Archive for November 17, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Mixing Swift Initializers

Russ Bishop:

Let’s say you have a type with a failable initializer. Now you want to extend that type to support deserializing from JSON. You throw nice detailed errors if JSON parsing fails and you’d like to throw if anything goes wrong[…] There are two problems here. One is that we can’t delegate to a failable initializer. […] The second is there is no syntax to checking the result of calling the failable initializer even if we could; self is only optional in the context of a failable initializer.

Facebook’s Metrics Found to Be Exaggerated

Nick Heer:

Back in 2013, Facebook announced that they had become the leading source of traffic to media companies, to the tune of about 40% of their total referrals. That’s a huge number and, right or wrong, publications became somewhat reliant upon the traffic Facebook was sending their way.


Every major media company should be seriously reconsidering their commitments to Facebook right now. Between their seemingly uncaring attitude towards bogus news sites, their algorithmic fluctuations for legitimate publications, and their ongoing inflation of their statistics, Facebook shows that they simply don’t care about the state of the media.


So, to summarize, Zuckerberg is arguing that Facebook users absolutely cannot have their voting decisions swayed by posts on the social network, and that’s why advertisers should pay to promote political parties and candidates on Facebook.

Update (2016-11-21): Issie Lapowsky:

Throughout the last year-and-a-half, stories about the imbalance between Clinton’s ad spending compared to Trump’s proliferated. They noted how Clinton spent more than $200 million on television ads in the final months of the election while Trump spent less than half that. Because Trump wasn’t spending as much on television all along, it seemed like his team wasn’t investing in changing anyone’s minds. But they were: they were just doing it online.


Coby’s team took full advantage of the ability to perform massive tests with its ads. On any given day, Coby says, the campaign was running 40,000 to 50,000 variants of its ads, testing how they performed in different formats, with subtitles and without, and static versus video, among other small differences. On the day of the third presidential debate in October, the team ran 175,000 variations. Coby calls this approach “A/B testing on steroids.” The more variations the team was able to produce, Coby says, the higher the likelihood that its ads would actually be served to Facebook users.

Google PhotoScan

Jingyu Cui:

We all have those old albums and boxes of photos, but we don’t take the time to digitize them because it’s just too hard to get it right. We don’t want to mail away our original copy, buying a scanner is costly and time consuming, and if you try to take a photo of a photo, you end up with crooked edges and glare.

We knew there had to be a better way, so we’re introducing PhotoScan, a brand new, standalone app from Google Photos that easily scans just about any photo, free, from anywhere. Get it today for Android and iOS.

Plus, lots of old photos are not easily removed from their albums for scanning. So even though I have a ScanSnap, which is the easiest way I’ve found to scan photos, I can’t always use it.

Jason Snell:

The results I got were… only okay. Some photos were distorted, and none of them looked particularly great. In other words, you get what you pay for—this is free and easy and better than never getting old photos in digital form, but it’s also not going to give you the quality of scanning items yourself or sending prints, slides, and film to a photo-scanning service.

I think being easy is the key feature, the difference between having photos of questionable quality vs. not scanning at all. Hopefully the quality will improve.

See also: Shawn King, Michael Rockwell, Juli Clover.

Update (2016-12-09): David Sparks:

I tested it with some old family photos and it works great, particularly old photos with not-so-great resolution to begin with.

Update (2016-12-18): I am getting pretty good results, although it really reduces the resolution of the photo. It’s still better to use the ScanSnap where possible.

Apple to Halve App Store Fees for Subscription Video Apps

Juli Clover:

Apple normally takes a 30 percent cut of all App Store app purchases and subscriptions, but for subscription-based streaming video apps like Netflix and Hulu, Apple plans to cut its fee to 15 percent. Apple has already reduced the fees for some of its video partners, and will soon extend the 15 percent rate to all subscription video services that are integrated with the company’s upcoming TV app.