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Fascinated by the FireChat App

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Oh, I'll just tell you. What the hell! I've run cross an app on my iPhone called FireChat. Now I've done it.  I've done it.  It's a free app.  It is being downloaded like gangbusters because, A, it's free. But also because it uses a new kind of way to communicate.  Android has it, too.  With iOS 7, Apple introduced something called Multipeer Connectivity.  You do not have to be connected to the Internet in order to use it. 

Now, it's a little bit more complicated than that, but the point that I want to make is, I downloaded it just for the fun of it, and it's depressing.  You are communicating... Anybody in the world who downloads the app can post anything to it they want, and it is the bottom of the barrel. It is the most depressing stuff.

You will find out exactly how stupid the people surrounding you are.  Now, the way the Multipeer Connectivity works, if I can explain this correctly (I'm gonna give it a shot), is two iPhones can connect to each other directly via this app without having an Internet connection.  It happens over Wi-Fi and over Bluetooth 4.0.  Now, if one of those two people...

Follow me on this. If one of those two people happens to be connected to the Internet, so is the other one, mobile, by virtue of being connected with the first phone. So you can have a number of people not connected to the Internet in a chain where only one person is, through Multipeer Connectivity.  In this way, for example, if you had a bunch of people flying with you on an airplane, you could connect to them.

You could have a chat with them on this app without being connected to the Internet, as long as you are within 30 feet of each other.  That's the range that it has. I'm sure they... I'm not gonna give you my screen name.  I came up with a screen name.  I asked the first time I got on, "What do you think the average IQ on this app is?"  It came back, "Nineteen."

It's a fascinating thing technologically.  It's also fascinating to just read it.  I mean, every other post is obscenity here, obscenity there. It's the bottom of the barrel.  But that's just because it's new.  Here's the thing about it that makes it intriguing to people.  It makes the device, your iPhone, a transceiver without an Internet connection if you're within 30 feet of somebody that also has the app.

So you can be on a camping trip, for example -- you could be out in the middle of nowhere -- and still connect to people and chat with them as long as they're within 30 feet of you. If one of those 30 people or one of those people in your chain happens to be connected to the Internet, then all of you are.  Multipeer Connectivity Protocol is what it's called, and it's causing people to download this app left and right. 

Now, the developers, there are two places you can go.  You have everybody on nearby, and there will be nobody on it unless one of your friends is within 30 feet of you. So you're connected to everybody around the world.  Now, the developers are behind the scenes limiting you to, oh, some sort of proximity. (interruption) No, they can't get in and get your stuff that way.  The hackers can't get in and get your stuff that way. 

They can just connect to your app. They're not given access to the device.  It's just a connectivity protocol. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, the reason I brought this app up is to draw the distinction between the intellectual left and the hoi polloi left.  You knew I was gonna do that.  You know, I should have followed my gut and not mentioned it. (interruption) Oh, they're thanking me for mentioning it? 

Okay.  Well, folks, I don't want you to be confused on something here about this app.  You are all connected to the Internet using it right now.  That's the point.  But using the app on the "nearby" tab, that only applies if you have somebody you know who has the app and is within 30 feet of you.  So, Snerdley, if I turned on my phone and fired that app right now, you would show up and I would show up in your "nearby" tab.

You could tap on that, and you and I could connect direct phone to phone, not through the Internet.  That's what Multipeer Connectivity is.  And that's why it's private, by the way. If you want, you could have a totally private conversation. Nothing is on the Internet when you connect that way.  There's all kinds of potential for this, is why this app is exciting to people.  The Multipeer Connectivity Protocol is what it's called.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  There are loads of Dittoheads out there on FireChat.  I just checked it during the break.  They're all saying, "Hey!" They're all saying, "Hi, what's up." They're all identifying where they're from and what station they're listening to, and they're all across the fruited plain, dominating FireChat.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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