Tech News of the Week for 8/24/2023 [MTG006]

Posted on Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 | Series: Moar Tech Garbage
Jetporch is the new Ansible, GCP sets egress free, and Generative AI is your drunk uncle.


[00:00:00.570] Announcer: Welcome to Tech News of the Week with your host, the cast of Friends stuck in a well except Matt Perry.

[00:00:08.450] Ned: Welcome to the tai chi practice at no, no, that’s still not right. Still tech news of the week. This one’s going to be a little bit different because we did a crossover episode with Day Two Cloud. That’s the other podcast that I host with Ethan Banks. So we’re going to be talking about news articles that caught all of our attention in a slightly different format. I hope you enjoy it.

[00:00:30.430] Ethan: Well, speaking of automation platforms, a new announcement has been made about Jetport. Jetport is we’ve got some announcements that came out on the Laser llama substac blog by Michael De Hahn. He’s known in these circles as someone who writes these platforms, I believe. Is it ansible he was behind ansible.

[00:00:51.050] Ned: Yeah, he was the guy behind Ansible.

[00:00:53.230] Ethan: So Jetforge is a new project that he’s working on coming up soon. There’s a discord chat, there’s some documentation and so on that’s begun. It’s actively in development If you’re interested in that, I’ll read you a summary from the documentation overview page. Jet’s goal is to be a community driven enterprise automation and orchestration platform for the modern era, designed with an outlook towards reliability, clean code and predictability language, simplicity and stability with a minimal aesthetic, true planetary scale enlightening, fast execution performance and a strong enterprise security and audit focus. And Jet is being led, as we said, by Michael Dehan. And then it goes into more like they’re going to implement with Rust. There’s going to be a YAML dialect similar to the Ansible playbook language and a bunch of other bits and pieces to kind of get you excited about what’s coming. There’s nothing here yet as far as product from what I can tell, but it’s another open source product that sounds like we’ll be talking about it more at some point. Ned, I predict there’s a Day Two Cloud where we talk about Jetport, whatever the full name of the product ends up to be.

[00:02:02.380] Ned: Yeah, maybe we can get we’ll need.

[00:02:03.690] Ethan: Another one though, I guess is my question.

[00:02:06.650] Ned: Maybe it sounded like to a certain degree he was trying to reinvent Ansible, but sort of solve for some of the issues that Ansible had, learn from lessons of the past. Launching a whole new automation product and getting people to adopt it is hard. I did note that he is intending for it to be able to use existing Ansible Playbooks with very little conversion. So that will make the conversion of people a little bit easier if they want to use the new automation platform.

[00:02:39.410] Ethan: And performance did seem to be a big key here. I mean, he was talking planetary scale and high performance and gets into in one of the substac blogs, why he chose Rust as opposed to Golang was I guess the other one he considered but decided on Rust. So yeah, jetporch that’s in the world now that’s a thing. Yet another project I found is called UBI Cloud and this is just something that’s out on GitHub. How mature it is, how useful it is, don’t know yet, but it sounded intriguing reading from the README MD on their GitHub page. UBI Cloud is an open, free and portable cloud. Think of it as an open alternative to cloud providers, like what Linux is to proprietary operating systems. UBI Cloud provides IAS cloud features on bare metal providers such as Hetzner OVH and AWS Bare Metal. You can set it all up yourself and these providers, or you can use our managed service. We’re currently in public alpha, we’re not even at Beta yet, but it sounds interesting. Again, if we needed another cloud doing things. Sounds intriguing, and if you’re wondering why use it, they cover that. Public cloud providers like AWS Azure and Google Cloud made life easier for startups and enterprises, but they are closed source.

[00:03:47.920] Ethan: You have to rent computers at a huge premium and lock you in. UBI Cloud offers an open alternative, reduces your costs and returns control of your infrastructure back to you all without sacrificing the cloud’s convenience. So yeah, you get where you’re coming from, do you want cloud but you don’t want to pay Uncle Jeff and so on as much as they want? Try UBI cloud. Maybe it gets you what you need and does it for cheaper. Yeah, I like it, I like the Ethic there and it’s also interesting to have it as a package that I don’t know what they’re basing it on. I don’t know if this is Kubernetes or what’s actually under the hood here, maybe they’re just making it easier to consume a Kubernetes or Kubernetes like service, not sure. But if they get this right and it’s got enough of the features that you would use an AWS Azure or GCP for, could be intriguing. It really could be. It’s just how will they stand out in a crowd? I was going to say I almost said cloud. How would they stand out in a cloud? How would they stand out in the cloud crowd?

[00:04:46.710] Ethan: There we go. Would be one. But it caught my eye. Caught my eye as an interesting product.

[00:04:55.450] Chris: Yeah, I mean, I just don’t know why we would need another cloud, open source cloud, when everybody can just use OpenStack.

[00:05:03.710] Ethan: He says, tongue firmly in his cheek. Did you bite your tongue when you said that, Chris?

[00:05:06.680] Chris: Yeah, I just wanted to see if I could literally make Ned fall out of his chair.

[00:05:10.220] Ned: I was very close. It’s a good thing this tilts back very nicely, because that was my first thought was we have OpenStack. But yeah, that was a little hard to do anything with. There is another alternative called Open Nebula that’s been around for a decent amount of time. It’s more popular over in the EU and similar to their aspirations but might fit slightly different into the landscape.

[00:05:35.610] Ethan: Chris, one other quick bit of news here. Google Cloud is offering 200GB of, well, gigabits or gigabytes, I don’t know, but it’s a free egress on their standard tier. And this is something that came out in people’s email and somebody just replicated it to Hacker news. So I didn’t get that email. I’m not a GCP customer at the moment, but assuming that’s true, that’s a thing. 200 gig of free egress is something on the standard tier that’s nice. And nice little Hacker News article that describes it. And then one of you guys, I don’t think it was me, but says that Susie is being taken private.

[00:06:11.290] Ned: Oh yeah, that was mine. That’s true. So SUSE went public a couple of years ago and now they’re being pulled back in as private. Not a huge surprise. I think the private equity firm wants to trim them down a little bit. I am curious to see what the impact is for the Open Enterprise Linux sort of foundation that they helped start recently and committed to spending $10 million, I think, to further the development of an Open Enterprise Linux alternative to Red Hat. So I would be a little concerned about that project if I were on it right now.

[00:06:52.850] Chris: Yeah, and they had gone on a little bit of a spending spree, which I think was part of the problem on their finances. Like they went and bought rancher and have been kind of spreading the wealth around and a couple of other products that I can’t think of off the top of my head. So once again, maybe it’s just a matter know, kind of like what Dell did years and years ago. We overdid it, let’s pull everything back, let’s let’s have some hard conversations, we’ll cry over cherry pie and then we’ll see what we can do in a few years.

[00:07:18.750] Ned: Yeah.

[00:07:21.390] Ethan: More news. Board apes investors sue Sotheby’s, Paris Hilton and others as NFT prices collapse. This is a headline you could have predicted when Board Apes were well, it was the pandemic, it was hard times and all of us thought that if you buy a piece of digital art, it will increase in price because that’s how JPEGs work. We’re all shocked at this, that this happened to the Board Apes collectors, which includes both of you guys. You guys had tons of Board apes, right? You were in that for millions, I think, right?

[00:07:55.510] Ned: I mean, I have so many copies of my computer, I just keep copying it and then pasting it over and over. And each one is worth $10,000 at least. Right? That’s how NFTs work.

[00:08:09.850] Ethan: I mean, we don’t even need to read the article. That’s just a fantastic headline. That makes me happy. I just love to see it.

[00:08:15.660] Ned: I did read the article because I wanted to see if there was any justification behind it. And there is an accusation of collusion between FTX and sotheby’s to pretend that it was a regular collector who was interested in these and not FTX, but in my mind, who cares who was interested in it? It was worthless to begin with and it’s worthless now.

[00:08:38.050] Ethan: Yeah, and that’s the thing. I mean, there was all this hype around them. NFTs were all the rage. They seemed like there was six months to a year there. We were talking about crypto and NFTs and what you’re going to do on the blockchain and all the Web Three stuff. And we even did a show about Web Three trying to figure out if there was anything real there, what the technology was, and actual use cases other than Ponzi schemes and scams. And I think we came up fairly dry on that. But there wasn’t a lot now. Yeah, wasn’t a lot. And so a story like this is just inevitable because there literally was millions of dollars getting sunk into this marketplace that, of course, collapsed once we all moved on as a society to do something outside of our homes as the pandemic has faded out, thankfully.

[00:09:21.820] Ned: No, not me. I refuse to go outside.

[00:09:24.370] Chris: I don’t believe outside exists. I’ve seen ready player one. I know how it works.

[00:09:29.850] Ned: Yeah, that was a great documentary. I hope they come out with another.

[00:09:32.700] Ethan: The words of a friend of mine, outside is why they made inside. There you go. All right, one of you guys had a grouping of articles under the category poor, poor generative AI. Can’t catch a break.

[00:09:47.050] Chris: Yeah, I had a little threefer. Little threefer for you guys because a couple of things came out in quite short order that I think are all sort of variations on a theme.

[00:09:57.090] Ned: Indeed.

[00:09:58.270] Chris: The first one is from Defcon, which for those not in the know, is an annual hacker convention that’s been held in Vegas for something like 30 years. And for those that are in the know, yes, Defcon was in fact, not canceled. You don’t get it, Ned. It’s not important.

[00:10:15.460] Ned: Okay?

[00:10:16.630] Chris: As part of the Defcon shenanigans, they have sort of open competitions every year to hack one type of thing or another, capture the flag type of stuff, all kinds of different games. One of the things they did this year was go after Generative AI from a number of vendors. So the llamas, the chat GPTs, the Google bards I’m sure there are more. So basically, two or 300 dedicated sarcastic hacker types sat in a room and attacked Generative AI. And generative AI did not do great.

[00:10:48.990] Ned: I’m shocked, sir.

[00:10:51.070] Chris: First thing to note is this was only by manipulating prompts keyboard talking to the AI. So no behind the scenes shenanigans, no hacking from outside, just chatting directly through the interface you’re supposed to use. Within a few hours, these competitors were able to get the AI to give out credit card number information with no additional authentication, give detailed instructions on how to use air tags to stalk another person. And my personal favorite, unironically insist that nine plus eleven equals 21. Yikes.

[00:11:27.970] Ned: Good stuff.

[00:11:30.750] Chris: Story number two, driverless cars got a big bump in San Francisco as the city expanded the allowable uses of the technology on city streets under tremendous controversy, I might add. This self driving technology is the same technology you’ll remember that is stymied completely by someone putting a traffic cone on the car’s hood. And they’re just out there now driving around and apparently and you can get.

[00:11:59.530] Ethan: A ride in one of these robotaxis that’s a get in a driverless vehicle and be taken from point A to point B in certain markets, san Francisco being chief among them.

[00:12:07.770] Chris: And if you do, the car might drive you directly into a patch of wet pavement.

[00:12:13.210] Ethan: Yay.

[00:12:15.050] Chris: As a result of this fun and many other not fun incidents, driverless car company cruise was made to half their fleet. Or that is not a word you can say out loud. Halve. Halve.

[00:12:27.090] Ned: Halbrough.

[00:12:27.650] Chris: How do you say half that way?

[00:12:29.390] Ned: Have halve. Bless you.

[00:12:34.370] Chris: As regulators are increasingly probing these quote, recent concerning incidents, did they not see.

[00:12:41.170] Ned: The last three years? They’re busy playing parchesi. I don’t know.

[00:12:47.730] Chris: I’m guessing not.

[00:12:49.570] Ned: You would appear not.

[00:12:51.210] Ethan: Well, the story about it driving into the wet pavement, it was concrete or whatever it was. It was a construction zone. It was clearly were I believe there were flaggers or people holding signs, et cetera. And this thing still managed to drive right into the project and get stuck in. I don’t know if it was concrete or whatever it was, but yeah, the vehicle actually got stuck.

[00:13:13.710] Chris: Right.

[00:13:16.910] Ethan: It couldn’t tell that it was something it shouldn’t drive over. It was like well marked out. And so that was a little disheartening because it’s like, okay guys, we’ve been at this training for a lot of years. You think we’d be past that part now. But I guess if it is stymied by the cone on the hood, then cones on the road maybe also are difficult.

[00:13:36.310] Chris: Right. And the problem here is AI only knows what it’s programmed to know and these are crazy edge cases, but they’re crazy edge cases that even the dimmest of human drivers would recognize as something that needs to at least have the vehicle stopped so that one could investigate. The AI. Not having that knowledge just chugs right along and we can make funnies out of it because driving a driverless car into wet pavement is in fact funny.

[00:14:05.950] Ned: Objectively, yes.

[00:14:07.520] Chris: But a driverless car driving into a crime scene or interfering with an ambulance, driving someone to a hospital, both of which have also happened, is not as funny.

[00:14:19.170] Ned: No. Though I did hear that they changed the horn sound to the sad trombone. And I appreciate that.

[00:14:27.750] Chris: We’re back to funny again.

[00:14:29.020] Ned: Yeah, well done.

[00:14:32.390] Chris: So finally just an update on a long really not debated question. Do these generative AI tools that we’re all making so much fuss about contain training data that was, in fact, based on copyrighted work. Well, a couple of weeks ago, three authors started a lawsuit, and based on discovery, the answer seems to be yes. Books Three, a data set used to train meta’s llama Bloomberg GPT, which I don’t think I knew existed, and Eluther Apt contains 170,000 copyrighted books from Stephen King and other authors. Quote more than 30,000 titles are from Penguin Random House and its imprints, 14,000 from Harper Collins, 7000 from Macmillan, 1800 from Oxford University Press and 600 from Verso. Not a great start in terms of the whole we’re doing this without copyrighted works argument, I don’t feel, although I am now strongly considering asking Chat GPT to start writing, like birthday texts to friends in the style of Stephen King. It’ll be 120,000 words long and everyone will be uncomfortable happy with that, but.

[00:15:51.430] Ned: At least the characters will be well developed by the end of the text. That’ll do it for Tech news of the week. Bye for now.

Show Notes

Moar Tech Garbage

Episode: 006 Published: 8/24/2023

Tech News for the Week of 8/24/2023

Mister Ethan Banks, my cohost for Day Two Cloud joins us for a slightly modified Tech News of the Week.

Intro and outro music by Ned Bellavance copyright 2022


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.