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In the beginning...

Seamus Byrne
Seamus Byrne
4 min read
In the beginning...
Photo by Hello I'm Nik / Unsplash

Welcome, beta friends! As social media fades as a place for gathering as a positive community or to share ideas effectively as a publisher, it seemed worth exploring the idea of stepping back into a more controlled and direct environment – email!

Maybe everyone’s inbox is too full. Maybe email is where good ideas go to die. But maybe if I can curate a useful and interesting weekly newsletter that rounds up interesting stories about things I care about, and share my own work from across the various outlets and podcasts I’m producing work for… then maybe – just maybe – it’s a genuinely valuable thing to do for people.

As this is ‘Early Days’™ I’m eager for feedback. What do you find most useful or most interesting? Direct tips, useful links, positive stories, my reminder that new episodes of my podcasts exist… please open the email each week, think about what you actually think, and help me build a sense of what would be useful.

I bet most of you didn’t even read this top section anyway. Who *reads* email? If you do notice this, please reply with ‘banana’ in an email so I know you read it.

I’ll do a survey near the end of May to ask everyone to share some thoughts so I can refine how I put things together.


Facebook's role in Brexit - and the threat to democracy

Facebook's role in Brexit - and the threat to democracy

Carole Cadwalladr’s TED talk from last week is a must watch. A great summary of her work digging into how Facebook was used to tip the scales on Brexit, and the issue of having no visibility into who is being targeted by which messages - and Facebook’s refusal to share the evidence with investigators. This is the kind of article I have no doubt gets buried by Facebook’s algorithms, so sharing this via email feels far more effective.  •  Share

My TED talk: how I took on the tech titans in their lair

Cadwalladr’s follow up article to the TED talk adds some fascinating info on the reaction, and other elements of the TED event that point to so much that is broken in Silicon Valley right now.  •  Share

Food for thought

'It's not play if you're making money': how Instagram and YouTube disrupted child labor laws

‘Kidfluencers’ are earning millions on social media, but who owns that money? Some parents are taking advantage of their kids by using them to make millions online and they think it’s no big deal.  •  Share

Brave rolls out its own ads that pay users a 70% cut

Imagine if the user was the primary recipient of online ad revenue? An interesting concept from a company whose browser protects your privacy in part by blocking other ads, but now offers to replace them and pay you the lion share.  •  Share

Google Spinoff’s Drone Delivery Business First to Get FAA Approval

A drone company, Wing, is now officially an airline.  •  Share

My latest podcasts

The Esports Moment: Sam Mathews, Co-founder & Chairman, FNATIC

On a recent trip through London I interviewed the Australian who founded one of the world’s biggest esports teams, FNATIC.  •  Share

The Esports Moment: Morgan Romine on diversity and inclusion in esports

There’s a lot wrong with game culture that makes it a toxic boys’ club. We discuss the path to helping everyone have fun pursuing competitive gaming and what we can all do to get to that goal faster.  •  Share

Jetpacks Are Overrated: Smarter, better, easier passwords?

I chat with an expert about whether passwords are here to stay and what we can do to make sure we manage them better while we’re stuck with them.  •  Share

The Scrapyard: Inside the Hearthstone toolbox with game designers Liv Breeden and Stephen Chang

Not the latest episode, but the previous one with some heightened value thanks to an interview with two of the designers behind the game. Check it out.  •  Share

My other recent stories

Playing video games to fans - and making a living

As esports take off in Australia, a band of professional streamers have emerged who earn good money from playing games as their fans tune in online.  •  Share

Could we one day escape the password forever?

We’ve got fingerprints and facial recognition, so why haven’t we got rid of passwords yet? It’s not that simple.  •  Share

The Huawei P30 Pro camera is basically powered by witchcraft

Just take a look at these night shots (compared with the latest iPhone XS) and prepare to pick your jaw up off the floor. This camera finds light you don’t even realise a camera could ever find.  •  Share

Other cool stories

How Nintendo introduced the Game Boy, Tetris, and Pokémon to the West

Ahead of the 30th anniversary of Nintendo’s Game Boy, we look back at how Nintendo of America brought the handheld itself, as well as Tetris and Pokémon, to the U.S. audience.  •  Share

We’ve been warned about AI and music for over 50 years, but no one’s prepared

AI is capable of making music, but does that make AI an artist? The word “human” does not appear at all in US copyright law, and there’s not much existing litigation around the word’s absence. This has created a giant gray area and left AI’s place in copyright unclear.  •  Share

That mental health app might share your data without telling you

Just because something seems like it *should* be trustworthy because how could something so sensitive be treated so poorly… research shows 33 of 36 apps that are meant to treat addiction, depression and other serious problems are leaking private data.  •  Share

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Curated news and insights on tech, science and digital culture.

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Founder and Head of Content at Byteside.

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