Archive for August 24, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Portable External MacBook Pro Displays

Luna Display:

Luna Display seamlessly extends your Mac desktop to your iPad, creating a wireless second monitor with stunning image quality. Available for Mini DisplayPort or USB-C, Luna sets up in seconds and instantly works with your existing Wi-Fi.


Luna Display acts as a complete extension to your Mac, allowing you to use it directly from your iPad with full support for external keyboards, Apple Pencil, and touch interactions.

Via Craig Hockenberry:

I’ve had two displays on my development machines since the 1990’s. By now, it’s fully ingrained in my habits and makes for a very efficient workflow. So much so that it’s the capability I miss the most when I travel, especially when I have an iPad with a kick-ass display. It’s not hyperbole to say that this new product, called Luna Display, solves this problem completely.


When you put the Luna Display app into the background with the iPad’s home button, the display disappears from the Mac after a few minutes. All iOS apps have a limited time in the background and Luna Display is no different.

It looks cool to have a wireless connection, with only a little dongle plugged into the Mac. But it can also work with a USB cable, which I expect is much more reliable.

That said, this is not particularly helpful for me because I have an iPad mini. I wanted a larger, portable external display for my MacBook Pro, so a few months ago I got an AOC e1759Fwu. It’s a 17-inch display with a fold-out stand that easily fits in my laptop backpack. It connects via a USB cable (no separate power connector) and, once you install the kernel extension, the Mac sees it as a regular external display (though Night Shift is not supported). It supports both portrait and landscape modes. I prefer the portrait, which at 900 × 1,600 pixels (it’s not Retina) is the same height as a 30-inch display.

The AOC’s USB 3 connection is a big improvement over the square-SCSI SuperMac adapter that I once used to connect a color display to my monochrome PowerBook, but it does feel laggy compared with a regular display connector. The picture quality isn’t great, either: a bit fuzzy, uneven brightness, and so-so color. But it succeeds at giving me more screen space when traveling. The extra vertical pixels are especially welcome when replying to customer e-mails in FogBugz. The main downsides are that it’s an extra step to unpack it and repack it and that some hotels don’t really have enough table/desk space to set it up. It would be better if Apple sold a MacBook Pro with a larger internal display.

Previously: Duet Display.

How Some Thunderbolt 3 Cables Underperform With USB-only Drives

Glenn Fleishman:

You can purchase what are effectively four kinds of cables that have USB-C connectors on both ends[…]


The trouble that AppleInsider discovered arises only in a particular set of circumstances:

  • You have a hard drive with a USB-C port that supports only USB 3.1.

  • You’re using a Thunderbolt 3 cable to connect that drive to a Thunderbolt 3-capable computer.

  • The Thunderbolt 3 cable is active, rather than passive.

Instead of carrying up to 5 Gbps of USB 3.1 Gen 1 data, these active Thunderbolt cables throttle down to USB 2.0 speeds, offering about one-tenth as much throughput.

Update (2017-08-29): David Heinemeier Hansson:

Why have a USB-C standard if you need x-ray vision to determine what a given cable is capable of?


Apple’s charger cable has no identifying markers. No clue it only carries power. Some times the computer industry is too smart for itself.

USB-C is giving Bluetooth a good run for its money as The Most Frustrating Standard out there.

Don Wauchop:

This week I watched a genius fruitlessly try 5 USB-C cables to figure out which was Thunderbolt 3.

Jony Ive has taken minimalism too far.

iOS 11 Will Strip AMP Garbage From Shared URLs

Federico Viticci (via John Gruber):

Very nice: when sharing AMP pages to iMessage or Reading List, iOS 11 Safari automatically removes AMP’s crap from the URL. Go Apple 👍

Previously: Dangers of Google AMP, The Problem With AMP, Google to Automatically Link to AMP Results.

Update (2017-08-28): Malte Ubl (via Edward Marczak):

TL of AMP here. Just wanted to clarify that we specifically requested Apple (and other browser vendors) to do this. AMP’s policy states that platforms should share the canonical URL of an article whenever technically possible. This browser change makes it technically possible in Safari. We cannot wait for other vendors to implement.

Malte Ubl:

We confirmed that this actually implemented as a generic solution. (Sharing <link rel=canonical>), so there is nothing AMP specific here.

See also: Why AMP Is Fast, Why AMP HTML Does Not Take Full Advantage of the Preload Scanner.

Update (2017-08-29): Nick Heer:

So if AMP’s own spec doesn’t see AMP links being used for general referrals, social network referrals, or direct links, then their only function seems to be links from Google searches. That seems silly.

TRAI’s Spat With Apple Over App Access to Messages and Call Logs

Roopesh Chander:

I think Apple is highly unlikely to create public APIs to access call logs or messages, but that’s not really needed for an app like this.

Rather, Apple could provide a way to share an SMS through a share sheet, so a third-party app can get access to all relevant fields of an SMS message (i.e. body text, sender id and timestamp) that the user explicitly chose to share with the app. That way, TRAI can create an app to report errant SMS messages, while Apple can retain their right to not give apps blanket access to the phone’s SMS data.

So this is how I think TRAI and Apple can settle this without compromising either party’s positions, and simultaneously keep Apple’s privacy-conscious customers happy as well.

Update (2017-11-15): Tim Hardwick:

Apple has agreed to help the Indian government develop an anti-spam app for iOS devices, after initially refusing to do so because of privacy concerns, according to Reuters.