Ian Betteridge

Ha ha ha ha nope


X, Formerly Twitter, Plans to Collect User Biometric Data, Job, Education - Bloomberg:

“Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes,” the company said in its new policy. X doesn’t define what it considers biometric, though other companies have used the term to describe data gleaned from a person’s face, eyes and fingerprints.

Of the many, many companies on this planet that I would not trust with biometric data, “X” comes pretty much top of the pile.

The Real Story of Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover


The Real Story of Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover - WSJ:

The way that Musk blustered into buying Twitter and renaming it X was a harbinger of the way he now runs it: impulsively and irreverently. It is an addictive playground for him. It has many of the attributes of a school yard, including taunting and bullying. But in the case of Twitter, the clever kids win followers; they don’t get pushed down the steps and beaten, like Musk was as a kid. Owning it would allow him to become king of the school yard.

The whole of this annoyingly paywalled article1 is full of absolute zingers which demonstrate quite how unsuited Musk is to owning something like Twitter.

By then, a new ingredient had been added to this cauldron: Musk’s swelling concern with the dangers of what he called the “woke mind virus” that he believed was infecting America. “Unless the woke mind virus, which is fundamentally anti-science, anti-merit, and anti-human in general, is stopped, civilization will never become multiplanetary,” he told me gravely.

This use of “multiplanetary” isn’t a mistake or a metaphor. Musk has bought into the idea that we can wreck this planet and move on to the next, one that’s common amongst the Silicon Valley idiocracy.

And always remember, the personal is political:

Musk’s anti-woke sentiments were partly triggered by the decision of his oldest child, Xavier, then 16, to transition. “Hey, I’m transgender, and my name is now Jenna,” she texted the wife of Elon’s brother. “Don’t tell my dad.” When Musk found out, he was generally sanguine, but then Jenna became a fervent Marxist and broke off all relations with him. “She went beyond socialism to being a full communist and thinking that anyone rich is evil,” he says… He blamed it partly on the ideology he felt that Jenna imbibed at Crossroads, the progressive school she attended in Los Angeles. Twitter, he felt, had become infected by a similar mindset that suppressed right-wing and anti-establishment voices.

It’s been rumoured for a long time that having a trans child had been an influence on Musk’s blatantly transphobic behaviour. This confirms it.

I am very glad that I no longer have a presence on Twitter.

  1. I’m assuming you don’t need me to tell you how to get around paywalls. ↩︎


Microsoft seems really determined to give more people more reasons to avoid Windows like the plague.



BTW, if you notice that I’m posting a bunch of little links, it’s because I’m going through the backlog of stuff I’ve saved into Raindrop.io which I TOTALLY recommend over Pinboard.


A rare Betteridge’s Law-breaking headline. Yes. Yes he was.

(Because of the nature of the content, Snopes has a pass)



This is great: a bunch of primary sources about the early Macintosh. Much reading!



I see Captain Dickhead is at it again



It is always worth remembering that Steve Jobs could be a nasty piece of work when he wanted to be.



Sad to hear about the death of John Warnock, who was a truly great computer scientist. His early contributions to computer graphics included breakthroughs in working out hidden surfaces, plus of course inventing PostScript which changed the world of publishing.


This weather is almost exactly the kind that makes me want to go for a long snooze, all day.

Unraveling the Digital Markets Act


I absolutely loved this post on Unraveling the Digital Markets Act: by the team from iA, who also make one of my favourite pieces of software. 


This book sounds right up my street


Printer makers are evil, part 3422


Judge denies HP's request to dismiss printer lockdown suiit • The Register:

HP all-in-one printer owners, upset that their devices wouldn't scan or fax when low on ink, were handed a partial win in a northern California court this week after a judge denied HP's motion to dismiss their suit.

This whole story is just a brilliant example of why there is a special circle of hell reserved for printer manufacturers. And of course it’s also exactly the kind of thing that Cory has been railing against for years. Software locks to prevent you doing things with a device you bought outright are evil. 

The Centauri Device


Finished reading: The Centauri Device by M. John Harrison 📚

I first read this when I was about ten years old and I’ve loved Harrison’s work ever since. It showed me that SF could be something different, that spaceships didn’t have to mean macho hero figures. MJH doesn’t like it, but I do.


Downloading all of the music I have bought from iTunes and I am left with some deeply disturbing questions. Such as “when did I buy ’the best of the Wurzels’”?


Am I the only Mac user who really doesn’t like Magsafe? It constantly gets small particles of grit in it, which stop it making a proper connection, and it’s too easy to knock out. Why not just give me another sodding USB-C port (which is what it basically is)?


Goddammit people don’t make me buy Baldur’s Gate 3

Suspect charged in hate-motivated stabbing in Canada university gender issues class


Suspect charged in hate-motivated stabbing in Canada university gender issues class | Canada | The Guardian:

A suspect has been charged in the stabbing of a professor and two students during a class on gender issues at Canada’s University of Waterloo in what police are calling a hate-motivated attack...  “The accused targeted a gender studies class and investigators believe this was a hate-motivated incident related to gender expression and gender identity,” Waterloo police said in a statement on Wednesday.

I'm shocked, shocked i tell you, that the stabbing of a professor teaching a class on gender has turned out to be a hate crime. Silence, of course, from the likes of Kathleen Stock and the other specialists in complaining about how they're being “oppressed" for their so-called gender critical views. And silence from the right wing “academic freedom” brigade. 

Opinionated record shops


w/e 2023-08-06 (Phil Gyford’s website):

My only specific memory of shopping in Revolver was going in to buy a ticket to see The Wedding Present play at The Studio in 1991. I asked the guy behind the counter for one and, as he reached for the book or box or whatever, in which they kept tickets, he said with a look of distaste, “Well, I suppose Buffalo Tom are supporting.” It was that kind of place.

There is no better thing on this earth than a record shop (or book store) with an opinion about what’s good. 

Billionaire investor threatens to pull out of UK amid global outcry at new oil rush


Billionaire investor threatens to pull out of UK amid global outcry at new oil rush:

“I am a major investor here,” Forrest told Bloomberg News. “If I see this country steering itself over a cliff backing fossil fuel, I am going to start pulling out. I will push my investments over to North America … I must invest where I know I have proper leadership, not leadership which is on a clickbait cycle.”

It’s almost like the Tories still don’t understand that people who aren’t British can read the same newspapers they are pandering to. 

Gnome windowing becoming more like Apple's Stage Manager?


The Gnome foundation, which makes arguably the most popular desktop environment for Linux, is experimenting with new windowing models. While there’s development work going into better tiling, the more interesting mode is what they’re calling “Mosaic” – and to my eyes, it looks quite a bit like Apple’s Stage Manager.

Here’s how they describe how it works:

You open a window, it opens centered on the screen at a size that makes the most sense for the app. For a web browser that might be maximized, for a weather app maybe only 700×500 pixels. As you open more windows, the existing windows move aside to make room for the new ones. If a new window doesn’t fit (e.g. because it wants to be maximized) it moves to its own workspace. If the window layout comes close to filling the screen, the windows are automatically tiled.

That’s a pretty good description of how Stage Manager works too, although the details are different. By default when you open a new application in Stage Manager, it opens in its own “workspace”, with other windows sliding into the shelf on the side. Drag another window in and Stage Manager tries to move windows about so they overlap in the smallest possible way. The Gnome approach looks to be more aggressive about tiling and avoiding overlaps, and although the underlying grid which Stage Manager uses is more relaxed in iPadOS 17 it still feels more “gridded” than Mosaic.

It will be really interesting to see where Gnome goes with this – and what the reaction to it will be. Some parts of the Linux community are heavily committed to tiling and see overlapping windows as basically an error in the history of operating systems, while others are more relaxed and open to new ideas.


Why do cryptrobros always have such a lack of imagination about what they spend the money they fraudulently obtain on? Take Richard Heart:

In addition to the unregistered offerings charge, the SEC alleges Heart and PulseChain misappropriated $12.1 million to fund Heart’s lavish lifestyle. Among other things, he purchased a McLaren sports car, five luxury watches, and a $4.3 million 555-carat black diamond called “Enigma”, allegedly using funds from the sale.

It’s like a stupid person’s wet dream of what being rich means.


If ever anyone wants to buy me a fancy birthday present, this will do.



Glenn Greenwald is, and always has been, a know-nothing blowhard who overstates everything he comes into contact with. He’s not a radical – he actively supports Trump and right-wing interests. This is just the latest example.


Apple and repair


I largely agree with Nick Heer’s take on Apple’s policies on repair – and the criticisms thereof. I don’t think Apple goes out of their way to engineer things which are harder to repair, and nor do I believe they deliberately engineer-in stuff which breaks third party repairs. They just build stuff to incredibly tight tolerances and are very specific about parts. But… that is ultimately an engineering choice, too. Apple chooses to place tight integration over giving users more ability to repair and replace parts.

To give Apple credit, this tight integration is part of what gives Apple devices longevity. Predictable parts means that Apple can optimise future operating systems to known targets, which is helpful if you want to ensure an older phone is usable with newer software. But I think still think it’s the wrong call. While it gives technical advantage, it increases e-waste and ultimately lessens the lifespan of the device.

Apple doesn’t have to create modular phones that are incredibly easy to repair, although it would be fantastic if it applied its undoubted engineering prowess to doing so. There are a lot of things it could do which aren’t as radical as that. Apple could publish its calibration processes, which would make third party repair easier. It could publish the schematics for its devices, as for example Fairphone do (but other phone makers don’t). It chooses not to do these things. Everything about Apple’s behaviour here is a choice, one that it could and should change.

(And before someone jumps in with “fiduciary duty to maximise profits blah blah” – even in the US, where shareholder primacy is fairly well established, courts have long held that shareholder value is not the same as simple profits.)

Five billion mobile phones will be thrown away this year, and the majority of them will not be recycled. Apple is in a position to do something which benefits its customers and society – and it is choosing not to. It could lead the industry. Instead, it’s contributing to making the planet a less healthy, more polluted place. History will not be kind on the likes of Apple.

(PS This is a bit of an experiment in publishing something to my Micro.blog rather than Wordpress, so bare with me if it goes a bit wrong.)