TWIT 918: Rational Minds Have Prevailed

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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I am on Team Canada Minister of Culture.

One of the big problems in the news business: You can get most of the story by just reading the headline and the blurb. In many cases, the blurb is the story. Here is the text of a tweet from @CNN today:

Dick Fosbury, legendary Olympic gold high jumper who revolutionized the track and field event, died Sunday of lymphoma, according to his publicist. Fosbury was 76.

IMO that story is essentially complete; the actual article is only necessary if you desire a refresher on Mr. Fosbury.

For that reason, I think the right formula is not pay per click, but pay per mille.


Personally (and as a Canadian) I don’t see any value in Facebook or Google News. I don’t think Google has every sent me to a “newsy” link when I searched for something. I think it would be smarter for the government to operate a “certified” news clearing house. Basically a homepage where you could go, and see a randomized selection of recent/popular news items… one each from say up to 6 (at a time) appropriate news providers. (Where appropriate implies you go to a page that is regionalized, much as the weather service is.) Then the government could advertise this new service as a benefit to Canadians, and we would all dutifully use it to prove how we’re proud of our innovate solution. There would need to be controls in place to prevent the government abusing it to hide bad news, but I’m sure the opposition parties will willingly volunteer to audit it. The problem, as ever, is the funding model… I guess they could charge licensing fees for businesses like Google and Facebook and pool those funds (as well as divert some of the taxes charged via ISPs) and use them to pay per click (or whatever) to fund the newsies.

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On Apple and the VR thing:

I think it’s correct to say, as she did, that tech really breaks through when it’s a social activity. It’s true for VR and for AR as anything else. That’s also what Zuckerberg was trying to force with the metaverse: he was trying to create an online social shared activity that could be done in VR.

The problem for both Zuckerberg and for Apple is that we already have a model for that: online gaming. Shared online spaces with social activities are not just possible, they’re commonplace. You need only look at any given MMO to find exactly what Zuckerberg was trying to build, and a lot of the mistakes he made were the same kinds of mistakes that MMO developers usually made when they weren’t paying attention to what had gone before.

This is why Apple is in deep trouble when it comes to VR: because it’s gaming that drives the adoption of these kinds of technologies. VR headsets are usually bought to be used for gaming. Both the Meta Quest and the Valve Index are gaming devices first and foremost—although Zuckerberg appeared not to understand that, probably because he doesn’t know the first thing about gaming.

(That’s ironic, considering one of the big early drivers of Facebook were Facebook games like Farmville, and considering AR already had its killer app in Pokemon GO.)

Problem is, to be blunt, almost every Apple product is abysmal when it comes to gaming. The iOS gaming ecosystem is an absolute disaster, filled with predatory free to play games and advertising driven dreck. The days of the iPhone being a space for game design innovation are long over.

The situation on Mac hardware is even worse, with Macs being notoriously and completely useless when it comes to gaming. Most games will not work on a Mac no matter it’s cost, and the few that do are glitchy messes. I don’t believe that’s an accident or an oversight, but Apple deciding that “gamers” don’t fit their vision of their ideal consumer.

So the real killer app for any VR platform is one that Apple could never provide. All they have left is some kind of glorified branded version of VRchat. That might be fun, but it ain’t going to be as fun as being able to hang out in the main social areas in FFXIV, showing off your dances and skins in a fortnite lobby, or running a Destiny raid with your friends.

I doubt that was the designer’s objection, because I think they’re part of the problem. But it’s why it’s a doomed enterprise.

This might work somewhere like Canada, or Germany - where the government is always a fluctuating coallition and never has extreme left or extreme right in its make-up, so the news services are generally less biased than, say, the USA - but the UK has just shown that even the BBC, which used to be a bastion of unbiased reporting in my youth, is now a pawn of the Tory Party.

I think the USA would be similar, it is too partisan, especially in its news media, with neither side really reporting accurately - at least compared to international sources.

Although in Germany, there is a growing backlash to traditional news media, the Trump “fake media” ranting seems to have rubbed off on the more gullable in society, especially, but not limited to, the younger generations.

It seems, if news comes from a professional journalist, it is fake news, but if it comes from some fruitcake on the fringe, it must be true.

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Caandian governments generally aren’t coalitions; the situation it’s in now (with the liberal/social democratic coalition) is somewhat abnormal. It likely would have already fallen apart by now, if the conservative party hadn’t been captured by deeply concerning far-right influences.

The bigger problem is that you do have a public broadcaster that’s roughly fair in the CBC, but then you basically have nothing but right-wing papers and news outlets. (Much like, say, Australia). People often talk about the CBC being biased, but never really talk about how reactionary the rest of the press has become, because the CBC doesn’t want to stir up the hornet’s nest and the rest of the media is the actual problem.

(Even the putatively progressive Toronto Star got bought out by right-wingers years ago.)

So I don’t think backlashes towards “traditional news media” has anything to do with the media per se. It’s a populist backlash against social and cultural elites in general, and especially against experts, out of misdirected frustration at economic stagnation and cultural change. The media’s just the most-easily-understood target for it.

Lisa Schmeiser and Scott Wilkinson have the best laughs on the network. Great show all round


I tried VR 30 years ago on the first date with now wife, I tried it again when Microsoft launched MR - no better

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So joyous. I agree and love it

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I cheated on @Leo and listened to another podcast from LinkedIn where the host was talking to the founder of Oculus - poor guy still believes the age of VR will come. I now think of VR like those numeric keypads accountants buy for their laptops - really good for some use instances, but not for the majority.

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