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LanceLetter - CES 2021; The De-Platforming; Satellites; Quibi lives-ish

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LanceLetter

January 11 · Issue #212 · View online

Stuff that matters.


Written while packing for a virtual CES

New normal
Okay, nothing is normal right now. After last week’s stunning and heartbreaking attack on the U.S. Capitol, the tech community apparently took a long hard look at itself in the mirror and made fast and significant decisions:
  • De-platforming President Trump on Twitter
  • De-platforming Trump on Facebook
  • Booting upstart social media network Parler from the App Store
  • Removing Parler from Google Play
  • Dumping Parler from Amazon’s Web services
  • Removing Trump videos from TikTok
This all happened within days of President Trump telling his followers to march on the Capitol and then those same people tearing into the iconic building like it was some kids’ playground.
Trump lost his digital bullhorn and many of the radical voices that supported him have been booted and temporarily silenced. I still expect them to reemerge on other platforms.
Stopping the misinformation is one step but I wonder if we can go further. Taking away something leaves a vacuum, one that conspiracy theorists can fill with new garbage. Is there a way to focus on digital solutions for elevating the conversation and educating people about reality? What if there was a social media platform that only posted verified content. Can you imagine?
Holy smokes, it’s CES
As I write this, I’m experiencing my first-ever virtual CES. The all-cyber event feels smaller than the sprawling, in-person one, and I’m trying to adjust.
Press conferences kicked off this morning and the first keynotes begin tonight (or this afternoon if you’re on the west coast).
Expect big screens, tons of health and fitness tech, and a lot of AI technology. LG set the tone this morning with its own virtual presenter. Yes, it was just as weird as you would expect.
The show runs through January 14 and I plan to do my best to cover it on social media.
Up there
I knew that Elon Musk (now the richest person in the world) and Jeff Bezos (formerly the richest person in the world), were both working on launching vast satellite systems to provide high-speed connectivity to almost anywhere in the world. These are relatively big satellites and there are some concerns about what they’re doing to astronomers’ abilities to see unblemished night skies.
What I didn’t know is about all the startups putting up their own mini-satellites for small-scale tracking operations. Apparently, these satellites are small enough to be less of a concern for astronomers, but I still wonder if there’s a limit to how many things we can have orbiting the earth.
I guess that the orbiting space is, while not unlimited, quite vast. It’s probably only a matter of time before every human on the planet has their own satellite.
Second Life for Quibi
Remember Quibi, the extremely short-lived all mobile media company? It launched in 2020 and did not survive the year. However. during its brief life, Quibi attracted some of the biggest names in Hollywood, many of which created short-form high-quality content that never saw the light of day.
Enter Roku. The streaming hardware and software company already offers a wide range of content through apps and its own Roku home screen. Now it will add Quibi’s leftover content to the mix. I wonder, though, if it will contract with these creators to create fresh episodes. Roku is not really known for original programming but imagine what might happen if it decides to take a few Quibi hits and extend their lives. Could this help position Roku, which is already in millions of homes, as a Netflix competitor?
Rumors are still swirling around the possibility that Apple might produce an electric car between now and 2025 (or later). I still don’t buy it.
I found a hack that turns your Apple Watch into an iPhone viewfinder. It’s kinda dumb but fun.
Also, in case you missed it on Medium:
Stay well and we’ll talk soon.
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