Bird Brains

Netflix warns against Bird Box challenge as dangerous trend goes viral:

Netflix has warned fans against participating in a potentially dangerous online challenge that’s inspired by its recent original horror film Bird Box.

The challenge takes the core concept of Bird Box — wearing a blindfold at all times while wandering around outside — and applies it to a certain period of time. Some people, like YouTube creator Morgan Adams, have tried to go about their daily lives for 24 hours while blindfolded, while others have attempted the challenge for a shorter period.

Netflix’s social media team called out the challenge on Twitter, asking people to not hurt themselves while performing the act.

Seems I already have contenders for my 2019 Darwinism Awards.

Yay humans!

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Twatter-In-Chief

Kara Swisher, writing for the Times, on Trump’s Twitter dependency:

It also makes one wonder exactly what Mr. Trump would do without Twitter, which has become his best and only true way to communicate. He can certainly go on television and he does; he can make a live speech and he does; he can stand out on the White House lawn and he does. But it’s not the same. The lightning-fast, easy-hit addiction of Twitter has Mr. Trump hooked like none other.

And there are zero alternatives online. Facebook is too bloated and slow; Snapchat is too small and hard to use for the olds; Reddit is a hot mess. There is no other digital harbor for Mr. Trump’s carnival barker show, no place where both the left and right can react and where all the media gathers.

So what would happen to the president who governs by tweet if he finally did or said something that forced Twitter to throw him off the platform? Could he do his job at all?

That last question is a scary one but also completely valid.

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Uncategorized

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The Fresh

‘Fresh Prince’ star Alfonso Ribeiro sues Fortnite over use of dance his character Carlton popularized:

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is suing to stop two video game developers from selling a dance popularized by his “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” character.

In two lawsuits filed Monday, Ribeiro said the companies have “unfairly profited” from using his likeness and from exploiting his “protected creative expression.” The suits name Fortnite developer Epic Games Inc., and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., creator of the NBA 2K series, and several of its subsidiaries.

Epic Games and Take-Two subsidiary 2K Games did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

The lawsuits ask a California federal court to bar the game developers from using, selling or displaying the dance. The suits state that Ribeiro is in the process of copyrighting the dance.

Wouldn’t NBC own the rights to the dance (aka the ‘Carlton’) Ribeiro did on “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”?

What a weird world we live in.

“Private” Facebook Data, Right

Facebook exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos to developers in latest leak:

Facebook exposed private photos from up to 6.8 million users to apps that weren’t supposed to see them, the company said today. These apps were authorized to see a limited set of users’ photos, but a bug allowed them to see pictures they weren’t granted access to. These included photos from people’s stories as well as photos that people uploaded but never posted (because Facebook saved a copy anyway).

Who is (still) posting “private” photos to Facebook?

At this point I don’t have any sympathy for anyone on Facebook and anything that might happen to them. If you’re on Facebook and think your data is private you’re being willfully ignorant.

Full disclosure: Last year I deleted my Facebook account and then reactivated earlier this year in order to convert one of my Instagram accounts to a business account (Facebook requires you have a Business page connected to your Instagram business account). The personal data I’ve put on Facebook is the bare minimum and contains nothing sensitive or private. In short, I know what I’m getting into and I accept the risks.

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Privacy

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Blanding

A new trend in logo design is rapidly emerging. Brands today are simplifying their identities with toned-down logos designed to better appeal to digital consumers around the world. While a few have already succumbed, more are considering redesigns every day.

—Branding agency Salt explores blanding.

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Identity

American capitalism is broken

David Leonhardt writing for The New York Times on American capitalism and Elizabeth Warren’s proposed bill in the Senate:

In the years that followed, corporate America largely followed this prescription. Not every executive did, of course, and management and labor still had bitter disputes. But most executives behaved as if they cared about their workers and communities. C.E.O.s accepted pay packages that today look like a pittance. Middle-class incomes rose faster in the 1950s and 1960s than incomes at the top. Imagine that: declining income inequality.

And the economy — and American business — boomed during this period, just as Benton and his fellow chieftains had predicted.

Things began to change in the 1970s. Facing more global competition and higher energy prices, and with Great Depression memories fading, executives became more aggressive. They decided that their sole mission was maximizing shareholder value. They fought for deregulation, reduced taxes, union-free workplaces, lower wages and much, much higher pay for themselves. They justified it all with promises of a wonderful new economic boom. That boom never arrived.

Even when economic growth has been decent, as it is now, most of the bounty has flowed to the top. Median weekly earnings have grown a miserly 0.1 percent a year since 1979. The typical American family today has a lower net worth than the typical family did 20 years ago. Life expectancy, shockingly, has fallen this decade.

Income inequality is too real.

Free market capitalism sounds great to some, and so does not having speed limits for automobiles, but the truth is we need regulations. They exist for a reason and they serve a real purpose.

Command + Z

Jon Gruber doesn’t think iOS has gotten ‘Undo’ right yet on iOS:

Undo has been in the same position in the same menu with the same keyboard shortcut since 1984. Undo and Redo are powerful, essential commands, and the ways to invoke them on the Mac have been universal conventions for almost 35 years. (Redo came a few years later, if I recall correctly.)

iOS does in fact have a standard convention for Undo, but it’s both awful and indiscoverable: Shake to Undo, which I wrote about a few months ago. As I mentioned in that piece, iOS does have support for the ⌘Z and ⇧⌘Z shortcuts when a hardware keyboard is connected, and the iPad’s on-screen keyboard has an Undo/Redo button. So for text editing, on the iPad, Undo/Redo is available through good system-wide conventions.

The shake gesture was fun and novel in the early days of iOS but it’s silly, inefficient, and cumbersome in 2018.

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Interface, Software

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“the lonesome sound of departure”

Over at MMA Fighting, Chuck Mindenhall recaps Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell’s fight against Tito Ortiz this past Saturday:

Golden Boy’s foray into MMA was a set-up for some kind of morose outcome, it just boiled down to which one. Sadly it turned out to be the latter. “The Iceman” waited over eight years to have his delusions re-realized, and his last attempt for a happy ending to get trampled by his old rival. Ortiz knocked Chuck out, and then went into his gravedigger dance, burying the iconic Mohawk for good. Ortiz wanted it to be a redemption of sorts after losing to Liddell twice in the mid-aughts. He got it. Nothing about it felt right. Ortiz merely flushed out the last birds from the orchard. It was a shotgun burst, and the lonesome sound of departure.

Mindenhall is right.

There’s nothing exciting about watching a once-great fighter, who’s nearing 50 years old, get knocked out cold in the first round.

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Sports

Da Notch

Over at The Verge (from last month), Nick Slatt thinks Google failed to justify the Pixel 3 XL’s massive notch:

You may hate notches, and I may be preaching to the choir here by complaining about Google’s. But I don’t hate them. In fact, I’m a fan if the trade-off is for some features I enjoy, and I’m completely ambivalent to the existence of screen cutouts from an aesthetic standpoint, up until a certain point. I’ve used an iPhone X since it first came out; I never noticed or really cared about the notch when I first switched, and I still don’t today. I’m using an iPhone XS as I write this. But a notch should, at the very least, serve some purpose. It should have a good reason to be there, and Google didn’t really have a strong one to offer yesterday.

This is really simple. The iPhone X immediately made all pocket computers without edge-to-edge displays look outdated.

That’s all the reason any company needs to make a device with a notch and an edge-to-edge display. After I bought my iPhone X last year, I remember going back to my iPhone 6 Plus and being shocked how weird and outdated the old, rectangular screen looked.

In fact, let’s give credit where it’s due to the first device with a notch and an edge-to-edge display: The Essential Phone. It was announced 4 months before the iPhone X dropped in 2017.

Although the Essential Phone was first-to-market with a notch, it’s unlikely its existence would have put much pressure on Apple if they had released a rectangular-screened iPhone X given the Essential Phone’s shitty sales and subsequent folding.

I don’t think many people outside the geek community even knew of the Essential Phone’s existence.

A, B, C, D – Always Be Collecting Data

It turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads:

Facebook announced Portal last week, its take on the in-home, voice-activated speaker to rival competitors from Amazon, Google and Apple.

The biggest question surrounding the device: Why should anyone trust Facebook enough to put Facebook-powered microphones and video cameras in their living room or kitchen? Given Facebook’s year of privacy and security issues, privacy around the device — including what data Facebook collects and how it’s used — has been an important part of the story surrounding Portal.

That’s why we need to update our reporting.

Last Monday, we wrote: “No data collected through Portal — even call log data or app usage data, like the fact that you listened to Spotify — will be used to target users with ads on Facebook.”

We wrote that because that’s what we were told by Facebook executives.

But Facebook has since reached out to change its answer: Portal doesn’t have ads, but data about who you call and data about which apps you use on Portal can be used to target you with ads on other Facebook-owned properties.

Shocking! A company making money through targeted ads based on the profiles of over 2 billion active Facebook users might use that data to help their bottom line.

The longer Facebook is around the creepier it reveals itself to be.