Internet Friends

Online life is real life.

About the show

Drew Coffman and Jon Mitchell met on the internet in 2012. It was a whole different internet back then. This is a podcast about what’s changed, where it’s going, and what it’s doing to our always-online society.

Internet Friends on social media

Episodes

  • 35: Protective Amulets

    November 13th, 2019  |  54 mins 58 secs

    Jon and Drew discuss the next-generation augmented reality interface that Apple has already released into the world: AirPods. Jon got the new AirPods Pro, and he’s experiencing them not so much as headphones but as cybernetic enhancements for his ears and voice. Sound is such a neglected part of our environment, and we’re often surrounded by loud and annoying noise, a day-to-day problem Apple’s audio products can address. With AirPods Pro, the right software, and an Apple Watch, it’s already possible to have a complete post-smartphone AR experience — it just doesn’t have a visual component… yet.

  • 34: Demoted From Power User

    October 9th, 2019  |  1 hr 4 mins

    Both Jon and Drew are slowly wearing out from the constant grind of new third-party apps and — even more so — from the pursuit of ever more automation using tools like Shortcuts. At best, it feels like a Band-Aid patching up missing features that should be built in. At worst, it’s nerdy customization just for the sake of it, even at the expense of simplicity and usability. The Apple fan community is embracing it hard now that Shortcuts is built in on every iOS device, but Drew and Jon question whether this is what people really want. Jon also gives his impressions of migrating from OmniFocus to Apple’s new Reminders, about which he has also written an extensive review.

  • 33: You Captured the Bear

    September 25th, 2019  |  1 hr 23 secs

    Drew’s new phone has him wanting to talk about cameras. Photography is moving away from being a technical practice requiring lots of tool-specific knowledge that has little or nothing to do with composing an image. It’s becoming a prosthetic extension of our eyes and minds that just captures what we see and resurfaces it for us later, thanks to the software running on the portable supercomputers that are our cameras these days.

  • SPECIAL: Apple September 2019 “By Innovation Only” Event

    September 10th, 2019  |  1 hr 28 secs

    Apple announced pricing and timing for Arcade and TV+, a new iPad, Apple Watch Series 5, and the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. They were pretty strong updates — Jon orders the watch live on the show, Drew will get the iPhone 11 Pro as soon as possible — but the most exciting news was probably the pricing, which is definitely friendlier than things have been for a while.

  • 32: Tyranny of the Urgent

    September 4th, 2019  |  1 hr 5 mins

    Drew needs an intervention. He’s reached that all-too-familiar point at which all the tools and processes and ways of doing stuff with computers stop working for him. Drew turns to Jon, whose digital system might be the best functioning thing in his life, to straighten him out.

  • 31: Spies, Thieves, and Ads

    August 28th, 2019  |  1 hr 1 min

    Jon hates the web. It’s full of spies and thieves and ads. Not the technologies that power the web; those are great. The system of destination websites with their own economics is a lost cause, Jon says. Drew challenges him to think through what would happen if he deleted Safari from his devices. It’s more complicated than that, obviously, but it’s worth thinking through. Do we even need it? Well, yes. But the web needs a complete do-over back to the Wild West ’90s if it’s ever going to deliver on its promise.

  • 30: I-Thou Relationship

    August 7th, 2019  |  1 hr 1 min

    Drew has been working on a theory of a patronage model for online creativity and shopping it around to anyone who will listen. Jon is a big subscriber to things and believer in the model, but he wonders why it hasn’t taken off already. The tools seem to exist already. Why isn’t it the cultural norm? Maybe it’s because the current examples, like crowd-funding and Patreon, are too transactional. People are clearly willing to pay for media in bulk now — see Netflix et al. Will those bigtime platforms make it easier for indie creators to get on there and get paid? Will dedicated crowd-funding or patronage platforms finally take off? Or will creators have to press on and find ways to connect directly to their thousand true fans?

  • 29: Cartoon Lion Faces

    July 24th, 2019  |  27 mins 46 secs

    Drew and Jon invent a new type of podcasting because the internet at the camp where Jon was working was too bad for a call. So they recorded while sending audio iMessages back and forth, and it was a perfect opportunity to talk about the state of messaging apps. The fragmentation among so many apps is getting old, but we can’t just all use iMessage, because we don’t all have iPhones. How is all this going to play out? Is Facebook domination inevitable?

  • 28: A Hero and a Villain

    June 19th, 2019  |  57 mins 54 secs

    Drew tweeted a video he found of a camera on a conveyor belt at a sushi restaurant, and it went viral. Like, really viral. Jon and Drew discuss what that was like. It made for a fascinating juxtaposition with a #BadFaithTwitter thread that went viral at the same time about a guy who found a brick of heroin in his van and successfully re-stole it from a gang member, or something… it doesn’t matter, because the dude made it up. As a tweet Drew saw recently said, every day, the internet picks a hero and a villain. You just have to hope that neither one’s you. Having been the hero now, though, Drew thinks it’s worth it for the #GoodFaithTwitter cause.

  • SPECIAL: Apple WWDC 2019 Keynote, Part II

    June 6th, 2019  |  37 mins 38 secs

    Drew and Jon consider the implications of Apple’s new augmented reality initiatives and SwiftUI, both announced at the end of the very long keynote after the stuff discussed in Part I. What do these two things have to do with each other? They’re both telling us all to get ready for the future — especially app developers.

  • SPECIAL: Apple WWDC 2019 Keynote, Part I

    June 4th, 2019  |  1 hr 7 mins

    Apple blew all the minds in its annual Worldwide Developers Conference Keynote in San Jose on June 3. Jon and Drew cover the announcements for tvOS, watchOS, iOS, iPadOS (which is a separate thing now!), and macOS, and they save all the heady future-y AR stuff for a second WWDC special. Maybe Apple should have done that for the keynote, too — two and a half hours was a lot!

  • 27: #GoodFaithTwitter

    May 15th, 2019  |  53 mins 7 secs

    Drew’s longest Twitter break ever has ended, so both he and Jon are back! (That’s @DrewCoffman and @ablaze, by the way.) They both thought they were permanently over it… and they were wrong. It’s going to be different this time, though. Drew and Jon are only here for the use of Twitter in good faith. In this episode, they recap their ongoing discussion of what went wrong on Twitter, but now they’ve got a plan to fix it.

  • 26: Reply “STOP”

    May 1st, 2019  |  49 mins 9 secs

    Drew is intrigued by Craig Mod’s SMS-powered publishing. It’s both old-school and utterly new and strange. Likewise, the ascendancy of email newsletters is baffling, given how we’ve all come to feel about our email inboxes, but it also makes total sense. What technologies should one use to publish things anymore? Where is the line between communication and publishing?

  • 25: Try Hard

    April 17th, 2019  |  47 mins 19 secs

    Why do people try so hard on social media? Is it just for validation, or is it calculating? Is the motivator fame? Fortune? Is there a difference? Jon and Drew have tended to talk about the responsibilities of the platforms and their designers to promote community, but this time they want to talk about the part that’s the users’ (read: our own) fault. The desire to get rich and famous is like a pyramid scheme into which humanity has tricked itself. How could public-facing social media not play into it?

  • SPECIAL: Apple March 2019 “It’s Show Time” Event

    March 26th, 2019  |  1 hr 5 mins

    Apple unveiled a whole new direction for its services at its on-campus Steve Jobs Theater on Monday. Drew and Jon discuss Apple’s “It’s Show Time” event, announcing Apple News+, Apple Card, Apple Arcade, Apple TV Channels, and Apple TV+.

  • 24: The Best I Can Do

    March 6th, 2019  |  53 mins 14 secs

    Jon has some explaining to do. He’s back on Twitter a couple years after deleting his account and saying he was never coming back. What!? Why?? Even though Drew and Jon met on Twitter, these days it seems like they can’t be on there at the same time for whatever reason. Drew stopped logging into Twitter a month or so ago. It’s going well. Jaron Lanier’s new book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, was what convinced him. It’s Instagram Drew is wrestling with. Oh, the twists and turns of figuring out how to be happy on social media in 2019!