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Fallout might be the best video game TV show ever

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Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 34, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, welcome, so psyched you found us, and also, you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.) 

I also have for you an excellent new video game show, a new ebook reader worth a look, yet another doc about how bad tech is, a sweet new drone, and much more.

I also have a question, one I can’t believe I haven’t asked yet: What do you use AI for? Are you using Copilot to write all your emails? Cooking with the help of ChatGPT? Querying your every thought with some app I’ve never even heard of? Not getting anything out of AI at all? I want to know the apps and platforms you’re using and how you’re using them — I’m obsessed with trying to figure out what AI is actually for, and I want to hear all your thoughts.

Alright, lots to get to this week, and I have a plane to catch. (If you’re in Chicago, come see me talk AI, and come say hi!) Let’s go.

(As always, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What are you into right now? What should everyone else be into right now? Tell me everything: installer@theverge.com, or hit me up on Signal. I’m @davidpierce.11. And if you know someone else who might enjoy Installer, and tell them to subscribe here.)

The Drop

  • Fallout. First The Last of Us, then Super Mario Bros., now this! We’re suddenly spoiled for choice in great video game adaptations. It’s postapocalyptic, it’s epic, it’s apparently pretty funny? The reviews are fantastic — I’ll be watching this on the plane to and from Chicago this weekend. Can’t wait.
  • The DJI Avata 2. There are two kinds of drones: camera drones and flying drones. This one’s a flyer: a first-person experience through goggles that lasts longer and moves better than its predecessor. I need to take one of these for a spin.
  • Find My Device on Android. It took Google a while to get this right, but device tracking is a great feature — and it appears Google will be much more open with the network than Apple is with Find My. Clever to use Nest devices to tell you where you left your keys in the house, too.
  • The Antisocial Network: Memes to Mayhem. Most of these hand-wringy Netflix docs about how bad the internet is — The Great Hack, The Social Dilemma, that sort of thing — are simplistic and frustrating to watch. This 4chan doc has a bit of the same problem but is smart and deep enough to teach you a few things about the web.
  • Frame.io Version 4. If you do anything with video, especially with other people, this is a big upgrade: Frame.io this week got much better search, more organization tools, and custom metadata for better keeping track of things. And it’s all much better on mobile now.
  • Kobo’s Clara Colour. Color ebook readers! I love that Kobo exists as a check on and competitor to the Kindle, even though I’m stuck in Amazon’s ecosystem at this point. This is the latest and greatest in E Ink, and for $150, the faster and better Clara seems like a good deal.
  • “This Invention Made Disney MILLIONS, but Then They LOST It!” The Sodium Vapor Process is both an incredibly cool story about the history of filmmaking and a rad-sounding name for a pop punk band. Fun video about a fun invention and why a much worse product ended up winning out.
  • Fairphone’s Fairbuds. Repairable earbuds are a huge win. Because, you know, environment and waste and stuff, but also because you can replace the battery when the battery dies! As someone who keeps replacing AirPods because they only last an hour after a while, this is a big win. They look pretty nice, too.
  • Strut. This is a really nice-looking app for anyone who writes a lot. It’s part blank page, part organizer, plus a bunch of AI writing tools built in. You’ll pay if you want the AI, but lucky for me, I don’t. Free writing apps for the win!
  • Civil War. I don’t know if I want to see this movie because it seems so plausible or if I never want to see this movie because it seems so plausible. But by all accounts, this dystopian near-future America goes pretty hard — though we’ll see if it really pulls it off.

Screen share

I’ve known Eric Migicovsky since he was making smartwatches, way before everyone was making smartwatches cool. After years of running Pebble and a stint as a VC, he’s spent the last few years building a cross-platform messaging app called Beeper. It’s a great app, had a messy fight with Apple, and recently was acquired by Automattic, which owns WordPress.com and Tumblr and a bunch of other things. Eric’s now in charge of Automattic’s big messaging plans — and they’re seriously big.

I asked Eric to share his homescreen knowing two things: he’s an Android fan through and through, and he uses a lot of messaging apps. I mean, he made a messaging app to collate all those messaging apps, so what do you expect? Eric’s also Canadian, which means… I don’t know, exactly. But I wanted to find out.

Here’s Eric’s homescreen, plus some info on the apps he uses and why:

The phone: Samsung Z Flip 5 — smallest Android phone on the market right now!

The wallpaper: No idea, probably a default one?

The apps: Maps, Photos, YouTube Music, Phone, Camera, Superhuman, Beeper, Chrome.

One of the things I love the most about Android is how few taps are required to perform tasks. I love having Calendar and Google Search right on the homescreen. We added a search button to the Beeper Android widget for the same reason! One click + type name = message anyone you want.

I still have ALL the chat apps installed because I need to keep tabs on them!

I also asked Eric to share a few things he’s into right now. Here’s what he shared:

  • I have two kids under four so I don’t get a ton of free time, but we’ve enjoyed 3 Body Problem on Netflix and Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • I’m listening to Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and just finished reading There Is No Antimemetics Division by qntm — my new favorite author! Highly recommend their short story “Lena.” It’s made me reconsider my wish to have my brain uploaded at some point.
  • Best new app is ChatGPT — I use the audio version to create short stories and have it include my kiddos in them!

Crowdsourced

Here’s what the Installer community is into this week. I want to know what you’re into right now as well! Email installer@theverge.com or message +1 203-570-8663 with your recommendations for anything and everything, and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every week. 

Tom Scott’s Weekly Newsletter. I’ve gotten some of my favorite stuff on the internet from that newsletter, like Kern Type, this post on anagrams, and so much more.” – Nachiketa

“I picked up Grindstone after a while away from it and have managed to 100 percent complete the main levels, the bonus levels and the “cosmic darkside,” and collect all the achievements. It has been worth the price of Apple Arcade on its own!” – Rod

“I’ve recently moved to the UK and I needed to get a bank. I chose Revolut. The app is feature-packed, reminding me a little of Simple (RIP). It’s a little loaded, and I really had to get used to it, but it works, and it’s pretty incredible. The multi-national, multi-currency use is impressive. It’s available in the US, too!” – Greg

“I’ve been using AntennaPod for over a year, and it’s a perfect app to replace Google Podcasts. It’s open source, no ads, no analytics, and the people who work on it are amazing: they regularly conduct community calls to discuss the project and take feedback very seriously. Android only!” – Chethan

“Playing Dune: Imperium (on Android). Such a great way to experience this incredible board game! The AIs are tough!” – Gary

“I’ve been catching up with the criminally underrated John Rogers on YouTube. He typically makes history videos walking through the various boroughs of London, but the one that has caught my attention is him walking to North Ockendon, a small village that is technically considered part of London.” – Joe

“I’ve been rewatching early episodes of The Big Bang Theory and marveling at all the older tech. iPod docks in every apartment, an entire subplot about Siri when it launched on the 4s, and the super chunky Windows laptops.” – Kaleb

“I’m giving Lyrak a shot this week. Yes, ANOTHER social media app. They claim it’s built to be more real time than Threads, so better for news, which is good, and built on ActivityPub, which is great. Federation for the win! Still giving it a shot, but it’s interesting.” — Sighjinks

“So I was playing Rytmos, an iOS puzzle game with a really great visual design themed around world music. They’ve got a bunch of Spotify playlists with examples of the music that inspired the game, but I’m an Apple Music user. So I turn to SongShift, a surprisingly handy little app that can, say, give you the Tidal link for a song you scrobbled on Last.fm or copy your old iTunes playlists right into YouTube. Even when it can’t find a track, it makes it really easy to help you, a human, match the correct one. It’s super handy to switch music streaming services and continues to be handy to send and receive links to my Spotify friends.” – Daniel

Signing off

A couple of weeks ago, I complained here about my busted keyboard and my complicated relationships with clicky mechanical keyboard. Thanks to everyone who reached out with ideas! Some of you were like, “Buy these switches and this keyboard and do this customization and it only costs $95,000,” and to all of you: thank you, you’re my favorite. But the main recommendation I got was for the Logitech MX Keys, which I ended up buying. I love this thing so far. I’m certainly no expert, but it’s clicky without being loud, it has approximately six trillion shortcut keys and customization options, and it feels both fantastic and easy to type on. The backlight is kind of finicky and uneven, but I’ll take that in exchange for the hardware microphone-mute key that has already made every meeting 10 percent more manageable. 

Thanks to everyone who recommended stuff! Someday I will go Full Mechanical Keyboard, and I promise to update you with all the dumb decisions I make. 





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