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The Monday 6: Kickoff Edition - March 1, 2021

Kyle Petzinger
Kyle Petzinger
Welcome friend!
I’m setting a goal to get out one newsletter every Monday, with a mixture of 6 stories, articles, podcasts, data, tools, and really anything else I find provocative or useful. Hence: The Monday 6.
What I share will likely bias toward my interests in technology, marketing, business, software tools/tips, personal finance, and other stuff I like — but maybe not!
If you found something useful, let me know or share it with a friend.
Finally, if you have anything you’d like to share with me, just reply and let me know!

1. Winno - My Favorite iOS News App
First up is the best news aggregation app I’ve ever used: Winno.
Note: iOS only.
Their homepage explains the product best:
Get key updates to stories you care about in one place, live. Written, curated, and fact-checked by humans.
I’m a subscriber to the New York Times & Wall Street Journal, but I can’t stand being bombarded by “breaking news alerts” that just…aren’t “breaking news”.
I want a balance between:
  1. Being informed about the world
  2. Not feeling overwhelmed
Winno delivers on both in spades. You’ll get alert push notifications for truly important, breaking news, and a simple badge update for lower priority updates.
The setup is easy: you simply select from the ~30 topics you’d like to follow. Winno then notifies you actively for critical news and passively for regular updates related to topics you care about.
I feel informed without being overwhelmed: exactly what I want. Winno is the only news app on my phone that has notifications turned on.
winno: 21st century news
2. Best Facebook & Australia Explainer
I’m not stepping too far out in saying: Facebook doesn’t have the best reputation. Personally, I’m quite a bit more sympathetic to Facebook vs. what I hear from others, but I’ll save that monologue for some time in the future. 😊
Anyway, you may have seen stories in the news about Facebook blocking the sharing of news links for Australians and from Australian news organizations. The coverage of this story is what I want to highlight & comment on. Almost all coverage & takes on this topic contained:
  1. An explicit or implicit assumption that Facebook is acting nefariously. (See David Cicilline’s tweet below)
  2. Some mention of the collapse of print advertising dollars and the subsequent rise of Facebook. (See the chart below)
Right on cue, after Facebook started blocking links in Australia, The Chairmen of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust David Cicilline made his stance clear:
David Cicilline
If it is not already clear, Facebook is not compatible with democracy.

Threatening to bring an entire country to its knees to agree to Facebook’s terms is the ultimate admission of monopoly power. https://t.co/0JjTqtQhku
It’s almost as if David predecided how he’d feel about any Facebook vs. government story! I’m shocked!
However, virtually all of the coverage & responses to the link blocking get the Facebook vs. the Australian government spat completely backward. This article by Mike Masnick (no fan of Facebook, by the way) of TechDirt is the most straightforward explanation I can find. Here’s the summarizing excerpt, but I encourage you to read the whole piece:
But Facebook saying that it won’t pay a link tax is a defense of the open web and against Rupert Murdoch. It’s the right move, and whatever else you may think of Facebook, the company deserves credit for taking the right stand here.
In short, you can think what you want about Facebook, but this is a terrible, no-good, very bad law that Australia drafted. It’s hard to think of an alternative course of action for a company like Facebook.
Check out the full article to dig in deeper.
Facebook has since reportedly struck a deal to offer news links on its properties again. Still, my point remains: journalism (broadly speaking) blames their business model collapsing on Facebook, and virtually everything the company does is viewed through that lens, even when the underlying facts don’t support the narrative.
Also, apropos of nothing, this chart is interesting. 😉
Ben Thompson
FACT: Journalism's business model was screwed before Facebook earned a single dime https://t.co/OF5nMM3T0u
Ben Thompson’s article in Stratechery dives in even deeper and is worth a read.
3. Best COVID-19 Tracking Tools
For looking at comparative & trending data on COVID-19 cases & death across countries & states in the United States, I find the Financial Times’ interactive tool the most useful. I particularly like how this tool focuses on per 100K rates by default versus total numbers. Having the ability to switch between logarithmic (great for understanding rates of change) and linear charts is also handy.
My preferred filters:
  • Whatever countries/states you want
  • Cumulative deaths
  • Linear scale
  • Per 100K
I’m probably not breaking any news here, but the NYT has a multitude of different tools to help paint a picture of the spread of COVID-19 as well as the best explainers of how all vaccine candidates work.
4. Best COVID Vaccine Tracker
While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the United States started off rocky, with backward incentives galore, we now seem to be hitting our stride. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved for emergency use yesterday, vaccine supply should increase significantly very soon, and we gave 1.5 million shots the day Biden was inaugurated. We’re on the way!
I use the Bloomberg vaccine tracker to keep track of vaccination progress. It’s a hopeful page to check every day as we look to end this thing.
Bloomberg COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
5. Mesmerizing Pictures of Jupiter
These are several years old, but NASA’s spacecraft Juno has some breathtaking pictures of the largest planet in our solar system. Worth marveling at for a few minutes.
Juno Image Gallery | NASA
6. Audiblogs - Turn Any Article Into A Podcast Episode
Audiblogs is a simple Chrome extension (and iOS beta app) that turns any article into a podcast episode, subscribable via a private RSS feed in almost all podcast players.
Note: Basically any app except Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio are supported. These apps don’t support the direct addition of RSS feeds.
I find the audio quality to be great, and it couldn’t be easier to set up. I now use this daily to queue up articles I’d like to read hear. It’s missing some features like cross-browser support, paywall logins, etc., but I’m still quite impressed.
That’s it! If you have any feedback for me, feel free to send a reply or click the feedback buttons below.
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Kyle Petzinger
Kyle Petzinger @kylepetz

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