Archive for December 17, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015


David Pogue:

USB Type C is the Yahoo Tech Technology of the Year. It is one really amazing connector, capable of replacing the power, video, audio, and data jacks of every phone, tablet, and laptop—from every company. One single way to charge everything you own. One cable to rule them all.

David Pogue:

The specifications for USB-C were finalized late last year. That’s astonishing for two reasons: First, it was dreamed up by engineers and executives from every major electronics company, working side-by-side for three years—even blood rivals like Apple and Google.


One big question: Will Apple have the nerve to replace its Lightning connector (the one on iPhones and iPads) with USB-C, thus completing the earth’s transition to a completely universal charging jack?

Probably not, because Lightning is thinner and gives them more control.

Sam Byford:

Well, I’ve been using the MacBook as my primary computer for the past six months or so, and it’s true that its one and only USB-C port can make things a bit awkward at times. But the last few weeks have been a whole lot easier, thanks to a little peripheral I’ve been testing. It’s called the Minix Neo C, and Apple really ought to have made this thing itself.

The Neo C comes from Minix, a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of media hubs and various computer accessories. It’s a chunky yet compact hub made of sturdy metal that lets your MacBook’s USB-C port handle just about anything you’d want for regular computer use: two regular USB-A 3.0 ports that carry power, slots for both SD and microSD cards, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, your choice of VGA or HDMI monitor output — the latter up to 4K, though the highest resolution I could test was 2560 x 1080 21:9 — and, critically, another USB-C port so you can continue to charge your computer as you use all these features.

Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, iMovie ’08, and Final Cut Pro X

Randy Ubillos (via Stephen Hackett):

I was working for SuperMac and they were working on something called DigitalFilm - one of the very first digital video recording cards. It did quarter frame standard definition - they were pushing the limits of the JPEG chips that were available at the time and we needed some software to try it out. In about 10 weeks I put together a demo and we’d bring in people and show them editing on a computer and it was going over pretty well. The marketing department had just gotten out of software at SuperMac and they weren’t sure what to do with it and so as it got close to shipping the card in late 1991 my software was sold to Adobe and they released it as Premiere 1.0.


We’d been going for about three years on the [Final Cut Pro] project, we went over to [Apple] and we had more work to do. Apple wanted to re-look at what it looked like. It turned out to be a good thing. We got to a point right before NAB in ’99 we just said “We are going to show this thing at NAB come hell or high water” and we got the nicest present from Avid because that was the NAB they announced they were leaving the Mac.


iMovie’s codename was RoughCut, it was conceived originally as a front end to Final Cut - for creating a rough edit for Final Cut. I worked with a graphic designer to make it look good. When I did a demo of it to Steve [Jobs] in about three minutes he said “That’s the next iMovie.” So I asked when it was supposed to ship, and he said “Eight months.”


My idea was that Final Cut 7 should stay exactly as it was for about a year, and every time you bought a copy of X you got a copy of 7. They didn’t want to hear it. I knew 16 months before the launch that I was going to have a bunch of arrows in my back. I was going to be blamed for this big transition. It’s the Apple way of doing things: ‘Feet first, jump in!’

More Responsive WebKit Tapping on iOS

Wenson Hsieh:

We know that responsive tapping is really important to web developers — so much so that many are willing to employ JavaScript frameworks to avoid the delay using touch handlers. Instead of waiting for WebKit to fire a click after a delay, these libraries prevent the default behavior of the touchend event and call click() immediately so that the element is clicked the moment the user stops touching the element. While this may make a link feel fast, it can also reduce responsiveness in other ways, including page load time and scrolling. To address this, we baked fast tapping optimizations into WebKit so well-scaled mobile web pages will be able to achieve responsive tapping out of the box without the drawbacks of third-party frameworks.

On web pages optimized for mobile viewports, elements such as links and form controls are scaled to fit well on smaller screens. As such, double tapping on these elements increases the page scale by only a small amount. Since double tapping provides little value on these web pages, we’ve implemented a mechanism for removing the delay for single taps by disabling double tap gestures.

The First Spotlight Interface

Riccardo Mori:

What I really like about Spotlight under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is the separate, standalone window that comes up when you select Show All at the top of the list[…]

And this is the Search interface I’ve really been missing since Apple removed it in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Perhaps the Aqua elements like the three buttons in the upper left corner or the scroll bar on the right will make you cringe, but I think this is still the best search interface ever appeared on Mac OS X. Whenever I use one of my vintage PowerPC Macs running Tiger, it’s great to be back using Spotlight that way.


First of all, the way find-as-you-type has changed makes Spotlight under El Capitan appear slower than Spotlight under Tiger — and sometimes it actually is slower. If you look at the following screen recordings, where I performed a simple search for disk, you’ll see that under Tiger results start appearing immediately as I type d, then get progressively refined as I keep typing i, then s, then k. Under El Capitan, as I type disk, I only briefly see suggestions for launching apps, and then, after a pause where the panel is just blank, I finally see some results.

iCloud Music Library’s Metadata

Kirk McElhearn:

This is a single album, yet iTunes shows it as a number of different albums with different titles. I’ve sorted by album so each title should be grouped, but you can see there are four different titles for tracks in the first grouping. And that first group of tracks, which is hanging together as an album, has track numbers in a seemingly random order.

Frank Sinatra is listed as the artist for all these tracks, sometimes with others. But if I view this album in a playlist by Artist, the only artist listed is Cole Porter.


I’ve seen that iCloud Music Library changes tags and artwork. Rather than assuming that your tags, the ones you may have manually changed, are canonical, it just decides what the tags should be on your music. For example, yesterday, I deleted composer names in all the music in the Rock genre in my library. I don’t care about composers for that kind of music; those tags just get in the way when I browse using the column browser. But, today, all the composers are back for those songs.

Nick Heer:

It’s still failing to provide correct metadata for songs from Apple Music, not just ripped or third-party tracks. It’s too bad, because a lot of Apple Music’s features — like offline playback and playlist creation — require an iCloud Music Library subscription.

My metadata system isn’t complex, but I worry that any cloud service will attempt to “correct” it.

Update (2015-12-17): Joe Rosentseel:

iCloud Music Library is the reason I stopped using Apple Music before the free trial was even over.