Posts by Ian Betteridge

Director of content and audience development at Bauer Media UK. Views my own, duh, so don't bother my employer with them.

Weeknote, Sunday 4th December 2022

Thursday saw the arrival of my Kindle Scribe, which I pre-ordered on the day it was announced. I’ve long wanted a bigger Kindle because the smaller ones just aren’t that great for reading on, and although my iPad is huge, it’s also got a lot of distractions on it, which make it less suitable for reading. The ability to write on it is a bonus, but I’m surprised how effective adding comments using the pen is. It’s like adding little Post-Its, which is exactly how I work with paper books.

Big trip to that there London yesterday, when we caught up with a lovely friend over from New York in the Royal Festival Hall bar, then headed to see Stereolab with another lovely friend. There was dancing — well more shuffling around from me — and this morning, an inevitable plethora of aches. Kids, if you’re under 40, look after your body. Do yoga or something. Don’t eat so many pies.

All that means today involved a greasy spoon breakfast — well, 1pm breakfast — plus many cups of reviving tea and a sofa.

One other thing today has been winding down my Twitter account. I finally downloaded the 1.4Gb archive of all my content from it, and used the Twitter Archive Parser on it. This does four things:

  1. It converts tweets to Markdown with embedded images
  2. It replaces the t.co links with the originals
  3. It copies all the images into a single folder, useful for importing them elsewhere
  4. If an image is a low-resolution version, it download the original
    Once that was done I used ByeByeTweets to do three more things:
  5. Unfollow everyone I was following
  6. Remove all the likes I had put on other people’s content
  7. Delete all my tweets
    ByeByeTweets costs a few dollars if you want to delete all tweets (it will do a limited amount for free) but I highly recommend it. I ran into a bug uploading my archive, which you need to do if you’re deleting all of them, and emailed them. They responded within a couple of hours and had fixed the error.

So that’s pretty much it with Twitter and me! You can find me on Mastodon.

Writing

I’ve written a lot of notes on how to improve a story I’ve been struggling with, along with an outline of how to move it forward.

Reading and watching

I’m reading Harry Turtledove’s Three Miles Down which is, so far, an enjoyably frothy alternate history novel. It’s really interesting that I’m starting to look at books like this with a more technical writers eye, spotting elements of foreshadowing and the odd McGuffin.

Musk could make his own phone. But no, he won’t.

Daring Fireball: Should Be Easy, Indeed:

The hard part is that what he’s really talking about is making his own phone with his own app store. (Android phones that don’t play by Google’s rules also don’t get access to Google Play Services, which is effectively a closed-source segment of the Android operating system. Outside of China, I’m aware of zero successful Android phones that don’t use the Google Play app store by default.)

This isn’t quite correct. You can create a fork of Android which can access apps from the Play Store, without the Play Store. There are open-source versions of the Play Store APIs, and you can use Aurora Store to access apps with or without a Google account. This is one of the ways Graphene OS uses optionally to run those apps.

But it is hit-and-miss. Like every kind of development which attempts to reverse engineer something, it will occasionally break and apps can go awry. It’s good, but not perfect – and I suspect that were a major figure like Musk to go down this route, Google would have legal teams on it in seconds.

Weeknote, 27th November 2022

My notebook, like my week, is blank. This is not a good sign: when there’s nothing scrawled there other than work notes, it indicates my life is moving slightly out of kilter.

That truth is piled all around me in books unread, mugs unwashed, and food left uncooked. It’s there in the MacBook Pro near me, still lurking on the to-do list as “fix MacBook Pro” a good month after it first gave me a random “cryptographic error”. Thank you, Apple, for making things stupidly easy when they go well and stupidly complex when they go wrong.

I keep reminding myself that my inability to fix it isn’t due to age finally stopping me from taking in new information and understanding fresh technology. It’s simply that Apple, and most other companies, have put people being able to fix their own technology at the bottom of a long list of priorities. I suspect it’s just underneath “Make sure Tim’s latte is on his desk at 7 am precisely”. And why would anyone want to fix their own Macs? Just visit a Genius Bar, where a friendly blue-shirted barely-trained youth will try and use you to fill his quota of upsell opportunities.

As you may have noticed. I’m slightly out of love with Apple. Less so with the company’s products. I still love my iPad Pro (and wish I could make it my only machine), and I have yet to find an Android phone which didn’t make me want to run back to an iPhone.

But I wish Apple the company would stop acting like greedy assholes and start reading the room. No, Tim, you cannot sustain a 30% cut of app revenue for the rest of the time. No, Tim, you cannot keep building your devices in a way which makes them hard to repair and then pay sneering lip service to making parts available for them. Those days are over, and if you want to preserve the things which are good for customers about the App Store and your products, you need to accept that sooner rather than clinging on till a regulator changes things for you. Call Bill Gates and ask him how long a company takes to recover after regulators take things out of your hands.

Ah, capitalism.

Things I’ve been reading and watching

The final episode of Andor wasn’t quite the finale I had been hoping for, but it was good. The whole series was excellent, and although it’s a cliché to call it “Star Wars for grown-ups”, it is still the best description. It’s a thriller and a spy story rather than a space opera and an excellent example of what happens when you apply a different genre’s set of rules to a world built for another kind of writing.

Things I’ve been writing

I started a new blog just for creative writing. The first was a piece about a child’s Christmas — OK, my Christmas — and the second was about a couple of early memories and my family. The third piece was just something super-short about a sound you don’t hear much anymore: the ticking of a clock.

I like writing fragments like this (I have a tag in Obsidian, where I do most of my short writing, called “fragments”, just for this). Of course, it comes relatively easy to me, unlike plotting which makes me feel like I am pushing a wheelbarrow full of concrete up a hill while the wind and rain come straight down on my face.

Weeknote, 13th November 2022

This week has mostly revolved around the trapped nerve in my shoulder, which came on last Sunday evening. It took me almost completely out of action on Monday and Tuesday, as I just couldn’t sit at a computer and work – sitting up for too long was just painful.

I think that a lot of it is to do with posture, not so much when I’m sitting and typing but when I’m in the endless parade of online meetings on Teams which forms quite a chunk of my work. When I’m in meetings I tend to slump a bit to my left, usually with my hand supporting my chin, which probably isn’t the best position to be sat for a long while.

That’s exacerbated by my chair, which is lovely to look at but not ideal for spending a great deal of time sitting in and typing. The height of it isn’t adjustable, and it’s a little low with a back support which is OK at the bottom but not quite at the right sort of angle for my daily use. To compensate, I’ve raised the height of my monitor so that it’s higher, which forces me to sit more upright when I’m using it.

Of course, this was also the week when the long-awaited Muskapocalypse basically happened on Twitter, which led to some reflection on the state and development of social media. I should, of course, write something up properly about this, but it’s made me understand that the difference between social media now and in 2006 is that the news we think requires immediate delivery to our followers is no longer personal, it’s political.

When Twitter started, it was one of a slew of services which aimed to decouple the “Status” field from instant messaging apps like AIM to a third party which could then provide a brief message about what you were doing to all your friends. My first tweet on December 3rd 2006 was “going for a dump”, and in a scatological way that summed up what Twitter was there for.

It became that, but on a much larger scale: a method of delivering “vital” information in a timely fashion to large groups of people. News breaks on Twitter now, even before it hits the (already fast) 24-hour news services. I doubt that’s a good thing, for reasons which would take a whole post to define.

Weeks which start with being off or sick often don’t turn into particularly productive times, but this one was a little different. We’re at the end point of a phase in the project I’ve been focused on at work, and the beginning of planning for the next phase. That means there’s some breathing room, although there’s still a lot of wrapping up to do (and there will be until the end of the year).

We also went to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Friday (more on that below) and I booked my train ticket for the weeklong writing retreat that I’m going on in December. I’m really looking forward to this, not only because it’s a week of writing, but also because it’s a week with no internet. Yes, that’s right: there’s no Wi-Fi (thanks to the building being ridiculously old and so hard to get connected) and virtually no mobile signal (5G? Forget it). I can’t wait.

Things I’ve been reading and watching

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was good. It wasn’t as good as the first film, but given the awful death of Chadwick Boseman, how could it be? The way it handled his passing and made it a part of the movie was brilliant: sensitive, emotional, everything you could have asked. I think I counted four or five times that had me sobbing, from the opening Marvel logo (which forsook the usual montage of many heroes to be all Chadwick) through to the credits which start with “For our friend, Chadwick Boseman”.

I have no idea why his death has affected me so much – I can’t remember an actor’s death making me feel like this – but I think it is something to do with the impact of the first film and the realisation of how a black movie made me feel. Or maybe how having a movie which attracts a young black audience makes me feel: as with the first film, the majority of the audience at our showing was young and black and very much not the kind of audience you see at most Marvel films. It’s huge, and feels important.

Meanwhile, Andor continues to be the best Star Wars ever made. It’s lazy to call it “Star Wars for grown-ups” but it’s a proper adult thriller set in the universe, and has some absolutely terrific acting in it. Even if you don’t like Star Wars, I would recommend it.

Things I’ve been writing

Not much, is the quick answer. Those two days spent mostly flat on my back meant that I couldn’t write so much – this is easily the longest piece that I’ve written since last weekend – and what writing I did was mostly “manually, in a notebook” which barely counts.

Thinking again about Stage Manager on iPad

The big reason I was eagerly awaiting Stage Manager wasn’t using it on the iPad’s screen: it was the promise of proper second-screen support. I have had a dream of using the iPad with a big monitor for a long time, and Stage Manager seemed to be the solution I have been waiting for.

Of course, we all know what happened next: Stage Manager was a buggy mess, and its external display support was the most buggy part of it. It worked, as long as you were prepared to have your applications crash every few minutes.

Sad to say, it’s not much better now. On the current developer release, external monitor support is back, but once again it’s buggy as hell. Stage Manager on the iPad’s main screen is working well enough to be usable, but forget about docking your device to a big display. Given the state of it, I suspect Apple is going to release it quite a bit later this year.

But here’s the thing: I’ve actually grown to like using Stage Manager on the iPad on its own. The “aha” moment was changing the display mode to “More space”, something that’s only possible on 12.9in iPads (and, I think, only on the M1 currently, although it’s intended to support older models too):

Changing Display Zoom to “More Space” makes a big different on iPad
Changing Display Zoom to “More Space” makes a big different on iPad

As the name suggests, this gives you more virtual space on screen by making the display work at its native resolution, without any scaling. Text on screen becomes smaller, but the flip side is that you have more space to work with.

And Stage Manager really likes having the extra space. Windows overlap less, making it easier to flip between open applications on stage. You can have bigger windows while also seeing more of the shelf at the side. It just feels more natural and less cramped than the default zoom.

All the criticisms of Stage Manager generally are still true (and if you want a good collection of them, it’s worth looking at Federico Viticci’s article). But “More Space” has made a big difference to me, and now I find that I have Stage Manager on almost all the time. Except, of course, if I want to plug the iPad into an external monitor. That, hopefully, will come.

Weeknote, 30th October 2022

I had a week off work. I intended to get a lot of writing done, but I slept a lot and generally lazed around. The best-laid plans, etc.

I did get some writing done on a ghost story which I started thinking about doing in time for Halloween and, judging the slow pace I’ve been working at correctly, named “A Christmas Ghost Story”. I associate ghost stories with Christmas far more than Halloween, which, when I was a child, was something which Americans focused on but the British did not. We had fireworks to celebrate the day of burning Catholic plotters (something which never seemed to be in my Catholic mind) and Christmas. Pumpkins and trick-or-treating were weird American things I only learned about because I read a lot of Peanuts comics.

Christmas ghost stories were definitely a thing when I was a child, at least on TV. I’m not sure if that is true — I hope it is. It’s a connection with the Victorians (think of A Christmas Carol, an archetypal ghost story) and the ancient pagan midwinter festivals. Christmas is a time of miracles and strangeness, something which our consumer-focused version doesn’t really encompass.

Musk bought Twitter. It’s a strange world we live in when a wealthy buys up what he calls “the digital town square” and gets to decide all the laws of it, laws which he himself can, of course, ignore. Or perhaps that, too is just a sign that we haven’t moved past feudal lordships, despite our brief foray into democracy and believing that things should be done for the mass of people. Read the comments that people direct at Musk some time: there is a real sense of the commoners taking their plea to the lord.

I haven’t yet decided if I will close my account. I joined on 3rd December 2006 and was user number 39,093. That on its own makes me not want to close it, but I don’t think I will carry on using it much. It hasn’t felt like a healthy space for me to be for a long time. I’m more active on Mastodon, but that’s partly because it feels like early Twitter — so that might not be something I carry on with in the long term as the service evolves.

Meanwhile, I’ve also broken my MacBook Pro. It failed while updating to Ventura with an odd error, so I decided the time was right to wipe it and reinstall the OS from scratch. This isn’t the simple process it used to be, involving a disk image and some time. Apple’s reinstall process now involves downloading code, and watching a progress bar with no information to it… and, in my case, failing at the end with a baroque error about cryptographic signatures on the disk. There shouldn’t be any: I just wiped it.

Of course, when you wipe a Mac, you don’t really wipe it: it’s still connected to your iCloud account. This does not feel like progress.

Thankfully I know some of the most technical Mac people in the world, so I’ll get it fixed, but it feels like it’s more difficult to do this on a Mac now than it is on Linux, which doesn’t seem the right way around.

I’m thinking of rebooting my newsletter, mainly to distribute this. If I do, I’ll use Buttondown as a service, partly because it allows you not to track subscribers, something I’m keen to avoid. I don’t want feedback on what you’re reading or even to know how many people are subscribed, particularly. Data may be power, but creatively it can also be a prison.

Writing

Speaking of Linux, I wrote something outlining how to get Scrivener working on Ubuntu. Like most things about running Windows software on open-source operating systems, it’s mostly about ensuring you have the correct libraries and stuff installed for Wine to work with. But there are also some ways to make Scrivener look less like a Windows app and more like one native to Linux, which are worth doing if, like me, you find such a distraction when you’re writing.

I also wrote something on John Gruber’s defence of the iPad’s current line up. I can’t understand anyone thinking this confusing mess is deliberate.

Reading and watching

The main thing I have been watching this week is rugby, with both League and Union having world cups. And, of course, Andor, which has fallen into a very slow period. I have no idea what’s going on.

One exciting thing on the reading front: the marvellous And Other Stories (the publisher, not the clothing brand) sent me a collection of Ann Quin books, which means I have five slim, pretty paperbacks to go through. Quin was active in the mid to late 1960s, a working class woman writer who pushed back against the prevailing gritty “kitchen sink” style in favour of something more interesting. Every now and then, there’s a Quin revival, mostly amongst writers, but she’s never had the recognition she deserves.

The iPad’s confusing lineup

John Gruber on the iPad’s current lineup:

A lot of people are now complaining that the iPad lineup is “confusing”. I disagree. There are specific aspects of the iPads in the lineup that are confusing, or at least disappointing. These aspects are mostly related to peripherals — which Pencils and which keyboard covers work with which iPads — and I wrote about these issues last week. But in terms of the fundamental question facing would-be buyers — “Which iPad should I get?” — I don’t think this lineup is confusing. I’d argue, in fact, that it’s less confusing, because the lineup is more complete.

John then spends 424 words explaining the differences in the lineup, not including the table he had already used to show the difference in pricing above this paragraph.

If you have to spend that long explaining the differences between the products on offer, there is definitely a problem with the coherence of the product line. This is doubly true hen your explanation has to go into the details of which device has a P3 colour gamut, which has an sRGB, which one has a “media engine”, which one supports Bluetooth 5.2 vs 5.0 and more. And that’s before you start explaining which peripherals are on offer and why exactly the first version of the Apple Pencil still exists four years after the second generation one was introduced.

If you need reminding, the iPad is a device where you just shouldn’t have to worry about that shit. It’s a classic product where a Steve Jobs four quadrant approach works perfectly: consumer, pro; small screen/large screen. Of course, there will be variances in storage space within those quadrants, but the core of the product doesn’t need to be more complex.

I have no doubt Apple knows internally this is a mess of a lineup. However, there are many reasons a company ends up with a confusing product line, usually in a transition period for the device. Sometimes this is driven by parts supply: for example, if a key part in (say) the iPad Air is constrained and will be for some time, making a similar device without that part to siphon off customers is a smart move if you have the ability to do it.

Sometimes it means an entire product remains in the lineup because you have a bunch of them that you need to sell off. And manufacturers can get blind-sided: it’s easy to see how the new iPad could have been meant to be a replacement for the 9th generation version but ended up not being able to be manufactured at the same price.

Either way, the iPad line up is a mess. There might be good reasons why it is, but attempting to claim its not is a bit daft.

How to run Scrivener on Linux

Scrivener happily running on Ubuntu, like a boss


Scrivener is easily the best application around for long-form writing. Yes, you can do it in Word or LibreOffice (or even, like Cory, just a text editor), but the combination of structured rich text, note-taking, outlining and character notes that Scrivener has will make your life easier. And, of course, you can compile your work into just the right format at the end.

There is no Linux version of Scrivener these days, probably because the number of people wanting to both run it and pay for it was insufficient to justify keeping it going. Them, as they say, are the breaks. There are several open-source alternatives, such as Manuskript and Bibisco, but when I’ve tried them I’ve always felt like they are a developer’s idea of what writing is like, rather than a writer’s. They feel like databases where you end up filling in fields, and that just doesn’t work for me. That’s not to say it won’t work for you — and you should try them and thank the developers for their work — but it just doesn’t work for me.

Another option which can work on Linux but isn’t open source is Obsidian. Using some judicious plugins, such as Longform, you can get some of the structured writing capability that Scrivener has, but to make it work, you need to spend a decent amount of time creating templates and tweaking, and all of that is time not spent writing. Oh, and get to know Pandoc. You will so need to know Pandoc.

The good news is that you can get Scrivener working on Linux, and I will show you how to make it run and not look like a rat’s ass. It takes a bit of work at the start but once done, it’s done. Many pages around have part of the details of how to do this, but some don’t quite work, and others have typos, so I thought I would pull everything together into a single article. Thank you, in particular, to Thomas Peltcher, who started me off on the right track.

A brief note about Fedora. These instructions should work with any Ubuntu-based distro. I’ve tested it on Ubuntu 22.04, 22.10 and Zorin OS 16, and it all works. However, I have never been able to get this working on Fedora. Using the same steps, I can install Scrivener, but when I try to run it, it freezes at “Loading fonts”. If anyone has a solution to this, feel free to either comment or email me, and I’ll include it in this article.

Install Wine 7 and Winetricks

The first thing you will need to do is install Wine. If you’re running Ubuntu 22.04, you will have an ancient version installed by default, and you probably want to update to Wine 7. If you’re running Ubuntu 22.10 (and I could recommend it anyway unless you’re really concerned about long-term support), the version of Wine is much more recent, and you can ignore it.

Note: you don’t have to install Wine 7 to make Scrivener work. It will work perfectly happily with the default that’s available from Ubuntu 22.04. But it won’t look as nice, and you may need to spend extra time in Wine tweaking it so it looks like a Windows 7 app and more like something close to native on Ubuntu. That’s my setup at the top of the page. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

If you are on Ubuntu 22.04, I have good news: all you need to do is go to the WineHQ page and follow the steps there using the Stable branch. however, if you are on 22.10 (as I am), you will need to choose the Development branch instead. The 22.10 version of Wine 7 hasn’t been released, but it is in that branch. I am on the Development branch and have had no problems at all.

Next, install Winetricks through the software store or via the terminal (sudo apt install winetricks will do it). Winetricks is a neat little app which makes it much easier to download and install optional parts of Windows that apps require, such as dotnet.

Configuring Wine

First, you need to set the architecture correctly. No, I don’t really know what that means either, but basically, open up a terminal and type this:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Followed by:

env WINEARCH=win64

Important! That’s a double-dash before “add”, not an em-dash. You will often find instructions on the web have that wrong, not because the authors are idiots, but because, annoyingly, WordPress often “helpfully” converts double dashes to em-dashes. I’ve even seen some pages where users have commented correcting this from the text, and then WordPress has converted their double dashes into an em-dash. Thanks, WordPress.

Next, you will want to install an appropriate version of dotnet and the core Windows fonts. You may already have the latter installed, but it’s fine to do it again if you’re unsure. In the terminal, type:

env WINEPREFIX=$HOME/.wine winetricks --force dotnet45 corefonts

Again, that’s two dashes before “force”. And again, WordPress often wants to convert it.

Finally – and this should be final – run the Scrivener installer. Sometimes it has been known to crap out if you double-click on it, so the best way is via the terminal. Navigate to the directory where the installer is (mine was in ~/Downloads, as I had just downloaded it) and run this:

wine Scrivener-installer.exe

That should be it, although some people have reported that it chokes when you try and enter your license code. If that’s the case, the solution appears to be to install speechsdk, which you should be able to do via Winetricks. I haven’t actually done it, but I didn’t need to.

Making it look like you actually want to use it

So now you have a working version of Scrivener, yay! However, if it’s anything like mine, it looks like a sack of crap with blurry fonts, tiny menu items, and so on. Good news: all of this is fixable. The bad news, it takes a bit of boring and repetitive work.

First, ensure that Wine is set to use the light appearance theme: it looks much better. This should be correct out of the box, but just in case it isn’t, go to the terminal, enter winecfg, and go to the Desktop Integration tab. Set the theme to Light — if you have Scrivener open, you’ll need to quit and restart to make it take effect.

Next, let’s deal with those blurry fonts. This is down to your menus using fonts in Windows, but which don’t match the ones in Ubuntu, so you need to change them to something which works on both. Open Scrivener, and in the File menu, choose options. In the Appearance tab/General Interface, change the GUI Font to something which more cleanly matches your Ubuntu install – I chose Ubuntu Light.

That settles the menus, but the Binder at the side may still look too small. In the same options, go to Binder, select the Fonts tab, and pick something nicer. Again, I’ve gone for Ubuntu light.

You can go through the rest of the interface, too, if you want, changing the fonts on Corkboard, Index Cards, Outliner, and so on to something which works more nicely for you.

Once the interface looks decent, you will probably want to change the main editor, too — unless you like really ropey Courier (hey, I’m not one to kink shame). This is done in the Editing tab. I’ve set mine to Optima because who doesn’t love Optima? I’ve also bumped the paragraph spacing because I’m not a barbarian.

Things which don’t work

You should now have a working installation of Scrivener, which doesn’t look like trash. Almost everything will work, but there are a few things that don’t, and you need to bear them in mind.

First of all, forget about importing a web page into notes directly. It will freeze Scrivener. Workaround this by saving any webpages you need as PDF or text and importing them.

Second, some good news: Scratchpad works! Yay! However, it only works if you invoke it via the menu, not via a keyboard shortcut. And as with the Windows version, if you have saved web pages into the Binder on Mac, they’re unreadable and might crash your app. If you’re working cross-platform, make sure to convert them to text.

And that’s it! You should now have a working, good looking version of Scrivener. Now all you have to do is 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and you’ll be a writer.

Weeknote, 23 October 2022

This has been a pretty busy week at work because I HAVE A WEEK OFF THIS WEEK. I’ve promised myself that I’ll spend a major chunk of it writing, as it’s my writing group next week and I really do want to have something completed to share, even if it’s only a bit of flash fiction. Obviously I’ve started something much more ambitious than that (see below).

Something happened in politics this week. Not sure you saw it. The only thing I can add is GENERAL ELECTION NOW.

And that’s about all that’s gone on this week, other than some vague discussions on what to do at Christmas (other than read ghost stories).

Writing

I’ve put other stuff to one side this week and started working on a ghost story for halloween. Except that I’ve called it A Christmas Ghost Story, as that’s a MUCH more likely deadline. Sorry.

Reading and watching

I’ve finally dived into Becky Chambers’ A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, after it’s been sitting on the top of the pile of books to read for quite a while. I adored A Psalm for the Wild-Built, the previous story in the Monk and Robot series, for its gentleness and calmness. I’m already a quarter of the way through (these are short books) and it is of course lovely.

If you haven’t watched it already I would recommend The Art of Japanese Life, which is available at the moment on iPlayer. James Fox’s documentaries on art are always excellent. Also well worth a watch is We Are England: Trouble at Sea, which is a documentary on the struggle of a northern fishing community to get to the bottom of why thousands of crabs and lobster are washing up dead on their beach. Really well made stuff.

Keyboards! Apple being shit! Ducks! Or, as you might call it, links for today

Oh good. An attack on machine learning algorithms that secretly gives language models a point of view. No idea how that might be abused.

Chrome’s “Incognito Mode” isn’t. Even Google’s engineer’s know it, and privately suggest it gets renamed to something else. I don’t use Chrome, and I don’t recommend anyone else uses it.

DuckDuckGo has the first beta of their browser for Mac out. Seem interesting, especially the “Duck Player”, which blocks YouTube ads which track you — which, it turns out, is most YouTube ads. It preserves the ones which don’t track you.

Firefox Relay, which lets you create one-off email addresses for signing up to services, now also lets you mask your phone number. US and Canada only for now, but this looks really useful.

An ultra-slim Keychron K3 you say? Why sir, you are spoiling us!

I stopped using Hey.com email because of two reasons: I really didn’t need another non-standard service; and DHH came across as a complete asshole, and I really don’t like giving money to assholes. He is, though, bang on the mark when he talks about how 32Signals are going to move away from the cloud and start hosting their own stuff. Cloud is great for some things — but the 30% take that the likes of Amazon will happily fleece you for is basically just you paying a large margin to someone else, and you probably don’t have to.

John Gruber gets this absolutely on the mark: the current iPad line up is a mess. There’s too many models in the line, you have weird anomalies like the new iPad having USB-C but using the old-style Pencil, the Pros still having the front-facing camera in the wrong place, and more. I am sure Apple has plans to make the line up more simple next year, but in the meantime, it’s just a mess.

I mean, we have a cost of living crisis, hospital waiting times at an all-time high, and schools literally collapsing. So obviously the Daily Fail thinks that the worst thing in the world is trans people and so runs six pieces in one issue about them. Did a trans person veto Dacre’s lordship or something?

Whoo-how, Apple is adding more ads to the App Store. Not content with taken 30% revenue from every single developer, it now wants devs to pay for placement – because let’s be honest, this is what it is.

This is an interesting account from Bono on the whole pushback against Apple for giving away their album. I never quite got it — it was a free album, you don’t have to listen to it.