Apple News Plus is ready to work offline - The Verge

Even if subscribers are outside cellular or Wi-Fi range (or if there’s a massive outage), Apple News Plus on iOS 17.5 can still supply them content now that it’s added Offline Mode —

In the year 2024 it is ridiculous to think that an app on my iPhone only gets updated with the OS itself.

4 common arguments against DEI—and how to dismantle each one - Fast Company

In the 1940s, these sidewalk modifications were designed so that war veterans and soldiers with disabilities could better access walking paths. While initially an effort to support a specific community, people with strollers, bikes, and many more found sidewalk curb cuts beneficial to their mobility and access, creating unexpected but welcome positive externalities.

Unexpected. Positive. Externalities.

Manton Reece - TikTok bill is not xenophobic

Wondering about China’s influence on the TikTok algorithm isn’t xenophobic. It’s not about the people. It’s about the leadership. In the same way we can blame Putin for the war in Ukraine and still be sympathetic and trusting of the Russian people, we can be skeptical of the motivations of the Chinese Communist Party and still respect people in China, admire their culture, and welcome Chinese immigrants to America with open arms.

Really well said. 100% agree.

Linux is now an option for safety-minded software-defined vehicle developers | Ars Technica

There’s a new Linux distro on the scene today, and it’s a bit specialized. Its development was led by the automotive electronics supplier Elektrobit, and it’s the first open source OS that complies with the automotive industry’s functional safety requirements.

2024 The Year of Linux on the … automobile?

The Efforts to Extend ActivityPub - We Distribute

“I think there will be a working group chartered at the W3C to make backwards-compatible changes,” Evan Prodromou explains, “especially clarifying difficult text, and possibly recommending profiles for other standards…”

GE Profile™ Leads the Way in AI Technology and Precision Cooking Modes with Cookcam™ AI | GE Appliances Pressroom

GE Profile™ is introducing a new over-the-air software upgrade to owners of select wall ovens with in-oven cameras with Cookcam™ AI. The new innovative AI feature recognizes what is being cooked and automates the rest. Harnessing the images of the in-oven cameras, it expertly identifies your food and recommends the best Precision Cooking Mode, ensuring great results every time.

Once the food is placed in the oven and the door is shut, the camera takes images[1] of the oven cavity and uses AI and machine learning to detect and identify the food. Within a few seconds, the oven will chime and recommend a specific Precision Cooking Mode on the oven’s LCD touchscreen and cooking is underway with just a few taps on the screen.

Where to even start?

  • over-the-air updates
  • built in camera(s) plural
  • AI and ML
  • touchscreen

An oven should have NONE of these things.

Paying people to work on open source is good actually - Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Many, many more people should be getting paid to write free software, but for that to happen we’re going to have to be okay accepting impure or imperfect mechanisms. Criticize those mechanisms if you like. Work to change the underlying societal inequities – please!

But when a maintainer finds a way to get paid, celebrate them. It’s a win for all of us.

I am reminded of a Talk by Mike Monteiro appropriately called “Fuck You. Pay Me” if you haven’t seen it, absolutely worth your time. # Mike Monteiro: F*ck You, Pay Me

Apple is officially dropping iPhone support for web apps in the EU - The Verge

Apple says it’s removing homescreen apps for users in the EU because bringing them into compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) would involve “an entirely new integration architecture” that’s “not practical” to build on top of the other changes it’s been forced to make. One of these changes requires Apple to let third-party browsers use their own engines on iOS.

Wow. Just wow. While I shouldn’t be surprised by Apple’s actions, they continue to raise the bar on being actively hostile towards the web and their own users when enacting their service fee isn’t possible.

Mastodon is currently at a crossroads.

Despite experiencing steady growth over the past few years, especially with the upheaval of Twitter, Mastodon has struggled to fully welcome the influx of users from other communities and has not made significant technical improvements to enhance the new user experience. It wasn’t originally designed for rapid expansion, which is understandable, but many users, including myself, had hoped it would become a vibrant and safe hub for diverse people, ideas, memes, and news.

Adhere to Our Standards

New Mastodon users often encounter what I liken to a “Home Owners Association” of the platform—overzealous members who enforce their own etiquette, from demanding alt text on images to issuing content warnings. This group, although not the majority, can create an unwelcoming atmosphere, reminiscent of high school cliques, which can be off-putting for those looking to find their community.

Feature Limitations

Mastodon’s design makes it difficult to find people you know, with search functionality limited to your own instance and only a small percentage of users opting into ‘full text search’. Just 4.22% as of Dec 2023. There’s no general user search outside of what Google can index, and any attempt to enhance search capabilities, such as the Ex-Searchtodon experiment, often meets with community backlash. Additionally, features like quote posts and markdown formatting are not supported, as they are seen as tools for negative behavior. While alternative Mastodon forks offer these features, they are not easily accessible to the average social media user.

Looking Forward

The shift from closed social platforms to an open web has been gradual, and we’re just beginning to see the potential. For further progress, we need an open platform like Mastodon but with more flexibility, customization, and better integration. Features like quote posting, markdown, auto-generated hashtags, and more should be readily available, similar to how Wordpress.com allows users to easily add functionality through plugins without technical expertise. The future should allow for such extensibility in social platforms, making them accessible to everyone without the need for technical know-how like server setup or forking code repositories.

Full-Scratch Implementor of OAuth and OpenID Connect Talks About Findings | by Takahiko Kawasaki

The OpenID Connect website says “OpenID Connect 1.0 is a simple identity layer on top of the OAuth 2.0 protocol.” and this gives an impression that OpenID Connect can be implemented easily and seamlessly on top of an existing OAuth 2.0 implementation. However, the truth is utterly different. IMHO, OpenID Connect is virtually OAuth 3.0.

Oh you know. Just some light reading on oauth and openId protocols. 🙃

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free — ProPublica

But the success of TurboTax rests on a shaky foundation, one that could collapse overnight if the U.S. government did what most wealthy countries did long ago and made tax filing simple and free for most citizens.

Seriously. Do it, like yesterday.

The 2024 Kia EV9, an electric three-row SUV designed with the US in mind | Ars Technica

American car buyers love purchasing way more car than they need. Have a kid and a dog? You’d better get a Suburban. Need to tow a Hobie Cat to the lake once or twice a year? Get a full-size diesel four-wheel drive pickup. Looking at an EV for your family? Well, it had better do 400 miles at a time and charge in 15 minutes, despite you having a six-mile commute.

On point.

inessential: Corporations Are Not To Be Loved

But I need to remember, now and again, that Apple is a corporation, and corporations aren’t people, and they can’t love you back. You wouldn’t love GE or Exxon or Comcast — and you shouldn’t love Apple. It’s not an exception to the rule: there are no exceptions.

Apple doesn’t care about you personally in the least tiny bit, and if you were in their way somehow, they would do whatever their might – effectively infinite compared to your own – enables them to deal with you.

No Exceptions.

Why Platformer is leaving Substack

Not all of you use these features. Some of you might not have seen them. But I can speak to their effectiveness: In 2023, we added more than 70,000 free subscribers. While I would love to credit that growth exclusively to our journalism and analysis, I believe we have seen firsthand how quickly and aggressively tools like these can grow a publication.

The features referred to here are the network and engagement tools that Substack has built over the last couple years. Mainly Notes and recommendations. These are powerful tools of engagement and discovery. Maybe, just maybe ActivityPub offers the same rolling power to any site on the internet and not just custom, closed silos?

Volkswagen is adding ChatGPT to its infotainment system | Ars Technica

From mid-2024, we can add the VW ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, ID.7, Tiguan, Passat, and Golf to the list of cars with decent voice commands. Using “Hello IDA” as the prompt, VW drivers will be able to control their infotainment, navigation, and climate control by voice, and there’s also a general-knowledge search built in. VW notes that ChatGPT doesn’t get access to any vehicle data, and search queries and answers are deleted immediately. The feature should come to VW electric vehicles if those vehicles already have the latest infotainment system, VW told Ars.

No. Just no.

Polish Hackers Repaired Trains the Manufacturer Artificially Bricked. Now The Train Company Is Threatening Them

four white-hat hackers helped a regional rail company in southwest Poland unbrick a train that had been artificially rendered inoperable by the train’s manufacturer after an independent maintenance company worked on it.

Absolutely amazing.

My $500M Mars Rover Mistake: A Failure Story — Chris Lewicki

I had learned from countless experiences in this and other projects that bad news doesn’t get better with age so I immediately keyed the mic on my headset and told Leo, the test conductor running the other testing in parallel, what had just happened. His response twisted the knife in my chest. ‘Yeah, we seem to have lost all spacecraft telemetry just a bit ago.’ NOT a good sign.

We have all been there in one form or another. It doesn’t ever make feel any less gut wrenching.

Truck bloat is killing us, new crash data reveals - The Verge

How tall are we talking here? According to the IIHS, the average US passenger vehicle has gotten about four inches wider, 10 inches longer, eight inches taller, and 1,000 pounds heavier over the past 30 years. Many vehicles are more than 40 inches tall at the leading edge of the hood. And on some large pickups, the hoods are almost at eye level for many adults.

This really is ridiculous. And yet I also drive one of this oversized moving metal death boxes. Why? I don’t feel safe in a smaller vehicle with such a large number of matching sized trucks and suv’s on the road. I also live in the western United States, where the ability to walk anywhere regardless of motor traffic is absolutely abysmal. That’s a rant for another day. I would gladly give up my monstrous suv for a sedan (or better still reliable public transport), if I wasn’t constantly only able to see the headlights and tires of the truck next to me.

The First 100 Subscribers for Elite Hoops | Swiftjective-C

I think the sweet spot is to hit both of those segments (well-crafted, doing the platform well while being a product with an obvious use-case). You see it with Flighty, Slopes, Cardpointers and several other apps that manage to use Apple’s Cool New Thing™️ but in a way that truly makes their customer’s problems go away, or get a bit easier. Plus, getting those Apple features in the App Store can be a wonderful way to get steady downloads.

100% agree.

Disney is about to own all of Hulu - The Verge

Disney is buying up Comcast’s stake in Hulu. The entertainment giant announced Wednesday that it “expects it will pay” $8.61 billion to acquire Comcast’s 33 percent stake, giving Disney full ownership of Hulu.

With ESPN as a breakout line item for Disney, this makes total sense.

Fall COVID shot uptake is an “abysmal” 7%; wastewater testing impaired | Ars Technica

More than a month since US health officials recommended updated COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans, only 7.1 percent of US adults have rolled up their sleeves for the shot and just 2.1 percent of children have been immunized.

Seriously?!? Am I in that small of a minority that doesn’t want to get sick?! Come on!

A Message from Prashanth Chandrasekar, CEO Stack Overflow - Stack Overflow

This year is no different, ranging from the monumental efforts to successfully launch OverflowAI to dealing with the ongoing threats to customer budgets shifting due to the macroeconomic pressures impacting the entire tech industry. This is why we have been so focused on our path to profitability, even as we commit to the continued product innovation of Stack Overflow for Teams and the health of the public platform by building out our AI/ML capabilities.

I’m sorry. Can we take a closer look at the start of that second sentence? "… focused on our path to profitability, …" Uh, what? Founded in 2008, acquired by Prosus for $1.8B in August 2021, raised a funding total of 153 million, with a staff of roughly 250-500, and it’s not profitable?

I end up on Stack Overflow multiple times a day, sometimes more if things aren’t going particularly well. I assumed they ran a nice little business. They’ve been around as long as I can remember, they have plenty of traffic and content, and an advertising model. Plus an enterprise plan for virtually a ‘private Stack Overflow’ just for your company. And yet, not profitable. This really is hard to me to even fathom.

Downtown Salt Lake City’s “virtuous loop,” explained - Vox

Downtown Salt Lake has built more new apartments since 2020 than downtown Manhattan, according to data analyzed by Tracy Hadden Loh, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Brookings Metro program.

That’s really awesome.

GM now has its own API for software developers to make cool apps for its cars - The Verge

GM announced a new vehicle services definition called “uServices” for the automotive software developer community. In essence, uServices is meant to serve as GM’s own API for other software developers to build apps that can work across multiple lineups of vehicles.

I see this “platform” lasting maybe 5 years. And no competitor using it. As a developer I can’t imagine putting forth any effort for apps. Is GM gonna pay for 3rd party apps? Who wants an app subscription that only works in the car and not on my phone?

Rest in peace, neglected iTunes Movie Trailer app and website

Throughout the 2000s, the website was the default destination for many folks. It was first launched as a sort of promotion for Apple’s QuickTime architecture, and it was the best place to watch high-quality trailers before YouTube came along. The iPhone app launched in 2011, and that was also popular—at least initially.

I was one of those people that made a habit of going to the Movie Trailer site, and later the iPhone App, and watching trailers for new movies. A habit that I continue to enjoy today. While I continue to watch movie trailers, YouTube has figured out that is something I do, and continues to serve them up to me there. I haven’t opened the trailer app on my phone in years. It now just redirects to the Apple TV app.

🪦 R.I.P. iTunes Movie Trailers