Good morning. Hello. How are you? #492

More Apple ATT misery, Immigration misery, some weird dude with a REVOLT bumper sticker.

Good morning! Hello, there! How are you? What’s up? It’s Friday. It’s already the weekend for me, it’s a Timehop recharge day. That is exciting. And Jane is at Grammy’s this morning, so I just have all the time in the world. I’m going to, like, water the plants and do my podcast and, oh, I don’t know. Oh I gotta go to CVS. Well that’s not very exciting. Maybe I can find something exciting today. OH YES. Our friends Nick and Meghan are coming this evening, visiting from Wilmington that is very exciting. It will be a good weekend.

I mentioned to Emma that it’s just two more months until Thanksgiving and we get to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy again, a Thanksgiving tradition. Is it too soon to be kind of excited about that? This year’s going by so fast, it’ll be here before you know it.

Last night we watched the first episode of Foundation, the Apple TV+ series based on the Asimov books. It was great. It’s sort of the beginning of this giant wave of fall sci-fi I’ve been waiting for all year. Dune will be soon. Apple TV+ has another show, Invasion that looks pretty good. Anyway, it hasn’t been that long since I read the Foundation books. Like I read them since I’ve living down here in NC. But I had forgotten so much. I remembered the basics, Psychohistory, Hari Seldon, The Mule — really loved that weird Mule. Mainly all I really remembered is that they seemed unfilmmable. So I am pleasantly surprised how good Foundation seems. I’m very excited to keep watching it. Little reasons to live, etc. etc.

News round up!

The European Union is on a rampage to make all device manufacturers use universal charging cables. This isn’t a law specifically aimed at Apple, wink wink, but it’s also a law specifically aimed at Apple. Lightning sucks so hard, it’s so slow. It’s so ridiculous that the iPad pro uses USB-C but the iPhone 13 Pro does not use USB-C. Like what’s the point of Pro if you’re not going to put pro features on it? Speaking of pro features they have this dope new codec for filming in 4k, 5k, called ProRes, but ProRes makes monster huge video files — so big they are now offering a 1TB iPhone — but you still have to use a Lightning cable to get the files off of your phone, and the Lightning cable is super slow, comparable to USB-2, or, you know, 1/20th USB-C. The only logical reason to keep using this stupid thing is the accessories market, and sure some people might want to keep Lightning but PRO man, give the PRO USB-C. God.

Speaking of Apple, there’s a big article in the Washington Post about how all these app publishers are breaking Apple’s rules around data privacy. To recap, Apple has foisted upon all of us app peeps a set of rules known as App Tracking Transparency, or ATT. The most visible part of this to you, fair app user, is the dialog box you now see all the time on your iPhone, asking you if you want to let each individual app “track” you. Most of you are clicking “do not allow” on these dialog boxes, and I don’t especially blame you. I have many problems with Apple’s approach, and I have talked about them a bunch. But this scenario, really, gets to the heart of why this whole approach has sucked. Anyway, back to the WaPo article, heres the gist:

But something curious happens after you ask not to be tracked, according to an investigation by researchers at privacy software maker Lockdown and The Washington Post. Subway Surfers starts sending an outside ad company called Chartboost 29 very specific data points about your iPhone, including your Internet address, your free storage, your current volume level (to 3 decimal points) and even your battery level (to 15 decimal points). It’s the kind of unique data that could be used by advertisers to identify your iPhone, possibly letting them know what other apps you use or how to target you.

In other words, it’s sidestepping your request to be left alone. You can’t stop it. And your privacy is worse off for it.

Apple’s ATT approach has always been more than a set of technical procedures to implement. It is a set of rules. The fundamental problem with Apple and this set of rules is that Apple never said whether or how it would enforce them and, since implementing ATT, it really hasn’t bothered to enforce them at all. Mind you, they have a very robust app approval process — there was just a whole big court case against Epic Games where Apple went on and on about how thorough its app approval process was, they went on and on about how important it was, and how if they didn’t do it or have it, my gosh, things would be so terrible.

Yet at the same time:

When we flagged our findings to Apple, it said it was reaching out to these companies to understand what information they are collecting and how they are sharing it. After several weeks, nothing appears to have changed.

Here’s the situation: Tons of people are cheating, Apple isn’t doing shit, and those of us who are following the rules — and lots of people are following the rules — are getting fucked. It was so obvious this was going to happen when they started this process, because the alternative is for them to hire a shit-ton more people to review apps, and to start pulling apps, apps people love. The amount of effort that was obviously going to be required to enforce their new set of rules was clearly monumental, and it was obvious Apple, being a tech company that hates hiring people, wasn’t going to bother.

It would have been one thing for our company to take a massive revenue hit to fix some fundamental wrongs with the industry, even if we, ourselves, were not perpetuating those wrongs. It would have been a fair playing field, and hey, maybe over time, the revenue would come back as the market cleaned up. But LOL nope. What we have instead is a bunch of cheaters making money while everyone who follows the rules takes the revenue hit. Awesome.

And sure, maybe Apple will eventually fix this — there are rumors that bringing over they might apply something like their private relay service to mobile app advertising, but: 1) maybe they could have, like, had the fixes in place first and not go a year where all the rule-followers get screwed, and 2) if the relay service is anything like their other “tech fix” involved in this, SKAdNetwork, god help us all.

I got into this business, god help me, to help clean it up, to provide a counter-balance to the monopolists, to give publishers better tools, to make things more transparent. Apple is not helping at all. Curious coincidence that a monopolist is making things more difficult.

God I might even copy and paste this to LinkedIn, god help me.


Dead Can Dance postponed their US tour, it was for next month, and I have been sad about it because it seems pretty clear at this point that I wasn’t going to make it to New York by next month. So I’m glad about that. Push it to next year. The next New York show is the Hold Steady in December. Will I make it? I give it a 50% chance. I want my kid vaccinated first. Eh, maybe 25% chance. It sucks. I hate this period. And of course it’ll get worse in a month or two when a bunch more parents get their kids vaccinated and us with kids under 5 will be all alone. Poop.

The US Special Envoy to Haiti quit his job because he’s sick of our government’s bullshit and it does seem like the White House is doing a masterful job of completely bungling this situation. Biden seems to have inherited Obama’s timidity and political fear on a humanitarian issue, worried about Fox news and people who never would have voted for him anyway. I mean, I am not an immigration expert, I don’t understand the insane mess of rules and court decisions and all the different ways a president is bound from acting, but it seems pretty clear and universally agreed that they could be doing more. It’s so depressing how bad the left is with the Overton Window on this issue, it’s so depressing how scared Americans are about fewer people than would fit into The Jones Beach amphitheater (this is not an exaggeration look it up). Point oh-eight migrants per American election precinct yeah fuck that we can’t let them in that would be so terrible. You could put them all in New York City and it would be less than third of its annual population growth.

I went to Walmart yesterday, it was a good time, I got some snow peas, yeah, big day out. Anyway, as I was leaving, there was this Chevy next to me in the turn lane. It had three bumper stickers — two of them were very verbose, so, you know, this was someone who was committed to things. But they were so verbose the type was really small, and I couldn’t read it, so I couldn’t tell exactly what they were committed to. It was a Chevy, but a mini SUV, so, you know, not super lefty like a Volt and not super Righty like a Suburban, just sort of middle of the road. Anyway, the third bumper sticker had one word on it, big letters, very readable, white on red: REVOLT.

And it really got me thinking, wow, you know, I can’t really tell if this guy wants to revolt from the left or the right, they both seem plausible given the information here. I followed him down 15-501 for a while, and we stopped at another light together and I tried to snap a quick picture, in order to zoom in on the text of the other two bumper stickers when I got home, but Apple still only has a 2x telephoto lens and a 12 megapixel camera in their phones after six years, god, so ridiculous. So, yeah, the picture didn’t really turn out here see for yourself:

Yeah, anyway, maybe “REVOLT” just isn’t the word we want to use anymore. Like yeah shit sucks and the solutions are hopelessly complex and we are inextricably mired into a knot of impossibility that we are going to have to untangle, but I’m just thinking after some people stormed the capital maybe REVOLT isn’t the best word. Also the very fact that I — and I bet you too now — find this dude’s revolt plausible coming from both the right OR the left indicates maybe you don’t have enough people to revolt on your side and win? Like unless everyone wants to just revolt for revolt’s sake, I’m pretty sure we’re stuck trying to work this out without a revolt, because neither side seems to have a big enough majority. I don’t know. Of course to a proper cliche of an American leftist right now this sounds like centrism, but I repeat: disagreements about tactics and politics are different things and anyway I am rambling now but I have found out that I’m not a big fan of ambiguous REVOLT bumper stickers.

OK let’s do a mix. Covers. Some of these — well, two — just came out today. The cover of “Steal my Sunshine” by Portugal. The Man and Cherry Glazerr is very exciting. Portugal. The Man, of course, from my ancestral home of Wasilla, Alaska. We’ve met a few times through the years, always shoot the shit a little about Wasilla. Never met Cherry Glazerr but she’s the daughter of an old friend of mine. And yes, there are two Annie tracks on here, because Annie is awesome and both covers are awesome and I am not apologizing for my love of the new Annie. And it turns out that Carpenters song is a cover so it’s going on the cover mix. The Paraorchestra was a live one-off thing by Brett Anderson of Suede that I completely missed when it happened but they did some amazing covers. Two different Mercury Rev covers on here - one from Matt Berninger that I completely missed last year, and a classic by Luna. The other new cover today is the King Princess cover and it’s great. Oh yeah wow three different Lou Reed covers on here — Sharon Van Etten, King Princess, Jane’s Addiction. Well that makes sense Lou Reed wrote some great songs. The Richard Ashcroft one maybe doesn’t deserve to be on here, but it’s so different and that guy is so problematic I’m just pretending he was never in (the) Verve.

Okay have a lovely weekend! Talk to you guys Monday!