ldstephens

Rohan Goswami, CNBC – Vinod Khosla and Palantir's Jacob Helberg call on Senate to ban TikTok: It's 'a weapon of war'

“Bytedance is not sitting on the sidelines, however. The company mobilized its user base to oppose the House bill, urging its millions of users to call their congressional representatives and voice their opposition. The in-app notifications prompted a flood of phone calls that overwhelmed some congressional offices.”

“Helberg said the effort was a prime example of the risk TikTok posed. “It was a live demo of precisely the kinds of concerns that we have been trying to highlight to elected officials,” he told CNBC. “All of these concerns that before were theoretical were highlighted in full Technicolor for everyone to see.””

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Every business that is reliant on another company's platform for their livelihood is at risk. I've discussed this before, and here's another example. This is a truly unfortunate situation.

Brandon Saltalamacchia, Google Is Killing Retro Dodo & Other Independent Sites

“The main source of our traffic was through Google Search. Whenever you searched for something retro gaming-related, our hope was that you would stumble across our website for advice, as we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into expert journalists to provide you with answers to your retro gaming queries. It worked incredibly well; Google’s search engine did what it entailed, showing users informative content created by human experts.” […] “Since September 2023, Google has hidden our site from millions of retro gamers, reducing our organic traffic and revenue by 85% and causing our business to be on the edge of going under.” […] “Unfortunately, it’s not looking good for us, and in all honesty we’re all out of cash.”

As I mentioned earlier, this is a sad story. Even though I'm not a gamer myself, if you are perhaps you could consider showing some support for this company.

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I just watched part of a video where the presenter said that to get in the writing flow you need to write at least 1000 words a day. To me, that seems undoable for most people. First off how does one come up with enough ideas to write every day let alone a 1000 words every day?

I’m trying to write a 1000 words right now writing about needing to write 1000 words a day and this is only 88 words thus far.

I guess to write more words about writing 1000 words a day I could ask an LLM for some help but of course, that wouldn’t be me doing the writing.

Much of what I’m trying to write about requires research, thinking time. And importantly, my writing and thinking are influenced by others’ thoughts and ideas. “Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.” — David McCullough

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BrettTerpstra

I've been blogging for over 20 years now, making websites for 28 years, and before all of that I was running a BBS that had users from all over the U.S. (but only one phone line/modem, so it was slow communication). And I've seen an unsettling shift over the last 10 years that I feel like writing about.

It used to be (10, 20 years ago) that birds of a feather in the blogging world would share each other's work and sustainably build audiences together. I was part of an informal “network” of blogs that frequently shared each other's posts, when they were noteworthy, and getting “seen” was as easy as making good content. Getting mentioned on a larger site meant measurable traffic and often new subscribers to your work, and it was a meaningful way of building an audience. The audience I currently have is largely a product of those days.

My larger projects brought in new readers. 20 years ago MoodBlast was my starting point, then the Blogsmith Bundle got attention from Merlin Man, Marked got attention from Daring Fireball, and all of that netted new traffic and more followers. These days, it's a lot harder, and the attention of major players has much less impact. Bunch got a fair amount of press. Write-ups in major online media outlets, features from creators like David Sparks, and even some print publications worldwide. And I saw a swell in the number of downloads every time, but none of it filtered back to building my readership. Not the way MoodBlast or Marked did a decade ago.

[…]

Even getting linked on Hacker News doesn’t tip the needle the way it used to (or the way getting Dugg used to. IYKYN.).

[…]

Search Engine traffic is down for many of us because the major engines' output is flooded with ads and content that is, at best, knock-off content designed to spam the results.

[…]

This is all to say that I recognize that things have changed. I just don't think it's for the better.

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Hey friends, I just discovered that Google's Gemini can summarize YouTube videos. This isn't something that I would do all that often but it could come in handy on occasion so I thought I would share it with you.

If you're not familiar with Gemini it's a large language model Developed by Google AI similar to ChatGPT.

Here's how it works:

  1. Find your target video
  2. Copy the video URL
  3. Head to Gemini
  4. Paste the copied YouTube video URL into the prompt field on the Gemini page. Then, type a clear instruction like “Summarize this video” or “What are the key points of this video?”
  5. Click submit and wait a few seconds. Gemini will analyze the video (using captions) and present you with a summary.

So, the next time you find a YouTube video that piques your interest but time is tight, give Gemini a try.

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Drafts is my go-to app for capturing all my text-based ideas. Once I'm ready to turn those ideas into blog posts, I rely on Drafts actions to move them to iA Writer, my preferred writing environment.

Previously, I used a “Save files as” Drafts action, which involved a few cumbersome steps. First, I had to manually change the file extension from .txt to .md (Markdown format for blog posts). Then, I needed to navigate through Finder and select the specific folder (Ideas or Drafts) where I wanted to save the file. This process felt inefficient, and I wanted a more streamlined way to move my content directly to the target folder.

To create an action to do exactly this requires using Drafts Bookmark feature.

A bookmark is a reference to a folder in the file system. Bookmarks allow you to grant permissions to work with files in folders that Drafts would not otherwise be able to access due to App Sandboxing security.”

The File action step can be used to save content from Drafts to files. File action steps can be configured to use a Bookmark by selecting the “Bookmark” destination, and assigning a bookmark name.

To get started, I installed the “Save to File in ‘Test’ Bookmark” action, which writes to a file named “Test” in a designated bookmark. I then customized the action for my needs, creating Bookmarks for both my Ideas and Drafts folders in Finder. With these actions in place, I can now save directly from Drafts to the desired folders. Since iA Writer mirrors these folder structures, the files automatically appear in the corresponding locations within iA Writer.

Resources:

  1. Bookmarks | Drafts User Guide
  2. Save to File in “Test” Bookmark | Drafts Directory
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A 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Jersey on Friday, roughly 60 miles north of where we live.

I was working at my desk when I felt a low rumbling begin. As the intensity increased, the house started shaking. Having lived in Southern California for most of my life and experiencing numerous earthquakes, I immediately recognized the tremors. While it wasn't a major event for me, it was a different story for residents of the Tri-State area (New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut) unaccustomed to such ground movement. Buildings rumbled and swayed, triggering a flurry of panicked phone calls.

Within hours, the Holland Tunnel was closed for inspections, causing delays for drivers. Flights departing from LaGuardia and Newark airports were also grounded, resulting in up to 45-minute delays.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy activated the state's emergency operations center to assess any potential damage. Similarly, New York Governor Kathy Hochul's team is continuing to evaluate critical infrastructure, including roads and bridges, for any possible damage.

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My note-taking system was a chaotic mess. Determined to get organized, I cleaned it up.

Breaking Up with Apple Notes

Apple Notes offered initial convenience, but exporting notes was limited to PDFs. I wanted the flexibility of having my notes in accessible files, not a closed-off database.

Decluttering and Consolidation

The first step involved a purge of obsolete and unused notes in Apple Notes, slashing the count from a 260 to 69. These remaining notes were then imported into my Obsidian vault, where they were merged with my existing note files. This consolidation means all my notes now reside as individual files within Finder.

A Streamlined Filing System

For optimal organization, all my files organized in Finder in 3 main folders:

  • My File Cabinet: This folder is for all my critical documents.
  • My Obsidian Vault: This folder houses all my notes and highlighted excerpts.
  • Writing: This folder is a central repository for all my writing projects and archived material.

Effortless File Retrieval with HoudahSpot

By transitioning everything to individual files, I have HoudahSpot for effortless searching. HoudahSpot for Mac is a powerful and intuitive search tool that revolutionizes how you find files on your computer. No more aimlessly clicking through folders or relying on rudimentary search functions. HoudahSpot empowers you to locate files swiftly using a vast array of criteria, including file names, content, modification dates, and more. Its intuitive interface paired with advanced search capabilities makes it an invaluable tool for anyone seeking to streamline their file management on macOS.

Independence from Proprietary Apps

Most importantly, I've liberated myself from the constraints of proprietary database apps. My valuable data is no longer hostage to a single platform.

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Kev Quirk

So I just sent my email subscribers a final email explaining that I won't be sending them any more emails. That's because I've cancelled my Buttondown subscription and decided to stop the post-to-email service on this blog.

Well, a few days ago I sent an email to all the subscribers on the list asking them:

  • Whether or not they find the service useful
  • If they do, to send me an email to let me know

It been 4 days and no-one has emailed me, so I think that's pretty telling. […] A very conservative estimate of my web server logs show that this site (and RSS feed) gets many orders of magnitude more than that, every month.

I stopped taking new email subscriptions and sending emails for posts to existing subscribers of this blog several months ago for essentially the same reasons as Kevin. The majority of the views for this blog come from read write.as, the RSS feed and google search.

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I had sold my M2 11” iPad Pro and iPad Mini.

So, in the spirit of simplifying my life, I decided to ditch the iPads so there's no more internal struggle about underutilizing them. I traded them in for an iPhone 15 Pro Max, joining my trusty M1 MacBook Air. With Apple Silicon Macs, everything changed for me. They are a game changer!

So I thought I would update you on how that has worked out. Honestly, I don't miss having an iPad at all. Between my iPhone 15 Pro Max and M1 Air, I get everything done. It has simplified my life. No more wrestling with whether the iPad fits in my tech hardware stack. What a relief!

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