GeekSpeak for 2017-11-03

Big Tablets Change Russian Dungeons

Teaser medium

An email from a listener sparks a conversation on how the show, and tech, has changed over the years. Also; Kids have their own tablets, and Dungeons & Dragons is experiencing a renaissance.
There’s lots to hear on this Week’s Geek Speak!

Big hard disks may be breaking the bathtub curve

1,240 10+TB hard disks installed, and not a single one has gone bad.

Facebook says 126 million Americans may have seen Russia-linked political posts

Facebook Inc said on Monday that Russia-based operatives published about 80,000 posts on the social network over a two-year period in an effort to sway U.S. politics and that about 126 million Americans may have seen the posts during that time.

Wifi, Bluetooth, and GPS purchase Racist Ads on Facebook

GS Episode where we first talk about story.

42% of Americans under 8 have their own tablet

A whopping 42% of children ages 0-8 have their own tablet device, up from less than 1% in 2011, according to Common Sense Media’s newest national “Media Use by Kids” census.

Letter from John

Hi Miles and Lyle,

Your show has really changed over the years and much of that change reflects broader trends in the industry. At the same time the loss of KUSP makes it virtually impossible to host the kind of show where individuals call in and get their questions answered.

What I would like to hear you discuss on the podcast is the change of focus from individuals to big corporations when it comes to innovation. Has the PC (personal computer after all) ceased to be a tool which empowers individuals to be creative? Is it now just a glorified terminal to permit access to sites and services on the internet?

Are the days when you could give your child a computer and he/she could use it to build something (a game, program, novel, artwork, whatever) and turn it into a successful business or revenue stream over?

Of particular interest to me is artificial intelligence and machine learning. Are things like Generative adversarial networks (GANs) only valuable to big tech companies (Tech’s Frightful Five: They’ve Got Us ) or is there hope for a bright individual with a computer at home to profit in some small way?

Thoughts?

John

The Uncanny Resurrection of Dungeons & Dragons

The clinical psychologist Jon Freeman was feeling burnt out. He spent his days at a corporate office in Manhattan, managing dozens of research assistants as they tested pharmaceuticals on people with anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Looking for an escape hatch, he noticed that his daughter often had nothing to do after school. She would pick up her Nintendo Wii controller and drift “into this world of digital isolation,” Freeman recalled. From time to time, he enticed her back into social existence with board games. “Then I had this idea: Couldn’t we do this on a larger scale? Could we expand this to our neighborhood?”

A surge of sites and apps are exhausting your CPU to mine cryptocurrency

Coinhive harnesses the resources of 500 million people with no questions asked.

Saying Goodbye to Firebug

So it’s sad that Firebug is now reaching end-of-life in the Firefox browser, with the release of Firefox Quantum (version 57) next month. The good news is that all the capabilities of Firebug are now present in current Firefox Developer Tools.

Zeynep Tufekci: We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

We’re building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci.