The Uninvited Guest #3: Clockwise 537

Clockwise #537

The Uninvited Guest is my way of participating on the Clockwise podcast.

Previous one can be found here.

And here are my answers Clockwise 537: All I Found Were Three Apple TV Remotes

Dan’s question

External Links on the App Store: what do you think?

The way Apple implemented this court mandated system means that nobody will be incentivized by to implement it, specifically small to medium developers. If Apple hadn’t made it so that they still require their tithe then I could see some companies cropping up to provide iOS-payments-as-a-service and take a smaller cut of the transaction.

Consumers will also disincentivized to use this new system, the friction provided by the scaresheet that iOS shows will be enough.

Jeff’s question

Apple Removing the Blood Oxygen Feature: Do You use That Feature or Other Features?

I fall very much on the same answer as Jason, my usage of the Apple Watch is mostly for the fitness features, specifically the heart rate and step tracking.

I believe that it’s probably the same story for most customers and that’s why Apple hasn’t settled the lawsuit.

Jason’s question

Apple Vision Pro: Are You Buying One?

No, it’s not available in Canada. More seriously, it’s too expensive for me at this moment.

I do believe that it’s going to be successful and Apple will eventually release a more accessible version, I may consider one then. I haven’t had a MacBook in years so I’d buy one of those first, probably soon.

Shelly’s Question

Streaming Can’t be Trusted: When was the Last Time You Bought a Physical Media?

I am strongly on the streaming/digital media team. Yes you commonly hear horror stories of things disappearing and being taken away… and yet I don’t care, I really don’t care for hoarding plastic, I’m too lazy to rip it into my NAS, and for games it’s an useless exercise as you still need to get updates from the network so the disc you have is a glorified license key.

Jason’s reason for having HDR content may convince me to do so now that I have a TV that supports it.

Bonus Question

Snow: Yay or Nay?

I live in Canada, if I say nay I’d have to dispose of myself. Give me a Subaru and an open field and it turns into the largest Yay ever!

Apple Vision Pro Doesn't Need Netflix

Apple's Testy Developer Relationships Threaten to Hamper Vision Pro

Mark Gruman’s article about the prospects of app availability in the new Apple Vision Pro:

The success of Apple Inc.'s Vision Pro, like many new technology platforms, will largely depend on support from third-party apps and services. And that’s an area where the device still faces plenty of questions.

Some big name developers thus far aren’t doing much to help the device. Three of the world’s most popular streaming services – Netflix Inc., YouTube and Spotify Technology SA – have already signaled that they won’t be launching visionOS software or enabling their iPad apps to run on the Vision Pro.

He goes on to list 4 possible reason for developers not providing support initially. My nitpick on them is that most of them apply to larger companies developing software, whim they mostly do not apply to indie or smaller developers:

  1. Return on the investment Developers are taking a wait-and-see approach to see if the size of the new market is worth it. And the larger the Developer is, the larger the market will need to be do justify the work.
  2. Developer discontent The current kerfufle about Apple allowing developers to implement alternative payment methods but still taking a big commission may be keeping some away, but again I believe this only applies to the big companies likes the ones listed above.
  3. App incompatibility I think this is the first reason that is more applicable to all developers and not just the big ones. The interaction model for Apple Vision Pro is not multitouch like on iOS and iPadOS, so translating some apps to this new model is not trivial.
  4. Poor performance on other app stores The TV, Watch stores have not been as successful as the iOS App Store. That hasn’t stopped Netflix, Spotify,, from providing apps. I think this is the most weak of reasons out of the 4, just a subset of 1’s wait and see approach.

An example,

Netflix deciding to not provide an app at the moment is ceding the mind-share to other streaming services but most Apple Vision Pro buyers are most certainly already Netflix subscribers. As soon as that starts to translate into less engagement from those users on other platforms, or the amount of people watching streaming on Apple Vision Pro is large enough they will react. It wouldn’t surprise me if they already have an application internally ready to go.

Conversely, a smaller developer has a good opportunity to place their application in front of potentially new clients with disposable income.

When clicking a checkbox gets you compatibility it’s a no-brainer it’s terms or ROI for a lot of these developers, specifically if their applications are fairly mature on the previous platforms so the opportunity cost is not as big.

These are also the developers that can be peeved by the Apple tax shenanigan, but would also not implement an alternative payment method even if they have limited capacity and would rather continue improving their apps.

The linchpin for the success of this new device is Apple’s capacity of convincing people that this new spatial computing paradigm is valid and here to stay.

Adding support for their own apps, quickly expanding the countries where the Apple Vision Pro is available on, and launching other models that have more mass appeal (aka. cheaper)

Apple Doesn't Need to Advertise Apple Vision Pro

AppleInsider: So far, Apple is struggling to market Apple Vision Pro

Interesting article by William Gallagher for AppleInsider describing the seemingly unfocused approach to marketing and advertising that Apple is taking for the Apple Vision Pro:

[…] you get best results by either choosing what was called a rifle-shot approach, or a spray-and-pray one. Apple has chosen neither for the Apple Vision Pro.

Apple can’t do spray-and-pray because Apple Vision Pro is so expensive that it’s got a self-limited audience. Before that audience even considers whether there is a value to them in buying the headset, that audience has to be one that can afford $3,499 or more.

But Apple also can’t do rifle shot, or at least not very well, because there is no one defined audience for Apple Vision Pro.

The article continues on to describe the approach that Apple has taken since introducing the device at WWDC 2023 and concludes that this unfocused approach is unusual for a highly effective marketing machine.

My opinion is that Apple doesn’t need to be perfect at this point in time. They know they have an amazing product in their hands, opinion that has been mirrored by many different third parties, some of which while being less enthusiastic are still very positive on it.

I don’t doubt that Apple could make a more focused argument of what the killer app is for the Apple Vision Pro. But they don’t seem to need to, as they sold out of approximately 180k units very quickly.

And I’d go even further and say that it’s all planned. The article reminds us of when Apple launched the Apple Watch they tried to aim it as a luxury fashion statement and that approach flopped terribly until they found their groove as a fitness device.

This is Apple learning from that mistake, let the early adopters help them figure out where the biggest strengths are, and launch a more focused campaign when they have a more accessible second generation Apple Vision device.

Nightshade AI

What Is Nightshade?

Found via this thread. This person calls it “deeply troubling” but is getting a lot of pushback in the replies, deservedly.

Nightshade is a tool that artists can use to avoid their artwork from being used successfully in AI training. From their site:

Since their arrival, generative AI models and their trainers have demonstrated their ability to download any online content for model training. For content owners and creators, few tools can prevent their content from being fed into a generative AI model against their will. Opt-out lists have been disregarded by model trainers in the past, and can be easily ignored with zero consequences. They are unverifiable and unenforceable, and those who violate opt-out lists and do-not-scrape directives can not be identified with high confidence.

In an effort to address this power asymmetry, we have designed and implemented Nightshade, a tool that turns any image into a data sample that is unsuitable for model training. More precisely, Nightshade transforms images into “poison” samples, so that models training on them without consent will see their models learn unpredictable behaviors that deviate from expected norms, e.g. a prompt that asks for an image of a cow flying in space might instead get an image of a handbag floating in space.

Training LLM models on art without permission is highly unethical and it won’t stop unfortunately so whatever way people can fight back is welcome.

Artists already have a hard time making a living, taking advantage of them in this way is heinous.

I liked Jared Petty’s take

AI as an industry is an irresponsible race to profit, a rush into dangerous and damaging waters with no ethical consideration outside of wealth. It represents the worst of us.

E.B. White’s Beautiful Letter to a Man Who Had Lost Faith in Humanity

Beautiful words to come back to when we feel discouraged by the grim state of things.

It’s a bit trite, but we try and try again never losing hope.

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society – things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.


E. B. White

The Uninvited Guest #2: Clockwise 536

Clockwise #536

The Uninvited Guest is my way of participating on the Clockwise podcast.

Previous one can be found here.

And here are my answers Clockwise #536: Spay and Neuter Your Pets

Mikah’s question

Matter Casting: Where are we watching media?

This question has changed so much in the last months. Before our baby was born we had just bought an 83 inch LG OLED which I had saved money for for more than a year. The pride and joy of our TV watching world and we’d sit together to watch something, some times for way too long.

These days the TV remains off most of the time as we are either sleeping, eating or taking care of baby.

We just use our phones basically. I was able to grab a PlayStation Portal and that’s also brought back to life my gaming a bit when time allows.

As for Matter Casting, it looks like an interesting open standard proposed by the only big tech company without a casting protocol, so of course it will be an open protocol. We’ll see if it is something that becomes commonplace, but without Google and Apple supporting it I find it difficult.

Zac’s question

Bespoke AI Hardware: is there an app from your phone that you’d carry as hardware?

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone the big selling point was that “these are not three separate devices, this is one device”, so I struggle to come up with something that would make sense as a separate device. It has to be for something I constantly do and by having a dedicated device it would save me time or be super convenient to have at a moments notice.

With all that said, the closest things that applies at this time of my life is logging things. We log when our baby was fed and changed, and the app is really not that great, having a dedicated “clicker” that with a push of a button would log the necessary information would be phenomenal.

Dan’s question

CES Highlights: have you seen anything that we are genuinely interested in?

I reviewed the 10 pages of CES coverage by The Verge and everything seems so uninteresting. Don’t get me wrong, there are cool demos and products but nothing I’m genuinely interested in.

One thing I’m midldly interested in is the slew of Wifi 7 routers: it’s still a long ways away since it will need device support before it’s useful, but I’m always looking forward to faster wifi.

Oh and as part of CES, Netflix just dropped a new trailer for the Three Body Problem show they are releasing soon:

I’m approaching this adaptation with scepticism, the trailers look too action-y. But go read the books, 100% recommended.

Jason’s Question

Mouse, trackball, trackpad, etc.: what is the best way to point in a screen?

I’m a 100% mouse person. I don’t use a trackpad and I’ve never enjoyed a trackball.

For the longest time I used a Logitech G602, but I always had to replace them faster than I would have wanted when they would start to double click unexpectedly.

Since then I moved to a Zowie EC2 and haven’t had any double clicking issues. knocks on wood

Bonus Question

What was your childhood sick day TV show?

Back in Venezuela, morning TV was all boring stuff for kids, I don’t think I remember anything specific. Now Sundays was the best, a Tv station would do “waking up cheerfully” from 6am showing cartoons all morning until noon.

The Uninvited Guest #1: Clockwise 535

Clockwise #535

Podcasts have this magic where you feel like you’re sitting with the hosts and listening to their conversation. From time to time you even want to intervene and say what you think.

The Uninvited Guest is my way of doing that to one of the must fun podcasts I listen to: Clockwise. I will try to post one of these for every episode that I listen to.

So here are my answers to episode 535: It’s Even Embarrassing in Metric.

Dan’s question

Where are we putting your social media energy these days?

Just like Micah, I really don’t have a lot of energy to put out these days. I scroll threads and mastodon, reply here and there. I was using instagram a lot pre-baby but it’s gone down these days.

Like Dan, I’m waiting for federation with Threads to be in place and maybe I’ll move back to mostly mastodon.

Meg’s question

What subscribers are we canceling this year?

At the end of the year I did a bit of a purge to get expenses under control. Unfortunately that was mostly to podcasts instead of commercial streaming services as the rest of the family was adamantly against it.

But some bigger services were cancelled: Strava, funimation. Day one was also cancelled since I started using Apple’s new Journal app.

Finally I also cancelled F1TV, but I don’t think I’m strong enough to go without formula 1.

Micah’s question

Our Apple Vision Pro thoughts

I don’t plan to get one. Price is too high. The technology looks amazing and from all the initial reactions from people that have used it, it looks promising.

I’m more interested in the RayBan Meta Sunglasses. Too bad it’s linked to Meta.

Jeremy’s Question

What feature we want on our phones or computers

Dan’s point about Siri rings so true to me. We started putting HomePod minis everywhere at home and it’s been great to control the smart devices at home. But every time you ask some knowledge question it sends you to your phone to do a search. That’s unacceptable in 2024.

I personally would love more improvements to Apple’s Journal app: hash tags, search, allow third party apps to suggest things to journal about, and a some sort of “memories” feature like the one in photos.

Bonus question: what’s your most anticipated “thing” in 2024

Having a newborn, getting to the point that he starts sleeping all night, and when he becomes more interactive.

Jeremy announcing having a baby and Dan saying he won’t have time to watch Severance season 2 are a great match to my energy, it’s nice to not feel alone in this being tired all the time.

Nobody’s Driving

Powerful article by Jessica Wildfire.

Everyone wants to know why teens are crying on their phones. They talk about the mental health crisis. They ask what’s going on.

Well, teens are sad.

Describing why, in this age we (society, the adults) continue going on with inertia while the world becomes worse and worse for the new generations.

The adults don’t want to do anything. They don’t want to take anything seriously. They don’t want to think about the future.

I do feel that we are not doing enough.

The wildfires every year are something we have gotten used to and that’s scary.

A train in the in front of a orange-gray smokey sky. The train reads “Building America”, which is ironic

The receding ice in the poles and glaciers, and we keep going.

A panoramic photo of the Athabasca Glacier, two big mountains and in the middle the glacier. The walk to this glacier has markers showing how far down the glacier used to reach

Sometimes I feel I do my part, most of the time I feel I could do more. Planting drought resistant clover lawns and selling our second car.

These are not nothing, but they still feel like they are not enough.