Instagram Kills Off API; Still Doesn’t Have an iPad App →

November 19, 2015 · 15:32

Josh Constine:

Instagram is shutting down its feed API to make feature development nimbler and create a more consistent user experience.

Apple has introduced the iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, and iPad Pro since 2010. Instagram still hasn’t gotten around to publishing a universal app for both iPhone and iPad, and they debuted on the App Store in October, 2010.

Header image: Instagram at 1x on iPad Pro.


Google Engineer Warns Not to Use OnePlus USB to USB Type C Cable →

November 19, 2015 · 12:49

Benson Leung:

It is not spec compliant (uses a 3A identifier resistor instead of the “Default USB Power” one), and may cause damage to your charger, hub, or PC USB port if you use it with Chromebook Pixel, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X.

I have one of these and have been using it to connect my Apple TV 4 and MacBook Pro to record video. No damage so far, but I’m having second thoughts now…


Apple and Google Pressured for Encrypted Data Access →

November 19, 2015 · 12:39

Tiffany Kary and Chris Dolmetsch for Bloomberg:

“The line to protect the public should not be drawn by two companies who make smartphones,” Vance said Wednesday at a cybersecurity conference in New York where he unveiled a 42-page white paper on the issue. His plan would require companies to download data for investigators with a warrant, rather than providing the government with a “backdoor.”

I’m extremely proud of the companies who draw the aforementioned line in the sand. It will be a sad day when Apple, Google, and others, stop caring for their customer’s privacy—I truly hope it never comes to this.

Also, these requests seem especially absurd since the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks were using unencrypted methods of communication.


Polish Embassy: There were no Polish concentration camps in World War II →

November 19, 2015 · 12:28

Embassy of the Republic of Poland:

Although the article makes clear who the victims were and who the perpetrators were, the author uses the phrase “Polish” camps to describe Nazi-run institutions. It is simply not right to employ such a phrase…

“There were no Polish concentration camps in World War II. Auschwitz and other such camps in Polish territory were operated by German Nazis.”


Withings Releases Activite Steel →

November 18, 2015 · 23:52

This is probably the most interesting watch on the market for people who need fitness trackers, but don’t want to use a separate device nor buy something like an Apple Watch. I don’t like its design personally—it’s too thin and small for me—but I know people who absolutely adore them.

Withings released the Activite Steel today—it features a 316L stainless steel case and a silicone strap—and priced it at $169.95 / €169.95. It’s much cheaper than the high-end model, which also features a leather strap and sapphire glass, and just a touch more expensive than the Activite Pop with a PVD-coated case.


iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 2 vs. iPad mini 4 Display Shoot-Out →

November 18, 2015 · 17:05

Dr. Raymond M. Soneira:

The differences and similarities in performance between these 3 current iPad displays are really interesting and surprising… We’ll cover these issues and much more, with in-depth comprehensive display tests, measurements and analysis that you will find nowhere else.

Biggest doesn’t mean best, but it’s close, so I won’t spoil the surprise. Oh, there are lots of interesting tidbits of information that you won’t find in the comparison tables.


Lightroom 2015.3 / 6.3—Old Import Dialog is Back →

November 18, 2015 · 11:42

Adobe:

Lightroom CC 2015.3 and Lightroom 6.3 are now available on Adobe.com.  The goal of this release is to provide additional camera raw support, lens profile support and address bugs that were introduced in previous releases of Lightroom.  This release also restores the Import experience available prior to Lightroom 6.2.

I was waiting for this—the import module in 6.2 increased my import times by a factor of two. Hopefully everything will be back to normal.

My plea to Adobe: Please spend the next few months optimising Lightroom for speed.


Mac App Store: Single Point of Failure →

November 17, 2015 · 18:22

Michael Tsai:

The Mac App Store is supposed to make things easier, but it’s also a single point of failure. Not only is it neglected, but sometimes even the existing functionality stops working. Mac OS X 10.9 introduced a code signing bug that prevented me from submitting updates for several months. In June 2015, there was a month-long iTunes Connect bug that prevented my uploaded build from entering the review queue. And I currently have a bug fix update that Apple has been reviewing for 33 days (with 8 days of waiting before that). When I inquired about the status, Apple told me that everything was normal and that I should just keep waiting. In short, the system is broken on multiple levels, and there is no evidence to suggest that things will get better.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Mac App Store as a user—it just makes things so easy—but what Michael mentions is completely unacceptable. It has been getting worse and worse over the past two years or so, and today I will actually actively spend time looking if an app is also available straight from the developer. The purchase procedure is usually much more irritating, I have to store the license information in 1Password, but ultimately it’s been worth it thus far.

Make sure to read the comments below Michael’s post too.


Apple Watch 2 Rumoured in Q2 or Q3 2016 →

November 17, 2015 · 18:12

Zac Hall:

While it’s no surprise that Apple would be planning to introduce the Apple Watch 2 in 2016, a third quarter release would mean a launch two years after the first model was introduced and roughly a year and a half since it went on sale.

I personally expected the second generation Watch to show up at least two years after the first one went on sale, but this theoretically makes sense in terms of the holiday quarter.

Take this with a grain of salt, as usual.


Tim Cook about converging Mac and iPad →

November 17, 2015 · 18:03

Adrian Weckler interviewing Tim Cook:

Speaking to Independent.ie, Cook denied that the death of computers such as the Mac was imminent and said that there would be a market for such traditional personal computers for the foreseeable future.

“We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad,” said Cook. “Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.”

He’s right, it wouldn’t be a good experience. Macs and iPads excel in different areas: the former is extremely powerful and potentially complicated to use, while the latter is simpler, but due to iOS’ constraints, requires more work to incorporate advanced workflows. The good news is that people will be able to get more and more done on the iPad over the next few years, especially since the operating system will gain new capabilities, empowering developers to make even more amazing apps.


Rdio joins Pandora →

November 17, 2015 · 17:32

From the Rdio blog:

We’d like to update the entire Rdio community regarding today’s announcement that Pandora plans to acquire Rdio’s innovative technology and critically-acclaimed design…

We thank you for your continued support over the years and look forward to bringing you even better music experiences in the future as part of the Pandora team.

See you, Rdio. Seriously.


Surfin’ Safari Details How to Use Apple’s San Francisco Font in CSS →

November 16, 2015 · 14:30

Myles Maxfield:

Web content is sometimes designed to fit in with the overall aesthetic of the underlying platform which it is being rendered on. One of the ways to achieve this is by using the platform’s system font, which is possible on iOS and OS X by using the “-apple-system” CSS value for the “font-family” CSS property. On iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, doing this allows you to use Apple’s new system font, San Francisco. Using “-apple-system” also correctly interacts with the font-weight CSS property to choose the correct font on Apple’s latest operating systems.

Tempted to try it on here…


Tim Cook: Apple is Open →

November 15, 2015 · 22:32

Brendan Klinkenberg posted Tim Cook’s email to Apple employees regarding the inappropriate behaviour in Melbourne’s Apple Store:

Our stores and our hearts are open to people from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, gender or sexual orientation, age, disability, income, language or point of view. All across our company, being inclusive and embracing our differences makes our products better and our stores stronger.

I wish all people had a similar set of values.


Charles Perry about the Patronage Model →

November 15, 2015 · 22:22

Charles Perry:

Proponents of this model call it “patronage,” but it has little in common with the historical concept of patronage where a well-off patron paid an artist an amount to commission a work of art. This new model, in fact, is the opposite of patronage. Instead of requiring a patron to provide money up front in exchange for an item of value, this new model gives away all the value in advance and requires nothing from those who receive it. It less resembles patronage, or even commerce, than it does begging, or busking if you’re feeling generous.

Interesting point of view, although I personally have a different take on the subject—set a high enough price to make your useful product sustainable and market the hell out of it. There is a tiny flaw with my theory: most people don’t want to pay for software, even when it’s really well done.


Some Are More Equal Than Others →

November 15, 2015 · 22:11

Elie Fares:

Today, 128 innocent civilians in Paris are no longer with us. Yesterday, 45 innocent civilians in Beirut were no longer with us. The death tolls keep rising, but we never seem to learn.

Amid the chaos and tragedy of it all, one nagging thought wouldn’t leave my head. It’s the same thought that echoes inside my skull at every single one of these events, which are becoming sadly very recurrent: we don’t really matter…

When my people died on the streets of Beirut on November 12th, world leaders did not rise in condemnation. There were no statements expressing sympathy with the Lebanese people. There was no global outrage that innocent people whose only fault was being somewhere at the wrong place and time should never have to go that way or that their families should never be broken that way or that someone’s sect or political background should never be a hyphen before feeling horrified at how their corpses burned on cement.

I stare in alarm at headlines mentioning deaths and murders every day—it’s impossible to avoid them—and I think of the horrors that the dead’s families must be going through every single time. Whatever their religion or skin colour.


Not So New →

November 15, 2015 · 01:17

Samantha Bielefeld:

The patronage-only model is so new, and very experimental, but has that stopped others from replicating it?

Technically, the patronage model that Marco Arment adopted isn’t especially new. I first saw it many years ago on David Smith’s Pedometer++ [App Store]—he’s a unique developer in terms of experimenting in the App Store, choosing different monetisation options between his many apps, and adapting extremely well to current trends. In fact, I wrote about his tip jar a while ago. To my knowledge, which isn’t especially impressive when it comes to this subject, Marek Moi’s PointOut [App Store] followed suit with a unique system of buying him coffees as a thank you.

The problem with the App Store is that a select few developers with unique ideas are able to price their apps accordingly, while the rest have to compete with many free apps that are good enough. Quite frankly, I want to pay for quality software for the sole reason of supporting the team behind it, and so that they continue to maintain their products and hopefully add new features too.

Sadly, I realise I’m in the minority…


Sometimes I Just Love Google →

October 22, 2015 · 18:05

I’m not a Google fan for various reasons, mainly due to their policies, sources of income, the way they operate, and so on. But sometimes they do something, and I just can’t stop smiling.

Read the document under the link—totally worth it. Hint: it has nothing to do with Gmail.

#BackToTheFuture


The Immature Steve Jobs →

October 21, 2015 · 20:59

Walt Mossberg, in his column on the The Verge, comments on the new Steve Jobs movie:

At the very end of the lengthy credits for Steve Jobs, there’s a statement in tiny type saying that the film includes material that is fictionalized and events that are invented. A gutsier movie would have put that disclaimer in big type, right at the beginning.

I haven’t seen the movie yet and, until now, avoided any information pertaining to the film. After inadvertently reading Walt’s words, I don’t I think want to any longer — why would I want to taint my knowledge of Steve with fiction instead of fact?


The Responsibility Theory →

October 20, 2015 · 15:50

There’s been a bit of a rucus these past few days over a certain Samantha Bielefeld and one Marco Arment. While it seemed innocent enough at first, it quickly turned ugly, especially on Twitter. I’ve been meaning to put my thoughts down on the subject for a number of days now, but Matt Gemmell wrote one of the best pieces that I’ve read on the subject, titled Responsibility:

You need to catch up first. Five days ago as I write this, Samantha posted The Elephant in the Room, which you should quickly go and read. It’s about Marco Arment’s Pragmatic app pricing piece from the day before, which talks about his move to a voluntary patronage model for his podcasting app, Overcast. You should form your own interpretation and summary of each piece, and not take my word for either. Go. I’ll wait.

Matt’s summary is perhaps one of the best ever written — please take the time to read his whole piece.

My problem with the whole issue is that I read and like all of the parties involved. I like the Grubers, the Arments, Merlin Mann, and the whole team at Relay FM. But I cannot condone their replies and jokes on the subject.

I’m just so disappointed right now.


Medium’s new API →

October 11, 2015 · 12:15

Ev Williams published a piece detailing Medium’s new API a few days ago …

Not all content needs to be written in Medium to benefit from our network and interaction. To make it easier to publish to Medium — and, therefore, broaden the scope of content available to readers — we’re opening up a publishing API.

The API lets you write in a desktop or mobile editor and publish straight to Medium.

Katie Zhu wrote about the Publishing API in greater detail—she mentions three Mac apps which I use or have used at various points in my life: iA Writer, Byword and Ulysses. I currently write in the latter and the new Medium announcements have made me reconsider running my own WordPress installation. Not worrying about anything vs. having complete control? A tough decision. Then again, Medium has created a WordPress plugin which allows for cross-posting between the two platforms.

I have three choices:

  1. Leave my WordPress installation intact and ignore Medium.
  2. Leave my WordPress installation as is and cross-post to Medium.
  3. Transfer my posts to Medium, point my domain there, and post directly from Ulysses to my Infinite Diaries publication over there.

Not sure what to do… but I know I would really like to experiment with Medium more.


“iPhone 6 Fans, Your Phone Brought Up the Rear in Almost Every Test” →

August 25, 2015 · 12:06

Alex Cranz published a “turbo charging” test on Tom’s Guide yesterday, with various Android handsets competing for the title of “fastest charging phone.” Oh, and there was an iPhone 6 in there too. And it came last.

He specifically noted that some phones need chargers that have to be bought separately to get maximum performance out of them:

Qualcomm’s technology promises to get your battery to a full charge in less than 2 hours, but some Quick Charge-capable phones, like the LG G4, don’t actually ship with the necessary brick. Other companies rebrand the technology. Motorola calls its solution Turbo Charge in the Droid Turbo and the Google Nexus 6. The Zenfone 2 uses Asus’s branded “Boostmaster technology” and requires a special power brick (only available with the $299 edition) that’s supposedly 17 percent more potent than the typical Quick Charge 2.0 brick.

He then proceeded to comment on the iPhone’s lacklustre performance:

As for iPhone 6 fans, your phone brought up the rear in almost every test.

Apple users will be delighted to know that the iPhone was no longer the slowest of the lot. It was charged to 36 percent (…)

Alex however forgot to mention one important detail—he used the 5W/1A charger with the iPhone 6, instead of one capable of delivering at least 2.1A, such as the iPad 10W/2.1A brick. This would cut the charge time from over two and a have hours by almost a full hour.

I’m sure it was an honest oversight.

P.S. To clarify—the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are the first iPhones capable of charging faster by using a more powerful charger, such as the iPad 10 or 12W/2.1A power brick. I personally use a Belkin 2.1A model and it gets the job done.


Maciej’s Spotify to Apple Music Playlist Importer

July 14, 2015 · 20:44

Maciek created a Spotify to Apple Music playlist importer:

Well, it’s rather simple from your point of view. You find a Spotify playlist that you like, copy the tracks, paste them into my app, and the playlist automagically appears in your Apple Music library. No need to sniff iTunes’ packets (sic!).

I don’t personally use Spotify so I can’t vouch for how good it is, but I’ve seem people give some positive feedback—it seems to be much less of a hit-and-miss than the others out there.