Linked List Archive

‘A Surprisingly Great Experience’ ➝

Chris Hannah shares his experience building a gaming PC. I really like his hardware choices. I’ve been out of the PC hardware game for quite some time, but I imagine if I was building one, I’d end up with something very similar.

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Apple Just Declared War on Your Privacy ➝

Edward Snowden, writing on Substack:

If you’re an enterprising pedophile with a basement full of CSAM-tainted iPhones, Apple welcomes you to entirely exempt yourself from these scans by simply flipping the “Disable iCloud Photos” switch, a bypass which reveals that this system was never designed to protect children, as they would have you believe, but rather to protect their brand. As long as you keep that material off their servers, and so keep Apple out of the headlines, Apple doesn’t care.

So what happens when, in a few years at the latest, a politician points that out, and—in order to protect the children—bills are passed in the legislature to prohibit this “Disable” bypass, effectively compelling Apple to scan photos that _aren’t_ backed up to iCloud? What happens when a party in India demands they start scanning for memes associated with a separatist movement? What happens when the UK demands they scan for a library of terrorist imagery? How long do we have left before the iPhone in your pocket begins quietly filing reports about encountering “extremist” political material, or about your presence at a “civil disturbance”? Or simply about your iPhone’s possession of a video clip that contains, or maybe-or-maybe-not contains, a blurry image of a passer-by who resembles, according to an algorithm, “a person of interest”?

If Apple demonstrates the capability and willingness to continuously, remotely search every phone for evidence of one particular type of crime, these are questions for which they will have no answer. And yet an answer will come—and it will come from the worst lawmakers of the worst governments.

This is not a slippery slope. It’s a cliff.

This is a bit of a long quote, but it really gets to the heart of my issues with this new “feature” — while Apple is defending what this currently is, we’re criticizing what this could very easily become. And the only thing Apple can really do to reassure us is to say “trust us”. But that’s not good enough.

Now that this system exists, governments can force Apple’s hand — leaving them with no choice but to implement the newly required changes or abandon the market. And we’ve already seen what Apple is will to do before they’ll abandon a market.

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An Update on the WordPress Classic Editor Plugin ➝

Josepha Haden, writing on

Before the release of WordPress 5.0 in 2018, the Classic Editor plugin was published to help ease the transition to the new block editor. At the time, we promised to support the plugin through 2021 and adjust if needed as the deadline got closer. After discussing this with Matt, it’s clear that continuing to support the plugin through 2022 is the right call for the project as well as the community.

Everything I publish on Initial Charge is written in Ulysses, but everything I publish internally at Automattic is written in Gutenberg. But I think supporting the Classic Editor for an additional year is the right decision.

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Change the Behavior of the Modifier Keys on Mac ➝

If you, like me, rarely use the caps lock key, you might be interested to learn that you can remap it in macOS — the option is available right in System Preferences.

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Guided Access ➝

We don’t give Josh our phones very often, but when we do, we usually enable Guided Access in Peek-a-View. This allows him read-only access to our photos and videos without the ability to switch apps.

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Tenants, Landlords, and Cloud Services ➝

Drew Harwell, writing on Twitter:

Apple, which says it will refuse government demands to expand its on-device image scanning, currently blocks people from getting the phrase “Human Rights” or “Freedom of the Press” engraved on their iPhone because China doesn’t like it

A thought has been in my head a lot recently regarding Apple’s CSAM scanning — why isn’t the storage space we pay for on iCloud and other cloud services treated like rental property?

That would position us as tenants and the cloud provider as landlords, giving us all the same legal protections. For example, even though the landlord owns the property, they can’t consent to the police searching the premises.

In order for the police to search an apartment or rental property, they need consent from the tenant, a warrant, or evidence that there is an imminent danger.

The evidence of imminent danger argument is the closest, but the issue here is that Apple can’t actually verify what’s in the CSAM database. Sure, they’re told that it’s hashes of CSAM content, but they must trust that this is the case with no way to verify.

They do screen the flagged images before alerting authorities, but then we must trust Apple to do the right thing. Which, based on Drew Harwell’s example above, it’s not clear that we can actually do that.

Bringing it back to the tenant and landlord relationship, though, there are also laws that restrict landlords from entering the property when there is an active tenant. And I would consider looking through the images flagged as a violation of those laws.

(Via Michael Tsai.)

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Small Batch Social Networking ➝

Colin Devroe:

So therein lies the challenge for Glass or any other app that hopes to slice off a sizable chunk of the world’s population to replace Instagram. They need the network.

Without the network there is no clout. Without the network there are no brand deals. Without the network there are no influencers (and, believe it or not, a huge percentage of today’s professional photographers are in this category on Instagram). Without the network there are less serendipitous business relationships that happen between people scattered around the globe. Without the network large publications don’t find new talent as easily. And, without the network nothing goes viral.

I guess that depends on what you actually want from a social network. Do you want something to go viral? Do you want to follow or become an influencer? Or do you just want genuine interactions with interesting people?

I’m in it for the genuine interactions.

I liked Twitter a lot more when it was significantly smaller than it is today. And I’m starting to wonder if the shear size of the major players is actually why they’re so darn miserable to use. They don’t feel like a community anymore and most of what’s posted there isn’t really all that interesting or unusual. It’s boring.

When I decided to functionally jump ship from Twitter, my timeline was filled with tweets that had a sameness to them. Everyone was talking about the same things and mostly had the same opinions about all of it. It felt so sterile and corporate.

Contrast that with Mastodon where I’m following people from dozens of instances with different focuses. My timeline is exciting — it’s filled with people talking about writing, podcasting, open source, privacy, and only occasionally about whatever everyone is currently obsessed with on Twitter.

It’s just so nice.

You’re not really going to see things go viral on Mastodon and it isn’t home to influencers with major advertising deals, but that’s a feature not a bug. And hopefully it’s distributed nature will allow it to keep that same “small batch” feel on individual servers while the greater network grows to eventually eclipse the closed down, siloed status quo.

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Compose Key Shortcuts in Linux ➝

I discovered the compose key yesterday when exploring Gnome Tweaks and then I found this resource, which explains how to enable it and lists many of the key combinations. The compose key allows you to type special characters on Linux by pressing the configured compose key followed by a sequence of, typically, two or three characters. It makes it a breeze to type an ellipses, em-dash, and a whole host of others. Very neat.

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