Archive for February 9, 2016

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

El Capitan and tvOS Criticized by Vestibular Disorder Sufferer

Craig Grannell:

iOS at least helped users, in providing a Reduce Motion option in the Accessibility section within Settings. Within six months, most of the worst animations were possible to replace with non-aggressive crossfades, much to the relief of vestibular disorder sufferers worldwide. But we’ve seen no such progress on OS X, and tvOS recently appeared with a ‘Reduce Motion’ setting so ineffective that it may as well have played a little sniggering noise when activated.


El Capitan kills the one remaining workaround I had that enabled me to safely use full-screen apps. System Integrity Protection, while essential to the security of the Mac, more or less kills off applications that inject code into OS X. TotalSpaces2 is one of them. The app was designed to manage desktops in a manner akin to those in OS X 10.6, but, importantly, included settings to customise transitions.

Via Adam C. Engst:

Although it’s impossible to know what percent of the population suffers from vestibular disorders, estimates range from 5 to 35 percent, meaning that there could be many millions of people out there who endure some level of discomfort due to unnecessary animations and effects. We’d like to see Apple extend its accessibility work in iOS to its other operating systems (including watchOS, which Grannell doesn’t discuss).

I don’t have a vestibular disorder, but I use Reduce Motion and Reduce Transparency wherever possible.

The Flaws of KVO

Ben Sandofsky (via Rebecca Slatkin):

On the performance front, things are getting better, with iOS 9 fixing many issues. On key-path safety, you can add simple compile time checks.

But even with a full rewrite, KVO’s underlying pattern makes things harder to maintain and debug. Ad-hoc property-observation is just a bad idea.

The Secret Story Behind Apple’s “Lemmings”

Ken Segall:

After the pitch, GE decided to go with another agency, and all those weeks of late nights turned out to be for naught. Both Uncle Sam and Lemmings ended up in the dead file.

Some time later, we received a communique from the LA office. Given all the attention that had been focused on Apple and Chiat/Day for the extraordinary 1984 commercial, the quest was on for an equally powerful follow-up in the next Super Bowl. The LA office was struggling to come up with worthy ideas and they invited the NY office to help. The focus for the new ad would be Apple’s push into business with a combination of hardware and software called the Macintosh Office.


If you know the story of 1984, you know that the idea struck when the LA creative people were searching for inspiration, pouring through old presentations to see if there might be a spark of an idea. They came across a print ad with the headline, “Why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” That got their attention. The rest is history.

Well, a similar thing happened in the NY office in the search for a new Apple Super Bowl idea. Someone had the great idea to look at the work that had been done for GE. And there it was — Lemmings, in all of its glory.

How to Unlearn Misspellings

Adam C. Engst:

If you’re in Pages, TextEdit, Nisus Writer Pro, BBEdit, or the like, you can Control-click the word, which will no longer have that red underline, and choose Unlearn Spelling to reverse your action. But if you’re in Safari, Google Chrome, or any other app that supports spell checking without implementing it fully, no Unlearn Spelling command is available.

The clumsy solution is to copy the offending word, paste it into TextEdit or a similar app, Control-click it there, and choose Unlearn Spelling from the pop-up menu. Effective, but awkward, particularly if you’ve ended up with a number of misspelled words in your dictionary over the years.

Here’s an alternative solution — you can edit your list of learned words directly, since it’s just a text file.

Google Deprecated “Security Questions”

Google (in 2015):

As part of our constant efforts to improve account security, we analyzed hundreds of millions of secret questions and answers that had been used for millions of account recovery claims at Google. We then worked to measure the likelihood that hackers could guess the answers.

Our findings, summarized in a paper that we recently presented at WWW 2015, led us to conclude that secret questions are neither secure nor reliable enough to be used as a standalone account recovery mechanism. That’s because they suffer from a fundamental flaw: their answers are either somewhat secure or easy to remember—but rarely both.


For years, we’ve only used security questions for account recovery as a last resort when SMS text or back-up email addresses don’t work and we will never use these as stand-alone proof of account ownership.

In parallel, site owners should use other methods of authentication, such as backup codes sent via SMS text or secondary email addresses, to authenticate their users and help them regain access to their accounts. These are both safer, and offer a better user experience.

Via John Gordon:

FWIW my security question ‘Fake Answers’ are basically unique random passwords - secure but a royal pain to manage.