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The apps are too damn big – BirchTree
from Daring Fireball

Matt Birchler:

“App thinning” is not a magic bullet that erases this problem though, as Facebook Messenger, which shows as being 154 MB, still downloaded 99 MB of data for its update. […]

So are giant app sizes a problem? Yes. Do delta updates allow these updates to use less data? Yes. Do delta updates make these large apps a non-issue? Hell no!

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2 days ago by josephschmitt
AMZN + WFM = $1T | No Mercy No Malice | Scott Galloway | L2
from Daring Fireball

Scott Galloway:

Amazon / Whole Foods will be the fourth-largest grocer in the US, and will likely post growth rates no $10B+ retailer, sans Amazon, has registered. The Seattle firm will apply its operational chops and lower (zero) profit hurdle to the Whole Foods business model and bring prices (way) down. If you wish you could shop at Whole Foods more often, but it’s too expensive, your prayers have been answered. Whole Foods will become the grocery equivalent of a Mercedes for the price of a Toyota. Grocery has stuck their chin out (little innovation), and the entire sector is about to have its jaw shattered.

It’s a great piece. I disagree with him on this though:

Amazon will displace Apple as the top tech hardware innovator, with Alexa cementing itself as the gadget that defines the decade (post iPhone). Grocery / commerce via Alexa will create the utility that Alexa needs to [maintain its lead] over Google and Apple’s home / voice offerings as they try to play catch-up.

Alexa may well maintain its lead in the smart speaker market. It may even grow. Maybe HomePod will be a complete bust. But all of that can happen and the smartphone will remain the dominant device in people’s lives. Something will eventually replace the phone, but smart speakers aren’t it.

Hardware just isn’t where Amazon is good.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
My Thoughtful Critique of Trumpcare – Mother Jones
from Daring Fireball

A succinct rundown of what’s wrong with the Senate Republicans’ “health care” bill.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
Nintendo: Switch shortages are “definitely not intentional” | Ars Technica
from Daring Fireball

Kyle Orland, reporting for Ars Technica:

Since the days of the NES, people have accused Nintendo of intentionally underproducing hardware in order to drive an artificial feeding frenzy of demand in the marketplace. With the Nintendo Switch remaining nearly impossible to find at retailers nationwide, those same accusations of “false scarcity” have been bubbling up in certain corners.

Nintendo Senior Director of Corporate Communications Charlie Scibetta wants to push back on those accusations. “It’s definitely not intentional in terms of shorting the market,” he told Ars in a recent interview. “We’re making it as fast as we can. We want to get as many units out as we can to support all the software that’s coming out right now… our job really is to get it out as quick as we can, especially for this holiday because we want to have units on shelves to support Super Mario Odyssey.”

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4 days ago by josephschmitt
Bad app citizens - Every Interaction
from Daring Fireball

Jon Darke:

This got me thinking — as a user who has a lot of apps installed, how much bandwidth does my phone use to keep my apps updated? […]

One Friday I turned off auto-update for apps and let the update queue build up for a week. The results shocked me.

It’s getting to the point where most apps can’t be updated over cellular because they’re all over 100 MB. This is madness.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
More than 1,000 Uber employees ask for Travis Kalanick to return - Axios
from Daring Fireball

Dan Primack, reporting for Axios:

More than one thousand current Uber employees have signed a letter to the company’s board of directors, asking for the return of deposed CEO Travis Kalanick “in an operational role.” One of its venture capital investors also is chiming in, with a similar message.

Not surprising to me at all — Uber was made in Kalanick’s image.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
With her blog post about toxic bro-culture at Uber, Susan Fowler proved that one person can make a difference - Recode
from Daring Fireball

Kara Swisher:

It was Lao Tzu who said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

In the case of complete and utter change reeling through Uber right now — culminating in the resignation of its once untouchable CEO Travis Kalanick — it turns out that it began with one of the most epic blog posts to be written about what happens when a hot company becomes hostage to its increasingly dysfunctional and toxic behaviors.

It was clear from the moment you read the 3,000-word post by former engineer Susan Fowler about her time at the car-hailing company that nothing was going to be the same. Titled simply, “Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber,” the essay deftly and surgically laid out the map that the media and others would use to prove to its out-to-lunch board and waffling investors that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had to go.

The truth and courage are a powerful combination.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
deadspin-quote-carrot-aligned-w-bgr-2
from Daring Fireball

Great investigative work by Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu for Gizmodo:

During a recent investigation into how a drug-trial recruitment company called Acurian Health tracks down people who look online for information about their medical conditions, we discovered NaviStone’s code on sites run by Acurian, Quicken Loans, a continuing education center, a clothing store for plus-sized women, and a host of other retailers. Using Javascript, those sites were transmitting information from people as soon as they typed or auto-filled it into an online form. That way, the company would have it even if those people immediately changed their minds and closed the page. […]

We decided to test how the code works by pretending to shop on sites that use it and then browsing away without finalizing the purchase. Three sites — hardware site Rockler.com, gift site CollectionsEtc.com, and clothing site BostonProper.com — sent us emails about items we’d left in our shopping carts using the email addresses we’d typed onto the site but had not formally submitted. Although Gizmodo was able to see the email address information being sent to Navistone, the company said that it was not responsible for those emails.

They weren’t responsible for sending the emails, but they were responsible for the email addresses being sent to those websites in the first place. Sending form data surreptitiously is morally wrong, and everyone knows it.

This might sound hyperbolic, but I mean it: I think we’d better off if JavaScript had never been added to web browsers.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
Chris Lattner's Resume
from Daring Fireball

Chris Lattner has updated his resume with his accomplishments at Tesla. Unsurprisingly, it sounds like he got a lot done in just five months. As for what happened that led him to leave the company so soon, there was an interesting line in the resume last night, but which Lattner has since removed:

“In the end, Elon and I agreed that he and I did not work well together and that I should leave, so I did,” Lattner wrote in an update to his resume. In listing his contributions to Tesla, he wrote that the Autopilot team was in the midst of a challenging hardware transition during his time with the company and struggling with attrition.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Inside Travis Kalanick’s Resignation as Uber’s C.E.O. - The New York Times
from Daring Fireball

Mike Isaac, reporting for The New York Times:

Travis Kalanick’s final hours as Uber’s chief executive played out in a private room in a downtown Chicago hotel on Tuesday.

There, Mr. Kalanick, who was on a trip to interview executive candidates for Uber, was paid a surprise visit. Two venture capitalists — Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton of the Silicon Valley firm Benchmark, which is one of Uber’s biggest shareholders — presented Mr. Kalanick with a list of demands, including his resignation before the end of the day. The letter was from five of Uber’s major investors, including Benchmark and the mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments. […]

By the end of the day, after hours of haggling and arguing, that course was clear: Mr. Kalanick agreed to step down as Uber’s chief executive.

Truly great reporting from Isaac, including the fact that even during his brief “leave of absence”, he wasn’t really absent at all:

In reality, Mr. Kalanick had little intention of staying away from his company. Almost immediately after announcing the leave of absence, he worked the phones to push out Mr. Bonderman for making the sexist comment onstage at an Uber employee meeting. With the two increasingly at odds, Mr. Kalanick sent out a flurry of texts, phone calls and emails to his allies to pressure Mr. Bonderman to step down from Uber’s board. Hours later, Mr. Bonderman did.

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5 days ago by josephschmitt
These Maps Reveal the Hidden Structures of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Books - Atlas Obscura
from Daring Fireball

Sarah Laskow, writing for Atlas Obscura:

The last installment of the original “Choose Your Own Adventure” series came out in 1998, but since 2004, Chooseco, founded by one of the series’ original authors, R.A. Montgomery, has been republishing classic volumes, as well as new riffs on the form of interactive fiction that seemed ubiquitous in the 1980s and ’90s. The new editions also carry an additional feature — maps of the hidden structure of each book.

Just looking at the maps included in the article, it’s interesting how wildly varying in complexity these stories were.

(Via Kottke.)

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Facebook
from Daring Fireball

The Computer History Museum:

Museum Historian John Markoff moderates a discussion with former iPhone team members Hugo Fiennes, Nitin Ganatra and Scott Herz, followed by a conversation with Scott Forstall.

It’s a crummy Facebook video, but the content is simply fantastic. Fascinating stories.

Forstall was great. It’s hard to believe he’s been out of Apple and out of the limelight for 5 years — watching him on stage with Markoff it feels like he never left.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned due to investor pressure, and a search for a new leader is on - Recode
from Daring Fireball

Kara Swisher on Travis Kalanick:

Uber confirmed the resignation, and the company’s board issued a statement that said, in part: “Travis has always put Uber first. This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber.” (For those who don’t speak fluent tech director, there are four things in those two sentences that are not true.)

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ifttt  daringfireball 
6 days ago by josephschmitt
MNML App
from Daring Fireball

My thanks to Mnml for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. It’s a native Mac app client for Medium, and can be used for writing, blogging, and notetaking. Based upon the same engine that twice won [Desk] “Best Apps of the Year” honors, Mnml has all the features you’ll need, wrapped in an attractive, fun – and yes, minimal – interface. Anyone who writes for Medium and prefers native client apps should check it out.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
6 days ago by josephschmitt
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 194, With Special Guest Serenity Caldwell
from Daring Fireball

New episode of my podcast, The Talk Show, with special guest Serenity Caldwell. We look back at WWDC 2017 — iOS 11, the new iPad Pro models, MacOS 10.13 “High Sierra”, updated Mac hardware and a tease at the upcoming iMac Pro, where Apple might go with VR and AR, San Jose as the venue for the event itself, and more.

Sponsored by:

Warby Parker: Boutique-quality, vintage-inspired glasses at a revolutionary price. Try up to five pairs at home for free.

Squarespace: Make your next move. Make your next website. Use code gruber for 10% off your first order.

Fracture: Your photos, printed beautifully directly on glass.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
7 days ago by josephschmitt
Microsoft Surface Laptop Teardown - iFixit
from Daring Fireball

iFixit gave the Surface Laptop a 0 out of 10 on their “Repairability Score”. The lowest anything from Apple has ever gotten is a 1, I believe.

Verdict: The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It’s a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it. (Show us the procedure, Microsoft, we’d love to be wrong.)

iFixit’s point of view on this is logical, and they’re certainly not alone in wishing for the good old days of user-accessible and user-upgradeable components. But it’s silly to argue that the Surface Laptop is “not a laptop” only because it’s a sealed box. It’s like saying the iPhone is not a phone because it doesn’t have a replaceable battery.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
7 days ago by josephschmitt
Standard Ebooks: Free and liberated ebooks, carefully produced for the true book lover.
from Daring Fireball

Standard Ebooks:

Standard Ebooks is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.

Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of reading devices. Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style guide, lightly modernizes them, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to take advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology. […]

Other free ebooks don’t put much effort into professional-quality typography: they use “straight” quotes instead of “curly” quotes, they ignore details like em- and en-dashes, and they look more like early-90’s web pages instead of actual books.

The Standard Ebooks project applies a rigorous and modern typography manual when developing each and every ebook to ensure they meet a professional-grade and consistent typographical standard. Our ebooks look good.

What a fantastic project. Project Gutenberg is an amazing library, but their books are a mess typographically. (Via Daniel Bogan.)

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ifttt  daringfireball 
7 days ago by josephschmitt
Sorry humans, Microsoft’s AI is the first to reach a perfect Ms. Pac-Man score - The Verge
from Daring Fireball

Dani Deahl writing for The Verge:

At long last, the perfect score for arcade classic Ms. Pac-Man has been achieved, though not by a human. Maluuba — a deep learning team acquired by Microsoft in January — has created an AI system that’s learned how to reach the game’s maximum point value of 999,900 on Atari 2600, using a unique combination of reinforcement learning with a divide-and-conquer method.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
7 days ago by josephschmitt
Amazon’s New Customer – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
from Daring Fireball

Great piece by Ben Thompson on Amazon’s intended acquisition of Whole Foods:

As Mackey surely understood, this meant that AmazonFresh was at a cost disadvantage to physical grocers as well: in order to be competitive AmazonFresh needed to stock a lot of perishable items; however, as long as AmazonFresh was not operating at meaningful scale a huge number of those perishable items would spoil. And, given the inherent local nature of groceries, scale needed to be achieved not on a national basis but a city one.

Groceries are a fundamentally different problem that need a fundamentally different solution; what is so brilliant about this deal, though, is that it solves the problem in a fundamentally Amazonian way.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt
IKEA Details Plans for Furniture Placement App Powered by Apple's ARKit - Mac Rumors
from Daring Fireball

Mitchel Broussard:

At WWDC this year, Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi performed a demo of the company’s new augmented reality platform, ARKit, while mentioning popular furniture company IKEA as an upcoming partner in the technology. Similarly, Apple CEO Tim Cook referenced an Ikea AR partnership in a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

Now, Ikea executive Michael Valdsgaard has spoken about the company’s partnership with Apple and ARKit, describing an all-new augmented reality app that will help customers make “reliable buying decisions” for Ikea’s big ticket items.

Very cool idea — probably the sort of thing that’s going to be common soon. I’m curious how much of a leg up ARKit will give iOS on this front.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt

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