’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.


April 3, 2019 · 14:26

My dad passed away 4 years ago. I was going to write a few words about it yesterday but I had a really bad day and didn’t feel like it. Today’s not much better.


2019 iMac vs. iMac Pro (And 2014 iMac) →

April 2, 2019 · 13:28

Rob Griffiths, on Robservatory:

How does the new iMac compare to the iMac Pro? Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those lying around to directly test against. However, thanks to the Geekbench 4 Results Browser, it’s easy to find the iMac Pro’s results. I looked for the 10-core iMac Pro, as that’s supposedly the best balance of price, raw CPU speed (GHz), and multi-core performance. Here’s what I found…

I would actually consider getting an iMac if it had the iMac Pro’s cooling system, Apple lowered their SSD and RAM prices to reasonable levels, and on the condition that Apple fix the screen dust issue. Basically, the only Mac I would even consider buying today, is the Mac Mini, despite it being a bit expensive for what it offers.


The MacBook Keyboard Fiasco Is Surely Worse Than Apple Thinks →

April 2, 2019 · 13:25

David Heinemeier Hansson, on Signal v. Noise:

Apple keep insisting that only a “small number of customers have problems” with the MacBook keyboards. That’s bollocks. This is a huge issue, it’s getting worse not better, and Apple is missing the forest for the trees.

The fact is that many people simply do not contact Apple when their MacBook keyboards fail. They just live with an S key that stutters or a spacebar that intermittently gives double. Or they just start using an external keyboard. Apple never sees these cases, so it never counts in their statistics.

So here’s some anecdata for Apple. I sampled the people at Basecamp. Out of the 47 people using MacBooks at the company, a staggering 30% are dealing with keyboard issues right now!! And that’s just the people dealing with current keyboard issues. If you include all the people who used to have issues, but went through a repair or replacement process, the number would be even higher.


Apple Cancels AirPower →

March 29, 2019 · 22:24

Matthew Panzarino, for TechCrunch:

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering in an emailed statement today.

Not that I was interested, but… damn!


Quick Thoughts on AirPods 2

March 28, 2019 · 09:45

I have used my first generation AirPods almost daily for the past two years. I started having issues with the right AirPod a few months ago, so I sent them in to get them looked at. They, surprisingly, replaced both AirPods (I got the old case back since it was fine) because Apple confirmed the issues that I had described. Quite frankly, going without AirPods for 5 days wasn’t easy — they’re easily the best product that Apple has created recently.

I expected AirPods 2 to get a 30% price increase and there being just one model available. Ideally, Apple would have introduced the second generation model with the charging case at the same price, but that’s just not how the world works. Instead, we got new AirPods with the old case for the same price and the option to upgrade to the Qi-enabled case for an extra 25%. This is better than nothing and honestly, you don’t actually need the wireless charging case.

There are rumours of AirPods with ANC. I will wait for them but I really hope they’re not going to charge even more for those.

Anyway, if you haven’t yet used AirPods (and they fit your ears), make sure to get a new pair. They really are extraordinary.


Quick Thoughts on the iPad Mini 5 and 10.5-inch iPad Air

March 28, 2019 · 09:29

I really thought the iPad Mini was dead but when the rumours started coming in about a newer model, I kept my fingers crossed for Apple adopting the Liquid Retina display from the new iPad Pros, along with a similarly designed case. I had two Minis in my iPad history and I loved them both. They were most excellent for thumb-typing and fantastic reading tablets, especially for RSS, the web, Twitter, and even ebooks. The screen was a bit small for comic books and magazines but I blame my ageing eyes on that. While a new Mini is always welcome — it really is a great little tablet — things have changed in the last few years. I really expect more from the “most innovative” company in the world, than just a speed bump, a slightly better screen, and the same 7-year-old design.

The “new” 10.5-inch iPad Air is really just a 10.5-inch iPad Pro without ProMotion and the quad-speaker system. While most people won’t notice the loss of the former, they really could have retained the latter, since a lot of people like to use iPads for watching video. The good news is that the price is down slightly.


Quick Thoughts on the New iMac (Early 2019)

March 28, 2019 · 09:14

Apple finally updated the iMac with new CPUs and GPUs last week and while not much has changed in the design of this particular Mac — same design, same Bluetooth, similar configs, etc. — a speed bump is always welcome. Unfortunately, some upgrade pricing is still as insanely absurd as ever and the base models still offer spinning disk drives:

  • The base models should all have SSDs.
  • The 8 GB → 16 GB upgrade costs $200. You can buy an 8 GB module for around $40-50 and a 16 GB module to around $90, which means Apple is charging 3-4 times more.
  • The 32 GB RAM upgrade is $600. A 32 GB set of two 16 GB DDR modules is around $180-190.
  • The 64 GB RAM upgrade is $1000 while a similar set can range from $200-430, depending on the vendor.
  • SSD upgrade pricing is 2-3 times higher than current prices for high-quality NVMe SSDs.
  • Since the design hasn’t been changed, I’m assuming that dust will still accumulate on the back of the screen over time.

I’m glad that the iMac has been updated but I still cannot comprehend why they aren’t getting more flack for their absurd upgrade pricing. The i9-9900 configuration should make a nice hackintosh config though, which I can fix in minutes or hours should anything go wrong, instead of sending it in to Apple and waiting 5-7 days. This route also allows me to use much beefier GPUs. I just wish Apple and NVIDIA stopped bickering — MacOS really could use GTX and RTX support.


Appl Still Hasn’t Fixd Its MacBook Kyboad Problm →

March 27, 2019 · 21:21

JoannaStern,forTheWallStreetJournal:

Nop, I havn’t fogottn how to wit. No did my dito go on vacation.

You s, to sha th pain of using an Appl laptop kyboad that’s faild aft fou months, I could only think of on ida: tak all th bokn ltts out of my column. Thn I alizd thatwould mak th whol thing unadabl. So to…

MySpacebarstoppedworkingtheotherday.


Valve’s New ‘Steam Link Anywhere’ Service Streams PC Games to Mobile Devices, Excluding Apple’s →

March 18, 2019 · 09:35

Mitchel Broussard, for MacRumors:

Valve today announced an expansion of its game-streaming app Steam Link, now named Steam Link Anywhere (via The Verge).

The original Steam Link app let users stream PC games on Steam to a mobile device within their home, but Steam Link Anywhere lets users stream games from their PC to any compatible device with internet service, excluding Apple devices.

Perhaps Apple has a good reason for blocking Steam Link Anywhere, but we’re the ones paying the price. I would also like to know what that reason is.


100 Years of Bauhaus →

March 14, 2019 · 10:46

The Bauhaus was a lively school of ideas and a field for experimenting in the free and applied arts, design, architecture and educational methods. Here we present the phases the Bauhaus went through, the places where it based its activities, its teaching, the people behind it and their works.


iOS 12.2 ECG Changes →

March 13, 2019 · 15:10

Guilherme Rambo, for 9to5Mac:

Up until now, Apple Watch Series 4 users who bought their Apple Watch in the US were able to use the ECG feature just fine, provided that they completed the onboarding step on their iPhone first. In this onboarding, the user has to confirm their date of birth and also see some instructions about how ECG works.

A change to this onboarding process suggests that Apple is going to start taking more aggressive measures to prevent usage of the feature in other territories. In iOS 12.2, a new phrase has been added to the bottom of the screen, which says that “During setup, your location will be used to make sure this feature is available in your region.”. Trying to perform the setup on an iPhone without a SIM installed gave the error “Unable to confirm your location. Make sure your iPhone is not in airplane mode and has a working SIM card to proceed”.

Now that I’ve gotten used to having the ECG feature on my US Apple Watch in Europe, I really hope they don’t block it.


Reeder 4 Beta for Mac Is Here →

March 13, 2019 · 10:21

While I really like using Unread for more casual reading, nothing lets me get through my RSS queue quicker than Reeder for iOS and Mac. I love this app and I’m happy to see that a new version is coming. Silvio Rizzi mentions that the iOS version is almost ready and having spent the morning with the Mac version, it appears this will be a nice update. Since Reeder 3 debuted in 2015, Silvio hasn’t been charging for updates, so I’ll gladly pay for the new version. You can find a list of some of Reeder 4’s new features on his site.