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.

The Death Cult of the American Car - The American Prospect

As Emily Badger and Alicia Parlapiano write at The New York Times, back in the mid-1990s, France and America were squarely in the middle of the pack of OECD countries when it came to road fatalities, with both at about 150 deaths per million inhabitants. Since then, France has cut its traffic death rate by over two-thirds, while America’s has only declined by about a tenth. During that time, we have been surpassed by middle-income nations that were formerly much deadlier, like Latvia and Lithuania.

We could do something about it. We choose not to. 😞

A San Francisco library is turning off Wi-Fi at night to keep people without housing from using it - The Verge

Some local residents scoffed at the value of 24/7 online access. “[We] have been presented with NO EVIDENCE that it does anything [to] ‘bridge the digital divide’ as the library claims,” said one email.

Imagine sitting in your climate controlled home, kitchen with plenty to eat, soft bed in the other room, emailing on your labtop that those less fortunate don’t need internet access after 6pm because it really bothers you personally.

OpenAI execs warn of “risk of extinction” from artificial intelligence in new open letter

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

This is from … checks notes … an AI company. 🤨

Twitter Is a Far-Right Social Network - The Atlantic

Twitter has long been described, even by its most ardent users, as a hellsite. But under Elon Musk, Twitter has evolved into a platform that is indistinguishable from the wastelands of alternative social-media sites such as Truth Social and Parler. It is now a right-wing social network.

Spot on.

Ford CEO came very close to saying the right thing about heavy EV batteries - The Verge

The Rivian R1T truck and R1S SUV run on batteries as large as 135kWh. The Hummer EV’s 212kWh battery is heavier than a Honda Civic.

Its what?!?

Does funding matter for schools? Most studies say yes. - Vox

It finds that when schools get more money, students tend to score better on tests and stay in school longer, at least according to the majority of rigorous studies on the topic.

No kidding. 🤦‍♂️ Education is so vastly underfunded across the board even small increases in money will have a net positive effect. Is there some amount of diminishing returns? Sure. But we are so far from that end of the spectrum one can only hope and dream that would be actually be a problem.

I’ve been mulling the idea of extending mastodon. Think about it similarly to how you currently use plugins for Wordpress. Additional functionality is added by the owner/admin or other users with privileges to do so. They can be added through the admin dashboard, or programmatically. An extension uses a set of hooks setup by the system itself and doesn’t mess around with the core functionality in anyway. Decoupling the system itself and ability to upgrade from any installed extensions.

The ultimate power is in giving people the ability to create their own spaces, their own communities, to modify the software as they see fit, but without sacrificing the ability of people from different communities to interact with each other.

– Eugen Rochko, Feb 20 2017, “The power to build communities: A response to Mark Zuckerberg”

I stacked diagram build from the ground up with activity pub, federation, and microblog. on top of that is the Mastodon open source software project. directly on top of that is what i’m calling ‘extensibility’ for now. then there are dozens of empty squares on top of extensibility. 3 are labeled. moderation, quote post, and formated posts. these are meant to be examples of what might be possilbe with a layer of plugin or extenstions on top of the mastodon core

Spotify CEO promises not to ‘overpay’ on podcast deals as Joe Rogan renewal approaches - The Verge

The podcast business isn’t profitable yet,

It’s been years and how many billions ?!?

Working on formatting and activity pub. Trying to get my head around how to send a post to an inbox from a client is that is even possible?

New Adventures

Today, I am starting a new adventure, no longer working at ThisDot, where I have been for the last three or so years. I am moving on into the Mastodon space. If you have not heard about Mastodon, we will give a post later with all the details. You can expect a lot more Mastodon social posting from me. I am joining Mammoth to really flush out and make the social web a great place for everybody. The precipice is that in 2011 and 2012, there was this idea around Twitter called “nerd Twitter”, where I met many people, made good friends, and networking was frictionless. It was the renaissance of social media. I hope to contribute and make Mastodon, through Mammoth, a pleasant, enjoyable, and positive place for everyone. Everyone should have that experience. I met people who are now very dear friends 10 to 15 years ago on Twitter. In a small community of like-minded interests, we were able to connect and chat openly. It was not a struggle to spend as little time as possible, and we were not bombarded by spam or other things that made it less pleasant. But we will talk about that in another post.

I am also really sad to be leaving the people at ThisDot, whom I have grown to enjoy and cherish my time with over the last three years or so. I have learned an enormous amount about programming, business, the web, and myself. It has been a real chance for growth, and I am very thankful for that opportunity to Tracy and everybody at ThisDot. Look forward to more from me about Mastodon from Mammoth. If you need a Mastodon app, you can get the app at Get If you need an instance, you can join at You can also check me out. I will put my handle in here, and I look forward to catching up with you.

How Disney won the latest battle in Florida governor DeSantis’s culture war - Vox

The new board’s only purview is to maintain roads and other essential infrastructure. The agreement limiting the board’s powers is effective for perpetuity or — should that be successfully challenged in court — at least “until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England living as of the date of this Declaration.”

That’s a pretty long time.