A bike ride through John Gruber's neighborhood during looting (video)

With commentary from Dithering ($), his new podcast with Ben Thompson.

"Three episodes per week, 15 minutes per episode. Not a minute less, not a minute more."

Transcribed from Saturday's episode, "Phone Camera Power":

Ben Thompson: You sent me a video of someone riding a bike through the streets of Philadelphia, near your house, actually, witnessing everything that’s going on. The content is incredible for all the reasons anyone watching the news is aware of.

But this video, it feels like a first-person shooter! There’s a meta aspect to it that is hard to put your finger on. But it’s one of the most gripping videos I’ve ever seen...

There’s a sort of joke that went around back in the day—I think about TechCrunch or maybe it was The Verge. It was the idea that whenever there was a national story, they would try to figure out is there some aspect of the story that is vaguely tech-related? And then they write an article about it and say “tech angle!”

I actually think there is a massive tech angle here.

And that tech angle is the fact of cameras everywhere, right? This idea of people having their phones with cameras attached to them—and, by the way, it’s a camera that uploads instantly, so you can be broadcasting live.

Cue the video:

The silver lining, according to Gruber, is that by the next afternoon the citizens of Philadelphia, armed with brooms, had bagged the debris and swept the streets clean.

My take: Are there Apple watchers wiser than Gruber and Thompson? If so, I haven't met them. $15 per month for a combined subscription to Thompson's Stratechery and the pair's Dithering is, for me, money well spent.


  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    Jobs turned to Sculley and said, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?”

    Steve wanted to change the world and he did so in a multiplicity of ways, especially with the iPhone. Camera technology integrated in the iPhone continues to change the world. Steve would be ecstatic.

    Racial discrimination and police brutality has been with us since the beginning of time. It just was hidden from view. The omnipresence of smartphone video technology makes the average citizen today a roving reporter live on the scene recording news in real time. Where injustice once was hidden, smartphone technology allows for the world to confront a long known clandestine disease. No longer is society able to turn a blind eye and pretend all is ok as we have done historically many times because out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Society now must contend with needed systemic change it long knew was needed, but seldom addressed in a meaningful way.

    Tim was correct to use Martin Luther King’s quote: “…Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions.”

    Steve has changed the world in a meaningful way with the massive utility of the iPhone, and this alone would be sufficient for his legacy to live an interminable time.

    June 1, 2020
  2. Peter Kropf said:
    Thanks Jerry,

    Great comment.

    June 1, 2020
  3. Frank Pedron said:
    Fascinating video.

    The events captured by smartphone users over the past week really drive home the fragility of life and of society as we know it. The true measure of a person’s character is not how one behaves under the threat of inescapable punishment for one’s transgressions but how one acts when punishment is thought unlikely.

    Pretty … freakin’ … scary.

    June 1, 2020

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