Archive for October 21, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Turning Off iCloud Photo Library

I had thought I would leave iCloud Photo Library on, even though I use Lightroom rather than Photos. But there were several problems with that approach. Importing photos becomes confusing because Image Capture loses the ability to delete photos. There is a way to delete them from the phone, but freeing up space is a multi-step process. You can’t Select All and Delete in the Camera Roll, and even then the photos first move into Recently Deleted.

Another issue is that, although I like having recent photos in the cloud, there’s no way to prevent uploading them when I don’t have a good Internet connection. So it’s much simpler to just turn off iCloud Photo Library, foregoing the automatic cloud backup.

B2 Cloud Storage

Backblaze (comments):

Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage works similar to Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure, allowing you to store unlimited data in the cloud. But does it for 1/4th the cost.

No word yet on whether Arq will work with it.

Venice (a.k.a. SwiftGo)

Paulo Faria (via iOS Dev Weekly):

Venice is a pure Swift/C library that provides CSP for Swift 2.


Venice is fast because the coroutines are light coroutines managed by libmill instead of threads managed by the OS. The Chinese Whispers example in the command line application shows how you can create up to 100.000 concurrent coroutines (tested in a 8 GB MacBook Pro early 2015).

That’s Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP), like in Go, rather than Continuation-Passing Style (CPS).

No Longer Good, Better, Best

Ben Lovejoy:

Many of us have expressed dismay at the fact that Apple still, in 2015, sells an iPhone with just 16GB of storage. Apple would, of course, argue its corner. […] I could go on, but the simple reality is that most of us need local storage, and trying to palm people off with 16GB is simply unreasonable. Apple is offering an iPhone which pretty much guarantees frustration down the line, and there’s absolutely no reason to do so when it could offer a 64GB starting point at the cost of a few bucks less profit.


And then we have the latest Retina iMacs, where Apple reduced the SSD component of the 1TB Fusion Drive from 128GB to a miserly 24GB. That’s less than the RAM available in some configurations. Effectively, Apple has swapped out a genuine fusion drive – one that really did combine the responsiveness of an SSD with the affordability of a hard drive – for one that is, at the very least, severely compromised. One that is unlikely to deliver the snappiness expected of SSD storage. One which, we might even say, can still be marketed as a fusion drive without genuinely delivering on the promise of the technology.

The 16 GB iPhone 6s is probably the best example. That’s just ridiculous for a new model of Apple’s flagship phone. A lot of people will buy it, not realizing the decision they’re making, and be unhappy down the road. It’s probably a lot more than a few bucks of extra profit, though, because a lot of other people will pay $100 to get the 64 GB iPhone, whereas they would have been happy with a 32 GB base model.

With the iMac, more surprising than the smaller Fusion Drive is that the base model doesn’t have any sort of Fusion Drive. It has a 5400 RPM notebook drive. I don’t think that offers a “Good” experience in 2015. That brand-new iMac is going to feel slow compared with an iOS device or even an old MacBook Air. And it’s likely that many customers won’t realize there’s a huge performance difference, so this won’t work as a tactic for upselling. They’ll just buy the base model.

Apple is currently celebrating all the advances since the original iMac, which retired the floppy drive. How many years until it retires the standalone spinning hard drive?

Prioritizing profits over product quality is short-term thinking. Will Apple keep doing things like this until there’s a decline in measured Customer Sat?

Previously: 16 GB.

Update (2015-10-21): Riccardo Mori:

I’ll reiterate: in a ‘base model’ iMac that costs €1,729 without any add-on, I’d expect at least the low-price 1 TB Fusion Drive option as the default, not old hard drive technology.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Benjamin Esham:

Apple’s iMac comparison didn’t mention that the first-generation one also came with a 5400 RPM drive.

That was a 3.5-inch drive, albeit one with higher data density.

Update (2015-10-26): See Accidental Tech Podcast.

When Businesses Grow to Become Dysfunctional

Matt Henderson:

It was at this point that it occurred to me how dysfunctional large organizations like Bank of America really are. I was thinking, “If anyone’s thinking about disrupting the finance industry, it’s definitely ripe!”

At the end of the call, when Bob asked if there were any other comments I’d like to provide, I mentioned that of all the financial institutions I deal with, Bank of America is one of the very few that have not implemented standard two-factor authentication, using apps like Google Authenticator or Authy.

Bob had never heard of two-factor authentication, and asked me to explain it so he could pass on the recommendation to the appropriate team. I have to say it just felt funny explaining to a representative of one of the world’s largest financial organizations what two-factor authentication is. “Yes, it’s spelled A-U-T-H-Y. Yes it’s an app. That’s right, for smartphones.”