Streaming Has Become Cable

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: a streaming provider is joining up with another streaming provider to offer a bundle. Last week it was Disney+ (with its already-included bundled Hulu) announcing its teaming up to offer Max as a new bundle. Then came the news that Comcast is going to bundle Peacock, Netflix and Apple TV+ as a bundle. Hey, did you hear Netflix got the rights to Christmas Day NFL games? And MBL is actively railing against Diamond sports for failing to carry games? The list goes on and on. The sad part is we asked for…

The iPad’s Land of Confusion

Last week brought the ‘finally’ updates to Apple’s iPad line. And in a world where products are supposed to have purpose, use, and a fit in our everyday lives, I continue to lose faith that Apple knows what it’s doing. First, the updates. Apple has kept it’s “Good, Better, Best” lineup. They rolled out an updated iPad Air (“Better”), a new M4-debuted chip powering the new iPad Pro (“Best”)… and told everyone the iPad without-a-suffix (“Good”) still exists at a lower price. Oh and there’s the iPad Mini too, which is just there. This updated lineup is the longest Apple…

The Rabbit R1 Joins the Humane Pin in the Junk Drawer

After the Humane AI Pin was evicerated across the internet, round 2 of AI crap has commenced with a device announced at CES earlier this year: the Rabbit R1. This $199 very-orange singular AI device was supposed to be the opposite of the pin. It has a screen, a killer design (by the minds at Teenage Engineering), and promises to simplify the AI stuff it can do into basic questions and taking action in your apps. And just like the Humane AI Pin, it sucks. A lot. To make a long story short, the R1 does none of what people…

Surprising Nobody, the Humane AI Pin Sucks

It was only this past January wherein I wrote the following about the Humane AI Pin: So the thing looks weird, is questionable with how it will work with all clothing, gives wrong answers, costs $700, has a $24 monthly subscription, and produced by an unproven company. You’ll have to forgive me for sitting this one out. This pin, which is a small rectangle-connected device you wear and ask it questions powered by AI, began shipping and is now in the hands of reviewers. And boy are they taking Humane to task. David Pierce at The Verge: “The AI Pin…

Cupertino’s Axe Man

One of the most frustrating things to see in tech over the past few years are the massive layoffs. Meta, Google, Amazon, and many more had over-hired during COVID and decided reversing course was a good idea. Mixed into this reporting (and in my writing here too) was the fact that Apple was not one of those companies. Sadly, the current market caught up to them too as the company announced 600 people have been let go. The AP has more. The iPhone maker notified 614 workers in multiple offices on March 28 that they were losing their jobs, with…

Laid Off Guy Hides Undetected in Company Slack

The remote work era means companies are completely reliant on chat and communication apps. Slack and Microsoft Teams are the two big companies in this space. To me, Teams still feels like a terrible ‘homework copying’ by Microsoft to clone Slack but I’m not here to rant about that. What I’m here to write is how Gizmodo writer Tom McKay, laid off in 2022, was able to stay on the company’s Slack instance for months undetected. How? By pretending to be the built-in Slackbot that is part of every instance. Emma Roth at The Verge has more. When it was…

Vision Sorta Pro

Read to the end for a post about inconsistent music. This past weekend I got my hands on an Apple Vision Pro. Now, I’m far from any YouTuber who gets press products nor wannabe ‘influencers’ who buy products, review them, then return them within Apple’s 14-day return window. And I certainly don’t have a spare $3,400 laying around. On Saturday I had some free time and saw on Apple’s website that I could schedule a 30-minute demo at a local Apple Store. It’s free and requires no promise to purchase or anything else. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but…

Apple’s Big Baby Moments

It’s weird to see companies having public temper tantrums. The year is not even two months old and Apple has been on a tear with taking its ball and going home. First it was Apple’s legal loss resulting in it being forced to allow outside payments from the App Store. On the surface this ruling looks like a big win for the likes of Spotify, Netflix, and any other company that doesn’t want to pay a 30% cut to Apple for all purchases. Fair enough. But Apple, always one to want total control, is going the Full-Greed route wherein it…

Walmart Buys Vizio

What does a cool $2.3 billion get you? A well-established TV manufacturer if you’re Walmart. Just announced this morning, Walmart is acquiring Vizio in a deal to expand its ad business. Tom Warren at The Verge has more. “The acquisition of Vizio and its SmartCast Operating System (OS) would enable Walmart to connect with and serve its customers in new ways including innovative television and in-home entertainment and media experiences,” says Walmart in a press release. “It would also create new opportunities to help advertisers connect with customers, empowering brands with differentiated and compelling opportunities to engage at scale and…

Dreaming of 2001

Read to the end for a post about talking heads. I’ve been a lifelong Sega fan. From the day my parents brought home a Genesis, I was hooked. My teenage years were spent rushing Sonic through Emerald Hills zone, blasting monsters in the sewers, and virtually fighting. There’s been leaks of news lately that Microsoft may stop making the Xbox console and let me tell you, it’s giving me large Sega Dreamcast flashbacks. Why? Let’s get into it. The Dreamcast was Sega’s final console. Released on 9/9/99, it was the company’s last attempt to recover from the debacle of everything…

Outhorse Your Email

One things Americans have been accused of is never being fully disconnected while on vacation. We sorta have a reputation for continuing to check email, dialing into calls, and overall monitoring things when we’re on PTO and trying to relax. Iceland’s tourism board is looking to change that. A scenic and beautiful country, Iceland’s tourism board is looking to help you disconnect and enjoy everything it has to offer. To help facilitate this, it came up with delegating your out of office email responses to a horse. Yes, a horse. When you visit the site you get to choose one…

No, Mr. Bond. I Expect You To Print

Printers suck. You know this. I know this. It is a universal truth. Aside from paper jams and managing setups that are complicated, the modern printers are even worse than that. Long ago companies went to a ‘razor blade’ sales model to sell the printer cheap and make money on the ink. HP has taken this cat and mouse game to the next level. Its CEO declared that ink must be a subscription and it can only be HP’s ink. Scharon Harding at Ars Technica has more. HP CEO Enrique Lores addressed the company’s controversial practice of bricking printers when…

Right to Repair’s Moment to Shine

The ability to fix your own stuff is the core of Right to Repair. The movement to compel companies to provide parts and schematics that enable people to repair the stuff they buy has been in the works for many years. Small wins were gained as a few states passed RtR laws, New York being one of them. And while there were some bumps along the way, Right to Repair is having its moment. It also helps that Apple and Google have gotten aboard. Maddie Stone at The Verge has more. Signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, the Right to…

The Power of TayTay

Only a few months ago I wrote about the incredible proliferation of Taylor Swift and her music. Her business acumen has propelled her into superstardom. But last week a flood of AI-generated fake sexually explicit material of Swift was posted all over Twitter X. It’s a reminder that this happened to one of the most powerful entertainers out there. Even she can still fall victim to terrible people, predictably doing terrible things with bullshit-spewing AI tools. Jess Weatherbed at The Verge has more. One of the most prominent examples on X attracted more than 45 million views, 24,000 reposts, and…

The Touchscreen iMac

On the 40th anniversary of the Macintosh computer, I thought it would be interesting to look back on an oddity in the history of this machine: a touch screen version. In the late 90s Apple was close to going out of business and with the acquisition of NeXT brought Steve Jobs back into the fold. The iMac was the first piece of saving the company. Then a different company was buying them and installing touch technology into them for niche use. The coolest part of these machines was that the company ELO was an Apple Authorized seller and apparently had…

Inhumane Pin

I continue to be skeptical about AI and that skepticism extends to the “AI-focused” products that are coming out this year. Case-in-point: a pin from an unknown company called Humane. They’d like you to think of it as a sort of wearable thing that you can interact with using AI. What it looks like is a very expensive product, spewing confidently-wrong-AI bullshit-filled-responses that will likely sell in tiny quantities. Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica has more. As far as we can tell, it’s a $700 screenless voice assistant box and, like all smartphone-ish devices released in the last 10 years,…

Amazon Ditching Android

Amazon pushes its physical products all the time on its website. Fire sticks, Fire TV, Echo, etc. The list of hardware it offers is pretty extensive. Amazon takes the approach of “cheap and replaceable” tech in order to make money with services and convincing you to buy stuff. But now Amazon is doing something unexpected: bringing the operating system of its products in-house. Jeff Parsons at Tom’s Guide has more. At present, the company uses its Fire OS, a fork of open source Android that sits inside the likes of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, Fire Tablet series and Echo Show speakers. But…

AI Scrolling

I may be very skeptical of all the buzz surrounding AI right now, but there are practical uses for the technology. Ancient scrolls dating back to A.D. 79 were burned in a volcanic eruption. Unrolling them is impossible and over the years scanning technology has tried to see anything inside. But using some AI, a college student assisted with deciphering the ancient text. Kyle Melnick at The Washington Post has more. The text message he received at the party included an image from one of the scrolls. [Luke] Farritor sat down in a corner to review the picture and uploaded…

Apple Adopts RCS

Color me more than surprised about this out-of-nowhere announcement from Apple. Let’s cut to the chase: late next year Apple will replace SMS with RCS on iPhone later next year. I have thoughts. Firstly, this is not replacing iMessage. There will still be green bubbles. iMessage will still be the default when messaging another person with an Apple ID. However, the fallback messaging with Android phones will now be via RCS. Back in August I declared “I would never bet Apple adopts RCS. They won’t. The only way is if SMS becomes deprecated and no longer supported by carriers in a few…

The WhyMac

Apple’s transition to their own in-house chips, Apple Silicon, has been a humongous boon for the Mac. For years the Intel-powered computers were good but Apple was at the mercy of Intel’s roadmap. And many times it was underwhelming. The first M1 computers were stellar in every way, none more striking than the redesigned iMac. But lost in all the excitement was a simple observation: Apple seems disinterested in the iMac altogether. The M-series iMac was released in May of 2021. Apple redesigned the whole thing. They went back to a set of colors, invoking the whimsy of the original.…

DNA Insecurity

Reinforcing my number one reason I won’t enroll in the CLEAR program for flying or to ever submit my DNA for genetic testing is this report from Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai over at TechCrunch detailing 23andMe’s data breach. The same hacker who leaked a trove of user data stolen from the genetic testing company 23andMe two weeks ago has now leaked millions of new user records. On Tuesday, a hacker who goes by Golem published a new dataset of 23andMe user information containing records of four million users on the known cybercrime forum BreachForums. TechCrunch has found that some of the newly…

Junk In Spaaace

While there have been efforts for decades to stop polluting Earth, nobody said we can’t do it off-world. So, sure, why not? That’s basically what’s been going on as a certain someone endlessly launches satellites into low orbit, NASA and other organizations work to explore space, and we build a hodgepodge of infrastructure in zero gravity. But what happens when all that stuff becomes junk? Well, debris in space is supposed to be ‘deorbited’. However, it seems that Dish Network didn’t quite do that to their decommissioned equipment, and the FCC is none too pleased. Jennifer Pattison Tuohy at The…

Apple’s Problem With Jon Stewart

It’s no secret I’m an Apple fan and generally support what the company does. Today is certainly not that day. Buried in the plethora of Apple TV+ content is the fantastic show The Problem With Jon Stewart. It’s a topical half-hour show that’s a cross between the Daily Show and Last Week Tonight. Stewart doesn’t pull any punches, as is his personality. But it seems there’s a line that was crossed… by Apple. Charles Pulliam-Moore at The Verge has more. Along with concerns about some of the guests booked to be on The Problem With Jon Stewart, Stewart’s intended discussions…

Getty AI-Generated Images

The age old saying “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” has no better example than this: Getty Images has announced it is releasing its own AI Image Generator that’s been trained on its own images and will be exclusive to its service. Matt O’Brien at AP News has more. CEO Craig Peters said the new service, called Generative AI by Getty Images, emerged from a longstanding collaboration with California tech company and chipmaker Nvidia that preceded the legal challenges against Stability AI. It’s built upon Edify, an AI model from Nvidia’s generative AI division Picasso.  It promises “full indemnification…

Even Netflix Doesn’t Want its DVDs Back

I know we all thought it was long gone already, but it’s only now that Netflix is winding down its DVD rental service. Those once-ubiquitous red envelopes are no more and it’s been a good run. But after this week, Netflix has informed customers still getting those round piece of plastic to simply keep ’em. Jay Peters at The Verge has more. Netflix won’t charge DVD.com customers for any discs they still have after September 29th, the company announced. That generous offer, combined with Netflix’s recent announcement that it may send customers as many as 10 extra discs from their queues, means that…

The Fall of CNET

It’s hard to imagine a website that has endured as long as CNET. One of the big, early websites of the mid-90s internet is still around today. CNET has been in the game of tech news reporting since its inception and been a notable landing place for not only news but product reviews. But it’s been a company finding itself looking to make money and stand out. And part of that is doing the unthinkable: deleting articles. Benj Edwards at Ars Technica has more. The deletion process began with small batches of articles and dramatically increased in the second half…

Data Recovery Exonerates A Man

Every justice system has failures where innocent people are wrongly convicted. A recent story I saw on Mastodon recounts how the Bloop Museum, a technology archive project, was called upon to try to recover crucial data from old floppy disks. Why? Because court records were stored on them, and it was vital to retrieve that information in order to exonerate an innocent man. You can find more details on the museum’s Patreon page. Okay, it was just last year, and the museum received a visit from the Wicomico County Prosecution Integrity Unit. We weren’t in any trouble, but any time…

SegWhy

The Segway is two things: a thing mall cops ride and a thing you may ride on a tour. That’s it. And what a fall from grace it is for this weird device, because it’s an innovative piece of tech that never stood a chance. For the unfamiliar, the Segway was marketed as a revolutionary way to get around when you didn’t want to walk and distances were too short for a car. Dean Kamen invented it and tried to market it as “the “the next big thing.” We know that never panned out, but the “why” that defined its…

Bike Brick

Yet again we find another glaring example of why you should never buy physical devices that depend on a cloud service or app or company remaining in business. This time around it’s VanMoof and its series of e-bikes. The Dutch company is now bankrupt leaving customers with bikes made with non-standard parts and features that won’t work without its app. Rob Schmitz at WGBH has more. VanMoof’s creators fancied their company to be like Apple — creating unique products that would spawn its own ecosystem — but Hartogs says the company ran out of money because, unlike Apple’s products, VanMoof’s…

Eroding the iMessage Moat

RCS has long been the battle cry for Google and Android in the “messaging wars”. The better way to text has had an uphill battle, but Google has stuck with it and continues to push to make it a standard. Unsatisfied with carriers’ dragging its feet, Google made RCS the default way to message on Android and now has turned on end-to-end encryption by default. That is a big deal. Abner Li at 9to5Google has more on why. Google is making this big move to “ensure more people benefit from this added security.” E2E encryption for 1:1 conversations fully launched…