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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.
Tonight: Activision, AirPods, Adams, and your calls
• Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Knew for Years About Sexual-Misconduct Allegations at Videogame Giant (WSJ, Nov 16, 2021). Echoing what Paul Bradley Carr talked about on last week’s Techtonic: “Activision [known for Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush] has been thrown into turmoil in recent months by multiple regulatory investigations into alleged sexual assaults and mistreatment of female employees dating back years. Mr. Kotick has told directors and other executives he wasn’t aware of many of the allegations of misconduct, and he has played down others, according to people familiar with the matter and internal documents. Those documents, which include memos, emails and regulatory requests, and interviews with former employees and others familiar with the company, however, cast Mr. Kotick’s response in a different light. They show that he knew about allegations of employee misconduct in many parts of the company. He didn’t inform the board of directors about everything he knew, the interviews and documents show, even after regulators began investigating the incidents in 2018. Some departing employees who were accused of misconduct were praised on the way out, while their co-workers were asked to remain silent about the matters.” Then yesterday (Nov 21), Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Tells Colleagues He Would Consider Leaving if He Can’t Quickly Fix Problems.
• Are AirPods Out? Why Cool Kids Are Wearing Wired Headphones (WSJ, Nov 13, 2021): “Beyond [a] nostalgic sheen, corded headphones can be perceived as the laissez-faire antidote to optimized, geeky corporate culture. Courtney Park, a 25-year-old social media manager, said that they are the ‘polar opposite’ of the ‘finance-bro aesthetic.’ She explained, ‘A lot of people make fun of that whole tech-finance-bro look where they always have their Patagonia vest on and their AirPods in.’ She herself recently ditched her AirPods after three years of being let down by, among other issues, their failure to charge. Corded headphones, she said, ‘have this aura of carelessness and effortlessness.’ The person in the Patagonia vest who automatically updates to the latest iPhone... is perhaps too conformist to be perceived as truly cool.”
• My life without a smartphone is getting harder and harder (by Jen Wasserstein in the Guardian, Nov 4, 2021):
Americans check their smartphones an average of 96 times a day, which works out to once every 15 minutes. Two-thirds of Americans check their phones 160 times every day. Social media companies admit they exploit our dopamine receptors, designing products to hook us, such as irregularly timed rewards."
Everywhere I go, I see people staring into their screens. On sidewalks, I walk hoping people look up in time to avoid a collision. I see couples in restaurants each staring lovingly into their hand-held device. When I eat out with friends, their phone sits face-up on the table like a third wheel, pinging and flashing until attention is inevitably turned in its direction. Apologies are made and there’s always an urgency for one response, one minute.
I want to take a walk with only the city or woods taking my attention. I look up at buildings. I people-watch. Usually people are on their phones, so there’s no eye contact. The clock on my flip-phone tells me if I’ve walked for an hour. I don’t need to know how many steps I’ve walked. I have an alarm clock on my night table. I hail taxis; there’s no Uber or Lyft in my little, shrinking world. I lug whatever book I’m reading in my purse – my excuse for never reading War and Peace. I’m all about the old model; everything being replaced by innovation is what I still rely on.
...Getting back home to Spain required a Covid form with a QR code. The airline employee at the Newark check-in counter seemed baffled by my not having a smartphone and told me in a conclusive tone that the QR-coded form is required, despite my proof of vaccination. I started to panic and said, “So, everyone needs to buy one product in order to fly now?” He said, “I don’t make the rules” – an Orwellian response if ever there was one.
|Artist||Track||Images||Approx. start time|
|Activision, AirPods, Adams, and your calls.|
|Tomaš Dvořák||Game Boy Tune|
|Mark's tech news roundup|
|Your calls||0:38:58 (MP3 | Pop‑up)|
|Remy||Dogecoin Rap||0:57:29 (MP3 | Pop‑up)|