   interesting and different and I got to do that and so I'm sure something will

00:25:08   come up but I don't have anything right now on my on my to-do list I I'm just

00:25:16   gonna lie and wait and see what happens so I also wanted to take a look at some

00:25:20   stuff that we're hoping for in 2018 and I want to go across the Apple line

00:25:25   across the suite of products that exist sure I don't want to start with iOS

00:25:28   because I think iOS 11 gave me a lot of what I've been very happy about this year.

00:25:34   You know, stuff like the Files app and improved multitasking and just the

00:25:39   overall attention that was given to the iPad in iOS 11 was a big thing for me

00:25:47   this year and I all I care about personally in iOS 12 is just signs that

00:25:52   they're keeping that going in a way that they didn't in iOS 10 right where it was

00:25:57   like iPad or iPad. I don't necessarily want tons more other than making the stuff better,

00:26:06   but I want to see, you know, in June, iPad getting some stage time, showing off some

00:26:12   stuff, whatever it is, and actually then also seeing some of the results of that in the

00:26:17   software than just the way that it had been in the past. I really want to just get signs

00:26:22   of continued life, you know?

00:26:24   Yeah, I don't want the iPad to be an every other year proposition for Apple.

00:26:29   Like, if it seems serious about the iPad Pro, it seems to have turned the corner in terms

00:26:36   of like iPad sales and having rationalized their product line by making the cheaper iPad

00:26:44   and the more expensive and full-featured iPad Pro models.

00:26:47   So I want them to keep pushing there, and that means more stuff.

00:26:52   plenty of places for iOS 12 to improve on that side and I hope they do. That's my number

00:26:59   one thing. Honestly, I don't have a long iOS wish list in terms of the software because

00:27:04   on the iPhone side, I think they've done a great job and my iPhone is great. We talked

00:27:13   about the old upgrade experience and they've improved that dramatically. So things are

00:27:19   getting a lot better on that front but the iPad could still use more love I

00:27:24   think in terms of of making more you know kind of pro feature stuff and the

00:27:28   you know the ones that I always come back to are you know I'd like the files

00:27:32   app to support more stuff I'd like to be able to connect to an SMB you know file

00:27:38   server with the files app I'd like to be able to attach a USB stick to an iPad

00:27:43   and see the you know and pull files off of it I'd like to do stuff like that

00:27:47   that is sort of like just work features of a computer that the iPad just is incapable of doing.

00:27:52   And I'm sure they'll surprise us with some some incredibly clever stuff too. Do you care the same

00:27:58   way about iPad hardware for next year? Well again they've kind of resolved the biggest issue right

00:28:05   which is that the iPad Pro is you know we got the 10.5 and the 12.9 and it's clear I'd imagine I

00:28:10   mean, I would like I would love a reduced bezel face ID iPad Pro. I think that

00:28:17   would be awesome. I'm so I'm happy with where the iPad is, though, so I don't

00:28:22   have one of these things where it's like, "Oh my God, they really have to do this."

00:28:25   My wish list would be jumping off of the iPad, and I'm not sure this is realistic,

00:28:30   but you know, my wish list would be new iOS hardware, whether it's that iOS

00:28:34   laptop that I wrote about or a bigger iPad or a desktop, you know, iOS device.

00:28:40   I would love to see something like that.

00:28:42   I doubt 2018 is the year when we'll see something like that,

00:28:44   but I would love to see something like that.

00:28:46   - I honestly, I'm cool with the hardware.

00:28:49   Like I'm fine mostly with that right now.

00:28:51   I would like to see some more accessories.

00:28:54   - Yeah.

00:28:54   - I would really like to see some smart connector stuff.

00:28:56   I would like to see a new pencil.

00:28:59   Like I would really, I mean,

00:29:01   it'd be great if some of this stuff came from Apple,

00:29:03   but it doesn't all need to,

00:29:05   but I would really like to see some new accessories.

00:29:08   - The smart connector has been a disappointment

00:29:10   and the keyboard cases for the 10.5 iPad Pro are like the fact that there's nothing much

00:29:19   out there that's built for it. And that partially is a function of the iPad Pro and the iPad

00:29:25   in general having low enough sales that I think that accessory makers have been reluctant

00:29:32   to make a product that only works on an iPad Pro. Although I would think the 10.5 is a

00:29:39   popular enough product that it's worth having more accessories than are out there now. So

00:29:43   I'm with you there. Yeah. And like maybe a revised version of the pencil is a part of that too.

00:29:49   So the iPhone, I mean, I just want to keep it going. I don't need the same jump.

00:29:57   You want a 10 plus?

00:29:58   They can give me, I mean, I would love a 10 plus, but I don't need that. If they did that,

00:30:04   I would love it and I would buy that you know an OLED one though. I wouldn't if they had a

00:30:10   if they had a

00:30:13   Plus phone in all looks exactly the same big screen. I would I would struggle

00:30:19   I don't know if it would be an insta buy for me because I really do love the OLED but

00:30:23   But I do love the the bigger screen

00:30:26   So I would love to see an iPhone 10 plus the one that we currently have

00:30:32   But I don't need that this year personally I could take an S version of this phone and I'll be more than happy

00:30:38   You know some small changes better camera faster. I would happily do that like I did with any of the other S years, right?

00:30:45   I just want them to keep it going

00:30:47   That's that's kind of all I care about. Yep

00:30:50   Do you do you think that do you have much of a desire for Apple to release an SE? I think it's time

00:30:56   I think they need to I think that's an existing market

00:30:58   I'm a big fan of the SE even though I don't use it

00:31:00   know people who do and like it and I like the idea of spreading the product

00:31:05   line out more and it'll have been two years so I think it's time just to have

00:31:08   that phone get a get a bump to you know maybe it's like iPhone 7 specs or

00:31:13   something but I think it's time. What would you like to see on the Mac?

00:31:17   Oh boy, the Mac you know I want to see the Mac Pro I want that to exist I want

00:31:24   Apple to update the hardware on all the existing models to use the latest Intel

00:31:28   stuff and the latest graphics processors available. You know, I just want them to--

00:31:32   I want Apple to show a commitment to its users that there's gonna be a new MacBook

00:31:36   Pro, you know, basically every year with the latest and greatest in it and

00:31:39   there's gonna be new iMacs with the latest and greatest in it, which given, I

00:31:43   think it's Coffee Lake that's coming out, like that may be like six core iMacs,

00:31:47   which could be cool, and just keep updating the Mac with the latest

00:31:54   stuff and they can do more innovations like bringing the stuff that's in like

00:31:59   the t2 that's in the iMac Pro the the the Apple built processor that's an ARM

00:32:07   processor if they want to innovate in that area and kind of like build their

00:32:11   own stuff in and make the Mac a little more of a hybrid I'm okay with that but

00:32:14   the the the key to me is just you know show your commitment to the Mac by

00:32:18   leaving not leaving these products with old parts sitting the whole reason to

00:32:23   use Intel stuff is that Intel keeps making newer faster versions of it and

00:32:27   you need to pick it up and that's like part of the the almost like the social

00:32:32   contract between computer users and the manufacturer is that they will keep up

00:32:36   to date with the latest parts and we know what the parts are and then Apple

00:32:40   doesn't keep up to date and it's frustrating so I just kind of put in a

00:32:43   pitch for that more than anything else I want to see the Mac mini finally get a

00:32:47   revision speaking of the Mac Pro the Mac mini you know it doesn't need to get

00:32:51   updated every year but every three years or so with the latest and greatest and I would

00:32:55   really like to see a design that gets us out of the spinning hard drive as an option entirely

00:33:00   just an SSD based Mac mini that would be pretty great so that's that's kind of what I'm looking

00:33:07   for on the on the Mac hardware side and then in terms of Mac OS I honestly don't know whether

00:33:14   I want sort of steady state fix bugs or whether I want them to take great leaps there are

00:33:18   those stories that you know about Apple considering finding ways to bring to

00:33:23   take advantage of all the people who build iOS software to let them bring

00:33:27   that stuff over to the Mac more easily I think that's kind of a no-brainer if

00:33:31   they can get it to work well I'm a little skeptical about how well it could

00:33:35   work and you know in the background I keep thinking you know do you want to do

00:33:40   this or do you want to just kind of focus on on whatever your next generation

00:33:44   operating system is that is kind of neither and both the Mac or iOS.

00:33:48   Because if the Mac ends up being kind of a place for legacy Mac software and iOS

00:33:53   apps, I worry that it does become a like a toaster fridge at that point. So I'm

00:33:58   not, you know, it'll be a big topic in 2018 for sure about what Apple's

00:34:02   doing for the future of the Mac. But I just say like keep it alive, keep it

00:34:06   rolling and fixing bugs and having some parity with iOS. That's kind of what I want.

00:34:12   The only hardware that I feel personally that I really would be very disappointed if Apple did not

00:34:19   ship next year would be a significant design change to the Apple Watch. I think that now 2018,

00:34:29   if we even see a watch in 2018, I assume we will, I would like it to be thinner. I would like to

00:34:36   to see and always on display. You know, I would like a visual change to the Apple

00:34:40   Watch. The product has gotten very, very good because I believe they have not had

00:34:46   to or felt pressure to change the overall design, right? The battery has

00:34:50   gotten fantastic. The speed is brilliant. They've put LTE chips in it. All of that

00:34:55   stuff has gotten great and I think it's because they've been able to just make

00:34:58   everything smaller and stuff more in but I my feeling would be if they had an

00:35:03   Apple Watch Series 4 and it looked just like this one I would be pretty

00:35:07   disappointed about it because I can't think of anything else you know if they

00:35:11   gave me the always-on display I may be willing to stomach it for one more year

00:35:15   like but that's the only thing left but even then I still don't want it to get

00:35:21   thicker again I would want it to get thinner but that that's that is some

00:35:25   hardware yeah I would really want to see some big changes to and would really

00:35:28   really like to see some design changes too.

00:35:31   Yeah, the always on display is the missing feature.

00:35:34   Yeah, new watch faces, boy, I mean, just, there need to be more watch faces.

00:35:39   That's just, it's amazing.

00:35:41   That's a watchOS 5 thing.

00:35:42   Yeah, we've had almost nothing in terms of new watch faces other than, you know, some

00:35:46   cartoon characters.

00:35:47   There are a couple of them, but there should be way more.

00:35:50   If past me from when the watch was announced came and looked at the watch today, that would

00:35:54   be the number one shocker for me is the lack of diversity of watch faces.

00:35:58   There's just a still only a handful of them and I'm with you on the always on display.

00:36:03   They need to get to the point where they've got enough confidence in the battery that

00:36:06   you can opt at least to have my watch never gets close to running out right. I would really

00:36:13   like it if there was some sort of low power face that they could put on it so that I don't

00:36:17   I you know I don't have to kind of flip my wrist in exactly the right way in order to

00:36:21   see the time. And for the Apple TV hardware I kind of whatever is fine. I'm happy with

00:36:27   They did 4K.

00:36:28   I think we're good in terms of the hardware for a while with the 4K one.

00:36:32   It's about what's inside.

00:36:33   And I have all the services that I want now.

00:36:37   My only feeling for this is if Apple release any original content in 2018, which they may

00:36:44   not, but if they do, I desperately want it to be good because none of it has been so

00:36:49   far.

00:36:50   And I know that we're looking at a different strategy than what Apple has currently had,

00:36:56   which is fine, but when Apple make their big content effort,

00:37:01   like the really serious one,

00:37:03   they've got to be very good immediately

00:37:06   for it to work in my opinion,

00:37:07   like for it to really capture people,

00:37:09   they have to have something that people want to watch.

00:37:11   They have to have the watercolor TV show

00:37:14   for a period of time.

00:37:15   Would you agree with that?

00:37:16   - Yeah, I mean, this is why they hired the guys they hired

00:37:21   as the producers or whatever presidents

00:37:25   Apple's TV efforts is those are TV executives who have good relationships and they are making

00:37:29   deals with people who are who are well known and respected because in the end people are

00:37:38   going to want the whole point is to make stuff that people like and want to see and that

00:37:43   means it needs to be good and the point of what Apple was making before was kind of not

00:37:48   that which is why I pointed out on this show you got to draw a line you know check your

00:37:54   Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps jokes at the door because that was a bunch of kind

00:37:59   of music execs inside Apple making some side deals to try some stuff out on Apple Music.

00:38:08   And once Ehrlich and von Amberg got to Apple, those days were over. And now is the days

00:38:16   where they're making deals with Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston run

00:38:21   more to do to do prestige scripted programming and there's going to be more of that and that's

00:38:30   you know it's got to fit Apple's brand which means it needs to be good and respected and

00:38:36   it's going to need to make people want to whatever they need to do to see it which is

00:38:41   buy Apple hardware or subscribe to an Apple video service or something whatever it is

00:38:45   we don't know.

00:38:46   So that is what we're looking for in 2018 with Apple.

00:38:51   And in case we hadn't made it clear to our audience,

00:38:54   me and Jason are sitting in a log cabin right now

00:38:57   and the fire is crackling.

00:38:58   And we have some guests that have been very quiet

00:39:02   up until now, but it's about time that we brought them in

00:39:05   and let them speak.

00:39:06   But before we do, let me thank our second sponsor

00:39:09   for this show and that is AppOptics.

00:39:11   Application monitoring shouldn't break the bank.

00:39:13   AppOptics is a next-gen application performance management system built specifically to help

00:39:18   developers and DevOps teams trace distributed transactions through their complex environment.

00:39:24   AppOptics includes broad APM language support with auto-instrumentation, simple and easy-to-use

00:39:30   infrastructure monitoring, which is all built-in, and is all supported by a large, open community.

00:39:35   Their plans start at just $7.50 a month, and you can learn more today at appoptics.com/upgrade.

00:39:43   That's just $7.50 a month is where their plans start.

00:39:46   And learn more at appoptics.com/upgrade.

00:39:50   Our thanks to AppOptics for their support of this show

00:39:53   and Real AFM.

00:39:55   So Jason, I think it's time that we welcome our guests,

00:39:57   our holiday special guests.

00:39:59   And there couldn't be any guests more special

00:40:02   than Serenity Caldwell and Steven Hackett

00:40:04   of Querrey on Real AFM.

00:40:06   Hello.

00:40:07   - Hello. - Hey.

00:40:08   - Now the party has started.

00:40:09   Now it's happening, all right.

00:40:11   - Now it's the real holiday party.

00:40:12   We can get away from all that serious stuff, and we're going to get into just pure holiday

00:40:16   spirit mode.

00:40:17   Sweet, can I pour in some bourbon to this apple cider?

00:40:19   Is it?

00:40:20   Yes, don't tell HR.

00:40:21   Just don't tell HR.

00:40:22   Fortunately, the people who run this company are not here right now, so it'll be fine.

00:40:26   It's true.

00:40:27   Oh, interesting.

00:40:28   Oh, definitely not.

00:40:29   Interesting.

00:40:30   I've been relieved of power.

00:40:31   The real people in control.

00:40:32   So I mentioned that Steven and Wren host Querrey on Relay FM, which is a show based all around

00:40:37   answering technological questions.

00:40:40   So I figured that considering we have people that are so good at answering questions, that

00:40:45   we could combine our question answering abilities to tackle some holiday themed #askupgrade,

00:40:51   #askqueryquestions.

00:40:52   What do you think?

00:40:54   Yeah, that was good, man.

00:40:55   So I had said on the last episode, Jason, that we were not going to do any Ask Upgrade,

00:40:59   but what I really meant was traditional Ask Upgrade, because these questions, they are

00:41:03   not traditional.

00:41:04   And the first one comes from a different Steven, and a different Steven wants to know what

00:41:09   What our favorite gifts are or have been will this holiday season?

00:41:14   Steven, what about you?

00:41:16   You know, I think I'm like a lot of nerds where I'm really hard to buy for just because

00:41:22   tech stuff comes out and I tend to something that I'm interested in, I tend to pick it

00:41:26   up.

00:41:27   So this will be a gift that I bought myself, which is a terribly selfish answer.

00:41:29   I don't know.

00:41:30   What am I supposed to answer this?

00:41:32   Aren't the best gifts always the one you buy yourself?

00:41:34   Yeah.

00:41:35   When you think about it.

00:41:36   You truly know yourself.

00:41:37   Yeah.

00:41:38   This was a, to further destroy the premise of the question, I'm not really doing a good

00:41:43   job promoting query at this, but uh, is this what the show is like?

00:41:47   We basically just answer what we want to answer.

00:41:50   No.

00:41:51   Yeah.

00:41:52   Steven's being contrary.

00:41:53   I'm, I'm a big fan of the Kindle as a gift.

00:41:56   I've got the new Asus, but the, the sort of Kindle, what is it, Jason?

00:42:02   Paperwhite?

00:42:03   The Paperwhite is sort of the go-to.

00:42:05   Yeah.

00:42:06   For people who like to read but don't have the space for books like many of us do, it's

00:42:12   a real winner.

00:42:13   And it's often on sale, it was on sale all throughout the buying season, and it's a great

00:42:18   way to see if ebooks are for you or for someone you care about.

00:42:23   So it's always, if someone is looking for a tech-related gift, the paperweight's always

00:42:29   towards the top of my list.

00:42:31   Yeah, alright.

00:42:32   So in my favorite thing that I found in my stocking this year, I got a Spider-Man fidget cube.

00:42:40   Whoa.

00:42:42   Oh yeah!

00:42:44   Which is like, you know, I do, I mean I got the brain ball here, I have various other objects that I kind of pick up while I'm sitting at my desk.

00:42:52   And then I saw that the makers of the fidget cube have signed a licensing deal with Marvel Comics and are making licensed fidget cubes.

00:42:58   Oh my gosh!

00:43:00   is just like a totally fake thing. This sounds incredible. No, it's legitimately, I mean,

00:43:05   it's just a fidget cube but it's like with Spider-Man on it and it's cool. So that's

00:43:11   my favorite stocking stuffer item. And then to jump off of something that Steven said,

00:43:19   if you like Kindles or Amazon Echoes, they keep coming out with new ones. So one nice

00:43:25   thing to do is if sometime this year you bought yourself a new Echo or a new Kindle, I will

00:43:32   often pass on my old one. In fact, my mom got my Amazon Echo this year, because the

00:43:38   original, because she was expressing when she visited us, she was expressing interest

00:43:41   in them and was like, "Oh, I don't know. I can't, whatever." And I thought, "I could

00:43:45   just give her my old one because I don't need it anymore." So she's got that now and will

00:43:49   probably be calling me soon to ask me what the heck I did to her house. But that's just

00:43:57   a little tip because you don't need to save all those Kindles or Echoes if you upgrade.

00:44:02   You can find somebody and maybe make it a little present.

00:44:04   Oh my god, this goes way deeper. They have DC and Marvel and they also make fidget spinners

00:44:11   as well as fidget cubes in those characters too. This is serious.

00:44:15   Oh yeah.

00:44:16   Myke, you've just gone down the deep end. You're like, "I forget the podcast. I'm just

00:44:18   gonna pay attention to fidget spinners.

00:44:20   200 dollars later. What about you, Ren?

00:44:23   Okay, well, to answer that question I have to bring back on a pre-podcast visitor.

00:44:28   Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a real R2D2.

00:44:33   Did you steal R2D2? What happened?

00:44:35   Yes. I talked Lucasfilm into giving me- no, I wish. No, instead, my father actually,

00:44:44   for my 30th birthday, decided that the best thing to get his daughter who was turning 30 was a

00:44:50   Sphero R2D2, which I surprisingly did not have. And I have to say, despite the fact that the

00:44:57   Sphero droids are still kind of limited to the app being open while you play with them, I love

00:45:03   this present. I love how realistic this like it's tiny version of the droid, but they really,

00:45:10   really went all out on this to an extent like they the BB-8 was cute, but it didn't have an inboard

00:45:16   an inbound speaker, whereas the R2 unit is fully self sustaining, so it will make its beeps itself.

00:45:22   And then in addition to that, if you just leave the app open and you don't play with it, you just

00:45:27   you know, keep it keep it open, R2 will just start chattering randomly. His his onboard sensors flash

00:45:34   certain colors and change, his head moves.

00:45:37   There are tiny little treads in his feet, unlike any other R2 I've ever played with.

00:45:43   They usually have two double sets of wheels.

00:45:46   But this model literally has treads, which allowed Spiro to actually push the treads

00:45:52   into the ground to give him kind of the walking, bouncing maneuver that he does in the

00:45:57   films. And he's basically one set of rocket packs short of being a perfect

00:46:03   miniaturization of the droid and I love him and he makes me happy even if he

00:46:07   terrorized my dogs.

00:46:09   I have the BB-8 like everybody else got the BB-8 a couple years ago.

00:46:15   And I have been eyeing the R2-T2 which is significantly bigger than I expected.

00:46:20   I somehow it feels like I don't know why in my mind it would have been smaller

00:46:25   but I saw it in an Apple store and he's a real little guy.

00:46:29   He's atomically sized for the BB-8 because, here's the fun part, the Sphero and the R2

00:46:36   and the BB-8 will talk to each other.

00:46:38   Oh my god.

00:46:39   It's really cute.

00:46:40   It's really cute.

00:46:41   I can see BB-8 sitting up there with my LEGO sets.

00:46:47   For me, I went for a gift that I have been wanting for a very long time and it's a real

00:46:54   good coffee grinder and I got the Baratza Virtuoso because it's what Mark O'Walment

00:47:01   recommended. That was the gift that I got this holiday season which I was the most

00:47:06   excited about because now I get to grind my own beans every morning which I know

00:47:11   Jason loves. Mmm, yes. Oh, the smell of coffee in the morning. That's the best.

00:47:15   That fresh smell of coffee to wake Jason up. I know that he loves it.

00:47:20   Alright, so thank you very much Ava Steven for that question.

00:47:24   Our second question comes from Chris.

00:47:26   And Chris wants to know how we deal with bad presents.

00:47:30   So Wren, I want to ask you first,

00:47:31   how do you deal with the embarrassment

00:47:35   of receiving a bad present?

00:47:37   - You smile and you say thank you,

00:47:39   and you rack your brain about who would actually benefit

00:47:42   from said present and you give it to them.

00:47:45   - Interesting.

00:47:46   - Usually you try, at least in my opinion,

00:47:50   I feel like there's a good line, right?

00:47:53   Where if the present has a gift certificate

00:47:55   or a gift receipt component to it,

00:47:57   I don't think there's any harm in returning said present

00:48:00   and getting something that you yourself

00:48:02   would benefit more from.

00:48:04   But if it's something where it's like,

00:48:06   clearly the person spent a lot of time and effort

00:48:09   and did not include a gift receipt,

00:48:11   whether it's a homemade item, whether it's something else,

00:48:15   generally I try and find it a good home

00:48:17   because I think the worst thing honestly

00:48:20   is saying, "Thank you, oh my God, I love it,"

00:48:23   and then leaving it in a closet in a corner for 20 years

00:48:27   before you eventually have to throw it out.

00:48:30   It's really depressing.

00:48:30   Obviously, it depends.

00:48:33   You know, it might be,

00:48:34   if it's your mother giving you a present,

00:48:37   like a really, I don't know, a gaudy hat or something

00:48:39   that she expects you to wear all the time,

00:48:41   you know, you can gauge accordingly.

00:48:43   You might be able to have the conversation with your mother

00:48:45   that you might not with your aunt or your grandmother

00:48:47   or your significant other,

00:48:49   But generally I feel like truth and regifting

00:48:52   is the best medicine.

00:48:54   - I guess if somebody gives you a gift receipt,

00:48:56   they're not 100% confident in their gift anyway.

00:48:59   That's kind of my thinking, or at least that it will fit.

00:49:02   I would say that for me, I just smile

00:49:07   the best that I can smile,

00:49:08   and hide the gift somewhere in my home forever.

00:49:12   I'm not very good.

00:49:13   The finding somebody to give it to is probably good,

00:49:16   but I've never thought of doing that.

00:49:18   Stephen, what do you do?

00:49:19   I mean, I'm in line with y'all, you know,

00:49:21   you always want to be thankful and be kind.

00:49:24   And then when no one knows, you know, either re-gift

00:49:28   or I definitely have done the thing

00:49:31   where you just hide it as well.

00:49:33   Sometimes it's the best choice.

00:49:34   - Guys are being taken gift hostage.

00:49:36   - It's true. - That is true.

00:49:38   Jason.

00:49:39   - Yeah, no, you try to be as grateful as possible

00:49:43   while also out of the corner of your eye,

00:49:45   trying to see if there's a gift receipt in there

00:49:47   so you can return it.

00:49:49   And otherwise, yeah, you either find somebody,

00:49:52   like Ren said, who might appreciate it,

00:49:55   or you donate it, maybe, to, like, if it's a book

00:49:58   or something like, or a movie or something,

00:49:59   to the, like, the library or something like that,

00:50:03   and find a nice home for it

00:50:05   where it can do somebody some good.

00:50:07   - Or throw it out the window of the car

00:50:08   on your driveway. - No, no.

00:50:10   - Only for fruitcake.

00:50:11   - The birds will eat it.

00:50:13   - Aaron wanted to know if we put up decorations or lights,

00:50:17   and if they are powered by smart devices.

00:50:19   Now, Jason, I know that me and you have discussed this

00:50:21   on the show before.

00:50:22   Do you have any additional lights or treats

00:50:27   that you've been able to automate in the Snell household?

00:50:29   - No, our front lights and the Christmas lights

00:50:31   around the edge of our house are both on a timer

00:50:34   driven by smart devices.

00:50:36   There are smart bulbs in the front lights

00:50:39   and a smart switch and that's plugged in to the,

00:50:44   the lights are plugged into it

00:50:46   and then they are on a schedule using a home kit.

00:50:49   And it's triggered by, you know, like sunset

00:50:52   and then goes off at a certain time

00:50:54   and it has worked like a charm.

00:50:56   - Steven, I know that you have many Hue bulbs in your home,

00:50:59   mostly in your office.

00:51:00   Did any of those make it into the house

00:51:02   to turn red and green this holiday season?

00:51:04   - They did not.

00:51:05   The Hue bulbs all stayed in place in the studio,

00:51:07   but we put the Christmas tree and the outside lights

00:51:10   on the iHome little switch.

00:51:13   You know, it's a plug thing that goes in the wall

00:51:15   when you plug your lights into it.

00:51:16   And so those are controllable via HomeKit

00:51:18   and the Amazon Echo.

00:51:21   And I did change, those devices I already had in the house,

00:51:23   but I did rename them Christmas tree and outdoor lights

00:51:28   so the kids could ask the Echo,

00:51:30   friend in the cylinder, please turn on the Christmas tree

00:51:33   and the Christmas tree would come on,

00:51:34   which they find hilarious.

00:51:36   - Yeah, we got to do that this year.

00:51:38   This is the first year that we've had a Christmas tree

00:51:41   and I had a Wemo that I've not used

00:51:43   and I got to hook it up to the tree.

00:51:45   but it did result in a funny exchange.

00:51:48   There was just something about the way

00:51:50   that Adina says three in her Romanian accent

00:51:54   and tree that they sound the same.

00:51:56   So every time she would ask the Echo to turn on the tree,

00:52:01   it would say, "I cannot find anything called three."

00:52:04   And it just kept doing that over and over and over again

00:52:06   to the point that I had to rename it to Christmas.

00:52:09   Just turn on Christmas and then Christmas gets turned on.

00:52:12   - That's better almost.

00:52:14   I'm surprised you didn't name it Christmas 3.

00:52:16   Well, I considered that, but then I would have to ask it to turn on the 3 and then I

00:52:21   would get it wrong.

00:52:22   Because you can't say that word hardly.

00:52:24   Forever.

00:52:25   No, exactly.

00:52:26   That's "turn on the 3."

00:52:27   Then do you have any additional home automation-based holiday lights?

00:52:33   I do.

00:52:34   I, like a number of you, use an iDevices switch to…

00:52:39   I have all of our front lights hooked up via that and a very long extension cord that's

00:52:44   multi-pronged, probably not the most electrically efficient/safe way to do it, but that's how

00:52:50   I did it this year.

00:52:51   Maybe I'll come up with a better way next year.

00:52:54   And then...

00:52:55   I feel like all holiday lights come with an element of danger.

00:52:58   Oh yeah.

00:53:00   We have on our package, it's like, you can string no more than three of these together,

00:53:04   and I'm pretty sure we have more like six, so we'll see.

00:53:09   regardless, we have we have that in the front yard. And then in the front window, we usually have a set of of hue. Oh, gosh, blooms. That's right there. They have a funny name, the hue blooms that are basically the the angled room lights that usually put behind like, you put behind books or something like that we have them in our bay windows just to hiding behind curtains to add atmosphere to the room. And now they are adding

00:53:39   atmosphere to my holiday Hoth snow scene. So we've got some some red oranges and greens over flying X

00:53:47   wings having battles in midair with with string that that is my real holiday contribution. Let's be

00:53:52   fair. And then we also have a couple of hue bulbs, we have a hue light strip behind the television

00:53:58   that's now holiday themed. And the light that usually backsplashes off of the ceiling because we

00:54:03   don't have a light in the living room is now also a holiday green. So it's a it's

00:54:07   very very holiday themed in the front in the front room very. Michael wanted to

00:54:13   know do any of you have holiday themed wallpapers on any of your devices? No

00:54:18   it's not it's not really for me I tend to leave my wallpapers alone for months

00:54:23   and months at a time yeah and with the iPhone 10 just there's no correct

00:54:27   wallpaper except just black and so that's I guess that's a holiday you know

00:54:32   holiday wallpaper if you've depending on how you feel about the holiday. I've got

00:54:34   the cortex grid on mine which is great. Twitterific offered this year a holiday

00:54:41   icon which I think is fun more apps could do that now with now that apps can

00:54:46   redefine their icon and so I am using the holiday Twitterific icon that is the

00:54:52   one little bit of a festiveness in my in my devices yeah. It's a holy in a Santa

00:54:58   hat. Ollie and a Santa hat, right? I guess you should be called Holly during the period.

00:55:03   Sure, that's right. It's a green background, red Santa hat, and a blue Twitter-ific bird. Yep.

00:55:08   I don't have anything on my iPhone or my Mac, but because I had to write an article about holiday

00:55:14   watch faces for iMore, I do have quite a number of photo faces for my Apple Watch that are

00:55:20   various holiday-themed fun. I like that. That's a good idea, actually.

00:55:26   It's good, especially now that the photo face has a complication.

00:55:29   It's not it's not completely useless and it's kind of like a custom watch face,

00:55:34   but not quite.

00:55:34   I would like to see the Siri watch face get backgrounds to it.

00:55:39   I feel like that's one you could work with because there isn't always stuff on it.

00:55:42   Hmm. Hmm. Someone should take care of that.

00:55:45   AJ wants to know, Jason, I'm going to ask you this first.

00:55:49   Do you ever update electronics before wrapping them and putting them under the tree?

00:55:56   I have done that in the past. I don't feel like I need to keep the box intact if I can

00:56:04   extract something from the box if I know there's an update. Sometimes it's unrealistic with

00:56:09   something like a game console, although like when I got my son the Nintendo Switch for his birthday,

00:56:13   I did open it up, run all the updaters like the day before we left on the trip where,

00:56:19   because I gave it to him while we were on our trip. And so like if I had an iPad or something

00:56:24   like that and I knew that there was going to be an OS update that was required, I would

00:56:27   probably do that. So if it's convenient to sort of secretly surreptitiously update the

00:56:33   software I would do it. Sure.

00:56:34   Do Kindles still come when like signed in? Is that still a thing that happens?

00:56:39   It's your option. You can actually say, it's by default it will come auto logged into your

00:56:45   account but you can also tell it it's a gift and not to do that.

00:56:47   I like that it does that though.

00:56:49   It's a really nice touch, right? Imagine if you ordered an iPhone and it came signed into

00:56:53   your your Apple ID. With all of your apps ready. Now that would be a whole big thing. I would be

00:56:58   very excited about that not having to go through the upgrade process. And Stephen, you also have

00:57:03   young children. Is this a thing that you do? I've not done it because as a nerd one of the best parts

00:57:08   of new electronics is that like plastic cling wrap deal. I don't want to undo that. I want people to

00:57:15   have that joy. Do you really think that your children care about that? They don't get a lot

00:57:20   - They love electronics.

00:57:21   I mean, they get like a hand-me-down iPad mini

00:57:23   every three years, so.

00:57:24   - Okay.

00:57:25   - They've never had the cling wrap, is what you're saying.

00:57:27   - Yeah, they don't know what they're missing.

00:57:28   - They've never gotten used to it.

00:57:30   - But you know, if I do give electronics to my spouse

00:57:33   or a sibling or something, what I always kind of include

00:57:36   of I can help if you want or if you need,

00:57:39   I can help you get this set up.

00:57:40   So I think that's kind of part of the gift.

00:57:42   As a nerd, it's part of your gift to the world

00:57:45   is your expertise.

00:57:47   - I agree with that.

00:57:48   And usually my MO is, if I'm going to give an electronics gift to a member of my family,

00:57:56   I will be there the day that they open that electronics gift.

00:58:01   Because yeah, even honestly, I have pre set up electronics now and again, I set up my

00:58:06   mother's iPad before I gave her an iPad a few years back.

00:58:11   And while that is in some ways useful, you still get a bunch of questions.

00:58:16   sometimes they're even more annoying questions because you haven't quite figured out what

00:58:20   they want from their settings where you like you think you know, and then you've discovered

00:58:24   that something majorly you know is majorly missing and then you don't find out until

00:58:29   you're gone. So I've found it's it's generally better unless, as Jason said, unless you know

00:58:35   that there's going to be a big update, like for the ps4, for instance, when I got rekka

00:58:39   ps4 last year, I ran all of the updates for both the ps4 and its software, because I knew

00:58:45   otherwise we were going to be sitting around for four hours waiting for updates before

00:58:48   we got to play on Christmas Day.

00:58:50   You are a good partner. That is a good thing to do, especially for a PlayStation because

00:58:55   they just do not work on Christmas. Because PSN goes down and so everybody's sad. And

00:59:03   our final question comes from Graham and Graham wants to know what are the best games or distractions

00:59:08   for a family over the holiday season? Wren, do you have any hot tips here?

00:59:12   Oh man, I have to go with Heads Up always because Heads Up always works, right?

00:59:18   Always works.

00:59:19   Heads Up is delightful.

00:59:21   And then here's something I also discovered, and I'm sad that it was not in stock because

00:59:25   it would have been a Secret Santa gift for one of you.

00:59:29   Space Team has a card game version.

00:59:31   Oh, I have that.

00:59:33   I backed their Kickstarter.

00:59:35   Is it fun?

00:59:36   Is it as fun as the...

00:59:37   It's really good.

00:59:38   Yeah, it's really, really good.

00:59:39   Yeah.

00:59:40   I could get my non tech friends into that as a game far more easily than I

00:59:46   could trying to get them to download it on their devices and have all the

00:59:49   Bluetooth sync and everything else so I yeah that's my runner-up. I would say

00:59:53   Exploding Kittens is another fantastic card game which is just a really fun

00:59:59   game and it's very simple to learn but the good thing about it is even though

01:00:04   it is a simple game you can after a few rounds the strategy can get deep it's a

01:00:09   really fun game that I love to play so that's that's a very good option. Jason

01:00:15   what do you have? Telestrations is an amazingly great game for family

01:00:22   gatherings especially at the holidays. It is our go-to we will box it up and take

01:00:27   it with us if we're traveling. It is basically the game of telephone where

01:00:31   everybody gets a slate. Telestrations comes with a bunch of these little like

01:00:34   they're not quite they're the kind of thing where you can write on it and then

01:00:38   you lift the thing and, or no, actually it's dry erase markers what they do now. So everybody

01:00:42   gets a little slate and a dry erase marker and a secret word that is given to them. And

01:00:47   the way it works is you draw the secret word and then you pass it to the next person who

01:00:53   has to write down what they think the drawing is. And then the next person takes what they

01:00:58   wrote down and draws that. And so on. And the goal, I mean, the goal is to laugh at

01:01:05   all the ridiculous things that happen when people draw things badly and misunderstand what things

01:01:09   are, but ultimately the goal is to try and get your drawing and concept all the way back around

01:01:14   to you in this game of telephone. And that rarely happens, but the laughs are aplenty. So I really

01:01:21   recommend that and a thing similar to that actually on the digital side that I'll recommend.

01:01:25   I've had great success lately playing Jackbox Party Pack, which is available on iOS, on all

01:01:30   the consoles, it's on Apple TV, and the brilliance of it is you pop that on the

01:01:34   television or on a big iPad and everybody just uses their phones to log

01:01:40   into a website and they play on the website and it's got great sound effects

01:01:43   and music and there are a bunch of different mini games and there are four

01:01:46   different jackbox packs now and that's fun for everybody and you don't

01:01:51   have to be super technical to be into it because almost everybody has a phone

01:01:54   with a web browser and that's all you really need and there are drawing games and

01:01:57   and word games and various levels of complexity

01:02:00   and that's a lot of fun too.

01:02:01   - Turns out they brought one of their games,

01:02:03   Lice Water, to the Amazon Echo.

01:02:05   - Oh, interesting, I didn't know that, that's fun.

01:02:08   - Just found that out by going to their website

01:02:10   for the show notes.

01:02:11   Stephen, what do you have?

01:02:13   Any good tips for party games?

01:02:15   - You know, my family's not a big, huge game family.

01:02:19   If it's all the siblings and in-laws,

01:02:21   it'll do, we'll kind of revert back to a classic risk

01:02:25   That's a big fun one in our family.

01:02:28   And there are a couple of different iOS versions of that

01:02:31   that allow multiplayer.

01:02:32   None of them are super great,

01:02:35   so we kind of go old school there.

01:02:37   But with the kids, I mean, my kids are still

01:02:41   like young kids' games ages,

01:02:43   so I'm really good at Hungry Hungry Hippo.

01:02:46   I'm really good at it, guys.

01:02:47   I can crush my three-year-old.

01:02:49   (laughing)

01:02:50   - I'm very pleased for you.

01:02:52   I'm very, very pleased for you.

01:02:53   - I'll take it where I can get it some days, honestly.

01:02:55   Uh-huh.

01:02:56   This is what I'm good at.

01:02:57   Hungry, hungry hippos.

01:02:59   All right, so I want to thank everybody for sending

01:03:02   in their questions.

01:03:03   You can send in questions to us with the hashtag #askupgrade.

01:03:06   But if you have preferred Ren and Steven's question answers

01:03:10   more, then you may like the way that they

01:03:11   answer your questions.

01:03:12   So send them in with the hashtag #askquery.

01:03:15   And listen to a query on Relay FM every couple of weeks.

01:03:17   So that's at relay.fm/query.

01:03:19   All right, let me take a break.

01:03:21   And then when we come back, we're

01:03:23   going to talk about our Secret Santa gifts that we bought for everybody.

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01:04:33   OK, so we had an independent upgrade gift robot

01:04:37   called Merlin assigned to each of us

01:04:41   and a secret Santa upgrade secret Santa.

01:04:44   So we have all bought gifts for each other.

01:04:46   The value was around $20.

01:04:50   There was originally a $20 limit

01:04:52   that I think maybe we all broke.

01:04:53   - In the great tradition of company Secret Santas

01:04:56   where they give you a dollar amount and nobody follows it,

01:05:00   we also didn't do that.

01:05:01   And thanks by the way to the Merlin bot,

01:05:04   who we needed somebody who could pass messages along

01:05:08   without, and also assign who got who for Secret Santa

01:05:12   without us knowing.

01:05:14   And so our friend Merlin did it.

01:05:16   and thank you Merlin. I sent him something. I sent him a Secret Santa present as a thank

01:05:22   you so hopefully he'll get that. Oh and somebody did, right? Ah no it was me. Reveal! Merlin

01:05:29   that box is for me! Spoilers! Thank you Merlinbot. Okay, Jason, you're gonna tell us about the

01:05:36   present that you received. Yes. And give us a little review of it. Yeah. So I got something

01:05:42   called the space adventure which is a card it's a card game but it's one of these um card story

01:05:50   telling collaborative creative kind of like jumping off point games so like um my son and

01:05:57   his friend like to play a game called super fight where you basically kind of dole out superheroes

01:06:02   with powers and uh you you kind of tell a story about who that superhero is and how the fight goes

01:06:08   between them and the other person's superhero. So this is like that, where you're creating

01:06:15   a story about an adventure in space, and everybody is supposed to get a series of cards, and

01:06:23   then they're supposed to draw, actually, like a representation of what their adventure in

01:06:29   space would look like. So, for example, I could say, "Serenity, you are a Bionaut. You

01:06:36   you need to create something to eat and drink and research the resources you need to use

01:06:40   on the planet that you're landing on, you are landing on Winter World, which is a world

01:06:46   populated by hungry pandas, and the city that you build needs to be round. And from that

01:06:53   you would then sketch up the hungry panda winter world with round things as seen by

01:07:01   the captain of the bionaut captain of the explorer ship that landed on that

01:07:05   planet whereas Myke you are a diplomat so you need to create a social space for

01:07:11   the citizens of your colony and wonder what the needs of the new species are

01:07:15   you will be living in underground world sad unfortunately you have to live

01:07:20   underground it's very hot on the planet surface it is populated by a race of shy

01:07:24   giants and the city that you build needs to be tiny and it goes on Stephen you

01:07:30   are the chief and not you're a very you you need to create a special form of transportation

01:07:34   and think about how your design is powered you are going to volcano world hey that might be how

01:07:41   you power it use the volcanoes it's populated by a race of polite vampires and you need to make your

01:07:48   design very futuristic so it's stuff like that and it's a lot of fun and then is the idea that

01:07:54   somebody has to guess them like to guess what's going on i think everybody draws them and then

01:07:58   then they explain them and then the group sort of decides which one they like the best

01:08:01   and that's it. It's just meant to be kind of a fun conversation thing which is there

01:08:06   are a lot of games like this that are like sort of storytelling or creative jumping off

01:08:09   point games and it's a lot of fun. I mean is it a game? Is it an activity? I don't even

01:08:13   know what it is and obviously really great with kids so Lupo. Yeah because there's no

01:08:17   like strictly defined by luck winner or loser right which is that's kind of fun so everyone

01:08:24   can kind of just decide. Like if little Johnny has worked really hard and you can see that

01:08:28   little Johnny has worked really hard, you can just let little Johnny win. Right. And

01:08:32   it's the appeal of having like a random thing that makes you be creative because suddenly

01:08:36   you're like, "Whoa, I'm in the underground or I'm in the volcano world with the shy vampires.

01:08:42   What does that mean? How does that world look like?" And you have to kind of engage your

01:08:45   creativity to figure out how that would work. Well, the shy vampires, you know, they're

01:08:49   going to stay out of the light because they're vampires and you just kind of keep doing it

01:08:52   like that with a space theme. So, Lupo, the space adventure. Thanks, Secret Santa.

01:08:59   Jason, do you want to guess, Jason?

01:09:01   Well, yeah, I'll give you my guess and I will reveal everything at the end, I suppose.

01:09:06   My guess, although I do a space podcast with Steven, my guess, having attended her wedding,

01:09:12   which was space themed, and having revealed earlier that she would have gotten something

01:09:19   similar for the Secret Santa the space team game but it was not available I'm

01:09:23   gonna guess this is from Serenity but I don't know mmm interesting good guess

01:09:27   good guess well Ren why don't we go to you next actually what uh what did you

01:09:33   receive all right well I received something that went back to the 1960s

01:09:38   1970s in a very strange way okay which is to say I I have a cardboard based

01:09:46   smartphone magnifier that is built to resemble an old

01:09:51   television. And it essentially you put your your iPhone or

01:09:57   other smartphone up to 5.4 up to up to iPhone seven plus size

01:10:03   into a tray that is shaped like a VHS tape, you slide it in and

01:10:08   press play on whatever video that you would like to watch,

01:10:13   and then slide it in and there is an old school magnifier on the front of this that in addition

01:10:20   to being textured like an old CRT television, blows up your screen.

01:10:25   So instead of having a five-ish inches screen, you're going to have something that looks

01:10:30   more like seven or eight.

01:10:32   It is wickedly clever, I have to say, first and foremost, for something that is entirely

01:10:38   cardboard.

01:10:40   And yeah, it just – it looks much more high quality than I think it actually is, which

01:10:47   is always nice when you're going for a sub 20 gift that actually has some functionality.

01:10:52   It has some very smart modifications.

01:10:56   It has little speaker holes in the bottom right corner so that you can actually properly

01:11:01   project your sound while your iPhone is trapped within this faux television.

01:11:06   It even has a little space for "ejecting your videotape" on the opposite side of the tape,

01:11:11   where you just tap it and the cardboard videotape holder slides out.

01:11:19   It also has a little slot where you can plug in some power if you're watching something

01:11:23   especially long.

01:11:24   So on an overall competency thing, this is a pretty cool little gift.

01:11:31   The only downside is because it is essentially using a plastic magnifier, unless you're looking

01:11:36   at it straight on, you're going to get some strange artifacting and moving of the image.

01:11:42   So for instance, it's sitting to the right of me here.

01:11:46   And with a video playing, I just actually picked Home Alone because why not?

01:11:51   With the video playing and me sitting at the iMac, I can see the bottom right corner of

01:11:57   it in the top left corner of the screen.

01:12:00   Oh, how interesting.

01:12:02   Yeah.

01:12:03   But if I move my head from in front of my iMac to in front of the magnifier, then it

01:12:11   shows up in complete 100 degree, 100% vision.

01:12:17   So yeah, it has some issues if you're looking at it off-center, if you're looking at it

01:12:23   from above or from a blow or on either side.

01:12:26   So initially I thought it would be really cool to put it in the bedroom.

01:12:29   I was like, "Oh, we'll put it on our dresser and just pop our smartphone in if we want

01:12:38   to watch a movie."

01:12:40   And no, not so much because it doesn't look like there's any image there.

01:12:45   But again, if you have a desk where you get to look straight on at it, it's actually

01:12:49   – it's quite cool.

01:12:50   Or if you have an arbitrary – I don't know if you get a – what are the things

01:12:54   from 12 South called not a backpack but the high rises high rise $70 accessory for your

01:13:02   for your $15 smartphone magnifier be great be great overall this is a very cute gift

01:13:09   though around would you like to guess who bought it for you oh okay uh I don't know

01:13:16   Actually, I am going to lean either you, Myke or Jason.

01:13:22   So I'm like, I can't decide whom I think I would slightly pick one.

01:13:27   I'm going to slightly lean towards you, Myke.

01:13:30   Okay.

01:13:30   Steven, you go next.

01:13:32   So my gift is a set of gifts.

01:13:35   There are two items that are related.

01:13:37   The first is a little snowman.

01:13:40   He's maybe five inches tall, four inches tall.

01:13:44   and you can hear the cable at my desk.

01:13:46   He's powered by USB, type A, mercifully.

01:13:50   And you plug him in. - So to what?

01:13:52   - You plug him in, and he has a light inside.

01:13:54   And he lights up.

01:13:56   I did not plug this into my computer,

01:13:58   because that seems like a great way for--

01:14:00   - To be hacked by the film man.

01:14:02   - Someone bad to have all my data.

01:14:04   But I plugged it in with an iPhone charger,

01:14:06   and he lights up, and he has a little hat and a scarf,

01:14:10   and he's adorable.

01:14:12   I've named, I need to name him, I think.

01:14:14   I feel like he needs a name, but he doesn't have one yet.

01:14:17   But he comes with a friend.

01:14:18   The friend, I'm gonna read the name of this.

01:14:20   I'm just gonna read you some of the text in the box

01:14:22   because it just speaks for itself.

01:14:25   It is the rotating moon star projection lamp, colon,

01:14:30   twinkle twinkle little stars.

01:14:34   It's a night light.

01:14:36   It's got some LEDs in it, it has four LEDs in it,

01:14:38   and you can basically hit a series of buttons

01:14:40   to change the color.

01:14:41   and it projects stars and moons up on the wall

01:14:45   and the ceiling and that sort of thing.

01:14:47   But it's one of those products, again,

01:14:50   it's powered by USB.

01:14:51   I'm not plugging this into a computer,

01:14:53   I plugged it into an iPhone wall charger.

01:14:56   It comes with steady light with different changing color.

01:15:02   Some bullet points in the box.

01:15:06   Romantic projection show.

01:15:09   project the moon and stars onto the walls and ceiling.

01:15:13   It has two usage--

01:15:16   singular-- as a stationary light and a rotatable moon star

01:15:20   projection lamp.

01:15:22   And you can turn on in three ways.

01:15:25   Use four AAA batteries powered by the USB cable with charger.

01:15:30   There's not a charger in the box, just a USB cable.

01:15:33   Or connected with computer.

01:15:36   I'm not going to put this into any computer.

01:15:38   owned that seems like a terrible idea. So basically two lights, one Christmas

01:15:43   themed with my little snowman friend and then a not very bright, definitely shady

01:15:49   star moon projection light. Do you want to guess who bought that for you? I think I'm

01:15:54   gonna go with Jason. The snowman for some reason kind of reminds me

01:15:58   of Jason. Interesting. Okay well you know I do live where we make

01:16:04   snowmen all the time out here. He's smiling at me and it looks like he has

01:16:08   thoughts about the iMac Pro and then Jason and I of course do a space show

01:16:11   together and this is space themed so I'm gonna guess Jason. All right it is my

01:16:17   turn. I have a 1960s Batman themed Stretch

01:16:22   Armstrong. Wow. Now I have no idea if Stretch Armstrong reached the United

01:16:31   States of America. I'm assuming. Absolutely. Great. I was assuming so because I have one and

01:16:37   and I didn't buy this for myself.

01:16:39   However, I have a few stories to tell.

01:16:43   So first, I'll describe, in case you don't know, Stretch Armstrong

01:16:47   and especially the Batman Stretch Armstrong is a wonder to behold.

01:16:51   It is a human shaped thing or Batman shaped thing.

01:16:56   In this case, you can also get them in Scooby Doo and other

01:16:59   related properties

01:17:02   where it is a human made of rubber,

01:17:06   which is filled with I think corn syrup and something. So basically it is stretchable to

01:17:13   quite a length. So you can basically just pull on the appendages of the human or the Batman

01:17:21   and stretch Batman into many different ways. So you can pull him around, you can twist him up,

01:17:27   you can tie him up into knots if you want to. Stretch Armstrong is a retro toy

01:17:33   and they've brought it back for this holiday season and with it came a few additional characters like that man.

01:17:39   So I have a few stories to tell.

01:17:42   One is a story in which I need to go back about 20 years.

01:17:46   So, about 20 years ago,

01:17:50   a little Myke loved Stretch Armstrong

01:17:53   and

01:17:55   had one.

01:17:56   But that Stretch Armstrong, the original Stretch Armstrong, just the dude Stretch Armstrong,

01:18:02   Um, he got his leg ripped off by a younger brother who tied the leg, tied,

01:18:10   yeah, tied the leg around the bedpost, tied the arm to the back of a car,

01:18:15   like a human sized car, a baby size car, you know, as when she sit in and then

01:18:19   pedaled until, uh, the leg ripped off.

01:18:22   So that's what happened to young Myke stretch Armstrong.

01:18:27   Then young Myke got a stretch Armstrong dog.

01:18:30   There was a dog like it was a stretch dog, I think it was called or stretch.

01:18:35   I don't know.

01:18:36   It's many.

01:18:37   I mean, Fetch Armstrong actually was the name Fetch Armstrong.

01:18:40   Myke loved Fetch Armstrong and on the last day of school took him to school with him.

01:18:45   Fetch Armstrong got stolen by another by another school pupil.

01:18:50   So you would you would think that receiving another stretch Armstrong related property

01:18:57   would bring back many peculiar memories.

01:19:00   But it was actually quite a surprise for me

01:19:03   because I was expecting to receive Batman,

01:19:06   Church Armstrong on the day that Batman, Church Armstrong arrived for me

01:19:10   because I had ordered Batman, Church Armstrong for my nephew for Christmas.

01:19:14   And he was arriving that day by Amazon.

01:19:17   So I opened my Amazon packages like, OK, so great.

01:19:21   There's the Batman, Church Armstrong that I was expecting.

01:19:24   I opened the second box expecting to find more presents for Christmas and found yet

01:19:29   another Batman shazam strong that came with a note with Myke attention upgrade. So this

01:19:36   was a this was a big surprise for me. So I then was at my huge surprise in that one of

01:19:42   my co hosts had just the random happenstance to decide to buy this gift for me. I shared

01:19:49   this story with my fiance to which she did not react in any way, which was a big surprise

01:19:58   for me because this was one of the biggest coincidences to occur in my entire life. So

01:20:03   I suspect that Steven bought me this because he would be the person who I guess would be

01:20:09   most likely to ask Adina about this gift. And she didn't give it away, but her face

01:20:16   sure did. But I will say I am very happy with my gift because this will finally be a stretch

01:20:24   armstrong that will not even get ripped in half or stolen. So third time, third time's a charm.

01:20:29   So let's go down the list. Ren, did you buy Jason his secret center?

01:20:34   I did in fact.

01:20:35   Thank you.

01:20:36   And Myke, did you buy Ren her secret center? Yes, in fact I did. Jason, did you buy Steven

01:20:44   his secret center?

01:20:45   Yes, I did.

01:20:46   And then, uh, Steven, I was right. You bought mine, didn't you?

01:20:50   I did.

01:20:51   And did you cheat by asking Adina?

01:20:53   So I can tell you the story.

01:20:55   Okay, tell me the story.

01:20:56   My initial idea, so what I've discovered is that toys from the 90s on eBay are super cheap.

01:21:03   I've been down a Dubai Friday inspired Lego hole, and I just have way too many 90s Lego now in my

01:21:08   in my office.

01:21:09   But I thought, I knowed, Myke likes Nintendo,

01:21:14   and Myke grew up in the 90s.

01:21:16   I was gonna pick you up like an old Game Boy Color

01:21:19   or something.

01:21:20   But I was, so I texted Federico, and I said,

01:21:22   "Hey, has Myke ever mentioned to you,

01:21:25   "does he have one of these?"

01:21:26   Because Myke, you have a lot of nerdy stuff,

01:21:29   and I figured maybe you've bought one

01:21:30   or kept one from a child.

01:21:32   I didn't want to get you something that you already had.

01:21:35   And Federico wasn't sure.

01:21:37   So this was when you were in Seattle, so I knew I could text Adina and not be suspicious,

01:21:42   right?

01:21:43   She doesn't have to be weird who she's texting.

01:21:47   And she could ramsack your office when you're not there.

01:21:50   So I had her go through your desk, and I think you have a Game Boy Advance, I think is what

01:21:56   she found.

01:21:57   So I said, "You know, that's kind of close.

01:21:59   I don't want to get in the way."

01:22:03   And so I said, "Okay, well, I'll keep thinking."

01:22:06   And she texted me back a little while later and told me the exact story you just told

01:22:11   in the show about Stretch Armstrong being murdered.

01:22:14   So clearly this weighs on your psyche in a way that you probably need to see somebody

01:22:19   about.

01:22:20   Well, it had recently come up at a family gathering because I was buying a Stretch Armstrong

01:22:25   for my nephew.

01:22:26   That's how this whole thing came about.

01:22:27   That did not make it into our conversation, although that is hysterical that you opened

01:22:32   to on the same day.

01:22:34   It was wonderful.

01:22:36   And so she brought that story up and I went on Amazon and my first thought was, "Oh, I'll

01:22:42   get him a Spider-Man one because you like Spider-Man."

01:22:45   But I, and we've argued about this, believe that Batman is a superior superhero because

01:22:50   Spider-Man's powers are dumb and got you the Batman version.

01:22:55   So that's my story.

01:22:56   Is there a Spider-Man one?

01:22:57   That's my story.

01:22:58   I didn't even know there was a Spider-Man one.

01:22:59   If there is, then Batman.

01:23:00   I don't know if there is or not.

01:23:01   I saw the Batman one and knew that's what you needed.

01:23:02   Because if there is, Batman's going to get framed.

01:23:04   That's what's going to happen.

01:23:05   But no, it looks like it's just Batman and Scooby-Doo is what I can find.

01:23:12   I would say that this has been a success all around.

01:23:15   I think everybody got great and/or slightly dubious gifts, and we all were able to guess

01:23:23   each other, which I think means that we know each other very well, I guess in all manner

01:23:27   of respect.

01:23:28   So I would say that the inaugural upgrade Secret Santa has been a roaring success, wouldn't

01:23:33   you, Jason?

01:23:34   I think so.

01:23:35   are all about is exactly this, which is moderate to low-priced gifts and that

01:23:42   you wouldn't buy yourself but that you get from somebody else and and then yes

01:23:46   maybe you maybe after this is all over you'll give them away or maybe Steven

01:23:50   you'll be looking at that snowman for years to come. That is called guilting

01:23:56   presents. Little snow snow. Yeah sure. I look forward to hopefully seeing

01:24:03   snow snail appear in the background of a YouTube video.

01:24:06   Oh yeah, without a doubt.

01:24:08   That's what I hope for.

01:24:09   Perhaps a review of snow snail.

01:24:11   [laughter]

01:24:13   That's not going too far.

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01:25:57   Checkout our thanks to Pingdom for their support of this show and relay FM. So we are gonna continue and upgrade Myke at the movies

01:26:05   Tradition and watch a home alone movie and also in tradition

01:26:10   I have seen this movie but Jason has not so last year Jason watched home alone for the first time and I would say on the

01:26:17   Hole you enjoyed home alone. Is that right to say Jason? Yeah, I get why people

01:26:21   watch it and like it and why it was a hit it was it was fun. And anybody that

01:26:26   seemed Home Alone 2 can understand that if you enjoyed Home Alone 1 there's a

01:26:31   strong chance you like Home Alone 2 because it is by and large the same movie

01:26:34   which is one of the things that I like about Home Alone 2. I'm interested to

01:26:41   know Jason did you like the fact that Home Alone 2 was the same movie

01:26:45   basically as Home Alone. I understand why they did this but I did have that thought

01:26:52   of this is I think what I said when we finished watching it was this is like a

01:26:58   perfect example of having a movie be a hit and just deciding to make it again

01:27:05   because that's what it is it is it is it is just like let's just do it all again

01:27:10   we'll play all the same notes in all the same ways it doesn't even need to really

01:27:14   make sense why it's all happening again. It just is because everybody liked that movie,

01:27:19   so let's do it again.

01:27:20   Now, in a moment, I'll come back to some of the interesting ramifications of this when

01:27:25   you look at the movie from the movie's world. But Wren, I'm assuming you've probably seen

01:27:31   this movie before, and do you like Home Alone 2?

01:27:34   I actually like Home Alone 2 the best of all of the Home Alone movies. It was actually

01:27:38   – so most – I feel like a large number of people have a Christmas story as their

01:27:42   yearly play this on the television. Home Alone 2 was ours. And I think I have seen this movie more,

01:27:48   definitely more times than I can count. It was a childhood staple. And rewatching it again,

01:27:54   I remember why it was. It's definitely there are some things in this movie that do not age well.

01:28:01   But at the same time, what I actually find kind of charming about Home Alone and just all of the Home

01:28:09   Alone movies in general, is it is basically it is the James Bond formula applied to failed capers.

01:28:16   And it's basically like, "Hey, does this work? Let's try a caper in a different location with

01:28:22   some of the same or all of the same people. And let's add in a fun friend, or in this case,

01:28:27   a homeless woman who feeds birds. And yeah, you know, have some fun with it." Bottom line,

01:28:35   this movie has flaws, but I like it.

01:28:38   Steven was home alone to a staple in the Hackett holiday household

01:28:42   It was not as much as the first one. I don't think and I haven't seen the first one

01:28:48   and I don't know how long but

01:28:51   My wife watched him alone one with a friend like three or four nights ago

01:28:56   And then we watched him alone to last night. She was like terrible idea

01:29:00   Yeah, she said too much too much in the McAllister family

01:29:03   remarked like how

01:29:06   Obviously, okay, this movie worked.

01:29:08   Maybe we don't know why it worked,

01:29:09   so let's make everything the same, but way more deadly.

01:29:13   And, you know, hey.

01:29:13   - Oh, the deadliness, yes.

01:29:15   So, for me, mine and Wren's situation are very similar.

01:29:19   I love this movie, always have loved this movie.

01:29:23   I love it more than the original and have seen it more.

01:29:26   And having watched this movie,

01:29:28   I've realized why I have had the feeling in me

01:29:32   for my entire life that I wanna spend Christmas in New York.

01:29:35   It's because of this movie like I all of those things

01:29:39   I wanted to spend Christmas in New York and we did get to spend some Christmas in you a couple of years ago

01:29:44   And it was everything that I wanted it to be because everything looked like it did in the movie by and large except I couldn't find

01:29:49   Duncan's toy chest or as I like to think of it in my head and have since I was a kid toy Duncan's chest

01:29:55   Left to right so it is a toy Duncan's chest

01:30:01   which I

01:30:04   Enjoy a lot and I'm I would assume many children probably think that's the case because it's not very clearly written

01:30:09   Toy Duncan's chest Myke I think you and I had the same

01:30:15   So one of the things about this movie which I find

01:30:24   Even funnier as I am an adult is the fact that this eat this in this world in the McAllister world

01:30:30   it could happen that a second time maybe one or two years apart Kevin gets lost

01:30:38   and they even to the point well one year months yeah next Christmas yeah to the

01:30:45   point that they even make jokes about it as a family it still happens and like I

01:30:51   know that like airport security was very different then but I just I really like

01:30:57   just struggle to understand. My favorite moment in this is so they're

01:31:00   running to the gate right to get there to go catch the plane and they get there

01:31:07   and the mom what is her name? Catherine O'Hara yeah.

01:31:12   Okay that she stands there and starts counting the kids and then like the

01:31:17   the check-in agent's like no no no just get on and she's like okay she

01:31:22   understands that this could be a problem but it's just like that whatever they

01:31:26   told me to get on. This is one of the big problems I have with this movie is that like

01:31:30   the first one tries very hard to set works really hard to set up the premise of how you

01:31:35   would leave a kid home alone like how many things had to go wrong. This one I don't think

01:31:40   you can have it both ways like there's the reality part of it which is that there is

01:31:45   no way she would not let Kevin be like he would be holding her hand the entire way through

01:31:52   they would always be checking for Kevin. It would never happen again.

01:31:56   But this movie goes through all the steps of like, "Oh, look at all these crazy

01:31:59   things that had to happen for this to get to the point where he was left home

01:32:01   alone again."

01:32:02   And I thought to myself, "At this point, if you're just gonna do this, just don't

01:32:07   even bother. Like, don't waste half an hour other than because they want to

01:32:10   replay everything that happened in the first movie for nostalgia reasons. Like,

01:32:14   why are you trying to create mechanics? Because it just...

01:32:17   you've left reality so far behind, I would just get over it. I would have liked...

01:32:21   I would have liked Kevin to just, like, spite them is what I was thinking. It's like he was the last

01:32:27   one on and they took and his mom turns away to hand her boarding pass and he just takes off.

01:32:33   And by the time, and maybe they don't even get on the plane, but by the time that they get off and

01:32:39   realize he's not there, he's used the cash to buy a ticket to New York and he's gone, right?

01:32:44   Something like that. I would have rather had it been like Kevin is aggressively getting away,

01:32:49   because for a moment you think that's what he's gonna do because he's really grumpy about his

01:32:53   stupid family because they're awful and I expected that that would have been I would have liked that

01:32:58   better if they they had gone that way because the accidental losing a second time it's like why

01:33:03   I don't know I didn't need to see that again because the first time I kind of went with it

01:33:08   and the second time I'm like nope no just make it more ridiculous. I can buy the fact that they were

01:33:13   late because you've had 364 days where your alarm clock has woke you up right so you're like you're

01:33:18   you're good but yeah that like even like it does seem like it the start of movie

01:33:23   it's time to go that way because like Kevin's like I don't want to be with you

01:33:25   guys like he's like yeah totally like away kid but then they seem to just let

01:33:31   that go and it's still just a mix-up she's funny I was awful by the way buzz

01:33:37   is awful and I do feel so what all the parents why do they love so much I

01:33:42   noticed buzz my notice that buzz is a jerk and the rest of the people in this

01:33:45   family are idiots and I do appreciate like it does get me on Kevin's side

01:33:49   immediately that when they're like oh you better apologize to Buzz and I'm

01:33:53   sitting there going do not apologize to Buzz and he's like no I'm not gonna

01:33:56   apologize I'm like alright kid good job stick the talk boy I had a talk boy that

01:34:04   was my favorite toy for a very long time I absolutely loved that thing I mean

01:34:11   there are again there are many interesting things that happen with that

01:34:14   in this movie which may be the speaker on that thing or actually I know the speaker on that thing wasn't that good

01:34:19   But the the talk boy tape recorder

01:34:22   Was an incredible thing and the talk boy

01:34:26   There was a total talk by line of products that existed for a long time of which I think I owned all of them

01:34:31   Including the talk boy watch and a talk by pen like that was a great toy line for me as a kid

01:34:37   And I remember once that as a I will say that this is in retaliation for stretch Armstrong

01:34:44   I was able to record my younger brother admitting to something that he'd done

01:34:48   He spilled something or broken something via the use of a concealed talkboy tape recorder and played it to my parents

01:34:55   My mom didn't appreciate the fact that I'd done that so much but I did it

01:34:59   So as you can tell like me and my younger brother we get on very well now

01:35:03   We didn't get on so well as kids so

01:35:06   But I did do that

01:35:08   It my favorite part about the talkboy is according to Wikipedia, which is never wrong

01:35:13   it was conceived for this movie,

01:35:17   and then Hasbro made a bunch of them

01:35:19   and just took a giant swimming pool full of money

01:35:22   from all these people.

01:35:23   It's so great that it started life as a movie prop

01:35:28   and then became a toy.

01:35:29   - Yeah, I mean, well everybody wanted it

01:35:30   because the movie, right?

01:35:31   - Oh yeah.

01:35:32   - And then it just became its own thing after that

01:35:35   because the original Talk Boy was so expensive

01:35:37   that they made the Talk Boy pen,

01:35:38   which seemed like wizardry.

01:35:40   It was like a digital recorder at that point.

01:35:42   Yeah, it was very cool.

01:35:43   the original talk boy. I don't remember if the one that you bought had cassettes. I think

01:35:47   it did though. I think that was still a cassette based toy.

01:35:50   Yeah, it was cassette based. There you go. And also-

01:35:53   At least the female one was. Oh, do you mean the talk girl? Which is ridiculous.

01:35:57   Oh yeah, which was so dumb. And it was pink. Yeah, it was pink.

01:36:01   I could not convince my parents to buy me a talk boy. They insisted on a talk girl and

01:36:06   I was just, I was furious. I was like, "Oh, what the-? Blue one! Blue one's cooler!"

01:36:11   There is, for many years I have believed that there was a Game Girl, like a girl version

01:36:17   of the Game Boy, but I think I'm thinking of this.

01:36:19   Like there were pink Game Boys, but I think it is the Talk Girl that I'm thinking of when

01:36:25   I think that there is a Game Girl.

01:36:26   Yeah, there was the Game Gear, but not the Game Girl.

01:36:28   But there was pink versions of the Game Boy, but they just called it Game Boy because it

01:36:32   doesn't mean it's for boys.

01:36:34   Like it's just a toy.

01:36:35   But anyway, the Talk Boy was amazing and is used to great effect throughout this entire

01:36:40   film. But yes, I think the big difference in this movie is that instead of being alone

01:36:46   at home, Kevin is in another city. He's lost in New York. He's lost in New York, which

01:36:53   is a thing that he wanted because for every unknown reason records an ad about the Plaza

01:36:58   Hotel whilst he's still at home. But that was very helpful for him later on when he

01:37:03   needed to book a reservation. I don't know why any adult would take a reservation from

01:37:10   the slowed down voice that was given to them.

01:37:14   - That's perfectly timed for conversation.

01:37:16   - Yeah, it's very well, oh no,

01:37:17   because you just press play and pause.

01:37:19   - Credit cards, I have them.

01:37:23   My favorite part is, it's Peter McAllister, the father.

01:37:27   (laughing)

01:37:29   The father, just so you know, it's not a child.

01:37:34   This is a father that's talking.

01:37:35   - I like this part, and the reason I like this part

01:37:37   is it's not in the other movie, right?

01:37:39   This is, I mean, there's sort of like it when he goes shopping and all that, but this is

01:37:43   like this whole comedy bit with the hotel and with Tim Curry and Rob Schneider and they,

01:37:49   and I like that.

01:37:50   I also like that, well, Tim Curry is a little too villainous, but like Rob Schneider, you

01:37:54   end up being like they're hapless.

01:37:56   And so instead of being burglars, they're just kind of clueless adults that he's putting

01:38:02   the moves on and kind of getting them all confused by his devious child genius or whatever

01:38:09   he has. So I like this part about it, I like the hotel part, except for the part where

01:38:12   Donald Trump walks by. I like to imagine that he was insufferable on the set and he wanted

01:38:17   to be in the shot and Chris Columbus agreed that he would be in the shot. It's, uh, yeah.

01:38:23   That's like a, I like to believe that. I love that Tim Curry is so immediately mistrusting

01:38:28   of him. Like, for a completely unknown reason. He just sees the boy in the lobby and he's

01:38:32   like, "Find out everything you can about that boy." Like, why? What did he do? Because he's

01:38:37   He's not dressed to the standards of the Plaza Hotel, clearly.

01:38:42   He's judging him!

01:38:43   He's judging him hard.

01:38:44   I like that Kevin has got, like, lots of grifter moves, though, that he gets them convinced

01:38:48   of.

01:38:49   Like, "Oh, my dad just dropped me off and you've got a reservation," and all this stuff.

01:38:52   I like that he talks.

01:38:54   He's a smart kid and he can talk his way.

01:38:56   Because how do you get—like, that's the whole premise here, is how do you get a kid

01:39:00   into this hotel and he does it.

01:39:04   Like, I like that.

01:39:05   It's almost like a heist.

01:39:06   It's like, how do we get this kid into the hotel with their parents?

01:39:08   It is like a heist.

01:39:09   Yeah.

01:39:10   It is.

01:39:11   And I like the line where he's like, "I'll get up to a bit of mischief."

01:39:14   I like that.

01:39:15   He's playing the little cheeky boy card pretty well.

01:39:19   He does a good job.

01:39:22   When he's trying to get the...

01:39:23   He's like, "What is he like, lady?

01:39:24   I don't know how to use credit cards or something like that."

01:39:26   He's like, "I'm just a kid."

01:39:30   And then when he sees her do that thing...

01:39:32   What is that thing called with the card?

01:39:34   the kachunk machine. That's what it's called.

01:39:37   - What is it?

01:39:38   - That's the kachunk machine.

01:39:39   - Yeah, it's swiping it.

01:39:39   - It's a credit authorization.

01:39:41   - Yeah, it's running a credit card back in the day

01:39:43   where you did that that way.

01:39:45   You make carbon copies of the numbers

01:39:47   that are raised on the credit card.

01:39:50   That was how we did it back in the day.

01:39:52   By the way, I've looked it up on Wikipedia,

01:39:53   which is never wrong.

01:39:55   Donald Trump bought the Plaza Hotel in 1988.

01:39:57   1992, when the movie was released,

01:40:03   Ownership was transferred in one of Donald Trump's many real estate bankruptcies.

01:40:08   So there you go.

01:40:09   I was very impressed at Kevin's master puppeteering during the shower scene

01:40:18   with the big inflatable clown.

01:40:20   He's gotten even better at puppeteering.

01:40:23   He's very, very talented.

01:40:24   I guess he honed his skills just in case this ever happened to him again.

01:40:29   This cracks me up because I didn't actually remember this until I saw it.

01:40:33   watching this again last year or last year, yesterday night.

01:40:37   And I was just like, what?

01:40:38   Who thought this would be a funny gag to put in a film?

01:40:43   And why does it work?

01:40:45   Because I still don't understand why it works.

01:40:47   It's funny, but I don't know why.

01:40:48   This part reminds me because it's music themed.

01:40:52   I love the music in this movie, like the soundtrack and just the music in Jam Rule.

01:40:57   But the theme, like the John Williams score is wonderful.

01:41:00   Like one of my favorite things about Home Alone is the music anyway,

01:41:04   like the themes, the two big themes from Home Alone.

01:41:07   Like I absolutely love them.

01:41:09   And they're still in this movie and along with all the other music is just so good.

01:41:12   Like that moment when Tim Curry's is like

01:41:15   sneaking through the like all of the music is just so fantastic.

01:41:20   And then, of course, our villains are back.

01:41:23   The Wet Bandits, they were put in prison.

01:41:27   I like that them escaping from prison made front page news.

01:41:30   on the newspapers. The Wet Bandits have escaped. You remember those people that robbed one

01:41:36   house?

01:41:37   One house, not in New York.

01:41:41   Yep. They're out, so watch out. But they're kind of working on it. And they bump into

01:41:46   each other after Kevin's visit to Duncan's toy chest, which is one of my other favorite

01:41:51   parts of this movie. Again, just because I was a kid and just imagining that a toy store

01:41:54   like that would exist was quite a wonderful thing.

01:41:57   Yeah, it's like the off-brand FAO shorts or something.

01:42:01   I don't think you mean Toy Duncan's Chest.

01:42:05   Okay, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

01:42:09   This is where I really draw the line with this movie, which is

01:42:13   they don't just want it to have the exact same plot as the first movie,

01:42:17   they literally don't want to change the characters in the movie.

01:42:21   So they bring them back, which is totally ridiculous that they would

01:42:25   be there and that they would see him and all of that and I had a moment where I

01:42:28   thought wouldn't it be more fun if there were new robbers who didn't know Kevin's

01:42:32   moves who had to you know who had to he had to fight that were like New York

01:42:37   criminals but instead it's just Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern and I have to I

01:42:42   have to applaud Joe Pesci this movie literally just has him do cartoon

01:42:47   dialogue at various points where all he's saying is rocker fucking rocker

01:42:50   "Rock him, rock him, rock him, rock him, rock him, rock him."

01:42:53   Or he's just laughing to himself a lot.

01:42:56   It's like they didn't give him dialogue like,

01:42:58   "Oh, stupid Kevin," or whatever.

01:42:59   Or if they did, he didn't use it,

01:43:00   and he's literally just saying,

01:43:02   "Rock him, rock him, rock him, rock him, rock him, rock him."

01:43:04   The whole movie. It's amazing.

01:43:06   So, full credit, but maybe nobody else

01:43:10   wanted to play these characters

01:43:11   because they are murdered repeatedly

01:43:14   and somehow stay alive.

01:43:16   I don't know how that's possible.

01:43:18   Honestly, though, I understand why you're saying that,

01:43:20   but I can't imagine this movie any other way.

01:43:22   Like, for me, it's either the three of them or it doesn't work

01:43:26   because when they change it for three and four, it kind of sucks.

01:43:29   -That's why they did it this way is because people like you

01:43:32   want to see that other movie again, and that's fine.

01:43:35   That's fine.

01:43:37   I would have maybe suggested they make a different movie,

01:43:40   but they didn't, so that's okay.

01:43:43   They just play this one again.

01:43:44   -My favorite callback to the original movie

01:43:47   is when they bump into each other for the first time

01:43:49   And Harry has an M imprint on his hand,

01:43:54   which is from the doorknob in the original movie,

01:43:57   which I love.

01:43:58   - Yep.

01:43:59   - It must have been one of the burning ones.

01:44:00   - Yeah, and he's very cautious about doorknobs

01:44:03   all throughout this movie.

01:44:04   He like taps them real lightly to make sure they're not hot.

01:44:06   Like that made a real, I mean, I guess a literal

01:44:09   and a psychological impression on him.

01:44:12   Oh no.

01:44:13   - Oh boy.

01:44:14   Well, you know, they've learned a little bit.

01:44:17   There's some character progression in this film, albeit minor.

01:44:20   That's as far as they've all have doorknobs.

01:44:23   Now, of course, all I want to talk about is the scene with the many injuries.

01:44:28   But there is a part that I wanted to just touch on before that, which gets us to that,

01:44:32   which is Kevin's, well, of course, I'm not even thinking about the return of the movie,

01:44:38   where he was the sequel is like even Filthier Angels or something is called.

01:44:42   He's got some name like that with the, again, the same scene.

01:44:47   He's just playing and stopping at the video, uh,

01:44:51   which works perfectly and everybody very, uh,

01:44:56   conveniently falls into the trap to have all of the words used perfectly whenever

01:45:01   it's needed. Um, but the Kevin lost in New York at night part,

01:45:06   I didn't like it as a kid and I don't like it now. Um, it scared me as a kid.

01:45:11   Now I just think that it is a mostly pointless scene,

01:45:15   with him bumping in to various ne'er-do-wells in the evening,

01:45:18   including the taxi driver, who,

01:45:20   I don't know why the taxi driver wants to scare him away

01:45:23   and then drive away, but he does, and he does,

01:45:26   and it's very peculiar to me.

01:45:28   - This is scary New York.

01:45:29   This is before New York became less scary.

01:45:32   This is sort of like at the end, tail end of that period

01:45:35   where New York was always portrayed and was, you know,

01:45:39   dirty and full of crime, and there's that line

01:45:41   where it's like, "You can't go out there on the street, lady.

01:45:43   There's criminals everywhere roaming around the streets of New York."

01:45:46   And it's like, that was what it was like.

01:45:48   In fact, I went to New York for the first time by myself about two months.

01:45:54   - Did you escape from your family?

01:45:55   - I did, well, sort of, I suppose.

01:45:58   About two months after this movie came out, I was in New York, February '93.

01:46:02   And I remember it being, you know, kind of shabby and crappy.

01:46:06   And the next time I went back to New York City, like, eight years later or whatever,

01:46:10   completely different, like way, definitely this was right at the end of that period where

01:46:15   it was kind of dark and drab and dirty and Times Square was full of like porno places

01:46:19   and stuff like that and it's not like that anymore. So this is a bygone era of super

01:46:24   scary New York.

01:46:25   Jason, did you foil any toy store robberies?

01:46:30   I, unfortunately I did not, but it does say something about the vast, I never feel older

01:46:36   than when talking to people younger than me about things that hit them in their childhood,

01:46:44   because it's that moment where I'm like, "Oh, this was your childhood. I was in my first

01:46:48   year of grad school when this movie came out, so I was not paying attention to movies about

01:46:54   kids, and I hadn't seen Home Alone, right? I totally missed that, so why would I see

01:46:58   the sequel?" Turns out, I would have been fine. But yeah, anyway, so yeah, it's scary

01:47:03   New York.

01:47:04   One of the reasons that you may have seen it was for the increase in severity of the injuries sustained to the wet bandits.

01:47:12   It's amazing.

01:47:12   And like last year,

01:47:14   Sticky bandits, Myke. We're the sticky bandits.

01:47:16   The other sticky bandits now.

01:47:17   Like last year, I have listed and will now list to you every injury that is sustained in the scene at the renovating house.

01:47:29   Which, by the way, that house needs serious renovations because there is a lot wrong with that house.

01:47:33   I can't believe anybody lived in it.

01:47:35   Well, I mean, they've obviously gutted it and they're doing huge work.

01:47:38   Although I like how they say like, "Oh, your uncle's doing some work on his house," or whatever.

01:47:42   "They're renovating his house." It's like they've literally gutted the entire house.

01:47:45   There is nothing left in that house.

01:47:47   I hope the uncle is staying in Europe for a year because it will be a long time before anyone,

01:47:54   and then especially now that his nephew has...

01:47:57   Further gutted the house.

01:47:58   Yes, even more so, yeah.

01:47:59   So the first injury is actually sustained outside of the toy store where a human seesaw mechanism

01:48:06   has ensured that Harry will land on a car back first to the point where the roof

01:48:13   caves in and the windows smash. So he's dead at this point. His spine is shattered into a

01:48:18   million pieces unless that car roof is made of aluminum foil. There are four bricks dropped

01:48:26   on to Marv's head from the roof of the house and this is like a four-story brick redstone,

01:48:33   what I call red brick houses. So there are four in succession dropped onto his head.

01:48:39   Can I admit that I laughed a lot at that part?

01:48:41   Yes, good, you should.

01:48:43   This is the moment where I kind of nodded at the movie and I said, "Okay movie, you're

01:48:48   a cartoon, it's fine. Here we go. Because, again, there is some real art in the "you

01:48:57   just saw something happen and it's going to keep happening" and that the characters are

01:49:01   going to keep making exactly the wrong decisions so that it continues to happen, even though

01:49:06   by all accounts one of those bricks would have killed Daniel Stern. And the second one

01:49:11   certainly would have killed him. It wouldn't have just killed him. His skull would have

01:49:14   been politically obliterated. You ever wonder how many people accidentally

01:49:21   went to jail for murder because they thought they could just knock somebody out by dropping

01:49:25   a brick on them? It is a scary thought to think of how many

01:49:29   injuries were sustained due to these movies. I think the true brutality of these movies

01:49:37   could never be accurately calculated. A staple gun is shot through a hole in a door into

01:49:43   Marv's butt, groin and face. Yes. Over three separate instances. Yeah, he rotates very nicely,

01:49:50   kindly. Yeah, keeps rotating. Harry slips from a ladder covered in soap onto his back.

01:49:57   It's probably about a 10 foot fall as he lands because he has to climb up a bunch of stuff

01:50:03   to jump onto it. Marv falls through a hole in the floor down to a basement. This is maybe

01:50:09   one or two stories down into the basement. A bag of spanners is opened above a doorway

01:50:16   and they all drop onto Harry's head and it's probably about 30 spanners that hit him. Marv

01:50:23   slips on more soap, he hits the shelving unit which falls onto him. The shelving unit is

01:50:29   stacked with paint tins which then cover him in paint. Marv is then electrocuted via some

01:50:36   very large battery, maybe a generator.

01:50:38   - Yeah, it's a welder.

01:50:39   It's a welding machine.

01:50:41   - The battery from a welding machine,

01:50:43   which has been rigged to some taps.

01:50:46   Marv is electrocuted to the point

01:50:47   that we see his skeleton.

01:50:49   I'm not 100% sure how and why, but that is what happens.

01:50:52   - I mean, this is the cartoon part.

01:50:54   Like, rather than it being like an electrified skeleton,

01:50:57   like you're seeing through his skin,

01:50:58   it's literally just, he becomes a skeleton briefly,

01:51:01   and then is not a skeleton anymore.

01:51:04   This movie caused a lot of children to question what physics and, you know, chemistry and

01:51:09   just science in general is.

01:51:11   All sciences.

01:51:12   Okay, so, Myke, before you go on, I want to point out something here.

01:51:15   It occurred to everybody the next time you watch this movie to think of this movie this

01:51:19   way.

01:51:20   I'm sure I'm not the first person to have this thought, but I'm going to share it now

01:51:22   because it occurred to me somewhere where Daniel Stern falls two stories and then is

01:51:27   electrocuted and turns into a skeleton.

01:51:28   I thought, "You know what I'm watching here?"

01:51:32   And this is maybe the genius of Home Alone.

01:51:34   This is a horror movie, except the music is quirky instead of terrifying.

01:51:41   Oh my gosh, yeah.

01:51:43   It's so.

01:51:44   And Kevin is a serial killer.

01:51:45   He is basically Saw.

01:51:48   And that is what this movie is, except that you're like, "Yeah, but they kind of deserve

01:51:52   it."

01:51:53   But that's what it is.

01:51:54   It is a horror movie.

01:51:55   We are watching people tormented and killed in the worst possible way.

01:51:58   So Home Alone.

01:52:00   Think about that.

01:52:01   think about. You thought you'd got him taken care of. Merry Christmas everybody!

01:52:05   That is wonderful. Alright Harry's head is set on fire by a blowtorch. He then dips his head into a toilet filled with gasoline which explodes.

01:52:15   I think it's kerosene. But it's still, yeah, it's okay so the imaginations to get him to go like straight down into the toilet like he's really making an effort to get to that point where it explodes and then again

01:52:30   cartoon there's a massive explosion because he has put his on fire head in a

01:52:37   huge bowl of kerosene and the end result is that his hat the top of his hat is

01:52:43   blown off but the the ring is still around his head and everything is

01:52:46   blackened which again is right out of a cartoon it is literally there is no

01:52:50   physics happening here it is things we see in cartoons except in live-action

01:52:55   it's like there was an explosion right and it's just everything remained like

01:52:59   - Yeah, I mean, he's Wile E. Coyote at this point.

01:53:02   They are both Wile E. Coyote.

01:53:04   That is what we're watching.

01:53:05   - And I am okay with it.

01:53:06   - It's fine, it's fine.

01:53:07   Now once you just embrace that you are watching a cartoon

01:53:10   or a horror movie or both.

01:53:12   - Marv pulls on a rope, which he tries to use

01:53:14   to get out of the basement where he still is,

01:53:17   which is tied to a 100 pound bag of cement.

01:53:21   When he pulls on it hard enough to make his first jump,

01:53:23   the 100 pound bag of cement falls three stories down

01:53:27   and hits him on the head.

01:53:29   slowly falls and he watches it coming to him and doesn't try to move probably because he's a skeleton.

01:53:34   He then blows cement out of his mouth. Whilst in pursuit of Kevin, a ladder breaks in half sending

01:53:43   Harry to fall face down onto the ground. After thwarting attempts at having paint cans thrown

01:53:52   into their heads because they are smart enough to remember not to just run up the stairs.

01:53:56   I love that. It's the one time in this film they show any actual intelligence.

01:54:00   They are both then hit in the face by like a metal pillar, like a post from the street somehow,

01:54:08   which sends them down the stairs, through a hole in the floor, down to the basement.

01:54:16   The pillar then rolls down the stairs and lands on them by my trajectory. I'm guessing via

01:54:22   the trajectory of that pillar on the head is where it would land. You don't see this because

01:54:28   this is one you cannot see happen and not know what happens. Everything else, I don't know,

01:54:36   there's something in this movie, even the bricks, it's like "oh the bricks are small"

01:54:39   so they would just leave a mark. But this metal pillar landing on them both, they don't show

01:54:45   because their heads would have had to have just popped like grapefruit but that's not what happens.

01:54:51   Both are crushed between a wall and a door by a tool chest that rolled down a staircase,

01:54:57   which they are both listening. What is that sound? I like that even at this point they're

01:55:01   listening, "What is that sound? Surely it can't be something bad. Like, what is that sound?"

01:55:05   Luckily this time this staircase did not feature any tarantulas, which I was very happy about.

01:55:11   They both fall from the top of the building because the rope that they are climbing down is

01:55:17   set on fire. When they land to the ground, they have gone through some planks of wood

01:55:23   which were holding tins of grease, which then come up into the air and land on them. At

01:55:29   this point, Kevin has run away and he sustains his first and only injury in which he slips

01:55:35   on ice and is knocked unconscious briefly. He lands on his back. They pick him up and

01:55:41   take him to Central Park to shoot him, which is a thing. And I guess it's fine to take

01:55:48   him to the park because...

01:55:49   Oh, nobody's in the park. It's a lawless wilderness where there's just crime.

01:55:55   I have to input for a sec. So around the time of this, maybe like two years after the time

01:56:01   of this movie was set, my mother and I were in New York City and staying with a friend

01:56:06   who lived right off Central Park. And he, just so you know, this friend lived in a building that

01:56:13   was previously owned by the mob, and he had to deal with mob. So it's like painting a picture

01:56:18   of New York. We ended up in the park at one in the morning, and due to probably unwise decisions.

01:56:26   And he offhandedly joked, he's like, "Yeah, you know, two years ago, you wouldn't have been able

01:56:32   to do this because someone would have tried to shoot you, cut your throat, and then bury you in

01:56:36   the pond. Just like this is a totally normal thing to say to a 12 year old girl. And then like,

01:56:42   let's go, let's go home. So, uh, so yeah, I buy this in other words. That's my TLDR about that.

01:56:47   - It's where he would have been if you're going to shoot the kid anywhere, take him to a bridge in

01:56:51   Central Park. They are both then attacked by a huge flock of pigeons, to which at one point,

01:56:57   We can only assume the pigeons are attempting to peck through the body of Marv given the the level at which he is screaming

01:57:04   And that that is the end of the injuries except for just a few times in which

01:57:10   Harry kicks Marv in the shins because he's giving away all of their secrets to the police

01:57:15   That is the full extent of the injuries sustained in home alone - they are vastly more severe than the injuries sustained in home alone

01:57:22   It's all true

01:57:23   Can we talk about the family a little more just to say that they're terrible again and they go they go to Florida and

01:57:29   Find of course the Kevin isn't there and are pretty are like okay with it

01:57:34   That's the thing that I got I mean Catherine O'Hara sort of tries to seem concerned

01:57:38   But she's not that concerned and they're like

01:57:40   Driving around and the idea is that it's raining and it's miserable in Florida, and they actually don't want to be there

01:57:45   But you know they're just like hanging out

01:57:48   She makes a big, they're making big jokes to the police officer in the airport too, right?

01:57:54   They're like, "Oh, we haven't lost our luggage," and they both knock on wood and just like both burst out in laughing.

01:57:59   Yeah.

01:58:00   Which is like, I thought that what she would transition from the laughing into crying, but that just doesn't happen.

01:58:06   They're just embarrassed because the police officer doesn't think it's that funny.

01:58:10   Yeah, because they lost their son for a second straight year.

01:58:12   straight year and this time when they I mean I appreciate back then they they

01:58:16   would have had to wait for the credit card to come up and then they would know

01:58:19   that where he was which is New York at the Plaza Hotel and then that also leads

01:58:25   me to a moment where they're like cuz there's like 14 of them or whatever

01:58:27   there's this huge family they're like oh he's in New York everybody let's go and

01:58:33   I thought really you you again trying to be practical here you're not gonna take

01:58:37   the whole family with you to New York you're gonna take like the parents are

01:58:40   going to go to New York and the rest of these losers are just going to stay behind in Florida

01:58:44   for their previously reserved crappy vacation. But they don't do that. The whole family goes,

01:58:51   all the McAllisters are coming to New York.

01:58:53   As I posited last year, the McAllister family are very wealthy is my expectation.

01:58:58   Well, they clearly are.

01:58:59   Because they live in a mansion in the suburbs in Chicago and every year they all go somewhere

01:59:04   luxurious for their Christmas.

01:59:05   It wouldn't be as nice if that thousand dollars of room service that Kevin ordered, including

01:59:09   he personally served ice cream bowl was like what bankrupted them. So instead they just

01:59:15   made it. Yeah, he is I think more mad than he deserves to be in that scenario because

01:59:20   they did leave their kid again for the second year. Yeah and he didn't die and he should

01:59:25   take care of himself. Yeah he looked after himself right like you know he was in a hotel

01:59:29   like what do you want the kid to do like maybe he shouldn't have got the ice cream sundae

01:59:32   bar which I really wished existed. Maybe it does in some hotels that a gentleman will

01:59:37   come to your room and serve ice cream for you. There is a line, a throwaway line that

01:59:42   I love where Kevin says to the ice cream sundae man, uh, like he's like, would you like another

01:59:47   scoop sir? And he says, yeah, I'm not driving, which I just, I love, I love that. I love

01:59:52   that line. It's so good. It's like Kevin the adult. He just says what adults say. So one,

01:59:58   uh, character and plot mechanic we have not really talked about is the bird lady. So we

02:00:03   We see her when Kevin's in the park.

02:00:06   - Don't like the bird lady.

02:00:07   The bird lady scared me as a kid.

02:00:09   - She's very scary looking and he gets his foot caught

02:00:11   in a rock and she lets him out or like saves him

02:00:16   somehow from the rock and he befriends her

02:00:21   and they go sneak above like a big hall

02:00:25   and they hear some music and they talk

02:00:27   and it seems that she is homeless by choice

02:00:30   or at least part of her current situation was by choice

02:00:35   where she was in love and it fell apart

02:00:37   and she didn't want to be hurt again and they connect.

02:00:41   And as a kid, I thought it was sort of weird,

02:00:45   but watching it as an adult, like she's there,

02:00:47   I mean obviously at the end she's the one who saves Kevin

02:00:50   because she puts her bird army all over the sticky bandits.

02:00:54   But I think she's there to help balance Kevin out

02:00:57   If all we see is, yes, he's trying to save Duncan Toy Store,

02:01:01   but then he basically goes on a murderous rampage

02:01:04   for 30 minutes, we need something to remind us

02:01:08   that he is kind of like an innocent kid in a way,

02:01:11   or he has good in him.

02:01:12   'Cause I particularly don't like Kevin the character.

02:01:15   I find him sort of annoying.

02:01:16   - Well, but he does try to donate,

02:01:18   well, he does give 20 of his own dollars, right?

02:01:20   Like in theory, to the Children's Hospital.

02:01:23   But the thing that I find peculiar

02:01:26   about the bird lady is that she doesn't get a happy ending like the shovel man does in

02:01:32   the original, where like he meets up with his family and like everything's good. Like

02:01:37   she's just like she gets the turtle dove and then that's that. Like that's her happy ending.

02:01:42   I think she's not she's not unhappy. She just this is her life and she sort of rules over

02:01:47   the park with her army of birds.

02:01:50   There's also something to be said about both both Mr. Duncan and the bird lady as kind

02:01:55   of balances to Kevin's character, right?

02:01:57   Where it's like the chaotic, Kevin is kind of chaotic neutral and the bird lady has some

02:02:03   of that chaos, but also some of the centering and like the bird, in some ways she is a foster,

02:02:09   like not quite a foster mother, but a surrogate mother for Kevin, which is super weird.

02:02:14   Again, watching it now, I'm just thinking like stranger danger, stranger danger.

02:02:19   But all of that said, I actually really love her narrative arc in this film because the

02:02:25   at least what I what I always took as a kid was, oh, she doesn't have any friends anymore.

02:02:31   So all she has to, you know, all the only friends she has are the birds and the birds

02:02:35   keep her company.

02:02:36   And then Kevin, given to her turtle dove was telling her that, that they could be friends

02:02:40   and that that she still has friends in the in the real world.

02:02:43   And as an adult, I take that one step further based on her actual storyline of the like,

02:02:48   being you know getting her heart broken it's like here is a thing that's

02:02:52   normally signifies you know love and renewal and maybe it's okay for you to

02:02:57   step out of the park and love again and you helped a little kid so so go you

02:03:02   know go be merry. We have not yet though touched upon the most ridiculous thing

02:03:07   that happens in this entire movie which is the fact that on Christmas morning

02:03:11   Kevin escapes again and nobody notices. They're all open in their presence and it just sneaks out

02:03:18   again like it's nobody ever watched this kid like it's but 12 hours not even

02:03:24   maybe not even 12 hours since you got him back and yet you're all so

02:03:28   preoccupied with the the army of toys that has been delivered to you by Toy

02:03:34   Duncan's chest that you just as well it's like it's all toys the parents what

02:03:40   are they what are they opening it's just all toys and he runs out again and they

02:03:45   don't even notice like I I could I was I couldn't believe it when I saw it out

02:03:50   today because I'd forgotten that he does that and yet he escapes he escapes once

02:03:54   more that kid can never stop escaping and yet even him he's like he didn't

02:03:58   want to leave he was sad he missed his mom but he still ran away again he

02:04:02   didn't know she was gonna be there like the the bird lady she could have been

02:04:04   anywhere and she's always there she's she is there because the plot dictated

02:04:10   her to be there at that time yes Kevin McAllister the original wizard the

02:04:14   original creator of the Invisibility cloak and apparently can track humans.

02:04:18   Also serial killer. Just throw that in there. Is it serial killer if you kill

02:04:22   the same guys over and over? Even more so. He is serial killer of just Marvin Harry.

02:04:29   Yep. Yeah. I love this movie. It is ridiculous, but I love this movie. It is.

02:04:35   It makes me think of Christmas. It is a Christmas movie for me and I have many

02:04:41   many happy memories of this movie. I love it very much. Jason, we will not be watching

02:04:45   Home Alone 3 next year if I have my say.

02:04:48   Myke, I've already seen Home Alone 3 multiple times because it was the only Home Alone movie

02:04:54   on Netflix and my kids watched it when they were little. So I've seen young Scarlett Johansson

02:04:59   and her brother, whoever, Alex, whatever, navigate the criminals in their little suburban

02:05:07   house, which I actually think it's not that bad, although I haven't seen it in years,

02:05:11   I saw it several times and I thought it was clever having never seen the originals. I

02:05:14   was like, "Oh yeah, okay, I get the idea. I get the premise here." I will say this

02:05:18   about Home Alone 2, which is I can see myself revisiting Home Alone. I can't see myself

02:05:22   watching this movie again because I think Home Alone is better. And so I would watch

02:05:28   that one again instead of this. Sorry.

02:05:30   Home Alone is probably a better movie. I prefer Home Alone 2 though.

02:05:35   It's New York. It's New York City at Christmas.

02:05:37   Ran or Steven, do you have any closing statements on Home Alone 2 lost in New York?

02:05:41   Just, you know, if you are in an abandoned building, just always, always be on the lookout for electrified sinks.

02:05:49   Hmm. That's good life advice.

02:05:51   Be nice to homeless people and feed the birds.

02:05:55   Tuppence a bag.

02:05:58   I always thought she was saying tuppence for many years. Didn't know what that was, but that was that was what I thought she was saying.

02:06:06   Steven, Serenity, thank you so much for joining us for our holiday special.

02:06:10   And to all of you out there choosing to

02:06:14   enjoy Upgrade over your holidays, we greatly appreciate it,

02:06:18   as we have for every other episode that you have consumed this year.

02:06:22   I would like to give thanks to Pingdom, Encapsula, AppOptics and Smile

02:06:27   for their support of this week's show.

02:06:29   And you should go and check out query at relay.fm/query

02:06:33   and you can listen to Steven and Wren's escapades.

02:06:36   I don't think that they talk about 90s murder movies that often on query.

02:06:42   Very rarely.

02:06:43   Many other, many other, sometimes not that often.

02:06:46   Very, very many other enjoyable technical topics can be found there.

02:06:51   Thank you so much for listening to the Upgrade Holiday Special.

02:06:54   Until next time, which is the Upgradies, which I'm very excited about, as always,

02:07:00   the most glitzy award show of the year. The upgrade is you can find on New Year's Day. So

02:07:06   happy holidays, happy New Year to you and we'll be back on New Year's Day. Until then,

02:07:11   say goodbye everybody. Bye! Merry Christmas! Adios!