This Week in Tech 631 Transcript
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! Great panel here! Couple of new first-timers. Ant Pruitt from Tech Republic, from the Code Breaker podcast, Ben Johnson, and of course Philip Elmer Dewitt. We're going to talk about what Apple's going to do on Tuesday, what happened with Equifax, and what happened with Google Android Facebook, the usual. It's time for TWiT; stay tuned.
NETCASTS YOU LOVE FROM PEOPL E YOU TRUST. THIS IS TWiT!
Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by Cachefly, at cachefly.com.
Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 631, recorded Sunday September 10, 2017.
This One's for Jerry
This Week in Tech is brought to you by Qualcom Snapdragon Gigabit LTE. To learn more about Fiberoptic download speeds on a smartphone, go to Snapdragon.com/gigabit.
And by ZipRecruiter. Are you looking to hire a tech professional? With ZipRecruiter, you can post to 100 plus job boards, including social networks all with a single click. Screen, rate, and hire the right candidates fast. Try Ziprecruiter free at ziprecruiter.com/twit.
And by Freshbooks, the ridiculously easy to use cloud accounting software used by over ten million people. Try it free for 30 days at Freshbooks.com/twit.
And by TrackR, the coinsized tracking device that pairs with your Smartphone and keeps you from losing your most valued posessions. Visit Thetrackr.com right now and enter the promo code TWiT to save 20% on anything you earn.
It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we get together with some of the smartest people in technology, the tech journalists par excellence to talk about the week's tech news, and to talk about what's ahead. Philip Elmer Dewitt is here, the senior elder statesman of Macintosh journalism.
Philip Elmer Dewitt: I was 68 this week.
Leo: That is old. PED30 is his blog, ped30.com, he's Philip with one L. @philipd on Twitter. You're getting ready to go to the Apple event on Tuesday, so we'll talk a little about that in a moment. I want to welcome two new members to our TWiT team. I'm thrilled to have them, I've been fans for a long time of both. Ben Johnson is here, you've seen him on Marketplace, he was a tech editor there, he was a creator of the code breaker podcast and you may remember we were in hot pursuit of the Codebreaker. You got the people's choice award.
Ben Johnson: We shared it. It was a friendly competition.
Leo: Great to have you, Ben. Why is your Twitter handle thebrockjohnson? Who is this Brock Johnson?
Ben: Brock is my middle name, but for a long time, my nickname was thebrockjohnson, because of our next President, DwayneThe Rock Johnson, and so...
Leo: You're the b version of the Rock! I get it. Great to have you. I ran into Ben at the podcast movement, big podcast conference, I'm sure they'll edit all that out and fix this in post. In Anaheim a few weeks ago, and it was great to see you, and I thought we got to get you on the show. So I'm thrilled to have you.
Ben: Thanks for having me. Been a longtime fan, first time caller.
Leo: Molly Wood is taking over your role at Market Place.
Ben: Yes. We love her.
Leo: Her Twitter Handle is perfect. It's MollyWood. Which is perfect. Also thrilled to welcome Ant Pruitt, who has been on TNT many times, he's a writer at Tech Republic. Photographer, and famous drone flyer. Ant ,great to have you.
Ant Pruitt: Thank you, Mr. Laporte. I really appreciate you having me.
Leo: He's got a Clemson tiger behind him, so I have a feeling we know where his sympathies lie. It's great to have you. I also see a line drawing of somebody. Is that you or your dad?
Ant: That is me. One of my followers over in Sweden drew that as well as another one on my wall. She's so talented and it warmed my heart to have someone send that to me. I want to apologize for my voice for the listeners, as you said, I'm a Tiger fan, and I go to the games and yell, so I"m going to sound a little bit like Barry White.. I will try to soothe with some whiskey.
Leo: Good thinking. People don't know, Ant is actually a tenor. So, I have to start on a sad note. People are starting to learn the news. One of our longtime friends, a man who has been on TWiT 20 times, we did two triangulations with him, the great science fiction author Jerry Pournelle passed away on Friday. Jerry went to Dragon Con in Atlanta, had a great time his son Alex wrote on the blog. Jerry had a wonderful time at Dragon Con and felt a little ill, maybe the flu or a cold, and came home, and on Friday he passed away quietly without pain, so we're very sorry to lose Jerry Pournelle, an inspiration for my career. The first guy ever to write a novel on a computer, he wrote many great science fiction novels, including some with Larry Niven like Lucifer's Hammer. I want to thank our team who jumped on this and pulled some clips from Jerry's many appearances our shows. We made a little tribute real to Jerry Pournell:
Leo: Our guest today is somebody that I have been a fan of for years ever since his column in Byte Magazine, he has certainly influenced my career. Let's welcome Jerry Pournelle.
Jerry Pournelle: A lot of people couldn't figure out why in the world I was better known than anybody else in the computer business, except maybe Dvorak. I wrote the field in Screen co. Me and Joe went to compute, and that was the great joke I never told anybody.
Leo: A great many if not most scientists were influenced by Sci-Fi and focused their research on areas that science fiction inspired them to study, which is why modern scientific advances parallel what you guys are writing about.
Jerry: When you get around to listening to the Mote in God's Eye, pay attention to the Pocket Computer. I wrote that in 1972, and an iPhone does most of what it says in there. But of course we had to set it a long way away, because nobody in 1972 thought I would live to see...
Most of the people in this world accept Fruits of Technology in about the same way as a kitten accepts milk when you pour it into a bowl for it…
There was a common phrase in the robot Industry. You never understand how smart a moron is until you try to program a robot.
Towards the end of the Soviet Union and Kinovich which was doing the handwriting recognition software for Microsoft, my biggest problem is that I don't have enough technical handwriting. Then I got my log book out. That's the technical handwriting that was the standard. That engine has been in every edition of a Microsoft handwriting recognition program since 1990.
Leo: How is your handwriting, Jerry?
Jerry: It's godawful. It is terrible.
Go out to someplace like Edward's, or some awful place where nobody wants to be, go out there and tell them I want you to build the best whatever it is you can build with technology as this afternoon. Build three copies of it, we test one to the edge of it, with the second one, we're flying because we learned from the first, and the third one ends up in the Smithsonian.
Larry has told a perfectly good story which would be publishable now, but when I'm finished with it, it will be half again, maybe twice as long, and then he goes over and finds some scene that everybody will remember, and he'll forget that I had any part in it. What the hell.
I've always been an operations research guy. That's a guy who knows less and less about more and more until he knows nothing at all about everything.
Leo: One last question. Are you ever going to write your memoir?
Jerry: Maybe, in a sense I'm writing it now, aren't I?
Leo: Maybe after a year or two we'd have the whole thing... no would probably take a lot longer than that.
Jerry: How many people do you know whose personal computer has been on display in the Smithsonian.
Leo: You're the only one I know.
Great author Jerry Pournelle, it was an honor to consider him a friend. We'll miss him, thank you Jerry and Godspeed!
Onto the tech news of the week. I guess Tuesday is the big day you're coming up for, Philip Elmer Dewitt. I'm very jealous because this will be the first event Apple will hold at its Apple Park campus in the aptly named Steve Jobs theater.
Philip: I've got to apologize for what's going to be a humble brag where you say I went to the White House and all I got were these stupid matches. I got wind that it was probably going to be September 12 and I started worrying about airline prices going up...
Leo: They never tell you ahead of time, they give you as little warning as possible.
Philip: You could start to put it together, so I bought my ticket and rented my car and arranged my place to stay and the invitations came out and I didn't get one. I thought oh. I spent 12 hours feeling horrible and forgotten and then I started composing my mind the story about trying to guess which Apple executive I had pissed off, and I thought rather than do that, why don't I just reach out to my friend who is the head of PR and see if... I wrote him and said maybe it was an oversight, and he said maybe it was so he sent me an invite.
Leo: I have to feel like they kept a few extras for the people like you who they missed.
Philip: I think they zeroed out a list and waited to see who screamed the loudest.
Leo: A thousand seats in the Steve Jobs theatre, but according to their environmental impact report, don't worry, no more than 350 journalists will ever be allowed on the campus at the same time. There weren't that many seats. I didn't get invited, but I didn't expect to. Renee Ritchie will be there, a couple people from his publication imore.com will be there. Increasingly, Apple wants to save those seats for apple Staff.
Philip: They need a certain volume, because there are these applause lines and if it's just a room full of journalists, you'll be silenced because the tradition is you're not there to cheerlead, you're there to hype. Then there's the Al Gores of the world.
Leo: He's on the board. I'm sure every member of the board of directors gets to go, although I don't think I've ever seen Woz at an Apple event. Have you? Ant, are you going?
Ant: No, Sir.
Leo: How about you, Ben, did you get your invitation or is it stuck in the mail?
Ben: I didn't try this year. It must be stuck in the mail. I've been in years past, and it's a weird event. I have to say even with the new theatre that is really exciting and this revolving door and all this stuff, ten years on, it's getting a little tired.
Leo: I would throw that out. People will say Oh Leo, that's just sour grapes, you've got your nose pressed against the gas. When it was Steve, Steve was a master showman, and I was always grateful for the chance to see him work. In the same way I'd be grateful to see Frank Sinatra sing. You're watching the best at work, but Tim Cook is not exactly Mr. Inspiration. Phil Schiller, Craig Federigi, Eddie Q, these are definitely second tier.
Ben: The other thing is the Steve note. It's become a trope. I think that's... I don't know. I'm going to watch, obviously, but ten years on, I'm looking for something exciting and different, and I guess a lot of people are.
Leo: Hold on a second, we will stream it, for people who do want to watch, of course Apple will stream it, but you have to have an Apple device to watch it. Actually you have to watch it on Safari or an Apple device or weirdly Microsoft Edge if you have Windows 10. Who do they pay for that? I don't know. I guess it has to do with the HLS stream. But we will also stream it, you can watch it on any device, but the only bad thing about that is I, Megan Moroni, Alex lindsay, will be commenting behind it. We're doing our Mystery Science Theatre 3000 silhouette. That's fun, but sometimes people go stop talking, I want to hear what Tim has to say. So you can watch Tim or you can watch us.
Philip: There's no question that the quality fell down after Steve Jobs died. Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs, and we can talk about that for quite a while, and some of the guys feel like they're kind of phoning it in. Jimmy Ivy was a disaster as it turned out. He's a magnetic personality...
Leo: He wandered. He couldn't stay on script.
Philip: I do think that Federighi he's nothing but dad jokes, but at least he can hold the stage.
Leo: He's self-mocking, at least.
Leo: Greg at least has the gravitas. He's in charge of software, whereas you feel a little bit like Phil Schiller, the marketing guy, Eddie Q, the music guy, they're shills. Obviously Steve Jobs was a product shil, but he was so good you forgot he was marketing to you. That was the famous reality distortion field.
Ant: I look forward to these events. I'm not the biggest fan of Apple devices or anything like that, but their presentations are the most polished that you see out there. Even though I did have an issue with Steve Jobs and the magical coin that he put on every single.... you're pushing it a little far. I know you're the man, Steve Jobs, but come on.
Leo: It went over the top when it said the magic iPod socks. There's nothing magic about socks for your iPod. Please, Steve.
Ben: The device is supposed to be the main thing, right?
Ant: What's the alternative? A Samsung event?
Leo: Samsung was notoriously bad for a while. Remember the Broadway show, which was what am I watching? But the last Samsung event, the Note 8 event, but the star of that was not the presenters who were awful, but the interesting stage that was a screen, and then side screens, and the graphics flowed to a point where it looked like it was a tiny person in a giant field or whatever. I thought that was neat.
Ant: I feel bad at those Samsung events because it feels like they are begging for applause, and the crowd there, they're like whatever.
Leo: That's why you have to do what Apple did and have 650 employees who are damn well going to applaud at every applause line. Because it's their job on the line. In all seriousness, the big event for Tuesday will be the new iPhone. There is now another leak this coming from the IOS 11 source code which has leaked out, and Thomas Stautton has analyzed it, and interestingly, it looks like the name of the new iPhones will not be 7S, but iPhone 8, iPhone 8Plus, and iPhone 10 for the tenth anniversary iPhone, and the ten being an X. Which I think is wrong. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that's a mistake, that's not what they're going to call it. They don't even call Mac OS Mac OS10 anymore. It's just Mac OS. Philip, come on. iPhone X?
Philip: A couple things. You've conflated two leaks. There's one leak that came out for the Airpod, and the other leak that came out Thursday from Mac rumors and 9 to 5 Mac, which has really pissed Apple off. To take a step back, the reason they put a lot of effort into these releases, the reason they're so flick is the jobs used to treat them like Broadway shows, and they would rehearse and rehearse and everything is scripted down to the last minute, and what they count on, the drama of these things is the big reveal where they show something and it's a surprise. The new iPhone, whatever they're going to call it has been so thoroughly picked over and... it leaks all around. But they had a few things that they held back. What happened was they released the gold master of IOS 11. I'm on that list. I get that list. I don't know what to do with it. According to John Gruber, who I assume is Phil Schiller speaking to us through the blog, said this is the most damaging rumor in the history of Apple.
Leo: Oh please. More than leaving the iPhone 4 in a bar?
Philip: That was an accident. What seems to have happened, there's all this stuff in the gold master, but you have to be a total geek and you have to know where to look to find it. The suspicion is that some disgruntled employee sent out the earls to tell people where do I find the new airpod thing that has the light on the outside and there's a little video that shows that.
Leo: These are digital assets within the gold master.
Philip: The theory is somebody leaked it to MacRumors.
Leo: I don't buy it. It can't be the iPhoneX, it makes no sense. First, the X is a terrible name for the iPhone. They don't have a ten product any more. It's not going to be called that. It's going to be the iPhone Pro, they have a MacBook Pro, an iPad Pro. The only thing that is not in the pro line is the iPhone. It's the iPhone Pro. What is this X? I think this is all disinformation. X is meaningless.
Ant: Do you think it could be the iPhone edition?
Leo: That's one thing we also think. I don't think it'll be 1700 grand, but we do expect it to be the most expensive mainstream Smartphone ever sold, right?
Philip: My theory is they drop the numbers together. It's the iPhone, the iPhone Plus, and the iPhone Pro.
Leo: That would make sense. So is this disinformation...? they did it with the iPad. They call it the iPad. How confusing is that? I don't know. We'll find out on Tuesday, and it's kind of a tempest in a teapot.
Philip: There are even more important things that lead to that than the name. The name thing is you can see within it a watch face for the Apple watch that has a little LTE symbol on it.
Leo: But we knew that any way. we knew that was coming.
Philip: You don't know. You've heard rumors that it's going to happen, and this would be support for that rumor. We don't know anything until Tuesday.
Leo: Apple has said nothing. By the by, you know this, Robert was on the show six months ago and said there's going to be a clear iPhone. It's amazing. It's going to be augmented reality, it's going to be clear. I said if they make a clear iPhone, I'm buying you dinner in any restaurant in the world. He said we're going to Paris.
Ant: Better get your plane tickets, Leo.
Philip: Here's what I think he was saying. Is that with the virtual reality, you'll look through it and it'll be like you're looking through it.
Leo: I asked him that, I'll have to go back and check the tape. Fortunately, we record these things. I think I said you don't mean like Pokémon go, he said no. Clear.
Ben: This is my problem with the event in general. I feel like we're at this point where we're never actually surprised by what comes out. There's no big reveal these days, at least for me. I can't remember the last time I was like "Oh yeah. I didn't even hear about this, and my mind is blown right now." That's the issue that I have generally with these events. All the stuff gets leaked over and over. I think the augmented reality, look. There's an area that I think Apple isn't last on, or doesn't have to be last on. Because this is something that nobody has built a killer app for this, unless we're talking about Pokémon Go, which in many ways is the most mainstream version of augmented reality that anyone has experienced. But I don't care about Food network, the Walking dead AR app could be smart because it combines an entertainment brand, if Apple does something smart and inventive with augmented reality, that could be a big deal. That would make me stop what I'm doing and pay attention.
Leo: We've seen a lot of interesting AR kit demos. It is easier to develop for AR kit, than Google's Tango. Google was forced to respond in AR core which is their version of AR kit. I think it is possible though, that AR is the VR of 2017. 3D TV for 2017. Another gimmicky idea that isn't going to get that much traction.
Ant: If it's Apple doing it, it's going to catch on for whatever strange reason. I don't know why. I personally don't see AR as something that's going to be huge, but whenever Apple says something, it's the most magical thing in the world.
Philip: It reminds me of the first iPhone, it had a phone that could read your thumb. It seemed like eh. It took two years before it worked for Apple Pay.
Leo: We had fingerprint readers before. It did change it, it put it on the map.
Philip: AR on an iPhone feels like a minor thing. I've seen virtual measuring tapes that are cool, and there will be things like that, but I don't think... I think this is walking up to the glasses. I think Apple is working its way into having AR inside your glasses. You're not going to walk around with your phone all day looking to see what information is out there, but you might actually look around with your glasses.
Leo: Do you ever fly your drone with virtual reality glasses?
Ant: FPB, I've done it. I struggle with vertigo, I can get dizzy staring at the camera right now. It's a really nice experience to fly, but I don't think anyone should drop top dollar because it's FPV.
Ben: Hololens is the most amazing thing I've seen in AR. I've used the Hololens twice. That was the thing that stopped me in my tracks and made me go this could be huge. I've done two...
Leo: The thing with the Hololens is it's been two years and I haven't seen any improvement So Microsoft put a lot behind it and they said this isn't coming out until 2019. They said this is the problem Apple is going to have. If they could get spectacles that looked like normal glasses not like some weird Borg geek thing, then maybe there would be a market, but that technology has to have a stand-alone powerful computer in a pair of spectacles you can walk around with enough battery life, it has to have some sort of heads up display, all of this, I don't think we're that close.
Ben: I don't think so either.
Leo: And price, right. It's got to cause something you can afford.
Philip: You say that about every technology coming down the pike. What Apple brings to it is they've got a huge crowd of developers who are eager to be early on whatever the next thing is going to be. Because the first to arrive makes the money. They've working on AR kit stuff. What Apple brings to the party is the devices to run this stuff.
Leo: Every iPhone from the six S on can do this.
Philip: It doesn't take too many interesting apps for people to try it out, it could be something people make money on, it does feel like until there's a new on the inside of a car windshield, it doesn't feel like a hugely significant technology to me.
Leo: I want to take a break. When we come back, I want to talk about the other major technology that will apparently be revealed in the new iPhone that Apple was forced to include because they couldn't figure out how to make touch ID work, and that's face recognition. Our guest Ant Pruitt who is joining us from Tech Republic, a writer there, podcaster, and a Clemson fan. Most importantly. Also with us, Ben Johnson, you hear him on the Codebreaker podcast. He's a creator there, heard him on Marketplace. He's got something new in the works, and we'll figure out about it someday. Monday. That's bigger than the Apple announcement. Forget that. What's happening Monday? Also with us is the great Philip Elmer Dewitt. From PED30.com. Apple Watcher and someone who will actually be at the Apple event on Tuesday. I want you to explore the new Steve Jobs theater and look for secret places.
Philip: The new Facebook rules say if you have at least 100 followers you can shoot live.
Leo: A little point I would like to mention: the last time I was at an Apple event in 2010, the iPad announced, I livestreamed, turned my computer around and livestreamed Steve Jobs, and I've never been invited back. Just want to mention.
Philip: I'd be competing with Apple's much...
Leo: They didn't have a stream then. I thought somebody's gotta do this. They got all these cameras behind me.
Philip: Did they complain to you?
Leo: No. They said not a word, I just never got invited back. It may not be related, I have no idea.
Philip: Maybe because you badmouth Apple so frequently.
Leo: I don't think unfairly. Do I? You think I'm unfair to Apple.
Philip: I don't think you're unfair. You come with a Windows...
Leo: That is so untrue. I am not Windows friendly. I've owned every Mac, I bought a Mac in 1984. I hated Windows for a long time. It's only recently that Windows has become a fair rival to Macintosh. Mostly because Apple has neglected its strengths and produced crappy hardware in the last couple of years, and it's OS started getting super annuated. That's called honest!
Philip: Good skepticism.
Leo: I'm not an Apple fanboy. Actually, I am an Apple fanboy. I want them to do better, I'm disappointed that they haven't.
Philip: I'm with you. All I'm going to say is I'm going to shoot what people want to see is the inside of the Steve Jobs theater. That's what I'll do.
Leo: So there's the glass entryway, wide open thing. It's not clear. Is that the demo area, if you look at the plans, there's something underneath, there's escalators down, it's the world's largest carbon fiber roof, so you take the escalators to the underground theater. Somebody said there are automated walls that can come up and hide the demo area, so you can enter and black out and go down and after the event the holes will come down... I don't know. What's this rotating elevator you were saying?
Ant: I love the fact that you're trolling them about Doctor Evil, considering the chair that you're sitting in right now.
Leo: Wait a minute! Well, you're right. All I need is a naked cat. This is definitely me. Watch this. Did I kill my mic? You can kill me still. Little tip for doctor Evils, if you're going to be an evil genius, make sure your mic is on. Our show to you today brought to you by Qualcomm. One of the interesting things to see if Apple continues to use the best LTE radios out there, the Qualcomm LTE radios. Remember in the last iPhone, they did 50/50, and the Intel radios they put in were not so fast. So they slowed down Qualcomm so that nobody felt bad. Look, if you're going to get a new phone, get an Android phone with a Qualcomm snake dragging Giga bit LTE radio in it. With additional lanes, 256 quam, these are the fastest LTE phones ever made. The Note 8, the Z force, the HTC U11. Because they've got this amazing LTE radio, designed to deliver the fastest mobile connectivity and help speed things up, even in crowded places, you can turbo charge all your connected apps, stream 360 degree videos in YouTube VR in 4K resolution, with minimal buffering, minimal stuttering, and lest you feel guilty, it's better for everybody because it makes everybody's connection faster, even in congested networks. You don't have to feel bad as everybody is getting better performance. Gigabit LTE is faster in your home Wi-Fi. You can read all about this, 256 clam. If you go to the website, snapdragon.com/gigabit. Make the most of your unlimited data plan, to learn more about faster network connections in crowded places, snapdragon.com/gigabit. We thank Qualcomm so much. Happy to have Qualcomm as an advertiser for their support of This Week in Tech! By the way, I was just reading John Gruber's.. you're right. He was scathing, John Gruber's daring fireball about this Apple leak. He says the BBC has confirmed what he already knew, that the leak was sent by an Apple employee. Gruber says I can state with nearly 100% certainty it was. There's a good chance Apple will find out who it was. These URLs were not discovered by guessing the URLs, or because they were published at obvious URLs prematurely. Someone who works at Apple emailed these URLs to 9to5Mac and MacRumors. That person should be ashamed of themselves. and should be very worried when their phone next rings."
Philip: They should be very worried. Apple famously hired former NSA leak busters to chase these guys down. Mark German was the guy who was doing most of the leaking when he was at 9 to 5 Mac, before he went to Bloomberg. It was clearly coming from the inside, it wasn't stuff coming from Taiwan, it was inside the software leaks, and a couple guys got fired shortly thereafter.
Leo: Steve Jobs was famous for hiring new people and putting them on bogus projects for 100 day trial period to see if they leaked anything about the bogus project, and he would know it was them because no one else was working on it, or he would give people selective information and wait to see what leaked. Jobs was notoriously paranoid. It was funny because the anti-leak training that Apple gives to its employees was leaked, and Apple quite rightly said in this anti leak training that it spoils it. It spoils it for us, your colleagues are working hard on new products, and a big part of a new product is the unveiling, our customers love it, it's important for us in marketing terms, and you can really spoil it. I agree with you. Gruber obviously got a call from his buddy Phil, who said we're going to get this guy.
Philip: What's left out of it, look at it from the journalist's point of view. There's a lot of people trying to make a living retailing whatever information they can get out of Apple. Thousands of investors who love this stuff. The journalists are working hard.
Leo: Party we do it because we know you're interested. You want to get your podcasts listened to or your articles read, you talk about Apple rumors. But also, there's a legitimate need to know on the part of consumers, because right now you can buy an essential phone, a Note 8, you can hold off for the pixel, and you're wondering what you should do.
Philip: It's certainly not our job to protect Apple's secrets.
Leo: No. That's their job.
Ant: I always wonder with leaks like that, especially coming from an internal employee, what is their motivation? Is it money? An axe to grind? You're working at Apple, I would presume that it's as a staffer there, yet you still want to leak out some information to the Press and I apologize for barking at the rabbits in the window.
Leo: Wait a minute, your dog is named...?
Ant: Kilo Finn.
Leo: Is that some sort of Star Wars reference?
Ant: You are correct.
Leo: We got this conversation, it's funny you should mention it, because on windows weekly, I asked Mary Joe fully who is Mark German for Microsoft, she gets a lot of information, why do people talk to you, there are a lot of reasons. Some of it is disaffected employees, and as good as it is working at Apple, there's got to be some people who are unhappy. Right? Working at the fruit factory, some of it is the glory. I know something no one knows, I like being able to be the first person to tell you about this thing.. There's lots of reasons people leak.
Ant: Then you get into the whole code of ethics for your employer. I don't get it myself, personally.
Philip: Someone was asking within the White House, it leaks like a sieve, and they said it's therapy.
Leo: I gotta tell somebody! You won't believe what happened today! It makes you feel important. There's a lot of reasons. It's not good for the company, it's unethical, you're violating your commitment to the company that you work at, but as a journalist I'm glad we get leaks. I don't actually deal in leaks, I deal in other leaks. We talk about people who have got leaks.
Philip: I try to avoid rumors, unless you can confirm it it doesn't help.
Leo: A lot of the rumors, there's a convergence as you get closer to the event.
Philip: And we've been to a lot of keynotes where it turned out they were true.
Leo: It is kind of disappointing when you get a keynote and you go, we knew all of that. That's why I'm of the very wrong opinion that this most recent leak is disinformation, that Apple knew, they prepared this information. It will not be the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, or iPhone X. It is going to be something else, and it's disinformation. Then they'll be... is it not unreasonable to think that Apple might do that? Be that sophisticated?
Ben: At a certain point, they have to. This has happened enough times now and it's a regular enough thing that we know what's going to be happening with the new devices before we see it. At a certain point you have to imagine that the company decides they need to find a way to fight back against this.
Leo: One of the stories came out of the Wall Street Journal, actually a story we've been hearing for months. They repeated it this week. In order to increase the bezel on the new iPhone, if you're going to get a flagship phone it has a bigger screen without a bigger phone. Does it by eliminating the side frames, but of course you do that on an iPhone, you eliminate the home button, which does two things. It's a very important navigation button on the iPhone. It's the only way to get out of the app. But also, it's touch ID. Apple didn't do what others have done, put the touch ID on the back, according to the journal, they tried to make the touch ID work through the screen. The screen is the whole front of the phone, you put the finger somewhere on the front, and it would read your finger, they couldn't get it working, they thought they would, and they went to plan b late in the production cycle, so that means these phones will be in very short supply until next year.
Ben: I love the Edge to Edge. As an Android user, it's the only way I want to look at my phone, I want that screen space. I'm a little bit on the fence about the home button. It's been a while since I used an iPhone, on the one hand, the physical button seems pointless these days. Set the biometrics aside for a second, the physical home button is pointless because everything you do is on the screen itself. But on the other hand, when my Android phone geeks out and I hit the home button and it doesn't work, I want to throw my phone out the window, and I feel like the physical phone button helps mitigate.
Ant: People ask about phone recommendations, I have to consider what type of person is asking me this. If it's someone that is not going to understand routing and rhyming, I would always tell them get the iPhone because the second you screw something up, just hit the home button.
Leo: That's a good point. It's the panic button. Some of the rumors are that the screen on/off switch will assume that functionality. Then, because they lost the fingerprint reader, they're going to do face recognition. Call it face ID. Raises a lot of questions.
Philip: I'm not sure I buy that journal story. Are they really going to kill the touch ID. Is the fingerprint recognition really going away. There's only a handful of original sources on that story, goes back to the Taiwanese guy whose name I Forget. He said definitively in February that they were definitely going to kill it for the reason that Wall street Journal gave. They couldn't get it to work under the glass screen and neither could Apple. I read Mark German very carefully. He was maybe. He didn't know for sure, and neither did the guys at iMore. I think it would be crazy to get rid of the fingerprint recognition system that millions of people have learned how to use to use Apple pay and to unlock their phone, even if the face ID thing is better and works perfectly, you don't want to take stuff away. You don't want to take away social security when they've got it. I'm waiting to see. This is one of the surprises, what is the name, what is the price, and did they really kill face recognition.
Leo: Touch ID.
Philip: Touch ID, yeah.
Leo: There's a lot of questions face recognition raises, of course. You can't always be looking for your face, so you've got to trigger it somehow.
Philip: We don't know.
Leo: From a security point of view, it's a disaster. Let's say the police want to see the phone, all they have to do is put the phone in front of your face.
Ben: This is an interesting point. This is part of Apple versus FBI thing. One of the things we learned from that battle is the distinction between what you are and what you know. In the case of what you are, in the courts, the courts essentially say you can be forced to give up your fingerprint, but in terms of what you know, the authorities can't make you provide that as easily. That's interesting to think about. I'm not worried about the authorities kicking down my door saying that they need whatever is in my phone, but it's something I think about when I think about biometrics more generally. If I have an alpha numeric code, nobody can force me to give that over. It's very hard, comparatively to biometrics. There's an ick factor for me.
Leo: I should point out that even that protection against something you have or know, you can be compelled to give a fingerprint. But there's a former Philadelphia police officer who has been in jail for two years, not because they convicted him of a crime, but because he would not reveal the password to decrypt his hard drives. He's appealed, and the courts have upheld. He's under an indefinite jail term because he's not going to give it up. Don't assume just because only you know the password that they can't punish you.
Ant: Am I the only person that is concerned about the pricing of this iPhone or any other flagship phones of recent...
Leo: It's been slowly ramping up, hasn't it? The Note 8 is 930 to 960 bucks.
Ant: Dude, my first car was nowhere near that price. I don't get it. I look at the pricing, and I try to think back over it over the last several years, and I remember the whole conspiracy theory of planned obsolescence.
Leo: Do you think it's digital red lining? You have to be rich to own a flagship phone.
Ant: That's what it sounds like, and I don't think that's fair because it's a phone. It's just a phone, even if it is something like, and I love my Pixel because it helps me with content creation too. It's still expensive, man. Good grief.
Leo: We don't know how expensive. Traditionally the rumors about pricing have not been right. Apple is good at telegraphing a higher price and surprising everybody, making everybody feel good about $950 when they're expecting $1200. $1300 for 256 gigs of ram.
Ant: WE paid $500 for phones, you knew you were going to get two good years out of that. Sometimes even longer. I've had a few phones I've kept longer than the particular upgrade cycle came around. But now that's just too much. I cringed when I got this pixel, but I've been waiting for three years. I just don't know if every consumer feels that way.
Leo: It was a disappointment when Google announced the price on the Pixel though, because they had made less expensive Nexus phones for several generations, and all of the sudden the Pixel was priced at the same flagship price.
Ben: Hasn't the iPhone always been considered a luxury device, in fairness? I take your point that you had a longer relationship with that phone in the beginning, and it felt like you were getting bang for your buck, but I also feel like it seems to me the iPhone has always bee considered a luxury device, or a device that is top of line.
Leo: Here's what I would submit. What if Apple offers a relatively lower cost phone, medium prices with an iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. I understand they're going to get hit just as they did for a 17,000 Apple watch. What if they said we made as good a phone as we could without regard to price, and then we'll charge what we have to charge for it. But there are some of you who want to see the state of the art. I think I could accept that. The real problem is I don't know if it will be state of the art. I don't know... look at. We've had OLED screens for years, they're not the first to do a bezel-less full screen design, they've dropped the headphone jack, and they're about to drop touch ID, which they made to be the be all and end all of authentication on a phone. I don't know if this phone will be worth $1200. But I wouldn't be against a company saying we're going to make the best thing we can regardless of price.
Philip: There's a piece of economic data, when they introduced the seven plus, they broke the rule that every increment was $100 more than the one beneath it. They went to $130, and watched to see what price economists call elasticity. Raising the price didn't hurt them. My guess is $999 the entry point for this, my guess is that price in elasticity will still take effect, and they will sell as many of these things as fast as they can make them into next year. It will be a long time till you can buy one of these things. For Apple that's a good problem to have.
Leo: Remember when Apple made a Macbook and made it in traditional silver and offered a black version of it for $100 more, and it outsold all the other models. Apple has known this lesson for a long time.
Philip: Apple has also decided that the way they're going to offer cheap phones is to keep selling the older versions at a discount. They're saying if you want the premium phone, you're going to have to pay for it, if you want the iPhone experience, you can get a pretty good one for the price of the competition, a little bit more.
Leo: It's interesting, Google has responded to this with something they call android One. There's a couple features of Android One, it will be as close to pure
Android as possible, even though it won't be made by Google, and it will be guaranteed security patches and updates. The first Android One phone is out, it's from Motorola, the X 4. It is fairly... under $400. And so, Google I think understands—first of all they understand two things, one, that low-priced phones, the reason Android has so many models out there is most of the Android phones are low-priced. But also, that there's an issue with these low-priced phones. They're not getting updates. So, this is—Evan Blass, @evleaks has leaked this Motorola X4 which is—and on the back, it says powered by Android One. I think this is still a leak. I don't think this has become official so I don't know what the price will be. But that would make a lot of sense. There's Evan's link. If you click on that image, I think, Karsten, you'll see the full photo. On the bottom, it says Android One. Yea, there you go. Anyway—
Ben Johnson: My parents both have Motorola's and they're really sold phones.
Leo: The G4? Yea. The G5, the new one, the E. These are good phones. And there is a market. So, I kind of honor Google and its partners like Motorola for making phones normal people can afford that you don't give up every flagship feature. But as long as those things exist, or an iPhone SE exists, I do like the idea that there is a phone where we're going to spare no expense to make the best thing we can make. How do you like it? And who else but Apple? Apple's got the audience for it. So, I'm not against—I don't know. I understand your Point, Ant. I agree. And someone in the chatroom said, "You know, there are people that have to buy an iPhone for security reasons." Journalists in tough nations where security is paramount. They don't buy Androids.
Ant: True, true.
Ben: And the US Government, isn't the US Government, haven't they've been, like the federal government been transitioning to iPhones?
Ben: Over the past 5 years or something like that.
Leo: What do you guys think: Do you think that Android is that insecure and that iPhone is the only secure solution?
Ant: I can't say that it is, but there's always some writing on the wall about an issue with the Android security.
Leo: It seems like it.
Ant: Hardly ever on the Apple side. You never hear. As big as the Apple brand is, you hardly ever hear about security issues.
Philip: And it's no accident that Tim Cook made a huge deal about standing up to the FBI. That was a marketing—
Ben: On brand. Very on brand.
Philip: Not that you don't believe it, but it's a branding exercise and I think it worked pretty well for them.
Ben: I think so. I love Androids and I use a Mac. I've got a Mac laptop but I've had Androids for a long time. I think generally speaking, I like the customizability. And so, generally speaking I'm ok with dealing with some of the security challenges or at least being—I'm ok with taking that risk. But generally speaking—
Ant: You are at least cognizant of the security challenges, though. You're not the average user. You're at least aware of the security issues.
Ben: Exactly. Exactly. So, I do think, like you said before, Ant, I think you were saying that you recommend people, depending on how serious of a user they are, an iPhone is a really good option. And plenty of serious users use iPhones too, but I think that generally speaking, it does seem fair to say that iPhones are more secure.
Leo: You know who's big fans of the iPhone? The Boston Red Sox.
Ben: (Laughing) This story was the best. I love this story.
Leo: It's kind of goofy because you could—so, you know, the Red Sox have been accused of stealing signs. This is in baseball. This happens in football, too. In baseball, the catcher sends signs to the pitcher, what pitch to throw. The coaches will send signs to base runners and hitters as to what to do at the next play and if the opposing team could figure out what the plans were, it would be a lot easier to get guys out. Apparently, the Red Sox were sending—I don't know. Phil, you talk about this on your blog. What were they doing? Were the texting each other? I mean, it really didn't require an Apple Watch to do this, right?
Philip: Well, I think—my assumption is, if you're texting, you might as well use hand signals. Why get chancy? My assumption was that they were sending video to the Apple Watch and what I love is that Tim Cook has visited the Red Sox dugout I don't know how much earlier, but they had given him a—he was wearing a whole Red Sox uniform. He had a Red Sox hat and he posed with them. And I could just see Cook saying, "Look. Look what you could do with this watch. You can actually send video through it."
Leo: There's no camera on the watch. So, video can't be taken by the watch. But you could show video.
Philip: Right, you can send it.
Leo: So, this is what The New York Times said. The Yankees had long been suspicious of the Red Sox stealing catchers' signs in Fenway Park, said that there was video from the broadcast I believe, showing a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout and then relayed a message to other players in the dugout who would signal teammates in the field about the kind of pitch he was going to get.
Ben: Something happened. The way I understood the story, and I'm not a baseball expert, but the way I understood the story was somebody at 2nd base was hand signaling—does this make sense?
Leo: No, the commissioner's office confronted the Red Sox who admitted their trainers had received signals from video replay personnel and then relayed that information to Red Sox players. This had been going on for several weeks. And apparently, you know, they obviously, the video replay personnel had iPhones which they would then either send the image or it would be just as easy to say, "It's going to be a fastball, high and inside," in a text message that the trainer could then see in the watch. The Red Sox responded by filing a complaint against the Yankees, saying, "The team uses a camera from its YES television network exclusively, like a dedicated camera to steal signs during the game." The Yankees denied it. I don't think that Apple Watch really is a big part of this story, but I thought it was funny that the Apple Watch even made the tabloids. Dirty Sox, Apple caught red handed using Apple Watch to cheat versus Yanks. This must be—is this the Daily News, Philip, or the Post?
Philip: It's all of the New York dailies.
Leo: How do you like them Apples? Red Sox fess up. They even have an Apple Watch with a Boston Red Sox watch band saying, "Wicked curve coming." (Laughing).
Ben: It's the techiest version of Red Sox suck, no Yankees suck.
Leo: (Laughing) It just cracks me up. Wicked curve coming. Watch out there. Wow. Wow.
Philip: Did you know that it's against league rules to use any electronics in the dugout?
Leo: Oh, so that's it.
Philip: I mean really, that's antique.
Leo: That's why this is an important story because an Apple Watch, which could be ostensibly just be a wrist watch, is in fact an electronic device. Yea.
Philip: But you can't use iPhones. You can't use telephones.
Leo: Well, there you go.
Philip: There's one telephone you can use.
Leo: So, that's why this is important. This was a way that they could send that text message or whatever, video or text message. It seems like you'd send a text message.
Philip: But the text you'd have to type it. It would take so long.
Leo: Not on the watch. The guys in the video booth are. I don't know. You're saying they sent a picture of the signal.
Philip: I think the live signal of the guy, of what the catcher is doing, yea.
Leo: Because you're in the dugout. You can't see it. He's hiding it down here in his crotch. Ok. Well, I just thought that was the cutest story of the week.
Leo: Innovation. Courage, my friends. Courage. Apple has also cancelled the Apple Music Festival. I'm sad to hear that. For ten years, Apple's been doing these great live, all through the month of September, live concerts that you can watch on iTunes.
Philip: Free. Free concerts.
Leo: Free. We went. Lisa and I were going to be in London towards the end of September a couple of years ago. We asked our friends at the iTunes, James over at iTunes, "Can you get us in?" And we went to a show. It was really fun in the Roundhouse in London. And they do a beautiful job of streaming but I guess—
Philip: Well, someone in my chatroom said, "It wasn't so much that they were giving up on this as they had pivoted to some new business model." I don't know if it's Carpool Karaoke.
Leo: I hope it's not.
Philip: Planet of the Apps.
Leo: I hope it's not.
Philip: Yea, me too. But the trouble with The Roundhouse, it was just very local. Only someone in London could see it unless you streamed it, and they now have—they really wanted, they're competing with the other music streamers and they've got to find some edge, something that they can do exclusive for Apple Music or they're going to die.
Leo: All right, we're going to stop with the Apple. We always hear the people, "Oh, you talked about Apple for an hour." Ok, we're done with the Apple. We're going to talk about Russia and Facebook. We're going to talk about, of course, about Equifax and a lot more. We've got a great panel here. Philip Elmer-DeWitt. He says ok because he's like, "I don't have anything else to say." Is that it?
Philip: I can go home now, right?
Leo: No, no. Stay, stay. Please. PED30, his great new website. I call it new. You've been doing it for a while now, right?
Philip: A year and a half.
Leo: Yea. Feels new to me.
Philip: Feels new to me every morning.
Leo: And soon he'll be getting an early morning flight to Cupertino for the big Apple event on Tuesday. And we'll get you back on soon to get your—because one of the reasons you want to go to that event is that they have the demo room where you can go and play with it. You can show it your face. Somebody said, "Here's how you make the iPhone secure, the face recognition secure is you make a face when you're signing up." And then it doesn't work unless you make that same face. And that way you're safe because no one will know what face to make.
Philip: Well, apparently, it's using 3D so that you can't.
Leo: I want you to try that. Would you? The only negative is—
Philip: Yea, I'm going to put on a clown mask.
Leo: Then from then on, anytime you want to unlock your phone you have to go (laughing). People are going to think, "Well, he's a nice guy but does he have a tick? What is going on there?" Ben Johnson also here from Codebreaker, the podcast. Great to have him.
Ben: It's great to be here.
Leo: It's somebody I've wanted to get on for a long time. So nice to have you. And speaking of getting on for a long time, Ant Pruitt, one of the best photographers and drone guys out there. He's a Contributing Writer to TechRepublic and it's been long overdue, having you on the show. Thank you for joining us with your Barry White voice. I like that.
Ant: Thank you, sir, thank you.
Leo: Just say, just for me, just say, "When a man and a woman." No, no, actually, better not.
Ant: (Laughing) We'd need a whole different rating for that.
Leo: You know, baby? I love you. I love it when you come close to me and (laughing).
Leo: Our show today brought to you by ZipRecruiter. Are you looking to hire tech professional or anybody in any business? There's no better way than ZipRecruiter. You might say, "I know. I'll go to the site where those people hang out or whatever." But it doesn't work that way. The perfect employee might be out there but just not looking at the job site you posted to. So, why not use ZipRecruiter? Post to a hundred plus job sites with one click. ZipRecruiter puts it everywhere so you have the maximum reach. Even Twitter and Facebook, the most people will see that job posting which almost guarantees that that right person will see it. That's the one you want. They guy or gal who's perfect for that job. Now you might say, "Well, hey that's fine, Leo, but does that mean my phone's going to ring off the hook and my inbox overflow?" No, no, no. That's the beauty of this because all of those candidates pour into the ZipRecruiter interface. They don't call you. They don't email you. It goes to the ZipRecruiter interface. You can screen them, true, false, yes, no, essay questions. You can eliminate people who don't work. Rank the rest. Hire the right person fast. 80% of employers who post a job on ZipRecruiter get a qualified candidate in that interface within one day. That fast. It works so well. We've used it and I recommend it and look at these million other companies. Some of the biggest companies in the world who've used ZipRecruiter. No more juggling emails. No more calls to your office. Screen, rate and hire the right candidate fast, in any profession anywhere in the country. And of course, tech people, it's a great way to reach them, the IT professionals. Take your company to the next level today with more than 300 applications delivered, ZipRecruiter. They know how to do it. Find out why ZipRecruiter has been used by businesses of every size to find the most qualified candidates with immediate results and you can post jobs on ZipRecruiter right now for free when you go to ZipRecruiter.com/TWiT. ZipRecruiter.com/TWiT. We thank them so much for their support.
Leo: Equifax. I just—all I did was shake my head. So, first of all, people spend so much time, we spend so much time talking about privacy and how Google knows everything about or Facebook knows everything. At least with Google and Facebook, you know what—you're giving them this information and you know what they're doing with it. But who knew there were three, actually four, I found out know there's a fourth company, in this country whose job it is, is to collect every possible bit of information about you and you and you and all of us, and then sell it to other companies. That's what the credit reporting agencies do. Equifax is just one of them. There's TransUnion, Experian. Oh, and this new one that I'd never heard of, but I found out on the New York Times, what is it, Anovus? So, I understand why we have to. It's a necessary evil because if you're going to go try to buy a car or a house or rent a car, rent a house, get a job. Sometimes they'll do a credit report on you to get hired. Companies need to find out, are you credit worthy? Are you a worthwhile risk? So, that's what these agencies do. They collect all that information and then companies come to them and say, "Tell me all about Leo. Can I lend him money?" They also have a side business, a pretty lucrative side business, I'm told, selling your information to companies who want to give you free credit card offers. You ever get a credit card offer in the mail? Well, where do they get your information from? Experian, Equifax, Transunion, that's their business. All right. I understand. Necessary evil. Capitalist economy. We've got to have these guys. But, if you're going to be, do this kind of skeezy business, you have a very high responsibility to protect that data.
Ant: That's what I didn't understand. Didn't they have, or, let me ask it this way. Did they have some type of compliant someplace that they're supposed to follow the way that all of other financial institutions in the US?
Leo: That's a good question. Apparently not. Equifax told us all this week that 143-milllion customer records had been stolen by hackers. I bet you that number's low. I bet you that number goes up over time. We've seen that before. Apparently, this is the—I love this.
Ben: It's a great image.
Leo: It's Dan Gooden's article on Ars Technica with a guy trying to stem the flow from a pipe, not very effectively. Apparently, Equifax knew about it July 29th. Shortly thereafter, three Equifax employees, including their Chief Financial Officer, sold stock worth millions of dollars and then they revealed publicly and of course, the stock price tumbled. I think that sounds like insider trading. Equifax said, "Oh, no. Those guys didn't know." Your CFO, really? Your CFO did not know? Ok. All right. I'm sure the SEC will have something to say about that later. Five weeks they knew about this. They didn't tell us. Right there that's a problem because the minute that stuff goes out into the dark net, and is being traded by hackers, you're at risk. We're all at risk. Mother's maiden names, social security numbers, in some cases credit card numbers, phone numbers, addresses. Equifax has not been very upfront about what information was leaked, how this information was retrieved, why it took them so long to respond. They really haven't said much at all. In fact, the only thing Equifax did is set up a website which I'm not going to give you, because you shouldn't go there, that you can enter in the last 6—there's only 9 in your social security number. The last 6 digits. No, there's 10, right? All but the first three digits of your social and your last name and then they would say, "Oh, you were effected," or "No, you weren't," except that Brian Krebs entered a random number and Donald Trump's name and it said, "Oh, yea, you've been effected." It's random apparently. Either it doesn't work or it has nothing to do with anything. And then they immediately send you to a site where they offer you a year of free credit monitoring, a year which—
Ant: Which is useless.
Leo: Well, I'm sure in a year and a day they're going to say, "By the way, that's $39.95 from now on." They're trying to make money on this.
Ant: That's so sleazy.
Ben: Also, they asked people to agree to terms of service, right? Didn't they?
Leo: Well, this is—ok. This is a loaded question. Equifax said—this doesn't apply to the breach. This only applies to this new trusted ID service. However, they said, "If you sign up for Trusted ID," which you should not, absolutely should not do. You should not give them the last 6 digits of your social. You shouldn't have anything to do with Equifax at all if you can help it. What they said is, "Well, you can't sue us. You can't have a class action lawsuit against us. It's only arbitration." But I think A, experts agree, that's not binding. You can still sue the hell out of them and should and B, Equifax says it doesn't apply to the breach. It only applies to Trusted ID. Don't deal with Equifax. Don't make any agreements at all with Equifax, period.
Ben: A great example of just how a company, even still, it seems like when are we going to get to the point where companies of this size understand how to deal with stuff like this? I think we're still, it still feels like we're in the days where—I can't remember a large company that's been effected and so many of them have, that nailed their response to this kind of thing, right? And I think the other thing that's scary to me is like over time, there's a profile that gets built up about each individual user, depending on different hacks that happen, right? Maybe there's a part of your profile that gets stolen over here and it's just your mother's maiden name and your telephone number and then another hack over here gets your social security number and eventually there's an incremental thing that's happening here to users all over the place that I think is really scary. And at the same time, so many users are becoming less and less—they're becoming desensitized to these stories because it seems like there's one every month. And I think both of those things freak me out. Yea, yea. Both of those things freak me out.
Leo: And I don't think it's a state secret how to secure data. Excuse me, but I think that we know how to do this. Have you ever heard of a breach of your data from Google or Facebook? I feel like we know how to encrypt data, how to secure it. We don't know how the hackers got in. One of the stories I saw said that Equifax said that they got in through their website which bodes very poorly. This special site they setup has security flaws of its own and the Java Script is the login name for the site. These guys are obviously inept. I agree with you, Ant. There should be some federal requirements for privacy and security for these companies. But, maybe one of the reasons they haven't is that Equifax along with all the others, is a big contributor to Republican congressmen, to lawmakers. Since the creation of the CFPB, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Equifax has donated more than half a million dollars in campaign cash, trying to get Republicans to put the CFPB out of business. The CFPB was created after the deplorable financial crisis of 2008 to protect Americans, to force disclosures. Equifax has been lobbying, for instance, to repeal the rule that requires them to be sue-able. They want to appeal the agency entirely.
Ben: The FTC has been on this too, right? The FTC has been trying, I think. I've interviewed a few times, former chairwoman, Edith Ramirez, and you know, I think that the FTC has been trying to force change about this for a long time. They've been talking about data privacy for a long time. And the problem is, just like the FCC and the net neutrality debate, this stuff is really hard to do through the agency. It needs to happen through an act of Congress quite literally, and for reasons that you're describing, Leo—
Leo: Congress is in the back pockets of companies like Equifax. Look at this bill, H.R. 2359. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia introduced this May 4th. To amend civil liability requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to limit class action lawsuit payments to $500,000-dollars with no punitive amounts. I mean, this is clearly something written by companies like Equifax and put though with their tame members of Congress to protect them against this kind of event. By the way, good news. There's a massive class-action lawsuit that's been filed against Equifax. It was at $70-billion-dollars. I have to—members of Congress of course have asked them to come in and testify. I just don't feel like Equifax did the right thing in the first place protecting us, has done the right thing in their response to it and is being forthright in anyway about what information was leaked.
Ant: Who does Equifax answer to with regards to this and secondly, why did they wait so long to release the information? I know you have to have some type of investigation before you tell the press, "You know we had a breach," because you want all of the facts to be there. But it took them a month to get the facts straight?
Leo: More than a month.
Phillip: Also, if my security is breached, I want to be notified.
Phillip: I don't want to have to go to website and ask them.
Leo: No. Somebody's saying, this isn't the first time. This is the 3rd time Equifax has been hacked.
Ant: I'm sure they have no problem calling you to offer you a bunch of things you don't want. You can dial me and say, "Hey, you've been hacked." You know, something.
Ben: You have my number, Equifax. You have my number.
Leo: Yea, they do. They do that. They were hacked in 2015. It just feels like, feels like there's no accountability at all.
Leo: In 2015, 15 million—oh, no, this wasn't Equifax. This was Experian. In 2015, Experian was hacked. 15 million customer records were exfiltrated. 143 million pretty much is every adult in the US, as close as can be which tells me that they lost the entire database, right? So, why are they saying, "Oh, don't worry. Only 222,000 people's credit card numbers were lost?" I want to know a little bit more about that.
Ben: In some ways, too, your credit card number, in some ways like the least valuable part, at least to me. I can call my credit card company and say, "These charges are BS."
Leo: Yea, good luck getting a new social. That's fun.
Ben: Right. Exactly. Exactly.
Leo: So, there's a couple of ways you can really sock it to them. My suggestion is you can put a fraud alert on your account. That you have to renew every few months. Rules vary state to state on this but that you usually have to renew every three months. And that means they have to notify you when anybody pulls a credit report on you. Even better, credit freeze. In some states, you have to pay for this, as much as $10-dollars to freeze your credit per reporting company. So, that would be $30-dollars for the big 3. And then to unfreeze it, which you need to do if you want to get a loan, is another $10-dollars each. So, it's not cheap. Although, again, in some states it's free. It depends on how the state legislature ruled on this. But a credit freeze means they can't use your—they can't give anybody your credit information and would completely eliminate their ability to make money which is why they make this a very hard thing to do. But, it might be worthwhile. You know, if you go to the state of California, it has a great page on credit freezing and fraud alerts and they have links to all three credit freeze pages. You should be aware though, that if you're going to get a credit freeze, the way you get it is by giving them all your information because they don't know it's you, right? The New York Times says three hacks of Equifax were disclosed by Equifax this year. Yea, I don't even know where to begin. It's appalling.
Philip: We used to rob banks because that's where the money is. You rob Equifax because that's where the social security numbers are.
Leo: Data is better than money nowadays, isn't it?
Ant: I agree with that. When I'm not doing a content creation, I'm writing SQL and I think about all the .data that I see during the day and just how valuable that is. It's way more valuable than me walking out there and finding somebody's wallet with a few bucks in it. I have all of this private information that could lead to a bunch of other information that could bring a wealth of money if I was that type of person.
Leo: Wow. By the way, that's a hell of a steal. If you could write SQL queries, you know, I'm sure there are some Russian hackers that would love to offer you a job.
Ant: You said the website was how they got to it. That was the first thing that comes to my mind is a SQL injection. Like, man that's like the first thing you want to try to combat when you put your site up.
Leo: Well, why is their database even connected to their public facing website?
Ant: There you go.
Leo: I can think of a lot of things wrong with this picture. But again, we don't know how it—we have scant information. All right. My blood pressure's going to go through the roof. Let's take a quick break. Breathe, Leo. Ant Pruitt is here from TechRepublic who knows SQL. Watch out. He can be trouble. Also, here from Codebreaker, great have Ben Johnson. And from PED30, Philp Elmer-DeWitt.
Philip: I don't know SQL.
Leo: You don't know SQL? Ah, it's easy peasy. I know my SQL. That's kind of like the same as a SQL query. Similar, right?
Leo: Little Tommy Drop Tables. I remember that, yea. You've seen that XKCD comic, I'm sure.
Ant: I have
Leo: Why did you name your kid Little Tommy Drop Tables (laughing)? Sanitize your inputs, kids. That's our message of the day.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by FreshBooks, the ridiculously easy to use cloud accounting software. If you are a freelancer, if you are a small business, if you are an entrepreneur, you know that you've got in business for one thing. It's something you love. Photography or plumbing or SQL queries. You didn't get into business because you love sending invoices. That's the worst part of business is billing. You don't like paying bills, right? Who likes sending bills? It's just as bad. It's paperwork. Let FreshBooks do it. I did. When I first found out about FreshBooks, it's been more than 10 years now. They had just started. And I was going to Canada once a month to do a TV show and I had to invoice Rogers for my time and for my travel expenses. It was just a pain in the butt. You had to fire up Excel. You've got to find all the receipts. It was just a pain in the butt. And it was actually my co-host, Amber MacArthur, said, "Oh, there's this new company in Toronto. You're going to love them. FreshBooks." It made it really easy. All of a sudden, invoicing was a snap. And I noticed I got paid faster. Of course, you know, the first thing you want to do, if you don't send them an invoice, you don't get paid at all. That's kind of fundamental.
Ant: Sounds like that adds up.
Leo: It does. Don't tell anyone. I went six months because I just hated it so much and then I sent six months-worth of invoices. And I got yelled at by the bookkeeper at Rogers. She said, "You can't do that. The next time you do that, we're not going to pay you. You need to bill us ever month." Ok, ok, ok, ok. It turns out, if you use FreshBooks, you get paid on average 11 days faster. Your invoices look pro. They're easier for them too, because there is a button on the email, on the invoice that says, "Pay Leo." Well, in your case it will say your name. "Pay this bill," and that makes it easy for them. They can use all the online payment systems. You can set automatic payment reminders, automatic late fees. You can set up reoccurring invoices. You can even, if your customer agrees, set up automatic payments. So, the whole thing can be friction free. And then, it turns out that because they're doing the invoices—by the way, expenses are really easy too. You just take a picture of the receipt and it goes right into the invoice. You can keep track of time and hours. The website or the app, the great FreshBooks app, will do that for you automatically. Again, put it right into the invoice. But, what's great about this is in the process of collecting your expenses and your accounts for SQL and all of that, they've done your accounting. So, you can go to this new FreshBooks dashboard. It will tell you everything about your business. Like, how many freelancers know if they've made a profit so far this year? Usually you don't know whether you made money until tax time. Well, now you'll know exactly where you stand at any moment. It's so simple. It's so slick. It's so easy to use. I want you to try it absolutely free for 30 days. You get the entire FreshBooks deal free at FreshBooks.com/TWiT. You can see receipt attachments when you view invoices in the iOS app, you can log in. They always are adding features which I really like because it's on online website plus the app. They're constantly adding new features. Employees can now login on the FreshBooks Mobile App for iOS which makes it easier for them to take care of business. So, if you have employees, you can bill for time by client, by projects. You can assign different services to projects, have different rates for each service. Very flexible. FreshBooks was included in the Forbes Small Giant's List for 2017, a huge honor and I want you to try it free for 30 days. FreshBooks.com/TWiT. All I ask is when you fill out that form and they say, "How did you hear about us?" you just say, "Hey, I heard about it on TWiT." FreshBooks.com/TWiT. It was a lifesaver for me. It will be a lifesaver for you. FreshBooks.com/TWiT.
Leo: This Week in Tech on the air. Let's see. Sad news. I am a big HTC fan. Remember the HTC One? Like the best, the front facing speakers, solid aluminum body.
Ant: Boom sound.
Leo: Boom sound, right. HTC has had its worse quarter I think in 13 years and now the rumor is Google may be buying HTC's smartphone division. You mentioned the VIVE, Ant. That's a great VR headset and I imagine they'll still be around, but the mobile division may be moving to Google which would be interesting.
Ant: I had assumed. I had assumed HTC would double down on the Vibe because it was—
Leo: That's their growth.
Ant: It was so great. Again, I get sick at just the drop of a hat because of my ears, but I did the VIVE experience and it just blew me away. And I didn't get any type of nausea or anything like that, just the technology behind it in having those controllers and all of that to interface with you. It was just great.
Leo: I agree. And the partnership with Steam is really important too, because then you can get all these e-maps. The VIVE is fantastic. I love it. But, the smartphone business, they've really struggled. And I have to say, they might have deserved it. The last few—they had the One then it kind of went downhill after that and the last few phones I've used of HTC's are very unimpressive.
Ben: Not great, yea.
Leo: The rumor is they are making the small Pixel 2. LG will make the big Pixel 2. That's not enough to save the company and maybe that would be why Google would be interested in buying them. Remember, they bought Motorola and that did not work out well.
Ben: Yea, forgive me, but I don't understand. I actually don't understand why the Google possibility here. Because haven't we—
Leo: Haven't they learned anything?
Ben: Yea, haven't we seen this before with Motorola?
Leo: They bought Motorola in 2012 for $12.5-billion dollars. Sold it to Lenovo three years later, or two years later for $3-billion dollars.
Philip: But they kept the IP. They kept the intellectual property. There were a lot of patents. There were thousands of patents.
Ben: They had a bunch of patents. But, even still, what's the interest in HTC? How does this make sense in a way that—are they getting a bunch of IP?
Leo: Well, here's what's changed. Remember, in 2012 Google was making the Nexus phones. And they weren't making them, as they do today. They were getting other companies to make them and brand them. Those were inexpensive phones that really looked like they were a developer platform. Like, you know, this is the reference platform for Android. We don't expect anybody to really use it. But then the Pixel phones come along and it really looks like Google has ambitions to be a flagship phone manufacturer. But they're not making them still. So, who made the original Pixels? I forget. But it wasn't made by Google. It was made to Google's specifications. What would make sense?
Ant: Oh, the original Nexus?
Leo: Well, the Nexus was made by a bunch of people. In fact, HTC.
Ant: HTC made one.
Leo: HTC made one of them. They made the first one, I think. Samsung made some. The Nexus One I think was a Samsung phone. But I can't remember who made these Pixels. But anyway, it would make sense for Google, if they say, "Well, we're going to now make a business out of Android devices." And they could reasonably do so because as you pointed out, these are—
Ant: Huawei. That's the name.
Leo: Huawei. Huawei. Thank you. Burk in the chatroom. And Ant, hey, congratulations for going to the chatroom. Most people are not brave enough to go into the chatroom during the show. You're a brave fellow. They haven't said anything bad about you, so that's good.
Ant: Or ignorant.
Leo: Brave or ignorant. One or the other. So, no. The chatroom's fine. They're not going to bite you. I can kind of see if this is a—ok, now it's a business for Google. Maybe we should own a manufacturer. I don't know.
Ant: You know, I have a story about HTC and it goes back to how I first started getting into content creation. Your friend, Gina Smith, gave me my first opportunity.
Leo: No kidding? I didn't know that.
Ant: Gina Smith and Dr. Pournelle was part of the whole—
Leo: I was going to say, that was a new domain, right? Jerry wrote for the new domain? So, you worked with Jerry.
Ant: Yes, sir. And there was a time where HTC was reaching out to Gina and all of us for content creation for a blog that they were trying to market towards millennials. And right before we had that relationship put together, I had a piece published, talking about HTC sort of losing its way with the smartphone. And so, it was a little awkward.
Leo: Nice one, Ant. Nice one, Ant (laughing). Good timing.
Ant: A little awkward in that meeting, but at the same time, I was right. And they were pretty candid about it and spoke with me as far as what my opinions were and they made great hardware for that time, but it just wasn't elevating or incrementally as fast as everybody else was moving.
Leo: You were warning them, rightly so. And I bet you this is right around when the M1 came out and the Zoes.
Ant: This was right around the Zoes and that little RE camera thing.
Leo: Yea, I had a RE. I loved that RE.
Ant: The RE was fine.
Leo: It streamed right to YouTube.
Ant: The RE was fine.
Leo: It went straight downhill ever since.
Leo: So, you were right and I guess they appreciated your honesty.
Leo: Yea. Well, it makes me sad because I really feel like HTC, they had the design language, they did make quality stuff. They just lost their way in some strange way.
Ant: You know, I give them credit for trying things just to see what happens. With this latest phone, the squeeze technology, you know, to activate the camera and things like that. That's something different.
Leo: Supposedly, that's going to be part of the new Pixel, Pixel 2. Google's going to use the squeeze to launch the Google Assistant, which might work.
Ben: That would be a nightmare. That would be a nightmare. I already launch Google Assistant by mistake all the time.
Leo: Are you one of those tense people who's always like—you need to get a little squeeze ball.
Ben: No, I mean I don't know why, but I already inadvertently get Google Assitant going. I don't even know how it happens. I'm not saying, "Ok, Google." But it—yea.
Leo: Echo, Google's, Siri, they all get triggered in my house. I can't watch TV without bloop, bloop, what, huh, bloop, bloop. All of that.
Ant: Audiobooks do that while I'm driving.
Leo: Yea. It drives me nuts. It's just the way it is. Get ready. That's life in the future. In the future, everything answers everything. RFGuy in the chatroom is mentioning that HTC told him, they didn't get the support from the chip companies. Probably Qualcomm, maybe Samsung, so they weren't able to get the chips that the big guys could negotiate. And that happens, right? It's kind of like, speaking of chips, poker. When you are the chip leader in poker, you have a huge advantage just because you're big. When you're selling 80 million phones, you have a huge advantage and it just kind of, it's a vicious circle. The rich get richer and the little companies kind of fade away. And I think HTC, it's just what's happening to them.
Philip: Apple is kind of a pressure point. They'll buy up all the capacity and really squeeze everybody else. I've got to say, I feel bad for the Android phone makers because, because they all use the same operating system, they end up competing on price which is a race to the bottom and there's a reason that Apple's got 16% of the global market but takes home 85-90% of the profit in cell phones. They're all struggling and I'm not surprised that Motorola gets sold and HTC. And they end up with Google that's got the money to keep them alive.
Leo: Yea. It's going to be Apple, Samsung, Huawei's still huge because they have the China market.
Philip: The Chinese manufacturers, because they have a huge market to play in and there's a lot of cost advantages to working where the suppliers are all in the same place, they're competing very well with Samsung and Apple. They're beating Samsung and Apple in China and that's enough to make a living. That's a good market.
Leo: Yea, yea. Well, they've got a market of a billion consumers. That's all it takes. Sell a few phones.
Philip: They haven't been as good as bringing it out. They're not selling these well outside.
Leo: No. It's bad for consumers, though, because it's inevitable. It's kind of capitalism, right? You get consolidation and few big companies end up dominating. But we just don't get the innovation and the choice that we deserve. And at some point, nobody has headphone jacks anymore.
Ben: That's the eventuality. No headphone jacks.
Leo: That's what happens. It's devolution.
Ben: And it's weird, too. You know, the headphone jack, no headphone jack thing I think is interesting to me because the effort there is to make it thinner, right? And I just—I don't know. Does the phone really need to get that much thinner that we lose the headphone jack?
Leo: Or, battery life. That's another thing that you're sacrificing, right?
Ant: As someone with really large hands, I need my phone to be substantial. And the whole trend of going smaller and thinner just bugged me at one point in time. I'm glad that we have these 5.5", 5.7" devices nowadays versus the older ones.
Ben: The most boring, most important innovation in smartphones I think that we're still waiting for is a legitimate battery life. Like, that, I will pay Apple prices. I will pay for two iPhones if you tell me my battery will last a week and charge in 10 minutes.
Leo: Good luck.
Ant: Let's do it.
Leo: There's no technology that exists that will do that (laughing). My wristwatch doesn't even last 12 hours.
Ben: If they can make a clear phone.
Leo: If they make it clear, make it last a week.
Ant: Someone get Elon Musk on the line and give this some direction.
Leo: It will have a little nuclear reactor in it or something like that. So, ever since November, Facebook's been denying it that Russians bought political ads on Facebook. On Wednesday, they admitted it. More than $100,000-dollars-worth of ads on hot button social issues, targeting voters. Many of the ads didn't refer to political candidates, but the purchases, we're starting to learn, were aimed at people who were Clinton voters. Facebook officials says that these ads were purchased by a multitude of fake accounts created by the Internet Research Agency, which is a well-known kind of troll factory out of Russia. I almost said the Soviet Union. It kind of feels like it, doesn't it? It's part of their very broad disinformation efforts. It does really raise the issue. Facebook after the election, Mark was like, "We didn't have anything to do with that." Mark said, "No, you know—" but I think we're learning more and more that Facebook wields immense power because of its ad platform, because of its vast usership in the United States and around the world, and it is—now, we talked about this on Wednesday on This Week in Google, and we thought at the time that it wasn't illegal, but I do believe now, having looked into it, that it is illegal for a foreign government to try to influence elections by buying ads. That's not legal. So, Facebook did violate federal law by selling those ads. They probably didn't know. They say Facebook is cooperating now with members of Congress, staff members briefed. The House Intelligence Committee is on Wednesday. Facebook's also cooperating with Robert Mueller, the special counsel. They wrote, "We have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues. We will continue to work with them as necessary." What is Facebook's responsibility and did they know all along that they—why did they now find out that these ads were sold to Russians?
Ant: I wonder when you do Facebook Ads, what's the process? Do you—you open up your account or whatever and you sign in to say, "I want to purchase some ads." What are the questions that are being asked from the Facebook form to give you access to have ad placement on there? Dale in the chat, he said, "They shouldn't have anyone doing ads for political reasons but does Facebook even know when someone signs up?" I mean, I could just go in there and say, "I want to do Ant Pruitt ads," and they probably don't even care what the ads are. It just says Ant Pruitt. I don't know. Has anybody ever done this?
Philip: They ask you how much you want to spend. You submit the ad and then they have to approve it. And I don't know what their criteria is, but there is a step where some algorithm or some human approves the ad. You can't just put anything up.
Ben: I think it's humans. I think it's humans but I will also say that I've done this and it does not take long for it to go up.
Leo: Yea, so they're not going to read them all.
Philip: What really for someone who spends more time watching the White House circle the drain than following Apple these days, what's interesting about the Facebook thing is that we've known that the Russians hacked Podesta's emails and got all this anti-Hillary stuff. What we don't know is how they knew to direct it to the right precincts and to weaponize is the jargon they use. And one of the theories is, and what Mueller is trying to find out, is did the Trump campaign operation which had great research, feed it to the Russians and help them weaponize the thing.
Leo: They knew a lot of the precincts they needed to sway, yea. Who knows better?
Philip: The Facebook, the Facebook thing is not just positive because it's pretty easy for someone who doesn't know about US politics to guess at where to send stuff. You know, you know which states—I don't know. It's fairly easy to target with Facebook's tools and it may not require the sophistication of a Steve Mann to know exactly where to send those things. We don't know yet.
Leo: New York Times has an interesting article about this kind of Russian troll farm. And an example, Melvin Redick of Harrisburg, PA, a friendly-looking American with a backward baseball cap and a young daughter, you can see it in his profile picture, posted "These guys show hidden truth about Hillary Clinton, George Soros and other leaders of the US." And a link to a DCLeaks.com. But there is no Melvin Redick and he is a made-up character by Russian hackers. And this was—the problem is, and I can understand, look. There are people that have posed as me on Facebook and it took me going to Facebook saying, "That's not me," to get it down. They've got a billion and a half users. This is a very hard—
Ant: It's hard to go through a billion records, you know?
Ben: Facebook is reactive, you know, when it comes to this kind of thing and I think that's, to me, that's been over time covering this stuff, whether it's people impersonating other people. They have a big problem with this in India for instance of folks impersonating other people to get Facebook accounts and then say bad things about them. I've talked to some people who are dealing with this. I think Facebook, at a basic level, is reactive whether that's—whatever it is that violates its terms of service, whether it's violent video—
Leo: What are you going to do, right? I think that's necessary. I don't know how they can be proactive.
Ben: I guess I don't either but I think that what we're seeing to a certain degree is because of that, is because Facebook can't be proactive about it maybe. And that's why we see this stuff after the fact. You know, and at this point in the New York Times story about the company said it also found another 2200 ads that were bought in America and were vaguely related to politics than the more direct advertising stuff and they hadn't really figured out yet whether or not those were part of this larger effort. I think they're trying to figure it out and maybe that's normal but that's part of what we're seeing.
Leo: Let's take a break. One more segment to go. Kind of the stories that filtered to the bottom of the rundown this week. Ant Pruitt is here from TechRepublic. From Codebreaker, the Podcast—is it Codebreaker.com, Ben Johnson?
Ben: Codebreaker.codes. That is the show. And also, yea, I leaked—I should have said before, I leaked to you. We were talking about leaks. I leaked to you what I'm doing next when I saw you. So, you've gotton the leak. I just wanted you to know that.
Leo: It's really safe to leak to me because I have a brain like a sieve. Although I make a point of never signing NDAs, embargos. I don't agree not to reveal information because not only do I forget stuff, but I forget that I agreed not to say stuff. And I'm talking all the time so, you can't trust me.
Ben: You made no promises to me. I remember that.
Leo: I make no promise but you're in luck because I remember nothing. I was drinking Podcaster's Punch at the time, was I not?
Ben: I was too I think.
Leo: The hotel made us a special punch for podcasters (laughing).
Philip: In the chatroom, Old Army says that two more feet of water and Irma will be in the house and he'll have to leave the property. So, hurry up, please.
Leo: Old Army, I am so sorry. And by the way, I haven't said anything about Irma. You know, right on the heels of Harvey in Texas. Now this is Florida and I know we have a great many listeners in both areas. We have a great many listeners in the Caribbean Islands, in the Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands. The only place we don't have listeners is Cuba, but everywhere else, please, I hope you're safe and if our thoughts and prayers are with you. And Old Army, stay safe. I hope you have a ladder up to the roof. Yikes. That's terrifying.
Philip: Beyond the roof.
Leo: Beyond the roof. Codebreaker.codes if you want to listen to Ben's great podcast. Or it could be Pen's great Bodcast. I don't know. It could be any of that.
Ben: Pen's great Bodcast, yea.
Leo: What are you talking about on here?
Ben: We talk about a lot of different stuff. I pitch it as the Twilight Zone meets radio journalism. So, if you've seen Black Mirror, if you've seen Mister Robot, this is the kind of stuff we take a kind of dark edged look at technology. At least the first season we asked the fundamental question about different kinds of technology. The question was is it evil? We covered everything from email killing our productivity to internet porn to actually data, data selling which we've been talking about today. And the second season, the question was, "Can it save us?" And we talk about everything from sort of climate change based technology or technology rooted in solving climate change issues to virtual reality, augmented reality. And technology that is helping refugees in the refugee crisis in Syria, things like that.
Leo: Fascinating. And you do this really cool thing which is you can listen to next week's podcast if you crack the code.
Ben: Yea, we make it binge-able like a Netflix show when we release each season by hiding a secret code in every episode.
Leo: So clever.
Ben: So, yea, it's fun.
Leo: I love that idea. That's really—CodeBreaker.codes. Is that right?
Ben: Yes, sir.
Leo: C-O-D-E-S? I didn't even know there was a codes dln.
Ben: Yea, we got one.
Leo: Wow. I like it. Also, of course, the legendary Philp Elmer-DeWitt. PED30.com. He'll be skying to Cupertino any minute now to get ready for the Apple event.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by TrackR, the Tracker. I have a TrackR story. We went to concert on Friday night and I thought I'd lost my keys at the bar next door. I couldn't find them. I was patting my pockets. I can't find my keys. So, I went to the bar next door. "Did you find any keys?" Now the good news is my keys have a TrackR Pixel attached. And I was looking on the TrackR. And I said, "Well, it's around here somewhere." And then I remembered. Oh, yea. I can press, I can tap the button on my phone and the alarm on the TrackR will go off. I pressed the button. I'm in the bar. I'm thinking, "Oh, they're here somewhere." Then I realized that oh, they're in the hidden pocket in by SCOTTeVEST shirt. Never mind (laughing). But even if you lose your keys in your shirt, you can find them again with the TrackR. It's a coin-sized tracking device. Pairs with your phone and keeps you from losing your most valued possessions. You check the couch. You check the kitchen. You check the pockets. On average, all of us spend as much as 50, what is it, 50-minutes a day each week searching for stuff we know we own, we know we have. We just can't find it. You look in the fridge. You ever look in the fridge for your glasses and stuff? Yea, because, I know, I must have absentmindedly. You look in the peanut butter jar. Well, you don't have to look anywhere. You can use the TrackR. Eight years ago, TrackR changed everything with their first tracking device and they've done it again. The new TrackR Pixel is out. That's what I have on my keys. It has a LED all around it that will light up. Makes it easy to find stuff that's fallen under the bed or whatever. It's the lightest Bluetooth tracking device on the market. But even though its light, it still has a replaceable battery. I love them for that because unlike other trackers, when the TrackR battery dies after a year, you can replace it, not throw it away. I put TrackRs on everything, on my keys, on my briefcase, in my car, in my luggage, on my bike. I don't want to lose anything. You can pair up to 10 TrackRs to your smartphone. You can share with other people smartphones. You can have family find things time. You get a 90-decibel alert. That's what I got to help me find my TrackR. If you lose your phone, you press the button on the TrackR and your phone rings, even if it's silenced. You can even locate your item if it's miles away because TrackR has the best crowd locate network in the world. With more than 5-million TrackRs out there. Anytime, if you want to play with it, if you've got a TrackR, turn on the notifications and every time somebody walks by that's running the software, you'll get a notification. "Oh, I just saw your device. I just saw your device." It's mindboggling because there are people everywhere with TrackR software. It's so fantastic. Look at the dots on the map. You'll never lose anything again. Go to TheTrackR.com and enter the promo code TWiT. You'll save 20% on any order. Pick up the TrackR Bravo, the TrackR Pixel. Get a few extra accessories. You can even put it on your pet. They have a special waterproof case you can put it in. It's awesome. The TrackR. T-H-E-T-R-A-C-K-R. TheTrackR.com, use the promo code TWiT and save 20% from the TrackR.
Leo: All right. I'm going to wrap things up here. You guys have been working hard. I think somebody's dying of a cough. Was that you, Ant? Are you ok?
Ant: Oh, I'm fine.
Philip: Oh, that's me.
Leo: It was you? All right.
Philip: Yea, it was me.
Leo: All right. Did you get some whiskey? That's what's saving Ant's voice.
Leo: What, Ant?
Ant: How heavy are those TrackRs? I've been considering them for my drone
Leo: I don't know. I've lost mine (laughing). No, no. I know exactly where it is.
Ben: You need a TrackR for your TrackR.
Leo: The TrackR Bravo is the anodized aluminum. Very light and it would be appropriate for a drone. It's the size of a quarter but the Pixel's even smaller and lighter. And so, it's the size of a button almost. I mean a little bigger, but it's very small. It would be perfect for it. In fact, I did put one on my drone. I did everything. I put the FAA registration number. I put my phone number. Because I know I'm going to lose this sucker someday.
Ant: I like the idea of having something audible like that because I've crashed a few times and the GPS does a decent job of getting me close to where it is.
Leo: And it's in the grass or something.
Ant: But I like that audible feedback, would be really nice.
Leo: Yes. I've lost my drone in the grass and I know it's here somewhere. And if it's making that noise—here we go. So, this is the TrackR Pixel. It's not very big. Yea. It's the size of a dime. Na, maybe a nickel.
Philip: How long does the battery last?
Leo: That depends. So, it's Bluetooth LE, so it's low energy. So, it can last as long as a year. But I turn on all the two-way separation stuff. So, if you like leave your keys behind, your phone honks. If you leave your phone behind, your keys honk. And that uses up more juice. But the thing is, it's one of those CR—like this one I think is a CR2030 battery. I've got a dozen of them. So, maybe every 3 to 6 months I'll replace them.
Philip: Oh, you can replace them.
Ben: Can you attach it to your cat? Can you put it on your cat?
Leo: Yes, you can. This is fine for a cat.
Ben: Ok, good. Safe for a cat. That's all I needed.
Leo: Safe for your cat. I'm sad to say, silently and without notice, without fanfare, Oracle laid off its entire Solaris Tech staff last week. Really, the end of life of Solaris and the last, pretty much the last of Sun's products at Oracle. Oracle really bought Sun for one reason only. They wanted Java rights so they could sue Google for billions. That was it. That was the real reason. I guess it's important to mention it because Solaris was so—but I don't think it has a huge impact these days. Amazon's looking for a 2nd headquarters, and this is a bonanza for somebody. It will invest $5-billion dollars plus, hire 50,000 employees. So, they've gone around the country asking cities to bid for HQ2. And you can bet a lot of cities are into it, interested.
Ant: I think that's so awesome.
Leo: Amazon told Seattle they're going to have twelve-million square feet by 2022. It pretty much owns downtown Seattle. Eight-million square feet with 33-billion. I'm sorry, 33 buildings. So, yea. There was a really interesting graphic in the, I think it was the Times where they said, "Forget it, Amazon. We'll tell you exactly where you should go." And they narrowed it down to Denver. I'm sure Denver was happy to hear that. I would like Amazon to move to Petaluma. You'll have instant access to the TWiT network. Power hardly ever goes out. We haven't had a hurricane in years and it never snows.
Philip: They're trolling for tax breaks, Leo.
Leo: Oh, I can't help them with the tax breaks. You're right. Of course. It's all about the tax breaks, isn't it?
Ben: That was my first thought. I was thinking about GE going to Boston and I was like—and then there was Foxconn, that Foxconn deal.
Leo: Oh yea, they're in Wisconsin.
Ben: Minnesota, Wisconsin, wherever it is.
Leo: Is it Wisconsin or Minnesota, I can't remember?
Ben: I can't remember either. But I swear that the tax breaks—I feel like these kinds of deals always end up—it's like building a new stadium or something. It's like, they're like, "They're jobs." And then like 5-years later you're like, "Eh. The government just gave them a bunch of tax breaks and money to move to a place and it's actually not that much better." I could be wrong, obviously.
Leo: No, do the math. Foxconn's going to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin and they're getting a $3-billion-dollar tax incentive for that. Those are expensive jobs. That's a lot of money to pay for 13,000 jobs.
Ant: I figured Amazon would get into the backyard of UPS, like go to Louisville somewhere because there's a large airport right there, too.
Leo: Yea, right?
Ant: It would be a lot more efficient.
Leo: I don't think though they're worried about product shipping from this new headquarters. Really, it's manpower. It's personnel. It's smart people. They want somewhere where, so the cost of living has to be fairly low. Of course, they want the tax breaks but I think it's more office workers than fulfillment, yea.
Ant: Oh, ok.
Ben: Somebody said Detroit. I thought that was kind of an interesting—
Leo: I'd love to see that.
Ant: That would be awesome.
Philip: Detroit could use it.
Ant: Give them some life, you know?
Leo: Don't use. If you have an AT&T U-verse, you might want to check your modem. It's unclear whether Arris, which makes the model AT&T U-verse uses, or AT&T introduced some horrific security flaws into these modems that allow anybody, in fact I'm sure it's happening already, to login to your modem, literally replace the firmware with their own custom firmware. Complete control of your modem. There are 5 flaws. You can SSH into the modem from anywhere because the SSH passwords are hard-coded. I can go on and on. You can run a shell. It's not a great shell. It's sea shell but I think you'll live with it which allows you to—you just have absolute control. You can run its root with a shell. Just login. Have fun, kids. Arris and AT&T I guess will have to fix this. Arris says, "We're conducting an investigation and will take any required actions."
Ant: Does it mention who brought it to AT&T's attention?
Leo: Yea. Well, it's an interesting story. It was a company called Nomotion, and analyst there named Joseph Hutchins. Normally, as you know, when security researchers find a vulnerability, they wait six months, ninety days. They give the company a chance to fix it. They said these vulnerabilities are so sever and Arris has such a terrible history of repairing vulnerabilities like this, they released it immediately. They said, "You know what? We're going to tell everybody now because this is such a horrific threat and we believe that bad guys already know, so, we think users better know right away." So, that is kind of a violation of traditional protocol for this kind of stuff.
Ant: I remember, I had an Arris device at one and a buddy of mine, Charlie Hoover, gave me such a hard time about it. I didn't know.
Leo: Yea. Charlie's great. Yea.
Ant: Charlie, he schooled me on it.
Leo: Ars Technica, Dan Gooden says hackers are lying in wait. They've already infiltrated our grid. And they've got basically an on-off switch and they're just going to wait until they need it. Where are the hackers from? We don't know but it's pretty much well thought that they're the same Russian guys who turned the power off in the Ukraine for a few hours just to demonstrate.
Ben: Yep, that seems right.
Leo: Yep, nothing more to say here except I hope you have battery backup.
Ben: And make grids dumber.
Leo: Yea, they may be a little too—well, if you're going to make a grid smart, please, don't connect it to the public internet. Who thought that was a good idea?
Ben: Whatever you do, don't ask Equifax what to do about it.
Leo: Ask Equifax, "How do you secure your data?" And we'll end with this note. I'm a big fan of Tech Dirt, Mike Masnick. Mike had the temerity to call out a guy who says, "I invented email when I was a teenager in 1979." Mike said, "That's not true." He was immediately sued by Shiva Ayyadurai. He said he invented email in the late 70s, even though I think many of us were using email before then. Tech Dirt called him a liar and a charlatan. Ayyadurai has sued him in January 2017 for libel. On Wednesday, US District Judge F. Dennis Saylor said, "Because it's impossible to define precisely and specifically what email is, Ayyadurai's claim is incapable of being proven true or false and furthermore, one person may consider a claim to be fake if any element of it is not true or if it involves a slight twisting of the facts." So, there's no libel here. The case has been thrown out. We don't know if he will appeal. Oh, we do know that he will appeal. Here's an update to Gooden's article. "False speech is not protected by the Constitution," says Ayyadurai's attorney, Charles Harder. You may have heard his name before in context with another context. "Techdirt's false and malicious speech about Ayyadurai should receive no legal protection and we will appeal."
Ben: False speech. It sounds like a lot like the people that scream fake news.
Leo: Fake news. It's false speech.
Ben: False speech.
Leo: False speech. Unfortunately, the judge did deny a separate motion to countersue under California's anti-slap law which allows him to recover his extensive legal fees to defend himself. So, Mike is out of pocket. I don't know how much of it is his money, how much of it was from a legal defense fund. There was a legal defense fund for him. Isupportjounalism.com. It's not too late to help Mike Masnick out, even though he's won this case, the costs are huge. And by the way, I'd just like to let everybody know, I invented email last night in my jammies. And if you say otherwise, you're in trouble.
Ben: Fake speech.
Leo: Fake speech. Fake speech. Well, I think we've come to the end of this fabulous, gripping edition of This Week in Tech and if it was gripping at all it was because of our great panel. So nice to have two new people in here. Ant Pruitt, we're going to have you back soon. It's great to have you. Give us a plug. We read you on Tech Republic. Where can I find your photos and your drone work?
Ant: Sure. Check me out on Twitter @ant_pruitt. Yea, Instagram is actually AntPruitt, no underscore. But better yet, go to my YouTube channel and subscribe. It's all about trying to create and dominate.
Leo: And Clemson for life, baby.
Ant: Clemson for life.
Leo: (Laughing). Antpruitt.com A-N-T-P-R-U-I-T-T. Yea, thank you. P-R-U-I-T-T.
Ant: That's my Squarespace site.
Leo: Ah. Nice job. It's beautiful. And a lot of pictures of Clemson Football but also high school football. Your sons playing and I love it. I love it. It's great. It was great having you. Come back soon. The same goes to you, Ben Johnson. Your first time on the big show but I hope you will be back. Depending on what job you take on Monday. If you're working for the NSA, I can't promise you a seat.
Ben: It's great to be here. Like I said, I've been a long-time fan of the show. I was honored to be asked. I'd love to come back if you'll have me.
Leo: Of course.
Ben: I'll just say that what I'm doing on Monday has something to do with a website they call the Front Page of the Internet. So, you can work your way through that.
Leo: Oh. Are you going to Boston? Are you going to Boston? Where are you now?
Ben: I'm at my parent's house actually in western Massachusetts.
Leo: That's because you had to evacuate because of Hurricane Irma. Did you parents have that nice sound blanket you've got hanging behind you?
Ben: This is going to go on their bed when this is over.
Leo: (Laughing). Very honest. Great to have you, Ben. Good luck at the Front Page of the Internet. That's awesome. Codebreaker.codes for his fabulous podcast. And of course, PED30, P-E-D-3-0.com is the place to go to find Philip Elmer-DeWitt. He will be the first to let us know what Apple does with iPhone 10.
Philip: Hopefully have YouTube video of everybody walking in.
Leo: I thought you were going to stream on Facebook? Make up your mind, man.
Philip: No, YouTube. YouTube.
Leo: You do YouTube Live. You're going to stream it from your phone. Awesome.
Philip: I'm in western Massachusetts as well. Where are you?
Ben: Oh, man, I'm in Amhurst.
Philip: I'm in Greenfield, like 30-minutes away.
Ben: I'll meet you in Sunderland.
Leo: (Laughing) Actually, western Mass is gorgeous. That's where Tanglewood is, right? And yea. My grandmother—
Philip: You're thinking of the Berkshires.
Ben: It's a little further west.
Leo: A little further. It's eastern New York.
Philip: The Berkshires is—yes.
Leo: Yea. I've spent some time. My grandmother had a house in western Mass as well.
Ben: Come out and do a TWiT from here, man. I'll be here.
Leo: I should. You know, the leaves are going to change any day now.
Ben: That's right. We've got cider and donuts waiting for you.
Leo: Love it. I could live on cider and donuts. We do This Week in Tech every Saturday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific, for us, 6:00 PM Eastern for them. That would be 2200 UTC for the rest of you listening around the world. You can do the math. You can watch us live at TWiT.tv/live or well, if you do, by the way, join us in the chatroom, irc.TWiT.tv. That's a fun place to be and every once in a while one of our panelists will actually go in there, brave the lion's den.
Ben: This is like the most, the nicest chatroom, by the way, I've ever been a part of.
Leo: They are really, they are on their best behavior. Did I say it's on Saturdays? I'm an idiot. It's Sunday, right? Ok.
Ant: Screen Savers on Saturday.
Leo: Thank you. Ant knows. Screen Savers Saturday, TWiT on Sundays. If you can't watch live because Leo's confused about the date and time, just go to the website, TWiT.tv and download a copy. We have lots of episodes there. Search for Jerry Pournell, you can find one of the 20 episodes of TWiT he appeared on. There are also two great Triangulations with Jerry where he talks about his life and times. Those would be fun to listen to again. You can also get our show by subscribing. There's so many great podcasts clients out there and if you subscribe, you'll get every episode. It will be ready for you Monday morning on your way to work. Overcast, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Slacker, iTunes. You know, and even some great TWiT apps. Lots of great TWiT apps. Subscribe and you won't miss an episode. Thanks for being here. Thanks to our studio audience. Great bunch here. If you want to be in the studio, all you have to do is email tickets@TWiT.tv. We'll put out a chair for you. I will see you in three weeks. I'm going to take the week off, the next couple of weeks off. Jason Calacanis will be our host next week and he's put together a crazy-ass panel. I don't know. I should probably not even say because I want you to be surprised. But do tune in next Sunday. And then it's Becky Worley, the Sunday following, right? Becky Worley's going to be my host and I'll be back September—no, October 1st on TWiT. I'll see you in a few weeks. Thank you for joining us! Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye.