Archive for December 6, 2017

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Google Again Removes YouTube From Echo Show

Dan Moren:

This is the second time Google has blocked access, though the story also suggests that Amazon’s implementations of YouTube on the Fire TV and Echo Show were workarounds, rather than Google’s own versions of the apps.


Long story short, everybody’s got their turf they’re trying to protect. And guess who gets caught in the middle? If you thought “consumers,” you win a prize! That prize is having three set-top boxes attached to your TV so you can watch all the content you want to.

Janko Roettgers (via Matt Birchler):

In an unusually frank statement, a Google spokesperson squarely blamed Amazon’s unwillingness to strike a business deal with Google for the step:

We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services. But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.

Amazon shot back Tuesday afternoon, sending Variety the following statement:

Echo Show and Fire TV now display a standard web view of and point customers directly to YouTube’s existing website. Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website. We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.

Previously: YouTube Drops Echo Show, Amazon Adds Apple TV.

Android Oreo Review: An iOS User’s Review

Matt Birchler:

Android has grown up considerably over the last decade. It’s no longer a complete disaster of a user experience, and some elements have actually surpassed what Apple is doing with iOS. Notifications are much better than they are on iOS and Google Assistant is more accurate and more helpful than Siri. That said, there are a million little (and not so little) things that truly make Android a sub-par experience for me. Your mileage may vary, but the abysmal third party software available for the platform, poor inter-app communication, and countless stability issues make Android a place I only want to visit for a month or two per year, not something I can see myself using full time.

Matt Birchler:

As a general rule, there tends to be an app that does everything on Android, but typically only one good one. Podcasts are a good example of this. I use Pocket Casts for my podcast needs, as does just about every other serious podcast listener on Android because there simply aren’t any good alternatives. On m iPhone, I’m constantly switching between Pocket Casts, Overcast, Castro, and even Apple’s Podcasts app as they each are special in their own ways. The same is true of some other categories as well, and it’s just frustrating to have to go with one app because that’s “the good one” and not have a library of alternatives nipping at the current leader’s heels.

And then there are some app categories where there simply aren’t any really good options. One answer I get to these are “just use the Google app” which is note great, and the other answer is that I don’t really need a fancy app to do XYZ, and I should be happy with the barebones options available to me. Neither of these answers are particularly appealing.

Matt Birchler:

In day to day use, Android on the Pixel 2 does not feel much slower than the iPhone 8. Apps launch quickly on the Pixel, sometimes even faster than they do on the iPhone. Part of this is due to the shorter animations on Android, but other times it is just that the Pixel is just as fast or faster than the iPhone. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say this before, but apps actually tend to launch a tiny bit quicker on Android than they do on iOS.

Once you get into apps, the experience changes a bit. While iOS takes milliseconds longer on average to load apps, once you’re in apps everything seems to go in iOS’s favor. First is general performance things like scrolling, which holds steady at what appears to be 60fps much more often than Android. Scrolling through lists or websites is where this is more noticeable, as Android has a slightly harsher feeling to moving around pages. It’s not bad by any means, and may be a preference thing, but i just feel more like I’m directly manipulating content on iOS than I do on Android.

JR Raphael:

It seems like a funny thing to say, but when you look back at Android’s history, you realize how many once-transformative-sounding features ended up fizzling and being forgotten soon after their grand debuts. Some remain buried in the software while others quietly vanished after a period of inertia, but they all share the fact that they’re nowhere near the center-stage-worthy elements they once appeared to be.

So grab some popcorn and get ready for a nostalgia-filled journey — one bound to be filled with more than a few “oh, right, what ever happened to that?!” reactions.

Update (2017-12-07): Thom Holwerda:

A week with iPhone X, from a former Android user:

- holy shit this thing feels nice and expensive
- holy shit this thing is fast
- holy shit these gestures and animations and interactions are fluid
- holy shit this screen is goddamn good
- True Tone is bae

Flip side:

- inter-app communication like deep linking is still shit
- SpringBoard is literally less advanced and less useful than the PalmOS launcher
- apps are not nearly as pretty as Material apps on Android
- why can I still not set my own default apps

Update (2017-12-08): Matt Birchler:

One of the things you’ll notice every time you use AirPods on Android is that they don’t turn themselves on the same way as they do on iOS/macOS. When using AirPods with an iPhone, AirPods will turn “on” and iOS will start routing your audio to them when you put them in your ear. Android does not get the ear detection magic that iOS does. Instead, your AirPods will turn on and connect to your phone the moment you take both of them out of the case. Losing ear detection also means that your audio will not pause when you take an AirPod out of your ear, you will need to put them in the case for them to disconnect.

Update (2017-12-13): Matt Birchler:

Honestly, if I could run all of my iOS apps on the Android operating system I think I’d feel a lot better about Android. It’s a lack of consistent quality software on the platform that really drives me away. The vast difference in quality software from non-Google companies is just depressing for someone coming from the iOS world. Websites like MacStories exist almost completely to talk about third party apps on iOS, and there is enough new and exciting software coming out on a regular basis that they can make a business of it. You simply don’t have that on the Android side, as Android-centric sites instead focus mostly on hardware, sales, and what updates Google themselves are making. In the past 2 months with the Pixel 2, the only “exciting” app releases have been AR Stickers for the Pixel 2 camera app and a new file management app made by Google.

Update (2018-01-22): See also: The iPhone is Dead.

Update (2018-02-20): Scott:

I feel like switching from iOS to Android right now is equally impactful to when I switched from Windows to Mac in 2004.

I remember the sense of amazement at how much better OS X was despite a lifetime of Windows use. I feel that again using Android. It’s just so far ahead.

Jony Ive Responds to Criticism

Rick Tetzeli (via MacRumors):

The first product Ive shepherded to market after Jobs’ death, the Apple Watch, should have been the ultimate “intimate device”: What could be less obtrusive than a tiny computer you wear on your wrist? In fact, though the first Apple Watch had defenders (“smartwatches finally make sense,” the Wall Street Journal wrote), many critics slammed it (“you probably shouldn’t buy one,” warned the tech website Gizmodo). I stopped wearing mine after two weeks. The interface was cluttered, and unlike my iPhone, I had to stop walking to use it on the street.

Two years later, reviews of Series 3, as the new watches introduced this fall are called, are glowing (“the next iPhone,” Wired proclaimed). How did that happen? Ive, and Apple, adapted. They realized they had been underplaying the watch’s role as a fitness tracker and brought on Nike as a partner. “We don’t get it right all the time,” Ive says of the long process of perfecting any Apple product. “As designers, you’re having to constantly learn.” By September, the Apple Watch had reportedly become the best-selling timepiece in the world.

Kif Leswing:

Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, just doesn’t understand the criticism of the company’s new corporate headquarters.

More than that, he doesn’t think any of it is valid.


“We didn’t make Apple Park for other people,” Ive said. “So I think a lot of the criticisms … are utterly bizarre, because it wasn’t made for you. And I know how we work, and you don’t.”

Kif Leswing:

If there’s a silver lining for Mac users, it’s that Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer and one of the most powerful people at the company, says he’s listening to user complaints.

“Absolutely, all of your feelings and feedback around the MacBook you use, we couldn’t want to listen to more,” Ive said earlier this week in Washington DC. “And we hear — boy, do we hear.”

Previously: Apple Park’s Open Work Spaces, New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac.

The Pollyannish Assumption

Ben Thompson:

Apple is the easy one, and I started with them on purpose: using a term like “return on investment” gets a whole lot more problematic when dealing with abuse and human exploitation. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a real calculation made by relevant executives though: in the case of Apple, I think most people would agree that whatever investment in forum moderation would be effective enough to catch this post before it was surfaced on Twitter a couple of weeks later would be far better spent buttressing the internal quality control teams that missed the bug in the first place.

I’m not sure I agree with that. Apple’s developer forums (contra the general support forums) do not actually have overwhelming volume. Is it really not worth paying someone to read them? I don’t mean to try to reproduce every issue that people mention, but rather to look for outliers (in either frequency or severity) like the root access one. I got to thinking about this while listening to Brian Covey talk about how The Omni Group does support. Not everyone is going to file Radars about every problem they encounter, but there is a lot of valuable information already out there if Apple is willing to sift through it. If no one is doing this already, I would think that adding one person who can leverage the experiences of thousands would make more of a difference than that marginal increase in resources for the existing QA team. Along the same lines, why isn’t there someone whose job it is to go through the top Stack Overflow questions and advocate for fixing the bugs and the documentation that is missing or unclear?

A major factor driving this growth is YouTube’s machine-learning algorithm for watching more videos[…] This should expose the obvious flaw in YouTube’s current reporting-based policing strategy: the nature of search and recommendation algorithms is such that most YouTube viewers, who would be rightly concerned and outraged about videos of child exploitation, never even see the videos that need to be reported. In other words, YouTube’s design makes its attempt to leverage the Internet broadly as moderator doomed to fail.


This is why it is critical that YouTube lose its pollyannish assumptions: were the company’s moderation approach to start with the assumption of bad actors, then child exploitation would be perhaps the most obvious place to look for problematic videos. Moreover, we know it works: that is exactly what Uziel and BuzzFeed did. If you know what you are looking for, you will, thanks to Google/YouTube’s search capabilities and recommendation algorithms, find it.

Tony Zhou:

But as always, there’s a difference between what the law says and how the law is implemented. You could make a video that meets the criteria for fair use, but YouTube could still take it down because of their internal system (Copyright ID) which analyzes and detects copyrighted material.

So I learned to edit my way around that system.

Nearly every stylistic decision you see about the channel — the length of the clips, the number of examples, which studios’ films we chose, the way narration and clip audio weave together, the reordering and flipping of shots, the remixing of 5.1 audio, the rhythm and pacing of the overall video — all of that was reverse-engineered from YouTube’s Copyright ID.

Via Nick Heer:

If YouTube’s automatic flagging system didn’t exist, it’s likely that “Every Frame a Painting” would feel completely different. Whether it would have been better, I’m not sure, but I think the limitations of YouTube helped birth something truly unique and very, very good.

Month 13 Is Out of Bounds

Rob Griffiths (tweet):

But if you’re unlucky enough to be a Mac user in the month of December, 2017, then you’ll probably be seeing a lot of “Month 13 is out of bounds” messages in your Console. And by ‘a lot,’ I mean an exceedingly excessive never-ending stream of spewage…

Thousands and thousands and thousands of them—I’m getting anywhere from two to 20 per second, continuously.

Benjamin Mayo:

The plot thickens. Similar logs are generated by my iOS 11.2 iPhone, which is up-to-date. It seems like Apple patched over the Springboard crashing but the underlying calendar logic is still broken somewhere.


I’m getting this and it is causing UserEventAgent to consume all my cpu and RAM. Only solution is to set the date back until November.

William Osman:

My MacBook Pro was rinsed by UserEventAgent. Took full use of CPU and memory. I had to force quit it within Activity Monitor every ten minutes to keep laptop running.

Alexandre Colucci:

’Month 13 is out of bounds’: The official CoreFoundation ‘__CFYMDFromAbsolute’ source code is available online. You can see the new ‘ASSERT_VALID_MONTH’ define causing all the ‘Month 13 is out of bounds’ logs.

See also: Apple Developer Forums.

Previously: Rushed iOS 11.2 Update to Fix Date Crasher.

Update (2017-12-06): Stuart Breckenridge:

It’s appearing at least 20 times per second and other than disabling Bluetooth, I haven’t found a way to stop it.

Update (2017-12-08): Gus Mueller:

Wait, 10.13.2 didn’t fix the Month 13 is out of bounds problem?

Update (2018-01-01): James Thomson:

I hate to tell you… it’s January here and Month 13 is still out of bounds.

Update (2018-02-06): Zeeshaan Aamir:

After updating 10.13.3 still i am getting the same problem