BuzzFeed News: ‘Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False and Misleading Information at an Alarming Rate’ ★
However, during the time period analyzed, we found that right-wing
pages were more prone to sharing false or misleading information
than left-wing pages. Mainstream pages did not share any
completely false information, but did publish a small number of
posts that included unverified claims. (More on that below.)
We rated 86 out of a total 666 right-wing Facebook posts as mostly
false, for a percentage of 13%. Another 167 posts (25%) were rated
as a mixture of true and false. Viewed separately or together
(38%), this is an alarmingly high percentage.
Left-wing pages did not earn as many “mostly false” or “mixture of
true and false” ratings, but they did share false and misleading
content. We identified 22 mostly false posts out of a total of 471
from these pages, which means that just under 5% of left-wing
posts were untrue. We rated close to 14% of these posts (68) a
mixture of true and false. Taken together, nearly a fifth of all
left-wing posts we analyzed were either partially or mostly false.
I once wrote a column arguing Facebook probably hasn’t led to more
partisanship. I now think that’s completely wrong.
I now think Facebook is contributing to the decline of western
civilization. By helping spread misinformation.
We replaced civil society w/ self-selecting, self-reinforcing
loops of affinity feeding our brains w/ social validation of
Samsung Issues Takedown on Video of Grand Theft Auto 5 Mod Turning Galaxy Note 7 Into a Bomb ★
Mike Masnick, writing for Techdirt:
What it is not, however, is copyright infringement. I don’t care
how you slice or dice it. It’s not copyright infringement. Samsung
may be embarrassed by its exploding devices, and it may not like
people making fun of them or turning them into weapons in video
games, but that doesn’t matter. There’s no copyright infringement
against Samsung’s copyrights in doing that. And it’s flat out
ridiculous that Samsung appears to have made a copyright claim
over such a video. Hopefully whoever put up the video challenges
this and YouTube comes to its senses…
This is only going to bring more attention to the GTA mod.
Nintendo Switch ★
Teaser video for Nintendo’s upcoming new gaming platform. Seems intriguing — connected to your TV it works like a traditional console, but you can undock it to use it as a portable.
Undocked, it’s more like a tablet than a phone, size-wise, which sounds right to me. In the same way that phones have completely supplanted pocket-sized point-and-shoot cameras, phones completely own the pocket-sized space for gaming. The Switch is the equivalent of a DSLR for gaming.
Greg Koenig: ‘Why Your Next iPhone Won’t Be Ceramic’ ★
Greg Koenig on why the ceramic Apple Watch Edition does not presage a ceramic iPhone:
All of this circles us back to that little booklet that shipped
with the ceramic Watch Edition. I think it is a safe bet to say
that if Apple was about to leverage a whole new process for the
efficient manufacturing of precision ceramics for next year’s
iPhone, this new Watch model would be a test balloon for at least
some of those techniques. Now, it is important to note that Apple
has always skillfully knife edged their marketing discussion about
manufacturing by being both hyper honest in their descriptions,
while being quite vague about the nitty gritty details. So if we
can all agree their materials are honest, let me be very plain -
there is nothing revolutionary or new about how Apple is making
the ceramic Edition watch.
The process they describe is meticulously executed, and because of
the nature of the design — wherein ceramics are mimicking the
engineering layout of far more easily produced materials -
probably the most laboriously produced ceramic watch on the
market. In fact, if we scale the numbers used in the booklet up to
iPhone size devices and cycle times, Apple would need 2 football
field’s worth of kiln space for each ceramic iPhone to sinter for
the requisite 36 hours. For the 2 hours of hard ceramic machining
to finish the case details, Apple would need to go from 20,000 CNC
machines, to 250,000. They would need another 200,000 employees to
perform the 2 hours of hand polishing to “bring out the strength
As Koenig emphasizes, at peak production Apple is manufacturing one million iPhones per day. If and when Apple switches from aluminum to a new material for iPhone bodies, it’ll have to be a material with which they can achieve the same scale.
Darrell Etherington’s Google Pixel Camera Review ★
Darrell Etherington, testing the Pixel camera side-by-side with the iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7:
Outdoors, you can see that while all three are very capable
cameras, there are some differences that might sway personal
opinion regarding which is “best.” The iPhone 7 Plus delivers more
vibrant colors, with brighter defaults for light areas in both HDR
and standard modes (it produces both in your gallery by default
depending on the scene, so that’s how I shot and presented them
Indoors, the differences between the three cameras are more
pronounced, especially in very low light. Here, the Galaxy S7
appears to have the edge when it comes to color balance, as well
as noise and even possibly detail. The iPhone 7 Plus does appear
to be more accurate in terms of its color capture, but it’s still
tough to pick an outright favorite. The Pixel XL, to its credit,
does very well in the portrait under adequate, but not bright,
Ultimately, numbered ratings from third-party analyst sites aside,
this is a race so close that it’s impossible to call, except by
personal preference. Each of these smartphone cameras excels in
some regard, but the best end result is in the eye of the beholder
since none exhibits any serious flaws.
I agree with his assessment based on his examples. The Pixel’s electronic image stabilization for video is very well done, but it’s clearly not as good as optical image stabilization.
Brian X. Chen’s Google Pixel Review ★
Brian X. Chen, writing for the NYT:
The absence of a major competing Android device works out
especially well for Google because the Pixel is, relatively
speaking, mediocre. It is slower than Apple’s iPhone 7 and the
Galaxy S7, Samsung’s smaller flagship phone. Photos shot with
Pixel’s camera don’t look as good as the iPhone’s. And Google’s
built-in artificially intelligent virtual assistant, called
Assistant, is still fairly dumb.
Chen’s Pixel review is the least enthusiastic I’ve seen. His comments on the camera — he labels it “mediocre” — are out of line with most reviews. I’m not saying he’s wrong, just that his take is quite different.
CNet Compares Google Pixel and iPhone 7 Plus Cameras ★
Vanessa Hand Orellana:
If you tend to shoot portraits and that’s what matters to you
most, the iPhone 7 Plus is an obvious choice. Portrait mode is
dSLR-esque, and we only expect it to improve by the time it gets a
But if brighter colors, sharper detail throughout the backgrounds
of photos and capable low-light photography is more important,
it’s the Pixel. I have to admit, I initially thought Google
over-promised on its new flagship — especially after those
disappointing Nexus cameras — but I was wrong. It’s a new chapter
for Google phones and this one earned its name.
I agree with her assessment based on most of the examples shown. I was especially impressed with the Pixel’s image from the low-light environment in the wine cellar. However, they shot both on tripods. I would’ve liked to see examples from the same environment while handheld — the iPhone 7 Plus’s optical image stabilization should make a big difference while handheld, but no difference at all on a tripod.
Why don’t any of these Pixel-vs.-iPhone camera comparisons mention wide color capture?
Bloomberg: ‘Disney Dropped Twitter Pursuit Partly Over Image’ ★
Alex Sherman, Chris Palmeri, and Sarah Frier, reporting for Bloomberg:
Walt Disney Co. decided not to pursue a bid for Twitter Inc.
partly out of concern that bullying and other uncivil forms of
communication on the social media site might soil the company’s
wholesome family image, according to people familiar with
Because I love Twitter as a service, I want to see the company thrive, but there’s no denying that there’s some justice to the fact that their longstanding inability and/or refusal to deal with trolls and harassment is sinking the company.
Salesforce.com Inc. also decided against a Twitter bid, as did
Alphabet Inc.’s Google.
No one wants Twitter at this price.
Michael Nunez’s Google Pixel Review ★
Michael Nunez, writing for Gizmodo:
As a lifelong Android user, I couldn’t wait to try the Pixel. It’s
different than other Android phones, because it’s the first
handset centered around the company’s artificial intelligence —
the same omnipotent intelligence that’s vacuuming up information
about you every time you use a service like Gmail, Google Maps, or
Google Calendar. The “Google brain” learns your habits over time,
and can help you find important information faster. The problem is
that Google’s AI is too stupid to be meaningfully helpful at this
I was particularly disappointed with Google Assistant because it’s
such a promising concept. Google is moving attention away from the
search bar more than ever. Instead, the company wants you to
“Google” by using the messaging app Allo or voice search in Google
Assistant. Ultimately, the Pixel and Pixel XL are gateways for
feeding the Google brain more information about yourself. As
Google’s AI gets smarter, the Assistant will become more helpful.
While some people might find this creepy, I think the idea is
exciting, and it’s a letdown that the tech isn’t there yet. In
fairness nobody has it, and Google’s is better than what’s offered
by competitors like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. The
point is that as a whole, smartphone assistants aren’t smart
enough to be defining features. They’re gimmicks, and Google
unwisely decided to build a phone around one.
Recode: Apple Plans to Launch New Macs at an October 27 Event ★
Ina Fried, reporting for Recode:
Apple is planning to introduce new Macs at an Oct. 27 event,
sources confirmed to Recode. […] The Mac event is expected to
take place at or near Apple’s Cupertino campus rather than in San
Francisco, where the company held many recent events, including
the iPhone 7 announcement.
One last hurrah for Infinite Loop’s Town Hall, I bet.
Dieter Bohn’s Google Pixel Review ★
Even though there’s ostensibly One Google Brain behind all of it,
the different lobes don’t always seem to be talking to each other.
That confusion extends to the various ways that Google exists on
the Pixel itself. You can only speak to the Assistant, for
example, not type at it. Except that you can type at it in Allo,
Google’s chat app. You can also tap the Google search button on
the home screen to type queries, but that’s not technically the
Assistant. Oh, and Google Now, the predictive information stream,
still sits to the left of your main home screen.
That’s four different ways to talk to Google on this phone, not
counting apps like Maps and Gmail. And each one has a slightly
different interface and provides slightly different results. For
example, the Assistant can’t recognize songs yet, but asking the
exact same question with the Google search button works fine.
To be very clear: the Google Assistant is absolutely the smartest
of the assistant bunch, but it’s not yet in a class of its own.
Bohn calls the Pixels a “home run”, and also has very good words regarding the camera. I quoted the above passage, though, because it suggests some rough edges regarding what is supposed to be the Pixel’s standout feature.
Walt Mossberg’s Google Pixel Review ★
After testing the historic phone since last week, I can say that
the Pixel is very, very good. In its first try, Google has landed
itself in the same class as Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy
S7 (that company’s non-exploding model). Like those formidable
competitors, it’s comfortable and practical; fast and fluid; takes
very good pictures; and is connected to a strong ecosystem.
The Pixel is easily the best Android phone I’ve ever tested, and
seems to hail from a different planet than the chunky, clumsy and
pokey 2008 G1 which introduced Android to the world.
Another positive Pixel review, another wisecrack about Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7.
Joanna Stern’s Google Pixel Review ★
Android people, please step forward. Good news! Your next
phone-buying decision just got a heck of a lot easier. The Google
Pixel is now the best Android smartphone you can buy. The other
leading contender was disqualified due to spontaneous combustion.
iPhone people, it’s your turn. Ask yourself: Why do I have an
iPhone? Is it because of its software, services and privacy
policies? Or is it because it’s a very good phone for things like
Google Maps, Gmail, Spotify and Facebook Messenger? If you’ve
answered yes to the latter, the Pixel may be for you, too.
On the cameras:
The best camera is the one you have with you. In most situations,
I’d rather have the Pixel camera. […]
The iPhone 7 Plus with its second lens does beat the Pixel camera.
Not only does the iPhone 7 Plus optically magnify shots 2X, but it
uses the dual-lens setup to gauge depth for a lens blur effect.
The Pixel has a similar effect, but it looks pretty fake.
Her comparison shots are pretty compelling. The Pixel camera definitely seems pretty good.
NYT Chief Counsel David McCraw on the Response to His Letter to Trump’s Lawyers ★
I heard from students I had taught 30 years ago when I was a
college professor, former colleagues, law school classmates I
hadn’t seen in two decades, my brother’s high school girlfriend, a
person who says we met at a wedding 10 years ago, my ex-wife. (Mr.
Trump’s attorneys, as is often the way with lawyer letters, have
not written back yet.)
One person took issue with my comma usage. Somebody suggested I
be disbarred. I was made aware of a raging online debate set off
by the letter over whether there should be two spaces or one
after a period. […]
But my favorite email was the one that ended: “As my sister put
it, ‘I’ve never wanted to hang a paragraph from a lawyer on my
fridge before.’ ”
Samsung Is Setting Up Airport Kiosks to Replace Galaxy Note 7 Phones ★
Sergio Quintana, reporting for ABC 7 in San Francisco:
Samsung representatives are standing by at SFO in case people
bring their potentially dangerous Galaxy Note7’s to the airport.
SFO says Samsung reps are now located in front of security
checkpoints. Customers can go there to swap out their recalled
phones or get a refund.
Seems like Samsung is finally getting on top of this fiasco, putting customers first, not their own PR.
Bill Belichick: ‘I’m Done With the Tablets’ ★
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on why he’s giving up on the NFL’s Microsoft Surface tablets and going back to paper. “Long answer to a short question, sorry.”
Apple’s deal to put iPads in MLB dugouts seems to be going better than Microsoft’s deal to put Surfaces on NFL sidelines. (One major difference: MLB’s dugout iPads are offline-only — teams can load them up with whatever information they want before the game starts, but during the games, they’re completely offline.)
‘Never Happened’ ★
Eight-minute short film by Mark Slutsky. Don’t even read the description, just set aside eight minutes in a dark room with a big screen. Trust me.
Gizmodo: ‘Horror Stories From the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Flight Ban’ ★
Story from a Gizmodo reader:
At the security checkpoint as a husband/partner was saying goodbye
to his wife/partner, she gave her phone to him because she thought
she couldn’t take it on the plane. It was a Galaxy S5 or S6, I
couldn’t really tell, but definitely not a Note. So lots of
confusion. Finally, we are putting a lot of faith in flight
attendants who don’t know the difference between a laptop and a
tablet let alone a nuanced issue like what’s happening with the
Note. I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose access to our cell phones
pre-take off again as a result of Samsung’s fuckup.
Saturday Night Live had a joke this weekend about “Samsung Galaxy 7’s” — without the “Note”. It’s really easy to be confused by this. I really do worry that this fuckup is going to lead to all devices being banned from use on flights.
Update: Worse for Samsung would be a ban on all “Samsung” or even just “Galaxy” phones. Here’s a recording of a Lufthansa pilot forbidding the use of all “Galaxy S7” phones.
Bloomberg: ‘How Apple Scaled Back Its Titanic Plan to Take on Detroit’ ★
Mark Gurman and Alex Webb, writing for Bloomberg:
By the end of 2015, the project was blighted by internal strife.
Managers battled about the project’s direction, according to
people with knowledge of the operations. “It was an incredible
failure of leadership,” one of the people said. In early 2016,
project head Steve Zadesky, a former Ford Motor Co. engineer and
early iPod designer, left Titan. Zadesky, who remains at Apple,
declined to comment.
Zadesky handed the reins to his boss, Dan Riccio, adding to
responsibilities that already included engineering annual iPhone,
iPad, and Mac refreshes. Bob Mansfield, a highly regarded manager
who helped develop the original iPad, returned in April from a
part-time role at Apple to lead the team.
About a month later, Mansfield took the stage in a Silicon Valley
auditorium packed with hundreds of Titan employees to announce the
strategy shift, according to people who attended the meeting.
Mansfield explained that he had examined the project and
determined that Apple should move from building an outright
competitor to Tesla Motors Inc. to an underlying self-driving
Making a platform that Apple would, I can only suppose, license to actual car makers doesn’t sound anything like Apple at all. I’m not disputing Gurman and Webb’s reporting, I’m just pointing out that if true, it’s the most un-Apple-like project in the company’s history.
There are ways to square this story with Apple’s traditional integrated approach. Perhaps they’re thinking, Do the software first, see if we can do something worth making, and if so, buy a car company. But even that doesn’t sound like Apple.
Even if only the big-picture story is correct and every detail is
wrong, Project Titan makes no sense to me now.
Rene Ritchie: ‘Solving for Dash’ ★
You’ll be able to hear a deeper discussion on this between Michael
Gartenberg, Serenity Caldwell, special guest James Thomson, and
myself on the Apple Talk podcast very soon, but here’s the
consensus: Restore the developer account associated with Dash and
put Dash back on the App Store. Leave the linked account banned.
Monitor Dash going forward the way any other app has been
monitored. And that’s it.
I think Apple already threw him his lifeline and he decided to tie it around his neck. Apple offered to do just what Rene is asking them to do, and in return only wanted Popescu to explain the circumstances that led Apple to reasonably (and perhaps correctly) assume both accounts were his.
Update: Dash developer Bogdan Popescu has given his “full story” in a statement to iMore, blaming his mother for the App Store fraud.
Samsung’s Explosion-Proof Note 7 Return Packaging ★
Here’s a clever design that Samsung didn’t copy from Apple.
‘Packed It With So Much Innovation’ ★
The concluding paragraphs of Brian X. Chen and Choe Sang-Hun’s report for The New York Times on how Samsung came to the decision to completely abort the Galaxy Note 7:
“It was too quick to blame the batteries; I think there was
nothing wrong with them or that they were not the main problem,”
said Park Chul-wan, former director of the Center for Advanced
Batteries at the Korea Electronics Technology Institute, who said
he reviewed the regulatory agency’s documents.
It did not help that the hundreds of Samsung testers trying to
pinpoint the problem could not easily communicate with one
another: Fearing lawsuits and subpoenas, Samsung told employees
involved in the testing to keep communications about the tests
offline — meaning no emails were allowed, according to the person
briefed on the process.
Mr. Park said he had talked with some Samsung engineers but none
seemed to know what happened, nor were they able to replicate the
problem. Replication would have been quick and easy if the problem
was with the chip board and designs, he said.
“The problem seems to be far more complex,” Mr. Park said in a
phone interview. “The Note 7 had more features and was more
complex than any other phone manufactured. In a race to surpass
iPhone, Samsung seems to have packed it with so much innovation it
“Packed it with so much innovation it became uncontrollable” is a very odd quote to include. This sounds more like a statement from Samsung PR than from an objective outsider. And you would think that a company-wide edict to keep all communication about the investigation offline would merit more than a passing reference.
The Gender Divide ★
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight:
But it seems fair to say that, if Trump loses the election, it
will be because women voted against him. I took a look at how men
and women split their votes four years ago, according to polls
conducted in November 2012. On average, Mitt Romney led President
Obama by 7 percentage points among men, about the same as Trump’s
5-point lead among men now. But Romney held his own among women,
losing them by 8 points, whereas they’re going against Trump by
That’s the difference between a close election — as you’ll
remember, those national polls in late 2012 showed the race
neck-and-neck — and one that’s starting to look like a blowout.
Includes rather stark maps showing what the Electoral College would be like if only women voted (massive Clinton landslide) or if only men voted (solid win for Trump).
John Scalzi: ‘Trump, the GOP, and the Fall’ ★
But note well: Donald Trump is not a black swan, an unforeseen
event erupting upon an unsuspecting Republican Party. He is the
end result of conscious and deliberate choices by the GOP, going
back decades, to demonize its opponents, to polarize and obstruct,
to pursue policies that enfeeble the political weal and to yoke
the bigot and the ignorant to their wagon and to drive them by
dangling carrots that they only ever intended to feed to the rich.
Trump’s road to the candidacy was laid down and paved by the
Southern Strategy, by Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove,
by Fox News and the Tea Party, and by the smirking cynicism of
three generations of GOP operatives, who have been fracking the
white middle and working classes for years, crushing their
fortunes with their social and economic policies, never imagining
it would cause an earthquake. […]
But they don’t control Trump, which they are currently learning
to their great misery. And the reason the GOP doesn’t control
Trump is that they no longer control their base. The GOP trained
their base election cycle after election cycle to be disdainful of
government and to mistrust authority, which ultimately is an odd
thing for a political party whose very rationale for existence is
rooted in the concept of governmental authority to do. The GOP
created a monster, but the monster isn’t Trump. The monster is
the GOP’s base. Trump is the guy who stole their monster from
them, for his own purposes.
Remember that a year ago, no one in the Republican establishment thought Trump had a chance of winning the primary — and then he wound up winning it rather easily. His path to the Republican nomination was actually easier than Hillary Clinton’s.
Democracy is entirely based on political compromises. The Trumplican base sees any sort of compromise as a betrayal.
See also: Scalzi’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, every single word of which I agree with.
Mark Gurman, in a profile of Google’s new Pixel phones published just before Google’s event started today:
Google is embarking on a wholesale revamp of its mobile phone
strategy, debuting a pair of slick and powerful handsets that
for the first time will go head-to-head with Apple Inc.’s
The first clause is true: the Pixels do mark a “wholesale revamp” of Google’s mobile phone strategy. The second clause is nonsense: Google has been going head-to-head against the iPhone ever since the first Android phone debuted. You can’t say the Nexus phones don’t count just because they never succeeded.
Google then-VP of engineering Vic Gundotra devoted his 2010 I/O keynote to ripping into the iPhone and iPad, pedal to the metal on “open beats closed” and how an ecosystem of over 60 different Android devices (a drop in the pond compared to today) was winning, saving the world from a future where “one man, one company, one device” controls mobile. (Gundotra tossed in “one carrier”, which was true at the time, but looks foolish in hindsight.) He even compared the iPhone to Orwell’s 1984. Really.
The only thing Orwellian here is Google’s attempt to flush down the memory hole their previous attempts to go head-to-head against the iPhone. Watch the first 10 minutes of Gundotra’s 2010 keynote — the whole thing is about beating the iPhone.
(Gundotra went heavy on the Flash Player thing, too. It occurs to me that many executives who were willing to bet publicly on Flash Player for mobile circa 2010 are no longer around. A notable exception: Kevin Lynch.)