Six Tanks a Singing [CL38]

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 13, 2022
Ned wonders if AWS is still re:Inventing the cloud, Chris is excited about bandwidth in SPACE, and we both are tired of Elon’s ideas.


[00:00:00] Chris: Anyway, all I’m saying is that airbnb is clearly populated by lowest common denominator opportunists to spend a terrible amount of money on everything. And by that I mean on nothing.

[00:00:12] Ned: Well, I mean, they’re doing what the system incentivizes them to do.

[00:00:18] Chris: Nothing.

[00:00:19] Ned: Yes. The bare minimum, I think, would be correct.

[00:00:25] Chris: Different than the bare necessities, because the.

[00:00:27] Ned: Bare necessities is fun and simple, from what I hear.

[00:00:34] Chris: So how’s life on the east coast?

[00:00:37] Ned: We’re both on? I guess technically you’re not on the East Coast. You’re more on the Gulf Coast.

[00:00:41] Chris: No. Yeah, gulf coast and oh, shoot. They call it something else, the dirty coast.

[00:00:47] Ned: Do they really?

[00:00:49] Chris: Well, at least in some of the bars I’ve gone into, which might say more about my personality than I’m comfortable sharing on the show.

[00:00:56] Ned: It certainly says more about the sort of bars that you frequent.

[00:01:02] Chris: The less lights the better, is my motto.

[00:01:05] Ned: You’re not wrong. You’re not wrong. The East Coast is good. I was recently in the South Carolina Low Country, which is really yes.

[00:01:15] Chris: Snuck a vacation in on me, or was this for something else?

[00:01:18] Ned: This is a vacation visiting my brother in law. He’s stationed in in Charleston, South Carolina. So we went down there and visited for four days, three nights.

[00:01:31] Chris: Cool.

[00:01:32] Ned: Yeah. I’d never been there, and I didn’t understand what the low country was or meant, and it was explained to me.

[00:01:41] Chris: That it just means it’s the Netherlands. What do you need to know?

[00:01:44] Ned: Yeah, exactly. They all ride bikes and have wooden shoes. Yes. That is what is meant by the low country. That’s definitely the type of food you’re going to get. There’s lots of pancakes and blends.

[00:01:59] Chris: Holy crap. One thing I have taken away from this trip shrimp and grits.

[00:02:05] Ned: Yeah.

[00:02:06] Chris: Top five food all time.

[00:02:08] Ned: Wow.

[00:02:11] Chris: I’ve had it, like, three times at three different restaurants, and every single time it’s been outstanding.

[00:02:16] Ned: Do you feel that has more to do with your locale than it does with the dish?

[00:02:22] Chris: I think you’re right.

[00:02:23] Ned: I think it has to do with.

[00:02:24] Chris: The way that they prepare the dish. I’ve made shrimp and grits, and it’s been fine. When they make the dish, it is outstanding. I can’t think of another word that.

[00:02:38] Ned: The secret is more butter. You know that, right? Cheese and cheese.

[00:02:43] Chris: Mispronounced cheese both.

[00:02:46] Ned: Why cheese? It does seem strange to put cheese on seafood. Generally frowned upon, but in some cases, warranted.

[00:02:56] Chris: Yeah. So, yeah, those are pretty much my two takeaways.

[00:03:02] Ned: Okay. I’m glad.

[00:03:03] Chris: Airbnb bad. Shrimp and grit is good.

[00:03:06] Ned: My experience with airbnb has been fine. I still prefer to stay in a reputable hotel chain when possible, and that’s what we did. We stayed in the Hilton home with suites, and it was very nice. They had good breakfast every morning, and I didn’t have to deal with the vagaries of weirdo airbnb people, and you.

[00:03:27] Chris: Didn’T have to get passive aggressive emails about cleaning up after yourself?

[00:03:30] Ned: No, they were fully aggressive emails. The WiFi was spotty, though, and I guess that’s just being anywhere that’s not home, right?

[00:03:43] Chris: Yeah, for sure. Although this will probably be the last podcast we record on this computer, because something that happened on this trip. My number keys across the top row have all stopped working.

[00:03:56] Ned: That makes it difficult to type numbers.

[00:03:59] Chris: Yes, you would think that there would be an alternative.

[00:04:04] Ned: Can you do the numeric keypad overlay?

[00:04:08] Chris: Well, in Mac, it’s called the accessibility keyboard.

[00:04:12] Ned: Okay. We’ll call it that.

[00:04:13] Chris: So it opens up and it’s like 30% visible, and you can click on the numbers there. So that’s what I’ve been doing. But let’s just say that’s not convenient.

[00:04:20] Ned: Less than ideal speech to text translation is your best bet.

[00:04:26] Chris: I mean, this computer is a 2015 model, so it’s had a heck of a run.

[00:04:30] Ned: It has built them like a tank, steers like a tank, types numbers like a tank. Hello, a legend human. And welcome to the Chaos Lever podcast. My name is Ned, and I’m definitely not a robot. AWS. The yellow ball of gas in the sky sets earlier and earlier each day. I, too, feel a deep sense of unwee that compels me to exchange tokens of appreciation with loved ones both near and far. Let us make vibrations in harmony with typical holiday platitudes. Halting. Problem detected. Initiate recovery. Okay. Yeah. Deck the halls and all that jazz. With me is Chris, who’s also here. Hi, Chris.

[00:05:21] Chris: My takeaway is that you’re obsessed with tanks and being very melodic.

[00:05:26] Ned: I’m very melodic. I know one note all one of them, so good.

[00:05:31] Chris: Well, what I’m thinking is maybe this is a missed opportunity and you and I should talk to the Defense Department, because think about it. Holiday singing tanks, the confusion that they would rot on the battlefield.

[00:05:46] Ned: Oh, it’s like psychological warfare followed by actual warfare.

[00:05:49] Chris: Exactly. Am I joyful? Am I terrified? Am I just at my in? AWS, I’m not sure.

[00:05:56] Ned: Are we doing a hot Five stand up? I’m not sure. Good for you. Good for you and for your in laws. Let’s talk about some tech garbage, shall we?

[00:06:08] Chris: Less.

[00:06:09] Ned: All right, before we get into that, this will be our last official show of 2022. So if you’ve been enjoying Chaos Lever, just know we’re going to take the next two weeks off, sit around, get fat or fatter, and try to do nothing as much as possible.

[00:06:31] Chris: We’ll catch up with you on the flip side, as the kids say.

[00:06:35] Ned: I believe it’s pronounced flippity floppy.

[00:06:37] Chris: Oh, my mistake.

[00:06:38] Ned: That’s right. Anyway, speaking of things that may or may not still be relevant, let’s talk about Amazon Web services, reinvent. As we mentioned last week, Reinvent 2022 happened and it was fine. Yes, fine. This is the 11th re event, and while it’s not the largest ever, attendance has certainly recovered from the pandemic, depending on who you ask, there was somewhere between 60,000 and an infinite number of people at the conference. That high end estimate comes from an AI trained in crypto finance, so I wouldn’t trust anything it has saying relating to reasonable numbers, at least. There were also plenty of people who were attending, or, more accurately, sporadically viewing remotely, in some cases in Las Vegas itself. Because as much as AWS tries to make getting around easy between the four major locations, five, depending on how you count it, it’s still a slog to get from, say, the MGM to the Venetian. And sometimes it’s just easier to watch from a screen a few miles away than from the actual event. And more comfortable.

[00:07:53] Chris: I mean, it’s a lot like watching sports, if you think about it.

[00:07:57] Ned: Yeah.

[00:07:59] Chris: Where will you be more comfortable in a tight, bleacher situation with people very inebriated and possibly vomiting, and the bathroom being literally hundreds of miles away and filled with people that are very inebriated and possibly vomiting, or just like on your couch?

[00:08:19] Ned: And now that we’ve moved into the era of gigantic televisions and eight K whatever, yeah, that difference does melt away a little bit. There’s still something to be said for the experience, and that something is it’s mostly crap. So I was only at Reinvent for a couple of days, less than that, in fact, and I focused my efforts on walking the Expo hall and chatting with vendors, especially in Startup Alley, issuing the larger vendor booths in favor of constructions that could actually be called booths and not encampments for a prolonged siege. Honestly, Chris, I’m not sure what you have to gain from wandering into what we could call the dense forest of screens and marketing of fluvia. That is a diamond. Excuse me? An emerald sponsor. Like all the extra green you have to pay to get over diamond.

[00:09:15] Chris: Oh, I guess.

[00:09:16] Ned: Yeah. I don’t know what’s to gain to wandering into one of those booths. For example, VMware? Why would I go there? I know who the company is, I know what they do, and they have battalions of marketing people who already try to keep me abreast of the company’s latest escapades through multiple mediums and formats. Unless I happen to recognize one of the poor souls assigned to booth duty, I’m unlikely to go near any booth that takes up more than a few square feet.

[00:09:47] Chris: And even if you do, you’re often in a situation where you’re here. I’m so sorry.

[00:09:55] Ned: My experience wandering into those booths is people walk up and try to explain to me things that I already understand, and I don’t want to waste their time. They colo, explain to somebody else who also knows what it is. So I submit to you that the actual vendors of interest can be found in the periphery of the Expo, and they are desperate for human contact after being ignored by swaths of people on their merry way to get swag from the datadog tent. I personally had excellent conversations with exosphere Ivan Haiku, structura and Retool, and only one of those is spelled the way that you expect. Check the links in the show notes.

[00:10:42] Chris: I’m not even going to make a joke. I want people to see this for themselves.

[00:10:45] Ned: No, don’t even try. Just look at the show notes. But what about AWS itself? What was the big news? Any crazy new services or amazing improvements? You know, despite talking at Keynotes for many, many hours, there doesn’t seem to be one blockbuster thing people are buzzing about. If I peruse the tech news over the last two weeks, as I want to do, it is as if reinvent barely happened. Now, that granted. That’s because the tech zeitgeist is squarely focused on the nightmare of Twitter, the continuing disaster of crypto, and the rise of OpenAI’s, weird stuff that will eventually destroy multiple industries and people.

[00:11:33] Chris: Yay.

[00:11:35] Ned: Oh, and a new version of Kubernetes 126 is out. And maybe that’s the biggest point of all open source platforms versus closed source primitives. AWS and the public cloud in general have moved into the boring infrastructure category and out of the innovation seat. And honestly, no wonder. Cloud computing, depending on how you measure it, is now about 15 years old. While it’s enabled incredible transformations of industries, that sounded sarcastic, but it wasn’t. It really has enabled incredible transformations of industries and disrupted traditional companies in countless ways. It sounds like a marketing slide, but I mean, this I honestly mean cloud computing has done all of this. The big public cloud providers have succeeded in becoming staid and boring. It’s not bad. One thing that cloud providers did was create self service access to basic primitives like IaaS, and companies use those to build new solutions. In fact, that’s really been AWS’s preferred mode of operations, creating primitives that developers can combine in new and interesting ways.

[00:12:53] Chris: Yes, and I think it’s important to just highlight that one more time. I think about it in terms of did you see the movie The Prestige?

[00:13:01] Ned: Yes, I’ve seen it.

[00:13:03] Chris: You remember the early trick where Christian Bale does the transportation?

[00:13:07] Ned: Yes.

[00:13:09] Chris: And the audience is not impressed.

[00:13:12] Ned: Why would they be?

[00:13:14] Chris: What he’s doing shouldn’t be possible. But they’re just like, okay, that’s what I feel like these primitives kind of are. They’re a magic trick that shouldn’t be possible, and the things that you’re able to do with them is fantastic. But we’ve gotten to a kind of what have you done for me lately? Place where we’re just not impressed by that anymore.

[00:13:37] Ned: Yeah. It’s become commonplace, and therefore the magic has been lost. There’s also a problem with primitives in that there can be too many of them and too many different ways to combine them. And sometimes developers and infrastructure people appreciate a helping hand. AWS has something ludicrous, like 300 plus services. If we assume that each of those services represents maybe a handful of primitives that is, an infinite number of possible combinations to get right or horribly wrong. One of the things I’ve always felt about AWS is that it was like a set of Tinker Toys or Legos without an instruction manual. I’m sorry. Lego. Not Legos. You can build anything you want, and we’re not going to tell you how that can be a little overwhelming to the cloud architect and developer alike. Consider the developer experience of ten years ago as to what they have to contend with now. It’s not just choosing which programming language to use, but also which framework to use. And if you’re using JavaScript today, like most folks, there are about eleven D bazillion last I checked. Next, you need to deploy that framework in a target environment. Do you use EC, two instances containers on ECS or EKS.

[00:15:06] Ned: You try to package it in Lambda or run it on Fargate. And how do you handle your database back end? Are you going to use Postgres or something postgres compatible? And if so, do you go with a proprietary cloud database or an open source version hosted as a platform? Or host it yourself in that shiny EKS cluster you just spun up? Oh, and you’re going to need ingress controllers or load balancers or API gateways. And security, don’t forget about security. Honestly, it’s enough to make a developer want to throw their hands up in the air and go back to deploying ASP net apps on IIS with a basic Microsoft SQL back end, just like God intended. Still a lot of those floating around. In fact, I did a whole benchmark analysis for Microsoft where they had me take traditional net apps and move them to their app service platform because it now basically fully supports the migration from an IIS platform, and they’re doing big business of just moving those apps over to a platform that does it for you. Interesting. So AWS has always excelled at providing primitives that enable programmers to do whatever they want.

[00:16:23] Ned: AWS is looking for builders to build the future. Unfortunately, developers and infrastructure folks alike are overwhelmed with choice. And the obvious answer is to conjure up a platform based on the primitives that provides an opinionated environment for application development and deployment. AWS has tried stuff like that in the past. Like elastic beanstalk, light Sale, App Runner. But even then, the seams stitching together the underlying primitives were showing. Elastic Beanstalk in particular was an imperfect, leaky abstraction, and AWS chose to do that by design. It’s like they kind of knew they had to build a platform, but they didn’t want to be heavy handed or reduced customer choice. In the end, they accomplished neither.

[00:17:16] Chris: So, classic compromise. In the end, no one’s happy.

[00:17:19] Ned: Exactly. That’s what we call a market opportunity. And there are several vendors today that specialize in providing a platform for application deployment that lacks choice deliberately. The idea is to get the code deployed as quickly as possible without the developer needing to know too much about the underlying primitives. Ideally, nothing so fly IO, fastly Versell, and fermion. Again, most of these are not spelled as you would think. Check the show notes. All of these and more are laser focused on getting you from idea to code to running application in the least amount of time as possible. And most of them also have a secondary focus on allowing you to scale your idea to planet wide as quickly as possible, assuming that you have a hit on your hands. Are there trade offs and lock in? Absolutely, yes. But that’s comparatively cheap compared to the hourly cost of engineers who are spending entirely too much time fiddling with primitives and doing undifferentiated heavy lifting on AWS. Many of the platform companies are actually building their solutions on top of AWS and then abstracting it for you. Fermion, for instance, has started out with a fleet of EC, two instances using custom Amis, and it’s an autoscale group.

[00:18:50] Ned: AWS isn’t losing out on revenue as a result of these new platforms, but the innovation is from the new platforms and not AWS. Again, that’s really fine to a certain degree and somewhat expected if I can rewind things and go back in history a little bit. I know people love a journey, love a story.

[00:19:14] Chris: Chris, you’re talking about the band, right?

[00:19:16] Ned: Yeah. You know what?

[00:19:20] Chris: Sorry. Go on.

[00:19:23] Ned: Damn. That is now 100% in my head. I hate you so much. So I would compare the journey of AWS and the public cloud to that of another game changer in the tech industry. I mentioned it earlier VMware. In its halcyon days, VMware was innovating on what a virtual machine could be and how it might be managed. And it’s hard to overstate how groundbreaking v. Motion and Storage v. Motion were. How DRS could rebalance your hypervisors while you just slept soundly at night, how developers could get a development environment spun up in days or hours instead of weeks or months. VMware sure had some sweet primitives to build things on, and I think that goes back to what we were saying before, where it was magic the first time you saw it, and then it became passe, right?

[00:20:26] Chris: Especially DRS.

[00:20:29] Ned: You just start taking it for granted. Like, why is my cluster out of balance? It should just be able to move virtual machines around willy nilly, and nothing ever goes down.

[00:20:38] Chris: What, you get mad at the microwave because your soup is cooked unevenly.

[00:20:45] Ned: Not the fact that it’s irradiating your food to heat it up in a magical way? No, I need to open it and stir my soup. What is this garbage? Do it for me.

[00:20:56] Chris: I’m sorry. I thought this was America.

[00:20:59] Ned: We don’t have to stir our own soup. VMware, incidentally, also has tried to crack the platform not a few times when it comes to application deployment, I can think of three particular cases their acquisition of Spring and the framework that accompanied it. Later they acquired the Pivotal platform, which they’d mostly been subsidizing anyway. Both of those were supposed to give them platforms that developers would embrace heartily and trade complexity for choice. Trading complexity and choice for simplicity and speed. Spring certainly has its adherence, and there are fans of Pivotal as well. As a whole, the introduction of Containerization and Kubernetes threw a bit of a wrench in VMware’s plans for complete global dominance. Also, the cloud didn’t help. In short, they backed the wrong horse a few times and were slow to get on the right one. And with Broadcom looming off in the distance, VMware is unlikely to become a dominant application platform. They are forever stuck at the infrastructure layer. At least that’s what I think.

[00:22:15] Chris: Yeah.

[00:22:15] Ned: Okay.

[00:22:16] Chris: I have no notes.

[00:22:17] Ned: Okay, I thought you were going to maybe try to argue the opposite, but just doesn’t seem worth it. The second major thing to bear in mind about AWS is the change in leadership that happened. Andy Jassy has made the transition to CEO of Amazon proper and handed the mantle of AWS over to Adam Solpsky. And while the two might seem like two completely interchangeable middle aged white dudes, their presentation style and management style are remarkably different.

[00:22:52] Chris: And they have different haircuts. That’s important.

[00:22:54] Ned: Slightly. Slightly, yes, but otherwise I could not pick the two of them out of a lineup. The difference in their styles is going to be reflected in the way that AWS is run going forward. While there’s little chance of major changes coming to the organization structure, they do love their two pizza teams and the principles espoused by leadership are largely going to stay the same. There is a certain calcification settling in at AWS. Does that mean their position of cloud dominance could be in danger? I should really have that as like a sound button.

[00:23:40] Chris: We talked about that 2023, the year of the soundboard.

[00:23:43] Ned: Oh, I have one. It’s going to be very easy to do. I’m excited now. We’re going to have to take two weeks off just so I can get my soundboard prepped and practice it.

[00:23:52] Chris: You do it right or you don’t do it at all.

[00:23:54] Ned: Exactly. I’ve said it once and I’ve said it once. It’s tempting to equate AWS’s current position to that of Microsoft. In the early 2000s. Dominant at the desktop and server operating system levels, microsoft was effectively blindsided by the one two punch of mobile and Linux. Web 20 is built on the back of open source technologies and pointedly not Windows Server, with its bloated stack and aggressively expensive licensing. Web 20 is also built on browsers, something that Microsoft once had dominance in, but was edged out by another company that had embraced open source. Good old Google Chrome. I threw up in my mouth a little bit, but there we are. Actually, I was a firm Chrome user when it first came out and it certainly smoked the pants off of Ie in basically every respect.

[00:24:56] Chris: Oh, yeah, we were so young then, but it was a magical browser for a long period of time.

[00:25:02] Ned: Yes, it’s certainly a bloated nightmare now, but it started out lean and mean.

[00:25:08] Chris: Which is the story of all of us, isn’t it?

[00:25:11] Ned: Ouch. I feel attacked. Yeah. At the same time, Microsoft failed to get mobile, right? Not just once or twice or even three times. I think I can count at least five separate failures of Microsoft to break into the mobile ecosystem. If you want a good laugh, I have a link to a video checking out the Microsoft Kin. Do you remember that?

[00:25:39] Chris: I’m not going to lie, I’ve never heard of it until right now.

[00:25:43] Ned: You, sir, are in for a treat. It was made for the young people.

[00:25:48] Chris: This one’s at least spelled the way you think it would be spelled, so.

[00:25:51] Ned: That’S something that’s the one expected thing about the device. Everything else is hot garbage, physical keyboards, baby. They’ve finally thrown in the towel on the mobile device thing and gone with Android as their operating system. And even the devices that they’ve made with the Android operating system are unnecessary anyway. Most analysts would have rightly assumed microsoft was on the road to become a has been in the mid to early 2010s, based on their trajectory and lack of success in so many areas. And honestly, it took some hard choices and big shakeups at the company with Sacha Nadella taking over. I think in 2012, if I’m remembering correctly, that was all very necessary to turn things around and recapture market share in a completely new way. Services instead of licenses and platforms instead of primitives. That’s gone pretty well for them. Do I see AWS falling into a similar spiral in the next few years? Not really. Like I said, it’s tempting to compare the two, but I don’t know, internally it doesn’t make sense to me. Microsoft’s problems were a misunderstanding of the future and some serious negativity from developers and it folks, boy, they made Steve Ballmer and Steve Ballmer throwing chairs, yelling at developers.

[00:27:22] Ned: Yeah, for the young ins out there, if you haven’t seen Steve Balm or throw a chair, honestly, what are you doing right now? I think that AWS understands the market it’s operating in and it’s going to continue to grow in both revenue and profit for many, many years to come. Will that growth slow down a little bit? It kind of has to. Just the law of large numbers, but they are going to continue to grow in a healthy way. Providing great primitives is useful to companies that want to build a platform, and AWS tends to be sticky for platform companies that don’t care to build for, multicloud or host their own data center. We can certainly have a conversation about cloud repatriation at another time and when the economic break even point makes sense for self hosting, but I think I’ll put that to the side for now. So I would say directionally, AWS is fine and they are focusing on what I think the next big frontier is, whether we like it or not. Machine learning and artificial intelligence. Woo, the data and analytics area of the expo was booming and there were tons of people over there.

[00:28:37] Ned: There was a noticeable buzz and it also received its own keynote. Not entirely surprising. So I expect AWS will continue to build primitives and host platforms for other vendors, but I wouldn’t expect any major new services to be launched in the next few years. In a way, AWS is no longer reinventing the cloud, they are providing the space for others to do so. The biggest threat to AWS’s dominance is not other cloud providers, it’s a better set of multicloud primitives offered at a lower cost. So far, I don’t see that. Thoughts?

[00:29:15] Chris: No.

[00:29:15] Ned: HyperCloud super cloud jokes that I will.

[00:29:21] Chris: Only make from 1000 miles away.

[00:29:24] Ned: If I could kick you, I would. Yeah, honestly, I think there’s a lot of things to happen at the edge for computing, and AWS will have some level of success there, but I think other companies are going to have more success there. But when it comes to moving stuff back to a central location for processing and building platforms, why wouldn’t you just use AWS at a certain scale?

[00:29:56] Chris: I think you sort of hit on the important point as to A, the fact that AWS is going to be fine and B, the reason that innovation is going to start to slow down in terms of flashy things that reinvent. And that’s basically what are the tools that companies need to build what they have to have in the cloud to survive as a business. Based on the 300 plus, and I believe the number is actually close to 400, if you want to get pedantic about it, which I’m sure you do always. That’s enough. We’ve covered the bases, right? I think the average AWS customer still uses something like ten or less services.

[00:30:39] Ned: It’s all EC two and VPC, right?

[00:30:42] Chris: Maybe a PaaS based database, maybe. And then network tickets. And that’s it.

[00:30:48] Ned: Right?

[00:30:48] Chris: Because that’s all they need. And what they need is those services to be rock solid, highly performant, and something they don’t have to worry about reorganizing or reconfiguring every six months.

[00:31:01] Ned: Exactly. And that’s why I think people are so hesitant to dip into these other services, because there’s not over a decade of guidance on how to use them. Like, we know what a virtual machine is, we know how to use it. We’re getting comfortable with Blob. Storage still seems a little weird. Not sure if I liked object based storage, but it’s there and it’s gaining traction. We understand databases for the most part, and the rest of the networking stuff is they didn’t really create new networking constructs, they just copied what already existed.

[00:31:39] Chris: You look at what you can build with the primitives that you understand, and if you’re confident that what you build is workable, you’re done, right, because then what you have is a number of question marks. Do I want my engineers to spend time learning about these brand new things that may or may not work? And even if they do, they will be more fragile because they’re less established, so there’s less material and harder to learn and harder to configure.

[00:32:06] Ned: It certainly has to provide significant value over the way you’re doing it today. One of the links in the show notes will be a Red Monk article that makes the comparison to the Apocryphal quote from Henry Ford where he said, if I had asked the people, they would have asked for a faster horse. And he probably never actually said that. But the point is, we know what the primitives can do today and we’re happy just building faster versions of the horse. It’s really up to another company, maybe not AWS, but another company, to put some of these other primitives together in a new and interesting way that gives us what is essentially the car and then teaches us to drive it. And even then, it’s going to take 20 years, right?

[00:32:55] Chris: Because whatever is bleeding edge today will eventually become a primitive, but it’s just going to take time for that to become established and become commonplace. And that trend is just it’s taking longer. The edge. Things are slowing down in terms of immediate usefulness, and that’s not a bad thing. It just means that we’re getting what we need out of the cloud. And that’s fine.

[00:33:19] Ned: It’s all fine.

[00:33:21] Chris: Everything’s fine. It’s all fine.

[00:33:24] Ned: Just to take it all the way back to the beginning of my little chat. See, I did it. I brought it all the way back. That’s why I like to go down Startup Alley, because the next big thing, the car to the racehorse, is probably going to come from one of those startups. So talking to them gives you a little bit of a preview into the future.

[00:33:47] Chris: I mean, first of all, it would be a draft horse, not a racehorse. But everything else you said sounded accurate.

[00:33:53] Ned: I hate you and you should just read your lightning round. Now.

[00:33:58] Chris: That’S the way we like to start on this next episode of Elon Musk’s increasingly bad decisions. A Twitter cryptocoin.

[00:34:11] Ned: This completely passed me by. I had no idea.

[00:34:16] Chris: So this has actually been kind of a great year for right minded humans. FTX’s insane fall has prompted actual FTC action against crypto companies and as of this morning, arrests.

[00:34:28] Ned: Yay.

[00:34:30] Chris: Now. It’s not just FTX. Other companies like are in the hot seat and people like Tom Brady and Larry David are named defendants in suits, calling Crypto what it is a Ponzi scheme. Public sentiment around the. Very idea of cryptocurrency is plunging. It is currently holding an amazing 8% approval rate, which is down from 19% this time last year, so that’s also important to note. It’s not popular. It never has been. Stop it. So what’s a desperate, brain cell deficient crypto dude bro like Elon to do work on the release of a Twitter crypto coin. Of course, little is known about the coin yet, outside of some leaked screenshots that show quote, coin as a way to pay for things on Twitter, and a number of images that are claimed to be part of the Twitter coin project. Now, naturally, all the other crypto DuBros totally coincidentally, the DOJoin world is a buzz. They’re all hyping this as the next big thing. Not because it’s a Ponzi scheme, of course, and they’re already in that couldn’t have anything to do with it. Musk has long been associated with crypto and said in a public meeting on December 4, quote It is kind of a no brainer for Twitter to have payments both Fiat and crypto, so I think it’s a safe bet that this terrible idea will be implemented and made reality any minute now.

[00:36:03] Ned: He is working with people round the clock on his fantastic ideas and all.

[00:36:09] Chris: Twelve that still work there.

[00:36:12] Ned: Paskey is Coming to Chrome stable passwords suck. We all know this. We also know that password managers are kind of a clue for an already flawed system. There are definitely better ways to verify a person’s identity on a persyte basis without having to deal with dodgy web forms intended for frail human fingers and memories. The Fido Alliance has been working to replace passwords with Paskeys since its inception in 2012. It is frankly pathetic that it has taken the industry ten years to create a specification and have it adopted into a major browser. But I digress. Version M 108 of the Chrome browser will have full support for passkeys on Windows Eleven, macOS and Android. If you are already using Safari, you’ve had Fido support using Face ID for Login for a while now. Pass keys differ from a password in multiple ways. First, there’s no field for you to awkwardly type in the long string of characters or have your password manager do it. Pass keys also use the passkeys use the web author to request and receive authentication information. Secondly, the passkey is unique to each website, meaning that if a site is hacked and the PaaS keys are exposed, they cannot be used on other sites.

[00:37:38] Ned: They also have to be of a certain length, preventing users from selecting shorter, less secure strings. PaaS keys also require the presence of a physical device to complete the authentication, meaning that the site is storing the equivalent of your public key and not the private key. The private key is stored locally on your operating system or browser using its built in keystore, and it uses the physical device as a proximity check. So even if someone gains access to your browser with the private keys, they still can’t use them unless they have proximity to the device. And if they have that, you’ve got bigger problems than your Grinder login. There is a lengthy list of caveats on supported operating systems and devices, so check the Linked Register article for more info.

[00:38:27] Chris: These show notes are going to be like 80 pages long at least. Scientists demonstrate 100 gigabyte per second link from ground stations to satellites. Satellite Internet has always been a problem for all the reasons this has always had limited use cases, as synchronous communications are kind of important. Modern equipment has had bandwidth limitations measured in the megabits or even kilobits per second, which is not great. New experimental results from Lincoln Laboratory have significant results that might change the nature of these kinds of ground to space communications, with their terabyte infrared delivery system getting as much as 100 gigabyte per section connecting speeds. If you’re doing the math at home, you’re probably noticing the new stuff is faster. Now. These devices are not without their limitations, as the only way to get these full speeds is with laser light transmission, which is obviously a problem if they are like clouds.

[00:39:34] Ned: Yeah.

[00:39:36] Chris: However, a full deployment of these two transfer stations, both on the ground and in orbit, could make routing around the weather a possibility. The devices themselves are small and relatively speaking, inexpensive, so we can probably expect something like this to become reality sooner rather than later if further testing stays promising.

[00:39:58] Ned: Did they intentionally do the capitalization? So it’s spelled T bird.

[00:40:04] Chris: I’m not going to lie, I didn’t notice that until right now, and probably excellent.

[00:40:08] Ned: I’m all in. Raspberry Pi wants you to just chill, man. Fine. It’s one thing to fail to read the room when you make an announcement, it’s quite another to ignore the concerns of everyone involved, be incredibly condescending to an entire community, and burn up social trust in an afternoon. Apparently the social media manager at the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a bit of an overachiever. It all started innocently enough with the announcement that a former UK police officer had joined the foundation as their maker in residence. It doesn’t mean they have any actual power, just like it’s like an artist in residence. I get that some folks are less than jazzed with the police these days, if I’m putting it politely, but surely that shouldn’t set off alarm bells. Except he was a former technical surveillance officer who specialized in using Raspberry Pi boards, among other things, to covertly spy on his intended targets, and they included that information in the initial posting. You could understand why that might make folks bit uneasy. Maybe he used all his devices to go after really bad people, but at the same time, the community was clearly a bit put off by knowing that someone dedicated to making surveillance equipment would be embedded at the foundation.

[00:41:31] Ned: Even then, the announcements and concerns from the community could have been handled by someone with a deft hand. Instead, we had a social media manager whose flippant responses ranged from telling folks to just chill Jamie to blocking accounts that were critical of the post, to insulting posters and telling them to unfollow if they didn’t like it. The interactions happened over both Twitter and Mastodon, with the latter case involving the private Mastodon instance run by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The result was that the instance ended up on the Fedablock list and a myriad of instances in the Fetaverse started blocking the entire foundation instance. There’s a really interesting case study posted on a website called Iara that details the timeline and reaction from the Mastodon community. It’s an interesting view on how the power dynamics are shifted on Mastodon and a great example of how not to manage your social media accounts.

[00:42:37] Chris: Don’t tweet Angry Jimmy or Jamie or Joey or anybody with a name starting with Jay.

[00:42:43] Ned: Really fair.

[00:42:46] Chris: AI Text Generating Engine Chat GPT from OpenAI is taking the world by storm. What is chat GPT, you might ask. Well, let’s ask Chat GPT. Quote chat GPT is a conversational AI language model developed by OpenAI. It is a variant of the GPT-3 model that has been trained specifically for generating humanlike text in response to user input, allowing it to engage in open ended conversations on a wide range of topics. Chat GPT is designed to generate realistic, coherent responses that follow the flow of the conversation and incorporate relevant information from the context provided by the user. It can be used in applications such as chatbots, virtual assistants and online forums to provide more natural and engaging interactions with users. Unquote why would I want to use Chat GPT instead of, say, any other AI language model? Chat GPT is designed specifically for conversational AI, which means that it is able to maintain the context of a conversation and incorporate relevant information from previous exchanges in its responses. This makes it a good choice for applications that require the ability to carry on extended conversations and maintain a consistent dialogue with others. Unquote so different. And it’s pretty good.

[00:44:11] Chris: Still, if you use this AI or any other AI, you really will start to hear its style, which is probably fine as long as you don’t pretend that Chat GPT is not an actual human being. And of course it being AI. You will always need to double check everything it puts out, especially things that are fact based. But on the other hand, using Chat GPT meant it took me three minutes to write this lightning round item. Yes, I counted, and I think we can agree this exchange is a vast improvement over the last time I asked AI to justify the reasons for its own existence, which is good. If it keeps improving at this pace, Ned might not need me on the show. At oh wait, that’s bad.

[00:44:58] Ned: Oh, I think that’s a whole other show in 2023.

[00:45:03] Chris: I didn’t see the invite for that one. What’s that?

[00:45:12] Ned: Anyway, moving on FTC moves to block Microsoft’s purchase of Activision. I’ll start by saying that I do not have a dog in this fight. Activision makes Triple A titles and casual games that I simply do not play or care about. The argument from the FTC is that the acquisition would, quote, enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and rapidly grow subscription content and cloud gaming business. End quote. Based on the biggest titles from Activision, I find that contention extremely tenuous. Activision produces multiplatform games like StarCraft, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Call of Duty. And while I haven’t played any of those games, I’ve come to understand that they’re kind of popular. There is no way Microsoft makes any of these titles an Xbox exclusive in the near future. They would be sacrificing literal billions in revenue and cause irreparable damage to their reputation in the gaming community by making such a move. Maybe they don’t care about their reputation. Microsoft has done some incredibly shitty things in the past, but they sure as hell care about that lost revenue. They’re spending $69 billion on Activision, and that means that they intend to make that money back.

[00:46:34] Ned: And going for exclusive titles only cuts out vast swaths of the gaming market. This is not a traditional monopoly situation where the so where there is only one console in the world and Microsoft runs it. There’s PlayStation, Steam, Nintendo, Mobile games, PC games and more. Will Microsoft launch some new exclusives on their Xbox console from Activision? Almost assuredly. Will they give up the revenue earned by releasing on other platforms? Certainly not. I would expect that this merger will eventually go through after the FTC does a fair bit of digging around. Probably the best part will be any legal discovery against Activision, which doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation. If you like an extended deep dive on the matter, check out Ben Thompson’s post on Stratatury. Hey, thanks for listening to something. I guess you found it worthwhile if you made it all the way to the end. So congratulations to you friend. You accomplished something today. Now you can sit on the couch, drink some delicious eggnog, and play Call of Duty for the rest of the day on your PlayStation Five. For now, you’ve earned it. This will be our last show, or last official show of 2022.

[00:47:48] Ned: If you would like to follow either of us, you can find me or Chris on Twitter at ned 1313 and at heiner 80 respectively for now. Or follow the show at Chaos underscore Lever, if that’s the kind of thing you’re into. Show notes are if you like reading things which you shouldn’t. Podcasts continue to be better in every conceivable way. We’ll be back next week to see what fresh hell well, we won’t. We’ll be back next year to see what fresh hell is upon us for now. Probably so.

[00:48:21] Chris: Curious to see if you’re just going to power through and leave everybody confused.

[00:48:26] Ned: That is my usual mo. But I saw it and I was like, huh, next week is wrong. Next year.

[00:48:35] Chris: So what you’re saying is you hate December 20.

[00:48:38] Ned: Always have, always will. It’s a garbage day. There, I said it. It’s just keeping me one step away from a good path. Allendrum all right. Glad.

[00:48:53] Chris: I get jokes.


Chris Hayner

Chris Hayner (He/Him)

Our story starts with a young Chris growing up in the agrarian community of Central New Jersey. Son of an eccentric sheep herder, Chris’ early life was that of toil and misery. When he wasn’t pressing cheese for his father’s failing upscale Fromage emporium, he languished on a meager diet of Dinty Moore and boiled socks. His teenage years introduced new wrinkles in an already beleaguered existence with the arrival of an Atari 2600. While at first it seemed a blessed distraction from milking ornery sheep, Chris fell victim to an obsession with achieving the perfect Pitfall game. Hours spent in the grips of Indiana Jones-esque adventure warped poor Chris’ mind and brought him to the maw of madness. It was at that moment he met our hero, Ned Bellavance, who shepherded him along a path of freedom out of his feverish, vine-filled hellscape. To this day Chris is haunted by visions of alligator jaws snapping shut, but with the help of Ned, he freed himself from the confines of Atari obsession to become a somewhat productive member of society. You can find Chris at coin operated laundromats, lecturing ironing boards for being itinerant. And as the cohost on the Chaos Lever podcast.

Ned Bellavance

Ned Bellavance (He/Him)

Ned is an industry veteran with piercing blue eyes, an indomitable spirit, and the thick hair of someone half his age. He is the founder and sole employee of the ludicrously successful Ned in the Cloud LLC, which has rocked the tech world with its meteoric rise in power and prestige. You can find Ned and his company at the most lavish and exclusive tech events, or at least in theory you could, since you wouldn’t actually be allowed into such hallowed circles. When Ned isn’t sailing on his 500 ft. yacht with Sir Richard Branson or volunteering at a local youth steeplechase charity, you can find him doing charity work of another kind, cohosting the Chaos Lever podcast with Chris Hayner. Really, he’s doing Chris a huge favor by even showing up. You should feel grateful Chris. Oaths of fealty, acts of contrition, and tokens of appreciation may be sent via carrier pigeon to his palatial estate on the Isle of Man.