React Context is not your friend

Getting my thoughts together with react context and the current uses of manageing state in the react community. There’s a lot of ‘just you context’ that feels more and more like a failure to properly explain what context actually is, and how it works.

Context is primarily used when some data needs to be accessible by many components at different nesting levels. Apply it sparingly because it makes component reuse more difficult.

React docs

It is very clear that context is not the silver bullet that is often quoted when building applications with react. It is simply one piece in the larger consideration of state management.

A Book You Say?

It’s only February so maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but this post by Claus Matzinger, author of Data Structures and Algorithms with Rust, was very encouraging.

Initially, a book was this unsurmountable challenge, but, one chapter at a time,

It’s nothing profound, but a great simple explanation of the benefits you as the author get out of tacking a project as massive as a book. You bet the resources listed are in my amazon book list for down the road. 😉

Ajit Pai says he’s fixed giant FCC error that exaggerated broadband growth

ArsTechinca

Pai didn’t release the full Broadband Deployment Report

No kidding. 🙄 But wait, with a little digging you wouldn’t believe what the results are!

Despite the limited information available, advocacy group Free Press was able to discover a huge error that showed broadband progress under Pai’s leadership was less impressive than he claimed.

So there was a big error, they fixed it, and then continue to lie about the results of their unsuccessful program. Ok. Got it.

Apple Arcade will likely be priced at $4.99 per month.

From 9To5Mac

According to a promotional message found in the service, the price for Apple Arcade will be $4.99 / month, including a one-month free trial. As Apple previously announced, the service will allow access to all members in a Family Sharing account.

If this is the case, I’m all in. I would have been in the fence about it at $10. That compounded with the Switch Lite at a lower price is gonna make gaming at my house with young kids awesome for everyone !!!!!

Apple Family Business

This week Apple has been putting several products to the dirt nap, sleeping with the fishes.

Original HomePod Originally overpriced, over engineered, and stuck with Siri. While it did sound fantastic, the price tag of $349 did not offer the same features and benefits as smart speakers a 1/3 that price. And while we’re used to paying the ‘Apple Tax’ for good products that work well in the ecosystem, this first version was noticeably lacking for the price. Even more concerning is the 4 years it’s been out, it has received little improvements via updates. Most notably it launched without multiple timers, eventually released, I struggle to think of anything else noteworthy that the HomePod improved upon during it’s lifespan.

iMac Pro Released the same time as the HomePod, fall of 2017, this iMac was easily the best iMac ever made. Also just like the HomePod, it was released, and left without any revisions or updates during its life. (Dropping the 8-core model doesn’t count) The iMac Pro came from an alternate time line where Apple was not going to make a new Mac Pro, there was to be no more powerful, modular tower from Apple. Months before it’s release, Apple had its unusual round table to announce it was changing directions. It would be almost 2 more years before the now Mac Pro is readily available, the iMac Pro, the future pro machine, was now relegated to keeping pro users content until then. Often referred to as the most powerful and quiet iMac ever, it continues to be a favorite among podcasters. Now with the M1’s out, Apple is closing this time loop, leaving the iMac Pro in a short list one 1 and done products.

While these products are discontinued for very different reasons, it marks the end of the beginning into a new chapter for Apple.

Apple Letter to Investors

While Greater China and other emerging markets accounted for the vast majority of the year-over-year iPhone revenue decline, in some developed markets, iPhone upgrades also were not as strong as we thought they would be. While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements. 

Apple Website

Like many I can’t say the last line that iPhone battery replacements made a significant impact to lower sales than previous projected, it’s a bad look Tim. The smartphone market is mature and for the most part fully saturated. Someone like myself, who has pre-ordered most iPhones, getting the newest biggest best, have held off in recent cycles. Why? The combination of phones breaking $1,000, with the leveling off of hardware speed from year to year. Even with that, I’ve been Apple Leasing iPhones since they offered it. Pretty much iPhone as a service. At this point every 2 years seems more than adequate.

Apple responds to Spotify

Full Response from Apple 

What Spotify is demanding is something very different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem — including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers — without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it — even going so far as to take these creators to court.

I am not sure I’d quite agree with Spotify “using” the App Store to “dramatically” grow their business without making any contributions to the “marketplace”. What they mean is using the App Store and not paying Apple for that privilege. Also the jab making “ever-smaller” contributions to the artist, is a separate issue all together and not the point of this particular argument. It’s a valid argument, just not this one.

The only time we have requested adjustments is when Spotify has tried to sidestep the same rules that every other app follows.

Mmm. That every app follows. 🤔 What about Apple Music? Does it go through the same app approval process?

The only contribution that Apple requires is for digital goods and services that are purchased inside the app using our secure in-app purchase system

Oh, you left out the part where the purchase system is the only option. Against the rules to link out the any other option Against the rules to even mention having any other products of any kind that is not purchased directly through the in-app system. This is explicably user hostel on Apple’s part. Why aren’t talking about Google’s Play Store because you can link to, mention, advertise other tiers and products in your app. That’s the point, there are options. Look at Netflix if you download the app, and don’t have an account, there is nothing for the user to do. They can’t sign up, they don’t have a clue what to do, or where to go. That is not a good user experience and wholly on Apple and their imposing rules.

I read this and I think, Apple is not budging on lowering the 30% fee. Not now, and with the focus on service revenue, not on an infinite time line. If anything, it will become more restrictive over time, not less.

Are We There Yet

With another day comes another company making a push for more podcasts in it’s lineup. Today that’s iHeart Radio

From The Verge

iHeartMedia will harness more than 850 radio stations to build its podcast audience and entice potential advertisers. The company today announced Sunday Night Podcasts, in which 270 stations will play a prerecorded podcast episode in between music or talk radio. The initiative will bring podcasts to the airwaves in every one of iHeart’s markets.

I like the idea of using other avenues besides the ‘podcast app’ to expose people to podcasts as a medium. I have friends and family that continue to listen to FM radio to this day, even with dozens of other options, their car is tuned into some random station I don’t know. They are unlikely to fire up their podcast app and find something interesting to listen to. This might be a soft sell that gets them over the hump? I guess we’ll see.

Auto Publish

Netlify deploy might auto publish?

Bill Gates accidentally makes the case to regulate the hell out of platform companies

It’s very tricky for platforms… these are winner-take-all markets. It really is winner-take-all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G to company M.

Bill Gates

My hope is after reading Ben Thompson’s Aggregation Theory I will be better equipped to answer the question I have. Ok, so how best to approach the tech industry in a way that promotes competition when the network effect is so strong?

Blackberry Sues Again

I didn’t realize that BlackBerry was still around, and haven’t been dismantled and sold off for scrape like Palm or Motorola. Turns out they are making a business as a patent troll. 🙄

BlackBerry, which refers to itself as a pioneer in mobile messaging, alleges Twitter “created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative user interface and functionality enhancing features that made BlackBerry’s products such a critical and commercial success in the first place.”

BlackBerry sues Twitter for patent infringement

Blog is the New Black

Bringing the blog back in-house

Rework Podcast

This move by Basecamp, along with other antidotal moves from others, maybe some research later, on moving away from curated platforms like Medium and other spaces where the author or company don’t really own the content or experience, to a self hosted content service like WordPress or Ghost is really on the rise. Maybe I’m just hyper aware of it from building out my own stream of content that is not tied to a specific platform, but I’m definitely seeing a growing trend.

Broadband Is Not A Stump Speech

Buttigieg isn’t the only Democratic candidate calling for more broadband in rural areas. Last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced her big broadband plan that would include an $85 billion grant program for nonprofits and local governments to build their own networks.

Pete Buttigieg rolls out $80 billion plan to improve rural broadband

It would be great if this sort of talk actually made it through election cycles. Like so man promises before it, ISP’s have and will continue to spend millions of dollars annually to keep their respective monopoly on providing subpar internet to rural Americans. 😢 Making promises like these nothing more than campaign rhetoric.

Comcast broke law 445,000 times in scheme to inflate bills, judge finds

When we talk about regulation for tech, maybe we should review net neutrality for ISP’s ?🤷🏻‍♂️

King County Superior Court Judge Timothy Bradshaw found that “Comcast violated the Consumer Protection Act more than 445,000 times when it charged tens of thousands of Washingtonians for its Service Protection Plan without their consent,” 

ArsTechnica

Maine lawmakers have passed a bill that will prevent internet providers from selling consumers’ private internet data to advertisers.

The state’s senate unanimously passed the bill 35-0 on Thursday following an earlier vote by state representatives 96-45 in favor of the bill.

Maine passes law preventing ISPs from selling browsing data without consent

Congress drops proposal to ban the IRS from competing with Turbotax

Follow up from a previous post on blocking the IRS from creating a free tax filing option to compete with Intuit.

Lawmakers are planning to drop a proposal to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from offering a free online tax-filing option, Politico and Pro Publica report. The provision was included in the Taxpayer First Act, which passed the House in April but has not passed the Senate. It was backed by the makers of private tax preparation software, including Intuit (makers of TurboTax) and H&R Block.

ArsTechnica

Congress Is About to Ban the Government From Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax.

In one of its provisions, the bill makes it illegal for the IRS to create its own online system of tax filing. Companies like Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block have lobbied for years to block the IRS from creating such a system. If the tax agency created its own program, which would be similar to programs other developed countries have, it would threaten the industry’s profits.

ProPublic

Having just done my taxes, and paying Intuit a hundred bucks every year to e-file my federal and state taxes, this story makes me even more wound up than usual. And yes, I could manually do them myself, but I’d rather spend that time doing other things I deem more important.

It just grinds my gears when private companies push and lobby to keep the status quo, keeping entities state, federal, or local from progressing and providing appropriate help for the public. This law only benefits share holders of companies that provide tax software. It in no way can be contorted to be “in the best interest of the public good”.

🤬

Cross Posting

So the cross posting from here wasn’t working, and it wasn’t until I figured out that the RSS feed didn’t have the updated URL scheme that the rest of the site has. 🤦‍♂️ It was only setup to populate the post slug, missing the month and year path.

Digital Library

Starbucks feels like a digital library for those that can can afford $5 coffee. I tend to see more people on their device or sharing content then anything else.

Facebook denies allegations that you make friends on Facebook

Facebook also denies that it collects, records, and maintains data on users’ “information and activity,” though it does admit that “users can provide Facebook with certain information.”

Facebook denies allegations that you make friends on Facebook

It is strange to me that anyone could say this, much less write it up in an official legal document, with a straight face.

Facebook now says its password leak affected ‘millions’ of Instagram users

TechCrunch

Facebook has confirmed its password-related security incident last month now affects “millions” of Instagram users, not “tens of thousands” as first thought

How many times is this sort of thing going to happen? I mean it as an honest question? What is it that is so intrinsic and addictive that the average person is willing to blatantly ignore how damaging to the general public, social safety, and personal data?!?

Facebook will pay you to let it track what you do on your phone

The app will monitor which apps are installed on a person’s phone, the time spent using those apps, the country you’re in, and additional app data

The Verge

… you don’t say

FaceTime Bug

Following an avalanche of stories breaking right now, like this one from ARS Technica

Users have discovered a bug in Apple’s FaceTime video-calling application that allows you to hear audio from a person you’re calling before they accept the call

I only FaceTime with family, I guess we’re gonna find out how many people actually use FaceTime! My guess? Pretty few use it outside immediate family.

Now does that mean that this bug doesn’t apply to me? Not at all, anyone can FaceTime my phone, and now they can listen in, even if I don’t pickup on my end. Software is hard, it will come down to how quickly Apple acts on this one.

FCC lets Verizon lock cell phones to network for 60 days after activation

While the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted Verizon’s request for a partial waiver from the open-access rule, it denied Verizon’s request for a declaratory ruling “finding the handset unlocking rule already permits such temporary locking.”

ARS Technica

As T-Mobile put it, they knew what the rules were when they bought in during the spectrum auction. I’m a little surprised at even the 60 day wavier. I’m struggling to find any tangible benefit to the customer, and not just some made up problems for Verizon. 🤷‍♂️

Find the truth. Tell the truth.

This is important, because when digital projects fail, it’s often not the technology, but the underlying culture that sets the precedence for success or failure. Operating inside a culture of fear will inevitably lead to digital project failure.

Find the truth. Tell the truth.

This really echos my sentiment. That technology is the easy part, the people and the culture are the really tough challenges.

Free as in Beer?

Today Github, recently acquired by the new Microsoft, announced unlimited free repos for all. This is an interesting turn, after wide spread outcry and running to places like Gitlab after the MS finalized the purchase last year. I am more and more skeptical of free services, as we all should be I’m looking at you Facebook, I’m looking right at you, and am happy to pay for the services I do use and value. So I’m a little torn over this one. On the one hand I’m happy that MS on all accounts is showing to be a ‘good steward’ of this corner stone of open source development. On the other hand, I wonder, why? MS is still a business. Maybe it’s a bit pessimistic, but I can’t help be a little weary of the good news. Like in a month the other shoe will drop. Over the past several years I have become, more and more, and new Microsoft fan. Most know to the point, I happily use a Surface Book for my day to day work, and I freakin’ love it. Still, this move seems unnecessary? At least for me, private repos wasn’t a problem I needed solved.