Algorithms Run DC, Big Tech Starts Big Layoffs, Users Seek Out Mastodon in Twitter Exodus,

I ate my second McRib of the season this week! Hot! I barely made it out of the McD’s parking lot. Sweet, tangy, and juicy. Delicious.

It’s Thursday, and I’m back on the air with Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: nerdy algorithms run Washington, DC, Twitter drama is the gift that keeps on giving before Christmas, users seek out Mastodon in Exodus. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.

This Might Be Too Much


It’s true. First News on 570’s Mark Starling had chided me for years because I would often refer to Elon Musk as: “a genius, our generation’s Howard Hughes, he launches rockets!” I’ve had a change of heart watching his erratic stylings unfold in this year’s Twitter drama. His latest episode demonstrates that he’s never really run a company himself as he laid off 50% of Twitter’s staff last weekend. It’s obvious he hasn’t read many management books or attended a corporate leadership seminar. He asked managers to write two sentences, “Who works for you, and why should they stay?” In the ensuing layoff many of the managers themselves were let go in a case study of what not to do during any corporate downsizing. As the layoffs unfolded, whoever’s left to advise Musk learned that many people who held critical positions were axed. Before the weekend was out, managers were on Twitter’s Slack channel asking their employees to reach out to already laid off people to see if they’d come back. What the Hell?

This news comes as Musk sells $4 billion of Tesla stock this week. Probably to service much of Twitter’s debt. He’s still one of the world’s richest men, even after selling $20 billion, Billion with a ‘B’, of Tesla stock this year. Tesla’s share price is down 50% from the beginning of the year.


Crazy enough, some of my friends are thinking of leaving Twitter instead of sticking around to see how far it implodes. “Yeah, right.” I really solid alternative is Mastodon. It’s an open source project that has a mission of,  “active moderation against racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.” Users are invited to and connect to a server that has its own themes. Mastodon servers may have communities focused on current events, politics, quantum science, and other topics. Mastodon has mobile apps for iOS and Android, and features a familiar interface. Since any old user can setup a Mastodon server, it’s ad-free.


Big employment cuts in the technology sector were announced this week. US tech companies were riding a tsunami of sales and profits when people stayed home during the pandemic. All of the gearing up and streaming was slowing down as society opened up and people had other areas to spend their money. Meta-land, Facebook, announced cutting 11,000 jobs after Zuckerberg spent heavily on building out the metaverse. Microsoft had already cut 1,000 employees in October and plan to cut more before Christmas. All told, technology companies have cut more than 45,000 jobs this year. Many CEOs said they over hired. These guys aren’t the geniuses we make them out to be.


Ars Technica has run a great article outlining how algorithms and automation run the nation’s capital. Washington, DC is quietly running 29 or so algorithms that affect people’s lives on a daily basis. The Electronic Privacy Information Center conducted a study on Washington, DC and found that 16 algorithms affect people’s civil rights. These algorithms are used in law enforcement and other places. On the whole, city agencies have remained very secretive about the use of algorithms and more disclosure on how municipalities use automation should be required. If you want to learn more about smart cities and how algorithms can be used for the public good, listen to our first episode of The Cloud, Whatever Happened to Smart Cities. You could be living in one right now.

Thanks for reading this week’s Top Tech News and for listening to The Cloud.


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Have you ever looked at the screen and wondered what’s going on in there? Coming in time for the holidays, Seven Brief Lessons on Computing is a fast and entertaining read that shares how computers work for the curious.

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