Archive for September 15, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Minecraft to Join Microsoft


The Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios, which includes the studios behind global blockbuster franchises “Halo,” “Forza,” “Fable” and more. Microsoft’s investments in cloud and mobile technologies will enable “Minecraft” players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect across the “Minecraft” community.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion.


Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance. Though we’re massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch’s intention for it to get this big.

As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that.

There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development. We’re confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way.

Markus “Notch” Persson:

I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.

I have no idea what to make of this.

Update (2014-09-19): Josh Centers:

Minecraft is the most mind-blowing game I have ever played. It’s part sandbox game, part world-builder, part exploration game, part farming simulator, and part role-playing game. It has a “conclusion” of sorts (that you must discover on your own), but it never truly ends. You can play alone or with others, and you can even run your own Minecraft server and invite just your friends to play on it. It’s all too easy to spend thousands of hours in Minecraft, and millions of people already have.

Navigation Bar Interactions in iOS 8

Natasha Murashev:

Have you noticed how nicely the mobile Safari navigation bar condenses on scroll, and how the tab bar disappears?

In iOS8, Apple has made this type of interaction (and more!) very easily available to us all – well, almost… While Apple demoed the condensing navigation bar at WWDC, they have since changed it to hiding the navigation instead, and the tab bar is not included (I’m guessing they’ll add separate tab bar hiding properties later on…).

Removing U2’s “Songs of Innocence”

Kirk McElhearn and others have shown how to hide the album in your account via the Recent Purchases screen. Apparently, a lot of people want to do this because Apple went to the trouble of creating a special URL to make this even easier:

I don’t have a problem with the U2 promo per-se, but I certainly don’t want unsolicited free albums showing up in my library on a regular basis.

Update (2014-09-15): Andrew Hampp (via Josh Centers):

With lead single “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” set to be featured in a massive media campaign from Apple, valued at $100 million by multiple sources, U2 has already scored arguably the biggest launch in music history. And it’s one that’s already fraught with a little controversy, from angry retailers to Grammy and SoundScan guidelines. Oseary, 41, rang Billboard on Sept. 11 to address the many questions about the launch, and what’s next (another album?) from this landmark deal with Apple.

Nick Heer:

Sure, it’s “historical” for 500 million people to own a single album all at the same time. But there’s a huge difference between 500 million people buying an album and 500 million people being given an album. We buy albums we like or might potentially like, from artists that we already know or look interesting. I wasn’t planning on buying this record, yet I now own it. That’s weird, and not in a “pleasant surprise” kinda way.


Apple knows that music is both powerful and personal, they have highlighted that they think both customization and privacy are important and they have made a big fucking deal about their services to the user being in service of the user and not for some other ulterior motive. Apple could have asked “do you want this?”, but they didn’t, and the reason they didn’t was exactly because then they couldn’t help their friends chase a bogus world record.

Dan Wineman:

We’ve surrendered the physical trappings, but the connotations remain. And I think Apple didn’t see this because — no matter how deeply they insist music runs in their DNA — from the perspective of the iTunes Store, “library” means licensed content the user is currently authorized to stream or download. But due to various design decisions Apple’s made over the years, that’s not what it means to anyone else. I’d wager that to a majority of iTunes users, “library” means my personally curated collection of stuff that I enjoy and feel comfortable associating with my identity. Messing with that is, to be frank, nothing short of a violation.

Marco Arment:

Being angry about an album you were given for free does sound dumb, but due to the way iTunes purchase libraries work, that’s not the whole story. As far as most people can tell, purchases stick around forever. I didn’t even know you could hide purchases from your history until this, and I’m supposed to be an expert in Apple stuff.


The damage here isn’t that a bunch of people need to figure out how to delete a (really quite bad) album that they got for free and are now whining about. It’s that Apple did something inconsiderate, tone-deaf, and kinda creepy for the sake of a relatively unimportant marketing campaign, and they seemingly didn’t think it would be a problem.

Update (2014-09-16): Daniel Jalkut:

I tend to agree with Marco Arment’s take, both about it being a mistake to overlook the nuances of this situation, and that the nut of the problem, the part especially worthy of scrutiny by Apple’s fans, is the extent to which this move, and the threat of more moves like it, erodes our trust that the company has our best interests at heart.

Steven Frank:

It’s that my various document libraries, and especially my iTunes library, are sacred. You DO NOT touch them. If I entrust them to your cloud service, you double-triple especially DO NOT touch them.

This “free gift” could have just as easily been issued as a redemption code, and nobody would have minded. Instead it was pushed into everyone’s library apparently just so the band could brag about having the most widely-“owned” album of all time. It had that layer of marketing slime on it that most Apple promotions do not.

Dave Winer:

For a company that makes products that are supposedly about personal creativity, they seem to focus on elite creativity a bit too much. I suspect in their minds, the people who run Apple, and the people who run U2, our function is to admire them, and accept our own mediocrity.

Chuq von Rospach:

If you bought a Windows-based PC anytime in the last 15 years, it came with a lot of software put there “for your convenience”. It was generically known as crapware, and it was because PC vendors were paid to stuff it down your throat, even though you didn’t ask for it. This is a tactic generally reviled by people who had to try to clean all of that stuff out for their less tech savvy family members.

Apple was a company that even marketed itself as above that kind of activity, because they were.

Update (2014-09-17): John Gruber:

Did anyone among Apple’s leadership raise questions about this promotion? Regarding either the “we’ll just add it to everyone’s purchased music” thing that has so many people upset, or, the way the whole thing was a complete and utter distraction punctuating the otherwise nearly flawless iPhones/Pay/Watch event.


The “free cassette” image was just a digital fabrication, however, an altered version of a vintage Argos catalog as from 1986 (viewable on the Retroash web site).

Update (2014-10-15): Dave Mark quotes Bono:

Oops, um, I’m sorry about that…This beautiful idea. Might’ve gotten carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania. Touch of generosity. Dash of self promotion. And deep fear that these songs, that we’ve poured our lives into the last few years, mightn’t be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we, us, we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.

Visualizing Garbage Collection Algorithms

Ken Fox (via Ole Begemann):

I’ve built a toy with five different garbage collection algorithms. Small animations were created from the run-time behavior. You can find larger animations and the code to create them at It surprised me how much a simple animation reveals about these important algorithms.

Tim Cook Interview

Charlie Rose interviews Tim Cook, who has some interesting things to say, particularly about Steve Jobs. At this point, I think it would be hard to argue that anyone else would have been a better successor as CEO. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t have a satisfying explanation for the maps situation.

Update (2014-09-17): Serenity Caldwell:

We’ve put together edited highlights from his first hour chatting with the ABC talk show host about Apple’s new products, the Apple TV, Steve Jobs, and the future of the company.

Charlie Rose’s site has part 2 of the interview, as does YouTube.

OmniGraffle Stenciltown

Ken Case:

Stenciltown makes it easy to find free OmniGraffle stencils which have been shared by the community. You can browse and search the collection through its web interface, and once you’ve found a stencil you’d like to use it’s as easy as ever to download and use.

You can also search Stenciltown from within OmniGraffle itself, both on Mac and iPad.

An Introduction to Cocoa Bindings

Amy Worrall:

Most tutorials teach you how to use bindings with Interface Builder. While this is by far the most common way to use bindings, Interface Builder can leave the impression that bindings are a kind of magic, and developers who never dive deeper and gain a full understanding of how they work can often struggle to solve certain problems, especially when trying to debug some unexpected behaviour.


There are benefits if the object being bound to implements NSEditorRegistration. This is one reason why it’s a good idea to bind to controller objects rather than binding directly to the model. NSEditorRegistration lets the binding tell the controller that its content is in the process of being edited. The controller keeps track of which views are currently editing the controller’s content. If the user closes the window, for example, every controller associated with that window can tell all such views to immediately commit their pending edits, and thus the user will not lose any data.


In bindings, the view does all the work. It is responsible for observing the model, pushing its own changes back to the model (using Key Value Coding) at an appropriate point, and keeping track of all the information about the binding. If you’re binding to Apple-supplied views (or Apple-supplied controllers that expose bindings) all this is taken care of, but it becomes important if you are creating your own bindable views.