Tech News

Tech News and Analysis from around the web

Jacquelyn Melinek / TechCrunch:
Fleek, which is developing tools for Web3 companies, including for storage, billing, and hosting, raised a $25M Series A led by Polychain Capital  —  Web3 developer platform Fleek has raised $25 million in Series A funding led by Polychain Capital, the company shared exclusively with TechCrunch.

Wall Street Journal:
Sources: Netflix plans to expand its pre-release content screening program, the Netflix Preview Club, from 2,000+ users to tens of thousands in early 2023  —  Streaming giant plans global expansion of program that helped make 'Don't Look Up' less serious  —  Netflix's Turbulent Year: How It Reversed Subscriber Losses

Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo:
Disney unveils FRAN, an AI tool that helps TV or film producers make an actor look older or younger without the need for complex and expensive visual effects  —  With just a few clicks, actors can look younger or older without the need for expensive visual effects.  —  Alerts

Nilay Patel / The Verge:
In a rare interview, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew explains how US data will be kept out of China through “Project Texas”, discusses “booktok”, algorithms, and more  —  The 40-year-old Chew was funny and relaxed for most of the interview, even if many of his answers sounded straight …

Associated Press:
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy says the company does not plan to stop selling “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America”, an antisemitic film promoted by Kyrie Irving  —  Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said Wednesday the company does not have plans to stop selling the antisemitic film …

In his NYT interview, SBF gave few straight answers while admitting to gross errors, denying claims of fraud, and claiming he “didn't knowingly commingle funds”  —  Mystery continues to shroud the missing billions at bankrupt crypto exchange FTX after its disgraced founder Sam …

Anna Gross / Financial Times:
The UK government plans to test SpaceX's Starlink in remote locations, including Snowdonia National Park, choosing the service over British rival OneWeb  —  Government aims to provide ultrafast internet to all homes across country  —  The UK will begin trialling Elon Musk's Starlink technology …

Debby Wu / Bloomberg:
Source: despite Zhengzhou lifting its COVID-19 lockdown, Foxconn plans to keep its closed-loop system, restricting staff movements to dorms or the factory floor  —  Apple Inc.'s most important iPhone assembly plant remains in a closed-loop operation that curtails workers' movement on campus …

Josh Taylor / The Guardian:
Medibank's hackers post what appears to be the remaining data of 9.7M customers on the dark web, claiming “case closed”, as Medibank continues its investigation  —  Medibank confirms it may be the full trove of hundreds of thousands of customers' private records that were stolen from the health insurer

Sources: TSMC will make advanced 4nm chips when its ~$12B Arizona plant opens in 2024, an upgrade to prior 5nm claims, at the urging of Apple, AMD, and others  —  Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will offer advanced 4-nanometer chips when its new $12 billion plant in Arizona opens in 2024 …

Dave Lee / Financial Times:
Sources: Amazon begins layoffs in its Alexa, Kindle, and Halo hardware teams, as part of the planned ~10K cuts, as investors anticipate a broader downsizing  —  Staff working on Alexa, Kindle and Halo are the first to go, but investors want further cuts  —  Soon after Andy Jassy announced the …

Farah Nayeri / New York Times:
ICA Miami and other museums continue to collect and display NFTs even as the market sinks, arguing digital art has a long history and valuations are unimportant  —  ICA Miami owns a few, and M.F.A. Boston and others are selling them to reach new audiences “in a world where Instagram and Siri are prevalent.”

Ashlee Vance / Bloomberg:
Elon Musk says Neuralink expects human trials to begin in about six months pending FDA approval, and details work on implants to treat paralysis and vision  —  Elon Musk's Neuralink Corp. aims to start putting its coin-sized computing brain implant into human patients within six months …

Wall Street Journal:
How Twitter users in China have been circumventing the nation's Great Firewall and fighting spam to get footage of protests out to the rest of the world  —  Chinese users employ VPNs to get videos and images out of the country, while fighting spam  —  Why Tesla's China Ties Could Be a Problem for Twitter

Karissa Bell / Engadget:
Twitter plans to expand recommended tweets to all users, including those who may not have seen them in the past  —  Twitter is now pushing more tweets from accounts users don't already follow into their timelines.  The company revealed that it's now surfacing recommendations to all its users …

Over the years I've bought some great screens. An OLED screen in the living room. A retina screen on my desktop Mac. Until today I'd never been able to see enough detail to appreciate how nice they are.

A friend is someone who laughs at your jokes. 😜

You know how they used to say if you're not the customer, you're the product. Well today it's if you're not the Nazi you're the Good German or worse.

Today I'm testing a new Node.js app that watches a set of feeds (RSS, Atom, RDF) and posts new items to a Mastodon account. This one works with any Mastodon server. Requires some technical competence, but not much. The idea is to get the example code out there, for reading feeds easily and posting to Mastodon, again easily. I want feeds to melt into the fediverse, forming sort of a feediverse, which is maybe just a little bit bigger. I am so on board with decentralizing everything we do. My pitch for user-run servers goes back to the beginning of the web. Now having knocked down one of the biggest silos, all of a sudden lots of blue sky! Let's not give up our freedom this time. Anyway watch for a release later today or tomorrow.

I hear every day that people don't like that FeedLand uses Twitter for identity. Some comments.

  • Using Twitter for identity, at this time, gives Twitter nothing other than the fact that you logged into my app, data which is already publicly accessible. In return they give me a unique name for you, so your data on my server doesn't overwrite someone else's data.
  • Changing the identity system would take a lot of time, time that isn't going into adding features, interop and fixing bugs.
  • I've had lots of experience being misdirected by the wants of non-users. If only I'd do this then I'd reap the benefit of their usage. But usually that doesn't materialize. Making new features for people who love my product, and leading other developers, is a much better use of my time.
  • At some point I hope to offer choice, for reasons that clearly help the product.

As you may recall, I had the lens in my right eye replaced on Monday. Simple outpatient deal. The result is amazing. Everything is so sharp and clear, colors so vivid. I had been living in a visually foggy and blasé world, now it’s the other extreme, a total acid trip.

It happened for newly logged-in users at startup, as FeedLand loads for the first time.

The first thing the app does is load the user's appPrefs.json file -- it fails, of course -- it hasn't been created yet. It's not an error, although in the JavaScript console it looks like one.

The code as originally written allows for this, but I added something on Nov 8, as part of the Your Feed feature, code that copies something from the place that doesn't exist yet to a place that does, without checking. Boom.

This meant that the rest of the startup code didn't run. The app is sitting there waiting for the first-time user to do something. Everything is blank, none of the commands work, and yet two of them persevered, and reported the problem. That in itself is kind of a miracle.

The second report provided a screen shot of the JavaScript console, which pointed me to the problem, almost by accident -- he didn't realize that was the problem, because there were two errors reported before it (as noted above those aren't real errors). If the screen shot had been slightly shorter, I would've been pulling my hair out looking for a needle in the haystack. Instead it pointed exactly to the problem, the code had a comment providing the date it was introduced (Nov 8), and sure enough the first report came after that change. We had tested this functionality at least a dozen times before Nov 8 without problems, so the first time I wrote it off as cosmic rays. Not a good call Dave, in retrospect. A very bad call actually.

Anyway, since the problem cures itself as soon as they get a good logon, it simply wasn't repeatable. But this time, having a theory about where the error was, and I had a virgin Twitter account ready for the test, one that had never been used with FeedLand -- I logged in and it was fixed, which I could see as I stepped through the code in the debugger.

But -- I should have tried to repeat it after the first report. But I guess I didn't want to believe the problem was as bad as it was, and I didn't feel like searching for the needle. However if I had done it, presumably I would have looked in the JavaScript console and seen what the problem was and a few hundred more people would have had a good initial experience with FeedLand, instead of the really awful one they actually had.

Many apologies to the people who endured this, it is so freaking embarrassing. I am sorry this happened.

Oy. I have to do better.

A lot of people think I'm too old to ship a product as good as one I shipped N years ago. Those same people think you're rude if you insist that you have done that. I think they get angry, one or two have made fun of me, as if I'm a fool. It's not really very fair or friendly, even though these people may think they're friends. I can think of a dozen people who think I'm rude because I acted like FeedLand is a breakthrough. Or maybe they didn't like the way I said it? Hmm. I wonder how else you could. I've been through this loop over and over. As long ago as 1989 I was thought to be finished as a software dev. I wish it would get easier once. Just once. If I keep beating the drum, I guess when people see I'm not giving up, they might have a look? I'm not giving up, btw. 😄

I learned how to use the web from reporters in 1994. I volunteered to run the SF newspaper strike website, and they were shooting me articles from all over the country, in HTML, and telling me how they wanted them published. Most important -- preserve the links. It was an incredible time of learning and fun and working together. That's when I'm happy, making software for people who have a vision.

A good reason to keep a Twitter account.

Mastodon's scaling is an unknown at this point. And it's growing very quickly.

Had this thought just now when I couldn't get through to either of the instances I frequent.

At least think of Twitter as a backup.

This morning my vision is weird, slightly flawed, but on the whole much better than it was before the surgery yesterday.

The thing I like about the end of 2022 in this part of the internet. My toys are very much on-topic now, after many years of being aggressively ignored by those in-the-know.

I kept wanting to say this. I've been counted out many times only to rise again. Sometimes even I believe that bullshit. I'll keep digging until I can't dig no mo.

A publishing tool that only works with their editor is locking you in.