The 404 1,444: Where we're trapped in a phone booth (podcast)
It's Thursday, March 13th-- or 14th.
What is it?
-It's the 13th.
How come I never get to introduce the show?
-Well, you know what?
It's funny because I have a different laptop today.
And I usually just read the date right up there.
-It's not an excuse.
Hey, what's up everybody?
It's the 404 on CNET.com.
Today is Thursday March 13th, 2014.
I'm Justin Yu.
-I'm Jeff Bakalar.
-I'm Mark Licea.
-Thanks for tuning in you guys.
I'm introducing the show for the first time ever today.
But thank you for Mark Licea being here.
Ariel got sick unfortunately.
-He's not feeling well.
-He's not feeling so hot so Mark is busily and frantically running the board right now.
But you're doing a great job.
-Mark needs about seven more arms.
I feel bad 'cause Sally is behind me shadowing and I am
not the person--
-Yeah, you got a set of good people.
-But, you know, we're learning together.
-This is not who you should be watching.
-Is this Sally's first appearance on the 404?
-I think so.
-you're not guesting.
You don't have a microphone but can you say hi, lean into the mic?
-I can say hi.
This is my first time.
Sally pants is I like to call her.
-Sally helps us out with video here at CNET.
And you also do CNET EspaÃ±ol as well.
-Se, good word dude.
-I don't know you speak Spanish.
-I do speak Spanish.
Few things we have to get to today before we move on to the story, short show today.
We have a few corrections to make.
I knew this, and I wanted, wanted you guys to correct me.
And my buddy Blake Stevenson, our buddy Blake Stevenson--
-He IMs me and he's like, "Dude, you know Neil Young was Canadian, right?" And I'm like--
-Did you say that Neil Young was a Canadian?
So I said, Neil Young, the greatest singer-- one of the greatest singer/songwriters in our country's ever had."
-And it was just kind of a joke.
So Blake was the only one who knew and no one else said anything.
We got literally 4,000 e-mails about your Singapore trip.
I appreciate that by the way.
-But nothing about Neil Young.
-Is that just your way of like covering your butt is being like, "Oh, I wanted people to try me and tell me that I was wrong."
-I knew it was wrong but you guys--
-But you guys were--
-Everyone knows Neil Young is a Canadian.
-It's your bad for not correcting me.
-Everyone knows he's Canadian, number one.
How do you
not know he's Canadian?
-Well, no one chimed in except for Blake Stevenson.
I couldn't believe it.
Number two, well, you know, how about the-- I'll give you this.
When I said it, I didn't know it but then after I said it I was like, well someone's gonna correct me on that, you know.
We now know that.
-So you just proved that--
-Abraham Lincoln-- also Abraham Lincoln died apparently only 18 years before TV was invented.
-That's less than I thought.
And the Wolf man alpha was-- we found out through this.
-Someone sent in a link and said,
"Hey, you guys.
I couldn't believe it.
He just missed it."
-So we're referring to Bill O'Reilly segment, where he was criticizing Obama's appearance on Between Two Ferns.
-Lincoln never would have gone--
-Never would have done it.
-on Funny or Die.
-And then I said yeah because TV wasn't gonna be invented for another years, it's only 18.
-And I don't think it was in every house in America, in the world but--
-You know what's funny too, is after that segment aired on Fox, actually a lot of people came out, historians came out and said that Lincoln was in fact a horrible jokester
and he was never afraid to tell an outright nasty story.
-So that leads me to believe that he totally would have jumped on Zach Galifianakis' show.
And, you know, when I'm gonna get in to how inaccurate or out of touch Bill O'Reilly is.
-All right, so let's just jump in to the stories we're gonna cover today.
If we have time we'll get in to a few e-mails that we're very happy to have received.
-What can we look forward to today?
-All right, quick rundown.
We're gonna talk about
Amazon Prime jumping up in cost per year about $20, no big deal.
Everyone calm down.
Then we're gonna talk about the most legendary phone booth in the whole country, and I think Mark is actually gonna know where it's located.
-And then we're gonna talk about the best theater to watch movies in the galaxy, no hyperbole, the best theater in the whole freaking galaxy.
-That is, that is hyperbole.
-You don't know that.
-Then we're gonna talk about how Google has now updated its search results
So now you'll see a whole new page of search results when you look something.
-We've got a riveting show for you today.
-That's the last story for reason.
We're gonna start with a little bit more interesting stories.
-They finally did it.
Amazon finally did it, $20 more.
It wasn't the $40 more that everyone sort of feared.
-But starting this year, depending on when your Prime is up for renewal, you will be charged $20 more,
-which is significant
It is a lot of money.
-It is when you-- I think it's a psychological thing.
-What is that?
It's a 25 percent increase.
It's a 25 percent increase but it sounds worst when you say you're gonna pay an extra $20 per year.
If I had said, you're gonna pay a $1.67 per month, then that's a little bit easier in the stomach, you wouldn't really care.
-Well here's what the e-mail sounds like.
Dear Jeffrey Bakalar.
We are writing to you to provide advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing.
The annual rate will be
$99 when your membership renews in November.
-Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years.
-Since Prime was invented, yeah.
-So stop complaining you bastard.
Wait, is that what it says--
That's not what it says.
Since 2005 and then it just, you know, does a lot of back, you know, back-patting about how awesome Prime is.
I mean, you and I are both subscribers of Prime.
-I am as well.
-Okay, well the three of us, I don't think we're gonna be getting rid of our
I would stay pay $99 a year just based on all that stuff that I buy throughout the months.
Just taking advantage of two-day shipping, I think like twice a month.
I wouldn't say it pays for it but--
-that in addition to like Amazon Instant, which the two, if you have the Amazon Prime, you also have Amazon Instant like on--
-I haven't used that service.
-Yeah, I don't use Instant at all.
-That's where you get the same day delivery services?
-No, no, no.
That's the video.
-Oh, the streaming stuff.
Yeah, I have used it.
-I use it on my Xbox almost every day.
-Well, as of like the last two weeks because of Hannibal.
-And you get
to rent free Kindle books too, right?
-It's part of it as well.
-So, yeah that's definitely a thing.
It's not that much of an increase.
-When you see it sort of written out, it's more of like a psychological shock but it really like you said is only a couple of dollars a month.
And it definitely makes a big difference 'cause for me, I'll buy like $1.15 pack of soap or something like that like when I need a refill.
-And if you do that like a couple, dozen times a year then it's already paid for itself.
-Amazon Prime has replaced
some of my grocery shopping.
Like pet food, I'm sure you're buying on Amazon.
-Like my-- absolutely.
Some of my health and beauty products are now purchased through Amazon Prime.
-Must be a lot.
-Mostly beauty, less health.
-And that's really, I mean you can't argue with their pricing and has Prime become maybe a little less reliable?
I was gonna bring that up.
They don't always stick to the two-day guarantee delivery thing.
-So I mean, not necessarily--
-But sometimes you benefit from it
-Why is that?
-It's kinda funny 'cause I was ordering whey protein from Amazon and I ordered two-day shipping.
-And it didn't come.
It was like four days late.
But then it finally came with of course the Amazon Prime sticker, which was kind of annoying but then like three days later, got an extra one.
-Got a little freebie.
-Did you have to complain for that?
-Did not, no.
-That's happened to me like four times also.
-Since I started Prime.
I've been a Prime member for like seven years I think.
-And I'm not sure if they do it just to
make you happy, just to like shut you up pre-emptive.
-That's good customer service.
-there is a legit problem like the system.
-No, like they're not making good.
It's a glitch.
-Did that come from Amazon, the shipping depot or did it come directly from whoever you order it like that sort of--
-'Cause I wonder if there was--
-I think with Amazon Prime, I think you have to have it sent from either like specific retailers or the warehouse itself.
I don't wanna spend too much time on this.
The one thing I hate about Amazon Prime is
when they use Lasership.
-Yeah, later Lasership is pretty--
-It feels like it just like a bunch of monkeys with boxes.
-And if you get your package, you're lucky.
-I've had nothing but awful experiences with Lasership.
-All incoming too.
I've never said anything out--
-No, I don't even think you can.
This incoming only.
-You know what I wish they would do is some kind of tiered pricing plan so you know how a NetFlix right now, you can up for the delivery of movies.
-And the streaming service and that's like, you know, what-- 15 bucks
-But you can also do the streaming-only for like $5 a month.
-I wish Amazon will let you do that where you could just get free delivery and not get all the extra videos stuff.
And not get that big thing.
-'Cause I don't really watch video on Amazon.
I don't have a Kindle so I don't read books from there.
-They were kinda positioned that as a bonus.
Say it was like $50 or whatever.
It didn't go up $20.
-So you still pay like 70 would be great.
-It's still the best thing ever.
-But it doesn't matter.
Yeah, we're all still going to music.
-Click that renew button.
-All right, great.
so that's Amazon Prime.
I think the fee depends on when you subscribes.
So I have like November, so I still have six months, you know, left or more than that.
-So April 17th is the cut-off date.
So if you bought it after April 17th, they're good for like another year.
That's a great.
-There's also a good hack to which is linked to the CNET article--
-which is-- no, which is basically prior to when your renewal is up.
You just basically buy an Amazon membership with a gift card so you basically prepay for it the following year and you could
still get grandfathered into that old price.
Is that makes sense?
-Save yourself 20 bucks, yeah.
But you have to pay more upfront obviously.
-Right, of course.
-Which is just fine.
-If you wanna save $20, that's easy.
-And apparently you can still share the thing with family members.
-Prime, they incurred you to do that.
That's not even like a hack.
-You really gotta get on that.
I don't know what the hell I'm waiting for?
I do that with my girlfriend and her roommate.
We all share one Prime account.
-Oh, there is this--
-All right, story time.
You guys wanna hear about the most infamous phone booth in the country?
-That's better be good.
-It's a crazy
-It's better be good.
-It's one of these old stories about the internet that you hear about.
It goes all the way back to the early days of the web in 1997.
So the most legendary phone booth in the world.
You have to own a car to get there, first of all.
And the car has to be suitable for off-roading.
And it has to be four-wheel drive because the location of this phone booth is in the middle of nowhere.
So they suggest even on this Google maps--
-And it actually works.
-And it actually works, yeah, or worked.
-And there's the number too.
-The number is there.
You need to pluck-- pack plenty of water and food 'cause it's gonna take about a day to get there.
With a car?
-So it's one day of drive out from Las Vegas.
-Which is why I thought you may know.
-That was-- I was wondering if I figured it had something to do with Vegas when you said that.
Mark from Las Vegas.
Have you ever ventured out into the middle of the Mojave Desert, Mark?
-I don't think I have.
Definitely would not do that for-- to make a phone call from a phone booth that does not
-How the hell is it-- I don't understand how it's a day's drive.
-Yeah, it's one day's drive because apparently it's really hard to find so it's off the 58th highway.
But it's still about 8 miles away from the nearest pave road, which is why I mentioned earlier, you'll need an off-roading vehicle.
-And is there a wire underground that's connecting at all?
-And there are definitely phone lines out there, so that's why it's in operation.
It's 15 miles away from the nearest numbered highway, which is I'm looking at it here of 15.
-Is there a picture that I can pull up
So this is the map of it right here.
-Okay, so that let me pull this up.
-And I can zoom in on the Google Map if you wanna see it, of course, linked to this in the show notes today.
-Can you do a street view?
You definitely can't do that.
-That was funny.
That was cute.
-So you can't see it here but behind all these dots is actually a phone.
I didn't realize this but Google Map is actually displays phone booths.
-That remaining for in the world apparently.
So anyway, the original story about the phone booth
was that it was put there 1948 for gold miners living in the area to make phone calls.
And the phone really started making internet history back in 1997, which this hacker named Godfrey Daniels.
He heard about the phone booth in a Zine
In a band Zine and he decided to travel out to see it and the Zine actually included a phone number for the phone booth.
And so this guy Godfrey Daniels, he decided to start calling the phone number to see if anybody will ever pick it up.
-And did anyone ever?
-And he figured it would take years of calling for somebody to finally pick it up in the middle of nowhere.
-Wait, can you switch to satellite.
I'm just curious.
-I'm just a curious person.
I just wanna see--
-So we're-- and Google Maps trying to switch to satellite and zooming.
I don't think you're gonna see like a little box.
-Maybe we'll find-- never mind.
-So here it is.
-I don't know.
Do you see a little box there?
I don't think so.
It doesn't-- I mean,
It depends on when this was--
That's it man.
Any closer you're up its nose.
You can't see a box but it doesn't look like there's a lot of stuff around there although there are paved roads in there.
-So it's-- there's paved roads now?
-Now there are.
But at the end of the story you'll see why.
-I'm just wondering based on the map if it's right off the road or do you have to like walk 200 feet.
-Well, look at the photo of it.
There's a photo on The Kernel Mag.
-And you kinda see it's really right next to-- it's at the intersection of a few dirt roads.
you know, he thought it would take him a year for someone to pick up.
It only took him a few weeks of constantly calling this number and leaving it to ring, obviously, because they don't have answering machines in payphones.
-And finally, someone picked up and it was a local in the area and he actually transcribed that entire conversation which I'll queedling to that in the show notes as well.
And so he thought that was kind of noble and interesting, obviously, this is before the internet so people were super bored.
This is what people did before the web was invented.
And he transcribed
the entire conversation and kept doing that with other people.
And so then he then posted the phone number, which is 760-733-9969 to people in the internet and they started calling.
And eventually became this crazy kind of cult phenomenon type of deal where people would actually make pilgrimages out into the middle of the desert to sort of, you know, have a conversation with somebody randomly calling it.
-It's probably ringing all the time now.
Well, it was and this is sort of social networking--
analog social networking before we had Facebook and things like that.
-It sort of takes a sad turn in the story when PacBell actually removed in the year 2000.
And the phone number was retired because of its environmental impact and complains from locals that, you know, we're getting a lot of tourist traffic.
-But, you know, fast-forward to earlier this month, February 2014, a hacker, a new hacker, a young hacker named Lucky225 actually made a posting on Facebook announcing he had resurrected the numbers, somehow or
another he had contacted PacBell and they sold him the phone number.
So he's now philanthropically set it up as a conference line.
So you can call that number right now.
760-733-9969 and though it won't ring a phone booth out in the middle of the Mojave desert, the phone number still works and now it's a conference line, so you can join and say a 3, 4, or 5-way phone call and it's unlimited in terms of how many people can join the conference.
-Like those party lines that were popular in like the 90's?
-I'm sure they're actually talking about the same stuff.
-So it's gone.
The booth is gone.
-The booth itself physically is gone.
-Yeah, which sucks because there's not a lot of phone booths out there.
-So the booth is physically gone.
So that's probably why weren't finding on the satellite.
-Right, yeah exactly.
What the hell?
-Yeah, but you didn't get to that before.
-You tried to get-- I know.
-Right, right, right.
-But I built it up for you, so--
-Mark, you ruined it before we got here.
-No, I built it up.
-So the booth isn't there anymore but you could still call the number.
So the fun still remains.
-So much, so much fun.
And if doesn't.
wanna ring a phone in the middle of the desert.
-I wanna get all the line with a bunch of weirdos.
-Well, you could still do that though.
I remember my phone booth in my high school had a number attached to it.
You know, I think all of them do just in case you need to have somebody to call you back.
-And we were just make phone calls and just prank call them and--
-Right, sure, sure.
Who hasn't done that?
-You could still do that.
-It is not in the middle of the Mojave desert.
-Probably not as much fun anymore.
'Cause who is the guy that picks it up?
-Who picks up a ringing phone booth?
-I've done that before.
What did they say?
-Well, usually the phone booth just explodes like in the movie.
-Did they do that in Speed?
-There is some movie where somebody picked up the phone and then went explode.
-The Fifth Element but that was like way in the future.
-Maybe it was Phone Booth the movie, with Colin Farrell.
-God, they made a movie called Phone Booth.
I forgot about that.
-We should that to somebody young.
-Where Kiefer-- it would be like, what is this?
-To know what they're talking about.
-Not only that.
It's like the only phone booth in Time Square, right?
-Isn't that what it was?
-And Kiefer Sutherland was just like
talking all Jack Bauer to him.
God, I hear--
-Colin Farrell, right?
-Obviously, the only other great movie about Phone Booth is--
-Oh, that's a good one.
-That is a good one.
-That's really a good one.
-It's really and obviously Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Should we start a Tumblr with Phone Booth appearances in movies?
-No, 'cause that will be like way too obvious I think.
-I think I might do that.
-You could do that and it'll just be like Good Fellas.
-It would be 5555555.tumblr.com.
-KL5 is my favorite.
It's just so funny, and then you have your Superman thing.
-Right, oh yeah that-- that's cool.
-'Cause no one can see through the glass in this freaking phone booth.
-I mean like in the background like, I don't know, leaving Las Vegas or something.
Main plot point it has to be.
-All right, very good sir.
I think we only have time for one more story today.
Let's get this theater one, 'cause it's way more interesting than what Google looks like today.
So, by now it's no surprise the movie studios are trying to get you into those seats as quickly as possible, right?
-But, if you haven't had a chance to see Gravity in 3D iMax like myself 'cause I saw it in 2Ds.
-Oh, you savage.
There's a chance that you'll be able to see something better than 3D iMax.
What the hell is better than 3D iMax you ask?
-Going into space for real?
-Yeah, going into space for real and watching a movie on the shuttle.
-But if you can't do that you can maybe do this.
So last week, Warner Bros.
They hosted a special screening of Gravity
for 12 fans of the movie in Stockholm, Sweden.
And they went to crazy heights to make the experience feel super realistic.
Listen to this.
To heighten the realism of watching the movie in space, Warner Bros.
invited people to lie down in their bathing suits so they were half naked.
This is what it looked like.
-Check it up.
-Check out the screen shot.
-Put on a bathing suit.
-They look like freak hogs.
And basically get in to this--
-And then they filled the tank with a solution consisting of Epsom
salts and water.
So you float.
-So you float, exactly.
I didn't realize Epsom salts make you do that.
Is that why you put it in the bath with you?
-I just figured salt, dead sea, you float.
-Any type of salt.
-That's what I thought.
-I never retake a science class.
-I think so, little chemistry perhaps.
So exactly, Epsom salts and water solution to give the effect of floating, which is actually a similar exercised performed by NASA astronauts to replicate the feeling of having zero gravity.
-I think we just have to let go of this movie and just let
It was good and that is all.
-It's a hell lot easier to do this than enter Astronaut school though.
It's probably the same exact experience.
-Then they heated the viewing pod to precisely 35.5 degrees Celsius.
-It's pretty, right?
-Which is the resting temperature of human skin apparently.
-Oh, 98, is that 986 or--
-little cooler than that.
So the idea of that combine with the solution was to make it feel impossible to tell which of your body parts submerged and which of
them are actually outside of the solution there by giving a loose feel of--
-It's just creeping me out man.
-Is that more than one picture or is that it?
-So that's it for-- yeah.
-How many people are-- I feel like I might get sick.
-Do you think you would?
-I don't know.
-Because you're always sort of moving when you're around.
-It's 3D also.
-Then they put 3D goggles on you like you've seen in this photo.
-Oh, no man.
But imagine if you have like Oculus Rift on while-- everybody would be puking in this solution in one part
water, one part Epsom salts and one part puke.
That's what happened to me.
-That is crazy.
-So they only invited 12 people out to Stockholm to do this.
I don't know where there was a sign up or anything.
I didn't see that online.
But there's also no word on them bringing this to a movie theater near you.
So I'm crossing my fingers that one day we'll be able to go to Union Square in our bathing suits and watch Gravity.
-Only if they like flushed out that water after each viewing.
-Yeah, for sure.
-Because you know what's happening
when humans enter warm water.
-And he's got it.
You win Mark.
-And I didn't wanna just, 'cause we're not gonna leave that to people's imaginations but yes.
I was implying that.
-This is fully the Matrix.
I mean that's twice we've brought up the Matrix in this episode but how is this not the Matrix, right?
I mean everything sort of a tube coming out at the back of your head.
It has nothing to do with the Matrix.
Completely-- you're just talking-- the symbology, the--
-The sumbology-- symbolism.
-Symbology is a word that used to be, it's not anymore.
-The symbolism of like when you're in that pod--
And you're in that pod and he's got-- that's it.
It has nothing to do with like--
It's totally transporting yourself to like a virtual reality world that's fabricated by somebody else that you don't see.
It's totally the Matrix.
-I don't know.
-The future is now man.
-We agree to disagree symbolic [unk], okay?
-Everyone else should just buy the Gravity Blu-ray and experience it on a
3D TV yourself.
You could probably replicate this by yourself with 3D TV and a bathtub.
-I think so.
All right, we unfortunately are out of time.
I hate to do this to people.
It's a short show today.
This is what happens but don't worry, tomorrow, Steve "Sphere" Guttenberg.
He'll tell us all about his study in the field of symbology.
-Oh, Steve is pissed by the way.
-He is so pissed at Neil Young.
-He's really pissed at Neil Young
so I can't wait for him to talk about that Pono music player.
-Yeah, he's-- oh, my God.
He calls it something else that I'm not sure we can--
-Yeah, go to Twitter and check out audiophiliac man 'cause he's pissed.
-Follow us on Twitter @the404, @malusbrutus, @jeffbakalar, Mark Licean doesn't have a Twitter.
He's too cool for that.
But Ariel is @rel.
-That will do it for us today.
Send us an e-mail email@example.com.
Follow us on Instagram and for our Facebook, we're doing something.
I don't know if you've been on Facebook in the less 24 hours.
But on March 24th, we are killing our 404 group page.
We're just getting rid of it 'cause it's silly and we don't need it anymore and it's all filled with spam.
It's kinda like cobwebs on it and stuff.
So now, everyone please migrate to the 404 fan page, which we will put a link in the group page.
If that doesn't confuse you, you are a wiser person than us.
-We'll be back here tomorrow.
Until then, have a
I'm Jeff Bakalar.
-I'm Justin Yu.
-I'm Mark Licea.
-Thanks again to Mark Licea for filling in for Ariel.
We're back here tomorrow with Steve.
We'll see you then.