Jason Fried, announcing some policy changes they’ve made at Basecamp:
No more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account. Today’s social and political waters are especially choppy. Sensitivities are at 11, and every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant. You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit, or wading into it means you’re a target. These are difficult enough waters to navigate in life, but significantly more so at work. It’s become too much. It’s a major distraction. It saps our energy, and redirects our dialog towards dark places. It’s not healthy, it hasn’t served us well. And we’re done with it on our company Basecamp account where the work happens. People can take the conversations with willing co-workers to Signal, Whatsapp, or even a personal Basecamp account, but it can’t happen where the work happens anymore.
They got a lot of heat for this. I guess people really like political discussions at work or something.
But I think it’s a positive change and will result in a much more pleasant environment for all of the folks at Basecamp. Personally, unless it’s directly related to your work, I think you should avoid political discussions on employer-run communication channels.
If you feel the need to voice your opinions on such matters, there’s plenty of other places to share it. Start a weblog, publish it on Twitter, or write about it on Substack — there’s an endless sea of options.
I think this bit from David Heinemeier Hansson adds a bit more context behind these decisions:
But more so than just whether I think that’s productive or healthy, a significant contingency of Basecamp employees had been raising private flags about this as well. Finding the discussions to be exactly acrimonious, uncomfortable, unresolved. Yet feeling unable to speak up out of fear that they’d have an accusatory label affixed to their person for refusing to accept the predominant framing of the issues presented by other more vocal employees.
Which gets to the root of the dilemma. If you do indeed strive to have a diverse workforce both ideologically and identity wise, you’re not going to find unison on all these difficult, contentious issues. If you did, you’d both be revealing an intellectual monoculture and we wouldn’t be having these acrimonious debates.
Whether you think it’s important to share thoughts on politics and societal issues or not, it’s definitely unhealthy to create an environment where colleagues feel backed into a corner on contentious matters that aren’t work related.
It’s easy to have the knee-jerk reaction — to be frustrated about these changes because we all want the world to be a better place. But I think most, after a bit of pondering, can recognize that the individuals within Basecamp can continue advocating for the issues that are most important to them. They simply aren’t afforded an audience of colleagues that just want to get their work done without being faced with all of the world’s most difficult problems.
Steve Satterfield, Director of Privacy and Public Policy at Facebook:
To give people more control and choice over their data, today we’re introducing two new data portability types, Facebook posts and notes. People can now directly transfer their notes and posts to Google Docs, Blogger and WordPress.com. These updates extend the reach of the tool that already enables people to transfer their photos and videos to Backblaze, Dropbox, Google Photos and Koofr. To better reflect the range of data types people can now transfer to our partners’ services, we’re renaming the tool “Transfer Your Information.”
If you still have a Facebook account, you should export your data and then delete your account.
The marquee features are Thunderbolt, an ultra wide front-facing camera with Center Stage, M1, 5G in cellular models, and Liquid Retina XDR Display.
It’s a good iterative update, but if you have an iPad Pro from the last few years, it’s probably not worth the upgrade.
It now comes with the A12 Bionic and is capable of playing back HDR content at 60 frames per second. There’s a nifty new video calibration feature that uses your iPhone’s front-facing sensors. But the biggest change is the new remote.
From a design perspective, it looks like a merger of the Siri Remote and their previous aluminum Apple remote. They’ve added a mute button and power button, moved the Siri button to the side, and introduced new directional controls.
The directional control section is touch enabled to allow for quickly scrolling through lists, has clickable direction buttons for precise movement, and the outer edge can be used like a scroll-wheel for scrubbing.
I’m going to reserve judgement on the remote for now — I need to use one to really have a good idea. But at first glance it seems ugly, yet functional.
It’s worth noting, the new remote will be available for $59 and is compatible with all tvOS-based Apple TVs.
Alex Guyot, writing for MacStories:
Podcast creators can participate in the service for $19.99/year, and can use the redesigned Apple Podcasts Connect website to manage their subscription offerings. […]
While the integration into Apple’s ecosystem means users can easily subscribe using their existing App Store accounts, it also means that Apple will be taking its usual 30% of revenue from podcast creators. This will drop to 15% after the first year, the same way it does for in-app purchases.
Apple has been an excellent steward for podcasting. They’ve maintained the biggest and most important directory of shows without ever receive a cent for it. But now that’s changing. They’re taking a flourishing, open platform and attaching a subscription component to it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to for-pay shows, I’ve happily paid for several subscription shows throughout the years. But I don’t want Apple to do to podcasts what YouTube did to user-generated video.
What if, instead of integrating a subscription system into their podcasts app that’s built on Apple’s proprietary systems, they introduced an improvement to podcasting that was free and open to developers. A better mechanism for consuming and publishing password protected feeds and a streamlined way for listeners to pay creators directly. Something that developers up and down the entire stack could implement and benefit from, completely independent from Apple.
While royalties from streaming services are calculated on a stream share basis, a play still has a value. This value varies by subscription plan and country but averaged $0.01 for Apple Music individual paid plans in 2020. This includes label and publisher royalties.
My most played artist in Plex has 627 plays. Based on Apple’s average payout of $0.01 per stream, that would have resulted in $6.27. But I’ve purchased four albums for a total of about $40.
Apple may pay out more to artists than other streaming services, but it’s small potatoes compared to what artists could be making if everyone bought music instead.
I recently mentioned an idea I had for a web-based app store comprised of web apps. Despite the sweet solution being less than ideal, if Apple claims that the web is competition, it would be neat if it was stronger competition. And a central location for browsing web apps sounds like it would go a long way.
I did some digging and Appscope was the only service like this that I could find. And based on the activity on their Twitter account, I’m not sure if it’s being actively maintained. There’s also a handful of omissions that seem pretty obvious to me at least.
I’ll keep looking around, but I sort-of have a feeling I might end up building my own in some form or another. If only because I’m starting to grow tired of the control Apple wields over developers and would love to explore applications with alternative distribution methods.
Jared Newman, writing for Fast Company:
There’s just one problem with this zeal for web apps: On iOS, Apple doesn’t support several progressive web app features that developers say are necessary to build web apps that offer all the power and usability of a native app.
iOS web apps, for instance, can’t deliver notifications, and if you install them on the home screen, they don’t support background audio playback. They also don’t integrate with the Share function in iOS and won’t appear in iOS 14’s App Library section. Android, by contrast, supports most of those features, and even allows websites to include an “Install App” button.
It would be nice if Apple’s sweet solution was a bit sweeter.