Archive for November 20, 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mac Modifier Key Order


In combination keystrokes, use hyphens to signify that the user should hold down the first key or keys while pressing the last key. Don’t use a hyphen if each key should be pressed and released separately. Be sure to explain this convention on first use.



If there’s more than one modifier key, use this order: Fn (function), Control, Option, Shift, Command.




Shift-Command-Question Mark

Dr. Drang (tweet):

The order is similar to how you see them down at the bottom left of your keyboard. […] The oddball is the Shift(⇧) key, which sneaks in just in front of Command.

Jason Snell (tweet):

I absolutely do not follow this style. It seems completely backward to me, in fact. It’s not “Shift-Command-3”, it’s “Command-Shift-3.” Command is the commander! Command is the monarch of all keys! Command always comes first, in my book.

It seems backward to me, too, and I wonder if perhaps Apple’s preferred style has changed. I seem to recall Command always coming first. The documented order does have the advantage of matching the order shown in menu items.

Update (2017-11-21): Andy Lee:

Xcode deviates in its display of some keys. Command-Shift-[ is displayed as ⌘⇧[ in System Preferences, Keyboard Maestro, and BBEdit, but as ⌘{ in Xcode. In all cases, though, it’s ⇧⌘3, not ⇧#.

Update (2017-11-27): See also: Upgrade.

Dr. Drang:

It’s not just having the ⌘ symbols aligned. The additional modifier symbols go in front because ⌘ is king and must sit next to the N or the W. The importance of the modifier decreases as you move away from the letter.


Having said all this, and despite agreeing with Apple’s symbol ordering, my ear for shortcut ordering works just like Jason’s and John’s. The main reason I use keyboard shortcut symbols in my posts instead of words is that I can read ⌥⇧⌘W and not be bothered because I don’t “hear” it as I read the symbols. “Option-Shift-Command-W,” on the other hand, gets sounded out in my head, and it sounds wrong.

The Mac Still Feels Like Home

Sahil Mohan Gupta:

As he walked into the room along with Microsoft India head Anant Maheshwari, Nadella spots that I and a colleague have iPads and cheerfully says, “You need to get a real computer, my friend.”

Jason Snell:

Amazingly, today Apple released this ad, titled “What’s a computer?”, in which a kid uses an iPad Pro in countless ways. It feels… familiar.


What’s a real computer? My iPad Pro is whatever I want it to be.

David Sparks:

Before iOS 11, managing multiple files and email attachments felt masochistic. iOS 11 fixes that. Now with iOS 11 and the Files App, I’m able to manage files nearly as fast on iPad as I am on Mac. If I had 35 years experience using a tablet like I do the mouse and keyboard, I’d probably be just as fast.


Two such roadblocks that immediately come to mind are Microsoft Word and Googe Docs. I spend a lot of time in both these apps doing day-job legal work. In many ways, Microsoft Word on iPad is superior to its Mac counterpart, but it has one glaring omission, the inability to modify style preference. If I want to change a style format or line spacing, it’s simply not possible in Microsoft Word for iPad. I’ve used styles in Word forever. If you know what you are doing, they dramatically improve document editing and tricky legal paragraph numbering. Likewise, Google Docs has a change tracking feature that works fine on the Mac but has never been properly implemented on the iPad app.

Gabe Weatherhead:

As the title suggests, the Mac still feels more comfortable for almost everything. The Mac feels less innovative and “fun” but I actually feel more relaxed when using multiple windows, real keyboard shortcuts, and a true file manager. The irony here is that the size and design of the iPad makes it more of a joy to use, but it’s also tainted by inefficiency. I do almost every task faster and more easily with my Mac than I can do it on my iPad Pro.


I think it’s well understood now, but the quality of apps on the Mac is far above anything I use on iOS. Maybe it’s the high-quality developers that started on the Mac, like the Omni Group and Panic, but even within their apps, the quality is generally better on the Mac. Having multiple windows open for OmniFocus makes it more capable for moving tasks between projects and the inbox. The new Transmit FTP application on the Mac is just more reliable than the corresponding iOS app from Panic. I suspect that many of my failures have to do with the frameworks provided by Apple. Sharing files on iOS into Transmit regularly fails to upload them to the SFTP server. This never fails on the Mac.


The other thing iOS gives me is email and calendar integration with work that’s just not supported on my Mac. The Exchange certificate management of iOS means that my iPad Pro is the only place I can see all of my calendars from work and home in one place on a big screen.

Operating System Update Rates

Dan Luu:

In May 2017, Google announced that there are over two billion active Android devices. If we look at the latest stats (the far right edge), we can see that nearly half of these devices are two years out of date. At this point, we should expect that there are more than one billion devices that are two years out of date! Given Android’s update model, we should expect approximately 0% of those devices to ever get updated to a modern version of Android.


For reference, iOS 11 was released two months ago and it now has just under 50% iOS marketshare despite November’s numbers coming before the release of the iPhone X (this is compared to < 1% marketshare for the latest Android version, which was released in August). It’s overwhelmingly likely that, by the start of next year, iOS 11 will have more than 50% marketshare and there’s an outside chance that it will have 75% marketshare, i.e., it’s likely that the corresponding plot for iOS would have the 50%-ile (red) line in the second plot at age = 0 and it’s not implausible that the 75%-ile (orange) line would sometimes dip down to 0. As is the case with Android, there are some older devices that stubbornly refuse to update; iOS 9.3, released a bit over two years ago, sits at just a bit above 5% marketshare. This means that, in the iOS version of the plot, it’s plausible that we’d see the corresponding 99%-ile (green) line in the second plot at a bit over two years (half of what we see for the Android plot).

Dan Luu:

This is the most common😡response to this which is😂because I literally wrote this while talking to someone who recently quit the Android team because of how painful the Android update model is and I also link to a PhD thesis which shows that play store updates aren’t sufficient.

Matt Birchler:

I get that Android has different incentives than iOS, but there are more active devices out there using a version of Android that came out to compete with iOS 4 than there are on Oreo.

Adam C. Engst:

If you’re running macOS 10.12 Sierra or earlier, and do not want to upgrade to 10.13 High Sierra right now, be careful because Apple has started pushing High Sierra to older Macs and making it easy to upgrade inadvertently. In short, if you get a macOS notification asking you to install High Sierra, click the Details button to launch the App Store app, and then quit it.


Apple is clearly trying to move macOS in the direction of iOS, where upgrades are difficult to avoid. However, macOS is a much more complex environment and one that’s usually more important to people’s livelihoods, so we recommend approaching upgrades carefully. Presenting people with a one-click install that offers no chance to back up first and that will take hours of time prioritizes ease of use over doing what’s best for the user, and that’s a dangerous tradeoff.

Stephen Hackett (Hacker News):

I don’t know if this is what the whispers about forced upgrades was about or not. I really don’t want Apple to get even more aggressive about this.

Update (2017-11-20): Yalım K. Gerg:

What I also despise is that Apple tricks people into upgrading to ios 11. When the phone prompts you there is not an option for No, only Later. Then it asks for your password to upgrade overnight. The No is hidden down at the bottom in small fonts. Many regular people fall for it

Update (2017-11-27): James Thomson:

Because of a bug on 10.8, I spent the morning looking at stats for PCalc usage over the last two months. Nothing too surprising, although High Sierra lagging a bit in adoption.

Pushy Notifications in Apple News

Jordan Merrick:

Rather than ask if I want to enable notifications for a particular channel, Apple News does so automatically—it doesn’t even ask or tell you how to opt out. Worse still, there is no logic to when this happens. I’ve had this happen months after following a new channel, and even repeatedly occur even if I already turned off notifications.

Copying All Your Music to Your iPhone

Joe Cieplinski:

You would think this would be easy, copying my entire library, since all my music is on my Mac, and thus a simple USB cable would be all I'd need to copy all that music over to my new phone. If you think this is true, you clearly haven’t been reading my blog for very long. For several years now, as Apple has ignored users in my situation, the process of getting my songs onto my phone has resulted in doubled tracks, missing tracks, incorrect album artwork, songs that simply never copy, songs that appear to be on the phone but refuse to play, and on and on. It has been a nightmare for a geek like me who makes an effort to have a very orderly library and who likes to listen to entire albums.


When you restore from a backup during the setup process, your iPhone will not only restore all your settings and apps; it will also start downloading music. Not all your music. Just whatever songs were on your previous phone that happened to be purchased in the iTunes Music Store. This will likely leave you with a weird mix of some tracks from your entire library. If you have iTunes Match or Apple Music, the restore may also attempt to grab your other tracks, but I’ve found this completely unreliable.

Basically, you have no idea what you’ll actually get from a restore, so it’s best to remove everything and start over from scratch.


There are lots of ways to copy your songs over, but in my experience there’s only one way that works reliably. (At least it does now. This would not have been true in earlier versions of iTunes.) For me, all the auto-syncing methods are unreliable. I tried again this year, resulting in multiple issues. What works best for me, thanks to that most recent iTunes update, is good old-fashioned drag and drop.

Update (2017-12-11): Joe Cieplinski:

You read that right. Moving forward, whenever I get a new audio track that isn’t from Apple Music, I’ll have to add the track to iTunes, turn on iCloud Music Library on the Mac, let it upload that new track to the cloud and download all these thousands of duplicates, then turn off iCloud Music Library on the Mac to remove all the duplicates.