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Hurricane Ida Flooding in Philly 

A bunch of readers have reached out to ask if we made it through Ida OK, with all the flooding in Philly. We were very lucky. Some neighborhoods very close to us, not so much. I was out all afternoon Thursday, snapping pictures, and here are some showing the damage.

Morning Brew 

My thanks to Morning Brew for sponsoring last week at DF. There’s a reason over 3 million people start their day with Morning Brew — it’s the daily email that delivers the latest news from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Unlike traditional news, Morning Brew knows how to keep you informed and entertained. Check it out — I’ve been subscribed for two years and enjoy it every day.

‘There Goes a Truly Great Drummer’ 

Nick Cave on Charlie Watts. Love this story.

Wirecutter’s ‘Best’ Drip Coffee Makers Pooh-Poohs the Two Best Drip Coffee Makers 

Here’s a perfect example of what I was talking about in the previous item, about The Wirecutter institutionally fetishizing price over quality. And within “quality” I include design aesthetics, which, let’s face it, almost always goes hand-in-hand with price.

From their current list of “best” drip coffee makers, which is topped by OXO’s $200 Brew 9-Cup:

You can find a number of expensive, stylish coffee makers made in small quantities for enthusiast audiences. Clive Coffee’s Ratio Eight and the Chemex Ottomatic are two prominent examples. They’re all made for connoisseurs who are willing to spend a lot on a high-end machine. The main draw of these coffee makers is that they brew similarly to manually making a batch of pour-over — pre-infusing the grounds and evenly pouring the hot water. For the price, however, it’s hard to see any concrete benefits to these machines, and they’re also less widely available than our top picks.

The Ratio Eight costs $495, and the Chemex Ottomatic $350. They don’t just brew coffee similarly to pour-over, they brew pour-over. The difference is only that they’re automatic. And pour-over coffee tastes better than the stuff regular drip coffee makers brew.

The “concrete benefits” to these machines is that they make better-tasting coffee and they look better on your kitchen counter. Yes, $350/495 is significantly more than $200, but many coffee lovers gladly spend $5 a cup every day for pour-over coffee from a good coffee shop. Many people pay close to that for drip coffee from not-so-good coffee shops.

I was recently at a friend’s house who owns the Ratio Eight and it’s a splendid device. Me, I’ll stick with my manual pour-over method, if only for the ritual, but if I were going to buy a machine to automate it, I don’t think I’d consider anything other than a Ratio. Also, Ratio makes the best thermal carafe I’ve ever seen — I ordered one of those. I expect to use it for a decade, if not longer.

And what’s the deal with using “less widely available” as an excuse not to recommend them? A list of “The Best Coffee Makers You Can Definitely Get Delivered This Week” or “The Best Coffee Makers You Can Find on the Shelf If You’re Reading This Review While Standing in the Coffee Maker Aisle at Target” is very different from a list of “The Best Coffee Makers”. A coffee maker is the sort of item I’d research the heck out of, and get on a waitlist to buy, so that I could get one that would most delight me every morning for years to come.

Wirecutter’s description of these two coffee makers is criminal. But at least they did mention them. In many other categories, superior but more-expensive products don’t even get a mention from Wirecutter. I think there’s a huge market opportunity here for a quality-and-design-first rival.

Wirecutter Goes Behind The New York Times’s Paywall 

The New York Times:

The New York Times Company announced today that Wirecutter, its product recommendation service, will institute a metered paywall, asking its frequent users to subscribe for unlimited access to its research and recommendations. New York Times All Access digital and home delivery subscribers will continue to receive unlimited access to Wirecutter’s 1,200+ product reviews, deals coverage and other guides to help them shop confidently online with their existing subscription. A standalone subscription to Wirecutter is available for $5 every four weeks or $40 annually.

This makes sense, and in my opinion, the Times’s paywall rules are among the best in the industry, in terms of offering a generous number of free reads to non-subscribers. But it’s one less “free for everyone to read” high-quality site.

(I have always enjoyed Wirecutter, going back to when they debuted (and had a leading The), but I wish they had a rival that focused less on price. Wirecutter recommendations are very often skewed to the best low-priced product, not the best product in a category, period. I want domain experts to tell me the best products — I can make up my own mind on how much I want to spend.)

Twitter Super Follows Are Implemented as Discrete SKU’s to Work With Apple’s IAP System 

Jane Manchun Wong:

Each Super Follow is an In-App Purchase on the App Store, but because there are too many IAPs for the Twitter app, the App Store only shows 10 instead of the full list.

Her tweet includes this screenshot. The gist is, each Twitter user offering Super Follows gets its own distinct IAP. If there are 1,000 users offering Super Follows, there are 1,000 discrete IAPs in the App Store. If there are 10,000 users offering them, 10,000 IAPs. If there are 100,000, our heads explode.

This is incredible. Ostensibly, Twitter is doing what Apple wants them to do. Right now Super Follows payments are even exclusive to iOS. (Once you pay on iOS, you can see Super Follow content on Twitter’s Android and web clients, too, but the only way to pay is on iOS through IAP.) But Apple’s IAP system is so brittle that Twitter has to make a discrete SKU for each and every Super Follow user, and pay Apple 30 percent of the price for the privilege. (Twitter, per its published terms, takes just 3 percent of the first $50,000 in lifetime earnings, then 20 percent after that.) Also, because Apple’s IAP listings in the App Store rank IAP offerings by popularity, Twitter is being forced to reveal data that they quite likely would prefer to keep to themselves.

No-Quote Attribution of the Day 

Reed Albergotti, reporting for The Washington Post on Apple’s postponement of the new child safety features for iMessage and iCloud Photos:

Apple spokesman Fred Sainz said he would not provide a statement on Friday’s announcement because The Washington Post would not agree to use it without naming the spokesperson.

Fair enough, I suppose, but Albergotti’s blinders have become Midi Fuse Holder Inline ANS Fuse Holder for Midi Fuses & ANS Fus.

Apple Delays Rollout of Controversial Child Safety Features 

Apple, in a statement to the media this morning:

Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.

Accepting feedback and considering that feedback is exactly why they announced these two initiatives in advance, with details, rather than just launching them. Neither of these initiatives should be rushed.

Vintage 2016 Claim Chowder: ‘It’s Official: Google Is the New Apple’ 

Funny how this didn’t work out, at all, because I thought that when Inc. declared something “official” it was official.

Three New Jersey Cops Swept Away in Flooding, Clung to Trees for Hours, Fired Guns to Signal for Help 

Kevin Shea, reporting for

The call was for a vehicle in floodwaters on Route 518 in Hopewell Township — one of many rescue calls in New Jersey Wednesday evening as storms from Hurricane Ida flooded the state. Police Officer James Hoffman went to check it out.

Moments after arriving in the area, east of Route 31 at about 8:30 p.m., Hoffman turned into a victim.

His patrol car started taking on water, then started floating away — sliding sideways about 100 yards into deeper water. Hoffman ditched his bulky duty vest, climbed through a window and started swimming. He found a tree and held on.

Amazing story.

Surgical Masks Reduce COVID-19 Spread, Large-Scale Study Shows 

Stanford Medicine:

A large, randomized trial led by researchers at Stanford Medicine and Yale University has found that wearing a surgical face mask over the mouth and nose is an effective way to reduce the occurrence of COVID-19 in community settings.

It also showed that relatively low-cost, targeted interventions to promote mask-wearing can significantly increase the use of face coverings in rural, low-income countries. Based on the results, the interventional model is being scaled up to reach tens of millions of people in Southeast Asia and Latin America over the next few months.

You might be tempted to file this under “Duh”, but it’s essential to actually study things like this rigorously. It was just 18 months ago, at the outset of the pandemic, when the CDC and other health organizations were saying people shouldn’t bother with face masks.

(Via Taegan Goddard at Political Wire.)

‘Oh My Fucking God, Get the Fucking Vaccine Already, You Fucking Fucks’ 

Wendy Molyneux, writing eloquently for McSweeney’s:

You think vaccines don’t fucking work? Oh, fuck off into the trash, you attention-seeking fuckworm-faced shitbutt. This isn’t even a point worth discussing, you fuck-o-rama fuck-stival of ignorance. Vaccines got rid of smallpox and polio and all the other disgusting diseases that used to kill off little fucks like you en masse. Your relatives got fucking vaccinated and let you live, and now here you are signing up to be killed by a fucking disease against which there is a ninety-nine-percent effective vaccine. You fucking moron. Go in the fucking ocean and fuck a piranha. Fuck. Fuck that. Fuck you. Get vaccinated.

Apple’s Burned Trust 

John Siracusa, on Twitter:

Sure, your “reader” app can include one (1) approved link to your website … but will you be allowed to have any text near that link explaining why someone might want to tap on it, or is that still forbidden? This is where we are, mentally, when considering App Store rules in 2021.

I heard from one reader in the racket wondering if Apple is going to require these apps to also offer Apple’s IAP to be allowed to include a link to a website. I have another friend, who works on a popular subscription app that does use IAP, who’s wondering if they’re going to be allowed to also have a link to their website now, and doubting it.

That’s how much trust Apple has burned.

The spirit of Apple’s settlement with the Japan Fair Trade Commission is clear: these “reader” apps are going to be permitted to link users to their websites for signing up and buying media like e-books, movies, and music. Within that spirit, of course they’re going to be allowed to have text explaining this, and of course they’re not going to be required to also offer Apple’s IAP for these same purchases.

But very reasonable, smart people are genuinely skeptical that Apple is going to adhere to the spirit of this settlement.

Call me a fool, but I think Apple is going to follow through and do the right thing by these apps. There are a lot of negative adjectives that I’d apply to Apple regarding the App Store. Greedy, inconsistent, frustrating, shortsighted, capricious, officious, technically illiterate. Did I say greedy? But one thing Apple is not and never has been is devious. Apple does not play tricks. And the JFTC would not take kindly to tricks.

Apple to Relax Anti-Steering Rules to Allow ‘Reader’ Apps to Link to Their Websites for Account Creation and Management 

This is actually big news from Apple:

Apple today announced an update coming to the App Store that closes an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). The update will allow developers of “reader” apps to include an in-app link to their website for users to set up or manage an account. While the agreement was made with the JFTC, Apple will apply this change globally to all reader apps on the store. Reader apps provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video.

To ensure a safe and seamless user experience, the App Store’s guidelines require developers to sell digital services and subscriptions using Apple’s in-app payment system. Because developers of reader apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase, Apple agreed with the JFTC to let developers of these apps share a single link to their website to help users set up and manage their account. […]

“Trust on the App Store is everything to us. The focus of the App Store is always to create a safe and secure experience for users, while helping them find and use great apps on the devices they love,” said Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow who oversees the App Store. “We have great respect for the Japan Fair Trade Commission and appreciate the work we’ve done together, which will help developers of reader apps make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services, while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust.”

Progress. Apple’s anti-steering provisions are the number one thing I have been clamoring to be changed in the App Store rules. I think this should expand beyond just “reader” apps, but one step at a time.

Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of a significant amount of antitrust pressure being relieved from Apple. Netflix, Kindle, and Spotify (which has been a particularly vocal critic of Apple’s policies) can all do what they should have been allowed to do all along: link to their websites from their apps and tell users that’s where they need to go to sign up and buy content.

Update: Press release from the JFTC, “Closing the Investigation on the Suspected Violation of the Antimonopoly Act by Apple Inc.”:

During the JFTC’s investigation, Apple proposed to take measures such as revising the Guideline related to the alleged conduct above. As a result of the JFTC’s review on this proposal, the JFTC recognized it would eliminate the abovementioned suspicion and decided to close the investigation on this case after the JFTC confirms the measure has been taken.

Other than this, the JFTC found no other monopolistic conduct.

Apple Newsroom:

Apple today announced that it is working with several states across the country, which will roll out the ability for their residents to seamlessly and securely add their driver’s license or state ID to Wallet on their iPhone and Apple Watch. Arizona and Georgia will be the first states to introduce this new innovation to their residents, with Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah to follow. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will enable select airport security checkpoints and lanes in participating airports as the first locations customers can use their driver’s license or state ID in Wallet. Built with privacy at the forefront, Wallet provides a more secure and convenient way for customers to present their driver’s licenses and state IDs on iPhone or Apple Watch.

There’s a lot of information about exactly how this will work in the Newsroom post, including screenshots. I got to talk with Apple about this today, and I’m impressed. A few important details:

Driver’s licenses and state IDs in Wallet are only presented digitally through encrypted communication directly between the device and the identity reader, so users do not need to unlock, show, or hand over their device.

This is a super key point. Of course no one wants to hand over their phone to anyone. More importantly, no one should ever hand their phone to a police officer, and that goes a hundredfold if it’s unlocked.1 The Wallet system Apple has designed for ID is very much like Apple Pay. When you pay with a physical credit card, you often hand your card to an employee. When you pay with Apple Pay, you never hand your phone to an employee. It wouldn’t even work, because no one else can authorize an Apple Pay transaction without your biometric authentication. This ID feature for Wallet is exactly like that: it doesn’t work without your biometric authentication, and your phone does not unlock when you use it.

An interesting sidenote: when using a Touch ID iPhone with Apple Wallet’s ID feature, you must register one and only one finger when you add your ID to your Wallet, and whenever you verify your ID in Wallet, you’ll need to use that same finger. Apple has never recommended allowing your spouse or partner to register one of their fingers on your iPhone, but many people do that. This feature is designed to ensure that the same person who enrolled their state ID in Wallet is the same person verifying it biometrically. (This is not an issue with Face ID, obviously.)

To use your ID in Wallet, you tap your phone (or watch) against an NFC terminal, and you get an Apple Pay-like sheet showing you who is asking for your ID (e.g., TSA), and exactly which details from your ID they’re asking for (e.g., name, photo, date of birth — but perhaps not other embedded details like your blood type or your home address). So if you’re just buying booze, say, and the clerk or server needs to check your age, they could prompt only to verify that you’re 21 or older, without even seeing your exact birthdate, let alone any other details from your ID. It is exceedingly more private than handing over a physical ID card, perhaps even more so than using Apple Pay compared to handing over a physical credit card.

Also, it’s an open standard:

Apple’s mobile ID implementation supports the ISO 18013-5 mDL (mobile driver’s license) standard which Apple has played an active role in the development of, and which sets clear guidelines for the industry around protecting consumers’ privacy when presenting an ID or driver’s license through a mobile device.

Apple announced Apple Pay 7 years ago. It worked at few places at first. Soon, though, it started being accepted at more establishments, as businesses upgraded older terminals with new card readers for modern chip-enabled cards. But two years in, the impatient gimme-that-one-cookie-now-I-don’t-care-if-I-can-just-wait-a-few-minutes-and-get-a-whole-bunch-of-cookies-later geniuses at Business Insider were running headlines like “Apple Pay Is Struggling to Catch On”.

You don’t see headlines like that any more. Nor do you see many headlines about Google Pay “catching up” — it’s not and maybe never will.

These things take time, partnerships, evangelism, planning, and diligent hard work. There were a lot more complaints asking why Apple Pay didn’t work almost everywhere circa 2016 than there are kudos now that it does work almost everywhere. Patience and focus are essential to winning a long game, but success can be rather thankless. Apple excels at thankless long games. Other companies, not so much.

I expect a similar timeline for using ID through Apple Wallet: a year or two where it seems like we can’t really use it anywhere, another few years where we start using it more and more, and then, when we start getting close to a decade down the road, without much fanfare, it’ll be our default method of presenting ID.EMD Contactor STA 8482180  

  1. Seriously, never ever hand your phone to a cop or anyone vaguely cop-like, like the rent-a-cops working for TSA. If they tell you that you must, refuse. If you really need to hand it over, they’ll take it from you. Also, and this is really important, something you should internalize now, so you don’t have to try to remember it in a moment of stress or panic: how to hard-lock your iPhone.

    With a Face ID iPhone, you hard-lock your iPhone by pressing and holding the side button and either volume button. Two seconds or so — just long enough to make the “Slide to power off” screen appear. (That screen also has sliders for Medical ID and Emergency SOS.) With a Touch ID iPhone, you just press and hold the power button.

    Once you do this, your iPhone will require your passcode to unlock. You can’t use Face ID or Touch ID to unlock until after you’ve unlocked with your passcode. That means even if someone confiscates your phone by force, they cannot unlock it by pointing it at your face or by forcing your finger onto the Touch ID sensor. Remember to put your iPhone into this mode every time you’re separated from it as you go through the magnetometer at any security checkpoint, especially in the airport.

    Don’t just memorize this, internalize it, so you can do it without even thinking. Make it something you know the way you know your own middle name. By design, it’s an action you can perform surreptitiously while your iPhone remains in your pocket or purse.

    Another action to remember: If you click the power button five times in a row, your iPhone will immediately sound a klaxon and will initiate an Emergency SOS call in three seconds. This will also hard-lock your phone, but, by design, it is the opposite of surreptitious. ↩︎

  2. I’ll tell you what would be some nice icing on the cake: if Apple can convince state DMVs to let Apple design the digital cards in Wallet. My driver’s license is so goddamned ugly — mostly typeset in Arial (of-fucking-course), with a script font for “Pennsylvania” that looks like it came on a clip art CD included free with every Compaq PC in 1994 — that if it were a design project for a class I was teaching, I’d pull the student aside and make them this offer: take an F for the project, or, promise to change majors and I’ll give them a gentleperson’s C on their way out the door of design school. Most other states don’t do much better. ID cards should be beautiful and inspiring objects, a source of pride. Help us Apple-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope. ↩︎︎

Teenage Chinese Gamers Lash Out at New Rules Limiting Them to Three Hours of Play Per Week 

Al Jazeera:

The new rules will only allow gaming platforms to offer services to minors from 8pm to 9pm on Fridays, weekends and public holidays, according to state news agency Xinhua, which cited a release by the National Press and Publication Administration. China had previously restricted gaming hours for teens to 1.5 hours per day in 2019.

It’s “indisputable” that indulging in online games affects normal study life and the physical and mental health of teens, the People’s Daily article said. “Destroying a teenager will destroy a family.”

Young Chinese gamers were, however, angry.

“This group of grandfathers and uncles who make these rules and regulations, have you ever played games? Do you understand that the best age for e-sports players is in their teens?” said one comment on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

“Sexual consent at 14, at 16 you can go out to work but you have to be 18 to play games. This is really a joke.”

I’m not predicting anything, but, this could severely backfire against the CCP. You can only push people so far before they revolt, and it’s hard to imagine how the CCP could breed more resentment than by taking away video games from teens.

The Talk Show: ‘Just a Standard Bird’ 

MG Siegler returns to the show to talk about last week’s surprise announcement from Apple settling a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of U.S. App Store developers, and the various reactions to it. Also, a bit on App Store payment processing, and some speculation on who might succeed Tim Cook.

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Apple, Madeleine Fisher beside Italian actor Franco Fabrizi OLD PHOTO (and other media outlets), regarding South Korea’s just-passed “Google power-abuse-prevention law” which will forbid Apple and Google from requiring the use of their respective in-app purchasing systems:

The Telecommunications Business Act will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases, and features like “Ask to Buy” and Parental Controls will become less effective. We believe user trust in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this legislation — leading to fewer opportunities for the over 482,000 registered developers in Korea who have earned more than KRW8.55 trillion to date with Apple.

Apple defines in-app purchases as “App Store purchases”, which I disagree with. I see a clear difference between purchasing an app or game from the App Store and making an in-app purchase within an app or game after having installed it. My understanding of the new South Korean law is that it only pertains to in-app purchases, so the distinction, I believe, is more than just semantics.

I think the latter half of Apple’s statement is true — user trust in in-app purchases will decline. The gist of these legislative proposals — like this month’s “Open App Markets Act” from U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — is, effectively, to require iOS and Android to be, to some degree, more like Mac and Windows. Setting aside the specific details, that’s what these laws are saying: phones should work like PCs in terms of loosening the control of the platform owners (Apple and Google) over what software can be installed, and what that software can do.

You may like the sound of that, or you may not. But there’s no denying that the result of any of these laws would be to make iOS and Google’s Android more like Macs and PCs. There’s also no denying that people make far more digital purchases and install far more apps on their mobile devices (iOS or Android) than their PCs (Mac or Windows).

In my experience, only two specific types of people want their phones to work significantly more like PCs, permission-wise. The first group is comprised of the technically-savvy — like many of you reading this — who feel confident in their own ability to gauge the trustworthiness of third-party software. The second group is business-minded people, who are thinking only about what percentage of purchases goes to whom, and are only thinking about the money. (I believe the legislators behind these proposals are swayed entirely by the business arguments, and do not understand the technical implications at all.)

But I am confident that the overwhelming majority of typical users are more comfortable installing apps and making in-app purchases on their iOS and Android devices than on their Mac and Windows PCs not despite Apple and Google’s console-like control over iOS and Android, but because of it. And if these measures come to pass and iOS and Android devices are forced by law to become pocket PCs, I think there’s a high chance it’ll prove unpopular with the mass market. The masses are not clamoring for the app stores to be opened up. These arguments over app stores are entirely inside baseball for the technical and business classes. I’ve had non-technical friends and relatives complain to me about all sorts of things related to their iPhones over the last 10 years, but never once have any of them said to me, “Boy, I sure wish iPhone apps and games could ask me for my credit card number to make purchases, and that the overall experience of using apps was more like the anything-goes nature of using the web or my desktop computer.” Never. It doesn’t just seem that the unintended consequences of such legislation is being under-considered; it seems as though it’s not being considered or acknowledged at all.

Perhaps I’m wrong, and it’ll all work out just fine. Anyone who claims to know how such a scenario will turn out is full of shit.

But from what I’ve seen over the last few decades, the quality of the user experience of every computing platform is directly correlated to the amount of control exerted by its platform owner. The current state of the ownerless world wide web speaks for itself.

The part of Apple’s statement about “Ask to Buy” and parental controls, though, I think is sophistry. It’s certainly true that the “Ask to Buy” feature currently wouldn’t work with third-party in-app payment processing, but that’s because nothing in iOS is built to support outside payment processing for in-app purchases. If required to support third-party payment processing, Apple could and should create APIs to support them through the existing “Ask to Buy” process, and the App Store guidelines could and should be expanded to require supporting all parental control APIs regardless of how payments are processed.

Most kids don’t have credit cards, either, when you think about it. I suppose a workaround for a wily kid could be to use cash to purchase a prepaid debit card, then use that debit card to make in-app purchases. Keep in mind too that apps which act as stores for physical goods only use third-party payment processing. When you sell physical goods through an app, not only can you process credit cards without going through Apple and Google’s in-app processing, you have to. Neither Apple nor Google allow in-app purchasing to be used for physical goods, because it wouldn’t even make sense for any retailer to pay a 30 percent processing fee for physical goods. This state of affairs for purchasing physical goods through apps doesn’t seem to have caused any problems for parents different from what kids can do purchasing physical goods on the web.

But the main thing to keep in mind about the South Korean legislation is that it has nothing to do with sideloading or third-party app stores, which would enable the sidestepping not just of all parental controls, but of all privacy controls — for children and adults alike — system-wide.

Adding support for third-party payment processing for in-app purchases in no way prevents Apple and Google from providing robust parental controls to approve kids’ in-app purchases. The rules that are enforced by policy matter, and in large part have worked.

My biggest concern regarding third-party payment processing for IAP is subscriptions, which I think Apple’s statement hints at only obliquely, with the phrase “[will] make it difficult to manage their purchases”.

The best feature of Apple’s in-app subscription system is that subscriptions are easy for users to manage, and impossible for developers to hide. In iOS, go to Settings → Your iCloud Account → Subscriptions. On the Mac, it’s somewhat less obvious. From the Music (née iTunes) app, go to Account → View My Account, and scroll down. Subscriptions is listed under Settings on the Account Information page. Or, in the App Store app, go to Store → View My Account, then click “View Information” in the window header. That gets you to the same Account Information page as in Music.

On either iOS or Mac, you can also get to the subscription management page by going to this Apple support document and tapping/clicking the prominent “See or cancel subscriptions” button at the top, which is currently just a link to — but I’m not sure how permanent that URL is. Apple has had several such URLs to bounce you to the subscription management page on your current device over the years.

Once on this page, you get a comprehensive list of every active subscription you’ve made through Apple. You can manage each subscription (switching, say, from monthly to yearly), or, most essentially, easily cancel any of them without one iota of undue hassle.

My go-to counterexample is The New York Times. To cancel a subscription to The New York Times, you need to call them on the phone or engage in an online chat with a “customer service representative” whose full-time job is convincing people not to cancel their subscription. And the Times makes it easier to cancel a subscription than many other publications and services do.

Apple’s subscription system makes it easy to track all of your subscriptions in a single list that isn’t hard to find, and makes it easy to cancel any of them. (Google Play offers something similar: in the Play Store app, tap your account avatar → Payments & Subscriptions → Subscriptions.) I can think of ways to improve this list for the benefit of users,1 but even as it stands it is exemplary compared to the alternative of managing each and every subscription — each publication, each streaming service, each subscription-based app — on a provider-by-provider basis, wherein each subscription provider can make cancellation or downgrading as hidden, obfuscated, and dark-patterned as they choose.

Apple’s subscription system is so useful, so trustworthy, and so beneficial to my peace of mind that as a general rule I only subscribe to anything through it. Of course I make exceptions, but only for subscription providers whom I inherently trust.2 I just pored through my list, and of 27 active subscriptions from third-party services (i.e. not counting Apple’s own service like Apple One), I would at most have subscribed to only 9 of them. And I’m being generous; there are a few of those 9 that I’d have thought long and hard about subscribing to outside the App Store. In many cases it’s not about trusting the app developer, per se, but simply my reluctance to subscribe to something I’m likely to lose track of and forget about.

If3 Apple winds up acceding to these demands for third-party in-app payment providers — whether nation-by-nation as legislation passes, or by washing their hands of the entire controversy and making a worldwide policy change — I really hope they add APIs and mandate the use of them such that however you pay in-app, any subscription made in-app must show up in this list, and the provider must support no-hassle cancellation from within the system interface. Renewal receipts and upcoming renewal reminders should be mandatory, too.

Otherwise, this would be a huge loss for users — and one that never seems to be considered in debates over legislation such as South Korea’s. 

  1. To name a few: (1) the list of subscriptions should display how much you’re paying — as it stands you have to tap into each subscription to see the amount; (2) 2011-15 Chevy Cruze Rear Trunk Decklid Bowtie Emblem NEW OEM GM — on some of my devices the list is sorted by renewal/expiration date, but on others, the order is seemingly random; (3) there are some really weird bugs in how the list is displayed; (4) the list is really slow to load. ↩︎

  2. I can’t not mention my own Dithering podcast, cohosted with Ben Thompson, and Thompson’s own Stratechery newsletter. We only sell subscriptions directly. To name one reason: because we don’t have (or want to have) apps through which to sell in-app subscriptions. Unsubscribing from Dithering (and/or Stratechery) is very easy (but, admittedly, I don’t recommend it). Substack, too, makes managing subscriptions easy and obvious. In general, the larger and more corporate a publication, the harder they tend to make it to unsubscribe. ↩︎︎

  3. I still say it’s a big if as to whether Apple and Google wind up acceding to this law in South Korea, at least as it seems to be intended. Just spitballing ideas, I think they’d be compliant if they made “Allow third-party payment processing for in-app purchases” an off-by-default preference in the system-wide security settings, with warnings that must be OK’d when enabled, a la the options on MacOS and Android to allow installing apps from outside the platforms’ respective app stores. That’s actually not a bad middle ground, in my opinion, but it sure as shit is not what, say, Epic is looking for. ↩︎︎

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South Korea Passes Law Requiring App Stores to Allow Third-Party Payment Processing for In-App Purchases 

Jiyoung Sohn, reporting for The Wall Street Journal from Seoul (News+):

Google and Apple Inc. will have to open their app stores to alternative payment systems in South Korea, threatening their lucrative commissions on digital sales.

There’s some counting of unhatched chickens in the above sentence, but that’s certainly the intention of the law.

A bill passed Tuesday by South Korea’s National Assembly is the first in the world to dent the tech giants’ dominance over how apps on their platforms sell their digital goods. It will become law once signed by President Moon Jae-in, whose party strongly endorsed the legislation.

The law amends South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act to prevent large app-market operators from requiring the use of their in-app purchasing systems. It also bans operators from unreasonably delaying the approval of apps or deleting them from the marketplace — provisions meant to head off retaliation against app makers.

Companies that fail to comply could be fined up to 3% of their South Korea revenue by the Korea Communications Commission, the country’s media regulator.

I have a rough English translation of the law, and my understanding is that the above ban on “delaying” or “deleting” apps is specifically related to retaliation for using their own payment processing. It’s not a ban on removing apps from the stores for just cause. The law even requires app store operators to take precautions against harm to users from content and to protect the rights and interests of users. (I italicized rather than quoted that because, as I said, it’s a loose and very much unofficial English translation.)

The bill — which in Korean has been nicknamed the “Google power-abuse-prevention law” by some lawmakers and media — was welcomed by groups representing South Korea’s internet-technology companies and startups, as well as local content developers and app makers.

Fascinating to me that the bill is nicknamed the “Google power-abuse-prevention law” in Korea, but U.S. news coverage is focused on Apple at least as much, if not more so. StatCounter pegs Korean mobile market share at 71% Android, 28% iOS. Update 1: Makes me wonder how much this bill is anti-Google and how much it’s pro-Samsung. It may not be coincidence that it’s from South Korea, of all countries.

Update 2: A very good question to which I do not know the answer: How long does this South Korean law give Apple and Google to comply? Supposedly it’s expected to be signed into law in two weeks — does it apply immediately?

‘When Charlie Watts Finally Made It to New York City’ 

Michiko Kakutani, writing for The New York Times:

In 1960, while working as an artist and graphic designer, and some years before the Rolling Stones were born, Charlie Watts began work on “Ode to a High-Flying Bird,” a captivating children’s book about his hero, the jazz great Charlie Parker. The book featured charming drawings of a bird named Charlie who realized he didn’t sound like most of the other birds, and who left home to fly to New York City, where he played “from his heart” and made a new nest for himself in “Birdland.”

Charlie Parker made a 14-year-old Charlie Watts dream the impossible dream of visiting New York and playing at a jazz club. And while he thought at the time that “the only way to get to New York was in a band on a cruise ship,” he would actually get there in 1964 with the Rolling Stones. While Keith Richards and Mick Jagger hung out at the Apollo, where James Brown was doing five — five! — shows a day, Mr. Watts spent his free time haunting the jazz clubs he’d dreamed about as a boy: He saw Charles Mingus at Birdland, Gene Krupa at the Metropole, and Sonny Rollins, Earl Hines and Miles Davis.

Lovely memorial, with some great quotes from his bandmates.


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Google’s Circle Jerk 

Keep in mind as you watch this that Jony Ive left Apple two years ago, and Apple dropped headphone jacks from new iPhones five years ago starting with the iPhones 7. Google’s own high-end Pixels dropped headphone jacks in 2017. As of next month, 40 percent of all iPhone model years will have been headphone-jack-free. This feels about as relevant as mocking the original iMac for not having a floppy drive.

TSMC to Raise Chip Prices by 10–20 Percent 

Yang Jie, Stephanie Yang, and Yoko Kubota, reporting for The Wall Street Journal (News+):

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plans to increase the prices of its most advanced chips by roughly 10%, while less advanced chips used by customers like auto makers will cost about 20% more, these people said. The higher prices will generally take effect late this year or next year, the people said.

Apple Inc. is one of TSMC’s largest customers and its iPhones use advanced microprocessors made in TSMC foundries. It couldn’t be determined how much more Apple would pay.

Not just iPhones: TSMC manufactures all “Apple silicon”. And no one else can make them. Really, this is just Econ 101: demand for TSMC chips is high, supply is constrained, so prices are going up.

Update: Compelling alternative theory.

Some sad news this week: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died at age 80. I don’t know much about how music is made but I know what I like, and I’ve loved the Stones ever since I can remember. The first time I can remember being asked my favorite band, my answer was The Stones. 40-some years later, my answer is unchanged. In all those years, I’ve never heard a musician who does understand the mechanics of playing rock-and-roll do anything but positively rave about Charlie Watts’s talent, and his central role in the Stones’ sound and success. And by all accounts, he was a good person and a dear and loyal friend. He was also the best-dressed man in all of rock and roll.

Mick Jagger — one of the most poetic, eloquent writers the world has known — had no words. Nor did Keith Richards (whose photo I cribbed, below). Ronnie Wood had but a few. The band’s homepage is just a lovely portrait — reminiscent of what Apple did a decade ago when Steve Jobs died. I slag on social media frequently, and though Instagram has its problems, when it works, it works, and of all the major social platforms, it remains the one that’s primarily about sharing good thoughts and good feelings. It’s a mere token, but it feels good to press Like on posts like these, just to express, in some small way, that we miss Charlie too.

Yesterday the band posted this lovely short video tribute — set to, of course, the perfect song. 

TikTok, Reddit, and Facebook Are Killing People by Publishing Ivermectin Disinformation 

Kait Sanchez, writing for The Verge:

On TikTok, Centric C-TEK Drum Brake Wheel Cylinder for 1976-1977 GMC G35 4. found videos, some of which had more than a million views, promoting ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment under tags like #ivermectin4covid and #ivermectinworks. TikTok has since removed the videos for violating community guidelines and blocked the tags, and a spokesperson says TikTok will continue removing related videos and hashtags. The #ivermectin tag is still up, though many of the most popular videos in the tag are of healthcare professionals debunking misinformation.

On Reddit this week, moderators of several hundred subreddits called on the platform to take action against COVID-19 misinformation, including banning subreddits that spread medical disinformation.

Disagreeing with the requests for outright bans, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman shared a response in r/announcements, saying “Reddit is a place for open and authentic discussion and debate. This includes conversations that question or disagree with popular consensus.” The post goes on to say that Reddit will take action when people promote fraud or encourage harm, as well as quarantine certain subreddits so that they don’t appear in searches and can’t be accessed without logging in.

This ivermectin lunacy is like hydroxychloroquine 2.0. The people pushing this are doing evil, and I don’t use that word lightly. Steve Huffman has talked himself into a circle if he believes a single word of his own defense for allowing this. Reddit doesn’t allow for “open and authentic discussion and debate” regarding all sorts of toxic, evil topics. You can’t go on Reddit (or TikTok, or Facebook, or Twitter…) and openly call for racial genocide, or beating up LGBT folks, or mutilating the genitals of girls. The N-word is rightfully banned everywhere, and this ivermectin bullshit — along with all the rest of the anti-vax nutjob liturgy — clearly and obviously should be considered in the same “beyond the pale” territory. Anti-vax cultism is literally killing people, including innocent kids with susceptible parents. There is no legitimate debate: everyone who can get vaccinated should get vaccinated, and dummies should not be self-medicating with horse de-wormers.

Put your big boy pants on, Huffman, and be a real leader for once.

iCloud Private Relay Will Launch as a Public Beta 

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors:

Apple, in its iOS 15 beta 7 release notes:

iCloud Private Relay will be released as a public beta to gather additional feedback and improve website compatibility.

[…] It seems like Apple’s slowing this roll-out down, at least in part, because there are lingering compatibility issues with some websites—most notably sites that are displaying the wrong region-specific content, or getting confused when signing in a user. There are some fairly easy remedies web developers can do to make these issues go away, but getting the web to adjust to any new feature takes time, and Apple appears to have erred on the side of caution.

This is what happens in mid-to-late August each year: some features announced at WWDC get postponed for subsequent dot releases throughout the year (15.1, 15.2, etc.), and occasionally something will ship with the .0 public release, but with the “beta” label. My personal experience with iCloud Private Relay echoes Snell’s description above. It’s good and useful and is worth giving everyone access to, but the current level of web-wide site compatibility feels beta. (Mail Privacy Protection — a new feature in Apple Mail that loads email images privately, is not affected by this announcement. That feature (though not quite perfect yet) is ready to ship.)

Here’s my concern about iCloud Private Relay compatibility, though: if web publishers want to make sure their sites are compatible with iCloud Private Relay, they can make it work. They might just need more time. But everyone knows there are sites that aren’t interested in your privacy. That’s the whole reason Apple even made this feature. For a lot of websites, if the answer to an iCloud Private Relay compatibility issue is “Disable iCloud Private Relay”, that’s fine by them. For a lot of privacy-invasive web publishers, their goal, I suspect, is to break iCloud Private Relay, not fix their shit-ass websites to work with it. Think about how most websites you visit try to detect privacy-protecting content blockers. They’re not on our side. The problem isn’t that such web publishers need to update their technology to work with iCloud Private Relay, it’s that Apple needs to improve iCloud Private Relay to work around their roadblocks.

The relationship between most ad-funded websites and their visitors is adversarial. These jerkoff web publishers claim otherwise, but that’s the truth. And iCloud Private Relay is a feature that is entirely on the user’s side. (Daring Fireball and Six Colors, of course, work just fine with iCloud Private Relay.)

Flight to Seattle Evacuated After Passenger’s Samsung Galaxy A21 Ignites and Burns Beyond Recognition 

Christine Clarridge, reporting for The Seattle Times:

A passenger’s cellphone caught on fire inside the cabin of an Alaska Airlines flight from New Orleans to Seattle that had landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Monday evening. It was a Samsung Galaxy A21, according to Perry Cooper, a spokesman for the Port of Seattle.

“After much digging, I can tell you that the phone was burned beyond recognition,” Cooper said in an email. “However, during an interview with one of our Port of Seattle Police officers, the passenger volunteered the phone was a Samsung Galaxy A21. Again, we could not confirm it by looking at the remains of the device.”

The crew on Flight 751 extinguished the fire with a battery containment bag, but smoke forced the deployment of evacuation slides, a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines told KOMO-TV.

Good thing no one was hurt. Bad day for Samsung PR. Hope we find out more about exactly how this happened.

The Talk Show: ‘Paper Floor Mats’ 

Christina Warren returns to the show to discuss Apple’s controversial child safety initiatives, the tumultuous summer of Safari 15 beta UI designs, and a bit more on MagSafe battery packs.

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Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Gets Full Approval From FDA, Opening Door to More Vaccine Mandates Bumper Rear Backup Light White Lens for Mitsubishi Champ II Sed

Jacqueline Howard, reporting for CNN:

The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older. This is the first coronavirus vaccine approved by the FDA, and is expected to open the door to more vaccine mandates.

Way more mandates. Mandate vaccinated status for everything. School, air travel, train travel, restaurants, stores. Everything. Get vaccinated or stay home.

The vaccine will be marketed as Comirnaty, the FDA said in its announcement on Monday.

I don’t care what they call it, but that’s a bad name. Looks like someone spilled a drink on the keyboard while trying to type “Cormac McCarthy”.

(Moderna has secured “Spikevax” for their vaccine, an excellent name.)

Mux Video 

My thanks to Mux for sponsoring last week at DF. Mux Video is an API to powerful video streaming (think of it like Stripe for video), built by the founders of Zencoder and creators of Video.js, and a team of ex-YouTube and Twitch engineers. Take any video file or live stream and make it play beautifully, at scale, on any device, powered by magical-feeling features like automatic thumbnails, animated GIFs, and data-driven encoding decisions.

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Our Long National iOS 15 Safari Beta Nightmare Is Over 

Juli Clover, again:

Apple in iOS 15 beta 6 has added a toggle to move the Safari address bar to the top of the interface, which returns Safari to an iOS 14-like design and mitigates all of the Safari changes introduced in earlier betas.

Those who prefer the bottom bar can still opt to have that toggled on with the Tab Bar view, but Apple has also changed the look and the url bar at the bottom has been merged with a dedicated control panel that does away with trying to merge all page management options into a single address bar view.

I was a little worried when beta 5 shipped last week and Safari’s interface was unchanged, but beta 6’s changes are very good.

The initial iOS Safari 15 design failed in two big ways. First and foremost, Apple tried to squeeze two horizontal bars’ worth of controls into a single bar. Safari needs two toolbars. Second, the whole “floating toolbar” thing looked cool but wasn’t usable.

But they didn’t have to give up moving the address bar to the bottom of the screen. By default, that’s where it’s going to be on iOS 15. They also kept the side-to-side swiping for switching between tabs, if you keep the tab bar at the bottom of the screen.

In a very real sense, the system worked. It’s good that Apple tried something ambitious and original with the layout for Safari on iPhone. The reason for the trend toward moving more navigation controls to the bottom of the screen is obvious: our phones are bigger than ever (iPhone 12 Mini aside), and our hands aren’t growing. It’s also good that Apple was receptive to the feedback from those using the developer and public betas. They listened, they fixed the design to address the problems, and here we are, with a layout for Mobile Safari that I think is better than ever. (I hedge with “I think” only because it just shipped — my opinions aren’t fully formed.)

The unusual part is that we got to see Apple’s design process play out in public. The Safari team has been kept busy this summer. (There has to be one hell of backstory here, right?) There was a certain pessimism amongst some who perceived the problems with the original iOS 15 Safari design, simply because Apple seldom makes drastic UI changes between their unveiling at WWDC in June, and when they officially ship in the fall. But seldom isn’t never.

Netflix Is Rolling Out Spatial Audio Support Vise Bio Skin Pro Roll Silver

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

Netflix is rolling out support for Spatial Audio on the iPhone and the iPad, based on reports shared by MacRumors readers and Pokemon Silver Version Trainer's Guide (Nintendo Gameboy Color). A Netflix spokesperson also confirmed to MacRumors that the rollout is underway.

When you’re watching a movie on an iPhone or iPad, spatial audio is a game changer for degree of immersiveness. Henceforth when preloading a movie or two for a plane trip, I’ll favor titles with spatial audio support. It really helps make up for the small screen by having big immersive sound.

Not surprised that Netflix is adding support sooner rather than later — one thing Netflix gets right is they want viewers to be happy. Spatial audio makes me happy.

T-Mobile Customer Database Stolen 

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard:

“We have determined that unauthorized access to some T-Mobile data occurred, however we have not yet determined that there is any personal customer data involved,” T-Mobile wrote in its new announcement. “This investigation will take some time but we are working with the highest degree of urgency. Until we have completed this assessment we cannot confirm the reported number of records affected or the validity of statements made by others,” the announcement added.

The seller told Motherboard that 100 million people had their data compromised in the breach. In the forum post, they were offering data on 30 million people for 6 bitcoin, or around $270,000.

See also: Brian Krebs and BleepingComputer.


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Chicago Public School Teachers and Staff Must Be Vaccinated by October 15 or Stay Home 

Maia Spoto, Chalkbeat Chicago:

School-based teachers and staff, central office, regular vendors and network employees who aren’t fully vaccinated or can’t provide documentation of an exemption by the deadline will be ineligible to work for the district until they submit proof of inoculation or exemption.

Until the Oct. 15 cutoff, staff who aren’t vaccinated will be required to take a COVID-19 test at least once a week, the district said. As of August, 68 percent of district employees have been fully vaccinated, according to self-reported district data. Among teachers, that rate is higher, with 82 percent reporting that they are fully vaccinated.

More like this, please.

Om Malik Interviews Glass Co-Founder Tom Watson 

More on the thinking behind Glass:

Om: Tom, tell us a bit about yourself and what prompted you to start Glass.

Tom Watson: I’ve been designing digital products for over 20 years now. I was an early Product Designer at Facebook (2009-2013) and Pinterest (2013-2018). I saw the tradeoffs firsthand around having to design for engagement versus people using the product. That experience made me want to build something different. […]

We intentionally didn’t raise venture capital. We didn’t want to make the compromises that I saw earlier in my career. With no outside capital and subscriptions, we’re able to forgo advertising, engagement algorithms, pivots to video, and several other things we feel would compromise the product and community we’re trying to build.

Om: Who are you focused on as a primary customer — a professional photographer? A pro-am photographer? Or amateurs?

TW: It’s for photographers — amateur or professional. That can be anything from someone just starting with their iPhone or someone with tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. We believe great photography can come from anywhere and anyone. We hope to build a community for all levels of photographers to learn, grow, and generally nerd out about photography.


Glass is a new photo sharing app/community:

We want you to adore Glass, not become addicted to it. We’ve created a distraction-free app focused on one thing — your photos. […] All the social network features you’d expect with none of the dark patterns driving engagement. Build relationships with and learn from other photographers while enjoying a chronological feed and no public counts. […]

Glass is subscription-based, which means we won’t sell your data or pollute your feed with ads. We don’t answer to outside investors or advertisers, just members of our community.

$4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly $29.99 yearly (at launch) keeps Glass rolling.

Is it just like OG Instagram? No. Glass is doing its own thing in a bunch of subtle ways. But it’s certainly a lot more like Instagram circa 2010 than Instagram is today. In spirit, it feels a lot like the early days of Flickr. I’ve been beta testing Glass for a few months and it’s an absolutely lovely, exquisitely-designed app. It’s downright serene scrolling through my Glass timeline, something that I haven’t been able to say about Instagram in many years.

Currently iOS only — in fact, I believe the only way to sign in is through Sign In With Apple. There’s a wait list to get in now that they’re out of beta; if Glass intrigues you, I encourage you to sign up now.

Joanna Stern Interviews Craig Federighi Regarding Apple’s Controversial New Child Safety Features 

Clarifying interview, with at least one bit of news: Federighi says the heretofore unspecified “threshold” for CSAM fingerprint matches that must be reached before an iCloud account is flagged (or even can be flagged, thanks to how the shared-key cryptography is implemented) is “on the order of 30 known child pornographic images”. Right around the 3:00 mark:

“And if, and only if you meet a threshold of something on the order of 30 known child pornographic images matching, only then does Apple know anything about your account and know anything about those images.”

There’s also a WSJ news story (News+ link), co-bylined by Stern and Tim Higgins, in which Federighi emphasizes that the database of CSAM fingerprints is auditable:

Beyond creating a system that isn’t scanning through all of a user’s photos in the cloud, Mr. Federighi pointed to another benefit of placing the matching process on the phone directly. “Because it’s on the [phone], security researchers are constantly able to introspect what’s happening in Apple’s [phone] software,” he said. “So if any changes were made that were to expand the scope of this in some way — in a way that we had committed to not doing — there’s verifiability, they can spot that that’s happening.”

Critics have said the database of images could be corrupted, such as political material being inserted. Apple has pushed back against that idea. During the interview, Mr. Federighi said the database of images is constructed through the intersection of images from multiple child-safety organizations — not just the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He added that at least two “are in distinct jurisdictions.” Such groups and an independent auditor will be able to verify that the database consists only of images provided by those entities, he said.


Good episode of Dithering this morning, with Ben Thompson and yours truly arguing about the privacy of Apple’s upcoming CSAM detection for iCloud Photos and the new “Open App Markets Act” App Store legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Best $5/month you’ll ever spend, trust me.

San Francisco Announces Strict Indoor Vaccine Mandate 

The New York Times:

San Francisco leaders on Thursday unveiled some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on unvaccinated people, barring them from indoor dining, bars, nightclubs, gyms, large concerts, theaters and other events held inside. The new rules, which take effect on Aug. 20, would apply even to people who can show they have tested negative for the coronavirus.

“This is an important step towards our recovery,” Mayor London Breed said during a briefing announcing the new requirements. “We all have to do our part. We need to get vaccinated.”

More like this, please.

Philadelphia re-instituted an indoor mask mandate starting today; I hope we follow New York and San Fran with a full-on “vaccinated or stay the fuck home” mandate.

Supreme Court Allows Indiana University to Mandate Vaccination 

Adam Liptak, reporting for The New York Times:

Eight students had sued the university, saying the requirement violated their constitutional rights to “bodily integrity, autonomy and medical choice.” But they conceded that exemptions to the requirement — for religious, ethical and medical reasons — “virtually guaranteed” that anyone who sought an exemption would be granted one.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees the federal appeals court in question, turned down the student’s request for emergency relief without comment. She acted on her own, without referring the application to the full court, which was an indication that the application was not on solid legal footing.

More like this, please.

U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Levels by County Over Time 

Charles Gaba:

One thing I’ve been noting is that the R-squared (coefficient of determination) for the graphs at both the state & county levels seems to have been inching up higher over the past month or two … that is, the outlier counties seem to be gradually moving closer to the graph’s trend line.

Furthermore, the slope of the trend line seemed to be moving upwards as well over time. Both of these mean that not only is there a clear correlation between a county’s 2020 partisan lean and how quickly their residents are getting vaccinated, that correlation is only increasing over time.

I decided to check to see whether this was an anomaly (just a temporary thing) or not by going back to the county-level vaccination data all the way back to February 1st, 2021. At that point supplies of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were ramping up, but getting vaccinated was still limited mostly to senior citizens 65 and older in the United States.

The whole series of charts is telling, but the last one — the animated one that shows how the partisan divide is increasing over time — is startling. The vaccinated aren’t going to forget this.

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The Hill, reporting on a new Fox News poll:

32 percent of Trump voters say they have no plans to receive one of the three coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S., compared to only 3 percent of Biden voters, the poll found.

86 percent of Biden voters say they’ve already been vaccinated, while 54 percent of Trump voters said the same.

The Republican Party is a death cult. There’s no other way to put it.

And the one person who could most affect this — a man who himself was vaccinated as soon as possible — refuses to say a word.