S3E14: Big Tech Monopoly and The Great Resignation

Podcast The Big Tech Monopoly and The great ResignationChapter 1

Big Tech Goes to Washington

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/06/11/antitrust-legislation-curbs-silicon-valley/

So are Big Tech companies like the monopolies of old? The House is looking at five different bills in hopes of regulating Tech companies.

These bills while not naming specific tech companies would attempt to enact several requirements:

  1. A company can’t recommend their products above their competitors. Example: Google couldn’t on purposely suggest their Google Cloud storage over say Dropbox or another cloud storage competitor. Or Amazon suggesting their Amazon Basics brand batteries over Duracell. Also Apple would not be able to force developers to use their App store. It would also potentially force Microsoft to allow other options besides Teams be tied into the Office platform so Zoom or Slack could have one click options inside of Office
  2. They could set the bar higher on mergers. Meaning if Google wanted to buy say Twitter, Google would have to offer a lot more evidence that buying Twitter wouldn’t harm consumers.
  3. It would allow people to download and delete their data so they can do whatever they want. You can already download your content and even delete it but are you really deleted?
  4. It may also mean that Facebook and What’sApp have to break out, Google and YouTube, and Amazon’s store and their Cloud Services. 

All of these things have positives and negatives but would majorly disrupt our Internet lives. Are these tech companies too big? Yes but they also provide a lot of benefits. 

The winner in all of this, my vote, The Lobbyists. Tech Companies during the 2020 Election spent $124 million in lobbying and campaign contributions. Tech companies spent more than oil companies ( a group that has been the biggest spenders in the past). Last year Facebook and Amazon were the biggest spenders.

Chapter 2

The Big Resignation

https://www.axios.com/resignations-companies-e279fcfc-c8e7-4955-8a9b-47562490ee55.html

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/06/remote-workers-burnout-covid-microsoft-survey/

Surveys are claiming between 25 and 40% of workers say they will quit their current jobs if their current employers require them to return to the office full time. While a survey is well a survey and it shows perhaps what people hope or wish for, do you think people will really leave their jobs if it requires them to return to work? You would think people trapped at home for the last year would be tired of seeing their loved ones day in and day out but it has a lot of people thinking about work-life balance which until the pandemic sent a lot of us home we didn’t know it was a real thing. In fact we thought it was as rare as a Bigfoot sighting. So what do you think? If you were lucky or unlucky enough to be able to work from home, do you want to stay there? What about those folks who had to go into work day in and day out because there wasn’t any other choice, work, get paid, feed your family. Some companies are looking at this as a win-win (I love those business phrases like that) as they shrink their office spaces and sell open space for top dollar in this overheated real estate market. And folks are finding they don’t have to stay in the same old city to work if they can work remote. I know a guy who is living in Germany because the job can be done from practically anywhere. But it also means employers can find job candidates who are just about anywhere so you don’t even have to be geographically close to apply for a job.

Chapter 3 

Choose your own adventure

Do you want to hear about Twitter’s subscription service or Microsoft Windows 10 Support going away? 

Twitter Blue subscription service coming soon

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/03/twitter-blue-paid-subscription-service-launches-with-special-features.html

So for approximately $3.99 a month you will be able to subscribe to Twitter Blue. It will let you Undo a Tweet. Wow, we could have used that during the last presidency, manage Bookmarked content, and change your Twitter icon. Plus you will get some support from Twitter’s support team. 

Microsoft has announced in 2025 they will no longer support Windows 10. 

https://beebom.com/windows-10-sun-valley-21h2-update/

Why? Because Windows 11 is coming soon okay, since you are my friends I can tell you. It comes out October 2021. June 24 Microsoft will officially announce Windows 11 (which is technically Windows 10 21H2 but who’s counting) also aka Windows Sunvalley as opposed to Stardew Valley. The next version the interface gets rounded corners (actually just go look at MacOS Big Sur and well a lot of what Apple already does Microsoft is playing catch up with). Also we will get a floating start menu because well, why not. And it gets easier to reach settings from the tray for Sound and Network so you don’t have to fiddle around so much. All good things right?

That is this week’s show. If you would please Like and Subscribe. Hit that bell so you will know when I am causing trouble online.

S3E13:Change Your Password, Apple WWDC, and Fastly Tech News Today

Change Your Password, Apple WWDC, and Fastly Tech News TodayChapter 1
Crap Crap Crap, change your passwords now Edition

So it was announced that a compilation of 8.4 billion email and password combinations were released to the wild, meaning your password has probably been leaked for some website. So basically hackers have been collecting password databases they have found and someone put all those databases into one big file and released it to the wild. So odds are really high that some site you use and haven’t visited in a while has been compromised. So change all of your passwords now, okay, actually after you watch subscribe like and comment on this show. Then and only then, go change all your passwords.

https://cybernews.com/security/rockyou2021-alltime-largest-password-compilation-leaked/

Change all of your passwords now, okay, actually after you watch subscribe like and comment on this show. Then and only then, go change all your passwords.

https://haveibeenpwned.com/

So let’s cover my rules for passwords:
Never ever ever ever use the same password on more than one site. Example, your bank password should never be reused with your Starbucks password. Just saying.

Your password should be a royal pain in the butt to type. Seriously. It should contain a mix of letters both uppercase and lowercase, numbers and special characters. By the way, spaces are special characters. If you are insane, you can use unicode characters to really make hackers pull their hair out. I don’t recommend this as it is not happy fun times.
Your passwords should be as long as you possibly can make them but some websites suck and are stuck at 8 characters which is a short enough password my eleven year old could crack it and laugh in your face while doing it.
Never visit any site that doesn’t use https. Even if it is your grandma’s recipe website. Have her go to Let’s Encrypt and get an SSL cert. Seriously.
Use two factor authentication. Or Multifactor authentication. This is a complicated topic that could use its own How-To so for now, we will let you slide if you use the two factor that sends you a text message. But if you are dealing with something really confidential, I suggest using Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator or an app like Authenticator+. If you are really paranoid, then I suggest getting Google Titan or YubiKey which is a USB dongle that has to be plugged into any device to allow you to use a hardware key to certify your login.
Lastly you need a password manager. I don’t know about you but I have over a thousand usernames and passwords I have to keep up with. I have used Keepass in the past and that is a great program. I use a cloud drive and a very complex password to backup my password database so I can use the same app on mobile, PC and Mac. This is not a user-friendly way to do things. Because of my paranoia and because if I were to get hit by a bus my wife wouldn’t have access to a lot of stuff, I have moved to 1Password. I consider this the best product for keeping passwords that are private and passwords my family needs. You have to teach your family to have complex master passwords though to protect the vaults.

Chapter 2
Apple WWDC 2021 Announcements

So WWDC is Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference where they announce all of the cool stuff Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory has been dreaming up for your phone, iPads, Watches, and Macs. Basically what changes they are making to software that runs Apple devices and how developers out to get use to it already. Sometimes they sneak in a device but not this time. Too soon after the iMacs were released. Speaking of iMacs and Macs in general, you really should watch my video review about the M1 Mac Mini. I lost my mind and if you are patient enough to watch the really short video to the end, you get to see an unboxing video gone wrong. Seriously and maybe a YouTuber on edge. After this video go and watch it. Seriously I had a lot of fun making it and I hope you will have a lot of fun watching.

Bonus points if you subscribe and comment after you watch it. I really want to hear what you think about it.

So the fun stuff, Facetime for Android. What!?! Okay, sort of but not really but yes really. Apple realizing that the rest of the world was sort of missing out on the whole Facetime thing and Zoom and Google Meets and even Microsoft Teams were agnostic as far as OSes, Apple did the next best thing and said, okay soon when iOS 15 comes out for iPhone and Monterey comes out for Macs, Facetime will allow Apple users to send a link to other non-Apple focus to join Facetime via a browser and the Apple user will have to approve each user as they attempt to join. Kind of like Teams and Zoom do now. Not as good as an iMessage app for the rest of us but a good start. Oh and Facetime is going to get video and music sharing so you can watch your favorite videos with friends.

iCloud will get cooler. So if you have an iCloud subscription you will get new features. First you will be able to use a burner email address so you don’t have to use your real email address when you know the company or person you are emailing is probably just going to spam you anyway but you really wanted to get that free eBook or enter that contest. So you will get temporary email addresses to send with so you can protect your identity a little more. Next, Apple is going to offer a VPN (virtual private network) called Private Relay. It isn’t completely like VPN but it will secure you when you are using your wifi in public places by routing all your traffic through some relays to prevent others from snooping on your traffic. You will almost feel better checking your bank account while on wifi at Starbucks but I still say you just shouldn’t. Seriously. And if you are among the small few who have given HomeKit a try, their version of Smart Home devices, if you have at least 200GB of iCloud storage, you can store all of your video from your security cameras that support HomeKit in the cloud.

Chapter 3
Fastly
Why couldn’t I get to some of my favorite sites today?

https://www.wired.com/story/fastly-cdn-internet-outages-2021/

So while most of us were sleeping this morning in the US, a company named Fastly was having issues and it was affecting things all over the world. For example, you couldn’t get to the United Kingdom’s Government home page. Or if you are a Reddit fan, you probably couldn’t get to a lot of stuff there either this morning, the NY Times, Wired Magazine and even Spotify.

Today’s word of the day is CDN (acronym for content delivery network). Basically think of it as a collection of servers all over the place that store images and other data websites server up. It is an attempt to make sure their websites seem fast as that picture of Kim Kardashian that you just clicked on came from a server 500 miles away instead of 5,000 miles away. Basically it is an attempt to make sure the content you download is closer to where you are so that websites seem fast. It does this through load balancing, caching, and DNS tricks as well as locating servers all over the world.

Two other major CDNs you may have heard of are Cloudflare and Akamai. If any of those puppies are down, the Internet sucks a little more. It was Fastly’s turn today and a technical glitch that has yet to make the press as I am talking about it caused a kerfuffle, which is a word I always wanted to use in a sentence.

Here is the live version of the Podcast if you want to watch what happened (recorded now)
https://youtu.be/-wbdRDUKVKs

The Bonus Chapter

And now for a new segment I am going to call Stupid Smart Assistant tricks. Tonight Alexa dazzles us with her knowledge of pop culture.

It all started when Google gave me a free Google Mini. Wait?!? So now I can ask Google anything in any room of the house without my phone? I was excited. But then I wanted to know what else I could do with it.

Alexa, can you tell me a “yo mama” joke?
Alexa, what happens if you step on a Lego?
Alexa, do aliens exist?
Alexa, I’ve got 99 problems.
Alexa, how was your day?
Alexa, how high can you count?
Alexa, what is the value of pi?
Alexa, what do you think about Cortana?
Alexa, is your refrigerator running?
Alexa, why is six afraid of seven?
Alexa, do you have any pets?
Alexa, do you believe in ghosts?
Alexa, are you blue?
Alexa, I like big butts.
Alexa, why did the chicken cross the road?
Alexa, how much do you weigh?
Alexa, can you give me some money?
Alexa, my name is Inigo Montoya.
Alexa, do you know Siri?
Alexa, I am your father.
Alexa, do you know the muffin man?
Alexa, how old are you?
Alexa, testing 1, 2, 3.
Alexa, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Alexa, are we in the Matrix?
Alexa, surely you can’t be serious?
Alexa, where is Chuck Norris?
Alexa, do you like pizza?
Alexa, are you married?
Alexa, can you sing in autotune?
Alexa, do you love me?
Alexa, give me a kiss.
Alexa, make me a sandwich.
Alexa, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Alexa, what’s your favorite color?
Alexa, will you marry me?
Alexa, can you tell me a Star Wars joke?
Alexa, can you talk like Yoda?
Alexa, can you rap?
Alexa, who is on first?
Alexa, winter is coming.
Alexa, beam me up.

I hope you enjoyed the show.