How to make Twitter auto-refresh


Citing technical and business constraints," Twitter announced today in a blog post that it would "stop supporting... Twitter for Apple Watch and Twitter for Mac" and end support for "some outdated developer tools" (i.e. tools that Twitter doesn't want to support anymore.)

As a result, according to the post, "instead of Tweets automatically streaming in like they once did in some third-party apps, you might need to pull to refresh like you do in Twitter-owned apps and sites."

So on the normal internet, auto-refreshing Twitter is officially dead. 

Of course, on the Super Internet, the rules don't apply. 

A free Chrome extension called Refresh for Twitter auto-refreshes regular web Twitter for you, just like third-party clients like TweetDeck used to. 

I'm adding this to my list of best Chrome Extensions

Are there other Twitter feed refresher extensions you recommend?

Google to open first-ever full-size retail store


Google is planning to open a flagship retail store in Chicago, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune

The two-level. 14,000 square feet store will open in Chicago's Fulton Market district. 

Google has previously managed "pop-up" and "kiosk" retail stores, but this is the company's first major store. 

Expect to see Google selling Pixel phones, Pixelbooks, Google Home devices, Nest products and others. 

Artist imagines the future of Russia


Let's face it: The series, called "Russia 2077" by the artist Evgeny Zubkov, is really a criticism of today's Russia, where high tech and poverty live side by side. 

Kevin's computer museum


My son, Kevin, has been storing our old mobile gadgets for years. As a longtime tech journalist specializing in mobile computing, I always got the latest and greatest. Kevin benefited from this plethora of devices as well, and he always got them when I moved on to Shiny New Thing.

Cleaning out his garage, he found a huge stash of classic devices. 

The oldest and best -- in my opinion, the best mobile computer ever made -- is my 1993 HP OmniBook 300, a super innovative PC created by the calculator division of HP. 

One of the many innovations of this device is that you could remove the rechargeable battery, and instead use 4 AA batteries. So that's what we did. It booted right up, and works exactly like it did in the 90s.

The laptop is indestructible. It's powered by an Intel 386SXLV CPU. 

The display is a nine-inch monochrome VGA display with 16 shades of gray. 

It weighs 2.9 pounds. 

Almost every aspect of this laptop is totally unique and innovative. For starters, it's got only 2 MB of RAM. That's interesting, because it's operating system -- Windows 3.1 -- required 4. 

The reason is that the operating system, both Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS 5.0 -- and a smattering of Microsoft applications like Word 2.0, Excel 4.0, etc., were both stored and executed in ROM, so they didn't use any of the available RAM, which was reserved for documents. 

The ROM-installed applications are launched with the function keys at the top of the keyboard. 

And it has a feature that most laptops don't really quite have even today: Instant on. Just push the blue On/Off button, and the screen lights up in the same state as when shut off before in less than half a second. 

It predates consumer WiFi by about four years, so it doesn't support WiFi. You moved documents on and off using a PCMCIA card, which is an old storage medium about the size of a short stack of credit cards. It's got two PCMCIA cards. 

It's also got a 9-pin serial port and a parallel printer port. And an IR port! Wow. 

The mouse pops out of the side when you press a button. It's a "popsicle stick" format, so it's not the movement of mouse that registers movement, but the movement of the flat plastic that connects the mouse. 

The other feature is general indestructibility. The keyboard is indestructible, and still works perfectly. The screen, the solid state storage -- all of it built like a tank, which is why it still boots right up. 

I paid $2,375 for it in 1993. Worth every penny.

Interestingly, it's a great computer for one very simple reason: Security. Without any WiFi radios or Bluetooth radios, it's a guaranteed air-gapped device. And with the OS and major applications in ROM, it's unaffectable by malware. 

It's the perfect device for traveling to Black Hat or Defcon (or Russia or China). 

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Here's a few of the other gem's in Kevin's "computer museum." 

 The original Palm Pilot.

The original Palm Pilot.

 The original Palm Pilot with a modem. 

The original Palm Pilot with a modem. 

 Sharp Zaurus.

Sharp Zaurus.

 HP Jornada (still works!)

HP Jornada (still works!)

 Vadem Clio.

Vadem Clio.

 Philips Nino. 

Philips Nino. 

 Palm V.

Palm V.

 Diamond Mako.

Diamond Mako.

Inside Putin's tweets


FiveThirtyEight published almost 3 million tweets sent by the Russian Disinformation as a Service company, the Internet Research Agency. Researchers are tackling it. And now the analyses are coming fast and furious. 

One point is that they aren't just targeting America. Russia is trying to degrade civility and trust in institutions worldwide: 

"The trolls were engaged in a sophisticated and intricate Russian assault on the political debate in America and several other countries. It was an assault waged both before and after the 2016 presidential election — and an assault that appears to continue, at least in some form, to this day."

As might be expected, the trolls decided to zero in on different triggers for right-leaning and left-leaning targets in America: 

"Large swaths of the Right Troll network are devoted to topics such as media outlets, free speech, American jobs and discrediting the FBI. The Left Troll network skewed more toward topics such as racism, police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement."

More here.

Self-driving scooter finds you, then returns home when you're done

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A scooter service called the Scootbee aims to solve the problem of unsightly scooters blighting our urban landscapes. The trick is that the scooter is autonomous. Use the app to call it like you would an Uber, and the scooter finds you. 

Then you ride it like a regular electric scooter. When you're done, it finds its own way back to base for charging and maintenance. 

This is such a good idea that it seems inevitable, either from this company or another. 

Word of the moment: "blurrealist"


The New York Times reviewed a confusing installation at the Whitney by clothing retailer Eckhaus Latta. The "thing" combined museum show, fashion show, critique and boutique, which the Times said was an example of the "blurrealist" trend that combines art, commerce and commentary. 

Sounds to me like social media, and especially YouTube, is influencing fashion/art. Consider super-vlogger Casey Neistat as an example. He makes videos that straddle these same exact dimensions: art, commerce and commentary. 

Or take our own Gastronomad brand, for example. Whether our content is on Instagram or the page, we're combining art, commerce and commentary with pretty much everything we do. 


Will the HubblePhone ever exist?


Turing today announced a new smartphone called the HubblePhone. And it looks insane. 

Slated for a 2020 release, the phone bends every which way, has multiple cameras and appears to have four screens. Or three. 

Wait, what? 

Yeah: Imagine a dual-screen phone, then imagine two more screens on the backs of the parts that have screens on the front. In the case of one part, it's possible that a single screen curves over the top and covers the back. 

The phone's main camera points out the side -- not the front or back. It's got a 15x optical zoom, according to the company. 

The HubblePhone will run two Snapdragon 855 chipsets, connect to 5G and be optimized for AR, VR and MR. 

Everything seems double on the phone, including the price: $2,750 (OK, maybe triple).

Who got the Tesla surfboard?


I'm hearing that Tesla quietly put $1,500 Tesla-branded surfboards on their site, sold out, then removed the page. Here's the web cache

These were apparently designed by Tesla Design Studio, Lost Surfboards and Matt “Mayhem” Biolos and coated with the same finishes as Tesla cars, which don't float.

Who got one? If you bought a Tesla surfboard, please contact me

Inside the triumphant return of SMS and voicemail


SMS is dead. Voicemail is obsolete. Right?

SMS and voicemail are old and busted technologies that should be, and have been, replaced by newer alternatives.

The reason SMS and voicemail are still not only relevant but resurgent is that everybody has them. No proprietary service will ever match the universality of SMS or voicemail.

While the alternatives to SMS and voicemail get all the press, the truth is that these older approaches to communication are universal — everyone’s got access to them.

And now old and busted SMS and voicemail are becoming the new hotness with new technologies, new ideas and new services.

After slamming Trump's lies, Slate Political Gabfest itself lies


I'm so disappointed in one of my favorite podcasts, the Slate Political Gabfest

On the July 26 episode, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson and David Plotz spent a dozen or so minutes pondering the problem of President Trump's constant and shameless lying, including about easily provable facts and about things we all witness with our own eyes and ears. What's a journalist to do about all that lying? So brazen. So corrosive. 

And then they lied. 

Specifically, David Plotz, reading an ad for Brooklinen, said, in part: "Brooklinen has an exclusive offer just for Gabfest listeners. You get $20 off and free shipping when you use promo code gabfest... The only way to get $20 off and free shipping is to use promo code gabfest"...

This is a lie. The offer is not exclusive. Many podcasts and other media also offer the exact same deal. 

These facts are easily discovered with a simple Google Search

Slate Political Gabfest, please stop lying in your ads. And if you don't stop lying, please stop acting incredulous about how the president could so easily lie. 

How to Control Facebook (Instead Letting Facebook Control You)


If you follow my writing and social media streams, you know I'm constantly complaining about Facebook.

The conventional wisdom is that while Facebook has a monopoly on everybody (which is to say that the only reason everybody is on Facebook is because everybody is on Facebook), your only option is to use it and let it damage your life -- or delete your account. 

But there's another way. Instead of being used by Facebook to make Mark Zuckerberg even richer, instead use Facebook for your own purposes (in my case keeping in touch with loved ones who only use Facebook and also promoting my work). 

A Chrome extension called F.B. Purity gives you a vast number of check boxes that turn specific features on or off, or block certain kinds of content. I can't think of any aspect of Facebook this extension doesn't let you control. 

At minimum, I recommend using F.B. Purity to turn off ads, spam and memes. 

You can also get rid of both the left and right columns (or any individual item in those columns). 

Don't delete Facebook. Instead, take total control of it. 

This is definitely going on The List.

How to Send and Receive SMS via Gmail

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A Chrome Extension called Send Your Email to SMS from CloudHQ lets you send and receive SMS messages in Gmail. 

After installing the Extension and doing a simple setup, you can simply choose a contact from Google Contacts, and send them an "email" from Gmail, which arrives on their phone as an SMS. 

If you're an AT&T, you can follow an additional setup to make the SMS appear to come from your phone, and if you've got an iPhone it all appears to operate within Messages. 

One benefit of sending from Gmail is that you can send a single message that includes both email and SMS recipients. 

You can also tell the extension to send you the email via SMS if it's from a specific person or contains a specific word or phrase in the Subject line. 

It sends the entire email. In my experience, it can take a few minutes to get the alert via SMS. 

This is going on my List of Chrome Extensions.