I agree with this message.

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Current Music: Hælos -- Noctis ♬

Everyone Wants Your Email Address

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Macroeconomic Changes Have Made It Impossible for Me to Want to Pay You

Mike Lacher:


There's no easy way to say this: I have made the difficult decision to lay off over six thousand of you. In the past two years, we have achieved huge wins together. But unfortunately, the macroeconomic environment has shifted in ways none of us could have foreseen, from an economy in which I did feel like paying you, to one in which I'd rather not.

In 2021, things looked different. Interest rates were low, and my enthusiasm for bankrolling your children's insulin was high. Given every available forecast, it was the perfect time to hire 1,200 blockchain developers, spin up original streaming content, and lead three rounds of funding for my nephew's AI-powered B2B sourdough recipe app. Who could have known that in just a few months, despite all our operational velocity, the world would pivot so dramatically? Supply chains have stalled. Inflation has risen. And suddenly all your salaries and dental work hang like millstones chafing the supple neck of my stock compensation package. [...]

This was not an easy decision to make. It's weighed heavily on me for the past month, keeping me up at night and nearly causing me to cancel the exec team's offsite, even though Bad Bunny's appearance fee was only 50 percent refundable. Let's not mince words, though; the accountability for this decision rests with me. The consequences, on the other hand, rest with you, but so does a pretty generous COBRA package.

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Apple Has Begun Scanning Your Local Image Files Without Consent

Jeffrey Paul:

Imagine my surprise when browsing these images in the Finder, Little Snitch told me that macOS is now connecting to Apple APIs via a program named mediaanalysisd (Media Analysis Daemon - a background process for analyzing media files). [...]

To recap:

  • In 2021, Apple said they'd scan your local files using your own hardware, in service of the police.

  • People got upset, because this is a clear privacy violation and is wholly unjustifiable on any basis whatsoever. (Some people speculated that such a move by Apple was to appease the US federal police in advance of their shipping better encryption features which would otherwise hinder police.)

  • Apple said some additional things that did NOT include "we will not scan your local files", but did include a confirmation that they intend to ship such features that they consider "critically important".

  • The media misreported this amended statement, and people calmed down.

  • Today, Apple scanned my local files and those scanning programs attempted to talk to Apple APIs, even though I don't use iCloud, Apple Photos, or an Apple ID. This would have happened without my knowledge or consent if I were not running third-party network monitoring software.

By default, Little Snitch allows all connections to Apple and iCloud. To block this process (and others) you have to un-check the "icloud.com" and "apple.com" rules on the "System" tab. And then endure two days of whack-a-mole while re-allowing the ones you actually want to be able to connect to Apple, like softwareupdated and IMTransferAgent and a dozen others.

Update: Lots of people keep sending me this rebuttal, and telling me "it no longer phones home as of the OS update that was released 5 minutes from now, so problem solved." Ok, that may well be. But when my OS was phoning home on my photos yesterday and happens to not be phoning home on them today... that doesn't really build trust. Intent matters, and we know what Apple's intent is because they told us. Code matters, and we are not allowed to see Apple's code.

Maybe the fact that it phoned home with a null response is only because the test photos didn't match some magic neural net -- congratulations, Apple didn't report your test images to the FBI.

We cannot know. But suspicion and mistrust are absolutely justified. Apple is examining your photos and then phoning home. The onus is on them to explain -- and prove -- what they are doing and why. They are undeserving of you taking them at their word.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we survived Stormageddon, and an arrest was made

We had surprisingly little flooding during this month's climate apocalypse. Harrison near Division was underwater for a while, but it turns out that even though that's only a couple blocks away, we're several feet higher in elevation, so the water didn't crest the sidewalk on our block. We did have some inexplicable roof leaks, but nothing too severe.

At one point at the height of the storm, we had dirty water jet up out of the sink drains and water fountains! It did not seem to be sewage, so our best guess is that it was roof water that had nowhere else to go because the sewers were already at capacity.

Despite our worry, we were not burgled a third time on New Year's Day, probably because:

A suspect was arrested on New Year's Eve after running a red light near 4th and Townsend.

[He] was booked into county jail for nine counts of burglary, possession of burglary tools, possession of methamphetamine and possession of narcotics.

SFPD posted this fun photo of his burglary tools, in case you're looking for some tips.

Man arrested, accused of breaking into 10 SF stores:

The burglaries followed a similar pattern of the suspect forcing entry through the front of a business, causing damage. Once inside, the suspect stole cash from registers, safes or ATMs, and various other items from the stores.

Not their first rodeo: Matt and Kayla were also arrested in 2021:

Officers arrived on scene and located two suspects in the process of stealing two vehicles. [...] they fled into another stolen vehicle and drove in the officer's direction at a high rate of speed, causing him to dive out of the way to prevent from being struck. The suspects then fled on foot into a nearby cemetery. [...]

Both suspects [admitted] to numerous thefts throughout the Bay Area. Lake and Gutierrez were transported and booked into San Mateo County Jail on numerous charges.

I can't imagine a scenario where we get any of our money back, however. You will be shocked, shocked to learn that insurance is a scam.

Turns out our insurance policy basically doesn't cover cash. It doesn't matter what kind of paperwork we have documenting the amount of cash that was stolen, the policy caps that at $5k, minus a $1k deductible.

And regardless of whether the insurance company found some reason to deny the claim entirely -- which they almost certainly would -- the mere act of filing the claim would cause our rate to (purely coincidentally) go up by more than $4k per year.

"Nice policy you have there, shame if something were to happen to it."

And I'm gonna guess that bringing a civil suit against a meth-head is also not going to turn out to be an effective strategy.

I'll bet Louis Vuitton doesn't have these problems.

Donations appreciated!


mozilla.org's 25th anniversary

Big Tech layoffs are in the news, you say?

On January 20th, 1998, Netscape laid off a lot of people. One of them would have been me, as my "department", such as it was, had been eliminated, but I ended up mometarily moving from "clienteng" over to the "website" division. For about 48 hours I thought that I might end up writing a webmail product or something.

That, uh, didn't happen.

At 8am on January 22, 1998, Netscape put out a press release announcing that the source code to the web browser would be released to the public at the end of March. This was the first that I had heard that this was even being considered.

Lacking any coherent information or direction from management (spoiler alert, there was no plan! none!) a handful of us in the trenches had some impromptu meetings, which began something like:

"What the fuck, I mean what the actual fuck?"
"I thought you got fired? Someone told me you were fired."
"I don't think I'm fired, are you fired?" "I don't think so?"
"Ok so are we doing this? I guess we're doing this?"
"We're doing what now?"

"I got this."

So then I registered the domain mozilla.org. According to WHOIS, the registration went live on January 23rd at 9pm.

The rest, as they say, is cvs log. I mean history. The rest is history.

Here are some photos I took at a meeting we held in early February 1998. (On film! With a camera manfactured in the nineteen seventies! Every photo you took, even the bad ones, cost you like a dollar!) That's Pacman trying to explain to The Usual Suspects the proposed org chart that I had drawn on the wall. Please note that "THE INTERNET" is represented as A CLOUD, because that was the style at the time.

The oldest version of mozilla.org in the Wayback Machine is from December 12, 1998, so I have reconstructed some older versions of the web site.

For the first month, I was hosting the mozilla.org domain on my own server, just to have a placeholder there, and I don't seem to have a copy of that first version. It took me that whole month to figure out how to move the hosting into the corporate data center. But here's the oldest version that I was able to reconstruct from the mozilla.org CVS repository:

And here are a few later copies:

That "Sponsored by DevEdge Online" thing in the top banner is because upper management assumed that the way "open source" worked was, the internal "developer relations" consultancy division would just fart out a zip file and then corporate customers would... handwave handwave... pay us for something? Disabusing them of this notion was a big part of my job that first month.

Fun fact! When I wrote the mozilla.org web site, I designed it to have a "source" directory that contained just the document bodies, and a Makefile generated an output directory that wrapped the headers and menus and such around that to emit the static web site that was actually served. The output directory was not checked into the source control archive, obviously, so I don't have a copy of that. So... I dug up the old CVS archive, checked out those old web site source revs, and then I had to run that website-generating perl script that I wrote 25 years ago.

...it worked without any modifications. Self-high-five.

And I gotta say, that old web site design hasn't really decayed much. If I were tweaking it today I'd have put a max-width on body of 50em or so to avoid the long lines, and I would for sure be using something sans-serif, but I think it still looks pretty good! (Remember, CSS was not even remotely a thing yet. You wanted rounded corners, you had to chisel that shit from flint.)

Here's some other Mozilla-relevant stuff:

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Black Eyed Peas v. Pooping Unicorns

BMG is suing the makers of Poopsie Slime Surprise for ripping off "My Humps" with their own song, "My Poops."

Poopsie Slime Surprise comes from MGA, who are responsible for the Bratz line of dolls. According to the lawsuit, "My Poops" plays on one of the dolls when you press a button on its belly, leading both to dance moves and to a less savory movement: the toys "excrete sparkling slime." [...]

"My poops, my poops my poops my poops," the unicorn sings. The lyrics continue, "Whatcha gonna do with all that poop, all that poop," and adds, "I drive my parents crazy, I do it every day."

BMG alleges that Poopsie Slime Surprise has made MGA tens of millions of dollars and that the company ignored cease-and-desist warnings. They are asking for a steaming $10 million in damages.

(This is of course not the first time a wide-eyed shitting unicorn has graced these pages.)

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XScreenSaver in the wild

By Pete Ashdown, adorning the front wall of the XMission data center. They're also having a contest!

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Instagram advertising is going great

All of the attention has been on the Muskovites lately, but let's see how things are going over at the books of Face:

I understand that they use "cookies" to enhance my personalized advertising experience!

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WHO now recommends masks in all crowded indoor spaces

...in news that will change absolutely no behavior of anyone anywhere.

WHO continues to recommend the use of masks by the public in specific situations, and this update recommends their use irrespective of the local epidemiological situation, given the current spread of the COVID-19 globally. Masks are recommended following a recent exposure to COVID-19, when someone has or suspects they have COVID-19, when someone is at high-risk of severe COVID-19, and for anyone in a crowded, enclosed, or poorly ventilated space. Previously, WHO recommendations were based on the epidemiological situation.

Relatedly, by rough visual inspection, 99% of DNA Lounge customers are still complete fucking idiots.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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