I came across this really cool project on Hacker News a while back and it’s just been sitting in my bookmarks. It’s an excellent little toy to fiddle with and explore chiptune music from the past. Chiptune.app was created by Matt Montag, and it just the neatest little thing I’ve seen in a long time. I’m going to enjoy spending my downtime browsing through these archives. I may even sample a few tracks with my used OP-1 I picked up earlier this year.
Reddit is sunsetting coins and community awards
macOS Sonoma lets Chrome use passwords stored in iCloud
Google might bring games to YouTube, but they’re doomed to fail
The Unsolved Case of the Most Mysterious Song on the Internet
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for visionOS
- Space: The Vision Pro offers a limitless canvas for virtual content and immersive experiences.
- Immersion: Users seamlessly transition between different levels of immersion in either Shared Space or Full Space modes.
- Passthrough: Live video from external cameras allows users to interact with virtual content while seeing their surroundings. Using the Digital Crown users can dial in and out of passthrough
- Spatial Audio: Sonic characteristics of the surroundings are modeled for natural audio experiences.
- Focus and gestures: Users interact with Vision Pro using their eyes and hands. Using their eyes to bring focus and tapping is called an indirect gesture. Interacting with virtual objects with touch is called a direct gesture.
- Ergonomics: Content is automatically adjusted or scaled relative to the wearer’s head for visual comfort.
- Accessibility: Vision Pro supports various accessibility technologies for customized interactions such as VoiceOver, GuidedAccess and more.
- As a team, we will review what the service is capable of and what advantages/disadvantages such a service will bring to the Fediverse
- We will then make a determination on whether we will defederate that service
- We will NOT jump on the bandwagon, or partake in the rumour mill that seems to be plaguing the Fediverse at the moment
WordPress is 20 Years Old
Salesforce shuttering Slack’s remote work research group Future Forum amid back-to-office push
TL;DR: We are reworking how great content and contributions are rewarded on Reddit. As part of this, we made a decision to sunset coins (including Community coins for moderators) and awards (including Medals, Premium Awards, and Community Awards), which also impacts some existing Reddit Premium perks. Starting today, you will no longer be able to purchase new coins, but all awards and existing coins will continue to be available until September 12, 2023.
Many eons ago, Reddit introduced something called Reddit Gold. Gold then evolved, and we introduced new awards including Reddit Silver, Platinum, Ternium, and Argentium. And the evolution continued from there. While we saw many of the awards used as a fun way to recognize contributions from your fellow redditors, looking back at those eons, we also saw consistent feedback on awards as a whole. First, many don’t appreciate the clutter from awards (50+ awards right now, but who’s counting?) and all the steps that go into actually awarding content. Second, redditors want awarded content to be more valuable to the recipient.
While I never fully understood Reddit Gold as a product (and neither did Reddit it seems), it was much beloved by the community. Gilding fellow redditors comments felt good and was honestly pretty novel at the time. It was also an awesome indicator of high-quality content. Seems like Reddit is likely killing off this feature because gilded content would otherwise identify high-quality content to would-be web crawlers, and Reddit wants a piece of the pie.
I think coins and micro-transcations certainly can be a successful model for creators (see Twitch). But Reddit, has historically never understood their general userbase and has historically never leaned into empowering creators/powerusers. Each year, they shed more and more classic nostalgic features while product inherits tech debt. Coins and Rewards were certainly more useful than RPAN (yikes). Honestly, some of the best features are user-generated, maybe Reddit is making a grave mistake here.
If you’re using the new macOS Sonoma beta, you might want to know about a glorious new bridge between ecosystems that lets Mac Chrome users connect with their iCloud passwords. Apple has updated its iCloud Passwords Chrome extension with a new feature that lets you directly pull passwords from iCloud, keeping you from needing to open Safari or migrate your iCloud passwords to another password manager.
This is kinda huge. For too long has the ecosystem of saved website passwords been segmented. Choosing between Chrome’s Password vault and the iCloud Keychain was basically forcing me to ask myself, “do I want to use Chrome right now, or do I need to do this in Safari?” Having to remember which one had my updated credentials was dizzying. Excited for the future!
Note if you try to install this extension without installing the macOS Beta you’ll see this:
In 2019, Instagram and Facebook launched a standalone messaging app called Threads. It was originally designed to be a sort-of Snapchat group-messaging clone. This was all before Facebook’s big name change and pivot to Meta. Ergo, before Zuckerberg decided to invest in building out the Metaverse. Despite having millions in daily active users, Facebook decided to ultimately shut down Threads:
The app today is ranked No. 214 in the Photo & Video category on the U.S. App Store — an indication of its continued failure to catch on with a broader audience. It’s also rated a middling 3.1 stars across 2,500 reviews as users complain about its usability, layout, missing features and glitches. To date, Threads has seen approximately 13.7 million global installs from across the App Store and Google Play, according to estimates from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.
This is what it looked like. Half-messenger app. Half-Snapchat clone:
Once Threads disappeared, it was presumed to never return. I figured it was destined for the Silicon Valley graveyard of failed startups/projects (RIP Google Reader). But then, something wild happened. In October of 2022, Elon Musk decided to buy Twitter. This was meaningful because, ever since Twitter has been under Musk’s ownership, he’s basically nosedived the company into oblivion. This has left Twitter extremely vulnerable to competing social networking apps. There have been many cycles of users leaving for these Twitter-clones.
Every decision he’s made has been a kiss of death: marketing, engineering, public relations, human resources, and so on. It’s been a nightmare for former employees, and a horror show contractors. To be blunt, Musk is devoid of compassion, and the first 90 days alone were not good for anyone. Ex-employees are currently in a arbitration lawsuit against Twitter and Musk and many having never received their severance. Lastly, the latest micro-managing efforts from Musk, have essentially broken Twitter.
Instagram’s Threads app has been under development for some time now. At least the public has known about it since early March. Internally, it was understood to be called Project 92. It has an unmistakable design language. It’s very Instagram-esque
One of Meta’s top executives showed employees a preview of the company’s upcoming Twitter competitor during a companywide meeting today that was watched by The Verge.
While Musk has been squandering cash and resources, Zuckerberg has been building. In what appears to be a stroke of serendipity, Meta & Instagram (aka the new Facebook) is launching the new Threads app this week amidst Twitter’s latest troubles.
Threads’ (re)debut is happening just as users flock from Twitter (again) to competitors. But this time, it feels different. It feels more permanent this time around. A lot of users are very done with Twitter. Thousands of people are leaving Twitter behind for Mastodon in part because of Musk’s questionable rate-limiting nonsense. Both Threads and Mastodon are powered by an open-source protocol called ActivityPub. Which essentially makes them interoperable social networks. This interoperability, is not universally celebrated on the fediverse. Personally, I believe this will be good and healthy for the web. But that remains to be proven. This could all go sideways next week. According to reports, your Instagram handle will be your Threads username: @email@example.com.
This is a huge blow against Twitter. The headwinds are strong for Threads. Twitter has been on a losing streak, and chances are Musk will only make this worse. Instagram even put together a countdown on its site.
It also was briefly on the Google Play Store earlier this week on July 1. It’s gone now, but will presumably be back on the Play Store later this week. Apple’s App Store on the other hand has it listed as a pre-order right now:
What started as one kind of social network clone has become another kind of clone altogether! Who would have thunk. The drama, the suspense! It’s heating up, and I suspect this battle for the new “town square app” is just getting started. I’ll be sitting over here with the popcorn 🍿
Turns one of the side-effects of blocking traffic from reading tweets, is it will tank your SEO and search appearance. Twitter is forcing all unregistered traffic to login or register. If your content is not indexable, it will hurt your SEO scores. This mechanic is well understood by web and software engineers. My best guess is all the pandering and feet-kissing people in his orbit neglected to tell him the consequences of this to keep Elon’s temper tantrums at bay. Making tweets visible to registered users only and installing rate-limits is a terrible product choice that affects growth strategies negatively. Don’t take my word for it, the numbers speak for themselves.
On Friday, June 30th at about 1pm ET, Twitter had 471 million URLs indexed in Google Search according to this site command.
Then yesterday, July 2nd, I snapped another screenshot and Google had 34% fewer URLs indexed, 309 million, that is 162 million fewer URLs indexed
Then this morning, I grabbed another screenshot, and it was down now to 227 million URLs indexed, that is about 52% less than what was indexed on Friday
Twitter URLs indexed by Friday to today went from about 471 million URLs to 227 million, a drop of about 52%. I wonder what type of impact this has on its traffic from Google Search, if any.
Musk is an idiot.
Elon decided to break Twitter today. Now, this is not the first time he’s danced with breaking features of Twitter. I would link to all the other times but instead I’ll just link to The Verge’s excellent story stream of the entire saga since the buyout. Apparently he decided to “rate-limit” tweet reads for logged-in users, and to paywall the rest of the public.
The real story here is Twitter is trying to cut costs and run away from cloud providers. In all likelihood, these recent changes from Musk are mitigation efforts to prevent their cloud costs from exploding. I mean, what did Musk think was going to happen? Allowing two hour video content uploads has ginormous cost implications. Regardless, they have decided to walk away from huge data contracts and aren’t paying their cloud bills.
Twitter hosts some services on its server and houses others on the cloud platforms of Amazon (AMZN.O) and Google, Platformer said.
In March, Amazon warned Twitter that it would withhold advertising payments because of the company’s outstanding bills to Amazon Web Services for cloud computing services, according to the Information.
Since Musk’s acquisition, Twitter has cut costs dramatically and laid off thousands of employees. Musk ordered the company to cut infrastructure costs, such as spending on cloud services, by $1 billion, a source had told Reuters in November.
Totally normal operations for a properly functioning company. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
Unless YouTube has a killer app, I cannot see the reasoning behind even testing games, much less launching them to the public. Netflix has a selection of great mobile games that anyone with a subscription can download for free, and yet hardly anyone does.
If Netflix is having a hard time with their mobile game adoption, I think the writing is on the wall for this one. YouTube is going to have a difficult time competing with basically the entire web and App Store’s gigantic selection of free games.
I wonder if YouTube will make certain titles available to Premium subscribers only. Perhaps the maximum saturation of premium subscribers has been met, and product is thinking up new features for YouTube Premium.
Exactly why so many people are investing so much time and energy into this search baffles someone like Baskerville. “I don’t want to sound like a traitor to the cause, but I don’t know what all the fuss is about,” the DJ says. “If I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, I probably would be more interested, but I don’t think it’s a particular interesting song.” For his part, “Mkll” insists it’s about acknowlegement, that “the people behind the song get proper credits for their work.” A mysterious poster claimed credit for the song and put it on Spotify, but others determined he wasn’t even born when it was released.
But at a time when any tidbit about anything can be called up online in a matter of seconds, the song that may be “Like the Wind” is a source of fascination and wonder for thousands of people dedicated to finding the people who created it. “I think the fact that I’m so interested in this isn’t even because of the song itself — it’s understanding why this song is so mysterious and why nobody can find anything about it,” Vieira admits. “It’s simply surreal.” In other words, as Zúñiga puts it, “Apart from the song itself being so catchy, it’s exactly the fact that people cannot locate it in four seconds that makes it interesting.”
Should this who-sung-it be solved, some involved are already wondering about the harsh realities that could result. Would the singer and/or musicians involved (assuming they’re alive) be dragged out of obscurity and thrust in the limelight — only for fans of the song to realize they’re retired, out of practice and only had one decent song? What if the song was actually released on a small label in the Eighties? Would it then become an overpriced collector’s item out of reach of anyone who’d want to own it? “How many hundreds of people will have more money to spend than me and will ban me from purchasing an original?” Zúñiga asks. “Would that be fair?” What if everyone involved in the search simply moves on to something else once they know?
This spunky New Wave anthem mystery is well-documented and has captivated sonic heads across the web. I adore the obscurity and mythology. The legend around this track is amazing. Allegedly recorded from a 1984 west German public radio station show. It remains unsolved for now. Take a listen:
When people wear Apple Vision Pro, they enter an infinite 3D space where they can engage with your app or game while staying connected to their surroundings.
The Vision Pro is a uniquely different kind of general computing device that operates in 3D space. Often referred to as spatial computing. Apple lists 7 fundamental interface guidelines to be aware of:
P.S. Apple also published their Design Library and Templates for visionOS in Figma here. Enjoy!
Not much is really known about the Meta/Facebook product colloquially known as Threads (internally it’s known as Project92). What we do know is that it will presumably use ActivityPub and it will be a Twitter clone. That’s really all we know. The fact that Facebook is joining the Fediverse, concerns a lot of people. So much so in fact, that a few have vowed to defederate Facebook should they join. This movement is called the Anti-Meta Fedi Pact, and I should add it is antithetical to the mission of ActivityPub. Personally, I find it fascinating. For others, it’s validation:
Truth is, there isn’t that much info out there on how this thing will actually work, or what it will be capable of. Lots of people seem to be concerned about Facebook “getting their info”. Fact is, they can do that now if they really want to – it would be trivial for Facebook to stand something up that hoovers up all the public data that’s on the Fediverse, via API.
And that’s the clincher here – it’s all public data. So the best advice I can give if you’re concerned about your data, is lock down your account and don’t post publicly.
All that being said, here’s what we plan to do if this thing ever sees the light of day:
However, we don’t know what this thing is yet. Hell, we don’t even know if this thing will actually exist yet. So let’s just wait and see.
What if this thing ends up being a service that can allow you to communicate with your friends who still use Facebook, via the Fedi, in a privacy respecting manor. That would be pretty cool, I think; especially when you consider that one of the main concerns with new users on the Fedi is that they can’t find their friends.
It’s refreshing to hear a competent and cautiously optimistic take in the face of all the swirling rumors. There’s no reason to sound the alarm bells before we know anything definitive yet.
Happy Birthday WordPress! 20 looks good on you!
For me, it began with Xanga and Myspace. For others, maybe it was LiveJournal or something else. Blogging exploded during this decade like never before. Blogging began as a teenage refuge. An outlet for my younger self to express myself. It gave me incredible relief to share my thoughts, ideas, and interests. It overjoyed me when others would join me in the song and dance of commenting or sharing my posts. To no one’s surprise, millions of others felt the same way.
At university, that interest remained strong and grew even further as I delved deeper into a design career. As my design education went on, it became clear that university could only go so far in terms of teaching web development. To scratch my itch for building for the web, I got involved in as many web-related projects as possible. We built websites for parties, school projects, web forms, magazines, and stores. I desperately wanted to build websites as a career and express myself even further as a design-orientated web developer.
When WordPress was introduced to me, I couldn’t believe it. It was like the missing piece of the puzzle. Manually editing HTML files as blog posts instantly became a thing of the past. Everything, just clicked for me with it too. The WordPress Template Hierarchy blew my mind. Understanding the ins-and-outs of how WordPress works, made me instantly hirable basically anywhere for a short while. Hand-building WordPress sites for clients was a complete joy, and later, building site-generators was even more fun.
Maintaining a legacy WordPress site is like being working on an Audi sometimes. But, WordPress at large has been one of the greatest joys of web publishing since Markdown and I’m so excited for what comes next. I owe the WordPress community so much, so here’s to another year around the sun WordPress!
Today is the 20th anniversary of the first release of WordPress. None of us knew what we were getting into when it started, but we had a shared conviction that the four freedoms of the GPL combined with a mission to democratize publishing was something worth spending our time on. There will be celebrations in cities around the world, please join if there’s one happening near you.
On Friday, the executive leader of the Future Forum, Brian Elliot, wrote “there’s no easy way to say this” to employees in Slack’s internal #friends-of-future-forum channel, disclosing that the company planned to shut down the research group at the end of March, according to screenshots of the message seen by Fortune. He did not cite a reason for the closure, and a Slack spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
“I believe this is what’s best for Slack,” Elliot wrote, adding that the company will continue its investment in research around the future of work, but did not describe details for what lies ahead for the consortium.
At the launch of Future Forum in September 2020, Elliot wrote a blog post that outlined its mission, citing “the sudden move to remote work provides the opportunity to question decades of orthodoxy about a 9-to-5, office-centric, homogeneous work culture.”
Shutting down Future Forum, makes zero sense. Clearly the business knows there’s money to made from remote work. Especially considering the CEO made moves to acquire Slack for $27B back in 2021. This is either cowardice or poor management. Even more confounding, Marc Benioff seriously believes folks who work remotely are less productive.
According to the Wall Street Journal, ByteDance, the parent company behind TikTok is in talks to sell the app to Microsoft. As a primer, Microsoft prefers to buy their innovations instead of inventing or building them. No shame there. It’s literally how Microsoft has done business for years. They bought MS-DOS (QDOS) in 1981 from a Seattle software firm. In 2016, they purchased LinkedIn for $26B. A pretty hefty price-tag.
How much do you think Satya Nadella will pony up for TikTok? $10B? $30B? Who knows. What we do know, is that the entire deal could evaporate (or at the very least go on hold). You see, the two parties are waiting for guidance, and approval from America’s favorite dictator — President Trump. Yesterday he said he was going to sign an executive order to force the app to cease operations in the US. Everyone is waiting to make moves until he literally makes an executive decision.
Regardless, it’s unclear just how profitable TikTok could be, but they’re investing heavily in a in-house business-first ads platform. Think… Facebook or Twitter. I think that’s pretty telling. I guess we’ll have to wait until the curtain is pulled back to know more.
“Raspbaby Yoda” Raspberry Pie
Lil Bub, the Internet’s Favorite Cat Has Died
16.6M Personal Details of Ecuadorians Leaked Online
GameStop Lays Off Over 100 People, Including Half of Game Informer Staff
Verizon Sells Tumblr to Automattic, the Home of WordPress
I hope you’ve been following The Mandalorian on Disney+. Wether you have (or have not) seen the show yet, matters not. All you need to know is, Baby Yoda, (or as he is officially known, The Child) is pretty much the cutest thing ever to grace the Star Wars universe.
What happens when you combine stellar baking artistry and a love for the cutest alien sidekick ever? You get a Raspbaby Yoda. Get it?
You can follow this incredible pie artist here on Instagram (via u/ThePieous on Reddit).
On Monday, Lil Bub’s human, Mike Bridavsky, shared the sad news on social media, along with a side-by-side photo composite featuring the first and last photo the two took together.
Per the post, Lil Bub was born in June 2011 and passed away on Sunday, Dec. 1. She was born with several genetic anomalies, including a rare bone condition called osteopetrosis, disproportionately small limbs, a lack of teeth, and an extra toe on all four paws. According to Bridavsky, before she died she was battling an “aggressive bone infection.”
Rest easy Lil Bub, you showed us love and you will be missed 💔. Lil Bub passed away at the young tender age of 8, but may she will live on forever in our hearts.
Some 20.8 million records, within 18GB of data, were exposed on an unsecured server located in Miami, Florida, which appears to be owned by an Ecuadorian company, according to the researchers. The entire population of Ecuador is 16.6 million; the difference can be accounted for by way of duplicated records and others which are not related to citizens of the South American country.
Terrible news. You read that correctly. The entire population of Ecuador has now been put at risk of identity theft. This was about on par with the Experian Breach that exposed 15M consumers accounts which including social security numbers and tax information.
At this point, the entire country of Ecuador should declare identity bankruptcy (that should be a thing), and re-issue everyone new personal identification secrets and give everyone affected notice. Oddly enough, this leaked private information also included Ecuador’s favorite squatter, Julian Assange.
Yesterday, as part of a GameStop restructuring plan, our parent company eliminated the positions of about 120 employees across its various offices. We lost seven members of our team – our cohorts, compatriots, and friends. They shaped us and made us who we are today, just like every member of the Game Informer team who passes through this company.
Welp. That sucks. I haven’t visited a GameStop in years. Probably won’t visit one ever again to be honest. That’s not out of spite either. Hell, I barely play video games these days at all. Let alone buy used games or consoles. I’ll tell you what definitely do — read Game Informer online.
I have a deep suspicion that these layoffs (or any others that follow in the coming 90 days for that matter), have to do the damned inverted yield curve:
So for the curve to invert implies that investors are forecasting that something unusual will happen. Something that will push future interest rates down low enough to justify long-term yields being low despite the risks. Something like a future collapse in private sector investment demand that makes government borrowing cheap. Or something like a series of Federal Reserve moves to try to reduce interest rates and spur more economic activity.
In other words, a future recession.
And, indeed, if you look at the historical track record, every time the two-year/10-year inversion has happened, a recession has followed.
Sigh. We’ll know if we’re in a recession in 6 months. The winds of change are pretty good that Trump will astroturf the U.S. economy in an ego-driven, exploitative ego-driven (and as a reminder, 100% totally avoidable) trade-war with China.
Regardless, GameStop is shitty business, even if Game Informer is a great online and print publication. It’s umbilical cord to GameStop is financial poison. The parent company that manages the magazine is just absolutely terrible. The level of incompetence mismanagement is gargantuan. They closed hundreds of stores in 2012. GameStop was caught intentionally deceiving customers in 2017, and the company has been trying to sell itself to private equity firms for pretty much half a decade. Perhaps, instead of peddling snake oil — they should hire back the seven game journalists, and should spin off the publication wholesale to someone who cares. Microsoft, The Verge or shit, even Rooster Teeth are all wealthy contenders happy to expand their media empire. Literally anyone would benefit from the editorial prowess Game Informer brings to the gaming beat.
Verizon Communications Inc. has agreed to sell its blogging website Tumblr to the owner of popular online-publishing tool WordPress, unloading for a nominal amount a site that once fetched a purchase price of more than $1 billion.
Automattic Inc. will buy Tumblr for an undisclosed sum and take on about 200 staffers, the companies said. Tumblr is a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, but it has been dwarfed by Facebook, Reddit and other services.
This is a shocking acquisition. No doubt, this a good move for the preservation of blogs. I firmly believe Automattic will be a better steward of creators than Verizon (or was it called Oath?) would’ve been. I have long awaited the day where Tumblr and WordPress have publication parity. This has to be really excited for everyone at Tumblr. I mean this even has Tumblr veteran Marco Arment pumped:
Edit: it appears that Marco Arment deleted this tweet:
This is pretty cool. Can’t think of a better owner today than Automattic for Tumblr’s huge creative publishing community.Marco Arment
Now the hard question — what about the adult content ban? For now, it seems the ban stays in place. But, it’s really unclear if Matt will ever changed the policy. Regardless, the blogs at Tumblr will live on under the safe and profitable umbrella of Automattic.
From The Information:
In a big shift, Facebook plans to signal its control of Instagram and WhatsApp by adding its name to both apps, according to three people familiar with the matter. The social network will rebrand the apps to “Instagram from Facebook” and “WhatsApp from Facebook,” the people said.
Employees for the apps were recently notified about the changes, which come as antitrust regulators are examining Facebook’s acquisitions of both apps. The app rebranding is a major departure for Facebook, which until recently had allowed the apps to operate and be branded independently.
Well, I guess it’s official. Instagram has jumped the shark. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time, so I can’t say I’m surprised. But this, is the icing on the cake for me. Back when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left Facebook, I had grave concerns for the future of Instagram. But it’s now crystal clear — Facebook doesn’t (nor has it ever) give a shit about what their users want. Nor does Facebook care about how a healthy network of users should look like. It’s been obvious for a long time that Instagram is detrimental to your mental health, and they’ve done nothing but exacerbate the problem.