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★ Disney+ to introduce an ad-supported subscription later this year

John Gruber:

The thing that gets me, and will never stop getting me, is that when we first started using computers to watch TV, with TiVo and other DVRs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, we were able to use them to skip, or at least fast-forward, commercials. The computerization of TV, in that early era, worked for us, the viewers.

Today, with streaming, the computerization of viewing leaves us with un-skippable, un-fast-forwardable commercials. I find that endlessly depressing. I'd rather not subscribe to a streaming service at all than subscribe to a tier with un-skippable ads.

He hits the nail on the head here, without thinking to hard it feels like we just have to live with ads as we did before technology gave us some power in being able to skip them.

It's actually worse now, because if you leave during the ad playing process returning will just show you more ads, rather than picking up where you left off. I've even had situations where the streaming services (UKTV and ITV Hub) have shown 7-9 30 second ads. How is this any better than watching regular TV?

Then there's the fact that Disney (and other services) are hitting us twice with a service like this. Not only are they taking money from our wallets, they're also invading our privacy so that they can serve us 'relevant' ads. Disney are not the first with this approach and are unlikely to be the last.

Twitter Blue does not remove ads either (not available in the UK anyway) and YouTube are doing all they can to serve as many ads as possible. Even though they're skippable, they interrupt shows more than they should. Maybe that's a publisher's choice to maximise revenue, but it's an awful experience for the view as YouTube videos are rarely edited like a regular show where there are clear pauses for a break.

Posted 8th Mar 2022 @ 10:00

★ What happened when people in this upstate New York town started getting monthly $500 checks

These anecdotes are exactly what I'd expect to hear from a program like this:

Data aside, researchers also wanted to collect anecdotes about the concrete effects on people's lives. One recipient said the assistance had allowed them to move out of a crowded house, others to simply afford rent and pay off bills. A mother reported being able to afford a nicer car in which to drive her children to school, making her feel like she was taking better care of them. Some were able to enjoy “small luxuries,” like taking a first vacation in years, or making small changes in lifestyle: A dive bartender said they could now work at a restaurant, doing “safer, earlier, hour-style bartending.”

Every time I hear about Universal Basic Income, it just sounds like a no-brainer to me. Better to distribute a bit of money to everyone so they can actually improve their lives than letting a few hoard all the money and hope that it trickles down.

Posted 7th Jan 2022 @ 09:00

★ "Mo Amer: Mohammed In Texas" trailer

What a great special from Mo Amer. The clips I've seen did make me wonder how good a whole show would be but I didn't need to worry. From the intro to the outro, so many laughs to be had.

Posted 6th Jan 2022 @ 09:33

★ Tailwind and the Femininity of CSS

I don't have much against Tailwind, but it's not a framework I would use. I've avoided Bootstrap and others for a long time unless I want to quickly prototype and the footprint is of no consequence to the wider web.

These frameworks aren't inherently bad. They lower the barrier to actually put working CSS on a website. They're especially handy when it comes to rapid prototyping; spinning up basic UI has never been easier. The API-like patterns are familiar to many developers.

I've always got on with CSS because I understood how it works fairly well. Yes, I'm still learning but on the whole I'm more than competent in building a UI from scratch.

The important bit is that they hinder deep learning of CSS. This is not to say that every developer needs to have intimate knowledge of CSS when launching a personal project, but that major businesses need to invest in hiring front-end designers that specialize in this area.

Posted 2nd Jan 2022 @ 21:05

★ NES Car

I love this render of a NES themed car so much. If this was real, I'd put up with the square wheels.

Posted 23rd Dec 2021 @ 17:13

★ MANUAL Electric Porsche 356 review

This video really got me thinking about how I'd love to electrify a Mercedes-Benz SEC. A donor car wouldn't be a problem to find but the money for the actual conversation is another story.

Posted 13th Nov 2021 @ 22:37

★ Driving 1000 Miles in 3 Cars: Gas vs Electric!

Great video from the MKBHD team that pits 2 pure electric cars against the combustion engine. I wouldn't call it a scientific test, but it's interesting to see the results of a gas powered SUV pitted against an electric SUV and an electric saloon/sedan.

The outcome is predictable, even if the electric cars could match (or exceed) the range of a traditional car they still take far longer to charge which feels like a hurdle too far for EVs to overcome any time soon. It's also pretty clear that Tesla's infrastructure is superior in it's integration and availability.

I do think they missed a trick here and should have included the fourth option of a PHEV and/or a mild hybrid.

I'm in the market for a car and as appealing as pure electric is, the cost is prohibitive and even I (a fan of EVs) suffer from range anxiety. I drive a hybrid car at the moment and enjoy the benefits of range and economy (and power). I expect my next car to be a plug-in hybrid; it would give me the option of pure-electric for short journeys, great economy (manufacturers claim 100+ mpg) and of course I would enjoy a performance boost when combining the two.

German manufacturers seemed to have got the PHEV model just right, enough range for most journeys, plenty of power, ~6 hour to charge and combining the two power trains work together effectively and efficiently.

When it comes to pure electric however, the BMW's i4 is the first car to look... normal? Mercedes have gone the other way with their EQ range that isn't as good looking as their gas and hybrid-powered counterparts. In comparison, I really like the look of the PHEV C-Class, E-Class, 3 Series and 5 Series cars.

Posted 10th Sep 2021 @ 09:03

★ LEGO World Map art set

I love it and I want it.

Price: $249.99

Posted 25th May 2021 @ 13:34

★ I Miss My Bar

What a great website. I toggled one setting and didn't think it worked very well but toggle a few together and it really gives you a feel for how it used to be to go to a bar. Even pre-pandemic, it's not something I got to do regularly but something I want to do more of once it's safe.

Posted 25th Feb 2021 @ 09:16

★ My thoughts on Sathnam Sanghera's episode of Ways To Change The World

I'd encourage any brit to go and listen to this episode. My own thoughts on Britain have changed a lot of the last few years and almost in line with how Sathnam describes his experience.

The Empire was always championed as a wonderful thing that Britain did for the world and yet do Brits really understand how the Empire came to be? To be the nation 'we' think we are, we need to do better and one of the first steps has to be confronting 'our' past.

Posted 1st Feb 2021 @ 19:49

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