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Alfred is the most used app on my Mac. Over the years I've written several articles about how I use it here and here.

I use Alfred's built-in Clipboard History and occasionally I want to delete a specific clipboard item. I couldn't figure out how to do it or if I even could. I googled for an answer and found that Fn + Backspace will delete individual items. Okay, where and the hell is the Backspace key on a Mac keyboard? I'm sure that 99.9% of you probably already know the answer but I didn't. The Backspace key on a Mac is the Delete key. So to delete an individual clipboard history item in Alfred you use Fn + Backspace (delete key).

Maybe this post will be helpful for another Alfred user.

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Apple earnings and Punxsutawney Phil predicts 6 more weeks of winter

Apple Reports 1Q 2023 Results: $30.0B Profit on $117.2B Revenue Amid 'Challenging Environment'

“For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $117.2 billion and net quarterly profit of $30.0 billion, or $1.88 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $123.9 billion and net quarterly profit of $34.6 billion, or $2.10 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.” Uh Oh!

Apple Now Has More Than Two Billion Active Devices Worldwide

“There are more than two billion active iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple devices worldwide, Apple said today in the earnings report covering the first fiscal quarter of 2023.”

Punxsutawney Phil predicts more winter in Groundhog Day celebration

“Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog named for the western Pennsylvania town where he lives in a tree stump, predicted six more weeks of winter on Thursday, during an annual Groundhog Day celebration.” Some folks won't be happy this but I am.

Punxsutawney Phil has an exceptional track record

“Over the past 75 years, Punxsutawney Phil has correctly predicted whether there will be an early spring 69% of the time, according to an Axios analysis of NOAA data.”

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A curated list of interesting links with an emphasis on news, technology, and more by ldstephens

OpenAI launches ChatGPT Plus, starting at $20 per month

“Aiming to monetize what’s become a viral phenomenon, OpenAI today launched a new pilot subscription plan for ChatGPT, its text-generating AI that can write convincingly human-like essays, poems, emails, lyrics and more. Called ChatGPT Plus and starting at $20 per month, ChatGPT Pro delivers a number of benefits over the base-level ChatGPT, OpenAI says, including general access to ChatGPT even during peak times, faster response times and priority access to new features and improvements. The free ChatGPT tier is here to stay — it’s not going away. As for ChatGPT Plus, it’s only available to customers in the U.S. at the moment. OpenAI says it’ll begin the process of inviting people from its waitlist in the coming months and look to expand Plus to additional countries and regions “soon.””

+ OpenAI releases tool to detect AI-generated text, including from ChatGPT

“OpenAI’s classifier — aptly called OpenAI AI Text Classifier — is intriguing architecturally. It, like ChatGPT, is an AI language model trained on many, many examples of publicly available text from the web. But unlike ChatGPT, it’s fine-tuned to predict how likely it is that a piece of text was generated by AI — not just from ChatGPT, but any text-generating AI model.”

+ Google is asking employees to test potential ChatGPT competitors, including a chatbot called 'Apprentice Bard'

“One of the test products is a chatbot called Apprentice Bard, which uses Google’s conversation technology LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialogue Applications. “As a result of ChatGPT, the LaMDA team has been asked to prioritize working on a response to ChatGPT,” read one internal memo viewed by CNBC. “In the short term, it takes precedence over other projects,” the email continued, warning that some employees stop attending certain unrelated meetings. Apprentice Bard looks similar to ChatGPT: Employees can enter a question in a dialog box and get a text answer, then give feedback on the response. Based on several responses viewed by CNBC, Apprentice Bard's answers can include recent events, a feature ChatGPT doesn't have yet.”

White House goes after app store ‘gatekeepers’ Apple and Google

“The announcement came through a long-awaited Commerce Department report published Wednesday accusing Apple and Google of running online app markets that harm developers and consumers. Officials specifically called out how the companies restrict app downloads to their proprietary stores” The accusation that Apple's App Store harms consumers is total fucking bullshit so don't be fooled. The App Store is designed to protect users by keeping malware, cybercriminals, and scammers out of the App Store.

Peloton CEO Sees ‘Turning Point’ As Losses Narrow

“One year into the position, Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy said Peloton’s second-quarter earnings results are a possible “turning point” for the business, as subscription revenue exceeded hardware-related revenue. “We were on the brink of extinction, and that’s no longer the case,” McCarthy said. “We’ve put to bed questions about the viability of the business.”” My wife loves her Peloton. This will make her so happy.

GoodRx made money selling your health data. The FTC is making it pay.

“If you’re one of the tens of millions of people who used GoodRx to find bargains on your medications, the drug discount and price-shopping website and app might have done a little more than you bargained for: It sent your sensitive health data to data brokers as well as tech companies like Meta and Google to use for advertising, according to the FTC. The FTC announced on Wednesday that GoodRx has agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine and take various steps to ensure that it no longer shares health data for advertising purposes, that it obtains user consent to share health data for other reasons, and that it makes an effort to get the third parties with whom it previously shared data to delete that data.” Time to switch to CostPlus Drug Company? According to Mark Cuban CostPlus does not collect user data. Cuban said the online pharmacy does not collect data on its users—a likely concern for patients who are or could become pregnant in post-Roe America. (Mifepristone and misoprostol, the two drugs that can end a pregnancy, are not available for purchase at Cost Plus Drugs as of Nov. 21.) “Nothing,” he said in regards to data on prescriptions. “Nope. The only data I have is what they buy and the state they buy from.”

Stay Tuned with Preet – Politics, Punditry, and Restaurants

“Longtime New York Times columnist Frank Bruni joins Preet to discuss a few of his favorite topics: food, politics, language, and culture. Bruni also talks about several of the recent changes in his life, including an unusual medical ailment that inspired him to write a book, and his recent appointment as a professor of journalism and public policy at Duke University.”

Exclusive: Peacock Drops Free Tier for New Sign-Ups, Will Only Offer Paid Plans to New Customers

“Peacock will no longer offer their free tier for new subscribers, The Streamable has confirmed. Instead, new users who attempt to sign up for NBCUniversal’s streaming service will now only be given the option to subscribe to its two premium tiers — Peacock Premium and Peacock Premium Plus. Existing users will continue to have access to the free tier of Peacock, where a substantial library of film and TV will still remain.”

Tesla records $204M loss from bitcoin in 2022

“Tesla recorded a $204 million impairment loss in 2022 on its bitcoin holdings, according to regulatory filings. The loss was offset by $64 million in profits from bitcoin trading, leaving the automaker with a net loss of $140 million. Tesla had invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin during the first quarter of 2021, stating that it believed in the longevity of the cryptocurrency. At the time, the company said bitcoin was a great place to store cash and still access it immediately, all the while providing a better return on investment than more traditional central banks. In fact, after its initial purchase, Tesla promptly trimmed its position by 10%, making the automaker a quick $101 million.” I bet Tesla investors are unhappy with Musks bitcoin investment.

The Navy’s Dolphins Have a Few Things to Tell Us About Aging

“White caps were breaking in the bay and the rain was blowing sideways, but at Naval Base Point Loma, an elderly bottlenose dolphin named Blue was absolutely not acting her age. In a bay full of dolphins, she was impossible to miss, leaping from the water and whistling as a team of veterinarians approached along the floating docks. “She’s always really happy to see us,” said Dr. Barb Linnehan, the director of animal health and welfare at the National Marine Mammal Foundation, a nonprofit research organization. “She acts like she’s a 20-year-old dolphin.” But at 57, Blue is positively geriatric, one of the oldest dolphins in the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program. So the doctors had come to check on her heart.”

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We're All Just Saying Things on the Internet

This post has been sitting in Drafts for several days. The reason, I've been thinking about it a lot and didn't know if I wanted to publish it. But here we go.

I've been reading Chris Hannah's blog for several years. I found what he wrote about “saying things on the internet” to be very thoughtful. So I want to share it with you.

We're All Just Saying Things on the Internet

I like to think that my blog is just an online representation of myself, my thoughts, opinions, and maybe also just things that I think others may find interesting.

So why would people read my blog?

Well, I guess it's for the same reason that I follow people on Mastodon, why I subscribe to people on YouTube, and why I read so many blogs.

Most of the “content” I consume seems to stem from people going onto the internet to either express their thoughts or share their perspectives. That all seems rather simplistic, but I think it's true.

Does that mean a blog is someone just saying things on the internet? I think that's what I do. I think it's what other people do as well. And I think I like it.

Now on to more current thoughts, is this blog post, me talking to myself, or am I talking to the internet? I'm not sure. But if you've read this far, then you have just caught a small glimpse into what goes on inside my head.

Well put Chris! This is why me and many others have a personal blog.

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A curated list of interesting links with an emphasis on news, technology, and more by ldstephen | Mac Tip: Always show scroll bars on a Mac

Showing scroll bars all the time on a Mac provides a visual indicator of where you are in a document, web page, or app, and makes it easier to quickly navigate to different parts of a document. It can be especially helpful for users who have trouble using trackpads or prefer using a mouse. By always showing the scroll bar, it becomes easier to accurately move the scroll bar to the desired location on the page, and the user does not have to guess the position of the scroll bar based on the content of the page.

Go to “System Preferences” Select “General” Check the box next to “Always show scroll bars” With this setting enabled, scroll bars will always be visible, making it easier to navigate through long documents or webpages.

The National Security Implications of Charles McGonigal’s Arrest

“Charles McGonigal, the former special agent-in-charge (SAC) of foreign counterintelligence at the FBI’s New York field office, has been arrested and charged with sanctions violations and money laundering for his alleged involvement with a Russian oligarch. An indictment is only the government’s version of what’s often a complex story, McGonigal retained distinguished counsel, and we’re certain to learn more. But if a counterintelligence official that senior was indeed turned by foreign governments, it’s a serious blow to American interests.”

+ The Specter of 2016

“We are on the edge of a spy scandal with major implications for how we understand the Trump administration, our national security, and ourselves. On 23 January, we learned that a former FBI special agent, Charles McGonigal, was arrested on charges involving taking money to serve foreign interests. One accusation is that in 2017 he took $225,000 from a foreign actor while in charge of counterintelligence at the FBI's New York office. Another charge is that McGonigal took money from Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch, after McGonigal’s 2018 retirement from the FBI. Deripaska, a hugely wealthy metals tycoon close to the Kremlin, “Putin's favorite industrialist,” was a figure in a Russian influence operation that McGonigal had investigated in 2016. Deripaska has been under American sanctions since 2018. Deripaska is also the former employer, and the creditor, of Trump's 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort.”

The Fail Whale Cascade

“Going back to RSS feeds and topic authority sites for keeping up with development trends has been better than watching devrel people aggressively defend […] I’m on Mastodon, but I’m bored of what I call “the timeline era”. Scanning an unending stream of disconnected posts for topics of interest is no longer fun, I prefer deciding what to read based on titles, or topic-based discussion.” […] “Accounts that I want to keep up with are in my RSS reader.”

+ We Have A New Twitter

“But as it gets busier and busier, and popular users start to struggle like they did on Twitter. It becomes more and more apparent to me that it’s only a matter of time before it suffers very similar issues.” […] “Not to mention the reply guys are there, with all their “what about” tendencies.” […] “The problem is, as Luke covers in his post, snacking on the internet and trying to follow a never-ending stream of disconnected post is ultimately unfulfilling.”

Jenna Bush Hager, Progeny of Presidents, Is Now a Publishing Kingmaker

“There is a madcap performance within the Jenna Bush Hager morning routine. Coffee sloshes from her cup, occasionally threatening her “Today” show uniform. Lipstick tints a tooth or two until professionals intervene. Nonconformist strands of hair attach to her mouth at a staff meeting where she suggests that no true Texan would take the kind of “cowboy-cation” the show plans to feature. (“Hair in your mouth, you’re like my daughter,” her co-host, Hoda Kotb, faux-scolded off camera, straightening her up.)”

A Small Boat, a Vast Sea and a Desperate Escape From Russia

“The 44-year-old fisherman kept in motionless silence until the officers moved along. Knowing they would be back, Maksim went that night to the home of a friend, Sergei, who had received an unwelcome visit of his own. Together, they pored over maps at Sergei’s kitchen table, trying to find a way to flee the country and a war where thousands of young Russian men were dying. Sergei then offered a plan that, at first, seemed unfathomable.”

Putting Ideas into Words – Paul Graham

“Half the ideas that end up in an essay will be ones you thought of while you were writing it. Indeed, that's why I write them.”

“Writing about something, even something you know well, usually shows you that you didn't know it as well as you thought.”

“What I'm saying is that however much you learn from exploring ideas in other ways, you'll still learn new things from writing about them.”

+ The Need to Read

“Reading about x doesn't just teach you about x; it also teaches you how to write.”

“Would that matter? If we replaced reading, would anyone need to be good at writing?

The reason it would matter is that writing is not just a way to convey ideas, but also a way to have them.”

“There is a kind of thinking that can only be done by writing.”

“But if you need to solve a complicated, ill-defined problem, it will almost always help to write about it. Which in turn means that someone who's not good at writing will almost always be at a disadvantage in solving such problems.”

“You can't think well without writing well, and you can't write well without reading well. And I mean that last “well” in both senses. You have to be good at reading, and read good things.”

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Over the years I've I had periods when I'm into reading books and then not. After coming off a long period of not, I decided at the beginning of 2022 that I wanted to get into a routine of reading books again. I like to read fiction because it allows me to escape my everyday life and enter a new world.

My routine is pretty simple. I read in bed every evening before going to sleep. I usually get in about an hour of reading before I fall asleep. Last year I was able to read 19 digital books and 3 paperbacks which is damn good considering I hadn't read any books the year before.

I read on a Kindle Paperwhite and get my books on Amazon. I'm currently reading Jonathon Kellerman's Breakdown. Alex Delaware and Milo are just great fucking characters. At the same time, I'm reading Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. It's very different from what I would normally read but I think I'm going really like it.

If you're a dog person like me I want to recommend 3 books about dogs that I read last year.

  • The World Through Bella's Eyes: A Pit Bulls Story by Peter A Harrower and Lindsay K Harrower
  • Shelby's Story: by W. Bruce Cameron
  • A Dog's Journey: by W. Bruce Cameron
  • A Dog's Way Home: by W. Bruce Cameron

Here are some of my favorite authors:

  • Sue Grafton – Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries
  • Michael Connelly – Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer Series
  • Jonathan Kellerman – Alex Delaware Series
  • W. Bruce Cameron
  • James Patterson

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Homeless mom left her dog with note, ‘please love me.’ A shelter reunited them.

““Please keep my name. My name is Lilo,” the note read. “Please love me. My mom can’t keep me and is homeless with 2 kids. She tried her best but can’t get help. I cost too much for her.” “She really loves me and I’m a great dog and love to be loved on,” the note continued. “Please don’t abuse me.””

Intel's horrible quarter revealed an inventory glut and underused factories

“Intel's December earnings showed significant declines in the company's sales, profit, gross margin, and outlook, both for the quarter and the full year. Investors hated it, sending the stock over 9% lower in extended trading, despite the fact that Intel did not cut its dividend.” I wonder what impact losing Apple has had on Intel?

Bitwarden password vaults targeted in Google ads phishing attack

“On Tuesday, Bitwarden users began seeing a Google ad titled 'Bitward – Password Manager' in search results for “bitwarden password manager.” While BleepingComputer could not replicate this ad, it was seen by Bitwarden users on Reddit [1, 2] and the Bitwarden forums. The domain used in the ad was 'appbitwarden.com' and, when clicked, redirected users to the site 'bitwardenlogin.com.'” Ads have also been targeted toward 1Password. Don't get fooled by these phishing attacks.

As the Colorado River Shrinks, Washington Prepares to Spread the Pain

“The Interior Department had asked the states to voluntarily come up with a plan by Jan. 31 to collectively cut the amount of water they draw from the Colorado. The demand for those cuts, on a scale without parallel in American history, was prompted by precipitous declines in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which provide water and electricity for Arizona, Nevada and Southern California. Drought, climate change and population growth have caused water levels in the lakes to plummet.” “Negotiators say the odds of a voluntary agreement appear slim. It would be the second time in six months that the Colorado River states, which also include Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, have missed a deadline for consensus on cuts sought by the Biden administration to avoid a catastrophic failure of the river system.” Overbuilt!

+ Desalination won't save states dependent on Colorado River water “Desalination (or desalinization) is a complicated process that involves filtering out salt and bacteria content from ocean water to produce safe drinking water to the tap. While there are more than a dozen desalination plants in the U.S., mostly in California, existing plants don't have the capacity to replace the amount of water the Colorado River is losing.”

Things 3.17 Overhauls the App’s Shortcuts Actions

“Things 3.17 is out for iPhone, iPad, and Mac with greatly expanded support for Shortcuts. That opens up a much wider variety of possible automations than ever before. It’s a lot to take in at once, but I’ve been playing with these actions since the end of last year, so I thought I’d highlight what each does and share a few shortcuts that I’ve built with them. At the highest level, these are the kind of Shortcuts actions I like best. They work across all of Apple’s platforms and include parameters and predicate filtering, which allow users to build fine-tuned shortcuts that either weren’t possible before those features were added to Shortcuts or would have required users to jump through many more hoops to achieve.” I'm a long time Things user but not a bug Shortcuts user so this update didn't do much for me.

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iPhone Shipments Suffered Double-Digit Drop Over Holiday Quarter, Says IDC

“The research firm estimates that Apple shipped 72.3 million iPhones in the December quarter, down year-on-year from 85 million units, representing a 14.9% drop in shipments compared to the same quarter a year ago.” Part of the down turn could because people are hanging on to their iPhones longer than in the past. I'm still using an iPhone 11 and haven't seen a compelling reason to upgrade to the latest and supposedly greatest for several years.

The absolute audacity of Apple Podcasts

“They tell you your show won’t have an RSS feed, but they don’t tell you what you’re giving up by not having one. This is predatory. Apple is letting people pay $20/year for the privilege of being locked into an ecosystem run by people who think that they’re the best thing since the transistor radio. They make it virtually impossible to leave, even when they offer no meaningful value-add to folks who have outgrown their meager offering. Apple: y’all need to offer a way to leave. Trapping your customers is an incredibly shitty thing to do”

Meta says it will restore Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts

“Facebook-parent Meta said on Wednesday that it will restore former President Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks, just over two years after suspending him in the wake of the January 6 Capitol attack. “Our determination is that the risk [to public safety] has sufficiently receded,” Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said in a blog post. “As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.” Trump could be suspended for as much as two years at a time for violating platform policies in the future, Clegg said.” They'll fucking regret this sooner rather than later.

Pickup trucks, from workhorse to joyride

“America has a love affair with pickup trucks. In 2022, the top three best-selling vehicles in America were pickup trucks, and among them, the Ford F-series reigns supreme. The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for more than 40 years, and for that reason, it’s a useful proxy for pickups overall. But during those 40 years, pickups have changed significantly. They’ve become bigger, heavier and more tricked out, and they’ve transformed from workhorse vehicles to family cruisers.” I have one of these big trucks. A 2019 Toyota Tundra. Where we live in New Jersey there are a lot of trucks and I would say that the majority are used for there designed purpose and not joyriding. We live on 20 wooded acres of land and have lots of animals. We are hauling something in our truck several times a week. Trips for feed and hay, trips to Home Depot, Tractor Supply, firewood, plants, and more.

Crowdfunded DNA test identifies woman found dead in the desert in 1971

“Fingerprint tests from that period were inconclusive. Miller tried running them in a modern database, to no avail. “We struck out there,” Miller said. “We struck out with dental records. And so last resort was to try to ID her through her DNA.””

The one change that didn’t work: I deleted all my social media apps and found myself bored

“I also realised how much I had missed social media’s capacity to inspire. Since people are unpredictable, so is the content they throw up online. Any given scroll might uncover the genius of Takuya Nakamura playing trumpet over drum’n’bass, the writing of Chinelo Okparanta, or a Sylvanian Family drama. It turns out that a bit of time-wasting can lead you down unexpected and delightful paths.”

Has the Silicon Valley Bubble Burst? A Conversation w Jessica Lessin & William Cohan – On with Kara Swisher

“Rapid-fire layoffs, activist investors at the gate and tumbling stock prices — tech has had a bad year. But Kara tells Nayeema she’s seen it all before and that the industry, if not all its captains, will survive this shake-up, too. In the panel interview, Kara is joined by two other journalists: Jessica Lessin, founder and CEO of The Information, a scoop-laden tech news platform covering Silicon Valley, and William Cohan, a former M&A banker and a founding partner at Puck, another excellent source for scoops.”

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Did you know that Siri will restart your iPhone for you? To restart an iPhone using Siri, you'll need to say “Hey Siri” and verbally ask Siri to “restart my iPhone.” Siri will confirm that you want to restart your device and will then shut it off and turn it back on.

You can also shut down your iPhone with Siri. To shut down an iPhone using Siri, you'll need to say “Hey Siri” and verbally ask Siri to “turn off my iPhone” or “shut down my iPhone.” Siri will confirm that you want to shut down your device and will then turn it off.

That's my quick tip for the day.

A dog fell into California floodwaters. Saving him was a team effort.

“Brill, 37, called 911, the start of an hour-long scramble to rescue her pooch — one that would involve an Apple AirTag tracking device, firefighters and a homeless man confused about the barking that suddenly echoed throughout his encampment.” This is heartwarming story.

Pluralistic: The public paid for “Moderna’s” vaccine, and now we’re going to pay again (and again and again)from Cory Doctorow

“But the story of the Moderna vaccine isn't one of a company taking huge gambles with shareholder dollars. It's the story of the US government giving billions and billions of dollars to a private firm, which will now charge the US government – and the American people – a 4,460% markup on the resulting medicine.”

Another Two Weeks Wasted as Twitter Reverses Dumb Decision

“Twitter has reversed course on its extremely unpopular decision to make an algorithmically generated timeline the default for all Twitter users. On Tuesday, the company’s support account tweeted that Twitter would go back to users defaulting to seeing the accounts they follow in chronological order, if they so choose. The change will start on the web version of Twitter before “soon” updating the iOS and Android versions of the app.” They continue to make changes only to reverse them a few days later. What a shit show!

Tesla Will Build Heavy Trucks at a New Factory in Nevada

“Tesla will build a factory in northern Nevada that will manufacture electric semi trucks, the company said Tuesday, putting pressure on traditional truck makers like Daimler and Volvo that are just beginning to sell battery-powered vehicles. The factory, along with a new battery plant, will add 3,000 employees at an existing Tesla facility east of Reno. Tesla said it would invest $3.6 billion in the truck plant and the new factory to build the company’s most advanced battery cells.”

Stop Using Camera Covers for Your MacBook

“your MacBook has a few software solutions to help ensure your camera isn’t spying on you. The simplest thing you can do is notice the LED next to the webcam on your MacBook—it’s a security feature built into your Mac and it’s very hard, if not impossible, to bypass: When the light is on, your camera is active. You can also review your camera permissions by going to System Settings > Privacy & Security > Camera and denying camera access to apps that don’t need it. A similar preference is also available in your browser’s settings page, so be sure to revoke camera access for sites you don’t use.”

Mozilla revamps its read-it-later app Pocket with new tabs and curated recommendations

“Pocket, a popular read-it-later app acquired by Mozilla in 2017, is rolling out two major changes to its mobile reading experience, as it faces new competition from startups like Matter and open-source alternatives like Omnivore. The company today is revamping key features, including its Home tab and its “My List” tab, which is now being rebranded as “Saves.”” The revamped Android app is available now. The iOS app will be available later in the year.

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