Before every episode of The Vergecast I sit down, read through a bunch of news, and take a bunch of notes. It’s one of the most enjoyable parts of my week, and I started thinking it might be fun to do every day on the site. So, every day this week I’m sitting down and writing some notes on the news as though I’ll be talking about it later. Are you into this? Am I into this? I don’t know. But it’s fun to do! Give me some feedback and we’ll keep mutating this into something good.
Show Notes will be a bit lighter than usual this week, as I’m at SXSW this week with a bunch of Verge reporters and people from across Vox Media. SXSW itself seems a bit slower on tech side than usual, but the culture team keeps finding great stuff. Keep up with everything in our SXSX 2017 StoryStream here.
THE VERGECAST LIVE
- The main reason I’m at SXSW is to do two episodes of The Vergecast Live on the National Geographic Further stage with Dieter, Lauren Goode, Casey Newton, Chris Plante, and Megan Farokhmanesh. We taped our first episode yesterday with Lauren and Casey in front of a great crowd (the line went around the block!) and it was super fun. We’re doing another episode tomorrow, so if you’re at SXSW come check it out.
CARS ARE JUST ROLLING COMPUTERS
- Intel spent $15 billion to buy Mobileye, a company that develops self-driving tech, notably in vision and collision avoidance. The last time most Verge readers heard of Mobileye was probably after Tesla dropped the company’s tech following that fatal Autopilot accident. But since then, the company has worked with Intel and BMW on plans to put autonomous cars on roads this year.
- The race around self-driving tech just keeps getting more intense, across so many dimensions. From Intel’s perspective, moving fast to win a beachhead in self-driving is critical — the company has to find its next big market after missing mobile, and Qualcomm and Nvidia are pushing just as hard into transportation.
- But cars are just rolling computers right now — Tamara Warren reviewed the tech inside the 2017 Audi S3 in our latest installment of Screendrive. Audi’s stuff looks great to me, but it’s still all so complicated — as Tamara notes, many of the functions require an instructional video to figure out.
- Micah Singleton reviewed Pandora Premium today; the $10/month streaming service launches on the 15th. As these streaming services all start to offer basically the same catalogs, it’ll be things like exclusives, interfaces, and ecosystems that distinguish them. And right now I don’t think Pandora’s nice Rdio-influenced app can stand up to the massive Spotify ecosystem or Apple’s exclusives. But we’ll see.
- And Spotify is doing neat tricks, like only offering access to certain songs if it’s raining as part of a promotion. That kind of cultural moment-making is hard to compete with.
- Like I said, the tech side of SXSW is pretty sleepy — I’ve had more conversations about what Apple may or may not do with the Mac than about anything new at the conference, but the TV and film side seems incredibly strong. Like Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, which Bryan Bishop says is terrific.
- Bryan also watched three clips of Alien: Covenant at Ridley Scott’s panel, and that seems like a welcome return to form after Prometheus.
- Megan Farokhmaneh watched I Know You From Somewhere, a short film about what it’s like to be targeted by an internet mob. I’m very interested in how filmmakers are thinking about how to portray the rhythms and emotions of social media; it makes something that can actually feel very lonely a part of an shared experience.
- I don’t really even know what to say about American Gods, except that it seems completely nutty and incredibly interesting.