theSync: Marines Evade AI, US Accuses El Goog of Ad Abuse, Amazon Launches Prescription Service

It’s another Thursday, and I’m back baby, with another weekly installment of theSync. This will probably be the last week these posts originate here. Next week, head on over to for each week’s tech news and analysis.

I’m on with Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: US accuses Google of driving out ad rivals, Amazon launches prescription drug service, and Marines soldier detecting AI. 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.

I Shall Not Bow Down to Our Robot Overlords


While the rest of the world is losing their mind about ChatGPT, heralding the end of school essays by an unimaginative AI. US Marines are spending their time tricking AIs using ideas from Looney Tunes. The Marines were helping the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency train an AI robot in detecting soldiers. The soldiers were to help DARPA train the bot for 7 days, but after the sixth they got fed up and adopted unorthodox evasion techniques. The Marines would win if they were able to get to the robot undetected. One Marine stripped a fir tree of its limps and crept up to the robot pretending to be a tree. Another, somersaulted from 300 meters away thwarting the bot. Two others hid in cardboard boxes and crept up to the robot touching it and winning. It just goes to show that machines still aren’t better at recognizing things any silly human would recognize.


Yesterday, the US Department of Justice accused Google of unfairly dominating the online ad market. DOJ and 8 states joined in filing a 150-page complaint against Google citing the company unfairly controls the technology all major news publishers use for hosting ads, controls the leading tool used by buyers to purchase ads, and controls the largest ad exchange used for matching publishers with advertisers. DOJ and the states claim this system forces website creators to earn less while forcing advertisers to pay more. Google says DOJ is trying to pick winners and losers instead of letting market dynamics take effect. We’ll see what happens.


Amazon Prime customers have the opportunity to pay a $5 monthly subscription to receive prescription medications in the mail. Amazon RxPass provides generic medications prescribed for treating 80 common health conditions. You can now receive your blood pressure, anxiety, and hair loss meds in the box with the smile on it. The $5 fee includes shipping charges. Prescriptions will be filled by Amazon Pharmacy. An online pharmacy Amazon started in 2020. Customers enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid aren’t eligible for RxPass but can fill their prescriptions using other government insurance plans.

This is the last week I’ll be posting the top tech stories of the week here. We’re restarting theSync brand and will be sharing the top tech stories of the week at it’s new home at Based upon the popularity of The Cloud, we’ll also resurrect theSync’s weekly podcast sharing weekly tech tips in a minute and insights and analysis on the technology industrial complex. We’re excited to build up this platform for you and sharing some new voices on technology and trends with you.

Thanks for reading and listening!

Have a great weekend!

theSync: Podcasts Are Down, Discord Gasses Up Teens, Getty Sues AI

I’m back on the air with Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: listeners may be podcasted out as listening numbers nosedive, Discord buys a teenager friendly app, and Getty Images sues an AI over licensing theft. 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.

Why Wouldn’t I Feature My Wife’s Podcast?!


There’s some really big news this week about the podcasting industry. After reaching peak podcast during the pandemic, the number of podcast show launches were down last year. The real reason is that like in many areas of content, discovery sucks. There are simply too many shows for the current directory + search mechanism to work. Therefore, podcasters are having a tough time justifying the expense and resource intensiveness of producing good shows. Consider these metrics: there 3 million podcast shows with 154 million episodes on the interwebs. (there’s a real opportunity there) There are some bright spots in this week’s news. New podcast episodes are up from pre-pandemic levels with 26.1 million new shows produced in 2022. Up from 19.1 million in 2019. This news comes just as I consider relaunching theSync.


Everyone enjoys their closest friends gassing you up from time-to-time. On Tuesday, the gaming community platform Discord, announced it’s acquiring the friendly, complimenting app: Gas. Gas is designed for teens by teens and instead of tearing people down, Gas’ premise is to boost people’s confidence by gassing them up. Gas users plug in their school, tag their friends, and go on to talk about how they’re the best DJ or have the most awesomest hair scrunchies. Gas has onboarded 7 million users who’ve spent $7.4 million. I think this is really cool.


The verdict is still up for debate on AI generated art. What we do know, is AI generated art can’t generate anything original. Yesterday, Getty Images announced taking legal action against the AI generation tool Stability AI. The tool has scraped 100,000 gigabytes of images from the Internet in order to train its models to generate “new” art. Some of the images it’s scraped are images licensed by Getty for resale. Stability AI is claiming Getty’s claims run afoul of the law and the owners of the original works should have a say in how their images are being used. Stability’s CEO, Craig Peters, didn’t say he asked the creators’ permission did he? So he just took them. As a former photographer, and someone who was hemmed up by Getty one time before, it truly is important for image creators to get credit and pay for their work. AI’s scraping their content to generate prompted images also amounts to theft. There is a broader line of thought worth exploring. These AI models are hungry for data. Text generation models require lots of input from news sources, blogs, books and more. How are they paying for all of this content? Are they?

Also Noteworthy

They latest news coming out of the SBF FTX drama is that some $415 million of crypto has been hacked out of FTX. SBF says this number is being overinflated by…the current management of FTX. He thinks he’s being smeared.

Thanks for reading this week’s theSync, and for listening to our last episode of The Cloud. More content options are coming as we expand what we offer. I sincerely appreciate all of the opens, subscriptions, and comments that come back. We’re working to bring the most interesting, thought provoking, and exciting news and pieces your way.

Have a great weekend!

Corrupt Database Grounds US Air Travel, NYC Landlords Use Spy Tech to Evict People, CES Gadget Round Up

I’m back on the air with Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: a corrupt DB file grounds the FAA NOTAM, New York City landlords spy on tenants to evict them, and a few ridiculous gadgets from CES. 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.

The $3,000 TV That Can Fall of the Wall


This week’s HUGE news is the FAA grounding air travel across the entire nation. The FAA shutdown the country’s NOTAM, Notice to Air Missions, which communicates ground, flight route, weather, and location hazards and updates to ground crews and pilots across the nation. The NOTAM is essential to safe air travel and enables ground crews to communicate when things go wrong in airspace. Last night, the FAA stated a corrupt database file led to NOTAM’s outage. 1,300 flights were canceled yesterday, 10,000 were delayed.


Yeah. Landlords in high rent cities like New York are using spy technology to evict people. Camera, motion sensors, noise sensors and more are being used to boot people for throwing parties, subletting, and hosting multiple families. Landlords are using these technologies to evict people who are leasing rent controlled, or inexpensive units in a bid to rent to higher earning incomes. Additionally, companies like the spy tech company, Teman, are using facial recognition technology to determine family dynamics and boot renters who host extended stay guests. Housing advocates are crying foul while landlords are turning the screws on people.

A Quick Digest of CES Gadgets

The $3,000 TV

DISPLACE put it’s 55-inch totally wireless, OLED TV on display at CES. The totally wireless TV is powered by 4, rechargeable, hot-swappable batteries.

The $8,000 Bathtub

Kohler announced its $8,000, fog-emitting, ‘Soak Free Standing’ bathtub at CES last week. You can pay a cool $16k this year for the smart bath they unveiled in 2021, or spring for this one this fall. It emits fog.

Disney’s Smart Home Assistant

Disney is bringing home the magic by getting into the smart assistant market. Disney’s Magical Companion is powered by Amazon Echo. The assistant does all the regular voice activated things plus read stories. Look out for it later this year.

Apple Pays Out 50 Million, Amazon Cuts 18,000 Jobs, Louisiana Forces User ID

Happy New Year!

Welcome back to the Top Tech News of the Week. Our Tech News Dispatch.

A lot’s happened since our last segment on First News 570. Elon Musk had to dump some Tesla stock to prop up his Twitter payments. Then Tesla goes on to have a record sales year cranking out 1.22 million cars in 2022. SBF said he’s not guilty. And I lend an assist to Mr. and Mrs. Claus to get Christmas delivered on time.

So, let’s get to it.

It’s Thursday.

I’m back on the air with Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: Apple pays out over broken keyboards, Amazon cuts 18,000 jobs, Louisiana forces porn websites to verify ages for real. and the Consumer Electronics Show. 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.

Electric Skates, Can We Get Any Lazier


MacBook owners who bought a computer between 2015 and 2019 have until March 6, 2023 to claim their part of a $50 million settlement. The lawsuit involved problems with Apple’s butterfly keyboard in their MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. Apple replaced their previous keyboard with a newfangled design that resulted in sticky keys when the smallest amount of dust gets under the keys. The settlement only applies to owners who’ve had to have Apple fix or replace their keyboard one or more times. Owners with the most serious issues will get a $395 payout. MacBook owners who bought during the timeframe can go to to seek damages.


Big news happening right now! After years of continuous growth and hiring, Amazon is cutting 18,000 jobs from its workforce. The cuts equal 6% of its 300,000 person workforce. Amazon says its cutting staff from its Stores and People, Experience, and Technology teams. Not much said about cutting AWS staff. Layoffs will start January 18th.


As of January 1, 2023, Louisiana will require pornographic websites verify the age of its visitors. Using a simple date picker, or pull down menu for month, day, and year won’t suffice like it does on alcoholic product websites or MA rated video games. Porn websites will require Louisiana users to verify their age using Louisiana’s digital ID app, LA Wallet. Louisiana is one of the few states that have implemented a digital ID with an app to support it. Problems begin to mount from there. Porn websites will need to implement interfaces into third party verification services that accept LA Wallet often requiring multiple accounts. Consider the sketchiness of the industry, nefarious websites can swoop in and take some of that digital ID data. I get it, I really do get it. No one wants porn to fall into the eyeballs of children. But like a lot of things, vice, these barriers open up opportunities to even worse content.


The Consumer Electronics Show starts today! This year promises to be the most over-the-top gadget year with a $3,300 auto-driving stroller (parents ARE ready for it, I know I was), electric skates, AI-powered bird feeders, digital temporary tattoos, and doggy fitness trackers. We’ll highlight the gadgets to look out for this year’s Christmas next week.

MagFest also starts today!

If you’re local, the Super Music and Gaming Festival starts today. MAGFest is a weekend dedicated to gamers, music lovers, and nerdy folks. It’s going to be loud, and it’s going to be fun. I’ll be roaming around on Saturday.

The latest episode of The Cloud dropped on New Year’s Eve. The season’s final episode is all about autonomous vehicles. We featured our 3rd Obama administration appointee, Eric Werner, to talk about self-driving cars, AI-autonomy, and what it takes to bring more autonomous vehicles to society. Listen now! We’re producing Season 2 now, and it’s going to be packed with deeper technology coverage.

Thanks for reading, and for listening. Have a great weekend!

3 Must Watch Holiday Classics for 2022

Christmas is a time for gathering around the TV and watching movies that bring out the best in holiday spirit. You can’t have Christmas without these movies and you should make an effort to see each one of these fine films before December 26th. Don’t let the Scrooges ruin your holiday thirst for violence and gunplay. Each one of these cinematic greats teaches us the true meaning of Christmas.

Grab your popcorn, load up your egg nog with Uncle Nearest’s new Rye blend, and get to streaming!

You Can Get This Poster from Pizza Party Printing When It’s Back in Stock

The Long Kiss Goodnight

Samuel L. Jackson, Geena Davis, espionage, and superior gun play round out this holiday classic. Geena Davis plays mild mannered, amnesiac, Pennsylvania school teacher, Samantha Caine. One day, after a car accident, Sam starts having flashbacks to her previous life being a CIA agent. Just in time, Mitch, played by Samuel L. ‘Muthafucka’ Jackson, a private investigator Samantha hired to sort through her mysterious past has dug up details about her super secret agent past life as Charlene ‘Charly’ Baltimore (not the rapper).

Bullets fly, car chases ensue, and explosions cap off a true holiday movie set in Pennsylvania, during Christmas time. The movie ends with Samantha/Charly’s family getting back together, Mitch finding his time in the limelight, and Americans protected from an internal terrorist threat.

The Long Kiss Goodnight is streaming on Roku, Paramount+, Prime, Showtime, and Apple+.

Lethal Weapon

One of my family’s Christmas Eve traditions is the Mapp Family Holiday Lasagna. Lethal Weapon 1, was the flick of choice during last year’s meal preparation. You see, the Holiday Lasagna is a labor of love and takes a full hour of preparation followed by baking time, then cooling time to let all of the flavors settle. Lethal Weapon stars Danny Glover who plays an LA police office 30 years older than his real age, and Mel Gibson before we knew who he really was. The 1 hour and 57 minutes of catchy one liners between Sgt. Murtah and Sgt. Riggs, sirens, and gun play against a Los Angeles backdrop at Christmas time is a family-friendly fun ride. These movies are a case study in buddy cop action dramas and you will not be disappointed to watch Lethal Weapon cuddled up with you loved ones.

Lethal Weapon is streaming on Hulu, Prime, Roku, and Apple+.

Die Hards 1 and 2

It goes without saying, regardless of what my wife, the Blerdmom, says about Die Hard, it is in fact a Christmas movie. It has all of the elements of White Christmas and other holiday movies. The protagonists have to travel to see loved ones and others they care about. Conflict between the protagonists resolves over the yule tide spirit. Bad guys and spoiler elements are disrupted through constant vigilance in the belief of Christmas magic. And, a skydive off of a skyscraper just as a helicopter explodes on the roof. Die Hards 1 and 2 are must see films for the Christmas season. There’s something for everyone in both movies. Humor, comedic and dark, family love and affection, and gifts. Cash or otherwise.

Die Hard stars none other, than the-man-who-knows-how-to-kill-someone, Bruce Willis the former leading man of Moonlighting. Naysayers will hate on you for calling Die Hard, and Die Hard 2 Christmas films, but you can’t help but witness the Christmas everywhere in the movie.

Die Hard is such a great Christmas movie, I mysteriously receive anonymous Christmas cards from a fellow Die Hard fan each year. (This year, one came from Ellis)

Die Hard is streaming on Starz, and the Starz Amazon Channel.

For all you haters, here’s the Die Hard Christmas Trailer

Honorable Mention


Gremlins is about a struggling inventor trying to hock his wares in Japan only to fail. Before leaving for home, he forgot to pick up his son, Billy, a Christmas gift. So he steps into a whole in wall, antique store and buys a cute, furry creature called Gizmo. The little mogwai, demon, can’t stay up late, should never get wet, and most importantly, never eat after midnight. The inventor, Randall Peltzer, buys the mogwai and somehow gets it past US Customs. Back home, Randall eerily repeats the rules to his teenaged son, and what do you know he breaks all of them. He lets Gizmo stay up late watching TV, and the fool gets the little fuzzbugger wet. After Gizmo gets wet, he multiplies several other furry mogwai who make a mess of his house. And of course, Billy lets them eat after midnight, and the mogwais wage havoc on Billy’s small town on Christmas Even.

Gremlins is a for real classic. It’s a great movie that epitomizes the dark comedy horror genre, and plenty of plot elements make it a Christmas movie worth watching. Sit down with a warm cocoa and watch little demons terrorize a town. The chair escalator scene will never be forgotten.

Gremlins is streaming, hopefully still streaming, on HBO Max.

Have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!