DTNS 2495 – Thanks, @POTUS

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com Veronica Belmont and Roger Chang fill in for Tom and take your questions on the Apple Watch!



Using a Screen Reader? click here

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.


A special thanks to all our supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here or giving 5 cents a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guests: Veronica Belmont and Roger Chang


The NY Times is reporting that Apple has acquired a bay area based GPS Start Up Coherent Navigation.  Coherent Navigation works on high-precision navigation systems and creating commercial navigation services based on partnerships with companies like Boeing and Iridium. It is unclear exactly how Apple will use the company’s services or technology. The terms of Apple’s acquisition of Coherent Navigation were not disclosed with the company stating in email “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” But self-driving cars… I mean, right?

Reuters reports that a US appeals court reversed part of a $930 million dollar verdict that Apple won in 2012 against Samsung.
The US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC ruled today that Apple’s claim of “trade-dress dilution” — the way a product is packaged or presented, could not be protected because it was related to the functioning of the phone and would have granted Apple a monopoly on the features forever. However the court did uphold the patent infringement violations. The appeals court ordered that the original court in San Jose reconsider the $382 million dollar part of the ruling.

TechCrunch reports that LG’s G4 smartphone is rolling out for sale worldwide “over the next month. “The phone is already on sale in Korea, and will show up next in Hong Kong, followed by Turkey, Russia and Singapore. After that” most of Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa, South and Central– oh you know what? Just the rest of the world. In case you forgot, the G4’s screen uses “quantum display” tech, which promises better color reproduction, there’s a redesigned camera which now sports a larger sensor — a 16-megapixel rear camera and eight-megapixel front camera — and a 64-bit hexacore CPU Snapdragon 808 processor to power the show. The G4 includes a hand-crafted leather back, and subtle curve for improved feel in the hand. The price will vary worldwide, but early reports suggest it will retail for around $600 without a contract, or near $200 as part of a U.S. carrier deal.

Fusion has a great article about the challenges that US federal election regulators are facing with presidential candidates who are using Snapchat to communicate with voters. The main selling point of Snapchat is disappearing messages. So if someone wanted to break some federal election rules via Snapchat, how would anyone at the FEC know? A spokesperson for the FEC told Fusion that the commission has “internet regulations but they don’t specifically cover apps.”

GCHQ staff, intelligence officer and police in the UK have been given immunity for hacking into computers, laptops and mobile phones under new laws that were never fully debated in parliament according to The Guardian.  Rewriting of a key clause of the Computer Misuse Act exempts law enforcement officials from the prohibition on breaking into other people’s laptops, databases, mobile phones or digital systems. It came into force in May. Addressing the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which deals with complaints about the intelligence services and surveillance, lawyers for Privacy International said they had only been informed of the alteration earlier this week. Last May, Privacy International, along with seven internet and communications service providers, filed complaints with the IPT challenging GCHQ’s hacking activities. The full complaint is due to be heard in the autumn.

President Obama finally claimed his own twitter account. Re/code reports that the new verified account is @POTUS run by President Obama. According to the first tweet from the account Obama will actually be the one tweeting from the account. The more familiar @BarackObama account is run by members of his staff. The account added more than 280000 followers in its first hour.

CNET reports that Google teamed up with the University of Washington to create more than 10,000 time lapse-videos showing the evolution of some of the world’s landmarks, using 86 million photos gathered from publicly available photo sharing services like Flickr. An automated process finds similar images and then researchers arranged them in chronological order and then used a process called “geometric stabilization” to create the same perspective from varying images.

CNET is reporting that the FBI has applied for a search warrant on Chris Roberts. The security expert who tweeted about allegedly commandeering a United Airlines plane’s systems. The warrant application claims Roberts “exploited/gained accèss to the in-flight entertainment system and he overwrote code on the airplane’s Thrust Management Computer and commanded the system to issue a climb command. Roberts has admitted to Wired that he infiltrated the plane’s in-flight networks around 15 times solely for observation. Roberts hasn’t been charged with a crime.


News From You:

the_big_endian sent us this story from the Verge about Microsoft backtracking on its promise on free updates to Windows 10 for people running pirated Windows. The confusion has revolved around Microsoft’s offer to give free Windows 10 updates to people running Windows 7 and 8.1. Now, we’re finally getting a full clarification: there’s no free upgrade at all. Pirates just have to pay. Microsoft says that it’s planning to run some “very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers” that will allow people with pirated copies to move to an official version. Specific details of that haven’t been announced yet, but that likely won’t come until we actually hear about when Windows 10 will arrive. For now, it’s still targeted for this summer.

jmbburg26 sent us The Verge report about a sea turtle who was struck by a boat propeller while swimming in its natural habitat in Turkey. The accident shattered the animal’s upper and lower jaw, which meant the turtle couldn’t eat on its own. So a group at Pamukkale (Pah-MOO-kal-AY) University teamed up with BTech, a Turkish biotechnology company specializing in 3D-printed prosthetics, and printed a medical-grade titanium turtle jaw. So far the turtle has not yet rejected the jaw, but it has a ways to go before it can be released back into the wild.

motang sent us the third Verge article which reports that Google will begging to test “buy buttons” that live inside ads above the normal search results. The sponsored results will take you to a special purchasing page that’s still hosted by Google where you can pick the product and how soon you want to get it — all without leaving Google. Users can store their credit cards. The tests will be mobile only will only run on a small percentage of search traffic. The new ads should show in “the coming weeks.”

Discussion Section Links:  



Pick of the Day:

Christian writes:

Matt from Thirsty California:

I wanted to respond to Friday’s discussion on self driving cars and provide a recommended read on the subject of computer automation.

Darren touched on the problems of degraded response time and automation bias which are just a few of the issues that come with computer automation. These weren’t given much talk time on the show, but if listeners wanted to learn more about these sort of issues and the pros and cons of computer automation I would recommend the book The Glass Cage (Automation and us) by Nicholas Carr.

The book does a great job of talking about the rise of automation, focusing a lot on the human element of the equation, and goes beyond the technology to discuss what appears to be happening to us because of it. I found it fascinating and would recommend it to anyone who wants to take a deeper look into the impact that things like self driving cars have on everyone’s daily lives.



Mike, from the sunny and dusty Pilbara (Pilbara : pill-bar-rah) region of Western Australia wrote in about our self-driving car discussion on Friday:

As a 26 year veteran of the Australian transport industry I have mixed feelings about self driving vehicles. It isn’t that I’m afraid I will be replaced by a machine, it’s that there are a huge amount of human and environmental factors that technology will have difficulty coping with.

In show 2494 Roger suggested an automated car may continue in an endless loop on a freeway until the human occupant re-asserted manual control and moved it out of the traffic stream. My immediate thought was “what if the driver had a heart attack or was rendered unconscious by illness or had a stroke?”. Sure, they would be safer in a self driving car because it wouldn’t leave the road and crash but no one would be aware of the need for medical assistance or an undertaker – the vehicle would continue on its merry way without some kind of dead-mans switch or Apple watch like health monitoring device linked to the vehicle.

Also, trucks would have to undergo radical redesign to enable monitoring of every system, moving part and point-of-failure that an experienced truck driver looks for subconsciously while driving down the road. I’m talking about flat tyres/blowouts, loads shifting, wheel bearing failures, air lines for braking systems rupturing or becoming uncoupled, unforeseen structural failures of equipment such as suspension/spare tyre or equipment racks and how about damaged or fatigued fuel lines. These are all actual things I have had to deal with and quite often the only indication of the problem has been a smell, a barely heard but definitely “wrong” noise that shouldn’t be there or, in one instance, a faint vibration felt through the seat of my pants ( I kid you not! ). After many millions of kilometres and untold thousands of hours behind the wheel my ability to detect problems in my vehicle has been honed to an almost sixth sense.

On average I drive 10,500km every fortnight and would welcome an autopilot to take care of the less difficult and boring stretches of road but, until I know it can watch over all 55.5 metres and 118 tonne of my triple roadtrain, I will just have to keep doing it myself.


Tuesday’s guest:  Tom Merritt is Back with Patrick Beja