By Ernie Smith

Hot takes in 30 minutes or less. A newsletter with an unforgiving deadline, written by Ernie Smith—who’s best known for another newsletter, Tedium. Three times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday). Hope I hit the 30-minute deadline. ⏲

Hot takes in 30 minutes or less. A newsletter with an unforgiving deadline, written by Ernie Smith—who’s best known for another newsletter, Tedium.

Three times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday). Hope I hit the 30-minute deadline. ⏲

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Editor’s Note

Hi all, after a solid year and three months of running this newsletter on Revue, with nearly 200 issues to its name, I have made the decision to move this newsletter to another host.The archives will stay up for now, and I encourage you to continue to sign up…


The Path to Ridiculousness 📺

Netflix is in a really dangerous spot as a streaming service, and it may find itself out of an audience if it doesn’t take steps to right the original content ship.The problem is this: It’s a company that, by the nature of its service, has to be all things to…


Lightning Sputters ⚡️

Are we nearing the end of dongle life? It seems like the evidence is growing that our long dongle winter is about to end, and we’ll be left with more options in the long run.And in a lot of ways, it’s because regulators and governmental bodies are doing their…


New Slang 💬

I’m not a part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I don’t know what being an employee of that bureau would be like—whether it looks like the movies or it’s something more unusual and novel.But what I do know is that the FBI has a crack slang research tea…


A Belated Modern Embrace 🕹

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a little stressed lately. Because of all the balls I’m constantly juggling in the air—between a full-time job and a modest newsletter empire—I often find myself just kind of in need of stress release at the end of a long …


Should Elon Musk Buy Twitter? 🪺

No. God no. Anything but that. He’s a dangerous dude and would not operate it with the balanced perspective it needs to thrive. He would not look out for users. He’s too self-interested in the platform to respect what it represents.That we’re even having this…


Bad Subliminal Work 🍨

Good logos are hard to come by, and by modern standards, Baskin-Robbins had a pretty good one.The ice-cream purveyors played up the “BR” initials in its typeface in a way that subtly hinted at the number 31, a key part of the company’s branding. (For those no…


The Room to Speak Up 💬

A decade ago this July, then-President Barack Obama said something that was quickly taken out of context and was warped into a political attack that seemed to undercut the exact point he was trying to make.During a presentation where he highlighted the power …


The Cult of Corporatism 👔

Severance, the Apple TV+ hit that has the backing of Ben Stiller while being unlike anything Stiller has ever done (maybe, vaguely, The Cable Guy?), is one of those shows that will likely go down in history as having a near-perfect first season.The TV-reviewi…


Your Way Or The Highway 🍔️

At a time of global conflict, it perhaps seems like small potatoes—or small beef patties, as it turns out—to complain about the size of the Whopper.But a recent lawsuit shows that, when given the opportunity, people will complain about anything in the hopes o…


The Centralizer’s Lament 😥️

Jack Dorsey—since his departure from Twitter, the company that made him famous—seems to be feeling a few pangs of regret over his work during the Web 2.0 era, the work that made Twitter into a social-media force.Dorsey, unprompted, tweeted out a comment imply…


Mark One Off ✅

I have a new hobby. Every day until it happens, I am going to go into this screen on Google Docs and look for a specific option:


How Fast Is Too Fast? 💻

Not to look a gift horse in the you-know-what, but we have made some pretty amazing strides in file storage technology in recent years.A decade ago, most laptops came with metal hard drives that would break down over time if you just looked at them funny. And…


Remove the Screen 💻

If you came to this hot take newsletter looking for something about the Oscars last night, I’m sorry to say you’ve come to the wrong place. (I prefer blue water when possible.)Instead, I want to discuss something a little less minefield-y: The sudden interest…


Dial Up the Nostalgia ☎️

I have to admit that when I watched the video of Carl Pei showing off the Nothing Phone 1 … or, whatever this was, I sort of felt like it was a fascinating hype bomb of the kind we haven’t really seen in a couple of years, at least since the Samsung Galaxy Fo…


An !important Distinction ⚠️

A long time ago, back in my ShortFormBlog days, I posted a quote from the creator of the GIF, Steve Wilhite, who said that the abbreviation for Graphics Interchange Format was intended to be pronounced with a soft ‘G’.He said it in a way that implied he was t…


A Senseless World

I don’t make any presumptions about the way that I live or what I experience on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and how they might apply to other people.We all have our paths, and the way that we get to where we think we’re going. And looking for parallels…


A Difference of Opinion 🧐

I’ve been thinking a bit about the piece I wrote last week about Substack, how harsh it was, and why I think I’m so strongly vocal about the platform approach that they lean on.In some ways, it’s great that Substack has made so much of this process easy for s…


Vanced and Vanquished 📺

It absolutely makes sense that YouTube Vanced is not long for this world. A custom Android variant of the YouTube app that removed advertising among other things, was likely to run directly into Google’s business interests in a dramatic way. And it did.


Domain Transfer 🔗

It’s weird thinking about the way that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine creates deep side effects that have little to do with the original goals of the conflict.These complexities have helped to stress-test our broader global culture. It’s been eye-opening, in a …