Dumb Fucks

Jean-Louis Gassée posted another great Monday Morning Note, Mark Zuckerberg Thinks We’re Idiots:

The message is clear: Zuckerberg thinks we’re idiots. How are we to believe Facebook didn’t know — and derived benefits — from the widespread abuse of user data by its developers. We just became aware of the Cambridge Analytica cockroach…how many more are under the sink? In more lawyerly terms: “What did you know, and when did you know it?”

A company’s culture emanates from the top and it starts early. In 2004, the man who was in the process of creating Facebook allegedly called Harvard people who entrusted him with their emails, text messages, pictures, and addresses “dumb fucks”. Should we charitably assume he was joking, or ponder the revelatory power of such cracks?

I deleted my Facebook account last week like (a lot of? a few?) others, but as I mentioned on Twitter, I’m not naive.

My newsfeed has been full of junk, memes, opinions, and ignorant political rants for too long and this Cambridge Analytics scandal was just the extra push I needed to do want I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time.

Humans drink and drive.

Uber halts self-driving tests after pedestrian killed in Arizona:

A female pedestrian was killed after being struck by an autonomous Uber vehicle in Arizona, according to ABC 15. In response, Uber has pulled all of its self-driving cars from public roads in the state as well as in the cities of San Francisco, Toronto, and Pittsburgh.

The crash occurred near Mill Avenue and Curry Road early Monday morning in Tempe, Arizona, police confirm. The Uber vehicle was headed northbound when a woman walking across the street. The woman was taken to the hospital, where she later died from her injuries. Early reports suggested that she may have been a bicyclist, but that was not the case. Police have identified her as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg.

Uber confirms that the vehicle was traveling in autonomous mode with a safety driver behind the wheel during the crash. That would make the pedestrian one of the first known victims of a crash involving a self-driving car.

It’s horrible that someone was killed from a self-driving car, but everyone needs to chill. In the long run autonomous vehicles are going to be way better drivers than humans.

Humans text their girlfriends and boyfriends while they drive. Humans drink and drive. Humans drive angry. Humans fall asleep at the wheel. Humans don’t pay attention. Robots do none of these things. I can’t wait until stupid humans aren’t in front of the wheel anymore.

We’ve had 100 years of practice driving. Self-driving cars? Not quite as much time, so let’s give the technology a chance to get better (and eventually surpass our skills).

Categories:

Technology, Vehicle

‘Tis a silly place.

WhatsApp co-founder tells everyone to delete Facebook:

In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $16 billion, making its co-founders — Jan Koum and Brian Acton — very wealthy men. Koum continues to lead the company, but Acton quit earlier this year to start his own foundation. And he isn’t done merely with WhatsApp — in a post on Twitter today, Acton told his followers to delete Facebook.

“It is time,” Acton wrote, adding the hashtag #deletefacebook. Acton, who is worth $6.5 billion, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. WhatsApp declined to comment.

I deleted my Facebook account 2 days ago. When I talk about Facebook, I’m usually talking about the ‘face’ of Facebook — the newsfeed/homepage. It’s just junky. It’s been that way for a long time. I almost exclusively talk with my close friends in a private group we set up. I ignore everything else.

I’m not convinced Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the leadership at Facebook have backbones.

An End to the Road Navigators

I was frustrated after watching the review video of the Tesla Model 3 on Engadget — much like reviewer Roberto Baldwin. The over-reliance on the single, center console touchscreen is a hell of a lot less usable on the road then having a mixture of analogue and digital controls.

Then my astute friend Bryan pointed out to me that we humans are a means to an end as road navigators. As weird as it may seem to us in 2018, eventually steering wheels will be removed from cars. We will eventually, always be passengers.

So why would Tesla waste precious resources making a better car for people?

Categories:

Uncategorized

Ladybird was just OK.

Over at the WaPo, Emily Yahr lists 15 things to know from the Oscars last night:

9) “Lady Bird” was shut out.

Again, not a surprise, but still a letdown for some critics who were big fans of the coming-of-age story about a volatile mother-daughter relationship. Still, at least Greta Gerwig was nominated for best director, which got called out at the Golden Globes for being an all-male category.

Hold up. Lady Bird was not snubbed or shut out. I unfortunately saw Ladybird in the theatre and is was OK. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t horrible. It was OK.

Categories:

Film

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“I trust Apple a lot less.”

I got my iPhone’s battery replaced, and I’m angry Apple didn’t tell me to sooner:

Two weeks ago, I went to an Apple Store and had a new battery put in my iPhone 6S. The very next day, I realized how unusable my old battery had been making my phone.

The repair restored functionality that had been seeping away so slowly I hadn’t really registered the loss. Apps now load when I tap them, not when they feel like it. The keyboard doesn’t freeze when I try to reply to emails in Outlook. My phone no longer clings to its charging cable like it’s a hospital drip, and the battery itself has stopped taking surprise nosedives from 40 percent charge down to zero when I have the temerity to go outside in the cold. (Yes, cold weather kills batteries.) The trust is back in my relationship with my phone, but as a result, I trust Apple a lot less.

I’m angry too.

As an admitted fan of Apple I won’t lie, this is bullshit. I’ve always known, always, that performance degraded on my previous iPhones when I upgraded to the latest version of iOS. I didn’t need an official statement from Apple or any other company to confirm or deny my suspicions.

And now here we are getting new, discounted batteries from Apple.

Categories:

Business, Technology

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We’re Cloning Dogs Now

Barbra Streisand Cloned Her Dog. For $50,000, You Can Clone Yours:

It was basically an aside — an odd and interesting nugget in an interview with Barbra Streisand that otherwise dealt with heavy topics like sexism and politics.

Indeed, most of the 2,800-word article about Ms. Streisand in Variety is devoted to detailing the actress’s decades-long efforts to break up Hollywood’s boys’ club, as the 90th Academy Awards ceremony approaches with the #MeToo movement as the backdrop.

But it was that one nugget — a brief comment about her dogs — that drew the most attention on Tuesday night.

In her interview with Variety, Ms. Streisand revealed that two of her three Coton de Tulear dogs were clones. Specifically, the magazine reported that the dogs — Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett — had been cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of Ms. Streisand’s late dog Samantha, who was 14 when she died last year.

Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett “have different personalities,” Ms. Streisand told Variety. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness.”

This is crazy. I know the first sheep was cloned in 1996, but now it’s possible for people with a lot of money. Soon it’ll be 25K, then12K until eventually anyone can do it for $100.

And if one animal can be cloned, anything can be cloned.

Categories:

Science, Technology

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