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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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Thoughts on Apple’s March 2019 Media Event

I’m writing this for posterity’s sake. For my own recollection. So please feel free to skip the reading of this post.

  • Apple News+ : Given that Apple News is serving enormous amounts of traffic I have little doubt that News+ will be a big enough hit to boost Apple’s Services revenue. I doubt it will be for me personally.
  • Apple TV+ : I’m eager to see what the pricing for this will be. TV is still a mess. Eliza and I would love to get rid of cable altogether and just get our shows via streaming online but it still isn’t easy (or affordable) to do that. I still think we’re many iterations away from TV no longer being a mess. I was also sort of hoping that this service from Apple would allow me to cancel Netflix but it appears I would need this in addition to it and I simply can’t afford to pay for more subscription services. I’ll give them a few years to iron out the details.
  • Apple Arcade : This looks great for gamers. I’m not one but I can imagine households with adults and children who are would love this. Unlike John Gruber, I think Google’s Stadia is a far more momentous offering. Yes, you need good Internet. But Google’s entire business model is built around people having good Internet. So I’d say Stadia is in line with their worldview. I also hope this works out financially well for the game developers that want to create amazing game experiences without ads and in-app purchases.
  • Apple Card : By far the thing I’m looking forward to most from their announcements. That is, until I saw the interest rates. I think this new card service is definitely superior to nearly every other card. But if they can’t offer much better interest rates I wonder if it will be a nonstarter for many. I’ll wait for the official launch.
  • Oprah : Who doesn’t like Oprah?

I can’t imagine the amount of money or resources Apple has invested to get to the point where they were able to announce all of those services in a single day.

Chris Coleman returns

Chris Coleman, on his 17-year-old and recently unearthed personal blog:

I want my platform back. I don’t want algorithms or the cacophony to drown it out. If nobody’s going to see what I write, it’s going to be on my terms.

Chris was vital part of my career though he likely doesn’t know it. The first time I saw Photoshop used for web graphics was on his Powerbook. The first time I saw someone use a portable Mac for building cool stuff that had nothing to do with work was him. And the first person I saw combine his interests with the web was him as well. All of these things I hold valuable to everything I do.

In short, Chris taught me by example to work on what you love and use the tools you love to do it.

I’m glad his blog is back. I’m subscribed.

The money problem with open source

Jerod Santo:

I do believe there’s a money problem in open source. If you listen to our shows you know I believe that. It’s just that in open source that problem doesn’t manifest until much later in the process.

It waits until the software has matured, the value has been proven, the community has been built. Then, it sucks the joy out of the developer(s) who gave a gift to the world and turns it in to the worst kind of job. An unpaid job!

The entire post is a worthy read.

We originally open sourced Unmark for one main reason: that it would live on longer than our business did. And that is exactly what happened.

Our business no longer exists but Unmark did for hundreds (if not thousands?) of people running it themselves. And now it is back (invite only as of this writing, but won’t be soon enough) because we brought it back. But someone else could have. And that is the beauty of it.

We will continue to release Unmark as open source for the same reason: that anyone can run it without paying for it for as long as they want regardless if we are around or not.

In fact, unless there were some reason not to, any product I’d build going forward would be done open source. The benefits simply outweigh the drawbacks.

If someone wants to support Unmark they can by subscribing to the hosted version, submitting code fixes or issues via Github, or simply donating.

What I saw this week #58: March 22, 2019

Here are some things I’ve seen recently:

Firefox 66

There is a lot to love about Firefox lately (especially the last 20 or so releases) and 66 is no different.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster for Windows Central:

Firefox version 66 includes support for Windows Hello for web authentication, allowing you to log in to websites that support the latest FIDO2 standards for passwordless logins.

Very cool and a feature that reminds me of using an Apple device.

And also, from Mozilla themselves:

Starting with version 66, Firefox will block audible autoplaying video and audio. This means media (audio and video) have to wait for user interaction before playing, unless the muted property is set on the associated HTMLMediaElement. Blocking can be disabled on a case-by-case basis in the site information overlay

If you haven’t tried Firefox lately on any of your devices I recommend giving it a try.

What developers sound like to non-developers

No matter your profession, industry jargon can quickly become laden with acronyms, buzz-words, and other gibberish.

I was reminded of this today when I read the abstract from this scientific paper re: mammoth cells showing some signs of activity in mouse cells.

The 28,000-year-old remains of a woolly mammoth, named ‘Yuka’, were found in Siberian permafrost. Here we recovered the less-damaged nucleus-like structures from the remains and visualised their dynamics in living mouse oocytes after nuclear transfer. Proteomic analyses demonstrated the presence of nuclear components in the remains. Nucleus-like structures found in the tissue homogenate were histone- and lamin-positive by immunostaining. In the reconstructed oocytes, the mammoth nuclei showed the spindle assembly, histone incorporation and partial nuclear formation; however, the full activation of nuclei for cleavage was not confirmed. DNA damage levels, which varied among the nuclei, were comparable to those of frozen-thawed mouse sperm and were reduced in some reconstructed oocytes. Our work provides a platform to evaluate the biological activities of nuclei in extinct animal species.

Do you have any idea what that means? Perhaps if you’re a biologist it makes complete sense.

If you listen to two developers talking about building apps you’ll quickly realize how insane it sounds from an outsider’s perspective. Even the real-world sounding names of software languages and frameworks can be baffling; React, SASS, Bourbon, Grunt, Python, Swift, SQL, Ruby, Perl.

We must sound like totally nutters.

My photo in the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau Spring Visitors Guide

I’m always pleased when my photos can be put to good use. It is why I license my photos the way that I do.

A few months ago the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau reached out and asked if they could use one of my photos (with credit) in their Spring Visitors Guide.

My photo in the Spring Visitors Guide
Complete with credit

Of course they can!

They chose this photo of geese at Aylesworth Park – a park I visit quite often during the year for hiking.

I’m very happy with how it turned out. Be sure to pick up a guide and get out this spring and discover Lackawanna County.

Spotify takes Apple to court in the EU

Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify:

It’s why, after careful consideration, Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC), the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair and nondiscriminatory.

Good. After reading through his post and their website – especially if it all is true – they have quite a good case. I’ve been complaining, for years, about iOS’s anti-competitive policies. I am glad someone is finally going to try to get Apple to loosen its grip.

While Spotify’s main objection is the tax Apple puts on apps and services in the Store my main objection would be not allowing me, the customer, to choose my own browser, mail client, music player, etc. I really hope this is the last straw and many more complaints somehow make their way to Apple’s legal department.

See also: Manton Reece’s thoughts.

/via Eugene Rochko on Mastodon.

15 Lessons from ConvertKit’s Nathan Barry

I could quote the entire piece, so I urge that you read it.

Nathan Barry:

Focus is where I thrive. Focus is where I get results. Focus is everything.

On choosing a niche:

Choosing a niche is the easiest advice to give and the hardest advice to take. When you don’t have traction, it feels like choosing a niche will exclude the few people who are coming in the door.

I’ve given this advice countless times. I too have a hard time taking it.

I could quote it all but I’ll just do one more.

Ignore the entrepreneur media.

I needed to read this.

How to use DuckDuckGo

Brett Terpstra:

The search syntax is very similar to Google’s, so if you’re familiar with that you won’t need to learn much. Obviously you can just search a bunch of words, but there are a few additional syntaxes you can use to refine results.

Duck.com (as I like to call it now) is my search engine of choice across all browsers and devices. Brett’s guide is excellent and – once you get some of the tricks down to muscle memory – are real time savers.

I recommend you use Duck.com but also that you kindly, yet strongly, recommend that your friends and family members to do the same. You can even take the 30 seconds to switch them to Duck.com on their devices.