Goldman Sachs’ Response to Apple Card Sexism Claims →

November 15, 2019 · 13:04

Ben Lovejoy:

The bank originally issued a brief statement stating that each person’s credit line is evaluated uniquely, based on a range of factors that include income, credit score, debt, and how debt has been managed. Taking all of this into account, it says, different family members could be offered different limits.

When the controversy didn’t go away, Goldman issued a new statement stating that its evaluation system is not aware of the gender or marital status of the applicant, and offered to re-evaluate the credit limit of anyone who felt an error had been made.

I’d guess they have no clue how the algorithm works and are scrambling to find anyone that does.


Private Equity Company Acquires .Org Registry →

November 15, 2019 · 06:23

Andrew Allemann:

Fresh off ICANN’s blunder letting Public Interest Registry set whatever price it wants for .org domain names, Internet Society (ISOC) has sold the .org registry Public Interest Registry (PIR) to private equity company Ethos Capital.

Game. Set. Match.

This gives Internet Society a huge (as yet unkown) endowment rather than worrying about what the future of the .org domain name holds. PIR generated $101 million in revenue in 2018 and contributed nearly $50 million to Internet Society. It contributed $74 million to ISOC in 2017.

ICANN made this deal much more valuable by removing all price controls on .org.

While Internet Society might not have wanted to raise prices, a private equity company surely will try to maximize the value of the registry.

Manton Reece on Twitter:

After reading this article about pricing uncertainty with the .org top-level domain being sold, I just renewed ‪http://manton.org ‬ registration until 2029. Still wish domain names were easier and cheaper.


Apple’s Phil Schiller on Reinventing the New MacBook Pro Keyboard →

November 14, 2019 · 06:16

Roger Cheng, interviewing Phil Schiller about the new keyboard design in the 16-inch MacBook Pro:

Will this keyboard find its way to other MacBooks? There are folks who don’t need the power of the MacBook Pro, but may appreciate the tactile experience.

Phil Schiller’s answer:

I can’t say today. We are continuing both keyboard designs.

It will be a sad day in Mac world if the new keyboard doesn’t propagate to all the other models as soon as possible, in their next updates.

I’m personally waiting for the new 13- or 14-inch MacBook Pro but it’s not a Mac I’ll be interested in, if it doesn’t get the new keyboard.


Apple (Once Again) Loves Computers As Much As We Do →

November 13, 2019 · 14:50

Marco Arment:

We haven’t had long enough to fully test it yet. There may be flaws or shortcomings discovered over time — there usually are (and always have been). But frankly, it could catch fire twice a week and it would still be my favorite laptop Apple has made since 2015. Fortunately, upon initial usage, nothing bad really jumps out.

The new MacBook Pro has no massive asterisks or qualifications. It’s a great computer, period, and it feels so good to be able to say that again.

For the first time in years, without any major exceptions, we can see that Apple loves computers as much as we do.

So when’s the updated 13-inch model coming out?


Apple Introduces 16-Inch MacBook Pro; Fixes Keyboard →

November 13, 2019 · 14:39

Apple:

The 16-inch MacBook Pro features a new Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm of key travel and a stable key feel, as well as an Apple-designed rubber dome that stores more potential energy for a responsive key press. Incorporating extensive research and user studies focused on human factors and key design, the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers a keyboard with a comfortable, satisfying and quiet typing experience. The new Magic Keyboard also features a physical Escape key and an inverted-“T” arrangement for the arrow keys, along with Touch Bar and Touch ID, for a keyboard that delivers the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook.

They fixed it! This setup is the best next thing after having no Touch Bar at all.


New 16-inch MacBook Pro to Debut This Week →

November 13, 2019 · 10:55

Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

The 16-inch MacBook Pro will replace the current 15-inch model, which starts at $2,399. The new laptop will cost about the same and is expected to go on sale this week, the people said. It won’t be the last Mac launch of the year. Apple plans to release the revamped Mac Pro desktop computer in December, one of the people said. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

I’m most curious about the starting price (was rumoured to be around 3000 USD) and the new keyboard. Will it really be fixed? Finally?


Mechanical Keyboards as a Hobby — My Collection [2019/11]

November 13, 2019 · 09:53

I’ve previously written only a few short words about one of my newer hobbies — mechanical keyboards — which has been a fantastic journey, keeping me occupied, teaching me new things, while providing a superior tool for all my writing at the same time. This all started over 30 years ago, when I used my first mechs, but which I left behind when I switched to laptops. Unfortunately, I listened a little too much to Jason Snell and John Gruber talking about their mechanical keyboards on their podcasts, so here I am, and I’d like to share what I’ve collected so far…

Continue reading →


Apple Card’s Sexist Algorithm →

November 10, 2019 · 10:30

DHH on Twitter:

It gets even worse. Even when she pays off her ridiculously low limit in full, the card won’t approve any spending until the next billing period. Women apparently aren’t good credit risks even when they pay off the fucking balance in advance and in full.

So obviously we both furiously signup for the fucking $25/month credit-check bullshit shakedown that is TransUnion. Maybe someone stole my wife’s identity? Even though we’ve verified there was nothing wrong previously. Guess what: HER CREDIT SCORE WAS HIGHER THAN MINE!!!

Carmine Granucci on Twitter:

Just read this thread. My wife has a way better score than me, almost 850, has a higher salary and was given a credit limit 1/3 of mine. We had joked that maybe Apple is just sexist. Seems like it’s not a joke. Beyond f’ed up.


Undercover Reporter Reveals Life in a Polish Troll Farm →

November 7, 2019 · 10:15

Christian Davies, reporting for The Guardian:

The undercover reporter, Katarzyna Pruszkiewicz, spent six months this year working at Cat@Net, which describes itself as an “ePR agency comprising specialists who build a positive image of companies, private individuals and public institutions – mostly in social media.”.

Pruszkiewicz’s first task when she joined the company was to set up a social media avatar for sharing “social and political content” with the aim of attracting 500 followers.

“The aim is to build credibility with people from both sides of the political divide. Once you have won someone’s trust by reflecting their own views back at them, you are in a position to influence them,” said Wojciech Cieśla, who oversaw the investigation in collaboration with Investigate Europe, a consortium of European investigative reporters.


Apple Mail Stores Encrypted Emails in Plain Text Database (Fix Included!) →

November 7, 2019 · 10:03

Bob Gendler:

The main thing I discovered was that the snippets.db database file in the Suggestions folder stored my emails. And on top of that, I found that it stored my S/MIME encrypted emails completely UNENCRYPTED. Even with Siri disabled on the Mac, it still stores unencrypted messages in this database! […]

[…] This completely defeats the purpose of utilizing and sending an encrypted email. […]

Another database, entities.db, stores records of people’s names, email, and phone numbers you’ve corresponded with. Although the phone number may not be in your contact list, data from emails such as signature blocks and forward information are stored. It’s like an address book built for you. This could be touchy, as it may allow quick and easy access to some potentially sensitive information.

Bob mentions a few fixes you should definitely check out if you’re using encrypted email.

It’s been 100 days since I’ve alerted Apple, we’ve seen a security update to macOS Sierra 10.12, security updates to macOS High Sierra 10.13, Supplemental Updates to macOS Mojave 10.14, a security update to macOS Mojave 10.14, macOS Catalina 10.15.0 released, Supplemental Update to 10.15.0, and 10.15.1 release.

For a company that prides itself on security and privacy, the lack of attention to detail on an issue like this completely and totally surprises me.

Sadly, I am still not surprised that they react selectively to security issues. This problem hasn’t been fixed in years and it appears that not much has changed.


Why Would You Compare a Tesla Model 3 to a 7-Series BMW? →

November 4, 2019 · 13:10

Simon Alvarez, writing for Teslarati:

The Model 3, for example, was initially announced to have a 0-60 mph time of “less than 6 seconds” during its unveiling event. Even the vehicle’s “slowest” trim, the Standard Range variant that’s available off-menu, has a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds. That’s a hair faster than the BMW 730d M-Sport.

Why would you compare a Model 3, which is roughly the equivalent of a BMW 3-series, to a 7-series, which is a full two size classes higher? Similarly, the Model S was often compared to the Audi A8, Merc S-class and BMW 7-series, while it should have been compared to the A6 or A7, E-class, and 5-series.

Teslas are really interesting cars and what they have done so far is nothing short of amazing, but all the fanboyism is really putting me off.


Google to Acquire Fitbit →

November 4, 2019 · 12:01

Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President, Devices & Services at Google:

Today, we’re announcing that Google has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Fitbit, a leading wearables brand.

Meanwhile, Fitbit put out a press release which includes this statement:

Consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit. Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fitbit’s DNA since day one, and this will not change. Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.

And yet they just sold all of their user’s personal information to Google.


Safari Sends User IP Addresses to Chinese Tencent

October 13, 2019 · 21:38

From ‘About Safari & Privacy’ in iOSes Safari Settings:

When Fraudulent Website Warning is enabled, Safari will display a warning if the website you are visiting is a suspected phishing website. Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to steal your personal information, such as usernames, passwords and other account information. A fraudulent website masquerades as a legitimate one, such as a bank, financial institution or email service provider. Before visiting a website, Safari may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudulent. These safe browsing providers may also log your IP address.

  1. You can disable this by toggling off the Fraudulent Website Warning setting.
  2. This is complete unacceptable.

via Tom Parker


Why Does Apple Do Business in China ‘If This Is The Type of Shit They Pull’? →

October 10, 2019 · 08:53

John Gruber, for Daring Fireball:

The question is: Why do business in China if this is the type of shit they pull?

Money. And this is despite Tim Cook’s outburst in 2014:

“We do things for other reasons than a profit motive, we do things because they are right and just,” Mr Cook growled. Whether in human rights, renewable energy or accessibility for people with special needs, “I don’t think about the bloody ROI,” Mr Cook said, in the same stern, uncompromising tone that Apple employees hope they never have to hear. “Just to be very straightforward with you, if that’s a hard line for you … then you should get out of the stock.”

It seems that it all depends on how large that profit motive is.

Shame on Apple for catering to the Chinese government. At this point, the company needs something akin to the recent #BlizzardBoycott.


Spider-Man Will Stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe →

September 28, 2019 · 12:55

Brent Lang, for Variety:

After briefly breaking up, Sony Pictures and Marvel have found a way to get back in the Spider-Man business together.

On Friday, the two companies jointly announced that MarvelStudios and its president, Kevin Feige, will produce the third film in the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” series. It will once again feature Tom Holland reprising his role as the titular hero. The rumor mill roared back to life this week with hints that the two companies were close to brokering a new agreement.

This is great news! I really like what they’ve done with the character and Tom Holland was probably the best actor for the job.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max: The Battery Life Is Real →

September 18, 2019 · 13:47

Nilay Patel, for The Verge:

[…] the iPhone 11 Pro cameras are an enormous improvement over the XS, and they beat the Pixel and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus in most of our side-by-side comparisons. In fact, I think the iPhone 11 Pro is the best smartphone camera on the market right now.

Make sure to take a good look at all of Nilay’s samples. While the year-old Pixel 3 indeed has a lot less detail, especially in Night Sight mode, I do like the look of many of the Note 10 photos more. Their post-processing system still needs more work but Samsung really is in point with their cameras recently.

From my conversations with Apple, semantic rendering basically goes like this:

  • The iPhone starts taking photos to a buffer the instant you open the camera app. So by the time you actually press the shutter button, it’s captured four underexposed frames and the photo you want. Then it grabs one overexposed frame. (This is all basically the same as the iPhone XS and the Pixel 3, except the Pixel doesn’t grab that overexposed frame.)
  • Smart HDR looks for things in the photos it understands: the sky, faces, hair, facial hair, things like that.
  • Then it uses the additional detail from the underexposed and overexposed frames to selectively process those areas of the image: hair gets sharpened, the sky gets de-noised but not sharpened, faces get relighted to make them look more even, and facial hair gets sharpened up.
  • Smart HDR is also now less aggressive with highlights and shadows. Highlights on faces aren’t corrected as aggressively as before because those highlights make photos look more natural, but other highlights and shadows are corrected to regain detail.
  • The whole image gets saved and shows up in your camera roll.
  • This all happens instantly every time you take a photo.

I wasn’t a fan of Smart HDR on the XS and I actually preferred the look of the iPhone Xs shots when shooting backlit subjects — they weren’t as flat or dull.

The only place where I truly missed 3D Touch was the keyboard: you could press down anywhere on the keyboard to move the cursor around on the XS. With Haptic Touch, you press and hold on the spacebar.

I am going to miss this a lot. I tried using the Spacebar method and it’s going to take a while to get used to it.


The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Do Disneyland After Dark →

September 18, 2019 · 13:37

Matthew Panzarino, for TechCrunch, details how Direct Transfer works and what it’s limitations are:

Much of the iPhone 11 Pro’s setup process has remained the same over the years, but Apple has added one new feature worth mentioning: Direct Transfer. This option during setup sits, philosophically, between restoring from a backup made on a local Mac and restoring from an iCloud backup.

Direct Transfer is designed to help users transfer their information directly from one device to another using a direct peer-to-peer connection between the two devices. Specifically, it uses Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL), which also powers AirDrop and AirPlay. The transfer is initiated using a particle cloud link similar to the one you see setting up Apple Watch. Once it’s initiated, your old iPhone and new iPhone will be out of commission for up to two to three hours, depending on how much information you’re transferring.

The data is encrypted in transit. Information directly transferred includes Messages history, full resolution photos that are already stored on your phone and any app data attached to installed apps. The apps themselves are not transferred because Apple’s app signing procedure locks apps to a device, so they must be (automatically) re-dowloaded from the App Store, a process that begins once the Direct Transfer is complete. This also ensures that you’re getting the appropriate version of the app.

Once you’ve done the transfer, the data on your phone is then “rationalized” with iCloud. This helps in cases where you have multiple devices and one of those other devices could have been making changes in the cloud that now need to be updated on the device.

Apple noted that Direct Transfer is good for a few kinds of people:

  • People without an iCloud backup
  • People who have not backed up in a while
  • People in countries where internet speeds are not broadly strong, like China
  • People who don’t mind waiting longer initially for a “more complete” restore

Basically what you’ve got here is a choice between having your iPhone “ready” immediately for basic functionality (iCloud backup restore) and waiting a bit longer to have far more of your personal data accessible from the start, without waiting for iCloud downloads of original photos, Messages history, etc.

Direct Transfer also does not transfer Face ID or Touch ID settings, Apple Pay information or Mail Data, aside from usernames and passwords.

After iPhone Migration is complete, the Messages content from the device will be reconciled with the Messages content in iCloud to ensure they are in sync. The same is true for Photos stored in iCloud.

My plan was to make a full iTunes backup (under MacOS Mojave) and then restore it to the iPhone 11 Pro, which I would then upgrade to iOS 13.1 beta (13.0 is buggy), but I’m worried iTunes won’t like iOS 13.

Oh, about that improved Face ID angle — I saw, maybe, a sliiiiiiight improvement, if any. But not that much. A few degrees? Sometimes? Hard to say. I will be interested to see what other reviewers found. Maybe my face sucks.

I was hoping for a distinctly wider Face ID, even wider than the system on the iPad Pro.

On a tripod or another stationary object, Night Mode will automatically extend up to a 10-second exposure. This allows for some great night photography effects, like light painting or trailing.

Now this is a first! I’ll be extremely interested to test this out.

We are truly in a golden age for taking pictures of dark shit with phone cameras.

I chortled when I read this.


The iPhones 11 Pro and iPhone 11: ‘They Look and Feel Like a Single Camera With Multiple Zoom Levels’ →

September 18, 2019 · 13:31

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

I keep mentioning that the iPhone 11 Pro has a three-camera system and the iPhone 11 a dual-camera system. And I’ll mention that again. But what’s essential to understand is that you don’t need to know that the iPhone 11 camera systems consist of two or three discrete cameras. From the user’s perspective, they look and feel like a single camera with multiple zoom levels […]

This works for 720p and 1080p at frame rates up to 60 FPS, and for 4K at 24 and 30 FPS. The exception is 4K 60 FPS — when shooting 4K 60 FPS, once you start recording, you’re stuck with the lens you started with.

This is one of the main reasons I decided to upgrade from my XS to the 11 Pro and while I wish everything worked at 4K and 60 fps, it’s not that big of a deal.

Another bit of magic. There are two new options in Settings → Camera: “Photos Capture Outside the Frame” (off by default) and “Videos Capture Outside the Frame” (on by default). When these options are turned on, when you shoot with the 1x or 2x lenses (wide or telephoto), the Camera app will use the next widest lens to capture additional footage outside the frame of the lens you’re shooting with. In post, this allows you to rotate the photo or video — typically, to fix a crooked horizon — without cropping. This seems to be, unfortunately, a bit buggy in iOS 13.0, but when it works, it’s amazing. At some point when Apple has more confidence in this feature, I expect it to be on by default for both video and photos.

Now this is something which I am excited to test. I wonder if it’s already fixed in the betas of iOS 13.1.

The new SF Camera font is delightful. Literally no one is going to buy an iPhone 11 just to get a slightly more industrial-looking font in the Camera app, but it’s a nice bonus. Update: OK, OK, we all know there’s at least one person who might buy an iPhone 11 just to get the new SF Camera font.

I’m actually disappointed John didn’t go into greater detail on the new SF Camera font — I was secretly hoping it would have a whole section in his review.


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.