Smothered by Smog — Polish Cities Rank Among Europe’s Dirtiest →

April 23, 2018 · 10:23

Maciek Nabrdalik and Marc Santora, for The New York Times:

High atop the ski lift at Zar Mountain in southern Poland, the villages below disappear. At first, they seem obscured by morning fog. But the yellow haze does not lift. It hangs heavy, the contrast with the white snow making it clear that something is off.

What is off is the air. Poland has some the most polluted air in all of the European Union, and 33 of its 50 dirtiest cities. Not even mountain retreats are immune.

The problem is largely a result of the country’s love affair with coal. Like elsewhere in Poland, most of the homes in the villages below Zar Mountain are still heated by coal. Some 19 million people rely on coal for heat in winter. In all of the European Union, 80 percent of private homes using coal are in Poland.

Our past and current governments’ policies are unacceptable. I’m afraid not much will change for the better until we finally have fresh, forward-thinking, and honest candidates that manage to win elections. I’m not holding my breath, although I guess I should be.


Why You’ve Never Heard of the Six Chinese Men Who Survived the Titanic →

April 21, 2018 · 10:55

Amy B Wang, writing for The Washington Post:

Hundreds of passengers fled in lifeboats. Hundreds more perished, going down with the ship or freezing to death in the icy water. The only one of Titanic’s lifeboats to turn back to the wreckage found body after body — until it discovered a young Chinese man, still alive, clinging to a piece of wood.

That man would be one of six Chinese passengers who survived the Titanic, a little-known fact about the historic disaster that has largely remained untold or distorted, owing to a racially hostile environment toward Chinese people in the West at the turn of the 20th century.

Fascinating read.


Wavelength for Micro.blog →

April 20, 2018 · 12:03

Manton Reece:

We’re rolling out a new hosted plan on Micro.blog to accommodate microcasts. When you upload an audio file to your site — either from the web, Wavelength, or a third-party app — Micro.blog will automatically create a podcast feed for your microblog. Listeners can subscribe directly, or you can add the feed to the Apple Podcast Directory and it will show up in popular apps like Overcast and Castro. Everything can be served from your own domain name, just like a normal microblog. We’ve been using this infrastructure for all the episodes of our weekly Micro Monday microcast.

New hosted microblogs with microcasting support will be $10/month. Microcast audio files will be limited to 20 MB. Existing microblogs hosted on Micro.blog can be upgraded to support microcasting for an additional $5/month.

It’s fascinating watching how fast Manton is innovating and expanding Micro.blog. I have immense respect for him and his project, especially since it focuses on utilizing open technologies. I hope his next logical step will be to offer support for longer podcasts.


Are External GPUs for Macs Viable in macOS 10.13.4? →

April 20, 2018 · 11:05

Samuel Axon, writing for Ars Technica:

We tested an eGPU enclosure with a Thunderbolt 3-equipped MacBook Pro, and found that, in most applications, performance didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, we also found limitations and software support inconsistencies that prevent the Mac eGPU dream from being fully realized at this time.

This is an extremely tempting solution. I imagine my current setup changing from a Hackintosh and MacBook Pro 13” to just a MacBook Pro 13” with a eGPU setup and external monitor. There would be a few caveats: I’d need a 2 TB SSD in the MacBook, at least a 4K monitor, preferably supporting Display P3 (my current 4K Eizo is sRGB), and I’d want one of those new quad-core Core i7s from Intel. They’re already available but Apple hasn’t yet ingested them into the lineup.

That and a reliable keyboard — my MacBook Pro is currently in for service for a new one.


Jason Snell on His iPad Setup →

April 20, 2018 · 10:59

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

A reader on Twitter suggested I buy this iPad stand on Amazon, and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s surprisingly sturdy. The base that approximates the foot of an iMac is metal, not plastic. A hinge lets me pivot the iPad up and down and likewise doesn’t feel cheap. And the clip mechanism—the stand comes with clips for large and small iPads—is strong enough to hold my iPad without any worry of it sliding out. Best of all, the thing rotates, so I can use my iPad in portrait (for more words on the screen) or landscape (for use with Split View) as I see fit […]

I found what I think is the exact same model of stand that Jason is using, but available on Amazon.de in Europe — it’s under a different name though. I will be ordering this stand later today and hope it’s not a cheap knock-off.

[…] I replaced the Mini Tactile Pro with the Matias Laptop Pro, a Bluetooth mechanical keyboard with a silver-and-black style that fits in pretty well with my iPad and its stand. Until I find something better—let’s face it, I appear to be collecting mechanical keyboards—this is my preferred writing environment when I’m away from my desk. At least until my kids come home from school, at which point I have to go back into my office and close the door.

I’ve been tempted to buy a mechanical keyboard for my Hackintosh for a number of years now, but the WASD V2 that I want, with custom keys, is a bit too expensive to ship to Europe from USA. It doesn’t have Bluetooth either, so I couldn’t use it with my iPad Pro. Jason has tempted me to get the Matias, but it’s over 150 GBP to have it shipped to Poland from the UK — I’ll leave it on my wish list for now and continue using my Apple Wireless Keyboard in the meantime.


Tim Cook: “Users Don’t Want iOS to Merge With macOS” →

April 20, 2018 · 10:48

Peter Wells, speaking with Tim Cook:

“I generally use a Mac at work, and I use an iPad at home,” Cook tells me, “And I always use the iPad when I’m travelling. But I use everything and I love everything.”

Later, when I ask about the divide between the Mac and iOS, which seems almost conservative when compared to Microsoft’s convertible Windows 10 strategy, Cook gives an interesting response.

“We don’t believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade offs and compromises.

This is nothing new — Tim Cook already made this statement a few years go.

I spent many days working solely with a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 the quickest summary I can come up with would be: it’s a good enough notebook, but a terrible tablet, at least in comparison to the iPad. The one situation I really liked it in, was editing photos in Lightroom, where I could detach the keyboard and focus on using touch. The iPad on the other hand, which I use every single day since it came out in 2010, is a great tablet and not a very good notebook. I guess it all depends where you’re coming from — Windows 10, as a desktop operating system, hasn’t yet evolved to be a great mobile OS1, while iOS is the exact opposite, even though iOS 11 helped a lot in that regard.

We’re currently at these strange crossroads between the past and future, while everyone is trying to figure out how to go forward, but it appears they don’t yet know which turn to take.

  1. It’s not a stellar desktop OS at the moment either — they still haven’t figured out HiDPI.

My Airplay Speakers Have Become Obsolete →

April 18, 2018 · 16:00

Chaim Gartenberg, writing for The Verge:

So, it turns out that I can never change my Wi-Fi network’s name ever again, or my speakers will stop working. That may sound ridiculous, but let me walk you through the series of bad decisions and technological quirks that have brought me here.

This is my biggest worry regarding my HomePod. I wouldn’t be as worried if it had a newer SoC, Bluetooth, and a backup 3.5 mm line-in port.


The Cameras That Shot the Winning Photos of World Press Photo 2018 →

April 17, 2018 · 09:25

Michael Zhang, on PetaPixel:

World Press Photo announced the 2018 winners of its prestigious photojournalism contest last week, and most of the winning photos (97 of 129) were accompanied by details of the cameras they were shot with. This year, Nikon took the lead from Canon.

Quite frankly, I’m more interested in the people who took those photos than the cameras themselves. You don’t rank pots and pans (to the best of my knowledge) when chefs take part in a contest — you interview the people behind the recipes. Realistically, the camera is just a tool and I’m sure the photographers would have gotten as near as indistinguishable results whatever gear they used.


Mapping Apple’s Space Gray Shades →

April 17, 2018 · 00:50

Michael Steeber, writing for 9to5Mac:

Silver aluminum, once the defining look of Apple products, has been met with increasing variety over the last several years by a range of colors and finishes that customers can choose from. One of the earliest and most popular options – space gray – has permeated across almost every product line Apple offers.

Yet, ubiquity has not brought consistency. Each new generation of a product seems to bring with it a slightly different take on space gray. Those with large device collections have noted the discrepancies between shades, and discussions brew online over the term’s exact definition.

While subtle variations in material, texture, lighting, and even the shape of a product can play tricks on the eyes, every device Apple currently offers or has produced in space gray can be grouped into one of several loosely defined categories. Below, we’ve cataloged and categorized the vast universe of Apple’s recent dark material finishes in an attempt to unravel the mysteries of space gray.

Car manufacturers use a different name for every single shade of grey they offer. I can’t help but think that Apple was very uncreative in their Space Grey endeavor — they had all the words in the world to use and decided “Space” was good enough, despite the shades being completely different between generations and devices.

I would love to understand their reasoning behind this (bad) decision.


Facebook Won’t Disclose What Information It Has Gathered on Non-users →

April 16, 2018 · 12:13

David Ingram, for The Huffington Post:

Zuckerberg said on Wednesday under questioning by U.S. Representative Ben Luján that, for security reasons, Facebook also collects “data of people who have not signed up for Facebook.”

Lawmakers and privacy advocates immediately protested the practice, with many saying Facebook needed to develop a way for non-users to find out what the company knows about them.

“We’ve got to fix that,” Representative Luján, a Democrat, told Zuckerberg, calling for such disclosure, a move that would have unclear effects on the company’s ability to target ads. Zuckerberg did not respond. On Friday Facebook said it had no plans to build such a tool.

While I don’t want Facebook to keep any records about me or my doings online, I do strongly support an open internet, which technically means that I consent to this sort of behaviour. There will always be bad actors in the world and the internet is no different. I can however attempt to block as much of Facebook as possible, by using an appropriate DNS and content blocker or host file.


The Canadian Cheese Cartel →

April 16, 2018 · 12:00

Allen Pike:

It’s so expensive, in fact, that pizza places estimate their daily food cost with a single number: Cheese Cost. My brother used to work at a pizza place here, and the manager only wanted to know two numbers at the end of the day: revenue, and Cheese Cost. Meat? A rounding error. Vegetables? Irrelevant. Show Me The Cheese.

With these cheese prices, you would expect a healthy import market. Except not, because dairy tariffs in Canada are 245.5%. That is to say, if you want to import a $4.99 block of sharp Tillamook Cheddar, it will cost you $17.27 after import taxes. Surprisingly, there ain’t a lot of sharp Tillamook Cheddar here.

I did not realise I would go bankrupt, were I to live in Canada — I love cheddar!

I’m not sure what Allen means when he says that a “block” of Tillamook Cheddar costs $4.99 in USA and $17.27 in Canada, but I assume he means around 200-250 grams. I found a 2 lb (907 g) “baby loaf” on Amazon for $21.75 (around $75 in Canada?!?), which comes out about right.

Preposterous!

For the sake of comparison, I can get 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of Kerrygold Cheddar in Poland for 58.50 PLN (around 17.30 USD).

Allen Pike also felt obliged to point out that…

The Canadian dairy cartel generates substantially less profit than the Mexican drug cartel does.

He made me laugh, so as a thank you I added his RSS feed to my “Must Read” category of feeds.

via Daring Fireball


Tesla & Nissan Battery Degradation →

April 15, 2018 · 12:17

Fred Lambert, writing for Electrek:

Battery degradation is one of the biggest concerns for electric car owners and potential buyers, but data from Tesla battery packs have been very reassuring so far.

Now the latest data shows less than 10% degradation of the energy capacity after over 160,000 miles on Tesla’s battery packs […]

The data clearly shows that for the first 50,000 miles (100,000 km), most Tesla battery packs will lose about 5% of their capacity, but after the 50,000-mile mark, the capacity levels off and it looks like it could be difficult to make a pack degrade by another 5%.

The trend line currently suggests that the average battery pack could cycle through over 300,000 km (186,000) before coming close to 90% capacity […]

Meanwhile, Nissan has issues with the Leaf:

A recent study shows that with the original 24 kWh pack loses about 20% of their capacity over 5 years and Nissan’s more recent 30 kWh battery pack loses capacity more quickly than the older pack […]

The next few years will be interesting for car buyers. We haven’t had to worry about engines as much so far — they’re more or less reliable enough and don’t lose much power over the years — but battery packs directly influence the usability of an electric car. I privately wanted a Leaf as a city car, but if its pack degrades as quickly as the study above shows, then I will have to reconsider it as an option.


End-to-End Encryption Does Not Prevent Facebook From Accessing WhatsApp Chats →

April 13, 2018 · 11:49

Gregorio Zanon, posting on Medium:

Facebook could potentially access your WhatApp chats. In fact, it could easily acces your entire chat history and every single attachment. Now, I am not saying it does and have no evidence it did. But after Android users have recently been finding out that their call history and SMS data had been collected by Facebook, I believe it is important to go over the means by which Facebook is already in a position to collect our WhatsApp data, from any iPhone running iOS 8 and above.

In case you did not know about this for some reason…


The Graphing Calculator Story →

April 11, 2018 · 15:03

Ron Avitzur:

I used to be a contractor for Apple, working on a secret project. Unfortunately, the computer we were building never saw the light of day. The project was so plagued by politics and ego that when the engineers requested technical oversight, our manager hired a psychologist instead. In August 1993, the project was canceled. A year of my work evaporated, my contract ended, and I was unemployed.

I was frustrated by all the wasted effort, so I decided to uncancel my small part of the project. I had been paid to do a job, and I wanted to finish it. My electronic badge still opened Apple’s doors, so I just kept showing up.

I cannot imagine this would be possible today, which is sad in some ways. Ron’s dedication is truly admirable and I can’t help but wonder how many other stories like this one are out there, waiting to be told.


What It’s Like To See 100 Million Colors →

April 10, 2018 · 15:03

Alexa Tsoulis-Reay, for New York magazine:

Tetrachromats can see colors that most people cannot — up to 100 million, estimates suggest, which is 100 times that of the average human. Most people have three cells, or receptors, in their retinas, but tetrachomats have a fourth receptor, which may be what allows for their heightened color perception. They are usually female, and it’s estimated that about 12 percent of women carry the gene for this fourth receptor. Carrying the gene doesn’t guarantee that you’ll wind up with heightened color vision, but those who both have the gene and who are immersed in a wide range of colors from a very young age appear to be more likely to develop the ability. Researchers are still in the very early stages in their understanding of this condition, so there aren’t any hard numbers on how often it manifests itself.

This article about Concetta Antico is not only fascinating, it is also extremely inspiring. What I found most amazing, is how well Concetta describes the colours that she is able to see — it must be fascinating to see everything around us the way she can. My first thought was that I am blind in comparison to her — just read her description of the colour of grass:

Let’s take mowed grass. Someone who doesn’t have this genetic variation might see bright green, maybe lights or darks in it. I see pinks, reds, oranges, gold in the blades and the tips, and gray-blues and violets and dark greens, browns and emeralds and viridians, limes and many more colors — hundreds of other colors in grass. It’s fascinating and mesmerizing.

She can also tell when someone is sick by just looking at the colour(s) of their skin.


Colour: From Hexcodes to Eyeballs →

April 10, 2018 · 14:50

Jamie Wong, on his Zero Wind blog:

Why do we perceive background-color: #9B51E0 as this particular purple?

This is one of those questions where I thought I’d known the answer for a long time, but as I inspected my understanding, I realized there were pretty significant gaps.

Through an exploration of electromagnetic radiation, optical biology, colorimetry, and display hardware, I hope to start filling in some of these gaps. If you want to skip ahead, here’s the lay of the land we’ll be covering […]

This is a fantastic and informative journey through light and colour — I found myself nodding along to the things I knew and being surprised by the rest. Do set aside at least 15 minutes to get through the whole piece without interruptions.

(via @khron)


MyFitnessPal Hacked →

April 10, 2018 · 00:42

From their FAQ:

On March 25, 2018, we became aware that during February of this year an unauthorized party acquired data associated with MyFitnessPal user accounts […]

The affected information included usernames, email addresses, and hashed passwords – the majority with the hashing function called bcrypt used to secure passwords.

The affected data did not include government-issued identifiers (such as Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers) because we don’t collect that information from users. Payment card data was not affected because it is collected and processed separately.

I still have an account over there which I don’t use. Time to get rid of it.


iPhone 8 (PRODUCT)RED Announced and Goes on Sale Tomorrow →

April 9, 2018 · 16:42

Apple PR:

Apple today announced iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition, the new generation of iPhone in a stunning red finish. Both phones sport a beautiful glass enclosure, now in red, with a matching aluminum band and a sleek black front. The special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone will be available to order online in select countries and regions tomorrow and in stores beginning Friday, April 13.

It dropped today, as the rumours predicted. I am however surprised Apple listened to last year’s criticism concerning the white front — they went black this year — and quite shocked they didn’t release the iPhone X in red guise. I’m sure the latter would have spiked sales if it looked as good as the 8, and there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t have, but I am a little relieved — I would have wanted to swap out my white X for that beauty.


WWDC on a Budget →

April 5, 2018 · 16:44

Joe Cieplinski, on his blog:

I know conferences can be expensive, and everyone has to judge for themselves what “affordable” means. But I’ve seen a lot of people lately say that they simply can’t do WWDC anymore because it’s “way too expensive” and I wanted to address that.

He has a slew of simple and seemingly obvious, but very useful tips — a must read if you’re planning to go in the future, because it’s a bit late to take into account for WWDC 2018.


US Social Media Screening Proposal →

April 5, 2018 · 16:38

Sewell Chan, for The New York Times:

Nearly all applicants for a visa to enter the United States — an estimated 14.7 million people a year — will be asked to submit their social media user names for the past five years, under proposed rules that the State Department issued on Friday […]

Along with the social media information, visa applicants will be asked for past passport numbers, phone numbers and email addresses; for records of international travel; whether they have been deported or removed, or violated immigration law, in the past; and whether relatives have been involved in terrorist activities.

We have been planning to travel to USA, to spend a few weeks visiting all the major national parks, but since Trump happened we’re putting it off indefinitely. Social Media screening isn’t helping and I refuse to submit to something I consider a violation of my privacy.

Of all the countries in the world, USA is one of the few I would not want to live in.


Apple Working on Touchless Control and Curved iPhone Screen →

April 5, 2018 · 16:29

Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

The control feature would let iPhone users perform some tasks by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it. The technology likely won’t be ready for consumers for at least two years, if Apple chooses to go forward with it, a person familiar with the work said […]

We know various Samsung phones from the past had this feature, but apart from a few people who liked it in specific scenarios, it wasn’t generally well-received.

Apple is also developing iPhone displays that curve inward gradually from top to bottom, one of the people familiar with the situation said.

I recall having reviewed the Google/Samsung Nexus S back in 2011 and I was completely indifferent as to whether the screen was curved or not. I do however greatly enjoy the delicate edge-curves on the iPhone 6 and newer series iPhones, including the iPhone X — this is preferable — while, at the same time, the Galaxy S8 and S9 screens are curved way too much, making accidental touches a daily ritual.


Huawei P20 Pro Hands-on: 3X Zoom Lens Leaves the Competition Behind →

April 5, 2018 · 12:57

Lars Rehm, for DPReview:

We’ve only had a few days with the Huawei P20 Pro but that has been long enough to say it is the most advanced smartphone camera to date. General image quality is very good, with good detail, very low noise levels across all light levels and excellent dynamic range. In terms of those parameters the differences to other flagship smartphones, for example the Google Pixel 2 or Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus aren’t massive, however.

Where the P20 Pro really leaves the competition behind is zoom. The dedicated 3x tele-lens provides a real advantage in the zoom department and makes this device the best current smartphone for zooming. The triple camera is also capable of creating a natural looking bokeh simulation, and in video mode the image stabilization is up with the very best, creating an almost steady-cam like effect.

While I consider Apple’s software manipulation of the iPhone camera’s shits to still be superior to its competition, I wish they’d try to use physically larger sensors. Portrait Mode should improve at a faster rate, too. I wouldn’t mind a third lens either — an 85 mm equivalent to join the current 28 mm and 56 mm lenses.


Apple Plans to Move Macs From Intel to ARM Chips →

April 4, 2018 · 12:12

Ian King, writing for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers beginning as early as 2020, replacing processors from Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the plans.

The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices — including Macs, iPhones, and iPads — work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

Tech pundits have been discussing this idea for years now, but the more I think about it, the more questions I find in need of answers. Will iOS move to notebook and desktop-type devices, and will it start adapting well-known macOS features at a faster pace? Will macOS remain largely unchanged? Does this signal some sort of merging of the two platforms? What would the scope of that be? How does Marzipan play into all of this and is it just a stop-gap before we get a new ‘AppleOS’?

This is one of the few times where I would love to learn exactly what Apple is planning beforehand, because there are so many different routes they can take.


Apple Hires Google’s A.I. Chief →

April 4, 2018 · 09:37

Jack Nicas and Cade Metz, for The New York Times:

Apple has hired Google’s chief of search and artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, a major coup in its bid to catch up to the artificial intelligence technology of its rivals.

Apple said on Tuesday that Mr. Giannandrea will run Apple’s “machine learning and A.I. strategy,” and become one of 16 executives who report directly to Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook.

Perhaps iPhone-Siri will be able to talk to HomePod-Siri and Apple-TV-Siri next year and be able to control them. Or know how to set more than one timer at the least.


1.1.1.1 — The Fastest, Privacy-First Consumer DNS Service →

April 2, 2018 · 11:44

Matthew Prince, writing on Cloudflare’s blog:

Cloudflare’s mission is to help build a better Internet. We’re excited today to take another step toward that mission with the launch of 1.1.1.1 — the Internet’s fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service.

This is amazing news! An ISP’s DNS service allows them to collect a huge amount of data about your internet habits. This is where Cloudflare comes in, not analysing user data and wiping logs after 24 hours — they’re only kept for that long to prevent abuse and to debug any issues they might be having.

The problem is that these DNS services are often slow and not privacy respecting. What many Internet users don’t realize is that even if you’re visiting a website that is encrypted — has the little green lock in your browser — that doesn’t keep your DNS resolver from knowing the identity of all the sites you visit. That means, by default, your ISP, every wifi network you’ve connected to, and your mobile network provider have a list of every site you’ve visited while using them.

DNS can also be used as a censorship tool…

In March 2014, for instance, the government of Turkey blocked Twitter after recordings showing a government corruption scandal leaked online. The Internet was censored by the country’s ISP’s DNS resolvers blocking DNS requests for twitter.com. People literally spray painted 8.8.8.8, the IP of Google’s DNS resolver service, on walls to help fellow Turks get back online. Google’s DNS resolver is great, but diversity is good and we thought we could do even better.

When I first saw this on on Twitter last night, I was certain it was an April Fool’s joke. No sane person would launch something ilke this on that day, right?

[…] This is the first consumer product Cloudflare has ever launched, so we wanted to reach a wider audience. At the same time, we’re geeks at heart. 1.1.1.1 has 4 1s. So it seemed clear that 4/1 (April 1st) was the date we needed to launch it.

Never mind that it was a Sunday. Never mind that it was on Easter and during Passover. Never mind that it was April Fools Day — a day where tech companies often trot out fictional services they think are cute while the media and the rest of the non-tech world collectively roll their eyes.

We justified it to ourselves that Gmail, another great, non-fictional consumer service, also launched on April 1, 2004. Of course, as Cloudflare’s PR team has repeatedly pointed out to me in the run up to launch, the Gmail launch day was a Thursday and not on Easter. Nearly every media briefing I did this week ahead of the launch the reporter made me swear that this wasn’t a joke. And it’s not. I swear. And the best way to prove that is go to 1.1.1.1, follow the instructions to set it up, and see for yourself. It’s real. And it’s awesome.

In the meantime, since DNS isn’t secure and can still be monitored, Cloudflare has spoken with a few of the people behind the biggest browser and operating systems manufacturers and asked their opinion on the matter.

What’s needed is a move to a new, modern protocol. There are a couple of different approaches. One is DNS-over-TLS. That takes the existing DNS protocol and adds transport layer encryption. Another is DNS-over-HTTPS. It includes security but also all the modern enhancements like supporting other transport layers (e.g., QUIC) and new technologies like server HTTP/2 Server Push. Both DNS-over-TLS and DNS-over-HTTPS are open standards. And, at launch, we’ve ensured 1.1.1.1 supports both.

We think DNS-over-HTTPS is particularly promising — fast, easier to parse, and encrypted. To date, Google was the only scale provider supporting DNS-over-HTTPS. For obvious reasons, however, non-Chrome browsers and non-Android operating systems have been reluctant to build a service that sends data to a competitor. We’re hoping that with an independent DNS-over-HTTPS service now available, we’ll see more experiments from browsers, operating systems, routers, and apps to support the protocol.


If you want to start using 1.1.1.1 (and 1.0.0.1) as your main (and alternative) DNS, just open 1.1.1.1 in your browser and follow the instructions. You will also find more precise setup instructions, for Android, various gaming consoles, Linux, routers, Windows, Macs and iOS devices on their developer site.

Finally, these are addresses you will need to use and/or remember (IPv4 and IPv6):

  • 1.1.1.1
  • 1.0.0.1
  • 2606:4700:4700::1111
  • 2606:4700:4700::1001

I just checked 1.1.1.1’s performance and it appears to be the fastest DNS out there, avergaing 14.01 ms worldwide and 11.34 ms in Europe over the last 30 days. Google’s 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 are significantly slower, clocking in at 34.51 ms and 24.43 ms respectively.

I’m in.


Babelpod — Line-In and Bluetooth Input for HomePod →

April 1, 2018 · 11:19

Andrew Fafen, on his blog:

The HomePod has great sound quality, but right now it’s limited to playing audio from Apple Music or AirPlay clients like the iPhone or iPad. But what if you want to play audio from other sources? Ideally the HomePod would have a line-in port, show up as a Bluetooth speaker, and support other streaming services like Spotify. But Apple decided not to include a line-in port, hasn’t yet implemented Bluetooth speaker support in the OS, and hasn’t yet natively supported other streaming services.

Hopefully Apple will eventually address these shortcomings on the HomePod itself, but for now I’ve come up with my own solution. I’ve taken a Raspberry Pi Zero W […] and written software that takes audio input from line-in or Bluetooth and outputs it wirelessly to the HomePod via Airplay. I call it BabelPod since it acts as a universal translator between audio devices.

I love solutions such as this one, because while they shouldn’t be necessary — the HomePod should have Bluetooth audio streaming support and a line-in port included — they do solve the problems of some people.


It’s Time for an RSS Revival →

April 1, 2018 · 07:18

Brian Barrett, for Wired:

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary) and it was first stitched into the tapestry of the open web around the turn of the millennium. Its aim is straightforward: to make it easy to track updates to the content of a given website in a standardized format.

In practice, and for your purposes, that means it can give you a comprehensive, regularly updated look at all of the content your favorite sites publish throughout the day. Think of it as the ultimate aggregator; every morsel from every source you care about, fed directly to you […]

I first started using RSS heavily back in 2008 or so and have been using it on a daily basis since then. That’s over a decade now (or close to it, depending if my memory serves me correctly).

RSS is one of the foundations of the web. It allows us an extremely simple way to follow posts on a website without actually remembering to check for new content. Or even visiting that site. It also allows us to read just the words of our favourite writers, on sites with many other wordsmiths, without having to wade through ever single post. RSS is a timesaver. It makes life easier. It works on extremely slow internet connections. It’s automatic.

RSS is wonderful.


Mozilla Was Born Twenty Years Ago

April 1, 2018 · 06:46

Don Melton:

Twenty years ago today the Mozilla project was born. I am honored to have been one of the midwives for that event. My congratulations to the team! You can even watch us live through the full birthing in “Code Rush”. Proof that we didn’t drop the baby. :)

19 years later, Don, no longer a midwife for Mozilla, but now the father of Safari, helped debug my this site’s CSS (with Maciej Stachowiak).

I still haven’t sent him that bottle that I promised. I really need to rectify that. I will however watch the documentary he linked to first.