Watch 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' at home, tell Eliza your problems and more things to do this weekend

Don’t have any plans this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Watch Spider-Man, play with Eliza, and read Netflix Jr. magazine

Here are our recs for the weekend.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Between Unity’s new tech demo, “Enemies,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” getting a video-on-demand release, we’re not planning on leaving the couch this weekend. In that case, might as well get comfy, lie down and spill your guts to Eliza, the therapist chatbot that was recently honored with a Peabody Award.

Watch ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ on the couch, as God intended

Didn’t catch the latest Spidey movie in theaters? Or maybe you did, but you really want to watch it again in the comfort of your own home? Now’s your chance: The movie became available on iTunes, Google Play and a bunch of other video-on-demand stores in recent days; you can buy it for $19.99.

Tell Eliza your problems

Joseph Weizenbaum’s pioneering chatbot has fascinated, enraged and amused people for decades. Playing the role of a therapist, Eliza is both very inquisitive and obviously limited in her understanding of what we tell her. And yet, we can’t help but engage. We try to trip her up, get her to say something funny, swear at her or even confide in her. This week, Eliza was honored with a Peabody Award for Digital and Interactive Storytelling, which is as good of a reason as any to chat with her a bit. I highly recommend the online version hosted by Masswerk.at, which allows you to experience Eliza in an old-school terminal interface.

Keep the kids occupied with Netflix Jr. magazine

Netflix has been on a quest to become its own best media partner for quite some time. The company launched a print magazine, podcasts, newsletters and more, all doing journalism-ish things while also advertising Netflix movies and shows. The latest addition to this is the Netflix Jr. magazine, a print magazine for the preschool to early primary school crowd. Think Highlights High Five, with every page featuring characters from Netflix shows. There are puzzles, mazes, activities and even recipes (“Cocomelon” toast, anyone?). Netflix clearly isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here, but the magazine should still be fun for little ones, especially if they’re into shows like “Ask the StoryBots” or “Ada Twist, Scientist.” A subscription to the print version of the Netflix Jr. magazine is free, and the magazine is also available as a free digital download.

Unity’s ‘Enemies’ shows off its tech

Game engines have improved a lot over the years, and there’s no better way of keeping track of visual fidelity improvements than Unity’s tech demos. Its latest looks like a high-end Hollywood visual effects production, but it’s all been rendered in real time. To add to the wow factor, it’s worth reading this Twitter thread from the tech and rendering lead on Unity’s demo team, which explores all the intricacies of the short film in detail.

SiriusXM botched the Stitcher acquisition. Here’s how.

With the $325 million acquisition of Stitcher, SiriusXM also got its hands on the podcast network Earwolf. Insiders told The Verge that the acquisition didn’t exactly go over as expected. This story is a worthwhile read and another proof point that monetizing content with small but engaged audiences is hard.

A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.


Musk’s texts reveal what tech’s most powerful people really want

From Jack Dorsey to Joe Rogan, Musk’s texts are chock-full of überpowerful people, bending a knee to Twitter’s once and (still maybe?) future king.

“Maybe Oprah would be interested in joining the Twitter board if my bid succeeds,” one text reads.

Photo illustration: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images; Protocol

Elon Musk’s text inbox is a rarefied space. It’s a place where tech’s wealthiest casually commit to spending billions of dollars with little more than a thumbs-up emoji and trade tips on how to rewrite the rules for how hundreds of millions of people around the world communicate.

Now, Musk’s ongoing legal battle with Twitter is giving the rest of us a fleeting glimpse into that world. The collection of Musk’s private texts that was made public this week is chock-full of tech power brokers. While the messages are meant to reveal something about Musk’s motivations — and they do — they also say a lot about how things get done and deals get made among some of the most powerful people in the world.

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Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

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Circle’s CEO: This is not the time to ‘go crazy’

Jeremy Allaire is leading the stablecoin powerhouse in a time of heightened regulation.

“It’s a complex environment. So every CEO and every board has to be a little bit cautious, because there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire told Protocol at Converge22.

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Sitting solo on a San Francisco stage, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire asked tennis superstar Serena Williams what it’s like to face “unrelenting skepticism.”

“What do you do when someone says you can’t do this?” Allaire asked the athlete turned VC, who was beaming into Circle’s Converge22 convention by video.

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Benjamin Pimentel

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Is Salesforce still a growth company? Investors are skeptical

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Dreamforce is the embodiment of that success. Every year, alongside frustrating San Francisco residents, the over-the-top celebration serves as a battle cry to the enterprise software industry, reminding everyone that Marc Benioff’s mighty fiefdom is poised to expand even deeper into your corporate IT stack.

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Joe Williams is a writer-at-large at Protocol. He previously covered enterprise software for Protocol, Bloomberg and Business Insider. Joe can be reached at JoeWilliams@Protocol.com. To share information confidentially, he can also be contacted on a non-work device via Signal (+1-309-265-6120) or JPW53189@protonmail.com.


The US and EU are splitting on tech policy. That’s putting the web at risk.

A conversation with Cédric O, the former French minister of state for digital.

“With the difficulty of the U.S. in finding political agreement or political basis to legislate more, we are facing a risk of decoupling in the long term between the EU and the U.S.”

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Cédric O, France’s former minister of state for digital, has been an advocate of Europe’s approach to tech and at the forefront of the continent’s relations with U.S. giants. Protocol caught up with O last week at a conference in New York focusing on social media’s negative effects on society and the possibilities of blockchain-based protocols for alternative networks.

O said watching the U.S. lag in tech policy — even as some states pass their own measures and federal bills gain momentum — has made him worry about the EU and U.S. decoupling. While not as drastic as a disentangling of economic fortunes between the West and China, such a divergence, as O describes it, could still make it functionally impossible for companies to serve users on both sides of the Atlantic with the same product.

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Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with.

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