This Week in Tech 963 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

00:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's time for twit. This weekend, tech are news round table and we've got a great round table for you from left to right Alex Lindsay from office hours, dr Lobel and, of course, mac break weekly from the register. We've got Ian Thompson and my buddy science fiction author speaker extraordinaire Hori doctor, who actually coined the word of the year. We'll talk about that. Also about Apple division pro, their decision to charge 27% for stores that aren't using Apple store on the iPhone, and a whole lot more. It's going to be a great twit coming up next. The show is brought to you by Cisco Maraki. Without a cloud managed network, businesses inevitably fall behind experience. The ease and efficiency of Maraki's single platform to elevate the place where your employees and customers come together. Cisco Maraki maximizes uptime and minimizes loss to digitally transform your organization. Maraki's intuitive interface, increased connectivity and multi site management keep your organization operating seamlessly and securely wherever your team is. Let's Cisco Maraki's 24 seven available support help your organization's remote, on site and hybrid teams always do their best work. Visit marakisiscocom.

01:17 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
slash twit podcasts you love from people you trust.

01:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is twit this weekend tech, episode 963, recorded Sunday, january 21st 2024 low key clippy. This weekend tech is brought to you by stampscom. A new year is full of surprises. One thing that's predictable postage costs will increase again in 2024.

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It's time for TWIT this week at Tech. A great show ahead, I know, because this is a great panel. Alex Lindsay is joining us slumming from Mac break weekly. Hello, alex, it's good to be here. It's good to see you also with us. The wonderfully in Thompson from the registercom. Hello Ian. Hello there, welcome. I wait for the day when those bookshelves snap in the middle of a show. I just there. They're seem overburdened slightly well, we got a.

04:02 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I got a comment on the last which I did with you, where some of you've never read all those books. It's like, so it's like four more of these things I know you're gonna call yeah, he's a literate man.

04:12 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And then we go to the bookshelves of one Mr Corey doctor. Oh, who's written half the books on the shelf? They seem to be creating a life of their own fact you. It looks like quarter steps is emerging now from the book house yeah, I I definitely.

04:30 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Well, there's a reason.

04:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
My domain is crap on dot com actually the bezel is about to come out, an audio book. You've got a Kickstarter for that, yeah yeah, so will we read the audio?

04:43 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
nice, and, as with all my other audiobooks, amazon refuses to carry it. So, though the book is coming from Macmillan and and bluesbury in the UK, I had to make my own audio, and so there I am, kick starting at you, can? You can get the DRM free audio, the DRM free ebook, you can preorder the hard covers, you can get signed hard covers, and there's one opportunity left to name a character in the next one of these books which comes out next year.

05:09 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is one of the Martin Henge books, the sequel to red team blues he is determined to make a forensic accountant the next James Bond, and I, for once, support this there.

05:21 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I mean, look there, there are so many ways to make money disappear into a spreadsheet and every time I come across a bit of spreadsheet skull degree I'm so delighted. Like the academic fraud where they caught the scholar, the highest paid academic and I believe MIT knows Harvard fudging her data and they and she'd saved it out, not as a CSV but as an XLSX which embeds all the document history, so I can actually watch her by rolling the document backwards. They can watch her clicking in the cells and changing the numbers and they're attributed to her and her licensed copy. I mean it's this is the golden age of fraud, but it's like the golden age of fraud forensics don't tell people too much, though, corey.

We want them to continue making those dumb mistakes you know what I am convinced after 20 years ago in the InfoSec conferences, that you can explain with eye-watering detail all the ways that people can screw up and they will continue to screw up absolutely.

06:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I love it when they redact stuff in on PDFs and oh, that was an absolute gold mine for journalists.

06:28 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I mean we would like, yeah, more of that please.

06:31 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I love it when Sam Bakeman Frieden, his friends have a group chat called wire fraud oh well, it was a, it was a ironic, a wire fraud yeah, it was ironic, yeah, like when Jeff Bezos called that program to extract large discounts from small publishers project Gazelle and exhorted his managers to view themselves as cheetahs hunting down and killing the most sickly and weak Gazelles in the pack oh my gosh, that's amazing this wasn't an anti-conceded of act. Gazelles, you know they're beautiful, graceful animals.

07:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
If you would have been better if you'd name it sick and dying Gazelle, then then we know. We are here, joined together, gathered together today, in the first week of the ascendancy of the vision pro headset the new future. Soon we will all be wearing computers on our foreheads, alex did you buy one?

07:25 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I'm doing the neck exercise. I got two weeks to get ready. I hear it's really heavy. So that's the big thing that I've heard. And so I talked to some friends that have gotten tested and they just say, well, it's a heavy, so I have ordered one. So they just so I'm doing some. You know, just just, I've got some weights, I got that little head thing and I've been like trying to work on my neck a little bit so that doesn't feel as heavy. But yeah, I got one coming.

07:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's extremely important that you prepare. Yeah, it's funny, all the YouTubers, including Marquez Brownlee, saying, oh man, this thing turns out to be. It's not actually more heavy than the the Oculus Pro, I don't think, but they the way they're offloading the weight with a strap apparently is not.

08:03 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Well, I think that the issue is that nobody has been given no one has been given one with a strap over the top. Now it is coming, it's supposed to ship with the strap, right, and I think that they just didn't want pictures of it. I think Apple like didn't want anyone taking pictures with the strap over the top and so they didn't send it to any other reviewers. So now all the reviewers this is, and now all the viewers complain about how heavy it is. Once the straps over the top, it's probably going to be probably pretty well distributed, just fine.

08:27 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I've been reading some of the reviews. I mean, apple is notoriously harsh on journalists, that don't give them an absolutely you know, perfect record. But even then people are just like well, the battery packs a bit of a pain, the weight it's okay. After, after 30 minutes, your neck gets tired. It doesn't seem like they've really done a thing.

08:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's a fine art of knowing exactly and, by the way, I only reason is because I have gone too far. But it's a fine art of knowing how far you can go to show your editorial independence without actually pissing Apple off, to the point where they stop letting you have these things or see them early, and so forth.

09:02 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I don't think that's what editorial independence means yeah, I mean when I first came over here, it's Caesar's wife's era editorial. You have to appear to be editorial independent well, I mean, when I first came over here, I got invited to a couple of Apple events, and the first one I was very positive about, I think it was an iPod launch, and the second one it was just kind of like no, okay, this is bad and this is bad, that's it. Blacklisted forever after.

09:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I feel like I am pretty bullish on Apple stuff, but in any case, I've been calling this one Tim Cooks folly. There is some data already that this might have. This might have some headwinds. Three of the big developers, the app developers, three of whom who have complained about Apple's 30% big in the app store have declined to make apps for the vision pro. Netflix, spotify and YouTube will all be missing on the shipping vision pro they one of them said well, you can still use the browser. Like that's a good experience but I but it's widely thought.

Mark German thinks it's, it's kind of retaliation well.

10:07 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
The issue, though, is that I think that for Apple because Apple makes music and because Apple makes it has their own video, netflix and Spotify not jumping into the headset number one it doesn't affect them at all because the sales are so low. It's not. It's like a it's noise, an easy thing to do, you know. It doesn't make as much difference for them, but the YouTube might be a bit missed as far as being able to watch those things, but, again, as they said, you can watch it through the browser. But the the other thing is is that no Google, no Facebook, it's not really it's it doesn't really move the needle. I mean, facebook's not going to do it because they have their own headset, they don't want to ever, famously, made an iPad app either, so it doesn't, yeah, so so I think that that's, but I think that the where it's a real boom is for small developers, because if you're a developer right now, you know 80,000 sales, you know most likely the rumors are 80 to 100,000 sales already.

At that number, that's a really small number for Netflix, like, almost not like. I can't see that number. They can't see that number of people in their, in their, in their spreadsheet. But if I was able to put out something that's really cool for $5 and I can sell 10,000 of them or 20,000 of them into a market of people who already spent $4,000 on their headset and are willing to look at anything cool. It's a really good opportunity for small developers to get in and do things and play in a place where the larger developers may go. Well, I'm gonna wait until there's two or three million or five million.

11:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Sure, this is where this is where this, this market opens up selling a $3,500 device that the chief thing seems to be. You can watch movies in it, and there's no Netflix and there's no YouTube. I think that does some damage. Corey, are you? Are you bullish on?

11:45 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
nerd helmets. So I am so astigmatic that I can't even converge that stuff. I live with a technology executive for a major movie studio who happens to be married to me and she is also a former champion video game player. She played quake for England and so we have all the headsets. Yeah, seriously, and so yeah. So she's in charge of like zombie defense and VR in our house and for me I just try to avoid them because I get just blinding headaches from from using it. I assume that's because my eyes are looking at it wrong, right in in Steve Jobs looking at it wrong. Yeah.

12:28 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I mean, I mean they are doing like corrective lenses for for the headsets, but they cost an extra 200 quid and when I went through the order process, they also said something you can, you?

12:38 - Leo Laporte (Host)
you upload your prescription. But they said do you have what? Was it Delta?

12:43 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
in your prescription. I'm a prison. Prison, I think. It's for astigmatism, I think so. Yeah, so people like Corey and I'm slightly astigmatic.

12:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I also don't really have full stereo vision. Anyway, I went through the process and right at the point where I had a pressure button that said 30,000, $3,500, I said yeah no yeah so yeah no, I mean. I'm 3500, I mine was 4 oh yeah, and if you order, oh yeah, you can get more or more storage got the 1 terabyte. I got the 149 bucks for the prescription lenses, $200 for the plastic case, the travel case and again then yeah yeah, there's a reason.

13:21 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
The apple makes two billion a year.

13:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I feel like this is predatory almost yeah, and remember and this is the other thing that the timing is not great because apple, as you remember, may remember, last week in the Supreme Court just declined to weigh in on apples appeal on the epic decision. So apple does have to open it's not open their app store, but allow apps to third-party payments. Have a click in there. It says you want to buy a Kindle book? Oh so, right now, if you open the Kindle app and want to buy a book, amazon says you can't buy it here, and that's all they're allowed to say or they or they can take the money and a 30% hit, but the gross margin on that book is 20% so wait, that's more wait, I'm not done so.

Apples now forced to provide. You provide at Amazon, everybody else with the opportunity to click the button go to their store. But apple says, oh, and by the way, we know we're watching and you better pay us 27% commission on that transaction.

14:25 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Google and Google's doing the same thing, right, okay?

14:27 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
but, I, don't know the duopoly.

This is the hilarious thing about the idea that we have mobile competition is that generally in competitive markets, the firms involved don't all offer exactly the same thing.

This is like Henry Ford saying you can have it in any color so long as it's black, and then Edsel coming along and saying you can also have it in any color with us so long as it's black.

You see, the market is working. Yeah, the malicious compliance from apple here really reminds me of the kind of stories I used to hear from my great aunt, lisa, who bossed an engineering shop in the Soviet Union and all of her reports were a surly drunks and they would find the most imaginative ways to just like technically do what she ordered them to do without actually doing it. Apples also thrown an interrupter in there so that when you click on it you get the screen that says like warning fraud ahead, you might lose all your money. Don't click on this. But if you must, click on it but we absolve, you know we wash our hands. Jamie Zoinsky had a really good blog post where he went through the history of these, starting with NCSA mosaic having an interrupter that said you are visiting an outside website which may contain pornography so don't tell me with a good time.

15:44 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
But no, I mean the. It's the same story with the apple repair business. Like apple was finally forced by public opinion to say okay, you can repair your kid now. In order to do it, you've got to get these briefcases worth of kit. You've got to buy all the parts to very high price.

16:01 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I mean, they are musts at this kind of genomics they reform that a little and they they replaced it with something called parts pairing, which they tried periodically before. Really, it came out of the automotive industry where it's called Vin locking, and this is where you have a little tiny cheap chip in each component and it does a cryptographic handshake with the main CPU and until it gets an unlock code, the CPU won't talk to it. And so you know this is done with car engines and sub components and engines it's. It's done with tractors from John Deere, medtronic does it with their ventilators, and apple just went like. Basically the same week they announced that they were now supporting right to repair, rolled out a whole ton of new parts pairing, which caused I fix it to rescind their rating on the latest iPhone now Google did go to Oregon and say we support repair and we are against part pairing.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's. I mean, look, that is where competition actually is working. Like I don't think Google is made up of people who are nicer than Apple, right? I just think that, like they looked at the incredibly good press Apple got when they climbed down from their right to repair stands and then the incredibly bad press they got when it turned out that they were scamming and they went. Why don't we just do the first part and not the second part? And see if we can't get some good press well, good luck, google.

17:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's not like they make. I mean, they make the, they make the pixels, pixel here by the way, thanks to JWZ Jamie Zawinski here are some of those interrupters.

This is on the left, where it's the current Apple one. You're about to go to an external website. Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of purchases made on this web. And there's even more pros under this. He's got also my spaces warning and he's got. This one is from mosaic. I think NCSA's mosaic right beware, despite our best is it was this for any link in a browser, despite our, I think it must have been when you were clicking off of the mosaic website.

18:10 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I mean, it's hard to know what the context is yeah, I just love that Jamie's got a hard drive full of this crap he saved it?

18:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
oh yeah, in fact he has previously and I don't even know if they need to. I mean the reality is.

18:21 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
The reality is 99% of the people are not not going to leave it, because if you have an iPhone and you have an Apple TV, you know better than to start buying apps that require you to go outside to pay for them. Because the Apple TV is a disaster, I mean, it is a dumpster fire, because I get in there and now I gotta. Now I gotta type in this code and now I have to go over and I have to register with this activate. It's a disaster, you know. And so the thing is is that, as a user, my argument against all the reason I'm never gonna go to something else, and if someone puts their app on on outside thing or has me pay for it, I'm be like I don't need that. You know, like I don't. I don't need to have that app in my life because I don't want to go over there, because I don't want to it's. I don't care about the percentage, I don't care about charging me 30% more. I just don't want to deal with the time. To me, time is valuable. Then Apple for a lot of Apple users, time is more valuable than money, you know.

And so the thing is is that it is a. You know, we just don't want to deal with it, and I think that the Apple TV is a perfect example of what happens when you start to fragment you know, fragment the buying experience. I just want to go up and buy the app, pay for it there and, most importantly, I want to be able to kill the subscription anytime I want to, for whatever money we're saving as users for it to be on the outside, you save a lot more. Like when I buy an app, I sign up for a subscription, I wait a day and then I cancel the subscription and then it, and then it warns me and it dies if I don't, if I don't move, if I don't use it again, and I can't do that with anything else. And so as a user, I just I just don't think that. I think I get why we're doing this, but I don't think it serves the user of the owner of the phone. I think is getting a worse experience.

19:52 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
So I have to respectfully disagree. So, first of all, the way to get firms to stop ripping you off with subscriptions is for the Federal Trade Commission to do what it's just done, which is click to cancel orders and then, if they don't if they don't, let you cancel with the same ease that you signed up the Federal Trade Commission comes in and finds them thousands of times more than they're making from it.

20:10 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
It's allowing firms I just don't know where it is like I have to get now. I have to dig through all my stuff, right, but that's also a violation of the click to cancel.

20:17 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Order has to be as easy, but when the cable companies, by the way, have responded to click to cancel telling the NTC some of these arguments this week have just been absolutely, if we make it that easy to cancel. Our customers might cancel by accident, right and you know I have watched.

20:36 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I've watched all forms of side loading on the in the mobile duopoly get much harder over the years, which is weird, right. So I loved the iPod. I was at that same iPod announcement that you were at, ian, and I went out and bought one. You know the day I could and I remember I just plugged it into my computer and everything synced over and then whenever I had any new music on my computer I double click it, it would show up in iTunes. The next time I plug my iPod in it would just work.

As someone who sells media on the web that is sold outside of Apple's stores because Apple refuses to sell audio that isn't locked to its platform forever with DRM and won't give authors the chance to to unlock it I have watched my users, like really sophisticated technical users, struggle with trying to move media from the web to their phones. Now I don't believe that this is because it got harder as an intrinsic technical matter to side load media. I think it's because the mobile duopoly gets 30 cents every time you spend a dollar in their store and loses that 30 cents every time you spend that dollar on the web. And since they control that ecosystem. They've made it a lot harder. So, by contrast, for example, I just set up a Chromecast and, again, I'm not a Google fanboy. I have written some of those vitriolic pros about about Google that has been published, I think but I just set up a Chromecast and there were a bunch of streaming services we need to set up for it and I was like, oh my god, am I going to have to type my passwords into this? And it was like, just am a phone at a QR code and click a button and the thing would just recognize it.

And so, as a technical matter, I think interconnecting devices from heterogeneous vendors that want their customers to be able to access a service is possible, and I think that when we see burdensome connectivity, that our first suspicion should not be that this is intrinsically difficult, but rather that either someone's not good at their job or that an artificial barrier has been erected.

And where there is a profit margin right, where there's a very significant profit margin. Remember that the payment processing cartel makes 3 to 5% on every payment and that's considered a monopolistic price gouge. It's gone up 40% since the start of the pandemic. Apple, google are charging 30% right, that's a thousand percent more than the monopoly rate. And when you see that the firms that control this the most valuable companies in the history of the planet are unable to somehow resolve the an easy matter whereby you pay for something in one place and it shows up somewhere else, when they used to do that as a routine matter, then I think that like either their heart's not in it or they're pulling against it. I don't mean to sound like a conspiratorialist, but I refuse to believe that this is an Apple.

23:27 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
It's a revenue thing. It's a revenue channel that they built like. It's kind of like I built this training. Everyone's like I'd like to get on the training, not have to pay for it. You know like they're the reason that that's there.

23:35 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
It's more like it's more like you sold all these people nikes and I'd like to sell them shoelaces and they're like no. Once you buy the Nike shoes, you got to wear the Nike shoelaces. You got to wear the Nike socks and we'd really strongly prefer if you only wore the Nike trousers nothing.

23:50 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Occam's razor suggests that this really is, you know, monopolistic behavior. There's really I mean, there's a lot of smart people at Google and Apple. They know that this stuff is is a pain in the backside to use, and they're perfectly happy with that. What about the argument, though?

24:03 - Leo Laporte (Host)
that 30% seems to be the standard Vig it is.

24:07 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They set the standard. Well, number four Apple was doing it, sony was doing it on the PlayStation.

24:14 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Microsoft is doing it on the Xbox.

24:16 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
The consoles have been 30% since forever. Like it is, you know, like that has been the number and that's where they took it. That's where the number came from, not from Apple.

24:23 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That doesn't mean it's not any competitive.

24:25 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I should point out just if we, but we should probably take that one down first.

24:30 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Well, you know like we can walk and chew gum? We can do both.

24:33 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Yeah, but you'll never. The problem is that they, they're. They build the platform, they support the platform, they develop the platform. They you know, like, as someone who has sold a lot of software over for the last 25 years and I'm about to sell another one into the app store in the next, you know, six months or so Vision on the vision pro, or no, no, no, it's. It's just this little, this little program. Here you draw on things, okay, anyway.

So so the, the, as I look at it, I used to sell, so I used to sell a keen software for Final Cut and we used to put it up. Looking at the wearer sites, we were pretty sure that the number that we sold versus the number that were being used was about 50 to 1. So so that was, you know, and and trying to as a small, as a small developer, trying to go after those folks, was just going to be impossible. You know, like it was just going to be, like I'm not going to go down that path, and and it was just a really for me, when I look at the idea that there's a platform that solves the install, that solves the security, that solves the updates, that solves all those other things as a developer, knowing that I'll never make more than a million dollars. We have to remember that 90% of the developers exist.

25:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't have any complaints there should be a choice if you want to do it that way.

25:49 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
You should do it that way, but let's look at the numbers, the number of developers being affected by 30%. We keep on throwing around 30%. Look at the Macintosh platform, by the way.

25:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
There are a lot of developers very concerned that Apple is about to do this on the Mac platform. I don't think they are. I hope they're not now they're not, but but this exact scenario that you describe exists on the Mac, where you can have a as a independent developer, put your site up, have a app on your site, sell it directly.

26:16 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Apple never take a percentage.

26:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, I'm saying you have a choice or you could do it in the app store. I'm not stupid, okay you know, but there are a lot of companies that a lot of companies that are dumb enough to do that, and they keep 100% of the revenue and if they want to do that, they should have the choice.

26:35 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Before the Berlin Wall came down, they used to insist that the wall was there to stop people from West Germany sneaking in, and Apple says that the only reason we don't permit people to choose another would like to sideload is because we don't think our developers or customers want that like.

26:54 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Apple wouldn't have have spent like tens of millions of dollars and its best PR efforts fighting sideloading if this was a thing that everyone genuinely preferred or if they genuinely believe that this was a thing everyone generally would have to well, no, but as to to argue, argue that case just for one second, is that what I'm as a again, as a pretty hardened Apple user, like I have a couple PCs over here and a couple of Unix machines over here, but generally I'm a Mac environment and Apple TV is my only interface and I bet at every iPhone that was released and I've Apple watches and all the other things right. What I'm concerned about as a user is companies taking away my choice. So saying Netflix, saying I'm only going to let you have it if I, if you sideload it like I'm no longer going to make it available to you. So as a user, I get a lower I get, I get forced into a sideload that I don't want to do works on the Mac, though.

I don't understand why it wouldn't work on iOS. Why is it different? Because because right now the iOS is very secure and very closed down and I can manage all the payments and I can do all the things that I want to do. I don't want to sideload and I don't want to be forced to sideload. And for the Mac, on the Mac, I buy apps that are generally high-end, apps that are, you know, $300 or more, that are that I'll buy side if you have a little app under $100 there is no chance that I'm going to buy it.

28:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But you have the choice. That's the point is, you can have an app store and you can have an open ecosystem at the same time.

28:25 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
It is, but what people will be at what? Right now, the user doesn't have to make that choice. Right now, the user is in a little closing garden. And I okay if you think that more than 1% of Apple users.

28:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They do on the Mac all the time and if they were to do this?

28:42 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
you even said if they were to do this on the Mac.

28:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It would be the end of the Mac platform.

28:46 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
They don't care, like they don't care. Apple users don't care about this, and the thing is as soon as they I mean really like real people, like not us in the geeky world or whatever, but real people barely even know this exists, let alone care about it.

28:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, you might be right.

28:59 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
We're in the tech. They don't care, they don't even know. It's here, you know, and the thing is is that what they will know is when Netflix suddenly requires them to go into a side load or Facebook requires them because Facebook wants to build its own store or Epic, then they're going to be upset and then it's too late, you know, like it's already out the door, and then you're going to have, you know, people. You know people are going to be upset after it happens, not before it happens that right now they don't know and they're going to be and people will, and Facebook is going to do that. You know they're not going to want to keep on developing if they're allowed to go on the other side. They're going to want to put everything over there, because they want to. They want to manage their own marketplace.

29:32 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
The problem is that Apple it works well when it's making good choices on your behalf, but because when it makes a bad choice on your behalf, you can't overrule that choice, it fails very badly. So thinking here of something like the OG app, which was an app that use WebKit to get you to log into Instagram, grab the token and then gave you an Instagram feed where they removed all of the ads, all of the surveillance, so no telemetry was sent to Meta and only showed you things and all the suggestions, and only showed you things from people who you had subscribed to, which was wildly popular and which Apple took out of the app store, setting section five to two of their developer agreement, saying that you may not have an app that violates anyone else's terms of service. Right, so the terms of service? If you ever read the terms of service on any app you've ever used or any service you've ever used, it basically says abandon hope, all you who enter here. So what you have is Apple showing up and putting its thumb on the scales for allowing Facebook to spy on you now, when Apple was stopping Facebook from spying on you by giving you a one-click opt-out which, by the way, violated Facebook's terms of service, and, very rightfully, apple told Facebook to pound sand. That was great and that worked well. But because Apple is not disciplined by the fear of users figuring out how to install a third-party app store, they are also willing to run roughshod over what you do.

Those self-help measures are a powerful force of discipline on tech firms, right In a world in which, say, ad blockers could be installed.

Every time someone in a product development meeting says, hey, let's make the ads 25% more obnoxious and we'll get 2% more revenue per user, someone else might say, but look, 25% of our users are going to type how do I install an ad blocker when you put that in and our expected revenue from those users falls to zero forever.

Now half the web is installed an ad blocker. Zero app users have installed an ad blocker because installing an ad blocker in an app requires decompiling the app, which is a felony under section 12.01 of the DMCA. So you can think of an app as just a web page that pays a 30% commission, wrapped in an FIP, that it's a felony to put an ad blocker in it, and the fact that when devs try to actually intercede on behalf of users to block the negative conduct of some of the most harmful companies in the world. Apple helps those companies Right. It tells you that Apple itself cannot be the sole arbiter of what's in our interest. They can be an arbiter of what's in our interest, but if we don't get to override their choices, then they will not use that authority wisely.

32:06 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
No, I agree. I mean you mentioned there's a defcon on your speech where it's specifically an app is basically access to a web page with a bunch of IP thrown in there to make sure that you don't do anything. That you're you. You isn't wanted at the time and that's a tremendously dangerous situation. I mean, we're supposed to be individual users of these devices and, yes, it might be a slight pain to sideload stuff, but it's certainly a right that must be protected.

32:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I love Brent Simmons. Take on this. He's a longtime Apple developer. I think he was the one who came up with a pull to refresh. He did that newswire in his blog in essentialcom.

Corporations are not to be loved. I need to remember now and again that Apple is a corporation. Corporations aren't people. They can't love you back. You wouldn't love GE or Exxon or Comcast and you shouldn't love Apple. It doesn't care about you personally in the least tiny bit and if you were in their way somehow and I have to think Brent might have some personal experience here they would do whatever there might effectively infinite compared to your own enables them to deal with you. Apple has, he says. Luckily, apple has just provided us all with a reminder, just like the sixth finger in an AI rendered hand. Apple's policies for distributing apps in the US that provide an external purchase link are startingly graceless and jarring but not surprising reminder. Apple is not a real person and not worthy of your love. It's hard for I think and I'll include myself in the cult of Mac, those of us and you were early on a cult of Mac. Member Corey, I know you've you've moved on.

33:43 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I have an Apple tattoo. Yeah, you do, really my only tattoo. I have a sad Mac with a hexadecimal error code. Oh, that's great. Where is that? By the way, inner thigh on my right bicep, where it's turned into a kind of smudge, because I got it like 28 pixels square. You know, I dumped the ROMs on an SE and then laser printed it and brought it to a tattoo artist and he was like this is going to smudge and I'm like, no, I'll be careful, and now it's just.

34:09 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But that's a beautiful story, so at the time you clearly were a fan.

34:15 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I think that as is as with my relationship with Disney theme parks it is quite possible to love the sin and hate the center that you don't have to excuse all of the bad things that someone does or a firm does just because they've made things that you enjoy and that make your life better. You know you can give them some grace, but you don't have to be blind to their bad actions. And I think that so much of the kind of painful stuff that we get into when someone or some firm that has done something that we like disappoints us, arises out of this weird idea that all ethical conduct sits in this balance scale and if all the bad things that someone's done are worse than all the good things that someone's done, all the good things are wiped away. And if all the good things are better than all the bad things that someone's done, then all the bad things are irrelevant and instead we can just have those exist in superposition. We can say, when Apple has its customers backs right, when Apple is kicking Facebook, spying out of iOS, when Apple is fighting the FBI on surveillance in encrypted messaging, apple is doing good and and Apple's conduct and the products that arise from that conduct are good. And then, when Apple is removing all working privacy tools from the Chinese App Store, when Apple secretly turns on its own ad based surveillance on iOS platform after Kingi Facebook out, then Apple is bad in doing that.

And we don't have to say Apple is a bad company for having done bad, nor do we have to say Apple is a good company for having done good. What we have to say is what are the forces that discipline Apple so that, on balance, its conduct is good, and what are the policies that create a regime in which, when Apple does bad, we are not forced to take those bad decisions on, but rather can make another choice, which is why things like side loading and third party app stores are good. Not because necessarily anyone that you know will use them, but because the possibility that someone will use them might discipline Apple into conducting itself better in the operation of its own app store. And should Apple's hubris outweigh its self defense or its self self preservation instinct, then you'll have a remedy right. You can go somewhere else. If it ever gets bad enough, you can go somewhere else.

36:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, this debate hold on. We're going to stop now. This debate will continue, though on Mac break weekly. It is a good quote coming up. It is a look at. It is an ongoing conversation that we have on Mac break weekly and Alex's position is, I think, well known and well, well, well executed. It's nice to have Corey just say one 10 seconds.

36:51 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Sure, it's not that I think Apple does everything right. I hate the Apple TV at this point, like the iOS or the TV OS. I complain about it all the time. It's not that I that I that I think Apple does better. I just measured against everything else, including the United States government, and choose Apple over almost all of those other things because their business model, selfishly, is user centric as far as not not developer centric and not government centric, but user centric and and that's their business model. I don't claim that they're good, I just only I'm only saying that their business model is to keep folks like us happy you know, and whether that that offered, that offer does not apply in China.

37:29 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
You know, I mean it's kind of like those governments.

37:33 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I mean, you know, like, as long as you talk about the middle, kingdom talk about not getting to choose, like there's a lot of things I don't like about California, but I've chosen to live here. You know, like you know and I, and there's a ton of things that I think are crappy about this state, but I'm here, I'm here and I don't, I'm like, and this is where I live, you know, and I'm not, I'm not going anywhere.

37:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So so the humans are such you always have to take it.

37:52 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Take it all those pieces together as a whole.

37:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Humans are such a tribal species and it's how we kind of organized our lives and survived and succeeded so long. It's hard not to be tribal, and one of one of the attributes of tribalism is my side is right and your side is wrong, always and forever. And tribalism doesn't really solve this problem at all. And while I do not have an apple tattoo, I do have a twit tattoo.

38:20 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
So and it hasn't smudged. Why do you have?

38:23 - Leo Laporte (Host)
that it's a long story. Let's put it this way. It was New Year's Eve. I came home the next morning with my head shaved in a tattoo on my ass, that's all you need to know that's all you need to know that, that's.

38:40 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I thought you were going to say that most of the time it says twit, but a very special moment it says Twitter. The company came after Twitter network.

38:47 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We had all we used to have to. We used to have to have a paragraph because we'd call people, say I'm from Twitter and they say you mean Twitter, and we had a whole paragraph where they know twit predates Twitter, it's me, it's a network, podcast network, not a anyway. Fortunately, I don't have to do that anymore because Twitter is the company formally known as Twitter. But as long as we're in the, I want to take a break, we need to take a break, but I do as long as we're in the annals of companies behaving badly. You saw that Verizon has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit of $100 million.

39:24 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
That is the craziest one I read that I was like, what are they doing? Like they're, they are agreeing to make a payment, but they're not agreeing to stop the behavior. And if you look at what they're willing to pay people, they're actually making a profit. We're talking about 30%. They're making 60.

39:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is the so-called telco recovery fee, which the class action lawsuit asserted, is nothing but just more profit for Verizon. Verizon admitted no wrongdoing, but did settle for $100 million and then said, oh, and, by the way, we're going to continue to charge the fee.

39:59 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
But this is the problem when it comes to regulation in this country, and this is something that the reg is being pioneering when a fine or settlement like this is announced, you don't just say it's 100 million, you say this is what 0.2% of their net profit for the last year. This is a cost of business. You know cost for them. This isn't a fine, this isn't a deterrence in any way.

40:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They also agree. They also agree to amend their variety, my Verizon wireless customer agreement to include this explanation of the charges, which range, by the way, it's a few bucks per bill but it's on every month and it doesn't do anything except give them money in their pocket In addition to the cost of your plan, verizon rights or any features to which you may subscribe. Our charges may also include an administrative and telco recovery charge. The administrative and telco recovery charge is an attacks. It isn't required by law, it's not necessarily related to anything the government does and is kept by us in whole or in part. And the funny thing is that nobody will ever read that and they just not.

41:11 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
The settlement pays you $1 a month for all the months that you had it, but you're paying $3 a month.

41:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You don't get money back.

41:17 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
They can give you the settlement every five years. The lawyers will take, you know, $40 million. The lawyers get $40 million, verizon makes a profit and you get a little bit of a rebate back. That's exactly what this is. Watch this happen in five years from now. It's like a $8 million a year deal for this law firm to just say we're just going to keep settling every five years, we'll take some money, we'll send some back to everybody and we'll get a little bit of press and I'll move on.

41:41 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Verizon pays a third back.

There's a phrase from the law and political economy movement here, which is that a fine is a price.

And you know this is the issue with, rather than prohibiting conduct, finding people for the conduct, and it's also the problem with certain kinds of consent-based regimes or notification-based regimes.

Right, as I said before, we were talking about Apple's developer TOS, section 522, and you may not violate anyone else's TOS.

The fact that the TOS says, you know, by being dumb enough to use our product, you agree that we're allowed to come to your house and punch your grandmother and wear your underwear and make long distance calls and eat all the food in your fridge doesn't actually like, should not constitute consent. And you know the outer periphery of what you can consent to without being able to negotiate should be much more tightly constrained. Right, the idea that we should have a higher threshold for what in contract law is called unconscionability, a clause that can't be enforced because it shocks the conscience, should be much higher in these contracts of adhesion. Click through contracts where you don't get a say Otherwise. You just have this thing where you say, okay, well, you're not allowed to do this, and they say, great, well, from now on we'll just tell people we're doing it and either it gets buried in the fine print or you see it in the fine print and you're like but I still need the thing.

43:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Right Back to the point out, they're clever, they keep it just low enough. So, you know, well, it's a couple of bucks a month. What is that?

43:12 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
And and and really the question is, once you get it, if it became a regulation rather than a settlement which is probably why they're keeping it as a settlement is, once you do a regulation, you keep on doing it and that becomes. That starts to. You know, small, lots of small, lots of small crimes that add up to a big crime is Rico. You know, like you know, and that's you know.

43:31 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I want to channel, I want to channel Ken White here and say it's probably not Rico.

43:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I know, but Wow, All right. Well, let's take a break. Got a great panel, Lots to discuss. I love it when a panel does not necessarily see eye to eye, and that's. I think we got three smart people who argue they case. Well, Corey Doctorow is here. His new book, the bezel, is on Kickstarter If you want to support the audio edition. With the wonderful Will Wheaton I love. I love the first Martin Henge book. I can't wait to read the bezel. This is great.

44:06 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Oh, thank you this is great.

44:07 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, and you know I'll be fair. You say Amazon won't sell it. But let's be fair. The reason Amazon won't sell it is because you won't put DRM on it.

44:14 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
So sure, right, but but you know that that's like saying Amazon also won't sell books, that for a while anyway they wouldn't sell books that had links to sites other than Amazon in them.

And you know the answer might be well, you could just write a book that didn't have those requirements and Amazon would sell it.

Sure Okay, if.

If I allowed Amazon to log every book that I sold to Amazon's platform forever.

You know, section 12, one of the DMCA provides for a $500,000 fine and a five year prison sentence for removing DRM, which means that if I, as the author of the book, and the person who financed the audio book were to provide you, the person who bought the book from Audible, with a tool so you can move it out of Audible's app and play it in another app, not only would that be punishable by a stiffer penalty than you just pirating the book from some torrent site, it's it's a much higher penalty than you'd pay if you shoplifted the book on a CD from like a truck stop, and it's even probably harsher than the penalty you would pay if you stuck up the truck that delivered the CD with a gun Right. And the fact that Amazon says well, all you have to do is consent to this term where it's actually. We get to send you to prison for five years If you help your listeners listen to a book that you've made with someone else's app you know, yeah sure, amazon will sell my books If I agree to that.

I won't agree to that, but I think that you know that that's a that's a reasonable thing to not agree to.

45:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I agree. Kickstarter. Search for the bezel. You'll find it pretty quickly. What is a bezel?

45:47 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
So a bezel is John Kenneth Galbraith's term for the magic interval after the con artist has your money, but before you know it's a con. When both of you feel like you're better off, we both won. Yay, it's like the net increase of happiness in the world is up. So think about you. Know how everybody felt about NFTs before the NFTs crashed. Right, that was the bezel. Right. How everyone feels about you. Know the metaverse before the metaverse crashes. How everyone feels about you. Know all the AI exuberance before you know 98% of the AI companies pull the plug on there very expensive to run servers and all the integration you've done with with AI tools goes away overnight.

46:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So what you're saying is, if you're happy right now, you're probably in the bezel.

46:30 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
No, but I think that. So this year getting into, into, into and shitification here, yes.

46:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And we will. Oh, that's your next book and we will definitely talk about that. That is my next book.

46:40 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I just sent off the proposal.

46:41 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm so excited.

46:42 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, you know, I don't think it's inevitable that companies abuse their customers. Like I was saying about Apple, I I've been the beneficiary of many instances in which Apple did the right thing for their customers, and I am more interested in how we discipline Apple and other companies by making it so that the costs that they bear for failing to have their customers back is higher than the expected return and so that, when they fail to take that calculus seriously, we can go somewhere else than I am with, like trying to, you know, create a moral hierarchy of which trillion dollar companies are good trillion dollar companies and which trillion dollar companies are bad trillion dollar companies.

47:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's. That's really an important, I think, contextualization that there's good and there's bad, that doesn't doesn't let anybody off the hook. You're not weighing your soul against the weight of a feather. It is more complicated, that's right, I have a.

47:34 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I have a short story in the final dangerous visions anthology that Harlan Ellison's literary executor, joe Strasinski, is putting out about Harlan Ellison in purgatory, because Harlan did some wonderful things.

47:47 - Leo Laporte (Host)
He was a perfect example, isn't he? Yeah?

47:51 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
And it's called the weight of a heart, the weight of a feather.

47:54 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
So there's going to be the third dangerous visions completion.

47:57 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Joe Strasinski has bought the book and it's coming from Blackwell.

48:00 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
And that's one of the great lost pieces of science fiction, cause I mean I, I mean I did Ellison's uh, a bit tree actually in a bar in San Francisco. They did include the subhead Napoleon complex or short asshole, but at the same time he was a, a fantastic writer. I'm so glad that she's coming back.

48:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And also wonderful friend. Oh really.

48:21 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
You knew Harlan Ellison, but he wasn't my friend. He was the friend of many of my friends, but he was gratuitously rotten to me. He was also my teacher and he was quite bad as a teacher Uh, but he was. I watched him do a thing that he was infamous for, which is to choose a goat and choose an angel in the class. I was neither of them for the record and shower one with praise and and uh, reduce the other detours just seemingly to show that he could do it.

But there there are. The stories of the way that he was a generous, kind and thoughtful friend to other people are not made up and they are not canceled out by the stories of the ways in which he harmed other people. They are just, as I say, in superposition. And you know, the idea that we can wipe the books clean of all the good Harlan did because of all the terrible things he did is no more valid than the idea that we should ignore all the terrible things he did because he was so good and kind so many times. They just have to both be.

49:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We're not very good as humans in living in paradox, but as the more I learn about life, the more I realize that's what we live in and we want it to be black and white, and it isn't. It is not black and white ever. In any case Never is going to be. And that's the wonderfully. In Thompson from the register Always a pleasure to have you We've got three. Three, I want to say intellectuals on. We got smart people on, alex Lindsey from office hoursglobal09omedia and, of course, mac break weekly, our show today, brought to you by Mint Mobile.

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You put this video up. Alex Lindsey, from the World Economic Forum which just concluded in Davos. The new president of Argentina, javier Mille, his special address. Now, the things he said were a little unpleasant, so I'm not talking about what he said. Let me play the normal video of this. This is from the translator. Simultaneous translation, as he's speaking.

52:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But this concept which in the developed world became fashionable in recent times.

52:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So you can hear in the background, you can hear his Spanish and you can hear an English accent, a British accent translator translating it. My country has been a constant in political discourse. In real time In 80 years. The problem is so really, it's just kind of getting all the words out there, but you demonstrate it, you show us something which is very interesting. This is a YouTube video with the English speech rendered by HeyGenai. Tell me what's happening here, alex.

52:57 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
So what's happening here is this is a deep fake that is taking his Spanish, converting it to English and then also reforming his mouth. Now this is all, again this is all.

53:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It looks very similar. I mean it's a deep fake. There's the original and here's the video.

53:10 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Yeah yeah. The interesting thing is, so we've been doing this has been finding its way into visual effects for a while, so we have to, like someone swears, we have to make the TV version. Someone does this, whatever and so inserting these things into it has been something that all companies have been doing for the last couple of years. It's not completely unknown, but it's not brand new either. But I had not seen it in this environment and I will admit, this is an environment that I live in, so I know a lot about it. I've done hundreds of events with six to 15 languages. We have this stuff going out and there is such a loss of energy we talk about it all the time A loss of energy for the speaker. That happens when you have a translation and they have to speak in their own language. A lot of them will attempt to speak in English because it gives them a greater impact around the world.

54:01 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You see Zolinski doing that, but it's broken English. It loses impact for that.

54:06 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I mean, we have a school in Rwanda and so our students stream most of the government events and so on and so forth there, and so President Kagami is in a completely different person in Rwanda than he is in English. Yeah, that makes sense and so what he says and how he says it.

54:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
He's a completely different person as well.

54:24 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Right, and so because we're trying to find the other language and say the words in the best way we can, in this case you're allowing that person and again, I think people will be scared about this, but I think this is a great thing for the people who are actually saying it, assuming that it's accurate. We have to remember that almost all translation is not accurate.

54:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We're still arguing over what the Bible says. So the AI is also doing the translation, as well as the deep translation.

54:48 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
This is to my knowledge, this is my knowledge of it, and this is the process Probably not in real time. It is I'm going to take. Changing from one language to another is something large language models do really well, probably better than human beings most of the time. Then the second piece is building a voice model, and these guys are doing it. Probably the leader in this right now is 11 Labs. They are just. Yeah. My AI, leo voice, is from 11. It's frightening. Yeah, I know some folks that are like that. They're doing their interviews with it, like they type it out and just send it to somebody.

55:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's pretty.

55:21 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I don't want to, and so the 11 Labs is kind of nailing that process, but this one is so. But then the hardest part is this idea of I'm going to change the mouth movement, so I'm going to move, and but we can do it, and we've been doing it in visual effects for the last couple of years, where you're using, you're basically rebuilding that model. Now what, in visual effects, the impact is all those dubs that you see eventually will use this for movies, for the releases, so you don't have any kind of lack of sync with the person talking. But I think that this really benefits. And when it becomes real time, which is probably going to be a while, this is probably 100, 100 X 100, 100. So it probably takes a long time to render the.

But when it happens, it means that the individual speaking about what they care about whether it's what he cares about or what Zelinsky cares about, speaking in their own language, coming in English or French or whatever language it needs to go out to, is a huge value for that speaker to increase the impact of what they're saying. You know, because right now everybody's crippled by by translation, like you know, like the interpretation, interpretation in this case everybody gets crippled by interpretation because the interpreters they have bad mics they have. They're kind of, they're always kind of droning on there. They're not any more accurate than the large language model, in my opinion, and so it's just really frustrating. You always go. There's got to be a better way to do this, and this is the bet. I was just kind of is this a? Let me show you again the the actual speech.

56:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Mille is talking to Davos to the general well being. Quite on the contrary. And you hear the intrinsically unfair idea because it's violent, it's unjust, because the state actually, I think the simultaneous translator is doing a decent job of getting the intonation in there.

57:06 - Javier Milei (Announcement)
This is the deep fake and does so increasingly faster, but is also fair and morally superior. Thanks to capitalism, the world is currently in its best moment.

57:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
There has never been a voice, by the way, I should say, if you heard me like voice and the one we live in today the mouth movements are perfect.

57:25 - Javier Milei (Announcement)
Today's world is freer, richer, more peaceful. I think it looks a little funny every once in a while.

57:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But you know, if you didn't know ahead of time, to look for it.

57:32 - Javier Milei (Announcement)
This is true for everyone, but particularly for those countries that are.

57:35 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
That's the scary part Right.

57:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They respect it, the deep fake was concerned is that you could make put this in the mouth of Benjamin Netanyahu.

57:46 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Everything. As Corey so succinctly said earlier, everything comes with good and bad. So the good side of this is allowing people to speak to the whole world in their native language. I can speak in my native language. It goes out to them in their native language. It is a head and shoulder ability to communicate in a much more powerful way. And we're eliminating. You know, it's like Star Trek. You know, no one thinks about language.

58:09 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I saw hey, jen and CES. The downside of it is people with footwork. Four years ago they had fake people, but they were based on real people, so these are presenters that look very real, apparently, though they can do it with now with real people, as a deep fake, which is interesting. And these are simulated presenters. Right, you choose the presenter, you want the language you want them to speak in it's kind of amazing.

58:40 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I do worry, though, because we're in a we're. You know 2024 is going to be a major election year. We've got presidential elections in the US, we've got general election in the UK, and this kind of technology is really coming of age, as it were. I suspect we're going to see some really interesting examples this year of completely fake scandals coming through. Yeah, I don't know.

59:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Maybe I don't know. I have more faith in people's ability to detect these or at least to be suspicious of them. I think generally what happens is people believe what they want to believe and they look for things to reinforce their beliefs. I don't think people's minds are changed by these things, Am I? Is that hopelessly naive of me?

59:27 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Maybe I think there's a lot of. We just have to remember that. You know, not everyone is above average.

59:39 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
You know, and so the thing is that we are easily pushed around.

59:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This discussion often feels that almost patronizing to me, like well, you can't trust real people to know the difference.

59:49 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
No, I don't mean real people, but I mean I just have to. You know, you have to have. If it builds into their own narrative that they already look at the world, they tend to latch onto it and it doesn't matter how smart. In fact, sometimes they're smart enough to calculate it all and figure it out. Obviously fake.

01:00:02 - Leo Laporte (Host)
If you see Donald Trump with a physique that would rival you know Superman, you know that's fake, and people who embrace it and put it on their trucks or raise it up on the flag know that it's fake. But that doesn't matter because it says something to them. The part of it is that deeper truth.

01:00:20 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
But part of the challenge is that we're lying to people all the time, so how do we know what is true? You?

01:00:25 - Leo Laporte (Host)
know there are. There is a risk that nothing will be Unbelievable yeah.

01:00:29 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
You know there's, you know, when you know, like you know, there's a lot of things that we, the government, will tell us over and, over and over again, and then and then, after a while, they're like well, it wasn't exactly that way.

01:00:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Is this a form of? Is this a form of in and then we don't know, corey. No, I guess this is different.

01:00:43 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I mean look. I was telling the joke before we started that I'm okay with people using in-shedification colloquially however they want. We speak English. It doesn't have a language academy, go ahead. I made up this word. I don't get to have the final say about how people use it.

01:00:56 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I didn't even know that Corey made it up. I use it all the time, so I don't know, it's a it's a I'm glad that I have an origin now.

01:01:03 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Worst going in as a journalist. I love it, but I just dread saying it in the headline because I know that everyone's going to be like how dare they be posse now?

01:01:11 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
This is one of the reasons I think it's successful is that it's anyway. That's a separate point, but I think that Leo actually both Leo and Alex you hit on something really important there, which is that the it's often the case that we already have both norms and rules against the kinds of uses of defect technology that we're worried about. So, for example, there are pretty strict rules about election interference that apply irrespective of whether you're doing with a computer or not. You know, thankfully, unlike, say, in privacy, where we have somehow decided that you can violate the law so long as you do it with an app. We have not gotten there with election interference. We do take that seriously. There are pretty stiff penalties.

I was just on a panel right after the George Carlin bad George, oh my God was that awful and his family were very upset and I I understand, but you know we have personality rights in places where that would apply and we have also had impersonators for a really long time and like the fact that the impersonation is easier and faster has some changes at the margin. But it's like it's a change in degree and not a, not a a change in kind, and you know we already have rules about when an impersonator crosses a line and when they don't. You know, elvis is obviously dead supposedly, but if an Elvis impersonator were to try to.

01:02:44 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
There's not much chipshope. Who's?

01:02:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
sneaky of you there, Corey. Okay, go ahead.

01:02:49 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
But if an Elvis impersonator were to try to like access the Elvis Presley estate right and draw the money out of it, we would. We would have the, we would know what the cause of action was. And you know in the in the UK, you know, for every year there's a season on channel, on radio four, where dead ringers impersonates political people. It's not election interference. There is no intention to fool someone. If someone is fooled, there is not a a crime that's been committed and probably the people who make the show will, having fooled someone, make a point of of letting it be known that they weren't intending to fool you and try and set the record straight.

So there are some genuinely novel scary things about AI and deep fakes and so on, but of really large numbers of the ones that people come up with really seem like they're part and parcel of the whole kind of weird thing that AI bros do, where they hold a flashlight under their chin and say AI, you know, like the, the, the spicy auto complete, is going to turn us into paper clips. Then the future, no one will know what's true and I I think that you know it's possible to like cleave the silliness from the real issues and there's some real issues in the science fiction writer, I love digging into those without kind of just just creating a situation which you can sound profound by rubbing your chin and saying, well, what about after AI comes?

01:04:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
to this Well, even even worse. I think a lot of AI executives are using this to hype their products. Sure, and really, sam Altman, talking to Ena Fried I think this was also at Davos said chat, gpt will have to evolve in uncomfortable ways and it, you know, it gives you the, the veneer of. Oh, I care, I am, I'm really paying attention to this and we really care, but really, really, what it's all about is saying see how brilliant our AI is. It could even it could even be uncomfortable, haha.

01:04:53 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
The, the scholar leave in Seoul at Virginia Tech, has a really useful term for this. He calls it critter hype. Like, criticism, critter hype. I love it, yeah, yeah. So you know this like, and he, he, I think, coined it mostly to talk about tech bros who worked for surveillance advertising companies making claims about having built my mind control race, which you know, or or Cox media groups saying we can listen to every device in your house.

Yeah, yeah, exactly, that's exactly what it's like, right, they, you. You can criticize these companies on the one hand for claim for like wanting to build a mind control rate, like wanting to build a mind control way objectively makes you a very bad person, right. But you don't have to believe that they built the mind control rate, especially when they're like these much more parsimonious explanations for what's going on. Like maybe the reason you're getting so much money for your ads is that ad tech is a duopoly and you guys have this secret program called a Jedi blue, where Google and Facebook illegally collude to rig the ad market. And maybe that's why the ad market is so lucrative and not because you figured out how to make rampant into a QAnon.

01:06:00 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Yeah, you know, I think that it's not so much that I guess, when I look at it, I'm a big fan of AI. I mean, pretty much all I cook are AI recipes. Now I ask ChatGPT, like I'm like you are a three. The key with ChatGPT is you tell it where it's coming from, what you want you know, and then the output and say you are a Michelin chef, make me a tomato, like give me a recipe for a tomato soup and it'll give me. I just made it, it's great, anyway. So, anyway and so and I use mid-journey all day, so like these are in ChatGPT my wife, who is not necessarily a high tech, she just pulls out ChatGPT on her phone all the time, like just asks the questions and does, and so I think that it is part of our life and it's going to make a lot of things better. At the same time, I do think we have to know that you know to err as human, but to really screw things up requires a computer.

And the and the and the it's the mass of production that can be done. You know, and I look at it. We there was someone who there was something that I wanted to do for a long time and I was talking CJ is a friend of mine, he's, he uses Resolve and I said here's what I want to do. I want you to look at a movie. I want to look at a movie. I want you to cut all of the scenes, all, every cut, every camera angle, and then I want the frame in the middle of that camera angle so that we can look at color. You know, and I was like I've been asking Black Magic for this for I don't know a decade of like, add this thing because it lets us analyze movies.

And he and he wrote it. And he and like it's a little script that works inside of Black Magic and it just sends you a poster, literally, do you want it 30 rows wide or 40 rows wide? So I said, how long have you been programming? He goes, oh, I've never programmed at all and I was like what? And he goes, no, I did the whole thing in chat GPT. He goes, like he goes. I pointed chat GPT towards the scripting language and opened it up and just told it what I wanted and then just keep on. And then I did a couple of little things to correct here and there and I would have it. Look at the code and it goes, but I've never programmed at all.

01:07:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Wow, I was just like oh, I don't think in general, by the way, that that's going to be ineffective Too, although I've talked to a lot of people who are saying, yeah, writing code is dead, it's well no, no, I don't think, but I think that the store it was the first time I've seen it.

01:08:09 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Stack overflow. Banned chat GPT. That is a huge threat to them. Because huge numbers of errors.

01:08:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Now I mean well, I think more because it's a threat to them, because people won't go to Stack Overflow anymore. They're going to go to chat GPT and do the same query.

I mean I use I created an expert GPT in my language of choice, which is common list, and it will write code. But I will never, I guess I could but cut and paste the code. But it is very useful for me as a reference that I can use as I code. And, by the way, one of the things I did which I think is important I don't know if co-pilot does this or not, but I suspect they do. As I said, please don't I don't want hallucinations Only come up with an answer that you can get from the corpus of materials. I gave them all sorts of list books and stuff. That's why it works well with common list, because it's so old. There's a lot of stuff in public domain and it's quite good.

And I asked it this morning I forgot that I was still in the expert instead of in the regular chat beat GPT and I asked it a question during Ask the Tech Guys. I said I don't know anything about that. If you have a question about common list, I'll be glad to answer it, which I may be very happy it wasn't. It wasn't going to hallucinate. I think there are uses right now for AI, I guess, like coding, but certainly for expert systems or coding assists, just like. Someday we'll be able to take our hands off the wheel and read a book while a car drives, but for right now, the smart thing to do would be keep your hands in the wheel and work together with the.

01:09:40 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
AI as it drives. I mean, you mentioned hallucination and this is something which is it's kind of a hot button for me, because obviously, when all this stuff came out, as a journalist you first thought, is right, let's check it out. Can we actually write articles? Can we automate things like financial results stories or outage reports and that sort of thing, or sporting stories? Yeah, bc, we tried it out, and the amount of time we have to spend editing to get rid of these hallucinations. Well, that was your mistake.

Well, I've been hallucinating. It's just a really nice way to say error. It's just put that up.

01:10:12 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Just put that up.

01:10:13 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
We don't care, it doesn't matter what happens to sports illustrated has been very strange this week, and I mean as a Brit I didn't really quite understand the cultural significance of swim duty. It's huge the amount of people screaming about it online.

01:10:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Huge, so just for those who don't know, mass Layoffs at Sports Illustrated. It had a very weird economic pinning. The name Sports Illustrated and the rights to Sports Illustrated was owned by one company which had purchased it from Time Inc many years ago but then licensed to another company which was responsible for editorial content and publishing the magazine, the Arena Group. So the company that owns the Sports Illustrated name and rights, which apparently only was interested in things like building Sports Illustrated hotels a Phoenix brand group. They're a licensing company. Yeah, there was gonna be a Sports Illustrated hotel. So the sad tale of this is and it's pretty much the same tale about all media empires from years gone by Meredith, big magazine publisher, bought Time Inc for $3 billion in 2017. Couple of years later, they started to sell it off for parts. Sports Illustrated was sold to this authentic brands group, which is a licensing company that acquires the rights to celebrity brands. They bought it for $110 million, mostly for the name, so they could have a Sports Illustrated hotel. And then they asked this Arena Group, which owns Men's Journal Parade the Street for 10 years at a 10-year deal that you will publish and operate Sports Illustrated. It paid about 45, mcrid in New York times $45 million for the rights to do so.

Well, arena Group has been running into trouble and has basically laid off almost all of the staff, including some of the most famous names in sport writing. They also got in trouble for having an AI right Some of their articles, in fact. The CEO lost his job over that At this right now Arena Group. So they had a seven minute Zoom call on Friday with the staff laid most of them off, many of them. They said, well, we're not gonna fire you now. You have 90 days, which is not. This is not exactly incentive. We will continue to produce a Sports Illustrated brand, they said an online content until the situation is fully resolved.

01:12:40 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Yeah, I mean, the same thing happened with CNET this week as well. I mean, cnet were put up for sale by their owners. That's a really crying shame, for what used to be a great brand Totally destroyed it.

01:12:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's Red Ventures, right, yeah, and of course, they did the same thing. They had an AI writing articles. So maybe that's the Canary in the coal mine. When you start seeing AI written articles, that's a sign. If you start seeing AI-generated podcasts on Twitter, that's a sure sign that the whole thing is going tits up, in the words of your people.

01:13:14 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
It's really important to understand that when we see things that AIs are good at right Like identifying potentially cancerous masses on X-rays or maybe outlining an essay or maybe writing some software that the way in which that makes for a better world is one in which the person who is skilled, who would normally do that job, gets a second opinion. Like I really like that. I have a car that when I put my signal light on, if there's a car in my blind spot, it beeps at me. And I rented a car a little while ago that had a thing where if I crossed the median it had a virtual rumble strip. It had haptics and steering wheel right. All those things are really great.

And the thing to understand is that the pitch from the firms and that the pitch from the investors is not hey, your radiologist who currently processes 10 chest X-rays a day will only process nine, because the second opinion from the AI is gonna come up one out of 10 times and that radiologist is gonna redo it. You will catch more cancerous masses, but it's gonna cost you more. The pitch for AI is fire some radiologists, right, and so I am all for things that help people. I, after many years of auto disabling spell check or disabling auto spell check. I finally turned it back on and I'm catching typos while I write. This is literally I did this like a month ago. I have not had auto spell check on Intel a month ago for my home writing career, cause it drives me crazy to get interrupted.

01:14:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's impressive. Are you a very good speller. I don't like being interrupted.

01:14:58 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Well, I'm a pretty good speller, but I would run spell check after I was done with the document. What I didn't want was the machine saying you know, basically, like it's just low key clippy, right, the underlying red line is low key clippy. You seem to be spelling a word, right. Would you like help with that? And I might, but I don't want to help with it. While I'm writing and I just I reached a point where I finally said, okay, I'll do it.

01:15:21 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
No, I mean well we. I was on the way before. I got actually. Where you've got journalists using Grammarly or various other. You know AI, apparently. You know writing tools which can, and it's just comes across as so bland and Right, you can ignore it.

01:15:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So, corey, I just have to know, though you've turned it on now. Is it a disadvantage, is it annoying you, is it?

01:15:44 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
As is the case with many technological changes, it was very annoying at first and then I got used to it and it just regressed to the mean. This is the thing I mean. I knew that would happen. It's the thing I tell everyone is like, oh, I could never switch to Linux or Firefox or Thunderbird or whatever. It's like you know what. For the first two weeks it's going to drive you crazy and then like, if you're ever noticing your operating system, ever, ever, something is bad. And I don't know, I don't notice my operating system. I don't think of myself as a Ubuntu user anymore than I think of myself as a shoe wearer or someone with centralized heating, or you know.

01:16:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Like those centralized heating guys I know.

01:16:26 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, it doesn't make me a member of an oppressed ethnic minority or anything right. But the other thing that I want to say is that oftentimes, the solutions that automation proposes are solutions that literally can't work. So you talked about keeping your hands on the wheel. Taking your hands off the wheel, I mean, when I'm in not the city I live in now, LA, but the city I grew up in, Toronto, or the city I'd spent 13 years in London I take my hands off the wheel, I'm traveling down the road all the time because I'm in a bus and it's great.

01:16:59 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You never put your hands on the wheel. In fact, it would be a breach of the law to put your hands on the wheel.

01:17:05 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Geometry hates cars.

Right, there isn't a world in which, like there isn't an AI algorithm that will let you solve the Red Queen's race, where, every time you add a car to the road, you increase the distance. You increase the amount of road you need, which increases the distance between the things that you're trying to get to, which increases the amount of cars that you need. Right? I've been traveling to Southern California since 1989, when I was 18 years old, and I always started going to Disneyland from an early age. I then worked at Imagineering. I was driving from Glendale down to Anaheim, and I've watched the five down in Orange County go from like eight lanes to 16 lanes, and now there's places where I think it's over 30 lanes wide and the traffic is worse. It's worse, it's not better. It's a wrong wash painting.

Right, there isn't an amount of cars that is going to solve this problem, but there is an amount of trains that will solve that problem, and so I just think that a lot of the times, when we are confronted with really serious problems, there's a technological way of approaching it that's often posed as an all of the above solution, right, where it's like well, we need to do everything to resolve the climate emergency or get people around cities. We need cars, we need buses, we need this, we need that, but these are actually at odds with each other, right? If you're building highways, you're not building subways.

01:18:23 - Leo Laporte (Host)
What you really this is. It's such. I finished the power broker a few months ago and I can't stop talking about it. But this is one of the lessons of the power broker is this old Robert Moses, who was not only racist but just had some reason believed in cars? I think he was taking money from the rubber manufacturers and the gasoline manufacturers and the car manufacturers and was so adamantly against mass transit that he thwarted every attempt to do it in a sensible way. For instance, when they were building these highways, he called them parkways because he thought of them as a park. Somebody pointed out you could easily, at a minimal cost, put train tracks in the middle. You would then kill two birds with one stone, because you've now got during this infrastructure build very inexpensively, you've got train tracks and cars, and he would thwart it at every step.

01:19:13 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, he built the footings so that it was impossible to install a train underneath it.

01:19:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
He deliberately changed the shape of the footings to make sure no trains could run underneath them, and he also made the bridges too low for buses because he didn't want black people to bust too many speeches.

01:19:29 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Apparently, that's a myth, but there's a bridge.

01:19:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's not a myth no, no, no, I've talked to people. Those bridges are 10 feet high. You could get a personal car beneath them, but not a bus.

01:19:40 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
So there's a really good read along of the power broker on 99% invisible right now, and they just did the first episode. Yeah, somebody's been telling me about this.

01:19:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I have to release.

01:19:50 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
They had Robert Caro on he's still on, oh yeah, and he talked about going to Robert Moses' offices and interviewing for the book and he told this incredible story about the day Robert Moses figured out that it wasn't gonna be flattering and like I'll have to listen to this. It's a great. I listened to it yesterday, just dropped last week. It's terrific. I really recommend it. It's called the power broker, but it's in the 99% invisible feed.

01:20:18 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I'll tell you, my wife recommended I read that book because I'd never even heard of Moses.

01:20:25 - Leo Laporte (Host)
No, I haven't either, and I grew up in New York but it's kind of buried in the history of New York, but he's created that city. I mean, as in the modern form, it's funny, it's something like 1600 pages. It's so thick you can barely carry it and I wish it weren't over. Well, I was so sad when it ended. I wanna read it again. It's one of those books where it's daunting to look at it, but then it's just incredible. Caro's amazing. There's also a good documentary I think it's called Turn Every Page, about Robert Gottlieb, his editor, and Robert Caro features both of them. That's really a great documentary. I highly recommend it. I gotta take a break. We're having way too much fun and I didn't even get to in shitification, so we'll talk about that Some fun with that one.

We're gonna have some fun with that. In fact, while I'm doing the ad, you can look up the original piece. It was republished in Wired, but read it on pluralisticnet, which is Cori's blog. The title of it is Tick Tocks in Shitification. Is this the first time you used that phrase? No, I'd used it a few times before that, but it was the one, where the one, that enshrined it in the American language.

01:21:37 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
And that was like a year ago, yesterday or the day before. Oh, happy anniversary. Life comes at you fast.

01:21:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is here is how platforms die. We're gonna talk about that in just a bit, but first a word from our sponsor, cori Dros, here. Alex Lindsey, ian Thompson is a great panel More twit coming up. At first, a word from Palo Alto Networks. Palo Alto Networks offers ZT for OT. Ooh, without the trauma.

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One of the things I'd like to plug, before we talk about how platforms die, is how podcasting is dying. Really, you've written a little bit about this too, corey, I know. Because of Google and Facebook and YouTube sucking all the wind out of advertising, podcasts like ours come to you via RSS, which means we don't know anything about you. We can't track you, we don't but Spotify can, amazon can, and so can every platform that requires you to use their app to listen to shows. Advertisers are so hooked it's like sugar or heroin. They're so hooked on metrics and knowing more about the audience and they just don't wanna give that up. So increasingly, it's been difficult for us to sell advertising. We work, we love our advertisers and we know we do a great job for them. They benefit from it, but they still want those audience demographics and we're still unwilling to give it to them.

01:24:31 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
So we realized a couple sorry, I was gonna say Google's manifest V3 is gonna really put the cash on the picture. Oh, get ready for that. On this one, yeah.

01:24:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Now Google it's. Oh, actually we should talk about this, because Steve did a great piece on this new thing that Google is doing to replace third party cookies. It's really interesting. We'll talk about that, too, a little bit later on the show. I just wanna say at this point if you wanna support the network, the best way to do it yes, support our advertisers. Yes, we're gonna continue to get great advertisers on, but the best way to do it is to join the club Increasingly.

This is you know what. This is the value that we add. It's a community and it's a great community, and we know you love being a part of this community. So if you join the club seven bucks a month, that's all you get ad-free versions of all the shows, you get the Discord, you get the TwiP Plus feed, you get shows we produce exclusively for the club, including iOS today he's now moved into the club plus lots of fun events. We've got Stacey's book club coming up in a couple of weeks. That's gonna be great. We're doing Paolo Bacicolubi's the Water Knife Wow, what a book that is.

01:25:38 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
That'll be a very interesting club event February 8th, you have the same agent, me and Paolo, do you? I love?

01:25:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
The Wind Up Girl Great book, great, one of my favorite sci-fi books. And then I started reading the Water Knife. I haven't finished it yet. I'm reading it for the Book Club. It's grim. It's about a very grim climate change future, but it's also important and he's such a good writer. It's just his characterizations.

01:26:05 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
And a mensch, just a really swell fellow. Oh, I'm so glad to hear that. No, I'm not.

01:26:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, one of the good ones. Oh, I love his stuff. Anyway, that'll be part of the club too, so if you would this is just a plug to join club TwiP Seven bucks a month. Twiptv, slash club twiP. We love our twiP club members and we'd like you to be part of this distinctive group of smart people in the club. Thank you in advance. I appreciate it. Come join us.

01:26:41 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
It is a great meme.

01:26:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So in-sification and this is how Corey begins that now I think classic blog post. Here is how platforms die. First they're good to their users Think Amazon and its customer-centric approach. Then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers. Again, think about Amazon and the third-party sellers. Half of what you buy on Amazon now it doesn't come from Amazon, it comes from third-party sellers. And then finally and this is the stage Amazon's in they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves and then they die. It's kind of the new digital business cycle and it happens and you can see it over and over again. Corey's been very good about documenting it. Corey, your argument, which I completely agree with, is not that you're gonna ever stop this, but this is the argument for interoperability. We should be able to hop from platform to platform and as platforms start becoming user hostile, we just go to the next one.

01:27:48 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, I think about that as being sort of related to the problem of wildfire in California. We've always had fire in California. The indigenous people who lived here before the settlers came used to have controlled burns and that would clear the dead stuff away from the bottom of the forest and it would open up the canopy for new growth. And when the settlers came they declared war on fire.

01:28:10 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And what we thought-. So, anyway, isn't it amazing that these indigenous peoples knew to do that?

01:28:16 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Well, they were here for like A long time millennia, right yeah?

01:28:20 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
12,000 years ago, and so maybe they didn't get it first, right, they just figured it out.

01:28:23 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They learned yeah, if we don't burn it, it will. God will.

01:28:26 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
So, yeah, so ending good fire didn't end fire, it just ended control fire. And then now we have wildfire right? So even if we resolve the climate emergency, california's still gonna burn because we have all this fire debt and in the same way-.

01:28:41 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's also the ecological cycle. It's part of how it works.

01:28:45 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, there's a whole bunch of plants that only reproduce by creating fire and then their seed pods open in the fire and stuff. But the same thing used to be TrifTech. Right, it used to be prior to the Carter era especially, but then slowly, less and less in the years afterwards, that companies weren't really allowed to buy their competitors or merge with their competitors. They weren't allowed to sell goods below cost in order to prevent other firms from entering their markets. Those were all just generally prohibited. There were exceptions around the margins, but that was the way things worked, and so it meant that when no one at Cray could figure out how to make a good computer anymore, that was the end of Cray, and it meant that when IBM monopolized its market, it was taken to court for 12 years and eventually had to do things like make PCs out of commodity components and unbundle the OS and get a third-party company called Microsoft to make its OS. And so we used to have companies that rose and fall. Right, we fell, we used to have good fire, and it meant that users could be protected, because it was very easy to escape a platform If you had an IBM mainframe that IBM didn't want to support anymore.

There were the so-called seven dwarves, the mostly Japanese electronics companies that would continue to make peripherals for them that were plug compatible. And if you used Mac OS and your CIO wanted to take your computer away and replace it with a Windows machine because Mac's office was so bad that you couldn't communicate with your colleagues, steve Jobs could just have his technologist reverse engineer office and make iWork with pages, numbers and keynotes that could read and write word, excel and PowerPoint files and you could switch from one to the other. In fact, right after iWork, we got the switch campaign right. It's very easy to switch. You should switch.

01:30:35 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's the plug compatible software.

01:30:37 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, Right, but do that today and they'll bomb you to the rubble bounces. Right. Make a runtime for iOS that can, or runtime for another platform that can, run iOS apps and playback media that Apple has sold you. Or create a scraper that lets you leave Facebook but fetch the messages that are showing up in your inbox or your mastercom box or your OG inbox or, yeah, create OG app.

You know, google at one point sent software agents to every server on the internet to say hi, I'm just a user, have you got any pages? I'd like all of your pages, please. If you were to try and scrape Google right now, they'd bomb you till you glowed right. And so my argument is that we've put, we've allowed these firms to grow to an unsustainable size. That a firm that has $3 trillion in business and is taking 30% margins out of an entire industry and deciding unilaterally what apps can and can't exist, or, effectively, what businesses can and can't exist. Or Amazon, which is taking 51% out of every dollar that its sellers make and is the largest employer in the country and whose employees are laboring under just the most incredibly awful conditions. They have double the accident rate in Amazon warehouses relative to other fulfillment centers, and we all know about peeing in bottles and so on.

That remedy for that is not to try and make those companies behave themselves. I mean we should do that too, but not to the extent that we create rules that make it hard for other companies to enter the market and not to the extent that we have companies saying well, if you force us to open our app store, interoperate our chat protocol or allow third parties to fulfill orders that are placed through our e-commerce platform, or if you prohibit us from selling on the platform that we own, where we are competing with our own independent vendors, then we won't be able to keep our users safe that, ultimately, the way you keep users safe is by evacuating them from the fire zone, not by adding more fire suppression to the zone, which tempts more people to pile into this place that is going to burn and that we're there in danger all the time.

01:33:02 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I mean. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Facebook get a big advantage when they created a tool to allow people from Myspace to transface straight forward, straight forward over with all their contacts? If you actually pitched that to Meta now, they would see you into oblivion Well it's what they did to a company called Power Ventures.

01:33:19 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
They destroyed them for making an interoperable multi-platform inbox for Facebook and LinkedIn and a bunch of other platforms, twitter and so on some of which used APIs and some of which used scraping. Every pirate dreams of being an admiral and their pitch is always the same. When we did this to those other companies, that was progress, but when new companies do it to us, that's piracy. I'm not faulting Apple for reverse engineering office. I think that was great.

I was a CIO back then and I was making those calls where we had designers in an office full of PCs, the designer with the only Mac who just like first I would put a PC on their desk to use as an office workstation, because they could not read or write office files that came from their Windows colleagues without corrupting them, so they would switch to another computer. And when that became too ungainly, I just put big graphics cards in their PCs and threw away their Macs and I didn't like it and they didn't like it. But what was I gonna do? I loved it when Apple came out with iWorks Suite and I just wish they'd share right. I loved it when Google came up with a great way of indexing the web. I just wish they'd share.

01:34:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But you said we don't need regulation. But it does argue for good antitrust regulation, doesn't it?

01:34:36 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, so we need antitrust. We do need interoperability mandates, we need to clear the way, we need to immunize people who build interoperable products and the. You know the identification thesis has broadened significantly since that first article. It's been just over a year. I just put together a book proposal for it and I'm giving a big speech in Berlin that kind of tracks the book proposal. Next week I'm gonna be there for Transmediale and I'm gonna give them a clue and lecture at the Canadian Embassy. I think it's sold out but you can check. Will it be streamed it?

01:35:10 - Leo Laporte (Host)
probably won't be streamed, they're gonna record it though. Is this the Marshall McLuhan lecture? Are you doing the Marshall? Yeah?

01:35:16 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Wow, cory, wow, that's my praise, holy cow. It's gonna be cool. I mean, as a Canadian, that's about as good as it gets for sure. Yes.

01:35:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)

01:35:24 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
That's yeah, but in this speech I lay out this idea that there are four forces that keep companies from identifying that. One of them is this fear of self-help right, the fear that a user will type into a search engine how do I get my data out of here? How do I block these ads? How do I stop recommendations? How do I turn off this anti-feature? How do I jailbreak my printer to put in third-party ink? Because at that point your revenue from that user falls to zero. So that's one thing that firms fear, and the broad prohibition against reverse engineering and this kind of adversarial interoperability has killed that constraint. But there are other constraints, so one of them is competition right. Companies that fear that you will go to arrival are companies that will probably treat you better on average, and if they don't, you can always go to that rival. Now, when firms are allowed to buy all their competitors, you know Google being a company that has only made one really successful product in house, a 25-year-old search engine and then virtually everything else they've made, it is so successful.

Well, very right.

01:36:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, not so much these days, but yeah, that's not enough.

01:36:33 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Right, oh man.

01:36:35 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
And everything else they've made in house has failed, almost with that exception, and everything they have that works their video platform, mobile ad tech, server management, docs, collaboration maps, satellite photos. There are other people's ideas that they bought and operationalized and as an ops guy, I mean, I'm not saying operations is nothing, but they're not Willy Wonka's idea factory. They're like Rich Uncle Pennybags and his room full of janitors, right?

01:37:03 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I had a Google PR because we refer to them as a chocolate factory because they're coming up with so many interesting innovations and I had a Google PR say if we could get you to drop the chocolate factory thing we would be. I have a directorship by now. But, you're right. I mean other than search. Everything else has been bought in, and it's the same with Metta. It's the same, to an extent, with other tech companies as well.

01:37:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It reminds me though, of Larry Lessig, who for a long time was really fighting against like you, corey, against copy protection back in the day, drm, and realized ultimately that what's happened and I think this is really true in this case what's happened is these companies have become so powerful and, more importantly, so rich, and our government is so based on money that they are effectively impregnable. They can't be beaten because they become so powerful, they have so much money. They can buy Congress, they can buy the presidency, they can buy the Supreme Court, and so it's so hard for us to turn it around at this point.

01:38:09 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
But it's not just how much money they have, it's how few companies are in the sector. If you remember the Napster Wars, when Larry was doing his thing, the tech industry was 10 times larger than the entertainment industry, but they got their ass kicked because they were 100 squabbling companies Right. Right Now there are cartels of five companies Right, whereas before the music and Hollywood Studios firms were seven companies Right. They found it very easy to agree on what they were going to say to Congress. Tech was never on message Right. They were always stabbing each other in the back. Cartels are a necessary precondition for regulatory capture, which is how you get this environment today where privacy, labor and consumer rights can be violated with impunity, provided you do it with an app, and self-help measures can be destroyed because you can not only, when you capture your regulator, stop from being regulated, but you can also regulate your competitors Right. You can stop new market entrance from entering by having regulations that prevent them from doing these things. So what, larry?

01:39:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
concluded was well, the only solution is to any of these problems is to get money out of politics.

01:39:16 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Money out of politics Sure.

01:39:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
He ran for president briefly, on the premise that I'm going to choose a really good vice president and I'm going to get into office. And this is the only way I can get money out of politics, because, of course, all the incumbents are living off of the trough. They're not going to abandon the trough, so I'm going to get in, I'm going to be president, I'm going to get campaign reform, finance reform by executive order. Then I'll resign because I don't want to do the rest of it.

01:39:44 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, a day one. That was his promise. It was a great stunt, a little chaotic but quixotic.

The first three forces that regulate companies competition, regulation and self-help have all been put paid to by the elimination of antitrust and the permission for firms to grow through acquisition and predatory pricing. And then the fourth thing that always protected us was workers, because, although tech workers have never been unionized in great numbers, they were in great demand. In fact, that's why they never saw the need to unionize, because they had so much worker power just per se, they already had collective bargaining.

01:40:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I won't do it all quick.

01:40:17 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, yeah. And so for a long time, you had these workers who were they were vulnerable to exploitation because they saw themselves as like fulfilling a holy mission. That's why don't be evil and all those other corporate models mattered, because the workers took them seriously and they would be extremely hardcore, as Musk puts it, or Fubazi Etar calls it vocational law, when you take your job seriously and you care about it, and so you let yourself be talked into missing kids' birthday parties and your doctor's appointments and like your fertility window and whatever, and, as a result, when their bosses said, hey, this thing that you work so hard on, we demand that you, they would say no and you're going to have to fire me because I'm not going to do it and I know I can get a job across the street from someone who won't make me destroy the thing that I gave up my heart and soul to do. Now, that worked for a long time, which is one of the reasons that I think all those other constraints falling away was not felt as sharply. But as firms have become more concentrated, they've also become more able to dictate terms to their workforce. So last year, google fired 12,000 employees just months after they did a stock buyback that would have paid their salaries for 27 years. And I think now every Googler has gotten the message that if you tell your boss I'm not going to identify that product, you'll have to fire me. Your boss is going to say, great, turn in your badge and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. And so now we have been shorn of all of these constraints on the worst impulses of the worst people in companies that have always been mixed bags, and everything is going downhill very quickly.

But the thing about this analysis is that it tells us what we need to do to unwind it, to disqualify things. Restore labor power, restore self-help measures, muscular, highly administratable regulations on privacy, consumer protection and labor law, and restore competition. Block rotten mergers like Microsoft Activision, which Lena Kahn is still saying she's going to block. Prohibit predatory pricing. Continue to unwind mergers. The America Act would force both Google and Metta to break up their ad tech stacks and spin them off. The two sponsors for that bill are Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren. It's a bizarre. That is a part of the bill.

01:42:31 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
That is possibly the worst drunken hookup you ever see, but hey, if it gets the job done, I will force you.

01:42:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, my fear is the reason you get these and, by the way, it's also with other acts, like the no Fakes Act and the Interoperability Act. You get the left and the right merging is not because they agree on anything, but because they both agree. We got to screw big tech for opposing reasons.

01:42:55 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Frankly, that's how we got Lena Kahn right. I think it was 12 or 18 Republican senators voted for her because they thought it'd be a big FU to Twitter and Facebook. But you know we got.

01:43:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Lena Kahn.

01:43:06 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
She's done more in three years than her predecessors did over the last 40.

01:43:10 - Leo Laporte (Host)
She was the one behind that law. That has to be as easy to cancel as it is to join and on compete, making privacy an element of a lot in court and people have focused on that. They focus on the failure and things like active in Microsoft major mergers in December. Yeah.

01:43:29 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Right, I mean there's a lot. You know. Yes, she's had a couple of court losses, not all of which are losses, by the way. There's some are still under appeal, and you know, I think that, like the argument that the reason the Wall Street Journal ran 80 editorials in three years about Lena Kahn, saying that she was useless and not getting anything done, is pretty thin Like Rupert.

Murdoch did not pay a staff to write 80. Yeah, if you're doing nothing, rupert Murdoch does not pay a staff to write 80 editorials about how useless you are.

01:43:59 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Well, no, but this is it. It's not just the amount of stuff that's been blocked, it's the amount of takeovers that have now been withdrawn, because they're now seeing that it's getting more muscular about this. And downright good on them.

01:44:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, hey, I want to take a really quick break. We have more to talk about. This brings us to Beeper, because there's an example of a company that attempted to create interoperability on its own, and what did Apple do to Beeper? But first a word from our sponsor. Thanks to Corey Dockterow and Alex Lindsey and Ian Thompson for making this a. I knew it would be, but it's even better than I thought. A very special episode of this Week in Tech, our show today, brought to you by Drata.

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That's the cool part. It's the solution to faster, more efficient audits. Save hours of back and forth communication, never misplace crucial evidence. Share documentation instantly. So the bottom line here is say goodbye to manual evidence collection. Say hello to automated compliance when you visit dratacom and get 10% off dratacom. Bringing automation to compliance at Drata speed. We thank them so much for their support of the show. Beeper says Apple's now blocking their max the user's max from using iMessage entirely. This has been an ongoing and kind of depressing saga Beeper attempting Now. I have to say I did not think Apple would allow this to happen. Beeper seemed to think they would. Beeper created an Android app that would allow you to be a blue bubble instead of a green bubble to other Apple messages users, but they Apple stopped it pretty quickly. Within a few days they stopped it, and so Beeper has been trying a variety of ways to get around Apple's.

01:46:59 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Well, they went back and forth. Beeper had a little stockpile of different ways to do it, yeah, all of which have been thwarted by now. They've all been thwarted.

01:47:09 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
It is remarkable, though, that the color of the message tone is so important to so many users, because this is actually not a very good messaging platform.

01:47:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You can't use it as your primary messaging platform on Android because it doesn't support SMS.

01:47:24 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I mean, I think this is well. I think that the way to understand this is not to think about this as something that Beeper gets an advantage from or that Android users get an advantage from, but that Apple users get an advantage from. So if you're an Apple user, apple takes your privacy pretty seriously, right? They fought the FBI over end to end encryption. They fought the US, the UK government on it. They wobbled a little on the client side scanning, but they saw the light. They've been pretty good on this and they've been burned by problems with security in their messaging tools, right when we had so-called fappening.

Right that the mass leak of, you know, non-consensual leak of nudes from cloud hacks that had originated often as messages that were synced to Apple's cloud platform. And if you are an Apple user and you know someone who's an Android user and you have something to say to them, apple by default will not give you any privacy. In that message. You end up sending an SMS, which is the least private protocol to Majmala. I mean, it is like to call it a dumpster fires to do violence to good, hardworking dumpster fires. It is wildly insecure and if you add an Android user to a group chat, every single person in that group. Chat's messages are now in the clear, and so Beeper came along and gave the Apple users a way to communicate with their Android fellows. That maintained the privacy of the platform.

Now Apple made some non-specific claims about Beeper's security. Those claims should be taken seriously. You know, if Beeper is making a claim that they're adding security to your platform, we should interrogate those claims. And so Beeper then published their source, and, to my knowledge, no one has found any of the vulnerabilities that Apple discussed there. Apple, meanwhile, has not adhered to the minimum standard for describing a security defect, which is, you know, to add enough detail, some proof of concept code. Perhaps you know the same things Apple would require from someone who reported a security defect to their own bug bounty program. None of that has been in evidence, so we just have Apple's word for it. And you know Apple did.

When Apple went after Beeper Plus users, they were. Every time they tightened the news, they made things less secure for their own users. And this last move right where, if you have used your own Mac device to generate an iMessage identifier so that you could use your Android device securely as well, now Apple will strike off all of the devices that you own so that none of them can use iMessage, apparently ever again, really goes to show you that this is about taking the privacy and security of Apple users and sitting it below the hierarchy of Apple's needs relative to the lock-in that Apple gets from having a proprietary messaging platform. And if there was ever any doubt, just remember what Tim Cook told the reporter, who said what do I tell my mom who wants to communicate with me? And I use iMessage? He said buy your mom an iPhone. You know what? One of the clinical signs that you're in a cult is when the leader of the cult tells you to cut off contact with anyone who doesn't do the same things as you.

01:50:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's a good point. Then there's the sad story of Hello, which I kick-started way back in the day. This was going to be a Facebook alternative. Andy Bio writing and his Waxi links the obituary for Hello. It's over. They really I mean, when I said over over, they turned off the servers.

01:51:12 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Now they run the business model Like I don't understand, like what the business model was? There was no business model, as Andy points out.

01:51:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
There had to be because they took investment, they took venture capital, so he knew there would be something wrong in the long run. In fact it's amazing they went 10 years but they did that eventually sell to somebody who was going to kind of mine secretly.

01:51:33 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
They didn't sell anybody, they'd structured as a public benefit company and then they secretly transferred the assets to a for-profit company and then they sold that company secretly to another company. And you know, I think it's a really good example of a theme that's come up many times in our discussion today, which is that it's not that people are bad or good. It's that when they are unconstrained, they can make bad choices. Because they were able to operate in secret, because they did have the constraint of running out of money, because they didn't have a business model, they ended up rationalizing a series of bad choices, one after another, that led to one day, literally, people who had been told you will never be the product you will never be sold, waking up to discover, first, that their data had all been sold and, second, that it had been deleted Right, like the two worst things that can happen to an artist. And this was a platform for artists in their portfolios. And it really shows you that the best of us, with the best of intentions, are very fallible and that this is why we need external constraint. This is why we need someone to call us on our nonsense and why users need to be able to move very easily from one platform to another.

There's this idea in economics called a Ulysses pact, because Ulysses tied himself to the mass so that when the siren sang he couldn't jump in the sea. He knew that he would be weak in the future. So while he was strong, he bound himself to a commitment. When you go on a diet and throw away your Oreos, that's a Ulysses pact. When you license your software GPL that's a Ulysses pact, because your investors can never make you make a proprietary because of perpetual license. And they could have done all kinds of Ulysses pact. They could have published their quarterly books, they could have live streamed their staff meetings, they could have done all kinds of things that no firm has done, to be fair. But when Waxi first published and said, hey, these guys have taken some venture capital. I don't understand how they're going to be able to resist their investor's demands for profit, their response was basically like we are extra chill dudes and you should just chill out because we're good.

01:53:47 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Prostus. Everything's going to be fine, right, and maybe they believed it.

01:53:51 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I think lots of people believe that when they're when the moment comes, they'll do the right thing. But the right thing can sometimes feel like well, I talked 150 of my friends into risking their kids college funds to come work for my startup. I can let that startup fold next week by standing on principle, or I can live to fight another day by making this compromise. And you do that enough times and the next thing you know they're pulling the plug on your server.

01:54:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
As of July, lo shut down. And if you were a creator that had content on there? Apparently some people were foolish enough to put like all their stuff there and nowhere else.

01:54:26 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
And I think that's someone who's on like pretty much every platform, like a lot of us we know, across those platforms, I really don't care whether they're interoperable or not, and I just decided I'm not going to use that one anymore and I turn it, and I don't really turn it off, I don't throw some big big thing, but I go to Facebook like once a quarter, right.

And I use it for a couple you know, I use it to log into my my, my meta, my, my quest. You know, like, like those are the things and it's on a phone that I don't use and I don't like my whole thing about. I don't put Facebook on my phone. I don't do it because I have any kind of privacy issues. I have to do it because it drains my battery to the ground, like putting Facebook apps on your phone, meta apps on your phone just are, you know, they literally half your battery life on an iPhone, and so it's blow where as well I mean the amount of size of those files is insane.

So I go on, you know, I go on to it. I have learned that there's a whole generation that only you can only contact me in the Instagram. Like I hit, you know, like there's, you know, and they don't have any. I go, can we send email or text, and they're like, really Like, let's, let's talk about that a little bit, and so, but I, you know. So I think that you know. I guess I don't really worry about that. I do think that there is an energy, a lot of energy, built up. There's an opportunity for people to build other formats.

I don't think this one was it, but I think I think you do have to know how you're going to make money. There can't be. But I also think that you're going to see something that is a privacy first, that is, you know, lets people build networks. That is also most likely bought free, you know, and there's ways to do that. And and and they just say, hey, we're not going to. You know, it's going to be like the Star Wars thing, where we don't let those, you know, we don't, you know we don't, we don't serve those. And I think that there's ways to do that. That that you know, and it's complicated, but there are ways to get that done and I think that that's going to build up pressure, in the same way that, you know, when I was working at Sony, we constantly brought up the fact that 1699 for a CD is too much money. Like I was a rep, you know, for Sony, we were like 1699 is way too much. It's cost 44 cents to make that CD. And they're like, well, there's the IP. I'm like, well, you're selling the same IP for for for cassettes. The cassettes are 699, the CDs you're charging $10 more because it, because you can't, like you know the difference between the hardware the cassette was 21 cents, the CD was with the case, everything else was 44 cents and they were charging 699 and 1699.

And I was like you're building up, you're building a bad, a bad relationship with your, with your consumers, and they're not going to care about you when the next thing happens. And sure enough. So what happens is these things can, can change very quickly. Like, and we did tests, we did, we took Ned's atomic dustbin and sold it for $7.99. And it went. I mean when it went gold, like you know. Like when it went, it went, it went in a, in a vertical that shouldn't have, you know, and and so the thing is, is that it worked, the the issue is that what happens I think, though, is that eventually, this catches up with people, that they, that the builds up pressure of distrust and dislike.

When Napster came out, no one cared. Like, no, like they, they, you know they had been, they had been screwed for so long that that no one cared about the industry. No one cared about what it was doing to anybody. Because they are paying. They knew they were paying way more than it was, and so I think that they're.

You know, I don't know what that is yet, but I think that there are opportunities. There will be opportunities to come out that are going to everyone's going to jump onto something else, because, because they don't like where they're at, you know, and and I and I think that younger folks are much more like. I have kids that are, for, you know, are 15 and 16. They're very fluid, like. They're not worried about what's on their network. They're not worried about the fact that they've got a bunch of pictures on Facebook, or they did, they'd never had, I wouldn't let them on Facebook.

But, but the but, the but the point is, is that you know that community doesn't really care about interoperability. They're just going to stop using something and it's just going to become a ghost town, and you know, and, and they're just going to. You know they're just going to move on to the next thing, and so I don't know if it. I don't think that's as much of a lock in for the next generation. What is a lock in is green bubbles. I will say as a father of teenagers. They're like oh, that's no, I was asking them about that. It really sells iPhones, that's no joke.

01:58:26 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
That's no joke.

01:58:29 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Well, it's 87% of kids under 18 are on on iPhones and the amount of pressure you know that they have to be to be a blue bubble is intense.

01:58:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
My son. I asked my son when he was in a frat at CU Boulder how many iPhones? He said all but one. We're all all iPhones. But there's this one guy who's using hand trade and he never gets invited to anything because we don't want to have them on our group chat. There's huge peer pressure.

01:58:52 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Huge peer pressure, which is stupid, but it's true that there's lots of people who don't care until they do Right. So the first generation of young people who got online, who loved live journal and couldn't bring their community with them somewhere else when live journal went to shit, are still sad about losing live journal. And there are people who have much more consequential reasons not to leave a platform. So we advise some people at EFF who were a community of breast cancer pre-vivors, who had been very actively courted by Facebook when Facebook was trying to encourage the growth of medical communities on their platform and so they had set up there and of course, it's really important these groups to these people. You know, if you're a breast cancer pre-viver, which means that you have the gene, that means that it's likely you will get breast cancer. It means that not only might you be sick, but you are also very likely to be taking care of a sick relative or grieving for a sick relative a mother, a sister, a daughter, a grandmother or an aunt and so this community matters a lot to them. Now members of the community identified a bug in Facebook that allowed you to enumerate the full membership of any group on Facebook, whether or not you were a member of it and this was obviously really important to them as a medical group, and they reported it to Facebook and Facebook said that's not a bug, it's a feature request, and we're not going to do it, because this is actually something that helps us with our ad tech being able to enumerate groups, and eventually they convinced them to do a minor lockdown where if you joined a group, you could enumerate it, but if you weren't a member of the group, you couldn't enumerate it, and that was not enough for them. They would like to go somewhere else.

The problem is that they have the collective action problem that we've all faced. Right, you go to a con and there's, like you know, 20 of you around the standing around after the closing keynote. You all want to go out for dinner and you can't agree where, right? And two hours later, you're still arguing about where to go to dinner. Now multiply that by 200 friends, and some of them are on Facebook because that's where their kids football team, plans the car pool, and some of them are there because that's where their customers are, and some are there because they're migrants or refugees from another country, and it's the only way they stay in touch with the people back home and you say, okay, everyone, tomorrow we're leaving Facebook and we're going to wherever right Threads LO mastodon, whatever right, it's just impossible.

02:01:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We try to organize our neighborhood of six homes, six families and we went from door to door and we said which messenger program would you like to use? And we never. There is no group because there was never an agreement. Next, door.

02:01:19 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Here's this group of people still stuck to Facebook.

02:01:22 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Oh God no next door is such a fettish Actually I suggested- next door and there was widely vetoed, immediately vetoed.

02:01:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So at least we're smart enough to know better than that.

02:01:33 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
No, I mean okay, we have a simple email list on our street. It's just one guy who is the street coordinator. That's a good idea. Maybe we should do emails, you know it's just like emails the original protocol is coming down to empty the bins. Today, clear your car off this side.

02:01:48 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Remember it wasn't. It wasn't. Some of us have been around long enough to remember when email was siloed. You know you were on MCI mail or comp you serving. You couldn't talk to one another.

02:01:59 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Have you installed the X 500 certificate yet, but so so I don't know how email got open and RFC 422,. I think that's amazing.

The story is. The story is that the person working on it said we'll do the authentication later. We'll ship it now and do the authentication next year, and authentication turned out to be the last 10% that was, you know 99% of the work which they just didn't do. It's like the epitome of that, brian, you know aphorism be the first person to try not doing something that no one else has ever not done before. To try an email system without authentication.

02:02:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, I'm still trying to solve that one, the first person to not do something that no one else has ever done before.

02:02:44 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
That's what eBay did. Right, it was like the, you know, auctions without an auctioneer who held things in escrow. And it's what Kickstarter did the first street performer protocol that didn't have an escrow service, so you got the money before you delivered the thing. So the problem is that you generally can't deliver the thing unless you got the money. So Kickstarter, you know, all the previous versions of that were like we're going to hold on to the money until you deliver. And everyone who did it was like well, I didn't deliver because you didn't give me any money to deliver with.

02:03:10 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for the very first thing I ordered on Kickstarter, which was a set of dice that I put money into the Kickstarter.

02:03:18 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I always go it's kind of like a little surprise gift for future me it is. I go, I'm going to throw. It's like a little lottery and I throw the money in and I never put more money into it than I can afford to lose and I just throw it in and then, like six months later, a random gift of sometimes I forgot about it I forgot that existed. I didn't even know that. I forgot that. I even put money into it and I was like oh, this is such a great.

02:03:41 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I had ordered a piece of luggage that had a built in battery To charge your phone, which five or six years ago seemed like a really good idea. Got it in the mail and of course you can't bring that fire you can't. You can't bring it on the plane because you can't move the battery.

02:03:58 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
So, yeah, you have to go in there and screw it now.

02:04:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It is a phenomenal piece.

02:04:01 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I'm here.

02:04:02 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Sorry, the guy who did beeper created the pebble watch Right, the one of the most successful.

02:04:09 - Iain Thomson (Guest)

02:04:12 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Smart watches. Also, as someone who's run a bunch of kick starters in the last couple of years, please, please, please, if you back a Kickstarter, go and fill in your survey. I am like every week getting things like oh, you've just got another order for a book that you sold someone two years ago and they finally filled in your survey and you got to find a copy of the book and sign it and bring it to the post office for them.

02:04:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, this happens to me all the time your survey. I can never see the survey emails. They go somewhere, I don't know where. Yeah, I know.

02:04:41 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
It's a real problem. They should do the surveys in advance and then like at purchase time, and then give you the option of amending it. Yeah, and if you don't amend it, it just gets fulfilled to your default one. Because this come back later and fill in a survey, notice an email, come back later and fill in a survey is a real Achilles heel.

02:04:59 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
You know, I really feel like they're. I know that they have interface teams, but they really need to take it more seriously. I am struck by and I talk about this all the time with other folks that are doing design of how important it is to really think about how the interface is going to drive behavior. And if you create any little lip, you know, like any little lip, you can lose huge amounts of people because you just made it. You created some little glitch that didn't like. We've had problems where when you click on the button, it took an extra two seconds to for it to respond. Like the webpage didn't respond for two seconds, it crashed our servers. Why did it crash our servers? Oh Jesus, it just kept on hitting the button and suddenly every person was hitting the button 40 times instead of once and it was. And when we took that out, everything worked again. I'm sorry.

02:05:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm filling out a survey from something I bought three years ago and I forgot to fill out the survey. Thank you. Leo there you go. I realize I really wanted that book Corey and I just completely, completely forgot. Let's take a little break. We'll come back with more in just a little bit. Microsoft has just announced that, yeah, our executives email was hacked, but don't worry, you're safe Don't worry Our show today, brought to you by zip recruiter.

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Ziprecruitercom slash twit. Please use that address. We want them to know. You saw it here. Ziprecruitercom slash T-W-I-T. Zip recruiter the smartest way to hire. Now. We do have a little movie we made. Benito has just run out of the room. Maybe he's going to get the. Get the, the real. Can you thread the projector quickly and play that little movie with some of the best things that happened this week? On twit, we have a superstar amongst us now. You saw him last week testifying for the United States Senate. You didn't play any of my testimony you got bored.

No, we did. That was before the show then. Yeah, thank you very much. I put on a tie, it was quite. It was quite ellicent.

02:08:32 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
This is what happens when you leave us, Jeff, Previously on twit twit news.

02:08:38 - Javier Milei (Announcement)
With Galaxy AI S24 series is the device that brings to life your vision about better tomorrow. Language can be a barrier.

02:08:50 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
We're thrilled to offer a solution by providing real time voice translation. That was a clever edit, while you're on a call.

02:08:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, that's cool.

02:08:58 - Steve (Other)
Yeah, we do not say that we're actually going to rock everyone's world and I'm not kidding by examining and mostly understanding what Google has been up to for the past three years, why it is going to truly change everything we know about the way advertisements are served to web browser users and what it all means for the future. This week in Google, have you gone to the GPT store and have you gotten all of the AI girlfriends that are available?

02:09:34 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Are there AI girlfriends Apparently?

02:09:36 - Steve (Other)
they're not supposed to be there, but there's a lot of them.

02:09:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Here's one I'm Jessica, your ex-girlfriend you never shared any interests with. Here's a lot of you. That sounds somebody's having issues and they're working through them. Twit for help with the technology addiction problem call 1-800-TWIT. What should I ask your virtual boyfriend? I'm doing a podcast. What do you think about it? That's fantastic, sweetheart. I'm sure you'll be amazing at it. What's your podcast about? Oh? You care so much.

We had a lot of fun with that virtual boyfriend. I must say, and even though open AI says you, there are no virtual girlfriends on chat, gpt, there are hundreds in the GPT store. I don't know, they're not doing much to block it and you know why should they? If you want an AI girlfriend, go for it, or boyfriend, live it up, go for it. Microsoft, they made the announcement, which credit to them. They say Microsoft senior leadership emails were accessed by a nation state. They think the same Russian hackers that did solar winds, which was devastating? No, billy him. And I'm going to read this, beginning in late November 23,. The threat actor used a password spray attack whatever that is to compromise a legacy, non production test tenant account and, by the way, by doing so, gain a foothold to access a very small percentage of Microsoft's corporate, corporate email accounts, including members of our senior leadership team and employees in our cybersecurity, legal and other functions, and exfiltrated some emails and attached documents.

02:11:31 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Well, no, I mean when they're saying they targeted a very small number of our executive team, the exact people. They wanted military parade of red flags. Yes, because that's what they were after.

02:11:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And, by the way, they said oh, don't worry. As far as we can tell no customer, the accounts have been attacked. The attack this is again another quote was not the result of a vulnerability in Microsoft's products or services. To know to this day, there's no evidence that the threat actor had any to customer environments, production system source codes or AI systems. But let me go back to how they got in A password spray attack to compromise a legacy non-production test tenant account which apparently had permissions to access all of Microsoft's internal emails. There's something really wrong with this picture. Everything is fine, it's fine, you're okay, don't worry, wow.

02:12:32 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
This can't. I mean, when you're going after that tight level of Microsoft management, that isn't just like oh yeah, we had a slight vulnerability, this was a serious hacking attempt.

02:12:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
As bad as it can get, yeah, so when they say a spray password attack. I guess that means they just tried passwords to one word. But why is there some server sitting on the public network legacy non-production test tenant account that has access to all of the corporate emails? Why is that just sitting in the public, sitting there?

02:13:08 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Because someone forgot about it.

02:13:10 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yes, I mean, a lot of the things are like someone has some machine.

02:13:13 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
And this again is why a lot of us that use Apple products don't want people to hack into it from some other area, because we just don't think they're going to take even Apple, that's true.

Just having one company manage it, having anybody else manage safety. I mean, this is Microsoft, this is their executives, and they still can't keep it closed. And so I mean the NSA couldn't keep their stuff closed and this is what they do. That's right. And so I think you always have to worry about every new person that's connected to you. Every new company is a threat, and this is, but I'm sure that it was a computer that no one has looked at for many, many years. It's been sitting around, no one's doing anything with it, and it somehow was bridged somewhere.

02:13:51 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
And Monkey123 was the password and you know it wasn't secured and the rest Well this is the great paradox of you know large and small firms that large firms are so big that it's impossible to know for sure all the things they're doing, and they have so many moving parts that you can never fully audit them. And then small firms don't have the resources to guard all of their perimeters and so either way you get some kind of unavoidable problems. I've just put something in the doc One of the most remarkable articles I'd ever read from Wired about Amazon's. It was from 2021, about Amazon's failure to protect user data.

So Amazon, in order to like, move fast and break things, had no internal controls on their data and literally any team could clone the entire Amazon database. Oh geez, they had no auditing and they had no census of who was using what and how many copies have been made. They had all kinds of insider threats. They had people selling data to rival vendors. They had just it was just crazy, but it was like they didn't want to get in the way of developing teams and they could not hire a CSO, because every CSO they hired said stop doing that. And they were like that's the thing you're not allowed to tell us. They promoted a guy from within who was, by his own admission, not qualified to do it, but he was someone who was willing to take as the kind of first principle that there should be unlimited replication of Amazon's entire data set with no auditing and no forensics Move fast and let others break into your things.

02:15:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Crisis yeah, wow.

02:15:41 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
And the graph on Facebook when we were doing backends for Q&A because I do a lot of Q&A stuff the back end until Cambridge Analytica was pretty amazing. That's a developer.

02:15:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You could just, it would just shock you.

02:15:56 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
The reason that our system is now able to handle so many questions coming in was because you could point it at any Facebook event. You just go that one and it would just suck all of the questions and all of the Like, every comment in the whole thing out of it and we could say, oh, this broke, this broke, this broke, this broke. And now we threw it away because we were like I don't want that data around. But obviously Cambridge Analytica just pointed it at it and then kept it, and then Facebook, of course, closed that all up.

I mean they've gone away with the.

02:16:23 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Cambridge Analytica thing, pretty much by saying, yeah, okay, it was a slight problem, it was wide open, we're not going to deal with it and you're just like no, this is a massive issue.

02:16:33 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Yeah, I mean it's much more closed down now. But again, these are all it gets inconvenient. It's inconvenient to lock the door every time you go in and out of it, but it might be useful. You know, at some point someone's going to try to go down the street and check everybody's door and go into the one that's opened and that's what happens. And a lot of these hacking.

I mean that's the thing that, like email, like the thing that I have to do all the time, is someone Like I have kids in school, so you have teachers, you have other administrators and you have other parents that will send out these big emails to everyone. And I'm like, hey, that's like sneezing in the middle of a cloud, you know, like when you have COVID and Like I just want to make sure you're clear. Like you're just putting this all in the same room where we all can get something you know from what you're doing there. You got to start. I'm nice about it, but it's always like blind CC is a good thing, like there's a reason, it's there and you should use it, and I think that that is, I think that all of us are so, you know, because it's just not convenient. It's not convenient to lock your door all the time, it's not convenient to do these things and you're trying to move fast and everybody's trying to make, especially at Amazon. The pressure to perform at Amazon, from my understanding, is intense.

02:17:39 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
You know, like I've spoken to people at Amazon and they're just like this is the possibly the worst working atmosphere we've ever had to deal with.

02:17:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
What did the whistleblower say? There were people crying at their desks that that was kind of SOP, that was normal that executives would just sit at their desk going. I know.

02:18:01 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
So, speaking of door locks being inconvenient, you've reminded me the first piece of technology that I've bought in a long time that I was really excited about is my new door lock. Yay, what'd you get? So we went on vacation and we stayed in a house that had a touch pad door lock and I was like this has to be insecure, but it's so convenient. So I wrote to Devi and Allam, who runs the lock picking village at Def Con, and I'm like do they all suck? And he was like they all suck, except for the schlage or a slaggy.

02:18:26 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Slaig, yeah a slaggy.

02:18:27 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
And then the F-E-595, which we bought and installed, because I work in the garage and then the house is on the other side and my wife plays games with giant noise canceling headphones and one time someone just walked in and she didn't know he was there until she turned around. It was really scary. So she wants that door locked. But I want to be able to run in and out when you know, like if we're recording, and then you to call a break, I want to go get a glass of water. So now we have a push button door lock and it's amazing.

02:18:55 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I hope you got it with the Camelot trim.

02:19:00 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Oh no, we just got the mat black. We got the very boring mat black, but oh my God, it's really good and it's easy to program and we had it rekeyed so it matches our existing, you know what I love about the idea of this is that you could send the key to somebody temporarily, like okay, you need to get in there and serve as something.

02:19:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This key is good for 12 hours.

02:19:21 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
So on Deviant, all of them said, oh, and it doesn't have any connectivity, there's no wifi. There's no, nfc there's no Bluetooth and on Deviant all of them's advice. What I did was I got it, I generated 20 codes for it and I program them all in and then I have they're in our family shared password store and if someone's coming over we just give them a password and then, when they leave, I delete it.

02:19:39 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
You can delete the code. I mean. I mean Deviant is the you know the bog standard on this, as it were. But one of the interesting things from the Defcon talk on Bluetooth locks they had, they tested, 12 Bluetooth locks. Okay, 11 of them were transmitting password keywords completely unencrypted, oh Lord, and the one one that was was so badly made you could open it with a screwdriver. You know, it's just, it's insanity, but can I point?

02:20:10 - Leo Laporte (Host)
out. Locks are really just a suggestion anyway. They're just society's way of saying yeah, we would prefer you don't kick this door down and come inside, but if anybody wants to come in, they can come in.

02:20:24 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
But there are firm suggestions and soft suggestions. And you know all of us pretty good about this. If you've ever read the original Wirecutter article on bike locks, which is like a 15,000 word oral history of the guy who stole the reporter's bike, explaining how he did it and how he steals bikes, it's fantastic.

02:20:45 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Yeah, the, the where I grew up, no one locked their doors, like there was just not a lot of doors getting locked, but they did oftentimes have signs out that said are you faster than a speeding bullet Cross? Pass here and you'll find out. You know, like you know, and, and, and. That was more effective than any lock.

02:21:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
There wasn't a lot of locks. It was just like you know to forget the dog, beware of owner, you know a lock pick kit. Aren't these a little bit?

02:21:09 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Oh yeah, I have, I have. I have a couple of projects.

02:21:14 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I bought a couple of Defcon, so yeah.

02:21:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And then Burke has actually Burke has actually etched his initials into it, so plausible deniability. Burke is completely gone.

02:21:24 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
The only, the only place I've ever had my like. I've taken lock picks to Singapore. The only place I've ever had my lock picks taken away is Melbourne Airport, and literally only Melbourne Airport. And every single time I go through Melbourne Airport and they take everything. They take my little screwdriver that came with my, my my framework laptop. They took this little tip. They took just that and said you can't have that, that's a threat to aviation. It's amazing.

02:21:52 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
No, I mean it's kind of when I was at Shmoocon and they one of the companies gave away like one of those Swiss army cards. Right Like a cutting point on the rest of this.

02:22:03 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh yeah, I love this. Yeah, yeah.

02:22:07 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
And I was like, oh, I'm pulled over on that Washington airport. Absolutely amazing. I managed to get away with it, but you know, I got.

02:22:14 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I had a like one of those little micro leatherments, you know the little yeah.

02:22:17 - Iain Thomson (Guest)

02:22:19 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
And I was. I was flying from Harare to Victoria Falls and I and I told the guy I was like, oh, this was given to me by a friend, can I just leave it with you and I'll come back and get it? You know, I was trying to, you know, negotiate, and he's like Shmoozum. He looked at it and he just found I said, here you can take it, he goes, but don't do anything bad with it.

02:22:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, that's what I like. Just don't do anything bad, please, yeah.

02:22:40 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
So the classic for that was GDC. And what 2013? Where they gave out literally two years after September 11th. They gave out laser pointers in bullets, you know so it was a bullet a mod for and gave that to journalists.

02:22:56 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
We have. We have ones. We have ones that you, when you want to drop a mic cable down someone's back, it's right, you need a weight. Yeah.

And they have one called the mic bullet and it and you, you plug your TA3 or TA4 into it and you drop it, just a weight and it just drops it looks like a bullet. It looks like they thought it was funny and they made it look like a bullet and I'm like I can't take it anywhere. I can't fly with this thing because it says bullet on the outside and they don't know that it's.

02:23:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm trying to explain to them they should rename it the Alec Baldwin, and then they'll be yeah, it's just what did you too soon, too soon. I mean what?

02:23:27 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
did you just go get.

02:23:28 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Corey. Corey just reached up to it.

02:23:30 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Okay, I'm trying to get it to turn on because it's been dead for a long time. This is a countdown clock that counts how many people are estimated to be connected to the internet as of today, and it was the speaker gift for keynote speakers at the dot SE registry and stock exactly like a bomb and it's like a Perpex bomb. Yeah, it's just terrific.

And I flew home to to Heathrow with it. I think if I'd been flying out of Heathrow with it, they would have taken away because they're giant dicks. The Swedes were very chill.

02:24:01 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh yeah, that's sweet. That's the internet countdown. We've seen that that's okay. Bring it on. We love it, cause it's really cool.

02:24:08 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
It's been unplugged for so long and I think maybe it just knew that it's got a little battery that might need to charge. Built by Richard, uh, Richard D Strad.

02:24:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I love these deals you should charge it and see if it's accurate. Yeah.

02:24:25 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I think I'll do. I'll get the number off of it and then I'll run around and count all the people on the internet.

02:24:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm sure it's, I'm sure it's vastly underestimating the actual number by this time.

02:24:33 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
It has an ethernet port which I'd forgotten.

02:24:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't remember what that was oh, so it can check it actually goes out and it's a little raspy, it's got an HDMI out as well, oh yeah. You can put it on a on a screen.

02:24:44 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Oh, here it is, it's lit up there, it is there it is.

02:24:48 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Okay, it's going up. Oh, my word Is that billions Wait a minute. One, two, three, four, five, six 13.

02:24:55 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Oh, no, 401 billion 356 million 206.

02:24:59 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't know what it is. I don't know either. It can't be 40 billion, there's only seven. Must be 401 million. It's wrong.

02:25:08 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
There's eight billion people, all right, it's going up, John, I keep it's something moving in the background.

02:25:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Among linguists, the word of the year is more than a vibe. The American dialect society has selected a term, the word of the year for 20, 24. What is it In? Certification, and it's great.

02:25:28 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Cause this is like the second or third time the times has mentioned in certification, but the first two times they called it things like in poopification, but when? But because they were reporting, it wasn't they?

02:25:41 - Leo Laporte (Host)
had to say it was reporting.

02:25:42 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, they, they called it in shitification I think it's okay.

02:25:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So we, we debated, we've been calling it in certification for a while. Oh, very good, yeah. But but then I realized it's not the S word, it's you know. I mean, it'd be as silly, you know, just cause a word has a word in it, like scant tharp, yeah, or shiitake.

02:26:01 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Yeah, that one really caused some problems. It's in shiitake, so in shirt in shitification.

02:26:08 - Leo Laporte (Host)
it's not what you think it is, it's kind of what you think.

02:26:14 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
It's just a dirty little infects.

02:26:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, it's this America dialect society, though picks. It's not like the Oxford English dictionary word of the year. Yeah, it is. It is more like a slangy kind of a thing and it's fun Like yeah no it's great.

02:26:29 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, it was terrific.

02:26:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And it took me a couple of days.

02:26:33 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
At first, I kept calling them the internet dialectical society, which sounds like Marxist. Yes, no, it's not that. They've considered your thesis and your antithesis and they synthesized it, and this is your prize in shitification. And they call this the woaty, the word of the year.

02:26:47 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So congratulations for your woaty. That's a very high proposal.

02:26:54 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
It's with my agent. There's three publishers. Do you have a name for it? In shitification, there you go.

02:26:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Or it could be in poopification. In poopification no.

02:27:02 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Oh, for goodness sake.

02:27:02 - Leo Laporte (Host)
America should grow up about this sort of thing, you know call it what it is.

02:27:07 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
It's funny because I can't call it that on NPR. I've done like three interviews about it on NPR.

02:27:13 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
But on, well, because the FCC rules, but I don't know what it is. On NPR, but on well, because the FCC rules, but the the CBC, no problem. Can you read a radio and tell?

02:27:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)
us. Can you say shiitake on NPR?

02:27:28 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Ask the FCC.

02:27:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I mean, you had a broadcast program.

02:27:33 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I think they'd be okay if you said shiitake mushrooms, but if you said holy shiitake, I think they might know that's fine and I think it's shitification.

02:27:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's inside another larger, non controversial.

02:27:45 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
It's a good general term. I mean as a Brit who's over here, who's gone away with saying wanker on public air then you say it far too often.

02:27:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I just want to point out oh no, come on.

02:27:56 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
It's a perfectly good descriptive now. I mean and shitification is as well, because it describes a really massive problem.

02:28:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We've got to deal with good. I can't wait to read the book. I hope you'll come on before then. You do have a chance to see Corey speak in person on January 22nd, tomorrow if you are in Coral.

02:28:18 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)

02:28:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, you're going to go where it's warm, are you not?

02:28:21 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
there. Now I'm going where it's warm. I'm going to Ron DeSantis country, will he?

02:28:26 - Leo Laporte (Host)
allow you to even talk about your books. I bet your books are banned in many libraries Miami's pretty.

02:28:32 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
In fact, the only place I've ever had a book banned was Florida Booker. T Washington High in Pensacola Cancel their entire summer reading program to stop their kids from reading my book and tried to fire the teacher. Which one? Which one?

02:28:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Little brother, little brother, good Lord, I'm so sorry, that's so ridiculous, that's insane.

02:28:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Lots of people have Lots of people have it worse with their books.

02:28:53 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
What did they object to? He had never read it. He had never read it. He heard some things about it and said he thought maybe the families would object and he never read it. He literally called every night the library你说 secret to it. He never read it. He no longersz certain things. H and I also any kid who wanted an ebook of it. I PGP signed ebooks for them and sent them to this, so they had signed ebooks along with a little tutorial on. Pgp.

02:29:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Good for you Well let's hope this doesn't happen to insuretification, although.

02:29:47 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
No, I'm sure it'll be fine.

02:29:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, here's the deal the bezel is out and is legal in all 50 States and if you want the audio book version, go to Kickstarter and sign up. Look at the price. The backers is going up even as we speak Nine days to go to get this audio book. I got to tell you these, martin, the first Martin Hedgebook was incredible. I really enjoyed it. I read it to Lisa, who is a CFO, so she, she really enjoyed a forensic accountant being the hero of your story.

02:30:18 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
It's actually great. It really reminded me of Charlie Stross with the you know, the, the, the, the, the Dari's. There we got an IT administrator who was actually, you know, doing really weird stuff yeah.

02:30:29 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I'm going to say I think the IT administrator yeah.

02:30:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's red team blues. The new one is the bezel and it's on Kickstarter, if you want. I always get the audio books because I I prefer to listen to so good.

02:30:41 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
We had such a good time reading.

02:30:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
He did great. He's so cute and, of course, you'll find Corey at pluralisticnet. That's where his blog is, although I follow you on mastodon and you always post your clips from your blog up there on mastodon, so that's a good follow. He's pluralistic on mastodon. Thank you for being here, corey. Have a great trip to Florida. Are you going to come right home after that? Are you going to spend some time?

02:31:04 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Yeah, leaving at 4am tomorrow, and then I get back on Wednesday, and then on Thursday I fly to Berlin For the Masha. Mcluhan lecture For the McLuhan lectures. And if you're in Berlin, they've just added another night at other land books because the first one sold out, so there's there's at least some tickets left right now If you go to other land books, great.

02:31:25 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And it does specifically say no streaming. So you must be there. No streaming for humans, only Approve. Marshall McLuhan would not like that one. No, he hated media Right, media Shmedia, I think that's his famous quote. You know nothing, mr Ian Tom Thomas Thompson, ian Thompson, oh my God, terry Thomas, ian Thompson, without the mustache. You're really no longer Terry Thomas, you're Ian Thompson.

02:31:58 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Yeah, no, I lost the porn mustache, but yeah, the it was an interesting area of life.

02:32:03 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I liked it. I think you should bring it back personally, but that's just me.

02:32:07 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I used to paint in the arse to deal with.

02:32:09 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, I know, Clipping it the whole day. I know. I know Theregistercom. Ian, is there anything you want to plug?

02:32:18 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I'm keeping an eye on the moon at the moment. Jack's a soft landed a probe on the moon. On Friday it's looking pretty grim, but hey, I'm a huge fan of getting out there and, you know, going out into new areas, so we'll see.

02:32:38 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Were you disappointed? That's the Japanese space agency. Were you disappointed that the private space contractor whose Paragon, peregrine, was going to contain, or did contain, ashes from Arthur C Clark and Gene Roddenberry and just burnt up in the atmosphere?

02:32:55 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Yeah, which, honestly, I can't help feeling Arthur C Clark would have approved off, but at the same time, yeah, no, I understand.

02:33:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, part of it. Apparently. Some of the ashes were in the fairing, which did get pushed out and is going to keep going. So maybe he's going in to boldly go where no ashes.

02:33:15 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I had something was the entire craft was coming back into the UK. Sorry, back into the UK.

02:33:23 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's headed back to the UK, but it will burn up before it gets there, I promise.

02:33:26 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
UK is the world. Yes, that's right, but no but no, I mean it was. It was kind of nice they got them out there, but it makes it hard. You know, I mean it's. Japan is living in the hard way and we will get better at it.

02:33:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, the slim probe touchdown, but the solar panels are.

02:33:47 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
I did get to do the real slim shady is shady headline.

02:33:55 - Leo Laporte (Host)
There's sun, but there's just no panels to collect it. Okay, yeah, They'll get there. Yeah, I, yeah, I agree with you. I think more the moon should be probed more often Now. We need to get out that. That's what she said I was waiting for that one. Thank you, corey. Thank you, corey. Thank you, mr Alex Lindsey. Office hoursglobal, even on a Sunday.

02:34:17 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Yes, yes, we were. That's what I didn't even know about that. That translation thing we were in. It was in our morning session. It's amazing. So we do that every every day, seven days a week. We did. We had Colleen Henry on. Oh, I got to watch that.

02:34:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Our chief engineer. She's the woman who really built the stuff that we do.

02:34:34 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Yeah, if you, I think, you go to the YouTube channel because it's not in the normal schedule, Like so, we did a special with Colleen. And if you go to YouTube slash, office hours global, it was just a special with the two of us talking about compression. You know how to, how, how streaming works, and Colleen, if you don't know what she does now she, she, she's kind of the her invisible hand is touching pretty much every part of live streaming on the web for every company, you know. So she's kind of the invisible force behind a lot of that stuff, and so she talked a little bit and answered a bunch of questions for our audience, and so it's a pretty, pretty great. There she is.

02:35:09 - Leo Laporte (Host)
She learned, she started it here. She was an well she. She applied to be an intern here. She was still at San Jose state learning sociology, getting her degree in sociology, and she I talked to her for five minutes and I said I'm not going to hire you as an intern, but would you like to work for us? And she built Skype, a source. She built our first video rig. She did so many amazing things and, gosh, she looks great. It's so nice to see. I will be watching this. I can't wait to see it. She's a superstar.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, that's so good. I'm so glad you did that. And office towersglobal, monday through Sunday, is the place to go to learn more about everything. But, we talk about a little bit of everything, yeah everything.

02:35:55 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
But yeah, we live stream from seven to nine Pacific standard time every single day. It's a small village of 20 people that it takes to turn it on, so it's your.

02:36:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
To me, this is like the future of media, you know, especially as we struggle with traditional podcasting, which is show based and advertising based, and more and more I look at what you're doing and think you know that the future of Twitter three or four years from now maybe is that kind of thing inside our club and I think it's a great idea.

02:36:24 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I love it. The two things that work is that a we built a system that allows to have a lot more people in the panel, so what that means is that you have big as your box. We get up to 16, 16 people it's really amazing yeah.

But there's a system on the back end that lets us cue them and that let them raise their hands and everything else. And then the other thing is it's just Q and A. It's much easier to program for when it's just like, hey, what questions do you have? And then, and then you know the Q and A system that we built is pretty useful, so it allows people to ask questions, vote on questions we have. We can manage them on the back end, and then that Q and A system actually drives the video system. So when we say, oh, we're going to answer this question, it actually goes and grabs the people that said they're going to answer it and then puts them up automatically, and so it's. It's a little bit um, so that it does make it. We do hope that more people will do it. We publish, like how we do it. It's kind of open.

02:37:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I will do it. I will do it. I will do it. I want to hear you can help me. We'll talk about it. Let's figure this out. Yeah, I think it's.

02:37:18 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I think it's kind of something our audience would really like I think that I think it'd be really fun to get a bunch of us together just answering questions. We have a community.

02:37:25 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I mean, that's the thing. Any good podcast has a community.

02:37:28 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
That's about community. I'll build you. I'll build you. An instance, leo, I'll build you. Thank you I appreciate it.

02:37:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Alex will be back on Tuesday for vision pro weekly, our new show on Twitter. It was Mac break weekly, but I have a feeling for the next few weeks it's going to be kind of dominated by a vision pro talk and you will have one a week from the Mac. There's going to be stuff to talk about, but yeah you know I am a vision pros, complete vision pro skeptic. I call it Tim Cook's folly.

02:37:56 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I think it's nuts but I think we just won't know. I mean, we're we're in year 10 of a 20 year rollout and so we don't know where it's going to go.

02:38:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You know I bought the iPhone in the early days, when it was kind of barely functional. But I liken this to buying a car with square wheels because they say, someday it'll have round wheels and then you'll really love it. I'm going to wait to the round wheels. Thank you very much. This is not the one.

02:38:24 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
It's very strange, though, that Apple has, you know, made a career out of taking technology people have developed and then making it much, much better. I'm not quite sure about vision pro on this one because it's not like. Steve Jobs was there. Yeah, exactly. But I mean, there's a limit to how much you can polish it. Yeah, and.

02:38:47 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I will say, though the most people I've had the benefit of looking at non production versions of VR, and when you get to a certain frame rate and resolution, it's pretty amazing oh.

02:38:59 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm sure it'll be breathtaking. I just doubt that anybody's going to want to do this.

02:39:04 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I'm saying that this one isn't it either, but I'm saying that when you reach a certain resolution per eye, and when you reach a certain frame rate, the quality of the experience it's not. It doesn't go like this. In that frame rate, it goes, it goes. Oh, it's really, really good. Oh my gosh.

02:39:20 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Like you know, just you know, and it's just you can get the frame rate in the eye tracking things sorted.

02:39:24 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I'm going to say, this first version I think will be a step further along in that area and it costs that much to do it. The ones that are non production versions that I've put on are quarter million dollars. You know, like they're not and but at 8k per eye, 120 frames a second, it is an entirely different world. Like it is, it is like literally something you'd talk to imagine.

02:39:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So, as soon as they put those tires on, I will be there. I will be right there.

02:39:48 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I think that what Apple is going to be real, it's going to be really interesting, is to is to see how very basic things work in there, and the people that I've talked to that have had them on of course, I haven't put them on until for another week and a half are pretty, pretty impressed, except for the weight. Everyone talks about it.

02:40:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's like, oh there's a lot of, except for me. Yeah, corey, are you? Are you a fan of AR or VR?

02:40:11 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Well, like I say, I'm too astigmatic for it. But what I was going to mention earlier is that as soon as I can take a month off touring which will probably be, at this rate, 2026, I'm going to get both my eyes fixed because I have cataracts. And when they fix your cataracts, you can get 3d printed lenses that fix your astigmatism and give you 20 20 with built in bifocals. Oh and so, for the first time since, like the age of nine, this is what I'm going to look like.

02:40:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Corey, when you do that, I'm going to watch, and if you don't go blind and you can still drive a car at night, I might do the same because I mean, I can barely drive a car at night Now.

02:40:47 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
I get halos and stuff, yeah, cataracts. So I'm really looking forward to it. I'm curious how my, how my, my wife says empty frames.

02:40:56 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Sorry, yeah, exactly, Glass frames. You're the um because it is your trademark, isn't it?

02:41:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Corey? You kind of have this. You know that's. You've always had those black frames, yeah.

02:41:06 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I'm very curious how the bifocal contacts will, or the bifocal lenses will, work in a VR experience, because you're, you're seeing the whole thing.

02:41:13 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
That's going to be a huge back.

02:41:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think that would be a really complicated lens. You don't need progressive lenses if everything is visible, right, or do you? I understand that, yeah, but I mean my left eye is like the size of a rugby ball.

02:41:24 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
You know it's that badly, you know and I've tried using these things and if you your eyesight is bad, then you know it's going to have to be addressed.

02:41:35 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So this should sell as well as, let's say, an FF16 fighter. Well, they've already.

02:41:39 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I mean if, if the rumors are of this, of the sales numbers have hit. They've already made $3 billion. It's not a profit, but they've already generated $3 billion of revenue from they sold out the first trench right, which was what we think, 100,000 here.

02:41:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We think it's 80,000.

02:41:54 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
80,000. What we think the number is yeah, and so so that number already already you know that already went out, because we know that, because the first trench was, we think was 80,000, and the and they're already moving the date. So the date is so as soon as the date moves.

02:42:08 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You know the date is available at this point. I haven't tried it, but the problem is in order to try it you have to scan your face, you have to do this whole, you have to go through the whole process to find out.

02:42:18 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
You can't, you have to. You need an iPhone to order the. You can't go to the website and buy it. You need an iPhone to measure your face right To get in to do the thing. So it's interesting.

02:42:28 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I went through the whole thing. I got up because I was on the east coast, at least, it was 8am I go, went through the whole thing and right at the point oh so let's show, I do it. And right at the point where you do it, I, I said, yes, screw it, I'm not going to do this, I'm not.

02:42:41 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I just started on my iPhone. I was like. I was like I bet you this because the the, the for those of us who buy a lot of things at 5am on one, apple releases it, the iPhone is way faster. The website breaks because there's so many people ordering at the same time.

02:42:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This was not a problem. This time the website did not break. I got to tell you.

02:42:58 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
I think this is. This is a hundredth of the of an iPhone demand. Like it. You know it's. It's a tiny, tiny little thing.

02:43:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Okay, I'm doing the scans right now. I'll let you all go. Thank you very much. Okay, appreciate it, corey. Have a great trip to Miami. Nice to see you.

02:43:16 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Corey, I just want to tell you I didn't need to put this on the show, but I the fun thing about forensics you know with, you know, for with data, you know, you know. Have you heard of Pittsburgh plate glass? No, pittsburgh plate glass. They make Pittsburgh paints and they make.

02:43:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
PPG, ppg, windshields yeah.

02:43:34 - Alex Lindsay (Guest)
Yeah, wind shields and all the plate glass for pretty much every sky rise in the United States and blah, blah, blah. They did, they've done, okay, and. But back in about a hundred years ago, their lead chemist, quit, took and took all of the. He took all the formulas for the glass, okay, and their accountant, their accountant, took his orders and rebuilt the. He they took, he was very precise about his ordering, so they they were able to to use all the data of all the orders to to figure out what the, what, the mix was for the glass. Oh, you know, because he was you know all his orders and everything else. So they had to go through. You know, in this case it wouldn't be spreadsheets, it would be ledgers, ledgers and and figuring all those things out and and got the. Yeah, that's good competitive intelligence work.

02:44:22 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
It was, that's great.

02:44:24 - Iain Thomson (Guest)
Well, I went to a funeral this last year with my father and, sorry, our great great uncle set up the first electric taxi firm in London in 1897. Wow, and I've, I've got, I've got one hell of an article preparing, preparing on this, but you know, it's like it makes Elon Musk look like a piker.

02:44:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
By the way, if you order today, I went through the process March 4th, this availability month, so it has moved a month, but it's still there, still available, and you can go to the website pretty quick. Thank you, corey.

02:45:03 - Cory Doctorow (Guest)
Really texting, demanding Get out of here. So get out of here.

02:45:07 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Thank you, Corey All right. Thank you, ian, thank you Alex, thanks to all of you for joining us. We do fantastic to see you all. It was really a fun show. Thank you, ian, take care and, of course, we do it every Sunday about 2pm Pacific, 5pm Eastern, 2200 UTC.

If you like to watch the shows live, we do provide a live stream of us making the show. It's not the final show, but the making of the show at YouTube, youtubecom, slash twit. That live stream goes live the minute we begin and ends the minute we end, which is right now. But you can't watch it If you're a club member. The reason we do that is we want to encourage people to join the club because you can continue to watch before and after all the shows. So get to twittv, slash club, twit and join. You can also subscribe, download a show from twittv. All of our public shows are on the website. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast client. There's even a YouTube channel dedicated to twit. That's got all of the all of the video episodes as well. Great way to share a clip. If you want to do that and I think Corey said a few things people might want to share with others we do. Thank you for watching.

A reminder to take the survey. It's not over yet, but it will be soon. Last chance to let us know what you think. We want Every people who watch every show, including this show, to respond so that we get a good idea of who the total audience is, both for our own internal use to decide what kind of programming to do and so forth, but also for advertising. We, you know we don't spy on you. This is the one way we can kind of tell advertisers a little bit about our demographics not you specifically, just in general. The surveys at the website twittv slash survey 24. And oh, by the way, if you know a company that would like to advertise on twit, or perhaps your company would like to advertise on twit, just remember you can always email us. We'd love to hear from you. Advertise at twittv.

I'm Leo Laporte. Thanks to our producer and board op today, benito Gonzalez. Great job booking this show, benito, nice, nice job, wow. Thanks to our studio manager, jammer B, our official lock picker, Burke McQuinn. By the way, burke, here's a little irony on this lock pick tool you got me. I can't figure out how to open it. I really I can't. I literally can't. I guess I probably shouldn't have a lock pick. You can't open the lock pick. See you all next time. Another twit is in the can. Take care.


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