Freezenet’s Official Podcast: November 2020: The Big Two Five

In the 25th episode of the Freezenet official podcast, “The Big Two Five”, we take a look at the news and reviews we covered in November.

Welcome to the public version of episode 25 of the Freezenet official podcast for November, 2020. This month’s episode is entitled “The Big Two Five” because we have now released 25 episodes of this podcast.

This month, we obviously cover the US general election. This is because it has such big implications on everything including the world of technology. In addition to that, we cover Troydan causing Canada Post to trend on Twitter because he wasn’t getting his PLaystation 5 on day one of launch. Also, we cover the RIAA’s DMCA takedown of Github repositories for YouTube-DL.

in addition to this, we also cover all the usual music and video game reviews. we even cover the curious case of how cartoon characters wound up as defendants in a court database. All this and more on this month’s official podcast.

You can check out our official podcast on Anchor. Alternatively, you can take a listen below:

Edit: This episode is now publicly available on Patreon.

What follows is a transcript of this month’s episode:

Intro

It’s The Big Two Five

Hi, I’m your host, Drew Wilson. Welcome to episode 25 of the Freezenet official podcast for November, 2020. Here are your top 3 headlines:

The Top 3

Trump Racks up Warning Labels on Twitter After Losing Election

YouTuber, Troydan, gets is PS5 After Lashing Out at Canada Post

… and EFF gets GitHub to Reinstate YouTube-DL After RIAA DMCA Takedown

Top Stories

The stakes were high and the world was watching. With an economy in the toilet, COVID-19 continuing to hit record high infections, and over a quarter million dead from the disease, America headed to the polls. The question on so many people’s minds is whether Trump will get his second term or not. It’s no wonder every sector was watching it closely: the election is going to have implications on everything. Network neutrality, the future of TikTok, Section 230, and so many other things could be greatly impacted by the outcome of this election.

So, when election day hit, everyone monitored their news feeds or watched TV to see what is going to happen and what the results were going to be. Numbers churned out saying that this is going to be a record breaking year for voter turnout. More than ever, people were doing mail in ballots, advanced voting, and going to the polls in person. For Americans, this year felt like this was definitely not the year to sit this one out. The problem was, well, that record turnout may have ultimately played a role in how the outcome played out.

By the end of election day one, we found ourselves with nothing but a cliffhanger. Too many states remained undecided. Vote counting would definitely continue into the next day. The election wasn’t called. Still, the election seemed to be going Trump’s way.

On day two, some were hoping that a result would be handed down either way. Maybe some of the states could finally be called. As the waiting continued, some began expressing frustration with the US. So many were hoping for a Donald Trump repudiation. Put it another way, the hope was that it was going to be a massive landslide for Joe Biden, the person challenging Trump. That didn’t actually happen. In one instance, a Toronto based writer commented on the seemingly deadlocked election saying the following:

“Turns out, the so-called shining city on a hill is, instead, a black hole where hope, optimism, reason and the future go to die.

Last night was not a referendum on Trump’s character, but America’s character.

Last night, the myth about the decency of America was extinguished.

Last night, the myth about the wisdom of America was extinguished.

Last night, the myth about the exuberance of America was extinguished.

Last night, the myth about the good sense of America was extinguished.

Remember, millions of Americans are ready to elect a strongman as president – twice.”

Some were losing hope that America would really turn the corner, kick Trump to the curb, and finally return to a semblance of normalcy. Many found themselves asking how so many American’s were willing to re-elect someone like Trump. Still, no final results were forthcoming.

On day three, some were hoping that, maybe, just maybe, there was the possibility that one or two states could finally be called. Maybe the election can be called either way. However, even on day three, a result was simply not forthcoming still. Frustration began to set in. Some people began getting annoyed that the election was taking forever to decide. It became less of an election day and more of an election week. Still, no final result would come in.

Day 4 is when things started shifting. In-person voting had been largely counted and mail-in ballots were then being counted. Various states that were shown to be Trump led suddenly flipped blue. In so many ways, this actually makes sense. Many Trump supporters simply believe COVID-19 is a hoax, so they were willing to just show up in person and vote. However, many Biden supporters chose to do mail-in voting. This is simply because many of them know the threat of COVID-19. Rather than risk furthering the spread of COVID-19, it seemed wise to do mail-in voting instead. The consequence is that those votes would get counted later. People commentating on the election results referred to the phenomenon as a “red mirage”. What seemed like a precarious situation for Biden suddenly turned into an almost sure defeat for Trump. While leads in many of the undeclared states changed, the election was still too close to call.

Finally, on day 5, enough votes came in to declare Joe Biden the winner. It felt like an absolute eternity for any decision to come in, but after 5 long days, things finally became more certain. In so many ways, the day that happened just felt like everyone was breathing a sigh of relief. Chances are, it was from a combination of a decision finally being made and the fact that Trump’s good fortune is finally coming to an end. Of course, Trump was going to contest the results by promising sweeping litigation. Still, for a number of people, it felt like the boil had finally been lanced. Many Trump opponents were quick to wave signs saying, among other things, “you’re fired” in front of the White House.

In the aftermath of the election results, Trump began spewing conspiracy theories that he won the election and alleged massive voter fraud. Obviously, all of this was claimed without any evidence or proof. Still, Trump wound up racking up countless warning notices on Twitter. This includes notes that says that the comments were made before officials called the election or that the claims were disputed. Twitter was asked about whether or not Trump’s special status would change after he is out of office. In a response, Twitter said that, yes, Trump’s special status will be coming to an end on January 20th (the inauguration date of president elect Biden).

While that was happening in the US, a few things happened in Canada as well this month. One story in particular garnered a surprisingly huge amount of interest in Freezenet. As a result, this propelled the story to our number two spot. Troydan, a YouTuber, briefly caused Canada Post to trend in Canada on Twitter. This after he lashed out at both Canada Post and Best Buy. The reason? He wasn’t getting is Playstation 5 on day 1 of launch. In an angry tweet on the 9th, Troydan said “F*** CANADA POST AND F*** BEST BUY FOR USING CANADA POST”

The post generated a lot of controversy. Some were sympathetic, complaining that they, too, may have to wait a few extra days for their pre-orders to arrive. Others, however, were critical of Troydan. iamaltered replied, “Poor baby has to wait for his console. Chill man, mail is overwhelmed these days, have some realistic expectations.”

Speechlady63 commented, “Covid numbers climbing steadily, some hospitals starting to get back into gridlock; businesses going back into stage 2 or 3; people out of work; but yeah let’s tantrum about a gaming console that maybe a few days extra”

Rob Bieber replied, “OMG right? How dare a global pandemic inconvenience the man baby gamers of the world! Only 10,000 Canadians dead in 6 months… No reason to inconvenience you.

You give us gamers a bad name.”

We did our own digging and found countless articles over the last several months about the situation of Canada Post. Almost all of them point out that volume is unprecedentedly high and that people need to have some patience with the system. Even Sony said that orders are unusually high. According to a Reuters report, a Sony spokesperson said, “The demand as expressed by the level of pre-order [sic] has been very, very considerable.”

So, delays in the system are hardly a surprise.

Then, three days later, Troydan commented on Twitter that he finally got his Playstation 5. He complained that boxes containing the latest XBox consol was trolling, but one non-descript box contained the item he so sought after. He simply commented with a random string of characters and said “yes” with a picture of his console.

One question we did have is, what was so important on the Playstatino 5 that people like him wanted it right away? After some research, we found a list of Playstation 5 exclusives. Among the exclusives are Demon’s Souls, Gran Turismo 7, Returnal, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. The list contains a number of other titles, however, many of those titles are going to be timed with a Playstation 4 release. So, after seeing the list, it becomes even harder to justify getting so bent out of shape over not getting the Playstation 5 so early on. This over top of the notorious risks of being an early adopter to something so new. We’re just left wondering if it was the end of the world to just, you know, pick up a game for any other system, or Steam, and play that while you wait. It wasn’t really that long of a delay in the end, honestly.

While that story wound up containing a resolution, it wasn’t the only one. The Recording Industry Association of America made headlines this month thanks to a DMCA takedown notice they issued. The notice was sent to collaborative software developer platform, Github. The demand wanted the site to take down YouTube-DL and related repositories. The RIAA said that the tool could be used to infringe on their copyright and break YouTube’s DRM in the process. The claims were stretching things to be sure. Still, GitHub complied and took the project down. It’s worth noting, however, that the project remained live on the official webpage.

As news broke, many were quick to condemn the actions. Many point out that the tool is used by journalists to analyze online video’s on various streaming platforms. Others point out that downloading video’s for fair use activities, such as education and criticism, is actually legal. As a result, for many, the tool itself isn’t automatically copyright infringement given it’s general use status.

While this takedown is fairly recent, takedowns of general purpose tools and innovative new products are nothing new. Anti-circumvention laws – especially those found in the DMCA – have been used to hamstring or outright block innovation so many times over. With this latest takedown making headlines, the Electronic Frontier Foundation renewed calls to end these anti-circumvention laws. Part of EFF’s comments read: “DMCA 1201 has been loaded with terrible implications for innovation and free expression since the day it was passed. For many years, EFF documented these issues in our “Unintended Consequences” series; we continue to organize and lobby for temporary exemptions to its provisions for the purposes of cellphone unlocking, restoring vintage videogames and similar fair uses, as well as file and defend lawsuits in the United States to try and mitigate its damage. We look forward to the day when it is no longer part of U.S. law.”

Of course, EFF is fulfilling part of its mandate by advocating for better change here. While the EFF could have left the situation on that note, the EFF actually took things a step further. They sent a letter to GitHub demanding that the repositories of YouTube-DL be re-instated. They note that YouTube-DL isn’t really breaking a DRM, but rather, adding functionality to YouTube. The EFF further commented that the RIAA’s legal rationale isn’t exactly sound. As such, it makes no sense to keep the tools down based on such a flawed legal argument.

In response, GitHub announced that they have re-instated YouTube-DL. GitHub pretty much agreed with the EFF’s assessment of the situation. They even took things a step further by announcing a $1 million developer defense fund to help open source creators fight “unwarranted” DMCA takedowns. This in response to the reality that developers might otherwise have to rely on public advocacy groups like the EFF and the Software Freedom Law center to fight such claims. This assumes that they would take their case on at all. Github also said that they would be overhauling their DMCA 1201 review process as well to prevent similar incidences from happening in the future.

The EFF applauded the development, saying, “EFF is proud to have helped the free software community keep this important tool online.”

So, some pretty combative things happening this month. Now, here are some of the other stories making news this month.

Other Stories Making News

As you can imagine, TikTok also made headlines this month. Last month, we mentioned how a hearing was set to take place about Trump’s TikTok ban. As it turns out, the judge in question was actually seriously considering not giving TikTok another extension. After all, a decision was due to be rendered by the administration, so there was less reason to continue to extend the injunction. As we already pointed out in our top story this month, the election happened. With Trump focused on trying to overturn the election results, along with his many trips to the golf course, he apparently forgot all about the TikTok ban.

The deadline to make a decision came and went without a decision being given. So, with everything being asked already submitted, and no direction on where to go, they asked the judge for an extension thanks to the lack of a decision.

Days later, the Trump administration quietly gave TikTok an extension. Now, the new deadline was set for November 27th. What happens then is anyone’s guess. After all, like so much about everything else the Trump administration did, this is definitely unusual.

In a related story, WeChat scored a major legal victory. As many of you know, WeChat also became the target of the Trump ban. A lower court ruled against the Trump Administration and allowed WeChat to continue operating in the US. In response, the Trump Administration appealed. This in an effort to reverse the lower court decision. At the appeals court, the Trump Administration lost their case. The three judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in their ruling that the administration had “not demonstrated that they will suffer an imminent, irreparable injury”. The ruling also affects Tencent holdings, a company that has a 40% controlling stake in the company that owns Fortnite.

Meanwhile, Facebook is facing even more accusations of pro-conservative bias. News website, Mother Jones, says that Facebook made changed to their algorithms in an effort to reduce the prominence of their site. It is alleged that this also favours far right websites that push propaganda and conspiracy theories. The Union Rep and news editor commented that this has likely hurt the outlet and further comments, “It’s hard to calculate exactly what these changes mean for Mother Jones—how many people did not see our articles, how many potential subscribers and donors we did not reach—but a very conservative estimate of just the loss in advertising revenue is more than $400,000 between the time those algorithm changes were implemented and the end of our last fiscal year, this June.”

The FCC held hearings about the future of Section 230. The FCC earlier took flack for flip-flopping on the idea of taking a hands-off approach to regulation. Many noted that the hearings were largely a partisan affair with some calling the hearings petty. Other’s noted that Facebook agreed to gutting Section 230. Critics blasted Facebook, saying that Facebook is actually just pulling the innovation ladder up from behind it to ensure that it remains a dominant player in the social networking industry.

Biometric surveillance made an appearance in this month’s news. Often, these issues surround genealogic research websites that allow people to submit their DNA. This in exchange for knowing more about their family history. In one particularly big story in the past, GEDmatch received a warrant from police to obtain their database for law enforcement purposes. Ultimately, police got the database. Now, the Department of Homeland Security is hoping to expand their bio-metric surveillance program by demanding DNA samples from immigrants. The EFF filed comments opposing the move. The EFF notes that DNA evidence has been known to implicate the wrong people for crimes. As one example, the EFF cited the case of an Oregon man being accused of being the Golden State Killer. The man had to undergo a second DNA test to clear his name after. The EFF used this as one of a host of reasons why they oppose the expansion.

Facebook took heat for not banning Steve Bannon – former aide to the Trump Administration. In an online show, Bannon suggested that government officials should be beheaded and have their heads mounted on pikes at the corners of the White House. He suggested that such an action should act as a warning to others who are not getting “with the program”. In response, YouTube removed the episode in question for rule violations about glorifying violence. Twitter took an even bigger step and “permanently suspended” Bannon from the patform. Meanwhile, Facebook refused to suspend Bannon for the comments. Zuckerberg defended the inaction by saying that the comments come close, but don’t cross the line from a rule enforcement perspective.

Canada has tabled new privacy reform laws. Known as bill C-11, or the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the legislation is said to fix critical shortcomings of Canadian privacy laws. Analysis suggests that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada would get new enforcement powers. The lack of any ability to enforce privacy laws has long been a major hole in privacy laws. This legislation aims to patch that.

Contravention of the privacy laws can mean a penalty of up to $10,000,000 or 3% of the organization’s gross global revenue. The gross global revenue refers to its financial year before the one in which the penalty is imposed. In some circumstances, such as failure to comply with some security disclosure rules, the penalties are even higher at $25,000,000 or 5% of the organization’s gross global revenue.

While this sounds like great news on the surface, there are huge caveats to this law. Huge exceptions have been added to this legislation as well. One such exception is that it doesn’t necessarily apply if there is a business relationship with a user where obtaining consent would be impractical. This due to a lack of a direct relationship with the user. Critics worry that this invites a number of potential legal problems. Further, political parties continue to be exempt from these laws as well. While many consider this legislation long-awaited, it seems that there is certainly disappointment with what the actual legislation says.

Julian Assange made news this month, though not for anything he did. An outbreak of COVID-19 broke out at the prison where he is being held. Assange has had to deal with deteriorating health for more than a year now. His health conditions make him more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19. This latest news is just the latest concern for his personal health.

So, certainly a lot going on this month. Now, let’s take a look at the entertainment we’ve covered this month.

Video Game Reviews

Before we jump into the video game’s we’ve reviewed, I wanted to point out that we have posted another first impression video. This month, we posted a video on the game, The Witcher. This, of course, is the first in the video game series. More people, however, are familiar with the third game in the series. So, it was interesting to start with the first game instead. If you are curious to see how this series started, you can check out the video on our site, on YouTube, or simply check out our YouTube channel.

Now, here are video games we’ve reviewed this month:

First up is The Jungle Book for the Game Boy. A gem collection system so confusing, even FAQ writers struggle to figure this out. While checkpoints are definitely well-intentioned, the requirement to collect every gem in the level makes this system more of a hindrance. In the end, this game flops with a 48%.

Next up is Cool Spot for the Game Boy. Movements being slowed down to handle refresh rate restrictions helps this game. Still, it only improves the gameplay to the point of making this one merely half decent to play. A game that got an average 66%.

After that, we played Space Invaders for the Game Boy. A game that relies far too heavily on the original. Because of that, this game winds up being a very outdated one. As a result, this one bombs with a 34%.

Finally, we played Wario Land – Super Mario Land 3 for the Game Boy. A jarring departure from the previous entries of this series. Still, this one sports an interesting system where your deeds in the levels are remembered. So, this one gets a solid 76%.

Music Reviews

As for music we’ve listened to this month, we’ve got…

Zero Gravity – Sensorium

LDC – Plasma

ZYON – No Fate (Struggle Continous Mix)

Violet Force – Planet E.

Solar Plexus – Omargarashid (MK1)

Emojonal – Silence of Water

Rotterdam Termination Source – Poing

Sequential – Prophet (Caladan Mix)

… and Richard Marx – Hazard

Picks of the Month

So, that leads us to our pick of the month. This month, our pick of the month belongs to ZYON – No Fate (Struggle Continous Mix).

Oddities

And in other news…

A UK public court database made the news for a rather embarrassing reason. Speculation is that some dummy entries were made to test the system. The idea is to make sure everything is working properly. Obviously, the dummy entries were to be removed before the database went live. Unfortunately, those entries weren’t, in fact, removed. As a result, court documents were being found listing various cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Captain Hook, and Buzz Lightyear as defendants. The service apologized for the error in a Tweet and have since fixed the error. How do you plead, Tinker Bell?

Top Glove is a major manufacturer of personal protective equipment. With a number of different factories at various locations, many have increasingly relied on the company to help slow the spread of COVID-19. In a cruel twist of irony, a number of factories had to shut down. The reason? Nearly 2,500 workers wound up testing positive for COVID-19. If only they had some kind of special equipment to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

A Nebraska man realized he couldn’t find what he called his “dope pipe“. In response, he apparently decided to take it out on his surroundings. In this case, it was a Super Saver store. He thought his pipe had been stolen and wound up causing $7,000 in damages. Police eventually arrested him. When they searched the suspect, the pipe had been found. As it turns out, it had been in his pocket the whole time. Always the last place you look. Found it!

Outro

Before we close out this month’s episode, we wanted to make a couple of announcements. This month, we posted the October wiki content patch. This month’s main patch features an update to the Always Alive podcast. We’ve managed to archive all the way up to episode 60 with this particular patch. In the process, we’ve also updated the ongoing shows, Random Movement Podcast, Corsten’s Countdown, and Fables.

After the patch was released, we posted a small update this month. After plenty of long hours, we’ve managed to complete what we could find for the Always Alive podcast. We made it all the way up to episode 160. As a result, we managed to show off more than 200 hours worth of documented music. Our hard work managed to uncover a number of “lost” episodes, though not absolutely everything could be recovered with our efforts. Still, it does appear to be the most complete archive around now, so definitely worth checking out.

Also, we managed to release a brand new way you can keep tabs on what we are reporting on here on Freezenet. This month, we have generated Feedburner feeds for both our official website and official podcast. Whether you are here to listen to our news coverage or read about it in real time, we got you covered. Through these feeds, you can subscribe with various readers much more easily. We hope you enjoy this brand new feature. Just look for the Feedburner buttons on the sidebar.

As this is the 25th episode, we wanted to give Nolan, our editor, an extra special shout out this month. Nolan has been a guy that has stuck with us for nearly two years now. He’s stuck with us through thick and thin. He’s always been there, able to carve out a little time from his busy schedule to help make this podcast what it is today. Thank you so much for all you have done for us all this time.

If you’d like to get your hands on some behind the scenes stuff, exclusive content, and early access material, you can check out our Patreon page at Patreon.com/freezenet. Through this, you can help make Freezenet just that much better all the while getting some pretty cool stuff in the process. That’s Patreon.com/freezenet!

Alternatively, you can simply buy us a coffee via ko-fi.com/freezenet!

…and that’s this months episode for November, 2020. I’m Drew Wilson for Freezenet. Be sure to check out our website at freezenet.ca for all the latest in news and reviews. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Thank you for listening and see you next month.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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