Elon Musk and right-wing grift: A match made in heaven
Let's face it, we all knew what was coming
Thanks for all your support, especially to our friends at Armory Square Ventures! Sree’s newsletter is produced with Zach Peterson (@zachprague), with a tech tip from Robert S. Anthony (@newyorkbob). Cartoon by Dave Whamond.
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ELON MUSK IS THE DONALD TRUMP OF TECH BROS. He’s predictable, ridiculous, and has a following that is arguably just as toxic (and, now, far larger than the former president’s).
When Musk took over as Twitter owner/operator just a few short weeks ago, I warned of the inherent safety risk he poses, but I didn’t really discuss this in terms of his generally being a know-nothing pseudo-right wing troll. A month, and an episode of his self-styled #TwitterFiles, later, it’s quite clear that nothing good can come of this.
I’ll spare you the links — if you want to read about how Musk turned over hordes of internal documents to former journalist Matt Taibbi, and former NYT columnist Bari Weiss, you know where to look for all of that. If you can make it through the replies to some of those tweets, you’re a stronger person than I am, that’s for sure. Spoiler alert: It’s about the specter of Hunter Biden’s laptop, revenge porn, and the fundamental lack of understanding of what free speech really is in the context of the 1st Amendment.
I’ll remind you that not even FoxNews itself would touch the Hunter Biden story — which should tell you all you need to know about that.
This take from arch-conservative David French actually does a great job of laying out how silly this all is:
Musk’s replies are full of interactions with some of the absolute worst-of-the-worst of the right-wing agitprop machine, and he’s clearly hell-bent on doubling down. He’s reinstated the accounts of dyed-in-the-wool Nazis, and he’s just going to keep going.
If your intellectual center is comprised of people like Andy Ngo, Tim Pool and other deplorables, it’s probably time for some soul-searching. The odds of that soul search actually occurring are essentially nil, so here we are — and it’s not limited to the U.S. — because of course it isn’t.
Twitter has become the “everybody-look-at-me” machine that Musk has clearly always wanted it to be, but I’m not so sure that will pay the bills. Even if advertisers return to the platform — and some big ones are doing just that (shockingly) — Musk seems like he’s in a constant state of precipice-teetering that is not sustainable.
But, hey, at least he’s getting those retweets.
A word from Armory Square Ventures
Secondary cities offer more than clean, healthy, affordable living. They are quickly also becoming burgeoning hubs for innovation.
As part of a new series on entrepreneurship, sponsored by Armory Square Ventures, business journalist Elizabeth MacBride of Times of Entrepreneurship will travel and interview people in spots often overlooked by traditional media outlets.
This month, the series "Deep Dives in Secondary Cities," is focused on the Steel City of Pittsburgh, a place that has been investing in biomanufacturing for several years. Elizabeth spoke to startups, incubators and foundations about some of the projects there now underway.
Take a look. For more pieces in the series, follow us on Twitter at @armorysv or follow Times of Entrepreneurship at @TimesOfE.
Cyber Acoustics: Less Flash, More Features
By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Bob Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.
It’s finally December, and that means one thing to gadget-loving aficionados: There’s less than a month left in the holiday shopping season of endless Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays and What-Happened-To-My-Paycheck Tuesdays.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, remote-work necessities like webcams and microphones flew off store shelves, making popular products from major brands such as Logitech very hard to find. Such shortages opened the sales door wider for lesser-known, but respected brands like Vancouver, Wash.-based Cyber Acoustics to fill the gap.
The CA Essential Wireless Headset HS-2000BT wireless on-ear headset is a good example of a competitive product that’s short on glitz, easy on the wallet ($130) but long on useful features. Not only can it be charged with a cell phone charger like similar Bluetooth headsets, but it can also charge wirelessly by laying one earpiece atop a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad (not included).
The unit can even be used with computers that lack Bluetooth hardware: Included is a tiny USB Bluetooth dongle which, once plugged in, adds Bluetooth wireless connectivity to Windows and Mac computers that don’t have it.
The unit offers active noise cancellation (ANC) for both the earpieces and the microphone, thus improving voice quality at both ends of phone calls. A light on the side of the CA Essential Wireless Headset HS-2000BT illuminates when a call is in progress, thus alerting those nearby to stay clear—the user is busy.
The boom mic swivels so that users can place it on either side of the face by reversing the headset. To mute the mic, just swivel it so it points straight up. The company promises 20 hours of use per charge with ANC enabled and up to 27 hours with it turned off.
The $30 Cyber Acoustics Speaker Bar (CA-2890BT) provides an inexpensive way to improve Zoom calls or simply upgrade a computer’s speakers. The unit connects with Windows, Mac and Chromebook computers via the attached USB cord (USB-C adapter included) but also supports Bluetooth and can connect wirelessly with smartphones and tablets.
A large spring-loaded clip allows it to attach firmly to the bottom or top of a computer screen, but it can also stand on its own. A built-in microphone allows the Cyber Acoustics Speaker Bar to be used as a speakerphone for Zoom or cell calls. If a call comes in while the unit is playing audio via the wired connection, it automatically switches to Bluetooth and connects the call.
Fortunately, tech product shortages have vastly eased since 2020. The added competition for consumer tech dollars can only be good news for home and corporate budgets.