Links and Notes – Week 43, 2019

A Cybersecurity Firm’s Sharp Rise and Stunning Collapse

‘Tiversa dominated an emerging online market—before it was accused of fraud, extortion, and manipulating the federal government.’ Long read.

Apple announces AirPods Pro

£249. Noise Cancellation, ‘Transparency Mode’ (allows outside noise in), Qi-enabled charging case, removable tips of different sizes to ensure a good fit. John Gruber [Daring Fireball] has published his first impressions. Transparency Mode should make driving and walking with AirPods much safer.

iOS 13.2 Emoji Changelog

With every iOS update there seems to be a new wave of emojis and I’m always impressed by the detail of Emojipedia’s breakdowns. I’m not an emoji user myself, but I know of people who’s only interest in upgrading iOS is to get new emojis. This time it seems like a lot of emojis have been updated to be ‘gender-neutral’. But to my eyes most of them actually look more feminine than masculine. Apple is also taking away certain stereotypical iconography from their designs it seems, removing the moustache from the police officer and the beard and ponytail from the genie. But with emojis being so small I wonder if this will cause some confusion. You need to rely on stereotypical elements to quickly and clearly display what the emoji is trying to represent.

HBO & Sky On Brink Of New European Programming Deal

In case you’re wondering why the UK won’t be getting the new HBO Max streaming service:

HBO has previously avoided launching a linear channel, or streaming service, in markets covered by Sky as a result of the lucrative programming deal.

Twitter to Ban All Political Advertising

We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons… – @jack

Google Buys Fitbit for $2.1 Billion

… the company will still take privacy for health and fitness data seriously, noting that “Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.”

The 50 Most Important Websites of All Time

Some nostalgia for you.

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers Series

“… timely ideas of classical thinkers in lively new translations” and at manageable page lengths. Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus and more are all here. I haven’t explored these yet so can’t pass comment but they seem great if you’re interested in discovering some of the Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers for the first time. They’re published with the original text on the left page and the translation on the right (like a Loeb book), which I always enjoy.

Running an Indie Bookstore, With Churchillian Resolve

A short article on a gentleman who runs a bookshop which only sells books by or on Churchill. How is it still in business? Well it also sells high-end memorabilia and has a “favorable” financial arrangement with the buildings owners.

Mr. Steinberg’s secretary called down requesting “a complete set of everything Churchill ever wrote, first edition and bound in leather,” Mr. Singer said. […] Mr. Singer wound up charging Mr. Steinberg $100,000 for the set, half of which was for a rare copy of Churchill’s “Mr. Brodrick’s Army.” “He got a bargain — it’s worth more now,”…

Why Don’t We Eat Swans?

We’re not so squeamish about chicken, turkey, pigeon, or goose, but these long-necked beauties have long been off-limits.