This Week in Tech 570
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech. A bad week, but a tough discussion up ahead. We'll talk about Facebook live, the use of robots to kill perpetrators, and there's some light stuff too, including Pokemon Go and the Apollo 11 Source code. It's all coming up next, on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 570, recorded Sunday, July 10, 2016.
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the latest news of tech throughout the week, and we bring together each week a panel of experts. In this case it's going to be a little bit of a different panel, I think, and I should probably warn you we may talk about the news events of the week as much as we talk about the tech news of the week, but I think there's a lot of relevant tech in this, certainly media coverage. Joining me to my right, right now is Jason Hiner. He's the global editor in chief at Tech Republic, CBS Interactive. Good to have you.
Jason Hiner: Thrilled to be here, as ever. In studio!
Leo: You know what? My Follow the Geeks book is in my office, can you get that? I want to show off the book that Jason wrote. It's as close as I'm ever going to get to a memoir. So thank you. I'm chapter 9.
Jason: Maybe it's a first taste.
Leo: Really nice to have you. What are you out here? You're normally out in Louisville.
Jason: Yeah, I come to San Francisco pretty regularly--
Leo: Because of CBS.
Jason: I mean, CBSI, our headquarters for CBSI are here and I have a bunch of meetings in town this week with tech companies.
Leo: I just downloaded the CBS news app which streams a strange live version of CBS news. It was made in San Francisco on Market Street.
Jason: It's actually quite good. The thing that's nice about it, as opposed to some of the news outlets on Apple TV and some of these other apps where you have to put your credentials in for your cable and all that, anybody can use it, online as well as in the app. You can stream anything. That's great. I think they did a terrific job with it. The interface is good. It's on X Box, it's on Apple TV, it's on Fire TV, it's on Roku.
Leo: What does the live come from?
Jason: From a variety of...
Leo: So Face the Nation is on right now.
Jason: They'll take bits of 60 minutes, they'll take bits of their various shows, as well as the CBS news reports. They build it into a 24 hour feed, similar to what you do where you... you're running some re runs. It's not all live. Some of it's re-runs, top stories, and that kind of thing.
Leo: It really enables cord cutters, because one of the things you lose with cord cutting is live news. The fact that you can run this on your device, even your X Box.
Jason: I have nothing to do with it, but I was impressed with what they did. I think they went in the right direction with it, especially not making it tied to a cable account.
Leo: I love that. It really went over the top, so to speak. Also joining us, Jeff Jarvis, he's a regular on This Week in Google, professor of journalism at Cuny, the cityUniversity of New York and blogger. Written many books including Geeks bearing Gifts. Gifs?
Jeff Jarvis: No, not gifs.
Leo: Great to have Jeff here. Also joining us, thrilled to have him, is Siva Vaidhyanathan is a professor of journalism, media really, the Robertson professor of media studies at University of Virginia. You've been on before, but it's been a long time.
Siva Vaidhyanathan: Five years.
Leo: What? Now I'm feeling bad.
Jeff: You haven't changed a bit, Siva.
Siva: I was bald them, I am bald now.
Leo: You know what's gone is your blog.
Siva: Twitter just made my blog irrelevant. I actually have two blogs. I had one called Googlization of Everything and Sivocracy. It got to the point where I wasn't having deeper thoughts than Twitter could handle.
Leo: 140 characters turned out to be the perfect post size.
Siva: It satisfied the shallowness I craved. I felt like if I had something more to say, I would send it to Slate or something and try to get a bigger impact. Once every six months instead of once every day. Jeff knows this all too well. The constant voice in your head saying you should post something or you’re going to lose all your followers. That was driving me nuts. I found the balance of Twitter and the occasional published piece somewhere else to be satisfying.
Jeff: Are you using Medium, Siva?
Siva: I'm not. I really haven't been tempted to get back into writing regularly in a self-published format.
Jeff: The beauty of Medium is you don't have to do it regularly. You have your own brand and space, you fit in a social world, and I think you're perfect for it.
Siva: I've been tempted by it. Certainly friends of mine do it quite alot. Every time I have something I feel I need to say, I'm usually able to find a commercial outlet for it and I won't have to...
Leo: Getting paid. He doesn't have to get paid, he's a professor.
Siva: I like not only getting paid, I like getting, if I publish with Slate, I get the instant Slate bump. If I publish with Chronicle, which is higher education and a different audience, I get that too. That is really only once ever six months I feel like I need to jump in there. So many smart people out there who are faster than I am, so I haven't really been... but I've been building my own stuff. I'm trying to figure out how to... I'm going to have some sort of blog like platform for my center. It's called Center for Media and citizenship that I'm building. It's publishing right now, the Virginia quarterly review, an award winning long form magazine. I have a local television show in Charlottsville called the Coy Barefoot show and we're about to start a podcast and radio show called Citizen's Band. I'm doing all of these other things and on top of that, my own tweeting and Facebooking which is heavy enough, but what I really want to do then is start a self-publishing platform, probably justWordpress through my center size that will focus on talking about the things we're doing at the center, but it will be a different speed than what I was doing before.
Leo: Every medium has it's different strengths, right? There's something about TV or video and something about audio that's very different from the written word, the long form, but I always think thoughtful is better than fast.
Siva: In the early days of this century, back when we all started blogging, there weren't that many voices, and at that time I felt cutting edge. I felt like there was a vacuum to fill and I could do something good by helping to fill it. Once Jeff was proof of concept for the rest of us on how to develop a following that would be engaged and informative and intelligent, it was too tempting not to do that, and I rode that from 2003 when I started my blog to 2012 and at that point, I felt like I had done my job and there were lots of other faster, smarter, younger people out there doing it better. I didn't need to any more. The world was bigger in that sense. I didn't feel the pressure.
Leo: We're glad we could get you here to share your insights. Also with us, Owen JJ Stone. We call him Ohdoctah for reasons unknown.
Owen JJ Stone: I am not playing drinks Fortune... all right. I got to hit pause. We are here, the Facebook did the thing and Google said What?
Leo: And now this is what happens. IQMZ.com. What I think of as a blue ribbon panel, because this was such a difficult week, I thought it would be great if we could use TWiT, get together this blue ribbon panel to answer the question what the F?
Siva: That is the question.
Leo: I'm sure we'll bleep that out. But you get what we're saying here. I'm going to start with you, Owen, because I noticed one of the things is I follow you on Social media and Instagram, and I noticed a number of your friends saying, "Are you OK?" Being a black man in America is now cause for your friends to say is everything all right, Owen?
Owen: It was literally insane. Halfway through the day I realized I got six text messages, I'm getting DMs, I'm getting Facebook messages, I got two phone calls, and I'm like did something happen to me? I know I'm from the future, but I should know something happened to me. People are like, well you get pulled over so much,you're just on my mind. I'm thinking of a black person I know that gets pulled over a lot, and it's you. I'm like, "Oh. Thanks for caring."
Leo: Does it give you chills? I think we all saw the Facebook live posting. Does that give you... Do you have a visceral reaction to stuff like that?
Owen: Certain things bother me. I'm an emotional robot, so I don't really care about stuff, but when the Alton Sterling thing and they showed all his kids and his son cried...
Leo: When his son was crying.. .
Owen: I cried. And the Minnesota shooting, this woman is obviously in shock, because the officer has cowering, shaking in his voice, and she's talking calm and plain as day at the time, and when she realizes everything that happened and she's in the car and screaming and crying, her daughter is like, "It's OK Mommy."
Leo: Four year old daughter.
Owen: I started balling. Kids really get to me. I don't worry about myself, I worry about my daughter.
Leo: When you have kids, it's what really changes everything. Suddenly it becomes very personal because you got kids.
Jeff: Her coolness struck me too, that it was a skill of needing to be compliant under authority.
Leo: She didn't want to get shot as well.
Jeff: It was almost a reflexive skill. It struck me so much, that came out of her and the need to stay calm herself. He was off the rails. The cop was. But she was the calm one, because she has to be to save her life. That was the most chilling part to me.
Leo: Of course, the tragedy in Dallas which is so intertwined with five police officers shot and seven more injured. It's one of those weeks where you don't know what to think. We're a tech network and we cover technology, so I think the thing to cover on this for us, and one of the reasons Siva and Jeff are here, as well as you, Jason, it's about media and how media has changed. In both of the first two shootings, particularly in the Minnesota shooting, it was video that changed the conversation. Somebody tweeted "Black men getting shot by police is nothing new, it's the video that's new."
Owen: Can I just say one thing before I like... Because I'm trying not to rage out in my heart. So, I posted a video of the Minnesota shooting when it was on Facebook live and within half hour, that whole post was deleted. Facebook comes up the next day and says it was a glitch. I'm going to say and nobody has to back me up on that because you guys have more important jobs than myself... but how in the world out of millions of accounts does this account glitch delete the video of the account, besides the fact that it never shows up on Facebook trending topics, we already know they have a panel. Did somebody see it and say, "Oh my goodness" and delete it? That's evidence. That could save somebody's life and the fact that happened is insane. I could watch Dora, finding Dora the full movie right now, Facebook can't take down other people's copyrighted stuff when they send in 40,000 complaints, and they can't take it down, but you took down this thing? It was a glitch out of all the sites in all the world at all the time? Facebook really? Then you going to put up a sign that says Black lives matter? You better put that sign up. You better leave that sign up for a long time, Mr. Zuckerberg. Somebody needs to explain to me how that account glitch got deleted.
Leo: So, just for people who don't know. I don't know how you would not know, but a gentlemen named Philando Castile was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop. His girlfriend was sitting next to him when it happened and started streaming, which is really interesting, live on Facebook right after the officer fired. She very calmly, weirdly calmly, some say in shock, perhaps protecting her four year old who was in the backseat, perhaps protecting herself in the face of irrational use of force, but for whatever reason narrated it. She said "we've been stopped for a broken tail light." Castile was licensed to carry a handgun, told the officer that, reached for his wallet, as the officer requested and was shot. The officer presumably thinking he was reaching for a handgun. Facebook by the way, as you said, Owen, the video was pulled down, Facebook restored it. Said it was a technical glitch.
Owen: Her entire account was gone.
Leo: Diamond Reynolds who shot the video, said the police demanded the phone. She thinks they deleted her Facebook account in an attempt to shut down the video. Facebook would have presumably known that, so we don't know.
Siva: Here's what's amazing to me. You have a company as sophisticated and experienced as Facebook launching a product that they had to have anticipated would be used for really powerful important events like this, and misused by people. They probably have policies and procedures for the misuse, I would imagine that they've got themselves covered on things like obscenity and pornography and even things like military exercises, which you would imagine someone in Pakistan using Facebook live would want to capture a drone strike at some point, and I'm sure Facebook has looked through the protocols for what to do in that sort of event where Facebook doesn't want to be implicated in an international incident for instance. What they decided, we'll probably never know. Look, they have lawyers working there, they probably figured that out. How could they have not anticipated, given all that's happened in the United States in the last 24 months, that there would be a moment when we have an officer kill a civilian in what looks like a thoroughly unjustified set of circumstances? Where it would not come through Facebook live at some point? This is the sort of thing you'd think a grown up company would have thought through, had policies in line for... not every scenario is going to fit and perhaps this one was more gruesome than they had even imagined and more brutal than they had even imagined, but they do not want to be in the business of putting out gratuitous examples of violence, but this was so... I hate to use the word newsworthy, it's a crappy word, but so important to so many people, that whatever people would think about its gratuitousness, that's trivial in perspective. I think we're going to have to figure out, the companies not only like Facebook are going to have to figure out better protocol for this, but we are going to have to figure out as the producers of these moments, because now we all have these devices. We are going to have to figure out and come to some sort of agreement as a society about how much we are going to allow companies that have to protect themselves and protect their own reputation and their own legal standing, how much we are going to let them be our publishers of these moments and what are the risks and benefits? Facebook should be in the business of protecting itself. Right? Whatever they thought through, they're not going to be too open about it.
Leo: They did release a statement the next day clarifying it, but you're right. I doubt they had thought of that.
Jeff: Can I interject here?
Leo: Go ahead, Jeff.
Jeff: I think a few things. One, Siva you're right in what you say. But I suspect that... I have no basis to know anything here, but I'm going to guess that there's an algorithm that says, "Uh oh. Huge amounts of traffic to something says it could be porn." Let's play it safe. that's one. Number two is if a human at a low level says, "Uh oh. Blood gore. There's rules somewhere that says don't do this" they could have made an unsophisticated decision, if a decision was made. Number three, I've argued for some time that Facebook needs a high level editor on staff, not to edit, not to create content, but to bring decisions that represent the public's interest, rather than just the brand's interest to Facebook. These decisions are being made now in great measure from a PR perspective of is this good or bad for Facebook? Facebook didn't intend to become a major distributor of news, but now that is, it has to grapple with the responsibility that comes around that. It has to make decisions based on principles. A week ago, they released their principles for the newsfeed and said friends and family come first. Next comes entertainment and information, and that's fine. That's what Facebook is about. As you have said about Google, Siva, it's a company and it's going to operate like a company. It knows what its company's priorities are. Now that it is, like it or not, in this position where it is going to be the distributor of what witnesses witness, then it has to be able to make mature, responsible, ethical decisions based on that and based on the importance, and not take something to protect us from ourselves, not take something down because it's unpleasant, but also to take things down like beheadings from ISIS. I don't object to that myself. It is their right to do this, so I think. Think of this case, it's an immature company in terms of being able to deal with these things, and I think they're going to have to learn fast, and I think they need good advice about what to do.
Siva: One of the fascinating things about this moment is it was not just a video posted, it was Facebook live. It was a Facebook product that was intended to capture a live event. If it were just about a video posted, you capture it to your phone, you upload it to your account, then Facebook has the opportunity to delay it, defer the decision on its distribution. If you gather the three people to think about it after the algorithm has flagged it, the problem we have here now is that this was an event broadcast live, I assume to whoever among this woman's friends were watching on Facebook at that moment, so not a lot of live viewers, but it lived on beyond that after that moment. Facebook probably needs a completely different set of protocols for the live moment. Next time that we have a situation much more like what happened in Baton Rouge. I'm sure it's happening in the next five to six days. We are going to see most likely a Facebook live situation rather than a captured video one, because someone is now going to think I can actually make some more waves by using Facebook live and Facebook is going to face this once again. Then it's going to be faced with that question, are you shutting down the account, no one would agree that was a good idea, but perhaps saying this video is under review for an hour or two isn't a bad idea as long as at no point are they really messing with the important discussion that comes from that. But then we are going to see what counts as public discussing and what does not? Certainly anything that ISIS is promoting or anything that any other terrorist group is promoting is something that Facebook has no interest in and we should not have an interest in viewing it.
Owen: I get all that about Facebook and you know they don't want to put ads up against someone being shot, but I just saw Alton Sterling shot fully. It wasn't like it was an aftermath. We saw him get pop pop popped and the camera turns away and that was on every single page, everywhere all over Facebook and there wasn't a this might disturb you notice. If that was the case, I get it. But again, you are a multi-national company, you are the biggest thing in the world, everybody is addicted to you. Do not tell me it's a glitch. Give me an adult reasonable response. We have PR teams out the wazoo. These stupid petty answers that they give is insane and disrespectful. Oh we don't have a team that handles trending topics. Oh wait, we do have people. Just stop.
Jeff: The wrong people to make decisions are PR people and lawyers, because they represent the brand. They need someone to represent the public's interest when you become so embroiled in something as important in the public. There's other cases today where Dallas, there was a reported case in a parking garage next to police headquarters in Dallas and the police asked TV not to broadcast. They go to Facebook and say please cut off all live feeds from this area, and Facebook has to say yes or no. They're going to have to come to policy decisions on how to react to this.
Leo: Do we just have to accept the fact that everything from now on that is done in public will potentially be streamed?
Jason: Presume no privacy in public is...
Leo: In the long run is that a good thing? I am sure it makes the job more difficult for law enforcement in some situations.
Siva: It depends on what you mean by good thing. There will be good consequences. The fact that these two events hit us so hard is a direct result of the fact that people were ready, willing, and able to capture these scenes of brutality and distribute them so rapidly. As far as I can see, we are going to be better off in the long run because of the suffering that these two human beings went through. Now does that mean every incident and ever result of live broadcasting by citizens in the public is going to be good? No. Certainly, there will be something where there is a serious misuse. This is how we've decided to live and we have to figure out not just what the big institutions are going to do with this material, which is how we opened this conversation, big institutions like Facebook--what is their level of responsibility here?-- but we are going to have to figure it out for ourselves. We are going to come as adults, as citizens ourselves and say under the following conditions, I am going to send out or capture here is exploitative or not, is gratuitous or not, is going to help or not. Some of the questions are going to be easy. You see cops beating up an unarmed person that's an easy call. But some of them are not going to be so easy. We're going to have another 20 to 25 years of these discussions as we see. Edge cases come up through here it's important to remember also that we are, we went through 75 years of living in a video-graphical news world. First photographs, then television and video that have been highly selected, highly edited. CBS News in 1972 had very strict standards on how much blood they would show from the Vietnam war. We have been living in a world for a long time in which we have been shielded from the full brutality.
Leo: Many have made the argument that had we seen the brutality of the Vietnam war or modern warfare that we would be much less likely as a nation to pursue that as a viable solution.
Siva: The real challenge here is how do we live in such a world without becoming jaded and desensitized.
Leo: That is the advantage of live video is it is un-edited, it is unexpergated, it is what happens as it is happening. Although cameras can lie...
Jason: It's like any good story. Where you start it and where you stop is one of the most important parts of telling a story.
Leo: I still think that's better than having CBS decide we don't want to show too much blood from the Vietnam conflict, not because they had a political agenda, in fact Walter Cronkite eventually came out against the war, more so because they didn't want to offend their viewers. I remember watching CNN Anderson Cooper warned everybody we're going to show you very graphic video. I think it was the Baton Rouge shooting. He said we're going to show it to you, all of it, and then it was edited. He was surprised. I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was edited. So there's the same sensibilities, obviously. It's appropriate, I guess. But that's where Facebook has the opportunity, because it is the unexpergated, unedited version of the story.
Owen: When you edit the video, you take away the pain of the video. When I watch it on TV, I think, "Oh. What's the big deal?" When you see it on the New York Post paper when he's flailed out like a cross on the ground, you say Oh my goodness. There's blood everywhere?
Leo: This might have been an education for a lot of people that play call of Duty all the time and really didn't understand what a shooting looked like for real. The ACLU some months ago distributed an application, or attempted to, called mobile justice. The idea being, record police misconduct and it will be sent immediately to the ACLU, didn't get much pick up, but when Facebook does it, I thought it was fascinating among many things, and probably not the most important thing. She had the presence of mind to start Facebook live was fascinating.
Jeff: This goes back to Siva's point about being live. They take my phone away from me, they try to erase the file, sorry the file is in the cloud and it's already been seen. It's too late. Putting a delay on that is a, has a huge implication. If others cannot witness what is happening, and if it can be.... it becomes a form of restraint, if we expect the platforms to hold back. Live is why she went to Facebook live, it's why the value is there because witnesses were with her and she wanted them there. Even if it was two people before it became 2,000 before it became 2 million, it mattered because she was not alone in witnessing what was happening and in having an impact on that.
Siva: She could have lost her phone to the police within ten seconds of reporting that.
Owen: That's what people always say about recording the cops too, is you got to understand, her calm was different. People tell me all the time. "Owen you get stopped so much, why don't you record the cops?" I don't know how many times you get pulled over, but even when you watch any of these recordings, the cops get super extra aggressive when they see a phone out. Oh, you want to record me... it turns up." Facebook live, like you said. They can take your phone away, they can smack your phone, they can smash your phone, so at least for a second or a minute, it's going out for somebody else to help you. That's why I've never recorded. The last time I stopped I put the audio record on and I set my phone down on the dash because he literally pulled me over for no reason and I was freaking out. I did audio record that, but I was, I can't hold up my phone and record you and say I'm recording you because then they catch attitude, and it goes through the roof. But live, I have somebody, like you said. Two people, one person, somebody is out there to be like, hey. What happened to Owen an hour ago?
Leo: I noticed the ACLU app is not available in all states. Only 18 jurisdictions! What is the law about recording?
Siva: Across the United States it's completely allowed. Cops will intimidate you. But it is completely allowed. It is your first amendment right to record cops doing their business at any point. Of course you can't do it in a police station, but if you're in public absolutely.
Jeff: There is no presumption of privacy in public for a public official doing that work, nor should there be.
Siva: Privacy doesn't even work into it. It's your first amendment right to capture...
Jeff: There was an Illinois law that said that police had a right of privacy for what they did as their public duty in public, and that was struck down. It was based on police's right of privacy.
Siva: Obviously ridiculous! The thing is though, it doesn't mean it's cost free. Right? As the good doctor Owen has said. You are putting yourself at risk for more aggressive behavior, you are putting your phone at risk, physically and otherwise. You are likely to be drawn into a very difficult day or weekend if you choose to do this, so, and everyone understands that. Everyone who is likely to face this sort of situation understands there is cost. Now we have different costs. If I'm standing on the side of the road and I see something that I think should be captured, I'm going to get less flack than some of the other people who might do that. Largely because I'm less of a target then some other people for all the obvious reasons. That's part of our problem. We don't all have equal status as citizens exercising our rights, whether they're first amendment or obviously second amendment rights in this country. Nonetheless, the cops will lie to you and tell you that you shouldn't be doing this, doesn't matter what the law is, they will say you shouldn't be doing this. But, absolutely you could and should be doing it. The ACLU has a simple site that guides you through this. Tells you what to say to an officer in this situation, how to calmly explain what you're doing and that you mean no harm. All of that is good advice,there are a number of other sites that talk you through this. But absolutely, it does mean as citizens we should probably use our discretion, because sometimes we might interpret what is not a particularly antagonistic situation, we might help to escalate it, especially if you're dealing with someone with mental illness for instance. Sometimes you do have to read the situation with some experience and sophistication, but that's not always possible.
Jason: I think in the case of Facebook, one of the things we have to, what this ultimately boils down to is that they have to embrace, realize and embrace the fact that it is an editorial platform and every editorial platform has its editorial policy. Point of view, its mission, and so in the case of TWiT, TWiT has its mission, tech Republic has its mission. Every platform has its mission.
Leo: We didn't start a social media transformed into media. Right? We didn't start as a social network becoming a social media platform. Clearly they are having some struggles.
Jason: Definitely. Maybe we're seeing the seed of that in Zuckerberg's response where he put said, I hope we never have to see another video like Diamond's. It reminds us why coming together to build a more open and connected world is so important and how far we still have to go. That's a little bit of an acknowledgment that they've got a lot of work to do, which they do. The open and connected part is those are the words they use again and again, and have used in their mission statement, which is interesting, because there are things of what they do that are very much not open or connected. You look at policies, Internet policy in India, some of the things, the fact that it is a closed platform and why it's such a valuable platform, nevertheless what they want to, the values that they say they want to portray is to build this open, connected world.
Leo: But remember, it is a publicly held company. Mark may have all the best intentions in the world, but he also has a responsibility to the shareholders not to hurt the value of the company. It's the same conversation that went through the minds of CBS's management during the Vietnam War, that went the minds of CNN when Anderson Cooper tried to play the full video and couldn't. They've got to make these... Facebook is going to have to do this too.
Siva: They also face a liability if they let us make all the decisions about what gets up on there. They face liability if what we record and post violates someone's privacy, they face liability if what we record and post is potentially obscene, according to any local law.
Leo: So they do have these... you make a good point. It's not just in the US.
Siva: I could libel someone on a video and post it on Facebook and Facebook might be brought into the suit by choosing to run it.
Leo: So there's no way for them to use some safe harbor.
Siva: There is for both obscenity and copyright safe harbor, but that helps in the United States and Facebook is a global company, and anything I post is visible in Canada and Turkey and India. I have followers in all those places, so there are so many different venues in which Facebook could get in trouble, which is why they do have this team of lawyers, and they do have these questions and they come up with a base line that protects them from most of the world, or they figure out how to segregate the world with their publication policies.
Leo: Going beyond the national concerns that we are going through in the US, you have to think every country has some fear of Facebook live video. Because if you're a totalitarian society trying to keep a lid on what's going on, this is a tool that is very threatening.
Jeff: Periskope, obviously, and as we saw at Vidcon, YouTube announced they're going to put a live button on every single player. There's no getting away from it. I've argued that totalitarian regimes cannot long live when the people can speak. We'll see whether that's true or not.
Leo: We thought that was true with the Internet, but that didn't happen. But maybe...
Jeff: It didn't happen yet, but it took 150 years to invent the newspaper, it's going to take a long time to tear down these institutions that depend upon these old presumptions. They're definitely challenged.
Leo: certainly China blocks Facebook, North Korea blocks Facebook and Turkey wants to block Facebook.
Siva: When they block Facebook, that solves all of Facebook's problems in a sense. Where they have to worry is Pakistan, India, places that have very strict censorship policies and liability policies. Italy, where privacy policies are strong enough to get Google executives arrested. Those are places where...
Jeff: Italy where there was a court case this last week that says news organizations should erase content more than two years old. The right to be forgotten has gone to absurd lengths, this idea that you can control knowledge, and control information and control what happened in the world is a legacy of an institutional world that is not going to exist, and it may take a century to get there, but there is no possibility logically in the future that you can control information that well.
Siva: This is why Facebook cannot be counted on right now and Google cannot be counted on right now to be the completely open platform that people may have dreamed about and that Zuckerberg boasted about in his letter to investors, it's just... there are too many different areas of regulation and too many different value systems that they're working in. The US model is not universal. Because of that, they have to be very careful. It is so easy for instance to violate India's laws against insulting anyone's religion. It's very easy. Lots of people are in prison in India for saying something we would consider fairly innocent about someone else's religion, so it's a very dangerous thing and Facebook could find itself in big trouble just by going along with that level of publication.
Leo: The encryption debate is a very similar debate, but these technologies have a tendency once they exist to permeate.
Jason: This is part of this larger trend that has been a recurring theme on TWiT throughout 2016 which is this movement of media from these sort of individual platforms to these larger platforms, be it Google, be it Twitter, be it Facebook. Be it Medium, wherever it is. These are the places where the users are, so more and more media are being sucked into putting their content there, so it's related not just Periskope, but Google Amp, Facebook articles, it's related to all these things that these platforms themselves are becoming the newspaper. They are becoming the television channel. What does that mean? It means a lot. More people can become part of the conversation, but it also means that these safeguards that have been in place, these guidelines that have been won and earned over a long time are in some cases thrown out the door, in some cases have to be re-thought and deserve to be re-thought. But in, at the same time, there are a number of things that we're throwing out that don't, that are a problem, editorial policies, editorial...
Leo: You've made this argument, Jeff. It's not really any different from the days of highly concentrated media power. We didn't question the bias of the New York Times so often.
Jeff: Who didn't question...?
Leo: I grew up in the 60's. When Walter Cronkite said that the Vietnam war was unwinable, that carried a huge amount of weight in this country and it's probably why LBG didn't run for president again.
Owen: I'm talking about Facebook here...
Leo: We're not worried about Facebook's editorial bias, but isn't it better than it was, even if we didn't acknowledge it in the 60's, there was always this editorial, this was always Jeff's point, there's always been an editorial bias, now it's just out there in the open and clear.
Jeff: There's more opportunity for more people to speak. Yes the argument is made that Facebook and company have a level of control that they become the new gatekeepers, except my problem with that is if we... I think social media is a misnomer. We in media see the world and think because it looks like us, it is media. Facebook is not a media so much as it is an enabler. In these stories, it has a role in mediation, and that's an issue. I think back to what Stephen was saying, in journalism and media and academia, rather than seeing Facebook as the enemy in this case, we should be giving them cover and principles and pushing them to operate under principles, so that when they do get pressure from Governments anywhere, we stand with them behind free speech, that's not the way it's working out right now. They're taking over our job, they're technologists, they're greedy bastards, they're hurting our business, they're the enemy, we're fighting them. We can no longer have the hubris to think that everyone is going to come to us, we have to go to where the people are, whether that is Facebook or SnapChat or whatever it is. We have to serve the public where and how the public wants to be served, and when we do use those platforms and they are not aware of those principles and they are not aware and they are immature in this thinking, then what we should be doing is helping them. They should educate us about business and technology, we should educate them about the principles of public information.
Leo: The good news is there is a much broader diversity of voices, not just individuals, but corporate voices, so there are many other choices. If it's not Facebook Live, it's YouTube Live, if it's not YouTube Live, it's Periskope and Twitter. There are more outlets.
Owen: Facebook plays a very fun game of "we're media, we're not media."
Leo: They don't know. They can't figure it out. They're confused, Owen, they don't know what's...
Owen: They're playing a good game because it's a good sales pitch. Speaking of sales pitches, don't we have somebody we owe money?
Leo: Thank you Owen JJ Stone. You my friend, Ohdoctah, you win the prize of the hour, because here we are 45 minutes into the show and we haven't done a single ad, but I'm going to do one. There's many more things to talk about here and on this subject and Pokemon Go. So we're going to do all of that. Important things. Actually, I don't know if I want to get into this Quagmire, the use of a robot by Dallas police...
Owen: Advertising! Advertising. Do your job.
Leo: That's a contrary tease, that's going to make people tune out so I won't mention that. Our show to you today brought to you by Audible. Sometimes you do want to not listen to the news, you just want to zone out and listen to some great story or great fiction or non-fiction and I love Audible for that with 250,000 books to choose from and all of the current best sellers. There is so much great stuff on Audible and I'm going to get you two books, if you go to audible.com/twit2. I just finished a book on my way in. I've been walking a lot more. Not just for Pokemon Go, though that certainly makes it fun, but I've been walking to work because you know what? I used to have a two hour commute every day, maybe four hours depending on traffic. I miss that two hours of reading time every day. So it takes me 45mintues to walk in, I get an hour and a half of reading time listening to my audio book, I just finished Patton Oswald's amazing book Silver Screen Fiend, Patton of course a character actor who made his name in King of Queens, he was the voice of the chef, the rat in Ratatouille, he's a great character actor, you'd recognize him immediately. His book is wonderful if you love movies. If you love comedy. I like listening to biographies, especially autobiographies. Keith Richard's autobiography. I love hearing the inside story. Audible has some great reading. Now I've switched to fiction. I'm reading a science fiction fantasy book called the Doomsday book by Connie Willace. I love Connie Willace's stuff, this book is about a mid-century, 21st century researcher who travels back to the middle ages for research purposes. I've just started it. I love the premise. She's wonderful. She's one of my favorite science fiction. It's kind of more fantasy stuff. You'll find a love of Connie Willace on Audible.com. You'll find a lot of great stuff on audible.com in general.
Jason: I have an Audible recommendation. War of Two, it's the book about the Hamilton Burr duel, for those of us who have caught Hamilton fever in 2016.
Leo: Who hasn't?
Jason: It's one of the most amazing pieces of art I've ever seen.
Leo: Did you see Hamilton?
Jason: I did. I did. It's incredible.
Leo: Yesterday was his last show. And Aaron Burr as well? Elizabeth Soo retired last night. I can't wait to read this. I read the book, Ron Cerno's book that inspired the play before we saw the play because I wanted to know the source material, but I wanted to know more about the duel.
Jason: this is an incredible book that gives perspective on both of them, as well as the real play by play on how the duel happened and why.
Leo: We need Facebook live video. There was a lot of debate. Did he fire into the sky? What really happened? Aaron Burr was tried for murder.
Jason: There are irreconcilable accounts.
Leo: If we had Facebook live, we would know. Nowadays, that may be the end of dueling. If you have Facebook...
Jason: It was illegal.
Leo: Everything is legal in Weehawken.
Jason: Everything is legal in New Jersey.
Leo: War of two. There's a good one. The problem is you get two books. It's not a problem, but there's so many great books at audible.com. Here's the deal. You're going to go to audible.com/twit2, you're going to sign up for the platinum account. That's two free books. What you're getting is two books a month, but your first month is free, you also get the daily digest of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, cancel any time in the first 30 days, you'll pay nothing, but you will get to keep the books.
Jason: I have one other plug. Follow the geeks, my book, is also on Audible.
Leo: Do you read it?
Jason: I actually did read it. It's narrated by yours truly. It was actually really fun.
Leo: Originally you had Dan Patterson do a freebie version of this.
Jason: We did. We got so much feedback from users that they wanted the authors to read it.
Leo: So Lindsay does it with you?
Jason: Lindsay and I were both going to read it, but it's hard to have two people narrate a book. That doesn't work so well.
Leo: Now you can listen to chapter 9 over and over again.
Jason: The sample actually is chapter 9 with Leo Laporte.
Leo: Nice! But boy, you interviewed everybody for this book, from Baratunde to...
Jason: Your Mom.
Leo: My Mom. To Tom Merritt, Om Malik, Veronica Bellmonte, Gina Trepani. It's really a wonderful book. I'm glad to hear it's on Audible. Wonderful. Follow the geeks, ten digital innovators in the future of work. Look, go to audible.com/twit2, get your first two books free. I guarantee you it's the beginning of a very nice habit. audible.com/twit2. I'm adding this to my wishlist because I don't have any credits right now. That's going right on the wish list. We're talking about the week's news with a great panel. It's a bigger panel than usual, and I apologize for that. Normally each of you gets more time, but the voices I'm hearing, it's great. I appreciate it. Jason Hiner is here from Tech Republic, Owen JJ Stone Ohdoctah from iqwz.com?
Owen: IQMZ. I just did a doc tales with my buddy who is a former police officer, we talked about the whole week's events, so you get the perspective from me, somebody who gets pulled over all the time and from somebody else who has spent a few years de-escalating situations. It's a new doc tales, it's a very good conversation. We usually talk about sports.
Leo: You have this powerful image of a police officer after the Dallas shooting.
Owen: The other image is a police officer hugging a kid. Sometimes people think I don't like cops. I have a lot of friends who are cops. I have family members who are cops. 92 or 5 percent of cops do a great job.
Leo: This is the challenge! We need police. In this country, there's one police officer for ever 236 citizens. Critical to the success of the police force in this country is respect for the police, and that's why in some ways this is so disturbing, because a few bad apples undermined all of that.
Owen: If you wanted to stop the violence in the streets and the... it's the craziest thing in the world. Someone does something that they're not going to get prosecuted for and you see no justice, but people who go out and stand and protest, regardless of the shooting in Dallas, are peaceful and they get arrested and spend the night in jail and get sent home because they stayed out until 10:00 holding a sign. It's the most insane thing in the world. A robber goes into a bank and sticks his hand in a register, he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt saying "was he putting money in the register?" Or was he taking the money out of the register? We can't really tell!" But when you become a police officer, I know I saw him do that, Owen, but you don't really know what happened. I'm like I saw it! If we slow it down, and they were a criminal. Let me tell you something. If I, if something happens to me, there are pictures of me holding AR 15s, because I go out to the range.
Leo: If anything happened to you, we would hear what a horrible human being you are.
Leo: He deserved it.
Owen: He's insane! Listen to the sound bite of him yelling at people! These are the things, if there was any kind of justice, it wouldn't be a problem, but the fact that most of those instances that we've seen for the last 2 years on tape, the Freddie Grey incident, the man died, his neck was broken, 6 officers were charged, they drag it out for a year and a half, wait until people get tired of hearing about it, then give the family 9.2 million dollars and no one gets arrested. Why did you pay the family? So they would shut up and not appeal? You pay them with taxpayer money? That's the best job in the world. I want to go out, rob a bank, get caught, have the person tell me, you know what Owen, keep the money. We're going to take the 4 million you robbed from the bank and get it from the taxpayers, go on about your day and have a great day. It sounds insane when you say it from anyone else, besides a person who has a badge.
Leo: The guy who shared the Alton Sterling story on his Twitter account was arrested the next day for assault and battery. He says it was police retaliation. I don't know what the story was. I agree with you, Owen. there's so many great police officers doing such a tough, dangerous job and we need them so badly. You would agree, it's in the interest of everybody that we weed out the bad apples and that the truth come out. It also breaks my heart. All these deaths.
Owen: The police shooting in Dallas was horrible. It's the worst thing in the world. Not to say that the media... when they put it on there, this man was in the military, but when they show the picture of him in his Africa Boom bada costume with his fist up, you know what you're doing to the people. You didn't do that when there's a Dallas shooting with a guy in the van. The white guy had the pipe bombs and a bullet proof van, and AR15, was shooting at cops, nobody put him in a Zulu nation shirt and was trying to say it was a race war. He wanted to kill cops too. Just give us the facts and don't play the game, the game is already being played amongst people. If the media could just say hey. Maybe this guy had PTSD. Nobody ever says anything like that. The guy was crazy. I don't support that guy. The protesters didn't either. The protest was peaceful.
Leo: He was disturbed.
Siva: If I could say a few things about Dallas.
Leo: Please, Siva.
Siva: I just read, just minutes ago, a story from the Dallas morning news, in which the chief of police and the mayor discussed why they chose to use the lethal robot to diffuse the situation and kill the perpetrator. As I looked through it and I've been thinking a lot about the decision to use the robot. What have we opened up, what implications are there? Are we removing the kind of ethical decision making, putting ourselves at such a distance when we as the state decide to use a weapon like this? I haven't come to an answer. I don't think anybody could or should come to an answer today. Looking through how the police chief and the mayor went through their thought process it seems like they satisfied what they needed to satisfy at that moment. They judged that this man was in no position to surrender, he was not interested in surrendering. They deemed him to be unwilling to interact at a level that could have yielded a decent outcome. He was barricaded and armed to the degree that an assault by officers would have put officers almost certainly at lethal risk. So it seems to me, again, total amateur. They thought carefully about the implications, they had standards and protocols for when they would use this weapon and they went by the book. I have no argument with their decision in this particular case.
Leo: A lot of facts in the Reddit thread.
Siva: What worries me is the next opportunity for a less enlightened, less thoughtful police department to make a less informed, less gut level decision to send a robot in before exhausting all other possibilities. Of course that possibility exists with non lethal weapons like grenades, stun grenades, tear gas and so forth, but they are non lethal. We're talking about a weapon used at a distance that puts no human at risk. It's almost too easy and too tempting a solution to a situation. I worry about five days, five months from now, a police department that is nowhere near as prepared and thoughtful as Dallas is. By the way, we can all agree with the little we know about Dallas over the past week that they have an exemplary police force and an outstanding police chief. But the rest of America’s not so lucky.
Leo: And I think it wouldn’t be as much a concern if we weren’t already using predator drones all over the world to anonymously, facelessly kill our enemies.
Siva: And again, it doesn’t necessarily need to be faceless but in at least one case, assassinating an American citizen without due process, without charges, without a trial. Assassinating which should be, and probably is against the law.
Leo: And is illegal in fact.
Siva: Right, but we did it and no one’s facing any repercussions for it so what I’m afraid is adjustment of domestication of body armor, the domestication of battle ready vehicles, armored vehicles in our streets, the domestication of semi-automatic and automatic weapons, the domestication of the remote control kill device. Is that the sort of technology we want to invite into our communities? If we’re going to, let’s have very open, strict, fervent conversations about the standards of use so you don’t have some unthoughtful, untrained decision maker deciding to use that irresponsibly. Now one last thing about Dallas though.
Jeff: It’s a very slippery slope.
Siva: I mentioned that that article I just tweeted is from the Dallas Morning News. The Dallas Morning News which is a newspaper I used to work for did an exemplary job in the 24 hours after that shooting. Everybody who was available in that town drove to the newsroom and volunteered their time to make sense of the moment, to take stock of their community. And each one of those reporters and editors and copy-editors, every single one of those people felt for their city. They were bleeding inside for their city. They knew their city had been torn apart and they also knew they had a role to play in the next step of the healing, in the process of making sense and in diffusing the tension. And I am in awe of the staff of the Dallas Morning News. The production was outstanding. Their speed of production was outstanding and they got every fact right. And you might remember that almost no other news organization got everything right in the morning after. We had all kinds of stupid posts about how their were multiple shooters and so forth. The Dallas Morning News nailed it because they knew their community, they knew their police officers, they knew their community activists, they had witnesses to interview. They got everything right. They got it timely and they were brave at every step.
Jason: We’re working on a story, you know we chose not to publish something quickly on the story because it is a story of such import and there are potentially huge implications for this. And so we’re trying to gather information also to see what other police departments are prepared to use force in this way, right, because I think one of the biggest surprises was that they were prepared to do this. Because they clearly thought about this before and considered this scenario playing out. So if they did, others have too. And so we’re looking into what other police departments are considering this use of force? What are the guidelines they’re going to put in place to use them as well as the ones that Dallas has used? As well as what does the law actually say in terms of what they can do and then how do they extrapolate this from the military because that’s obviously where this came from.
Leo: And Dallas is and I’m quoting the article that says, “Police departments across the country have been training for this particular scenario using a robot, a remote controlled robot to detonate explosives for years but it’s believed to the first time a chief has ever made the call to use explosives to kill a suspect and instead of.” And the reason this is of concern of course is the short circuit of due process, etcetera, etcetera.
Owen: Jeff, are you down with a robo Judge Dredd?
Leo: Now that’s a very sensationalistic way to put that.
Owen: No, it is Judge Dredd. That’s what it is.
Leo: I guess it is. It wasn’t autonomous. No, humans made the decision. It’s just—think of it as a bomb on a stick. The fact that it is a robot is—
Owen: Judge Dredd goes in and does the job. The person sitting there with the controller moves the robot. It’s still a person controlling the robot. It’s Judge Dredd. Jeff, what do you think?
Jeff Jarvis: I think it’s the bigger question of the militarization. There’s a picture I put up on the feed about an amazing photo and you see basically a lone woman standing calmly against Storm Troopers. And you understand why police right now are wearing body armor after Dallas. Ok, I get that but what does even that do to their relationship with the community, to their view of threats to what they do? What does it mean to have all this equipment that may have people behind it but is clearly overpowering mere citizens? Youknow, Tiananmen Square and the man versus a tank. And it’s not about the technology, it’s about the imbalance that’s created. Another part suggests that—God, knows I’m not going to make an NRA argument here and the—
Jason: I was going to say this just fuels the NRA. This absolutely fuels the NRA, right?
Jeff: We’ve got to recognize that, and the mayor and police chief of Dallas have talked about this. They have to make decisions about how to go into the community and how to protect themselves at the same time in what they do and they have to recognize the implications of that. I did hear police on TV today talk about how they need to have discussions about the ethical standards of the use of the technology. Saying drones could have done the same thing at a local level not just in Afganistan.
Leo: How is it different from—they couldn’t do this, they couldn’t get a sniper shot. But how would it be different if a sniper took the guy out? It wouldn’t, would it?
Owen: That’s what I was saying depending on the person making the move and making the decision.
Leo: The issue isn’t the robot or the explosive. The issue is the decision to terminate a suspect without due process. However, it was in this case determined that there was no other safe way to do it. The risk of losing more lives was significant and imminent and so and this is by the way a normal police practice. This is exactly what you do. If there’s a—
Jeff: Owen, what do you think? And I agree with Siva. I think in this case, in the thought process they revealed the decision is what I can stand for. What do you think?
Owen: I find the whole thing kind of funny. Even in his press conference, he was saying, “We’re negotiating with him but we’re having a hard time because we’re trading shots.” If you’re trading shots with this man, this is not a negotiation.
Leo: Well, that was the point, right?
Owen: If you listen to some of the things he’s saying, he’s like—you’re not negotiating. You’re getting shot at and I have zero problem with the robot. Again, certain things happen where we get distracted by things. Oh, is it right to use a robot? You made the exact point I was going to make. If someone had a sniper shot and they radioed up to the sniper and they said, “Look, he’s not cooperating. He’s by himself. There’s not another person in the vicinity to harm. Take him out.” That’s what happens. And that has happened I don’t know how many times.
Leo: Yea, it happens all the time.
Owen: So I’m fine with the robot being used. My first question of comedy is how did this man let a robot sneak up on him? He took out all these officers but he let a robot—
Leo: Apparently this is the robot they were using to negotiate with him. I may be mistaken on that, but.
Owen: Oh, ok, they sent in a pizza or a phone with the robot and then the robot gets him. It reminds me of Grand Theft Auto. They have cell phones in Grand Theft Auto where you can set a bomb in the cell phone, deliver the cell phone to the person you want to kill and then go on the phone and go, “Hello?” And then you blow their brains out. So, technology.
Siva: It’s also easier to make a robot bulletproof than it is a human, so in that sense. But you know, so I would actually make—and I’m not sure this is an argument I would actually make sincerely, but you know that I’m a professor and this is the kind of thing to do with a classroom. We set up—so a devil’s advocate. I’m not convinced I’m right about this but I could make, I could construct an argument that using the robot as they used the robot was a more just, more humane, more thoughtful way of dealing with an intransigent threat to officers and other people than the standard SWAT and sniper collective because the decision had to be deliberated, it had to be made at the top of the chain whereas with a sniper you have discretion by the gentleman or gentlewoman whose finger is on the trigger in addition to the discretion of several officers on the way to the police chief. So—
Owen: Someone has to click the button to detonate the robot.
Siva: So right.
Owen: Someone has to do that responsibility.
Siva: But that person could be standing next to the chief. That person could be—we’re in an early enough situation right now where that decision was clearly made at the top. That decision was clearly made actually in a calmer state with a bullet proof, non-harmable robot. Like even if the guy blows up the robot somehow, no human dies. They lose a few hundred thousand dollars. But in that sense, the police can actually be at a lower level of anxiety with no officer’s life at stake than had they burst through—this clearly wasn’t a sniper situation. They might have just gone with a sniper than have someone bust through the door.
Leo: The thing that’s concerning is that we prosecute war in a different way than we perceive a policing situation. In war you’re fighting a war to kill the enemy no matter what. That’s what you’re trying to do. And in policing that’s not what you’re trying to do. And so the use of war technologies in policing raises some specters.
Siva: You can’t use war thought.
Leo: You can’t use war thought. And it’s tempting. I mean it’s got to be very tempting. A guy takes out 5 of your comrades and he’s got bombs and he’s drawing stuff on the wall with blood and he’s you know—it’s very tempting. But it’s really, that’s the time when you really have to pause.
Jason: This is the argument that NRCA makes though, that NRA makes that once citizens become overmatched by the authorities, by the government then they will never have a chance. And as soon as you get a bad apple in there, they can do whatever they want.
Jeff: That’s an anarchist’s argument basically.
Jason: But that’s how the NRA gets people to write checks primarily is to believe in that argument.
Jeff: That doesn’t carry over to a damn thing in Dallas.
Leo: If anything it confused the situation because there were people in camo carrying rifles, carrying long guns in the march. And that’s why the initial stories that we heard about this situation were that there were multiple shooters. They could not distinguish between the actual shooter and citizens who were legally armed.
Owen: Well that’s one of the things that irked me too. Go ahead, Jason.
Jason: So what this gets to though, so the leap is and we’ve touched on it is the fact that, and we’re all capable of the fact to a degree, if a human is making the decision, is pushing the button. Where it gets to and we wrote a long form about this on Tech Republic, a piece called Robots of Death, Robots of Love. It’s called the reality of android soldiers and why laws for robots are doomed to failure is this idea that at some point you cross over to, and the US is already dealing with this with drones, to a point where you empower the drone or you empower the robot with a certain amount of intelligence. You tell it, maybe you tell it what to do but it goes in and it actually pulls the trigger. That’s the leap that once we get comfortable enough with this technology that comes next. And that’s where the ultimate ethical and societal dilemma comes in, right, when you actually empower the machine to take a human life on its own. And so that’s philosophical. But that’s the logical next step that a lot of people are naturally and rightfully afraid of.
Owen: Well right now we’re also, when you talk about the guy in the camo shirt and he had the gun, I have so many people say, “Oh, you know he was a black man. How stupid was he to go out there and—“ I was like, well the thing is in America, there are rights bestowed upon us until they take them away. And a person in Minnesota who apparently had a permit and was legally having a fire arm was shot. He was showing solidarity with his NRA permit carrying brother and carrying a gun that was unloaded out to an event of protest, to protest the fact that you can’t take our guns away and you can’t shoot me for having a gun being a black man. Now was he bold? Oh Lord, this man has brass of steel but at the same time he was protesting for the right that he’s allowed to have. And as much as they put his picture out there, if there were some kind of great technology where they could actually circulate that image within the police force, an officer would have been on the radio saying, “Hey, look. I’ve got the guy right here. He’s already got his gun. What do you want me to do with him?” Because he had already turned in his gun before they put his picture for the world to see and left it up on their Twitter getting 2,000 retweets an hour until 2:00 in the afternoon—I was checking hourly. That they would have some way to communicate they could have gotten that information. So technology abound, we still have a lot of ways to go and hopefully when they’re in these kinds of crises they can think about that. Because they already had that man in custody and they’re putting his picture out for the world to see and judge and—
Leo: Let me wrap this up and we’ll move on but of course our deepest sympathy to the fallen, to the families of the fallen officers and the two people who were shot and of course sometimes I feel like we’re in a war zone. But at the same time, I wonder how much of this is because of the 24 hour news cycle and our synaptic level connection to every little thing that happens in the world. It’s hard for us to escape the news and it’s important to remember that you know what? 90% of what’s going on, 99% is fine. And good. And in fact I’m going to talk about Pokémon Go in a little bit and how that’s brought some good into the world. I think you even said that, Owen, right? You can focus on the bad things and they’re brought into our living rooms, they’re brought into our lives in a way that’s unique these days because of how interconnected we are.
Owen: The world is the best place that we have because it’s the only place we have. There are beautiful things in the world. There are horrible things in the world. There are people starving all over the place. There are people that are overweight like me. It’s a yin, it’s a yang. And it’s a beautiful ugly place but it’s our place and you’ve got to enjoy what you can enjoy.
Leo: It’s very tempting to globalize this and say, “It’s everywhere. It’s happening all the time.” And it’s not. And I’m sure you guys, I’m sure Siva and Jeff, you must consider this a little bit too which is the impact of this constant barrage of bad news on our outlook on life.
Siva: I don’t have a problem with the constant barrage of bad news because I think we needed to be shaken out of our—
Siva: A lot of us needed to be shaken out of our complacency and our sense that we were living in a kind country, in a kind world. I appreciate, now as taxing as it is, if we’re going to be responsible citizens and responsible adults, we’re going to have to face the fact that a lot of our neighbors are really horrible people and do horrible things to each other. And if we’re going to make these things better, we’re going to have to confront them. That does also involve though figuring out how to put things in perspective, understanding what risk is versus non-risk. Real risk versus fake risk so for instance having your kid kidnapped while walking to school is certainly not going to happen for 99.9999% of families in America under any condition. It’s not a real problem in America. But having a friend, an uncle, a clergy member, a scout leader, someone you trust and know hurt your child is a very real possibility. Not a high probability, but a real one we should be concerned about. And yet the media barrage makes us flip our anxieties so that we worry more about the stranger who doesn’t exist than the friend or relative that does. And I don’t know a way out of that given the incentive system for our media right now. But I know that when we come to a situation like we’ve experienced over the last 3 days, it actually makes me feel optimistic about the fact that we’re confronting a level of violence against African Americans that has remained unabated for 400 years but largely ignored by people outside of the collection of people likely to be victims. So most Americans have no idea what lynching was about and the pervasiveness of it. Most Americans have no idea about the re-enslavement of African Americans starting in the late 19th century right up through 1940 through things like vagrancy laws. Most Americans have no idea about the violence perpetrated against Latino Americans consistently from about 1900 to about 1970 throughout the Southwest including being forced labor situations. You know all of those crimes against our neighbors, against our fellow citizens have gone unacknowledged. It’s not like putting cell phones in everybody’s hands is going to suddenly make us acknowledge those things. But now, when we’re forced to see the brutality that we’re capable of as a society, it opens up that discussion. And we’re at least allowed to put these things on the table.
Jason: It’s shining light in dark corners. That’s always been one of the most important jobs of journalism is shining light in dark corners and technologies and media like this is and you know the technologies have enable citizens to do these things too. And it’s always been important because when it happens, communities decide you know, we can’t let these kinds of things happen. This is unacceptable to us. And you saw that in large part in the reaction to these events. And so that will change things. And I think we still have to have the confidence in our communities as a whole are strong enough and good enough to make change when we shine those lights in dark corners.
Jeff: Oh I think that, Siva, when you mentioned the economic motivations that are here, that remains a problem. One I’m thinking about a lot and the discussion that I am going to have with you at length off-line is we’re witnessing in media is the death of the mass-media business model that is holding on by the fingernails. And it’s seeking traffic for traffic’s sake, volume reach, frequency for their own sake. And the way it does that is by exploiting baser instincts whether that’s crime or sex or hatred or whatever it may be. And it doesn’t become an honest view of the world. So I absolutely agree that it is a good thing that we are facing the things we’re facing right now. But too much of 24 hour news, too much of what we see in the media, too much of what we see in politics is based around a mass model of just trying to put out something that is going to attract people back to us rather than real value, real change, real impact and improvement in society. And at some point we have to judge media and journalism on whether it improves lives and it improves society. And right now I don’t think it’s going a really good job of that.
Owen: Uncle Leo.
Leo: Yes, Doctah?
Owen: Tomorrow’s Leah’s birthday. I would appreciate it if you could get her a card and put a stamp on it and send it to her.
Leo: (Laughing) all right, deal. How old is she going to be?
Owen: She’s turning 9. I’m just trying to get us to our next ad spot.
Leo: What a cute—how do you know what our ads are? You’re very good. You’re clairvoyant.
Owen: Man, I’m taking this spot, Uncle Leo. You think I’m not? I’m Leo Laporte, Leo La-port-tay.
Leo: Happy birthday. What are you doing for your daughter’s birthday?
Owen: Man, we suffer man. She already done have a sleep-over party with 12 minions.
Leo: It’s birthday week, isn’t it?
Owen: All kinds of stuff. She had friends over yesterday, a friend over last night. And then tomorrow we’re going to the water park. We’ll have dinner, cake and cookies and oh.
Leo: Hey, you only turn 9 once.
Owen: Stamps. We’ll talk about it.
Leo: You’re going to have a lot of fun, Owen.
Owen: Lord knows.
Leo: I was just mentioning this earlier because we had a little girl in the studio and her mom, I think it was her grandmother said she loves hat. She’s looking at hat collections and said, “Pick a hat.” And she went and she picked a hat. She was probably 7, 6. She wore the hat out. And I was thinking, “Man, I still have dreams about when my kids were that little.” You’ve got to enjoy those years. Those are special years. And then they grow up and they’re just jerks (laughing). Right, Jeff? Am I wrong? Am I wrong, Mr. Jarvis?
Jeff: I’m not saying a word about that.
Leo: (Laughing) no, but you love them still. Our show today brought to you by Stamps.com. Wow. Owen, how did you know? When I send that card to Leah, I’m going to make sure it has a lovely TWiT logo on it, my return address. Her address with be printed right from my printer, right on the envelope because I use Stamps.com. You don’t want to make a trip to the post office to buy Stamps. That’s so old world. Maybe you’ve been doing that for a long time, but I’ll tell you what. You can really up your shipping game. Whatever your business is, whether you’re a seller on EBay or Amazon or Etsy, whether you have a business, you send out bills and brochures, Stamps.com is the easy way to do everything you would do at the post office without getting up from your desk. Yes, you can buy and print real US postage right from your computer and your printer. You don’t need special ink. You don’t need a postage meter. Just what you already have with Stamps.com. You also can do all the package stuff that you like to do including writing the application, buy insurance, even get discounted insurance. You can get certified mail. You can fill out the forms for international mail. It does it all for you and with Stamps.com you get this great digital scale. I’ll tell you how to do that in a second, that makes sure there’s no guess work. You have exactly the right postage. And I’ll tell you, nothing sends a worse impression, and I get it all the time, than postage due from a PR firm. I get these PR—it’s like, dude, I don’t want to get your mail in the first place, but to make me pay for it, come on. Why aren’t they using Stamps.com? Here’s the deal. Go to Stamps.com. Click the microphone in the upper right hand corner and use the offer code TWiT. What you’re going to get is a really nice $110 dollar bonus offer that includes that digital scale. It’s a USB scale. You also get $55 dollars’ worth of postage coupons. Now the scale, you’re going to have to pay shipping for that. It’s$5 bucks but you get a $5 dollar supply kit. That balances that out. And of course you get a 30-day free trial of Stamps.com. Stamps.com is awesome. And if you’re doing any kind of mailing in your business, you really got to try it. And why not? Risk-free. $110 dollar bonus offer. Cancel anytime in that 1st four weeks and you’re—you keep the scale. That’s not a problem. It’s a gift to you from Stamps.com. Go to Stamps.com. Click the microphone top of the home page, use the offer code TWiT. Stamps.com. We thank them for their support of This Week in Tech.
Owen: Gotta catch ‘em all.
Leo: Gotta catch ‘em all. None of you are playing the Pokémon game and yet everywhere I go in Petaluma, I see people playing Pokémon Go. It is—
Jeff: I can’t get past the tutorial. I’m so old.
Leo: Well, it’s using this new technique. Snapchat pioneered this where it’s completely opaque. There’s no rules. They don’t tell you anything. And I realize this is the best marketing ever because what happens is, especially with apps aimed like at the 20-year-old.
Jason: People who have time to waste.
Leo: There’s kids now and then they tell their friends because they want to look smart, “Hey, I can show you how to do this.” And I actually had, Chris was doing that. Chris is like a freshman in college. He’s showing me how to use Pokémon Go. And I realize this is the best marketing ever. Same thing with Snapchat right? You get your friends telling you about, oh you got to use this.
Jason: It’s completely unintelligible to a normal human being that you have to—which I think is part of why they sort of want to keep people over 30 out of it. So you know, you have to figure it out or have somebody tell you, “Oh, when you open it up it goes straight to the camera. Oh.”
Leo: Nintendo stock price up 15% by the end of the week thanks to this. Although that doesn’t make any sense. That’s you know, the stock market. It’s a creation from Niantic which is a former Google company and actually before that it was Keyhole, the satellite mapping company that Google bought to ad satellite imagery to Google Maps. They went on, they said, “Hey, we got some ideas.” They created, Ingress, Field Trip for Google then Google spun them out and now this. And this is probably going to be their most successful. It is sweeping the nation. I hear about colleges, people roaming campuses. We just went up to the part before the show yesterday and people were playing the game. Somebody had set up a lure so there were a lot of Pokémon around. It’s an augmented reality game. So when you—you get a vibration saying there’s a Pokémon. And then you see the world you’re in, the park, and you can get the Pokémon. It’s over there by the bush.
Leo: I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know because Instagram, Facebook, Twitter are filled with images of Pokémon in the real world.
Jason: Yea. I was in the hotel on the elevator. There’s like this youth leadership conference at my hotel. And there’s like 3 or 4 kids in the elevator. They’re all just playing. I’m like what are they doing? Why are they all so engrossed in their phones? They’re all sitting there not talking to each other. They’re all playing Pokémon Go and sort of not even looking up every once in a while but sort of make a sound or a grunt.
Jeff: Sorry, I’m playing now. I can’t hear anything you’re saying.
Leo: Well to tie it back to our previous conversation, I think the timing was really good on this because we were all kind of a little down and along comes this fun game which does two things that I think are valuable. It gets us out of the house because you have to walk around.
Jason: That’s true.
Leo: You can’t play it like in your basement. You have to go walk around. I’ve done 15 kilometers in two days playing this dumb game. And you talk to people. And you join teams. And there’s this conversation and I’ve talked to more people in Petaluma in the last 2 days than probably in my whole 20 years of living here. So there is some value to it.
Jason: That’s funny.
Owen: It sounds fun. I love listening to bubble talk and how the world works. You’re out here talking about talking to people and getting out into the world.
Leo: Crazy idea, I know, yea.
Owen: I’m out here living and talking and hanging out. But like I said, grown men are the dominant figure in Pokémon. Don’t get twisted. Most of these kids don’t have cell phones. And that’s why you say them in the lobby with—
Leo: No, it’s college kids I think. I think college kids.
Owen: They can steal their parent’s phone for 10 minutes while their parents aren’t using it and play Pokémon. But there’s like 35-year-old men skipping and hopping and jumping all across the land, living their Pokémon dreams.
Leo: Security researcher Jonathan Sardowski said, “Oh nice move, Google. You figured out a way to get everyone to volunteer their GPS coordinates at all times.” Google does not have anything to do with this I don’t think. They may still have a stake in Niantic.
Jeff: They have a piece of it.
Leo: They have a piece of it, right. One player in Wyoming stumbled across a dead body. She was—see, more Pokémon, different kinds of Pokémon show up near bodies of water. She was near a river. She climbed over a fence to get to the river to get the Pokémon and then low and behold, there’s a dead body there. Not related to Pokémon Go we don’t think. But a group of robbers in Missouri used—so one of the things that happens is you go to places where there are lots of Pokémon. They put a lure and a PokeStop and then when dumb kids at 2 in the morning kind of wander down this alley trying to find the Pokémon, they rob them. Shopping center parking lots. They stuck them up. And then there’s a guy named Boon Sheridan who lives in a former church that was flagged as a public place. This is all from Cory Doctorow’s Boing Boing. And there you go, the militarization of the Pokémon is just around the corner. And he’s being bugged on his quite road by Pokémon players who are lingering, blocking traffic and freaking out his neighbors. I’m telling you, folks, this is going to be a fad that sweeps the nation. In about two weeks you’ll forget it even happened.
Jason: Yea, it’s got Farmville written all over it.
Owen: Did you read about a hack or something about Pokémon?
Leo: There are a number of virus hacks or malware hacks so be very careful. Get it from the official store. If you side load—I bet you they’re posing as cheat tools for Pokémon Go but if you side load these, at least one of them has a remote access Trojan built into it and of course Android lets you side load. It is—I think there’s probably nothing more to say about it. It is a bubble.
Jeff: I found the last story that I talked about before going on the air, the world peace link there.
Leo: Oh, yea. Tell us. You do it. It’s your story.
Jeff: Oh, all right.
Leo: You don’t have to give it to me.
Owen: We like the way Jeff tells it.
Jeff: Well now I’ve got to open the damn link.
Leo: Oh, you want me to do it? I’ll do it for you. This comes from the Elitedaily.com. How appropriate is that URL? Guy Tells Epic Story About Recruiting a Cop to Play Pokémon Go. You see, it really is bringing people together. So a fellow wandering around, let’s see this is Sloth of Doom. I guess this is from Reddit. “Couldn’t sleep so I downloaded the game. Took a 3:00 am walk.” Ok, can I just say you probably should do this not in the middle of the night?
Leo: “There’s a little park a few blocks from me that had like 3 PokeStops and a gym.” PokeStops are good because you can gather Pokeballs. Gyms are where you attack other Pokémon players trying to take them over kind of like Ingress. “So I wandered over there to see what the game could offer. Picked up an Evie outside my house and a couple of trashPokés on the way to the park.” Yea, you know, those Pokés that aren’t so useful. This guy’s talking the talk. Obviously.
Jeff: It’s already a language, yea.
Leo: “So I get there. Wander around a little checking out the stops and rustling around in the tall grass. Then decided to go a few blocks away to see a couple more stops when I hear from the darkness, ‘Yo, my man.’ Turning, I see two sketchy looking dudes sitting on a bench in the dark. Must have walked right past them without noticing them. Great. One of the waves. ‘My man, check over by the blue truck over there. We got an Onyx earlier.’”
Jeff: (Laughing) Isn’t that great?
Leo: “So I wander over by the truck. Sure enough there’s an f-ing Onyx there. Awesome. So I end up chatting with the guys for a bit. Told them where I got by Evie. They convinced me to join Red Team when I hit level 5 so we could quote ‘Lock stuff down in the neighborhood.’ Then the cop shows up. Well of course, it’s 3:00 AM. There’s 4 seedy looking characters hanging out in a park. Turns out that the 2 20-something black dudes and a 40-year-old white guy chilling in the park at 3:00 AM looks strange,” he writes. “And took a bit of talking to convince the cop we weren’t doing a drug deal. A bit longer to explain the game. Then the cop downloaded the game on his phone and asked us how to get started.” Go Red Team.
Jeff: I have no idea if that’s at all true, but—
Leo: Oh, it’s totally true. It’s totally true. It’s on Reddit. How could it not be true?
Owen: Even if it’s not true, it’s the most truth we need at this time.
Leo: It’s the truth it needs to be.
Owen: It’s true enough to make me feel good inside so I believe it. Just like I believe Facebook glitched. I believe.
Leo: I believe. Yea, you and Siva just think that I’m an airheaded kind of Pollyanna for thinking the world’s a nice place but I want to believe. I really do.
Owen: Well the world’s a nice place when you live in your own empire and run the town that you live in and that you’ve been dominating for the last 30 years.
Leo: Yea, basically it’s a gated community. Yea, no, you’re right. I live in a gated community, yea, a virtual gate.
Owen: The whole town is your town, Leo.
Leo: It’s my town. I wander around. Here’s a story from Gizmodo. So Our Legs Become Pandemic as Pokémon Go Players Accidentally Get Exercise. Film at 11:00.
Jason: (Laughing) that’s a great headline. That is a great headline.
Owen: It’s a great headline.
Leo: Let me tell you, this has become—iMore has already done 30 how-to articles. This game came out on Wednesday.
Leo: Talk about, I mean everybody’s jumping on this. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. Here’s a tweet from Fancakes. “I took an hour long bike ride yesterday for Pokémon Go. My legs are sore. The last time I rode a bike was like 4 or 5 years ago.” Here’s from Netslana, “My feet and legs are so sore from Pokémon Go today. I got an hour of sleep, took over a gym and gained 5 levels. So it was pretty good.”
Jason: Hey, you can’t argue with that. I mean if they’re actually getting people out of the house.
Leo: I’m telling you, 15 kilometers yesterday.
Jason: That’s, I mean—
Owen: A year from now somebody’s going to be sitting on Ellen and he’s going to be like, “I spent my overtime and traveled the globe. And guess what? I caught ‘em all. Uh, thank you very much.” Like he’s going to be the most popular man in the world. He’s going to quit his job, leave his family and he’s going to go out and catch ‘em all.
Jason: Can you imagine like those Subway guy stories with Pokémon Go. It’s going to be like commercial.
Leo: Yea, that’s just what Pokémon needs is another Jared. That will help.
Owen: The one thing you talked about Nintendo stock. This is, Nintendo is a genius at mobile content. They’re platform is horrible. I mean Leah and her friend play it, but they only play like 2 games. Like they need to capture the magic that they’re doing with mobile, with the DS and everything else on their platform. They need to get rid of all that extra stuff. Go back to just making great, solid games. Because mobile’s what’s keeping them afloat right now.
Leo: You know what’s truly sad? According to Forbes, Pokémon Go is about to surpass Twitter in daily active users.
Jason: Oh, man.
Siva: Yea, that’s a 24 hour phenomena.
Owen: That’s not that exciting. That’s a new thing. Show me that in a month.
Leo: I don’t know. I think this one’s got staying power. Oh, sure, I fell for Flappy Bird. I fell for—
Leo: Farmville. I fell for We Rule. I fell—I spent $300 dollars on donuts in The Simpsons Tapped app but this one. This one is going to stay.
Jason: This could be the one.
Siva: The game has staying power. The curve does not.
Siva: It’s going to flatten out and there will be a hardcore group of devoted players and it will be sizeable. It will be significant but you know we have a hardcore group of devoted chess players in America too. But you know, it doesn’t have a curve like this.
Leo: By the way, I’m one of those as well.
Jason: This guy is a chess champion.
Leo: Yea, I’m one of those as well.
Jason: You’re like the Renaissance Man of games.
Jeff: Leo, how’s Second Life treating you?
Leo: Oh man, I got my nude suit the other day and I go out there and I just have so much fun with the furries and it’s great and I love it.
Siva: It’s a Pokémon product. It’s probably well thought out. It’s interesting. It captures something that millions of people are already into. It’s got everything going for it. But that curve’s not going to go up forever. It’s going to flatten out and then go down and it will be fine. It will be a part of our lives like everything else.
Owen: Wait until winter hits. Winter is coming.
Leo: Oh, no. Winter is coming.
Jeff: It’s a list of things that are bigger than Twitter and we get a new one of those every week.
Jason: Man, that’s like the new insole or the new you know whatever.
Owen: Twitter’s your benchmark. Oh, it’s bigger than Twitter? Ok.
Leo: General Tao in our chatroom says, “Hey, Hoolie has more daily active users than Twitter now.”
Jason: Man, this is getting depressing.
Leo: (Laughing). Oh, Twitter. Why can’t I quit you? Israel calls Facebook a monster for not helping to curb violence. There you go. There’s an example of kind of—
Siva: That’s bad. Because that’s the missing piece in curbing violence in the Middle East.
Leo: Yea, it’s up to Facebook. Israel’s justice minister, Gilad Erdan, says “Facebook is a monster. A monster because it’s not doing enough to curb on-line content that incites violence against Israel.”
Jason: This is the flip-side of that argument with the takedown of the video because I, if we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt, it was likely taken down because of the violence.
Leo: Yea, there’s blood.
Jason: So but then there’s other people on the other side right that are calling on Facebook to like get these violent videos off there.
Leo: It’s a no-win situation for them. How tough is that? I mean—
Siva: It’s absurd to think that a place that has been wracked with violence for a hundred years, wracked with terrorism for a hundred years is somehow suffering more or less.
Leo: Because of Facebook.
Siva: Because of anything Facebook can do.
Jason: Well we can’t under estimate force multiplier though to mix metaphors.
Leo: Get ready because Facebook has now introduced end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger joining WhatsApp which is also a Facebook product. Apple’s iMessages have done this for some time. You’re going to see more and more products offering encryption and I think that that is essentially giving encryption to a billion and a half people. And that’s when I think you get governments going, well we can’t—Brazil’s been trying to take WhatsApp down for a year.
Jason: Maybe even a more interesting related story though is the thing, and this came out from the US Government so who has a dog in the fight, but they said that you know, ISIS propaganda or ISIS Twitter traffic has dropped by half in the past few years because of using social networks like this, anti-propaganda going in and showing ISIS has recruited with social media primarily.
Leo: So are they doing some sort of active campaign on Twitter to tell people, “Don’t join ISIS?”
Jason: So they say, “Here’s what ISIS does to women. Here’s what ISIS does to children. Here’s what ISIS does.” And now they aren’t just obviously just the US Government going out and doing it, they’re partnering with local organizations, local outlets and they are helping them craft the messages. They’re getting the stories from them, putting them in natural languages, in Arabic, in local languages, local dialects and getting them out. And that message on social media is having a tremendous impact according to this story.
Siva: Let’s also remember that there are a lot of other people just unaffiliated individuals across Europe who have spread the word that ISIS is offering false promises to the people who decide to pack up and move to Syria where life is horrible. And there have been thousands of people who have been recruited to ISIS in Syria who are desperate to get back to their lives in Europe now because it turns out, life’s really horrible there. And it’s not the paradise they were promised. So there are lots of voices against ISIS that have nothing to do with the US government. They are local. They are distributed. They are largely, originally in Arabic. Right there, there are lots of arguments against ISIS made by the 99% of the Muslim world that has nothing to do with ISIS and actually despises it. So you can’t credit the US with it, but you know, it’s good that it’s all part of a plan. But look, and the other thing is, ISIS has been on the run for 2 years. It’s been steadily losing territory and unable to build itself out as an actual functioning state consistently. So a lot of good reasons that ISIS is losing right now. And of course that terrorism is all part of its desperation.
Leo: It’s interesting though that the social media becomes one of the tools. However effective it is.
Jason: Because those others, to your point, Siva, it was their stories, you know the people in those communities themselves, not—the US was helping them package it and tell those stories on social media better because the problem was ISIS was really good at telling these stories using propaganda on social media and that’s what was influencing people to come and join. And they were using the locals to help them package and tell their stories better and in ways that on social media reach people and our counterpoint.
Siva: That’s assuming the US government knows what it’s doing.
Leo: Well I agree with you on that.
Owen: Those stories about ISIS were because people were not intelligent. And there’s always going to be slow people in the world. And at least—
Leo: There’s always people who want to believe whatever that is.
Owen: I’m saying, like you’ve got Google. So even though somebody told me that this place is a paradise, ok, I’m moving out of this location now because it is due in part to where I live and where the stuff is going on in the world. So I went to go look for a new house. I call the guy on the phone about his property. He told me this story that just sounded unbelievable by his company. He’s like, “Oh, do you want to sign up today?” And I said, “What’s the name of your company again?” He’s like, “Oh, da-da-da” I’m like, “Well I’m going to hang up and—“
Leo: And Google you.
Owen: Yea. So if you’re telling me that there’s Shangri-La and whoop-de-whoo and cookie dough, you know what I’m going to do? Hey, let’s go look at the cookie dough and see. A lot of people don’t do that. Get away and go to Syria. You want to come home? You might as well stay there because the lightbulb is not one.”
Leo: I love this tweet. Xeni Jardin—
Jason: I think part of the problem is, sorry, was just when they looked it up, when they did Google it or looked for it, they weren’t finding the counterpoint. So now they find the counterpoint. It’s easy to find now.
Leo: Love this tweet from Xeni Jardin who’s a friend of the show. She’s a Boing Boing contributor. She tweeted not so long ago, July 3rd, “Dude, ISIS is bombing Muslims.” By the way, I don’t think she thought a lot of people would read this tweet. “Dude, ISIS is bombing Muslim people and Muslim communities during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. How is ISIS Muslim? No, they’re psychopaths.” Almost 60,000 retweets, 44,000 likes.
Leo: It went viral is an understatement.
Siva: Sometimes the simple truth like that can make such a difference.
Leo: It’s awesome.
Siva: Like those words that someone should have said so succinctly at any time in the last 5 years.
Leo: Does it make a difference is the question. Sure, 55,000 retweets.
Owen: No, no, it doesn’t make a difference because people say that all the time. It’s the same silly thing I hear when people try to talk to me about black on black crime. A lot of Muslims go out and I see them on my Twitter feed, people that are sharing them, and they denounce ISIS all the time. And nobody cares. That tweet blew up because she said dude and it was cool. And she’s got a little following. And it carries a direct message. But we give those messages all the time but for some reason they don’t stick because there is a subset and a group that counterbalances that and says, “Well everybody is this.” And they just paint this whole brush. “Everybody cop is bad.”
Leo: What I worry about and I guess this is no great insight, is just that we’re polarized and one side’s not hearing the other side anymore. And so each of us—
Jeff: No, ok, that’s just a standard echo chamber argument. I think we’re more aware of arguments than we were before.
Leo: Well you and I are maybe, but are people?
Jeff: Ok, but this goes back to Owen’s point that there’s always going to be dumb people. There’s always going to be stupid people. I think one difference is, you don’t in a post mass world, you don’t need the scale you needed to cause damage. You don’t need to have an army to fight like an army. Whether it’s guerilla war or terroristic war or a cyber war, what’s the role of a government army in that kind of world? What’s the counterpoint that you make? The State Department, I went to the State Department a year ago, kind of like what do we do? How do we counteract this? You counteract with more information but as Owen said, there’s always going to be frigging idiots out there.
Leo: It seems like there’s more of them than there used to be (laughing).
Jeff: They have more ability to be seen.
Jason: They’re more transparent.
Leo: You don’t think we’re headed towards idiocrasy?
Siva: They find each other too.
Owen: Social Media. Hashtag.
Jason: I never argue about politics on Facebook. Like I just—
Leo: Twitter’s worse right?
Jason: Yea, Twitter’s really bad too.
Leo: I had the temerity to post a statistic, and actual statistic saying that an unarmed black person was 3.49 times more likely to get shot by police than an unarmed white person and in some counties of the United States, 20 times. It’s a fact. It’s just a fact. And I was amazed at the number of people who said, “Well they—“ in effect, they deserve it. It stunned me.
Owen: The kind of response to that when someone says, “Well Owen, more whites are shot by police officers than blacks.” I’m like, “Well first of all, you should be mad about that and the fact that you don’t is a problem. Also, white people outnumber us. By the percentages, we’re still 20 times higher. But with a smaller percentage of people.” So you’ve got to understand math which goes back to being dumb. But even when they say, “You know how many white people were shot unarmed by police last year? You don’t see us complaining.” And I’m like, “You don’t care about your people?” Everyone should be complaining.
Leo: The one that got me is the tweet, and I almost responded then I thought I’m not going to end this conversation. Something about black men shooting police officers. And I wanted to tweet, “To my knowledge not one single unarmed black man has ever shot anybody.” But I thought—
Owen: (Laughing) Seriously, why didn’t you tweet that?
Leo: I thought this is just going to set the world on fire and I don’t want it.
Jeff: Are you sure it wasn’t Rudy Giuliani who wrote you that?
Leo: (Laughing) I was like that is so unrelated. Anyway but the point being it looks, I guess because I look at Twitter and Facebook, it looks to me if we’re highly polarized, no one’s hearing anybody else.
Jason: It’s actually not. So I had, this is the one argument I had recently. Because people just argue. Somebody was on my Facebook was like, “It’s more polarized and it’s more of this thing.” Actually if you look at the facts, Pew has done some great research in recent years. There are more, the share of Independents in the 75 years that they’ve been counting them is higher than ever. It’s 39% to 32% registered Democrat, 23% Registered republican. And if you look at the next generation, it’s even more. It’s 48% of under 34 are Independent, right.
Leo: What does that mean? Does Independent mean they’re open minded and questing or they gave up?
Siva: So one of the numbers, party affiliation is a very rough proxy for what Leo is describing and concerned about. We can form communities of habit that willfully ignore other points of view through many of our affiliations beyond political party. So we could have religious communities. We could have class based communities. We could have race based and ethnic based communities that allow us to huddle. That’s a dynamic that occurs on all sorts of different ways. Pokémon players, right, could be so locked in to being Pokémon players that they have no interaction with chess players.
Leo: I am here to bridge that gap.
Jason: But all through human history, the clannishness has been all through human history.
Leo: That’s true. It’s human nature.
Siva: Which is why, I don’t know if there’s any real evidence for real concern. I think it’s something a lot of people say and a lot of people kind of feel. I do know that—
Leo: Remember though I live in Northern California and if you were to state a conservative position in many, to many people in this town, you would be a pariah. They would say, “What are you insane?”
Siva: I’m with you, man. But here’s the thing. What we substitute in America, we’re just talking about America, has nothing to do with social media. We have replaced what was heavy racial ethnic segregation and a situation where we really only spoke to our coworkers, neighbors, fellow church goers, etcetera.
Leo: That’s true. That’s true.
Siva: We’ve replaced that with class segregation.
Leo: It was zip code segregation. Now it’s class segregation, yea.
Siva: If it turns out we do actually talk to people of different religious and political affiliations with some regularity, if we are of a class strata that allows for that comfortable level of interaction. But we almost never speak to people who share our ethnic or religious affiliations who are of a different socio-economic class because we re-segregated America so much along for instance, school district lines. That’s one of our main focuses.
Owen: Can I ask a question?
Owen: Does everybody here back up their computers?
Leo: (Laughing) what are you—do you have the list somewhere in front of you?
Owen: I’m just wondering. I know Jeff backs up. I’m pretty sure he’s the archive of archives. I’m trying to get tapped into Jeff Jarvis’ archive so I can find out his old files.
Leo: He knows my needs. The man knows my needs.
Jeff: By the way, Owen, did you name your daughter after Leo?
Leo: Yes. He denies it.
Leo: He denies it. But I know he did for a fact. Actually my oldest—I told this story. My high school girlfriend who I was out of touch with for 40 years. We met each other on Facebook and started talking. She named her son Leo. And I said, “Aw, that’s sweet.” And she said, “It had nothing to do with you.” Ok.
Owen: Sure it didn’t.
Leo: Sure it didn’t.
Jeff: Happens to be your child but that’s another story.
Leo: Ah! Our show today brought to you by Carbonite. I don’t know if I backed up. Now is the time to change the subject. You got to keep your business safe. You’ve got to protect your data and the best way to do it is with automatic continuous cloud back up. Now I don’t have anything against backing up locally. That’s good. That’s a fine thing to do. You should have that as part of an overall backup strategy but you’ve got to have offsite backups. Because if something really bad happens, fire, flood, tornado, disaster, somebody steals your stuff, you’ve got to have a way of getting that data back. And you know what’s really bad? Ransomware. And we’re seeing this bigtime. 95% of all phishing emails these days contain ransomware viruses. That means a virus, and we’re seeing it on phones now too amazingly, a virus that gets on your system, locks your data and then says, “Pay us if you ever want to see your data again.” You know what the cure is? Carbonite. That local backup may not help you because it’s going to backup those encrypted files too. But Carbonite has versioning on Windows and that means you can go back to the previous version of the file that was unencrypted, delete the virus first, restore your data, you’re good to go and you didn’t give $300 bucks to the bad guy. You gave Carbonite like $5 bucks a month. That’s where Carbonite starts. $5 bucks a month for everything on your computer. You buy it by the year which is nice so you can set it and forget it. It’s backing up whenever you’re online and you don’t even have to think about it. No downtime. Carbonite has one and a half million customers at home and small businesses. 500 billion files backed up but the one I really like is 50 billion files restored. That’s 50 billion files that would have been lost forever. Carbonite. You’ve got to try it free. In fact I really encourage you. Try it free first. Pic your plan at Carbonite.com. You don’t need to give them a credit card, just our offer code TWiT. And the reason I want you to do that is besides the fact that we get credit is then you get two months free when you buy. You got to back it up to get it back. Do it right with Carbonite. Try it free. No credit card required, just the offer code TWiT at Carbonite.com.
Leo: Fun week this week. I’m going to give everybody a chance to get a cup of coffee, a cup of tea. We’ll wrap this up in a minute but before we do, let’s get a synopsis, a little, tiny mini movie made of all the fun bits that happened this week on TWiT. Watch.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Florence Ion: There’s a little mouse running around.
Ron Richards: I saw it run by earlier. IT was really weird.
Florence: Oh my God!
Jason Howell: That was awesome.
Narrator: Windows Weekly.
Leo: 23 days and counting to the end of free Windows 10.
Paul Thurrott: Hey, brace yourself because one month from today, what we’re going to be dealing with is people saying, “Wait, wait, wait. You mean I can’t get this?”
Leo: Not anymore? What happened? Why didn’t you guys tell me?
Mary Jo Foley: Why didn’t you guys tell me about this.
Narrator: This Week in Enterprise Tech.
Father Robert Ballecer: There is one router that keeps chugging on 11 years after its release. It’s the Linksys WRT54GL. But this is still a bestseller for Linksys.
Curtis Franklin: It’s known. It’s hackable. It’s fast enough and it’s cheap. I think that if nothing else the folks that tend to show up could provide a viable market for these things for a long time to come.
Narrator: This Week in Google.
Leo: But the way, Goggles is still around. I apologize.
Jeff: It is.
Leo: Oh my God, it worked.
Jeff: Oh, you’re kidding.
Leo: It says This Week in Tech, mp3 Edition, Petaluma landmark. I should do it to you, Jeff because it probably—
Jeff: Yea, do it to me.
Leo: There you go. We found you, Jeff. Ok, now we’ll do Stacey’s face. Analyzing. Oh, I’m so sorry.
Stacey Higginbotham: (Laughing).
Narrator: TWiT. Making the world safe for technology.
Leo: I don’t know why that happened. Clearly Google’s not paying attention to Goggles anymore (laughing). Big week ahead. Let’s see what’s happening.
Jason: Thanks, Leo. Here’s a few things that we’ll be tracking in the upcoming week. First Huawei begins its Surface competitor, the Huawei MateBook laptop, tablet hybrid device in the US on Monday, July 11. It ships with Windows 10 Signature Edition. Pricing’s going to start at $699. Huawei claims it’s the lightest 12” tablet on the market today. So maybe that floats your boat. On Tuesday, July 12th, Amazon will hold its 2nd annual Prime Day, hosting more than 100,000 deals for its Prime members, many being feature on a 5-minute rotation. Those of you if you happen to have an Amazon Echo can get in on some deals before everyone else using Alexa to shop. So consider that little tip. On Wednesday, July 13th, Google’s officially booting ads for payday loans and predatory financial services from its channels online. Google says this is aimed at protecting its users from harmful products and misleading business practices. On Thursday, July 14th, Motorola’s going to announce pricing for its anticipated new crop of flagship Android devices, the Moto Z and Z Force. Motorola’s baking on the appeal of modular smartphones as a move to diversify its products from the rest of the pack. Moto Force will be exclusive to Verizon with the Moto Z going global later in September. And I can’t wait to see them. That’s just a few things we’re going to be keeping a close eye on in the week ahead. Now, back to you, Leo.
Leo: Thank you, Jason Howell, Monday through Friday, 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern time, 2300 UTC for your daily dose of tech news, TNT. One thing that’s happening a week from Monday, the final selection process for Yahoo’s new owners. Little hitch in the get-a-long though. It was reported this week that even if Yahoo gets sold to somebody, Mozilla can, what was it, boot them out as their search tool. Let me make—and still get a billions dollars over the next few years. So if you’re a buyer you know, bidding from $2-3 billion dollars for Yahoo, you might wonder, gee, is this such a good deal? Because Mozilla has the preemptory right to say, “Oh yea, we don’t like the new owners. We’re going to stop using Yahoo Search in our browser. And oh, you still have to pay us a billion dollars over the next 3 years.” $375 million a year.
Jeff: I can’t remember. Does the sale still include the China equity?
Leo: No. Nothing. You can’t have nothing. You get tv.com. You get OMG.com. You get Flickr.com. You get Yahoo Mail. Oi.
Jason: Well Yahoo Weather App.
Leo: Yahoo Weather App, fabulous except I was told by a professional meteorologist, “Oh, don’t use that.” I swear to God. I said, “How do you survive as a meteorologist? Everybody’s got weather everywhere?” He said, “Well, you know.” I said, “I use Yahoo Weather.” He said, “Well that’s how I survive as a meteorologist. That thing’s the worst. Don’t use that.”
Jason: It uses Accuweather or something.
Leo: I use Weather Underground.
Jason: Weather Underground’s the best.
Siva: They all get their information from the National Weather Service.
Leo: That’s what he said. That’s exactly what he said. He said, “Just use the National Weather Service.” It’s all about the interpretation.
Jason: Weather Underground actually has some local station, some localizing.
Leo: I have one that actually shows you time lapses from local stations all over the place.
Jeff: Weather.com is still working with Watson and having all these reporting stations.
Leo: How is that working out?
Jason: Because IBM bought it, yea.
Jeff: They’re applying some stuff. It will be interesting. They’re doing some neat stuff there.
Owen: I haven’t used a weather app in 5 years.
Leo: Why? Don’t you want to know what it’s like out?
Owen: Meaning app, meaning I don’t have any additional app on. I just use whatever’s on the phone. If I’m using an Android device, an iPhone, I just use that. I don’t have any additional devices.
Leo: Why are we obsessed with apps? You can watch the Weather Channel.
Jason: It’s pretty much the same every day here.
Owen: The weather out there doesn’t change. You’re in Petaluma.
Leo: But everybody loves the Weather Channel. You know what I think? It’s like watching nature videos. It’s soothing.
Jason: Or like the Food Channel, watching people serve food.
Leo: It’s soothing. This is what we really need is we don’t want to know what’s going on.
Jason: Also wait. I remember when my kids were little, I could put the Weather Channel on and you know like do something and the commercials, there would be no sort of weird, crazy commercials. It would just all be stuff for cheese and butter.
Leo: (Laughing) I’m staying home eating a lot of cheese and butter. What do you want?
Owen: I think that’s a Midwest thing. I don’t think I’d be watching cheese and butter commercials out here.
Jason: Cheese and butter commercials, you know, for margarine.
Leo: I can’t believe it’s not butter.
Jason: You don’t sit there and watch Food TV long enough, Owen. I think you need to watch you some Food Network.
Owen: Yea, I got enough food going on on my plate.
Leo: This is a little scary and somebody pointed out this is really a potentially a very dangerous technology. Apple has patented a way to stop you from recording video at concerts, a feature in the phone that would detect some sort of anti-video signal and not work. Now remember—
Jeff: That is so Apple.
Leo: It’s not a big deal. I mean if somebody thinks of it in an Apple board meeting, then the Apple owners patent it. But the terrifying thing is if not just, what if law enforcement used this infrared emission?
Owen: Hey, are you embarrassed by a brother because that was the first thing that I thought when I saw that. I’m thinking, so anybody can just get a hold of this signal and just start broadcasting this signal around? That’s not cool. I don’t like that.
Leo: See, Apple wants to get good with the music industry because they’re basically, they’re playing a soccer game with the music industry hoping the music industry will embrace Apple and Apple Music, put Spotify and everybody else out of business and Apple have a monopoly. And they just hope Tay-Tay can convince Warner Brothers and everybody else to do that.
Jason: The music revenue, yea, is in serious risk right now.
Owen: All people are going to do is use another device. That’s it.
Leo: Yep. Well bring a couple of cameras just in case, right?
Owen: Yea. People that steal, steal. They find a way around it. They don’t—
Jeff: I’ll just use my Google Glass.
Leo: (Laughing) Do you still have it?
Jeff: Oh yea.
Jason: I still got one.
Leo: You paid $1,500 bucks for it. You’re not going to throw it out. Will you wear it is maybe the question. Here’s a good move from the New Zealand Parliament I guess you call it.The Harmful Digital Communications Act. And I’m being perhaps a little sarcastic. This is something that has been under debate in New Zealand for three years. Parliament apparently has passed it. It allows—you’re going to love this, Jeff Jarvis. Anybody who doesn’t like, you know, some trollish comment can complain to the hosting company or ISP and they remove it. They’re required to remove it nearly automatically. And under the new system, if you want to appeal it you have a mere 24 hours to appeal it. And you must provide your home address (laughing). So this comes from Danny O’Brien at the EFF and thanks to Boing Boing for pointing it out.
Jeff: It’s a dangerous, dangerous trend. I mentioned earlier in the show an Italian court ruled that news organizations must take down things people don’t like after 2 years. We have the Right to be Forgotten Decision. We have the Effort to Cut Off video. This is all about free speech. It’s all about the notion that you can control knowledge. And once somethings known you suddenly now shouldn’t know it?
Leo: And you, like many of us have no reason to love internet trolls but you’d be nuts to pass a law like this because all it does is really facilitate trolls. If you really wanted to troll somebody, you’d get their internet presence removed from the face of the earth. And then they have to reveal their home address in case.
Jeff: Well there was a case tonight, I didn’t put it on the rundown. I don’t think it’s there but evidently a cop and a guy got into a fight about current news and the guy allegedly went to the cop’s house and then the cop shot and killed him.
Leo: Oh Lord.
Jeff: Because it was known identity and you know they could have gotten into an argument in a bar too but yea. We live in a progressive society where knowledge and it’s not the knowledge that hurts. It’s what you do with it. It’s when you’re stupid and do stupid things with it. But knowledge should never be seen in and of itself as dangerous. Communication should not be seen in and of itself as dangerous. That’s not the way. Controlling that is not the solution to world peace. It’s the opposite.
Leo: I was thinking of moving to New Zealand but maybe I won’t know. I don’t know.
Jeff: I saw a great image for Brexit. A wonderful image for Brexit of the New Zealand flag and an arrow up to the Union Jack saying, “We’re with stupid.”
Leo: (Laughing) here’s another country you don’t want to move to. Putin has just signed a sweeping surveillance measure into law on Thursday. The easy part is it compels telephone companies and internet service providers to save and store private communications of all of its customers for 6 months. That includes phone calls, text messages and emails and metadata for 3 years. But maybe even more significantly, other provisions effectively outlaw the use of encryption within Russia and introduced new penalties for individuals accused and citing terrorism through social media. “Dark day for Russia,” said Edward Snowden who lives there.
Owen: I was going to say, isn’t Snowden hiding out there?
Leo: He lives there.
Owen: Didn’t they consult him about that?
Leo: Putin instructed Russia’s FSB, the Federal Security Service to—you know this is where being a dictator kind of goes to your head. He said, “You have 2 weeks to acquire the means necessary to decrypt all data centers across the internet.” Two weeks! Can you work on that fast, guys?
Jeff: (Laughing) Or it’s Siberia for you.
Leo: I’m giving you a deadline. That really makes you, you know Facebook and WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessages. I guess you wouldn’t be able to have an iPhone in Russia if this is enforced.
Jason: Apple’s taking it on the chin. They’re taking it on the chin in China. They’re taking it on the chin in Russia now because yea, exactly. You know that’s, yea. That’s going to cause them some serious problems.
Owen: Or they just make that new super, unencrypted iPhone Russia Lite version with 8 gigs in it.
Leo: And a backdoor for Putin.
Owen: Did we talk about Netflix on my desktop box?
Leo: Netflix X1, the piece of crap Comcast’s—I’m sorry. Did I say that? The set top box offered by Comcast.
Jeff: (Laughing) Bitter are we?
Leo: I hate—well I’m a Comcast customer. I’ve slowly replaced the X1s we still have one left. It’s like the worst. You press fast forward on a X1 and it just keeps going. You press stop, stop, stop, stop. They don’t want you to skip. They really don’t want you to skip. You press rewind it goes all the way back to the end. Stop! It’s just the worst. Anyway, I replaced mine with two of those. You know what’s great about Tivo? I don’t know how they got away with this. They have a skip all the ads button.
Leo: How did they get away with that?
Jason: That’s got to be—
Leo: And even when an ad starts, you’re watching The Voice, right, the ad starts on your recording of The Voice and a little chime goes off that says you can skip the ad, press the green button.
Leo: And you just press the green button and the ads are gone.
Jason: They’ve got to be in court for that somewhere.
Leo: Well I noticed they got sold to a company called Rovi that says, “Yea, we don’t want to make the hardware anymore.” So maybe. Comcast is going to let customers—this is bizarre—put a Netflix app on their set-top box. These are hereditary enemies, my friends.
Jason: This is like—
Owen: It’s too little too late.
Jason: This is such a head scratcher. Sorry, go ahead, Owen.
Owen: Like for me, I know a lot of people who are like thinking about cutting the cord or whatever. I’ll give an example of my friend who has Netflix and they pay for it. And I ask him, “Why don’t you guys ever watch Netflix when I come over here?” He’s like, “Oh, I got to change to the other box and we’re just watching TV. So we just watch on demand.” I’m like “Then why are you paying for Netflix?” He said, “I already bought the box.” So for people like him, maybe he might put it on another box and maybe they might use it. But they should have done this a long time ago just to retain people from leaving them.
Leo: But does anybody not have Netflix on 24 devices?
Jason: On your TV Itself.
Leo: On everything. Your TV, your—
Owen: That’s why I said too little too late.
Leo: Right. It’s too late. We already got Netflix. I can Chromecast it, I can—
Owen: And nobody wants to pay to rent your box, dummy. You keep charging me $16 dollars a month when I can go buy something for $89 and be donesies. And that box will last me 5, 9, 12 years until I want to upgrade and get the much better, cooler version.
Jason: And get a much better box anyway. Those boxes that they rent you are terrible.
Leo: Well that’s the X1. And Comcast bills this as their high-tech, you know DVR.
Jason: We have Time Warner and I hate those boxes. I do whatever I can to never touch that thing.
Leo: The worst.
Owen: Yep. Like I said, too little too late. I was shocked that they even did it. Why bother now? It’s too late. Unless you’re trying to get your grandma a Netflix account.
Leo: I think it’s interesting—
Jeff: Well the question we asked in This Week in Google, is Netflix going to the other side of net neutrality?
Leo: So that was an interesting question. I can’t remember who—was it Stacey who brought that up or you, Jeff?
Jeff: Yea, I don’t know what the answer is.
Leo: It’s a zero rating Netflix because Netflix will no longer count against your bandwidth.
Jeff: Is that true?
Leo: Yes, that’s true. It doesn’t count. However I should point out that Comcast has raised its bandwidth cap to like a terabyte now so it’s not—
Jason: Really, interesting.
Leo: There’s not much of a cap. Yea, a zero rating. The problem with zero rating is it’s really hard to explain to normal people why that’s a bad thing because they’re getting, “Oh, you mean I can listen like it’s free. I can watch all the Netflix I want on T-Mobile. Wow that’s awesome.” No it’s not. But go ahead and try to explain it. I’ve tried. I gave up.
Owen: Is that why you’re now switching to T-Mobile?
Leo: I’m on T-Mobile for everything because zero rating, God bless it. No, I try to explain because I say, “Well we’re TWiT. We’re not zero rated.” And even if they say we could be it’s really not something we can easily do. So that means you’re much more likely to watch somebody else’s content than YouTube which is not zero rated or TWiT. They say, “That’s fine. I get Netflix though, right?” Yea, you get Netflix. Can’t win. I get Spotify? Yea.
Siva: The argument against zero rating actually worked really well in India. It’s one of the reasons that it was massive, popular opposition to Free Basics Facebook effort. To worldwide a zero rating, simple operating system for mobile devices.
Leo: How do they—see, it’s my impression and maybe this comes from talking to Om Malik, that because of the kind of hereditary bias against Imperialism and the first one’s free kid, which the British Empire, you know.
Siva: Well that was the thing. There was widespread suspicion.
Siva: Of Facebooks’ motives and Facebook did everything wrong. They spoke and all of its officials sounded a lot like Imperialists would sound. Like, “You can trust us. We mean well. We’re just trying to lift you.”
Leo: We’re going to bring you walks to the Civilized World. It will be jolly good.
Siva: Very few people in India fell for that. But the zero rating became folded into the fact that India and its tech world is very committed to network neutrality because they are trying to develop indigenous platforms.
Leo: They’re the up and comers.
Siva: Right. They want to invent the next Facebook and the next Google. And they don’t like being told that they have to take ours. So it tapped into Nationalism. It tapped into—which is actually stronger than anti-colonialism.
Leo: Oh, interesting.
Siva: But there also was a fundamental concern for the Indian tech industry and its ability to compete and the fact that in many of those cases those particular services that Facebook had chosen. For instance, there was one service chosen to help people find jobs or the job search app. Well, it turns out there are 10 major job search app companies in India all competing for that market. So nine of them were really upset that they weren’t chosen. And they all mounted the campaign against this and for network neutrality. And that was a big reason. And Facebook just didn’t think this stuff through. Because they were used to dealing with watching Free Basics in places like Botswana where there isn’t a developed tech industry and there isn’t widespread sort of network neutrality because most people have never heard about the network in places like that. So being real first movers mattered in place. But they totally misread India.
Jason: It was a bad move too because Facebook is huge in India. I know for our audience, Facebook is almost as large as the US in terms of the amount of traffic that we get, you know, country for country. It is huge and some of the best interaction we get, some of the best shares and that kind of thing, commentary, comes from India. And so they had a chance to do something really interesting there but now they’re going to have to, they’ve created mistrust by filming it.
Jeff: They also, Nick Opawa who led the fight in India brilliantly said that—well he didn’t really have a problem with Facebook per se. It was the TeleCos he was fearing. But Facebook didn’t know who they should, they didn’t understand well enough, once again, the principals involved and they ended up being associated with the TeleCos were trying to do. And nobody wants that.
Siva: And that was the other thing. They picked one. Because in every country, Facebook cuts a deal with one telecomm company. So they picked one mobile provider out of six. I mean there’s six major—India’s a highly competitive mobile environment. And it’s a great market to be in right now except that everyone has to keep their prices low. It’s like it’s a great example of how capitalism could work. But because Facebook had to which is their only way, sign up with one carrier, that gave that carrier access to this huge potential market and the rest of the carriers, just like that job search app situation, were instantly fighting it and fighting for network neutrality. So you had like TeleCos arguing for network neutrality and one against and it just, you know, it was so terribly planned out.
Leo: I know Portugal won. Don’t tell me anything. I’m going to watch it later.
Owen: I was going to ask you, do you know who my barber is?
Leo: (Laughing) you know why Owen wants me to do these commercials? Because he knows he can’t go home until all the commercials are done. All right.
Jeff: He wants to play Pokémon Go.
Leo: A couple of final stories in a moment. Great, great panel. Owen J.J. Stone, Jeff Jarvis from CUNY. From the University of Virginia, Siva Vaidhyanathan, and of course my friend Jason Hiner from Tech Republic. Our show today brought to you, and one of the reasons I come to you clean shaven, by Harry’s Razors. Harry’s is awesome. Harry’s—you know, I want to sing their praises. There’s so many reasons it’s a great idea. They decided that the best way to get the price of razor blades down, and as you know most companies they give away the razor. Actually the don’t even do that anymore. They charge you a lot for the razor and then double down on the blades. Harry’s decided we can do it but we can do a better job. They bought the factory in Germany that makes the blades. They ship them direct to you so they’re half the price of the drugstore blades. They’re every bit as good. High quality, high performance, German blades. They’re made by shaving experts. They feel really good. That flex hinge, just you know, contours to your face. They’ve got an aloe lubricating strip so you get this nice, smooth finish. It is a great shave. And it costs you so much less. And by the way the Harry’s kit is a great way to get started. They have an iOS app if you want to download that it will take you less than 30 seconds to place an order. Or go to the website, Harry’s, H-A-R-R-Y-S.com/twit. Take a look at the Winston set. That’s the one I use, the nice metal handles. Or the Truman set, they’re great, they’re a real soft grip handle. The kit, for $15 dollars you get the handle, 3 blades. You get a blade cover and you get a full size, not a sample size, a full size of their foaming gel or their shave cream. The gel is like one of those aerosols. It’s like Edge shave gel. The shave cream is what I really like. It has all these emollients in there. It just comes in a tube and you rub it on and you get a smooth, beautiful shave. Smells great. They’ve kind of branched out a little bit. Now they’re doing a daily face lotion with SPF 15 for hydration and protection. It’s very nice. It’s not greasy, it’s lightweight, it feels good. Gentlemen, I invite you to Harrys.com/twit. Ladies, too for yourself or your loved one. And you get it shipped right to your door. And I’m going to give you $5 dollars off your first purchase. Just go to harrys.com/twit. Harrys.com/twit or use the iOS app. 4 taps, 30 seconds and you’re in. You’re getting your Harry’s. Harrys.com/twit. And when I shaved you, Jeff Jarvis, on New Year’s about—
Jeff: What did we use? We used Harry’s.
Leo: We used Harry’s.
Jeff: Harry’s did a good job. You did a bad job.
Leo: (Laughing) I am no barber.
Jeff: I then wet it and finished it off.
Leo: We thought you would (laughing).
Jeff: And then it grew back. I still have to do my neck because I don’t like neck beards.
Leo: No. One must still shave even when one has a beard. People forget that.
Jeff: I’m kind of head to toe hair.
Leo: This I do not want to know.
Owen: You’ve got to disconnect.
Leo: This I didn’t want to know.
Owen: Church and state. Church and state. Need to separate.
Leo: Last little bit before we head for home. I think this is so cool. Posted on GitHub the original assembly language source code for the Apollo 11 guidance computer that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. You can read the code. Wow. Thanks to iBiblio.org for getting the code, for—they scanned it in.
Jason: How’d they get it?
Leo: They scanned it in. NASA has published it so they scanned it in and they did a lot of proof reading as you might imagine on all hard copies. It’s hard to get the perfect scan so they made sure it’s all. Now you’d have to have this particular kind of weird—
Jason: Compiler or something.
Leo: Computer that they were running. I don’t even—
Jeff: What’s it written in?
Leo: Assembly language. That’s why you’d need to have this particular computer. It’s not exactly portable. But I mean, my God, you see alarm light on. This is good stuff.
Jason: This is the geekiest thing I’ve seen all week by far. Amazing.
Leo: Isn’t that awesome?
Leo: And to think that the phone you’re carrying in your pocket as one thousand times more power than the computer that landed humans on the moon for the first time.
Owen: But did they really land on the moon?
Leo: No, of course not. We all know this is—
Jeff: What are you doing with it? Are you solving world problems? No. You’re going to get Pokémon.
Leo: Well what do you want me to do? Do you want me to recompile the code and build my own—oh, wait a minute.
Jeff: If you were Elon Musk, yea.
Leo: Land on the moon.
Owen: Make yourself useful, Uncle Leo.
Leo: Do something.
Owen: Make yourself useful.
Jason: It takes 3,000 the amount of computing power to run Pokémon Go than it does to run the Apollo.
Leo: It does. If they had Pokémon Go, they wouldn’t have gone to the moon. They wouldn’t have needed to.
Owen: If they would have put Pokémon on the moon, and went and got ‘em all.
Leo: Gotta get ‘em all. Oh, can you imagine the augmented reality.
Jason: If you could leave one on the moon.
Leo: Here’s the original printed source code.
Siva: That be crazy.
Leo: Look at that.
Jeff: I think every geek has a crush on her, right?
Leo: Actually I don’t know if this her but a woman wrote much of that code.
Jeff: That’s her. That’s her. I forget her name.
Leo: She’s still alive. She’s in her 70s now.
Jason: Margaret Hamilton.
Leo: Margaret Hamilton. You know why I remember that name? Because she was the witch in the Wizard of Oz. Not the same Margaret Hamilton? Ok. How’d you know that, Carson? I’m impressed. Oh, I know how. You’re trying to get her for Triangulation aren’t you?
Carson: I have a crush on her too.
Leo: (Laughing) I would love to talk to her. And I think we should celebrate her because here she is in 1968 writing some of the most important computer code every written.
Jeff: Queen of code. By the way, did you see Alexis Ohanian’s Facebook post around his girlfriend’s victory at Wimbledon?
Leo: I did not. Is he Serena Williams’ girlfriend?
Jeff: Boyfriend, yes.
Jeff: Yes, he is.
Leo: Alexis Ohanian is dating Serena Williams?
Leo: He’s one of us. How did that happen?
Jeff: He has arrived.
Leo: She could crush him like a walnut. I know Alexis. He’s not a strong man.
Siva: You know what’s special about him and why this, why he’s worthy? He is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
Leo: That’s right. And he wrote Reddit at first with Steve Hoffman and Lisp. And that for me is true geek street cred.
Jason: I think Jeff’s trolling us. I don’t think that’s true.
Jeff: No, no, no that’s true. It’s true. He stopped by center court today, so proud of you. 22 looks good on you.
Leo: It’s her 22nd Grand Slam victory. Nobody thought she’d do it. They thought she’s too old. What the what?
Owen: 23. She might sneak around and get 25.
Leo: Here’s Alexis Ohanian.
Leo: Does he mean the Queen of England or Serena Williams?
Jeff: He means Serena Williams.
Owen: I doubt he’s dating the Queen of England. No one will push him that far.
Jeff: There was like a New York Post story. So I went to look to make sure it was still on and it said, “5 things you need to know about Serena Williams’ boyfriend.” He wrote Reddit.
Leo: And Lisp.
Jason: Wow. How cool.
Leo: That’s good. It is really cool. Now it’s a long distance relationship.
Siva: We should all take a moment and realize how fortunate we are to live on Earth at the same time as Serena Williams.
Siva: She is just an amazing human being who is—I mean—
Leo: I love it. You’re a sports fanatic, I know, Siva. This is not, he’s not trolling us. This is sincere.
Jason: She has my favorite video in the last couple months. It was the one that she did on dumb things that people say about girls. And the guy who wore all the padding. And she’s just taking serves and just pounding it. Fabulous.
Leo: She is awesome.
Jeff: It was so impressive to see her because she’s gone through a lot of press hell and all this stuff. But at Wimbledon, it was just really striking how gracious and smart and mature and her presence and her charm. It was really—you’re absolutely right, Siva. And she just hit this high not in her career and came out on the top. And you feel so good for her.
Siva: And to know—I know you’ve been watching tennis for decades too. Like to know the kind of disrespect that she and her sister faced early in their careers.
Leo: Yes, exactly.
Jeff: Oh, yea.
Siva: The extent to which they were dismissed by the commentators in almost every major tournament. And not to mention harassment by fans and insulted by fans all over the place. And to see—it always sort of makes me chuckle, the extent to which the embrace her now. Especially00
Owen: They still rip her a lot about stuff. You know she goes on the cover and you know they’re putting up questions, is she too manly? And all this kind of stuff and I’m like what are you talking about?
Leo: Right. I saw somebody say, “Oh, she’s got to be on steroids.”
Owen: Here’s a woman with no scandals, nothing going on in her personal life. She’s not out here doing anything crazy. She’s just a beast at her profession. And they still try to rip her down at social angles and it’s just disgusting. She’s a champion. She’s great. Awesome.
Jason: It’s kind of like LeBron James. You know real similar.
Owen: It is like LeBron James.
Jason: You know it’s like they’re so good, they’re so overmatched, they’re almost so squeaky clean in some ways too.
Owen: They don’t have anything else to talk about.
Jason: Exactly. There’s no easy angles so they find all kinds of just ridiculous things to try to tear them down. But you know, people do that when you’re on top, people do just say horrible, horrible things.
Leo: Oh, don’t I know it.
Siva: That’s why they want to stay on top. They know they can rise above in every possible way if they’re better than their critics and they do it. I’m very fortunate. I’ve seen Venus and Serena play, or at least Serena play at Wimbledon, at the US Open and the Australia Open and I just have to finish the Siva Slam at the French Open if I could manage that. So, maybe next year.
Leo: The Siva Slam.
Leo: That’s Siva Vaidhyanathan. He’s a Robertson professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Great to have—what a good day to have you make your 5 year return. We won’t make it 5 years until we have you back. I’d love to have you back soon. Yea, let’s get him on TWiG, what do you say, Jeff? I think so. Thank you, Siva.
Jeff: Well we don’t argue about Google anymore but we can find something.
Leo: (Laughing) that’s Jeff Jarvis.
Jeff: I love fighting with Siva better than anybody else.
Leo: Oh, yea. In fact you introduced us so I think you. Jeff Jarvis, Professor of Journalism at CUNY. His erstwhile rival, crosstown rival. Blogs at buzzmachine.com. Joins us every Wednesday for This Week in Google. We’ll see you Wednesday?
Jeff: Yes you will.
Leo: Look forward to it.
Jeff: And I’ll be on good connectivity.
Leo: Yay. You look great. Man, this camera’s never looked that good. That’s beautiful. I don’t know what you’re doing there.
Jeff: I keep on changing color though. I’m a chameleon.
Leo: That’s just you.
Jeff: I’m a video chameleon.
Leo: That’s just you. Jason Hiner. He writes for Tech Republic. He’s the global editor in chief there at CBS Interactive. And the author of an excellent book. I particularly enjoyed chapter 9, Follow The Geeks. You can find it on Amazon. You can find it on Audible.
Jason: On Audible, yep.
Leo: Or go to followthegeeksbook.com. Thank you, Jason, for being here.
Jason: Pleasure. Pleasure.
Leo: And thanks for the book too.
Jason: Glad to be in the studio.
Leo: I can’t thank you enough. You also sent me a nice shopping bag. I really enjoyed that.
Jason: Yea, the Follow the Geeks bag. You got it.
Leo: I did get it. Thank you. OhDoctah. You’re my favorite guy. You move out of the township, you move to Petaluma, we’ll take good care of you here, all right?
Owen: I Need to move to the state that you own so I can take care of things. Here, lean in Leah. Say hi.
Leo: Happy Birthday, Leah! Happy Birthday!
Owen: He’s yelling happy birthday.
Leo: Happy Birthday! Your card’s in the mail.
Jeff: If you put the stamp on it.
Leo: Happy Birthday, dear. Are you happy to be 9?
Leah Stone: Thanks. Yea.
Leo: Last day as an 8-year-old. You know what that means?
Leah: No, I don’t.
Leo: No, neither do I.
Jeff: Leah, how long is the birthday festival going on?
Owen: Leah, do we call the cops?
Leo: What do we call them?
Owen: We don’t call them. We have a system in place where depending on what’s going on she calls her mother or she calls my mother.
Leo: Wait a minute. You’ve trained her not to call the police?
Owen: When she’s with me, yes. And that’s what my last statement’s going to be. I hope to live in a world where I don’t have to teach my daughter to do things like that.
Leo: That’s going to make me cry.
Owen: I want to live in a world where it’s ok when she’s with her mother to call the police, but I fear when she’s with me. I’ve been pulled over 30 times in the last 2 years and I’m a very quote unquote friendly, speak able guy, but in the last 4 years I’ve had 3 cops pull guns on me where I had to de-escalate the situation because they were just out of control. And I fear that if she ever, if something happened to me and she called the cops, and she had fear in her voice, they might show up, see her—I get all the time that people think I’ve kidnapped a little white child so I wouldn’t want a cop to show up and her be upset and think that I’m the aggressor and something go wrong. So depending on the situation, she calls her mother or she calls my mother. And then they get to make the decision whether the police are called or not. And I don’t like living in that world. I don’t like living in that reality. I just want everybody to be somewhat more responsible and respectable of other people’s feelings. I want black people to live. I want police to live. I mean I can’t say blue lives matter more than black lives but all lives matter but right now, it’s a very dangerous time. And I just want people to realize that it’s also a great time. I’m sitting here with Uncle Leo. You done sold my inheritance and I plan on taking over for him in the near future when he retires. And things could be positive. My daughter is beautiful. She is healthy. And she is driving me crazy. And all those are all good things for me to be happy about. So even though I’m upset, you’ve still got to be happy. I just want the world to be a little bit different sometime soon (laughing).
Leo: Truer words never said. Thank you, Owen. And thank you for joining us! We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye.