139: Artisanally-Raised, Hand-Crafted Yaks


00:00:00   (upbeat music)

00:00:02   Welcome to Connected, episode 139.

00:00:11   The show is brought to you this week by Encapsula,

00:00:14   Blue Apron, and TextExpander

00:00:16   from our friends at Smile Software.

00:00:18   My name is Stephen Hackett, and I'm joined this week

00:00:20   by my co-host, Federico Vittucci.

00:00:23   - Hello, hi.

00:00:25   - Hey buddy.

00:00:26   - How are you?

00:00:27   - I'm good, we are mic-less today.

00:00:28   I was just with Myke in Atlanta, we're gonna get to that in a minute, but he just got back

00:00:33   to his house like an hour ago or something, so he is, I think, dead.

00:00:39   So just me and you.

00:00:40   But we have a special guest for at least part of the show this week in the very handsome,

00:00:45   shockingly tall Casey Liss.

00:00:48   That's not even true.

00:00:49   Federico's taller than I am, but hello gentlemen, how are you?

00:00:51   Am I?

00:00:52   I don't know.

00:00:53   Oh, there we go.

00:00:54   I feel like, so the listeners will, you can picture this in your mind's eye.

00:00:58   If you're driving, keep your eyes on the road.

00:01:02   But if you're at home, close your eyes and imagine Casey and Federico meeting at WWDC.

00:01:07   And one of the first things they did was stand back to back to see who was taller.

00:01:10   I think Federico edged him out.

00:01:12   How can you even remember this?

00:01:13   Yeah, I don't remember that at all.

00:01:15   It was amazing.

00:01:17   I think I was just swimming in Federico's Italian charm and in time had no meaning.

00:01:23   It both stood still and ran much faster than it ever has before.

00:01:27   This is so much more romantic that it actually happened.

00:01:32   I'm not sure this is the truth at all, but it's good to have you on Showcase.

00:01:35   It's how I remember it. Yeah, so we could call me Myke-less today if you'd like, but yeah,

00:01:41   that, well, we'll, we'll, we'll, we'll, tad jokes, they're a thing. But we have some things to discuss,

00:01:47   Federico, you and me. We have some stuff to talk about.

00:01:49   Okay, sure.

00:01:51   So I'm going to set the stage, I'm going to set the stage before you two get into this. So this

00:01:56   This is the follow-up section of the show.

00:01:59   We're going to have a new term.

00:02:00   If someone comes on the show to share their follow-up directly

00:02:04   with us because email is too hard, it is called Follow On.

00:02:08   And so that is added to the--

00:02:10   Lexicon.

00:02:11   --the great list of follow-up derivatives,

00:02:15   follow-up, of course, being copyright John Saracusa of 2011.

00:02:19   So we spoke last week about Plex,

00:02:21   which is, for those who may not be familiar,

00:02:23   it is a media management software.

00:02:25   It has a server component so you can serve media out to the internet.

00:02:28   So if you are traveling, you can watch something on your home Synology.

00:02:33   Or if you're me, you can watch the stuff in Casey's library because you're too lazy to

00:02:37   set one up for yourself.

00:02:38   And I believe Federico says some things about Plex that Casey didn't agree with.

00:02:42   And so we thought it would be fun just to talk about this a little bit right now.

00:02:48   So do you want me to just start or Federico, would you like an opening statement of any

00:02:51   sort or should we just start tangoing?

00:02:54   Yes, please allow me the opening statement, which is I think I said that, especially if

00:03:00   you're a parent and you want to manage this collection, this library of video files, you

00:03:06   don't want to pay for a lot of content, it makes sense to use Plex, but I also said for

00:03:11   someone like me, for personal usage, I think there's too much overhead and I don't feel

00:03:16   like I want to manage this library all the time.

00:03:20   And after listening to the show, you said on Twitter that you had many thoughts, many

00:03:27   comments.

00:03:28   So I really – I mean, I'm still not going to use Plex, but I really want you to change

00:03:33   my mind.

00:03:34   So please let me know.

00:03:37   So here's the thing, kids.

00:03:39   Plex is –

00:03:40   Kids.

00:03:41   Sorry to break stuff.

00:03:42   Plex is – it is what you make of it, right?

00:03:45   And if you're the kind of person that purchases all your content from streaming services,

00:03:51   for example, if you—or if you purchase your stuff through iTunes, which the video is still

00:03:55   DRM'd, Plex is probably not for you.

00:03:57   So if you're all in on Netflix, if you're all in on Amazon Prime Video, if you're all

00:04:00   in on iTunes, full stop, Plex is probably not right for you.

00:04:04   What Plex is right for is if you are a super nerd like me and Jason Snell, actually, and

00:04:11   like to buy Blu-rays and then rip them and then keep them locally because Blu-rays, while much

00:04:16   higher fidelity, are impossibly slow to load and use. In fact, just a week or two ago, we were going

00:04:22   to show Declan, our son, Beauty and the Beast, for the first time, the original one, and I put in the

00:04:27   Blu-ray and within 30 seconds deeply regretted not just watching it on Plex because there's so much

00:04:32   cruft and BS to go through. It's preposterous. But I am already dating myself as an old man by

00:04:38   talking about physical media. So let's talk about Plex. So what Plex allows you to do is it allows

00:04:43   you to set up, like Federico said, a library that has all your video, all your music, all your photos,

00:04:48   if you so desire, and all of your stuff in this library. And I use it pretty much exclusively for

00:04:55   video. And I also thought before I really started to understand Plex that it was a lot of maintenance

00:05:01   and super tough to get it to work the way you would want it to work.

00:05:07   As it turns out, it's really not that bad at all. In fact, it's really quite simple.

00:05:11   If you have a folder on your network attached storage or even on your own local computer,

00:05:15   if you have a folder for movies, a folder for TV shows, and a folder for music,

00:05:19   you're already halfway there. After you have a folder per kind of content,

00:05:25   then you would just drop that content in. So for example, in my movies folder is just a bunch of

00:05:31   MP4 files. The only thing that's a little bit, not dodgy, but particular about Plex, is that you do

00:05:39   have to name the file a certain way. And so in the case of, since I already brought it up, Beauty and

00:05:45   the Beast, you would have to title it the way that the movie database, which is not IMDB, mind you,

00:05:52   it's a different completely free database, the way that the movie database, which is themoviedb.org,

00:05:58   the way it titles it. So in the case of Beauty and the Beast, the file name would be "Beauty and the

00:06:03   Beast space open parenthesis 1991" which is the release year closed parenthesis. That's it. That's

00:06:09   all you need to do. So when you're ripping these files or when the files fall off the back of a

00:06:14   truck or what have you, all you need to do is go to the movie database, figure out what year it came

00:06:17   out, and how the movie database calls it. Is there a colon or is it the "Beauty and the Beast the

00:06:23   story of Belle" or something like that, you know? Is it "Fast and Furious 8"? Oh my god, they're

00:06:27   they're still doing these. You have to figure out what the exact title is on the movie database.

00:06:32   And once you do that, you add the year it was released, and you're done. That's all

00:06:35   it takes. And then when Plex looks at your local file system, or your remote file system

00:06:40   in the case of NAS, when it looks at the file system and scans it, it will see, okay, this

00:06:45   is something in the movies folder, it's called Beauty and the Beast, and it's from 1991.

00:06:51   And the reason you need the year is, how does it know the difference between the animated

00:06:54   Beauty and the Beast, the one that came out a few weeks ago.

00:06:57   So it'll say to itself, "Okay, Beauty and the Beast 1991, let's search the movie database

00:07:00   and see what we can find."

00:07:01   And sure enough, it'll find the poster, the title, the—well, it has the title—the

00:07:05   cast, the description, all of that stuff.

00:07:09   And it's all completely automatic.

00:07:11   The same kind of thing works with music, although I don't ever pay attention to it on music

00:07:15   because I actually am the only person that likes iTunes Match.

00:07:19   It does the same with TV shows.

00:07:21   The only difference with TV shows is you would probably want to split it out by season, so

00:07:25   you would have the TV folder, then Top Gear folder, and then Season 1, and then a bunch

00:07:30   of files.

00:07:31   So it would be "Top Gear space hyphen space S01E01" for the first episode of Top Gear,

00:07:36   et cetera, et cetera.

00:07:37   It's super straightforward, but I completely agree with you, Viteetji.

00:07:40   See, I should have listened to it again, because now I'm not angry.

00:07:43   Now I'm empathizing with you, and you may be so angry when I listen to it.

00:07:47   But anyway, it actually seems super fiddly, it really does, on the surface.

00:07:52   But once you realize that the only thing you really need to do is just name your files

00:07:56   in a certain way, then that's basically it.

00:08:00   Now, the one foster in the chat is saying, "I wish there was a way to say, 'No, no, no,

00:08:03   this is the wrong metadata.'"

00:08:05   There is a way to do that.

00:08:06   I will concede that it's a little bit clunky, and it's a little bit hidden, and I forget

00:08:10   exactly how to do it offhand.

00:08:11   But there's a way to say to it, "No, no, no, this is not Beauty and the Beast 1991, it's

00:08:14   Beauty and the Beast 2017, etc. etc. So it isn't a hundred percent perfect, but I'd say

00:08:22   nine and a half times out of ten when I put a new media file in Plex, it figures everything

00:08:27   out all by itself. So I have a couple other quicker thoughts about it, but any questions

00:08:31   about that so far?

00:08:33   Yeah. How big is your library? First question.

00:08:37   That's a good question.

00:08:38   is what kind of... because I guess one of my problems when I tried Plex was that my

00:08:47   Synology model didn't support video transcoding, whatever, and so some videos actually played

00:08:55   and others didn't. So I think my problem was that I actually had the wrong, or maybe an

00:09:00   old model of a network attached storage system, and so maybe my experience was made worse

00:09:06   by the model that I have.

00:09:11   So I wanted to know what setup do you have at home?

00:09:14   That's a great question, and I'm glad you asked.

00:09:17   With regard to the Synology, there are Synologies that do reasonably well with transcoding on

00:09:24   the fly.

00:09:25   So let me back up a half step.

00:09:27   One of the things that's great about Plex is you can set it up so that your library

00:09:30   is accessible through the internet.

00:09:32   So you just tell Plex, "Hey, I want to broadcast this to known users on the internet."

00:09:38   It's not to the whole internet, of course.

00:09:39   But you can share the library across the internet with only yourself, or you can do like Stephen

00:09:44   and I have done and share it with each other.

00:09:47   But what that allows you to do is Plex is smart enough to see, "Oh, this is an iPhone

00:09:51   that is trying to view this episode of Top Gear, and it seems like it's not on a great

00:09:56   connection.

00:09:57   So let me try, instead of giving this full 1080 video file across the internet, let me

00:10:02   crank it way back so maybe it's 720 or maybe it's even standard def because

00:10:06   that's all that the iPhone's connection can handle and that's what the

00:10:09   transcoding is and so what will happen is as you play a file with any of the

00:10:14   Plex clients Apple TV iOS etc it will try the server will try to transcode to

00:10:19   whatever is best for that client on the fly and on a network attached storage

00:10:22   device like a Synology that's a lot to ask for a device that really doesn't

00:10:27   have a strong CPU I ran into the exact same thing with my Synology I happen to

00:10:31   have a DS1813+, it is nowhere near strong enough for live transcoding. Now, if you pre-transcode,

00:10:38   which is way more fiddly than anyone would ever want it to be, and it's what I do because

00:10:41   I'm a super nerd, but Federico, you're normal and you would not want, well, in this context

00:10:46   anyway, and you would not want anything to do with the pre-transcoding. But if you put

00:10:51   it in an Apple-friendly format up front, I think it'll be okay on the Synology. But if

00:10:54   you just want to like drop an MKV in there and have it work, then I wouldn't recommend

00:10:58   using most network attached storage devices. So what I do to answer your question is my

00:11:03   iMac is my Plex server and I just have the Synology mounted as a network drive and that

00:11:08   allows me to have all my media on the Synology but do all the transcoding on the iMac. And

00:11:14   then to answer your question earlier, my video folder is 2 terabytes and that includes movies,

00:11:20   TV shows, etc. And it has 1500 files. You have a Mac in the middle that is basically

00:11:25   always on and does the transcoding for you, while the big storage, the heavy storage,

00:11:30   is on the Synology. That is clever.

00:11:32   That's exactly right. Now, it's not the best way in the world, but it does get... Well,

00:11:37   it's not the best in terms of it's a lot of moving parts, but it does get the job done

00:11:40   really nicely. And I know if you're like iOS only, that may not work for you. But there's

00:11:45   a... Another piece of follow-up I wanted to mention is that Myke had said, "Oh, Plex will

00:11:49   never die because they don't have the storage requirements that, say, an Everpix did or

00:11:54   Google Photos did. And this is 95% accurate. I'm going to be a little bit

00:11:59   pedantic here, but Plex does offer a cloud-based server solution. And this is

00:12:04   where your ears should perk up, Federico. So what you can do is you can say to Plex,

00:12:08   "I want the Plex server to live in the cloud. It'll be one of your servers, but I

00:12:13   want it to point at my media." And obviously that means your media has to

00:12:17   be in the cloud. So you can point it, and I might have the details wrong, I haven't

00:12:20   looked at this in a few weeks, but you can point it at like maybe Amazon or Dropbox or

00:12:25   certainly Google Drive, and you can say, "Hey, all my media is in my Google Drive.

00:12:29   You deal with the server."

00:12:31   So that means you have no Plex server running locally.

00:12:34   I mean, your media isn't even local.

00:12:37   It's just you're tying these cloud services together on your behalf.

00:12:41   So when Myke said, "Well, there's no cloud storage component," well, there is a cloud

00:12:45   storage component, but he's still pretty much right because I'm the one that would be paying

00:12:49   for that, hypothetically, not Plex. So he's still right in the grand scheme of things.

00:12:54   And if you don't have multi-multi-multi-terabyte libraries, that might be a really, really

00:12:59   great solution for someone like Federico, who has no interest in running a Mac, just

00:13:03   to transcode video from time to time. So you should look into it. My final thought, though,

00:13:07   and this is actually a question which I'm scared to ask on the air, but I'm an amateur,

00:13:12   so I'll do so. What is in my library that's so darn crazy? Because everyone was like,

00:13:17   madness in there here be dragons just trolling okay you never know cuz I mean

00:13:23   I have some weird taste of music I've weird taste a movie so I was curious if

00:13:26   you could if you were gonna like tell me that flight of the navigator is like a

00:13:30   nod to us or something like that that's the that is of people of our age that

00:13:35   that movie has a special place in our hearts so good anyway that's pretty much

00:13:39   all I had on Plex so I appreciate you giving me a place to air my grievances

00:13:43   even though it's not Festivus that was actually that was actually very

00:13:46   fascinating. I mean I kind of get it like once you have the naming scheme set up and

00:13:53   you take care of transcoding is actually pretty sweet because you can have I mean two terabytes.

00:13:57   Imagine I mean buying all of those movies again digitally will cost you a lot of money.

00:14:03   So especially if you have kids I mean I understand why. For someone like me like I just want

00:14:10   to have my iPad and say well I have some TV shows here, I have some movies here just let

00:14:14   me watch them. And I think my problem, my bad experience was caused by the kind of old

00:14:21   technology that I have, very slow CPU, doesn't do transcoding. I'm fascinated by it. I still

00:14:28   think it's going to be a little too much for me. But thank you for the details because

00:14:34   that is, especially when you know with a Mac in the middle because the also these two guys

00:14:38   on the show, they want me to buy a new Mac and they've been pushing for...

00:14:42   You know you should.

00:14:43   not you too. They've been pushing for a Mac Mini, you know, that kind of computer. So

00:14:49   maybe I should consider it, maybe. I don't know. We'll see.

00:14:52   I think you should look at it, but I completely agree with you that it is a little bit of

00:14:56   management, but I think the community, not just you Federico, but the community overblows

00:15:01   how much management it really requires. And there are now, as of a few weeks ago, there

00:15:06   are options for people who want to go iOS only. They're not stupendous, because that

00:15:10   means you would have to pay a lot of money for a lot of Google Drive space or what have

00:15:14   you. But at least it's an option. So anyway, you should check it out. And, you know, Federico,

00:15:18   if you say it's not for me, now that you understand a little better, that's cool. But when you

00:15:22   were throwing those barbs last week about how, "Oh, it's so difficult. Oh, it's terrible."

00:15:27   I could not suffer through this anymore, my friends. So I feel better now. I can rest

00:15:32   easy.

00:15:33   All right. Well, Casey, thanks for joining us. Real quick, before we let you go, where

00:15:36   can people find you online?

00:15:38   - Sure, you can find me on Twitter at Kaseylist,

00:15:40   that's C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S, that's Kaseylist.

00:15:43   You can find my website,

00:15:44   which has a few Plex-related posts on it.

00:15:47   I'll try to remember to send some for the show notes.

00:15:49   You can find my website at Kaseylist.com.

00:15:51   - Awesome, thank you so much, buddy.

00:15:52   - Thanks, guys, I'll talk to you later.

00:15:54   - Federico, we're gonna move on with follow-up.

00:15:56   - All right.

00:15:57   - Are you prepared? - Okay.

00:15:58   - We actually don't have that much.

00:16:01   I wanted to point people to the Mac Power Users episode

00:16:04   that you were just on.

00:16:05   you spoke to Dave and Katie about something called the iPad. I'm not real familiar with

00:16:11   this. It's this kind of big iPhone that Apple is

00:16:13   selling now. They're kind of trying to convince people to use it as a computer. I still think

00:16:18   it's kind of a, you know, it's not going to happen, you know. So they had me on the show

00:16:24   to talk about how the iPad is terrible. And so, yeah, we just went for two hours on how

00:16:30   this doesn't make any sense. And also if you listen to the episode, you will realize that

00:16:34   that is actually the opposite of what I just said.

00:16:36   It was super fun time.

00:16:37   We talked about workflows, we talked about iPad apps,

00:16:39   we talked about the limitations of IOS.

00:16:42   We discussed those as well.

00:16:43   And we, what else?

00:16:45   We talked about file management on the iPad,

00:16:48   which is kind of a fun topic.

00:16:51   Also gonna--

00:16:52   - Fun and air quotes.

00:16:52   - Yeah, I'm also gonna follow up on that this week.

00:16:55   I think on Mac stories with more file management.

00:16:57   It was fun.

00:16:58   David and Katie are always excellent hosts

00:17:01   and we had a great time on MPU.

00:17:03   Good, I enjoyed listening to it.

00:17:08   I wanted to point people also to episode 253 of The Pen Addict.

00:17:14   If you don't listen to The Pen Addict, it's not your thing, I totally understand.

00:17:18   Myke and I were just in Atlanta, so every year there's a Kickstarter for the Pen Addict

00:17:24   community to send Brad and Myke to Atlanta.

00:17:26   This year they're going to do a couple other pen-related events in the US, and they did

00:17:32   We did a live show with like 70 people in the audience,

00:17:34   so if you came, if you were there,

00:17:36   thank you so much for coming, it was a lot of fun

00:17:37   to hang out with everybody this weekend.

00:17:39   And we're putting a video together

00:17:40   for those Kickstarter backers.

00:17:42   So if you're a Kickstarter backer of The Panetic,

00:17:43   that'll be out in the coming weeks.

00:17:46   And it's just, it's always fun,

00:17:47   it really reminded me of our WWDC events.

00:17:51   It's fun being out kind of in the world doing a show

00:17:55   and in front of people and meeting listeners

00:17:57   and hanging out with people, so always a lot of fun.

00:18:01   And lastly, and I know Federica you're going to be really sad about this,

00:18:06   Apple Music has delayed the starting of Karpel karaoke.

00:18:13   I was actually, and I'm actually serious, I wanted to see what Apple did with this.

00:18:18   And they said it was coming in April, now it's not coming in April anymore, and they gave a

00:18:23   very non-specific release date of later this year.

00:18:27   So, it's kind of strange because from the footage that they showed a while back, it seemed like the show had been, you know,

00:18:34   shot, it was edited, it was rated, it was a trailer, but maybe they actually needed more time, or maybe they're shooting more episodes,

00:18:42   we don't know. Anyway, it's not coming this month,

00:18:45   probably not coming next month either, later this year, God knows what it means. And, you know, as a quick aside,

00:18:52   I just saw a couple of days ago on the Italian television that we're also gonna get our own Italian version of carpool karaoke

00:18:59   Same name Oh different hosts and from the trailer there were a couple of Italian rappers

00:19:06   Driving cars around the Rome and Milan is actually quite promising

00:19:10   So I'm going to check it out because I want to see how badly Italian production can ruin this format. So

00:19:20   Well, I will follow up on this Italian take on carpool karaoke, I think next week or maybe

00:19:28   in two weeks. I don't know when it airs. But yeah, the Apple one, we don't know when

00:19:31   it's coming.

00:19:32   Yeah, and it's weird, right? Because at Code Media in February, Eddy Cue said, "Hey,

00:19:37   it's coming in April." Apparently there was supposed to be a launch party in March

00:19:41   in LA and it was postponed just a couple of days before it was set to take place. So it

00:19:46   It really seems like they were pretty far into this and maybe they had some terrible

00:19:52   thing take place to take it off the rails.

00:19:56   It really seems like they were on their way, right?

00:19:57   It's not like it's still in the planning stages.

00:19:59   Yeah.

00:20:00   I mean there were trailers and singers and pop stars driving cars.

00:20:05   I mean it was done from the trailer.

00:20:08   But then maybe something happened.

00:20:09   Maybe they're shooting it again because they want to change the cars.

00:20:14   Maybe it's not going to be people driving.

00:20:16   maybe it's gonna be a self-driving car with people in it, you know, maybe.

00:20:19   Oh, there you go. Project Titan meets Carpool.

00:20:23   Maybe it's AdiQ driving with the singers in the backseat.

00:20:27   It's kind of like an uncle driving them while they're singing.

00:20:30   I don't know. Could be anything really.

00:20:34   It really, that's a whole lot of ideas.

00:20:38   So we're going to move into topics, but first I want to tell you about our first sponsor

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00:22:02   All right, Federico, topics.

00:22:04   We got some topics this week.

00:22:06   And we're gonna start out on Apple's Earth Day.

00:22:09   You know, Earth Day is a thing that happens every year

00:22:13   and more and more it feels like companies are using it

00:22:17   to put forward their environmental policies

00:22:20   and their goals, and Apple is definitely

00:22:24   at the forefront of that.

00:22:26   And they did a couple things, right?

00:22:28   So they updated their environmental page,

00:22:31   they published their supplier responsibility report

00:22:34   for 2017, there's links to all this in the show notes,

00:22:38   and they put out four ads, and they're on YouTube,

00:22:43   links again you can go watch them all. And I think the videos are great. They are

00:22:47   animated, they got voice over, they're really fun to watch, and there's basically kind of four

00:22:55   four different messages here. And the first one is about Apple Park, so the big

00:23:01   Spaceship Campus, which by all accounts they're starting to move into now. That building is designed

00:23:07   to use as little HVAC, as little air conditioning as possible, and they're doing this by bringing

00:23:14   in outside air, and they have like cool water running and basically using the building as

00:23:19   a type of radiator to keep things cool. It's really pretty interesting.

00:23:22   Yeah, it's a fascinating setup where basically it's based on the idea that humans, especially

00:23:30   in work environments, they tend to perform much better if there's direct sunlight and

00:23:35   natural air. So instead of having this AC going all the time, they worked with Norman

00:23:43   Foster, the company who did the architectural design for Apple Park, to make sure that the

00:23:50   very unique shape of the building would ensure, combined with these flows of cool water into

00:23:59   the cement itself, of the structure, would create this natural cooling and combined with

00:24:06   the all glass outside walls would create this natural sort of environment with direct sunlight,

00:24:16   natural cooling, and it doesn't feel like living and working in a traditional office

00:24:21   you know, with the AC and with the fake lights, you know. I think I cannot imagine, I honestly

00:24:29   have been thinking about this, like, what kind of feeling could it be of working in this big

00:24:36   ring-shaped building that it feels like you're actually outside? And I'm really curious to visit

00:24:42   as a tourist and see if it's possible to get an idea what it feels like. It sounds very,

00:24:48   very intriguing to me. Yeah, I think so because there was a report out a couple weeks ago

00:24:52   that Apple has basically bought every tree you can plant within hundreds and hundreds

00:24:59   of miles. It's actually hard to find trees to plant now in that part of California because

00:25:02   Apple has bought them all. And it's going to be a space that's dominated by nature.

00:25:08   And so you're right, the building is sort of transparent to the outside in these ways.

00:25:12   And you look out this huge floor-to-ceiling windows and you just see an orchard of trees

00:25:17   and you feel the breeze. It seems like it's kind of the opposite of my office, which is

00:25:21   basically a concrete bunker in which I've blacked out the windows and have air conditioning.

00:25:27   I don't want to see sunlight. Please go away. That's right. Get rid of it. The second

00:25:33   video is not, it struck me as the odd ball out a little bit that it is more about Apple's

00:25:40   products and testing them to make sure they say safe for the environment and safe for

00:25:44   for people, but they really talk about people. And the story here is that Apple makes its

00:25:49   own fake human sweat to test products with. Which is kind of gross.

00:25:54   Yes, it is. But I guess the idea is that because Apple wants to make sure that their products

00:26:01   are durable and that people don't just throw them away every couple of years, well, what

00:26:06   is one of the first sorts of damage and wear on Apple devices? Where it's sweat, because

00:26:12   you're actually wearing them, especially with the Apple Watch, with the AirPods, human sweat

00:26:17   is one of the primary factors to causing damage and wear and tear on electronic devices. So

00:26:27   instead of having people sweat and collect all of the human sweat every day, they actually

00:26:34   recreated their own fake sweat and to analyze the conditions that these devices are subject

00:26:41   every single day. It's very fascinating. But just looking at the pictures, I mean,

00:26:47   it's quite something, you know. I wonder if it also smells like human sweat. That's

00:26:53   the first thing I thought. Is it really like human sweat or is it like it's water but

00:26:59   there's some particles inside that make it behave like sweat? That is super fascinating,

00:27:05   know it's recreated in their own labs. Kind of weird but also kind of genius I

00:27:11   think. Yeah I mean if you think about the Apple Watch in particular being

00:27:18   something that people wear when they work out you know it's different than

00:27:22   when Apple was just making Macs right like usually don't sweat all over your

00:27:25   iBook. Oh usually. But the Apple Watch you know it's designed for working out the

00:27:32   phones now are water, just some people run with their phones. You have not only headphones,

00:27:37   but you have the AirPods and you have some of the Beats stuff with some of the PowerBeats

00:27:44   and the BeatsX kind of marketed and designed for working out in to a degree. This is a

00:27:49   thing they're dealing with now and so of course they are actually testing it. It's just weird

00:27:56   to think about.

00:27:57   Yeah, it is, especially after looking at the pictures.

00:28:00   Yeah, I can't I can't be unseen the the third one was about solar farms

00:28:05   This is somebody that Apple has talked about in the past these

00:28:08   It's like a 40 megawatt solar farm in China, and they are using land that is used for

00:28:14   Yak farming as far out of the farming is that word raising yak, you know?

00:28:19   and

00:28:22   Artisanally raised handcrafted yaks and they are

00:28:26   They're building these solar farms in a way that the land is dual use so the the solar panels are way up high

00:28:30   They don't block all the Sun so there's still Sun on the grass for the act to eat

00:28:34   because the acts like grass apparently and

00:28:36   It's just repurposing this land

00:28:39   Yeah

00:28:41   Apple has been a big proponent of these solar farms, and I think

00:28:44   They said that in their North Carolina server farm. They they are at the third

00:28:51   solar installation

00:28:54   Which of course explained... we're gonna talk about this in a minute, but Apple's Lisa Jackson

00:28:59   she told John Gruber on the talk show that

00:29:03   whenever you're sending an iMessage or making a FaceTime call the electricity that she uses

00:29:09   Apple is driving the electricity back into the server farm and into the grid with their solar farm installations

00:29:17   Which is super fascinating, but also this needs to be explained and it's quite complex

00:29:23   My understanding is that Apple, they don't necessarily have

00:29:27   solar panels providing electricity straight to the servers, to the server farms that they have.

00:29:34   But what Apple wants to do is they know the precise amount of

00:29:39   power and electricity that they take from the grid. So what they want to do is they want to build enough

00:29:48   renewable energy sources and solar farms to put back at least the same amount, if not

00:29:54   more, of the power that they're taking from the grid back into the grid for other companies

00:29:58   and other people to use, and maybe even Apple itself, but that depends on how the grid allocates

00:30:03   power.

00:30:04   So it is a fascinating approach.

00:30:06   So they're basically saying, even if we don't have a direct plug from the solar panels into

00:30:11   the server that powers iMessage, we know how much we consume, and we want to put that

00:30:18   amount of electricity and power back into the grid for other people, which I think it's kind of fair as an approach.

00:30:25   Yeah, that's basically what they're saying is, you know, it's not like we have an extension cord plugged into the back of the Apple Store, right?

00:30:33   It's about offsetting what they use and

00:30:35   the thing that really

00:30:40   gets me with that is that they are very careful in how they measure that. Again,

00:30:44   we're getting ahead a little bit but

00:30:45   at least Jackson saying we know exactly

00:30:47   how much we're using and we reconcile at

00:30:49   the end of the year so if our estimates are

00:30:51   off we correct for it. Probably huge numbers

00:30:53   spreadsheet shared with iCloud with the numbers.

00:30:58   What could go wrong? No please don't.

00:31:03   They also spoke about what is

00:31:07   called a closed loop supply chain and

00:31:09   basically what this means is you know

00:31:11   right now if you go buy a new iPhone

00:31:13   there are parts of that phone that have been recycled from other phones or other

00:31:17   material but there are a lot of parts in that phone a lot of components a lot of

00:31:22   materials used that are new that were mined from the earth and they may get

00:31:28   recycled on the other end but the Apple is still taking things from nature to

00:31:32   create our devices and the idea with a closed-loop supply chain is that Apple

00:31:41   never has to go back to those raw materials. They don't have to mine. They don't have to

00:31:47   pull these things from nature. That every new iPhone is created with material that is

00:31:54   100% recycled from their previous products. Is that a clean way of explaining it?

00:32:02   Yeah. The idea is that, like you said, instead of mining, new devices will essentially be

00:32:10   made by all devices and from other recycled materials. It's the idea of reusing and recycling

00:32:17   instead of fetching new materials from the earth. You want to take what has been discarded

00:32:24   so Apple can use their Liam robot to disassemble iPhones and to take the materials, combine

00:32:30   that with other recycled materials such as aluminum from other companies for example

00:32:34   or glass from other recycling companies. Take that and make new devices out of those recycled

00:32:43   materials instead of going back to a mine in South Africa and extracting the materials

00:32:50   that you need. This is a long-term plan. Apple said, "We're not going to accomplish this

00:32:57   overnight. It's going to take us years, but this is the direction, this is sort of the

00:33:01   North Star that we want to follow. The end goal that we want to accomplish is this. We

00:33:06   want to have a closed-loop supply chain where no new material is fetched from the ground,

00:33:11   but instead everything is reused and recycled. And they provided, I think, an example of

00:33:18   how in the Chinese facilities where they're assembling the iPhones, they made these custom

00:33:26   Mac Minis to monitor the facility. And those Mac Minis were made from iPhone 6 parts. So

00:33:35   the old iPhone 6 devices, they disassembled those, they took the aluminum, the glass,

00:33:40   whatever, maybe the plastic, and they used those materials to make Mac Minis to oversee

00:33:45   the making of new iPhones. So it's this sort of virtual cycle of old devices making

00:33:52   new devices that help make new devices from recycled materials. It's a lot to wrap your

00:33:59   head around, especially at this kind of scale when you're talking 70 million iPhones and

00:34:05   now we need to recycle all of those. But it's a very laudable initiative, I think, from

00:34:10   Apple. But it's not going to happen in a year. It's not like WWC 2018 is going to be like,

00:34:18   Hey did you stop mining the earth by the way?

00:34:20   I think it's going to take a decade maybe, but I'm confident with these people and

00:34:28   with this team that Apple will get there.

00:34:32   Yeah, absolutely.

00:34:35   And Lisa Jackson, we've talked around this a little bit, was on the talk show episode

00:34:39   188.

00:34:41   If you're not familiar, she is the Vice President of Environment Policy and Social

00:34:44   Initiatives at Apple.

00:34:46   She was, during Obama's first term, the head of the EPA here in the US.

00:34:52   She's an engineer by trade, incredibly intelligent, and she has really been leading the way at

00:34:59   Apple on these new policies and these new goals.

00:35:02   The podcast is about an hour long.

00:35:04   It's easy to listen to.

00:35:05   I think John did a good job with the interview.

00:35:08   It's talking through these videos and these initiatives.

00:35:11   Some other stuff in there, like they have protected

00:35:15   a bunch of forest area in China to get in to offset

00:35:20   their use of paper in their packaging,

00:35:23   but they're like 99% recycled and responsibly sourced paper

00:35:28   in their packaging now.

00:35:29   They're moving to all paper packaging,

00:35:31   getting rid of other less friendly materials

00:35:36   in their packaging.

00:35:36   And if you've unboxed anything recently, you have seen that.

00:35:39   there's no plastic clings anymore,

00:35:42   it's all like this weird, like waxy paper,

00:35:44   and they keep moving forward on that.

00:35:47   But the big point that I left with is

00:35:49   that the statement that renewable energy and recycling

00:35:54   aren't financially viable for corporations,

00:35:57   how that's a pretty dumb argument.

00:35:59   We've seen that, and we're not gonna get political,

00:36:03   I'm gonna try not to get political,

00:36:04   but that's been something that we've seen

00:36:07   very recently here in the US of,

00:36:09   hey, we need economic growth

00:36:12   and we need environmental protection,

00:36:13   but there are people who believe those in the wrong order,

00:36:16   that we have to get rid of this regulation

00:36:17   so once companies can be profitable,

00:36:22   then they'll protect the environment on their own.

00:36:23   And really, Apple is really one of the only companies

00:36:26   that does that, and they are proving,

00:36:27   and Gruber said this in the show,

00:36:29   that Apple is the biggest company on the planet.

00:36:34   They're the most profitable,

00:36:36   and they have the decision making all the way at the top

00:36:41   to do this stuff.

00:36:45   As if Apple can do it and maintain their ridiculous margins,

00:36:48   then it's a model how other companies could do it basically.

00:36:52   And things like climate change and renewable energy

00:36:55   should not be partisan,

00:36:56   they should be something that everyone is doing.

00:36:58   And the corporations,

00:36:59   and I like that Lisa Jackson said this,

00:37:01   the corporations have responsibility in that, right?

00:37:04   that Apple is going well above and beyond the regulation

00:37:08   in the US and places like China,

00:37:10   because they feel like it's the right thing to do.

00:37:12   And I just, I don't know,

00:37:14   I just really, I really enjoyed the interview.

00:37:16   - Yeah, and Lisa Jackson,

00:37:19   she made those excellent points on how corporations

00:37:22   shouldn't believe that the renewable energy

00:37:27   is not a priority.

00:37:29   And like you said, we don't wanna get political,

00:37:32   but it's one of those things that, at least in my mind, it just seems to make sense, right?

00:37:37   I mean, if you're cold in your house, you could set fire to the house, it would be warm,

00:37:47   it would be hot, but then you wouldn't have a house anymore, because you just burned it

00:37:51   down and instead you use a radiator, which is a renewable energy source that you can

00:37:57   reuse over time to be warmer instead of just setting fire to the entire house. And that

00:38:02   is the idea with the Earth, you know, we've been giving this planet and we've been destroying

00:38:08   this planet for thousands of years, now we have the skills, we have the money and we

00:38:12   have the knowledge to sort of funnel different energy sources into different systems to make

00:38:19   power, to make energy, and we should use those because they're, you know, they're awesome

00:38:25   and they don't actually kill this planet, so we don't have to move to Mars with Elon Musk.

00:38:29   Which, I mean, it's totally fine if you want to go to Mars with Elon.

00:38:33   Probably gonna be awesome, but you know, it's kinda

00:38:37   kind of a long trip. So, I mean,

00:38:41   listen to the interview, because she, Lisa Jackson, and John, they did an excellent

00:38:45   job to explain this stuff,

00:38:46   which is very, very complex stuff, you know, to think about, especially

00:38:50   for big corporations like Apple, and, you know, especially when you start talking

00:38:54   talking about the financial opportunity for a company combined with the ethics aspect.

00:38:59   When you start mixing, well, what is the return on investment on this, but how do you reconcile

00:39:05   that with the ethical sort of standpoint with the company that says, "We're a company, we

00:39:13   need to make money, but we're also made of people and we have values." So it's a very

00:39:16   fascinating discussion. You should listen to that. It's just not work.

00:39:20   Yep, so we're going to move on to our next topic but first I want to tell you about our

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00:41:26   to cook.

00:41:27   So Uber did some bad things and Tim Cook got upset. This is my summary.

00:41:34   a good TLDR. This came out of the New York Times over the weekend that the a some version

00:41:41   of Uber the Uber app for iPhone in the past was identifying and tagging iPhones and they

00:41:46   were doing it in a way that persisted across the app being deleted and even the iPhone

00:41:52   being restored. So iOS being put back on it fresh. And we're gonna talk about the article

00:41:59   itself in a minute because the article was a little problematic. But basically how it

00:42:04   seems this is going on is that Uber was using something called IO kit, which is, was part

00:42:10   of iOS and has since basically been shut down, has about iOS nine. And they were using it

00:42:16   to pull identifiable information about iPhone hardware. And they were doing this initially

00:42:20   to fight scamming of their service in China. Basically in China, people would set up like

00:42:25   dummy accounts and basically be reporting rides that weren't happening.

00:42:30   And drivers are doing this to get more money out of Uber and they said look you

00:42:35   know we can say you know these 10 accounts were all created on one iPhone

00:42:38   it's probably a scam we can cut it down. I/O kit used to report things like

00:42:45   serial number, IMEI, and even MAC addresses but my understanding is at

00:42:50   least since iOS 9 those all return null so that information is not visible to

00:42:55   to developers and so this puts Uber's mistake in the past right this isn't

00:43:02   something that's going on now at least via this method because this method is

00:43:07   really no longer valid is that is that fair? Yeah it's something that they did I

00:43:10   think at least three years ago and the Times I think Myke Isaac wrote the story

00:43:17   he talked to 40 to 50 old and current Uber employees and this is just an

00:43:23   anecdote from three years ago. I think late 2014, Apple discovered what Uber was doing

00:43:31   and they summoned, what's the guy's name, Travis Kalanick, to Infinite Loop and Tim

00:43:41   Cook gave him a very stern talking to either fix the problem and what they've been doing

00:43:49   to circumvent Apple's policies or they would get Uber out of the App Store. But also we

00:43:54   should mention that it wasn't just that Uber was using these private APIs to identify iPhones,

00:44:06   but they had implemented a way to not be caught by Apple. So they were using a geofence that

00:44:17   basically if you were an Apple employee on the App Store review team, Uber had a geofence

00:44:24   around the area of Cupertino and Infinite Loop that would basically hide that portion

00:44:30   of code to Apple's app review, which is kind of clever but also against the rules.

00:44:36   And the story reports that eventually employees from outside of Cupertino, because of course

00:44:43   Apple as many offices and I would assume that UpReview as several teams around the world.

00:44:51   Those outside of the geofence, they saw the code, they told Apple back in the US, and

00:44:58   that is when Tim Cook found out and had the talk with the Uber CEO.

00:45:03   There's also another aspect to this story, which is the New York Times reporting is really

00:45:09   quite something, because the story got changed after publication. So initially, the Times

00:45:15   had printed that Uber was tracking users. And tracking means you can track a person,

00:45:22   you can monitor in the background, even after the app has been deleted, the real-time movement

00:45:28   and positions of a user and an iPhone, which is basically impossible, because if an app

00:45:33   has been deleted, where is the logic, you know, the actual code doing the tracking?

00:45:39   And later the story was changed to say that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging

00:45:46   iPhones even after the app had been deleted and the devices erased.

00:45:51   And that is, I believe, more accurate, because Uber was using this piece of code that gets

00:45:55   left behind even after the app has been deleted.

00:45:59   And upon re-installation, the app can say, "Well, is this piece of code present on these

00:46:04   devices?"

00:46:05   Well, it means that the app was already installed at some point in the past, which I think is

00:46:10   what Uber had been doing.

00:46:13   And I tend to believe that maybe the times, the technical bits of this story were a little

00:46:21   over their heads, and so therefore the confusion.

00:46:25   Yeah, I think so too.

00:46:26   And it doesn't really excuse it.

00:46:29   Like if you're reporting on this, you should at least talk to somebody who could clarify

00:46:32   that.

00:46:33   But the thing that I kind of walk away from this, A, this is like the talk in the chat

00:46:39   room.

00:46:40   Like this is another item on a very long list of terrible things Uber has done.

00:46:44   Like this CEO, this company is out of control in a lot of different areas and super gross.

00:46:52   But when this came out over the weekend, my thought was, "Why didn't Apple kick him

00:46:58   out of the store?"

00:46:59   Right?

00:47:00   And so you get a sit-down warning with Tim Cook saying, "Look, you gotta cut this out

00:47:04   and you gotta deal with this or we're gonna remove you."

00:47:08   And I don't think a smaller developer would have gotten that courtesy.

00:47:11   No.

00:47:12   Right?

00:47:13   That if you're an indie app developer and you're doing this and you're caught, my

00:47:16   guess is Apple will just remove you until you fix it.

00:47:21   And but obviously Lyft is not a small company, it's not a small developer, it's not a small

00:47:26   app.

00:47:27   And so I went to Twitter and I said Apple should have kicked him out.

00:47:30   Like Apple should have drawn a hard line and I got a lot of responses to that.

00:47:34   And I kind of want to address some of them here.

00:47:37   You know things like well people will switch to Android.

00:47:40   People would have switched to Lyft.

00:47:42   You know Apple would have lost the PR battle.

00:47:46   And I think some of those have merit.

00:47:48   I think it would have probably driven adoption of Lyft. And so maybe you have Apple tinkering

00:47:53   in a industry. And an industry, by the way, that you point out in our show notes, Apple

00:47:59   already has a perceived conflict of interest in because Apple invested in Didi, which is

00:48:03   a ride sharing service in China, where Uber pulled out of the market, by the way.

00:48:09   Yeah, because they were basically bleeding money against Didi, which is the de facto

00:48:15   standard in, you know, the most popular service in China, and now Uber is trying to approach

00:48:21   India with the same strategy, but, you know, who knows. But this difference in, you know,

00:48:28   Apple paying Uber the courtesy of a meeting, this is basically politics, right? If you're

00:48:34   a normal person and you slap someone in the face on the street, you get arrested. But

00:48:39   if you're the leader of a country and you threaten to nuke another country, you get

00:48:43   a meeting with the diplomats. So this is how politics work. The bigger you are, the fewer

00:48:49   consequences you get. And of course Uber, being the huge company that it is, they didn't

00:48:53   get pulled from the app store. They got a meeting with Tim Cook. And I mean, of course,

00:48:59   Tim Cook was angry, I can imagine. But it's usually when it comes to, you know, these

00:49:04   big corporations, they tend to work their issues out behind the scenes. And it reminds

00:49:09   me of when Facebook, for example, got caught. Last year I did the article on the battery

00:49:16   consumption of the Facebook app, and as you can imagine, the most popular social network

00:49:21   in the world, it didn't get pulled from the App Store. I can only imagine there were meetings

00:49:26   occurring behind the scenes between Apple and Facebook trying to resolve this issue

00:49:30   amicably, you know, instead of making a big fuss of Facebook being pulled from the App

00:49:34   because even if Apple is right, and even if it's kind of terrible to say this,

00:49:41   but even when you're right, even when you have your own guidelines supporting your position,

00:49:49   it is bad PR to remove an incredibly popular app from the App Store. And this is when it gets

00:49:58   tricky, because we're talking of corporations, each with their own best interests in mind,

00:50:03   and they're all trying to make money but they also have values, which goes back to

00:50:09   what we're actually talking about, you know, renewable energy sources just a few

00:50:13   minutes ago. How do you reconcile that? And usually with these big companies the

00:50:18   solution is you get the leaders to talk privately behind the scenes with no

00:50:22   reporters and most of the time the issues are resolved. But it doesn't

00:50:28   surprised me, you know, Uber is basically a terrible company, which is unfortunate,

00:50:34   because it's such a great idea, but it's run by, I don't even know how to describe them,

00:50:39   and so this profile on the New York Times, it seemed to me like it was a profile of a

00:50:46   deeply disturbing company, run in a very odd way, but this Tim Cook anecdote and this Apple

00:50:54   story, it was the central point. It was what a lot of people were sharing, especially on

00:51:01   Twitter and other websites. Also because, you know, there are, you know, the story describes

00:51:08   all the problems with the Uber management, but we've seen in the past several months

00:51:12   many more terrible stories of Uber employees being harassed and, you know, the problems

00:51:18   with diversity at Uber, so I want to say this thing with the iPhone app, probably the least

00:51:26   offensive thing Uber has done. Seriously, they've done worse. I'm not condoning it,

00:51:33   but I'm not surprised by Uber anymore, honestly.

00:51:36   - No, I don't know what they would do that would surprise me.

00:51:40   - It's a shame, because it's such a great idea, but such a terrible company at the same

00:51:44   time. So yeah, they did something to work around Apple and to try to fool Apple, but

00:51:51   it doesn't really surprise me, honestly. So let's talk about this iTunes affiliate

00:51:55   thing. So yesterday Apple sent an email out to anyone who is enrolled in the iTunes affiliate

00:52:01   program. So you can go and sign up and you get a little code and you put it at the end

00:52:06   of App Store links. And if someone clicks on that link from your website or tweet or

00:52:09   something, you get a 7% commission on that purchase. It's been, how long has that been

00:52:15   in place, Federico? Basically forever, right?

00:52:18   Federico Pini

00:52:33   probably four years ago, used to be called, I think, Linkshare, maybe? Now it's

00:52:41   PHG from Performance Horizon Group. But yeah, as long as I can remember, the iTunes

00:52:47   affiliate program has been around. So you got seven percent from that purchase. It

00:52:51   also accounted for in-app purchases made and this email yesterday went, Apple

00:52:58   saying, basically starting May 1st, about a week from now, that rate is going to go

00:53:02   from 7% to 2.5%. Now there are some mechanics that are here that are

00:53:07   important to understand. This 7% came from Apple's cut. So if you sold an app

00:53:12   for a dollar, the developer gets 70%, Apple gets 30% for running everything,

00:53:19   and that 7% came from Apple's 30%. Now I have no idea how big this program is. I

00:53:26   I don't think anyone does, but Apple's App Store business

00:53:31   is fine, it's healthy, it's growing,

00:53:34   they brag about how much money they pay out to developers.

00:53:37   I can't imagine that this 7% was making or breaking

00:53:40   the App Store profit and loss line with an Apple.

00:53:44   And Apple's not a company, historically,

00:53:46   that has had separate P&Ls for different things.

00:53:48   And so that's one reason this is weird,

00:53:52   the other reason it's weird is the short notice.

00:53:54   But this money was not coming out of developers' pockets,

00:53:57   it was coming out of Apple's pockets.

00:53:58   And a lot of people are choosing to be optimistic and say,

00:54:01   oh, well, maybe this is a precursor to Apple reducing

00:54:05   that 30% commission.

00:54:06   I'm not sure that's a thing that's going to happen.

00:54:10   But it's all very strange and really not the best way

00:54:15   to handle this.

00:54:15   And Federico, I know you write a website, you cover apps.

00:54:19   I know you have thoughts on this.

00:54:20   Yeah, well, we've been using affiliate links and micro

00:54:23   stories for, again, since the beginning. And they always made a sizable chunk of our revenue,

00:54:30   but it's thankfully, especially in the past two to three years, we've been diversifying,

00:54:34   so we don't rely on affiliate links so much anymore. And to give you details, I want to

00:54:41   say it's probably 10% of our business today, which is a considerable 10%, but also we're

00:54:46   not going to go bankrupt because Apple is changing the commission. But the problem,

00:54:50   way I see it is Apple probably made this change because some companies, I don't want to say

00:54:57   they were abusing the system but they were making too much money. And I have reason to

00:55:02   believe that, for example, when you share links to apps, for example on Facebook or

00:55:10   Twitter, or maybe it's when those are actually ads, so native app install advertisements

00:55:19   on Facebook, I'm pretty sure that either Facebook or Twitter use affiliate links to get a commission

00:55:26   on those ads.

00:55:28   And so, even if it's not Facebook or Twitter, I think there were other big players making

00:55:32   a lot of money from these commissions.

00:55:34   And I struggle to believe that Apple actually liked this idea.

00:55:38   The problem is that to cut the commission only on apps, and so I've seen people wonder

00:55:45   but why apps? And again, I believe it's because native app install ads are the most popular

00:55:52   ones. You don't see native ads for music or podcasts or books. You see them for apps and

00:55:57   games. The problem is that the smaller players like us or like other websites that rely only

00:56:05   on affiliate link revenue, they got caught in the process and there's going to be trouble

00:56:11   for them, which is a shame because many of those websites, they actually provided a service,

00:56:18   either with reviews, with professional reviews written by great journalists, or with discovery

00:56:25   engines, with search features, with collections, with basically the curation and the search stuff

00:56:31   that Apple doesn't do so well on the App Store. And now those websites is going to be a problem

00:56:36   for them. I saw yesterday on Twitter, Touch Arcade for example, fantastic publication

00:56:41   about iOS gaming. This is going to be a problem for them because they were relying on revenue

00:56:47   from the affiliate links to pay their staff. And also Afterpad, this excellent website

00:56:53   on iOS gaming and especially with a focus on tvOS. And they have an interface for browsing

00:56:58   the tvOS app store, for example, way before Apple actually did a proper UI on the Apple

00:57:04   TV. A lot of websites were depending on this commission to either complement or base the

00:57:15   revenue on. And now, you know, it's fine, Apple can do whatever they want. And I'm not

00:57:21   gonna say, well, out of principle, Apple should have never lowered the commission. But there's

00:57:27   ways and ways to do that and to basically cut the commission by 60, 65% with just a

00:57:36   one week notice. I'm asking, is it really the best way to handle this? I mean, at least,

00:57:43   you know, I think they shouldn't, they, they shouldn't have lowered the commission so much

00:57:49   and I would have preferred to see maybe a tiered structure where if you make more than

00:57:55   X thousands of dollars every year, you get this lower commission. If you make less money,

00:58:02   you get a higher commission. So there could have been ways to handle this, to differentiate

00:58:08   between the smaller players and the big players, and especially the social networks that are

00:58:13   actually rewriting the links to make a commission. But even aside from that problem, there should

00:58:20   have been a longer notice, you know? It should, there should, it just the more elegant and

00:58:25   right thing to do. We're talking about ethics today and it doesn't strike me as really the

00:58:31   best approach, the best human approach to just send out an email to millions of members

00:58:37   of the, maybe not even millions, but thousands of members of the affiliate program and say,

00:58:42   oh, by the way, we're lowering the commission by 65% in a week. Good luck. Is it really

00:58:47   the best approach? I don't know. I don't think so.

00:58:50   The abruptness is really my problem with it. And it wasn't even anything that, you know,

00:58:55   they could have moved to a tiered system, they could have moved to, you know, somebody

00:58:59   that stepped this down over time. And the fact that it wasn't done in conjunction with

00:59:04   some other announcement, right, like people are clamoring for 30% to move down. It being

00:59:11   just out on its own with a week's notice just feels really sort of crummy to me. It's hard

00:59:17   understand. Yeah, and you know, it's gonna be a shame if websites that, again, they were

00:59:28   providing a service. They were helping people discover apps. And if those websites now are

00:59:36   forced to switch to heavy, ugly advertisements, or if they need to shut down, it's gonna be

00:59:43   shame. And it also seems kind of backwards to me, because Apple knows that a lot of websites

00:59:52   depend on those links to fund their operations. And it seems backwards that those websites

01:00:02   that drive people to download them, buy apps, and recommend apps, now are going to have

01:00:08   problems and they're not going to be able to recommend as many apps anymore if they

01:00:12   shut down. So why would you destroy the goodwill among the community and why would you force

01:00:18   those websites to seriously downsize just because you want to cut the commissions on

01:00:25   the bigger players that make millions of affiliate-linked commissions every year? Again, it's one of

01:00:33   those problems with the... just to fix the problem with a couple of big companies, now

01:00:42   everyone is getting caught in this measure and now, you know, we're cutting the commission

01:00:48   for everyone. It's a bummer, like I said on Twitter yesterday also, and my tweet was actually

01:00:56   quoted on a bunch of websites saying that now these websites like Mac Stories are going

01:01:01   to have to implement ads or other types of sponsored content. Personally, for Mac stories

01:01:08   we're not going to do ads, we're not going to do other sponsored, native advertisement

01:01:13   type of stories. We're fine with our subscriptions, with the memberships and with the RSS sponsorship

01:01:21   stuff. Like I said, I always kept in the back of my mind the possibility that eventually

01:01:28   Apple would change the commission. And that is why we expanded to other revenue streams

01:01:33   in the past couple of years, especially with the membership stuff on Club Max Stories.

01:01:37   But I also recognize that there are other websites that cannot do the same, that they

01:01:42   have maybe smaller teams, sometimes even individual operations, and it's a shame that now they're

01:01:52   not going to be able to continue, or they will have to switch to, I don't know, Google

01:01:56   ad sense and maybe make a fraction of that revenue. You know, it's just sad, especially

01:02:04   with the way that Apple dealt with this. I mean, a six-month notice, it would have been

01:02:11   fine. It would have been a bummer still, but it would have been a human, a proper way to

01:02:18   treat other people. That's all I'm going to say.

01:02:23   Yeah, that's totally fair. And I for one, I'm glad Max stories will be will be okay.

01:02:30   We have a lot of friends who that's not necessarily the case for today. So the we got one more,

01:02:38   we got one more topic, a fun one, you've done something new we're gonna talk about that

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01:03:40   with TextExpander for teams, Myke and I

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01:04:32   So last week Federico, you and Jon introduced AppStories, which is a new podcast that is

01:04:41   part of the growing MacStories media conglomerate.

01:04:44   Yeah, you could call it that, I guess.

01:04:47   It's our own small empire in my apartment.

01:04:52   Yeah, it's fun.

01:04:55   We've been working on this for the past year, really.

01:04:59   Actually the App Store is domain as I wrote a Mac stories. I originally bought it in

01:05:05   2010 so seven years ago because I always knew I wanted to I wanted to do something with the name app stories

01:05:11   I just never knew what that was gonna be

01:05:14   I knew that I wanted to do something whether it was another blog or maybe you know

01:05:19   I even actually considered an interface for the App Store

01:05:22   on the web, but I wanted to do something to

01:05:27   cover and recommend and discuss apps more. But last year,

01:05:32   I went to WWDC for the first time, I met John and we started talking and it just seemed obvious to me that we shared the

01:05:40   same passion, the same drive for

01:05:43   talking to developers, engaging with the developer community and recommending apps to people on a regular basis. I love apps.

01:05:51   I love discovering new apps and I love understanding how apps are made and I love discussing apps

01:05:57   and talking back to the developers so they can make their apps better.

01:06:02   I'm just a huge fan of the App Store as an idea.

01:06:05   And so we started talking and we decided, well, you know,

01:06:09   I have this App Store's name that's always been around, why don't we make it a podcast?

01:06:14   And so the idea was, from the get-go, this should be another Max Stories property.

01:06:20   This should be sort of like a sister site, you know?

01:06:24   there's MacStories.net and there's going to be AppStories.net and we can do some integrations

01:06:28   between them. And I talked to you guys about it and it seemed obvious that if I wanted

01:06:35   to do something like that, it could not be... I don't want to say it couldn't have been

01:06:41   possible on Relay, but it just made more sense to have it be a sister site to MacStories.

01:06:48   because we wanted to do a different format, so like a 30-minute show, always with the

01:06:55   same general topic, which is the App Store and apps. We didn't want to do a news show,

01:07:00   we didn't want to do rumors, and so it made more sense to have it be this dual sort of

01:07:06   setup with Mac Stories as a blog and App Stories as a podcast. And so we started discussing

01:07:12   some of the ideas that we had. We knew that we wanted to have this 30-minute weekly show

01:07:17   with a bunch of regular segments.

01:07:20   So for example we want to talk about our favorite apps, our personal stories, but we also want

01:07:26   to engage with people, and so we thought it would be fun to have sort of like the behind

01:07:31   the scenes of apps or maybe some interviews with some app makers or designers, developers,

01:07:37   whatever, and we want to, the general idea is we want to cover the impact of apps on

01:07:43   our lives and on our economy from all points of views, from the design, the developer point

01:07:49   of view, from the personal point of view, which is our own perspective on using apps.

01:07:57   And we also had the second priority, which is we, of course, we need to make this a business.

01:08:02   You know, when I was just talking about diversifying income, and this was another idea, you know,

01:08:07   we can have the website, we can also have the podcast. But we knew that we wanted to

01:08:11   have a way for indie developers to easily advertise their products, especially if you're

01:08:16   an indie developer on a budget, we know we cannot ask you to pay us $10,000 for a sponsorship.

01:08:22   So we wanted to have this affordable model where indie developers, they have an app,

01:08:27   they're about to launch an app or maybe they have an app update and they want to advertise

01:08:30   it to a great audience, so we knew we wanted to have this very specific format just for

01:08:37   them.

01:08:38   And finally, I wanted to have, you know, because it's my story and I have this thing for controlling

01:08:43   all the tech behind the stuff that I do, sometimes it's a problem, but most of the time I think

01:08:50   it's an advantage. We made this custom website, it's based on WordPress, but it, you know,

01:08:56   so many modifications on top of WordPress to make it work as a podcast CMS. And alongside

01:09:03   customizations for the backend, we also did some things for the presentation of the podcast

01:09:10   itself and the two primary goals were we want to make the website easy to, you know, people

01:09:17   can get on the website and they can start playing an episode with just two taps, so

01:09:21   we made this big player that you can easily tap on and start listening, but most importantly

01:09:27   I wanted to have a way for Mac Stories readers to find app stories and to start listening

01:09:33   from the website they're already reading every day, because many people have Mac stories

01:09:37   in their bookmarks, and every morning, or maybe during lunch breaks, or in the evening,

01:09:42   they just open the Mac stories homepage and they see what's new.

01:09:45   And I thought, well, there should be a way so that these people, they're scrolling, and

01:09:48   they see an episode, and they start playing the episode without having to switch websites

01:09:52   and go to a different place.

01:09:54   So we made this... it's not even a plugin, it's a custom code that we did, so we can

01:10:02   embed an episode with the player as an embedded card on Mac Stories. And when I talk of integrations

01:10:09   between the two websites, this is exactly what I have in mind. So it's fun. And it's

01:10:16   just I guess I'm more of a... I actually do more podcasts than I do... I have four podcasts

01:10:22   and I have only two websites. So I'm more of a podcaster at this point than a website

01:10:28   owner maybe. I don't know.

01:10:30   always inevitable. All bloggers become podcasters. Eventually. Yeah. Yeah, I, first of all, congratulations.

01:10:38   It's been a lot of fun. I said this in my post to it the other day. It's been fun to

01:10:42   watch you guys work on this and for the idea to evolve over time. And you know, we've gotten

01:10:46   some questions about why it's not on relay. And I think, I think you said it well, that

01:10:49   this is very much a sibling to Mac stories and you know, connected is not, is not as

01:10:56   as closely related to Mac stories or even 512 pixels

01:10:59   as this is to your site.

01:11:00   And I think if you had just launched this on Mac stories

01:11:05   without a separate brand, I don't

01:11:07   think anyone would have blinked an eye because the content is

01:11:10   so obviously well-fitting with each other.

01:11:14   I will say that the card player and what

01:11:19   you've done on top of WordPress is impressive.

01:11:22   Relay runs on a custom CMS that we own.

01:11:24   And you showed me around the App Stories site a little bit.

01:11:28   And what you guys have done, it really is great.

01:11:31   And I think that it shows that if someone

01:11:35   wants to do something like this and they don't want

01:11:37   to do something out of the box, that there are options.

01:11:41   I'm curious, though, what are your goals with this?

01:11:43   So you've talked about some of the type of content

01:11:45   you're going to do, some personal app favorites,

01:11:48   roundups, interviews.

01:11:50   But where do you see this going?

01:11:53   Where do you want to push this in the future?

01:11:55   I think for sure what I want to do

01:11:57   is I want to have more voices on the show.

01:12:00   I want to have guests, and I want

01:12:04   to tell stories of people that you usually

01:12:06   don't see in the spotlight.

01:12:07   And so we're going to start with our first guests very soon.

01:12:11   But in general, I want to go beyond the usual app names

01:12:17   that you read on Mac Stories or that you

01:12:19   see featured on the App Store.

01:12:20   So one of my goals is to give a voice to people who make apps

01:12:25   that you usually don't see or don't read on tech

01:12:30   publications.

01:12:31   So whether it's a kid from India making apps or a studio

01:12:37   from Amsterdam, whatever, I want to tell those stories.

01:12:40   And also, I want to find a kind of a written--

01:12:48   And that integration between Mac stories and app stories,

01:12:52   some of the ideas that I have involved, for example,

01:12:55   when I'm working on an app review,

01:12:57   maybe there should be some tie to app stories as well.

01:13:00   There should be some integration between the written review

01:13:04   and the audio version.

01:13:05   So this idea of app stories being a complement

01:13:08   to Mac stories, and not just a different thing,

01:13:11   but with two distinct websites with the same foundation,

01:13:17   that is something that I want to explore in the future.

01:13:20   And I also feel like the idea of having a short-form podcast,

01:13:27   it is for me a learning opportunity.

01:13:30   Because one of my downsides is maybe

01:13:34   that I tend to describe every single detail in my articles

01:13:38   and in the podcast that I'm on.

01:13:41   I'm a perfectionist, and I'm also--

01:13:46   Every time I write app reviews, I

01:13:47   need to get every single detail out of my system.

01:13:50   And that is why I prefer long-form stories and app

01:13:55   reviews, because I just cannot sleep, seriously,

01:13:59   if I know that I missed a single detail in my coverage.

01:14:03   And so to do a short-form podcast

01:14:05   is, for me, a way to force myself--

01:14:08   and this is kind of the same that I'm doing with iPad

01:14:10   Diaries on Mac Stories.

01:14:12   It's a way to force myself to be more concise

01:14:14   To be okay with the idea of I cannot possibly cover everything

01:14:19   So I just I I should just focus on two points and make the best out of that

01:14:24   So I want to continue that because I think

01:14:28   To be able to do both, you know both the obsessive

01:14:32   long form and the focused tight short form it'd be good for me as a as a

01:14:40   content creator if you will yeah if you haven't checked it out we'll have links on the show notes two episodes are up now I

01:14:47   Listened I finished listening to episode two this morning and really enjoyed it. I think I think our audience will too

01:14:52   If you want to find links to all the stuff we've talked about you can do so this week

01:14:57   In your podcast app of choice or on the web fire up your internet browser and go to relay.fm

01:15:02   connected

01:15:05   39 if you want to find us you can do so on Twitter Federico is vit I CCI and he writes

01:15:11   Max stories net you can find Myke he'll be back next week being find him on Twitter as I am y

01:15:16   Ke and you can find me at 512 pixels net or at is mh

01:15:22   Until next week Federico say goodbye

01:15:25   Are you there to you adios?