I would be the last to ever watch anything by Lex Fridman, but TikTok has been feeding me clips from his interview with Bassem Youssef and I can’t help but be impressed. Fridman does a decent job interviewing but of course the conversation is carried by Youssef, who is nothing short of a treasure.

I found a new German podcast crush in Hart Unfair which is my favorite format: three people (Anna Dushime, Yelda Türkmen and Ari Christmann) rambling through one another but in a way that’s funny, intelligent and diverse. It’s a shame that they publish so irregularly that I can’t tell if the podcast is dead or not.

One of the hosts dropped a casual Hasan Piker reference (in a conversation about pop culture and leftist politics) and… I didn’t even know there were Germans who know who that is.

https://www.instagram.com/hartunfair/

The comments online around the Apple Vision Pro have been pretty deranged in a stupid kind of way. Lots of people jumped to the foregone conclusion that Apple released a failure or that it “wasn’t going to be a success”. Most of that seemed to have been motivated by clout chasing.

I don’t think that really matters that much other than serving to have the person making the comment show their ass for the entire world to see.

I feel that Apple Vision Pro is a deeply interesting and conflicted technology which is also the conclusion that Cortex reaches here. You’ll notice that Grey and Myke actually used the device and they are fairly knowledgeable about apps and ways of working/playing.

I got to take one home for a weekend and I can testify similarly except for missing out on a bunch of features. Because it’s only out in the US, I could not access a paid App Store or get an Apple Arcade subscription. That means I could only get the free vision apps out there which are incredibly lacklustre.

What everybody seems to have done is to take whatever IP they had lying around, wrap it into a VisionOS starter project and throw it onto the App Store. That will probably be the modus operandi for a while going forward. If you look at the absolute dregs on the App Store and now realise that making a good VisionOS app is probably at least 10x as difficult as making a good iOS app, then things are not looking good.

The only really compelling experience was the Encounter Dinosaurs app which is genuinely disconcerting and scary. But because of its very high production values, it’s also only a couple of minutes long.

Most compelling is using the Vision Pro to consume media. Watching movies in Disney+ is a fantastic experience if the device wasn’t so uncomfortable to use. Being able to watch sporting events on a massive screen with sidecar screens and 3D views of the course/track seems like it would also be excellent. It would be even more interesting if we would see a proliferation of 360 cameras to be able to place yourself in a Formula1 car or on a sports pitch. The amount of embodiment it yields, seems like it could go a long way to make remote meetings feel more real.

I agree with this review that this device is a devkit. I’ll wait for the real deal.

Listened to the latest episode of the German eGovernment podcast with the Minister for Digital for Bavaria. That is the state here that’s seemingly the farthest along when it comes to digitalisation and it now has the following ambitious plans:

  • to have internet reception everywhere
  • to remove fax traffic inside the state government by 2026

And then I switched it off because I don’t think anything good could come after that.

https://egovernment-podcast.com/egov165-100-tage-digitalminister/

Learned in this podcast episode about class justice in Germany something rather remarkable.

Germany has a system of income dependent fines called Tagessätze. These are meant to make punishments more equitable by making people who make more money pay more.

It turns out (and I’m sure very few people are aware of this) that courts do not get access to tax records to determine the fine base. They take a guess at the income and most of the time, they guess too low.

Spotify should be very heavily fined for funding and spreading misinformation like the stuff on the Joe Rogan podcast.

Late to the party but I very much love this interview with Karri Saarinen, the co-founder of Linear. Their way of working, “The Linear Method”, will be waved away by companies (“we can’t do that because…”) but with leadership with the right mentality and experience I don’t think it’s that far off at all. Ask your leadership how you can work like this.

Also I already know I’m going to use the term “side quest” a lot.

We don’t use Linear but we recently moved all our stuff from Jira to Github Projects which—even though it is mostly abandoned—is Linear-enough.

Most importantly, it is right on top of our codebase which is where I believe all engineering work should happen anyway.

The last episode of Spaßbremse treats the history of German-Israeli relations and clarifies what the strategic foundations of the current complex are: white-washing and moral standing for one side and economic reparations and industrial capacity building for the other.

The thinly veiled racism and colonialism is just the rotten cherry on top.

https://podtail.com/de/podcast/spassbremse/52-whitewashing-and-statebuilding-german-israeli-r/

A small online drama in three parts

Suppose you’re a well-known journalists hosting a weekly rather left podcast around topics such as migration, the climate and criticism of right-wing frames in the media. And then suppose you let yourself get baited majorly by an American alt-right activist.

This particular video was going around on German twitter and all the usual suspects were letting themselves get baited by it including above mentioned Friedemann. I wrote about their podcast previously and I couldn’t resist so I confronted him on it.

So I got blocked.

I mean “obsessive”, sure. Being a major league hypocrite is one of the best ways to bait me.

I did listen to this podcast very regularly but after October 7th it’s become so absurdly pro-Israel that it invalidates their entire previous position. The only situation where I’ve seen people parrot a line so hardcore like that was Dutch men with Russian wives after Putin had just invaded the Crimean Peninsula (“You have to understand Putin has a point.”).