Tech News Weekly Episode 240 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show. 

Jason Howell (00:00:00):
Coming up on Tech NewsWeekly. It's me, Jason Howell, my co-host Mikah Sergant. And we've got a lot of great stuff to talk about this week. Starting with Devindra Hardawar joining us from Engadget. He shares his review of the MacBook pro 13 inch, the new one with the M2 chip and tries to rationalize why it exists. That's pretty fun. Also, Harry McCracken from FastCompany talks about Meta's cavalcade of VR prototypes and what it might mean for the future of virtual reality. Micah takes a look at Instagram's new age verification system, and we show how easy it is to kind of foil that system. And finally, I talk about Amazon's recent robotics convention and a few ways that the company is creeping people out, all that more coming up next on Tech NewsWeekly podcasts you love from people you trust.

Speaker 2 (00:00:56):
This is TWiT

Jason Howell (00:01:01):
This is tech news weekly episode 240 recorded Thursday, June 23rd, 2022.

Mikah Sergant (00:01:07):
This episode of tech news weekly is brought to you by zip recruiter. Summer's packed with things to do, and you can enjoy them all because if you need to hire zip recruiter can help zip recruiters. Technology finds great candidates, and you can invite them to apply. Try it for slash TNW. And by Nureva Audio. Traditional audio conferencing systems can entail lots of components. Installation can take days and you might not get the mic coverage you need. That's complex expensive, but Nureva Audio is easy to install and manage no technicians required and you get true full room coverage. That's economical. Learn more at Modern businesses need flexible payment systems that can help them adapt to change, grow and scale fast. Discover how can help your business thrive at Hello, and welcome to tech news weekly. The show where every week we talk to and about the people making and beaking the tech news. I am one of your hosts, Mikah Sergant,

Jason Howell (00:02:14):
And I'm the other guy in a completely different space. We're at home today. I'm Jason Howell. Good to see you, Mikah

Mikah Sergant (00:02:19):
Hello, Jason Howell. How are you?

Jason Howell (00:02:22):
Good. You know, this just kind of reminds me anytime we end up doing this show from home. It just reminds me of like a year ago when that's all we were ever doing and the world was upside down. So, but it's, it's a nice like gut check. It's like, oh yeah, that's right. We can do this too. So it's refreshing.

Mikah Sergant (00:02:37):
World's still upside down. But it is nice to know that we can make it work in the way that we do in any case. Let us continue with a sense of normalcy. Tech companies exist. They keep releasing new products. People review those products and we talk about them because people are making a decision, whether it's a product they want to buy or pass on. And so joining us today to talk about Apple's new 13 inch MacBook pro with M2 is Devindra Hardawar from Endget. Welcome back to the show. Devindra.

Devindra Hardawar (00:03:14):
Hey guys, happy to be here.

Mikah Sergant (00:03:16):
Happy to have you here. So before we get into your review of the 13 inch MacBook pro could you tell us a little bit about kind of Apple's pitch for the M two MacBook pro, what is this 13 inch model? What's it pack? What, what does it have that that's new about it and kind of what are the selling points of this new device?

Devindra Hardawar (00:03:37):
You know, I think what's interesting about this computer is that apple really had no pitch for it. You know, when they announced their M2 devices in the M two chip a couple weeks ago, it was all about the MacBook air, because that thing was redesigned. They had a bigger screen, they had like thinner screen BS. So much attention was paid on that. And I think as an aside, they're like, oh, by the way, MacBook has the M2 chip too. Let's move on <laugh> and that's pretty much, it, it is the same computer that Apple released back in 2020 when the M1 chip came out. And even that basic design is the same one that apple was using for several years before that. So, yeah, it is the M2 chip in the old case case closed, that's it?

Devindra Hardawar (00:04:16):
It has, you know, the same retina screen, the same keyboard, the same two USBC ports, which I found really poultry back then to see them do it again, honestly kind of offended me a bit. So yeah, my review is all about yeah, this thing it's faster. Sure. Because the M2 chip is faster, but the MacBook air has all these new features. It has the bigger screen. Like it is weird that the air was supposed to be the like ultra portable, slightly less powerful alternative to the pro. And now the pro is just kind of underwhelming, at least compared to the air. The only difference for the pro is that it has a fan. It has an active cooling system. So if you're doing like video editing or rendering or 3d rendering, this will be better for like doing big data and coding. But beyond that, like not, not really much, I would say for 90% of people out there, if you're looking at these two computers, the air is gonna be lighter is gonna be just as fast because we haven't tested the area yet, but based on our last benchmarks with the M one is the exact cha same chip. Like they are just as fast, it's just slows down. If you're doing longer jobs, basically

Mikah Sergant (00:05:20):
As a reviewer, I'm sure that after you put up a review you hear from folks, and I'm curious in, you know, your long history of doing reviews, have you heard any anecdotal stories of people making use of the <laugh>? What, for some people is kind of an outdated technology, the touch bar, which is still on a modern Mac who is using that thing, because I hear so much about people not liking it. I think the one place where I've seen folks champion that technology is for accessibility reasons. There are some folks who get a lot out of the touch bar in that space. Unfortunately that is not a huge market of users for, for Apple's sake. And so if the touch bar is, as you know, the, the, the tech journalism section would want you to believe a horrible, no good, very bad idea. Why is it still in this modern Mac?

Devindra Hardawar (00:06:20):
Again, a question we don't quite know, you know, I talked to apple a couple of times ahead of this machine's launch, and I think every time they gave me the same stock answer, right. I, I asked why is the case the same? Why is the touch bar here? And they're like, some people like the touch bar, we think this is a fast selling computer that a lot of people really like, and that was it. They never explained why nothing really changed with this, for the touch bar itself. I feel like the running theory is apple had so much leftover stock. They were like, we gotta, we gotta put this touch bar in one more computer <laugh>. Or at least they had a lot of MacBook bro, 13 inch cases laying around it. I could see the accessibility use case, the touch bar, you know, the pitch for it is that you have this second screen that can change depending on the apps.

Devindra Hardawar (00:07:01):
I think for video editing apps, it can be the timeline can help you scroll through tabs in safari. It's kind of cool personally though. I think it's a bad accessibility feature for people who need to remember where things are, because it's always moving the function keys instead of your function keys, you get these shortcuts and they change depending on every app. Whereas I think most people, or a lot of people, if you're at a computer all day, you kind of get some sort of muscle memory for your keyboard, for where your function keys are. You don't have that at all with the touch bar. You know, originally when the touch bar launched, it didn't have the escape key, which I know a lot of Mac users really liked and eventually apple sort of relented and gave you a little tiny escape key, like right next to the touch bar.

Devindra Hardawar (00:07:40):
So that was like one, one thing. They kind of gave people. But yeah, I, I don't see an excuse for, I don't see a reason for including the touch bar and my worry is that developers aren't really taking advantage of it anymore. So to me, in my review, I called it like the last human, you know, the last proto human with a tail. It's this thing that apple did once going forward. It is, it doesn't matter. Nobody cares about this thing or at least nobody will develop for it. So you're gonna have this computer with this screen that, okay. A note, few apps will actually take advantage of. And I think it's less functional than just standard function keys

Jason Howell (00:08:12):
On the flip side, though, if I, if I could just jump in really quick. Yeah. You've got nag safe, right. That, that disappeared. And then later came back by popular demand who knows five years from now, the touch bar might come back who I'd be like, oh, wait a minute. Actually, everybody does love it. Here you go. I don't think this is gonna happen

Devindra Hardawar (00:08:28):
Though. Yeah. I don't think that not, not that one's gonna happen. Apple has made some curious decisions in terms of features they took out and brought back in. And I think Mac safe was always one where they were like a lot of people thought they, they should have just kept it in somehow. So I'm glad to see it come back on the MacBook air. Oh, also the MacBook air has the better webcam. It has so many things better than this MacBook pro 13 inch.

Mikah Sergant (00:08:50):
Yeah. So, oh, in your, in your review, you kind of talk about, and I was hoping you could mention it here. Folks who are trying to decide which Mac they should get. You mentioned that, of course at the very base, the 13 inch model starts at 1299. So $1,300 all in and in comparison, the 14 inch MacBook pro is about $2,000. But what I found interesting was a little bit of maneuvering you did with the, the specs to show a comparison between the two. Can you talk about that

Devindra Hardawar (00:09:22):
For sure. So yeah, that, that difference seems really stark. At first, if I just tell people, Hey, get a MacBook pro for cancer, there's a much better computer. They're like, look at that price difference. Why would I do that? I think the base 13 inch MacBook pro is really anemic. It has eight gigabytes of Ram. It has a 250 60 gigabyte SSD. If you're a professional, that is, that's not enough. That's not enough storage. That's not enough memory. So for me personally, when I recommend laptops, I say, try to bump up to 16 gigabytes of Ram, try to get to one terabyte SSD, cuz you can't really upgrade those things down the line, especially for, you know, a self-contained SOC like this. If you do that with the MacBook pro 13 inch and the MacBook pro 14 inch, the price difference is like 300 bucks. And at that point I'm like just, just get the 14 inch guys, get the one with the promotion screen that has a higher refresh rate and all the ports you need and a much faster processor and a slightly bigger screen too. So it, it just seems like if your business, if your wor livelihood revolves around your laptop and you're a professional, you really need to just spend a little more to get the 14 inch. This thing seems like a weird Relic from the past.

Mikah Sergant (00:10:26):
Yeah. so then what about everything else that's involved in this machine? Like what other than the M two, is there anything else that is new about it? Is the keyboard better? Is the track, is the track look, look, I'm trying to dig through all of this is the same case.

Devindra Hardawar (00:10:43):
It's the exact same case, that's it? And that's why, you know, this is still a very good, good computer, you know as I put in my review, it's still very nice looking, especially compared to a lot of PCs with like plastic cases and that aren't as well designed, but I think it is weird that apple is just selling us the same exact computer except for the chip in 2022, especially when all their other laptops, you know, have the full function keys and have thinner screen vessels and have promotion technology except for the air. But all the other pro devices, apple sell like the iPad and the iPhone, they all have promo promotion screens. They all give you silky smooth refresh rates. You don't even get that here. So I, I was a little offended by them. Just kind of reusing L tech and still calling the pro machine.

Mikah Sergant (00:11:26):
Yeah, absolutely. And it just seems to stand out so much in comparison. So then say you've got a person who is a they don't do video editing, but they do they're a photographer. They, they edit raw photos from time to time and they do their emailing and they're they're maybe they use Chrome. So that's where we kick it up a notch. <Laugh> 13 inch MacBook pro with M two or the upcoming MacBook error with M two for someone like that. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>,

Devindra Hardawar (00:11:59):
I feel like for photo processing, I do a lot of that for my reviews as well. I you're fine with the error. I think you are pretty much fine unless you're doing thousands of photos at once regularly. Like just really mashing up some raw photos and doing a lot of like rendering around that the air is going to be just as fast. It's the same chip. It doesn't have a fan so longer in coding jobs. It may slow down a bit, but for the most part, you're getting a bigger screen. You're getting a more modern screen. I believe it's a little brighter too. So for many reasons, especially for a photographer, you're probably better off with the air, but also if you're doing a lot of work, you probably want a machine with an SD card reader. You know, you don't, you probably don't wanna run around with a couple mini dongle. So at that point again, the 14 inch seems to make more sense.

Mikah Sergant (00:12:45):
Absolutely. So ultimately this model mm-hmm, <affirmative> this model of, of MacBook pro has you convinced that the 14 inch model is going to be the best well is going to be the kind of first stop for a pro mm-hmm <affirmative> who then is this 13 inch MacBook pro for <laugh>

Devindra Hardawar (00:13:05):
That's a, that's a very good question. Again. I asked apple that a couple of times and all they kept telling me was like, people really like the Mac pro 13 inch. So we really think they're gonna like this <laugh> I think this machine is there for the unsuspecting consumer who walks into an apple store or a best buy. And they're like, I want something more than an air I want pro, but I'm not gonna spend $2,000 for pro ah, so I'm gonna get the $1,300 pro. And I feel like that's it, even though the air is gonna be slightly cheaper is gonna have better tech in so many ways. It feels a bit like it's made for the unsuspecting mainstream consumer, not really the people who read tech blogs. And that's also why it makes me a little angry too. I feel like those consumers who aren't listening to these shows and reading my gadget reviews, like those consumers are just kind of left out in the lurch by apple here.

Mikah Sergant (00:13:56):
Yeah. That makes sense. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> well, Diven, I wanna thank you for taking some time with us today to talk about this new device. Of course, folks can head to end to check out your work. Is there anywhere else they should go to be able to follow you online?

Devindra Hardawar (00:14:09):
Sure. I'm I'm at Davindra on Twitter. If you can see my ramblings about tech there, and I do also podcast about movies and

Mikah Sergant (00:14:19):
All right. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Devindra Hardawar (00:14:21):
Thanks guys.

Mikah Sergant (00:14:23):
Up next. We've got an inside look at what may be coming from meta, but first this episode of tech news weekly is brought to you by zip recruiter. Summer's packed with activities. So if you are a business owner, the last thing you wanna do is spend that free time that you have during the summer sorting through unqualified candidates. When you could be spending time at the pool on vacation at a backyard, barbecue with friends, redoing your deck, gardening. I mean the list goes on and on and on and on. That's why you need zip recruiter to find those great candidates for you. They do the work for you, and now you can try it for slash T and w zip recruiters, technology finds the right candidates for your job, and you can invite your top choices to apply. That is a good thing because it means that the people you're inviting to apply, see that invitation and go, oh, oh, they, they want me to work for them. And you're more likely to get that hire four outta five employers who post on zip recruiter get a quality candidate within the first day. Zip recruiter is the number one rated hiring site based on G2 satisfaction ratings. As of January 1st, 2022, this summer, let zip recruiter do the work. Try it for slash TNW. Again, that's zip, zip recruiter, the smartest way to hire. Thank you. Zip recruiter for sponsoring this week's episode of tech news weekly, Jason Howell, take

Jason Howell (00:15:58):
It away. All right, mark Zuckerberg and others from Meadow's reality lab actually showcased a whole bunch of forward looking prototype hardware for journalists last week. And joining us is one of those journalists, Harry McCracken from fast company, always a pleasure to get Harry on was among the bevy of journalists that watched this livestream presentation, I guess, was livestreamed on zoom. Welcome Harry.

Harry McCraken (00:16:23):
Hey folks.

Jason Howell (00:16:25):
It's great to have you here. I love getting you on this show when we have the opportunity and I love talking VR as well, so it's like everything. Great. so first of all, let's talk about the technology itself, because it seems like Zuckerberg at all, you know, all the other people that were, that were on this live stream had a lot of prototype hardware to show off lots of different things that maybe we, you know, had some familiar forms, but some things looked like pretty heavy and, and far out there of the, of the hardware that was showcased. And you are a fan of kind of this emerging brand of technology VR and everything. As you mentioned in your piece, what are the things that got you most excited from what you saw?

Harry McCraken (00:17:07):
Well, meta says that they're trying to pass what they call a visual touring test. They which they mean they'd like to create VR. That's indistinguishable from reality, obviously where they're nowhere near that now. And they're trying to tackle each of the things that might make that more of a possibility with different VR headsets. You know, they can't build one headset that does everything right now, but they can do things like build a headset with higher resolution and one with a much brighter display because brightness helps make things look more real. And also one where it has varifocal lenses, which means that if you look in the distance, you focus there and if you'll get something close up, the focus becomes close up. And then all they're also building one that's much thinner and lighter than current headsets, because nobody's gonna wanna do any of these things unless it's in, in the form of a headset that's comfortable to wear for extended periods.

Jason Howell (00:18:05):
<Laugh> and that's pretty important because one of these one of these prototypes in particular, I think it's called the Starburst. Is that the one with the handles on the side? Like literally, right. You've gotta hold onto it in order

Harry McCraken (00:18:16):
To actually right. It looks kinda like it's, it's like an air conditioning unit. You have to like heft it up to your, to your eye level. Cuz you know, at this point they wanna make the technology work and they can figure out how to make it lightweight and thinner at some point in the future.

Jason Howell (00:18:30):
Yeah. Yeah. So, okay. You are, you're a fan and a follower of this kind of emerging technology and no doubt it's, it's come a long way in a short amount of time. I almost feel like I'm a fan as well, but I almost feel like it's kind of it's it's peaked, at least for now the momentum has kind of slowed down announcements. Like this are certainly, you know, by Zuckerberg he's he has he and the company meta has invested a lot into the idea that this is the future of, of the shortcomings of modern day VR. What are the solutions that you saw during this presentation that you think would benefit users most based on what we're used to now, you know, we're plagued with a lot of issues around VR that, you know, some people get sick. There's you know, like you mentioned the high resolution, not quite high enough to make things look real, that sort of stuff of the technology that you saw, which is the one that you think might have the, the benefit of of moving this. I don't know the, the, the technology forward so that it solves some of these problems.

Harry McCraken (00:19:35):
I mean just the one that's most intriguing from a technological standpoint, I I think is the Vera focal lenses because one of the things that makes reality feel real is we can focus on anything. And it's painfully obvious with something like the MedQuest too, that you're really looking at these lenses, which are very close up and they don't adjust to where you look. So but you know, they have to take things one step at a time and, and right now I think, you know, short term things like getting a higher resolution display is really important. I didn't even realize until I listen to them, explain what they're working on, how, how dim current VR is it mm-hmm <affirmative>, it's like not remote remotely as bright as something like, like a nice desktop display or a nice tablet screen.

Harry McCraken (00:20:24):
Brightness might make it have a huge impact, but if, if, but it's a very bright, low resolution screen that won't matter much. And then as we've been saying, like none of this stuff will matter very much and unless it's in the form of a headset that people are gonna want to wear. So well, I am just as a technology enthusiast, I think it's kind of cool that meta is being so open. You kind of, you can't, you can't give them any credit for anything they're doing until they start to build it into a form factor that might make sense to Shep. And that might, might be years and years off.

Jason Howell (00:20:56):
Yeah, certainly. I mean, we already know, you know, Zuckerberg is betting, you know, that, that this meta transition, which really is kind of pulling the carpet out from under what has worked for Facebook for so long and shifting in a completely different direction. Now that's gonna take years, no question about it. Whether it's even successful at the end of that, like that's an open question as well. This was all done on zoom, of course. So you didn't have the the benefit of being in the room and being able to, to pod some of these, this technology and check it out yourself. What are some of the questions that you had that went unanswered? Like what would you have liked to know about some of these devices?

Harry McCraken (00:21:32):
I'd say one big thing, which they didn't touch on is battery life. Chemistry progresses a lot more slowly than electronics. And again the thinner and lighter something is the less room there is for a battery. And so they really need to think about building something that, you know, you're gonna use for at least a few hours at a time, I would think you're not gonna live in the metaverse unless you're gonna put on the headset and just leave it there for, for a while. And they did not address that.

Jason Howell (00:22:02):
Yeah, indeed. Now you, you actually just mentioned that Facebook is playing, you know, playing by a different rule book here, apple, as we know, has kept its kind of production of its glasses. Whatever they may turn out to be pretty close to the vest. Although now, you know, Tim cook is making at least some sort of illusions to, to it existing. So there's that I suppose. But then Facebook comes out and says, Hey, check it out. Here's a portfolio. In fact, there's that image that shows, I don't know how many, you know, what is it, 20 or 30 different prototype.

Harry McCraken (00:22:34):
I saw whole wall of, of headsets

Jason Howell (00:22:37):
Every yeah. Prob and possibly not even everything that they were working on. Right. This is the ones that they were willing to print. Why do you think they're playing they're they're operating by a different playbook in this regard. Is this all about just the all in movement that meta is taking on the metaverse whatever that may be?

Harry McCraken (00:22:54):
Yeah. I mean, I imagine it's partially because having declared that they're betting the entire company on this, they want to show some progress. Lately most of like the reported stories on what they're doing have been about issues they've faced like, like the, the first headset they were supposedly planning to ship, they decided is, is never gonna be a commercial product. And so it'll, it will remain a prototype which pushes off when they might shift something even further. There was news that there, their portal screens, which could come outta the same group as the VR headsets which were originally gonna be a consumer product, they, they may have decided that's never gonna be something large numbers that people want and they might pivot that to just being a business tool. So I think the time was probably right for them to show that they are actually are chipping away at this challenge. 

Jason Howell (00:23:45):
Awesome. Well, yeah, I mean, obviously, so and it, and it also knowing that Facebook is investing all of this time and energy into creating these prototypes and then showing them actually in turn, makes me also very excited to see what apple has in store because we know Apple's R and D is pretty amazing and that's all happening behind the scenes. I don't know, knowing about some of this stuff from, from Meda. Do you think that's gonna take a little bit of the excitement out when it finally happens? Like apple probably they're gonna come out with something and because they've been so secretive about it, it's gonna get a lot of attention, right? It's gonna be all the information all at once. I'm I'm betting. And I don't know that that tends to be a pretty exciting strategy. What do you think?

Harry McCraken (00:24:26):
I mean, Apple wants to blow you away with the whole concept. Yes. You know, the best example of being the, the original iPhone keynote in 2007, where they managed to keep most of its secret and Steve jobs explained exactly what they were doing from, from the hardware to the software, to the services you know, Meda is taking this entirely different approach where this session I attended did not really even discuss the experiences you might want to have in VR. You know, VR can be incredibly realistic, but if it's not providing you with something you'd like to do, then that's kind of pointless. So it's, it's totally different. And I I think it's a little early to know whether this will pay off for meta or whether they'll kind of a red act, but, but they're like, they're like dropping one veil at a time and giving you bits and pieces of what they want to do which is totally different for apple and then Google, which of course is also working on AR at IO recently, they showed one very limited demo of translation. So, so their demo was not focused on the hardware so much as a use case scenario that people might like. But they did, they chose one very specific thing which probably helps keep expectations and control until they're ready to talk more about what they're up to.

Jason Howell (00:25:38):
Yeah, yeah, totally. I came across a study earlier this week that I thought we could talk about as well. Cause I think it kind of ties in with this, especially when I think about that Starburst headset, which granted I realize like Meta's vision probably isn't, we're gonna release a headset that does all these crazy things. And it's a feature that you get to hold onto it with both hands. Like this is probably early technology that hopefully eventually morphs into something much smaller, much easy, compact, whatever, but there was a study that it came across and essentially it shows it, it showed that there was increased anxiety and a loss of productivity by the participants of the study, they basically spent 35 hours of a work week inside their own metaverse and then 35 hours in their own office. It kind of compared and contrasted the experiences between both and ultimately it increased anxiety, loss of productivity. And I guess my question here is, you know, prototypes like these that we were seeing shown off there, do they actually begin to kind of tackle those underlying reasons for these types of downsides, which let's be honest, like if this, if this is going to constantly plague VR and metaverse hardware going forward, like that's a deal breaker, most people aren't gonna put up with with that, not to mention the inconvenience of it all, but what do you think?

Harry McCraken (00:26:58):
Right. I mean, even if you're impressed by the quest two, which I am, I mean, yeah, me too. It's, it's still strapping it to your head is not great. And it's a little bit suffocating and having, I mean the real world blocked out is not ideal. And along with the prototypes they talked about with these while the ambitious displays, they also showed one where, where the only goal was to make it nice and thin. And so it looks a little bit like, like a quest headset but they managed to squish the lenses down and create pancake lenses that, that make for a much thinner and probably lighter headset and that kind of stuff in the long run might be just as important as making it super high res or super bright or letting you focus anywhere in your field of view.

Jason Howell (00:27:44):
Yeah. Yeah. If you could if, if you could take what you love about the quest two and pick one of these features for the upcoming, whatever refresh that that's coming down, the pipeline what would it be, what would be the thing that would get you most excited?

Harry McCraken (00:28:01):
Well, again, it's kind of like, you know, one step at a time.

Jason Howell (00:28:04):
Yeah, for

Harry McCraken (00:28:04):
Sure. I, I did not really appreciate the degree to which brightness might be really important and a much brighter VR headset could make a big difference. And that sounds quite feasible to tackle immediately. The varifocal stuff is like super complex because they started out with these mechanical systems for tracking your eyes and figuring out where you were looking and then adjusting the lenses. And then they managed to do that with LCDs, which is, you know, a little bit more digital and practical. And if someday we really do have virtual reality, that's indistinguishable from real reality that that might play a major role. But it does seem like that's kind of like the final check off and there's so much they have to do before they get to that. For that to matter,

Jason Howell (00:28:53):
No question. Yeah. The, of, of the low lowish hanging fruit, the increased brightness seems to be something that I, I have to imagine is tackled, you know, a lot easier than a lot of the other stuff you're talking about. So, and

Harry McCraken (00:29:06):
Then we haven't even touched on, we haven't even touched on pricing remember that we know it sounds like they're, they're not worrying that much about how much it's gonna cost to build these things. And they'll, they'll figure out how to deal with that when they get to it. So that's another issue. They, they really subsid subsidize this stuff to make it affordable

Jason Howell (00:29:24):
Well, and, and we're getting very used to right now, VR being this kind of like affordable thing, right? FA Facebook then meta did did a great job at lowering the price, lowering the entry point to a point that is, is way more feasible than, you know, even what we're hearing about what apple is, is working on some of the, you know, the, the leaks that we've read over the co the, you know, previous months make it sound like this is not going to be like an entry level headset. This is, you know, thousands, you know, probably low thousands, but still thousands of dollars for a headset that probably works for apple. I don't know if that works for Facebook, I guess that remains to be seen. But anyways, thank you so much for hopping on Harry. We always enjoy getting you on the show. Harry McCracken of course writes for a fast company. Everybody should follow his work there. If people wanna follow you online work and they find you, Harry

Harry McCraken (00:30:19):
Twitter is probably the best place and I'm at Harry McCracken.

Jason Howell (00:30:23):
Awesome. Thank you so much, Harry, take care of yourself, have, have a

Harry McCraken (00:30:26):
Good rest of your day. Take care, byebye, you too

Jason Howell (00:30:29):
Byebye. All right, coming up a look at Instagram's age verification system Mike Mikah is gonna take a look at that in his story of the week, but first this episode, tech news weekly is brought to you by new Reva. Now, this is all about audio conferencing, which, you know, can be, can be kind of expensive if you're going the, the traditional route. Let's say it's complicated, it's costly larger spaces and filling them, you know, with, with rich audio that all participants can hear and communicate naturally. It's just not easy to do traditionally. And you know, it's also can be really complex to install lots of separate microphones, speakers, DSPs, all that make it really complicated. Installation also often requires an external, like an outside technician. So you're not putting this up yourself. You're hiring someone to come in and do all the work it's invasive, it's expensive.

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Mikah Sergant (00:33:34):
Yeah. So this is an interesting one. Instagram is looking at new ways of doing age verification for the, for, for Instagram accounts. So essentially right now there aren't very good policies in place for being able to determine the age of a person who has an account on Instagram. And of course there are different rules based on how old you are that are part of us law in general and are part of specifically Instagram's own policies. And this is what's interesting about this. So what Instagram is looking to do is add some new kinds of technologies. So there's one method where you will have an ID. And with that ID, you can prove that you are 18 meaning that you have gone from like a child's account to an adult account. And so then you, you upload your ID and Instagram slash meta holds onto that ID for 30 days.

Mikah Sergant (00:34:46):
The second one is using a an actual face algorithm to try and determine your age. And the third one is one for vouching. And I wanna, I will get into each of those individually in a moment, but I want to start by talking about kind of what this wall street journal piece is discussing, which is the fact that yes, there are these there's this new policy now where, when an account ages up from a teen to an adult, a legal adult at 18 they can then have an account that is of the proper age, or if they go into Instagram, the, the settings and change their birth date, then they have to prove that they're of a certain age. But the bigger issue is that when you create an account, you can create an account for whatever age you want to pop in there, whatever birth date you wanna pop in there.

Mikah Sergant (00:35:39):
It used to be that you didn't have to put in your birth date at all. And then Instagram changed its policy so that you absolutely have to, if you want an account, and if you already had an account, you had to pop in your birthday. Now it's just that way across the board. And it got me thinking back to a time when I joined Facebook. And at the time you had to be, I don't even remember what age you had to be to join Facebook, but whatever it was, I put in a fake date for my birthday, so that I could join Facebook and be on the platform, even though I wasn't old enough. And the wall street journal did looked at some research that showed that 40% of high school students in a 20, 21 survey of more than 3000 47% said they created social media accounts before they were 13 years old.

Mikah Sergant (00:36:27):
That's important because that 13 is is an age that falls into a set of laws in the United States for privacy protection and sort of the ability for a child to have the legal ability to create their own account versus, you know, needing a parents permission up to that point. And some social media services won't even let you join before 13, if you are or because you are underage and they don't want to have to have those kind of special rules in place that this law provides for. So that's kind of the first issue is that you can add all of the different rules and regulations and features that you want to, but people are still going to create fake accounts that are of ages that allow them to use the platform. At the same time, though, I started to think about sort of the reverse of this and why cuz Facebook says, or me, excuse me, says that, you know, this is, we still believe that the, the best thing to do is to ask someone their birthday and their age when they sign up for an account and use that as the way for them to create an account.

Mikah Sergant (00:37:39):
And I started to think about it. And I realized if you are trying to grow your user base, which every social media service, every service, every company is trying to do, grow the number of customers that they have. Then you obviously don't wanna create a system where when you sign up for an account, if you are over the age of 18, which is a lot of Instagram's users, you have to prove your age by either uploading your ID. Mm-Hmm, <affirmative> doing a video face recognition thing. Or, and I'll talk about the, the third one in just a moment. So adding that friction to the signup experience in general, obviously not something that Instagram or any company would be willing to do, because why would anyone then want to sign up for the service? They don't want to limit the number of people signing up for their service.

Mikah Sergant (00:38:33):
So of course they are sort of trying to avoid that and make it so that you, this only comes up. If you are changing your age by changing your birthday, or you are aging up in the platform. So the ways that you can confirm your age one the, the first one and the one that Instagram and seems to encourage based on the fact that it says it's the fastest takes around 20 minutes is to what they call, take a video selfie. Essentially what you do is you lift up your phone in front of you and you turn your head and it scans your head. And then it gets sense to a company called Yoti. Y O T I based in the UK and Yoti will then use its age algorithm technology to look at your video selfie and be able to try <laugh> at least to determine your age, if it says yes, this person is the age that they are claiming they are, then it will let you have that age on your account.

Mikah Sergant (00:39:42):
Yoti importantly says that they do not keep the video outside of the, the process where they do that algorithm it's deleted immediately after their age is estimated, and they will not use those videos to train their algorithm. So I don't know where Yoti gets its you know, dataset in the first place, but it is not from in Instagram and it, well, it says it's not from Instagram. And it says that it won't pull that from Instagram. The second method is to upload your ID, which of course is a very simple thing where you upload your driver's license or ID and it could take up to two days for by, it seems like it's an actual human being who will look at it and confirm that, you know, the idea is real and that the age, the birth date on it matches your birth date and that the name matches all that kind of stuff.

Mikah Sergant (00:40:35):
And so you can use that. And then the third method, which I think is an interesting one, it says, ask people who know you and with this one, what it does is it will show you six different people who are adults on the platform who follow you, excuse me. And it will have you choose three of them to vouch for you. And so what happens in this process is, you know, say say your daughter has an Instagram account and reaches the proper age. And so it's time to vouch and you follow her with your Instagram account. Maybe our P Megan Moroney follows her with her account. I follow her with my account. And so she would be able to boo boo, boo, select us. And we can say, oh yes, that is actually true. That is the true age of this person.

Mikah Sergant (00:41:29):
And then that allows for verification. Now there are some sort of rules with this one and it's that you get the choice of six people, but you can't have created an, it can't be a new account. So it's not like you are, you know, the, in this situation the, the young man who's lying about his age then creates an account where he's 27 and creates a grandpa. Who's, you know, I dunno 62. And does that, these can't be new accounts. They have to be established accounts and they can't be accounts that are vouching for other people at the same time. So someone offering a service where they're just going around vouching for people won't work either. So that's

Jason Howell (00:42:14):
Smart. That's smart.

Mikah Sergant (00:42:15):
Yeah. I like it was good that they thought of those methods of trying to get past it. But I think ultimately the larger issue, and that's kind of what the wall street general reports talks about is if you're not stopping it in the first place, then what, what is the like, why, why would anyone, unless they are like, of course, there's, you know, there's a there's trust between the parent and the child or the guardian and the child, and you create the Instagram account together. And they are very clearly aware of why it's important for them to have an Instagram account with their proper age and that they use that one, cetera, cetera, et cetera. But if we're being realistic, that's, that is, that is, that is the scenario that I wish was the situation for everyone, but that's just not how it works for everyone.

Mikah Sergant (00:43:02):
Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And so they're going to be, if kids don't like the parental controls that their parents have set for them on their Instagram account, they can create a new account that is you know, that, that, that allows them to bypass those rules. And, and there are all sorts of reasons why the ability to just create an account in general new account in general, with a fake birthday on it is so much easier and simpler and like too easy that I'm glad they're adding these rules and regulations, but it feels more like a situation where they just wanna show that where they can point to this and say, look, we did everything we could now it's on all of y'all <laugh>

Jason Howell (00:43:45):
And we're, we're doing what we need too. Yeah.

Mikah Sergant (00:43:47):
Yeah. Our hands are, are clean at this point. Right. And I don't know. I mean, maybe that is all I should expect from this company. I like, and I'm not saying like this company in terms of it being met, I'm saying maybe that's all I should expect from a social media company to do, but I do feel like there's more they could do than just this.

Jason Howell (00:44:06):
Well, the, the question that, that comes to mind for me is okay, there probably is more that they can do, but often what we see willing to do well, there there's that right? Like, what are, what are they actually willing to do? And I mean, here, they, they put up multiple solutions. So, so that's more than, I think a lot of companies would do, you know, they'd come out with one solution and then they'd be like, yep. Okay, we've done our part. We're done. So at least they're doing that, but I I don't beyond God. I lost my train of thought beyond what they're willing to do. What is, yeah, I totally lost my train of thought. Dang it. <Laugh>

Mikah Sergant (00:44:43):
Oh, no.

Jason Howell (00:44:45):
Oh no. I gotta get back on that train. That's okay. Well, I think the other, the other thing that I wanted to say, cuz I'm just gonna pretend that didn't happen. One thing that, that occurs to me, when you explain the 21, you know, faking your, your age on these systems is just the sheer fact that that's the practiced rule at this point they've been doing that users have been doing that for decades, literally at this point. Right? So any of these systems, it's great that they're at least implementing some systems to show that they're trying something new, but at the end of the day, it's like the easiest thing is gonna win and kids are pretty darn and smart mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so if they're going to willingly go through the more challenging, difficult road to make this happen, or they just open up a browser and fake their age and that's good enough then.

Jason Howell (00:45:36):
Great. I remembered my point. The other side of this is that the technology that is required for a company like this to do more often, what we end up running into is resistance against what it takes to actually do more. In other words, facial recognition technology, right? That is a technology that could solve this. It could solve a million different issues in the world. As far as technology is concerned, but it opens the door for inequity. It opens the door for abuse. It opens the door for all these other things. So while that could be the technology that actually makes this possible, it has so many downsides and negative aspects to it that it's kinda like, okay, well, are we willing to accept that? Because this solves this problem. And I don't know that that's necessarily the right solution either. So I don't know that there is a perfect solution for something like this. How, how do you prove that the person on the other side is telling the truth? When they say they're 21, I just don't know that it's possible without getting super invasive.

Mikah Sergant (00:46:38):
Yes, exactly. And that's, that's why they are drawing that line before they get to that point, because they don't want to limit the number of new people who sign up for Instagram accounts and use Instagram accounts every day. They could make that choice and be invasive, but they know that that would drastically reduce the number of people who are comfortable being on the platform. Yes. So they're not going to make that choice.

Jason Howell (00:47:00):
Yeah. Very, very true.

Mikah Sergant (00:47:03):
All right. Up next, all the latest Amazon news, quite a bit of news, in fact, but first I wanna tell you about who are bringing you this episode of tech news weekly. Look, tech should be groundbreaking and promote innovation. Traditional payment systems are heavily layered. They're disconnected. They're perceived as a cost center to the business, modern businesses. They need flexible payment systems that can help them adapt to change, to grow. And to scale fast. We recently came across a company with tech that approaches payments through a radical new lens and its Checkout.Com is a leading digital global payment solution provider for brands like shine, grab Sony electronics wise and Henkel check out's flexible payments platform is purpose built with performance, scalability and speed in mind, it's ideal for businesses looking to seamlessly, integrate better payment solutions globally with a dedicated team of local experts spanning 19 offices in five continents, offers a strategic partnership to help businesses improve their acceptance rates, optimize their payments performance and grow their business.

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Jason Howell (00:50:09):
Yeah. Time to get Amazon or re Marsy or yeah. Did you hear about the re Mars?

Mikah Sergant (00:50:15):
Reconce not until conference this morning. This morning was the first I had heard of it. I thought that it was just sort of Jeff, Bezo saying we're getting to Mars before Elon Musk does, but apparently it stands for something

Jason Howell (00:50:28):
Yeah. Hand. It has nothing to do with actual Mars, at least as far as I could tell. So this was a conference held earlier this week in Las Vegas. Mars stands for machine learning. So really it should be Lars, but anyways, machine learning, automation, robotics, and space. So a RS, there you go. A few things were announced during this this conference that stood out to me. So we'll just kind of go through these one is that they talked a lot about some robotic technology that they're working on. Obviously it's the R and Mars Proteus is Amazon's fully autonomous warehouse robot. That was one thing that they showed off. This is a cart toing robot that literally does the heavy lifting in Amazon warehouses, right? Like a, the, the Proteus would, would go to a a pallet that has just a bunch of stuff that needs to move to a different part of the warehouse.

Jason Howell (00:51:22):
It would scoot itself underneath the pallet, you know, be able to withstand all of that, that weight. I don't know how much weight it's, it's it's possible to lift, but I have to imagine it's insane amount lift it off the ground and then slowly move it through the warehouse into a different area, wherever it has to be stored. And it was it's meant to reduce the need for, you know, those pesky human workers human workers that demand better pay and working conditions. Of course, Amazon didn't say that, but let's be real. Not to mention Amazon is you know, talking about a shortage that we've heard of potential workforce, a workers in the workforce, in the not too distant futures. So technology like this is probably very helpful for that. It reduces their need for humans to do some of this work.

Jason Howell (00:52:10):
They can just get a robot to do it. Literally these robots are coming for their jobs. But Amazon says that these robots are designed to keep the warehouse safer for the people who are working there. And you know, they're, they're moving along. They emit a, a bright green laser out in front of their path. So they're impossible to miss. You can see if you're watching the video version strong. I know, look at that. It's just like doop. And I don't know if this is sped up or if this is the normal speed, but still pretty amazing that this little robot can just pick up that pallet and just move on. And that's like a metal, metal cage pallet too. So it's not, not light. <Laugh> very interesting stuff. Then there was another robot called the Cardinal. And I don't know if we have video on this one, but it's a robotic arm that actually sorts packages. It picks them up. It reads the labels. It places them in the right cart for the next phase of shipment. Of course, you know, large part of sh of Amazon's business is shipment. Once again, here <laugh>

Mikah Sergant (00:53:11):
That is really the people job more so like, I could have been convinced by that first one where it's like, oh, we looked at our cuz they've got loads of data. We looked at our data and the largest number of incidents that we see in a given year are when carts fall on a person. So let's automate that process. Let's make it so that, you know, humans aren't involved with moving the carts. I could believe in believe Amazon when they say, okay, you know, that's where we want humans and robots to work harmoniously together, which was a, a paraphrase of one of the quotes. But now you're talking about a robot that does the sorting part too. That is the part that the humans do up to this point. So

Jason Howell (00:53:52):
Yeah, the humans do with their actual human vision. This is all done with computer vision in order to keep it all sorted correctly. They can, you know, the, the arm can lift up to 50 pounds and this is actually expected by some time next year. So, wow. Yeah, the robots are coming into the warehouses just in time to face the worker shortage that Amazon's been complaining about. So there's that, and then this trick, this, this last piece is more on the consumer side. This is a trick for echo speakers. I'm super curious to know what you think about this. I, I think people are either gonna love or, or hate this idea. Everybody

Mikah Sergant (00:54:34):
Hates it so far. That's

Jason Howell (00:54:35):
What I'm seeing. Yeah, so far all

Mikah Sergant (00:54:37):
Of the reactions, cause

Jason Howell (00:54:38):
Everyone's saying this

Mikah Sergant (00:54:39):
Is happening.

Jason Howell (00:54:40):
<Laugh> what if your speaker, your smart speaker's voice could actually be fashioned after a friend or a family member who has passed away and Amazon is working on this technology trick to make that happen. The system is designed to be able to pull out from, from short clips of a person's voice, synthesizing these short clips and then spin that up for longer speech delivered by the smart speaker. And this is different from systems that we've, we've seen before that require massive amounts of high quality learning material. In order to do the proper synthesis, this system could do it with less than a minute of recording time. So so it would be very easy to take any of our audio from the podcasts, you know, and, and like replicate our, our voices. Of course we aren't deceased. So there's that. But you know, one of the articles I read said, imagine you're deceased grandmother reading a bedtime story to her grandson. And like on one hand, I'm like, okay, so that's kind of need it's it's of

Mikah Sergant (00:55:44):
Itself. If

Jason Howell (00:55:45):
You pull,

Mikah Sergant (00:55:46):
Pull that situ yeah. In a vacuum, if you put that situation in a vacuum, right. With no, that's a great way context of the world or the universe or anything else, you can go, oh, that's sweet, but we don't live in a vacuum. So, well, I guess we do the vacuum of space earth lives in

Jason Howell (00:56:01):
That vacuum. <Laugh> that's true. <Laugh>, we're all living in a vacuum. Yeah, it's strange for me. I, so I don't, I don't know how I feel like there's, there's the ethical ramifications. This isn't the only time also that we've heard about the idea of, of taking someone's voice after they've passed away and reusing it. It sure the technology allows us to do that and that there's some, something impressive about that. Being an actual possibility, an ability that we have now that we didn't have before, but like, you know, that person never agreed to, you know, the use of their likeness or their voice, or, you know, in some cases we've seen this, even with the visible, you know, the, the visible look of them being on a stage, you know, performing or whatever. So I've already got this, there's the ethical aspects of this.

Mikah Sergant (00:56:51):
So here's, here's the scenario Amazon in the Kindle store allows for self-publishing. So I, I, let me see, hold on. I've gotta, gotta sort of get into character here, I guess. The bad, the bad guy wears sunglasses. So, all right. Now I'm, I'm bad guy, Micah. All right. So what I do, you're

Jason Howell (00:57:10):
Like wall street, a bad guy.

Mikah Sergant (00:57:11):
Yeah, exactly

Jason Howell (00:57:12):
What those glasses for

Mikah Sergant (00:57:13):
<Laugh>. So I sit down at my computer and I write a book, which for people who are listening, I'm doing huge scare quotes and the book goes, mommy the book's called the book's called, I don't know, Marley and son go to the farm, but it is not actually that because inside the first chapter goes like this, mommy, someone bad has taken me, please give me $10,000 at this 10, 10,000 Bitcoins at this address. So I can be freed again. And then yeah. Yeah. I take the Amazon echo and I have it say that in the kid's voice that I was able to use just a clip of the kid's voice because this, yeah,

Mikah Sergant (00:57:59):
One minute of right. One minute of this kid's voice, because the bad guy was at the at the playground and recorded the voice. And suddenly they're reading this book that I then record and play back to. Like, there are so many ways that this can be abused because I, I think that, you know, on the face of it, someone would maybe make the argument like, oh, wait, I gotta go back to me now. Sorry. yeah. So some people would, right. Oh, pH that was a really scary place I went to. So anyway, some people would say this is bad because you could use it to to do some social engineering things. And I think that that's the place where a person would then argue, no, no, no, no, no, because it only works if you have it only works in those sense that it has, you read published books.

Mikah Sergant (00:58:46):
And so that was where I was kind of going with that is you can say all of these different ways that no, no, no, no. They've got this in place to stop it from being abused or this in place to stop it from being abused. But let's be real here. Those things that are in place to stop it from being abused can also be abused in a way yeah. That then it gets through. So there's so much to think about here that could go wrong. That I don't know if this is something, I mean, and as I've as, so I heard about this story, I think just yesterday because there were just a bunch of people saying how terrible it was all over everywhere. And I am surprised that Amazon was not prepared. Yes. Or least it didn't seem to be like, I would not have announced.

Mikah Sergant (00:59:31):
This is what I'm saying. I don't know why they announced it at the same time though. Jason, I do wonder sometimes like, just because yeah, that was a bad title to write. Just because just because we know what technology is or there's the risk of the technology being bad? Like is the, is there stuff that should be off limits or is, is it important that we, as sort of the human species continue to create and try new things and how do we have both of those at the same time where there are clearly scientists who are like, we shouldn't, I don't know that we should just say like, no scientists should ever even think about this in the first place don't even go there.

Jason Howell (01:00:23):
Totally agree.

Mikah Sergant (01:00:24):
Because it's important that it exists, but at the same time, maybe it's the commercialization of it. Maybe that's what makes it so bad. I don't know. I don't know. It's hard. It's, it's tough.

Jason Howell (01:00:35):
Yeah. I think, I think you're totally onto something, right? Like, I, I wouldn't want a world where ideas like this, aren't at least explored through the exploration we tend, you know, and sometimes it might be more obvious than other times. But through that exploration, I think we get to the point to where we understand, okay, this, this actually makes sense, but this, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense right now for, you know, X, Y, and Z reasons. And I also totally agree. There's, there's something about the commercialization aspect of this's like, Hey, we've introduced a new feature. We're bringing your dead grandma back to life. Isn't that great. Right. You know, it's where you're just like, okay, I don't know. There's, there's a tone deaf quality about that. Especially coming from a company like Amazon, where we're already kind of primed, you know, with the, with mistrust about certain aspects of it.

Jason Howell (01:01:26):
Oh, ha like it about certain aspects of mistrust, you know, with the company. So yeah, I dunno it feel, it feels wrong at the same time. Like, like this seems like something that, that could have been hopped behind the scenes. And I, I am like, you, I'm kind of surprised that there wasn't someone inside that was like, okay, I'm happy we did this work because it, it allowed us to learn about this system for X, Y, and Z reasons. But I don't think this is gonna work in the current climate, you know, like in the current kind of world climate right now, this is probably the wrong time. And it might not ever be the right time for something like this, but I'm happy we did the work behind it.

Mikah Sergant (01:02:06):
So yeah. Yep.

Jason Howell (01:02:08):
Yeah. So anyways, those are a couple of things that Amazon did. <Laugh> we reached the end of this episode of tech news weekly. We do the show every Thursday, is the show page on the web where you can go to find all the ways to subscribe to the show in audio and video formats. You can jump out to YouTube if you like doing the YouTube thing, we're there too. So check it out. TWI do TV slash TNW.

Mikah Sergant (01:02:33):
All right. If you would like to get all of our shows a free, we've got a way for you to do that. You'd be of course, supporting the show directly instead of listening to the ad supported version of the show. All of that is available at club TWI. That's twit do TV slash club TWI for seven bucks a month. You get every single twit show with no ads. You also get access to the exclusive twit plus bonus feed that has extra content. You can't find anywhere else. That's behind the scenes before the show, after the show plus some other special fun stuff that happens there and access to the members only discord server. That is a place where you can go to chat with your fellow club, twit members, but also those of us here at twit. One of my co-host is incredibly active in the club.

Mikah Sergant (01:03:15):
TWI discord, Rosemary orchard from iOS today. If all that sounds good to you, again, that's at, TWI seven bucks a month. You can also subscribe to individual shows using apple podcasts. If you use apple podcasts, you type in tech news weekly, you find the audio version of the show and you can tap to subscribe for 2 99. That gets you an ad free version of the audio feed right there in your apple podcasts app. If you'd like to follow me online, I'm at Mica Sergeant on many, a social media network where you can add to That's C HHI, Hua,, where I've got links to the places I'm most active online. Check me out on Saturdays with Leo Laport for the tech guy radio show heard around the world and on Tuesdays for iOS today, which I record again with my co-host Rosemary orchard, and next week you'll be able you'll, you'll be seeing a lot more of Jason and myself with Leo on vacation. So Mac break weekly windows weekly. I'll be on those as well. And Jason, I joined you in bumping my camera, take it away. <Laugh>

Jason Howell (01:04:18):
<Laugh> I was like, oh, dang, I hit the table. And it shaked the camera. Yeah. At Jason Howell on Twitter. I will be filling in for Leo on Security Now, although I go on vacation next Wednesday. So I won't be on This Week in Google, actually, Jeff Jarvis is gonna be hosting that. So that should be a lot of fun. And then I won't be with you then I think the next two weeks on TNW so I'm sorry. I will miss you, but I will also be enjoying a vacation, so

Mikah Sergant (01:04:45):
Yes, please enjoy your time off.

Jason Howell (01:04:47):
<Laugh> big. Thanks to everybody who help us do this show each and every week. John Ashley Burke also Benito behind the scenes today. I heard him on the mic and thanks to you for watching and listening. We could not do this without you. So thank you. And we'll see you next time on tech news weekly. Bye everybody. Bye.

Speaker 6 (01:05:04):
Hey, I'm Rod Pyle, editor of ad Astra magazine, and each week I'm joined by Tark. Mallek the editor in chief over at in our new This Week in Space podcast, every Friday, Tark. And I take a deep dive into the stories that define the new space age what's NASA up to when will Americans, once again, set foot on the moon. And how about those samples from the perseverance Rover? When do those coming home? What the heck has Elon Musk done now, in addition to all the latest and greatest and space exploration will take an occasional look at bits of space flight history that you've probably never heard of and all with an eye towards having a good time along the way. Check us out on your favorite podcaster.

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