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Experiments IV: Fire & Ice - YouTube
from Daring Fireball

These “experiments” from Apple are just short art films, and the only real promotional tie-in is they’re shot with iPhones. Sign of the times: this one is presented in 16:9 vertical format, optimized for viewing on an iPhone too. Don’t miss the 3-minute “behind the scenes” video either.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 hours ago by josephschmitt
Opinion | When a Pandemic Meets a Personality Cult - The New York Times
from Daring Fireball

Paul Krugman, writing for The New York Times:

From the day Donald Trump was elected, some of us worried how his administration would deal with a crisis not of its own making. Remarkably, we’ve gone three years without finding out: Until now, every serious problem facing the Trump administration, from trade wars to confrontation with Iran, has been self-created. But the coronavirus is looking as if it might be the test we’ve been fearing.

And the results aren’t looking good.

The story of the Trump pandemic response actually began several years ago. Almost as soon as he took office, Trump began cutting funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading in turn to an 80 percent cut in the resources the agency devotes to global disease outbreaks. Trump also shut down the entire global-health-security unit of the National Security Council.

Look at this gibberish Trump spouted at his press conference yesterday, when asked about the severe budget cuts to the Center for Disease Control under his administration:

We can get money. And we can increase staff. We know all the good people. There’s a question I asked the doctors before. Some of the people we cut, they haven’t been used for many, many years. If we ever need them we can get them very quickly. And rather than spending the money — and I’m a business person — I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them. When we need them, we can get them back very quickly. For instance, we’re bringing some people in tomorrow that are already in this great government that we have, and very specifically for this. We can build up very, very quickly, and we’ve already done that.

So Trump is arguing in favor of a policy where we only full staff the CDC after a pandemic breaks out.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 hours ago by josephschmitt
Important GDC 2020 Update | GDC
from Daring Fireball

This follows on the heels of MWC being canceled last month — a huge conference with 100,000 attendees — and Facebook announcing a few days ago that its F8 developer conference, scheduled for May, has been canceled.

So: What does this mean for WWDC? I’d put the odds at 50-50 at this point. Apple’s recent announcement dates for WWDC range from mid-February (2017) to mid-April (2016), with the last two years coming in mid-March. So they still have time to decide. If they don’t hold WWDC this year, my guess is they’ll still prepare all the sessions and simply deliver them via the web and the Developer (née WWDC) app, perhaps with a media-only keynote at Steve Jobs Theater.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 hours ago by josephschmitt
Fact-checking President Trump’s coronavirus news conference - The Washington Post
from Daring Fireball

Speaking of countries that are in trouble because their government is treating the coronavirus outbreak as a PR problem. The Trump administration is simply not equipped to deal with a true crisis. This is not something that can be spun. It’s a genuine crisis but the loons in positions of power are treating it as a partisan hoax. Schools are closed in Shanghai — a city of 20 million. The Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland theme parks have been closed for over a month, and now they’re closing the parks in Tokyo. Disney doesn’t close parks for hoaxes — they don’t even close the parks in Orlando for hurricanes unless they expect to be hit directly.

There’s simply no way to square the circle of a president who demands not to hear anything bad with a virus outbreak that is inherently bad. Denial is quite literally the worst response possible.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
6 hours ago by josephschmitt
Plague Inc. removed from Chinese app stores amid outbreak · TechNode
from Daring Fireball

Eliza Gkritsi, writing for TechNode:

Popular infection simulation game Plague Inc. has been removed from Chinese app stores, Apple and Xiaomi users noticed today, after enjoying renewed popularity during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Why it matters: The removal shows just how serious the country’s authorities are in managing the public perception of the virus.

The game remains in Apple’s U.S. App Store, and, I presume, every else outside mainland China. It’s even an Editor’s Choice winner.

Real shocker that a country without a free press is having trouble containing the outbreak. Coronavirus is not a PR problem, it’s a medical problem, and accurate up-to-date information reported to the public is essential in containing it.. Any country that treats it as a PR problem is in trouble.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
6 hours ago by josephschmitt
Twitter account for shaming Astros has 116,000 followers - Los Angeles Times
from Daring Fireball

Chuck Schilken, writing for the LA Times:

“I’m barely sleeping and eating because I’m trying to monitor everything, come up with content,” Donley said in a phone interview Friday morning.

Donley is the mastermind behind the “2020 Astros Shame Tour” Twitter account, which goes by the handle @AsteriskTour. The concept is simple — “One year to shame them all, one year to jeer them, one year to boo them all and from your seat deride them,” according to the account’s bio.

Already a must-follow Twitter account, and we’re only in the early days of spring training. It’s going to be a long year for these cheaters.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
7 hours ago by josephschmitt
Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition App Is Violating Apple’s Rules
from Daring Fireball

BuzzFeed News:

Apple has disabled the iOS developer account of Clearview AI — the facial recognition company that claims to have amassed a database of billions of photos and has worked with thousands of organizations around the world — after BuzzFeed News determined that the New York-based startup had been violating the iPhone maker’s rules around app distribution.

In distributing its app for Apple devices, Clearview, which BuzzFeed News reported earlier this week has been used by more than 2,200 public and private entities including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the FBI, Macy’s, Walmart, and the NBA, has been sidestepping the Apple App Store, encouraging those who want to use the software to download the program through a program reserved for developers. After being asked by BuzzFeed News, Apple disabled the developer account associated with Clearview and provided them with notification to respond within 14 days.

This is the same scheme Facebook was using to distribute spyware masquerading as a VPN, and that various porno and gambling services were using to get avoid App Store review.

Keep in mind too, that App Store policies aside, Clearview AI had been publicly claiming that their facial recognition software was “strictly for law enforcement”. BuzzFeed News investigated and found they were full shit.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
7 hours ago by josephschmitt
Disney blocks John Oliver’s new episode critical of India’s PM Modi – TechCrunch
from Daring Fireball

Manish Singh, reporting for TechCrunch:

Disney-owned Hotstar, India’s largest on-demand video streaming service with more than 300 million users, has blocked the newest episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” that was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The move has angered many of its customers ahead of Disney+’s launch in one of the world’s largest entertainment markets next month.

In the episode, aired hours before U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India, Oliver talked about some of the questionable policies enforced by the ruling government in India and recent protests against “controversial figure” Modi’s citizenship measures. The 19-minute news recap and commentary sourced its information from credible news outlets.

The episode is available to stream in India through HBO’s official channel on YouTube, where it has garnered more than 4 million views. Hotstar is the exclusive syndicating partner of HBO, Showtime and ABC in India.

Curse that notion of a free press and freedom of speech.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
9 hours ago by josephschmitt
MI5 chief asks tech firms for 'exceptional access' to encrypted messages | UK news | The Guardian
from Daring Fireball

Dan Sabbagh, reporting for The Guardian:

MI5’s director general has called on technology companies to find a way to allow spy agencies “exceptional access” to encrypted messages, amid fears they cannot otherwise access such communications.

Sir Andrew Parker is understood to be particularly concerned about Facebook, which announced plans to introduce powerful end-to-end encryption last March across all the social media firm’s services.

In an ITV interview to be broadcast on Thursday, Sir Andrew Parker says he has found it “increasingly mystifying” that intelligence agencies like his are not able to easily read secret messages of terror suspects they are monitoring.

There is no such thing as “exceptional access” for good guys. That he claims to be “mystified” means he either doesn’t understand how end-to-end encryption works and why it’s essential to privacy, or he’s playing dumb for politics to drum up public sentiment against strong encryption. My bet’s on the latter.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
9 hours ago by josephschmitt
302 Moved
from Daring Fireball

The zen of craftsmanship, captured in this soothing short film by Nick Bennett. (Via Jason Fried.)

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ifttt  daringfireball 
9 hours ago by josephschmitt
9 questions about the rumored iPad Smart Keyboard with trackpad - Six Colors
from Daring Fireball

Jason Snell, writing about Wayne Ma’s report for The Information that Apple is working on an iPad “keyboard accessory” with a trackpad set to ship “later this year”:

Ever since iOS betas added new keyboard features last month, it has seemed clear that Apple has been readying a new keyboard accessory for the iPad. It’s not clear exactly what form that product will take. This report suggests it might be an even more radical change from the existing Smart Keyboard design that’s more or less survived intact since the fall of 2015.

I’m excited. For a long time I’ve been an advocate for iPad keyboards and pointing devices, and this potential product would offer a way for Apple to differentiate the iPad Pro from its increasingly capable lower-end iPads.

But I’ve got a lot of questions, too.

I’m really excited about this rumor. If true, I think it means iPadOS (14?) is set to gain first-class mouse pointer support. Not just the Assistive Touch accessibility feature that puts a simulated finger tip on screen, not just moving the insertion point while text editing, but real system-wide mouse pointer support.

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yesterday by josephschmitt
Android malware can steal Google Authenticator 2FA codes | ZDNet
from Daring Fireball

Catalin Cimpanu, reporting for ZDNet’s Zero Day:

Security researchers say that an Android malware strain can now extract and steal one-time passcodes (OTP) generated through Google Authenticator, a mobile app that’s used as a two-factor authentication (2FA) layer for many online accounts.

Google launched the Authenticator mobile app in 2010. The app works by generating six to eight-digits-long unique codes that users must enter in login forms while trying to access online accounts.

Not good.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday by josephschmitt
Disney C.E.O. Bob Iger Hands Keys to Magic Kingdom to Its 7th Chief - The New York Times
from Daring Fireball

Brooks Barnes, reporting for The New York Times:

The Walt Disney Company said that Mr. Iger, who has run Disney for nearly 15 years, would be replaced as chief executive by Bob Chapek, a 27-year veteran of the entertainment conglomerate who has most recently served as chairman of Disney’s theme parks and consumer products businesses. Mr. Chapek will report to the Disney board, which will continue to be led by Mr. Iger, who will also take on the title of executive chairman and “direct Disney’s creative endeavors,” the company said, until the end of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021. […]

Mr. Iger said the Disney board “identified Bob actually quite some time ago as a likely successor.” He said he decided not to elevate Mr. Chapek to an interim role — perhaps chief operating officer, a job that has not existed at Disney since Thomas O. Staggs, once Mr. Iger’s heir apparent, left the company in 2016. “I did not believe that would bestow on him the kind of autonomy that I wanted him to have during this transition,” Mr. Iger said. Furthermore, “I’m not going to suddenly be working three days a week. My new role is a full-time job.” […]

Mr. Chapek, who has limited creative experience, became the seventh chief executive in Disney’s nearly 100-year history. He can come across as a bit stiff in comparison to the magnetic Mr. Iger, whose celebrated run at the company has made him a corporate celebrity. But what Mr. Chapek may lack in charisma, he makes up for with an uncynical admiration for Disney’s sentimental style of entertainment, gladly clapping along with the parade when he visits the parks and gamefully engaging in scripted banter with costumed characters.

Iger running creative efforts full-time — and remaining, ultimately, in charge — while Chapek runs the company as CEO feels like what would have happened at Apple if Steve Jobs hadn’t succumbed to cancer. Jobs as chief design officer — and chairman of the board — with Cook as CEO would’ve been perfect.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
2 days ago by josephschmitt
My Trip to Vietnam, Singapore, and Qatar
from Daring Fireball

Jason Kottke:

For three weeks in late January and early February, I travelled to Asia, spending two weeks in Saigon, a few days in Singapore, and about 48 hours in Doha, Qatar. Here are some of the things I saw and did and ate. Note: this is a long post, maybe the longest thing I’ve posted here in many years. But I think it’s a quick read — pack a snack, stay hydrated, and you’ll be alright.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
2 days ago by josephschmitt
More on app defaults in Files on iPadOS - Six Colors
from Daring Fireball

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors:

I know it’s been open season on the deficiencies of the iPad’s interface lately, but it does feel like portions of the iPad have progressed enough to have reached a sort of uncanny valley. It’s so advanced now that we have to start judging it the same way we judge other advanced interfaces. The Files app is finally worthy of criticism — and it deserves a lot of it.

This whole thing about being able to map a default handler for file types — but not PDFs or audio or video — is bananas. Bananas that even Jason Snell didn’t know about it, bananas that PDFs and AV files are special-case locked to Quick View, bananas all around.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
Instagram CEO Says iPad App Hasn't Been Made Yet Because 'We Only Have So Many People, and Lots to Do' - MacRumors
from Daring Fireball

Mitchel Broussard, writing for MacRumors last week:

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri took to the platform over the weekend to answer a few user questions on his story, shared by The Verge’s Chris Welch. Among the many things asked, the topic of an official iPad app for Instagram was brought up, and Mosseri explained why we haven’t seen one yet.

According to Mosseri, the company “would like to build an iPad app” for Instagram, “But we only have so many people, and lots to do, and it hasn’t bubbled up as the next best thing to do yet.”

I don’t buy this for a second. Instagram isn’t some scrappy little startup — they’re a hugely popular, hugely profitable division of Facebook. If they wanted an iPad version of their app, they’d have one. They obviously don’t want one, and don’t want to explain why.

My best guess is they think engagement on the phone is worth more, so they do everything they can to drive you to the phone app. But that’s just a guess.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
from Daring Fireball

Until this afternoon, I had been working under the assumption that the iOS/iPadOS Files app only had one view: icon/grid view. Turns out there’s also a list view, and on iPadOS in landscape, column view. The trick is that you need to pull down on the view to expose these controls. There are also controls to change the sort criterion (name, date, size, kind, tags) and direction.

I had no idea these controls were there. Yes, this was demoed on stage at WWDC last year — I forgot. I do not understand why these controls are hide-able at all, let alone hidden by default. And the way these controls are hidden behind a downward swipe, with no visual hint whatsoever that there’s something there to be exposed, is another sign of how iOS’s design has more antipathy toward visual affordances than MacOS.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
How To Enable the Mac Startup Chime on your 2016+ MacBook Pro!
from Daring Fireball

Mr. Macintosh:

sudo nvram StartupMute=%00

Reboot.

I have literally rebooted 5 MacBook Pros multiple times just to hear that classic sound. I could not be more happy!

Hell yeah I enabled this. No idea why Apple did away with this chime.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
mobile.twitter.com
from Daring Fireball

This design concept by Tommy Walton is interesting. What I like about it:

It’s direct manipulation.

It’s consistent. The way you launch an app for the second spot on the screen is the same as the way you launch an app for the entire screen — you tap it. The way you close an app in split-screen is the same as way you close it in single-screen — you swipe up from the bottom.

Everything is a one-finger tap or swipe — no complex multi-finger gestures.

I do see a few problems. Today, iPadOS uses a swipe from the left side of the screen as a shortcut for “go back”. In Walton’s concept, this would be a way to resize a full-screen app to take up the right side of the display. And how would this work with multitasking with other apps — i.e. how do you get a split-screen “space” into the multi spaces view, and how do you get the Dock to appear? There’s a lot more to think through here, but as a starting point this is a good concept — and so much better than what we actually have.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
Enabling App Sandbox
from Daring Fireball

At the end of my piece last night about the location of the Apple Podcast app’s cache folder on MacOS 10.15, I griped about how ugly the folder’s name is: “243LU875E5.groups.com.apple.podcasts”. Most of the folders in Group Containers have similar ugly prefixes.

I figured there was a logical explanation, and there is: those prefixes are Apple Developer Account Team IDs, and according to Apple’s documentation, they’re mandatory:

The value for this key must be of type array, and must contain
one or more string values, each of which must consist of your
development team ID, followed by a period, followed by an
arbitrary name chosen by your development team. For example:

Just because there’s a reason for this, doesn’t make it a good reason. There are logical reasons why the Windows Registry is the way it is, but that doesn’t make an elegant, graceful design. Mac OS X inherited an elegant, graceful design for the layout and naming conventions of the entire Library hierarchy (not to mention the elegance of the separate System, Local, Network, and User domains for the Library). There’s no reason the naming and structure for everything in Library not to be friendly both to developers and to users looking inside to troubleshoot or simply to figure out how things work.

Like I wrote last night, arguing that it doesn’t matter if these identifiers are ugly and inscrutable (and break alphabetical sorting) because most users will never see them is exactly like arguing that it doesn’t matter what the back of the cabinet looks like.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt

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