Frak That! Ep. 77: ‘Tech Talk’

When Joe Wilcox and Randall Kennedy conceived this podcast, they started out with the concept: “I Hate Tech”. But one evening, while planning, Joe said “Frak That!” about something and then wondered if domain was available. Yup. And the two decided to expand to a broader scope of topics around Frak That! Finally, now, during Episode 77, they get down to talking tech.

Joe gripes about going to CNET’s website looking for an autumn 2000 story he wrote about the Apple G4 Cube. Same day, the company issued a profit warning, citing slow Cube sales as catalyst. But you’d never he wrote the analysis. The byline is removed—on that and the other several thousand stories he wrote when a reporter. “I am expunged”, he says. “I am obliterated”. 

Joe went looking for the story because he sees striking similarities between the Cube’s concept and that behind MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. His conclusions aren’t good for Apple, nor is Randall’s snarky analysis, which Joe praises in uncharacteristic fashion: “I really hope that your head doesn’t blow up and explode like that movie scanners…Sometimes you really are quite brilliant in your observations”.

Randall sees muscle memory as the Touch Bar’s big problem. The fingers go to the right keys without looking. That’s what touch-typing is all about. Touch Bar changes that, by presenting contextual keys based on apps. The keys keep changing. “With this whole muscle memory thing, I believe you have identified the fatal flaw with Apple’s approach here”, Joe observes.

The two talk about the touchscreen as sensible motif, and Randall wonders why macOS doesn’t support the concept. Joe explains that rather than add a touchscreen, Apple made the trackpad larger and expects two-handed, 10-finger operation from users. Randall laughs, and starts crooning about game Twister but for the fingers. “I can see the parody videos now on YouTube!” People saying: “‘I accidentally dislocated my thumb trying to do this five-finger, two-thumb, pinky-combo with the trackpad’. This is insanity!”

Among the other tech topics: Fate of the PC market; cyber-security chiefs acting like Gods; DNC and Clinton hacks; Microsoft admitting Russian hackers exploited Windows flaws; Russia dumping Windows for being too easily exploited; 20 iPhone 7s from 20 boyfriends; and much more, including election updates, and the Dunkin’ Donuts Gobbler sandwich.