Poland Is Europe’s Smog Capital →

December 9, 2018 · 12:06

Josh Gabbatiss, for The Independent:

Poland is Europe’s smog capital, home to 33 of Europe’s 50 most polluted cities. As delegates gathered in Katowice last week, data collected by the European Environment Agency revealed it was the second most polluted city on the continent. Its levels of particulate matter were twice as high as those deemed safe by the World Health Organisation.

Considering the toxic air, the mounting pressure to drop coal altogether and the dire climate warnings, it seems remarkable that Polish politicians are gripping on to fossil fuel with such tenacity.

What’s even more frightening is that normal people — not politicians — want us to use coal, because that’s what they heard our beloved government say is good for us (insert facepalm emoji here). I have personally seen and heard their arguments. Unbelievable.


The Quality of Apple Software and Marzipan

December 9, 2018 · 07:15

iKyle:

The quality of software Apple ships shows what Apple considers good enough quality. Including the marzipan apps in the released OS signals the state they are in now is officially good enough quality for macOS software as far as Apple is concerned. That’s worrying.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

They are absolutely ‘good-enough’. Apps updated day and date with iOS? With the complete, up-to-date featureset? This is leagues beyond what we usually get from Apple’s work on macOS. I am not worried about macOS actually getting software on par with iOS, because that’s a step up.

Personally I’m horrified at what these apps look like and how they function. They appear to be foreign entities among all the software designed for MacOS. Despite understanding Apple’s reasoning behind shipping them now and not when their backbone is ready, I cannot quite fathom who said: ‘Yes, this is good enough.’ Not at Apple in any case.

Apple chose their own path. Two separate operating systems, with their own look and feel, with some points of overlap. We’re in the middle of an evolution of both OSes, waiting to see where they’ll both end up. Maybe it’ll be better but it sure as hell feels that it’ll get a lot worse in the short-term.


HTTP Server on iPad via iSH →

December 9, 2018 · 07:09

Dandy Weng:

It’s definitely mind-blowing that you can set up a simple HTTP server on your iPad. All I need now is a more sophisticated Files integration so I can copy files into @iSH and edit them with another app to do some real work! Huge shout out to @tblodt.

iSH is amazing but… this shouldn’t be mind-blowing. iOS is 8 years old and based on MacOS — we should have been able to do this years ago (without jailbreaking).


Download Procreate’s Undo Gesture Project →

December 8, 2018 · 08:33

Procreate Team:

We think Procreate’s Undo gesture is one of the best things we’ve ever made. Apple highlighted it as an exceptional user experience when Procreate Pocket was lucky enough to win iPhone App of the Year 2018, and it’s one of our most beloved features. It’s simple, fast, and takes full advantage of multi-touch […]

Whether you’re one of our competitors, or in an entirely different field, please feel free to grab the project below. Take it, use it, and give your users the most instinctive Undo and Redo method available.


The Biggest Threat to the Mac →

December 8, 2018 · 08:08

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

The biggest threat to the Mac isn’t iPads, Chromebooks, or Windows 2-in-1’s — it’s apathy towards what makes great Mac apps great.

Apple’s own software quality is slowly going down hill over these past few years, as if they stopped caring. There are too many examples to list, but it’s long past due to sound an alarm. Even on iOS, Apple often fails to have updates for its own apps ready in time for new screen resolutions or features.


Apple Security Expert Jon Callas Moves to ACLU →

December 5, 2018 · 03:28

Joseph Menn for Reuters:

A senior Apple Inc security expert left for a much lower-paying job at the American Civil Liberties Union this week, the latest sign of increasing activity on policy issues by Silicon Valley privacy specialists and other engineers.

Jon Callas, who led a team of hackers breaking into pre-release Apple products to test their security, started Monday in a two-year role as technology fellow at the ACLU. Prior to his latest stint at Apple, Callas designed an encryption system to protect data on Macs and co-founded communications companies Silent Circle, Blackphone and PGP Corp. […]

Callas said he felt particular kinship with Google employees pressing to have more of a say in the company’s prospective deal to return to mainland China with a censored search engine.

“A bunch of people have in fact woken up and said ‘Where are we, where are we going?’” Callas said. “These employees are wanting more discussion and access to what’s going on.”

Callas said phone makers had improved security and he wanted to see progress continue and widen without companies succumbing to pressure to install back doors.

There could be a simple explanation for his choice but the elephant in the room is Apple in China.


Microsoft Is Building a Chromium-Powered Web Browser That Will Replace Edge on Windows 10 →

December 4, 2018 · 09:30

Zac Bowden:

Microsoft’s Edge web browser has seen little success since its debut on Windows 10 back in 2015. Built from the ground up with a new rendering engine known as EdgeHTML, Microsoft Edge was designed to be fast, lightweight, and secure, but launched with a plethora of issues which resulted in users rejecting it early on. Edge has since struggled to gain any traction, thanks to its continued instability and lack of mindshare, from users and web developers.

Because of this, I’m told that Microsoft is throwing in the towel with EdgeHTML and is instead building a new web browser powered by Chromium, a rendering engine first popularized by Google’s Chrome browser. Codenamed Anaheim, this new web browser for Windows 10 will replace Edge as the default browser on the platform. It’s unknown at this time if Anaheim will use the Edge brand or a new brand, or if the user interface between Edge and Anaheim is different. One thing is for sure, however; EdgeHTML in Windows 10’s default browser is dead.

Having used many different browsers over the years, Safari has always appealed to me most for a number of different reasons. Since it was discontinued on Windows a few years ago, I have defaulted to Firefox on my only PC (I still naturally use Safari on my Mac), especially since Mozilla appears to be pushing privacy hard, but I really wish Safari was still around. I tried and tested Edge a few times, but it never appealed to me much. Chromium would be my second choice and I’m curious what Microsoft will do with it.


My Photography (57) — Admiring the Sunset, Pizzo, Italy, 2017

December 3, 2018 · 11:10

We had just had something to eat and were getting ready to leave the beautiful city of Pizzo in the south of Italy, when we decided to go take a last look at the sunset before setting off for the airport. I had already stowed away my “big” camera and since there was a chilly wind, I did not want to bother going back to the car to get it. I did have my iPhone X on me though…

There was just something about the geometry, depth, gradients, and shadows that spoke to me — I really love this shot.

Shot with iPhone X @ 28 mm: f/1.8, 1/153 s, ISO 20.

Take a look at what the person below saw →


Apple iMac and MacBook Screen Defect Class Action Lawsuit →

December 3, 2018 · 10:49

Steve W. Berman and Jerrod C. Patterson:

iMac and MacBook owners have reported dark smudges and spots on the interior of the screens of their desktop computers as well as excessive slowness and break downs of their computers related to the lack of filter on Apple computers. The computer intakes air to cool its components, but with no filter, dust gets trapped inside. This affects the screen and logic board of the computer, leading to dust stuck behind the screen and gummed up motherboards, causing the computer to run slow and/or overheat.

According to many consumer reports online and across Apple’s support forum, the smudging substantially interferes with the functionality and use of the premium displays, especially for creative purposes such as photo editing, digital illustration and other activities requiring precise visual capabilities. The smudging often appears soon after purchase (but after Apple’s standard warranty period has expired).

When iMac owners raise the issue with Apple, Apple refuses to remedy the defect, forcing owners of affected iMacs to pay more than $500 to fix this screen defect, and even more if they wish to replace parts integral to the computer’s speed and performance.

I wholeheartedly support this, as my iMac had exactly the same problem. I sold it after having the screen replaced six times over a period od 3 years. Apple paid for the repair without question four times and I had to strong-arm them for the remaining two. I was delicately led to believe there would not be a seventh.

After an unofficial investigation in Poland, I found that every single iMac model since 2004 has exhibited this issue. Not every single iMac of course, but a decent percentage of every model. This has not been acknowledged or fixed by Apple since, nor are there are any repair programs.


Microsoft Will Reportedly Release a Surface Studio Monitor In 2020 →

November 30, 2018 · 10:13

Tom Warren, for The Verge:

Microsoft is reportedly planning to release a monitor-only version of its Surface Studio in 2020. “Microsoft will finally deliver a Surface monitor in the 2020 timeframe,” claims Brad Sams in Beneath A Surface, a new book detailing the history of Microsoft’s Surface efforts. While you might expect a regular PC monitor, in true Surface style it will have its own unique twist. Microsoft will reportedly swap to a modular design, which is something that Surface chief Panos Panay hinted at in an interview with The Verge recently.

Hurry up, and take my money.

Looking at Apple’s hardware decisions over the past few years, I’m already expecting that I won’t be buying the screen they’re planning to introduce with the Mac Pro next year. Seriously, this was my first thought on Apple’s upcoming product, which just goes to show how disappointed I am in their choices. Perhaps they’ll prove me wrong but I’m not holding my breath.


David Barnard Explains How to Game the App Store →

November 29, 2018 · 09:09

David Barnard:

I’ve been pestering Apple for years publicly and privately about the manipulation and outright scams going on in the App Store. Apple has made some progress here and there, but overall Apple’s strictness in some areas and hands off approach in others has disproportionately rewarded bad actors while stifling conscientious developers.

First of all, read the whole thing — some parts might shock you. These issues won’t be problematic to users aware of which developers are the good guys — there are quite a few out there — but the average consumer will have no clue which ones to trust. Apple really needs to crack down hard on the bad actors, cleaning out their own store of the garbage that has accumulated over the years.


Castro Is Now Part of Tiny →

November 27, 2018 · 22:14

On Supertop’s blog:

Castro has reached a size where the demands of running the business have been pulling us in too many different directions. We haven’t been able to focus as much on the core work of designing and building a product. Selling to Tiny gets Castro access to more resources, contacts and expertise. By growing the team we can specialize our roles to be more focused individually and get more done collectively. We can get back to what we’re good at and what we love doing.

This sounds promising.


Mac Mini Review — A Testament to Apple’s Stubbornness →

November 27, 2018 · 10:19

Peter Bright, for Ars Technica:

[…] the new Mac mini is a compromised box that’s engineered to be quite small. If you’re wedded to macOS, then it does the job well enough. It’s not bad as such, and it’s certainly a solid upgrade over the 2014 system. But there’s nothing this device particularly excels at, and there’s no real scenario where it leaps out at me as being the ideal, obvious choice. It’s the Mac you buy when you know you need to buy a Mac… and you’ve already ruled out all the other systems Apple has on offer.

After Apple’s appalling history in keeping the Mac Mini relevant and updated, people are applauding the new model. It does get a lot of things right, but imagine if the Mac Mini managed to fit just the following hardware inside its case:

  • the newer Core i9-9900K 8-core 16-thread (95 W) or the Core i7-9700K 8-core 8-thread (95 W) CPU
  • a single PCIe slot

Even if Apple decided not to offer user-accessible M.2 NVMe flash storage instead of its proprietary standard (and easily user-accessible RAM), people would go crazy for this machine. I can easily see this Mac instantly becoming one of the bestselling models ever. I know I’d get one.


Apple Resumes iPhone X Production in Face of Weak XS Sales →

November 22, 2018 · 23:06

Jon Porter, for The Verge:

Apple has resumed production of the iPhone X due to weaker than expected demand for its latest XS and XS Max models, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The move is allegedly due to an agreement made with Samsung to purchase a certain quantity of OLED screens. With this year’s OLED-equipped models failing to sell in the quantities needed to fulfill the terms of the deal, the report suggests that Apple is turning to last year’s model for a solution. Apple ceased selling the iPhone X in stores when the XS was first released.

If this turns out to be true, I’d be very surprised. Perhaps less so, if these phones only ended up in carriers’ hands, but this would be without precedent.


’The iPad and iOS Nowhere Near As Far Along As the Mac Was a Generation Ago’ →

November 20, 2018 · 08:35

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

But, I will object to one thing: the iPad feels like a young platform, yes, but it’s not young. It’s over 8 years old. Steve Jobs was still around to introduce it. When the Mac was 8 years old in 1992, System 7 had been launched and it was a very advanced platform, suitable for work of any kind. The new iPad Pro hardware might be the best consumer computer hardware ever made — the only rivals are the iPhone XS and XR. But software-wise, the iPad platform is nowhere near as far along after 8 years as the Mac was a generation ago. The iPhone is. But the iPad is not, and I don’t see how anyone can deny that.

Apple slowed down evolving iPadOS features in the beginning and then tried to speed them up as the hardware started to get better at a rapid pace, but the software team just can’t keep up. It’s still missing utterly basic functionality and I’m really hoping iOS 13 is a big one for the iPad. June is so far away though…


Google Photos for iOS Adds Portrait Mode Depth Editing to iPhones X, 8, and 7; Apple Photos Still Not Offering This Feature →

November 20, 2018 · 08:28

Michael Potuck, for 9to5Mac:

While Portrait mode depth editing arrived with the iPhone XS, XR and the 2018 iPad Pro, the feature isn’t available on iPhone X, 8 Plus, and 7 Plus. Today, Google is rolling out support for the feature with Google Photos for iOS.

It’s been argued that the iPhone X isn’t fast enough to support the editing of bokeh. I called it out after the keynote. Now Google is joining in, assisting users of “old” iPhones and bringing them functionality that Apple should have provided on day one.


The Space Bar on My MacBook Pro Doesn’t Register Presses Properly

November 19, 2018 · 09:54

I recently had a problem with my Control key which I finally fixed by taking out the vacuum cleaner and sucking substantial debris1 out from under it. Today, the Space bar will not register keystrokes on its right half.

(A few minutes later.)

Seems to be working fine again, after thoroughly vacuuming it at max power.

I am not happy with this keyboard and I refuse to buy another MacBook until they fix this issue with a completely new design — silicon condoms membranes are not enough.

  1. A speck of dust.

I ❤️ iPad

November 17, 2018 · 11:38

I’ve always really enjoyed using the iPad as a secondary device but the new iPads Pro take things to a whole new level.

I just can’t get enough of that gorgeous new screen.


Screenshots on iOS — PNG vs. JPG →

November 15, 2018 · 08:40

Dr Drang, on And now it’s all this:

One oddity about screenshots on iOS that has no analogy with the Mac is that their file format depends on whether they’ve been edited. If you take a screenshot on your iPhone or iPad and save it directly to Photos with no changes, it’s saved as a PNG. But if you crop it or draw on it before saving to Photos, it’s saved as a JPEG.


Fedrico Viticci’s First 48 Hours With the New 12.9-inch iPad Pro →

November 13, 2018 · 07:05

Federico Viticci, on MacStories:

In practice, I find the iPad Pro’s new design appealing for a couple of reasons. Visually, it’s striking. Whether I’m holding the iPad Pro and using the multitouch keyboard or typing at a desk with the Smart Keyboard Folio, all I can see is a screen that elegantly reaches the corners of its enclosure and embraces them. It’s beautiful, and a testament to Apple’s terrific work on Liquid Retina displays. Again, compared to older iPads it instantly feels like the future, available today. The new iPad Pro elicits the same feeling of last year’s switch from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone X, albeit at a much bigger scale.

Like the iPhone 4 (Retina) and later the iPhone X (“all-screen”) were the two major stepping-stones to the future, the 2018 iPad Pros’ design make it feel like a completely new visual experience — a first since the original iPad from 2010. Realistically, nothing much has changed, but it feels like we have the future in our hands.

From an ergonomic standpoint, I also believe the new design makes it easier to hold the 12.9″ iPad Pro in both landscape and portrait; particularly for portrait orientation, I find typing with my thumbs on the software keyboard sort of possible again, whereas the old design with the thicker bezels on each side often resulted in giving up thumb-typing on the large iPad after a few minutes.

Federico states that thumb-typing is “sort of possible”, which makes me glad I went for the 11-inch model. I probably wouldn’t have thumb-typed this post on its larger brother, either going for an external keyboard or my MacBook Pro instead.


iSH — an iOS Linux Shell for Your iPhone or iPad →

November 13, 2018 · 06:53

Lawrence Abrams, for Bleeping Computer:

Have you ever wanted to run a Linux shell on your iOS device to transfer files, write shell scripts, or simply to use Vi to develop code or edit files?  Now you can, with a project called iSH that is currently available as a TestFlight beta for iOS devices.

iSH is a project that aims to bring a Linux shell to iOS devices using a usermode x86 emulator. iSH is built on the Alpine Linux distro, which is designed to have a small footprint, be secure, and easy to use with little or no distracting bells and whistles.

There’s a link to apply for the TestFlight beta there.

via @stroughtonsmith


Should Apple Make a 15-inch iPad Pro →

November 12, 2018 · 10:02

Chance Miller, on 9to5Mac:

With the recent push towards smaller bezels, some are calling for Apple to make an even bigger iPad Pro. While the largest iPad currently sold by Apple is 12.9-inches, some iPad fans say Apple could push that to around 15-inches.

For instance, a couple of weeks back, developer Steven Troughton-Smithshowed off how iOS would need little work to be capable of running on a 14.9-inch iPad Pro. Safari, for example, could show two side-by-side tabs, as well as a third app with a 14.9-inch display.

I had the opportunity to use a 15-inch Surface Book 2 for a few weeks and I found myself using the screen detached quite a lot. Sure, it’s unwieldy at that size, but when I sat down in a comfy chair, I used it in portrait, resting the bottom on my lap. At 15 inches, it was a huge reading slab, perfect for browsing my RSS feeds or the web, for example. The funny thing is that the 12.9-inch iPad is actually worse in this scenario — it’s too small to use rested in my lap and too heavy to use one-handed.


Will Hains And Marco Arment on the Wobbly Smart Keyboard Folio →

November 11, 2018 · 09:35

Will Hains, on his blog:

I heard my friend Casey describe a car he was reviewing as “tossable”. I’m pretty sure that’s not a word in any version of the English language, but the meaning is clear.

That word floated up in my mind as I struggled to fold and unfold the 12.9-inch behemoth, to pry it from my office desk, and to get it in and out of my bag. It felt too awkward and unwieldy to quickly whip out while on the train and crunch through a few email replies.

I got very good at handling my old 10.5-inch iPad Pro, even propping up the too-clever-by-half keyboard cover. It was just more… tossable.

I too was extremely tempted to go down the 12.9-inch route at first but then I remembered my experience with the first generation model of this size. I like to use my iPad to read and thumb-type (e.g. when using Twitter) and the on-screen keyboard of the larger model is just not built for this. It should be smaller (or there should be a choice of an alternate keyboard). Weight is another issue — personally I don’t find it comfortable to hold with one hand for extended periods of time. The larger screen and the ability to run two full-sized portrait apps next to each other do not make up for this.

In practice, it means the top edge of the iPad Pro 12.9”, when propped up in its keyboard cover is very high off the desk. It’s harder to reach the top of the screen when there’s no keyboard shortcut to go back a screen, and the left-edge swipe gesture is unavailable. And when I did tap the top of the screen, the whole thing wobbled.

I first read about the wobbly screen in the Smart Keyboard Folio in Will’s post and layer saw that Marco Arment mentioned it in his video review. Do watch the whole thing — it comes at the iPad from a different and interesting perspective.

I don’t believe I saw anyone else mention this in anywhere else and it could be a deal-breaker for some. Personally, I’m not getting Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio — it’s just too expensive for what it offers.

Having said all that, I just thumb-typed this post on my 11-inch iPad, which I wouldn’t have bothered to do on the 12.9-inch model — I’d have put it off for later, when I had an external keyboard connected.