I’ll Be Pre-Ordering a White iPhone 11 Pro Today

September 13, 2019 · 10:42

I was actually not planning on upgrading from my iPhone XS this year but there are two features which got me hooked. I’m not really into the ultra wide 13 mm lens — I would still prefer a proper tele in the 70-100 mm range — but the new video features, including the ability to record from two lenses simultaneously (via Filmic Pro) and to the possibility of continuously zooming between all three while recording, are what made my mind up.

I had a white X and it was great at masking all my fingerprints. Unfortunately, I decided to get a Space Grey XS and discovered that the lens is an absolute lint magnet (I don’t use a case and I didn’t even notice the lint on my X) so I’ll be going back to white again. Additionally, I love the look of the polished stainless steel case around the glass — it reminds me of high quality mechanical watch cases.

A little over 3 hours to go…


A Message About iOS Security →

September 6, 2019 · 19:17

Apple:

Google’s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of “mass exploitation” to “monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time,” stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case.

Second, all evidence indicates that these website attacks were only operational for a brief period, roughly two months, not “two years” as Google implies. We fixed the vulnerabilities in question in February — working extremely quickly to resolve the issue just 10 days after we learned about it. When Google approached us, we were already in the process of fixing the exploited bugs.

We now have two sides to the story. Where does the truth lie?


RAMA M60-A SEQ2 Updates →

September 6, 2019 · 16:37

RAMA WORKS:

All M60-A SEQ2 units have been machined. They are now off to be enamel filled on the back-weight and then packaged – this will take around 2 weeks. They will then be freighted to our warehouse for final packaging, packing and shipment!

I have a Moon Stealth pre-ordered. I’m actually more excited about this keyboard than the new iPhones!


iPhone 11 Pro Camera Lenses →

September 5, 2019 · 10:34

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

I use the 2x “telephoto” lens on my XS, and perhaps you do too. I particularly enjoy the superior Portrait Mode experience it affords. And I look forward to using the much-rumored wider-angled third lens on the new Pro iPhones. But I’m a photography enthusiast, and the vast majority of iPhone owners are not. Every iPhone owner actually benefits from better optics when they do “zoom in” for a photo using an iPhone with a 2x lens, but I don’t think an extra camera lens feels worth a $250 premium to most of them.

I went through my Photos library to see how many photos I took with the 26/28 mm vs. the 52/56 mm lens (they changed the focal length in the XS from 28/56 mm to 26/52 mm, if I recall correctly). Surprisingly, it’s almost exactly 50/50.

At this point, I’d love to see 26 mm, 52 mm, and 85 mm. I guess if Apple were to add a true telephoto lens, they’d aim for a 78 mm field of view (3x 26 mm), but I’m pretty sure they’ll include an ultrawide on the new iPhones 11 Pro in the 16 mm range. I’d probably prefer just a 26 mm and 78 mm. They’ll get there eventually, when they figure out the optics side of things. Or so I hope.


Remembering the Best Shareware-Era DOS Games That Time Forgot →

August 28, 2019 · 09:32

Samuel Axon, for Ars Technica:

In my case, the formative glory days were the 1980s and early ’90s, and the platform was MS-DOS. And while I did play popular commercial releases from publishers like Apogee and Epic, I mostly played shareware releases. Today, we’re going to look at some gems of that lost era.

I love reading about the games I grew up with but there are a lot on this particular list I never encountered, though I vividly remember EGA Trek.

And the nostalgia sets in…


iPadOS 13 (beta 5) — My Gripes and Comments When Using An External Keyboard

August 2, 2019 · 12:13

I have tried using an external keyboard with an iPad since 2010 and while it is possible, it’s nowhere near as good as on MacOS. I have tried various keyboards over the years, including Apple Wireless Keyboards, Magic Keyboards, third-party keyboards, but I am currently using a mechanical Doro67, which is fully user-programmable, connected via USB-C.

Below are some immediate gripes and comments I have regarding external keyboard implementation in the current beta of iPadOS 13:

  • Sometimes, when I Cmd + Tab into an app, e.g. into Ulysses from Safari, I can immediately continue writing where I left off. The keyboard is active and the cursor is waiting for input. At other times it is not. There is no key that I can press to resume writing without first physically touching the screen with my finger.
  • When Cmd + Tabbing into Safari, sometimes everything works as intended and I can use the Cmd + L shortcut to input the address I want to open or Control + Tab to the Tab I need. I can then use the arrows, PgUp, PgDn or Spacebar keys to navigate webpages. Unfortunately, sometimes iPadOS and/or Safari behave as if there is no keyboard connected and I have to touch the screen to make it active again.
  • Sometimes the keyboard just behaves like it’s not connected at all and I have to touch the screen to get it to work.
  • When switching between apps, there is a small delay, which I need to wait out before I can start typing. This delay is extremely frustrating.
  • Sometimes iOS/iPadOS thinks the Cmd key is stuck, especially after quickly Cmd + Tabbing through your list of previously used apps.
  • When using the Alt/Option + Shift + Left/Right Arrow to select text in e.g. Ulysses, the selection stops at the end of a word, omitting the space and/or punctuation marks after the word. When doing the same thing in Safari (editing text in WordPress), the word and the space behind it are selected. If there’s a comma or full stop after a word, and then a space, those get selected automatically too. This is inconsistent and Safari’s implementation is wrong. Perhaps this has something to do with WordPress and is not Safari’s fault but I don’t know that.
  • The above problem also happens when moving the cursor when editing text. E.g. Cmd + right arrow will move the cursor to the end of the word in Ulysses (correct) or to the beginning of the next word in Safari (wrong).
  • Ulysses has a typewriter mode, which often loses my set position. iA Writer has the exact same problem. I hope it’s not something the developers of those apps can’t fix.
  • My PgUp and PgDn keys often don’t work, e.g. in text editors such as Ulysses. Fn + Arrows don’t work either. Curiously, Safari is fine.
  • It is (mostly) possible to use both MacOS and Windows without taking your hands off the keyboard. There’s basically a way to do almost everything without using a mouse or trackpad. I have been a keyboard-shortcut user for the past three decades, since the DOS days, just because it’s faster. iOS is woefully behind in this regard.
  • I use the character picker almost constantly on MacOS (Control + Cmd + Space, to add arrows, etc. when needed. There is no way (that I know of) to do this under iOS/iPadOS (the emoji keyboard doesn’t have all of the symbols that I use, e.g. the arrow I used below).
  • If you use an external keyboard with your iPad, please make sure to go into Settings → Keyboard → Hardware Keyboard to turn auto-capitalisation and auto-correction on or off (off in my case).
  • If you use more than one keyboard language in iPadOS, you can use the Control + Space shortcut to switch between your languages — just hold Control and tap the Spacebar to cycle between them.

Keyboard support has been getting better over the years but it’s getting there at a glacial pace and is still far behind MacOS. I really hope they focus more on it in the future, perhaps even before iPadOS 13.0 rolls out this Autumn.

Photo: 11-inch iPad Pro with a Vortex Race 3.


In Hong Kong Protests, Faces Become Weapons →

July 31, 2019 · 08:14

Paul Mozur, reporting for The New York Times:

The police officers wrestled with Colin Cheung in an unmarked car. They needed his face.

They grabbed his jaw to force his head in front of his iPhone. They slapped his face. They shouted, “Wake up!” They pried open his eyes. It all failed: Mr. Cheung had disabled his phone’s facial-recognition login with a quick button mash as soon as they grabbed him.

Apple is not always on point but their implementations of Touch ID and Face ID are spot on.


Apple Contractors ‘Regularly Hear Confidential Details’ on Siri Recordings →

July 27, 2019 · 01:09

Alex Hern, reporting for The Guardian:

Apple contractors regularly hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and recordings of couples having sex, as part of their job providing quality control, or “grading”, the company’s Siri voice assistant, the Guardian has learned.

Although Apple does not explicitly disclose it in its consumer-facing privacy documentation, a small proportion of Siri recordings are passed on to contractors working for the company around the world. They are tasked with grading the responses on a variety of factors, including whether the activation of the voice assistant was deliberate or accidental, whether the query was something Siri could be expected to help with and whether Siri’s response was appropriate […]

“There’s not much vetting of who works there, and the amount of data that we’re free to look through seems quite broad. It wouldn’t be difficult to identify the person that you’re listening to, especially with accidental triggers – addresses, names and so on.

This is unacceptable.


Half of Top Free VPN Apps Affiliated with China →

July 19, 2019 · 09:08

Simon Migliano:

Our investigation uncovered that over half of the top free VPN apps either had Chinese ownership or were actually based in China, which has aggressively clamped down on VPN services over the past year and maintains an iron grip on the internet within its borders. Furthermore, we found the majority of free VPN apps had little-to-no formal privacy protections and non-existent user support.

Apple and Google have let down consumers by failing to properly vet these app publishers, many of whom lack any sort of credible web presence and whose app store listings are riddled with misinformation.

People will generally prefer not to pay for something when there is a free alternative. The thing is, there is no such thing as free — you just pay via alternative means. In the case of VPNs, you’ll be paying with your privacy and security, which is what a VPN is supposed to help with. Do not use free VPNs.


Think FaceApp Is Scary? →

July 19, 2019 · 09:03

Brian Barrett:

Faceapp is a viral lark that takes a convincing guess at what you’ll look like when you’re old. FaceApp is also the product of a Russian company that sends photos from your device to its servers, retains rights to use them in perpetuity, and performs artificial intelligence black magic on them. And so the FaceApp backlash has kicked into gear, with anxious stories and tweets warning you off of its charms. Which, fine! Just make sure you save some of that ire for bigger targets.

When the last wave of Faceapp photos hit the internet a few days ago, after they added their new filters, I was again tempted to install the app, just as I was a few years ago, when the exact same concerns were raised. Resisting the temptation was pretty easy though. Why is it so hard for others? And how did they forget so quickly?


Keep a Stiff Upper Lip (WWDC Feedback) →

July 11, 2019 · 13:05

Daniel Kennet:

I’m a person that would describe myself as “slightly introverted”. I cannot begin to describe how deeply uncomfortable it was to walk into the registration room on Sunday to multiple employees cheering and clapping at me, trying to give me high fives. I understand the want to make people excited, but this needs to have its limits. During the conference, I got cheered and high-fived pretty much the entire week for things like:

  • Picking up a bag of chips.
  • Walking down some stairs.
  • Coming out of the toilet.
  • Walking back up the earlier-mentioned stairs.
  • Walking down the street outside the conference when I was going somewhere else.

I’m not especially introverted and I generally find Apple’s “high five culture” strange.


July 9, 2019 · 20:20

The Surface Pro 6 got a quad-core 8th gen. 15W CPU in October 2019 2018. It took Apple 9 months to add 15W Intel parts to 13-inch MacBook Pros.

It’s things like this, that piss me off most.


My Photography (70) — Downtown Dubai, UAE, 2019

July 9, 2019 · 20:14

I managed to get on the roof of Libery House in Dubai, which has a great view of Downtown. Unfortunately, it was so humid today, that my “big” camera completely fogged up and wouldn’t clear up for over 30 minutes. I gave up and pulled my iPhone out of my pocket. I hate failure.

Shot with iPhone XS @ 26 mm: f/1.8, 1/35 s, ISO 400.


I Won’t Buy Another MacBook Pro Until Apple Drops the Touch Bar (Or Makes It Optional) →

July 9, 2019 · 15:53

Apple PR:

In addition, the entry-level $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest 8th-generation quad-core processors, making it two times more powerful than before. It also now features Touch Bar and Touch ID, a True Tone Retina display and the Apple T2 Security Chip […]

The Touch Bar is just bad design. Not only does it not provide any feedback whatsoever, I cannot use the keyboard without actually taking my hands off of it to look at what I want to touch (I use it primarily on my knees).

If Apple hadn’t added the Touch Bar to the non-Touch Bar model and just upgraded the CPU, I would be ordering one right now — the new CPUs are exactly what I have been waiting for. Unfortunately, they did, so that probably means no more Macs for me, at least until they get rid of the Touch Bar. And no, the Air is not sufficient for my needs — it lacks Display P3 and a proper processor.

Update

Clarified that I’m all for making the Touch Bar optional. I would actually consider paying a small premium not to have it.


My Photography (68) — The View from the 124th Floor of Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE, 2019

July 5, 2019 · 22:19

So this happened! I actually had a minute or two of vertigo after looking straight down. The view really is quite stunning. Just try to avoid the haze if possible (which I didn’t).

The Burj Khalifa has a number of terraces and it’s actually cheaper to go up to the 124th floor than the one even higher up (150+) and I’m not sure if that one offers an outdoor terrace. The one I was on has viewports that can fit a lens, if it’s not very big in diameter. I managed to fit my Sony FE 28 mm f/2 without major issues but I couldn’t use my Zeiss ZF 100 mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*. Forget trying to use any larger zoom lens, e.g. a 24-70 f/2.8 or 24-105 f/4. You can shoot through the glass itself of course, but there are so many reflections, you might want to use one of those special flexible anti-reflection hoods.

Don’t forget to look at the fountain show down below!

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 75 s, ISO 100.


My Photography (65) — Level 43 Sky Lounge View, Dubai, UAE, 2019

July 3, 2019 · 21:08

The Four Points by Sheraton has a pool and restaurant/club on the roof — Level 43 Sky Lounge — with outdoor seating and a beautiful view. It’s not cheap but then you are paying for more than just the drinks and food.

Notes on the photo: The shot above is heavily compresed and you might see banding in the sky. The original has enough tonal capacity not to exhibit this effect but I had to compress it, to save on bandwidth and load times.

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 8 s, ISO 100.


Jony Ive to Form Independent Design Company With Apple as Client →

June 27, 2019 · 23:27

Apple PR:

Apple today announced that Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, will depart the company as an employee later this year to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its primary clients. While he pursues personal projects, Ive in his new company will continue to work closely and on a range of projects with Apple.

“Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated, from 1998’s groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built. After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.”

Design team leaders Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. Both Dye and Hankey have played key leadership roles on Apple’s design team for many years. Williams has led the development of Apple Watch since its inception and will spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio.

Sounds like Apple didn’t have a lot to say in the matter.


20+ Mac Productivity Hacks From CEOs, Artists, Developers, YouTubers and More →

June 27, 2019 · 10:07

Fabrizio Rinaldi:

I’m always surprised by how many Mac hacks, tricks and workflows I keep finding out that boost my productivity and make my life easier. Sometimes they’re hidden features, sometimes clever workflows people come up with — and this is also where the Mac community shows its best side. So, here’s the idea: I’m asking a handful of Mac power users what are some things they do to be more productive with their Macs.

A good list. Found lots of inspiration on it.


How Verizon and a BGP Optimizer Knocked Large Parts of the Internet Offline Today →

June 25, 2019 · 12:02

Tom Strickx on Cloudflare’s blog:

Today at 10:30UTC, the Internet had a small heart attack. A small company in Northern Pennsylvania became a preferred path of many Internet routes through Verizon (AS701), a major Internet transit provider. This was the equivalent of Waze routing an entire freeway down a neighborhood street — resulting in many websites on Cloudflare, and many other providers, to be unavailable from large parts of the Internet. This should never have happened because Verizon should never have forwarded those routes to the rest of the Internet. To understand why, read on.

There have been smaller and larger outages over the past few years, with AWS failures triggering the biggest problems for users. These lasted for mere hours at worst and I’m sure darker scenarios is still to come. What will the fallout of a serious (week- or month-long) internet outage entail?


Jason Snell’s First Look at macOS Catalina Public Beta →

June 25, 2019 · 11:55

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

Catalina takes the Mac in a new direction. I’m encouraged by the fact that Apple is cranking up its focus on security and privacy without locking Mac users out from running the software they want, when they want to. I’m of the belief that the introduction of Catalyst will result in the influx of some really good software from thousands of iOS developers who have been using the Mac all this time without the wherewithal to develop software for it.

I’m curious to see how the current crop of iOS/iPadOS-only apps will compete with traditional Mac apps once the former are Catalysed.