Archive for May 3, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Intel Splits on Atom

Daniel Eran Dilger:

Intel initially intended for Atom to scale down its legacy Wintel desktop x86 processor architecture for use in efficient mobile devices such as phones and tablets, but that strategy has been effectively abandoned as the chipmaker now moves to refocus its sights on modems, data center, Internet of Things and memory chips.


The move kills Intel’s once enthusiastic plans to muscle its way back into smartphone devices after first fumbling the ball in 2006, when its former chief executive Paul Otellini overlooked the prospect of supplying chips for Apple’s original iPhone as not worth doing.

See also: Hacker News, Slashdot.

Update (2016-05-04): See also: The Talk Show.

Update (2016-05-16): Jean-Louis Gassée (Hacker News):

The Wintel virtuous cycle was running at full speed when Steve Jobs made his visit to Intel. Despite Otellini’s gut feelings, the iPhone was an unproven product in a misunderstood market. It didn’t fit Intel’s financial model — which reminds us that a spreadsheet isn’t a window through which to view the future.

Search Warrant to Force Unlocking iPhone With Touch ID

Mitchel Broussard:

For the first time in a federal case, authorities in a Los Angeles courtroom have issued a search warrant forcing a woman to bypass her iPhone’s biometric security using Apple’s Touch ID system (via LA Times).


According to jail records, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Rosenberg signed the Touch ID-related search warrant about 45 minutes after Bkhchadzhyan was taken into custody on February 25. By the afternoon of her arrest, the suspect pleaded no contest to the charges of identity theft and gave the court her fingerprint to unlock the iPhone.


The court’s decision in the case follows the thin rules regarding a person’s Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination, which relates that numeric passcodes are protected individual privacies, but fingerprints are not. For this reason, some believe new modern laws need to be enacted specifically detailing fingerprint-related security features.

Kuro5hin, RIP


What happened was basically that Internap shut down the data center we were in and had to move the servers, and I conspicuously failed to Deal With Things around that. The content is probably not gone forever, but it may be a little while before it reappears. There’s a very good chance that it will reappear in the form of an archive of static html pages though, not a live community. So if you’d like to, this is probably a good time to mourn what it was, although in that sense K5 has clearly been over for years.


All the old school Slashdotters remember K5 and understand why this is a sad day. None of the new people have heard of it. In some ways, it was better than Slashdot and had features that Slashdot still doesn’t have. As I recall, users voted on the stories that showed up on the front page. There were trolls, but the flame warriors and crapflooders weren’t tolerated. I didn’t post on K5 very much, but I sure appreciate it. I wonder if, in ten years, people will have the same reaction to Slashdot that you’re having to K5.

Broken Apple Man Page Links

Dr. Drang (tweet):

Yesterday, I discovered that Apple had changed the URLs of all its online man pages. Without, I should add, creating redirects so old links would continue to work. This broke all the man page links I had here at ANIAT and undoubtedly broke links across the internet.


Most of the URL is the same, but the “mac” part is gone, and the whole library has been moved to the “legacy” subdirectory, which is kind of ominous. I suppose there could be another copy of the library outside the “legacy” subdirectory, but I haven’t found it, and so far neither has Google.

Nick Heer:

Adding a redirect from the prior URL to the new one is old-hat basic stuff. I’d be shocked about this if I didn’t run into an issue earlier this year where I discovered that Apple News links don’t automatically redirect from the http:// version to the https:// version, and simply display a 404 error page instead.

Apple has the same problem for regular documentation links.

Ole Begemann:

Linking to Apple’s site in a blog post is uncomfortable. Most links will be broken or the content will be totally different in a year.

Update (2016-05-03): Jack Lawrence:

I’ve spoken with the team & the redirects were added last weekend. Please test & let me know if you’re still having issues.

I just tested a bunch of links from my old blog posts, and the redirects all worked.

Photosmith Development Ends

Chris Horne (October 2015):

Nearly 5 years ago, two intrepid guys took their photography hobby and years of development background to the relatively new world of the iPad. The iPad was only 8 months old, iOS 3.2 was the latest and greatest, and Lightroom 3 was just released. It was the gold rush era of apps.


However, we struggled with app crashes—nearly all due to iOS itself. To tap into the Camera Connection Kit, we had to use the built-in photo library tools, and thus Apple’s official photo management library: ALAssets. ALAssets was a poorly designed library, and lamented by developers across the web. Nearly all functions require stopping activity that controls the user interface (a design unique to ALAssets), and even if the function works, it still has a tendency to just crash the app randomly. We were never able to wrangle ALAssets enough to have a usable app.


It was difficult to constantly keep up with ever-changing Lightroom versions, Facebook and Dropbox API’s and other changes. But to have the main operating system make such drastic changes was devastating to morale, and ultimately, the project; it’s demoralizing to constantly re-write the same parts to try to keep up with Apple’s random changes. Especially when we wanted to focus on features, stability, and other app-related features – not just chasing to keep up with what we had.

Chris Horne:

Undoubtedly, that is a lot of money and most iOS developers would gladly disassemble themselves for such a haul. But consider that that total is spread over four years and has to pay contractors, advertising, cloud services, software licenses, and hardware devices it actually doesn’t go that far. After all expenses the developers took home under $20,000 a year before taxes. A nice sum to be sure, but far short of a full-time wage especially considering we were working 40+ hours/week routinely.


Over and over we were told to drop the price and make it up in volume. We did experiment with that a few times and always found that the support load of higher volume overwhelmed any positive revenue changes.


One interesting thing that we did find testing pricing is that Photosmith has an unexpected demand curve and was actually more successful at high price points. The following chart does not show the associated support costs but they were directly correlated with volume and thus dropped as we increased price so our net revenues were far higher at $20 than they were at $10.

Via Michael Yacavone:

Apple might want to consider what it takes to make an app with 24K downloads (over four years) successful.

Update (2016-05-05): ALAsset was deprecated in iOS 9. There is now a completely new PHAsset framework.