I was genuinely confused when so many people were excited for the Rabbit R1 device, because they said that it worked by hostile screen-scraping of Android apps in the cloud to order Uber, Door Dash, etc.

Had anyone who preordered this thing ever tried automating even a basic web site with Selenium?


This place had a ludicrous happy hour deal, essentially boiling down to $2 whisky highballs and lemon sours, sub-$2 for five grilled homemade gyoza, and just a wee bit over $2 for a draft beer.

Naturally they were as good as any gyoza I've had in my life.

Here is my Tabelog check-in

Kumamoto Castle

I’ve done a lot of castles in Japan, but after the 2016 earthquake, I really had no idea what to expect from Kumamoto-jo. The degree to which the restoration project has seemingly made the castle more accessible to the general public is really impressive.

You can tell something is up when you walk the massive sky bridge from the castle town to the structure itself. When you enter the castle, the amount of modern infrastructure present—from steel beams supporting the stonework to drywall and air conditioning—is a little overwhelming. All-in-all, it’s a really cool 2-3 hour diversion, but prepare for a lot of walking!


Yoshoku is often mistaken for simply meaning "Western food" in Japan, but it's really it's own genre, with its own distinct vibe and standard menu. Walking into a great yoshoku place feels like entering an alternate Western history, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, this place has a great ハンバーグ(hamburger steak), which is not to be confused with a ハンバーガー(hamburger sandwich).

See my Tabelog check-in here.

The Seven Hells of Beppu

This place is kitschy and tourist-trappy and possibly worth a visit anyway—at least if you’re already in Beppu. It’s a 30 minute bus ride from the city center, but its over-the-top hot springs are pretty amazing.

But once I’d looked at them I was pretty much ready to go.

Uwajima Ferry

Taking ferries in Japan is an entertaining diversion, especially as an American who didn’t grow up around islands. We really enjoyed this three hour excursion as we traveled from one onsen town in Shikoku (Matsuyama) to another one in Kyushu (Beppu).

Also fun was the random Suzume film propwork created to promote the port’s appearance as the main character traveled to Ehime.

I get that Apple needed to switch to the cheaper TSMC process and that's the real reason they're launching the M4 now, but as someone who just paid $5000 for an M2 Vision Pro and an M3 MacBook Air, it feels pretty shitty that a thousand dollar iPad is so much faster.

Dogo onsen

Famed as the oldest onsen (hot springs) bath in Japan, it’s relatively tiny and cramped by today’s standards, but it was cool to check it off the bucket list. The little onsen town that’s grown up around this main building were definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away”, as this onsen was apparently among their artistic inspirations.

If you go, I'd recommend staying where we did, at Dogokan (道後館) hotel.

Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch M3 Review

I've been using the new MacBook Air since it launched last month and I'd been thinking about writing a full review of what it's like to live with it, but I'm lazy so I'll just piggy-back on Paul Thurrott's glowing review of the 15" model with the following modifications that only apply to the 13" version.

Additional review notes:

  • Its screen is 2" less than 15"
  • Its speakers are somewhat worse than the 15"
  • Contrary to Paul's review, the microphone array held up surprisingly well in my testing—especially with Voice Isolation activated—and were far superior to the mics on the AirPods Pro 2
  • At 2.7 pounds, the 13" M3 MacBook Air is 35% heavier than the discontinued 12" MacBook, a model that was originally released in 2015

Despite 9 years of technological advancement, Apple has regressed significantly on the only metric I care about in a portable computer: weight. Considering that the ARM transition was meant to provide significantly more thermal headroom and enable the design of new form factors, the fact that Apple was able to ship a 2-pound MacBook with a retina screen and Intel chip in 2015 but has thus far failed to ship an M-series Mac that weighs less than 2.7 pounds is simply bewildering.

Everything else about the computer is great.

Searls Score: 2.7 / 10

Battle Station

A number of readers have asked about my Vision Pro setup since writing about how I’ve forsaken my desk for an Eames chair.

Well, here it is. I ran the MagSafe charging cable for my MacBook Air along the left armrest and routed the USB-C cable that charges my Vision Pro battery up the back (which itself is affixed via a 3D-printed enclosure and velcro command strips).

At nearly three months in, I’m loving this setup. Went ahead and cancelled a longstanding to-do to find a more comfortable office chair than my Steelcase Leap, because I can’t really see myself needing one anytime soon.

The Boathouse

Despite being known for their seafood, Boathouse's burger is exceptional considering how large their menu is and how many covers they turn a night. Most dedicated craft burger joints aren't half this good.

When the bartenders remember it, I like to order the long-since-removed cocktail S.S. Politician, which is a simple (and extremely whiskey-forward) manhattan made with:

  • Jack Daniels Single Barrel
  • Montenegro
  • Cherry bitters
  • Luxardo cherry

… and served to the brim of a martini glass that's tall enough to ride most roller coasters.

Yes, it isn’t

A recent trend in GPT-4 over the past few months is that it's started catching hallucinations (or, more charitably, over-eager user affirmation) mid-sentence. At this point, about 20% of the yes/no questions I ask it result in a sudden about-face. As jarring as it is to read, only once has it explicitly acknowledged its own contradiction—which, I'll admit, was impressive.

Because ChatGPT spews fluent bullshit, it has no relationship with the truth and so no apology or reflection typically follows. However, unlike most bullshitters, if you ask for an apology it'll gladly oblige. Silver lining.

Breaking Change artwork

v11 - I'm feeling unlucky

Breaking Change

Today we have a veritable smorgasboard of potpurri as we indulge in the figurative potluck dinner that is, "shit Justin wants to talk about." This may be the last major version for a while, so savor this.

Thank you to listeners who took version 10's mandatory e-mail feedback demand seriously, as the mailbag once again is full of good questions. But you must do your part and e-mail podcast@searls.co to keep it that way. Each e-mail you send entitles you to a license to listen to three more episodes, so—in a sense—you can't afford not to write in.

Have some links:

Show those show notes…