Darrin Blankenship

This happens to me all the time: see interesting looking embedded YouTube video on website in my morning RSS trawl. Try to watch video. It loads verrrrrry slowwwwly, if at all. Stop video, click through to watch video on YouTube (or in the YouTube app), works just fine.

This happens too often, in too many different situations to seem like poor network conditions. Is this intentional fuckery from Google? At first glance I would think no. Embedded or not, the video is still being served by YouTube and YouTube can still do all the tracking and ad insertion they do on YouTube itself. But… there’s been a lot of talk lately about dark patterns and “engagement”.

It seems to me that, maybe, what’s going on here is that YouTube borks embedded video (it seems worse on sites that have interesting content that isn’t YouTube. For instance, I don’t even try to watch embedded video on BoingBoing) just because it knows you’re more likely to get grabbed by the next shiny thing they algorithmically surface if you’re on YouTube proper than on whatever site embedded the video that caught your eye.

Maybe I’m cynical or maybe this is known behavior or maybe I’m imagining motives for otherwise innocuous and explainable network behavior. But maybe it’s manipulative fuckery.

Wicked cool.

Mysterious sunstones in medieval Viking texts could really have worked-Ars Technica

My exit from Twitter will be long and conflicted but, ultimately, it will be because they still just don’t get it. Breaking third party apps is a shitty alternative to just making a better goddamned app yourself.


Micro.blog doesn’t like pipes in markdown links. Now I know this.

This is the bottom line: Facebook simply can’t be trusted.

Facebook’s disappearing message saga is the act of a company in turmoil - MIT Technology Review


Updated Sinclair Broadcast Group Anchor Script

This keeps appearing at the very top of my YouTube queue. I’ve reported it a couple of times now and it’s still there. Way to stay on top of things Google, can’t imagine why anyone would think you have a problem policing hateful shit on your platform.


Local TV forced to denounce ‘one-sided news’ by America’s largest media company

I’m old enough to remember radio before Clear Channel ruined it. I guess I’m old enough to remember local TV before Sinclair ruined that too.

Andrew Yang Wants You To Vote For A $1,000-A-Month Basic Income In 202

Cryptocurrencies are taking a beating these days but I think there still might be something there. Manna and Swift are two that have been conceived as a mechanism for a UBI. These will also probably fail because most things do. However, since neither of them actually require you to spend money you already have for money you might or might not get someday, my personal feeling is they carry little risk (Disclaimer: they both DO require some personal information from you, which, given our contemporary privacy shitstorm, is not something to take lightly).

If the idea of cryptocurrency and/or Universal Basic Income interests you, you can sign up for either (or both!) with the links below.

Take note: these are referral links. If you use them, I get a little of each for myself. If that bothers you, you can visit them manually in your own browser.

Mannabase Swift


Here’s what I said about automated vehicles and basic income at the House of Commons of Canada

Scott is easily the clearest explainer of what we face in the short term.


The Kushner Family Passover Haggadah, 2018 Edition

Opinion: Apple’s privacy-first approach has downsides but is really paying dividends now 9to5Mac

Keep in mind when bitching about Siri.

I wonder how many people who came to use RSS post Google Reader know tha RSS doesn’t require a remote aggregator. There are good reasons to use one (mostly speed and bandwidth: polling a lot of feeds can be intensive) but they aren’t requirements.

RSS is one of those underlying, often overlooked and misunderstood technologies that make the open web possible. It’s really no wonder that Google sucked all the air out of it and killed it because RSS before Google Reader was inherently algorithm resistant.

RSS Readers Are Due for a Comeback: Feedly, The Old Reader, Inoreader WIRED

I’ve used RSS since before Google Reader was a thing and still use it every day. Lately I long for a reader that can do feed aggregation on the device without needing a server.

There’s a peculiar nexus of gregariousness and sociopathy necessary to succeed in today’s social media. You need to strive constantly to reach people while not giving a shit if you do. It’s exhausting and inhuman.

Of all the social crap I’m considering deleting, Twitter is the stickiest. It’s almost completely useless now, akin to walking around shouting while wearing a bucket on my head and, yet, I still recall when I really enjoyed it.

All the tools for trying to tame my Twitter feed are all “PROMOTE YOUR BRAND!” and other SEO bullshit. I just want to talk to real people about anything that isn’t awful.

Downside: discovered my ancient FB was only “disable” and not deleted after deleting the gmail account I used to create it in the first place.