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John Davidson, writing for the Australian Financial Review on Phil Schiller’s testimony in Australia, where Apple is once again facing off against Epic Games (archive link in case FR’s web server goes down):

The casual approach to its meetings, instituted by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs when he returned to the company in 1997 after having been fired in 1985, explained why Epic’s lawyers could find precious few contemporaneous records of Apple’s decision-making processes since the App Store was first launched in 2007, Mr Schiller suggested.

“When Mr Jobs came back in 1997, in one of the earliest meetings someone was taking notes, writing down what [Mr Jobs] was saying about what we’re doing. He stopped and said ‘Why are you writing this down? You should be smart enough to remember this. If you’re not smart enough to remember this you shouldn’t be in this meeting’. We all stopped taking notes and learnt to just listen and be part of the conversation and remember what we were supposed to do. And that became how we worked.” Mr Schiller testified.

“It was very action-oriented. It was built to be like a small start-up where we all are working together on the same things, and we all know what our plans are and what we’re doing.”

And:

Nor is there much talk in meetings of how profitable the Apple App Store is, despite the fact it would be the 63rd biggest company on the Fortune 500 if it were hived off as a separate entity.

“Are you telling His Honour that you have no idea whether ... the App Store has been profitable?” asked an incredulous Neil Young, KC, leading the cross-examination on behalf of Epic Games.

“I believe it is [profitable],” replied Mr Schiller, who has been in charge of the App Store since the beginning. “I’m simply saying ‘profit’ as a specific financial metric is not a report I get and spend time on. It’s not how we measure our performance as a team,” he said.

Sounds like Epic is getting its hat handed to it once again.

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mxm23
42 days ago
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That is so stupid. No note taking? What about the “I’m not writing it down to remember it later. I’m writing it down to remember it now.” Phrase popularized by The Grube?

Smart != good memory. It’s a fact that human memory is fallible.

I get “being in the moment” in meetings. But saying that taking notes is not smart behaviour is just stupid.
West Coast
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Gardzen pads/Time tactics/Does the Dog Die?

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Kneeling pads

When I work in the garden, or fiddle with bike tires, or work on something that requires I kneel, I grab an inexpensive foam kneeling pad, like this one, from a pack of Gardzen (3 for $16). No knee discomfort. A small thing that makes a big difference. — KK

15 Methods to Master Your Time 

This graphic illustrates 15 popular time management tactics. The methods I use the are the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working in 25-minute cycles with breaks in between, and Time Blocking/Task Batching. This is my first time hearing of the “Pickle Jar Method,” but it does seem like I could cross a lot of things of my list working this way: 1. Do major tasks first. 2. Slot in minor tasks around the major ones. 3. Continuously assess and reprioritize tasks. — CD

Movie trigger warnings

Do you find certain subjects too stressful to bear in a movie? If so, Does the Dog Die? is for you. Here, you can input a movie title and it provides a list of content warnings. For example, Marathon Man includes a warning for “damaged teeth,” which makes my skin crawl. You can also search in reverse — a search for “Are any teeth damaged?” results in a scarily long list of movies that depict teeth being broken. — MF

Chinese sci-fi series

The biggest cultural export from China this century is the science fiction novel The Three-Body Problem. A ten-part Chinese version of it was made a few years ago, which was okay, but Netflix has just remade 3 Body Problem into an 8-part series produced by the guys behind Game of Thrones megahit series. I’m enjoying this version even more than the book. The story has been globalized, ramped up, and supercharged with appropriate effects, to make it clear, compelling, great science fiction. — KK

The Library of Consciousness 

The Library of Consciousness is a growing collection of writings, lectures and media about the human experience and all its mysteries. You don’t have to know what you’re looking for, just click around or search for keywords to navigate. It’s a source of inspiration. Right now, there are 200 authors in the library, and the curator says that they are actively seeking female and POC perspectives and welcomes recommendations. — CD

Cheap AI transcription

I need to transcribe a large number of recorded interviews every month.. I used to be a subscriber to Otter.ai, but it has a limit of 10 uploads per month. I have found a superior replacement, notta.ai, which is cheaper ($8.25 per month) and offers 1,800 minutes (30 hours) of transcription per month, which is more than enough for my needs. Notta’s free plan provides 120 minutes, which should be sufficient for most people. I’ve also noticed that Notta is faster and just as accurate as Otter. — MF

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mxm23
60 days ago
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I’m using OpenAI’s Whisper for transcription. There’s a good, almost great, Mac app that wraps it called MacWhisper. One-time purchase. All transcription done locally.
West Coast
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David Pierce Reviews Humane’s AI Pin: ‘Nope. Nuh-Uh. No Way.’

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David Pierce, mincing no words at The Verge:

That raises the second question: should you buy this thing? That one’s easy. Nope. Nuh-uh. No way. The AI Pin is an interesting idea that is so thoroughly unfinished and so totally broken in so many unacceptable ways that I can’t think of anyone to whom I’d recommend spending the $699 for the device and the $24 monthly subscription. [...]

As the overall state of AI improves, the AI Pin will probably get better, and I’m bullish on AI’s long-term ability to do a lot of fiddly things on our behalf. But there are too many basic things it can’t do, too many things it doesn’t do well enough, and too many things it does well but only sometimes that I’m hard-pressed to name a single thing it’s genuinely good at. None of this — not the hardware, not the software, not even GPT-4 — is ready yet.

Ever since Humane de-stealthed and revealed the AI Pin last July, the big question (for me at least) has been whether it’d actually be useful to own a gadget that does what the AI Pin is supposed to do. It’s seemed to me all along that almost everything the AI Pin does would be just as well, if not better, done by a phone with an LLM-powered voice assistant. But Humane has far bigger problems, because the AI Pin clearly doesn’t even do what it’s supposed to. Pierce:

I’d estimate that half the time I tried to call someone, it simply didn’t call. Half the time someone called me, the AI Pin would kick it straight to voicemail without even ringing. After many days of testing, the one and only thing I can truly rely on the AI Pin to do is tell me the time.

The more I tested the AI Pin, the more it felt like the device was trying to do an awful lot and the hardware simply couldn’t keep up. For one, it’s pretty much constantly warm. In my testing, it never got truly painfully hot, but after even a few minutes of using it, I could feel the battery like a hand warmer against my skin. Bongiorno says the warmth can come from overuse or when you have a bad signal and that the device is aggressive about shutting down when it gets too hot. I’ve noticed: I use the AI Pin for more than a couple of minutes, and I get notified that it has overheated and needs to cool down. This happened a lot in my testing (including on a spring weekend in DC and in 40-degree New York City, where it was the only warm thing in sight).

The battery life is similarly rough.

Pierce’s review is so brutal it’s uncomfortable at times. I don’t know where Humane goes from here but this might be impossible to recover from reputationally. It seems borderline criminal that they shipped it in this state. Here’s one more tidbit:

Me: “Play ‘Texas Hold ’Em’ by Beyoncé.”

The AI Pin: “Songs not found for request: Play Texas Hold ’Em by Beyonc\u00e9. Try again using your actions find a relevant track, album, artist, or playlist; Create a new PlayMusic action with at least one of the slots filled in. If you find a relevant track or album play it, avoid asking for clarification or what they want to hear.”

That’s a real exchange I had, multiple times, over multiple days with the AI Pin.

I thought perhaps the “\u00e9” thing was a CMS glitch, but no — watch Pierce’s corresponding video review and you’ll hear the AI Pin pronounce “Beyoncé” as “beeyonk-backslash-you-zero-zero-ee-nine”.

(Yet, somehow, the AI Pin garnered a 4/10 on The Verge’s review scale. How bad, how broken, would a product experience have to be to get a lower score? Would the reviewer need to be electrocuted by the device to rate it lower? “3/10, sent me to the ER with a nasty burn”? “1/10, it killed my spouse when she tried it”?)

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mxm23
60 days ago
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If you haven’t watched the review I recommend it. Interesting to see someone try to remain objective when the thing just doesn’t work.

That bit about reading out the Unicode for the e with the accent in Beyoncé’s name is even more interesting: It seems that it was reading a behind-the-scenes LLM prompt to aid with playing songs.
West Coast
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The World of Shein

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Nicole Lipman, N+1 magazine:

But both things can be true. SHEIN might be singled out as the worst fast-fashion retailer because the United States fears and envies China and has a particular interest in denigrating its successes, and it might be singled out because it is, in fact, the worst: the greatest polluter, the most flagrant IP thief, the largest violator of human rights, and — arguably worst of all — the most profitable. SHEIN has shown the world that unsustainability pays. Together with the companies that will follow its example of ultra-fast fashion, SHEIN will accelerate the already-rapid acceleration toward global catastrophe.

Consider the volume of critical press coverage, for decades, documenting outrageous practices in any number of consumer industries — fashion, technology, whatever — and then consider how those same industries, and even the same businesses, continue to grow and thrive. We now live in a world of Shein, Temu, and Amazon, all of which are the exact opposite of the values we claim to hold, yet are hugely popular and growing. The worse they are, the more they are rewarded.

See Also: Michael Hobbes’ deep 2016 investigation, for the Huffington Post, about the “myth of the ethical shopper”.

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mxm23
60 days ago
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Reminds me of that parable of the person who can’t afford good $100 boots that last a decade so has to buy $40 boots every two years.
West Coast
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Google to Delete Search Data From Tens of Millions of Users Who Used ‘Incognito’ Mode in Chrome

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Bobby Allyn, reporting for NPR:

Google will destroy the private browsing history of millions of people who used “incognito” mode in its Chrome browser as a part of a settlement filed to federal court on Monday in a case over the company’s secret tracking of web activity. For years, Google simply informed users of Chrome’s internet browser that “you’ve gone Incognito” and “now you can browse privately,” when the supposedly untraceable browsing option was turned on — without saying what bits of data the company has been harvesting.

Yet, according to a 2020 class-action lawsuit, the tech giant continued to scrape searches by hoovering up data about users who browsed the internet in incognito mode through advertising tools used by websites, grabbing “potentially embarrassing” searches of millions of people. Google then used this data to measure web traffic and sell ads. [...]

As the suit was pending, Google changed the splash screen of incognito mode to state that websites, employers and schools and internet service providers can view browsing activity in incognito mode. But under the deal, Google will have to state that the company itself can also track browsing during incognito mode.

That was quite the omission. I’m not sure there was ever a product in history more purposefully misleadingly named than Chrome’s “Incognito” mode.

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mxm23
71 days ago
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“Full self driving”
West Coast
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I honestly have no idea what a Canadian Mountie is thinking at any time

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Back in 2010, I was traveling internationally a couple times a year and I decided to go through the process of getting a Global Entry card from the TSA. It’s like a magic pass that lets you run through customs in almost any country in just a few minutes, skipping lines and inspections. It’s a long tedious process of applying, giving the government the a-ok to do a deep background check on you, then you wait for months for one quick 10 minute long appointment to speak to an agent face to face. Mine took about six months to complete, and it required that I run up to Seattle’s little Boeing airport where a TSA agent met me for an interview.

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At the time I did it, since we were a stone’s throw from the Canadian border, they asked if I wanted to talk to a mountie for a couple minutes and pay $5 extra on top of the $150 for the Global Entry pass. I said sure. Both agent interviews were quick and consisted of them holding a stack of papers ostensibly about me while posing the question “Do you have any prior felonies or interactions with the law?” and me saying “not really, no” and them nodding and saying “yes, yes that tracks” before stamping some papers on the desk.


That sweet Nexus/Global Entry life

Once I had my card, going through airports was a breeze, saving about 45 minutes of time skipping the giant customs line of whatever country I was landing in. The times I flew into Canada weren’t much different, even with the Nexus pass, but after a few years of owning it, I decided to take a drive up to sightsee randomly for a couple days in Vancouver, BC, which is a six hour drive from my house (about the same time to drive between LA and SF, something I was used to doing as a spur-of-the-moment road trip).

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Driving across the Canadian border with a Nexus pass is absolutely fantastic. Even if you pull up to the border during rush hour, you can skip the line of cars stretching to the horizon and jump in the carpool-like NEXUS ONLY lane. When you get to the front, a mountie asks for your card, inspects it quickly, then lets you through.

It was so incredibly efficient that one time I timed it on a stopwatch to check and from the time I stopped my car at the kiosk to driving away from it into Canada, it took only 30 seconds.

Time lapses

A Global Entry account is active for five years and when I got the opportunity in 2015 to re-up it, I did. But by the time it came up for renewal in summer of 2020, I knew I had no plans for international travel and the Canadian border was effectively closed to all Americans, so I let my membership lapse. Had I known today it takes anywhere from six to fourteen months to get a Global Entry/Nexus pass, I would have renewed when I could.

My very first Canadian custom official interaction

Back in fall of 2003, almost 20 years ago to the day, I flew into Vancouver airport to meet my wife at a conference, who had driven her car up a few days before from Oregon. I’d get to crash in her conference hotel and take day trips while she was at the event, then we’d spend the following weekend exploring the city together once the conference was over.

My trip began by me forgetting my passport on my desk at home, which I learned when I landed in Canada and it wasn’t anywhere in my packed bag. I’m kind of amazed I even got to board the flight in Portland in 2003 because the TSA was recently formed and constantly implementing new harsher requirements to travel.

When I landed in Canada, a perplexed customs official greeted me at the airport and eventually said my US driver’s license was enough for him to let me into the country even though he legally shouldn’t and added “good luck getting back into the USA”. I knew we were driving back and I was going to be a passenger, so I figured I’d take the risk.

In the end, it was no big deal, the US border patrol didn’t ask me any questions and just let my wife through as the driver after checking her passport that she didn’t forget to bring.

This first interaction probably skewed my view of Canada’s authorities in a grossly positive light, as everyone I interacted with was thoughtful, helpful, and supportive back in 2003.

Things go south

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My first weird Canadian official interaction was in 2017, when I flew to Vancouver on a quick 12-hour trip to record video interviews for a project at work. I had my Nexus pass, I was working for a company with offices in Vancouver, and it was a same-day in and out business trip. Since my time was short on the ground, I hired a freelance videographer friend from Portland to help me capture the interviews in a multi-camera setup.

For some reason, this did not sit well with the Canadian customs authorities at the airport. I expected a quick rubber stamp entry, but the official came back with “Why didn’t you hire a Canadian filmmaker to assist you? Why bring an American freelancer all this way?” and we argued for a few minutes about the short schedule, how we’d be heading back to the US that very night and how this was done for the sake of speed to get a project done quickly.

Eventually they let us pass.

My next weird interaction was a year ago, in November of 2022. I’d just bought a new plugin-hybrid Jeep and only one shop on the west coast had figured out how to improve its suspension and they were outside Vancouver. I remembered my previous weird interaction about American freelancers, so when crossing the border (this time without a Nexus pass) I was 100% honest and said I was there to get some car work done by a special shop in Canada and I was happy to exchange my American money for Canadian goods and services.

This did not sit well with the official at the border crossing. He asked why I couldn’t find an American shop to do the work. Was my jeep so unique I just had to get into BC to get it fixed and upgraded? I think the customs guy was trying to figure out if I was saving money by abusing the Canadian/US dollar exchange rate, which was in my favor at the time, but I assured him it was only to get specific work done I could only get in Vancouver.

Eventually, they let me pass, but it was far from a pleasant experience.

I know what I’ll try: lying

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After nearly a year of hard trails and battering my jeep, I needed to fix some things and beef up my suspension further, so I called up the same shop that worked on it before and they ordered some new coils to upgrade my Jeep. Knowing the border officials would be weird about me spending money in Canada, I decided to not state it as my reason for being there, instead I would say I’m there to meet friends and do some sightseeing.

This turned into 5-10 minutes of questioning. Where was I headed? Why didn’t I already have a hotel room booked? Am I really going on a spur-of-the-moment trip? Is that a thing Americans do? Where do I work? Oh just freelancing for now—why?

I was asked to roll down all my windows so he could look around, then he asked me point blank: you need to tell me if there’s a gun inside your car.

I understand the Venn diagram of Jeep owners and gun owners in the US has a large overlap, but I didn’t know how to tell the guy that I would vote to repeal the 2nd amendment tomorrow if I could. Sure, I had guns as a kid from my gun nut dad, but I have never (and will never) own a gun as an adult.

Eventually, they let me in.

Good luck in the future

At this point, I don’t know how to interact with Canadian border guards. When I’m exceedingly honest they’re skeptical and pepper me with questions for minutes on end. When I lie, they get weird and the questions continue.

I know I’ll cross the border more times in the future as I keenly want to explore the region (and do some mountain biking in Whistler someday!) but honestly at this point, I don’t know what to expect in any of these interactions.

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mxm23
258 days ago
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They’re not Mounties at the border. They are CBSA agents. Otherwise, cool story bro.
West Coast
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