Hello from 35k feet. The last time I was in the sky, just over a week ago, SVB was in the midst of collapsing. It feels like two months ago. What a surreal time to be alive. Which I suppose every generation says because it truly is all relative. Which just makes me worry about what our children will have to deal with... But at least maybe they won’t have to put up with Twitter in times like these? Anyway. At least the WiFi is working!
The Good Stuff
✈️ The 747 Retirement
Since I’m flying… here’s a nice farewell to Boeing’s 747 aircraft and a look into what’s next by Adam Clark Estes. Not the far-flung or pie-in-the-sky stuff. But just where the aviation industry is likely headed in the next several years. Increments, but hopefully they add up. The 747 will be in the skies for a while still, of course. They’re just not making new ones. Goodnight, sweet prince.
🍄 Maximizing the Joy at Super Nintendo World
With the opening of Super Nintendo World in LA, Andrew Webster sits down with Mario, Zelda, etc creator Shigeru Miyamoto on translating his digital creations in to the real world. Pretty much all feelings of wonder I can recall having these days tie directly back to the stuff I loved as a child. This, I suspect will qualify. I mean, you enter the park through a goddamn warp pipe. See Webster’s follow-up on the park as well.
🫖 “…And They Make Tea”
A fantastic pre-eulogy of Twitter by Paul Ford. Several LOL parts. But I also like (and increasingly believe myself) his high-level notion that look, maybe we weren’t meant to be connected to everyone on the planet. It’s one of those ideas that sounds perfect on paper and is rancid in reality. We were promised flying cars, and what we got was basically all seven sins at scale in real time, all the time.
👩🎨 The UI Race in AI
I like the way Casey Newton frames his thoughts on who might win in the AI arms race. Basically everyone agrees that yes, AI is awesome and fascinating and the future in many ways. But no one yet knows what exactly that looks like — quite literally. What’s the UI that makes all of this really sing? Is it really a text box? Something tacked on to a search engine? That seems unlikely. So there’s a race on the product side to nail this. Also, don’t sleep on voice coming back around again with this far better technology?
🍿 A Hollywood Ending
Nothing too outlandish in what Jason Kilar lays out as to what he imagines Hollywood looks like in the near future. But it all feels right — and, selfishly, is in line with a lot of what I’ve written dating back years. Kilar, of course, has seemingly been one-step-ahead of much of this (and, sadly, perhaps one click too early for his own good) so his is a good perspective as we exit the all-out arms race of streaming and enter a more nuanced era of consolidation and, hopefully, a focus on quality and presentation.
“This isn’t theater snacks — this is really food. This is dine-in 2.0, because the industry has to compete with people being on the couch. How we execute the concept creates an entertainment experience that’s communal.”
— Brian Schultz, who, in line with the Kilar piece above, is trying to open a theater in NYC which aims to re-center the cinema experience as a night out and not just a more expensive version of what you get at home.
The Quick Stuff
Apparently, the only growth demographic for wine is those over 60, which is sad. And teetotaling trends aside, seems to also be a massive branding/perception issue. Where are the wine ads? 🍷
The flip side is soft drink makers going “hard” — both in spirit(s) and advertising to court the youths. With truly awful-sounding drinks. But it’s rather fascinating how they’re doing it, getting around rules from 100 years ago… 🥤
You know what can beat a machine at Go? A human aided by another machine to exploit a weakness in said machine. It doesn’t have to be us versus them, folks! ♟️
You know Toblerone chocolate? Maybe not, but I’m sure you’ve seen the packaging. But it’s about to change because it turns out you can’t use images of the Swiss Alps if you’re not fully made in Switzerland. 🗻
AI + Radio? It’s being tested where I grew up. (And am coincidentally flying over right now!) Hello Cleveland! 📻
How much thought when into the game Oregon Trail? A lot. 🐂
I didn’t always agreed with NYT film critic A.O. Scott, but I always read his thoughts on films. And as he steps away after doing the job for 24 (!) years, it’s hard not to appreciate his accomplishment. 📽️
If we’re ever to do any truly long space travel, we’re likely going to need to figure out how to put our bodies into a state of hibernation for long periods of time. It’s being studied. 😴
Maybe folks from Medieval times can help? (Probably not.) 🥱
Jony Ive designed the new red nose for Britain’s Red Nose Day. And, of course, it’s great. Clever design — in how it works. 🔴
But it’s not quite as good as his emblem design for the upcoming coronation of King Charles — similar to his Terra Carta work with the then-Prince. Just fantastic. 👑
👧 The Toddler Arcade
Nickel and diming kids within mobile games is bullshit.
🕵️ Here’s Another Clue for You All
A few thoughts on ‘Glass Onion’
🍎 The One That Says “iPad Pro”
A few *very* brief thoughts on the M2 iPad Pro
📲 Looking Back at My 2022 Homescreen
The biggest changes are undercover…
😎 Apple’s New Reality
Some thoughts on the clearly forthcoming ‘Reality Pro’ headset
🐦 A Tale of Two Twitters
‘For You’ is good. Breaking other clients is bad.
💻 Apple’s Inevitable Touchscreen Macs
🐋 The Way of Watering Down Records
About those ‘Avatar 2’ box office headlines…
What is Tot and do you have a link to it?
Re "don’t sleep on voice coming back around again". I was thinking along similar lines. But now believe the choice of voice over text circa 2015 was a terrible UX decision. Why? Because you've taken one extremely difficult problem (NLP with a computer) and layered on a second separate but also extremely difficult problem (converting speech to text and back). And when people talk, they are less formal and exact. There's emotional nuance in verbal speech that's lost on a computer.
Sticking with text eliminates one of these two difficult problems, plus makes people formalize their thoughts more clearly and concisely. It's just far more tractable.
There's lots of talk about moving from a text based society to a verbal and visual one. This is true. But it's also true that text is just better and easier for tech to solve. Twitter is easier for an AI to grok than TikTok. What's interesting about this is we're about to have a renaissance in text as UI. A final interregnum of text supremacy before computers finally master video/verbal interaction.