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Declan McCullagh
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Lives in San Francisco bay area, CA


FYI, we're making some changes to the article parsing code on the fetchers over the next few days -- this is part of the revamping I mentioned over the next month or so -- so there may be some hiccups. In the worst case, your news volume will slow temporarily as we activate components of the new system. Thanks for your patience while we improve Recent!
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A brief update for iOS users -- Android-only folks, please ignore:

If you've installed build 0.9 it likely will have stopped working because 30 days have elapsed since the build was released; this is an Apple limitation, unfortunately. We've released an updated build but it has not appeared yet on iTunes Connect.

If you'd like to use Recent immediately, let us know at and we'll send you a link to download a temporary version via Installr. Otherwise we'd like to ask for your patience until the new version appears as usual on iTunes Connect. Thanks!
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I'm happy to say that the new iOS version of Recent is available in TestFlight! If you're an iOS user, you should have received an email from Apple. (Please let me know if you didn't!)
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Declan McCullagh

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+Daniel Terdiman just wrote an article for Fast Company about smart algorithms vs. bad data. I'm quoted in it as the co-founder of +Recent: Your news, customized, now.. It's a good story exploring the limits of "intelligent" algorithms and worth a read.
Jonathan Hirshon kept his photo off the Internet for 20 years. Now he's rallying the troops to hack Facebook and Google facial recognition.
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The noise approach won't work. As you say, we've become adept at using computers to filter out noise. All Google, for instance, needs is three tagged photos of the same face and it will know to ignore the leaves and other random chaff.

And, with cameras everywhere and mobile device location tracking being universal, it wouldn't be hard for Google to construct a stream of photographs taken at places and times corresponding with our hero's device's location. The most common face in all the stream is probably the device possessor.

Not that Google would exploit nonpublic personal information like that. But it's technically feasible.
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I don't think I posted previously about this Easter egg that's been in Recent for the last month or so: Type ///time from the search screen to see your boot performance.

I mentioned it in the linked blog post about boot times and bloat...
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I'm happy to say that a new Recent beta is now available! The biggest difference is supporting orientation changes (that is, landscape mode). We hadn't planned to do this, but those of you with tablets felt strongly, so we devoted the engineering time to make it happen. That includes using four side-by-side cards by default for larger tablets in landscape mode.

We've also added a battery saver, which reduces network activity by disabling preloading. You can turn it on via the settings screen. Note even if battery saver is turned off, Recent will conserve your battery by performing no background operations.

Besides bug fixes, other changes include:
- For new Android users, changing default "CONTINUE READING" to use the system browser instead of the webview component. (Existing Recent users can adjust this in settings.)
- Adding "+" add topic button in main screen menu in landscape mode or on tablets
- Adds topic search and card view option during initial signup

Google has published the new version, build 46, and it's in the Play Store as I write this. Unfortunately for iOS users, Apple has not yet published the new version; it's usually a 10-minute delay but after 45 minutes it has not yet appeared for TestFlight users. :( I'll post here when the iOS build is published.
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Yay. New version for my new phone. A cheap Blue phone. Delivered today
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I've been pleasantly surprised by early interest in using Recent on tablets. While a tablet version has been on our roadmap, given our limited resources we've spent minimal time testing the current version on tablets and it looks, frankly, pretty ugly.

But something like 1 in 10 of beta users are already using Recent on tablets, so we're doing to do a bit more to help as an interim step. The main screen layout will now default to the tablet-suitable card view, which will also be used for the search, bookmarks, and history screens. The left menu and certain other UI elements will be sized appropriately on tablets. The article screen will be more responsive. These and a few other changes will appear in the next build.

We've also fixed a fatal tablet-specific bug that appeared at launch only on tablets of a certain size.

Note this is not a beautifully revamped tablet version of Recent -- this is just enough tablet support not to be so ugly! We didn't think early users would be this enthusiastic about tablets, but you are, and we want to make you happy. :)
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And build 40 is now on the Google Play store...
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I received this feature request via email from an iOS user and was wondering if other folks with iPhones would echo it. The request is: "Would like system share sheet to appear first. Really no need for custom share sheet. I most frequently save to instapaper. Share to email: subject of email should be title of article."

When you share on Android, Recent hands off the data to the OS sharing mechanism immediately. On iOS, a bottom sheet appears with the most commonly-used options first and the OS sharing mechanism under "More sharing choices..."  (See screenshot.)

Is there interest among iOS users in adding an Android-style sharing mechanism immediately as a preference in the Settings screen?
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I'm happy to say that after talking to some iOS users we've added this feature. Here's a screenshot: It will be in the next iOS daily build.
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Declan McCullagh

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Just got back from our neighbors' annual outdoor concert two houses away -- their property is sloped in a natural amphitheater, a perfect setting for outdoor music and seating. Something to aspire to host myself, one of these summers!
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nice love the outdoor to and fishing
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Declan McCullagh

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I'm delighted to be joining Jason Calacanis and Ben Parr today on This Week In Startups. It's at 11:30am PT here: (Will share an update on +Recent: Your news, customized, now.)
the most interesting, outrageous & illuminating stories from the world of entrepreneurship. Contact form 7 Mailchimp extension by Renzo Johnson - Web Developer - Orlando Front end Developer - Full Stack Developer - MailChimp for Wordress ...
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I just posted this: On why the mobile web is becoming so bloated, and how we engineered Recent to load in 1 second from a cold boot. (It's still a few tenths of a second faster on Android than iOS.)

If you're an early user of Recent, you can see your boot performance via an Easter egg: type in ///time from the search screen...
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+Declan McCullagh who do you like in the DNSSEC failure-to-adopt sweepstakes, or
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For iOS users: We received requests to add a sharing option directly from the web page view (after you tap "CONTINUE READING").  I'm happy to say that's in the latest version, build 40, which is on TestFlight.

We already had that direct sharing option for Android users, so it was a shame not to have it on iOS as well. Now it's there.
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PS: Some of the changes in build 40 that are relevant for non-iOS users too: 
- Improved tablet and card view support
- Home tab shows topics for all layout options (very useful for tablets)
- Android Facebook sharing fixed
- Better detection of iPad mini with retina display
- Fixed iOS memory leak bug when displaying web pages
- Added "Load Recent account" option to settings screen (for syncing multiple devices)
- Revamped search screen
- Proposed topics will be shown after boot instead of during boot
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I'm happy to say that a new version of the beta (build 36) is now published for Android and iOS. Just in case anyone's desperately interested, here's the list of changes:

- Revamped intro screen to group topics
- Reverted to square checkboxes (from round)
- Improved relevance of All Topics tab based on topic frequency
- Added "Sample topics recently read" to account statistics (under Settings)
- Added Journo-mode for journalists (makes source more prominent) by typing ///shanklandize into search box
- Added news outlet name to Compact layout
- Added better crash handling
- Added Android preference (in Settings) to share headlines
- Recommended-required counter decrements as articles are read
- Fixed "0.9 minute" to "Less than a minute"
- Changed intro checkbox text to: "Include more news about"
- Back button no longer exits from proposed topics screen
- Darkened gradient on article screen by 25%
- One-time feature reminders now appear at top of Home screen
- One-time popup introducing features appears on article screen
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
San Francisco bay area, CA
Washington, DC
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Entrepreneur, software developer, writer, pilot. Now creating
Creating forthcoming news recommendation engine and Android/iOS app -- sign up for the beta at Ex-CBS, CNET Networks, Wired, Time Inc.

Living on San Francisco peninsula. Recent-related email: Contact: and
Founder, Recent Media (
    2014 - present
  • CBS Corporation
    2008 - 2014
  • CNET Networks
    2002 - 2008
  • Wired
    1998 - 2002
  • Time Inc.
    1996 - 1998
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