ldstephens

Opinion

iA Writer has been in my writing toolbox since 2017. It's not an app that I use every day but often. So next week we're going to get version 6. What I'm most interested in seeing is what the payment model will be. Will it be a one-time purchase with a paid upgrade as it has always been or a subscription? I'm guessing both options will be available.

#Apps #Opinion

Casey Newton points out “that Sandberg held many roles at Facebook over the years, and helped guide it through several tumultuous periods. In conversations with people who worked closely with her, though, there were really only two distinct eras in Sandberg’s time at Facebook. They fit neatly, into two seven-year periods.”

“From 2008 to 2015, Sandberg played a critical role in Facebook’s rise. Coming from a top business job at Google, she gave the young company a credibility among advertisers that it previously lacked. Mark Zuckerberg trusted her with functions that he viewed as less critical to the company’s success than the product and growth teams on which he spent more of his time.”

Shira Ovide, writing for the New York Times

Sandberg spearheaded a plan to build from scratch a more sophisticated system of advertising that was largely based on what she had helped develop at Google. Ads on Facebook were tied to people’s activities and interests on the site. As at Google, many advertisers bought Facebook ads online rather than through sales personnel, as had been typical for TV or newspaper ads. Later, Sandberg cultivated new systems for Facebook advertisers to pinpoint their potential customers with even more precision.

Google and Facebook transformed product marketing from largely an art to a sometimes creepy science, and Sandberg is among the architects of that change. She shares in the credit (or blame) for developing two of the most successful, and perhaps least defensible, business models in internet history.

All the anxiety today about apps snooping on people to glean every morsel of activity to better pitch us dishwashers — that’s partly Sandberg’s doing.

“The second era, from 2016 on, looked very different.”

Shira Ovide, writing for the New York Times

Sandberg was also partly responsible for Facebook’s failures during crucial moments, notably when the company initially denied and deflected blame for Russia-backed trolls that were abusing the site to inflame divisions among Americans ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

[…]​

Sandberg initially said publicly that Facebook played little role in the organizing of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. That wasn’t quite true. As my colleagues Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang reported, people used Facebook to spread misinformation about election fraud, which fueled anger among the protesters. Some rioters used Facebook to openly discuss the logistics of the attack ahead of time.

In their 2021 book, “An Ugly Truth,” Sheera and Cecilia wrote that to Sandberg’s detractors, her response was part of a pattern of trying to preserve the company’s reputation or her own rather than do the right thing.

Sandberg was also among those responsible for Facebook’s delayed or insufficient initial response in 2018 about news reports that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, was able to harvest personal information on many millions of Facebook users.

Sheryl Sandberg is leaving behind a mixed legacy for her time at Facebook. I applaud her for her work advocating for women. On the other hand, I deplore her for her partnership, in crime, with Zuckerberg making Facebook the shit hole that it is today. The final chapter of her legacy is yet to come. Let’s see how it turns out?

By the way, Mark it’s time for you to join Sheryl in leaving Facebook/Meta. It’s the end of an era and time for a new chapter.

#Linked #Opinion #Facebook

Lauren Thomas, writing for CNBC

Effective June 1, the price of Peloton’s all-access subscription plan in the United States will go up to $44 per month, from $39. In Canada, the fee will rise to $55 per month, from $49. Pricing for international members will remain unchanged, Peloton said. The cost of a digital-only membership, for people who don’t own any of Peloton’s equipment, will still be $12.99 a month.

John Gruber

Hey, prices go up. Inflation is running high. OK. But raising the prices only for people who already paid for Peloton’s premium-priced hardware and not for people on the digital-only plan doesn’t pass the sniff test that this is about the cost of content creation. If it were really about content creation costs, they’d raise subscription prices for everyone, or, only for the people who haven’t also purchased Peloton devices that cost $2000 or more.

It’s not like $39/month was cheap. It seems transparently obvious that they’re just soaking their best and most loyal customers — the ones whose hardware purchases have tied them to Peloton. (Unsubscribe and your bike or treadmill still works, but the display becomes useless.)

Peloton is making big changes to satisfy shareholders. In the process, they’re pissing-off their loyal customers, me included. As a Peloton owner, I’m in full agreement with John’s observations regarding the price increase.

Here’s what I would like to see happen:

  1. Grandfather all existing bike customers into the current all-access price of $39.
  2. Raise the all-access price to $44 on all new bike customer who are buying the bike at the reduced price.
  3. Raise the price on all digital-only plans.

#Linked #Opinion

Samantha Subin, writing for CNBC

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote in a letter sent to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor and disclosed in a securities filing.

According to Musk, the social media company needs to go private because it can “neither thrive nor serve” free speech in its current state, Musk wrote.

“As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced,” he wrote. “My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.”

I said this was going to get messy. If Elon does buy Twitter and take it private, it will be interesting to see how Twitter changes. I’m guessing it’ll be for the worse.

#Linked #Opinion

I’m a proponent of doing away with the clock changing. But I don’t agree with staying on Daylight Saving Time. Like Arizona, we should stay on Standard Time year around.

Paul LeBlanc, writing for CNN Politics Analysis: Permanent Daylight Saving Time isn't all sunshine

While there could be a debate in the House, there isn't one within the sleep expert community, which argues that permanent Daylight Saving Time is a bad idea.

​[…]

The Sunshine Protection Act? “You could just as well call it the Darkness Protection Act,” Dr. David Neubauer, an expert in sleep medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told What Matters.

“Nobody is creating more sunshine in this Act. It is simply stealing light from the morning, when we need it to reinforce our circadian clock, and adding it to the evening, when we really don't need it,” he said.

Neubauer isn't alone in his sentiment. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement following the Senate's passage of the Sunshine Protection Act warning that “making daylight saving time permanent overlooks potential health risks that can be avoided by establishing permanent standard time instead.”

The argument goes like this: During Daylight Saving Time, the clock moves an hour forward — so sunrise and sunset occur an hour later than before. This pushes the biological clock forward an hour as well. So, one might tend to go to bed later and have a harder time getting up in the morning.

​[…]

Bennett acknowledged the concerns of sleep experts, but called the potential shift toward permanent Daylight Saving Time “a worthy experiment — something we should try.”

“And if it doesn't work, we'll go back in two years.”

As I wrote in my last piece, ​“Congress tried a permanent Daylight Saving Time in the 1970s, but quickly reversed course on the move amid widespread public outcry over the switch. Maybe we should learn something from history.”“My thoughts on the Senate’s agreement on permanent Daylight Saving Time”.

#Opinion

Alex Heath, writing for The Verge

A group of Facebook engineers identified a “massive ranking failure” that exposed as much as half of all News Feed views to potential “integrity risks” over the past six months, according to an internal report on the incident obtained by The Verge.

The engineers first noticed the issue last October, when a sudden surge of misinformation began flowing through the News Feed, notes the report, which was shared inside the company last week. Instead of suppressing posts from repeat misinformation offenders that were reviewed by the company’s network of outside fact-checkers, the News Feed was instead giving the posts distribution, spiking views by as much as 30 percent globally. Unable to find the root cause, the engineers watched the surge subside a few weeks later and then flare up repeatedly until the ranking issue was fixed on March 11th.

John Gruber:

It really does sound like a bug, and some bugs really are devilishly tricky to track down and fix. But it seems a bit odd that it took Facebook six months to fix this one, given how intense the scrutiny of the company has gotten for the very problem this bug made worse.

Nick Heer:

One of the things I think about a lot is why problems such as this one have basically no repercussions for the companies that create them. In this case, this bug was only made public because someone leaked the internal report, and its possible consequence was significant — Heath writes that it “impacted up to half of News Feed views over a period of months”. But it does not matter, not really. Facebook’s reputation is in the tank and it will not lose users because of this, nor will advertisers pull funds. It does not matter that Facebook increased the spread of bullshit instead of responsibly slowing it, apart from in all the subtle ways it does matter that its massive user base was increasingly misinformed.

Facebooks problem is not a failure of technology, nor a shortcoming in their AI filters. Its problem is its shitty business model. Profits chiefly from engagement and virility. Fuck Facebook!

#Linked #Facebook #Opinion

You’ll either love it or hate it

Overcast has been around since 2013 and has a significant following. It has been my podcast player since 2015. On Friday, March 25th Marco released Overcast’s latest update (2022.2). “It brings the largest redesign in its nearly-eight-year history, plus many of the most frequently requested features and lots of under-the-hood improvements.”

Reading the iOS App Store reviews, folks either love it or hate it. I don’t love it or hate it, but I do prefer the old version.

#Opinion #Apps

The pros and cons of iOS sideloading

Tim Hardwick, writing for MacRumors

European lawmakers have provisionally agreed upon a new law that would force Apple to allow user access to third-party app stores and permit the sideloading of apps on iPhones and iPads, among other sweeping changes designed to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive.

​[…]

The wording of the legislation has yet to be finalized, but once the language is in place, the European Parliament and the Council will need to approve it. The regulation must be implemented within six months after its entry into force. Digital competition chief Margrethe Vestager said today that she expected the DMA to come into force “sometime in October.”

Should the Digital Markets Act go on to become law, Apple will have to make major changes to its ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ platform to accommodate the requirement to allow for non-App Store apps. Apple said it was “concerned that some provisions of the DMA will create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for our users.”

Apple is also facing similar legislation in the United States, with U.S. House lawmakers in June introducing antitrust bills that would result in major changes to the tech industry if passed.

The pros and cons of iOS sideloading

Read more...

Anthony Adragna, Burgess Everett and Sarah Ferris, writing for Politico

A bipartisan group of senators has tried and failed, for Congress after Congress, to keep America on daylight saving time permanently. Until Tuesday, when their bright idea finally cleared the chamber.

Just two days after the nation’s latest stressful “spring forward” to the later sunsets of daylight saving time, the Senate unanimously and surprisingly passed Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) bill to lock the clocks. The quick and consequential move happened so fast that several senators said afterward they were unaware of what had just happened.

​I agree with doing away with the clock changing. But I don’t agree with staying on Daylight Saving Time. Like Arizona, we should stay on Standard Time year around. Here’s why. Living in the North East, staying on Daylight Saving Time would mean that us northern states will endure dark winter mornings under the new schedule.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: “How are people going to feel at 7 o’clock in the morning in December, when they put their kids out on the street to catch the school bus, and it’s dead, flat dark?” Hoyer said.

​Congress tried a permanent Daylight Saving Time in the 1970s, but quickly reversed course on the move amid widespread public outcry over the switch. Maybe we should learn something from history.

#Opinion

Lee Peterson

Wow, I know the rumours were there but until it was announced I didn’t think that Apple would do an event given the war in Europe we are currently facing.

Apple pundits have been speculating whether Apple would hold an event next week in light of the war in Ukraine. They are and some folks think this is a mistake and I tend to agree.

As a European I really think this is a mistake. I for one will not be watching or reporting on this event. Not in protest but as in there’s bigger issues right now and consumerism isn’t one of them.

#Apple #Opinion