"no webp" logo

Eric Schmidt's company bought a little company that makes a crappy "new" image file format that is apparently no better than jpg or png.
Using its monopoly power, Eric Schmidt's company is persuading more and more websites to use it, instead of jpg and png.
Most image programs need an additional plugin to convert this new format to jpg or png.
Who needs that hassle? Who needs a monopolist telling you what to do?


speak for yoursel(ves)

Netherlands-based net theorist Geert Lovink has a new book coming out called Sad By Design. The thesis outlined in the lead essay seems to be "smartphones and social media make us sad." Lovink's employment of the first person plural throughout the essay is a turnoff, e.g.,

By browsing through updates, we’re catching up with machine time – at least until we collapse under the weight of participation fatigue.


After yet another app session in which we failed to make a date, purchased a ticket and did a quick round of videos, the post-dopamine mood hits us hard.

As noted previously, this use of "us" and "we" irritates. If Lovink said "I" did these things or had these feelings he'd sound like a pitiful stooge.
The present blog is certainly guilty of using "we" or "you" instead of "I" but it's mostly a writerly habit of trying not to sound too pompous.
When I write I don't assume that you never joined Facebook or owned a smartphone. Or stopped tweeting in 2018.
I'm not sad about having a blog with with no like buttons or page view counters and I don't expect you are sad about whatever you do online or in life. Use Facebook and phones if it makes you happy, if it doesn't don't use them.

waah, they can't delete facebook

Bloomberg has a story with the shocking headline "Samsung Phone Users Perturbed to Find They Can't Delete Facebook" (hat tip JR).
Two years ago no major news outlet would have written this. Post-Trump and Cambridge Analytica it's suddenly acceptable to express concern about Zuckerberg's enterprise.
The story, intriguing but not eye-opening to privacy buffs, provides a gauge of mainstream sentiment regarding tech giants. Eric Schmidt's company could be said to rival Facebook in the sinister department, yet its products (email, browser, etc) also can't be deleted from a Samsung phone. (Because Schmidt's company makes the operating system the phone runs on.)
About fifteen years back a programmer friend lamented the "demise of the general purpose computer." To some extent that's been happening because Apple and Microsoft make it harder to tinker with devices running their software. But it's also come to pass voluntarily, because of the mass migration to "smart" devices with undelete-able programs.

guten-free word press, please

Good critique of Word Press "Gutenberg" -- the sh*tty new behind-the-scenes content editor that is supposed to be mobile- or touch-friendly.
It popped up as the default editing screen when users installed Word Press 5.0 a couple of months ago. We were told if we wanted the old editor we had to install the "Classic Editor" plugin. Needless to say this WP user did that immediately.
The author of the critique, Dedoimedo, likens Gutenberg to Windows 8 and hopes Word Press will follow a similar path of treating it as a failed experiment. He notes that the Classic Editor plugin "has more than 200,000 active installations with a near perfect 5.0 score."



image by htown, via bogchat (sans border)

This was made with pix2pix, a web-based image processor that supposedly turns line drawings into fully-fleshed photographic renderings.
Most of the results are on par with the famous #botched_fresco_restoration in Spain.
Artists who use the pix2pix service without high expectations can get some charming results, however.
htown's image above is delicate and somewhat mysterious!