The Xbox Adaptive Controller is the first of its kind. It’s a plug-and-play option for people with disabilities – it connects to the Xbox One or Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth and powers on just like the Elite. The controller itself is a clean white rectangle, about 11 inches long and 6 inches wide, with two large black buttons on its face. The buttons aren’t touchpads, but they are light-touch enabled, clicking down with the softest of taps so players can roll their palm between the two or otherwise click them without exerting much force. Each button makes a slightly different noise as well, offering an extra layer of sensory input. […]
Some of the controller’s most impressive features are on back of the rectangle. Nineteen 3.5mm ports line the backside, one for each button on the traditional Xbox gamepad. This allows players to plug in their existing accessibility tools, such as air-powered input methods, big buttons or small clickers, and have them instantly mapped to the proper function. If a particular set-up isn’t working out for any reason, players or their caregivers can quickly change ports to manually remap their controller, all without pausing the game.
This is my new go-to example of a product with “good” design. The number of non-obvious considerations that went into the XAC’s design, in my opinion, set a new bar for accessibility and consumer hardware. Additionally, let’s be clear, no accessibility hardware looks this good. It would be laudable for Microsoft to create this controller at all, but I’m surprised at how nice the aesthetics are.
There’s an oft-quoted saying from Steve Jobs along the lines of: design isn’t just how it looks, it’s how it works. With the XAC, Microsoft has created a device that succeeds on both fronts to a stunning degree, and they did it for a community of users that are often forgotten. More of this, please.
Medium is no longer offering new custom domains as a feature. If you already have a custom domain on Medium, nothing will change for you for the foreseeable future, and your domain will continue to work as expected.
As best I can tell, this decision is a change from January (courtesy of the Internet Archive), when the help page for custom domains read that Medium was “pausing” offering the service. It would now seem they don’t offer the setting at all.
I wonder if current custom domain users find the “for the foreseeable future” bit at all reassuring. I wouldn’t. Using your own domain was one of the few meaningful ways you could separate your Medium-hosted blog from all the others. Anyone signing up today will be stuck using whatever publication names (medium.com/publication) are still available to register, making Medium more akin to a long-form Twitter than a place to keep a blog. Lame.
Oliver Roeder, FiveThirtyEight, was one of 15 people who were recently invited to the United Nations for the chance to play chess against Norwegian chess grandmaster—and currently the world’s number 1 ranked player—Magnus Carlsen. The result, while unsurprising, was nonetheless entertaining to read. Mr. Roeder (slight language warning):
The event was a “clock simul,” short for “simultaneous exhibition with clocks,” in which each of us “challengers” sat at our own boards while Carlsen, the “exhibitor,” darted around the room, rarely taking more than a few seconds to make any move before moving on to his next victim. We each had 30 minutes to make all our moves, but Carlsen’s clocks constantly ticked away at every board, putting him at a nominal disadvantage. […]
In retrospect, I blundered — unbeknownst to me at the time — on my 12th, 13th and 17th moves. Others too, I’m sure.
This was always going to happen. But as I sat shroudless, Carlsen did break my heart. By move 12, he’d pushed a pawn down his right flank, which caused me all sorts of problems, and my king was the equivalent of a sitting duck on the opening day of hunting season. But my own pawn, my little pawn that could, was on the march. My pawn made it two squares from the end of the board, where it could become a queen. And it would soon defend my extant queen, which on the next move fled down the board to put Carlsen in check — I put Magnus Carlsen in check! I confess that for precisely 1.5 seconds I thought, “I am going to fucking win.”
Carlsen then easily defended, parried … and destroyed me.
Nellie Bowles, New York Times, reporting on the increasing popularity of esports, and the businesses springing up to capitalize on the fervor:
Across North America this year, companies are turning malls, movie theaters, storefronts and parking garages into neighborhood esports arenas. […]
“The movie theater!” said Ann Hand, the C.E.O. of Super League Gaming, which converts movie theaters into esports arenas, and has raised $32 million from investors. “It has that thunderous sound, and it’s empty a lot of the time.”
For the Super League Gamers, the events can accompany or replace traditional sports. It’s a new Little League and Minor League for today’s athletes. Each city plays together as a branded team — there’s the Chicago Force, the New York Fury, the San Francisco Ionics. So far, there are 50,000 players.
Parents accompany younger players, and the real-life experience opens their eyes. “The most common piece of feedback was that they knew their son or daughter loved this game, but they had no way to understand the game or know if they were any good at it,” Ms. Hand said. “Like, ‘I didn’t know my son or daughter was that competitive.’”
By 2019, she expects to be in 500 venues.
I like watching streamers play games like Fortnite or Overwatch in the same way I enjoy watching Liverpool play on Saturdays. At the end of the day, it’s all entertainment.
However, what’s particularly interesting about esports is that the competitive scene isn’t limited by geography in the same way that physical sports are; this allows esports players to improve more quickly because they’re able to go against a worldwide pool of talent from the start. That said, part of what makes physical sports so popular is their regionality. It’ll be curious if esports benefit from these revamped local venues (remember how popular the arcade scene was?) or if the malls and theaters are empty again in a year’s time.
Zach Schonbrun, Bloomberg, has written a fascinating profile about the pigment research of Mas Subramanian, a materials science professor at Oregon State University. Mr. Subramanian is best known for his accidental creation of YInMn—a striking blue pigment with the ability to generate many other hues. However, although YInMn is widely lauded, Mr. Subramanian has yet to find a way to coax his pigment into a resilient, radiant red; a color that could be worth hundred of millions of dollars. Mr. Schonbrun:
The world lacks a great all-around red. Always has. We’ve made do with alternatives that could be toxic or plain gross. The gladiators smeared their faces with mercury-based vermilion. Titian painted with an arsenic-based mineral called realgar. The British army’s red coats were infused with crushed cochineal beetles. For decades, red Lego bricks contained cadmium, a carcinogen.
More than 200 natural and synthetic red pigments exist today, but each has issues with safety, stability, chromaticity, and/or opacity. Red 254, aka Ferrari red, for example, is safe and popular, but it’s also carbon-based, leaving it susceptible to fading in the rain or the heat. […]
Subramanian, more scientist than chief executive, is now hunting for a similarly safe, inorganic red derivative of YInMn—something that could put Ferrari red, which is worth an estimated $300 million annually, well in its rearview mirror. Mark Ryan, marketing manager at Shepherd Color Co. in Cincinnati, says whoever finds such a red “wouldn’t have to come into work the next day.”
Over at The Sweet Setup, I spent a few thousand words exploring some of the best text editors available for MacOS. Few topics start such heated debates as those about why one text editor might be better than another, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the apps on our list.
“Whenever you click on a link, send an email, open a mobile app, often one of the first things that has to happen is your device needs to look up the address of a domain.” That’s Matthew Prince, CEO and co-founder of Cloudflare, in his company’s blog post announcing their new public DNS service, 220.127.116.11.
What is this?18.104.22.168 is a DNS service. A DNS service lets you visit websites by entering word-based domain names like audaciousfox.net instead of an obscure (and changing) IP address. Technically, you can get to a site by typing in the domain or IP address, but the domain name is far easier to remember
Why does it matter?
New competition to existing, core Internet infrastructure is a really healthy thing to have; especially when the new product is more privacy conscientious than the incumbents.
Cloudflare’s network operates on a global scale with nearly 150 data centers around the world; which means they have the support and experience to run this type of service.
It might surprise you to know that you even have a choice in DNS providers. Most people probably use their ISP’s default DNS service without knowing it. For why this isn’t the best idea, we’ll go back to Mr. Prince:
What many Internet users don’t realize is that even if you’re visiting a website that is encrypted — has the little green lock in your browser — that doesn’t keep your DNS resolver from knowing the identity of all the sites you visit. That means, by default, your ISP, every wifi network you’ve connected to, and your mobile network provider have a list of every site you’ve visited while using them.
Network operators have been licking their chops for some time over the idea of taking their users’ browsing data and finding a way to monetize it. In the United States, that got easier a year ago when the Senate voted to eliminate rules that restricted ISPs from selling their users’ browsing data. With all the concern over the data that companies like Facebook and Google are collecting on you, it worries us to now add ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T to the list. And, make no mistake, this isn’t a US-only problem — ISPs around the world see the same privacy-invading opportunity.
If you’ve never switched your DNS resolver before, it’s really easy to do, and Cloudflare has quick, two minute tutorials for all of your devices — phone, computer, and router. And if the privacy benefits aren’t a compelling enough reason to switch, there are speed advantages too. 22.214.171.124 currently sits at, ahem, #1 for fastest worldwide DNS resolvers. As of today, Cloudflare’s DNS is already 28% faster than Cisco’s OpenDNS and around 60% more quick than Google’s own 126.96.36.199.
You’ve heard the adage that “when the service is free, you’re the product being sold,” and that’s been true for a long time. But it becomes dangerous when whatever free service you’re using is the only comparable option available. That’s how we end up with Facebook’s monopoly on social networking or Google’s hold on search and video. Having good, privacy focused alternatives to our standard, core digital and social infrastructure — whether DNS resolves or social networks — is phenomenally important. And when an alternative is both more private and faster than what’s already out there, then it’s simply phenomenal.
If you have a few hundred dollars, a recent MacBook, and a desire to play modern video games at a decent frame rate, you can now buy an external graphics card to give your laptop a performance boost. There are, however, some asterisks. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge:
For one, only select models are officially supported. And, surprise, Apple is only supporting some of AMD’s Radeon cards, which it already includes in select Macs. That doesn’t strictly mean a GeForce card won’t work — people have gotten some to work while the feature was in beta — but it means you’re gambling a bit around whether it’ll continue to work.
You also won’t be able to use external GPUs on Windows through Boot Camp. And just because you have an external GPU plugged into your computer when it’s running macOS doesn’t mean it’s going to be doing anything, either; developers have to enable support for it. Finally, you’ll also need to have a new enough Mac, since external GPUs rely on the super-fast speeds provided by Thunderbolt 3. That includes 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros, 2017 iMacs, and the iMac Pro.
For now, the list of caveats with external GPUs is perhaps longer than the list of things you’re able to do with them, but this is certainly a look at the future. Imagine all the benefits of today’s portable machines, but without sacrificing the ability to do intensive video editing or high-end gaming. Additionally, this should make it easier to upgrade your graphics card — something video editors or gamers will do every couple of years — as you won’t need to open your main machine or send it somewhere to do so.
Gennie Gebhart for the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
You shouldn’t have to do this. You shouldn’t have to wade through complicated privacy settings in order to ensure that the companies with which you’ve entrusted your personal information are making reasonable, legal efforts to protect it. But Facebook has allowed third parties to violate user privacy on an unprecedented scale, and, while legislators and regulators scramble to understand the implications and put limits in place, users are left with the responsibility to make sure their profiles are properly configured.
Facebook’s Platform API is what allows third-party applications to access your Facebook data. Disabling this will also disable your ability to “log in” with Facebook, but if you’re looking for a way to tighten down your account without deleting it, this is worth considering.
“We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.” Signed by Mark Zuckerberg.
This reminds me of when Slack took out a full page ad ahead of Microsoft’s announcement of their new team-based chat platform. There’s something ironic about these digital companies feeling compelled to go to print when the stakes are high, no?
Dave Morin, former CEO and co-founder of private social networking app, Path:
Overwhelmed by requests to rebuild a better @Path. Considering doing it. If you are interested in working on such an idea, DM me. Let’s see if a passionate team forms. If so, we’ll do it.
Path, if you’ve never heard of it, was one of the many social networks launched in the late 2000’s, but it had a unique twist: a 50-person network limit. I only used Path for a year or so — it shared a lot of similarities to Instagram in the early days, minus the whole discovery part — but I found it simple and enjoyable. The 50-person limit ended up being a healthy limitation, because when your only connections are current friends and family, there’s a real sense of authenticity and calm. Unfortunately, privacy and friend limits don’t necessarily help grow a social networking company, and in 2015 Path was sold to Korean company Daum Kakao, as the team doubled down on maintaining their traction in the Asian market.
Path’s still available today, but they’ve lifted their network size limit and haven’t done much to the core product since the sale. It’s not the same experience that it was in 2010. It’s also worth remembering that Path wasn’t perfect. Before iOS required apps to request address book permissions, Path was caught quietly uploading all of your address book contacts to their servers, and then spamming those numbers as a way to help you make more connections. Scummy.
Still, I think there’s room for a mobile-first, affordable (as in paid, because otherwise we’ll be right back to the data-selling square one we’re in right now with Facebook), limited social network. Mr. Morin’s tweet generated a lot of enthusiastic replies from investors, developers, and designers all interested in helping get such a project off the ground, but if Facebook’s shown us anything, it’s that there’s a chasm between showing support for a cause on social media and actually doing anything practical.
With Mr. Morin, though, creating a new, better Path could be a real possibility — it just might take a while. Mr. Morin, an ex-Facebooker himself, is currently helping run the venture capital firm he co-founded, Slow Ventures. Slow’s modus operandi, if the name didn’t give it away, is that “the most powerful ideas, companies, and industries aren’t created overnight.”
At this point though, it’s not about our hypothetical, private social network becoming as powerful as Facebook — it’s about having an alternative. A well designed, private, sustainable alternative. In 2010, Path’s features and limitations were interesting — today, they’re downright compelling.
Paul Ford, for Bloomberg Businessweek, on the United States’ need for an agency dedicated to regulating companies that handle large amounts of personal, sensitive data:
The activist and internet entrepreneur Maciej Ceglowski once described big data as “a bunch of radioactive, toxic sludge that we don’t know how to handle.” Maybe we should think about Google and Facebook as the new polluters. Their imperative is to grow! They create jobs! They pay taxes, sort of! In the meantime, they’re dumping trillions of units of toxic brain poison into our public-thinking reservoir. Then they mop it up with Wikipedia or send out a message that reads, “We take your privacy seriously.”
Given that the federal government is currently one angry man with nuclear weapons and a Twitter account, and that it’s futile to expect reform or self-regulation from internet giants, I’d like to propose something that will seem impossible but I would argue isn’t: Let’s make a digital Environmental Protection Agency. Call it the Digital Protection Agency. Its job would be to clean up toxic data spills, educate the public, and calibrate and levy fines.
Whether it’s through laws or a separate agency, the U.S. needs a new approach to better supervise and safeguard the enormous amount of personal user data in the hands of today’s companies. At the moment, I don’t have much hope in law-based protection, given that Congress has largely failed to punish Equifax for their compromising of more than 140 million Americans’ personal data. However, an independent, empowered, and funded agency could be a promising first step, even if it takes years to realize its potential.
Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, with an excellent feature on the rapid rise and subsequent crash of Telltale Games:
When Telltale released the first episode of The Walking Dead in April 2012, even some of the people who worked on the game were surprised by how positive the audience reaction was. By January 2013, the game had sold more than 8.5 million copies — or episodes — raking in more than $40 million in sales. In October 2013, the company claimed to have sold more than 21 million different episodes individually across all of its platforms. Telltale started to expand, signing partnerships with Gearbox Software, HBO, and Mojang and transitioning from a small studio to a midlevel company with multiple licensed properties.
The culture of the company changed dramatically as a result. Former employees describe Telltale in its early days as a small, tight-knit group with a strong sense of camaraderie. New hires trickled in slowly. Upper management had been much less involved in the day-to-day, and developers were given more freedom to do their jobs as they saw best. But the success of The Walking Dead spurred the company to expand rapidly: in order to suit both its growing ambitions and keep investors happy, it became a company that many long-standing employees no longer recognized. “We went from a small and scrappy team to kind of a giant studio full of 300-plus people,” says former Telltale programmer and designer Andrew Langley, who worked at the studio from 2008 to 2015. “You walk around the office, and you don’t really recognize anybody anymore.”
Within Telltale’s portfolio are some truly excellent examples of how strong writing and simple mechanics can create a thoroughly compelling video game. It’s a risky thing, making a game that relies so heavily on dialogue driven by user choice, but Telltale made it engaging, challenging, and authentic. Here’s to hoping they can do it again.
Should every page you visit on the Internet be served over HTTPS? For banks and online stores, the answer is an obvious yes. But what about blogs, decades old web archives, and other bland online data? Do these documents deserve secured connections?
So now Google points a gun at the web and says “Do as we say or we’ll tell users your site is not secure.” What they’re saying doesn’t stand up to a basic bullshit-test. There’s nothing insecure about my site. Okay I suppose it’s possible you could get hurt using it, I’ll grant you that. But I could get hurt getting up out of my chair and going into the kitchen to refill my coffee cup. Life is insecure. When Google says my old site is insecure what they really mean is “This is our platform now, and you do as we say or your site won’t work.” I don’t believe for a minute that Google’s motivation is protecting users. They seem to believe they can confuse users (they can) and that means they can do anything to the web they like. I suppose they can do that too. But it doesn’t mean the web will cooperate. Imho, it won’t.
The web is not safe. That is correct. We don’t want every place to be safe. So people can be wild and experiment and try out new ideas. It’s why the web has been the proving ground for so much incredible stuff over its history.
Lots of things aren’t safe. Skiing. Bike riding in Manhattan. We do them anyway. You can’t be safe all the time. Life itself isn’t safe.
If Google succeeds in making the web controlled and bland, we’ll just have to reinvent the web outside of Google’s sphere. Let’s save some time, and create the new web out of the web itself.
PS: Of course we want parts of the web to be safe. Banking websites, for example. But my blog archive from 2001? Really there’s no need for special provisions there.
We’ve got two arguments here: 1.) Google’s change in Chrome to display “Not Secure” on sites that don’t have HTTPS is the first in what could be a series of steps that eventually lead to HTTP sites being automatically blocked by Chrome, effectively killing the HTTP protocol; and 2.) the world isn’t safe, HTTPS isn’t a silver bullet, and there are simply some types of content that provide no risk and don’t deserve to be called out as insecure.
There’s an additional argument, tangential and articulated by Nick Heer:
Which brings us 3.) raising the barrier to entry (e.g. requiring someone understand how to set up HTTPS before they can get a site online) harms the approachability of creating something new online.
I disagree on all three arguments, but I don’t think they come from unfounded places. I also have great respect for Mr. Winer’s contribution to the web. When Mr. Winer writes, which he does a lot, I read.
However, the last few weeks have left me scratching my head. I don’t disagree with Mr. Winer’s general distrust of Google — I’m skeptical of Google’s motives when it comes to Chrome’s ad-filter or the likes of AMP — but his recent articles leave me feeling that we’ve missed the forest for the trees; that we’re overlooking the importance of encryption because we’re hung up on our sites being labeled insecure, which, truthfully, they are.
Regardless of what Chrome, Firefox, or Safari do, HTTPS is good for the web, and more sites should enable it for their content. Another way to put it: HTTPS is like fluoride. Fluoride is a proven, safe chemical that we add to water to help prevent cavities. Do you need it, if you consistently brush and floss twice a day? Ostensibly, no, but if there’s a way to help protect your teeth in spite of what is otherwise entirely reliant on your own self discipline and understanding of the risks, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it? The World Wide Web is different today than it was when Mr. Winer first created the content he now is struggling to find reason to provide over HTTPS, but that’s not the visitor’s fault. It’s not even his — yet.
Unfortunately, the world wide landscape today desperately calls for us to encrypt what we can. We, as creators on the web, are obliged to help protect the privacy and security of our readers. Enabling HTTPS on a domain doesn’t hurt existing content, but it does provide your visitors with a little more protection, and — critically — it doesn’t require a change in their behavior. They get to keep just using the web.
Not requiring a change in user behavior is important, because most users won’t change. Recently we had some friends going on a mission trip, and we wanted to give them some money to help cover the costs. They sent us the link to the organization’s site, but when I pulled it up and navigated to the donation page, it was still being served over HTTP. Yet, the page had all the trappings of a secure location. Little lock symbols near the form, a NORTON SECURE sticker — everything but the HTTPS. To someone not scrutinizing the location field for the missinghttps://, every other visual indicator suggested that one could safely submit their credit card information. A large “Not Secure” label would have made the actual page security (or lack thereof) immediately apparent.
As for Google’s motives here, this change in Chrome doesn’t set off red flags for me quite yet. They’re doing what their peers are — trying to educate and protect a vulnerable population. I think a more secure web is good for everyone, and if Google wants to start calling out sites that don’t use HTTPS, that’s their prerogative. And unlike Chrome’s built-in ad filtering, Google doesn’t make tens of billions based on whether or not a website uses HTTPS.
The web is a dangerous place to be sure, but in contrast with skiing or bike riding in Manhattan, the consequences of an unsecured web often aren’t immediately felt. If I break my leg while skiing, I’m damn aware that it’s broken — the cause and effect are instantly apparent. But if I’m inadvertently tricked into submitting sensitive content on a site that’s not secure, I may not know about it until months later. Additionally, depending on what sort of information was compromised, it could affect parts of my life not related to the original incident. If someone gets access to my email or collects enough metadata on the content I’m visiting, it could damage me (or others) in ways I can’t even imagine. It’d be like waking up one day, months after a skiing trip to find your ankle is now sprained, but having no idea when or where it happened.
Finally, regarding HTTPS as contributing to the barrier preventing newcomers from getting started on the web — I think that’s a temporary problem. There used to be a time when I wouldn’t have recommended WordPress to someone starting out in web publishing. It took too much time to configure a server, create the database, and manage the updates. But today, you can go to any web host, pay them $5 a month, click one button, and have a WordPress site up and running in minutes. Eventually, enabling HTTPS on a domain could be equally as easy. Some web hosts are already offering free, one-click HTTPS, and with services like Let’s Encrypt, the technology to make HTTPS easy and accessible is rapidly improving. In short, the overhead required to get a site secure is quickly diminishing, and in a few years, it may well be one of the simplest parts of creating your next new thing.
Publishing to the web should be easy, accessible, and extremely affordable. But the content you publish should also be made available through a secure connection, even if you don’t think the content warrants being encrypted in transit. I think providing an HTTPS connection to your content will be as much a moral duty to web developers in the future as making accessible, open, and fast webpages are today. And although the browser vendors need to be kept in check, I don’t think their efforts to call out insecure sites are nefarious — rather, our world has changed, and our experience using world wide web needs to change with it. The more we can help push forward a fully secured web, the faster it will get here, and the easier it will be to maintain.
Yet, these sorts of programs should really be opt-in, not opt-out. I’m not against using data to do novel and interesting things, but if your company wants to display my data in some extraneous endeavor, it’s on you to convince me why it’s worthwhile, not me to remember to tell you to stop.
Indie studio Snowman and the brilliant artist/developer Harry Nesbitt have created a simple, yet stunning, sequel to the sublime, endless snowboarding game Alto’s Adventure. It’s the type of game that feels larger than your phone screen, which is fitting, because you’ll be wishing for something bigger to fully appreciate the visuals and art direction.
I’d recommend Odyssey at twice the price. For $5, it’s a steal.
In the four or so years since it launched, end-to-end encrypted messaging app Signal has become the security community’s gold standard for surveillance-resistant communications. Its creators have built an encryption protocol that companies from WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger to Skypehave all added to their own products to offer truly private conversations to billions of people. And it’s done so as a non-profit with, at any given moment, a tiny staff that includes just two or three full-time coders. […]
On Wednesday, the creators of Signal announced the launch of the Signal Foundation, which will build and maintain Signal and potentially other privacy-focused apps to come, too. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has also joined as the foundation’s executive chairman, his first new role since leaving WhatsApp last fall. And Acton’s not only devoting the next phase of his post-WhatsApp career to Signal, but a fair-sized chunk of his WhatsApp billions, too: He’s personally injecting $50 million into the project.
If you follow the information security crowd, you’ll quickly pick up on a general cynicism towards technology. Who can blame them? Between the Internet of (unsecured) Things and this quarter’s rendition of guess which retailer leaked your credit card, there’s plenty of room for criticism.
However, whenever I see Signal come up, it really does seem to live up to that “gold standard” label. It’s not perfect, and the app has some problems, but the encryption code is peer reviewed and open source, and it’s trusted by some of the biggest public targets in the world. The United States Senate uses it, and, famously, Signal is Edward Snowden’s preferred messaging app.
Sidestepping my own cynicism that comes out whenever “loved app X takes large investment from vc/company Y,” it’s heartening to see the Signal team get a little structure and financial breathing room. I hope the money goes to fund further development and stability of the service, while avoiding the distractions or gimmicky features — like stories — that every messaging app seems to have these days. Signal is not like other messaging apps, and that’s a good thing. The world needs an incredibly secure, focused messaging protocol, and Signal’s now got the resources to continue building just that.
Today, we are rolling out Twitter Lite, a new mobile web experience which minimizes data usage, loads quickly on slower connections, is resilient on unreliable mobile networks, and takes up less than 1MB on your device. We also optimized it for speed, with up to 30% faster launch times as well as quicker navigation throughout Twitter.
the app is designed to be offline first and improve the experience of watching videos on a slower network; it gives you more control over data usage, by providing choice and transparency into the amount of data spent on streaming or saving videos.
Kindle Lite is the new lightweight app built specially for a great reading experience even on slow networks and with patchy connectivity. It is less than 2MB, works on slow networks, and occupies less space on your smartphone.
In the new Lite mode things look a little different — we keep the headlines and trim the rest of the components down to their essentials so that the app loads more quickly (and uses less than one-third of the data).
With our new and reimagined Google apps, we’ve focused on making them not only smaller, but smooth and fast too. For example, Google Go—a new app to find the information you want—optimizes data by up to 40 percent, weighs less than 5MB in size, and makes it faster to find popular and trending information with a simple, tappable interface.
In Hurricane #Irma’s path with a weak phone connection? Stay up to date with the text-only version of our website http://lite.cnn.io
What part of being fast, data conscious, and reliable is exclusive to old devices or those on poor networks? Why does Twitter Lite feel more like Twitter than anything the company’s done with their main website or app over the past few years? Are Facebook, Twitter, and Google truly so married to ads, analytics, and A/B testing frameworks that their only shot at making a reasonably sized, fast app is to start fresh? Will these lite variants actually stay that way, or will the bloat slowly creep back in?
Here’s a thought: the lite version of your app, service, or website should be your only app, service, or website. And if you’re just starting out, build the lite variant first, then stop.
That said, I do think “lite” is the appropriate moniker. Not because it’s the best label for these lightweight alternatives, but because the regular offerings are tragically obese.
I remain highly skeptical of Google — who made $27.2 billion in ad revenue last quarter — having any say in what ads Chrome will or won’t display. That said, the initial launch and implementation of Chrome’s native ad filtering seems honest enough, for now.
If, however, the whole thing leaves you feeling a bit icky, Firefox Quantum is a great alternative to Chrome. I’ve been using it for the past few months and have yet to find a reason to switch back.