👓 Developers of the MP3 Have Officially Killed It | Gizmodo

Developers of the MP3 Have Officially Killed It by Rhett Jones (Gizmodo)
MP3, the digital audio coding format, changed the way we listen to music and drove the adoption of countless new devices over the last couple of decades. And now, it’s dead. The developer of the format announced this week that it has officially terminated its licensing program.

The reporter on this one failed massively!

The IP on the mp3 has expired and so the group that owned it isn’t charging for it anymore. Sure they’d like to have everyone think it’s dead and use more “modern” things like AAC, which they can still charge for! My guess is that you’ll actually see a resurgence in mp3 format now that it’s free.

Next they’ll be saying that RSS is dead…

Syndicated copies to:

🎧 This Week in Google: #404 Leo Not Found | TWIT.TV

This Week in Google: #404 Leo Not Found by Jeff Jarvis, Stacey Higginbotham, Jason Howell (TWIT.TV)
Echo Show, Google I/O, Samsung Dex. Amazon announces the Echo Show, an Echo with a touch screen and video calling functionality. Google I/O is next week - what will we see? Guest host Jason Howell demonstrates the Dex, Samsung's phone dock that turns your Galaxy S8 into a desktop computer. What is Fuchsia, Google's new OS? Use Google Home API and a Raspberry Pi to create a smart candy dispenser. Google plans their own city. Hackers break SMS two factor authentication. America bans laptops on flights from Europe. Jason's Tool: Google search highlights events near you; Jeff's Numbers: Snap and Yelp earnings; Stacey's Thing: Notifi Smart Doorbell; Stacey's dog Sophie's Tricks: twirl, sit, touch, walk


I’m kinda tempted to try out the new Amazon Echo Show, but somehow I haven’t really been motivated enough to buy into either the Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Leo was on vacation and didn’t appear in this show, so it’s more tech/spec focused rather than philosophy focused. Can’t wait for him to be back.

Syndicated copies to:

My First Internet Meme! 🍍

A short story about how I was involved in the birth of the Mastodon 🍍 meme

Joining Mastodon.social

A few months ago, I was reading Hacker News and saw a note about the new social media platform Mastodon built on top of GNU Social. Then, through the #Indieweb IRC chat logs, I came across another mention of the platform by Kevin Marks. Shortly thereafter, he appeared on This Week in Google talking about it, an episode which I listened to on December 7. Two days later I finally joined Mastodon to see what was going on, though I’d been on GNU Social sites Quitter.se and Quitter.no much earlier.

An early Mastodon experience

I lurked around on the platform for a bit to check it out and then promptly walked away with the determination that it was “just another silo” and I’d prefer to keep posting on my own site and syndicating out if necessary. It wasn’t until ADN (a Twitter-like social media platform that was previously at app.net) was shutting down on March 15th and people were leaving there to find other communities that I was reminded of Mastodon as I was also looking at platforms like 10 Centuries and pnut.io. Others were obviously doing the same thing and it was then that articles began popping up in the more mainstream tech media. I thought I’d give Mastodon another try and popped into my account to see what had changed, how, and importantly could I build any of the functionality into my own site?

Within a few minutes of rejoining and following a few people in the local stream, I was greeted with this:

My immediate thought, having grown up in the South, was “How welcoming–A pineapple!”

A quick comment later and I realized that it was just coincidence.

A flurry of articles about Mastodon

Fast forward about a week, dozens of Mastodon articles later, and last night I’m reading (courtesy of yet another link posted in the #Indieweb chat–hint: if you want to know where the bleeding edge of the social web is, you should be either lurking or participating there) the article What I wish I knew before joining Mastodon: Where I attempt to explain Mastodon through Harry Potter gifs by Qina Liu, the Digital Engagement Editor at The Buffalo News (on Medium for some odd reason rather than The Buffalo News itself).

The article is well written and is a pretty good tutorial on what Mastodon is, how it works, and how to begin participating. Toward the end it also gets into some of the Mastodon culture. Like a great reporter, Liu obviously spent some time to get to know the natives. She finishes off the story with a short vignette on pineapples which I found eerily familiar. Hey, it’s my friend @acw! As the article wears on, I begin to think, “Oh dear, what have I done?!”

I’m excerpting the tail end of the article for more context about the pineapple meme:

Why am I seeing pineapples all over Mastodon?

Alright, so I’m no P.J. Vogt, Alex Goldman or any of the other awesome producers at the podcast “Reply All,” but I’m going to attempt to “Yes, Yes, No” this for you guys.

🍍🍍🍍 on Mastodon got started by Alex Weiner (@acw@mastodon.social), a software developer who uses APL. Since APL sounds like 🍎, he really likes 🍎 and any words including 🍎 like 🎄🍎.

So he started tooting 🍍 to new people as a form of “hello,” “welcome,” “aloha” — and you get the idea.

And he also started boosting toots with 🍍.

So 🍍 became the emoji shorthand for boost.

And 🍍ing also became Internet slang for when your Mastodon follower count surpasses your Twitter follower count.

But pineapple appreciation didn’t end there. Other people started posting 🍍 in their display name.

And even Rochko made a pineapple joke.

So to recap, if you get a 🍍 on Mastodon, it’s…

Plus, pineapples are awesome.

Except if you’re the president of Iceland, who doesn’t like 🍍🍕.

So was that a “Yes, Yes, Yes”?

So apparently my short note about the “meaning” behind the pineapple has helped to turn it into a “thing” on the internet.

For the historians, here’s the thread of the original conversation:

Ultimately, because the pineapple is such a long-standing symbol of welcoming, it has to be a good thing. Right?

So if you were lucky enough to get into Mastodon.social before registration was turned off (maybe they’ll turn it back on one day, or you can get into one of the many other instances), feel free to give me a follow there and enjoy the pineapples.

You’re Welcome! 🍍

Syndicated copies to:

To AMP, or Not To AMP, That is the Question: Whether ’tis Nobler in the Mind to Bookmarklet

“Hi. My name is Chris and I’m a web browser bookmarklet junkie.”

Accelerated Mobile Pages

I’ve been following most of the (Google) Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) discussion (most would say debate) through episodes of This Week in Google where Leo Laporte plays an interesting foil to Jeff Jarvis over the issue. The other day I came across a bookmark from Jeremy Keith entitled Need to Catch Up on the AMP Debate? which is a good catch up by CSS-Tricks. It got me thinking about creating a bookmarklet to strip out the canonical URL for AMP pages (the spec requires them to exist in markup) to make them easier to bookmark and share across social media. In addition to social sites wrapping their URLs with short URLs (which often die or disappear as the result of linkrot) or needing to physically exit platforms (I’m looking at you Facebook with your three extra life-sucking clicks meant to protect your walled garden) to properly bookmark canonical URLs for later consumption, I’ve run across several Google prepended URLs which I’d rather not share in lieu of the real ones.

Apparently I wasn’t the first to think of such a thing, nor am I the second. Last night I came across a bit of research and genius by Kevin Marks who referenced a bookmarklet by Alan Storm back in January for switching to an AMP’d version of a web page (in an effort to cut down on the large JavaScript and advertising payloads that come along with most modern web pages). Naturally there was also a bookmarklet to switch back to the canonical (and non-Google) URL included for those who want to share an original.

Clean and Simple URLs

Kevin then took it a step further and included a JavaScript bookmarklet that shortens URLs down to their pure essence.

As an example, his canonical bookmarklet will take something ugly like
http://mashable.com/2017/03/26/dog-chasing-hockey-puck-joy/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link#xvCRlgf_vsqY
and strip it down to its most basic
http://mashable.com/2017/03/26/dog-chasing-hockey-puck-joy
so that if you want to share it, it will remove all of the tracking cruft that comes along for the ride.

Even worse offenders like
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/opinion/sunday/chinas-communists-embrace-religion.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0
suddenly become cleaner and clearer
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/opinion/sunday/chinas-communists-embrace-religion.html

These examples almost remind me of the days of forwarding chain letter emails where friends couldn’t be bothered to cut out the 10 pages of all the blockquoted portions of forwards or the annoying

>  > >>  >>
>  > >>  >>
>  > >>  >>

nonesense before they sent it to you… The only person who gets a pass on this anymore is Grandpa, and even he’s skating on thin ice.

Remember, friends don’t let friends share ridiculous URLs…

So in that spirit, here are the three bookmarklets that you can easily drag and drop into the bookmark bar on your browser:

🔲 To AMP

🔳 Not to AMP

✁ Base URL

The code for the three follow respectively for those who prefer to view the code prior to use, or who wish to fashion their own bookmarklets:

As a bonus tip, Kevin Marks’ post briefly describes how one can use their Chrome browser on mobile to utilize these synced bookmarklets more readily.

Alternatives

Of course, if you want the AMP version of pages just for their clean appearance, then perhaps you may appreciate the Mercury Reader for Chrome. There isn’t a bookmarklet for it (yet?), but it’ll do roughly the same job, but without the mobile view sizing on desktop. And then while looking that link up, I also notice Mercury also has a one line of code AMP solution too, though I recommend you brush up on what AMP is, what it does, and do you really want it before adding it.

Syndicated copies to:

👓 Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware | Motherboard

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware by Jason Koebler (Motherboard)
A dive into the thriving black market of John Deere tractor hacking.

Continue reading “👓 Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware | Motherboard”

Syndicated copies to:

How Uber Used Secret Greyball Tool to Deceive Authorities Worldwide | New York Times

How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide by Mike Isaac (New York Times)(Duration: PT20H58M57S)
A program uses data Uber collected to evade law enforcement in cities that resist the ride-hailing service, some current and former Uber employees said.

Continue reading “How Uber Used Secret Greyball Tool to Deceive Authorities Worldwide | New York Times”

Syndicated copies to:

Reply to Web Annotations are Now a W3C Standard, Paving the Way for Decentralized Annotation Infrastructure

Web Annotations are Now a W3C Standard, Paving the Way for Decentralized Annotation Infrastructure by Sarah Gooding (WordPress Tavern)
Web annotations became a W3C standard last week but the world hardly noticed. For years, most conversations on the web have happened in the form of comments. Annotations are different in that they usually reference specific parts of a document and add context. They are often critical or explanatory in nature.

Hypothesis Aggregator

Be careful with this plugin on newer versions of WordPress >4.7 as the shortcode was throwing a fatal error on pages on which it appeared.

p.s.: First!

Kris Shaffer, the plugin’s author

Here’s his original post announcing the plugin. #

Web annotation seems to promote more critical thinking and collaboration but it’s doubtful that it would ever fully replace commenting systems.

But why not mix annotations and comments together the way some in the IndieWeb have done?! A few people are using the new W3C recommendation spec for Webmention along with fragmentions to send a version of comments-marginalia-annotations to sites that accept them and have the ability to display them!

A good example of this is Kartik Prabhu’s website which does this somewhat like Medium does. One can write their response to a sub-section of his post on their own website, and using webmention (yes, there’s a WordPress plugin for that) send him the response. It then shows up on his site as a quote bubble next to the appropriate section which can then be opened and viewed by future readers.

Example: https://kartikprabhu.com/articles/marginalia

For those interested, Kartik has open sourced some of the code to help accomplish this.

While annotation systems have the ability to overlay one’s site, there’s certainly room for serious abuse as a result. (See an example at https://indieweb.org/annotation#Criticism.) It would be nice if annotation systems were required to use something like webmentions (or even older trackback/pingbacks) to indicate that a site had been mentioned elsewhere, this way, even if the publisher wasn’t responsible for moderating the resulting comments, they could at least be aware of possible attacks on their work/site/page. #

Syndicated copies to:

Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit | The Guardian

Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit by Carole Cadwalladr (The Guardian)
Robert Mercer, who bankrolled Donald Trump, played key role with ‘sinister’ advice on using Facebook data

Continue reading “Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit | The Guardian”

Syndicated copies to:

60db and audio discovery

60db: Your World. Story by Story. (60dB)
60dB brings you today's best short-form audio stories – news, sports, entertainment, business and technology, all personalized for you.

I just ran across a recommendation for an audio discovery app via Mathew Ingram at the end of This Week in Google #389.

60db seems like the start of what could be an interesting podcast/audio discovery app/engine. It has the appearance of wanting to be like Nuzzel for the audio space based on their announcement, but isn’t quite there yet based on my quick look through their site. On first blush it doesn’t seem much better than Huffduffer and doesn’t have a follower model of any sort, but perhaps that could change. Folks watching the podcasting and audio discovery space should keep an eye on it though.

Sadly, at least for now, the app appears to focus on short form audio (3-8 minutes in length) from major media content producers who are already syndicating audio in podcast format. I haven’t used the iOS (no Android app yet) app, but the web interface allows one to pick from a list of about 20 broad category options (news, sports, politics, kids, etc.) to “customize” one’s feed.

Hopefully in the future it may build itself out a bit more like Nuzzel by requesting data from one’s Facebook or Twitter feeds to better customize an algorithmic feed for better general audio discovery. Maybe it will allow a follower model based on social graph for improved discovery. One might also like to see custom settings for podcast story length, so one could choose between short hit audio, which they currently have in abundance, and longer form stories for lengthier commute times.

For the moment however, they seem to have recreated a slightly better and more portable version of news radio for the internet/mobile crowd. Perhaps future iterations will reveal more?

Syndicated copies to:

Introducing 60dB | Medium

Introducing 60dB by 60dB (Medium)
Starting a conversation about smarter radio for everyone
Introducing 60dB
By 60dB | Oct. 27th, 2016In January, our team started on a journey to reimagine what the daily radio experience could be. We brainstormed in coffee shops, around kitchen tables, in basements and in tiny garages. We thought about all the ways technology has changed our lives, and marveled at the incredible durability of good old terrestrial radio. We compared digital audio products (mostly podcasting apps). We talked about the types of audio stories we wanted to hear.

And we quickly realized that there was a huge gap between what’s available today and what we wanted as listeners.

We love two things about radio: its simplicity and its great stories. Whether it’s a deeply reported news story or an interview with a favorite athlete or coach, a well-informed conversation between opinionated people or something that just makes us laugh, radio is always there.

But radio could never touch on the unique interests of every listener. We’ve set out to create a listening experience that is much more diverse. Already, we’ve discovered lots of remarkable audio stories out there, ones that are wonderful but haven’t been heard by a wider audience. And we are just getting started.

We chose the name 60dB because it represents the volume of conversation. The service represents a first public step in what we anticipate will be a long journey.

60dB (pronounced “sixty dee bee”) delivers a simple listening experience. After onboarding, 60dB delivers a personalized stream of stories for you based on your social graph, personal interests and engagement on the service.

Hello, World!
Whether you are into sports or politics, celebrity gossip or international news, or you just want to be entertained, 60dB helps you stay smart about the topics and parts of the world that you personally care about. The experience is unique for everyone, representing each individual’s diverse interests. This diversity isn’t possible through traditional radio.

Like your radio, you can just turn on 60dB and listen when you hop into your car in the morning. No need to plan ahead and program it. No need to hunt-and-peck for stories or shows you care about. With 60dB, good stories find you, whether you have 10 minutes to listen, or two hours.

Great stories inform, enlighten, entertain and connect us. On 60dB, you’ll hear stories from a wide variety of voices — some you might expect, and some unexpected ones, too. You’ll hear stories from Marketplace and the BBC, sports from CBS, Fox and The Ringer, and comedy from Late Night with Seth Meyers & The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. We have business news from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. And we will bring you audio stories you won’t hear anywhere else — interviews with reporters from The Atlantic, Fusion, Mic, Motherboard and The New York Times. This is just the beginning.

Short stories, generally just a few minutes long, are central to the 60dB listening experience. Quick Hits is where you’ll find a personalized stream of stories we think you’ll enjoy. In-Depth is where you’ll find longer stories, shows and podcasts. When you find a story you really want to hear but don’t have time for right now, you can save it for later.

Your feed refreshes as you listen; that means you can spend more time enjoying great stories, and less time finding them. As you listen, you can skip stories you’re not into, favorite stories you like, and share stories with friends. As you do, we listen to you. We learn about your interests and refine your experience to include fewer of the stories you’re not interested in, and more of the stuff you love. But we will never stop trying to surprise you.

60dB is available starting this morning, via the App Store. We’re starting with iOS for now, with plans to offer 60dB for the Amazon Echo and for Android devices soon.

Our vision for 60dB is to deliver great stories to you anywhere you have a speaker, whether that’s in your home, in the car or on the go.
We don’t think we have solved every problem. But we have something worth sharing — something with a lot of promise. We still have a long way to go. But we’ll learn faster with your help.

We’d love to hear from you about 60dB. Please drop us a line at feedback@60dB.co to share your feedback (the good as well as the critical).

Your world is about to get bigger, one story at a time.

If you enjoyed reading this, please click the ♥ below. This will help share the story with others.

Source: Introducing 60dB | Medium

Syndicated copies to:

Thanks to Trump, Scientists Are Going to Run for Office | The Atlantic

Thanks to Trump, Scientists Are Planning to Run for Office by Ed Yong (The Atlantic)
… and they’ve got help.

Continue reading “Thanks to Trump, Scientists Are Going to Run for Office | The Atlantic”

Syndicated copies to:

🎧 Our Computers, Ourselves | Invisibilia (NPR)

Our Computers, Ourselves by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel (Invisibilia | NPR.org)
In Our Computers, Ourselves, a look at the ways technology affects us, and the main question is : Are computers changing human character? You'll hear from cyborgs, bullies, neuroscientists and police chiefs about whether our closeness with computers is changing us as a species.

Possibly not as interesting to me because I’ve watched this space more closely over the past 20 years or so. Still it’s an interesting episode asking some great questions.

I can’t believe I flew through season one so quickly.

Syndicated copies to:

PressForward and Hypothes.is Work Great Together

I’ve just noticed that the metadata PressForward scrapes is enough to allow highlights and marginalia from Hypothes.is on the original web page to also appear in my copy on my own website! How awesome is that?

Example: http://boffosocko.com/2017/01/19/obamas-secret-to-surviving-the-white-house-years-books-the-new-york-times/

#ownallthethings

Syndicated copies to:

Reply to: little by little, brick by brick

little by little, brick by brick by Liz Round (historygeek)
After Friday’s rather angsty post about feeling unsettled and unsure about my work … I’m pleased to say that I now feel vastly better. I feel more in control, although little may have changed to the average onlooker!

Thanks for the thoughts here Liz. Somehow I hadn’t heard of ReadCube, but it looks very interesting and incredibly similar to Mendeley‘s set up and functionality. I’ve been using Mendeley for quite a while now and am reasonably happy with it, particularly being able to use their bookmarklet to save things for later and then do reading and annotations within the material. If researchers in your area are using Mendeley’s social features, this is also a potential added benefit, though platforms like Academia and ResearchGate should be explored as well.

Given their disparate functionalities, you may be better off choosing one of Evernote and OneNote and separately Mendeley or ReadCube. Personally I don’t think the four are broadly interchangeable though they may be easier to work with in pairs for their separate functionalities. While I loved Evernote, I have generally gone “all in” on OneNote because it’s much better integrated with the other MS Office tools like email, calendar, and my customized to do lists there.

Another interesting option you may find for sorting/organizing thousands of documents is Calibre e-book management. It works like an iTunes but for e-books, pdfs, etc. If you use it primarily for pdfs, you can save your notes/highlights/marginalia in them directly. Calibre also allows for adding your own meta-data fields and is very extensible. The one thing I haven’t gotten it to do well (yet) is export for citation management, though it does keep and maintain all the meta data for doing so. One of the ways that Mendeley and ReadCube seem to monetize is by selling a subscription for storage so if this is an issue for you, you might consider Calibre as a free alternative.

I’ve been ever working on a better research workflow, but generally prefer to try to use platforms on which I own all the data or it’s easily exportable and then own-able. I use my own website on WordPress as a commonplace book of sorts to capture all of what I’m reading, writing, and thinking about–though much of it is published privately or saved as drafts/pending on the back end of the platform. This seems to work relatively well and makes everything pretty easily searchable for later reference.

Here are some additional posts I’ve written relatively recently which may help your thinking about how to organize things on/within your website if you use it as a research tool:

I’ve also recently done some significant research and come across what I think is the most interesting and forward-thinking WordPress plugin for academic citations on my blog: Academic Blogger’s Toolkit. It’s easily the best thing currently on the market for its skillset.

Another research tool I can’t seem to live without, though it may be more specific to some of the highly technical nature of the math, physics, and engineering I do as well as the conferences/workshops I attend, is my Livescribe.com Pulse pen which I use to take not only copious notes, but to simultaneously record the audio portion of those lectures. The pen and technology link the writing to the audio portion directly so that I can more easily relisten/review over portions which may have been no so clear the first time around. The system also has an optional and inexpensive optical character recognition plugin which can be used for converting handwritten notes into typed text which can be very handy. For just about $200 the system has been one of the best investments I’ve made in the last decade.

If you haven’t come across it yet, I also highly recommend regularly reading the ProfHacker blog of the Chronicle of Higher Education which often has useful tips and tools for academic research use. They also do a very good job of covering some of the though in the digital humanities which you might find appealing.

Syndicated copies to: