• Apple



    One downside to running the public iOS beta all summer is it makes the today’s official release day a lot less exciting. At least there’s the annual iOS review by @viticci to dig into.

    Monday September 12, 2022
  • Indieweb



    Instagram is Dead - Round 4?

    Via Manton, Om Malick writes Instagram is Dead:

    What’s left is a constantly mutating product that copies features from whatever popular service — Snapchat, TikTok, or whatever. It is all about marketing and pushing substandard products and mediocre services pushed by influencers with less depth than a sheet of paper.

    Instagram For Me

    Instagram replaced Facebook for me as the place to keep up with what friends or family might be doing. I keep a personal Instagram account mainly to keep up with friends and family. There’s a couple accounts I follow who use it as a traditional photography app - for the rest it’s all status updates in visual form. I go back and forth between using it to post an interesting photo I took (Instagram v1 style), and posting 9 photos and a video of a family camping trip (Instagram v5? style).

    I also have a business account because I feel like I should - but I use it in spurts, and really could delete it without any noticeable impact on my business other than the time it would free up from me feeling like I need to check it.

    Instagram For My Kids

    Seeing how my kids use Instagram, I want to hurl the app into the sun and watch it burn for a thousand years. We’ve given our oldest 2 Instagram accounts in order to keep up with youth group activities, and naturally they’ve connected with friends and family as well. But they spend 3 minutes checking out the photos or stories from those friends, and then the rest of their screen time allotted flipping through the Reels tab.

    I love me some TikToks more than the average adult. But seeing my kids mindlessly swipe through Reels feels especially gross somehow. I want them to experience media, culture, and find their own funnies - but it feels like I’m just letting them walk up to the McDonalds counter at breakfast and order a Big Mac with large fries and a coke every day. The long term effects of “swipe away in 2 seconds if it’s boring or not funny” remain to be seen, but it doesn’t feel good right now.

    It’s nearly impossible to move off of Instagram though. The only other platform used by their friends is Snapchat, and the discover tab on Snapchat feels even more unhinged than Reels on Instagram.

    If I could remove the Reels tab from Instagram, I’d worry a lot less about what my kids might discover on the app.

    Instagram Is The New Mall

    In an attempt to be all apps to all people, Instagram is steadily becoming the new home shopping network as well:

    The company just announced a new creator marketplace which means creators (much like celebrities of yore that hawked wares on QVC and HSN (the Home Shopping Network) can do the same for the brands. “Social media is essentially the new roadside billboard, only it accomplishes the goal of traditional advertising in a much savvier way,” Bankrate.com analyst Sarah Foster told Fortune.

    Count me out. As above, if I could remove the shopping tab from Instagram, I’d worry a lot less about what my kids might discover on the app.

    If Not Instagram, Then What?

    I don’t have the answer for what to do instead because there’s not going to be enough people moving off Instagram to move the needle anytime soon. I’ve tried formally quitting Instagram and Facebook multiple times, but something keeps me from fulling deleting my accounts. Much like the occasional stop at McDonald’s on the way back from camping, I can’t quit the junk food of the internet completely.

    For now I’ll be over on TikTok watching the memes my kids will be watching in a month on Reels. 😆

    Tuesday July 19, 2022
  • Software

    Lossless Audio or Video Editing

    I’ve long been a fan of Rogue Amoeba’s Fission software for lossless audio editing. I use it if I forget to cut off the end of a podcast’s MP3 file, or cut out a piece of audio that I can make a clean cut of without worrying about the rest of the edit. Or to split large audio files into smaller ones.

    When Fission saves it back to an MP3, it does it in a lossless way. (Rogue Amoeba has a support doc explaining how they do it if you’re curious.

    Thanks to a client - Stephen Shaw over at CodePen Radio, I learned about Lossless Cut, an open source app for that:

    …aims to be the ultimate cross platform FFmpeg GUI for extremely fast and lossless operations on video, audio, subtitle and other related media files.

    To try it out, I pulled up a video of a recent Learn with Jason episode I had edited and added chapter markers to for YouTube. With a click of a button I could export all the chapter segments into individual video files which would make for really easy social media clips, or a library of videos on a specific topic that could be smashed together into a compilation video.

    Screenshot of a video edit of a recent Learn with Jason video

    And it took less than 5 minutes to export all of them out of the original video. Slick!

    macOS Finder screenshot showing 14 chapters listed as individual video files from the previous Learn with Jason video.

    Lossless Cut is free to use if you download it from the GitHub repo - look for the one labelled ‘LosslessCut-mac-x64.dmg’ - or you can buy it from the Mac App Store as well.

    The differences between the GitHub download vs Mac App Store shouldn’t be a big deal for most people, and may actually be the more stable version of the app if you’re using it for critical work related editing.

    They have exactly the same in-app features, except for a few platform limitations. Apple doesn’t allow opening VOB files with App Store apps. Apple App Store apps need to prompt for output directory. LosslessCut version in the App Stores is a few versions behind the GitHub version, because I want to be sure that the new versions work perfectly before releasing in the App Stores. GitHub version can contain new, untested features and may contain some bugs.

    Friday July 8, 2022

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