Archive for April 17, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Mapping Apple’s Vast Universe of Space Gray Shades

Michael Steeber:

Silver aluminum, once the defining look of Apple products, has been met with increasing variety over the last several years by a range of colors and finishes that customers can choose from. One of the earliest and most popular options – space gray – has permeated across almost every product line Apple offers.

Yet, ubiquity has not brought consistency. Each new generation of a product seems to bring with it a slightly different take on space gray. Those with large device collections have noted the discrepancies between shades, and discussions brew online over the term’s exact definition.

While subtle variations in material, texture, lighting, and even the shape of a product can play tricks on the eyes, every device Apple currently offers or has produced in space gray can be grouped into one of several loosely defined categories. Below, we’ve cataloged and categorized the vast universe of Apple’s recent dark material finishes in an attempt to unravel the mysteries of space gray.

One Laptop Per Child Retrospective

Adi Robertson (Hacker News):

The $100 laptop would have all the features of an ordinary computer but require so little electricity that a child could power it with a hand crank. It would be rugged enough for children to use anywhere, instead of being limited to schools. Mesh networking would let one laptop extend a single internet connection to many others. A Linux-based operating system would give kids total access to the computer — OLPC had reportedly turned down an offer of free Mac OS X licenses from Steve Jobs. And as its name suggested, the laptop would cost only $100, at a time when its competitors cost $1,000 or more.


By the time OLPC officially launched in 2007, the “green machine” — once a breakout star of the 21st-century educational technology scene — was a symbol of tech industry hubris, a one-size-fits-all American solution to complex global problems. But more than a decade later, the project’s legacy is more complicated than a simple cautionary tale. Its laptops are still rolling off production lines, and a new model is expected later this year.


After years of insisting that it wasn’t a tech company, OLPC really has opted out of the laptop arms race, embracing its status as a niche machine. OLPC’s current laptop has the same camera and screen resolution as its original 2008 edition, and less memory and storage than a budget smartphone. OLPC estimates it’s shipped a total of 3 million XO machines over the course of the past decade.

Previously: One Laptop Per Child.

macOS 10.13.4 Causing Installation Log Failures

Adam Engst:

So let’s recap. In three separate instances, a Mac that’s running macOS 10.13.3 starts running slowly. Upon restart — without the user asking to install 10.13.4 — the Mac boots into the Installation Log app and shows an error saying the macOS installation couldn’t be completed. Restarting doesn’t help, but the first thing to try is holding down Option as the Mac boots and selecting the primary drive. If that doesn’t work, boot into macOS Recovery and reinstall the operating system. No data will be lost either way, but hey, make sure you have backups anyway!

How common is this problem? Unclear, although there’s a discussion of it on AskDifferent that covers the same ground I did. If you’ve already upgraded to macOS 10.13.4, you’re probably safe. But if you’ve been holding off upgrading, which is usually the cautious thing to do, be aware that it’s possible you might encounter this situation on your next restart.


Previously: macOS 10.13.4.

Firefox 11.0 for iOS Has Tracking Protection on by Default

Emil Protalinski (via Anil Dash):

Tracking protection means Firefox blocks website elements (ads, analytics trackers, and social share buttons) that could track you while you’re surfing the web. It’s almost like a built-in ad blocker, though it’s really closer to browser add-ons like Ghostery and Privacy Badger because ads that don’t track you are allowed through. The feature’s blocking list, which is based on the tracking protection rules laid out by the anti-tracking startup Disconnect, is published under the General Public License and available on GitHub.


The difference is that with Firefox for iOS, it’s on by default. And you can turn it off and on for each site (long-press the URL bar and tap the shield icon)[…] The feature is great for privacy, but it also improves performance. Content loads faster for many websites, which translates into less data usage and better battery life.

Note that this is much more extensive than Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention.

Previously: Firefox’s Facebook Container.

Updated FancyZoom

Many Tricks (via Peter Maurer):

Cabel Sasser’s FancyZoom, slightly updated and dumbed down.

Added a way to specify zoom image resolution (cf. “retina” displays). Added a dark vs. bright theme choice. Switched the spinner to spinning via CSS, rather than animating through a sequence of image files. Got rid of the old table-based fallback layout. Plus, various other cosmetic changes.

See also: FancyZoom.

Previously: WebKit’s srcset Image Attribute.