Chirag Desai


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How goes your weekend folks?

Trying out a take on the Aviation cocktail, with gooseberry/amla jam for that little extra Vit C.

Free podcasting, and why we should learn our lessons

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Manton Reece:

Anchor seems to be going for the YouTube model. They want a huge number of people to use their platform. But the concentration of so much media in one place is one of the problems with today’s web.

Cannot stress this line enough:

Massive social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have too much power over writers, photographers, and video creators. We do not want that for podcasts.

I want podcasts to be as mainstream as possible. I live and breathe them. But, as Manton points out, the platforms that have been running an it’s-free-and-we’ll-raise-money-elsewhere model should have taught us big lessons by now.

They went downhill for users, and sold out. They had to do both of those things, there was no other model for them. They landed up damaging the medium they made mainstream.

Take YouTube, for instance. It is the only place you go to both create and consume video content. YouTube has complete control over the medium itself, and that’s the problem. It translates to control over the creators. What happens when you’re done with YouTube and want to take your viewers elsewhere? Or if YouTube deletes a video, or your account, even if accidentally. What is your recourse to retain what you’ve created?

What does it matter if you outrage over an algorithmic timeline being the only option on Instagram? Everyone you know is there, your followers are there, and although Instagram (finally) allows you to export your content, what can you do with that so that people who want to see your photos can continue to do so easily? Nada.

The models that these platforms sit on can only be run by advertising. Advertisers are their customers, and the platforms will continue to tweak algorithms to ensure best value for their customers, not their users. Which is why Facebook continues to be brazen about all of its data misuse, and why those privacy approvals were vague to begin with.

I haven’t even gotten to ownership, but those thoughts are in a separate post if you’re inclined.

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I cannot but be firmly in the camp that believes this model cannot be the default, and will harm the medium it sets foot in. I get that a content creator is bound to find it difficult to pay monthly subscriptions when compensation seems unlikely or at least years away. But I also know how great it is to be able to tell listeners they can listen to me in any channel they prefer, to own my shows in their entirety.

When I switched hosts last year, I was able to simply redirect my domain & feed, thereby retaining my data and the people listening to my shows without them having to change the way they consumed them.

Why shouldn’t it be like that?

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Good coffee fuels. Great coffee creates. What are you guys creating currently? #coffee #chemex

Indian hands turning wheels of global auto companies

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Ketan Thakkar, reporting for the Economic Times:

The Indian R&D setup for Mercedes-Benz has metamorphosed from a tiny division with 20 staffers in Bengaluru, the IT capital of India, a couple of decades ago into a powerhouse of 5,000 engineers that is contributing significantly to new-age technology. The company is already preparing to double its office space as the scope of work expands significantly.

Additionally:

Ford India said in 2016 it would invest $195 million to set up a global technology and business centre in Chennai to leverage India as an innovation hub.

Bosch, the world’s leading auto component maker, has its biggest R&D centre in India. […] For years, Bosch has used India as a test bed for solutions to be adapted in other emerging markets. Likewise, the R&D team of Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre India is helping the Chinese R&D team in developing a small electric car.

India adopts strong net neutrality norms

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The BBC:

The recommendations explicitly forbid operators from throttling data speeds for any online service, and mandates all content be treated the same.

Additionally:

Telecom operator Airtel was forced to withdraw a plan to charge extra for internet calls, and shut down a platform called Airtel Zero, which allowed customers to access a few mobile applications for free. […] Others, including Facebook and Google, were also forced to abandon their zero-rating platforms and deals. The most visible casualty was Facebook’s Free Basics service, which offered Indians free access to a limited number of websites.

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Manton Reece:

I’ve now tried to reduce this feature to its simplest form that solves the problem of finding new users […] I’ve reverted the change from earlier this week and replaced it with a list of who someone is following that you aren’t following already.

Aces.

Social media & actually owning what you publish

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Ah, social media. The thing that (theoretically) democratized everyone’s voice. That allowed two-way communication impossible to do beforehand if you weren’t in a niche circle.

The thing that cost you the ownership of your own content.


Do you remember in the 90s, when everyone active on the web had their own blog? Even those that didn’t self-host and used platforms like Blogger or Wordpress (or Movable Type), you wrote under your username (me.site.com) and eventually were able to point your own domains there. This sounds like a simple thing, but it kept you in control of you what you published. If you’d wanted to change platforms—anything from you having an issue with the way the platform ran, to you were just bored—you moved your domain over and your readers just continued to find you, or follow your owned RSS feed in a reader.

Then came the Facebook era. The Twitter era. Instagram. Medium. Platforms that broke through a significant problem with traditional blogs: writing in silos. Social media platforms redefined engagement and discovery of other creators, bringing anyone and everyone into one space. People could just follow you and you could share your links seamlessly.

And then you stopped writing on the blog altogether. You just posted on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram. The platforms made posting easier and easier, and starting silo’ing alternative platforms. Like when Instagram removed Twitter card support & Twitter stopped showing you previews of Instagram photos. Twitter eventually bought out and integrated their own photo services. Facebook doesn’t let you embed content outside of the platform either; you either link it and live with it, or upload the video separately to Facebook. And therein lies another part of the problem. They want to keep you in, make it harder for you to use alternatives for even a part of the services, either buying out or copying feature sets.

A few years ago, a couple of guys went about building a blogging platform designed to take on the complications of Wordpress and provide sturdy posting & inherent collaboration. It was called Posterous and I migrated almost instantly. Spoiler alert: Twitter bought out Posterous and …. shut down the platform.

So when Twitter or Instagram decides to shut down your account, censor you, or otherwise prevent you from accessing it or taking your username away, there’s … nothing you can do about it. Facebook’s been selling everything about you for years, and Twitter is equally guilty. Twitter is also horrendous about handling harassment, spam and hate. Rumors about Twitter arbitrarily ‘shadow banning’ users — stopping their tweets from showing up in timelines of followers for a while — continue.

In unrelated news, Medium recently & quietly ended the ability to map your domain to Medium.

If any of this comes as news to you, that’s a good thing.


Enter the Open Web. The Web as it should have been built. As a series of integrated platforms allowing anyone to everyone to own their content, to retain flexibility to use services they wanted. Platforms that let you brand your content to you, and don’t arbitrarily decide whether your account is deemed worthy to be verified. That allows you to Publish on your Own Site & Syndicate Elsewhere (POSSE). And those that allow you to take your data out in a format compatable to some standard when you want to leave. A group of talented people have been hard at work at developing both the standards & principles over at IndieWeb.org and I recommend you check it out.

This is why I’ve migrated all of my writing over to micro.blog a few months ago. Today I publish on my own blog that I own and pay for, push to services like Twitter and Medium, and can continue conversations there, as well as within the Micro.blog timeline of connected blogs. Should anything happen with some of these services, I still have my original posts. A full backup of my blog, with individual posts, CSS etc sits in GitHub pages as a failsafe with Micro.blog itself, or in case I want out. None of this required any complicated setup, they’re features of the platform and its adherence to the IndieWeb Principles.

I’ll be elaborating more about ownership & the IndieWeb as time passes, but I wanted to share some of my motivations and why I’ve been feeling so strongly about these platforms recently. You don’t have to do any of this, but I do think it’s time you—and everyone—thinks about it: where you are posting, do you actually own your content, and are you in an environment that encourages ownership, fosters conversation & responsibility vs just a cacophony of echo chambers, spam, hate & likes.

Samsung opens world’s largest mobile phone factory in India

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VISHWAM SANKARAN, writing for The Next Web:

The new plant – located in the industrial city of Noida – will help Samsung gradually double its current annual production capacity in India from 67 million phones to 120 million in the next three years. The factory is also expected to provide at least 1,000 more local jobs.

This comes not long after news earlier this year that Apple is ramping up production of iPhones, Xiaomi plans to add 3 factories & Oppo will be setting up a $320m manufacturing facility. India’s smartphone market grew 14% last year with 127 million units shipped.

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I’m delighted to share that the awesome Gaya joins the @Amaeya network as producer for its flagship podcast. She’s put together a Vlog on how it’s coming together so far.

More details here.

🎙️

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No brainer Micro Monday shoutout to @rosemaryorchard! Among the most helpful people I’ve seen online aaaand now host of Automaters with the cool David Sparks covering automation on Apple platforms. Looking forward to episode 1.

Production of made-in-India 6s iPhones begins

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Writankar Mukherjee, reporting for The Economic Times:

Apple has started commercial production of the iPhone 6s in India since last week at the Bengaluru facility of its Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Wistron that has set up a new line for the handsets, two senior industry executives said.

[ … ]

The Cupertino-based maker of iPhones and Mac computers already makes iPhone SE since last May at the Wistron facility, which will now produce two iPhone models locally.

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😬

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So far, unable to tell whether the current rumblings in (every aspect of my) life are a precursor to big breakthroughs or calm before an extremely unneeded storm.

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Had tons of fun reminiscing about tech we grew up with on our latest t3chtree episode:

🎧

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I’m really glad I chanced upon this WWDC design session live. A must watch on the qualities of great design, which was really well documented & presented by Lauren Strehlow:

The Qualities of Great Design

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Ryan Christoffel:

One more thing in iOS 12: Apple Podcasts now supports MP3 chapters, which can be skipped using Siri. 🙌

Yay. Also nice it will already work with previous episodes :)

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Still funny on a second watch: Apple’s “The Developer Migration” video.

#WWDC18

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Workflow 2.0 :) #WWDC Also looks like we have a new notification design?

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Hair force one is the reason we watch the WWDC keynote :)

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Great opening video at WWDC 2018. A genuine laugh after over a week.

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Took about 30 minutes to submit my first VAT return & set up a bank transfer to the UAE Federal Tax Authority. Payment was acknowledged later the same day.
#smooth

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A fantastic listing of resources for Micro.blog users by @eli.

(Thanks @manton for sharing)

Behind Deadpool’s blu-ray takeover at Walmart

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Julia Howe, as interviewed by David Griner:

We asked ourselves, if Deadpool wanted to self-promote himself at retail, how would he do it? The character is a treasure trove of pop culture references, so it just seemed like the logical solution.

Was fun seeing the initial pictures flood social media over the last week. While it was obviously an agency-driven campaign, it was still refreshing to see something new, and simultaneously fearing quite a few copycats considering the success.

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All I can see is poison… #musings

t3chtree #8: “Why are you doing my job?” 🎧

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We chat about Google I/O & our reactions to the Duplex call. Plus a follow up to the #askt3chtree question on smartphone batteries.

Full show notes & links to subscribe are here.