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LanceList - Issue #167

Facebook News; Toshiba Bye; YouTube's Big Problem; iPad Mini 5 Teardown; Snapchat Status


April 3 · Issue #167 · View online
Tech stories that matter, Gadget Quests, nerd pursuits, and other things you ought to know.

Facebook News; Toshiba Bye; YouTube’s Big Problem; iPad Mini 5 Teardown; Snapchat Status

Did you survive April Fool’s Day? I got through without getting punked, but I did have some fun.
Let’s try this. After yanking publishers around for almost a decade, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a new idea: a special Facebook section for high-quality news and he’ll pay publishers a licensing fee. This is not, in and of itself, a bad idea, but it is somewhat comical after the social network used its tremendous power to drag media around by its nose until it stumbled and, in some cases, failed. Now he wants to help. It’ll be interesting to see if publishers trust Facebook enough to work with it in this way, and to see if Facebook users care to go looking for this high-quality news section.
Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook may pay publishers to put their stuff in a dedicated news section - Recode
Bye, old friend. When someone handed me my first color laptop back in the mid 1990’s, I could barely contain my excitement. It was a Toshiba Portege 610ct. The screen was relatively tiny, it was more than an inch thick and it didn’t have much power, but I loved it. At that time and for a decade or more after that, Toshiba was a leading name in laptop technology. Not anymore. Toshiba sold off its computer business and now the company that owns the name is quietly ending the era of Toshiba laptops.
The Toshiba laptop is dead. Long live Dynabook
We like to watch. YouTube videos are like Lays Potato Chips: You can’t watch just one. This is, in part, the secret to YouTube’s success: It’s always feeding you another video to view, which you happily consume. The algorithms haven’t always fed us the best stuff. In fact, YouTube’s algorithmic penchant for serving us the most inflammatory or inaccurate (anti-vaxxers, moon landing hoaxers, flat earthers) videos on any given topic (often based on engagement and virality – and context) has led to the kind of information filter bubbles that caused all sorts of issues on Facebook. The big question, though, is did YouTube prioritize this engagement and views over everything else? This Bloomberg report says that, yes, for a long time, it did.
YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Let Toxic Videos Run Rampant - Bloomberg
Inside the iPad Mini. As an amateur tinkerer, I love iFixit’s gadget teardowns, especially since companies like Apple rarely show you what’s inside their precious products. The iPad Mini 5, which looks a lot like the previous iPad is, unsurprisingly, an amalgam of parts from other tablets.
iPad mini teardown reveals a Frankenstein of components from different iPads | Ars Technica
Snap activities. Snapchat’s adopting a tiny bit of Foursquare’s old check-in-style technology, testing out the ability to let those who follow you on Snapchat maps see what kind of activity you’re up to. They’ll call it Snapchat Status. They might even let you collect your own activities into a digital Passport, so you can look back and see that you were, I guess, bowling in De Moines last week. If Snapchat does roll out this new feature to all of its millions of users, it might just help it stay relevant in the face of the always-growing Instagram Stories threat.
Foursnap? Snapchat tries ‘Status’ location check-ins – TechCrunch
DVR this. It’s been 20 years since TiVo changed the face of television-watching forever. This oral history puts it all in perspective and even addresses how careful early TiVo execs were about not letting their customers automatically skip commercials. Interestingly, modern TiVo, which is kind of a husk of its former self, might now allow that automated skipping, after all.
‘They Thought It Was Black Magic’: The Definitive Oral History of TiVo
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Podcast Update: 33 Million Miles to Mars is on hiatus. Let me know if you want to help me revive it! You can listen to past episodes here.
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