Link roundup for March 25, 2023

The Beauty of Earth From Orbit.

Google and Microsoft’s chatbots are already citing one another in a misinformation shitshow. This is fine. “If you ask Microsoft’s Bing chatbot if Google’s Bard chatbot has been shut down, it says yes, citing a news article that discusses a tweet in which a user asked Bard when it would be shut down and Bard said it already had, itself citing a comment from Hacker News in which someone joked about this happening, and someone else used ChatGPT to write fake news coverage about the event.”

One hundred drones now used across IKEA retail for stock inventory. “One hundred busy drones are now at work during non-operational hours to improve stock accuracy and secure availability of products for online or physical retailing. This solution supports a more ergonomic workplace for IKEA co-workers as they no longer need to manually confirm each pallet.”

Is Blockbuster video about to make a comeback? I didn’t realize how many chances Blockbuster had to not die. “In 1997, Warner Bros approached Blockbuster with an exclusive DVD rental deal that would have split revenue 60-40 in favour of the studio. Blockbuster rejected it, and the studio retaliated by dropping its DVD retail prices to undermine the rental industry. And then in 2000, Blockbuster made two even more fatal decisions. First, Blockbuster turned down the opportunity to purchase the then-fledgling Netflix. Second, it chose instead to partner with Enron. Within a year, Enron filed for bankruptcy. Within five years, Netflix was shipping out a million DVDs every day. Suddenly, Blockbuster was yesterday’s news.”

Is there a drop in software engineer job openings, globally? “The US, Canada and UK are currently seeing some of the lowest numbers of developer job listings since Feb 2020.”

Swimming outside the lanes. Tracy Durnell talks about leaving her day job and going out on her own. “People complain that no one wants to work anymore. And it’s true to an extent: no one wants to work in a job where they are underpaid, unfairly treated, unappreciated, and constrained. I like my work, but so far dislike jobs.”

Shiny Happy People, Being Chased By Monsters. Are we in the midst of a vibe shift back to the days of whimsy? “FreakyLinks may have been on my mind lately because I think we’re in another moment of cultural shift from seriousness to whimsy; if you don’t believe me, ask yourself why Everything Everywhere All At Once so thoroughly kicked the ass of that movie about the mean conductor lady at the Oscars. We’re at a similar moment to where we were in the early 2000s — where people are shrieking ‘I want to be happy!’ and ‘I’m tired of thinking! Give me some baggy orange leather pants instead!’”

Songs are what we carry, even when we have nothing else. On the B-Sides I talk about the latest U2 album a little bit. “It’s the sound of a band that has been together for close to 50 years starting to wind things down the only way they know how: they sing the songs they carry, even when they don’t have a whole lot left.”