2x46: A Giant Loser


Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage, in which we look forward for the year and describe what we think will happen in tech in 2019! Our predictions are:

  • Jono:
    • These companies will IPO: Uber (the largest IPO ever), Peloton, Lyft, Slack, Cloudflare
    • Netflix will start selling films/programmes for a one-off cost, not part of your Netflix subscription, a la, Amazon Prime, or...
    • Netflix will launch a streaming gaming service
    • Jim Whitehurst will be announced as IBM CEO
    • Zuckerberg will no longer be Facebook CEO (half a point of whining for this), and Sheryl Sandberg will be CEO
    • Facebook Spaces will continue to be a thing nobody cares about
  • Stuart:
    • A CEO will be fired for a data breach
    • The world finally embraces USB-C
    • The first high-profile deepfake video (not porn; politics or celebrity somehow) will happen and mislead people
    • The world will not care at all about folding phones
  • Jeremy:
    • The US will pass at least one major nationwide piece of privacy legislation (akin to the GDPR or similar)
    • The US goes into a recession (by someone's definition, for example two consecutive quarters of decline, or the NBER's definition)
    • Foldable phones will outsell true 5G phones, despite the latter getting much more hype
    • Sheryl Sanderg steps down from Facebook to become the CEO of Disney
    • The PS5 will not ship in 2019

Now it’s your turn to get involved! What we want you to do is tell us in this thread which one of our predictions is most likely to happen, which one is least likely to happen, and one of your own!

And in a real prediction of something that will happen in 2019, we bring our fantastic live show back to SCaLE in Pasadena, California on March 8th 2019! Keep listening for more details, but if you haven’t yet got your tickets for SCaLE, we’ve got a discount code to give you so that you can see Bad Voltage Live and all the rest of SCaLE as well. See you there! Go to badvoltage.org/live for more details and to see the trailer!

Come chat with us and the community in our Slack channel via https://badvoltage-slack.herokuapp.com/!

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Most Likely: Stuart, “A CEO will be fired for a data breach”.

Least Likely: Jeremy, “Cheryl Sandberg will become CEO of Disney”.

Mine: Not really 2019 but very early in 2020; with the EOL of Windows 7, Google will make a big push to get Chrome OS on desktops. Chrome will have as many users as Windows 10 within 5 years.


Well the fake video thing happened 10 years ago with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACORN_2009_undercover_videos_controversy

Sure people found at later but had already killed acorn.


In the latest episode of Bad Voltage, they went from discussing Jeremy's prediction of Sheryl Sandberg stepping out of Facebook and becoming CEO of Disney to talking about Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg's personality and its detrimental effect on society, hence the company now being somewhat seen as the poster child of the current association of social media and the toxic environment we see on our societies (I hope this paraphrase of the argument is Ok for you guys). Then Jono uttered a very common question I see come up when discussing these matters: is it that social media made this to us or is it just that humanity is a load of shit-heads that now got a megaphone to talk?

Well, I believe what lies beneath this question - I know it is formally a question, but the context makes it clear that the questioner is leaning towards this "alternative" interpratation of the phenomem - is the assumption that humanity has always been more or less the same and what changed is just that now its subjacent nature became more visible.

To argue this is to set aside the very fact that technology changes us through time. To give a easy and very concrete example, think of what happened to humanity's sleep time with the dissemination of electric energy throughout cities. Think of how the invention of written language was seen at the time as creating a loss of memory in humanity - historians have shown this extensively. Now, to give a more current example, think of how smartphones changed us in so many ways. This was widely explored in the tech media, especially during that iPhone 10-year anniversay time, so no need for me to discuss it at length either.

Getting back to the social media thing, I'd like to argue that the very fact that everyone now has a megaphone has changed us. Formerly, if people were given a megaphone, they'd be shy to start speaking their minds so loudly to everyone, known and unknown. Now people seem to crave it. We learned to strive so badly to say what we think and show what we are doing to others that we got used to saying platitudes and showing ordinary things like a meal like they were important stuff and eventually these things started to matter more, to the point that now people get entangled in long discussions because this or that celebrity has started some specific diet. Magazines showing celebrities' lives have existed for a long time and people have always talked about what they read in those mags, but heated discussions about the lives of people pictured there I had not seen. And it shows how I think we now need to show to others what we think, to signal our adherence to our group's values and how far we can take ideas cogent with these values.

EDIT: corrected mistakes in people’s names.


I have to disagree with the comment that @sil made that deep fake videos are the greatest threat to journalism. The greatest threat to journalism are journalists. Is this piece of information fake? Who cares? RUN THAT BABY!

Most likely: @jeremy - there will be a recession in 2019. Those things tend to be on a cycle and it’s about that time.
Least likely: @jonobacon - Netflix games.
My prediciton: That @jonobacon will try to bargain for 1/4 points in the next “how we did in our predictions episode” :smiley:


Most likely: “The world finally embraces USB-C” - It happened last year for pretty much every model of laptop and phone, top and bottom end, apart from the iPhone, get over it! :slight_smile:. Now if you said “embraces USB-C PD” on laptops I would be more onboard with that or if you wanted to be really wild then “this is the year iPhone switches to USB-C” (which has been predicted by others for a while). Although I would also say the PS5 one is a very safe bet.
Least likely: “A CEO will be fired for a data breach” - they will always quit and take the golden parachute before being fired
Mine: Apple’s share price will drop below $100 at some point in the year.

To Jeremy’s recession one. I think the UK is far more likely depending on what happens in March and that definitely won’t help things globally.


That represents a roughly 37% drop from where it is now. Given where I think the markets are headed and my take on APPL, I’d say this probably has a 50/50 chance. That’s better than quite a few predictions we made.

March is a total wild card here, but depending on what happens I’m apt to agree.



I’m curious what Bad Voltage listeners think here. From my perspective, USB-C is here…and was in 2018. Of the 4 devices I use regularly (main desktop, main laptop, phone, tablet) 100% are USB-C. I grant that if a person has older devices, this will not be the case…but even new inexpensive devices have been moving to USB-C for quite a while. Is Stuart perception off, or is mine?


NOTE: I grant that USB-C, especially around Audio/Video has problem regularly and specific issues abound, but my take on his prediction is that the technology would be widely adopted. I think it already has been.


Yeah, I wasn’t sure what @sil meant in terms of adoption. I agree; airports, cafés etc. still have USB-A charging outlets almost exclusively in the UK (I’m not sure I’ve seen any in the US either). But all my main devices, bar my iPhone, are USB-C. Even my Anker power bank is USB-C for input and output (and I have a 100W capable one arriving soon). Because I have 2 laptops with only USB-C sockets, I have a few dongles, adapters etc. so I feel at home in the ecosystem and I’m really looking forward to the day that it’s used for everything (although agree the cable compatibility needs to be sorted; Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cables are pretty expensive).


It is no fun if there is no risk to the prediction :slight_smile:


The whole video over USB-C is a bit of a mess since IIRC there are three different standards. I suspect this largely happened due to Thunderbolt 3 / DisplayPort also using the same connector. I don’t know if this situation has got any better (all three supported as standard?) as I have an HDMI port on my laptop.

There are also a few different charging standards too, QualComm QC, OPPO VOOC (aka OnePlus Dash Charge) and PD. It is looking like PD is becoming the overall standard now though.

But, the situation is far better than the early USB 1 days. Nothing worked as promised back then. I remember early USB 2.0 being a pain too.


Can even get USB-C wall sockets here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Switched-Socket-Charger-Type-C-FASTCHARGE/dp/B07K3MSFGD/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1548672512&sr=8-3&keywords=wall+socket+with+usb+c


Most likely: USB-C
Least likely: US passed a privacy law

My Prediction: The UK will still be in the EU on the 31 December 2019.


This depends on the terms. It looks like the amendment by Evette Cooper to extend the exit by nine months, to the end of December, will be supported in tonight’s vote but does that help?

If like me you believe that Britain is better within the EU then I would like to see us remain indefinitely.

If however, this is a delaying tactic then to what end? I do not believe there will any significant movement on a deal by the EU. This would just cause another 9 months of uncertainty.

The only justification for extending the deadline would be a meaningful vote by the people:

One option is a general election where each party makes its intentions clear in the manifesto and legally binding in the event they win a majority of the seats. This is still problematic in the event of a hung parliament.

The other option is a legally binding referendum with perhaps 3 options on the paper and each person getting a first and second choice vote. At the end of the first count the least popular votes are transferred to the their second choice and votes are counted again. At this point there will be a winner and that will be implemented as law. MPs and Lords must not have a say on this after the vote as the result is legally binding on the UK.

In either system there are only 3 options on the table:

  1. We apologise to the EU for the mess we have caused and ask for Article 50 to be revoked so we remain in the European union.

  2. We leave under the terms agreed by Prime-minister May.

  3. We leave with no deal. This will mean a hard border between Northern and Southern Ireland. We will also have to renegotiate our trade deal with the EU which will almost certainly be WTO rules, at least initially.

Thoughts? If there is significant interest in this topic I may need to migrate this to its own thread.


Least Likely: From Stuart

This must have happened already. I’m sure I never never trust most main stream media and many have been editing news footage for their own ends for decades. Often 100% in opposition to reality.

Most Likely: From Jeremy

I won’t be surprised if not shipped in 2020 either.


Well I think that any rational person would want the UK to remain in the EU. But most of the people entrusted with our decision making seem to fall well below that standard.

I have also seen revitalization of the argument for proportional representation. But not much mention of Single Transferable Vote, which is what you describe. I think STV is a better solution, it allows for a direct representative for each electoral ward, it allows you to vote against a candidate, as well as for. The argument against is that it is too complex, in that you have to number your vote for each candidate. I grew up in Australia where they have STV (they call it preferential voting) and there is the claim of the donkey vote, where candidates on the top of the ballot benefit from voters just numbering from top to bottom. This could be fixed if the ballot papers had the candidates randomized on a per ballot paper basis, a bit harder to print, but not impossible. Not sure it has ever been shown to be a problem though.


In cases like this I think that STV is the best option since the final result can only be one of the three I gave. The only other option being the government to rule out one of the choices leaving UK voters, myself included, with a binary choice between the other two.

I believe if we were offered 3 choices and the one with the biggest proportion of the vote won we would have endless arguments because I don’t believe the votes for any would out way the other two combined.

PR (Proportional Representation) would not work in a referendum as it is by definition a “winner take all” result.

It may work for a general election however as it forces the government of the day to listen to a wider range of voices and provide more convincing arguments for any changes they wish to make. The flip side to this is that it reduces the governments ability to push through the changes it wants. Is this a good or bad thing? Depends on your politics you can argue that a ‘good’ government is slowed down in making improvements or a ‘bad’ one is able to cause less damage. I leave to each of us to decide for our selves.

STV is also an option for a general election. Not a “winner takes all” for the entire election but on a seat by seat basis. It avoids the need to vote tactically so I don’t have to say I will vote for B, I want A but she can’t win, but I really want to avoid C. Ranking my choices gets around this as I can express my support for the best candidate and still ensure if they don’t get the votes I want I can still avoid the worst option.


Outlets are going to be USB-A forever… and you’ll need a USB-A-to-whatever cable with you, pretty much forever. Whether that ‘whatever’ is Micro-USB, Lightning, or USB-C… what difference does it make?

As far as @sil’s comment about laptops: the current-gen Dell XPS 13 only has USB-C ports. My ASUS Chromebook flip has a USB-C charging port. In my four-person household, half of us have USB-C phones, and have have micro-USB phones. Both of the micro-connected devices are last-gen “a.k.a hand-me-downs” and will, of course, be replaced with USB-C enabled devices.

Most telling though, is the simple fact that I can now use my Dell charger to charge my wife’s MacBook. That’s a huge sea change in charging & consolidation, and I think that alone points to the fact that USB-C has been “widely adopted”.


And here all along I thought it was USB Si.


A way to measure the adoption of USB-C: when you go to a general store and you can find a larger share of USB-C flash drives as opposed to USB-A flash drives.

Currently in the Netherlands: a Hema store will sell only USB-A flash drives.

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