Newley's Notes

NN302: My Top 10 of 2022

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👋 Hi friends,

🎄Merry Christmas!

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

🚨 Administrative note NN will be away until after the new year. I’ll see you again in 2023, friends!

Image of the week, above:

🌅 A recent Hong Kong sunset. People seriously don’t understand how beautiful this city is.

My WSJ latest:

🔎 My last story of 2022, out a couple weeks ago, before I departed on holiday: Google Faces Pressure in Hong Kong Over Search Results for National Anthem

It began:

Google is under fire from officials and legislators in Hong Kong over a pro-democracy song that is showing up in search results for the national anthem, raising tensions between American tech giants and authorities as Beijing tries to spread patriotism in the city.

As they say: Watch this space.

Here are my top 10 new things of 2022:

1) 📚 Book: “Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control, ” by Josh Chin and Liza Lin. A deeply reported, downright frightening work by my WSJ colleagues that shows the extent to which Beijing has siphoned up data on its citizens in order to influence their behavior. A must-read for anyone who’s interested in digital privacy or China (or both), and a cautionary tale for people everywhere given the extent to which governments and corporations around the world increasingly have access to our electronic details.

2) 🍿 Movie: “Top Gun: Maverick.” If you don’t like this feel-good, adrenaline-packed masterwork that — best of all — doesn’t take itself too seriously, well, I can’t be your friend. Because it probably means you don’t love America hard enough.

3) 🎸 Album: “Cruel Country,” by Wilco. The band, which was once known as alt-country and then morphed into much more, riffs on…country music in this double album.

4) 📺 TV series: “Somebody Somewhere.” Shines a light on the unique people in small town America who are often ignored. And a special shout-out to the magnificent “Better Call Saul” — could it even be better than “Breaking Bad?” It just might be — which ended this year.

5) 🎧 Podcast: “The Eastern Oregon Connection.” Given my roots in Pendleton, Oregon, I have loved this straightforward show: Locals Ryan Smith and Shannon Hartley interview interesting people from the community and surrounding region — farmers, coaches, physical therapists, entrepreneurs and more. That’s it! There should be more podcasts like this one.

6) 📷 Best gadget: I’m going to fudge a bit here as the Fujifilm X100V came out in 2020, but I only got it this year. It’s a compact camera with a prime lens that captures beautiful images. It is also a gorgeous machine itself. (I took the sunset pic above using my modest iPhone 12, though.)

7) 🐘 Best web service: Maybe it’s recency bias, and it’s been around for some time, but 2022 saw growing adoption of Mastodon after Elon Musk took over Twitter. I was skeptical at first that it could work at scale, and Twitter still has massive network effects, but I think Mastodon now represents a legitimate Twitter alternative. (I’m, by the way.)

8) 📱Related — best Mastodon iOS app: Metatext. Simple, clean, open source.

9) 🧤 Best save: Emi Martinez saves with his left foot (from 1:28 in the video) in extra time to preserve the 3-3 draw for Argentina and get them to penalties in the best World Cup final match of all time….

10) ⚽ …During which Leo Messi scored the year’s best goal: an outrageously nonchalant penalty (from 0:28 in the video) under unthinkable pressure. Epic.


🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Dogs at a shelter getting to pick Christmas presents


💡 Quote of the week:

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” — Carol Burnett


🤗 What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and videos of excited canines.


👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,


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