Archive for July 27, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Arq 5.9 Adds Backblaze B2 and Wasabi Support

Stefan Reitshamer:

Now you can back up with Arq to Backblaze’s B2 storage! It’s a super-cheap option ($.005/GB per month) for storing your backups.

This compares with $0.0125 for Amazon S3 Infrequent, $0.004 for Amazon Glacier, and $0.007 for Google Coldline. Wasabi, which is new to me, charges $0.0039.

An under-appreciated Arq feature is that it also supports directly connected hard drives. This makes it a good accompaniment to clones (which lack versioning and are space-inefficient) or Time Machine (which tends to corrupt itself).

I now back up only the most important files and most recently added photos to the cloud. I found that for big restores I always wanted to use local backups, anyway. Reducing the size of the cloud backup set makes it more likely that the files will be backed up promptly. New files aren’t waiting for old ones (which already exist on local backups) to upload, and backups aren’t halted for as long when Arq does its maintenance.

Previously: B2 Cloud Storage.

Update (2018-08-03): It looks like Wasabi has increased its price to $0.0049.

Apple Park’s Open Work Spaces

Christina Passariello (Hacker News, MacRumors):

The first prototype was ready in the summer of 2010, with pictures of trees on either end of the central area to evoke the landscaping and proximity to the outdoors. Jobs himself set the precise dimensions of the openings from one end of the central area to the other. The team quickly discovered that early versions of the small offices on each side of the central area were noisy—sound bounced off the flat wood walls. Foster’s architects suggested perforating the walls with millions of tiny holes and lining them with an absorbent material. In the completed section of workspace, Ive snaps his fingers to demonstrate the warm sound it creates.


The thousands of employees at Apple Park will need to bend slightly to Ive’s vision of the workplace. Many will be seated in open space, not the small offices they’re used to. Coders and programmers are concerned that their work surroundings will be too noisy and distracting.


Ive takes offense at the idea that he hasn’t already thought of every detail during the years of planning Apple Park.

Jason Snell:

Some of the initial resistance will be the natural human response to any change, of course. But beyond that, there will almost certainly be real issues with moving productive Apple employees out of their offices and into big white open-plan workspaces. It’s going to be a period of adaptation for everyone who works at Apple.

John Gruber:

This would drive me nuts, I suspect.

Talent retention is arguably Apple’s biggest threat, and unhappy employees leave.

Nick Heer:

Sound-absorbing holes in the walls won’t reduce visual distractions, of course, but this attention to detail indicates that Apple and Foster and Partners are at least aware of how open offices are perceived and how they may be distracting to their employees.

Todd Ditchendorf:

 literally has more cash than they know what to do with. Spending some on a campus that maximizes private offices should’ve been a priority.

Apparently, window/door frame tolerances & integrated door knobs were prioritized instead. Yeah, it sounds like Sir Jony’s product.

See also: Joel Spolsky.

Previously: Apple’s New Campus.

Update (2017-07-31): See also: John Moltz, Anil Dash (tweet), Upgrade.

Update (2017-08-09): The Talk Show:

Special guest Glenn Fleishman returns to the show. Topics include China forcing Apple to remove VPN apps from the Chinese App Store, Wi-Fi vs. LTE networking, the open workspaces in Apple Park, Glenn’s new letterpress project, the HomePod OS leak and iPhone D22, and more.

Paul Hill:

[John Gruber:] “When he [Srouji] was shown the floor plans, he was more or less just ‘F--- that, f--- you, f--- this, this is bulls---.’ And they built his team their own building, off to the side on the campus … My understanding is that that building was built because Srouji was like, ‘F--- this, my team isn’t working like this.’”

The open floor work spaces will only be for standard employees, while the high-level executives will be exempt from the collective work environment and will have their own offices on the fourth floor of Apple Park. Other employees won’t even be moving to the new HQ, on this list is Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services; he and his team will remain at the current headquarters at Infinite Loop.

Gina Hall (via Hacker News):

Apple has insisted in presentations to the city of Cupertino that the open floor plan designs are conducive to collaboration between teams, per Bloomberg.

Mitchel Broussard:

One source is said to have been with the company for 18 years. They emailed Gruber, telling him that they’re working on something that is “going to blow people’s minds when we ship,” but before that happens their team is transitioning to Apple Park. Gruber noted that the email was very level-headed and had a “perfect Apple sensibility,” but the source nevertheless said that if they don’t like the Apple Park workspaces, they’re likely to leave the company after the product ships.

Gruber said he got a “couple of similar emails,” with employees stating that they won’t outright quit before they move to Apple Park, but if it’s as bad as they think it’s going to be then they will consider leaving Apple.

Rima Sabina Aouf (via Hacker News):

Some Apple workers hate the open-plan layout of their new Foster + Partners-designed campus so much they might quit, according to reports circulating around Silicon Valley.


All of the 12,000 Apple employees due to work at the campus are expected to have moved in by September 2017, when the building is fully completed. It will have been eight years since the late Steve Jobs hired Norman Foster for the project.

Other early criticism of Apple Park has come from Wired, which claimed the building is “retrograde, literally inward-looking” and lacks consideration for its surroundings.

Update (2017-11-10): Juli Clover:

There were rumors suggesting some Apple Park employees were dissatisfied with the open office design at Apple Park, so much so that Apple vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji insisted his team work at a different location, but the Wallpaper piece mentions several times that office space within the main building is configurable, with teams able to choose individual offices or open spaces.

Update (2018-02-16): Mark Bergen:

Apple staff are often glued to the iPhones they helped popularize. That’s resulted in repeated cases of distracted employees walking into the panes, according to people familiar with the incidents.

Some staff started to stick Post-It notes on the glass doors to mark their presence. However, the notes were removed because they detracted from the building’s design, the people said.

Update (2019-12-19): Sommer Panage:

I love Apple Park; it’s stunning and refreshing. However, the open floor plan and shared offices are the #1 contributor to lowering my productivity. I often find myself hiding out in conference rooms or working from home whenever possible in order to actually get shit done.

Update (2023-08-30): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Apple Discontinues iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today removed the iPod nano and iPod shuffle from its website and online store around the world, and it has since confirmed the iconic portable media players have been discontinued.


Apple last updated the iPod touch in July 2015 with an A8 chip and an 8-megapixel rear camera.


iPod sales peaked at 54.8 million in 2008, compared to 14.3 million in 2014.

Kirk McElhearn:

It’s been a great run, and this product revolutionized the way we listen to music, but the days of the carry-10,000-songs-in-your-pocket device are over, more or less. Now, it’s all in the cloud, and, while you can get a 256 GB iPhone, most people don’t use that for music.

At the same time, Apple has [dropped] the price on the iPod touch. Previously at $199 for 16 GB, and $399 for 128 GB, it now costs $199 for 32 GB and $299 for 128 GB. Intermediate models, at 16 and 64 GB, have been dropped.

Update (2017-07-28): Nick Heer:

By the way, how amazing is it that the iPod Shuffle lasted twelve and a half years as basically the same device? There’s little indication of how many of them were actually sold over the past few years — I’d wager very few — but its longevity is a testament to the power of its simplicity. What a run.

John Gruber:

The end of an era. It took exactly one decade for the iPhone to completely cannibalize Apple’s entire iPod business.


The hardware form factor isn’t what did these in — it’s the antiquated notion of having to sync audio files to them via a cable connected to a Mac or PC. If the content on your audio player isn’t coming to it over the air, mostly likely streaming, it isn’t relevant.


Even though the phone is a worse form factor purely as an audio player because it’s so big, comparatively, it’s better overall because it has a network connection almost everywhere.

Michael Rockwell:

The iPod Nano acted as the halo product that everyone claimed it to be. From the moment I connected the iPod Nano to my PC and configured it in iTunes, I was hooked. I had never interacted with a device that was so easy to use and fun to manage. Nothing felt like a chore. Once I had my sync settings just right, I could connect the iPod once a day and all of my new music and podcasts would automatically transfer. It was like magic.

Eric Blair:

My profs were on cloud 9 seeing a major company unafraid of disrupting [itself] instead of playing it safe. Seeing Apple held up as a paragon of business practices felt like a major sea change to me.

Update (2017-07-31): See also: Hacker News.

How to Remove Raw Images From Apple Photos and iCloud

Stephen Foskett:

Although Photos does a nice job of keeping these paired photos together, it entirely drops the ball when dealing with them in the UI. Photos treats raw+jpg images as a single entity but only accounts for the primary or “Original” source. By default, raw+jpg files are treated as “JPEG” by the UI and are thus indistinguishable from plain jpg files from the same camera except for a little stacked “J” icon in the upper right corner. If you edit the photo and select “Use RAW as Original” in the Image menu, it becomes a stacked “R” and can be matched by Smart Folders.


Smart Folders has a “Photo is Raw” search, but this only works then the “Use as Original” source is raw (which has to be done manually, one photo at a time)


There ought to be some way to clean out your library, exporting the unwanted raw files and removing them from iCloud without deleting the companion jpeg files. But that’s really hard to do.

Upcoming USB 3.2 Will Double Data Rates Using Existing Cables

Juli Clover:

An incremental update, USB 3.2 is designed to define multi-lane operation for USB 3.2 hosts and devices. USB Type-C cables already support multi-lane operation, and with USB 3.2, hosts and devices can be created as multi-lane solutions, allowing for either two lanes of 5Gb/s or two lanes of 10Gb/s operation.

I’m still waiting for the reliability/drivers to match FireWire and Thunderbolt.