103: Significant Figures


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:10   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, Episode 103.

00:00:15   Upgrade is brought to you by Ring and Mack Weldon.

00:00:19   I am Jason Snell.

00:00:20   I am always here for Upgrade, but I don't always read the introduction.

00:00:25   But Myke Hurley is on assignment in the United States of America as he was for our last episode.

00:00:30   So I'm enjoyed. I'm... I'm enjoyed.

00:00:32   My voice is being enjoyed right now by Merlin Mann. Hi Merlin.

00:00:36   - Freudian slip, you are enjoyed. You are...

00:00:38   You reside in my ear holes for so much of the week. You're on so many damn shows.

00:00:42   I hear... I hear pretty much all of them.

00:00:44   - Yeah, it's... There are many. It's true. It's true.

00:00:47   - I get to know the mini moods of Jason.

00:00:49   - Mm-hmm. Do I have many... Do I have many moods? Do they vary?

00:00:53   Do they vary from week to week or just from podcast to podcast?

00:00:55   Oh, I think I've got your number.

00:00:56   I've got your number pretty good.

00:00:58   But there was no TVTM this week?

00:01:00   No, the TV Talk Machine was off this week because that's the podcast I did with Tim

00:01:04   Goodman from The Hollywood Reporter and they just finished.

00:01:07   He was like in a hotel for 17 days in LA for the summer press tour.

00:01:10   He sounded great in that previous episode.

00:01:12   I was walking down a hallway in a hotel at Disneyland, listening to that, avoiding my

00:01:16   family.

00:01:17   And I was thinking, "Man, that guy sounds, I think he's really learned to pace himself."

00:01:19   Yeah.

00:01:20   the trick is that he this time he learned on day eight when they say hey Mariah Carey is going to be

00:01:26   having cocktails to talk about her new lifetime special that you go nope not going to do that and

00:01:32   you just say no and you go back to the room and you do a little bit of work and you you pace

00:01:36   yourself and he learned that but when he was done with his two and a half weeks a press tour he went

00:01:41   on vacation last week so we just let it go we let it get that point in life where you realize that

00:01:46   not every fact or announcement is an invitation.

00:01:50   - Yeah, exactly.

00:01:51   You don't have to hit all of that.

00:01:52   - No Mariah tonight.

00:01:54   - I have a little, I don't think it was actually

00:01:55   Mariah Carey, but I just picked that one out of the hat.

00:01:58   'Cause it's that idea, it's like, it's a celebrity,

00:02:01   and you know who they are, but they're not big

00:02:03   like they used to be, but they've got a show,

00:02:04   and you could meet them, and then you're like,

00:02:06   yeah, there's no way, and you just let it go.

00:02:08   I've done that with tech stuff too, where they're like,

00:02:11   we've got this sort of C-list celebrity

00:02:13   who will be appearing, and I have that moment of like,

00:02:15   Well, it would be kind of cool to say I met that person, but I'm not interested in the product.

00:02:21   I could see Huey Lewis in the news, or I could sleep.

00:02:23   Well, okay, I live in Marin County. I can see, if I met the local Supercuts at the right time, I can see Huey Lewis.

00:02:30   True story.

00:02:32   Well, thank you for having me on. I hope I can fill his large English shoes.

00:02:35   Yes, yes, I think so, absolutely. I'm glad to have you back.

00:02:39   I have a little bit of follow-up.

00:02:41   Thank you.

00:02:43   I was in Memphis, as people know,

00:02:46   who listened to Apple Grade 102.

00:02:47   Myke and I did that episode live in person

00:02:50   in Steven Hackett's office.

00:02:52   Steven Hackett wasn't there, because even if he was there,

00:02:54   you wouldn't hurt him because he lost his voice completely.

00:02:57   And you can listen to last week's episode of Connected

00:03:00   to hear Steven Hackett's voice two days later when

00:03:03   it was actually much better.

00:03:05   And it's still like he was gargling glass.

00:03:06   He was still pretty shredded.

00:03:08   That's a really good episode and a nice reminder.

00:03:10   Listening to that was a nice reminder of how hard those two gentlemen work.

00:03:16   When they were answering questions about the second anniversary of Relay, it was nice to

00:03:20   hear.

00:03:21   I was just, you know, because they do so much, and they edit Reconcilable Differences.

00:03:25   Myke does that for us, and they just do so much stuff, and I don't blame them for saying

00:03:29   we're not going to grow as fast this year.

00:03:32   Myke told me about how he's the secret third host of Reconcilable Differences, to the point

00:03:39   that you will just say things just for him

00:03:43   during the broadcast, during the recording,

00:03:45   knowing that it'll get cut out of the podcast,

00:03:48   but it doesn't matter.

00:03:49   It's just there to tell Myke things.

00:03:51   He loves it.

00:03:52   - Yeah, well, you know that Stephen King book,

00:03:53   wonderful book on writing,

00:03:55   and he talks about how his wife, Tabby,

00:03:57   is what he calls his first reader.

00:03:58   He says, "Everybody needs a first reader."

00:03:59   Somebody who's the right kind of critical about it.

00:04:02   He's our first listener.

00:04:03   So we have to think about spoiler warnings with him

00:04:05   more than anybody else,

00:04:06   and sometimes we'll throw in a sly reference.

00:04:09   Yeah, he appreciates it. As a host, I take it, and I assume Myke is like this too, sometimes

00:04:14   you just gotta take it for the team. There are going to be spoilers. You're going to

00:04:17   have to just deal with them. We'll talk about spoilers maybe a little bit later.

00:04:20   So were you actually in the Bass Pyramid? Is that true?

00:04:23   Yeah, okay. So among the things I did when I was in Memphis, which is the first time

00:04:27   I've been in that part of Tennessee, I've never seen the Mississippi River with my own

00:04:31   eyes before, but I did see that. And I saw it from atop the giant pyramid on the shores

00:04:37   of the Mississippi in Memphis that used to be a basketball arena and is now a Bass Pro

00:04:42   Shops. I did, yeah. And we had a meeting. We had a Relay FM business meeting in the

00:04:50   restaurant at the top of the pyramid. It was like two in the afternoon, so it wasn't like

00:04:54   there was a meal or something. I think we all had something to drink and we just sat

00:04:58   there and chatted. But we were high atop the giant Bass Pro Shops pyramid in Memphis.

00:05:03   So was it stirring?

00:05:06   It was nice.

00:05:07   I've never had a business meeting on top of a pyramid before.

00:05:09   The only time I've ever been on top of a pyramid before, quite honestly, was in Dungeons & Dragons.

00:05:13   Oh, nice.

00:05:14   So, this was nice.

00:05:15   Of all the things I imagine having a pyramid about it, bass fishing isn't at the top of

00:05:19   the list.

00:05:20   Well, I mean, it really was this decommissioned basketball arena, and they didn't know what

00:05:24   to do with it.

00:05:25   And the guys who started Bass Pro Shops, I think this is an anecdote I heard in the pre-recorded

00:05:29   audio that plays when you take the elevator up to the top of the pyramid.

00:05:33   it's like one of the founders of Bass Pro Shops saying they made a bet basically.

00:05:37   "If I catch this big catfish, we'll put a Bass Pro in that pyramid over there, and

00:05:43   we caught the catfish and here you are!" is basically how the story goes.

00:05:46   I call that a Tennessee contract.

00:05:47   But it's pretty good.

00:05:48   It's cool.

00:05:49   I thought it would be like, have you ever been to the sports basement at the Presidio?

00:05:54   You ever been over there?

00:05:55   Sure.

00:05:56   It's the old—Presidio used to be an army, for those who don't know, an army base in

00:06:00   in San Francisco and now it's a national park and they've tried to, in order to make it

00:06:03   self-sustaining, they've rented out space and the old PX, the old commissary, so it's

00:06:07   like where everybody did all their shopping and everything, it's this huge building and

00:06:11   it's now a sporting goods store, it's a sports basement.

00:06:12   I thought my kids biked there, it's impossibly large.

00:06:14   Yeah, yeah, exactly right, yeah, and we, that's, I bought bikes there and we go there for like,

00:06:20   we rent our skis there when we go skiing, we rent them because it's way cheaper, turns

00:06:23   out way cheaper to rent skis in San Francisco than on a mountain where it snows. Because

00:06:28   not a lot of demand. So, um, sports basement, I thought Bass Pro Shops would be like the

00:06:33   sports basement, which is huge, but like just racks and racks of stuff. Like, you know,

00:06:37   you got your, I don't even know, bass over here and your pros over here. And, uh, that

00:06:42   was not it. It's no, it's like a, it's like a theme park. It's like a, uh, there's a,

00:06:46   there's a, uh, a hotel. There's like a five star hotel that's built on the inside of the

00:06:50   Bass Pro Shop pyramid, uh, with all this like wood. It's very much like a hunting lodge

00:06:55   kind of feeling. There's water. It's a little like the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean,

00:07:01   honestly. There's boats that they sell at the Bass Pro Shops that are floating in water,

00:07:06   and there's fish in the water.

00:07:08   That's a good use of that space.

00:07:09   Yeah, and there's a bowling alley, and there's a shooting range, apparently. Of course, there

00:07:14   is. And there's lots of other businesses in it. So you don't just go there to—you can

00:07:20   go there to pick up a vest or something, but you can also go there and it's like a destination.

00:07:26   It's like you can go to a bunch of different stuff or go have dinner or whatever. It was

00:07:30   really interesting. So we had a business meeting in a pyramid. True story. And we have one

00:07:35   piece of content follow-up from episode 102, which is #MykeWasWrong. That was brought to

00:07:41   us by listener Justin, which is that Myke said maybe the iPad Mini should come in 128

00:07:46   gigabyte configuration and actually does and has for a while now so I said this

00:07:51   mostly to stop the emails from coming yes Myke was Myke was wrong Myke did not

00:07:57   Myke was not aware you can't stop the emails from that you can't well you can

00:08:00   only hope to contain them and then my other piece of his follow-up piece of

00:08:05   follow-up is about the specials this is of course relays sort of membership

00:08:10   drive week month whatever and we're releasing a whole bunch of different

00:08:14   specials and the special for upgrade which was not out when we recorded last

00:08:21   week is out now it's the upgrade cortex special and that is me and Myke and CGP

00:08:30   gray and we're playing what's called a parsley adventure which is like an old

00:08:33   school computer text adventure and except instead of having a computer I am

00:08:38   the computer it's nellatron right uh-huh and they they have to 2,000 I think and

00:08:43   And they have to give me commands to try and solve a text adventure about the Old West.

00:08:49   And relay members can go get that.

00:08:52   It's way more fun than it sounds. Now when you describe it like that,

00:08:55   you know, I don't know if you're really selling it, but it's very, very funny to hear

00:08:59   CGP Grey interacting with you as a text adventure.

00:09:03   It was funny, and that was the first time I ever spoke to CGP Grey. We recorded that a few months ago,

00:09:07   and that was the first time I've ever actually sort of spoken to him one-on-one.

00:09:10   that was a lot of fun. I met him since then, but it was good because they're trying to

00:09:15   divine the secrets of the computer, and I'm sort of trying to be a computer, and at other

00:09:19   points, I'm hardly able to hold in my frustration with them at being bad players.

00:09:24   This is the old west, I don't know what a refrigerator is.

00:09:27   Yeah, yeah, yeah, they're like, "Maybe we can look at the refrigerator." What are you

00:09:30   talking about? There is no refrigerator in the old west. And if people did listen to

00:09:35   that and liked it, I also wanted to point out, we did two of these on the Incomparable

00:09:40   Game Show. Two of these episodes that were based on Parsley Adventures, both with Tony

00:09:45   Sindelar as the computer, and you can go to the incomparable.com/gameshow, which is maybe

00:09:50   my favorite podcast that I do, honestly. It is so fun and funny, but there are two episodes

00:09:56   in that run that are Action Castle and what's the other one? Jungle Adventure, I think.

00:10:05   And the vibe's a little bit different, but it's very similar because we're playing the

00:10:08   the same game. And there's also a special Reconcilable Differences episode with you

00:10:14   and Jon. What's that one about?

00:10:16   This is a long, yeah, this is like, I can, well first of all I just want to say, hey,

00:10:20   you know what, you should go join Relay. It's easy to do. You go to relay.fm/membership.

00:10:26   And you sign up. Because you know what, I don't do this a lot, but we want your money.

00:10:29   And it benefits everybody in the network. I bought the all, I've done it myself. I did

00:10:35   I did the $100 All the Great Shows package,

00:10:37   'cause I want to support everybody.

00:10:39   But if you enjoy these shows, it's a nice thing to do.

00:10:40   And everybody gets a little bit of it,

00:10:42   and it's a nice thing to do.

00:10:43   But you also do, now you know what John Siracusa says,

00:10:46   if he did it, you get nothing.

00:10:48   But in this case, you don't get nothing, you get something.

00:10:50   Which is, I think almost every show

00:10:52   is doing a special episode.

00:10:54   - Almost, yeah.

00:10:55   - So there was the, I just, I just,

00:10:58   you were on this, I just listened to Clock Four.

00:11:01   - To Clock Four, okay, so that's another one that we did,

00:11:03   it's Clockwise Plus Top Four.

00:11:04   So it's me and Dan Morin and Marco and Tiffany Armand.

00:11:06   And it's totally delightful.

00:11:08   And we made lists.

00:11:09   We went clockwise and made four lists of four.

00:11:12   And I revealed my dislike for salad.

00:11:15   So you can check that one out too.

00:11:17   Yeah.

00:11:18   I'm not a rabbit.

00:11:19   I want to say you should go and do that.

00:11:20   And if you do that, you're going to get something that people have been asking for for a long

00:11:23   time, which is an episode of Reconcilable Differences, a show that Jon Siracusa and

00:11:27   I do with our special guest, Jon Roderick.

00:11:33   I think it's going to end up being probably an episode plus an after dark, but it's three

00:11:37   hours.

00:11:38   So I really, I really recommend.

00:11:40   And they talk about skiing for a really long time, but it's, I thought it was really fun.

00:11:43   I thought it turned out great.

00:11:45   And you know what though?

00:11:46   That's a nice freebie.

00:11:47   But if you enjoy these podcasts and you don't want, you know, podcasting to turn into some

00:11:51   kind of horrible monstrosity, support it with things like this.

00:11:53   If you've got the money, you know, kick a little in and if you don't, that's okay.

00:11:57   We're just happy that you listen.

00:11:58   And when we launched the membership, I know that people were complaining.

00:12:00   It's like, oh, are you going to do a pledge break every week to talk about it?

00:12:03   And the answer is no, actually this is the way that the plan was meant to work all along

00:12:06   is that now that it's launched, once a year around relay birthday time in August, we'll

00:12:11   all do specials and talk about them and that they're out there and that's it.

00:12:15   And then we just do them the rest of the year and we appreciate everybody's support and

00:12:19   we made some extras for the people.

00:12:21   And I do that for the Flop House, I don't know if you do that, where I support Maximum

00:12:24   Fun and one of the reasons that I do that is I wanted to support the Flop House, but

00:12:28   another reason is that I want their bonus episode that they do.

00:12:31   And they've done three of them, actually.

00:12:34   And they're great, and they're a lot of fun.

00:12:35   And I feel like that's a great deal to support my favorite podcast, and I also get something

00:12:39   back.

00:12:40   But we won't do this every week.

00:12:43   Let me talk about a sponsor, and then we'll go into our topic, because I want to talk

00:12:46   to you about...

00:12:47   This is an episode topic generated by a Twitter conversation, which I think was really interesting,

00:12:54   where literally I knew I needed to find a guest host, and I was thinking of asking you.

00:12:58   And then we had a back and forth about rating things and reviewing things, and I thought,

00:13:04   "Aha!

00:13:05   That's a topic we could talk about on Upgrade!"

00:13:07   So let's do it, but first I want to tell you about our first sponsor.

00:13:10   How about that?

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00:14:04   eye on other parts of your property. They take just minutes to install and then they work together

00:14:08   providing 24/7 monitoring of your whole home whether you're in the living room or on the other

00:14:14   side of the world. So join the hundreds of thousands of people who protect their home

00:14:19   with Ring. For a limited time, again, listeners of Upgrade can save $50 off that whole Ring of

00:14:24   security kit the lowest price you'll find anywhere go to ring.com/upgrade

00:14:29   for 50% off that's ring.com/upgrade and thank you so much to Ring for

00:14:34   supporting this show and all of Relay FM. Myke usually does those but it was me.

00:14:41   You did great. Thank you, thank you. Reviews and ratings so this I got into

00:14:48   this conversation and and and you and I were going back and forth with some

00:14:51   other people on Twitter. It started with a conversation Todd was having.

00:14:56   Yeah, it's our friend Todd Vizzeri who works at Industrial Light and Magic and is a heck

00:15:00   of a nice guy. And he, so he's in the business, you know, he's actually in the entertainment

00:15:06   industry. And he follows this stuff, like he'll frequently

00:15:08   toot out some very interesting charts. Yeah, just saw one today about box office

00:15:13   and rotten tomatoes scores, right? Yeah, exactly, exactly.

00:15:16   And those box office mojo rankings, inflation-dusted rankings of franchises and things, those are

00:15:21   Those blow my mind and I always see those through Todd.

00:15:24   - Yeah, exactly.

00:15:25   - So, Todd was actually replying to

00:15:30   and finishing on a chain, something that was a tweet

00:15:33   that started with a guy named Scott Derrickson,

00:15:35   who said, "If you look at Rotten Tomatoes scores

00:15:37   "without reading selected reviewers that you respect,

00:15:39   "you're doing it wrong.

00:15:40   "You and cinema deserve better."

00:15:42   And Todd's follow up to that was,

00:15:44   "Absolutely, it's a shame how so many folks

00:15:46   "misinterpret and oversimplify

00:15:47   "what the Rotten Tomato score actually means."

00:15:50   And I thought this would be an interesting topic because reviews are everywhere.

00:15:55   That's one thing.

00:15:56   People are trying to find information about what they should do in terms of consuming

00:16:00   entertainment, in terms of buying products.

00:16:03   And I am somebody who, and I hadn't really thought about it this way, but the fact is,

00:16:08   for like 25 years now, one of the things that I've done professionally is evaluate things

00:16:15   and for most of that time slap a number on my evaluation.

00:16:18   You've got to give a certain number of mice.

00:16:19   Right, exactly. The mice, oh, the mice, right? I mean, and from the very, from 1990,

00:16:24   when was that, 1993, '94, I've been applying mice to things until like, well, actually,

00:16:32   I think I applied a mouse rating to something like last year. So, it still happens occasionally

00:16:37   when I write for Macworld. So, rating things and giving ratings is something that we do,

00:16:42   and people can rely on it, but it's, you know, it's problematic in so many different ways.

00:16:48   And I know when I talked to you about this, you said, "I'm very excited about this."

00:16:52   And then I checked our little document about what we were going to talk about today, and

00:16:56   it was full of things.

00:16:58   Yeah, yeah, I was very interested in it because I've been thinking about it a lot because

00:17:05   you're right, so many things have ratings.

00:17:07   But if we just take a tiny step back, if you go beyond even just reviews and ratings, just

00:17:12   look at metrics.

00:17:13   almost everything we look at, we cannot help but see

00:17:17   some kind of a ranking or you think about

00:17:21   even something like Twitter followers.

00:17:23   Like when you're thinking about, some rando contacts you

00:17:25   and you're thinking about like should I respond to this,

00:17:27   especially if it's something kind of unkind,

00:17:28   I frequently look at how many followers that person has.

00:17:30   If they've got like five followers,

00:17:32   I'm not going to get in a big toss with them

00:17:33   because you know, they're probably just a troll.

00:17:35   That sounds silly, but I mean, what I'm trying to get at

00:17:38   though is whether it's the iTunes store or it's Netflix

00:17:40   or Amazon, stuff that I use, all of which I use a lot,

00:17:44   you can't help but see a rating for something

00:17:48   and I think it's extremely difficult

00:17:50   for it not to have some effect on you in one way or another.

00:17:53   And I guess I am opening statement here.

00:17:57   The main thing I just, I'm really of two minds

00:18:00   because I realize how weird and wrong and broken

00:18:05   and easily abused reviews and ratings are

00:18:09   and I think we have many examples here to talk about,

00:18:11   but at the same time, I still rely on them.

00:18:13   If I'm in a new town, I don't think twice about

00:18:15   looking at the Yelp score.

00:18:16   - Absolutely. - You know what my feelings

00:18:17   about Yelp are?

00:18:18   Dynafire.

00:18:19   Like, I really don't like Yelp,

00:18:20   I don't like their business practices,

00:18:21   and I know their reviews are mega, mega broken in many ways,

00:18:25   but if you've got six otherwise undifferentiated places,

00:18:29   what are you, do you pick by the name?

00:18:30   It's like betting on a sports team based on the uniforms.

00:18:33   So even though I don't like that, I still look at that.

00:18:35   And so I guess I want to talk about and unpack

00:18:40   what it is that feels broken and abused about ratings

00:18:44   and reviews, which I think we will contrast,

00:18:46   but then also why it is we still end up using them even

00:18:50   when we don't mean to.

00:18:51   Not to jump too far ahead, but you mentioned Yelp.

00:18:54   And I've never used Yelp a lot, but we took a family trip

00:18:58   last summer, and we drove basically to Seattle

00:19:01   and back, a family road trip over the course of about eight,

00:19:04   nine days.

00:19:05   And one of the things that I decided,

00:19:07   it's kind of on the fly that I would try to do,

00:19:09   is have us not eat at a chain restaurant

00:19:14   at any point on that.

00:19:16   Like eat at people's houses,

00:19:18   even if we had to break in, no.

00:19:20   Eat at people's houses and eat at restaurants

00:19:22   that are the local places.

00:19:24   - It's so much harder than it sounds.

00:19:25   - And Yelp is the way I did that.

00:19:28   And it was interesting because I have,

00:19:31   we are gonna talk about this,

00:19:33   feelings about Yelp are very similar to my feelings about Goodreads, which is that they

00:19:38   are mostly amateur reviews, which is okay, except that they're compromised by some

00:19:47   issues about amateur reviewers and what brings somebody to decide to be an amateur reviewer.

00:19:53   But I never really--did I trust Yelp? Sort of--it's a little bit like how I trust Rotten

00:19:59   tomatoes, which goes back to the point that that first tweet made, which is I kind of trust them

00:20:05   a little in the aggregate to understand that it's really a very hazy, non-specific idea about a

00:20:14   place or a movie or whatever. That it's more about, it's generally liked, or this thing doesn't seem

00:20:23   to be generally hated, and here's some information about it, oh, and it's open, and here's the menu,

00:20:29   using it as a research tool but not as the gospel. And that worked pretty well. We went to one place

00:20:36   early on that was not very good, and then after that, every place we picked was

00:20:40   pretty great. And so, Yelp was a factor in that, but individual Yelp reviews were not really what

00:20:49   did it it was more you know you dig into the reviews and then you see all the axe

00:20:53   grinders are in there. You're exactly hitting it I mean I felt for years that one of the

00:20:57   problems with Yelp, well one of the benefits of Yelp is that you can rate other

00:21:00   raiders which I think is a very interesting idea or look at how many, how much wuffy they have on the system

00:21:05   but you know one problem with Yelp is people use it like a blog like you know people who go to SF State

00:21:10   they just that's like their blog about dim sum basically. Let me tell you how angry I was about this bent fork that I got at this place

00:21:18   It's like, wow, this is a really interesting tone poem about cutlery.

00:21:22   But also, if that's the first month that place is open and you get your table full of people

00:21:27   to go in and leave five bad reviews, that has an incredible impact on that place.

00:21:32   And I don't know how much recourse there is.

00:21:34   But you know, okay, so I think maybe I have the habit of taking over your shows.

00:21:38   Have you ever noticed that?

00:21:39   No, I have.

00:21:40   Or I try anyway.

00:21:41   This is why I deploy you tactically.

00:21:44   I think it's beneficial though to, I mean, I feel like my real beef in some ways is with

00:21:50   ratings. Star ratings, number ratings, but I think we should talk a little bit about

00:21:54   reviews because they have such an impact. Reviews, I mean, personally, I don't read

00:21:58   reviews for podcasts. I do. I just, I can't.

00:22:01   Oh yeah, I don't either.

00:22:02   Well, I know a lot of people who are there like all the time and like screenshotting

00:22:05   the ones that they don't.

00:22:06   Well, first off, first off, it's not for you, right? I mean, I feel like if you're looking

00:22:11   at podcast reviews as a some sort of a curative like it's supposed to be a

00:22:16   correctional thing like let me give you feedback on how you can change your

00:22:20   podcasts like I just don't view them that way I view them as it's people

00:22:23   talking to other potential listeners about their feelings and that's fine and

00:22:28   if I really have no idea what I'm doing I suppose I would look at the reviews

00:22:32   but it's like I kind of know the show I want to make and if people don't like it

00:22:35   then that's fine because it's like trying to find a date on a bathroom wall

00:22:39   It's just like that's not where I would go for that particular kind of information.

00:22:42   I get why it's there, and I can, but really frequently a lot of times reviews, something

00:22:48   I'm sure we'll talk about is the uneven distribution of the way that reviews work, especially if

00:22:53   they have a rating associated with them.

00:22:54   Like, you know, what would happen if we threw out every review in the world that was one

00:22:58   star and every review that was five stars?

00:23:00   I mean, just for the sake of argument, if you hid all of those on a site, you'd have

00:23:04   a much more interesting site.

00:23:06   Because I think people tend to go and vote up to stuff that they like, and I think they

00:23:09   they tend to go and vote down the stuff they don't.

00:23:11   If you don't have a strong feeling about something,

00:23:13   whether it's a podcast or a Dutch oven,

00:23:16   you're not going to go leave a three-star review about it,

00:23:19   probably, unless you're mad.

00:23:21   Like, I don't think, you know what I mean?

00:23:22   Unless you're very mad or very excited,

00:23:23   most people don't do that.

00:23:24   I mean, that's the worst part of this.

00:23:26   I have maybe left, you'd have to go look on the page,

00:23:29   but maybe two or three Yelp reviews ever.

00:23:33   So that should tell me something.

00:23:34   The fact that I'm not contributing to that

00:23:36   should be kind of a bellwether.

00:23:39   There's a bias inherent in it, which is you've got people who know the proprietors, who want

00:23:45   to talk it up, or they've been paid by the proprietors, and then you've got people who

00:23:49   are angry, and they want to let it out.

00:23:51   They had a bad experience.

00:23:52   It's very rare.

00:23:56   If my family and I have a nice dinner at the Lost Coast Brewing Company in Eureka on our

00:24:01   way back to San Francisco, which we did last year, and we're having a nice time, and I've

00:24:07   had a couple of beers and we're gonna go back to the hotel room and watch a movie

00:24:11   and then go to sleep and drive home the next day." It's probably not likely that

00:24:15   I'm gonna say, even though I used Yelp to find the place, probably not gonna say

00:24:20   "let me stop and write a review," right? I'm just gonna let it go. We had a fine

00:24:24   time, it was nice, maybe it wasn't perfect, there were some things about it that I

00:24:28   liked and didn't like, but I'm just not gonna do it. If they, you know,

00:24:33   know, spill a whole pitcher of iced tea in your lap and cook your medium steak till it's

00:24:40   burned, then maybe you have enough of your dander up to write an angry one-star review,

00:24:48   and that ends up being what you see, is the people who have been offended in some way

00:24:53   and not the people who are just your regular, everyday people, because it's not a scientific

00:24:57   survey, right? It's people who go out of their way to post.

00:25:00   Well, and unless you consider yourself, for example, and I think this does happen on Yelp,

00:25:05   there are people who have decided that they're going to review all of the, let's say, Chinese

00:25:10   restaurants or Thai restaurants or something like that.

00:25:13   And in that case, those are the kind of folks that might be out applying some B minuses

00:25:17   to things.

00:25:18   Most people don't have time to assign B minuses in life because there's not anything really

00:25:24   to be gained from that to just say, "It was fine."

00:25:27   It was fine.

00:25:28   Exactly right.

00:25:29   what would my review of that brewpub be? It would be something like, it was a little crowded,

00:25:34   but we got in fairly early, there was a big kite of a shark that was hanging from the

00:25:40   ceiling that was kind of interesting, the beer was good, the food was fine, my kids

00:25:46   had a good time, and we left. Like, okay, great story. Three stars, right? I mean, it's

00:25:53   just like, what do I even have to contribute at that point? But that is part of the crowdsourcing

00:25:58   challenges is I do believe that if you had everybody fill out a five-star

00:26:04   rating at the end of their meal regardless and it was just anonymous and

00:26:09   put into the internet that you would probably get a pretty good idea of how

00:26:12   good that place was but that's a fantasy because that's just never gonna happen

00:26:15   and and Yelp is not the the thing that has solved that and made it that that we

00:26:20   live in that world now because again it's only the people who self-select to

00:26:24   to do that.

00:26:25   Yeah, yeah.

00:26:26   And I think this gets us, this will eventually, I guess, get us into the ratings part of it,

00:26:30   but I think it's worth breaking down.

00:26:33   When I think about what is a review for, well, for a long time, film criticism was considered

00:26:37   a kind of art, where it was in the days before, let's say arbitrarily, Siskel and Ebert.

00:26:43   Back in the day, you'd have whatever Vincent can be, or Roger Ebert back in the day, or

00:26:48   who's the lady?

00:26:50   Janet Maslin?

00:26:51   Yeah.

00:26:52   The other one I'm always forgetting.

00:26:54   Everybody's gonna yell at me.

00:26:54   - Oh yeah.

00:26:55   - You know I mean, that one lady.

00:26:56   - Yeah, I know that lady.

00:26:57   - But it was more a way,

00:26:58   it was really closer to film criticism in some ways.

00:27:01   You know, but when you started following somebody

00:27:03   like Roger Ebert, once you understood Roger Ebert's

00:27:05   like approach or ethos, I found it very useful.

00:27:09   I mean, I can't quote this from memory,

00:27:12   but I think he once said something along the lines of

00:27:14   that he grades a movie based on how well it executed

00:27:18   what it was trying to do.

00:27:20   - Yes.

00:27:21   to not just give, you know, what does it mean

00:27:24   just because it's an 80s college comedy,

00:27:26   it's gonna get one star, and just because, you know,

00:27:28   it's a Bergen movie, it gets five.

00:27:30   It's, you know, and I think stuff like that

00:27:31   can be very useful.

00:27:32   I mentioned here, you know, with, what's his name,

00:27:34   Miklas Sal.

00:27:35   Miklas Sal's just about perfect for me,

00:27:37   because no matter what he says about a movie,

00:27:39   I always feel almost the opposite,

00:27:40   and then that becomes useful.

00:27:41   - The Miklas Sal test is amazing.

00:27:43   That's the San Francisco Chronicle movie critic,

00:27:45   and I have the same thing.

00:27:46   I've talked to other people about that, too,

00:27:48   that for a lot of people, Miklas Sal is like the perfect

00:27:51   anti-critic. Like, if he really likes something, you gotta be wary, and if he hates something,

00:27:55   you probably might like it. You know, not 100%, but that's true. And Ebert is a good

00:28:01   example of somebody who's calibrated his rating system. He gave a good rating to Rambo

00:28:09   First Blood Part 2. He gave a good rating to Benji the Hunted. And people are like,

00:28:14   "What's wrong with you?" And he would say, "Benji the Hunted is a kid's movie about a

00:28:19   a dog, and it's a pretty good kids movie about a dog. Rambo First Blood Part II is this over-the-top

00:28:25   machine gun action movie, and it's pretty good at what it sets out to do. And, I mean,

00:28:29   that goes back to context, though, right? Because in the end, on Siskel and Ebert, it

00:28:34   was a thumbs up or a thumbs down. On one level, that seems atrocious, like, I know a lot of

00:28:40   film critics got bent out of shape about having to boil it down to a yes or no, but on another

00:28:44   level I felt like that was actually a really radical notion on their part, that they were

00:28:48   really saying, "Look, at some point, our rating system is so pointless that we're

00:28:53   just going to tell you whether it's worth seeing or not, and we're going to walk away

00:28:56   at that point." And Ebert said many times he hated rating systems. It was not—

00:29:03   Steve McLaughlin Arguably what he's best known for.

00:29:05   David Tompa Yeah, right.

00:29:06   Steve McLaughlin Like the thumbs up and thumbs down. I think,

00:29:08   I don't know if they exactly invented that, but I think they invented that.

00:29:10   David Tompa Oh, it's a trademark of Gene Siskel, I think,

00:29:16   the Cisco and Eber Corporation or something like that, but yeah, it's a trademarked thing.

00:29:22   And so every time you use the thumbs up emoji, that's not true. But I think that's really

00:29:27   interesting though, the idea that somebody who's famous for quantifying things at that

00:29:31   simple level actually was kind of, they didn't like it, but the reality was the context,

00:29:37   like I said, you know, the personal philosophy of a person with a rating is going to determine

00:29:43   what the rating is and so you can't compare them between not even like at the San Francisco

00:29:47   Chronicle could you compare them because Mick LaSalle doesn't review all the movies. There

00:29:50   are other reviewers there too. They also don't use stars. They use a cartoon of a little

00:29:54   man which is...

00:29:55   - I love a little man. But even our good friend Tim Goodman, he is clearly so not interested

00:30:03   and obviously I'm a fan and constant listener of your show so I know that there are just

00:30:06   some things where he's like, "I'm gonna let the other guy do this or the kid. The kid

00:30:09   will take care of this. Like I'm not gonna do sci-fi. I'm not gonna do, you know, I'm

00:30:12   I'm not going to keep following Doodlebug or whatever,

00:30:14   but he has a pretty strong feeling about what even should

00:30:17   be on his radar screen.

00:30:18   I want to follow up on one thing you said,

00:30:20   that I think is really smart, which

00:30:22   is that I almost think in terms of the way we measure podcasts.

00:30:26   Because whether or not you want to measure elements

00:30:29   of your podcast and how it's downloaded and so forth,

00:30:32   you kind of need to if you're going to have sponsors.

00:30:33   You have to give them something.

00:30:35   Now, I think this is changing, probably in ways

00:30:37   I won't always be happy with.

00:30:39   But in the past, something that has been consistent

00:30:41   is there are two, three, four different ways or companies

00:30:47   or methods that you can use.

00:30:49   And the nice thing about, for example, PodTrack.

00:30:51   The nice thing about PodTrack is, is PodTrack perfect?

00:30:54   Is it the exact number of downloads?

00:30:55   No, it's not, but it's consistent.

00:30:57   And that's what makes PodTrack useful.

00:30:59   If everybody's using PodTrack and they're not deliberately

00:31:03   gaming the system, PodTrack, which I think it even accounts

00:31:06   for, PodTrack will give you a good conservative number

00:31:09   of how many downloads you have.

00:31:11   They've recently added Audience,

00:31:12   which is super interesting.

00:31:13   In the last week or so,

00:31:14   they've added Audience to their statistics.

00:31:15   So you can see how many users you've had in the last month.

00:31:18   Stuff like that is useful,

00:31:19   but even though that's not perfect,

00:31:20   it works because everybody's using that system

00:31:23   in the same way.

00:31:24   But your point, I thought, that's super interesting is,

00:31:26   like this stuff all works.

00:31:27   You know, if you go to the homepage of Rotten Tomatoes

00:31:29   and you say, "Show me what's opening this weekend,"

00:31:32   or, "Show me what's new on DVD," or whatever,

00:31:34   well, you know what?

00:31:35   That's actually pretty good.

00:31:36   If you do a quick glance,

00:31:37   if you know you wanna see a movie,

00:31:38   where in my case, I know my sweet, overworked wife

00:31:43   needs a day, well, we'll probably go downtown

00:31:46   and see a movie, so we're gonna see a movie.

00:31:48   So I'm looking for red on that page.

00:31:51   So the thing is, if there's, I mean,

00:31:54   take the kid part out for a minute,

00:31:55   but there's gonna be five or six new movies that open.

00:31:58   If four of them are green, meaning they are below,

00:32:01   whatever, 60%, something like that,

00:32:05   and there's one that's got the red tomato

00:32:07   and has like a 90%, well at that point,

00:32:09   that totally makes sense, kind of.

00:32:11   You go, well clearly, you know,

00:32:13   and I guess we should talk a little bit

00:32:14   about how Rotten Tomatoes works,

00:32:15   but in that case, you know, as against these other movies,

00:32:17   clearly there's one movie that's better than the others.

00:32:21   What's fascinating though to me,

00:32:22   I mention this in the notes here,

00:32:23   when you drill down onto a detail page for a movie,

00:32:26   especially I feel like with blockbusters,

00:32:28   you might get like a summer blockbuster

00:32:31   that's say 80% fresh, 75, 85, maybe even 90% fresh.

00:32:36   - Yeah.

00:32:37   - And I think this is Todd's point.

00:32:38   What's crazy is go in and read the pull quotes

00:32:41   next to that red tomato, and they are often,

00:32:44   they sound like a negative review,

00:32:47   or they're maybe kind of diffident at best.

00:32:49   - Yeah, well this is the problem with it,

00:32:51   'cause you're aggregating something

00:32:52   that's already a question mark in terms of the score,

00:32:55   especially, you know, sometimes they'll use

00:32:57   the rating system, and sometimes they'll use

00:32:59   the words of the reviewer, but what Rotten Tomatoes wants

00:33:02   is a yes or a no, and Metacritic is a little different,

00:33:05   Metacritic, TRIES.

00:33:06   - Well, I think we should say this,

00:33:08   I'm not sure everybody knows this,

00:33:09   the way Rotten Tomatoes works.

00:33:10   It's my understanding, and we have a page of notes

00:33:13   that points to this, it's my understanding

00:33:14   that somebody at Rotten Tomatoes goes in

00:33:17   and looks at that review.

00:33:18   If it's a three, four, or five star review,

00:33:22   or in that range, that's considered a positive review.

00:33:25   - Yes.

00:33:26   - Based on the rating that they gave it,

00:33:28   that's considered a positive review.

00:33:30   And like you said, they might have to kind of read through it

00:33:32   and sort of interpret from words what it was.

00:33:34   But they assign it basically a score of,

00:33:36   was this a positive review or was this a negative review?

00:33:39   That's what the red or the green means on a movie.

00:33:43   Now this is the part I think Todd was pushing back on.

00:33:45   The problem is, when you go in and say like,

00:33:47   oh, this movie got an 82%.

00:33:49   Well, it got 82% of what?

00:33:51   Well, what it got was 82% quote unquote positive reviews.

00:33:55   Even if those reviews are shot through

00:33:57   with all kinds of provisos and go like,

00:33:59   oh yeah, I guess it's good for a dumb summer movie.

00:34:01   - And you see those all the time,

00:34:02   you may get a movie that gets 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the 60% who liked it loved it

00:34:08   and think it's a masterpiece and it's to be taken seriously as a great work of art.

00:34:13   And then you get a movie that's a summer movie and the reviews are all like, "Yeah, it's

00:34:17   fine. It delivers. It does what it was meant to do." And that's got a higher Rotten Tomatoes

00:34:28   score, but is it really better thought of by critics than the other movie? Probably

00:34:33   not, but that's not what Rotten Tomatoes is for.

00:34:38   Why is it 30% lower on Metacritic? Like, what's their problem?

00:34:41   And that's the difference, is that Metacritic is trying to come up with a score, and this

00:34:46   is a lot easier if you provide your own score, but some don't, and then they have somebody

00:34:51   who comes in and reads the review, basically, and assigns a score based on their reading

00:34:57   of the review and the textual analysis of the review, and they aggregate based on that.

00:35:02   So Rotten Tomatoes will look at a Mick LaSalle review and say, "positive." And Metacritic

00:35:08   will look at a Mick LaSalle review and say, "six out of ten." And those are different.

00:35:14   And so you get a better sense of sentiment from Metacritic and a better sense of sort

00:35:19   of overall trend of positive versus negative from Rotten Tomatoes. Both of them have their,

00:35:25   I think aspects of validity. I actually think that one of the problems with Metacritic is

00:35:29   that I'm not sure I trust the decisions they make about how they summarize reviews, how

00:35:35   they come to those ratings.

00:35:36   Do they wait for, like for example when you go to Rotten Tomatoes you can have facets

00:35:42   to see like just top reviewers. Does Metacritic give extra weight to like professional reviewers

00:35:47   the bigger the paper? Do you know if they weight it based on that?

00:35:50   I don't know that. I'm not sure.

00:35:51   I do know that there's a very fat middle, and I've seen this on charts. There's a chart

00:35:55   LinkedIn the show notes here about Fandango versus IMDB versus

00:36:01   Metacritic versus Rotten Tomatoes and the thing is like there's most it seems

00:36:05   like most of the Metacritic movies like you're not gonna see many movies that

00:36:09   are gonna get 90% that is very unusual. Right because it's not likely that all

00:36:13   critics gave it a rave and five stars right that doesn't that doesn't happen

00:36:17   whereas it's fairly easy for Star Trek Beyond to get an 83 on Rotten Tomatoes

00:36:22   I'm a lifelong Star Trek fan and I've seen Star Trek Beyond and would I say that it's

00:36:28   a 83% of a good movie? I would not. My review of it would be like, "It's fine." And the

00:36:34   fact is, I read a lot of Star Trek Beyond reviews, they're all kind of like that. They're

00:36:38   like, "It's fine. It's fine." And yet it's 83% certified fresh, right? But what does

00:36:45   that mean? Whereas on Metacritic, the problem I have with Metacritic is that I'm not sure

00:36:49   I believe them when they read a review and say, "This is a 7 out of 10." Like, somebody

00:36:55   read somebody else's review and then gave it a score of how they feel the sentiment

00:36:59   came out of it. But, you know, this goes back—I know we're kind of wandering a little bit

00:37:02   here—but this goes back to the point—I think it's also a large point—which is,

00:37:06   these are not people running the 100-yard dash, where there's a number to the thousandth

00:37:11   of a second or the hundredth of a second that tells you the difference between first place

00:37:15   an eighth place. These are numbers generated by squishy sentiment. And as somebody who

00:37:23   assigned mice to products for years, that's the part that always stops me cold a little

00:37:28   bit is that it's, I was, so I was explaining this to my kids the other night. So Saturday

00:37:33   night we had dinner and it was a Blue Apron, not a sponsor, not a sponsor. Call me Blue

00:37:38   Apron. We're Blue Apron family for about a year now. And we were having a conversation

00:37:44   about how what we ought to do is rate the Blue Apron meals. Like, my son is a picky

00:37:50   eater, my daughter is okay with kind of everything, I'm kind of a picky eater, and my wife is

00:37:54   kind of okay with everything. So we have different perspectives, and we discussed ratings, and

00:37:58   we ended up in this whole discussion of what the rating system was, and whether you would

00:38:02   be out of five or out of ten, would you allow half steps, all of these things that were

00:38:06   absolutely—I've been in—literally been in meetings where people have argued about

00:38:10   this as part of my job back in the day. And we ended up with a five-star rating system

00:38:17   with no havesies, because I feel like it forces you to make some decisions instead of kind

00:38:21   of half-assing it and being like, "Well, it's three and a half. It's fine." Right?

00:38:25   Instead, it's like, "No, you got to choose. Is it three? Is it four? Is it five? What

00:38:29   is it?" But, and good news, everybody, I think we got two fours and...three fours and a three?

00:38:38   It was good. It was a pretty good dinner. So, hooray for Blue Apron dinners. But it

00:38:44   allowed me to talk to my kids about the concept of significant figures, which I kept thinking

00:38:49   of in terms of what you and I are talking about today, which is this idea that if you

00:38:54   only measure anything to a tenth or a half or an integer, something that's super squishy,

00:39:05   you aggregate out 15 different things. And we used to do this all the time, MacWorld

00:39:09   and MacUser and PCWorld used to do this a lot, where you have like 15, 20 different

00:39:14   ways you measure a product. And they're all like out of 10, let's say. And then you

00:39:18   have a formula and you add them all together and you get this incredibly precise number.

00:39:23   Like this got an 81.5. The truth is, it is a precise number generated by incredibly imprecise

00:39:31   numbers that are themselves in some cases a judgment call. And the rule of significant

00:39:37   figures teaches us you don't pretend to have more precision than you actually have.

00:39:44   And I could argue something like Metacritic is actually failing the rule of significant

00:39:49   figures. And you could maybe even argue that Rotten Tomatoes, even though it's got a

00:39:53   binary, it's got a Boolean, like is it good or is it bad, also fails it. Because, you

00:40:00   You know, writing a review of something that's completely subjective, there's no precision,

00:40:08   right? Like, it's an art. And so then we're trying to apply a number to art and put it

00:40:14   on a chart. And I'm not sure that's possible, which is not to say that I don't use Rotten

00:40:19   Tomatoes. It's just, I feel like you've got to at least call it what it is, which

00:40:24   is a really gross approximation of the general sentiment. I mean, how many ways can I diffuse

00:40:31   this? The general sentiment of a group of movie critics. That's like, I backed all the

00:40:36   way out of the authority of Rotten Tomatoes and said, "It's something you can look at,

00:40:40   but don't take it too seriously."

00:40:42   - But I think, you know, you're right, they're all over the map, but at the same time, there's

00:40:45   a thread that runs through all of this, which I think is, is there, how much context is

00:40:49   there to what you're looking at? Which is, in my case, why I really, if you're going

00:40:54   you're going to have ratings, whether it's stars or numbers.

00:40:57   I would like to understand, well, first of all,

00:40:59   if you're going to give a number like 75,

00:41:02   well, does that mean it's 75% successful,

00:41:05   it was 75% entertaining, it was 75% a good value?

00:41:09   So that's why, you know, looking at things like,

00:41:11   I think, I want to say like DP review, the photo site,

00:41:14   the places that offer you facets,

00:41:15   because even with something as simple as like

00:41:17   rating Blue Apron, I mean, just to problematize it,

00:41:21   well, okay, so really what you're saying is,

00:41:23   did we enjoy eating this?

00:41:24   - Yeah.

00:41:25   - Which is totally, that's certainly a primary marker

00:41:27   of what you would want to evaluate for a meal.

00:41:30   How about how hard was it to make?

00:41:32   How about how healthy was it?

00:41:34   How about does it have milk in it

00:41:36   because somebody in the house has an allergy?

00:41:38   Well, do we just throw that one out

00:41:39   because it had milk in it?

00:41:40   Probably.

00:41:41   But if you don't account for all of those things,

00:41:44   it's hard to communicate anything useful to people

00:41:47   unless you can help them understand

00:41:48   why it might be right for them.

00:41:50   - And you said useful there,

00:41:51   which I think is actually an important point here too,

00:41:52   which is the other question you always have to ask yourself

00:41:55   is what is the rating used for?

00:41:57   Like our Blue Apron rating is partially just for fun.

00:42:00   We thought we would try it.

00:42:01   And I think partially influences decisions

00:42:04   about whether we'll make it again.

00:42:06   Like it gets my kids to really ponder

00:42:08   how much did you really enjoy this?

00:42:10   And if--

00:42:11   - It's also a MacGuffin.

00:42:12   I mean, it's a MacGuffin in some ways

00:42:14   'cause basically you're gonna go,

00:42:14   "Hey, it turns out that there's these two meals

00:42:17   "that most of us like."

00:42:18   And that's really good to know.

00:42:20   - Right.

00:42:21   - So, I mean, that's not a bad thing,

00:42:22   But-- - So like a Yelp review,

00:42:25   the point is sort of not to get your anger out,

00:42:28   it's to help other diners decide

00:42:31   whether they should go there.

00:42:32   And Rotten Tomatoes, the point is,

00:42:34   it's to help moviegoers decide,

00:42:35   is this a movie I should like or not?

00:42:37   What do people generally think?

00:42:38   And I feel like that's why Rotten Tomatoes is really useful

00:42:41   when a movie's between like,

00:42:44   Flophouse territory and like 30%,

00:42:46   or if a movie's like 70 to 100, or even 60 to 100,

00:42:50   'cause that's the level where it's sort of like,

00:42:52   people mostly liked it or people mostly didn't like it.

00:42:55   So what number, what number, arbitrary Jason Snell, what arbitrary number do you give to

00:42:58   Fateful Findings?

00:42:59   Oh well, Fateful Findings is a zero, but it's a very interesting zero.

00:43:03   There's so many asterisks on a zero.

00:43:05   On a scale of zero to infinite, it's a zero, but it's still an interesting failure, but

00:43:12   it is a failure, I have to say.

00:43:16   But I don't know, I'll tell you this too, as somebody who doesn't see a lot of movies

00:43:20   since we had kids, I don't see a lot of movies. I am positive that there's a movie

00:43:25   out there that I have a bad opinion about purely from other people writing about it,

00:43:30   purely from aggregation sites like Rotten Tomatoes, that in reality if I had seen it,

00:43:36   it would have been one of my favorite movies. I have no doubt that that movie exists. It's

00:43:41   nestled among 300 terrible movies and that's the truth of it is I can't watch all the

00:43:48   movies and find the diamonds in the rough. I only get to see 15 movies a year or whatever.

00:43:53   I need to not have them be losers. But I have no doubt that that's all that Rotten Tomatoes

00:44:01   is telling me when it says 15 percent, is 15 percent of critics thought this was okay

00:44:06   and the rest of them hated it. It's not a 15 percent chance that I might love it. I

00:44:11   might really love it, I just am not willing to put that on myself and take a chance on

00:44:16   - Well, I'm a bad father, so I watch a lot, a lot of movies,

00:44:20   and this actually came up like last night.

00:44:25   So, oh, I just have to tell you something.

00:44:30   Something I mentioned in that thread with Todd.

00:44:32   He used to watch Letterman.

00:44:33   Do you remember when Letterman,

00:44:35   it was around the time that Flashdance came out.

00:44:38   Do you remember he invited a professional,

00:44:40   like veteran welder onto the show

00:44:42   to do a review of Flashdance?

00:44:44   - Yes. - And like,

00:44:45   think about now every time I think about movie ratings is like it depends on what

00:44:50   you're looking for in a movie like you know if you're like a foot fetishist you

00:44:53   might not like this movie that's gonna affect your ratings for it but like last

00:44:57   night for example my daughter was away for the night with some visiting with

00:44:59   some friends and and so we had you know free rein to just do stuff and I watched

00:45:03   two movies last night I watched I rented rented actually two movies off iTunes

00:45:08   the new Werner Herzog documentary it's essentially about the internet mm-hmm and

00:45:13   and a movie called Imperium,

00:45:16   starring Daniel Radcliffe.

00:45:18   And if you had done a CinemaScore,

00:45:21   well not a CinemaScore,

00:45:22   but you know, basically before I went in the theater,

00:45:24   you said to me, "Rate these movies before you've seen them."

00:45:26   You know what I would have said?

00:45:27   I would have said,

00:45:28   "Warner Herzog, four and a half stars, probably."

00:45:30   I haven't seen it yet,

00:45:31   but no one would have heard about four and a half stars.

00:45:33   Mm, you know, Daniel Radcliffe

00:45:36   as an undercover FBI agent, solid three.

00:45:40   And then I saw in the movies,

00:45:41   But the Warner Herzog movie was fine.

00:45:44   It was not super insightful.

00:45:47   It was great 'cause it was Warner Herzog

00:45:48   and it's just great to hear him talk.

00:45:50   But that movie, and it's very prestigious,

00:45:52   it's getting very good reviews, but in my case,

00:45:54   especially as a guy who knows a little bit of stuff

00:45:56   about the internet, it didn't really land with me.

00:45:58   I thought a lot of it was a little bit touchy-feely,

00:46:01   a little too deep on technology at some parts

00:46:04   and not deep enough in others.

00:46:05   My wife, okay, it's my wife who actually, turns out,

00:46:07   was recovering from a migraine yesterday,

00:46:10   I ended up watching the entire run of Stranger Things

00:46:13   last night, and she kept pointing out to me

00:46:15   the different snails that she found,

00:46:17   just 'cause I told her about your problems with it,

00:46:19   and she's like, "Oh, this."

00:46:20   - Oh yeah.

00:46:21   - They would never say stick in the butt,

00:46:22   that's a total snail.

00:46:22   - It's an anachronism.

00:46:24   Saying we're gonna chill, and he's a douchebag,

00:46:27   which are not things that kids in the mid-80s said.

00:46:30   - Yeah, or stick in the butt.

00:46:31   But the reason I mention that there is like,

00:46:33   okay, so I mention Stranger Things because in your case,

00:46:36   I thought it was masterful.

00:46:39   seems like in Slack you were saying it felt like you were really taken away

00:46:42   from it by how distracting those things were. Even though you could

00:46:45   appreciate on some level what was happening with the story and the homages,

00:46:48   that was too much for you. Well I don't know about too much because I've kept

00:46:51   watching it, but like how do you put a rating on that? How do you put a

00:46:55   rating on that to say well you know here's five asterisks if you're super

00:46:59   familiar with Dungeons & Dragons you may not like this. That was I mean honestly

00:47:03   this is this is something that reviewers struggle with and I think I think this

00:47:06   actually an interesting, Andy and I have had long conversations about this before, the

00:47:11   idea of your responsibility when you're a reviewer and thinking philosophically, as

00:47:15   silly as this is, thinking philosophically about like if you're in a rating system,

00:47:18   what your ratings mean, if you have to assign a number to a review. I'm very happy now

00:47:23   that the mean man who runs sixcolors.com does not require me to do a numerical rating because

00:47:30   it's freeing to not have to worry about that anymore. And I would never impose one,

00:47:35   like no, never. But if you have one you have to think about it philosophically.

00:47:39   I think that's where it's interesting when you have citizen reviewers because

00:47:43   some of them think about it and internalize their code and they go with

00:47:48   it.

00:47:49   Other people don't think about it and you can just come straight from you get

00:47:52   you can tell and then there are also those people which I like to call

00:47:55   Goodreads reviewers who have thought about it and would like to share your

00:47:58   their entire rating system with you at the top of every review they write where

00:48:02   where it's like, "Well, Goodreads doesn't really allow me to do half-rating, so this

00:48:06   would be a four and a half, but since it's not a four, I can't do that. Because of this

00:48:10   one aspect of the main character, I'm going to give it a four, but trust me, it's in my

00:48:13   personal database, it's a four and a half." It's like, "All right, I get it. I get you've

00:48:17   got a system. You've got to move on." But you do have to internalize that system, and

00:48:20   you do have to have one. Like, at Macworld, we always had that, where people would get

00:48:24   three out of five, and they'd be bent out of shape. They'd be like, "I can't believe

00:48:26   you only gave us three mice. That's a negative review." And it's like, "No, actually, for

00:48:31   For us, three is fine.

00:48:33   Three is the lowest rating you can get, and it'd still be a recommendation.

00:48:37   It's flawed, but you could still get it, and it would be fine, because it's a recommendation.

00:48:43   And I get the "it's not as positive a recommendation as I would like," but we would get a lot of

00:48:50   "it's negative."

00:48:51   It's like, no, it's not.

00:48:52   It's not a bad review at three out of five.

00:48:53   Well, that's the Uber.

00:48:54   Dude, this is the Uber problem.

00:48:55   This is exactly the...

00:48:56   Please give my manager five stars and say I did a five-star job, otherwise I'm going to lose my job.

00:49:01   It's like when you go to the car dealership, five stars on everything. Four stars is a failure. Five stars on everything.

00:49:07   I don't know if this is true or if this is just an urban myth, but supposedly if you don't maintain a 4.7 average on Uber, you are subject to being fired.

00:49:18   And, you know, when's the last time you really got a five-star ride? I mean, like, where

00:49:23   it was, where, I mean, if you're somebody like a John Siracusa type, like five stars,

00:49:27   like, wow, I've given about two of those ever. It's almost like five mic reviews.

00:49:31   I need to leave for hip-hop albums. Five stars to me is a political statement.

00:49:36   I need to leave the Uber with two new books that are going to change my life when I read

00:49:42   them. That's a five-star Uber ride for me. But I understand that it's not, you know,

00:49:47   not designed for me because again for me

00:49:49   an accident we set my arm five star

00:49:51   three is the baseline and then they have

00:49:54   to do they have to work on things to get

00:49:56   it up to five it didn't still didn't

00:49:58   smell like smoke and they didn't make

00:49:59   racist jokes yeah that's right three

00:50:01   stars three stars that's right time you

00:50:03   got for this because I got a lot more

00:50:04   let's we got a lot of time but we're

00:50:06   going to take a break how about that I'm

00:50:09   talking about something you like I want

00:50:10   to tell you about something awesome it's

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00:51:14   don't want it back. They really don't. You wore it. You can keep it. But they'll refund

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00:51:23   that you don't like if you want. But I like that because most things on the web, I think

00:51:29   you get that added fear of like, "I don't have it in my hands. I don't see it. What

00:51:33   does this mean?" And so just being able to allay that fear and say, "No, no. If you don't

00:51:37   like it, we'll give you your money back. It's not a problem." They've got socks. Here's

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00:52:47   Well, now, when stupid John Roderick brags about his Faraday underwear with the silver

00:52:52   in it, now I know where he got it, and I'm totally going to get some.

00:52:55   Yeah, there you go.

00:52:56   I can do it.

00:52:57   Um, where, so where, where were we? We're talking about reviews and ratings.

00:53:00   You've got to deploy me tactically. You've got to get me in a lane.

00:53:02   I know, I know, I know. Um, well, I, I've already made my joke about Goodreads, so I'm

00:53:07   good at this point. I, no, it's, it's also the, it's also the,

00:53:10   the other part of the Yelp problem, the other part of so many of these things, and of course

00:53:13   we won't go through all of our hilarious anecdotes we have here, but, is that, you know, you

00:53:17   don't have to, it doesn't cost anything to leave a review. You have this, you have a

00:53:21   link here to the wonderful Amazon movie reviews.

00:53:23   - Amazon movie reviews is one of my favorite Twitter accounts, and it's generally-

00:53:27   - Would you want to curate a couple, can you curate a couple of those real quick for us?

00:53:30   - It's generally, well, okay, like the most, this is a pinned one on there, which is The

00:53:34   Wolf of Wall Street. One star, there were no wolves in this movie.

00:53:38   Right? And most of their reviews, some of them are five, they're all five and one stars

00:53:43   for the most part. Yeah. And beyond that, it's people who are unclear on what the point

00:53:52   is. Jurassic World, one star. I don't like this film. This film is a bit unrealistic

00:53:58   since the existence of dinosaurs has not been proven. There may be some bones, but these

00:54:02   are easy enough to fake. Yeah. That's the review of Jurassic World. Ghost Rider, five

00:54:07   Good flick. My son is five and loves this movie. I had to get him six feet of chain

00:54:12   from Home Depot. Because the ghostwriter has chains. Yeah, so anyway, it's an amazing

00:54:20   Twitter account and I recommend it, but it is an example where a lot of fives, a lot

00:54:24   of ones, you know, and what I'm not trying to do is say people don't have the right

00:54:31   to write a review. I guess what I'm saying is writing reviews is hard, and writing good

00:54:36   reviews is harder, and a lot of internet things that want you to write reviews don't really

00:54:42   care if you exert effort, which is good because most people don't want to exert the effort

00:54:47   to do it. And so you end up with weird reviews, and you end up with the axe grinders who are

00:54:51   the ones who push through, like their anger will fuel them.

00:54:54   Steve McLaughlin Activist, activist reviewers.

00:54:56   Jared Ranere Exactly right. And so it becomes problematic,

00:54:59   huh, there's that word again, because it's just-

00:55:03   Steve McLaughlin I'm going to shame you out of that one.

00:55:05   No, you know what? The reason I use the word problematic is because I feel like I can't

00:55:09   say why it's bad because there's so many different vectors of badness in it that you start to

00:55:14   pull them apart and it's like, can I give you a list of all the ways that this is bad?

00:55:18   Because there's so many of them. It's just like, it's hard to ask people to write a review.

00:55:23   We're Americans and so we nominally believe in a sense of fair play and justice and equal

00:55:26   access to things. So it's nice that anybody, I mean, I'm not being sarcastic. It's great

00:55:31   that everybody gets a vote on stuff. I think that's really good. But the problem is like,

00:55:35   This is one, this was one from memory.

00:55:38   Who was it, was it, oh, was it Wilson Miner?

00:55:41   Was one of the, whoever made Every Block.

00:55:44   Every Block was this great app that would aggregate

00:55:46   all kinds of local information about your neighborhood.

00:55:49   And it was only available in a few cities,

00:55:51   but it was so great, 'cause you could go in

00:55:52   and you could find honest stuff, like police activity,

00:55:55   like all stuff from public records in this beautiful site.

00:55:58   And at one point, I think they rebooted it.

00:56:02   And it was only available in four cities.

00:56:04   and it's said in giant, giant letters

00:56:06   in the description of the app.

00:56:07   This will only work if you are in San Francisco,

00:56:10   Boston, Phoenix, do not download this app

00:56:13   if you don't live in one of these cities.

00:56:15   Hand to God, one of the first reviews,

00:56:17   "One Star, not available in my city,

00:56:19   "guess I should have read the description."

00:56:22   - So they're reviewing themselves then.

00:56:25   - And one of my other favorites,

00:56:26   I don't know if you see this much anymore,

00:56:27   do you remember this a few years back,

00:56:28   "One Star, fixed for jailbreak."

00:56:31   - Yeah.

00:56:32   - You ever seen that one?

00:56:33   I jump break my phone it's like really vulnerable and broken now could you go

00:56:37   in and like make your work better with this

00:56:39   yeah the one of the things that we tried at one point to we don't know whether we

00:56:43   implemented or whether it was just on the list of things that didn't get

00:56:47   implemented by our development team not that I'm bitter but the idea of I think

00:56:53   there's a difference on the internet between asking people for ratings and

00:56:58   having them itunes does this you can rate a podcast without writing a review

00:57:02   And I think writing a review is really intimidating for a lot of people.

00:57:05   It also is asking for time. A lot of people aren't really confident writers,

00:57:09   let alone product reviewers or movie reviewers or podcast reviewers.

00:57:14   And a lot of sites make the mistake of wanting, of asking for text.

00:57:21   Like, giving us an integer out of five is not enough. We want your text.

00:57:26   And I feel like that is a step down the path

00:57:29   toward having a worse idea of the general sentiment

00:57:32   of something, because a lot of people are going to be like,

00:57:34   well, forget this.

00:57:35   It's like giving a survey.

00:57:36   I get those in email every now and then.

00:57:37   It was like, how did you like your interaction

00:57:39   with Hotels.com?

00:57:40   And it'll be like, it was good, it was bad, it was I don't care.

00:57:43   And you click on it, and it's like, OK, great.

00:57:45   Now we want to ask-- it opens a browser window and says,

00:57:47   let's ask you 20 other questions.

00:57:49   I'm like, I don't want to answer 20 questions.

00:57:51   We get that from my kid's school,

00:57:52   where it's like all this stuff about how satisfied we are

00:57:54   with diversity at the school with dozens of questions with one to four.

00:57:59   Oh, it's the worst. See? You're talking about quantifying.

00:58:02   Yeah, I mean, actually I'm really pleased with all of it, but I'm also kind of a size

00:58:06   queen about giving out fours and fives.

00:58:08   Yeah, exactly right. Even if you're pretty happy, you're going to pull down the average

00:58:11   because you're like, "Look, three is a positive review, okay?" And they're going to be like,

00:58:16   "No, if it's not five, the school shuts down."

00:58:20   - I wonder if there's ways though to introduce facets

00:58:23   in clever ways.

00:58:25   I mean, you know, there's all kinds of interesting stuff.

00:58:27   Like one thing I guess we should mention in passing is,

00:58:29   I didn't notice this at first,

00:58:30   but you're a pretty big Netflix user, right?

00:58:33   - Yeah.

00:58:34   - I mean, I remember for a long time,

00:58:35   Netflix was so ahead of the curve on so many things.

00:58:38   I remember back in the day it became kind of like a sport

00:58:41   to like rate movies, 'cause it would give you more to rate

00:58:43   and it would get better and better.

00:58:44   And back then it wasn't collaborative filtering

00:58:49   the way we think of it today, but it was definitely like using aggregate information.

00:58:52   Yes, they had a famous algorithm that would guess what rating you would give a movie based

00:58:59   on your ratings of other movies.

00:59:00   Right.

00:59:01   And they had a whole contest about like getting people to write a better algorithm that would

00:59:06   give somebody, you know, a team a million dollars if they could improve their algorithm

00:59:10   by a certain amount.

00:59:11   And back in the disk days, that was sort of important because they're trying to float

00:59:14   up like, "What disks should you get next?" and say, "We think you'll like this movie."

00:59:17   And it's still really relevant for streaming now.

00:59:20   Well, I mean, like one thing, two things I like, one thing I like is, and it is a fairly,

00:59:25   it's become a fairly blunt instrument.

00:59:27   It's not as useful as it used to be.

00:59:28   Maybe I don't know, it's too much stuff.

00:59:30   Maybe they know too much about me, but I like it when they say recommended because you watched

00:59:35   this.

00:59:36   I think that's kind of interesting.

00:59:37   Yeah.

00:59:38   And I really like it when you get to the detail page and it says, you know, recommend because

00:59:41   you like you, you like this certain thing or you like these kinds of movies.

00:59:44   - Well, we should find for notes the cheat sheet

00:59:46   for genres on Netflix.

00:59:49   You ever seen that?

00:59:50   - No.

00:59:50   - The full list of genres, like adult anime,

00:59:53   like there's like a ridiculous taxonomy

00:59:55   that's not exposed to the public,

00:59:57   but you can view them in a web browser.

00:59:58   I will find that for notes.

01:00:00   But what I didn't know about,

01:00:01   and I just discovered probably, I don't know,

01:00:03   in the last year, was that,

01:00:06   if I hope I'm getting this right,

01:00:07   tell me if I'm getting this wrong,

01:00:08   but when you're on Netflix and you're flipping around,

01:00:09   you're saying, "What am I gonna watch?

01:00:10   "What am I gonna watch?"

01:00:11   and you see the ratings for something,

01:00:14   apparently turns out those are the ratings

01:00:16   that people very much like you have given this.

01:00:20   - Right. - More to the point,

01:00:21   this is basically the rating they think you would give it.

01:00:23   Which is a fascinating idea to me.

01:00:25   - Yeah, it's, yeah, I've had that too.

01:00:28   I'm fascinated by the whole like, because you liked,

01:00:31   sometimes they'll say it's because you liked Primer.

01:00:33   Other times they'll be like,

01:00:34   because you like smart, mind-bending time travel movies,

01:00:38   and I'm like, okay, well I know what movie

01:00:40   talking about there. But it'll say, "Well, you should watch Safety Not Guaranteed."

01:00:44   And it's like, "Yes, I should. You're absolutely right. I should watch that movie. They have

01:00:47   a lot in common."

01:00:48   Give me all of the time travel news, please.

01:00:50   It's amazing that your computer can divine that, but quite right. It should. It should

01:00:57   be able to figure that one out. And it's helping. I do like it in that respect.

01:01:04   I crave facets. And so, just some quick examples. In terms of maybe what I wish were different

01:01:09   or what could be improved.

01:01:10   I sent you the list, by the way,

01:01:11   to the Netflix streaming genres.

01:01:13   How crazy is that list?

01:01:15   We'll just pull that up in a sec.

01:01:16   But, you know, I guess I just wish things like,

01:01:19   I mean, for Rotten Tomatoes-ish things,

01:01:21   or things where, like, especially if it's crowdsourced,

01:01:23   there's some dumb questions that you could ask

01:01:25   that actually might be really useful.

01:01:28   I would recommend this movie to my close friends,

01:01:31   yes or no.

01:01:32   This movie was better than I expected, yes or no.

01:01:36   It seems to me like, over time, those kinds of things

01:01:38   could actually be really useful.

01:01:40   And when it comes to products, I mean,

01:01:41   you've got to get all DP review on this.

01:01:43   Like, was this a good value?

01:01:45   How did you feel about the content

01:01:47   of the CD versus the packaging of the box set?

01:01:49   Because I've seen Pet Sounds get one star,

01:01:51   because people think it's been released too many times.

01:01:53   Oh, yeah.

01:01:54   That's bananas.

01:01:54   I love that.

01:01:55   I look at-- sometimes when I'm looking for a Blu-ray

01:01:57   or something, and you'll get-- what was it?

01:02:00   Is it digital bits?

01:02:02   So one of the Blu-ray review sites,

01:02:04   I always really liked it, because they gave two reviews.

01:02:06   They give a review of the content, which is like,

01:02:08   "Yes, I'm glad you liked "Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan."

01:02:11   Good for you.

01:02:12   Yes, it's a good movie."

01:02:12   And then they would do the release.

01:02:14   It's like, "Now, yes, please actually tell me

01:02:17   "what's good about this.

01:02:19   "Is this a good transfer and all of that?"

01:02:21   And you see that on Amazon, where it'll be like,

01:02:22   "I already had this," or, "Khan, it's great!"

01:02:26   It's like, "Okay, that doesn't tell me anything.

01:02:28   "I'm really specifically trying to find out

01:02:30   "if this new release is good or not."

01:02:31   And that comes back to knowing your audience.

01:02:34   But you're right, we talked about that at IDG

01:02:36   lot about could we ask questions to get signal on a product that was not just tell me how

01:02:41   numbered this product is, right? Like, give this product a number. But instead it's like,

01:02:45   was this, we showed that with games, like iOS games, we tried to do that. And it didn't

01:02:50   work very well because we didn't have enough users to do it. But it's like survey data

01:02:53   of like, was this game challenging? Was this game fun to play? Not just rate this game,

01:02:59   like ask a specific question about about the iOS game and that way we could say

01:03:06   users found this game challenging but fun to play or users found this game fun

01:03:12   but not very challenging and that's interesting and way more I feel like a

01:03:16   way better use of everybody's time then you be the reviewer give this a rating

01:03:23   out of five because totally totally yeah here's you know two sites I wouldn't I

01:03:28   I would appreciate you putting in notes.

01:03:30   Very different, but working toward the same thing.

01:03:32   One is Kids in Mind, and the other one

01:03:35   that you might have noticed popping up on Apple TV

01:03:38   is Common Sense Media.

01:03:40   - Oh yeah.

01:03:41   - And they, so Kids in Mind is,

01:03:43   I think this is an endlessly fascinating site.

01:03:45   It's a, it feels a little Christian-y,

01:03:47   definitely a little conservative,

01:03:48   but the notion is they go in and they review a movie

01:03:52   for three vectors, the amount of sex and nudity,

01:03:55   the amount of violence and gore,

01:03:56   the amount of profanity,

01:03:57   And then in a hilarious turn, they go through,

01:04:00   and in a very antiseptic way, describe every instance

01:04:03   of all of those things in the most hilarious way.

01:04:05   And yes, the Big Lebowski is in there.

01:04:07   So if you're worried about how much of those things

01:04:09   you might find offensive, and then want specifically

01:04:11   to know, Kids in Mind is good for that.

01:04:13   So the reason I mentioned Common Sense Media,

01:04:15   I think they might be a little better at it,

01:04:16   but they are doing something I wish more places would do,

01:04:19   which is facets, facets, facets.

01:04:21   So right now, I am on the page for Imperium,

01:04:23   which is this Daniel Radcliffe movie I watched last night.

01:04:27   They give it a rating of 17 plus,

01:04:30   so I guess it's R rated.

01:04:32   They give it a quality rating of three out of five stars.

01:04:34   Okay, good to know.

01:04:36   And then they have a section here

01:04:37   called What Parents Need to Know.

01:04:38   Positive messages of this movie, one to five.

01:04:41   Positive role models, one to five.

01:04:43   Violence, sex, language, consumerism,

01:04:46   drinking, drugs, and smoking.

01:04:47   Okay, so I'm not saying the way they're doing that

01:04:49   is perfect for every movie,

01:04:51   but something like that would be very welcome to me.

01:04:54   Even if it's an opinion,

01:04:55   I would like those facets to be there.

01:04:57   - I've used those reviews a lot to--

01:05:01   - Look, if you know your kid is afraid of scary music,

01:05:03   it's good to know that.

01:05:04   Like, your kid might be the toughest kid in the world,

01:05:06   but sometimes kids, there's certain things

01:05:08   that just set your kid off,

01:05:09   whether that's spiders, scary music, you know,

01:05:12   Slender Man, whatever it is,

01:05:13   knowing it's in there is good to know.

01:05:15   - Yeah, my high school pal, Jeff Anderson,

01:05:18   who used to be the movie critic

01:05:20   at the San Francisco Examiner,

01:05:22   back when it was a newspaper. He has his own site, Combustible Celluloid, and he used to

01:05:29   write the now streaming column for TechHive, which was great, and he writes for Common

01:05:33   Sense Media, too.

01:05:35   Oh, terrific.

01:05:36   And it's good, because he's a real movie critic, and he's able to say, like, I'm looking at

01:05:41   his review of Vice on Common Sense Media, which is great, because parents need to know

01:05:46   that Vice is a terrible sci-fi action film. It's very violent, there's a lot of sex,

01:05:52   There's a lot of bad language, but also it's a very bad movie with one star.

01:05:58   It's great knowing somebody who grew up to be a film critic is fantastic because I have

01:06:02   to say, knowing him in high school, he would see movies and rate them on a five-star scale.

01:06:06   He had internalized his star rating system as a teenager, and of course he ended up being

01:06:12   a movie critic.

01:06:14   But I had to learn the five-star rating system much later.

01:06:18   Some people just have that gene.

01:06:19   By the way, if you have kids, you might want to steer them away from The Big Lebowski.

01:06:22   It gets a 10 for profanity.

01:06:24   About 240 F-words, many scatological references, many anatomical references, many model settings.

01:06:30   They didn't even bother to go through the specific.

01:06:32   But they also offer discussion topics if you show it to your kid.

01:06:35   Kidnapping, pornography, marijuana use, the Vietnam and Gulf Wars.

01:06:38   Is there marijuana use in The Big Lebowski? Interesting.

01:06:41   I've seen that movie one time, by the way.

01:06:44   Oh dear.

01:06:45   Single time. I liked it.

01:06:46   Who are you, Scott McNulty?

01:06:48   I liked it, but I only saw it the one time and that was like four years ago.

01:06:51   It's about around about the same time I saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the only time that I've seen that.

01:06:55   Really? But what do you think?

01:06:57   Facets though, huh? I mean doesn't it seem like that's one way to kind of

01:07:00   Cut a lot of the stupid out of this?

01:07:03   Yeah, I agree. I think that's I think there's a tyranny in the empty box

01:07:07   Saying review this here in a lot of different ways, right? I think it's bad

01:07:12   I think I think it's bad for the person being asked to fill in the empty box and I don't think it really solves anything

01:07:18   And so, I mean, you, in our document, and we are going to move on here in a minute,

01:07:22   but in your document you talked about interesting case studies, and basically it's like examples,

01:07:26   and you mentioned the wire cutter, which does a lot of texting, puts a lot of context in.

01:07:29   They don't do ratings, but they do pick a winner, which is how they kind of stack it

01:07:33   up because their feeling is, "Who reads the wire cutter?"

01:07:36   And what they're saying is, "People who read the wire cutter want to know what to buy."

01:07:40   They don't want to know, like, the full--

01:07:41   - Their asterisks are not below the fold.

01:07:43   Their asterisks are the article.

01:07:44   - Yeah, well, that's true.

01:07:46   I have written a couple articles for them.

01:07:47   - It's absolutely true, and they're still building

01:07:49   their format as they learn what their business is,

01:07:51   and as they learn what their audience is,

01:07:53   but what they're not, they're not interested

01:07:55   in the cultural conversation about a film, right?

01:07:58   Wirecutter is interested in people who want to buy a product

01:08:02   in a category, but they don't know which product to buy,

01:08:04   and Wirecutter can say, "That one,"

01:08:06   or if you wanna spend a little bit of money

01:08:08   for something better, "That one,"

01:08:09   and that's all they wanna do, which is good,

01:08:12   because that's how they make their money,

01:08:14   is by click-throughs to buy those products on Amazon,

01:08:18   in large part.

01:08:19   But it's a great example of them putting a lot of work in

01:08:22   to understand their categories,

01:08:23   but also to think about what is the output.

01:08:26   And the output, saying something like,

01:08:28   somebody in the chat room was saying like,

01:08:30   oh, The Verge gave this 7.3,

01:08:32   and they gave this other one a 7.1,

01:08:34   which is like, Macworld did that

01:08:36   when I first started at Macworld,

01:08:37   is they had this essentially 100-point rating system.

01:08:40   And the fact was that there was no,

01:08:42   talking about levels of precision,

01:08:44   There was no level of precision to that point of 100.

01:08:47   Like there was a difference between a 6.8 and a 6.7.

01:08:49   Is there really a difference between those?

01:08:50   - Well, is your friend a significant figure?

01:08:52   - Significant figures, yes, significant figures.

01:08:53   It's just like, no, there's no way, there's no way, right?

01:08:56   So with Wirecutter, it is much more like a Cisco

01:08:59   and Ebert situation, which is like this one.

01:09:02   But it's not even like yes or no to this product.

01:09:04   It's like in this category, just buy this product.

01:09:06   And there is something freeing about that.

01:09:07   - If it's too different, they break it off.

01:09:09   - Exactly. - Where it'll be like,

01:09:10   it isn't just like here's the best TV to buy.

01:09:12   It's like here's the best TV to buy

01:09:13   they could say at the higher high-end or not just any like specific it could be

01:09:18   different kinds of knives or whatever but they if it's too big of a topic they

01:09:21   break it into pieces and it maintains its use exactly exactly right and they

01:09:24   and they and they saw that stuff which is not to say that there aren't issues

01:09:27   because having written a couple wire cutter pieces I mean it was a judgment

01:09:30   call in the end it was a judgment call I couldn't you know it's very a very rare

01:09:36   product where you can set up some measurements and press some buttons and

01:09:39   run some tests and have your answer

01:09:41   Most of the time you end up having to make a judgment call based on your experience and

01:09:45   your... and even even when you're pressing the buttons you have to decide what you want

01:09:49   to measure, which was when we had a lab back at Macworld and PC World.

01:09:54   You know, the lab is deciding what to measure and there's a great skill in that in figuring

01:09:57   out what the most appropriate measurements are and how to make them.

01:10:00   I mean it's no surprise that the Macworld lab is largely employed doing performance

01:10:09   marketing testing at Apple now, right? They were really good at coming up with tests. And so, yeah,

01:10:15   the test, the numbers were objective, but who made the test that measures the numbers? And

01:10:21   it's all, it's, you know, it's judgment calls all the way down, is what I'm saying. And turtles.

01:10:27   - Well played. - And turtles. Yeah, yeah. So I mean, if we're putting a button on this, I guess,

01:10:36   because people like buttons. You know, I guess as we can agree that people should watch

01:10:39   "Fateful Findings" with the great Neil Brady. It is an amazing, amazing film. Even with that coffee.

01:10:44   He does, and he's got lots of laptops that just don't work. And books. And books. I guess what I

01:10:51   would say about ratings is they're a tool to be used and disregarded by the people who look at

01:10:58   them. And so, as with so many things, if you're a savvy consumer, be aware of where those ratings

01:11:04   come from and who is writing them and how they're calculated in the case of something

01:11:09   like Rotten Tomatoes. I think that's a healthy thing in life. I mean, that is something that

01:11:12   I would say about anything from tech products to cultural things like movies to the way

01:11:20   that somebody like Nate Silver analyzes political polling.

01:11:24   Steven: Oh, great points. Yeah.

01:11:26   Jared: Nate Silver came out of the baseball analytics background. He was a baseball prospectus.

01:11:31   way that the people who do sapermetric stuff are looking at numbers and saying, "Hey,

01:11:38   this batting average doesn't seem like it's actually the best measure of whether somebody's

01:11:42   a good baseball player or not." And all of that, I mean, I just think it's healthy

01:11:46   for all of us to keep that in mind. What are the biases? What are the, where does this

01:11:51   number come from? Because the old joke is numbers never lie, you can't argue with

01:11:56   numbers. And the people who say that are generally people who know that the numbers always, they

01:12:01   lie and don't believe it when somebody tells you that. And I just feel like that in the

01:12:08   end you need to know what's in the sausage when it comes to reviews. And the other thing

01:12:13   I wanted to say in the button up here is I always took it as a great responsibility and

01:12:21   I did try to internalize what my rating system would be when I was rating a product.

01:12:24   You're asking people to spend $3,000, well not asking, but sure people are making $3,000,

01:12:28   $3,000, $5,000 decisions.

01:12:30   I gotta tell you, I don't want no pressure here,

01:12:31   but back in the day, that was, I mean,

01:12:33   the number of mice was the definitive review

01:12:36   for Apple stuff for me.

01:12:37   That was, I would read all the other ones,

01:12:38   but yours was the one, Macworld's was the one

01:12:41   that I would really put the most credibility into.

01:12:43   - And if you didn't like something,

01:12:45   you could potentially destroy somebody's business, right?

01:12:48   I mean, you could literally be like,

01:12:49   this is a piece of garbage, and they would never sell any,

01:12:51   and they would be done.

01:12:54   And so it's a great responsibility to do that.

01:12:56   all said, you know, the moment I got a chance to not give a rating to something anymore,

01:13:00   a numerical rating, I took it because I felt like the point of my reviews was not--we always

01:13:08   had this, like with OS X, I would review OS X every year and be like, "Are we rating this?"

01:13:12   And sometimes we did and sometimes we didn't, but it was like, "What's the point? What are

01:13:16   we comparing it to?" If OS X gets a 4 or a 3.5 or a 4.5, does anybody know or care?

01:13:25   What should you do differently?

01:13:26   Why would it be right?

01:13:28   I mean, would I change a word of my review?

01:13:31   No, I will say that after 20 years of editing reviews, I could re-review and say what the

01:13:35   rating was.

01:13:37   And if the rating wasn't what I thought it was, I would go back to the reviewer and say,

01:13:42   "Okay, we got a problem here."

01:13:44   Either – I know you gave this two and a half, but either this is a three or three

01:13:51   and a half and you just got the rating wrong and we'll change the rating or

01:13:56   your review is far too positive the words and you need to make it much more

01:14:01   clear about why you gave it two and a half out of five that's so frustrating

01:14:04   when they don't man and but it was something I could internalize it was

01:14:08   something that I you know and that was that was good because I would much

01:14:12   rather the rating on something come from like what Metacritic does come from the

01:14:16   words than from like a spreadsheet that you have tricked yourself into believing is totally

01:14:21   objective, but is in fact not remotely objective, because that happens a lot.

01:14:28   - I think we fixed it. - Okay, good. High five. Congratulations. Thanks, everybody. You're welcome.

01:14:33   - Oh, a lot of genres. - So many Netflix genres.

01:14:40   - Oh my goodness. Deep Sea horror movies. - Like, with Deep Blue Sea, I guess.

01:14:46   And the Abyss is not really a "well, well..."

01:14:50   I keep holding off on the Abyss because I know I can't get the right version and the right resolution, so I keep waiting. I've never seen it.

01:14:55   This is not on our list, but I love the Abyss.

01:14:58   I don't think we have time for anything else.

01:15:00   No, the Abyss Director's Edition. I saw it, I think, in a 70mm on Van Ness at the big, at the time, new theater on Van Ness.

01:15:15   S. Oh wow. And we came into the city to see it, and it was so great, because if you've

01:15:24   seen James Cameron's The Abyss and you've only seen the original theatrical release,

01:15:28   it's not very good. It has a really bad ending. And the special edition that he did on video

01:15:33   on VHS, and they did release in theaters briefly, is great. But apparently, James Cameron is

01:15:38   too busy making more Avatar movies to supervise the HD release of The Abyss special edition,

01:15:45   And there is an HD version that plays on HBO occasionally, but it's the stupid original version.

01:15:50   And it's kind of a shame. And yeah, I feel I want to do an incomparable episode about it,

01:15:53   but I really don't see the point if the only edition that you can get that's the good version of the movie is on VHS.

01:15:59   - Yeah, I've looked on the back of trucks. I can't find it. - No.

01:16:02   No, I got a VHS tape here. I can loan you, but I don't know if I have a VCR.

01:16:07   Um, yeah. Yeah.

01:16:10   I wanted to let's let's see we got we got I want to do one other topic really

01:16:16   quickly

01:16:17   maybe we'll skip over spoilers will come back to that circle back some other time

01:16:21   because I do want to follow up with you about reconcilable differences episode

01:16:24   30. Deploy me tactically again in the future because I'd love to talk about it.

01:16:27   I would love to talk about what you know I listen to your podcast I listen to

01:16:30   rectives especially and I feel like these are two people I know and you're

01:16:34   having this conversation about things that I don't ever talk about on podcast

01:16:37   even though I'm on a million podcasts,

01:16:39   these are the things you guys talk about

01:16:40   are not things I talk about,

01:16:41   just like Myke and Casey on Analog, right?

01:16:44   And I have a moment where I am doing

01:16:45   what every podcast listener does,

01:16:47   which is I'm talking back to,

01:16:49   I'm jogging up the bike path in Mill Valley,

01:16:52   and John is in one ear and Merlin's in the other,

01:16:55   and I'm like, "No, no, Merlin is wrong!"

01:16:58   Or, "John is wrong!"

01:16:59   - I always slough that off when people say that,

01:17:01   'cause I'm like, "Ah, whatever, I'm just talking."

01:17:03   But then I listened to a podcast

01:17:04   about Mr. Robot the other day,

01:17:06   and the guy kept calling Darlene Dolores,

01:17:08   and I was screaming, screaming at my iPhone.

01:17:12   I was like, this is what it's like to listen to me.

01:17:13   This is, you know, fair turnaround.

01:17:15   - Yeah, yeah.

01:17:15   So I would like at some point to talk to you about that,

01:17:19   'cause you talk about interesting stuff

01:17:20   that I don't necessarily get to on my other podcast,

01:17:22   and you talked about spoilers in Rec. Diff's 30.

01:17:24   People could listen to that.

01:17:25   Spoilers for the concept of spoilers on that episode.

01:17:30   But maybe we should jump ahead.

01:17:33   I wanted to just mention some,

01:17:34   were talking about, you mentioned Common Sense Media, and one of the notes I had was about

01:17:39   showing adult things to kids, and I just wanted to mention, at least anecdotally, so we were

01:17:43   going to do an episode of The Incomparable about Alien, and it was going to be this morning,

01:17:47   and we ended up, some people couldn't make it, so we pushed it off a couple of weeks,

01:17:50   but we watched Alien on Saturday night. After we raided our dinner, we watched Alien. What

01:17:56   a night to be alive, let me tell you, in the Snell house.

01:17:58   - Things are blowing up at Shaysnail. - So we're watching Alien, we're going to

01:18:02   alien and Julian refused which I find fascinating because he apparently has

01:18:07   looked everything up on the internet this is a he's a very 21st century kid

01:18:11   because he was like oh no that's scary you know what happens that movie the

01:18:15   alien comes out of a guy's chest spoilers for alien which was made in

01:18:18   1979 by the way alien comes out of this guy's chest shame it's really scary and

01:18:23   gross and we're like doing what do you want to see these like no it's too

01:18:26   scary so he knows all about it but doesn't want to see it whereas Jamie

01:18:29   Amy doesn't know about it and wants to see it, and she's 14. I feel like it's a perfectly

01:18:36   right age for her to start seeing movies that are a little bit rougher. I've been hesitant

01:18:41   for a while, but at this point it's really more that her little brother usually is around

01:18:46   and we are nipping off what she's allowed to watch because he's in the room. But this

01:18:52   was a case where we're like, "You know what, Julian? If you want to be scared out of your

01:18:55   mind by the alien, you can do it. Knowing full well that he's going to be like, "No,

01:19:00   I'm going to be in my room." And so we watched it. And it was just funny because it is an

01:19:06   R-rated horror movie. And she ended up asking Lauren to come on the couch with her. Lauren

01:19:13   was sitting next to me on our little chair. And my teenager asked her mom to come over

01:19:18   and sit with her to give her some support.

01:19:21   She can't prepare people for is the tension.

01:19:24   It's just, you know, that's the thing about a great movie like that is that, yeah, sure,

01:19:29   I mean, there are some famous scenes in that movie where there's a big scare, but like,

01:19:33   it's just that music, the tension, the hallways, it's just, it's unbearable.

01:19:37   Yeah, I mean, she laughed when the alien comes out of John Hurt's chest and runs out.

01:19:43   She laughed because it's a puppet.

01:19:45   It's a ridiculous puppet.

01:19:47   It's much better later, but that scene is like, you know, it might as well be Kermit

01:19:50   the frog running across here. - And there's one shot at the very end in the otherwise just stunning

01:19:56   third act of that movie. There is a scene when the guy in the suit's kinda flapping around,

01:20:00   and you're like, "Oh, come on, you're showing him too much. You're doing a Jaws on me here. Show me less, show me less."

01:20:04   - Exactly.

01:20:05   - But then in Aliens, in Aliens, the second one, they got a lot better. They are way more menacing

01:20:10   as like moving around characters in the second one. - Yeah. Yeah. - What a good movie.

01:20:14   - But anyway, that was that moment. - It's so hard to know, 'cause every kid is--

01:20:19   I find this topic endlessly, yeah, I find it endlessly fascinating because every kid

01:20:23   is so different and you could have the kid that is the toughest kid in the world about

01:20:26   almost everything except this one thing and on top of it all you don't want to scar them.

01:20:29   But like I made that crack about scary music. I have a bunch of friends whose kids are otherwise

01:20:34   totally normal kids but as soon as they hear some cellos like while they're looking at

01:20:39   a dark forest, game over, shut it all down.

01:20:41   - Yeah, Julian's like that. He, to the point where, because we'll watch Doctor Who, right,

01:20:46   and it's got scary stuff in it too, but the thing that gets in is not the scary aliens

01:20:50   it's the scary tense music and he used to run out of the room when he hears scary music and stuff and

01:20:55   And now he even though he's now 12 years old. He will put his hands over his ears

01:21:01   Like it's okay to watch it, but I'm not gonna listen to the music and then he'll take the hands back off again for my kid

01:21:08   I think it's jump scares. It's uh, you know, I

01:21:11   Aliens got those.

01:21:12   Well, they got a couple.

01:21:14   But yeah, anything where something pops into the screen or, you know, I started getting

01:21:19   good at this when I was about 13, which is like, even though I didn't have the vocabulary

01:21:22   for it, I go, "Hmm, that's kind of an odd camera angle."

01:21:25   In the years before Mr. Robot, you go, "Boy, that seems like a lot of white space in the

01:21:29   upper right area."

01:21:31   Why so tight on Ripley as she's turning around?

01:21:34   Yeah, right.

01:21:35   Why not give that a little more headroom?

01:21:37   "Oh, is it because there's an alien right behind her that's about to be revealed?"

01:21:40   Yes.

01:21:41   - Yeah, I'm with you because there's so many struggles

01:21:44   to this where like, and a lot of it's just dumb and selfish,

01:21:46   which is like, I think you'd really enjoy this.

01:21:49   We're going through this a little bit with books right now

01:21:51   where I've been buying my daughter some books

01:21:53   that are a little old for her,

01:21:55   just kind of having them around

01:21:56   that if she wants to discover some nerd books,

01:21:58   they're there.

01:21:59   We've been reading Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at night.

01:22:01   I got her a copy of Ender's Game.

01:22:03   Her mom and her are reading A Wrinkle in Time.

01:22:04   I've been trying to get her some kind of classic nerd books

01:22:07   just to have around.

01:22:08   And it's very difficult to know,

01:22:10   I don't want to push, but I also wanted to be able to read it as a new reader of that

01:22:17   and then come back to it and go, "Oh." You know what I mean? We get those successive

01:22:21   layers of like, "Oh, now I get that. Now I really get that." I see why that's what

01:22:25   they mean by nailing a guy to a tree. Now I know what that means. But it's hard to

01:22:30   know. What's your guidepost for these things?

01:22:33   - Well, so Lauren is a children's librarian.

01:22:37   So this is her job.

01:22:39   I mean, essentially her job is to know what the books are

01:22:43   and gauge the kids' ages and interests

01:22:47   and sort of what they're up to

01:22:48   and then try to put it all together.

01:22:50   So I'm fascinated by that because she,

01:22:52   so she, that is actually a big part of her job

01:22:56   is a kid comes in and she has to sort of quiz them

01:22:58   about what they've read and what they liked

01:23:00   and know what's out there.

01:23:01   Um, I... it's funny, 'cause you mentioned in our notes, you mentioned the scene in Ghostbusters,

01:23:08   where Dan Aykroyd crosses his eyes and falls off the bed.

01:23:11   Absolutely. As unnecessary as it was unsuccessful.

01:23:15   Apparently, the story is that that was supposed to be in the movie as part of the plot, and they're like, "No."

01:23:20   And they, instead, they added it to be part of the montage,

01:23:24   because that was going to be a wacky, ghost sex scene,

01:23:28   and they're like, "No, Danny, we're not gonna do that. We'll just put it in the montage."

01:23:32   But my argument for that scene is very much my argument for a lot of books, thinking about the

01:23:37   books that I read as a kid, too, which is, I think when you're so young and innocent that you don't

01:23:43   want to expose them to concepts that are problematic, huh? See? Look what I did there.

01:23:47   I think—thank you—I think if they're really young and innocent like that, they're not gonna

01:23:56   to get it because I didn't get the the ghost thing in Ghostbusters I didn't go

01:24:02   to go to go the ghost job in Ghostbusters I did not stop I did not

01:24:06   it's a ghost job well the ghost could have lots of jobs Berlin come on don't

01:24:10   be normative I didn't get it I didn't get it until I was much older and then I

01:24:13   watched the movie and I was like that's what that is because at the time I just

01:24:17   thought it was wacky that that that his pants got unzipped and he fell off his

01:24:21   bed. And that was just the thing. And I just never did that great silly. Exactly. It never

01:24:26   he's like that. It never occurred to me. And there's books that I read that are because

01:24:31   because there's there's stuff that's explicit, right? And then there's also stuff that's

01:24:34   like suggestive. And the great thing about things that are suggestive is it flies right

01:24:38   over your head. And so my worries about my kids and what they've been exposed to, it's actually

01:24:43   I actually am a lot less worried about it than I was when I started as a parent, because I've seen

01:24:49   it happen too many times now where if they're old enough to get it, they'll get it. And

01:24:54   if they're not old enough to get it, they don't get it. And it's fine.

01:24:58   A lot of times they're queuing off of our reaction, you know, "What's your fascination

01:25:02   with Daddy's forbidden closet of mystery?" You know, it's when we get really keyed up

01:25:06   about things that I think that's what they remember. It's like whether or not they realize

01:25:10   that I think kids make a mental note of what punches their parents' buttons. Even if they

01:25:15   don't understand it, they can look to us and know that we're freaked out about it.

01:25:18   hidden closet of mystery is full of comic books by the way. At least in this house.

01:25:24   We were watching, sometimes we'll just go through jags where like, well it's not really

01:25:28   official TV time yet but like maybe we'll watch some music videos and so we'll

01:25:31   frequently watch like OK Go videos or what we both enjoy is My Chemical Romance

01:25:37   and we were watching, yeah that's right I'm 50, I like My Chemical Romance, but we're

01:25:44   watching that video for I'm Not OK which has, which is a really good song, really

01:25:48   It's a really good video, but it's got a couple things in it

01:25:50   that are a little dodgy, and sometimes she'll offer up

01:25:53   what her explanation is for something,

01:25:55   and it's wrong, and I'm relieved,

01:25:57   but I still feel bad that she's looking at it.

01:25:59   Same thing with Parks and Rec,

01:26:00   which is like our absolute go-to show

01:26:03   for the last few months.

01:26:04   We're like, you know, and in that case,

01:26:06   I think you're right, it's suggestive.

01:26:07   It's not like too on the nose,

01:26:09   but like when Tom's talking about condoms or something,

01:26:12   and we don't shy away from it,

01:26:13   but now it's funny though,

01:26:13   'cause now I think she has seen us tense up a little bit,

01:26:16   So the one where Chris and Ann are talking about, you know, getting the sample, she grabs

01:26:21   the remote and fast forwards.

01:26:22   She's like, "Oh, we could skip over this."

01:26:25   Anything that's even remotely romantic, Julian just wants to like leave the room or forward

01:26:31   or skip or something.

01:26:32   Enjoy it.

01:26:33   Enjoy it while you can.

01:26:34   I know.

01:26:35   He's 12.

01:26:36   They grow up so fast.

01:26:37   Want to do some Ask Upgrade before we go?

01:26:38   I would love that.

01:26:39   All right.

01:26:40   It's time for #AskUpgrade.

01:26:41   Ask Upgrade.

01:26:42   Thank you.

01:26:43   Very, very nicely done.

01:26:46   uh... eric wrote in saying i waited all year for a new twelve point nine inch

01:26:49   ipad pro should i finally by

01:26:51   or painfully wait

01:26:53   for twenty seventeen

01:26:56   all signs eric point to painfully waiting for twenty seventeen it sounds

01:26:59   very much like apples decided that

01:27:02   flawless for iphones

01:27:03   and spring is for ipads

01:27:06   like boat

01:27:08   what else and uh... you know i i i i i realize that you're propped up by big

01:27:11   ipad on a lot of these shows what's so big i can just lean back on it and it

01:27:15   props me up. Well, funny thing, I popped for the big one and, which sounds terrible, I popped for

01:27:21   the big one and I liked it. Most young kids, that'll just go right over their heads though.

01:27:25   Just suggestive. It's not a ghost beach. But like, you've seen this go around and around and around

01:27:32   in the slack where it's like, there are people who are like, "Well, you know, you asked me anything

01:27:38   about the iPad Pro. It's so big." Yeah, but what about, you know what? It is so big. I gave it to

01:27:44   My wife, she loves it.

01:27:45   - I love mine.

01:27:46   - She loves the giant one.

01:27:47   She watched all the Stranger Things on it last night.

01:27:50   She watched the entire Stranger Things yesterday.

01:27:52   And I bought the smaller one,

01:27:55   and it's already up there with the SE30 for me.

01:27:58   Like, it's up there in the Apple Hall of Fame.

01:28:00   'Cause now I can thumb type again

01:28:01   without all my words having commas in them.

01:28:04   It's perfect for me.

01:28:05   So my question to you, Jason Snell,

01:28:06   what is this, our listener Eric,

01:28:09   what is it he should be waiting for?

01:28:13   In other words, what's he going to miss out on if he buys one now?

01:28:15   I think the problem with this is he waited all year for a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

01:28:18   All years suggest that Eric was waiting in January when the iPad Pro had only been out

01:28:22   for like a month or two.

01:28:25   And you know, you shouldn't have just bought it in January.

01:28:31   I think, yeah, will there be new models that are a little bit better come next year?

01:28:35   Yeah, almost certainly.

01:28:36   But there's so...

01:28:37   You shouldn't wait a year because there always will be a next year's model.

01:28:41   Always.

01:28:42   - I'm not hobbled by Jason's legacy of assigning mice

01:28:44   to things, so I was just gonna say,

01:28:46   like if you can really use it,

01:28:47   and you can probably really use it,

01:28:49   if you can use it, I would say go test out the different

01:28:51   ones, make sure it's the one you really love.

01:28:53   In my case, I'm a big proponent of the smaller one,

01:28:56   but the big one is very, very special as a device.

01:28:59   But if you can use it, I would say don't wait too long.

01:29:01   I mean, I bought the giant, giant one,

01:29:03   'cause I'm gonna use this thing forever.

01:29:05   - Yeah, and they do last, and I don't feel when I'm using

01:29:08   the 12.9 inch iPad Pro that I'm like, oh boy,

01:29:10   only this thing we're just a little bit better and I don't think it's going to

01:29:13   be kind of like blowing everybody away better in the spring anyway it'll be

01:29:17   better you have a faster processor. Well you know when they put out the iPad Air 2 and we all

01:29:21   thought my goodness what could the reason possibly be for making this so

01:29:24   powerful we learned with iOS 9 why that is. Yeah. It's on the public beta of iOS 10

01:29:29   on everything and boy it just keeps getting better the stuff like split view

01:29:35   and Safari. Oh I did I used that for the first time today and I just had a moment. You gotta turn it

01:29:39   - You can do it sideways, I forgot you always got

01:29:41   a short sideways. - It's just brain melting.

01:29:43   - But stuff like that and the now getting split view

01:29:46   with Google Docs, and the thing is that you don't

01:29:49   appreciate on the bigger iPad is the,

01:29:52   you can kind of pull over to get like a little view

01:29:54   into something, if it's a compatible app.

01:29:56   You pull further over, now hey, you got the whole thing,

01:29:58   you can go over to halfway, then you can,

01:30:00   it's just like once you get, it's going to take a while

01:30:02   to get used to doing that, but once you do,

01:30:04   like using Siri, like dictation,

01:30:06   it's going to be hard to ever look back.

01:30:08   got it's a great device I love mine I really do we've got so there are three

01:30:13   in the document right now people can't see this because people who listen can't

01:30:17   look in the document there's three questions here I want to answer one of

01:30:21   those which one would you like us to address we don't have time for all three

01:30:25   those middle three listener Dan listen Dan says you both have daughters I have

01:30:29   one year until mine starts kindergarten what should I make time to do with her

01:30:34   before then. What do you got? It's a hard one. I'll jump in. I think

01:30:48   there's a funny line to walk with with kids stuff and family stuff

01:30:52   where like I feel like there's a lot of pressure to have family things and stuff

01:30:57   and traditions and let's go read a book about like what to do on Valentine's Day

01:31:01   and there's so much pressure to that stuff but what I'll say is this like

01:31:04   discover the organic emerging patterns

01:31:06   that are already there,

01:31:07   and then just officialize them a little bit.

01:31:09   So I think really dumb, obvious stuff,

01:31:11   but that's a perfect age to start having a place,

01:31:14   and we're here talking about a dad and a daughter.

01:31:16   So if there's a daddy-daughter place,

01:31:18   become aware of that and make that part of daddy-daughter day

01:31:21   like have that be a place

01:31:22   that both of you look forward to going to.

01:31:24   And especially if it could be something

01:31:26   as simple as a library or ideally not just shopping,

01:31:30   but someplace, a destination where you both like to be

01:31:32   with rituals associated with it.

01:31:35   I still, me more than her probably,

01:31:38   but dumb stuff, like for two years we had a bookmobile

01:31:41   while our library was being redone

01:31:42   and we would always get a book and go read it

01:31:44   in this little area in the woods.

01:31:46   Like silly stuff like that is really fun.

01:31:48   I think having a certain,

01:31:50   I know you're really good at this,

01:31:51   having a certain meal that you really like making together

01:31:55   will always be fun.

01:31:56   And then this one's kind of silly and corny,

01:31:59   But if there are other people in your house,

01:32:02   like say a mom in this case especially,

01:32:05   start a tradition, or you may already have a tradition,

01:32:08   but turn it, semi-officialize it into a random,

01:32:11   arbitrary nice thing that we do sometimes for no reason.

01:32:14   So maybe that could be in my, this is really silly,

01:32:17   who cares, my daughter likes making my wife a fancy water.

01:32:19   So we'll make her like a spot, like a nice glass with ice,

01:32:22   you put in lemon, you put in cucumber,

01:32:24   you know, she's eight, give her a break.

01:32:25   She's really into that and she brings it in on a tray.

01:32:27   and it never doesn't delight my wife.

01:32:29   So find something, a little dumb, cheap thing

01:32:32   that delights the other people in the family

01:32:34   and make that something you and your daughter do.

01:32:36   - And I will go just a little more pragmatic

01:32:39   and say one of the beautiful things

01:32:41   about when a child is not in school

01:32:42   is that they're available all the time,

01:32:45   which means that if you're working a regular kind of job,

01:32:48   I would say taking a morning or taking a day

01:32:53   and doing something on a weekday

01:32:54   that is harder to do on the weekend

01:32:57   something that you can do when they're not in school that you can't do like we

01:33:00   would do we would go my wife at the time wasn't working at that time I don't know

01:33:06   if she was working at all and so she would do it a lot I would do it

01:33:09   occasionally but she would take our daughter to the zoo to the San Francisco

01:33:13   Zoo and sometimes with some other families or we meet other families there

01:33:17   and that was apparently that scene is a whole lot better on Tuesday

01:33:26   at one in the afternoon or when the one is going to be nap time on Tuesday at

01:33:30   10 in the morning. It's so fun. You walk right in you just you can run the place

01:33:35   The only thing is make sure it's not the free day

01:33:37   You don't want to go on free day if you remember because boy is it full but no

01:33:41   I think it's a great one or a ball game something like that something that you you know, once they're in school

01:33:45   That's gonna be your responsibility to have them go in school and you can you can play hooky or take the day off

01:33:51   But you can't really do that with your kid

01:33:53   I mean you can but it's a lot harder and there's a lot of guilt attached. So this past summer went so fast

01:33:59   I mean, we're already back in school. We're about to start the second week of school and it's it's just stunning

01:34:05   It's like I just remember saying goodbye to you and I'll see her last like, you know, she's in third grade now

01:34:10   So she's got this whole like rogues gallery of former teachers. I see and it's like I mean it goes fast

01:34:15   last question

01:34:17   Lucas

01:34:18   Asks, what's your favorite episode of Doctor Who?

01:34:22   - Ask me anything.

01:34:24   This one is hard.

01:34:25   - I know, right?

01:34:26   - I mean, in some ways, I'm fighting it

01:34:28   because the answer is so blindingly obvious to me,

01:34:30   but it's mostly for kind of sentiment.

01:34:33   "Day of the Doctor."

01:34:34   - "Day of the Doctor."

01:34:34   - I love, love, love "Day of the Doctor."

01:34:36   - You just watch that as like comfort food, right?

01:34:38   - Oh, I do.

01:34:39   I just watched it the other day.

01:34:40   Somebody, this is one of those things where like,

01:34:41   if somebody mentions like Radiohead,

01:34:43   I have to go listen to OK Computer.

01:34:45   If somebody mentions talking about

01:34:47   good Doctor Who episodes, and I just go in,

01:34:49   I just go straight through the scene with the,

01:34:50   "No, sir, all 13." And I'm crying.

01:34:53   You know, never cowardly or cruel, never give up, never give in.

01:34:56   It's the biggest... It's not a good first episode,

01:34:59   but the payoff in that episode just keeps coming and coming and coming,

01:35:02   and it's delightful on so many levels, if you like anything about Doctor Who at all.

01:35:06   - Um, you know, John Hurt, he's an alien, too.

01:35:10   - The war doctor, absolutely.

01:35:12   - Yeah, I blew my daughter's mind when I said that's the old guy from the Doctor Who episode.

01:35:16   - He's also Ollivander. He's Ollivander.

01:35:18   - Yeah, so for me, yeah, why you have to be so mean, Lucas.

01:35:23   I think, I'm torn, I like, you know,

01:35:29   I like choosing episodes that are not the ones

01:35:32   that everybody chooses, so I'm not gonna say like Blink

01:35:34   or something like that, even though I really do love Blink.

01:35:38   I'm gonna choose Midnight, which I would argue is,

01:35:43   that's a David Tennant episode by Russell T. Davis.

01:35:46   I would argue-- - Who's the companion?

01:35:47   Well, it's Donna, but she's not in it other than like the bracketing scenes. It's just David Tennant.

01:35:53   And that's the one where they go off in the space truck and it breaks down in the middle of nowhere in the uninhabited--

01:35:58   Oh, is this like the box episode? It's all inside the--

01:36:01   It's so good.

01:36:02   And I would say it is, like Blink actually, Twilight Zone level writing. Like, it feels like a Twilight Zone episode.

01:36:12   - And all in one, you don't need to know all of the history

01:36:16   and the tapestry of Doctor Who, like Blink,

01:36:18   you can just go in and appreciate this.

01:36:20   It's really great to compare to Twilight Zone.

01:36:22   - It's chilling, it's about human nature.

01:36:23   You could, literally the camera could flip around.

01:36:26   Instead of him going back and talking to Donna

01:36:27   about what just happened, the camera could flip around

01:36:29   and Rod Serling could tell you something

01:36:31   about human nature in that episode,

01:36:33   and it is a beautiful thing.

01:36:34   And my runner up is probably Vincent and the Doctor

01:36:38   for similar reasons, which is like it's an anti--

01:36:39   - Oh, I cry and cry.

01:36:40   - It's an anti-Doctor Who episode,

01:36:42   there's an obligatory plot about an invisible chicken alien there, but it really is about

01:36:47   depression and about understanding Vincent Van Gogh, if you want to get something in

01:36:53   your throat.

01:36:54   - But then they go and they talk to Bill Nighy and they cry and cry.

01:36:56   - That's the thing is it does what no other Doctor Who episode bothers to do, which is

01:37:00   they meet a historical figure who's Vincent who is depressed and they know is going to

01:37:05   kill himself very soon.

01:37:07   - Yeah, and he's never going to amount to anything and nobody will remember him.

01:37:10   because he like somebody like Emily Dickinson and he's a tragic historical

01:37:13   figure who's considered to be one of the greatest if not the greatest artist of

01:37:16   all time one of the greatest writers of all time somebody like Emily Dickinson

01:37:19   but never had any praise in Vincent's case like sold one painting and in the

01:37:25   episode it like the plot ends with like 10 minutes left and you're like what are

01:37:29   they doing and the answer is they take Vincent by the hand take him to the

01:37:32   future walk into the art gallery with all of his paintings in it talk to Bill

01:37:36   Na'i, who is the curator of the art gallery, and says, "Tell me your opinion of Vincent

01:37:40   Van Gogh." And he says he's the greatest artist that humanity has ever created.

01:37:45   And nobody's ever done anything like what he's done, and Vincent's just sitting there

01:37:48   hearing this like...

01:37:49   And so like finally, you know, it's like you will be remembered and appreciated for the

01:37:52   work that you did in your life. And they take him back, and of course the other part of

01:37:56   it is, the tragedy of it is, he had a mental illness and he did kill himself. And I think

01:38:03   That is a beautiful message about, although tragic, it's a beautiful message about depression

01:38:08   is not something that can be reasoned away, even with something as reasonable as "you

01:38:12   will be known as the greatest artist ever."

01:38:15   It's like, he was shown that and it didn't matter because of who he was and the disease

01:38:20   that he was struggling with.

01:38:21   So that's a beautiful episode.

01:38:24   But Midnight is probably my number one.

01:38:26   But it's like, what's the last day of attendance?

01:38:28   At the end of time?

01:38:29   Yeah, yeah.

01:38:30   the end of time where it's like something, something, something, you know, Syrian, Syrian,

01:38:36   Syrian. There's a whole bunch of blah, blah, there's some really kind of crappy TV show,

01:38:41   and then the ending, the last part is so good. Don't you think with that one?

01:38:45   - Before that, it's a terrible episode, and then the last 20 minutes is like the goodbye

01:38:49   part, and the goodbye part is great. - Oh, it's just crushing. Did you say that

01:38:53   when you're waiting in line at the museum, they play that his I don't want to go thing on repeat?

01:38:58   - Yes, at the Doctor Who experience,

01:39:00   which I went to when it was in London,

01:39:01   now it's in Cardiff,

01:39:02   they play that last two minutes on a loop

01:39:05   where he walks into the TARDIS and says,

01:39:07   "I don't wanna go," and it explodes and all that,

01:39:09   and then it just starts again and again,

01:39:11   and you're standing in that room for like 20, 30 minutes.

01:39:13   - Why, that's so brutal!

01:39:15   All the things you could show,

01:39:16   why don't you show Christopher Eccles

01:39:18   has been celebrating?

01:39:19   - I'm sure they do that now.

01:39:20   I'm sure they've moved on from that,

01:39:21   but boy, that was a thing.

01:39:23   So that's upgrade.

01:39:25   We talked about a lot of stuff.

01:39:26   It was a little change of pace.

01:39:27   what happens when Myke's not here and when we're one of you deployment yeah I

01:39:31   appreciate it the tech thank you so much for having me on I never miss an episode

01:39:34   and it's an honor to sit in thanks a million for having them thank you so much

01:39:38   for taking time to be here of course you can hear Merlin on all his many podcasts

01:39:43   including Reconcilable Differences with John Syracuse are right here there's

01:39:46   that you're on the back to work you're on the rhetoric on the line you got your

01:39:50   you're all over the place these days but I am but rectus is the one here at relay

01:39:54   Thank you to our sponsors Ring and Mack Weldon. Thanks to everybody out there for listening. Myke will be back next week

01:40:00   I think we may actually be back to drafting

01:40:03   Apple event topics next week. We'll see but until then thanks to everybody for listening. We'll see you next week

01:40:11   Say goodbye Jason

01:40:13   Goodbye, Jason

01:40:16   You cut that out probably

01:40:19   Say goodbye Merlin

01:40:23   No, I will not.

01:40:24   I will not.

01:40:24   level not

01:40:26   [Music]