Notes

    Now that Spotify’s family plan costs $20/month I don’t have much incentive not to switch to YouTube Music, which comes with the YouTube Premium I’m already paying for. I’m also giving the Tidal 30-day trial a shot, but that would be $22/month for a family plan.

    🪶 This is only my opinion, but it is one I strongly hold: Tom Bombadil is equal parts omnipotence and ADHD.

    I wore transitions (™️?) lenses for a year and half in my late thirties and no one close to me loved me enough to punch me in the face and force me to replace them. I’m not saying I don’t take responsibility, or that I’m not loved at all, just maybe not enough.

    Bilbo is, ever was, and ever shall be, my people.

    “Back now to the Mountain!” cried Thorin. “We have little time to lose.” “And little food to use!” cried Bilbo, always practical on such points. – The Hobbit, Chapter 15, The Gathering of the Clouds, by J.R.R. Tolkien

    A quote image from chapter 15 of The Hobbit: Back now to the Mountain! cried Thorin. We have little time to lose. And little food to use! cried Bilbo, always practical on such points.

    The top seven free apps in the news category of the iOS App Store are a mix of proudly user-hostile mismanagement, fear mongering, hyperlocal hate, and Nazi monetization.

    The image shows a screenshot from an iPhone of the iOS App Store displaying the 'Top Charts' section for free apps. The top seven apps are listed: 1. Reddit - Social Forum & Community Chats, 2. X - Formerly Twitter, 3. Nextdoor: Neighborhood Net..., 4. NewsBreak: Local News & Alerts, 5. Citizen: Local Safety Alerts, 6. Substack - A home for readers, and 7. Police Scanner. Icons for 'Today', 'Games', 'Apps', 'Arcade', and 'Search' are at the bottom of the screen. The device's status bar indicates it's 9:15 with Wi-Fi and battery level at 86%, and a 'News' widget is visible in the top right corner.

    Stop turning awesome apps into internet noise machines

    The news aggregating app Artifact is shutting down.

    Jarrod Blundy wrote at his blog HeyDingus:

    I do wonder if it would have had a brighter future without the ability to add comments. I never engaged with that social aspect of the service, and I expect it contributed massively to its complexity and moderation costs.

    I think about this every time a good news or link aggregation app goes away. These apps are, fundamentally, trying to help you sort the signal from the noise in an overwhelming “media ecosystem” or whatever we’re supposed to call it these days.

    As soon as they add their own social layer on top of the news and the links, they have betrayed their best use case and their most loyal users. It’s like buying a pair of earplugs, only to have them turn into in-ear headphones or hearing aides you don’t need and never asked for.

    Engagement, which they thought would spike after going social, craters. Resources, which were optimized and sufficient and scalable with increasing revenue over time, are siphoned off, as Jarrod wrote, into moderation and increasingly complex development cycles.

    It’s a kind of death spiral that most founders notice too late, so kudos, of a sort, to Artifact’s founders for knowing the telltale signs of a terminally ill app, and letting it die with some dignity.

    There are already plenty of places to share links and half-baked hot takes. The real challenge, for Artifact’s founders and anyone else with the leadership, technical and fundraising skills to tackle it, is to build something extremely useful to individuals without draining all of its lifeblood into a push for “social” that ultimately just turns it into another internet noise machine.

    iPhone as geek guardrails

    Here’s a reply I posted to someone I follow on Mastodon who, on being issued an iPhone by their employer for work calls, was wondering why anyone chooses it over other options when, for example, it’s hard to sideload something as simple as a custom ringtone:

    Look I need guardrails and I’ve known that ever since I was bopping around the command line on my HTC Evo 4G.

    Some of us stopped headbanging not because the music left our hearts, but because if you feel something too deeply for too long it can destroy you.

    That’s what was happening to me in the bowels of my root-and-rom addiction.

    Now I pay 0.99 for a ringtone to Tim Apple and say thank you sir may I have another because I’m safe from sudo-ing on my phone.

    Dear Lawyers Still Manually Numbering Paragraphs:

    Stop it.

    Here’s a tutorial:

    1. Place your cursor where you intend to begin the numbered section of your pleading.
    2. Click the numbered list button in your word processor.
    3. Repent, and feel your soul become lighter.

    Yours, scoldingly,

    Joe

    ⚠️ So I’m going to do a real blog post about this when I find the time, but today I discovered that my router’s admin panel is accessible via a combination of selecting the right IP and appending a string of numbers to the name of the HTML page that contains the admin panel. The string is the same across a nonzero number of individual routers, some of which can be located with the right Google search…

    Sherlock Holmes giving serious Nardwuar vibes in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle📚:

    My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.

    This particular quote, for nerds who know, is from adventure number seven, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.

    A quote shot of Sherlock Holmes, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.

    ⚖️ From a report at Law Dork by its proprietor, Chris Geidner:

    Starr issued an “administrative stay” on Thursday that will last for 30 days while he considers the airline’s request for a stay of the order pending its appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

    Judge Starr is having a good think about whether he’s willing to endure the near-certain reversal, and the more-likely-than-not searing bench slap that will accompany it…

    So, 40 commits later, you can star my insomnia on GitHub. I should have been cleaning, or sleeping. Instead, I made a webpage. Then I made a second webpage, identical to the first, except links open in the same tab, for all the weirdos out there who like that sort of thing.

    I saw The Toaster Museum linked to over at Hacker News and immediately thought of John Siracusa (@siracusa).

    Here’s some great context for why I immediately thought of him, by his friend and Accidental Tech Podcast (@atp.fm) co-host Casey Liss (@caseyliss).

    I have some more Bluesky invite codes.

    But I’m 40 and married, so I don’t just hand a code to the first internet user that smiles at me.

    Bluesky servers can use the invite tree in moderation decisions, so I do at least some vetting of folks before I send them a code. No hate/harassment/anti-vax etc.

    Text shot from Bluesky’s F.A.Q. about their policy on using invite code trees in moderatiom efforts: Question: How does the Bluesky server use the invite tree? Answer: We reference the invite tree to track behavior on the social graph. For example, if we take action to moderate an account, we may revoke invite codes from other accounts in the same invite tree.

    Threatening to take away your customers’ fake merit badges if they don’t pay more isn’t a business.

    It’s barely a grift.

    It’s how a lonely bully enforces the closest thing to social relationships he can possibly attain.

    But at least we can call the post-mortem when this all explodes “the X-Files.”

    Obviously this is incredible, full stop. But if you’re trained in the craft and the composers, this must be one of the most delightful things you’ve seen in a long, long time. And those animations!

    youtu.be/WRfsibwR5…

    The kicker? The performer, Joseph Castanyer Alonso, is the cellist of the Royal Stockholm Philaharmonic Orchestra. Piano isn’t even his primary instrument. Wild.

    (Via kottke & Erikmitk)

    One bit of Casey Newton’s latest Platformer piece, on how Threads can survive the calm after the storm, must have many social media pros searching their feelings.

    I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of social media managers suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

    Casey Newton wrote in his newsletter Platformer about how Threads can survive its initial explosion in user base: "the best version of Threads is an app where people go to learn about and discuss what’s happening in the moment, news included, and absent that the feed is going to feel like one more overstuffed shopping mall for a company that already has plenty of those. (The earliest days of Threads, when the timeline was dominated by brands posting cringey engagement-bait, offer a good roadmap for what the company should avoid.)"&10;&10;https://www.platformer.news/p/five-reasons-threads-could-still

    I need Mrs. Meyers to answer for the fact that her “Compassion Flower” handsoap scent has me routinely smelling like I think Axe body spray is a legitimate thing for a 40-year-old person to smell like.

    A photo of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day hand soap, Compassion Flower scent

    I guess we’re supposed to shit on Threads.

    Skepticism is valid. But they already collect data from Instagram users. And you can always deactivate or delete your account: help.instagram.com/139886812…

    I’m giving it a chance, but the forced algo. timeline is probably a dealbreaker for me.

    My daughter shushed me while we watched Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” today and I’ve never been more proud of anything than I was when she told me, quietly and politely, but firmly and resolutely, to “just be quiet for a minute and listen to the man talk about space.”

    Edit to add: She’s only 3 years old!

    youtu.be/wupToqz1e…

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