The Talk Show

374: ‘The Paul McCartney of Car Salesmen’, With John Moltz


00:00:00   I know you do a podcast entirely about superhero movies.

00:00:03   I do. That's shows and comic books.

00:00:06   That's the Biff show,

00:00:08   which we mentioned a lot of times at the end of the show.

00:00:10   I'll mention it up front.

00:00:12   You do that with Guy and Dan, thank you too.

00:00:16   Our good friends Guy English and Dan Morin,

00:00:20   the successful novelist in our crew.

00:00:22   Yeah, who's finally been on your show now.

00:00:25   Yeah. It was fantastic.

00:00:27   He was thrilled.

00:00:27   Well, what an idiot I am for waiting because he's great.

00:00:30   But anyway, I thought about you.

00:00:31   I don't know what happened.

00:00:33   Who knows? Could have been an edible.

00:00:35   But some-

00:00:37   Yeah, I hear that. I get that a lot.

00:00:38   Yeah, people think edibles and they think about me.

00:00:40   Somehow two nights ago,

00:00:42   I wanted to watch something.

00:00:46   Amy was asleep on the couch with me,

00:00:47   so I had free choice to pick

00:00:49   a movie that maybe she would have said, "That's stupid.

00:00:52   I don't want to watch that." I wound up watching-

00:00:54   That's how you thought about me.

00:00:55   Well, what I saw in the menu,

00:00:57   I'm just surfing for movies and I saw Richard Donner's cut of Superman II.

00:01:03   I still don't think I've seen it.

00:01:06   But I've heard the stories that I think,

00:01:10   and you probably know this more than I do encyclopedic wise,

00:01:14   but more or less when they decided to make Superman in 1979 and had a big budget,

00:01:20   and they got Marlon Brando.

00:01:21   They spent half the budget on getting Marlon Brando for 20 minutes.

00:01:27   Shot with the idea that this is going to be a hit,

00:01:31   we're going to make sequels,

00:01:32   and they shot parts of Superman II with it.

00:01:35   They shot more than a movie.

00:01:37   While we've got all these Gene Hackman and all these actors,

00:01:41   Ned Beatty, a great cast,

00:01:42   and they shot all of this.

00:01:44   Then something happened with the producers where Richard Donner had a falling out,

00:01:48   before they got to Superman II,

00:01:50   somebody else came in and shot half the movie.

00:01:52   It explains why Superman II is weird.

00:01:55   But I haven't seen Superman II in years.

00:01:57   Now, am I right so far?

00:01:58   I think as far as I know, yes.

00:02:00   Yeah. I know that they shot a lot of it at the same time,

00:02:04   and I know that there was a falling out.

00:02:06   I don't know a lot more than that.

00:02:07   It explains why Superman I has the bad guys from Superman II in it,

00:02:14   which I remember now as a kid.

00:02:16   Yeah, because they're teased at the beginning of that movie.

00:02:19   Yeah.

00:02:19   So anyway, what I was thinking two nights ago was,

00:02:23   I was enticed by this Richard Donner cut,

00:02:26   but I thought, you know what?

00:02:28   I haven't seen first Superman in forever.

00:02:31   I don't know. Maybe when my son,

00:02:33   who's now finishing up freshman year of college,

00:02:35   was a toddler.

00:02:37   I mean, it was a long time.

00:02:38   So I thought, let's watch Superman,

00:02:40   and I put it on. Wow,

00:02:42   what a weird movie.

00:02:44   Have you seen the Superman movie, the 1970?

00:02:48   Oh my God. Yeah. Honestly, I still think that it's the perfect superhero movie, honestly.

00:02:55   I really do.

00:02:55   I mean, it's very dated at now and certainly it's dated in terms of the special effects,

00:02:59   and there's a lot of hilarious '70s-isms in there.

00:03:03   But in terms of nailing the character,

00:03:06   I think it's perfect.

00:03:09   I guess what I'm trying to say is it is a very bad movie,

00:03:14   but it is very bad in the perfect ways.

00:03:22   The movie did go down like butter,

00:03:26   and I've got the goddamn score stuck in my head now for 48 hours consecutively.

00:03:33   There's in the back of my head,

00:03:35   whatever part of my brain gets song stuck in it,

00:03:38   it is the absolutely amazing John Williams Superman score.

00:03:43   Yeah.

00:03:43   But I'm going to assume for people out there listening,

00:03:47   I don't want to spend tons of time on Superman.

00:03:49   We're not spoiling this.

00:03:51   You've had your chance to see the movie.

00:03:55   But some of the things that are so weird,

00:03:58   there's a scene, number one,

00:04:02   that the whole preface to the movie on Krypton or as Marlon Brando calls it, Krypton.

00:04:08   I'm not quite sure.

00:04:11   Do we go with Brando's line read or do we go with what everybody else in the world says?

00:04:17   For 80 years of comic books.

00:04:19   Right.

00:04:19   But once you get to Metropolis and adult Clark Kent is joining the Daily Planet,

00:04:26   and Lois Lane is already the star reporter,

00:04:29   and the big story in town is there's

00:04:33   this Superman who's suddenly arrived and is solving crimes and stuff.

00:04:37   That premise was obvious.

00:04:40   I don't know. I think they could make this movie a thousand different ways,

00:04:44   and at some point, that's the setup.

00:04:46   Yeah.

00:04:47   Clark Kent, new to the paper, Superman new to town.

00:04:51   There's a scene where Clark and Lois leave the paper,

00:04:56   and they're walking around a corner,

00:04:58   and they get mugged.

00:05:02   A mugger is there with a gun,

00:05:04   and I don't know what he's asking for,

00:05:06   jewelry or a purse or something,

00:05:08   and Clark is, we know he's Superman.

00:05:12   He bungles the scenario such that the mugger fires the gun at Lois Lane from about two feet away,

00:05:21   right at her face,

00:05:22   and he catches the bullet in fast motion and falls down.

00:05:26   The guy, he didn't really want to murder her.

00:05:30   It just was a bungled.

00:05:31   Everybody got nervous, and as they say in Goodfellas, the gun went off.

00:05:36   Lois doesn't know any better because he pushed her aside.

00:05:39   But how reckless is that?

00:05:42   That is so crazy that you-

00:05:44   Well, I think the idea is that, well, I mean,

00:05:47   part of the idea is he is both of those characters, right?

00:05:50   He's Superman, he's pretty cool, he's confident,

00:05:53   but he's also Clark Kent,

00:05:54   and he's a guy who was raised in Kansas,

00:05:57   and he's new to the city.

00:06:00   He doesn't get what's going on.

00:06:03   And similarly, how he ends up going to confront Lex Luthor

00:06:07   and assumes that he's on top of the situation

00:06:10   and know Luthor has got him back on his heels.

00:06:12   And he should have known that from the beginning.

00:06:14   He's a bit of a rube, right?

00:06:17   Because he's just starting out.

00:06:20   And I think it fits in a way.

00:06:23   I mean, yeah, it is dumb, but he's not necessarily.

00:06:28   I mean, I think that's part of,

00:06:29   because he's so super powered, obviously,

00:06:32   he has to have some sort of flaw,

00:06:34   and his flaws is naivete.

00:06:37   - Naivete, yeah.

00:06:38   - It works, but it is,

00:06:40   when you really think about it, it's ridiculous.

00:06:42   And I guess that the premise is that he's so good at,

00:06:47   his Superman abilities are so unbelievable

00:06:51   that catching a bullet fired two feet of somebody

00:06:56   is an easy catch for him.

00:06:58   So it wasn't really putting her at risk,

00:07:00   but it seems like you're putting somebody at crazy risk

00:07:05   just to protect your super identity.

00:07:08   It's--

00:07:09   - Some of the other things, he makes it up to her later.

00:07:12   He turns time back and saves her.

00:07:13   - I think one of the things that the movie did perfectly,

00:07:18   and it explains the sort of, for lack of a better word,

00:07:21   lots of stupidness, but who cares?

00:07:24   Let's make the stupidness short.

00:07:25   Like how does intergalactic space travel work

00:07:30   in the Superman universe?

00:07:33   You just send-- - Yeah, don't spend

00:07:34   any time on it. - You send a little satellite

00:07:36   that looks like a Christmas decoration into the orbit,

00:07:39   and it looks like it's moving at the speed

00:07:41   like our satellites move, and ah,

00:07:43   two years later, it's at Earth.

00:07:45   - Yeah, okay.

00:07:46   - That part is not really germane to the Superman.

00:07:50   It's part of the Superman story, I guess,

00:07:51   but it's not what you want to concentrate on.

00:07:54   - But if you really do think about it,

00:07:55   again, and these are the thoughts pouring through my head,

00:07:58   like how stupid is this?

00:07:59   So Superman's father, Jor-El,

00:08:04   that is the only, he's both a leading politician

00:08:07   and scientist/statesman on Krypton,

00:08:12   sort of like a Ben Franklin type, I guess.

00:08:14   He's the only one who, everybody knows the story,

00:08:16   figures out that the planet is doomed.

00:08:19   Everybody else goes into denial,

00:08:21   and for some reason, instead of rescuing the whole family,

00:08:24   they decide to just send the toddler son

00:08:27   all by himself to planet Earth,

00:08:29   and somehow, through their observations

00:08:33   and advanced science, he already knows

00:08:37   all of the superpowers the young Kal-El, Superman,

00:08:41   will have on the planet, all right,

00:08:43   and knows that he'll look right, right?

00:08:46   Do they explain it?

00:08:47   It's like Star Trek.

00:08:48   Why does everybody look like a human

00:08:49   with a different decoration on their forehead?

00:08:51   - Yeah, yeah.

00:08:52   - Don't explain it.

00:08:54   That's the way it is, right?

00:08:55   So he looks like a typical white male human

00:09:00   and has these powers.

00:09:02   All right, let's just concede that all of that makes sense,

00:09:07   but in his other role, in addition to forecasting doom

00:09:12   of the planet, he's also leading the trial

00:09:16   to incarcerate-- - He's a real Renaissance man.

00:09:20   - To incarcerate three super criminals on Krypton

00:09:25   who apparently attempted a, what do you call it?

00:09:28   - Coup or-- - Yeah, coup or a,

00:09:30   what do we call January 6th?

00:09:32   We have a word for it.

00:09:33   - Insurrection. - Insurrection.

00:09:35   They led an insurrection.

00:09:36   I can't believe I forgot the word, insurrection.

00:09:38   Also, I can't believe that now you and I

00:09:41   can talk about our recent insurrection.

00:09:43   - Yeah, really, yeah, yeah.

00:09:45   What's the, we have experience with it?

00:09:48   - Well, and we've also got, I was thinking about this too.

00:09:51   We've also, you and I, growing up, when we did,

00:09:54   it's moving in much slower motion than a massive explosion,

00:09:58   but we do kind of have the scientists telling us

00:10:01   that the planet is in trouble.

00:10:03   And everybody else going, ah.

00:10:07   - Yeah.

00:10:07   Yeah, I mean, after thousands and thousands of years

00:10:12   of people thinking that the Armageddon

00:10:14   was right around the door, that the second coming

00:10:17   was about to happen and the whole world was gonna end,

00:10:20   it could actually be happening on our watch.

00:10:22   But anyway, he leads their trial.

00:10:24   They're convicted by these weird people.

00:10:29   Only Marlon Brando is there in person.

00:10:31   The other ones are all on a big screen Zoom call.

00:10:34   Right, it's like, how advanced is their technology?

00:10:39   They use 40-foot movie screens for their Zoom calls.

00:10:43   - They were too busy to come in

00:10:46   for this particular trial.

00:10:48   - Right, and then they're sentenced to the Phantom Zone.

00:10:52   And I forget how the Phantom Zone has worked

00:10:55   in the comics over the time, but I always,

00:10:57   I think in the comics, it's sort of another dimension

00:11:00   where you go. - Yeah, something like that.

00:11:02   A timeless dimension where you're stuck for all eternity.

00:11:05   - Yeah, so like-- - Which seems like

00:11:07   maybe not a great idea either,

00:11:09   because obviously it doesn't work out so good.

00:11:12   - No, but it also, even if it did work out

00:11:14   as it was supposed to, it does seem cruel and unusual.

00:11:19   - Yeah, yeah, that too, right.

00:11:21   You know, it's sort of-- - And less incarceration.

00:11:26   - With no escape and nothing to do.

00:11:28   - Yeah, yeah, no, right, right, no room for improvement, no.

00:11:32   - No time.

00:11:33   It does, it sounds like many people's description

00:11:35   in religion of hell, and it doesn't,

00:11:40   anyway, it doesn't seem like civil liberties

00:11:42   are that great on planet Krypton.

00:11:44   But anyway, but this is how crazy it is.

00:11:47   He votes guilty, then in the movie,

00:11:51   the Phantom Zone is represented by a large glass square

00:11:56   that sort of twists through the world, and then it--

00:11:59   - They make 'em into an album cover.

00:12:01   - Yeah, exactly, they make 'em into

00:12:03   a giant space-sized album cover,

00:12:07   and then it goes into space.

00:12:10   And of all the places in all the galaxies

00:12:13   where they might send the Phantom Zone prison

00:12:17   with three super criminals,

00:12:20   is they send that one to Earth too?

00:12:24   - I think there was just some sort of direct highway

00:12:28   that went to Earth, because they also send,

00:12:31   like, they send Supergirl, and I think there's a bunch of,

00:12:34   oh, and then, I don't know how at Mon-El,

00:12:38   so there's another planet that's orbiting the same sun

00:12:42   that Mon-El comes from, and then there's the dog,

00:12:45   which I assume is actually a Kryptonian dog,

00:12:49   which just looks like a regular,

00:12:51   also looks like a regular Earth dog.

00:12:53   I don't know.

00:12:55   Yeah.

00:12:56   There's, yeah, 80 years of comic books,

00:12:59   you can't, you need to just throw up your hands

00:13:02   and try and explain too much of it.

00:13:05   - But where, and again, it sounds like

00:13:07   I'm throwing this movie under the bus.

00:13:08   It is up its time.

00:13:10   - And honestly, I will defend this movie,

00:13:12   because I think character-wise,

00:13:14   yeah, there's a lot of silliness from it,

00:13:16   and like I said, it's very dated,

00:13:18   but I think, and his portrayal is particularly good.

00:13:22   - I think Lois' too.

00:13:25   I think Lois is a very, and it reminds me,

00:13:29   I don't know, again, backstory,

00:13:34   maybe they were up for the same roles,

00:13:35   but Margot Kidder plays Lois Lane,

00:13:38   and the character reminds me a lot of Marian

00:13:42   in Raiders of the Lost Ark, who was,

00:13:44   I'm forgetting her name.

00:13:46   - Yeah, I'm forgetting it too.

00:13:48   - But it's similar, sort of, oh, Karen Allen played.

00:13:52   Marian in Raiders of the Lost Ark,

00:13:54   and it is sort of, there are obviously some things

00:13:59   that don't stand up to modern times now,

00:14:03   but more or less, both of them were progressive,

00:14:06   very progressive.

00:14:07   - For the time, yeah, 'cause they're tough.

00:14:09   They're tough as nails.

00:14:10   I mean, they're less, I mean, they're more,

00:14:13   I'm sorry, they're more ditzy than like Princess Leia,

00:14:16   but they're all still sort of cut from the same cloth.

00:14:20   - Right, and they don't need help,

00:14:23   or maybe eventually they do,

00:14:25   but they don't think they need help,

00:14:26   and they're not help-less, right?

00:14:29   And I think that's very different

00:14:31   than superhero movies or any kind of action movie,

00:14:35   what's the role of the woman going back through decades,

00:14:39   until you find rare exceptions like,

00:14:41   well, movies that aren't really action movies,

00:14:43   like if you go to the Humphrey Bogart classic era movies,

00:14:46   they weren't really written like serial adventures, right?

00:14:50   In the serial adventures that they based like Raiders

00:14:53   and Superman on, the women were just,

00:14:55   their only job was to be tied up in it.

00:14:57   - Hostages.

00:14:58   - Yeah, are they tied up to a train track

00:15:00   or tied up to a tree?

00:15:02   Which one did we do last week?

00:15:03   We'll do the other one this week.

00:15:04   - Yeah, yeah.

00:15:06   There's a very famous gag that I really enjoyed,

00:15:09   and again, because it is sort of a timestamp

00:15:11   of what was New York, yeah, I know it's Metropolis,

00:15:15   but they will go all in with,

00:15:17   all right, in our world, Metropolis is New York,

00:15:19   it's clearly Manhattan.

00:15:21   There's a famous gag where the first time

00:15:23   he needs to be quick change from Clark to Superman,

00:15:28   because Lois, of all people, what are the odds,

00:15:30   is trapped in a helicopter that's about to crash

00:15:33   off the top of the building.

00:15:34   And he approaches a payphone on the sidewalk,

00:15:38   and it's not a phone booth, right?

00:15:41   The gimmick, the gimmick is Clark would always dash

00:15:44   into a phone booth, which adds clear walls,

00:15:47   but do a whirlybird quick change and pop out as Superman,

00:15:52   and that was a trope from the comics that everybody knew.

00:15:55   But here, the gag is, in New York in 1979,

00:15:59   the phones weren't booths anymore,

00:16:01   they were just sort of standalone phones on a panel,

00:16:05   and Clark gives it a look like, hmm, what am I gonna do?

00:16:08   - You can't change in here.

00:16:09   - Right, and it is very funny to 2023 Eyes,

00:16:12   because it was actually a big, there was a big to-do,

00:16:15   now I'm thinking, I was gonna say,

00:16:17   everything to me was last year,

00:16:19   but it might have been five years ago at this point,

00:16:23   like those pandemic years really are a blur.

00:16:26   But there was a big to-do when Manhattan

00:16:28   took out its last payphone period, right?

00:16:31   It was like, here, there was still a payphone at 57th and 6th

00:16:36   or something like that, and here we are taking it out.

00:16:39   There's no payphones at all anymore.

00:16:40   It was kind of-- - Yeah, yeah.

00:16:42   We were actually, we went to Victoria, BC a week before last

00:16:45   and in the Chinatown, there was a couple payphones.

00:16:48   I took a picture of one 'cause it was so flabbergasted,

00:16:50   but I didn't actually see, I didn't actually lift it up

00:16:53   to see if it worked, but I think it did.

00:16:54   It looked like it was in decent shape, actually,

00:16:57   surprisingly, but that's, yeah, that's the first one

00:16:59   that I've seen in years and years and years.

00:17:01   - Yeah, somewhere, I can, you know what?

00:17:03   Actually, the search will probably work

00:17:06   if I search my photo library for payphone.

00:17:08   - For phone booth? - Yeah.

00:17:09   Or not phone booth, but payphone at least, maybe.

00:17:12   But I've seen them around still,

00:17:15   and a lot of times, they look in bad shape.

00:17:18   But I've-- - Yeah, they're usually

00:17:19   covered in graffiti and oftentimes just beat to crap.

00:17:22   - Yeah, it doesn't look like something

00:17:23   you'd wanna put up against your ear.

00:17:25   But, and again, in hindsight, it seems odd that that was,

00:17:30   that's just what you did because you needed

00:17:32   a payphone for decades. - Yeah, yeah.

00:17:34   - But I've seen-- - But that is an interesting

00:17:35   slice of time, right? - Right.

00:17:37   - Because that period in which payphones,

00:17:39   the booths were replaced by those stands.

00:17:42   I mean, I suppose that must've lasted 30 years, right?

00:17:45   - Yeah, more or less. - Because, but it happened

00:17:47   in the mid to late '70s and then existed

00:17:50   until cellphones took over. - Yeah.

00:17:53   And I don't know what the thinking was in hindsight.

00:17:55   I'm like, why did they get rid of phone booths?

00:17:57   I guess the idea was when they first made public phones,

00:18:01   the idea was everybody wanted privacy for their,

00:18:04   it's all about the privacy.

00:18:05   We don't, you don't wanna be,

00:18:06   whatever you're saying on the phone,

00:18:08   you don't want passersby to overhear.

00:18:10   So we'll give you a little independent booth.

00:18:13   And I guess that's clearly more expensive

00:18:16   than just putting a phone on a stick.

00:18:18   And I really do think it was probably a hygiene problem.

00:18:23   You know? - I think it was also,

00:18:25   I bet, I mean, I bet people were living in them.

00:18:29   - Yeah. - People were probably

00:18:30   camping out in them and then you can't use the phone

00:18:32   because there's some poor soul in there

00:18:35   who's set it up as their house.

00:18:37   - Although they were, it's pretty hard,

00:18:39   as I recall, they were pretty tight.

00:18:41   - Yeah, I know, but if it's freezing cold and raining out,

00:18:45   I mean, you probably would take what you can get.

00:18:47   - Yeah, you could fold your knees up somehow

00:18:49   and sit on the floor. - Yeah, at least for a while.

00:18:51   I mean, you wouldn't stay in there forever, but.

00:18:53   - No, but, well, we've really brought this down.

00:18:56   (laughing)

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00:20:33   I wrote a post a little over a week ago

00:20:37   making a stink about an ad I saw in the settings app

00:20:41   and on my phone, and the gist of it is

00:20:43   for a couple of weeks, I'd been seeing,

00:20:45   and I think it was only on my phone,

00:20:47   and again, I'm the professional.

00:20:50   I probably should have double-checked this.

00:20:51   I don't know if it was on my iPad,

00:20:53   but on my phone, at the very top

00:20:56   of the first level of settings,

00:20:57   right underneath your Apple ID,

00:21:00   I was getting a promotion to try,

00:21:02   that I qualified for Apple Arcade for a three-month trial,

00:21:07   and it didn't make any sense to me

00:21:09   because I've been paying for the Apple One

00:21:12   family subscription for, I don't know, $30 or maybe more

00:21:16   because we have the extra storage,

00:21:17   but it's a good deal for us.

00:21:19   We watch Apple TV, we listen to Apple music.

00:21:22   What else do we get?

00:21:23   We don't use the fitness thing,

00:21:25   and I think we play the games a little.

00:21:27   I don't know, I'm not really a big gamer,

00:21:29   but we've got it, so why were they promoting?

00:21:31   If I'm already paying for the bundle with everything,

00:21:34   which presumably was what Apple wants people to do,

00:21:38   like I'm being a good Apple ecosystem customer

00:21:41   from their perspective by paying

00:21:43   the most expensive subscription they offer,

00:21:46   why are they badgering me here in the settings app

00:21:48   to get a free trial for the game?

00:21:51   Shouldn't they know?

00:21:53   So I need to follow up on that on Daring Fireball.

00:21:55   It won't take long, it won't even take nearly as long

00:21:57   as my explanation there, but--

00:21:59   - Did you get any result from that?

00:22:01   Is it still there or is it gone now?

00:22:03   - Well, what I did was I told myself,

00:22:05   this is how my brain works,

00:22:06   it's how I beat my procrastination,

00:22:09   is I told myself, I should write about this

00:22:12   on Daring Fireball, this is a good grist for the blog.

00:22:15   I won't tap through and say not now, right?

00:22:20   'Cause if you tap that thing,

00:22:22   you get two options on the next page.

00:22:23   It's like subscribe to start my free trial or not now.

00:22:28   And I figured tapping not now would make it go away

00:22:31   and stop annoying me, but I told myself,

00:22:33   I'm not allowed to do that until I post.

00:22:36   So I wrote the article and then I thought,

00:22:38   okay, let's see if this gets rid of it.

00:22:40   And then I tapped not now and then it did go away

00:22:43   and it stayed away.

00:22:44   It's possible, maybe that was a mistake

00:22:46   'cause maybe someone at Apple would have wanted to look at it.

00:22:48   But anyway, unsurprisingly, I posted some people

00:22:51   at Apple noticed and looked into it

00:22:54   with the boop speaking of superpowers,

00:22:58   my weird superpower where if I blog about a bug,

00:23:02   I can get-- - You get results?

00:23:05   - I could get results. - Unlike the rest of us.

00:23:07   - And like our friend Kal-El,

00:23:10   I try to use my superpower wisely and for good

00:23:14   and I don't wanna waste anybody's time.

00:23:16   - I will point out you're wearing a blue shirt today too.

00:23:18   - Yeah. (laughs)

00:23:21   The gist of it though is it boils down to the fact

00:23:24   that I'm one of the legacy accounts

00:23:27   with a separate Apple ID for iCloud

00:23:32   from my iTunes purchases ID.

00:23:37   So what happened was way back when I signed up for iTunes

00:23:42   before Mac.com was even a thing, right?

00:23:46   What we now call iCloud has had several names,

00:23:49   Mac.com, then it was me.com. - MobileMe?

00:23:54   - Yeah, MobileMe, but with the domain me.com

00:23:58   and then they were like, let's rebrand to iCloud

00:24:01   right at the tail end of Steve Jobs' life

00:24:04   and then iCloud.com.

00:24:07   You can tell which era somebody's ID is from

00:24:11   because you can, for me who signed up,

00:24:15   do you have a Mac.com?

00:24:16   I've got a Mac.com address.

00:24:18   But then you get for free the same name at me.com

00:24:23   and then the same name at iCloud.com.

00:24:25   But if you only sign up now, you only get iCloud.com

00:24:28   and you can't get Clark Kent at Mac.com to work.

00:24:34   But anyway, I had an iTunes account from 2001

00:24:36   when they first started selling things

00:24:38   and I signed up for that

00:24:39   with my @daringfireball email address.

00:24:43   And then Mac.com comes out and I signed up

00:24:47   and got my user ID.

00:24:50   And I don't know, I guess it's just sort of the way

00:24:55   that Apple wasn't good at services back then,

00:25:00   that they were separate, totally separate things

00:25:04   and they've always been separate things.

00:25:06   And I guess the chance, at some point what I could have done

00:25:10   was just go all in with my Mac.com ID like most people do

00:25:15   and use that ID for store purchases.

00:25:17   And then what I would have done though is lost the music.

00:25:19   I'd have the music but it wouldn't be in my history anymore

00:25:25   and whatever shows or movies I bought.

00:25:27   So I've just stuck with it for all these years.

00:25:30   I've got just a different log email and password

00:25:34   for purchases than I do for iCloud.

00:25:38   But it's all intersected now, it's all weird.

00:25:40   I think like the diagram on the whiteboard

00:25:43   of how this works is like the classic meme of Charlie

00:25:48   from "It's Always Sunny" with a crazy conspiracy theory.

00:25:51   Because I make purchases with this other ID

00:25:56   but my iCloud is where I make the purchase for Apple One

00:26:00   which is the subscription that gives us the access

00:26:04   to Apple TV+ and the music.

00:26:06   So it really does blur together at that point.

00:26:09   And something, something, the bug is I qualified

00:26:14   for three months of Apple Arcade

00:26:17   on my purchase ID account for something.

00:26:20   It doesn't matter what, I don't know.

00:26:22   I bought something and somehow the purchase I bought

00:26:26   with that ID like at the Apple store

00:26:28   and it qualified me for three months.

00:26:32   But because my iCloud ID is this other ID,

00:26:35   whatever the code is to say does this person

00:26:37   even need this free offer, it didn't work.

00:26:40   And people are looking into it and this will be fixed

00:26:44   supposedly in a future update.

00:26:45   And it's not, there is a sort of subtle,

00:26:49   this isn't really Apple's fault and this isn't a problem

00:26:52   that most people are facing sort of.

00:26:55   - I mean. - Yeah, it's probably not.

00:26:56   It's probably not something that a lot of people are facing

00:26:58   but it's still Apple's fault.

00:27:00   And I feel like there is,

00:27:03   as they layer on more and more services,

00:27:07   they run into more and more of these problems

00:27:10   because we had a problem recently

00:27:12   'cause I think I just got Karen onto,

00:27:15   and I'm not sure if it's related to this

00:27:17   but it seems like it might be onto the Apple Card

00:27:21   she had not been on to date.

00:27:22   And so she finally joined the Apple Card thing

00:27:25   and now for some reason,

00:27:27   app purchases are not being shared correctly.

00:27:32   Like she has it turned on,

00:27:33   she has turned on shared app purchases with me and Hank

00:27:36   and yet every time she buys an app and Hank,

00:27:38   'cause we did this 'cause we play game nights online

00:27:40   sometimes with friends and we were like,

00:27:42   "Let's play this this week."

00:27:43   And so she buys the app and then I go to buy it thinking

00:27:46   I'm not gonna be charged

00:27:47   when it comes time to click the button.

00:27:49   I click the button, I get charged again.

00:27:51   And it's like, and I went downstairs and they're like,

00:27:55   "We're gonna get another game.

00:27:56   "Let me check your device first."

00:27:57   And so here's, okay, it looks like it's set correctly

00:28:01   and did it again and still got charged twice.

00:28:04   So I don't know if it was related

00:28:06   to the Apple Card thing or not,

00:28:08   but for some reason it's not working right anymore.

00:28:11   And it just seems like it's one of those situations

00:28:13   where, and it used to, where something got added

00:28:16   and it screwed up the entire process.

00:28:19   - But are you saying then,

00:28:21   so you've got the family account with the three of you.

00:28:24   Are you saying though that if you make a purchase,

00:28:27   it does get-- - We haven't tried that yet.

00:28:29   I bet if I make a purchase, it will work correctly.

00:28:31   - Right, as the point person, I don't forget what they call--

00:28:35   - Yeah, as like the parent account.

00:28:38   I mean, she's literally a parent account as well,

00:28:41   but I'm the one who set it all up.

00:28:43   - Right.

00:28:45   It got me thinking in my post,

00:28:47   and it was sort of a way to,

00:28:49   it's been something that's been on my mind anyway,

00:28:51   is just the basic complaint of,

00:28:56   is Apple giving us too many ads

00:29:01   in abusing their position as the system provider

00:29:06   to show us ads that we shouldn't be seeing?

00:29:10   So okay, this one thing I saw in the Settings app

00:29:15   was a bug with an explanation.

00:29:18   But there are a lot of other places where Apple sends,

00:29:23   and I laugh, I'm laughing here on the podcast,

00:29:27   but I get the dilemma.

00:29:29   What is an ad comes up, right?

00:29:31   On this podcast, the ads are very obvious, right?

00:29:36   We're talking like we just were,

00:29:38   and then I take a break,

00:29:40   and I say I would like to thank a sponsor,

00:29:42   and then I name the sponsor,

00:29:44   and I have some talking points

00:29:46   to tell you, the listener, about,

00:29:48   and then at the end, there's always some kind of action item

00:29:52   which is usually a URL to go to their slash the talk show

00:29:57   or whatever the URL is,

00:30:00   and then we go back to talking about content,

00:30:02   and if you're the listener, that was an ad,

00:30:05   and that's how the show is monetized.

00:30:07   I think-- - And that's for people,

00:30:09   that is for people who are not paying for this content.

00:30:12   - Right. - No one has put down money

00:30:16   for this podcast. - Right.

00:30:17   That's the deal is you get to listen to the podcast,

00:30:20   and I read ads, and you get to do it.

00:30:22   - That's how it's paid.

00:30:23   - You buy an iPhone, and you give Apple $1,000,

00:30:27   and you start paying, you know,

00:30:29   your Verizon or AT&T or T-Mobile

00:30:32   or whoever your carrier is,

00:30:33   50-plus dollars a month for service,

00:30:37   you're spending a lot of money,

00:30:38   and then you start,

00:30:41   and I think, and people have told me this,

00:30:45   people who are more sensitive to these ads,

00:30:47   it's an interesting personality trait

00:30:52   because people have very, it's not like binary.

00:30:55   You're either annoyed or not.

00:30:56   People just have a different range

00:30:58   of what they find annoying,

00:30:59   but there are some people who find all of these things

00:31:02   very, very annoying and would prefer to never get them,

00:31:06   but you start getting offers for things from Apple

00:31:09   like as, they're not text messages.

00:31:12   They're just notifications that come in,

00:31:15   and they say things like, because you bought an iPhone,

00:31:19   you qualify for, I don't even know what you get.

00:31:22   Remember, for a while, you'd get a full year

00:31:24   of Apple TV+ service, and there's promotions.

00:31:29   Maybe you get Apple Music 'cause you bought

00:31:31   during this back-to-school period or something like that.

00:31:35   Is that an ad, I guess?

00:31:38   - Yeah.

00:31:39   - But it's like--

00:31:40   - I'd say it's an ad, for sure.

00:31:41   - Right.

00:31:42   The one that drives me crazy in particular

00:31:45   is every time I get an iPad,

00:31:46   they want me to set up Apple Pay on my iPad,

00:31:49   which I will use my Apple Card, yes,

00:31:54   but I don't also need to use my bank cards.

00:31:57   And on my iPad, I rarely ever do any of that stuff.

00:32:01   I do on my phone all the time, but not on my iPad.

00:32:04   And I have that red mark on it.

00:32:08   - Yeah, yeah.

00:32:09   - I have to go through a process every time I get an iPad

00:32:11   to get rid of that red mark, and it's like, why?

00:32:13   It's not the way I use this device.

00:32:15   - You know what, and I think you've put your finger

00:32:17   on an aspect that, judging from emails and tweets

00:32:22   and stuff like that that I get sent,

00:32:23   people have a low tolerance for those red dots.

00:32:28   - Yeah, they really do.

00:32:30   People write giant articles about them.

00:32:32   - Right, and there's a lot of people,

00:32:34   I obviously don't famously have thousands and thousands

00:32:37   of unread emails, and I keep for whatever,

00:32:40   this is the part that I guess is weird,

00:32:42   that I don't have them on my Mac, but on my iOS devices,

00:32:46   I've never turned off the badge for mail.

00:32:49   So if I send a screenshot of my home screen,

00:32:51   some people are, they go into conniptions.

00:32:54   - They have a visceral reaction.

00:32:56   - But I get it, I do.

00:32:58   I totally understand the urge to not have any red badges

00:33:02   on any icons, and it's probably a much healthier way

00:33:06   to deal with it.

00:33:08   I think the people out there, those of you listening,

00:33:11   I'm sure there's thousands of you,

00:33:13   who if there's a red badge on your home screen,

00:33:16   you take care of it.

00:33:17   If it's a message, you read it.

00:33:19   If it's some other app that gives you red dots,

00:33:23   you go into the app and figure out what the dot is about

00:33:26   and make it go away, deal with it.

00:33:29   And then when your phone has no red badges,

00:33:31   you've dealt with everything you need to deal with.

00:33:34   So therefore, with that mentality,

00:33:37   when you've got a red dot that says,

00:33:39   "Set up Apple Pay on this device,"

00:33:42   and you don't want to set up Apple Pay, what do you do?

00:33:46   - Well, yeah, you go through the, you start the process

00:33:50   and then you stop it, which is dumb.

00:33:53   - Right.

00:33:54   - You know, there should just be, at the top level,

00:33:56   there should be just a "Dismiss this."

00:33:58   - Yeah, there's, and as a writer, I get it,

00:34:04   and I'm sure you do too.

00:34:06   You can easily imagine the meetings at Apple

00:34:11   that led to every word, every button, name.

00:34:16   It is all extremely thoughtful.

00:34:22   I think surprising people would be shocked

00:34:25   at how much time Apple spends tweaking that verbiage

00:34:30   to get it just so, but the just so

00:34:34   is sort of a very fine line of assuming

00:34:39   that ultimately you definitely want to set up Apple Pay.

00:34:43   Right? - Yeah.

00:34:44   - Like, you may not want to do it right now,

00:34:47   but even if you don't do it right now,

00:34:49   you're going to want to do it later.

00:34:51   But without coming out and telling you,

00:34:54   "We're Apple, the giant corporation

00:34:56   "who you just paid $1,000 for the phone,

00:34:58   "and we're gonna boss you around and annoy you

00:35:00   "with a red dot because we also want you

00:35:02   "to use our financial product."

00:35:05   They are not gonna say it that way,

00:35:07   and it's like they've got plausible deniability

00:35:11   with everything that they say.

00:35:13   I know, and in particular, I know that many people

00:35:16   are very annoyed by their not now buttons, right?

00:35:20   Because some people, they know the answer is never.

00:35:23   This device is going to my child

00:35:29   who's a first grader or something.

00:35:30   I'm going to set up this iPad for my first grader.

00:35:33   I am definitely not putting Apple Pay on this.

00:35:36   My first grade, my daughter in first grade

00:35:39   does not have a credit card.

00:35:41   (laughing)

00:35:42   So why must I do this?

00:35:44   And not now bothers them.

00:35:46   I see now not now doesn't bother me.

00:35:48   Not now I salute the cleverness of it

00:35:52   because it does mean, it has a very precise meaning,

00:35:56   but it also gives you the information,

00:36:00   'cause if you are, I guess what Apple is thinking

00:36:03   is if you are thinking not now but maybe later,

00:36:08   pushing a not now button sort of gives,

00:36:11   and you're not an expert iOS user,

00:36:14   you're a very typical user,

00:36:16   it gives you some degree of confidence

00:36:17   that if you do change your mind in the future,

00:36:19   you haven't made a permanent decision.

00:36:22   But for the people who know that it is a--

00:36:26   - Yeah, I guess I suppose so, but it doesn't seem like,

00:36:29   it seems obvious that that's the kind of thing

00:36:31   that you could set up again later if you wanted to.

00:36:33   - It should be, you would think, but I--

00:36:35   - You do have to go find it, I guess.

00:36:37   - Right.

00:36:37   - Which for some people is a harder task than others.

00:36:41   - And a bigger picture, and Apple has, I think,

00:36:46   these ads are weird because they're all

00:36:49   for Apple's own services, right?

00:36:51   So it's not like somebody else is paying for them.

00:36:55   It's Apple itself promoting additional ways

00:36:59   to get more out of your device, right?

00:37:01   Some of them aren't an upsell at all, right?

00:37:03   Like the ones from the Tips app,

00:37:06   which I think is a very clever design

00:37:08   to help people who are new to the iPhone,

00:37:11   maybe they just switched from Android,

00:37:12   you know, according to Apple,

00:37:13   there's maybe like a million of them every week

00:37:16   or something, some crazy number of people

00:37:19   buying their first iPhones.

00:37:20   And I know for those of us who've been using them

00:37:23   too much for 15, 16 years, it's crazy,

00:37:28   but there are people who are new to it,

00:37:30   and I think the way that they sort of surface those tips

00:37:34   is, I think it's fascinating.

00:37:36   And I think it's the sort of thing where

00:37:38   there are very thoughtful, experienced designers

00:37:43   who are responsible for that,

00:37:44   and nobody really gives them credit and says,

00:37:46   "You know who's really on top of their game at Apple?

00:37:48   "The Tips team."

00:37:49   - Yeah, and as someone who doesn't jump on the betas

00:37:53   the minute after WWDC, I find them helpful too

00:37:57   because I usually don't.

00:37:58   I mean, I often get on public beta,

00:38:00   but even by that point, I'm trying to remember

00:38:04   exactly what all the new features are.

00:38:05   Only a month or so after WWDC, I'm like,

00:38:08   "Okay, what did they announce again?"

00:38:10   And so, I actually use the tip thing almost every time.

00:38:13   - Yeah, and they're not upselling you.

00:38:16   I think everything in tips is how to use

00:38:20   what you've already paid for.

00:38:21   - But it could be worse.

00:38:22   They could be allowing other parties to do these.

00:38:26   - Somebody at Apple is looking at that empty column

00:38:31   in the spreadsheet. - The one guy.

00:38:35   - There are other ones that they send you as a new user,

00:38:39   though, that if the message hits you

00:38:41   and you, the user, think, "Oh, that sounds interesting.

00:38:45   "I've been thinking about that.

00:38:46   "I would like to do that."

00:38:48   It is all about getting you to start paying Apple

00:38:51   a subscription price for Apple Music

00:38:53   or the Apple One bundle or something like that.

00:38:56   - I don't think they should never send such messages.

00:38:59   I think it is reasonable, and I think there are people

00:39:02   who don't know about these things,

00:39:05   and so it's worth messaging them.

00:39:08   But I wonder, though, if they aren't,

00:39:12   I mean, one way to look at anything in life

00:39:15   is that you have to figure out which side

00:39:17   you want to approach perfection from.

00:39:20   Assume we're all humans, we're gonna make mistakes,

00:39:23   and so should we err on the side of sending

00:39:27   too many promotional messages,

00:39:28   or should we err on the side of sending too few?

00:39:32   And I kind of feel like Apple is very close

00:39:35   to the right line, but they're coming at it from the,

00:39:39   "Well, if we're gonna make a mistake,

00:39:41   "let's send a few too many."

00:39:42   - Yeah, yeah.

00:39:43   I don't feel like, in general, I feel like, yeah,

00:39:46   it does feel like it's just slightly too many,

00:39:48   and I don't get some of the ones

00:39:50   that other people seem to get for some reason.

00:39:54   Again, it's weird what some people experience

00:39:57   and what other people don't.

00:39:59   For instance, like you getting your arcade notification.

00:40:03   I don't, I mean, some people have shown things

00:40:08   that seem pretty egregious to me,

00:40:11   but I have not gotten those things.

00:40:13   Usually, I'll get, like, often I'll get a notification

00:40:15   that some show is available on Apple TV+.

00:40:20   And usually, it's like, okay.

00:40:22   I mean, it's either a show that I watch,

00:40:24   and it's a reminder that there's a new episode,

00:40:26   which is, I don't mind that so much,

00:40:29   'cause sometimes I will forget.

00:40:30   The thing that drives me crazy is if I've already watched it,

00:40:33   which has happened several times.

00:40:35   It's like, there's a new episode of "Ted Lasso."

00:40:37   I was like, "Yeah, I watched it two hours ago.

00:40:39   "Why are you telling me about it?

00:40:40   "You should know that I saw it already."

00:40:42   - Right, well, and that sort of gets to a point

00:40:45   that I made in my article complaining about this settings bug

00:40:48   where we collectively have, certainly I have,

00:40:51   have complained strongly

00:40:54   about the surveillance-based advertising

00:40:57   epitomized by Facebook and Google,

00:41:00   where they seemingly know too much about you.

00:41:02   And my wife, Amy, she keeps, she knows that,

00:41:07   I think she knows that her devices aren't listening to her,

00:41:13   but she's had some really freaky things

00:41:18   and she's like, "Okay, come on."

00:41:19   So here's a recent example.

00:41:21   This isn't really about Apple.

00:41:23   I think it's more of an Instagram thing, but--

00:41:26   - Yeah, it's an Instagram.

00:41:28   - She bought a little shelf, little skinny shelf.

00:41:33   It looks almost like the type of thing,

00:41:36   remember in elementary school, did you have,

00:41:38   like when the books came back,

00:41:41   sometimes the kid you'd be tasked with,

00:41:44   "Here, take these books and put them back on the shelf

00:41:46   "in the right place," and it'd be like

00:41:48   a little wheelie cart for books.

00:41:50   She got something like that for our laundry room.

00:41:54   Very skinny and I think it goes between

00:41:56   the washer and the dryer, but she just wanted a place

00:41:58   to put some more, I don't know, fabric softener

00:42:01   and whatever else you keep in a laundry room.

00:42:04   But she bought it, she said, during the pandemic,

00:42:08   two years ago, and just never set it up.

00:42:11   And then a few weeks ago, she's like--

00:42:16   - Why didn't you set me up?

00:42:17   - Yeah, no, but she did, she took it out

00:42:20   and it ended up being an extremely easy assembly.

00:42:25   I said, "I'll do that," you know,

00:42:26   I thought I'd earned some good spouse points.

00:42:29   But unlike an Ikea thing where you have to put it all together

00:42:32   I think it has three shelves, the whole thing was together

00:42:34   except for the wheels on the bottom.

00:42:35   I just had to snap wheels on the bottom

00:42:37   and it was already together.

00:42:38   Because it's such a skinny little thing,

00:42:40   it wasn't difficult to box in an efficient space,

00:42:43   efficient way, anyway, I put it together,

00:42:45   now it's in our laundry room.

00:42:47   And the next day she got an ad on Instagram for that shelf,

00:42:52   the exact thing from the same company

00:42:55   that she'd bought two years ago.

00:42:58   And we had just spent like just a typical

00:43:01   husband and wife conversation about a task like that.

00:43:05   Like, "I'll do it, I'll put this together for you

00:43:07   "and then you'll have a nice little carton of life."

00:43:09   But she's like, "Now you tell me

00:43:10   "that this thing isn't listening to us."

00:43:12   And she knows that it's not.

00:43:13   And I said, "I don't even think we mentioned

00:43:15   "the name of the company, right?

00:43:16   "We talked about it, but it is weird, it's a weird thing."

00:43:21   All the way around to, so you just think like,

00:43:26   "How the hell does Instagram know so much about her

00:43:28   "that they're showing her a little Japanese

00:43:31   "laundry room shelf that she already bought two years ago?"

00:43:35   And was just thinking about it,

00:43:36   that's how on point their ads are.

00:43:37   And meanwhile, Apple doesn't know that John Moltz

00:43:41   just watched Ted Lasso two hours ago.

00:43:44   - I really look forward to driving my GM car down the road

00:43:48   and getting notifications for services

00:43:50   from General Motors on the dash of my car to sign up for.

00:43:55   - Isn't that, yes.

00:43:59   - Must press okay to proceed driving down the road.

00:44:02   - Right, I've been thinking so much more about that GM thing.

00:44:08   I guess it's a better podcast topic than a column topic

00:44:11   'cause it's so speculative.

00:44:14   But it's like the more I think about it,

00:44:16   and GM just had, I think they did their earnings call

00:44:20   or something and it came up.

00:44:22   The basic story from three or four weeks ago was

00:44:25   they're going to drop CarPlay support

00:44:28   from future electronic vehicles,

00:44:31   but that the ones, the EVs and the gas cars

00:44:34   that already have CarPlay will keep having CarPlay,

00:44:38   which is weird in and of itself.

00:44:40   If you think there's a good idea,

00:44:42   why would you only say new?

00:44:44   But that's what they said.

00:44:46   But low and behold--

00:44:47   - Canceled the Volt. - The Volt, right.

00:44:49   So the Volt is their award-winning, probably I think,

00:44:55   I haven't driven one, but I do believe

00:44:57   it might be the most innovative vehicle GM has made

00:45:00   in a long time, especially if you're looking at it

00:45:03   from a EVs are the future.

00:45:07   They make lots and lots of big, big trucks and SUVs

00:45:11   and it's where they make most of their money

00:45:13   and lots and lots of Americans love to buy

00:45:16   very big trucks and SUVs and I don't.

00:45:19   I don't like driving them, I don't like renting them.

00:45:22   But for people with sort of, the Volt,

00:45:25   is it the Volt or the Bolt?

00:45:26   It was the Volt, right? - I can't remember.

00:45:28   - That might be the Volt.

00:45:28   Well, I'll try to blur my pronunciation together.

00:45:31   But anyway, that's the one that people were like,

00:45:34   well, that's the only car from GM I care about

00:45:37   and so at least they'll still keep carplay on that

00:45:40   because it's not a new EV.

00:45:42   But they've said they're canceling it

00:45:44   so that they can reuse that production effort.

00:45:48   - Volts with a B. - Yes, all right.

00:45:50   Volt would have been better though 'cause it's electric.

00:45:53   - Yeah, right, right.

00:45:55   - Maybe that-- - It's a lightning bolt.

00:45:56   - Yeah, yeah, all right.

00:45:58   All right, I'll give them the lightning bolt.

00:45:59   It's a good name, it's even a good name,

00:46:01   even though I couldn't remember it.

00:46:02   But it's a good name, they're gonna stop.

00:46:04   They're gonna stop making it.

00:46:06   And the thing that caught my attention

00:46:09   was that in this call where they talked about this

00:46:12   and said the Bolt is gone and we're going in a new direction

00:46:15   is they keep talking about data collection.

00:46:17   Right, like the line from--

00:46:21   - Well, that's, yeah, we said speculative

00:46:23   but it's not really that speculative, right?

00:46:25   Because they keep dropping the keywords

00:46:27   that make it seem like, no,

00:46:28   this is exactly what they're doing.

00:46:29   - Right.

00:46:30   - Rivian and Tesla famously,

00:46:34   Tesla makes them by far the most electric cars.

00:46:37   Rivian probably makes the premier critically acclaimed

00:46:42   SUVs and pickup trucks in the space.

00:46:46   And their explanation of why they go their own way

00:46:50   and don't support car play is that they want,

00:46:52   they both sound like Apple when they explain it.

00:46:54   They wanna make the whole experience

00:46:56   and control the whole experience

00:46:58   and they can't do that if they're putting up the screen

00:47:02   to some third party,

00:47:03   no matter how good the third party's thing is.

00:47:06   That they're offering a better user experience

00:47:09   by doing what Apple does with its devices, right?

00:47:13   Apple doesn't put Android on their cell phone hardware.

00:47:16   They have their own entire OS architecture

00:47:20   that is, that they're two sides of the same coin.

00:47:24   Apple talks about this almost every year

00:47:27   in their big product introductions.

00:47:29   Only Tim Cook, there was a year where the theme was,

00:47:31   only Apple, only Apple can do blank

00:47:34   because of this marriage of software and hardware

00:47:37   and they're trying to do that with their car.

00:47:38   Okay, blah, blah, blah.

00:47:39   And I, people, some people really like the Tesla interface.

00:47:43   The Rivian thing that I had the long test drive in,

00:47:46   it's good.

00:47:47   And it is more than just a rectangle.

00:47:49   It's this weird odd screen.

00:47:53   But Apple clearly is embracing that.

00:47:55   Last year at WWDC, they spent a long time in the keynote

00:47:57   at WWDC last year talking about, quote,

00:48:00   "Next generation carplay," which would be able to support

00:48:03   like a irregularly shaped screen that spans

00:48:08   from the driver across to the passenger,

00:48:10   going more in the direction of like Star Trek keyboard,

00:48:15   what's in front of you interfaces.

00:48:17   GM isn't really talking much about the user experience.

00:48:23   There's like lip service to it, like that, yeah, yeah,

00:48:26   that thing about if we control the whole thing, yeah, yeah.

00:48:28   We'll be-- - Yeah, it's gonna be great.

00:48:30   Yeah, sure. - Yeah, yeah.

00:48:31   But then what they really wanna talk about

00:48:33   is this data collection.

00:48:34   And it's like, what?

00:48:35   And there's something, something they said

00:48:37   that I quoted on "Daring Fireball"

00:48:38   that maybe they'll sell, they wanna sell some products,

00:48:41   right, which is where we're going,

00:48:42   that everybody wants subscription info.

00:48:44   They're looking at 20 to $30 billion a year

00:48:47   in subscription revenue for services

00:48:50   to operate the car you've already bought.

00:48:53   - Yeah.

00:48:54   - And one of the things they mentioned was insurance.

00:48:57   And I'm like, well, that's, I was thinking stuff

00:48:59   like they're gonna come out with like GM music or something.

00:49:03   And you'll be able to get something like a Spotify

00:49:06   or Apple Music through GM.

00:49:09   And that's how you'll get your music.

00:49:12   My ancient Acura has built-in XM radio, right,

00:49:17   which we've subscribed to ever since we bought the car

00:49:21   in 2006, so that there'd be something like that.

00:49:24   Selling insurance based on the data you collect in the car,

00:49:29   that seems oppressive, right?

00:49:34   - Yeah, yeah.

00:49:36   And it's not designed to make the car cheaper.

00:49:38   - No. (laughs)

00:49:39   - It's designed to increase their profit margin.

00:49:41   I mean, because they talked about their profit margin,

00:49:43   they expect their profit margin going up

00:49:44   from something like 12 to 14% to 20%, right?

00:49:47   - Right. - Yeah.

00:49:48   - We're not making, like that used to be a thing

00:49:52   that that's why Android's cheaper.

00:49:53   You can get an Android device,

00:49:54   and maybe you're sacrificing some of your personal data,

00:49:57   but you're getting a cheaper device,

00:49:58   and it's better for people who can't afford

00:50:00   to buy an iPhone.

00:50:02   But this is just like, nah, we're taking it all.

00:50:05   - A friend of the show, Casey Liss, sent me a text message

00:50:10   after I posted that to remind me that there have been

00:50:13   some deals like that for car insurance for a long time.

00:50:17   - Oh yeah, you could get a device.

00:50:18   - Yeah. - To get a car, to, yeah.

00:50:20   - Onboard diagnostic, OBD2 port.

00:50:23   It looks like a, like an HDMI port or something,

00:50:28   and if you--

00:50:30   - Like a house arrest anklet for driving a--

00:50:32   - Right. (laughs)

00:50:33   But you can buy, there used to be, I still can't,

00:50:36   I should look it up, actually,

00:50:37   but decades ago, maybe, at this point,

00:50:39   long, long time ago, early era of this show,

00:50:43   we had a sponsor that has since gone defunct,

00:50:46   but it was, they sold like a little, like $100 dingus

00:50:50   that you would put on that port.

00:50:52   But it wasn't to monitor you or sell you out

00:50:55   for advertising, it was like to give you,

00:50:59   and it had a phone--

00:51:00   - You would get the diagnostics that they could get

00:51:02   at the dealer, right?

00:51:03   - Right, in their, on your phone, right,

00:51:06   and you'd find out these things that, you know,

00:51:08   your car has all this data and you'd know that the, you know--

00:51:11   - I think I have it in a box.

00:51:13   - Yeah.

00:51:13   - I have some, I've never used it.

00:51:15   I did use it 'cause they were a sponsor,

00:51:18   I still can't, I can't remember the name,

00:51:19   but anyway, that was, though, a product all for your benefit

00:51:22   and it would give you tips like you could monitor

00:51:26   what your gas efficiency is and alter your driving habits

00:51:30   to get more mileage, you know, by maybe coasting more

00:51:34   and not riding the brake up and down or whatever.

00:51:37   And there have been other dinguses that you can get

00:51:39   from your insurance company, I guess.

00:51:41   I've never known anybody who's done this,

00:51:43   but that if you voluntarily put this in your car

00:51:46   and let the insurance company monitor the information,

00:51:49   that they'll give you some kind of discount, you know?

00:51:51   - Yeah, and I think there was, there's also one

00:51:53   that parents could do for kids.

00:51:55   - Yeah, yeah. - Like your teenagers

00:51:57   learning to drive and you don't want them going to the bars

00:52:00   and whatever.

00:52:01   - Well, or maybe you don't want them going,

00:52:03   seeing how fast the car can go.

00:52:05   - Yeah. (laughs)

00:52:07   Basically doing all the stuff that I did when I was--

00:52:09   - Exactly, right.

00:52:10   - Learning to drive.

00:52:11   (laughs)

00:52:12   - I can't believe I'm alive, honestly.

00:52:14   - Yeah, man, I almost wasn't, several times.

00:52:16   - I, it's true for me too, I was with buddies

00:52:19   and my buddy Todd, he had a Mustang.

00:52:22   It was an old Mustang and the worst part,

00:52:25   it was like one of the ugliest Mustangs Ford ever made.

00:52:27   It was like from the--

00:52:28   - One of the '80s.

00:52:29   - Yeah, one of the '80s ones.

00:52:31   Four of us in a car, I was in the back seat

00:52:34   and we were just driving way too fast on rural roads

00:52:40   at night with our friend James behind us driving his car

00:52:44   and James is a good driver.

00:52:46   And my friend Ethan and I, we just looked at each other

00:52:50   and in the back seat and we're like, we're having fun.

00:52:52   We weren't drinking, no substances involved,

00:52:55   just teenage boys driving too fast on a rural road.

00:53:00   And we looked at each other and we're like,

00:53:01   maybe we should put our seat belts on.

00:53:03   And we, but it was an old '80s car,

00:53:06   so it was just lap belts.

00:53:07   And Todd lost control of the car completely

00:53:11   and sailed through, just went through a corn field

00:53:15   full of corn, this was like fall,

00:53:17   it was like October, early school year.

00:53:18   So the corn was big, just shot through the corn

00:53:23   at a very high speed and then shot back across the road,

00:53:27   I guess he turned the other way and slammed on the brakes

00:53:31   and we landed on some kind of, it was very hilly

00:53:35   and somebody had built like a driveway

00:53:38   in front of their house that was elevated.

00:53:40   And so it was like a 20 or 30 foot drop

00:53:43   and the car was right at the edge of it.

00:53:45   And it had, we'd gone through a fence

00:53:48   and there was like barbed wire or something

00:53:51   wrapped around the axle and, but we're all okay.

00:53:54   And the car's come to a complete stop.

00:53:56   Our friends behind us pulled up then

00:53:58   and they were all terribly shaken

00:54:00   'cause all they saw was the car disappear into a field.

00:54:04   And then shoot across in front of them.

00:54:08   Everybody's okay, his car's a mess,

00:54:11   but then we're greeted by the property owner.

00:54:16   And we're laughing.

00:54:19   You'll never guess what he had in his hands.

00:54:21   - Oh, I bet it's a shotgun.

00:54:25   - It was, in fact, it was not just a gun, it was a shotgun.

00:54:28   He had a shotgun.

00:54:29   Now, who knows in 2023 what he would have in his hands.

00:54:33   It's probably, on it, I mean, we joke,

00:54:35   it's probably one of these assault rifles,

00:54:38   an AR-15 style thing.

00:54:39   But in 1991, or '90, it was a shotgun.

00:54:43   And it wasn't pointed at us, but he,

00:54:48   but we, and again, we were 100,

00:54:50   we were 0.0 blood alcohol amongst all of us.

00:54:53   So we were able to explain ourselves very quickly.

00:54:56   He said, well, I don't really, he was very gruff.

00:54:59   He's the sort of man who greets this loud bang

00:55:02   with a shotgun, but he said,

00:55:03   I've been looking to get rid of that fence, so no harm.

00:55:08   - Thanks a lot.

00:55:09   - Right, but we, I mean, we came that close

00:55:11   to just sailing over a 30 or 40 foot embankment

00:55:14   with lap belts on, and who knows what else

00:55:16   we might have hit in the field when he lost,

00:55:18   anyway, it's a digression, but probably would have been good

00:55:21   to have one of those sticks in Todd's car.

00:55:23   Well, actually, it probably wouldn't tear, well.

00:55:26   - Yeah, well, yeah, you probably would have done it anyway.

00:55:28   - Well, I guess, now in hindsight, as I think about it,

00:55:31   there was, it didn't matter if there were diagnostics.

00:55:34   There was no other explanation for his parents.

00:55:37   Now that I think about it.

00:55:39   - Oh, yeah, right, you come home and you've got,

00:55:41   yeah, barbed wire wrapped around the car.

00:55:43   - Right.

00:55:44   - Probably gonna need to do some fast talking.

00:55:46   - Yeah. (laughs)

00:55:48   But anyway, this future of GM sounds to me

00:55:53   like they're envisioning a, instead of an opt-in stick,

00:55:56   which is what we're talking about from before,

00:55:59   where you would say, okay, I will take, you know,

00:56:01   and the insurance company might say,

00:56:03   we're looking for people to drive safely

00:56:06   or something like that, or which roads you drive on,

00:56:09   or how much, how many miles you do drive, I don't know,

00:56:12   and we'll give you a discount if you stay under these limits

00:56:15   if you put this stick here in your car.

00:56:17   And if you say, okay, and then you're making this deal

00:56:20   with your eyes wide open.

00:56:21   I feel like the GM future is gonna be monitoring,

00:56:25   if they continue along this path,

00:56:27   monitoring people in a very, in my,

00:56:30   I think, anti-privacy way to, what, badger them?

00:56:35   I don't know.

00:56:37   And State Farm notices that you're a great driver

00:56:40   and would like you to switch.

00:56:41   Is that gonna come up on your dashboard?

00:56:43   - Right, as you're driving down the road.

00:56:46   - Right.

00:56:47   - As you're driving through a cornfield.

00:56:48   - Right, thanks to some sort of promotion

00:56:50   where surely GM would be taking it

00:56:52   for whatever number of people switch their insurance

00:56:56   based on this information, GM gets a cut.

00:56:59   - Yeah. - I don't know.

00:57:00   - I wonder if how well this is gonna work out

00:57:01   for them though.

00:57:02   I mean, I personally, I don't have CarPlay in my current car,

00:57:07   but I definitely wanna get it in my next car.

00:57:10   And I am, that is definitely a deciding factor.

00:57:13   So, but I don't think that I'm probably most people, right?

00:57:18   And maybe it will work for them,

00:57:23   but I doubt that their user experience

00:57:25   is going to be all that great, particularly.

00:57:29   - I doubt it too.

00:57:31   And the one thing I have in my mind,

00:57:33   I think I wrote about this on Daring Fireball,

00:57:34   but the one thing that's different about,

00:57:37   well, Tesla doesn't really have this problem

00:57:40   because of their newfangledness from top to bottom.

00:57:44   But for the traditional car makers,

00:57:47   the role of the car dealer is unlike, in my opinion,

00:57:53   I can't think of an analogy to any other product

00:57:56   that you buy like this, where you don't go,

00:57:59   you can buy your iPhone from Verizon,

00:58:04   you can buy it from Best Buy, right?

00:58:08   You can go, you don't have to buy your iPhone

00:58:10   directly from Apple, but those are just stores

00:58:13   and you don't have salesman, or I don't know,

00:58:16   maybe you do, I guess, in a Verizon store.

00:58:18   - There's probably some commission or something.

00:58:19   - Yeah, but it's not like buying a car.

00:58:21   And you can just buy directly from Apple.

00:58:24   But when you go to buy a Chevy Bolt,

00:58:26   you have to go to your local Chevrolet dealer,

00:58:28   which is an independently owned business.

00:58:31   And it's like an antitrust decision from,

00:58:34   I don't know, 100 years ago, or early, the 1940s,

00:58:39   I don't know when they put it into place,

00:58:40   but before we were born, so I've never known the world

00:58:44   where you don't have this, but there's, like,

00:58:46   in the US, laws that keep Chevy and Ford

00:58:49   from owning the car dealers.

00:58:51   Legally, they have to be owned by third parties.

00:58:55   We've often, by local, they become local celebrities

00:58:59   through their TV ads, right?

00:59:01   Everybody knows the jingle from certain car dealers.

00:59:05   We've got one here in Philly whose slogan,

00:59:08   for 30, 40 years, Gary Barbera, he sells Dodges.

00:59:13   Is Barbera the best?

00:59:15   Boy, I guess.

00:59:16   That's, I swear to,

00:59:19   swear to God, that's,

00:59:21   I don't know.

00:59:22   Is Barbera the best?

00:59:25   Boy, I guess.

00:59:27   But it's a weird slogan, but if you heard the voice,

00:59:31   the narrator is a very deep baritone, confident man,

00:59:35   so I guess his confidence in the line

00:59:38   really sells you on Gary Barbera.

00:59:40   But we've got a bunch of car dealers here in Philly

00:59:42   that are owned by Mike Piazza, former baseball star,

00:59:46   who never played for the Phillies,

00:59:48   but he was born and raised in the area

00:59:50   and now owns a bunch of car dealerships.

00:59:53   - Mets catcher for years.

00:59:56   - Right, Mets famously, I guess, most famously for the Mets.

00:59:59   But when you go to buy a car,

01:00:02   you can't buy a car from GM, right?

01:00:05   It's like a legal thing.

01:00:06   And it probably ought to be looked at.

01:00:08   I don't really think--

01:00:09   - Did Saturn sell directly though?

01:00:12   - Yeah, maybe.

01:00:12   - For some reason it felt like Saturn.

01:00:13   I mean, that was their whole thing,

01:00:15   like they had a different deal.

01:00:16   And I don't know if that worked,

01:00:17   but I mean, I know that they didn't do haggling, right?

01:00:20   You got the price, that was the price.

01:00:23   But I don't know if the dealerships

01:00:24   were owned separately or not.

01:00:26   - Yeah, but that's why-- - I felt like they weren't.

01:00:28   - Yeah, but that was the story.

01:00:30   It was because they made a new brand

01:00:33   that they were allowed to do that, right?

01:00:36   So like, Saturn, because Saturn was a new label,

01:00:39   and again, it's all just sorta, what's the difference?

01:00:42   They're all owned by GM,

01:00:44   so the sub-brands are kind of a weird thing.

01:00:47   But yeah, and again, I don't know what people,

01:00:50   I don't know what the car buying experience is like

01:00:52   for our friends listening over in the UK and Germany

01:00:56   and the rest of Europe, but here,

01:00:58   because of this car dealer relationship,

01:01:02   it is a product that famously,

01:01:05   you don't really know what the price is of the product.

01:01:07   You go to the lot and you see the car,

01:01:10   like I would like to buy that car.

01:01:13   That's the model I was looking at.

01:01:14   I like the color, and then there's like a piece of paper

01:01:17   stuck to the windshield that lists--

01:01:21   - Which means nothing. - Yeah, and it lists

01:01:23   certain features the car has.

01:01:25   It's got a 3.2 liter engine, and it's got this and that,

01:01:30   and it's got the seat package

01:01:32   to get you the better seats or whatever,

01:01:35   and then there is a dollar sign and a price at the bottom,

01:01:40   but you're not supposed to pay that price,

01:01:43   and they might tell you, like during COVID

01:01:46   when cars production was all jammed up

01:01:49   and it was hard to buy cars,

01:01:50   they might tell you right to your face,

01:01:53   you have to pay more than that.

01:01:55   - Yeah. - You have to.

01:01:56   Literally, there's nothing you can do or say

01:01:58   that is gonna get this car off the lot at that price.

01:02:01   It's gonna be $10,000 more or 5,000 more

01:02:04   or something like that.

01:02:05   In normal times when production isn't jammed up,

01:02:07   you're, I guess, again, I've only bought one new car

01:02:12   in my life because I just don't drive that much,

01:02:13   and I don't, I did a really dumb thing

01:02:16   where we went to buy that car in 2006

01:02:20   after our previous car was at a point of collapse

01:02:24   to the point where I wasn't sure we could make it

01:02:27   to the car dealer.

01:02:28   My wife was like, "I don't know if we should be driving

01:02:31   "this car," and I was like, "Well, they'll give us

01:02:33   "some money for it, so we've gotta get it there."

01:02:35   Like, it worked out, but I kinda needed to buy the car,

01:02:40   which is not the position you're supposed to be in.

01:02:42   - No, yeah, you always wanna be able to walk off the lot.

01:02:44   - Right, but the sticker says the car costs $40,000,

01:02:48   and you're supposed to say, "I'll give you 35,000 right now,"

01:02:52   and they say, "I can't do that, my God, let me go to,"

01:02:55   and then, "I'll go talk to my manager,

01:02:57   "and my manager has good news for you.

01:02:59   "He's gonna take it down to 39,000,

01:03:02   "but that's our best offer," and then you're supposed to leave

01:03:05   in a huff, you're like, "Ah, I'm going to the Honda dealer,"

01:03:09   and then the guy's like, "Yeah," and the guy's like,

01:03:13   "Well, give me your phone number."

01:03:15   - They'll call you, yeah, exactly.

01:03:16   - And then they call, yeah.

01:03:18   - That's a ridiculous dance that you have to do.

01:03:21   We went, yeah, when we bought the first one,

01:03:24   we went together, which was a mistake,

01:03:25   because the second time, first, then you get in arguments,

01:03:29   and then they're playing you against each other,

01:03:31   and it's like, the second time, I was like,

01:03:32   "I'm going by myself," and I was able to use her

01:03:37   as an excuse, right, 'cause they go,

01:03:39   "I'm gonna go talk to my manager,"

01:03:40   and I go, "Well, I gotta go talk to my wife, I can't."

01:03:42   You use your wife as the manager.

01:03:45   I gotta clear it with her first, man.

01:03:47   You got your manager, I got my wife.

01:03:49   We'll get there eventually, but--

01:03:51   - But then, these are professionals,

01:03:53   and they get paid by commission, to some extent,

01:03:58   so that the salesperson who sells more cars makes more money

01:04:03   and it's what they do all day, every day, right?

01:04:07   And so, a rube like me, I know these things.

01:04:11   I'm at least not a complete ignorant rube who comes in

01:04:15   and just says, "Oh, you say that's the price?

01:04:17   "Okay, here you go."

01:04:18   I know you gotta haggle, and I know you gotta do some,

01:04:21   look it up in the Kelley Blue Book,

01:04:23   what you're supposed to pay,

01:04:24   and you're supposed to call other dealers.

01:04:28   If you're shopping for a Toyota,

01:04:31   you call three or four Toyota dealers

01:04:33   and see who gives you, ah, blah, blah, blah.

01:04:36   But of course, I did this once in my adult life.

01:04:38   I'm probably gonna do it again soon,

01:04:41   but how many of these am I gonna buy?

01:04:42   Whereas the car dealer, five days a week,

01:04:46   eight hours a day, over and over, this is what they do.

01:04:49   And if they're, either they're,

01:04:54   if they're good at it and enjoy it enough to keep doing it,

01:04:57   they're gonna get better at it, right?

01:04:59   It's the Malcolm Gladwell thing,

01:05:01   10,000 hours of selling cars,

01:05:03   and all of a sudden you're the Paul McCartney

01:05:05   of car salesman, right?

01:05:07   Something, something.

01:05:08   But they smell things like that because they're good at it,

01:05:12   and they smell things like,

01:05:14   oh, the wife really likes this car.

01:05:17   Ah, yeah, and she's kinda thinking, I could see it.

01:05:22   She's kinda thinking this guy's being cheap

01:05:25   and they should just buy it.

01:05:26   What are you waiting for?

01:05:28   And then they know how to work that.

01:05:30   It's all, it's a weird thing.

01:05:32   - I used a broker one time,

01:05:33   which was really pretty good, actually.

01:05:36   I mean, you have to pay, it was a few hundred dollars.

01:05:38   I think it was like three or five, I can't remember.

01:05:40   But in a lot of ways it's worth it

01:05:43   enough to go through the aggravation,

01:05:45   and it was relatively quick.

01:05:47   - There's brokers you can use, which sounds good.

01:05:49   And again, these are, for most people,

01:05:51   it is by far and away the second most expensive thing

01:05:54   they're ever gonna purchase, right?

01:05:56   Your home is the most expensive.

01:05:59   And then this, we talk about this Apple stuff all the time,

01:06:01   but even my very expensive, maxed out MacBook Pro

01:06:06   was like $5,000, right?

01:06:09   And that's, I got a MacBook Pro,

01:06:12   I didn't get the 16 inch, so I would've had to pay more.

01:06:14   But I got the most RAM and the biggest SSD

01:06:17   and the fastest processor I could.

01:06:20   That's $5,000, right?

01:06:21   So cars are 40--

01:06:24   - Eight of a really good, of a good car.

01:06:25   - Yeah, so, but it's kinda nutty.

01:06:29   Nobody would buy a house without going through

01:06:31   professional realtor who's on your side, right?

01:06:36   And again, I hope--

01:06:38   - People do, people do, yeah, I mean, I think,

01:06:40   that does happen, but yeah, I wouldn't do it.

01:06:42   - Well, yeah, I shouldn't say never.

01:06:43   But the people who do it at least think

01:06:45   they themselves are expert enough to do it, right?

01:06:47   And whereas you probably should be going on to a lot

01:06:50   and buying a car without some kind of broke,

01:06:52   and again, somebody who you pay a couple hundred dollars to

01:06:55   who can save you a couple of thousand dollars.

01:06:58   - Yeah, right, right.

01:06:59   - And it's like, oh, this--

01:07:01   - And it's a question of what's your time worth, too.

01:07:04   - Yeah, this is how, oh, this is how business works.

01:07:06   I see, you're supposed to make money.

01:07:08   - But it's weird here in the United States

01:07:09   'cause nothing else works the same.

01:07:10   - No, nothing works the same.

01:07:11   - Whereas you go, like, going to Hong Kong

01:07:13   and haggled over things in the street and stuff like that,

01:07:16   and you go other places and lots of other places

01:07:19   in the world and you haggle over things.

01:07:20   But here in the US, cars are the only thing.

01:07:23   - Right, and it's--

01:07:24   - They have good houses, I guess,

01:07:25   but that's between two parties or two people

01:07:29   rather than a business and a person.

01:07:33   - So I don't know, it just seems to me

01:07:35   like GM is heading into a dark place,

01:07:37   that they've looked at the possibility

01:07:40   of the computerization of cars,

01:07:43   which everything, that's the overarching theme

01:07:47   of the whole world for the last few decades,

01:07:51   is everything is turning into computers,

01:07:53   and it gives us stuff to talk about and write about.

01:07:57   But it leads to dark places,

01:08:02   when you start thinking about things like,

01:08:04   oh, we'll collect every single bit of data

01:08:05   about how they drive their car and when

01:08:08   and where they've gone and how fast they've gone.

01:08:10   And I guess, who was driving,

01:08:13   if there's some kind of connection

01:08:15   to your phone with Bluetooth?

01:08:16   Even though it's not CarPlay,

01:08:18   they could know who's the driver or--

01:08:20   - I'm sure there are, yeah,

01:08:21   there are other ways they can figure it out.

01:08:22   - Yeah, yeah, it's not hard to think

01:08:25   of ways to figure this out.

01:08:26   And you start down that path,

01:08:28   and it just feels not a good place.

01:08:32   But I guess, and as much as we complain about it,

01:08:35   all of these other ways that computers

01:08:37   have made experiences worse,

01:08:40   I keep complaining about 'em,

01:08:42   but they keep happening.

01:08:44   My big one is the computerization of TV,

01:08:48   which started to me with TiVo

01:08:52   and what was the TiVo rival?

01:08:55   I always forget, 'cause I joined Team TiVo very early on.

01:08:58   But in the late '90s when DVRs were brand new,

01:09:02   it was TiVo and some other company that didn't make it.

01:09:06   But the big deal was the other one

01:09:08   had a 30-second skip button,

01:09:10   and TiVo never added a 30-second,

01:09:13   or they did very, very recently,

01:09:15   which is a digression I should save

01:09:17   for when my fellow TiVo user, John Siracusa, is on the show.

01:09:22   But the gist of it was you'd buy TiVos and the other one,

01:09:26   and the idea was this makes your TV so much better for you,

01:09:30   because you can record all of your favorite shows,

01:09:33   and you subscribe to them,

01:09:35   so you don't have to memorize, oh, like with a VCR,

01:09:39   the dream of, oh, I'll just always record my favorite show

01:09:42   every Tuesday night at nine.

01:09:44   You've always gotta have a fresh tape,

01:09:46   the right tape in there,

01:09:47   and the programming of the VCR was notoriously bad.

01:09:52   It was a recurring stand-up bit for decades

01:09:56   that everybody's VCR just blinked 12.00

01:09:59   because nobody even knew how to set the time

01:10:01   on the damn thing.

01:10:02   And we effectively just used our,

01:10:04   most of us used our VCRs to play movies.

01:10:08   You'd go to the Blockbuster and get a movie

01:10:10   and put it in play.

01:10:11   The recording was such a pain because tapes sucked,

01:10:14   and the TiVo is just, no,

01:10:16   just tell it that your favorite show is NYPD Blue

01:10:19   from the '90s, and now every night, every week,

01:10:23   it'll just automatically record, and it'll be there,

01:10:25   and you can watch it on your time,

01:10:27   and there is a fast-forward button,

01:10:29   so if there are parts of the show, like the ads,

01:10:32   that you would like to skip, you just go blip, blip, blip,

01:10:35   and then you go right past them.

01:10:37   And anyway, the computer was there to just

01:10:40   improve it for you.

01:10:41   You watch the shows when you watch

01:10:43   instead of when they're broadcast,

01:10:45   and you have a fast-forward and rewind and pause button.

01:10:49   The pause itself was breakthrough.

01:10:51   Like it used to be, you'd be watching something

01:10:53   and you had to go to the bathroom.

01:10:55   You'd just be like, oh god, what am I gonna do?

01:10:58   And we've come around to the fact now

01:11:01   where computers are being used for streaming

01:11:04   to show you ads you can't skip, right?

01:11:07   That's, they're like, well, we'll solve this problem.

01:11:11   We'll make this ad unskippable,

01:11:13   and even though you pay some amount of money

01:11:17   for this level of Hulu or whatever,

01:11:20   because your level includes ads, they're unskippable.

01:11:24   You can fast-forward the show as much as you want.

01:11:27   - Yeah, right, all you want, yeah, right.

01:11:29   Skip the show if you want to, but you have to watch the ad.

01:11:31   - All right, and my wife watches a couple of shows on,

01:11:34   I think it's Peacock, and she watches enough of these things

01:11:38   where she's got better opinions

01:11:40   about the streaming services than I do.

01:11:43   She's figured out, if she pauses a show halfway through,

01:11:48   it'll remember where she was,

01:11:50   but it won't give her credit for the ads

01:11:52   she's already watched if she waits 48 hours

01:11:55   before watching again, and then all of a sudden,

01:11:58   she has to watch the same unskippable ads

01:12:00   she already had seen, and then she just wants

01:12:03   to throw the Apple TV remote out the window.

01:12:06   But that's where we've gone.

01:12:08   It's clearly, unskippable ads through a computer

01:12:12   is anti-user, right?

01:12:14   And you know the thinking behind it.

01:12:17   It's, well, that if we don't make them unskippable,

01:12:20   people will skip them.

01:12:22   - Oh yeah, for sure, yeah.

01:12:25   The worst was always, speaking of Biff,

01:12:27   I would watch these shows, these superhero shows on the CW,

01:12:32   and a lot of times, this was a while ago,

01:12:35   where I used to buy some of them off of iTunes,

01:12:37   but there were others that I was watching for the show

01:12:39   that I didn't want to own or whatever,

01:12:41   and so I would watch it on their CW app.

01:12:44   And I think they were challenged to get advertisers a lot.

01:12:48   It's like, it would always be like,

01:12:49   you get a detergent ad or something like that,

01:12:51   and then, but then they would show you ads

01:12:53   for their own shows, and often, they would show you the ad

01:12:56   for the show that you're watching,

01:12:59   which I always thought was hilarious.

01:13:00   It's like, I am literally watching this show right now.

01:13:02   Why are you showing me an unskippable ad

01:13:05   for the same show that I'm watching?

01:13:09   Anyway, I think unskippable ads are coming soon

01:13:13   to a car from General Motors near you.

01:13:16   I really do, and it's, I don't know.

01:13:20   It's just, again, I'm complaining now.

01:13:24   I'll complain when it happens.

01:13:25   I won't buy one of their cars.

01:13:26   - Hit the get-go. - Right.

01:13:28   I guess, and the problem, and again,

01:13:30   I don't even rent cars very frequently.

01:13:32   A lot of times, when I travel, most of the time,

01:13:34   when I go to California for Apple-type things,

01:13:36   I don't rent a car 'cause I don't really need one.

01:13:39   I just take an Uber or a cab from the airport,

01:13:43   just use Uber everywhere, but I do rent cars sometimes,

01:13:47   and that's, a lot of times, my personal experience

01:13:50   driving General Motors vehicles is through rental cars.

01:13:53   I'm not looking forward to winding up

01:13:57   with a car that doesn't have carplay and shows me ads.

01:14:01   I mean, 'cause you can only imagine that the rental cars

01:14:05   will have a different version of the operating system

01:14:08   optimized for renters.

01:14:10   - For rental cars. - Right.

01:14:12   - That would be interesting, yeah,

01:14:14   that will be interesting to see if that's what happens.

01:14:16   (laughing)

01:14:18   It's a, yeah, but it's a bad set of user experiences

01:14:23   all the way down. - It really is.

01:14:24   All right, let me take a break here

01:14:25   and talk about a good user experience.

01:14:27   How's that for a segue?

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01:16:46   I do, they're great.

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01:16:50   that they're a continuing sponsor, but it does,

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01:17:03   I had one other thing that I wanted to talk to you about,

01:17:07   which was, we talked about the CarPlay.

01:17:11   Huh, well, what's on your list?

01:17:15   - Was it Blue Sky?

01:17:16   - We could, do you wanna talk?

01:17:18   - Well, we could talk a little bit about Blue Sky.

01:17:20   I'm not an expert, but--

01:17:21   - Did you get in on the Blue Sky?

01:17:23   - I am in, yeah, yeah,

01:17:25   and I'm mostly just lurking at this point,

01:17:28   and it really did blow up this past week

01:17:30   'cause it seemed like it was,

01:17:32   as far as the people that I follow,

01:17:34   which was not many to begin at the beginning of the week,

01:17:37   and is significantly more now,

01:17:40   there was really just one guy who was going before this week,

01:17:44   and now it's, there's a lot more,

01:17:46   there's a lot more traffic, I will say that for sure.

01:17:49   They seem to be, for the most part,

01:17:51   it's a lot of tech people, I think.

01:17:53   It's a lot of ex-Twitter people.

01:17:55   It's a lot of tech people at other tech companies,

01:17:58   and it's not a lot of,

01:18:02   at least the people who are most vocal on there

01:18:04   are not the people that I interact with the most currently,

01:18:09   at any rate.

01:18:10   - The basic idea is, and it is a good name even,

01:18:13   I think, Blue Sky?

01:18:14   - Yeah, sure.

01:18:15   - But back before the Empire,

01:18:19   back in the--

01:18:23   - Before the dark days.

01:18:24   - Before the dark days, before the Emperor,

01:18:28   Twitter had, under Jack Dorsey's leadership,

01:18:31   started this Blue Sky project

01:18:35   to sort of re-envision Twitter

01:18:38   as a open protocol public service

01:18:41   that wouldn't be centralized under one company's control,

01:18:46   like Twitter, like Instagram, like Facebook, right?

01:18:51   - Yeah, so which is funny,

01:18:53   because a lot of people had asked me for codes,

01:18:54   like, I wanna get my name, and I was like, okay, you can,

01:18:57   but it's basically the same thing as Mastodon,

01:18:59   you're getting your name on a particular server.

01:19:01   - Yeah, I had an impression of Blue Sky

01:19:04   when it was announced that,

01:19:06   I've met Jack Dorsey once or twice.

01:19:12   He was at an Apple event a couple years ago,

01:19:14   and I said hi to him.

01:19:15   Back in the very early years of Daring Fireball,

01:19:19   he sent me some, and he always had,

01:19:22   he's always been obsessed with very clever domains.

01:19:25   I think he had something like GU.ST,

01:19:29   and anyway, he sent,

01:19:30   it was before, when he was just like an engineer

01:19:33   working at Odeo, the company that started Twitter,

01:19:36   maybe even before he was hired there,

01:19:38   he was just sort of an interesting fellow,

01:19:40   but he wrote, and after I invented Markdown,

01:19:43   he wrote a little Mac utility

01:19:46   that would create a system service

01:19:51   that would process Markdown in any app.

01:19:54   It was super clever.

01:19:55   I actually used, there's a bunch of better ways to do it now.

01:19:59   You could do it through Automator.

01:20:01   I'm sure you could do it through shortcuts too now,

01:20:03   and just pick your own Markdown.

01:20:05   There's a dozen ways to do it,

01:20:06   but Automator didn't exist at the time,

01:20:08   so it wasn't easy.

01:20:10   Even though Macs had Perl and Still Do built in,

01:20:15   there wasn't an easy way.

01:20:16   Anyway, Jack Dorsey did that and sent me an email about it,

01:20:19   so I know him a little bit,

01:20:22   but my impression of him is that he's,

01:20:24   he's like a lot of very, very successful people.

01:20:29   He's just, he's very unusual,

01:20:30   and he does sort of have, I think, very clear,

01:20:34   I mean, I think he's said this publicly,

01:20:36   but he aspires to a certain, what's the word?

01:20:42   Idealism, he's an idealist, right?

01:20:47   And he's, I think he could see what a mess Twitter

01:20:52   had sort of become and had an idea in his head

01:20:55   for a sort of utopian alternative that would be open,

01:21:00   for all the reasons that open is better than closed

01:21:05   for social networking, there's lots of trade-offs,

01:21:08   and that Blue Sky was the,

01:21:09   and I just thought this is never gonna come to fruition.

01:21:11   This is, it's a fan, and he's too idealistic.

01:21:16   It's a certain level you need to be practical

01:21:18   to actually get something to launch,

01:21:21   and I didn't think anything would come of it.

01:21:23   I don't know if anything ever would have come with it if--

01:21:26   - Yeah, I'm not, I'm definitely not convinced at this point,

01:21:29   but it's, like I said, it's taking off now,

01:21:31   definitely, instead of having a moment at this point,

01:21:33   but it seems, I said this someplace,

01:21:35   I don't remember where, but it seems like it is the answer

01:21:39   if you think Twitter's problems were technical.

01:21:42   And they're really, I mean, they are,

01:21:46   some of them definitely were, for sure,

01:21:48   and maybe this is an answer for those problems,

01:21:50   but it's definitely not been an answer, I don't think,

01:21:52   for many other problems, because they've had a whole bunch,

01:21:55   and they've already had, first of all,

01:21:57   you can't block anybody as far as,

01:21:58   unless they just recently added that,

01:22:00   but you, they had a problem because their invite codes

01:22:05   were apparently not long enough,

01:22:07   and people were, bad actors were brute forcing them

01:22:10   and getting onto the platform and making it miserable for--

01:22:13   - Yeah, I-- - For certain people.

01:22:15   - Well, and I think that's the idealism showing through,

01:22:18   and I know it's not Jack Dorsey who coded that,

01:22:21   but I think there's a certain,

01:22:23   hey, why make these invite codes, I think there were URLs,

01:22:27   'cause I just got-- - Pretty, something like that,

01:22:29   yeah, because the first two,

01:22:31   there were like three sections,

01:22:32   and the first two were just like Blue Sky,

01:22:34   whatever the domain name is. - Yeah, yeah.

01:22:36   I've always thought, and yeah, this is a good topic,

01:22:38   I'm glad we're talking about it,

01:22:39   'cause I've always been fascinated

01:22:41   by the mystery of traction.

01:22:45   How does a product or service gain traction,

01:22:49   and then once it does gain traction,

01:22:51   how do you keep it going?

01:22:54   And there are certain things that become so institutionalized

01:22:59   in our culture that you just don't even think

01:23:04   about it anymore, right?

01:23:05   Like, I don't wanna go on a long tangent

01:23:07   about Fox News and Tucker Carlson

01:23:09   and all the fun and adventures they've had,

01:23:12   but with all the recent news about them canning

01:23:16   Tucker Carlson, it just reminded me again

01:23:20   of just how weird a thing cable news is.

01:23:24   It's a very weird product, and everybody who has cable TV,

01:23:28   you've got MSNBC and CNN and Fox News,

01:23:30   and they've got financial channels,

01:23:33   and they just show news all the time,

01:23:36   even though there's not that much news,

01:23:38   and so they're just constantly, if you flip to them

01:23:41   in the middle of the day, constantly trying

01:23:44   to subtly convince you that there's something important

01:23:47   going on that you need to know about and stay tuned,

01:23:51   because it's, oh, you're never gonna believe

01:23:53   what's going on on Capitol Hill,

01:23:55   but we've got a reporter there, blah, blah,

01:23:57   but it has traction, cable news has, it is.

01:24:01   - It surprises me how long it has retained

01:24:04   that traction, too.

01:24:05   I mean, I don't, I haven't subscribed to a cable package

01:24:08   in, well, we did for a while when Karen's dad

01:24:11   was living here 'cause he wanted to watch sports,

01:24:12   but since then, prior to that and since then,

01:24:17   for 15 years or something like that,

01:24:20   I don't know, maybe it's not that long,

01:24:21   it seems like it's been that long,

01:24:23   but I've not subscribed to a cable package.

01:24:26   - Speaking of sports, how about the pickleball, right?

01:24:31   You, have you played pickleball?

01:24:33   - Pickleball a long time ago.

01:24:36   - All right. - I played pickleball

01:24:37   like 35 years ago, probably, for the first time.

01:24:41   I remember it distinctly.

01:24:43   - So for those of you, if you don't know,

01:24:46   pickleball is sort of like if tennis and ping pong

01:24:49   had a baby, so it's, like, I think by area,

01:24:54   a pickleball court is one third the size of a tennis court

01:24:59   and you play with like a wiffle ball,

01:25:01   like a softball-sized plastic ball,

01:25:03   and you have hard, like, plastic paddles,

01:25:07   and so you're playing a game that's like plastic paddles

01:25:11   hitting a plastic ball, so it's got like a ping pong-like

01:25:14   sound, but it's, you're not at a table,

01:25:17   you're on a court and you can work up a sweat,

01:25:19   and it's sort of a tennis-sized net,

01:25:22   and it's, here in the US, it's taking off,

01:25:25   it's very, very popular.

01:25:27   - I, it's wild, right?

01:25:28   I mean, 'cause like I said, I played it 35 years ago,

01:25:30   and then now I'm reading, like, pickleball takes

01:25:33   sweeping the country.

01:25:34   - And really?

01:25:35   - Yeah, it's sweeping the country,

01:25:36   and they're doing things like public parks

01:25:38   are repurposing tennis courts to be pickleball courts,

01:25:42   and because there's demand for it,

01:25:44   but the tennis players are annoyed

01:25:46   because pickleball makes--

01:25:48   - Of course.

01:25:49   - It makes a clacking noise.

01:25:50   Some people are--

01:25:51   - And kids with their pickleballs.

01:25:52   - Right, they're annoyed by the clacking noises

01:25:54   or something like that, or maybe they're annoyed.

01:25:56   - But it's easier, it's easier to play

01:25:59   'cause the ball is sort of less reactive

01:26:01   than like a tennis ball.

01:26:02   It's not gonna go flying off into the distance

01:26:05   if you hit it the wrong way.

01:26:06   - Right, right, yeah.

01:26:08   Whereas a tennis ball, I played some tennis

01:26:10   when I was younger, and yes, sometimes, even when you're--

01:26:13   - You hit it, you hit it, and it just,

01:26:16   you can lose a tennis ball easily.

01:26:17   - Yeah, you gotta bring a lot of tennis balls

01:26:19   to the tennis court, you do, and you really could,

01:26:22   you're not gonna lose the pickleball.

01:26:24   - You're not gonna lose the pickleball.

01:26:25   - I want, I have not played it, but I do,

01:26:27   I used to play some tennis, I was not good,

01:26:30   I was very, didn't play like on the team.

01:26:32   But I was athletic enough that I could credibly play.

01:26:37   I could serve, I could hit a ball,

01:26:39   I played, 'cause I played baseball,

01:26:40   I had some fundamental athletic ability

01:26:45   to hit a fast-moving small ball with a stick

01:26:48   as it comes at me, thanks to baseball, mostly.

01:26:51   I used to be very good at ping pong as a,

01:26:53   like, I don't know, 11 year old or something.

01:26:56   I won some kind of county tournament

01:26:59   for like, I don't know, it wasn't like I was into ping pong,

01:27:03   but you'd go to the local playground,

01:27:06   and if you won your local playground's ping pong tournament,

01:27:09   you could play kids from other areas, and I beat them.

01:27:11   - Yeah. - So I'm pretty good

01:27:13   at ping pong, and I need to get in shape.

01:27:15   So this pickleball looks like, and I like,

01:27:18   and competition is a thing,

01:27:21   like I used to play recreational basketball

01:27:23   until I got too old, and maybe I'll get back into that

01:27:26   and play old man slow, low to the ground basketball, right?

01:27:31   - Yeah. - Like basketball.

01:27:33   Basketball is, the older you get,

01:27:37   the more it's more like a soccer.

01:27:39   It just stays, everything's low.

01:27:42   - Everything's low until somebody shoots the ball,

01:27:44   and then the ball falls to the ground and drops.

01:27:46   But I realize I need competition to drive me to exercise.

01:27:51   I just don't, I don't have it in me

01:27:53   to get on a stationary bike and just pedal.

01:27:57   I'm not gonna do it.

01:27:59   Now I'm old, and I don't know about you,

01:28:01   but I keep getting older every year.

01:28:03   - Yeah. (laughs)

01:28:05   I say it beats the alternative, but I'm not, yeah.

01:28:08   - But anyway. - Kinda wondering.

01:28:09   - Pickleball looks like something I would very much enjoy.

01:28:11   I like the competition.

01:28:12   It looks like I'd work up a sweat, and our local, the gym,

01:28:16   we had a gym that's a couple blocks away from us

01:28:18   that closed during the pandemic for the obvious reason,

01:28:21   and then they took advantage of that

01:28:24   to close for an extended period of time

01:28:27   to do major renovations that they'd been planning for deck.

01:28:30   You know, you live in the city, and things,

01:28:33   it's harder to do major construction.

01:28:36   So, and they're just reopening, and one of the bigs,

01:28:39   it's like, they got this, they got that pickleball.

01:28:42   Pickleball, we've got pickleball now.

01:28:43   Now we did not have pickleball before.

01:28:46   Lots of you mentioned it before

01:28:47   that we did not have pickleball,

01:28:49   and now we've got pickleball.

01:28:51   I'm into it, but I'm fascinated.

01:28:54   The sport is not new.

01:28:55   You yourself just said it came from the West Coast,

01:28:59   so that's probably why you were familiar with it.

01:29:01   - I mean, that's the, like, when I was in college,

01:29:03   I spent my junior year in Japan,

01:29:06   and I stopped in Seattle on my way back, mid-'80s,

01:29:10   and that was the first time I played pickleball

01:29:12   was in Seattle, yeah.

01:29:13   - Yeah, and it's-- - I'd never heard of it.

01:29:15   - It's underhand serving, so there's, again,

01:29:17   the ball's not moving 100 miles an hour.

01:29:19   - Right. - Enough to work.

01:29:20   - It's designed to be something that's easy to pick up,

01:29:22   and probably like ping pong, you could probably

01:29:24   get really good at it. - Yeah, yeah, I think--

01:29:26   - Like, I mean, you see people play professional ping pong,

01:29:29   and you're like, oh my God.

01:29:29   - Yeah. - There's definitely

01:29:31   a difference between the average player

01:29:34   and people who get really, really good at it.

01:29:36   - Yeah, exactly.

01:29:37   Somehow I've gotten, I don't know how,

01:29:39   because I didn't ask for it,

01:29:40   but you know how, like, when you check Instagram,

01:29:42   it's like, all of a sudden Instagram thinks

01:29:45   you're into blank.

01:29:46   Well, Instagram thinks I'm into ping pong now,

01:29:48   and they show me, and of course, the only ping pong clips

01:29:53   that make it into a suggested, what do they call them,

01:29:57   shorts, whatever the reels, Instagram reels, are amazing.

01:30:02   You know what I mean? - Did you see that one?

01:30:03   There was one recently going around,

01:30:04   the guy with that walk-off shot,

01:30:06   where he just shoots it across the,

01:30:09   they're going back and forth,

01:30:10   and it looks like the one guy's got it,

01:30:12   and then-- - Oh, yeah, I think--

01:30:13   - And then he goes too far to one side,

01:30:15   and the other guy just like, just very nonchalantly

01:30:19   just taps it and sends it off directly.

01:30:22   - And I think that the winning shot didn't even have to go

01:30:25   over the net, because they'd gone so far to the side

01:30:28   that he could just sort of deke it over there.

01:30:30   And yeah, I've seen some crazy shots with spin on the ball,

01:30:34   where the guy shoots it with so much spin

01:30:36   that it hits the other side of the net,

01:30:38   and then starts coming back over the net

01:30:41   the other direction.

01:30:44   But anyway, pickleball, how did it gain traction?

01:30:48   Why something, something happened,

01:30:51   and it had been sitting there for decades,

01:30:55   and all of a sudden, our generation of middle-aged people

01:31:00   looking for some kind of exercise,

01:31:02   but not too much exercise.

01:31:04   - Yeah.

01:31:06   - No, I don't wanna cover a whole tennis court,

01:31:08   Jesus Christ, come on.

01:31:09   This. - But it's also,

01:31:10   it's also something you can't really get hurt.

01:31:12   Like, I mean, I played racquetball.

01:31:14   I played racquetball for years,

01:31:15   and you'd get nailed by the ball frequently.

01:31:17   I mean, you can get hit by a pickleball,

01:31:19   but it's not gonna hurt that much.

01:31:20   - Yeah, I took racquetball.

01:31:21   - I gotta hurt like a racquetball.

01:31:22   - Rexel had racquetball and squash,

01:31:24   and we had a, I don't know why,

01:31:26   but it seems odd for a college.

01:31:28   - Squash ball, okay.

01:31:29   - Yeah, we had a physical education requirement,

01:31:32   and rather than, maybe I did take basketball at one point,

01:31:36   the sport I was good at,

01:31:37   'cause of course I wanna do the one I know how to play.

01:31:39   But I took racquetball and squash,

01:31:42   and it does, like two idiots,

01:31:44   like maybe me and you going into a racquetball court,

01:31:48   we could have some fun hitting it.

01:31:50   But like when you play someone who knows what they're doing,

01:31:53   it's, we're back to the Superman thing

01:31:56   with like a bullet coming at your face.

01:31:58   (laughing)

01:32:00   I mean, 'cause that's what they do too.

01:32:02   Like the good players, they,

01:32:03   A, they hit the ball incredibly hard,

01:32:05   and B, they purposefully try to get it to come right at you,

01:32:08   'cause that, it's the hardest shot to hit.

01:32:10   If it's off to your side-

01:32:12   - Yeah, 'cause you'll shoot it into the wall,

01:32:14   you'll refract it somehow, like it'll go the wrong way.

01:32:17   - Yeah, did you ever play squash?

01:32:19   - No, I never played squash, that scares me.

01:32:21   - Yeah.

01:32:21   - That's, I mean, 'cause that ball is hard.

01:32:22   - The ball is like a golf ball.

01:32:24   - Yeah.

01:32:25   - It's like-

01:32:26   - Yeah, I wasn't getting in there.

01:32:27   - You think it looks like a fun little rubber ball,

01:32:31   like the type of ball-

01:32:32   - No.

01:32:33   - The type of-

01:32:33   - Like a rock.

01:32:34   - Yeah, it looks like something like a little kid would just,

01:32:36   I would just like to have that ball just to bounce around.

01:32:38   - No, it is like a goddamn slingshot pellet or something,

01:32:43   designed to kill you.

01:32:45   So anyway, pickleball doesn't have any of that,

01:32:49   but somehow, mysteriously, to me,

01:32:53   has suddenly gained significant traction,

01:32:56   at least in the US, after being a ref.

01:32:59   How did Blue Sky suddenly gain traction

01:33:03   over the last two weeks?

01:33:04   I don't know.

01:33:05   - I mean, I guess they think they opened it up

01:33:06   to more people, I mean, I think they added,

01:33:08   they gave, well, I'm not positive,

01:33:11   because people were lightly wondering about codes,

01:33:15   and I could never find them,

01:33:16   and then I finally swiped, I was like, oh, there they are.

01:33:21   And I guess I had three codes all along,

01:33:23   and I didn't know about it,

01:33:24   but I imagine that they gave more people codes

01:33:28   to let more people in, I guess.

01:33:30   - I guess, but there are other services

01:33:35   that have popped out, for obvious reasons,

01:33:37   the moment to have a Twitter alternative has come,

01:33:41   and it's a mystery, like Mastodon, to me,

01:33:46   is more like pickleball, where Mastodon

01:33:50   had been going on for years and existed,

01:33:53   and it was, and it wasn't 35 years,

01:33:55   but for five years, this thing,

01:34:00   and all of the activity pub standards

01:34:02   that Mastodon is based on,

01:34:03   and I, because I'm a nerd, I'm sure you do too,

01:34:07   I know people who left Twitter years ago,

01:34:09   people who had more, I don't know,

01:34:12   the common sense that we,

01:34:13   a lower threshold for Trump-era insanity,

01:34:20   and replies, and stuff like that

01:34:22   that you just don't wanna see,

01:34:23   and they left for Mastodon years ago,

01:34:26   and it makes sense to me that Mastodon

01:34:30   suddenly saw a surge last fall in December, January,

01:34:35   and when I started talking about it here,

01:34:37   and I've shifted almost all,

01:34:40   I still check Twitter, 'cause I have readers

01:34:43   and followers there, but I don't enjoy it,

01:34:45   especially since I have to use their app

01:34:46   and website instead of Tweetbot, and I spent--

01:34:49   - Well, then that was the final,

01:34:51   I mean, I was checking for a while,

01:34:52   but once Tweetbot and Twitter Effect died, that was it.

01:34:55   - But I spend my time on Mastodon,

01:34:57   it makes sense that it was there waiting to happen,

01:34:59   and it has taken off.

01:35:01   So I'm not quite sure how Blue Sky has this enthusiasm

01:35:05   when it's such a Mastodon-like idea,

01:35:08   but is not itself Mastodon?

01:35:10   But there is something to it,

01:35:13   and they don't have third-party apps yet,

01:35:15   but presumably they will.

01:35:16   The app just seems like the Twitter app

01:35:20   with all the nonsense taken out, right?

01:35:22   It is. - Yeah, and I think that's,

01:35:24   I think it's finally getting the people

01:35:26   who were not interested,

01:35:29   is like who either had a bad experience on Mastodon

01:35:32   for one reason or another,

01:35:33   and there are people who very legitimately

01:35:36   had bad experiences on Mastodon.

01:35:38   I think there are a lot of people of color

01:35:39   who were treated poorly when they moved to Mastodon

01:35:42   and never, for very legitimate reasons,

01:35:47   didn't get over that,

01:35:49   and worse, the people on Mastodon didn't get over it

01:35:54   because they didn't improve their behavior, a lot of them.

01:35:58   So they were looking for something else

01:36:01   and didn't wanna be on Twitter,

01:36:03   and now this came up.

01:36:04   We'll see if it's any better.

01:36:06   I'm not convinced yet.

01:36:08   - I don't know either, but there's a subtle difference in,

01:36:11   so you get, I think I'm @Gruber.blue.sky,

01:36:16   I think is my profile. - Something like that, right?

01:36:21   - Gruber, @Gruber.bsky.social.

01:36:26   So sort of a mouthful,

01:36:28   but that's the default server, I guess,

01:36:31   but you can apparently, if you own a domain name,

01:36:34   use whatever domain name you want,

01:36:36   and you don't have to run a server.

01:36:38   This is where it seems a lot,

01:36:40   this is where you start seeing the appeal.

01:36:41   You don't have to run this whole instance.

01:36:43   You just register a domain name,

01:36:46   and so my friend Andy Baio of waxy.org fame, blogging,

01:36:51   his blue sky is @andy.baio.net.

01:36:56   So I guess if this sticks,

01:36:58   I should look into some kind of domain.

01:37:01   - Yeah, I was thinking that as well.

01:37:02   - Right, I've never had a Gruber domain.

01:37:05   There's some goddamn company in Arizona that registered.

01:37:09   I thought I should get Gruber.com in like 1994,

01:37:12   'cause I was like, I'm ahead of the curve,

01:37:13   and there's some--

01:37:15   - Somebody had already taken it?

01:37:16   - I bet they're still there.

01:37:17   I haven't looked in a while,

01:37:18   but I should, but Gruber.something maybe?

01:37:22   I just find one of those weird domain extensions

01:37:25   that's out there.

01:37:26   Yeah, the Gruber.

01:37:27   - Was this SKY?

01:37:28   Was that the, is that an actual?

01:37:30   - I think so.

01:37:31   B-S-K-Y.social is the default, but it doesn't matter,

01:37:33   but you don't have to,

01:37:35   the thing that you don't have to run a server

01:37:36   just to have your own custom name is huge.

01:37:39   Like I do not, as much as I'm enthusiastic

01:37:42   about Mastodon for years, and I like having control,

01:37:46   I like that I run Daring Fireball on my own server.

01:37:48   I wouldn't have it any other way.

01:37:51   I don't wanna run my social media server.

01:37:54   I just don't.

01:37:56   - Yeah, well, because, I mean,

01:37:57   particularly the way that Mastodon is set up,

01:37:59   it becomes a moderation nightmare,

01:38:02   because now you're, like if you're gonna have other people,

01:38:05   if it's just you, that's probably fine,

01:38:07   but it's an added expense,

01:38:08   but if you're gonna have other people on your server,

01:38:11   then now you're responsible for everything that they say,

01:38:14   which I do not wanna get into the business.

01:38:16   - Nope, do not.

01:38:18   I'm looking here as a side note at Gruber.com.

01:38:21   It is, in fact, welcome to the Gruber companies.

01:38:23   It's the same company, I can tell by the typeface.

01:38:26   They've got Gruber communication products,

01:38:28   Gruber power services, Gruber technical services,

01:38:32   and then the one that's most intriguing to me,

01:38:34   and I guess I should look into it,

01:38:36   I'm not making this up, the Gruber Motor Company.

01:38:38   - Ah, hmm, interesting.

01:38:41   - So there goes my idea of being the next John DeLorean.

01:38:44   I gotta, I'm gonna have to come up with a better name.

01:38:46   But anyway, Andy Baio here on Blue Sky,

01:38:49   as Andy is prone to do in looking into fascinating things

01:38:52   like this, is people are buying Blue Sky invitation codes

01:38:56   for up to 300 bucks on eBay, immediate invitation codes.

01:39:00   - Two, and I'm just giving away like a pool.

01:39:03   - Yeah, $297 or best offer, free shipping.

01:39:07   - Are they gonna write it down and mail it to you?

01:39:11   - I guess, well, I guess they just email it to you,

01:39:13   you know what I mean?

01:39:14   It's the best instant gratification.

01:39:16   But people are doing it.

01:39:18   It speaks to the moment, right?

01:39:21   Something that at some point soon,

01:39:23   it seems like it's gonna be,

01:39:25   once they are confident in their scaling,

01:39:28   everybody will just go, like Twitter,

01:39:30   you could just go there and sign up for free

01:39:31   without an invitation code, if you just wait.

01:39:34   And people are buying them for $300 'cause they,

01:39:37   and I get the urge, right?

01:39:38   It's like you kinda want your username,

01:39:40   you want @Gruber or @Moltz or whatever

01:39:43   your favorite thing is.

01:39:45   But it's a mystery to me that Blue Sky is clearly gaining,

01:39:49   I don't know, is it going to last

01:39:50   or is it gonna be a flash in the pan?

01:39:52   I don't know.

01:39:53   - I mean, it started out very from not much though,

01:39:56   because like I said, there was not a lot of activity

01:39:59   prior to this week.

01:40:00   And I think I read an article on The Verge saying

01:40:02   from earlier this month, earlier in April saying

01:40:05   they had about 20,000 people.

01:40:07   So it wasn't really very big to begin with.

01:40:10   And so it's definitely taken off.

01:40:11   I mean, you got AOC is on there now

01:40:13   and I guess drill is also on there too.

01:40:16   Darth or somebody pretending to be Darth,

01:40:22   I wasn't positive if it's actually Darth or not.

01:40:24   It seems like it is, but you never know.

01:40:26   We've run into people who pretend to be other people

01:40:29   previously.

01:40:30   - I should check.

01:40:31   I'm friends with, I am friends with Darth.

01:40:33   I could--

01:40:34   - Okay, yeah, check for, I would love to know

01:40:36   if that would make sure that's really Darth.

01:40:38   - I will find out and I will make a note

01:40:41   and I will let you know and put it in the show notes.

01:40:43   But yes, there's a seemingly convincing Darth

01:40:46   tweeting about dogs and et cetera.

01:40:49   - Yeah, I mean, that's young.

01:40:51   It's the kind of thing that Darth.

01:40:52   - But there's something going on here

01:40:54   that makes me think that maybe it's,

01:40:58   I would have said a month ago,

01:40:59   'cause I knew that they were still noodling with it

01:41:01   and Blue Sky was an ongoing product.

01:41:03   But even as recently as a month ago,

01:41:05   I would have said, this is never gonna ship.

01:41:06   This is sort of a weird Jack Dorsey idea

01:41:09   and why Mastodon is clearly taking off

01:41:12   so that there's no oxygen left for Blue Sky.

01:41:16   And I think clearly that was wrong.

01:41:18   There is.

01:41:19   And I think it's some, it is just,

01:41:22   my theory is there's a subtle difference

01:41:24   in the ease of signing up of Blue Sky

01:41:28   that Mastodon doesn't have.

01:41:30   And it's a slightly more,

01:41:33   it's more like Twitter and Simpler

01:41:36   where it's like, okay, you can have your own domain name,

01:41:39   but it's just a name.

01:41:40   And then you just follow individuals

01:41:42   and they show up and their posts show up in your timeline.

01:41:46   And that's it.

01:41:47   Whereas Mastodon doesn't have that simple explanation.

01:41:50   There's like, well, some of these,

01:41:52   the one timeline is from your instance.

01:41:55   You can get posts from people on other instances,

01:41:59   but it's, and that--

01:42:01   - Yeah, and it's janky.

01:42:02   There's a lot of, yeah, there's a lot of trouble.

01:42:04   If you look at people who,

01:42:06   depending on how you look at who someone is following,

01:42:09   you'll either only see the people

01:42:10   that they're following on your instance,

01:42:12   or if you look at it a different way,

01:42:13   you can see all of them.

01:42:14   - Yeah, and I'm looking,

01:42:15   and I've been using Blue Sky for a couple of weeks now,

01:42:18   and I'm looking at their suggestions in my network,

01:42:22   and they are all very interesting to me,

01:42:24   or at least I know them, right?

01:42:26   You said AOC is there now.

01:42:28   Chrissy Teigen, who's very, very,

01:42:31   not the sort of person I talk about a lot,

01:42:33   but she's very, very good at social media.

01:42:35   I mean, like, exceptional.

01:42:37   So she's there.

01:42:38   Ken White, who's Popat.

01:42:41   - Oh, Popat, yeah.

01:42:42   Some of these people, I mean,

01:42:43   Darth had been on Mastodon previously,

01:42:46   and seems to have tailed off a bit there.

01:42:48   I think Popat is still active on Mastodon as well.

01:42:51   So some of the people are on both, but varying degrees.

01:42:55   - Yeah, and here is our friend Drill, AKA Wint,

01:42:59   AKA the greatest pure tweeter of all time, right?

01:43:04   That's the one person who mastered

01:43:10   the art form of the tweet.

01:43:12   - Yeah. - Yeah.

01:43:13   But anyway, it's going on, I guess I gotta look at it.

01:43:15   But now, it just, hmm.

01:43:18   Like, I don't know what it does,

01:43:20   how much time do I have a day to dick around on Twitter,

01:43:23   like social media, right?

01:43:24   - Yeah, right, right.

01:43:26   - But anyway, it's happening.

01:43:27   Invitation codes going for 300 bucks on eBay.

01:43:31   I got one, and it's,

01:43:33   I think there's something going on here with the scarcity,

01:43:38   right, that drives up the interest, right?

01:43:42   It's like, that's a factor in this sudden traction too,

01:43:47   where all of a sudden, you get the hint that it's a thing,

01:43:50   and you don't wanna miss out,

01:43:51   and yet it's severely limited.

01:43:53   But they'd, most--

01:43:54   - Well, and that's what I think we'll be telling

01:43:56   in the next month or two, probably,

01:44:00   is whether or not it keeps going the way it's going,

01:44:03   or if it goes off once people are like,

01:44:05   okay, that was fun for a while,

01:44:06   and now I'm gonna go back to whatever I was doing before.

01:44:09   - Yeah, there was, like with the,

01:44:11   I'm on the Mastodon.social instance,

01:44:14   the big, that's like the first one,

01:44:16   and the main one is, it's,

01:44:17   and I don't know if they still have signups

01:44:20   closed to the public, but you know,

01:44:22   as of a couple months ago,

01:44:23   when they were exploding in growth,

01:44:25   if you went to Mastodon.social

01:44:27   and you didn't have an account,

01:44:29   they would send you to like a list of Mastodon servers.

01:44:33   - Other places.

01:44:34   - And it was partly because they were trying

01:44:37   to control their own scaling of their instance,

01:44:40   which is the biggest instance with the most active users,

01:44:43   and also philosophically, the creators of Mastodon

01:44:47   really embraced the federatedness of it, the federation.

01:44:51   They really want a robust ecosystem

01:44:56   of many instances to thrive,

01:44:58   and so they're happy to send people

01:45:01   to other ones to sign up,

01:45:03   but it confuses people who aren't deeply embedded

01:45:07   in the world of federation,

01:45:09   'cause they're like, I don't know which one to pick, right?

01:45:11   And then all of a sudden, like it's,

01:45:13   when you go to the store

01:45:14   and there's one kind of peanut butter

01:45:16   and you want peanut butter,

01:45:17   it's a lot easier than when you go

01:45:18   and there's a whole aisle of peanut butters,

01:45:20   and you're like, ah, Christ, what do I want here?

01:45:22   Oh, the natural or whatever.

01:45:25   It confuses people, and it's--

01:45:27   - The thing, it has not, I mean,

01:45:29   they have not revealed a monetization.

01:45:31   - For Blue Sky?

01:45:33   - Right. - For the strategy yet,

01:45:34   particularly, so that's another shoe

01:45:36   that's waiting to be dropped on this whole thing.

01:45:38   - Right, there's a sort of here we go again.

01:45:41   - Yeah, yeah.

01:45:43   - That's how we got into this problem in the first place.

01:45:45   - Right, exactly.

01:45:47   - Twitter used to be nothing but fun, too.

01:45:49   - That's what I always think.

01:45:51   When I look at these timelines

01:45:53   and it's just people I like and messages,

01:45:56   all of them are posts that I wanted to see

01:45:59   'cause I chose to see them.

01:46:00   It's like, oh, yeah, I remember when Twitter was like this.

01:46:03   - Yeah, yeah.

01:46:05   - If I had codes to give out to those of you listening,

01:46:08   I would, but they told me I had one.

01:46:10   They said I'd been using the service for long enough

01:46:13   and I had one invitation code

01:46:15   and I used it to get my wife on,

01:46:17   and then they, well, I don't know.

01:46:20   It seems like something she might want.

01:46:22   - Oh, I got an extra one now.

01:46:24   I had three and I used two of them

01:46:26   and now I got two, now I have two again.

01:46:28   - You're a lucky man.

01:46:29   Where do you go to see it?

01:46:30   I'm not sure.

01:46:31   - That's the thing that threw me.

01:46:33   I couldn't find it.

01:46:34   So you go into your timeline and you swipe right

01:46:37   and you can see your, there's like a sidebar.

01:46:43   - Well, I don't know, I forget.

01:46:45   I did find them.

01:46:46   - Sometimes it doesn't seem like it works.

01:46:48   I spent a bunch of time swiping and couldn't get into that

01:46:51   and right now it's working perfectly.

01:46:53   So I don't know why.

01:46:54   - Yeah, I might be in a bad,

01:46:56   but anyway, they told me that I wouldn't get one

01:46:58   for another two weeks anyway, so.

01:47:00   Anyway, blue sky.

01:47:02   Maybe it'll be a thing.

01:47:04   Maybe this will be a waste of 20 minutes of the podcast,

01:47:07   but I enjoyed talking.

01:47:09   All right, let me thank our sponsors.

01:47:12   Our two great companies, Collide,

01:47:14   where you can go to manage your fleet of devices

01:47:17   at Collide with a K, K-O-L-I-D-E.com/the-talk-show.

01:47:22   And of course our very good friends at Squarespace

01:47:25   at squarespace.com/talk-show.

01:47:28   No the.

01:47:29   John, people, we've mentioned Biff,

01:47:31   your superhero action show podcast

01:47:35   with Guy English and Dan Morin, which is good.

01:47:38   What else?

01:47:38   Where else can we--

01:47:39   - The Rebound, a tech podcast with Dan and Lex Friedman.

01:47:43   And also I've started writing for Six Colors.

01:47:46   I've got a weekly column going for Six Colors,

01:47:48   which I've had a lot of fun with.

01:47:49   - And I've enjoyed that very, very much.

01:47:52   What's the column called?

01:47:54   This Week in Apple.

01:47:54   - This Week in Apple, yeah.

01:47:56   - That's great.

01:47:57   - It's a weekly wrap up where I'd cover

01:47:59   the top three stories from my point of view.

01:48:03   - Very enjoyable, I love it.

01:48:04   And it's just one more reason that I enjoy

01:48:09   that Six Colors site.

01:48:10   I do.

01:48:12   - Yeah, it's great.

01:48:13   - I'm glad it's, that's one of my favorites.

01:48:14   - And I'm glad to be working with these guys.

01:48:15   - Yeah, well, some of them are all right.

01:48:17   (laughing)

01:48:20   >> Hi.