Linked List: July 2022

Bill Russell, the Greatest Winner in Sports History, Dies at 88 


Over a 15-year period, beginning with his junior year at the University of San Francisco, Russell had the most remarkable career of any player in the history of team sports. At USF, he was a two-time All-American, won two straight NCAA championships and led the team to 55 consecutive wins. And he won a gold medal at the 1956 Olympics.

During his 13 years in Boston, he carried the Celtics to the NBA Finals 12 times, winning the championship 11 times, the last two titles while he was also serving as the NBA’s first Black coach.

Bob Ryan:

Bill Russell 21-0 in winner-take-all games: All NCAA games, Olympic medal round, best-of-5’s, best-of-7’s. Greatest resume of anyone. Period.

Here’s a guy who says the above oft-cited 21-0 winner-take-all record is incorrect — and that he was 22-0. Russell’s career stats (22.5 rebounds per game!) were amazing, but he was a winner above all else. In addition to the above, he won two state championships in high school. In 2009 the NBA named the Finals MVP trophy in Russell’s honor. That’s fitting and fair, but I’ve always thought it was a bit incongruous, because Russell never cared about any awards other than the only one that truly mattered: the team championship.

His last two championship seasons with the Celtics, he was the team’s head coach in addition to remaining its best and most essential player. He was the first black head coach for any major American sports team.

Personal anecdote. WWDC 2016, the last one held in San Francisco. Early Sunday evening, June 12, the InterContinental hotel lobby. I’m hanging out with my wife and our friend Paul Kafasis, waiting for friends before heading to dinner. At the bar, sitting alone: the man himself, Bill Russell. Bill Russell! We figure he was there for the NBA Finals — game 5, Cavs at Warriors, would be played the next night in Oakland. He walked with the aid of a cane but he looked great. The man had a presence about him, and it wasn’t just his 6′10″ frame. Dignity and grace, personified. What a thrill, just to see him.

What was he doing? Playing with his iPhone, of course.


My thanks to Beam — now in public beta — for sponsoring this week at DF. Beam is a browser new type of software for searching healthy thinking on the internet.

It’s a Mac app with some really clever ideas — like built-in notes (with Markdown support) — and an exquisite attention to detail in the UI. Download for free and try it yourself.

Apple Q3 2022 Results 

Jason Snell, Six Colors:

Apple’s fiscal results are out. The company generated $83B in revenue. Compared to the year-ago quarter, Mac sales were down 10%, iPad sales down 2%, iPhone up 3%, Services up 13%, and Wearables down 8%.

As usual, Snell has plenty of charts to visualize the data, and a transcript of the analyst call. Apple’s statement of operations (the numbers) is here.

At a glance it looks bad that Mac revenue is down 10 percent year-over-year. M2 MacBook Airs didn’t go on sale until July, which is Q4, but I don’t think that’s relevant to this dip. (Most M2 MacBook Air configurations are backordered about two weeks, but I think that’s because of supply chain bottlenecks, not unexpectedly high demand.) The dip is because so many businesses and consumers bought new laptops during the pandemic because they needed them for work-from-home and school-from-home. The big tell on that for Apple is the monster quarter the Mac had back in the July–September quarter in 2020. That was the quarter before Apple unveiled the first M1 Macs (including the bestselling MacBook Air), but after Apple told the world that they’d be shifting the entire Mac platform to its own silicon by the end of the year.

I realize a lot of normal people would have bought MacBooks in that quarter of 2020 even if COVID hadn’t happened, because they’re not nerds and didn’t know or care about Apple silicon vs. Intel, but that quarter was record-breaking for Mac sales. Sales weren’t just up year-over-year, they were up 29 percent!

Instagram Walks Back Recent Changes (But the Whole Thing Is Still Going to Shit, Don’t Worry) 

If you haven’t been paying attention to Instagram lately, they’ve been steadily dialing up the algorithmic content users see in their feeds, especially video. More stuff in your feed from accounts you don’t follow, selected by machine learning algorithms, at the expense of stuff from people and brands you have chosen to follow. To top it off, they recently rolled out a limited test to a small — but not that small — number of users that turned those users’ timelines into something basically like TikTok: full-screen videos (and some images) that you go through one at a time. This did not go over well.

They are listening though, and they’re rolling back some of those changes for everyone and, for now, cancelling the TikTok-style timeline test. This news was announced by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri today in a deft interview by Casey Newton at Platformer:

But Instagram will temporarily reduce the amount of recommended posts and accounts as it works to improve its personalization tools. (Mosseri wouldn’t say by how much, exactly.)

“When you discover something in your feed that you didn’t follow before, there should be a high bar — it should just be great,” Mosseri said. “You should be delighted to see it. And I don’t think that’s happening enough right now. So I think we need to take a step back, in terms of the percentage of feed that are recommendations, get better at ranking and recommendations, and then — if and when we do — we can start to grow again.” (“I’m confident we will,” he added.)

Mosseri made clear that the retreat Instagram announced today is not permanent. Threats to the company’s dominance continue to mount: TikTok is the most downloaded app in the world, the most popular website, and the most watched video company. Meanwhile, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature has blown a $10 billion hole in Meta’s core advertising business, and on Wednesday Meta reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline. Zuckerberg has assumed a war footing, and promised that many more changes are on the way.

It goes without saying that Instagram has no plans to allow users to turn off recommendations. Instagram users will be getting “recommended” content whether they want to see any of it or not, they’re just going to try to do a better job with it.

Users serve Instagram, not the other way around.

‘Unplugged Mysteries’ 

Nick Heer, writing at Pixel Envy, regarding the just-announced $850 Unplugged Phone — an ostensibly “government-grade” private Android phone from Trump-pardoned war criminal Erik Prince:

Most of all, though, the phone resembles the Liberty Ghost Phone, announced in May in a since-deleted tweet — and the relationship does not appear to stop there. Liberty is promoting the Unplugged suite on its own website, and both phones run the Android fork LibertOS which sports “government-grade” security, whatever that means. The specs of the Ghost Phone are nearly identical to those of the Unplugged; the sole difference I can see is the resolution of the main rear camera. Indeed, if you try to pre-order the Liberty Ghost Phone, a notice appears on the shopping cart page advising you to read the full pre-order terms on Unplugged’s website. It is almost enough to make you think these are the same company.

But there is one more thing: Liberty explicitly claims its “phones are never made in China”, and all of the similar phones I can find are made by Chinese firms. To be clear, I cannot find the same claim on Unplugged’s website or marketing materials. But it is odd, right? I just cannot help but wonder what the chances are that two companies make nearly identical phones that seem to be based on devices from Chinese companies, but one of them says theirs is not made in China. I sent a list of questions to Unplugged, but my email went unanswered; I will update this article if I hear back.

This whole piece by Heer is glorious, including the footwork he put into contacting the subjects involved, including Glenn Greenwald, who was seemingly pulled into this weird story without his knowledge or permission.

The thing I’m reminded of is the “Freedom Phone” — a $500 phone that was announced last year by cryptocurrency genius Erik Finman and promoted to MAGA wingnuts as being super-duper secure, free from Apple and Google’s nefarious control, and most definitely not made in China. It turned out to be a rebranded piece of shit $120 Chinese phone — shocker.

The snake oil practically sells itself. Wingnuts have been convinced that both Apple and Google are on the wrong side of the woke-commie-libtard / heroic-patriot tribal divide. But, just like people who are sane, wingnuts’ phones are deeply integrated into their lives. They’re thus stuck in a catch-22 — they don’t trust Apple or Google and definitely don’t want either company to profit from them, but seemingly every phone they might want to buy is either an iPhone or an Android phone dependent on Google services. So you just pretend to have what they want and some of them will buy it because they’re idiots.

It’s easier to convince a nutter that Earth is a flat disk — which, of course, is not just false but preposterously nonsensical — than that the planet is, say, cylindrical — which is also false, but not nearly as preposterously so. Likewise with convincing a derpy MAGA loon that some upstart company founded by an established member of the wingnut tribe has made a feature-competitive extra-secure modern phone — hardware, software, and services — without any involvement from any company you’ve ever heard of or any Chinese-made components. The unlikelihood of that makes it more believable to the wingnut mind.

Facebook’s Quest 2 Headset Goes from $300 to $400 


Oculus Quest 2 debuted at $299 in 2020, $100 cheaper than Oculus Quest from 2019. In 2021, Facebook bumped the base Quest 2 headset’s storage from 64GB to 128GB while holding the suggested entry price firm at $299. Earlier this year, Meta changed the headset’s branding on the physical device to its new corporate identity — officially becoming Meta Quest 2.

The price change will kick in officially on August 1, with the 128GB model increasing to $399 and the 256GB model increasing to $499.

Zuckerberg, one year ago:

“Unlike some of the other companies in the space that basically charge premium prices as their business model, one of our core principles is we want to serve everyone. I’m very focused not only on how you can create a good VR and AR device, but how do you make it so it’s $300 instead of $1,000.”

Inflation, of course, is a real issue, but Zuckerberg’s the one who said he was focused on selling headsets for $300.

M.G. Siegler’s Three Favorite iOS 16 Features 

M.G. Siegler:

I’ve been using the iOS 16 public beta for the past couple of weeks. It’s nice in that it’s pretty stable. But it’s also honestly not that different in day-to-day usage. Except for three really key and really awesome changes.

I agree on all three of his features. But one of them I did not even know existed until I read M.G.’s post — an option to turn on haptic feedback for the on-screen keyboard. I’ve now gone from thinking “Hey, iOS 16 betas are pretty damn stable this year” all the way to “I might have to install this on my primary iPhone right now”.


And might I suggest pairing it with sound? As in, the sound turned on. My phone is almost always muted of any noise, but I’ve long loved the iOS keyboard faux “clicks” and wish I could just turn those on and nothing else. Now I want that even more with haptic feedback. Because it makes typing on the device almost fun. Sort of whimsical.

I know most people seemingly despise the key click sounds, but I have always loved them. I don’t know if I do type better on-screen with them, but I feel like I do, which is actually more important. I’ve long wished for an option in Settings to keep key clicks audible even when the hardware mute switch is engaged. (If anyone at Apple is listening, go ahead and put that option somewhere inside Accessibility, where all the other awesome “secret” settings are.)

Ring, Google, and the Police 

Ry Crist, reporting for CNet:

Ring, the Amazon-owned video doorbell and home security company, came under renewed criticism from privacy activists this month after disclosing it gave video footage to police in more than 10 cases without users’ consent thus far in 2022 in what it described as “emergency situations.” That includes instances where the police didn’t have a warrant. [...]

The disclosure, released in response to questioning from Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, comes after years of extensive and controversial partnerships between Ring and various police institutions. Now privacy advocates at organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation say that warrantless footage requests endanger civil liberties.


While Ring stands alone for its extensive history of police partnerships, it isn’t the only name I found with a carveout clause for sharing user footage with police during emergencies. Google, which makes and sells smart home cameras and video doorbells under the Nest brand, makes as much clear in its terms of service.

“If we reasonably believe that we can prevent someone from dying or from suffering serious physical harm, we may provide information to a government agency — for example, in the case of bomb threats, school shootings, kidnappings, suicide prevention and missing persons cases,” Google’s TOS page on government requests for user information reads. “We still consider these requests in light of applicable laws and our policies.”


Others, most notably Apple, use end-to-end encryption for user video as the default setting, which blocks the company from sharing user video at all.

“HomeKit Secure Video is end-to-end encrypted, meaning even Apple cannot access it,” a company spokesperson said.

Surveillance camera systems that don’t use end-to-end encryption should have a policy where footage is shared with third parties if and only if device owners have explicitly opted in to sharing footage with any entity, including the police, including in emergencies, without a warrant. Not just some small print in a long terms of service agreement, but a simple explicit dialog box along the lines of Apple’s “Ask not to track” opt-in. And in all cases, owners should be immediately notified when footage has been shared, with all pertinent details: what footage, shared with whom, for what reason.

I don’t know what Amazon is thinking with regard to this cozy-with-the-police policy with Ring. It’s the number one reason people are saying “Fuck no” regarding their prospective acquisition of One Medical. I’m no expert on HIPAA, but it looks like the law here in the U.S. has several carveouts allowing/requiring medical providers to share personal health records with law enforcement. So as a consumer, what it comes down to is trust. I trust every doctor I have an ongoing relationship with, and if I didn’t, I’d find new doctors.

I think Amazon has a good reputation on privacy — except for their ongoing stewardship of Ring. And handing camera footage over to police without a warrant is a big exception. I don’t know what Ring is worth to Amazon financially, but I genuinely wonder if they’ve done more reputational harm to Amazon’s overall brand than Ring is worth dollar-wise.

Republican Congressman Attended Gay Son’s Wedding Three Days After Voting Against Same-Sex Marriage 

Zachary Schermele, reporting for NBC News:

A Republican lawmaker attended his gay son’s wedding just three days after joining the majority of his GOP colleagues in voting against a House bill that would codify federal protections for same-sex marriage.

The gay son of Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., confirmed to NBC News on Monday that he “married the love of [his] life” on Friday and that his “father was there.” NBC News is not publishing the names of the grooms, neither of whom is a public figure.

Via Dan Rather, who wrote “Sharing without further comment.”

I’ll add one comment: Yes, the hypocrisy is maddening, but if you put yourself in the shoes of anyone in this family, imagine the actual interactions and conversations and arguments and the feelings, it’s just profoundly sad.

Make it two comments: I sincerely hope the wedding was a joyous affair for the couple and for all their friends and family who support them openly and wholeheartedly.

Twitter Poll for Safari Users: How Often Do You Use Tab Groups? 

I asked this on Twitter this morning — poll runs for another 12 hours. I’m genuinely curious how much this feature is used.

The Talk Show: ‘I’ve Kissed That Mouse’ 

Marco Arment returns to the show to talk about the new M2 MacBook Air and stuff.

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TextExpander Raises $41 Million in Funding 

Ingrid Lunden, reporting for TechCrunch:

Today, a company called TextExpander — which has identified and built a way to fix a similar gap in another repetitive aspect of business life, communications, by letting users create customized shortcuts to trigger longer text-based actions such as specific phrasing around a topic, calendar events, emails, messages, CRM systems and many other environments — is announcing $41.4 million in funding to expand something else: its business.

Alongside the funding, the company is also appointing a new CEO, J.D. Mullin, who is taking over from Philip Goward, who co-founded the company originally with Greg Scown. TextExpander was born out of another developer platform they built called Smile — you can read more about that early history, with an interesting nod to how they originally met at Macworld and how the threat of a clone led them to build for iOS after first launching on Mac, here — and both are keeping seats on the board and remaining involved in aspects of development.

Mullin arrives at TextExpander after a four-year stint as an executive at Intuit, a company beloved in the Mac community for its commitment to excellent platform-native software.

Apropos of nothing, longstanding rivals to TextExpander include Typinator, TypeIt4Me, and aText.

The Apple Store Time Machine 

Michael Steeber:

The Apple Store Time Machine is a celebration of the places and products that have shaped our lives for more than twenty years. This interactive experience recreates memorable moments in Apple history with painstaking detail and historical accuracy.

What Steeber has made here is astonishing. It’s effectively a Mac game that you download and explore. The “levels”, as it were, are exquisitely-detailed 3D recreations of four iconic Apple Stores, including the Fifth Avenue “cube” in New York. Each store has been rebuilt to look exactly like it did on grand opening day, right down to the boxes of software on the shelves. However uncannily accurate, nostalgic, and fun you might be thinking this sounds based on the above description, you’re underestimating it.

It’s free to download and explore, if you choose, but Steeber also has an option to pay a voluntary amount. If this pleases you even half as much as it does me, I’m sure you’ll do what I just did and pay for it.


My thanks to RevenueCat for sponsoring this week at DF. If you’re a developer, you know in-app subscriptions are a pain. The code can be hard to write, time-consuming to maintain, and full of edge cases. RevenueCat makes it simple so you can focus on building features, not a subscription back end.

With RevenueCat, you also get out-of-the-box subscription metrics and charts that you can’t get from App Store Connect. Plus, pre-built integrations make it easy to sync customer events and revenue data to every tool in your stack.

Learn more at RevenueCat’s website and see why thousands of the world’s best apps trust RevenueCat to power subscriptions on iOS, Android, and the web.

Apple Silicon Is an Inconvenient Truth 

Jack Wellborn, “A Burger Without Heinz” at Worms and Viruses:

Wirecutter’s exclusion of MacBooks from a category that is effectively “best laptop” is the latest bit of evidence in a recent trend I’ve noticed wherein reviewers have inexplicably stopped comparing Wintel laptops to Apple’s MacBooks. Compare ArsTechnica’s review of the Surface Laptop Go 2 from this month to their review of the Surface Book 2 from 2017. The current review only includes other Wintel laptops in benchmarks whereas the one from 2017 included that year’s MacBook.

If memory serves, including Macs in PC hardware comparisons was more or less the norm just a few years ago. I can’t fathom why some reviewers have recently stopped doing so. Is it that reviewers don’t think they could fairly compare x86 and ARM laptops? It seems easy enough to me. Are they afraid that constantly showing MacBooks outperforming Wintel laptops will give the impression that they are in the bag for Apple? I don’t see why. Facts are facts, and a lot of people need or want to buy a Windows laptop regardless.

I can’t help but wonder if, in the minds of many reviewers, MacBooks were PCs so long as they used Intel, and therefore they stopped being PCs once Apple switched to using their own silicon.

I feel quite certain Wellborn had it right the first time: reviewers at ostensibly neutral publications are afraid that reiterating the plain truth about x86 vs. Apple silicon — that Apple silicon wins handily in both performance and efficiency — is not going to be popular with a large segment of their audience. Apple silicon is a profoundly inconvenient truth for many computer enthusiasts who do not like Macs, so they’ve gone into denial, like Fox News cultists with regard to climate change. It’s that simple. There’s no other explanation for omitting MacBooks from comparisons like Ars Technica’s.

Solving a Problem People Don’t Want Solved 

I really don’t mean to keep writing about Humane’s Change Everything teaser, but a DF reader emailed to say that the gist of it — that our collective addiction to our phones is a problem, and that Humane has struck upon a solution — reminded him of Microsoft’s ad campaign when they launched Windows Phone 7 in 2010.

I hadn’t thought about that in a while, but yes — yes it does. The first spot in Microsoft’s campaign has seemingly vanished from the internet, but the second spot in the campaign — which is very fun and exquisitely well-executed, replete with an excellent choice of song — is available on YouTube. I highly recommend giving this old ad a minute of your time for a rewatch. (Update: Here’s a copy of the first ad in the campaign — it’s just as funny as I remember. Worth watching! But a clever well-made short film is not a good ad if it doesn’t make people want to buy the product.)

The gist of Microsoft’s 2010 Windows Phone campaign was the same — everyone devotes too much attention to their phones and Microsoft has hit upon a solution. Here’s what I wrote then:

And do iPhone / Android / BlackBerry addicts really see this as a problem that needs to be solved? I feel like I spend so much time on my iPhone not because it’s inefficient, but because it’s so good. I’m never more than a few seconds away from something at least somewhat engaging.

I.e., Microsoft’s premise here is that WP7 has a dashboard and system-wide interface that’s optimized for getting you through a finite amount of “checking in” or “catching up” in significantly less time than other mobile systems. But I don’t think people are on their iPhones / Androids / BlackBerrys all the time because of inefficient UI design. I think it’s because we want to be on them. These devices are where our minds are drawn — like moths to a flame, perhaps — whenever we’re otherwise unoccupied.

Holds up.

Wirecutter’s ‘Best’ Laptop 

My longstanding complaint about The Wirecutter is that they institutionally fetishize price over quality. That makes it all the more baffling that their recommended “Best Laptop” — not best Windows laptop, but best laptop, full stop — is a Dell XPS 13 that costs $1,340 but is slower and gets worse battery life (and has a lower-resolution display) than their “best Mac laptop”, the $1,000 M1 MacBook Air.

They do have a “Mac or Windows (or Something Else)?” preface to the whole comparison, but if you’re going to name a “best laptop”, putting aside OS preference, it’s incompetent not to conclude that MacBooks are both technically superior and better values for the dollar thanks to Apple’s exclusive silicon advantage.

The core of my discontent with Wirecutter is that they — like so many people — incorrectly conflate value with price. Value is nuanced and multivariate; price is simply one variable in the value equation. But what makes them look downright silly in this “Best Laptop” comparison is that their first knock against the MacBook Air is that “MacBooks are even more expensive than Windows ultrabooks” — even though their recommended Air configuration is well over $200 less than the Dell XPS they recommend.

‘No, Thank You for the Money Though’ 

Molly White reports on an NFT “joke gone wrong” — but I read it as a joke gone right. Delicious.

CNN: ‘Why Bluetooth Remains an “Unusually Painful” Technology After Two Decades’ 

Catherine Thorbecke, writing for CNN:

Despite its pervasiveness, the technology is still prone to headache-inducing issues, whether it’s the struggle to set up a new device to connect with, switching headphones between devices or simply being too far out of range to connect.

“I have a very love-hate relationship with Bluetooth,” said Chris Harrison, a professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Melon University. “Because when it works, it’s amazing, and when it doesn’t, you want to rip your hair out. The promise was to make it as seamless and easy as possible. Bluetooth never quite got there, unfortunately.”

The good news is, Bluetooth is an open industry standard, governed by a consortium. Consortiums are a great way to develop and advance reliable technology — so agrees no less a body of technical expertise than the European Commission. So, next year, I bet, Bluetooth is finally going to get good.

More on Humane’s ‘Change Everything’ 

Two more thoughts following up on my item this week regarding Humane’s Change Everything short film:

  • I got more notes from readers than usual about this item — it seemingly struck a chord. But one thing that surprised me were the number of people who wrote to me who admitted that even after my post, they hadn’t watched the film. I realize that in the mass market, most people spending time “on the internet” do little other than watch videos, but for some people, I think there’s severe video fatigue. Some people want to do anything but watch yet another video. (If that sounds like you, Daring Fireball is here for you, baby.)

  • For those people, and for posterity, allow me to summarize Humane’s short film in prose. Our protagonist is a young woman, in full color, lost in a crowd of thousands of faceless, monochromatic people who are all either staring at their phones or wearing XR headsets. Our hero has neither a phone nor headset, and thus she’s the only one who notices a solar eclipse is occurring. She follows the direction of the sun and finds herself in a jungle or forest, discovers something mysterious projecting onto the palm of her hand, and is happier for it.

    She spends most of her minute-long journey staring directly into the eclipse.

‘On Sarcasm’ 

I found this post from Andrew Bosworth insightful.

Minecraft Bans NFTs 

Minecraft (which has been a subsidiary of Microsoft since 2014):

In our Minecraft Usage Guidelines, we outline how a server owner can charge for access, and that all players should have access to the same functionality. We have these rules to ensure that Minecraft remains a community where everyone has access to the same content. NFTs, however, can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft. [...]

Each of these uses of NFTs and other blockchain technologies creates digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion, which does not align with Minecraft values of creative inclusion and playing together. NFTs are not inclusive of all our community and create a scenario of the haves and the have-nots. The speculative pricing and investment mentality around NFTs takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering, which we think is inconsistent with the long-term joy and success of our players.

A remarkably clear policy and explanation. The rest of the gaming industry would do well to follow. (The response from NFT Worlds is a lot of ✊🍆.)

Humane Ships Something 

Humane is an intriguing, secretive startup founded by the husband-and-wife team of Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno. You may recall I linked to an interview with them in January 2020. Chaudhri and Bongiorno are both former Apple executives, and many of Humane’s employees are ex-Apple too. That’s a major reason why there’s so much interest in what they’re working on. I have a samizdat copy of a Humane investor slide deck from 2021, which describes a sort of button you wear on your chest. The button is equipped with a camera and lidar to see and record the world, recognize hand gestures, and maybe uses lasers or something to project an interface onto surfaces like your hand. Or in the words of Humane’s slide deck, they’re building a “cloud connected sight enabled AI platform with server side app echo system.” (Not sure if that needs a “sic” or not — my copy of the slide deck says “echo system” not “ecosystem”.)

Anyway, still silence from Humane on the product, but they spent the first weeks of July hyping a short film the company commissioned, titled Change Everything. Bongiorno says they’ve had the film envisioned for years.

The film is out, and the only effect it had on me was to increase my skepticism about what Humane is building. It feels like something that aspires to the punch of Apple’s iconic 1984 ad by Ridley Scott, but with the punch and swagger replaced by New Age vapidity and hubris. (Also worth noting: Steve Jobs pulled the first Macintosh out of its bag on stage two days after 1984 aired.)

Sometimes a dead canary is just a dead canary, and sometimes a dud ad is just a dud ad, but I’d check the Humane mine for methane just in case.

Rene Ritchie Joins Google as YouTube’s Creator Liaison 

Rene Ritchie, on Twitter:

After over 2 years as a full-time creator, I’m taking on a new role at YouTube as Creator Liaison (@YouTubeLiaison)! Of course, I made a quick video collab with some creator and YouTube friends to help give you all the details.

I did not have “Rene Ritchie gets a Google employee badge” on my bingo card, but that’s why I don’t play bingo. Congratulations to a good friend.


My thanks to Sofa for sponsoring this week at DF. Sofa is a “productivity” app but it’s about being productive, and intentional, with your downtime. What do you do now when you hear about a new TV show, movie, book, or podcast you want to check out? You probably just throw it in your notes or to-do app with a zillion other types of things.

Instead, throw it in Sofa. Sofa lets you create lists of apps, video games, books, movies, shows, podcasts — even board games. Whatever you want to watch, read, listen to, or play for fun. Adding new items is a cinch — Sofa has a smart search feature that auto-completes what you’re typing. I’ve been using Sofa for a few weeks now and the habit has stuck.

Sofa is available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple silicon Macs. It has a really nice native UI. You can use it for free and it’s useful; the paid Super Sofa subscription makes it even better. Good support, good documentation, and a clever focused idea done well. Check it out today — it’s good.

NYT: Consulting Agreement Ends Between Apple and Jony Ive’s LoveFrom 

Tripp Mickle, with a scoop for The New York Times:

Mr. Ive and Apple have agreed to stop working together, according to two people with knowledge of their contractual agreement, ending a three-decade run during which the designer helped define every rounded corner of an iPhone and guided development of its only new product category in recent years, the Apple Watch.

When Mr. Ive left Apple in 2019 to start his own design firm, LoveFrom, the iPhone maker signed a multiyear contract with him valued at more than $100 million. That made Apple his firm’s primary client, people with knowledge of the agreement said.

The deal restricted Mr. Ive from taking on work that Apple found competitive and ensured that the designer would inform the development of future products, such as an augmented-reality headset that it is expected to ship next year, the people said.

In recent weeks, with the contract coming up for renewal, the parties agreed not to extend it. Some Apple executives had questioned how much the company was paying Mr. Ive and had grown frustrated after several of its designers left to join Mr. Ive’s firm. And Mr. Ive wanted the freedom to take on clients without needing Apple’s clearance, these people said.

It remains unclear (to me at least) how much Ive (and LoveFrom) have been involved with Apple over the last three years, so it’s unclear whether the lapsing of this formal consulting agreement is largely symbolic, or if it marks a true parting of the ways.

Update: I’m hearing, from a few sources, that LoveFrom’s involvement with Apple has been more than symbolic over the past three years — which makes sense! — and that Apple folks have been reviewing new product designs with Ive as recently as a few months ago. This story in The New York Times is the first a lot of people inside Apple have heard about the purported breakup.

Update 2: A better question: Which side leaked this to Mickle? I’m thinking it was someone at Apple, not LoveFrom. The begrudgingness regarding LoveFrom’s high consulting fees certainly makes it sound like the leak came from Apple. Not a strategic leak, necessarily, but perhaps just someone at Apple who has Mickle’s ear. Strategically, I think Apple would have preferred to let the dissolution of this partnership go unnoticed. But it’s an interesting question.

First Images From NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope 

It’s always exciting to see new images like these, but a win for science feels especially good right now. Richard Dawkins:

Looking back, science extends our vision to the origin of time itself. Looking forward, science offers us our only hope that we’ll have a forward to look to.

The One Good Thing About the Elon Musk Twitter Acquisition Saga: Matt Levine’s Coverage 

Matt Levine:

So this April, Musk announced that he wanted to buy Twitter Inc. Why not? Musk seems to get a lot of joy out of using Twitter, and pretending to buy Twitter is a good way to create drama on Twitter. At the time, I assumed that, as with Tesla, he was doing a bit. “Ordinarily,” I wrote, “if a billionaire chief executive officer of a public company offers to buy a company, the odds that he is kidding are quite low. When it’s Elon Musk, the historical odds are, like, 50/50.”

But he surprised me by quickly lining up financing (paying millions of dollars of fees to banks for commitment letters) and signing a merger agreement with Twitter. If he was pretending he was going to buy Twitter, those were pretty elaborate lengths to go to? But he frequently goes to elaborate (and expensive) lengths for a joke — he sold 20,000 branded flamethrowers to make a joke about flamethrowers, and also founded Boring Co. to make a joke (???) about tunnels — so who knows. Would he line up billions of dollars of financing and sign a binding merger agreement with a specific-performance clause and a $1 billion breakup fee as a joke? I mean! Nobody else would! But he might! [...]

Still, one should remain open to the possibility that he was kidding when he first signed the deal. “Elon Musk had a well-thought-out business and financial plan for Twitter that worked in the economic conditions of early April 2022, but conditions have changed and the model no longer works” does not strike me as the most plausible description of what is going on here. “Elon Musk whimsically thought it might be fun to own Twitter, so he signed a merger agreement without taking it too seriously and then lost interest a week later” feels more true to the situation. My first reaction to his proposal to buy Twitter, that it was a joke, may have been the correct one. He was just a lot more committed to the bit than I expected.

I am so tired of this whole bizarre saga but I seemingly will never tire of Levine’s entertaining and insightful coverage of it. Here’s just one interesting thought from a column full of them:

The fact that Musk is working in such bad faith here — that he seems so unconcerned with law and the contract he signed — cuts both ways. On the one hand, it will certainly annoy a Delaware chancellor; Delaware likes to think of itself as a stable place for corporate deals, with predictable law and binding contracts, and Musk’s antics undermine that. On the other hand it might intimidate a Delaware chancellor: What if the court orders Musk to close the deal and he says no? They’re not gonna put him in Chancery jail. The guy is pretty contemptuous of legal authority; he thinks he is above the law and he might be right. A showdown between Musk and a judge might undermine Delaware corporate law more than letting him weasel out of the deal would.

New ‘Lockdown Mode’ Coming to iOS 16 and MacOS 13 Ventura 

Apple, last week:

Apple today detailed two initiatives to help protect users who may be personally targeted by some of the most sophisticated digital threats, such as those from private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware. Lockdown Mode — the first major capability of its kind, coming this fall with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura — is an extreme, optional protection for the very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security. Apple also shared details about the $10 million cybersecurity grant it announced last November to support civil society organizations that conduct mercenary spyware threat research and advocacy. [...]

At launch, Lockdown Mode includes the following protections:

  • Messages: Most message attachment types other than images are blocked. Some features, like link previews, are disabled.

  • Web browsing: Certain complex web technologies, like just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless the user excludes a trusted site from Lockdown Mode.

  • Apple services: Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not previously sent the initiator a call or request.

  • Wired connections with a computer or accessory are blocked when iPhone is locked.

  • Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enroll into mobile device management (MDM), while Lockdown Mode is turned on.

Interesting list of features that will be restricted — this almost certainly maps directly to the known sources of vulnerabilities that have been exploited by NSO Group and Grayshift’s GrayLock device. Good to see Apple increasing its bounties for vulnerabilities reported in these areas, and the $10 million grant as well.


My thanks to Tailscale for sponsoring last week — and the previous two weeks — at DF. Tailscale offers remarkably good ways to manage SSH connections. No more bastions. No more juggling keys. It’s SSH that just works.

Tailscale is completely free for personal use on up to 20 devices, and remarkably affordable for use on teams both small and large.

What Happened to Michael Flynn? 

Barton Gellman, writing for The Atlantic:

He has baffled old comrades with his transformation since being fired as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. He led chants to lock up Hillary Clinton in 2016. In 2020, he posted a video of himself taking an oath associated with QAnon. He has endorsed crackpot fabrications of the extreme right: that Italy used military satellites to switch votes from Trump to Biden in 2020, that COVID-19 was a hoax perpetrated by a malevolent global elite, that the vaccine infused recipients with microchips designed for mind control.

Has Flynn always been susceptible to paranoid conspiracies? Or did something happen along the way that fundamentally shifted his relationship to reality? In recent conversations I had with the former general’s close associates, some for attribution and some not, they offered a variety of theories.

Sort of like a variant of the Peter Principle, but instead of rising to a level of incompetence, Flynn rose to a level of insanity.

Elon Musk Walks Away From Twitter Deal 


New MacBook Air With M2 Available to Order Starting This Friday 

If you plan to order one, set your alarm for 5am PDT / 8am EDT — my spidey-sense says a lot of people have been waiting for this Mac.


Sounds like a project we’ll be hearing a lot more about:

Bun is a modern JavaScript runtime like Node or Deno. It was built from scratch to focus on three main things:

Start fast (it has the edge in mind).

New levels of performance (extending JavaScriptCore, the engine).

Being a great and complete tool (bundler, transpiler, package manager).

[…] The goal of Bun is to run most of the world’s JavaScript outside of browsers, bringing performance and complexity enhancements to your future infrastructure, as well as developer productivity through better, simpler tooling.

Chasing Tail With Dr. Drang 

Dr. Drang:

I’ve been using the tail command for about 25 years, so you might think I’d know something about it. But last week, as I was putting together a short shell script (not this one), I opened the man page for tail and learned something new. Two things, actually, which surprised me, as tail doesn’t really do that much.

The -r switch, to reverse lines, is good to know about but easy to forget — it’s not intuitive to think of a utility for viewing the end of a file as also being a convenient tool for reversing lines. And, as Drang points out, not all implementations of tail have this option.

TikTok Shops Are Lousy With Counterfeit Products 

Ikran Dahir, reporting for BuzzFeed News:

Iman Hamid, a lawyer and author in London, was browsing TikTok in January when she came across a NYX lip gloss being sold on a livestream for just £3.99 (about $5) — almost half of the product’s original price. Thinking this was a good deal, she purchased the lip color — but once it arrived, she said she realized the discount was too good to be true.

In a video she posted on TikTok in June, Hamid swatches the lip gloss she purchased on TikTok and compares it to the same color she bought at Superdrug to compare. The colors are starkly different and she says the texture didn’t match up. […]

Several commenters on Hamid’s TikTok video shared their experiences of purchasing what they believed to be a fake product from TikTok. “Same happened to me with mascara,” one person said. Another warned, “if the price is too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true.”

“It’s shocking to me to see how many people have actually gone through the same problem,” Hamid told BuzzFeed News.

This shouldn’t be shocking at all. Of course TikTok shops are riddled with scams. Of course name brand products being sold by rando TikTok users at half price are counterfeit.


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.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors:

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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.