April 20, 2020

President Trump has repeatedly insisted the U.S. has plenty of coronavirus tests for everyone who needs one, though it is up to states to procure them. One of the glaring holes in Trump's assertion is that state officials are publicly and privately confirming what people trying to get coronavirus tests have long known: There are not enough tests.

So when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Monday that his state had purchased 500,000 COVID-19 tests from testing powerhouse South Korea, thanks to Hogan's Korean-speaking wife, Trump suggested Hogan was just ill-informed about labs available in Maryland. Vice President Mike Pence later stepped up to announce that the federal government would now let governors utilize the federal labs Hogan says he's been "desperately been trying to get help" from. Hogan took to Twitter on Monday night to thank Trump, kind of.

The U.S. has conducted just over 4 million tests, according to the COVID Tracking Project. That is far short of the number of tests that many governors and nearly all public health experts say is needed to manage the outbreak after coronavirus lockdowns are lifted. Peter Weber

October 1, 2015

With iOS 9, iPhone and iPad users can for the first time block ads while browsing the web. That poses a "philosophical dilemma" for consumers, since lots of beloved news and entertainment sites rely on ads to finance their content creation, notes Brian X. Chen at The New York Times. This presumably includes Chen's employer, but he rated three of the ad blockers anyway, explained how to set them up, and extolled their virtues at improving your reading experience, data usage, and battery life.

Not all websites eat data usage and your precious time equally, Chen notes, and serendipitously, one of the biggest beneficiaries of ad blockers was a site The New York Times sold in 2013:

The benefits of ad blockers stood out the most when loading the website. With ads, that home page on average measured 19.4 megabytes; with ads removed using Crystal or Purify, it measured four megabytes, and with 1Blocker, it measured 4.5 megabytes. On a 4G network, this translated to the page taking 39 seconds to load with ads and eight seconds to load without ads. [The New York Times]

Chen says that he's not trying to destroy the news media, arguing that "ad blockers increase transparency into the different paths that publishers take when integrating ads into their websites." Some of the apps let you choose which sites to support by allowing their ads, he notes, and "some publishers appear to carefully consider how ads affect the performance of your device, while others either do not care or lack the resources to do so." You can read more about the benefits of ad blockers at The New York Times, and feel free, of course, to whitelist Peter Weber

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