Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 12, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, welcome. I’m so psyched you found us, and also, you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.)
This week, I’ve been testing the Superlist tasks app, reading about the high-stakes race to crack crypto wallets, rehearsing my case for buying an e-bike, taking voice notes like a boss with Whisper Memos, and avoiding all my problems by watching Between Two Ferns bloopers on YouTube.
I also have for you a new pair of AR glasses, a Netflix thriller, all the great sci-fi you could ever need, a great parenting app, a super-deep interview about Windows, a new puzzling platform, and a bunch more.
As always, of course, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What app should everyone be using? What movie / show / podcast / book / spaghetti recipe does everyone need to know about? Tell me everything: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to get Installer in your inbox and a day early every week, subscribe here.
So much good stuff this week — let’s get into it.
- Internet Artifacts. Neal Agarwal’s whole website is an endless string of delightful games and other silly things, and this museum of important internet things — the first MP3, the first-ever “LOL,” footage from the web’s first webcam, Pizzanet, and much more — is some of his best work yet. So much cool stuff here I’d never seen before. (A lot of people sent this in this week, and with good reason — thanks to all who mentioned it!)
- The 2023 Hugo Awards. If you’re a science fiction fan, here’s your reading / viewing list for the next year or so. Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher (who is just Ursula Vernon under a pen name) won best novel; Samantha Mills’ Rabbit Test won best short story; The Expanse and Everything Everywhere All At Once and Dune and Andor are all among the nominees and winners. There’s so much good stuff here.
- Apple’s Journal app. iOS 17.2 is starting to roll out now, bringing with it the private-diary app Apple announced at WWDC this year. I’ve been playing with the app for a bit, and it’s… fine? Like, it is, in fact, a journal app. But I’m not quitting Day One yet.
- The Killer. You already know this about me, but I’m here for anything about spies and assassins and, in general, people who are both good and bad and don’t know where the lines are. I am also an unabashed David Fincher fan. This one’s in theaters now and on Netflix in two weeks, so, yeah, I’ll be keeping my outrageously expensive Netflix subscription a bit longer.
- Google Maps. I know, new app, super exciting, right? But Maps actually got a really useful update this week. I don’t care much about the immersive views, personally, but the better tools for EV charging and especially the improvements to the “what cool stuff is happening nearby” features are going to be super useful.
- The Leica M11-P. It’s $9,195, and I’m sure it’s fantastic because it’s a Leica. But I’m more interested in the built-in support for Adobe’s Content Authenticity tools, which sign and verify each image. In this increasingly messy AI-filled world, I love this idea.
- Alan Wake 2. A horror-story action game that’s also a detective thriller with a lot of super-weird storytelling that seems to add up to a coherent, fun, intense package? Sign me up. (Also, I officially have too many great games to play and not enough time. Please consider this my vacation request.)
- The Fight Over AI Music. The music industry is having to figure out its rules and norms about AI faster than just about anybody. Cleo Abram does a good job digging into how it all works and why it’s so complicated. And she asks a really important question that not a lot of people do: is any of this AI-generated stuff actually something we want?
- Xreal Air 2. There are basically two kinds of AR glasses right now. One type is the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, which look cool but are all audio. These are the other kind: they’re a screen that goes on your face. That’s it. That’s the whole $400 idea. But… I kinda get it.
- “How Does AI Actually Work?” From our friends over at the Waveform podcast, this is a super accessible, thoughtful dive into what we mean when we talk about AI — and intelligence in general. It gets kinda deep!
A couple of weeks ago, a lot of you told me you like the app Sequel for tracking all the movies, books, TV shows, and everything else you want to get to. Romain Lefebvre, the app’s developer, just launched Sequel 2.1 — which integrates with the discovery and scrobbling app Trakt, has a bunch more cast and crew info, and adds spoiler-avoidance features.