Start Up No.1,087: YouTube CEO kinda-sorta apologises, Dropbox evolves a bit, Have I Been Sold?, Ebola keeps growing, and more


Maybe we’re going to do this one for real this time? CC-licensed photo by Gervasio Varela on Flickr.

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A selection of 9 links for you. That’s the way, uh-huh. I’m @charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.


Shameless promo: have you listened to The Human and Machine podcast? It’s a co-presentation by Julia Hobsbawm (of Editorial Intelligence) and myself. We’ve spoken about autopilots, the 737 Max and the implications for self-driving cars with Alex Hern of the Guardian and Dr Jack Stilgoe of University College London.
And coming soon: an episode looking at racism and the internet.


YouTube CEO apologizes to LGBTQ community after outcry • The Verge

Julia Alexander:

»

[YouTube CEO Susan] Wojcicki was pressed about her apology [at Code Conference in Arizona] by Axios’ Ina Fried, who asked the CEO to further expand on her apology.

“I’m really, personally very sorry,” Wojcicki said. “YouTube has always been a home of so many LGBTQ creators, and that’s why it was so emotional. Even though it was a hard decision, it was harder that it came from us — because it was such an important home. And even though we made this decision, we have so many people from the LGBTQ community. We’ve always wanted to openly support this community. As a company we really want to support this community.

“It’s just from a policy standpoint we need to be consistent — if we took down that content, there would be so much other content that we need to take down.”

Everything comes down to context, according to the CEO. Wojcicki said that context is important in deciding when to take action against a channel. For example, rap videos and late night shows often contain words or content that could be considered harmful. Contextually, those videos are fine. It’s the same defense that Crowder and his supporters, both creators and fans, have used, too.

«

As Fried pointed out, this wasn’t a “sorry we did that” apology; it was a “sorry you felt offended” apology, which is a classic non-apology (it’s not “sorry for what we did”, it’s “sorry about how you react”). As for “if we took down that content, there would be so much other content we’d need to take down”: in the words of Twitter personality Darth, “and what’s the down side?”
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How Dropbox is finally breaking free of the folder • Fast Company

Harry McCracken:

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What’s most intriguing are the new Dropbox’s collaborative features—many of which the service probably couldn’t have shoehorned into File Explorer or Finder, at least in a way that many people would want to use. The existing menu that pops out from Windows’ tray and MacOS’s menu bar doesn’t look much different, but it’s been retooled to show the files that your colleagues are sharing, editing, and commenting upon: “It’s not just about your sync activity or files that you’ve edited, but what’s going on with everyone in your group,” explains Adam Nash, Dropbox’s VP of product. The menu also offers newly sophisticated search, similar to that in the web version, that plumbs the content of files rather than just scanning their names.

Every folder sports a shared scratchpad-like area that lets you type free-form text, numbered or bulleted lists, and to-do items, as well as reference colleagues by their Dropbox @names, giving you the ability to do anything from write a brief description of a folder’s contents to assign tasks to colleagues, who are represented as a row of avatars whom you can discuss items with in comments that show up in the right-hand pane. “The folder feels richer, more like a lightweight project,” says Nash.

With the new Dropbox, the service is taking the wraps off integrations that let you share items via Slack channels and direct messages or in a Zoom meeting. The company is also announcing a new collaboration with Atlassian, maker of such collaboration tools as Jira and Trello. Details on that partnership are yet to announced.

«

Every feature expands to become an app; every app expands to include collaboration and messaging. Then a new feature arises which strips out most of those apps’ functions. Dropbox is presently on the second part of this cycle.
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For sale: Have I Been Pwned • Gizmodo

Jennings Brown:

»

In a blog post, [security researcher Troy] Hunt explained the reasons for his decisions and hopes for the future of the platform.

“It’s time to go from that one guy doing what he can in his available time to a better-resourced and better-funded structure that’s able to do way more than what I ever could on my own,” Hunt wrote.

The blog states that HIBP now has almost 3 million subscribers for notifications, and the platform can now check about eight billion breached records. According to Hunt the site usually gets around 150,000 unique visits on a typical day, and 10 million unique visits on an “abnormal day.”

Troy wrote that traffic spiked in January when he broke the news of the behemoth “Collection #1” breach that exposed 773 million emails and 21 million passwords. Since then, the site has continued to grow and Hunt has come to the realization he “was getting very close to burn-out.”

Now he’s ready to hand much of the workload off. Hunt said he is laying the groundwork for acquisition and has had some early talks with organizations who may be interested in acquiring HIBP.

«

One possible buyer is, apparently, Mozilla; wonder if they’ll try to monetise it if they do purchase it. HIBP is good if you care about data breaches, but since Hunt started it in December 2013, they’ve gone from being a bit unusual to being completely quotidien. It’s almost a surprise if you have an email address that hasn’t been revealed in a breach at some point.
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Facebook will once again pay users to install an app that tracks their app usage • CNBC

Salvador Rodriguez:

»

Facebook on Tuesday announced a new app that will let the company collect data on how people use their smartphones in exchange for money.

The new app is called Study, and it is designed to give Facebook data on what apps participants install, how much time they spend on those apps, what features they use on those apps, what country they’re in, and type of device and network they’re using.

Facebook has a long history of using apps to collect information about usage habits in order to improve its own products.

In 2013, Facebook bought a free security app called Onavo, which let users access a virtual private network, or VPN, to browse the web and download apps with a greater degree of privacy. Facebook used data from Onavo to gather broad information about which apps were popular and how people were using them, which it used to improve its own products, but claims it did not collect information about individual users.

However, Facebook pulled the app from the App Store in 2018 after Apple reportedly told the company that it violated rules then-new rules about user privacy.

«

Meet the new app, same as the old app (but with Apple’s blessing this time).
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Apple has capacity to make all iPhones for US outside of China • Bloomberg

Debby Wu:

»

Hon Hai, known also as Foxconn, is the American giant’s most important manufacturing partner. It will fully support Apple if it needs to adjust its production as the U.S.-Chinese trade spat gets grimmer and more unpredictable, board nominee and semiconductor division chief Young Liu told an investor briefing in Taipei on Tuesday.

“Twenty-five% of our production capacity is outside of China and we can help Apple respond to its needs in the U.S. market,” said Liu, adding that investments are now being made in India for Apple. “We have enough capacity to meet Apple’s demand.”

Apple shares were up more than 1% to $194.99 in New York on Tuesday.

Apple has not given Hon Hai instructions to move production out of China, but it is capable of moving lines elsewhere according to customers’ needs, Liu added. The company will respond swiftly and rely on localized manufacturing in response to the trade war, just as it foresaw the need to build a base in the US state of Wisconsin two years ago, he said.

«

It was all going so well until that mention of Wisconsin.
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Gravity ‘anomaly’ at Moon’s south pole could be buried metallic asteroid • Extreme Tech

Ryan Whitwam:

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The leading explanation for the gravitational anomaly, according to the researchers, is that the object responsible for the crater is still mostly intact beneath the surface. So, some 4 billion years ago, a mostly metallic asteroid hit the moon and remains embedded in the mantle to this day. Another potential explanation is that the region is naturally rich in oxides that formed as the moon cooled in the distant past. However, the overlap of the crater and increased gravity seems a bit too convenient.

If there is a large metallic object buried under the South Pole-Aitken basin, it could tell us something about the moon’s interior. After four billion years, the iron-nickel remains of the asteroid would have been dispersed throughout the mantle if the moon was geologically active for any significant period of time.

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Ooooh is it a radio-opaque obelisk with proportions of 1:4:9? Looking forward to the expedition visiting it.
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Worldwide all-in-one (AIO) PC shipments to drop further in 2019 • Digitimes

Betty Shyu:

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Because of the US-China trade tensions and Intel’s ongoing CPU shortages, worldwide all-in-one (AIO) PC shipments are expected to shrink 5% on year to arrive at only 12.8 million units in 2019, a weaker performance than expected previously, according to Digitimes Research’s figures.

All-in-one (AIO) PCs will account for 12.6% of overall desktop shipments in 2019, Digitimes Research’s numbers showed.

Of the top-4 AIO PC brands, the top-2 brands – Apple and Lenovo – will see sharper shipment declines than others in 2019, while third-place Hewlett-Packard (HP) and foruth-place Dell will both see stead performances.

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12.8m in a year is about 3.2m per quarter on average. Assume that the top two have 40% of that market, and that that splits 25-15. That would mean Apple is selling 0.8m iMacs per quarter. A tiny fraction will be iMac Pros. And then consider how big the market for the Mac Pro is: likely smaller than for the iMac Pro (because you’d only want the Mac Pro if the iMac Pro didn’t do it for you). So much effort, so few buyers.
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Massive Ebola outbreak spreads across DRC border, infected five-year-old in Uganda • Ars Technica

Beth Mole:

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Health officials in Uganda have confirmed the country’s first case of Ebola stemming from a massive outbreak that has been raging across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since August of 2018.

The World Health Organization reported Tuesday, June 11, that the case is in a five-year-old boy from the DRC who traveled with his family into Uganda on June 9. The boy’s case was confirmed by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI), and he’s receiving care in the Ebola Treatment Unit in the western Ugandan town of Bwera, which sits at the border with DRC.

Health officials have feared the spread of the virus, which has festered in DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces for nearly a year. The provinces sit on the eastern side of the country, bordering South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda. As of June 9, the WHO reports 2,062 cases (1,968 confirmed and 94 probable), including 1,390 deaths (1,296 confirmed and 94 probable) in the outbreak. It is the second largest Ebola outbreak on record, surpassed only by the 2014 West African outbreak, which involved more than 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths.

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Current existential risks to civilisation: climate emergency, asteroid strike, nuclear confrontation/accident.. and pandemic. Quite a lot of scientists worry about the latter one because it would only have to affect a tiny percentage of the population to have a dramatic effect on social order.
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Facebook turned off search features used to catch war criminals, child predators, and other bad actors • Buzzfeed News

Craig Silverman:

»

In August 2017, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for [Libyan military commander Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli] for allegedly participating in or ordering the execution of 33 people in Benghazi, Libya. At the core of the evidence against him are seven videos, some of which were found on Facebook, that allegedly show Werfalli committing crimes. His case marked the first time the ICC issued a warrant based largely on material gathered from social media.

Now that kind of work is being put in jeopardy, according to Koenig, executive director of the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley. She said Facebook’s recent decision to turn off the features in its graph search product could be a “disaster” for human rights research.

“To make it even more difficult for human rights actors and war crimes investigators to search that site—right as they’re realizing the utility of the rich trove of information being shared online for documenting abuses—is a potential disaster for the human rights and war crimes community,” she said. “We need Facebook to be working with us and making access to such information easier, not more difficult.”

Simply put, Facebook graph search is a way to receive an answer to a specific query on Facebook, such as “people in Nebraska who like Metallica.” Using graph search, it’s possible to find public — and only public — content that’s not easily accessed via keyword searches.

Late last week, Facebook turned off several features that have long been accessible via graph search, such as the ability to find public videos that a specific Facebook user was tagged in.

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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified

1 thought on “Start Up No.1,087: YouTube CEO kinda-sorta apologises, Dropbox evolves a bit, Have I Been Sold?, Ebola keeps growing, and more

  1. Back in the middle ages when I was a young teen, favorite Font & Val comic duo had a skit that included:
    ” – the pope said it
    – hence it’s *true* !”
    which greatly helped building my critical thinking. I guess you can substitute “pope” with “Foxconn”.

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