TWIT 760: A Perfect Time to Panic

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!


There seems to be a tracking link in the download URL. All of your listeners using ad blocking like pi-hole on their network or device will probably not be able to download the episode.

Link in RSS and on website.


Ditto this! We have both our home and corporate networks blocking trackers so I can’t pull the ep down via Pocket Casts.


I wondered why PocketCasts kept failing to download the podcast this morning… I tried to download it about a dozen times, but it kept aborting with a failure to download.

It then managed to download over 4G on the way to the office.


Glad you figured that out, I wasn’t sure why mine kept failing this morning, even when I wasn’t connected to my PiHole. But I use NextDNS when I’m not connected to my PiHole and it was blocking it also.


Michael Nuñez made an interesting comment about companies just collecting as much as data as they can without even knowing what value it might have (:20s clip from Overcast app linked below if you don’t recall it). I’m not a big fan of all this data collection and tracking, but the idea that there could be tremendous value for society if it was used appropriately gives me some pause. I think concerns about real harm are not unfounded, and it seems like most value has been extracted purely for commercial gain. That said, I hear a lot of discussion about regulating data collection, but relatively little about regulating the use of data. The latter is probably more difficult, but might it ultimately be more fruitful?


That’s quite disappointing, as @Leo keeps saying TWiT does not track listeners. I guess that changed this week.

Yep, disabled my Pi-hole and it worked. So we have to do that now every week to download TWiT shows? Man-alive that’s going to be inconvenient.


Regarding the tesla crash and the Apple supplied company phone, it is the policy that is important. It says you shouldn’t use the phone when driving, which also means that you can’t be reprimanded for not answering whilst driving. If some don’t have that in place, they should. Every company, but 1, I’ve worked for over the last 30 years has had such a policy


Same problem here…Adblock installed, unable to stream podcasts on the Apple podcast app. I was able to watch via YouTube however…guess it’s YouTube from here on out. Boo.

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Shoot. I am really sorry. It’s a long story but we were testing a new re-direct with a company called Barometric. The pi-hole, NextDNS, (and I’m guessing other ad-blocking filters) see the redirect as connecting to an ad server - which it’s not, it’s for ratings not tracking - and blocks the download.

We’re working on changing the redirect now. You might get a second copy of TWiT, but the downloads should work from now on.

Stay tuned for a further explanation of what we were trying to do. Again, apologies. It’s should be fixed tonight.


Leo, there’s always been a lot of discussion about Tesla’s use of the terms “Auto Pilot”. For instance Id can point out that pilots in commercial aircraft have to disconnect the “Auto Pilot” on a regular basis. Any time you ask yourself as a pilot “why is it doing this” you hit the disconnect. In other words you have to be ready to take control just like a car with driver assist. Considering that’s in the sky with no trees, pedestrians, etc it might be a while before we truly have self driving cars that don’t need a drive to be sitting ready to take over.


I love the point that most of us listen alone so we’re safe from Corona. :joy: :rofl: :sweat_smile:


This is interesting. Never thought about that. I would have expected that road traffic regulations would be enough for an employee not to feel pressured to answer a call when it’s simply not legal or safe to do so.

As for the specific case: if the brand-enthusiastic and well-informed driver was playing on an iPhone while driving in a semi autonomous car, it appears like he made a pretty educated decision on how much risk he was going to allow into his life and the life of others. Sadly, the odds did not work out for him. Gladly, he did not take anyone with him.

I am a rather empathetic person, but this case struck me as a rather logical chain of events and, thus, not a surprise. To some degree, to the contrary: it’s fascinating that this is news. “Man, driving on auto-pilot while playing with iPhone, hits concrete wall, dies” seems like the antithesis to news.

I know I sound a bit like Spock, here and I don’t mean to draw his sacrifice into ridicule - it’s tragic that he trusted tech a bit too much, there and, hey, it may have worked out. But I find it an interesting observation that we are in a mode where we are so hopeful for technology that it’s NEWS that miracles are not quite happening yet. It’s an outgrowth of the “BUT I WANNA!”-tantrum-isation that sometimes creeps up in tech-fan-circles and that can make Jeff Jarvis’ “techno panic” sound a bit … naive at times.

Yes, I have touched my phone while driving semi-autonomously, too. Yes, “I WANNA”, too! Yes, I am naive, too, to expect the regulations to be stronger than company policy. But also yes: sometimes “that’s the reason why we can’t have (some) nice things”. Maybe it’s not news, maybe it’s a modern memento mori.

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I changed my post slightly, I forgot, that there was 1 company I worked for that expected you to answer the phone, read SMS or email whilst driving, even though they didn’t provide hands-free in the pool cars, even though it is illegal in Germany to use the phone whilst driving.

I actually got a verbal warning for not answering the phone - I pulled in at the next lay-by and called back, I didn’t answer straight away.

I think part of the problem is the name. Autopilot to the lay person means the vehicle will drive itself, “just like a plane”, because they have seen that in films, that the AP carries on flying until the fuel runs out, even if the pilots are dead, until the stewardess or the passenger manage to gain control and safely land the plane.

It is assumed that the Tesla system, because it shares that name, will act like film autopilots. Pilots and flight enthusiasts know better, lay-people and film enthusiasts don’t, that is a big problem for Tesla’s marketing, autopilot sounds great and they know what it does, but they must also know that normal people will assume it can drive itself - it has been demonstrated often enough, yet Tesla hasn’t really changed its marketing.

A car is a dangerous weapon and the driver needs to be in full control at all time, regardless of what assistant systems the car has. I stick my phone in my pocket or my Rücksack when I am driving, or clip it magnetically to the air vent on the passenger side, where I can’t easily reach it or read the display, whilst I am driving. I only use it for listening to podcasts or audio books in the car. For that, I just use the built in steering-wheel controls, none of my last 4 cars had Android Auto or CarPlay, but they did have Bluetooth Audio - all low to mid-class cars from the mid 2000s through to 2014 model years (Ford Mondeo, Toyota Verso, Citroen C3 and Nissan Qashqai).


Sounds like an “interesting” place.

That’s pretty intense. I can imagine that given the “right” superior (and we’ve all had those at one point in time), that can become pretty uncomfortable. I try to chalk that off to “management overreach” and discard the information - but then again, that’s my go-to answer for most of strange managerial behaviour. It might be one of the many reasons I have turned self-employed. The benefits might be mutual. :slight_smile:

Absolutely agree: it’s part of the problem, at large.It’s absolutely true for the elderly lady that wants to do something for the environment and loves the magic going on in her new e-car, finally getting some knitting done while driving. But for the tech dude, it should not be - he probably “wanted to believe”. Every once in a while, we likely all “want to believe”; but then the stars align and the dice are cast.

Given that deadly traffic accidents are generally going down, it might also be simply a matter of reporting and attention. People might do even stranger stuff in old school cars and hope for the best, unsuccessfully - and no-one really wonders why it went south on them.


I think people misunderstand how autopilot works on an airplane and do not realize the level of engagement still required on the part of the pilot; it’s not like the pilot and co-pilot get up and walk around the cabin during the flight, or kick back and play games on their iPad. But it would probably be easier for Tesla to come up with a different name and some clearer marketing than it will be to re-educate the public at large about what “autopilot” is and is not.


When underhanded, deceptive marketing turns deadly.

Samsung calling their LCD panels “QLED” is one thing, but Tesla telling people they’ve purchased “autopilot” is on another level.


This was a really great episode. I am a TWiT member who is on the low end of the tech-knowledge spectrum, and so This Week in Tech is sometimes above my head but I absolutely love this show as a way to get as up to speed as possible. I also think Leo and the guests do an amazing job with dialogue and they make the conversations/topics accessible to people like me. :heart_eyes:


Yay! That’s a very nice thing to hear @GrandmaChaz! Thank you!


Ahhh. Pi-hole. That answers why I couldn’t get this episode. Interestingly, I could not get it through my iphone’s podcast app (RSS Radio), but my google home was able to stream it. I guess that’s because my app follows the rss feed, whereas google no doubt proxies it somehow.