John Siracusa on Apple’s Butterfly Mechanism Keyboards →

May 26, 2017 · 14:11

John Siracusa on ATP.fm (episode 223):

I do not like thinking about these keyboards. Almost makes me long for a non-moving iPhone 7 home button style keyboard where nothing actually moves.

Looking at the iPhone, Apple steadily worked over the years to eliminate the physical Home button, waiting until all the pieces were in place (Taptic Engine) to finally do it. I’m a fan. But a whole physical keyboard?

I have been using the MacBook Pro Escape since it premiered and while the keyboard is mostly fine, I do share Marco Arment’s thoughts in regard to its reliability — heat (using it in the sun) is definitely an issue. While the keyboards in the previous models were perhaps more flimsy and mushy, they didn’t have any reliability issues (that I know of). Nothing widespread at least…

This is what Apple has to say about the butterfly mechanism on their MacBook page:

Traditional keyboards use a scissor mechanism, which tends to wobble around the edges. This creates a lack of precision when you strike anywhere except the center of the key. We needed to reduce key wobbling for a keyboard this thin; otherwise, striking a key off-center could result in the keycap hitting bottom before a keystroke registers. So we designed a unique butterfly mechanism, which is wider than the scissor mechanism and has a single assembly made from a stiffer material — allowing for a more stable, responsive key that takes up less vertical space. This innovative design improves stability, uniformity, and control — no matter where you press on the key.

They say less on the late 2016 MacBook Pro page:

The keyboard has been redesigned to include our new, second-generation butterfly mechanism — meticulously refined for greater comfort and responsiveness.

While I do like the feel of the new keyboard, it does have a design flaw — heat causes the keys to stick or clack even louder than normal when pressed. The following steps are what I imagine Apple’s thought process for eliminating the problem could be.

  1. Eliminate reliable but mushy keyboard — replace with butterfly mechanism series “because thinness.”
  2. Find no solution to sticky keys over next few years. Lose a lot of money on replacements and warranty repairs.
  3. “Hey guys! We solved this problem already, in the iPhone!”
  4. Add improved Taptic Engine. Replace current keyboard with a new one, with unmoveable keys.
  5. Profit?

The next step will surely be just a glass surface with keys displayed on it, right?

P.S. I truly hope none of the above comes about in my lifetime — I’m worried that it will, sooner than we expect it too though. Keep your eyes peeled when watching The Fate of the Furious / Fast & Furious 8 and you’ll know what I mean.

How to Make the Perfect Martini — Roger Moore →

May 26, 2017 · 13:48

Roger Moore:

The sad fact is that I know exactly how to make a dry martini but I can’t drink them because, two years ago, I discovered I was diabetic. I prefer one with gin, but James Bond liked a vodka martini, “shaken not stirred” – which I never said, by the way. That was Sean Connery, remember him?

The worst martini I’ve ever had was in a club in New Zealand, where the barman poured juice from a bottle of olives into the vodka. That’s called a dirty martini and it is a dirty, filthy, rotten martini, and should not be drunk by anybody except condemned prisoners.

My dry martinis taste amazing and the day they tell me I’ve got 24 hours to live I am going to have six. Here’s how I make them […]

🍸

Q22, Warsaw, Poland [wallpaper]

May 25, 2017 · 15:28

Some of you asked me for a wallpaper of my recent shot of the Q22 “skyscraper” in Warsaw, Poland — you can find it below in three different flavours, for the desktop, tablet and smartphone.

Continue reading →


Design Before You “Minify” →

May 22, 2017 · 08:29

Don Melton:

Then again, what the hell do I know? I’m just an old Web browser guy. So I’ll leave you with this quote, sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein, that I kept in my .plan file back when that was a normal thing to have around:

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

I’m just trying to get people to think a little bit more before they deploy. I certainly wish I had here.

I’m in the same boat as Don — I really should overhaul this site to make it simpler, so it would hopefully load faster.

Google’s Proprietary Fork of HTML Is Taking Over the Open Web →

May 22, 2017 · 08:14

Nick Heer:

Consider this: Google owns the most popular search engine and the biggest video hosting platform in most countries, operates one of the most-used email services on Earth,1 has the greatest market share of any mobile operating system, makes the most popular web browser in many countries, serves the majority of the targeted advertising on the web, provides the most popular analytics software for websites, and is attempting to become a major internet service provider. And, to cap it all off, they’re subtly replacing HTML with their own version, and it requires a Google-hosted JavaScript file to correctly display.

Things 3 for iPhone, iPad, and Mac — Quick First Thoughts

May 21, 2017 · 21:39

Cultured Code has finally released Things 3 for iOS and macOS — the next edition, rewritten from the ground up, of one of the most popular GTD systems for iPhone, iPad and Mac. I have been using it for the past day or so, hence I cannot make any solid statements at this point in time, but I was a long-time Things 1.0 user, right up until my tasks overwhelmed me and it was easier to delete the app than to actually complete everything that I had jotted down in it. I’m hoping that this time I’ll make it work — Cultured Code really seems to have the UI down pat and while not perfect, it fits my needs. I do have a few niggles that I will address in the future, but nothing truly major. Having said that, Things 3 is not cheap, but they do have a launch sale going currently — each app is 20% cheaper and there are a few days left to pull the trigger. I can’t say that I’m a fan of their pricing methods (I would prefer a single, universal iOS app, even if it cost more), but if you need a well thought out GTD system for a single user, give Things a try (there’s a trial of the Mac version of the app).

Things 3 – iPhone – $7.99 (20% launch sale) →
Things 3 – iPad – $15.99 (20% launch sale) →
Things 3 – Mac – $39.99 (20% launch sale) →

Theresa May to Create New Internet That Would Be Controlled and Regulated by Government →

May 21, 2017 · 21:18

Andrew Griffin, reporting for The Independant:

Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online.

Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works.

“Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet,” it states. “We disagree.”

The direction taken by the UK in recent years is nothing short of horrifying and perhaps the worst thing that will happen to the internet in its history. At the same time I cannot fathom why the people don’t protest this more. This quote, from V for Vendetta springs to mind immediately:

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

JSON Feed Version 1 — Like RSS, With JSON Instead of XML →

May 17, 2017 · 21:06

Brent Simmons & Manton Reece:

The JSON Feed format is a pragmatic syndication format, like RSS and Atom, but with one big difference: it’s JSON instead of XML.

For most developers, JSON is far easier to read and write than XML. Developers may groan at picking up an XML parser, but decoding JSON is often just a single line of code.

Our hope is that, because of the lightness of JSON and simplicity of the JSON Feed format, developers will be more attracted to developing for the open web.

Moom Removed from Sale Due to Patent Violation →

May 13, 2017 · 13:37

Rob Griffiths and Peter Maurer:

Tonight we received notice that Moom is in violation of US patent number 8434019, Apparatus and method for positioning windows on a display. Yes, someone has patented positioning windows on a screen via a grid. Given we’ve been notified of a patent violation, we have no choice but to remove Moom from sale, effective immediately.

Sometime patents make sense. Most of the time however, they don’t. This is as absurd as you can imagine anything can be.

May 8, 2017 · 22:46

Sometimes, once every few weeks, when night falls and the world goes to sleep, I love to put my headphones on, select a few great songs, and get transported to another dimension.

Tonight, one of those songs is Clubbed to Death.

Phil Schiller on App Store Upgrade Pricing →

May 6, 2017 · 19:20

Kunal Dua, interviewing Phil Schiller:

Phill Schiller: The reason we haven’t done it is that it’s much more complex than people know, and that’s okay, it’s our job to think about complex problems, but the App Store has reached so many successful milestones without it because the business model makes sense to customers. And the upgrade model, which I know very well from my days of running many large software programmes, is a model from the shrink-wrapped software days that for some developers is still very important, for most, it’s not really a part of the future we are going.

I think for many developers, subscription model is a better way to, go than try to come up with a list of features, and different pricing for upgrade, versus for new customers. I am not saying it doesn’t have value for some developers but for most it doesn’t, so that’s the challenge. And if you look at the App Store it would take a lot of engineering to do that and so would be at the expense of other features we can deliver.

Subscription models are fine for a very limited number of apps. If every app had subscription pricing, I’d probably be using five applications at most. I would however endorse in-app purchases to unlock new functions, added by developers. This isn’t always possible unfortunately, especially in scenarios where most of the apps code changes from version to version.

May 5, 2017 · 22:03

We’re binge watching Mad Men and things have been a bit slow recently, as my wife noted today (we’re on season 3), so naturally one of Sterling Cooper’s employees had a meeting with a lawnmower.

Love this show.

May 5, 2017 · 07:24

Surprising morning — Twitter appears to be down from my location, but fine when I VPNed myself to the UK. This hasn’t happened in a long time. I went to Micro.blog instead, but found that my timeline is a bit short. Discovered a cool iOS trick while editing this post though!

Apple to Blame for Lowering Software Value →

May 4, 2017 · 15:56

Matt Gemmell:

No company has done as much damage to the perceived value of software, and the sustainability of being an independent developer, as Apple.

Not that other companies wouldn’t have done the same thing — they would have. It’s just that Apple was the successful one.

It’s resolutely the fault of us as consumers, and it’s actively encouraged by the App Store.

Matt raises a few good points, however, I also tend to feel that developers themselves are partly to blame. For example, many years ago App A launched at $9.99. A few months or years later, competing App B comes along, but it starts out at $4.99. After a while, App A starts a 50% sale (and often doesn’t raise the price again). App C comes along at $0.99, followed by App D, which is free with in-app purchases. That’s the trend that I have seen for many of my favourite apps. Some developers stay strong, however — The Soulmen with their Ulysses [iOS/Mac] for example. The Mac version costs $44.99, while the iOS version is only $24.99, and both versions have nearly identical functionality. They can be used as standalone software too — there is no need to use them both. We’re not even getting into developer sustainability here — cost of living in some countries is much higher than in others. Some do this is as their full-time job, others as a hobby.

The one thing that I still expect Apple to do, is to add an upgrade pricing mechanism, which would greatly benefit developers. I’ll gladly pay for upgrades, but I am probably in the minority. Unfortunately.

At this rate, we might not have a lot of quality software to choose from in the future…

Jason Snell’s Fruitless Quest to Replace Skype →

May 4, 2017 · 10:05

Jason Snell:

Every now and then when I complain about Skype, which most of my podcast peers and I use for our conversations, someone suggests an alternative voice-over-IP service and asks why we don’t switch.

I get asked about why I use Skype for podcasting from time to time, including questions about why I don’t switch to other platforms. My answer is that it just works and I have yet to find something visibly better. Jason has much more experience in this field, so I invite you to read about his thoughts and findings.

What’s Next for Micro.blog →

May 4, 2017 · 09:41

Manton Reece:

Now that Micro.blog is available to Kickstarter backers, we’re working on many improvements leading up to the public launch. Here are some of the features and bugs we’re working on…

If you’re interested in the future of Micro.blog, Manton Reece added a handy ‘What’s Next’ page, listing all the functions and features that can be expected in the near future, in preparation for the public launch.

Configuring Micro.blog and WordPress to Work Together

May 3, 2017 · 23:56

I backed Manton’s Reece Micro.blog Kickstarted campaign a few months ago. His goal was to get all of us to have more control over the content that we publish. This is especially important in times such as these when you’re never sure when someone will shut down or change their goals.

Continue reading →


May 3, 2017 · 23:04

I’ve been paying more and more attention recently to the elegant and beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio. Alfa is finally doing what’s right and what I’ve always wanted in a car — great style and rear wheel drive (AWD optionally).

Apple Financial Results — FY Q2 2017 →

May 3, 2017 · 21:18

Apple PR:

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 second quarter ended April 1, 2017. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $52.9 billion and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.10. These results compare to revenue of $50.6 billion and earnings per diluted share of $1.90 in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold:

  • 50.8 million iPhones (51.2 million in FY Q2 2016)
  • 8.9 million iPads (10.3 million in FY Q2 2016)
  • 4.2 million Macs (4 million in FY Q2 2016)

May 3, 2017 · 13:56

Saw this amazing villa while taking a walk — stunning colour choices. Completely in love with it.

May 3, 2017 · 01:51

OK, so here’s a quick summary of what I did: instead of using WordPress as my back-end, I set up a plugin called WPeMatico which pulls posts from my moridin.micro.blog feed and then posts everything as new posts on my site. Automatically.

May 3, 2017 · 01:33

I felt I wasn’t getting everything out of Micro.blog when using it in conjunction with WordPress as its back-end. Decided to try out the experience that Manton Reece envisioned, so here I am… testing everything.

Modern Hackintoshes Show That Apple Should Probably Just Build a Mac Tower →

May 2, 2017 · 22:20

Andrew Cunningham, writing for Ars Technica:

“The hassle of getting everything working has stagnated my updates throughout the years,” Nolan said. “After El Cap’s new Disk Utility and rootless feature temporarily breaking brew, I simply left the machine on 10.10.5. Besides security updates, I let it chug along and I have had little reason to consider upgrading it past that.”

Sometimes, perhaps as a side effect of software updates, things just stop working properly for obscure reasons. Sleep and audio were the two issues that I saw brought up repeatedly—one developer has never been able to get his front audio ports working properly, and a TV producer I talked to sometimes has to log out and back in to get the audio jacks to work. Graphics cards and USB can also be fiddly.

That’s one of the reasons I haven’t upgraded my Hackintosh since I built it — there’s nothing much worth upgrading to at the moment, although there is a small light in the tunnel in regard to NVMe. My current build is practically bulletproof in terms of updates — I only have to worry about Clover, while the rest works 99.9% of the time.

“I’m fine with spending hundreds, if not thousands of [dollars] having a top-of-the-line system to avoid any hiccups or slowdown on any of my applications,” he told Ars. “And here I ran into the problem—the lack of Apple hardware to be upgraded really began freaking me out. I wanted a system I could upgrade the parts at a reasonable cost, and without dealing [with] the opaqueness of Apple support.”

JC is one of several people who told me they would be happy to shell out for a new Mac Pro if it had a more traditional PC’s flexibility.

There is an issue with Apple desktop hardware which irritates me to no end — when anything in a Hackintosh (or PC) fails, I can just go out and buy a new SSD, HDD, GPU, CPU, fan, stick of RAM, or whatever else broke. I’ll be up and running in a few hours tops. If anything happens to an iMac or Mac Pro, I can expect to be without it for up to a week or two, depending on the severity of the issue and the queue at the Authorised Service Centre1. This is unacceptable for most people.

  1. Still no official Apple Store or Genius Bar in Poland.

Poland Police Forcibly Remove Anti-Nationalist Protesters →

May 1, 2017 · 20:51

Associated Press:

WARSAW, Poland — Police in Poland used force Saturday to remove a few dozen protesters who tried to block a march in downtown Warsaw by a nationalist organization celebrating its anniversary.

The protesters chanted “Poland, free from fascism!” and sat down in the street as they waited for marchers from the National-Radical Camp to arrive.

The group, supported by Poland’s nationalist government, was celebrating 83 years since its foundation. A few hundred members marched with white-and-red flags, chanting anti-migrant slogans.

Police detained and handcuffed some in the group protesting the march, since they had not obtained authorization for it. The new law regulating public gatherings was introduced by the conservative ruling Law and Justice party. Police also used force on journalists reporting about the event, pushing and even kicking them.

The shit that’s currently going on in our country is completely unacceptable by any standards.

April 30, 2017 · 21:26

I’m still trying to figure out all the Micro.blog stuff needed to correctly configure it for WordPress as its back-end. Currently trying to decide if I need cross-posting or not, since WordPress can do that for me.