Tech News Weekly 332 Transcript

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0:00:00 - Mikah Sargent
Coming up on Tech News Weekly. Amanda Silberling is here and we talk about the new Humane AI Pen. Is it worth the rather expensive cost? Does it do what you'd expect and does it provide more than what a smartphone can? Afterwards, I talk about the right to repair, this time with Apple expanding its repair options so that if you have used genuine parts, you can use those in another iPhone. Our interviews are great this week. First, Kyle Barr of Gizmodo stops by to talk about how ISPs, because of the FCC's rule, now have to provide what are called consumer broadband labels that give you more information about how much you're paying for internet and what you're actually getting from your internet service provider. And last but not least, Reed Albergotti of Semaphore stops b to talk about Marissa Mayer's new app. It's called Shine and it aims to help you share photos with your friends automatically. All of that coming up on Tech News Weekly. Stay tuned.

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This is Tech News Weekly episode 332, with Amanda Silberling and me, Mikah Sargent, recorded Thursday, April 11, 2024: FCC Requires Broadband 'Nutrition Labels'. Hello and welcome to Tech News Weekly, the show where, every week, we talk to and about the people making and breaking the tech news. I am one of your hosts, Mikah Sargent, and, as is our way in this new way of things on Tech News Weekly, I am joined by my wonderful co-host. This week it's Amanda Silberling. Hello, Amanda.

0:01:55 - Amanda Silberling
Hello, I felt like I had to sing back to you musical intro Thank you, thank you for playing along there, I appreciate it. That's what I'm here to do. That's part of the co-host agreement. That's in the contract, it's in the bylines, for sure. Yeah.

0:02:14 - Mikah Sargent
So, speaking of being a co-host and playing along, part of our play is that each of us brings a story of the week to the table and, amanda, you'll be kicking things off with your story of the week. Tell us all about it.

0:02:30 - Amanda Silberling
So, like many people, I woke up this morning and I saw a bunch of reviews about the Humane AI pin. I guess today was the day that all the journalists were like we can write about this now. Journalists were like we can write about this now and basically the AI pin is like a little square. You like put it on your lapel and then you can like hold stuff up to it and be like tell me what this object is. Or you can tell it like text my friend, that I'll be at their house in five minutes. Or one of the examples they keep showing is like scanning things for like nutritional value, which I also think I feel kind of weird about that, because it's like if you scan a donut like that's what they showed in the example, it's like, well, you don't know what the donut was made out of. What if this is like a?

0:03:20 - Mikah Sargent
weird donut yeah.

0:03:21 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, Like a health, a health donut, you know. But so this thing is $700. It is coming from Humane, which is a company that has raised over $200 million in venture capital and has been operating in stealth for years. And then now here is their thing and it is $700. And the consensus is don't know if it's worth $700.

0:03:47 - Mikah Sargent
You know that's been like the consensus of so many tech products lately. Right, it does feel like so many of the reviews are here's the thing and it does some things, and also it costs a lot of money. Is it worth it? That's the review I could write about so many of the new products that I've seen come out in the last I don't know two, three years.

This little AI pin when it first was kind of debuted, there was lots of excitement, lots of skepticism, lots of everything in between, everything in between, and I mean I found the interactions with it to be kind of troublesome, and if it's not providing me with anything that I can't get from the devices that I already have, like, surely there's an app that lets me scan a piece of food and get some nutritional value out of it. Whether or not it knows it's a health donut, I don't know. But yeah, do you feel like there's anything about this that truly sets it apart? And I think more so. Have you seen any reviews that exist outside of the here's a thing? It's very expensive, so do you need it?

0:05:08 - Amanda Silberling
here's a thing. It's very expensive, so do you need it? Um, I've only. I looked at um the tech crunch review, because I work at tech crunch, and then the verge made a video which I watched and, um, hate to give it to them. It was a good video. We like the verge. They are a competitor, but they're good. We like the bird.

I do read thege, but I think like it's really interesting that they're positioning this as an all like the new smartphone, like that's the marketing of this is. Smartphone sales have slowed down, apparently, and now the next new big technology is going to take over, and I think this is the promise of a lot of new tech, like that was also the promise of crypto, and like we're going to shake up the bank system and this is the next new thing. And I think people are becoming more skeptical over time of do we need the next new big thing? Is VR actually the next new thing? Do we need the next new big thing? Is VR actually the next new thing? Is crypto actually the next new big thing? Are we all going to walk around with a little thingy on our shirt and be like, tell me what building I'm looking at, or something?

0:06:22 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, I don't know at, or something. Yeah, I don't know. I understand the desire to create something that is unlike other things that we have, and a bunch of Amazon Echo devices, and almost all of them now just sit in what I've called my Amazon Echo graveyard, which is just a drawer that is filled with different Amazon Echoes, because I just didn't use them and I don't like using my voice to control things because it did me dirty too many times and I don't trust it to do what I want it to do, and I saw several reviews talking about this having the same problem, where if you said something like um, uh, I want to send a message to my friend Paul, then it would send a message that said send a message to Paul, and it's like what? So you had to word it in a different way where it's well. Instead it was like text Paul, good morning.

Right, it's not different. All it's doing is changing the diction that we have whenever it comes to this re-interaction. Right, I know that I have a specific way that I need to talk to the Amazon Echo. I know I have a specific way I need to talk to SIRI, apple's virtual assistant, and they all have their peculiarities right and in understanding the way that you talk to them, then it will sometimes give you what you want. This feels the same way, and to me, the promise of this generative AI was supposed to be that I didn't have to have a set of phrases in my head that I use to interact with this stuff. I'm feeling disappointed, I guess, is what I'm saying, amanda.

0:08:36 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I feel like it's kind of like my parents have both a Google Home and an Echo and when I go to visit them I'm like I don't know which light is on which thing. I don't live here and I feel like I just like go into the living room and I'm like Alexa, turn on the light. Just like, Alexa turn on the light. Just kidding, Google, turn on the light.

I feel like that's kind of a situation we're getting in here where it's like do I really need to tell another device text, Paul, or can I just use S-I-R-I? I guess we're trying to avoid setting it off, although anyone who has the other two devices is mad at me right now but like I like I think we're kind of over complicating things by trying to simplify things. But then what's also interesting is that then there's the rabbit, which is a similar piece of tech that debuted at ces earlier this year and that one is going to sell for $200. So it's we're kind of recreating the like meta versus Apple of VR headsets, where it's like apples is like $2,500 or whatever and looks a lot better than metas, but also like do you need all the bells and whistles? And who just has $2,500? Like I just did my taxes, I don't have $2,500.

0:09:45 - Mikah Sargent
Exactly Right. Oh it's. Yeah, it's tax day, for goodness sake. Um, another thing, that kind of that originally I thought was a little bit cool, because it was different about this was it's a projection system. You can hold out your hand and it projects a little bit of a UI onto your hand.

Well, all the reviews that I've read suggest that this does not work in any kind of sunlight at all. If you're outdoors, you pretty much cannot see what's being projected onto your hand, so you can only really use that portion of it indoors. And then, when I think about it, I'm like I could hold out my hand and look at something projected under my hand, or I could just hold my phone in my hand that has all of that projected onto it already, except it's not projected Like it's already there. So what again outside of it just being something different, it doesn't feel like it's truly solving anything new. And I don't know that. I need a device that when I hold up a hot dog, it can say that isn't a hot dog that you're holding. I already have that in here. My eyes can look at that and determine that I'm holding a hot dog. At least I think it can.

0:11:00 - Amanda Silberling
I don't know, maybe you need a second opinion.

0:11:03 - Mikah Sargent
You're right, you're right, is it?

0:11:04 - Amanda Silberling
really a hot dog. Who knows, is it a hot dog or legs?

0:11:07 - Mikah Sargent
That's the whole thing Until it's observed. Who knows what it is? Is it a cat? Is the cat alive?

0:11:12 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, yeah, I don't know, is this a new hot dog?

0:11:32 - Mikah Sargent
Ultimately, it does feel like we are in this space where I understand the desire to make more directly available these arguably helpful generative AI systems. I get that part of it. Maybe it's a little bit more work to have to open up my phone, go to the ChatGPT app and then start typing things in or use Gemini or whatever. I get the idea of wanting to have a direct interaction and when it comes to the rabbit, I really understand that because it's the idea that instead of having to open my phone and go to this app to book a hotel and then go to this app to get my plane ticket and then go to another app when I get, when I touch down, to make sure that I have food whenever I arrive, the rabbit aims to be like an Omni app and kind of do all of these different services in the background. That, I think, think is a compelling use of generative AI. This just feels like it is a little bit underwhelming for what I can do with generative AI in other ways. Ultimately, ultimately.

0:12:48 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I think it's sort of like this is where the whole like tech accelerationism or whatever falls flat for me, because I think because we can is not always a good reason to make something. And I'm not too bothered about this one because I don't think the ai pin is gonna like cause serious harm in the world or anything. But I also just this is where I get frustrated with venture capital, cause it's like how many other ways could we have used $200 million?

0:13:22 - Mikah Sargent
Right, exactly, yeah, I you that. When it comes to the potential concerns about this device having you know visibility of what's going on around you, I think that's a little overhyped and a little bit because we've already got.

0:13:42 - Amanda Silberling
We have phones. Yeah, we have phones.

0:13:44 - Mikah Sargent
People are using their phones to capture stuff all the stinking time, like it might as well be the same as having it on your chest and I I think in a way, this is in the same way that people were kind of uh, uh, I don't know lambasted for wearing, uh, the apple Vision Pro in public. I think this is going to have some level of that as well, where seeing one of these on is going to go OK, I'm going to stay away from that person because they could you know what I mean Like we've gotten used to the phones, we've gotten used to those other devices and maybe don't have that same reaction. So it's almost built in with this, given that it's a new thing. If people are aware of it, like you and I, would see it and maybe go yeah, okay, I know what that's doing, but I don't know.

I agree, ultimately, that this is a relatively harmless product and that's not where my complaints come in. It's not on that side of it, it's truly just on the usefulness side of it. But hey, if somebody's excited about having spent $700 on this thing and they get a lot like, I'm looking forward to seeing the one month from now, two months from now, six months from now, I didn't return my human AI pen and my life would not be the same without it. And now I use it. I don't go to the doctor anymore, I just use my human AI pen. Who knows?

0:15:07 - Amanda Silberling
Now, when I eat a hot dog, I'm totally sure it's a hot dog.

0:15:12 - Mikah Sargent
They need to add that, I think, to their. That's one of the marketing perks. Surely I said human AI, but I meant humane AI, of course.

0:15:22 - Amanda Silberling
See, that's the marketing. They're trying to get you. They are, they've got it, they've got to figure it out Now.

0:15:29 - Mikah Sargent
It's my understanding that all of the rollout thus far, outside of the reviews, had to do with pre-orders. So you may be hard-pressed to get yourself a humane AI pin for a little bit of time, but if you know what to all of our listeners, if any of you end up getting one of these, love to hear about your experience with it, for sure.

0:15:54 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I mean, if people like it, that's cool. Like I do what you want with your money, that's none of my business. It's just kind of fascinating to see this very like overhyped technology that has been so secretive and like we're making the next iPhone and that it's like this is a hot dog, exactly.

0:16:14 - Mikah Sargent
And it all goes back to that. All righty folks, we're going to take a quick break before we come back with my story of the week, but I did want to let you know that this episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Wix Studio, and you know what that means. That means I get to do literally anything I want with this ad spot, because Wix Studio is giving me creative freedom, because that's exactly what their platform gives to web designers. So here's my bit of creative freedom. This time I think I am going to workshop my ASMR podcast called Whispered Rest, which is a podcast where I whisper the abstracts of different studies that are published in journals. This one comes from the.

0:17:03 - Mikah Sargent (ASMR)
Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. In this study, they evaluated the accuracy of chat GPT in addressing insomnia-related queries for patient education and assessed chat GPT's ability to provide varied responses based on different prompting scenarios.

0:17:22 - Mikah Sargent
The study revealed significant variations in the flesh, can gain grade-level scores across four groups and, in conclusion, chat gpt can be used to generate clinically accurate responses to insomnia related queries um, I've got more work to do, clearly for my asmr podcast called whispered rest uh, perhaps a microphone that more uh, that better captures the unique mouth sounds that apparently are very helpful for some people. But until then, I think you should check out Wix Studio If you want full creative freedom as well. We'll build your next project on Wix Studio. It's the platform for agencies and enterprises. I do love a moment of creative freedom. So go to or click on the link on the show page to find out more,

And hopefully John Ashley will crank up the audio on that whispered part. So it really just comes through, it really shines. We are back from the break and that means it's time for my story.

Apple has long been a company that has kind of been dinged and criticized for not offering a lot of repairability and right to repair. Laws both in the US and elsewhere have come through to, I think, force the company into figuring out ways to be more repairable the idea that, instead of having to take your device to Apple itself and pay a certain amount of money to get something replaced or fixed or whatever it happens to be, that you yourself at home could do this repair or you could go to a third party service, and one that doesn't have a partnership with Apple, and be able to do that repair for potentially less money. So, given that Apple has kind of been dinged for that and Apple has improved upon it, it was nice to see, as of this morning, as we record this on Thursday, april 11th, that Apple has expanded its repair options, and so what this means is, up to this point, if you did a repair and you installed a screen from another device, for example so say you had an iPhone and the screen cracked, and you had another iPhone and everything else on it was broken, but the screen was fine and you took the screen from that kind of like, if you were working on a car and you go to a junk yard to get a part, you take the screen from that genuine Apple product and you put it onto your phone and you try to use it, a prompt would pop up and say this is not the part that goes with this phone and so we can't. It's unsafe to use this device. That is called part pairing and it is a common practice for Apple to, from the company's perspective, make sure that you are not using a device that is in some way compromised.

But if you are using genuine Apple parts, then the argument is why not let those parts work with your phone? If I genuinely have an old iPhone that's just sitting around and I have the part for it and then my brother breaks his volume button and I can extract the volume button from mine and put it with his and it works, why not let that work and not have that scary prompt that pops up? And apparently that's how Apple feels as well now, because if you use used genuine Apple parts and repairs, they will get full functionality and security that you would normally get only with original factory calibration factory calibration just as if they were new genuine Apple parts. They are absolutely. I think this is a really good move and I think it's very important. But I did want to ask Amanda rights repair in general. Have you ever repaired any kind of gadget, tech or anything like that on your own? Do you tend to be a person?

0:22:00 - Amanda Silberling
who takes them in? Tell me about that experience. I repaired a Nintendo Switch battery on my own, I guess for Apple products. I think at one point I replaced a charging port the Switch. I did myself and it was a struggle, I you know there's all the little tiny parts and I'm just don't want to deal with that. But, um, I think when I got like the charging port replaced, it was like a licensed apple thing, um, but I think it makes a lot of sense for people to have autonomy over their own devices and like repairing them without getting little pop-ups from Apple. And I also am wondering if you would think that the timing on this is related to the antitrust scrutiny that Apple is facing.

0:22:48 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, I really like to repair things. I have repaired a MacBook Pro, an older one, where basically everything had to come out of the device, and it was really fun because while I was taking it apart, I was also able to clean out all the dust that was in it, all the grime. I was able to fully replace the battery and so it worked like it was new. And all of that I was able to do using this kit that I got from iFixit. I've also done that with phones. I've done that with well, no phones and iPads. I've replaced screens on iPads, and that was all kind of in the era where that repair system was not something that was part of what Apple provided. This was all through third party, and so to make it more available and to make it so that people Because here's the thing, where I live now it is much simpler to go to an Apple store that's very close by, I can just drive down the highway a little bit and I'm there at the Apple store. I can do those.

But I used to live in Missouri and the nearest Apple store was three hours away from where I lived, and I think about a lot of the people who do right, exactly, you're shaking your head. A lot of people who do live in places, places where taking it to because I did not want to take it to, I don't care if they had a partnership with apple I I didn't want to take it to a third party thing, I didn't trust it, I didn't want to do that, and so to actually take it to apple took a really long time, and so I think about the folks who are in those situations where the only way they could get repairs was if they sent in their device or drove that long distance, and both of those put somebody out to not be able to do what they're trying to do. So if you have the capabilities to do it yourself and you have the stuff to do it yourself, I think this is all around a good thing, and I don't know if you watch the Apple keynotes live, but one yeah. So I don't know if you saw the one with Octavia Spencer, where so she was playing Mother Nature, and it was this whole skit where Mother Nature came and talked to Apple and basically held up Apple to you.

Talk about being green, tell us exactly how you're being green, and companies do this, but no, they don't really do that? Are you actually going to do what you say? And of course, it was just Apple kind of talking itself up because it's like no, we're truly green. But I think that if a company is going to go as far as to pretend to have a skit where mother nature comes and does a check-in right, an audit, then you have to be mindful of repairability, because otherwise I've just got that e-waste that sits in my drawer.

0:25:51 - Amanda Silberling
So I think, on the other hand, uh. But then there's the issue of, according to the press, around humane AI. The smartphones sales are slowing down, yeah and yeah. And you have to be like my friend's grandma who, uh, said that she had bubbles on her screen and then got a new phone. And it still kills me that I have no idea what she was talking about with the bubbles, but she did buy a new phone.

0:26:18 - Mikah Sargent
She bought a new phone because of the bubbles. Oh, I want to know what the bubbles were. I'm still bothered by the fact that I don't know they only were appearing when she was alone. That's so frustrating, what?

0:26:31 - Amanda Silberling
were the bubbles. She was very upset about it.

0:26:33 - Mikah Sargent
So yeah, for folks who are watching this and are going, what are they talking about? You brought up a situation where your friend's grandma, right, was seeing something on her phone, some UI element, and none of us could figure out what this UI element was. It would not happen when there were other people around, so she wasn't able to show anybody. Multiple people provided suggestions. I suggested something as well. None of us could figure out what it was and she ended up getting a whole new phone because of the bubbles. So you know, I guess, if you make bubbles appear on people's devices, that's very like gas lighting bubbling it's the new form of gas lighting to get people to buy a new device. That's one way to do it. But going back to this aspect here, I guess, is I am overall very celebratory of the fact that the right to repair is changing.

I do want to mention one interesting wrinkle of this, and I'm going to quote directly from the piece. It says Apple will also extend its popular activation lock feature to iPhone parts in order to deter stolen iPhones from being disassembled for parts. So what this does is we know about activation lock for iPhone in that when an iPhone is stolen, it can be reset and everything, but it still requires the Apple ID to fully use the device. So it's essentially bricked if it's stolen because you don't have any functionality of the device to actually use it as a device, but these phones were often then being used to strip it for its component parts. Now, if a device under repair detects that a supported part was obtained from another device with activation, lock or lost mode enabled, calibration capabilities for that part will be restricted.

So what that means is that now, further than just being something that you can't take, the whole phone you can't even take the pieces of the phone. That's not going to work either. So I think that's pretty pretty good. Yeah Well, any last thoughts that you have on that before we let you go?

0:28:47 - Amanda Silberling
I don't know, I feel like I'm being a conspiracy theorist, but I feel like apple keeps making these kinds of like small but meaningful gestures to uh people that use their devices over the last few weeks since they got sued for uh anti-competitive practices and like a major uh lawsuit. Like you can sideload, um emulate emulate or not, I don't even know sideload but like you can download emulators on uh the app store again, which yeah, that's right yeah.

As someone who used to play a lot of GBA for iOS back in the day, like that struck me as just sort of like a very random thing that they're doing, where I don't quite see why they're doing it, but I'm glad they are and I think developers are glad too.

0:29:38 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, I think so too. I think that anybody who has any level of like tinkering that they, like the Venn diagram overlap between the right to repair people and the ones who would be very happy with an emulator is just a circle. And I think that the Venn diagram of people who develop for the iPhone or, you know, use the iPhone for more than just it's the phone that I buy that's also a circle. So, yeah, the emulator thing is really cool and all of it is, I argue, apple responding to what's happening in the EU and soon to happen in the US, with the DOJ, the companies having to open up a little bit, and I celebrate that all around. You know what else I celebrate? I celebrate you. Amanda Silberling, thank you so much for being here today. Of course folks can head to techcrunchcom to check out your work, but is there anywhere else they should look to stay up with what you're doing?

0:30:36 - Amanda Silberling
Yes, and thank you for celebrating me. I thought we were going to say we're going to celebrate the ability to be able to play Game Boy games on our iPhones again soon. But you can find me on Twitter, which I refuse to call X at at a Silbrights, and I'm on blue sky at Amandaomglol, which is a URL that I have for some reason, and I have a podcast called wow, if true, about internet culture, so find me there.

0:31:06 - Mikah Sargent
Yes, go subscribe to wow If true, because what is true is that it's wow. Thank you, amanda. We appreciate you. So true, so true, bestie. Bye, all right Up next my first interview, and oh man, I'm so excited about this chat because, oh man, I'm so excited about this change.

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All right, we are back from the break and I feel like I'm in the midst of a French revolution. We are storming the barricades. We are taking back our knowledge of how the internet is breaking down. In terms of cost, I don't know. I'm super excited to have Kyle Barr here from Gizmodo to talk about nutrition labels. Hi, kyle, yeah, hey, how's it going? It's going well. So we're going to get into the nitty gritty details of these new consumer broadband labels, but I was hoping that you could kind of give our listeners a basic understanding of these labels that we're going to be talking about and kind of when they've gone into effect or when they will go into effect. What happened at the FCC that kind of has led to this, and when will we start to see these labels make their way?

0:34:52 - Kyle Barr
So they're already out for most of the ISPs that have 100,000 customers or more, so pretty much all the major ones. Anybody who has less than 100,000 is going to be down in October, so they're going to have to wait a little bit. But if you're in Verizon T-Mobile, you should already start to see these. It's going to be at point of sale either online or in store as well. That's part of the requirement for these new nutrition labels, and what they essentially do is they just break down the entire cost of your Internet bill specifically for broadband or what's considered high speed internet.

0:35:36 - Mikah Sargent
So let's talk about who I mean and you've kind of touched on it there a little bit who is actually responsible for providing these consumer broadband labels. Like often, it seems that when these huge regulatory bodies make these rules, there are a few companies or others that don't end up having to be involved because you know they're too small or because they service both the US and global, or whatever might be the reasons, like who is actually going to be or is being affected by this?

0:36:08 - Kyle Barr
So it's pretty much all the major broadband labels. It's, I mean, it's a US law, so it's only for the US, so you probably won't see it if you're in the EU. But basically anybody who wants to buy Internet is going to see one of these nutrition labels and it's going to look exactly like your regular nutrition label that you see on the back of a cereal box. Instead of high fructose corn syrup it's going to be what's the Internet speed you're going to be looking at and how much is that going to cost and how much hidden fees there might be in terms of, like, a sign up fee or something like that. So you're really going to start seeing them everywhere, or at least you should.

Now my article kind of broke down what that looks like and what you should be looking for, since it's still kind of esoteric If you're just like somebody who looks at the back of a nutrition label and says I don't know what monotriglycerin or whatever it is they're putting into Cheerios nowadays, like I don't know what that means. But if you look at it closely it's actually pretty, pretty succinct and it kind of gives you a rundown of exactly what you want to know, like what your Internet speed will be and how much you're going to be paying per month program, or. This is also like any kind of deals that they have going on. They have to link to those so that you can't just be like, well, I would have bought this if I had known about it, but now I'm stuck with this because I've already signed the contract. So ostensibly anytime you're shopping around, it's going to be a lot easier to tell what you're getting and actually compare it to other places.

0:38:01 - Mikah Sargent
Awesome. So yeah, john, let's have you pull up the broadband facts label and let's talk about this more directly. Directly For an average consumer. Kyle, what parts do you think people should be paying the most attention to? Because, yeah, when I first looked at this, I love all the nitty-gritty detail. I love to be able to see it, but I think it can be a little overwhelming For you. As a recommendation, what do you think that people should particularly be looking out for?

0:38:32 - Kyle Barr
as a recommendation. What do you think that people should particularly be looking out for? So probably the two main ones are your price and the speeds that you're going to get, and also any data caps that you might have. So the monthly payment that you're going to be doing you know whether or not it's like $50, $75, $100 or more. That's going to be broken down into how much it costs to actually install it, and then insurance, any kind of fees that are tacked onto that. But the monthly price is going to be lower than what you're initially going to pay for it because you have one-time purchase fees, like you can see in the example there, or any other kind of activation fees. Those are going to get tacked onto that. So that's going to be in addition to what you pay monthly.

So the whole point of that is you don't want to get scammed by saying, well, it only costs me, however much, and then you end up paying more down the road, like recently I did another article about. There was an Amazon deal for a one cent iPhone and of course it was actually just locking you into a Boost Mobile contract that would have made you just pay out $3,000 after a mandatory three years that you can't cancel, oh Lord. So yeah, that's one of those things. That's like if there was a label on an Amazon purchase, it would be a lot cleaner, I guess. Yeah.

0:39:53 - Mikah Sargent
A lot clearer. Sure, certainly. Now. One thing that stood out to me is something that right now I have to go to the website. I have to click through to look at the plan. I have to scroll down to the details at the bottom. I have to find a link there. I have to make a sacrifice to an elder deity, and then I have to click my heels three times and then finally I get to see what the upload speed is for the plan that I'm trying to select. I am very much celebrating the fact that these ISPs are having to provide the upload speed very clearly, but there's another value on there that you mentioned is important for people to understand. Tell us about latency.

0:40:43 - Kyle Barr
So latency is basically just how fast your internet's actually going to connect. It's a lot more complicated than that. Your internet's actually going to connect. It's a lot more complicated than that. But if you ever played an online game and you say I'm lagging, that's latency. That's usually broken down into milliseconds of latency.

So if you're looking at your speeds and it's going to be typical, because they can't guarantee it's going to be consistent, but 30 milliseconds of latency isn't too bad but if you're going upwards of 70, you'll have problems if you're trying to connect to your folks or friends over voice chat or video chat, especially.

So that's one of those things that also kind of gets you like they might have great speeds but because of the distance between you and your provider or whatever other kinds of intricacies go on there, you're going to have higher latency, which means you're not actually going to get as much bang for your buck out of what's considered broadband speed. And that's actually an important point, because the FCC just this month I think changed the definition of what is considered high-speed internet. Now it's a download speed of 100, yeah, 100 and upload speed of I'm actually forgetting the number, but it used to be only just 25 as download speeds, which is now. We look at that and think that's kind of pathetic, but that's what the definition was before and now it's changed. So anytime you look at a broadband sheet and see something below a hundred, you really should be maybe considering something else if you're actually looking for high speed internet.

0:42:26 - Mikah Sargent
Got it, and that is to be clear. That is the requirement for an ISP to actually advertise it as high-speed internet. That's what's changed. Okay, got it. So they can't call it a high-speed internet unless it actually matches this value. That makes sense. I'm also curious, just in general here of course folks can head to your detailed Gizmodo article to learn a little bit more about these, but does the US government have a place where it breaks down these broadband facts labels so that you know, folks can kind of really dig into what they need to understand?

0:43:07 - Kyle Barr
Yeah, actually they have a pretty good informational page. Of course it's very government, so it's just a big wall of text, but if you go to FCCgov slash broadband labels, you can get the whole rundown of what this is. They also have a glossary that also breaks down the fact sheet so that when you're looking at it you can say, okay, I understand what upload speeds are versus download speeds, I understand what additional charges mean. It's it's pretty good. You just kind of have to, you know, basically get back into high school and start looking at textbooks again, because it's a little bit dense, but but it's pretty good. If all you want to know is every little part of the broadband sheet, it should be there.

0:43:54 - Mikah Sargent
Got it. And yeah, I noticed too that it applies to both fixed and wireless, or fixed and mobile, I should say broadband options, which is nice to kind of see the difference between the two and what you can expect whenever it comes to those plans. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to join us to talk about these new nutrition labels, which is great. I should say broadband consumer. Consumer. Broadband labels is what the SEC calls them. Of course, folks can head over to gizmodocom to check out your work. Is there anywhere else they can go to keep up with what you're doing online.

0:44:34 - Kyle Barr
I'm on Twitter, or I should say X, but I'm not going to call it X at KyleBar5. You can also find me on LinkedIn. Just by searching my name. I should come up under Gizmodo, so whatever they're actually calling me on that platform. I really don't have much presence elsewhere on social media, but if you really want to find me, check out my work on gizmodocom.

0:44:57 - Mikah Sargent
Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time today. We appreciate it.

0:45:00 - Kyle Barr
Thank you so much.

0:45:02 - Mikah Sargent
All righty folks Up next we've got another story of the week, but I do want to take a quick break to tell you about Club Twit at uh for seven dollars a month. Yes, for seven dollars a month, you can join the club uh, and when you do, you get some great stuff. First and foremost, you get every single twit show ad free. It's just the contents, none of the ads, uh. You also get access to the members only twit plus bonus feed that has extra content you won't find anywhere else. Behind the scenes before the show the show, special Club Twit events get published there, as well as access to the Club Twit Discord server, a fun place to go to chat with your fellow Club Twit members and also those of us here at Twit. It is always odd and poppin' in the Discord, and so I think you'll have fun heading there and seeing what folks are talking about. Along with all of that, you gain access to the video versions of our club Twitch shows the Untitled Linux Show, hands on Mac, ios, today, home Theater Geeks, hands on Windows All of those are programs that you will be able to watch and not just listen to by joining the club. $7 a month gets you access to all that great stuff, so would love to see you join the club and join us in the fun.

All righty back from the break, and that means it is time for the next story. This time, but this time it's all about a new app with an interesting focus. Reid Alberghati joins us from Semaphore to talk about Shine from the former Yahoo CEO, marissa Meyer. Welcome back to the show. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me back on. Yes, so I think we got to start a little bit towards the beginning. For folks who don't know, can you tell us a little bit about Marissa Meyer and where she is now? And I always forget if it's Meyer or Mayer, so you'll have to correct me on that.

0:47:04 - Reed Albergotti
Marissa Mayer is how I pronounce it, but she's obviously a big name in Silicon Valley, worked at early I think she was employee number 10 or something a very low number like that at Google and really helped build the original culture, the original Google that we know today or knew back in the day, then went on to become CEO of Yahoo to try to turn that company around, and I think there are a few bigger names really in Silicon Valley. But she's a bit of a divisive character. People have different views of her personality and her style of management. So a few years back she started a company called Sunshine to develop these mobile apps. The first one was this contacts app and now she's come out with this new photo app and I think it's really interesting because the reviews of this app were not that great and I think it's sometimes difficult for me to separate the criticism of the technology and the criticism, I think, that a lot of people have of her.

0:48:14 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's a good point. You know, we talked about the app and Mayor, both on this Week in Tech over the weekend Well, actually I guess it's been two weeks ago, but anyway, over the weekend Well, actually I guess it's been two weeks ago, but anyway and we kind of found that as part of the conversation is sort of separating the two and figuring out what's going on. So with that, let's try to separate those two. Let's talk about the new app. It's called Shine. Can you give us just kind of like a high level description of what one can expect upon downloading and using the app?

0:48:53 - Reed Albergotti
Yeah. So I downloaded the app at this event that they had, and in order to attend the event I had used another product they have which is a party invite, sort of like an e-vite type of software, and so I was already on this Evite. So when I downloaded the app I could automatically see photos that were being taken at this event, but they weren't photos that were being shared publicly, it was just with the people who had signed up for this event and were there, and I thought that was interesting, because I'm not a big social media person. I don't post photos of personal, photos of Well, definitely not of my kids, not really of myself family either, but I do share a lot of photos with people. I have iPhoto groups and other photo app groups that I want to share photos with people that I actually know and not the larger world and, of course, tech companies, and so I thought it was actually an interesting concept.

I mean, I know people didn't really like it was purple, which is the color that she used. She used in the rebrand when she was at Yahoo. People didn't like the purple. They didn't like it was a very simple interface, very blocky, almost look old school, maybe a little bit of that early Google simple interface inspiration, but definitely not a snappy app that we're used to, like TikTok or other apps, where there's just a lot going on, a lot of bells and whistles. It was pretty pared down, but I thought the functionality of it was actually good and that was the part that I focused on. I'm like okay, this makes sense. We all know there really isn't a lot of innovation happening in mobile apps these days. These walled gardens that are controlled by Apple and Google don't really allow for people to make money on these app stores. There isn't a lot that goes into it. So I thought it was kind of interesting that somebody's like hey, I'm going to create a photo app, even though there have been 10 million photo apps that have been created and died.

0:51:03 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, I mean speaking of that specifically. I mean you pointed out in your piece that it's kind of fraught with peril to launch a photo sharing app in 2024. And, to your credit, you asked Mayer about this. What did Marissa Mayer have to say about Shine's place in this marketplace? I kind of thought it was interesting how she had a very particular place, that she saw it in relation to other stuff.

0:51:29 - Reed Albergotti
Yeah, I mean I talked to her for the. I her did sort of a q a, but I had also kind of talked to her at this, at this event, and I think she actually does see that she sees that like this threading this needle somewhere between like the, you know, the, the instagrams of the world, and just like sharing photos, you know, like I do on a, on a very bespoke basis with people I care about, and this middle ground approach is interesting. The other thing she said that I thought was interesting is that their location sharing and data and all this stuff. It really is necessary to make this kind of an app work and that gets really tricky, especially with Apple I mean, I think with both app stores.

But Apple really limits what apps can do. Of course they say it's for privacy reasons. Of course they have their own competitive reasons for doing these things as well. So I think she was even cognizant of the fact that she's really up against some really difficult time here. But I thought one thing she said is she said this is not in the story, but just in conversation with her. She said that she's not in favor of antitrust regulation. She doesn't seem to really the DOJ is suing Apple, but at the same time I think she realizes the outcome could potentially be good for her company and I think, for other mobile apps as well. I thought that was kind of interesting.

0:53:01 - Mikah Sargent
That is interesting. Continuing with the app, though, I will be honest that I did try the app Because I thought the idea had a lot of merit, this idea that if I'm at a place and I've got five, 10 friends at a place, what ends up happening is everybody says they're going to share photos, but then it doesn't end up happening and you have to like actively do that. Um, so I downloaded it and it really only seemed to for me. Downloaded it and it really only seemed to for me sort these photos by location, and I did find myself wondering if I was missing something. And since you had the opportunity to talk to her and also try the app with kind of, I think, a deeper understanding, does it do more than just use location data to create albums? What more does it do?

0:53:58 - Reed Albergotti
Yeah, I mean I think so it's around these events. So I think the issue here is that an app like this, you actually need a critical mass of people using it, because it's not, you're not going to just it can't just be location. I think what the idea is that there will be these events that you like, a. It could be an event like we had where people sign up with Evite. It could also just be you know, we're we're going to go on an out and we're going to go wine tasting or something this weekend, and so you create sort of like an event with your friends and then all the photos you take. If your friends are also using the app and they also signed up for this event, then they'll see the photos, and so that requires this kind of like buy-in and I think that is like that's. That is really the challenge, like that's a big hurdle to get over and I think really makes makes the chances of the app success, you know, less likely. Yes, um, but the but the thing I mean I relate to what you said which is like I do it all the time.

I take a bunch of photos at some event and then I totally forget about it and I don't have time, I'm busy. I don't share the photos. A lot of times these great photos just sit on my phone until one day I'm like looking through and I say, oh man, that was such a great photo. I should have shared it back then. And I also take a bunch of the same photo. And so there's work there in like okay, I'm going to take 20 photos here and get the perfect one. Now I have to sort through them all. So this app will actually do that for you. So it just picks the best photo and puts it up there. So you're not bombarding people, you're not getting a bunch of duplicates.

0:55:33 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, Because nobody wants to have their photo library overwhelmed with a bunch of the same photo either. That isn't a great experience, and you're touching on kind of the next question that I had, which is Sunshine as a whole. If you go to the website and read about the company's goals, they talk about using AI in clever ways, and so what are some of the ways that Shine the app is incorporating?

0:55:53 - Reed Albergotti
AI. Yeah, I think the big one in my mind is the one I described, which is picking those photos. Maybe I think the AI will actually scan the photos and see if a bunch of people have their eyes closed in the photo. It will skip that one. So it's using this, you know, I think um, I'm not sure if it's generative ai or not I guess there is they're also using generative ai to create these invites.

I thought that was kind of a fun idea, um, because you want to. I think it's all about like removing friction in the sort of social event, um slash, sort of um event and sort of get together sharing landscape. So if you can make it really easy to create invites, I think I could see a place where you're just creating invites for everything that you do almost, and people are kind of like adding on and like that's how you end up. To me that's like a great. I would love, love for that to happen.

I think that would be a good way for this to go. We're like, hey, we're going to, I'm taking my kids and a bunch of their friends to, you know train town this weekend or something, and you know, just create an event for that in two seconds and now, like all the parents who sign up for that are are getting all the photos and things like that. I mean to me that's a good use of AI, where it's not something that's like it's totally within the capabilities of AI today and it's not so important that if it messes up it's like the end of the world, like it's. You know, I like that, I agree, I agree.

0:57:33 - Mikah Sargent
I also wanted to mention in your piece you do take some time to talk to Mayer about her background in AI and computer science and it gets super, super nerdy. And not a question here, I just want to have folks go and check it out because I thought that was a really enjoyable section of the piece. So I'm really glad that you kind you gave her time to dig into symbolic systems and all sorts of stuff. I found that part very delightful.

0:57:58 - Reed Albergotti
That was my favorite part too. I don't know. She's such an interesting person and had such an interesting career that I'd want to hear what she has to say about Silicon Valley, what's happening in tech these days. How does she view all the advancements in AI? She's a really technical person. I think people forget that because she had this CEO image of this power player in Silicon Valley. But I think at heart she's really just a geek like all these other technical founders in Silicon Valley. But I think at heart she's really just a geek like all these other technical founders in the Valley and loves to geek out on this stuff. So, yeah, I hope people do read it. It was fun to talk to her about that stuff Absolutely.

0:58:43 - Mikah Sargent
And then, lastly I think this is a question that often comes up, especially in our audience of tech-savvy folks you do talk about monetization in your interview. Anytime I get a new app and I am going okay, when is it going to start charging me? Why isn't it charging me? And if it's not charging me, how is it charging me? You talk about monetization. What does Mayer have to say about the company's plans to monetize the apps it makes or not monetize, or where that kind of comes into play?

0:59:12 - Reed Albergotti
Yeah, it was. I mean, they do charge. They have a freemium model for their contacts app. She didn't say that definitively, like oh, we're going to start selling ads or anything like that. I think it seems like maybe more of a freemium model is the way they're going, and this is actually me just reading between the lines. I think there's a you need to make a successful ad business. I mean, you just need like a billion users and it's just. I think the chances of that happening are so low these days in this internet ecosystem that I think we're going to see especially with AI as well. I think we'll see services where people are actually willing to pay. So I guess the short answer is freemium is probably the direction they'll go.

1:00:06 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, okay, that makes sense. Well, reid, I want to thank you so much for your time today for joining us to talk about this excellent interview that you had. Of course, folks can head over to Semaphore to check out your work. How do they subscribe to your newsletter and also keep up with what you're doing?

1:00:30 - Reed Albergotti
Well, we are totally free, so plug your email address in. We are ad supported and also events supported, so type in your email address, get the tech newsletter. It comes out Wednesdays and Fridays and it's free and you can reply directly to me, and I'd love to hear what you think about our coverage, about other things we should be covering. So we love having a relationship like that with the readers.

1:00:56 - Mikah Sargent
Awesome. Thank you so much for your time today, reid. We appreciate it. Thanks for having me on. It's fun. And with that we have reached the end of this episode of Tech News Weekly.

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