The Incomparable

264: Passwords Are Wrong, Man

 

  the uncomfortable radio theatre is [TS]

  coming very very soon and now let's [TS]

  model spread ship division time for the [TS]

  fall most famous words and racing galaxy [TS]

  Scouts start your engines at five words [TS]

  it's just an expression go to the [TS]

  incomparable calm / radio or search [TS]

  itunes to subscribe today the [TS]

  incomparable number 264 September 2015 [TS]

  welcome back everybody to the [TS]

  uncountable i'm your host Jason Steele [TS]

  we like to talk about books on this [TS]

  podcast and we like to talk about nerdy [TS]

  things on this podcast we're going to [TS]

  mix it up [TS]

  we also like sometimes talk about all [TS]

  things are going to put all those [TS]

  together in a bowl and spin them around [TS]

  what you're going to get his old nerdy [TS]

  books about technology from the earlier [TS]

  days of technology this is a really a [TS]

  very clever idea for a topic that was [TS]

  brought to us by Lisa Schmeisser herself [TS]

  who is here [TS]

  hi Lisa hi it's a pleasure to be here [TS]

  yes well youyou called it and we made it [TS]

  happen eventually [TS]

  so we're going to hear you're here we're [TS]

  going to talk about books such as [TS]

  hackers micro surfs the Cuckoo's egg and [TS]

  soul of a new machine [TS]

  these are books from an era where we [TS]

  were all just sort of figuring out about [TS]

  technology and books were some fictional [TS]

  some non-fictional bringing to us this [TS]

  crazy new world of computers and the [TS]

  internet and some of them are actually I [TS]

  think all of them are quite fascinating [TS]

  and some of them are probably worth your [TS]

  time even today joining me and Lisa to [TS]

  talk about these nerdy books are some [TS]

  nerdy people i'm going to say look at [TS]

  lower is out there hello hello [TS]

  I i will cop to being some deeper some [TS]

  nerdy person [TS]

  Monty Ashley also out their employee of [TS]

  a large technology company but who's [TS]

  counting contractor for a large checks [TS]

  are companies do all right you wouldn't [TS]

  be a nerd if you did in fact my contract [TS]

  contractor actually that says it all [TS]

  doesn't it that yes that is his nineties [TS]

  it's not his tech industry is possible [TS]

  today's and I you know I know that this [TS]

  person knew Jeff bezos's mailman's [TS]

  brother it's cool and Fleischmann excuse [TS]

  me its basis is jeff basis mailman's [TS]

  brother I'm not mentioned in any of the [TS]

  books so far as i know that we're [TS]

  covering tonight but you were your [TS]

  you've been present we've got some [TS]

  people from the from the Seattle [TS]

  technology sphere here which is kind of [TS]

  fascinating to sew with somewhere where [TS]

  should we start I will admit that I i [TS]

  re-read one of these or are skimmed one [TS]

  of these and haven't read the other two [TS]

  who so guidance [TS]

  start by said the reason I wanted to do [TS]

  is likely as wasn't even sure the reason [TS]

  i wanted his pipe podcast is [TS]

  microservice was published 20 years ago [TS]

  this July and it was kind of perhaps I'm [TS]

  overstating the cultural impact but it [TS]

  was kind of like a postcard from the the [TS]

  future or rather the future that was [TS]

  being shaped up and down the west coast [TS]

  and little tech enclaves all over the [TS]

  place and what I can remember is over [TS]

  the year or two after was published [TS]

  everywhere in the world wide web someone [TS]

  was saying i want to live in a nerd [TS]

  house like they have a micro service or [TS]

  they worse or they were saying identify [TS]

  with sunset from microservice alright [TS]

  actually what was on a date one time [TS]

  with someone who's like what are your [TS]

  five jeopardy categories and I was like [TS]

  did you get that from microservices like [TS]

  I got it from microsoft so [TS]

  oh so it was um one of those minor works [TS]

  of a cultural cannon in the nineteen [TS]

  nineties and then I got to thinking [TS]

  about what are the other books that I [TS]

  knew that got passed around like the [TS]

  engineering departments of startups or [TS]

  maybe they're percolated through through [TS]

  offices throughout South the market and [TS]

  once they came up with things like the [TS]

  Cuckoo's egg by clifford stole hackers [TS]

  by steven levy a friend of mine who is a [TS]

  PhD in electrical engineering said the [TS]

  one that he considers to be the vertex [TS]

  of them all is Tracy Kidder's the soul [TS]

  of a new machine and so I thought it [TS]

  would be kind of fun to talk about like [TS]

  the tech cultural the textbook canada [TS]

  the nineteen nineties like the [TS]

  literature that may have shaped people [TS]

  who worked on level one point out and [TS]

  what books are kind of like music [TS]

  artifact today and what books are [TS]

  actually pretty handy to read because [TS]

  they were either really pressure or [TS]

  they're great historical record for [TS]

  explaining the era [TS]

  alright thank God I think that's good i [TS]

  I'll tell you and in rereading the [TS]

  Cuckoo's egg [TS]

  ok which I always I always liked I that [TS]

  took me back to to that era I have lots [TS]

  of opinions about it but I don't know I [TS]

  feel like I feel like maybe [TS]

  microservices the place to start here [TS]

  Lisa since that was here inspired all of [TS]

  this and i have I haven't read it [TS]

  I'mI'm intellects for even roll here not [TS]

  seen it not read it so I'm going to [TS]

  leave it to you all to discuss this is [TS]

  douglas coupland right well yeah this is [TS]

  done [TS]

  so do you want basically like a brief [TS]

  this is what the book is about why I [TS]

  remember that would be a great place [TS]

  alright so in a nutshell the book is [TS]

  about a group of Microsoft employees who [TS]

  spend who are you know energetic and [TS]

  engaged and passionate about their work [TS]

  but not particularly ambitious and not [TS]

  particularly self-aware and over the [TS]

  course of the book they all leave [TS]

  Microsoft they called us together to [TS]

  work in a start-up and it is about them [TS]

  turning into they'll become real boys [TS]

  and girls as it were [TS]

  that's basically the whole Locker the [TS]

  book is its young adults learn how you [TS]

  can also learn who they are and what [TS]

  makes it such an uncanny artifact of the [TS]

  time is that [TS]

  Copeland spends a lot of the book trying [TS]

  to meditate the boundaries between your [TS]

  offline life versus your virtual your [TS]

  online life because there's a subplot [TS]

  that involves two of the women who work [TS]

  in the company putting together an [TS]

  online coding coding group called chicks [TS]

  to raise the profile of girls in the [TS]

  tech industry and the book is actually a [TS]

  series of journal entries that the lead [TS]

  guide the building protagonist makes on [TS]

  on his computer the whole time he's [TS]

  under the spell of a genius who seems to [TS]

  be more comfortable interfacing with [TS]

  computers than with people and another [TS]

  thing Copeland does he punctuates each [TS]

  chapter of the list of seemingly random [TS]

  words and he also has the conceit where [TS]

  he introduces advice but I saying here [TS]

  or there jeopardy cafeteria the Jeopardy [TS]

  category is that define them and when [TS]

  he's also doing is trying to make a [TS]

  point about how culture influences [TS]

  technology and vice versa and how [TS]

  difficult it can be to figure out who [TS]

  you are if you hide in technology have [TS]

  to kind of flip it around and make it [TS]

  something that works for you not vice [TS]

  versa other so so with that said about [TS]

  their hands throughout their head has [TS]

  comments about Microsoft's because I [TS]

  don't is everybody else either either [TS]

  read it [TS]

  iraq to blend in a little extra candy 10 [TS]

  that's funny because it was well here's [TS]

  the thing well here's my comment is I [TS]

  moved to Seattle in 1993 and it was no [TS]

  thought of as a bit of a Boeing town [TS]

  and and Boeing was the big engineering [TS]

  culture and there are no books that have [TS]

  entered the popular kind of [TS]

  consciousness about bowing as a company [TS]

  there are books about a plenty of them [TS]

  but boeing was full of engineers are [TS]

  tens of thousands of Engineers you know [TS]

  civil engineers and and all kinds of [TS]

  other no idea of the Aeronautics and so [TS]

  forth and they made huge amounts of [TS]

  money to create salaries they sort of [TS]

  set a bit of the Seattle culture and [TS]

  then we have the dot-com infection when [TS]

  Amazon fact that grew and is expanded to [TS]

  cover all available land mass but [TS]

  Microsoft was there in the middle you [TS]

  know there was a local guy another local [TS]

  guy came back and they have their [TS]

  sojourn in the wilderness and came here [TS]

  and found a company and and built it up [TS]

  and so when I got here in 93 worse we [TS]

  were not only thousands of Microsoft [TS]

  employees there's almost a hundred [TS]

  thousand now worldwide but Microsoft's [TS]

  kind of hit too close to home I was like [TS]

  I'm living in this milieu everybody [TS]

  around me is working for microsoft and [TS]

  I'm going out in that field so I never [TS]

  ever ready because i felt i was in it so [TS]

  that's my perspective the book is kind [TS]

  of notable because it sort of posits [TS]

  that you can not have boundaries between [TS]

  your work life and your social life that [TS]

  if you do that you can basically just [TS]

  have one seamless sloshy thing where [TS]

  everything is somehow innately [TS]

  fulfilling and so I think it was one of [TS]

  the building blocks of the myth of you [TS]

  know rewarding fulfilling start startup [TS]

  culture and clinical work life balance [TS]

  because Copelan essentially spins this [TS]

  fairy tale that you can find a job and a [TS]

  company full of people who will [TS]

  automatically be your best friend and [TS]

  you can find romantic fulfillment that [TS]

  way to and I think a lot of people were [TS]

  really beguiled by that idea because [TS]

  it's so it's like college accepted me I [TS]

  get a paycheck i read this book in 1995 [TS]

  shortly after I moved to Seattle them [TS]

  anymore and right right i'm working at [TS]

  Microsoft right now but I've only been [TS]

  doing that for about a year but i was [TS]

  also working at Microsoft in 1996 or so [TS]

  actually no 1995 that I was doing [TS]

  microsoft technical support for the [TS]

  launch of windows 95 it was part of my [TS]

  job to answer the phone and say hi [TS]

  thanks for calling microsoft technical [TS]

  support [TS]

  what [TS]

  and the program do you have a problem [TS]

  with and then when people told me I was [TS]

  then tried to rout them to either the [TS]

  visual basic engineers or the Microsoft [TS]

  Bob engineers depending on where [TS]

  people's problems were i gotta say i [TS]

  never thought micro serfs felt accurate [TS]

  at all like for one thing it describes a [TS]

  Microsoft where everybody uses [TS]

  Macintosh's for everything which is not [TS]

  my experience but also just the degree [TS]

  to which everybody lives microsoft in [TS]

  the book and lives with the people they [TS]

  work with ya drastically overstated my [TS]

  experience having said that it's super [TS]

  fun for me to read it now because [TS]

  Copeland did a lot of research on the [TS]

  area clearly because he's talking about [TS]

  the fries over there and like that price [TS]

  is still over there it's awful now or [TS]

  there's one line where he says microsoft [TS]

  is so huge they have 25 buildings and [TS]

  that's 20 years ago now I I work in a [TS]

  building labeled a because they ran out [TS]

  of numbers is my theory it's just I'm [TS]

  basically on the main campus but it's [TS]

  still incredibly huge and you never see [TS]

  anything on the other side of the campus [TS]

  so I I at this point to me it's a [TS]

  historical look at the size of Microsoft [TS]

  20 years ago but it's like a recruitment [TS]

  pamphlet from back in the day and then [TS]

  part way through the book they all leave [TS]

  Microsoft anyway and I don't feel [TS]

  vaguely let down by that because clearly [TS]

  to me [TS]

  coupland doesn't really care about [TS]

  microsoft he cares about Silicon Valley [TS]

  nerds need ya to start some up and back [TS]

  off then get them down to where he cares [TS]

  about as quickly as possible [TS]

  they also have like a cult of [TS]

  personality around bill gates because [TS]

  remember he writes the book around the [TS]

  time that bill gates got married to [TS]

  melinda and there's a lot of fixation on [TS]

  that too so that there's a sort of Bill [TS]

  Gates is this you know he's a [TS]

  combination of patron saints super [TS]

  villain in their in their minds as well [TS]

  which i thought was a a weird choice but [TS]

  i guess thats that's not entirely [TS]

  accurate i mean now now is it [TS]

  giant house that looks a bit like a [TS]

  supervillain later [TS]

  oh my god really and well I mean he's [TS]

  super rich me as a house of the future [TS]

  so you know why wouldn't you [TS]

  but also i have heard people say I i saw [TS]

  bill on campus once [TS]

  oh wow yeah which is why wouldn't he I'm [TS]

  sure he's got an office here somewhere [TS]

  let me know i'll say right off the bat I [TS]

  am NOT a douglas coupland fan I this is [TS]

  this is the only douglas coupland book [TS]

  i've liked and and i would say [TS]

  dramatically overstated is a good [TS]

  description of almost all of his work if [TS]

  it uh but for all that when this came [TS]

  out I avoided it like the plague because [TS]

  I'm like oh it's copeland and at the [TS]

  time i guess was 96 I was doing a lot of [TS]

  driving trips on consulting things i'm [TS]

  driving around and and I would listen to [TS]

  audiobooks in the car was very it was a [TS]

  nice way to past six hours while driving [TS]

  straight on an interstate and the [TS]

  audiobook of this was written by written [TS]

  performed by Matthew Perry and I thought [TS]

  okay you know it's a bridged if I don't [TS]

  like it at least Matthew Perry will be [TS]

  amusing [TS]

  you know there wasn't anything else at [TS]

  the store the really appealed to me [TS]

  something alright and I i went up [TS]

  enjoying it so I went and got the book [TS]

  so I could get all the bits that i [TS]

  missed since it was abridged and yeah i [TS]

  mean going back to it now it's like oh [TS]

  yeah it's actually not very good either [TS]

  but I basically liked the setup of it i [TS]

  mean at the time i was thinking you know [TS]

  this would make a really good TV show [TS]

  you know the the framework is their [TS]

  animated for obvious reasons they got [TS]

  Perry to do the the voice so it's like [TS]

  well alright that makes sense [TS]

  we should say for those youngsters out [TS]

  there who are listening to us old people [TS]

  talk about things [TS]

  Matthew Perry one of the stars of the [TS]

  90s sitcom huge hit sitcom Friends and [TS]

  of course the friends were participants [TS]

  in launch promotional video for windows [TS]

  95 so they're soldiers could there be a [TS]

  better person to narrate you will [TS]

  respect you of course no Matthew Perry [TS]

  as the star of the [TS]

  Odd Couple to ensure and we know you [TS]

  probably know studio 60 on the Sunset [TS]

  Strip [TS]

  there you go go on to think about me mr. [TS]

  sunshine you mean mr. Sunshine's which I [TS]

  like mr. sunshine and selling shine [TS]

  yeah but at ten years later Copeland [TS]

  came out with a book called jpod which [TS]

  was basically this book kind of [TS]

  rewritten except with different you know [TS]

  different names and a different software [TS]

  thing that they're working on but it's [TS]

  pretty much the same thing and it wasn't [TS]

  anywhere near as good but they did turn [TS]

  that into a TV show which got canceled [TS]

  huh oh no little silicon valley could [TS]

  people uh yeah [TS]

  Silicon Valley and halt and catch fire [TS]

  well that ties into tracy kidder [TS]

  Sullivan machine so we can get to that a [TS]

  little bit [TS]

  mm no I did like the subplot about all [TS]

  the nerds suddenly becoming really into [TS]

  physical fitness [TS]

  oh god that was some funny is it kind of [TS]

  predicted tim ferriss in my opinion and [TS]

  body hacking because they spend a lot of [TS]

  time on my watch is telling me to stand [TS]

  up I'll be right back [TS]

  yeah erin and i will say he does a [TS]

  I mean he basically this book is in blog [TS]

  format before blog was a word or weblog [TS]

  was a word and and they're working on a [TS]

  software thing that's basically [TS]

  minecraft you know so so it's it's a [TS]

  little predictive just not as productive [TS]

  as i think it thinks it is you exactly [TS]

  and quit using the Chicago font know gah [TS]

  we have you would that will see that [TS]

  says nineteen nineties like nothing else [TS]

  because when you're on your mac with a [TS]

  stupid little cow daughter was called [TS]

  don't know [TS]

  Thank You dog chow I'm sorry I didn't [TS]

  mean to insult your dog catcher Jason [TS]

  and you know you owe my guard towers [TS]

  name is claris park dog park cow but [TS]

  he's not my dog you open up like your [TS]

  your text document and it was always the [TS]

  default plant so even the weather TV [TS]

  faulted to macintosh but being 96 I'm [TS]

  not sure in 1995 that when my university [TS]

  computer lab it sure was one of the [TS]

  things that struck me while reading [TS]

  micro serfs is there's a point where [TS]

  they get their own URL and it's 00 p dot [TS]

  com and the whole time I'm thinking now [TS]

  that's probably more valuable that [TS]

  you're ridiculous software product [TS]

  you're working on this episode of the [TS]

  uncomfortable was brought to you by [TS]

  FanDuel this is not a duel between two [TS]

  victorian gentleman with tall hats and [TS]

  little fans that they normally used to [TS]

  wave air themselves instead it's fantasy [TS]

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  it's also european football season but [TS]

  i'm not talking about that right now I'm [TS]

  talking about the NFL talking about [TS]

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  fantasy football FanDuel the trusted [TS]

  leader in one week fantasy football if [TS]

  you haven't signed up for a traditional [TS]

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  guess what it's not a problem [TS]

  vandals leagues are week-by-week you [TS]

  drop in for a week [TS]

  you pick a bunch of players using a [TS]

  salary cap and then you see how well you [TS]

  do it's easy to build a team and then [TS]

  you sit back and watch how your team [TS]

  does across the season i tried this out [TS]

  a few weeks ago [TS]

  it works really well it's very simple I [TS]

  enjoy the challenge of assembling a team [TS]

  under a salary cap because you can't [TS]

  just pick the famous stars [TS]

  you have to try to balance your roster I [TS]

  think it's a very clever [TS]

  so here's what you need to do go to [TS]

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  that's FanDuel dot-com where everyday is [TS]

  a new season fa + D you [TS]

  elle.com think of those Victorian [TS]

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  at dawn [TS]

  fa ND uel dot-com sign up today using [TS]

  code and comfortable thank you to handle [TS]

  for sponsoring the incomparable my [TS]

  husband covered halt and catch fire for [TS]

  previously TV and so that meant that by [TS]

  merrill proxy I got to see every episode [TS]

  that's ever been made a halt and catch [TS]

  fire and as I I red-soled missed a new [TS]

  machine after that and I was like well i [TS]

  really wish i had flipped the order [TS]

  because once you read soul of a new [TS]

  machine and it walks you through the the [TS]

  engineering cultures of the time and [TS]

  what the stakes were and the egos [TS]

  involved in all of the steps then the [TS]

  entire TV series from AMC makes so much [TS]

  sense why didn't AMC like send out [TS]

  copies of the single look read this and [TS]

  then watch the TV series i mean only a [TS]

  hundred eighty-six thousand you tuned in [TS]

  nationwide we could have sent you all [TS]

  copies but my friend cliff was right it [TS]

  really is kind of the ur-text for for [TS]

  the nerd books the nineties because it [TS]

  it documents I think sort of a cultural [TS]

  shift like and not on am not on my level [TS]

  which is actually how Tracy Kidder [TS]

  starts the book but it documents in the [TS]

  sense of this is how people began to [TS]

  engage their work and this is what the [TS]

  stakes were in this is how leaves them [TS]

  in the end and that's the thing I find [TS]

  interesting about these books in the [TS]

  nineties is all of the mask in some way [TS]

  shape or form [TS]

  how is this aggressive use of technology [TS]

  changing the way that we interact with [TS]

  our environment and the people that we [TS]

  know in it i think one of the [TS]

  interesting things about that book [TS]

  in particular is that it really is not [TS]

  about technology of course right like it [TS]

  is it's a really good bit of research [TS]

  book but his books are so deeply about [TS]

  people and I think I forget all the [TS]

  technology description there's accurate [TS]

  reading some things about that later [TS]

  whether he got the nuance right about [TS]

  like the Securities whole thing about [TS]

  rings of security [TS]

  they're building this like inhale [TS]

  service concentric circles and so forth [TS]

  and but you know i think i've read for a [TS]

  lifesaver for his books or house came [TS]

  after that which is really interesting [TS]

  and hometown which is about town in [TS]

  western Massachusetts and I'm just the [TS]

  way he dives into people's lives Mike [TS]

  Mike Glennon backstory that happen [TS]

  realizes i was reading on let's do [TS]

  something came up with Tracy Kidder and [TS]

  adjustment West who's the internets [TS]

  librarian lips in Vermont very well [TS]

  known quantity probably knows her and [TS]

  she's live in Seattle and sheeps to make [TS]

  some reference to Tracy Kidder and like [TS]

  had no choice skaters like my dad is the [TS]

  guy in the book mr. West like always [TS]

  liked racing history can be used to come [TS]

  in our house and he slept downstairs on [TS]

  the couch every weekend walks work on [TS]

  the book for years Mike oh how his acts [TS]

  of here around and you know he did he [TS]

  put this the kind of thing like he put [TS]

  the work in to understand people so [TS]

  wasn't this like I'm gonna fly in and [TS]

  learn a little bit about the industry [TS]

  and do some interviews and write a book [TS]

  it's like he lived and breathed this [TS]

  whole thing and lived with them through [TS]

  it so you can tell when someone is [TS]

  contemporary with the events like [TS]

  there's that book called was a great the [TS]

  the great year what's the book about the [TS]

  big area the big year and I saw the [TS]

  movie which I quite like this kind of [TS]

  benign but it's good and I read the book [TS]

  and the book made me confused because I [TS]

  thought to this guy pic right and pick [TS]

  the right people to follow and then I [TS]

  found out later he went through [TS]

  interviewed everybody like a couple [TS]

  years after it happened so it's a [TS]

  reconstruction and you could tell [TS]

  something wasn't right it was good it [TS]

  wasn't a constructed narrative is [TS]

  apparently pretty accurate but soul of a [TS]

  new machine he drove in there and so you [TS]

  get this sense of what it's like to be [TS]

  working you know people in those days i [TS]

  don't think people are used to reading [TS]

  books about people working 24 hours at a [TS]

  time and no 24-7 didn't mean anything to [TS]

  people and so I remember when I read it [TS]

  I think first the late eighties maybe [TS]

  just being you know it's a little more [TS]

  familiar by then it was sort of more [TS]

  familiar with the culture was but I'm [TS]

  but i think it introduce people to what [TS]

  this is all about [TS]

  I it's funny that you mentioned people [TS]

  hadn't read stuff like this before about [TS]

  the these sort of things I got the sense [TS]

  in looking at the books in this group [TS]

  that I looked at that the story we've [TS]

  got here in some ways is stories told as [TS]

  being kind of crazy and unique like oh [TS]

  you won't believe what the computer [TS]

  people are doing that from today's [TS]

  perspective you're like well of course [TS]

  they are like to thank you working right [TS]

  it's like you won't believe the effort [TS]

  these people put into making their [TS]

  computers and now it's like what that's [TS]

  what the computer people do that's like [TS]

  that's like a network is now and end and [TS]

  but then it was novel and now it's not [TS]

  and we get to Cuckoo's egg gets it i [TS]

  think that's true of things like [TS]

  computer security to ya that it seems [TS]

  all strange and different this like it's [TS]

  the internet let me explain how that [TS]

  works but in the end you know from the [TS]

  perspective of 20 years later it's a [TS]

  it's like yep that's that's that's not [TS]

  special that's just normal [TS]

  yeah part of the morale of soul of a new [TS]

  machine is that this guy you didn't [TS]

  think he did anything but he was a great [TS]

  man because he motivated everybody to [TS]

  work 20 hours a day and give up their [TS]

  social life he lied to them if you can [TS]

  deal with the other prospective [TS]

  employers in the town that they wouldn't [TS]

  hire them away and we do that now I'm [TS]

  like these guys were really being taken [TS]

  advantage of [TS]

  yeah no it's not you mentioned just nine [TS]

  west glad there's actually a really [TS]

  great piece she wrote about all of the [TS]

  technology traps and pitfalls that she's [TS]

  run into since her dad died because he's [TS]

  had some heat he had some really arcane [TS]

  automated home security systems systems [TS]

  that she that she's had to figure out [TS]

  how to debug and getting into his [TS]

  computers husbands and in dealing with [TS]

  his digital ephemera has has been just [TS]

  like I rolling Lee mind-bogglingly [TS]

  difficult i'll have to dig up the piece [TS]

  because i read it and i thought oh my [TS]

  god this is something we're all gonna [TS]

  have to do that thats whats the cross of [TS]

  house and sold a new machine she's [TS]

  dealing with the soul of a old house [TS]

  yea though I can i briefly mention about [TS]

  soul of a new machine there is a living [TS]

  computer museum in Seattle that has one [TS]

  of the machines they're building in this [TS]

  book along with a bunch of other old [TS]

  nonsense like all tears and PDP's have [TS]

  not going to play with them yet but I'm [TS]

  going to someday i like how you refer to [TS]

  that we just talk about this book which [TS]

  is basically oh and here's how he [TS]

  motivated people to work crazy hours and [TS]

  this was their life's work the poor [TS]

  blood sweat and tears into and then you [TS]

  dismiss like another undocumented group [TS]

  of people on their life works out it's a [TS]

  bunch of nonsense that's what is my [TS]

  problem with the hungry caterpillar at [TS]

  the end of another variable maybe [TS]

  they're mixed up the mixed-up chameleon [TS]

  at the end it's like he gets the fly but [TS]

  don't you feel the fight feel bad for [TS]

  the fly [TS]

  well Lisa you read this book named the [TS]

  computer they're working on the focus of [TS]

  everybody's lives they didn't they they [TS]

  named it the very they redeem at the [TS]

  very end because it's a the eclipse that [TS]

  it's the Eagle first isn't right [TS]

  yes nice to be honest i had never heard [TS]

  of it in the wild although in my defense [TS]

  like this was all taking place back [TS]

  before computers a enter the Schmeisser [TS]

  household your house it's not a [TS]

  historically important computer at all [TS]

  like salads this book although what did [TS]

  really amusing when i first started [TS]

  reading it is when i first started [TS]

  learning about computers as an [TS]

  elementary school my parents had both [TS]

  worked with computers in the sixties and [TS]

  seventies and what they had said very [TS]

  tall Solomon other computers and they [TS]

  live in jet rooms because they're just [TS]

  so big and they require so much [TS]

  processing power and there are many [TS]

  computers but the theme is really [TS]

  exciting are microcomputers and they had [TS]

  that very careful gradation of size and [TS]

  as i was reading this book I thought to [TS]

  myself because I i was reading it on on [TS]

  my laptop computer with my phone next to [TS]

  me and I thought my phone [TS]

  what would you call that a nano computer [TS]

  at this point it's it's impossible you [TS]

  know the complete the computers have [TS]

  gotten powerful and smaller and but at [TS]

  one point this was the the reigning [TS]

  paradigm was computer sick up rooms many [TS]

  computers maybe not so much and then [TS]

  microcomputers will sit on people's [TS]

  desks and it's very exciting and [TS]

  empowering right [TS]

  oh I I remember standing at the Air and [TS]

  Space Museum [TS]

  an iphone in my hand and the 13 year old [TS]

  who was younger the time looking from [TS]

  the iphone to the space capsule into the [TS]

  iphone into the space capsule little [TS]

  plaque that says this is how much [TS]

  computing power this before absol had [TS]

  and it was less than like a timex [TS]

  sinclair which shito what's in my hand [TS]

  is infinitely larger and bigger and you [TS]

  know and and he blew his mind you know [TS]

  it's it's it's stunning what you think [TS]

  about how much casual computing power we [TS]

  have at our fingertips you know and that [TS]

  these books are also really handy [TS]

  reminder of how far we have come and how [TS]

  fast and what a comparatively short time [TS]

  they still seem to load slow that's the [TS]

  thing even have to ask [TS]

  maybe that's their so it doesn't blow [TS]

  our minds with your parents actually [TS]

  remember it took me five minutes to turn [TS]

  on this magical box all this computing [TS]

  power and we spend it making podcasts [TS]

  and quantity George Jetson ashley is the [TS]

  i push the button twice today Jane have [TS]

  you stopped this craziest great thing [TS]

  yeah I let's talk about hackers and [TS]

  leaving and I realized i have fond [TS]

  memories of reading this book on a trip [TS]

  I took to New York when I was in grad [TS]

  school so I remember like riding the [TS]

  train from out of New York City to white [TS]

  plains and i was reading hackers by [TS]

  Steven Levy and i don't know why that [TS]

  place is it in 1993 i guess so i hope [TS]

  you are reading a dial-up connection a [TS]

  prodigy that that would have been [TS]

  fitting well yes I might my order for my [TS]

  first uh no I just taken delivery of my [TS]

  first laptop mind my powerbook once [TS]

  everything i had so i just gotten so [TS]

  Steven Levy who now writes for medium i [TS]

  guess and a thing for a major i guess [TS]

  and yeah they're good [TS]

  um and then before that worked wired in [TS]

  Newsweek and has written many many books [TS]

  about technology I think this is his [TS]

  first gosh 1984 it was written on ya [TS]

  go it's yeah I read it in grad school as [TS]

  part of the course that we did on [TS]

  culture and computers [TS]

  yeah so this this is a this is the the [TS]

  heroes of the computer revolution and it [TS]

  is definitely the the old the old days [TS]

  the old days of computers & and i have [TS]

  to say that that is looking back at it [TS]

  it's not as as compelling a story as [TS]

  leave his books since have been so I [TS]

  think he was still getting his feet wet [TS]

  as a writer and some and honestly some [TS]

  of the subject matter is kind of [TS]

  esoteric there's a lot of 14 there's a [TS]

  lot of love for MIT hackers and there's [TS]

  a lot of richard stallman at mrs. [TS]

  America and maybe it was a lot of [TS]

  richard stallman it was a Christmas [TS]

  story i find it interesting that so much [TS]

  of some there's so much emphasis on the [TS]

  Massachusetts nerd corridor in a lot of [TS]

  these early books and i find it [TS]

  interesting especially when you consider [TS]

  like how much modern computer culture [TS]

  popped up out of the west coast you have [TS]

  like there's a brief mention of the well [TS]

  but elantra remember those are what's [TS]

  the reason was that mentioned in there [TS]

  was a reason with all that was going on [TS]

  the been the one they call that the Ring [TS]

  Road the route 128 around ya around [TS]

  Boston east coast bias thing you know [TS]

  Stephen Levy's from Massachusetts nobody [TS]

  was wearing a digital equipment [TS]

  corporation bunch of customers with [TS]

  Charlotte that's why i DG was I mean [TS]

  that the ideapad McGovern stuff i mean [TS]

  they they made great headway on the fact [TS]

  that they were these big computer [TS]

  companies sixties and seventies with [TS]

  mainframes and on all that out in the [TS]

  massachusetts area by Emerson armonk and [TS]

  pepsi and so forth wasn't sea rocks out [TS]

  there too [TS]

  yes Xeroxes in remarks was in armonk I [TS]

  think so [TS]

  upstate New York migrate my grandfather [TS]

  worked for IBM during the war he know [TS]

  sorry [TS]

  yeah but yeah I don't remember if it [TS]

  wasn't it wasn't like the military [TS]

  economy internal why there was a reason [TS]

  there was a reason that was happening [TS]

  there like my no I'm gonna go to East [TS]

  Coast media bias discuss media bias is a [TS]

  handy is a handy all just wave your hand [TS]

  and say dismissive the East Coast media [TS]

  bias there were no many computer [TS]

  companies like in California [TS]

  no this one this was I think interesting [TS]

  about how we think of technology today [TS]

  is that in these early days in the [TS]

  seventies and eighties the the the [TS]

  balance had not tipped to silicon valley [TS]

  right this one now and i literally tip [TS]

  to software when you think about it was [TS]

  like renovation yeah well liked in for [TS]

  people who haven't read it hackers [TS]

  contains the story of the first people [TS]

  to actually try to make money selling [TS]

  software it turns out to be Bill Gates [TS]

  and Paul Allen yeah so so ladies book [TS]

  there's a lot of this kind of stuff that [TS]

  is completely foreign even to me i mean [TS]

  i first got access to a VAX system at [TS]

  UCSD in 1982 fall of 88 [TS]

  so I'd never sewed this stuff the early [TS]

  sort of seventies early internet early [TS]

  terminals and and all that was complete [TS]

  complete you know its way before my time [TS]

  and it sort of fascinating these are the [TS]

  people for whom there was no platform to [TS]

  build on [TS]

  they were kind of building the platforms [TS]

  and you got and their stories in there [TS]

  about the homebrew Computer Club which [TS]

  of course famously is a you know Steve [TS]

  Wozniak was a part of and they're [TS]

  building circuit boards and you know i [TS]

  would have been a terrible computer nerd [TS]

  in the seventies because I don't know [TS]

  how to solder thanks and yeah I think [TS]

  it's really interesting to think about [TS]

  the fact that a lot of computing culture [TS]

  came out of model railroad nerds [TS]

  is that crazy they were building [TS]

  controllers yeah there were the two [TS]

  kinds of railroad nerves the kinds that [TS]

  like the stuff above the table perfect [TS]

  little models of trains and trees and [TS]

  the guys like this nothing to know the [TS]

  table where you had to figure out how [TS]

  all the intersections woodwork and they [TS]

  got to rewire things all night [TS]

  this one you know I wasn't a computer [TS]

  club in 1979 because there was a [TS]

  computer store not far from my house and [TS]

  they adopted because I was such a giant [TS]

  nerd for a while that's where i got my [TS]

  ohio scientific computer from they sold [TS]

  apples and so forth and all the guys [TS]

  they were much you know older they're [TS]

  from there was a teenager their twenties [TS]

  to their you know fifties or sixties and [TS]

  there was a lot of hardware stuff a [TS]

  number like no one time they're trying [TS]

  to figure out some this dynamically [TS]

  refreshing ran this super cool new thing [TS]

  there's something wrong with writing [TS]

  machine code to try to figure it out [TS]

  there was one [TS]

  bit that was broken so it would flip [TS]

  from 0 to 1 it wouldn't be able to [TS]

  refresh me at work around like that was [TS]

  the kind of stuff you were doing in [TS]

  1979-80 that's a kid is like it was it [TS]

  was fun yet soldering irons and you know [TS]

  you're working in assembly and things [TS]

  like that it's very down to the you know [TS]

  the metal anytime is the potential for [TS]

  physical destruction is exciting [TS]

  yeah burn things yeah computers don't [TS]

  catch on fire like they used to you know [TS]

  another really interesting thing and [TS]

  hackers is the is the software story [TS]

  especially at and you know warms my [TS]

  heart [TS]

  sierra on-line one of the first scooter [TS]

  gaming and tech companies and Ken [TS]

  Roberta Williams from there there read [TS]

  out in what coarsegold or or uh where [TS]

  it's up in the foothills there's likely [TS]

  a couple places that they that they [TS]

  incorporated near Yosemite not too far [TS]

  from where I grew up and that's where [TS]

  see you're online was and I made altima [TS]

  and and a whole bunch of other games [TS]

  oakhurst was the famous I think [TS]

  incorporated location oakhurst [TS]

  california and i think that was leaving [TS]

  trying to get away from the MIT I think [TS]

  so guess because he could have if you [TS]

  need a game company he could have [TS]

  written about infocomm but then a bunch [TS]

  of MIT guys another day another group of [TS]

  any guys as MIT guys everywhere huh [TS]

  so instead they you know they talk about [TS]

  sierra on-line and and some other stuff [TS]

  like that which was which was fun [TS]

  because I play actually played those [TS]

  games and so to see those people trying [TS]

  to make it and again software in those [TS]

  days with problematic just like it is [TS]

  today piracy was a thing then is a thing [TS]

  now again saying a lot of the issues [TS]

  that come up in these books we we not [TS]

  knowingly are like yes that would [TS]

  continue to be an issue to the present [TS]

  day maybe not so much for catching on [TS]

  fire [TS]

  yeah but like i said that i love this [TS]

  book really enjoy the many kinds of [TS]

  weirdo that led to her community culture [TS]

  i do wish there was more california in [TS]

  it [TS]

  the people at berkeley i think [TS]

  especially because of the well did more [TS]

  to influence how the internet thinks now [TS]

  may I think they're going to build the [TS]

  computers but only so much you can stick [TS]

  in a book that's a really [TS]

  interesting insight Monty the idea that [TS]

  the people who kind of operated on top [TS]

  and use the tools did more influence [TS]

  than the people actually built the tools [TS]

  so a book like where wizard stay up late [TS]

  which wasn't in the in the Charter for [TS]

  this can be happier Matthew lion book [TS]

  that is the that is a good origins of [TS]

  the internet book there there are a [TS]

  bunch of other other sort of similar [TS]

  similar books but I think you're right [TS]

  you're right about that this is a dense [TS]

  book on lots it's like there's a lot to [TS]

  my paper back it's like the type is not [TS]

  very big and there are a whole lot of [TS]

  pages so there's a whole lot of [TS]

  different stories of of this history [TS]

  alright can I talk about the Cuckoo's [TS]

  egg please i love that book so much so [TS]

  I'll i do too i love tokens egg and when [TS]

  we had the chance to revisit it here [TS]

  I jumped at the chance to go back and [TS]

  reread it i don't read a lot of books [TS]

  it helps that I forgotten everything [TS]

  that happened in it so i got to be I got [TS]

  to enjoy that story again for those who [TS]

  haven't read it the Cuckoo's egg it's a [TS]

  mystery [TS]

  essentially it's a it's a mystery story [TS]

  of a guy cliff Stoll is Berkeley hippie [TS]

  right spike to work at uphill to the [TS]

  Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory he's an [TS]

  astrophysicist he's basically just doing [TS]

  this is a day job in between star gigs [TS]

  yeah they basically lost if they didn't [TS]

  have an astro a uh an astronomy job for [TS]

  him and so we they tried to keep his job [TS]

  they transferred him to do I t even [TS]

  though he was not really an IT guy and [TS]

  there were the two kind of like stuffy [TS]

  IT guys and at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab [TS]

  but they let him you know they let him [TS]

  he knew he knew a little bit about as a [TS]

  computer's he was a computer like [TS]

  enthusiasts and he also knew astronomy [TS]

  and so was not a bad combination but [TS]

  very early in his time as an IT guy [TS]

  Lawrence Berkeley Lab they may find a [TS]

  75-cent discrepancy on their accounting [TS]

  system which leads him to discover that [TS]

  there's been a hacker creating accounts [TS]

  in there in there a computer and then [TS]

  using the their accounts to tunnel to [TS]

  other parts of essentially the internet [TS]

  and this unfolds into a story that's [TS]

  told across different state [TS]

  it's and different countries and gets [TS]

  the CIA the FBI the NSA and most [TS]

  terrifyingly the German postal service [TS]

  yeah and follow investigating what's [TS]

  going on and there's this hippie this [TS]

  anti-authoritarian hippie is is like I [TS]

  would normally have nothing to do with [TS]

  anything but i just want to do the right [TS]

  thing here and he gets crap from his [TS]

  friends who are like why are you why are [TS]

  you meeting with the CIA man this guy is [TS]

  a hacker guy he's just looking around [TS]

  he's cool yeah at this point in [TS]

  computing history everybody felt that [TS]

  everybody a lot of people help passwords [TS]

  or wrong man yeah everything should be [TS]

  everything man that was [TS]

  government-funded or grant funded so [TS]

  this gets to like the JSTOR argument [TS]

  today of all the Aaron Swartz and all [TS]

  that is like if all this is being funded [TS]

  by public funds and Republicans it right [TS]

  to elegant what's being active way [TS]

  what's being kept secret unless it's you [TS]

  know super secret government stuff and [TS]

  then you have you know the war games / [TS]

  real genius scenario right now I just [TS]

  think it's interesting that some of the [TS]

  very same people that were keenly in [TS]

  favor of everything being opened at the [TS]

  time have made a 180 degree turn to [TS]

  being very into cryptography you think [TS]

  yeah like actually everything's about [TS]

  privacy the wrong [TS]

  new plan helps it flips it around though [TS]

  because the cryptography is to protect [TS]

  you from the government to protect you [TS]

  from not play the government from you [TS]

  all I don't think they made a [TS]

  fundamental philosophical change but [TS]

  their tactics area had made from we [TS]

  don't need passwords to we need [TS]

  impossible to break passwords it [TS]

  what I really love about this book is [TS]

  how effortlessly he weaves his whole [TS]

  happy birthday hippie existence like the [TS]

  day he shines off work to go listen to [TS]

  the Grateful Dead by parking himself on [TS]

  a hillside and just like taking the [TS]

  concept for free and there's like a [TS]

  chapter that ends with his chocolate [TS]

  chip cookie recipe and there's like an [TS]

  interlude a free chapter he's like [TS]

  making his wedding shirt while thinking [TS]

  about work and I like the moment I [TS]

  laughed out loud and couldn't stop that [TS]

  there's a moment where he his shoes are [TS]

  wet so he decides to dry them in the [TS]

  microwave LC cloud of smoke and he [TS]

  throws it throws it the shoes in the [TS]

  glass of the microwave out onto the [TS]

  driveway with shatters but then he's [TS]

  going to [TS]

  to fix it also we put some vanilla on [TS]

  the stove and while he's cleaning but he [TS]

  forgets that he's got the vanilla so [TS]

  then that burns they decided an apology [TS]

  to his girlfriend's gonna bake some [TS]

  cookies but the cookie slide off of the [TS]

  cookie sheet and onto the bottom and [TS]

  they burn and this is the state that she [TS]

  finds him in and it's just it'sit's very [TS]

  funny also if you work at the at [TS]

  Lawrence Berkeley Lab you're right [TS]

  uphill from the Greek Theatre if the [TS]

  Grateful better playing you're gonna be [TS]

  listening regardless you might as well [TS]

  go outside [TS]

  yeah that's where he was he has he's [TS]

  like it was a beautiful evening there's [TS]

  some fog coming in and it just sounded [TS]

  like such a great life you know it's a [TS]

  it's a really well written book because [TS]

  he combines being extremely technical it [TS]

  spots with being extremely endearing [TS]

  yes yes I was so much personality in [TS]

  this book is a great character of of [TS]

  this book because this is a mystery [TS]

  story he's the investigator you've got [TS]

  this [TS]

  you couldn't write a better story right [TS]

  it is it is this this shaggy hippie guy [TS]

  he-he's berkeley guy but he also has a [TS]

  scientist and he understands this stuff [TS]

  and he's dogging in pursuit of this and [TS]

  he knows that the person is doing [TS]

  something wrong even though a lot of [TS]

  culture says it's okay he knows that [TS]

  something is going wrong here and it [TS]

  leads him down this path where where you [TS]

  know he's got all of the the nice things [TS]

  about his character that that his you [TS]

  know is his girlfriend and that roommate [TS]

  and and they come up with a whole crazy [TS]

  plot while while taking a shower and [TS]

  operation showerhead yeah all this great [TS]

  stuff Enya and then also you've got the [TS]

  mystery I mean you it's such a it's a [TS]

  great combination and it's just so much [TS]

  about the period where he's like [TS]

  literally calling up law enforcement [TS]

  saying hey there people from like we [TS]

  don't know we're breaking into [TS]

  government things and doing searches for [TS]

  four straight nuclear weapons and Star [TS]

  Wars program and things like that and [TS]

  the response is are they stealing money [TS]

  well then we're not interested computer [TS]

  crime that's not a thing [TS]

  why did you put those two words together [TS]

  strangely you can still have that [TS]

  conversation with law enforcement today [TS]

  is the amazing art so the more things [TS]

  change the more they stay the same I [TS]

  thought I was struck by that there's [TS]

  still a question of who are the police [TS]

  of of the internet and the answer is the [TS]

  kind of aren't any and all that the [TS]

  tactics have changed the the attitude [TS]

  the law enforcement often has I [TS]

  he finds sympathetic people but even [TS]

  with the sympathetic people he finds are [TS]

  more concerned about using him to prove [TS]

  a point which is that there are people [TS]

  that security is bad like I i love the [TS]

  fact that he keeps talking about these [TS]

  systems that all ship with their with [TS]

  with no passwords they are default [TS]

  passwords like that's out-of-the-box [TS]

  they come with fully privilege system [TS]

  administrator accounts with a stock [TS]

  password and unless you change it [TS]

  somebody can just get in so that's bad [TS]

  but what's even worse is there's a part [TS]

  of the book where somebody that i think [TS]

  the the the Air Force talks to somebody [TS]

  at an Air Force Base and basically says [TS]

  change all the passwords and six months [TS]

  later he finds that there's a break in [TS]

  there and the guys like I told them to [TS]

  change the passwords did they just [TS]

  didn't do it well and then you but then [TS]

  you have every router in America [TS]

  everyone in the world ships with the [TS]

  password admin you find things like all [TS]

  the voting machines in America by some [TS]

  company has the password 1234 that ever [TS]

  been changed at the TSA holds up [TS]

  pictures of their close-up keys for a [TS]

  photograph of their master luggage keys [TS]

  like nothing has changed yeah they [TS]

  actually Madison hack from what i read [TS]

  happened because their system password [TS]

  was password 1234 [TS]

  oh my god and that's our company guys [TS]

  entire business model is 100-percent [TS]

  data security here I really i re-read [TS]

  couch like a few times and I think I [TS]

  read it last a while ago but I remember [TS]

  very distinctly I would always liked him [TS]

  because he was self aware of read books [TS]

  like that like you read on the jonmar [TS]

  coughs book or he wrote it with to tomo [TS]

  show more I which was right let's see [TS]

  the few years later that was a takedown [TS]

  about the kevin Mitnick so the thing [TS]

  there is written to tomah was the guy [TS]

  who helped take him down and Mark off [TS]

  came on to write the book and there's a [TS]

  lot of questions about how particularly [TS]

  accurate the story is whether Mitnick [TS]

  actually did you know damages all these [TS]

  things about you know what he actually [TS]

  steal using social engineering all that [TS]

  but i think that book is very serious [TS]

  it's like there's a sky is running and [TS]

  we're finding him there's this [TS]

  relentless pursuer who's a genius [TS]

  computers like cliff Stoll book is like [TS]

  I'm is total goofball and he knows any [TS]

  revels in his own goofiness enjoys it [TS]

  and he has those coming to [TS]

  god-knows-where you talk about where you [TS]

  go you know he's like what am i doing [TS]

  lawn for [TS]

  people ask me why my pursuing this so [TS]

  there's that nice amount of [TS]

  self-reflection that makes the book [TS]

  enjoyable gives you a position as a [TS]

  reader to have sympathy for him and also [TS]

  in enjoy it but you know I don't know I [TS]

  think it's that the story as a whole is [TS]

  you agree with it like something is [TS]

  wrong here like you know there's [TS]

  something not right and it should be put [TS]

  correct but it's very very hard to make [TS]

  that happen [TS]

  yeah and it helps that at the end you [TS]

  find out it's german hackers being paid [TS]

  by the Russian government that the KGB [TS]

  KGB are paying for secrets from these [TS]

  german hackers and in any fantastic [TS]

  twist they set up so one of my favorite [TS]

  things in the book is a set of this [TS]

  operation showerhead where they invent a [TS]

  character who's a secretary at LBL they [TS]

  invent an entire division called SDI net [TS]

  which has strategic defense initiative [TS]

  is the code for the Ronald Reagan's Star [TS]

  Wars project so they set this all up [TS]

  they create I get the sense to that at [TS]

  this point he his he mentioned it a few [TS]

  points like he is spending a lot of time [TS]

  on this because they invent dozens or [TS]

  hundreds of documents about SDI net just [TS]

  to create this honey pot and and you [TS]

  know the hacker seems interested at [TS]

  first he dumped some of the files you [TS]

  know he comes back a little bit later [TS]

  but seems to have lost some interest in [TS]

  it and then they get a letter for the [TS]

  fictitious secretary and they're like [TS]

  what the hell just happened and it's [TS]

  from most part in pittsburgh [TS]

  pennsylvania and it's from a guy with a [TS]

  Hungarian name and it turns out that [TS]

  he's basically somebody that you know [TS]

  the KGB checker the KGB called somebody [TS]

  who call somebody who sends who then [TS]

  they say mail this letter they hand him [TS]

  a letter and emails the letter a sign [TS]

  and mail this and yeah they're checking [TS]

  up on this on the secrets that are being [TS]

  sold to them how crazy is that and this [TS]

  is all just these cookies in Berkeley [TS]

  who r RA yeah whatever chicken streaker [TS]

  if we could like get someone in the snag [TS]

  called Operation showerhead and then it [TS]

  happens inside go oh my gosh [TS]

  but that's another funny thing in this [TS]

  book is that one of the people he meets [TS]

  one of the spea CIA guys he meets a guy [TS]

  named Robert Morris who basically him [TS]

  away [TS]

  sweeps away and take some somewhere to [TS]

  meet this and they get and he gets he [TS]

  gets like a certificate of appreciation [TS]

  they're like that come on the guy from [TS]

  berkeley want something he's helped us [TS]

  out here now that nobody tells the story [TS]

  about like talking this guy who's got [TS]

  all these questions about astronomy he's [TS]

  obviously an astronomy nut and and he [TS]

  gets the sense like there's always [TS]

  throughout this information like [TS]

  astronomy and dealing with the CIA that [TS]

  the keyhole satellites are floating in [TS]

  the background there's like nobody talks [TS]

  about the keyhole satellite but like [TS]

  imagine what if there was a hubble space [TS]

  telescope pointing the other way he's [TS]

  like well that was oh say no more right [TS]

  so he talks to this robert morris guy [TS]

  and tells the story about about how he's [TS]

  a chain smoker any and he drives the [TS]

  windows rolled up in the winter and in [TS]

  Maryland and he almost dies in the car [TS]

  of asphyxiation from this and I and and [TS]

  you know knowing it now you realize what [TS]

  he's setting up which is one of the last [TS]

  chapters of the book and it's kind of [TS]

  not relevant to his story but it's just [TS]

  too good not to put in the book is that [TS]

  Robert Morris his son is the guy who did [TS]

  the first big internet worm and shut [TS]

  down like thousands of computers i want [TS]

  boy was in college and so that at the [TS]

  end of the book that story comes up and [TS]

  it's really funny because he said but [TS]

  you know it's like it's it's that guy's [TS]

  kid who did this and that guys like he's [TS]

  a cyber security guy at the CIA but his [TS]

  kid shut down half the internet with his [TS]

  with the first internetwork yeah he [TS]

  sneaks it up on you because it's the [TS]

  character the father's is called Bob [TS]

  Morris Morrison exclusively and then [TS]

  there's a chapter they know that this [TS]

  new world was created by somebody named [TS]

  rtm and they can't figure out who that [TS]

  is [TS]

  yeah and Bob horses like it's robert [TS]

  robert morris jr true story but so [TS]

  that's what that's a crazy thing to so I [TS]

  i highly recommend this book just [TS]

  because it's fun but but what's funny [TS]

  about it is that these issues it's all [TS]

  different today right i mean now we've [TS]

  got cryptography the actions that people [TS]

  like the the hacker who stole is chasing [TS]

  are far more complicated today they but [TS]

  you know at the same time they're not [TS]

  that different the tools are different [TS]

  the tools are more sophisticated but [TS]

  it's still a game being played today [TS]

  it's just being played at a edit on a [TS]

  different board than it was back then [TS]

  yeah yeah it's um it's funny how much it [TS]

  seemed like well that's a blip and [TS]

  they'll fix it i think even in those [TS]

  days as like well this is sort of [TS]

  hilarious in an apt but you know it'll [TS]

  get better and then the more i was [TS]

  working you know started doing stuff on [TS]

  the internet 94 I had my password file [TS]

  stolen and sent to me and 96 by somebody [TS]

  and you know I've had peace [TS]

  yeah i was still encrypted in but you [TS]

  know was taken and I had some break-ins [TS]

  in those days which is something that [TS]

  happens in this book is they don't know [TS]

  why they're stealing the password files [TS]

  and they realize they're doing a [TS]

  dictionary y'all search offline of the [TS]

  password file and finding the single [TS]

  word passwords that match some of those [TS]

  passwords probably still in use [TS]

  probably oh that's four years later [TS]

  Robert yeah it's not it's just nothing [TS]

  got better everything that works because [TS]

  number lessons learned at that time [TS]

  wherever really put into effect there [TS]

  were no regulations and you know [TS]

  regulations don't work obviously by [TS]

  themselves but it didn't become like [TS]

  standard practice it wasn't concerned [TS]

  computer companies want to make things [TS]

  as fast as possible [TS]

  going back to the soul of a new machine [TS]

  is you gotta ship and you gotta ship [TS]

  insecurity something you do later years [TS]

  later and that's still pay the price [TS]

  one of the biggest disconnect I had to [TS]

  cover our essay this year the security [TS]

  conference and one of the biggest [TS]

  disconnects i had was I would sit in [TS]

  keynote after keynote where you'd have [TS]

  sea level executives and CSO and people [TS]

  who are Troubleshooters and fight the [TS]

  stuff for living saying there is no [TS]

  technological solution you have to work [TS]

  on human behavior and it and then I [TS]

  would walk onto the show floor and [TS]

  Moscow knee east and west were both [TS]

  taken up with with nothing but vendors [TS]

  promising all manner of hardware and [TS]

  software solution get your get your [TS]

  technological solutions i saw a [TS]

  commercial saying our kids will not have [TS]

  to worry about passwords at all [TS]

  well you know what in the RSA thing that [TS]

  the two that the front that things keep [TS]

  popping overview of where everyone kept [TS]

  saying we live in a post node world we [TS]

  have to assume that anyone anywhere can [TS]

  leak your information that's that's your [TS]

  assumption is that your systems are [TS]

  inherently unsafe because people use [TS]

  them and that and then they move on to [TS]

  the only thing you can really do is [TS]

  invest in human capital human behavior [TS]

  and you have to work on on behavioral [TS]

  training because technology can't do [TS]

  that for people and yet i walked on the [TS]

  show floor and I thought okay surely [TS]

  there's some enter [TS]

  prising consultants or something or like [TS]

  we dispatch a team of nerds to brainwash [TS]

  your people into practicing decent [TS]

  security [TS]

  no it's all you know install the [TS]

  software and and you can nanny your [TS]

  users this way you can monitor that you [TS]

  can block this you can do that you can [TS]

  make them change their password to [TS]

  another 12 character password every two [TS]

  weeks that will be high security if you [TS]

  look at you if you look at the Cuckoo's [TS]

  egg which again highly recommend i think [TS]

  anybody would like it on the the wood [TS]

  the lesson I take away from it is it [TS]

  it's yes it seems kind of like an [TS]

  innocent time and yet it also says that [TS]

  in the in 1986 and 87 on the roots you [TS]

  know on the early internet where there [TS]

  were you know people had pcs and macs [TS]

  and stuff but thats so much was going on [TS]

  in these backs and unix systems that [TS]

  were out there accent EMS systems that [TS]

  all of all or most of the problems that [TS]

  we see today were already there [TS]

  it's just a matter of degree and that [TS]

  the world of the world is different and [TS]

  simpler in some ways back then it was [TS]

  but it in other ways not different at [TS]

  all because it's the same issues dogs to [TS]

  this day about security about the people [TS]

  problems with security about insecure [TS]

  software being fundamental problem its [TS]

  it and organizations being incapable of [TS]

  handling it and at several points [TS]

  they're like they just want to shut [TS]

  their their door to the hacker and they [TS]

  know the actor will just find other ways [TS]

  in and they will lose their ability to [TS]

  to follow him and people and and you [TS]

  know the functionaries that these [TS]

  organizations are like I just know i'm [TS]

  just going to close the hole and move on [TS]

  with my life and so no you can't but [TS]

  that and let you know that kind of stuff [TS]

  still happens today so on that level I [TS]

  think it's you know it's quaint [TS]

  technology wise but totally applicable [TS]

  to the issues that the technology world [TS]

  faces even today I think can we talk [TS]

  about a few other books briefly yes [TS]

  before we do let's talk about who [TS]

  everything else that's in the idea if [TS]

  that's any seller or the Attic wherever [TS]

  you keep your books about technology [TS]

  from the eighties and nineties but i can [TS]

  go fast yeah okay well for something [TS]

  that the media lab post states [TS]

  sold in the Machine and it predates [TS]

  microservices Hannah Kash it's actually [TS]

  kind of the Middle Ages microservice 95 [TS]

  right media lab is the 88 and Stewart [TS]

  Brand who is catalog right the media lab [TS]

  I remember reading this thing and it [TS]

  blew my mind the late 1980s because it [TS]

  was about this incredible institute of [TS]

  the future in which sorry this is the [TS]

  future is another thing not [TS]

  yeah and so the yes you read this yes I [TS]

  understand it's incredible and it [TS]

  totally shaped and influenced my life [TS]

  said this is what I want more so than [TS]

  other books i read it and said this is [TS]

  what I want I want technology that's [TS]

  meaningful that has an artistic [TS]

  component that's something I get my [TS]

  hands into and that could help change [TS]

  the world and maybe it's cool but it's [TS]

  not about money it's about doing things [TS]

  that are transformative and then I was [TS]

  lucky enough after college I went to [TS]

  work for this division of kodak all the [TS]

  center for creative imaging which was [TS]

  created specifically to be a little bit [TS]

  like the media lab without any resources [TS]

  not the whole story but i gotta have a [TS]

  little taste of what it was like to be [TS]

  in a Camelot of like super creative [TS]

  artistic people coming together an [TS]

  intersection of Technology culture you [TS]

  know art and business and it was like oh [TS]

  you know and that's something i've [TS]

  wanted to recapture but i think the book [TS]

  is incredible slice and I just went to [TS]

  the media lab never been there before i [TS]

  visited it with a friend whose grad [TS]

  student their post grad student and he'd [TS]

  be too around the whole place and it's [TS]

  you know they had it's bigger it's very [TS]

  expensive but it continues to further [TS]

  this mission and really really [TS]

  interesting stuff continues to come out [TS]

  of it i just winds up going often more [TS]

  quickly into commerce than necessarily [TS]

  having an impact on culture but it still [TS]

  let's wear a lot of ideas from the [TS]

  Bitcoin the guy who's the main guy [TS]

  behind bitcoin now works at MIT because [TS]

  his group at the media lab because the [TS]

  group that was supposed to foster [TS]

  Bitcoin fell apart and Sony labs like [TS]

  eight you come here with some other [TS]

  people will do a cryptocurrency group [TS]

  and we'll just pay for your celery so we [TS]

  can keep Bitcoin software going someone [TS]

  and just quickly like being digital by [TS]

  nicholas negroponte and everything that [TS]

  was four years ago [TS]

  yeah about it Sammy lab this is eight [TS]

  years later he was the head of the media [TS]

  lab and then drove it through its [TS]

  tremendous growth there's what the [TS]

  Dormouse said which is a doormouse said [TS]

  which is a subtitles how the sixties [TS]

  counterculture shape the personal [TS]

  computer industry market value and [TS]

  marketing 2006 it's a really lovely book [TS]

  and Stuart brands in there and kevin [TS]

  kelly and all these interesting people [TS]

  you know Steve Jobs all the people who [TS]

  founded companies and it's a look at [TS]

  like I really legitimate look about how [TS]

  drugs and a new ways of thinking [TS]

  actually did open up this does for [TS]

  people that led directly into stuff that [TS]

  was commercial and the one thing I'll [TS]

  say about fake steve jobs his book I [TS]

  don't necessarily recommend reading [TS]

  isn't that bad is that I think his non [TS]

  is fictional book about jobs actually [TS]

  cracked part of that code in a way that [TS]

  dormouse is really the nonfiction [TS]

  version of how you take utopian ideals [TS]

  and mind explaining expanding I you know [TS]

  drugs other stuff and you turn it into [TS]

  something people can hold in their hand [TS]

  and it has this effect on them as if [TS]

  they're part of it even though it's just [TS]

  purely an object so that those are mine [TS]

  that's my arrangements I've got a book [TS]

  i'd like to throw in yeah if people [TS]

  enjoyed hackers and what to really [TS]

  immerse themselves in these people i [TS]

  really like the new hackers dictionary [TS]

  yes the third edition i think is the [TS]

  last edition that was published as a [TS]

  book it was edited by eric s Raymond [TS]

  America he was inexplicably nominated [TS]

  for best new writer for the hugo this [TS]

  year based on one short story but [TS]

  obviously the distance unexplainable but [TS]

  that's not so fast [TS]

  that's how about an explainable he wrote [TS]

  one story anyway it has been [TS]

  luckily moved online and you can just [TS]

  wallow in the ridiculous lingo of lots [TS]

  of different hacker subcultures the sort [TS]

  of people who look at El Camino rial a [TS]

  long road in California and say that's [TS]

  way too long to be a real number and [TS]

  it's just I'm calling it el camino [TS]

  bignum because that's the kind of number [TS]

  that can hold more digits [TS]

  right by i like how we all decided that [TS]

  but that it is a great document of the [TS]

  hackers era people the the only 1 i've [TS]

  got is back when I got the Cuckoo's egg [TS]

  and soul of the new machine and all the [TS]

  other one that I read was the hacker [TS]

  crackdown law and disorder on the [TS]

  Electronic Frontier by bruce sterling [TS]

  i'm gonna have sterling that I don't [TS]

  remember it at all i think it was like a [TS]

  federal statute that Bruce Sterling had [TS]

  to be on everybody's bookshelf from 1992 [TS]

  1999 that was about the big secret [TS]

  service attack that led to the eff and [TS]

  yeah focused on the Steve Jackson games [TS]

  attack i read a book that was kind of [TS]

  written attempted to be written the [TS]

  Spirit of the books are talking about [TS]

  and it was one of the most depressing [TS]

  books are written in a while that was [TS]

  Scott Rosenberg dreaming and code [TS]

  oh I love that woman it's kinda [TS]

  depressing because you think about all [TS]

  of the work that went into it and they [TS]

  still don't have a complete product and [TS]

  like any epilogue he's like well i'm [TS]

  still using google calendar because i [TS]

  know these guys are smart they worked [TS]

  really hard but a that because I think [TS]

  the best explanation for non-programmers [TS]

  i think a non program could read the [TS]

  book and go oh this is why software ever [TS]

  ships [TS]

  yeah yeah yeah it's it's just it's just [TS]

  so depressing in a way because you're [TS]

  you're reading it and you're thinking [TS]

  about all of the people who poured their [TS]

  time in their energy and their passion [TS]

  and they just keep getting tripped up by [TS]

  out like each other or even things that [TS]

  are breaking the code or people's [TS]

  endless quest for perfection like a lot [TS]

  of this book is about how perfect is the [TS]

  enemy of good [TS]

  yes and it's it's it's the kind of book [TS]

  where if it had come out like in the [TS]

  eighties and nineties i think a lot of [TS]

  people like wow those software engineers [TS]

  will learn their kind of crazy and my [TS]

  goodness and now you're like oh god yeah [TS]

  corporate life it's but it was [TS]

  interesting as it really is written in [TS]

  the spirit of the books from the [TS]

  eighties and nineties in this by Scott [TS]

  Rosenberg who is one of who used to be [TS]

  like a really big over at salon and they [TS]

  were like way back in the news they were [TS]

  kind of spiritual successor to like the [TS]

  whole Clifford stole we are hippies who [TS]

  just really [TS]

  of life in technology and things are [TS]

  cool man and be suspicious of authority [TS]

  and I think Rosen you have to look at [TS]

  the tone rosenberg took and shaping tech [TS]

  coverage from salon from like the [TS]

  mid-nineties to that the mid-autumn ease [TS]

  and and it's very much tied into the [TS]

  books have been talking about [TS]

  I only 1i want to mention since we [TS]

  talked about Steven Levy and I I said [TS]

  yeah actresses goes I remember all those [TS]

  super dense i will recommend you i would [TS]

  insanely great is a great story of the [TS]

  invention of the Macintosh was that it [TS]

  is a computer that was used apparently [TS]

  by people in Microsoft in 1995 I don't [TS]

  really understand how that could be but [TS]

  anyway it's a no see if you were [TS]

  Canadian if you were yes sure it's a [TS]

  it's a very very good history of the [TS]

  creation of the mac which we have lots [TS]

  of great stories and then when you're [TS]

  done there you can also read full glory [TS]

  dot-org which has got a bunch of stories [TS]

  about that same era by the people who [TS]

  worked on the original mac team and that [TS]

  got turned into a book that is called [TS]

  what is it uh-oh it's called revolution [TS]

  in the valley which is a which is a [TS]

  version of that same that's a Herzfeld [TS]

  and company and their and their stories [TS]

  about inventing the max oh those are [TS]

  those are fun books and I like crypto to [TS]

  buy him which is a an early cryptography [TS]

  book [TS]

  book [TS]

  my true 2001 about how cryptography [TS]

  works by much one more thing or it's [TS]

  actually five were things haha also [TS]

  alright so that the brief thing I'd say [TS]

  is that it's interesting to see how [TS]

  these kinds of books come out today [TS]

  because you have books like hatching [TS]

  Twitter by nick bilton New York Times [TS]

  know you have a long tail Chris [TS]

  Andersen's from few years back but that [TS]

  lack the everything store by bradstone [TS]

  get big fast was the first big amazon [TS]

  book in 2002 and i'm in a couple of his [TS]

  books I mean laughter I'm going but the [TS]

  the thing that's interesting at a known [TS]

  makers another Chris Andersen book that [TS]

  I quite liked which is kind of about the [TS]

  maker movement before Chris wound up [TS]

  having to his own life from being an [TS]

  editor-in-chief of wire to being the [TS]

  head of 3d robotics a drone making [TS]

  company which is a great story itself [TS]

  and these modern books about it I feel [TS]

  like there's much less of people [TS]

  involved makers is an exception but i [TS]

  think these books are so much business [TS]

  stuff going on everything is happening [TS]

  in such an accelerated pace and [TS]

  everything typically involves billions [TS]

  of dollars for millions of items or a [TS]

  trillions of Records I was talking to [TS]

  accompany the day ago game company those [TS]

  online the legal league-of-legends [TS]

  league-of-legends they literally don't [TS]

  know how much data they collect every [TS]

  day it's so huge they have trillions of [TS]

  data points toward databases and so the [TS]

  scale is so big I think outpaces [TS]

  humanity and you read stories and I feel [TS]

  like there's less humanity in them [TS]

  because the the components have now [TS]

  become so big and I want to read some [TS]

  more narrative nonfiction that's more [TS]

  like soul of a new machine that gets us [TS]

  back to the heart of people what will [TS]

  they what books will they write about us [TS]

  they're probably already looks it's [TS]

  gonna be a series of tweets my storify [TS]

  is the greater is the response everybody [TS]

  with a start-up thinks they're going to [TS]

  be the next big thing so they're already [TS]

  writing the book in their head [TS]

  yeah well in some cases I've seen [TS]

  startups do like commissioned a video [TS]

  documentary series about the creation of [TS]

  their startup just to impress you with [TS]

  how great they are [TS]

  I worked at once that made us assemble [TS]

  once every few months for recitation of [TS]

  the creation myth [TS]

  oh my gosh I just did a podcast episode [TS]

  of the internet history podcast which by [TS]

  the way if you're interested in these [TS]

  sorts of things at Brian McCullough has [TS]

  the series was interviewing people who [TS]

  are in [TS]

  halt at the creation of stuff excuse me [TS]

  and he's gotten some people who rarely [TS]

  talk publicly and I don't think the [TS]

  podcast has gotten this massive amount [TS]

  of attention like it's not like a [TS]

  million people are downloading it but I [TS]

  think his goal is to create a kind of [TS]

  living history and there are people who [TS]

  have never heard interviewed before very [TS]

  rarely that talk to him for you know 60 [TS]

  minutes or an hour and a half a couple [TS]

  hours and we just talk about this other [TS]

  day about creation myths that amazon [TS]

  since i was there not at the creation [TS]

  but knew the people from the start until [TS]

  we know what I left in 97 and about all [TS]

  this like the desk door and all those [TS]

  things and we talked about all the stuff [TS]

  that was sort of either made up [TS]

  there's even things that Amazon denies [TS]

  would have said no it did not happen [TS]

  that way and yet reporters still tell [TS]

  the story even though they come to other [TS]

  people outside like me who had confirmed [TS]

  that no it did not actually happen that [TS]

  way [TS]

  well so i hope everybody out there has [TS]

  enjoyed our car RRR commingling of [TS]

  things we talked about it on this [TS]

  podcast and other other places where we [TS]

  write in podcast technology and books [TS]

  and stories and they all kind of go back [TS]

  together so thank you Lisa speiser for [TS]

  suggesting this is a topic I appreciate [TS]

  it i'm glad we did it [TS]

  well this is fun my pleasure I'll i [TS]

  would like to thank our our our other [TS]

  guests Glenn fleischmann thank you [TS]

  delightful David Laura thank you very [TS]

  much thank you I've been having a [TS]

  wonderful chat over in the well we were [TS]

  talking and and Monty Ashley you spend [TS]

  your days of Microsoft but somehow don't [TS]

  have a mac at home [TS]

  so what's wrong with you there is a back [TS]

  at my apartment it's just not mine [TS]

  yeah okay okay well then we'll give [TS]

  douglas coupland will give you a pass [TS]

  for that and thanks everybody out there [TS]

  for listening this has been comfortable [TS]

  I've been your host Jason still we will [TS]

  see you next week [TS]