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Any articles that I have linked to, and commented on.

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30th May 2019
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Ryan Christoffel, writing at MacStories:

Linky is a tiny utility for iOS that I love. The app serves as an easy way to share to Twitter or Mastodon from the iOS share extension, and I use it every day to tweet MacStories articles or new episodes of Adapt. Used from Safari, the Linky share extension can automatically populate a tweet compose field with information from the site you’re viewing, such as its title, URL, and featured images. Linky’s ease of use makes it my favorite way to share content via tweets.

Earlier this week, Linky was updated with two new enhancements to its text shot feature. For years now the app has enabled easy creation of text shots for sharing portions of an article, or personal thoughts that exceed Twitter’s character limit. That text shot feature is now better than ever though thanks to the addition of highlighting and visual customization options.

I’ve been looking for a good quality “text shot” app for a while, and I was even thinking about making my own one. However, I already use Linky for sharing links, so it’s great that it’s now incorporated this feature.

You can expect me to be sharing more text shots on Twitter from now on.

30th May 2019
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Sharon Bradford Franklin and Andi Wilson Thompson writing for Lawfare:

Last fall, Lawfare published a piece by Ian Levy and Crispin Robinson of GCHQ entitled Principles for a More Informed Exceptional Access Debate. Our organization, the Open Technology Institute, has worked alongside other people and organizations to coordinate a response from an international coalition of 47 signatories, including 23 civil society organizations that work to protect civil liberties, human rights and innovation online; seven tech companies and trade associations, including providers that offer leading encrypted messaging services; and 17 individual experts in digital security and policy. Our coalition letter outlines our concerns that the GCHQ proposal poses serious threats to cybersecurity and fundamental human rights including privacy and free expression. We shared our letter with GCHQ officials on May 22, and we are now releasing it to the public as an Open Letter to GCHQ.

In the open letter, which is notably backed by Apple, Microsoft, Google, WhatsApp, and others, explains how the “Ghost Protocol” would work, the consequences, and also the recommend to abandon the idea completely.

Lawfare and the letter explain the Ghost Protocol quite well, but in essence it means every message and conversation would also be sent to a hidden recipient. Similar to how BCC works with email.

It’s pretty serious stuff. And I sincerely hope it’s abandoned. However, institutions like GCHQ seem to always have another idea up their sleeves to try and bypass your personal privacy.

Here’s one section from the paper I found interesting about the risks it creates in regard to cybersecurity, and threats to human rights:

The GCHQ’s ghost proposal creates serious threats to digital security: if implemented, it will undermine the authentication process that enables users to verify that they are communicating with the right people, introduce potential unintentional vulnerabilities, and increase risks that communications systems could be abused or misused. These cybersecurity risks mean that users cannot trust that their communications are secure, as users would no longer be able to trust that they know who is on the other end of their communications, thereby posing threats to fundamental human rights, including privacy and free expression. Further, systems would be subject to new potential vulnerabilities and risks of abuse.

Read the Open Letter to GCHQ

25th May 2019
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Raisa Bruner, writing for Time:

Hugh Grant is one of our most iconic rom-com leads, often playing a dashing — but hapless — British suitor.

In perennial favorite Love Actually, he achieved perhaps the pinnacle of the form, even going so far as to very winningly dance through the halls of his residence at 10 Downing Street (also known as the prime minister’s home) to the tune of the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump (For My Love).” The spring in his step is all due to love, of course.

But it turns out that the actor wasn’t actually very keen to get his groove on.

I certainly read some strange articles. But at leat for myself, this was pretty interesting. I’m not embarrassed at all to say that I’ve watched Love Actually quite a lot of times, and this dance is my favourite scene.

18th May 2019
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It’s time for another great and insightful post by Jeff Perry at Rocket Panda. He talks about how we tend to focus on so many things, that it’s very difficult to accomplish anything:

I have been thinking a lot about habits lately and I think that one of my biggest flaws, as many others also have, is that we suffer from 3 Stooges Syndrome.

One thing, I constantly deal with is new interests and goals I set for myself when I want to make a positive change in my life. The issue is when I have so many things that it all seems to be too much.

I would highly recommend reading the full post. It’s something I think affects a lot of us.

16th May 2019
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Jordan Merrick shared some great tips on how you can manage Hashtags for Instagram:

My iPhone photography workflow includes sharing some of the photos I’ve taken to Instagram. I usually include relevant hashtags to increase discoverability and have a collection of frequently used hashtag sets—different hashtags for the same topic—that I can choose from. I also include a five-dot prefix (each dot on a separate line) to separate the photo’s caption text and hashtags. This is a commonly used method for hiding hashtags “below the fold” so they’re only visible when tapping the more button.

I’ve used specific groups of hashtags before on Instagram, and used a Shortcut to populate the clipboard with them, however these tips are much better than that.

13th May 2019
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Becky Hansmeyer on pricing an app:

$5 should be the absolute rock bottom price for a quality indie app, full stop. So, for whoever might need to hear this: stop kidding yourself, you’re not going to make it up in volume, raise your dang prices, thank you and good night.

I wouldn’t class Text Case as some kind of massively featured app, but I recently rose the price of it from its initial price of $1 to $2 with the last 2.0 update. But now I’m starting to think I should up it to $3.

10th May 2019

As part of National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase, they released a short film about how forests are now starting to be grown in Iceland:

The landscape of Iceland has changed a lot in a thousand years. When the Vikings first arrived in the ninth century, the land was covered in 25 to 40 percent forest. Within a few centuries, almost all of the island’s trees were slashed and burned to make room for farming. This rapid deforestation has resulted in massive soil erosion that puts the island at risk for desertification.

Today, the Icelandic Forest Service has taken on the mammoth task of bringing back the woodlands. With the help of forestry societies and forest farmers, Iceland’s trees are slowly beginning to make a comeback.

It’s only a short video, around 5 minutes. But it’s fascinating to see the effect that farming has had on Iceland’s forests.