Stuart Breckenridge

Why Hasn't Twitter Removed Trump's Retweets?

Ivana Kottasová, writing for CNN:

President Trump has been heavily criticized for his decision to retweet three graphic anti-Muslim videos.

But why did Twitter allow them in the first place?

The anti-Muslim videos were first posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right party Britain First. They depict violent assaults and the destruction of a statue of the Virgin Mary.

They also appear to violate the terms of use published by Twitter. It warns users: “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Asked why the original tweets have not been deleted, a Twitter spokesperson said:

“To help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue, there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability.”

Twitter knows these tweets violate their rules and by not acting to remove them they show just how spineless they are as an organisation. There is no legitimate public interest in seeing these videos, one of which has already been debunked by the Dutch Embassy.

Twitter have effectively given Trump a blank cheque to say what he wants regardless of impact or truth. Their leadership should be ashamed of themselves.


On Brexit

Alexander Stubb, vice president of the European Investment Bank:

“I have a British heart pumping, I am married to a Brit, my children have dual nationality and I think Brexit is one of the biggest travesties that we have seen in the modern era,” he said.

“So I will do everything in my power to alleviate the pain, but the economic facts are just such that there are no winners in Brexit - apart from perhaps a few lawyers. Unfortunately, we will see this in the coming years.”

I couldn’t agree more.


Apple Reportedly Reduced Face ID Accuracy to Speed Up iPhone X Production

Tim Hardwick:

Several reports in recent months have covered Apple’s struggle to ensure significant components for the upcoming iPhone X can be produced in large enough quantities to meet demand, with the main culprit being the 3D sensing modules that power the phone’s TrueDepth camera and Face ID technology. In a surprise development, a new Bloomberg report today claims that Apple overcame its production challenges by quietly telling suppliers they could reduce the accuracy of the face recognition technology to make the iPhone X easier to manufacture.

I don’t buy this for one minute. Apple publicly announced the accuracy of Face ID and continue to advertise the accuracy on the iPhone X product page.

Update (2017-10-26): Statement released by Apple and shared with TechCrunch:

Customer excitement for iPhone X and Face ID has been incredible, and we can’t wait for customers to get their hands on it starting Friday, November 3. Face ID is a powerful and secure authentication system that’s incredibly easy and intuitive to use. The quality and accuracy of Face ID haven’t changed. It continues to be 1 in a million probability of a random person unlocking your iPhone with Face ID.

Bloomberg’s claim that Apple has reduced the accuracy spec for Face ID is completely false and we expect Face ID to be the new gold standard for facial authentication.


Singapore to Stop Increasing Car Numbers from 2018

In 2018, Singapore will stop adding additional cars to the roads. As reported by Bloomberg (via Daring Fireball):

Singapore, among the world’s most expensive places to own a vehicle, will stop increasing the total number of cars on its roads next year.

The government will cut the annual growth rate for cars and motorcycles to zero from 0.25 percent starting in February, the transport regulator said on Monday.

“In view of land constraints and competing needs, there is limited scope for further expansion of the road network,” the Land Transport Authority said in a statement on its website. Roads already account for 12 percent of the city-state’s total land area, it said.

To clarify the commentary on Daring Fireball, if you want a car but don’t own one, you’ll need to wait until you can buy a Certificate of Entitlement — essentially a 10-year license to own a car — which are available via auction.


■ On USB-C and Thunderbolt 3

Marco Arment (via Michael Tsai):

While a wide variety of USB-C dongles are available, most use the same handful of unreliable, mediocre chips inside. Some USB-A dongles make Wi-Fi drop on MacBook Pros. Some USB-A devices don’t work properly when adapted to USB-C, or only work in certain ports. Some devices only work when plugged directly into a laptop’s precious few USB-C ports, rather than any hubs or dongles. And reliable HDMI output seems nearly impossible in practice.

Very few hubs exist to add more USB-C ports, so if you have more than a few peripherals, you can’t just replace all of their cables with USB-C versions. You’ll need a hub that provides multiple USB-A ports instead, and you’ll need to keep your USB-A cables for when you’re plugged into the hub — but also keep USB-C cables or dongles around for everything you might ever need to plug directly into the computer’s ports.

Hubs with additional USB-C ports might pass Thunderbolt through to them, but usually don’t. Sometimes, they add a USB-C port that can only be used for power passthrough. Many hubs with power passthrough have lower wattage limits than a 13-inch or 15-inch laptop needs.

After a bit of trial and error, I’ve settled on using the J5 Create USB-C 4 Port Hub with my MacBook Pro, and I’ve had no issues. Connected to my MacBook Pro:

My current setup just works on my MacBook Pro. (Sans the external SSD, I can also connect the USB-C hub to my (Windows) work laptop and be good to go. Skype for Business calls with an Artemis gaming headset is overkill!) However, it wasn’t all plain sailing.

I initially used Apple’s USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, which had several limitations. Firstly, the USB-C port on the dongle is for power only and doesn’t support data. Secondly, when using the HDMI port to connect to an external monitor, its output was limited to 30fps at 4K1.

I’ve had an equally difficult time purchasing appropriate Thunderbolt 3 cables. The Akitio Node came with a 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 which wasn’t long enough for my needs. My first long cable purchase was the 2m Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable from Apple. The product description:

This 2-meter cable supports Thunderbolt 3 throughput (up to 40 Gbps), 4K or 5K Thunderbolt display connectivity, and up to 60W of charging power to your Thunderbolt 3 devices.

Use this fully Thunderbolt-certified cable to connect to Thunderbolt 3 docks, hard drives, monitors, and more. You can even use it to daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt 3 devices.

Unfortunately, it refuses to work with my Akitio Node. Despite being advertised as an active Thunderbolt 3 cable at 2m, it appears to be passive2. I’ve now bought a Cable Matters 2m cable and can confirm that it works perfectly.

Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C are far from perfect. They are, however, a significant step in the right direction.

  1. When using USB-C to USB-C the MacBook will output 60fps at 4K. ↩︎

  2. More info ↩︎