TWIT 814: Imbued With Musk

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!

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The argument about cryptocurrency energy usage was a little specious to my mind. Yes, the banks probably use a lot more energy than Bitcoin currently does. But they also handle millions of transactions a minute. Bitcoin, on the other hand is much slower and consumes much more energy per transaction, and the bigger the blockchain, the more energy will be needed to process the next transaction, or at least that is my understanding.

If Bitcoin was scaled up to transact as fast as the banks handle transactions, the blockchain would explode in size and it would devour ever more power.

Cold, hard cash, on the other hand has a cost for creating it, but when it is passed from hand-to-hand, it doesn’t require any additional power - just the energy of me taking it from my pocket and giving it to the other party and them taking it and putting it in their pocket; forgetting ledgers etc. which would be needed for both types of transaction on top, if it was a business transaction.


Just heard the next section…

Advertising: Profile the site/page I’m viewing and give me advertising based on that, that will probably be a lot more accurate than any profiled advertising I’ve ever seen.

I’ve never bought anything based on advertisements I’ve seen on a web site. I’ve bought based off reviews I’ve read or recommendations from friends.

The only advertising that has ever worked on me is the advertising on TWiT. That is advertising that is based on TWiT’s/Leo’s usage and/or carefully vetted products that Leo personally advertises.

  1. Audible - now over 10 years as a monthly paid user
  2. GoTo Meeting - used it at several employers, based on TWiT advertising
  3. LastPass - I was a pro user for over half a decade, thanks to TWiT, but I’ve recently switched to 1Password.
  4. Yubikey - I don’t think they were an advertiser per se, but based on Steve’s and Leo’s recommendations, I have been using them for 7-8 years.
  5. ITPro.TV - I used this for a couple of years when I was swapping between jobs, to keep me up to date and to learn new areas. It was a great investment, but I don’t have the time currently, so I cancelled my subscription at the end of 2019.

There are possibly a couple of others I can’t remember. But that is at least 5 more products bought through TWiT than through profiled advertising.

Google and Amazon are the worst.

I bought a new dishwasher on Amazon, they spent the next 6 months offering me other dishwashers! How many kitchens do they think I have in my house? That is a waste of my time and it is pure fraud, on the part of Amazon to its advertisers, they know for a FACT that I have just bought the product they are advertising, they know for a fact that a majority of people don’t need more than one of these devices, so they know that selling advertising slots for dishwashers aimed at me is a con!

The same with Google. If I search for “support/documentation on product”, or “problem with product”, they know that I either have the product or I am dissatisfied with the product, yet the first dozen or so entries and all the sponsored results are for sites trying to sell me that product! Often, I’d need to go to the second or third page, before I get any relevant results.

Again, from the search terms, Google knows I am not interested in buying the product on which I am searching for specific information about a problem with it, yet they sell advertising space in the results they show me to companies that are only selling the product I am not interested in buying! Again, for me that is pure fraud on Google’s part, they know I have no interest in the product, but they sell advertising for that product anyway.

It is one of several reasons, why I don’t use Google and block its advertising domains.

Edit: Great panel today and great topics to get riled up about! :smiley:


There are multiple methods to confirm transactions in Blockchains. The bitcoin method of proof of work is only one method. Most business oriented blockchains do not use that method.

I’d be interested in a HomePod mini if they made them wireless. Seems pretty obvious to have them sitting on a charge puck and you can easily pick it up and move it outside if you want. I do like my HomePod for streaming radio stations etc.

Yeah I use the Sonos Move that way. They’re great for indoor/outdoor use. I have two so they’re stereo. Decent sound, but likely the last Sonos products I’ll ever buy. These days I prefer to decouple the IOT from the speaker.

They’re also considerably more expensive than even the original Home Pod. Given that both Google and Apple have cancelled their $300 offerings I wonder if Sonos is also feeling the pain.

Agreed, though I’m not sure how well that scales beyond really large sites with robust first party data or in cases where the content itself isn’t product driven. It seems like there should be a way for sites to funnel information about themselves (i.e. their content) to companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon or other ad servers and do matching based on that, but at some point I imagine someone needs to understand who is reading the site. Without validation, why wouldn’t a site just say that their readers are whatever group of people are the most valuable target there is.

I bet if you open your refrigerator or your pantry or your cabinets you will find all kinds of brand name products that are there because constant advertising has put them top of mind. To be clear, that is what we call “brand” advertising rather than targeted advertising, and it is for widely available products. The challenge is making that work for niche stuff and doing it without a large budget.

Is this Google’s fault or advertisers fault? Companies choose to buy those search terms. Could they tell Google “don’t put my ads next to search terms that include the words ‘repair’ or ‘problem’ or ‘manual’”?

All that said, I would like to see things move away from user-specific tracking and identification.

In our fridge is just fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese and meat from the deli counter. Marmalade and sauces are mainly home made.

The only brands are our milk - we went through about a dozen different brands until we found one we like - and my prune juice, which is the only band that Dienst thin it out with lemon juice.

Edit : just had a look, a few supermarket branded items and some local, fresh foods.

I think Elon is an interesting person, but I think Steve Jobs on steroids is an exaggeration. Liftoff
Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX is a great book about the beginning of SpaceX. what I picked up from the book is that it sounds like the extreme culture is sort of ramping down and that it was sort of characteristic of being a startup. A bunch of the early employees say that they chose to do most of that and weren’t forced to. Also, definitely read the book its really good, it has a rating of 4.7 on Goodreads.

Second Life came up again in relation to digital land and I just want to say that I find it amusing that it seems to get mentioned about every other show in relation to VR or AR or Digital Assets but everyone acts like it’s an ancient dead platform. It’s still pretty active and had an uptick in activity due to Quarantine.


Couldn’t help but laugh when Larry showed his autographed Kennedy campaign sign at the end of the NFT bit. How can you understand the value of that but not understand the appeal of an NFT?

I think Instagram has such a high clickthrough rate because they integrate so well into the UI of the user’s feed, rather than the quality of the advert. They barely differentiate it from a real post. Google Adsense and other solutions on a typical web page are so clumsy, they never integrate well and it’s so easy to tell that they’re not associated with the content I’m here for. Basically I think Instagram’s success is just the result of a dark pattern.

IMHO, Tesla’s marketing department should be prosecuted for every incident relating to “Autopilot” regardless of perceived fault. You tell someone their car has Autopilot™, they’re going to think their car has an autopilot. I’m all for personal responsibility, but they’re just flat out lying to consumers. Nearly all marketers do it, but in this case lives are at stake so the consequences should be higher. I firmly believe we lack the programming ability and language to create a true autonomous driving system, and we are nowhere close to getting there. What we have now is more akin to NPC pathing in a multiplayer video game. /opinion

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I feel like I’ve heard Tesla defend the “Autopilot” language by saying it provides driving assistance in much the same way that autopilot/flight assist works in airplanes, i.e. it comfortably handles long stretches of otherwise boring travel but humans are still expected to closely monitor and then intervene as needed. I think the argument, sticking with that line of reasoning-- and consistent with Google’s defense-- is that people ignore stated warnings and blithely misconstrue the details. The retort would be that if a company knows that people are ignorant or misinformed or mistaken, then the company should alter their language to make it clearer, regardless if “Autopilot” or “Incognito” mode is catchy-- and that refusal to change is evidence that said company is to some extent willfully misleading people.

I’m of two minds here. If you’re worried enough to use Incognito mode then it is incumbent upon you to read the label closely. Similarly, if you’re going put your life in the hands of a car then you should probably follow the manufacturer’s guidance (e.g. keep your hands on the wheel, remain alert, be prepared to intervene). OTOH, I am very much in favor of companies using plain language wherever possible, and think they make the extra effort to ensure consumer welfare.


Except there are no hairpin turns or curves in the air, AND there are air traffic controllers who have exceptional radar and make sure that other [flying] vehicles stick to their [air] lanes. It’s not even close to the same level of safety or ability.


I don’t think I have ever seen anyone publish data that shows targeted advertising even works. The best data I have seen was something like 4% improvement over generic advertising.

Please direct all concerns to:
Tesla Headquarters
3500 Deer Creek Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304


I haven’t seen any ROI comparisons. I’m sure Facebook or Google will tell you it is much better. It could be 10% better or 20% better, I’d still prefer to not receive targeted ads.

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True, but if you think AI cars are going to be flying around hairpin turns like overconfident human drivers then you are probably mistaken. If the AI knows there is a hairpin, it should slow to an appropriate speed to make the turn safely, before accelerating back up for the boring straight bits.

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This is Tesla we’re talking about. They don’t “know” much in terms of driving, by all accounts… considering the ways they’ve managed to kill their inattentive drivers… like driving into road barriers?

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My Model X invariably attempted to hurl me into a concrete median divider on one particular stretch of Highway 101. I learned to take over before getting to that point on the freeway.

In other words, keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, even with “Autopilot” turned on. I think any Tesla owner would learn that pretty quick.


This is precisely the problem. Don’t use the language in a situation like this if you’re gonna have to defend it. I really wish society didn’t have to be this way, but common sense just ain’t that common. Things need to boil down to the “least common denominator” consumer.

Of course Tesla is legally covered, but I’m talking about the moral side. They overhyped the crap out of their software by calling it an Autopilot in order to pump the company’s valuation, with no regard to the implication that might have toward a normal person’s safety - a person who would never read an instruction manual much less the fine print.