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.


All of Apple’s OSes Should Get Comprehensive Instruction Manuals

April 9, 2018 · 11:24

This is but one example of the hundreds, if not thousands, of hidden features inside iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Siri. There are so many of these right now, that I don’t know a single person who would be aware of all of them. I read one of my own tips, which I published a few years ago, and was amazed that something like that was possible, and that I did not remember it1.

P.S. If you’re on macOS and don’t know the following keyboard shortcuts, make sure to memorise them — they’re really useful:

  1. I have since forgotten it again.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Official Trailer

April 9, 2018 · 09:00

Han Solo is Harrison Ford. Harrison Ford is Han Solo. He is the character of the original Star Wars trilogy. I watched and rewatched the movies because of him and for him. I might have shed a tear or ten when he died in The Force Awakens. I truly hope this newest Star Wars Story doesn’t ruin him for me and I’m half-tempted to not watch it at all.


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.


My Photography (36) — Beautiful Scilla, Italy, 2017

April 4, 2018 · 11:25

When travelling around Calabria in December 2017, we happened upon the small city of Scilla, which stole my heart away. If you’re ever even remotely close to it, make sure to spend a day there. Don’t forget to have an espresso on the promenade!

Shot with Sony A7R II + Zeiss ZF 100 mm f/2 Makro-Planer T*: f/2, 1/160 s, ISO 100.


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.


Elon Musk Offers to Buy and Then Delete Facebook →

April 1, 2018 · 00:35

James Schlarmann, on Alternative Science:

Cheers erupted in the room. Chants of “Fuck Zuck! Fuck Zuck! Fuck Zuck!” reverberated throughout the building, growing so loud it drowned out the sound of the ocean’s waves at every beach on the planet. Musk stepped away from the podium he was speaking from, raised his arms in the air in triumph, and took in the adulation from everyone in the room.

Elon Musk loves attention, but you can’t deny that he has flair! I’d love to see him do this — read the whole thing, because I don’t want to spoil it for you.


March 31, 2018 · 15:38

I took my Series 0 Apple Watch off of the charger at 8:00 this morning. It is now almost 8 hours later and it still has 83% battery left. It’s three and a half years old or so.

What sort of witchcraft is this?!?


Growth at Any Cost: Top Facebook Executive Defended Data Collection in 2016 Memo and Warned That Facebook Could Get People Killed →

March 30, 2018 · 15:47

Ryan Mac, Charlie Warzel, and Alex Kantrowitz published Andrew Bosworth’s (a Facebook VP) memo from 2016 on Buzzfeed:

Andrew Bosworth
June 18, 2016

The Ugly

We talk about the good and the bad of our work often. I want to talk about the ugly.

We connect people.

That can be good if they make it positive. Maybe someone finds love. Maybe it even saves the life of someone on the brink of suicide.

So we connect more people.

That can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools.

And still we connect people.

The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is de facto good. It is perhaps the only area where the metrics do tell the true story as far as we are concerned.

That isn’t something we are doing for ourselves. Or for our stock price (ha!). It is literally just what we do. We connect people. Period.

That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it.

The natural state of the world is not connected. It is not unified. It is fragmented by borders, languages, and increasingly by different products. The best products don’t win. The ones everyone use win.

I know a lot of people don’t want to hear this. Most of us have the luxury of working in the warm glow of building products consumers love. But make no mistake, growth tactics are how we got here. If you joined the company because it is doing great work, that’s why we get to do that great work. We do have great products but we still wouldn’t be half our size without pushing the envelope on growth. Nothing makes Facebook as valuable as having your friends on it, and no product decisions have gotten as many friends on as the ones made in growth. Not photo tagging. Not news feed. Not messenger. Nothing.

In almost all of our work, we have to answer hard questions about what we believe. We have to justify the metrics and make sure they aren’t losing out on a bigger picture. But connecting people. That’s our imperative. Because that’s what we do. We connect people.

In the meantime, Mark Zuckerberg responded, and I don’t believe a single word of what he said. This is a conversation he had, when he was 19:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb fucks.

There are no words to communicate my disgust with this “company”. Facebook should never have become the monstrosity it now is. We shouldn’t have allowed it.


March 30, 2018 · 15:20

I forced a restart on my Series 0, because it appeared to be non-responsive. It spent a minute or three on the Apple logo, then asked me for my password, and is now displaying the Apple logo again.

I don’t mind that the Watch is slow — it still works fine for gathering Health data — but the update process is extremely frustrating.

Update

It took another 5 minutes or so, but finally restarted.


March 30, 2018 · 15:08

My HomePod needed 5 minutes to update to iOS 11.3. My Series 0 Apple Watch is at over 5 hours now, and the end is nowhere in sight.

At this point, I’m tempted to try to force it to restart — it appears to be doing nothing.


Dictionary-Makers Found the First Known Use of “Mansplain” →

March 27, 2018 · 00:22

Thu-Huong Ha, for Quartz:

The team of lexicographers charged with adding new words to the historical dictionary recorded the first documented use of “mansplain” in August 2008. In an exchange between two bloggers on Livejournal, electricwitch, a then-22-year-old fan of Bowie and Bollywood based in the Netherlands, accused count-vronsky, who has since deactivated their account, of mansplaining.

I think I first heard this term on Twitter, quite recently, probably near the end of 2017. A guy — naturally — was being an ass towards a woman. He continued being even more of an ass, when someone accused him of “mansplaining”.


March 23, 2018 · 14:27

You know what @instagram, why don’t you just add a chronological feed option? Screw algorithms — you have no clue what I want to see and in what order. The past few months have proven that many times over. So many, in fact, that I barely use your product anymore and I’m considering deleting my account.


March 21, 2018 · 12:51

I started deleting all of Facebook content today, using a script. After all my data is erased, which I have no clue how long it will take, I will proceed to delete my account.

Instagram and WhatsApp will be next. Sadly.


#deleteFacebook →

March 20, 2018 · 09:04

John Biggs:

Facebook is using us. It is actively giving away our information. It is creating an echo chamber in the name of connection. It surfaces the divisive and destroys the real reason we began using social media in the first place – human connection.

It is a cancer.


March 19, 2018 · 09:16

I had to restart the HomePod today, because it wouldn’t play any music. Talking to Siri, asking her to play something, resulted in an “OK”, followed by silence.

I unplugged it from power and after plugging it back in, it now appears to function correctly. Just like Windows 3.1, back when I was a bit younger.


Hey Siri, Set the HomePod’s Volume

March 16, 2018 · 13:04

I discovered an interesting tidbit regarding setting the HomePod’s volume:

  1. The buttons on top of the HomePod change the volume in 5% increments on each tap.
  2. The voice command “Hey Siri, louder / quieter”, “Hey Siri, increase / decrease the volume”, etc. changes the volume in 10% increments.

Also, Siri really shouldn’t need to hear the “Hey” in “Hey Siri” every single time I need something from her.

“Siri, just do it.”


March 15, 2018 · 10:43

My iCloud Music Library is f*cked. Apple has been on it since yesterday and so far I’ve been on the phone for about four hours. Should get another call soon. The problem is that changes don’t sync between my devices and my HomePod is unable to play the music I purchased in the iTunes Store.