Fake news site Breitbart responds to being labeled a fake news site by NewsGuard by calling NewsGuard a promoter of fake news

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Which is what fake news sites do — they call those working against fake news “fake news.”

(When you have the NewsGuard extension installed on your browser, fake news sites are displayed with a red exclamation point, while quality sites are shown with a green check mark.)

Chocolate chili mustard hot dog? Why, Japan? Why?


An event in Tokyo called Salon du Chocolat is featuring a hot dog stand that adds chocolate to the chili mustard dogs.

It’s called a Chocodog, and in truth Japan is largely blameless for this one. It’s really a collaboration between two Danish companies: John’s Hotdog Deli and chocolatier Friis-Holm. They’re merely exhibiting this monstrosity in Japan.

So: Why, Denmark? Why?

Everyone's talking about Microsoft's Edge getting a fake-news tool, but Chrome's had it for ages

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We Pixelbook users can live on what I call the “Super Internet,” which is faster, more secure, more powerful, more money saving and generally more better than the internet everybody else uses.

Case in point: Whenever I get Google Search results on the “Super Internet,” news sources are ranked on a five point scale based on reliability (based on how unlikely or likely they are to publish fake news).

When I’m reading a news story, it’s ranked with a colored badge in the upper right corner of my browser as well.

And when I’m on Twitter, the badge shows up on Tweets that link to sources of information.

This comes courtesy of a Chrome browser extension from a third-party, anti-disinformation tool called "NewsGuard." (NewsGuard is run by entrepreneurial journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher, Gordon Crovitz, who are co-CEOs.)

What people are talking about Edgewise is that Microsoft’s Defending Democracy program integrates NewsGuard, a capability that’s old news for Chrome extension enthusiasts.

I made Khachapuri again


I made these in Santa Barbara at my sister Jody’s house. I used a softer dough, and random cheese (feta, cheddar, ricotta and some other nice cheese of mysterious lineage) and they came out really good. (Here’s my previous post about making this from a few days ago.)

At brunch we all wondered why everyone doesn’t make this things all the time. They’re so good and so fun to eat.

Phrase of the moment: "shadow economy"


Apple CEO Tim Cook penned this week an opinion piece for TIME called “You Deserve Privacy Online. Here’s How You Could Actually Get It.”

In the screed. Cook threw his fellow Silicon Valley companies under the bus by calling for the US government to enact GDPR-like regulations right here in the Land of the Free.


As a tech-centric word nerd, I was struck by Cook’s use of the phrase “shadow economy” as an alternative to “surveillance capitalism.”

I suspect Cook is trying to advance the more criminal-sounding “shadow economy” because Apple in fact does engage in surveillance and certainly engages in capitalism.

How Google plans to reinvent the user interface

Major user interface change is in the air.

When the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 12 years ago, he also introduced to many the concept of the multitouch user interface. He emphasized the benefit of using “the pointing device we were all born with”: our fingers.

But there’s one thing even more natural than physically poking something with our fingers: in-the-air hand gestures. All humans use hand gestures to communicate to other people.

Now Google wants you to use them to communicate with all your electronics.

Google is working on something it calls Project Soli, which uses radar to control electronics with in-the-air hand gestures.

Soli is quite amazing, actually. Here’s everything you need to know about the future of using all your electronics.

My burrata and truffle pizza!

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OK, so we do a Provence Experience that includes the better part of a day hunting for, learning about and eating fresh truffles. Our truffle guy has an adopt-a-tree program, where you sponsor a truffle oak tree, and in return get shipments of fresh truffles.

We just got our shipment, so yesterday we had truffle cheese toast and truffle pasta. Tonight, I made a pizza with naturally leavened dough , burrata cheese and fresh truffles.


Why I don't trust OnePlus

Every once in awhile I let slip in conversation that I think OnePlus is an unethical company. My interlocutors are often surprised by this, and I'm often surprised by their surprise.

I thought I'd create this post to list what I believe are the best examples of OnePlus’ unethical approach to just about everything.

Here's my case against OnePlus:

1. They lied about their founding.

The company was founded by former OPPO vice president, Pete Lau, and former OPPO marketing chief, Carl Pei. They claimed to have left OPPO to strike out on their own, and they made a big deal about this "origin story."

When Lau announced the founding of OnePlus, he said: "Today is my last day at OPPO."

In fact, they never left OPPO.

OnePlus is a "private company." But 100% of the stock in the company is owned by Oppo Electronics. (OPPO itself is a brand of the Chinese electronics giant BBK Electronics, which sells products mainly in Russia, but also in the United States. In America, BBK products are sold under the Memorex and Philco brands.)

The whole purpose of this arrangement appears to be to create the illusion of a startup, when in fact it's owned by a giant corporation. So, rather than being an innovative, scrappy startup owned by its rebel founders, OnePlus is actually owned by a giant electronics manufacturer and the "founders" are mere employees.

(I don't mind the giant corporation. I mind the lie.)

2. They engaged in sexist marketing.

OnePlus has often experimented with aggressive marketing tactics. One of the worst was their "Ladies First" contest, whereby OnePlus called on women to draw the OnePlus logo somewhere on their body or on a sheet of paper and post the picture on social media. The company said that the 50 "most well-liked" photos (ranked by mostly male forum members) would earn a free T-shirt and permission to buy a OnePlus One phone at full price.

3. They engaged in wasteful marketing.

OnePlus initiated a "Smash the Past" contest. The company called on the public to capture video of themselves smashing their existing smartphone for the chance to win one of 100 OnePlus phones for a $1 each.

OnePlus convinced more than 140,000 people destroy perfectly good phones, unleashing toxic chemicals into the environment and wrecking phones that could have been sold or put into the hands of someone who needed a phone.

4. They shipped phones with hidden backdoors.

A security researcher discovered apps installed on OxygenOS-powered OnePlus phones called EngineerMode and OnePlusLogKit that could give hackers access to WiFi, NFC and GPS logs and enable them to root a OnePlus phone without unlocking the bootloader.

5. They lied to customers about sales.

OnePlus consistently uses fake "success theater" tactics to create the impression of wild success. The original sin of the company is to require invitations and artificial scarcity to make OnePlus phones hard to get.

But they also did this by outright lying about sales, telling customers in India: "Thanks for making OnePlus 5 the highest-grossing phone ever."

After getting caught, they claimed that the character limitations of SMS forced them to say "ever" instead of "in the launch week."

6. They were caught spying on users.

OnePlus was caught harvesting data on users, including phone locks and unlocks, reboots, IMEI numbers, phone numbers, MAC addresses and other wireless network data, along with the phone’s serial number.

7. They’re careless with customers’ personal data.

The company admitted in January of 2018 that a hack attack compromised the credit card data of up to 40,000 customers.

8. They were caught cheating at benchmarks.

And more than once.

XDA detailed how the OnePlus 5 review units OnePlus sent to reviewers was altered to cheat on benchmark tests.

9. They deleted negative reviews on their website.

OnePlus apparently and routinely deletes negative reviews on their websites, creating the false impression that all customers are happy with their products.

10. They lied about bezel size.

OnePlus marketed their OnePlus 6T smartphone on Instagram using doctored images that showed the bezel size as being smaller than it really is.

11. They achieved the fastest face unlock by shipping an insecure system.

OnePlus got a reputation for having the fastest-unlocking phone on the market for face unlock. But they achieved this by shipping a system that can be unlocked with a printed photo of the user’s face.

Face unlock is supposed to enhance security, not decrease it.

It all adds up

For some of these lapses, other companies have been similarly accused. For example, Samsung has been accused of cheating on benchmarks. LG has been accused of lying about bezel size, etc. But. to the best of my knowledge, OnePlus is the only company accused of all these things.

When accused of all these transgressions, OnePlus always has a story or reason or justification for why they're not really lying, cheating or being assholes.

They're like Facebook in that regard -- aggressively moving fast and breaking things, then apologizing or justifying when caught.

I think that it makes sense to avoid companies that lie, cheat and abuse.

Facebook pays phone makers to make the Facebook app un-deletable


Can’t delete the Facebook app on your Android smartphone? That’s because Facebook paid the maker of that smartphone extra money to prevent the app from being deletable.

According to this very good article by Sarah Frier on Bloomberg, “Facebook declined to provide a list of the partners with which it has deals for permanent apps, saying that those agreements vary by region and type. There is no complete list available online, and consumers may not know if Facebook is pre-loaded unless they specifically ask a customer service representative when they purchase a phone.”

For non-deletable installations, Facebook says the app can be “disabled,” which means it doesn’t collect data, etc., but cannot be deleted.

I was on TWiT!

I got to be on the world’s best technology podcast, This Week in Tech!

The show featured host Leo Laporte and guests Iain Thomson, Alex Wilhelm and me!

We talk about Apples big iPhone problem.

We talk about Facebook and my Nicebook idea.

And we talk about Apple vs. Qualcomm, the big money in video games, China and security, AI and quantum computing, Amazon and Microsoft and more!!

And most importantly, we talk about a toothbrush that brushes all your teeth at the same time (under the category of “why CES sucks).

I saw Roma last night... In Roma

Roma is a neighborhood in Mexico City, and it’s where I saw the movie Roma. Mexico City is a character in this movie the way New York City is a character in Woody Allen Movies. They capture the vibe of the city exactly.

This is the best movie I’ve seen in a long time — easily the best movie of the year.

I love spoiling movies, but I’m not going to spoil this one other than to say that it’s incredibly true to life, beautifully shot and written and the acting is perfect.

I will warn you, though: It’s a tearjerker. That is all.