5ish Links


(First published on 7/14/17 on 5ish Links, my newsletter)

In between two trips to LA and busy with work, so… just the links, ma’am. Happy Friday. 😎

5ish Links

Apple News Reportedly Open to Letting Publishers Sell Ads

A link to this on Twitter kicked off a debate about what this could actually mean. Will Apple really be okay with publishers injecting their own — always shitty — ads into the otherwise nice and fast Apple News articles? Or does it just mean more backend integrations? Regardless, I’m worried that if you give a mouse a cookie

Still, a couple promising things are buried in the Garett Sloane story:

Apple has always been loath to adopt the kind of consumer-tracking-driven targeting, a reluctance that has been one of the key holdups to cashing in on services like Apple News. (It is making it easier for consumers to block certain ads in its Safari web browser and to opt out of online tracking programs.) The company would rather see consumers pay publishers for their content, and it has built ways for publishers to sell subscriptions to people in Apple News.

There also are plans to enable micropayment options so people can access articles for cents at a time, according to another Apple publishing partner.

The ability to sell subscriptions has been tried and tired again and has yet to work anywhere. Then again, Apple has done a great job on the App Store with selling subs for Netflix, Pandora, and the like.

The micropayment thing is even more interesting. But talk about something that has been tried again and again… One key: can Apple make the economics work (thanks to Apple Pay) in a way that others cannot.

News Publishers Only Have Themselves to Blame for Losing Out to Google and Facebook

Ian Burrell sat down with BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti for his thoughts on how traditional publishers are doing in the age of Facebook and Google:

“These traditional media companies have had decades of massive cashflow and they decided to stockpile that instead of investing in digital. They just kept managing earnings on their traditional businesses even though we have known for 20-plus years that the internet was going to be a big thing and now all these things have unfolded, with some surprises but in a way that was not that hard to predict. Now we are at the point where Facebook’s and Google’s revenues are starting to be a substantial portion of the pie, they are attacking them, saying it is unfair.

“The truth is that Facebook and Google have always taken a long term perspective — so has Netflix, so has Amazon — that the internet would win out in the end. A lot of the big media companies always took a quarter-to-quarter perspective, a maximise earnings perspective, and that has resulted in them being in a tough position and so they attack Facebook and Google because of it.”

Seems relevant given this bit of news

Deepest Dive Under Antarctica Reveals a Shockingly Vibrant World

If nothing else, check out the images. They’re stunning. But the story is pretty amazing too by writer and photographer Laurent Ballesta:

Without dry suits we’d die in as little as 10 minutes. With our improved equipment we could last up to five hours.

I mean, just imagine if something malfunctioned…

When at last we’re ready to topple into the freezing water, we’re wearing and carrying 200 pounds each. It feels like we’re learning to dive all over again. Moving is a struggle, swimming almost impossible. The cold quickly anesthetizes the few square inches of exposed skin on our cheeks, and as the dive wears on, it intrudes into our suits and gloves, biting harder and harder. It’s unbearable, but we must bear it. Toward the end, as we’re pausing on our ascent to decompress, we search for anything to distract us from the pain.

When we finally crawl or haul ourselves out of the freezing ocean, I lie prostrate on the ice, my brain too dulled to think about removing my gear, my skin hard and wrinkled, my lips, hands, and feet swollen and numb — then, as my body warms and the blood starts to flow again, the pain is at its worst. It’s so intense I find myself wishing my extremities were still frozen. After four weeks, I can’t feel my toes anymore, even in the warmth. It will take seven months after our return to Europe for my damaged nerves to recover.

Again, the images are worth it. Including a blue-blooded octopus! 💙🐙

The apps are too damn big

Matt Birchler:

Of note, Apple does not allow you to download apps or updates that are over 100 MB, and the only app update I was not able to perform was for Facebook. The Facebook app is advertised as being a whopping 251 MB app, and I don’t know what the update size is, but it was over 100 MB. Has Facebook changed so much in the past 3 days since an update that it needed to replace over 40% of its code?

Twitter is full of people who are both upset about these app sizes and those who think delta updates make this complaint void. I think it’s important that people understand that the size you see on the Updates page in the App Store is not how much you are going to download but it’s certainly not fair to say delta updates have fixed everything. Yes, they’ve made some updates negligible, but I burned through 348 MB of of data in one day exclusively from updating my apps. That’s insane! Thankfully, I’m on an unlimited plan with T-Mobile and I’m a nerd who has turned auto-updates off so this won’t break my plan.

Yeah, I’ve also been in the middle of this argument on Twitter. There is no argument, these update sizes are ridiculous, and the “delta” update argument is largely bullshit.

(via Daring Fireball)

NBCUniversal will stream Premier League soccer games, no cable subscription required

Peter Kafka:

NBCUniversal’s NBC Sports unit is going to offer a direct-to-consumer subscription package that will let soccer fans watch live games from the Premier League, the high-profile U.K. league that features many of the sport’s biggest teams, like Chelsea and Manchester United.

The $50 “Premier League Pass” will start in August, when the league’s new season starts, and will offer 130 live games to U.S. fans, as well as extra content like studio shows. NBCUniversal will continue to show a handful of live Premier League games on its broadcast network, and a couple hundred more on its NBCSN and CNBC cable channels, which will only be available to pay TV consumers.

Seemingly great news — and another big step towards a cable-less world — but the big caveat here is that these games apparently used to be free with your cable package (and, as Kafka notes, you’ll still need cable for many of the ones not included in this package).

Still, this feels like a step that needs to be taken — a baby step away from cable towards direct-paying. And soccer (and the NBA) seem to be where the action will be going forward.

Giphy Break

Quickish Hits

Bored with Shitty Beer? Add a Pickle.

Kudos for this line: “Pickles are the perfect snack: cucumbers soaked in evil.” Skeptical of this idea, but intrigued. 🥒🍺

ESPN uses iPhone 7 for 9th annual ‘Body Issue’ cover shoot

A tweet of mine kicked this off when I came home and found this delivery with the back cover facing upward. Advertising you maybe can buy, but totally worth every penny.

How do you pronounce “GIF”?

Hard “G” wins, but not by as much as you’d think. Also, in some parts of Asia, spelling out “gee eye eff” is apparently also quite common.

An Exhaustive Breakdown of Patrick Swayze’s ‘Road House’

As someone who just watched Road House for the first time ever a few weeks ago, I can say without a doubt that this entire post is amazing.


500ish Words

Apple Prime and the iPhone Pro

Indulge me on some wildly idle Apple speculation for a moment…

Written by

General Partner @ GV (née Google Ventures). In past lives I wrote at TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and ParisLemon. A man of few words. Except when writing. 🍻

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