WordPress 5.0 arrives with block-based editor, new default theme, and developer features [VentureBeat]

WordPress 5.0 is here. I don’t like the Gutenberg editor, or the Twenty Nineteen theme. And I couldn’t even upgrade mitchwagner.com — which is good because I acquired common sense while waiting for the upgrade to fail, and decided I’ll just be smart and wait for the first patch. And then wait a little while longer, to see if the patch has any bugs.

Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones ‘cos you’re oddly ethical [Andrew Orlowski/The Register]

Apple has trouble selling new phones because its old phones are too good. Unlike Android phones, which become obsolete rapidly, iPhones just keep on keeping on.

The main reason I chose to upgrade this year is because I got tired of lugging around a big-ass iPhone 7 Plus. If I’d gone instead for the iPhone 7 two years ago, i’d still be using it.

I still see many people using phones that appear to be the iPhone 6. That’s a four-year-old phone.

Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng Arrest Threatens Trump-Xi Trade Truce [Bloomberg]

While the U.S. routinely asks allies to extradite drug lords, arms dealers and other criminals, arresting a major Chinese executive like this is rare — if not unprecedented.

“The timing and manner of this is shocking,” Andrew Gilholm, director of North Asia analysis at Control Risks Group, said by phone. “It’s not often the phrase OMG appears in our internal email discussions. ”


How Tumblr went from being the most porn-friendly social media site to banning porn [The Verge]

Tumblr once pushed porn as a feature of its platform. Now, under Verizon ownership, it’s banning porn.

Earlier I said Verizon’s recent decision is bullshit because banning porn leads to banning content about LGBTQ rights and lactation. It also leads to blocking content about contraception, sex education, sex worker advocacy, trans rights and other issues.

But the porn ban is also bullshit because we don’t need, or want, Verizon protecting us from porn. Nope. We can avoid porn on our own if we want, and if we want to look at porn, it’s none of Verizon’s business.

The decision doesn’t even make sense from a business standpoint. Porn filters could solve whatever problem Verizon is looking to solve.

I enjoy sharing midcentury ads and photos, particularly from the 70s. These are entirely G-rated and wholesome (maybe the occasional PG-rated image for the 70s. The entire decade of the 70s was PG at best.) I get a lot of them from Tumblr blogs. And two of my favorite Tumblr blogs for those things also run porn. I hope those guys don’t disappear because of Tumblr’s decision.

Facebook ends platform policy banning apps that copy its features [Josh Constine/TechCrunch]

Facebook will now freely allow developers to build competitors to its features upon its own platform. Today Facebook announced it will drop Platform Policy section 4.1, which stipulates ‘Add something unique to the community. Don’t replicate core functionality that Facebook already provides.'” I’d love to see an add-on that turns the News Feed into a real blogging platform, that I can publish to from WordPress. A boy can dream, can’t he?

New York Police Say They Will Deploy 14 Drones [The New York Times]

“The New York Police Department on Tuesday unveiled plans to deploy 14 [drones] and to train 29 officers to operate them, opening an intense debate about whether an agency previously criticized for illegally surveilling citizens should possess such powerful technology.”

Cops say the drones would be used for monitoring big crowds, investigating hazardous waste spills, handling hostage situations and reaching remote crime scenes, among other jobs. “They will not be used for routine police patrols, unlawful surveillance or to enforce traffic laws, the officials said. Nor will they be equipped with weapons…. ”

But civil rights activists are concerned about “mission creep” — spying on black and Hispanic neighborhoods, and exploitation by the Trump administration to target illegal immigrants.

Golly! Linux Code Patched to Replace F-Bombs in Comments With ‘Hugs’ [Me/Light Reading]

A Linux developer has released a kernel patch that edits comments to replace uses of the F-word with “hugs.”

The word in question starts with F and rhymes with “fire truck.”

By the way, you may well ask why I chose not to use the actual word in the headline, article, or above description. It’s because I thought it would fucking well be better without it.

I Quit Google Over Its Censored Chinese Search Engine [Jack Poulson/The Intercept]

John Hennessy, the chair of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., was recently asked whether Google providing a search engine in China that censored results would provide a net benefit for Chinese users. “I don’t know the answer to that. I think it’s — I think it’s a legitimate question,” he responded. “Anybody who does business in China compromises some of their core values. Every single company, because the laws in China are quite a bit different than they are in our own country.”

Hennessy’s remarks were in relation to Project Dragonfly, a once-secret project within Google to build a version of its search engine that meets the demands of the ruling Chinese Communist Party — namely, that Google proactively censor “sensitive” speech and comply with China’s data provenance and surveillance laws.

I worked as a research scientist at Google when Dragonfly was revealed — including to most Google employees — and resigned in protest after a month of internally fighting for clarification. That’s part of why I object to this constant drift of conversations about Dragonfly from concrete, indefensible details toward the vague language of difficult compromise.


Microsoft Is Worth as Much as Apple. How Did That Happen? [The New York Times]

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella turned the company around by focusing on its core strength in business services; betting big on the cloud; ditching failing lines, mainly the handset business; and opening up the culture.

Really an amazing turnaround; in the technology industry, dominant technology companies in decline, like Microsoft was, don’t make a comeback. I can only think of two examples other than Microsoft: Apple, which required the return of its charismatic founder, and IBM 25 years ago.

Starbucks says it’ll block porn on its public Wi-Fi next year [The Verge]

Starbucks is succumbing to pressure and putting porn filters on its public WiFi. An organization called Enough is Enough has been giving Starbucks grief for failing to protect its customers from porn. Enough is Enough says that public WiFi networks “are attracting pedophiles and sex offenders” and put children at risk. This sounds like bullshit to me from people looking to enrich themselves by scaring parents.