The pandemic has been a test tube for a rapidly developing process by which social media platforms – particularly the overwhelmingly dominant Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – plow ahead with the purging of false information. There is good reason for their efforts: they created platforms that make the spread of even the craziest ideas incredibly easy. Those who oppose these fringe ideas celebrate as the platforms shred ideas deemed dangerous, but have we genuinely considered the cost?
Feeling a bit stressed as the week starts? In our weekly Monday night Scriptural encouragement, Pastor Tim turns to 2 Peter for a reflection on God’s acting in history. If God has acted in history in the past, we can have confidence he continues to do so with the things we are presently facing.
After hanging onto my trusty (and non-butterfly keyboard equipped) 15” MacBook Pro for five years, when Apple finally ditched the butterfly keyboard and offered perhaps the most impressive Mac upgrade since 2012’s Retina MacBook Pro, I knew it was time to upgrade. Coming from the long forgotten days of 2015 into the present of 2020 means buying totally into USB-C and that meant I was going to face some growing pains with a new system. A good USB-C hub makes the move much easier.
Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel write for the New York Times:
If you own a mobile phone, its every move is logged and tracked by dozens of companies. No one is beyond the reach of this constant digital surveillance. Not even the president of the United States.
The interactive graphic at the top of the article is enough to show just how alarmingly accurate tracking data on cell phones can be. If the president can be tracked this easily, it should be a sober reminder to all of us to care more about electronic privacy.
Pixelmator’s team unveiled a rather simple sounding, but stunning, new feature this week: a machine learning-based image resizing tool that allows for images to be made much larger without degrading them nearly as much as traditional techniques do. If you’ve ever had a photo you wanted to crop but the portion you wanted to focus on was simply too small afterwards, this is for you.
A couple of holiday commercials released this week pull all the right levers to make them tear-worthy and, really, almost mini-Christmas specials. If you are looking for a short break from the hustle and bustle this weekend, check out these two instant classics from Comcast and Apple.
Ryan J. Pemberton writes:
Enter Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. “We had a director who once said to me, ”˜If you take all of the elements that make good television, [and] you do the opposite, you have Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’” Margaret Whitmer, one of the show’s producers, shares in the 2018 documentary. “Low production value, simple set, unlikely star. Yet, it worked. Because he was saying something really important.”
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is so counter to almost everything we would say a children’s television program — much less TV in general — “should” be. The resurgence of interest over the course of the last two years via last year’s documentary and this year’s Tom Hanks-starring drama show that we often have a pretty poor sense of what “should” be.
Not many modern, web-connected devices live on for years after their maker goes out of business and shuts down its servers. Fewer still have not only an active repair and support community, but a forward-looking mission. Rebble is a welcoming, open-source, community-minded effort, with a responsible financial model behind it. It’s hard to believe it exists, and feels like some still-raw chunk of 2013 tech optimism that can’t possibly survive into the future.
Except, it might.
I was a Kickstart supporter for the Pebble Time in 2015. While the Apple Watch is superior in most ways, there was a definite charm to the Pebble’s design, its battery life was incredible and it did what most people want most from a smart watch — notifications — nearly as well as watchOS until some of the improvements in watchOS 6. The idea that there might eventually be a full on Rebble Watch, to continue Pebble’s efforts, excites me.
In addition, Pixelmator Photo, our incredible photo editor for iPad, is completely free for 24 hours until 9am ET, November 27th. Spread the word!
While I had higher hopes for the “machine learning” of Pixelmator Photo, it’s still a decently powerful tool for making adjustments to photos. For free, you really ought to give it a try.
Now entering a new class of strength, speed and versatility””only possible with an all-electric design. The powerful drivetrain and low center of gravity provides extraordinary traction control and torque””enabling acceleration from 0-60 mph in as little as 2.9 seconds and up to 500 miles of range.
I find myself fascinated by Elon Musk. After reflecting all day, I am still not entirely sure what I think of the appearance of Tesla’s long promised truck, but if they are able to produce it with the features and price points they are claiming, this could be huge. A base 4-door Ford F-150 with an AM/FM radio is only $3,000 short of a truck with Autopilot that accelerates 0-60 in six seconds (or an incredible 2.9 seconds if you care to upgrade to the high end model).