Sam Bankman-Fried’s Market Implosion, More Twitter, Artemis I, Mr. Beast Rises

I’m running out of time!

There’s only a few days before Thanksgiving, and the McRib is gone forever. Heaven help me!

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: FTX implosion results in $32 billion wipeout, more Twitter drama because Will can’t help himself, and Mr. Beast tops the YouTube charts. Plus…Artemis I! 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.

FTX IMPLOSION CAUSES RECORD $32 BILLION LOSS

8. 16. 32. It’s crazy how those numbers lineup to powers of two. What are those numbers? $8 billion was the run on deposits cryptoexchange FTX account holders withdrew from the platform in a number of hours. 16 is the size of Sam Bankman-Fried’s personal wealth at its height during FTX’s run. $32 billion, 32 billion dollars is the amount of value lost within a day after Binance walked away from a deal to purchase FTX’s non-US operations. As we reported last week, Binance walked away from a deal to purchase FTX prompting users to withdraw assets in their accounts. FTX was propped up by a Sam Bankman-Fried hedge fund called Alameda Capital which filed bankruptcy, a day after Binance’s exit, last Friday. Experts are calling this the end of crypto. For my own play money fund, all of my holdings are down in the toilet since the beginning of the year and the currencies have furthered their slide.

BLUE CHECKS, GRAY CHECKS, TWITTER SEVERANCE CHECKS

I was told off last week. A reader emailed me and said I’ve spent way too much time on Twitter’s drama, and all I’ve done is boost is profile. Nay, I say. After firing half of its staff, rushing out a fake verification scheme, turning off half of Twitter’s software services, and calling out his own engineers publicly on Twitter, Elon Musk has laid down the edict to his employees, “commit to a ‘hardcore’ Twitter, or git.” It seems like Musk is bringing his legendary, 80 hour plus work week insanity made famous at Tesla to Twitter. It’s been hard to figure whether or not he’s trolling himself, or if this is his management style. One thing’s for sure he hasn’t read a management handbook.

MR. BEAST WINS TOP SPOT IN YOUTUBE SUBSCRIBER COUNT

Yesterday, YouTube sensation, Mr. Beast surpassed PewDiePie as the reigning champion of YouTube subscriptions. 112 million people, including my 15 year old kid, have subscribed to Mr. Beast’s philanthropic and cash giveaway channel. PewDiePie was the first YouTuber to gain 100 million subscribers in 2019 by commentating on his own video game experiences. Mr. Beast has launched a digital movement featuring philanthropic pursuits like community meal delivery as well as stunts like 1-day popup Beast Burgers shops. I’ve watched a little of his content, and I get it, but I don’t get it.

BONUS

In huge news! Artemis I successfully launched yesterday at 1:04am Eastern Time. The mission is to last 25 days with a retrieval on Earth. Artemis I’s ride was hitched on the brand new SLS rocket system. The SLS is the world’s most powerful rocket to fly a successful mission at 8.8 million pounds of thrust. This is the rocket that will take humans beyond the Moon to Mars.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Take Care!

BREAKING: Crypto Exchange Binance May Walk Away from FTX Purchase

I usually don’t send out a double header, but this news is a pretty big one.

FTX, has hemorrhaging money. Two days ago, the cryptocurrency exchange was close to completing a deal where its larger rival, Binance, would purchase FTX’s non-US held operations. FTX was facing a liquidity crunch and couldn’t support trades on its platform. Yesterday, $6 billion was withdrawn from the platform as investors got spooked by news that Binance was considering walking away from the deal.

Binance signed a non-binding agreement and has had a change of thought about the deal. Cryptocurrencies have lost value since the announcement. Bitcoin is down 5% at $17k, Ether is down since it’s lowest point in August.

The story is still developing.

With inflation high as Hell, the Federal Reserve trying to make a self-fulfilling recession come true, and technology companies finally being held to fundamentals. Cryptocurrencies and meme stocks (most stocks) aren’t backed by much. Just be careful about where you’re parking your money. There’s no such thing as a guaranteed thing.

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

TWITTER FIRES HALF OF ITS STAFF BEFORE ASKING THEM BACK

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.

FOLLOWING CELEB EXODUS USERS CHECK OUT MASTODON

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 TECH COMPANIES LAYOFF THOUSANDS

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.

ALGORITHMS RUN WASHINGTON, DC, YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT

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.

Pantone Forces Payments, China Locks Down Factory Town, OpenSSL Exploit Patched

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: Adobe designers must pay for Pantone, OpenSSL exploit frightens the Internet on Halloween, and iPhone 14 delays may happen because of Foxconn shutdown. 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.

And…the answer is no. I’m not paying $8 or $20 a month to get a blue check and have my tweets bumped higher.

Hide Your Laptop, Hide Your Phones

ADOBE DESIGNERS MUST NOW PAY FOR PANTONE

Fresh of the press, we lead off this week’s Top Tech with news announcing Pantone, THE color arbiter, will be forcing Adobe users to pay a $15 monthly subscription in order to use their colors in the app. Adobe had provided access to these colors free, but stopped supporting free Pantone last week. Illustrator and Photoshop files containing these colors now display a solid black color where Pantone colors once graced their images. Pantone Corporation creates the industry standard colors we see in print, fashion, and digital. Adobe users wanting to incorporate Pantone colors in their work will need to install the Adobe Express and purchase a premium license through Pantone Connect. Back in the day, artists and designers would purchase periodic color books and dial in a color’s values to create the color they needed. In the end, designers still have to pay, the mechanism is different and us wannabe designers are no longer along for a free ride.

CHINA LOCKS DOWN AREA SURROUNDING FOXCONN PLANT

As the world is opening and trying to resume some modified normal, China is still struggling with handling COVID in a number of cities and yesterday’s lockdown in Zhengzhou City may impact deliveries of Apple’s new iPhone 14. The lockdown will last for 7 days and affect workers at the city’s Foxconn manufacturing facility. China’s President, Xi Jinping, is pursuing a zero-COVID policy and enacts shutdowns to limit the spread.

OPENSSL EXPOSES WORLD INTERNET TO HACKING

OpenSSL (Open Secure Sockets Layer) is a technology used for encrypting web traffic. OpenSSL is heavily used by web and database servers to protect information sent back and forth between web browsers, mobile phones, and other application servers. On Halloween, the group managing OpenSSL discovered a vulnerability and shared the problem with the Internet giving it a critical level of vulnerability. An OpenSSL exploit could expose everything from financial information to health. The exploit is tricky to implement, but given that MOST web servers are running on platforms using OpenSSL this is a must share story. The exploit affects all systems using OpenSSL 3.

Thanks for reading and sharing Top Tech News of the week. Have a great weekend and enjoy!

The End for the McRib, DOJ Charges Chinese Nationals for Spying, Investors Worry About the Metaverse, and Tesla Under Fed Investigation

It’s that time again!

The McRib is back! November will be here in a couple of days and I can’t be happier. In just a few days, that tangy, sweet, spicy, saucy, and juicy pork ribwich will be mine. Sabrina is already preparing herself for the first sandwich of the season. McDonalds claims this is the end for the McRib, and I’ll be sad to see it go. Every year, I get all giddy and excited like daddy’s coming home.

If you’re reading this as a First News 570, lobby your local McDonald’s to create the Will & Mark Special. A McRib with fries between the ridges on top of a beef patty.

Just a Few Days Away

It’s another 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: DOJ charges Chinese nationals in spy case, DOJ charges Tesla in consumer lies case, and investors worry about Zuckerberg’s frivolous spending in the metaverse. 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.

Well, He Did Land the Plane Safely

DOJ ROUNDS UP CHINESE NATIONALS IN ESPIONAGE PROBE

On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice announces charges on two Chinese nationals who were trying to recruit a federal investigator to influence a government investigation into a large telecommunications company. The agent they were trying to recruit was actually a double agent working for the FBI. DOJ has also charged 11 other Chinese nationals in two other espionage cases. The telecommunications company is rumored to be Chinese company, Huawei. For its part, China has said the US is trying to smear them.

INVESTORS WORRY AS ZUCKERBERG DOUBLE DOWNS ON METAVERSE

Facebook’s, I mean Meta’s, earnings call was yesterday, and Zuckerberg had to announce the company is hemorrhaging money. Meta is banking hard on the metaverse and it’s metaverse lab division lost a staggering $3.7 billion in the last quarter, making its losses $9 billion this year. Apple’s ad privacy prompting mechanism has estimated losses of $10 billion by itself, and Zuckerberg told investors 2023’s losses will mount even higher as he pursues a dramatic push into virtual realm. He told investors, “people will look back a decade from now and talk about the importance of the work being done here.” A decade is long in Internet time.

Meta isn’t the only company reporting huge losses. After a dramatic profit run during the COVID-19 lockdown, technology companies are reporting weak earnings with Microsoft reporting losses of 6% and Google reporting a whopping 27% drop in still profits the previous quarter.

TESLA UNDER FEDERAL INVESTIGATION FOR AUTOPILOT FEATURES

Whew boy! Reuters has reported that Tesla is under federal investigation for misleading customers about it’s “fully self-driving” feature called Autopilot. Tesla, and Elon Musk, have been touting Autopilot as the safest self-driving capability while regulators have said otherwise. DOJ prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco are examining if Tesla made unfounded claims about the technology. This news is coming on the heels of the automaker removing sensors from its vehicles and Elon Musk’s ongoing court case.

The next episode of The Cloud, Autonmous Vehicles in an Autonomous Future drops this Friday. Please subscribe to The Cloud podcast and share it with your friends.