Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from December 2, 2019 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Upcoming events:

Mon. Dec 9th, 6pm - 7pm: Doug Hill, author of "Not So Fast: Thinking Twice About Technology" (More info...)

Options December 2, 2019: Joe Hollier, co-founder, The Light Phone

Listen to this show: MP3 - 128K |  Pop‑up player! | Add or read comments


Gahan Wilson, 2/18/1930 - 11/21/2019. RIP.


Tonight: Joe Hollier, co-founder of The Light Phone - a simplified smartphone NOT designed by Big Tech. (The team is based in Brooklyn.) The Light Phone has texting and phone calls, and not much else.

The Light Phone, co-founded by Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang, originally funded via a 2015 Kickstarter and a 2017 Indiegogo campaign.

Full-page ad in the NYT from Light Phone (Sep 15)

JoeHollier.com, which also links to Joe's project fiveonthat.com

Review of Light Phone (DigitalTrends.com, Nov 26), which seems to miss the point: "The Light Phone 2 has an admirable mission. But why pay this much [$350] for a device lacking so many features?"

In tech news:

Twitter suspends man for hoping Star Wars character 'dies painfully' (CTVNews.ca, Nov 28): Twitter user banned after posting against Baby Yoda. "Apparently, the taboo is that you can’t make fun of puppets owned by Disney." Thanks to listener Mike!

All new cell phone users in China must now have their face scanned (MIT Technology Review, Dec 2): "How facial recognition plays out in China might have an impact on its use in other countries, too." Thanks to listener C!

U.S. Tech Companies Prop Up China’s Vast Surveillance Network (WSJ, Dec 1): "Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., provided seed money, as well as chips and technical solutions, to China’s NetPosa Technologies Ltd., which serves the police departments of Beijing, Shanghai and around 60 other cities, as well as the Ministry of Public Security."

Clear backpacks, monitored emails: life for US students under constant surveillance (The Guardian, Dec 2): "School shootings have driven a booming school security industry. Parents and students are still grappling with this new surveillance and its impact on a generation of kids."

Video of Max Stoller from Center for Humane Technology, talking to Braintree middle- and high-schoolers about Snapchat streaks.

- - -

Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Joe Hollier, co-founder of The Light Phone - a minimalist smartphone NOT made by Big Tech.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
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  Mark's intro  
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  Interview with Joe Hollier  
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0:17:02 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your comments  
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0:40:20 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Pink Tiles  The Internet   Options
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0:55:03 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:01pm ultradamno:

Hi Mark! Techtoninimalists!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:01pm Webhamster Henry:

Nice Gahan Wilson cartoon there!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:02pm Webhamster Henry:

I looked into the lightphone, because I want a phone that can make calls, get texts and act as a hotspot with an e-ink screen.
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:02pm Dave Miss:

Hello all techies
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:03pm Handy Haversack:

Gotta go to a meeting in a few but looking forward to hearing the show later so I can start showing my phone-having friends that there are alternatives. Wish I could stick around!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:03pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark & Markonics!
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:03pm melinda:

Hi all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:03pm coelacanth∅))):

greetings Mark and Techtonicreatures
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:03pm David in London:

Evening all.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:04pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Twenty Techtonickels for a dollar!
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:04pm Fredericks:

Is Mark's intro cassette tape starting to drag?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:04pm Carmichael:

Heya Mark and Future Shocked.
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:06pm johnzo:

It’s been a quiet week in lake web-igon
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:06pm coelacanth∅))):

that's a brilliant comic < but i'll share that when i was little Gahan Wilson's cartoons freaked/grossed me out
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:07pm ultradamno:

That dissenting against Star Wars and The Beatles would become actionable was inevitable.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:07pm coelacanth∅))):

so you're saying that twitter users are a bunch of twits?
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:07pm Sam:

What about Jar Jar Binks, LOL
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:07pm mariano:

Wait, Twitter said you can't blaspheme against Disney properties?
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:07pm ?:

wow, I work for Disney, totally not surprised
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:08pm chresti:

Hi Techtonarrea!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:08pm ultradamno:

Will I get shut down if I tweet Sleeping Beauty should stayed in her coma?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:08pm coelacanth∅))):

i'll up him/her one and say i hope disney itself falls off a high cliff into a rocky surf
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:08pm Carmichael:

There's a shot for that, chresti.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:08pm Bas NL:

Just found in my paper a preliminary conclusion of a governmental research group over here: Most applications of facial recognition now used in The Netherlands are against the law.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:09pm Handy Haversack:

First we break Disney, then we break Datney.
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:09pm Sam:

They WILL sue you for libel if you call Pinocchio a liar.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:10pm coelacanth∅))):

but... his nose!
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:10pm Disney cog:

@ultradamno yes, but only because you can't be deported
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:12pm DMZ:

Loving the show. Thanks from SF. And check this video from the Chinese government to get you excited about surveillance: https://youtu.be/B7TIFe_SytU
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:12pm annie:

anyone heard of he xiaomi redmi note 8 phone?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:13pm ultradamno:

They'd dump me somewhere in the middle of Perceforest
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:14pm coelacanth∅))):

smart chip implants
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:15pm David in London:

China is the ideal testing ground for Big Tech to perfect this technology before rolling it out slowly elsewhere across the globe. In the name of ‘security’.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:15pm mariano:

Mmmmm... smart chips...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:16pm coelacanth∅))):

Baked! not fried! Yummy epidermis flavor!
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:16pm Sam:

For a while NJ Transit was recording everyone on all light rail trains. But they stopped, I think it got struck down in court.
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:17pm Sam:

Recording audio I mean. There are still cameras freakin everywhere.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:18pm coelacanth∅))):

"streaks"?
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:19pm mariano:

@coela: Yeah, wtf? Never heard of 'em.
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:19pm Franco Twinkie:

I guess the solution to all of this is smash all your devices and just stay in the house.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:19pm tim from champaign (now washington):

I'm also unfamiliar with "streaks". Maybe I don't want to know.
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:20pm dale:

isn't that called pen pals? or addiction?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:20pm ultradamno:

Tik Tok sideswipe at The Onion: local.theonion.com...
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:21pm David in London:

The Fabulous Furry Streak Brothers aren’t becoming countercultural icons any time soon...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:22pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Without a visual, what was the response to the kids' question "are you happy" with Snapchat?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:22pm annie:

i'd LOVE to be a fly on the wall when the whole system collapses..
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:22pm dale:

it looks like the monolith from 2001.
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:23pm Julio:

iPhone 7?
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:23pm Sam:

It looks like a clock radio
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:24pm Bas NL:

I don't do chat stuff, but this weekend i received six SMS messages of one person in a row... nothing alarming or important, but it felt... not good..
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:24pm ultradamno:

Is this just a quick, cheap way to detonate a bomb?
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:24pm Sam:

Now that’s a phone I could actually get addicted to. It actually looks pleasant and not annoying to use.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:25pm queems:

can i still look at maps on this thing
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:25pm JakeGould:

Light Phone right here: www.thelightphone.com
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:25pm queems:

50% of my phone use is maps
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:25pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Can you take photos with it? The only reason I have a smart phone is to send photos of my kids to distant family members.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:26pm ultradamno:

Well, as long as it allows me to call Rene Magritte.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:27pm chris:

hi, Mark and folks. how does the light phone compare to Blackphone in terms of privacy? en.wikipedia.org...
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:27pm iiibeat:

Sounds like the type of product I would like for my daughter's first phone. Its right around the corner, really. She is 7.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:27pm queems:

i'm a piece of shit millennial so i'm pretty sure i wouldn't be able to go back to pre-smartphone life
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:27pm coelacanth∅))):

i do occasionally use my phone's camera - but not so i can vainly selfie via snapshit and pretend other people give a shit where i am or what i'm eating or what my new facial piercing looks like .....
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:27pm Webhamster Henry:

@tim/champaign there are some android based non-phone cameras that do that!
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:28pm JakeGould:

Kinda reminds me of the Punkt phone. www.punkt.ch...
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:29pm slugluv1313:

oh no!
had no idea Gahan Wilson had passed -- he is brilliant
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:29pm John in Texas:

I have a light phone. No camera. No maps. Phone, text and alarm. E-ink screen. Kind of like a kindle.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:29pm coelacanth∅))):

i have a cheap nikon (so, still good) camera that is very easy to upload pictures to my laptop/home-computer... then i can email pix if i want.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:29pm Webhamster Henry:

The lightphone looks about the same size as an iPhone 4 or so.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:30pm Davee:

Smart phone, smart for who, the companies? not the consumer.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:32pm queems:

AW YEAH G SHOCK i've got a baby g
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:33pm tim from champaign (now washington):

@Webhamster - thanks!
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:33pm JakeGould:

I have a Swatch.
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:34pm Peter from Dover NJ:

Actually, I can't figure out how to set the alarm on my cheap Timex Ironman watch.

Good program. Seldom able to tune in due to work.

BTW I'm using the WFMU app on my phone to submit this comment.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:34pm queems:

there are so many neat swatches
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:35pm annie:

i'll stick with tracfone
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:35pm coelacanth∅))):

i have a "smartphone" but i've disengaged all internet-type stuff.
so, phone, texting, camera, clock/alarm, shitty calculator, sound recorder...probably an mp3 player? ...
no gobble, no gps, no facadebook.....
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:35pm ultradamno:

@Jake Me too, a sistem 51
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:35pm Davee:

The light phone swatch
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:35pm JakeGould:

Also, don’t hurt Baby Yoda!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:36pm ultradamno:

Who could resist though? www.dailydot.com...
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:36pm bore:

what would it take to get this be done at a lower price point?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:37pm Webhamster Henry:

I could write the WFMU app for it... heh.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:37pm coelacanth∅))):

i use tracphone. they don't offer non-"smartphones" and nothing that isn't touch-screen, unfortunately. but a good monthly rate.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:39pm coelacanth∅))):

ultra d -well...cuter than a human baby at least!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:40pm annie:

i add minutes to my tracfone every 40 days or so, monthly rates scare me
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:42pm dale:

a city where a taxi medallion was a million dollars and the cars were clapped out and smelled like b.o. inside - THAT was better?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:42pm Webhamster Henry:

You just need to let them call a service that calls uber / lyft for you and spoofs your location!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:42pm queems:

put snake on it and call it a day
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:43pm ultradamno:

Heh, reminds me of the Archer ep where Cherlyne says babies should be drowned and then has to clarigy "Not all babies, just baby people"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:43pm Webhamster Henry:

If it has a hotspot, you can bring along an iPad, iPod Touch or other tablet for your non LightPhone needs.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:43pm ultradamno:

errr, clarify.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:44pm coelacanth∅))):

annie i use the 2 month/$35. plan -much more phone time than i need.
i just need my bill to be automatically paid or i'll forget about it and end up with no phone
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:45pm johnzo:

I lost my phone in the snow recently and bout a new one... then I found my old phone again & it still works. Regretting the purchase... I’d be interested in going back to a simpler technology again some day.
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:46pm dale:

how can you not know what a tracfone is? and you market cell phones?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:46pm annie:

the tracfone i use is a simple flip phone...no smart/androids for me
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:47pm queems:

i would probably drop dead if i didn't have a camera
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:48pm zoe:

big part of the conversation apparently missing here - i live in NYC and most people i know, arguably a large percentage of people under 35 use social media to conduct business and get income. just curious what the alternative for someone like me would even be if i got one of these phones, seems like it wouldnt be appealing to milennials based on this alone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:48pm annie:

tracfone has been around for a million years!!..well..ok maybe 15 or so
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:49pm kevlicki:

Damnit I lost track of time. Just tuning in now!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:49pm Webhamster Henry:

@zoe the idea is that that's not what this device is about. It's like asking a toaster to tweet.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:50pm Ike:

Tracfone is just an MVNO, i.e. a reseller of minutes that are often much cheaper than Verizon, Sprint, and the other big operators. A lot of those are bring-your-own-device operations, though some of them also sell devices. You can bring an old flip phone, or a smartphone, or whatever. There are tons of MVNOs. I use one called H20 (operating on the AT&T network) w/an older smartphone. It's very cheap.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:50pm coelacanth∅))):

damn. annie when i switched to tracfone and asked for a simple, non-touchscreen phone with no data/internet and they sent me the piece-of-crap lg phone i have still. i found out several months later that it is indeed a "smartphone". i called them and they said they don't offer anything that's not a "smartphone"!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:51pm Webhamster Henry:

Hey @Joe Hollier, Jony Ive is free to come up with a design for you and make a luxury version.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:52pm annie:

coel, tracfone has a blog actually, they review new phones they carry all the time..
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:52pm zoe:

@webhamster so its basically for boomers
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:52pm melinda:

I had a tiny flip phone with Net10 for years until the customer service became a nightmare.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:53pm Webhamster Henry:

@zoe the OK-B phone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:53pm coelacanth∅))):

hmm. Thanks annie i'll check that out.
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:53pm dale:

so this is a marketing guy - not a tech guy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:53pm queems:

how about that jitter bug
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:54pm Carmichael:

Dale the curmudgeon ....
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:54pm John in Texas:

Im a boomer and am having trouble selling the benefits of my lightphone to my Zoomer daughters
Avatar Mon. 12/2/19 6:54pm dale:

just reacting to what i hear.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:54pm coelacanth∅))):

hahaha but it does sound that way!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:54pm queems:

even jitter bug has smartphone now though
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:54pm Ken From Hyde Park:

My first cell phone was the original RAZR. Just when the price came down to BOGO free.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:55pm annie:

coel: tracfonereviewer.blogspot.com
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:55pm John in Texas:

But think my elem age son will get this lightphone as his first phone- he will be wildly disappointed
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:55pm queems:

my dad has had the same razr phone for like 15 years
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:56pm Firebottle:

The Light Phone: What they give you when you enter the Social Media Addict 12 step program in exchange for your old smartphone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:56pm coelacanth∅))):

thanks annie
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:56pm annie:

:)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:56pm chris:

nice work on the light phone, guys.
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:57pm spodiodi:

thanks for the show, Mark, Joe
  Mon. 12/2/19 6:57pm dr.doppler:

What was the skateboard company!?!??!?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:57pm Webhamster Henry:

T-Mobile & Sprint are merging, so maybe Lightphone can support them both.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:57pm queems:

i love the idea of the light phone, for sure. i just know that i wouldn't be able to use one
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:57pm coelacanth∅))):

they could still put a camera in that, make it uploadable to other devices
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:57pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:58pm Mark Hurst:

@doppler: Five On That, Joe says.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:58pm coelacanth∅))):

Thanks Mark! Thanks Joe Hollier!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:58pm queems:

thanks mark & all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 12/2/19 6:59pm coelacanth∅))):

rest in peace Gahan Wilson.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:59pm Webhamster Henry:

The idea is to move the smarty ass part of smartphones to some other device that you can optionally leave at home.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 6:59pm chresti:

Thanks Mark!
  Mon. 12/2/19 7:00pm Mitch M.:

Good NYT’s article 2day on protecting your privacy
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 7:00pm ultradamno:

Back to the Pretty Vacant riff.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 7:01pm Ike:

Hey, a Red Dwarf pic!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 7:01pm mariano:

Hah, true @ultradammo!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 7:02pm chresti:

I would be interested if it had a camera
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 12/2/19 7:02pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Great chat tonight.
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