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Tech News and Analysis from around the web

So, what about Mastodon? It does everything, right? I'm sure, but Twitter is where the people are and that's what matters. This happens all the time in tech, people think the solution is to rebuild something from scratch with the feature we wish the default platform would have. It isn't about the feature as much as where the feature is. I have a blogging system that's way more fun that Twitter and has none of its limits. BFD, the people use Twitter.

This is the mistake people who created Atom made, they thought what if we had invented RSS instead of the messy process by which RSS was created, we'll do it the right way and it'll be wonderful. Then they finished and no one knew what to do next. I'm sure they were very proud but unless they can get everyone who already supported RSS to go back and reimplement their support, we all still have to support RSS. And it's one of those things that no matter how much better it is, people will ask "Is everyone doing this" and if the answer is no, they do something else they have to do, putting out fires etc.

Another example, if I have to go to NYC I take the George Washington Bridge or the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels. I'd much rather take the Golden Gate Bridge, it's so much nicer, but it doesn't go where I want to go!

Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
Amazon launches Audible Suno, an ad-free service featuring more than 60 original series in Hindi and English, in India for free  —  Amazon is having another go at expanding its reach to listeners in India.  The company, which launched pay-to-use Audible in the country last year …

Roma Slyusarchuk / The Keyword:
Google rolls out Verified SMS, which labels messages from legitimate businesses, on Android in nine countries, expands spam detection in messages to the US  —  In addition to enhancing messaging on Android with Rich Communication Services (RCS) and bringing you helpful features with Messages …

As Apple Pay expands in Europe, it is drawing increasing regulatory scrutiny from EU and countries including France, the Netherlands, and Germany  —  - Banks, payments rivals say Apple restricts access to NFC chip  — German law may force Apple's hand.  A good start, banks say

I wonder how many people know that Facebook turned off its most basic API after the 2016 election. Got no press, there's no developer memory of it. It's as if all the Hudson crossings to NYC were shut down permanently, only bigger because the population of Facebook is billions not millions. Twitter on the other hand shut down a portion of its APIs in 2012 and it put an indelible mark on the reputation of the company with developers. I personally forgave them because I anticipated it, I've been down this road many times, on both sides.

Brian Heater / TechCrunch:
Google brings its real-time translation mode, interpreter, to the Google Assistant app on iOS and Android globally with support for 44 languages  —  After rolling out on smart speakers and displays earlier this year, Google's interpreter real-time translation mode finally landing on mobile.

Follow-up: Now that (I think) I understand Twitter's goal, what they really want is a way to have a feed be hooked into a Twitter "location." So one could follow, for example:, and it would get updates from that server. RSS 2.0 would totally be able to do it.

Report: Samsung to increase investment in its chip factory in China by $8B to boost production of NAND flash memory chips  —  SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics will increase investment at its chip factory in China by $8 billion to boost production of NAND flash memory chips, Chinese media reported on Tuesday.

James Vincent / The Verge:
AI Index Report 2019: 300% rise in research papers, US the global leader by most metrics, self-driving cars received more private investment than any AI field  —  The 2019 AI Index report gives us a glimpse into AI progress  —  Trying to get a handle on the progress of artificial intelligence …

Note: If Twitter really wanted to help they could make it unnecessary to paste images of blog posts in tweets (example). Such an obvious thing. What could possibly stand in the way of doing this, when they do it for images and videos?

New York Times:
Details of 15M bank debit cards in Iran from its three largest banks have been published on social media in what experts suspect is a state-sponsored attack  —  The details of millions of Iranian bank cards were published online after antigovernment protests last month.  Experts suspect a state-sponsored cyberattack.

I've had a chance to think more about Twitter's surprising proposal to come up with a web standard that turns Twitter into a protocol. I'm guessing the practical reason for this is so that Twitter can no longer be held responsible for abuse. They could ask Trump, for example, to host his own twitter, and people could subscribe to it anywhere, including Jack's twitter. It's basically a return to the open web after 13 years as silo that's been sucking the life out of the open web. I don't see why anyone but Twitter and its shareholders would go for this. I am still hoping Twitter, for the good of the web and the world, would expand to attach and display data from blogging software, as they attach and display video and images. That way writing beyond 280 chars with titles, links, simple styling can flourish. Same with podcasts. Twitter improves at a glacial pace, and they're hogging the fast lane of web media, of course along wtih the other silos.

Mary Ann Azevedo / Crunchbase News:
LeanDNA, an AI-powered analytics platform for factory management, raises $15M Series B led by S3 Ventures, bringing its total raised to $20M  —  Factories have been somewhat left behind in the innovation world, but one Austin-based company is taking advantage of that to capitalize on increasing productivity.

Charlotte Tucker / EU-Startups:
Paris-based Yubo, which lets young people create live video discussion spaces, raises €11M led by Iris Capital and Idinvest Partners  —  Today Yubo​, the social platform connecting Generation Z around the world, announces snapping up more than €11 million.

Maya Shwayder / Digital Trends:
Decentralizing Twitter won't solve its hate speech problems; Mastodon CEO: “it sounds like Twitter is making a Mastodon clone”  —  Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey floated a compelling possibility on Wednesday: He wants to put together a team to explore decentralizing Twitter.

Alex Konrad / Forbes:
Profile of Canva, a graphic design app that CEO Melanie Perkins helped build from a yearbook-design business out of Perth into a profitable $3.2B Adobe rival  —  On a steamy May morning in 2013, Canva CEO Melanie Perkins found herself adrift on a kiteboard in the channel between billionaire …

Alexander George / Popular Mechanics:
The Mac Pro uses three axial fans and a centrifugal fan to keep it cool, with blade design drawn from vehicle tires to make them sound pleasant even when loud  —  Spend a few tens of thousands on optional upgrades, and the new Mac Pro becomes a list of superlative performance specs.  A 28-core CPU.

Sean Lyngaas / CyberScoop:
Jeanette Manfra, assistant director for cybersecurity at DHS, will be joining Google Cloud as global director of security and compliance  —  One of the U.S. government's most influential cybersecurity officials is heading to Google.  —  Jeanette Manfra will take a job at the tech giant's cloud division …

Anna Irrera / Reuters:
Qwil, an automated lending platform for on-demand and freelancer marketplaces to advance pay to workers, raises $24.4M in equity and $200M in debt funding  —  NEW YORK (Reuters) - Qwil, a startup that provides financing to freelancers and small businesses, has raised $24.4 million in equity …

Lindsey Graham is either bipolar or possessed.

I've been down the road Jack proposes to take Twitter down, it's fraught with problems. Social media has been around a long time and there are plenty of competing standards for integrating platforms. Had they proposed such a standard when they were starting Twitter, no one would have cared, and it would have had a chance of working. Now it's a huge industry with lots at stake and lots of entities that would like to keep it from standardizing. Now maybe Jack knows this, and it's meant as a PR thing, and I'm sure the press will love it. Until they forget about it. It's time for a proprietary approach, one that is open to cloning. That can work because there's a single decision-making entity. If their goal really is to create a standard they can do it, much the way we created standards for content syndication when our product dominated. Waiting for an open development group to synthesize something that can be broadly supported, well I suppose it could happen, but it rarely does.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey outlines a plan to fund a small independent team to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media, a standard that Twitter would support. I advocate something different, Twitter already has the bugs and scaling issues solved for a global notification network. Let's add a few APIs and create a new universe. It'll happen a lot faster with much better results imho. Interestingly I recorded a podcast on just this topic, a week ago today.

New top-of-page image and the previous one.

Suppose you're a retiring Republican congressperson and you're retiring because you don't like where we're going. Why not denounce Trump? You're not seeking re-election. Hard to escape what's obvious. There's more to the story we're not hearing about.