Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from July 23, 2018 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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Options July 23, 2018: Paul Ford, from Ftrain and Postlight, live in-studio

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This week: Paul Ford, author, programmer and internet entrepreneur, live in-studio.

More info about Paul's work:

@ftrain, Paul's Twitter feed

Ftrain, Paul's blog

Postlight, digital agency where Paul is CEO

This American Life segment about how Paul created a web server to help him live with his anxiety

What Is Code?, Paul's award-winning BusinessWeek piece from 2015

Recent tech news:

Kara Swisher's interview with Mark Zuckerberg (Recode, July 18), which I'll try to cover in more depth next week, time allowing. But it's the basis for the piece below...

Cloud Cover and Natalie Portman, a must-read from Scott Galloway (July 20): Examining the ill-advised statements from three billionaires last week - or at least, two billionaires and one who claims to be. I won't cover the latter - you can read the article yourself - but the other two are Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Musk made an insane attack on one of the Thai-cave rescue heroes, because said hero didn't praise Musk's submarine. (Musk later posted an online apology.) And on Zuck: "Facebook has turned to their playbook of delay and obfuscation, and refuses to cool the echo chambers of misinformation, as it profits from them. It would be nice to believe that the third-wealthiest person in the world and an executive who’s written eloquently about work-life balance for women and personal loss would have more concern for the commonwealth, and society writ large. But they have not demonstrated this. Their defensiveness is dangerous blather crafted by the army of PR execs at Facebook. To be fair, they’re no better or worse than tobacco executives claiming, “Tobacco is not addictive” or search execs professing, “Information wants to be free.” They have all lied to buttress their wealth, full stop... This will continue to happen unless we, American citizens, elect people who have the domain expertise to hold Big Tech to the same scrutiny we apply to other firms. We don’t even need new regulation to break them up, but just to enforce the current regulations on media firms. Which. They. Are."

What Mark Zuckerberg doesn't get: Facebook is amplifying hate by letting conspiracy theorists sell their wares (NY Daily News op-ed by Joan Donovan and Brian Friedberg, July 20): "The outbreak of public organizing and violence by white supremacists relies on the infrastructure Facebook provides to connect to new audiences. Holocaust deniers are an important group in that network."

WhatsApp will drastically limit forwarding across the globe to stop the spread of fake news, following violence in India and Myanmar (Recode, July 19): "The rapid spread of misinformation online, often over WhatsApp, has also resulted in killings in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka."

Why Is Google Translate Spitting Out Sinister Religious Prophecies? "Google Translate is moonlighting as a deranged oracle—and experts say it’s likely because of the spooky nature of neural networks." This is true, see below...

• Oh, and as for this, from The Verge (July 20) - How to hear (and delete) every conversation your Google Home has recorded - a great way to avoid Google Home surveillance is not to buy a Google Home surveillance device. There's your tech tip for the day.

- - -

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Artist Track Album Images Approx. start time
  Paul Ford, live in-studio. Also, Google Translate goes haywire and talks about the Doomsday clock.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options Machinarium Soundtrack 
  Mark's intro    
7  Interview with Paul Ford   Options  
0:18:23 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your calls and comments 201-209-9368    
0:37:03 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
The Cow Goes Moo  Oh Ford!   Options Super Spongiform People 
0:54:50 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark, Techtonadoes!
Avatar 6:03pm geezerette:

  6:03pm melinda:

Hi Techtons
  6:03pm listener james from westwood:

Howdy, Mark and all! Paul Ford = O.G.!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Rich in Washington:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Bas NL:

Mark! Techtonerees!
Avatar 6:05pm northguineahills:

The inset graphic by Paul is hilarious!
  6:05pm listener james from westwood:

I am stacking my tech bad-actors bonuses by starting the book about Theranos tonight, too.
Avatar 6:06pm geezerette:

Elon Musk is nuts.
Avatar 6:07pm dale:

some spacex launch happened yesterday - he probably rushed it to garner some good press.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm queems:

elon musk sucks
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Rich in Washington:

To be honest, I hadn't followed Musk beyond SpaceX coverage (which I find fascinating), so didn't realize what an egomaniac he is.
Avatar 6:08pm geezerette:

The infallibility syndrome.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm queems:

mark zuckerberg also sucks
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm Fuzzy:

More like Mark FUCKERBERG, amirite?
Avatar 6:11pm northguineahills:

that musky smell! There's a zucker born every minute.....
Avatar 6:11pm geezerette:

Avatar 6:11pm TDK60:

Isn't that what it's all about, profit? If "white nationalists" are increasing in numbers, [?] there're dollars there.
  6:12pm citrus:

mark is woke bae status. NOT zuck
  6:12pm carrots:

right on man!!
Avatar 6:13pm northguineahills:

Facebook and Google need to be broken up like Ma Bell (and many banks and insurers, other media companies, etc)
Avatar 6:14pm geezerette:

Read "Atlas Shrugged" if you haven't, everybody. It's a template for the world we're in.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm geo in jc:

Facebook's Market Cap - $618 Billion.
Avatar 6:16pm northguineahills:

@geezerette: I read it when I was 15, I'm afraid that most of it was lost upon me at the time.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Rich in Washington:

Now we know why Alexa was laughing.
  6:17pm ami ad:

Hello.Anybody know what google.org is about?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm queems:

business as usual
Avatar 6:18pm northguineahills:

The Onion does better journalism then most news networks, which is scary....
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Rich in Washington:

I read The Fountainhead when I was a teenager, because I was a masochist. And bored. The internet hadn't been invented yet.
Avatar 6:18pm JakeGould:

OMFG!!! Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus' return
Avatar 6:18pm JakeGould:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm queems:

jesus is a hacker
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Michael 98145:

Sounds like the Ayn Rand original script was re-written by Philip K Dick ...
Avatar 6:19pm geezerette:

I heard it was two minutes. Ugh, that synthetic voice.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Rich in Washington:

I think it was the same year that I read the King James Bible, for similar reasons. I was somewhat agnostic at the time, but reading the bible knocked me off the fence to atheism.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Rich in Washington:

@Michael 98145: and a bit of Kafka.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Fuzzy:

Verily I say unto you: you have been pwned!
Avatar 6:21pm JakeGould:

And this is what happens when you just type “ag” with an occasional “agag” inserted: It detects Irish and translates it as… “You are always looking forward to acting at the same time as you are at the moment of acting by acting at a while while playing dying at a while at a while at a while at a while” translate.google.com...
Avatar 6:21pm geezerette:

Michael, fistbump!
Avatar 6:22pm dale:

the only way to NOT buy a surveillance device is to not buy anything that connects to the web
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Rich in Washington:

I can't for the life of me fathom why people want these obtrusive devices in their homes, their lives.
  6:22pm Warren from Australia:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Ken From Hyde Park:

It's a techtrocity!
Avatar 6:23pm geezerette:

@Jake, that needs a UGE fortune cookie.
Avatar 6:23pm northguineahills:

moar dr strangelove quotes!
Avatar 6:24pm JakeGould:

Nah, have them watch “The Sorrow and the Pity” and then watch “Harold and Maude.”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Rich in Washington:

Although I notice that my Android phone's camera seems to always be on. When I see all my open app windows fanned out like cards, the camera's window is displaying a random pic, taken moments before, which I didn't take and isn't in my gallery of pictures. It's tempting to put something over the lens when I'm not using it.
Avatar 6:26pm northguineahills:

This weekend I watched Frontline episodes before going to bed. I recommend the episodes, but just not before bed *someone hold me* (Rohingya genocide and Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico specifically)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm Michael 98145:

( i just threw away a stack of those "floppy" discs :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm Michael 98145:

if a bear blogs in the forest, does anyone read it ?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm melinda:

@ngh I stopped watching frontlines at night for that reason too. Good shows, bad timing.
Avatar 6:33pm JakeGould:

Hmmm… I am more interested about why Paul Ford has that “You have mail.” prompt in the Terminal. Some cron job not being piped to “/dev/null?”

Anyway, respect to anyone who understood that.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm Michael 98145:


more unix. please.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm melinda:

I was laughing out loud on my drive home at the apocalyptic Christian Google, but that's seriously creepy.
  6:35pm listener james from westwood:

Yes! Games you can just download or install once and you’re DONE!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Michael 98145:

clue: go to bed with a -person-
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Bas NL:

Hah... still call it an 'updating'? No, no.. it's 'increasing the user experience' now.
Avatar 6:36pm northguineahills:

I put my phone in the other room when I sleep to prevent me from turning off the alarm in my oneiric state in the morning...
Avatar 6:38pm geezerette:

Michael, my thought exactly!
Avatar 6:40pm northguineahills:

I can use nonsense nickels to go w/ my punkass pennies, dumbass dimes, questionable quarters, and dotard dollars.....
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm ultradamno:

Inevitable game title: Blockchain Gangsters: Decentralized Crime Unit
Avatar 6:40pm geezerette:

Bas, so many Trojan horses!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Bas NL:

Avatar 6:41pm JakeGould:

The first game I pirated was “Caverns of Mars” for the Atari 400/800 computer on cassette tape. I was the one in my group of friends who figured out you could splice two 3.5mm headphone jacks together, then connect two tape recorders together and… Et voila! Copied game on audio cassette.
Avatar 6:42pm geezerette:

NGH, hahahaaaaa!!!
Avatar 6:42pm JakeGould:

It’s because we somehow had some broken bootleg headphone cables and lots of free time and skills.
  6:42pm carrots:

Avatar 6:47pm geezerette:

!!! Nothing suggested for "me" has anything to do with me.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm Michael 98145:

"i made my wealth selling pigeon diapers"

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm melinda:

Great image of hot tubbers with The Fountainhead nearby. It does seem like a dangerous ideological bubble.
Avatar 6:50pm northguineahills:

I've also read the Fountainhead, does that mean I'm infected???
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Michael 98145:

i hope our young peoples' future is better than i fear it will be
Avatar 6:51pm dale:

i worked in advertising. didn't make a fortune, but paid for my house upstate. i couldn't buy manhattan real estate working there or buy hudson valley real estate working there either.
Avatar 6:52pm JakeGould:

I was in Chelsea this past week and I had to kill some time. I headed to the waterfront near the piers that are all now very well kept parks. Anyway, as I sat there it was bizarre for me to see like 2-3 people with dot-com company t-shirts on. T-shirts that looked very new. And the people looking somewhat like a mix between cult recruit or a freshman on campus.
Avatar 6:53pm northguineahills:

When in NYC, I'm either reading an analogue book or magazine.
Avatar 6:54pm dale:

..meant 'working here either.'
  6:55pm james.vanie:

Via Ruth Tupe: what is the red pill... the antidote to this madness?
Avatar 6:55pm JakeGould:

Huffing test papers in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” i0.wp.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

How can you be in two places @ once - when you're not anywhere @ all?
...w/ Quantum, that's how...
Avatar 6:56pm Jeff Moore:

Solve All The Things Simultaneously Through Magic!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm melinda:

When I was visiting NY/NJ most people were plugged into devices but I did hear a pretty spicy conversation on the PATH train.
Avatar 6:57pm JakeGould:

@JeffMoore: Where can I throw you my money?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Michael 98145:

and the bit can be dead and alive at the same time
Avatar 6:57pm northguineahills:

quantum computing: www.wired.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Bas NL:

We commenteers are happy to provide content related comments. ;)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Folsom:

Paul Ford can be on wake and bake!
Avatar 6:57pm JakeGould:

I heard some woman in a cafe talking loudly about her sex life a few weeks ago. It was not a great experience. THUMBS DOWN!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm melinda:

@Jake I remember doing that.
Avatar 6:57pm Jeff Moore:

Solve All The Things Simultaneously With Blockchain!
  6:58pm listener james from westwood:

Thanks, Mark and Paul!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Ken From Hyde Park:

See you next week on Schrödinger's radio!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm melinda:

(I remember huffing test papers, not publicly discussing sex life)
Avatar 6:58pm northguineahills:

@Ken: or not....
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm ultradamno:

Thanks Mark, Paul, great show.
Avatar 6:59pm JakeGould:

Is the cat alive or dead?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark, Paul! Another great and too short hour!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm melinda:

Fun show!
Avatar 6:59pm northguineahills:

Thanks Mark & Paul!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Appreciate all your comments throughout. See you next week.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:11pm ultradamno:

Is it just me or did Cow Goes Moo swipe the baseline of Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:12pm ultradamno:

...bassline (autocorrect, damnit!)
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