Archive for November 27, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mulle-objc: a New Objective-C Compiler and Runtime

mulle-objc (Hacker News):

mulle-objc is a new way to run Objective-C code on various platforms, based on a new compiler and a new runtime.

mulle-objc goals

  • Run everywhere C runs
  • Everything faster than everyone else
  • No assembler code necessary
  • The runtime should be completely unloadable
  • Separate runtimes should be able to coexist (instances should not cross)
  • Should work in real time applications
  • No magic
  • No locking
  • Keep the Spirit of C

Nat! (tweet) has a series of blog posts describing the implementation and some interesting choices and optimizations. For example, there’s a unified struct-based calling convention, less reliance on the linker, optimized message sending in loops, “Always Autoreleased Mode,” and deliberately no support for dot syntax, blocks, or non-fragile ivars.

Choosing iOS Default Apps

Kirk McElhearn (blog):

But iOS offers no such option. If you tap a URL, it opens in Safari. If you tap a link to send an email, it opens in Mail. The default calendar is Apple’s Calendar app. And so on. You may not want to work that way and because Apple doesn’t give you any choice, you’re stuck with workarounds: using share sheets to open a web page in a different browser; copying an email link or address to create an email; and so on.


We’re at iOS 10, and Apple still hasn’t allowed users to make these choices. It seems ridiculous that, with a mature operating system, we’re still locked into Apple’s default apps. It’s not rocket science to make these changes; after all, there are protocols that funnel requests to specific handlers, the same way they do on the Mac.

Given that it’s relatively easy to implement, and that it’s been about 8.5 years since the introduction of third-party apps, limiting this must be a design decision. I think it’s a mistake.

Update (2016-12-01): Nick Heer:

This clearly isn’t a technical limitation, but a conscious design decision. However, it is far more noticeable in iOS 10 than in previous versions of iOS because of the ability to hide default apps, which can leave gaps in typical interactions. Tapping on a mailto: link when Mail is hidden will display an inelegant modal dialog telling the user to reinstall Mail, even if they have a third-party Mail app installed.

iCloud Calendar Spam

Gabe Weatherhead:

A new event alarm was created in my primary iCloud calendar without my consent.

Aaron Douglas:

No matter what I do – Accept, Maybe, Decline – the sender of the spam appointment receives the notification of my action. There’s no way to just simply delete the damn invitation from your calendar without sending the reply!


These calendar invites aren’t coming from some magic hacked portal in your phone. The invites are coming as e-mails into your e-mail account and then being automatically converted into in-app push notifications to both iOS and macOS. Once that’s done the original e-mail is deleted.

One solution is to go to the settings on the iCloud Web site and change from In-app to Email notifications.

Nick Heer:

Fantastical does support ignoring and deleting a calendar invitation without notifying the sender.

Update (2016-11-28): See also: Stuart Breckenridge.

Update (2016-12-01): John Gruber:

The most interesting thing about this is that it’s a way to send completely unauthenticated spam, and it has been just sitting around unexploited until now. This feature has been around for years, but the spammers seemingly didn’t find it until very recently.

Thomas Reed:

There are many blog articles and forum posts out there about how to delete these messages without notifying the sender that you have done so. The prevalent wisdom says that adding the events to a temporary calendar, then deleting that calendar, will delete the events without sending a notification. This seems to be backed up by the fact that macOS will give you the option to delete without notifying[…]

Unfortunately, I’ve been testing this for a couple days, between my calendar and my wife’s calendar, and it doesn’t work for me. Even if I click Delete and Don’t Notify, or if I do this from iOS as some sites suggest, the sender will always get a notification that the invitation was declined.


There is also the question of how to prevent this from happening in the future. Unfortunately, again, the conventional wisdom appears to be failing.


Of course, this does nothing to stop the problem once it has started. However, you may be able to change your Apple ID e-mail address, which would help to cut off the flow. If your address ends in,, or, you may not be able to change it at this point, but for anyone else it would be worth a try.

Update (2016-12-12): Joe Rossignol:

Apple has added a “Report Junk” option to to help combat a recent increase in calendar spam, as noticed by a Reddit user over the weekend.

Reddit’s CEO Edited User Comments

Amelia Tait (via Nick Heer):

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has publicly admitted to editing comments on the pro-Donald Trump subreddit r/the_donald in a move he has described as “trolling the trolls“. Huffman – who goes by “spez” on Reddit – deleted comments from the pro-Trump community on the site, and also altered comments that insulted him.


Normally when a comment is edited on Reddit – by a user or a moderator – a small asterisk will appear after the time stamp to indicate that it has been changed. In this instance, no such asterisk appeared, meaning Huffman ostensibly has the ability to edit comments without a trace. This is crucial because two months ago, a Redditor was taken to court for comments he left on the site. Huffman’s editing powers could clearly be abused to cause trouble for individuals.


The Reddit admins have had a strained relationship with the moderators and users of The_Donald, for multiple reasons. For a lot of users there, this validates some beliefs about the admin’s treatment towards them, specifically that they make an active effort to censor their content. Other users on the site feel like this sets a dangerous precedent, as it demonstrates the admins can and have edited comments without disclosure. Further users feel like, while Spez made a mistake, he was unfairly treated and harassed by TheDonald and his response was an understandable outburst.

Now, people around the site are wondering what the repercussions of this will be. Some question if Spez will be removed from his position over this. Some wonder if the admins will come forward and admit they’ve edited comments in the past.

Dan Luu:

Makes me wonder if other reddit staff have done the same thing in the past, unnoticed only because most people aren't paranoid enough to chk

Keith Lee:

Huon sued ATL & Gawker for defamation. ATL settled. At the District Court level, where the lawsuit was originally filed, it was dismissed as to Gawker on the basis of a reporting privilege and under 47 U.S.C. § 230, a Provision of the Communication Decency Act.


Because Gawker’s editors were (anonymously) authoring comments themselves, they were exerting active authorial control over the information on their forum. This led the court to labeling them an “information content provider” and prevents them from claiming Section 230 protection. The lawsuit gets to proceed.

Starting to see how relates to Huffman’s actions at Reddit?

See also: Hacker News and Slashdot.