👋 Welcome to the FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.
In this edition
As I was occupied with preparing for US elections the past few days and weeks and spent the last two days maniacally refreshing all my feed and the homepage of The New York Times, I needed this issue to be without all of that.
🤪 Election Distractor
💻 Apple will show off new MacBooks with Arm processors
💬 Other tech, media, audio & podcasting news
👻 BONUS: Regarding the tech CEOs hearing last week I wrote a column for The Fix titled Algorithms are not neutral, nor are editors. Also on The Fix, you can find a brief how-to guide on launching TikTok for media.
📸 by NY Times
This is all we need right now. Trust me. No need to keep on refreshing, once the final results are in, you will know.
🙏 Liked it so far? ❤️ Support this newsletter by sharing it, thanks!
In other news
😲 Apple announced another online event for this year. Dubbed “One more thing”, Apple is supposed to announce three Mac laptops (new 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and a new 13-inch MacBook Air) with new Arm processors called Apple Silicon. It’s an end to the 15-year relationship with Intel. Apple will be also announcing the launch of macOS Big Sur. [Bloomberg]
#️⃣ This is cool: Raspberry Pi 400 for just $70. Or in a bundle including a mouse, power supply, microSD card, HDMI cable, and beginner’s guide for $100. [Raspberry Pi Blog]
The Verge: It’s got a slightly faster quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, up from 1.5GHz in the Pi 4, 4GB of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. There are a pair of micro HDMI ports that can each output up to 4K / 60Hz, two USB 3.0 ports, and a single USB 2.0 port. Power is provided via a USB-C port, there’s a microSD card slot for storage, and there’s a GPIO header for attaching a variety of more niche devices.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde Sunday announced an ECB survey of public opinion regarding the issuance of a digital euro, implying the central bank is considering a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC), not just one intended for use between banks, which would represent a much more profound change in the way finance works, according to Noelle Acheson, CoinDesk’s director of research.
👾 A profile of Discord. Started out as a primary communication tool for gamers, Discord has rebranded this year and has a new tagline Your place to talk. As I mentioned in one of the previous FWIW updates, The Information has a long piece on the rise of audio startups, which seem to be the new cool thing for investors in Silicon Valley. But pay attention to Discord, it has more than 100 million monthly active users and big plans for the future. [Protocol]
✍️ Market definitions and tech monopolies. If you don’t have enough of the antitrust and anti-monopoly talk in tech news, read Ben Evans’ explainer. [Benedict Evans]
👏 Baby Shark becomes YouTube's most-watched video of all time. I mean, it was inevitable. If you are reading this and have no clue or whatsoever, you most likely don’t have a small child at home. BBC called the song the infuriatingly catchy children's rhyme recorded by South Korean company Pinkfong. And if you watched Ted Lasso on Apple TV+, and did not understand the “Jamie Tart, doo doo doo doo doo doo” reference, listen to Baby Shark and you will know. [BBC]
👦🏻 Youth-focused news is on the rise. Parents juggling work-from-home schedules with at-home learning are willing to pay for news products for their kids, executives tell Axios. Both print and digital subscriptions of youth content are on the rise. That’s good news. Would be also great if parents explained to their children that news and magazines are not free and you have to pay for quality content. I know, that’s probably a stretch too far, though would be nice. [Axios]
💸 A subscription matchmaking for local news. The Brown Institute’s Local News Lab is developing “smart paywalls” for local newsrooms. “Our core objective is to really help local news organizations improve the revenue that they’re getting from readers,” said Johri, who was previously a data scientist at The Washington Post, where he was working on a project predicting a user’s propensity to subscribe. The Lab plans to open-source the code they’re writing, so additional newsrooms can replicate it down the road. [NiemanLab]
🌎 The Atlantic gave Ruth Shalit a ‘second chance’ 25 years after a plagiarism scandal and it ended with a bitter retraction. [Washington Post]
“We decided to assign Barrett this freelance story in part because more than two decades separated her from her journalistic malpractice at The New Republic and because in recent years her work has appeared in reputable magazines,” the magazine wrote. “We took into consideration the argument that Barrett deserved a second chance to write feature stories such as this one. We were wrong to make this assignment, however. It reflects poor judgment on our part, and we regret our decision.”
⏭️ Glenn Greenwald is the latest high-profile writer who left a newsroom for Substack. [Intelligencer]
AUDIO & PODCASTING
🎙️ Here’s another study confirming host-read ads perform better in podcasts. [Nielsen]
🤦♂️ How much is Spotify responsible for giving Alex Jones air time? A lot, apparently it’s not only me who thinks that. This is a good deep-dive into the ethics of content publishers and hosting platforms. Nick Quah also interview Casey Newton. [Vulture]
Spotify is effectively both Netflix and YouTube, and as such, they are exposed to being held accountable to either paradigm depending on the situation. In this specific context, they are responsible for The Joe Rogan Experience as a publisher in much the same way that… oh, I don’t know, YouTube is responsible for Cobra Kai. And someday — perhaps sooner than you might expect — they should be held responsible for hosting unambiguously bad or harmful actors on Anchor.
🗣️ 8 reasons to turn your podcast into a book. It’s not unreasonable or unheard of, podcasters before have done it (Roman Mars of 99% Invisible, the creators of Stuff You Should Know, and others). [We Edit Podcasts]
🔊 How to name your podcast trailer? Well, you don’t have to use the word trailer in it, both Spotify and Apple Podcasts are labeling it loud and clear. For me an even more important question is, how to create an engaging video-trailer for your podcast (if you have tips, please, send them my way). [Pacific Content]
🎧 Spotify app will allow streaming music and podcasts directly from your Apple Watch. So far, you needed a second device to stream audio from Apple Watch. Honestly, I was in a situation a few times I wished my Apple Watch was able to stream audio, so this is good news. [9to5Mac]