This Week in Tech 566
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! Wow, we have a great panel for you. Kashmir Hill from Fusian, from Engadget, Roberto Baldwin, and an old friend of mine, David Coursey, who hasn't been on in ages. We're going to talk about the latest news, including Facebook Live, wwdce3vr, the Moto 3, it's all coming up next on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 566, recorded Sunday, June 12, 2016.
I Prefer Kash
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news. I like this panel. It's going to be a very interesting show, that's my prediction. We'll start over here on my left. Kashmir Hill is here from Fusian. She works so hard at a lovely enterprise called "real future." Good to have you.
Kashmir Hill: Hello! Nice to be on.
Leo: You hacked a stranger's SmartPhone, you lived on BitCoin, and you paid a surprise visit to the NSA's Utah data center.
Kashmir: Better than hacking a stranger's smartphone, I hacked their home!
Leo: That's trivial. It's so much easier.
Kashmir: It was disturbingly easy, actually.
Leo: I thought you were an elite hacker. But no, you just hacked a SmartHouse, just sitting ducks. We did a whole show this week on Security Now on Baby Monitors, which are trivially easy to hack.
Kashmir: They've been getting hacked for years.
Roberto Baldwin: My brother has the monitoring camera from the same company that had those baby cameras, and one day he's sitting there watching TV, his wife is ironing, and he hears from the camera. "Hey, Hey you guy, watching TV. Hey you lady ironing."
Leo: The camera is talking to me! That's Roberto Baldwin from Engadget. I want to do that; that would be fun.
Roberto: He was kind of freaked out.
Leo: Also with us, David Coursey, which I think is an old friend and been on our shows many times, but he asserts he's never been on...
David Coursey: You are an old friend, I've been in your studio, I've been in studios that you have been in just before I was in, but I don't think you and I have ever conversed in front of an audience before. I don't think so.
Leo: I've known David for more than two decades, I can't understand this. Anyway, David has been knocking around with the tech reporting for years, you saw him on C Net, he was at Forbes, where else?
David: MO, PC Letter, InfoWorld.
Leo: You were at PC Letter for a while.
David: I was at Ziff for a little while. I've been everywhere. I've done USA Today.
Leo: A lot of people tweeted me when the news came out that Gawker was going in bankruptcy and was going to sell out to Ziff Davis, they said you must laugh at that. I said, no way. That's not Ziff Davis. The people who own PC Magazine and Extreme Tech, the old Ziff Davis assets are far from Ziff Davis's J2 Global. They're known for Efacts. But now it's the strangest thing, because J2 Global, they do e-voice and e-facts. That's a big one. Apparently they made some money because they started to buy up digital content stuff. They bought PC magazine, so I guess that's where you get the name Ziff Davis, but it ain't your father's Ziff Davis. It's a very strange conglomeration. I don't know.
David: They needed another e, so they bought e-week.
Leo: We live in strange times, that's all I can say. So what do you think of this Gawker thing? Gawker announced that because they have to put up the money that they owe Hulk Hogan 40 million dollars, they can't do it. Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and they put themselves up for sale. I don't know if the new Ziff Davis will get them or not, but they put up a hundred million dollar bid, which is the starting point for the auction if nobody else comes along then they will. We were talking before the show began. This is one of those for journalists no win situations. On the one hand, Gawker dragged journalism through the mud, in some respects.
Roberto: I think a lot of publications through the years have dragged journalism through the mud. They've done some good work, but you're only going to remember... I worked at Gizmoto for six months.
Leo: Gizmoto is good. Gawker is good.
Roberto: Gawker is Gawker.
Leo: What's your relationship with Nick? Do you like him? Is he a nice guy?
Roberto: I don't have a relationship with Nick. I talk to him once when I got hired at Gizmoto and I might have said hi to him at a company party. I've never had a conversation with him other than, "Hi, welcome to Gizmoto."
Leo: Nick and Owen Thomas, both of whom are openly gay, announced, felt that it was best to out the Silicon Valley stalwarts who were also gay but closeted, including Peter Thiel. Peter didn't take well to that. That was over a decade ago., because at the time, maybe it's even true today, I wouldn't be surprised, it would be very hard to raise money in some areas like Saudi Arabia if you were known to be gay. He took offense to that, and then subsequently secretly funded Hulk Hogan and perhaps others fight against Gawker. A fight that he won, that will be appealed, and that was enough to put Gawker out of business. While many journalists feel like, "Gosh we've got to defend the first amendment, others say it couldn't have happened to a nicer fellow. Where do you stand on it, Kashmir? What's your take on this?
Kashmir: I think Peter Thiel is far from the only Silicon Valley billionaire who hates Gawker.
Leo: I'm not fond of them, to be honest.
Kashmir: During Valley Wag's hay day, they went after a lot of billionaires, Sharol Sandburg at one point said that the person who wrote Valley Wag should be shot. So they're not beloved in Silicon Valley, but I criticize Gawker a lot. They sometimes go too far in stories, I thought the posting of the Hulk Hogan sex tape before we found out about Peter Thiel's involvement was horrible, and they shouldn't have done. But I also think Gawker does great, important, provocative reporting and they're always pushing the line and sometimes they go too far. I do think that they have done really good work over the years, along with stuff that I found questionable. If they do end up declaring bankruptcy and getting sold, Gawker itself may go away. The actual main property covering media, but their blogs are going to stick around. Gizmoto, Life Hacker, Dead Spin. They're such valuable properties. They're going to keep doing what they do, maybe not quite as provocative as they have been in the past.
Leo: Gizmoto had trouble with checkbook journalism too right? They bought the iPhone 4 when it was left behind in a bar. Denton has never shown any reluctance to pay money for a scoop.
Roberto: A lot of journalists, including myself find... I work at TMZ, so you know. I've been everywhere.
Leo: David, you were concerned that Peter Thiel's actions have a chilling effect and you worry about the next billionaire coming along and suing. I guess that's something he doesn't like. David, you're muted. Unmute.
David: I'm unmuted, I'm better now. Some of today's billioaires I think are way more unhinged than the old ones used to be. I never lived in particular fear of Bill Gates, although... I never thought that those people were going to come sue me. But Infoworld at the places that I worked, we never did any of the kind of things. But, we called names and we certainly made many of these hooks unhappy. You'll remember when she used to run Novel, now she's executive chair at Google, C Net put his home address and information like that that they got off of Google, they published it and there was that big boycott.
Leo: That was a big deal, wasn't it? Hey look, we Googled it, Eric!
David: Why are you so touchy? You do this to us, but you're a billionaire therefore...
Leo: He didn't sue them or fund secret lawsuits behind the scenes against them.
David: No, he just boycotted C Net, and they eventually kissed and made up.
Leo: I remember at Tech TV, we were concerned about showing how to hack the X Box, the original X Box when it came out because Microsoft was a big advertiser, but to their credit, this was when Ziff Davis, the management said no. You do your editorial job, and we'll worry about the lost advertising revenue. A lot of times, these boycotts don't last very long. I know Microsoft has in the past boycotted PC Magazine for a week or whatever.
David: That was back in the day when the publishers and the vendors had significant ongoing relationships and there was some equality of terror between the two sides. Once you have all of these little publications that are struggling to survive, even brand names that we know, they don't have any power.
Leo: You know what I'd worry about is Apple? Maybe less so no, but they put Think Secret out of business. Sued them out of existence. Under Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs was never reluctant to sue.
Roberto: Steve Jobs would do anything he put his mind to. The concern is Engadget, where I work now, or any other place, they write an article that makes a billionaire angry, they don't have to win, they just have to keep funding lawsuits. It's out of scientology's playbook in the 90's. They would just sue you to oblivion. They didn't have to win, they just had to have it high up in court so you couldn't afford to do anything anymore.
Leo: You have the legal right to sue, and the courts will decide if the first amendment trumps your right to privacy, and I think that's all sensible, but when you can sue and spend so much money on lawyers and actually put somebody out of business, that's another matter. Remember, Steve got the local police to knock down Brian Lamb's door.
Roberto: No, it was Jason Chen's.
Leo: Jason Chen's. And come and take all his stuff because he'd had the iPhone 4. Steve had no problem going to the local police and saying, Hey you got to help me. It was a task force, some Silicon Valley investigative task force.
Roberto: The police were compliant.
David: There was a Borland incident much earlier in which executive leaves Borland, goes to work somewhere else, lawsuits, arrest warrants. I think somebody got arrested as part of that. I don't want to say who because I'm a little foggy on who it was, but that was Philippe Kahn and Borland going after somebody.
Leo: There's a long tradition of this.
Roberto: It's usually a large company will sue you. This is an individual who has a beef with a publication.
Leo: It is not in any respect illegal what he did. You can secretly fund...
Roberto: They're looking for some sort of legal way to sue him. Counter sue, whatever.
Leo: It does seem like you should be able to face your accuser, secret accuser funding secretly. Doesn't feel like fair play, exactly. On the other hand, I'm so happy to see them go.
David: It was a venture investment, Leo. How much did he put in? What's a 140 million dollars plus smiting one's enemies? What is a smite worth?
Leo: Big bucks. I'd pay almost unlimited funds for smiting some people. WWdc and e3 start tomorrow. Let's start with WWDC. I feel like Apple is struggling a little bit to reclaim the magic and now the latest is no new hardware will be announced at WWDC. It's going to be exactly what it's supposed to be in title anyway. Here's the new OS X, the new Watch OS, iOS, here's what we're going to do, the end. No virtual reality, no new Macbooks, nothing. Is there a risk that Apple does that? They're so boring these days. I'm about to say that. They're so boring these days.
Roberto: If they can fix Siri, or how about search and iOS?
Leo: Go ahead and try to find an app on the app store.
Roberto: If they can fix those things, go for it. They're going to have their event in October, September, for the holiday season, that's when all the stuff is going to appear and everyone is going to go ga ga over a computer and so forth. They have to take care of their operating systems. If that means stepping back from hardware and focusing on the software, as a user I'm happy. I think people will be upset because they're not going to hear about an iPhone or an Amazon Echo Clone or some sort.
Leo: Kashmir when you sit down at the editorial meeting at the beginning of the day, and you say let's cover Apple and people go there's nothing going on there. Ever since the encryption thing is over, it's been boring.
Kashmir: That's the thing. That's the Apple story right now that's so interesting, is still the battle over encryption. The big thing they could announce that would be very exciting is after the debate with the Government, they were thinking about encrypting Apple iCloud by default, which is not encrypted now and it's a way for the Government to get in.
Leo: And messages, right?
Kashmir: Messages have been encrypted for some time.
Leo: It's encrypted, but they will give the key to the Government any time they ask.
Kashmir: They can get into iCloud, so that would be a big change. But yeah. I mean. Software is not as exciting as the newest iPhone.
Leo: There will be a new iPhone someday. We talked about this enough on MacBreak weekly. We don't need to talk about it here. I worry that Apple has lost interest in desktop computing. You're sitting there with a MacBook Air. It hasn't been updated in years. The Mac Pro hasn't been updated since 2013 and wasn't very good to begin with. I just feel like they've kind of lost interest.
Roberto: They make so much money on those phones. I'd like a brand new MacBook air that does something magical.
Leo: An OLED function key bar.
Roberto: Maybe not that.
David: Does Apple have anything new out on the horizon? As I remember Steve Jobs was going to re-invent television. When Steve died it was thought maybe they have two years of pipeline there. I guess we're at the end of that pipeline, because the watch was in the pipelin, I believe. But this leaves them with nothing. Declining revenue, unless they can get into all kinds of international markets for the phones, and certainly not much excitement for the phones.
Leo: I think they did. The China bump is done. They got the bump last year or the year before, and now it's leveled off. India is being reluctant to let iPhones in. They may have shot their nickel on that in particular.
Roberto: I think there's still potential growth in China. China is huge. As that country gets richer...
Leo: They have some serious competition from Chinese companies though. Like Wawe and Xiaomi. Do you have a Xiaomi?
Roberto: I have a Note. I love that phone.
Leo: Where did you get it?
Roberto: At Xiaomi. Good luck getting one.
Leo: They're not sold in the United States, and everybody is waiting to see if they're going to.
Roberto: It's my favorite phone. Not my favorite. My iPhone is my favorite phone.
Leo: You're one of those hipsters who say... "If you could only have my phone you would love it. But you can't, I'm sorry."
Roberto: You probably haven't even heard of this phone.
Leo: I have to admit, too many names in the technology these days. Google, and Xiaomi.
Roberto: You run out of words.
Leo: They're all out of words. Let's take a break. When we come back, we'll talk about Phil Schiller revamping the app store. Major iTunes overhall. I don't care.
Roberto: If anything needs to be fixed, it's iTunes. I've written five articles over the course of my career, for the love of God, please fix iTunes. It's the “Microsoft Word” of Apple.
Leo: We will be covering that live. We do our usual Mystery Science Theatre 3000 coverage of the keynote at 10 AM tomorrow, Pacific time, that's 1PM Eastern, 1700 ETC. We'll talk more about it on Tuesday with MacBreak weekly. Our show to you today brought to you by Harry's. It's Father's Day, you know. Have you got a Father's day gift for your Dad? Or your grad? We got graduations going on right now. I recommend, this is the Harry's Father's day kit. We've talked about Harry's before. Harry's is re-inventing the razor industry by buying the factory in Germany and selling them direct to you. They deliver to you in a subscription. You get fresh blades, but you always have to start with a Harry's kit. Look at this, it's really nice for Dad. I really like this. This is a new handle for them. It's a soft touch black handle. You get three blades with the kit, and they have a new blade carrier that's designed for travel. They've got the travel cover. This is the stand for the razor. I love this. You can get this engraved for Dad too, if you want. Then Dad gets his choice, or you get your choice for Dad of the Harry's gel. It's a full size, or the Harry's cream. This is what I use, I really like it. It's a sleek, giftable box. You can add an engraving or a personalized card. I had a personalized card. It says, "To TWiT: from Harry's." It's arrived! The Dad that appreciates aesthetic and function, this handsome set includes everything he needs." It came from 59903*11*0017. Thank you 59003. Appreciate those nice thoughts. 40 dollars, but we're going to show you how to save a little bit and this giftable set will get your Dad started with Harry's. If you have not used Harry's you've got to try them. Great blades at half the price of what you pay in the grocery store. Or the drug store where they lock them up behind Plexiglas. Why pay 32 bucks for an 8 pack of blades when you can get them for half the price. And they're great blades! From Harry's.com. Now with their IOS app, it's easy to order and easy to renew! Just four taps of the mouse. Harry's.com/twit. We're going to give you five dollars off your first purchase if you use that URL. Harry's.com/twit. Check out their father's day limited edition set. Something Dad will actually use. We are talking the week's tech news. David Coursey, my old friend is here from decades gone by. Great to have you. I cannot understand how I have never had you on the show before, but I'm glad we finally got together.
David: It has been a while. I shaved just before this show with a Harry's razor that I did not immediately fall in love with, but on the fourth shave I decided it worked really well and I liked it.
Leo: It took you four shaves?
David: Maybe it was the balance, it took me about three tries, and now I bought more. That's what I use. I also use SquareSpace if you want to let me do another commercial when it comes up.
Leo: Stand by, we got the SquareSpace add just around the corner. Not a requirement, David. You'll understand you'll come back even if you don't help me with the add, it's OK.
David: I am happy to help you with a SquareSpace add.
Leo: I think this is bizarre. Apple is according to Bloomberg getting its new radio chip from Intel. I thought Intel was getting out of the mobile business. 12,000 people cut out its projects for mobile phones, mobile phone chip sets, but apparently they still make the radio phone. They're going to sell to Apple. Apple likes to second source, I'm sure. You don't want to be beholden to any one company.
David: Who's going to say no to Apple potentially ordering a zillion of these things?
Leo: It's interesting to watch these stalwarts struggle in the new world. Nobody is buying PCs apparently, and they're finding it hard to make their way in the new mobile world, because they never did get a mobile processor going.
Roberto: They got it going, but it was 4 or 5 years too late.
Roberto: The first phone they put it in was horrible.
Leo: The scale processors... somebody said that Intel made a strategic error ten years ago. Yeah. In not going after that Apple iPhone more.
Roberto: I think myself and another journalist almost made the person who was running Intel Mobile cry at a dinner once. We just kept asking him questions like "why?" What did you do? We just kept that's what we're there for. We're journalists and he... I felt bad a little bit, but not really because my job and you know... they should expect that. I'm around, I suppose.
Leo: That's why no one likes you.
Roberto: This is the only place I'm welcome.
Leo: You're among friends. The other badgerers. Bloomberg says Apple will use the Intel Chips in the AT&T phones but not in the Verizon phones. That makes sense. If they're going to do it on an AT&T phones, they'll do it on their unlocked and their T Mobile phones, those are GSM , and I would get that sprint will also use Qualcomm. Qualcomm owns this market. iPhones sold to China according to Bloomberg, will also be on the Qualcomm. It's a little tiny bright spot in what must look very grim to Intel as a future goes Mobile. All right. Didn't spur any great discussion here, we'll move on.
David: I have a Broadcom story about Internet of things whenever you're ready.
Roberto: Is it about them being hacked?
David: This was a presentation I went to with a vendor. It was a press conference event I went to four or five months ago, and the presenter is talking about all the wonderful things that the Internet of things is going to do in agriculture. It's going to tell you what you need to spray, where you need to spray, what you need to do, and he's talking about all the great opportunities there and how many jobs are going to be created and I collar the guy afterwards and say what do you mean? One guy could run a hundred farms sitting in a control room God only knows where and he says what about all the development? I said how many times do you have to develop this stuff? Once the Internet of things is basically built and you have the big data analytics built, how many employees does that take going forward? When people tell you that the Internet of Things is going to create lots of jobs, I just look at this and say at the end of the Internet of things it's the Internet of no jobs. It's happened already, it's continuing to happen, and there's no reason to believe that he Internet of Things is somehow going to make everything OK for the jobless. There are going to be 3 people with jobs who are going to be these super... the Bill Gates of the world, will have jobs, and us mere Plebeians will be here wondering where all the work went while they still expect us to buy their stuff. That's the rich part of it.
Roberto: I worked on a school farm for a few summers, and I still had to be the guy to go out and fix everything that broke. The water lines, that guy is going to have a job.
Leo: Those aren't the best jobs.
Roberto: No, they're not. It was a horrible job. It's a good job when you're in high school.
Leo: If you like dirt.
Kashmir: We all know technology will not work perfectly. I don't think there will ever be a time when there's only one person who can run it all. We'll get our universal income that they're experimenting ...
Roberto: All of those people will become security researchers because the Internet of Things is a mess. They're going to be the people who patch all the holes.
Kashmir: There will be lots of security jobs.
Leo: Isn't that the challenge though? My kids are in college. If you were in college right now, trying to map out where the job will and won't be is quite a challenge. Who knows? Right? Even lawyers, we had a father and son team who had just written a book about the future of professional jobs. They said don't assume that machine intelligence can't also do a lot of the jobs that lawyers and doctors do better.
Roberto: The last job it's going to take is AI. AI is going to be...
Leo: There will always be room for pundits.
Kashmir: IBM already has their Watson lawyer. Ross.
Leo: Is he married to Rachel?
Kashmir: It's not a very lawyery name. It's the AI...
David: Leo, there aren't any pundits any more.
Leo: Don't tell me that. This is the last bastion of the pundits.
David: I used to be a real pundit, I'm not a real pundit any more.
Leo: I'm a pundit. Aren't we puntificating right now?
David: We're what's left. It's not what it used to be for being a pundit.
Roberto: I'm getting my talking points from siri right now.
Leo: We had an interview yesterday on the new screensavers with the row bot. This is a farming robot. It isn't in mass production yet. It's thin enough to go down the corn rows and spread pesticide. Right now they're using it for fertilizer, and the other thing it can do that you don't normally do when you're growing corn... I learned a lot about corn yesterday. Once you harvest the corn, the topsoil will blow away or wash away, so you have to put some sort of ground cover in. The problem is it's too late after you've harvested the corn and the rain is coming, so the robot will come and see ground cover before you harvest the corn. It's a cute little thing.
Kashmir: That's the worst joke though. The Row bot? Terrible.
Roberto: That's a big robot for going through corn rows. They'll probably have to make it smaller, right?
Leo: No. That's the size. It's only a few feet wide. That's the key. Right?
Roberto: Have you ever actually walked through a cornfield?
Leo: It's hard!
Roberto: It's not rows like you think.
Leo: You got to come up next October. We have a corn maze here in Petaluma that's quite famous.
David: Does every website now have to look just like that one?
Leo: What is that look called? Infinite scroll?
David: It's a white on whatever with a box around it. And the circular headshots. Is this what 2016 cool?
Leo: It's the look. SquareSpace has a template for this. They have new templates. Maybe there will always be a job for a web designer.
Roberto: There should always be a job for any designer. You want your stuff to stick out. If it all looks the same... circle.
Leo: Yeah. All right. We'll wade right into the controversy. Video posted on Facebook, 15 million views on Facebook. It's from a group called Source Fed, asserting that the Google auto complete supresses negative searches about Hillary Clinton. If somebody types "Hillary Clinton cri" Google doesn't complete it with crimes, but crime reform, crisis and others. This is Matt Lieberman. Google immediately weighed in on this. Matt Cutts our good friend at Google said That's ridiculous. We don't... if you do the same thing with Donald Trump cri, it won't get crimes because we intentionally don't auto complete that kind of negative stuff. They got in a lot of trouble in the past for auto suggesting negatives about people. Trump says it's a disgrace that Google would manipulate its searches. Very dishonest. Matt Cutt said it's just false. By the way, if you do Hillary CRI, or Hillary In, you'll see Hillary Indictment news.
Roberto: Things are happening. We check them out at Engadget. You're watching the video and as they're typing out Clinton or Hillary, the third auto complete is email.
Leo: That's a crime.
Roberto: The video kept showing that.
Leo: A lot of what you see in these viral things is stuff that confirms what you believe. That's why they go viral. They don't go viral because it's shocking, they go viral because it's see, I told you, I'm going to share this with all my friends. I guess there isn't any... anybody want to go to bat for source fed or... apparently not. OK.
Kashmir: You got the wrong panel for that.
Leo: I thought David might, but I guess not.
David: I could if you wanted me to.
Leo: No. You're being way too agreeable, stop it.
David: I'm happy to help the program whenever you need.
Leo: Knock it off.
David: I am angry and outraged.
David: Hold on. How could a man with a dog this cute be outraged? This is Scruffy. How could I be outraged with...
Leo: Where did you come up with that name, Scruffy?
David: The people who found him roaming the streets described him as looking scruffy. Guess what? They're right.
Leo: Have I sent you a Harry's kit for Scruffy?
David: He doesn't shave.
Leo: Would somebody defend for me Google tanog. It does not seem very compelling or interesting.
Roberto: You can make 3D models of your friends and sell them on the Internet.
Leo I watched the videos and it was depressing to me. Instead of looking at the stars, you could put your phone up and point it at the sky and see it in your phone. 60% of America can't see stars. That's really depressing.
Roberto: They should have that with wild animals, so you can see wild animals 50, 60 miles away. Oh, there's a deer.
Leo: Instead of building a domino cascade thing, you just could do it on your phone. That's my table, but the phone is super imposing the dominos. Can somebody explain why this was in any way an exciting thing? It doesn't get me.
David: Can I have my own show that's called technology sucks? That's what's going through. Everything we talk about is, "That's not very good." Apple's tired. Would you want one of those? Telephones whose names we can't pronounce. Billionaires that seem a little different than the rest of us. Phones that you don't want. Apple hits the skids.
Leo: I'm a cheerleader for technology, I love technology, but at the same time, when it does suck, which it does more often than not, frankly...
Roberto: At Apple's event tomorrow, they'll announce 10, 15 new features for IOS. By the end of the year when you're actually using it, you'll use maybe one of them. Maybe two.
Leo: I think about 3D touch. I was very excited about 3D touch. In hindsight I was an idiot, but you press hard on this and it will show additional choices? It will pop up a menu of possibilities? The first user interface improvement in IOS since folders! The only one since folders, I think. But in hindsight, not that cool.
David: I waited for a long time to buy my six, and got it when the five that I had died. It was cracked on both sides, it couldn't be fixed. I went out and bought a six, which dutifully now has a cracked screen right about here.
Leo: You should not be allowed to own a phone, my friend.
David: I’ve broken lots of phones, and I'm good friends with the guy who fixes my screens. He gives me a good deal. Has to pay cash though.
Leo: That's a story. The right to repair.
David: I look at what they say for the iPhone seven. I have a 24 month AT&T replacement, I guess I'll take it when I can get it. It's just like...
Leo: You're not one of us. You're not one of those people who has to get...
David: I still have the very first iPhone and I have stood in line for hours to get iPhones.
Leo: You are one of us.
David: I just have grown up.
Leo: So there's a battle, and Apple is by the way, leading this battle against the right to repair. You know what the right to repair is? It comes up at the John Deere tractors that you're not allowed to fix because they've got DRM on the software, and they don't want anybody to steal it, but it also comes up in the independent repair shops, but Apple really doesn't want these iPhone independent repair shops. There's a bill in California being proposed, the Right to Repair act that would give independent phone repair shops the manuals and the information and the parts they need. Apple doesn't want to give it to them. Apple says the problem is these guys are no good and they'll do a terrible job and you really should use us. On the other hand, I think you have the right to bring that phone to a third party to get it fixed. It's a lot cheaper.
David: Obviously. I did don't get a refurb phone as the replacement. I get my phone with a screen, which is kind of nice, I don't have to go back and rebuild my phone. That's a good thing. Yeah. I ought to be able to get my phone repaired, but if you're apple and you're control freaks and this is your cash cow in ways you can't even describe to people how much money they are paying you, of course they're going to want to do all the fixes.
Kashmir: It reminds me of the old phone company wars. There was this famous lawsuit where they went after the privacy protection, Cone that you added to the phone and they actually sued them for making the attachment to the phone. The Right to Repair reminds me of that battle, which was...
Leo: That was a similar argument too. Ma Bell said if we allow anybody to put any old equipment on our network, we can't guarantee the reliability of the network.
David: That was a battle for the heart and soul of universal service. I mean, that's what that was about. It wasn't about the can you do this? It's that you were renting all your equipment, the economics of Ma Bell was set up in a certain way. We finally came to a point where all of the money that Ma Bell was making, some of which went to fund the national geographic society by the way, suddenly there was this pause.
Leo: Now they've got Rupert.
David: There was this pause between the revenue that they were getting from business and Universal service installing lots of phones, and that's where the MCI decision came in, and that's what opened up competition, ultimately killed the bell system. I tell you, I think we would be better off today if we still had the Bell system where four guys could get around a table in a room and say "We're going to do Fiber to the home" and it would just happen. I liked that world. I liked the Bell system.
Leo: I'm not sure I agree. I have some mixed feelings. If you are in Southern California and you got your Verizon Fios replaced by Frontier, which happened a couple weeks ago. People are furious. Frontier has done a terrible job replacing Verizon. I guess you're saying if we're AT&T, if we're all Ma Bell we wouldn't have fiber? We would be doing one megabit DSL. We wouldn't have fiber!
Kashmir: They didn't want us to get Internet. They wanted us to stay on the phone.
David: Hold on, the reason they would give it to you is their rate of return was based on their investment. The more money they spent, the more money they made. I was there when they were experimenting with broadband fiber by transmitting uncompressed television up at Home Dell at the empty bell labs. They made money by investing more and more and more.
Leo: The regulations were if you spend more you can make more? That's the...interesting.
David: Yes. so they would have had every reason to bring us fiber to your bathroom, whatever.
Leo: Or cones of silence that you could put on your phone. I don't think you get innovation from monopolies that are protected by Government regulations.
David: Hold on. They invented Stereo, they invented... I can go through a list.
Leo: AT&T, they invented Unix, for crying out loud.
Kashmir: They held back radio.
Leo: Did they?
David: They didn't hold back radio. There was the lines, the WDF decisions, and the chain broadcasting decisions back in the 20's and 30's.
Leo: I'm getting a history lesson here.
Roberto: Why wouldn't AT&T by better? If they were broken up, why would they stop innovating?
David: It's not AT&T any more. They got rid of Bell labs, they got rid of... all of this corporate innovation that used to take place in this country is mostly gone today.
Leo: That's an interesting point of view.
David: There's nothing to support it. I spent a lot of time roaming Bell labs. I watched the Japanese tourists marvel at Thompson and Richie's desk, where they invented Unix, Japanese people were taking pictures of the empty desk. That was an amazing place that invented amazing technologies. That's not happening here the way it used to because there is no return on investing in science just for the sake of science.
Leo: This is a great conversation, and I would love to talk more about this, but I'm going to have to study up, because I have no information at all with which to counter you. Kashmir, you sound like you know a little about this.
Kashmir: The whole argument of Tim Wu's the Master Switch is about monopolies using their power to hold back the development of other technologies. Television and radio, phone and Internet, so if you're convinced by Tim Wu's book, then you would not agree with David, because there were many examples in there of technologies that were suppressed because it would create another market that would compete with their market.
Leo: He says that we're at that stage now with the Internet where the big companies, just as they did with long distance, they're going to come along and say thank you for developing that, we'll take it from here. Maybe you're seeing that with Comcast and Charter growing to such massive size. We certainly have duopolies. Something like that.
David: RCA under David Sarnoff was a big suppresser of technology, which could be a little bit of what Kashmir is thinking of because they got the FM radio banned, moved, meaning that all the FM radios that had been sold by major Armstrong stopped working. Suddenly they were in the six meter band of all things. There were major fights like that, and then the FCC, which tends to do OK on little things, but messes up horribly on big things, there was an idea once to make your radio dial start at AM and channelize as you dial up into FM. So it would look like one radio dial to you. No separate FM radios, no separate converters push buttons would go over wherever you wanted to go, and that couldn't fly because it made FM too accessible and too competitive with AM, which was dominant at the time.
Leo: But David, long distance calls were extremely expensive. I remember calling people and saying I'm on long distance, so this has got to be quick, now we essentially get unlimited calling in the United States for one flat rate. Isn't that an improvement. Brought to us by competition.
Roberto: I had an 800 dollar phone bill once. Right out of high school and I had a girlfriend live three hours away.
Leo: Sam thing to me. 200 dollars.
Roberto: My mom was like, "I need 800 dollars from you right now."
Leo: Yeah. But that's changed. Now you can call... I'm saying is competition seems to have helped in that case.
David: You can change the incentives. What happened is we were no longer subsidizing building out this great network.
Leo: I would love to see another Bell labs. I grant you that. The innovation out of Bell labs was huge.
Roberto: Google innovates for the sake of innovation. It's mostly for ad revenue, but they still just make crazy ideas. I don't think anyone at Google knows how to say no, but we have cars. Getting into phones, that idea was insane if you think about it. Google was a place you went and you searched for yourself most of the time.
David: Google is not Bell Labs. There is nothing about Google that is Bell labs, and if you've ever driven around New Jersey...
Roberto: Do you think Bell Labs would be doing what they're doing today in this corporate atmosphere? I don't think so.
David: That's why they're not doing it any more. What I was going to say was the reason we had these huge long distance bills was because long distance was seen as a business service and it was expensive to provide at that time. If you say, "You don't have to subsidize anything" and you can build networks and charge for long distance based on what it costs, you end up with MCI and cheap long distance and the Internet comes and wire line telephones go away. I don't think that's such a good idea either, but that's just me and national security thinking. So, I'm not sure everything we've done... yes it gets cheaper. But what is the real cost of all that cheaperness. If you like that word.
Leo: Cheaperness is good. Look, there's no solution that is perfect. There's negatives and positives to both. On the one hand, you got Bell labs with this giant monopoly on the other hand you have frankly an incumbent protecting their long distance tariffs, because it's very profitable for them. Less incentive for them to bring those prices down. There's negatives on both sides. I would come down in favor of a free market over a subsidized or regulated monopoly almost every time though, wouldn't you David?
David: We have what amounts to monopolies. I can get Internet service here at my home office from one of two companies, and it's basically the same...
Leo: It's a dualopoly created by the FCC after being strongarmed by the cable companies frankly who said we're not going to string cable unless you make it a monopoly.
David: If you're going to have a monopoly or a dualopoly you're going to strongly regulate and make requirements that the companies do things.
Leo: We have the best of both worlds. An unwillingness to regulate it, but we created it. Yeah. So back to the secret war. to keep you from repairing your iPhone. This is the Huffington post, the company has repeatedly opposed legislation that would allow people to go to third party repair companies and Apple has a rational that makes a little bit of sense, which is we can only guarantee the quality if we do it ourselves, and we don't want to repair something that somebody else has repaired first. The minute you take it to a third party, we're done. But I am in support of people like iFixit and I'm in support of the states, Minnesota, Nebraska, Massachusetts, and New York, who have considered adopting right to repair amendments, which would force companies to give out the information needed to fix stuff. Same thing with automobiles these days.
Roberto: If you buy a BMW, BMW is going to tell you bring it to the dealership, but you might have a mechanic that you trust that you've worked with for years with your other cars, I'd take it to that person, because the dealer is always going to be way more expensive, and Apple is probably going to be way more expensive than random person in the mall with a kiosk.
Leo: One of the reasons the state legislators are arguing for the right to repair is also because of this issue to throw away disposable economy that companies like Apple create forcing people to buy new computers, new phones because they're not repairable. You can't easily swap out the battery. If it dies, you got to throw it out or take it to Apple for a very expensive repair. Where do you stand? What do you think? Kashmir, right to repair?
Kashmir: It's hard not to be pro-consumer. It does seem like people should have an option to get their phone repaired wherever they want it repaired, so...
Leo: It's one of the reasons Apple really is pushing this robot that recycles iPhones. Liam, remember Liam? They want to look like they are pro recycling, because it does look like they're pro waste. Pro e-waste.
Roberto: Anybody who makes some sort of product wants you to buy that product again. A little bit better.
Leo: Slightly better this time. Let's see. Now I'm depressed. You nailed it, David. All this stuff sucks. You're never coming back. I want a cheerleader. How about the new Moto Z? It's exciting! It's got modular backs with magnets.
Kashmir: Technology is incremental and being put under this lens and we're looking at the incremental change and when technology is most inspiring is on a longer product cycle. It's very rare that we get the story that we got from Bloomburg about Larry Page making flying cars.
Leo: That's the thing, and I read that article and I go "sure, Larry. Flying cars."
Kashmir: You weren't impressed by that?
Leo: Because it's ridiculous! You don't want every Joe shmo to be flying around!
Roberto: You know what a flying car is? It's called a helicopter. We've had those for years.
Leo: But they were really expensive, thank god. Because if everybody could afford one, imagine!
Roberto: I can barely deal with most people driving on the road right now.
David: Let's play ask the old guys for a second. I remember when I started at InfoWorld, before Kashmir was born, probably, that every day was pretty exciting, because big things were happening. Things that you've never seen before, things that really made a difference in people's lives were happening. That doesn't happen that way today.
Leo: Sure it does. I think autonomous vehicles are going to be a massive change.
Kashmir: Space X, the idea that there could be commercial space travel, that's pretty cool.
Leo: Autonomous flying car is the only way you can go.
Roberto: Autonomous vehicles, when they finally hit the market, they're going to be...
Leo: I'm willing to bet that's what Larry...
Roberto: People are getting older, like David. At some point, you're not going to be able to drive, but you're going to want to go to the store, you're going to want to go to check out Bell labs again. Get in the car and it takes you somewhere. My grandmother never had that. My Mom might not even have that. But when I get older and I can't see and I shouldn't be behind the wheel, I'm going to be able to get in the car and it takes me from point A to point B, I get out...
Leo: David, your head is about to explode.
David: We talk about this, and all this science stuff that previously no computer publication would have ever spoken about. We have nothing else interesting to talk about.
Leo: How about this? The Novo is going to do bendy phones. Come on, this is good stuff. Mind blown. By the way, that is a piece of rubber they're using to demonstrate.
Roberto: How long have we seen the bendy screen?
Leo: Does anybody want this? What is the market for this?
Kashmir: People like to keep their phone in their back pocket, obviously.
Leo: I want to be able to sit on my phone. It's not so much bendy, I just want it to be soft and comfortable.
Kashmir: David, soon you'll be able to be in your autonomous car, wearing your oculus Rift, and playing around with your bendable phone. You can just appreciate the world again.
Leo: I'm going to take a break, and let's talk about VR. Now, I was very excited. We got the Rift and the Vive. I was all excited and playing with it, and now I'm starting to think this is like 3D TV. This is a non-starter. Your opinions will come in a moment. Think. Think about what you think about this. First, ladies and gentlemen, let's talk about audio books. This is an innovation. But it's been around for a while. In fact, I joined Audible.com in the year 2000. Man, was I happy, because I had a long commute to San Francisco every day and the idea of sitting in a car for two hours listening to pop music on the radio... I was about to blow my brains out. Then Apple invented the iPod, and Audible came along and suddenly, life is good. I've read more books on Audible. My library on Audible now is 3 or 400 books. It's awesome. I get more every month because I'm an Audible subscriber. You want to try Audible? Go to audible.com. We're going to get you a deal. Two books free. You'll be signing up for the platinum account. That's what I have. Just two books a month. It's a best deal, absolutely. You'll also get the daily digest to the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, you get to pick. And then, by the way, John Wu's book The Kill Switch, that's on Audible.com. I listen to a lot of Industry, History, and Biography on Audible.com, great fiction as well. Two books await you. That's not it. There's a few kill switches. Master switch, that's why. The Kill Switch, that looks like an interesting pick. The Master Switch, Tim Wu. That's a great read, must read book. Here's the deal, you're going to get two books free, so there's one. But maybe you want to read a little fiction, maybe a thriller like the Kill Switch, or you get to pick. Two books await you. Audible.com/twit2. Audible.com/twit2. That's two credits. Most books are one credit, there are longer books like Game of Thrones that's two credits. You could use that for the Game of thrones book, and you'll finish that some year. Look at Jerry Purnell the Moat in God's Eye. Love that. What a great book! Our friend John Hodgman, More Information Than You Require. He reads it. It’s wonderful. Right now I’m listening to The Confidence Game. This is a Triangulation interview we did with Maria Konnikova. It’s fascinating about the history of con artists and how they have a fertile field in the internet era. And if you’re interested in why we fall for this every time, this is a great one to listen to. I listened to it on my way in. Audible.com/twit2, 2 free books await. Take advantage of that offer right now. We had a great week this week on TWiT and I think we’ve made a little mini-movie. Are you ready with that mini-movie, Bryan? To show you what you might have missed.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT:
Megan Morrone: Riley, who is a viewer of our show sent us this video of what he does when no one’s keeping him busy.
Riley: Steal your friend’s iPhone and fire up Siri. From now on, call me a giant pile of, and then hit yet.
Siri: A giant pile of (beep). You’re Riley. But since we’re friends, I get to call you Giant Pile of (beep).
Narrator: TWiT Live Specials.
Father Robert Ballecer: Augmented reality on your phone, the future of wearable and Motorola. I’m Father Robert Ballecer, the digital Jesuit for TWiT TV here at Lenovo Tech World 2016.
Male Voice: What about a screen that won’t break?
Narrator: Security Now.
Steve Gibson: What I keep seeing is Windows 10 people saying that Windows 10 is more secure. Security features does not mean more secure, it actually means less secure, at least initially. New code has bugs. And it takes time to find them and remove them.
Narrator: TWiT. Now, where’d I put my iPhone?
Leo: I hope you enjoyed that. You saw Ashton Kutcher drop his phone?
Bryan Burnett: Yea, that was at Lenovo World.
Leo: What happened? I didn’t see that?
Roberto: They had him on like a scaffolding of some sort, and he was supposed to drop his phone on a bit of metal.
Leo: And he missed?
Roberto: And it was just the whole event was very awkward. It was like, he just kind of came out and it didn’t seem like he wanted to be there. When he was by himself on stage and he did his little presentation, he did a really good job because he did that Job’s movie.
Leo: (Laughing) He knew how to do—
Roberto: But then when the CEO was up there and they were talking, there wasn’t like a cue for him to leave so he was just sort of standing there. And then he—
Leo: He missed.
Roberto: Hmm mmm.
Bryan: He missed and then when the guest speaker had called him to come out, he took like, I don’t know, probably like a minute and a half to come out it felt like. It felt like forever. I think I can hear Ashton clambering up the ladder.
Leo: (Laughing) that’s terrible. And then I went to Lenovo.com and they have a picture of a guy with a hay bale on his head. What is going on at Lenovo? What is that? What is that? I don’t understand. Why is there a guy with hay for his head? Is that innovation? Innovation ever stands still. Anyway, if you want to watch the video of Ashton Kutcher and the phone, the keynote’s there but we also have our own coverage of it. I do want to talk about the Moto X at some, or Moto Z.
Roberto: I re-tweeted my GIF that I made of Ashton just being all awkward walking off stage.
Leo: You should work at BuzzFeed. That’s good. That’s good stuff.
Roberto: Making GIFs.
Leo: Great week ahead. I’m sure it’s a great week ahead. We’ve got WWDC and E3. Jason Howell, TNT, what’s coming up?
Jason Howell: Thanks, Leo. Here’s a look at a few things we’re going to be following closely in the week ahead. First off as you probably know, Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference kicks off tomorrow, and well, you’re going to be on set along with Megan and Andy Ihnatko to cover the keynote live at 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern. Pretty sure there will be plenty to discuss throughout next week from that event. Also the E3 Gaming Expo begins on Tuesday, June 14th, lasting through the rest of the week. Possible new hardware from Microsoft, maybe even Sony although they say don’t expect any, but regardless, plenty to discuss next week. And we’ll have a team there doing onsite coverage as well so look for that. June 14th is the VR unveiling of the OnePlus 3. Leaks reveal, I think, a sharp looking device. This will be the first time a OnePlus phone won’t require an invite in order to buy. So you better get your wallets ready. The Bluetooth 5 spec is actually set to be announced on Thursday, June 16th. It should bring double the range and four times the speed of Bluetooth 4.2. So Bluetooth fans, there you go. And I’m sure we’ll dig up plenty more of other things to talk about. We usually do. Find Megan Moronne and myself talking tech every weekday at 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern, 12:00 AM UTC at twit.tv/live. That’s a look at the busy week ahead. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Nice. Very nice. Thank you, Jason Howell. Roberto made, here’s Roberto’s—wait, we’ve got to get to the beginning of it. Hold on a second. So this is Ashton Kutcher. That’s all right. Ashton Kuthcer awkwardly leaving the stage (laughing). I guess I’m done. That’s horrible. All my God. If you want to see it yourself, if you’re listening, S-T-R-N-G-W-Y-S is Strngwys without the vowels is Roberto’s user. By the way, I see here right below it, one of your bands is playing in a Prince tribute show on July 8th.
Roberto: We are, July 8th.
Leo: What do you mean one of your bands? How many bands do you have?
Roberto: Well I have a regular band.
Leo: Yea. What do you do? Are you the lead singer? Yea, I thought so. You look, you kind of look like you might be.
Roberto: This is a regular band.
Leo: A regular band.
David Coursey: Will you sing something for us? I’ve never heard him sing. I would like to.
Roberto: No, that’s awkward.
David: Come one. Sing something. Please.
Roberto: That’s the regular band. And then I keep creating like these super bands with all these members of other bands in the area.
Leo: Super bands. Like other world famous rock and rollers.
Roberto: They’re world famous like in San Francisco.
Roberto: San Francisco based.
Leo: What’s the name of your band?
Roberto: The regular band is North American Scum.
Leo: North American Scum.
Roberto: The band we’re doing, the Prince tribute, is called Controversy.
Leo: Nice. I had no idea.
Leo: How do you find time to do that?
Roberto: I don’t. It’s—no, once a week and—
Leo: You just go and you play.
Roberto: I don’t play video games. You know I don’t have a lot of other.
Leo: Yea, I asked Kevin Kelly the same thing. He said, “I don’t watch TV.” I thought that’s not a price I’m willing to pay.
Roberto: No, I watch TV.
Leo: Oh, ok.
Roberto: Because TV you just sit there. I can relax and watch it. If it’s good we can pay attention. If it’s not we can, you know, tweet.
Leo: We can tweet. Thank God for the Twitter. What would you do without out? Now I’ve forgotten what we were going to talk about. That’s Roberto Baldwin from Engadget. Also with us, Kashmir Hill from Fusion and she’s @kashhill, K-A-S-H-Hill on the Twitter. And my old buddy, David Coursey who is @techinciter on the Twitter.
David: If only I ever used that account.
Leo: Do you never use—you said you also were ready, you’re going to get a tech blog all set up and you just—
David: Yea, we’re going to get that going. I was going to do it to do something about this show but I—
Leo: People will watch this show months from now. So what would they—so when they do, they can go there because it will be done by then I hope.
Leo: Where would they go?
David: I’ll probably put it at coursey.com. That’s not what’s there now but it’s probably where I’ll put it.
David: One of the first 100,000 sites on the internet.
David: I am reminded this.
Leo: When did you register that?
David: I’d have to look but I’m also one of the first 10,000 on LinkedIn and you know I had Coursey on MSN, on Hotmail for a long time. You know if you were there kind of at the beginning, you could get, het Coursey.com. How did I get that? I was first in line.
Leo: I used to have that sticker that said Top 5% of the Internet. It was like Excite of somebody (laughing). I used to have that on my site.
David: Oh, yea, oh, yea.
Leo: Engadget has leaked pictures of a new Xbox that we expect to see announced at E3 this week. What is Microsoft’s press conference? Is it tonight or is it tomorrow?
Roberto: It’s tomorrow morning.
Leo: Usually they do it before the show begins.
Roberto: I believe it’s halfway through Apple’s press event.
Leo: Perfect. Well we’ll be covering both I guess. The rumor is it’s about, what about a quarter or half the size. Let’s see, it’s a lot smaller. It has 4K capabilities. You can stand it on its side now.
Roberto: Yea, that didn’t work out for—because no one has, everyone’s like home entertainment is horizontal.
David: Yea. It’s going on a rack.
Roberto: If it’s on its side, my cat’s just going to knock it over.
Leo: NeoGAF members have posted images of what they’re calling the Xbox One S. It’s white. 40% smaller. It’s 40% smaller. Yea, 40% smaller. And 4K video which is a big deal. They didn’t have very high quality video on the original Xbox One and a 2TB hard drive. And—
Roberto: Power break’s internal.
Leo: the power break which is normally massive on an Xbox One.
Roberto: It’s like this big. It’s like the size of a Fiat.
Leo: It’s huge.
Roberto: It’s a Fiat 500.
Leo: It’s a Fiat 500 size.
Roberto: It’s like two wires sticking out.
Leo: And now it just goes in there. How is that? Have we made massive improvements in transformer technology?
Roberto: And we were talking, you know what? We were talking about how there’s nothing awesome in technology.
Leo: You see? You see? It’s huge here.
Roberto: And according to random people on the internet, we’ve been able to put a power break inside of an Xbox.
Leo: (laughing) I mean the power break was almost bigger than the Xbox that they’re coming out with. This is nice, good looking. Ok. Who cares? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you laugh right in the middle of your Diet Snapple. Is that the best stuff on earth? I’m just curious.
Roberto: If your bar is like super low, it really is the best stuff on earth.
Leo: (Laughing) sort of.
Roberto: It’s delicious.
Leo: It’s sort of the best thing on earth. PlayStation 4.5 also rumored to be coming out. I don’t know if Sony will announce anything at E3. Although I’m excited about the PlayStation VR. I got to play with that a little bit and of the three big players, that probably is going to be the biggest only because there’s so many, there’s like 40 million installed units of PlayStation 4 is that they can use the VR without a much higher cost. You don’t have to go out and buy a whole new PC for example.
Roberto: A beefy PC.
Leo: Yea. We built a $5,000-dollar PC to use the Oculus Rift and the Vive. And it’s fun but I have to admit and actually Bryan, you tell me. Bryan, our technical director today. Are people going back there and playing it all the while? After I leave, are people like spending a lot of time playing on the VR?
Bryan: Some people more than others. I think a lot of people—
Leo: Your brother loves the brush, what is it, Tilt Brush?
Bryan: Tilt Brush by Google I think.
Leo: It’s a painting program.
Bryan: Yea, him and Anthony have done some really cool stuff.
Leo: They’re both artists.
Bryan: They are both artists and like pretty talented but—
Leo: How about the games? Are people like gravitating? You showed me that one game where you get on the platform and you’re shooting at the bad guys. It was fun for the Vive.
Bryan: Yea, I think Burke really likes that one.
Leo: That’s not a high recommendation. What do you—
Female Voice: Tilt Brush is cool. I want to play that.
Leo: Ok, ok. Tilt Brush is cool. But again, let me ask the question, are people spending hours in there using that stuff? No.
Leo: I think it’s, I think VR is one of those things, it’s kind of gimmicky. You play it for a little while, you go, “That’s really neat.” And then you don’t, it’s not like you say, “Oh, I’ve got to do more of that.” It’s kind of like enough.
Bryan: And I don’t think the games library is really all there either.
Leo: Very weak.
David: How about putting in an old fashioned pin ball machine—
Leo: We had one of those and we gave it away.
Roberto: I like the way David thinks.
Leo: No, we had one but nobody played it.
Roberto: I’d be here every day. I’d be here way more often.
Leo: You say that but I think you wouldn’t.
Roberto: Yea, that’s true.
David: I’d like you more, Leo.
Leo: (Laughing) well, it’s too late. We gave it away. Some guy was here and I said, “You want it?” He said, “Yea.” I said, “Bring a truck.”
David: You know what used pinball machines are selling for?
Leo: Don’t tell me.
David: You don’t want to know.
Leo: This was Jerry Ellsworth who is a fanatic who made this and gave it to us.
David: You don’t want to know.
Leo: And we just have nowhere to put it in the new studio. Really? They’re worth a lot of money?
Roberto: I think that Alameda, they have the pinball museum there.
David: I really am never coming back on this show. I can already sense that you know.
Leo: What if you could be the ball in a VR? And you’re bouncing around, you’re zooming. Wouldn’t that be cool? And then—
David: You getting nauseous. You’re throwing up.
Leo: Be the ball. And then God does the flippers. It’s like life, right?
Roberto (Laughing) God does the flippers.
Leo: You don’t do the flippers. You’re the ball. It’s a whole new way of looking at pinball.
Roberto: Well I mean what do you want to see in VR? Because I can’t figure out anything in VR that’s got, that excites me.
Leo: The examples people give, and even Samsung gives, is your friends are all in Paris. You’re stuck at home. And they put on their, you put on your VR helmet and they put up their camera and they go, “Roberto, we’re all in Paris together.” No?
Kashmir Hill: I think people really like the VR porn.
Leo: I’ve heard that too.
Kashmir: It wasn’t for me.
Leo: I don’t know.
Bryan: Can’t do that at the studio.
Leo: Maybe that’s why nobody’s using it.
Bryan: Here’s the pinball machine though.
Leo: That’s not the one, is it?
Bryan: No, it’s the same.
Leo: Oh it is the same.
Bryan: I mean this isn’t the one that Jerry built but.
Leo: No but it’s the same game.
Roberto: That’s a nice game.
Leo: $3,000 dollars.
Roberto: Pinball machines, yea.
Roberto: Nice pinball machine.
Leo: It was an old one. It was classic. It wasn’t one of the big—
Roberto: Oh, those are better.
David: The classic ones are worth more. The classic ones can be rebuilt. NPR did a feature so it must be true.
Kashmir: Way too funny.
Roberto: I want David on every show.
Leo: It must be true.
David: How does she know about VR porn? I’ve been looking and I couldn’t find it.
Leo: Oh, it’s easy.
David: Really? On the internet? We’ll talk after the show then.
Leo: I’ll tell you about it because I’ve happened to try it. Because I am a father and I need to know about these things.
Roberto: Also, it’s your job.
Leo: It’s my job.
Roberto: As a journalist you have to explore the nether regions.
Leo: Again, when I first experienced it, I thought, “This is revolutionary. This is going to change the world. Porn will never be the same.” And then, since then haven’t really.
Kashmir: Well the one I tried is, you know the local San Francisco porn studio, kink.com. So they you know, were one of the first, the first studios to jump on VR. So I was watching this VR porn that was you know, they’re basically BSDM and so this was one of the-
Leo: They’re kink. They’re kink.com. It gives you some idea, yea.
Kashmir: So this is one of the porn videos where the person enjoys being insulted. So I had—
Leo: So do you get to be the person being insulted?
Kashmir: Yea. So two people in front of me that were making out and the woman was telling me I had a very small penis basically. So, it wasn’t really my usual cup of tea.
Leo: Where else could you experience that?
Kashmir: (Laughing) but they say that there are very devoted fans who really like the stuff.
Leo: Yea. So it, it gives me new respect for performers because you do get the, a lot of these are shot, as yours for example, yours was first person where you’re the, you’re the performer in it, right? And then the stuff is being done around you and to you and so it gives you new respect for the performer and what they have to put up with.
Kashmir: I actually watched them film one of their videos. And it’s a lot, it’s more work for them in a way because they—
Leo: It’s work.
Kashmir: Yea. They have the cameras all over the place. They’re trying to get the lights exactly right.
Leo: Yea, I wouldn’t want to do it.
Kashmir: And you have to think that for the performers, they’re going to be having all the angles. So I think it’s a little bit more nerve racking.
Leo: Takes all the fun out of it.
Roberto: Do they wear a helmet of some sort or do they just have cameras on them?
Leo: No, they probably just have a camera on their head, right?
Kashmir: Cameras were on their body, no. They did not. Well this one was kind of like a scene from a bar.
Leo: No but if you were doing it with the current crop of cameras you’d have some giant—
Roberto: Like a halo.
Leo: Halo around you so that it could—although one thing I did notice, the ones I’ve looked at didn’t, weren’t 360 degrees. They were kind of you know, constrained angles. And that was the other thing. I found myself like kind of, ok they’re fooling around in front of me, but I’m more like let’s look at the décor (laughing).
David: It’s like they’ve said about porn for years, for the first 5 minutes you don’t think you can get enough and after minute number 6 you don’t care if you ever see it again.
Leo: That’s VR in a nutshell. That’s VR in a nutshell. That’s exactly it.
Roberto: Leo’s shopping and VR porn. He’s like, “Look at this… can you get this?”
Leo: It’s like oh let me see what books they have. I’m trying to read the titles on the bookshelf.
Roberto: Zooming in.
David: It’s more voyeur.
Leo: But that’s the thing. So what is interesting about of immersive video, 360-degree video VR is you choose what you’re going to look at. So it is kind of interesting that way. There’s a Cirque du Soleil demo that comes on the Gear VR, the Samsung Gear VR, there are performers all around you and you can, and so it’s a little weird. But it’s kind of interesting because you can watch that trick or that trick or this. So what’s unusual is you are controlling the point of view which makes it difficult from an artistic point of view as an artist because this, normally what an artist does is tell you what to look at. That’s kind of the art of film and that’s gone because you could be shagging right in front of somebody and he’s looking at your bookshelf.
David: Yea, but you can also be on your training bike, riding the Tour de France.
Leo: That might be better.
David: You can ride the Tour de France much more realistically then you can with the current simulators. You know when you start, you’re there, you’re looking around, you’re seeing the wonderful sunflowers by the side of the road and all of that. That would be kind of fun. I can imagine that there are some experiences that you might want to have and guide yourself through.
Leo: I like that.
David: Air and Space Smithsonian. If you can’t be there you ought to see it.
Leo: Better for experiences than story telling. I think that’s—
David: That would be my point. You see Mount Vernon. It’s hard to get to. Now for $0 dollars you can get a VR tour of Mount Vernon and you can use it for a whole year, bring your kids. You know, vacation in places that you’re really going to see something. It’s not like I need to experience the great white shark 30 feet out in the water in Santa Cruz, it’s I want to be in a museum. I want to be at your house looking at all the technology, old stuff that you have on your shelves like I have on my shelves. That would be interesting. But this, you know, I want to play a game in VR. I don’t want to play a game in VR. I want to have a conversation with you in VR. This is all I need.
Roberto: We don’t even use phones. We just text each other. Why would I want like—
Leo: Yea, everybody thought as soon as you have the--
Roberto: It weights like this much. I’m like, “Oh, man this is great. My face is so sweaty. Now I have zits.” Now we’re all going to have zits.
Leo: We’ll have rims of zits around our forehead. Spend a lot of time in VR porn.
Roberto: Poor teenagers. I mean we already have problems.
David: Kashmir will not have rings of zits. I’m going to stand up for the other remote guest today.
David: She will not have rings of zits. She has great teeth, a nice smile that I envy. I don’t have a good toothy grin. She will not get zits. You and I will get zits. She will not get zits.
Roberto: I think I did just sitting there. I did this and I’m going to have like 5 of them.
Leo: Basically it’s beauty and three beasts is what you’re saying this show is.
David: I wouldn’t go that far.
Roberto: Beauty and the three beasts.
Leo: Beauty and the three beasts.
Roberto: That’s pretty much every band.
Leo: Yea, that’s really the story of bands, isn’t it? The person in front and the rest of them. Ok, so the super flexible phone you wear like a watch, non-starter. Maybe there’s some value in VR if we get the right content. That’s one of the reasons it’s hard to judge this stuff is—
Roberto: It’s so early.
Leo: It’s early.
Roberto: Yea, they finally have the technology to make it. Now you need somebody to actually make an experience that is more than just running around and shooting people.
Roberto: Or shooting aliens or whatever. Or we’ve gotten a lot of like, “Oh, let’s do an interview with somebody but in 360.” I’m like, “Why? That person’s sitting right there. You’re interviewing him. I don’t need to see the people behind him.” We’re just throwing things at a wall and hoping something sticks. And hopefully someone will come up with something cool. But for now, I’m not really a gamer so it’s not my jam.
Leo: I like to play games but sometimes it’s too immersive. You’re really in there and it makes you queasy. I’ll be honest with you. It’s hard not to get queasy on these things. Now stop it. I look like Yul Gibbons playing a video game in this thing. This is just the worst. This is me and the PlayStation VR and I wore suspenders so I wouldn’t look like I was hip.
Roberto: Did you do this at any point?
Leo: I do. I think I do (laughing).
David: Have you thought what you need is a VR set to be in front of, like all these local news teams around America who are sitting in front of a green screen? You know you can have the coolest set and it could change every week.
Leo: So one of the challenges of the VR is how do you show it and so what we do have is in the other room, we have a giant green screen stage and that’s where we set up the VR and then you see the person. And everybody looks dorky when they’re doing VR. You just cannot help it. But at least behind them in a full size you see the environment that they’re in. And actually I think that’s the way to demo VR. We figured that much out anyway. Yea. There you go. So now this is actually Kate Patella my old Screen Savers friend and then she’s in the Tilt Brush game, the painting game.
David: That must be thrilling to do. I can hardly just contain myself. Me and the dog here are watching this.
David: By the way, I want a screen grab of me and the dog just so that I can—
Leo: Ok. Just to prove that you were on this show.
David: I’m going to use it on Facebook as my profile picture.
Leo: We once had you on a show.
Leo: Yes. And then I can, 20 years from now, see you really were on a show even though I don’t remember it.
Roberto: And Scruffy.
Leo: And Scruffy, too.
David: And then for some reason you stopped answering our calls. I mean, yea, ok.
Leo: So somebody in the chatroom while I was doing the radio show gave me the website haveibeenpwned.com. You know that there has been some massive lately some leaks of databases. You put in your email address. This has been around for a while. We’ve used it before. To see if your email showed up in any of these pwned databases.
Roberto: Oh, you’re totally pwned.
Leo: Oh, I’ve been totally pwned. The breaches I was pwned in—
Roberto: You can just say everybody’s been pwned and they’d be correct. I mean they don’t really have to do anything.
Leo: All this means is that your email address showed up. Maybe not even your accurate password or credit card. They don’t tell you that, just that your email address for in my case, for Adobe, LinkedIn, Myspace and Tumblr. But this is the numbers that blew my mind. The top 10 breaches. Myspace breach, 359 million Myspace accounts.
Roberto: I still have an account.
Leo: That was the thing that I did is I logged in and I said, “Oh, I still have an account.”
Roberto: Login with your password.
Leo: Yea, I changed the password immediately. LinkedIn, 164 million accounts. Adobe, 152 million. The size of these database dumps. I mean Ashley Madison was only a mere 30 million accounts.
Roberto: Well that’s the problem with sites like Myspace where we signed up for something you know, 5, 10 years ago and maybe it’s changed hands a few times and the people who own it now maybe the security is lax.
Leo: They’re not paying attention.
Roberto: And you keep using that same password.
Roberto: You’re like, “Oh, I’ve been using this password for 10 years because it’s the name of my dog and the street I lived on and you know, my favorite football team.” And then suddenly, now your current Twitter account is hacked. Or worse, your email account is hacked.
David: I wonder if the problems with technology generally and also with capitalism is you can’t move backwards. Once television killed radio in the United States, it wasn’t allowed to do that in the UK, we couldn’t ever go back and have good radio again. With this technology, if we had to invent the internet today, it would look nothing like when it was invented with no idea of what it would become. No idea. No security, no this, no that, so we’re constantly playing catch-up. And we don’t have the ability to say stop. You know, beginning tomorrow, there is a new internet that is new and it is secure and it is whatever. We could build that internet but there is no way to do the transition to it unfortunately.
Leo: Yea. Do you want to be my Myspace friend, Roberto?
Roberto: All right.
Kashmir: I can’t believe you guys still have Myspace accounts.
Leo: You want to know what else?
Roberto: You want to be my top 8?
Leo: You want to know what else? That’s Tom. He’s my Myspace friend.
Kashmir: What disturbed me most about this most recent round of passwords that got hacked, the LinkedIn 2013 hack that just seems to be just like coming out now and then the Twitter hack, is that the people that weren’t using Two Factor. Like this is the new security we’ve come up with because we know that passwords are not secure. They get out all the time. So you have the second factor, you send to your phone. And that becomes more secure. But in this most recent hack, DeRay Mckesson, the Black Lives Matter activist was hacked and he actually had Two Factor turned on for Twitter and his email account and the hackers went to Verizon and got them to change his sim card so that the Two Factor messages that were coming from Twitter for example went to their phone instead of his. It was just such a deep hack and it’s so hard to protect yourself against that especially because social engineering always works.
Kashmir: If you call the phone company and you can get them to believe anything especially if you have the sound of, you know, crying baby playing from a YouTube video. So that’s what’s terrifying to me is that you can take all the measures and then still get hacked.
Leo: So DeRay tweeted “At 10:31 am, someone called Verizon impersonating me and successfully changed my SIM. Unsuccessfully attempted to change my phone number.” What they’re trying to do of course is to get that 2nd factor authentication sent to their phones instead of his phones. I’m not clear though, he says, he says Verizon says, “We’re investigating.” But they said, “By changing my phone’s SIM, the high hacker bypass Two Factor verification which I have on all accounts.” I’m not sure I buy that because if they weren’t able to get his phone number for their phone, how would changing his SIM change Two Factor?
Roberto: If they have that SIM they could just have it, put that SIM in a phone and suddenly every text message that he gets goes to that phone.
Leo: They’d have to get his physical SIM though to do that or convince Verizon to say, “Oh, this is my new number. This is my new phone.”
David: It’s your new SIM. You just changed the code of your SIM and tell them that this SIM is now my phone.
Leo: That’s easy to do. I’ve done that. When you get a new phone, that’s what you do.
David: Yea, exactly. And you get a new SIM burner and there it goes.
Leo: Yea, you don’t even need that. You can order a SIM from Verizon. When it comes you call up and say, “Hey, I’ve got my new phone. This is the new SIM ID. Please make this the phone.” Oh, geez.
Roberto: I saw a talk with Kevin Mitnick about a year ago. And you know he has a company that goes in and checks the security of other companies. And someone asked him like, “How often can you break into it?” He’s like, “Well if we’re not allowed to use social engineering,” I think it was like 60 – 70%. He’s like “If we are, 100%”
Leo: Kevin wrote the book on social engineering, yea.
Roberto: Yea. So yea, it’s 100%. And that’s how Matt Honen was hacked. That’s how I learned how to hack my own accounts was because Matt was hacked and we had to do all the research about it and we would just call and pretend you know, whatever we could find on the internet about ourselves, we would tell them and then we could change.
Leo: That’s all you need.
Leo: Kashmir, wasn’t that your colleague? Was it Alexis? Who was your colleague that hired two firms to hack him?
Kashmir: Oh, yea, that was Kevin Roose.
Leo: Kevin Roose, that’s right.
Kashmir: He invited two hackers to go at him with everything they could.
Leo: That was crazy talk. But one of the firms was a social engineering firm specifically. One of them was a more traditional hacking firm. Both of them pwned him.
Kashmir: Yea, and it’s pretty easy. I mean the same thing happened to him where they called his phone provider. That’s why actually whenever I screenshot my phone, I try to crop out who my provider is. And I tell other people to do this because you know, once they have that information then they can call and try to impersonate you and usually the only kind of information they need to get in is the last for digits of your social security number. Which is really bad.
Leo: Who’s your carrier. How do they get that? How do they get the last 4? Because once you have the last four you can have everything.
Roberto: You can pay $5 dollars and get anyone’s social security number online.
Kashmir: Have you never had, you’ve never done LexisNexis search of somebody?
Leo: LexisNexis? I thought that was a law database.
Kashmir: Yea, there are many places through which social security numbers run.
Leo: Wait a minute. You can do a LexisNexis search on Leo Laporte and you would get my social?
Roberto: Your social’s probably somewhere.
Kashmir: A portion of it, yea.
Leo: Do you have your LexisNexis there right now?
Kashmir: You want me to look up your social security?
Leo: Yea. Why not? What could possibly go wrong (laughing).
Kashmir: I think technically that is a misuse of the database.
Leo: But I’m, but I’m inviting—oh, ok.
Kashmir: But, yea.
Leo: I’m inviting you to do so.
Kashmir: There are various ways that is very easy to look up people’s social security numbers.
Leo: And it doesn’t need to be the whole number. That’s the point that all the phone companies ever ask you for is the last four digits.
Roberto: Nope, that’s not yours.
Leo: Are you looking me up? I don’t think you can Google my social security number. That would be terrible.
Roberto: I’m finding other people named Leo Laporte with their social number. But you can find it. There are sites that are dedicated.
Leo: I thought LexisNexis was only legal searches.
Roberto: I got Justin Beiber’s social security number.
Kashmir: You can do person searches on LexisNexis.
Leo: You can do person searches, ok.
Kashmir: It’s how, it’s usually how news organizations get somebody’s phone number because we have personal records. So this social engineer called his provider and she played a YouTube video of a baby crying.
Leo: Of a baby crying. Oh my God, it was so funny. And it worked. She said, “My husband’s out of town and I desperately need to get into his phone” for some reason.
Kashmir: Kevin’s not even married so.
Leo: But the point is that—
Kashmir: It’s very easy.
Leo: Customer service rep, their job is customer service. The problem is that authentication techniques are so poor they want to serve the customer. So all you have to do is somehow assert you are the customer and they’ll serve you.
Kashmir: They want to make customers happy.
Leo: You’re right. That’s their job.
Kashmir: Your mother’s maiden name which you can basically find through going to Facebook and seeing which woman posts the most on this person’s page.
Leo: Everyone knows my mother’s maiden name is Mcgillicutty and the last four of my social are 4792.
David: Some people know that—
Kashmir: What are you doing?
Leo: No, no, no, I know what I’m doing here (laughing). Just let that be. That’s now public record. That’s going to go up on LexisNexis. It’s called disinformation, Kashmir.
Leo: See what I’m saying? See what I’m saying? You should put out as many lies as you can, everybody, all the time.
Roberto: My Facebook birthday is completely incorrect.
Leo: Create the noise.
Roberto: I’ve changed like four or five—no, the actual date. I’ve changed it 4 or 5 times. I won’t wish anybody a happy birthday on Facebook or Twitter.
Leo: That’s an excuse. No, because I hate doing that. That’s just an excuse. No, I’m protecting your security.
Roberto: Protecting your security.
Leo: Oh, God.
Roberto: I don’t wish anybody happy birthday.
Leo: I’d like to wish you happy birthday, but—
Roberto: The cropping of your carrier thing, that’s smart. I’m going to start doing that.
Leo: That’s good. Actually, Kashmir, this is your beat, so you’ve probably have gotten—do you feel like you’ve gotten better? Because by the way, the other problem with this being your beat is now you’re a target.
Kashmir: Yea. I try to be better but like I said, you can’t—security is all about putting up higher walls.
Kashmir: But there’s no way to perfectly protect yourself.
Leo: As Kevin said in his article, he talked to a ninja master of security who said, “Look, if you’re walking down the street and ninja’s jump you, you can’t fight them off. But what are the chances of ninja’s jumping you? They’re very small.” So you don’t walk down the street worried at every moment that somebody’s going to jump you, some martial artist is going to kill you because you’re not a target. He says, “Anybody can hack you if you’re a target. Just don’t be a target.” That, you know, if you’re a target like I hate to say it, some of us might be because of our jobs, then what do you do?
Roberto: You just make it harder.
Leo: What does JLaw, what does JLaw do?
Roberto: You make it as hard as you can. Since I’ve actually started writing about security, my Google account, there’s someone trying to hack it at least once a month. I’ve had days, where it’s like, it just keeps—this person from this country, this person from this country and this person from this country is trying to get into your—because they’re trying to get—because they’re trying to get into your email. If you can get that email, you have access to everything.
Leo: What if you’re a movie star, what do you do?
Roberto: You pay somebody.
Leo: And are they good? Do you get Kevin Mitnick to look out for you?
Kashmir: Doesn’t seem like they’re very good, especially for JLaw, whose new photos got leaked all over the internet.
Leo: Well exactly.
Kashmir: Nude photos got leaked all over the internet.
Leo: Well exactly.
Roberto: It was a phishing scheme. Someone tried to phish me this morning on my Twitter account.
Leo: I almost fell for—I actually did fall and I changed the address. It was a very good one because my son had lost his phone. And I got a text message saying, “We found your iPhone, this is Apple. We believe we know where your phone is. Log in to Find My iPhone.” And I did. And it looked just like Find My iPhone. And I started to login. I went, “Whoa! Wait a minute.” And I told my son, “You’re going to get this too,” because he had just lost his phone, it was very credible. “We noticed a recent login attempt from an unusual device.”
Roberto: This is a phishing email.
Leo: “If this wasn’t you, secure your account by resetting your password now.” “Hi, Roberto Baldwin.” It’s got the little Twitter bird. If this was you—oh, I like this one. This is the giveaway. “Just to be safe, please confirm your identity by using this temporary code on Twitter.” And it’s just to be safe.
Roberto: And it’s from password@twitter.
Bryan: Burnett Did they spell Twitter correctly?
Leo: It doesn’t matter.
Leo: You can spoof any email address.
Roberto: Yea, but it’s spoofed.
Leo: It’s trivial.
Roberto: But I know better. If anyone in my family gets this—
Leo: That’s what happened to Kevin. He knew he was about to be hacked and he still fell for it. They got a phishing scam on him and even though he knew, that I have now hired professionals to hack me, he still fell for it.
Kashmir: Do you think Kevin was a little bit gullible as that story went along, but yea. We talked about it. I was like, “Yea, I would never do this. I just would not.” And I think he has remained paranoid since then because you know one of the hackers got into his computer, hacking.
Leo: They did that thing your brother had happen to him. They said, “Kevin, you looked bored.”
Kashmir: They made his computer talk to him. They were, you know, I definitely have one of these like little stickers that I put over my—
Roberto: Oh, yea. I have the sticker on mine.
Leo: Oh, really?
Kashmir: His laptop and it got into his computer and it was taking photos of him and taking photos of his screen like every 5 minutes or something.
Leo: Every once in a while I just stand up and shake my money maker at my camera and I figure that is sufficient.
Roberto: Does that deter it? They’re like, “Never mind, never mind. Delete.”
Leo: Sorry I saw that. Oh, God. They’re using something called Remote Access Trojan. And this is something local news love these because they can really scare them and film at 11.
Roberto: Did you know your computer is a window to other people’s—
Leo: They’re watching. But is it real? It is real.
Kashmir: It’s definitely real. And it’s definitely, there’s cases too where I mean this happened to school kids who were using school owned computers where they have security programs on them that are essentially spyware and it will take photos of the kids and the parents find out and they sue the school. There’s a whole rent-to-own scandal with laptops so the same things was happening. And the FTC went after the company. They were taking photos of people, you know, having sex, getting out of the shower. You do not want your laptop camera uncovered. It should always be covered. Unless you’re doing Skype, and I know my camera’s on right now.
Leo: Or, you don’t give a damn. I mean that kind of a hack, so what?
Kashmir: You’re ok with the JLaw photos of you on the internet?
Leo: Yea, believe me, nobody wants those. But I would be more concerned about them hacking my bank account than I am about getting pictures of me coming out of the shower. Come on. Nobody wants a picture of me coming out of the shower (laughing). Who did that? All right, anyway.
Kashmir: If they get a rat on your computer, they’re definitely going to be able to get into your—
Leo: There’s a lot worse they could do obviously, yea. The Twitter folks say, “Our password leak has nothing to do with a breach of Twitter, it was a lot of people using the same password on Twitter that they used on other sites.” It probably had more to do with the LinkedIn database dump. Do you find that credible? Do you think—Twitter is notifying users; in fact they say “We’ve notified millions of users that your account may be taken over.” The leak, the social was 33 million user names and passwords. But Twitter says, “No, they didn’t hack us. There’s no evidence that they hacked us.” No social leak. I made that up. Leak source. I made up a new place. Social leak.
Roberto: Someone get that URL.
Kashmir: Yea, Twitter claims that their servers weren’t hacked. That either it was malware that was put on a whole bunch of people’s computers.
Leo: Come on.
Kashmir: But also, I mean a lot of people do reuse the same password which is a horrible practice. People have been hearing that for years, they continue to do it. I will once again just say, use a password manager. It’s always good to promote those. You really shouldn’t use the same password from site to site because sites aren’t, they’re not good at security and your password’s going to get out.
Leo: Roger Goodell’s account was hacked and used to announce his death. That’s mean.
Roberto: Right, that was the NFL.
Leo: Yea the NFL commission.
Roberto: Two Factor. Why is the giant corporation not using Two Factor?
Leo: Even Evan Williams, the founder of Twitter, was hacked.
Roberto: Come on.
Leo: Come on.
Roberto: You’re a target. If you’re a CEO--
Leo: Yea, that’s the problem, right?
Roberto: Even if you’re a journalist, you should have—
Leo: You can’t have walls high enough.
Roberto: You have to be a bit more careful. But especially if you’re a CEO or any sort of government employee.
Leo: Team Viewer.
Roberto: Get it together.
Leo: Somebody in the chatroom’s pointing out that Team Viewer, which is remote access software has such poor security, people were using Team Viewer to hack other people with Team Viewer.
Roberto: I hate Team Viewer. I delete that thing every chance I get. I’m going to do a Team Viewer. Oh, geez.
Leo: I don’t want to do a Team Viewer.
Roberto: Everything. Everything that Kashmir said. Just do what she said.
Kashmir: They never catch these hackers.
Leo: That’s a good point. I mean all of these breaches, where are all the arrests that go along with it? They’re few and far between.
David: No, they hand out Hero of the Soviet Union awards.
Leo: Do you think it’s governmental?
Roberto: Some of it is.
David: I think it’s governments who don’t care enough to enforce against their own citizens. I wonder if Russians hack Russians, if that isn’t a bigger deal than if Russians hack everybody else.
Leo: We certainly know the Chinese government has a very effective and active hacker quorum working for it. But they’re not hacking you and me, they’re hacking US Governments.
Kashmir: They’re not interested in splash hacks. They’re interested in proprietary software.
Leo: Is that the term? Splash hacks?
Kashmir: I just made it up. I don’t know.
Roberto: I like that.
Roberto: Splash hacks.
Leo: Splash hacks.
Roberto: That’s a new book. Splash hacks. The world’s greatest headline griming—grabbing—griming—grabbing.
Leo: Splash hacks. What would Harvey Levine say?
Roberto: Oh, he would love that.
Leo: He loves the splash hacks.
Roberto: How does this work again?
Leo: (Laughing) let’s take a break. Roberto Baldwin is here. He used to work for RME, now he works at Engadget, much more respectable. And we love having you in.
Leo: Yep. You can come here anytime. Bring your band next time.
Leo: Let’s do some rock and roll.
Kashmir: Yea, you should have done this show with a performance.
Leo: That would be awesome.
Roberto: We could do Prince tribute.
Leo: Can you do When Doves Cry? Come on.
Roberto: Oh, I’m working on that.
Leo: That’s a hard one.
Roberto: The screams are—it’s like I have to work on the scream for each song individually.
Leo: He didn’t like to duplicate screams.
Roberto: Yea, yea. It doesn’t seem like it’s—
Leo: Every scream was a unique little subset.
Roberto: It’s really tough and yea.
Roberto: No one cares about his really.
Leo: It’s not easy being a Prince Tribute band.
Roberto: It is not.
Leo: But you do the lead, so you have to sing. You have to sing.
Roberto: I’m not singing all the songs. I’m singing I think most of the songs.
Leo: David Coursey’s here. Also my good friend, long-time tech watcher pundit. He’s worked pretty much everywhere. Currently available if anybody’s interested. And his dog Scruffy.
David: I can get Scruff.
Leo: Screen grab. Screen grab. Everybody grab this screen.
Leo: It’s—aww. The kinder, gentler David Coursey.
David: Scruffy the dog. Yes.
Leo: You have mellowed a little, David. You used to be a fire breathing dragon.
David: Put me in your chair and I’ll be a fire breathing dragon.
Leo: Is that a promise?
David: I promise.
Leo: Because I’d like to go on vacation soon (laughing). I could take some time off. Also—
David: The studio will move by the time—
Leo: Tracy. I’d come back and say, “Where’d the studio go?” It’s with Tracy. Scruffy has it now. Also from fusion.net, the wonderful Kashmir Hill. Great to have you. Do people call you Kash?
Kashmir: A lot of people call me Kash.
Roberto: Do you like it?
Leo: Yea, do you like it is another question.
Kashmir: Kind of my internet name. It’s my Twitter handle, it’s Kashhill.
Leo: Now, is it Kash or Cash?
Kashmir: I prefer Kash.
Leo: Not Kash?
Kashmir: But a lot of people call me Kash.
Kashmir: I like Kash but it’s like this is casual or something.
Roberto: Casual Friday. No, I work for a living.
Leo: Kashmir Hill is the mullet of tech reporters. She’s all, she’s business in front, and Kash in back.
Kashmir: That’s the first time I’ve been called that.
Leo: I’m working on it. It’s a work in progress. I’m sorry. I apologize. Our show today brought to you by Squarespace and David just jump in anytime.
David: I love Squarespace.
Leo: It’s where I do my blog. Leolapote.com.
David: It’s inexpensive. It always is there. They have great technical support. I’m not a big user of the most current version. N5FDL.com is on an earlier version and I’ve been using it for 5 or 6 years.
Leo: Oh, you’ve got to try the new Squarespace is so awesome.
David: Oh, I have tried it. It’s really cool. And if you have lots of cool pictures, it helps.
David: It’s great for artwork. If you have anything visual, I can’t imagine if you had a gallery or something or a bunch of products. Yea, if you have pictures, it’s great.
Roberto: Pictures of Scruffy?
David: If I did Scruffy World I would do it.
Leo: Yea, yea.
David: Yea, Scruffy World.
Leo: They now have Scruffy World. They now have these new templates. You were talking about these kind of new, modern style. They now have these grid style landing pages. There are 5 new magazine style templates. Grid style landing pages. Infinite scroll. Related posts appear at the bottom. Author profiles. You can have multiple contributors. You know, I see magazines and you know, places saying how great our CMS is. They must spend millions of dollars on this stuff. So easy to do a magazine on Squarespace. I don’t know why more of them don’t just do it. It’s the ultimate CMS. And you can do it all right there. In fact, I do it for my blog and it’s just me. But so many people use Squarespace. Squarespace has commerce too. In fact it’s the only platform that lets the commerce, the shopping cart, look exactly the same as your design. It all is seamless and I really like them for that. Go to Squarespace.com and take a look at it. Members who have built or contributed more than, to 3 or more active Squarespace websites will have access to Squarespace Circle. Circle membership includes advanced guides, optimized support, 6 month trial period. 6 month trial period for new projects and more. That’s a nice deal. Kind of reward you, a frequent flyer plan for Squarespace users. And by the way, they now do domains. They’ll sell domains directly. So if you have, like David did, you have an idea for a site, but you haven’t yet set up the site, they will sell you a domain name from 200 of the top level domains. That’s pretty much all of them. And then you register your domain and they give you a beautiful spam free parking page until you’re ready to start building. And you can use the cover pages even just to create a cover page of you and Scruffy right there on the front.
David: It is gorgeous. Squarespace is gorgeous. It’s easy. It is highly flexible. And you can change it on the fly. Back during the big flood in New York, I think it was Sandy, their generator for their data center was like up on the 16th floor of their building. And they were huffing diesel fuel 16 flights of stairs in order to keep the servers going.
Leo: They are committed.
David: That’s take a little bit of—yea, I was trading support mails with them. I said, “Keep going, keep going, keep going.” It was incredible what they were doing to keep my website. To keep my website going. It was remarkable.
Leo: You cannot bring a Squarespace site down. We’ve tried again and again and again. It’s just fantastic. Look, I want you to try it. You can try it for free always at Squarespace.com but if you decide to buy, 10% off which means you should buy you know, like a year, a year plan, get the maximum savings, if you use the offer code TWiT. Squarespace.
David: No credit card required.
Leo: I know. I like that. You just set up a site and try it. We have a friend, Alex Lindsay, he’ll go to a business, typically a restaurant, and say, “Where’s your website?” And they say, “We don’t have one.” And before the meal is over he’ll set up a Squarespace site for them. He says, “You’ve got 2 weeks. Enjoy.” (Laughing) And if you want it, pay it. But I designed this site for you which I think is really cool. Squarespace.com. Zuck is going to do a live Q & A on Facebook. What do you guys think about what’s going on with Facebook? They’re really moving in to the media, becoming a media company.
Roberto: They’re moving into just doing as many things as possible to not become Myspace.
Leo: (Laughing) well, Facebook Live.
Roberto: Let’s do VR, let’s do live, let’s do this.
Leo: Facebook Live’s pretty impressive. If you saw Mark interviewing the international space station astronauts on Facebook Live it was kind of cool. He’s going to do the same thing for himself. They’re going to, June 14th, 2:30 PM Eastern, they’re going to let you ask questions of Mark Zuckerberg. I think that’s a brave thing to do. I can’t think of a lot of other CEOs.
Roberto: Well it’s brave in the fact that everything’s going to be, go through filters.
Leo: But it is live.
Roberto: Yea, but they’ve had the live sort of like town halls.
Leo: Yea, actually the president’s done it so, yea.
Roberto: It’s not like he’s going to be answering every like crazy hard question that people have. Like why are you deleting people’s synced photos from their phones and making us download Moments instead?
Leo: Here’s a question.
Roberto: That’s probably not going to make it through. Or he’ll already have an answer for that.
David: Another thing to think about with this is, is it going to become like say a television network with prescheduled stuff? For example, former Secretary Robert Reich, you know, the Bernie supporter has scheduled like 12:00 noon on Thursdays or something. He does office hours and does those cool drawings and answers questions and stuff like that. And if you happened to know it, you’ll know to tune in. And if you’re on at the time, you may see a note that says, “Robert Reich is live now.” But at what point do I go to a directory of everybody who’s going to be on in the next three or four days? I mean is that really Facebook or is that something else? I don’t know the answer to that question.
Leo: Periscope does that. A lot of people do that, right? I think that’s a nice thing to do. A directory of—but they haven’t done that.
Roberto: I mean that would be a smart idea. But I don’t know if Facebook will do it.
David: I don’t know if that’s a nice thing to do. I think that sort of breaks the relationship between users and the communities that they have. But it’s also part of the, oh what, the Tasty videos that show up all the time and all of this new video content that’s designed. And they do a pretty good job. Once they started telling the story in captions rather than making you listen to it, those things became really useful and people are—yea, I watch a lot of them now because you just scroll past, you watch it until you’re bored. You scroll up. I’m sorry to do that with my hand. And it goes away. But does that make—what does that do to Facebook overall? I don’t know. I think Facebook’s more useful than it used to be. Still a lot of things wrong with Facebook particularly if you’re trying to be an administrator or try to do a non-profit or something like that on Facebook. But I like Facebook now a lot more than I did two years ago which is sort of saying something.
Leo: I’m sad to say, by the way this is a great service that Facebook does, the Facebook Safety Check. They’ve never had to use it in the US until I’m sad to say, today. They’ve used in other disasters and terrorist attacks. Remember Paris? Where you could go, you could find your friends, friends who were in the Orlando area after the horrific shooting at the nightclub last night. So this is the first time they have activated this and you can go there and see if your friends are in the affected area and if you are in the affected area you can let your friends know if you’re safe. But that is a sad thing. And yet I have to commend them. I mean I think they do a good job. They took some heat for the choice of places that they would use this Safety Check.
Roberto: Because they did Paris but not, was it Beirut?
David: No, Turkey, Turkey.
Roberto: Yea, yea, I’m sorry. They did Paris but they didn’t do Turkey, so.
David: They’re learning.
Leo: Things are happening, you could probably do it all the time I’m sorry to say.
Roberto: Facebook’s a company. They’re going to make money. I think this sort of, these sort of features are socially, not to just talk about social, are great. And to your argument that is it going to be like a television station. Is there going to be a schedule? I can see Facebook probably doing that in the future with something like the live videos.
Leo: I think they want to be careful not to look like a media outlet, right?
Roberto: But they want everyone to go—they want you to stay within there.
Leo: They want you to live there, yea.
Roberto: And if you, if they can say, “Well you know, this person that you follow is going to be showing a video at you know, Thursdays at noon,” you know, we can put in like events.
Leo: You know where maybe opportunity for Facebook, both Facebook and Google are going to be big presences at the Republic and Democratic nominating conventions this year. And while there might not be a lot of news there, there’s also the potential that there could be big news in either convention if Bernie Sanders takes on Hillary Clinton or the Republican elite take on Donald Trump. There could be a lot of stories there. And at this point, I still, like from the primary night, still went to CNN or MSNBC. But I think that we’re close to an inflection point where people will go to Facebook. Because there’ll be news, there’ll be live video, there’ll be their friends, there’ll be conversations. There might be a better place to get that kind of story.
Roberto: Because you can’t, you know if you share a live video, you can have that conversation with your friends in the comments. You can’t have that conversation on CNN. You can’t have it on MSNBC.
Leo: It becomes much more interactive.
Roberto: If Fusion is there and they’re doing a live video, if Engadget is there.
Leo: Do you guys use that Facebook at all at Fusion?
Kashmir: Yea, I was actually watching Facebook Live today with Jorge Ramos who’s an excellent anchor and who was driving to Orlando and just talking about you know, Obama’s statements about the Orlando shooting and what he was hoping to do in Orlando. So yea, we’ve been using it a bit.
Leo: What’s your sense? Is it working? Is it a useful platform?
Kashmir: Yea, I mean it’s just a huge—the thing is Facebook is such a huge audience. Like I’m shocked you guys don’t do This Week in Tech through Facebook Live as well.
Leo: I’ve thought about it. You know, I don’t know. I don’t know. On the one hand, if you’re an outlet, a media outlet, it’s great to get more eyeballs on you. But at the same time, you go to Facebook and in a way, you’re in Facebook’s, you’re playing in Facebook’s sand.
Roberto: Yea, you’re giving up everything.
Leo: They’re getting it all.
David: Leo, see if they will pay you to do this. They pay the New York Times, they should pay Leo Laporte.
Leo: I worry about my audience too because I mean, are they, what are they do with the information they’re gleaning about the people going there to watch that. I’m just, I just don’t know. I’m really torn about it. And I don’t think there’s a rush to get there. I think it’s ok if I say, “I’m going to wait a year and see.” I don’t know. It’s an interesting question. Fusion might do it, for sure for Fusion. Absolutely. I mean Fusion—
David: Like I said, you might have to replace Kashmir. She’ll already be there and you won’t.
Leo: So Fusion is a television network, a cable network, as much as it is a website. I think it’s very interesting as long as the cable companies give you a hard time. When we did Tech TV it was in our cable contracts, you may not put more than 10 minutes of an hour on the internet. We don’t want to undermine our nicely paying cable customers by giving them the chance to look at this over the top. I bet you those days are gone. I bet you Fusion doesn’t have to make those deals anymore.
Kashmir: I’m not intimately familiar with our contract, our cable contract, but on Super Tuesday we did do, we did like the traditional show on air with the election results coming in and then we also had the Facebook Live show at the same time. So it was really interesting to go back and forth between the cameras.
Leo: But it was a different show.
Kashmir: No, it was the same show.
Leo: It was the same show.
Kashmir: It was broadcast in both places at the same time.
Leo: So clearly you don’t have those restrictions.
Leo: In absence of those restrictions, I would have done it. We would have done it on Tech TV because one of the hardest things about doing cable television is getting on cable, getting into cable homes is murder, it’s hugely expensive. Paul Allen spent more than $300 million dollars, lost more than $300 million dollars trying to get into 44 million homes. The internet, you go on Facebook, you’re in a billion and a half people’s browsers instantly, at no cost to you. And so if I were, today I think you absolutely do that. You absolutely go to Facebook as long as you don’t have restrictions preventing you from doing that. It’s just more eyeballs. Why not? It’s so easy. Instead of having to say, “I want to get on Comcast,” you say, “I’m on Facebook.” Plus, you get the value of people are browsing and they’re going to come across it. I think it’s easier to get in front of people by doing that.
Roberto: You share everything.
Leo: And they interact with you. Which is also very interesting. We did, when Facebook Live came out, I did a little bit of one of our shows. Actually I did the whole thing on Facebook Live and we got some good engagement. I can’t remember, it was 36,000 something like that, 40,000 views. I don’t know.
Roberto: It’s fun to be live. I did—
Leo: We’re live. That’s the thing. I don’t need, this is the other side of that equation is we’ve been doing this for 10 years. I don’t need Facebook Live because I figured it out without Facebook.
Roberto: You’ve been live for a while.
Roberto: At least a couple weeks.
Leo: A couple of weeks now. A couple of weeks now, yea. In a way I feel like, I kind of feel bad because I spent a lot of money inventing this. And then along comes Facebook, darn it. They made it easy. You kids.
Roberto: I’ve got a bone to pick.
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Leo: We do want, since we mentioned the Orlando tragedy, we do want our hearts and prayers go out to all the people in Orlando. It’s just a terrible thing. Pride week is normally such a celebration here in the Bay area and all over the world. And what a terrible, terrible pall to put over it. My God. 50 people. It’s unimaginable. Unimaginable. You were saying before the show, David, you can blame the internet for this. Is that what you said?
David: Depending on how the shooter was radicalized. Certainly we know that ISIS uses the internet as a major tool that everything that makes the world a little smaller. Inexpensive airline--
Leo: They’re very savvy, aren’t they?
David: They’re the savviest thing we’ve ever come up against. And it’s hard for us to defeat them. I mean they have lots of advantages of this that just being big doesn’t give you so.
Leo: But I think in a way, I’m going to say that that’s the argument against democracy in general, in freedom in general is that some will take advantage of that. And of course you could say, “Well we need a police state. That’s the way to security.” But it’s not the way we want to live. And so, yes, of course they can take advantage of these things but do we want to live in a place where, well, maybe we’re a little safer but there’s a little less freedom. I don’t think so. And I don’t think that’s the choice we want to make.
David: That’s not necessarily the choice. With the internet is, would you like to be a little safer, or do you want one day Amazon delivery? Would it be ok if you just went up to the Target store—
Leo: (Laughing) Wait a minutes, what does Amazon delivery have to do with—
David: I’m just saying it’s the technology that enables all of these cool things that we like also enables all kinds of terrible things that we don’t like. And we haven’t found a good way to have the good stuff without also enabling the bad stuff.
Roberto: That’s just humans. Always. That’s, I mean that’s a problem we’ve always had as a species is that we can’t have good stuff without bad stuff because people—
Leo: People are people.
Roberto: People are people and they can be incredibly horrible. And—
Leo: But I still choose freedom. And what I hate to see is the FBI, and I’m sure that the FBI and federal law enforcement is doing this because they want to protect us. I’m not in any way implying that they have some sort of subterranean agenda to take over the planet. But they continue to push for new powers, new ways to invade our privacy. You probably saw what the Department of Justice published, proposed a rule change that would let the FBI NGI, or Next Generation Identification Database be exempt of the privacy act. This is a fingerprint, face print, iris scan, information like scent, your smell, your gait, your voice prints, all sorts of biometric information about people. People not only who have been arrested, but for people that have applied for jobs and got FBI background checks. Anything they can collect, exempt from any privacy protections. The DOJ wants to allow the FBI to make judgements about people based on what they know from that database even if it’s not accurate. Bar ordinary people from getting information from the database about what’s in there so you can’t verify it. No, I don’t smell like that. That’s not my scent. I’m a Chanel No. 5 guy. Bar people from correcting inaccurate information held about them. And probably most important, provide self-immunity so the FBI cannot be sued if it violates your rights or breaks the law using this Next Generation Identification System. They want access to your internet records without a warrant. They’re seeking Congressional authority to expand the NSL, the National Security Letters so that they can be used to get information about you and about your browsing, your internet history. And by the way, no judge ever sees those subpoenas let alone approves them. It just goes on and on and I don’t, I agree we want to live in a safer world. We don’t want ISIS to win by any means but what are we willing to give up?
Kashmir: It really seems like the government response to terror attacks has just been like, “We need more information. We need to be able to gather more information. Encryption is getting in our way.” And so we’ve seen a bill introduced to make end to end encryption that can’t be broken impossible. But the other thing that these attacks have in common is the use of guns and we just haven’t seen much movement on that beyond the Obama executive order about developing, putting more resources into developing smart gun technology. But still, if somebody buys a gun, then smart gun technology isn’t going to allow them to use it. So it’s interesting that we keep focusing on information gathering and not on the other part of these attacks.
Leo: Well, for better or for worse—go ahead.
David: I will hazard a guess that none of you have ever sat in a sheriff’s department office at 3:00 in the morning when there was a missing child, looking at very confidential information about sex offenders, trying to figure out if any of those sex offenders might have something to do with the missing child. And I will tell you that if I could have gotten more information about those people, I would have done whatever was necessary to get that child home.
Leo: I understand. I understand that, David, but if you were in that database inaccurately, and you had no way to know it or correct it, that would be a huge offense against you, wouldn’t it?
David: If you don’t have the kid and we knock on your door and say, “Sir, might you have a kid?” and you say, “No.” And we walk away. How much damage was done to you?
Kashmir: Well usually they don’t knock on your door.
Roberto: Yea, usually they don’t knock on your door. The government’s MO has been to get information from everybody. So know it’s got all this noise. They’re not getting a lot of signal.
Leo: Well that’s a larger question. Is it even effective?
Roberto: Let’s just get everybody. Let’s get all the metadata and that doesn’t help them instead of targeting individuals, they’re targeting everyone which creates a huge problem.
Leo: Friday the director, the deputy director of the NSA said that they are looking to use the internet of things and specifically biomedical devices to collect information about people. They want to spy on your pacemaker. They want to gather information about you on biomedical devices installed in you. And of course, look, I agree with you, David. I understand their heart is in the right place. We’re not saying that. I’m not saying—and I think there are people saying that. I’m not willing to say that the NSA is somehow extra-governmental and trying to take over our liberties. I think they’re working to make us safer. They believe this is what they need to do to make us safer. But at the same time, I think this is a constitutional republic and we have certain protections. And I think overstepping those protections because they think it makes us safer is not a good solution.
David: Well show me the damages. We remember J. Edgar Hoover. We remember Richard Nixon. Where are the people who claim damages because of these programs? I think a lot of people think they’re way too special. Think that somehow there’s something that is knowable about them that everybody is going to care about, is going to be incredibly—no, they don’t care. There’s so much data out there, they have to really want to come and get you in particular in order to use this information.
Roberto: That’s the thing. What if they do want to come and get you and they find out that you’ve broken the law not where you live, but maybe in 3 states over. But they have that information on you.
David: You broke the law.
Roberto: And they can use that information. If you’re a target, they can use minor offenses.
Leo: David, you’re verging on that statement of well if you have nothing to fear, why would you—if you’ve done nothing wrong, why would you fear this. That really—you’re not saying that, right?
David: No, but it’s the trade-off. If you want a Fitbit on your wrist and you know it’s not secure because they’re not very secure. If you want a browser that you know is not very secure, it’s a trade-off that you make that people are going to rightly or wrongly be able to get your data. That’s what I was getting at is, is the convenience of the internet worth the crime, you know the hidden tax in everything we do for internet crime that we don’t even add up because people, if we knew it, people would revolt on the internet if they knew how much theft occurs over the internet. So, it just never comes up, how much banks pay, how much credit card companies pay, how much everybody pays, in order for us to have the convenience of the internet. Is that convenience worth what we’re paying for it in dollars, in security, in whatever? Should consumers be able to make a better, a better equation of what they give and what they get. Because we already with all of these terms of services we all sign, God only knows how much data that we willingly give to business that we don’t want the government to have. That’s foolishness.
Kashmir: Well businesses can’t throw us into prison.
Roberto: Yea, I’m not going to be thrown in jail by Fitbit.
David: No this is just to make sure you never get an apartment.
Kashmir: I do think you need to keep in mind that there are many damages that you yourself have not had to suffer. I mean people that end up on terror watch lists, people who can’t fly because they end up on a list. I mean with the recent death of Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King were put under essentially illegal surveillance for their beliefs. I mean this is stuff that has happened and will continue to happen. And so you do need boundaries on the kind of information gathering that happens so that those terrible edge cases that really threaten civil liberties don’t happen.
David: I don’t know that Martin Luther King being surveilled threatened my civil liberties.
Leo: That’s right but his.
Roberto: And it sort of undermines the civil rights movement.
David: Then we found out he was having affairs and a bunch of other things. But no, I’m saying those things don’t, shouldn’t happen.
Leo: Hoover wrote him a letter saying, “You should commit suicide. Here’s what we know about you.” I mean, admittedly that was a long time ago, but I have to say, there’s plenty of evidence of government malfeasance with this information and giving them more information is not making them any more responsible.
David: Not as recent malfeasance, I agree with you about J. Edgar Hoover. The man who couldn’t be fired because of what he knew about everybody and had real live physical agents everywhere.
Leo: There you go. There you go.
David: No, he should have been in jail. No question about that.
Leo: But you don’t think there’s a chance of a modern J. Edgar Hoover using this information inappropriately?
Kashmir: If you do want to find out about more recent malfeasance, I mean talk to animal rights activists who have really in the last ten years had horrible things done to them in the name of surveillance.
Leo: Really? That’s interesting.
Kashmir: It’s surprising.
Roberto: I have no, I have nothing to back this up. I don’t have any information to back. After 911, I was on Greenpeace and PITA’s mailing lists. I’m a vegetarian. I believe in animal rights, blah, blah, blah. I flew for the next five years post-911, I was always pulled aside for all my luggage being checked. I couldn’t fly anywhere without—they’re like, “Oh, we’ve randomly pulled you aside to check your luggage,” every time.
Leo: I read just a devastating—
Roberto: And I don’t have any facts. I mean it could have been completely random but I mean the odds are pretty high.
Leo: I think there’s a lot of evidence of this going on. I read a very disturbing piece on Medium this week by a UI designer who’s trying to go to England to give a talk who was detained for 2 days and then eventually deported for really no apparent reason. Just kind of petty, you know, bureaucracy. And really it was a shameful story that was just devastating. I can’t find it. I’m going to try to find her name and give you a link to it.
Roberto: The TSA people were very nice to me about it but I was—
Leo: Yea, they’re polite.
Roberto: They were very polite the entire time they were going through all of my luggage but you know, it’s hard not to—and I’m no longer on those lists.
Leo: You’re only saying that because—
Roberto: I’m already on the list now.
Leo: Yea, you’re back on it.
Roberto: So I’m on the list and then you start covering security and you’re definitely on another list. And then, yea.
Kashmir: And I think that’s what’s so hard about is when it’s that kind of Kafkaesque, you know, you have this sense that you’re on a list.
Leo: Just petty insults.
Kashmir: You’re probably on a list but there’s no way for you to check and there’s no way for you to challenge it and that is what is at the heart of that debate over this database that the FBI has, the idea that they’re making it even harder to do anything about it, if you’re kind of in there wrongfully or there’s information that’s incorrect about you in databases. Even Uber and Lyft actually signed onto the letter of all these civil liberty organizations objecting to the secrecy of that, that biometric database.
David: And right now we have people whose heads are exploding because the apparent killer in Orlando had been interviewed twice by the FBI but was still able to go out and buy weapons I guess last week that were used in this assault. And these people say, “Well how? The guy had been—how could they let him do this when he had been interviewed by the FBI twice and they let him go.” And they say, “Because he was an American citizen, stupid.”
Leo: Right, right. It’s called civil liberties, yea.
David: Yea. I mean I don’t like that but what do you do? Until we come up with something better to predict crime and radicalization, what do we do?
Kashmir: Don’t sell people AR-15s.
Leo: Yea, that would be smart.
Roberto: I grew up with a lot of guns and I’ve shot an AR-15. I’m from a small town and so my family, we’ve always had guns. When I was 8 years old that was my birthday present was a gun.
Leo: An AR-15?
Roberto: No, no. I got like a .22. When I graduated from high school I got a 9mm. This is the culture I’m from and now I’m a vegetarian, I live in San Francisco, blah, blah, blah. But an assault rifle is—
Leo: You don’t hunt.
Roberto: Yea, it’s only for killing people. That is exactly what it’s made for. And it shouldn’t be sold to people. And this is some—and like I said, I grew up with guns and I’ve actually shot these guns and it’s—they’re frightening because you’re like, “What am I going to shoot with this besides a human?”
Leo: Right. Well I hate to end on a down note, but I think this is a good place to be—
Roberto: Siri’s going to be updated tomorrow. Whee! Tony Awards, there we go.
Leo: John’s jumping up and down because we want to go home and watch the Tony Awards, or as we’re calling it around here, the Hamil-Tonys. I feel bad. I have a friend who was nominated for a Tony Award this year and I sent him a note saying, “Well, I’m sorry it was this year (laughing).” Yea. Thank you everybody. Boy, this was great. Lots of fun. Kashmir Hill, you’re fabulous. Please come back. We love having you on. Fusion.net and kashhill on the Twitter. And what are you working on these days?
Kashmir: I’m sorry, in my head I’m just making like Game of Tonys.
Leo: (Luaghing). Game of Tonys.
Kashmir: We—what am I working on? You know the usual privacy, security stuff which we didn’t even talk about my IP mapping story.
Leo: Oh. I love that story.
Kashmir: I’ll have to talk about it next time I’m on.
Leo: It’s not too old. I guess we could talk about it.
Kashmir: Oh, no, no. This is the end. But we can talk about it next time.
Leo: I loved that story. I forgot to mention that. This is the one where it turns out there’s a handful of companies that are matching IP addresses to locations and there’s this one poor family in the Midwest who people are constantly coming to their house yelling at them.
Kashmir: And FBI agents and IRS agents. And it turned out that they were the—sometimes the IP mapping database, they don’t know exactly where an IP address is and so they’ll assign it to a default location in a state or in a city and they had one that was the default location for the entire United States and—
Leo: It was in Kansas. An hour out of Wichita, right?
Kashmir: Rural farm house in Kansas.
Leo: And so every time you think you’ve been scammed or you know, spammed or stolen from on the internet, and they don’t know where it was, they just know the IP address was somewhere in the US, it’s this farmhouse in Kansas that gets shown on the map. And these poor people, how long have they lived there?
Kashmir: It’s been in the family, the Vogelman actually.
Leo: The Vogelmans, that’s right.
Kashmir: For a hundred years. And I met her. She like grew up on the farm without electricity initially. They didn’t get like an indoor bathroom until she was 15 and so it was just amazing that this place became like the center of the internet and had all these problems. But anyways, I’m kind of like on the lookout for another good internet mystery like that.
Leo: I want to nominate you for a Pulitzer for this story because it was awesome. And it came out in April which is the only reason I didn’t bring it up but I’ve been meaning to say thank you because what an incredible, what work you did, put into this. And what was it, MaxMind, the company that does internet mapping, mapping IP addresses to physical locations, just decided, yea, if it’s in the continental United States and we don’t know any better, we’ll put it here in Kansas at these people’s house.
Kashmir: It was so crazy but if there are any This Week in Tech viewers who have some insane tech mystery, some insane tech problem that they want to tell me about, I have gotten great stories from viewers in the past so please send them to me. I’m @kashhill on Twitter and my DMs are open which is unfortunate. I get a lot of spam and pics of inappropriate things.
Leo: She is brave. I would never in a million years do that. By the way, did you write the subtitle, The Hills Have IPs? Was that yours?
Kashmir: I’m very punny.
Leo: (Laughing) because that’s good. That’s a double Pulitzer for that. You get the Pulitzer Pun Award. Thank you, Kash. Great to have you. Thank you so much, Roberto Baldwin.
Kashmir: It was really fun.
Leo: Yea, you guys are great. This was a good panel. We’ll do this, we’ll get this group together one more time.
Roberto: Yea, party.
Leo: Yea. Roberto Baldwin, his Prince Tribute is coming up.
Roberto: July 8th.
Leo: July 8th.
Roberto: San Francisco at the Rickshaw Stop.
Leo: At the Rickshaw Stop.
Roberto: So if you live in the city or the Bay area, you love Prince, you want to come and sing along, that’s like—I’m a huge, I want people to come and like, I want everyone singing. I want everyone dancing. It’s, yea.
Leo: (Growling noises).
Roberto: We have a vocoder we’re using for that.
Leo: That’s easier, much easier.
Roberto: Yea, we got a vocoder for that.
Leo: (Growling noises) It’s hard.
Roberto: They’re like, “Can you make that noise.” I’m like, “Wait, we have a vocoder on the synth over here.”
Leo: That’s what it’s for. For all we know that’s how Prince did it.
Roberto: Yea, I’m sure it was probably a vocoder.
Leo: Yea, yea. And of course you can catch Roberto on Engadget.
Leo: I should mention your day job too.
Roberto: I write about technology and cars and security and stuff.
Leo: And David Coursey, what a thrill to get you—I was going to say get you back but since you’ve never been on, get you on for the first time. I think we’ve worked together.
David: Well thank you very much.
Leo: I think we’ve worked together but anyway, I remember you fondly (laughing). And by the way, you lived up, you lived up to your billing. You were great. Thank you for being here.
David: What was my billing? Hold on. What was—did the dog get into my billing?
Leo: You’re The Dragon, The Tech Dragon. There you go.
David: Well you said I was nicer than you remembered me.
Leo: Yea. I thought you were kind of a firebrand in your youth.
Kashmir: You almost lived up to your billing.
David: As I said, give me the chair and I’ll raise hell.
Leo: I need a dragon, my friend. I need a dragon. The mother of dragons, David Coursey.
David: And God bless the people in Orlando.
Leo: Yes, absolutely. We all—
Kashmir: Khaleesi Coursey.
Leo: Yea, Khaleesi Coursey.
David: Well I have Ask Mr. Cynic as one of my handles and Tech Insider was the other one so, you know.
Leo: That’s good too. Hey, thank you all for being here. We thank our live audience for joining us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll put a chair out for you. We love having you in the studio. Everybody watching at home too, we do this show 3:00 PM Sunday afternoons, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern, that’s 2200 UTC if you want to tune in live and join us at irc.twit.tv, our chatroom. If you can’t go, on demand versions of all the show’s available at the website, twit.tv and also wherever you get your podcasts. Just subscribe that way you’ll get every episode. We don’t want you to miss an episode. Thanks for being here. We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye. Yay! Yay! You guys are so good.