The Lighthouse IT Podcast - December 30th, 2022
This week, totally not robots 'Matt' & 'Griff' reflect on the year by discussing some of the highlights that have made waves in one big wrap-up to finish 2022 off. We'll be taking a short break until the next one, so stay safe, and have a great start to the new year!
Pizza vending machines
- No surprise on my wrap-up list, I've gotta go with the Pie-stroh to make it to one of my favorite stories. The Pie-stroh is a vending machine that makes your favorite pizza right in front of you. Someone simply needs to come along and make sure that the ingredient hoppers are kept full while Pie-stroh fulfills its destiny.
- Man, I'm hungry just thinking about this investment.
- Hard to believe that the group Lapsus-dollar-sign was broken up this year. However, in a "Life imitating art imitating life" situation for the ages, it was traced back to a 16-year-old in England living with his parents. Which I guess makes sense since he was only sixteen. I also seem to recall that his computer was located in the basement and his parents in absolute shock as to what authorities were claiming.
OJ in cereal
- Remember when I had that crazy idea that we should get a box of Tropicana Crunch? Tropicana Crunch was a cereal designed for orange juice in order to take on "Big Milk."
- Griffin, wasn't that one of your nicknames in high school? Anyways, I went on this very podcast and said we should buy it, force it down our team's gullets, and film it for everyone's enjoyment.
- Well, I couldn't score the OJ Cereal proper, but we made up our own. And we filmed it. And it was so cringy that Griffin wouldn't let the footage see the light of day.
- Internally, we berated him to the point where we shared the rough cut. I realized just how well he was protecting us. Unsurprisingly enough, we never did hear about any further production runs of Tropicana Crunch, so perhaps this one can slowly slip our memories. But for now, I still can't get the taste out of my mouth.
Biggest fine the FTC has ever dished out
- So, one story that makes my list for the year won't sound familiar because we didn't actually cover it on the podcast. Because it just happened. Epic Games, those guys behind the Fortnite game, were smacked down with one of the largest FTC settlements in history. Epic, who you may remember caused a stir with Apple about their App Store policies last year, sure needed those extra profits.
- The settlement was for two allegations. The first was that Epic was collecting personal data from children without getting consent from their parents or guardians. It also accused Epic of exposing children to bullying and harassment using the built-in chat features.
- The second allegation was for their use of "dark patterns" to confuse and trick players into making purchases without offering confirmation or refunds.
- All in all, Epic Games is 520 million dollars poorer as a result. Given that they are valued at 32 billion, it'll hurt, for a bit.
- Remember the most revolutionary laptop that got a big update this year? That's right. We are talking about the Framework laptops!
- Earlier in the year, they had a massive update to their models and introduced a bunch of accessories, making modular gadgets feasible.
- At the time, their second generation was sure to be the biggest news they had this year, but no one expected them to release a Chromebook model as well!
- Framework is serious about building truly long-lasting devices and might actually be fulfilling the often-promised and rarely-delivered dream of upgradeable, modular gadgets. We are still very excited to see where they go. I may need to get one in 2023...
- But I doubt I'll get the Chromebook version at $999, while I could spend the same amount with them and get a great 12th gen Intel system.
- And, of course, the topic that we have had to mention in nearly every podcast this year... Has been Twitter.
- In April of 2022, Elon was simply the largest shareholder of Twitter at 9%. He was getting in trouble with Twitter regarding tweets about Tesla with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and attorneys then had to approve his posts.
- And then, at the end of that same month, he offers to buy Twitter outright. Twitter then adopts the 'poison pill' plan to shield itself from the investor taking control.
- But, then Twitter accepted Musk's offer at $54.20 per share.
- After that, he announced that he'd probably take over as CEO of Twitter, pushing Parag Agrawal. He announced his plans to bring the company from $5 billion to $26 billion by 2028.
- Parag put a freeze on hiring and started letting top leadership go left and right.
- After that, Elon said that the deal was to be put temporarily on hold. He cited concerns about the "bot armies" that exist on Twitter. He said he was lied to by Twitter that that only consisted of less than 5% of the active user base.
- Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter's founders, left May 25th.
- Twitter then turns the tables on Musk and says that they will force the merger between Elon and Twitter. Musk had, after all, a contractual agreement to by Twitter at $54.20 per share.
- Now June, Musk attends his first all-hands meeting at Twitter and answers questions from employees, which didn't go well as no one was really happy or excited about this deal.
- Musk then, in July, claimed that Twitter committed multiple breaches of their agreement. (The spam accounts being his main issue.)
- Musk accepted that there would be about a $1 billion breakup fee if Twitter beats him in court.
- Later that month, that court date was set for October.
- By August, Twitter was issuing many subpoenas to associates of Elon to gather a bunch of information ahead of the lawsuit.
- Musk then stated that he wanted a public debate with Twitter's CEO, Parag...
- Then, former security chief Peiter Zatko, or Mudge as he is known, came and said Twitter execs covered up major security flaws in their system for more than a decade and that there may be Twitter employees who are actually working for a variety of foreign intelligence agencies. This is where I started to really think I was watching a thriller movie.
- So not surprisingly, Musk subpoenaed Mudge to get more information as he was still trying to get out of the deal, and this looked like a promising way out.
- Then, it became official. The same month when the court date was supposed to be, became the month that Musk officially bought Twitter.
- Musk notified Twitter that he intended to move forward with the deal.
- This is where he began publicly discussing his massive plans to turn Twitter into the "everything" app. This type of Super App, like WeChat, would mean a lot in Twitter would have to change.
- Over the next month or two, nearly half of Twitter's employees either get fired or leave voluntarily.
- He said that anyone who doesn't want to be apart of the "Extremely Hardcore" Twitter will have to go.
- He begins with charging users for verification and unbanning everyone who had been previously banned before.
- This caused issues from an insulin provider losing millions after a spoof account said their insulin would now be free, to Pepsi saying that Coke is better. Twitter Blue was taken down shortly after.
- He then had issues with Apple and their 30% app store fee, so he simply charged Apple users more.
- And that pretty much brings us to now, where he is obsessed with the Super App that Twitter could be. He relaunched Twitter Blue and is now implementing things like a 4,000 character limit and a bunch of terrible moves. (In our opinion...)
- Dalle-2 had its official release in Nov 2022, and it has gotten a lot of attention for being so revolutionary in the digital art world.
- We covered it while we had access to its beta, and it was both easy to use and very efficient. Simply giving it a prompt with a subject, art style, and maybe a genre gave us great results. "Darth Vader drinking tea while wearing a hula skirt, dreaming about the time the Death Star was overrun with ewoks" is a personal favorite of ours.
- So let's go through where this tool came from. OpenAI was founded in San Francisco in late 2015 by Sam Altman, Elon Musk, and a few others, who collectively pledged US$1 billion. Musk resigned from the board in February 2018 but remained a donor. In 2019, OpenAI LP received a US$1 billion investment from Microsoft.
- It is now finally released and still being improved upon.
- But have you ever heard of Chat GPT? It is the newest AI breakthrough, and it is also made by Open AI, just like Dall-E.
- Chat GPT interacts in a conversational way. Its dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer and serve up information in clear, simple sentences rather than just a list of internet links.
- It can explain concepts in ways people can easily understand. It can even generate ideas from scratch, including business strategies, Christmas gift suggestions, blog topics, and vacation plans.
- We asked it to create a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and it responded with a broad outline of how to create it. Now when I say broad, it gave me a 7 step outline with locations, examples, encounters, and even how to calculate rewards...
- When we asked it how to explain the fluid dynamics, it was actually explaining it in a very conversational way, starting with a brief summary, how wide of a field that is, and some of the key concepts.
- What is interesting is that from a search perspective, this could cause huge disruptive waves. Google has long since changed into an answer tool (ask it a question and expect an answer), but what if you simply asked this chatbot and got the exact same answer you were looking for, with way more detail even? Is this the resurgence of Ask Jeeves..?
- The problem is the bot is not fully developed and, in its current state, could really give you any answer from non-politically correct to simply incorrect. Google has attempted to stay away from this as it has gotten flack for its own AI chatbot LaMDA, and Google's management has issued a "code red" amid the launch of ChatGPT. A Google AI lab lead has stated in response to ChatGPT AI chatbots are "not something that people can use reliably on a daily basis."