TEH 059: One Remote to Rule Them All

In This Episode: AI is now creating realistic people. Truly universal remotes. It’s now possible to get human help from Google (but yagotta pay — a little! — for it). It’s not amazing that an old computer works. Old and moldy: autonomous cars; New and exciting: autonomous …bicycles?!

This Week’s Hosts

Show Notes

  • In the warmup, Randy is having trouble with the new computer his wife got (which brought up his 2004 Dell Hell story), but is wowed that his new 4TB USB-3 backup drive was less than $100. Kevin watched the (terrible) 1981 robot love story Heartbeeps, and hooked up a new universal remote control that actually works — the (take a very deep breath) Logitech Harmony Smart Control with Smartphone App and Simple All In One Remote. Leo is simply tired of the snow in Seattle, and Gary is working on a new iCloud Course, which led to a discussion of other cloud services, including Google One, which has human “Google Expert” support and is sharable with other family members for just $1.99/mo or $19.99/year. (Trivia: The universal remote was invented by Steve Wozniak.)
  • Randy talked about the new artificial intelligence site that creates (usually) realistic photos of people — on the fly (see a few examples below, chosen because they have flaws). ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com is creepy in part because it demonstrates how close we’re getting to being able to create “deepfake” videos — in real time. He found the story at The Verge.
  • Kevin talked about the social media viral that crossed into the regular news about the guy who found his old computer in his parents’ attic — and it still worked. Yet: it’s not really all that amazing, and we talk about why.
  • Leo talked about the Los Angeles Clippers signing new IT contract — it’s news because….
  • There’s an update from Episode 57 about Gerald Cotten, the guy who died and took the cryptocurrency keys to $120-140 million with him: did he fake his death? (We don’t think so.) Or is the key in a safe deposit box? We’ll see!
  • Gary was wondering how Uber is going to be able to pull off autonomous bikes and scooters, and how we will feel once we see them driving around on their own late at night. (TechCrunch.
  • Way back in Episode 42, Randy said some sites were blocking “Incognito Mode” browsing — and Leo wondered how they did it. Randy now has the answer — and Google is making changes in Incognito to disable the detection (Android Police). That led Leo to mention that Google is also back-tracking on their blocking-ad-blockers change in Chrome (ZDnet).

Some AI Fake Human Photo Examples (chosen because they have oddities — click to see larger):

Doesn’t everyone carve out a chuck of their cheek to fit their Bluetooth headset?
That’s some pretty funky hair you got there, android!
Yep, kids too. Cute, but this one is missing his left shoulder and arm.

6 Comments on “TEH 059: One Remote to Rule Them All

  1. I love your podcast.

    The audio for one of you keeps fading out. I’m sorry I can’t remember which one. This only happened for the last two weeks.

    • We appreciate your kind words!

      Since we’re all in different locations and connecting online, there are times that Internet congestion reduces bandwidth, and that can be audible. I’ll review this week’s and see who it is, and whether that’s something that can be addressed within that limitation. Thanks.

  2. Fyi your bio blurb states Gary is host of WordPerfect hacks and Tips.

    I know a lot of you have historical computer interests , but I think that’s a bit much for even Gary. 😉

  3. I’m interested in Kevin’s take on all the complaints about the Logitech Harmony Remote on Amazon. All the negative reviews say that Logitech crippled some really useful features that allow the device to communicate with other smart home devices.

    • I don’t have any opinion on this — maybe the complaints are right, but the remote does everything I’ve wanted it to do.


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