Just keep paying us, bro

Read to the end for a good thread about Piers Morgan

You can find audio versions of Garbage Day on every major podcasting app (search “Garbage Day” and look for the trash can). If it’s not there, here’s an RSS feed.

Money For Nothing

Marques Brownlee’s AI hardware bloodbath continues. He released a video about the Rabbit R1 AI handheld this week, declaring it “barely reviewable.” And this has made a lot of very unserious people very angry. The post screenshot below is probably my favorite reaction, which I thought it was bait at first. On the off chance it isn’t though, none of these examples were sold to people as finished products. Hope this helps.

Another AI guy who thought he was cooking posted a clip from one of Brownlee’s first videos, writing, “If [Brownlee] decided his initial videos were ‘barely reviewable’ instead of posting and iterating, would he be where he is today? 🤔” And Brownlee had a pretty good reply to this, firing back, “Good thing I never charged anybody for those videos 😅”

Brownlee’s major complaints about the Rabbit R1 (which I do think, at least, looks neat) is that it’s basically bad at everything you’re supposed to use it for. The hardware is jank, the battery sucks, and the AI is wrong almost all the time. The only thing the R1 has going for it is that it’s cheap, there’s no subscription, and, unlike the Humane AI pin, it does have its own AI model, sorta. Rabbit is calling it a “Large Action Model,” or LAM, which is an AI interface that can perform behaviors and use apps for a user. Though, their LAM can really only do like four basic things, usually badly.

But it wasn’t just Brownlee plumbing the depths of the R1 this week. One user on X got Rabbit’s “OS” to load on a smartphone, revealing that the R1 basically just runs on Android. Which, actually, makes me very excited because the R1 was created by Swedish tech firm Teenage Engineering, who make a lot of very expensive and very aesthetic-looking synthesizers, and now I’m wondering if an R1 could be hacked to run music software. It does have a USB-C port… hmm…

Anyways, Rabbit’s CEO Jesse Lyu has responded to the deluge of bad press about the R1’s launch, saying that updates are coming, they’re a tiny team, their AI needs fine-tuning, blah blah blah. The usual stuff, none of which really matters because the R1 launching unfinished and useless is actually exactly what the AI boom is all about. Finding — and automating — new ways to get people to pay for worse versions of what they already have.

My favorite example of this is AI music spreading across on Spotify right now. A user on X this week spotted an Artist page called Obscurest Vinyl that was promoted by Spotify’s Discovery Weekly.

(Spotify/Obscurest Vinyl)

The story behind the page is interesting. Obscurest Vinyl started as a Facebook page that would photoshop fake album covers for classic records that didn’t exist. The page recently shifted into posting AI songs to go with the fake album covers. As one commenter noted, you can tell the songs are AI because most of them feature bass and drum parts that don’t repeat in any discernible pattern. The account also regularly fights with users on Instagram who gripe about it using AI.

Look, I think songs titled things like, “I Glued My Balls To My Butthole Again” are, honestly, pretty funny, AI or not. But they’re being uploaded to Apple Music and Spotify, which is where the snake starts to eat its own tail. Popular AI music generators like Suno clearly have datasets that include at least some copyrighted material (likely a lot). Which means, in this instance, Spotify is promoting and monetizing an account using an AI likely trained on the music that’s been uploaded to their platform that they don’t actually pay enough to support the creation of. And this is happening across every corner of the web right now.

Silicon Valley has run out of ideas. We all know it’s true at this point. This is largely due to once-small startups calcifying into large tech behemoths that just don’t know how make things anymore. But it’s also because those large companies can’t acquire anything new thanks to increased federal regulation. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any meaningful regulation aimed at breaking up those monopolies, so now we’re left with several large rotting whale carcasses that control everything we do online. And it’s within this framework that new, small AI “startups” like Rabbit make the most sense. They aren’t real companies, they’re acquisition-as-a-service entities that let larger companies dress up the last 25 years of tech development into something that feels novel, but, by definition, isn’t and can’t ever be. Just keep paying us, bro, our AI will eventually repackage all the services you already pay for into something new. We swear.

The following is a paid ad. If you’re interested in advertising, email me at [email protected] and let’s talk. Thanks!

The de-shittification of e-commerce

We’ve all seen enshittification happen to sites we loved, watching them add on needless crap, shift away from their ideals, and treat their users like shit. What if a site tried to…not do that?

Meh.com is a classic daily deal site. Go there now and you’ll see one thing for sale. You might remember the heyday of daily deal sites, and the fun of visiting knowing you could check out a good deal, read a funny write-up, check in to see how the community is doing, and then get on with your day.

Go check out any of those original daily deal sites and you won’t see just one deal. You’ll see piles of deals. You’ll see best sellers, last chances, product categories, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of “deals”.  Thanks to Cory Doctorow, we’ve now got a name for that.

This is Meh’s 10th year. In 2014, it launched with one deal for that day. Today, it launched with one deal for this day. Enshittification is everywhere, but it isn’t inevitable. Meh.com shows what a de-shittified web could be like.

A Bit Of Garbage Business

Beehiiv finally added multiple payment tiers, which is great. But, ironically enough, after talking it over, Adam and I have decided to sunset the Garbage Intelligence tier and add Garbage Intelligence reports to the current Garbage Day paid subscription. They’ll arrive the first Friday of every month as a paid issue, first one out Friday. We can do this in part thanks to a recent partnership with Sherwood. We want to thank everyone who supported this project over the last year and we’re excited to share it with more of you. Folks who signed up will receive a year of Garbage Day for free. Expect an email about that shortly.

And if you want get the paid Garbage Day issues and Discord access, hit the green button below to grab a sub:

Second, I’m in the early stages of setting up a San Fransisco Garbage Day event this summer. I’m looking for creators, podcasters, musicians to work with and venue suggestions. I’m super unfamiliar with the city, but I have a budget and want to set up something cool. Shoot me an email if you have any thoughts!

The UK Knife Crime Bougie


Anyone feeling some disco?🕺 #top5 #uk #england #dangerous #music #googleearth #disco #fyp #foryoupage #fyppppppppppppppppppppppp

I understand I wrote a whole thing above about AI music being the death of culture, but, unfortunately, these deranged UK statistic songs are very funny.

“Outside Agitators”

Last night, police across the country broke up pro-Palestine encampments on college campuses, resulting in hundreds of arrests. New York Mayor Eric Adams went on MSNBC and claimed that heavily-armed NYPD SWAT teams had to storm Columbia University because the protests were full of "outside agitators” and that they needed to protect students. Adams also, at one point, claimed the “wife of a terrorist” was hiding within the Columbia protesters.

The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Tarik Shepperd then went on MSNBC and held up a big bike chain as proof that “professionals” brought it to campus. Many have since pointed out that the bike chain is literally sold by Columbia’s Public Safety. The City’s Katie Honan asked Shepperd about the chain at a press conference this morning and he continued to claim it was “an industrial chain” that no student would have.

It’s not an accident that police departments are using the same tactic with pro-Palestine protesters that the US government is using to ban TikTok. Which, for brevity’s sake, and so I can keep using it all summer, I will summarize with the following meme:

Instagram Is Going After “Aggregator” Accounts

Instagram is changing its algorithm in an effort to “reward original content.” The way this will work is that posts will go through what they’re calling “multistage exposure,” which, to me, sounds a lot like TikTok’s categories.

But the biggest part of the Instagram overhaul is that the platform is removing aggregators, which Instagram, in their blog post, defines as “accounts that repeatedly (10 or more times in the last 30 days) post content from other Instagram users that they didn’t create or enhance in a material way.”

I think the notable thing here, though, is that Instagram is going after recycled Instagram content. It’s not cracking down on screenshots or videos from other platforms. I assume because if they did there would basically be nothing left for anyone to look at on the app.

Our Broken Media Reality, As Explained By The Lack Of Drake/Kendrick Explainers (Which We Are Now Finally Getting)

Drake has spent the last month beefing with, it seems, every rapper. And, up until last night, I basically could not discern why. I understood that everyone sort of hates Drake because Drake is an asshole and people were rapping at each other about it. But I couldn’t find a good definitive timeline about why this was happening now. And it wasn’t just me! A lot of the biggest hip hop subreddits were full of users that seemed at least somewhat out of the loop about what exactly was happening.

Then Lamar dropped a diss track and, now, finally, there are a few different explainers circulating. According to GQ’s rundown, it all started last month, when Future and Metro Boomin dropped the album We Don’t Trust You. On a track titled, “Like That,” Lamarr does a big subtweet about Drake without naming him. Since then J Cole (for some reason), Drake, Drake with an AI clone of Tupac and, now, Lamarr, solo, have all dropped tracks.

Rather than focus on my own cultural irrelevance at play here, I’d rather project that onto the media at-large and point out that these pop cultural meta narratives have become really hard to follow without a centralized music television apparatus and a vibrant online media sphere. It’s sort of left to users to aggregate and make sense of and they’re not actually very good at it. If Drake wants to keep this up, he should hire a couple laid off culture writers to collect all of his various inter-personal conflicts into succinct blog posts or wikis or something.

Finally, A Vape That Can Run Windows 95


Have you ever wished that you could vape and also use some of the basic functions of the Windows 95 operating system? I’m sure you have. Well, Jason Gin over at Rip It Apart managed to get at least some of Windows 95 kinda-sorta running on a vape with an LCD screen.

Essentially what he did was take the icons, some animations, a looped recording of the pipes screensaver, and some of the UI from Windows 95 and used it to mask what was already on the vape’s screen. But, honestly, that’s cyberpunk enough. If you have a Windows 95-themed cyberdeck, you could plug this bad boy in via USB-C and literally vape the web.

A Vending Machine For Handwritten Family Curry Recipes

Per Google Translate, the caption reads, “I ended up putting in 200 yen...”

***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***

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