Donald Trump’s ‘Truth Social’ Platform Finally Works On The Web — Yes, It’s Terrible

The more Forbes journalist John Brandon uses Truth Social, the more he realizes it’s a terrible Twitter clone.

Case in point — just try using the new web version.

Recently, the service finally launched as more than a mere landing page to register for an account. Like you could with Twitter.com more than a decade ago, it is now possible to send your “truths” out to the masses — all 500,000 of them — from a browser tab.

On the web, TruthSocial.com now lets you search for “truths” and participate in the online discourse without a phone, even if it’s all quite basic. Other than calling tweets “truths” instead, there’s nothing particularly novel or interesting about the platform.

You can also configure alerts, view your profile, and adjust a few settings. For example, you can change whether GIFs play automatically in your feed and hide sensitive material. The web interface allows you to mute and block other users, or tag them easily when you post. The web version doesn’t appear to offer a way to see direct messages, though.

Overall, it’s clean enough and simple to use, but also not at all innovative. John mentioned this before, but Truth Social looks exactly like something a developer would make if they were asked to build an app that does only the Twitter basics and nothing more.

Let’s be clear about something when it comes to Truth Social: John Brandon is not analyzing it as a political venture alone. It is definitely part of an elaborate re-election campaign. He has issues with that, not in terms of his own political views but due to the sketchy nature of having a dedicated social media platform meant only for one candidate. If it’s a campaign app, then great. If it isn’t, why does it exist?

Apart from using the word “truths” the real issue is that this is a clone, and that means there’s no real reason to switch from Twitter to this app.

Now that it works on the web, it makes it a bit easier to check your feed, but with 500.000 users, it makes me wonder why anyone would bother. With that smaller group of users, it’s less likely your post will catch on and reach a wider audience, unless you are related by blood to Donald Trump or you’re a celebrity.

Curiously, the only reason John discovered to use Truth Social is because you can see posts from The Babylon Bee, a satire site that was banned from Twitter.

At least Trump himself is posting now, typically with the same outrageous flare he used when he was active on Twitter. Many of his posts are about Hillary Clinton for some reason.

Another surprise is that there isn’t an Android version yet. John knows from personal experience that getting an app launched on Android can be troublesome. One report suggests Truth Social has not even submitted an Android version yet to the Google Play store. Trump claims the reason the app is not approved has something to do with Google being out to get him.

What could really attract attention?

John Brandon would suggest offering some unique features, perhaps a few that are not available on Twitter.

Source: Forbes

New York City Removes Its Last Payphone From Service In Favor Of High-Speed Wi-Fi Kiosks To Meet Daily Communication Needs

It’s the end of an era: New York City removed its last public payphone on Monday.

The boxy enclosures were once an iconic symbol across the city. But the rise of cellphones made the booths obsolete.

The effort to replace public pay telephones across the city kicked off in 2014 when the de Blasio administration solicited proposals to reimagine the offering, the city’s Office of Technology and Innovation said in a news release.

Officials selected CityBridge to develop and operate LinkNYC kiosks, which offer services such as free phone calls, Wi-Fi and device charging. The city began removing street payphones in 2015 to replace them with the LinkNYC kiosks.

There are nearly 2,000 kiosks across the city, according to a map from LinkNYC.

“Just like we transitioned from the horse and buggy to the automobile and from the automobile to the airplane, the digital evolution has progressed from payphones to high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks to meet the demands of our rapidly changing daily communications needs,” Commissioner Matthew Fraser said in the release.

The last public pay telephone will be displayed at the Museum of the City of New York as part of an exhibit looking back at life in the city before computers.

Source: CNBC

California-Born Olympian Eileen Gu Who Switched Sides To Win Gold For China Is Criticized For Telling Chinese People To Download A VPN To Access Instagram – But Beijing Has Banned Both

Social media users are criticizing American-born Eileen Gu – who won a gold medal in skiing competing for China – for taking advantage of posting on Instagram, which is banned in the country. 

Instagram is blocked in China, as are other global social media sites such as TwitterFacebook and WhatsApp.  

The block first started in 2014 amid the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as a means for the Chinese government to control how its citizens use western social media

Gu, 18, who was born in California to an American father and a Chinese mother (who is also her coach) and took home gold in the women’s big freeski, was taken to task for her use of the photo app.  

‘Why can you use Instagram and millions of Chinese people from mainland cannot,’ one user fired off at Gu in a screenshot that made the rounds on Chinese social app Weibo. 

‘[A]nyone can download a vpn its literally free on the App Store,’ said Gu, referring to virtual private networks (VPN), which are designed to get around the web restrictions of various countries.

Some were irate in response.  

‘Literally, I’m not ‘anyone.’ Literally, it’s illegal for me to use a VPN. Literally, it’s not fxxking free at all,’ one user replied.

China has blocked several VPN services in recent years, even going as far as to criminalize those who use them to get around the ‘Great Firewall.’ 

In November, Beijing introduced rules that would seek to ban VPN providers. 

The screenshot was eventually censored on Weibo after it had been shared over 3,000 times. 

The original post still exists, but the screenshot of her VPN comment went blank.

‘What is there to brag about a country where [that screenshot] can’t see the light of day?’ another Weibo user asked.

The IOC declined to comment on the situation. Rule 50 of the IOC handbook permits athletes to speak freely on matters of their choosing outside the confines of competition.    

Gu, nicknamed the ‘Snow Princess’, amassed an army of cynics when she spurned Team USA to represent China at the Beijing Games – but she told critics after her win: ‘I’m just as American as I am Chinese’. 

As Gu won her gold medal, praise for the San Franciscan quite literally overwhelmed the Chinese internet.  

Of the top 10 trending topics on the platform on Weibo at the time, five were dedicated to adoration for the 18-year-old champion.

‘Gu Ailing is a genius young woman right?’ was one trending topic referencing her Chinese name.

‘Dad was Harvard, Mom was Peking University, Stanford, Grandmother was an athlete. She’s beautiful and classy,’ said one post recirculated 86,000 times.

The teenager, who is undoubtedly the Winter Olympics poster girl after her Vogue magazine and Paris fashion appearances, did not allow her glittering lifestyle to overshadow her sporting prowess. 

However, Gu has remained evasive about her attempts to toe the line between the United States and China.  

China does not allow dual nationality, and state media have previously reported that the 18-year-old renounced her U.S. citizenship after she became a Chinese national at the age of 15.

Gu would not confirm that on Tuesday.

‘So I grew up spending 25-30% (of my time) in China. I’m fluent in Mandarin and English and fluent culturally in both,’ she answered, when asked if she was still an American citizen. 

‘So coming here, I really feel there was a sense of coming home. I feel just as American as Chinese. I don’t feel I’m taking advantage of one or another. They understand that my mission is to foster a connection between countries and not a divisive force.’

When the reporter asked again, the news conference moderator interjected: ‘Next question, please.’

The fashion model and incoming Stanford University student whose Weibo following has ballooned to almost three million from just under two million on Monday, says she feels at home in China.

‘There’s like a tower here you can see from the top of the course. And I’m also seeing it from my house in Beijing,’ she explained, where her face is ubiquitous in advertising.

Gu told her critics: ‘I am not trying to keep anyone happy. I am an 18 year old girl living my life and trying to have a great time.’   

She added: ‘It doesn’t really matter if other people are happy or not because I feel as though I am doing my best.

‘I’m enjoying the entire process, and I’m using my voice to create as much positive change as I can for the voices who will listen to me in an area that is personal and relevant to myself.

‘I know that I have a good heart and I know my reasons for making the decisions I do are based on a greater common interest and something I feel is for the greater good.

‘If other people don’t really believe that that’s where I’m coming from, then that just reflects that they do not have the empathy to empathize with a good heart, perhaps because they don’t share the same kind of morals that I do and, in that sense, I’m not going to waste my time trying to placate people who are, one, uneducated and, two, probably never going to experience the kind of joy and gratitude and love that I have the great fortune to experience on a daily basis.’

She said her critics did not share the empathy she had and that she refused to bow down to them.

Gu is not the only American competing for China in Beijing. Two members of the Chinese men’s hockey team – including Jake Chelios, son of Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios – are also born and raised in the US.    

Source: Daily Mail

NFT Art Will Never Be Mass-Market — NFT Licenses May Be

Visa got itself a fancy new Twitter avatar this August, and even though it didn’t stay up for long, the 8-bit-styled picture of a visibly unamused woman with a stylish mohawk still made dozens of headlines. It was not just about the relatively hefty price tag of $150,000. The mere fact that the financial giant bought a nonfungible token (NFT) representing the image from the CryptoPunks collection set off fireworks in the media. It was the best marketing spend Visa’s done all year — the ROI on news articles alone must have paid for the purchase tenfold.

Yes, even Visa “apes in” on NFTs these days, to use an expression NFT collectors drop a lot in the era of the wealthy pouring millions into JPEGs of apes. But even though the technology’s journey from memes to riches has taken it into the digital art world, I don’t think that this will be its mass-market use case.

By now, everyone knows that NFTs essentially bring uniqueness and scarcity, a feature associated with traditional high art, into all shapes and forms of digital art, which is otherwise infinitely reproducible with the good old copy-paste. A link to a specific picture, audio clip or video is sent to the blockchain as part of a transaction, and there we are — even though the file can still be copy-pasted, only one wallet owns its token. That’s where it becomes a posh thing: Donning an NFT image as a Twitter avatar is like wearing a Rolex watch with your name engraved on it. It’s a status symbol to be appreciated by those in the know.

That said, high art and luxury are by definition antonymous to the mass market, as high price and uniqueness are their key selling points. Someone who’s bleeding money can buy a link for millions, but that’s because they might as well burn their money for fun, and they want to show off their wealth to the world. Good luck charging a Regular Joe $150,000 for a link to a picture, though. The focus on NFTs as art by definition limits a promising technology to a relatively small, albeit inarguably posh and eccentric, niche.

The good thing here is that the big NFT digital art sales are making headlines, which is helping to bring NFTs into the mainstream. However, this will not be the main use of NFTs further down the road, but rather a new and expensive plaything for the wealthy and some especially fervent crypto-personalities and communities.

First of all, NFTs already have a mass-market use case — they are very much at home in gaming, with CryptoKitties gathering a ton of headlines back in the day. From Axie Infinity to all the newer titles, NFTs are powering a plethora of digital economies, and there, they bring more than sheer uniqueness to the table.

Yes, it’s nice that your NFT sword is unique and has your name on its token, but what’s nicer is that it can decapitate a dragon in one swing, unlike any other, non-unique weapon. And decapitated reptiles are what people are ready to pay for. Fortnite, a free game, brought its publisher $5.1 billion in 2020 on sales of in-game cosmetics, and gamers are already paying for non-unique weapons, mounts, castles and spaceships in dozens of other games. NFTs are just the next step in this direction. And believe it or not, in some developing countries, NFT games have already become a valid source of income.’

What looks just as promising is the idea of using NFTs in the corporate world, as part of traditional business processes. The fields where NFTs will likely take off in a big way, if not become the new default way of doing things, aren’t as sexy as high-end luxury. They will, however, greatly benefit from the key feature that NFTs bring to the table: The ability to confirm the authenticity of the associated digital asset. This could be, for example, as simple as the hash of a financial document saved as an NFT on a private or a public blockchain to check whether it’s been tampered with later on.

Software licensing and authentication seems like one of the areas where NFTs will shine, given enough time, with the bonus of possible interoperability. Corporations and individuals alike could shop for licensed software pieces on a single platform, leasing it for as long as needed. This would cut the costs, while also keeping chief information officers’ peace of mind as they have an extra layer of security knowing that any digital asset can be safely and quickly authenticated.

Those of you as old as I am remember buying copies of Windows or Adobe CS3 and having a sticker on the back of the box with your serial number. Lose the box, and that was it. This was replaced by SaaS log-ins that stored your serial number, or platforms like Steam and Apple’s App Store, which held your digital asset — except, of course, unless Apple decides it doesn’t have the rights to “Goonies HD” in the store and simply removes your purchase. You bought it? Too bad. Same if the platform was shut down, or if the company decides you somehow violated their 2,000-page terms of service that you agreed with without reading through. The point is, with subscription-based SaaS, you own nothing, even if the solution is deployed on-premise.

Let’s say you’re buying an asset, any digital asset — music, a movie, a license for the software, limited use rights to a photo, whatever. At the moment of purchase, the platform mints a non-fungible token pointing to the original file or download location. The token acts as your proof of purchase. You store the asset locally, most likely accessing it through an app that would use your token to verify ownership (or, for example, if the license period hasn’t ended) whenever you try to interact with it, which would prevent copy-paste distribution and other IP infringements.

With the right design, such a system would even allow the transfer of ownership rights, as long as they are legally baked into the NFT. This way, after enjoying your copy of the “Goonies,” you can gift it to a friend or re-sell it, potentially with a small royalty to be paid either to whoever owns the rights for the movie or to the original seller. The latter, by the way, partially addresses the issue that fueled the shift to SaaS in the first place. Companies don’t want a secondary market because it competes with their sales, but with royalties built into NFTs, they would have a stake in every subsequent re-sale. In other words, each copy of a movie sold becomes a gift that keeps on giving.

Granted, though, the ownership part is what needs more work, especially on the legal front. None of these concepts have been tested, but they need to be, whether by an artist or a collector, just to set the precedent and start charting out a playbook for this terra incognita. Technical expertise and business or legal expertise are not the same thing. Some of us remember the EOS token sale, and how much of the funds raised had to be held until the SEC finished their investigation. Projects talking about their legality and proving their legality in court are two different things.

While the NFTs are not without their flaws, dismissing them as an inherently toxic and fraudulent technology this early into their development is, at best, rushed. Instead, what the field needs are more regulation on the one hand and more entrepreneurship on the other. Art and business walk hand-in-hand these days, and as NFTs mature, their journey from memes to riches will most likely similarly lead them into the corporate world.

Source: Cointelegraph

Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer, and legacy Edge in 2021 – in a bid to encourage enterprise customers to switch to its Edge browser

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Microsoft has announced that support for Internet Explorer 11 will end August 17, 2021. At that time, all products under the Microsoft umbrella which may currently still use Internet Explorer, such as Outlook, OneDrive or Office 365 will stop supporting the browser.Support for Internet Explorer within the Microsoft Teams web app ends November 30 of this year. Meanwhile, the legacy edition of Microsoft Edge is set to end March 9, 2021.

Source: PC Gamer

UK-based design firm Pentagram creates “21st-century identity” for Yahoo!

“Yahoo is one of the digital world’s iconic brands and its original logo perfectly captured the spirit of the early days of the internet,” said Pentagram’s Michael Bierut.

“We were determined to reflect the brand’s idiosyncratic roots, which is why we retained and strengthened the Yahoo exclamation mark,” he told Dezeen.

The capital letters of the logo’s previous iterations have been abandoned in favour of lower case letters.

The brand’s exclamation mark is italicised to give emphasis and is alined at 22.5 degrees to match the angle of the Y.

“The exclamation mark’s exaggerated italic treatment helps bracket the wordmark with two strong diagonals, and calls back to the Looney Toons-style charm of the original 90s mark,” explained Bierut.

Source: Dezeen