Feeding the Beast 📧

Begun, the election season on social media has

Last night we seemed to get a taste of what the next several months are going to be like on social media. And that is: a waking, screaming nightmare of misguided euphoria and prolonged pain.

I speak, of course, of a certain former president being found guilty on all 34 counts on which he was charged in his paying-a-porn-star-hush-money case. Amazingly, all this may ultimately mean is that the US will have its first felon-in-chief come November. So that's fun. But the dialogue around this last night and now bleeding into today on Xitter is pretty unbearable. Post a take people agree with and they love it. Post one they disagree with and it's endless yelling. This is nothing new, of course. But it's more pronounced than it has ever been. Perhaps because of all the recent changes to Xitter. And it's only going to get worse.

In a weird twist of timing, Threads, Meta's would-be Xitter-killer, rolled out their new multi-pane UI to everyone yesterday just ahead of the news. The so-called "ThreadDeck" (because, of course, it looks like the old Twitter power-user UI, Tweetdeck), is really well done. A bigger product upgrade than anything Xitter has done since it became Xitter. It pretty fundamentally changes how you can use Threads, because it makes it feel much more lively and real-time than the single, algorithmic timeline the service had been forcing upon us all.

As I argued a couple weeks ago, the almost anti-real-time feed was a large mistake if Threads truly wanted to compete with Xitter. And now it seems that mistake is being rectified. Not fully yet, but it's a good step. And you could see it in following said news last night. While Xitter was still more "alive" with content, this was the first time I recall Threads nearly keeping up with the barrage of takes on the news. And while Meta has said conflicting things about wanting to put Threads into the flow of that news, they've definitively noted that they wanted to stay out of elevating political topics with this product. We all know and understand why but... good luck separating the two over the next many months.

Me? I may just be gone til November.

Enjoying a 1664
Sent from Provence


Microsoft’s MacBook Air-Beating Benchmarks – Tom Warren dug a bit deeper into the new Surface performance claims by Microsoft. The key is in the caveats here: these are only against a (fan-less) MacBook Air, and, of course, against the M3 chip, not the newer M4 chip, which is still only in the new iPad Pro. In other words, Microsoft has caught up or surpassed Apple in a pretty limited window of both devices and time. To be clear, the new machines look and sound nice, but the comparisons are most impressive versus the old Surface devices, which is not great news for Intel. The key to all of this remains how well these machines perform in the real world, which we still won't know for a bit. 🏎️

As MLB Changes Its Records, Josh Gibson Enters Beaks RecordsThe Athletic does a nice job breaking down the ramifications of the MLB adding in Negro League stats into their official record books. It was never going to be apples-to-apples, of course, but it's even more nuanced and complicated than you may think given the rules around plate appearances and games played, etc. Interestingly, the COVID-shortened season is what got baseball comfortable with these changes due to the discrepancy in season lengths. ⚾️

Its Future in Doubt, Freewheeling ‘Inside the NBA’ Is on Edge Instead – It's pretty wild that it has come to this, but such is the state of cable, sports, and streaming. Charles Barkley has his out when TNT officially loses the NBA rights next year, but what will the rest of the cast do? If a streamer can recreate the show, there's a pretty big opportunity there. The obvious guess would be Amazon. 🏀

⭕️ The Inner Ring ⭕️

The following are the columns sent to paid Spyglass subscribers this week – sign up here for full access and future emails...

Ready or Not, Here Apple AI Comes
Will slow but not fully steady win the race?

Apple will run the Apple playbook with AI

Will OpenAI Bite the Microsoft Hand That Feeds?
A sense of tension between the two sides is inescapable

OpenAI and Microsoft seem on an AI collision course


"So weirdly, he’s kind of the most 'Lord of the Rings' thing in 'Lord of the Rings', and also the first thing you would cut if you were adapting it as a film. But we have the advantage of a television show, and hence we are going to find a way to tap into that."

-- Patrick McKay, one of the Rings of Power showrunners, talking about the inclusion of Tom Bombadilfinally – into a LOTR (even if adjacent) piece of cinematic content, in this case, the insanely expensive Amazon Prime Video show.

Some Thoughts On...

🌑 George Lucas not liking the Star Wars universe beyond his own

🎙️ Myself on John Gruber's 'The Talk Show'

🗣️ Amazon's seeming AI malaise...

🙊 ...as seen through a recent Alexa "upgrade"

🔴 The increasing role of push notifications for news

🤖 An obvious, early useful use of AI

🧙‍♂️ Hey Dol! Merry Dol! Tom Bombadilo!


More Missives...

Apple’s Rightfully Boring AI Play
Apple is playing catch up, but doesn’t need to sprint

Apple's AI plans start to come into focus...

The Curious Case of ‘Furiosa’
It’s both a good movie and a spectacle yet didn’t resonate in theaters

So much for Hollywood being "back"...

The Incredible Shrinking Movie Theater
Hollywood keeps fighting the change needed in movie theaters, but it’s inevitable

Hollywood needs to sort out the movie theater situation...

Apple Secures Their AI Security Angle
Using the ‘Secure Enclave’ to do AI in the cloud makes sense…

Apple seemingly has a way to fully play the "security" narrative with AI...

Is a Ferret Burrowing Inside Siri?
Putting some pieces together for Siri’s AI upgrade…

And Apple may have found their way to upgrade Siri with purpose...

Is Siri About to Get a ChatGPT Brain Transplant?
Or simply an augmentation? Or will Apple finally launch ‘Knowledge Navigator’?

But first, might OpenAI have a way to immediately improve Siri?...

One AI Hobbit Thing...

Speaking of Tolkien – he undoubtedly would not like this 1950's Super Panavision 70-style version of The Hobbit made with, of course, AI. But it's pretty great.