Good morning internet friends — I hope your coffee is stimulating and that your passwords are secure. I dunno about you, but I spent the long weekend being a guest on a podcast about having sex with men (lmao), and making a game about what it's like working for Basecamp.
In other news: this week was good, finally! 👍 (that's only ONE away from Terrific). I had to do a thorough search for the thumbs up emoji because I basically never use it. Anyway, reasons for a good week in tech:
- Twitter has acquired Scroll which adds some functionality that I guess they couldn't be bothered to build themselves — classic innovating.
- It's Tim VS Tim in an fight no one asked for
- Signal's cool little stunt
- ✨ COOL TING: I noticed that horrific-terrific.tech was available to purchase, so I threw money right at it, like a good consumer. I am now sending the newsletter via georgia[at]horrific-terrific[dot]tech. That means you can finally directly respond to the newsletter by hitting the reply button. You know, if you... want to...
🍏 An EPIC battle
You may remember that last year, Epic Games (the makers of Fortnite), decided that they'd had it up to HERE 🙋🏻♀️ with Apple's DUMB app store rules — and broke them. The rule in question was: "if you charge for your app, or have any in-app purchases... 30% of that is ours. It just is. Unless you feel that your app is too good for iPhone users? Didn't think so...".
In order to show how little of a fuck they gave, Epic created their own rails for in-app purchases in Fortnite, thus bypassing Apple's 30% cut. This was all part of a wider plan: Epic are now suing Apple for apparently breaking this extremely old antitrust law that was designed for railway tycoons and has absolutely nothing to do with how technology works now.
Here's some stuff to think about while you download Fortnite onto your Android phone to stick it to the man:
- Apple will probably just win this, because technically all that's really happened here is a violation of their terms of service.
- Their terms of service are stupid and I hate them — Epic are right, this is monopolistic behaviour. In fact, the whole 'app store' model can get in the bin; it encourages developers to build quickly using shoddy SDKs (e.g. Facebook's one 🙄), so that they can make up the difference in ad revenue.
- Speaking of shitting all over developers, Epic should clean up their own house first because it's almost entirely covered in crunch.
If you want more entertaining chat about this may I recommend this excellent tweet thread — your one non-machine recommendation for the week.
📜 A Scrolling good time
Twitter are acquiring a company called Scroll, who build a distraction-free reader: read your usual time-wasting listicles without the banners screaming for your attention. My first thought was: how is this any different to 'reader view' that most browsers offer? My second thought was: now that I've had one sip of coffee, I see that this is all about m o n e t i s a t i o n.
Be that as it may, this is a step in the right direction (that direction being: pay for content). My very handsome friend Shad and I discussed Twitter's new subscription model a few weeks ago, and Scroll obviously fits in with that perfectly.
☝️ Okay but: as a content creator, and just general fair person who thinks that individuals should be paid for their work, I am into this idea — in theory. I have resigned myself to the non-fact that no one will ever want to pay for my content (e.g this newsletter, my zine Mutual Dislike, these silly little games, literally anything you see here), so I just give it away for free. Also I hate using Stripe, Paypal, Patreon, and any other platform that is literally designed to make it 'easier' for people to give me money.
There are many things at play here. I have put together a curated list for your convenience:
- I've been using an ad blocker since 2012, so I've totally forgotten what it feels like to browse with constant flashing banners in your face (I expect it's bad). This means, my worst self is struggling to care about this at all.
- Web 2.0 (ie the shit one, the one we're in now) has just flat-out made free content 'acceptable'. Well, it's not, say I, a person giving you this very content for free...
- Those first two things lead us to the Master Key Thing: why can't someone just pay me a salary to write? Why must EVERYTHING be a putrid, individualistic, uphill battle of creating content, and then pestering people for money?? I honestly just don't have the ENERGY to both make the content, and then do my own marketing.
- [in a calmer voice] but yeah whatever, paying for content is good and you should pay subscriptions and fuck ads and stuff, yeah...
Would love to know how any of you feel about this — I'm always up for a chit-chat about important issues. Feel free to email me whenever.
🗼 A signal boost
Signal executed an ad campaign this week where they demonstrated how unbelievably granular Facebook's audience segmentation tools are. Perhaps you are a chemical engineer who just had a baby and loves K-pop? Perhaps you are honey comb fetishist who's thinking about taking a trip to Brazil? Try and guess which of those two I made up — you can't.
Anyway, all this divulgence of truth did nothing but get the ads banned. Here's a juicy quote from the blog post I linked above which you probably couldn't be bothered to click on:
"Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell people about how their data is being used. Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned."
Laaaaaame. Georgia's spicy pro-tip on how to move your family group chat over to Signal: delete Whatsapp, stop replying forever. You're welcome x
🤹♀️ Here's some other random crap you might like
Microsoft have said that Calibri is OUT as the default font. It's GONE. It's DONE FOR. Good riddance; I hate Calibri and it's self-important 'I'm too pretty to be Arial but too ugly to be anything but a default font' type attitude. My suggestions for a replacement: Slapyrus. It's like Papyrus, but it fuckin SLAPS.
Did you know that Thursday was world password day? My very dumb password advice is to use the serial numbers of your kitchen appliances as passwords. That way, they're always written down SOMEWHERE (on the fridge, the bottom of the toaster, etc). All you have to do is never let anyone in your kitchen, and it's bullet-proof password security.
Facebook's oversight board, in true Facebook comms style, have announced that they will continue to keep Trump banned from their platform. This is obviously just an easy ‘win’ to show that their oversight board is actually worth having (I mean it’s not even a fucking win, is it?) — the sane thing would have been to just ban him forever and never talk about it again.
Thank you for reading — have I mentioned that I find anyone who makes it to the bottom of one of these emails/posts strangely attractive? Think about it...