Freedom on the Back Berner(s-Lee)

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Freedom on the Back Berner(s-Lee)
Number 2189
Broadcast Date March 12, 2014
Episode Length 33:17
Hosts Tom Merritt
Guests Scott Johnson

Scott Johnson joins me to wish the World Wide Web a happy anniversary of being presented in a paper! Is the spirit of the 1990s still alive on the Web, or did we kill it?



CNET reports on The Intercept’s revelation of a US NSA operation called Turbine. It’s an automated system designed to hack millions of computers by using the tried and true tactics of all purveyors of malware like spam, hijacked web pages and good old fashioned man in the middle attacks. The malware would then hijack webcams and microphones, log browsing and keystrokes, you know, the usual. Hi Bob! As always, the NSA was only targeting bad guys, so when they directed Turbine at sysAdmins of foreign telcos, it was only because they needed to as a means to an end, because that made it easier to target a “government official that happens to be using the network some admin takes care of.”
Well, for some odd reason, Tim Berners-Lee thought the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his proposal for the Web was a good opportunity to fire people up about taking back their rights to privacy and keeping the Internet open. At least that’s what he told BBC Breakfast. Which is a TV show, not a plate of eggs, beans and fried tomatoes. Berners-Lee seems to think all this targeted surveillance somehow will scare you into joining his movement to pass an Internet bill of rights. We assume you will get excited for a day about this and then go right back to your normal state of apathy and excitement about Doge. At least the NSA believes that’s what you’ll do.
A really popular online thing launched yesterday and everybody tried to use it at once, and even though the big company behind it expected a lot of users the servers still had problems, and everybody got mad, and then eventually it got fixed and now everybody is blogging about it. This time it was Titanfall.
Alibaba will spend HKD $6.24 billion (about USD $804 million) for a 60% stake in ChinaVision Media Group, producer of fine TV shows and films. ChinaVision is the distributor of films like “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demon.”

News From You

Ars Technica report on Google buying Green Throttle. Pando Daily broke the story. Green Throttle Gaming makes gaming controllers for Android. The company mysteriously shut down in November, and now everyone seems to think they know why. Green Throttle’s big product advantage was the ability to connect up to four controllers to one smartphone or tablet. Please add your own wild speculation about Google Game Consoles here.
Submitted by the_corley
Washington Post article mentioning that is now the number one source of referrals to the US site. Or so White House health care spokesperson Tara McGuinness said on Twitter. The President appeared on Zach Galifanakis’ ‘Between Two Ferns’ show to promote the site. Of the 5.9 million views on the video more than 19,000 viewers continued on to That’s 3/10th of a percent!
Submitted by habichuelacondulce
Gizmodo report on Meghan Neal’s Motherboard article on a way to vinylize your digital music. German engineer Souri Automaten designed the first incarnation of the device almost 30 years ago. A record lathe with a diamond stylus cuts the master. The machine costs $4,000 but the look on your loved ones face when you give them a mix-LP will be priceless.
Submitted by draconos


Pick of the Day

Oh boy oh boy, Jennie loves Medium. It’s a gorgeous online writing site that lifts online writing out of the ‘Blogger’ era. (It helps that Medium was created by Ev Williams and team, who…well… you know.) The site has rich photo options, and a beautifully designed, simple to use interface. It’s a site that makes you want to write and share that writing with others. Medium is still a work in progress–it’s not always clear should happens with a post after its published, other than tweeting it out and submitting it to a Medium collection, but its been fascinating and satisfying to watch the Medium universe expand. Free.



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