Archive for April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Navigating a Tightrope With Amazon

David Carr (via MacNN):

But the plan hit a pothole after Apple, which had been looking to get into shorter works in a digital format, decided to include e-books in a promotion that it does with Starbucks. It selected Mr. Bissinger’s digital sequel as a Pick of the Week, giving customers a code they could redeem online for the book. (Mr. Bissinger said he still received a royalty of $1.50 for each copy sold.)

Amazon interpreted the promotion as a price drop and lowered its price for “After Friday Night Lights” to exactly zero. Byliner withdrew the book from Amazon’s shelves, saying it did so to “protect our authors’ interest.”

The automatic price drop was because Amazon requires that publishers let them sell e-books for the lowest available price.

sort -h

Aristotle Pagaltzis:

I recently discovered the -h switch of GNU sort, added in the coreutils 7.5 release from Aug 20, 2009. With this switch, sort will do a numeric sort of human-readable size numbers, i.e. it will accept “42M” and “1.3G” as numbers and put them in the right order.

Alas, Mac OS X ships with the 5.93 version of sort from 2005.

Twitter’s URL Changes

Dave Winer:

Now they display my stories with the full URLs, even though they still route through my URL shortener, so I get the click counts. But I can see them changing that again, and replacing my URL-shortener with theirs. They now use theirs and mine. So there are three URLs in the mix: 1. The original URL. 2. My shortened URL. 3. Their shortened URL. What a contortion of TBL’s invention. And I’m sure there are more twists and turns coming.

How to Make Xcode’s UI Work for You

Brian Webster:

Now, with most applications that support a tabbed interface, each tab is typically used to hold a single document, so that you can switch easily between them. I tried this with Xcode 4, but quickly found that the set of files I’m working with at any given time is usually too large for tabs to really be an effective way of managing them. The number of tabs would quickly grow to where I couldn’t find anything, and didn’t end up saving me any time. The key realization I had was that, rather than having one tab per file, I should instead have one tab for each type of task, such as editing, building, debugging, and so forth.

I liked certain aspects of Xcode 3’s user interface better, and there are some surprising omissions, but overall I don’t have a problem with the changes in Xcode 4. In many ways, it’s an improvement. Rather, the problem with Xcode 4 is that it’s been shipping as a non-beta version for over a year now, and yet it still has the reliability of beta software. Aside from later versions of Xcode 3, Xcode was pretty much always more crashy and error-prone than Apple’s non-developer apps. So was Project Builder. (The older ProjectBuilder, sans space, seemed solid to me, and it had some nice features that still haven’t made it into Xcode.) And on the classic Mac OS, Metrowerks CodeWarrior suffered from similar problems at times. (As I recall, THINK C was stable, but I didn’t do much Mac development in those days.)

Developers are people, too. If the quality isn’t good enough for iTunes or Safari, it shouldn’t be acceptable for the tools used to developer those applications. Or, for that matter, the third-party applications that we rely on.

Great NBA Playoffs RSS Feed

Andrew Hanelly (on Dave Winer’s site):

I think you just sparked the idea for a hell of a service that could be applied to any topic, especially event-based ones where you don’t want stale content from search engines, and too-thin, real-time content from Twitter. A curated feed that grabs essentials from all sources—sort of like a concierge for a timely topic.

UTF-8 Everywhere

Pavel Radzivilovsky, Yakov Galka, and Slava Novgorodov (via Hacker News):

UTF-16 is the worst of both worlds—variable length and too wide. It exists for historical reasons, adds a lot of confusion and will hopefully die out.

Portability, cross-platform interoperability and simplicity are more important than interoperability with existing platform APIs. So, the best approach is to use UTF-8 narrow strings everywhere and convert them back and forth on Windows before calling APIs that accept strings.

If you’re a Cocoa programmer, be sure you’re familiar with -[NSString rangeOfComposedCharacterSequenceAtIndex:].

Friday, April 27, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Functional Programming in C++

John Carmack:

No matter what language you work in, programming in a functional style provides benefits. You should do it whenever it is convenient, and you should think hard about the decision when it isn’t convenient.

I love this tweet from Michael Feathers (author of the excellent Working Effectively with Legacy Code):

OO makes code understandable by encapsulating moving parts. FP makes code understandable by minimizing moving parts.

Thursday, April 26, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Cloud Terms of Service

Nilay Patel:

In the end, though, the actual wording of these documents doesn’t reveal much—they all set out to do the same thing, and they all accomplish their goals. What’s most important is how much trust you’re willing to give companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Dropbox as more and more of your data moves to the cloud. Contracts are meaningful and important, but even the most noble promises can easily be broken. It’s actions and history that have consequences, and companies that deal with user data on the Web need to start building a history of squeaky-clean behavior before any of us can feel totally comfortable living in the cloud.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Why Are 30″ LCD Monitors Still So Expensive?

Philip Greenspun:

Five and a half years ago, I wrote a posting marveling that the Dell 30″ LCD monitor was selling for $1279. My HP-brand 30″ monitor seems to be flaking out, so I was considering replacing it with another Dell (my six year-old Dell monitor is still going strong). What’s the latest price from Dell? $1299! With LCD TV prices on a constant downward trend, how is it possible that the 30″ computer monitor remains stuck at over $1000? It is just that nobody wants this size? Newegg.com sells 27″ name-brand monitors (e.g., Samsung) for $300, but it would be hard to give up the extra size and resolution to which I have become accustomed.

Granted the current models are much better IPS displays, but I still find this surprising. I’m using a 5-year-old Dell display that also seems to be flaking out. I keep thinking some new product or price change will signal that it’s time to replace it, but that hasn’t happened yet. You’d think that, with Xcode 4 and Aperture, Apple would have some interest in producing displays larger than 27 inches. Now I think we may see a TV first.

Send to Kindle for Mac

The Mac version of Amazon’s Send to Kindle is now available (via Jacqui Cheng). There’s a (cross-platformish looking) app that supports drag and drop, a printer driver, and a contextual menu plug-in. You can choose which Kindle (or iOS device with the Kindle app) to use as the destination and also archive the files in Amazon’s cloud. Of course, you can still send files via e-mail. Meanwhile, Apple’s iBooks supports fewer file formats and can only receive files via iTunes.

Firefox 12

Firefox is now at version 12.0. Basic AppleScript support (such as getting the URL of the current window) hasn’t worked since version 3.5, and it was intermittently broken in some earlier versions.

Update (2012-06-15): Firefox 13.0.1 is now out, and the AppleScript support is still broken.

Amazon McMaster

Amazon Supply, looks like a McMaster competitor (via Gus Mueller). There’s free 2-day shipping with a $50 order (rather than the free slow shipping with a $25 order at regular Amazon), and it works with Amazon Prime. Many of the items that I looked at don’t seem to be in stock, however.

Saturday, April 21, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

VoodooPad 5.0

Gus Mueller:

No more connecting to WebDAV servers and having to deal with authentication issues and strange HTTP errors. Now you can just put your VoodooPad 5 document in a Dropbox folder and VP will detect when pages have been updated. Kirstin and I even share multiple documents over Dropbox- and we can both be working on the same document at the same time. It’s wonderful.

[…]

A side benefit to these changes is VP’s file format is a bit more robust than previously as well. I also see it as a way of future proofing VP- if Google decides next week to introduce a Dropbox competitor, VoodooPad will probably work fine with it. Or if a new SCM like Git or Mercurial shows up tomorrow that you want to stuff VP into, it should “just work.”

I like developers who publish release notes and make their documentation available in multiple formats.

VoodooPad is a $25 dollar upgrade from any previous version, as well as for a full purchase for a limited time.

New users can probably thank the Mac App Store for that discount. This is one of the first apps I’ve seen that requires Lion. I expect there to be many more soon.

Prince of Persia

Gus Mastrapa:

A white pickup truck pulls up and parks on the street; enter vintage computer collector Tony Diaz. He made the 80-mile drive up from Oceanside to help Mechner mine his old floppies for their lost treasures. From the bed of his pickup, he unloads crate after crate of old Apple II computers, drives and cable. He’s brought everything that might possibly be necessary today. If those disks have information on them, he’s going to extract it.

Jordan Mechner’s journals about the making of the game are available in an e-book, and the source code is available on GitHub:

This archive contains the source code for the original Prince of Persia game that I wrote on the Apple II, in 6502 assembly language, between 1985-89. The game was first released by Broderbund Software in 1989, and is part of the ongoing Ubisoft game franchise.

Microsoft Office 2011 SP2 Update Pulled

MacNN:

After first advising users on how to work around the flaw, Microsoft today pulled the Service Pack 2 update for its Office 2011 Mac software in order to find the cause of an issue that was corrupting identity databases in its Outlook e-mail client. Though the SP2 update is still available for manual download, the company has stopped pushing SP2 out using AutoUpdate until it resolves the problem, according to a post on its Office for Mac blog.

I’ve received reports from customers that the update corrupted their Outlook database, broke Sync Services, and more. SpamSieve users who have already updated to SP2 should see this thread.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Amazon vs. Best Buy: a Tale of Two Retailers

Dan Frommer:

A look at the companies’ growth rates tells the story well: While Amazon has grown sales by 41%, 40% and 28% the past three years, Best Buy’s fiscal year sales growth rates have been 2%, 0%, and 10%.

The surprising thing to me is that, at least through 2011, Best Buy still had more revenue than Amazon. Off-hand, I think everyone I know—including my grandmother—spends more at Amazon each year. I bought books from Amazon before ever setting foot in a Best Buy (because there was then no local one). Now I buy books, digital content, cloud services, hard drives and other electronics, sporting goods, and even soap, vanilla, and cookware from Amazon. The last time I shopped at Best Buy was a few years ago when I had a gift certificate. That’s when I noticed that they no longer have much of a music section but have a whole rack of iTunes gift cards in different styles.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple’s iTunes Store Patent

Patently Apple (via MacNN):

As a graphical user interface produced by an application program, one embodiment of the invention includes at least a browse window generated by the application program. The browse window enables a user of the application program to browse through a plurality of media items. The browse window includes at least: a first list of first selectable items, with at least one of the first selectable items being capable of being selected by the user; a second list of second selectable items, with at least one of the second selectable items being capable of being selected by the user; and a third list of third selectable items, with at least one of the third selectable items being capable of being selected by the user. The second selectable items of the second list are dependent on a first selection by the user of at least one of the first selectable items from the first list.…

This just sounds like column view (which Xerox’s Smalltalk had in the 1970s) applied to media items.

As a graphical user interface produced by an application program, one embodiment of the invention includes at least an application program window generated by the application program. The application program window concurrently includes at least a sub-window and a next control. The sub-window displays media information for a first set of media items. The media information for the first set of media items is received by the application program from a remote server over a network. When the next control is activated, the sub-window displays media information for a second set of media items. The media information for the second set of media items is also received by the application program from the remote server over the network.

This seems pretty ridiculous.

Apple Hates Brunettes

iKamasutra (via Craig Hockenberry, who calls it “Every developer’s greatest fear”):

After several years and 13 million users, Apple summarily removed iKamasutra from the App Store on February 20, 2012, ostensibly for adding brown hair coloring to our drawings. Then, on March 14, it was just as arbitrarily pulled from the Google Play Store. I have been trying to understand Apple’s and Google’s sudden concerns and address them, but with limited feedback and no real dialog from them, despite all our efforts, our options have dwindled.

They added brown hair to improve usability, Apple complained, so they changed it back, and then Apple rejected the app for duplicating apps that were already in the store. The irony: iKamasutra was the first app of its kind.

The New Yorker Rate Reduction

Lee Wochner:

I just got a “Rate Reduction Notice” from The New Yorker magazine. Evidently, as a “preferred subscriber,” I am entitled to “specially reduced rates” when I extend my subscription now. In this case, my special rate reduction would put me at $64.99 for the year — an incredible savings of $216.54 off the cover price!

I got one of these letters today, and it’s not a reduction for me, either. If you subscribe by phone, you can ask for the “professional” rate of $39.99 per year. I’d rather read it on my Kindle, but I get the the dead tree version because it’s the only one that makes it easy to save the articles that I like. Cutting them out and feeding them into my scanner produces much better results than trying to save pages from the subscribers-only Web site.

Monday, April 16, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Path Finder 6

Path Finder 6 adds support for access control lists (ACLs), OpenMeta, batch file renaming, and hex editing. I don’t use Path Finder as a Finder replacement. Rather, I launch it every once in a while to do certain operations that the Finder can’d do and that are somewhat of a pain to do in Terminal. It’s normally $40, $35 for the first week, and $15 for upgraders.

iCloud vs. the Web

Manton Reece:

If Web 2.0 made data more accessible, iCloud takes that same data and…keeps it closed. It’s a step forward on user convenience and a step back on interoperability.

He thinks this is Apple’s plan, that Apple isn’t interested in solving the interoperability problem, and that’s fine. I think it’s a poor long-term strategy for Apple to cede the interesting cloud use cases to Web APIs and other companies.

When Steve Jobs said that Dropbox was but a feature, perhaps he was revealing a blind spot. The cloud, or the Web, is more like a platform. If Apple doesn’t want to provide the APIs, developers will find others to build on. This is probably good for the world at large, but it’s somewhat of a missed opportunity for iCloud.

RB App Checker Lite 1.0

Rainer Brockerhoff:

RB App Checker Lite helps users and developers to check code signatures and receipts for applications from any source. It will show certificates, requirements and entitlements, cross-check all this information for consistency, and check that the application’s resources have not been altered after signing.

The user interface has too many popovers for my taste, but it looks like a big improvement over using codesign in Terminal. It would be nice to see support for checking the Gatekeeper compatibility with older versions of Mac OS X.

Friday, April 13, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iCloud’s First Six Months

Federico Viticci:

As Streza noted, even when iCloud launched six months ago, “it really felt like a beta that Apple would be iterating on quickly”. Last summer, when Apple was beta-testing iOS 5 and OS X Lion with registered developers, a shared belief amongst app makers was that implementing iCloud integration would take a while. Six months after the public rollout in October 2011 and 10 months after the company’s announcement (and beta release) at WWDC, the situation still isn’t much different for many developers.

It seems as though the Core Data syncing, in particular, is nowhere near ready for primetime. Thus, Apple should commit to keeping the MobileMe Sync Services API working beyond June. More generally, Apple seems to be taking the “it just works” philosophy too far. When something inevitably goes wrong, there needs to be a way for developers (or even users) to get under the hood to see what happened and fix it.

Nib Memory Management

Mike Ash:

Nib memory management is similar between Mac and iOS but just different enough to be annoyingly confusing. Fortunately, it’s easy to mitigate the confusion by sticking to areas where the two platforms behave identically, which results in best practices anyway. Always use a Cocoa controller to load nibs rather than loading the nib directly yourself. Always declare properties for your outlets. As with any property, if your outlet properties are strong, then you must release the backing instance variable in dealloc (or let ARC do it for you).

I kind of wonder why they didn’t fix the top-level objects issue when introducing NSNib. It’s not even mentioned in the documentation.

Why I Use Safari Instead of Firefox

Early Netscape and Mozilla developer Jamie Zawinski (via John Siracusa):

Tabs are just one example, albeit an example I care about a lot, but this kind of thing happens with Firefox all the time in general too. A new version comes out, some random behavior has changed, and either you suck it up, or you go play whack-a-mole in the minefield of preferences checkboxes.

And, of course:

Firefox does not look or behave like a MacOS program. This is intentional. It has gotten better in recent years, but it still feels like a cross-platform open-source program, which it is. But I don’t want your Linux in my Mac. I want my Mac to behave like a Mac. That’s why I bought a Mac.

Java for OS X Lion 2012-003

Apple:

This update also configures the Java web plug-in to disable the automatic execution of Java applets. Users may re-enable automatic execution of Java applets using the Java Preferences application. If the Java web plug-in detects that no applets have been run for an extended period of time it will again disable Java applets.

Glenn Fleishman and Rich Mogull say that the time period is 35 days.

This seems like a reasonable decision, although it’s strange that Java can’t be re-enabled directly from Safari. I don’t think most users know that the Java Preferences app even exists. There doesn’t appear to be any imminent danger for cross-platform apps such as CrashPlan, but this move got me thinking of Steve Jobs’s remarks:

Nobody uses Java anymore. It’s this big heavyweight ball and chain.

Thursday, April 12, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Happy 20th Birthday, BBEdit

Jason Snell:

All of this would be an insane nostalgia trip were it not for this amazing fact: BBEdit’s still around. And not just as a relic of the old times, but as a modern, relevant text editor. Almost none of the other apps I used in 1997 are on my hard drive today.

Of the apps I was using in 1997, BBEdit is the only one that still gets daily use. GraphicConverter got a big update recently, and I still use it a few times per month. CDFinder, DragThing, Fetch, Interarchy, and Photoshop are still around and still good, but I don’t really use them anymore.

For more old screenshots, see the ATPM reviews of BBEdit 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Debugging an ARC Mac Application on Snow Leopard

Brian Webster:

Thus far, I’ve been doing most of my development and testing using Xcode 4.3 running on OS X 10.7, but I wanted to start to do more thorough testing on 10.6. ARC is supported on both versions of OS X (though with a few minor restrictions on 10.6), but as I quickly discovered when I tried building my application with Xcode 4.2 on 10.6, building an ARC application requires linking against the 10.7 SDK, which is only possible if you’re running Xcode on 10.7. So while I can run the app fine on 10.6, not being able to build on 10.6 makes it a little tricky to use Xcode’s debugger to debug the application.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

PHP: A Fractal of Bad Design

Alex Munroe:

Virtually every feature in PHP is broken somehow. The language, the framework, the ecosystem, are all just bad. And I can’t even point out any single damning thing, because the damage is so systemic. Every time I try to compile a list of PHP gripes, I get stuck in this depth-first search discovering more and more appalling trivia. (Hence, fractal.)

Update (2012-04-22): Jesper:

For the rest of my life, barring something even better, I will carry around that link to use when people ask why I hate PHP. A third of the text could be slander and a third out of date and it would still be enough to keep me away. It may run the Internet, but it does so in spite of itself, and not because of itself.

Monday, April 9, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Instagram Architecture Facebook Bought for a Cool Billion Dollars

High Scalability:

Instagram uses a pastiche of different technologies and strategies. The team is small yet has experience rapid growth riding the crest of a rising social and mobile wave, it uses a hybrid of SQL and NoSQL, it uses a ton of open source projects, they chose the cloud over colo, Amazon services are highly leveraged rather than building their own, reliability is through availability zones, async work scheduling links components together, the system is composed as much as possible of services exposing an API and external services they don’t have to build, data is stored in-memory and in the cloud, most code is in a dynamic language, custom bits have been coded to link everything together, and they have gone fast and kept small.

Although I presume the millions of users are what Facebook really paid for.

The Sandbox: Banning LaTeX From the Mac App Store

Valletta Ventures:

Texpad will parse the file, automatically open included files, and present them all to the user in a unified editor. […] This behaviour is ruled out by the Sandbox because the user has only granted permission for Texpad to open the root file itself. We would never do it, but we could avoid this limitation by wrecking the user experience, forcing the user to open the files one by one. Unsolvable however is the problem of LaTeX itself, which can never be compatible with the Sandbox.

Presumably, Apple expects such applications to prompt the user to authorize access to whole folder hierarchies, and then persist that via security-scoped bookmarks. They’re not dogfooding this approach with Xcode, iTunes, Aperture, etc., though. If every application started doing stuff like this it would become annoying and train users not to scrutinize such the dialogs very carefully.

App Store Retrospective

Kenneth Ballenegger:

But what’s even more scary, to me, than a mistake Apple might have made recently (such as its deprecation of UDIDs) is how relevant this old list of complaints remains. Remember, when I wrote this, the App Store was just one year old. I figured, they might just not have had time to get to these items, and that they’d improve as time went by. But, since then, they’ve had time to replay the entire life of the App Store thrice more, and for the most part, nothing has changed.

It seems like the review process has gotten faster. But most of the policy changes seem to be in the direction of adding more restrictions rather than addressing developers’ concerns. To me, the interesting question is to what extent Apple actively likes the App Store the way it is, that it’s working as designed. And to what extent the problems stem from the music store origins, and Apple simply hasn’t thought about it that much since the overall sales numbers and press have been good.

Friday, April 6, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Flashback

Rich Mogull:

The significant thing is that, unlike almost all other Mac malware we’ve seen, Flashback can insinuate itself into your system if you merely visit an infected webpage and are using vulnerable software. You do not need to enter your administrative password or to manually install anything.

[…]

The vulnerability in Java that Flashback exploits was patched in February by Oracle (which inherited Java as part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems). But Apple waited nearly two months to update OS X with that patched version.

This is the single biggest security issue for Macs. OS X includes a number of software components from third-party vendors and the Open Source software community, and Apple has a terrible track record in updating those components. When a vulnerability becomes publicly known because it’s been patched on another platform, but it isn’t patched on another, the bad guys have a straight-line roadmap to compromising that unpatched system.

In recent years, I’ve only used Java for CrashPlan, so I had it turned off in the browser. And, as it happens, Macs with Xcode or Little Snitch installed are not vulnerable.

The previous incarnation of Flashback was a Trojan horse that masqueraded as an installer for Flash. The interesting thing about that attack vector is that neither sandboxing nor Gatekeeper would be able to protect against it.

Drag and Drop to Dropbox

Rajeev Nayak:

If you use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, you can now upload files by dragging them from your desktop onto the Dropbox website. After Dropbox detects the upload, it’ll work its magic to get your stuff wherever you need it.

I recently discovered that this works in Google Docs, too. Pretty cool.

I’ve been using both of these cloud services a lot lately, and the interesting thing is that there’s almost zero overlap with Apple’s (current) vision for iCloud. Dropbox lets me edit the same file with multiple apps on different devices. Google Docs lets multiple people view and edit the same documents, with revision tracking, permissions, and notification.

There’s no iWork for Windows, and iWork.com was read-only and (like iDisk) will be shut down. Apple just doesn’t seem interested in serving customers who want to collaborate or use other platforms.

Greenwich

FadingRed (via Daniel Jalkut):

Greenwich is a Cocoa framework designed to make localization of Cocoa applications extremely easy for developers and translators. We've made every step of the process seamless, so you can focus on creating great software for more people.

This open-source project addresses one of the most longstanding limitations/flaws in Apple’s developer tools. Localization should be much easier than it is, both at the level of communicating with translators and within an Xcode project. So I like that they’re doing something, although I’m a bit skeptical of the dynamic localization approach (contra actual localized xib/nib files). Greenwich seems to rely on string keys (rather than ID numbers), and it inserts the localized strings into the views at runtime. I’ve used apps that do this, and they tend to be characterized by either truncated strings or excess padding. However, in theory Cocoa Auto Layout’s resizing and constraints system should make dynamic localization much more capable than in the past.

Facebook and Dropbox Apps Vulnerable to Credential Theft

Eric Slivka (via Chris Adamson):

Wright outlines a number of different ways in which a malicious user could obtain the login credentials, including customized apps, hidden applications installed on public PCs, or hardware solutions such as a modified speaker dock that could siphon the data.

Apparently the USB vulnerability, which seems to me to be the most serious, only affects iPhones that don’t have a passcode set.

The Future of MacRuby

Matt Aimonetti (via Shantonu Sen):

I’d like to make clear that I see myself more in a role of a facilitator than a technical leader on the order of what Laurent was. This role has been left vacant for more than 6 months now and needs to be filled by a group of people with greater technical skills than mine. Additional contributors are therefore more than welcome to join the team, and their support will be as much appreciated as it is needed.

Laurent Sansonetti had been working on MacRuby while employed by Apple, but he’s no longer with Apple or contributing to the project.

Update (2012-05-05): Sansonetti has created RubyMotion, a commercial runtime and development environment for building iOS apps with Ruby.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

ATPM 18.04

The April issue of ATPM is out:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Dropbox API Improvements

The Dropbox API now supports a /delta call for faster syncing, copying files between different user accounts, and there’s now an OS X SDK (via Hacker News). It’s still limited to uploading 150 MB files, however.

Arq 2.6.8

Stefan Reitshamer:

In my haste to fix this customer problem, I didn’t do enough testing on 2.6.3-4. I screwed up. There was a bug in those releases where some objects were marked as “compressed” but they weren’t actually compressed. So Arq couldn’t restore properly.

What really made things bad was that at some point in my rush to get the issue fixed I accidentally (because of muscle-memory habit) ran the command to publish 2.6.3 in the “update stream” as an official release of Arq, which meant that everyone who happened to check for updates would get this buggy version. I didn’t realize this for several hours. At that point I could only move forward and fix things as quickly as possible.

Most developers have screwed up a release. The good ones are transparent about it and fix things promptly. As a registered user, I received an e-mail about this issue, and when I had a question he replied in literally one minute. Arq is my favorite new app of the last couple years.

iTunes Video Glitches

Steven Frank:

I purchased this TV show season in 2007, at which time it contained 6 episodes, all of which I downloaded. Having deleted the shows at some point in the intervening years, I thought I would re-download them now using iTunes in the Cloud. However, as you may notice, episodes 2, 3, and 5 seem to have disappeared. As far as the iTunes Store is concerned, this season is now only 3 episodes long.

Monday, April 2, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

TidBITS’s Favorite April Fools Jokes

Adam C. Engst:

We’re big fans of April Fools Day, so much so that we’ve been writing an April Fools issue since 1991. This year, however, the holiday fell on a Sunday, and the joke is usually lost when people don’t experience it on the day itself. So instead of doing an April Fools issue for 2012, we want to share some of our favorite online pranks, mock sites, and otherwise entertaining fare from yesterday.

My favorite is Flickr’s Atkinson Dither.

Readability

John Gruber:

Readability should make it clear that it’s really up to 70 percent of subscriber contributions that are paid to publishers, and that in reality it’s far less because most websites aren’t in their program. Or, they should pay 70 percent and split it only among those publishers who are registered. They way they’re doing it and phrasing it now is misleading.

Update (2012-06-13): Most of the intended recipients never recieved any money:

And the great majority of those publishers never registered. Out of the millions—yes, millions—of domains that flowed through Readability, just over 2,000 registered to claim their money. As a result, most of the money we collected—over 90%—has gone unclaimed. As of today there’s nearly $150,000 in earmarked money sitting in a separate, untouched bank account.

It seems to me that they should refund it to the donors or divide it amongst the publishers who did register. Instead, they’re giving the bulk of it to two non-profit organizations that they selected.