Archive for November 29, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Using the Old Remote and Keyboard With Apple TV 4

Rob Griffiths:

Yes, that’s the third-gen Apple TV’s password entry screen, on my fourth-gen Apple TV. Just how did I get it to appear? Very easily, though it took me a bit to figure out exactly how I did it. Here’s how:

To use the old-style password entry screen on the new Apple TV, wake the Apple TV using the old silver remote, and don’t touch the new Siri remote.

Rob Griffiths:

On the Apple TV, what I found is that regardless of method used (i.e. grid or line), the silver remote is both faster and more accurate than the Siri (black) remote. After discarding the Siri remote, I was notably faster using the silver remote with the grid layout than with the line layout.

The other thing to notice is that I only had accuracy issues with the Siri remote. The first time I tried to enter my password for this test, it took me three tries to get my password correct. The 2:59 time shown for the “grid” line is the total of all three times (0:47, 0:57, and 1:15). I then tried again, going very slowly to make sure I didn’t make a mistake, which is the 1:41 time shown on the last row. I had no accuracy issues with the silver remote, regardless of line or grid data entry style.

Of course, it would be better still to be able to use the Remote app for typing.

Previously: Apple TV 4.

Update (2015-11-29): Lee Bennett:

I’ve actually had great accuracy with the Siri remote. People forget the 4 edges can be tapped (not clicked) for arrow keys.

Update (2015-11-30): Ángel Domínguez:

If only the new remote wasn’t triggered by events as slight as the flapping wings of a passing fly.

Microsoft’s Astoria Proves Too Complex

Steven Max Patterson (via Hacker News):

Microsoft confirmed this weekend that it has delayed, if not killed entirely, Astoria, a tool designed to make it easy for Android apps to run on Windows 10 phones and tablets, according to Re/Code. Microsoft’s stated strategy for the Astoria project was to enrich its app store with some of the 1.5 million Android apps that, after displacing Google’s cloud services within the apps, the company could monetize with its own cloud services.

Microsoft’s ambitions may not be achievable in the time the company allotted itself. Microsoft complicated the project by orders of magnitude when it linked the porting of Android apps to Windows 10 with replacing Google’s cloud services. Microsoft wrote an app interoperability library that traps and converts Google cloud APIs for things like payments and advertising to Microsoft’s APIs.

Previously: Microsoft’s New Middleware: Islandwood and Astoria.

Update (2015-12-08): Jean-Louis Gassée:

Considering Ballmer’s history of miscalculated hot takes (iPhone: No way! iPad: just a PC minus keyboard and mouse; MacBooks: Apple logo slapped on an Intel laptop), I’m chagrined that I agree with him: Universal Apps won’t work; Android is now the way to go (a suggestion I made to Nokia’s management in June 2010, along with the suggestion that they fire their CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo).

Covariance and Contravariance

Mike Ash:

Covariance is when subtypes are accepted. Overridden read-only properties are covariant.

Contravariance is when supertypes are accepted. The parameters of overridden methods are contravariant.

Invariance is when neither supertypes nor subtypes are accepted. Swift generics are invariant.


Swift generics are normally invariant, but the Swift standard library collection types — even though those types appear to be regular generic types — use some sort of magic inaccessible to mere mortals that lets them be covariant.


There is an interesting problem with generic collection covariance: it potentially allows objects of the wrong type to be inserted in the collection.

I’m told that the first version of Java had covariant arrays without sufficient protection, which allowed to downcast objects without compile time or runtime checks[…]


Fortunately, with Swift’s copy-on-write arrays, this code is perfectly fine: the assignment of animals[0] will create a copy of the array, so cats will still only contain Cats.

The Worst App

Allen Pike (via Federico Viticci):

The app’s website link on the App Store went to an unrelated company, and the copyright credit was for another unrelated company. I contacted them, and they were as confused as I was. With no way to contact the actual creator of the app, the only solution was to get Apple to pull it.


These weren’t emails for a Steamclock app at all. […] Turns out, this is my problem. One email a month turned into one a week, then one a day, then multiple every day. Soon I was spending more time dealing with support for Music Player & Playlist Playtube manager than I was for our actual apps.

When customers complained to Apple about the scam app that was directing technical support to his company, they were told to contact him. And then:

Yesterday I got an unexpected email, congratulating me on launching some app called “Feeling Drawing”. I checked the store, and sure enough a new app had just gone live, featuring virtually the same icon as the Playtube app, but this time called Feeling Drawing and attributed to “Solaro Nohimdad”. This time, the app’s support website was listed as They even went as far to proclaim the app “© Steamclock”. In the immortal words of Stephanie, OHHH HELL NO.

Longevity of the Retina MacBook Pro

Mark Alldritt:

I’m here to report that I’m still using this machine as my main development system. I think this is now my favourite Mac laptop ever, displacing the Titanium PowerBook which held that spot for a long, long time. Its still fast, its still thin, it still has a great screen, and from what I can tell it has a better keyboard than current MacBook Pro Retinas.

Mine is still going strong aside from the image retention problem. It definitely does not feel as slow at the 3.5-year mark as previous Macs I’ve had. It’s possibly the best Mac I’ve owned, despite being a first-generation product. Mainly, I’d like more RAM, a larger SSD, and the ability to drive a high-resolution external display. Current MacBook Pros are still limited to 16 GB of RAM, and the SSD has only increased from 750 GB to 1 TB.