Start up: lightening YouTube, more Flash vulnerability, farewell to Apple’s store fan, NSA cracking, and more


“Yeah, pretty frazzled after a long day writing clickbait headlines. You?” Photo by peyri on Flickr.

You can now sign up to receive each day’s Start Up post by email. You’ll need to click a confirmation link, so no spam.

A selection of 8 links for you. Hand-picked by fingers. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Page weight matters » Chris Zacharias

At YouTube, Zacharias was challenged to get the standard 1.2MB page down below 100KB:

Having just finished writing the HTML5 video player, I decided to plug it in instead of the far heavier Flash player. Bam! 98KB and only 14 requests. I threaded the code with some basic monitoring and launched an opt-in to a fraction of our traffic.

After a week of data collection, the numbers came back… and they were baffling. The average aggregate page latency under Feather had actually INCREASED. I had decreased the total page weight and number of requests to a tenth of what they were previously and somehow the numbers were showing that it was taking LONGER for videos to load on Feather. This could not be possible. Digging through the numbers more and after browser testing repeatedly, nothing made sense. I was just about to give up on the project, with my world view completely shattered, when my colleague discovered the answer: geography.

The explanation is rather smart.
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Forbes: a quick adtech video » Medium

Rob Leathern wanted to read an article – you know, one of those text things – on Forbes:

In order for me to read that one article I had to receive 1,083 URL calls from 197 different domains adding up to 18.3 Megabytes of data, summarized here in an Excel spreadsheet. I closed any videos as soon as I could if they had the ability to do so.

Is it worth it? I like Alex Konrad and the article was probably a good one, but given I’m not sure where my data is going, or who some of these entities are (jwpltx.com? wishabi.com?) I just don’t know.

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Auto-generating clickbait with recurrent neural networks » Lars Eidnes’ blog

To generate clickbait, we’ll train such an RNN [recurrent neural network] on ~2,000,000 headlines, scraped from Buzzfeed, Gawker, Jezebel, Huffington Post and Upworthy.

How realistic can we expect the output of this model to be? Even if it can learn to generate text with correct syntax and grammar, it surely can’t produce headlines that contain any new knowledge of the real world? It can’t do reporting? This may be true, but it’s not clear that clickbait needs to have any relation to the real world in order to be successful. When this work was begun, the top story on BuzzFeed was “50 Disney Channel Original Movies, Ranked By Feminism“. More recently they published “22 Faces Everyone Who Has Pooped Will Immediately Recognized“. It’s not clear that these headlines are much more than a semi-random concatenation of topics their userbase likes, and as seen in the latter case, 100% correct grammar is not a requirement.

The training converges after a few days of number crunching on a GTX980 GPU. Let’s take a look at the results.

The results are spooky – such as “Taylor Swift Becomes New Face Of Victim Of Peace Talks” and “This Guy Thinks His Cat Was Drunk For His Five Years, He Gets A Sex Assault At A Home”. Because, you know, if you looked out of the corner of your eye, isn’t that what was on some site somewhere? (They weren’t.)

One feels Eidnes’s work should have happened in a Transylvanian laboratory in a thunderstorm. Next you get a machine to write the story that fits the headline, and.. we can all knock off for the century.
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Broadband in the UK ‘to stay top of the 5 major EU countries until 2020’ » ISPreview UK

Mark Jackson:

A new BT-commissioned report from telecoms analyst firm Analysys Mason has perhaps unsurprisingly found that the take-up and availability of superfast broadband (30Mbps+) connectivity in the United Kingdom is ahead of Spain, Germany, Italy and France, and will remain there until at least 2020.

The benchmarking report marks the United Kingdom as the “most competitive broadband market of all the countries it features“, although there are a few caveats to its findings. For example, the report overlooks most of Europe’s other states, including those with superior broadband infrastructure to ours, and seems to only focus on fixed line networks.

Furthermore it also makes an assumption that the current roll-out progress will hold to the Government’s promised targets, which may well be the case but we won’t know for certain until 2020. In addition, the study only appears to consider “superfast” services (defined as 30Mbps+ in the report), which overlooks the important area of “ultrafast” (100Mbps+) connectivity.

BT tweeted this headline and added “thanks to BT’s rollout of fibre”, and the culture/media/sport minister Ed Vaizey retweeted it without comment.

Is it really healthy that during an Ofcom examination of BT’s position a minister is doing that? Meanwhile Jackson’s longer analysis provides much-needed scepticism about the claims, and the lack of data in the report.
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Adobe Flash Player security vulnerability: how to protect yourself » BGR

Zach Epstein:

The fun never ends with Adobe Flash.

Just one day after Adobe released its monthly security patches for various software including Flash Player, the company confirmed a major security vulnerability that affects all versions of Flash for Windows, Mac and Linux computers. You read that correctly… all versions. Adobe said it has been made aware that this vulnerability is being used by hackers to attack users, though it says the attacks are limited and targeted. Using the exploit, an attacker can crash a target PC or even take complete control of the computer.

And now for the fun part: The only way to effectively protect yourself against this serious security hole is to completely uninstall Flash Player from your machine.

Here’s the security note: “Adobe is aware of a report that an exploit for this vulnerability is being used in limited, targeted attacks. Adobe expects to make an update available during the week of October 19.” Spear phishing, no doubt; but Flash really is beginning to look like the worst thing you can have on your machine, especially if you’re in any sort of sensitive work.
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Why Google is wrong to say advertisers should shift 24% of their TV budgets to YouTube » Business Insider

Lindsey Clay in chief executive of Thinkbox, which just happens to be a commercial TV marketing body, and doesn’t like Google’s suggestion:

why would an advertiser remove a quarter of the money they invest in the most effective part of their advertising and give it to something that hasn’t shown any proof of actually selling anything? 

However, it needs a response lest anyone believes Google on this. Here are some things to consider:

This is Google’s data. We’ve asked to see the data itself, but usually Google doesn’t share. If and when it does, we’ll comment on it but we obviously need to comment now. We understand the TV elements are based around a panel of Google users managed by Kantar that does not measure all TV and that the YouTube element is provided by Google themselves.

If that isn’t flaky and biased enough, it is also unaudited. They even called it the “Google Extra Reach Tool”; it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And does it take account of the 50% of online ads that are not seen by humans? And how does it square with the report in the FT recently revealing that YouTube has been selling fraudulent ad views to advertisers?

Their recommendation also seriously challenges common sense when official industry sources including comScore show that YouTube accounts for 7.5% of 16 to 24-year-olds’ video time, with TV at 65%. The numbers for the whole population are 3.5% and 81%. Ad minutage on commercial TV is approximately 15% of that time, but is much lower on YouTube, and that is before you consider users’ impatient use of its ‘Skip ad’ button.

Clay is hardly impartial, but she raises worthwhile points.
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Apple’s biggest fan has died » The Washington Post

Michael Rosenwald:

There are plenty of goofballs — like me — who stand outside Apple stores all night waiting for the company’s latest, thinnest, must-have offering.

There was nobody like Gary Allen, who died Sunday from brain cancer at 67.

Allen didn’t care so much about Apple’s new products (though he bought many of them.) He cared about the stores, the sleek and often innovative ways Apple presented itself to the world — the winding staircases, the floor-to-ceiling glass, the exposed brick.

Allen, a retired EMS dispatcher, traveled around the world — obsessively and expensively — to be among the first in line at the company’s new stores. He attended more than 140 openings, collecting all sorts of trivia. He could even tell you where Apple store tables are made (Utah; he stopped by the factory once to say thanks).

The headline is a trifle unfair; Allen was a fan of the stores, and their design. Rosenwald recounts a story of someone who just liked paying attention to detail; it’s a delightful mini-obituary.
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How is NSA breaking so much crypto? » Freedom To Tinker

Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger:

The Snowden documents also hint at some extraordinary capabilities: they show that NSA has built extensive infrastructure to intercept and decrypt VPN traffic and suggest that the agency can decrypt at least some HTTPS and SSH connections on demand.

However, the documents do not explain how these breakthroughs work, and speculation about possible backdoors or broken algorithms has been rampant in the technical community. Yesterday at ACM CCS, one of the leading security research venues, we and twelve coauthors presented a paper that we think solves this technical mystery.

The key is, somewhat ironically, Diffie-Hellman key exchange, an algorithm that we and many others have advocated as a defense against mass surveillance. Diffie-Hellman is a cornerstone of modern cryptography used for VPNs, HTTPS websites, email, and many other protocols. Our paper shows that, through a confluence of number theory and bad implementation choices, many real-world users of Diffie-Hellman are likely vulnerable to state-level attackers.

Estimated cost: $100m for a system that could break a single Diffie-Hellman key per year. But after two years, with the correctly chosen keys, you could passively eavesdrop on 20% of the top million HTTPS sites. Don’t underestimate the NSA. But of course, don’t underestimate the Chinese, Russians, and so on..
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Start up: Android Wear on iOS, will Slack kill Dropbox?, India v Google, after the adblockers, and more


One other piece of technology – besides the lifejackets and boat – probably kept them alive. Photo by Irish Defence Forces on Flickr.

A selection of 9 links for you. Blimey, it’s September (here at least). I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Android Wear now works with iPhones » Official Google Blog

David Singleton, director of engineering for Android Wear:

When you wear something every day, you want to be sure it really works for you. That’s why Android Wear offers countless design choices, so you can find the watch that fits your style. Want a round watch with a more classic look? Feel like a new watch band? How about changing things up every day with watch faces from artists and designers? With Android Wear you can do all of that. And now, Android Wear watches work with iPhones.

Android Wear for iOS is rolling out today. Just pair your iPhone (iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2+) with an Android Wear watch to bring simple and helpful information right to your wrist.

Key problem – and I think it will be a problem – is that it won’t be able to show reply to iMessages on the Wear watch. And iMessage is a huge part of using an iPhone (demonstrated by the volume sent each day), and, in my experience, the Apple Watch. The picture in the blogpost shows Google Hangouts; if you’re that dedicated to Hangouts, you’ll be on Android. Also: no third-party (Android Wear, nor, obviously, iOS) apps. Harry McCracken has a useful rundown – mostly of what it doesn’t do on iOS – at Fast Company.

So this might goose Android Wear watch sales a little, but I don’t see it lasting.
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Dropbox: the first dead decacorn » Thoughts from Alex Danco

Slack (the workplace collaboration tool) is going to kill it, Danco reckons:

The problem for Dropbox is that our work habits are evolving to make better use of what’s available; specifically, the awesome power of the internet. And on the internet, the concept of a ‘file’ is a little weird if you stop and think about it. Files seem woefully old-fashioned when you consider organization tools like Evernote, task management tools like Trello, and communication channels like Slack. Files are discrete objects that exist in a physical place; the internet is … pretty much the opposite of that. And while it made sense that the birth and early growth of information and the internet would contain familiar, old-school ideas and organizing systems, and some point the other shoe was bound to drop. To me, Slack feels like the first truly internet and mobile-native productivity platform – especially as it expands beyond messaging and into workflow automation, helper bots, and who knows what else. Dropbox might be the pinnacle of file management, but Slack is the beginning of what comes next.
  
I don’t think files are going to completely disappear; not anytime soon, anyway. They’ll certainly still exist as data structures, deep inside our servers and our phones, for a very long time – and yet most people will be indifferent to their existence. I’m pretty sure Dropbox’s multi-billion dollar valuation isn’t an anticipation of this new reality – it’s simply a projection of our current world, played in fast-forward. This is gravely shortsighted. Dropbox may not be the first Unicorn to slide slowly and then quickly towards irrelevance and death – but it’ll happen.

Having used Slack, I can believe a lot of that. If you haven’t used Slack, you’ll be harrumphing at this. (People who still put music and video files onto SD cards to slot into their phones will be incredulous.) It’s just a matter of time.
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India’s competition authority charges Google with rigging search results; Flipkart, Facebook corroborate complaints » The Economic Times

Deepali Gupta:

Flipkart, Facebook, Nokia’s maps division, MakeMy-Trip.com and several other companies have corroborated complaints that US Internet giant Google abused its dominant market position, in their response to queries raised by the Competition Commission of India.

Based on the responses from 30 businesses spanning search, social networks, ecommerce, travel and content sites, the CCI director-general last week filed a report that accuses Google of abusing its dominant position to rig search outcomes, both the actual search result as well as sponsored links. This marks the first case globally where an antitrust body is formally raising such charges against Google.

Flipkart’s complaint – that its position in organic results varied on how much it spent on ads with Google – is an eye-opener; often whispered, never made part of a complaint.

The list is comprehensive; if anything, Google faces more fires here than in Europe. What’s not clear is how determined, and meticulous, the CCI is. Anyone know? Google has to respond by September 10.
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Adobe aims to bring Photoshop to mobile masses with upcoming app » CNET

Stephen Shankland:

“Project Rigel is designed and built in a way that serves the needs of professionals familiar with retouching tools on the desktop, but more so for people not familiar with Photoshop tools like content-aware fill or spot healing,” Manu Anand, Adobe’s senior product manager for digital imaging, said in an interview at Adobe’s offices here. “It democratizes them and makes them easier to use.”

The app itself has a touchscreen interface, with a menu of editing options across the bottom, pop-out tool adjustments on the left side and a strong zoom ability to offer precision when selecting areas of an image with fat fingertips. It’s even got face recognition technology that Photoshop for PC lacks, a feature that identifies facial features then lets people enlarge or tilt eyes or raise the corners of a subject’s mouth to emphasize a smile.

Bringing Photoshop to the mobile masses is crucial for Adobe as it tries to adapt its business to modern computing trends. The company has no desire to suffer Microsoft’s fate, being largely left behind by the meteoric rise of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, the software that powers nearly all smartphones and tablets.

Not sure Adobe gets a choice there. It has clung on to the desktop with Flash, and it’s hard to see how Photoshop is really that relevant for mobile; it feels like overkill. (Adobe has a large, unseen-by-consumers business in web measurement too.)
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A 21st-century migrant’s essentials: food, shelter, smartphone » The New York Times

Matthew Brunwasser:

The tens of thousands of migrants who have flooded into the Balkans in recent weeks need food, water and shelter, just like the millions displaced by war the world over. But there is also one other thing they swear they cannot live without: a smartphone charging station.

“Every time I go to a new country, I buy a SIM card and activate the Internet and download the map to locate myself,” Osama Aljasem, a 32-year-old music teacher from Deir al-Zour, Syria, explained as he sat on a broken park bench in Belgrade, staring at his smartphone and plotting his next move into northern Europe.

“I would never have been able to arrive at my destination without my smartphone,” he added. “I get stressed out when the battery even starts to get low.”

Not a thing one would have been likely to forecast even five years ago. GPS and WhatsApp are now essential.
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Apple iPhone 6 Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 5 » Business Insider

Lisa Eadicicco:

After spending a week switching between the two, here’s what I came away with. 

• Both phones are gorgeous, but with the Note 5 you get a slightly larger screen packed into a phone that’s the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus.
• The Note 5’s screen displays colors more vibrantly than the iPhone, but it’s not any sharper than the iPhone’s screen even though it’s a higher spec.
• The iPhone is still much more simple to use than Samsung’s phone.
• The Note 5’s S Pen feels natural and the multiwindow feature is useful, but Samsung’s version of Android is still too cluttered for me.
• Both phones take excellent photos. It’s a win-win here, but, as is the case with the Note 5’s display, its camera also sometimes exaggerates color. 

She also liked the Note’s split screen, and found the pen useful too.
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The mobile video ad lie » Medium

Rob Leathern found a page apparently with no video ads on the NY Post was loading 10MB. But how?

The large JPG files I referenced earlier make up the majority of the payload of this page — and are coming from the images.fusevid.com domain. Here again are those example1 and example2 of the image files.

Remember, I didn’t see any video content nor any video ads at all. If there is not willful fraud here, loading ads in the background that are impossible to see, then at the very least it is ‘user-hating’ irresponsible behavior to have a 10+mb payload with hundreds of http calls in a mobile browser.

Many publishers simply must have a sense that something nasty is going on — when their users complain about slow page loads on mobile web — but they either don’t have the tech savvy and/or more likely, they won’t ask questions about how their site could possibly be monetizing as well as it is when simple math indicates that their users aren’t watching that many video streams. Many simply turn a blind eye.

Ad industry insiders talk about “improving viewability” — but make no mistake, these are likely not mistakes made by inexperienced workers — just as mobile ads that pop up iTunes Store pages for mobile app installs are not casual errors — this is an industry that persists by helping already-fraught businesses like newspapers and online publishers survive at the expense of the advertisers who supposedly help us users have free content.

Is it any wonder desktop ad blocking has been on the rise, and many iOS users are excited at the prospect of using content blocking in iOS9 to get rid of mobile ads? The industry has only itself to blame.

I find these stories – which are growing in volume – fascinating. This is a boil that the internet community is looking to lance with vigour.
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Life after content blocking » Monday Note

Jean-Louis Gassee:

What are the smaller publishers to do?

Displaying their outrage by posting “Access Denied” when reached by an “offending” browser won’t work.

Some very specialized sites, such as Ben Thompson’s Stratechery and Ben Bajarin’s TechPinions, are able to generate membership revenue because the quality of their content — sober analysis versus mere reporting — makes it worth the price of subscription.

But these are exceptions. Too many sites are just echo chambers, they rewrite news releases, add strong adjectives and adverbs, and a bit of spin. Competition for attention, pageviews, and advertising dollars drives them to shout from the rooftops. If they don’t want to disappear or be rolled up into a larger entity to “optimize expenses”, they’ll have to get us to pay for their content.

This is much easier said than done. It’s difficult to conjure up a picture in which we’ll have subscriptions to most of the sites we graze today in their ad-supported form.

An alternative to subscriptions for content we may or may not actually “consume” is pay-as-you-go. In principle, this isn’t very different from what we do when we buy an episode of Breaking Bad. We gladly pay $2.99 to watch what we want, when we want, and without ads.

This works well for TV shows, but it doesn’t easily translate to websites.

I do foresee a number of those middling sites selling up to others which reckon they can make a go of it.
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We have no interest in competing with Apple: John Sculley of Obi Worldphone » Business Today

Interviewed by Manu Kaushik:

[Inflexionpoint chief executive] Neeraj [Chauhan] and I sat down. I asked him why he thought there’s an opportunity for us to go into this industry. He said that we have skills of distribution and supply chains, we know how to negotiate with various vendors, and we can run on a different business model.

At the same time, we were looking at the opportunity of buying BlackBerry. We were approached by the Canadian government. We have big operations in Toronto with another one of our companies. They said that we would like to keep BlackBerry a Canadian company and would you consider acquiring it. We studied BlackBerry’s business practices. We realised that they had 7,000 people in their handsets division at that time. That was incredible number of people. There’s no way you can make money with that. Eventually, BlackBerry pulled the auction [down]. They brought a talented CEO to run the company John Chen. They should have brought him in three years earlier.

But it opened our eyes. I asked Neeraj how many people you would need to run BlackBerry’s handset business. He said that he could do it with hundreds of people.

Via Charles Knight, who adds: “You have to wonder who else in Canada they approached.” It’s probably a long list.
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Start up: Windows 10’s puzzle, Adobe’s coming obituary, our digital romances, and more


A better sound to be found inside? Photo by pumpkinmook on Flickr.

A selection of 8 links for you. Use them wisely. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Windows 10 signifies Microsoft’s shift in strategy » The New York Times

Nick Wingfield:

in recent years, Windows has become an afterthought for many software developers, who have turned to the huge and engaged audience on smartphones. That shift has left Microsoft in a precarious position with consumers in recent years.

To generate more interest from developers, Microsoft has designed Windows 10 to run on PCs, smartphones and other devices, which is meant to make it easier for developers to write apps that run across all of them. And the company has sworn there will be one billion devices running the software in the next two to three years, giving developers a huge potential market to reach with their creations.

“I think we will see really huge adoption” of Windows 10, said Kevin Sather, director of product marketing for systems at Razer, a maker of high-end gaming computers and other devices.

The benefits of fast and free adoption of Windows 10 could well outweigh the revenue Microsoft is giving up. The company does not disclose how much upgrade revenue it normally makes from a new operating system, but analysts estimate that it is small compared with the other ways the company makes money from the operating system.

What this doesn’t explain is why Windows 10, even free, should suddenly make consumers devote any more time to their PCs, or buy Windows tablets any more than they do. Obviously Microsoft is a business-oriented company. So will this actually make any difference at all to the general direction of travel, away from the desktop to mobile? I just don’t see it.
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Free sound improving techniques » PWB Electronics

Try the freezing experiment using a CD first – they are usually the easiest object to hand. If you have two identical CDs all the better as you can keep one CD as the control (no treatment) and put the other CD through the freezing/slow defrost process.

Place one CD in a plain plastic bag and place this bag in the domestic deep freezer overnight. When you remove the CD from the freezer, allow it to return to room temperature very, very slowly. You can achieve a slow defrost quite easily by wrapping it in a towel or blanket. Listen to the CD which has been through the freezing process first and then see if you can listen to the other (unfrozen) CD with the same pleasure !! Putting the previously frozen CD through the freezing/slow defrost process a second time gives you a further improvement in the sound.

Impossible to distinguish from satire. Or reality.
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Only around 15% of WP 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile? » All About Windows Phone

Steve Litchfield:

There’s something of a blanket assumption that everyone currently using Windows Phone 8.1 will upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile – after all, Microsoft has been promising that ‘majority’ of users will join the Window 10 ecosystem. But, after a few recent experiences of mine with budget devices, I thought it worth sounding a note of caution and reality – I’d put money on the actual conversion numbers to Windows 10 Mobile being significantly less than 50% and maybe as low as 15%.

He tested trying to update to Windows 10 Mobile on wiped-clean Lumias. It wasn’t great. Why? Storage: some of those low-end phones just won’t have the spare space – especially for those with any apps installed.
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Tech world prepares obituary for Adobe Flash » WSJ

Robert McMillan:

in 2007, along came the iPhone. Adobe engineers embraced it immediately. “Everyone who was in the organization was carrying an iPhone,” said Carlos Icaza, an Adobe senior engineer at the time.

But Apple’s smartphone also troubled Mr. Icaza, who was in charge of Flash development on mobile phones. Flash had become bloated over the years and required lots of computing power to run. That wasn’t a big deal on PCs, but on mobile phones, with their limited battery life, it was a major problem, and Apple had opted not to support the technology.

Flash needed a major rewrite to work on the iPhone, but Mr. Icaza couldn’t get his superiors to allocate the necessary resources.

“For me, it was, ‘What the hell is going on? We have this amazing device that is going to change the world and everybody knows it,’” he said in an interview. “Nobody at the organization was trying to make Flash work on this device.”…

…Adobe itself now considers Flash to be immaterial to its business, meaning that it accounts for less than 5% of company revenue, but it is still widely used on websites built for browsers. The software runs on under 6% of the Internet’s home pages and its use is declining, according to BuiltWith Pty Ltd, which tracks Internet technology.

You don’t hear that 6% stat thrown around much, do you?
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I tried all the apps that are supposed to mend a broken heart » Fusion

Kristen Brown:

A few months into the relationship I’d asked Siri to remember which of the many Johns* [*his name wasn’t John] in my contacts was the one I was dating. At the time, divulging this information to Siri seemed like a big step — at long last, we were “Siri Official!” Now, though, we were Siri-Separated. Having to break the news to my iPhone—my non-human, but still intimate companion—surprisingly stung.

Siri wasn’t the only screen-based trial of my break-up. Our relationships now exist across networked webs of digital connections, webs that we build up each time we begin a new romance and then must painfully break down when one ends. When I flicked open my laptop at work, the bottom-right corner was empty where a Google chat had previously sat waiting for me. Notifications of unread Snapchat messages used to lead to goofy photos of John, but now they’re just, disappointingly, announcements from Team Snapchat. Every time I send a note to a particular group of friends, Google’s algorithm suggests I add John to the e-mail thread.

Our relationship was the digital equivalent of moving in together, and now painful memories of him were scattered all over my online home. Technology was making my heartache worse, but that’s not how these things are supposed to work: Technology is supposed make our lives easier, so I sought out tech fixes for a broken heart.

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Online cheating site AshleyMadison hacked » Krebs on Security

Brian Krebs:

In a long manifesto posted alongside the stolen ALM data, The Impact Team said it decided to publish the information in response to alleged lies ALM told its customers about a service that allows members to completely erase their profile information for a $19 fee.

According to the hackers, although the “full delete” feature that Ashley Madison advertises promises “removal of site usage history and personally identifiable information from the site,” users’ purchase details — including real name and address — aren’t actually scrubbed.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the hacking group wrote. “Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”

Their demands continue: “Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.”

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The Apple Watch review » Anandtech

Joshua Ho and Brandon Chester:

Although this is a review of the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch will ultimately be quickly forgotten with the launch of future iterations of the Apple Watch. After all, Apple is not trying to sell the world on the idea of a smarter watch, but the idea of a watch altogether.

For those still deciding on whether the first Apple Watch makes sense, I have no reservations in saying that it’s the best wearable I’ve ever used. However, at the same time I find it hard to recommend this first-generation Apple Watch. It’s clear that there are far too many obvious areas to improve upon, areas where Moore’s law will help to dramatically improve the experience. In the case of smartphones, Moore’s law made it possible to deliver true all-day battery life and fluid app performance. After spending a few months with the Apple Watch, all I can see is a need for more compute and battery life, like what happened with smartphones.

Finally, we get back to the question of whether Apple will be sell people on the concept of a watch. In the months since I first used the watch I’ve ended up wearing it every day. I distinctly noticed its absence when I forgot the charger on a trip. I don’t know if Apple will succeed in convincing others of the utility of a watch, but they’ve definitely convinced me.

To the despair of graph-lovers everywhere, the authors declare that they can’t figure out a standard method for testing battery life, because you can configure the Apple Watch and Android Wear to behave so differently on notifications. But I agree with their conclusion – what you begin to notice, increasingly, over time is the utility.
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Dropdowns should be the UI of last resort » LukeW

Luke Wroblewski:

No one likes filling in forms. And the longer or more complicated a form seems, the less likely we are to jump in and start filling in the blanks -especially on small screens with imprecise inputs (like our fingers).

dropdowns v tabs

While there’s two extra fields in the “painful” version above, the primary difference between these two flight booking forms is how they ask questions. One makes use of dropdown menus for nearly every question asked, the other uses the most appropriate input control for each question.

Dropdowns really are a pain, but it takes this post to point out quite why. There’s a longer writeup with links to video clips too.
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