556: Apple Chips Are People


00:00:00   John, while you're taking over the CMS, can you make it so that the button that does new episode automatically disables it as soon as it's tapped, checked, clicked, whatever?

00:00:11   Oh, so you know the story of the accomplished children don't have shoes. I will do things for the end user, but for us I'll just say be careful when clicking KZ.

00:00:18   Fine.

00:00:20   Oh man, John, you should be able to do like a, like, you know, conflict save detection.

00:00:24   Yeah, let's not get crazy here.

00:00:26   Maybe you could do a whole Google Docs, like, you know, live editing thing, just re-implement sub-eatha edit all, you know, how hard could it be?

00:00:32   Small matter of programming.

00:00:34   I just, yeah, well, I did fix one incorrectly curled apostrophe, so I'm really doing the important work.

00:00:41   It's been in there for how long, for how many years? Not going to tell anybody where it is, but it's there.

00:00:46   Oh my God, that's amazing.

00:00:48   I also find it hilarious and completely predictable how quickly Marco completely divorced himself of the CMS because John touched it twice and Marco was like, well, I'm out.

00:00:59   I'm not signing the divorce papers.

00:01:02   So yeah, so John now has access to the Stripe account, which he had access before sort of, but yeah, we made, so when John has access to the Stripe account, he has access to the source code.

00:01:12   He can run it, he can push to it. The only thing I haven't given you access yet is just like to be able to log into the server and update the live site, but that's something we can do in like 10 minutes, so let's just do that.

00:01:23   I don't want that. I don't want that access.

00:01:25   Well, you care the most about the CMS and you touched it last, so I think by common law rules...

00:01:32   There's just so much stuff in this stack that's all your stuff that I don't need to know about.

00:01:38   It's not that important. You're right, you don't need to know about it.

00:01:42   You're looking at my PHP framework from a thousand years ago, you don't need to know most of that stuff. You're not using most of that stuff.

00:01:49   I'm talking about all the servers and the stuff they run on and all the DNS they're running and then networking and what machines they're on and all that stuff.

00:01:55   I don't know about any of that. I don't need to know about any of that.

00:01:57   This runs on one server. Our site isn't that big.

00:02:00   Anyway, this is going to pass back through you on its way out the door just before I be prepared for that.

00:02:05   You can even do what I do. Right before I deploy something big, I first update neutral because that's a lot less traffic and if it breaks, it's not a problem really.

00:02:14   So neutral is my test bed for all of our CMS updates. First I first do it there and then I... Okay, now that works. Okay, now I'll do it on ATP.

00:02:22   Anyway, I think it's very clear. Shotgun rules, first out the door. You've got to be able to hit the cars to be in sight.

00:02:29   Similarly, CMS rules. Whoever touched it last, it's yours. That's it. You touched it. It's now your problem.

00:02:36   This is whoever smelt it dealt with of programming.

00:02:41   And once you also roll in, whoever cares the most wins. You both care the most and touched it last.

00:02:46   So I feel like I have an ironclad case here. This is yours.

00:02:49   You're going to care too.

00:02:51   Am I?

00:02:52   Because you don't want the site to break.

00:02:54   Yeah, well, but caring about not breaking is different from... You know, it would be really nice if we added this one little feature or change over here.

00:03:00   No, but you just have to look at the changes I did and make sure it works and find out all the things that, oh, you didn't know about this or you didn't know about that.

00:03:06   Or this is, you know, just even as simple as making dumb mistakes in PHP all the way down to, no, this is going to destroy everything.

00:03:13   I mean, it's a good thing that you left QA up to me, the best tester in the group.

00:03:18   You just need to do code review and then, yes, you do a little tiny bit of QA because you need to have at least one other person try it.

00:03:25   My QA is I go to the site and type, go to the server and type git pull and just refresh the page and see what breaks.

00:03:31   All right, let's do some follow up.

00:03:36   We forgot to mention last episode that we had an unbelievable contribution to the St. Jude fundraiser and it completely slipped our minds.

00:03:45   Or maybe we didn't know about it until after the fact. Let's go with that, even though I think we might have.

00:03:49   But let's go with we didn't know about it until after the fact.

00:03:51   But James Neel has for the second consecutive year, not only has James matched our donation, but James has matched our donations, plural.

00:04:02   So James has for the second consecutive year, to the best of my recollection, matched the entirety, the sum total of all of ATP.

00:04:09   So this, I was going to say this past year, but the month that just ended, James donated $21,011.01.

00:04:18   So kudos to James. I have offered stickers.

00:04:21   James basically forevermore, if you ever want a sticker, I don't care what time of year it is, you just let me know and stickers will be in the mail.

00:04:28   But that is absolutely phenomenal.

00:04:30   I would never in a trillion years expect any other listener to get to this level.

00:04:34   But I'm not saying you can't.

00:04:37   Even though corporations can, like 1Password, I think donated more than that at one point.

00:04:41   So yeah, businesses, hop on board, you might get a sticker too.

00:04:45   Yeah, you could get a 1 sticker for your whole business.

00:04:48   I kid, I kid. But anyway, all kidding aside, and I know we said we weren't going to talk about this anymore, but that was such an incredible donation.

00:04:54   Sorry, not sorry. Thank you, James, for your phenomenal donation.

00:04:57   I will not expect it for next year, but I would love it if it continued. So here's hoping.

00:05:01   Jon, you've had a lot of people trying your window management whatever bug. What's going on there?

00:05:09   Well, the first thing I want to say is that word on the street is that Apple is going to fix this bug.

00:05:15   So everyone who's telling me they're never going to fix it, we'll see.

00:05:19   But the word on the street is that they are going to fix this bug in some future version of the Mac operating system.

00:05:25   Which one will it be? We'll find out.

00:05:28   But I am excited about that. Of course, there's no way for me to know that by looking at the various feedbacks out there because they have no responses.

00:05:35   Of course not. Why would they?

00:05:37   So fingers crossed. I'm always worried. I'm very worried, by the way, when there's no response on the feedbacks.

00:05:43   Not because I'm worried that they're not fixing it, but because I'm worried that like, let's say they are fixing this.

00:05:47   I would love to be able to, you know, be in communication with the people who are fixing it to make sure that they're really fixing it.

00:05:54   I don't want to wait for it to come out in a Mac OS update and then I try it and it's not fixed.

00:05:58   I could tell you whether it's fixed right now. Let me help you.

00:06:01   You know, like, that's what communication between the bug reporter and the people who are fixing it is an important efficiency.

00:06:07   If the people who are fixing it just never communicate and then release a fix and then have their fingers crossed,

00:06:13   "Well, I hope we fixed it." Like, I can tell you if you fixed it. Anyway, so we'll see how this goes.

00:06:19   You know, I would like to point out that David Schaub in the chat says, "It'll be fixed in the first Armel Hero OS release."

00:06:25   Which would be so mean but so hilarious.

00:06:28   That would be amazing. Please, Apple, please do that.

00:06:31   Do it for me.

00:06:33   I think it's going to be before that. We were just talking about, I was just on a, spoiler for an upcoming episode of another podcast that I'm going to be on.

00:06:39   But we were just talking about, like, we had our discussion, like, many, many shows or maybe more, also years ago about when do we think they'll stop supporting Intel with Mac OS.

00:06:48   And I think based on the math of when they stopped supporting PowerPC and 68K, we came up with a number that was reasonable.

00:06:57   Chris, I forgot what it was. I think it was maybe 2026. Do you guys remember what it was?

00:07:01   Oh, I don't remember. But yeah, I'm guessing it's within the next couple of years probably.

00:07:05   Yeah, yeah. So that time is coming. But hopefully far after this bug is fixed.

00:07:10   And speaking of this bug, lots of people were having fun trying to reproduce it.

00:07:14   It was inspired by Casey's brave attempt in the after show, on the last show, where he opened many, many windows while recording a podcast.

00:07:20   Oh, actually, speaking of, I think I asked you in Slack, I don't think you ever replied, but I'll ask you here, did you end up needing to use the hardware recorder's audio file or was the audio hijack file fine?

00:07:31   No, your audio file was fine. It did not interrupt the audio, thank goodness.

00:07:35   Your computer can handle some empty text out of Windows. It's okay.

00:07:38   But lots of people tried reproducing it because they wanted to be like Casey, because who doesn't?

00:07:42   And they would open lots of windows and they'd send me screenshots or whatever.

00:07:46   And I just got tired of replying to them all by asking a simple question.

00:07:50   Did you have more than one user logged in? Because it's so much harder to reproduce with a single user logged in.

00:07:56   You can do it, but you're going to be opening a lot of windows.

00:07:59   So if you don't want to open a bazillion windows, log in a second user.

00:08:03   And of course, then people say, well, I don't have a second user.

00:08:05   It's really easy to make a second user on Mac OS.

00:08:08   You just go to system settings, you go boop, boop, boop, call the user tests, give it a dumb password, boop.

00:08:12   It's so easy. And then when you're done, you can delete that user and delete the home directory and they're gone.

00:08:16   It's very clean, very easy to do. So if you really do want to reproduce this,

00:08:20   my public service announcement is log in as more than one user.

00:08:24   If you've never done that on your Mac, that's another fun part of this thing.

00:08:27   But anyway, if you want to reproduce it, it takes far fewer windows that way.

00:08:30   I had one bit of feedback from someone who could reproduce it, Smei, S-M-A-Y.

00:08:34   I don't think I could find a full name.

00:08:36   I'm asking and said, I can confirm the suspicion that polling rate has an effect on the window dragging bug.

00:08:40   Higher polling rate seems to be correlated with more shakiness.

00:08:43   My mouse was connected via its wireless dongle for this recording,

00:08:46   but connecting it over USB does not appear to have different results with the same polling rate.

00:08:49   So we'll put a link in the show notes to a YouTube video.

00:08:52   This person has like one of those like control panels for their mouse where you can change their report rate.

00:08:57   Basically, how often does the mouse tell the computer a new position?

00:09:01   And you can change it from 1000 per second, which shows the worst bug behavior,

00:09:06   down to 125 per second, which shows the best behavior.

00:09:09   Smei continues, further testing shows that each step down in polling rate means more windows are needed to reproduce.

00:09:14   I would be interested to see someone test with an even higher polling rate to see how few windows are needed.

00:09:19   And we have a second video where the technique has been refined.

00:09:22   So this is confirmed that polling rate is absolutely a factor and you can just crank it up and down and watch it go.

00:09:28   And 1000 reports per second for the mouse, apparently that's not as high as fancy gaming mice go.

00:09:36   But that would explain a lot of the variability in pointing devices.

00:09:40   And this is like wired versus not wired.

00:09:43   The first video was not wired, but I think if you have one of those mice that does high polling rates,

00:09:50   it doesn't really matter whether it's wired or not.

00:09:52   It's just because you can do high polling rate over RF just as easily as you can do it over wired.

00:09:56   Indeed. We got a handful of feedback with regard to Chromebooks.

00:10:00   And I think John Weston had the best summary.

00:10:03   John writes, "Regarding the Chromebook education segment in episode 555,

00:10:06   you're all absolutely correct about the fact that Apple has no solution for the suite of things

00:10:10   teachers and students would want to do on these things.

00:10:13   In particular, the entire Google ecosystem around sharing files, handing assignments back and forth,

00:10:18   and team or shared drives for staff and clubs.

00:10:21   But forget about that for a second. How do the students log in?

00:10:25   I've taught in a middle school Mac lab for the last 17 years. It started with Emacs.

00:10:29   And just last year, we finally saved up enough cash to replace the 2007 era IMAX in it with M1 IMAX.

00:10:35   With that came the school district's insistence that we switch to using their Active Directory accounts for logins.

00:10:40   And let me tell you, it's been an absolute nightmare.

00:10:43   Logging into a Mac with a quote-unquote "roaming" student profile that properly syncs

00:10:47   A, your regular old documents, but also B, your tilde library stuff,

00:10:51   in a way that doesn't absolutely poop the bed under modern Mac OS is not trivial.

00:10:56   Our current login stack of shell scripts that manually symlink things, replace sidebar elements,

00:11:01   push things into docs, manually sync certain things that can't sit quote-unquote "live" in networked locations,

00:11:06   like GarageBand projects, Minecraft worlds, etc., is a total hellscape.

00:11:10   Nobody on the IT staff has ever used a Mac before. They're all just Googling and using bloody chat GPT

00:11:15   to try to solve these issues, while I flail away on the teaching end trying to commiserate with students

00:11:20   when their work disappears entirely every couple of days.

00:11:23   Anyway, my thought on an Apple/Chromebook competitor is, "Huh, lol, no."

00:11:28   Yeah, this is actually, this theme we saw a lot in the feedback, that basically,

00:11:33   even if Apple were to somehow get close to the price of Chromebooks,

00:11:38   the Chromebook ecosystem has so many management advantages and logistical advantages

00:11:43   compared to iPads or MacBook Airs or whatever it would be, that, you know,

00:11:48   what schools want and what schools need for administering and deploying and servicing

00:11:53   a giant fleet of these things is just way, way easier on them in the Chromebook ecosystem

00:11:59   for what they actually are doing with these things. Even setting aside the price,

00:12:03   which itself is also very powerful, but for a lot of, even districts that have the funding

00:12:08   where maybe they could get a little bit higher price, they would probably still stick with Chromebooks

00:12:12   because the management side is so good for them.

00:12:15   Yeah, from this story I can see, because I've had Macs that have had to be an Active Directory and everything,

00:12:20   that the fact that the people don't know what they're doing with Macs is just making this worse.

00:12:24   When I had Active Directory on my Mac at work, because it was a requirement for all the Macs at the company,

00:12:30   I think the first implementation that my work did used the Active Directory support

00:12:35   that was part of macOS at the time, I'm assuming it's still there, and that is terrible

00:12:40   because everything is slow and blocking and nothing works.

00:12:43   And then eventually they moved to one of the third-party solutions that basically has some third-party software

00:12:48   running on your Mac that runs and keeps your stuff in sync with Active Directory,

00:12:53   but doesn't actually use the operating systems like built-in Active Directory.

00:12:57   So you can log into your Mac even if Active Directory is hosed in some way,

00:13:01   and if you change the password on your Mac, this little background thing will sync it with Active Directory,

00:13:06   and if you change your password in Active Directory, this little thing will sync your password on your Mac with it.

00:13:10   It's basically like sort of an asynchronous way of doing it rather than synchronous,

00:13:14   because the synchronous way means that nothing ever works and everyone hates it.

00:13:17   And then you need on top of that fancier software that you can do stuff like manage what's in people's docs

00:13:23   and restrict their access to system settings and stuff like that.

00:13:26   That's all stuff that's available through third-party software, but it takes expertise and money,

00:13:31   and those are two things schools tend not to have.

00:13:33   Indeed. Steve Leggett writes, "I worked in Vermont schools for over a decade in IT support

00:13:38   and saw schools try Windows netbooks, thin clients, Apple devices, Macs and iPads, Linux, etc. before Chromebooks came out.

00:13:44   Chromebooks were the one system that provided simple account and device management,

00:13:47   as well as free or inexpensive online administrator training and certification.

00:13:51   School teachers and librarians administer Chromebooks in many schools,

00:13:54   and they are a community that shares their knowledge.

00:13:56   This is quite different from the worlds of arcane knowledge required for Apple and Windows administration.

00:13:59   Another factor in Chromebook's success is the fact that the device can be easily used by many people."

00:14:04   This is going back to what John Western was saying.

00:14:06   "For example, if a Chromebook breaks, any other Chromebook can replace it without loss of a user's files and preferences.

00:14:12   It just works. Apple could create a less expensive Mac or iPad,

00:14:15   but can they duplicate the other factors that contribute to Chromebook's success?"

00:14:18   I remember when Chromebooks first came out. I think we talked about it on the show.

00:14:22   Google put out a comic book style sort of introductory series of graphics to explain what the deal is with Chromebooks,

00:14:30   and I think this is probably where I got obsessed with the idea of you throwing your electronic device into a lake or whatever.

00:14:36   I think that was their example, that if you have a Chromebook and it gets dropped into the ocean or over the side of the boat or into a lake, don't worry.

00:14:44   None of your stuff was really on there anyway. It's just a fancy terminal front end for a web browser,

00:14:50   for a front end for everything that's in your Google Drive and your Gmail and all that other stuff.

00:14:54   That promise, Apple is slowly creeping up on that promise with their client-side approach with phones.

00:15:01   Jason Snell talked about this a lot this week as he deleted his user account and recreated it in a slightly ill-advised troubleshooting thing.

00:15:07   We'll try to put a link in the show notes to that.

00:15:09   He's already written about it on Mac, but he also talked about it on upgrade.

00:15:13   With an iPhone, in theory, if everything is iCloud backed up and everything, if your phone falls in the ocean and you get a new phone,

00:15:20   you can restore from your most recent iCloud backup, which should be fairly recent, you hope,

00:15:24   like maybe the night before while it was plugged in while it was charging, and you'll get pretty much all your stuff back.

00:15:30   All your settings, you won't have to spend an hour setting everything up. Maybe you have to log into one or two things, but it's getting close.

00:15:36   It's not as close as the Chrome thing where like, don't worry, nothing was ever on there anyway.

00:15:40   The cloud is the source of truth. This is really a fancy web browser terminal, right?

00:15:45   Apple's devices are not like that, but they're trying to provide that same experience.

00:15:49   On the iPhone, on the Mac, forget it.

00:15:52   If your Mac laptop falls into the ocean, you better hope you have a legit recent backup somewhere that you can restore from.

00:16:00   Like a time machine backup, or even an online backup is probably not going to be as rich as a time machine backup.

00:16:05   And how many people do that? I know we talk about it all the time on this show, but Macs don't come with a second hard drive built into automatically this time machine.

00:16:13   That's something that people have to choose to do. It's easy. Once you get connected to your iPhone, it'll say,

00:16:16   "Do you want me to use it for a time machine?" You say yes, and you're off to the races.

00:16:19   But if it's a laptop, how often do you connect it? People don't like mounting and unmounting drives.

00:16:24   So the Mac, or anything like that, is far from this. And on the iPad, of course, the problem is it's a single user thing,

00:16:29   and there's no sort of multi-user solution. So even though you could use the iPad as sort of a glorified web browser for web apps or whatever,

00:16:38   A) that's not taking advantage of the iPad, and B) there's still no multi-user solution.

00:16:43   Chromebooks have won in education, not because they just undercut Apple, but really Apple stuff is better.

00:16:51   They won in education because they're better. They're a better solution for education than anything Apple has done.

00:16:57   Yeah, it isn't just because they're dirt cheap. That helps a lot. And in many cases, it's the only option because of how cheap they are.

00:17:03   Because school budgets are very tight in most places. But it isn't only because they are cheap.

00:17:09   They have also developed a huge amount of value for the schools in the way that they run, the way they are managed, etc.

00:17:15   What they run, and what they don't run, and what they don't need. For Apple to actually meaningfully address that market would require them to do way more than just make cheaper MacBook Airs.

00:17:27   That isn't enough.

00:17:29   The only thing that they have that's getting close to that, and it's not particularly close, is the iPhone. Because the iPad, they work so hard, mostly just because of the iPhone, because that's their top product.

00:17:44   They've improved the process of, as Jason puts it, getting a new iPhone and making it yours. At least that's possible.

00:17:50   There's nothing like that on the Mac. Not even possible. Never mind that it takes hours to do it on the phone. On the Mac, there's just nothing.

00:17:56   Wait, what about Migration Assistant and everything?

00:17:58   Migration Assistant does not copy all the things all the time.

00:18:01   It's pretty good.

00:18:03   Yeah, it is good, but it's not the same as like, you know, the problem with Migration Assistant obviously is that if you did drop your Mac laptop in the ocean, what are you going to Migration Assistant from?

00:18:13   Like, it's in the ocean? Oh, it's using my Time Machine backup again. Nobody has Time Machine backups unless they listen to this podcast.

00:18:18   Basically, there's no iCloud backup for Macs. That's what it comes down to. And there was iCloud backup for phones for ages before it was good with the restore, but there just plain is no iCloud backup for Macs, which I don't quite understand, because as the Mac, you know, Mac is on Apple Silicon, and like, I know you can't reuse all that software, and Time Machine is great and all, but like, iCloud backup for Mac is starting to get on my list of kind of overdue things.

00:18:41   Because then, yeah, when you drop your laptop in the ocean, then you can do an incredibly long and tedious restore from your last iCloud backup of your Mac, and that would be great, and they could still have more storage, right?

00:18:51   I would love to hear more about what's on that list.

00:18:53   Yeah, well, but anyway, but with the Chromebook, you don't sit there and do an hours-long restore. You just get a new Chromebook and you sign into your Google account.

00:19:00   Like, it's two seconds, you know what I mean? Like, I really just want to emphasize, even though functionally they're doing the same things, the amount of time it takes to restore your phone in the best case scenario is nothing compared to sign into your Google account on this. Okay, you're ready to go again.

00:19:14   Moving along, apparently everything is coming up Milhouse, I mean, Syracuse. Joachim Fornayas, I'm sorry, I'm American.

00:19:23   I tried to put a guess pronunciation by Google searching it. I think it's Joachim.

00:19:27   Okay, we'll go with that. In Mac OS 14.1 Beta, the Photos app will remember whether original or freeform was last chosen as crop aspect ratio, and will pre-select that setting for uncropped photos. You're welcome, everyone. It's thanks to us that this has happened, clearly.

00:19:42   Yeah, so this was from several shows ago when I was complaining that I had clicked the original aspect ratio 16,000 some odd times because it never remembered that that's what I want as my default for all photos when cropping them in the Apple Photos app on the Mac.

00:19:57   And supposedly in Mac OS 14.1, they have solved this problem in the way I was saying, like the most straightforward way, the simplest way is like, just remember what I clicked last time. That's not the best solution. I'll take it to be clear.

00:20:12   I will absolutely take it. But it does mean that if I decide to crop something to a square, the next time I go to crop a photo, it will be on square.

00:20:19   If you wanted to do the better solution to this, it would be, it's more difficult. You'd have to keep track for every single photo in your library. Has the user ever selected an aspect ratio? Yes, no.

00:20:33   And then you have to say, okay, what should the default be if on a photo they have never selected an aspect ratio? That's different than just saying whatever they picked last time, I'll use that on the next one because say I crop something to square.

00:20:45   In the fancier system, when I go to the next photo, it would say, has any aspect ratio ever been selected for this photo? Yes, no. And if the answer is no, what do they want the default to be? Original. Okay, so it would be original.

00:20:56   So that would be a fancier solution. But once you're storing a new piece of data for every photo, that is a heavyweight solution. That's not something you can sneak out in Mac OS 14.1.

00:21:08   That's like a year long investment because you know, I have 170,000 photos, you want to store even just a Boolean for 170,000 photos.

00:21:18   And you know, how do you see that Boolean and where do you put the storage for it? And how do you sync it and it's just you know, it adds up real fast. How many photos you think Apple deals with. So I understand why the solution I thank them for it.

00:21:28   And I'm excited to live in a world where I don't have to deal with this issue anymore.

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00:23:37   [Music]

00:24:01   Like I said, I think it's just because, you know, how often do you look at a man's shoes, right?

00:24:04   Like we weren't looking at the bottom of the phone until the USB-C cables wouldn't correctly, you know, seat because they weren't fitting through the hole.

00:24:12   And then all of a sudden we became very interested in why doesn't it fit? Why doesn't it go all the way in? Is it because the hole is off-center?

00:24:17   And, like I said, the answer in my case was no, even if the hole was centered, it still wouldn't have fit.

00:24:21   But that's why we're all suddenly looking at the bottom of the phone.

00:24:24   So this is an iPhone 13 mini, so it is not like recent history. It's just apparently very hard to get that hole centered.

00:24:30   Indeed. Now, this is a word that for the longest time I pronounced incorrectly in my head.

00:24:36   I always pronounced it "alacantra," which is not even close to correct, but it's "alcantara," or close to that anyway.

00:24:42   They're Alcantara iPhone cases. Tell me about this.

00:24:46   I just put this in here because it's a fun—I hadn't seen iPhone cases made of Alcantara.

00:24:51   Alcantara is a material that's been used in the interiors of cars for many years as a sort of synthetic suede type material.

00:25:00   I'm not sure why it got popular. I think part of it is fashion. Part of it is like it's grippier than leather.

00:25:05   So in lots of racy cars they would put it on the seats to keep your butt from sliding around because leather is slipperier.

00:25:10   They put it on steering wheels because it feels soft and it's nice and grippy.

00:25:14   And unlike leather, it doesn't sort of get shiny as you use it and gets more slippery.

00:25:18   Making an iPhone case out of it is interesting. I think it would have way too much pocket friction, but I do confess I've never tried it on an iPhone case.

00:25:28   So we'll see. And it's also related to a recent change we made on the podcast artwork.

00:25:34   The regular ATP artwork that you've seen is just a black background with the ATP logo on it.

00:25:39   But if you are a member, you get the edited members' feed—not the bootleg, but the edited members' feed that just has no ads in it.

00:25:47   The artwork for that looks very much like the regular public show artwork, but instead of a black background it's got kind of like a dark grey.

00:25:55   And that's supposed to look like Alcantara. Because we talk about cars a lot and Alcantara is kind of a car thing.

00:26:01   But a lot of our members complained that they would subscribe to the public feed and the member one.

00:26:05   And it was difficult for them to tell which one was the member one because it's just like a—instead of it being pure black, it's kind of a fuzzy grey.

00:26:11   It's hard to tell. So I was messing around with the artwork because the recently introduced feed that just has the specials in it.

00:26:19   We needed a new artwork for that. And I put colored stitching around the border because, again, in car interiors they very often have Alcantara with—

00:26:27   Portia will charge you $800 if you want the accented contrasting stitching for your seats. This is a thing that happens in cars. Don't ask.

00:26:33   Anyway, I put contrasting colored stitching around the specials only feed. And we liked it so much we said we should do that for the members feed too.

00:26:42   So now the members feed has yellow stitching in its Alcantara background and the specials feed has blue stitching in its Alcantara background.

00:26:48   And I know at the tiny thumbnail size that you see this thing, it's almost impossible to even detect this.

00:26:55   In fact, we kept cranking up the size of the stitching so you could even see it at thumbnail size.

00:26:59   But if you zoom the artwork in a lot you will see it more clearly. My artwork on this is not great, I admit.

00:27:06   But just for people who want to know, what the heck is that supposed to be? It's supposed to be Alcantara with stitching.

00:27:11   By the way, I have some relevant information here. If only one of us had the Alcantara phone case right here.

00:27:20   Did you get it because it was in the notes or are you just buying every iPhone case?

00:27:24   I actually, by coincidence, had ordered it about a week earlier.

00:27:27   I had been familiar with this Alma brand because I also have one of their Alcantara watch straps.

00:27:34   So I can say your suspicion of it having way too much pocket friction is exactly right.

00:27:39   I would say that the level of pocket in and out friction that it has is similar to silicone.

00:27:44   For totally different reasons. It is all textured fabric. And it feels fantastic.

00:27:50   If you're going to pet your phone on the desk or something, this material feels awesome. And the colors are good.

00:27:59   They actually come in very nice colors. None of these boring, safe grays and browns like everyone else.

00:28:04   So this is a wonderful object for looks and feel. It is not a very well made case.

00:28:12   The buttons are a little bit crooked and a little bit misaligned and they don't feel that good.

00:28:17   The camera lip around the camera plateau has a sharp edge. If your finger catches the edge, it's sharp.

00:28:23   And that's no good. And overall the case is pretty bulky. It's fairly thick.

00:28:28   Honestly, when you compare it to the FineWoven, the FineWoven is still my favorite case that I have so far.

00:28:36   I hate to say it. The Alcantara one, the Alma one, it does have an action button but it's misaligned.

00:28:42   It's hard to press and doesn't feel good.

00:28:44   Lovely.

00:28:45   It is mag safe. It doesn't have any branding on the back. I like a lot of it. It has the bottom so John would hate it.

00:28:53   It's a fine case but for this purpose I can't really recommend this material. It is just too much friction.

00:29:00   And I think if you're going to have that much friction when you're getting out of the pocket, you might as well have the silicone case which I think works a little bit better.

00:29:06   But it is really cool and it feels and looks fantastic.

00:29:10   Although I do see the crooked action button in their own product photography.

00:29:14   Yeah, that's not good.

00:29:16   Lovely.

00:29:17   I also have some case-related follow-up. I am still casting around for a case that I do more than just like, that I really like.

00:29:27   But what I've landed on for now is a case that was very highly recommended by a bunch of people I'm asked on.

00:29:33   The Toras! Because apparently it's all caps. T-O-R-R-A-S. Magnetic slim fit designed for iPhone 15. Blah blah blah blah blah.

00:29:41   Anyways, this thing was like 18 bucks which is obscenely cheap compared to the $60 Apple leather cases I've been buying for most of my life.

00:29:49   It is a plasticky case. It is a little bit slippery for my tastes.

00:29:56   And critically, the lip is quite tall. So John, this would never in a million years work for you because apparently you are incapable of hitting the swipe up gesture unless there's nothing in the way.

00:30:07   This is like a full-on cliff in the way which it took me a day to get used to and it's now fine.

00:30:13   The case is very cheap which appeals to me. The magnet within the case is really really strong so my new best friend the PopSocket is like freaking welded onto this thing which is kind of nice.

00:30:27   But the case is fine. I would give it four stars in no small part because it's so darn cheap.

00:30:33   The button feel is good. In fact the buttons might be the best part of this. It's a really crisp button feel which I really really like.

00:30:40   But I really wish that the Peel case P-E-E-L, I really wish they had buttons instead of a cutout particularly for the action button which when I had briefly had one it was a cutout.

00:30:53   If Peel ever comes out with one that has actual buttons, please somebody let me know so I can buy that one because I loved the feel of that.

00:31:00   I absolutely loved the feel of that in hand. It's just I couldn't stand those buttons for more than 15 seconds. Literally it was 15 seconds it was on my phone before I took it back off and then returned it.

00:31:09   But anyways we'll put a link in the show notes. This is not a spectacular case. Four stars out of five.

00:31:15   I think I'm grading it on a curve because it's so darn cheap. But it is the best one I've found so far so you might want to try that out.

00:31:22   I want to see the size of the bottom lip. It doesn't look any bigger than normal. I don't know how it's hard to tell.

00:31:27   Have they photoshopped the product photography to make the phone itself look thinner?

00:31:31   Yes. I believe they have.

00:31:32   It's like rendered. It's not a real photo.

00:31:35   The pictures are not great and I'm in a dark room so I don't think I, well I only have one camera with me. Well no I guess I have my continuity camera.

00:31:42   Anyways, it's best to say I'm not going to be able to take a good picture of it now. But it is too tall.

00:31:46   It's not too tall to the point that I can't use it because obviously I'm using it but I really wish it was a little bit slimmer. There's so much space between the top of the screen and the top of the case.

00:31:59   I'm probably overblowing it in my verbal description here but it's more than the leather case by a noticeable margin and I don't care for that.

00:32:07   Alright moving on. Speaking of things that I don't care for but apparently are useful.

00:32:12   Adam wrote in, well I don't think it was Adam Arment but you never know, Adam wrote in with regard to those Absolutely Bananas Razer phone coolers.

00:32:20   This was the LED thing I think we mentioned an episode before last that I think operate via MagSafe. Well I shouldn't say via MagSafe but they attack.

00:32:27   They attack via MagSafe.

00:32:28   Thank you. There we go. By way of MagSafe.

00:32:30   And anyways, Adam writes, "Most of my friends play on smartphones so I do too. And when I want to play with them.

00:32:36   Keep in mind that a smartphone is the only gaming device for many people, especially outside the US. When I play multiplayer shooters like PUBG or Call of Duty for longer periods of time my iPhone 13 Pro overheats.

00:32:45   The screen dims, my frames per second drop. It's not terrible but it's uncomfortable.

00:32:49   That little thingy from Razer works like magic. It's not only a fan, it gets literally ice cold when it's on. I don't know how it works but it's shocking how effective it is.

00:32:57   Since buying it I haven't had a single performance issue even in the most demanding games during long, sometimes two plus hour sessions.

00:33:03   Also you can turn the RGBs off in the app.

00:33:07   Yeah and the way it works, the way it gets ice cold in the back is that it actually has a thermoelectric plate, also called a Peltier plate.

00:33:17   Overclockers use these things sometimes to amp up their overclocking abilities.

00:33:21   It's basically a solid state device that transfers heat from one side to the other.

00:33:26   It burns a ton of power but what it creates is a very cold side and a very hot side.

00:33:32   So you can make fans and heatsinks work a little bit better at the expense of massive amounts of power if you put the cold side on the thing you're cooling and put the hot side against the fan or heatsink.

00:33:44   Then the fan has to cool both the heat from the thing that you are cooling plus the heat generated by the Peltier plate.

00:33:52   So it ends up being comically inefficient and in order to chill the CPU a little bit more you have to use a lot more power and then dissipate a lot more heat on the other side.

00:34:04   But it does work. You can buy little mini fridges that occasionally work this way, like desktop size, fit one can kind of mini fridges that have those things.

00:34:13   But they're so weak and inefficient you don't see them used for very much else.

00:34:18   But it does have one of those mentions in the Amazon description. So that's how that works.

00:34:23   I gotta say, if I had a need for this, which I see why some people do, if you're like a really hardcore phone gamer, this could be relevant.

00:34:35   And honestly this looks like a fairly decent product for those needs as long as you don't care about heat, noise, or dignity.

00:34:44   I mean it's not going to help your battery life, right? Doesn't the thing get powered by the phone?

00:34:48   It can be ever since. It has USB-C input. So you could power it from the phone, I wouldn't power it from the phone. I think it would drain it pretty fast.

00:34:56   Indeed. Alright, we need a clever name for this and I don't have one, but as part of the "we have listeners in every walk of life" corner.

00:35:04   Matthias Linblad writes, "I have extensive experience in developing indirect tire pressure management systems, or ITPMS."

00:35:14   I think this was brought up because you were talking about the Rivian and decreasing the air in the tires that memory serves.

00:35:19   Yeah, I was basically saying the Land Rover had whatever kind of tire pressure sensor was in the Land Rover, it updated live.

00:35:26   If I was stopped and putting air in the tires, or taking air out of the tires, on the dash it would show me the current inflation level of the tire, the current tire pressure of each tire.

00:35:35   Whereas the Rivian, I had said during that episode, I had said that when I aired down the Rivian, it didn't show me live. I had to drive a little while before it updated.

00:35:45   But it turns out, I changed the tire pressure one time since then, and when I did it the second time, it did update live, but only in one tire.

00:35:56   So I don't know what capability it has.

00:35:58   Software, baby!

00:36:00   So maybe if somebody can ride it, maybe, maybe Matthias Linblad here, if somebody can ride it and say, "What do I have here? What kind of system is it that doesn't update in real time most of the time, but once one wheel did?"

00:36:14   Because it seems like the indirect tire pressure measurement systems by the people who've written in, it sounds like they wouldn't work this way, so I don't know.

00:36:22   Yeah, that just sounds like bugs, but I think Matthias wrote in because I had mentioned that my car also doesn't show the pressures, but it also doesn't, you have to drive for a little bit for it to do anything.

00:36:32   So anyway, this explanation, I think, sheds some light on it.

00:36:35   ITPMS is an amazing piece of software using sensor fusion and advanced signal processing to determine when the pressure is dropped significantly compared to the reference level.

00:36:44   The main input are the signals from the rotation sensors of the ABS system, that's any luck brakes, but rotational speeds are not enough.

00:36:50   If you would, for example, have lost the pressure in all four wheels at the same time, this would just be interpreted as the vehicle going a different speed.

00:36:57   You could, in theory, compare to the GPS speed, but that's not reliable enough.

00:37:00   So instead, you have to look at the changes in the signal spectrum caused by the change properties of the under-inflated tire.

00:37:05   The fact that you need to look at the signal input during driving means that it will take a short while before you can get a warning.

00:37:10   It is, however, not the explanation for delay in showing the absolute pressure, as this is not something a ITPMS system can measure.

00:37:16   So, if you can get a reading of the pressure, you don't have an indirect system.

00:37:20   Direct pressure monitoring systems, or DTPMS, which use battery-powered sensors in each tire, can provide immediate readings.

00:37:28   However, this comes at the cost of higher battery consumption.

00:37:31   To optimize battery life, many DTPMS systems only transmit data when they detect driving activity, which is especially important since these batteries are non-replaceable.

00:37:41   So maybe the ones in your tires are sending them on different intervals and they're out of sync with each other.

00:37:47   Maybe batteries are dead, maybe there's a software bug, but it is a good clarification that the cheapo system like I have in my car that just uses the wheel speed sensors that they already have to put on the car for ABS,

00:37:56   it's not like they're cheaping out by not showing pressure, they just don't know.

00:38:01   Like the car doesn't know the pressure because it's not a pressure sensor, it's just basically saying, "Hey, is the pressure different than it's supposed to be?"

00:38:07   I don't know what it is, I don't know what it was before, and that's why there's like a calibration, you know, when you get the tire light on my dashboard that comes on because the tire is low, and you inflate everything to the right thing,

00:38:17   you have to manually reset the system and say, "Now, whatever the tires are at now, this is how they should be." Which is why you should always do all four tires, not just one that you think is low.

00:38:26   But direct tire pressure monitoring, yeah, that's a whole different can of worms, and I'm not quite sure why you guys aren't showing the numbers.

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00:40:32   All right, let's do some topics. I wanted to very, very briefly mention that I have been dabbling with the new, I think it's just for the new phones, but certainly new in iOS 17.

00:40:47   The setting in your battery settings for topping out at 80%, kind of like you're in an electric car.

00:40:55   My thought process here was, well, I've got the big boy phone now, and it's got the big boy battery, so why not take some empathy, or have some empathy for the machine, John, and top the battery out at 80%.

00:41:07   And I've done this on and off for the last week or so, and I don't think I dig it.

00:41:12   And I think that I don't like it because it stresses me out, which is probably a Casey problem.

00:41:18   I am not saying that this is not something that you, the listener, should try. I'm just saying I didn't care for it.

00:41:23   I am also of the opinion that showing your battery percentage in your status bar is barbaric because all that does is add stress in your life.

00:41:31   And it turns out when I'm not topping out, when I'm not at my maximum available battery charge, when I take the phone off the charger in the morning,

00:41:40   I basically am just stressing myself out all day long.

00:41:44   So I do think it is a very good idea, and certainly if I wasn't a complete dork that, you know, if I didn't upgrade my phone every year in the very wasteful way that I do,

00:41:58   I would be more apt to try to run this. Like, John, perhaps you would consider this particularly for future phones.

00:42:04   But since I upgrade every year, and since it just stresses me the crap out, I've decided that I'm probably not going to stick with it.

00:42:12   But I do think, I applaud the feature's existence, and I definitely think that I could live with it.

00:42:21   It's just I would constantly be looking at my battery wondering, "Uh oh, what happens if I need to leave the house, and I need a whole bunch of charge, and I didn't expect it, and oh my God, what am I going to do?"

00:42:31   I mean, I have that battery pack, but it's all the way upstairs, and I'm just like, I was wrapping myself around the axle completely unnecessarily, which is why I think it's a KC problem.

00:42:39   But I do think that on an average day, the 15 Pro Max could get me through the day from 80%.

00:42:49   I would probably hit, you know, 20 to 30% by the end of the day on an average day's use. That seemed to be what I was getting.

00:42:56   But it just stressed me out too much, and so in the same way that I've always had battery percentage off, like you should, I turned this off after a few days because it was just too much. It was too much for me.

00:43:07   As battery technology advances, there'll be a nice software solution to this, which is basically just to show 100% when it's at 80%.

00:43:13   That's a good point.

00:43:15   The big expensive batteries in electric vehicles pretty much all try very hard to not get you to charge at 100%. I'm not sure if any of them outright lie to you.

00:43:27   Some of them put a huge amount of the batteries in reserve, because again, these batteries are the most expensive component in the cars, and by default, in many cars, you can't charge them more than 80%, unless you do the "are you super duper serious and you're going on a road trip?"

00:43:42   Then you can go all the way to 100%, but they come basically out of the box like this option on the iPhone that says just never charge over 80%, because you've got plenty of range for the 80%, because it lengthens the life of your battery.

00:43:52   Draining your battery to zero or charging it to 100 are all things your battery does not like. It wants to be somewhere in the middle.

00:43:58   So if you never go to 100%, it will lengthen the life of your battery. If you're planning on handing down your phones to your kids or younger siblings or whatever, turning this option on will make it so that when they get the phone, when you're done with it, the battery will be less fried.

00:44:11   But of course it means you have to have a phone that's at 80%. And for a regular size iPhone, I think 80% may not be enough to get through the day. With the big one, it might be, as you know to Casey, but it's stressing you out because it's showing 80%.

00:44:23   But Apple, we're not at the point for battery technology where Apple can do the software change that says, "Yeah, just show 80% as 100% and show 100% as like, you know, change the color of the status indicator or something goes super duper topped off or whatever."

00:44:36   Battery Ultra!

00:44:38   Battery Pro Max!

00:44:40   We're not there yet on the regular size iPhone. On the Max, maybe they could get away with it. But first of all, if they did this, you know it would be another gate. It would be a battery gate. Like, "Apple's lying to you! They say your battery's 100% but it's really at 80%!" Never mind that the EVs do this all the time.

00:44:57   They would be sued instantly.

00:44:59   Right. But, you know, if there was third party control over this, someone would immediately make a little system level utility that says, "Show 80% as 100% in case you would use it." And so he wouldn't be stressed out.

00:45:10   But there's no third party system level utilities like that for the iPhone so we'd have to wait for Apple to get around to it.

00:45:16   And, you know, if you could snap your fingers and say, "Hey, Apple, for the same size and weight you could double the battery capacity," then they could roll out this feature.

00:45:23   And they could make it optional and have a little switch that says, "Show 80% as 100% in case you would turn it on," and he would be fine. But we don't have that magic battery yet. So we'll just keep waiting.

00:45:31   In keeping with the theme of, like, grab bag topics, Marco, can you tell me about the seemingly terrible decision you made based on what's been put in the show notes?

00:45:41   What we have in the show notes here, in the private show notes, is AirPods Pro 2 as concert ear plugs, which seems like you are just begging for all the feedback. But why don't you explain yourself and then we can all laugh at your terrible decisions?

00:45:57   And by the way, are they, let us know if they're the AirPods Pro 2.1 or the AirPods Pro 2.0?

00:46:05   They were the 2.0 because this was actually about a month ago or something like that, a month and a half ago. So earlier in this summer or fall, I attended, of course, a Phish concert.

00:46:16   You know, I don't go to that. I go to, like, one concert a year. So I'm not, like, a concert power user here, so keep that in mind.

00:46:23   But because I care about my hearing and I kind of need it for things, I typically wear some kind of concert ear plug, set aside the ridiculousness of I'm paying good money to go to hear music that I then have to plug my ears up so I don't hear it too much.

00:46:39   I know this is ridiculous, but this is how concerts are. So I would love for them to just turn it down a little bit, but unfortunately, you know, they don't mix concerts just for my tastes.

00:46:53   But anyway, so this is actually a very common request, a common need for people to, people who go to concerts a lot or a little and who don't want to blow their ears out so much that they cause hearing damage over time or that their ears are ringing for, you know, the whole rest of the night or whatever.

00:47:12   So there's this whole category of concert ear plugs or musician ear plugs, and those actually are two slightly different things, but for the most part, it's, you know, it's ear plugs that are made specifically to reduce the amount of volume that you're getting, but to try to do it in a way that doesn't make everything sound like crap.

00:47:33   That doesn't like muffle everything and make it sound like you're listening through a pillow or anything. So the idea is reduce the level, but make sure that you're doing your best to let the frequencies through evenly.

00:47:46   And that's difficult. You know, if you just stick your fingers in your ears, what you'll notice is that the frequencies are not muffled uniformly.

00:47:55   You will lose a lot more of the high frequencies, like the treble, the crispiness, that sound. You lose a lot more of that and you keep a lot of like the bass, the low frequencies.

00:48:04   And that's just because of various physics properties of plugging your ears and sound waves.

00:48:10   So anyway, so you can get ear plugs that cost like, you know, 10 cents in a bulk pack that construction workers use and stuff, you know, just like those little foam plug things.

00:48:19   You can get those and wear those to a concert and they will work just fine, but it won't sound very good.

00:48:26   Like you will kind of feel like you're wasting your money a lot more in that scenario to see this concert because you're going to miss a lot more of the music and it won't sound very good.

00:48:35   Anyway, so there's this whole category of concert ear plugs. I did all the research a couple years ago when I started going to concerts again.

00:48:43   I did all the research and bought a few and tried a few. The funny thing is it's actually kind of fun to try because the way I would try them would be to put them in and then put full-size headphones on and just crank the music up really loud and see like, how do they sound? How do they work?

00:48:57   So anyway, I was able to test a few different ones. So for quick reference, before everyone writes in and tells me I didn't test their favorite one, the ones I tested were EarGasm, the Edomonic ER-20, Earpiece, Vibes, Mumba, and the SoundRender Minuendo.

00:49:12   They all suck. The ones I spent the most time with were the SoundRender Minuendo. Those were the least sucky among the group in my opinion. But they all suck.

00:49:24   They all promise that, oh, it's a flatter frequency response, you'll hear the music really well. It still sounds like garbage.

00:49:32   It kind of sucks because you want to enjoy the concert, again, you want to enjoy the music. And these Concert Ear Plugs, while they are better than just the cheap little foam plugs, they're not that much better.

00:49:44   And I think it's doing a disservice to people not having better options because ideally more people should be using some kind of hearing protection at concerts.

00:49:55   But if it's going to ruin the way it sounds, most people won't do it. So ideally, we need a better solution.

00:50:02   Now, I was curious, does active noise cancellation in ANC headphones like the AirPods Pro, does that actually protect your hearing?

00:50:15   Now, I am not a doctor. I don't know if this physically does the same thing. Does noise cancellation actually provide the same physical protection as ear plugs?

00:50:29   And I don't know the answer. But I decided to try it for this concert. So for this concert, I brought with me my SoundRender Minuendo because I wanted a point of comparison and I knew that if the AirPods Pro didn't work out, I would switch back to those.

00:50:43   And I spent maybe a quarter of the concert with the SoundRenders and the other three quarters I did the AirPods Pro.

00:50:50   I should clarify that this was all, because it was about a month and a half ago, this was all done with iOS 16 and the iOS 16 version of AirPods firmware.

00:51:02   So the AirPods firmware has actually changed decently much in the iOS 17. I was trying to get the beta to install on them, but it would not do it.

00:51:11   The way you install an AirPods Pro firmware beta, you enable the beta profile with these few steps and then just wait and just hope it does it sometime.

00:51:22   It's like face recognition in photos.

00:51:24   Yeah, they even tell you this might take like 24 to 48 hours. And I didn't think to do this until the day before the concert.

00:51:31   Left everything on, on Wi-Fi, powered, opened and closed the case a few times, put the AirPods in, took them out for a while, tried everything to mix it up and kind of kick them.

00:51:41   It never installed it until like three days later.

00:51:43   So I wasn't able to try the new features and how they worked with things like adaptive audio. So I wasn't able to try any of that stuff.

00:51:51   Anyway, with the previous iOS 16 era firmware, here are the results of how this went. You know there's different modes of AirPods Pro.

00:52:01   There's the off mode where they're basically just ear plugs. And the off mode works, but because, again, it's not doing any processing and it's just at that point dumb plugs in your ears,

00:52:13   it muffled the treble and the high frequencies too much, just like any other dumb ear plugs would.

00:52:19   So I can report that you can actually use, if they fit your ears well, you can use them for some level of hearing protection. Not a ton of hearing protection.

00:52:28   I wouldn't do this every day. I wouldn't do this in like an industrial setting or like a construction site or anything.

00:52:33   But if you're going to a concert and you have nothing else and you want to protect your hearing, you can just put AirPods in your ears and that will do some level of that.

00:52:40   That's enough for like occasional concert going.

00:52:42   I also tried the full noise canceling mode. And this actually worked too well. It was way too quiet.

00:52:52   And the other problem with noise canceling mode is that it's very non-uniform in what it suppresses.

00:52:59   You know, at a concert you have, especially at a fish concert, there's a lot going on. There's a lot that's going on in that sound.

00:53:05   There's a lot of different frequencies and instruments and quiet parts, loud parts, gaps, big parts.

00:53:12   Maybe the AirPods Pro got a contact high from all the people around me. Who knows?

00:53:16   So there's a lot going on there. So the noise canceling mode I found was not really suitable for it.

00:53:23   What was interesting, I thought, if I just put on transparency mode, will it blow my ears out the way the concert does?

00:53:32   And it turns out the answer is yes it will. I thought transparency mode would have some kind of limit on how loud it would go.

00:53:40   I could not find that limit. And in all fairness, the transparency mode, when I would test, I would have it on and then I would take them out and listen without anything in my ears.

00:53:53   And it was pretty much indistinguishable. So the transparency mode did accurately transmit the audio from the concert transparently to my ears, which was actually pretty impressive considering how loud it was.

00:54:06   But this wasn't really solving my problem because it was still way too loud because it was basically the exact volume of the concert.

00:54:13   If you think about it, when you use them just as dumb earplugs, the amount of sound that they allow through when you're using them as dumb earplugs is still going through when you're using them in transparency.

00:54:24   And then added to it is what the speaker inside the earphones is outputting. So it doesn't surprise me that it was the same volume.

00:54:31   It would be better if maybe when you did concert transparency that it only played the highs.

00:54:37   Like if it knew what kind of sound would be passively muffled by the plastic, you know what I mean, or the rubber or whatever your ear thing is. But that's difficult because you can buy different tips for those things.

00:54:45   And so it may not know exactly what's being muffled. But if they always know it's just the highs. But anyway, transparency mode is sending through everything.

00:54:52   So you've got like for transparency mode to be volume limiting when there are dumb earphones, you hear nothing because then the only sound you would hear would be produced by the earphones.

00:55:01   Then you can control the volume. But I think most of the sound you're hearing at a concert is sound that's just blasting its way right through those ear tips into your ears, except for maybe the high frequencies.

00:55:10   And then transparency mode is playing all the frequencies in your ear. And just to be clear on your advice of saying, hey, if you have nothing with you, you can use AirPods.

00:55:18   Only AirPods Pros or other AirPods that go in your ear canal. If you have like me, the AirPods 3, they're not going to do anything for you.

00:55:25   Yeah, you need the kind that has like the squishy rubber tips, basically. So anyway, transparency mode was not going to do it.

00:55:32   There's various options under accessibility. There's various headphone accommodations, various other things. I had a really hard time getting any of them to be good in this context.

00:55:42   What I ended up doing and doing for the majority of the concert was in the AirPods settings, just in the regular settings page, there's an option down at the bottom called something like attenuate loud sounds.

00:55:54   I basically would use transparency mode, but with that, with attenuate loud sounds turned on, that actually did a really great job overall.

00:56:05   It was not ideal, I'll tell you why in a minute, but overall, it was way better than every single concert earplug I've tried by a mile.

00:56:15   A thousand times better. In every way. It was more comfortable. It sounded better. It was less awkward. It fit better.

00:56:23   Everything about it was better, even in just this mode, even though it was not perfect.

00:56:28   So the main problem I had with the attenuate loud sounds, first of all, is that it's dynamic.

00:56:33   So if they would really go at it, you know, got a nice loud part of the music, it would bring it down.

00:56:39   But then if there was a quiet part, it would then amplify everything back up again.

00:56:43   And then as soon as things got loud, it would bring it back down like a slow compressor.

00:56:47   It was a little distracting, but it wasn't enough that I wouldn't enjoy the concert. And even with that, again, still better than every concert earplug I've ever tried.

00:56:54   But that was a little annoying. And also, it was a little bit too smart in the sense that like, transparency mode, and especially with the attenuate loud sounds option, but even regular transparency mode, it tries to be a little bit smart about what it sends through.

00:57:12   It's not actually fully transparent. Like one thing I noticed recently, which I hope this is temporary, ever since I was 17 firmware updates for the AirPods Pro, if I'm walking and say a car drives by, it sounds weird for a second.

00:57:28   Like it's not processing it correctly. It tries to do something with like the tire noise of it rolling by.

00:57:33   And there are like certain noise things that pass me in real life with transparency mode are being weirdly handled by it only since the iOS 17 firmware.

00:57:43   So I hope this is a temporary bug that they're going to tweak or fix or something because it's a little bit weird.

00:57:49   Anyway, in the concert setting, some of those smarts would get in the way a little bit of this feature.

00:57:55   You know, certain frequencies it would muffle a little bit more than others, maybe because they were louder than them.

00:57:59   Certain noises it would muffle more than others because maybe it sounded like white noise.

00:58:03   It was trying to be smart. Ideally, give me an option. Like I would love them to do this and I'm pretty sure I know why they won't.

00:58:10   I think it would be a liability thing. But I would love for Apple to add something, whether it's called this or not, a concert mode for AirPods Pro.

00:58:20   And again, they probably wouldn't call it that because they don't want the liability in case people actually hurt their ears or whatever.

00:58:25   But I would love a mode in AirPods Pro. It's like transparency mode, but it just lowers everything by a certain amount of decibels.

00:58:33   And of course, they don't have to call it that in the interface. They can make it nicer and not use technical terminology so people don't need to know what these terms mean.

00:58:41   But that's what I want. Transparency mode that just lowers all frequencies by a fixed amount that you can somehow control.

00:58:50   Because if they did that, they would be the most perfect concert earplugs. They are so close now and they're already better than the entire category.

00:59:00   But it was a little annoying that they were trying to be smart in ways that they were kind of being defeated by the music.

00:59:06   Like sometimes it would do weird things to the vocal range. Like you don't want that. Or like if I moved my head, like if I looked left or right, now they're getting different levels because they're not on access with the speakers each anymore.

00:59:19   So like, you know, if I turn my head to the left, well then my right ear is closer to the speakers now. And so it would lower the right ear more.

00:59:27   Like if so, it would do weird things like that because it was trying to be too smart. What they need is a dumb reduction mode.

00:59:34   Like just act like earplugs, bring everything down by a certain fixed amount and leave it there until the setting changes.

00:59:42   With that change, I think you could see these used in a lot more places. Battery life was great. There was no problem making it through the entire show.

00:59:52   Which I was kind of curious if they would because the fish show was like three hours long. But they did. They made it through just fine.

00:59:59   Again, comfort was great. Didn't notice them. What I would also like is maybe a more discreet look.

01:00:05   Maybe like a black wrap or just if they ever make them in black or some other more discreet color. You kind of stand out if you're wearing AirPods at a concert.

01:00:13   Like people see those white things in your ears. It's very obvious where, you know, earplugs usually are not bright white.

01:00:18   They're usually black or skin colored to try to blend in. So that would be nice too.

01:00:23   But overall, these are by far my favorite concert earplugs, if you can call them that.

01:00:28   Again, I don't know if physically they are providing that level of protection. But just anecdotally, if I go to a concert and I'm not wearing earplugs, you know, my ears ring and are sore or hurt afterwards.

01:00:42   After this, after wearing these for almost an entire concert, my ears felt totally fine afterwards. As if I hadn't just been to a very loud concert.

01:00:53   They seem to have worked, physically speaking. And certainly on the audio front, they worked exceptionally well compared to everything else out there.

01:01:02   Yes, it still didn't sound exactly right because it was trying to be smart and it would vary a lot as I moved around and stuff or as the music changed.

01:01:10   So again, I would love that kind of dumb reduction mode, just like a fixed uniform reduction. That would be amazing.

01:01:17   Whatever form that takes, that would bring AirPods Pro to even more use cases. But other than that, they're already very, very good for this purpose.

01:01:27   So again, I'm not a doctor. I don't know if this is providing the kind of protection that actual earplugs provide.

01:01:32   And certainly there's a level of decibel protection that earplugs do. And this is not going to provide massive protection for everyday use.

01:01:41   If you're operating a jackhammer at a construction site, you're going to want something that's actually made for that purpose.

01:01:47   But for occasional concert going, AirPods Pro worked the best of all the concert earplugs I've ever tried.

01:01:54   They sell different tips for the AirPods. You can buy third party ones. I think that would probably affect the sound, the passive sound blocking ability tremendously.

01:02:02   Because the Apple ones are just that flimsy little thin membrane, right? And they have other ones that are made of thick, dense foam that I have to think blocks more sound than the stock ones.

01:02:12   The sound blocking amount I think is controlled more by the transparency algorithm. And if you say "attenuate loud sounds," you don't get to set what threshold is considered as "loud."

01:02:23   Above what threshold do you attenuate? That's not a setting. So I think there's more to do in software, really.

01:02:29   If they're actually doing full attenuation and noise canceling, they're pretty powerful. They can achieve quite a lot.

01:02:36   Typical concert earplugs, you might be getting 8 to 12 decibels of reduction, maybe 16 at the most.

01:02:44   You're not getting a ton of reduction unless you really make the sound really bad.

01:02:48   The higher reduction ones, the higher you go, the worse things sound because of the non-uniform suppression of things.

01:02:56   Basically, the more you suppress, the more bass-heavy everything becomes, the more muffled. You lose a lot more treble, you don't lose as much bass, everything just becomes muffled.

01:03:05   But anyway, they're so close to being amazing for this purpose, they're already great for it, they're so close to being amazing, they just need that setting.

01:03:13   JP in the chat room apparently is in live entertainment and has suggested a company called Coda Room, and they have custom high fidelity earplugs which apparently attenuate 9, 15, or 25 decibels.

01:03:26   But interestingly, and importantly, they actually have a graph that shows exactly the frequency response and attenuation across all of these different frequencies.

01:03:35   So it looks pretty flat to my eyes, but I am well outside my comfort zone.

01:03:41   Well, okay, so first of all, these are ideal cases. Second of all, notice how this graph, the highest frequency on it is 8,000 hertz, and all of the bars drop precipitously right as they approach that.

01:03:55   Which suggests to me, just for reference, human hearing is up to, at the best, about 20,000 hertz, and for most adults, you're probably in the teens somewhere, like 15,000 hertz, maybe 16.

01:04:08   For these to drop off heavily at 8,000 means they're going to have the same problem everything else has, which is basically, there's a lot of bass, there's no treble.

01:04:15   I hear you.

01:04:16   Alright, our favorite topic from the last year or so has come back around and become relevant again, rewind.ai.

01:04:24   This is the thing, the live streams! We need a, I don't know, not a vibe or slap obviously, but we need some sort of dumb musical instrument for that.

01:04:31   But anyways, live streams are something that rewind.ai is basically trying to do, but the problem is you can't have a live stream of all of your life when you're running software.

01:04:43   Because in order to have a live stream of things that happen outside of software, you would need hardware. So John, what is the pendant?

01:04:49   This is interesting because live streams, when I first brought up on the show, I was remembering a computer user interface that lets you organize everything you've done on the computer as a stream of events from the present to the past that you could fly through and see.

01:05:03   What did I do yesterday, a week ago, two weeks ago, anyway.

01:05:06   But live streams is also that same term was used for the hardware approach of what about when I'm just walking around during the day and I want to keep track of everything that happened to me during the day.

01:05:19   I have all sorts of people at MIT and other schools over the decades that have like, I'm just going to wear a camera for an entire year or I'm going to record audio everywhere that I go.

01:05:25   So rewind.ai is making a hardware product that they're calling the rewind pendant, which looks like a little tiny cylinder that goes on a little lanyard around your neck. So you wear this little necklace with a little tiny cylinder. It looks kind of like a microphone.

01:05:38   And it records everything that it hears and transcribes it and encrypts it and lets you search it.

01:05:45   So the rewind.ai software product that we talked about in the past was the thing that runs on your Mac and records everything that happens on your screen, including OCRing text out of Windows and stuff like that and recording audio and compiling it and making it so you can search it.

01:05:58   This extends that to audio whenever you're wearing this pendant.

01:06:04   I don't think this product is out yet. It's on pre-order now for $60, but this shows where we are in the technology stack where this type of thing of gathering audio, basically having a cheap battery-powered microphone,

01:06:19   and then being able to process that audio into something useful through transcription and some smarts using these "machine learning" we used to call it, but now everything is AI. These language models that we've trained to be able to understand whatever language this thing is going to support.

01:06:36   And then it just becomes text, and then you can smush that text down really easily and make it searchable and do all the things.

01:06:42   This pendant, I feel like, is a natural extension of the rewind company's whole deal, which is over the course of your life, you encounter things, you say things, things are said to you, you see things and stuff like that, but you might forget it.

01:06:57   You might say, "What did that person say to me yesterday?" or "What happened in that meeting?" or "Where did I see that webpage?" and that's why I've always wanted live streams and this company is trying to bring it to you.

01:07:06   As you can imagine, as will be discussed with the computer screen recording thing, the privacy implications of this are mind-blowing.

01:07:13   As always, technology is ahead of both our culture and our laws, because all of a sudden it is possible technologically to record everything that happens around you and transcribe it and store it and do a lot of stuff, but that's not something that people expect to be happening.

01:07:33   What's the deal with that? If I wear this and it records everybody around me, is that against the law? Am I going to get in trouble? Am I going to get beat up?

01:07:44   The rewind company, of course, is trying to do the best it can to say, "Well, we don't know what the deal with this is, either culturally or legally, so we're trying to do it as carefully as possible."

01:07:56   It's opt-in, you have to get a verbal agreement that the thing hears, although obviously if it can hear your agreement, it's already listening to you.

01:08:04   But anyway, just don't think about it too much. Only when it's opt-in will you record things and it will summarize them, again with the magic of AI/machine learning, it will summarize it and not save it verbatim.

01:08:16   Once they've done all that, to me it's probably inadmissible in court, but this is the path we're traveling here. The analogy I thought of was the advent of photography.

01:08:26   Before there was photography, the idea of someone capturing an image of you anywhere was like, "What are they going to do, sit down and sketch me on a piece of paper? I'll just run away before they finish the drawing, it's fine.

01:08:36   They're certainly not going to paint me in full color, but what if I told you I could capture an image of you instantly? How will society deal with this?"

01:08:46   It took centuries, decades for us to get laws on the book that say, "Where and when is it legal for you to take a picture of somebody else without their consent?"

01:08:53   Every country and every municipality and everything has different laws, but as a society we've come up with a semi-reasonable set of things that deal with that.

01:09:02   I think once again technology has outrun the law with the advent of the "camera phone" because now it's not like it was when these laws were written, when it's like, "Oh, paparazzi photographers that we're worried about, or people with a camera."

01:09:15   Now everybody has a camera with them all the time. So you see conflict of the police not wanting themselves to be recorded because now the police are constantly being recorded because everyone's got a phone and they push back against that.

01:09:27   Or imagine if we got camera technology that allowed our phones to have a 500x optical zoom with good quality. If that technology ever arrived, there's a whole new set of things like, "Well, technically I was following the laws because you're in public and I'm here and I'm there."

01:09:41   Luckily the paparazzi laws have helped a little bit with that because paparazzi are motivated to use these really long lenses, so I'm sure there's, at least in California, there's probably laws on the books about that.

01:09:48   But the advance of technology allowing us to do things that we never worried about before requires us to think about these issues and probably make laws related to them.

01:10:00   But here's rewind out there pushing the envelope because we all see the utility in this. If you describe this, we all say, "This would be great. I would love to be able to basically have an outboard memory. Have the computers keep track of stuff for me."

01:10:12   It's like having, in an ideal case, a personal assistant with you at all times. You can just ask them. You see on these politicians where they have the person who's always behind them, like a Gary on beat but competent.

01:10:22   Where you can just ask them anything. "Who is this? Who am I talking to? What did they say yesterday? Where are we going?"

01:10:28   People want that, but they would like it to be magic and automatic for them with tiny devices they carry with them.

01:10:34   But you can't have that without also having everybody recording everything all the time everywhere. And yeah, I'm not sure how we're going to square that because a lot of the utility of this type of thing comes from the ubiquity.

01:10:47   When it's you on your own computer, you can choose the level of ubiquity. The rewind software, you can just not run it, so that's fine.

01:10:54   But if you do run it, you can control which applications it can see, you can control when it's on and when it's off.

01:10:58   You know it's confined to the little world of you, your computer, and your computer's microphone and camera, so if you leave the house, you know your computer's not following you and recording you.

01:11:07   But the pendant is around your neck, and now we need a whole set of rules for this.

01:11:11   So I think probably the technology with this thing and the jankiness of the transcription and everything is going to be limiting.

01:11:18   But I think because it is starting to be possible, this is something that other companies will pursue.

01:11:25   And I will say, personally, I think it's something they should pursue because the benefits are tremendous.

01:11:31   But of course the downsides are also tremendous, so I hope that as we travel this road, it's hard for me to be hopeful, at least in our country, about our ability to make new laws that correctly constrain technology without stifling it.

01:11:47   Or without leaving it completely unconstrained due to regulatory capture or whatever. We have all the badness and not the goodness there, but I feel like eventually the planet Earth as a society will construct social norms and laws surrounding this process so that we can get some of the benefit without all of the terrible downsides.

01:12:07   We can hope.

01:12:09   When I first saw this pendant thing breeze through the news, and yeah, it isn't out yet, and it's not even out soon, I think. It seems like they're just starting to develop it now.

01:12:19   But when I saw it breeze through, I had the same thoughts as everyone else. Like, yeah, this sounds like it would be massively privacy invading for all the people around you all of the time.

01:12:29   You know, strangers walking by could have one of these at any time, you don't know. But it does kind of make sense that it's kind of like photo capture.

01:12:40   There is a difference in degree. That if this thing is always recording in the background, now yes, I know, I watched the video of the guy saying, "Here's how we're going to do privacy features on this, maybe."

01:12:51   And they're just ideas. They're not actually done and created and tested and working. And frankly, I think the, as John said about the utility comes from ubiquity, the features that they mentioned, like, "Oh, we'll have it just be opt-in. Only people who opted in to be recorded will have their voices recorded."

01:13:10   First of all, I don't buy for a minute that that would work very well. But second of all, that makes it way less useful. And so if that is actually an option to be turned off, most people will just turn it off.

01:13:23   You know, the reality is, like, I would love to have a perfect memory. And what got me very, for a split second, interested in this thing is when somebody was like, "Wow, wouldn't it be nice to remember the person's name that they introduced themselves to you five minutes ago in the conversation?"

01:13:42   They quickly said their name, "You have since forgotten it." And I go, "God, what was this person's name again? They told me a few minutes ago and I just, it slipped my mind. I forgot." I would love that. That would be amazing. That would be life-changing for me.

01:13:56   That's the goal of the AR glasses that we always talk about. What's the killer art for the AR glasses? Names that float over people's heads. And you combine that with a ubiquitous recording, it's like, well, how would it know the name to float over their head? Well, if they told it to you earlier, then it knows it because it can associate it with the face that spoke the words that said, "My name is blah, blah, blah." And then it can transcribe it and stick it over the thing. Like, it all will work out.

01:14:16   And speaking of glasses, what is the company that did it? Was it Snapchat that did the glasses with cameras in them and they were recording all the time?

01:14:22   Doesn't Facebook still make those?

01:14:24   Yeah, I think they did. So, here's the thing. The technology is getting there for this type of thing. Rewind, I think I'm taking more seriously just because they've proven the utility with a thing that runs on your Mac, essentially. Like, it has utility and it works and it's not trying to record video all the time and everything, right?

01:14:40   It's just audio, so it's lower bandwidth and it can transcribe it. But the video approach, like, people can, again, these MIT things from the 80s where someone's like, "I'm going to wear a video camera on my head for an entire year in the 80s," and it was ridiculous looking. But now, you can get a very tiny camera that people might not even be able to see that's recording video all the time through a little tiny tether that's going down to SSD that's in your pocket or whatever.

01:15:02   We have the technology to do this already, but it's not socially acceptable. To your point, Marco, if you start every conversation with, "Do you mind if I record you?" People wouldn't want to talk to you real fast. That's the guy who always asks if you can opt into recording. And people are like, "What? No. We're not ready for that. We're also not ready for, by the way, you never know who's secretly recording you."

01:15:24   Because that, A, that's probably not legal in lots of places, and B, people don't want that to happen. They don't want to know that it happened after the fact, and if you say, "Oh, yeah, no, I record everybody all the time because I turned off the opt-in feature," again, people aren't going to want to talk to you.

01:15:37   And there's so many differences when you're talking about this kind of feature or this kind of product. It's very different to say, "I'm going to carry something in my pocket that makes it easier for me to record stuff when I want to," versus, "I'm going to be wearing something that is always recording everything without my input."

01:15:56   Those are very, very different things. There's obviously, as Jon said, cameras got smaller and easier and better and more ubiquitous, and so that changed the photo and video angle pretty significantly over the last few decades.

01:16:10   But ambient recording of everything around you and all the people around you without you having to choose to record it and also to be physically looking like you're recording it, that becomes a very, very different thing.

01:16:24   There's going to be a lot of, just like the regular Rewind product, the regular desktop capture thing, there's going to be a lot of unintended capture or unwanted capture, and that's going to cause a lot of problems, both privacy-wise, legally. It's going to be a mess.

01:16:45   It's like all the tubes in our house, the Amazon Echos and all the other things that are always listening, because again, that's how they can hear you say, "Hey, Dingus, they're always listening," and those little recordings.

01:16:56   And then law enforcement of course gets wind of this, and they're like, "Can we subpoena the surreptitious recordings from people's accidental activations of their Amazon?"

01:17:06   If these things sold to anybody, you know law enforcement would be like, "Everybody who was in that area at the time was wearing one of these pendants. We're going to subpoena all your recordings and subpoena all your transcripts."

01:17:17   Law enforcement will always take advantage of every possible--like the Ring doorbell cameras, right?

01:17:25   Those are all police cameras.

01:17:27   Yeah, so this is going to happen, and we have to come up with laws and norms around this that don't allow things to swing wildly in one direction or the other.

01:17:39   Free-for-all recording of everything is terrible, the ability of law enforcement to get a recording of everything everywhere is terrible, just ask people in the UK, I suppose.

01:17:47   My understanding is that they have a much more ubiquitous video recording of public spaces there than we have here.

01:17:53   But, again, utility. The utility for actually catching criminals is there. It's good, it exists.

01:18:01   Abuse of it is bad, but appropriate use of it, like everything else.

01:18:07   Telephone conversations, video recording, we have all sorts of laws about what is and isn't as evidence and what law enforcement can and can't do for technologies that have been around for a long time.

01:18:17   But suddenly when you throw something like this, like, "Oh, we went from nobody having cameras on their front door to a huge number of people having cameras on their front door, faster than we could gather laws around this, or faster than we could gather social norms around 'Should I buy this device? Should I join the neighborhood watch thing where we all share all our front door recordings with the police, or should I not do that?'"

01:18:37   I do feel like the technology is definitely way out ahead of how we can handle it. But the alternative isn't like, "Well, we'll just stop this technology," because that's never going to happen.

01:18:50   The advantages of making cameras smaller and making lower power things and doing AI-powered transcription, those advantages are too good to ignore.

01:18:58   We should pursue that because it makes things better for everybody. We just have to worry about the downsides and deal with them rather than saying, "Okay, well, I'm just going to pretend we're not going to progress because we are, and I think we should."

01:19:10   You wear one of these things to your job, you're getting fired.

01:19:13   No, no, your job is going to make you wear one of these for compliance reasons, and they're going to check the transcripts every day and they're going to see if you're leaking secrets. Are you kidding? The workplace loves this crap.

01:19:28   There's already a breed of enterprise software that records everything you do on your screen and sees if you're goofing off or playing solitaire, if you're not moving the mouse enough or if you're not being productive. They're going to love this. They're not going to let you bring in your own, but they're going to make you wear one that they have.

01:19:43   That is, again, a situation where I think social norms need to come in with, "Yeah, since you're not legally required to work for this company, you can just quit if you don't like it, but if everybody company does it, that's kind of crappy."

01:19:52   So we kind of have to have pushback from labor, as they call it, to say, "Here's what isn't okay as a society to allow the workplace to demand of us."

01:20:03   Working more than 40 hours a day without overtime pay, not getting weekends off, all the things that the labor movement has given us, it needs to give us some more things as our boss starts finding new and interesting technology to try to make more money for them but more misery for everyone else.

01:20:21   Oh my god, that's terrifying but correct.

01:20:25   For what it's worth, in the explanatory video that Rewind put up, they said in two days they got over 3,100 preorders.

01:20:34   They also made mention—I think, John, you said this a minute ago—they said that they've had a couple of theories about how they can make the privacy safe.

01:20:41   First of all, they'll be parsing everything they hear and they can do speaker detection as in who is speaking and they can figure out, "Oh, this person said yes, you can record me," and then, "Oh, we're good to go," which is both clever and creepy.

01:20:54   But the other thing they said was, "Hey, look, what if we only store summaries rather than verbatim conversations?"

01:21:00   Because then it's just like having a really, really, really good note-taker around you always.

01:21:05   Here again, I see what they're going for. It does make sense. A little creepy, but I do get it.

01:21:13   And I thought those were at least semi-reasonable approaches to try to ensure some modicum of privacy and safety.

01:21:20   Oh man. First of all, I think those are very optimistic that they would be able to do that reliably.

01:21:27   And again, if that was optional, nobody would enable that option. The option of, "Only store this minimal amount," or "Only record people who said it," nobody would enable that option if that was optional.

01:21:41   But even then, the summaries, real conversations are messy and organic and all over the place. First of all, you assume it can hear you well enough to have accurate transcriptions and to hear everything. That's a big assumption right now, but whatever.

01:21:58   Assuming it gets better, it can actually capture everything. First of all, you know it's going to be like, "Do you think she liked me?" No, she was just being nice. People are going to use it for dumb stuff.

01:22:13   But if you're only storing the summary, what if the summary is wrong? Then you will have this now incorrect record of the conversation that you think is a record of the conversation. You think, "Well, this is what was recorded, and this is the summary of what was recorded."

01:22:31   You think that's correct, and you treat it as fact, or you treat it as reliable, you treat it as correct. What if it's not correct? Even a little bit off, what if it missed some nuance?

01:22:40   There are just so many things where I don't think that option is a very good option. "Oh, we'll just store summaries." No, that's not a great option.

01:22:49   For a $60 device, too, we've all had the experience with our $1,000 phone where we say, "Hey, dingus, remind me to blah, blah, blah." Later in the day, we look at reminders, and it says some word sound. We're like, "What the hell was this?" Because it transcribed it wrong? That's one sentence. That's one literal sentence that is trying to say verbatim, and it does it so badly that you get a thing that's so far off that you're trying to sound it out.

01:23:15   What did it think it heard? It's a challenging environment. You're on the go, the pendant is around your neck. Forget about summary. Straight transcription is hard enough. Obviously, this will get better with time, but that's part of the challenge.

01:23:26   I do wonder if our use of all of our assistance on our phones will culturally prepare us for the idea that, yeah, it's probably not going to be accurate.

01:23:36   Even as it gets better and better over the years, the built-in cultural distrust of, "Oh, sometimes it messes up. Sometimes autocomplete types bogus things. Sometimes speech-to-text gets it wrong in challenging environments." It's not entirely trustworthy.

01:23:52   I think it would take many generations of near 100% accuracy for us to culturally believe it, so we can thank the poor performance of our voice assistants now for training generations of people not to trust this.

01:24:07   This whole topic, by the way, lets me pull out the title of the Philip K. Dick story, which I already used in one of my Hypercritical posts from way back, but it is endlessly applicable. My post on Hypercritical was about remastered games, where they'll take an old video game but sell you a new version where all the graphics have been redone for the current generation.

01:24:29   So it's the same game and the same mechanics, but it's high definition, it's a new texture pack, it's even better geometry, different lighting, and the title of the Philip K. Dick story is "We Can Remember It For Your Wholesale." That should be the tagline for this Rewind.ai company, "We Can Remember It For Your Wholesale."

01:24:45   We are brought to you this episode by Collide. If you work in security or IT and your company uses Okta, this message is for you. Have you noticed that for the past few years, the majority of data breaches and hacks you read about have something in common? It's employees.

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01:25:57   [Music]

01:26:01   All right, you want to do some Ask ATP? Let's do it. Let's start with Buckaroo Ponzi. Ponzi? Ponzi? Ponzi? Ponzi.

01:26:08   It's Ponzi, but is it supposed to be like Buckaroo Ponzi the movie? Is it Ponzi Beach or Ponzi Beach?

01:26:14   Air high five, Marco. We were pronouncing that wrong even when we thought we were doing it right, so, you know. Who knows?

01:26:20   Anyway, Buckaroo P writes, "What is so much better about Apple's chip designs besides tailoring to their own needs and monopsony access to smaller process nodes?

01:26:29   They must have some design principle or innovation that stops Samsung and Qualcomm from catching up, right?"

01:26:34   I mean, I think, John, you're probably best equipped to answer this, but I think to me the number one thing that Apple does incredibly well is

01:26:41   their chips are fast, but they're also incredibly power efficient, which is not something that's easy to do, be both fast and power efficient, but what's your answer?

01:26:51   Well, so here's the thing with Apple's lead on chips. It is shrinking. It still exists, but it is shrinking.

01:26:59   And what gave them that lead in the end is two things. One is what they're saying, like, exclusive access, because they have the most money,

01:27:08   they can pay for the access to the best fabrication process, and at various times in the past, having access to the best fabrication process has been a huge advantage.

01:27:16   It remains to be seen if having exclusive access to three nanometers from TSMC is going to be a huge advantage.

01:27:21   We still have question marks about that based on the phone chips that we've seen, but in the past, definitely, when Apple had a better process than their competitors, that made a big difference.

01:27:29   But the second one is the boring answer to most technology questions. It's people. Apple bought PA Semi, which had a bunch of people in it who were good at designing chips.

01:27:39   Chips aren't designed by robots or computers. They're designed by people. If you have the best people, you get the best chips.

01:27:45   Apple bought that advantage by buying a company filled with really smart people and then giving them lots of money and hiring new smart people to make their own line of chips.

01:27:55   And that's worked out really well for them. We'll put a link in the show notes to a lot of those people have since left Apple and formed their new company called Nuvia, which was then acquired by Qualcomm.

01:28:05   And now Qualcomm is using its Nuvia acquisition, which presumably has a bunch of good people, to help Qualcomm chips be better. That's part of the reason the gap is narrowing.

01:28:16   It all comes down to people. Who has the best chip designers? The people who know the most about chips with the most experience who can make these chips.

01:28:24   And on top of that, finally, a somewhat distant third is, of course, Apple can make chips that are exactly tailored to what they want.

01:28:32   Qualcomm can also make chips exactly tailored to what they want, but they are serving many customers. They don't have their own phones that they make, so it's more difficult to them.

01:28:41   And that is super important for like bringing that last couple of percent out because Apple can just, especially for the phone, because let's be honest, like when they're making the chip for the phone, they're like, we're going to make exactly the chip that we want.

01:28:52   But when it comes time to make the chips for the Mac, they're like, OK, here's the guts we have from the phone thing. Here's what we have to do to make it good on the Mac. What else can we add?

01:28:58   But it's not like they're making the cores specifically tailored to the Mac at this point. So, you know, that advantage of making everything perfectly custom for what Apple wants it to be used for tails off a little bit, as evidenced in the worst case scenario, obviously, by the Mac Pro, where Apple has not made a chip.

01:29:14   That's exactly what they need for the Mac Pro. They just absolutely have it. Intel didn't make it for them in the zions because the zions had a bunch of crap that Apple didn't want and weren't made the way Apple wanted them to.

01:29:23   And now that Apple makes its own chips, Apple is also going, oh, now I see why Intel never made the chip that we wanted. Because we would be the only customers for it and we don't sell a lot of these computers.

01:29:33   But yeah, the advantage is people. And that advantage only lasts as long as those people last. Either those people can retire or in the case of many of the good people who worked on Apple Silicon, a lot of them went off to start a new company that got acquired by Apple's competitor, which is not good for them.

01:29:49   But hey, new people are coming out of school every day and getting hired on and that's the competition in the tech sector. Especially in this area where having a small number, like a few hundred of the really best, smartest, most experienced people with the best ideas can have a huge effect.

01:30:07   Because chip design is like, look, if you get that right, that has ripple effects that go throughout your entire product line. Kind of like, you know, product design, having a Johnny Iver or whatever has such an outsize advantage versus like someone who's just like, I'm really good at writing software and I wrote a really good version of this application that ships with every computer.

01:30:25   It's probably not going to have as big an effect as the people who do the chips or the general product design. But that's what it comes down to. Apple chips are people.

01:30:33   All right, Alfred Flynn writes, "Do you all separate your personal data such as photos from the rest of macOS, like by putting it on a separate partition or even an external drive? As a developer myself, many developer tools have almost unrestricted access to the file system.

01:30:48   I want to keep personal data on the same drive as macOS for convenience, but the risks of accidentally installing a bad dependency or the authors of a dependency going rogue have been giving me pause."

01:30:56   I used to do this way back in the day on Windows computers. This is something I picked up from my dad. He would use the C drive for the OS and things like that.

01:31:10   And I think he would make a partition D for like data if memory serves and then like E would be...

01:31:15   No, you got to skip D because it's the CD-ROM drive.

01:31:18   Oh, maybe you're right. It's been so long. But yeah, you're probably right. But you know what I'm saying. It was something along those lines.

01:31:22   And you're reserving A and B for your floppy drives, of course.

01:31:24   Exactly, exactly.

01:31:26   That's a little place for... Let's have some unity between the poor Windows slobs and the beautiful Mac users. We've talked about this in the past.

01:31:35   Why is Command Shift 3 a screenshot? Well, that's because Command Shift 1 and 2 are eject floppy drive 1 and eject floppy drive 2.

01:31:42   Why is the hard drive C on Windows? Well, that's because A and B are the two floppy drives.

01:31:46   So the idea of having two floppy drives and giving them like the good drive letters or the good keyboard shortcuts is still with us to this day.

01:31:54   That's why Command Shift 3 is still Command Shift 3. They never change it even though we no longer have two floppy drives.

01:31:59   By the way, for whatever it's worth, one of the first things to do when setting up a new Mac is I remap Command Shift 3 to Command Shift 1. It's easier.

01:32:06   Yeah. See, Windows is still like... The hard drive still defaults to C and like Windows 11, doesn't it? So they haven't gotten past that either.

01:32:13   You have to save room for your floppy drives and your brand new PCs. Yeah, exactly. I know you don't want me to harp on that, but drive letters? Come on, people.

01:32:20   Anyway, I used to do this back in the Windows days for me, but I haven't done it since. And no, I don't do anything like this with Mac OS.

01:32:30   Jon, you talked a lot last time. Marco, what is your approach? And then we'll get to Jon.

01:32:34   Like you, I used to do it in my Windows days and the reason why was because being a Windows power user, formatting and reinstalling the OS is a fairly common operation.

01:32:45   I would do that about maybe once a year or so. And it was much easier to know that if my user data is all in this other partition, that I can format the C partition without worrying that I'm going to lose stuff.

01:32:58   So that was pretty much what I did and why I did it back then. As soon as I went to Mac, first of all, I started out on laptops where I didn't have multiple drives and it didn't make a lot of sense to have multiple partitions.

01:33:08   And so I just never, never understood how to have it on the Mac. And I found it's mostly not a problem. I mean, you know, for Alfred's, you know, not the software for the right air of this question, for Alfred's purpose here of developer tools having overstayed access.

01:33:22   I don't really have that issue because most of my development is in Xcode and I also hardly ever install any kind of third party stuff.

01:33:31   So I hardly ever installed third party developer tools or libraries or things like that. And Xcode is actually, modern Xcode stuff is pretty well sandboxed.

01:33:40   Even like if you get like, you know, Swift packages and you have like, you know, build steps as part of a Swift package, those have very little access to anything.

01:33:48   Like everything is sandboxed and all of that. And so it's actually fairly safe. But my general approach to my Mac security is, you know, I will let the OS sandbox and protect things to whatever degree.

01:33:59   Certain things require full disk access. I, you know, things like backup tools, which we'll get to soon. I will allow those as needed, but only for stuff that really makes sense.

01:34:08   I'm not like, you know, pasting terminal commands into terminal, like letting things go nuts. So I don't really have that kind of security concern of that.

01:34:17   And if something ever did go rogue, that's what I have backups for.

01:34:20   John.

01:34:21   So practically speaking, trying to keep things in separate buckets is annoying and the Mac operating system does not want you to do it.

01:34:31   In earlier days of the Mac OS X, there was sort of built in support carried over from the next step days of much better support for keeping things in separate bins.

01:34:42   Having your user directories on a different drive than your operating system, like actually a different physical drive, not just like a different partition, having network home directories.

01:34:52   There was the whole thing of like your home directory would be on your iPod. You remember that you connected with with FireWire?

01:34:57   Oh, yeah.

01:34:58   So but as as time has gone on, those features have either slowly departed the Mac operating system or become so buggy as to be useless or inadvisable.

01:35:09   So the the path of least resistance is to put everything on the same drive.

01:35:16   Now, practically speaking, in terms of security, Alfred says, as a developer myself, many developer tools have unrestricted access to the file system.

01:35:23   If that means like full disk access, I don't actually know the answer to this.

01:35:27   But does full disk access provide you provide programs that have it with full access to all mounted drives?

01:35:33   Or is that the separate access and external drive permission?

01:35:36   Oh, I don't know.

01:35:38   I'm not sure. But but anyway, multiple partitions of the same drive.

01:35:41   I think full disk access definitely does give you.

01:35:43   And if you have an internal drive, if you're one of the few people has a computer that has multiple internal drives and can run Mac OS, I think full disk access would probably access that, too.

01:35:53   I still think the annoyance of trying to put things in separate buckets is not worth the hassle.

01:35:59   It's not worth the bugs. It's not worth the hassle.

01:36:01   It's not worth the management of space.

01:36:02   Oh, I filled up this bucket, but that bucket has plenty of space left on and I have to try to rebalance.

01:36:08   I would not advise doing it. I don't personally do it, even though I do have multiple drives.

01:36:11   Most of them are just backups of the one big one.

01:36:13   My ideal scenario is kind of like the one biggest monitor I can get.

01:36:18   I want the one biggest boot drive I can get that has all my stuff on it and then everything else.

01:36:22   Ancillary, I've got a NASA, I've got some spare drives or whatever, but I just want everything to be in all in one place.

01:36:26   You could, if you really wanted to, with the magic of APFS, divide up your boot drive into a series of partitions that all stare at the same storage,

01:36:34   so you don't have to worry about one bucket filling up because they're all just fighting all the time over the same pool of storage.

01:36:38   But then, still, you have a bunch of different things mounted and a bunch of different paths.

01:36:42   For me, it's too cumbersome. Use folders. Don't use partitions. Don't use drives.

01:36:48   If you need to organize your stuff, use folders.

01:36:50   In terms of protecting things security-wise, I don't think it's worth trying to protect things,

01:36:56   and it may be useless anyway if the full disk access permission gives things access to every disk.

01:37:01   And finally, Joseph Zoller writes, "I've been a Mac user for work and personal uses for the last 30 years,

01:37:07   but have been using an iPad exclusively for non-work stuff for the last year.

01:37:11   As a parent of young children, I manage a large library of photos on the iPad,

01:37:15   and realize that other than Apple Photos Sync and iOS backups to iCloud or Apple,

01:37:19   I don't have a hard drive or a third-party cloud backup of the family's precious memories.

01:37:23   Is there an easy or approved way to create an export or backup of all my photos in my iOS or iPadOS library?

01:37:29   You've talked extensively about your own workflows on the Mac, but curious about a solution for the iPad."

01:37:34   Oof, I got nothing. I guess you could also use Google Photos,

01:37:40   and I think it'll do all the importing to Google Photos from what's on the iPad as well, I say, with no certainty whatsoever.

01:37:48   But I don't have any good answers on this one.

01:37:51   I mean, the problem is, I don't think there is a good answer for this one.

01:37:54   This is one of the major downsides of an iOS-only lifestyle, which I think is very relevant,

01:38:01   because a lot of people, they might not be iPad-only, but a lot of people are iPhone-only or iPhone primary.

01:38:07   Or for a lot of people, the iPhone is their only Apple device.

01:38:10   And so a lot of people have this issue of all of their photos, hopefully they have the iCloud backup of their photos,

01:38:17   which that alone is a huge thing, especially the dumb 5 gigs thing.

01:38:22   But all of their photos are in this system. They don't have any of their backups.

01:38:26   It's entirely this system. That is very, very common for millions of people.

01:38:32   And I think part of the problem here is, on the Mac, you have tools like Backblaze or Time Machine or Cloners and things like that.

01:38:42   You have other options for backups, many of which are very, very good.

01:38:47   And on iOS, you just don't have that access. Apps can't do it.

01:38:51   And the good thing is, as I was saying earlier, with the lack of an iCloud backup for Mac,

01:38:56   the good thing is that Apple's backup is very good. And that's great.

01:39:01   And that's what most people do most of the time. But what if it doesn't work for you?

01:39:06   What if you get locked out of your Apple ID? What if somehow that goes wrong for you, that system breaks for you?

01:39:15   That's a problem. What if you get Matt Honand?

01:39:17   Like if somebody logs in, uses remote find my to delete all your stuff off all your devices and then changes your Apple ID password.

01:39:24   What if one of these people who we were just talking to a few months ago, what Joanna Stern broke in Wall Street Journal about how there's a scam of people looking at your passcode in a bar

01:39:34   and then taking your phone, taking your passcode, changing your Apple ID password, locking you out of everything.

01:39:38   If that happens and your only backup system is this system, that's a bit of a problem, to put it mildly.

01:39:48   And so I think it is very it's very nice that the mass market has this option for easy, mostly automatic,

01:39:58   mostly everyone has this available to them, backup of the most important stuff that is captured or stored on an iPhone or iPad.

01:40:07   That's great. But if you want more protection, and I would suggest anybody nerdy enough to listen to this show should probably want that,

01:40:15   I would strongly suggest getting something else in place. And unfortunately, I think if you're iOS only, I don't think that's possible.

01:40:23   By the way, all of this presumably will also apply to Vision OS because Vision OS seems very, very much based on iPad OS and iOS.

01:40:31   So it seems like it's going to work the same way. So what I would suggest doing is get some kind of cheap used Mac,

01:40:39   put it in a closet with a bunch of water on top of it, have it just sitting there with your user account logged in and with photos there,

01:40:46   downloading originals, get enough storage that you can fit your entire photo library on it with originals, and then run backplays on that.

01:40:54   Get a Mac somehow and run backplays on it. That's a good fail safe backup, because if this stuff is that important to you, it's worth it.

01:41:04   This doesn't need to be a good or recent Mac. It just needs to run a recent OS.

01:41:09   So it can be like somebody's used Mac Mini, some old iMac, whatever you have the space for, the budget for.

01:41:16   It doesn't have to be good, but that is the best solution here. And I wish there were better options, but there aren't.

01:41:22   Two things on this topic. One, based on what we discussed before about the cultural adjusting to changes in technology,

01:41:30   I feel like we've kind of gotten to the point now where it is culturally the norm to use the cloud backup provided by your device

01:41:41   and to accept anything that happens to you as just like, you know, it's a tragedy, but sometimes that happens.

01:41:49   Like it's rare. It's probably not going to happen to you. And if it does happen, it's just like it's like getting struck by lightning.

01:41:54   Oh, it's a bummer, but it's rare enough that like that they're just doing that. They're just relying on Apple's iCloud backups, relying on Google Photos or whatever.

01:42:02   That's what everybody does. No one's ever going to blame you for just doing that. And we as tech nerds know the weaknesses of it.

01:42:09   But if tragedy befalls you and you lose all your family photos, there'll be a story about you in the local newspaper and everyone will be sad for you.

01:42:15   But it's just one of those things that happens. And tech nerds don't find that acceptable.

01:42:20   So we want another solution. That's why Joseph is writing in and we're trying to find solutions.

01:42:24   And the second point is access to those better solutions on the Apple platforms.

01:42:30   It shows how much Apple continues to lean on the Mac because the Mac can do so many things that all the other platforms can't.

01:42:37   Apple keeps making new platforms and none of them have the flexibility for even third parties to provide solutions like this.

01:42:46   Like iCloud backup is for your iPhone. Are there a lot of third party things that can back up and restore your entire phone? No, there are not.

01:42:53   But there are third party things that can back up and mostly restore your entire Mac because the Mac is a more open platform.

01:42:59   It's one of the things I always fear with the Mac going away. We're basically saying, "I can't back up my iPad. I want a second backup of my iPad. What can we do?

01:43:05   Can I download an app from my iPad that solves this problem?" Probably not well.

01:43:10   There's no reason technically you shouldn't be able to. USB-C, iPad, plug in an SSD, have it back up all your things to it or whatever.

01:43:16   But Apple's not interested in pursuing that. Whereas the Mac already does it.

01:43:21   Even with Apple's own software, now you've got a local copy of your photos and now you've got a second cloud backup of your photos.

01:43:26   And if someone compromises your Apple ID, guess what? You can still log into your Mac.

01:43:30   And if your house burns down, guess what? Your photos are still in back place.

01:43:33   You are taking your digital life into your own hands and providing a better solution.

01:43:37   And so even though society will never blame you for like, "Oh, I lost all my family photos. Isn't that a sad story? I read it in the local paper."

01:43:43   No one says those people should feel ashamed because everybody just uses... You're lucky if people use the cloud backup.

01:43:49   Half people might not turn that on and they don't even use it because they don't want to pay for iCloud storage.

01:43:52   That is the cultural norm, but I think it is unacceptable for things like photos.

01:43:56   Again, people's houses burst down or Merlin's photos were in his garage and they got waterlogged and he lost all his old photos.

01:44:01   Like it happens. But there are things, especially with digital stuff, there are things we can do to prevent it that are way easier than trying to carefully preserve a bunch of physical photo albums.

01:44:10   And, you know, if you live somewhere where there's flooding or like your house burns down or something, we can do better with digital stuff.

01:44:16   And Apple is trying to do better. I feel like iCloud backup is better than physical photo albums for resilience against tragedy.

01:44:23   But we can do better still for the people who want to take that extra step.

01:44:27   Having to buy a Mac because none of Apple's other platforms, including like you said, MarcoVision OS, can do anything to help you here, I think is a failure.

01:44:36   And I think, you know, if I had to steer the direction of all Apple's platforms, I would definitely be steering them all towards the idea of,

01:44:45   "Let's keep all the advantages that you found while also trying to open up these systems to have more functionality."

01:44:52   But see every discussion of iPad OS for the past five years.

01:44:55   Five. More than that.

01:44:57   Even like iPad OS and iOS, like I would love Time Machine for those platforms, even if Apple did it.

01:45:04   And even if it's only internal to the device.

01:45:06   We just said we wanted iCloud backup for the Mac, but now we said it. But also, can we get the thing that the Mac has for everybody else?

01:45:12   Yeah, like how, I mean look, especially, I mean, jeez, I can't tell you the number of times that like my kid, especially when he was younger,

01:45:19   mostly when he was younger, would like accidentally delete something he had made in a game, like a level or a map or something.

01:45:26   He would like accidentally delete something and just be crushed. Because there is no undo, there's no recovery.

01:45:32   And like on a computer, on a Mac, I could just get the files off Time Machine for that app or whatever and stick them back in place and it would be fine.

01:45:40   On iOS, you mostly can't do that. Like there are those tools where you can like plug it in and use like Phone View or whatever.

01:45:45   Like those tools you can plug it in and deal with their directories directly and attempt that, which I actually have done for Minecraft before a long time ago for this reason.

01:45:52   And it did work, but it doesn't work for everything. And like there's no way on the device to say, you know what, I really messed up my data in app X.

01:46:01   Please kick me back an hour to what it was an hour ago. Like you can't do that. That would be an amazing feature.

01:46:07   And I can see there's certain reasons why they might not want to do it. I mean, I think a lot of apps assume a certain level of security of their own data directories that that would possibly violate.

01:46:20   But you know, the user benefits would be so great in situations like that. I think that's something they should seriously look into, honestly.

01:46:27   But yeah, those options just don't exist on iOS. You know, they've simplified them all away.

01:46:33   And largely the lack of that complexity is what makes those platforms so great in a lot of ways to a lot of people.

01:46:39   But the downside is like when again, just like everything else about iPadOS, like when you hit a wall, there is no going around it.

01:46:46   Like you just can't. It's like whereas on a Mac or on a PC or even on Android, usually whatever wall you hit, there's usually a way around it.

01:46:55   And you just don't have that on iOS, iPadOS and probably not on VisionOS either.

01:47:00   Anyway, thanks to our sponsors this week, Memberful, Collide and Clean Email.

01:47:05   And thanks to our members who support us directly. You can join us at atp.fm/join.

01:47:09   And we will talk to you next week.

01:47:12   [Music]

01:47:15   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin.

01:47:19   'Cause it was accidental. (Accidental)

01:47:22   Oh, it was accidental. (Accidental)

01:47:25   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him.

01:47:30   'Cause it was accidental. (Accidental)

01:47:33   Oh, it was accidental. (Accidental)

01:47:35   And you can find the show notes at atp.fm.

01:47:40   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S.

01:47:50   Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M, Auntie Marco Armin, S-I-R-A-C, USA, Syracuse.

01:48:01   It's accidental. (Accidental)

01:48:04   They didn't mean to. (Accidental)

01:48:08   (Accidental)

01:48:10   Tech podcast, so long.

01:48:14   So, related to what we were just talking about, about data backup,

01:48:19   I have a little bit of a mini topic here that will fit perfectly in the post show.

01:48:23   In our topic list, in my grab bag of possible tech topics,

01:48:28   one of the entries there is "An Optical Disk Journey".

01:48:32   John, when I sent you my box of crap most recently, what was in it again?

01:48:37   It's a bunch of writable Blu-ray disks that are good for a thousand years.

01:48:42   Or was it a hundred years, I don't know, it was some ridiculous thing.

01:48:44   It's a thousand, 'cause they're M-disk for millennial disk, I guess.

01:48:47   Oh my word.

01:48:49   I sent you a little USB Blu-ray drive and a small spindle of Blu-ray recordable M-disks.

01:48:57   And the reason I sent this to you, so the appeal of this, the reason I bought it,

01:49:03   is because I thought, you know, it wouldn't hurt to have a really good offline, cold backup for really important stuff like my photos, like my family photos.

01:49:15   I have all these online stuff, I have Backblaze, I have Time Machine, we have iCloud Photos, of course.

01:49:21   And those are all great, but those are all online.

01:49:23   And if somebody really wanted to mess with my online life, they could possibly break into all those things, they're all online.

01:49:30   They could delete those accounts, they could, you know, whatever.

01:49:33   Or I could, maybe I messed something up really badly and all that stuff.

01:49:37   So anyway, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to have some kind of cold storage.

01:49:42   Some kind of, you know, long-term cold storage backup for the most important stuff.

01:49:46   Not everything on my computer, but the most important stuff.

01:49:49   Photos, documents, that kind of stuff.

01:49:51   The problem with optical discs, there's been two major problems with using them over time for this.

01:49:56   Number one, they're just not big enough.

01:49:58   Like, they don't store enough data for any kind of modern data needs.

01:50:02   You know, you would need a ton of them for most people's modern libraries.

01:50:06   And number two, recordable optical discs, until the M-Disc style was made, recordable optical discs used organic dyes.

01:50:16   And what that would mean is that they would break down over time.

01:50:19   Like, if you have old recorded CDRs or DVDRs, chances are if they're pretty old, they might not read anymore.

01:50:28   Because they have probably degraded to the point where they will no longer read the data.

01:50:32   Optical discs were not great for long-term storage.

01:50:35   And other stuff like, you know, flash cards, like, you know, SD cards, are actually not that bad for long-term storage.

01:50:43   They're not that good, but they're not that bad.

01:50:45   They keep the data for a surprisingly long time. They're very durable.

01:50:49   They're very small and data-dense in terms of how much you can fit in the amount of physical space.

01:50:54   And they're inexpensive and easily accessible, easily readable.

01:50:58   So SD cards are actually not that bad.

01:51:01   Obviously there's more obscure things like tape, magnetic tape and stuff like that.

01:51:05   You know, that's... I don't know anything about tape, really.

01:51:07   Chisel all your photos into a stone tablet they'll probably keep for a few thousand years if you're lucky.

01:51:12   Yeah, right. But anyway, so there's all these different, you know, options.

01:51:16   Hard drives are actually not terrible either.

01:51:20   One thing that concerns me about hard drives is that if you're, you know, record stuff on a hard drive and then just put it in a cabinet for 10, 20, 30 years.

01:51:28   Like, when you plug that back in, is it going to actually work?

01:51:31   Like, that's a lot of mechanical needs in there that I think over a long term the odds of that just spinning up and working right after a number of years of it just sitting around being idle.

01:51:42   I don't know if I would trust a hard drive in that case.

01:51:45   Forget the series of dongles that you would need to connect that hard drive.

01:51:47   You'd have to get like a SATA to this to that to FireWire to Thunderbolt to Optical to Magic Wireless to, you know.

01:51:53   Yeah, exactly.

01:51:54   The longer you wait the less likely you are even to have a device that can connect that hard drive.

01:51:58   Yeah, and that applies, by the way, to almost any long term computer storage solution.

01:52:04   That problem exists of like, how do you read it in the future?

01:52:07   Like, what hardware is required to read it and is that even still available and can it connect to modern things?

01:52:13   Like, that does become, you know, a bit of a problem.

01:52:16   Anyway, the M-Disk came out and the M-Disk is basically a new technique and type of layer on optical disks.

01:52:25   Rather than using organic dye, and forgive me, I don't know the fine details of this, but rather than using organic dye it uses some kind of like etchable material that like physically etches the pattern into the layer.

01:52:35   So that it's much more like a pressed disk and it doesn't degrade over time.

01:52:40   At least not anywhere near what organic ones do.

01:52:43   So they've been tested and they seem to be tested to last at least 100 years under most tests.

01:52:51   And you know, obviously it's hard to simulate this over long spans, but they seem to be holding up to their claims of durability.

01:52:59   So I bought that drive and those disks with a plan of doing this kind of big backup for my photos.

01:53:07   And it just never happened.

01:53:09   The biggest reason why is that when you have to backup your roughly terabyte photo library to 25 gig BDX or BDR disks, Blu-ray recordable disks, that takes a lot of disks and a lot of juggling of stuff and a lot of time.

01:53:28   And the project just never came together for me.

01:53:31   And I mean, I bought that years ago.

01:53:33   Well, more recently, the Blu-ray recordable market for the two people who were using it is actually advancing fairly nicely or has advanced fairly nicely that Blu-ray disks originally stored 25 gigs for single layer or 50 gigs for dual layer.

01:53:51   And I don't think dual layer recordable disks were widely available at first.

01:53:57   I could be wrong.

01:53:58   But so for the most part, you were looking at 25 gigs.

01:54:01   Well, in the intervening years since I last looked, they've made BDXL disks, which use even more layers somehow, I have no idea how, and they can fit 100 gigs per disk.

01:54:11   And they make them in the M disk formulation.

01:54:15   That's still, you know, 10 disks for my photo library, but 10 is a lot better than 40.

01:54:21   So maybe I should try this.

01:54:24   They're fairly inexpensive.

01:54:26   Like the drives are about 100 bucks that can do this.

01:54:29   And the reason I sent you that drive, John, is that that drive can't do this.

01:54:32   Also, that drive is like micro USB or might have even been mini USB.

01:54:37   So I was like, you know, screw that noise.

01:54:39   So I got a nice USB-C pioneer slot loading drive that does all the formats.

01:54:45   It's bus powered.

01:54:46   There's no dumb power adapter.

01:54:48   Bus powered via USB-C, USB 3 speeds, etc.

01:54:52   And I got a bunch of these BDXL M disks from verbatim.

01:54:56   They run, if you buy them in like, you know, five or 10 or 20 packs, they run something, I think something like five bucks per disk,

01:55:02   which again is not that cheap, you know, when they're only 100 gigs.

01:55:05   That isn't actually super cheap, but five bucks for 100 gigs of like fairly strong long-term storage.

01:55:13   I consider that to be not that bad, especially considering like I'm not storing terabytes and terabytes and terabytes of data here.

01:55:19   I'm storing like a couple of terabytes total, maybe, you know.

01:55:22   So I bought myself a new BDXL burning setup and I've been using it.

01:55:28   I've gotten through my entire photo library and half of my fish collection because I figure that's worth backing up to.

01:55:36   Of course.

01:55:37   It's only 200 gigs, so it's only two days.

01:55:38   I feel like you have a pretty good distributed backup of your fish collection.

01:55:42   All the other fish fans in the entire world.

01:55:45   Well, yeah, but I, you know, at some point the band's not going to be existing anymore

01:55:49   and they're probably going to shut down their live streaming service at some point that sells all these downloads and everything.

01:55:54   So, I mean, I know, I know it's inexpensive, but I definitely would not be spending my time swapping just to back up something that is accessible through hundreds of other people on the internet.

01:56:02   Your family photos, yes.

01:56:03   Fish, maybe not.

01:56:05   Well, anyway, I got this awesome little pioneer drive.

01:56:07   It is truly USB-C, bus powered.

01:56:10   Now, one issue I ran into is that it takes some effort to try to get Apple Photos to export the originals in roughly exactly 100 gigabyte chunks.

01:56:23   Because ideally what you want is you want to say, all right, disk one, disk two, disk three, this disk covers this date range, this disk covers this date range.

01:56:29   And photos are great.

01:56:30   Photos make this easy because you don't have to worry about incremental backups over time.

01:56:33   Like, you know that if this disk contains all your photos from 2018, you know you're not going to add more all of a sudden.

01:56:40   So it's easy, this is actually a really easy process to do with photos.

01:56:44   And I should clarify, the M disks, as far as I know, they're not ever rewritable.

01:56:49   It's only write once, which is probably for the best.

01:56:51   Rewritable stuff always sucked.

01:56:53   It was an interesting choice to do export on modified originals.

01:56:55   Like, I can see where you got to that, but it's like, hey, backup, why don't I backup the original?

01:56:59   But if, like me, I guess you're not like me, but if like me you have put significant amount of time into editing your photos,

01:57:06   I would also want to backup of all my edited versions, you know what I mean?

01:57:09   Like, maximum quality JPEGs of all the edits plus all the unmodified originals, which does significantly add to the size.

01:57:16   But yeah, I was wondering how you were doing this, and my approach when I was thinking about it would be,

01:57:19   I would do export on modified originals and also export the actual photos at maximum quality JPEGs to an external drive as files on disk.

01:57:28   And then I would write a little script that would divide them up into folder size to be, you know, under a terabyte each or whatever.

01:57:35   That's probably what I should have done. That's not what I did.

01:57:39   Yeah, because I can imagine being in photos like, where did I leave off? And I'm dragging things into albums.

01:57:44   And it's like, ugh, I don't want to do that.

01:57:46   That's probably what I'm going to do. So I did mind her library. I did not yet do Tiff's library.

01:57:51   And I don't have access to her computer all the time. Like, she's using it.

01:57:55   And I'll get to how long this takes in a minute.

01:57:58   So I was thinking, how am I going to do this with hers? And I was thinking maybe, that's a good idea.

01:58:04   Maybe I'll plug in an SSD that's big enough, just export all of her originals as one giant folder,

01:58:12   and then write that script to break up hers into the 100 gig chunks.

01:58:15   Anyway, so how I did this was I made a smart album with a date captured range for each disk.

01:58:23   BDXL1, BDXL2, etc. And each one I wrote, I labeled the disks with the date rings I covered.

01:58:30   The problem is to actually make this 100 gigs from that workflow, you can't, as far as I can tell,

01:58:37   Apple Photos app, there's not an easy way to tell what is the size of the modified originals of this album.

01:58:44   Fortunately, there's another app called Power Photos.

01:58:48   This is a third party app that reads your Apple Photos library and can do stuff with it.

01:58:53   And one of the things it does is if you click on a smart album, it'll tell you in the sidebar how big it is.

01:58:59   The problem is, it's not super accurate.

01:59:03   I guess when you actually export originals, it's exporting something in some kind of format sometimes,

01:59:09   that it ends up being larger than Power Photos thought it would be.

01:59:13   So sometimes I have to check Power Photos, do the export, see, "Oh, it's actually 107 gigs now,"

01:59:20   and then go back, cut a month off the date range, do it again.

01:59:24   So there's probably a better way to do this.

01:59:26   I said, put them on a desk and write a script. Be a programmer, don't be there slumming it with these photo editing apps.

01:59:33   Yeah, that's probably the right approach.

01:59:36   And I should clarify too, because APFS does not make a copy of the data if it doesn't need to make a copy of the data,

01:59:44   when you export unmodified originals on the same drive, on your main SSD probably,

01:59:49   when you do that, you don't need a terabyte of space extra, because it's already on the disk.

01:59:55   So it's just basically creating a whole bunch of pointers to the original files in the photo library.

02:00:00   So that's one thing I didn't realize when I first started.

02:00:02   I thought the reason I would have to do it this way was because I didn't have a terabyte free,

02:00:07   and it turns out, no, when you export things, they don't take up any space.

02:00:11   With the caveat that there is an API to do that, and if you're using some other program

02:00:17   that doesn't use the correct or expected Apple APIs for efficiently copying things in APFS,

02:00:23   you could end up not getting a clone.

02:00:26   Everything from Apple should do it. The Finder does it, I guess Photos does it too,

02:00:30   I would test it first before assuming just every program that you run on APFS does this.

02:00:35   The file system has the capability, but not every program will take advantage of that capability.

02:00:40   Yeah, especially if you're using shell scripts, you're using CP or Rsync,

02:00:43   I think by default those don't do it.

02:00:45   I think Apple's built-in CP might do it by default. Again, you can test this yourself.

02:00:51   But those things change. It's worth testing.

02:00:54   But yes, that's one of the magical abilities of APFS.

02:00:56   I take advantage of it all the time because my disk would be massively full if I couldn't do this.

02:01:00   Yeah. So anyway, I've burned 12 disks so far, I think. One of them was bad.

02:01:08   And I was kind of curious, when I'm burning a disk, should I take it easy on the computer?

02:01:14   Remember buffer underruns?

02:01:16   Remember that with CD-ROM? Don't touch the computer, it's burning a disk.

02:01:19   Yeah, I was actually worried. Is this a concern I should have with modern disk wording?

02:01:23   You should open 300 windows.

02:01:25   Yeah, it's like, should I not run Xcode because it's kind of heavy?

02:01:29   Should I not play music because it makes the desk vibrate slightly? I don't know.

02:01:34   I am a little bit iffy about Xcode. I do, I have to confess, I do quit Xcode sometimes before I podcast.

02:01:39   If something's going to mess with this stuff--

02:01:41   Wait, you quit things?

02:01:42   Yeah, it's hard to believe, but yeah. Not because I need the RAM, but I'm like,

02:01:46   "You know what? Xcode does all sorts of weird stuff."

02:01:48   And the thing related to that actually is I've been getting a bunch of errors in my web browser today

02:01:52   that said, "Network changed in Chrome," if you've seen that one.

02:01:56   And I'm pretty sure it was Docker.

02:01:58   I don't use Chrome.

02:01:59   I'm pretty sure it was Docker because Docker runs this thing with, you know,

02:02:02   Docker of course does all sorts of networking shenanigans.

02:02:04   I'll let you know tomorrow, but I've been doing development on the ATPC-MS with my Docker image.

02:02:09   That means that I'm constantly running Docker, which means that Chrome occasionally gives you this network change error.

02:02:14   It may be something else, I don't know. It might be the HTTP/2 denial of service attack

02:02:18   affecting Google properties, but more on this in future episodes.

02:02:21   Yeah. Anyway, so I still don't really know the tolerance of what you can do on your computer

02:02:28   while it's burning and not mess up the disk.

02:02:30   The one that was bad, when I put... So these are officially like 4x speed,

02:02:34   and of course the Xs don't mean the same thing as Xs for DVDs and CDs.

02:02:38   They're all different.

02:02:39   Actually, the disks say 6x speed, but when you put them in, Finder says 4x speed maximum.

02:02:46   Okay, whatever.

02:02:47   And by the way, burning disk support is still built into Finder.

02:02:51   You don't need a separate app to burn the disks.

02:02:54   You insert the blank disk and Finder just gives you a thing in the favorite sidebar in Finder windows called "Untitled BD"

02:02:59   and you just drag stuff to it.

02:03:01   It has the little nuclear icon that all burned disks have had forever.

02:03:05   You drag stuff to it. When you're ready, you go there and you hit burn.

02:03:08   It's great. It works just fine.

02:03:10   And it burns and then does a read/verify pass, so it actually reads the data back to make sure it actually wrote correctly.

02:03:15   So it's great. Anyway, the bad disk, instead of saying 4x, it said 2x.

02:03:21   Like, Finder would only say it would only do it at 2x.

02:03:24   I thought that was kind of odd, so I ejected it and I put it back in, and the second time it read 4x as usual.

02:03:30   So I think there might have just been something funky about that disk. So anyway.

02:03:33   The other thing about this process is that 4x, in practice...

02:03:39   Now, I tried looking up what these speeds mean on Wikipedia,

02:03:42   and Wikipedia says it should be a 96-minute time to burn a whole 100GB disk at that speed.

02:03:49   It actually takes me 128 minutes, and then another 100 or so minutes to verify.

02:03:56   So it actually takes about 4 hours to burn and verify read a full 100GB Blu-ray disk.

02:04:06   Now, that's not... I mean, look. So the reality is, what I would do is, I would just, you know,

02:04:12   for every night for a week, I would just... right before I was going to bed, put it in a blank disk.

02:04:17   I already had the folders all prepared of what went in each disk.

02:04:20   So, alright, put it in the next one, drag it over, hit burn, go to bed.

02:04:24   Wake up in the morning, it's ready.

02:04:25   What are you using to burn them, by the way? Did I miss what you said?

02:04:27   Finder. Just Finder.

02:04:28   Yeah. Well, it's...

02:04:30   The functionality has been sitting in Finder for ages that I would have not a lot of faith in, but hey, if it's working for you.

02:04:37   If it didn't do the read/verify pass, I would have a lot less faith in it.

02:04:40   But I'm very glad it does that.

02:04:42   But yeah, so it works. It works just fine, and it's a little bit slow,

02:04:48   but I am actually very happy I had this option, because now...

02:04:52   So now I have these two small boxes of Blu-ray disks, and they're well protected.

02:04:58   I got the jewel cases for each one, instead of a spindle. They're all in jewel cases.

02:05:02   So I now have this small set of Blu-ray disks that I can put in a fire-safe box, or a safe deposit box, or just some kind of safe storage somewhere.

02:05:13   I can actually have my family photos, and I know that if everything goes wrong in my digital life, I still have this backup.

02:05:24   So I'm going to do important documents, I'm going to do my source code here and there,

02:05:30   but for the most part, this is long-term archival stuff, because they're write-once disks.

02:05:35   But it actually is, I think, a useful option to know about. This is not for everyone, and it's even barely for nerds.

02:05:44   But if for some reason this might be interesting to you, it's an option worth knowing about.

02:05:50   That you can get 100 gigs per disk on a disk that lasts basically your entire lifetime fairly easily.

02:05:55   That's pretty cool. Again, this is not a common need, but for stuff like family photos, I think it's a pretty cool option.

02:06:03   option.

02:06:04   (beeping)