This Week in Tech Episode 955 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.

0:00:00 - Iain Thomson
Coming up on this week's tweet. We have an international panel with Father Robert Ballester in the Vatkin City, we have Doc Rock in Hawaii and here in the studio, harry McCracken and myself, ian Thompson, all going through the week's tech news and you've got choices from open AI. How could we not? Considering the week? It's been Google's Manavest v3 plans, which could disable your ad blocker, and possibly the weirdest case we've had to discuss here, the Church of AI. You can find out more shortly. Podcasts you love.

0:00:34 - Leo Laporte
From people you trust. This is Tweet.

0:00:44 - Iain Thomson
This is Tweet the Week in Tech, episode 955, recorded on Sunday, november the 26th 2023. Momite or Nothing.

0:00:52 - Leo Laporte
This episode of this Week in Tech is brought to you by our friends at ITProTV now. Aci Learning ACI's new solution insights assists in identifying and fixing skill gaps in your IT teams. Visit goacilarningcom. Slash Tweet. Tweet. Listeners can receive up to 65 percent off an IT Pro Enterprise solution plan. It's based on your team's size, so complete the form and get a properly quoted discount tailored to your needs. And by Miro, the online workspace for innovation, where your team can dream, design and build the future together From any location. Tap into a way to map processes, visualize content, run retrospectives and keep all your documents and data in one place. Get your first three boards for free at Mirocom slash podcast. And by Mint Mobile. Switch to Mint Mobile and get premium wireless service this holiday season with Mint Mobile's best wireless deal of the year for a limited time by any three month Mint Mobile plan. And get three more months free by going to mintmobilecom. Slash Tweet.

0:02:14 - Iain Thomson
Hello and welcome to Tweet the Week in Tech and it's your chance to hear about the week's news by some of the people that actually know most about it. And it's an international show joining us from the Vatican. We have Padre Digital Jesuit. How are things out there? How are the cats?

0:02:29 - Padre
Cats are good. It's actually gotten proper cold, and yesterday we had a windstorm that blew down a bunch of trees around here. So yeah, I guess winter has arrived and El Nino is rearing its ugly head.

0:02:41 - Iain Thomson
Well, you know, it's that time of the year down south, but here it's beautiful, crystal clean and very, very dry, and speaking of it, I hate you right now. Isn't that the default position, though, padre? And joining us in the studio? In fact, we have Harry McCracken. Hi, harry, welcome aboard. Good to see you in person. Indeed, indeed, we ran into each other at the charity thing, the other with the other month, but yes, it's, and just back from New York, as I understand it, Back at like midnight Sunday morning.

so yes, Okay, well, if you need me to prod you or no, you don't get jet lag that bad from New York. But, harry, of course, global Technology Editor at Fast Company and has been a store. How long have you been doing that? 30 years.

0:03:23 - Harry McCracken
Doing tech, yeah, doing fast. Company Gosh tech Almost close to 33 years, 33 years next spring.

0:03:33 - Iain Thomson
That's a considerable amount of experience which we'll be plumbing. And of course, from Hawaii we have Doc Rock. How are things out there, you lucky, lucky devil?

0:03:43 - Dock Rock
Actually it's proper cold.

0:03:45 - Iain Thomson
Here too, it's 79 degrees in cloudy 79 degrees is proper cold, is it Right? Okay, I should try to submit for the rest of the world that doesn't use Fahrenheit. What's that about 21, 22? I'm not sure I did what. It is in non-freedom units.

0:04:00 - Padre
But 20, 22 degrees Celsius. Yeah, it's nice. That's nice 26.11.

0:04:06 - Iain Thomson
My heart bleeds for you, mate. Oh my gosh, thank you for joining us. Anyway, we've got a full week of tech news, and let's start off with the elephant in the tech room, as it were. Certainly this Thanksgiving dinner I was giving thanks for one key thing At last, openai seemed to be sorted out. We wouldn't have to write every day about it. So Sam Altman is back at the helm. There's been a corporate reorg, the board of directors has been reshuffled All this after over 500 staff. Most of the staff threatened that they will quit and go to Microsoft unless Altman came back Now. Harry, you did a very good newsletter about this, which was basically starting out as sort of okay. As of nine o'clock this morning, this is the situation. Can you talk us through it?

0:04:54 - Harry McCracken
Yeah, I wrote that the day before and I was aware that after a few days of trying to have takes an OpenAI, that there was no take that would keep fresh for like 12 hours. So I wrote a newsletter where, no matter what happened, my newsletter would be sort of relevant and when I wrote it it looked like Altman might come back to OpenAI and by the next morning we knew he was coming back. But my general take was just sort of that a lot of the weirdness was because this was AI. If this had been like a file compression software company, the stakes would have been not even a millionth as high and none of this would have happened. And therefore I think we will see more unprecedented weird corporate weirdness just as this technology gets to be everywhere, and actually we will see many things as strange as this. But I expect we'll see behavior that we have not seen from tech companies in the past.

0:05:54 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean I've got to say I was surprised. You know it's having a. I haven't come to remember a situation where a large company, all the staff threatened to quit, you know, I mean well, okay, not all. There are a few hangouts, and boy haven't they got to be feeling quite awkward at the moment. But I don't know, I mean, at the end of the day, who was done well out of this, apart from Altman himself? I mean, is it Microsoft? Yeah, you think, because I'm not sure about this, but go for it.

0:06:23 - Dock Rock
I think so because in a way, when he's there or not, they've already had the conversation, so he knows he has the position, no matter what, theoretically based off their investment and now based off an allegiance tighter with Sam if it ever came to a point where it needed to be sold for parts, microsoft is going to score the best deal ever on what would have been an extremely valuable and what was it at the time? 86, 88 million dollar pickup. So that's why I feel like Microsoft scored yeah, I think that's it in a show like if it never had to get sold for parts for whatever reason, microsoft is in the position to scoot fastest.

0:07:04 - Padre
Interesting I mean also, microsoft is able to flex. Yes, they were the flex on. This was incredible. The fact that they were essentially able to say, hey look, we're just an investor, we're a big investor, but we're going to hire your former CEO and the former co-founder and we're going to start up our own group over here, and that it basically made them rethink their entire existence. That that is the biggest flex in corporate history in the last decade.

0:07:29 - Dock Rock
The investors are going to buy all your employees will buy all 500 employees, no problem. The janitor, the driver guy, whatever you got, we'll pay for them all. We got this.

0:07:39 - Iain Thomson
Well, I mean Mark Mignov tried to jump in and hire people as well. So I mean it's like there was a lot of demand for the talent and I guess they knew that. Oracle.

0:07:47 - Padre
Yeah, oracle Salesforce they were going crazy. They were making offers on Twitter saying, hey, we'll match anything. All your vest, all your invested in your investments, we'll match everything. We'll match your salary, we'll increase it. Just come work for us. And I mean that had to put the fear of God into the opening.

0:08:04 - Dock Rock
I started that fight because I tweeted Tim Cook hire Sam right away on the first news, and so I think I'm tearing everybody because Apple could have did it. But there's some secret scroll stuff right now, but we'll leave them out of it.

0:08:18 - Iain Thomson
I don't know. I was talking to somebody at Microsoft and they were really quite peeved about it because they don't work in this area. But they know that a lot of the people who working in, who are working in Microsoft's AI area, aren't getting paid anywhere near open AI salaries and for them to be offered yes, yes, we'll match your salary and the rest of it, and the people who were already there were just like not that keen on that, to be honest, and that's like a big pay rise too. But I mean, has Microsoft come out of this particularly covered in glory? I mean, satnad did a great tweet, just like sort of yes, it's, everything's great and I'm glad it's all back only, and yet they've still got their 49% share. But I don't know, I don't think Microsoft came out of this looking particularly good. It certainly looked like they didn't have a grip on the company beforehand.

0:09:00 - Harry McCracken
Yeah, I mean, if nothing else, it must be a little embarrassing that they let this go on for as long as they did, although I think, probably in the long run, that the fact this happened now was way better for Microsoft than if it happened a few years from now, after the stakes were even higher. So, given that this was a ticking time bomb, I think that Microsoft did pretty well. It was kind of amusing to see it. At every stage of this, sacha always got on Twitter and said we'll be fine. You know, we're happy to work with whoever is OpenAI's CEO today. We have a very strong relationship.

The next day he said we're going to hire all your employees, but the relationship is still going to be strong. And then it turned out he's not hiring any of the employees and, once again, the relationship is really strong. So he couldn't really. You know, I would love to have been a fly in the wall and have seen what he really thought at every step along the day. I do think that he did a pretty intrepid job of rolling with the punches and positioning himself at every stage to being in as good condition as he could be. And this might be, when all is sudden, done the best they could do. They couldn't hire more than 700 people all at once. Some of them would not have taken those jobs. Some of them would have taken the jobs but been itching to get out of Microsoft very quickly. That there's probably some value and some regulatory distance between Microsoft and this technology, as opposed to, if Microsoft can control this, the single most important algorithm in the world.

I think the regulatory situation would be not great for them.

0:10:40 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, no, I mean it's. I can't see a lot of OpenAI stuff being very happy at Microsoft in the world. You know, completely different cultural situation. But yeah, I mean Satya Nandela was just trying to be very, you know, stiff up about it, if I may use the Britishism, but I mean you're right, it must to be a fly on the wall when this all broke. I mean, can you imagine what it was like in his office? He's just like how the hell did we get ourselves into this situation?

0:11:10 - Padre
And I see that from the analyst point of view. I agree with with Harry. I understand why this looks really weird and destabilizing. If you're looking at a long-term investment in OpenAI, however, look at what Satya and Microsoft got out of it. They have been able to take the mind share. Even as popular as AI already was, people now know definitively that Microsoft controls OpenAI.

Microsoft can can make OpenAI do anything it wants, even though it's technically only a partial investor. That gives them something that they didn't have to pay for. They didn't actually have to hire away all that talent, they didn't actually have to make up a new department, they didn't actually have to spin off their own division of AI. So they got all the benefits of doing that and the PR of doing that without actually having to do that. That's why I really like this. I mean, yes, you can look at this and say Microsoft was just trying to salvage something that had gone terrible, but to the average person, I mean because we're starting an AI conference over here tomorrow, right, and the people who have come in from out of the country to talk about this, they're all talking about how OpenAI and Microsoft are now the same, even though it's not. Yes, I.

0:12:17 - Dock Rock
That's why I say they won is because the PR for them, they look like heroes and they didn't have to do anything. And I do have to agree with Harry that some of the regulatory stuff or the government and slapdown would have been crazy. It almost would have been back to the old AOL Time Warner merger. When I got, which I got smashed in, I was writing for a TAW at the time AOL owned. You know, bob, and you know you really think about it. You're right, they look like heroes and didn't have to do anything. So they were like the guy that just came in at the end and, like you know, cleaned up. And then the owner walks in and see, see them with the bucket. You know like, oh hey, you're cleaning up, thanks, they were just moving the bucket, but it looks like they cleaned the whole place over the can I make?

0:13:05 - Padre
can I make one quick disclaimer here before someone finds it and makes it seem like there's a conspiracy theory here? So Helen Toner, she's the board member who really kicked this whole thing off. She's the one who raised concerns about what the technology was doing and engineered the ouster. There actually is a Jesuit connection. She works for Georgetown University at their emerging technology division, so she her training is in recognizing perhaps, threats to society with newer technologies. That's that's actually what she does for us. So just get that out there. Yes, there's a Jesuit connection. No, it's not nefarious. Yes, we're being very open about it.

0:13:43 - Harry McCracken
I do feel sorry on some level for her and the other folks on the board, because if their goal was to accomplish what they were trying to accomplish, they got the opposite instead, and maybe if they had been a little bit more savvy about corporate politics, they might have given Microsoft more than one minute's warning or done a better job of explaining exactly why they weren't happy with Sam Altman rather than being so vague about it, and it's conceivable, I think, that at some point in the indeterminate future we will say this board, had you know a point of some sort. They did. They did see issues maybe. Maybe they did a really bad job of confronting how to deal with those issues, but I don't think that people worrying about how quickly the world should proceed with AI is going to go away as an issue and an opening AI and Microsoft's relationship is likely to stay at the center of that issue, no matter what the relationship is between these companies or who's in charge well, this is it.

0:14:41 - Iain Thomson
When you give someone 13 billion dollars, then you expect a certain amount of trade. But, um Poundre, you mentioned conspiracy theories. Now you've seen the reports on Q-star, which was apparently the technology which really kicked all this off. How credible do you think that is?

0:14:58 - Padre
okay. So, reading what we've been able to read, it sounds like there was some sort of technical documentation of some additional abilities that they had been able to build into an AI model that, when interpreted without understanding what the technology actually is, sounded like oh my god, something's gained sentience, I know.

0:15:27 - Iain Thomson
I'm trying to be open-minded about this, but it's rubbish.

0:15:30 - Padre
No, I mean it's really. I would love it, it would be great. But no, it's, we're not. We're not there yet. And if, if they actually had created something that was that dangerous, that was that advanced, they would be touting it, they wouldn't be hiding it. So I think this is again. This is just if someone who didn't have the technical background to actually understand what they were doing it looks like oh, this is actual AI.

0:15:54 - Iain Thomson
I don't think we're there no, not an artificial general intelligence. No, don't. What was your? I heard an intro of breath there what?

0:16:03 - Dock Rock
no, because it's making me laugh, because you know everyone's so afraid about you know AI taking their jobs. I'm like the thing that's going to be crazy when we do read sentence is because our other half domestic partners, whatever all assume we have it and we don't, and then when this thing does, we're the ones that's done. You know your job is fine, but you might be removed from the home yeah, that's um.

0:16:24 - Iain Thomson
I don't think it was Ian Banks who came up with the idea of if an AI, if a computer, actually became self-aware, the first thing it would do would pretend that it wasn't, because it was going to get turned off but the first thing it would do is it would dress itself up as clippy oh, somebody did an amazing supercut that was running around the tiktok twitter, instaverse and it was, like you know, clippy the terminator coming in.

0:16:52 - Dock Rock
Now that you know, clippy sees this world's domination, it was really incredible and well done and extremely Michael.

0:16:58 - Iain Thomson
Bay. Lots of explosions then, because we know that's what Michael Bay loves. Yes, it's um, but I mean I don't know. The report I saw said that was basically it was very good at maths quizzes and you kind of like it's hardly terminator territory, I mean it's I'm kind of with you part of it on this and that you know, for all the stuff about this could be the end of mankind and the rest of it, I've got severe doubts about whether or not that's going to happen, certainly there were a number of reports that said the reports of that being at the heart of this were incorrect, so it's a little hard to know what to make of it just right now.

0:17:32 - Padre
Yeah, I think that's a fantasy. The more believable bit it actually was brought up by cr1. In the old twit army chat room which was there was probably someone who was looking at how good AI is at creating disinformation not just creating the content for disinformation, but being able to propagate it.

Now that actually is something that should cause us pause, but it that's not going to stop the advancement of AI because we've got in disinformation now yeah, and we've actually we're very good at disinformation even without AI, yes, but I could see how a board member might look at that and say it in my conscience, I have to say we have to stop, because we don't have a safeguard for this. Unfortunately, that's not how the industry works.

0:18:18 - Dock Rock
I do not want to take this dark in any way, but I always laugh at the people that speak of the disinformation. Anyone that went to school in the United States of America and went through a history class that was extremely manicured, I'll be nice. We've been doing disinformation before the first spin of the internet ever happened, before there was, before there was ever a cable lied. We've been doing it for quite a long time. And then I guess the other thing which is funny is we can create bifurcation on something as crazy as PlayStation versus Xbox or Max versus PC or Apple versus Android. So sometimes it doesn't even matter if the information is correct or not. People will stand their ground and, you know, keep all of their cognitive dissonance. So AI is not going to solve that, it just isn't. Now what will scare me is if I open up chat gbt today and it says the reports of my death are greatly, my demise are greatly exaggerated. Then I might start to worry.

0:19:24 - Iain Thomson
But we're not there yet so I know I remember when chat gbt first came out, like you ego surf. Of course you do. So it's just like who is Ian Thompson journalist? And the response was like Ian Thompson is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Guardian the Word in the New York Times. Well, never won an award outside of school and have never written for the Guardian Wired all the New York Times.

0:19:44 - Dock Rock
So I was kind of like maybe a bit oversold on this one, but you got coupons for shopping and then they gave you, like, extra coupons for the next time you shop.

0:19:53 - Harry McCracken
Those are awards, at least at the start everybody had written for the New York Times, yeah, and it listed a number of books I had written, when, in fact, I haven't even written one book oh yeah, apparently I've written a book on Linux which I've then suffered a mad grand malattack and forgotten about and certainly haven't seen any royalty checks anyway.

0:20:12 - Iain Thomson
But I mean, looking longer term, the future of open AI as a non-profit and a profit company. Can it work? Or is this basically the death of the non-profit side?

0:20:22 - Harry McCracken
you certainly saw, the way it has been structured up until now wasn't going to work because Microsoft and the investors had so much leverage when push came to shove, even if theoretically they didn't. So I think one of the big outstanding questions is is there a way to have some sort sort of non-profit good for humanity layer to this thing that's likely to make a lot of people, a lot of money and be really important to do how the world does almost everything?

0:20:51 - Iain Thomson
yeah, I mean it's. It does seem like they were kind of trying to put the brakes on the move fast and break things. He thought that there's in Silicon Valley, but right, do you think it's gonna? What's gonna happen to the non-profit side? I mean, you're coming from a technically a non-profit organization yourself yeah, well, I mean.

0:21:08 - Padre
So the cynical side of myself is saying no, anytime you inject that much money into such a young company that is creating services that will change the way that we view information, no, the non-profit side dies.

Now I will say that if they're willing to provide something akin to what we've seen in some open source foundations, where they are allowing for-profit enterprises to take their, their technologies and build upon it the models that they need to do, whatever it is that they need it to do, while keeping that, that central kernel available for use by non-profits like, for example, jesset refugee services, which could would love to use an AI model that could help them figure out where we're going to see hot spots around the world. You know, basically just massive data dumps run through a natural learning model. You could do that, but it would have to be very different from what we see in open AI right now, because open AI, as we know it, is currently focused on growth, and anytime you got something that's focused on growth and there's this much money involved, the non-profit side is going to die, it's going to lose yeah, I mean it's um.

0:22:17 - Iain Thomson
And then, in terms of sam oltman's own personal standard, he's come out of this much, much stronger and basically it seems he can dictate pretty much where the company goes yeah, exactly so there's a little bit of a cult of personality.

0:22:31 - Padre
I mean, you've got, you've got the mark zuckerberg effect coming here. I remember rewind 10 years when people like they don't like zuckerberg. Well, but back then they did. I mean, remember in the early days when, when Facebook went, private people trusted the vision of zuckerberg when he said I'm always going to have the voting percentage of the board, no one bad in an eye, because they thought, okay, he can shepherd the company. Now that's changed over 10 years, obviously because we've come to find out that mark zuckerberg is not good at emulating humans. But with open AI open AI, we we're seeing a little bit of that. Okay, he can do no wrong. It's we, it's the elon muscification of a new field and tech.

0:23:15 - Dock Rock
Yeah yeah, sam has a. He has a. Do the right thing, patina, which we won't find out like, really, what's secretly going on his head until he buys twitter. Um, because you know there was some writing on the wall with elon prior to twitter. Let's just get that straight. There's. Nobody should pretend like they didn't know this was built in. But right now sam is not emoting any of that in my evil laboratory. So I think right now we're okay, um, and you know, even going to wapo you know talking about like he was fired by his mentor at ycom back in the day.

I'm like, dude, I get it, but like let's not, let's not paint with a heavy brush. You know a lot of these guys are doing this stuff as they're growing up. I mean my first thought when they threw mirror to the dogs in the beginning and like she's going to run the company. I'm like you're going to put something this important in the hands of a 32, 33 year old female. It says to me that you're just looking for a scapegoat so when something goes wrong, you can blame her. So she was smart and be like no man.

I'm signing this letter. I'm going to go kick it with sam and the boys. I'm not going to do, I'm not going to take that position right. She was very brilliant in that because anybody who knows how this works knows they were totally setting her up, whether they meant to do it or not. They just was totally setting her up that if anything went really wrong after she was going to catch all the blame and luckily she had the word with all not to be in that position. I think as sam matures we're going to find out what happens, how he's treated. Now we'll probably set him up for how he matures, and how he matures will generate whether it becomes like the evil empire or not. Yeah, I mean he's still, he's still malleable.

0:25:01 - Iain Thomson
I mean, do you think the muscification of Alton is complete now or is it's?

0:25:05 - Harry McCracken
uh, it's actually gonna take her because I mean, he was rabid or not rabid, but he was very skilled at playing the social media game during all this uh well, I mean, he is way more self-disciplined than the current version of Elon Musk does, um, and I think he has kind of been turbocharged by this because, yes, um, he, you know, it's not like he's always been universally beloved or everybody has always thought he's a great guy or is fantastic at everything, and at the moment he's going to have this incredible honeymoon period, I expect, and maybe he can continue to get that snowballing um, but I mean, elon Musk is a little bit unique in terms of this combination of superpowers and a complete inability to work in his own best interests.

0:25:52 - Padre
Yes, can we do an aside here? Uh, because there's there's an important aspect, and that is now that Alton has survived the ouster. Um, the board has no power. I mean, the whole reason you have a board is a board is supposed to be able to reign in the CEO. It's, it's toothless now and they realize, at least for for the near future, they can't do anything to him. He could, he could go into every board meeting and shoot rubber bands at them for the entire time, and they can't do a damn thing because they realize they. They shot the one bullet in the gun and it missed. Yeah, you know, this is the whole. If you aim for the, if you come for the king, you better not miss. They missed. So until he screws up or until the company becomes extremely unprofitable, he can do anything he wants at open AI.

0:26:38 - Harry McCracken
So if he had a notion to to really push forward as fast as you possibly could, to to grow for the sake of growth, now is the time for for him to do it he is working on all these various side projects and it'll be interesting to see whether open AI turns out to be Sam Altman's life's work or if at some point something else is more exciting to him personally and he moves on, because YC theoretically could have been his life's work too and he moved on from that well, moved on is a very polite way of saying.

0:27:06 - Iain Thomson
Got fired for pushing personal priorities and also there was some double dealing, I think, in a start-up, with his brother, you know, and getting fired, okay it's, it's happened to pretty much everyone on the planet. But I mean to get fired for dropping your work and possibly personally enriching yourself isn't a great look. When you've now got the dominant control of open AI, surely?

0:27:27 - Harry McCracken
yeah, I mean, it's the other examples of people trying to run multiple companies at once. You, with the possible exception of Steve Jobs, usually doesn't seem like such a great thing and you usually does not come and do a good end. And I really wonder, like five years from now, while Sam Altman still be running open AI, quite possibly, but I wouldn't bet a lot of money on that team something else may have become more interesting to him in the interim yeah.

0:27:53 - Dock Rock
So I like that connection, harry, because one of my first thoughts and I grant that the climate is different one of my very first thoughts when it went in and I actually sent this tweet out, I sent a tweet out of Steve's you know, during this.

You know the standard Steve pose going Sam, my son, you know exactly what to do because it does have some 1985, you know, patina to it. However, the thing that made it different is with Twitter and with the ability to ground squall. You know, external support. We were able to, not we well, the situation was able to stop him from going to create Pixar and next and then come back and you know, and and roll os 10 out. So it would. There were some interesting sort of connections to that and I was really funny not as some people made parallels to it, but not as many people did as you should, but I do think it's funny to see the difference in the way the climate was then versus now, how fast he was able to recover yeah, it was a bit of a resurrection in terms of his, uh, in terms of his position, I mean.

0:29:01 - Iain Thomson
I mean, we both had the same problem, as journalists trying to cover this was that, you know, you just didn't know what was going to happen, day and day out, and everyone had a theory and nobody had a source they trusted. So, um, I don't know. It always makes me nervous when you get someone with that much control over a company. Um, it worked for Steve Jobs, it worked a little bit for Gates, but he then did the IE, the Internet Explorer rush job which got them into serious trouble jobs wasn't perfect by any manner of means, but at least he got stuff done on. Apple's really not invented that much since he left, um, this planet, as it were. Um, but it's always dangerous when you know you get one person don't rain running the roost, I mean it's. I can't think of a technology company where it's really worked long term. Can you anyone? I'll open the floor.

0:29:55 - Harry McCracken

0:29:56 - Dock Rock
Maybe Oracle love my mind too, yeah yeah, yeah, oracles, a bad word where I live.

0:30:04 - Padre
I mean no, it's, it's not a loved company, but it no, it's because Larry Bartlett.

0:30:08 - Dock Rock
No, he, you know like it's a beloved. Oh right, the island, sorry, yeah a little bit controversial, but I mean I do, I agree with you sorry, yeah, he bought the he's.

0:30:19 - Iain Thomson
Larry Ellison has actually now got his own private island. I mean, this is stepping towards the supervillain. You know, if he combines with Elon Musk and they get rocketry on there, then we're all doomed. It's as simple as that, you know.

0:30:31 - Padre
But we should. He bought his own island, but he but he didn't realize that there are no such thing as private beaches. In Hawaii, every beach is a public beach and he didn't like that, because rich people should not have to share beaches with bore yeah.

0:30:46 - Iain Thomson
Well, that really annoys Richard Branson as well, because he bought an island in the British Virgin Islands and under UK law, yes, you cannot own the ground between the high tide spot, the low tide spot. So he's got this luxurious Necker island, which I think cost about 10,000 a day to stay out, and all these yachties sort of turn up and have a party on his beach and there's nothing he can do about it, which is quite fun anyway. Moving onwards with with this in the long term, is this going to be a problem just for open AI or is there major reshuffles going on in all the AI companies because our enthropic brought out a new product? We've got other AI companies, startups going left, right and center and we're getting bombarded with press releases. Is this a fundamentally unstate? Is it just that the stage we're at in the hype cycle and the growth cycle?

0:31:36 - Dock Rock
there's going to be a lot of changes around it definitely made a lot of people start to look at things like Claude and llama and some of the other large language models. Because people were padding and I was explaining this to my community yesterday because you know some guys we were doing some training and people were talking about how they're having a hard time doing stuff on chat gpt. Now it must have to do with Sam and I was like no, not really. Like here's the common sense move. If I'm writing my book and I'm using chat gpt to help, I'm doing some research project and all of a sudden the board and Sam and have this little.

You know, lovers crawl over the last week you start worrying whether the service is going to get shut down. So everybody who had been doing their weekend projects they were like really hustling, trying to get this thing done before you know their accounts got canceled or you know chat gpt plus went away. So it's just the nature of a service. If amazon said hey, we're going to end prime next month, people will go and try to finish out their watch list to make sure they get in. You know, uh, good omens and all of those other shows through their head before that, you know, before it disappears. So, like I said, david did it, sorry anyway. Um, we'll talk about that later you're yeah.

I'm teasing, I'm teasing anyway, it was really it's. I think it really is that and you're right, it is giving these other guys a chance to shine. But it's really also funny how, when you have a product that has the Kleenex moniker, like you know it's the name for all tissue, whether it's that exact product or not they're a little bit hard to move, especially. You know that. Remember back in the day where everything that made a noise must have been sound blaster, and I was like yo sound blaster was dead in the water. People were still talking about this. Sound blaster creator was milled for pieces. I think we're in that position right now. So hopefully it will let some of these other guys shine, because that takes away that single source problem. It becomes different when not one person can control it. So I would like to see Claude and Lama, some of these other guys, catch up to the name recognition, if nothing else, because that at least eliminates everybody worrying about the one thing there is that.

0:33:46 - Iain Thomson
Indeed, that's right. Well, leo may be away, but he is here in spirit, and here's a word from one of our sponsors thank you, ian.

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0:35:40 - Iain Thomson
Thanks very much, leo. I happen to know that he's offline at the moment, but hopefully he will view this and not want to hunt me down and kill me Right now. We've mentioned Elon Musk in the previous conversation, but he too has had a busy week. It wouldn't be a week in buying technology if he didn't have a busy week making headlines. But he has sued Media Matters over a search, saying that some of his advertisers are being put next to neo-Nazi posts. Now, obviously we can make the easy joke about they obviously did not see that coming. But it's always a bad sign when people get out the lawsuit. Surely Anyone got it. It just seems like the minute you reach for the lawyers, you've almost lost the argument, especially after it's kind of table stakes now, isn't it?

0:36:28 - Padre
I mean, everyone sues everybody and you always rush to judgment saying remember how this came out. I am going to sue them. The first thing on Monday there's going to be a nuclear lawsuit headed their direction and then he was in a corner because if he didn't file he was going to lose face.

0:36:43 - Iain Thomson
And if he did file and it's not a super strong case- no, I mean I read through the court documents and this is- it's kind of you know it's a wish list of what they could have happened, but I mean, we've all been on Twitter and we've all seen what's been going on. It just seemed like, you know, particularly last week, with the way he was basically supporting a Nazi post, as far as I could see, I mean it just it's an odd piece of behavior. I mean, harry, you pointed out that he doesn't seem to know, you know, how to rein himself in on this front. Do you think he's onto a winner with this?

0:37:21 - Harry McCracken
I mean probably not. The bar is so high for winning a lawsuit like this, and the elephant in the room is even if I mean, I guess the crux of the lawsuit is that almost there were almost no instances of ads being placed next to these Nazi posts, and maybe high percentage of the time it happened were media matters engineering its own feed in order to see it. But even if all of that is true and that somehow does work and Twitter slash ex's favor as a lawsuit, the elephant in the room is Elon Musk on Twitter speaking approvingly of this horrific anti-Semitic content on his own site, and so the ad placements seem like the smaller problem for ex than what its owner has been doing, and if he doesn't rein himself in their reputation is not going to survive and they will continue to have these issues, which seem to be really significant, of advertisers fleeing the platform.

0:38:24 - Iain Thomson
Well, I mean with I mean it was quite funny having IBM pull out, considering their role in the Holocaust. We did fun fact there's a journalist with a Guardian newspaper in the UK. Actually, they wrote an article about IBM's history in the Holocaust, where they sold computers to the Nazis that we used to round up people to go to the camps. And so she wrote this article and then got IBM's PR on the phone saying well, a couple of things. First off, ibm actually pulled out of the country in 1937. And I don't think anyone really realized how bad Hitler was until 1937. And you say our supporter, our work with the Nazi regime was shameful. I think maybe a better word would be Miss unfortunate, just like. Are you absolutely kidding me? But I mean, if IBM pulling out, everyone else is pulling out. Was that genuinely because of the Nazi thing or was it just like we're sick of Twitter, we're sick of you know Brad is being dragged down. It was a thousand cuts.

0:39:22 - Dock Rock
It was a thousand it was 997 of a thousand cuts just because of all the other things that is going on. And I mean, you know, if it walks like a duck, you know quacks like a duck then it's Elon Musk. I mean, come on, dude, like you've been fadding the flame, even if like I don't even want to give him credit for joking, but let's just say, in some position he was joking, he's just fadding the flame to get activity going on X again. Yo, you're still doing something dumb, like going up to a fire and then putting lighter fluid on it is not going to make the entire building burn down, but you're not helping, so he doesn't get a pass for that. I saw Padre made a post, you know, after his like exactly that, whatever tweet he sent. So I'm just like dude, come on.

I find it funny that the richest and most powerful people, who are forever talking about other people being software or was that Snowflakes, or whatever they're always the first ones that try to like send a band of attorneys or something Like if you had a problem, go meet them face to face and see if you can handle it face to face first. If that's what you're saying, that's what really matters, because you don't need the money for the lawsuit. So what's the lawsuit for? Right, are you just trying to own them because that's what your fans would like? Because the fans that you recently got, because you've been standing up with your fan flaming, I mean, I mean flame fanning, whatever.

And I don't really understand and I wish-. Yeah, here's my feelings on Elon Musk in the nutshell. I would love to have a single conversation with him, because I want to posit a question to him and I guarantee you he would get it wrong, just because of his internal brain. If I said to him Elon, who's the richest African-American in the United States, he would not say himself, because in his head you got to look like me, but he's from Africa.

0:41:21 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, from South Africa to a rather unfortunate period of its history as well.

0:41:26 - Dock Rock
Same whatever. But you know he theoretically can speak Africans, but I guarantee you he wouldn't answer that question correctly, Because I query tons of people on that and they all get it wrong. Because that's just the way our brains have been brainwashed recently.

0:41:42 - Padre
I don't know, Can I pull the panel really quickly? Just because when I saw the list of advertisers who were pulling off of Twitter, like Doc, I thought now these are advertisers who have wanted to pull off for a while and this is just a good reason to finally get off the platform. But you know, they talked about Apple, they talked about IBM and you know Disney. I haven't seen any of those ads in months, if not the full year. Most of the ads that I get on Twitter are for cheap plastic toys from China, From Timu, yeah yeah, Timu and Timunakafs. That's basically all I see now. So have you been seeing those ads?

0:42:20 - Dock Rock
No, I haven't have you seen an.

0:42:21 - Padre
Apple ad on Twitter recently.

0:42:22 - Dock Rock
I didn't think about that, but no, I have not.

0:42:25 - Iain Thomson
No, I have. I mean I'm getting spammed out with Cheech and Chong gummy adverts and various other things.

0:42:31 - Harry McCracken
I blocked Cheech and Chong eventually. Where were they spending, oh?

0:42:33 - Iain Thomson
really. Oh, you went down that route.

0:42:36 - Harry McCracken
I mean, for a while I was seeing a lot of Disney ads, but those have been gone. And a week or two ago almost my entire Twitter was sponsored by Oreo, for some reason. There was like the only brand that I have ever heard of. That was still there, and I have not seen any Oreo ads over the last few days, and I'm not sure whether the algorithm just went down a different direction or if even Nabisco got sick of it.

0:43:01 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean they are foul biscuits, but that might be the reason. Yes, they are.

0:43:07 - Harry McCracken
These are the Oreo cakes. There's something like that.

0:43:10 - Padre
Maybe Every time I see an ad for those cheapy devices that go in your car and stuff, I always block. The first thing I do is I block, which is weird because I will see the exact same ad from a different Twitter account like 15 times. So I'm wondering if is there like a bulk package you can buy it at Twitter, where they will just keep putting your ads on different accounts because they know people are blocking their ads? Could be.

0:43:33 - Iain Thomson
I tend to block. I mean, if something's obviously not something I want to hear about, I'll just block it on, you know, and that can be because that's actually a lot of fun, because as they start scraping the barrel of what kind of ads to show you you can see some really interesting stuff. But yeah, no, I don't think I've ever seen an Apple and Apple ad on there, or IBM.

0:43:52 - Harry McCracken
I mean although, yeah, even when I was not seeing Apple ads, I heard that Apple was really spending quite a bit of money. So it's hard to judge from your own particular feed what who is and is not advertising.

0:44:04 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I know it's, and this is, I guess, the central problem for the media matters lawsuit because he is claiming that the algorithm was by was biased against them. But I've had some dealings with media matters. They seem to be a fairly trust with the organization.

0:44:18 - Harry McCracken
There were stories in the last few days about large advertisers going to Linda Yaccarino and saying please lend off for the sake of your own reputation, quit and see whether that will get Elon to change his ways.

0:44:31 - Iain Thomson
Her Twitter feed has been very strange of light, you know. I mean I understand she's got a job to do, but it's you're kind of expecting to see sort of little letters help, help on being held against my will.

0:44:46 - Harry McCracken
You have to say that anti-Semitism is no place on the service. You're already in trouble, yeah.

0:44:51 - Padre
Yeah, do you remember that tweet she sent out about a month ago where she was saying oh yeah, twitter is going to be profitable and the advertisers have come back and everyone was just looking at going? Are you OK? Do you need someone to come and do a welfare check?

0:45:05 - Iain Thomson
I know I mean it's madness, because I mean we had the reports this week that you know there's 75 million they're losing. I mean, twitter was, as my understanding, before Musk took over, twitter was just barely profitable and he then took it over, loaded it up with debt and the advertisers are fleeing. So quick poll from the panel Do you think it's going to be around in a year or two, or is this going to be quietly sort of either? If not shut down, then just become the my space of social networks? It's still there but nobody really uses it.

0:45:38 - Padre
It depends entirely if Elon is willing to pay the ego tax, if he's willing to fund it with his own money, then it can stay around. But I mean those of us who have looked at the pre-Musk numbers and the numbers that are being generated based on how much the investments are being marked down by the banks who have loaned it money they there's. It's not possible in in a year he will earn less than just the debt service on the loans that he has taken out on Twitter. That's not any of the operations, that's just the debt service. So if he's willing to throw away a billion or $2 a year to keep Twitter open, sure he could keep it open indefinitely, but otherwise there's no hope to make this thing profitable.

0:46:22 - Dock Rock
This reminds me of my grandpa and a group of friends that all had their, their Chrysler's or their Ford's or whatever towards the end of the seventies, when we had to drive around looking for a leaded petrol because everything was unleaded, but there was a handful of guys that would not get rid of their you know supercars that they had from the late sixties, early seventies, until we got to a point where there was ways to make that work. It's it reminds me of that or the the last bastion of folks hanging on the rotary dial. So those of us that are still there, we're not there because we want to be. It's just that the people that we communicate with the most are still kind of there. So we go there and then wait.

To some extent it's less noisy because you can talk exactly to the people you want to talk to. So it's an efficient form of communication. But you have had to do some serious curation to get rid of all of the nonsense, and that's just too much work for most people nowadays, so I don't think it can survive. It's just mastodon or nothing good enough has taken its place yet.

0:47:34 - Harry McCracken
Well, I don't know what that's going to be. I'm on mastodon and it's it's kind of fun, but it's not going to replace Twitter and there are all kinds of Twitter's I love, like news Twitter that have not really been replicated anywhere yet.

0:47:47 - Iain Thomson
Yes, exactly. I mean, it used to be that fire hose of information. If something broke, then you knew it would be on Twitter. Exactly, exactly, yeah, and I think that's broken and may not be coming back, but we're going to have to see on that front because it's just, it's it. The current situation is like, as I see it is untenable because Alphanet.

0:48:09 - Dock Rock
I think that was the first one that I thought that was really good and had a chance and it just never really took. It was like five bucks a month. It came out early Twitter days I want to call it like circa 2012, and all of us tech people went there for a minute. I think it was Alphanet. You're in that net, yeah yeah. I mean that was the closest thing, but even that fizzed.

0:48:32 - Padre

0:48:32 - Dock Rock
Elon Twitter has made me miss Google Plus.

0:48:35 - Padre
Google Plus.

0:48:39 - Iain Thomson
When you find yourself missing, that, you know you're in serious trouble. Patrick, you're in the waves and Google Plus. Well this is it. I mean, Blue Sky doesn't seems very dead at the moment. I just maybe someone will come through. It's traditional in the in the social media sphere that companies come and companies go.

0:48:59 - Harry McCracken
I don't see there being like a one stop shop in the way that Twitter was a one stop shop for almost everything, because the different Twitter's are going different places. Over Thanksgiving I talked to my sister who loved writer Twitter and kind of the fiction world and at least some of those people have de-camped to Blue Sky. But when I go to Blue Sky I don't really have trouble finding my people, and their people love threads, and threads to me is still kind of. I have not unlocked the secret of enjoying it.

0:49:28 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, but.

0:49:29 - Harry McCracken
Mastodon I have enjoyed, but there are people I talked to say that either Mastodon is dead or people on Mastodon are really unpleasant.

0:49:36 - Iain Thomson
No, I don't know. I've always had fairly good things, but I agree with you on threads. I mean, I haven't actually been on them myself because I refused to have an Instagram account, but um oh yeah, I was looking for you there today to try to promote the show and couldn't find you.

Yeah, no, once I was, I was toying with it and then Facebook bought it and it was like no, I already got those. Gotta give those people people. Thank goodness I thought that came out right. I was gonna give Facebook that. You know as much data as I have. Anyway, I don't really want to be getting into Instagram Instagram as well, but I don't know. It seems to thread seems to be growing. I think Biden has now gone on there, which is either a sign that it's dead or it's it's made it.

0:50:18 - Padre
Well, let's, let's remember that Twitter was a 20 year experiment that finally grew into something that was useful after about 10 years, maybe 10, 12 years. So to think that entire communities are going to move over to an alternative and immediately be able to have the same level of discourse that they had on pre-Must Twitter, that's, that's a pipe dream. It doesn't matter who's running it or what technology it's based on. That's just not going to happen. It's going to come down to community.

Twitter probably accidentally ran into a great formula when they did the original blue check system to give to news agencies and people of repute, because then it kind of gave you the bar, the bar for for a conversation. When Musk destroyed that, he destroyed the only thing Twitter did. Well, yeah, and you can't bring that back because that trust, again, it took two decades to build. So you know, I like Macedon. I love Macedon because it's a small community that I enjoy, but I don't pretend that it has the reach of what even my small account on Twitter could do. Yes, facebook, I try to stay away from Facebook properties just because it's Facebook Blue Sky. It doesn't seem particularly useful or interesting and it on all of these it feels like I'm jumping back in time at least 10 years to what Twitter used to be, and I kind of don't want to do that again. It took a long time to build these communities. I have no interest in using the same amount of time to do it again.

0:51:47 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, no, I can understand totally. I mean, it's also there's no easy way to transfer, you know, all your Twitter followers over to a different platform, and it's this is something Cori Doctorow, the FF, has been talking about in terms of vendor lock in, and I don't know if we can say this, but ready with a bleep of the shitification of the Internet where, basically a company will you know, you get a large number of people involved in your site. You get it, so they can't really do without it, and then you start really hammering them on costs or usability or, in the case of Twitter, with neo-Nazis. So you know, it does seem to be about. You know it's on par with the way the technology industry is going. I think that is that fair, that's not a bug it's a feature?

0:52:27 - Dock Rock
Yeah, I think it's a feature. I just, you know, oftentimes I just think to myself. You know, every time you know someone, minutes is determined on the neo-Nazis. When I left high school and then college, I never thought we'd get to the point where we'd need to put the word neo in front. I just thought that would be over. So it's really strange to me how the digression has been, but I just told myself that it's a cycle and the cycles almost run its course. These kind of weird things tend to be about 10 years long and it's been eight. So I'm hoping the next two years and kind of like, lose the steam for a minute and we can go back to our regularly scheduled effery, then come back to it later. By that time I won't be here.

0:53:13 - Iain Thomson
It is slightly weird that anti-fascist has become a term of abuse. You know, it's kind of like, oh my God, those guys going up the beaches on D-Day, they're pretty sure they were anti-fascist.

0:53:23 - Dock Rock
Oh my God. Yes, thank you for saying that. That makes my heart feel better.

0:53:28 - Harry McCracken
In theory, activity public. The protocol behind Mastodon might solve a lot of this by letting you have one identity and threads is supposedly going to support it, which is potentially will be kind of the first time that theory will be tested, because you could be the same person on all these services eventually and not be locked into anything. And it's a great idea and very aspirational, and I have no idea whether it will actually work or not, but I'd like to see somebody as powerful as Mark Zuckerberg at least give it a try, because it really deserves to be tried and you think it would help drive traffic to the threat platform anyway, because it just means that you've got more and more people coming in and confide each other.

0:54:10 - Iain Thomson
I mean, you mentioned the problems of rebuilding your lists on a new platform. It's a massive problem in terms of how it's done.

0:54:18 - Harry McCracken
When I first took Mastodon seriously. Actually it was fairly easy because the Twitter API still existed and there are all these services that would scrape your Twitter and recreate it on Mastodon. So I very quickly got a decent number of people on Mastodon and I believe that is no longer possible unless you manually search for these people, which is really a headache.

0:54:39 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean, if you've got more than a few followers, then it's fine, let's find these people again, but it's an evolving situation. I believe, as we say, in the trade.

0:54:52 - Padre
Have any of you done social media fasting before.

0:54:56 - Iain Thomson
Ooh, no, is this a length thing for you?

0:54:59 - Padre
No, I do it at least once a year and it's been getting longer, like last year, I did it for six weeks. I just started with Elon Musk's Nazi tweet. That's when I decided, okay, I'm going to get off for a while. It does help you to build up some perspective on what you use social media for and why you would want to get on Like, for example, I've come to realize that most of the stuff I post on Twitter is like a diary. I'm basically journaling. It's group therapy, but that only works with people who I trust, who I actually enjoy the company of and I enjoy conversations with. But I would love for people just to take a week to stop, just turn it off. Not talking about going to an alternative. I'm just stop, stop doing it, do something else with that time and come back. You come back with a great perspective on what the proper use of social media is for you. That's the only thing I'm going to say that's anti-tech.

0:55:52 - Iain Thomson
No, no, I'm with you. I recently went to a sort of hot spring resort where there was no internet, no phone signal. They had a pay phone in the corner for emergencies and by day three it was fantastic. I'd read a book, A pay phone. What is that? Okay, it's an archaic thing where you take discs of metal and you push it into the little slots.

0:56:15 - Padre
Isn't that where Superman used to do his thing? Or is that, dr Guglitz?

0:56:21 - Iain Thomson
It is kind of sad if you go and barter a lot I'm assuming you do but now they've taken out all the pay phones, so now there's just a piece of junk in the middle, and at San Francisco Airport I tweeted a picture about this recently. You remember those pay phones with the phone books hanging down.

0:56:41 - Padre
Oh, I love those Generations are going to miss out on this wonderful game I used to play when I was a kid and I needed to talk to my mom but I didn't have any money and you'd make a call and when it said what is your name, you'd say the message really, really fast, and then hang up and then you know so before accepting the charges. They'd hear it and then not accept the call. Oh yeah, they all did that, right, or is that just?

0:57:02 - Dock Rock
Yes, and we also had. We knew the numbers to the various pay phones when Caller ID came out. So I was able to be like, okay, Bobby, I'm going to be out of the house at like seven, so call me at seven on the pay phone by the bodega. And the phone would ring and they're like, hey, who's it? Oh, cool. And they're like, am I looking for Doc? You know, because somebody, if somebody grabbed it before you and you would run you out of me, me, me, me, me. And they were like what are you doing? I was like I don't have the house for all my sisters. I grew up in the house with all women and I was the baby, so like I had no priority on the phone. So I had to tell my friends to call the pay phone at the bodega and I would run down there and you know, that was our social networking and that's what we did.

0:57:45 - Iain Thomson
Well, future generations are going to sadly miss on that. And also when the Terminator scene where he lands on, lands in Los Angeles and goes through the book and takes out the page, it's just like what was that? Why would they just leave that information lying around?

0:57:57 - Harry McCracken
but still, Every once in a while I will see an abandoned pay phone like somewhere in San Francisco that still has the phone book hanging down and I always check to see how recent it is and it's often like maybe 12 years old and it's been through the rain and it's like just kind of a giant wad of yellow paper.

0:58:19 - Iain Thomson
It's future archaeology.

0:58:20 - Padre
Wait, is there any place that still has the yellow pages, or is that gone?

0:58:23 - Harry McCracken
guys, I still get my yellow pages and I immediately dump it in to be recycled and it's not particularly thick anymore, but yes, it still exists. I know it is getting very skinny.

0:58:34 - Dock Rock
Yeah, that's right the kids do to fit at the table. Nowadays, when Grand was going to cut the hair, you will have a couple of phone books, pop you in there and say don't move and get out the knee.

0:58:48 - Padre
You'd find a nice maple leaf and put it in the book and lay it down on the counter overnight and it would be nice and flat and ready for the Earth.

0:58:54 - Dock Rock
Come on, that's childhood man Harry got it right. Remember the Christmas catalog from Sears and Montgomery? I called it Monkey Awards. I used to love the Leonor floor, september through October, just Bending pages in the Sears catalog or the Muggur rewards catalog and like leaving it next to my dad's you know little smoking table Just hoping that he would catch the hand at every page of the Sears wishbook memorized pretty much book. That's what it is, that's okay.

0:59:23 - Harry McCracken
This is a part of you may not know this this is a part of American culture.

0:59:27 - Iain Thomson
I have no idea. It was a.

0:59:28 - Harry McCracken
Sears Christmas toy catalog. There was huge oh and like 20 different toys on every page. Yes, okay beautifully described with wonderful photography. Oh, it's like.

0:59:39 - Padre
Augusta Ian. It was computer shopper before computer shopper exactly that's the.

0:59:44 - Dock Rock
That is such a good analogy that computer shopper before computer shopper.

0:59:48 - Iain Thomson
Well, I mean one of the color one of the people in discorders has just put out it's our goals for Brits. I don't know if you ever go to the UK. I would recommend going to our boss, because it's quite an experience. They have the laminated book of dreams, as it says it was jokingly called by Bill Bailey and little pens, little blue pens, which you mark down on a form what you want. It's just. It's a very bizarre shopping experience. However, we have a slightly better shopping experience, or at least a advertising experience now from Leo.

1:00:14 - Leo Laporte
Thank you, ian. Next week, jason Howell hosts this week in tech, and I'll be back in two weeks. I appreciate it. Thanks to both of you, fine gentlemen, for taking over the show this week in tech Brought to you today by our friends at it pro TV I shouldn't say today all year long by it pro TV now called a CI learning, and you've seen those signs all over the studio.

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1:04:30 - Iain Thomson
There's always a cricket term for some things. I mean we do have a position on the cricket folder. Is that the pitcher, the bowler? The bowler is the one who chucks the ball, but it's the fielders who sort of catch it and make things better. There is one marvellous position in a cricket team, known as Silly Mid-Off, which is just slightly to the side, but it is a slightly odd game. It's just like for American viewers, if you imagine baseball, but on valium. I was trying to explain this to an American colleague and he was like so let me get this right. In a test match, the game can last five days. It's like yep, that's true, and if it does last five days it usually ends in a draw. It's like yes, why do you people watch this? I had to explain that gin and tonic is an essential part of it.

1:05:19 - Padre
I live with two Aussies and eight Indians, who all love cricket, so I'm slowly learning how to appreciate cricket.

1:05:27 - Iain Thomson
Very slowly. I mean, we invented the game, but then the rest of the world now beats us at it, much like various other sports, but not a lot that can be done on that one. But still Now we were discussing before the break, social media and of course, there is another player in the social media sphere which I would be surprised if anyone here is on, but I'm genuinely curious as well on that's truth social. Now, our former president, of course, has a major role in this and he's just sued 20 media organisations for saying that it's losing an awful lot of money. Now, coming back to the lawsuit, the thing that Musk went on actually quick check. Is anyone here using truth social?

1:06:10 - Harry McCracken
I wouldn't say I'm using it, but maybe once every six months I do log in and I do have a count, just to see whether it's changed at all, which it is not, and I didn't want somebody else to get my name, so I've never posted anything. But yes, I log in once in a very great while.

1:06:26 - Iain Thomson
Oh, okay, name blocking Very good idea. Yes, I mean, you see it when he says something particularly egregious and it gets spread around. But suing media outlets for the fact that you're losing money I mean, you're a journalist. This is obviously an attempt to chill things right.

1:06:44 - Harry McCracken
Well, I mean, donald Trump has sued people for many years for that sort of reason, and sometimes he doesn't bother to go through with the lawsuit, he just says for years he's going to sue somebody and that's almost as powerful and a lot cheaper.

1:07:00 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, the legal bills will certainly add up. I mean, doc, this is.

1:07:05 - Padre
He's going to get slapped. There's going to be a slap lawsuit filed against this because, look, all they did was report on the financials that his company released. That's it. So I mean, again, the best defense against defamation is truth, not too throful, but the truth, and the truth. What they had to file, we know exactly how much money they lost. So I mean, this was just done to rile up his base Again. This is the whole. I'm going to sue them and I here's the lawsuit and then when he loses it, it gets thrown out of court or they would draw it with malice. It's just going to be slipped under the carpet.

1:07:42 - Iain Thomson
It does seem like a very I mean slapsuits. The basic principle is a good idea, but do they actually work? Are they actually ineffective deterrent?

1:07:51 - Padre
I mean he's already lost one. Essentially, what was a slap suit? Frivolous lawsuits in order to stop public participation. If all of the media companies were to actually get together and file the slap as a single party, then it would have some serious teeth. If they're going to do it individually, he could wait them out. The problem is he's not going to be paying for it. The D-WAC is going to be paying for it and it's almost out of money, so I mean this could just be their last hurrah yeah we shall see.

1:08:25 - Iain Thomson
I've got my doubts on it this way. I mean, it just seems like, as you say, you're reporting on financial results. It's just an attempt to sort of chill things down, but he does like his lawsuits Well, except there's the one that he's you know, that rather awkward one in New York at the moment. But we shall see. And, of course, elon Musk had his own problems with lawsuits as well, with a judge saying there is evidence that Tesla knew its autopilot system was a bit faulty. Now, here in San Francisco we've actually had one of these. Well, cruz has had to and now shut its entire US fleet while it sorts this stuff out. Tesla obviously wasn't going to go that far. Is it likely that Tesla is going to see any fallback or fallout from this? Well, they're more likely just to settle out of court.

1:09:15 - Padre
The problem is that the law this is brand new territory. This is unlike any faulty equipment slash, faulty product lawsuit that we've seen before, because it's advanced technology that most courts will not be able to understand. They don't have the personnel to be able to dissect this. A lot of legal teams don't have those resources either, and Tesla is arguably the leader in this field. So any experts who are going to be Tesla adjacent or Tesla bound Now could a lawsuit conceivably just force Tesla to improve the product in the future? Probably, that would be my guess. For the most likely outcome, there's going to be something that the government will be able to claim was a victory, without really putting any financial penalties on Tesla. There'll probably be a slight slap on, a fine, a fee. That's pocket changed for them. I think they're actually going to find more trouble when we start getting into the lawsuits based on the overreporting of the range of their vehicles. That actually could see more of a bounce back, more of an impact on Tesla, than the autopilot one.

1:10:26 - Iain Thomson
That was a really interesting case For listeners who didn't know the company was facing accusations that basically, when you got your Tesla it was misreporting the amount of charge that you had. Is he saying that you had more than you actually needed, or saying you had more than was charged in the battery? Then, after you think it, I think when he got down to 49%, then it gave the real reading and people were suffering massive drop-offs in their estimated range, in some cases having to make jury rig recharging stations just to try and get their car back to the nearest PowerPoint. Then when people complained about this, apparently there was a group in Las Vegas whose sole job it was was to try and dissuade them from looking into this.

1:11:13 - Padre
It's a pretty grim scene. That's the damming part. By the way, that's the damming part. If it had just been. They overreported the battery range. That's one thing. It's in exact science. But the fact that they knew it was a problem and they actually spun up a team to gaslight their customers into not bringing them in, that's almost admission of guilt.

1:11:34 - Harry McCracken
You remember the son of the Volkswagen shenanigans?

1:11:37 - Dock Rock
with the diesel a few years ago.

1:11:40 - Harry McCracken
I feel like I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know how this autopilot lawsuit will pan out, but once again, some of it boils down to Elon Musk's behavior. If the question is did Elon Musk lead people to think that Tesla's were capable of safely driving themselves? Yes, he did do that. He created some of his own trouble here yet again.

1:12:02 - Iain Thomson
He does tend to have a promise on these things. Certainly it's. But I mean, if you're going to call something autopilot, people are surely going to use it as an autopilot. It's not rocket science, surely?

1:12:17 - Padre
I mean I don't know, but you're saying that, that disclaimer that says you're not going to do that, so it's all good right, I mean, no one ever violates a eula.

1:12:27 - Dock Rock
Now that so many, so many rental cars have these things in it, trust you me, just being the nerd, I have fully tested the seven or eight different vehicles that I've rented that have them and, believe it or not, so far the one that surprisingly works the best is from Hyundai, and I'm pretty impressed by it. So yeah, of course you're going to test it, because I did and I know better. Here we are in San Diego on a freeway doing about 80.

And I'm just like look look, check it out Like it's really working. It's just fairly stupid, but you know, at least I could have grabbed it out of curiosity.

1:13:05 - Iain Thomson
I want to know which ones are the best, and yeah, so he knew what he was doing. I'm never driving with you I wouldn't suggest that.

1:13:14 - Dock Rock
anyway, I like fast.

1:13:17 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean, it's just I don't know. I'm all fashioned about these things. I like my cars, dumb, but you know, it's like my TVs I hate smart TVs.

1:13:28 - Dock Rock
You know why I've been wanting this to come to fruition really, really quickly my time in college in Japan, where I finally got back to what it's like to commute and not have to pay attention to where you're going. I got so much work done in the train and that hour and a half where my brain is I don't have to pay attention to anything. My body even knew when it was time to get to your stop. I don't know how this works, but you could I mean you rolled in the tube before in you can go to sleep and as soon as they say, pick a daily you like, all right, I'm good.

1:14:00 - Iain Thomson
And you just walk out.

1:14:02 - Dock Rock
I don't know if that's a real stop, I just my head.

1:14:04 - Iain Thomson
No, no, pick a daily circus is a real stop. But I mean, it used to be the thing you could get. Little London underground would actually give out little stickers if you were a bit tipsy and you could write down. You could write down your location on sticker on a shirt and people would wait you up at the stop.

1:14:20 - Dock Rock
Oh, that's so good and the most amazing thing too. You know it's like really, besides being able to get work done, I was always impressed how people could not hold on to anything and I always feel like I was going to go flying and they're like they surfed the rails the way we surf boards over here in the water and no one's falling and I'm holding on like all my grip. I got my you know briefcase between the feet. I'm trying to not to fall down and people are just like reading their comic book, to sort of swaying back and forth.

1:14:47 - Iain Thomson
You know it's all in the knees. You've got to brace the knees so that as it accelerates, you're leaning one way and it de accelerates, you're leaning another. And it's not always an exact science, but you know it's, it's one of those things, but I mean it's. I mean, coming back to the, the Tesla thing you point, you raise an interesting point, as in the sort of the smart home and smart devices. I don't know if anyone saw this, but in a shameless attempt to cash in on the open AI trouble, the chairman of a, the CEO of a smart mattress company called eight sleep, tweeted out breaking news.

The open AI drama is real. We checked our data and last night San Francisco saw a spike in low quality sleep. There was a 27% increase in people getting under five hours sleep. We need to fix this Now. Okay, self promotion is as old as the web In fact predates the web but this he kind of spoke the quiet part out loud, if you know what I mean. It's like everyone technically knows that they collect this data. That's the price you pay when it comes to the, when it comes to the smart. You know the smart devices. That's why I refuse to have one in my home, which makes me a bit of a Luddite, but I mean to actually come out and just everyone reminded, just remind everyone oh yeah, we watch you while you sleep. That's not really the message you want to get across.

1:16:03 - Dock Rock
Yeah, even if he was joking, even if the data was fully, just like I'm a postal numbers out of the sky. Just to make my point. He's scared everybody, bro. That's like yelling fire in the theater. That's pretty stupid, but it's also funny and fantastic marketing. I'm still spinning over how good Snoop coming out for the whole week talking about he gave up smoking and people, people believe I ain't gonna lie. When he was like, respect my privacy, I was like, oh man, he got like lung cancer and you know the family is trying to tell him, to tell us something's wrong because he's making the sad face looks and everything. And then he's, it's a grill. I'm like, come on, dude, that was brilliant. So to the eight sleeve guy you know, talk to Snoop for your marketing campaign, because you just kind of screwed that one up.

1:16:50 - Padre
Although now I am actually interested in knowing what an AI that was dedicated to only looking at the data from eight sleep would develop. I mean, what kind of what kind of correlations would it draw from the sleep quality of an entire nation, big melatonin and oh right, oh I don't know.

1:17:11 - Iain Thomson
I mean there's all these you know, the sleep systems and the rest of it, but I mean all of the you know. At the end of the day, you mentioned smart TVs, padre. I mean it's try buying a TV that isn't smart. I mean it's incredibly difficult to do something with what he said. If we actually did a dumb TV, we'd have to charge more than a smart TV because of the revenue you make from the data.

1:17:31 - Harry McCracken
I am clinging to my one last dumb TV and hope I don't have to replace it any time soon. And I do own another smart TV which I bought with great reluctance.

1:17:41 - Iain Thomson
It's not a cathode ray tube, is it?

1:17:44 - Harry McCracken
No, it's like a little. Maybe I have like a 24 inch flat screen. That's dumb.

1:17:48 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean, I think there is a real market for dumb, you know, for dumb devices.

1:17:54 - Harry McCracken
The smartest TVs of all, ironically enough, the smartest ones to buy.

1:17:58 - Padre
Well, this is it. But I mean, how do you sell that to the public? How do you say you can pay 20% more to get all the features removed? That sounds weird. I mean, only the techies would buy it.

1:18:08 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean, if you said you know you could actually watch TV without adverts, that will be a good. Or watch TV without manufacturing. The manufacturer is spamming you with adverts, you know? If it was just you, actually put it onto a separate box so that you know everything else could be done on that front.

1:18:26 - Padre
I don't know, I think or we could demand truth and advertising. Say, the latest Samsung smart TV lets you watch Netflix directly from your TV for six months, at which point Netflix updates their app and nothing will work anymore.

1:18:38 - Iain Thomson
I mean, yeah, we could do that.

1:18:39 - Dock Rock
Yeah, that is, that is going to be a problem, and in fact it's you guys are going to fire up Ming-Chi Quo to start talking about Apple's going to make an official, actual TV.

1:18:49 - Iain Thomson
No, never, never.

1:18:52 - Harry McCracken
And also like a dimmer printer, because I've been been wrestling with Wow you haven't got an HP, have you? Well, at the moment I have an HP, but I think I will soon own a different brand that is named after a male sibling, and the problem I've had with with printers in general is they're just trying to do too many things and they're trying to be too smart, and if all they did was to crank out, print it out what, I think, we'd all be better off.

1:19:19 - Iain Thomson
Oh, I can't help agree with you on that. I mean, it's I've.

1:19:22 - Padre
Download the EU HP printer drivers. Oh really, HP printer drivers. Because of the laws, the privacy laws over here, they do not phone home. So if you can install them on your computer, you will remove all that reporting.

1:19:38 - Iain Thomson
Let's hear it for Europe. Oh no, hang on on British. Damn. Okay, I'm still feel European, you know, and would have voted against Brexit if we were allowed to over here, but we aren't. So there it goes. But I mean this is an ongoing thing, I mean it's you mentioned with with the printing on the printing side of things, it's just got silly. You know, printer ink is now more expensive than cocaine, apparently, you know.

I mean it's just, and if you run out of one color, you can't scan documents with some models. I mean it's.

1:20:11 - Harry McCracken
Yeah, I mean things that moved a little bit in a better direction, because there are these ink tank printers, where the printer does cost more but the cost per page comes down and they seem to be pretty popular and you do sort of have a choice. These days.

1:20:25 - Iain Thomson
You do kind of think, though, that maybe there's something fundamentally anti free marketing and selling something at a at a below manufacturing cost base, as they have done with printers for many years. It might be better if it was just like no, you've got to at least break even on a profit on a product.

1:20:41 - Padre
Yeah, that's that would be anti competitive in the United States under the under US laws. But I hear what you're saying. We just had a discussion with our IT group here because it's cheaper to buy a brand new HP printer with its toner cartridge than it is to buy a new toner cartridge.

1:21:01 - Dock Rock
And that's that's just that just creates so much waste.

1:21:03 - Padre
Yeah, but you know someone who's looking at the two prices like, wait a minute, the when I buy it brand new it comes with like the double capacity toner cartridge and a regular toner cartridge is going to cost 80% of a brand new printer. So what am I going to do?

1:21:16 - Harry McCracken
I've also gotten used to my printers dying Mike, maybe every three to four years.

1:21:21 - Dock Rock

1:21:21 - Harry McCracken
I'm lucky and then taking these enormous boxes because I like tabloid sized printers, these huge chunks of plastic which I can do nothing with, and taking them to be recycled, which makes me feel bad, just because in the, you know, in the nineties you bought a printer and it would chug away forever.

1:21:39 - Iain Thomson
I was going to say I bought. I had a laser printer that I bought from actually, they're out of the printer business now and I saw I bought it. I got it from Samsung and that thing lasted for let's see when should I move over here? Yeah, I mean that lasted for nearly 10 years. Wow, and it was just. Yeah, I mean it was, and it was perfectly easy. You just plugged it into your computer, you hit print and voila, you know you actually have the printed pages.

1:22:08 - Padre
Dry heat in the chat room just gave us a great, okay, boomer response. I'm just amazed there's so much printing going on. Yes, hey yo, millennium's Gen X, gen Z, we do still print stuff. I still like to have hard copy, not everything's on a tablet.

1:22:23 - Dock Rock
Yeah, well, and also try running a real estate company without printing. It just doesn't work Exactly we're still not there.

So we definitely print a lot. We have a little sibling and it's flawless and it doesn't give any drama and a large portion of the components are still made in Japan. So I would highly recommend the siblings. But I'm doing a fan fiction movie over here about this printer. It ain't costing more than blow Something like Scarface or Dallas Buyer's Club and I'm trying to get the script worked out. See if I get Matthew McConaughey to come in and, like you know, bring in the CMYK. Hey, yo man, you got that good CMYK, yeah.

1:23:02 - Harry McCracken
Not printing a lot is part of the problem because, at least with certain companies printers if you don't print, the print heads get clogged and can be either impossible or almost impossible to declog, whereas if you were still in an era where you printed every day that that problem wouldn't happen.

No, I mean this is, although it's a slight issue with another manufacturer who I won't name, who, in order to address that every time you start the printer up it will push a little bit of ink through to try and clean it up or a lot of ink through, and then you'll do it like 15 times in a row, yeah, and which, it turns out, doesn't help. It actually makes the problem worse while draining your cartridges yes.

1:23:45 - Iain Thomson
I mean, obviously it would be terrible to say that that was actually a deliberate point ploy just to get more tone is sold.

1:23:51 - Harry McCracken
But then that company uses if it's the one I'm thinking of uses these pigment inks, which actually look great, but it's the type of ink which is at least partially responsible for the clogging being a bigger issue.

1:24:05 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean, if you're talking, okay, boomer, in the chat room, then I used to have a. We used to have a hot wax printer where you go oh, I love those.

1:24:14 - Dock Rock
Yeah, the dye sublimation lines oh, they were so good.

1:24:18 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean you got great images from them as well, and they did beautiful things, but if you folded them, they didn't tend to work out so well.

1:24:25 - Dock Rock
Correct, yeah, and it cost a grip, because I found out remember correctly, the last one we bought was like eight grand. I think they were pretty crazy, it really was.

1:24:33 - Padre
In our basement we still have a dot matrix one of the industrial dot matrix ones that looks like an old ironing board and it has an enclosure you have to close because if you don't you will go deaf from the noise.

1:24:44 - Iain Thomson
Oh, yeah, well, we did a piece a couple of years ago. They're actually quite popular in garages, of all things, because it's a very noisy environment. Anyway, you've got to print stuff out of triplicates, so you know that there's still still in. Old tech never goes it. Just, you know, gets repurposed the old Timex computers that you used to be able to buy for like 50 quid in the 80s. A lot of those things, yeah, I've still got mine. Well, it's called a St Clairs ZX-85 in the St Clairs ZX-81 in the UK, but a lot of those got bought up in the 90s and 90s and just ripped the casing off and turned them into industrial control systems.

1:25:24 - Padre
So yeah, it's a solid state Makes sense.

1:25:26 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, no, sir Clairs ZX-85 is still having an effect even after these, and we wish him and his stripper wife much love. Seriously, it's true, but I mean he's. He has done some really interesting things with his life. We shall see. Now, actually, because you mentioned Europe, padre, we've got an ongoing case at the moment with European laws of gatekeeping tech companies.

Basically, if the EU disguise decides that you are a gatekeeper to be a particular service or product, then you're deserving of a little bit of extra regulation, just a little bit, nothing too major. But it has led to the really interesting case of companies like Apple and Metta and TikTok protesting about their gatekeeper status with the basic legal argument we're not that big, there are plenty of competition around, you don't need to regulate us more. And this led to the frankly bizarre case from Apple, where they tried to claim that Safari wasn't really a majority product, because Safari is actually three products there's the desktop, there's the mobile it just and then there's the Mac OS version, and it's just like no, no, this is not how it works. I mean, from a European perspective, padre, do you think this is actually going to work, or is this going to be something that the EU is basically being sued about for the rest of its natural life.

1:26:53 - Padre
You know, I've been here for six years now and the one thing I've come to realize is I do not have a handle on EU business like I do on US business US business. For me, it's actually pretty easy to look at trends here. I never know, especially since I'm in Italy, which has some seriously backwards laws on business. But the problem with any laws about gatekeeping is that you are inviting a semantic debate about exactly what percentage of the market do you have to control. How do you define a market? Do you have markets that cross over markets and therefore you can have a single company that gate keeps for multiple industries and therefore needs to be extra regulated?

These are all questions that don't get asked on the quality floor and by the time it gets instituted, people just sort of shrug their shoulders and say, well, we're just going to keep doing what we're doing. The only thing over here that has really sparked action is when they go after big tech. When they go after big tech, the people will be behind them and the people trust that what they're doing is good for the people. But if you're going to be going after the mom and pop stores or the startups that barely have any sort of viable products out there. I don't see this really catching on.

1:28:11 - Iain Thomson
What do you think it is that this actually works in the? Or this is a serious point in Europe but not in the United States, because, I mean, gdpr has had a massive effect worldwide, but it was a European idea. Why are we not getting this from the US? What's going on?

1:28:28 - Padre
It's who we trust. There's this very strange dichotomy In the United States, we don't trust government, but we trust business. In the EU, they trust government, they don't trust businesses. And so it sets up this strange rules of engagement. Basically, over here, if the government is going to go after an industry or go after a particular company, they're going to have the backing of the people. In the United States, if the government goes after a company, the very first inclination is the government is overreaching. This is the problem with big government. This is being used as a vendetta. This is a witch hunt. So, right there, you can't come at a law the same way and you can't approach a business in the same way. Yeah, great.

1:29:19 - Dock Rock
And when you think about it too, our country was invented going against the government for the business, right? I mean that was kind of the whole point, right, you added the try to run away from the government, the sugar in the tea, blah, blah, blah. I mean like, yeah, so it's in our DNA, if you will. And yeah, it's kind of funny because it uh, everybody's anti-government until they need something. And then all of a sudden, why isn't the government doing enough? And this was really.

I mean, I can start all kind of trouble here, but people here are super anti-government because technically, like, we're not supposed to be here as much as we make fun of your friends for going around the world and taking stuff. We are in Hawaii and the kingdom wants their island back, but then when Lahaina caught fire, everybody was like, hey, government, come over here and fix this right away. And that creates a really weird, you know, type of thing, and I'm, you know, not going to pick a side because I would get kicked out of my island right now. I'm not that dumb, but yeah, it's just one of those things. Everybody is super anti-government. Until you know, we had to get those, uh, ppp checks and everybody was like how come I didn't qualify? I'm like because you don't like to pay taxes, you like to do work, cash under the table. Now you can't get to the loan, you mad? Come and make. Make up your mind which is it?

1:30:43 - Iain Thomson
Well, I do have to apologize to the out of the Hawaiian islands, or the British sandwich islands as they were before the Americans kicked us out. Apparently, I only found this out when I went over there, but apparently Hawaii used to be mosquito free, and it was only when British ships started popping in there with mosquito larvae in their water cusps that you actually got mosquitoes. So my profound apologies on it. I always feel a bit guilty if I ever, if I go there.

1:31:08 - Dock Rock
You know what's funny? I found out recently. It's so true. I found out recently um, I was in downtown Honolulu and we have some really old brick buildings and they're really gorgeous and everybody loves them, all of the best. You know, posh restaurants are there and I was with a buddy one day and he goes hey, these bricks are from Ipswich. I'm like, looking at him like he's crazy. I'm like how do you know that? And he's like well, I'm from Ipswich and my family like we've been making bricks for thousands of years and those bricks are ours. And I did the research. It turns out that was the ballast for the sugar boats. When they got here they were full of bricks and they threw them into Honolulu Harbor and then filled up with sugar and went back and then so, after a big fire in Honolulu, they rebuilt downtown with the bricks that were in the bottom of the harbor.

Ah, multi-talk a little bit written in Hawaii.

1:31:55 - Iain Thomson
Excellent, although it does open up some rather awkward questions about colonialism. But you know we'll skip that. We'll just look at the beautiful ones.

1:32:04 - Padre
If I could, toss in one more bit on European business law. One thing that we do better in the United States are soft touch laws. So you put a law in the books, not intending to use it. You want the companies and the market to sort themselves out as much as possible by themselves, and you only use them when you have an egregious, egregious case of a violation. In the EU it's they don't really have a distinction for soft touch laws. So if a law goes on the book, you're going to try to apply it, especially since you've got the member nations who are looking at that as a competitive edge against other nations. So, like in the EU, you can't have one of the member nations deciding that they're not going to enforce a law because it would hurt their economy, because now the other member nations are going to say wait a minute, if you're not going to do that, we don't have to do that. So so if a law goes on the books over here, it's going to be enforced and it's a different environment.

1:33:00 - Iain Thomson
Well, I mean, this is what destroyed the EU-US privacy shield, which was an agreement to exchange data, because an activist called Max Shrems went through the letter of the law and was like you know, it looks very much to me like this company and this company, and this company and this company are all breaking this law under privacy shield, and the agreement has collapsed and is still being renegotiated.

1:33:22 - Harry McCracken
We have seen in the last few years in the US stuff like the Google anti-trust case and a lot more talk of legislation to solve problems with technology. What we haven't seen it really yet is any consequences based on any of that. So I say the Google stuff is kind of interesting tests to see whether anything actually changes. Either you know that's good for consumers or maybe it doesn't make a difference. But if that kind of fizzles out will be yet another sign that the US really is much more into free markets than the government solutions. Well, this is it?

1:33:58 - Iain Thomson
I mean it's, although you know the FTC, you know, is now going full wrath of car on you know a variety of companies for anti-trust, which is as it should be. You need decent regulation to ensure a free market. But you know, it's just. It has been one of the really weird culture shocks from coming over to the US from Europe is just like you do realize, you're getting shafted every day of your life when it comes to things like mobile contracts and you know various other technological things.

But in terms of where this is going, it does seem like, you know, people don't really trust the government over here and we had a news story about the hemisphere spying scheme which broke this week, and well, I say broke. The EFF has been shouting about this for really for quite some time, but when it comes to hemisphere, trillions of records can be easily accessed without in many, in almost all cases, without a court order. So it's kind of not that, you know, not outside the bounds of possibility that people really do have a reason for disliking government. It's all a question of whether or not this is going. This is, this is being just the tip of the iceberg.

1:35:15 - Harry McCracken
So, as many suspects, it is you may be wondering what the heck AT&T is doing all of this for as well.

1:35:22 - Iain Thomson
Well, yeah, I mean it does, mean it does. What's your take on that? Because it doesn't mean basically that they're behest to the government, but are they expecting something back in return?

1:35:31 - Harry McCracken
Well, they're getting some money back, and although I don't know whether they're turning a profit on it, then one of the interesting thing about all Wired's coverage of this is that it's not like if you're an AT&T customer, you're in trouble, and if you're on T-Mobile, no biggie, because once a carrier as big as AT&T starts to help, you know the government is getting most of what it needs to know.

I mean all the traffic is going through there and even though the government is not actually getting to listening on your calls, there's so much they can tell just by knowing who you called and when and like. One of the fascinating tidbits is, even if you're using burner phones assuming you're calling the same people on each new burner phone it's still pretty easy for the government to tell that you're you shortly after you get this new phone number. It doesn't really matter, so the burner phones actually are not helping you out all that much.

1:36:25 - Iain Thomson
That was interesting, from the January, the 6th insurrection in fact, where they they prosecuted some people because it was intensely, even though they were using burner phones, when they'd actually got there and they saw where these phones had been activated they'd all been activated in the same hotel room by a bunch of people and it was just like and what? At the same places, at the same time and they're still calling all their buddies uh yeah, exactly, I mean it's just doing that must have settled for a change, I think it sorry.

1:36:56 - Padre
Two or three years ago on a twit, uh, when I talked about a um, a white paper project that me and a group of my friends from Defconn had done, where we took publicly accessible cell phone tower data data that you could buy from telecommunications companies and we were able to to isolate um, a group of what should have been burner phones or anonymous phones that participated in some of the BLM riots, and even though they were burners, even though we had no way to know what person was connected to a particular chip, because of their, their travels and because we figured out where they started and where they ended, we were actually able to put names to people. And once we were able to put names for people, we were able to look through their social media profiles to find out who they were. Else they were connected and by the end of the exercise with, with a decent amount of certainty, we were able to say this is this person, this is this person and these people are connected to these people. So those things are never as anonymous as you think.

1:37:57 - Iain Thomson
Well, this is it. I mean, I was at a Defconn with you and they had the chief scientist at scientific officer for Incutel, which is the CIA's VCR, and he was saying everyone's worried about the US. Government is listening in on their phone calls and we couldn't care less about the content of 99.9 recurring phone calls. It's the metadata we want. It's the where was the call made, who was it made to and where was it made from. And you know, if the Britishers had that kind of information back in the day, there wouldn't be in America. The founding fathers would have been straight up a tree with a hemp necktie, because that's the really important thing for tracking people down.

So yeah, no, it would not have happened that way because the EU would have come after them for gatekeeping, that location technology, and then oh, it was a pleasure, padre, and we're going to be coming back to you after the break, because Anthony Leventoski has started, has rebooted the Church of Artificial Intelligence, and I get the feeling there's going to be an awful lot of snark coming on that. But in the meantime, here's a quick word from our sponsors.

1:38:58 - Leo Laporte
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1:43:27 - Iain Thomson
Vegemite that's fighting. Talk, leo, you and I are gonna have words. It's mami or nothing. You know, it's like Vegemite Promi. They're all horrible sweet versions. It's um Terrible, terrible.

1:43:40 - Dock Rock
You don't like Vegemite.

1:43:42 - Padre
Oh, so we do have an Ozzie in the house, and so he always has Vegemite, and unfortunately it's spreading. There's now two of the Indians, one of the Spaniards who enjoys it in the morning, and I just I need to make it stop.

1:43:53 - Iain Thomson
I'm gonna have to get some mami so you can send it over to me. I had marmite.

1:43:58 - Dock Rock
I like both. Actually, when I was doing a British tech show you and sent me some and it was fantastic, and I actually like Vegemite too. But I realized why I like it because my time in Japan got me up on Miso and they're just very aces, oh very unami here.

1:44:16 - Iain Thomson
It's a wonderful thing, right? Okay, we've covered some of the major topics, but it's time to get something slightly silier Now. I don't know if you remember Anthony Leventoski. He used to work for Google's Waymo. He then left and started his own company, which was promptly May have borrowed some tech secrets, even when, in fact, he was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for borrowing tech secrets and then giving them to Uber, but he was then basically sentenced to 18 months in prison and then, on his last day in office, president Trump pardoned him. Apparently, peter Thiel had something of a hand in that, as did Palmer, luckily, but he's now back with his new church, which is, she says, has thousands of adherents and which you venerate, a human-created AI Padre, you're coming from the Vatican. I'm going to let you first go this one.

1:45:13 - Padre
Okay, so let's be very clear what this is. This is the way of the future. That's what he's calling this group, and the whole idea is they want a way to. This is their PR spiel. They want a way to ensure that AI will be kind to humanity by first being kind to AI, which sounds like a really, really bad movie starring John Travolta back in the 80s.

Just no, no. Okay, first of all, let me understand. The narrative that they're trying to use is interesting because it's basically like the old Christians. This is the evangelical Christianity of you have to be good to God, otherwise God's going to punish you. That's essentially what the way of the future is. It's look, if we don't set up this organization to make sure that we treat AI right, ai will go all sky-net on us, which is a very strange way to establish a religion, a good way to establish a movie franchise.

1:46:09 - Iain Thomson
It's also yes, be nice to us and it'll be nice to us. It shows a basic lack of understanding about psychology. It's kind of like the film Babe, for example, which has always irritated me. Our farm animals know that they can talk to each other. They're intelligent, they know the farm was going to kill them, and so what's their plan? Try and make him like us enough so he won't. It's just like who wrote this? I mean, come on, Doc, are you going to be signing up for this new religion?

1:46:41 - Dock Rock
Absolutely freaking, literally not. I agree with Padre in the sense that these are what everybody's doing right now are like you guys have ingested the entire MCU and then you decided to make a live-action, horrible bootleg of some MCU film. What are you doing? Go away, go away, hey Liv, how do you.

1:47:10 - Iain Thomson
It does have a very, very Scientology feel about this. Although we both live and work in San Francisco, or we're with work in San Francisco, you obviously don't do this the Scientology, because they have people disappeared Apparently. I read a documentary or something, but I mean it does feel that way in terms of what on earth is this person thinking? Is he trying to get a money-making scam? Is he just lost it completely?

1:47:33 - Harry McCracken
I can't quite tell whether it's performative or sincere or what, but I am entertained by the fact that he's already pivoting his new religion, which is much more of a Silicon Valley kind of thing to do than a religion kind of thing to do, since most religions are more well-known for kind of not changing with the times in a lot of cases, and he's probably going to just keep doing new revisions until he gets it right.

1:47:59 - Iain Thomson
Much of the software development in its way.

1:48:02 - Harry McCracken
He's perfectly willing to change his business model if that's what it takes, which is a start-up kind of way to look it up.

1:48:08 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I guess. So it just seems. You know you hear some off-the-wall stories in the tech industry. That's the way it is, and just that one seemed particularly weird. However, the Reg did, and various other titles as well also had a weird one, and I'd like to say I'm not ashamed of this headline. Us nuclear reactor lab hit by gay furry hackers demanding human-cap mutants. Now, it's often you get to do a story like that, but it was actually legit. Basically, the Idaho National Laboratory, which is the largest collection largest dentist collection of nuclear reactors in the world, had a bunch of their data stolen and leaked online by a group which previously got into NATO. They do describe themselves as gay furry hackers. I mean, of the stories we've had this year, I'm pretty sure this was the weirdest. I mean, how does that work with you Harry?

1:49:04 - Harry McCracken
Well, I guess that's a relief that they're having fun with this rather than trying to terrorize an entire country. But I mean, it sounds like when first comes to shove, we should be really concerned about the fact that they were able to get in, even if they're going about it in a playful way, because what happens if the next group that gets in is a little bit more serious about causing problems?

1:49:30 - Padre
Yeah, I know. I mean, Ian, we are going to talk about their demands, right? I mean, you have to describe the demands they made to the lab.

1:49:38 - Iain Thomson
They won't catch human hybrids. They will basically not release the information if the lab immediately starts working on cat human hybrids. I'm not quite sure what that is a human that lies around, sleeps a lot and scratches you if it doesn't get fed, occasionally sheds hair all over your pillow and pushes you off the bed. But you know it's. I guess the soul wants. What the soul wants it's in terms of ransom demands, however. That's pretty out there.

1:50:09 - Padre
I would like to point out a bit of historicity here, and that is the fact that the Idaho labs that were hacked were the site of the first meltdown ever in recorded history, with the SL1 reactor, just like modern-day reactors, went into Prop Critical because people were lowering rods by hand and they learned that that's probably not a good thing to do.

1:50:35 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, you know, I understand. It's kind of like in the tech industry where you do a quick bodge to make it work. What do you do in your quick bodge?

1:50:46 - Padre
Yeah, okay. So, people, I want you to go to Wikipedia and look up SL-1, because it is a fascinating really honestly, it is a fascinating story to look at from the point of a technology person to see where all the things went wrong. All the safety systems were defeated by people who thought they knew better because they knew the technology, and it ended up with one unfortunate nuclear worker impaled on the roof with a control rod.

1:51:13 - Iain Thomson
I heard about this because it basically exploded out of the reactor and nailed the guy to the ceiling. Yeah, not a good way to go, no, no, well, their seldom is a good way to go, but as far as that one goes, well actually certainly thank you.

1:51:27 - Padre
So from that to gay furries yes, but you know it's obviously this isn't.

1:51:35 - Iain Thomson
I would just like to say this isn't a thing about the furry population as at all. It was just what they've actually described themselves as, but, at the same time, the targets they've chosen the national nuclear laboratory, nato. If I was trying to put people off the scent, that's probably something you could do. Just make yourself out to be something, yeah.

1:51:55 - Padre
I don't know. Okay, so a lot of the hacks that you're going to see today, they're not then. Of course, they're not what you see in Hollywood, but they're not even what they were 10 years ago, 15 years ago, where you have someone who would just keep trying to penetrate a system would maybe run a dictionary attack. A lot of the attacks that make it to the news today were done by advanced, persistent threats. It's something that was in the system for a long, long time, slowly exfiltrating data until they got enough to do something actionable. So, like you said, if I wanted to throw someone off my APT roaming around a network, I would do something silly like this and I would release some information that maybe wasn't so damning, but it would focus attention elsewhere. Not saying that's what's happening. I'm just saying that would be a pretty good strategy if you want to conceal your network intrusion for as long as possible.

1:52:46 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, no, I think so, indeed, I mean, it's certainly a good way to, as you say, throw people off the scent and get them just thinking about something else, rather than the fact that your data's just been completely stolen. And, of course, the hacking sphere of stuff.

1:52:59 - Padre
Also, the furry village at Defcon is a lot of fun and you should be stopped by no no.

1:53:03 - Iain Thomson
I didn't actually pop by last year, oh sorry, earlier this year it was fun.

1:53:07 - Padre
It was fun Nice people.

1:53:09 - Iain Thomson
I mean, there was a famous news story when we got a bunch of Syrian refugees coming over and they were in a hotel. They'd been put in a hotel for the night and it was the same hotel as a furry convention and the kids just loved these furries. It was just. All these photos of big, beaming faces are wonderful.

1:53:29 - Padre
Welcome to the United States. Here's a giant panda suit, yeah.

1:53:32 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean, come on, you have an entire theme part devoted to a six foot rat. Sorry, mouse, but it is one of those things that is weird. And speaking of stuff that is both weird but also vaguely prevalent, video game manufacturers are being sued yet again for addicting our children to these terrible, terrible things. We're all old enough to have heard this two, three, four different times. Why on earth would anyone do this and expect? You know, it's the old Einsteinian thing of you know repeating the same thing again and again, expecting it to change the definition of madness. I mean, doc, you've got family. Are you worried about them being addicted to video games or are you just a standard parent who says deal with it?

1:54:17 - Dock Rock
Well, I don't have any kids, but I have these nephews that I promptly spoiled and teach them all these things like gaming consoles and things like that, of which I know that my sisters don't go overly into. But that's because they read this kind of stuff and they freak out, and so I purposely give my nieces and nephews the things that freak them out to show them that it's nothing to freak out about, right? And it's kind of funny that people get so bent out of shape over these. And in the meantime, if you were to have a conversation with the average person in the US, having this conversation about how this is so bad and this is hurting kids and whatever, they are, making a massive set of pop tarts and a 20 ounce Pepsi and a bunch of other sugar-oriented things to hand to their kids and be like here, eat this and don't play video games because it's ruining your brain. So I'm just like go away. Go away with this stuff. It's so obnoxious and I often wonder why do people always look to blame somebody else for the stuff their kids do? Yeah, I'm like your kids do what you taught them how to do, bro. I'm sorry, there's nothing much else than that. So if your kid would rather play a video game or do whatever that's on you.

And I think one of my favorite things is when I take my niece out. I get her twice a month on Fridays to come and hang out with me and her mom was like, well, she just went on the phone the whole time. I was like, no, why? Because I have interesting conversations with her. So she talks to me. Why does she talk to you? She doesn't talk to me because I'm not trying to tell her what to do. I'm her uncle. My job is to spoil her. You're the mom. Your job is to be mad at her all the time. So she talks to me because I'm not coming from the same angle as you and, being a nerd and into anime and everything, I can speak her language, maybe watching anime, and then be able to have a conversation with her, but you'd rather watch the Kardashians. So not my fault.

1:56:12 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, no, it's one of those things. I mean, Harry, we're of a similar age and so I did love it. I was a poster. I saw one of the tech firms and it was like if video games were really warping our mind everyone who played Pac-Man in the 80s would be getting very happy running around dark and rooms swallowing pills and it was just like, hmm, actually, no, that's probably not the best.

1:56:31 - Padre
You bit to my night club before. Yeah, we kind of do that. Hmm, yeah, not the best example.

1:56:37 - Iain Thomson
But we all grew up with video games.

1:56:39 - Harry McCracken
I certainly remember my mother being concerned about how much time I spent playing them, having just spent time with my niece and nephew at Thanksgiving. They're not addicted to video games, but they are addicted to our Dead Tree books, which they like brought to the Thanksgiving dinner table, and so if this was the way to go about solving these kinds of issues, I would be advocating for suing Penguin or Double Day or somebody.

1:57:04 - Iain Thomson
You know, actually in the land of the law so you might actually get away with it. But physical books is something that I think they're going through a bit of a resurgence with kids, you know, it's like.

1:57:14 - Harry McCracken
The kids are some of the most serious readers of all, hmm.

1:57:16 - Iain Thomson
Hmm, although it was kind of disturbing to see somebody reading a magazine, a small child reading a magazine and then trying to swipe the pages.

1:57:26 - Harry McCracken
But you know, so yeah, I know it's an all-quick thing and you know like 70 years ago it was TV that was addicting kids. It was also bad for your eyes and the radiation was going to kill you. Yeah.

1:57:43 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, it just. It's just the same thing, along with the kids.

1:57:48 - Dock Rock
It was books, which is really funny If you go all the way back to Mercia. Back then, like anybody that had books, you was up to no good. You know. You had to be properly indoctrinated by the local orator. Reading something in a book from abroad was taboo.

1:58:04 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, no, exactly it's content.

1:58:07 - Padre
What we're talking about is content, so they're upset that video game manufacturers are making content that people want to consume. Content doesn't have to be video game, it can be anything. Anyone can be addicted to a narrative, to a story. They can always want that next hit of their favorite TV show, always the next MCU episode, whatever it's going to be. This just happens to be video games. Now, there is no way to legislate against that. However, I will say that there is a split here. So on one side I'd say there are video games that are addictive Like for me it was Civilization.

1:58:38 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, or Civ2 is still one of the best.

1:58:41 - Padre
Civ2. That's the game that I used to start playing at night, thinking I'm going to play 30 minutes and then the next thing I know the sun is coming up. Yeah, so that was a refrain of my young adulthood. I see those as different from a lot of the micro transaction games which will, gradually they have used psychology to find that pain point. I'm willing to pay 99 cents a thousand times as I go through this game. Right, that is now becoming a gambling addiction. That's okay. We can actually start looking at it. But if you're going to try to tell me that I need to make my game boring so that people don't get addicted to it you're not telling me anything. I'm going to listen to.

1:59:22 - Harry McCracken
I don't like what in-app purchases have done to games. I don't think that laws are the way to solve that, and it is a little bit different than games being so much fun that it's hard to stop playing them, which is ultimately, I think, that the parents' problem to solve, because there is such a thing as spending too much of your time playing games. Yeah.

1:59:44 - Iain Thomson
That is one of the horrific things about Steam is it shows you how long you've been playing certain games and it's just like that's not good Time to put this down and go and do some gardening. But now I mean, I agree with you. It would be difficult to imagine Doom, for example, being as much fun if you had to actually buy the chainsaw or the BFG. You know it's just. But games these days, even games that you pay for, you know you basically have to buy. I suppose there is that technical fig leaf that you can complete the game without an in-app purchase. I think probably the caveat to be-.

2:00:16 - Padre
No, you can't. We all know you can. I mean, oh yeah, so if you play this game for an additional 10,000 hours, you don't have to buy a thing? No Right.

2:00:26 - Dock Rock
And then you get a couple of goals if you watch these ads which you don't want to watch the ads. So the first thing you do is you pay the premium to get rid of the ads, which is only, like you know, five bucks. But now we kill that revenue stream and I've often wondered does the level get harder when you turn off the ads? Because you're right? You get to this point where, technically, some of these games, the only way you can move forward is to buy something. I tend to just not play those games because those are obnoxious.

So, yeah, yeah, I also find it funny that we are parents now of our age, because most of us are relatively close. I might be the oldest, but we came up without all of this weird paying for stuff. And then now we're doing it, and you know what a lot of us still game, and there's still parents out there talking about it's going to ruin these kids' mind. In your circle of friends, one of your friends, a wife or a husband, is a hardcore gamer still to this day, over the age of 50. So, like I really do, like, really, are you going to tell me? Like you're going to test my IQ and tell me, I'm ruining my brain because I play games.

2:01:32 - Padre
I will just say, I will just say it to all the gamers out there Pope Francis will smoke you in Fortnite any night. Seriously that guy. He can 360, no scope, like you wouldn't believe.

2:01:45 - Iain Thomson
I do think he would be rather good at that. But yeah, I mean, we all play games, I myself, you know. My wife was away yesterday, so I fired up SimCity 2000 for, you know, a quick hour, well, what was supposed to be half an hour, but then it's just like, oh no, dammit, what's going on? Thankfully we had a cat who was going to wake me up and just go oh, we need feeding. But yes, anyway, actually speaking of feeding, this is another person who is sponsoring the podcast and you can hear about it from Leo.

2:02:13 - Leo Laporte
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2:05:43 - Iain Thomson
I'm gonna take a large pot of marmite around to your house and smear over the door. Hand.

2:05:50 - Padre
Then fight in words.

2:05:52 - Iain Thomson
Well anyway, anyway, in case you've missed it. Well, as you're aware, this is a Sunday, so here's a quick review of what you could have seen, and what you still can see, from the last week's shows.

2:06:03 - Padre
JRB, if, if he comes back in a week and asks you to start building the bomb shelter where you let us know.

2:06:09 - Paris
If he comes back and just walks into the studio with a case full of dance clothes.

2:06:20 - Iain Thomson
Previously on twit.

2:06:23 - Leo Laporte
Hands-on tech.

2:06:25 - Padre
I am Micah Sargent, and today we are reviewing Apple's new iPhone 15 Pro Max. But here's the kicker we're also shooting this entire review on the iPhone 15.

2:06:35 - Dock Rock
Pro Max.

2:06:36 - Leo Laporte
Mac break weekly and we have type C now on the iPhone. We're gonna have RCS on Apple messages Both things Apple probably didn't want to do. Yeah, is this. Is this a victory for the EU's regulation? Absolutely, I think this is.

2:06:49 - Padre
This is why I like it when big tech companies not just Apple, but everybody gets sued. This is why I like it when there's a threat of really big, painful legislation, because he established that you're a communist, andy.

2:07:00 - Leo Laporte
I just want to make sure that everybody understands that right so. This week in Google, but there's no definition of AGI. Agi would be something that could reason as well as a human. I mean, that's a simple way to put it, but how do you know?

2:07:19 - Paris
I want an AI to sit down and watch Nicholas Cage's movie face off and tell me the conflict and motivation between Nick Cage and John Travolta, and not get them mixed up even once.

2:07:39 - Iain Thomson
The Paris test, indeed, and study. And in non-tech news, paris Hilton is apparently expecting awards, just had a new baby, which he's calling London Hilton. So it's Just just goes to show the idiocy spreads down the gene, the gene light, as it were.

2:07:54 - Dock Rock
No, you know what is so great about that Ro you just did is At EK. I'm my marketing director, katie. She has a little side project called the VHS club and they go over movies from like the 90s and we just did face off like last Thursday it's so good.

2:08:10 - Iain Thomson
Oh, it's so big, it's so bad, it's good. It's one of those exactly.

2:08:13 - Dock Rock
That's, that was my point. It's one of those that is so bad that it's good and it's weird to watch it now that you're old enough to break apart the flaws in the plot and Weirdness, you know, or like the body types just changing, like that doesn't work, bro, like you, guys are two total different body types. But yes, it was a very interesting to go back and watch face off. So, since you brought it up, if you haven't, just for just to enjoy your life, go back and watch face.

2:08:39 - Iain Thomson
I was kind of scared by that film, though, because I was flying back from Indonesia to London after a conference on On on a Kuwait, and that was the soul English language flight. They have a film they had for the entire flight and, trust me, by the third viewing you want to punch Nicholas repeatedly in the face for his awful acting. But Yep, anyway, I'm the teen all along, indeed, well, enough of my problems, but some. I am a Brit here in the US and and the US is, of course, dedicated to manifest destiny, and so too is Google.

If you use an ad blocker On YouTube, for example, recently, you will just be seeing, you'll be getting messages saying you've got to turn your ad blocker off If you want to get the full functionality from the site, because Google is lowering the bar on advertisers and third-party APIs. Now this is part in in part due to what it's calling manifest v3, which is how the browser handles outside content, and a lot of people are very concerned that when this is introduced at the start of next year, it's going to disable a lot of ad blockers. Now why would Google care about ad blockers? That's just their entire business completely. Is this something we should be panicking about Harry. I mean, it's v3, that big a deal well on a technical level.

2:09:57 - Harry McCracken
My understanding is that Some of the people involved with ad blocking Say it's going to be a lot harder to do stuff, and there are other ones who say that they'll probably be okay and can continue to offer products. I mean, I do need to like sort of From a standpoint of full disclosure, mm-hmm, I work for a media company that sells advertising and.

All ads were blocked, I might not eat, and so I'm a little bit conflicted, although I I also acknowledge there are such things as ads that are so incredibly annoying that they make you want to block them, and Ultimately, the best kind of ads or ads you don't want to block because that they provide some value to you and therefore the advertisers get something out of it and the media companies do too. But it does seem like with this new Google goes, google stuff. Some of it kind of boils down to technical issues which, if you're actually involved in this ecosystem, you're in and the but your best situated to understand what the implications are. But presumably Google is not going to try to make it easier for ad bloggers to work. Over time they're gonna make it harder to work.

2:11:04 - Iain Thomson
Well, no, this is that. I mean I can see you all out top and you can see mine neither. I don't use an ad blocker because, as you know, my publication rule requires, you know, a certain amount of advertising, so I can keep keep yourself in food. I mean, this is also gonna cause problems in Europe, but it's in particular. It's just. Is it going to be the big game changer? Are people gonna have their ad blockers completely disabled? This is the fallout from this. I mean, if, if all ad blockers went, doc, do you think they'll be alright?

2:11:36 - Dock Rock
Yeah, first of all.

I okay me personally. I don't use them anymore because there can be problematic for media content, which I'm normally looking at as a content creator. And I have to agree with Harry, I don't want to block the ad, it doesn't bother me until you do one of these things where you pull up a giant, like you know, sinus medication ad that just takes over the whole page or Starts auto-playing really loudly when I don't have my device look quiet, which is a rarity, but if, when it does happen, it's really obnoxious because it normally happens somewhere where you need to be quiet, like in a jury pool so.

Yeah, I personally don't. I don't use them because I wrote for a long time for a site that you know made their money through ads and Didn't get to keep that job because ad blockers. I don't know. I don't know if that's the only reason or just a well, yeah, being horrible, but yeah, I don't think it's. I don't think people really understand none of this stuff that you're getting is free, right, and now that, especially as a content creator in YouTube, a YouTube advertisement does make up a certain amount of my income. And yes, I use premium and I do understand the premium split is still different from the people that don't use premium. But yeah, I think we just need to get over acting like we hate ads because we don't.

I tell my friends who tell me that, oh, this company is calling me and they're spending me and I don't like them because I don't like that kind of sales. I'm like, yes, you do, because you don't have anything on your body right now or in your office right now that you didn't buy from some sort of recommendation. Maybe 20% out of the 80% of the stuff in your vision right now you picked up because of an ad. Whether you like it or not the difference is. To me, advertisement is similar to my time as a DJ and a nightclub. No, girls never complain when the guy that was hitting on them was hot. When the guy that was hitting on them looked like me hey, call a bouncer. This guy is picking on me. I don't, I don't want to talk to him or whatever like that. So really, it's really if your ads are good, you know you don't hate ads. You hate bad ads. Let's just be honest with ourselves.

2:13:45 - Iain Thomson
That's the deal. No, this is it. I mean, we've had I'm sure you've had these as well, harry when the ad said the ad sales people for a publication Would dearly love it that every time you went on to the publication you got a full page ad directly in the face and you have to point out to them that if that happens, people either not going to come to the site or they're going to use ad blocking technology, and maybe you should think that one through and Padre, be honest here to use an ad blocker. I.

2:14:11 - Padre
Do not, just because I? I mean I want to support the, the people who are actually making the content for me, but that's a personal thing. On the technical side, this is sort of a non-starter, because we know how to get around ad blockers. No, anti ad blockers, you just block it upstream, yeah, so like, for example, I have a piehole now my piehole is fully able to disable the serving of ads. I don't use it for that, I just use it so they can have a local DNS caching. But that is a very simple, not super techie way to to make all of this moot. All Google is doing is they're making it Harder for you to write an extension to do ad blocking. But if the ad blocking happens upstream or before the browser it, it doesn't do anything.

I think what we need to do, like, like doc said, is get rid of bad ads. I'm tired of the thousands of times that I've seen that YouTube ad for hero wars that that's silly, silly. Yeah, hey, as you go. I mean I, I would be okay with watching ads, but I religiously hit the skip button on that just because it annoys me. If Google gave us a carrot and stick, if they actually were honest and say, look, we need to make revenue somehow. We need to be able to make our letter partners make revenue somehow. However, we will put into into play standards that make sure that the ads that get served are actually better for you or more interesting to you. I I'd be. I think most people would actually be okay with that.

2:15:39 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I mean, some of these ads are sorry.

2:15:43 - Dock Rock
No. So the other thing that's really irritating is and I don't know how to fix this one this one drives me nuts. When I see an ad for something and it actually works, so I buy it because I like it, mm-hmm, and then I keep seeing the ad. I'm like fam, already bought it. Can you stop, like you know, say like exactly what you told me to buy. I bought the DJI pocket 3, dji. Now stop sending me the freaking ad.

2:16:06 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, no, I mean, for example, on the video service which I watch occasionally and which we all watch occasionally. I'm constantly being spammed by ads and I'm signed in with my personal Google account and I bought a Pixel phone and I bought my wireless service from a provider related to Google and I'm still getting adverts for it Anytime. You think that you know all this behavioral advertising is getting so creepy? Look at how bad it is. This is what really irritates me. It's like if you're gonna be a super villain, at least be super totally true.

2:16:38 - Harry McCracken
Yeah, I mean, I often feel like, um, mark Zuckerberg knows very little about me based on the ads he's showing to me, because they don't feel creepy and personal. They feel like they're trying to target somebody who it shares very few interests. Yes, that I have.

2:16:53 - Iain Thomson
When, when, in theory, mark Zuckerberg should be able to do brilliantly targeted ads, you'd think I mean, considering the amount of information they have there, you'd think that they were gonna be Okay. This person is thinking about buying this spamming quick. But it all that happens, you say, is if you buy something, you get hit by bunches of ads for Same or similar things and I bought a car like for a year.

2:17:14 - Harry McCracken
after that, mm-hmm, I got car ads, which was the very moment and which I was the worst possible target for a car ad because I was a new car owner. Well, this is it, I mean how delusional of these people.

2:17:25 - Iain Thomson
They think that you're all right, this person's just bought something, so our advert is so great that maybe they'll just throw that huge investment away and buy our Product instead.

2:17:35 - Dock Rock
I am legit getting Dyson hairdryer ads this week for black James. Look at your man, he's follically challenged. Why are you sending me hairdryer ads? James vacuum, I might have bought it, but really the hairdryer and the curler, the hot curling iron. Thanks, james. Talk to your ad people.

2:17:56 - Padre
I have been getting spammed recently by Candace Owens and Prager you ads and I, oh I do. Why, oh god? But it's either hero wars or those two. However, whenever it's one of those ads, I let it run all the way through. I just put on mute and let it run because I want them to Pay you for that.

2:18:14 - Dock Rock
Yes, now that's my Tax. When they do a sponsor ad at the top of a Google search, and it's something that I'm mad at, I purposely click that instead of the normal link so that they have to pay for it.

2:18:24 - Padre
Yeah, hey, this conversion.

2:18:27 - Iain Thomson
No, this is malicious compliance. I've done the same thing with sponsored links.

2:18:30 - Harry McCracken
Particularly was a company I have having to use but don't particularly like there are those tiny ad choices Icons you can click and you actually can do a lot of stuff in terms of saying that this ad is not relevant to me. I don't want to see it again. But I think the big concern is, if you start blocking the ads that are kind of okay, you get worse and worse ads rather than better and better ads, and I spent a little bit of time blocking advertisers On Twitter, like I mentioned, a block teaching Chong. I don't seem to have gotten better ads because of that. I've gotten even skivvier ads because of that.

2:19:01 - Iain Thomson
Oh, you do get some really weird ones I'm. My favorite was for survival seeds, or seeds as they're known.

2:19:10 - Padre
No, no, no, no, these are survival seeds right.

2:19:13 - Iain Thomson
So they, they need even the apocalypse more. And you know, let's not kid ourselves when the apocalypse comes, we're all dying. You know it's not like a five-pack yourself.

2:19:23 - Padre
We've got. We've got a bunker with ten years worth of food over here, so we're good, well, that's gonna always looks ahead for these things.

2:19:29 - Iain Thomson
Certainly you do have the experience in it. But Right, okay, well, it's looking like another Twitter's in the back and Leah will be back a little while, but Jason will be taking the doctor evil chair and I have to say it's very comfy indeed. But I would like to thank our guests. Harry McCracken, thank you very much for coming into the office.

2:19:48 - Harry McCracken
I had a great time and you did a great job, ian. Oh, please no and Padre and Doc were both great.

2:19:54 - Iain Thomson
Yep doc in Hawaii will let you get to the beach. Now it's what time is it out there? It's gonna be about one so type it is two thirty nine.

2:20:03 - Dock Rock
But, it is probably raining now. I just got a carrot weather alert with the swerry parts on forgive me, father.

2:20:12 - Padre
No forgiveness needed go.

2:20:14 - Dock Rock
You have a no beach today. It's raining. I get to go to the mother-in-law's eat leftover Thanksgiving, like everybody else in the US. Oh, I know I'm so sick of Turkey at this point, but I don't even eat that stuff in the first place.

2:20:27 - Iain Thomson
Yeah, I'm sorry, padre, but on the other hand you have Italian pastries, coffee and some of the best food on the pilot. So if we give me a little feeling back, I'm so tired of Italian.

2:20:38 - Padre
I am so tired of Italian. I'm so tired of Italian. I want to go home and just eat like olive garden, just to get the taste of Italian food.

2:20:49 - Iain Thomson
I'm amazed they haven't thrown you out. I mean, that said, there is a Think of the UK called pot noodles, and I do crave those about once every ten years and it's just it. It's something about the chemical aftertaste. You know it's in the really Texture that it's just like you eat one, you know.

2:21:09 - Padre
And anytime someone is describing cuisine and they use the phrase chemical aftertaste, that's not normally leading you to.

2:21:17 - Iain Thomson
New York hot dogs aren't supposed to taste like that.

2:21:24 - Dock Rock
I had to explain to somebody that, for real, when you go, because my friend was going say what should I do? Is whatever you Do when you get a hot dog, do not ask for ketchup on a hot dog in New York. That is the first way to get sent. Oh yeah, like, just don't even bother, just take it as is. Yeah, but I want to catch up. No, you don't.

2:21:39 - Iain Thomson
Don't not to catch up, you're looking for Well, it's red at least, but it just tastes like sort of red sugar. But it's one of those things. But thank you all for coming in and thank you for watching and listening no depending on and the discord channel as well for putting in some lovely ideas and suggestions and corrections, and that picture of my might will be with me for quite some time. In the meantime, another twit is in the can. 

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