Archive for July 17, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

SoundCloud Lays Off 40% of Staff

Josh Constine:

After 10 years and raising well over $200 million, SoundCloud has failed to build a sustainable business off “the YouTube of music.” Trimming the fat hasn’t necessarily made it fit. If SoundCloud wants to survive, it may need to accept that it should sell to some more established company that could do better managing and monetizing it. YouTube grew into a content juggernaut, but it might never have made it that far without Google’s help. It would need to find as supportive a steward.


The fate of the world’s biggest collection of bedroom remixes, garage recordings, living room podcasts, basement DJ sets and all other manner of home-made sound is at stake. The death of SoundCloud would be a sad blow to the independent musicians who are scraping by as it is. And the sale to an exploitative corporation that sees music as at best a side hustle and at worst a loss leader could ruin this canvas for sonic creation.

Update (2017-07-20): See also: Marco Arment.

Does My Site Need HTTPS? (via Troy Hunt):

Just because your site is hosted safely in your account doesn’t mean it won’t travel through cables and boxes controlled by who knows how many corporate- and state-owned entities. Do you really want someone injecting scripts, images, or ad content onto your page so that it looks like you put them there? Or changing the words on your page? Or using your site to attack other sites?

A Simple Reminder Workflow

Bill Mosca:

Reminders fire at start of the minute so “4-minute” timer could be as short as 3:01.

Dr. Drang:

Change the Time Format from Short (which I guess is the default) to Long, as shown in the screenshot above. Then the reminder will include the seconds portion of the alert time and will give you the full duration, not some truncated amount. […]

I’m surprised at this behavior, as I had assumed that the date/time formats mattered only when you were going to insert it into a text field or string. Setting a reminder date, I thought, would use the underlying date/time numeric value. Live and learn.

iOS Needs Automation More

Justin Searls:

Reflecting on this experience, I realized that I don’t bother automating much on my Mac, because I know I can brute-force most activities without encountering too much pain. If I can accomplish a task in 5 seconds by mashing ⌘-C ⌘-Tab ⌘-L ⌘-V to copy a URL and open it in my browser, I’ll (apparently) gladly repeat it dozens of times per day for 14 years without thinking to stop and find a way to reduce that friction further.

My experience trying to do work on iPad has been much different. If I’m trying to do something ordinary (like opening a URL), iOS tends to be even lower-friction than macOS out-of-the-box, which I appreciate. But where working on the iPad really shines, ironically, is in how terrifically painful it is to perform out-of-the-ordinary actions.

For example, let’s say I need something a bit unusual, like saving web sites as PDFs into a specific folder and annotating them in a Markdown file. The dozens of taps demanded by such a task introduce so much friction that I was compelled to automate it. It rarely occurs to me to automate anything in macOS, both because AppleScript/Automator pale in comparison to Workflow, but also because the macOS interface is just good enough that no one instance of that action warrants investing the time into automating the whole process.

The Lightroom Manifesto: Adobe Has Lost Its Way

Jim Harmer (via Chuq Von Rospach):

Almost two years ago I posted a video showing the import speed of Lightroom compared to the competition. The test showed that Lightroom’s import was 600% slower than the next worse alternative. Adobe saw the video and reached out to me, but their response was mostly “There has to be some kind of bug. Tell me about your system.” That was frustrating. It wasn’t just me and anyone using the program could see that instantly. I heard from hundreds of other photographers who were all seeing the same thing.


Jeff Harmon has been calling for a culling module for ages, and I think he’s right. The speed of the develop module is fine. Import and culling IS the issue.


Also, the feature set in Lightroom has slowed to a crawl ever since Adobe locked us into a subscription. They swore up and down that the subscription model would allow them to make better improvements to products and consistently develop them over time. That is simply not factual. The list of significant features added to Lightroom in the last two entire years is barely one sentence long.

Lloyd Chambers:

Testing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (or Photoshop) often shows modest speed gaps between computers that ought to diverge more strongly, e.g., an 8 core system runs only 20% faster than a 4 core system—or more slowly.

This thread at Adobe asks for performance suggestions. I could take days and speak to any number of issues in Lightroom and Photoshop, but this post will be my contribution—being an unpaid consultant pays no bills.


Lightroom appears to serialize I/O with computation (akin to stop lights smack dab in the interstate highway) instead of using separate work queues and an I/O read-ahead queue and an I/O write queue. The result is that CPU cores are forced to idle while waiting for I/O to complete.

While the iMac 5K SSD is very fast, its speed is only half of its peak speed up to 2MB I/O sizes, that is, I/O sizes of 64MB or so are required for maximum seed. And yet Lightroom apparently never uses I/O sizes larger than 1MB, thus cutting the peak I/O speak to less than half of what is possible.

I haven’t been using Lightroom long enough to really compare the development progress with previous 2-year periods. I will say that, switching from Aperture, some things were faster and some were slower. Importing feels slow, and this is compounded by the fact that some parts of the user interface don’t work properly while an import is in progress.

I also ran into bottlenecks where simply having certain types of smart collections, even when not viewing them, could massively slow down basic operations like importing and moving photos. It was as if it were re-evaluating all the smart collections against all the photos after processing each individual photo, not at the end of a batch, though that may be fixed now.

Lightroom performance is much better on my new iMac than on my old MacBook Pro.