Links for Today

Why We Collect – NYTimes

Google removed this Pixel 6A feature (the headphone jack) after blasting Apple for doing the same thing – iMore

iPod Touch Completely Sold Out in Apple’s US Store Just Days After Being Discontinued – MacRumors

Unity Software loses $5 billion in market cap as privacy workaround fails – Apple Insider

Epic is going to release the Unreal Editor for Fortnite in an attempt to out-Roblox Roblox – PC Gamer

Tesla Model 3 becomes a 6-ton electric tank with giant chain tracks – Electrek

Achtung! How Wolfenstein 3D Shocked the World, 30 Years Later – How-To Geek

Norm Macdonald Shot Secret Final Netflix Stand-Up Special Before Passing – Hollywood Reporter

Elon Musk: “Overzealous DMCA Is a Plague On Humanity” – Torrent Freak

Links for Today

Federal judge says Twitter is not a website during Texas tech law appeal – iMore

Boeing clashes with key supplier ahead of Starliner spacecraft launch – Reuters

Bitcoin jumps back above $30,000 despite hot U.S. inflation report – CNBC

Coinbase admits users may lose crypto if exchange goes bankrupt – Fortune

Crypto Billionaires’ Vast Fortunes Are Destroyed in Weeks – Yahoo Finance

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on the Upcoming Congressional UFOs Hearing – The Black Vault

Today’s Links

Crazy video of a car chase scene from a helicopter being filmed for an upcoming Michael Bay Film – Facebook Reels

How millions of Russians are tearing holes in the Digital Iron Curtain – Washington Post

Every ISP in the US has been ordered to block three pirate streaming services – Ars Technica

The Future of Space Tourism Is Now. Well, Not Quite. – NYtimes

Shortwave Radiogram

I picked up an RTL-SDR (affiliate link) Software Defined Radio dongle recently and have been having a blast with it. You can see my adventures so far with it here

My most recent project is to discover and decode all of the digital signals transmitting through the air around me. I looked at lot of different things like the FT8 weak signal protocol, POCSAG pager decoding, and packet radio to name a few. 

A viewer tipped me off to another digital signal to look for which is the Shortwave Radiogram broadcast that transmits a few days a week on shortwave frequencies. It consists of a 30 minute broadcast that transmits text and small images. Part of the challenge is to keep the signal strong enough to decode it! You can see what it looks like thanks to “Shacking Off” on YouTube.  

More information can be found at the SW Radiogram website. They also have links to recordings so you can practice ahead of the next broadcast. 

There’s a whole community around this too. Check out their Facebook group

I am almost done studying for my HAM radio technician license. Just need a few more days to run through the practice exams. Stay tuned! 

Today’s Links

New High Resolution Scan of “Extraordinary” UAP Image – UAP Media UK

Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s Self Service Repair Program for iPhones – Macrumors

Mercury’s Comet-like Tail – Space Weather Archive

Teslas using Autopilot are eight times less likely to be in an accident – Teslarati

Goodwill Sold a Bust for $34.99. It’s an Ancient Roman Relic – NYTimes

Frontier Ordered to Pay Millions After Internet Speed Allegations – NBC Connecticut

Today’s Links

Epic’s Fortnite Now Free To Play on Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming for Mobile, Desktop, Console – CNET

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is either good or it’s just so comforting that I don’t care – Ars

Tech’s new season of shrinking – Axios

Intec GBA HDMI – Another Laggy Mess – RetroRGB

Testing Out Apple’s Self Repair Program With an iPhone 12 Mini Battery Fix – Macrumors

Links for Today

Meta announces massive hiring freeze, blames Apple for revenue slowdown – iMore

TurboTax forced to stop misleading “free, free, free” ads and pay back $141M – Ars Technica

Cameo lays off close to 90, including senior executives – Protocol

Florida Flights Face Worst Delays in Years Thanks to Private Jets and Space Launches – Yahoo News

New Obi Wan Series Trailer! – YouTube

Elon Musk Invited to Discuss Twitter Buyout With U.K. Parliamentary Committee – Variety

Humans Behind Search: Meet Matt – Google Blog

RetroRGB Roundup #303 – RetroRGB

Programmatic Product Placements?

According to AFTVNews.com Amazon is experimenting with a new dynamic advertising method that allows for CGI product placement.

That means a bowl of Skittles for one viewer could appear as a bowl of M&M’s for another. It also allows product placement to be an ongoing source of revenue for Amazon vs. a one shot “baked in” advertising opportunity. 

New Empire Strikes Back Game for the Commodore 64

Just in time for “May the Fourth” retro developer Megastyle games has released a new Empire Strikes Back game for the Commodore 64!

The game play is similar to the Atari 2600 and Intellivision classic where your snow speeder is up against wave after wave of imperial walkers. This one adds AT-ST’s to the mix along with a level progression system that was lacking from the original. The graphics look great! Here’s some footage of the game courtesy of YouTuber C64.

This will run on original hardware along with emulators and the MiSTer core. They made the game available in a few different formats including cassette tape! 

RocketLab Catches Rocket with a Helicopter!

When we think of commercial space providers we’re often thinking of Elon Musk’s SpaceX or Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. But there’s another company that’s successfully launching small satellites called RocketLab.

RocketLab specializes in launching small satellites on their Electron rocket. The rocket is usually ditched in the ocean after each launch but the company is working towards reusability to lower costs. While SpaceX and Blue Origin propulsively land their large rockets, RocketLab is working at plucking theirs out of the air with a helicopter! 

Wach the catch here. There’s also a cool Twitter video from the helicopter’s cockpit here

RocketLab’s CEO Peter Beck said they released the rocket shortly after catching it due to instability. It was picked up by their recovery ship shortly afterward. Still a very successful first attempt! 

Facebook & Plex Exiting the Podcast Business

iMore reports that Facebook is leaving the Podcasting business but the company doesn’t plan on telling anyone about it. 

Oddly, Facebook said that it doesn’t plan to tell anyone on Facebook that podcasts are going to be removed. That responsibility will fall on podcasters to alert their audience.

I didn’t even know Facebook was doing podcasts so it looks like the feature wasn’t heavily used. Plex also recently discontinued their podcasting feature:

As part of our ongoing effort to make sure we’re spending our time and energy in ways that best serve our awesome user community, we’ve made the decision to end support for podcasts within Plex. We recognize this impacts several of you greatly, and we apologize for the inconvenience it will cause. You can continue to access your podcasts within Plex until next Friday, April 15th, 2022, at which point they will no longer be available. 

I did a video recently about how nobody controls podcasting due to its decentralized nature. Check it out learn why so many social media companies struggle integrating podcasting into the apps. 

Members of Congress are not Pleased with DOD’s UFO Investigation Progress

From Politico:

Lawmakers receiving the latest secret briefings on UFOs say national security agencies still aren’t taking seriously the reports of highly advanced aircraft of unknown origin violating protected airspace.

Members of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees received classified progress reports in recent weeks on a series of new data collection efforts the Pentagon and spy agencies are now required to pursue to more rigorously investigate reports of UFOs, three people with direct knowledge confirmed.

But some leading sponsors of recent legislation want more analysts and surveillance systems dedicated to determining the aircrafts’ origin — and not just more reports of their existence.

Former Pentagon official Christopher Melon, who is credited for initially breaking the story, also weighed in on Twitter:

For a start, Congress absolutely needs to know who in the executive owns the UAP issue and what they are doing to identify the mysterious ‘drones’ that have been stalking U.S. warships and disrupting training activities in military airspace.

Cable Companies Becoming Dumb (Profitable) Pipes

Interesting article in Multichannel news about Charter Communications using Comcast’s Flex platform to deliver streaming media to customers. Charter CEO Rutledge believes most customers will end up cutting the TV cord and go IP only:

“I expect that incrementally most of our customer base will be all-IP,” Rutledge said after being asked about the JV on Charter’s Q1 earnings conference call with analysts. He added that unused video spectrum can be recaptured and used to increase broadband speeds or provide additional capacity over time.

Cable companies make far more money delivering dumb pipes vs. TV. The reason is that cable providers have to pay television networks and broadcasters per subscriber to carry the channel.

Streaming works the other way around: streamers like Netflix have to pay the cable provider for direct access to their network or face network congestion. Cable companies profit on both ends of that equation and in some cases get a portion of subscriber revenue too.