Tag: tech industry

  • Happy 69th Birthday, Steve Jobs

    Love him or hate him, he made an impact on the world — under his leadership at Apple, they spearheaded the smartphone revolution. Steve Jobs is a true inspiration for the next generation.

    He would have been 69 this year. Happy birthday, Steve!

  • From Mashable:

    However, it appears that a significant portion of that traffic on [Twitter] could be fake, according to data provided to Mashable by CHEQ, a leading cybersecurity firm that tracks bots and fake users.

    According to CHEQ, a whopping 75.85 percent of traffic from [Twitter] to its advertising clients’ websites during the weekend of the Super Bowl was fake.

    Are we really surprised? These stats are coming out of the mouth of Elon Musk, who is not only a liar, but didn’t even want to buy the website in the first place. He then changed the name and ruined Twitter’s own brand value and recognition (there is a reason we don’t refer to it by its new name on this blog) for fun.

    He wants you to think this was intentional, and that the name and its CEO in-name-only Linda Yaccarino are a fresh start and chapter for the website, but that’s not true. Inside the company’s walls sits Elon Musk–who is still very much the owner with full control over everything. Yaccarino can’t even give straight answers to anything, and every interview she does is really awkward because of it. It’s embarrassing.

    I won’t say the previous regime was great–all of my run-ins with them were always drama-filled–but they never pulled things like this, and they weren’t helmed by a billionaire and his fake CEO who couldn’t tell you how a social media platform is supposed to function.

    And no, unlike what DHH suggested many moons ago (based on potentially fraudulent numbers to begin with*), the layoffs and subsequent “cloud exit” did not correspond to anything good. In fact, Twitter is now plagued with numerous bugs and tons of issues — like frequent outages — that have only been exacerbated by Musk’s lack of knowledge and shoddy leadership skills.

    *And importantly, the reason I say this is because we know now that the numbers most recently cited for the Super Bowl are fake, so how can we believe anything that the company said or will say in the future? We can’t. We have to question it now.

    The truth is, Musk’s dream of an “everything app” akin to that of China’s WeChat will never happen unless governments around the world forgo democracy and enforce its use. And that’s just not going to happen. Elon Musk can’t even get people to subscribe to his platform’s “Premium” offerings, as the offering only has around 640 million people subscribed to it as of September 2023. (Still waiting on more recent data, but I suspect it hasn’t gone up that much.)

    I close with this quote from the same Mashable article:

    Most […] users who are regularly on the platform can attest to a noticeable uptick in seemingly inauthentic activity in recent months. When a post goes viral on […], its now commonplace to find bots filling the replies with AI-generated responses or accounts with randomly generated usernames spamming a user’s mentions with unsolicited “link-in-bio” promotions. Now, there’s data which backs up that user experience.

    Yep. That’s what happens when you lay off your moderation staff, and sell boosts and verified badges for money… Rest assured, the world will not be doing “everything” through an app produced by Elon Musk any time soon. It just won’t happen.

  • Honestly, being on a self-imposed break from checking social media too often has left me wondering what “social media” can be for me. My circle of friends is incredibly small, but scattered all across the United States’ East Coast, as well as parts of Europe, and Australia. Social media is basically required to keep up with any of them.

    In middle school and high school, at least here in the US, you had a few options: iMessage or Snapchat. And basically everyone had Snapchat. It’s what we all used to communicate with each other. I’ve been on the app since 2012, when it first became available on Android, and I’ve grown used to Snapping back and forth with classmates or whatever.

    Even after all these years, and the drama that shit on Snapchat caused during high school specifically, I think it is one of the healthier platforms out there. Twitter certainly isn’t, Facebook feels like a place to go for “old people drama,” and Instagram is fine, I guess but really isn’t the same. Which is why I elected to keep Snapchat on my phone: most of my friends are on it, and there’s an incentive to keeping in regular contact with them.

    I have my own gripes with Snapchat, of course, but they aren’t shoving ads down your throat or some algorithmic timeline. It’s an intent-based social media network: you want to talk to your friends, you talk to your friends. You can either Snap them, or Chat them, or both! You can talk almost daily and inevitably start a streak. There are no barriers to entry, and no algorithms telling you what you can or can’t see based on what you might like. The timeline’s there, of course, but you have to go looking for it.

    Bottom line is: You just do the thing you want to do and just like that, it’s done.

    It’s the same thing with platforms like Mastodon and Bluesky, which are similarly intent-based: you tell it what you want to do, and it does the thing you want it to do. It doesn’t complain, it doesn’t tell you you’ll lose functionality (because you don’t), it just does. It makes things less addicting and more engaging. In my opinion, that’s a balance we all need to have in this heavily internet-connected world. I’m so happy to have finally found that balance.

    And frankly, there’s something to appreciate about that approach to creating software: giving users the tools to use the thing however it works for them. Especially in this day and age, where companies demand more and more control over how their things work alone, or with other services (or, rather, how they don’t do either and close off their products to other third-parties, requiring first-party subscription services for the device be fully functional. I’m looking at you, Apple.)

    I’m happy with what Snapchat has offered in this space. Intent-based social media apps matter, and regardless of some of my own complaints with it, it has honestly made a significantly positive impact on my friendships, and helped make them stronger… so I can forgive some of its shortcomings, for sure.

  • John Gruber writes (emphasis mine):

    At the end, he makes the case that each new generation of computing devices has an open alternative and a closed one from Apple. (It’s interesting to think that these rivalries might be best thought of not as closed-vs.-open, but as Apple-vs.-the-rest-of-the-industry.) I’m not quite sure where he’s going with that, though, because I don’t really see how my Quest 3 is any more “open” than my Vision Pro. Are they going to license the OS to other headset makers?

    The Quest system software is Android at its core, with Meta’s software running on top. Quest lets you connect to a PC and use it as a VR headset for it, install whatever app you want, whereas Apple locks it down tightly to their ecosystem. Their app marketplace, their rules. I think that’s more so what Zuck was getting at there: Meta simply isn’t keeping things as tight with their platform like Apple is. There are rules and restrictions, of course, even Android itself has them–but they’re not aggressive about it.

    As for your question itself, Meta could probably license the OS to other headset makers within the scope of Android’s open-source license, but I doubt they will. There are a lot of potential issues with that and Meta has a lot of proprietary stuff running on top of what is, again, essentially Android.

    I think what we’re likely going to see is the walls coming down even further than they already are on Meta’s side. They already have the price advantage with their own product line, so I don’t really see why they wouldn’t want to open things up even further.

  • In “Twitter is really creepy” news, this happened. To be honest, I’m not sure how they get away with this. They’re not supposed to be allowed to pull from your web history or anything if you have the inferred identity and analytics permissions stuff turned off. My guess is that, like many things at Twitter, that feature is broken. Probably intentionally. And even if it wasn’t intentional, it’s not like they’d be willing to fix it: they don’t really have the manpower to do so.

    Sigh. I hate that website.

  • Discovered this entirely by accident, Cobalt[.tools] is a video downloader for several services that isn’t a piece of shit (to put it nicely). No ads, no monetization, just a clean website that does what it says on the tin.

    Here’s what it supports, according to the developer:

    • bilibili
    • Instagram reels, posts & stories
    • OK.ru
    • Pinterest videos & stories
    • reddit videos & gifs
    • RuTube videos
    • SoundCloud
    • Streamable.com
    • Tiktok videos, photos & audio
    • Tumblr
    • Twitch Clips
    • Twitter Videos/Voice
    • Vimeo
    • Vine
    • VK video & clips
    • YouTube vids, shorts & music

  • Joz from Apple said on Twitter tonight that “apps designed specifically for Vision Pro” have surpassed 1,000. The company previously said just a couple weeks ago that there were 600 when the product initially launched at the beginning of this month. [h/t to MacRumors]

  • I mean, it’s eerily similar, for sure. But like the many other “predictions” the show has made, including the Trump presidency, I am about 99.9% certain that this is just a coincidence. The other .1%, though…well, I’m not so sure. Perhaps Matt Groening and company are time travelers. We’ll never know.

  • “The Apple Vision Pro headset is made of heavy materials like aluminum and glass…so how does this affect bumps and drops while wearing the device? Here’s an in-depth durability and drop test to see how it holds up!”

    It did quite well, all things considered! I’m very impressed that, despite being a first-gen with some obvious inherent quirks that come with that, it’s still fully functional after getting absolutely hulk smashed by Sam. Do be careful with your $3,500 USD purchase, though. As the almighty JerryRigEverything says, “Glass is glass and glass breaks.”

  • Fast Company interviews Phil Schiller and here are two interesting bits (though the whole thing is worth the read!):

    “We’ve put together over 600 new APIs for developers to give them the tools to build a marketplace, install an app, let the user have control of that process,” Schiller says. “We’ve done a lot of core engineering [to help make things easier for alternative app store developers], and we’re going to continue to.” 

    “It’s important to note, however, that this notarization process isn’t as in-depth as the App Store’s traditional review, which also checks, among other things, that an app is following content rules. Still, this notarization should be enough to stop a malicious app that’s attempting to mimic a real app (say, from Facebook or Starbucks) from being installed on a user’s iPhone.”

    Apple’s working overtime to “scare” folks from not using alternate storefronts, which they’re calling “Alternative App Marketplaces” to distinguish from their own App Store. That said, I think users have the choice in the matter here. There’s an argument to be had. Put the safeguards in place and let them decide.

    I’m willing to bet most normal users, who aren’t enthusiasts or tech geeks like me, won’t even bother installing an “alternative app marketplace” or sideload an app unless they’re required to. My aunts certainly haven’t thought about that in years — they’ve used most of the default apps that come with their iPhones since switching a few years ago! I don’t foresee anything changing there.

    I highly recommend reading my previous post on this topic, as well as friend of the blog Riley Testut’s 9to5Mac interview.