You Are the Product

John Lanchester:

In the final three months of the US presidential campaign, the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC News and others.’ This doesn’t sound like a problem Facebook will be in any hurry to fix.

Facebook is Broken

The problem is this: Facebook has become a feedback loop which can and does, despite its best intentions, become a vicious spiral. At Facebook’s scale, behavioral targeting doesn’t just reflect our behavior, it actually influences it. Over time, a service which was supposed to connect humanity is actually partitioning us into fractal disconnected bubbles.

This sums up my thoughts on Facebook. Hence why I quit it. Unless they drop “engagement” as their metric I can’t see how it can be fixed.

DVD authoring adventures

Dan Moren on Six Colors walks through his use of ffmpegX to convert a video to MPEG2 format for DVD.

An alternative to ffmpegX is to use ffmpeg directly from the command line. If you have used Don Melton’s transcode-video tools (and you definitely should) you will have already installed ffmpeg via Homebrew.

To do the conversion open a terminal and type the following replacing “source-video.mkv” and “destination-video.mpg” with your own source and destination file names:

ffmpeg -i "source-video.mkv" -target ntsc-dvd  "destination-video.mpg"

Oh and make sure you set your target for your region, either PAL (pal-dvd) or NTSC (ntsc-dvd).

Now to creating your DVD. Burn is still around for OSX and working great on El Capitan for burning DVD’s. It also lets you add DVD menus from a selection of themes. Simply drag your new file into the “Video” tab to burn your DVD and again make sure your region is set to either NTSC or PAL in the preferences.

Siri Remote Only Available in Eight Launch Countries

This is stupid to say the least. The new remote being bluetooth and having volume control (let alone touch) for the TV is still an improvement over the previous Apple TV version. It looks like I’ll be sourcing an Australian model.

The new Siri Remote will, at launch, only be available in eight countries at launch: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. Apple says that the new Apple TV in all other countries will be packaged with the existing Apple TV Remote.

The Auckland Fibre situation

Cloudflare have now setup a data center in Auckland which is great news for customers latency.

It was interesting to read about the Auckland fibre situation.

The Auckland fiber situation is an interesting one. Auckland is situated around a harbour. Over this harbour is a bridge which most of the fiber in the city runs across, with a small amount running via a much longer path around the harbour (think 30km longer fiber runs). Purchasing fiber between the areas of the city separated by the harbour costs more than a Kim Dotcom political party (i.e. a lot of money).

Kiwis winners in phone plan price war

With all the recent plans announced from 2 Degrees, Spark and Skinny New Zealander’s are finally getting some value for money with the now available smartphone plans. They could all offer more data as the need for SMS and Voice services are needed less these days.

I myself have been on a pre-paid combo pack with 2 Degrees that fits my needs (developer working from home). Even with a small monthly data allowance I’ve racked up 5 GB of data for when I need it, plus 100’s of minutes.