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Sticker Tape Parade

“On Friday,” a reader writes, “The Rundown wrote in part: ‘A while ago, we (somewhat cheekily) asked how many readers cover their laptop cameras with electrical tape…

“What cheek? I work for a recognizable, worldwide corporation and we are issued special stickers (glue on one half) to cover our laptop cameras.

“Don’t you remember seeing some cabinet-level intel officer giving testimony to Congress had a sticker?

“If he needs one with all the counter-intel he has, we all do.”

And as for our informal survey Friday: “How many readers use these virtual assistant devices (i.e. the most popular Amazon Alexa, etc.)? Please explain why or why not?”

The same reader says: “Not I! In 50 years of programming computers, I don’t mind punch cards or typing but I detest speech input. It elevates the pile of transistors too much. 

“I’ve learned that computers will always do something undesirable before eventually doing the desirable. The nature of ‘bugs’ has evolved from physical, to programming, to user error and now to deliberate malevolence.”

We’ll have more of your opinions tomorrow.

Your Rundown for Monday, July 15, 2019:

Technology Treason

A new event called the National Conservatism Conference is happening now in D.C.

One conference speaker — Silicon Valley mainstay, Trump supporter and billionaire investor Peter Thiel — is raising eyebrows for his criticism of Google.

He says the FBI and CIA should be investigating the tech giant for some un-American activities; namely, aiding and abetting the Chinese military.

Thiel continues by saying he wants answers to three questions about Google:

  • Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?
  • Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?
  • Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military… because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn’t go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?

We find it ironic Mr. Thiel doesn’t call out tech company, Facebook, for its own shady practices. Ahh… but then Thiel’s a Facebook board member.

But Amazon’s coming under fire today, this as the company rolls out its fourth annual Amazon Prime Day today… and tomorrow. (Shouldn’t it be call Days then?)

Workers “at an Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minn., plan to walk off the job Monday during the last 3 hours of the day shift and the first 3 hours of the night shift,” UPI reports.

“[Employees] say although Amazon has raised hourly wages to between $16 and $20 — more than double the federal minimum — the company sets unrealistic expectations and quotas.” Often under threat of firing.

For its part, Amazon says — and we’re paraphrasing here — if you think the grass is greener elsewhere, don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.

Last, we wonder if criticism lobbed at these key tech players will move the needle (down) on shares today. But we doubt it… not when shoppers can snap up an Amazon Echo for $50. (If you’re into that.)

Market Rundown for Mon. July 15, 2019

S&P 500 futures are up 6 points to 3,021.5.

Oil’s added 13 cents to its price of $60.34 for a barrel of WTI.

Gold is up $3.80 to $1,416.00 per ounce.

Bitcoin is up $4.23 to $10,245.18.

Have a good. We’ll talk tomorrow.

For the Rundown,

Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler

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Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler is the publisher of Seven Figure Publishing. He is also the editor of The Rundown. Aaron’s been with Agora Financial/Seven Figure Publishing for 13 years. He's been covering technology and markets for over a decade.

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