Randall Kennedy and Joe Wilcox talk about digital assistant/artificial intelligence mayhem during Episode 93. They begin with a Twitch stream featuring two Google Home devices asking each other stupid questions—and answering them. Randall laughs: “It’s like two Millennials fighting over the friggin’ remote”, referring to the incoherent but continuous banter between the devices.
That leads into a disturbing discussion about the Amazon Alexa digital assistant. A few days earlier, there was a news story about a six year-old accidentally ordering a dollhouse and four pounds of cookies from Amazon when asking Alexa about them. But the saga doesn’t end there. “The news cast playing on the TV in other peoples’ homes who also had the Alexa—the Alexa heard the same language…and their Alexas start trying to order the dollhouse”, Randall explains. “It’s like this chain reaction”. … Frak That! Ep. 93: ‘Artificial Stupidity’
On the eve of Consumer Electronics Show 2017, Randall Kennedy and Joe Wilcox discuss the event that Joe likens to a room of 10,000 screaming kids, each trying to out-yell the other for attention. That’s the media mayhem that has kept him away from the annual tech pilgrimage in Las Vegas since 2008. “You couldn’t drag me there for any amount of money”, he says early in Episode 92.
Among their CES topics: Acer’s $9,000 laptop; the perfect Chromebook for over-weight hoarders; VR porn; drones dropping dead (from short battery life); fido trackers; BlackBerry’s last life; and the great Google privacy scam (you got none). … Frak That! Ep. 92: ‘CES 2017’
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 frakthat.com 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”. … Frak That! Ep. 77: ‘Tech Talk’
Randall Kennedy says Apple cofounder Steve Jobs is rolling over in his grave: “This Cook guy, he’s a moron. My God, he’s destroying my company—my legacy”. That for forgetting iPod’s 15th birthday on Oct. 23, 2016. Randall and Joe Wilcox mourn Apple’s appalling negligence and more!
Death of the Internet is yet something else about which to grieve, following the October 21st hack of webcams, baby cams, and other so-called Internet of Things devices that brought down major websites—Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr among them. Episode 73 is their epitaph. … Frak That! Ep. 73: ‘Mourning’
Joe Wilcox presents Randall Kennedy with a poser: Would you go back in time and kill baby Hitler? He offers thoughtful answer about the unintended consequences and what they could be. “World War II never happens. Then maybe the atomic bomb is never invented. Maybe nuclear power is never created, or it’s created by the Brits, or a different Germany, or the Russians do it and they dominate the world…Israel probably never would have been formed as a nation…You pull one thread, and you unravel so many others”.
Joe’s take is simpler: “You can’t go back in time to kill baby Hitler, because if he never existed you wouldn’t go back to kill him”.
Time is a unifying theme in Episode 71, whether or not traveling through it. Joe talks about time and money wasted by terrorists buying Galaxy Note 7 to use as “weapons of mass destruction”. What he calls the “ISIS Crisis” now that the potentially exploding phones are banned by major airlines. … Frak That! Ep. 71: ‘It’s About Time’
Randall Kennedy accuses Joe Wilcox of drinking Apple Kool-Aid; he doesn’t disagree. Wikipedia defines “Drinking the Kool-Aid” as “a figure of speech commonly used in North America that refers to any person or group who knowingly goes along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure”.
The theme ties together other Episode 70 topics, such as Randall’s confession he would have saved more money buying products like iPad and iPhone rather than cheap alternatives. “I should just drink the Kool-Aid, like you do—chug the whole Gatorade pitcher down there but I don’t ”, Randall says. … Frak That! Ep. 70: ‘Kool-Aid’