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The Terrifying Truth About Journalists

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The Terrifying Truth About Journalists:

“The media can attack me. But where I draw the line is when they attack you, which is what they do. When they attack the decency of our supporters… You’re taxpaying Americans who love our nation, obey our laws, and care for our people. It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions, and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions.” — Donald Trump, 8/22/17, Phoenix, AZ

And then the rejoinder, via bios of all-to-realistic journalists.  For example, close to my pained heart:

Beth Weller is so introverted that her tenth grade teacher once observed that “the dry erase whiteboard makes more of an impression.” Because of her antipathy towards people, Beth decided to study English literature and become a writer only to discover that this was not so much a profession as a trust fund hobby. She ended up taking a job in business journalism writing about Blockchain Technology. She has two cats.

Take a moment to think about these fake but hype-realistic stories.

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spiffylogic
45 days ago
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Philadelphia, PA
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Saved searches make it easy to create custom feeds

5 Comments and 9 Shares

You can now save a search as a saved search feed. This works for individual sites, folders, All Site Stories, saved stories, and blurblogs.

Saved searches are great for creating custom feeds with just the stories you want. Think of these new feeds as spotlights on parts of a folder or feed, ways to keep track of stories that share a theme across different sites.

Or use saved searches to keep a single tag together for handy reference.

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spiffylogic
200 days ago
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Another "you didn't you needed this feature but now you can't possibly live without it" from Samuel Clay... bravo!
Philadelphia, PA
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4 public comments
ejp1082
201 days ago
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This is super nice. But what would be *really* awesome is if I could filter saved searches to only display unread items and maybe get a count of them, so that they behave more like real feeds. Any chance of that happening?
New Jersey
samuel
201 days ago
That's a hard one. Of course it's possible, but that would take time to build. So people need to vote it up on the feedback forum.
GreetingsEarthling
202 days ago
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What would be really cool as well would be to be able to create searches that /remove/ items, similar to a Google search using the -term. So, for instance, if I follow the "Strong Towns" blog but I am not interested in the #strongesttowns series, I could save a "-#strongesttowns" search.
Washington, District of Columbia
gazuga
201 days ago
Seconded! I currently use Training on main feeds to filter out tags or individual words within post titles that won't interest me, but that's not as powerful as what you're suggesting.
koranteng
202 days ago
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Nice
hooges
202 days ago
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This is actually pretty genius. One of those features I never thought about, but see a million uses for it.
Topeka, KS

The dashboard river will keep you up-to-date in real-time

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This is a seriously cool feature and I’m glad it’s ready to launch. The dashboard river, the real-time stream of the top five stories of All Site Stories, is now on the dashboard of the web app.

After testing this feature for the past few weeks I now realize that I could not live without it. By having the latest stories always loaded and instantly ready to go, I leave NewsBlur open and just take a quick glance to see if the top of my list is interesting.

It also loads instantly, which means that if you see a story you want to read, clicking on it brings up the text without taking a single moment.

One big change that this necessitated was the handling of the Text view when reading by folders. Used to be that a folder got its own feed/text/story view and every feed had to stay with the same story view. But on iOS and Android it’s different. Every feed gets to keep its own feed/text/story setting.

This is now how it works on the web. If you read on feed by its Text (extracted original text) view and another by its Feed view, then you are automatically switched between the two views. Quite a bit of logic had to accomodate scrolling (you don’t automatically switch, since that would throw you from one scroll viewport into another) and switching between stories.

Enjoy the dashboard river. And if you look closely you might even see the next big feature that itself is about to launch soon.

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spiffylogic
277 days ago
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NewsBlur is the best... but we all already know that.
Philadelphia, PA
redheadedfemme
276 days ago
This is nice. Thank you, Samuel. I'm proud to support this site.
samuel
278 days ago
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This is one of my favorite new features. I didn't realize how much I've come to rely on it, because now the first site I check is newsblur.

Real-time is the best and I'm thinking of bringing it to iOS and Android next.
The Haight in San Francisco
ahmetasabanci
276 days ago
Yes! Thanks for this great one and can't wait to see it on iOS app too.
s8w
276 days ago
Would be nice to be able to leave specific/certain feeds out of the stream. I use RSS to catch some sports news and sometimes don't want to see spoilers.
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My Heroic and Lazy Stand Against IFTTT

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Imagine if your sewer pipe started demanding that you make major changes in your diet.

Now imagine that it got a lawyer and started asking you to sign things.

You would feel surprised.

This is the position I find myself in today with IFTTT, a form of Internet plumbing that has been connecting peacably to my backend for the past five years, but which has recently started sending scary emails.

If you've never heard of it, If-This-Then-That is a service that lets you connect websites together, so that things that happen in one place automatically trigger some regrettable action someplace else. For example, you might write an IFTTT ‘recipe’ that tweets anything you post on Facebook, because you are a monster.

A lot of Pinboard people use IFTTT. Yesterday, they received the following form letter:

Dear username,

We're working on a new IFTTT platform for developers that makes building Channels and Recipes a breeze.

Recently, we've worked with our partners to migrate to the improved platform, but some have chosen not to do so. Unfortunately, the Pinboard Channel did not migrate to the new platform and will be removed on April 4th.

Pinboard is one of our favorite services and we're all sad to see it go. We hope down the road it may be back.

Stay tuned to the latest Channels launching on IFTTT!

— The IFTTT Team

Because many of you rely on IFTTT, and because this email makes it sound like I'm the asshole, I feel I should explain myself.

In a nutshell:

  1. IFTTT wants me to do their job for them for free

  2. They have really squirrely terms of service



1. Working for Free

A service like IFTTT writes "shim code" that makes it possible to connect online services together like Legos. Everything slots into everything else. This is thankless, detailed work (like developing TurboTax or Dropbox) that when done right, creates a lot of value.

IFTTT has already written all this shim code. They did it when they were small and had no money, so it's difficult to believe they have to throw it away now that they have lots of staff and thirty million dollars.

Instead, sites that want to work with IFTTT will have to implement a private API that can change without warning.

This is a perfectly reasonable business decision. It is always smart to make other people do all the work.

However, cutting out sites that you have supported for years because they refuse to work for free is not very friendly to your oldest and most loyal users. And claiming that it's the other party's fault that you're discontinuing service is a bit of a dick move.

I am all for glue services, big and small. But it's better for the web that they connect to stable, documented, public APIs, rather than custom private ones.

And if you do want me to write a custom API for you, pay me lots of money.



2. Squirrely Terms of Service

The developer terms of service don't seem to be available by a public URL, so I will quote the bits that stung me. I invite IFTTT lawyers to send me a takedown notice, because that will be the funniest part of this fracas so far.

To begin with, IFTTT wants me to promise never to compete with them:

2.You shall not (and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to), directly or indirectly: [...] (xii) "use the Developer Tool or Service in conjunction with a product or service that competes with products or services offered by IFTTT. You hereby make all assignments necessary to accomplish the foregoing.”

Pinboard is in some ways already a direct competitor to IFTTT. The site offers built-in Twitter integration, analogous to IFTTT’s twitter->Pinboard recipe. I don’t know what rights I would be assigning here, but this is not the way I want to find out.

Next, they make a weird claim about owning not just their API and service, but the content that flows through it:

3. Ownership. IFTTT shall own all right, title, and interest (and all related moral rights and intellectual property rights) in and to the Developer Tool, Service, and Content.

They require that I do custom development work for them, for free, on demand:

11. Compatibility. Each Licensee Channel must maintain 100% compatibility with the Developer Tool and the Service including changes provided to you by IFTTT, which shall be implemented in each Channel promptly thereafter.

And they assert the right to patent any clever ideas I have while doing that free work for them, even though I hate software patents:

12. Patent License. Licensee hereby grants IFTTT a nonexclusive, sublicensable, perpetual, fully-paid, worldwide license to fully exercise and exploit all patent rights with respect to improvements or extensions created by or for Licensee to the API

Finally, they reserve the right to transfer this agreement to anyone at all, without my consent:

17.This Agreement is personal to Licensee and may not be assigned or transferred for any reason [...]. IFTTT expressly reserves the right to assign this Agreement and to delegate any of its obligations hereunder.

I say nuts to all that.

I'm sorry your IFTTT/Pinboard recipes are going to stop working.

It's entirely IFTTT's decision to drop support for Pinboard (along with a bunch of other sites). They are the ones who are going to flip the switch on working code on April 4, and they could just as easily flip the switch back on (or even write an IFTTT recipe that does it for them). Weigh their claims about Pinboard being a beloved service accordingly.

For users left stranded, I recommend taking a look at Zapier or Botize, which offer a similar service, or at one of the dozens of new sites that will spring up next week to capture the market that IFTTT is foolishly abandoning.

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spiffylogic
564 days ago
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IF This Then That
Philadelphia, PA
samuel
566 days ago
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Pinboard cc'd me on a tweet about this. My take on this is that users are free to decide for themselves when a the use of a service weighs convenience vs privacy. As far as defaults go, NewsBlur always chooses privacy.

IFTTT integration is incredibly popular and I think that while convenience vs privacy is a complicated debate, it is ultimatey up to the user when its their privacy at stake. When I decide for the user, it's always for privacy. In that case, when I can't decide for privacy (which would essentially terminate IFTTT integration with NewsBlur) I let the user decide.

To top it off, IFTTT integration took me a week of work, since I had to build in OAuth integration and an OAuth flow that was not trivial. So I definitely see the laziness argument.
The Haight in San Francisco
superiphi
562 days ago
The ifttt never worked for me. I set it up for newsblur, so that I share from apps that don't do newsblur. Never actually did a thing. Cancelled now
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6 public comments
superiphi
562 days ago
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Ifttt has never worked for me. Set up the integrations and rules, test, set it up to run... Nothing ever happens.
Following this, cancelled account.
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
Dadster
564 days ago
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I just disconnected IFTTT. No more, no more. Looking at some of the alternatives for now.
New Hampshire
MichaelMassing
564 days ago
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When I read @IFTTT's backpedal note, my 1st thought was "Don't fuck with Maciej!" @Pinboard.
simon_w
566 days ago
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My guess is this is similar to why there's no ADN integration for IFTTT now either.
Wellington, New Zealand
chrisrosa
566 days ago
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what in the actual f @ifttt? /cc @pinboard
San Francisco, CA
digdoug
566 days ago
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My comment when I deactivated my IFTTT account yesterday was, "Too many lawyers, too little value."
Louisville, KY
summerofjay
566 days ago
My deactivation comment was similar, though there was a little profanity thrown in for good measure.

Premium fonts, comment-less shares, in-app Safari, and way, way more in version 5.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app

10 Comments and 12 Shares

Holy geez, this is a whopper of a release. Version 5.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app has lots and lots of new features, fixes for some long standing issues, and major performance improvements for reading stories.

The biggest new feature to hit the iOS app is the introduction of premium fonts from type foundry Hoefler & Co. Whitney, Gotham Narrow, and Chronicle have been added to give NewsBlur a more pleasurable reading experience. Take a look for yourself.

Comment-less shares have also been added to the iOS app. You can now share a story and your friends can now reply without you having to write anything first, just like on the web and on the Android app.

Here’s the full list of new features and improvements. Make a cup of tea first because this list is a doozy.

  • The app has been iOS 9-ified.
  • The iOS app now has the same great fonts from the web: Whitney, Gotham Narrow, and Chronicle. These each look fantastic.
  • The Text view is now sticky based on the last view you used. It’s per feed but it also respects individual feeds when reading by folder. This is unlike the web, where the Text view matches the feed or folder. Now it’s sticky to the feed, which makes it much easier to read through a folder of stories.
  • When switching between the Text view and Story view, the loading indicator is now at the bottom of the screen instead of directly on top of the story.
  • Stories now remember your last scroll position. When you go back to a story, you are taken back to the same place you left off.
  • New Safari-based browser for the original story. These views are faster and support content blockers on iOS 9 and use your browser’s cookies. However, they look like Safari and not NewsBlur, so the default in-app browser is the original browser. The new in-app Safari browser is a preference, along with Chrome, Opera, and the full Safari app.
  • A new option to mark stories as read when they are scrolled past. Defaults to off.
  • Sending stories to third-party services now uses full Text if available. Useful for storing full story text in Evernote or Pocket.
  • Comment-less shares are now supported, allowing you to reply to shared stories that have no comment.
  • The feed trainer now shows trained titles.
  • 1Password integration on login.
  • iPad Pro is now supported.
  • Date and times of stories now uses the system locale, so everybody who isn’t in the U.S. will see dates as they should be.
  • 3D Touch actions: Add site, all site stories, search stories.
  • Voiceover support.
  • iOS 8 is the minimum supported version for this release.

Hot dog that’s a lot in one release. Version 5.0 is now ready for you. Download it for free on the App Store.

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spiffylogic
698 days ago
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Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.
Philadelphia, PA
samuel
698 days ago
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From the feedback I've received, the next big feature folks want is a night/dark theme.
The Haight in San Francisco
brs165
698 days ago
agreed!
emdot
698 days ago
Thanks for all you do, Samuel.
Dcacace8
698 days ago
Sure but this is a huge release, you should be proud! Congrats!
korg250
698 days ago
Is dark theme available on the web?
Cafeine
698 days ago
I don't care much about the dark theme but awesome release 😎
Splike
698 days ago
Dark theme for the web please! (:
leonick
698 days ago
Said before but lets say it again, web too please.
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udolfo
696 days ago
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+1 for this. I run on the iPhone's "Invert colours" setting, but it screws up photos. It would be the cherry on top of this very fine cake if a night-mode were available.
JayM
698 days ago
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Woot.
Atlanta, GA
gradualepiphany
698 days ago
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Oh dang. That is a whole lot of work, Samuel. Thanks for your continued dedication!
Los Angeles, California, USA
chattymac
698 days ago
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Dark theme please!
skittone
698 days ago
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But can I make the text even bigger (XXL or XXXL) for a "more pleasurable reading experience"?
jqlive
698 days ago
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I hate to be the broken record in the room. But will "mark newer/older stories read" be added in a near future update? ... Aside from that feature, I'm really loving the update 😀. The fonts man, the fonts; Awesome.
Beijing/Hong Kong
samuel
698 days ago
Yes, it's slated to come very soon now.
BLueSS
698 days ago
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Exciting updates! Here's to hoping the Android version gets some of these updates soon too!
samuel
698 days ago
Android already had a few of these features. I seesaw between the two platforms in terms of priority.