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LanceLetter - Mac vs PC; Robot NFTs; A Tech Box from the Past



March 22 · Issue #222 · View online

Stuff that matters.

It’s spring. Why am I sitting here writing this?

Visited the site of the 1964 World's Fair. The Unisphere is a remaining artifact
Visited the site of the 1964 World's Fair. The Unisphere is a remaining artifact
I’m a Mac and a PC
Thanks a lot, Justin Long and Intel, for reopening that age-old wound: The endless battle between Macs vs PCs.
It’s not entirely your fault. First John Hodgeman switched sides, famously leaving the “PC” world for the Mac after Apple introduced its own M1 CPU. Now actor Justin Long, the standard-bearer for Mac computers in the aughts has done the same, hawking Intel-based computers.
To be clear, these new ads never mention Windows 10 but the implication has always been Microsoft Office and Windows versus the Mac platform. I always hated this war because Macs and Windows computers are both personal computers (PCs!).
Obviously, this battle is not about operating systems. It’s about Intel realizing the existential threat presented by BYOP (the bring your own processor) crowd. Companies like Apple are leaving Intel’s Core i platform behind for their own bespoke or home-grown silicon. Worse yet for Intel, the Apple M1 is a killer chip.
So, out trots Justin Long to make it seem like this is all about design options and Windows Hello, when it’s really about Intel preserving its $80 billion dollar chip business.
It’s useful to remember that Long didn’t “defect” from Mac. He’s, as he notes, just “Justin,” an actor who gets paid to act out scripts. I doubt he was a Mac guy when he was “a Mac” and I doubt he’s much of a PC guy now.
Sophia at 5 is into NFTs
The worlds’ most famous robot, Hanson Robotic’s Sophia, who recently celebrated her 5th sentient birthday, is entering the NFT space, because who isn’t?
She’s collaborating with artists Andrea Bonaceto to create new NFT art. Sophia is, according to a press release, using her neural networks to recreate what she sees in art form. Early art is a self-portrait that Sophia won’t complete until after the auction and she’s had a chance to interact with the buyer.
Do we need robot art when there are so many talented human artists? Maybe. Perhaps Sophia’s participation will turn even more attention to art-based NFTs and drive more interest for flesh-and-blood artists. That could be a good thing.
NFT mania upside
My former coworker Brian Reis offered on Twitter what I see as an excellent idea for leveraging the NFT craze to help buoy media fortunes. He suggested old media taking their iconic covers, minting them, and auctioning off the minted images on the NFT market. The revenues, he said, could help infuse some new cash into journalism and what is still an ailing industry.
I suggest tech pubs like my old home PCMag, which certainly had its share of historic covers over the years, hop on this idea ASAP. This also has me thinking about what other assets from other industries could be minted and added to the NFT pile.
What is that box
I love going to the local flea market where I can find all manner of now-defunct tech gear. Laptops that once cost $2,000 are piled atop each other like so much trash. There are boxes full of jumbled cables leading to game controllers in search of lost consoles. Sometimes, there are things you can’t readily identify.
This week I stumbled on a large brown and beige box featuring a row of buttons and a pair of dials. I recognized it almost instantly as an early cable box. That’s right, before the 100-button handheld remotes, satellite, and cable providers handed you these beefy boxes that you used to select cable channels.
A wave of nostalgia washed over me as I turned the box over in my hands. I decided to share it on Twitter, but with this call to action: “What is this? Wrong answers only.” As of this writing, I received over 100 hilarious answers (except for those who missed the point of the prompt and replied with “A cable box!” 🤦‍♂️). My favorite answer may be, The Enigma Box.
Have a great week
Get vaccinated!
Stay safe!
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