Tickets for The Talk Show Live From WWDC 2019 ★
The first batch of 500 tickets for The Talk Show Live From WWDC 2019 are now available. These usually go fast. Update: Sold out in 90 seconds.
The second batch will go on sale tomorrow at 1:00pm ET. Update: Sold out.
The Talk Show: ‘The Dustin Egress Problem’ ★
Special guests Cabel Sasser, Steven Frank, and Greg Maletic join the show to talk about Playdate, Panic’s exciting and surprising new handheld gaming system.
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Also, if all goes well, the first batch of tickets for The Talk Show Live From WWDC should go on sale at
9:00pm 10:00pm ET tonight.
Point-of-Sale Malware Found at 102 Checkers Restaurant Locations ★
Lindsey O’Donnell, reporting for Threatpost:
The security incident stemmed from cybercriminals breaching
Checkers’ systems and installing malware on point of sale systems
across more than 100 of its stores. The malware is designed to
collect data stored on the magnetic stripe of payment cards,
including cardholder name, payment card number, card verification
code and expiration date. […]
The incident impacted 102 stores Checkers across 20 states —
which were all exposed at varying dates, including as early as
December 2015 to as recently as April 2019 (a full list of
impacted stores is on Checkers’ data breach security advisory
Can you imagine having to admit this has been going on since 2015 without detection?
Also: magnetic stripes need to be retired.
WWDC by Sundell ★
However, not everyone is able to actually attend WWDC in person.
Not only do you have to win the “lottery” in order to qualify for
purchasing a ticket, you also need to have the monetary means to
be able to fly to, stay at, and attend the conference. So for a
huge amount of people, WWDC can feel a bit out of reach.
I wanted to do something about that. This website is for
everyone who wants to closely follow WWDC, but from anywhere in
the world. Starting right now, this site will be updated daily
with articles, videos, podcasts, and interviews, covering all
things WWDC — from recommendations on what session videos to
watch, to in-depth looks at new APIs, to interviews with people
from all over the Apple developer community.
‘Putting the Soul in Console’ ★
Anil Dash gets it:
I don’t know if Playdate will succeed in the market. I don’t know what kind of risk it represents for Panic as a company. But I know that people see this cute little device, and are reminded that they used to get excited when they saw cool new technology, instead of wondering how it would warp their reality, or steal their information. Here’s hoping for a return to tech that’s fun, that’s thoughtful, and that’s created with a little bit of soul.
NYT: ‘In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc’ ★
Remember when the FBI wanted Apple to build backdoors into iPhones, arguing that Apple could trust them with the encryption keys because they would keep them safe? Good times.
Analysts Claim 3D Touch Is Going Away in All 2019 iPhones ★
Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:
Last week, in a research note shared with MacRumors, a team of
Barclays analysts “confirmed” that 3D Touch “will be eliminated”
in all 2019 iPhones, as they predicted back in August 2018.
The analysts gathered this information from Apple suppliers
following a trip to Asia earlier this month.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this rumor. The Wall Street
Journal said the same thing back in January.
Haptic Touch works well, but it isn’t a replacement for 3D Touch
because it’s just about feedback, not input. 3D Touch had the
potential to be like modifier keys on the Mac, a way to provide an
additional “dimension” of input. iOS really needs something like
that. I’m not sure why Apple never really did much with it, but
the potential was wasted. Given that, and the fact that it never
made it across the iPhone product line or to any iPads, I can
certainly see why they would get rid of it and doubt most people
will miss it (or even knew about it in the first place).
Lots of good links and comments on Tsai’s post, as always.
3D Touch is a great idea but Apple never rolled it out well, and it was never discoverable. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people with 3D Touch-enabled iPhones have no idea it exists. In and of itself, the lack of discoverability isn’t necessarily a problem. That’s how power user features often work. Right-clicking on the Mac, for example, is in the same boat. What 3D Touch never got right is that power-user shortcuts should be just that — shortcuts for tasks with more obvious ways to do them. Now imagine if right-clicking only worked on certain high-end Macs, but didn’t work on others. That’s what happened with 3D Touch.
I think it should have always been a shortcut for a long-press, pure and simple. Just a faster way to long-press. But because 3D Touch is not just a shortcut for a long-press, and is not available on any iPad nor many iPhones, developers could never count on it, so they never really did anything with it. It doesn’t get used much because there’s not much you can do with it.
iOS Apps Grossly Abusing Background App Refresh for Tracking Purposes ★
Geoffrey Fowler, writing for The Washington Post:
It’s 3 a.m. Do you know what your iPhone is doing?
Mine has been alarmingly busy. Even though the screen is off and
I’m snoring, apps are beaming out lots of information about me to
companies I’ve never heard of. Your iPhone probably is doing the
same — and Apple could be doing more to stop it.
On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research
firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone.
At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number,
email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got
a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called
Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of
other trackers to pair up with.
And all night long, there was some startling behavior by a
household name: Yelp. It was receiving a message that included my
IP address — once every five minutes.
This is all going on via Background App Refresh. You can see which apps have this permission on your iOS device in Settings: General: Background App Refresh (it’s the 8th item in General in iOS 12).
This feature exists for good reasons — it’s how email, messaging, and podcast apps can update in the background. You probably want new podcasts episodes to download in the background overnight. You want current weather information when you wake up in the morning. But anything that can be abused, will be abused, and it looks like a lot of apps are abusing the shit out of Background App Refresh.
I don’t know what Apple can do to make this more transparent — to somehow let you, the user, see what exactly these apps are doing in the background — but I sure hope it’s on their radar. At this point, a lot of these apps — because of the third-party “analytics” libraries they embed — are acting as spyware, pure and simple.
Sniping From Goldman Sachs Rivals on Apple Card ★
Hugh Son, writing for CNBC:
Within the industry, the deal is widely perceived as one that’s
risky for a bank to take on. Citigroup was in advanced
negotiations with Apple for the card but pulled out amid doubts
that it could earn an acceptable profit on the partnership,
according to people with knowledge of the talks. Other banks,
including J.P. Morgan Chase, Barclays and Synchrony, also bid
on the business. Apple and the banks declined to comment on
It turns out that the Apple Card’s consumer-friendly features —
no fees of any kind, software that actively encourages users to
avoid debt or pay it down quickly, and potentially lower interest
rates — make it harder for banks to make money on the product.
Even features like the card’s calendar-based billing can impact a
lender’s cost of funding and servicing, since customers’
borrowing will be concentrated at month-end, rather than spread
out over weeks.
No shit they’re going to make less money than cards that charge fees and higher interest rates. But they’re going to make money — I’ll eat my hat if Goldman and Apple don’t turn a profit on this card. CNBC’s headline — “A Goldman Sachs rival pulled out of the Apple Card deal on fears it will be a money loser” — makes it sound like they’re going to lose money, which is ludicrous. They’ll make money on each transaction and they’ll make money charging interest on any cardholder who carries a balance. Arguing that they won’t make enough money is just usurious greed.
I don’t use the word lightly, but it’s evil to argue against the software Apple is releasing to help cardholders avoid debt and pay down what debt they owe quickly.
Also, this whole CNBC article seems like a way to sell consumers on getting an Apple Card.
The Independent on Apple and Privacy ★
Andrew Griffin, in a lengthy piece for The Independent:
“Privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can
afford to buy premium products and services,” Pichai wrote in an
op-ed in the New York Times. He didn’t name Apple, but he didn’t
Pichai argued that the collection of data helps make technology
affordable, echoing a sentiment often heard about Apple, that
their commitment to privacy is only possible because their
products are expensive and it can afford to take such a position.
Having a more lax approach to privacy helps keep the products
made by almost all of the biggest technology products [sic] in
the world — from Google to Instagram — free, at least at the
point of use.
“I don’t buy into the luxury good dig,” says Federighi, giving the
impression he was genuinely surprised by the public attack.
“It’s on the one hand gratifying that other companies in space [sic]
over the last few months, seemed to be making a lot of positive
noises about caring about privacy. I think it’s a deeper issue
than what a couple of months and a couple of press releases would
make. I think you’ve got to look fundamentally at company cultures
and values and business model. And those don’t change overnight.”
Griffin’s piece is an interesting read, and he was granted rare access to Apple’s testing facilities, but I think it’s a little all over the place, bouncing back and forth between security issues (testing Apple designed chips in extreme temperatures) and privacy issues. I think the above is the main point though — Google and Facebook are both pushing back against Apple, arguing that Apple’s stance on privacy is only possible because they charge a lot of money for their products.
I think the point that needs to be made is that free and low-cost products can be subsidized by privacy-respecting advertising — but privacy-respecting advertising is not as profitable as privacy-invasive advertising, as exemplified on Facebook and Google’s humongous platforms.
‘Nancy Pelosi and Fakebook’s Dirty Tricks’ ★
Kara Swisher, writing at The New York Times:
This is ridiculous. The only thing the incident shows is how
expert Facebook has become at blurring the lines between simple
mistakes and deliberate deception, thereby abrogating its
responsibility as the key distributor of news on the planet.
Would a broadcast network air this? Never. Would a newspaper
publish it? Not without serious repercussions. Would a marketing
campaign like this ever pass muster? False advertising. […]
By conflating censorship with the responsible maintenance of its
platforms, and by providing “rules” that are really just
capricious decisions by a small coterie of the rich and powerful,
Facebook and others have created a free-for-all with no consistent
On the Recyclability of AirPods ★
Will Oremus, writing at OneZero:
When I contacted Apple for this story, I didn’t expect much of a
response. The company is famous for being selective about its
press relations. But I found the company more eager than usual to
rebut the claim that AirPods are a planetary nightmare — a claim
that appears to have caught Cupertino somewhat by surprise. […]
Most of all, Apple wanted to make clear that you can recycle
AirPods — or at least important components of them — and you can
go through Apple to do it. There’s a link on the company’s
website to order a prepaid shipping label, which you can
use to send the device to one of Apple’s recycling partners by
dropping it in a FedEx box. Apple says that it has accepted
AirPods for recycling ever since they were released, although it
was only this year that the company added the product as a
specific category of return on the website. The company also noted
that you can bring your defunct AirPods to any Apple Store for
recycling. “As with all of our products, we work closely with our
recyclers to ensure AirPods are properly recycled and provide
support to recyclers outside of our supply chain as well,” the
company said in a statement.
$99 Is Not Nothing ★
Apple has published a new “Principles and Practices” page regarding the App Store, which seems clearly in response to this month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing a class action lawsuit alleging the App Store to be an illegal monopoly to proceed. This bit caught my eye:
84% of apps are free, and developers pay nothing to Apple.
Like any fair marketplace, developers decide what they want to
charge from a set of price tiers. We only collect a commission
from developers when a digital good or service is delivered
through an app. Here are some of the ways developers commonly make
money on the App Store.
Any developer distributing an app through the App Store, free or paid, must pay Apple $99 per year for a developer account. You can build apps using Xcode free of charge, but you need a paid developer account to distribute them through the App Store.
Pretty good defense of the App Store overall, though, including a list of great third-party apps that compete directly against Apple’s own apps — camera, calendar, email, maps, etc. And of course, music. But one thing iOS users have complained about for 10 years now is that third-party apps can’t be set as the system-wide default in iOS. (They can on the Mac.) I’m not sure how tenable that is.
Update: There are exceptions to the $99 developer fee, for nonprofit organizations in five countries:
You can request to have the 99 USD annual membership fee waived if
you’re a nonprofit organization, accredited educational
institution, or government entity that will distribute only free
apps on the App Store and is based in an eligible country. Apple
will review your request and contact you to let you know whether
your request is approved.
Eligible countries: Brazil, China, Japan, United Kingdom,
It’d be interesting to know how many of these waivers have been granted.
Edge Magazine’s Cover Story on Playdate ★
My own excitement about Playdate aside, Jen Simpkins’s cover story for the new issue of Edge magazine (issue #333) is just a terrific read and an amazing behind-the-scenes look at how a 4-year project comes to life. Edge doesn’t publish on the web — how old-school cool is that? — but there are a few ways to read it:
One more thing: if you visit the media page on the Playdate site using an iPhone or iPad, Panic has created two ARKit models of the Playdate hardware. It’s fun to play with, and gives you a good sense of the device’s size.
Mac Toolbar Labels and Accessibility ★
Interesting post — and that rarest of all beasts, a good comment thread — on a creeping trend in Mac app design: toolbars that don’t have an option to show text labels under the button icons. I like showing button labels in (a) apps that I use infrequently, and (b) apps which have a lot of buttons, some of which have icons that are similar to each other (Apple Mail comes to mind).
I think it’s a real accessibility issue, and another instance of something that looks better but, for at least some people, works worse. I also think the problem is exacerbated by the current fashion where icons are just simple one-color hairline outline objects, not colorful illustrations of actual objects.
Vice News: Inside Huawei-Land ★
Tight 8-minute video tour of Huawei’s campus from Vice News:
“We wanted to invite U.S. media to come ask any questions on behalf of American customers,” said Catherine Chen, Huawei’s corporate senior vice president and director of the board.
VICE News took Huawei up on its offer and found out we were the only news organization that showed up.
I don’t know what Huawei thought this tour would accomplish, but I found it interesting.
Ars: ‘Why the Quirky Playdate Portable Could Succeed Where Ouya Failed’ ★
Kyle Orland, writing at Ars Technica:
This is the hipster microbrew of the console world, mixing in weird gaming flavors and unique controller ingredients that the Sony/Budweisers and Nintendo/Millers of the world can’t. Playdate is aiming to be the console you buy more as a statement about your refined and eclectic gaming tastes and less as a workhorse that will be a central point in your gaming life.
I think this is pretty good, but I quibble with the word “hipster”. To me, a hipster handheld would have big fat pixels, a more decidedly retro take. Some microbrews are hipsters, no argument, but most aren’t — they’re just good beers made at a small scale. That’s Playdate.
Facebook’s Creepy Data Sharing With Phone Carriers ★
Sam Biddle, reporting for The Intercept:
Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just
technical information about Facebook members’ devices and use of
Wi-Fi and cellular networks, but also their past locations,
interests, and even their social groups. This data is sourced not
just from the company’s main iOS and Android apps, but from
Instagram and Messenger as well. The data has been used by
Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors,
including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more
controversial uses like racially targeted ads.
Some experts are particularly alarmed that Facebook has marketed
the use of the information — and appears to have helped directly
facilitate its use, along with other Facebook data — for the
purpose of screening customers on the basis of likely
creditworthiness. Such use could potentially run afoul of federal
law, which tightly governs credit assessments.
Mark Zuckerberg, last month: “I believe the future is private.”
Pandora for Mac Is an Electron Turd ★
Speaking of un-Mac-like apps, Pandora released a Mac client today. I downloaded it just to kick the tires — it’s a bad native Mac app even by the low standards of Electron apps. For example, if you click and drag one of the “buttons” at the top of the window (“Log In”, “Sign Up”, etc.), it both drags the window and gives you a pandora.com URL drag proxy item. I don’t even know how such dysfunction is even possible.
If Marzipan can get more companies to build their Mac apps from their iOS app, that really would be an improvement over these Electron monstrosities. But part of the appeal of Electron is that it gives you an app that works on Windows too. (Pandora’s Windows app isn’t available yet, but is promised soon.) Marzipan won’t solve that problem.
Slack Changed Its Stock Ticker From ‘SK’ to ‘WORK’ Weeks Before IPO ★
Becky Peterson, writing for Business Insider:
Slack is not a public company yet, but it’s already gotten tired
of its stock ticker.
In an updated version of its IPO paperwork filed on Monday, Slack
revealed that it has dumped the proposed “SK” stock ticker it had
settled upon a few weeks ago. Instead, in a dramatic pivot, the
workplace collaboration company will makes its public market debut
with the more descriptive ticker symbol “WORK.”
It’s no big deal, but “SK” was a bad-ass ticker. “WORK” is just corny. I think you ought to be able to look at a ticker and make a good guess what company it belongs to.
(I’ve always wondered why Apple’s ticker is “AAPL”, with two A’s. Searching for an answer, I found this old MacRumors forum thread from 2003. Someone there thought they should change it to “IPOD”.)
Microsoft Edge Preview Builds Now Available for MacOS ★
Last month, we announced the first preview builds of the next
version of Microsoft Edge for Windows 10. Today, we are pleased to
announce the availability of the Microsoft Edge Canary channel for
macOS. You can now install preview builds from the Microsoft Edge
Insider site for your macOS or Windows 10 PC, with more
Windows version support coming soon.
I’m trying to think how long it’s been since I’ve had a Microsoft web browser running on my Mac. Apple released Safari in 2003, but I was still running classic MacOS on my Power Mac 9600 until 2004 or 2005 I think. So maybe 15 years?
Building a “Mac-like” user experience for Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge for macOS will offer the same new browsing
experience that we’re previewing on Windows, with user experience
optimizations to make it feel at home on a Mac. We are tailoring
the overall look and feel to match what macOS users expect from
apps on this platform.
I’m glad they put quotes around “Mac-like” because this is not very Mac-like. It looks and feels a lot like Google Chrome, which makes sense, because it’s a fork from Chromium. But even Chrome uses the Mac’s standard contextual menus (what you see when you right-click) — Edge even fakes those.
The whole thing does feel very fast.
GB Studio ★
GB Studio is “A free and easy to use retro adventure game creator for your favourite handheld video game system”, by which they mean, but don’t want to name specifically, Nintendo’s Game Boy:
Simple visual scripting means you don’t need to have made a game
already. GB Studio also hides much of the complexity in building
GB games so you can concentrate on telling a great story.
What a fun idea from developer Chris Maltby. You can output ROMs for emulators, play them on actual Game Boy hardware with a flash cartridge, or even export them for the web (which will even work on phones). It’s a remarkably polished IDE.
There’s something about 1-bit (and few-bit) displays that makes me so nostalgic — the original Mac, Game Boy, Newton, PalmPilot, iPod. Those devices all inspired such deep affection. In our current world of ever-cheaper, ever-better color displays, I’d love to see 1-bit displays make a comeback somehow. That doesn’t make any sense, but nostalgia isn’t about sense. “A pain in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone”; “it takes us to a place where we ache to go again” and all.
The Pivot ★
Excellent piece from Horace Dediu:
Moving as it does between computers, devices, software, services,
retail, logistics and manufacturing means that it’s not
classifiable as an “x” company where “x” is an industry sector.
Rather, the company should be classified by the set of problems it
seeks to solve (e.g. communications, community, productivity,
This disconnect between what people think Apple sells and what
Apple builds is as perplexing as the cognitive disconnect between
what companies sell and what customers buy.
This is why so many people, particularly investment analysts, have always missed the point about Apple. They saw Apple as a computer company outside the Wintel world in a Wintel-dominated industry. Now they see Apple as a phone maker in a world where the market is saturated and people are holding onto the phones they already own longer and longer.
“Where’s the next iPhone?” they ask. That’s such a dumb question. As Dediu argues at the start of his piece, the iPhone is the most successful product of all time. What sense does it make to expect the same company to make two of the most successful products of all time within the span of 15 years? It doesn’t really make much sense to expect any other company to make a product as successful as the iPhone soon. I think there’s a good chance the iPhone is a once in a lifetime product.
How AirPlay 2 and the Apple TV App Work on a Samsung TV ★
I’m not surprised, but this looks and works almost exactly like the new TV app on an Apple TV set top box. If you have one of these TVs with the Apple TV app built-in, I can’t see many reasons why you’d want an Apple TV device. The new TV app on an actual Apple TV does integrate with apps like Prime Video and Hulu that are not available as “channels”, and of course Apple TV has that wildly popular library of games and its celebrated remote control, but if you mostly use Apple TV for iTunes movie and TV show content, you’re probably better off using the built-in Apple TV app on these TVs.
Update: A couple of readers point to one obvious advantage of Apple TV: privacy. Smart TVs do all sorts of nasty things like tracking what you watch and phoning home that Apple TV does not and never will do. There’s a very strong case to be made never to hook a “smart TV” up to the internet at all.
Gmail Tracks Your Purchase History (Shocker) ★
Todd Haselton and Megan Graham, writing for CNBC:
Google says it doesn’t use your Gmail to show you ads and
promises it “does not sell your personal information, which
includes your Gmail and Google Account information,” and does
“not share your personal information with advertisers, unless you
have asked us to.”
But, for reasons that still aren’t clear, it’s pulling that
information out of your Gmail and dumping it into a “Purchases”
page most people don’t seem to know exists. Even if it’s not being
used for ads, there’s no clear reason why Google would need to
track years of purchases and make it hard to delete that
information. Google says it’s looking into simplifying its
settings to make them easier to control, however.
I’m sure they’ll get right on that.
Steam Link Finally Available for iOS and Apple TV ★
Remember this saga from a year ago? Long story short, Steam is like an app store for PC games. Steam Link is like a LAN-based remote desktop that lets you stream your Steam games to another device, like an iPhone or Apple TV. Apple initially approved it on May 7 last year, Steam announced it, and then Apple un-approved it, “citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team”.
It seems bizarre to me that it took a year to resolve this, but I’m glad Apple decided it correctly. And I’m interested to see how well it works — my son is an avid player of games from Steam.
FCC Proposes New Rules to Fight Robocalls ★
Makena Kelly, reporting for The Verge:
The new rule would make it easier for carriers, like AT&T,
Verizon, and T-Mobile, to automatically register their customers
for call-blocking technology. As of right now, customers have to
opt-in on their own. It would also allow customers to block calls
coming from phone numbers that are not on their contacts list.
Commissioners are expected to vote on the measure at their June
“Allowing call blocking by default could be a big benefit for
consumers who are sick and tired of robocalls,” FCC Chairman Ajit
Pai said. “By making it clear that such call blocking is allowed,
the FCC will give voice service providers the legal certainty they
need to block unwanted calls from the outset so that consumers
never have to get them.”
I’m trying to think of another issue that could garner so much bipartisan support in America today. I got nothing.
Washington Post: ‘Trump’s Prized Doral Resort Is in Steep Decline, According to Company Documents, Showing His Business Problems Are Mounting’ ★
David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell, reporting for The Washington Post:
At Doral, which Trump has listed in federal disclosures as his
biggest moneymaker hotel, room rates, banquets, golf and overall
revenue were all down since 2015. In two years, the resort’s net
operating income — a key figure, representing the amount left
over after expenses are paid — had fallen by 69 percent.
Even in a vigorous economy, the property was missing the Trump
Organization’s internal business targets; for instance, the club
expected to take in $85 million in revenue in 2017 but took in
just $75 million.
“They are severely underperforming” other resorts in the area, tax
consultant Jessica Vachiratevanurak told a Miami-Dade County
official in a bid to lower the property’s tax bill. The reason,
she said: “There is some negative connotation that is associated
with the brand.”
“Some negative connotation” — you don’t say.
Apple Support: ‘How to Enable Full Mitigation for Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) Vulnerabilities’ ★
Intel has disclosed vulnerabilities called Microarchitectural Data
Sampling (MDS) that apply to desktop and notebook computers with
Intel CPUs, including all modern Mac computers.
Although there are no known exploits affecting customers at the
time of this writing, customers who believe their computer is at
heightened risk of attack can use the Terminal app to enable an
additional CPU instruction and disable hyper-threading
processing technology, which provides full protection from these
This option is available for macOS Mojave, High Sierra and Sierra
and may have a significant impact on the performance of your
computer. […] Testing conducted by Apple in May 2019 showed as
much as a 40 percent reduction in performance with tests that
include multithreaded workloads and public benchmarks.
It’s good that there are no known exploits using these techniques, but even if there were, the overwhelming majority of Mac users — almost everyone — would not need to enable this mitigation. These MDS vulnerabilities enable malware on your computer to do bad things. But these vulnerabilities are not ways for malware to get onto your computer.
Once you have malware on your computer, the game is over. I’m not saying these MDS vulnerabilities aren’t a problem — they obviously are, because they make malware potentially more dangerous. But the game is keeping malware off your computers in the first place.
(Also worth noting: these particular vulnerabilities don’t affect iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, or the vast majority of Android devices because ARM chips don’t have these vulnerabilities. Only Intel chips. We’re running out of reasons for Apple not to switch the entire Mac platform to ARM.)
(Bonus parenthetical: It’s possible that there are similar vulnerabilities in ARM chips too, but if there are, none have been publicly disclosed yet.)
‘Behind Twitter’s Plan to Get People to Stop Yelling at Each Other’ ★
Interesting feature by Nicole Nguyen for BuzzFeed with an inside look at “twttr” — a new version of Twitter currently being tested. Lots of screenshots, and I particularly enjoyed (and would have liked to see more of) senior product designer Lisa Ding’s sketchbook.
I do think most of these designs significantly help indicate reply threading. What’s a reply to the original tweet, what’s a reply to another reply, that sort of thing. Twitter is really just awful for that right now, and always has been. And the fundamental reason why is kind of obvious: Twitter started as a product that did not even have the concept of replies. Users invented them, by starting a tweet with “@username” for whomever they were replying to. Twitter eventually embraced replies as a full-fledged feature, but the way it’s worked out over 13 years (poorly) is a perfect example of a fundamental design precept: the origins of a product forever shape its future.
But again, these “twttr” designs do seem to make replies clearer. That’s good. What I don’t see is anything, anything at all, that addresses the ostensible goal of this whole effort: reducing abuse, hostility, and general bad behavior. Trolls and bullies are Twitter’s core problem, not the clarity of reply threads.
Why Paul Ford (Still) Loves Tech ★
Paul Ford, writing for Wired, “In Defense of a Difficult Industry”:
The things we loved — the Commodore Amigas and AOL chat rooms,
the Pac-Man machines and Tamagotchis, the Lisp machines and RFCs,
the Ace paperback copies of Neuromancer in the pockets of our
dusty jeans — these very specific things have come together into
a postindustrial Voltron that keeps eating the world. We
accelerated progress itself, at least the capitalist and dystopian
parts. Sometimes I’m proud, although just as often I’m ashamed. I
Just a lovely piece that I suspect will resonate deeply with many of you. This bit, in particular, put into words something I’ve struggled to capture:
And of course I rarely get to build software anymore.
I would like to. Something about the interior life of a computer
remains infinitely interesting to me; it’s not romantic, but it is
a romance. You flip a bunch of microscopic switches really fast
and culture pours out.
“Not romantic, but it is a romance” — I think that’s what some of us are worried about losing if the Mac grows ever more iOS-like, and it feels a bit like what Brent Simmons wrote recently under the headline “Freedom”.
Google to Show Ads on Homepage of Mobile Site, App ★
Paresh Dave, reporting for Reuters:
Alphabet Inc’s Google will begin featuring ads on the homepage of
its mobile website and smartphone app later this year, it said on
Tuesday, giving the search engine a huge new supply of ad slots to
Google will also start placing ads with a gallery of up to eight
images in search results, potentially increasing ad supply
further. The ads will appear on Google pages and apps globally.
It’s interesting to me that they’re saying this is mobile-only, and thus doesn’t include the desktop homepage. But mobile is where the most attention is these days. I’ve long considered Google’s homepage the most valuable advertising space on the internet; it still is, and it’s rather remarkable how restrained they’ve been about using it. One obvious reason: they’ve remained laser-focused on keeping their homepage fast, fast, fast.
Update: Interesting take from a DF reader:
Just curious when the last time you were on a search engine’s home page on mobile? Surely everybody searches in the address bar from the most recently opened window? I had to type google.com into my address bar to even see what it looked like and I use google a dozen times a day. Results being more monetized I get… but mobile landing page? Maybe they’ll get Android users, but not iPhone.
That is true — most iPhone users surely almost never see Google’s pre-results landing page.
Qualcomm to Record $4.5 Billion Revenue From Apple Settlement ★
Scott Rosenberg and Ina Fried, reporting for Axios:
In its quarterly earnings released today, Qualcomm said it would
record $4.5-$4.7 billion revenue in the coming quarter as part of
its settlement of a long-running intellectual-property quarrel
This isn’t catastrophic for Apple, and I think that figure is exactly in line with what just about everyone expected. But don’t tell me Qualcomm wasn’t the winner here.
‘Facebook Is Trying to Make the Word “Private” Meaningless’ ★
Good piece by Casey Johnston for The Outline on the hollowness of Facebook’s newfound push for “privacy”:
He emphasized several times that Facebook will not be able to see
the content of this material, saying it was private “even from us”
several times about several features, and emphasizing the words
“safety” and “secure.”
But what his presentation elided was the fact that Facebook does
not need to see the content of what people are saying in order to
advertise to them. The metadata — who, or what (as in a
business), you’re talking to, and even where you are or what time
the conversation is taking place as it comes together with other
pieces of information — provides more than enough information to
make a very educated guess about what you’re interested in, to the
point that knowing specifically what you are saying adds almost
Tim Cook and Luca Maestri on Intel ★
Something I missed last night perusing Tim Cook and Luca Maestri’s remarks on Apple’s quarterly analyst call: shots fired at Intel. (Emphasis added.)
For our Mac business overall, we faced some processor constraints
in the March quarter, leading to a 5 percent revenue decline
compared to last year. But we believe that our Mac revenue would
have been up compared to last year without those constraints, and
don’t believe this challenge will have a significant impact on our
Next I’d like to talk about the Mac. Revenue was 5.5 billion
compared to 5.8 billion a year ago, with the decline driven
primarily by processor constraints on certain popular models.
I asked an Apple source last fall why it took so long for Apple to release the new MacBook Air. Their one-word answer: “Intel.”
One of the big questions for next month’s WWDC is whether this is the year Apple announces Macs with Apple’s own ARM processors (and graphics?).
The Talk Show: ‘A Couple of Awkward Swipes’ ★
Very special guest MG Siegler returns to the show. Topics include Apple’s original content strategy and a general look at the state of the company. Also: advice for parents of young children.
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Typography 2020 ★
Matthew Butterick reviews the typography and design of the websites for the top Democratic candidates in 2020:
For those who think it trivializes our political process to judge candidates by their typography — what would you prefer we scrutinize? Qualifications? Ground into dust during the last election. Issues? Be my guest. Whether a candidate will ever fulfill a certain campaign promise about a certain issue is conjectural.
But typography — that’s a real decision candidates have to make today, with real money and real consequences. And if I can’t trust you to pick some reasonable fonts and colors, then why should I trust you with the nuclear codes?
I largely agree with Butterick’s assessments, and where I don’t agree, I find his arguments persuasive.