Changelog & Friends – Episode #21

Backslashes are trash

featuring Mat Ryer

All Episodes

Mat Ryer returns with his guitar, an unpopular opinion & his favorite internet virus.



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Notes & Links

📝 Edit Notes


1 00:00 Let's talk!
2 00:38 Injecting drama
3 02:42 Meeting online
4 06:34 Unpopular Opinions!
5 08:31 Memes!
6 12:41 Jerod's childhood dream
7 13:47 Adam's childhood dream
8 15:49 Mat's childhood dream
9 16:16 BTTF2 (as well)
10 17:08 Adam's other dream
11 18:48 Sponsor: Statsig
12 22:30 Mat's unpop review
13 25:11 Mat's new unpop
14 29:14 Adam's unpop review
15 32:54 Adam's new unpop
16 36:12 Jerod's unpop review
17 39:06 "Automagically" by Mat Ryer
18 42:22 Jerod's new unpop
19 46:59 "Backslashes Are Trash" by Mat Ryer
20 48:29 Mat's musical skills
21 51:50 Sponsor: Socket
22 55:32 Mat's favorite virus
23 1:02:01 Jerod's favorite virus
24 1:07:01 Old internet infrastructure
25 1:09:55 Before ajax there was ijax
26 1:12:50 Adam's favorite virus
27 1:19:04 Fears
28 1:23:39 Nic Cage's comeback
29 1:26:50 Bye friends!
30 1:27:19 Coming up next (join ++!)


📝 Edit Transcript


Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧

We are here with our good friend, Mat Ryer. Mat…


…you’re back.

Yes. My front is here as well… Thrilled to be here. I do feel like we are friends, even though we’ve never really met in real life. Do you feel like that really, that you’re friends with me, or…?

He said “good friends”, and I was just thinking I’d probably categorize it differently…


Please. Do tell.

I would say “great friend”, honestly. I like you a lot. Yeah, Mat, I would buy you a sandwich and a coffee.

Oh, that’s nice. I thought you were gonna go the other way. Acquaintance, or one of those…

Yeah, it’s called injected drama.

Is it?

I went to school for that.

Did you?

You’ve injected drama?

Yeah, you just learn how to inject drama. It’s all class, injected drama. You put the drama into the conversation. Injected drama.

Got it. Love it.


Now I’m just bringing up – what was the show again? [unintelligible 00:01:29.29] I’ve faked that. That’s not even true. That’s all not even true right there, what I’ve just said.

The injected drama part?

I made it all up. Everything.



Look at me believe. I’m so confused.

If you’re making stuff up and it’s that good, what’s the difference between just being real?

Okay, here’s what’s not made up… And I’ll be very honest with you.

I don’t believe you.

That’s a conundrum, right? [laughs] This is too funny.

Yeah, you got us.

I like Mat a lot. He is a great friend.

Can we believe it?

I made up the term “injected drama”, and I did not go to school for it. But I might as well have, because I’ve been podcasting since the beginning basically, so…

That’s true.

…I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks of podcasting.

Since you were born you’ve been podcasting.

That’s right, yeah.

You came out ready.

Came out swinging.

You got a lot better…

Mic in hand, pop filter properly placed, so I’m not poppin’ my p’s… And [unintelligible 00:02:24.08]


That first one was a real screamer.

Fun start.

Well, I’ll save the fake definitions for the game show version… This is not a game show, this is real life, and I don’t actually know if Adam likes Mat still, but we’re just gonna roll with it.


I like you, Mat…



Yeah, I like you too, but…

Even though we’ve never met, you know? Adam and I didn’t meet for years.

Really? By choice.

Yeah, by choice, I would say…

Well, just by distance. I mean sort of… Kind of like we have met you by choice, same kind of thing…

You don’t really need to actually meet in real life these days. That is the kind of amazing thing. I remember when the internet was first a thing, and people started dating on the internet, and everyone was freaked out by it. They like “That’s so dangerous. What are you doing?!” And now you’re a psychopath if you go up to someone in a bar. We’ve gone all the way around now. So it’s like making real friends…

Yeah. People are like “Why is this person approaching me?”

“Why don’t you DM me first? Why are you talking to me to my face? Come on now… What’s happening here? DM first, or it didn’t happen.”

This kind of marks maybe the end of guts. Not the Nickelodeon television show…

[sample 00:03:36.24]

…but the actual metaphor for your gumption. You know, like, you don’t have to have any guts anymore to introduce yourself to someone, or approach somebody, because now you’re just sliding into their DMs. It’s the easiest thing in the world. Right? Isn’t that kind of too bad?

I think that’s why women have a horrible time on the internet?

Well, true. They used to have a horrible time at the bars, now they have it on the internet, you know?


Well, somehow the connection has to be made, and nowadays you don’t have as an aggressor - maybe that’s not the right word, but as a person who’s going after the other person…

The aggressor… [laughs] Takin’ the lead, man…!

It’s still not good.

It’s called taking the lead.

As the person who’s approaching, I just feel like it’s gotten so easy that it’s now small things; you do it to a bunch of people and hope somebody answers…

[unintelligible 00:04:35.27] too deep, Jerod…

Alright, fair enough…

I like it though…

Oh, you do?

…but I would say, to back that up, I haven’t hit on anybody in… A long time. So I have no idea how it works.

Why don’t we act it out now? We’ll just do some role-play, and I’ll be…

Let’s do it. Yeah, let’s go.

Alright, go ahead.

Can I be the aggressor, Jerod? Should I be the aggressor?

I think you are. I think you are.

I’m only doing this for podcasting’s sake, so if you’re listening to this, this is for you.

[laughs] Bring out the disclaimers.

Very specifically you. You listening to this right now. This is for you.

I’m just minding my own business…

I’ve been checking out your tweets and your code, man… It’s stellar. It’s really good stuff.

Oh, yeah?

I was wondering if we could sit down over coffee and maybe just talk about it… And some other stuff. Can we do that?

No, thank you.

Do you have time?

Nope. [laughter] Oh, no, it’s not gone well.

Oh, man… You just got so rejected.

Are you sure? Because I’ve really got a good review for you. I’m good at code reviewing.

Hey, no means no, Adam. I’m stepping in. No means no. Okay?

This is Jerod, my friend.

So you only get one chance? There’s no comeback? You just take the no and you walk away? Is that how it works today?

I don’t know, it’s been a long time for me.

I don’t know, it is tough…

It’s tough… [laughs]

I didn’t believe your no though, so I was like “Maybe I can go one more – express the invite one more time. I really think you should reconsider.”

So your opening line was “I’ve got a good code review for you”?

[00:06:07.06] Well, he said software developer. What am I gonna do? You know what I mean? You’ve gotta use context.

Yeah. Fair enough. It didn’t work.

Hey Mat, you’re on the internet, I’m on the internet… We should meet.

Failed spectacularly.

It’d be a bit creepy, I think, if people knew who you are before…

Yeah, you knew an awful lot about him.

That’s weird.

Yeah, I did. I actually stalked you out a little bit. Your reputation precedes you, and therefore I can use it against you in the court of Adam.

Well, speaking of reputations… We have a reputation of playing a game called Unpopular Opinions.

We played it the last time you were on, Mat. I think that was back in June, or July… I don’t recall. It’s been a while back. One of our very first episodes of Changelog & Friends. It’s one of our worst ones yet, but… Nonetheless, here we are.

The only way is up then. This one can only get better.

This one’s gonna have to get better from here… Yeah. [laughs] And we shared some unpops… So I thought we’d review them and maybe refresh. Maybe extend even, if you’re one of us, our unpopular opinions.

Didn’t know you could do that.

So who wants to go first here? We’re gonna review last time’s see how you’ve fared, and then we will refresh and extend.

Yeah, I can’t remember what mine was last time. Can you?

Well, you barely spat it out last time, I remember that… Because it was the “Wired keyboards are better than wireless keyboards”, but you were trying to do a meme…

That was awesome.

…a tweet meme, and you couldn’t spit it out…

Where are you going with the keyboard? You just have it in the same place, except now it can run out of battery. Just plug it in. That’s my unpopular opinion. Wired keyboards are tired. And what’s wired, is wired. Sorry, a wireless keyboard is tired…

Now, this is going to be unpopular. Spit it out, Mat.

Tired, colon. Mechanical, no. Tired, colon, wireless keyboards, wired, colon, wired. Easy.

And so that was probably why it was not well received. Still popular though, actually…

It’s hard to do memes in real life. The one I can do is “Charlie bit my finger.” I’m good at that. I nailed that one.

Well, let’s hear it.

Well, you just bite someone’s finger until they go “Aaargghhhh!”


Ouch, Charlie…! OUUCCHHHH!! Charlie…! That really hurts!

Ouch, Charlie…!

Very good. [laughter]

That really hurt, and it’s still hurting…!

This is why I call you a great friend.

The only one I can do is I can usually work a rickroll into many conversations… Which I actually did before before we hit record, I already rickrolled you guys. So that was fun. You probably didn’t even notice it, that’s how smooth it is.

Is that when you told us you weren’t ever gonna give us up?

You didn’t mean that, did you?

I said I’ll never let you down.

And then you guys moved on, and didn’t extend it. I had a single tear.

A single tear rickrolled down your cheek…

“Mickey, I think he likes it.” That’s a pre-internet meme. Do you guys know “Mickey, I think he likes it”?

Oh, yes.


Look at this stuff. Top Cereal. It’s supposed to be good for you. Do you wanna try it?

I’m not gonna try it, you try it.

I’m not gonna try it…

Let’s get Mickey.

Yeah! He won’t eat it. He hates everything.

He likes it! Hey, Mickey!

[When you bring Life home, don’t tell the kids it’s one of those nutritional cereals you’ve been trying to get them to eat. You’re the only one who has to know.]

My brother’s name’s Michael. Your brother’s name is Michael too, right Jerod?

Yes, I do have a brother named Michael.

So we have brothers named Michael… That’s odd, I’d never connected that… But that must have landed really well in your family.

Well, we called him Mickey when he was a youth, too. So that was a very popular meme. Do you know that one, Mat? It was a television commercial where they gave their little brother some sort of food. Was it cereal, was it candy? I don’t know. And the line was “Mickey, I think he likes it!” And that was it. But it was huge. Everybody was saying that for years. Kind of like “Where is the beef?” Remember the “Where’s the beef” one?

Not really.



It certainly is a big bun.

It’s a very big bun.

Big, fluffy bun.

It’s a very big, fluffy… Bun.

Where’s the beef?

Some hamburger places give you a lot less beef on a lot of bun.

Where’s the beef?

At Wendy’s, we serve a hamburger we modestly call the Single. And Wendy’s Single has more beef than the Whopper or a Big Mac. At Wendy’s you get more beef and less bun.

Hey, where’s the beef? I don’t think there’s anybody back there.

You want something better. You are Wendy’s kind of people.

U.S.-only? That’s an old granny, just like “Where’s the beef?!” These were like pre-internet memes. That one was pretty good.

What does she mean? Was it a dating app?

[laughs] She was given some sort of a meal, and she wanted beef. It was kind of like – maybe it was soy-based, I don’t know…

Oh, [unintelligible 00:11:25.04]

Yeah, she’s like “Where’s the beef?!” She really wanted a hamburger, and they wouldn’t give it to her. So that was the – that was the commercial. That was also very popular back in the day. Alright, Mat…

Let’s just take a pause real quick… This show is sponsored, by the way… And this is the power of advertising, because decades later you can still be talking about it. I would encourage anybody listening to this that has something to share, work with us on “Where’s the beef”-inspired advertisements to software developers, because –

Oh, you’re sliding it in there?

That was a Wendy’s commercial. Yeah, yeah, man… You’ve gotta take every opportunity. And it was about the size of the burger.

Right. They wanted more meat.

It was instrumental in their success as a business.

I see. Do Wendy’s do big burgers?

Where was the “Mickey, I think he likes it”? Where was that from?

That was from Life Cereal.

Oh, it was cereal. So yeah, I remembered it.

Mm-hm… It was life cereal, which actually failed as a result of that advertising, so that’s actually not a good thing… I’m kidding, I have no idea. But it became a spin-off; it became a game, too. Life, the Game. The cereal and the game were one and the same.

That’s a spin-off of the cereal?

Yeah, man.

I thought the game pre-dated the cereal.

They’re cousins.

I’m learning something new every day.

Some would say kissing cousins, honestly…

Mat’s over there like “What American pop culture are you guys talking about over there?”

Yeah, but it’s good, because it’s like watching a film… I mean, not a good film, but… Do you know what I mean? When I listen to Americans… Because don’t forget, the only other time is in movies.

Oh. So to you we’re kind of like movie stars.

Yeah. Basically, yeah. It’s like hanging out with the really cool kind of dudes.

I always wanted to be one. Cool. Eh, sort of… I’d rather be an athlete, but that also wasn’t in the cards. When I was growing up I wanted to be Michael Jordan or Ken Griffey Jr. Literally. Those two [unintelligible 00:13:18.04] But that’s who I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be Tom Cruise, or other movie stars. I wanted to be Michael Jordan, for sure.


That’s cool, man.

Is it? I mean, it’s not abnormal. I think a lot of kids wanted to be Michael Jordan when grow – I could still wanna be Michael Jordan. Talk about advertising, that guy is a walking brand.

Gotta have a dream, man…

What about you, Adam? When you were tiny, apart from you were obviously doing your podcasts… What else were you –

He was already living his dream.

Let me tell you exactly what it is.

Yes, please.

Early in my youth I dreamed of being a corporate lawyer.

He’s lying again. [laughter]

[00:14:04.01] You can’t say that. There’s no way that is true.

[laughs] I’m onto him this time.

I’m not kidding, I promise you.

This is true?

This is true. And the reason why was – well, they make a lot of money.

But lots of different people make money.

And I was like “I can have a room full of gold bars as a corporate lawyer, and I’m set.” This is like age 4.

How did you know that as a kid? Did you watch Wall Street, or something?

I was told that. The information came to me. It was disseminated to me from other sources.

Oh, okay…

Family, friends, co-workers, loved ones… Dogs talked to me… Everybody would tell me that. [unintelligible 00:14:41.07] “You can argue well. You should be a corporate lawyer.” “Okay.”

Oh, here we go.

“Do they make money?” “Yes, they do.” “Is it lots?” “Yes, they do.” “Okay, I’m in.” That was it.

I see.

That was a Mitch Hedberg impression, Jerod.

What do you think about corporate lawyers? “I’m for it!”

So you were an annoying little kid, and then they were like “Oh, you should be a lawyer, because everyone hates them.”

That’s not nice to say. What would make you think that, that I was an annoying kid?

Because they’ve told you you should be a corporate lawyer. That’s not the sign of a child that’s easy to get on with.


Have you met corporate lawyers?

They already heard how well he could lie. We’ve seen it here today. His lying is spectacular. So they were like “You annoying, great liar, and you want money. So - corporate lawyer. [unintelligible 00:15:32.07]

I would not say lying, Jerod…

Would you say lying? I would lean more towards deception for entertainment. Entertaining deception. I would label it as that.

Creative truth.

Do you wanna split hairs? How about you, Mat? What did you wanna be when you were a little kid?

I did always want to be – I always was interested in computers.


Yeah, yeah, from when I was tiny. I remember my dad saying “This will be a job one day.” We didn’t know that it probably was then. I’m not that old.

That was smart.

I was like “Oh, I could do that.” I don’t know if he was that smart, because he also said that we’d have shoes that we could hover around with…

Well, he just watched Back to the Future too, and he was just telling you what he saw.

Yeah. He watched Back to the Future 2, too. He watched them both.

In a tutu?

Back to the Future 2 as well, I mean…

So you wanted to be a computer guy, generally speaking, and you are one.

I sort of am a computer bad boy. So in a way, dreams do come true.

That’s what I was just gonna get to - you’re living your dream.

Yeah, but I also had another dream when my brother’s body was just a cylinder of gelatinous material. It was a nightmare that stayed with me. You know how sometimes that happens…

Are you living that one?

No, that one thankfully has not come true.

That’s a relief.

Yeah. But..

Then you also – didn’t you wanna be Johnny Depp too, though?

No, I didn’t want to be Johnny Depp. Maybe I wanted to be Superman. I liked Superman when I was a kid.


He’s the best superhero.

I wanna add one to my list. Can I add one to my list?

Well, do you wanna get a good one in there?

Well, it’s another truth, of course…

[laughs] Alright, quickly…

A ninja. I wanted to be a ninja.

Oh, that’s pretty cool.

I was really into ninjas. This is the age of life Kung Fu happening, Bruce Lee was popular…

Quiet Murder?

Sure… [laughs]

Parents were like “You’re stealthy. You’re good at arguing. You’re great at killing. Do you know what? You should be a ninja.”

“Will I get loads of gold bars?” “Probably not. It’s more of a job of honor.” “Not interested then. I’ll be a corporate lawyer.”

That’s a great synopsis of my reasoning. Great. It was awesome.

Yeah. I should have done the accents, really.

Maybe that was kind of like reverse psychology, if someone says “You should be a ninja”, because they want you to be quiet.

Yeah, actually that’s it. That’s it. We’ve cracked it.

Yeah, like, you know, I used to play the quiet game with my kids in the car… You know, who can be quiet the longest. It took them a long time to realize what was really going on in that car. So maybe this was the ninja thing; it was all about silence.

Were you also amazing at hide and seek, Adam? Like, you would just be hiding for hours?

Honestly? Yeah. I was really good at it. Really good.

[00:18:15.05] For whatever reason, they could just never find you, even if you were in a really obvious place.

Days later I’m like “Man, they haven’t found me. This is good stuff. But I’m hungry.”

“This is a good hiding place.”

“And I need new clothes.”

That reminds me of the – have you ever heard of the Michael Jordan of hide and seek?

Is that who you wanted to be?

Osama Bin Laden.

Oh, really?

Osama Bin Laden. The best hide and seek player in history.

Good point.

Unpopular Opinions. Mat said that wired keyboards are better than wireless keyboards. Pretty much a popular opinion, Mat. I apologize for your lack of abilities. Everybody agreed with you. 72% of people on X - that’s the website formerly known as Twitter…


Eggs, yeah.

You’re a 10-eggs developer… 64 votes, 72% popular. On Mastodon 73% popular, so pretty much identical. 40 votes.

That’s a good one.

Not bad, man. People pretty much think that wired keyboards are better than wireless keyboards.

Why do they keep making wireless keyboards then?

Well, I use one that attaches to my computer. It’s all one piece… I’m not sure what you consider that.

What do you mean?

Like, it’s a laptop. The keyboard is right there as part of the computer.

Oh, I see.

Is that wired?

That’s more than wired. That’s very wired.

Yeah, it’s super-wired. So I’m with you, I guess. It’s good. I don’t like things that run out of batteries when there’s no need for them to run out of batteries, right? It’s like, why does this thing take batteries when it doesn’t need to? So I think people were with you on that one.

Do you wanna refresh now, or should we move on [unintelligible 00:23:40.08]

Yeah. I think more generally you should simplify – always choose the simplest versions of things. I have a very LoFi toaster; everything is mechanical on it. There’s nothing – it’s got a timer on it, and I can turn on the heat… It’s very LoFi mechanical. And it’s brilliant, it’s kind of indestructible, apart from - yeah, it has broken. But apart from that…

So you almost had us there, but then it broke, so it’s pretty much just as bad as anything else.

Well, that does put a bit of a dampener on the point, but if you have these complicated, futuristic – I’ve seen a toaster that you have a live feed on your phone, so you can watch it toasting, and when you see it’s ready, you press the button on your phone and it pops up. We don’t need that…

In general, the internet of things where all the things are small things in your house, usually they plug into the wall… I just think writ-large it’s just a bad idea. Mechanical, sturdy, steel and metal-based products, that just do one thing well, for the win.

And the new, shiny thingamabobs are usually the parts that break. So we have a pretty new Suburban, and it has a bunch of features that are like bleeding edge, back when it was new a couple years ago - it’s new-ish… And it’s like, all that new crap is the stuff that breaks. Thankfully, they didn’t change the way the engine works, but… I hear they’re working on that as well. So do you want to share another unpopular opinion, or should we move on to Adam and we’ll all share ours together?

I’ve got one.

Okay. Let’s hear it.

So at conferences, or really when there’s any audience, when the person gets up and says “Okay, are you ready?” and everyone goes “Yeah!!” and then they go “That’s not good enough”, I want everyone to collectively reply with “Hang on a minute… We haven’t come here to have our excitement judged”, something like that.


You know what I mean? It’s Monday morning, it’s tech conference… A lot of people have got to be there for work, you know what I mean? What are we doing? Leave them alone. Let them do the half-assed “Yeah, we’re ready…” That’s fine. That’s my unpopular opinion.

Come on, you could do better than that… Right…? [laughter]

See? You don’t do it in real life, do you?

[00:26:02.15] I’m with you, man. That’s – imagine the person doing it. Like, you just fall into a caricature, essentially. You’re on the stage, you’re a hyper person, and you’re there to hype folks up… And obviously, the first round, even if it was hype, is not hype enough. “Come on, you could do better than that! One more. Come on, everybody!”

Here’s a question. I tend to agree; you’re getting popular. But is there a context in which that is legit? Like, it’s tech conference, Monday morning… You’ve painted that particular picture. But is there ever a time where you can reject their level of enthusiasm appropriately?

Well, I’d take it as a failing on me if I’ve not got them excited. It’s my job as the hype person. And I do host conferences sometimes… So it’s literally like the first –

But isn’t that part of the hype? It’s like, “That’s not good enough! Get louder!” Isn’t that part of your hyping?

No, it’s not part of mine. If anything, I’ll say “Fine. That was that was absolutely fine.” They know they could have done better. We all know, but I just don’t make them do it.

There’s an easy way to fix this, honestly… Unfortunately, it requires a little bit more tech. You could analog it, but I think it would require maybe a decibel meter that’s visible to everybody… That basically just like shames you visually, with colors, something like that… Like, orange and yellow bad, maybe even red, if you’re just not loud enough… But if you’re loud enough, it’s kind of green, lime green, and really green, and then like super-green; it’s clear. So like a decibel meter on the wall, visible to everybody.

You could have a camera on the audience, and then show as a heatmap in the audience. Make the people glow those colors.

Where it’s hot.

Yeah. You’d be like “Okay, down here, in quadrant B…”

“These folks here hot.”

So just visually shame them.

It’s sort of the opposite of what I was going for Adam, really, where I’m saying “Leave people alone…”

Oh, okay.

So you think whatever level of enthusiasm your audience has is completely and always appropriate.

Yes. And if I’m not happy with it, then my shirts coming off, or something; not that, but…

Come on, Mat…

It’s my job to get them going.

This is not nerds at night. We haven’t invented that yet.

Yeah. Shirts on, please. Okay, well, I kind of agree with you. I think there’s times where you could use that as part of your hype, but I don’t think at tech conferences it’s appropriate. I would leave the shirt on… I think if you’re at like a hockey game, or a tennis match, and you’re trying to get the crowd into it, to help the game progress and your team win, I think telling them it’s not good enough is appropriate. Like, they’ve gotta get louder. And in fact, they do have those decimal meters in some stadiums, so… I think there’s times when it makes sense, but… In the context that you provided, I agree with you.

Well, let’s just nerd out on this real quick, because when you say that shirts off…

Are you gonna nerd out on the shirts off?

No, no, no. This show we haven’t told the audience about that, that [unintelligible 00:28:58.19] The subtitle for the podcast could be Shirts Off. Nerds at Night. Shirts Off.

[laughs] This is getting worse and worse.

That’s my unpopular opinion.

No, your unpopular opinion was the “Apple Magic keyboard is the best keyboard ever created.” I don’t need to congratulate you on being truly unpopular… Because Adam, most of your unpops are like – one was like you should have habits. It’s like “Yeah, we all agree.” [laughter]

Habit stacking.

Yeah, habit stacking. It’s like, that’s not unpopular. It’s just your opinion. This one was really unpopular.

I still believe this is firmly the best keyboard ever made. This one right here.

Nobody agrees with you.

That button right there - biometric, boom, gotcha. It’s in there.

And the reason is because it has the touch ID on it. But my keyboard also has the touch ID on it, and it’s not that one. So that rules out that particular argument.

[00:29:57.09] Everybody disagreed with you; specifically, 61% other people disagreed on X, and 81% on Mastodon, which shows were the true people of tasty live. That’s 57 votes. So highly unpopular on Mastodon, pretty unpopular on the [unintelligible 00:30:13.13] formerly known as Twitter.

Oh, my gosh…

I have a keyboard, which is a Q10 Keychron, which I love… And it’s got a knob on it. It’s got a spinning knob for volume, and things. But you can, of course, customize these. So I changed it so that when I rotate it clockwise, it prints “Ha!” So every time I – you know, it clicks around, so I can do “Hahahahaha”, loads, just really quickly. And if I twist it the other way, it deletes two characters, so it deletes a ha. And so I’m able to just – if I want to reply to someone, just depending on – I can just choose the knob to set it to the right level of funny. Click Send.

Can it go to 11 has?

It can.

That’s cool.

Could you do like option keys, where you hold the option key and twist it, and it’s not ha; Now it’s a particular emoji, or a modifier?


Yeah, I like that.

Yeah, definitely. It could be lols…

Well, in that case, I think this keyboard sucks. This is the worst keyboard ever now.

Yeah, it’s better than yours, Adam. Yours can’t do that.

I’m holding up my biometric, amazing Apple keyboard. You never said what the keyboard was. It’s the Apple – what do they call these? This is like the full one, with the keypad and everything… And it’s wireless.

Ah, the Apple Magic keyboard.

And now it’s using an obsolete input to power it, which is terrible. It’s lightning, not USBC…

So you disagree with yourself as well.

Well, there’s parts about it I don’t like… But I still think it’s the best ever. I’m using it. I have a choice. I can go and purchase a whole different keyboard. I continue to use it.

You should try Mat’s. That one sounds pretty cool. You could get a bunch of laughs.

No, thank you. Knobs, and stuff? Nah…

I like a knob.

No, thank you. Type something, Mat, real quick. Let’s hear this thing.

Oh, yeah. Check this out. This sounds beautiful.

Is it clicky?

It’s clicky. [00:32:03.14]

That’s nice. Turn the knob.

You can’t really hear that.

Yeah. That is cool. That should be clickier.

Compare that to this beautiful sound. Listen to this beautiful sound. Listen. [00:32:19.25] That’s amazing right there.

Mat’s is better.

You put that on the internet, that’s fire right there. It creates gold. That’s like a Mr. Beast killer right there. He’s down. That video - hm… Nah.

That’s an entire podcast. It’s basically like an ASMR thing of like relaxation sounds, but it’s just keyboards typing; different keyboards, different clicks, click levels… Different competencies of typing.

You call it “Nerds at night.” “Keyboards out.” [laughter]

This is good.

Alright, so here’s your new unpopular opinion, but you’re going to extend it; you’re doubling down.

I’m going to double down by saying this is the best keyboard ever. And any Macintosh computer that cannot leverage Touch ID is just garbage. And they’re out there.

What should people do if they’ve got one of those computers then? Just –

Doesn’t support Touch ID? Trash.

Give it to a niece…

And I’ve got an address you should send it to.

Have you?

What’s the address?

I won’t tell it on the podcast. It’s a secret in a way. But we’re gonna put it in the show notes. So check that address out. If you’ve got one of these… They’re generally Intel CPU computers. I think pretty much since the apple silicone, they’ve supported Touch ID on the Mac, which is just beautiful… And if you have one of these that doesn’t support this touch ID on the Mac, you should just throw it in trash. And I’ve got a recycling center that you can send it to. And they do a great job, and I’ll give you the address in the show notes.

Okay. Secret, but it’s in the show notes of a widely distributed podcast.

Right. I can change it there. When we bake the shows, they’re baked. We never take those cookies back.

Can you base-64 encode it?

[00:34:06.10] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Or ROT13. Can you ROT13 it?

To make it secret.

You should.

Oh, yeah…

So you have to both listen, and go to the show notes, and get to decode it. So it’s ROT13, listener.

I guess I could tell you on the show. I mean, it’s no problem with me, really.

No, don’t tell them. This is good. This is good.

Yeah, I think all the show notes actually should be that.

Can somebody do that for me real quick? I’ll type you the address, and you just give me the cryptic key, and I’ll just speak it…


Yeah. Either of you. I don’t know how to do it.

Ask ChatGPT. It’ll do it.

You can just do it in the browser.

Just a second…

Surely you could, but you could also just ask ChatGPT. It’s one of Adam’s favorite things to do.

Yeah, but ChatGPT hallucinates, and it’s likely to get that right.

It might ROT14 it, or 15 it.

I don’t think it’ll do anything to it.

You don’t think so? I’m pretty sure it will.

That’d be really interesting, actually.

Yeah, let’s find out. Give it a string and say “Please ROT13 encode this.”

I actually didn’t say please. I just said “Do this.” [laughter]

Okay. Well, if you want to be rude about it…

Here’s the address to send it to… I don’t know what to do with this once you’ve received this. I’m not even –

Well, they decode it, of course.

Decode it then. That’s what you’ve got to do. Decode the encoded address. This is it. Send to 100PBZZBAF EBMQ, FHVG 7-7-1, QEVCCVAT FATF, GK78620.

That’s good radio right there. That is good radio.

Congratulations, you have now rid yourself of the tyranny of the world, which is any Apple computer that doesn’t support Apple Touch ID. They will recycle it for you. They’re certified in this, and… Do it.

Alright. Let’s do my turn. I said automagical is a great word, and we should say it more. Of course, this was in direct response to my previous actual opinion, which is that automagical is a terrible word, and we should never use it. My original was popular.


My rebuttal was also popular. So I’m not sure what to make of this, but… More popular, actually. So back in the day, when I said automagical is a dumb word, I had 57% agreement on X, and 50/50 on Mastodon. So they were kind of with me, kinda not. “Automagical is a great word, and we should say more” - 83% popular on X, but hey, only six votes. Not only do they agree, but they just don’t even care. It was like “Six of us are gonna actually take the poll.” Which is way down. Maybe that’s a result of the website itself… 65% popular on Mastodon, with 34 votes. So a little more action there. But gosh, they both agree with me that it’s an awesome word and they don’t really care about it, either. So I feel like a total dweeb.

When you say it’s a bad word, you’re pulling in the crowd that don’t like it, I think. It’s a kind of selection bias, isn’t it? Whereas when you say “I love automagical”, which - it’s rare that you’re going to agree with that. But if you do, it’s going to feel very special when someone else says it, because you’re going to feel validated, and like you’ve found your people.

You’re going to affirm it.

Yeah. So I think it’s quite sweet. I mean, there’s only six of them. But you know…


Do you think that this makes you think of a song, Mat, by any chance? Like some sort of automagical thing… Did you already do a song on this? I feel like you did.

Yeah, it was the end of our last show. It was the Beatles “Let it be automagically.”

Can you do a remix?

Did you bring your guitar? We haven’t even asked.

Yeah, I’ve got it right here.

Okay. So the last song wasn’t very popular. It was actually a better unpopular opinion than mine. Could you do a version of the automagically song that’s good?

Well, I don’t know if I could do one that’s good… [laughter] I don’t remember what the song was at all, so it’ll be completely different. Is that okay?

Okay, that’s probably the best.

Yeah. Start fresh.

Yeah, it’s probably a good strategy. So you can use automagical, you can use automagically, which rhymes with more things, in case you’re hoping for some rhymes…

The last time was Mat Depends, right?

Mat Depends was the last episode. Yeah, he sang an automagically song…

Okay, I thought so.

I thought it was beautiful.

It was a wonderful title for a podcast too, honestly. I think we outdid ourselves with that one.

Yeah, Mat Depends. Coming soon, by Changelog. Alright, here we have, Mat Ryer… What’s the song called, Mat?

You tell me…

Automagically, by Mat Ryer. The remix.


It’s automagic… It’s automagically my favorite thing… But nobody likes me, nobody takes me seriously… Nobody likes me, nobody takes me seriously…

And then one day I saw on the internet some guy who agrees with me…

I thought “This has never happened before, some guy just agreeing with me…

And now I’m one of Jerod’s six friends…

One of Jerod’s six friends…!

[unintelligible 00:40:18.01]


It went on a journey all of its own.

That was a journey.

Yeah. And also, my airpods were noise-cancelling half of it, so I couldn’t hear [unintelligible 00:40:30.06]

Oh, no…! You were flying blind.

Yeah. It was good though. They were the best bits.

I will say, in Mat Depends there is a chapter called “Automagical by Mat Ryer.” So if you’re listening to this…

…and you liked what you’ve just heard…

Well, either way. If you dislike it, you should listen to it, because you might like that one.

We should get a poll going on which Automagical song is better.

Yeah, let’s do that.


Alright, let me share my unpopular opinion now, since you guys have done so…

Oh, wait, sorry, so you’re gonna extend yours now, right?

No, I have a new one. But go ahead, Mat.

Well, I just wanted to just – I said this last time, but Adam, your habit stacking thing genuinely changed my life.

Oh, my gosh. Are you being serious?

Yeah, yeah. Habit stacking is like you’ve got a task to do, like you’re gonna go make coffee, so pile another task on top of that, because you’re waiting around anyway… And then that becomes a habit, a sort of super-habit. Now, be careful, dear listener… You may go too far, like I did. Then you end up with a habit stack overflow.

Oh, gosh…

And if that happens - yeah, then all the plates drop and crash to the ground. But it’s brilliant.

Oh, good. I’m glad I can help. One unpopular popular opinion at a time. That’s my life.

Right. Well, you’re changing lives over here…

It’s changed mine…

I also habit-stack. You know, I do post on our Instagram reels, and I’ve made a habit - every time that I’m posting to our reels, that I also drop the kids off at the pool.

[00:42:04.27] Oh, really?

Shall I share my unpopular opinion now?

You ruined that beautiful moment. Man… Alright. This is a fault, not an extension.

This is a freshens. This is the freshens. In fact, this might prompt a brand new song even. A brand new single from Mat Ryer. So listen closely, Mat. I despise backslashes. Okay? They disgust me. This is one of the primary reasons why I don’t like Windows. It uses backslashes in its path names. Forward slashes are cool, I’m down with underscores, hyphens are okay… The pipe character is fine… I’m even okay with the tilde, and backticks. All good. But backslashes - get those dreadful characters out of my face before I slap someone.

Woof! Gosh, man.

And I’m looking at you, php namespaces…

Okay, Jerod. I’m with you. It’s popular.

Backslashes. Mat, what’s your take? For or against?

Um, I kind of agree. I heard someone the other day read out a domain name, and they said it’s http colon backslash backslash www dot etc. And I said “Alright, I’ll go to your website now then.” And it’s just an error. Actually, it somehow figured it out and it worked, which was annoying…

Oh, that’s cool.

Yeah, browsers are smart.

…because they couldn’t prove the point. Yeah, but… But yeah, I kind of agree. I don’t love them.

When I see them in a path, name like c colon backslash system32 or whatever, I just want to throw up.

Or slap somebody, like you had said.

Or slap somebody. Yeah.

What about line feeds though?

What about line feeds, like backslash n? I mean, I live with it. I’m also left-handed in a right-handers world. I also live with that. There’s things in life you just have to overcome. And every time I see a backslash, I have to overcome the unction I have to throw up in my mouth.

Yeah. Well, let me be the first to say I’m sorry that you’re in this position in life. One, as a left hander. Thank you for admitting that. And then two as somebody who just despises backslashes.

I thought as a left-hander you’d love a backslash. You’re not smudging it for once.

Yeah. Back and to the left. I mean, forward slashes are better, just for the simplicity of up and to the right is a good thing. It’s a positive thing. Back and to the left is just like – you don’t want to go there, right?

That’s right. Nobody wants to backslide, or backslash.

It’s just the wrong direction.


Do you want a forward slash though, or do you want to just slash? Because I feel like – we live in a slash world. If you say slash, you mean forward slash, and it’s just like, that’s how it is.

I just say slash and I let everyone figure it out. Now, I know Gerhard, he says forward slash forward slash a lot. Because I’ve heard him say it, and he’s thorough. That’s thorough, but unnecessary, because no one’s gonna assume backslash. And if they are, I just don’t really want to talk to them.

Yeah, it’s like tabs versus spaces. Let me share a story with you, because early in my days of producing this podcast I used to say forward slash… Until the Jerods of the world said “Listen, just say slash, okay?.”

“The Jerods of the world…” [laughs]

Just say slash.

Did someone actually write in and say that?

Yeah, they did.

Yeah. Was it actually a Jerod? Was it me?

It was in a tweet… It was somewhere in the ether, I don’t know where necessarily… But I would say forward slash because I would do the ad reads, you know? I’d be like “Go to–” I would even say http. Like “Go there…”

Colon slash slash?

Colon, forward slash – no, I wouldn’t go that far. But I’d say like “Changelog com slash podcast.” Or sorry, I’d say “Changelog dot com slash – forward…” I can’t even say forward slash. I’m like messing up just trying to even redo it. “Changelog dot com forward slash podcasts.” And that didn’t sit with anybody. It’s slash, man. Get it right, it’s slash. And if it’s backslash, I’m gonna slap your face, like Jerod.

It’s kind of like when people would say www a lot…

Yeah, that’s gone, too.

And it’s like, come on, guys. We only have so much time. You’re on television. You don’t have to spell out the https colon, forward slash forward slash www dot… Mat, were you going to say we changed your life again, was that what you were about to say?

[00:46:10.03] Yeah, because you’ve changed my life again, Adam, because I – I think if I was describing a URL, all of it, I would say forward slash each time. So…

Yeah. It’s assumed, it’s implied…

Okay, good.

I mean, you do have the option of using backslashes, but the browser will correct you. However, you’re just wrong.


So don’t do that. Just slashes. Simplify your life. I say “Remove the extras. Simplify your life to the essentials.” That’s what I say.

Keep it mechanical. Mat, do you have – have you thought of any good lyrics, any rhythms and rhymes for the backslash? This song could be called “Backslashes are the worst.” It could be like “Backslash, you disgust me.”


“I want to slap someone…”

I would just call it backslash.


Keep it simple.

By Mat Ryer.


I don’t mind ash, I don’t even mind Bash… I like caching and cache, and I’ll clash with a dash in a flash, man… I’m not gonna say gosh… I don’t even mind hash… I’m out on the lash, man. I’ve got a rash. Oh my gosh, man, I’m gonna smash your face in if you backslash me. That’s trash!

A backslash is a trash…

A backslash is a trash… Yeah, backslashes are trash…

And don’t see forward slash…

Just say slash… Just say slash.

Just say slash… No need to say the forward bit…

Just say slash…

Wow. That might be your best song ever.

Oh, I loved it.

[laughs] I thought it was great.


It’s a treat, man. To see you be able to like take pretty much anything and make it good… Obviously, you’re having fun with it. But it’s still just – it’s still good.

It sounds nice.

You’re just like on the – on the tip, making it up as you go. And you’re pretty good at it. Where did you acquire that skill? Is it developed? Is it ingrained? Is it built-in? Were you born with it?

Did you come out of the womb with that?

I think it’s an ADHD type thing, where it’s like, normally that’s a negative in life… But if you need to quickly – if you need to quickly improvise a song about backslashes, then it can come in handy, just in that narrow case. I don’t know, but it’s very fun. I mean, you have to be prepared to fail. That’s actually the thing. These don’t get cut out, I know that now… Like, whatever happens –

Like that first song you sang.

Yeah. [laughter]

Jesse Eisler actually said this recently, he was saying that the best favor you can do for yourself is to not take yourself so seriously that you can’t be embarrassed, or – man, I wish I can remember his exact words. But basically, don’t worry about being embarrassed. Forget about that. Just let it go. Do what you’ve got to do in life, because nobody cares anyways… People are more paying attention to themselves than even you anyways, so just go and do your thing, and don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself.

[00:50:01.02] I think it’s good advice. On the other side of it, be forgiving of people. If they take a risk and it doesn’t work, just forgive it and move on.

Don’t keep bringing it back up again.

Yeah. That’s the worst thing you can do. Or just say “That was a terrible joke.” Sometimes people do that, which is fine. It happened to me on a conference once. I was hosting, and I introduced somebody, I was going to; they were on stage, and then something went wrong with the tech, so I had to [unintelligible 00:50:28.21] for a bit and fill some time… And I said a joke, and it got a little of a titter of a laugh, but it was more like an embarrassing sort of nonsense thing to say than a laugh out loud kind of joke. And then the guy, he just said “That was terrible. That was absolutely terrible.” And then got an enormous laugh because of the power dynamic; and I’m the host, and stuff… Which I’m completely fine with. But it was annoying, because I was then sort of contractually obliged to give him a nice introduction still.

[laughs] Well, I’m glad you overcame that terrible moment.

That’s right.

Well, that’s it. I embarrass myself a lot. Like, I really do. Because I like to kind of be funny and be silly at my own expense. And sometimes it just doesn’t land… And it’s sort of – if you’re too concerned about those moments, sometimes when I’m trying to sleep at 4am, they come back to me and I’m like “Ughh… Yeah, I forgot I did that thing.”

Ouch. No wonder you can’t sleep at night.

Exactly. But you’ve got to forgive yourself, and forgive each other. Then we can have some more fun.

Mat, you thought it’d be fun to talk about viri.

Oh, yay.

Is that the plural of virus?

It’s gotta be. [laughter]

We haven’t had enough of viruses yet in this these here United States of the Earth… But these are not the scary kind of viri, that are going to put many people in the hospital and whatnot… These are internet worms, viri, etc.

It’s viruses.

Is it viruses? Dang it.

Yeah, you must have known that, Jerod, saying it, hearing it back…

Gosh. That’s a big fail by me. I hope nobody rubs my face in and makes me wake up at 4am…

That’s another game show we could do, called Plausible or Not.

How would that game work?

It’s plausible that viri is the plural of virus… But it’s not.

Okay, good game. Good game. That game is plausible [unintelligible 00:56:26.26] So Mat, you brought your favorite virus here with you.

Yeah. We’ve all got a favorite, so I thought I’d talk about mine.

He asked us what our favorites were, and we went and put some thought into it, and thought we would share it. So do you want to go first, since you’re the guest? Or… I don’t know. Do you want to rest? You’ve been working hard.

No, no, I would love to go first.

I don’t know if you remember this one… Let me set the scene. It’s the fifth of May, the year 2000. If you lived before the year 2000, the year 2000 was the future.


So we were very excited about all the possibilities of everything in this time. To be honest, a little bit disappointed. We’re not getting the hover shoes that we were promised, or the you take a pill and you don’t have a receding hairline… Do you know what I mean? We’re not getting all everything that we were promised.

Well, let me add to this context. So 1999 was a heck of a year. And it ends with New Year’s Eve, and of course, Prince famously wrote “Party like it’s 1999.” So when that ended, when it flipped to 2000, we thought – first of all, the y2k bug, but hopefully that’s not the one you’re talking about. Because that one’s lame. But we had that whole situation, and then 2000 came, Prince wasn’t relevant anymore, y2k was over… It was a brand new day. And very exciting. But also a little disappointing, because nothing really changed on January 1st 2000; everything felt the same. You were like “Oh, I was hoping for –” I don’t know, an alien landing, or what did we expect?

[00:58:02.21] Probably that. Aliens.

We expected a lot.


All the power outages… We thought there’s gonna be power outages, literally, right? Like, that was what the news was saying. It was like “We may have the power grids go down…”

Lawn mowers just randomly turning on…

Yeah, exactly. So anyways. But now it’s May 5th 2000, so we’re a few months past this.

And out of the Philippines comes a worm, which was called ILoveYou, or it was called lovebug. Sometimes it was called love letter. And it was basically - you’d get an email that had an attachment that said “I love you.” And windows would hide the extension of files if they were known extensions, for sort of aesthetic reasons. So this was a .vbs, a Visual Basic Script, or VB Script file. But it looked like just a letter attachment; it just looked like a little file. So of course everyone double clicks it, and on Windows 95 at the time double-clicking that would execute it. You could run scripts like that on your computer by just double-clicking them. So of course, you’re just running untrusted code, you don’t know what this thing is, you don’t know you’re gonna run a program, you think you’re going to open an email from the love of your life… But instead, what it does was it deleted a few files, it changed some images, apparently hid all the mp3s… It didn’t delete them, it just hid them.

But then it also – using VB script, the libraries, it would access the Windows address book, and then it would send itself as an attachment to all of your contacts, with the same thing, or a similar thing. ILoveYou. There were a few variations. Sometimes – one said Virus Alert. Quite clever. Another one said “Important. Read carefully.” Another one of the subjects was Forward Joke, and one that I think wouldn’t work on me, just in all caps, FRIEND MESSAGE. That one wouldn’t work on me. But the lovebug was – that was it. And then it just spread – 10 million machines, I think, as far as we know, and probably more. Amazing.

That is amazing. Do you know how they got rid of it, or how it was mitigated, or what happened in the aftermath of the lovebug?

First of all, in the Philippines it wasn’t illegal to do this the first time it happened. So the person who did it didn’t actually get prosecuted. And then it was like a couple of months later they introduced new laws to stop this from happening again. But it was essentially Windows then had to patch it and say “Oh, we’re not gonna just run VB Script files like this. We can’t–” But it’s just like a kind of a time of innocence, where –

A naivety, almost.

Yeah, it was a more innocent time.

It says the damages were estimated to be in the billions of dollars. And what it would do is it would send itself to all the contacts in the victim’s Microsoft Outlook address book, which obviously spread it, and then it would randomly overwrite files with copies of itself, which obviously resulted in data loss. So I mean, that’s kind of a random thing based upon what it’s saying here.

So you’d run it multiple times.

Yeah. But billions of dollars. This is 2000 days. I mean, if you – would that be trillions now? Close to trillions? Or maybe at least 1 trillion.

Great question.

Because 1000 billion is 1 trillion, just to let everybody know. That’s a lot. So how did they patch it?

Oh, they patched it by patching Windows, right? Like, they just said you can’t execute arbitrary scripts in your email.

And that’s why we can’t do it now.

This is why you can’t have nice things.

You patch it like download it to disk and then run it, or something like that?

It’s actually not that hard. Yeah. Or just send someone a command and say “Put this in your terminal.”

That is hard for people.

That’s how we install programs.

See, I wouldn’t fall for that one, because I’d open up my Windows prompt and I’d see that c:\ and I’d just close it. Or just not run in that terminal.

Or you’d punch the screen. [laughter]

That’s the one.

Ah, man…

Alright, well, my favorite computer worm is Sammy. Do you guys know Sammy?

Sammy was famous back in ‘05. Sammy is the MySpace worm, if maybe you just know of that, the MySpace one. This one’s cool–

Should have been called Tom. Tommy.

No, Sammy was the person who wrote it, so that’s why it’s called Sammy. Samy Kamkar, he wrote this MySpace worm back in ‘05. This one’s cool for a couple of reasons. It became the fastest-spreading internet worm in history at the time. Also, it’s pretty much benign. I mean, it doesn’t cause any real problems. It did take MySpace down, but that’s just one website on the internet. But contextually –

That’s a plus.

Yeah. The most popular website at the time was MySpace. I mean, this was –

Yeah, but the fact that people could put those horrible backgrounds on… Like, all the MySpace pages were horrific, because they gave them too much control. So taking MySpace down is actually a gift.

That was the original Code Pen.

Ouch. You’re dissing on Code Pen like that, huh?

Nah, the ability to hack on the internet, in the public. Show it off.

I know. It’s cool, but…

It was cool. You could totally customize your page, trick it out.

What year was this, Jerod?

This was 2005. And in fact, the ability to customize your page is how Sammy Kamkar wrote the worm. So this is a classic cross-site scripting hack, where he put in his profile page, some JavaScript code… You’re not supposed to put JavaScript code in your profile page. MySpace did make it hard to do that, and he has a great technical explanation of the hack, which I’ll include in the show notes; we’re not going to go step by step. But it’s fun to read, because it shows how he subverted all of their techniques in order to scrub and sanitize the output by basically just doing things they weren’t expecting.

So the big mistake was you couldn’t run JavaScript inside of your little custom area of code on your page, but you could run JavaScript inside CSS. And so the whole thing starts with a div style equals, and so now it’s inside the context of CSS. It’s the style attribute on a div. And then inside there, he sets background URL to JavaScript. And that worked. Sort of. He had to do some tricky stuff, like –

So it’s trying to access the URL, but it’s actually a script.

Yeah, exactly. And they would actually scrub the word JavaScript. So he would do Java, and then a new line, script, and that would get past their checkers, but it wouldn’t get past the browser. The browser would still execute it. So like that’s step one. And he goes through about 11 steps that he had to do in order to accomplish this. What happens is, once Sammy got going, when you view his profile, it will display the string, but most of all, “Sammy is my hero”, which is one of the reasons it’s called the Sammy worm. And when that got displayed, it would then send Sammy a friend request. So he’s basically making – he made himself the most popular person on MySpace overnight, to the tune of like millions of friends, from hundreds to millions. So much so that it took down MySpace servers, because they couldn’t handle – maybe like a database issue? I don’t know. They weren’t ready for that level of traffic.

So yeah, when you’d view the profile page, it would do that, and then replicate itself into their own profile page, and spread from there. Relatively harmless though, like I said. I mean, obviously against the law, I guess… Well, it was against the law, because he was raided by the US Secret Service and the ETF – no, the Electronic Crimes Task Force, the ECTF, because of the worm. He entered a plea agreement to a felony charge… So he became a felon because of this. And he got sentenced to three years probation, with only one computer, and no access to the internet, which was funny. 90 days community service, and $15,000 in restitution, as directly reported by Kamkar himself, on some video that he made for Vice. So he got a slap on the wrist, but…

[01:06:14.08] Bummer, man… Could you imagine that - one computer, no internet? Ugh. How long? Three years?

Yes, three years.

Well, those are not friends he expected to make, right? The US Secret Service, and the ECTF… Who wants them as friends?

Yeah, they sent him a friend request to his house.

One of the secret service – isn’t that like the people who look after the president? Why are they getting involved in this?

The president was on MySpace.

Oh. He was friends with the president.

Yeah. So the president was being protected by the US Secret Service by the Sammy worm on MySpace. The president was like “No, I choose my friends.”

He made a friend that he didn’t want to make…


So that’s Sammy. I’ll link the – I think the technical explanation is fun to read through. I had a good time going step by step through it this morning, so I’ll link that one up.

How many servers do you think MySpace had in 2005? Do you think they had like a cluster? Do you think they had sharded databases to maintain their uptime? What do you think the infrastructure was like back then? 2005. This is like Twitter shut down days, when Twitter couldn’t even stay up.

Yeah. It’s got to have just been LowFi manual network stuff, panic-driven… Probably had spikes in traffic, which meant they had to panic their way to get some kind of scale. And probably just adding machines…

Yeah, I remember it. Was it Digg? What year was Digg? Probably the same timeframe. Digg got big. That’s, which was really the dawn of web 2.0. I remember the very first time I could actually upvote on Digg and it wouldn’t refresh the entire browser page. I didn’t know what was going on. I was like “Wait a second, I clicked a link, but I didn’t go to a new page, and yet the thing updated.” And that’s how I learned about Ajax.

This had to be back in ‘05 timeframe… But I remember reading about Digg’s scaling problems, because they had big scaling problems… And they were LAMP stack, I think. And that was the first time I heard about sharding. So they had a big technical deep-dive on how they sharded Digg back in that timeframe. So my guess is that at least sharding was around, and MySpace was probably doing that as well… But it was all manual and very difficult. It wasn’t things like – what’s that?

That word sharding really just gets me, man, everytime I hear the word shard.


I know what it means, but… The word sharding just gets me.

You have to emphasize the D.

Yeah, it’s great in American accent.

Yeah, you can do the sharting.

I say that shaading.

Oh, you do?


Shaaading. You’re saying it like it disgusts you. Like I say backslash. Shaaading. [laughter] I like yours.

Oh, it makes me sound so bloody posh. Nah, I’ll probably just finish the bloody podcast talking like this.

You could try…

I would appreciate that.

I could try.

That would be fun.

But if I say sharting…

It’s a different thing, man.

Exactly. Yeah. But it’s funny. But in your accent, there is no difference to my ear.

It is hard to tell. I try to enunciate the D, but I fail.

I think you did fine, Jerod. I was just saying like the word sharding is just not – yeah, I guess sharding and sharting is pretty dang close, you’re right.

Yeah, it is.

Wow. Yeah. Well, I guess that’s why I don’t like the word, because it’s like – I mean, do you know what you’re talking about? Wait, wait, wait, hang on a second… Are you a software developer? Okay, cool. I know what you’re talking about.

Right, right, right.

But if you’re not, then we’ve got a different problem and I’m not gonna be near you, okay? I’m walking away.

Yeah, I think the two things are kind of like equally unenjoyable. I haven’t heard anybody who likes either process. So maybe there’s some poetic alignment there…

Yeah. Nobody wants to [unintelligible 01:09:51.14] their databases. It’s not fun. Manually…

You mentioned Ajax in 2005… Before that, I invented Ajax by using iFrames.

So I would put an iFrame on the page, I would style it to be one pixel, and white, and with no border. So you just don’t see it.

Same color as the background. In those days, with JavaScript - it was just an object on the page. So I would essentially make HTTP posts, but the target being the iFrame. And that was a way to communicate with the backend. And then the response from the backend was JavaScript - this is probably quite dangerous… It was JavaScript that executed in the iFrame, which reached out to the parent and call functions to update the page. And then the JavaScript in the page would then go and update just those little pieces.

So it was essentially like – because there wasn’t that XML HTTP request object thing then… But that’s the way that we got around it. And then we learned, like, you’d do tricks – because it was slow, the internet was a bit slow back. You’d do tricks like you would immediately update the UI kind of proactively, assuming that it’s going to be successful, and then you’d go and do the little backend piece. And only if it failed, would you then update and say “Oh, this didn’t work.” But that’s it. That was it. Ajax.

That’s one of the things about being around in the web in the early days - you didn’t have all these problems solved. And I also didn’t do a computer science degree, so I didn’t even learn basic computer stuff. And that means I get to invent loads of things that everyone just already either knows about, or now we’ve solved properly.

That’s cool.

That’s right.

It was great fun. So satisfying.

I would just call it iJax instead, though. iJjax.

Yeah, that’s a good name. Yeah.

Did you name it and publish it? Did you publish the technique, and name it, and get it out there?

No. I didn’t know you could do stuff like that.


I’d love to have done that.

Because then you could have been – you could have your own Wikipedia page at this point as like the inventor of iJax. But now it’s not even a thing anymore.

You can still be on Wikipedia. I can put you there right now.


Appreciate that.

Yeah. Don’t say anything mean…

iJax, invented by Mat Ryer.

I would say, Mat Ryer is a co-host of the Go Time podcast, and the singer/songwriter behind the world-famous “Backslashes are trash” single, off of Changelog Beats.

That went viral…

Adam, were you going to share a computer worm with us?

I’m not allowed, I guess… I’ve just got to keep vamping here, while Mat –

Mat keeps interjecting his stories every time we get to Adam.

That’s right.


Anything else, Mat? Anything else?

Well, I hope the song becomes a viri in its own right, and goes viral.

Alright, Adam, this is the coup de gras. This is the end of the show. You’re going to end the show with this.

It’s gonna be a good one. We’ve built it up a lot.

Here it comes. Listen. 1995. This was a day when basically dial-up internet was the way. It was the earliest of early days, when pretty much anything you said about computers was true, because no one knew about computers, right? You could make it up. This was a fun day, right? There was this virus by a shadowy group called the Praetorians. And these folks were trying to orchestrate a series of cyberattacks, with the premise of gaining control over critical systems, especially those in the US government. They were trying to get the government’s stuff, and they wanted to leverage this virus, and they were gaining backdoor access to mainframes, in major institutions, in banking, and manipulating data, controlling systems, and just doing all they can do to advance their own covert interests.

And right in the middle of all this, right in the central standpoint of all this is Angela Bennett. She’s a typical early day computer programmer, somehow ensnared into this web of conspiracy. She comes across this mysterious disk in her office, and it’s malicious software… And she recognizes this threat poses some issues to their plan. She finds out it’s the Praetorians, and she takes these drastic measures, of course, to fight back. And to her demise, they attempt in many ways to erase her identity, begin to frame her for crimes and murders she never did… And it’s just a big issue. This is 1995, Praetorian virus… This is a big deal.

[01:14:35.08] I mean, being in trouble for murders you did commit is bad. But if you didn’t commit the murders at all, that’s got to be worse, hasn’t it, I would say?

Angela’s – she hasn’t been the same since. She’s really still fighting to regain trust of the public.

How did it all end?

She fought back. And I can’t tell you the rest.

Was this a movie?


Computer analyst Angela Bennett was just doing her job… When she stumbled onto something she never should have seen.

“I plugged it in and I’m staring at the personal medical files of the Undersecretary of Defense Michael Bergstein.”

“Someone hacked into the system.”

“How long would it take to track her?”

“It depends on how long she stays online.”

“Why would anybody want to do anything?”

Something that reaches farther than she could ever imagine.

“They hack into computers and they cause this chaos. Wall Street –”

“The market panics as officials suspended trading.”

“The Department of Water and Power in Atlanta. LAX.”

“We’ve lost radar contact.”

This is six stars on IMDb, I think.

I can’t confirm nor deny. I just – this is one of my favorite viruses.

Oh, hang on a minute… This is just completely fictional.

No, this is real.

Is this film based on a real thing, or have you watched a film and believed it to be a documentary again?

Well, Adam, I think we have to give you the Miss Congeniality award.

Oh, nice. Thank you.

Also a Sandra Bullock movie… [laughs] Tell us about the time that that one bus was driving really fast, and they couldn’t stop it or it would explode…

Yeah, that is annoying.

I think Keanu Reeves was there.

I can’t confirm nor deny that either.

That’s annoying. That’s annoying because you miss your stop; not only at risk of being blown to smithereens, but you’re also late for yoga, or wherever it is you’re going.

Well, you get there early…

Yeah. [laughs]

In the end though, what this really did, this virus, what it did is it really highlighted the vulnerabilities of the digital age, and the expansive reach of cyber criminals and what they can do, and the fragility really of our online identities. And so ever since then, she’s been an advocate with the EFF to regain her composure, and to fight back against these Praetorians. And I for one applaud her. She’s valiant in her efforts, and she’s won. And the internet is better since then, because of this. They thwarted all these backdoor accesses; they were all shut down. And that’s a good thing.

We should get her on the show.


Don’t you think? I’d love to hear that story.

Yeah, Angela Bennett. In all honesty, when I thought about viruses, I was just thinking – the one I know most of, that’s near and dear to my heart… Because I’m a movie fan, right? I had to go there. I’m like – I wasn’t gonna go to… What was it, Hackers? Was that the movie, called Hackers, with Angelina Jolie? Wasn’t that called Hackers?

Yes, sir.

I mean, that one wasn’t visual enough. And I thought about Lawnmower Man, which was not a virus. It was more like VR gone wrong.

Didn’t he go viral, though? Like, he infiltrated the whole –

He did. He became a virus, but how could you describe that? Whereas the net was literally a virus. And I thought I could walk you all through the plotline…

Are there other movies about viri?

I think viri has now become a real word, at this point… We need to put it into the dictionary. I don’t know…

Well, see, I thought that movie could easily be based on something real, like a real story.

[01:18:00.12] Which one? Lawnmower Man?

The Net. The Net. Yeah, Lawnmower Man could be based, but it would be different; it would just be someone who cuts grass.

It’d be different. [laughs]

You know, think about that though, honestly… Back in that day, 1995, how many viruses had been in the world to make somebody, a scriptwriter, director, studio, sign on it and say “Let’s do this”? Because the internet was so young… They educated pretty much the general public on what computers really weren’t, really. I mean, you knew there was dial-up internet, you obviously had the floppy disk that was famous in the movie, and the accessibility of a computer show to a computer on the internet… I mean, that was probably a thing, I guess. But they leveraged all these emerging pop culture phenomena at the time to their advantage, to say “Okay, Praetorians against the world… One lone soldier against the world… Identity erased, murders that didn’t take place, that she’s being blamed for…” Great plotline for that time. 1995.

Yeah. Very ahead of its time. But if you think about it, fear usually predates – like, fear’s one of the first things that we get just as a society when anything new is there. So probably the fear of… I remember, I genuinely remember somebody, when I was young, saying that if a computer had a virus, you had to be careful, because you could catch it. Like, that’s what they just thought that was. They just didn’t know.

And I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not, honestly. Are you being serious?

Yeah, genuinely.

You’re being serious.

Yeah, yeah.

Can you use a sign? Like, you put two fingers up when you’re being really serious…

No, because the new Apple computer puts balloons if I do two fingers, for some reason.

Oh, gosh… The balloons. I hate this feature.

Yeah, why is that if you’re holding up two? Doing that is swearing in the UK. So it usually means like –

Is it? It means peace over here.

Because you’ve got that third finger kind of half up. Is that what the swear is? And this is not a swear, and this is a swear?

No. It’s that. It’s just two fingers. It’s the same as the one finger.

What’s wrong with your third finger there, your middle finger, your ring finger? What’s wrong with that? Yeah, put it down.

That’s a good point. I don’t know. Yeah, you’re right. It doesn’t get down so easily.

I don’t understand these special effects. Why does a thumbs up do bubbles, and two fingers does balloons? It makes no sense.

The folks on audio are like “What’s wrong with this podcast? What happened here?” Because they see none of this.

This podcast went off the rails in minute one, so…

I suggested to Mat, because I couldn’t believe him, to put up a sign of sorts, and he puts up two fingers, because I said just two fingers, and then balloons appeared on the video.

Bubbles if you’re telling the truth, and balloons if you’re lying.

Do it, Mat. Go. Okay, so you can catch a virus from a computer, for real. Okay…

A teacher thought that, yeah. I also know somebody who told me a story – because when Google Maps was out, and they had the satellite view, they said “Oh, we went outside, and we were waving, and we could see ourselves on the thing.” And it’s like, it’s just satellite imagery, it’s not a live satellite feed.

And you fell for that one too?


Just a second… You’re saying that’s not a live feed of my house that I’m looking at whenever I look down on my house from the Maps?

When Jerod messages you and you see in his background, you’re like “Wait, that’s in my house”, then I think then yes, that is real.

“I’m on the inside.”

The call is coming from the inside of the house.

That’s right.

That’s spooky. That did actually send a shiver down my spine when you said that. Because don’t forget, it’s like a movie talking to you too, for me.

Oh, my gosh…

I got shivers last night. Do you want me to tell you a quick story before we call this a show?

Yeah. What shivered you?

This was like fear shivers. Like classic shivers. So I’m driving home from basketball practice, and my wife tells me – so our 15-year-old daughter was at home with the younger girls, babysitting, so to speak, watching the house. And my wife tells me this story, she says, “Well, while we were gone”, they saw a black car drive up the driveway, and then an older woman walking across the front walkway to the door, made eye contact, and rang the doorbell. Now, our strict rule is you just don’t answer the door when we’re not at home. You just don’t do it.

But that eye contact made my daughter think “It’s super-rude and weird if I don’t answer the door. She knows I’m here.” So she answered the door. Yes… And the woman needed directions. She was desperately needing direction [unintelligible 01:22:30.16] And so my daughter said “Hold on, let me go get my phone so I can help you.” And she goes into the house to get the phone, she turns around, and the lady’s inside our house. Like, she let herself in, and standing in the entryway. And when my wife told me that part, I got shivers, because I’m like “That’s the start of a murder scenario.”


It turns out it was cold out, and she needed directions, and so she stepped inside… And my daughter gave her directions, and she’s like “I hope I make it”, and she left, and everything was just fine. But when I heard that part of the story, I got the goosebumps, because I was like “Once someone’s inside your house, with your daughters there, and you’re not there… Ugh!”

Yeah. If they’re a vampire as well, if they’re in the house…

That’s even worse. Yeah.

Well, the vampire couldn’t come in. There was no invite. She just walked away and said “Stay here. I’m gonna get my phone.”

Don’t answer the door.


Well, you know about vampire lore, right? They cannot come in unless invited.

But remember, in the story, the old woman is in the house. That’s what I’m saying. So whatever – something’s happened, and maybe they’re just like “Yeah, sure, come in. It won’t belong. I’m just gonna get my phone.”

Okay. So since we talked about movies by way of my virus in the show, have you seen Renfield, either of you?

Sadness. Okay, sadness.

The movie is sad?

Yeah. Nick Cage is coming back. And he’s not good in every movie he’s in, but he’s amazing in this one. Nicolas Cage, phenomenal…

What’s this movie about?

It’s a magnificent retake on the Dracula story. It’s a whole new spin on it. It’s gory and hilarious, and if you at all like good cinema, put this on your list. And report back in Slack. I want to hear what you think.

Is it a comedy?

Yeah. It’s a dark comedy.

Okay. Gotcha.

I mean, Nicolas Cage is – I agree… Did you see that – something about a talent, an unbearable talent. It’s a Nicholas Cage film where he plays himself, and he’s just like a bit of a narcissist kind of guy, and gets into a scrape… But it’s such a great movie. I think he’s brilliant. He in a way plays a caricature sometimes of his own ’80s kind of action, or ’90s action type.

Yeah. Multifaceted. He could be funny, and serious…


Like I said, not every film he does is amazing, by any means, but his performances are always really attempting to be well done. I haven’t seen everything he’s done to be like “He’s not a good actor”, but he’s done some films you’re like “Meh…” Like, Face Off at the time was a really good movie… But then you look back on it, it’s like “It was kind of like a… Not a really great movie.” Like, there’s some bad acting in that one.

The Rock was good. The Rock holds up, I think.

Yeah, The Rock.

The Rock was amazing, yeah.

That was the same timeframe.

That movie is why I moved to San Francisco for a bit.

Honestly? Because you wanted to be close to Alcatraz?

Yeah. I wanted to go to Alcatraz.

You could have just visited.

Or National Treasure… One, only, really. I mean, every other follow-up to that was not good.

I haven’t seen National Treasure, actually.

Yeah, that sort of treasure hunt… I love all that.

Yeah. I do, too. But Renfield - put it on your list if you’re a vampire/Dracula fan. Like, it’s just really well done. It’s a whole new spin on it… I can’t recommend it enough.

Okay. And it was “The unbearable weight of massive talent” was the Nicolas Cage movie I was talking about. It’s also worth a watch.

Ah. Well, since all good things come in threes, I will now give a Nicolas Cage movie that you should watch. Adaptation. 2002’s Adaptation, in which he plays twin brothers.

And it’s a movie about writing, and it’s very interesting. Yeah, it’s a very interesting movie. It’s a Charlie Kaufman movie, if you know that writer… Directed by Spike Jones. Adaptation. Nicolas Cage is very good in it.

And it’s got Meryl Streep in as well, isn’t it?

I think so, yes. Same guy who wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Being John Malkovich… Like, this guy makes interesting movies.

Oh, I love that.

Yeah. So Adaptation, that’s a good one. Add that to your list.

Yeah, agree. Concur.

I’m going to. I’ve watched this, but I’ve gotta rewatch it, because it’s been so long that I’m thinking “Have I watched it?”

He’s great in it.

Yeah, both of him.

Well, thank you, Jerod.

Alright. Well, we started with unpopular opinions, and we ended with popular Nicolas Cage movies. Should we say goodbye? Should we continue to talk? What should we do here? Should we sing ourselves out?

Oh gosh, no… No more.

Let’s not. We’ve put Mat through enough.

It’s over. It’s over…! [laughter]

Alright, thanks for hanging out, y’all. Talk to you on the next one. Bye, friends.

Bye, friends!

Bye, friends!


Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚

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