It's Wednesday March 12th, 2014.
Thanks for tuning to our show.
This is the 404.
I'm Jeff Bakalar.
-I'm Justin Yu.
-I'm Ariel NuÃ±ez.
-All right, excellent.
How's everyone doing?
-Doing good, doing good.
We're almost done.
-It's gonna snow today.
-That's what it said.
-March, how you gotta be such a punk March?
-What's going on you guys?
-Nothing much man.
Just like, you know--
-Do you have any program you wanna take over?
-I know Steve Guttenberg is here Friday.
Oh, this Friday?
-I think he's here this Friday.
-It's been too long.
-He's most certainly here this Friday and that is it I believe.
So I started my planning my trip next month so I guess--
-Tell the kids--
-we've talked about this before but--
Tell everyone what's happening.
-Next month from April 12th through the 26th, I'm gonna be going on a trip for the first time I'm gonna consider in my life.
I've been to China before when I was really young.
-Oh, the mother land.
-Yeah, yeah, the mother land.
-But I'm not only going to China, I'm going to Singapore.
-The mother land?
-Yeah, also the mother land, and Korea as well.
-The other mother land.
-Her mother land.
-Anyway, still I'm taking this three-part trip and having not traveled at all ever before like I literally just got my passport last week.
I'm kinda stressed out about how to plan this trip.
Where do you go about looking up things to do in Singapore?
I mean, I wanna hear from people if, you know, you're listening to us in that country and, you know, in Singapore, Korea or Beijing 'cause that's the three places we're going.
-If you know cool stuff to do there, e-mail us but--
-I tell you what not to do there.
-What do you do?
-Don't get arrested.
-Yeah, it sounds like no fun.
-Yeah, they have really strict drug-trafficking laws.
-So don't do that.
-If they catch you with drugs in Singapore, they will--
That's not a joke.
They kill you.
-There's the death penalty.
And it goes for international travelers too.
-There's the gap.
We're just gonna murder you.
-Just kill you.
-It seems totally logical.
-But, you know, you guys have been on trips obviously.
-One in your honeymoon.
-Was that last year?
-Just this year but in Jamaica.
-Oh, this year.
-What do you--
how do you plan for something like that.
I feel all this tension and sort of apprehension on how I should plan this to make sure I don't waste any time.
-You're getting nervous man?
-That's a good question.
-Yeah, a little nervous.
-I don't know.
I don't think I did much of the planning when I went.
My work is done.
-I mean no, seriously like, you know, you let her do it.
That is totally sexist.
-You gotta read some internet.
-Yeah, like when you went to Hawaii, did you just type in Hawaii into Google?
-I was just like
fuck stuff plus Hawaii.
-Are you serious?
Stacie did a lot of research.
She got books.
She had literature on the matter.
-She got this one-- I mean, I'm sure there's a similar piece of, you know, literature you can get.
It was an amazingly thorough travel guide that she had placed a bunch of like, you know, note-- sticky notes in.
-Was it like the not-for-tourist-guide Hawaii or something?
-I don't know.
I don't know what it was called but she
She sniffed it out and I, you know, I credit that little blue book for us having a kick-ass time in Hawaii.
Singapore, a little more uncharted territory for us, you know, Americans.
-I would not put all my trust in a book perhaps talk to a people of the land.
No, I mean we're staying with my girlfriend's family so I'm sure they'll take us around on some tours.
-But then also, I'm kinda looking on Reddit and then just random travel guides on the internet but there's so many recommendations out there.
-You're gonna be gone for a while.
-It's kinda hard.
We're gonna be in each place for about a week.
First week in Singapore and then a week in Korea and then a couple of days in Beijing after that.
But I need recommendations on what to do in all three of those places.
-And do you speak those languages?
-I speak a little bit of Chinese but in Beijing they speak Mandarin, I speak Cantonese so that's not really gonna help me out there.
-That's an incompatible thing right there.
-But I-- yeah, I think they speak English pretty fluently--
-Oh, all right.
-I think in those places and that's where we're gonna be going.
-But I kinda wanna get like the not
touristy things to do like if some were like, "Hey, what's there to do in New York?" You wouldn't tell them 'til like go to Sbarro and like, yeah, exactly.
I can't help you with that but hopefully some of our listeners can help you.
E-mail us to firstname.lastname@example.org if you know what I should do.
-But as for today, here's what's going on on this episode.
We're gonna talk about Neil Young's music player that it just got successfully funded on Kickstarter, congratulations to him, although it's kind of a piece of garbage in my opinion.
-Maybe not garbage, that's kind of a hyperbole but I don't think it's worth $300.
-And then we're gonna talk about a group of home re-developers that are making brand new games for old consoles like the Super NES and the Virtual Boy, remember that thing?
-We're gonna finally finish up the show with really Funny or Die skit, President Obama was actually on yesterday's episode of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.
-So we're gonna talk about the web traffic
that healthcare.gov is actually getting us the result of that.
Everyone knows about the skit but it's the numbers that are really mind-blowing.
-All right, let's jump right in.
Mr. Neil Young wanted to make a new music player.
Did you have any idea that Neil Young was an entrepreneur?
-Did not know that, thought that he's just live in a cabin in the forest somewhere.
That's what I thought too.
We haven't really heard from Neil Young from a while.
Although he's pimping this Pono music player, it's what he calls it for the past years.
-So we've got been hearing some headlines about it
but the goal has been that so Neil Young went on to Kickstarter to find his Pono music player.
-Neil Young is a millionaire.
-Neil Young is a filthy millionaire many times over.
Why the hell am I giving you money for this dude?
Same thing with like that Shaq Fu game we covered the other day.
-The Shaq-- oh, that was an update.
Shaquille O'Neil's funding his new-- another
version of his video game.
He's like a billionaire
-Why the hell are we dipping in our pockets to save your famous ass?
This is just as bad as people that go on Kickstarter to fund their vacations.
-Yeah, Zach Braff--
-Well, maybe you should have made the first one.
-Why don't you cut everybody into the profits that you'll make of it too?
That's the thing and that sort of a side story.
It's funny 'cause Neil Young actually went to South by Southwest this week to promote Pono music.
And he opened up the floor to questions after introducing it.
And the first question that somebody asked was, "How much are you gonna be making off the sales of the music that people will buy through the store?"
-So obviously, the Pono music players hardware but it's also gonna have a companion music store along with it like iTunes, for example.
-But whereas Apple is a company that's ripping the benefits of iTunes sales, Neil Young is a sole benefactor and whoever else is behind it.
-So what was his answer?
-So he actually didn't give an answer.
When pressed to answer the question, he kinda started for a little bit and the close down the
-He said this interview is over.
-Oh, I'm sorry dude.
-So he didn't answer the question.
Is this how you're gonna out Neil Young?
-It's not necessarily bad PR for him 'cause we don't know exactly how much they're gonna charge for it.
We have rough estimates but here's the background on the player, and you can sort of see pictures of it right here if you're watching the video along with us.
So the Pono player sort of this.
-Yeah, exactly what I was gonna say.
Toblerone shaped music player like
sort of a triangle shape music player and it's specializes in playing flac lossless audio files and that's not new technology I should know.
There's a software that you could download for free for the iPhone or whatever Android phone you have that can play lossless files.
-But don't you need space?
-You need space for it so that's why this is gonna be 128-gigabyte player and that's because flac files are usually, significantly larger.
-Than regular mp3s.
But the reason for that is because the quality is lot bigger.
So flac, you get up to 9216 kbps, which is considered ultra high resolution.
-Whether or not you'll be able to tell the difference between 192 versus 9216 kb.
-You'll be able to tell the difference.
-You could probably tell but who knows?
-And the thing about-- and trust me, I'm a total audiophile.
The thing about music like this and when you're paying a lot of money,
you're basically paying a huge premium for 'cause you can get an iPod for $250 like 160-gigabyte iPod classic for your $250.
-But I feel like there's this confirmation bias that exist with flac audio files cause it's more like-- well, you won't know the improvement in audio quality you get until you spend the extra money to buy this proprietary music player to listen to it.
-Sure you can also--
-But you can't compare unless you buy into it.
So this like, well, of course it's gonna sound better
but does it really matter if you're only listening to mp3s, you won't know the difference anyway.
-And then you also have to buy a headphones obviously that can support the better audio, otherwise it's like--
-Oh, good headphones.
-It's like watching TV like HDTV through an iPhone.
Is it--- is also plays mp3s I would imagine.
-You can do backwards compatibility in play mp3s on it as well.
-But here's a thing, right?
So obviously, you're gonna have to buy these flac files for it and they're ripping them directly
from the master file in the recording process, so that's really cool.
The thing about this is that those high-resolution digital albums are gonna cost anywhere between $15 and $25.
So the problem with the music industry right now is that people aren't willing to pay a lot for music no matter what the quality is.
There's really like now indication that this will be a success one.
-And that's the problem, is that Neil Young is sort of presenting this and if you watch the trailer for it.
The first 15 minutes is just celebrity--
-I'm Neil Young, I'm Neil Young.
And this is gonna
revolutionize and reinvigorate the music economy.
It's simply wrong.
You-- I mean I don't know who these people are that were donated so much money.
But I guess that's the beauty of Kickstarter.
Anything can really get funded if it has the right kind of buzz.
And audio files are perfect place--
-They're the perfect group to advertise expensive files or expensive audio products that are like these.
And I mean, and clearly they're willing to vote with their wallets in this regard.
-But I also think, you know, you need mainstream
sort of accessibility and attraction with this whole thing.
-And the average person who listens to music would put anything up to their ear--
-as long as it has something leaking out of it.
-You know-- like they just simply do not understand the difference.
Well, I guess any schmuck can tell the difference between good-sounding stuff and awful sounding stuff.
-But most people don't seem to care.
-That's the thing, right?
-You can tell.
Everyone has iPhone headphones.
And, you know what?
Even for me, I review headphones for a living here at CNET, right?
-That's what I do here when I'm not recording the 404.
-So you claim.
-And-- supposedly, right?
And I actually still prefer to listen to Bluetooth headphones because the benefit of not having that wire to trip me up when I'm walking around is better for me than having the extra quality.
It's worth that tiny little diminishing audio quality.
-See, I think Bluetooth audio sounds like maneuver.
-It's bad, yeah it's bad.
It sounds like people playing like toy instruments through your headphones.
It's so bad and like all these cars have it in them now.
-And it just sounds like trash.
-It sounds bad but after a while you get used to trash.
-Yeah, well you shouldn't have to take that sort of, you know--
-And I know I'm kind of diffusing myself as an audio expert or whatever right now.
But my point is there are different applications on what you want in terms of audio, right?
-Sometimes you just want to convince and having a wire.
Other times when you're at home and you're really paying attention to music, maybe then you want the flac
-What headphone is tripping you up while you walk?
-Every headphone with a wire is really irritating.
-Tripping you up?
-Yeah, because I-- you know, taking off jackets or taking off messenger bags with things like that.
You have to do that sort of weave where you--
-Well, you get some real problems please.
-My point is I think the number one to turn to people actually buying this Pono music player is the shape of it.
You said it was a Toblerone shape, which is a perfect description.
-But who the hell wants to put something like this into their pocket?
Fits perfectly right in your triangle pockets.
-Yeah, so bad.
I mean there's a reason why no Apple products or any products are shaped like a triangle.
-Neil Young my man.
-'Cause you don't want a bulge coming out of the side in your pocket.
-What is up?
Who advised on the shape of that product?
Yeah, so flac files averaged about 70 megabytes per file.
-Which is crazy.
-Well-- space isn't a big deal.
-So what, you're gonna fill like a thousand instead of a 10,000.
-That's not so bad.
But anyway, you can actually still fund
Pono music, which could potentially get the player in your hand sooner if it the more money it gets.
So you have 33 days to go.
They were looking for $800,000.
It's actually moving right now as we're talking about it but it's currently at $1,684,465.
It just moved as I was saying this.
-Oh, fund something else.
-So there you go.
Don't worry though, there will be headphones released in the near future that you can buy that will also be audiophile worthy.
-Of course, you need like the whole ecosystem, you need the right files, the right player, the right headphones.
-And so it doesn't come with headphones?
-We should come out with the 404 music player that's optimized for listening to podcasts.
-It's like an NP3 version one?
-Yeah, that is sick.
They'll be sick.
-It's so easy you can get on the files--
-But I would never do that 'cause I don't want to freaking take advantage to people the way Neil Young seemingly is.
-But it's hard to hate on Neil Young, right?
-It is hard to hate on Neil Young.
-Like huge catalog of beautiful music.
-Absolutely, and he is one of our, you know, country's greatest song-- singer and songwriter.
-But he is also quite the con man.
-Yeah, but artist shouldn't move in to the hardware space necessarily.
-So that's Pono, adopted or not whatever, it'll get funded regardless.
-Yeah, it doesn't matter.
So let's move on here.
Yesterday, we talked about Titanfall, right?
-And how cloud gaming basically gonna change or I guess--
-Or not change.
-or not change the face of music.
It's gonna teach-- it's gonna take the couch by storm apparently.
And so much about technology is about
Yeah, I had that written down here.
-I'm just-- yeah, okay.
I'm just like, this is the first time I really looked over at your printed out.
-No, no, no--
-So, you're gonna have to sit little further away of you on that--
-But regardless of so much of technology is about waste, right?
And I'm glad to see that at least some people on the gaming world are trying to revive old consoles.
-Not really, but it makes [unk].
-Okay, so that's sure.
That's how you want an intro of this.
-The question is, what about all those legacy gaming consoles that are left with
no titles currently coming out for them, like?
-Well yeah, and then they're all broken too.
-I mean you find me a really reliably working NES and I'll--
-What do you have?
I thought those Super NES systems are pretty durable.
-The Super NES and the Genesis seems to hold up--
-I guess actually they all since--
-It's like CD I would say is probably wearing out over time 'cause there's these lasers and all.
-But like where are you keeping those consoles?
I was home, you know, a couple of months ago and I found like these stock piled consoles I had and I was like, you know--
-You have like a
-I was like, Oh, that's where they are, you know.
-'Cause who cares?
They're old and you can, you know.
-So you don't ever go back to those like you would watch an old movie?
-Not on those consoles, maybe through, you know--
-Like an M reader.
-yes, and like that or like something like how the Wii U has backwards compatibility.
Well, this is a super niche.
Maybe you will be interested but I hope somebody out there is going to be.
-The guys over at Animal New York, it's like one of our favorite blogs.
They've basically unearthed and interviewed the group of game developers that are home brewing their own
new modern titles for outdated hardware for a consoles like the Super Nintendo, the Atari, and then all the way back to the Game Boy advance, the Second Genesis and even the Virtual Boy.
What do you remember about the Virtual Boy?
Did you own one?
-No, I didn't have a Virtual Boy but I always remember going into like a Toys R Us and trying it out.
-And even back then a child who is easily impressed with stuff--
-Just being like, "Man, this is stupid."
-You knew right away at like nine years old that there is no way this is gonna work.
-And that's what I thought of it.
-So this is-- we're looking at the Virtual Boy right now in the article.
It sort of this VR display that's on a tripod, and you basically put your face into the goggles which has the display inside of it and that's how you sort of display 3D environment, right?
-It's like a cool little 3D effect that happened.
-If by 3D, you mean red, then yes it was definitely a 3D.
-It was just a red vectors that was
all the graphics.
It was so weird.
But anyway, it wasn't a very popular console obviously.
-Man, it's not even 20 years old.
It was 1995.
-Yeah, yeah that's right.
-So only 22 games were ever released for the Virtual Boy which I didn't know.
And because of that, since then, a lot of home brewers have taken to this console to sort of develop new games for it, which I think is really cool and you should go and read this article, it goes really in depth in to how they do it but they basically take apart existing cartridges and replace the processors inside of it, where the
games that they've program themselves.
-I hope they realized that there's been a huge sort of explosion and popularity of games meant to look and plays like this.
That's the definitely a good point.
-But the-- so it's like, okay.
And they're saying like, "Oh, no one pays for anything.
No one really makes money."
-Well, dude you should put your game out on Steam and people will buy it and pay you money.
-So I'm really struggling to understand the novelty here.
-Well, the novelty is using the hardware to play it.
-You know, as opposed to playing Minecraft or something on the PC, which is made to look kind of old 8-bit music and things.
But then you don't get the benefit of like blowing to the cartridge or even putting the cartridge into the loader that's like always nostalgic.
It's that if you're really looking for that aesthetic.
See, that's the thing is it really only appeals to guys like, you know, the guy who they've interviewed for this article.
A vintage collector named Michael Thomason, who actually holds the Guinness World Record for
most video games owned.
He has over 12,000 games at his house.
So obviously that obsession--
-This is a full time thing for Michael.
Michael has heavily invested, emotionally and financially.
-Clear-- yeah, definitely financially because he's not made any money off this.
He actually started at Kickstarter last year to fund a new game.
It's basically like three games into one Super NES cartridge which I think is really cool.
-Did he get funded?
-It did get successfully funded so people like that deserved to get.
-If there's a market for
great, what does he do for a living now?
-He-- it's funny.
He actually teaches a class on video games at a local college.
-And then he also writes for Magazines about video games.
-And he also works at GameSpot-- I'm sorry, GameStop.
-GameStop, the store--
-over the weekends so that he can collect that discount that they give him.
-No, that's great Michael.
You really figure it all out buddy.
And then he also does his label on the side that he probably loses
all the money that he--
-I just think like Michael is clearly a talented individual if he's programming and hacking for legacy consoles.
-Man, just ditch the whole console thing and throw it on Steam.
-And make money.
I mean if you were in it for the money, then definitely.
But he's not.
-Look, whatever makes you happy, be happy with your life and love what you do.
It's pretty cool.
I wanna see a photo of all his video games.
-He's got a lot in there.
-I just hope he's like one of those people that like
sleep in the same room with all that.
-Take a good look at him man.
-It's like looking into--
-Looks like a great person.
-It's gonna be you in like 40 years.
I hope I look that young in 40 years.
-You're gonna-- you're in 20 years.
-Maybe that's just me right now.
-You do have a lot of toys behind you.
-I do, I do, I do.
All right, finally, let's talk about what our president did the other day.
So depending on who you are, you either think this is a really good
idea or it's incredibly irresponsible.
-What we're talking about is yesterday, President Obama made a guest appearance on Zach Galifianakis' show on Funny or Die.
-And our buddy Scott Aukerman--
-This is true.
-404 Alumni Scott Aukerman who puts together Funny or Die's Between Two Ferns.
Yeah, we had him on the show.
I wanna say, and I should go back and listen to that episode.
But we had Scott Aukerman on our show.
I think we asked him who he really, really wants to get.
-And I feel like he said Obama.
-We should go back and do that.
-Which makes sense because according to some articles that I read about this and talking to Scott Aukerman.
He said that this had actually been in progress for a really long time.
-And it finally happened but they have been talking to the White House for a while about getting him on.
So explain Between Two Ferns, for people that haven't seen it.
-Oh, Between Two ferns is an interview show, where Zach Galifianakis kinda just like removes his brain and turns into this mindless
-Who talks to celebrities about things and says openly offensive stuff.
But it's obviously all improv or--
-It's clearly all a joke and end in good fun.
-The amazing thing about this to me is that not only did they land President Obama but--
-Barack Obama seemed to play along and do a really good job at acting.
-And it's pretty funny.
Yeah, it's really funny.
-I think they did a great job with the episode.
-And chokingly enough, it's, you know, one of the best things they've done.
I think it's really funny.
I mean, there are funny episodes of the past like I really like that Michael Cera episode and Bradley Cooper one.
-But this one is super funny 'cause before they get into the reason why he's there, which is to promote the healthcare act.
They sort of just go back and forth and tease each other about how crappy the Hangover series day.
-And the best was when Zach Galifianakis
asks Obama how to deal with the situation in North Korea.
-Like one of the funniest.
-Or what about when he's like, "So you sent Ambassador Rodman over?"
-Which is just brilliant.
-They also talk about-- he said to him, "How does it feel to be the last black president", which I just pooped a little when I first heard that.
-But I mean it's really is great.
Go and watch it.
But the amazing sort of byproduct of this--
-you know, obviously the president, you know, we have a problem with like
creating a call to action and awareness about healthcare.gov.
-And that was really the or really like the idea behind his appearance.
-The crooks of it was to send young people to healthcare.gov.
Yeah, he wasn't like, he wasn't skipping the meeting about Ukraine to come on the show.
-Right, exactly, exactly.
-So it actually earned Funny or Die 6 million views in less than a day because it came out yesterday.
-So it's already 6 million and climbing-- kinda
-And it kinda worked exactly the way they wanted to.
They wanted to create a viral video and that's when they sort of approach Funny or Die to help them out with it.
And the White House decided that Between Two Ferns would be the best venue and it totally is.
It's now-- this interview is now the number one traffic driver to healthcare.gov.
-And that's exactly what they wanted to do and I mean I get it.
And, you know, he gets very literal at a moment in the interview.
-It get serious for a second where it's like, young people just don't seem to get it.
-They don't get that they need healthcare.
And there's limited amount of time for you to purchase coverage for that.
-And that's been like the hardest message to convey about the entire thing.
-Getting young people to do something.
-Just getting young people to be like, look, you know, as healthy as you are, you might get hit by a car and it's not gonna be your fault.
-If something's gonna happen and you're gonna have to get surgery or whatever it is.
-It's brilliant, I mean-- and there's like inexplicably there's like haters out there.
-Like it blows my mind.
-Number one, my favorite hater of course be Bill O'Reilly.
after this video came out, he actually talked about it.
Here's a screen shot.
He talks a lot and uses the argument that, "Using comedy to promote Obamacare because Abe Lincoln would not have done it himself." I think it's super funny.
-Abe Lincoln died in a theater.
He was being entertained.
-Yeah, that's true.
Of anybody would have been--
-Yeah, Abe Lincoln wanna done it 'cause TV wasn't about to be invented for another hundred years, or never the hell.
-Of course there's haters.
-God, but Bill O'Reilly is not saying that to you or me.
-He is saying it to his, you know, 75 plus audience.
I know a lot of people watch it.
I'm talking about the age of which they do, you know.
-He's not talking to us.
He's not talking to you or me.
There's no way.
-It is sort of sad that in order to get the attention of young people, you have to make it into some kind of joke video.
-Look, I mean--
-There something there to be sad about our generation.
-That's fine, okay.
I get it.
And I don't think--
people say it's like it's low.
It's like syncing to the lowest common denominator.
I don't agree with that.
Our show would be the lowest common denominator.
-How could anyone in politics say that?
-How could anyone in politics say that when entire basis of that competition is mudslinging?
-And that's all it is.
It's just cave men throwing their own crap at each other.
-O'Reilly talking about Obama or just politics in general?
-Just politics in general.
-Like the road to the White House, that campaign show.
What is it filled with?
-Yeah, shaking hands gets--
-That's the bottom of the barrel man.
-And Obama goes on-- look, regard-- like I don't care what your politics are about Obama.
You like him, you hate him.
You cannot argue with the fact that this was very effective and smart.
-Yeah, yeah, from the same people that brought you Obama on Reddit.
-And that is equally helpful to people.
-So I'm in support of it.
-[unk] people get educated about something.
-And certainly Funny or Die need a little bit of redemption after that Hoverboard video that we talked so much shit about.
-Also they were
-They were 100 percent behind it.
Yeah, they came out afterwards and set it.
-You are absolved Funny or Die.
-I guess so, I guess so, I guess so.
Great show today.
Thanks everyone for tuning in.
866-404-CNET, that was the phone number.
You're still talking about that.
-It's a habit.
It's a habit.
Just beep us.
-Just beep us and we'll get back to you.
No, seriously, get in touch with us.
Send us an e-mail to email@example.com.
You can reach us at Reddit,
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, any way you want it.
That's how we'll do it.
-Also, be sure to e-mail me the firstname.lastname@example.org if you have recommendations on what the hell I should do in Singapore, South Korea and Beijing 'cause I will be there.
-And between us, if you just wanna mess with him and tell him to like, go see a place that's not really there.
I think that's good.
-No one will be upset.
This guy's been lost before.
-I don't do any research of this.
I'll just take your
word for it.
-We'll be back tomorrow again, Friday Steve [unk] Guttenberg is on the show and we'll see you guys tomorrow.
Have a great Wednesday, I'm Jeff Bakalar.
-I'm Justin Yu.
-I'm Ariel NuÃ±ez.
-This is been The 404 Show, high-tech, lowbrow.
We'll see you guys tomorrow.