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

Zoom adds collaborative notes you can edit while on a video call - The Verge

The company is adding a feature called Notes that allows users to create, share, and simultaneously edit a text document.

Because what I really want to do on a zoom call is take notes that are locked in zoom. 🙄

Not a problem to be solved. A choice made.

Every day, 120 Americans die at the end of a gun, including suicides and homicides, an average of 43,375 per year. According to the latest available analysis of data from 2015 to 2019, the US gun homicide rate was 26 times that of other high-income countries; its gun suicide rate was nearly 12 times higher. Mass shootings, defined as attacks in which at least four people are injured or killed excluding the shooter, have been on the rise since 2015, peaking at 686 incidents in 2021. There have been 476 mass shootings in the US in 2023 as of late August, and at the current pace, the US is set to eclipse the 2021 record this year.

It’s not a problem. It’s a choice. There are plenty of viable options and as a collective society we continue to allow this carnage to take place on a daily basis.

IBM’s generative AI tool aims to refactor ancient COBOL code for its mainframes | Ars Technica

IBM, eager to keep those legacy functions on its Z mainframe systems, wants that code rewritten in Java. It tried getting humans to do it a few years back, but now it has another idea. Yes, you guessed it: It’s putting AI on the job.

What could possibly go wrong? That said, I don’t have a better idea to ‘modernize’ the aging foundation of COBOL

Apple Podcasts now shows creators who’s really paying for their shows - The Verge

Some really interesting tidbits about Apple and their Podcast subscription platform.

Apple is trying to speed up this process for creators, too. The company is adding five new hosting providers for delegated delivery, which allows creators to publish premium content directly from their chosen host’s dashboard. The new delivery partners are Audiomeans, Captivate, Podbean, Podspace, and Transistor. A number of other platforms, including Blubrry, Libsyn, Triton Digital’s Omny Studio, and, already support delegated delivery on Apple Podcasts subscriptions. 

This is a welcome addition. Getting synced up with the underbelly of iTunes Connect for your podcast show with minimal api’s and a manual process from the mid-2000’s has been brutal.

Apple Podcasts is also teaming up with a partner better known in the music industry to help podcasters promote their work. The company is partnering with the Danish music analytics platform Linkfire – which generates special “smart links” that let marketers view insights on those who click on them – to help creators promote merch drops, sell tickets, or engage fans. During the virtual briefing, Linkfire announced a new integration with Apple called Linkfire for Podcasts that will debut later this year.

Now that is an interesting development.

A ‘rolling recession’ or a ‘richcession’ might spare the US economy from a full-scale downturn | AP News

The risk of recession is receding, rapidly,” said Neil Dutta, an economist at Renaissance Macro. Whether we are having a rolling recession or “richcession,” he said, “If you have to call it different names, it’s not a recession.

That’s a pretty good point.

Supreme Court says Apple can keep its App Store payment rules for now - The Verge

Justice Elena Kagan declined to vacate a stay on a lower court order about Apple’s anti-steering rules, which limit how iOS app developers can direct users to alternate payment methods. Kagan did not issue an explanation for the decision, but Epic’s petition was noted as denied on the Supreme Court’s website.

If you’ve been following along at home. Not a shocker.

Barstool Sportsbook operator rebrands as ESPN Bet in a new $1.5 billion licensing deal - The Verge

In practice, this is what Iger’s plan looks like, with ESPN providing promotional services, access to ESPN talent, and branding betting content on its platforms under the ESPN banner.

Also entertaining to see Igor do a lot of word smithing to make sure that it’s not Disney gambling.

“…we’re not actually causing the bets to be made. We’re just enabling people to link to companies that do that.”

Disney used to hate gambling. Now it’s doing a $2 billion sports betting deal.

I enjoyed Vox’s headline a bit more.

If a Cactus Can’t Survive This, Neither Can You

It’s not just getting a little hotter. It’s getting so hot that saguaro cacti are deflating in the desert. They evolved roughly 20,000 years ago. They’ve spent millennia adapting to a hot desert environment. They live up to 200 years in the hottest, driest environments on the planet. These cactuses are saying, “I can’t take it anymore,” and sagging over dead. And we’re being told we can adapt.

It’s been startling to see giant 15 ft cactus that I walk by everyday just peel apart and sag like the bouncy house at the end of a birthday party.

How cities can stem the tide of pedestrian deaths from large cars and SUVs | Ars Technica

In my view, communities seeking to discourage the predominance of oversize vehicles and encourage use of smaller, lighter, and slower vehicles could consider taking such steps as:

  • Creating prioritized parking spaces closer to stores for all forms of mobility that are narrow or less than 8 feet (2.5 meters) long.
  • Using posts or bollards, which can be removable, to limit vehicle access to commercial areas and neighborhoods where pedestrians, bikes, and smaller cars get priority.
  • Radically narrowing travel lanes on streets to force traffic to slow down and free up space for wider sidewalks and bike lanes.
  • Limiting or ending vehicle access to streets near schools and economically vibrant commercial districts, either permanently or at high-use times of day.

This is what I would call the absolute minimum. I too drive a giant SUV, and I actively despise it. But I don’t feel safe, and frankly am less safe in a smaller car or worse on my bike. While I cycle on the weekends, my office is a meager 3 miles away and I drive. There is a bike lane the entire way. It is unprotected and cars regularly go 40-50 mph on what is a 35 mph road. It is simply not a matter of if I were to be hit by a suv or truck, but a matter of when.

Lyft, the Largest Bikeshare Operator in North America, Wants Out of the Business

“If what is in that WSJ story is true,” said David Zipper, a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School who studies urban mobility, “it suggests there may be a conflict of interest that is irreconcilable between bikeshare and ridehail.”

Pretty obvious today that it is a clear conflict of interest to run a bike share and ride share and think they are complimentary to each other. Why don’t we have bike share as a part of a cities general public transportation infrastructure along with buses, trains, trollies, etc?

Bit of follow up. Lyft has put its bike share, Citi, up for sale. [](For Sale) - Software is a vehicle for delivering value to people.

Software is a vehicle for delivering value to people. Don’t get lost in the tools; keep your sight fixed on the value created.

Don’t make me tap the sign.

Cristiano Ronaldo says Saudi Pro League ‘better’ than MLS - ESPN

Al Nassr striker Cristiano Ronaldo said the Saudi Pro League “is better” than MLS and that he has no plans to play in the United States or return to a team in Europe.

Alternate Title: Person Paid a Ton of Money Says Their League is ‘Better’ 🙄

Increasing speed limits can lead to more crashes and deaths, AAA finds - The Verge

The motor club association analyzed a dozen roads and found that lowering speed limits can decrease crash frequency while also doing little to lengthen commute times.

Filed under, No Shit.

Inter Miami CF Signs Seven-Time Ballon d’Or Winner, World Cup Champion, Lionel Messi  | Inter Miami CF

Inter Miami CF today announced the signing of seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and World Cup Champion, Lionel Messi. The Argentine superstar, who will occupy a Designated Player slot, is expected to join the team in the coming days, and his contract will run through the 2025 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

So looking forward to this.

Mastodon fixes critical “TootRoot” vulnerability allowing node hijacking | Ars Technica

In all, Mastodon’s Thursday patch batch fixed five vulnerabilities. One of the bugs, tracked as CVE-2023-36459, also carried a critical severity rating. Mastodon’s bare-bones writeup described the flaw as an “XSS through oEmbed preview cards.”

Patched today on Safe and sound. 🔒

What does AUTHORIZED_FETCH actually do? | Sunny Garden Hub

Putting this here for reference later.

There seems to be increased interest lately in the Mastodon configuration settings AUTHORIZED_FETCH and the newer and lesser known DISALLOW_UNAUTHENTICATED_API_ACCESS.