Is my freedom of speech being restricted, or are the social media giants too big to moderate?

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Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay

I’ve been forced to come up with my own explanation, but it’s pretty easy to work out what happened.

Twitter and Facebook have been wrestling with the problem of how to moderate networks that are too large to be properly moderate. If you’re unaware of how difficult moderation is, The Trauma Floor details the PTSD that overworked moderators suffer at Facebook. Sifting through all of the worst humanity is capable of in order to decide what stays and what goes takes a huge mental toll on a person.

As Mark Zuckerberg once boasted, Facebook’s moderation team alone is the size of the entire company of Twitter. …

The ultimate echo chamber isn’t going to help anyone

This is a story about a business, but it is also about the stories we tell one another.

When our preferred stories can exist without being challenged, we can control the stories we tell ourselves.

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Image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

There were fewer attempts to hack election infrastructure this year than there were in 2016 or the following mid-terms.

Perhaps the highly secure systems that protect voter data are a more difficult target than social media, which allows anyone to create an account with minimal effort. Passwords and other security measures do not have to be broken for a foreign adversary to gain access to these networks. …

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By Matthew Yohe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s only one week to go before Apple’s One More Thing event on 10th November 2020, where we will undoubtedly see ARM Macs that take advantage of macOS Big Sur’s ability to run across different architectures.

One More Thing is a reference to a practice that started in 1999, where Steve Jobs would leave (often quite big) announcements to the end of a presentation.

Many thanks to Greg Wyatt with Apple Explained, who compiled a 52-minute video of all these announcements without which none of this would have been possible. I used the Macworld article Every ‘One more thing’ Apple has ever announced to confirm that there hasn’t been another one since the iPhone X in 2017. …

The naming scheme of Apple’s tablet line is in need of another refresh, and the MacBook range could be next

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Image by William Iven from Pixabay

Apple’s product names are getting pretty confusing.

My first iPad was the original iPad Air, which was released in 2013. It’s hard to believe now but at the time this was the flagship of the iPad range. After numbering the first few, this iPad was considered to be so thin that it deserved the Air moniker, which had already been used for the MacBook Air. There was already a discrepancy from the beginning: the MacBook Air had not been like the MacBook Pro.

It wasn’t the best, but it was the thinnest.

Then came the iPad Air 2.

These were still the days when only the iPad mini was a different size from the main iPad Air product line. It seemed as if the Airs would go on for at least as long as the Air-less line that preceded it, and then came a surprise. In 2015 a 12.9-inch iPad was released, while the 11-inch MacBook Air was still in existence. The MacBook, a product whose name had been reintroduced that very year, was a mere 12 inches. …

Bringing a brand name back from the dead is not an apparition, it’s a premonition

“This is what we’re up to today, and I’m really glad you liked everything,” Steve Jobs said, thanking the attendees at the Macworld conference in 2006.

“But there is one more thing.”

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Image by José Manuel de Laá from Pixabay

As always, the crowd erupted in cheers and applause.

You know, there’s been this pesky little problem of the PowerBooks. It’s not a secret that we’ve been trying to shoehorn a G5 into the PowerBook and have been unable to do so because of its power consumption being unrealistic in such a small package. We’ve done everything that was possible engineering-wise, we’ve consulted every possible higher authority, and one of the things we said when we were switching to Intel was it wasn’t just about performance. …

Big tech has long known that antitrust action is on the way, so why fight the system while it’s benefitting you financially not to compete?

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Image by Annette Meyer from Pixabay

When you set up a new Windows 10 device, you’re probably going to want to change the default search engine on the Edge browser. When I was last trying to change my search engine, Microsoft Edge made it extraordinarily complex to achieve. Instead of offering a list of possible search engines, Edge had the ability to ‘detect’ that the current page was a search engine, and would subsequently offer it as an option. I always needed to navigate to the DuckDuckGo website, add the current page to the list of search engines, and then set it as my default.

I see that Edge now makes this easier, but my experience shows how desperate Microsoft was to prevent other search engines from being added in the beginning. Their hope was presumably that people would start using Bing, realize all major search engines are basically as good as each other these days, and not bother to set Google on it. Now you can choose your search engine from a dropdown menu of the few search engine options available to us. But the fact remains that the operating system will set Bing as the default, and you will need to manually go to the settings to change it. I remember when Apple added DuckDuckGo as a search engine in 2014. This definitely made sense for privacy, which has become Apple’s central marketing priority in recent years. Although iPhones are still tracked by app developers, the company does go further than Google does in terms of anonymous data. …

A classic utilitarian design makes a comeback, but there’s a reason for all that utility

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Source: Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ Event

When I went to university in 2010, an acquaintance identified me as a fellow nerd. He started to ask me if I was experiencing the same bug with the Facebook iOS app as he was. I had to ruin the moment by saying I didn’t have a smartphone.

I knew that I was missing out on the smartphone revolution, but I still didn’t get an iPhone right away.

A friend later showed me his iPhone 3GS and told me he paid £18.50 ($30) a month for it.

Only then did I realise there was a price point that even I could afford. …


Counting breaths may not be the way to quell your monkey mind—gamifying my counting works better for me

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Image by Olha Huro.

Breathing or counting meditations are usually the starting point for any beginner. When I first learned meditation from a DVD as a teenager, I was instructed to choose a number, like 7, and count up to that number on every exhale. This worked for me for years, and I often can’t make it all the way to 7 before I feel so relaxed that I can just sit with a clear mind. When meditation works well, you barely need to breathe.

I’ve realised that as long as you are breathing, no matter how slowly, it doesn’t feel like you’re holding your breath. …

The risk of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) may be lower, but there are plenty of other reasons to switch.

A reflective ball on a ledge reflects the city around it
A reflective ball on a ledge reflects the city around it
Image by 849356 from Pixabay

I was too young to be a consumer in the golden age of PC peripherals. We had a perfectly fine keyboard and mouse for my family computer, and I had not yet become obsessed with optimising my workspace. The PC was new to me, and the mere fact that there was a device that capable for me to interact with was astounding enough.

I remember a few times when my family were in PC World, and I would look at the interesting designs of alternative mice. I remember seeing a mouse that had an imprint of a human hand on it, with a trackball somewhere near the fingertips and curved buttons inside the grooves of the first two fingers. …

The Complete SwiftUI 2 Documentation You’ve Been Waiting For

Updated for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, WatchOS 7, and MacOS Big Sur

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Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

At the start of 2020, I wrote a long Medium article called “The Complete SwiftUI Documentation You’ve Been Waiting For.”

This was my way of sharing what I learned when I tried to fill in the gaps left by the insufficient documentation provided by Apple.

Although my article seemed to help a lot of people, I also wrote it eight months late.

Now that Apple’s 2020 developer conference is over, SwiftUI has been given some new capabilities, so hopefully, this update will make my documentation more helpful than ever before. This will be released as a series, with one chapter per article. The names of these chapters correspond with the chapter names in Apple’s SwiftUI documentation. …


Rob Sturgeon

An iOS developer who writes about gadgets, startups and cybersecurity. Swift programming tutorials and SwiftUI documentation too.

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