Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from December 30, 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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Options December 30, 2019: Dvorak keyboard and other tech tips

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From the Dvorak Zine.

The Dvorak keyboard and other tech tips, feat. DJ Paradox

In tech news:

Data on Hundreds of Millions of U.S. Facebook Users Exposed (Bloomberg, Dec 20): "Information on 267 million Facebook users, including user names, phone numbers and Facebook IDs, was exposed online . . . Of the affected users, 99% were from the U.S."

Google Nest or Amazon Ring? Just reject these corporations' surveillance and a dystopic future (NBC News, Dec 21): "For too long, we've been sold a false choice between privacy and security. It's more clear every day that more surveillance does not mean more safety, especially for the most vulnerable. Talk to your family and friends and encourage them to do their research before putting any private company's surveillance devices on your door or in your home. In the end, companies like Amazon and Google don't care about keeping our communities safe; they care about making money."

Think Alexa Is Too Creepy For Your Kitchen? Don’t Give It to Aunty Mary. (NYT, Dec 25): "The grass-roots surveillance network in the United States is poised for yet another major expansion this Christmas season. Think of each new Ring video doorbell, discount DNA test, WiFi-equipped clothes dryer, smart speaker and mobile phone as a new node on the world’s most advanced and pervasive effort at human monitoring."

Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy (NYT, Dec 19): data set of 50 billion "pings" from 12 million Americans' phones obtained anonymously from a "location data company." One would think that American "citizens would surely rise up in outrage if the government attempted to mandate that every person above the age of 12 carry a tracking device that revealed their location 24 hours a day. Yet, in the decade since Apple’s App Store was created, Americans have, app by app, consented to just such a system run by private companies. Now, as the decade ends, tens of millions of Americans, including many children, find themselves carrying spies in their pockets during the day and leaving them beside their beds at night — even though the corporations that control their data are far less accountable than the government would be."

Where Even the Children Are Being Tracked (NYT, Dec 21): "Robert Howell, a professor of philosophy at Southern Methodist University, has identified what he calls the Peeping Tom Effect to express the indifference many people feel toward data surveillance. He says we have a visceral reaction only 'when we think about living, breathing agents observing our private lives.' It just doesn’t feel like such a personal violation when 'corporations are collecting the same information and storing it on their computers.' This psychological bias in favor of faceless surveillance may explain why Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker faced such a backlash after reports revealed that Amazon hired thousands of people to listen to the recordings. Few people had seemed bothered that Amazon could store conversations for eternity and using them for targeted advertising or other profitable ends. That feeling curdled only when Alexa users learned that real people were listening in."

- - -

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

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Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  The Dvorak keyboard leads Mark to give three unusual tech tips.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
  Mark's intro  
  Interview with DJ Paradox  
0:24:16 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your comments  
0:30:55 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
The Boston Typewriter Orchestra  QWERTY Waltz   Options
0:55:58 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark ! New Year Techin' Eves 'n' Madames 'n' Steves 'n' Adams!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm queems:

alright, i'm armed with wine. hit me with that technological anxiety bomb
  6:01pm P-90:

New Years Greetings, Mark! I saw that S. Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism is #1 on B. Obama’s annual list of recommended books, and I thought of you and Techtonic immediately because I heard about it here first.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm ultradamno:

Saw Amazon's Ring in the news this week, nice to see that atrocity getting some notice.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Phillippe Bastille:

Let's get Techtonical!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm ultradamno:

Yahoo asks Parents Are Using Ring Cameras as Nanny Cams: Is It Safe? Unfortunately the whole article isn't a no. news.yahoo.com...
Avatar 6:03pm herb.nyc:

I techtonic, therefore I am.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm listener james from westwood:

How do and welcome back!
Avatar 6:03pm sbw:

We missed you, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Carmichael:

Heya Mark and TechFaces.
  6:04pm P-90:

Also interested to hear your comments on the Dvorak keyboard, I’ve been a fan (in theory) of Dvorak and other “ergonomic” keyboards since I first read about them in the 1970’s...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Fuzzy:

Thanks to this show I managed to read about 75% of Surveillance Capitalism before my Libby e-book loan expired. It's a big (but important) book!
  6:04pm Dave Miss:

Scott was great. Happy new year from BK!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Dvořák is a composer and also a keyboard inventor? Wow, cool!
  6:06pm P-90:

@Ken: same name, different dude
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm queems:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm listener james from westwood:

And now Facebook wants to offer us health pointers . . . which will only get leaked everywhere like a cheap carnival ring-toss goldfish bag. . . .
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi Mark & Friends -
Nice Facebook Breach news!
Avatar 6:08pm coelacanth∅:

the only Dvorak i care about is Antonín Leopold Dvořák.
we have bigger fish to fry than caring about the dvorak keyboard.
  6:09pm matt:

what about ann dvorak
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Webhamster Henry:

My problem is not with the QWERTY keyboard layout - its my tendency to not lift my wrists.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm queems:

yesterday i was at my boyfriend's house and we straight up unplugged his grandmother's alexa
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm listener james from westwood:

Can you imagine the reaction of the Sopranos gangsters to their neighbors all putting up snitch buzzers? "You believe this shit, Ton'? Fuckin' Ring cameras all over my street!" I can't bring swag home no more!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm Bas NL:

Mark! All!
Avatar 6:12pm coelacanth∅:

i unplugged my sister's alexa within a few weeks of her getting it (as a gift last december). if she'd plugged it back in i would've dunked it under water but she left it unplugged.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Ken From Hyde Park:

@P-90 - I was joking about that.
I wonder if the kids of today know the QWERTY layout was designed to slow down the typists on the old-timey manual typewriters? The keys would jam up if they typed too fast.
  6:14pm Doug:

The opinion page allows them to say things / make conclusions the regular print section would not allow
Avatar 6:14pm coelacanth∅:

Ken, my guess is that most kids of today not only don't know, but (sadly) don't care.
Avatar 6:15pm dale:

don't forget your smart tv's - they are spying on you too.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm listener james from westwood:

Oh holy shit, that NYT story.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Carmichael:

I'm in the market for a new TV and just heard about that. Hopefully there's a hack for that.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Fuzzy:

"Smart" anything really means surveillance.
  6:18pm P-90:

I believe the purpose of the Dvorak arrangement was to rationalize the keyboard by making the keys used most frequently (in English) the easiest to reach and fastest to type. I also read that the QUERTY keyboard was specifically designed the other way around: to slow typists down back when typewriters jammed easily if you went too fast.... but then I read that wasn’t the actual origin of QUERTY at all. I just know Dvorak’s been around for many decades, we use keyboards more and more, but no one’s been in a rush to make the switch...
Avatar 6:18pm coelacanth∅:

long before folks started installing surveillance devices (laptops) in their own homes i knew people who said cameras were clandestinely installed in regular tvs.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Webhamster Henry:

Lots pf languages don't have QWERTY keyboards, but have similar issues.
Wiki up on non-Latin-ish alphabet keyboard layouts: en.wikipedia.org...
Avatar 6:19pm coelacanth∅:

(Mark, "fbi", "cia" etc are not acronyms!)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Carmichael:

  6:22pm Doug:

Yeah, but who wants to say “initialism”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Webhamster Henry:

Anonymous data gets un-anonymized when correlated together.
Here's a company that popped up in my inbox:


LiveRamp's product is a massive identity graph connecting each individual to their online identifiers like cookies and device IDs.
Our engineering workflows can be broken into three parts: Data Ingestion, Data Manipulation, and Data Distribution. We ingest behavioral data indexed by offline and online identifiers from our clients, resolve every index to a single LiveRamp ID through our Identity Graph, and then distribute ingested data to other technology platforms in the industry.

Yes - it's the B2B stomach and intestine of big data identity mapping infrastructure.
  6:25pm P-90:

We need a shorter, more elegant word for “initialism”, which will never find common use.
To keep the Acronym Curmudgeons happy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm melinda:

hi everyone
Avatar 6:26pm coelacanth∅:

what the fuck is "initialism"? they're abbreviations, as they always have been.
  6:27pm Doug:

An abbreviation is a shortened word
  6:28pm Doug:

Oh no, I just looked up initialism: noun-
an abbreviation consisting of initial letters pronounced separately (e.g., CPU ).
  6:28pm P-90:

@Webhamster Henry: are “data regurgitation” and “data diarrhea” discussed also (yet)?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Webhamster Henry:

Years ago, there were attempts to have other kinds of text input devices not laid out like a keyboard, like little grips in your hand that you'd chord
  6:29pm Doug:

Is there empirical evidence in the QWERTY vs Dvorak debate?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm Webhamster Henry:

@P-90 they must assume the data are consumed by sewer-dwellers.
  6:30pm queems:

i love this conversation
  6:31pm P-90:

I’ve also seen the keyboards that split the keys into two groups and angle them to be more accessible ergonomically to the left and right hands.
  6:31pm queems:

omg at a smart phone being a “normal one”
Avatar 6:32pm dale:

i'll swap. my flip phone died and i believed that 'flip phones won't work on 4g' crap
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm Webhamster Henry:

Heck, you don't even really need vowels .. or the middle of longer words. See: 90% of all Internet startups.
Avatar 6:32pm dale:

henry - the essence of the gregg shorthand system.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm Scott Williams:

DJ Paradox, you're a radio natural! And very funny
Avatar 6:33pm coelacanth∅:

one definition of "abbreviation" is a shortening; or a reduction. so "fbi" (ie) is an abbreciation; but if you prefer "initialism" that's fine.
no matter what we don't need to pervert "acronym", which is the only word with the meaning that acronym has.
Avatar 6:33pm coelacanth∅:

(as far as i know)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm ultradamno:

There was a line on the show Detour "I deleted the phone from my phone to make room for more games"
  6:33pm queems:

that was precious
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm melinda:

I understand parents wanting kids to have a cell phone so they can keep in contact but they don't need smartphones for that.
  6:34pm P-90:

I have to smile when I hear a 21st century kid, who thinks like a natural born futurist, handily use a 1920’s expression like “all the rage” in a conversation...
  6:34pm Doug:

Need a DJ Paradox / DJ Icepick mashup
Avatar 6:35pm dale:

the shorthand correspondence course ad in the back of magazines in the 60s and 70s - 'f u cn rd ths msg u cn gt a gd jb nd mk mny.'
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Webhamster Henry:

@dale: f u cn rd ths u cn gt a gd jb! -- Subway ads of the past.
Avatar 6:36pm dale:

did you type that as i typed it? wow!
Avatar 6:36pm BigCat:

Hey — where can I get a $20 flip phone? (serious)
And do they take the SIM cards from my spiPhone??
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Phillippe Bastille:

No bed music, please. Your message needs zero accompaniment.
  6:36pm P-90:

Does DJ Paradox have a blog I can follow?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Webhamster Henry:

i ctly dd!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Ken From Hyde Park:

There is evidently a KALQ keyboard that's optimized for thumb usage like one would use on a smartphone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm melinda:

@P-90 I noticed that too. Charming!
Avatar 6:37pm dale:

hlo mlnda
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Webhamster Henry:

Avatar 6:38pm coelacanth∅:

but yoiu could nake all kinds os spellsin errords
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Carmichael:

My freshman typing teacher would sing "A,S,D,F,J,K,L, semi!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Webhamster Henry:

We can get away with just typing bit.ly shortcuts Except: bit.ly is another tracer, isn't it!
Avatar 6:39pm dale:

i have a couple of typing albums. fascinating AND boring.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Webhamster Henry:

I wrote a play in college about a culture where touch typing is a kind of a religion.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm ultradamno:

I was taught touch typing in high school, I think because they were in the pocket of big carpal tunnel.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm dotpattern:

Yes to bedroom music Mark.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm Webhamster Henry:

I also have a bunch of dictation albums - a fascinating view of business letters in those days.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm melinda:

yo dale
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm Carmichael:

At least we had to pause to push the big return handle ...
  6:40pm Dave Miss:

But isn’t the whole premise of the difference of the keyboards and design is that someone designed it and didn’t know if it was good or bad and everyone just excepted it? It’s kind of like Google… Facebook… Etc.
  6:40pm Doug C:

How are you going to sound like a mad prophet with standard bed music. It needs to sound like a howl in the wind.
Avatar 6:41pm coelacanth∅:

and hear the bell ring.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Carmichael:

The typing records set to music are pretty cool.
Avatar 6:42pm dale:

nothing more satisfying than that big slammy sound of the return.
  6:42pm P-90:

The “designed to slow down typing” idea may be one of those oft-repeated apocryphal histories:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Webhamster Henry:

Carriage return 0x0D and Line Feed 0x0A are two different characters for a reason!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Aaron in Minneapolis:

Watching Micheal Moore on Democracy Now att he moment but I just wanted to say hi
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Carmichael:

The line printers and greenbar paper almost killed my vision.
Avatar 6:43pm coelacanth∅:

howzabout a keyboard that runs a.....z. if it's harder or easier just deal with it. easiest to learn, obviously;
and people need to slow down.
people need to s l o w
d o w n
  6:44pm Doug:

P-90 I knew it!
  6:45pm Doug:

My New Years resolution is to finally switch my family to fastmail. Opened an account today
  6:45pm Robert Tables:

Hello! Dvorak is cool. There's also another layout called Colemak that's supposed to be an easier transition for QWERTY typists: https://colemak.com/
  6:46pm Doug:

I want a keyboard in alphabetical order
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm ultradamno:

The Lies You've Been Told About the Origin of the QWERTY Keyboard

The QWERTY configuration for typewriters can be traced, actually, to the telegraph. www.theatlantic.com...
Avatar 6:46pm BigCat:

Hey — where can I get a $20 flip phone? (serious)

And do the flip phones take the SIM cards from a spiPhone??
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I'm pretty sure Amazon is working on a chip that they implant in your brain that lets you order stuff without having to type things out on a keyboard, thereby bypassing the QWERTY/Dvorak issue entirely.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm Webhamster Henry:

I have a keyboard used by the Phone Company (there used to be only one) which only has capital letters in alphabetical order, numbers, and the five boroughs and few other White Pages style buttons.
  6:48pm queems:

@bigcat maybe ebay?
  6:48pm P-90:

Thanks ultradamno
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm Fuzzy:

The two-sided keyboard is the Microsoft keyboard, I believe.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Carmichael:

@Fuzzy, is that the flying V looking thing?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm melinda:

@Doug I think I'm going to switch to either Fastmail or Proton Mail this year too.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Carmichael:

I am getting rid of my landline, at long last.
Avatar 6:52pm dale:

we should all learn morse code.
  6:52pm Doug:

@melinda do it!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Fuzzy:

@Carmichael: split in the middle, left and right sides slanted downwards from the center.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Webhamster Henry:

Here's a picture of that Phone company keyboard:
Avatar 6:52pm coelacanth∅:

(reference @6.43)
  6:52pm ignatatus666:

Not sure the keyboard is that much of an issue. The main issue with the QWERTY is the Q. It disappears at will.
  6:53pm queems:

hell yeah mark hurst, fighting the good fight
  6:53pm Doug:

Ancient pet peeve: phone dial layout vs. cash register layout
  6:53pm Rob:

I agree about the benefits of the Dvorak keyboard. In fact, I used it when I was a teenager. But I found I was too used the QWERTY layout and went back to it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm ultradamno:

I like to think of it as the UIOP[] keyboard
  6:54pm Rob:

Also I unplugged my moms google assistant and she woke me up at 6 am and yelled at me.
  6:55pm Brassai:

Just ordered some stickers to facilitate a period of trial on a DVORAK keyboard. thanks for the tip Mark. Did not know it existed.
Avatar 6:55pm coelacanth∅:

oh, damn, Rob... maybe you should dunk it under water!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Carmichael:

I had, at various times, a PalmPilot and a BlackBerry. Odd and different keyboards.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm melinda:

I like my landline and Princess phone.
  6:56pm LCBD:

Mark, I so appreciate all you do! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Avatar 6:56pm dale:

i have a few old dial phones around. they work in a power outage.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Aaron in Minneapolis:

An hour long hazemat report!
  6:56pm queems:

thank you mark hurst
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm melinda:

Another tech anxiety bomb next week! Seriously though, I always like SM Ken's appearances on the show.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Carmichael:

Yep, I have a slimline phone with the dial in the handle. Rotary dial.
  6:57pm Brassai:

looking forward to an hour long hazmat report :-)
  6:57pm queems:

@melinda me too!!
Avatar 6:58pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm ultradamno:

Back to rotary, I'm on board with that.
Avatar 6:59pm Dr. Goot:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm listener james from westwood:

Thanks, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Good discussion tonight!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Thanks, Mark. I'm really keyed up now!
  7:59pm P-90:

Have a Happy New Year Dan. And thanks for another year of the only radio show that gives me a sore throat just from listening.
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