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Nic hits Seamus with a surprise grilling about his intentions to make a permanent exit from Facebook. Can he genuinely follow through on his threats? What are his plans to solve all the gaps it creates in communicating with friends and family?

Then the show turns to lighter fare, like the COVIDSafe app and whether it’s ever going to become a useful part of the solution in Australia.

Plus a little more Quibi before the launch window free trial ends, Nic suggests a ‘Pilot Night’ concept, and Seamus falls in love with a London Underground circuit board map.

The social media problems with no easy answers keep Nic and Seamus clawing for answers.

Plus pandemic and protest dilemmas for the games industry, Zoom the big winner in its latest financial reports while self-driving cars face big issues in a more hygiene-focused future than anyone was expecting.

Ready to Binge the latest shows and movies? Or is there still a commitment issue behind Foxtel’s latest streaming service? Seamus and Nic think back on Presto, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Play, Foxtel Go, and where you’ll go to play now. Wait… And then they rabbithole about all the little quirks and issues they have with what all the streaming services keep getting wrong!

Plus Twitter adds a ‘Get the facts’ link to some Trump tweets. Is it enough or too little too late? How do the socials fix the misinfo problem from here?

After a nod to Star Wars Day letting loose some first rate indie talent in the new and expanding universe, Nic and Seamus discuss Tom Cruise really actually going into space with SpaceX to make a movie. Is it actually Mission: Impossible or just eventually improbable?

Plus an extended uncomfortable examination of Elon Musk’s trajectory as a person who shouts weirdly on the internet, and then an actual examination of Apple’s new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. Just how close are we to the official “iPads are laptops now” debate being settled?

And then Nic opines for access to his beloved gym because tech just doesn’t cut it for replacing what he wants from his exercise experience. Is there anything out there that can?

Along the way we shout out Peloton, Mirror, Ring Fit, Just Dance 2020, and lots more.

We’re living up to our “tech, games, digital culture” tagline this week, with stories from every corner of the Byteside domain.

From when are Zoom hacks not actually Zoom hacks, to why games seem to have a much better handle than film on the idea of doing remakes. Plus hard drives for consoles when you’re running out of room, exciting new phones from LG, and even a little more Quibi and some old school Homestar Runner.

When this episode started we weren’t sure about Quibi. By 15 minutes in we’ve decided that’s all the show is about from now on.

Then somehow we do manage to move onto other topics anyway…

including Riot’s Valorant being ready to take over the FPS scene, Xbox All Access deals on Telstra plans, Skype finding its mojo, and those Zoom backgrounds everyone is using.

This is the time to win our time back.

Wasn’t that first couple of weeks of remote work exciting? Boy howdy we all learned a lot and discovered things they thought were impossible are actually possible.

But one thing has already become way too possible. The ability to act like a time vampire from your colleagues even when you’re not in a shared office. Just as we escaped the clutches of Cheryl knocking on a cubicle divider and immediately launching into a speech whether you were busy or not, the video conference is being used as a way to fill our calendars with back to back meetings all over again.

Video calls are great. A boon for remote work. They’ve proven how connected we can remain when we can’t share a physical space. But seriously, do we need so many of them? To bastardise the old adage:

“That Zoom meeting should have been an email.”

But there’s a perfect answer that the Googles, Microsofts, Zooms and Apples of the world could help solve forevermore. Kill the 30 minute default meeting and crush that default down to 5.

Right now, we aren’t walking from a desk to a conference room. We’re not commuting. We’re not rushing back from some client face to face. We’re all right here, at our desks, trying to get things done. And we can get check-ins done without a lot of the built in waiting time and preamble and wasted moments and just get down to business.

5 minutes. We call, we see each other, we say hi. We check-in about the specific thing that needs checking in on, we say goodbye, we get back to business. We can be enthusiastic about a 5 minute check-in.

By making 5 minutes the default, we put the onus on the person calling the meeting to have a specific reason for extending that time window to something bigger. It becomes an active choice that requires explanation, not the default marker of how much time everyone has the right to steal from the team they work with.

And by making 5 minutes the default, we demand that people show up on time! Running late? You missed it. Meeting is over. Tell your boss what was more important than that sharp 5 minutes of team time.

When we sharpen the time we let people take, we remind each other what our time is worth. A lot.

That’s the discovery most people should be uncovering during our enforced remote work time right now. We can get more focused work done, and focused time is a blessing to deep work and deep productivity. Meetings should be a sacred time to deal with roadblocks that are slowing down the work that gets done when we aren’t in meetings.

A lot of software lets you change the defaults. We can technically make this change ourselves. But like the chrono-thieves they are, the people who love calling too many meetings are never going to change without systemic change.

Our new world order under the book of Zoom is yet another newer format that only lets you define meetings in half hour blocks. No! Enough! Of all things, video should be the sharpest tool in the drawer.

Google. Microsoft. Apple. Zoom. All the rest of you out there doing calendars. The coronavirus crisis is the perfect time to give us our time back. Reset the defaults. 5 minutes at a time. It’s good for today, it’s great for tomorrow.

No, don’t unsubscribe from Byteside! That’s not the experiment!! Seamus has been unsubscribing from all his video streaming services… but he’s still using them all exactly the way he always has. Huh? How’s that work? Listen to find out!

Plus changing NBN plans, those CVC questions, and testing speed upgrades. And playing tabletop roleplaying games over the internet – is there a good way to do it?

All that and Friday Zoom drinks, Audio Technica’s microphone giveaway, and more.

Ben Lee is the co-founder and Managing Director of Blowfish Studios based in Sydney. He’s been a games and software developer for over 20 years and Blowfish has been producing games for nine years – and recently they also started publishing games too.

They’re best known for their Siegecraft games but have a super diverse range of games across consoles, PC and mobile. Lee is also particularly insightful on running a game studio as a business, and what you can learn from other businesses of all stripes, not just other devs.

Big thanks to IGEA for helping to line up this interview, and Byteside will be working with them to do a lot more developer interviews throughout 2020.

Full Transcript Also Available

Ellen Broad is a boardgame designer. But that’s not actually why I’m talking to her for Uplink. The boardgames was something of a byproduct – her main focus is being a rather brilliant thinker on all things data and AI.

In her career, Broad has worked for governments and UN bodies to help plot the future of data, digital issues and AI ethics, and she has also worked for Australia’s digital transformation and innovation body, Data61.

She has worked as the head of policy for the Open Data Institute and today she is a Senior Fellow at ANU’s 3Ai Institute. You can also buy her book – Made By Humans: The AI Condition.