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Apple shakes down WordPress, forces it to add in-app purchases so Apple can collect its 30% extortion fee

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I don’t even know what to say anymore at this point. A bugfix update for the WordPress iOS application – which allows you to manage your WordPress website but does not sell anything – was blocked by Apple because WordPress.com separately also sells domain names and hosting packags, and Apple wants its 30% extortion fee, forcing the developer of this open source app to add the ability to buy WordPress domains and hosting.

Is Apple seriously asking for WordPress owner Automattic to share a cut of all its domain name revenue? How would it even know which customers used the app? Was this all a mistake?

Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment, but Mullenweg tells The Verge he’s not going to fight it — he will add brand-new in-app purchases for WordPress.com’s paid tiers, which include domain names, within 30 days. Apple has agreed to allow Automattic to update the app while it waits. (The last update was issued yesterday.)

In other words, Apple won: the richest company in the world just successfully forced an app developer to monetize an app so it could make more money. It’s just the latest example of Apple’s fervent attempts to guard its cash cow resulting in a decision that doesn’t make much sense and doesn’t live up to Apple’s ethos (real or imagined) of putting the customer experience ahead of all else.

It’s like Apple is purposefully laying out a breadcrumb trail for antitrust investigators.

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trekkie
95 days ago
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Every other vendor does this yet when Apple is successful people loose their fucking minds.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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Who Buys Big SUVs?

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Aaron Gordon, writing for Vice on the return of the Hummer:

And that portrait is largely the result of one consultant who worked for Chrysler, Ford, and GM during the SUV boom: Clotaire Rapaille. Rapaille, a French emigree, believed the SUV appealed—at the time to mostly upper-middle class suburbanites—to a fundamental subconscious animalistic state, our “reptilian desire for survival,” as relayed by Bradsher. (“We don’t believe what people say,” the website for Rapaille’s consulting firm declares. Instead, they use “a unique blend of biology, cultural anthropology and psychology to discover the hidden cultural forces that pre-organize the way people behave towards a product, service or concept”). Americans were afraid, Rapaille found through his exhaustive market research, and they were mostly afraid of crime even though crime was actually falling and at near-record lows. As Bradsher wrote, “People buy SUVs, he tells auto executives, because they are trying to look as menacing as possible to allay their fears of crime and other violence.” They, quite literally, bought SUVs to run over “gang members” with, Rapaille found.

Perhaps this sounds farfetched, but the auto industry’s own studies agreed with this general portrait of SUV buyers. Bradsher described that portrait, comprised of marketing reports from the major automakers, as follows:

Who has been buying SUVs since automakers turned them into family vehicles? They tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors or communities.

I recently rented a Chevy Tahoe because we needed the storage capacity for a day trip. I can’t believe anyone chooses to drive these things daily. It’s like driving a car inside a car, no feel for the road at all.

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kazriko
276 days ago
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"As Bradsher wrote, “People buy SUVs, he tells auto executives, because they are trying to look as menacing as possible to allay their fears of crime and other violence.” They, quite literally, bought SUVs to run over “gang members” with, Rapaille found." Yeah, right, and all of Freud's patients actually did want to sleep with their mothers.

If I were getting an SUV, it'd be entirely for the towing capacity and cargo capacity. Otherwise I'd just get a van. Of course, right now I have two cars instead.
Colorado Plateau
trekkie
276 days ago
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Six family members, we buy big SUVs to go anywhere. Minivans are cool and all if you don't need to bring stuff with you with that many people.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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1 public comment
ktgeek
293 days ago
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we recently bought a SUV because we needed towing capacity for our camper. I find myself liking it much more than I thought I would... we went SUV over pickup because for the times we do need it for daily driving, we wanted more comfort and space. If I could get the towing capacity I need in something that wasn't a land barge, I'd be all for it, but that's not how it works right now.
Bartlett, IL
tingham
293 days ago
I've been driving a tacoma for years (mountain bikes, camping, always having "friends") and when my wife wanted out of the minivan we put her in a 4 runner because it's the same frame. Even the Sequoia is too big.

Mazda will intentionally nerf its EV's performance to make it act more like a gas guzzler

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Recent statements from Joachim Kunz, Mazda’s head of Product Development and Engineering, have revealed that the Japanese carmaker will be adopting a rather curious approach to its electric car strategy. For one, the company intends to make sure that its first EV, the MX-30 SUV, will feel familiar to drivers, and it intends to accomplish this by intentionally tuning the vehicle to be less “frenetic” than other electric cars.

This, of course, will result in the MX-30 having performance that is not up to par with other premium electric cars like the Tesla Model Y and the Jaguar I-PACE. But this is not all that is quite strange with Mazda’s EV strategy. The company has also stated that it will not produce vehicles with large battery packs because they are allegedly worse for the environment.

Explaining his point to Autocar, Kunz cited a Japanese University’s study which claimed that a 95 kWh battery pack was less environmentally favorable than Mazda’s Skyactiv diesel engine. Thus, Mazda intends to utilize a rather small 35 kWh battery because it makes more sense environmentally, at least according to Kunz.

The MX-30 will use a Panasonic lithium-ion battery manufactured in Japan that the company claims will give owners around 130 miles of range and 141 bhp. The company’s research suggested that by 50,000 miles, the Mazda MX-30 and its 35 kWh battery should start trending towards environmentally-friendly emissions.

For buyers who wish to travel longer distances, Mazda intends to release a “range extender system” that utilizes a compact rotary engine. Kunz stated it was too early to release any specific details on the rotary motor, but the system was available for the public to see in Portugal at Mazda’s event for the MX-30. The vehicle is expected to begin production in Europe later in 2020 and in the UK in 2021.

Electric vehicles are good for the environment. They create a smoke-free and environmentally-conscious transportation selection for whoever deems it as an appropriate option. Battery production has seen a drastic decline in CO2 emissions according to a Swedish environmental group. Simply put, there continues to be little to no need to place petrol-powered motors in electric vehicles.

Tesla’s industry-leading battery technology has led to a growth in the electric vehicle sector for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is the fact that Tesla vehicles offer more range than any other electric car on the market and it has to do with the company’s constantly-improving battery technology. With this in mind, Mazda’s EV strategies, particularly with regards to performance and range, seem uninspired at best and questionable at worst.

The post Mazda will intentionally nerf its EV's performance to make it act more like a gas guzzler appeared first on TESLARATI.

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trekkie
320 days ago
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Just when you think they couldn't get any dumber...35 kWh battery and a gimped performance compared to every other ev. lame.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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Google to restrict modern ad blocking Chrome extensions to enterprise users

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Google is essentially saying that Chrome will still have the capability to block unwanted content, but this will be restricted to only paid, enterprise users of Chrome. This is likely to allow enterprise customers to develop in-house Chrome extensions, not for ad blocking usage. For the rest of us, Google hasn’t budged on their changes to content blockers, meaning that ad blockers will need to switch to a less effective, rules-based system, called “declarativeNetRequest.” I’m glad I switched to Firefox already, and I suggest you do the same. A browser that is not tied to a platform vendor (like Safari) or run by an ad company (like Chrome).
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trekkie
539 days ago
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oh man, had no idea they were doing this. never did switch to chrome. firefox 4 lyfe
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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★ Playdate

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“We wanted this thing to come out of nowhere, fully formed, and just blow everybody’s minds.” That’s Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser, in the cover story of the new issue of Edge magazine.

The story is about Playdate, the most amazing and exciting product announcement, for me, since the original iPhone.

Everything racing through your mind right now as “but that’s impossible” is not impossible. It’s true. Panic is making a handheld game player. It is adorable and exciting and fun and technically impressive. Go read all about it at Panic’s (also adorable, exciting, fun, and technically impressive) Playdate website, which even has a great domain name.

They’re making their own hardware (in conjunction with Swedish device makers Teenage Engineering). They wrote their own OS (there’s no Linux). It has a high resolution 400 × 240 black and white display with no backlighting. It has a crank.

It’s going to cost only $149 — $149 — and that includes a “season” of 12 games from an amazing roster of beloved video game creators, delivered every Monday for 12 weeks.


The idea of a new upstart, a company the size of Panic — with only software experience only at that — jumping into the hardware game with a brand new platform harkens back to the 80s and 90s. But even back then, a company like, say, General Magic or Palm, was VC-backed and aspired to be a titan. To be the next Atari or Commodore or Apple.

In today’s world all the new computing devices and platforms come from huge companies. Apple of course. All the well-known Android handset makers building off an OS provided by Google. Sony. Nintendo.

Panic is cheating in a way because they’re tiny. The Playdate platform isn’t competing with the state of the art. It’s not a retro platform, per se, but while it has an obviously nostalgic charm it is competing only on its own terms. Its only goal is to be fun. And aspects of Playdate are utterly modern: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, apps and software updates delivered over-the-air.

They’re taking advantage of an aspect of today’s world that is brand new – the Asian supply chain, the cheapness of Asian manufacturing, the cheapness of CPU and GPU cycles that allows things like Raspberry Pi to cost just $35.

And then there’s the issue of freedom. Last night Steven Frank, Panic’s other co-founder, tease-tweeted a link to Steve Jobs quoting Alan Kay during the introduction of the original iPhone: “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.”


You know that scene in GoodFellas where Tommy is about to be made, and Jimmy and Henry can’t contain their excitement because it’s as close as they themselves will ever get to being made? That’s a bit how I feel about Playdate — I have so many friends at Panic, and this feels as close as I’ll ever get to the makers of a hardware platform. (Let’s please ignore the fact that everything goes to shit in GoodFellas at that point.)

Cabel Sasser let me in on this about two weeks ago, and I don’t think I’ve spent a waking hour since when I haven’t thought about Playdate at least once. I am so excited to get one of these in my hands — and so proud of, and happy for my friends at Panic.

This is fucking amazing.

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trekkie
552 days ago
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Man even the mock ups look great.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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AT&T promised 7,000 new jobs to get tax break—it cut 23,000 jobs instead

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson speaking and gesturing in an appearance at the World Economic Forum.

Enlarge / AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

AT&T has cut more than 23,000 jobs since receiving a big tax cut at the end of 2017, despite lobbying heavily for the tax cut by claiming that it would create thousands of jobs.

AT&T in November 2017 pushed for the corporate tax cut by promising to invest an additional $1 billion in 2018, with CEO Randall Stephenson saying that "every billion dollars AT&T invests is 7,000 hard-hat jobs. These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year."

The corporate tax cut was subsequently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. The tax cut reportedly gave AT&T an extra $3 billion in cash in 2018.

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trekkie
560 days ago
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Shocked. Shocked I tell you.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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