Linked List: May 2022

Gurman on iOS 16 Lock Screen Improvements 

Mark Gurman, writing in his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg:

Personally, I don’t spend much time on my iPhone’s lock screen. I can’t remember the last time that I’ve swiped to the right on it to open the widgets panel. When I want to read through notifications, I typically unlock my phone, then view the notification panel from inside the system. I’d venture to guess my most used lock-screen feature is the flashlight button.

To each their own, of course, but I love the “Today View” widgets list to the left of the lock screen, and I use it throughout the day. Weather, upcoming calendar events, and a widget with my most-used Shortcut actions are all at the top, visible without scrolling. And I have few more widgets on the Today View that I do need to scroll to see. It’s just a tremendously convenient way to check glanceable information. I unlock my iPhone to do stuff; but the Today View is terrific for just checking glanceable information, and the complete configurability of the widgets in Today View means the glanceable information is only what I personally care about, in the order I want to see it. It’s one of my very favorite features in all of iOS, and in recent years, the one that has most changed how I use my iPhone.

If you’re not using this, you really should try it. It’s a great way to check a few essential things without unlocking your phone. Not sure why Gurman mentioned notifications here though — you get notifications on the main lock screen, not on the Today View.

That’s probably going to change with iOS 16 and the iPhone 14. Apple is planning major enhancements for the lock screen, including wallpapers that have widget-like capabilities.

Sound like maybe adding Today View features to the main lock screen?

Further, I’m told iOS 16 builds in future support for an always-on lock screen, something Apple was originally planning for last year’s iPhone 13. This would allow the iPhone to turn down the frame rate significantly on the lock screen and display quickly glanceable information — similar to newer Apple Watches.

I’m told to expect the always-on mode as an exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models, codenamed D73 and D74, if the feature ends up making the cut.

This would be great, but even without Gurman’s reporting, I’d have expected support for this to be gated to new iPhone hardware, and gating it to the 14 Pro models sounds right too. Perhaps Apple would consider supporting an always-on mode for the lock screen for existing iPhone hardware only when they’re charging, though?

Remembering Ray Liotta in ‘Goodfellas’ 

Glenn Kenny, writing for The New York Times:

There’s a moment early in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster classic Goodfellas that always tugs at my heartstrings. Scorsese’s movie is brutal and cleareyed and unsentimental, yes. But Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, the viewer’s docent into the criminal world, injects a note of tenderness that’s all the more effective for coming out of the mouth of a slick sociopath. (The movie is based on the true-crime book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi; the real Hill attained some celebrity in the wake of the picture’s release.)

It’s during the voice-over when Henry recalls as a boy envying the wiseguys who hung out at the pizza parlor and taxi stand across the street from his home. The guy who runs the pizza joint is Tuddy Cicero, brother of the mob underboss Paulie Cicero, for whom Henry will be working soon. Narrator Henry says the gangster’s full name and pauses. Then, in an exhalation that has low but strong notes of love and nostalgia, he adds, “Tuddy.”

‘Not a Damn Thing’ 

Michael C. Bender, reporting for The New York Times:

Unbeknownst to the public, however, Mr. Trump again pushed inside the White House for significant new gun-control measures more than a year later, after a pair of gruesome shooting sprees that unfolded over 13 hours. Those discussions have not previously been reported.

On Aug. 3, 2019, a far-right gunman killed 23 people at a Walmart store in El Paso. Early the next morning, a man shot and killed nine people outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. Both assailants used semiautomatic rifles.

At the White House the next day, Mr. Trump was so shaken by the weekend’s violence that he questioned aides about a specific potential solution and made clear he wanted to take action, according to three people present during the conversation.

“What are we going to do about assault rifles?” Mr. Trump asked.

“Not a damn thing,” Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, replied.

“Why?” Trump demanded.

“Because,” Mr. Mulvaney told him, “you would lose.”

Mick Mulvaney now works for CBS News, which I’m sure is proud to employ him.

The Facial Recognition Search Engine Apocalypse Is Coming 

Kashmir Hill, reporting for The New York Times:

For $29.99 a month, a website called PimEyes offers a potentially dangerous superpower from the world of science fiction: the ability to search for a face, finding obscure photos that would otherwise have been as safe as the proverbial needle in the vast digital haystack of the internet.

A search takes mere seconds. You upload a photo of a face, check a box agreeing to the terms of service and then get a grid of photos of faces deemed similar, with links to where they appear on the internet. The New York Times used PimEyes on the faces of a dozen Times journalists, with their consent, to test its powers.

PimEyes found photos of every person, some that the journalists had never seen before, even when they were wearing sunglasses or a mask, or their face was turned away from the camera, in the image used to conduct the search.

I’d never heard of PimEyes before, but suspect we’ll be hearing about it more going forward. I also suspect this is a losing game of whack-a-mole. Machine learning is clearly already good enough to do this with spooky accuracy, and it’s only going to get better. Should we try passing legislation to strictly regulate facial recognition search? Sure. But I suspect it’s futile, particularly given the global nature of the internet.

Atlanta Apple Store Employees Drop Bid for Union Vote Next Week 

Josh Eidelson, reporting for Bloomberg:

The labor group trying to organize Apple Inc. employees at an Atlanta store is withdrawing its request for an election, citing what it alleges are illegal union-busting tactics by the company.

The Communications Workers of America said it took the step “because Apple’s repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act have made a free and fair election impossible,” according to an emailed statement Friday. The labor group also cited Covid-19 infections among staff at the store, located at the city’s Cumberland Mall, which it said “have raised concerns about the ability of eligible employees to vote and the safety of in-person voting.”

Translation: the vote was going to fail.

Complaining of illegal tactics is one thing, but crying “can’t vote because of COVID” feels like flailing for an excuse. I don’t know how many Cumberland Mall store employees currently have COVID (and Bloomberg, notably, doesn’t say either), but the store is open with normal hours. Throughout the entire pandemic, Apple has aggressively closed stores proactively.

As for those purported illegal tactics:

“Apple has conducted a systematic, sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union,” the CWA said. Under NLRB rules, a union’s choice to withdraw from an election generally means the vote is canceled and the union would have to wait at least six months before petitioning again to represent the same group of workers. [...]

In complaints filed last week with the National Labor Relations Board, the CWA accused Apple of violating federal labor law by forcing workers in Atlanta and New York City to attend “captive audience” meetings about unionization. Existing precedent allows companies to hold such meetings, but the labor board’s current general counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, views them as inherently coercive and illegal. And she’s pursuing cases that could change the precedent.

I’d like to hear details about these “captive audience” meetings, but no such details seem to be available.

Texas Police Lieutenant Says Cops Were Reluctant to Engage Gunman Because ‘They Could’ve Been Shot’ 

Kipp Jones, writing for Mediaite:

A Texas Department of Public Safety official said responding officers were cautious as they entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas because “they could’ve been shot.”

Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered after authorities say an 18-year-old male entered with a rifle 12 minutes after he crashed a car near campus. The New York Times reported the shooter was inside the school for about an hour before officers finally breached the classroom he was in and shot and killed him.

Reporters demanded answers during a contentious press conference Thursday afternoon. State law enforcement officials addressed the public a day after some parents with children in the school said they were prevented from going in by officers.

One girl inside the room reportedly bled for an hour after she was shot. She died at a hospital. It is unknown if that hour might have saved her life.

The Uvalde police department, you’ll be unsurprised but infuriated to know, has a SWAT team whose sole apparent purpose is to pose menacingly, armed with military rifles, body armor, and camouflage, for photos on their Facebook page, on which they brag about their training.

The Good Guys With Guns Did Nothing While Texas Gunman Murdered 19 Fourth Graders and 2 Teachers; Unarmed Mother Rescued Kids on Her Own 

Douglas Belkin, Rob Copeland, and Elizabeth Findell, reporting for The Wall Street Journal (News+ link):

“The police were doing nothing,” said Angeli Rose Gomez, who after learning about the shooting drove 40 miles to Robb Elementary, where her children are in second and third grade. “They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.” [...]

Ms. Gomez, a farm supervisor, was also waiting outside for her children. She said she was one of numerous parents who began encouraging — first politely, and then with more urgency — police and other law enforcement to enter the school sooner. After a few minutes, she said, U.S. Marshals put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation.

Ms. Gomez said she convinced local Uvalde police officers whom she knew to persuade the marshals to set her free.

A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service said deputy marshals never placed anyone in handcuffs while securing Robb Elementary’s perimeter. “Our deputy marshals maintained order and peace in the midst of the grief-stricken community that was gathering around the school,” he said.

Ms. Gomez described the scene as frantic. She said she saw a father tackled and thrown to the ground by police and a third pepper-sprayed. Once freed from her cuffs, Ms. Gomez made her distance from the crowd, jumped the school fence, and ran inside to grab her two children. She sprinted out of the school with them.

An astonishing and infuriating tale of maternal love and heroism, and police cowardice and incompetence.

Yankees and Rays Collaborate Social Media Accounts to Talk About Gun Violence in America 

Joon Lee, reporting for ESPN:

While their players competed against each other on the field, the social media teams for the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees collaborated Thursday night in an effort to raise awareness about gun violence in the United States.

In wake of the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, both teams opted to use their platforms to provide “facts about gun violence in America” instead of providing any live commentary about Thursday’s game.

“We all deserve to be safe — in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, houses and America,” the Rays posted prior to first pitch. “The most recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have shaken us to the core. This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.”

Added the Yankees, who have more than 3.6 million Twitter followers: “The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable.”

Eventually, a straw breaks the camel’s back.

‘Dry Martini’ 

Roger Angell, writing for The New Yorker back in 2002, at the spry age of 81:

Preciousness almost engulfed us, back then. Tiffany’s produced a tiny silver oil can, meant to dispense vermouth. Serious debates were mounted about the cool, urban superiority of the Gibson — a Martini with an onion in it — or the classicism of the traditional olive. Travellers came home from London or Paris with funny stories about the ghastly Martinis they’d been given in the Garrick Club or at the Hotel Regina bar. And, in a stuffy little volume called “The Hour,” the historian and Harper’s columnist Bernard De Voto wrote, “You can no more keep a Martini in the refrigerator than you can keep a kiss there. The proper union of gin and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth and one of the shortest.”

Rest in peace, good sir.

‘Our Moloch’ 

I’ve linked to this 2012 essay by Garry Wills before, and, alas, I probably will again:

That horror cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god. We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch. [...]

Its power to do good is matched by its incapacity to do anything wrong. It cannot kill. Thwarting the god is what kills. If it seems to kill, that is only because the god’s bottomless appetite for death has not been adequately fed. The answer to problems caused by guns is more guns, millions of guns, guns everywhere, carried openly, carried secretly, in bars, in churches, in offices, in government buildings. Only the lack of guns can be a curse, not their beneficent omnipresence.

U.S. gun culture as religious fundamentalism is the only way to make any sense of what we have allowed to fester.

DuckDuckGo Browser – But Not Search – Special-Cases Microsoft Trackers Due to Search Agreement 

Lawrence Abrams, writing for Bleeping Computer:

However, while performing a security audit of the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser, security researcher Zach Edwards discovered that while the browser blocks Google and Facebook trackers, it allowed Microsoft trackers to continue running.

Further tests showed that DuckDuckGo allowed trackers related to the and domains while blocking all other trackers.

In response to Edwards’ long thread on the subject, DuckDuckGo CEO and Founder Gabriel Weinberg confirmed that their browser intentionally allows Microsoft trackers third-party sites due to a search syndication agreement with Redmond.

This has led to quite the uproar on Hacker News, where Weinberg has been defending the company’s transparency surrounding the agreements with Microsoft.

Not a good look for a company that just launched a high-profile campaign, touting “the simple fact is tracking is tracking, no matter what you call it”.

To be clear, this is about DuckDuckGo’s web browser, not their search results. But still — it’s just so contrary to the core of DuckDuckGo’s brand. It’s not a good look for Microsoft either — Microsoft would be smart to alter their search syndication agreement with DuckDuckGo to allow them to treat Microsoft’s trackers just like anyone else’s in the DuckDuckGo browser.

(While I’m at it: I’ve tried DuckDuckGo’s beta browser for Mac, but I can’t abide it. They’re using WebKit and really have written their own browser application, but for reasons that escape me, they made it look like Chrome. E.g. tab close buttons are on the right, not left; and the app’s preferences aren’t in their own window, but instead open in a browser tab.)

Update: Weinberg has posted a detailed explanation on Reddit. Worth reading.

Laurene Powell Jobs on Tim Cook 

Laurene Powell Jobs, in a succinct two paragraph piece, on Cook’s inclusion in Time magazine’s “100 most influential people” list:

Apple is Tim Cook’s life’s work, and in this work, Tim displays mastery. Tim has demonstrated more range in his leadership of one of the world’s largest companies than any contemporary CEO. Since Apple’s products and policies affect the very character of contemporary life, Tim’s job demands not only business wisdom but also philosophical wisdom. The intense pressure of setting and executing Apple’s progression with deep precision, and of taking responsibility for the company’s effects on society, is almost unimaginable. Yet Tim does it with compassion and discipline, turning to nature to replenish his spirit.


I somehow missed this until a few weeks ago, but the New York Times has a Wordle analysis tool called WordleBot. It’s not a cheating tool, but rather a tool you load (in the same browser in which you play Wordle, so it can read the game cookies) after you complete Wordle each day. (You can also submit a screenshot of a completed game.)

Because you use WordleBot after you play, it doesn’t spoil much. It just analyzes how smart and how lucky your guesses were. I have a dumb command-line tool I wrote myself months ago that does something similar, but my simple tool just lists possible solutions given what’s known (green, yellow, gray) about the puzzle so far. (My tool could be used to cheat, but I have no idea why anyone would want to.)

I say that WordleBot doesn’t spoil much because it does spoil one thing: its possible solution list is culled from the game itself. My tool uses a dictionary of all possible five-letter words from the TWL06 tournament Scrabble dictionary, with additions from a few other word list sources. It doesn’t seem right to me to assume knowledge of the 2,309 words currently in the Wordle solution list. (My list has 8,954 words.) At the very least WordleBot should use the list of allowable guesses from Wordle, not the list of actual solutions. That’s a niggle though.

SwiftUI in May 2022 

Michael Tsai has collected a long list of tweets and posts about the state of SwiftUI today. To pick just one, here’s a tweet from Adam Kaump:

“Hey I got 90% of what I wanted really quick! Neat!”

“… Oh turns out that last 10% is basically impossible, eh?”

SwiftUI was introduced at WWDC 2019 (the last one held in-person). It has improved and expanded since then, but not by leaps and bounds. I’d like to see leaps-and-bounds improvements announced this year.

Update: The fundamental problem with SwiftUI, I think, is that it’s been developed in a vacuum, like an academic exercise. In theory it’s possible to develop a UI framework first and then build complex, rich apps with it, but in practice I don’t think that works and I’m not sure it’s ever worked, at any point in computing history. You need to be developing real production apps alongside the in-development framework. It’s app developers who know best what an application frameworks needs. UIKit, for example, was created while Apple was literally racing to develop the entire original iPhone OS.

What’s the most complex app Apple has written in SwiftUI? Shortcuts, I think, is clearly the answer. Shortcuts as a technology is off to a great start on the Mac. But the Shortcuts app itself is simply not a good Mac app. It doesn’t even have primitives to show standard Mac alerts — it really feels like an app made by developers and designers who’ve never used a Mac, which is impossible, since they must be using Xcode to develop it. And as Shortcuts virtuoso Federico Viticci has copiously documented, the SwiftUI port of Shortcuts for iOS 15 has been shaky, to say the least. If everything on iOS worked as well as the Shortcuts app, we’d all be shopping for Android phones.

Three years in, SwiftUI should be robust enough for Apple to use it for major apps, on both iOS and MacOS, with resulting quality equal to or better than what they typically achieve using UIKit and AppKit. They need to dogfood it.

The Onion 

Some days, and today is one, The Onion really is American’s finest news source.

Remembering Iconfactory Founder Corey Marion 

The Iconfactory:

Our beloved Iconfactory founder, Corey B. Marion, lost his multi-year battle with cancer this past week, he was 54. It’s difficult to put his loss into words except to say that without Corey, there would quite literally be no Iconfactory. Corey, Ged and Talos met in 1994 and we soon began a journey together that spanned 28 years. From day one, Corey did exactly what he loved most — designing, pushing pixels and creating icons.

A lovely and loving tribute.

XKCD on Apple Maps 

From the department of “It’s only funny because it’s true”.

Keyboard Maestro 

My thanks to Keyboard Maestro for sponsoring last week at DF.

Keyboard Maestro is a Mac utility that lets you automate applications or web sites, text or images, simple or complex, on command or scheduled. Anything you can do on your Mac manually, Keyboard Maestro can almost certainly automate for you.

Even if you’re just getting started, Keyboard Maestro’s intuitive, approachable interface — and library of hundreds of built-in actions — will enable you to build complex macros to make your daily life more pleasant. Power users can even include their own custom scripts — written in AppleScript or any Unix shell scripting language. It’s like Shortcuts, but faster and more powerful.

But, speaking of Shortcuts, Keyboard Maestro 10.1 — released just last week — adds Shortcuts support to Keyboard Maestro. You can trigger Shortcuts to execute within a Keyboard Maestro macro and execute Keyboard Maestro actions from within a Shortcuts shortcut.

I can’t say enough good things about Keyboard Maestro, or describe how essential it is to my daily workflows on the Mac. It is, in short, indispensable. Try the full-featured demo version, free of charge, and see for yourself.

Roger Angell Dies at 101 

David Remnick wrote a wonderful remembrance of the great Roger Angell, who died last week at 101:

“Getting old is the second-biggest surprise of my life, but the first, by a mile, is our unceasing need for deep attachment and intimate love,” he wrote in This Old Man. “I believe that everyone in the world wants to be with someone else tonight, together in the dark, with the sweet warmth of a hip or a foot or a bare expanse of shoulder within reach.”

Roger died on Friday. He was a hundred and one. But longevity was actually quite low on his list of accomplishments. He did as much to distinguish The New Yorker as anyone in the magazine’s nearly century-long history. His prose and his editorial judgment left an imprint that’s hard to overstate. Like Ruth and Ohtani, he was a freakishly talented double threat, a superb writer and an invaluable counsel to countless masters of the short story. He won a place in both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in the Baseball Hall of Fame — a unique distinction. The crowd of friends from the magazine who drove four hours north to watch him receive the J. G. Taylor Spink Award at Doubleday Field, in Cooperstown, wore custom jerseys declaring themselves Roger’s “Angells.”

Angell, more than any other writer, understood intuitively why baseball is a special game. It was because Angell was such an astute writer about life, in general, that he was so good writing about baseball, particularly. Or perhaps it was the other way around.

Michael Chabon, on Instagram:

My dad taught me to love baseball, but Roger Angell taught me how to love it: unreservedly, with a writer’s nosiness, a historian’s stance, an ear for comedy, and a skeptical but not a jaundiced eye. And above all: patiently. You cannot enjoy a baseball game without first settling into it, getting its feel, and then giving it time.

WSJ: ‘Crypto Might Have an Insider Trading Problem’ (Yours Truly: ‘Ya Think?’) 

Ben Foldy and Caitlin Ostroff, reporting for the WSJ (News+):

Over six days last August, one crypto wallet amassed a stake of $360,000 worth of Gnosis coins, a token tied to an effort to build blockchain-based prediction markets. On the seventh day, Binance — the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume — said in a blog post that it would list Gnosis, allowing it to be traded among its users.

Token listings add both liquidity and a stamp of legitimacy to the token, and often provide a boost to a token’s trading price. The price of Gnosis rose sharply, from around $300 to $410 within an hour. The value of Gnosis traded that day surged to more than seven times its seven-day average.

Four minutes after Binance’s announcement, the wallet began selling down its stake, liquidating it entirely in just over four hours for slightly more than $500,000 — netting a profit of about $140,000 and a return of roughly 40%, according to an analysis performed by Argus Inc., a firm that offers companies software to manage employee trading. The same wallet demonstrated similar patterns of buying tokens before their listings and selling quickly after with at least three other tokens.

It is almost criminally gracious for the Journal to put “might” in the headline for this piece. The whole point of these markets is to bilk suckers with rug-pulls, insider trading, and other scams.

CT Scans of Classic iPods, With Tony Fadell 

Scan of the Month:

The iPod was a groundbreaking piece of consumer electronics. With new generations introduced every year after its launch in 2001, the iPod product family reflected a period of rapid development in processing, storage, displays, and user interfaces, anticipating the iPhone’s blockbuster release in 2007.

This month we explore the evolution of the iPod from the inside out with our Lumafield Neptune CT scanner, guided by none other than Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod and the founder of Nest.

I love how enthusiastic Fadell still is about these iPods. They really were amazing little things.

Update: Nice dual profile of Fadell and Lumafield’s CT-scanning machines by Harry McCracken for Fast Company.

‘Give Those Glasses to the Bailiff’ 

The Simpsons really has predicted so much. Maybe Apple should pivot Project Titan into a monorail project.

E.U. Regulators Gonna Regulate 

Hartley Charlton:

The provisional agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) was reached earlier this week by EU governments, with 43 votes in favor, one against, and one abstention, showing a broad consensus from European lawmakers to aggressively regulate big tech companies. [...]

The latest provisional agreement sets out plans to establish a “High-Level Group” of central European digital regulators to coordinate national regulators across EU member states and requires “gatekeepers” to create an independent “compliance function.” The new group must include compliance officers to monitor their company’s compliance with EU legislation using sufficient authority, resources, and access to management, and be headed by an “independent senior manager with distinct responsibility for the compliance function.” The rule would effectively require companies like Apple to set up a department internal dedicated to meeting pro-competition regulations.

That sounds like a lot of fun, and something that won’t bog down progress at all.

In addition, new rules specifically targeted to address companies like Apple that have “a dual role” with control over both hardware and software look to allow any developer to gain access to any existing hardware feature, such as “near-field communication technology, secure elements and processors, authentication mechanisms, and the software used to control those technologies.”

This is bananas. All third party developers get control over the secure enclave and the software that controls it? Would be good to give them such control over the camera, microphone, and location data, too.

This is profoundly anti-consumer. Consumers aren’t asking for any of this shit. Actual people love their phones more than their computers — whether Macs or PCs — not despite the fact that their phones are tightly controlled consoles, but because they are tightly controlled consoles. These regulators don’t see it that way, because they’re idiots. They think they can legislate their way to a world where the iPhone (and Android, which is also console-like) remains far safer and more reliable than PCs while mandating that all the protections that have made them far safer and more reliable than PCs be removed. It’s absurd.

Worth noting: “Europe” accounts for nearly 25 percent of Apple’s revenue. That includes 23 countries that aren’t in the E.U. — most notably, of course, the U.K. — but the E.U. is too big for Apple to just tell them to pound sand. I would imagine though, if this comes to fruition, E.U. citizens are going to wind up buying iPhones that operate very differently from those sold everywhere else in the world, and they will suffer for it.

The Decline in COVID Reporting at The New York Times Continues 

This is one doozy of a correction in a New York Times report yesterday on updated CDC guidance for COVID booster shots for kids aged 5–11:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the numbers of children aged 5 to 11 with multisystem inflammatory syndrome. About 4,000 have been diagnosed, not died, with the syndrome.

The report, once again, is from Apoorva Mandavilli, who just a few months ago reported that 900,000 children in the U.S. had been hospitalized with COVID, when the actual number was 63,000. By replacing Donald McNeil with Mandavilli as their lead COVID science reporter, the Times has gone from Pulitzer-Prize-winning science-backed reporting to embarrassing uninformed ninnyism.

At this point, when I see Mandavilli’s byline, I immediately start reading with my eyes rolled.

From the Department of ‘Fuck Around and Find Out’ 

Gijong Lee, reporting for Korean news site TheElec:

BOE is yet to receive approval from Apple to manufacture OLED panels for the upcoming iPhone 14 smartphones series, TheElec has learned. The company was caught having changed the circuit width of the thin film transistors on the OLED panels it made for iPhone 13 earlier this year, people familiar with the matter said.

This was done without Apple’s approval in a likely bid to increase the yield rate, they said. BOE could not receive any orders from Cupertino for OLED panels on the iPhone 14 series because of this, they added.

The Chinese display panel [maker] sent a C-level executive and employees to Apple’s headquarters following the incident to explain why they changed the circuit width of the transistors.

If there’s any truth to this, I’d venture to say BOE might never supply for Apple again. (Via MacDailyNews.)

The Information: ‘The Inside Story of Why Apple Bet Big on a Mixed-Reality Headset’ 

From the first of a two-part report for The Information by Wayne Ma (paywalled, alas):

Rockwell, Meier and Rothkopf soon encountered pushback from Ive’s team. The three men had initially wanted to build a VR headset, but Ive’s group had concerns about the technology, said three people who worked on the project. They believed VR alienated users from other people by cutting them off from the outside world, made users look unfashionable and lacked practical uses. Apple’s industrial designers were unconvinced that consumers would be willing to wear headsets for long periods of time, two of the people said.

Count me on the design team’s side. Near the end of Ma’s report is this sentence: “Rockwell’s team also wanted users to be able to wear the headset for as much as eight hours a day.” Perhaps I simply lack imagination, but I can’t see myself wearing something like that for eight hours a day. (I imagine someone a few decades ago saying the same thing about sitting in front of a computer monitor for eight hours a day, which I’ve done for my entire adult life, so as ever, I’m keeping an open mind.)

The men came up with a solution to address the concerns of Ive’s team. For example, they proposed adding cameras to the front of the headset so that people wearing the device could see their surroundings, said the three people. But the feature that ultimately sold the industrial designers on the project was a concept for an outward-facing screen on the headset. The screen could display video images of the eyes and facial expressions of the person wearing the headset to other people in the room.

These features addressed the industrial design group’s worries about VR-induced alienation — they allowed other people in a room to interact and collaborate with a person wearing a headset in a way not possible with other VR gear. For years, the existence of such a display, internally code-named T429, was known only to a small circle of people even within Rockwell’s group.

Again, perhaps I lack imagination, but this outward display, showing the headset wearer’s eyes, sounds bizarre to me. Scratch that, it sounds nightmarishly ghoulish. I’m thinking something like this, but live, like this horror show Facebook actually bragged about. Apple’s not going to ship something ghoulish or goofy, of course. So if something matching Ma’s description ships, it’ll be nothing like what his description has made me imagine. Weird!

Update: Apt comic from Robert Black’s The Sharp End.


I’ve long heard from friends that Stripe’s developer documentation is not just excellent, but perhaps the best developer documentation in the world. They do all sorts of neat things to help developers, like putting your API key into snippets you copy from the website. Clever. It’s also just a great looking website with good navigation.

Markdoc is Stripe’s own content authoring system, implementing a rich superset of Markdown, and released this week as an open source project. It looks wonderful. I love their syntax extensions — very true to the spirit of Markdown. They use curly braces for their extensions; I’m not sure I ever made this clear, publicly, but I avoided using curly braces in Markdown itself — even though they are very tempting characters — to unofficially reserve them for implementation-specific extensions. Markdoc’s extensive use of curly braces for its syntax is exactly the sort of thing I was thinking about.

The Markdoc site itself is, of course, splendidly documented and fun to play with. You can try it out right in their example dingus on the homepage.

Warms my heart to see Markdown continuing to grow like this.

Gurman: ‘Apple Shows XR Headset to Board in Sign It’s Reached Advanced Stage’ 

Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. executives previewed its upcoming mixed-reality headset to the company’s board last week, indicating that development of the device has reached an advanced stage, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company’s board, made up of eight independent directors and Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, convenes at least four times a year. A version of the device was demonstrated to the directors during the latest gathering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.

Not a surprise given how widely it’s been reported — largely by Gurman — that Apple had originally planned to release its first headset this fall, and still might announce it this year. But goddamn I’d love to know who leaked this demo to Gurman.

Research Paper on the Potential for iPhone Malware That Runs in Low Power Mode 

Bruce Schneier:

The research is fascinating, but the attack isn’t really feasible. It requires a jailbroken phone, which is hard to pull off in an adversarial setting.

Apple Responds to ‘Final Cut Pro in TV and Film’ Open Letter 

Apple, responding to last month’s open letter from industry professionals concerned about Final Cut Pro’s also-ran status in Hollywood production:

While we believe we have plans in place to help address your important feature requests, we also recognize the need to build on those efforts and work alongside you to help support your film and TV projects and keep you posted on important updates.

That Apple responded at all is the story. Sounds like Apple does want to address the group’s concerns.

Update: A pal just sent me this clip from 10 years ago on Conan O’Brien’s show, in which the show’s editing team sings the praises of the (then) all-new editing interface in Final Cut Pro X. Can’t believe I never saw this before.

Update 2: Welp, turns out I was right not to believe I hadn’t seen it before.

Apple Previews Upcoming Accessibility Features 

Apple, kicking off Global Accessibility Awareness Day:

Using advancements across hardware, software, and machine learning, people who are blind or low vision can use their iPhone and iPad to navigate the last few feet to their destination with Door Detection; users with physical and motor disabilities who may rely on assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control can fully control Apple Watch from their iPhone with Apple Watch Mirroring; and the Deaf and hard of hearing community can follow Live Captions on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple is also expanding support for its industry-leading screen reader VoiceOver with over 20 new languages and locales. These features will be available later this year with software updates across Apple platforms.

Amazing features, one and all. And Apple has been delivering on these accessibility feature previews — we should expect to see all of these in action by this week next year. (A lot of them seem like they’d be useful with AR glasses, too.)

Google Messages RCS Being Abused for Spam in India 

Ben Schoon, reporting for 9to5Google:

Brought to our attention by Ishan Argwal on Twitter, RCS ads in Google Messages appear to be coming from “Verified Business” accounts. Google first announced that functionality back in 2020, for the purposes of allowing customers to talk to businesses. Advertising was surely part of the functionality, but it’s clearly being abused in India. Android Police says these ads have been going out for almost a year now, citing examples of ads sent by Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Buddy Loan, and PolicyBazaar. From what we can tell from user reports, it appears the frequency of these ads has been picking up over the past few months especially.

These ads are not harmless, either, with many of the examples we’ve seen being for personal loans, a category that tends to be full of predatory practices. One user reports that they were sent one of these ads on a phone that didn’t even have an active SIM card in it.

Currently, it seems as though this practice is primarily happening in the Indian market, at least in this quantity.

Yet another success story in Google’s storied history of messaging services.

According to Android Police, the only solution to this spam is to disable RCS. Anyone arguing that Apple should add RCS support to iOS should have their head examined.

‘Watching You’ – New Privacy Ad From DuckDuckGo 

Pairs well with Apple’s new spot. Fun too, to see the “Get It On Google Play” banner on the closing screen.

‘Data Auction’ – New Privacy Ad From Apple 

Nice sequel to last year’s “Tracked”.

In a mere 90 seconds, while telling an actual story, it manages to work in a slew of iOS privacy features, including App Tracking Transparency, Mail Privacy Protection, Safari’s tracker detection, and the fact that your Contacts database requires your permission for an app to access. (Also worth noting, although it doesn’t come up in the ad: when you share a contact to someone else, the shared contact does not contain your Notes field. Update: And even just to access the Contacts database, period, developers need a special entitlement.)

The only major recent privacy feature not featured in the ad is one of my favorites: iCloud Private Relay. The decision not to promote iCloud Private Relay in the ad could well be explained by the fact that it’s still labeled “beta” in both iOS and MacOS. I’ve been using it ever since it became available with very few problems.

Molly White, Interviewed by Harvard Business Review: ‘Cautionary Tales From Cryptoland’ 

One more on the “cryptocurrency is mostly about scams” front — a concise interview with Web3 Is Going Just Great creator Molly White, by Harvard Business Review editor Thomas Stackpole:

Stackpole: One of the most surprising (to me, anyway) arguments you make is that Web3 could be a disaster for privacy and create major issues around harassment. Why? And does it feel like the companies “buying into” Web3 are aware of this?

White: Blockchains are immutable, which means once data is recorded, it can’t be removed. [...] Many blockchains also have a very public record of transactions: Anyone can see that a person made a transaction and the details of that transaction. Privacy is theoretically provided through pseudonymity — wallets are identified by a string of characters that aren’t inherently tied to a person. But because you’ll likely use one wallet for most of your transactions, keeping one’s wallet address private can be both challenging and a lot of work and is likely to only become more challenging if this future vision of crypto ubiquity is realized. If a person’s wallet address is known and they are using a popular chain like Ethereum to transact, anyone [else] can see all transactions they’ve made.

Imagine if you went on a first date, and when you paid them back for your half of the meal, they could now see every other transaction you’d ever made — not just the public transactions on some app you used to transfer the cash but any transactions: the split checks with all of your previous dates, that monthly transfer to your therapist, the debts you’re paying off (or not), the charities to which you’re donating (or not), the amount you’re putting in a retirement account (or not). What if they could see the location of the corner store by your apartment where you so frequently go to grab a pint of ice cream at 10 PM?

Web3 is my favorite new blog in years. Everything about it is just perfect.

Matt Levine on ‘Yield Farming’ 

Speaking of cryptocurrencies as Ponzi schemes (powered by energy-intensive computing), here’s Matt Levine, in a podcast interview with FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, responding to Bankman-Fried’s description of “yield farming”:

I think of myself as like a fairly cynical person. And that was so much more cynical than how I would’ve described farming. You’re just like, well, I’m in the Ponzi business and it’s pretty good.

Nicholas Weaver: ‘Cryptocurrency Should “Die in a Fire”’ 

Current Affairs:

Despite being hyped in expensive Super Bowl ads, cryptocurrency is now having a difficult moment. As the New York Times reports, “the crypto world went into a full meltdown this week in a sell-off that graphically illustrated the risks of the experimental and unregulated digital currencies.” One of cryptocurrency’s most vocal skeptics is Nicholas Weaver, senior staff researcher at the International Computer Science Institute and lecturer in the computer science department at UC Berkeley. Weaver has studied cryptocurrencies for years. Speaking with Current Affairs editor-in-chief Nathan J. Robinson, Prof. Weaver explains why he views the much-hyped technology with such antipathy. He argues that cryptocurrency is useless and destructive, and should “die in a fire.”

I can’t say I learned anything particularly novel from this interview, but Weaver’s cogent arguments and descriptions of how cryptocurrency works gave me confidence that I wasn’t missing anything. There just isn’t any there there other than burning an unconscionable amount of electricity.


So the stock market and the bond market are a positive-sum game. There are more winners than losers. Cryptocurrency starts with zero-sum. So it starts with a world where there can be no more winning than losing. We have systems like this. It’s called the horse track. It’s called the casino. Cryptocurrency investing is really provably gambling in an economic sense. And then there’s designs where those power bills have to get paid somewhere. So instead of zero-sum, it becomes deeply negative-sum.

Effectively, then, the economic analogies are gambling and a Ponzi scheme. Because the profits that are given to the early investors are literally taken from the later investors. This is why I call the space overall, a “self-assembled” Ponzi scheme. There’s been no intent to make a Ponzi scheme. But due to its nature, that is the only thing it can be.

Weaver also makes a strong case that ransomware is only feasible as an industry because of cryptocurrency.

Last-Minute Sponsorship Opening at DF 

DF’s weekly sponsorships have been selling briskly this year, and are currently sold out until August. But: this very week’s spot just opened up.

There’s only one sponsor per week, with a sponsor-written entry in the RSS feed to start the week, a thank-you post right on the homepage from me at the end, and the one and only graphic ad on every page of the site all week long. No tracking or other privacy-invasive bullshit. Just plain honest ads. That’s not new — that’s the way the ads on DF have always been. My best argument that they work: the number of repeat companies in the sponsor archive list.

So if you’ve got a product or service you’d like to promote to DF’s discerning audience, I’d love to have you as a sponsor. And if you’re ready to grab this week’s opening, let’s go — should be another good week.


My thanks to Kolide for sponsoring last week at DF. Kolide believes that the supposedly “average person” is the key to unlocking a new class of security detection, compliance, and threat remediation. So do the hundreds of organizations that send important security notifications to employees from Kolide’s Slack app.

Kolide knows that organizations can dramatically lower the actual risks they will likely face with a structured, message-based approach. More importantly, they’ll be able to engage end-users to fix nuanced problems that can’t be automated.

Try Kolide for 14 days free; no credit card required.

The Talk Show: ‘After Steve’ 

Special guest Tripp Mickle joins the show to talk about his new book, After Steve, reporting on the last decade at Apple.

Sponsored by:

  • Linode: Instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode Cloud. New accounts get a $100 credit.
  • Memberful: Monetize your passion with membership. Start your free trial today.
  • Kolide: Endpoint Security for teams that Slack. Try Kolide for free today; no credit card required.
Elon Musk on Twitter: ‘Twitter Deal Temporarily on Hold Pending Details Supporting Calculation That Spam/Fake Accounts Do Indeed Represent Less Than 5 Percent of Users’ 


Elon Musk announced Friday that his Twitter deal is on hold until he receives more information about how many fake accounts there are on the social media platform.

In a follow-up tweet around two hours later, Musk added that he was “still committed to the acquisition.” Twitter’s stock plummeted 18% in premarket trading following the initial announcement, but trimmed some losses after the second tweet.

Have you ever been at an amusement park that was nearly empty, such that you can go on the best roller coaster, get off, and go right back on again without a wait? And after a couple of rides you’re like, “OK that’s enough.”

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Fires Company’s Heads of Product and Revenue 

Kayvon Beykpour, who’d been head of product at Twitter since 2018:

Interrupting my paternity leave to share some final @twitter-related news: I’m leaving the company after over 7 years.

The truth is that this isn’t how and when I imagined leaving Twitter, and this wasn’t my decision. Parag asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction.

While I’m disappointed, I take solace in a few things: I am INSANELY proud of what our collective team achieved over the last few years, and my own contribution to this journey. [...] I’m proud that we changed the perception around Twitter’s pace of innovation, and proud that we shifted the culture internally to make bigger bets, move faster, and eliminate sacred cows.

Beykpour arrived at Twitter after their acquisition of Periscope, a product that, in hindsight, has proven to have been ahead of its time. I bet we hear from Beykpour again.

As reported by TechCrunch, the other executive canned by Agrawal was revenue product lead Bruce Falck, who wasted no time updating his Twitter bio.

Why would Agrawal make these moves now, while Twitter’s future — including Agrawal’s, to be clear — is completely up in the air? Idea 1: Agrawal has reason to believe the Musk acquisition is going to fall through, so he’s managing the company as he sees fit. Idea 2: Agrawal thinks the deal is going through and is trying to keep his job as CEO by doing what he thinks (or knows) Musk wants done.

Google I/O 2022 Keynote in 18 Minutes 

Also from The Verge, an excellent 18-minute cut of the Google I/O keynote. It’s kind of funny watching them go from things definitely shipping in a few months (Pixel 7 phones) to something they plan to ship in “2023” (a Pixel tablet, which looks a lot like an iPad but has the front-facing camera on the long side) to something with no timeline of actually shipping (AR glasses that show live translations of what people are saying to you in languages you don’t understand, like subtitles for the real world).

Never a good sign when your most interesting demo is the most nebulous.

Google Teases Upcoming Pixel Watch at I/O 

Victoria Song, reporting for The Verge:

Given that the Pixel Watch is the worst-kept wearable secret of 2022, there wasn’t anything too surprising in terms of design. As suspected, the Pixel Watch has a circular, domed design and features a “tactile” crown and side button. It’s made of recycled stainless steel and has swappable proprietary bands.

No pricing announced other than that it will be a “premium-priced product”, or word about multiple sizes (a big deal, still, for people with smaller wrists). It looks, to some degree (I’d say a large degree), like the design spec was “an Apple Watch but circular”. The dome-shaped edge-to-edge crystal looks nice. I’m curious if it’s sapphire or glass.

The rubber strap they’re showing in photos looks a lot like Apple’s default sport strap, too, with the Marc Newson/Ikepod-style tuck-the-extra-part-under design that Apple Watch has made iconic. But, oddly, Google’s straps have two slots. The slot after the sizing pin is where you tuck the excess strap. I don’t know what purpose the slot before the pin serves.

According to Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, this Fitbit integration will go beyond customizing watch faces and be “imbued throughout” the Pixel Watch experience. Users will be able to sync their data with a Fitbit account, meaning they’ll be able to view it within the Fitbit app and on the web. The watch will use all of Fitbit’s latest algorithms for health and fitness.

As for data privacy, Osterloh said in a briefing that Fitbit and Google data will stay private and separate due to promises it made to regulators during the Fitbit acquisition, meaning that any health data collected on the Pixel Watch will remain under Fitbit’s purview, separate from Google.

Promises made, promises kept, I suppose, but requiring entirely separate accounts for fitness (Fitbit) and everything else (Google) seems like an annoyance, not a feature.

Disney+ Hits 138 Million Subscribers 

Alex Weprin, reporting for The Hollywood Reporter:

Disney once again beat Wall Street expectations last quarter in streaming, adding 7.9 million Disney+ subscribers, and suggesting that the company may be positioned to take a lead in what has become a cutthroat race to the top in streaming.

While Wall Street expectations for Disney+ were varied, a midpoint expectation was 4.5 million to 5 million adds.

I’d classify this as “not surprising at all but interesting”. This is exactly what you’d expect from Disney — they weren’t first to streaming, but once they went in, they went in hard and they’re going to where their customers are, not demanding that their customers come to them.

Apple’s Director of Machine Learning Is Leaving the Company, Citing Return-to-Office Policy as Biggest Reason 

Speaking of Zoe Schiffer, she tweeted a scoop:

Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning, is leaving the company due to its return to work policy. In a note to staff, he said “I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team.” He was likely the company’s most cited ML expert.

The New York Post, following Schiffer’s tweet, added this:

Several Apple employees confirmed Goodfellow’s departure on corporate gossip site Blind. One Apple employee quoted Goodfellow as saying, “I’m leaving for many reasons … but Apple’s return to office policy is the biggest single reason.”

Goodfellow joined Apple from Google in April 2019.

Jony Ive Guest Edits The Financial Times’s ‘How to Spend It’ Magazine 

The Financial Times:

There are few people who have not been touched by Jony Ive’s designs, but the man behind them remains a quiet, lesser-known character, preferring mostly to let his work speak for itself. Under the aegis of the LoveFrom team in San Francisco, this second guest-edit issue of HTSI looks at makers and creators. A rare opportunity to share Jony’s passions, interests and the personalities he finds inspiring, the magazine’s focus is on the craft of the hand. The project started with a simple cover concept: Jony asked that we shoot his father’s hands.

Jony Ive, in his introductory letter:

Perhaps our hands have become less necessary in a digital world, but in a pandemic of loneliness and isolation, the nuance and power of direct touch and connection seems more critical than ever.

Our hands have assumed an iconic and cultural importance. They are represented and understood as symbols of making, skill and industry, as symbols of solidarity, power and resolve. We can hold hands. We can punch.

And of course, our hands both enable our writing, our painting, our building and in turn tell unique stories of how we use them. They enable us and they describe us.

Third Apple Store Launches Union Drive 

Aaron Gregg and Reed Albergotti, reporting last week for The Washington Post:

A group of Apple employees in Maryland launched a union drive Tuesday, becoming the third store to make a run at organizing the world’s most valuable company. Organizers at the Towson Mall store near Baltimore say they have been drumming up support for nearly a year in coordination with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, two employees and a union organizer said. They say they have signatures from more than 65 percent of employees who are likely to be eligible, giving them a “supermajority” that would be difficult for the company to overcome. [...]

The organizers notified Apple chief executive Tim Cook of their intention to organize as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees ― AppleCore for short ― in a letter dated Tuesday, a copy of which was reviewed by The Post.

Here’s their letter to Tim Cook.

Curious to see how this retail unionization push goes for Apple. So far, it doesn’t seem like Apple is obstructing unionization efforts. We shall see though — according to Zoe Schiffer at The Verge, Apple has hired a law firm that specializes in helping companies fight unionization efforts.

Using an iPhone as a Single-Purpose Webcam 

Speaking of Simon Støvring, he wrote a good post back in August about using an old iPhone as a single-purpose webcam with Camo:

Once the Camo app is launched on the iPhone it will keep the iPhone awake, even if the camera is not in use or the video feed has been paused from the Mac app. I like to manually lock the iPhone when I’m not using the webcam. This will prevent the Camo Mac app from having a connection to the iPhone app and use the camera. That’s the equivalent of using one of those webcam covers.

I will only be using the iPhone 6 Plus as a webcam and I will have it permanently mounted to my monitor, so to make it easier to launch the Camo app on the iPhone after the phone have been locked, I put the iPhone into Single App Mode using Apple Configurator and disabled the passcode on the phone. When in Single App Mode (sometimes also referred to as “kiosk mode”), the iPhone will only be able to launch a single app and the app will automatically be launched when the phone is unlocked.

Single App Mode can be enabled using Apple Configurator by plugging your phone into the Mac and selecting Actions → Advanced → Start Single App Mode.... That will make the iPhone supervised meaning that its features can be restricted from elsewhere by installing profiles. After supervision has been enabled, you will be prompted to select the app to be used in Single App Mode.

Via Jason Snell.

Runestone: New Text and Code Editor for iOS by Simon Støvring 

Alex Guyot, writing for MacStories:

Runestone is the latest app from Simon Støvring, the developer behind Scriptable, Jayson, and Data Jar. Støvring’s apps tend to be focused on developer or automation use cases, filling holes in the iOS and iPadOS ecosystem to aid power users. Runestone mostly falls into the same category, although it also has some wider potential appeal for general purpose writing.

The new app functions as an excellent plain text editor for anyone who needs to write on their iPhone or iPad. It’s simple and thoughtfully designed, and includes a variety of excellent themes to improve your writing experience. Runestone’s marquee feature, however, is its syntax highlighting. For Markdown writers, the app will use simple color schemes (which can be altered to your liking using the theme settings) and subtle style changes to highlight your links, bold and italic words, footnotes, and more. The result is a very simple, essentially plain-text approach which still makes it easy to see your markup at a glance.

I’ve been beta-testing Runestone for a few months, and it’s excellent. Fast and intuitive, Runestone looks and works great on both iPhone and iPad. Because it integrates with the system document browser, you can easily use Runestone to open not just files stored locally on your device and in iCloud, but through any app that provides a standard document browser. Dropbox works great, as does the excellent Secure ShellFish for reading and writing files over SSH.

Runestone is free to download and use. For a one-time $10 purchase, “Premium” unlocks a bunch of customization options and one of the best Easter eggs I’ve seen in years.

The Talk Show: ‘Like Neo Dodging Bullets’ 

Zach Gage joins the show to talk about game design and creativity, including his new game Knotwords.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10% off your first order.
  • Memberful: Monetize your passion with membership. Start your free trial today.
  • Kolide: Endpoint Security for teams that Slack. Try Kolide for free today; no credit card required.
Apple’s New Developer Center: Tantau 14? 

I’m sure we’ll find out for sure next month at WWDC 2022, but one small mystery is the location of Apple’s new Developer Center at Apple Park. Based on a few tips, I think it’s in the building currently named “Tantau 14”, next to the Visitor Center, which makes a lot of sense.

Update: More on this building from Parker Ortolani, including photos.


My thanks to Kolide for once again sponsoring last week at DF. Kolide is a SaaS app that sends employees important, timely, and relevant security recommendations concerning their Mac, Windows, and Linux devices, right inside Slack.

Kolide is perfect for organizations that want to move beyond a traditional lock-down model and move to one where employees are educated about security and device management while fixing nuanced problems. For example, Kolide can:

  • Instruct developers to set passphrases on the unencrypted SSH keys littered throughout their devices.
  • Find plain-text two-factor backup codes and teach end-users how to store them securely.
  • Convince employees to uninstall privacy-invasive browser extensions that sell their browser history to marketing companies.

You can try Kolide on an unlimited number of devices with all its features for free and without a credit card for 14 days.

Camo 1.6 Adds Support for Safari, FaceTime, and QuickTime 

Aidan Fitzpatrick, writing for the Reincubate blog:

Today we’re thrilled to launch a long-awaited feature in Camo: full compatibility with Safari, FaceTime, QuickTime, and more. As well as adding support for all of Apple’s apps on modern versions of macOS, this update also enables all third-party apps that previously relied on Camo’s integrations to work natively. Discord, Slack, WhatsApp, and others now run great with Camo without modification.

With the release of Camo Studio 1.6 and macOS 12.3, Camo is the first virtual camera to be natively compatible with all apps in the Mac ecosystem. [...]

This change comes as a consequence of two years of conversation with Apple on how we can make the most of the incredible cameras in their devices. This wasn’t the feature we originally intended to ship as part of Camo 1.6, but once we heard the good news from Apple we rearranged our launch schedule to make this happen. Thank you, team Apple!

Fantastic news. Camo is terrific software. Using a spare iPhone as a webcam is a great way to put an older device to good use, and delivers image quality that far surpasses most dedicated webcams — including the one built into the Studio Display. The biggest knock against Camo, until now, was that “virtual webcams” didn’t work with Apple’s own apps.

Now what we need is a good mount for using an iPhone with Camo on the Studio Display. Here’s a clever one James Thomson jury-rigged with Lego bricks.

Steven Frank on Playdate 

From the Playdate Twitter account:

When Playdate shipped, Panic co-founder Steven wrote a little about what it meant to him. And in the spirit of doing things differently, posted it to a Gopher (!) site.

If you’re up for it, find it here: gopher://

I took a guess that curl could handle a gopher URL, and I was right. From Frank’s piece:

  • It’s OK to take risks with design. In a world of metal and glass slabs, a console that vaguely resembles a slice of Velveeta (R) can’t help but catch your eye. I know everything is kind of depressing recently, but color is OK, shapes are OK, and joyfulness can be a feature.

  • Limitations like monochrome displays and a minimum of buttons and controls are not only rocket fuel for developer creativity, but also broaden Playdate’s appeal to people who may find modern games intimidating or out of reach due to their complexity. Which is not to say that all Playdate games need to be simplistic, but rather that variety is good.

So happy to see Playdates shipping. I’m even happier to see that they’re building such an enthusiastic and clever developer community.

How Mechanical Watches Work 

Perhaps, as a watch person, I’m biased, but I found this illustrated essay by Bartosz Ciechanowski to be astonishingly fun and informative. Even the parts I already knew I enjoyed relearning.

Apple, Google, and Microsoft Commit to Expanded Support for FIDO Standard 

Apple Newsroom:

In a joint effort to make the web more secure and usable for all, Apple, Google, and Microsoft today announced plans to expand support for a common passwordless sign-in standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. The new capability will allow websites and apps to offer consistent, secure, and easy passwordless sign-ins to consumers across devices and platforms.

Password-only authentication is one of the biggest security problems on the web, and managing so many passwords is cumbersome for consumers, which often leads consumers to reuse the same ones across services. This practice can lead to costly account takeovers, data breaches, and even stolen identities. While password managers and legacy forms of two-factor authentication offer incremental improvements, there has been industry-wide collaboration to create sign-in technology that is more convenient and more secure.

There are few areas in the intersection of things Apple, Google, and Microsoft can agree upon, but moving beyond passwords, clearly, is one of them.

Cameo Layoffs 

Janko Roettgers, reporting for Protocol:

Cameo, the celebrity video greetings startup, laid off 87 of staffers Wednesday, a move that CEO Steven Galanis described as “right-sizing.” The layoffs also affected some of Cameo’s most senior executives, Protocol has learned. Leadership departures included Cameo CTO Rob Post, top marketing executive Emily Boschwitz, CPO Nundu Janakiram and Chief People Officer Melanie Steinbach, according to a source close to the company.

How does Cameo even have 87 employees?

Claim Chowder: ‘Why Apple Pay Won’t Work’ 

From a report by Matt Krantz for USA Today in October 2014:

Apple Pay contains a variety of major shortcomings that will likely limit its ability to be the dominant form of payment in the future, according to a UBS note released to clients this week by analyst Steven Milunovich, quoting payments expert Richard Crone at Crone Consulting. The problems with Apple Pay stem from technical shortcomings of the system relative to other alternatives and the large fees Apple plans to charge, which banks will be eager to escape, the report says.

Seven years later and the EC is objecting to Apple Pay’s dominance, so I think it’s time to cash this claim chowder in.

Here’s another one of excellent vintage — Matthew Mombrea, writing for IT World, “Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay in the End”:

What it boils down to is the fact that one technology is designed for the users (Apple) and the other is designed for the merchants (CurrentC). Normally I’d say that the product with the most user appeal will win but the power and size behind the CurrentC group is too big to ignore.

Good call.

37signals Is Back 

Jason Fried:

Calling our company Basecamp just doesn’t make a lot of sense when we make more than just Basecamp. We’re headed back to a different time — one where we invented more, created more, and carved new marks into tired markets. And with that, we need a new name.

Or, rather, an old one.

So let’s make it official. Today, May 3, 2022, we’re changing our minds and renaming our company again. This time, back to 37signals, our original name. We’ve always been that company, we just weren’t ourselves for a while. Now is new again.

And to christen the renaming of our company back to 37signals, we’ve relaunched a modern in the spirit of the original. We’ve always tried to lead with ideas, take principled stands, and remain allergic to conformity and corporate sterility. The new 37signals points our way, today.

Speaking of good names, “37signals” is a good name. Glad to see it back.

How the Internet Saved the Home of Blogging Pioneer Noah Grey 

Slashdot (only feels appropriate to link to Slashdot for this one):

At the end of the year 2000, Noah Grey created the free and open-source blogging software Greymatter (now maintained by a community of users). Wil Wheaton’s new book describes it as “the original, primordial blogging platform. Blogs look like they do... because Noah Grey did it first.”

Three days ago Noah Grey created a GoFundMe campaign headlined “I am losing my home in four days.”

If you’re looking for a feel-good story — and who isn’t today? — this is it. Grey Matter was incredibly influential (not to mention cleverly named). The GoFundMe campaign is still going, too, if you’d like to pitch in.

Submissions to Attend Live-Watch Event at WWDC Open Next Week 

A few more details from Apple:

We’re hosting a special all-day experience at Apple Park on June 6 to kick off WWDC22. Gather with others in the developer community to watch the keynote and State of the Union videos alongside Apple engineers and experts, explore the all-new Developer Center, and so much more. We can’t wait to connect in person.

Still doesn’t say where attendees will be watching. Inside Steve Jobs Theater? Outdoors, at the rainbow stage inside the ring building? And what’s the Developer Center?

Politico: Leaked Draft Opinion Shows Supreme Court Has Voted to Overturn Abortion Rights 

Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, reporting for Politico:

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by Politico.

The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision — Planned Parenthood v. Casey — that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.”

Politico is hosting a copy of the entire purported 98-page draft decision.

Michael Schear, The New York Times:

The release of the 98-page document is unprecedented in modern times. In the court’s modern history, early drafts of opinions have never leaked before the final decision is announced. And early drafts of opinions often change by the time the decision from the court is announced.

But if the justices announce a decision along the lines of the early, leaked draft, it would be a seismic change in American law and politics, coming just months before congressional midterm elections that will decide who controls power on Capitol Hill.

Josh Marshall:

It’s sobering, shocking to see the words, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” which the opinion reportedly contains. And yet, really it’s not surprising at all. This has been an open secret for months. Indeed it was inevitable the moment Amy Coney Barrett joined the Court. Still, seeing it … In a different way what’s more surprising is that a draft opinion leaked. As far as I know that’s totally unprecedented. Certainly I don’t think it’s ever happened in a high profile case. And here we are.

Kevin Kelly: ‘103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known’ 

Kevin Kelly:

Today is my birthday. I turn 70. I’ve learned a few things so far that might be helpful to others. For the past few years, I’ve jotted down bits of unsolicited advice each year and much to my surprise I have more to add this year. So here is my birthday gift to you all: 103 bits of wisdom I wish I had known when I was young.

Pure gold. I’ll pick three to quote:

  • Three things you need: The ability to not give up something till it works, the ability to give up something that does not work, and the trust in other people to help you distinguish between the two.

  • There is no such thing as being “on time.” You are either late or you are early. Your choice.

  • Every breakthrough is at first laughable and ridiculous. In fact if it did not start out laughable and ridiculous, it is not a breakthrough.

The Talk Show: ‘A Fake Crank on the Web’ 

Michael Simmons returns to the show to talk about the Studio Display’s camera (and this week’s beta firmware update to tweak its quality), how things have gone two years into Flexibits’ move to subscription pricing for Fantastical and Cardhop, and Panic’s now-shipping Playdate.

Sponsored by:

  • Linode: Instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode Cloud. New accounts get a $100 credit.
  • Retool: Build internal tools 10× faster.
  • Iodyne: Introducing the all-new Pro Data.

New word game from Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger. Gage is the designer behind some of my favorite games for iPhone, including Really Bad Chess, Pocket-Run Pool, and a slew more. Gage’s description:

The rules are simple: arrange the letters in each section so every word is valid, across and down. Each puzzle may seem difficult at first — but like all my favorite newspaper puzzles, it gets easier as you progress. Each step guides you naturally towards the solution.

This is the kind of game I’ve been trying to make my whole career — I’m amazed Jack and I discovered this design. We hope you like it.