Linked List: October 2023

Downplaying the Fact That Apple Shot ‘Scary Fast’ With iPhones 

Jess Weatherbed, writing for The Verge under the headline “Here’s What Apple Really Means When It Says ‘Shot on iPhone’”:

It’s a neat way to promote the recording quality of iPhone cameras, but it’s not like everyday folks can recreate these kinds of results at home unless they happen to own a shedload of ludicrously expensive equipment. The gear shown in the “Scary Fast” behind-the-scenes footage is fairly standard for big studio productions, but Apple’s implication with these so-called “shot on iPhone” promotions is that anyone can do it if only they buy the newest iPhone.

I saw a few folks mocking Apple for this on Mastodon and Threads, too. This is ridiculous. Do these people think that previous Apple keynote films were shot with just a single camera person wielding something like a $40K RED cinema camera and no crew, no lighting, no cranes? That the iPhone “needs help” that traditional cinema cameras do not? I mean, guess what, they used professional microphones too.

Apple occasionally points out that they make all their software — iOS, MacOS, Safari and Webkit, Final Cut, the iWork suite, Photos and Camera … all of it — using Xcode, Swift, Objective-C, and the AppKit, UIKit, and SwiftUI frameworks that they offer free of charge to all developers. Pissing all over Apple for using expensive production sets for their keynote shoots while promoting the fact that they shot it using iPhone cameras is like pissing on Apple’s developer offerings because a lone developer or small team couldn’t create an entire operating system or non-linear professional video editing system.

The whole point is that an iPhone 15 Pro camera is so good that it can fit right in on a high-budget commercial film shoot, and produce world-class results. There’s no implication that a casual user can get results like this by just hitting the shutter button in the iPhone Camera app. That’s why Apple made an entire behind-the-scenes documentary! To show us what it takes to make something look this good.

Why be so cynical? What Apple has accomplished here is extraordinary. They shot a 30-minute film using the same phone cameras they sell to hundreds of millions of people around the world, and the footage looked so good that no one could tell it was shot using iPhones until they told us so.

This is Apple at its best: they make tools for us, using those very same tools themselves.

The Talk Show: ‘What the Actual’ 

Christina Warren joins the show to talk about Apple’s “Scary Fast” event, introducing the new M3 MacBook Pros and 24-inch iMac.

Sponsored by:

  • The world’s best snacks, delivered fast and fresh.
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10% off your first order.
‘The Beauty of Finished Software’ 

Jose M. Gilgado:

Our expectations for software are different from other products we use in our daily lives.

When we buy a physical product, we accept that it won’t change in its lifetime. We’ll use it until it wears off, and we replace it. We can rely on that product not evolving; the gas pedal in my car will always be in the same place.

However, when it comes to software, we usually have the ingrained expectations of perpetual updates. We believe that if software doesn’t evolve it’ll be boring, old and unusable. If we see an app with no updates in the last year, we think the creator might be dead.

(Via Dave Winer.)


My thanks to Tailscale for sponsoring last week 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 of charge to try, and remarkably affordable for use on teams both small and large. Use the Tailscale VS Code extension to remotely edit files on any of your machines. Try Tailscale now.

The Patent Fight That Could Take Apple Watches Off the Market 

Peter Coy, in a subscriber-only column for The New York Times (I’m using a gift sharing link, which I hope works for all of you):

Apple Inc. sells a lot of smart watches during the holidays, but this year its sales of most Apple Watch models may well drop 100 percent — to literally zero — the day after Christmas.

That’s because of a ruling Thursday by the International Trade Commission that most Apple Watches contain parts that infringe on patents held by Masimo Corp., a producer of medical technology, and its sister company, Cercacor Laboratories Inc., both of Irvine, Calif. An import ban and a cease-and-desist order on sales both take effect on Dec. 26 — unless President Biden reverses the decision by Dec. 25, which appears unlikely. (Presidents rarely overrule the independent, nonpartisan agency, which was founded in 1916 as the U.S. Tariff Commission.) [...]

Apple declined to provide an executive to speak on the record. The company’s position is that Masimo is pursuing a strategy of litigation over innovation, hoping to generate a fresh stream of royalties because royalties from past litigation have dried up. Apple points out that the federal jury that deadlocked in May was 6-to-1 for Apple, indicating that Masimo was a long way from making its case.

This fight is far from over. “My goal isn’t just to beat Apple,” Kiani told me in an interview last summer. “It’s to get Apple to change its ways.”

One way or another, I expect Apple Watch to remain available for sale in the U.S. But that deadline is just two months away.

Behind the Scenes at ‘Scary Fast’ – Shot With iPhone 15 Pro Max 

Apple Newsroom:

On Monday, October 30, at Apple’s Scary Fast special event unveiling the all-new MacBook Pro with the M3 family of chips and 24-inch iMac with M3, there was an unseen star of the show working behind the scenes. All of the presenters, locations, and drone footage in the event were filmed using iPhone 15 Pro Max, the preferred smartphone for creative pros and filmmakers. Led by documentary film director Brian Oakes, known for the award-winning Jim: The James Foley Story and Living with Lincoln, Scary Fast put iPhone 15 Pro Max right in the middle of the action.

I noticed the credit at the end of the video last night: “This event was shot on iPhone and edited on Mac”, but until I saw that, I never would have guessed that the video was shot on iPhones. It looked every bit as good as Apple’s previous pre-recorded keynotes, which presumably were shot on dedicated professional digital film cameras. To my eyes Apple didn’t sacrifice an iota of image quality.

Even better, the behind-the-scenes documentary is fascinating. Given their cinematic quality, I’ve always assumed these videos were major productions behind the scenes, but now we can see it — everything from lighting, directing, cinematography, sound, set design, talent, crew, editing, color grading — every single aspect of these keynotes aspires to the highest levels of production quality. Not merely “this looks and sounds good for a marketing video”, but “this looks and sounds good for a movie”.

It’s impressive what the iPhone 15 Pro camera is capable of. And it’s really fun that Apple finally took us behind the scenes of one of these keynotes.

‘Matthew Perry Was the Sarcastic Soul of “Friends”’ 

Alan Sepinwall, writing for Rolling Stone:

There’s not a lot of Matthew Perry in the pilot episode of Friends, but he gets to deliver one of its funniest jokes. As the gang sits around Central Perk, a newly-divorced Ross admits that he just wants to be married again. A second later, Rachel wanders into the coffee shop, soaking wet and wearing a wedding dress. Without missing a beat, Perry’s Chandler Bing declares, “And I just want a million dollars!”

Like a lot of Chandler punchlines, it’s quick and biting in its sarcasm. And like a lot of Chandler punchlines, Perry’s delivery elevates it from a smartass quip that a few dozen actors could say into something you can’t imagine leaving anyone else’s mouth.

Note the timing and the emphasis of the thing. The pause after “And I,” the way he hits the “I” as hard as he does, and the way his voice goes full game show host as he says “million dollars,” all combine to give the gag a musicality beyond what Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane wrote on the page. It’s a small moment in an episode that is primarily concerned with characters who are not Chandler Bing. But you watch it and you want to hear him say things like it, again and again and again.

Perry was so great on Friends, but my favorite show he was on was the short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a 2006 Aaron Sorkin show that I’ve always thought failed in part* because it was a few years ahead of its time. Its lone 22-episode season aired on NBC. It was too smart, too cinematic, for network TV. It should have been on a cable channel like HBO, or, if it aired a decade later, a streaming service. The show was so good (at times — 22 episodes was way too many for a show striving for such quality), and Perry was sublime.

Perry, too, deserves accolades for his remarkable openness regarding his long struggle with addiction, and his heartfelt willingness to help anyone and everyone else with The Problem. Rest in peace.

* I don’t know if it hurt Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but another weird thing about it was that it debuted the same year, on the same network, as Tina Fey’s hall-of-fame-funny sitcom 30 Rock. Both shows shared the same fundamental premise: they were about fictionalized versions of Saturday Night Live. They even both had numbers in their titles, and those numbers were oddly similar. Studio 60 was a funny drama, and 30 Rock a sitcom’s sitcom, but I always wondered if it was a bad idea to launch two roman a clefs about SNL at the same time.

‘Matthew Perry Made It Look Easy’ 

Alexis Soloski, writing for The New York Times:

A confession: When I received a news alert that the actor Matthew Perry had died, my mind adopted the particular cadence that Perry perfected as Chandler Bing, the character he played for 10 seasons on the NBC sitcom Friends. Here is what I thought, “Could this be any sadder?”

Perry, 54, died nearly a year after the publication of Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, an unusually candid memoir of addiction and recovery. As he detailed in that book, he spent many of the best years of his career oblivious, avoidant, numb — conditions that don’t typically encourage great acting. But he was great. And it had seemed reasonable, if rose-colored, to hope that sobriety might make him better, returning him to the nervy, instinctive brilliance of his peak years. That hope is now foreclosed. [...]

To say that he never did anything quite as good as Friends, before or after, is not to diminish his achievement. Even among the irrepressible talents of his co-stars, Perry stood out, for a rubbery, heedless way with physical comedy and a split-second timing that most stopwatches would envy. If you have seen more than a few episodes of the show — and many, many millions have, including fans born years after its initial airing — you will have absorbed Chandler’s rhythms, his catchphrases, the way Perry’s handsome, moony face would stretch like spandex, the better to sell a reaction. He had both an absolute commitment to what a line required and a way of gently ironizing that line. His character was the butt of jokes. Perry was in on those same jokes. There was a boyishness to him that seemed to excuse his characters’ worst behavior, on Friends and in subsequent roles.

The Talk Show: ‘Are There Ever Too Many Love Songs?’ 

Special guests Sebastiaan de With and Ben Sandofsky, co-founders of Lux, join the show to talk about their apps (Halide, Spectre, and Orion) and speculate about next week’s “Scary Fast” Apple event.

Sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10% off your first order.
  • Trade Coffee: Let’s coffee better. Get a free bag of fresh coffee with any Trade subscription.
Elon Musk Predicts X Will Replace Banks Next Year 

Jacob Kastrenakes and Alex Heath, reporting for The Verge:

Elon Musk wants X to be the center of your financial world, handling anything in your life that deals with money. He expects those features to launch by the end of 2024, he told X employees during an all-hands call on Thursday, saying that people will be surprised with “just how powerful it is.”

“When I say payments, I actually mean someone’s entire financial life,” Musk said, according to audio of the meeting obtained by The Verge. “If it involves money. It’ll be on our platform. Money or securities or whatever. So, it’s not just like send $20 to my friend. I’m talking about, like, you won’t need a bank account.”

X CEO Linda Yaccarino said the company sees this becoming a “full opportunity” in 2024. “It would blow my mind if we don’t have that rolled out by the end of next year,” Musk said.

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from someone who wishes that the entirety of their personal finances were handled by a company with the reputation for reliability of X.

It’s so obvious, and banking systems are so easy, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if X launches this by April 20, even.

iOS 17.2 (Beta) Sticker Reactions Stink 

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors on the new “use an emoji as a sticker reaction in Messages” feature in iOS 17.2, which just came out today as a public beta:

Instead, to send a sticker response you have to tap and hold on a message and then choose Add Sticker from the resulting contextual menu, then choose a sticker or emoji. It’s an extra step that really shouldn’t be necessary and makes stickers feel like an afterthought, which they apparently are.

It gets worse. When you add a sticker reaction, it’s placed on top of the message you’re reacting to, obscuring part of the text! Why in the world would Apple choose a placement that makes it impossible to read the text being responded to? The right placement for these reactions is … wait for it … the same place that Tapbacks appear, in a little bubble snuggled up against the message that’s being reacted to.

This design feels more than a bit spiteful to me. I suspect there are two contingents inside Apple: the “Tapbacks are perfect just as they are” side (who prefer there are only six of them — heart, thumbs-up, thumbs-down, ha-ha, “!!”, and “?” — and who insist that they’re monochrome), and the “Jesus H. Christ, every single other popular messaging platform in the world lets users react with any emoji they want, in full color” side. This new emoji-as-stickers feature is a small win for the latter contingent, but the Tapbacks-are-perfect side is calling the shots, and keeping Tapbacks as the only reactions that (a) are super-easy to apply, and (b) don’t obscure the text of the message.

I’ve been playing with the feature, and the one emoji I’ve found that only barely obscures the text of the message it’s applied to just happens to be the perfect emoji to express my feelings about how this feature currently works: 🖕.

Google Spends $26 Billion Annually to Be the Default Search Engine Almost Everywhere (and Most of It Goes to You Know Who) 

David Pierce, writing for The Verge:

The U.S. v. Google antitrust trial is about many things, but more than anything, it’s about the power of defaults. Even if it’s easy to switch browsers or platforms or search engines, the one that appears when you turn it on matters a lot. Google obviously agrees and has paid a staggering amount to make sure it is the default: testimony in the trial revealed that Google spent a total of $26.3 billion in 2021 to be the default search engine in multiple browsers, phones, and platforms. [...]

Just to put that $26.3 billion in context: Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced in its recent earnings report that Google Search ad business brought in about $44 billion over the last three months and about $165 billion in the last year. Its entire ad business — which also includes YouTube ads — made a bit under $90 billion in profit. This is all back-of-the-napkin math, but essentially, Google is giving up about 16 percent of its search revenue and about 29 percent of its profit to those distribution deals.

Most of that money, of course, goes to Apple. The New York Times recently reported that Google’s deal to be the default search engine in Safari across Google products cost the company about $18 billion in 2021.

Goldman Sachs analysts have been estimating this number for years, and $18 billion in 2021 is pretty much in line with their estimates. (Goldman conservatively estimates about $17 billion in TAC payments from Google to Apple for this year, 2023. That would be the low end — Apple gets at least that much from Google for their partnership on this.)

Apple reports this revenue under Services, which has just grown past $20 billion per quarter for Apple. So somewhere between 20-25 percent of Apple’s Services revenue comes from these payments from Google alone. You can see why Apple is rooting for Google in this lawsuit.

This whole partnership with Google is the weakest link in Apple’s overall privacy stance. Google generates so much money from search through user tracking that Apple would consider contrary to its own internal values. If Apple were to run its own search engine, it would be far more private than Google Search. But instead they partner with Google, set Google as the default for Safari on all platforms, and share in Google’s profit to the tune of around $20 billion/year.

More like RipoffOS, Am I Right? 


Xiaomi is about to embark on a new journey in its software department with the anticipated HyperOS. This operating system is primed to make its debut on the Xiaomi 14 series. The Xiaomi community is excited as some lucky Weibo users have been granted an early peek at HyperOS. They’ve generously shared screenshots of the new user interface, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come.

Just blatant utter copies of iOS. Utterly shameless.

The Aftermath of a Massacre Is Always the Time to Push for Gun Legislation 


New House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in his first interview as speaker that now is not the time to discuss legislation to address the scourge of mass shootings, adding: “The problem is the human heart, not guns.”

Since no other civilized country on the planet has massacres like this, Johnson is implicitly arguing that the problem isn’t the human heart, but the American heart.

Or, maybe the problem is the fact that America is the only country where military-grade assault rifles are not just legal, but legally obtainable by mentally ill angry men like this lunatic in Maine.

Either we are the worst people on the planet, or we have the worst gun laws.

Why it matters: President Biden and Democrats in Congress are urging action in the wake of the shooting in Lewiston, Maine that left 18 people dead. Johnson argued that it was inappropriate to discuss gun control “in the middle of the crisis,” and that he believes, “it’s not the weapon, it’s the underlying problem.”

This “now is not the time” argument gets trotted out by Republicans after each and every gun massacre. Right after their tweets offering “thoughts and prayers”. Bullshit. The aftermath of a massacre is the time to demand sane gun control measures. That’s when the issue is clarified. Would Republicans argue that October 8 was “not the right time” for Israel to discuss Hamas terrorism? Was September 12, 2001 “not the right time” to discuss Al-Qaeda? Should FDR have delivered an address to the nation on December 8, 1941, advising that we relax, let cooler heads prevail, because the aftermath of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor “was not the time” to consider retaliating?

Imagine a Venezuelan refugee illegally crosses the U.S.-Mexico border next week and kills 18 U.S. citizens with a bomb he carried across. Would Hannity have a guest on Fox News — say, Mike Johnson — arguing that “now is not the time, in the middle of the crisis, to talk about border security”?

Our emotional responses to these massacres are valid. Strike while the iron, and our blood, is running hot. Let our emotions fuel the urgency of our attempts to respond with overwhelmingly popular gun control legislation, and let Republicans head into elections in two weeks opposing them.

CT Scans Reveal the Complexity of Apple’s $129 Thunderbolt Cable 

So much complexity. Apple gets a rap for selling overpriced cables, but the problem might be that they do a poor job explaining how good their cables are.

Update: Adam Savage has a video up on YouTube with more details, based on the same CT scans from Lumafield that are in the Twitter thread I’m linking to. Amazing stuff.

The Joy of Tech on Apple and Generative AI 

I could have just skipped writing Monday’s piece and linked to this comic instead.

Zuckerberg, on Meta’s Earnings Call, Says Threads Now Has Nearly 100 Million Monthly Users 

Alex Heath and Jay Peters, reporting for The Verge:

Meta’s competitor to Elon Musk’s X has hit “just under” 100 million monthly users since it was released in early July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday during his company’s quarterly earnings call.

“We’re three months in now, and I’m very happy with the trajectory,” he said, echoing the bullish comments he made about how Threads is doing during a recent interview with The Verge. “We’re now getting to the point where we’re going to be focusing on growing the community further. From what we can tell, people love it so far.” [...]

“I’ve thought for a long time there should be a billion-person public conversations app that is a bit more positive,” Zuckerberg said on Wednesday’s call. “I think that if we keep at this for a few more years, then I think we have a good chance of achieving our vision there.”

More and more, my social media attention is split between Mastodon and Threads. I like them both, for different reasons. But the one thing they share is that I enjoy using both of them.

Threads just keeps getting better: more and better features, and more activity. Exceedingly few jerks so far, too. It’s embarrassing how bad those “Turns out Threads is a bust” takes were back in July.

Double Tap Gesture Now Available With WatchOS 10.1 for Series 9 and Ultra 2 Watches 

Apple Newsroom:

The new double tap gesture for Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available today with watchOS 10.1, bringing a fast and convenient new way to interact with Apple Watch.

With the new double tap gesture, users can easily control Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 using just one hand and without touching the display. Users can tap the index finger and thumb of their watch hand together twice to quickly perform many of the most common actions. This new feature complements existing gestures like tap, swipe, raise to wake, and cover to mute that make Apple Watch simple and intuitive to use.

I’ve been testing a Series 9 watch with beta software enabling double tap for the last month or so. It’s a good feature, but it’s not nearly as useful — yet? — as I was hoping. The one thing you have to get used to is that the watch only listens for the double tap gesture when the display is fully-on. You need to tilt your wrist to look at your watch before double tapping. Usually, that’s natural — the reason you want to double tap to do something is because you see the thing you want do or dismiss. But I’ve found times where an alert or something pops up that I want to invoke double tap on, but my wrist is oblique, and double tap doesn’t register until I remember to tilt my wrist to a “looking straight at it” angle.

The End of iTunes? 

Kirk McElhearn, writing at The Mac Security Blog:

While some can cast aside the accumulated goodwill of a brand name on a whim, Apple doesn’t like to do so. Even after splitting the iTunes app, Apple retained the iTunes Store name for selling digital content. You access the iTunes Store in the Music app on the Mac to buy music, and the iPhone and iPad still have iTunes Store apps. But there is some overlap: you can buy and rent movies, for example, in both the iTunes Store and TV apps, as Apple tries to shift purchases to the latter.

Soon, all that will be left of the iTunes brand is the iTunes Store for music. And people buy much less music [than] in the past, having mostly shifted to streaming. Will the iTunes name finally fade away as music sales dwindle? It’s hard to imagine Apple stopping digital music sales entirely; even if fewer people buy digital music, the market isn’t dead, not by a long shot. Global digital music sales peaked in 2012 at around $4.4 billion, and in 2021 they had dropped to $1.1 billion. That’s a decline of about 75%, but Apple still earns a hefty amount of money from selling digital music.

I’ve been wondering about the same thing for a few years. I purchase/rent all my movies and TV shows on my Apple TV, where “iTunes” isn’t mentioned. (And in the age of streaming, I really only purchase/rent movies — the TV shows I watch are all streamed nowadays.) So why keep the iTunes Store app around on iOS — they could just add a Store tab to the Music app. Buy your music — if you buy music — in Music, and buy your movies in TV.

The only reason I can think not to do this is that the Music app is already so jam-packed.

Kolide – Device Trust for Okta 

My thanks to Kolide for sponsoring last week at Daring Fireball. In the few short months since ChatGPT debuted, hundreds of AI-powered tools have come on the market. But while AI-based tools have genuinely helpful applications, they also pose profound security risks. Unfortunately, most companies still haven’t come up with policies to manage those risks. In the absence of clear guidance around responsible AI use, employees are blithely handing over sensitive data to untrustworthy tools.

AI-based browser extensions offer the clearest illustration of this phenomenon. The Chrome store is chock-a-block with extensions that (claim to) harness ChatGPT to do all manner of tasks: drafting emails, designing graphics, transcribing meetings, and writing code. But these tools are prone to at least three types of risk: malware, data governance, and prompt injection attacks.

Kolide is taking a two-part approach to governing AI use: allowing you to draft AI policies as a team, and using Kolide to block malicious tools. Visit Kolide’s website to learn more about how Kolide enforces device compliance for companies with Okta.

Apple Rumor Pundit Thunderdome 

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors on Friday:

Apple is unlikely to release any new Macs or iPads for the remainder of 2023, according to a series of predictions shared in recent weeks by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Last month, Kuo said Apple was unlikely to release any new MacBooks with the M3 chip this year. All existing MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models are equipped with M2 series chips, so any new models would presumably be equipped with M3 chips, which effectively means that Kuo does not expect any new MacBooks at all for the rest of 2023.

Earlier this week, Kuo added that the 24-inch iMac would be updated next in 2024, ruling out an update to the all-in-one desktop computer this year. All other desktop Macs, including the Mac mini, Mac Studio, and Mac Pro, were already updated in 2023 and are highly unlikely to be updated again until 2024 or later.

But then here’s Hartley Charlton on the latest from Mark Gurman:

Apple is planning a Mac-focused product launch, likely including the announcement of a refreshed 24-inch iMac, for the end of this month, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports.

In the latest edition of his “Power On” newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is “planning a Mac-centered product launch around the end of this month” that could see the the release of a refreshed 24-inch iMac model, which is long overdue a hardware update. The current model launched in April 2021 and it is the only current-generation Mac left with the M1 chip. Gurman has repeatedly said that Apple’s next iMac will skip the M2 and feature the M3 chip instead, but he declined to mention which chip the new machine will feature in this newsletter.

Gurman noted that Apple retail stores are now in short supply of the iMac, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, and many configurations now will not arrive until mid-November, in what he believes is “a clear sign that something is about to happen” regarding these three machines.

Claim chowder tastes great with a side of popcorn.

YouTube Music Is Now Available Natively on HomePods 

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

YouTube Music is now available directly on Apple’s HomePod and HomePod mini, thanks to new Siri integration support in the YouTube Music app. The change means subscribers to the streaming service can now choose to use voice commands to start YouTube Music on a HomePod, without having to append “on YouTube Music” to every request.

Here’s Apple’s support document for using Siri to play music on HomePods, which includes the (pretty simple) directions for setting a default music service.

There’s a big — and to me, a little weird — difference between music services and streaming video services. Every streaming video service is available on almost every device capable of playing video. Whatever box or built-in “smart TV” software you’re using in your living room, it almost certainly has access to every major streaming video service. When Apple TV+ launched in 2019, Apple already supported Samsung TVs, and pre-announced versions for Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony, and Vizio.

But with these smart audio devices, it’s been more drip-by-drip. It seems clear that each of the major smart audio device makers — Apple with HomePod, Amazon with Echo devices, and Google with their Nests — originally conceived of them as being companion products for the respective company’s own music service, not open platforms. You can see how they’d think that way: most people subscribe to multiple streaming video services, because each service has its own original shows and movies. But with music, most people subscribe to just one service, because each service pretty much has all popular music.

But in the long run it’s better for everyone to do what’s best for users, and clearly that means giving users a choice of which music service they want to use, no matter which hardware system they’ve bought. Compete on quality and price, not lock-in.

Alexa Fell for 2020 Election Crackpottery 

Cat Zakrzewski, reporting for the Washington Post:

Amid concerns the rise of artificial intelligence will supercharge the spread of misinformation comes a wild fabrication from a more prosaic source: Amazon’s Alexa, which declared that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Asked about fraud in the race — in which Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump with 306 electoral college votes — the popular voice assistant said it was “stolen by a massive amount of election fraud,” citing Rumble, a video-streaming service favored by conservatives.

The 2020 races were “notorious for many incidents of irregularities and indications pointing to electoral fraud taking place in major metro centers,” according to Alexa, referencing Substack, a subscription newsletter, Alexa contended that Trump won Pennsylvania, citing “an Alexa answers contributor.”

The simple fact is that we need to treat everything from these Alexa/Siri/Google AI voice assistants with skepticism. But stop telling me Amazon is way ahead of Apple on this front.

Comcast’s Response to Calls to Stop Its Misleading ‘10G Network’ Claims: ✊🍆 

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica:

An advertising industry group urged Comcast to stop its “10G” ads or modify them to state that 10G is an “aspirational” technology rather than something the company actually provides on its cable network today. The National Advertising Division (NAD), part of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system run by BBB National Programs, ruled against Comcast after a challenge lodged by T-Mobile.

In its decision announced Thursday, the NAD recommended that Comcast “discontinue its ‘10G’ claims” or “modify its advertising to (a) make clear that it is implementing improvements that will enable it to achieve ‘10G’ and that it is aspirational or (b) use ‘10G’ in a manner that is not false or misleading, consistent with this decision.”

Comcast plans to appeal the decision, so it won’t make any changes to marketing immediately. If Comcast loses the appeal and agrees to change its practices, it would affect more than just a few ads because Comcast now calls its entire broadband network “10G.”

This is absolutely hilarious. Just making up the name “10G” is Comcast’s take on the classic “Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades” approach.

Trump Co-Defendant Kenneth Chesebro Strikes Plea Deal With Georgia Prosecutors 

Charlie Gile and Katherine Doyle, reporting for NBC News from Atlanta:

Trump campaign legal adviser Kenneth Chesebro struck a deal with prosecutors from the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney’s office in its 2020 election interference case on Friday.

Chesebro, who was charged alongside Donald Trump and more than a dozen other codefendants with attempting to delay the transfer of power after the 2020 election, was scheduled to stand trial this week. He accepted the offer as jury selection was underway on Friday, after 450 potential jurors had completed a lengthy questionnaire on what would be asked. He had rejected an earlier deal late last month.

Standing beside his attorney in court, Chesebro pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy to commit filing false documents and agreed to testify in the case as part of the deal.

The Trump attorney faces five years probation, a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service, and must continue to provide documents and evidence to the state, according to the terms of the deal.

Yesterday crackpot Sidney “The Kraken” Powell flipped. Today, with Chesebro, they flipped a cooperating witness who isn’t nuts. Prosecutors offer probation only when they’re building a stronger case to send those higher up in the conspiracy to prison. If Rudy Giuliani has any sense he’ll flip next. And old Trumpy is fucked. It’s only a question of which prison sentences he’s going to serve in which order.


Joseph Simonson in The Washington Free Beacon, “NYU Law Students Say Classmate Losing Job Offer Over Pro-Hamas Statement Is ‘Violence’”:

New York University law students are rallying behind a student who lost a spot at a white-shoe law firm for defending Hamas, saying the firm’s decision to rescind their offer constitutes “violence.”

The Chicago-based Winston & Strawn withdrew its offer of employment to Ryna Workman after the nonbinary NYU student issued a statement claiming “Israel bears full responsibility” for the terrorist attacks that have left more than 1,300 dead, including at least 30 Americans. The firm’s decision is just one instance of “systemic, concentrated violence” Workman has experienced since issuing her anti-Israel pronouncement, according to a letter of support obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The letter’s signatories, which include the Black Allied Law Students Association and the Women of Color Collective, accuses NYU of being complicit “in the abuses of the Israeli government,” and condemns “the broader NYU administration for not protecting Ryna as a student and important member of our community.”

Words have meaning. The far left has been mangling the definition of violence for years now, inverting the age old adage that sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you. Words can hurt, of course — deeply. But it’s a different kind of hurt than pain and carnage inflicted through violence. We’d be in a far better place if the only exchanges between Gaza and Israel were words, no matter how hateful those words be.

These students should be expelled from college, not placated. Misusing violence in this context — a terrorist attack that has killed 1,300 innocent Israelis, maimed many thousands more, and killed thousands of Palestinians in the resulting still-unfolding war — is outrageously offensive. Many of the dead can’t be identified. They’ve just been blown apart. That’s violence. Everyone knows what the word really means — “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. These left-wing nuts are obtusely pretending the word means something else for reasons that might surprise even Orwell, the master of identifying the decline of language in the name of politics. When in doubt, mistrust those abusing language, obfuscating, resorting to euphemism, and redefining words.

Vintage 2013 Claim Chowder: ‘Is Apple’s iPhone No Longer Cool to Teens?’ 

I’ve surfaced this 2013 gem from Forbes before, but it feels worth another link in light of that new Piper Sandler survey pegging the iPhone’s market share amongst U.S. teens at a staggering 87 percent:

Ultimately, in the eyes of today’s youth, massive popularity has watered down Apple’s coolness. “Teens are telling us Apple is done,” says Tina Wells of the youth marketing agency Buzz Marketing Group. “Apple has done a great job of embracing Gen X and older [Millennials], but I don’t think they are connecting with Millennial kids. [They’re] all about Surface tablets/laptops and Galaxy.”

This take looks really goofy 10 years later, but at the time, there was a really strong, persistent media narrative that Apple couldn’t thrive without Steve Jobs, and that Samsung in particular was going to surpass them. 2013 was the year of Phil Schiller’s “Can’t innovate any more, my ass” ad lib during the WWDC keynote.

Color Palettes From Dieter Rams Products for Braun 

I so very badly wish to push every single one of these buttons. You know they’d have a satisfying clickiness. (Via Present and Correct on Threads.)

Piper Sandler’s Annual ‘Taking Stock With Teens’ Survey 

Notable results from Piper Sandler’s survey of over 9,000 U.S. teenagers:

  • 70% of teens have used Spotify over the last six months (up from 68%), with 46% of teens opting to subscribe/pay for Spotify (up from 44%)

  • TikTok improved slightly as the favorite social platform (38% share) by 80 bps vs. spring ’23. SNAP was No. 2 with 28% share, followed by Instagram (23%)

  • Teens spend 28.7% of daily video consumption on Netflix (-220 bps vs. spring ’23) and 29.1% on YouTube (+100 bps vs. spring ‘23)

  • 87% of teens own an iPhone; 88% expect an iPhone to be their next phone; 34% own an Apple Watch

The iPhone’s market share among U.S. teenagers has been remarkably high for as long as I can remember such surveys. Years ago, though, there was a split between how many teens actually had an iPhone vs. how many wanted one for their next phone. Now those numbers are effectively even. I suspect this is the primary driving force in the iPhone’s continuing market share growth in the U.S. It’s easy to think only short-term and believe that just about everyone who might ever get a phone already has one, but there are teenagers (and pre-teens) getting their first phone every day.

That teens spend slightly more time every day watching video on YouTube than on Netflix isn’t surprising, at least if you’ve observed any teens recently. But it’s rather remarkable given how different their business models are. Netflix spends a veritable fortune on new original content and old library content. YouTube content is mostly uploaded from users and content creators for free.

I’d be curious to know if there’s a noticeable split between which devices teens use to watch video on different services. Like, maybe YouTube viewing skews more toward watching on their iPhones, but Netflix on bigger-screen devices like laptops and iPads? TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram are surely viewed almost entirely on their iPhones.

‘Log Is the “Pro” in iPhone 15 Pro’ 

Stu Maschwitz, writing at Prolost:

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max feature log video recording. This is a big deal, but there’s already some confusion about it. Where consumer devices and pro video overlap, that’s where the Prolost Signal gleams brightest in the night sky. So let’s get to work.

First, what exactly is log? It’s short for logarithmic encoding, which is a math thing, but what does it mean to videographers?

It really boils down to two things: Log is flat, and log is known.

Wonderfully explained, and richly illustrated with examples.

Gurman: Apple Is Readying System to Apply Software Updates to Still-in-Box iPhones 

Mark Gurman, in his weekly Power On column for Bloomberg:

When a customer buys a new iPhone from an Apple retail store, the device sometimes comes with outdated software. For instance, the first iPhone 15 models out of the factory shipped with iOS 17, but iOS 17.0.1 was already available by the time the devices were available for purchase. Buying a new iPhone without the latest software isn’t ideal, especially if there are some high-profile bugs. But that situation is about to change.

Apple is planning a new system for its retail stores that will update the software on iPhones prior to sale. The company has developed a proprietary pad-like device that the store can place boxes of iPhones on top of. That system can then wirelessly turn on the iPhone, update its software and then power it back down — all without the phone’s packaging ever being opened. The company aims to begin rolling this out to its stores before the end of the year.

Fascinating idea, but I have so many questions. What exactly is the trigger here? Something related to MagSafe? When the system is put into place, will it work with existing still-in-the-box iPhones or will it only work with new units, that ship from the factory running iOS 17.2 or whatever? Will the same system eventually come to other products, like iPads and Apple Watches? Maybe even Macs?

iMazing 3: Coming Soon 

My thanks to iMazing for sponsoring last week at DF to promote iMazing 3, the world’s favorite iPhone manager. Version 3.0 is nearing release — the biggest in their 15-year history. There’s no other iPhone management utility like iMazing.

Rethought, rewritten, and redesigned from the ground up, Daring Fireball readers are invited to check out the MacOS beta of iMazing 3 today. Even better: DF readers can save 30% on any personal license for a limited time. All purchases are valid for the MacOS and Windows versions of iMazing 2 and iMazing 3, due out later this year.

Eddy Cue in Court, Defending Apple’s Lucrative Search Deal With Google 

David Pierce, reporting for The Verge:

Eddy Cue, in a dark suit, peered down at the monitor in front of him. The screens in the Washington, DC, courtroom had briefly malfunctioned and left witnesses with only binders, but now the tech was up and running — showing an image of three iPhones, each demonstrating a part of the phone’s setup process. Cue squinted down at the screen.

“The resolution on this is terrible,” he said. “You should get a Mac.” That got some laughs in an otherwise staid and quiet courtroom. Judge Amit Mehta, presiding over the case, leaned into his microphone and responded, “If Apple would like to make a donation…” That got even bigger laughs. Then everybody got back down to business.

Genuinely funny, and genuinely an Eddy Cue moment.

Meagan Bellshaw, a Justice Department lawyer, asked Cue if he would have walked away from the deal if the two sides couldn’t agree on a revenue-share figure. Cue said he’d never really considered that an option: “I always felt like it was in Google’s best interest, and our best interest, to get a deal done.” Cue also argued that the deal was about more than economics and that Apple never seriously considered switching to another provider or building its own search product. “Certainly there wasn’t a valid alternative to Google at the time,” Cue said. He said there still isn’t one.

Here we get to the heart of the matter. Say what you will about alternatives like Bing and DuckDuckGo (which is powered by Bing results), but they are — I say — at least “valid” alternatives to Google for web search. I’ve been using Kagi — a paid search engine with plans starting at $5/month — for about a year and there’s no question in my mind that I’m getting as good or better results than I do from Google for the overwhelming majority of my searches. Apple could switch, quality-wise. Whether they could switch and maintain any semblance of the profits they reap from their deal with Google, I do not know.

So as Google’s search result quality deteriorates — but their ability to monetize their search monopoly remains strong — Apple looks bad too.

President Biden on the Terrorist Attacks in Israel 

“Our hearts may be broken but our resolve is clear.”

I have nothing to say that President Biden doesn’t say here. Moral and strategic clarity. Joe Biden at his best.

The Gaza Strip and Its History, Explained 

Good primer from Timothy Bella at The Washington Post, with a companion piece on Hamas.

Unity CEO John Riccitiello Resigns After Nearly Tanking Entire Company 

Kevin Purdy, writing for Ars Technica:

John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity, the company whose 3D game engine had recently seen backlash from developers over proposed fee structures, will retire as CEO, president, and board chairman at the company, according to a press release issued late on a Monday afternoon, one many observe as a holiday.

It’s hard to overstate how bad Unity’s last month has been. So in some sense the right thing has happened: the CEO rammed through a terrible policy change, game developers revolted, and the CEO has now resigned.

Burger King Botched the Curling on an Apostrophe in a TV Commercial and I Am Very Much Here to Shit on Them for Doing So 

John Kelly, writing for The Washington Post:

The ad was for a Whopper Jr. promotion. The conceit was that you could get two of the baby burgers for a mere $5: one for you and one for a friend. But — spoiler alert! — you’d probably want to consume the pair yourself. Or, as the text on the screen put it:


I grabbed my remote, rewound, paused and took a photo. This was the Zapruder film to me, even if the JK stood for “Just kidding,” not “John Kelly.”

This must not stand, or — to keep with the theme — it mustn’t stand.

This sort of mistake drives me nuts, and I spot such wrongly-curled apostrophes instantly. To me it’s as glaring a mistake as a misspelled word. So god bless Kelly for griping about it in a column in The Washington Post. (I’d argue that perhaps it’s correct for Burger King to use the wrong apostrophe, as a signifier of the care with which they prepare their food.)

But Kelly doesn’t mention the obvious explanation for how this happens: automatic smart quote algorithms that aren’t smart enough, in the hands of ignorant designers who don’t have an eye for typography. If you type:

'em' dashes and 'en' dashes

you want the apostrophe before em to be an opening single quote, the one shaped like a 6 in most typefaces. But if you type:

screw 'em

you want the apostrophe preceding the em to be a closing single quote, the one shaped like a 9. The various “smart quotes” algorithms you get while typing aren’t smart enough to make this contextual distinction — even very good ones — so you need to do it by hand. Here’s how to type them manually:

Mac Windows Linux
Open single quote: ‘ Option-] Alt-0-1-4-5 Use ASCII
Close single quote: ’ Shift-Option-] Alt-0-1-4-6 Use ASCII
Open double quote: “ Option-[ Alt-0-1-4-7 ✊🍆
Close double quote: ” Shift-Option-[ Alt-0-1-4-8 Shift-✊🍆

The Black Box of iCloud 

Dan Moren, also at Six Colors:

That second agent proved quite capable, not only agreeing that the situation was strange, but also looking into issues on Apple’s side. Which led to the somewhat bizarre conclusion of this story: after perhaps 20 minutes on the phone, he seemed to hit on something. I heard him laugh and say something along the lines of “that explains it” and then, with my consent, put me on hold. When he came back, he said — and I’m not exactly quoting, but close enough: “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you any more than this, but all your services should be back up pretty much exactly 12 hours after they went down.” [...]

So I waited the rest of the day. At this point, I had received no email since the early morning, and a number of my other apps — though not all — were non-functional. It made me realize just how much of my life was dependent on Apple’s online services — a somewhat sobering proposition.

I spent the next few hours largely offline, but kept an eye on the clock. And, sure enough, at 9pm on the dot, everything flipped back on: all my Find My friends showed up, my email started slowly trickling in, and I was able to finally fully log back into my iCloud account on my MacBook Air — just in time to go to bed.

What a strange and maddening situation.

Jason Snell Reviews the iPhones 15 Pro 

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors:

I recently went to a football game (it was a beautiful day in Berkeley, California) and was trying to figure out where my wife had gone — we were separately looking for concessions amid the rattle and hum of a busy stadium walkway. Then I remembered we both had new iPhone 15 models, and I opened Find My — the app that lets you find all that you can’t leave behind — and enabled the remarkable new UWB-powered feature that lets you find nearby friends. Not only did I almost immediately discover that she was to my right (so I began heading that way), but she was also notified that I was looking for her. We found each other and had fun doing it!

I neglected to mention this feature in my review, but I tested it, and it really did work as advertised. Almost freakishly accurate.

Snell wraps up his review with a good summary for how much new stuff you can expect to enjoy when upgrading from each successive year of Pro iPhones from the 11 onward.


My thanks to Kolide for sponsoring last week at DF. Getting OS updates installed on end user devices should be easy. After all, it’s one of the simplest yet most impactful ways that every employee can practice good security. On top of that, every MDM solution promises that it will automate the process and install updates with no user interaction needed. Yet in the real world, it doesn’t play out like that. Users don’t install updates and IT admins won’t force installs via forced restart.

With Kolide, when a user’s device — be it Mac, Windows, Linux, or mobile — is out of compliance, Kolide reaches out to them with instructions on how to fix it. The user chooses when to restart, but if they don’t fix the problem by a predetermined deadline, they’re unable to authenticate with Okta.

Watch Kolide’s on-demand demo to learn more about how it enforces device compliance for companies with Okta.

Snopes Shows the Folly of X’s New Link Presentation 

Another change this week at Twitter/X: they’ve stopped showing the headline for links in tweets. Jordan Liles, writing at Snopes under the splendid headline “Did Elon Musk Endorse Biden, Come Out as Transgender, and Die of Suicide?”:

On Oct. 5, 2023, a user on X named Armand Domalewski posted that the social media platform’s owner, Elon Musk, had announced his endorsement of U.S. President Joe Biden for a second term in the White House. “Elon Musk endorses Joe Biden for re-election,” the post read alongside a picture of Musk smiling.

However, this news was not true. Domalewski had created the post (archived) as somewhat of a satirical example of a recent decision made by X that removes visible headlines from posts that contain links.

The link in the post, which was only displayed as “,” led to an article with a headline that could only be read if users visited the website. That headline: “Elon Musk plans to remove headlines from news articles shared on X.”

Musk’s stated reason for the change: “Will greatly improve the esthetics.”

This justification, as Liles’s piece at Snopes exemplifies, is of course nonsense. Either show the full preview card, including the original site’s headline, or don’t show anything except the original URL. That’s the way Twitter worked for years: the full URL itself was visible in the tweet. But Twitter is now showing neither the original headline nor the URL, just the domain name of the source, along with the URL’s preview card image.

Clarity, in all things, is the height of aesthetic achievement. The best link presentation is the one that makes it the most clear where it will take you. What X is presenting today is obfuscating, not clarifying, and thus grotesque.

X Rolls Out New ‘Chumbox’ Ad Format – Post-Like Things That Can’t Be Reported or Blocked 

Matt Binder, reporting for Mashable:

Mashable has confirmed this ad format with numerous users from across X and have seen a variety of different ads running this bizarre new format that just consists of written copy text, a photo, and a fake avatar that’s sole purpose is to make the ad look like an organically posted tweet.

The type of content being promoted in the ads that Mashable has viewed appear to be consistent with ads found in spammy, low quality “chumbox” advertising — typically defined as those clickbait ads found at the bottom of posts on content farm sites — made popular by native ad networks like Taboola.

“This Seems Unbelievable, But Happens in Dubai Everyday” reads one ad that takes users to a third-party content mill website, overloaded with ads of its own. “These Incredibly Cool Gadgets That Are Going To Sell Out This Year. Action Now!” and “If you suffer from ringing ears (Tinnitus) you’re going to love this recent breakthrough” are other examples of some of the content found in these X ads.

Yaccarino keeps claiming that X is on the upswing, but looking at the actual content — especially the ads — says otherwise. These new “chumbox” ads are bottom-of-the-barrel stuff, the sort of ads I’d expect to see on a third-rate Twitter knock-off site like Truth Social. X itself now feels like a third-rate Twitter knock-off.

I fully expect them to continue scraping right through the bottom of the barrel and go even lower.

Patreon’s New Brand Identity 

Their new mark sort of looks like a smudged P, sort of looks like a bad sketch of a human brain, but mostly looks like a defective jelly bean.

Orion: Use an iPad as an External HDMI Display 

Speaking of Sebastiaan de With, Lux — makers of Halide — have a new app out:

Orion is a small, fun app that helps you use your iPad as an external HDMI display for any camera, video game console, or even VHS. Just plug in one of the bajillion inexpensive adapters, and Orion handles the rest.

More fun than what Orion does is how it does it: with flair and character. You even have to “unbox” it on first launch. It’s genuinely perplexing to me how this just-for-the-sake-of-fun style of UI design has fallen so out of favor. Apple went flat and no-nonsense with iOS 7 all the way back in 2013, and the rest of the world went flat and no-nonsense ever since. That was an entire decade ago! Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, because I personally crave a return to depth and texture and whimsy in UI design, but the pendulum has to swing back toward skeuomorphism eventually. Orion is definitely a step back in the direction of that ethos.

(It’s not all gimmickry either — Orion’s CRT emulation modes should make retro video games look much more like how they were originally intended to look.)

Sebastiaan de With’s iPhone 15 Pro Max Camera Review 

Sebastiaan de With:

I will not quit until I have shown you an inordinate amount of comparisons between the main camera and its new, long 5× telephoto counterpart. Not because it’s just fun to see how much it zooms, but also to show you how differently you have to look at the world around you. [...]

This has a funny psychological effect: once I shoot at 5× for a while, the Main lens feels... wider somehow. I’ve had to double-check a few times if I am not accidentally shooting at 0.5×. I suspect that this is what led to Apple adding the 28- and 35mm “lenses” to the camera — once you are going between such extreme ranges, the change is just a bit jarring.

Is it a great lens?

It is, hands down, the sharpest telephoto lens Apple has ever shipped. “Of course!”, you could argue. “Why wouldn’t it be? It’s 2023 and technology gets better. Why wouldn’t it be sharper than the last one?”

Well, it’s a long lens. It is truly remarkable how nicely this new lens captures detail despite that length.

Illustrated with dozens of terrific photos. I had a similar experience testing the 15 Pro Max’s 5× lens: it requires an entirely different way of looking at the world. Consider my fingers crossed that this lens makes it way down to the regular-sized iPhone 16 Pro next year.

Becca Farsace’s iPhone 15 Pro Max Camera Review for the Verge 

One interesting sidenote from Farsace’s review: She attempted to shoot 4K/60 ProRes video, recording directly to an external SSD over USB, but she inadvertently did so using a USB-C cable that doesn’t support USB 3 data transfer speeds, so the footage was captured at a terribly low frame rate. The first problem is that USB-C cables are a confusing mess when it comes to data transfer and high speed charging capabilities. The second problem: the Camera app gave her no warning or indication that the connection to the SSD wasn’t fast enough.


They’re calling it a game but I like this description from the trailer: “an absurd food art playground”. Made by TJ Hughes and published by Panic, Nour costs $15 and is available for PlayStation, Steam, and the Epic Game Store. You can play on the Mac both from Steam and Epic’s stores, but not the App Store.

iOS 17.0.3 Is Out; Includes Fix for iPhone 15 Pro Overheating 

Juli Clover, reporting for MacRumors:

iOS 17.0.3, which is build 21A360, addresses a significant overheating issue on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Shortly after the new iPhone 15 models launched, customers began complaining that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max were getting too warm, and even shutting down due to heat problems in some cases.

The same overheating fix is also available in today’s new beta releases of iOS 17.1.

Elizabeth Lopatto on Walter Isaacson’s ‘Elon Musk’ 

Elizabeth Lopatto, not mincing words at The Verge:

While Isaacson manages to detail what makes Musk awful, he seems unaware of what made Musk an inspiring figure for so long. Musk is a fantasist, the kind of person who conceives of civilizations on Mars. That’s what people liked all this time: dreaming big, thinking about new possible worlds. It’s also why Musk’s shifting political stance undercuts him. The fantasy of the conservative movement is small and sad, a limited world with nothing new to explore. Musk has gone from dreaming very, very big to seeming very, very small. In the hands of a talented biographer, this kind of tragic story would provide rich material.

Related: My 2012 take on Isaacson’s Steve Jobs.

The Process Tee 

Jason Kottke:

When you start something new, how do you know where you’re going to end up? Most of the time, you don’t — you stumble around for awhile, exploring uncertainly until, slowly, things start to make sense. That messy journey is all part of the process. Designer Damien Newman and I have teamed up with Cotton Bureau to make some t-shirts featuring his Design Squiggle that illustrate this untidy pattern of creativity. The Process Tee is available in two varieties — light design on dark fabric and dark design on light fabric — and 50% of the profits will be donated to a charitable organization (more on that below).

Love it. I previously linked to Newman’s squiggle way back in May 2020.

Tim Wakefield Dies of Brain Cancer at 57 

Richard Sandomir, The New York Times:

Tim Wakefield, a right-handed knuckleball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox who in 2004 played a critical late-innings relief role in the team’s winning its first World Series championship in 86 years, died on Sunday. He was 57.

The Red Sox announced his death in a statement, saying the cause was brain cancer. […] In 2010, near the end of his career, Wakefield won Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a player’s community and charitable work.

On the field, I held Wakefield in disdain the way I hold in disdain all Red Sox. He was on the mound for so many great moments in Red Sox history, and against the Yankees in particular. But the truth is I always liked him. It’s hard not to like a knuckleballer, for some reason. But there was always something about Wakefield, something that said, “This guy is one of the good ones.” You could just hear it in the way his teammates — and opponents — spoke about him. Rest in peace.

Microsoft Pitched Apple on Buying Bing 

Mark Gurman and Dina Bass, reporting for Bloomberg over the weekend:

Executives from Microsoft met with Apple’s services chief, Eddy Cue, who brokered the current search engine relationship with Alphabet Inc.’s Google, to discuss the possibility of acquiring Bing, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the situation was confidential. The talks were exploratory and never reached an advanced stage, they said.

This sounds like more of a “we talked to everyone so of course we talked to Apple” thing than an “Apple came close to doing this” thing.

The problem, I think, isn’t about whether Apple could make users happy running its own default search engine. It’s whether Apple could generate the profit it gets from Google for serving as the default now. It’s an enormous pile of money.

DX Checkup 

My thanks to DX Checkup for sponsoring last week at DF. DX Checkup is a service for developer tool startups. Their pitch is simple: devtool startups derive power from two sources:

  • The technology your team is building.
  • The humans who adopt it, depend on it and multiply its impact.

The team behind DX Checkup built it to focus on that human connection, because it involves so much work across so many disciplines. It’s also worth the trouble: building a movement around your tools can transform how software gets made.

DX Checkup is free and there’s nothing to sign up for. Click through, answer some questions, get suggestions on your opportunities. If you want deeper insight and capacity, just reach out to them.

The Talk Show: ‘Gate Number Two’ 

Special guest John Moltz joins the show to discuss the various iPhone 15 “-gates”, rumors of Jony Ive working with OpenAI on an “AI device”, and more.

Sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10% off your first order.