weekly reel June 16, 2019

Hi friends. Music, with Radiohead minidiscs (faq with timestamps) and Eerie Family.

MINIDISCS [HACKED] by Radiohead

MINIDISCS [HACKED] by Radiohead (bandcamp.com)

Eerie Family by Eerie Family

Eerie Family by Eerie Family (bandcamp.com)

On the news,

  • Tech:
    • Maciej Cegłowski: The new wilderness, on why Google / Facebook need to be regulated like tobacco / oil companies. 👍👍👍.
    • Google captchas in Firefox vs. in Chrome. Fuuuuuu Google. HN.
    • CNBC: Google is tech's top spender on lobbying — Facebook and Amazon are also at record levels: "Google spent $21.7 million on lobbying in 2018, up 38% from two years earlier".
    • Drew DeVault: My personal journey from MIT to GPL. HN.
    • American Affairs / Hubert Horan: Uber’s path of destruction is an interesting perspective on Uber's assholery, because it offers an almost strictly economical / capitalist "for investor / analyst consumption" overview, with very little ideology. And even then, Uber is a grab bag of the most society-and-investor-noxious that today's tech ecosystem can bring. Via Kottke.

      Uber’s investors never expected that their returns would come from superior efficiency in competitive markets. Uber pursued a “growth at all costs” strategy financed by a staggering $20 billion in investor funding. This funding subsidized fares and service levels that could not be matched by incumbents who had to cover costs out of actual passenger fares. Uber’s massive subsidies were explicitly anticompetitive —and are ultimately unsustainable— but they made the company enormously popular with passengers who enjoyed not having to pay the full cost of their service.

      The resulting rapid growth was also intended to make Uber highly attractive to those segments of the investment world that believed explosive top-line growth was the only important determinant of how start-up companies should be valued. Investors focused narrowly on Uber’s revenue growth and only rarely considered whether the company could ever produce the profits that might someday repay the multibillion dollar subsidies.

      Most public criticisms of Uber have focused on narrow behavioral and cultural issues, including deceptive advertising and pricing, algorithmic manipulation, driver exploitation, deep-seated misogyny among executives, and disregard of laws and business norms. Such criticisms are valid, but these problems are not fixable aberrations. They were the inevitable result of pursuing “growth at all costs” without having any ability to fund that growth out of positive cash flow. And while Uber has taken steps to reduce negative publicity, it has not done—and cannot do—anything that could suddenly pro­duce a sustainable, profitable business model. [...]

      In reality, Uber’s platform does not include any technological breakthroughs, and Uber has done nothing to “disrupt” the economics of providing urban car services. What Uber has disrupted is the idea that competitive consumer and capital markets will maximize overall economic welfare by rewarding companies with superior efficiency. Its multibillion dollar subsidies completely distorted marketplace price and service signals, leading to a massive misallocation of resources. Uber’s most important innovation has been to produce staggering levels of private wealth without creating any sustainable benefits for consumers, workers, the cities they serve, or anyone else. [...]

      In the early 1990s, a coordinated campaign advocating taxi deregulation was conducted by a variety of pro-corporate/libertarian think tanks that all received funding from Charles and David Koch. This campaign pursued the same deregulation that Uber’s investors needed, and used classic political propaganda techniques. It emphasized emotive themes designed to engage tribal loyalties and convert complex issues into black-and-white moral battles where compromise was impossible. There was an emphasis on simple, attractive conclusions designed to obscure the actual objectives of the campaigners, and their lack of sound supporting evidence.

      This campaign’s narratives, repeated across dozens of publications, included framing taxi deregulation as a heroic battle for progress, innovation, and economic freedom. Its main claims were that thousands of struggling entrepreneurial drivers had been blocked from job opportunities by the “cab cartel” and the corrupt regulators beholden to them, and that consumers would enjoy the same benefits that airline deregulation had produced. In a word, consumers were promised a free lunch. Taxi deregulation would lead to lower fares, solve the problems of long waits, provide much greater service (especially in neighborhoods where service was poor), and increase jobs and wages for drivers. Of course, no data or analysis of actual taxi economics showing how these wondrous benefits could be produced was included. [...]

      Developing powerful competitive breakthroughs is hard. Figuring out how to generate strong positive cash flow from them while fighting established incumbents is even harder. Uber’s innovative strategy was to skip all this really hard stuff. The company’s strategy was to use an unprecedented level of investment funding to bulldoze its way directly to industry dominance and exploitable market power, and create a growth trajectory that would allow it to demand an Amazon/Facebook-caliber equity valuation. This strategy was bolstered by a hyperaggressive, monomaniacal, growth-at-any-cost culture, by PR techniques that masked Uber’s losses as well as its lack of competitive advantages, and its open pursuit of unregulated industry dominance.

weekly reel June 9, 2019

Bonjour bonsoir, geeks. This week's music is Jessica Pratt and The Armed.

Quiet Signs by Jessica Pratt

Quiet Signs by Jessica Pratt (bandcamp.com)

FT. FRANK TURNER by The Armed

FT. FRANK TURNER by The Armed (bandcamp.com)

Around the interwebs,

weekly reel June 2, 2019

¡Hola! Music, with Itamar Borochov, Panda Bear and Dave Harrington Group.

Boomerang by Itamar Borochov

Boomerang by Itamar Borochov (bandcamp.com)

Buoys by Panda Bear

Buoys by Panda Bear (bandcamp.com)

Pure Imagination, No Country by Dave Harrington Group

Pure Imagination, No Country by Dave Harrington Group (bandcamp.com)

On the news,

weekly reel May 26, 2019

Hi frendz. This was a rich music week, with LE RETOUR DE RIEN sous le nom Division Nuit, merci Berthelette, un fucking bon nouveau Jean Leloup, and a humbling new Siskiyou.

Division Nuit. by DIVISION NUIT.

Division Nuit. by DIVISION NUIT. (bandcamp.com)

L'étrange pays by Jean Leloup

L'étrange pays by Jean Leloup (bandcamp.com)

Not somewhere by Siskiyou

Not somewhere by Siskiyou (bandcamp.com)

News:

weekly reel May 12, 2019

Hola. Fine music tip from Kassa Overall: Go get ice cream and listen to jazz.

Go get ice cream and listen to jazz by Kassa Overall

Go get ice cream and listen to jazz by Kassa Overall (bandcamp.com)

And on the news,

weekly reel May 5, 2019

Hello, humans. Music, with Vanessa Wagner.

Inland by Vanessa Wagner

Inland by Vanessa Wagner (bandcamp.com)

News:

weekly reel April 28, 2019

HelloooOOOooo. Your week's music is Croatian Amor.

Isa by Croatian Amor

Isa by Croatian Amor (bandcamp.com)

On the news,

weekly reel April 21, 2019

Hi friends. Music, with awesome new Four Tet, extra chill Mammal Hands, and poppy Lip Talk.

Teenage birdsong by Four Tet

Teenage birdsong by Four Tet (bandcamp.com)

Becoming by Mammal Hands

Becoming by Mammal Hands (bandcamp.com)

D A Y S by Lip Talk

D A Y S by Lip Talk (bandcamp.com)

News:

  • Carl Kinsella: Reaction of the rich to the Notre Dame fire teaches us a lot about the world we live in, via Kottke.

    It would be incredibly cheap to suggest that it is in some way wrong to give money for the restoration. There is a value that transcends simple economics in restoring testaments to civilisation. Better that Notre Dame remains a symbol of European history than €300 million rests in a billionaire’s bank account.

    But the immediacy and magnitude of their response tells us something very important about the society we live in.

    If two men in a world of more than 7 billion people can provide €300 million to restore Notre Dame, within six hours, then there is enough money in the world to feed every mouth, shelter every family and educate every child. The failure to do so is a matter of will, and a matter of system.

    The failure to do so comes from our failure to recognise the mundane emergencies that claims lives all around us every single day. Works of art and architectural history and beauty rely on the ingenuity of people, and it is people who must be protected above all else.

    Brick and mortar and stained-glass might burn, but they do not bleed, and they do not starve, and they do not suffer. Humans suffer. Everywhere in the world, from Paris to Persepolis, people are suffering. But their suffering is every day. It does not light up a front page, and it does not inspire immediate donations from the world's wealthiest men.

  • [fr/qc] IRIS - Liberté 85 : comptez-vous vivre longtemps après le travail ?
  • Tech:
    • Cloudflare: Announcing AMP Real URL. This is Google horseshit of the highest, purest, undiluted grade. To quote hipsternews,

      This is a "solution" to a "problem" that AMP itself created. And in the process it creates additional complexity and a new potential revenue stream for middlemen providing a service that shouldn't be necessary in the first place. Astounding. And oh yeah:

      "AMP Real URL is only supported in the Chrome browser at this time, but we are optimistic it will be supported more widely as its benefit to Internet users becomes clear."

      Mozilla has currently marked this proposal as "harmful". It seems to me as though Google may be ramming this one through despite objections.

    • [fr] Nitot : En vrac du jeudi, 👏👏👏 semaine de vomi Facebook, oui.
    • Stumbled upon Gall's law in a HN thread.

      "A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system."

      This law is essentially an argument in favour of underspecification: it can be used to explain the success of systems like the World Wide Web and Blogosphere, which grew from simple to complex systems incrementally, and the failure of systems like CORBA, which began with complex specifications. Gall's Law has strong affinities to the practice of agile software development. Although the quote may seem to validate the merits of simple systems, it is preceded by the qualifier "A simple system may or may not work.".

weekly reel April 14, 2019

Hi geeks. Music, with a new Atsuko Chiba!

Trace by Atsuko Chiba

Trace by Atsuko Chiba (bandcamp.com)

On the news news news,

weekly reel April 7, 2019

Hello interwebs, and music, with Daniel Brandt.

Daniel Brandt - Daze (youtube-nocookie.com)

In the papers,

weekly reel March 31, 2019

HelloooOOOooo ladies and gentlemen. Music, with Wand, merci Sam !

Wand - Golem (youtube-nocookie.com)

On the news,

weekly reel March 17, 2019

Hi there. Music this week with Daniel Herskedal, thx Rufin.

Slow eastbound train by Daniel Herskedal

Slow eastbound train by Daniel Herskedal (bandcamp.com)

On the news,

weekly reel March 10, 2019

Hello frendz. This week's music is Little People.

LANDLOPER by Little People

LANDLOPER by Little People (bandcamp.com)

Around the interwebs,

weekly reel March 3, 2019

Bonjour bonsoir, folks! Music, with a good'ol'Clues.

Clues - Ledmonton (youtube-nocookie.com)

And on the news,

  • SSC / Scott Alexander - Rule thinkers in, not out, 👍👍👍.
  • Kottke: Cheap TVs and exorbitant education, modern America in one chart, wooooow amazing chart.
  • About face, on rising fascism in 'merica. Via jwz.
  • SSC / Scott Alexander - Wage stagnation: more than you wanted to know.
  • Kottke: The life-changing magic of the $15 minimum wage.
  • SMBC: Douchey Robot Bosses, on human guilt. And ULTRA-LASERS.
  • Tech:
    • Canadians! It's tax season; use SimpleTax, which Isa says is refreshingly simple, pay-what-you-want, and built by a small local team. ❤ Isa.
    • Cooler Screens: Creeping on you in the cold drinks aisle.
    • The Verge - The trauma floor: the secret lives of Facebook moderators in America, to which SSC / Scott Alexander - In mod we trust offers good counterpoints. Also, Guardian - Revealed: Facebook’s global lobbying against data privacy laws.
    • DF reports on Turnaround Time on Facebook’s Spying: 12 Hours and I'm not even surprised.
    • Cooool lessons & sounds: DOOM: Behind the music. Merci Heinz.
    • Finally, a fascinating piece of politics-around-video-games: "Devotion" game is being review-bombed on Steam by Chinese players (pcgamer article), then removed from Steam rps article on removal. Removal is unlinkable from outside Steam, but reads beautifully Orwellian:
      Due to technical issues that cause unexpected crashes and among other reasons, we are pulling Devotion off from steam store to have another complete QA check. At the same time we'd like to take this opportunity to ease the heightened pressure in our community resulted from our previous Art Material Incident, our team would also review our game material once again making sure no other unintended materials was inserted in. Hopefully this would help all audience to focus on the game itself again upon its return.
      Developer statements: 1, 2 (and 3: removal above, but un-linkable). So, if a couple of game textures vaguely ridiculing a president and taking a stance in a social debate equals "the internets on fire, your publishers dumping you, an explosion of negative reviews, hate messages littering your game page, talks of Steam being potentially banned from the country", I say 👏 pretty amazing yield, Red Candle, you touched a nerve. There's lots to unpack here and most of it is in Chinese, which I cannot read. Hoping for more coverage soon, in the meantime here's a summary from a forum user, edited by me for grammar:

      This incident may give the Chinese government a perfect excuse to block Steam in China, or to force Steam to pull off all Red Candles Game from the store. Summary:

      • At first, the game becomes extremely popular in the gaming channels in Chinese community. Streamers stream the game, millions of viewers watch the game playthrough. Game also receives universal praise from the media, it even becomes a trending topic in Chinese social media. The public gives extremely positive feedback.
      • Then, users from Taiwan PTT and gaming forums post inflammatory screenshots and mock that the game successfully fooled Chinese mainlanders into supporting a game to "mock PRC people and KMT supporters" (who tend to unify with China). It attracts more attention and people dig deeper into the game. Anger transfers to outrage when people discover on the founder / lead designer's social media that he supports Taiwan independence and writes political posts.
      • Except for the photos of Xi, the developers also placed other elements condemning the RPC and mainlander Chinese. Text and images from the game imply that cult in the game is 陆心会 (mainland heart association), which means the association of people are in favor of PRC. The cult leader's name is 陆恭铭/陆公民 ,which means "PRC citizens" in Chinese. The Cult Festival in the game is October 1st to 7th, which is the Nation Festival of PRC. The list goes on. As more hidden messages are discovered, mainlanders start feeling irritated and cheated on.

weekly reel February 24, 2019

¡Hola! Music: SLUGish Ensemble is going places that are fun and bright, No Party For Cao Dong is pretty cool Taiwanese grunge (via the DEVOTION還願 trailer), and Dos Santos makes me like hispanohablante musica again.

An Eight Out of Nine by SLUGish Ensemble

An Eight Out of Nine by SLUGish Ensemble (bandcamp.com)

The Servile by No Party For Cao Dong

The Servile by No Party For Cao Dong (bandcamp.com)

Logos by Dos Santos

Logos by Dos Santos (bandcamp.com)

On the news,

weekly reel February 17, 2019

Hello, world. This week in my 🔊, Tim Hecker.

Konoyo by Tim Hecker

Konoyo by Tim Hecker (bandcamp.com)

Newsworthy:

weekly reel February 10, 2019

Hi there. This week's vid/music is something beautiful: Guillaume Néry - One breath around the world.

Guillaume Néry - One breath around the world (youtube-nocookie.com)

Around the interwebs,

weekly reel February 3, 2019

Hello folks. Music, with the !@#$% efficient and pummeling The Armed.

ONLY LOVE by The Armed

ONLY LOVE by The Armed (bandcamp.com)

Weekly interwebs:

weekly reel January 27, 2019

Hey ho, geeks. Music, with Zeal and Ardor.

Stranger Fruit by Zeal and Ardor

Stranger Fruit by Zeal and Ardor (bandcamp.com)

On the news:

weekly reel January 20, 2019

Hello frendz. Music for this week: Windhand and Amnesia Scanner.

Eternal Return by Windhand

Eternal Return by Windhand (bandcamp.com)

Another Life by Amnesia Scanner

Another Life by Amnesia Scanner (bandcamp.com)

And some new interwebs: