Your roundup of tech, culture, and nostalgia for

January 17, 2023 // Web version //

TimeMachiner. Tech, culture, nostalgia. By Aaron Crocco
Inside Today's Issue:
Barnes & Noble is a Success Again
Farmers Finally Allowed to Repair the Stuff They Own
Obi-Wan Fighting Like A Youngin’
Is Anyone Still “Trying to fall in love” with Horizon Worlds?

Read to the end for a hungry Prince.

I hate to devote more of my and your time to Twitter but alas, I have to because once again there has been another unthinkable action this company has taken. And while it may not have even been on the radar of many, it's still an important development.

Let's get the obvious out of the way: Elon Musk has no care about anyone who his decisions affect. Not you, not me, not anyone. Over the weekend it came to light that nearly all 3rd party Twitter apps such as Tweetbot or Twitterific stopped working. Just dead in the water. If you're a long-time user of Twitter, it's likely you use one of these over Twitter's official app. Why? Because their app is pretty bad and has been for a long time.

In the early days of the service, there was no official app, and when they did 'make' one it was the acquisition of a beloved app called Tweetie. This is why Twitter owns the patent on Pull to Refresh. This genius gesture was first put into that app and after being bought by Twitter, there was a general promise put out that anyone could use it. Hence why it's everywhere. Anyway, I digress...

Many people have relied on these not-made-by-Twitter apps for over a decade. They're fast, they have features not on Twitter Proper, and you don't see any ads. Tweetbot has been one of the best out there since it debuted on the App Store so long ago.

With all the apps suddenly not working here at the beginning of 2023, it became a question of "is this the long-awaited breaking of something?" or "was this an arbitrary decision made by Elon Musk?" Because Twitter has fired anyone who could do any sort of PR, it's been radio silence. After nearly 48 hours though we have the answer. Paul Haddad of TapBots (maker of Tweetbot) changed their API key to an unused one. This essentially was the app trying to access twitter looking like a "new" app that was rarely used. Sure enough, the app began working again... for a short time before they were cut off again.

And that's the answer: this is deliberate. And it's effing cruel. The Tapbots crew, Icon Factory (makers of Twitterific), and ALL the users of these various apps were all basically told to take a hike. The very people who Elon is desperately trying to get to shell out $8 for a meaningless checkmark are told they aren't welcome. Others who live on the income generated from these apps are told they should no longer build for Twitter.

As someone who's been on Twitter for over a decade, it would've been the tipping point to leave the service... if I already hadn't left Twitter last month. For a company to flip a switch to cut off such a wide swath of their users & developers and then be silent about it is the stuff that only a person of Elon Musk's unhinged behavior could achieve.

We all knew Twitter wouldn't be Twitter anymore once Elon came calling. If there was ever a reason to leave (like we needed more?) then cutting users off is an effective way to make that happen.


PS: I'm trying hard to grow TimeMachiner. If you enjoy my work, please tell a friend. Thank you. 😊


There was a proposed Amendment to the US Constitution in 1916 that would put all acts of war to a national vote, and anyone voting yes would have to register as a volunteer for service in the United States Army. Source

The Trendline newsletter is data stories narrated with charts for tech professionals and investors. They're always less than 2 mins to read.

Barnes & Noble is a Success Again
In the late 90's and early aughts it was thought that print was dead and the Internet would replace everything physical. That hasn't happened and one company has stuck around to this day: Barnes & Noble. The bookseller has outlasted Borders, WaldenBooks, and B. Dalton Booksellers to be the last chain store standing. In…
Show Me This Story
Farmers Finally Allowed to Repair the Stuff They Own
Let's start with the end of this story first: John Deere sucks. That is the most important part to know because, like others, they have fought tooth and nail to stop people from repairing the stuff they buy from Deere. In a society that's moving more toward renting everything, being locked out of fixing…
Show Me This Story
Obi-Wan Fighting Like A Youngin’
With the incredible computing power we all possess these days, it is infinitely fascinating to see how people can remaster, edit, and recut classic cinema into something more interesting and enthralling. From Thundercats to Terminator 2, there have always been great fan edits put out there. Now comes this 6-minute video from Scene 38…
Show Me This Story
Is Anyone Still “Trying to fall in love” with Horizon Worlds?
In yet more proof (like we needed any) that Facebook Meta is still falling quite short in making their virtual reality world Horizon Worlds a thing, Wired reporter Eric Ravenscraft tells his tale of trying to hold a holiday party inside that system. Spoilers: it was a big mess. For starters, organizing an event…
Show Me This Story
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