Archive for April 2, 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

1.1.1.1: the Fastest, Privacy-first Consumer DNS Service

Matthew Prince:

The problem is that these DNS services are often slow and not privacy respecting. 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.

[…]

But it’s been depressing to us to watch all too frequently how DNS can be used as a tool of censorship against many of the groups we protect. While we’re good at stopping cyber attacks, if a consumer’s DNS gets blocked there’s been nothing we could do to help.

[…]

We talked to the APNIC team about how we wanted to create a privacy-first, extremely fast DNS system. They thought it was a laudable goal. We offered Cloudflare’s network to receive and study the garbage traffic in exchange for being able to offer a DNS resolver on the memorable IPs. And, with that, 1.1.1.1 was born.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

I just checked 1.1.1.1’s performance and it appears to be the fastest DNS out there, avergaing 14.01 ms worldwide and 11.34 ms in Europe over the last 30 days. Google’s 8.8.8.8 and 4.4.4.4 is significantly slower, clocking in at 34.51 ms and 24.43 ms respectively.

See also: Google Public DNS.

Update (2018-04-22): See also: Glenn Fleishman.

Microsoft Is Ready for a World Beyond Windows

Tom Warren:

Microsoft announced a new reorganization yesterday. It’s the fourth major shuffle inside the company over the past five years, and the most significant of Nadella’s tenure. Microsoft is splitting Windows across the company, into different parts. Terry Myerson, a 21-year Microsoft veteran, is leaving the company and his role as Windows chief. The core development of Windows is being moved to a cloud and AI team, and a new team will take over the “experiences” Windows 10 users see like apps, the Start menu, and new features. There’s a lot of shuffling going on, but Nadella’s 1,300 word memo leaves little doubt over the company’s true future: cloud and AI.

Ben Thompson:

What is more interesting, though, is the story of Windows’ decline in Redmond, culminating with last week’s reorganization that, for the first time since 1980, left the company without a division devoted to personal computer operating systems (Windows was split, with the core engineering group placed under Azure, and the rest of the organization effectively under Office 365; there will still be Windows releases, but it is no longer a standalone business). Such a move didn’t seem possible a mere five years ago, when, in the context of another reorganization, former-CEO Steve Ballmer wrote a memo insisting that Windows was the future (emphasis mine)[…]

[…]

To put it another way, Nadella’s shift to a post-Windows Microsoft is the right one; to have done the same a decade sooner would have been better. It also, though, may have been impossible, simply because Windows was still the biggest part of the business, and it’s not clear the markets would have tolerated an explicit shift before it was painfully obvious it was necessary; without a rising stock price, Nadella’s mission would have been much more challenging if not impossible.

Update (2018-04-02): Maynard Handley:

Did it HAVE to turn out this way?

What if MS had been willing to keep improving Windows instead of just essentially polishing XP?

Of course to do that would have been disruptive (ie would have caused people to complain about changes).

So what do you do?

Accept that you can’t serve BOTH Enterprise (world never changes) and Personal (we want change)?

IMHO MS should have seen this tension years ago and created a separate personal OS. Put in a Windows Blue Box but make it Apple-level clear that that is legacy and goes away. Also make it clear that the new OS is constantly improving -- don’t coddle developers who lag.

The Business of Streaming Music

Keith Nelson Jr. (via Dan Masters):

There’s just one problem: All of the biggest streaming services are losing money.

The biggest reason for these massive losses are the large amounts of money in licensing fees those services have to pay to rights holders, primarily record labels, in order to stream copyrighted songs. Spotify has spent nearly $10 billion in licensing since 2006, while concurrently incurring $2.9 billion in losses over the same time period.

[…]

[Elizabeth Moody of Pandora]: “What we have done, and we’re continuing to do, is take the artist into the studio, in a nice, smaller setting, and record some of those performances live. In live recordings that we work on with them, we’ll have a period of time where we’ve got exclusive rights to those unique recordings. So, what we’ve done that way, as opposed to try and take an exclusive right on the album recording, we’ll have a unique sound recording that we create with the artist at that event, and that’s where our exclusive rights come into play.”

Update (2018-05-01): Erin Griffith:

A new study by internet radio service Pandora shows that too many ads can motivate users to pay for an ad-free version, but push many more to listen less or abandon the service. The study found that the additional subscription revenue does not make up for the lost ad revenue from those who listen less or leave the service.

Carbon Copy Cloner and APFS Snapshots

Mike Bombich:

CCC 5.1 [in beta] offers support for point-in-time restores by leveraging the snapshot feature of Apple’s new APFS filesystem. CCC’s SafetyNet feature offered similar functionality to this in the past, but snapshots take it to a new level, allowing you to do things like restore a previous version of the OS and older versions of your Photos library.

CCC is also the first comprehensive snapshot management utility for macOS. Browsing the contents of any snapshot is just a click away, and should you want to delete a specific snapshot (whether created by CCC or Time Machine), just select it and press the Delete key. How much space are those snapshots consuming? CCC can tell you that. No other utility offers this much insight into your APFS volumes’ snapshots!

System Fonts in CSS

Craig Hockenberry:

Apple agreed and made a proposal on the CSS mailing list. Over the next few months that proposal evolved from being called “system” to “system-ui”. (Once upon a time, Windows used a font called “System” that could have caused a conflict.)

At the end of the day the CSS Font Module was updated and there was an official way to render text just like the operating system.

[…]

Both Chrome and Safari support it fully on a wide variety of platforms. Only Mozilla and Windows are lagging behind.

Previously: CSS Font Family for San Francisco.

Uber Is Ripping Off Frequent Riders

Will Preston (Hacker News):

Uber appears to have the opposite of a rewards program. That is, it appears the more you use Uber as a passenger, the more they’re going to charge you per mile. We know Uber said they were going to experiment on charging different customers different rate, based on a variety of unpublished factors. My current belief is the more you use the service in a way that suggests you can afford more, the more they will charge you.

[…]

I’m not talking about surge pricing, part of which would get passed on to a driver. I’m talking about raising a passenger’s “upfront” fare 10-30% higher than they would pay if they were paying their market’s time and distance rates for the same ride.

[…]

The AI program figured out I’m a business traveler and started jacking up my prices. My upfront price to the airport started showing up around $70, and my ride home was close to $80. No surge. Just a much higher price for the same trip. Uber’s thoughts? Maybe ‘He’s on an expense account! He doesn’t care what he’s paying!’

[…]

The final data point is that I know that if a passenger changes their destination mid-ride to something completely different than the destination they were quoted for, their upfront price is discarded. Instead, they will be charged time and distance for that ride. This is how I will both prove that this is what is happening, as well as make sure I am not personally being ripped off.

maxxxxx:

That’s one thing I have noticed in general. I used to think that as a long time customer you are valued and get better deals. But this seems to have changed to the opposite. Long time customers are viewed as something a company doesn’t have to compete for anymore and instead more money can be extracted from them. See cell phones, TV cable, car insurance and others. Almost like employment where now the only way to get a raise is often to change jobs and not to stay.