Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 23, 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.)
This week, I’ve been reading about the sudden rise in freight train heists and the strange state of Air Jordans, watching Jon Stewart’s Mark Twain Prize speeches all over again, wondering if I should buy an original Macintosh on eBay instead of continuing to pay my mortgage, scheming to get my hands on the “real” Star Wars lightsaber, tracking at-home workouts with Weller, and trying to replace doomscrolling on my phone with the Chess.com app.
I also have for you a new show from the Silicon Valley creator, a(nother) new calendar app, the hottest new game on the market, a camera worth lusting over, and much more. Let’s get to it.
(As always, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What do you want to know more about? What awesome tricks do you know that everyone else should? What app should everyone be using? Tell me everything: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you know someone else who might enjoy Installer, forward it to them, and tell them to subscribe here.)
- Masters of the Air. Okay, so, I need you to clear your weekend schedule. Because first, you’re going to rewatch Band of Brothers, which is exactly as good as you remember. Then, you’re going to watch The Pacific, finally, which you kind of forgot about until recently. Then, you’re going to fire up Apple TV Plus and watch this show, the newest in the kinda-series. Sound good? Good. See you Monday.
- Lumiere. Google Research just kind of quietly dropped a new image-to-video AI model, which it calls “a space-time diffusion model for video generation,” which is an extremely cool thing to call it. As far as I can tell, you can’t actually use it yet, but its results look pretty impressive.
- The Hasselblad 907X & CFV 100C. Quite the name, and quite the price — $8,200! — but also quite the camera. As smartphone cameras continue to eat everything, I love watching high-end cameras get even more beautiful, even more impressive, and even more… real? Non-AI-y? Whatever you call it, it’s all camera and no shenanigans, and I love it. (Also, my colleague Becca Farsace made a super fun video about this thing.)
- The mint Pixel 8. I own a black iPhone, and it’s boring and lame and I wish it looked a lot more like this. Bring back phones with cool, vibrant, unusual colors! I don’t know that I’d buy this one — I mean, Pixel 9 leaks are already happening — but I dig the look.
- Palworld. Technically, I should have mentioned this last week, but it became such a phenomenon this week that we just have to talk about it. Pokemon! With guns! And dubious legal standing! This game is on a historic popularity run, has a weird road ahead of it, and you better believe I will be putting in some hours this weekend.
- Twenty Thousand Hertz: “Into The Huluverse.” This podcast has done a bunch of really great deep dives on tech sounds over the years, like the Netflix sound and the noises electric cars make and the omnipresent TikTok narrator. This one, on the sound you hear every time you open Hulu, is another great entrant in the series.
- In the Know. About once a day, I wish Silicon Valley would come back to HBO. This is the closest I’m gonna get, I think: Mike Judge and Zach Woods made another satire show, only this time, it’s animated and about NPR. I’ve only seen the first episode, which feels extremely “internet in 2024”-y. In a good way. Mostly.
- Transcripts for Apple Podcasts. I’ve been a very happy Pocket Casts user for a long time, and this feature — which generates transcripts for every episode you listen to and scrolls them live like they’re song lyrics — is the first thing I’ve ever been jealous of. Every podcast app should do this.
Last week, I asked you to share what you use to read the news. Or not even news, really, just where you go when you want to know what’s new, what’s going on, what’s the haps. (Sorry for saying “what’s the haps.”) I’ve gotten some great answers and thoughts, and next week, we’re going to dive into that — keep ’em coming to email@example.com. Tell me everything.