The Addicted-to-IndieWeb Edition Sunday, May 19, 2019

Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us?, by Cal Newport, New Yorker

Could the IndieWeb movement—or a streamlined, user-friendly version of it to come—succeed in redeeming the promise of social media? If we itemize the woes currently afflicting the major platforms, there’s a strong case to be made that the IndieWeb avoids them. When social-media servers aren’t controlled by a small number of massive public companies, the incentive to exploit users diminishes. The homegrown, community-oriented feel of the IndieWeb is superior to the vibe of anxious narcissism that’s degrading existing services. And, in a sense, decentralization also helps solve the problem of content moderation. One reason Mark Zuckerberg has called for the establishment of a third-party moderation organization is, presumably, that he’s realized how difficult it is to come up with a single set of guidelines capable of satisfying over a billion users; the IndieWeb would allow many different standards to emerge, trusting users to gravitate toward the ones that work for them. Decentralization still provides corners in which dark ideas can fester, but knowing that there’s a neo-Nazi Mastodon instance out there somewhere may be preferable to encountering neo-Nazis in your Twitter mentions. The Internet may work better when it’s spread out, as originally designed.

Despite its advantages, however, I suspect that the IndieWeb will not succeed in replacing existing social-media platforms at their current scale. For one thing, the IndieWeb lacks the carefully engineered addictiveness that helped fuel the rise of services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This addictiveness has kept people returning to their devices even when they know there are better uses for their time; remove the addiction, and you might lose the users.

Apple Removed A Teen's Award-winning anti-Trump Game "Bad Hombre" Because They Can't Tell The Difference Between Apps That Criticize Racism And Racist Apps, by Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

George appealed the removal and Google quickly reinstated the app, but Apple refused to do so. Instead, she and her father -- and eventually Phillip Shoemaker, former head of the App Store for Apple -- got embroiled in a long, kafkaesque process with Apple's support reps who seem to have mistaken an app that makes fun of Donald Trump's use of racist epithets for an endorsement of racism. Despite the fact that the satire is obvious to anyone who pays even cursory attention, none of them have been able to get any kind of reconsideration from Apple.

It seems Apple has a blanket ban on depicting things like swastikas and Klan hoods, even to criticize or mock them. Eventually, George's dad was able to get a full accounting from Apple's rep on what would have to change to make the app acceptable, and it's genuinely farcical.

Apple Lied To Me About The MacBook Air And Now We Have A Problem, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

Yes, despite Apple's third attempt at fixing it, I was yet another of the keyboard victims. Or, as some would surely prefer, losers.

Perhaps some crumb or speck of dust had inveigled its way beneath this one key. Was it a butter croissant crumb or one from a pain au chocolat? Could it have been ordinary wheat toast?

Perhaps it was an eyebrow, an eyelash or one of my last head-hairs.

And now it was my problem. A first-world problem, of course, so please forgive the whining. It's merely a sad, existential whining, caused by a faith gone awry.


iPad Pro Keyboard Case Face-Off: Apple Vs. Brydge Vs. Logitech, by Henry T. Casey, Laptop Magazine

We tested the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with three of the top keyboard cases — from Apple, Brydge and Logitech — to find out which one might be right for you. Surprisingly, there's no clear winner: One provides the best typing experience, another is easiest to use and the third is the most affordable.

My Never Ending Internal Debate: Dedicated Camera Or iPhone Only, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

I know without a doubt that any picture I take with the Fuji is a picture that I will like better than the same picture taken with my iPhone. Except, that I also know I might miss the focus on the Fuji or get a blurry picture. Whereas I know the iPhone I will nail a useable image every time.

Which is better?


Tim Cook Tells Graduates What It Really Means To Love Your Job, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

During a commencement speech at Tulane this morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave graduates a new twist on the old adage about finding a job you love. He also talked about Apple’s vision to “move humanity forward.”

Cook’s advice to young people about to start their careers is “There’s a saying that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day on your life. At Apple, I learned that’s a total crock. You’ll work harder than you ever thought possible… but the tools will feel light in your hands.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook To The Class Of 2019: 'My Generation Has Failed You', by Catherine Clifford, CNBC

"Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of being too cautious," said Cook. "Don't assume that by staying put, the ground won't move beneath your feet. The status quo simply won't last. So get to work on building something better."

I Wanted To Order My Breakfast From A Waiter Not An iPad, by Rachel Cooke, The Guardian

It’s bad enough that we’re already encouraged to eat so poorly by food manufacturers and supermarkets without major companies and institutions – an entire airport! – insisting that we also ignore our fellow men and women as we consume this stuff. I know they have their reasons: the cost of manpower, a desire to hurry people along. But it’s also inhumane. Buttering the cold toast I wanted to send back, but couldn’t (no key for that), I lifted my eyes from the iPad’s blue light and looked around me. The word dystopian is much overused, but in this case it was entirely apt – save, of course, for the fact that the scene was not imagined. I was there, and my eyes ached, and so did my heart.

Bottom of the Page

I do want to buy my breakfast without talking to anybody.


Thanks for reading.