GrubHub is Buying Web Addresses of Small Restaurants



You’ve probably heard of GrubHub. It is an online and mobile food ordering delivery marketplace that picks up food from restaurants and brings it to people’s homes. People use it for the convenience of not having to go get the food themselves. Unfortunately, it appears that GrubHub is doing things that harm small restaurants.

An article on The New Food Economy website was written by H. Claire Brown. In this article, Brown reports that GrubHub has been buying up thousands of restaurant web address, many of small “Mom and Pop shops”, so that those small businesses can’t have them.

The New Food Economy reported that it has found that GrubHub owns more than 23,000 web domains. Its subsidiary, Seamless, owns thousands. They published a full list (Google doc) of the domains. The report says most of them appear to correlate with the names of real restaurants.

Additionally, it appears GrubHub has set up several generic, templated pages that look like real restaurant websites but in fact link only to GrubHub. These pages also display phone numbers that GrubHub controls. The calls are forwarded to the restaurant, but the platform records each one and charges the restaurant a commission fee for every order, according to testimony from GrubHub executives at New York City Hall on Thursday. This happens on the GrubHub platform itself, too. The phone numbers you see displayed in the app typically aren’t a restaurant’s actual phone number, they’re the numbers that GrubHub uses to make sure it’s getting its commission.

The really icky thing about all this is that customers don’t know that the phone number they called is not the restaurant’s real phone number. They don’t know the restaurant website isn’t run or owned by the real restaurant. Customers think they are helping their favorite, local “Mom and Pop” restaurant – but they’re mostly helping GrubHub make money.


Twitter Adds New Notice to Rule Breaking Tweets of Public Officials



Twitter has finally come up with a plan to deal with the tweets of government officials and political figures who post content that breaks Twitter’s rules. It involves a new notice attached to the tweet that will provide additional clarity. Twitter will not remove those tweets, or suspend the account (in most cases).

Twitter explained it’s reasoning this way:

Serving the public conversation includes providing the ability for anyone to talk about what matters to them; this can be especially important when engaging with government officials and political figures. By nature of their positions, these leaders have outsized influence and sometimes say things that could be considered controversial or invite debate and discussion. A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable.

The new notice will apply to tweets from the following criteria:

  • Be or represent a government official, be running for office, or be considered for a government position (i.e., next in line, awaiting confirmation, named successor to an appointed position)
  • Have more than 100,000 followers;
  • Be verified

Twitter points out there are cases, such as direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against an individual, that are unlikely to be considered in the public interest. The implication is that Twitter might actually remove those kinds of tweets, or perhaps suspend the account.

Here is what Twitter’s Trust and Safety, Legal, Public Policy, and regional teams will consider before adding the new notice to a tweet:

  • The immediacy and severity of potential harm from the rule violation, with an emphasis on ensuring physical safety;
  • Whether preserving a Tweet will allow others to hold the government official, candidate for public office, or appointee accountable for their statements;
  • Whether there are other sources of information about this statement available for the public to stay informed;
  • If removal would inadvertently hide context or prevent people from understanding an issue of public concern; and
  • If the Tweet provides a unique context or perspective not available elsewhere that is necessary to a broader discussion.

When a tweet has a notice placed on it, it will feature less prominently on Twitter. It will not longer appear in: Safe search, Timeline when switched to Top Tweets, Live event pages, Recommend Tweet push notifications, Notifications tab, or Explore.

It is worth noting that the new notice will not be applied to any tweets that were posted before today.

Personally, I am interested in seeing how the new notice will be used. I expect that some Twitter users will feel like the notice doesn’t go far enough towards cleaning up Twitter, while others will complain that the new notice is “shadow banning” or “censorship”.


YouTube Allows Users More Control Over Suggested Videos



YouTube posted information today about ways they are giving users more control over their Homepage and Up Next videos. This appears to be done in response to users telling YouTube that they wanted more control over what they see.

Connecting our users with the content they love is important to us. We want to help viewers find new interests and passions – such as a new favorite artist, a new creator they can follow or simply the best food recipes. But there’s one true expert in what you want to watch: you. One thing we’ve consistently heard from you is that you want more control over what videos appear on your homepage and in Up Next suggestions. So we’re doing more to put you in the driver’s seat.

YouTube mentions three specific changes they are rolling out in the coming days.

Explore topics and related videos on your Homepage and in Up Next videos: YouTube is making it easier for people to explore topics and related videos. The options you see could be related to the video you are watching, videos published by the channel you’re watching, or other topics that may be of interest to you.

Remove suggestions from channels you don’t want to watch: YouTube has made it simple for you to tell them to stop suggesting videos from a particular channel. Just tap a three-dot menu next to a video on the Homepage or Up Next, then “Don’t recommend channel.” After that, you should no longer see videos from that channel suggested to you on YouTube. This feature is available globally on the YouTube app for Android and iOS and will be available on desktop soon.

Learn more about why a video may be suggested to you: YouTube will post information underneath a video suggested to you in a small box. It provides an explanation about why YouTube selected that video for you. This feature is now available globally on the YouTube app for iOS and will be available on Android and desktop soon.

Personally, I think this is a step in the right direction. Giving users more control over the videos that are suggested to them will likely make people more interested in using YouTube. Parents whose children no longer watch YouTube Kids might be able to use these new tools as a filter on YouTube.


LinkedIn is Changing Its Algorithm



Axios announced earlier today that LinkedIn would announce algorithm changes to favor conversations in its Feed that cater to professional interests, as opposed to elevating viral content.

Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, Pete Davies, later confirmed what Axios reported. He posted an article on the LinkedIn Newsroom titled “What’s in your LinkedIn Feed: People You Know, Talking About Things You Care About”. In the article, he discusses how LinkedIn thinks about conversations and ranking, and best practices for seeing your own posts be successful and appear in others’ feeds.

To summarize, your LinkedIn feed is made up of the conversations happening across your professional communities: among connections; in the groups you’ve joined; and the people, pages, and hashtags that you follow. To decide what goes at the top, we look at who’s talking (People You Know) and what they’re talking about (Things You Care About).

Here is a brief summary of some changes:

LinkedIn will look at who you interacted with directly (in your feed through comments and reactions). This helps them figure out who you have something in common with. LinkedIn will also consider who you’ve told them you work with. These factors, and some others, will determine what you see in your Feed.

LinkedIn considers the quality of conversations. “As a rule of thumb, the better conversations are authentic and have constructive back and forth.”

LinkedIn invests a lot in understanding what you are interested in and matching that to what the posts are about. You can signal what you are interested in by joining groups, following hashtags, people, and pages. Along with posts from your connections, you will see those posts in your feed.

You can find more details about this in the LinkedIn article, as well as advice about “Tips and Best Practices”. Overall, it sounds like LinkedIn is nudging things towards more authenticity and away from viral, clickbait, junk. I think the changes LinkedIn is making are a great idea.


Raspberry Pi 4 Now on Sale From $35



Eben Upton, Chief Executive Raspberry Pi Trading, posted on the official Raspberry Pi website that Raspberry Pi 4 is now on sale starting at $35. You can get yours from their approved resellers, or from the Raspberry Pi Store in Cambridge.

To support Raspberry Pi 4, we are shipping a radically overhauled operating system, based on the forthcoming Debian 10 Buster release. This brings numerous behind-the-scenes technical improvements, along with an extensively modernized user interface, and updated applications including the Chromium 74 web browser.

Highlights of Raspberry Pi 4 Model B include:

  • A 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit Cortex-A72 CPU (~3x performance)
  • 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • Full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet
  • Dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports
  • Dual monitor support, at resolutions up to 4K
  • VideoCore VI graphics, supporting OpenGL ES 3.x
  • 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video
  • Complete compatibility with earlier Raspberry Pi products

This is the first time they’ve offered a choice of memory capacities. 1GB is $35, 2GB is $45, and 3GB is $55. The price does not include sales tax, import duty (where appropriate) or shipping. They made more of the 2GB variant than the others, and intend to adjust the mix when they discover which one is most popular.

There are some new Raspberry Pi 4 accessories. One is an all-new two-part case (priced at $5). Those who would prefer to re-use an existing case can cut away the plastic fins on the right hand side and omit one of the side panels. There is also a new power supply, micro HDMI cable, a Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop kit, and an updated Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide.


Columbus Blubrry Podcasting Studio #1378



Back in Columbus at the Blubrry Podcasting Studio for the week, yes my container arrived and for the most part, no damage discovered beside a few small items that I did not pack properly. Very pleased and I have a large percentage of the gear unpacked awaiting install into racks etc to put the studio back together. Very excited to get that process going once I get back to Michigan. But for the next month, it’s a road show tired and true.

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Container Delivery Saturday #1377



We will see if my container has been put through the washing machine cycle on Saturday. Have my fingers crossed that my household goods have made the ocean, rail, trucking journey with minimal rock and roll. Lots of travel in the pipeline. The show goes on the road on Monday for a month. Lot’s of fun ahead.

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