Google’s Ecosystem of Apps Banned from Future Huawei Smartphones →

May 20, 2019 · 12:03

Angela Moon, reporting for Reuters:

Alphabet Inc’s Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the U.S. government has sought to blacklist around the world.

Holders of current Huawei smartphones with Google apps, however, will continue to be able to use and download app updates provided by Google, a Google spokesperson said, confirming earlier reporting by Reuters […]

Chipmakers including Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Xilinx Inc and Broadcom Inc have told their employees they will not supply critical software and components to Huawei until further notice […]

This could spiral out of control very easily.


Translating an ARM iOS App to Intel macOS Using Bitcode →

May 18, 2019 · 12:22

Steven Troughton-Smith, on High Caffeine Content:

Of course, the specter of macOS on ARM has been in the public psyche for many years now, and many have pondered whether Bitcode will make this transition more straightforward. The commonly held belief is that Bitcode is not suited to massive architectural changes like moving between Intel and ARM.

I was unconvinced, so I decided to test the theory!

Of course he did. Since this is Steve, the results are predictable.

That was easy!

This means, in theory, that if Apple wanted every iOS app on the App Store to run on the Mac, today or in the future, they have a mechanism to do so transparently and without needing developers to update or recompile their apps.


MacOS: How to Enable Full Mitigation for Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) Vulnerabilities →

May 17, 2019 · 12:39

Apple Support:

Intel has disclosed vulnerabilities called Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) that apply to desktop and notebook computers with Intel CPUs, including all modern Mac computers.

Although there are no known exploits affecting customers at the time of this writing, customers who believe their computer is at heightened risk of attack can use the Terminal app to enable an additional CPU instruction and disable hyper-threading processing technology, which provides full protection from these security issues.

This option is available for macOS Mojave, High Sierra and Sierra and may have a significant impact on the performance of your computer […]

Testing conducted by Apple in May 2019 showed as much as a 40 percent reduction in performance […]

You probably don’t need to enable these mitigations unless you’re a secret agent but I’m pretty sure this is really helping push the transition from Intel to ARM inside Apple.


Saying Goodbye to Tweet Marker →

May 17, 2019 · 12:36

Manton Reece:

Tweet Marker’s time has come and gone. I’ve notified developers using the Tweet Marker API that I plan to wind down the service by July 1st. I’ve also cancelled all the paid subscriptions. (Actually I haven’t billed anyone in over 6 months, so I’ve been running the service for free.)

Over a million people have used Tweet Marker. I’m proud of that. If you’re one of those people, especially if you supported Tweet Marker as a developer or with a subscription, thank you.

There was a short time when I did indeed use Tweet Marker, when I was juggling between an iOS and Android smartphone, but that didn’t last long. And I never did understand why Twitter itself did not choose to implement a timeline syncing feature — this is probably their largest technical fuck up.


Girl, 16, Kills Herself After Instagram Poll to Decide Between Life or Death →

May 16, 2019 · 12:05

Sky News:

District police chief Aidil Bolhassan said 69% of respondents at the time of her death had selected “D”. However, Instagram maintains that the poll ended after 24 hours with 88% of her followers choosing “L”.

Anything less than 100% for “L” is completely unacceptable. I cannot fathom how horrible a person you have to be, to even consider voting “D”, let alone actually doing it.


Apple’s Tariff Tradeoff: Raise Phone Prices or Suffer Margin Hit →

May 16, 2019 · 11:59

Mark Gurman, for Bloomberg:

In late November, Trump told the Wall Street Journal he might impose tariffs on mobile phones and laptops, and said consumers “could stand” a 10% increase in prices “very easily” […]

I’m sure that “said consumers” completely agree with Trump.

A $1,249 iPhone XS Max with 256 gigabytes of storage has $453 worth of parts, according to TechInsights. A 25% levy on that would be $113, raising the purchase price by about 9%. Apple’s other models, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR, could face a similar increase, according to estimates. In a recent note to investors, Morgan Stanley estimated that a $999 iPhone XS would cost $160 more. JPMorgan analysts forecast a 14% price increase […]

If Apple passes the whole tariff cost to U.S. consumers, demand could drop by 10% to 40%, Cowen’s Sankar estimated on Tuesday. That, in turn, may slice earnings per share by 1% to 4% in fiscal 2020, the analyst said.

So, Apple could “very easily” lose between 10% and 40% in new iPhone sales. I guess that means that the free 5 GB iCloud tier isn’t going up in size anytime soon.


Lenovo Shows Off the World’s First Foldable PC →

May 15, 2019 · 14:30

Chaim Gartenberg, reporting for The Verge:

As for how you use the device, Lenovo is envisioning a variety of use cases. You can use it completely unfolded like a large tablet or partially folded in a book-esque form factor. A built-in kickstand lets you prop up the display on a table for use with an included wireless keyboard and trackpad.

And, perhaps most interestingly, you can turn the device on its side and use it in a traditional (albeit smaller) laptop style form factor, using the bottom surface as a digital keyboard or writing pad, similar to Lenovo’s two-screened Yoga Books. Cleverly, the right side of the display (which serves as the “bottom” portion when used in laptop mode) contains the entire battery, which keeps it weighed down so it won’t topple over.

Since I like prefer physical keyboards to their on-screen counterparts, I don’t envision using this PC without their external keyboard, which I would need to take around with me. In that situation, I may as well just carry a regular MacBook or something like a Surface Pro.

What interests me however, is what this kind of computer would look like if Apple made it, assuming they’ll even get in on this bendable screen trend. Imagine getting foldable iPhones or iPads in a few years time, running iOS. At the same time, MacOS on MacBooks will be running iOS apps via Marzipan. Will MacBooks get touchscreens, which could be useful for those Marzipan apps (at the very least)? Will Apple opt for making foldable MacBooks too? Would you prefer to use a foldable iPad running iOS, or a foldable Mac running MacOS with Marzipanified apps? Will iOS (or iPadOS) and MacOS merge together, despite what Apple has stated in the past? How would all of this even work?

Photo credit: The Verge


Google to Show Ads on Homepage of App →

May 15, 2019 · 10:05

Paresh Dave, reporting for Reuters:

Alphabet Inc’s Google will begin featuring ads on the homepage of its smartphone app worldwide later this year, it said on Tuesday, giving the search engine a huge new supply of ad slots to boost revenue.

Google will also start placing ads with a gallery of up to eight images in search results, potentially increasing ad supply further.

It appears that they’re still keeping their desktop homepage clean though.

Since you’re reading this, please consider switching to DuckDuckGo as your main search engine. Its results are close enough to Google’s that it doesn’t matter 99% of the time, and it doesn’t track you. Period. You can also set DDG as your default search engine on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, etc. Try it, at the very least.


Adobe Tells Users They Can Get Sued for Using Old Versions of Photoshop →

May 15, 2019 · 10:01

Karl Bode, reporting for Vice:

Adobe is warning some owners of its Creative Cloud software applications that they’re no longer allowed to use older versions of the software. It’s yet another example of how in the modern era, you increasingly don’t actually own the things you’ve spent your hard-earned money on.

Adobe this week began sending some users of its Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Premiere, Animate, and Media Director programs a letter warning them that they were no longer legally authorized to use the software they may have thought they owned.

“We have recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications and and a result, under the terms of our agreement, you are no longer licensed to use them,” Adobe said in the email. “Please be aware that should you continue to use the discontinued version(s), you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.”

Users were less than enthusiastic about the sudden restrictions.

The reason behind this seem to be ongoing litigation but users should not be subjected to this sort of treatment. I have been using Adobe products for at least 20 years and the only reason I’m still paying them money is Lightroom — nobody else has anything close to it in terms of functionality. That does not mean that I’m happy with what I’m paying for…

My current Photography Plan consists of:

  • Lightroom Classic (which I use)
  • Lightroom CC (which I don’t use)
  • Photoshop (which I don’t need)
  • 20 GB of cloud storage (which I don’t use; also, 20 GB would allow me to store around 200 RAW files, where each file is around 100 MB — laughable)

I just want Lightroom Classic and I couldn’t care less about the rest, yet I am forced to pay for unused features. Adobe’s Creative Cloud is a very frustrating experience.


The Rumoured 2019 iPhone XR’s Camera Bump Is Hideous →

May 15, 2019 · 09:50

Joe Rossignol, for MacRumors:

[…] Mark Gurman has since tweeted a photo of what appears to be shards of casing glass for the next-generation iPhone XR in a variety of colors, including lavender, green, white, black, and yellow.

Based on this information, we’ve mocked up what the next iPhone XR lineup could look like, including a comparison with the current colors. Our renders include a dual-lens rear camera in a square bump, as rumored for the next iPhone XR, but otherwise the device looks similar to the current generation.

I don’t really care for the XR colours, apart from the red, white, and black, but the real story will be in the camera bump. I don’t really trust these leaks but if the rears of the 2019 iPhones are anywhere near to what’s being mocked up, I’ll have another reason to skip this generation (the first one being lack of USB-C).


What to Expect From Marzipan →

May 13, 2019 · 09:26

Craig Hockenberry, on Iconfactory’s blog:

It’s clear that this year’s WWDC is going to be a doozy. We’ve written here previously with our thoughts about Dark Mode, now it’s time to talk about iOS apps coming to the Mac.

A trove of good advice and information detailing what we should expect from Marizpan apps coming to MacOS, for both users and developers.


Apple is the MacBook Pro’s Biggest Enemy →

May 8, 2019 · 23:00

Rob Griffiths, on Robservatory:

To sum it up, the extra $300 on the Touch Bar machine gets you:

  • An OLED display strip embedded above the keyboard
  • A CPU that’s one generation newer—with faster clock speeds and twice the cores
  • Faster graphics
  • A True Tone display
  • Two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Bluetooth 5.0—faster, longer range, lower power draw
  • Touch ID

All that for $300—from the same company that charges $600 for a 32GB iMac RAM upgrade that you can buy for under $200. There’s no doubt which machine you’d order—and which machine Apple wants you to order—if you were in the market and didn’t mind the Touch Bar: The non-Touch Bar Mac is clearly inferior to the Touch Bar version.

I have refused to upgrade my MacBook Pro (without TouchBar) to a newer model, and will continue to do so, until Apple decides to (1) make the Touch Bar optional or (2) bring the model without the Touch Bar up-to-date. I will not pay absurd prices for old tech — Apple is insulting its users by even offering that config. I don’t consider the MacBook Air to be a replacement either — it has a 7W CPU while the old Airs had 15W parts (as does the non-Touch Bar MBP). And yes, I tried to live with the Touch Bar. It did not end well — I ended up returning two models.

Apple prides itself on customer loyalty but they’re extremely close to losing me. When the time comes for me to upgrade, if they don’t offer what I need, I’ll just go with another brand.


Aeroflot Passenger Oleg Molchanov Describes His Escape From the Burning Jet at Sheremetyevo →

May 8, 2019 · 16:45

Pavel Merzlikin, writing for Meduza:

On May 5, a Sukhoi Superjet 100 owned by the Russian airline Aeroflot caught fire at Sheremetyevo airport. The airplane, which was bound for Murmansk, made an emergency landing at its departure point soon after takeoff. 41 people died in the fire out of the 78 people onboard the flight. Meduza spoke with 35-year-old Murmansk entrepreneur Oleg Molchanov, who survived the fire along with his wife.

via @buzuk


Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace →

May 7, 2019 · 11:51

Brad Plumer, for The New York Times:

Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

We behave like a virus, destroying everything in our path. Just watch Our Planet on Netflix and see for yourself.


Inside Microsoft’s Surprise Decision to Work With Google on Its Edge Browser →

May 6, 2019 · 22:08

Tom Warren:, writing for The Verge:

Something had to give. Microsoft had to change its Edge browser in a big way. That meeting with Nadella ultimately led to Microsoft’s huge decision to jettison the browser it built in house and start from scratch using Chromium as a new foundation. The stakes for success couldn’t be much higher: the future of Windows and the web itself could hinge on this project. 

This is the story of how Microsoft made that monumental decision and what could happen next.

I’m not personally interested in Edge or particularly happy that Microsoft joined the Blink/Chromium camp. I would have definitely been more please had they based Edge on WebKit or Gecko…

And speaking of WebKit…

I’m deeply disappointed in Apple for discontinuing Safari for Windows and not expanding to Linux and other operating systems. I don’t trust Google or Microsoft’s priorities (Google’s especially), and Chrome needs to lose some market share for our benefit. History has shown that a monopoly in the browser department doesn’t end well. Apple had the unique ability to challenge Google on competing desktop OSes and they forfeited that fight. Yes, Safari is holding its own on mobile. For now. That could change, when something new comes along, replacing our iOS and Android devices. At this point, all I can do is also root for Mozilla and Firefox.


May the 4th Be With You

May 4, 2019 · 11:09

Star Wars has been a part of my life for over 30 years and there are some characters I always loved more than others. Chewbacca was one of them. Tragically, Peter Mayhew passed away a few days ago…

Star Wars wouldn’t have been the same without him.

But he should have gotten that damned medal though.


’A Mysterious Infection Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy’ →

April 9, 2019 · 13:39

Matt Richtel and Andrew Jacobs, for The New York Times:

In late 2015, Dr. Johanna Rhodes, an infectious disease expert at Imperial College London, got a panicked call from the Royal Brompton Hospital, a British medical center outside London. C. auris had taken root there months earlier, and the hospital couldn’t clear it.

“‘We have no idea where it’s coming from. We’ve never heard of it. It’s just spread like wildfire,’” Dr. Rhodes said she was told. She agreed to help the hospital identify the fungus’s genetic profile and clean it from rooms.

Under her direction, hospital workers used a special device to spray aerosolized hydrogen peroxide around a room used for a patient with C. auris, the theory being that the vapor would scour each nook and cranny. They left the device going for a week. Then they put a “settle plate” in the middle of the room with a gel at the bottom that would serve as a place for any surviving microbes to grow, Dr. Rhodes said.

Only one organism grew back. C. auris.

Humans are like a virus that nature can’t seem to deal with. Perhaps it’s finally time for us to pay the ultimate price for the irreparable damage that we have caused to our planet.

See also: What You Need to Know About Candida Auris


The Design of Apple’s Credit Card →

April 9, 2019 · 13:30

Arun Venkatesan, on his blog:

I took a close look at the cardholder name and I noticed that it’s set in a new rounded version of the normal San Francisco font. For a few years, Apple has been using San Francisco Compact Rounded, a rounded version of the font used on the Apple Watch. This is the first time I have seen a rounded version of San Francisco though. The telltale sign is the lack of the flat sides that are most prominent in SF Compact’s lowercase a, e and o.

I haven’t yet compared SF Compact Rounded with SF Rounded myself, so I’ll trust Arun that they are indeed different, but I’m very curious how much further will the San Francisco family of fonts expand and how Apple will use them in the future.


The Apple Watch Just Saved ClockworkWXVII’s Life →

April 6, 2019 · 10:59

ClockworkWXVII, on Reddit:

I was laying in bed, enjoying some TV and homemade brisket, when my Apple Watch told me that my heart rate was weird af, and then, told me my heart rate was stupid fast (thank you heart rate alerts)

Called ER, when they arrived, they found me in serious trouble. Body went into shock, got rushed to the hospital in a stretcher, and got taken into trauma.

I felt totally fine before everything happened, and then notifications, and then BAM, everything goes nuts.

100% thank you apple for making an amazing accessory and tool that helps people stay not dead.

via @maciejbuchert


The Next Wave of Apple’s Marzipan Apps for MacOS →

April 6, 2019 · 10:45

Steve Troughton-Smith:

I am now fairly confident based on evidence I don’t wish to make public at this point that Apple is planning new (likely UIKit) Music, Podcasts, perhaps even Books, apps for macOS, to join the new TV app. I expect the four to be the next wave of Marzipan apps. Grain of salt, etc.

I hope they still keep iTunes around. (I assume) I’m one of the few people who actually like it.


MacBook Pro Arrow Ket Layout Scandal →

April 4, 2019 · 22:33

Todd Thomas:

The real scandal with the new MacBook Pros is the layout of the arrow keys. Ugh.

I don’t know when I bought my first Apple Magic Keyboard but it’s been at least 3 years and I still haven’t gotten used to that damned layout, making mistakes almost every single time I reach for them. I did finally fix the issue though, by getting a mechanical keyboard. So. Much. Better.


Bad UI: MacOS 10.14’s Software Update Release Notes →

April 4, 2019 · 11:32

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

If this sheet were part of a student’s assignment in an intro to Mac programming class, a good teacher would send it back and explain how to make a sheet resizable, how to make text selectable (and thus copy-able), and how to make URLs clickable.

But this isn’t a student assignment. It’s MacOS system software.

Apple’s operating systems aside, I still remember when I was excited when they announced new first-party software. Today, not so much.


’Apple’s Plan Is to Put a Ding in Your Pocketbook’ →

April 4, 2019 · 11:30

Farhad Manjoo, for The New York Times:

So now, instead of selling better stuff to more people, Apple’s new plan is to sell more stuff to the same people. “Today is going to be a very different kind of event,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, taking the stage.

It was not. From start to finish, Apple’s affair was a brushed-aluminum homage to sameness — a parade of services that start-ups and big rivals had done earlier, polished with an Apple-y sheen of design and marketing. Among other offerings, Apple showed off a service for subscribing to news on your phone and a credit card, and it offered vague details about a still-in-development TV service involving Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey (who are not exactly edgy or up-and-coming).

None of these efforts look terrible. Some, like the news service, might be handy. Yet they are all so trifling and derivative. As the analyst Ben Thompson noted, Apple’s crush of me-too announcements falls far short of Mr. Jobs’s goal of putting “a ding in the universe.” As I watched Apple’s event, I felt the future shrink a little. In its gilded middle age, Apple is turning into something like a digital athleisure brand, stamping out countless upscale accessories for customers who love its one big thing, a company that has lost sight of the universe and is content merely to put a ding in your pocketbook.

The only Apple product in recent memory, which truly changed anything, were the AirPods, and they’re not even close to putting ‘a ding in the universe’. Quite frankly, it just feels as if Apple is stagnating, and because of that, it’s focusing on milking its customers for every last penny, during this absence of ideas.


Facebook Demanding Some New Users’ Email Passwords →

April 3, 2019 · 18:42

Kevin Poulsen:

Just two weeks after admitting it stored hundreds of millions of its users’ own passwords insecurely, Facebook is demanding some users fork over the password for their outside email account as the price of admission to the social network.

Facebook users are being interrupted by an interstitial demanding they provide the password for the email account they gave to Facebook when signing up. “To continue using Facebook, you’ll need to confirm your email,” the message demands. “Since you signed up with [email address], you can do that automatically …”

A form below the message asked for the users’ “email password.”

“That’s beyond sketchy,” security consultant Jake Williams told the Daily Beast. “They should not be taking your password or handling your password in the background. If that’s what’s required to sign up with Facebook, you’re better off not being on Facebook.”

The people running Facebook need to be criminally charged for all the wrong that they’ve done and continue to do.

And please just go and delete your Facebook account.


Cloudflare Introduces Warp — A VPN for Their 1.1.1.1 DNS Service →

April 3, 2019 · 14:33

Matthew Prince:

We built Warp because we’ve had those conversations with our loved ones too and they’ve not gone well. So we knew that we had to start with turning the weaknesses of other VPN solutions into strengths. Under the covers, Warp acts as a VPN. But now in the 1.1.1.1 App, if users decide to enable Warp, instead of just DNS queries being secured and optimized, all Internet traffic is secured and optimized. In other words, Warp is the VPN for people who don’t know what V.P.N. stands for.

There will be both a free tier and a paid subscription for Warp. I’m in the queue, waiting to get in, and really hoping Cloudflare lives up to their promises of privacy. Since I have been using their 1.1.1.1 DNS service for the past year, it’s been rock solid, and I haven’t read about any scandals on the subject, so keeping my fingers crossed on this one.