Categories
Misc

Third Place

I guess that’s one thing that I do miss in Singapore: informal places that are affordable (almost everything here costs money) and that are not shopping malls (exactly what he mentions in the video).

Sure, there are bars, but they are usually expensive and atas, and not the place people go for an informal chitchat (more for date nights). There are the places around the hawker centres (i.e.: the food courts) with a lot of “uncles” sitting down — but that’s hardly my crowd. 😉

But maybe I’m also just in a bad neighbourhood. Chinatown has more craft beer places (somewhat affordable) right inside the food courts (i.e.: no air-conditioning, but it’s informal and easily accessible).

But I’ll admit I miss the Belgian-style pub where we’d go for a drink before dinner, or later at night for a tea. Places like Fenikshof in Grimbergen.

Categories
Apple

Apple restricts AirDrop in China

I think this has been greatly underreported.

Apple purposely disables a feature on your phone during unrest.

Anti-government protests flared in several Chinese cities and on college campuses over the weekend. But the country’s most widespread show of public dissent in decades will have to manage without a crucial communication tool, because Apple restricted its use in China earlier this month.

AirDrop, the file-sharing feature on iPhones and other Apple devices, has helped protestors in many authoritarian countries evade censorship. That’s because AirDrop relies on direct connections between phones, forming a local network of devices that don’t need the internet to communicate. People can opt into receiving AirDrops from anyone else with an iPhone nearby.

That changed on Nov. 9, when Apple released a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 16.1.1, to customers worldwide. Rather than listing new features, as it often does, the company simply said, “This update includes bug fixes and security updates and is recommended for all users.”

Hidden in the update was a change that only applies to iPhones sold in mainland China: AirDrop can only be set to receive messages from everyone for 10 minutes, before switching off. There’s no longer a way to keep the “everyone” setting on permanently on Chinese iPhones. The change, first noticed by Chinese readers of 9to5Mac, doesn’t apply anywhere else.

[…]

But why did Apple rush out the change unannounced, in an unassuming update to iOS in early November, and apply it only to Chinese iPhones? One clue may lie in what happened the month prior, when Xi Jinping’s anointment to a third term as China’s leader was met with rare displays of public dissent.

In the most visible protest, a dissident now known as Bridge Man lit a fire on a bridge in Beijing to draw attention to his protest banners. One read, “Go on strike at school and work, remove dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping.” References to the banners were quickly censored across the Chinese internet, but photos still made their way through private channels. Vice reported that Bridge Man’s messages were spreading on the Shanghai subway via AirDrop.

Source: qz

The unannounced update has, as always, been twisted as a useful update to “protect the users”.

Besides all the power they already hold “curating” the app stores, imagine, next time, Apple (or any other Big Tech Corp) decides to disable your camera when the police put their knees on the neck of a poor guy, or they decide to disable the keyboard inside certain Telegram chat rooms, or disable Wi-Fi and data inside certain geo-zones, etc…

Categories
Misc Software

Free speech

I specifically disagree with his stance on free speech, because I think that it depends on your interpretation of what free speech means. If you allow the most intolerant voices to be as loud as they want to, you’re going to shut down voices of different opinions as well. So allowing free speech by just allowing all speech is not actually leading to free speech, it just leads to a cesspit of hate.

I think that is a very uniquely American idea of creating this marketplace of ideas where you can say anything you want completely without limits. It is very foreign to the German mindset where we, in our Constitution, our number one priority is maintaining human dignity. And so, hate speech is not part of the German concept of free speech, for example. So I think that when Elon Musk says that everything’s gonna be allowed, or whatever, I generally disagree with that.

Source: Time.com interview with Eugen Rochko
Categories
Software

Heads we win, tails he loses

Regardless of what happens to Twitter, Elon Musk is without a doubt the most interesting man in the world right now. He’s positioned himself at the intersection of so many trends and topics that it’s hard to keep count, and through it all, he’s tweeting memes. It’s the greatest show on earth, no work of fiction could ever hope to compete.

It’s also incredibly divisive. Not since Trump has a single character managed to invoke such extreme levels of love and hate on the world stage for weeks at the time. Nor has anyone been able to play the media like a fiddle with such virtuosity.

Thankfully the stakes are so much lower, though. Musk might be firing rockets into space, but they won’t accidentally have any nuclear warheads on them. His media trolling isn’t coming from within the White House. This reality show is playing out over something as disposable as a struggling social media website.

Furthermore, the world doesn’t need Twitter. In fact, the world would almost certainly be better off without Twitter.

That’s what makes this show so guiltlessly entertaining to watch: Whichever the outcome, the world wins. If Musk manages to fix Twitter, we’re left with a better Twitter. Great! If Musk manages to burn down Twitter, we’re left with a world free of Twitter. Great!

This is a 44 billion dollar gamble where the rest of us will win whatever the outcome.

Source: David Heinemeier from 37signals and Hey
Categories
Misc

Why Don’t We Shoot Nuclear Waste Into Space?