Archive for February 17, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Time to End-of-Life Interact

Greg Pierce:

Since day one it’s been plagued by bugs in the underlying Contacts frameworks and almost none of them have been fixed by Apple in the intervening years.

It works great for most people, but for the ones with contact data that does not get along with the Contact framework, it fails in annoying ways. There are likely still places I could improve their experience in Interact, but I’ve burned too much time and effort on those edge cases for it to make sense to keep it going.

Nowhere Else to Go

The Menu Bar (tweet):

Marco Arment joins Zac and Andrew at the bar to talk about Ads vs Patreon, the end game for social networks, the trouble you get into for criticizing Apple, iPod as the new Vinyl, and the very sad state of affairs with newer MacBook keyboards.

This is another solid episode. (The previous episode with Dan Masters about Twitter and privacy was also good.) The key point for me is that the Mac and iOS platforms are one-of-a-kind resources that Apple controls. They are it for the foreseeable future unless you want to use Windows or Android, which have their own share of problems. It’s like the dark ages that Steve Jobs spoke of in the mid-90s. The barriers to entry are so high now that there is unlikely to be a Be or NeXT or Palm that seems to come out of nowhere.

Apple clearly feels a great responsibility as a steward of our planet. However, there are many governments, companies, and individuals who can also contribute to environmental causes. But in the case of these computing platforms, Apple is the lone steward. Making sure they are good—not just good enough—is something only Apple can do.

Previously: The Best Laptop Ever Made, Unreliable MacBook Pro Keyboards, New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac, The 12-inch MacBook, Finding an Alternative to Mac OS X.

Twitter Abolishes Native Mac Client

Twitter (Hacker News, MacRumors):

We’re focusing our efforts on a great Twitter experience that’s consistent across platforms. So, starting today the Twitter for Mac app will no longer be available for download, and in 30 days will no longer be supported.

For the full Twitter experience on Mac, visit Twitter on web. 👉

Jason Snell:

Masterclass in doublespeak. Please wait while we upgrade your Twitter experience. With a browser window.

Thomas Brand:

A really sweet solution!

Peter Bright:

that plan again:

1. Kill third party apps

2. Force everyone onto first party apps

3. Kill first party apps too, for good measure.

Anil Dash:

I can’t complain about them making official what’s already been obvious for ages, but I wonder what Twitter’s answer is for how those of us with multiple accounts are supposed to use Twitter. Just keep logging in and out?

Jack Dorsey:

Within the iOS app you should be able to switch easily.

John Gruber (tweet):

It’s all fine, really, so long as they continue to allow third-party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific to exist. But this “Mac users should just use the website” attitude is exactly what I was talking about here as an existential threat to the future of the Mac.

People choose the Mac because they want the best experience — not the same experience they can get on a $200 Chromebook.


To want to be “consistent across platforms” is a UX self-own: there’s a reason why platforms (plural) continue to exist. And a very few apps manage to escape platforms’ gravity.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

The Mac losing an app as fundamental to today’s society as Twitter is exactly why macOS needs ‘Marzipan’; without a shared app platform, the app ecosystem is going to leave the Mac behind — get used to web apps

Jeff Johnson:

There are so many apps that have both Mac and iOS native versions. I’ve worked on some. With small teams. Even a team of one. It can be done, very reasonably. It’s not trivial, but the narrative about how big corporations can’t afford to do it is absurd.

Somehow MAGICALLY small third party dev shops can have native iOS and Mac Twitter clients. But Twitter can’t because IT’S TOO HARD.

Macs are empirically selling better than ever. This is a matter of public record. But everyone wants to say the Mac is dead. WTF is wrong with this world? We’ve lost all touch with objective reality.

Calum Hunter:

it just shows how bad everything else is. mac hardware is crazy outdated they are still selling a macpro from 2013 on their store or crying out loud! MacOS 10.13 is a dumpster fire. But even still, its still better to use than windows or linux

Craig Hockenberry:

To celebrate, we just lowered the price of Twitterrific for Mac from $19.99 to $7.99.

John Siracusa:

Third-party clients haven’t even been able to use all Twitter features (e.g., polls, group DMs, etc.) for years. Only the “sweet solution” of the web can fill in completely for a first-party native Mac app.

Rosyna Keller:

The API third party Twitter clients use is also free and doesn’t support Twitter ads or other revenue generating features.

This API is also severely limited (no group DMs, searches limited to 7 days, no polls) and may be entirely deprecated in June.

Brent Simmons:

That thing where indie developers have a Twitter-imposed limit of OAuth tokens is still a thing.

Twitter leadership are jerks in so many different ways.

Jeff Johnson:

You know, they didn’t even need native clients that badly, because they had RSS. Any RSS reader allowed you to follow Twitter. But then they killed RSS support.

Oluseyi Sonaiya:

The app ecosystem is going to leave the Mac behind regardless. The desktop is increasingly marginal for non-productivity software, so this hand-wringing over a mediocre app being shuttered is surprising.

Josh Centers:

And you know what? Apple is as much to blame as anyone. When is the last time Apple made a great case for a native interface? Apple News?

Which doesn’t even have a Mac version…

Previously: Twitter’s First Profit.

Update (2018-02-19): Colin Cornaby:

What alarms me is the number of iOS devs who think it could be “write once run anywhere” and what they would do if trusted with that power.

Chris Adamson:

On a larger scale, if a company doesn’t care about making Mac apps now, making the process slightly easier probably won’t move the needle. Twitter finally made a $90MM profit; they could maintain their Mac app if they cared.

Colin Cornaby:

I don’t think Twitter cares about the Mac at all and a universal framework would change little.

They might put a token app out there but they still won’t pay it any special attention.

Jeff Johnson:

It looks like the official Twitter Windows client has also been neglected. It doesn’t even have 280 characters either. Most likely it will also be discontinued. Jack himself said they’re focusing on mobile.

Anyone who thinks this is all about “Marzipan” has not considered the Windows side. You can say Mac is a niche, but Windows worldwide market share is about 90%.

Of course, Windows isn’t on phones. Twitter only cares about phones now.

Dan Frommer:

Twitter on the web feels like a static product. Like something you open, read, and close. Twitter for Mac made it feel alive; a never-ending conversation, in a way even the best mobile clients don’t. Really too bad.

Update (2018-02-22): See also: Upgrade.

Ben Sandofsky (via Jeff Johnson):

I was never in the C level suite on any of the conversations about how they truly felt, but it was always…You know Google has 20 percent projects? [Twitter for Mac] was always a 120 percent project of, “Once you’re done with all of your work, we’re going to give you your nights and weekends.”

It’s really a testament to a lot of the people who love the app inside the company, who would go on to spend, in some cases, their holiday time off building in updates. I think that it never really received all of the support it needed.

Color Picker Now Rearranges Custom Swatches

Rory Prior:

Oh joy another High Sierra annoyance. Some engineer took it upon themselves to rewrite the custom colour swatch area in the colour picker to use a bloody collection view so it no longer lets you use spatial grouping.

He recorded a video.

iOS Share vs. Action Icons

Ole Zorn:

I suspect that 90% of users have no idea what distinguishes these two (completely separate) rows of icons, aside from the color.

(To be clear, I have no idea either. Theoretically, it’s “share” and “action”, but those concepts are so muddy that it’s hard to know which group a particular app extension belongs to.)

Further confusing things is that the “More” button in both rows brings up a panel titled “Activities.”