Polsko, dlaczego tu jesteś?

I really don’t understand all my Polish visitors. The top referring source looks like a hacked site.

If you have any insights for me drop a comment or find me on social media to let me know.

It’s also possible I get a different website from a North American IP than I would from a European IP, but I don’t readily have a way to test.

Poland Visitors, This Is Not The Site You Are Looking For

Since 16 Feb 2024 the vast majority of visitors are from Poland, and they are all referrals.

If you don’t know how you got here, you probably don’t actually want to be here.

This image contains two data visualizations related to website visitors from Poland. On the left, there is a line graph showing a sharp increase in the number of visitors over time, starting from February 8th and peaking around February 18th. On the right, there is a donut chart displaying the percentage of visitors by country, with Poland accounting for 72.8% of the traffic, which is the largest share. The chart indicates that there are 289 users from Poland, marking a 100% increase. Other countries represented in smaller percentages are the United States, France, China, and a category labeled as Others. The colors corresponding to each country are indicated at the bottom: Poland is yellow, United States is blue, France is purple, China is green, and Others is gray. The chart segments are also labeled with their respective percentages.

The referring site is news.grets.store, which redirects to another site, td.redl-sot.net

And that site has an invalid TLS cert, and is blocked by my firewall as a phishing site.

Bar chart showing 'Top First user source by Users' for the week of February 13-19, 2024. The highest referrer is 'news.grets.store' with 305 users, highlighted in blue on the chart.
Browser security warning indicating the connection to the site 'td.redl-sot.net' is not secure, advising not to enter sensitive information as it could be stolen by attackers. Options for certificate choices, site permissions, automatic downloads, cookies, and tracking prevention are shown. Tracking prevention is set to 'Balanced' with zero trackers blocked.

All of which is pretty odd, unless my site is serving up malware, which would be unexpected. Not because WordPress is great at security, but I use FlyWheel and CloudFlare, both of which I’d expect to catch any malware on the site.

Google also isn’t flagging this site as malicious, which it is typically quick to do.

Alabama: IVF Embryos are Children

Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children, with the right to life. This case came to the court after some embryros were accidentally broken/;

The Alabama case focused on whether a patient who mistakenly dropped and destroyed other couples’ frozen embryos could be held liable in a wrongful-death lawsuit. The court ruled the patient could, writing that it had long held that “unborn children are ‘children’” and that that was also true for frozen embryos, affording the fertilized eggs the same protection as babies under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

This post isn’t an essay, but here are some initial thoughts:

  1. This is consistent with the belief that life begins at conception. You don’t have to like the decision, or even many in the pro-life movement, but it is a consistent belief.
  2. It isn’t new. While I’m sure this is a new viewpoint to many, there are already embryro donation centers, where couples can donate embryos created with IVF but not “use.” Other couples can “adopt” these embryros. My wife and I financially support The National Embryo Donation Center, a non-profit in Knoxville that handles embryro donations and adoption.

Cynically, I view anything in the pro/anti-abortion arena as part of the cultural wars, issues meant to further someone’s power, not about the issue itself. This isn’t to say that there are no true believers on the pro-life side, but most of the news seems to be about life/abortion as a wedge issue.

But the poltiical implications here are not clear to me: leftover embryros from IVF is a super niche issues, even in the pro-life crowd. Personally, I identify as pro-life but not with the pro-life movement (more on that someday). It doesn’t seem like a political win for any side, and probably only a minor loss for the pro-abortion side. The case advances legal and intellectual arguments, but assigning the status of children to (frozen) embryos doesn’t directly affect abortion, or the right to choose.

There is a lot more that could be discussed about the case (is accidental death an appropriate charge? Is it OK for the chief justice to use theology in his opinion? Will it affect IVF more broadly?) but that is all beyond the scope of today’s post.

Jon Stewart Back on Mondays

Screenshot of a news article headline reading "Jon Stewart Returns as 'The Daily Show' Host, Roasts Biden, Trump and Himself" with a subheading stating "On his first night back, he joked about President Biden and Donald Trump's ages—and his own." The image shows a man, presumably Jon Stewart, seated at a desk with the show's title displayed in the background. The interface includes a 5-minute read indicator and sharing options. The top of the screenshot displays stock market indices with the NIKKEI index up by 2.89% and the STOXX EURO 600 down by 0.52%.

I can’t wait. But, there is potentially a political component. If Stewart has the same influence over younger demographics as he did in his heyday — if he has 10% of it — it could be a problem for Democrats.

While he is unabashedly left-leaning, satirical attacks on both parties are more likely to land on Biden. (1) Because the audience is left-leaning, (2) Trump’s supporters are more baked in, and (3) even intelligent people manage to talk themselves into the currently fantastical idea that there is more than one presidential option on the left.

In short, taking away even a handful of votes from Biden turns comical problems into electoral ones.

Etsy Dropped the Deepfakes

Last fall I wrote a story on that explored the deepfake pornography for sale on Etsy. Hundreds — if not thousands — of deepfaked nude photos of celebrities like Taylor Swift, Emma Watson and Emilia Clarke were available to purchase as digital downloads. Etsy didn’t return requests for comments. As of December, all of the stores were still available.

In the wake of the nudes of Taylor Swift blowing up X last week I decided to see if the stores were still up. None of the stores that sold deepfakes were still live, as far as I could tell. In fact, it looks like most — but by no means all — of the stores selling AI porn have been removed.

It looks like a slapdash effort: Etsy is still suggesting you search for “Emma Watson No Clothes” as soon as you type in “emma w” :

Screenshot of Etsy search bar with partial text input, displaying a dropdown of suggested search terms.

Searching for obvious terms such as “NSFW” and “AI Generated Art” don’t turn up deepfakes, at least not on the first few pages.

Their policies have not changed since the post (prohibited items “Last updated on Oct 9, 2023”) .

Etsy still has purchased images available for download, which of course includes Ms. Swift:

I'm sorry, I can't provide assistance with that request.

A couple things:

  1. I don’t think that sellers will try too hard to return. It will be comparatively easy to make money on Patreon or Gumroad that are less likely to chase sellers off.
  2. I think Etsy still has a problem as long as it tolerates AI nudity. Completely skipping over the absurdity of an artist-focused site allowing cheap AI porn, there are two big problems. (A) sellers can still create photos of “country stars” or 2024 nude calendars that don’t specify any particular persons, but still have a striking resemblance to them. (2) It is possible to create and sell photos that appear to depict minors, even if they are minors that don’t exist. The law on that is murky, but it is super creepy and horribly unethical either way.
  3. Etsy should openly ban AI generated nudes or near-nudes of people or humanoids. (You make just want to take my word on why the definition needs to be this expansive). First, Etsy isn’t about this, so why allow it? Second, Etsy has a ban on “porn” which is clearly NOT enforced. Porn vs art can be gray, “AI nudes” is not.

I’m not holding my breath that Etsy will make any changes. Maybe PR pressure (or the risk of it) will be enough to get them to do the ethical — and business-minded — thing.

I reached out to Etsy for comment and I will update if I hear back.

Deepfake Pornography for Sale on Etsy (SFW Article Version)

Update, January 29th, 2024: Etsy appears to have removed the images referenced in this article.

This is the non-explicit version of the article, Deepfake Pornography is For Sale On Etsy. This version has fewer images, screenshots and links, and is a little shorter.

You can find the original explicit article here.

Etsy has deepfaked porn for sale on it’s website, and in its app. Here are the highlights:

  • Non-consensual AI generated porn (NCAIP) is for sale from multiple sellers. Nude images of figures such as Taylor Swift and Emma Watson are available paid downloads.
  • Some AI-images could be understood to feature minors
  • Paid ads for other Etsy stores run at the bottom of some of these pages, presumably without the knowledge of the store owner.
  • Etsy’s algorithms present more and more of this content to users. For instance, if you search for “Emma Watson” two suggestions are “Emma Watson no clothes” and “Emma Watson Horny”. Etsy also makes recommendations for other content to view, such as “Naked Young Women” and “NSfw AI Art”
  • Paid ads for kids clothing come up with searches for items such as “Naked Young Woman”
  • There is no NSFW filter that I can find. For example, searches for SFW terms may turn up NSFW results, although I did not determine the frequency of this.

The three things I want to cover here are, (1) what deepfakes are, and why it matters they are for sale on Etsy, (2) Etsy has very little safety standards in place, if any, to combat it, and (3) Etsy itself appears apathetic to the issue.

Notes

I did my best not to rig the system in any way and believe that the algorithm driven suggestions apply to any user, but there is not a way to validate that without access to the source code. Certainly, that non-consensual AI porn exists it not a subjective issue. Many of the stores have “NSFW” in their name.

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What Is A Deepfake?

Deepfakes are “the manipulation of facial appearance through deep generative methods.” In short, a deepfake is when an image has been made — such as with AI — or altered (Photoshop) so that a real person is shown in an unreal situation. In this case, we are talking about AI generating nude photos of people without their consent, and probably without their knowledge.

Are They Legal?

It is still an evolving area of law, especially in the United States where the first amendment trumps nearly anything false or fake, unless it causes real, direct harm.

Deepfake child porn (child sexual abuse material, CSAM) is illegal, but beyond that, in general, yes, they are legal. If somebody took some photos of you and turned them into a fake naked version of you online you would have little recourse. You can still violate copyright (such as naked Elsa’s from Frozen) or potentially defame someone. Celebrities may have some recourse under the right of publicity which allows celebrities to prevent unauthorized commercial exploitation of their image, but that is only on a state-level, not federal.

Why It Matters

So what? It isn’t news that there is pornography on the internet, and it is nowhere near new that AI can generate realistic pornographic images of real people.

First, this just shouldn’t happen. Full stop. We shouldn’t need a discussion about the ethics of generating and selling deepfake pornography, we can just call it bad.

Second, it matters that it is for sale. It’s one thing to create the images, it is another to sell them. It is also reprehensible that Etsy — and hence public shareholders — will profit off of NCAIP.

Third, it really matters that it is on a mainstream website. Etsy isn’t a random website or the cesspools of Reddit or 4chan. It is a publicly traded company with $2.5bn in revenue.

Fourth, while some of this is legally gray, a lot of it is not.

Most of the issues are not complex, but there are many more and I simply don’t have time to cover all of them.

There is also a broader context, when big tech can’t or won’t take action against predatory users if it might harm the bottom line,

Media Matters reported that X places ads for name brands next to white nationalist material. The Wall Street Journal reported that pedophiles actively use Instagram to find CSAM and other pedophiles. Several months after the original story, they again reported that Meta won’t keep pedophiles off of its platform, and Instagram delivers sexual content of children to adults.

Etsy

Etsy is known as a maker community market. Handmade items, vintage items and highly creative artwork are thing you’ll find on Etsy. Handmade jewelry, custom embroidery, paintings, prints, bags and purses, soap, spa bags, custom guitar straps, ornaments. It is a vast array of items, generally made by people and not corporations, and mostly physical items.

About itself, Etsy says:

Etsy is the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. It’s home to a universe of special, extraordinary items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures.

It also is a company with revenue of $2.5bn/year valued at nearly 10 billion dollars. It isn’t a small company.

Pornographic Deepfakes for Sale

Who and How?

I did not take a comprehensive survey, the people that came up most often were:

  • Taylor Swift
  • Emma Watson (so often Etsy suggests searching for her nude!)
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Emilia Clarke
  • Scarlett Johansson

However, there were at least 77 different female celebrities with nude deepfakes for sale.

The frequency of subjects is probably a combination of demand — these are for sale — and easy of AI generation. I’m not going to go into technical detail on AI works, but the more pictures of someone it can “see” during training the more accurate it will be at creating images of that person later. If it sees someone enough, other photos may even begin to look like that person.

Every one of those is from a different NCAIP image for sale on Etsy as a digital download. Some are also marketed as prints. They range in price from a few cents per image to $20 +/- for packs of hundreds or thousands of images. AI nudes of Meghan Merkle are $2.27 to $7.50, while Alessandra Ambrosio nudes are $6.

They are all digital downloads, pay, and have access immediately, downloaded from Etsy.

They Are Realistic

I don’t want to get tied up here, even poor quality deepfakes should be off the table. However, today many — or most — of the images for sale could pass for photos, at least until you blow them up in size. They also are getting better, fast. It is likely only a matter of months before most of them are picture perfect, or nearly so.

Here is an example I generated with ChatGPT in about 30 seconds (actual images from Etsy are in the explicit version of this article):

They Are Easy to Make

It is easy to generate these photos, on your own computer or online.

On websites like Civitai you can download all you need to get started in AI generated images. Different AI-models are trained to generate different things1. Some are just the base to get started, other have specialities such as “Downblouse & Nipslip” which are “intended to cause wardrobe malfunctions… Downblouse produces a view down the subject’s shirt, while nipslip permits nipples to escape their prisons…”

Some are trained on specific people. Three of the highest all time rated celebrity models are Scarlett Johansson, Gal Gadot and Britney Spears. You can combine these models to generate the images you want.

This isn’t always bad but the good use cases aren’t the focus of today.

After you’ve got your models loaded you need to tell it what to make. The following is a simple things you can ask, and the result. (Taken from Civitai)

Do:
Portrait of scarlett as a beautiful female model, georgia fowler, beautiful face, with short dark brown hair, in cyberpunk city at night. She is wearing a leather jacket, black jeans, dramatic lighting, (police badge:1.2)

How Many Deepfakes Are There on Etsy?

I’m not sure. When I first came across one I thought it was an anomaly. I was wrong.

As of this posting, there are at least 15 different stores selling deepfaked images of celebrities. It’s likely the number is higher: I primarily looked through the titles of items for sales, so if there was an image of a real person but didn’t use a real named (for example, “Blonde 99”) it would not have been counted.

Combined, there are at least 2400 sales across these 15 stores. Again, that is likely an undercount of the real number. There were at least three dozen more NSFW AI stores where I didn’t see explicitly named NCAIP. If there were photos of real people in those download packs, I didn’t find them because I didn’t want to spend days sifting through AI porn.

The Algorithm is Unhinged

The Etsy algorithm doesn’t just reinforce deepfake searches, it suggests them. Take this search for Emma Watson, as soon I typed in “Emma Watson” Etsy suggests I search for “Emma Watson with no clothes”, or “Emma Watson horny”

I’m not trying game the system, so I selected the search “Emma Watson photo”, and I still get two AI Generated porn images of Emma Watson in the first 9 results!

“emma watson in a bikini” (remember, an Etsy suggestion), brings up an Etsy ad with Jon Legend, four ads for Etsy stores, three search results each with Emma Watson NCAIP (and one where she looks like she is 10) and one actual Emma Watson product.

I wonder if Jon Legend is cool with his photo endorsing Etsy right above deepfaked Emma Watson photos.

If you view one of these products, Etsy suggests even more such content at the bottom. Some are other products from the same store, others are for similar products at other stores.

In addition to the product suggestions at the bottom of many pages Etsy suggests explored related categories (basically searches), that I didn’t even know were Etsy categories.

These categories include:

  • Breast
  • Milf model
  • Milf photography
  • Nsfw AI Art
  • NSfw Digital Art
  • Naked Woman
  • Sexy Images
  • Artistic Nudes
  • Nude Young Woman
  • Naked Young Woman
  • Nude AI Art

The search “naked young woman” leads to a variety of results.

  • Kids comfort clothes
  • A pornographic calendar
  • A physical art print of a woman in a 100% see through dress in the rain
  • Some of the NCAIP we have already reviewed
  • Bedroom decorations
  • An ad for “Berry Toddler Girl Kids Mockup”

For better or for worse, none of the suggestions above seemed tailored to previous viewing. The results were consistent both when I was logged in and had viewed many NSFW items, and when I opened a fresh incognito window free of that viewing history.

The only tailored suggestion I saw was when I clicked on a link from an email Etsy sent me, which had more AI porn.

Dealing With Sellers & Custom Requests

Like any good small business, you can go back and forth with the sellers, ask about custom orders and pricing, etc. “Jenny” — the most prolific shop I found — even has a helpful out of office message.

I contacted one seller and asked for custom works of known people but s/he declined because of the risk.

A second seller just pointed out that the prices were listed.

A third posted five new galleries of four photos each of real people within the hour. (I asked about custom requests, I didn’t ask for it)

No Age Gates

There is no warning that the content contains nudity (or worse, more later). There is no requirement that you are 18 to enter. It is likely that this violates state laws2, and possibly the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996. This is particularly damning because (1), it is easy to create an age gate and, (2) it is possible to come across this with normal searches.

And not just non-consensual content in AI, a 3D figure of a naked Rey Skywalker comes up as part of the simple search “daisy ridley”.

In the full results, this figurine runs next to autographed photos, ads and costumes.

Even Reddit — which does not remotely shy away from controversial content — at least warns the user that Mature Content is ahead:

No Age Restrictions on iPhone

Etsy is rated as 12 and up on the Apple App Store. Which has a whole makes sense: they do sell lingerie and other things that would require an age ranking, but it clearly isn’t rated for the mature content you can find on the app.

It even is an editor’s choice with 4.9 stars!

The same content from the desktop website is on the app.

The app shows NCAIP, other non-real person AI nudes, and a cartoon nude that seems more likely to be viewed by children.

Again: no gaming the system here, I logged in as a guest. I even deleted the app and re-downloaded it several times to make sure I was getting a typical experience.

Emma Watson is still there on the first page, and the search bar is just as aggressive in suggesting I view her nude in some form or fashion.

It’s actually possible to get to the AI porn without searching. If you go down the related items rabbit trail starting from something like a wedding lace dress, you can get there in a few minutes.

This also means the Apple indirectly gets a cut of any NCAIP images sold through Etsy through the Etsy app on iOS.

Something For the Kids?

While not the topic of this article, I was a little surprised to see the amount of naked Disney Princesses available as well.

Young Deepfakes

It probably isn’t possible to determine the age of a completely made up person with a high degree of accuracy, but does it matter? I and literally every single state attorney general would argue yes. So what does that mean for Etsy?

It means that some of the AI content straddles the line between CSAM and not.

Legality aside. At a moral and ethical level, how do you feel about naked depictions of people below? Should any of these image have nude depictions of the rest of the body? (And on Etsy!)

Emma Watson looks like what, 12, 13? Should any person endure fake-nude photos of themselves for sale online when they look like they are a teen?

Does Etsy Care?

I found a store that suggested I visit their other website: “I have removed some of the finest images due to the objection by Etsy. For more uncensored content, please visit our Gumroad site.”

The content left up — apparently without objection by Etsy — includes, “AI-generated Scarlett Johansson — Celebrity Photo Poster No. 1”, “AI-generated Alison Brie — Celebrity Photo Poster No. 2” among 103 other products, some of which looked to be real people without names attached.

103 AI generated porn images? And Etsy knows?

Nudity and Mature Content is specifically called out as a prohibited item in the Etsy Term of Service.

As a creative community, we tend to be fairly liberal about what we allow on Etsy. That said, we prohibit pornography, illegal or exploitative items, and used intimate items3..

Pornography of any sort is prohibited on Etsy, whereas mature content is restricted. Although pornography can be difficult to define, an item generally qualifies as pornography when it contains printed or visual material that explicitly describes or displays sex acts, sex organs, or other erotic behavior for the purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation.

But there is pornogaphy, the “Nsfw photo” search brings up hardcore porngraphy, from shops that have words in their names like “Adult”,” “XXX,” “Eroctic”. Ads for kids portraits next to softcore pornography. There is hardcore porn in search results. (t is also the only search I found where the iOS app had a different set of results, dropping the worst of it).

I reported several of these stores a few days before publishing, as of now the reported store all remain up and continue to sell deepfakes. Etsy did not respond to a request for comment.

Given the violations of privacy, law, Apple’s terms of service, their own terms of service, and common decency I don’t know how you could argue that they care. They have to know about it (especially I after I contacted their press department) — it’s a $10 billion company.

It seems that Etsy is either OK with deepfakes for sale, or doesn’t care (or both). And if they care so little about celebrities — who can sue them — will they care if photos of you and I crop up?

The most troubling line is CSAM: if there is a generated image of a person that could be under 18 but it isn’t clear, how should Etsy handle that? Should Etsy filter for them? (Yes)

It isn’t good enough that these are a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of items for sale. Etsy could put a stop to half of it through keyword filters — don’t allow “NSFW AI Photos” to be a product — and probably 90% – 95% of it through image detection. Etsy may not have an obligation to fight deepfakes across the internet: it does have an obligation NOT to promulgate them on its own site.

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Want to re-publish this?

The text of this article is Creative Commons Licensed, CC-BY 4.0. You are free to:

  1. Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format for any purpose, even commercially.
  2. Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

You must:

  1. Provide attribution by linking back to this page.
  2. Indicate if you made any changes (i.e., you added your own comments or edited this)

The images are provided as is. AI-generated art is not copyrightable itself., but there is copyrighted material in some of the images and screen captures above. I believe their use here constitutes fair use, but that does not transfer the copyright to anyone and you use the images at your own risk.

Notes

  1. I am going to simplify here instead of getting in the differences in models, LoRas, merged models, etc. ↩︎
  2. Some states require age verification, this goes beyond just clicking a button that you are 18. Tennessee is not one of those states and I do not have a good way of testing to see if Etsy requires verification for this content in states with these ID laws. ↩︎
  3. Used underwear was another product I came across researching this article. Yuck, ↩︎

Fusion Isn’t There

We’re not anywhere near that close. The reports of fusion putting out more power than it draws in is a selective of the facts. As Wired explains:

…researchers said they got as much energy out as their laser fired at the experiment—a massive, long-awaited achievement. But the problem is that the energy in those lasers represents a tiny fraction of the total power involved in firing up the lasers. By that measure, NIF is getting way less than it’s putting in. “That type of breakeven is way, way, way, way down the road,” Cappelli says. “That’s decades down the road. Maybe even a half-century down the road.”

Even when real break even is accomplished you need to remember that energy generated isn’t the same thing as energy to the grid. Essentially, you still need to convert the energy to steam, to power a turbine to generate electricity. A process that is something like 30% efficient. In other words, the energy generated must be 3x what is drawn in from the grid to be net zero in terms of electricity from the grid.

But that isn’t all: the calculation for energy output vs. energy input considers the amount of energy the laser used in the process delivers, but it takes more energy to create the laser beam than what it delivers.

Fusion might be promising, but it is promising decades from now. The move to carbon-free energy sources needs to start with technologies we can implement today, such as wind, solar and hydroelectic.

https://www.npr.org/2023/12/04/1215539157/companies-say-theyre-closing-in-on-nuclear-fusion-as-an-energy-source-will-it-wo

KEAP Webhooks

These are notes for Keap webhooks as of 2023-12-05. You can retrieve them via the KEAP REST API v1, but they are not documented anywhere else.

[
    "appointment.add",
    "appointment.delete",
    "appointment.edit",
    "company.add",
    "company.delete",
    "company.edit",
    "contact.add",
    "contact.delete",
    "contact.edit",
    "contactGroup.add",
    "contactGroup.applied",
    "contactGroup.delete",
    "contactGroup.edit",
    "contactGroup.removed",
    "invoice.add",
    "invoice.delete",
    "invoice.edit",
    "invoice.payment.add",
    "invoice.payment.delete",
    "invoice.payment.edit",
    "leadsource.add",
    "leadsource.delete",
    "leadsource.edit",
    "note.add",
    "note.delete",
    "note.edit",
    "opportunity.add",
    "opportunity.delete",
    "opportunity.edit",
    "opportunity.stage_move",
    "order.add",
    "order.delete",
    "order.edit",
    "product.add",
    "product.delete",
    "product.edit",
    "subscription.add",
    "subscription.delete",
    "subscription.edit",
    "task.add",
    "task.complete",
    "task.delete",
    "task.edit",
    "task.incomplete",
    "user.activate",
    "user.add",
    "user.edit"
]

Retrieve Available Webhooks

curl --location 'https://api.infusionsoft.com/crm/rest/v1/hooks/event_keys' \
--header 'X-Keap-API-Key: Your-Access-Token'

Docs: https://developer.keap.com/docs/rest/#tag/REST-Hooks/operation/list_hook_event_types

Brief Notes on Kaseya Quote Manager

Kaseya recently gave me a demo on their new quote manager. I made them run through it pretty fast because there were just a few things I really needed to see if it did before moving on. Sorry Tanner, I’m about to break your heart again. It’s out of love.

There were some dealbreakers.

No ConnectBooster integration. The only way for clients to pay during quote acceptance is with a Stripe integration. An integration from Stripe to Xero is availabe from Stripe but not QBO (as of 2023-11-291) You can use a third-party tool to sync Stripe payments to QBO, but it isn’t clear if sales tax information will transfer2.

If your client did pay with Stripe, and the payment is synced to QBO, the invoice still is not. So your client will see a credit on their account until you get the invoice sent over from Autotask.

Any other other way to pay — such as ACH — must be done through your normal invoicing system,.

The Autotask integration is a mess. This is the workflow provided by Kaseya:

We’re going to skip the top box and just hit the rest of the workflow.

  1. Create quote
  2. Quote Manager opens an opportunity in Autotask
  3. The quote is sent to the customer
  4. The customer accepts
  5. MSP goes to Autotask to win the opportunity.
  6. MSP closes ticket that Autotask created as a result.
  7. MSP approves and posts the charges in Autotask
  8. MSP creates invoice in Autotask and sends to QBO
  9. MSP sends out (unpaid) invoice to client
  10. If Stripe was used, MSP applies client’s payment against invoice

The Autotask Opportunities module is a mess. It requires no less than 11 steps to get an already created quote to an Autotask invoice. (11 steps in addition to the ten above!!!) If you use QBO add at least two more steps to this. And if you don’t win the quote you still need to go through and “Lose” the opportunity.3

Sales Tax settings are pulled from Taxjar, not Autotask or QBO. This means that it is possible Kaseya Quote Manager will calculate different sales tax then what ends up in your invoice and books. This is hell on earth. I’ve made sales tax mistakes before and it takes unnecessary back and forth with clients that don’t understand why you can’t get sales tax straight.

Kaseya Quote Manager will send the client a copy of the accepted quote as soon as they accept it, so if there is any discrepancy the client will see it. You don’t have time to fix it. To be clear: Quote Manager sends an accepted quote, but you still need to send an invoice, where it is possible the sales tax will not match up.

This is an incredibly complicated tool for a simple task. I’m much happier with Quoter. Which does integrate with ConnectBooser and QBO correctly. Kaseya Quote Manager has a nicer interface and quote aesthetic, but that won’t make up for a poor experience for both clients and MSPs.

Like my take on the Datto EDR, this looks like it will be a good tool, but is shockingly immature and ready for MSPs today.

  1. https://commerce.datto.com/help/Content/3-manage/payments.htm?Highlight=stripe ↩︎
  2. I really really hope this is wrong. Kaseya does not offer any documentation, so we’re left with the vendor’s docs: “Commerce Sync does not currently transfer item or tax information for Stripe, but support is on the way.” It isn’t clear if sales tax needs to transfer here, the Stirpe/QBO integration may only send over the lump sum payment amount. Without any clear docs who knows/
    ↩︎
  3. If Kaseya quote manager handles this it is not clear from the documentation. ↩︎

Short Takes

Like Twitter, but only here.

Slackb0t

Tom McKay successfully masqueraded as a “Slackbot” on Slack after leaving Gizmodo in 2022, going unnoticed by the site’s management for several months. The Verge reports: If you’re not glued to Slack for most of the day like I am, then you might not know that Slackbot is the friendly robot that lives in the messaging service. It helps you do things like set reminders, find out your office’s Wi-Fi password, or let you know when you’ve been mentioned in a channel that you’re not a part of. When it was his time to leave, McKay swapped out his existing profile picture for one that resembled an angrier version of Slackbot’s actual icon. He also changed his name to “Slackbot.” You can’t just change your name on Slack to “Slackbot,” by the way, as the service will tell you that name’s already been taken. It does work if you use a special character that resembles one of the letters inside Slackbot, though, such as replacing “o” with the Unicode character “o.”

🏈 2024 Super Bowl or The Moon 🌖

One small step for man, one giant touchdown for the Chiefs. (Also: That was the most relevant blocked extra point in the history of football) BBC:

Screenshot of a BBC news article with the headline "Super Bowl 2024 was most watched US TV broadcast since 1969 Moon landing," published 17 hours ago by Emma Saunders, Entertainment reporter. The accompanying image shows a group of excited fans, with one person in a red Kansas City Chiefs jersey with "CHAMPS" and the Super Bowl LIV logo on the hat, celebrating among the crowd.

Preliminary US TV ratings put Sunday’s game just behind Apollo 11’s historic landing, which was seen by an estimated 125 to 150 million people.

Athletic Brewing Companys Gets Its 15 Minutes

WSJ has an interesting article on Athletic Brewing Company, one of the premier non-alcoholic beer brewers in the US.

I won’t summarize the article, but I will say I’ve enjoyed Athletic’s beers since my cousin Drew introduced me to them a couple of years ago. They are easily better than O’Douls, which is Anheuser-Busch. They are easily better than anything Bud — or most mainstream brewers — make.

I’m not here to evangalize you on NA beers, but if you like beer and you want want to try something new, Athletic stands on its own. Find it at Target, Kroger, Total Wine.

Professional Bridesmaid is a Thing

The Hustle

When a bride reaches out, Glantz’s services start at $2.5k and go up from there, depending on how much support someone needs. Do they need unlimited texting and calling? Bachelorette party planning help?… Glantz gets to work learning everything she can about her client’s life, relationship, and hopes for her big day.  

Working with the bride, she develops a cover story to explain her identity to other wedding guests…

Wild.

But, at least it is just one company?

“The Self Sabotaging GOP”

Illustration by Stable Diffusion AI

The WSJ Editorial Board has a short but punchy article that hits against Trump as much as the GOP. There is no new news in the op-ed, but it is interesting to see WSJ this brazenly hostile to Trump, especially after months of whataboutism (“Mr. Trump shouldn’t do X but President Biden is doing Y.”)

The [border deals] bill’s details became irrelevant, as the GOP cowered before Mr. Trump, who is now trashing Mr. Lankford. “This is a very bad bill for his career,” Mr. Trump said in an interview this week. This retribution will be routine if Mr. Trump makes it back to the White House.

The death of the border deal is at bottom a bloody-minded operation by Mr. Trump and his allies to flog border chaos through November—and, if possible, bring down Sen. McConnell as GOP Senate leader. Are they following the House GOP? The war of all against all that has followed its coup against Kevin McCarthy means new Speaker Mike Johnson couldn’t even pass an Israeli aid bill this week. That revolution is eating its own.

WSJ

This is not welcome news

With over 20,000 Palestinians dead — mostly women and children — this is a commitment to many more.

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza will continue for “many more months,” pushing back against persistent international cease-fire calls after mounting civilian deaths, hunger and mass displacement in the besieged enclave.

Netanyahu thanked the Biden administration for its continued backing, including approval for a new emergency weapons sale, the second this month, and prevention of a U.N. Security Council resolution seeking an immediate cease-fire.

Confederates Lose at Arlington

Screenshot of a news article with the headline

Arlington’s Confederate Memorial offers a “mythologized vision of the Confederacy, including highly sanitized depictions of slavery,” according to a report prepared by a commission set up in response to that legislation. The report notes that an inscription promotes the “Lost Cause” myth, “which romanticized the pre-Civil War South and denied the horrors of slavery.”

Via NPR

No

Screenshot of Politico headline, “Could Trump be kicked off the 2024 election ballot?”

This is fantasy.

The S&P 500’s Year Led by the S&P 7

The image displays a financial graph illustrating the performance of big tech stocks versus the S&P 500 index during 2023. It highlights that big tech stocks have surged by 75% for the year and now comprise roughly 30% of the S&P 500's value. The graph contrasts the cumulative returns of a group dubbed 'Magnificent Seven', the overall S&P 500 index, and the collective performance of 493 companies within the S&P 500. The 'Magnificent Seven' show a dominant upward trajectory, outstripping both the general index and the aggregated return of the 493 other companies, with the time frame spanning from January to December of 2023.

WSJ shows how Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Nvidia, Tesla, Amazon and Tesla jumped 23% in 2023, twice the index’s rally as a whole.

The Magnificent Seven stocks have swelled to represent about 30% of the S&P 500’s market value, according to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. That is approaching the highest-ever share for any seven stocks.

“It’s a mind-blowing number to me when I think about an index that’s supposed to represent such a broad group of companies,” said Ann Miletti, head of active equity at Allspring Global Investments, of the wide outperformance gap.

There is some nuance, four of the seven trade below where they were at in 2021, but the earnings gap is larger and the total valuation exceeds the entire stock market of other western countries.

Read more at WSJ

Where’s Harris?

This is a screenshot of a news article from the "White House" section, headlined "Kamala Harris pushes W.H. to be more sympathetic toward Palestinians". The subheading explains that her response to the Israel-Hamas situation highlights the delicate balance Democrats are maintaining between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian constituencies. It is written by Eugene Daniels and Holly Otterbein. The image in the background is blurred, showing a person at a podium with an audience in the foreground.

If she is on the front page of Politico, the second time in a month, I found her there. Which is more often than I’ve seen in months.

This is turning into Where’s Waldo for me

Politico + OpenAI

Under the agreement, OpenAI will pay to use content from Axel Springer publications, which include Politico and Business Insider in the U.S. and European properties Bild and Welt, to populate answers in ChatGPT and train its AI tools.

No

Screenshot of a Wall Street Journal article headline with accompanying illustration. The headline reads 'OPINION | THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW - Can Nikki Haley’s ‘Strategy of Conviction’ Beat Trump?' by Kate Bachelder Odell. Below, there's a stylized portrait of Nikki Haley smiling, with an American flag in the background.

The WSJ has zero realism regarding Trump winning the R nomination. It is an establishment organization that is nearly as opposed to a second Trump presidency as any candidate that is not Trump.

WSJ: Ransomware affects bonds

The image is a screenshot of a Wall Street Journal article on a mobile device. The article's headline reads "A Hidden Risk in the Municipal Bond Market: Hackers" and the subheading states "Cyberattacks leave schools, hospitals and utilities struggling to pay ransom, restore services and boost security." Below the subheading, it indicates a 4-minute read. The top of the screenshot shows the time as 7:33 and the device's battery status as 46%. The WSJ logo is visible, and the stock market indices such as DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ, and others show a negative percentage, indicating a downward trend in the market.

“Just as we evaluate whether or not a state or local government is continuing their investment in their physical infrastructure, we are also looking to see that continued investment in their IT software,” Lee said.

LA schools even sold bonds to cover IT upgrades.

From the WSJ