Freezenet’s Official Podcast: September 2020: TikTok, Oracle, Walmart, Camera, TV

In the 23rd episode of the Freezenet official podcast, “TikTok, Oracle, Walmart, Camera, TV”, we take a look at the news and reviews we covered for September.

Welcome to the public version of the 23rd episode of the Freezenet official podcast for September, 2020. This month’s episode is entitled “TikTok, Oracle, Walmart, Camera, TV”. The title is inspired by the war between Trump and video sharing social media platform, TikTok.

We also cover the story of Facebook threatening to pull out of Europe as well as offer an update on the continued battle between Apple and Epic.

In addition to this, we cover all the usual music and video game reviews as well as why you should never leave a winning lottery ticket at the scene of the crime. All this and more on this month’s podcast!

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

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

Intro

TikTok, Oracle, Walmart, Camera, TV

Hi, I’m your host, Drew Wilson. Welcome to episode 23 of the Freezenet official podcast for September, 2020. Here are your top 3 headlines:

The Top 3

After Loads of Back and Forth, Trump Gives Preliminary Approval to TikTok

Judge Rules That Unreal Engine Can Stay in the Apple App Store

… and Facebook Threatens to Pull Out of Europe After Threatening to Delete News Feeds in Australia

Top Stories

We begin this month’s podcast with what felt, at times, to be the only story to write about: TikTok vs. Trump. Last month, we mentioned how TikTok followed through with a legal threat. They threatened to sue Trump over his executive order to ban the platform. This month, TikTok employees separately sued the Trump administration. They contend that, with the ban being put in place, US employees would be deprived of their paychecks.

With the ban looming earlier in the month, Walmart announced that they would team up with Microsoft to purchase TikTok. If successful, Microsoft and Walmart would jointly operate TikTok’s US operations. The goal would be to satisfy the Trump administrations demands that TikTok would be US owned. However, as that was announced, China reformed it’s technology export rules seemingly in response to the possible sale of TikTok. In short, they would get final say on how TikTok would be sold.

While the Microsoft Walmart deal seemed to be the front runner, later on, it proved to be not enough. Word came out that TikTok owner, ByteDance, rejected the proposal. Then, early reports said that Oracle had won the race to buy TikTok.

Shortly after, details emerged about the deal. The Oracle TikTok deal would be a “partnership”. Some pointed out how the deal allows Oracle to host TikTok on US servers. We also learned that the deal would also move TikTok headquarters to the US. As we pointed out, the deal does not transfer source code. It also doesn’t actually allow for US ownership of the company as Trump initially demanded. While a potential major sticking point, some analysts pointed out that Oracle is owned by someone who is a major Trump supporter. A few even concluded that Trump would just sign off on the deal, proving that all of this drama over TikTok was pure grift.

However, that prediction quickly started falling apart. Shortly after these predictions were posted, reports started surfacing that the Trump administration was skeptical about the deal. This is obviously not something TikTok would have hoped for just days before the ban took effect.

The next day, Trump effectively rejected the Oracle TikTok deal. This just 48 hours before the ban was said to take effect. Within a matter of days, the TikTok ban went from being all but headed off to being seemingly a sure thing. Details emerged about how the ban would take effect and would come into force on the 20th of September. The ban includes the app WeChat as well. App stores, like Apple and Google, would be forbidden from carrying the apps or allowing updates. Additionally, peering of traffic or maintaining the app would be strictly forbidden. In short, unless you are using the Tor network, a proxy, or a VPN, these two apps were really getting banned.

The next day, 24 hours before the deadline, analysts were clearly taken by surprise by all of this. They then went back to analyzing whether or not the Trump ban was constitutional. Indeed, with the lawsuit already being filed, that angle would most certainly get tested. Some analysts looked at the ideology of it all. One asked how it was possible that it is normal that business dealings were contingent on currying favor from the President. That analyst remarked how astonishing it all was. Specifically, that people were treating this anti-free market reality like it was the most normal thing in the world for how American businesses operate. Meanwhile, China blasted the move and condemned the rejection as “bullying”.

Then, just mere hours before the ban was set to take place, Walmart suddenly came out of the blue and re-joined the race to buy TikTok. The new deal would be known as the TikTok Oracle Walmart deal. Everything about it seemed very last minute, but the new deal would create a new company to house US operations. Other details were a bit sketchy. The last minute drama wound up seeing Trump give preliminary approval. In response, the banning of TikTok was delayed for a week. The week is given so that the Trump administration can go over the details.

While the TikTok drama certainly soaked up a lot of attention, WeChat also found itself part of the drama as well. After all, WeChat was also part of the ban. In response, WeChat filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to block the ban. A judge agreed and put an injunction in place to prevent the app from being banned. The judge cited serious constitutional questions about the executive order. Specifically, the judge noted First Amendment, or free speech, concerns about all of this. So, for the time being, WeChat will be fighting the ban in court.

Last month, a major story that soaked up loads of attention was the Apple Epic battle. This month, we are seeing a conclusion of sorts for the time being. First, a judge has ruled that the Unreal Engine can stay in the app store, but not Fortnite. The concerns about the Unreal Engine being banned from the app store is that many developers could become innocent bystanders in this feud. Banning Unreal Engine would create a lot of unnecessary collateral damage. This is especially so since this is a fight between Apple and Epic in the first place.

While the ruling is interesting, it may have come thanks to a big assist from software giant Microsoft. The company, itself, uses the Unreal Engine. In court documents, they urged the court not to ban Unreal Engine. While the idea of Microsoft using Unreal Engine through the Apple App store seems a bit odd, the big assist was probably part of a bigger picture move on the companies part.

While it looked like the story would end there for now, a new development put the story back into the headlines. Apple banned Epics developer account from the app store. The move is seen as an escalation on Apple’s part in this war. In the midst of this escalation, some wondered if this affects Unreal Engine. Luckily, it appears that it doesn’t affect the status of the Unreal Engine. Still, it does mean that the ban resulted in Epic games no longer being available in the app store.

Finally, Facebook has made two separate, but interesting threats this month. Earlier this month, Facebook threatened to delete their news feed for Australian users. The move comes as Australian lawmakers accelerated efforts to implement a link tax in the country. The link tax would force aggregators to pay a tax for the “privilege” of linking to publishers. Publishers reap huge amounts of traffic from aggregators who link to them already. At this point in time, big publishers are trying to double-dip and demand to get paid on top of it all. The move is seen by some as a line in the sand for some companies in the fight against unnecessary taxes.

While that was a big move by Facebook, it would be far from the biggest. Later on this month, Facebook threatened to pull out of Europe entirely. While you might think it would be for link tax related reasons, this appears to not be the straw that broke the camels back for Facebook. As you might recall, there was a ruling made by Europe’s top court two months ago that punched a huge hole in the so-called Shield law. That law recognized the US as a safe country to send personal information over to without any real oversight. Max Schrems filed a lawsuit against the shield law and ultimately won his case.

In response, Irish regulators implemented new personal information regulations that Facebook needed to abide by. Facebook then filed a lawsuit against Ireland. They contend that if they have to allow regulators to oversee the flow of personal information, they don’t see a way to keep operating in Europe. Part of the legal filing states: “In the event [Facebook] were subject to a complete suspension of the transfer of users’ data to the US, as appear to be what the DPC proposes, it is not clear to [Facebook] how, in those circumstances, it could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU”.

What is particularly interesting is how Facebook sees new personal privacy regulations as the law that would force it to cease operations in the continent. Facebook critics might even say that it is very telling as well.

So, another highly dramatic month here on Freezenet. Lets check out some of the other stories making news this month.

Other Stories Making News

The estate of Leonard Cohen made headlines this month. During a Trump rally, the Trump campaign team used the track “Hallelujah” twice. Representatives from the Cohen estate reportedly said that they specifically denied Trumps campaign request to use the track. It appears that the campaign went ahead and used it anyway. In response, Cohen estate representatives said that they are exploring legal options after the incident.

Representative Clay Higgins had one of his Facebook posts deleted. The Republican lawmaker responded to possible protests in his state by saying, in part, “One way ticket fellas. Have your affairs in order. Me?… I wouldn’t even spill my beer. I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand.” Facebook responded by deleting the post because it incited violence which is an obvious violation of the rules. Higgins responded to the removal of his death threat by saying, “No, I did not remove my post. America is being manipulated into a new era of government control. Your liberty is threatened from within”.

Award winning journalist, Julian Assange, made headlines this month. After so many delays and solitary confinement, the UK court case by the US moved ahead. In response to the US indictment, which was condemned by civil rights organizations, Assange’s legal team filed to adjourn the case. They said that the indictment is “abnormal, unfair and liable to create real injustice”. The judge dismissed the motion and allowed the case to proceed. While it seemed like the trial was going to move ahead quickly, a new twist in the case is delaying things even further. One of the prosecuting US lawyers was found to have been possibly exposed to COVID-19. In response, one of Assange’s lawyers responded by saying “At the moment we would respectfully submit we have to go ahead on the assumption that she has COVID”.

Meanwhile in Canada, Heritage Minister, Steven Guilbeault, is pushing for a Canadian version of the link tax law. Guilbeault dialed up the rhetoric by saying that the lack of a link tax is “immoral”. As has already been argued in the past, there are very good arguments to be made that linking and quoting content is fair dealing. Canadian law professor, Michael Geist, has already pointed out why Canadians should oppose these efforts. In response, he has been asking where innovation minister, Navdeep Bains is in all of this. He asks because Bains has been clear that he wants to see Canada at the forefront of technology and foster innovation. A link tax would be a direct affront to that approach. However, Geist notes, Bains has been silent on the matter altogether.

Meanwhile, there’s been a major business dealing that is catching notice from large portions of the gaming community. Microsoft says that it intends on buying Bethesda for $7.5 Billion. The move is seen by many as a way of bolstering the XBox console line. Bethesda owns rights to a number of franchises including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dishonored, and even parts of the Doom franchise to name a few. Some are worried that, while existing commitments might be left untouched, future games might be more exclusive to the Microsoft ecosystem thanks to the acquisition.

News has surfaced over a proposed class action lawsuit against the Canada Revenue Agency. Last month, the CRA saw a number of accounts affected by, among other things, credential stuffing. The security threat saw financial aid from government programs redirected to bank accounts held by malicious third parties. The lawsuit cites delays in reacting to the security incident. The lawsuit also accuses the agency of various failings to secure Canadian’s personal and financial information.

Finally, Warner Music Group has become the latest victim of a data breach. The source of the breach was traced back to various e-commerce services. Users who used some of those services to purchase products may have been affected. People affected have been reportedly notified. Those who purchased products via PayPal have reportedly been unaffected. It is not known how many people were compromised.

Video Game Reviews

It’s been a wild ride this month on the news front. So, let’s switch gears and talk about entertainment.

Before we get into the video game reviews, we wanted to point out that we have posted another first impression video. This month, we tried the Steam game Refunct. If you’d like to check out what we first encountered in this game, you can check out the link in our transcript or find the video in our official YouTube channel.

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

First up is Adventure Island for the Game Boy. Decent gameplay, but a bit on the easy side. So, a game that gets a decent 68%.

After that is Asteroids for the Game Boy. A sadly short and dated game for the day. This one flopped with a 46%.

Next, we played Boggle Plus for the Game Boy. A game with seemingly unlimited replay value, though the extra modes leave a bit to be desired. Still, this one gets a great 80%.

Finally, we played Days of Thunder for the Game Boy. Sluggish controls and buggy collision detection definitely holds this game back, but at least it’s possible to win in this version. So, this game gets a passable 58%.

Music Reviews

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

Bass Bumpers – The Music’s Got Me

Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge

Jon Secada – Just Another Day

Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy

DJ Jean – The Launch

Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O Mine

Madonna – This Used to Be My Playground

… and finally Patty Smyth and Don Henley – Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

Picks of the Month

So, that leads us to our pick of the month. This month, our pick of the month belongs to Boggle Plus for the Game Boy. Also, be sure to check out DJ Jean – The Launch.

Oddities

And in other news…

A man in Georgia was pulled over by police. During the stop, the suspect decided to flee the scene on foot. Although deputies chased the man, he did successfully get away. There was one caveat to all of this, however. In the process, the suspect left behind something rather important: a winning lottery ticket. D’oh! Police posted the lottery ticket on Facebook, congratulating the suspect. They then said that the suspect is free to come on down to the station and pick it up any time he likes! Just when you thought your luck was beginning to turn.

A man in Malaysian apparently lost his cell phone. While some might have written it off as lost forever, he apparently discovered it some time later. When he turned the cell phone on, he was surprised with what contents were left on the phone. There were several videos and pictures including a number of selfies. It turns out, monkeys had stolen his phone and made good use of the cell phones features. Apparently, phones have gotten so easy to use to take selfies, any monkey can do it.

A North Carolina community has been taking several steps to keep the community safe in response to COVID-19. In fact, they took things to the next level by naming what they consider to be the social distancing champion of the world: Bigfoot. The mythical creature was crowned as the tourism sector in the area created a scavenger hunt. This was to help people find something to do all the while maintaining general health guidelines. Unfortunately, no one was able to find Bigfoot to congratulate the creature.

Outro

Before we close out this month’s episode, we got a couple of announcements to make. This month, we posted the August Wiki content patch. The patch includes everything we’ve accomplished on the Wiki through last months mini-updates. In addition to that, we’ve also added Random Movement, the record label Flight Pattern, and the archiving of the first 42 episodes of the Random Movement Podcast. This represents our first drum and bass show, so we were very excited to have added this to the archive. Also, in the process, we’ve updated the archives for Fables and Corsten’s Countdown while we were at it.

Shortly after that, we’ve posted a September Wiki mini-update. This update includes the remaining episodes of The Random Movement Podcast. So, about a week later, we’ve also completed the show in the process. The archive goes all the way up to episode 125. We were able to retrieve a couple of “lost” playlists in the process. As a result, we probably have one of the most complete archives of the show around.

From there, we were successful in enabling CloudFlare on the site. This will allow us to increase the sites speed and overall performance to many people around the world. That is because different elements are now part of the CloudFlare Contend Distribution Network. We hope this helps you get a better overall experience on the site itself.

After that, we began expanding on which platforms you can get our podcast from. The first platform is Spotify. I’ll leave a link in the transcript if you want to check it out there.

If Spotify isn’t your thing, well, we got more platforms that our podcast is available on. This includes RadioPublic and Pocket Casts. So, you can check us out on either of those platforms as well.

Additionally, we’ve also been able to restore playback to older episodes of our podcast on an additional network. So, if you wanted to check out an older episode, you now have more options to do so!

Also, huge shout out to Nolan for continuing to provide mixing services.

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 September, 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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