DEVIN: On this week’s episode of Weekly Tech Feed we’re talking about internet security, we’re talking about sexual harassment in the VR universe, we’re talking about the decline of smart-watches and the delay of Apple’s AirPods, those wireless earphones that no one’s excited about.
DEVIN: I’m Devin Greene.
ERIC: And I’m Eric Hargrove.
DEVIN: And this is Weekly Tech Feed.
ERIC: First up, internet security. Now I’m guessing that a lot of you already know about last week’s massive network shutdown over the internet that took out access to twitter and maybe even some of your own websites. Researchers have actually determined that the cause of the disruption was because of malware that definitely targeted internet-connected devices that still had default passwords. Do consumers need to take more responsibility for securing their internet-connected devices?
DEVIN: I don’t think consumers know how vulnerable they are, you know I didn’t. There’s a cottage industry being formed around hacking into people’s computers taking their documents and holding them ransom essentially, so you end up in some random ATM somewhere paying a few hundred bucks so you can get your thesis paper back. This is happening every day and it gets worse. You know if anybody has seen Black Mirror, and you should be watching Black Mirror if you’re watching Weekly Tech Feed, what are you thinking! There’s a recent episode that dealt with this and just proved that doesn’t take a lot of video or pictures before you can completely ruin someone’s life. We can all relate to that and there’s stories of that happening. Tyler Clementi,the most famous, was a college student whose roommate left the webcam on, got video footage of him kissing another boy and then released it on Twitter and that led to a suicide. And you know that’s not the only case so this is a real issue.
ERIC: Well, you know maybe there’s an opportunity for device manufacturers to take a page from Apple’s playbook and actually force users to, through prompts, to create unique passwords so that we’re not dealing with things like this on a regular basis.
DEVIN: I agree please idiot-proof this stuff for us okay? The world is changing too fast for people. You can’t just say, “Be defensive.” There needs to be something coming from the corporations too.
DEVIN: The Guardian interviewed the developers of a hugely popular VR game, QuiVR, this week and what they said was that there should be a universal 911 gesture for players across VR games so you do a gesture and all of a sudden a personal bubble forms around your character. If someone’s groping your character, chasing them or sexually harassing them, you can protect yourself. The question is does this go far enough or should people who harass others in games be prosecuted or punished in some way? And I would say yes. I mean, I don’t think this is a matter for the courts, I think these norms are changing so quickly this is something we have to deal with within games, but as victims have said who have experienced both real harassment and virtual harassment, at least one in particular that was interviewed by The Guardian, there’s not that big of a difference. The physical element isn’t there in the VR world but the psychological element is. Why is this person doing this? What else are they capable of? All of those questions. So as VR gets better and crosses what’s called the uncanny valley so that you’re experiencing your character as yourself, there’s no longer a separation there. And as haptic technology comes along so you can start feeling all these creepers and gropers, you know, coming up doing that, it’s bad, right? Right? As that gets better, that line between real and virtual harassment is gonna get smaller and smaller.
ERIC: Definitely, you know, and I do believe that we should actually put measures in place for that, especially the game producers. People should have a reasonable expectation to experience the game as it was intended and not have their gameplay impeded by somebody who’s being malicious. So, you know, ultimately it comes down to knowing what you’re getting into as far as playing the game. For instance, QuiVR, you’re shooting arrows. A game like Leisure Suit Larry ,if you don’t know take a look google it, you’re expecting to get groped if you’re playing that game. So the groping in —
DEVIN: Yeah it’s a groping game.
ERIC: — So it comes down to consent.
ERIC: This week it was reported that Apple only sold 1.1 million of their smart watches this quarter as opposed to last year, where they sold 3.9 million watches at the same time. That’s a 72% decline and the question that comes up around that is, are smart-watches still cool? And I’m going to say yes, but with a caveat. Right, smart watches are cool, the technology is interesting. Personally I’d never buy a smart-watch, it’s redundant and who wants 1/8th of an iPhone on your wrist? Seems completely silly. But one of the things that have been really interesting is hybrid watches, which essentially are a watch first, with some tech as an afterthought. So that seems kind of interesting to me, but really not a big fan of the smart-watches.
DEVIN: I think that’s cool. I also think that’s the last gasp of a dying technology. Watches, in general, are going out. Smart-watches sold 52% this quarter compared to what they sold last quarter, but watches in general, half as many teenagers are wearing watches as they were back in 2005. And that’s just because people are whipping out their phones seven times or more in an hour and they’re seeing the time, so there’s just less utility for strapping watch right? You know Apple has shown us we’re not in the straps anymore. Okay, a little FitBit we might go for here and there, but otherwise we don’t need to strap, ok? Everyone’s got a pocket or at least access to a fanny pack, like it’s okay. We’re gone back. We’ve gone full circle back to pocket watches, right? And I think Apple showed us that.
DEVIN: I don’t think anyone’s that excited about AirPods, to be honest, Apple included. They’re not shipping them with their October iPhone 7. They’re going to give you these old boys with an adapter. Let’s look forward to that. Look I get what Apple’s trying to do, they’re trying to waterproof their case, essentially. I’ve lost many a good phone to that earphone jack, very sensitive, right? However, I think we need to figure out headphones before we cut the umbilical cord. You know, that cord is like a leash connecting me to my children right now. I must have a cavernous ears or something, but every time I run, every seven seconds they’re falling out. One of them falling out. I just do this all day, you know, and if you’re walking on the street, that could go down a grate, you know, that could be lost in the world of lost socks and miscellany that we all know about. So until we figure that out, until we have like a wire structure that can connect them to your ears or some sort of material that helps them stick a little bit better, like other headphone companies have tried, I think we need to start there.
ERIC: Yeah, yeah definitely. You know, I think there’s nothing actually really wrong with old-school, analog earphones that have a plug. You know, and I get that Apple’s trying to innovate with waterproofing and stuff, but there’s also something called a LifeProof phone case that you can get for the iPhone 7 for between like $90 – $100.
DEVIN: But if you’re still heart-set on the AirPod, at least check out this company, M3D. They’ve created hoop earrings, and they’re our first honorable mention today, hoop earrings that will catch your air buds or AirPods when they inevitably fall out.
ERIC: Really? Yeah I think you might look good in hoop earrings.
DEVIN: And be a hooptie?
ERIC: Yeah, a hooptie.
DEVIN: I’d be lying if I said I haven’t considered it.
ERIC: I think it you’d wear them well.
ERIC: On to our second honorable mention, the employees of Twitter, the eight percent that were laid off. Life will get better, I promise. I’m sorry to hear that you guys were laid off but…
DEVIN: Someone who’s not having as bad of a day is Elon Musk’s Tesla just recorded their first profit ever.
DEVIN: So electronic cars in, AirPods out.
ERIC: Thanks Elon, appreciate it.
DEVIN: That’s what this episode’s about. Thank you for that, and thank you everyone for watching another episode of Weekly Tech Feed. We’ll be back here next week and every week, so tune in.
ERIC: Yup, like, subscribe, comment and we’ll get back to you.
DEVIN: We will, yeah we actually will. We appreciate each and every one of you, seriously.
ERIC: Scout’s honor.