Sir Gene Speaks

0048 Sir Gene Speaks Special - Interview Stu Coates

June 01, 2021 Gene Naftulyev Season 1 Episode 48
Sir Gene Speaks
0048 Sir Gene Speaks Special - Interview Stu Coates
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

I recommend listening at 1.5X
Today's interviewee is Stu Coates from feeddirectory.org
 
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Gene:

I hope everybody had a great Memorial day holiday. If you're in the U S and I guess a regular week, if you're outside of the U S Memorial day is one of those holidays where we as Americans remember people. It had a start in remembering people that fought for the country, but I think it's also somewhat transitioned to just. Remembering people who have died both in service of the country and just people that, that you want to keep fresh in your mind that have passed on. To that effect, the best way to celebrate Memorial day, has historically been and by historical, I mean, up until the last decade or so of divisive, political correctness.

Gene (2):

Has it been to go to the park, to have a picnic, do outdoor activities, to really have fun and enjoy yourself while remembering both people that have died in the name of this country and people that have inspired you personally, .With that type of attitude, it's creating a, hopeful long three-day weekend in the U S without really getting into dark and somber tones of, just focusing on death and the fact that people are no longer here. when I was growing up and certainly through majority of my life Memorial day ,partly because it's based in the spring, is something that celebrates life by remembering the lives of people from the past. To that effect, I've taken a few days off myself from podcasting. And I've spent them enjoying myself and having fun playing video games and doing similar activities of things that I've put off. While at the same time, certainly recognizing and remembering people that have had to go through. Very tough times in the past, and they've paid the price of their lives to allow us to be where we are today. So where did this bring us to. while I think I probably have plenty of topics that I can spend an hour covering. I do have to confess that I found an episode that I did with Stu last month. It was over a month ago as part of my podcasting 2.0 set of interviews. And with apologies because I, I thought I already published this episode and I had not, I thought, well before I do another rant for an hour plus let me at least get this episode published. And again, with the apology Stu since you're hearing it over a month after you and I recorded it, but I think this is the last step. So this should conclude our our series for podcasting 2.0, although I will say with an asterisks after that, if something new happens with podcasting 2.0, if something is worth talking about, I will certainly jump on that bandwagon as well. So while my main topic of this podcast is still philosophy, politics and culture and technology and Bitcoin and crypto in general. And podcasting 2.0, so any of those topics For those of you that managed to catch me playing video games on Twitch, I made a quick announcement when I was going to be doing it. I think about four people showed up from the no agenda social. So that was cool. Cool. See you guys in there. I do not stream with any regularity whatsoever on Twitch. I do it some weekends, some weekdays, occasionally, and generally I only do it when I'm feeling kind of bored and I want a little company. I want people in there to talk to and to maybe see what the hell I'm doing in the games I'm currently playing. So if you missed it then. I'm not going to be on this week anymore, so you've missed your opportunity. But I do get in and pop up when a session on Twitch maybe every week or two but very randomly. So don't expect any kind of a regular schedule for me. It's whenever I have time. And whenever I decided that it's worth screwing around with bringing Twitch up instead of just jumping in and playing a video game for a while. So with that. I will end this preface and pick things up in my interview with Stu hope you enjoy. This episode, was recorded with the gate turned off. So you might hear some squeaky chairs in the background. I apologize for that. And hopefully you enjoy the episode, nonetheless. I'm sitting down with Stu Coats and Stu is yet another person on my set of interviews with podcasting 2.0 influencers or people that are doing something interesting. Maybe interesting areas would be a word I can coin. How are you today? Stew.

Stu:

hi, Jean. I'm doing very well

Gene:

That's great. I can tell by your accent that you're probably in Europe.

Stu:

in the UK.

Gene:

Oh, that's right. You're no longer in Europe, formerly in Europe. Now in the in the non-European country of the United

Stu:

I'm not even going to have an opinion on that because some people will hate me. Some people will

Gene:

Well, come on and half the people are always going to hate you. That's part of the fun, right?

Stu:

if only half the night. I said I'm doing, but doing

Gene:

Well, technically, I mean, regardless of whether you're in the country of Europe or not, I don't think you've shifted continents, right.

Stu:

Well, let's see. Who knows I made. And the some of the Europeans would be very glad to get rid of the

Gene:

I don't, I don't know. The, I don't think Europe has the right to rename a continent that is preexisted by thousands of years, but maybe the Greeks can, maybe Greece can unilaterally rename the continent. But anyway,

Stu:

somebody is going to try somewhere.

Gene:

yeah, well maybe, I mean, you know, even Russia is part of Europe. It's the Europe goes quite a ways to the East. And I think a lot of Americans certainly don't realize that a lot of Americans would be lucky to find Europe on a map for that matter.

Stu:

okay.

Gene:

But anyway, let's talk about the topic at hand, which is a podcasting. And so I want to definitely hear more about what you've been doing with feed directory. But before we jump into that, I want to find out a little bit more about you. So why don't you kind of tell us a little bit of your background and what you've been up to and how you ended up working on feed directory.

Stu:

so my, my, my day job is a sort of professional software developer. I've been at it for quirky about 30 years now. I started off as a mainframe operator back in the late eighties, early nineties and then moved into software development for car rental companies worked in all sorts of organizations from banks, pharmaceutical industries, for the government and insurance companies, and now working for an accountancy company. So it's a kind of a career software developer, mainly dealing with databases and borings or backend systems favorably Sort of, doing public public facing stuff. It's normally sort of all

Gene:

very nice. And so what kind of brought you towards working on. On this particular project, what were you doing previously or what interests developed that you wanted to create feed directory?

Stu:

So for a while, I've had my own little systems running that scrape RSS feeds from my own sort of amusement for probably about 10 years now had some software scraping RSS feeds, loading all the the data into a database just to aggregate my newsfeeds for myself and publishing that out to web pages. So wherever I am, I can just pull up a web page and it gives me the latest news that's been scraped end of last year. I w was thinking a little bit more about it and with all of the Various people publishing stuff on different platforms. I wanted to pull together lots of feed for, for, for various things and kind of built a little backend system that, that did that. And so for example, if, if you had multiple Twitter feeds and Facebook feeds they all could be realized at RSS and it was aggravating getting them together. Then I jumping forward a little bit heard about the podcast index project and I thought that's it. That's quite interesting cause it's it, there's a certain overlap with the stuff I'm doing podcasting itself. So more than just the publishers of the information is on the subs subscription side as well. So you could aggregate all of the the RSS feeds from podcast feeds.

Gene:

Got it. Okay. Hey, Sue. I'm gonna pause it real quick here. You. I think you were speaking louder initially, because it's gotten really quiet. So, yeah. Try and make sure you keep your mouth nice and close to the microphone and the same distance. Don't, don't start leaning back. A lot of people start leaning back as they start talking and then the sound levels just go way down. So I'll cut this a little bit out, but just kind of, you know, keep, keep nice and close to the mic and use easier chest for speaking, which I think you were doing when we started.

Stu:

So about that,

Gene:

All right. So, what now did you, did you finish your thought or did I interrupt you in the middle of it?

Stu:

I forgot where we got to. Do you want to, do you want to start that again?

Gene:

Well, it, I mean, it was fine. It was just kind of a little bit quiet. So I want to make sure that you, you know, if we continue on, we can redo it, we can redo it. If you don't mind the

Stu:

No, no, that's actually fine. That's actually fine. That's caveat.

Gene:

you won't, you won't

Stu:

as long as you've got it.

Gene:

I got it. It's just a little bit quiet. I'll turn it up a little bit on that. I am, but I want to make sure that you know, moving forward to your you're broadcasting a little louder as well. Okay. So, and, and if you were quite initially, I would have just mentioned that, but I think you were fine right at the get go. All right. So we'll, we'll assume you finished that answer, so I'll get to the next one. And how did you first hear about podcasting 2.0.

Stu:

I've been listening to all the stuff Adam Curry has been doing for, from the early days of him doing daily source code. So been following him and all of the stuff he's been doing on no agenda. And I think he mentioned on there. And picked up that the podcast and got really interested in and looked at all these stuff they're doing on their site. And then thought some of the stuff I've been I've been building myself could potentially be useful for these, these new podcast apps that are coming along because typically the podcast apps, they sit as a silo. So if you move between them, you don't take all your, your podcast. You're listening to across to the new one which is awesome on some podcasts apps. It doesn't already, so I, I use overcast on my iPhone and my iPad,

Gene:

yeah, I used to

Stu:

this sort of synchronizing between them. So you can listen to something on your, on your phone and then an hour later, pick up the same podcast on your iPad. And most of the time it synchronizes. And I thought, well, why, why is there not a single service that PO various different apps can use to, to facilitate that. Why, why should it every podcast sort of app developer have to build their own. So, and then feed director's book was born.

Gene:

that makes a lot of sense. And I've, I've thought about that. I just haven't done anything about it, but I've certainly thought about that as well, because on the, on the iPhone and, and like you mentioned on my iPad I was using overcast up until just a few months back when I started. Getting into apps that use a lot more of the podcasting 2.0 technology. And now of course my half, my phone is podcasting apps because I'm in there reading people, I'm testing things, I'm providing feedback, trying to be helpful. So, you know, I've got multiple subscriptions to everything on different platforms right now,

Stu:

No, which tend to be built in diff different technologies as well, so that there's not all one size fits all. I know speaking to some of the developers of an Android app called a tenor pod. They they use various ways of synchronizing. They used a service called G Potter, which I think is a suffering these days. I don't think it's being maintained or is, is, is even running. And they also have a way of synchronizing through I think Google drive and they they've we've, we've talked and they've got a change, a thing on, on their get hub to support fee dietary. So having this one common thing in the backend that anybody could talk to irrespective of platform, whether it's just a pure browser-based player or it's on iOS, Android on desktops it just seemed, seemed like sense, sense to me

Gene:

Yeah. Do you think part of the reason that podcasts apps have not? Well, I guess some of them have allowed you to do OPM Alec sports, but most of them have kept the synchronization internal. Do you think any of that has to do with just sort of making it more difficult to switch, to leave an app? Because you're going to have to spend some time to realign all your podcasts and the new app, or do you think that that wasn't even a thought.

Stu:

well, I think it depends. I mean, some developers have the mentality that the data is locked into their application. It should never be exportable cause that makes it easy for somebody to move away from their app and they'll lose it, lose a user. But in my mind, the, the data belongs to the user themselves. So you should be able to export it and you should be able to move it to wherever you want.

Gene:

Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think not only is it would allow people to be able to move from platform to platform, but you can also go from operating system to operating system because there are players on the Android platform that don't have an equivalent player on iOS. And if you're using, let's say a an iPad but you're also using an Android phone. You would then have to find an app that already has both versions to try and use, and it may not be the best one on that particular platform. So I really love the idea of a synchronization service that is independent of the application. So with that, how do you manage the unique token or whatever you're using to be able to identify the user so that all these apps can essentially save data for the same user

Stu:

so, to get you get a a, a, an account on feed directory, you just sign in using an email address. The email address is not stored anywhere, but w what it does, it issues a token, a effectively username, or you sort of generate your username and password that then can be used by the, the apps or the apps can then generate a single use or their application token, so they can identify themselves to the system. And that's the identifier what we. Try and do is not hold any private information. So the email address that's entered when you, when you create the, the account is hashed and stored in the database. So we can't actually reverse that. They only store that email address. So if you need to recover your account, if you lose the tokens that gets allocated, when you sign up, you enter the email address again. And if it matches the hat of the hash of the email address matches the hash that stored, it will send you some new tokens via email. So even if the database does get breached, there's no personal information in there. Somebody would have to do a sort of blue force on the, on the data to try and reverse things, but all of the subscriptions and publishing details and synchronization details are stored against that. Those individual accounts.

Gene:

got it. So just to be clear, when you're talking about registering on the, on the feed directory, are you talking about each individual user registering or are you talking about developers that implement your system? Registering

Stu:

each individual user would have to register. Now that registration would normally be done through an application. So it's all API based. There will be some user interface sort of web interface being built soon. Now when I get around to it but there's API has to generate these new new accounts. So when somebody loads up their podcast app, they'll say, do you already have an account on feed dietary? If so, put the details in here or it can then go and create your one itself. So the, the, the end user, generally won't interact with feed dietary. It's purely a backend service for the applications.

Gene:

got it. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So each app will present a registration page or login page but that will in turn using API APIs called feed directory to either create the user token or to update information.

Stu:

exactly. Yes. Yeah.

Gene:

Okay. That makes sense, because I know when I clicked on feed directory and I started looking through, I'm looking at it, I'm thinking this is, this is definitely for developers. This is not an end user.

Stu:

Oh, absolutely. Yes.

Gene:

So I it's something that will benefit end users, but it is only meant to be used via an application that uses the API

Stu:

Yeah. I am building a, sort of a a user friendly front-end for it to just the interact. So in, in, into operates with, with podcast index to act as a podcast player, but that's really just a proof of concept for feed directory itself. So, but yeah, th th the service itself is not, absolutely not an end-user product if they want, if they want to go read the, the API. I mean, they're more than welcome to it. I don't think I made much sense to them.

Gene:

right, right. No, that makes sense. And it is in some ways it's a very small kind of little bit. You know, feature that isn't just screaming, brand new functionality at you. But on the other hand, I think it's absolutely one of the most useful features because it, it disconnects a particular application from your experience in reading. It'd be sort of like if if there were third-party apps for logging into the Kindle store, so you could read your purchased Kindle books in totally other devices that had nothing to do with Amazon. So that's kind of the way that I'm imagining this being the case.

Stu:

Yeah. And, and some of the, some of the things we're adding into it now is the ability to store comments against podcast or, or any RSS up item. And something that was actually released today was the ability to add reviews against feeds. Now whether that's actually going to be used or not, I don't know. But it, the feature is there. If you want to build it into an application, you can review individual feeds. Whether they're any, anything, obviously I saw or podcast

Gene:

so with having this BA sort of a passion project for you that you're doing in your spare hours and that it's, it doesn't have a front and it's, it's essentially dealing with other applications and providing a service to them. Is this something that you're going to be trying to monetize? And if so, how are you going to plan on doing that?

Stu:

Well, I mean, I think, I think with all these passion projects, we eventually want it to sort of raise enough money. So we don't have to do our day jobs anymore, but short term that's absolutely not, not going to be the case as far as I can see with the the, the value for value stuff that certainly the podcast and 2.0 is coming along. I'm hoping it will play a part in that. So as, as the digital currency payments flow to podcast and podcast, app developers, maybe there's a, there's a, a 1% that will come to the feed dietary as well.

Gene:

Yeah, I think conceptually, that makes a lot of sense. It's a way to effectively reward people who are providing elements for an application you're building, whether it's you know, for some people they, they want to reward people that they've pulled a lot of open source. Projects from to build their own project for other people, it'd be API APIs kind of like you. But I think that the, the public exposure of the breakdown in payments could be good and bad. Like I could see pros and cons to that because on the one hand, you have clarity demonstrating that when you make a donation who all is benefiting from that donation, but the flip side is and I don't think this is the case right now. I'm just sort of extrapolating for a possible future from where we are right now is you could potentially get to that point where, you know, I'm listening to a podcast. I want to donate the equivalent of $1 to that podcast. Because I just heard something funny on it. So it's just a boost. then I get a breakdown after making that transaction that shows that there's 15 different companies or people that this donation is being split between. And you know, that's split may or may not be something that I would agree with. Like, for example, there's no reason that somebody can't create a podcast app, like let's say, Oh, I don't know, Google, that takes 30% of the donation, which is what Google takes on YouTube and you know, other, other services like that, where they're essentially providing the transaction ability. So, I think right now is the super early days. So we're going to find out what actually does happen, but I think there's certainly some potential for a raised eyebrows. Let's say in the coming months and years,

Stu:

Oh, absolutely. I think the, the, as long as there's transparency, if the listener wants to pay a dollar to the the, the content producer, as long as the content producer or the way they're doing it, it's really transparent about where that money's going, that the listener can then make a judgment call, whether they're happy with that line.

Gene:

Yeah, and I, I hope that that transparency will be something that is part of the, the culture of podcasting apps moving forward. Because again, there's nothing that says that you have to provide that level of transparency right now. I think we're operating in a lot of ways based on just sort of a best practice suggestions and people are sticking to them, but it is a very tenuous and voluntary type scenario.

Stu:

well, I think that the biggest hurdle was getting people to actually pay for content. I think over the past 20 years, people have just not. They're good. They've got used to getting content for free. If you, if you listened to what say on, on, on no agenda, the, the, the amount of listeners they have and the amount of people that contribute is a very, very small percentage. The vest of just getting it for free or freeloaders

Gene:

Yeah, and it's not just them. I've got a number of friends that I've had you know, that produce a lot of content. In fact, the guy that I just interviewed earlier today I think he's got about two and a half a million subscribers. And generally what people see is somewhere between 1% and 4% of the people that are consuming the content provide any kind of support for it. And I

Stu:

I'm sure he'd be really happy if he, if every one of his subscribers gave him a buck a year.

Gene:

Yeah, well, I mean, he does other things. I like, he put out a couple of comedy albums and obviously when you have a lot of subscribers, you kind of steer them towards supporting you by buying your products. Right. But yeah, in a lot of ways, I think that direct direct support is a really neat idea. You have mandatory direct support for the BBC in the UK. I'm a big fan of mandatory, but but I do like the direct part of that. And certainly there have been areas in the U S like, public television stations generally in the United States for their entire lifetimes have had the what are known as pledged drives, which is usually done once a quarter, maybe a couple of times a year where they interrupt your programming, not like a commercial, but either. For 10, 15 minutes beforehand or after the the video plays or the music is played and then try and get you to send them money directly so that they're not just relying on government and other donations like that. So that there is some history in that. But with podcasting, what I think is really cool is that it allows people to consume an ad free experience, which generally has been disappearing when podcasting first started. And if you've been listening to Adam prior to no agenda back in the daily source code days you know, you'll remember that any podcasts you will listen to back then generally was an ad free podcast. If anything, people just promoted things that they enjoyed, or maybe their friends, and then slowly over time there was more of a. Move towards an advertising sponsored platform. People started seeing it more like radio, and I think that's

Stu:

think, yeah, I think the majority of the podcasts I consume, they, they are, they are ad supported and. Well, because I mean, if you, if you listen to them often enough, you get the same ads over and over and over again. I mean, there's only, there's only so many mattresses you can buy that isn't the

Gene:

so many pillows.

Stu:

pillows and and a gentleman's grooming

Gene:

Yeah. Yeah. It's it's true. I really dislike advertising. I haven't had a television really since 1994. This is not to say that I haven't watched television in. Prerecorded format, but certainly I can't watch things live because it's constantly being interrupted with ads. I'm one of those very rare people that actually pays YouTube $12 a month to have an ad-free experience. Rather than trying to use some software hacks to delete the ads. It's just so much simpler when they don't even send the ads to

Stu:

think I may well join you very shortly because YouTube over the past couple of months has got an unbelievable.

Gene:

it's always been. And I, I started this with YouTube, like three years ago when they first started. I think they were trying to get people to sign up, to watch kids programming. And I was like, screw the kids, man. I just don't want ads. I don't, you know, the kids aren't going to be watching what I'm watching, but I don't like our time on this planet is limited. I don't want to spend 15% of that time watching advertising

Stu:

I mean, the, the, the advertising, the model is kind of the default and it's come, come from sort of commercial, commercial media. Do you see the commercial sort of traditional sort of broadcasters are now doing podcasts with ads? Do you see them moving to a direct support model or not?

Gene:

I think they could, there's nothing inherently say that they couldn't. And like I mentioned, there are examples in the real world or previous to podcasting where models like that have worked. But anybody that is a traditional something, whether it's a traditional media, newspaper magazine, a radio station, whatever it is generally moves very slowly. And so the first people to adopt podcasting 2.0 are going to be individuals doing it for fun, doing it for, you know, something that they just want to experience and test. And I will say. Part of what, the reason that my podcast hits every single one of those podcasting 2.0 check marks is certainly because I want to test things and I want to make sure that all the features are working correctly. I want to know which apps support, which features and which apps are just sort of selectively supporting podcasting 2.0. But aside from that, I'm really enjoying having the experience of being able to put in images that people can see while they're listening. If they care, if they don't care, they're not going to see them, but if they care, if they're looking on, on their phone or whatever way, they're consuming the podcast. And so I try to have chapters and each chapter will have images related to that particular story. If you listen to my podcast Where I did a, sort of a edited interview of Adam Curry. You will see that there are tons of images in that podcast and some of them have never been released publicly. So it's a, it's an interesting thing to be able to do through the medium of podcasting.

Stu:

I have to go and re re listen to that gene. Cause I, I listened to it on a overcast, which obviously

Gene:

Oh yeah, yeah. You missed, you missed all the photos. Absolutely. And you know, I try to kind of explain things, but eventually after a few episodes, I just decided that's I, I'm not gonna really try, like people are asking, well, can you put a description of what it's about in your about the podcast? I'm like it's in there, but you have to use a 2.0 player. So I'm only going to, yeah. I'm only going to support people that care enough to use the podcasting 2.0 compatible do players. In order to consume the full version of my podcasts. And so, you know, it's got chapters got well, pretty much all the ends got transcription. So the Texas, they're all the elements of podcasting 2.0 that a podcast or could be using, I think I'm including in there. And that's the feature list grows. Obviously I'll continue to change that as well. And it is really neat to be able to show somebody an image. And then if they click on an image, then depending on what it is, if it's a news story image that might take you directly to the new story. If I'm talking about somebody. I might have a link going from clicking that image back to their bio or, or it may be going to their software product, but whatever it is, it adds a whole new element to podcasting, which we've been all so used to just listening to now, you can just listen to if you'd like, but you can also participate a little more and actually interact with the podcasting apps now.

Stu:

Yeah. I mean, I'm a really big fan of that. The. This sort of thing was done many, many years ago. I remember watching a chat called Alex Lindsay on Leo LaPorte's network. He was a, a video guy and the video podcast that I'm not sure if that will even go podcast. I'll probably call them net costs. He was doing video stuff with, with hotlinks in the video and, and chapters like that, or using quick time. And I thought, this is, this is really, really cool. But nothing supported it, absolutely nothing supported it. So the, the th the two big things, I think podcasting Tupa bringing is not barely the, the images of the chapters for me. It's the where's the value for value? That's far too complex at the moment, but I'm sure it'll work itself out. The other one is, is the kind of the independence from, from Apple, from Spotify, from Google, it's the. Podcasts are, are, are, are free out there. And, and, and certainly over the past six, six, nine months, the, the, the de platforming and, and you'll know better than I in the States is the vendors. If, if, if you're saying something that your host doesn't agree with that your podcast host doesn't agree with that. They'll take you out and all the social media stuff, but with, with the podcast index I think even if you're upset, Adam, he's not going to take you out.

Gene:

Well, you never know,

Stu:

Well, you never know,

Gene:

but

Stu:

long, as long as, as long as you don't let John involved

Gene:

but really what Adam and really Dave is building, you know, Dave, certainly the, the guy doing the majority of the coding itself, although now there's more and more people participating, which I love. But what they're building is really, you know, an, a beta version of what Google did 24 years ago, right? So it's, it's essentially building something that has existed, which has been on the Apple platform, the podcast directory, but doing it much better. And as a result, I think are going to own and dominate that. So the podcast index will. Become the de facto standard that all apps reference first, and then you'll be able to check box. Would you like to also check Google? Would you like to also check Apple? But I think the podcast it's, the podcast index will be the de facto mechanism for doing searches for new content. And I think that's super exciting.

Stu:

I think that'd be the case. W w what we need is one of the mainstream apps to, to pick it up. So most people certainly my experience. So my, my friends who are not technical, they pick up podcasts through either two places, either through Spotify or a, an app in the BBC, in the UK, from the BBC called BBC sounds, which has got all of the BBC stuff on. So they, they don't know what podcasts index is. They don't know what podcast interpretno is. They, they just know they get their podcasts through Spotify.

Gene:

well, they probably believe that Ricky is the pod father to them.

Stu:

Well, let's hope not.

Gene:

We know better. We know better.

Stu:

They probably think the internet is what there's big bluey on the desktop.

Gene:

Yeah, exactly. Wait, it comes bundled with your computer. You get the internet. Exactly, exactly.

Stu:

The internet spell AOL.

Gene:

Oh, Oh my God. That's, there's some memories right there. That's a very old, but in a lot of ways what's happening right now, I think does remind me of the, the birth of the modern internet, which is the internet with a web browser. And I was lucky enough to have been around, to watch it and active on the internet before it became what we see as the internet, before it was commercialized when it was purely for scientific research. And it has been an amazing transformation that I think a lot of young people couldn't imagine, not only what the world was like without an internet, but what the internet was like.

Stu:

Yeah, I think w w we're similar ages. I was on the internet, but the internet in the UK I think the first. Service available to consumers around about 1991, 1992 called demon internet where you pay 10 pounds, $15 a month and you had dial up access to, to the internet. And that effect if he gave you a, an IP connection there

Gene:

like a slipped connection.

Stu:

Yeah, I mean, the, the, the web wasn't there, but you could FTP to things around the world, which just very, at the end of the day, saved money. Cause I was on bulletin boards before then and sort of dial out bulletin boards in the early hours of the morning or run the world.

Gene:

Exactly. And I was running a bulletin board in the eighties and then obviously the internet opened things up to a much broader. Audience and involved a lot of international conversations and activities that were absolutely like you say, cost prohibitive on a bulletin board system.

Stu:

Yeah. And th there's just the, just the ability to, to gain access to a machine really, really quickly. I mean, prior to that, my, my experience was things like CompuServe and, and

Gene:

Oh yeah. $7 per hour.

Stu:

Well, yes,

Gene:

I don't know what that was in pounds, but it was not cheap here.

Stu:

It was not cheap here either. And and S and obscure sort of store and forward system called FIDOnet which is a, the body's bot system. So getting, getting emails instantly getting connection instantly. It was a revelation back in the early nineties where I didn't have to wait three days for a response.

Gene:

Yeah. And of

Stu:

interesting in the early days.

Gene:

and most of the traffic came from using that feeds.

Stu:

Absolutely.

Gene:

Yeah, that was, that was the equivalent of Netflix traffic and PornHub combined into one.

Stu:

Yes, you have to, if you filter by no reason and suddenly you've got no traffic at all.

Gene:

Exactly. Yeah. The internet was basically traffic free other than that, that

Stu:

Yeah.

Gene:

Yeah, so it's always fun to reminisce down the the, the history there. And I do think that we are especially lucky, like you said, I think we're pretty close to the age to have been around, to witness all of it happening. I think this is very similar to the, you know, people that were around during the transition from horses to cars, like you got to see the whole process where people born today. They only think of horses as something that. You know, you ride in the park or you, you take a trip to pretend to be a cowboy or something. So you learn to ride a horse. They, they don't realize that the horses were in every city. All the streets were covered in horses. Shit.

Stu:

you should, you should come to London. They still are. They, they

Gene:

Well, I'm not talking about the politics now I'm talking about

Stu:

all know that none of that, the plate mounted police in London. So, and sometimes I cycled in London and you don't want to cycle through that in the wet day.

Gene:

now Arlene, I thought they were closing down part of London and leaving just for walkers and bicycle riders. Aren't they re removing some traffic areas.

Stu:

Th th they've done some bits of it. So Val, the financial district they've removed traffic from there. But it's small parts, really a small parts,

Gene:

No. I've been through Heathrow a bunch of times. I've never made it to actually be in London.

Stu:

Yeah, it it's, it's nice to visit for very short periods. I guess if you've never seen London it's nice. Like any, any city having, having worked there for on and off for about 30 years you, you, you travel through it as quickly as you can and then get out.

Gene:

I would say a similar thing about New York.

Stu:

yes, but going back to what you're saying about. W we, we saw that sort of the birth of the internet and the growth of our I've got a 15 year old son who you think he's never experienced not having wifi. He he's, he's got sort of constant connectivity. He's got an iPhone. He's got always connected. That that was never, we grew up. We never had that. It's it's, it's, it is sort of mind blowing that if he wants to talk to somebody, the other side of the world, he doesn't have to find a phone box. If he

Gene:

we had so much more privacy too. Not even necessarily privacy. We wanted just privacy. We had I remember you know, coming home from school, both of my parents are at work. I would get on my bike right. To a friend's house. And, you know, I may not talk to my parents until that evening when I came home and nobody was worried, nobody was, you know, panic stricken, like, Oh, you're not checking in on the regular basis. I can't pull up a map of your current location. It's like, no, it's like that ability to track your children. Like they're prisoners. Has only been around for the last 20 years or so prior to that for the entirety of human history, parents had to, at some point just trust their children to know what's good for them and hope that nothing bad happens. And that was it.

Stu:

but, but Jane, I'm not tracking my son. I'm tracking the thousand dollar phone he's got in his

Gene:

Yeah. That's a good point. That's a good point. You don't want to lose the phone kit will be fine.

Stu:

Expensive.

Gene:

phone is expensive to replace. That's a very good point. Yes. Yeah. And, and you do kind of wonder, so, you know, if we look at, I know we're kind of changing topics a little bit, but hopefully it's enjoyable. If you look at the new upcoming texts, like, I don't know if you saw the article that just recently came out from Elon Musk's what the hell is it called? The the brain implant thing? I'm, I'm, I'm blanking out.

Stu:

I can't help you. I don't think I've seen it.

Gene:

Okay. But anyway it's a, they they've been demonstrating how it works and there's a video that was recently released, released. That was very cool. And it showed a monkey with the neuro link. That's the word I kept, like forgetting a monkey with a neural link implant playing video games without using paddles just by so, so like that's reality today, that's what's happening at least in the text test phases. And what they do is they, they measure brain activity with electrodes by having a monkey play the video game with a joystick. And by video game, I mean, fairly simple things like you know, pong or something where you just move,

Stu:

being the eternal snake go. I'm going to say that's probably what you saw in the video.

Gene:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, no, no, no. I think it is actually happening. There's been multiple videos of monkeys playing video games. What do you think they're different from children? They, they enjoy having an activity and that's an activity that sucks you in

Stu:

good point. I mean, they, they reckon they, they can get a cross static limbs to react to

Gene:

Yeah. So, so they're measuring the impulses essentially in the brain and then they flip the switch to the other side. And instead of measuring now, they're stimulating the brain with the same measurements that they were doing before. And what they're able to achieve is a essentially a sensation. Of your, let's say your hand or your arm responding in the same way that if you actually moved your hand, their arms, so you feel like you're moving a joystick, but you can look at your hand and your hands not moving. You just have the feeling of it moving. And the reason you feel it's moving is because you're watching the video game and you're doing the maneuver that like, you're thinking that you're doing the exact same movements with your hand, but you're not actually moving your hand. So whether you have a hand or not, it allows you to just sort of think this stuff and be able to control a video game. But for the example, obviously,

Stu:

remind me again, which of the vaccines there was list.

Gene:

Which the vaccines then no vaccines needed. This is hardware. This is not software. This is direct plug and play hardware. But I think that where I was going with this is. Maybe not quite today's generation, but let's say 10 to 15 years down the road when nobody has an iPhone in their pocket, people have an iPhone in their head. And when you sleep on a pillow at night, it charges your phone, which is built into your head.

Stu:

Upgrades messy.

Gene:

well, it is, it is absolutely going to make upgrades messy, but hopefully it'll be done on the platform that doesn't require a whole lot of upgrades. And I'm sure what will be leading the charge are, you know, porn websites to provide the best sort of brain experience. Cause that's usually what drives innovation and technology is pornography.

Stu:

it drove VHS. It drove internet speeds. It drove from streaming video. Didn't it. So.

Gene:

Oh, it's, it's proven. I mean, if there's one thing that people want. And both men and women in though that I think the assumption is it's mostly men. It's really not. If you look at the stats, it's very evenly split, but I think what people want almost as much as food and drugs is pornography. And that includes people that are married people in relationships, people that are having regular sex like that, doesn't it, it matters a little bit, but ultimately it doesn't completely replace the interest in watching pornography.

Stu:

I think that, that, that, that's obviously a suggestion that should go on to the extension of the value tag

Gene:

is this pornography check? Yes. If you would like your, your podcasts to be more broadly viewed right or listened to.

Stu:

something like

Gene:

Yeah, exactly. No, I, and I think, well, this kind of leads us to a nice pivot to my next question, which is from what you've seen with the different tags within podcasting 2.0 in the podcast and the expansion of them what are you most excited about? What seems interesting or what haven't you seen that maybe should be in there? And they could be, you know, based around your your websites specifically, but it doesn't certainly have to be, maybe there's a feature that you're not working on them, but you wish somebody else was.

Stu:

so I think the, the the big one for me is transcripts it, because podcasts are inherently unsearchable. The, the quality of the show notes varies dramatically from podcast, a podcast. Some have them, some don't, but. If there are transcripts of whether they automatically generated or manual everything becomes a lot more searchable. So if, if you listen to something and you, you remember it you can then go and find it again. That, that, that, that really is the big thing for me. I think the, the streaming of value that has a lot of potential, but as somebody who's just set up a lightning node on a raspy blitz it's not ready for prime time. It is still sort of technical people will play around with it. There's an awful lot of fiddling to do,

Gene:

and you're a developer saying this.

Stu:

yeah, I mean, I've, I mean, I've not I, I'm sort of really technical person been playing with Unix for a long, long time and was there at the birth of Linux and all that sort of stuff, but the. Oh, only in the past couple of months, have I already sort of VED upon Bitcoin? And it's a, it's a very steep learning curve, even for somebody who's been a developer for all his life. So, and, and trying to explain that to the people I work with who are intelligent people, they're smart people trying to explain what that is and how that, that would work like now is, is sort of, I can't imagine doing it. If it's a simplified to the point you, you put in a credit card number and you can stream a fear currency to somebody, whether that's across a digital sort of currency network like lightning it, that you have to abstract that away because they, they don't know what Bitcoin is. They don't know what a light the sat is. They, they know. What money they've got in their pocket or their bank account. And I think there's a bit of a, too much, too much of a leap to expect them to understand what sets all at the moment. So I think that that's, that that is a game changer. If that, if we can get across the barrier of people paying for content,

Gene:

Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more than I that's why I just wanted to let you fully flush out that thought because I'm sitting here nodding my head in total agreement because I've also set up. A I've done both a Bitcoin node and the lightening node. And I had to figure a lot of things out with no instructions, no manuals, barely any searchable terminology. And a lot of things are not intuitive. And really, you have to figure out by trial and error in some cases, a very steep learning curve. Like you said, and also, you know, I'm not a developer at this stage in my life, certainly, but you know, I used to be one and I still program for fun and it is a steep learning curve to understand lot of this stuff. So I, I. I wholeheartedly agree with your point and thankfully, a number of the app developers that I've interviewed are also sharing this opinion that really, we need to make this so simple that you can explain it to your mother, and she'll be able to listen to a podcast and then the have a press, a boost button, and then reward the person that's creating that. I think ultimately having that be super simple is going to be a key to people being able to get off of advertising and to be purely supported by direct listener or viewer contributions.

Stu:

Think it has to be as simple as the, the well Apple have done with that Apple pie. I, I guess the S similar, similar as an Android but. You, you put your thumb on the on, on the button, you, you says yes. Pay them now. Now obviously, if, if you're going to do that with podcasts, Apple are going to want their

Gene:

absolutely. And that's why I was going to mention that that's the danger, because as soon as you start talking about the ease of use and Apple pay, then Apple's going to decide that, well, if your podcast app has the ability to donate money, then you have to support Apple pay and we get our cut from that.

Stu:

Yeah. And I don't think it has to be sort of 10% or 30%. I th I think done properly of obviously Apple would have to agree with everything and all that, and obviously that's not going to happen quickly. It will be just like making a, a credit card payment. So, and, and the rates would be similar. So, and I don't think. Any anybody would, I mean, you'd be a bit half too to not give them a small percentage for handling the payment.

Gene:

yeah, except that they get to decide what that percentage is. That that's the real danger here, because I know from history, both Apple and Google, when they have options to transfer money, like whether it's YouTube or Twitch or even video games, they expect their 30% and they get their 30% because the, the if you don't want to give them 30%, they'll show you the door and say, well, good luck because you're not going to be on our platform.

Stu:

I'm talking more about the, the. The, the centers they charge. For example, if I go and buy, buy my coffee and I use Apple pay with my American express, then they're not taking 30%. Then they're taking probably one to 2%. So if we can get down to that sort of level, I think that's almost acceptable.

Gene:

Yeah, no,

Stu:

It's not, it's not great, but it's almost

Gene:

it's surely a couple of percent. I think that would be much more palatable than the horrendous charged that Apple and Google both make to to processing payments. But I think that the reason that Apple is only charging a couple of percent and you don't see it right. It's paid by the, the seller of that item. Is it because they can't get away with it now because they don't want to, they, they would love to get 30% of every transaction, but it's not, it's already a very competitive market and Apple pay would be completely not competitive if it had the higher rates. So because Apple is entering that market so late in the game, I think they've had some modulate their interests. If they're creating a market or entering a brand new market, they can be a lot more what would be the right word? They can, they can be the big gorilla, a lot easier in a market that hasn't already existed for 50 years, like credit.

Stu:

but even in the Bitcoin world, I mean, I I've, I've owned Bitcoin now for probably about four weeks. So I'm very,

Gene:

Oh, you're up like 40% now. Right?

Stu:

Well, yeah, so my my 200 bucks of Bitcoin is now worth. 300 maybe even then to transfer that between, between different wallets unless I'm doing something wrong, there's a, there's a fee for doing that

Gene:

there's fees everywhere. Yeah. Yeah. So I did a little experiment here after I got my lightening though running and I, I took 100 us dollars. I bought the Bitcoin and I transferred that to my late lightning. And then I opened up a couple of channels. If you know how lightning nodes work you're you need bi-directional channels. And by the time I was sort of done setting it up and playing with it. I had about a $62 worth of Bitcoin in the wallet or in the, in the note. So my total cost of all the fees and transactions and getting it set up. Amounted to about 38% of the original amount

Stu:

So certainly Apple seems like a good deal.

Gene:

I does. Doesn't it. It's like, boy, if I can have this for just 30, it'd be brilliant. But you know, I, I fully understand that this is in a lot of ways because I'm testing and because I'm doing it for the first time and I'm probably making some mistakes, I don't need to, I may be transferring money back and forth too much, but yes, there are absolutely fees at every process in the lightning network. And then even in very much in Bitcoin itself.

Stu:

Yeah. And I, I think, I think the, the, the, the fees of the fine somebody has got to pay for running the system, whether it's Apple, whether it's visa, whether it's the banks, whether it's the people hosting the lightening nodes of the Bitcoin nodes. But I think that the thing that's going to the barrier to entry really is the ease of use from the user or the ease of comprehension. To the user and it has to be as simple as buying a coffee, using it, your phone or your watch.

Gene:

Yeah. We're very, very optimistic about this because even with the tiny percentage of people, I'd say probably less than 5% of the people downloading my podcast are downloading it using an app that is enabled for a value for value payments. But even from those 5% as they're listening with the the SATs streaming turned on. You remember that $62 that I mentioned that I was down to originally that's in about two weeks is almost back up to a hundred again and that because

Stu:

If you couldn't afford to transfer, you couldn't afford to open, open some more channels and,

Gene:

Well, that's the goal, right? I mean, anything I received that is in Bitcoiners, Toshi is certainly for the foreseeable future is going to be, just be used for expanding that. And obviously for donating to podcasts that I listened to. But I, I have zero plans to take anything that is donated out and converted to us dollars because it is too damn expensive for one, it is still at this point, a very small amount, but even if it got larger it, it, I would feel guilty taking it out of the system that is still very much in its Genesis in growing. I want to support the system as much as I can and the one of the best ways to support it. Is to open up nodes with a lot of channels on them to help the transactions get there faster. I don't know if you've experienced this. I've had, this happened a few times. That's the little tiny transactions generally go through fine, but you do 15 or 25,000 sat transactions, which really in the grand scheme of things, they're still very small compared to actual money transactions in the real world. But they're now getting to a big enough size to where some channels can't handle that size transactions, you know?

Stu:

No, I've, I've only tried really small transactions so far.

Gene:

Try a big one. You'll what I've noticed is about a 50% failure rate. They just don't go through. So, but, but then you try it again 10 minutes later and it does go through it all depends the path that it tick.

Stu:

right? Okay. So it's not big. It's finding one path and then failing. It's not intelligent. It's finding a path. That's got enough.

Gene:

That's the thing. So the way that the paths are calculated, and again, I'm like a total novice on this, but this is the way that I understand it. And it was explained to me, is the paths are basically determined based on the cost. So it's using a least cost path method. And when you have small transactions, that's exactly what you want. Cause you don't

Stu:

is that Le lease cost to the next hop or is that least cost? Right?

Gene:

well, I, I don't know if it adds all the hops. I think it does add the hops. So it'll, it'll find the full transversal with the least cost and then use that to send them. But at every stage there there's a. Quite a few assumptions that are made the costs are fixed, but my note might have different preferences than what you thought I was going to do. The note that I'm talking to might have a situation where their, their channel with me is now reduced substantially because a flow in the opposite direction. And a lot of people open up their, their channels with what is really kind of the standard minimum of 50,000 SATs. So it doesn't take long for a 50,000 sat channel to be completely shifted to one side or the other or be right in the middle. And then, you know, the biggest transaction you can do is about 80% of that. So while there's more and more nodes popping up all the time, It, it means there's better redundancy, but, but not necessarily for larger transactions. And again, I hate to even use the word larger because 25,000 SATs is like 15, $16, probably 10 pounds. So, you know, we're not talking like thousands of dollars worth of money moving. We're still talking fairly small transactions. And then of course the other thing is developers will always repeat, which is great because it's true is keep in mind that all of lightening is in beta. This is a beta test.

Stu:

and I think that, that, that might be one of the reasons why there's not that much liquidity in

Gene:

They encourage you to minimize the amount of money you put in.

Stu:

It's just high volt is like Eugene. That's trying to send 50,000 sites to everybody.

Gene:

Well, yeah, I mean, if the podcasts worth listening to why wouldn't you send 50,000 sets? I I'm in no danger of getting anything out big, but I haven't seen some contributions in that range to no agenda. And my immediate thought was, Oh boy, this is going to be a nightmare for tracking your night status because the value of those, those SATs is in flux. And so every donation you make will have a slightly different value imagine doing that. So if you're trying to get to a thousand dollars, you might've, you might've done in the transaction of a hundred thousand sat, but at a low point, so that might've only been worth, I don't know, $25 or $50 or something. And then you do another transaction of a hundred thousand set when Bitcoin is hitting a peak and that donation is worth. $500. So you're going to have a lot of math to do, to calculate the thousand dollar value of a night. If you don't know what I'm talking about. The no agenda podcast, which is where I generally hang out at no agenda social is done by Adam Curry, who is the founder of really the creator of all of podcasting and is currently the guy heading up podcasting 2.0 initiative. And so he has his own podcast, obviously. And in that podcast they have a an incentive, a recognition, if you will, that if you've donated $1,000 to the podcast over any number of payments, if it totals a thousand dollars or more. Then you will be recognized as a night of no agenda, which is I think very cute. And a lot of people really enjoy having that event take place. And it's hard enough calculating it in us dollars. It's more difficult to calculate when using other currencies, but with a currency, like a Bitcoin where you have the tremendous fluctuation, I think it's just going to be a complete nightmare. You're going to have to track. Basically, you're going to have to track everything, converted to us dollars on the day of the transaction to be able to have a, a fairly close you know, a total for when you hit that thousand dollars in donation, Mark.

Stu:

and January when, when, when they, because the, the no agenda guys actually do proper accounting and, and when they say they fell the taxes, and I know Adam's got previous with the IRS and all that, but we will sketch over that for awhile. How, how would they account for that in the taxes? I guess they would only

Gene:

I

Stu:

realize that when they cash out to fit or

Gene:

So I interviewed the guy that's doing their bookkeeping, so you can stay tuned for an upcoming interview with yeah. With Eric to shill, he'll be he'll be a guest. He's a, he's a fun guy. I've known him for many years, but he is he's the guy that's responsible for both, no agendas for doing the, the taxes and knowing the various legal requirements for doing cryptocurrencies. And also the guy doing that for for podcasting 2.0, but it's, it's not going to be easy. That much ID though.

Stu:

definitely not. Especially if you start recycling the SATs elsewhere.

Gene:

Well, yeah. And that's all I'm doing is the way I look at it is. I know how much I put in there and I know I haven't taken anything out and whatever happens on network is just going to be recycled and, you know, whatever donations I get. So I don't know, I guess I'll find out when I talk to my accountant, but my, my goal is to make this as neutral as possible. I'm certainly going to declare the Fiat money donations that I'm getting and, and incidentally certainly mentioned the, thanks to the people that are doing those donations via PayPal as well, but for the donations coming in via Bitcoin, which are still tiny, but slowly growing. Yeah, I, you know, I want to acknowledge people making them, but I also don't plan on actually buying anything with them. I'm not, I'm not going to take the money out to pay you know, hosting bills, the way that I would with the PayPal donations.

Stu:

of course. If somebody wants to drop you a couple of hundred Bitcoin, that'd be great.

Gene:

He wants to give me a couple of hundred Bitcoin. They can have the podcast. They probably have the podcasts for one Bitcoin, frankly. So yeah, no, it's, it's a we don't see those numbers. And I I've mentioned on a few previous episodes that much, like a lot of people that I've been talking to lately, and I did have four Bitcoins that I mind at one point 10 years ago, but they were so worthless at the time that I didn't bother recording them or backing them up. And when that hard drive was replaced, the computer thrown away there went the Bitcoins.

Stu:

I have a friend who bought his wife, a a an Apple laptop using Bitcoin. I think he paid about 20 or 30 Bitcoin

Gene:

Oh, that's horrible.

Stu:

but he was happy cause he minded and it's effectively a free laptop for him. He now only now holds just over one Bitcoin. So he's still

Gene:

Yeah, exactly, exactly. Or the people that bought pizza with Bitcoins, you know, it's, it's sort of like, man, if you only knew, and that's why I'm just treating the Bitcoins as a, you know, something to keep in that ecosystem and if they appreciate that's great. And if they don't, then that's fine. I'll be making donations to other podcasts there's but I would have to have a hell of a lot of large size Bitcoin donations to actually even think about taking them out of the ecosystem.

Stu:

it would be a nice problem to have.

Gene:

Right. Exactly. Well, I know we've gotten kind of long here and I say that almost every episode now, and certainly a Stu I appreciate your time. And for taking the opportunity to speak with me and with the listeners, giving us a little bit of insight about fed directory, and hopefully it's something that will be integrated with all of our favorite podcasting apps. And we'll be able to just have a, a unified place that will track what we're listening to and the location that we're at and then change the devices and the apps that we're consuming that content with.

Stu:

no, in fact, thanks very much, Jean. I mean, if there's any app developers out there urge you to go and look@fidirectory.org have a look at the API is that it's very developer focused. If you have any questions at all, you can email me stu@feeddirectory.org or look at. Stu at was it the podcast index.social as well. So he can get into contact with me that

Gene:

So, I will let you get going and thanks for doing the recording.

Stu:

thanks so much, Jane.

And now for a short outtake, this was actually recorded just prior to the beginning of the episode that you just listened to. And rather than starting with this, because it, it would make you feel like what, what happened? Why am I picking up in the middle of a conversation? I just thought I would clip this little segment and stick it at the end for you guys. Nothing horribly shocking reveal here, but but you do get to hear a little bit of the squeaky chair that Stu was talking about. Hope you enjoy.

Gene:

Yeah. It's not a library, anything. So if you need to get up, use the bathroom

Stu:

got a bit of a chair. That's a bit of a chair. So you might hear that Creek

Gene:

Oh, yeah. Try not to do that. That those are a bitch to clean up, man. That's like the worst.

Stu:

I'll sit still, well, I, I, when you said you wanted to chat, I've gone out and bought a microphone. I'm not normally in this location. I'm down closer to London. So all of my sort of a proper microphone and audio games is in at my home. So I jumped onto Amazon and bought something that's better than a shitty pair of headphones. I normally have.

Gene:

It sounds fine to me.

Stu:

Excellent. So the, the the website or the service is called feed directory.org.

Gene:

That's right. Feed directory.

Stu:

Okay. And, and if, if I go off a tangent on something completely unrelated, stop me.

Gene:

Oh no, that's all part of it. That's tangents are fun. I don't mind tangents at all. Sometimes that's where the most interesting conversations happen is in the tangents. Ready.

Stu:

Yeah. Sure.

Intro
Who owns listener data?
Any App (compatible) Same Data
Potential use
Direct Support
Transition from Horses to Cars
Apple Pay
Tracking Sats