Sound United Enters into Agreement to Be Acquired by Masimo Corporation

Sound United, LLC (“Sound United”), a leading innovator of premium, high-performance audio products for consumers around the world, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Masimo Corporation (Nasdaq: MASI) (“Masimo”). Masimo is a leading global medical technology company that develops, manufactures, and markets a variety of noninvasive monitoring technologies for hospital and home settings.

Sound United operates iconic consumer brands: Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology, Classé, and Boston Acoustics.

This is one of the most bonkers buyouts I’ve hard of in a while. I can make zero sense of it and the funny part is that none of the companies is even trying to put it into perspective.

Bored Apes, BuzzFeed and the Battle for the Future of the Internet

“I have a particular meaning of trust that’s essentially faith. It’s the belief that something will happen, that the world will work in a certain way, without any real evidence or rational arguments as to why it will do that,” Wood said.

So he can’t tell the difference between trust and faith. Sounds like a great person to trust.

But what has distinguished web3 so far is a unique combination of extreme optimism and self-righteous defensiveness. As Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal has written, the movement’s most prominent figureheads often seem obsessed with “Who is against them. Who is in disagreement with them. Who isn’t sufficiently respecting their work. Who hasn’t joined them or invested yet.” And at no time has that tendency to circle the wagons been more on view than in the aftermath of the BuzzFeed story. “There was absolutely no reason to dox these guys,” wrote Mike Solana, a vice president at Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, soon after Notopoulos’s story published. Solana considered the argument that the BuzzFeed story was in the public interest to be “disgusting” and implied that the apparent frivolity of Yuga Labs’ content—“they’re literally cartoon apes”—justified the founders’ pseudonymity.

And yet the names were on public record, Notopoulos didn’t do anything seedy to get to them. How is that her fault? As for pseunonymity being treated as some kind of right, oh please. It’s a tool, not a right. Were it a right IDs would be illegal. This is just whining against the common sense that publicity brings scrutiny at the very least and expectations further down the road.

It’s not difficult to imagine similar arguments could have been leveled in defense of the earliest version of Facebook if Mark Zuckerberg had founded the social media company in 2021 under a pseudonym. Yet the fact that Facebook transformed in a few short years from a way for college students to share party photos to an election-altering juggernaut should provide evidence of the counterpoint: Popular but seemingly trivial internet enterprises can quickly become something much different. Chris Dixon, a partner at a16z and one of web3’s most ardent evangelists, has said as much in the past, writing over a decade ago that “the next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a ‘toy.’”

The question then is when, exactly, public due diligence of organizations should begin: Now, or after the consequences of their creation are clear and unavoidable for all of us?

The answer is: at the time of conception.

A little over a week later, the reaction to the BuzzFeed story feels like the opening salvo of a new chapter in the battle over internet anonymity, which has long had to do with relatively arcane topics like government attempts to kill end-to-end encryption but is now breaking out into more fundamental questions about where the right to conceal one’s identity ends, and why.

The idea that it doesn’t end, ever, isn’t incidental to web3, but absolutely central, and will probably become more so as more pseudonymous founders nab hundreds of millions in funding and revenue. (As Notopoulos herself pointed out in her story, “It’s possible that pseudonymous companies could become our new reality.”) Yuga Labs offers a blueprint of where the internet economy is headed—a world of decentralized autonomous organizations and NFTs and cryptocurrencies in which people cannot be certain who benefits or what anyone’s true motivations are.

And thus unable to prosecute them in, say, case of fraud. Doesn’t it sound awesome? It amazes me how privacy and anonymity are so casually being conflated in that space.

Their Bionic Eyes Are Now Obsolete and Unsupported

These three patients, and more than 350 other blind people around the world with Second Sight’s implants in their eyes, find themselves in a world in which the technology that transformed their lives is just another obsolete gadget. One technical hiccup, one broken wire, and they lose their artificial vision, possibly forever. To add injury to insult: A defunct Argus system in the eye could cause medical complications or interfere with procedures such as MRI scans, and it could be painful or expensive to remove.

And this kind of horror is exactly why some sectors just have to have public sector support. This kind of a danger was always present, never dealt with and only a matter of time. Any guarantees should have been made upfront, not now.

Sims 4’s same-sex wedding stories expansion will come to Russia after all

In an update posted Wednesday afternoon on the Electronic Arts website, The Sims team writes that it previously believed that “our team could not freely share the storytelling of same-sex couple Cam and Dom in Russia.” That’s an apparent oblique reference to Russia’s Article 6.13.1 law, which prohibits “propaganda or homosexualism among minors.” Given that law, the team had decided that “the best way to uphold our commitment to sharing their story was to not release this pack [in Russia].”

Now, the team behind the game says it has “reassessed our options and realized we can do more than we initially believed…” The “My Wedding Stories” pack will now launch in Russia and the rest of the world on February 23, a delay of a few days from its original planned launch date of February 17.

In short, EA overcorrected despite that law being clear about not being able to market such content to minors. This kind of “self-censoring” is the default for many companies and it only makes things worse for everyone “just to be safe” aka “just to be sure we avoid any legal liability”. The community had to call them out for it for them to get their heads out of their collective ass.

Clearview Plans Facial Recognition Database That Knows Every Person on Earth

Clearview doesn’t currently offer services to non-governmental entities, but that could change. In the presentation, Clearview said it wants to expand beyond government contracts and pitched some very “Black Mirror” ideas, like monitoring the movement of gig workers and identifying people by scanning their fingerprints from a distance.

I sense no problems whatsoever ahead. Do you?

Clone culture and its continuous impact on indie developers

“It’s a bit ridiculous that I have to, several times a week, go into the Google Play store, and go, ‘Let’s see how many clones we have now,’ and none of them are even real games. They’re literally just some scammers trying to make a quick buck using someone else’s art and a bunch of ads. There is no benefit to your users from that. Just moderate this. Why does it need to waste your users’ time, and waste developers’ time, to constantly try to get those taken down?”

Because it costs them less than their time and we gotta fuel them growth curves.

“I actually did file a claim,” Brier says. “This is the first thing I always do, I go to the Google Play store, and I go, ‘Hey, copyright infringement. Can you take this down?’ And I send pictures. That one, because it was a bit more complicated than just straight up using our art, I organised a whole folder of pictures for comparison. And the response I got back was, ‘We’ve decided not to take action on this. You can reach out to the developer directly.’ What will that achieve? They knowingly cloned the game. The only thing I can possibly do is send them a legal threat. That’s costly, and takes a lot of energy, and we’re tired. We just released a game! We’re still exhausted.”

Nick Allan, legal director and head of interactive entertainment at law firm Lewis Silkin, points out in a statement sent to that legislation in terms of copyright is dated in many territories, making cases such as mobile clones difficult to tackle.

And that’s the real issue. This is a matter of law but even if legislation was up for dealing with such realities, the cost of legal action remains a huge obstacle and burden on developers. Companies will naturally avoid being seen as settling matters of law unilaterally (and it’s nice for them that this keeps curation costs down) but the logical alternative anyone is left with is financially onerous.

On the topic of platform holders’ responsibility, Ismail says that once it becomes clear that there is a “pandemic” of a certain game getting cloned there should be processes to simplify these getting removed.

Based on my previous point, Ismail is right to focus on processes, I believe. That’s entirely up to the platform holder and helps both devs and platforms.

“The biggest fear we had with Ridiculous Fishing is that there was obviously a lot of interest from lawyers who wanted to take on the case and said, ‘we can protect your work’,” Ismail recalls. “But then other lawyers would say, ‘we could protect your work but if we succeed it might set precedent as to the protection of game design’. That’s scary because if that happens somebody might say, ‘Jumping is ours now’. There’s precedent in the games industry for patents, but it’s usually very specific things like playing mini-games on loading screens.

Game systems are already being patented. Though this is a weird issue in the sense that such patents are allowed in the US, not so much in the EU and elsewhere. So this also is a matter of law adapting and moving on with the times, as having to consider such collateral damage when you’re already the victim of fraud is obviously ridiculous.

Ismail also recommends claiming ownership of your title in the court of public opinion and in the eyes of the media, as the press usually is a good ally against “empty plagiarism.”

Not only that but this also helps if you bring a legal case on someone.

The trademarking process can take years sometimes, which is plenty of time for more clones to emerge in the meantime. And while trademarking will protect a name, it doesn’t protect gameplay mechanics.


Google should kill Stadia

No company wants to call its own project a failure, of course. But now might be a good time for Google to pause for a moment and ask, “What, exactly, are we doing here?” Why does it want to be in the cloud gaming market? What advantages does it have over its competitors, and how does it plan to maintain these advantages over time?

A good time ponder all of this was when the thought came first to mind to enter this space. Instead this whole affair feels like it was based on the feeling of “Hey, we’re Google, what could possibly go wrong?”. A sound business strategy if I’ve ever heard one.

  • Stadia doesn’t have the scale Google implied it would
  • Google has no latency advantage
  • Cloud gaming is more hardware business than cloud business
  • The gaming business is brutal, and Google doesn’t have the stomach for it
  • Even if Stadia’s pivot works, Google is the #3 cloud company

I collected the headings as they work as a comedy primer. Read the article though. It’s even better fun than the headings imply.

Google Slides is Actually Hilarious – Laura Javier – Medium

Speaking of comedy.

Join me on this cathartic journey which aspires to be none of the following: constructive, systematic, exhaustive. I’m too tired for that, dear reader. Consider this a gag reel. A platter of amuse-bouches. A chocolate sampler box of nightmares.

Text in circles is left-aligned by default

Come on. This may seem like a small thing, but it is SUPER HILARIOUS. Centering text in a circle, who do you even think you are? By the way, LEFT-ALIGNED TO WHAT?! Open ten menus and find the option to change the left padding on the text (in inches of course, we’re not heathens), and you will discover setting the left padding to “0 inches” instead of “0.1 inches” does not move the text flush to the edge of the bounding box. MYSTERIOUS!num

I had a roaring laugh while reading this, while also feeling the pain seeping through the writing, even though I have as much a relation to design as I have to cosmic rays. Both just happen to me.