Tailscale 

My thanks to Tailscale for sponsoring this week at DF. Say hello to Tailscale SSH — and say goodbye to managing SSH keys, setting up bastion jump boxes, and unnecessarily exposing your private production devices to the open internet. Never deploy an infrastructure bastion again.

Joe Turkel Dies at 94 

He’ll always be the bartender.

The Talk Show: ‘Here You Go, Cheapskate’ 

Rene Ritchie returns to the show for more on Apple’s announcements from WWDC 2022, locking devices out of Face ID and Touch ID, passkeys, and more.

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Republicans Working the Refs, Gmail Edition 

Lachlan Markay, reporting for Axios:

The Republican National Committee fired the latest shot on Wednesday, when chairwoman Ronna McDaniel claimed in a statement to Axios that Google has “systematically attacked” its digital program. The RNC claims Google’s Gmail, the nation’s top email client, has been suppressing fundraising emails during strategically critical periods this year.

Google told Axios its spam filter is thoroughly apolitical, and that it’s taking steps to ensure political messages aren’t inadvertently flagged. [...] Google did not address the RNC’s specific complaints, but stressed, “we do not filter emails based on political affiliation.”

“We recently asked the Federal Election Commission to advise us on a potential pilot for political bulk senders that would provide more transparency into email deliverability, while still letting users protect their inboxes by unsubscribing or labeling emails as spam,” said Google spokesperson José Castañeda in an emailed statement.

That pilot, first reported by Axios this week, would initially exempt political senders from Gmail’s spam filter, while giving recipients more visible options to flag those messages as spam going forward.

For the sake of argument, let’s concede that Gmail flags as spam more political emails from Republicans than Democrats. I’d bet that this is in fact true — and if it’s not true, there’s no basis for this controversy.

One possible explanation is that Google is doing this deliberately to hinder Republican fundraising. This is what the GOP is claiming.

Another possible explanation is that GOP fundraising emails really do tend to be more spammy, both in content and in frequency, and thus should be getting flagged as spam more frequently than those from Democrats by non-partisan filtering algorithms. I.e. that Gmail’s spam filtering algorithms are biased only against junky messages. I get a lot of email from Democrats based on my political donations. I also voluntarily signed up for emails from the Trump campaign in the 2020 election, just to see what they were like. In my experience, the scenario I describe in this paragraph is almost certainly the case: Republican political emails are spammier.

Fundraising emails from Democrats are very frequent, and often melodramatic in their ostensible urgency, but in my experience they are legit. Unsubscribe links are where you expect them at the bottom of the emails, and unsubscribing works.

Fundraising emails from Republicans — especially those from the Trump campaign — look and read like scams. And, apparently, often now are outright scams — the Trump family has apparently raised over $250 million since the 2020 election for an “Official Election Defense Fund” that doesn’t exist. Emails with subject lines claiming that you have “one hour to claim your free gift”, or that Trump himself has recorded a personal message just for you but he needs some dough before he’ll send it to you. All political fundraising solicitations are a bit greasy, but the Trumpy ones are so scammy they’re beyond parody.

The Republican argument is that Gmail (and all other email providers — but Gmail is the biggest in the U.S.) ought to flag Republican and Democratic emails as spam in equal measure, and if Republican emails are flagged more frequently, it’s prima facie evidence that Google is biased against Republicans. It’s like a basketball team that plays rough and commits a lot more fouls than their opponent but yells and screams that the refs are biased against them because more fouls are called against them. The refs aren’t biased if the team they flag for more fouls actually commits more fouls. And a spam filter isn’t biased if one party’s emails are more spammy and thus more likely to be flagged as spam.

But it sounds like Google, eager to avoid being tagged as anti-conservative, is working on something to exempt political emails from their general spam filtering algorithms. I get it that this bullshit is a headache Google doesn’t need, but I’d like to see them stand firm that their spam filters are working as intended — flagging messages based on their junkiness, not their political slant.

President Biden to Award Steve Jobs a Posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom 

Among other recipients this year: John McCain, Megan Rapinoe, Simone Biles, and Denzel Washington.

Ketanji Brown Jackson Sworn in as 116th Supreme Court Justice 

Theodore Parker: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Keep the faith.

Instagram and Facebook Remove Posts Offering Abortion Pills 

Amanda Seitz, reporting for the AP:

The AP obtained a screenshot on Friday of one Instagram post from a woman who offered to purchase or forward abortion pills through the mail, minutes after the court ruled to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion.

“DM me if you want to order abortion pills, but want them sent to my address instead of yours,” the post on Instagram read.

Instagram took it down within moments. Vice Media first reported on Monday that Meta, the parent of both Facebook and Instagram, was taking down posts about abortion pills.

On Monday, an AP reporter tested how the company would respond to a similar post on Facebook, writing: “If you send me your address, I will mail you abortion pills.” The post was removed within one minute. The Facebook account was immediately put on a “warning” status for the post, which Facebook said violated its standards on “guns, animals and other regulated goods.”

Yet, when the AP reporter made the same exact post but swapped out the words “abortion pills” for “a gun,” the post remained untouched. A post with the same exact offer to mail “weed” was also left up and not considered a violation.

Get your shit together, Facebook.

Disney Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Chinese Rule in Hong Kong 

Just one character, though: roly-poly Winnie the Pooh.

F.C.C. Commissioner Brendan Carr Asks Apple and Google to Remove TikTok From App Stores 

Brendan Carr, one of the FCC’s commissioners (a Republican), in a letter to Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai:

I am writing the two of you because Apple and Google hold themselves out as operating app stores that are safe and trusted places to discover and download apps. Nonetheless, Apple and Google have reviewed and approved the TikTok app for inclusion in your respective app stores. Indeed, statistics show that TikTok has been downloaded in the U.S. from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store nearly 19 million times in the first quarter of this year alone. It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data. But it is also clear that TikTok’s pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have to sensitive U.S. user data- just some of which is detailed below-puts it out of compliance with the policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to as a condition of remaining available on your app stores. Therefore, I am requesting that you apply the plain text of your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from your app stores for failure to abide by those terms.

TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing. At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data. [...]

Moreover, Apple and Google have long claimed to operate their app stores in a manner that protects consumer privacy and safeguards their data. Therefore, I am requesting that you apply your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for failing to comply with those policies. If you do not remove TikTok from your app stores, please provide separate responses to me by July 8, 2022, explaining the basis for your company’s conclusion that the surreptitious access of private and sensitive U.S. user data by persons located in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies.

This whole charade about moving U.S. TikTok users’ data to servers run by Oracle is a facade — there’s nothing stopping ByteDance employees in China from accessing the data on those servers. The Biden administration shouldn’t merely request that Apple and Google ban TikTok from their App Stores, they should demand it.

Atari Turns 50 

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Atari, Benj Edwards interviewed founder Nolan Bushnell for How-To Geek:

Benj Edwards, How-To Geek: Do you think the video game industry has lost sight of any innovations from the early days of Atari?

Nolan Bushnell: A little bit. Remember that Atari was founded as a coin-op company. And coin-op has this requirement that a newbie has to get into the game almost instantly without reading instructions. So the simplicity of onboarding is lost by a lot of people right now. [...]

HTG: What did you do “right” in the early years of Atari that people could learn from today?

Bushnell: We did really good branding. And I think that, in terms of our graphic badges and our logo and everything, we wanted to have a distinct look. I think it’s held together. Right now, the Atari logo is the only thing that’s still really vibrant.

HTG: Apple used iconic branding successfully too, and Steve Jobs was one of your early employees. Do you think that rubbed off on Apple?

Bushnell: I think so, because Jobs used to ride up to my house on Sunday mornings on his motorcycle. And we’d drink tea and talk about things. And I talked about the importance of branding and color palettes and things like that — how a brand and look is multi-faceted. You’ve never really thought about a color palette as being unique to a company, and yet it’s axiomatic.

Atari was the first computer company I ever loved. Still love those old machines and games, and still love that logo.

Bonus link: This terrific TV commercial for the Atari 2600 from the early 1980s, also via Edwards.

Period Tracking App Stardust Seems a Little Sketchy 

Sarah Perez and Zack Whittaker, reporting for TechCrunch yesterday:

Others are abandoning their current period trackers and turning to apps like Stardust instead as a result of the company’s strong statement issued in light of the decision to overturn Roe. Stardust said it would implement end-to-end encryption so it would “not be able to hand over any of your period tracking data” to the government, helping to draw in hundreds of thousands of downloads over this weekend ahead of the release of the new, encryption-featured app version slated for release on Wednesday.

First strike: Stardust bills itself as an astrology-based period tracker: “Harness your inner cosmic energy with Stardust, an app that integrates science, astronomy and artificial intelligence to connect your hormonal cycle with the cycles of larger celestial bodies: the stars, planets, sun, and moon.” I wouldn’t take advice at the craps table from someone who believes in astrology, let alone trust them with my medical data.

(Sidenote: “minnow-clarinet-j6yf.squarespace.com” is an odd domain name for an ostensibly serious personal health company.)

Second strike: end-to-end encryption isn’t something you just add in a matter of days.

TechCrunch ran a network traffic analysis of Stardust’s iPhone app on Monday to understand what data was flowing in and out of the app. The network traffic showed that if a user logs into the app using their phone number (rather than through a login service provided by Apple or Google), Stardust will periodically share the user’s phone number with a third-party analytics service called Mixpanel. [...] During the network traffic analysis, TechCrunch saw no health data shared with Mixpanel. But sharing a phone number that’s tied to a specific user of a period-tracking app with a third party like Mixpanel could allow prosecutors to compel Mixpanel to turn over that data — even if Stardust claims that it can’t.

That does not sound like an app that takes user privacy seriously.

TechCrunch asked the founders for more information about how the app is implementing end-to-end encryption. Stardust founder Moranis told TechCrunch that “all traffic to our servers is through standard SSL (hosted on AWS) and subsequent data storage on AWS RDS utilizing their built-in AES-256 encryption implementation.” Although this describes the use of encryption to protect data while in transit and while it’s stored on Amazon’s servers, it’s not clear if this implementation would be considered true end-to-end encryption.

Given its complexity and the stakes involved, implementing end-to-end encryption is often a time- and resource-intensive effort, where a single coding flaw could undermine the protections of the users’ data. [...] When asked if the company had conducted a third-party security audit of the app’s code, Moranis said that the company intends to “fully publish our implementation along with a third-party audit once it is complete,” but a timeline was not given. [...]

After we heard from Stardust, the company quietly changed its privacy policy again to remove mentions of end-to-end encryption.

This doesn’t really make any sense. My best guess is that Stardust’s leadership saw an opportunity to appeal to privacy-concerned women after Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, struck gold by claiming to be secure and privacy-focused, but they didn’t actually know what “end-to-end encryption” really means.


The New Prohibition

David Frum, writing for The Atlantic:

The culture war raged most hotly from the ’70s to the next century’s ’20s. It polarized American society, dividing men from women, rural from urban, religious from secular, Anglo-Americans from more recent immigrant groups. At length, but only after a titanic constitutional struggle, the rural and religious side of the culture imposed its will on the urban and secular side. A decisive victory had been won, or so it seemed.

The culture war I’m talking about is the culture war over alcohol prohibition. From the end of Reconstruction to the First World War, probably more state and local elections turned on that one issue than on any other. The long struggle seemingly culminated in 1919, with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment and enactment by Congress of the National Prohibition Act, or the Volstead Act (as it became known). The amendment and the act together outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States and all its subject territories. Many urban and secular Americans experienced those events with the same feeling of doom as pro-choice Americans may feel today after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Only, it turns out that the Volstead Act was not the end of the story. As Prohibition became a nationwide reality, Americans rapidly changed their mind about the idea. Support for Prohibition declined, then collapsed. Not only was the Volstead Act repealed, in 1933, but the Constitution was further amended so that nobody could ever try such a thing ever again.

The analogy isn’t perfect, but no analogy ever is. I’ll start by noting the obvious: that women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy are far more essential than the right to consume alcohol (or any other drug) recreationally. The stakes are immeasurably higher.

That said, I find Frum’s analogy compelling, politically. Optimistically, the repeal of Prohibition was resounding, and seemingly stands as proof that something so deeply unpopular cannot stand in a democracy. Pessimistically, the repeal of Prohibition — despite its deep unpopularity and obvious failure — took 14 years. From our perspective today, Prohibition looks like a bizarre, brief blip in American history; to those who lived through it, it was a long and painful slog.

More pessimistic, of course, is the fact that American democracy itself is in severe crisis. Deeply unpopular laws and the suppression of fundamental human rights are the norm in autocracies. 


Trump Lawyer John Eastman Probably Wishes He Knew How to Hard-Lock His iPhone 

CNN:

FBI seized the phone of former President Donald Trump’s election attorney John Eastman last week, according to a new court filing from the conservative lawyer. Last Wednesday, about six federal investigators approached Eastman in New Mexico when he was exiting a restaurant after dinner with his wife and a friend, according to the court filings. He was patted down, and “forced to provide [facial] biometric data to open” the phone, Eastman’s court filing said.

Agents were able to get access to Eastman’s email accounts on his iPhone 12 Pro, the filings said.

CNN posted a copy of Eastman’s court filing, which contains the original warrant as an attachment. From the warrant:

During the execution of the search of the authorized places, law enforcement personnel are also specifically authorized to obtain from the Subjects (but not any other individuals present at the time of execution of the warrant) the compelled display of any physical biometric characteristics (such as fingerprint/thumbprint, facial characteristics, or iris display) necessary to unlock any device(s) requiring such biometric access subject to seizure pursuant to this warrant for which law enforcement has reasonable suspicion that the aforementioned person(s)’ physical biometric characteristics will unlock the device(s), to include pressing fingers or thumbs against and/or putting a face before the sensor, or any other security feature requiring biometric recognition of any of the devices, for the purpose of attempting to unlock the device(s)’s security features in order to search the contents as authorized by this warrant.

While attempting to unlock the device by use of the compelled display of biometric characteristics pursuant to this warrant, law enforcement is not authorized to demand that the aforementioned person(s) state or otherwise provide the password or identify the specific biometric characteristics (including the unique finger(s) or other physical features), that may be used to unlock or access the device(s). Nor does the warrant authorize law enforcement to use the fact that the warrant allows law enforcement to obtain the display of any biometric characteristics to compel the aforementioned person(s) to state or otherwise provide that information. However, the voluntary disclosure of such information by the aforementioned person(s) is permitted. To avoid confusion on that point, if agents in executing the warrant ask any of the aforementioned person(s) for the password to any device(s), or to identify which biometric characteristic (including the unique finger(s) or other physical features) unlocks any device(s), the agents will not state or otherwise imply that the warrant requires the person to provide such information, and will make clear that providing any such information is voluntary and that the person is free to refuse the request.

That this story broke the same day I published a piece explaining how to hard-lock an iPhone to disable Face ID and Touch ID authentication until the device passcode has been entered, is rather amazing. I was inspired to post that yesterday in light of privacy concerns stemming from the Supreme Court’s repeal of abortion rights in America, but the situation I described — that law enforcement can force you to use your fingerprints or face to unlock a device, but cannot force you to reveal your passcode — is perfectly exemplified by the warrant against Eastman.

Watching the video of Eastman’s iPhone being confiscated, it’s possible he had no opportunity to hard-lock the device even if he’d known how to. The video Eastman gave to Fox News starts with him with his hands already on his head, and an FBI agent frisking him, finding the phone in a belt holster, and taking it.

The Talk Show: ‘Your Sack of Meat With Teeth’ 

Jason Snell returns to the show to discuss the biggest threads from WWDC 2022 — in particular, Stage Manager and the M2 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook “Pro”. No sports talk (unless you count soccer).

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How to Temporarily Disable Face ID or Touch ID, and Require a Passcode to Unlock Your iPhone or iPad

I’ve written about this — e.g. here and here — but because I consider it one of the single most important things to know about iOS, I should write about it more often. Even if you’re not the sort of person who typically shares iPhone tips with your friends and relatives, this is one that you should spread the word about.

The problem is this: if you use Face ID or Touch ID on your device (and you almost certainly should), what happens if law enforcement (or anyone else for that matter) takes your device and physically forces you to unlock it biometrically? There is some legal precedent supporting the notion that police can force you to do this, but can’t force you to provide them with a passcode or passphrase.

Here are two essential things everyone should know.

The first is hard-locking. When you hard-lock your iPhone or iPad, it enters a mode that requires the device passcode to unlock. With recent iPhones and iPads, you enter this mode the same way that you turn off the device: by pressing and holding the power button and either of the volume buttons for about two seconds.1 You’ll know when you’ve pressed the buttons long enough because there’s haptic feedback.2 This takes you to the screen where you see a slider to power down the device, and on iPhones, where you can initiate an Emergency SOS call or view the device owner’s Medical ID (if they have one). The important thing to note is that you don’t have to do anything on this screen to hard-lock your device — once you’ve gotten to this screen, the device is already hard-locked and will require the passcode to unlock. You can’t use Face ID or Touch ID again until the passcode has been entered. This is important because it means you can easily hard-lock your iPhone without even looking at it, or removing it from your pocket or purse. That you can do this surreptitiously is very much by design.

Just press and hold the buttons on both sides. Remember that. Try it now. Don’t just memorize it, internalize it, so that you’ll be able to do it without much thought while under duress, like if you’re confronted by a police officer. Remember to do this every time you’re separated from your phone, like when going through the magnetometer at any security checkpoint, especially airports. As soon as you see a metal detector ahead of you, you should think, “Hard-lock my iPhone”.

The second thing is to know your rights. Never ever hand your phone to a cop or anyone vaguely cop-like, like the rent-a-cops working for TSA. If they tell you that you must, refuse. They can and will lie to you about this. If you really need to hand it over, they’ll take it from you. And they won’t get anything from it, because you’ll have already hard-locked it, and you’ll know that you cannot be required to give them your passcode. 


  1. You can also do the same thing by quickly pressing the side button alone five times. On older iPhones (iPhone 7 and earlier), rapidly pressing the side button five times will immediately initiate the SOS phone call to emergency services; on iPhone 8 and later it just takes you to the same lock screen as when you press and hold the side button along with a volume button. I find the press-and-hold method easier to remember. I think of it as squeezing my iPhone for a moment to protect its contents. ↩︎

  2. This haptic feedback/confirmation only occurs if “Vibrate on Ring” is turned on in Settings → Sounds & Haptics. I feel like this haptic feedback should occur regardless of this setting. ↩︎︎


Claim Chowder: Kathleen ‘Calm Down’ Parker Edition 

Kathleen Parker, opining for The Washington Post four years ago, on the cusp of Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court:

What new justice would want to be that man or woman, who forevermore would be credited with upending settled law and causing massive societal upheaval? As for other conservative justices, only Clarence Thomas would likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the most important voices in this discussion, echoed the thoughts of close-to-the-court sources, who told me that neither Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. nor Neil M. Gorsuch would likely want to wade into that swamp and weigh in on a Roe v. Wade reversal.

The headline: “Calm Down. Roe v. Wade Isn’t Going Anywhere.”

This, from the same columnist who wrote on 4 November 2016, “Calm Down. We’ll Be Fine No Matter Who Wins.”

(Via Jay Rosen, who observes, “That scene from Shawshank comes to mind: ‘You don’t seem to be a very good thief. Maybe you should try something else.’”)

Epic’s 95/5 Split for Fortnite Content Creators 

Jay Peters, writing for The Verge:

For the Fortnite groups I talked to, the Creator Codes can be an inefficient way to get revenue, since they have to find ways to convince people to enter the code. In some maps I’ve played, though, there’s a prompt right at the beginning that lets you use the code with just a couple button presses. But creators don’t get much of the share of what’s purchased. In Fortnite, creators earn 5 percent of the value of in-game purchases made using their Creator Code, Epic says on its website.

In an FAQ, Epic spells out a couple examples of how the payouts might work — and explicitly cautions creators to “expect modest results”:

Q: Will This Program Make Creators Rich?

A: Please expect modest results. The amount you earn scales with the number of players who choose to support you. A Fortnite example: If your in-game supporters spend 50,000 V-Bucks in-game, then you would earn $25 USD. An Epic Games Store example: if your supporters purchase $100 of games, you’ll earn $5 (at the base Epic-funded rate).

Sounds like we have a solution to Epic’s years-long complaint about Apple and Google taking a 15–30 percent cut of in-app transactions. They should follow Epic’s lead and take a 95 percent cut instead. Support a creator, indeed.

Or, perhaps, different revenue splits are “fair” in different contexts.

Period-Tracking Apps and Data Privacy in Post-Roe America 

Rina Torchinsky, reporting for NPR on an issue that is now top-of-mind for women across the United States:

For those second-guessing their period-tracking app, Ford says there’s a risk vs. convenience calculation that’s different for each user. It depends in large part on where you live and what the laws are.

“If I lived in a state where abortion was actively being criminalized, I would not use a period tracker — that’s for sure,” she says.

But for those who choose to log their data online, there might be some options that aren’t as risky. Ford says that apps built with a nonprofit model could offer more privacy. Hong says paid apps could be better because they’re less likely to track users, since they don’t need to collect advertising data. Hong also advised users to read Apple’s privacy nutrition labels, which are designed to show users how their data is used in simpler terms.

Apps that store data locally are also preferable, Greer explained, because when data is stored locally, the user owns it — not the company.

The article, unfortunately, does not mention the iOS Health app specifically, but should. Apple’s Health data is only accessible on the user’s device(s). From Apple’s support documentation on health records and privacy:

By default, iCloud automatically keeps your Health app data, including health records, up to date across your devices. To disable this feature, open iCloud settings and turn off Health. iCloud protects your health records data by encrypting it both in storage and during transmission. If you’re using iOS 12 or later and have turned on two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, health records are encrypted using end-to-end encryption through iCloud. This means only you can access this information, and only on devices where you’re signed in to iCloud. No one else, not even Apple, can access end-to-end encrypted information.

In other words, it’s not merely a policy that Apple will keep your health data — all of it — private on iCloud. If you’re using two-factor authentication for your iCloud account — and you most definitely should be — it’s mathematically secure via end-to-end encryption. Apple not only won’t hand it over in the face of a demand from law enforcement in a state where abortion has been criminalized, they can’t.

I don’t mean to glibly suggest that Apple Health is a panacea for this dilemma. It’s certainly worth worrying about which third-party apps you grant access to your Health data, for one thing. And for another, data stored on-device is still accessible to law enforcement if they have possession of the device and can unlock it. But it’s a distinction worth noting. HealthKit was designed from the ground up to be cryptographically secure in this way — a fundamental difference from cloud-based period tracking services that are only now working on “anonymous” modes.

You can check which apps have access to what Health data in Settings → Health → Data Access & Devices.

America Is Growing Apart 

Ronald Brownstein, writing for The Atlantic:

All of this is fueling what I’ve called “the great divergence” now under way between red and blue states. This divergence itself creates enormous strain on the country’s cohesion, but more and more even that looks like only a way station. What’s becoming clearer over time is that the Trump-era GOP is hoping to use its electoral dominance of the red states, the small-state bias in the Electoral College and the Senate, and the GOP-appointed majority on the Supreme Court to impose its economic and social model on the entire nation — with or without majority public support. As measured on fronts including the January 6 insurrection, the procession of Republican 2020 election deniers running for offices that would provide them with control over the 2024 electoral machinery, and the systematic advance of a Republican agenda by the Supreme Court, the underlying political question of the 2020s remains whether majority rule — and democracy as we’ve known it — can survive this offensive.

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The Dissent 

There’s a lot to read regarding today’s 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, making official what we’ve known was about to happen since a near-final draft leaked in early May. I humbly suggest starting with the dissent, written by all three dissenting justices, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Their dissent begins on page 148 of the PDF decision.

Some highlights. P. 3 (page 151 of PDF):

Most threatening of all, no language in today’s decision stops the Federal Government from prohibiting abortions nationwide, once again from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest. If that happens, “the views of [an individual State’s] citizens” will not matter. Ante, at 1. The challenge for a woman will be to finance a trip not to “New York [or] California” but to Toronto.

P. 4:

The lone rationale for what the majority does today is that the right to elect an abortion is not “deeply rooted in history”: Not until Roe, the majority argues, did people think abortion fell within the Constitution’s guarantee of liberty. The same could be said, though, of most of the rights the majority claims it is not tampering with. The majority could write just as long an opinion showing, for example, that until the mid-20th century, “there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain [contraceptives].” So one of two things must be true. Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid- 19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.

P. 14:

As an initial matter, note a mistake in the just preceding sentence. We referred there to the “people” who ratified the Fourteenth Amendment: What rights did those “people” have in their heads at the time? But, of course, “people” did not ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. Men did. So it is perhaps not so surprising that the ratifiers were not perfectly attuned to the importance of reproductive rights for women’s liberty, or for their capacity to participate as equal members of our Nation. Indeed, the ratifiers — both in 1868 and when the original Constitution was approved in 1788 — did not understand women as full members of the community embraced by the phrase “We the People.” In 1868, the first wave of American feminists were explicitly told — of course by men — that it was not their time to seek constitutional protections. (Women would not get even the vote for another half-century.) To be sure, most women in 1868 also had a foreshortened view of their rights: If most men could not then imagine giving women control over their bodies, most women could not imagine having that kind of autonomy. But that takes away nothing from the core point. Those responsible for the original Constitution, including the Fourteenth Amendment, did not perceive women as equals, and did not recognize women’s rights. When the majority says that we must read our foundational charter as viewed at the time of ratification (except that we may also check it against the Dark Ages), it consigns women to second-class citizenship.

P. 33:

So how does that approach prevent the “scale of justice” from “waver[ing] with every new judge’s opinion”? It does not. It makes radical change too easy and too fast, based on nothing more than the new views of new judges. The majority has overruled Roe and Casey for one and only one reason: because it has always despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them. The majority thereby substitutes a rule by judges for the rule of law.

And its poignant conclusion (p. 60):

One of us once said that “[i]t is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much.” For all of us, in our time on this Court, that has never been more true than today. In overruling Roe and Casey, this Court betrays its guiding principles.

With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.

Keep the faith.

Four Democratic Lawmakers Want the F.T.C. to Investigate Apple and Google Over Mobile Surveillance Advertising 

Patience Haggin, reporting for The Wall Street Journal (News+):

Four Democratic lawmakers called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, alleging the companies engage in unfair and deceptive practices by enabling the collection and sale of mobile-phone users’ personal information.

Apple and Google “knowingly facilitated these harmful practices by building advertising-specific tracking IDs into their mobile operating systems,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to FTC chair Lina Khan sent on Friday.

This strikes me as deeply misguided in several ways. For one thing, it doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the Identity for Advertisers (IDFA) was created to replace immutable unique device IDs, which advertisers were using previously for tracking. Second, with Apple’s recent Ad-Tracking Transparency (ATT) initiative, which clearly has put more control over tracking into users’ hands, I don’t see why it makes any sense to lump Apple and Google together on this, other than performative virtue signaling that one is staunchly against the entire “Big Tech” boogeyman complex.

Both companies have recently taken steps to limit the collection of user data through these mobile-ad identifiers — a string of numbers and letters built into iOS and Android, the respective mobile operating systems of Apple and Google. Users of both operating systems now have a way to opt out of having their identifier transmitted to apps. Apple last year introduced a new version of its software that requires each app to ask the user for permission to access the device’s identifier, and Google is planning to adopt new privacy restrictions to curtail tracking across apps on Android smartphones.

“Until recently, however, Apple enabled this tracking ID by default and required consumers to dig through confusing phone settings to turn it off. Google still enables this tracking identifier by default, and until recently did not even provide consumers with an opt-out,” said the letter, which was signed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.); Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.); and Rep. Sara Jacobs (D., Calif.). “These identifiers have fueled the unregulated data broker market by creating a single piece of information linked to a device that data brokers and their customers can use to link to other data about consumers.”

So Apple has done the pro-privacy thing and made access to this identifier more clear to users, and Google intends to do similar. This, after creating IDFA in the first place to keep the ad industry from using immutable unique device identifiers for tracking. So the point of this FTC investigation would be what, exactly?

What a fucking day for four Democrats to signal that their attention is out in left field.

Marques Brownlee Previews Industrial Design of Nothing’s ‘Phone (1)’ 

Shot: MKBHD has a nice short preview look at Nothing’s first phone, which is debuting in a few weeks. There are some aspects of its design that are clearly iPhone-inspired — the basic shape, flat sides, button shapes even. But there are other aspects that are clearly like nothing else — the clear back and light-up “glyph” interface for custom notifications while the phone is face down. I dig the Nothing aesthetic, so I was thinking maybe this might be my next Android “see how the other side lives” devices.

Chaser: “Nothing Confirms Phone (1) Will Not Be Coming to US”.

So much for that idea.

Twenty Years of Flying Meat 

Gus Mueller:

On this day twenty years ago I registered the flyingmeat.com domain. I had no idea what I was doing back then, only that I loved coding, I loved sharing what I worked on, and indie companies were undisputedly cool.

Twenty years later I still have no idea what I’m doing, but I still love coding and sharing what I make, and indie companies are still the best. [...]

However I’m not going to let this opportunity pass without a little bit of fun, so I’ve put all my apps on sale for $20. Acorn? Normally $39.95, now $20. Retrobatch Pro? Normally $49.99, now $20. Retrobatch Pro Upgrade? Normally $19.99, now $20 (Yes, we raised the price. No, it makes no sense to purchase it).

Here’s to 20 more years. Both Acorn and Retrobatch are indispensable to my workflows.

Rick Olivieri, ‘Prince of Steaks’, Dies at 57 

Sad local note. Michael Klein, writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Rick Olivieri, 57, a grandson of cheesesteak inventor Pat Olivieri and the former owner of the popular Rick’s Steaks at Reading Terminal Market, died Sunday, June 12, at his Drexel Hill home after a 10-year battle with early onset frontotemporal dementia.

“He fought it for every minute,” said his wife, Debi, who met Mr. Olivieri in summer 1984, shortly after she took a job at the Bassetts turkey stand a few aisles away from Olivieri Prince of Steaks, where Mr. Olivieri had worked for his father, Herb, a son of Pasquale “Pat” Olivieri of Pat’s King of Steaks fame. (Pat’s, at Ninth and Wharton Streets for 90 years, is operated by Frank Olivieri, his cousin.)

Rick’s was, hands-down, the best cheesesteak I’ve ever had. First, each sandwich was grilled fresh — your steak only started grilling after you ordered. This meant lines were long at lunchtime, but the sandwiches were impeccable. Second, Rick’s used really good steak — a special cut of ribeye from a local butcher here in Philly. Third — and this is key — they were reasonably portioned. There are a lot of good cheesesteak joints here, but most of them pack way too much meat into each sandwich. Rick’s used exactly six thin slices on each sandwich — just right.

Lastly is the fact that Rick was always there, seemingly always manning the grill himself. I ate at Rick’s dozens of times. There might have been someone else manning the grill once.


Two New Apps I Wanted to Flag for You

Last week I wrote about a change in MacOS 12.4 that upset many polyglots — as part of a company-wide effort to decouple national flags as icons to denote languages, the Input menu in MacOS now uses two letter codes instead (“US” for U.S. English, “GB” for British, etc.). As I wrote in an update to that post, the new policy does make sense for Apple — national flags carry political connotations that languages alone do not — but it’s unfortunate for users accustomed to scanning the menu for colorful icons at a glance when switching.

Two third-party developers have come to the rescue, with similar apps that restore the “pick a flag to change input sources” functionality:

Both apps serve the same fundamental purpose: they add a system-wide menu item that shows a flag icon to denote the current input language. Open the menu, and you can choose another input source language, as configured in the Keyboard panel in System Preferences.

Keyboard Switcheroo is a bit more polished. It lets you choose between the traditional flat flags, as previously used in the system’s built-in Input menu, the emojis for those flags (which are a bit larger and wavy instead of flat), or a custom image. Colorful Input Menu Flags only uses the emoji icons. Keyboard Switcheroo also lets you edit the languages shown in the menu directly within the app — no need to go to System Preferences. 


Mail Merge Returns to Pages After Nine Years 

Dan Moren, writing at Six Colors:

After almost a decade, I guess it’s time to pack in my posters, stickers, and Tim Cook and Craig Federighi phone call scripts for the “Bring Mail Merge back to Pages!” campaign and declare victory. Because, yes, Mail Merge has returned to Pages.

The feature was originally included in Apple’s word processing software, but got the axe in 2013’s version 5.0, when Apple redesigned its iWork suite to give even footing across the iOS, iPadOS, and macOS platforms. In the interim, Mail Merge remained possible only via workarounds like Sal Soghoian’s Pages Data Merge app.

Version 12.1, released today, brings a brand new implementation, however, which lets you populate a template document either from your contacts or a spreadsheet.

Two discrete thoughts on this. First, nine years is a long time, but Apple seemingly remains very committed to the iWork suite. They added some cool new features in all three apps this week.

Second, the fact that workarounds like Soghoian’s Pages Data Merge were even possible in the interim shows the essential nature of good automation/scripting support in serious apps. Automation isn’t so much about letting all users script apps, because we all know most users aren’t scripters. But automation lets the users who are scripters provide solutions for the whole community of users.

Kottke, on Sabbatical 

Jason Kottke, six weeks ago:

Does what I do here make a difference in other people’s lives? In my life? Is this still scratching the creative itch that it used to? And if not, what needs to change? Where does kottke.org end and Jason begin? Who am I without my work? Is the validation I get from the site healthy? Is having to be active on social media healthy? Is having to read the horrible news every day healthy? What else could I be doing here? What could I be doing somewhere else? What good is a blog without a thriving community of other blogs? I’ve tried thinking about these and many other questions while continuing my work here, but I haven’t made much progress; I need time away to gain perspective.

So. The plan, as it currently stands, is to take 5-6 months away from the site. I will not be posting anything new here. I won’t be publishing the newsletter. There won’t be a guest editor either — if someone else was publishing here, it would still be on my mind and I’m looking for total awayness here.

Six weeks in and I miss his words dearly, but I’m happy for him. They say you should hydrate before you get thirsty. I suspect the same is true for taking sabbaticals — you should take one before you know you need one. That’s hard to figure out, though.

A friend once asked me what’s been the longest stretch between posts on DF since I started. I told him the truth: I don’t know.

Update: Well, now I know, thanks to a nifty Ruby script from DF reader Henrik Nyh. I took a 12-day break around Christmas in 2003. Since I started the Linked List (shorter link posts) in 2004, the longest gap is 8 days, from 29 December 2019 to 6 January 2020. The longest stretch between feature articles is 50 days, from 22 September to 11 November 2015.

iOS 16 Will Let Users Bypass Captchas in Supported Apps and Websites 

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

The handy new feature can be found in the Settings app under Apple ID → Password & Security → Automatic Verification. When enabled, Apple says iCloud will automatically and privately verify your device and Apple ID account in the background, eliminating the need for apps and websites to present you with a CAPTCHA verification prompt.

Apple recently shared a video with technical details about how the feature works, but simply put, Apple’s system verifies that the device and Apple ID account are in good standing and presents what is called a Private Access Token to the app or website. This new system will offer a better user experience for tasks such as signing into or creating an account, with improved user privacy and accessibility compared to CAPTCHAs.

No more unpaid work helping Google train its autonomous vehicle systems? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Update: Color me more optimistic today than yesterday: two of the draft spec’s authors are from Google, so maybe they will go all-in for this.

Apple Will Now Allow Developers to Transfer Ownership of Apps That Use iCloud 

Jordan Morgan:

The most impactful change to come out of W.W.D.C. had nothing to do with APIs, a new framework or any hardware announcement. Instead, it was a change I’ve been clamoring for the last several years - and it’s one that’s incredibly indie friendly. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, I’m of course talking about iCloud enabled apps now allowing app transfers. [...]

When my last app, Spend Stack, was acquired — it took nearly four months to get settled. This was an experienced buyer who usually had things done and dusted in one week. Why did it take so long? Because I didn’t just sell Spend Stack, I had to sell my entire LLC, Dreaming In Binary, which I had owned for many years to that point. Instead of transferring the app, I had to manage a slew of logistical hurdles that neither I, or the acquirer, wanted to otherwise.

This one might deserve a non-sarcastic finally.

BuzzFeed News: Leaked Audio Shows U.S. TikTok User Data Has Been Repeatedly Accessed From China 

Emily Baker-White, reporting for BuzzFeed News:

For years, TikTok has responded to data privacy concerns by promising that information gathered about users in the United States is stored in the United States, rather than China, where ByteDance, the video platform’s parent company, is located. But according to leaked audio from more than 80 internal TikTok meetings, China-based employees of ByteDance have repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users — exactly the type of behavior that inspired former president Donald Trump to threaten to ban the app in the United States.

The recordings, which were reviewed by BuzzFeed News, contain 14 statements from nine different TikTok employees indicating that engineers in China had access to US data between September 2021 and January 2022, at the very least. Despite a TikTok executive’s sworn testimony in an October 2021 Senate hearing that a “world-renowned, US-based security team” decides who gets access to this data, nine statements by eight different employees describe situations where US employees had to turn to their colleagues in China to determine how US user data was flowing. US staff did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the data on their own, according to the tapes.

Like the proverbial stopped clock being right twice a day, the Trump administration was right on this one. TikTok should have been — and still should be — banned in the U.S. unless and until ByteDance sells the whole thing to a western company. It’s as bonkers today to let China run a popular media service as it would have been to allow the Soviet Union to run a U.S. TV network during the Cold War.

Apple Store Workers in Maryland Become First in U.S. to Unionize 

Ian Kullgren, reporting for Bloomberg Law:

Apple store workers near Baltimore voted for a union Saturday, becoming the first organized store in the US in a landmark decision that could change the face of the tech giant’s retail operation.

As of 8:30 p.m., 65 workers who voted at the Towson, Md., store had sided with the union, outnumbering anti-union votes 2 to 1. The bargaining unit includes about 100 workers and is affiliated with the International Association of Machinists.

The decision could spark a wider unionization movement among Apple store workers, similar to the first Starbucks union vote last year that has since prompted nearly 300 other stores to file for elections.

Techmeme roundup of additional coverage and tweets.

Rows 

My thanks to Rows for sponsoring this week at DF. Rows reinvented spreadsheets to let you build data-rich spreadsheets that look beautiful and modern. Rows uses the same logic as traditional spreadsheets like Numbers, Excel, and Google Sheets, but built for the way people work today.

Rows offers more than 40 integrations with platforms like Google Analytics, Twitter, Stripe, Salesforce, and public databases like LinkedIn. Forget about adding and updating your data manually - you can even connect your custom API and build your own tools. All without code.

Rows has also revolutionized how we share and collaborate in spreadsheets. You can turn them into interactive dashboards, automated reports, or financial models that work and look great on any device. Thousands of people have already upgraded their spreadsheets to Rows. Get started for free today.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Arrested for Trespassing Inside U.S. Capitol 

Sometimes it is fun to live in interesting times.

‘The World’s Most Satisfying Checkbox’ 

Speaking of ADA winner Andy Allen and (Not Boring) Habits:

How’d we do it? Rather than hide the screws, I’d like to pull our app apart and show you how the pieces come together. Let me strip off the sugarcoating and share a little secret about habit tracker apps: they’re little more than a glorified checkbox. The interaction is simple: every day you open the app and hit the checkbox to record a completed habit. [...]

In trying to get a particularly tricky habit to stick, I tried dozens of apps and nothing worked for me. Recording an action felt like yet another chore. None could approach the most basic satisfaction of simply crossing out an item on a list.

Could you design a simple action that felt as satisfying and infuse it with as much symbolism? Were we about to redesign the checkbox?

I think you know where this is headed.

I can’t say enough good things about the Not Boring suite of apps — both what they’re trying to do and how well they accomplish those goals. All fashion is cyclical, and the return of depth of texture to UI design is inevitable. The Not Boring suite is trailblazing one particularly opinionated path forward.

There’s a Privacy Angle on Apple’s Decision to Finance Apple Pay Later on Its Own 

Buried at the end of The Financial Times’s report on Apple Pay Later last week (syndicated here at Ars Technica):

Apple said its decision to go it alone was in part taken to avoid sharing personal data with third parties. The company will not charge fees for late payments, in line with Klarna and Affirm, but will restrict access to further short-term credit.

Makes me wonder what Klarna and Affirm et al. are doing with customer data for BNPL purchases. From a Fast Company story on BNPL companies last month:

Until now, the dominant narrative explaining BNPL’s success is that consumers — particularly, younger ones — are hungry for financing options that are less predatory than credit cards with their 15% average APR. But there is more to the story. Due to privacy changes, most notably the tracking restrictions that Apple made available to iPhone users in April 2021, retailers have not been able to target customers through platforms like Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, as they had before. Nor can they definitively attribute an e-commerce sale to a digital ad. BNPL companies, thanks to their increasingly robust apps and email lists, can solve both those problems. Moreover, they have an advantage over social media and digital advertising in understanding consumers’ credit, and, by extension, their buying power. Even as they undercut credit cards, BNPL companies are, by design, amplifying consumer spending. Consumers can still get a fair deal with BNPL products, provided they stay within their budgets and pay on time. But they should understand who BNPL companies are actually working for.

Spoiler: the retailers.

In its early days, in the mid-2010s, BNPL had a relatively simple job. By offering to break a purchase into monthly payments at the point of sale, BNPL could reduce cart abandonment, a common problem for larger-ticket items, especially those being sold by startup brands such as Casper Sleep and Peloton. Leading BNPL players claim that they can increase checkout conversion rates by 20% to 30%. “We are in the business of bringing [merchants] new customers, increasing their cart size, increasing their conversion at point of sale,” Affirm cofounder and CEO Max Levchin said last year.

Apple Pay Later appears to simply be in the business of allowing users to split purchases into multiple payments, interest-free, with complete privacy.

On Stage Manager Requiring an M1 iPad 

Michael Tsai has his usual wide-ranging roundup of links on the controversy surrounding Apple’s decision to limit Stage Manager support to M1 iPads (2021 iPad Pros and this year’s 5th-generation iPad Air):

As a result, Stage Manager requires an M1 iPad. I honestly don’t understand his argument. I don’t think it’s that pre-M1 iPads couldn’t support virtual memory, since even the A12Z in the DTK did. That processor also had great performance running more simultaneous apps than iPadOS supports. Stage Manager is also supported on older Macs with Intel processors — and older graphics — that are less capable than recent-but-not-M1 iPads.

The controversy surrounding this boils down to people thinking Apple is doing this to get people who own older iPads to buy new ones just to get Stage Manager. I can’t prove it, but that doesn’t pass the sniff test to me. That’s just not how Apple rolls. But, clearly, this is the single most controversial news from last week.

Then he talks about needing fast flash storage for the virtual memory, which only the M1 iPads have, but PowerPC Macs were using spinning hard drives for virtual memory 20 years ago. Surely those were much slower.

Virtual memory on Macs back in the spinning hard drive era was ridiculously slow. In today’s world, when you see the spinning beachball cursor, it usually means some app on your Mac is wedged and needs to be force quit. 20 years ago, we’d see the spinning beachball cursor all the time and you just needed to wait for the system to catch up and return control to you. A lot of the time that was because of virtual memory swap with spinning hard disks.

He also says that Stage Manager is a “total experience that involves external display connectivity.” Why is an external display a requirement when most M1 iPad users don’t even use one?

Given the uproar surrounding this M1 requirement for Stage Manager, I wonder if Apple will reconsider over the summer, and perhaps do something like support Stage Manager on more iPads, but only on the built-in display, and make external display support the part that requires an M1 iPad.

But I can see what Apple is thinking by drawing a hard line with M1 iPads: they want to deliver Stage Manager for iPad without a slew of asterisks regarding which aspects of it work on which devices. As it stands with developer beta 1, an iPad either supports all of Stage Manager (including support for driving up to 6K external displays, and up to 8 apps), or none of it.

2022 Apple Design Awards 

Happy to (once again) see a bunch of apps I either use regularly or am very familiar with win this year:

  • Halide Mark II, for “Visuals and Graphics”.
  • (Not Boring) Habits, from Andy Works, for “Delight and Fun”. They were finalists last year for (Not Boring) Weather.
  • Procreate, for “Inclusivity” (Procreate added some terrific features to help users with motor impairments draw smooth lines).
  • Slopes, Curtis Herbert’s app for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, for “Interaction”. Slopes, to me, epitomizes the philosophy of focusing on a niche and doing it as well as possible.

One sour taste from this year’s winners: not one of them is a Mac app.

The Yankees Figure Out a Pitcher Is Tipping His Pitches — a Breakdown 

What a great breakdown from Jomboy. These games within the game are why I love baseball.

WhatsApp Enables Migration Feature for Android-to-iPhone Switchers 

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors:

Here’s how this works: When Move to iOS requests WhatsApp data, it gets an encrypted bundle that Apple can’t read. That bundle is sent to the iPhone via peer-to-peer networking, like everything else in the migration process. When a user taps on the WhatsApp icon on the home screen on the iPhone, the app is downloaded and installed from the App Store. When they log in to WhatsApp (with the same phone number as the old phone), they’ll then be able to unlock and import the transferred bundle of data.

Interestingly, the infrastructure to enable this change is already enabled in both iOS 15.5 (the currently shipping version) and in the current version of the Move to iOS app in the Google Play Store. What’s changed today is that WhatsApp has flipped the switch on the server side to allow this feature to begin rolling out slowly, first to people opted into the WhatsApp beta testing environment over the next week, and then eventually to everyone on the service.

If this doesn’t sound like a big deal, think again. Until now, when WhatsApp users switched from Android to iPhone, they lost their entire message history, because there was no way to transfer it. WhatsApp is almost incomprehensibly popular worldwide — perhaps with as many as 2 billion users. It’s not a stretch to think that this alone has been keeping untold millions of Android users from switching.

MacOS 12.4’s Redesigned Input Source Menu Removed the Flag Icons 

Today is Flag Day here in the U.S., so when better to mention this unpopular change in MacOS 12.4 last month, as described in a question on StackExchange’s AskDifferent site:

I just upgraded to macOS Monterey 12.4 and now the flags, primarily the one for the current input source, is gone from the menu bar and was replaced with a country code.

I find the colored flags much easier to work with, also when quickly switching between inputs via a shortcut. How do I get back the flags?

The question includes screenshots showing the difference. For many years — decades? — the Input Source menu bar item that lets you switch between keyboard layouts for different languages has used colorful flag icons to denote those languages. Starting in MacOS 12.4, these flag icons were replaced by grayscale icons denoting two-letter codes like “US” (U.S. English), “GB” (British), etc.

This may sound like no big deal, but I heard from a slew of DF readers upset by the change. I’m not sure what Apple was thinking with this change. Is it an attempt to address the fact that some languages/layouts don’t truly map to a nation (e.g. Hebrew != Israel)? Or is this purely an aesthetic decision — a design choice that the icons in this menu should be monochromatic?

If it’s the latter, this is a mistake. Colorful icons are much easier to scan. Update: A little birdie tells me this change is the direct result of a companywide effort not to denote languages using country flags. I do see the sense of that, but it’s unfortunate it makes it harder to scan the menu at a glance.

Clarus Returns 

Shadowfacts:

Did you know that with macOS Ventura, Clarus the Dogcow has at long last returned home? Recently, while doing something else, I accidentally hit Cmd+Shift+P which opened the Page Setup dialog. I was greeted, surprisingly, with a new high-resolution version of the classic Clarus icon that I’d never seen before. I looked at it briefly, and then closed the dialog and went back to whatever I was doing before. I had assumed that because I’d been in a 3rd-party app at the time, that the Clarus icon was just some easter egg the developer had left. But a little while later, I got to thinking. What were the chances that someone went to the trouble of customizing the Page Setup dialog, of all things, just for an easter egg? Zero, it turns out. That dialog shows Clarus on the page preview in every app.

Well, I have a new favorite feature in MacOS 13 Ventura.

Update: Even more good news on the Clarus front.

Update 2: Dr. Drang: “I’m not sure where this idea came from, but I’m guessing it was someone who sold ink cartridges.”

Apple Signs 10-Year Deal for Major League Soccer Broadcast Rights 

Apple Newsroom:

Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced that the Apple TV app will be the exclusive destination to watch every single live MLS match beginning in 2023. This partnership is a historic first for a major professional sports league, and will allow fans around the world to watch all MLS, Leagues Cup, and select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches in one place — without any local broadcast blackouts or the need for a traditional pay TV bundle.

From early 2023 through 2032, fans can get every live MLS match by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app. In addition to all of the match content, the service will provide fans a new weekly live match whip-around show so they never miss an exciting goal or save, and also game replays, highlights, analysis, and other original programming.

Proof that Apple is getting serious about sports. (Via Jason Snell.)