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This Week in Tech 450
It’s time for Twit, This Week in Tech! Ed Bott joins Jeff Jarvis. Got a great panel for you. We’ll be talking about the fact that Microsoft read one of its employee’s emails. Are they reading yours? We also have the inside look at Google’s new watch, Android Wear. And Satoshi Nakamoto; is it time for Newsweek to retract that story? It’s all coming up next on Twit.
Net casts you love, from people you trust. This is Twit!
This is Twit, This Week in Tech, episode 450. Recorded March 23, 2014.
Twitter Canoe and Ed Bott Too
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Leo LaPorte: It’s time for Twit, This Week in Tech. The show where we talk about the tech news in obsessive detail, some might even say kind of obsessive detail. I can’t think of another word for obsessive.
Jeff Jarvis: OCD!
Leo: Yes we are a little OCD! There he is, Mr. Jeff Jarvis back from the voice-less, he had the Larry Page. And oddly enough Larry Page started talking a lot so I think there is something weird going on.
Jeff: There is only one voice between the two of them. They’re never in the same room at the same time!
Leo: Jeff is a professor of journalism at the city University of New York. The author of What Will Google Do and his latest Public Parts and a regular on our This Week in Google program. Nice to see you Jeff.
Jeff: Good to see you.
Leo: Glad we can have you. Got to makeup for your voice-less.
Jeff: This is a makeup quiz.
Leo: I will erase your incomplete.
Jeff: Thank you.
Leo: Now ladies and gentlemen we introduce you to Ed Bott, who we love dearly. Ed has been on many times before, I’ve known him for more than 20 years now, Ed.
Ed Bott: Each time we go through this, Leo, the list gets along her.
Leo: He is the editor of the Ed Bott report, he’s actually Ed Bott of the Ed Bott’s report. On ZDNet does a great job covering Microsoft but of course technology in general and like those of us of a certain age, and this is the white-haired Twit today, he’s cynical and skeptical of much of what he sees in technology. I think you have to be. Nice to have you, Ed. We appreciate it. We were talking before the show began, it's really kind of an old story but yet I don’t think we ever really followed up on the Newsweek cover story. It proclaimed that Leah McGrath Goodman proclaimed that she had found the creator of BitCoin hiding in plain sight in Southern California. Dorian Nakamoto. Nakamoto has issued two denials now. You pointed me, Jeff Jarvis, to Felix Salmon’s article in Reuters on why Newsweek isn’t convincing. This is from a couple of weeks ago. What is the latest? Here we are a month later from this cover story. Newsweek stands by it. As does Goodman. Nobody has really proven otherwise, except there is an interesting email from the address that Nakamoto has used in the past saying, “I am not Dorian”.
Jeff: But the three denials! The latest is that Dorian has denied it twice, mysterious Nakamoto has denied it, and Newsweek is standing by. That’s where it stands I think.
Leo: Goodman says she has ample forensic evidence, “Which I’m not going to give you”.
Jeff: Wrote a very good piece to about this following up on what Felix Salmon wrote and talked to Goodman. A lot of it was this old attitude of the Press that, “You should trust us because we’re Newsweek”. Well, for one thing we don’t do that anymore. And for another thing you’re not really Newsweek, you’re just this strange ghostlike apparition.
Leo: This was the return of Newsweek. ArsTechnica Joe Mullen writing in the Law and Disorder blog, “The colossal arrogance of Newsweek’s BitCoin scoop, without more evidence it is time for a retraction”. Is it? Or it least for more evidence?
Ed: Yeah well right now the ball is in their court. This was their big coming out, right? Their reemergence after being under the control of new owners. And this is just one of the most spectacular swing and a miss attempts that I’ve ever seen in journalism. Really, seriously, to put this on the cover and then have all of your evidence fall apart and all of your subjects deny it. And you continue to stand by the story, without any additional evidence. That is just nuts, I can't really think of anything quite like it.
Jeff: Well Ed, I think we’re seeing it about every 10 minutes these days on CNN. As they talk about black holes and all kinds of ridiculous speculation when they have nothing to report but they stay on the air for 24 hours about the Malaysian flight. It’s a little similar actually.
Ed: They do at least keep changing their story, there. Coming up with new outlandish theories. This one, a single outlandish theory. It’s just nuts. Just nuts.
Jeff: The interesting thing to me was… the argument on the story that interested me, was that a lot of the geeks said they were doxing the guy.
Leo: They doxed him, whether he’s Nakamoto or not. That’s cruel and unusual punishment.
Jeff: Other than trying to say, on top of that, that his real identity is not newsworthy. I've got to disagree with that. I think the real identity of the guy in question that creates a nation busting currency is newsworthy. And who he has and what is behind it does have some news value. Do you disagree with that? If it really were him, is that a story even if he says, “I don’t want to be known. I’m not involved any more”?
Ed: Oh that is absolutely a story. In fact, what this reminds me of is the 1996 Olympics. And Richard Jewell. When there was the bombing in Atlanta.
Leo: And he was falsely named as the bomber.
Ed: He was at the scene and he actually turned out to be a hero, he was originally identified as a hero and then, one or two sources said, “O now he’s a suspect”. And before you knew it there was a rush to judgment. The analogy is falls apart in a few cases but it is the example of a guy who is progressed into the news against his will, and has a false story told about him. And he doesn’t get the chance to press the rewind button. He eventually won a fairly substantial and a thoroughly influential libel suit.
Leo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution got a formal apology but I tell you what, and you see the name Richard Jewell and I think most people go, “Wasn’t he the guy who was responsible for bomb at the Olympics”?
Ed: He died not in disgrace, but having had to spend most of the last years of his life just trying to clear his name. So this guy, who got doxed is an old man. And he didn’t ask for this, and he doesn’t seem to be in the best of health. It seems like a profound act of cruelty.
Leo: Wouldn’t it be cruel even if he did invent that coin?
Ed: If he did invent BitCoin, he would be unspeakably rich, and he would have access to medical care and housing and a standard of living and also a standard of defense, that this guy doesn’t. The fact that we haven't seen an army of lawyers descend on Newsweek yet is almost at the dense that the guy is not him.
Leo: in fact, I like this Joe Mullen in in ArsTechnica calls it the, “Do we beats Truman of the Internet age”. It really is a case, at this point, starting to smell. Maybe because I’m an old guy I gave Newsweek credit. I said they would have never defended this if they didn’t have compelling argument.
Jeff: Newsweek is now owned by International Business Times right? IBT? And when I do research every week for This Week in Google, it is constantly, “Oh the new confirmed date for Nexus 47…”. And it’s always from them. You know I’m all for free speech and everybody having their own voice and all that, but if you want to call yourself a responsible institute of journalism then act like it.
Ed: Newsweek was previously owned by the Washington Post right?
Ed: Okay, that is a serious journalistic cred and you get to spend that cred, if you’ve got it there. IBT? Not so much.
Leo: I guess I was fooled by the name, Newsweek.
Ed: And you know what that’s like. There’s brands like Polaroid and RCA that built up brand equity through the years and then they went belly up but their name got purchased by somebody else and it’s the same sort of thing. They bought and are squandering the equity that was in the Newsweek brand name.
Leo: Nothing new, remember the Dell computer? They bought the old radio company…
Jeff: The one that starts the AltaVista.
Leo: Oh that’s a good idea a new search engine!
Jeff: Who owns that?
Leo: Who owns what? AltaVista?
Leo: Compaq? You think?
Ed: Altavista was a Digital product, Compaq bought Digital. Yahoo bought Compaq.
Jeff: I don’t think I ever told you this story. Jeff Weiner was representing, oh who did he work for, Time Warner and I was at Advance. And the two companies tried many years ago to buy AltaVista, thank God we failed. Major, major task force meetings and bid documents with lots of words, we were going to buy AltaVista and do wonderful things.
Leo: You know this whole idea of having a web search engine is not a bad idea, really, I mean some have made at. I don’t know what made Google succeed over AltaVista, they were there first. Everybody used AltaVista until Google came along.
Jeff: Google was better.
Leo: Was that it, they were better?
Jeff: Yes they were better.
Leo: I guess so. They were cleaner. They were simpler. And they didn’t have ads.
Jeff: They had the page rank and that made a difference.
Leo: And we talked about this and this week in Google this week and now they have ads. If you search for something, a good one would be mesothelioma, that’s the one that Danny Sullivan suggested, Google has changed how ads look on the main search page. That’s one of the reasons why we left AltaVista was it was not clear what was a search result and what was an ad. They do have a yellow ad button.
Jeff: I think that is clearer Leo.
Leo: But they don't want to have a box.
Jeff: But it didn’t say ad.
Leo: Wait a minute Jeff. Look on the right-hand column where does say ads on the top. But as I scroll down, those ads are indistinguishable from the actual results.
Jeff: Because we’re trained now to look at the right hand column.
Leo: We know that that is an ad column.
Jeff: Yeah! The problem with the aid of advertising, you call it things like brand voice, you don't use the “A” word. And Google is using the “A” word.
Leo: At least they say it’s an ad.
Jeff: Yeah! I don’t want to be accused of sucking up to Google, but using the word ad is the most important thing you can do to be clear.
Leo: Alright I’ll grant you that.
Jeff: You need to be on This Week!
Leo: We did, you would've defended this.
Ed: There is a balancing act that all of the advertising and search companies do when it comes to presenting their results. They want the ads to be identifiable but as subtle a fashion as is legally possible. Because the difference, if you can credibly mislead some of your audience, and 1% of people your click rate will go up. That is a fortune if you can boost your click rate by 1%. And it’s all about getting people to click those ads, that’s where the money is.
Jeff: In the long run if you keep fooling people. Did we talk about this? I guess we didn’t. Tony Hill did a wonderful column in times.
Leo: We did talk about that.
Jeff: Great. The point of that is that people are recognizing the aid of advertising is crap and they are not scrolling there. They are going to the page and leaving it. And so thank goodness the public is smart. We’re not fools.
Ed: In aggregate we are smart.
Leo: Individually we are pretty dumb. We’ve seen it all before! Turkey is starting to ban social media. We’ll talk about that and Google’s fight against it, which is good, in just a little bit. But first, and we’ve got a great panel we’re glad to have Ed Bott and Jeff Jarvis here to talk about This Week in Tech.
Leo: But first a word from a company that I knew about, a product I’d heard about, but I didn’t really know what it did. We’re talking about Atlassian and JIRA. JIRA is one of the world’s most powerful and customizable issues and project management systems. Now, that is not something I need to pay attention to. But if you do, you need to pay attention to this. atlassian.com/twit will allow you to capture, easily capture, and organize and prioritize your teams issues, tasks, features and bugs. Give your team a simple and intuitive interface for collaborating with others in real time. You can integrate your planning documents wherever they are from. Which I really like. You can use the tool you like integrated in your backlog, your issues, your code repository. Choose a code repository you prefer. Set up any business process you can imagine so your team works the way you want. Define your own issue types, track the information that matters most to your team, stay in the loop. You get notifications via email. You can use app replies and RSS, monitor streams of activity, or self-updating reports, you’re always in the know. Spin infinitely in any direction with thousands of JIRA add-ons. When you get a platform that is this popular and has been around for this long, there are so many choices. There are task management, time tracking, project management, hundreds of uses. And of course with code, JIRA ties everything together from the initial planning docs to files, to the chain sets, right there and in your code repository all the way through. Of course they support rest APIs, they work with GIT, they are flexible, they are simple enough for a five person startup and powerful and reliable enough for 100,000 person enterprise. That is why over 25,000 companies, 70% of the Fortune 100, even NASA, uses JIRA. It sits at the heart of Atlassian’s offerings from managing their entire app development process from concept to launch. Go to atlassian.com/twit to learn more about JIRA. Monthly plans are very affordable, $10 a month for up to 10 users and it’s free for 30 days when you use and push the try it free button. Funny, I was talking to my son, Henry, he came home from college and we were talking about advertising and he said, “You know, Edgar Benes have you ever heard of him?” I said, “Yeah, I’ve heard of him”. He said, “Freud’s nephew? He invented modern day advertising”. And I said, “Yeah, Henry, that’s right and that’s why we don’t do advertising the same way we used to do it in the old days, where we would scare people or you know use their secret needs, wants, and desires to sell a product. What we do on Twit is so different, we tell you about the product, the features, the benefits, and then we let you try it for free. And I think that is kind of old-fashioned but I like how we do that”. And he said, “Yeah, Edgar Benes. Fascinating fella”.
Leo: Let’s talk about Turkey. Lisa and I were in Turkey a few months ago and at the time our guides, and a lot of people we were talking to, especially the women, were very concerned about a return in Turkey to sharia law, the rise of the Muslim government. And of course there were the protests into Tahrir Square, or is that the Square in Egypt? What is the name of the square there in Turkey?
Ed: Chat room please!
Leo: Of course, as with Egypt, twitter social media is very, very powerful in this kind of stuff. The Prime Minister banned Twitter late Thursday night in Turkey. And of course the immediate effect was people started tweeting more than ever before! Getting around the ban and using VPN’s and other technical strategies.
Jeff: The great thing is there was a movement of graffiti playing up Google’s DNS. 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.
Leo: On the walls! Painting them on the walls!
Jeff: Which couldn’t last that long because the next thing that happened was that Turkey blocked it.
Leo: Yes they blocked it in the Turkey DNS system And obviously that didn’t work. So they started blocking DNS options including Google’s by Saturday. Look at that, 184.108.40.206. Who would've ever thought you would see that as graffiti on a wall!
Jeff:: Yeah isn't that cool?
Leo: But it just shows you that you try to block this stuff, you do so at your old peril. It can actually make it worse.
Ed: But certainly if you are starting out in a country that is open, that has a tradition of open communication, when you have to ratchet things down and shut them off, there are too many pipes, too many tubes that you have to deal with that are. It’s much easier in a country where the state already controls the means of communication, the incoming pipe to the country.
Leo: Like China.
Ed: Like China, and I think in Libya when that was happening a couple years ago, it’s a lot easier in an environment like that. But introducing repression into a country that is used to Western-style communication is kind of doomed to fail. It’s not going to succeed. It’s interesting but I’m going to be visiting Turkey in about five weeks or so. So I’ll get a chance to see how things are.
Jeff: I’m going to be there in June myself.
Leo: Really? Yeah I wonder what it will be like. Twitter Schmitter apparently is what the Prime Minister said, the rough translation.
Ed: I just re-tweeted a cartoon for your benefit their Leo. It’s from a Dutch newspaper. It’s okay you can put it on air.
Leo: Yeah because I can’t read this!
Ed: Nobody can read the caption.
Leo: But it's pretty obvious if you look in the picture. It’s twitter birds pooping.
Ed: The caption on the cartoon someone told me is in Dutch and apparently it says, “Turkish spring”.
Jeff: In this story I highly recommend Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist from Princeton and UNC who is just really, really good. She’s Turkish and she knows her stuff, she knows social very well, I follow her.
Leo: Of course there is a lot of traffic on twitter about this. Can this work?
Jeff: No, in the long run it cannot. Proven. It cannot.
Leo: As you say when you’re coming from it country with freedom expression is already established.
Ed: I don’t think it’s just freedom of expression, I think it is having a multitude of channels for that. So one of the first things people said you can do is, you can text your tweets. You might not be able to read things from other people but you can publish stuff to twitter immediately by enabling it on your SMS feed and then boom you just send something to a particular number and it’s on twitter. You just bypassed it so there are so many channels, it is not a repressive country in general, they don't have an iron fist of control over the communication channels so how do you block all of them? There are way too many.
Leo: Right. Actually as Zeynep tweets, “So much awful analysis of Turkey’s twitter block coming out, I guess it is big enough news to attract those stylized fact light analyses”. So I don’t want to be one of those.
Jeff: She wrote a wonderful piece during the innocence of the Muslims bruha, and I use her words here, “Why Free speech is a baffling to many”. The idea that this speech will come out of the country because it’s endorsed because normally speech is approved if you live in a country Where speech is approved, then to see it come out in a country like ours where it’s not you assume that it is approved and that it represents what the view is. That is why in her argument she says there are different world views.
Leo: She writes in Medium Today that Turkish government banned itself from Twitter. People in Turkey have banned the ban. She says that during the day Turkish Prime Minister had said Twitter Schwitter will wipe them all off. I don’t care what the international community says. She says, “You might care with the people in Turkey will think. Twitter is not just a protest tool in Turkey nor is it the place where the growing corruption scandal is discussed. It’s also used by a large number of government supporters, including almost all of the leading officials in parliamentarian for the ruling party. It is an entrenched part of the network public sphere”. She thought perhaps it was a glitch, this doesn’t make any sense! “What happened next should be a lesson to any modern country that wants to ban social media after it has already been incorporated into everyday life. “For the next three hours I slowly watched my Turkey list on Twitter go from quiet to resurgent to defiant to jubilant to very very crowded. People circumvented one by one, and then in a flood”! You can't shut it down. People in Turkey had banned the ban. So, in fact, the only people who really got banned from Twitter are the pro-government tweeters who didn’t want to openly circumvent. They, in effect shut down their supporters! While amplifying their critics! Whoops! “The people, the only people not on Twitter at the moment”, she writes, “are ardent pro-government supporters who did not want to circumvent and people who may not have the fairly minimal skilled required to circumvent”.
Jeff: Who are most likely not exactly in your active twitter community anyway.
Leo: She says, “People are also backing up their networks to WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook and whatever else I probably don’t even know about. The country is fairly wired and massive media censorship of the past few years has meant social media is a lifeline that many have adopted”. so that’s interesting. Official censorship of the official media, the press, has merely amplified the importance of social media. Seems like you try to shut this stuff down it just squeezes around.
Jeff: The Barbara Streisand effect.
Leo: Yes the Barbara Streisand effect. And then the official tweet from the official government agency of Turkey, “twitter was blocked to prevent abuse of rights”. Okay yeah.
Jeff: Something got lost in translation there.
Leo: And her last sentence in this piece of medium, “Finally the circumvention has become such normal life that I’m once again seeing people tweet about food, cats and the weather”! So there you go, the only effect of the ban, the government banned from twitter! It’s kind of fitting isn’t it?
Jeff: I’m worried, there is a story in here to of the speculation, and it may just be rank speculation it may be nothing, but twitter trying to get rid of what they called the infrastructure, RT’s and hashtags.
Leo: That’s terrible, the story was in The Guardian.
Jeff: Well The Guardian and elsewhere, and we have to be careful in speculating so I don’t know if it’s true. But hey, this is like CNN we might as well speculate!
Leo: So Vivian Schiller who is the twitter head of news, maybe she's just not up to speed I don’t know. She just came there recently right?
Ed: She just came there a month ago.
Jeff: Vivian is very smart.
Leo: Oh yeah! She said in a news conference that the@reply and the hashtag were arcane. She said that Twitter was working on a way to hide them by retaining functionality. We are working to move the scaffolding of twitter to the background. Maybe it is a little arcane. But I think everybody gets it now.
Jeff: It is. But look how people used it to gather around and do things they created a movement from the hashtag. There was an example in one design, one small test evidently, that if I replied to you it didn’t have the @ sign, but it was still tied to you in their client. As data it may not be as apparent, I don’t know once again I’m speculating. What I understand on the one hand the meekness is off-putting and twitter definitely wants to grow its audience. On the other hand look at the power of what the hashtag has done, it's occupied by Wall Street that led to Washington and all these things. And so am I being a geek hankering for something that’s too arcane and is too much or am I right to worry?
Leo: I wouldn’t worry about this, it sounds like something, like they’re floating a trial balloon.
Ed: You know what it sounds like to me? You only have 140 characters, and one of the most interesting things to see on Twitter is when somebody gets a good twitter canoe going right?
Leo: What is the twitter canoe?
Ed: A twitter canoe is when you have so many names involved in a conversation that there is no room left for actual content.
Leo: Did you make that up? That’s good!
Ed: No, no, no, no, no. That’s been around for a while. In fact sometimes people do it on purpose. And you start adding people on to the end of the discussion, or people just come in themselves. So we have the same thing with @ signs and names. Like Jeff Jarvis takes up 10 characters plus the @ sign so that is 11 characters plus the space before that is 12 characters. Where I can have a more substantive conversation with @EV than I can with @JeffJarvis or @LeoLaporte because your names are interfering and using up some of the content space.
Jeff: But it is who is in the conversation, Ed, that matters.
Ed: Absolutely bit if the idea is to remove the names from the character count and still leave them visible and the conversation that makes perfect sense. It also makes perfect sense that somebody would botch the description of that when they are bringing it up in a place where it hasn’t been approved by marketing or hasn’t been fully thought through yet.
Leo: And maybe they just don’t count them? For a long time people said 140 characters are so arbitrary it doesn’t make sense, why don’t we have more? That’s one way to give you more characters. While preserving the content, is make the hashtags and@replies free. I mean here is an example of a tweet. With four names. He says, “I don’t know which voice is Ed”. I think Ed’s voice is distinct. And from now on would you introduce everything saying “this is Ed”? I’m just kidding!
Ed: I’ll see if I can get what’s his name.
Leo: And now Ed will speak. Here’s another one, from Bill. “ Watching the white haired Twit with Leo Laporte and guest @JeffJarvis, @EdBott and @OMGchad producing”. You’re right it becomes a canoe I like it the Twitter cameo! Ed Bott two.
Ed: So go ahead and reply to that in throw in another name.
Leo: Let’s make a canoe out of this! I love this and I don’t know why I never heard of it. That’s a great word. Twitter is eight years old this week and they are celebrating in a variety of ways. You can see what your first tweet is and so forth.
Ed: I’m pretty sure they got my first tweet wrong. According to them my first tweet is something like, I’m installing Vista service pack one on a test machine. But I distinctly remember what they list as my second Tweet being my first one. Which is something along the lines of, why would anyone care what the hell I had for lunch today?
Leo: This is on the Discover page discover.twitter.com. You put your first tweet in. Well they've definitely got mine wrong but that’s not their fault. I joined twitter December 2006 and then quit Twitter in April 2007. And re -joined in November 2007. So this is my first tweet from my second attempt. I said I surrender Twitter, you win! Well the reason I quit was because I was concerned about copyright confusion between twit and twitter. I thought, this is what you could not be on twitter. I went to Jaiku and used something else and nobody ever followed me. Jaiku went under, Google bought them! I think I actually realized I should be on twitter. I think there is something going on there. So how did they get yours wrong Ed?
Ed: It could be also that my memory is wrong but I’m pretty distinctly sure. You know I’ve heard people say that there were problems with date time stamps in the first couple years of Twitter. And Lord knows they were making a lot of it up on the server side as they went along. In the second year as they started to hit the hockey stick portion of the curve, the fail whale came out a lot.
Jeff: I’ve only seen it once recently.
Leo: So Twitter is trying some interesting things for instance, it seems to be an experiment, it’s on the twitter IOS client for some, how many people saw a tweet?
Ed: I think it is far fewer than anyone imagines.
Leo: It is interesting but I think it would be kind of an important step if you wanted to let advertisers know what their impressions were. I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t use the twitter client so I haven’t seen it yet. It is brave isn't it? The woman Lydia J who’s twitter we are looking at told The Verge, she says, “This just gives me anxiety”. that tweet sucked. It got zero reviews. It’s not the content of the tweet that tells you how many reviews you got.
Ed: Maybe you have a point there. maybe it leads to the buzz feed of twitter.
Leo: Let’s do that. Let’s everybody try to get more tweets, more views.
Ed: Well at least temporarily what it would do would be to shift the effort of the scammers and crooks from creating and buying and selling fake followers is to creating and buying and selling fake leaders! Fake viewers.
Leo: Oh no!
Ed: Well look, it happened to the web, it happened to email marketing, and it happened in Facebook I’m pretty sure, along the way. And as twitter starts to monetize itself more you’re going to see it here too. Every online economy attracts people who want to exploit and take their unfair share.
Leo: That is a very good point. It is just the way it happens and then we find ways to fight it.
Ed: And so an increasing amount of resources at websites, at web ad serving companies, and now at services like twitter certainly iTunes and the Google Play store they are constantly having to work to take people who are trying to gain the review system. And move things up the chart. So there is a constant cat and mouse game between people who are selling stuff online and especially people who are selling attention or presence online. And those who are trying to extract an unfair share out of it.
Leo: I get a lot of emails now from people, I guess Google is cracking down on spammy links. Because we have a little used forums site that twit commons. I guess for a while a lot of people were spamming it. And so finally I’ve been getting these great emails from people saying, “It appears at our previous SEL company has created some pages with links back to our website. We’ve been advised by Google these links are against their terms and we need to remove them. And if we don’t we are going to use the disavow you which could be detrimental to your website, so can you take our spam links down”? So I immediately sent a response saying, “It just makes me so happy to know that your spammy crap on my website is getting you in trouble. Go ahead and try to disavow me - try”!!!
Ed: Why not say you’ll be happy to remove their spammy links; your customary charge and the administrative charge is $1 per link removed with a $100 service fee for each breach, with a $100 minimum plus $1 for each link.
Leo: I bet it would work! I could make some money off of this!
Ed: I don’t see why not. And if you’re actually going to assign somebody, you’re going to have to pay an employee time to do that.
Leo: This is a lot of work. I’m getting a lot of removal requests!
Ed: I’ll take a commission on that.
Leo: Deal. You thought of the idea. I’ll give you 50 cents for every one of those. I’m getting a ton of these!
Ed: I’ve got a good business idea here.
Leo: You do! Google has manually penalized my site for having unnatural links. I don’t know how these links got on Twit Town Commons.
Ed: Because you put them there!
Leo: You moron!
Ed: Or they paid someone to put them there.
Leo: They paid someone.
Ed: They paid an SEO specialist.
Leo: Oh Lord. To spam my forums.
Ed: Well you already know they’ll pay.
Leo: I know.
Ed: And that they’re online reputation is important enough for them to pay. They paid to put them there, they can pay to take them out!
Leo: Chat Room says that sounds vaguely illegal. But that is the best money making scams; they sound vaguely illegal but they’re not! No. Glen could you get right on that? What was it? $100 removal fee plus $1 per link. I love it. We’ll send 50 cents to Ed for each and every link we remove. I love that idea.
Ed: You can send it to me in BitCoin.
Leo: Actually we should just take BitCoin. Is BitCoin going up or down. Does anybody know?
Ed: There was another exchange that, I don’t know whether it collapsed, I only saw the headline sort of scrolling by today but there was another exchange that is in trouble.
Jeff: Oh gosh. I’m surprised Google doesn’t tell you the value by just paying in BitCoin.
Leo: Mount Gox is now asking people to sign in with their account to see their balance so maybe Gox, which has declared….
Ed: They found 200,000 BitCoin. There were 600,000 missing I think.
Leo: They found a few of them.
Ed: You know, someone needs to remake “It’s a wonderful life” with BitCoin.
Ed: Oh fool, you lost 200,000 BitCoin! At Starbucks! When you tipped the Barista with 300,000 BitCoins!
Leo: Oh Lord. Oh man. Twitter music is dead. You know, everybody was very excited about this when it came out.
Jeff: I don’t even remember it.
Leo: You don’t? I do. There was an app and the idea was that you ping your friends what they were listening to, they would tweet ‘em and then you would have kind of a conversation going around. The app will cease working on April 18th, they’ve removed it from the app store. And so there you go. Twitter music, which nobody used is dead.
Ed: So it was tied with one service - Rdio? I’d have to go back and look. But then that service got sold to…
Leo: We Are Hunted. Which twitter acquired. I never heard of We Are Hunted. The app integrated with Spotify and Rdio recommended tracks based on artists you had followed and tweeted about. Member of the team We Are Hunted have since left twitter. Although the founder remains there.
Ed: I believe that is called taking the money and…
Leo: Yes. Thank you! thank you very much. So remember that warning that we got from the federal government not to use Huawei equipment because the Chinese were spying on us? Turns out we were spying back on them! Oh that’s great! Also, there is a lot to talk about. I want to talk about this Android Wear. Google’s bid to get into the wearables space. And a whole lot more. Ed Bott is here from that Ed Bott report on ZDNet. Anything else you want to plug Ed?
Ed: I’ve got nothing right now.
Leo: You have a book or anything?
Ed: I have no books.
Ed: Just go to ZDNet. I have some really interesting stuff there.
Jeff: I feel really inadequate when I have nothing new to plug.
Leo: I know! What are you doing here? A Sunday afternoon? You have something else to do?
Ed: It’s not football season.
Leo: That’s right. It’s a whole lot harder to get people here during the NFL season. March madness I guess is a little different.
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Leo: What to use think bad, we talked with Steve Gibson this week and he said, “the XP thing is overblown”. April 8 is the last patch Tuesday for Windows XP, finally after 13 years micro soft says we are not going to fix it anymore. You know, on the one hand you see all these breathless reports, 95% of all US ATMs use windows XP, half a billion users will be vulnerable to hacking. I’ve called it, you know Armageddon on April 9, then Steve called me down a little when he said, if you know what you're doing you can still run at peace safely. Where do you come down on them?
Ed: Oh I think Steve is right. On security issues he usually is. And I don’t think there is any question that he has got to care too. ATMs? ATMs in general, are single-purpose devices on dedicated networks. Either VPNs or direct dial-up connections to a banking network. People get viruses with malware by surfing the web and reading email and either opening attachments or going to dodgy websites on un-patched machines. You’re not going to do that on an ATM. The fact that an ATM is running windows XP is a basically kind of irrelevant. So I’m not worried about ATMs. Among the rest of the people, the overwhelming majority of instances of malware infection these days are coming through the vulnerabilities in third-party products. Things like Flash, Acrobat, and especially Java. If you’re running those things and you’re keeping them up to date, even on an XP machine, you’re not going to be exploited. In addition, you have antivirus software that will continue to be supported from third parties and even from Microsoft for a period after XP goes out of support. So yeah, you know, if you’re running XP I think you are making a bad decision, there are a lot better choices that you could make.
Leo: Steve loves XP he runs XP! He’s not even using service pack three! He said I couldn’t patch it after service pack two, so I said, “Oh forget it”. He admittedly knows what he’s doing, he’s behind a firewall, I doubt he opens any attachments, or reads his email.
Ed: He probably reads his mail in a terminal. and uses links to surf the web, which is a
Leo: I have to say most of the people that are using XP, and some of these people bought XP on NetBooks just a few years ago, it’s not all 13-year-old machines. Some of these people using XP, in fact I would say probably the majority of them are not sophisticated users and so, the fact that they can’t update it in Explorer, the fact that they won’t be getting patches, they are going to be pretty vulnerable.
Ed: Well there hasn’t been a net book sold from a manufacturer with XP on it since 2009, so that is five full years. But even then, you knew then, that you were buying a dying product and you were paying 300 bucks for a product and you got your use out of it.
Leo: So maybe it’s time! Do you like Windows 8?
Ed: I’ve been running Windows 8.1, update one. It will be available to the public in a few weeks, and I have to say that a lot of the issues with Windows 8 was that it was very difficult to use. I have a dual monitor system here. Windows 8 was practically unusable on dual monitors, Windows 8.1 improved that tremendously. 8.1, update one makes it even easier to use. So I think it is one of those slow motion improvement processes That will improve again at the end of this year, and it will approve again next year. But I understand completely people who say, “Not yet”.
Leo: Well there are a lot of people I think who use XP because they wanted business software for several applications that only run on XP.
Ed: I think there are very few of those.
Leo: I hope you’re right.
Ed: There really are.
Leo: All of them call my radio, I might add. Every one of them!
Ed: Of course they do. There are people who are using an old version of Quick Books, for example.
Leo: They called today. Quicken. They were using Quicken. He said, “When I updated from Windows 98 to Windows XP I can’t import the data now”. Today! He called me. This is like a call from when you used to be on old computers with me. It’s like, old man of time forgot!
Ed: You just want to say okay find your serial ports….
Leo: Do you have your dongle sir? No I lost it!
Ed: I think that is a serious issue here. Which is, that there is a certain segment of the population that has been trained to believe that entire experiences should be completely free. There should be no cost ever associated with them. That has led to the bad experiences that people have with software.
Jeff: Ed, you know I think this gets obsolete as an argument, and pardon me for this, but I’m from the Cloud show. I’ve come down from the cloud! If I were introducing a grandparent to stuff today, you’d introduce them to Docks, and you’d introduce them to Chrome Book.
Leo: It would be so much better, wouldn’t it? It would probably be a better choice for those people.
Chad: Hey we got some feedback and then we weren’t able to hear you, ED. I think your USB either fell out or…
Leo: We always know there is a problem when one of our hosts are waving their arms. We’ll figure it out, Ed. Oh, he’s gone. A puff of greasy black smoke and he’s disappeared.
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Leo: We’ve got Ed back! Ed Bott back!
Ed: I’m back baby!
Leo: Yeah, baby!
Jeff: Hey Ed! I got a Chrome Book.
Leo: You’re not using a Chrome Book right now, Jeff, are you?
Jeff: I can’t because I’m looking at you.
Leo: I make him use a Mac just for Skype.
Jeff: And by the way, the camera went out and so I had to switch machines and its already been out twice.
Leo: Hey let me mention, as long as we’re talking about Google and Chrome and everything. A little plug for a Google event with Vince Cerf that is coming up April 2nd. And I’m actually hoping that I can be a part of it. I’ve offered to immoderate it. They are doing a hang-out with Vince Cerf, the father of the internet, he doesn’t like to be called that. If you go to . You can take a part in this hang-out. You can ask questions of the father of the internet and the whole deal on this is they want to talk about, not Google, but preserving the freedom of the internet, preserving the neutrality and all this.
Jeff: Google is calling him the father of the internet so I think you can too.
Leo: Yeah. I’ve interviewed Vince many times before and he says, “I was one of the fathers, but the internet has many fathers”. But you know what, he is increasingly like The Guy. Isn’t he? Don’t we all love him?
Ed: Yep, we do.
Leo: Freedom to participate. Free expression. Freedom from unwanted intrusion. Google, Take Action. That is coming up April 2nd. I’m hoping to be part of that.
Jeff: Well I hope you are. You’d be perfect at that.
Leo: I’d love to do it. And I have volunteered to Google Plex. And now I’m getting the tattoo and the special serial number implant and I’ll be ready. No, I’m just joking. See now I’m not going to get to do it. It was just a joke. NSA has breached Huawei for years. The Federal government says don’t use Huawei equipment because Huawei is owned partially by Chinese government but as we found out now they, you know, what goes around comes around. The NSA has been creating its own back doors right into Huawei’s networks, according to information by Edward Snowden. The operation code name Shot Giant was looking for links between the People’s Liberation Army and Huawei to exploit Huawei’s technology so that when the company sold equipment to other countries, the NSA could roam through networks freely. NSA is good at this. Unbelievable!
Jeff: It is amazing. Now evidently there is some controversy about the story being revealed… New York Times did the story. Glen Greenwald says, “Don’t blame Snowden. Snowden handed this to the Journalists. The New York Times decided what to reveal and not to reveal”. Greenwald agrees with them revealing this. So do I. I think it is hypocritical as hell that they went after Huawei and turns out they themselves are drilling Huawei equipment. But Snowden himself has long since given up the documents of control.
Leo: You know Claire Cain Miller had an article that appeared in the New York Times that initially the headline of the article was, “Edward Snowden Revelations cost US Tech Companies”. I saw your tweet this is how I found out about it. They’ve changed the headline. “Revelations of NSA spying cost US Tech companies”. I would just take that revelations off and just say, “NSA spying”.
Jeff: Exactly. I don’t know if you saw Snowden’s…. I quite disliked Snowden’s interview at SXSW. They had the problem that SXSW keynote interviewers always have where the interviewers take too much time. So TED, and I’ve made fun of TED I will confess, but I give big credit from Chris Anderson at TED this year, he interviewed Snowden as a traveling robot and it was a really good interview because he gave Snowden time to talk. And Snowden is now in his coming out phase. Really interesting thing, I think. He’s now talking about why he did what he did and why he would do it again, why he defends the Constitution, how he handed things over to the Journalists, he doesn’t talk about things unless the Journalists decide to reveal them. A really interesting talk. A half an hour and I’d recommend it.
Leo: That was just at TED?
Jeff: Just at TED three days ago.
Leo: I’ll have to watch it.
Ed Bott: It was followed by what was also an interesting presentation, from a representative of the NSA. Who made quite a decent defense of their activities. He did a better job than his bosses have been doing for the past few years.
Leo: So yeah the 60 minutes piece was such a puff piece that I think it ruined or hurt their creditability. So what did the NSA representative say?
Ed: I am not exactly up to date on what exactly he said. I would be doing a disservice to the community by trying to summarize it. But I think it was a good set of bookends that if you are going to watch one you should watch the other, because they were done on the same day as I recall or one day apart. They were done very specifically with the idea of being not so much as a debate but as 2 sides of the same issue and both were well done.
Leo: I agree. Apparently Chis Anderson said as Snowden appeared if NSA wants to respond please do and so NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett answered Anderson's questions I guess it was the next day. I will absolutely watch that.
Jeff: While we are on the topic, I also recommend Snowden also submitted written testimony and written answer to questions to the EU. His opening statement is very, very good.
Leo: Is the tenner changing about Edward Snowden? I know there are many who still think he was a traitor and probably the NSA would like to have him in jail for life? But it seems maybe the tenner of the conversation is changing a little bit?
Jeff: I think it is, I don't want to make this a cynical analysis I don't mean this in anyway. But it couldn't have been handled better by the world’s best PR guy. Snowden handed it over, came out in the open didn't play cat and mouse with the world. Said I am the guy who did this, this is why I did this. Gave a video statement, disappeared, waited out the whole Russia thing. Russia wasn't his fault. People are quick to point out that he was stopped there by the Americans essentially. Didn't bring anything with him to Russia, so he has nothing there to hand over to them. Waits them out and now comes out South By southwest, EU and Ted and comes off I think as a very thoughtful, reasonable, caring patriotic American. Obviously my views on the story are apparent but I think he waited for the moment when the tide had shifted enough that he could support that changing view of him.
Leo: It is really interesting to watch the chat room because there is quite a difference of opinion. One right after another. He is an American Hero. He is absolutely a traitor. You know there is a great amount of disagreement over Snowden. In our chat room a lot of people think he is a traitor. On the other hand the information that we got from him, yeah some of it we knew but a lot we didn't. The extent of spying on U.S. Citizens is rather dramatic. Mark Zuckerberg and other tech execs including Eric Schmidt met on Friday with president Obama to talk about this very issue. Zuckerberg has slammed the White House for working to slowly on a essay reform. Reed Hastings of Netflix, Dropbox, Box Palentere all were there a bunch of clout companies. This is the second time in four months that the White House has met with these guys in response to the feeling it is costing U.S. Businesses a lot of money. Yet we are also hearing from people at the NSA saying oh no these companies knew we were doing this all along, including the upstream gathering. Let me see if I can find this because it is not in our run down.
Ed: That was the story from Spencer Ackerman and the guardian I believe that is the one you are looking for. I read that and all I saw in that story was someone saying all the Tech companies that participated in this program did so with knowledge because they were handed subpoenas .
Leo: They had to.
Ed: Individual requests to hand over data and the biggest number that I have seen come up is 10's of 1,000's of emails over the course of one year. And that is a far cry from the story that was incorrectly reported last year about the prism program allowing the NSA to have direct access to the servers of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Skype and a few others that got thrown in there that nobody even knew about up until that point. That story in my opinion has been completely discredited and never retracted. Prism was, I think about the situation that we are in now. Snowden's revelations, we have become almost numb to them. They are now coming out so fast and furious and so scattered that had they been done skillfully in the beginning to focus on the issues affecting the privacy of American citizens. Where there were probably violations of American law, affecting American citizens you actually had an opportunity to have hearings and legislation to have those specific things addressed. Now it has become this big mess. The NSA is spying in on everyone. And you have situations like you have in your chat room there where it is basically polarized along party lines. Although it is the Snowden party. So either you are a Snowden green walled defender or you are a NSA defender. There is no room for nuance. Especially I don't see any evidence that anyone is making a substantive effort to reform these procedures and change U.S. Law. I think that is a huge lost opportunity.
Leo: This is testimony by the NSA's general council Rajesh De in front of the privacy and civil liberties oversight board. Which is a board designed by law to give some oversight to the NSA. Of course we know that these companies complied with legal subpoenas, they had to or national security letters. The issue is did they also know about collection of upstream communications. That is communications outside of their own network that is taps into Trojans.
Jeff: They claim they did not.
Leo: They say they did not.
Leo: Apple said we never heard the term prism.
Ed: That one is a bit of a dodge because Prism was actually a program for accessing data in the store after it had been collected. That is like saying the credit card company isn't going to know the name of the program running in the bank. Those are two different things. But I find it nearly impossible to believe that the leaders of these companies would willingly allow traffic coming in and out of their data centers to be handed over with no warrant. In general the people in the tech industry are fundamentally libertarian you know they tilt towards the libertarian side and they have been dealing with these issues long enough that they know what the effect would be if they let them and they know what their legal rights are as well. They would push back hard on these things. If that is the impression you came away with from that story, I didn't see any evidence that, that's true in that story. I don't see any evidence that, that's true in anything else that's been revealed so far.
Leo: Yeah, in fact they amended the article to remove statements to that affect. So that was a misstatement by the guardian.
Ed: But there you go, the story got out there, it got repeated on Twitter. We aren't going to talk about how many times it was re-Tweeted. We will talk about how many times it was seen because I'll bet it was in the millions of times. You can't take back something like that. So even though journalisticly they did the right thing by correcting the story it is too late. The impression is out there and once again we have this situation where people are going to believe what they want to believe. Despite the fact that the available evidence says the exact opposite.
Leo: Well done, thank you Ed.
Ed: Sorry, I get wound up on this.
Leo: No, from the very first time we talked to you about this you were very clear. I think you did a very good job of saying this was misreported in the first instance.
Ed: I didn't mean to ruin the buzz there.
Leo: I hate to bring up the iPhone 5C at this point so maybe.. I did think it was very interesting and this is another very controversial subject. We did talk about it on this show. The issue of Comcast and Netflix.
Jeff: Yeah that has gotten very interesting now.
Leo: Initially I had reported, I had said this is a violation of net neutrality but then a lot of people responded saying no, no this is business as usual. In fact we had a guy on TWIT from a streaming media site Dan Rayburn, who is an expert on this saying now this is how business is done peering on the internet. Well Reed Hastings, maybe this is self-serving, in his blog called for stronger Net neutrality rules and said “in fact we were squeezed by Comcast. We didn't want to do this.”
Jeff: Net neutrality is really talking about the last mile. We really have to talk about far more upstream from there and net neutrality has got to apply end to end. Which is exactly true.
Leo: So I guess our initial, it is hard to say, but our initial thoughts that Comcast did turn the nob and slowly decreased Netflix bandwidth over a 3 month period in order to squeeze money out of them we're not inaccurate. At least Reed Hastings seems pretty unhappy with the way Comcast and he also calls out ATT.
Jeff: ATT then responded. So now we have got where we always are with net neutrality which is he said, she said game. What we need is government and the FCC to step in and protect, hello folks, US.
Ed: Well you know what is fascinating about this to me, I think Jeff Jarvis is absolutely right about this we do need the government involved in it. We have people who have created a paradise to capitalism on the internet. Taking it away from delivery mechanisms, pipes and tubes that are owned and controlled by the people not for profit and handed them over to profit making organizations. Now we are surprised that there is huge money in different segments of the network. And that people are arguing over who gets to divvy up our money? The genie went out of the bottle a long time ago when the internet was privatized. I can't decide if I should laugh or cry at the capitalists who are seeing, be careful what you wish for in action.
Leo: So in the ATT public policy blog Jim Chimchony writes Reed Hastings is arrogant. We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. And there is no cost free delivery of streaming movies. Someone has to pay that cost. Mr. Hastings arrogant proposition is that everyone else should pay but Netflix. That might be a nice deal if he can get it but that is not how the internet or telecommunication for that matter has ever worked. Yeah it really is a he said, she said. I feel we pay for Netflix, to ATT, to Comcast by buying Bandwidth from them. Netflix pays for its bandwidth through its providers. It seems like putting up a toll on the road that prevents Netflix from getting to us. Its customers when Comcast says you've got to pay extra. But there is a lot of technical mumbo jumbo in there.
Ed: There is a lot of technical stuff involved here. A lot of people have been using CDN's continental delivery networks for a long time to insulate themselves from sudden spikes in trafic, right. Because the CDN's have been paying for this stuff all along. I am not up to speed on all the issues involved here but I do know Netflix has had long standing relationships with the CDN's and now are big enough to essentially be a CDN of their own.
Leo: Right, Well in fact they have an open connect system designed to do that. In fact Cable Vision is a participant of that. In fact Hasting's writes in his blog post, some major ISP's like Cable Vision already practice strong net neutrality and for their broadband subscribers the quality of Netflix and other streaming services is outstanding. But on other big ISP's due to a lack of sufficient connectivity Netflix performance has been constrained. Subjecting customer who pay a lot of money for high speed internet to high buffering rate, long wait times and poor video quality. He says once Netflix agrees to pay the ISP interconnect fees, which they have agreed with Comcast, sufficient capacity is made available and high quality service is restored. If this kind of leverage is effective against Netflix imagine the plight of smaller services of today and in the future. He calls it an arbitrary tax. Boy it is complicated and I don't know which side I fall in. You know I have gone back and forth on this a couple of times. It is probably a little much for us to understand. But we will continue to try.
Jeff: How I put it in Public Parts at the end is that if any bit is stopped, detoured or slowed down along the way to its destination. Then no bit can be presumed to be free. All bits are created equal on the net. Full stop that is the principle on the net.
Leo: That seems to me to be pretty basic.
Jeff: Yep. So the argument is that video costs more. Ok, people are using people, but figure it out because there are going to be other applications that come down the line and we don't know what this net thing is yet. This is a strategic necessity of the country to grow the capacity of the net. If we get hung up on just some stupid videos when there is so much more data to be had out there. More that can be done. We're holding up our future. So that is why yeah I want competition because I agree that is the way to make this work in the long run but right now we don't have competition so it is time for government to step in and hold some principles.
Leo: So it turns out Microsoft might be reading your email, we'll talk about that in just a little bit. I am sure Ed will have something to say on that story. But first let’s take a look at what you might of missed if you missed anything this week on TWIT.
Leo: I love scaring Sara Lane I do I do. Let's see what's coming up in the week ahead.
Mike Elgan: Coming up this week Mac World officially called Macworld/Iworld. The show happens from March 27-29 in San Francisco. AdTech also happens this weekend also in San Francisco. Watch for special coverage on Macworld this week and also join me on Tech News all week with guest co-anchors Donna Tam, Steven Shanklin, Elise Hu and Jessica Lesson. Back to you Leo.
Leo: Thank you Mike Helg. TNT every Monday-Friday 10a.m. Pacific, 1p.m. Eastern time. 1700 UTC. Something coming up this week, March 27th Microsoft has invited a select few, Ed I bet you were invited?
Ed: Invited to what Leo?
Leo: A special event.
Ed: You know what I did not get an invitation to that event.
Leo: Really? Huh.
Ed: I think it is going to be streamed live and I think they knew that.
Leo: That you were coming from a long way. But apparently Satya Nadella will do his first public event as CEO of Microsoft in San Francisco on the 27th. Most experts agree it will be an announcement of iPads, Microsoft office for the iPad. Yes you agree?
Ed: Sounds like a good rumor.
Leo: Microsoft, it is interesting because they seem to want to go all touch there was also a rumor that they would show their all touch version of Office for Metro at the same time.
Ed: I would suspect, I absolutely do not have any special knowledge about what is going to be at this event. But I think the rumors are probably correct. I would imagine the architecture of the product, it's designed so you could take the basic building blocks of it and code them to run on Window's touch devices and IOS touch devices. Probably in very short order on Android touch devices. I think the UI on a rectangular touch screen is going to work pretty much the same either way. So they should be able to demonstrate one. If they do introduce an iPad version before a Windows version I think it will shut up a lot of people who have been saying Microsoft refuses to let go of its cash cow, Windows.
Leo: Well people have been thinking that they have maybe been holding back on the IOS version of Office because they didn't want to disadvantage Surface. But I think it just took them that long to do. They also have Code name Gemini the touch first version of Office. I'll bet we will see a little bit of both. That's Thursday, 10 a.m. Pacific, we will cover that live as well. Mike Elgen will be there covering it and we will stream it for you. Also another thing coming up this week, Verizon will be announcing the new HTC1 the M8 version of the HTC1. I believe that is Tuesday and I believe we will have a first look at it Tuesday on Before you Buy. Tuesday on Before you Buy I expect to have a M8 in hand. I am a big fan of the HTC1 so I am looking forward to that. So Microsoft apparently read email without a court order. What is the story Ed?
Ed: So I did a post on this last week. I have another post that I think I'll publish tonight that's around 1500 words on the subject. I've been looking at it pretty carefully. Here is the executive summary, the FBI filed a criminal complaint in Federal court last week against a former Microsoft employee. They arrested him in Seattle at roughly the same time they filed that complaint. He's being held right now without bail. They charged him with leaking not just pre-released Microsoft code but of leaking the software development kit and binary code for Microsoft's activation server. That's the product that generates and validates the product keys for Window's and Office. It is literally the lynch pin of a multi-billion dollar business.
Leo: Yeah, those are the crown jewels. But the good news is he really liked Microsoft products.
Ed: He really liked Microsoft products because he uploaded the files to Microsoft Skydrive and then used Window's live messenger or MSN messenger at the time and Hotmail to coordinate with a guy in France. I do not want to call him a journalist and I am reluctant to even call him a blogger. Although that is what he was called in the FBI complaint.
Leo: He is a Windows enthusiast.
Ed: Yes he was. In the story I am publishing tonight I think I called him a software pirate with good connections, a penchant for tweaking authority and really bad operational security stats.
Leo: We lost him again, we lost his audio. We are missing the story. He is using Skype that is the problem, he is also using a Microsoft product. He used a Hotmail email address! So the last thing we were talking about was Canuna, he is like Ed Vleeks, he is one of these guys who is famous for leaking code and leaking stuff like that.
Jeff: This is all allegedly right.
Leo: All allegedly.
Ed: Yeah I think there is enough evidence here though that you can put allegedly in quotes. This guy, this man Kibkalo gets his day in court and he gets to put up a defense. He is indeed innocent until proven guilty. But there is a hell of a lot of evidence against him at this point.
Leo: Had he used Drop box or Google Drive, Microsoft would have had to subpoena or get a court order to get this information.
Ed: And they would have been able to get it in a heartbeat.
Leo: Right, but they didn't need to because in there terms of services it says they reserve the right to review content.
Ed: It's not just not just in the terms of service to me. This is in the story I am publishing tonight. This is not a case where Microsoft is trying to figure out what happened by going and reading somebody's mail. The Microsoft account, there was a crime in progress and that was where it was happening. Stolen code was being transferred on Microsoft's servers. The servers it owned and controlled. The vehicle that was being used to transport stolen property across state lines and international borders was Microsoft's Hotmail and messenger services. Now guess what, when Apple, back a few years ago, had some of their trade secrets taken away from them by Gizmodo, they got a court order and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s department knocked down a guy’s door and took away
Leo: The Gizmodo editor
Ed: Yeah the Gizmodo editor and took away all his computers. Now had that guy had that phone sitting in a desk at Apple's headquarters, they could have just walked in and opened his desk. That is the situation we have here. There was clear incontrovertible evidence of stolen property. They knew who the guy was and they went in and interrupted a crime in progress.
Leo: Microsoft's deputy general John Frank writes courts to not authorize orders to search themselves.
Ed: And he is absolutely right. The reason you have to go to court and get a court order is so you can take it to Drop Box, Google, Yahoo, Apple or whoever and compel them to turn over the contents of a server that they control.
Leo: Nevertheless I can kind of understand people’s concern about this as does Microsoft. And it has been pointed out the both Google and Apple have similar terms in their terms of service.
Ed: Everyone does, you have to. The reason, Lavabit-Ed Snowdens email provider shut down last year was because there is no way.
Leo: To not do it.
Ed: Yeah, if you send email through a server that somebody else owns they are going to have access to it. So what you have to do is you have to have processes. You have to have really good processes in place. The much bigger risks for people frankly are not that Microsoft is going to poke through your email or the NSA is going to. The much bigger risk is that a rogue employee is going to start going through email randomly and using it to commit identity theft or to blackmail people or whatever.
Leo: So what Microsoft said, this is in your blog post, I think this is very interesting. Going forward to be sure the comply with standards applicable to obtaining a court order they are going to actually have a judge as an additional step. As we go forward we will submit this evidence to an outside attorney who is a former federal judge and we will conduct such a search only if this former judge similarly concludes there is evidence sufficient for a court order. They are going to act as if they need a court order, which I think is appropriate.
Ed: The EFF called that Warrants for Windows which I thought was pretty clever. The thing is here we are in uncharted territory in some ways here. I really do think these were extraordinary circumstances. Hotmail been around 18 years, Gmail is going to celebrate it's 10th anniversary this year, Yahoo mail has been around 19 or even 20 years. There are almost no cases that have come up like this because the facts involved were someone using a company's free services to steal a potentially multimillion and probably billions of dollars’ worth of trade secrets from that company. That doesn't exist. Microsoft did go through a process that's very similar to what they describe they are going through. Everything was documented here, it had to be signed off by the chief counsel for the company. Nonetheless I understand why people are upset by this I also find it difficult to believe that somebody thinks that this is something that could happen to anyone tomorrow. The set of facts are so extraordinary.
Leo: I think we should underscore the fact that if you are thinking email is private in any way you are crazy. The only safe, secure way to communicate with people over the internet is to use point to point encryption. If you’re not using that then you might as well treat it like a post card.
Ed: I agree with that, I think that is an important thing for everyone to understand. But I also think it is important for people to have a reasonable expectation that people handling their email, their phone communications, their instant messaging, any kind of video chats, you know any of those things. They have a reasonable expectation the company that they've contracted with to do that is going to exercise more than prudent care over the privacy.
Jeff: I think it rises to a different level and I have said this on TWIG. I think we have got to get to a point that there is a principle of law that says private communications are private unless. And the same protection that is given to your first class mail should be given to your email, chats, Skype calls and phone calls and so on. Obviously cops and spy's don't like it but with the death of the first class letter. Jimmy Carter this week says he still uses mail because he can't trust the internet. Then there is no means of private communication. That is given a legal guarantee of privacy.
Leo: Had Kipcalo taken the printouts, put them in an envelope and mailed it to this French blogger it would be a Federal offense to open it. You would have to get a court order.
Jeff: Yeah you would have.
Ed: And it would have been done in an agency that would have been outside of Microsoft's control where they could have done that. There are a bunch of facts we do not know about this case as well. But I think the biggest thing, the thing that people are really misunderstanding is that this was not Microsoft going in and targeting someone and reading their email to snoop on them. This was a crime in progress.
Leo: No I think we understand. I think if Microsoft hadn't made such a big deal about Gmail man and scroogled people might be a little less anxious to jump on them. But they made such a big deal about how Google reads your email it just kind of touched a nerve.
Jeff: The usual Microsoft bad taste in the mouth.
Ed: Oh please
Leo: But they had to do what they did and it was not unreasonable and they did it right.
Ed: It is also extraordinarily relevant to point out that this happened in the summer of 2012. 9 months before Ed Snowden. Had this happened the month after Ed Snowden a lot of concern for the optics of it would have been very different.
Jeff: Well no I am going to disagree because privacy stuff about email and big tech companies has been around before Snowden.
Leo: Well as Russel Random wrote on the Verge, Microsoft just reveals email's ugliest secret that it is more broken than you think. Every email company reserves the right to this and can.
Ed: Yeah but I think it's important to say, and I will say this I am certain and I will be sending this if anyone at Google PR or technical operations wants to contact me on Twitter. I would like to talk to you about the processes you have in place to protect confidentiality of your customers information. The one organization where I do know how it works is Microsoft's facility for its paid customers of Office 365 exchange online and dynamic CRM. And there, there is only a handful of people from the organization who have access to content, nobody else can even get to it. They're not allowed to get there. Access is restricted by biometric control and every single access of anything that has to do with customer content is logged with the employees name, the reason for it and the time. Those logs are saved for a number of years, I am not sure how many, and they are randomly audited by internal and external people at regular intervals. I bring that up for Microsoft only because that is the one I happen to know. But I am certain that Apple, Google and Yahoo just to name 3 have equally rigorous data protection procedures in place in their data centers. Because you can not do that in the year 2014. you cannot be anything less than rigorous with that kind of protection.
Leo: We are going to take a break, when we come back we have a few more things to talk about I didn't get to Android wear, we will get to that in a second and also an article in New Citis that shows using DNA alone you could create a very accurate mug shot. That's scary, let’s take a break when we come back we will talk about those.
Our sponsor for this show is Audible. I have talked about Audible so many times you know I am a major Audible fanatic. Audible is the source of audio books and entertainment. The best in the world, 150,000 titles. If you like science fiction, if you like mysteries, if you like history, if you like to learn there is no better place to go than Audible.com. I am going to get you two books right now when you go to audible.com/twit2 you will be signing up for the platinum plan. That is 2 books a month plus the audio digest of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times Daily. Before you see the movie you should probably read the book. By the way Audible has great young adult fiction. This is Divergent about to be a major motion picture. But they have a fabulous selection of young adult. If you have a young adult in your family or you are a young adult but if you have a young adult in your family and you want to get them reading. You might say oh I don't think listening is going to be the same. Many a study has shown this is a great way to get kids reading. They listen and they want to read because they get excited about books. This is one of the greatest books of all time, I listened to this with Henry. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Fabulous. Just remember Audible is just more than just the best sellers it goes deep. Classics, Anne Hathoway reading the Wizard of OZ. That sounds awesome, huh? The Jony Ive book by Leader Kahney. Silence of the Lambs 25th anniversary edition. Frank Mulner is one of their best readers. Boy he brings that to life. These books become movies in your mind. You see them as they happen. Terry Pratchett has book 40 of the Discworld Series out. And Terry who is suffering from Alzheimer’s worked really hard to get this book out. I just praise him for continuing to write. I am a huge fan of all the Discworld books, I've read every one of them. Of course I am going to get the new one Raising Steam just came out on Audible. I will just play a little bit of Steven Brigs narration because he is such a good narrator. All of them are.
Steven's narration: The people of the time were quite accustomed to the clangings and bangings emanating every day from the various blacksmith forges for which the area was famous. It seemed that even though he had set up a forge of his own young Siminal had decided not to enter into the blacksmithing trade.
Leo: These are comedic fantasy sci-fiction novels that are just awesome. If you haven't read any of the Discworld, I highly recommend all of the Discworlds. I think all of them are available Audible.com. Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors. There is so much good stuff here. It's hard to pick 2, but do because you are going to be very, very glad that you did. You have got 30 days free, you quit in the first 30 days those books are yours to keep and you will pay nothing. They have self-help stuff to, The power of fogetting-6 skills to clear out brain clutter. I need that. I've got a lot of clutter in there. Audible.com/twit2 to get your 2 books. Don't forget to follow Audible on Twitter, audible_com for a lot of great, great suggestions. That is one of the things you see with audible is you see audible listeners when they get together. They go what are you listening to, what do you like? We get that a lot on our shows, because many of our hosts including Paul Thurrott, Andy Ihnatko and myself are major audible fans. Audible.com/twit2 try it today. We talked a lot about it on This Week in Google, and on All about Android. Android wear it is an SDK that Google has released to support wearable computers. Motorola and LG both announced watches. I was very interested in the Moto360. I am already a MotoX fan. This is round! Wow a round wrist watch what an idea. But GoogleNow card is on it. There is a lot more we don't know about it. In fact Mike Elgen wrote a great article on Computer World, 15 things we would like to know about this including battery life, how it works. But the idea, in fact people are very excited about the idea of Google Now cards on a wrist watch that looks like a real watch.
Jeff: The dork factor goes down considerably.
Leo: Yeah I would not be embarrassed to wear that at all. It's thick, you can tell it is a little thick.
Ed: It is kind of clunky.
Leo: It is not quite as clunky as the Gear.
Jeff: Well some of these cool watches are gigantic.
Leo: Yeah it's big.
Ed: I think you are arguing there that if you chose a cooler character to dress as for your visit to Comacon.
Leo: Right it is not as ugly or as geeky. Your right I have a cooler character on my wrist. I don't know I am excited about it. We will have to see. Summer 2014 could be anything from June to September but I am looking forward to seeing what happens. What do you think? We've talked about this a lot on This week in Google. Matter of fact I even opined that I didn't really thing Google intended to make Google Glass a product. It was merely a way to gain data points of what people might want to do with wearables. It really makes much more since for Google to make a wearable platform that everybody else develops for.
Jeff: I think so. Demonstration.
Leo: I am wearing this Techomitone, so there Ed Bott.
Ed: Well there is a lot of room for innovation in this space to be sure. I don't think we are going to know the winner or the winners any time soon. This looks interesting but Google also has a history of releasing beautiful products that go nowhere. The Highfi thing they did, remember.
Leo: Yeah, yeah the cue.
Ed: The cue
Jeff: Yeah but I think that is the exception Ed. You know I have my Nexis5 and Nexis7 and the Chromebook in front of me and these are all fine products.
Leo: I have to agree with that, they have done great phones and tablets.
Ed: I don't want to be disagreeable here but what those products that you point to there, they came along in the aftermath of other products which established the category and what the category should do. So you had Iphone and Ipad and those came along after that. Chromebook is a laptop that basicly runs the Google browser and Google services.
Jeff: I'll be disagreeable, I have no problem being disagreeable that's what I do. With a slight fever I am channeling Davorak now. The notion of a 7 inch tablet Steve Java made fun of was pioneered by Google. The notion of a cloud only computer that's more than just a laptop. Screw Microsoft's marketing that's pioneered by Google.
Leo: I was skeptical about the Chromebook but I have to say I've come around quite a bit.
Jeff: I think we are seeing more and more products very interesting, and I think we are going to see yet more coming down. The Asus C720P looks like a very interesting machine and there are more coming down the line.
Ed: My point about all of those things is that they are very very logical extensions of things that already existed. I am not saying they copied them, I am not saying there wasn't tremendous innovation involved in them. My point is I don't think anyone has established what a watch, what a computing watch does yet. That to me is the thing. So I think Apple could just as easily come out with something and fail with it because we don't know.
Jeff: I see your point.
Ed: That is my only point.
Leo: I tell you if we can talk to it, if it has features of the MotoX where I could say, Ok Google Now and my MotoX would talk to it and have it do stuff. If I could say how do I navigate, if I could send a text. We have seen in the videos that you can respond to a text by lifting your watch and responding. Those things could be very very valuable. I think that Apple seems to be giving on its hires on focusing on the health aspects of a bracelet. Google seems to be focusing on the the Google Now. I tell you what this is where Google has an advantage there is a barrier entry here. They own all this data about us. Now admittedly people are nervous about it. But the fact is that Google, because you do your searches through them you have your calendar there, you have your contacts there. There is something they can do with Google Now cards that nobody else can do. Maybe Microsoft can with Bing and Bing services, but they are playing catch up on this one. Microsoft in fact did this, they did a spot watch we all remember it.
Jeff: Oh yeah speaking of a product that didn't exactly fly in the transfer.
Leo: I had one. The real problem with Google is crossing that creepy line and how they. Speaking of creepy line, look at this, this is a study done by a population geneticist at the Pennsylvania State University, Mark Shriver and an imaging specialist Peter Claes at the KU Leuven in Belgium. They captured data points from 600 volunteers of mixed ancestry, mapped their facial features based on 76 genetic variance and came up with a way to model somebody's face with just their genome. Here is the interesting thing. This is reporter of New Scientist who wrote this article. She gave them her 23 and me profile, that's all. You've got to say these mug shots are pretty accurate.
Jeff: Face at what age, how do they determine that?
Leo: Now that is a good question. Obviously the genes could be. They say we are a few years off but in 5 to 10 years we will be able to computationally predict a face based on a genome. Imagine how that will change law enforcement. You are really going to have to get rid of those, you don't want to leave those genome traces behind.
Jeff: It also mentioned, imagine how it would be to go back and see how Richard the Third really looked like.
Leo: Wow, yeah isn't that interesting.
Ed: Although the pre-crime department will be able to go back and do pre-mug shots.
Leo: Hey this was a lot of fun. I want to thank both of our guest today. Ed Bott it is always great to.
We have to of my favorite prickly guys here and that is what makes a great TWIT.
Jeff: I am glad you made that into an adjective Leo, instead of a noun.
Leo: Prickly, yeah you are right it is better an adjective than a noun. I get what you are talking about. I am glad you were here, because frankly there is a lot of general chorus of agreement about every news story in Tech and it is nice to hear people who think for themselves and actually get us to wake up a little bit. So thank you very much for being here. Ed Bott, you can read his stuff on zdnet.com. The Ed Bott report.
Ed: Thanks, Leo.
Leo: Always a pleasure. You can catch Jeff Jarvis in This Week in Google he's a regular on the show every Wednesday. But you can also follow him on his block at buzzmachine.com. Read his books, Public Parts the most recant. Follow him on Twitter, Google plus.
Jeff: Both on Audible and also since Audible is a sponsor of this show. Gutenberg the Geek on audible. If you are a member I think you get it for free.
Leo: How could I have left, you should have jumped right into that ad. Search for Jeff Jarvis on audible and you will find it all. Including a freebee if you are an audible member.
Jeff: I think it is.
Leo: Yep, 99 cents
Jeff: 99 cents ok
Leo: Still that is practically free, and you did the reading. Actually you have done the reading on all of them.
Jeff: Yes, all of them. Torturing audible producers.
Leo: How could I have left that out, thank you Jeff. We'll see you Wednesday?
Leo: It will be interesting in This week in Google, because if we do the Google hang out it will be at 11 o'clock that morning. 2 p.m. Your time and then we will immediately follow that Google Hangout with This week in Google, you and Gena Trupany and perhaps we'll clips from Vince Serf talking about the internet and the future of the internet.
Jeff: That will be great, important topic.
Leo: Yeah no kidding. Thanks everybody for being here. We do TWIT every Sunday afternoon right at the end of the Tech News week. 3P.M. Pacific, 6P.M. Eastern time, 2200 UTC on twit.tv. Please watch live if you can we love it if you do. But if you can't watch live we make on demand audio and video available after the fact. Just go to twit.tv or subscribe you know on Itunes, Dogcatcher, Instacast, that list is getting longer and longer. We're on Roku, we're everywhere just make sure you watch the show because we work hard on it. Thanks to Chad Johnson our producer for the old red head.
Jeff: Yay Chad, 3 guys with white hair and one with red hair.
Leo: Our total age together equals nothing.
Chad: My total age multiplied by 3 or something.
Leo: Something like that, I don't know. Thank you everybody so much for joining us. Another TWIT is in the can! Thank you everybody, a nice live audience today.