In response to the "ethics of the MTGO platform" section:
I think that MTGO and MTG test fundamentally different things at this point due to the nature of digital information and digital communication. I don't think anything can be done about it but I think that MTGO only players have an asterisk next to their name about their skill at MTG.
MTGO amplifies the advantage that you have due to your network, as the example of "phone a friend call Brian Kelly" or "a team full of pros looking at a screen and playing against one opponent."
When Steve said, "Well, does it change the impact if I [didn't write my Gush book/had it given to me/gave it to Rich Shay for free]?" that also shows that having a network with the best minds in Vintage is MORE powerful online than offline.
It is functionally easier to contact others and to get them involved with the decision making process in game where in paper, it is all review, analysis and pregame prep. Skype calls, screen sharing, Twitch chat, Dropbox for documents and reference material are all just a few of the many ways to communicate.
I think the clock changes the feeling of the game play but not the essential nature of the game play. If the software were better, I think infinite loops or some level of automation would be possible to include those decks that are available in paper but not online.
Endurance was mentioned, and likely being at home and comfortable in that space has to reduce the endurance challenge - you're not in an unfamiliar space, you like the bathroom and it's private and available, drinks and snacks of the quality of your choosing are readily available. But more importantly, if endurance is a mental attribute that is tested in MTG and you offload that work to reference material and allies then your endurance is not tested in a similar fashion.
Finally, Steve kind of brushed off the complaints with comments in the spirit of "Well, are unenforceable rules good rules/does this matter since it can't be stopped?" and "There are already problems with the economic availability and networking power baked into the game."
I would argue that (A) the economic and network advantages that some have over others were essentially agreed to at the outset as they were but this represents an expansion of those advantages (buying reference materials, bots, and pulling in faster and more timely advice from your network) and (B) MTG has had an explosion in both areas that, while it has lifted both sides (internet has decreased some prices, MTGO especially via a competitive marketplace and more people can communicate and connect than ever before, but the Advantaged Network is able to capitalize even better than the Average Network and their cost sharing/economic burden has also become less with store sponsors and card sharing; however, most importantly is that (C) merely because a system currently has problems, similar or not, should we allow an expansion of those problems ethically.
Good discussion guys, appreciated the podcast as always.