Tech News of the Week for 9/7/2023 [MTG008]

Posted on Thursday, Sep 7, 2023 | Series: Moar Tech Garbage
Don’t deploy in us-east-1, no thanks Noonoouri, and Facebook at any price would still suck.


[00:00:00.890] Announcer: Welcome to Tech News of the Week with your hosts, George Garagebottom and his band of ne’er do wells.

[00:00:08.530] Ned: Welcome to Tantric ninja time warps family show. Definitely not. Oh. Welcome to Tech News of the Week, our short Thursday podcast where we talk about a few news articles that cause I’m Ned Belabance. I am joined by Chris Hayner who is here. Hi, Chris.

[00:00:31.970] Chris: Where?

[00:00:32.910] Ned: Shut up. Let’s talk about the first thing, which is mine. US East One should not be the default. When I know, but listen, give me a chance. When Amazon Web Services was first created, they had a single region in North Virginia which they called US East One. Excellent naming, by the way. Really. It lays it out nicely. And for expansion, Azure did not do the same. Boo. Ever since that time, US East One has been the default region used by most people getting started in AWS. It has also been the first region to receive the majority of new services. So if you’re interested in working with the cutting edge services and features that are sure to be announced at this year’s reinvent, then North Virginia is probably the way to go. However, if you want to make sure your cloud services are as available as possible, then you might want to look somewhere else. According to data gathered by monitoring outfit Status Gator, North Virginia is the least reliable region, with 23 outages in 2022 accounting for 61 hours of downtime. The second least reliable region is Oregon, with only five outages and 7 hours of downtime.

[00:01:54.390] Ned: That’s a significant difference. Status Gator goes on to theorize that US East One has the most customers and services and therefore has the most potential for an outage, especially under high load. That being said, if uptime and reliability are your most important priorities, you may want to look to our neighbors to the north, with Montreal having zero outages in 2022, or if you have to stay in the United States. Northern California also had zero outages. Sure, you’ll be missing out on some services that you’ll likely never use, but you also won’t have to worry about S three going down again. Sorry. As a side note, AWS chose to build their regions in a very compartmentalized fashion. While that has some downsides for interregion deployments and management, it also means that an outage in one region is highly unlikely to impact other regions. This is unlike Microsoft Azure, which has several global components like Azure ad that can wreak havoc on the entirety of your cloud real estate regardless of which region you choose. Wow, that was two knocks on Microsoft in one article.

[00:03:10.890] Chris: You’re doing well.

[00:03:12.810] Ned: Hey man. For now.

[00:03:20.210] Chris: A newly AIpowered instagram CGI avatar Newo Noiri given record contract. Hold on. I recognize that everything I just said in that sentence was weird and wrong, and I need to warn you, it’s just going to get weirder. In 2018, a German quote fashion innovator his own words named George Zuber, I think I apology for the pronunciation decided to embark on a virtual project. The project was a, quote, digital character model and is an opportunity for Zuber to do fashiony things in a CGI based model environment. In fact, she and of course it’s a she is a legit influencer now with a modeling contract with IMG. Did I mention that Nuanori is a 19 year old female with huge eyes and an awkwardly thin frame and has been so for the past five years and that Zuber himself uses mocap suits to make her move? Is everyone suitably uncomfortable yet? Anyway, this week it was announced that Nuanori’s latest initiative will be Music and that she’s already got a record deal. As you can imagine, this has not provoked a positive response from the rest of the music world or potentially the rest of the world.

[00:04:52.830] Chris: The Musicians Union of the UK is already calling for legislation, and considering the still unresolved SAG Writers Guild strike here in the States, I have to assume a lot more resistance to this. Idea from Warner Records is coming soon. Update as a little bit more personal suffering, I decided to listen to the music and it’s not good. It’s shocking paper, processed, super safe bubblegum pop dance music with enough voice filters for people to think that it’s some type of significant art. You can’t really make out any lyrics, but to be fair, lyrics are really not important to this type of mass produced nonsense, regardless if the singer is human or not. God, I’m old. The song by Nuanwari and collaborators is called Domino’s. If you would like to experience it for yourself, I’m not going to link it because no.

[00:05:56.450] Ned: Fair.

[00:05:58.610] Chris: Last update a little more research not by me, by other people, has picked out nearly all the other songs that Domino’s was inspired by, because of course it was including we are the People by Empire of the sun, which I did listen to and I will link. I don’t think that I like it, but I will say that the video for we are the People by Empire of the sun is bonkers. And that I like. Actually, my God, all of their videos seem to be pretty fun. And God damn it, do I like Empire of the sun now? Well, there’s a victory for AI. I learned about a new old human creator win.

[00:06:52.770] Ned: Yeah, how about that?

[00:06:55.440] Chris: And I know if people haven’t looked it up and have never heard of Empire of the sun, you have at least heard Empire of the sun.

[00:07:03.910] Ned: Are they in an Apple commercial? I feel like that’s probably okay, well, I’ll have to check it out since we’re talking about AI. Are self driving cars really that bad?

[00:07:17.020] Chris: Yes. Good update.

[00:07:20.500] Ned: Net no problem. Ours Technica has published a lengthy article about how self driving cars are actually pretty good and we should be less pearl clutchy about their rollout in arizona and California. As much as I’d like to completely dismiss the article as corporate shillery, the thing is I respect Rs Technica, and they do, in fact, back their claims up with data and not mere meme worthy anecdotes about autonomous vehicles being stymied by traffic cones.

[00:07:54.240] Chris: That’s still funny.

[00:07:55.860] Ned: Still funny, yeah. Their analysis of accident data involving the cars shows that of the 4 million driverless miles completed by waymo, this is without even a safety driver. There were a total of 37 incidents, the vast majority of which appear to be the fault of a human driver hitting the Waymo vehicle. Because their vehicles are highly instrumented and capture everything, we have a pretty good idea of what happened in each incident. I should say that even though the other driver was technically at fault, there’s also a decent chance that Waymo was driving like a total asshole. And I don’t mean like actually breaking any rules, but also not following, let’s say, the unwritten rules of the road. Like doing 25 and a 30 or.

[00:08:44.860] Chris: 25 and a 25. Yeah, who does that?

[00:08:48.910] Ned: Unacceptable. Still, a mere 37 incidents over 4 million mile with no fatalities or major injuries is pretty good driving record, and certainly better than most humans, which, according to the National Highway Transport and Safety Board, have a major accident every 500,000 miles. Despite all the data and evidence to the contrary, I think we still have let’s call it a visceral distaste for driverless vehicles. And when I say we, I mean you and me, Chris. And we also have an incredibly low threshold for error. And the rise of generative AI has led to even less confidence in the overall accuracy of AIpowered systems. Any number of accidents, no matter how minor or faultless on the part of the autonomous vehicle, will be viewed as a failure and cause to take drastic action. Like, I don’t know, having the available fleet of cruise vehicles in San Francisco. And I’m going to be honest here, faced with a choice between a human operated taxi and an autonomous waymo, I’m gonna pick the taxi every time. And I hate talking to strangers and awkward interactions in a car. I’m a prime candidate for waymo. I have no doubt that waymo and cruise are the future, but it might take a generation or two to let go of our preconceptions and biases.

[00:10:26.490] Chris: No, it’s the cars that suck.

[00:10:28.660] Ned: OK, I have convinced no one.

[00:10:34.730] Chris: Facebook floating paid model in EU after EU continues to be tired of Facebook’s shit. Facebook, long the industry torchbearer of destroying user privacy for personal profit, is once again in trouble in the EU. GDPR, which basically only the ad industry dislikes, is once again behind this. In June, the EU disallowed Facebook from combining data about its users from its multiple platforms. This, of course, annoys Facebook, because lately all they do is collect platforms for precisely that reason. Additionally, and perhaps more damaging, Germany ruled that Facebook, quote, did not have the proper user consent for micro targeting ads. Amazingly, this ruling came out of the German federal cartel office. I haven’t ever considered calling Facebook a cartel, but it’s definitely in the rotation now. Now, it’s important to remember that this is not the first time facebook has threatened a subscription model. But they have always backed down, because deep down, they know that they can make more money from abusing their users trust than dealing with them fairly. Time will tell if the EU ruling changes that. Facebook average revenue per user has been pretty steady, hovering around $50 per user per quarter in the United States since COVID In Europe, that number is lower, more like $15 or $17.

[00:12:10.970] Chris: I wonder what American consumers would think if their EU counterparts were able to get Facebook with some measure of real privacy for the low, low price of, what, $5 a month? $9 a month. There’s a number that they would pay.

[00:12:28.590] Ned: Maybe. I remember many years ago, before I completely dropped off of Facebook and when it was still a somewhat usable application, saying that if there was a paid option for Facebook, I would pay it to add all these privacy protections and remove ads. At this point, I think the product itself is so awful, even without ads. That true. There’s no amount of money that I would pay to be on Facebook.

[00:12:56.250] Chris: Yeah, I mean, that is a valid concern complaint. And while I said that the Facebook average revenue per user has been steady, that’s only for the past four years. It was closer to $20 a month back in 2014 2015, and has declined since then. So people in the US. Are also getting tired of Facebook shit. And I think there’s also an exhaustion with the ad industry in general, a rise in ad blockers and just people being disinterested with the platform in general. Not exactly technological, but technological adjacent, no, my name’s Chris.

[00:13:39.560] Ned: Just like us, we’re technology adjacent. How about that? Well, thanks for listening to Tech News of the week. Go away. Bye.


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.